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G. M. L 










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I. 47 AGENT (S, L.) ....... 1 

Called up Another acquaintance Below the 
surface Through a window. 

II. WE CROSS TO DUBLIN (J. M. N.) . . . . 10 
On board After curfew We arrive. 

III. I COME ACROSS 47 (S. L.) . . . 17 

Stephen's Green On the stroke Cumann na 
mBan Good advice. 


Mrs. Slaney We take a flat Au revoir. 

V. WE SETTLE IN (J. M. N.) . . . , . 34 

Mrs. Slaney indignant We dine. 


A Beau Brummell Signs of the times An intro- 
duction Money for nothing A tram ride. 


The beginning The Celtic revival The Phrenix 
Capital versus Labour Murder gang Bad 
to worse Black-and-Tans Disturbed areas 




The game of blufi Passers-by Wanted men 
Templemore Our mutual friend Hard at work 
A lonely life. 


The great fastA Dublin funeral The night 
watch A mysterious visitor Kevin Barry 
November ends. 


Terrible news A Sunday evening Unhonoured 
and unsung. 

XI. AFTERMATH (S. L.) 101 

In full cry In the crowd A chance meeting. 

XII. VISIT TO A TOP STORY (J. M. N.) . . . . 109 

Watching and waiting Money for nothing Au 

XIII. FROM THE HOUSETOP (S. L., J. M. N.) . . .116 

The Central Hotel A brief haven A top story- 
Down below Lies, all lies 1 Loyalist and Repub- 
lican The first raid England's market garden. 

XIV. AN AT HOME (J. M. N.) 133 

A Christmas box Old Meg Curlewed A Unionist. 


Day by day Building a Republic President 
De Valera The pendulum Irish Bulletin 
Reprisals The gods must laugh. 

A piece of news An innocent man Real dotes 



Mrs. Slaney is uneasy Open, the military! 
Harbouring rebels His tea. 


Spreading the news A Republican Propaganda 
Waste ! Waste I Day and night The City 


Mrs. O'Grady is prudent Enter Mrs. Slaney. 

XX. To DUBLIN CASTLE (S. L.) . . 189 

Raided again A new acquaintance A find A 
late call The journey done. 


To bed The Auxiliary at home Into the fire 
Thirteen at table An outing. 

XXII. LOST : A HUSBAND (J. M fc N.) . . . . 211 

A strained situation Gelignite ! Next morning 
Dublin Castle In the maze Room 13 F 
Company Found. 


Spring and peace The Customs House The 
Auxiliary Cadets A brisk affair Bally- 
kinler Under the whip Mrs. Slaney indig- 

XXIV. THE COMING OF SUMMER (S. L.) . . . . 244 

Corner-boys Hands up Erskine Childers 
The phantom army In Phoenix Park The 
old order changeth. 







Ambushed Only another anibush Patriots 
The final raid To rack and ruin. 


North and South King William The great 
day The trysting-ground Patches of splen- 



XXVII. TKUCE (S. L.) 279 

Changed times The final settlement The 
last of 47 Dail Eireann Leave them there. 


An avatar Good-bye to Ireland. 



Hag-ridden Two alternatives The hopeful 





IN the wonderful August weather of 1920, my wife 
and I were in our London flat sighing for cooler 
places. The season had come to an end with less 
than its usual glory, and for days taxis and growlers, 
topheavy with luggage, had been carrying fleeing 
Londoners to country and to sea. The holidays 
had begun ; but England, still limping from the 
late war, had lost the holiday spirit : indeed the 
world was restless as if it had come through painful 
convulsions to kick spasmodically for a while. We 
were restless too. 

Ireland was one of the world's sores. It was 
near at hand. Should we go and see for ourselves ? 
The middle of August had come, and we could not 
make up our minds. 

On the hottest of those mornings I wandered 
into Hyde Park, and where the riders turn their 
horses about, on the very last chair of the row, 
leaning forward, rubbing his chin on his stick, I 
came across 47 Agent of the secret service. He 


2 47 AGENT 

had seen me coming along, and patted the next 
seat in invitation as if we had met yesterday. 

" I thought you were at the other end of the 

He answered, " I'm here." 

How I met 47 ; how it came about that he 
revealed his secret to me ; how it was that we 
became friends, has nothing to do with this story. 
Sometimes I saw a lot of him ; sometimes he 
passed out of my life for a year. 

Before I had known 47 six months I had learned 
this, that a secret service agent, if he is to be more 
than a common spy, what the French term a 
mouchard, a fellow who gleans his news among 
servant girls and the like, must have something of 
a statesman's vision to carry him on his way. He 
must have that sense of the future which lifts him 
beyond the individual and the matter of the 
moment to think in nations and down centuries. 
Thus is lessened the pang he feels as he bruises the 
individual, as the vivisectionist tortures the beast 
that beasts and men shall be freed of pain. 

" Come to dinner to-night," I said. " We are 
always talking of you." 

" I'm crossing to Ireland to-night." 

" Ireland ? Are you working there ? " 

He nodded. "I'm going to make a beginning. 
All the fellows who are resting have been called up. 
Things are going from bad to worse." 

" Are they worse than the papers make out ? " 

" They are bad enough. I've not seen for 


myself yet ; but the Irish Republican Army has 
grown into a moderately disciplined and fairly 
numerous fighting affair, and seems to be getting 
bolder. Thousands of the young men belong to it. 
They don't wear uniform, and those who aren't 
known to the military and police, and so aren't 
on the run, live as ordinary citizens until they are 
called on for some stunt. They're a secret organisa- 
tion, and we ought to be the people for them." 

" Are you glad to be off ? " I said. 

" Damn glad," he answered. " I'll be able to 
see for myself. One man tells you the country is 
in the clutches of a murder gang, and the next that 
some nobler spasm convulses it. All the same I 
hear work in Ireland is trickier than Continental 
stunts. On the Continent you have the majority 
of the nation indifferent to you, and only the official 
part to circumvent ; but in Ireland they say half 
the nation is waiting to give a man away." 

" Why didn't you come and say you were 

" 1 got orders this morning." 

"We have been thinking of having a look at 
Ireland. My wife's interested in adoption work, 
and wants to start it over there. We can't make 
up our minds." 

He looked round. " You ? " 

" Both of us. D'you think we'd find it worth 
while ? " 

" Probably. Why not come over ? You're 
people with nothing to do." 

4 47 AGENT 

44 If we do, we're going to be strictly neutral," 
I said. " We want to meet the other side." 

He nodded. " It's not always easy. That's 
what a good many want to do. You may do it 
if you stay neutral." 

" We're going to do it." 

" Then make up your minds. You're sure to 
run across me if you come to Dublin." He looked 
at the watch on his wrist and said, " I must go." 
But he did not get up. 

" You've got the pip," I said. 

"I'm glad to be on the road," he answered, 
rubbing his chin on his stick again ; " but it's a 
solemn business." He became suddenly very 
stern. " An agent requires a better courage than 
a soldier's. Once he enters enemy country he does 
not hear a word in favour of his cause. The very 
newspapers he must read denounce the Government 
whose servant he is. Day after day he wages his 
lonely war. 

" The man I meet at the Hibernian Hotel at 
twelve o'clock to-morrow is to be my 4 cousin,' as 
we call it. It is my privilege to pour into his ears 
all my troubles, and he will do his best for me. 
Once a day, once or twice a week as may be 
arranged, he will appear at this place or that place 
at such and such an hour to take my information. 
This information he will pass on to another man, 
and this third man is the link with Dublin Castle. 

44 My wife and I will have no other loyal 
acquaintances, no other person in sympathy with 


us. While the Irish situation stays as it is we shall 
have only each other to lean on. Now and again we 
may pass an acquaintance in the street, and we 
shall go by without a word, without a nod. How 
many times must we join in the laugh against us ? 
How many times must we sneer when we love ? 
How many times must we applaud when we scorn ? " 

He looked in front of him and said in a low voice, 
" Betray once more, 47, that a traitor may be 
destroyed. Deny once again, 47, that a liar's 
mouth may be stopped. Listen this time, 47, that 
some one else shall listen no more. Stifle your 
humanity. Fight your lonely fight." 

He got up, nodded, and departed. 

I returned to lunch and told my wife I had 
come across 47. She was thrilled now at the idea 
of Ireland, and when lunch was over we had nearly 
made up our minds. I had to leave her in the 
evening, it was the case of a theatre, and as I walked 
out of that same theatre, somebody was at my side. 
He was the only other secret service man I knew ; 
the introduction had come through 47. Such is 

He was resplendent. The background of lights 
and women and motors purring at the kerb was just 
what he wanted. We strolled back together along 
Piccadilly, and he was in his best vein. He asked 
after my wife, and from her he got on to women 
in general. He began to philosophise presently 
and said : 

" You can't beat a really good woman." Then 

6 47 AGENT 

he shook his head. " But most women are the 

" Not all." 

" Most." 

He drew up his lip like a dog. 

" I remember once in Vienna there was an 
actress, an agent of the Austrian Government, who 
was so dangerous that one after another of our 
fellows had to pull out half-way because they were 
losing their heads." He nodded and went on 
showing his eye-tooth. " But one day there came 
along an agent less susceptible than the others 
and he broke her neck." 

" One of her unlucky days ? " 

" Yes, he broke her neck." 

There was a pause. 

" The clock was over there. This agent looked 
at it, and it had long gone midnight. She had been 
home from the theatre some time. The supper 
things were on the table : supper was over. She 
was standing in the middle of the room, and when 
she heard him coming up behind, she leaned back 
bored for an embrace. She was unused to a refusal. 
She had in mind to suck this man dry and after- 
wards toss him away like an empty wine bottle. 
She put her head back, smiling. He slipped his arm 
round her neck and it's not difficult if you know 
the way." 

This man had the most wonderful personality 
in the world. He grew more and more splendid all 
the time. 


" He who runs may read. In our service a man 
receives certain payments for his harassing life. 
The agent lives two lives at one and the same time. 
He lives the life of the citizen, pays his milk bill, 
shops with his women friends, breakfasts, lunches, 
dines, and all the time he is living a second life 
below the surface. He sees the moves in the war 
raging about him ; he remarks man after man go 
down. There is no cry. These are the deaths that 
never get into the papers. If recorded at all they 
are recorded as accidents or found dead. He sees 
the messages passed at the street corners, and the 
friend strolling at his side sees one man giving 
another a light. He sees this wanted man go by, 
he sees that sign put up, he asks himself why is this 
man here, what is that woman doing there ? And 
his friend recognises only the beggar girl whining 
on the doorstep, and the cabman flourishing his 

We were passing under a street lamp. He had 
become magnificent. His eyes were shining. He 
had swollen like a pouter pigeon. 

4 When the time comes for us to leave the 
service we cannot. We are offered rest, we are 
offered peace ; at last has come opportunity for 
our stretched nerves to recover. But we must 
continue to be au courant with affairs. So nearly 
every agent dies in harness. 

44 But, of course, besides receiving payment, an 
agent pays for this life. He makes payment in 
several ways. One way is that* he finally comes to 

8 47 AGENT 

believe nothing, to trust nobody. He weighs up 
what his best friend says. And another payment 
is that the life brings a man in the end to neutral 
feelings. He is cold sometimes yes. Wet yes. 
Tired yes. Even a little depressed sometimes. 
But not elated. Never surprised. 

" It's fifteen years since I was surprised." 

And then at Hyde Park Corner, the place where 
I had last seen 47, he was gone, and I was left to 
stroll home alone. 

My wife was still up. 

" I've just met our other friend," I said, shutting 
the door. 

" What does he say ? " 

" He's going over in a day or two. He was at 
the top of his form." 

Then I gave out what I had been given, and she 
listened with her eyes jumping out of her head. 
Her mind, and accordingly my mind, was made up 
half-way through. At the end she jerked upright 
in the armchair and cried 

" But let's go and see for ourselves, and I'll try 
and get my ' Baby Exchange ' going. Let's." 

" By all means." 

This was very late at night or very early in the 

Now it is time to ask if the world possesses one 
true history book. History can only be approxi- 
mate, for events are without limit, and man is 
limited. Each observer of Irish affairs has been 
watching Ireland through the windows of his 


temperament and his opportunities, and where a 
man has seen this thing, his neighbour has seen 

Humbly, then, we put down what we have to 
tell, endeavouring to fill these pages with the spirit 
of the times rather than with a tedious list of 



" ANY firearms ? " A lamp flashed on a pair of 
khaki legs. " Any firearms ? " asked the man 
with the lamp again in a feeble attempt at cheer- 

I was trying to be cheerful too ; but it was the 
middle of the night and very cold, and I had lost 
a husband. 

A soft cloud of steam rose from the engine of the 
train that had just disgorged me. 

All along the platform were weary passengers 
and flashing lamps. A silk stocking slid to the 
platform from my suitcase. The stooping Customs 
man bumped his finger on a darning-needle and 
muttered under his breath. A little farther along 
the platform I could see a woman burdened with a 
baby struggling to shut an over full portmanteau. 

" Why are you going to Ireland ? " grumbled 
the man with the lamp. " Last place to live in. 
Right. Next, please. One minute, Paddy. What's 
in that parcel ? " 

A youth who was trying to slip through the 

crowd stood sullenly. 



I was jostled up a gangway by the moving 
people, still clutching my keys. 

The boat was crowded. It seemed impossible 
that any one else could get on, and there were 
hundreds to come. 

My belated husband had deserted me in the 
confusion. I picked him up presently on the boat. 

" Have you seen about a berth ? " he asked. 

I shook my head and penetrated to the women's 
cabin. It was the most uncomfortable place I had 
ever seen. I struggled past heaps of rugs and 
luggage, and stumbled over legs as far as the 
stewardess, an overworked woman, who answered 
me impolitely. There was no berth left, and I 
struggled up to the deck again through the descend- 
ing people with my heart in my boots. There was 
nothing but a cold, hard seat and the whistling 

Scraps of conversation reached us in between 
the noises. People who had fared as badly as we 
had stood about in sulky groups. Dour Northerners 
clustered together and eyed a party of priests. On 
the hatches some Tommies lifted up their voices in 
song, and round the deck paced military officers 
with suffering faces. 

It was an evil night. 

In the early morning I, who had never thought 
to see a dawn again, caught a glimpse of Dublin 

The shattered boatload poured along the plat- 
form. I stood by the small luggage while my 


husband went to pounce on the rest from the hold. 
A long-lipped porter weighed up my wealth. 

" What time does the train go ? " 

" Half-seven." 

" It's been a choppy night." 

" It has." An Irishman never says yes or no. 
I learned that quickly. " Here's himself coming 

My husband turned up. " You've been chris- 
tened Himself," I said. " I'm going to call you 
that while we're in Ireland." 

" Do you feel pretty bad ? " he answered. 

" Awful." I subsided on an unknown person's 
luggage. Himself wandered about, and the long- 
lipped porter, having decided we were worth while, 
wandered after him doing as little as possible. 

I was put into a train, and from that train we 
emerged at last. Himself went to get a garry, and 
once more I did sentinel duty over the luggage. 

A youth with a dirty grey cap pulled over his 
eyes and a trench coat on eyed me from behind 
a pillar-box. I stared back and he seemed to 
retire. Presently I saw his head round the other 
side of the pillar-box. He chewed a small green 

We piled our things up on the garry. The soft 
clean air curled round my face and I breathed 

The jarvey was a cheerful soul, and was pre- 
pared to be talkative as we balanced ourselves on 
the side of his swaying car. The youth who was 


chewing a leaf propped himself against a lamp- 
post and watched our departure. I wondered why 
we fascinated him. 

" Sure," said the jarvey, " I don't know how 
I stand at all, at all, not from one minute to another. 
It's this way, mum. First a Shinner comes along 
and sez he, ' Jarvey, did ye drive a military man 
home last night ? ' ' Faith,' sez I, ' and how 
should I be after knowing if he was military or 
not ? ' ' It's up to you, jarvey,' sez he, ' and 
mighty quick, too,' and out he pulls a bit iv a gun 
and sticks it in my stomach. And, mum, what is a 
poor jarvey to do ? Then up comes another man. 
4 Jarvey,' sez he, ' that was a Shinner you was 
talking to. What were you after telling him ? ' 
4 He was no Shinner,' sez I. ' Glory be, how am I 
to know his persuasion ? ' ' It's lies,' he sez quick 
like, ' all lies, jarvey, and you find the damn truth 
or it'll be worse for ye,' and out comes another gun 
and into the stomach of me. Och, it's bad days, 
and it's not I who be caring how soon peace 

" You don't like either side, then ? " 

44 Like thim ? Now what I'm telling you is 
true. It was half-twelve the other night, and I 
was coming home 

44 After curfew ? " 

44 It was. They let jarveys through. It was 
half-twelve and I was coming home, when up runs 
a man with a gun and on to my car. ' Drive, 
jarvey,' he sez, 4 back along the road you've come." 


So I whips me horse and away we go. We had 
gone a goodish bit when we sees the light of an 
armoured car. Out skips the man. 'Your life 
if ye split,' he sez, and disappears in the dark. 

" The car spotted me at once. * What are ye 
doing at this time iv night ? ' sez the officer. ' I'm 
going back to me stables,' sez I. ' Where are your 
stables ? ' sez he. ' Leeson Lane,' sez I. c Then 
it do be away from your stables you are going,' 
sez he. ' Get out iv that car, jarvey,' and all the 
guns in the armoured car poked round at me. 

" Sure it was two lorry loads iv military by this 
time. ' Take him home,' sez one, * and let him go. 
He's only a poor old jarvey.' ' Poor old jarvey be 
damned,' sez the other, ' it's Mike Collins himself 
maybe.' 'Have ye seen Mike Collins, jarvey ? ' 
sez the other. ' How should I be after knowing 
him ? ' sez I. ' Who was the fare you put down ? ' 
4 There was no fare,' I sez. 4 1 took a party home 
and was going back to stables and I fell asleep. 
The old mare must have turned herself round.' 

" They laughed at that, and the Black-and-Tans 
was all for running me into the Castle ; but the 
military, God save them, was for me being just a 
poor old jarvey, and they stood by me and jumped 
me into the car and drove me back to stables to see 
who I was, and then they took me back to the old 
mare and let me go. Och, but it was a night what 
with one and another, and it was after curfew when 
I was home, I was that tormented with them all. 
They pulled me up every short way and jumped me 


into a car to see who I was and then back again to 
the old mare. It's no time for a jarvey, mum." 

We were rattling along the Liffey. The tide 
was out and the few seagulls were investigating the 
city's discarded biscuit tins in the mud on either 
side of the water. All along the embankment were 
men old men, young men, boys. They propped 
the walls, they dozed upon the bridges, they 
watched the Guinness brewery carts rumbling 
backwards and forwards. Some looked at us with 
blank faces ; but the majority looked into the mud 
that the tide had left. 

Finally we reached the hotel just as I was 
beginning to understand the jarvey 's speech. 

" How much ? " Himself let the coins in his 
pocket jingle. 

" Four shillings." The reply was given un- 
blushingly. I could see the hotel porter reckoning 
his tip. 

We had a large room looking down on the main 
street. A stream of people passed. 

" Give a poor old woman a penny, sir," I heard 
a beggar woman whine. " Mother iv God ! a 
penny for the poor old woman." She headed a 
man off, running in front of him and jerking the 
head of a wretched baby as she ran. " A penny for 
the love of God ! " 

The man escaped to be waylaid by two others. 

:i What a lot of fa.t beggars ! " I exclaimed. 

The chambermaid walked listlessly to the 
window and looked out. A man in well cut 


clothes had tossed a penny to the ground, and the 
beggars had fallen upon it. 

" Those men do be spotters," said the chamber- 
maid for my benefit. 

" Spotters ? What do you mean ? " 

" Spies," she answered briefly. 

" How can you tell ? " 

She sniffed. "They're not Dublin. They're 
military. Will you be taking your breakfast here 
or downstairs ? " 

" Here, thanks. And get me a bath ready. 
I'll go to bed for a bit." 

The stream of people increased as I watched. 
It was a listless stream. The only thing in a hurry 
was a lorry of armed soldiers jostling at breakneck 
speed through the traffic. 

" For the Lord's sake, let's get some break- 
fast ! " Himself exclaimed in the middle of my 



IT was past eleven o'clock when I left my wife and 
wandered out of the hotel and across O'Connell 
Bridge. The tide was high, and something about 
the lights that lay upon the Liffey waters, and 
something about the numerous bridges spanning 
the river, brought me dreams of Venice. 

It is said there is truth in first impressions. I 
had a first impression of Dublin then. In that 
shining summer weather the city, which was at 
once so pleasantly conceived and so down at heels, 
impressed me as some likeable person fallen upon 
a sick bed. 

Was it that I was reading into the face of the 
city what I expected to see ? I had wondered at 
the suspicion of the guests in the hotel, who sat 
surly and apart. Now against the embankment of 
the river shabby men and youths leaned, cooling 
their heels. They smoked and spat and contem- 
plated the traffic, which was controlled by mag- 
nificent policemen as tall as trees. There appeared 
to be a barbers' strike in progress, as outside the 
barber's shop loitered sundry young men who 



would have been the better for a shave. These 
people displayed a board with " Strike on Here " 
printed in big letters, and whenever some customer, 
maddened by a two months' growth of hair, 
vanished into the shop, they would shout after 
him in raucous tones, " Strike on there ! " 

The crowd looked worried and suspicious of 
itself, and surely it was evident to him who had 
eyes to see that war, none the less real because 
waged below the surface, was going on, and nobody 
knew who was for this side and who for the other. 

Yes, war rumbling through the streets in the 
guise of heavy military waggons, tramping round 
the corners in parties of tin-hatted soldiers, flying 
up and down the quays in lorries choked with 
dapper-looking men wearing Balmoral bonnets, 
rushing up this road and that in Crossley tenders, 
filled with less romantic men in black uniforms and 
peaked caps. 

I passed over O' Council Bridge, up Westmore- 
land Street, and out of it between two grave stone 
buildings ; that across the way an eloquent 
curving place, once a parliament, and now suffering 
from a changed greatness as the Bank of Ireland ; 
this, to my left, the grave grey face of Trinity, 
with its arch like a mouth, through which could be 
seen cobbled walks removed from the wear and 
tear of the rest of the city. 

Then to the left and up Dawson Street, past 
the Mansion House, an uninspired building, into 
one of the noble squares that the city possesses. 


The heart ol this square was a public garden called 
Stephen's Green. I crossed the road, which was 
wide and straight, and entered the park by a little 
gate in the iron railings. 

The sun poured out of the sky, and the place 
was full of nurses and babies. Two lakes, divided 
by a bridge, filled all the centre of the place, and 
ducks and seagulls and small children disputed for 
bits of bread round the edges. It was the scene 
one meets in all city parks ; but it was specially 
charming owing to the sun and the twisting 

I was looking for a chair when I discovered 
47 strolling down the path. He had seen me ; he 
always saw me first. He looked just the same as 
when we had said good-bye at Hyde Park Corner. 

" So you came over ? " he said. 

" Yes." 

" You'll find it worth while." 

The place was the best in the gardens for a 
talk. Two chairs were beside us. We sat down 
with mutual consent. 

" I have been over a week," he said. " I put 
up at the Gresham. That's in Sackville Street. I 
had to get in touch first thing. I was to meet my 
6 cousin ' in the lounge of the Hibernian Hotel, 
Dawson Street, at a quarter to twelve. After a 
talk with him I would know the lie of the land 
better, and be in a position to set to work at once. 
A fellow learns from experience how to cast the 
net as quickly and as widely as possible." 


" How do you mean ? " 

" The commercial traveller bustles from busi- 
ness house to business house, finds his way into 
the different billiard saloons, tests the merits of the 
bars. The other people get going in their own 

" I've never seen you in a hurry." 

" Never be in a hurry. Don't delay in preparing 
the ground ; but when that is done the experienced 
fellow sits like a man beneath a tree, waiting for 
the ripe fruit to drop into his lap. He has a golden 
rule, which he never breaks. It is, do not ask a 
direct question. What he must know must be 
found out indirectly while he is yawning and 
showing at best a polite interest. So it follows his 
informant forgets what has been said ; but he 
does not forget." 

" Well," I said, " what happened ? " 

" I found the hotel, which has a sort of Moorish 
lounge, and got a seat where I could see everybody, 
the door among other things. It was twenty 
minutes to twelve, five minutes to the time. I 
asked for nobody, I did not even ask for a 
drink, as I did not want my voice to proclaim 
me an Englishman and a stranger. I knew my 
'cousin' would be on time, for time with us is 

He leant forward in his old way, and began 
rubbing his chin on his stick. It meant he was 
going to hold forth. 

" Time, exact time, is sacred. On Tuesday 


morning, at twelve o'clock by the nearest public 
time, Agent 1 will push his barrow round a certain 
corner. At the same time Agent 2, who is cycling 
round the same corner at the same moment but 
from an opposite direction, collides with Agent 1, 
and in the fracas which ensues they are hemmed 
in by the crowd. Agent 3, who has been detailed 
to do a little business on the other side of the road 
at two minutes past twelve, is agreeably surprised 
to find everybody occupied on the opposite pave- 
ment and nobody watching him. At four minutes 
past twelve a motor car numbered with a certain 
number slows up at a certain bit of kerb, and 
Agent 3, who has transacted his little business, 
gets in. But if Agent 1 is late, Agent 2 has no man 
to collide with, no crowd is drawn to look on, 
Agent 3 finds it impossible to transact his bit of 
business, and Agent 4 slows his car up in vain. 
Somebody is going to get into trouble. 

" The few people in the lounge seemed the tag 
ends of Horse Show week. There were three or 
four women and half a dozen men, and they sat 
over cocktails and coffee. Nobody was interested 
in me. 

" At one minute to the hour I sat back and put 
up the sign, and a minute later a man stalked 
through the door from the street. He took in the 
room in a single aimless glance, and, still walking 
forward, answered my sign. He smiled, I rose, 
and we met as if we were friends expecting each 
other. We made the third sign, the one that is 


made with the foot, and he asked the passwords 
and I answered. This was while we were sitting 
down. He asked me to have a drink ; but I wasn't 
having any. 

" ' Then come out,' he said, 4 for a walk about.' 
He made a motion of his finger in the air like a 
man walking about. He spoke very quietly, and 
asked questions with his eyebrows. 

44 We left the lounge and went down the hotel 

44 My 4 cousin ' was between thirty and thirty- 
five. He was tall and very lean. His chest was 
narrow, and sometimes he looked delicate, and at 
other times as tough as whipcord. His face was 
as keen as a wild animal's. His black hair grew 
backwards. He was inclined to walk on his toes, 
and he trod like a cat. You never heard him 
coming and going. 

44 He brought me here, and we walked and 
talked." 47 jerked his thumb to the left. 44 Up 
that end is a waterfall which feeds the lakes, and 
all the time we seemed to be getting to that or 
leaving it. We watched the children if we were 
disturbed, or talked about the birds, and my 
' cousin ' I can't give you his name or number 
was mad on them, and had a cupboard at home 
full of pot plants." 

44 Did he tell you how things are going ? " I 
broke in. 

47 pondered this. 44 He thought there was a 
lot of work to be done ; but the situation was 


getting fairly well in hand. The people over here 
are fearfully hampered by the powers that be." 
47 looked carefully round the gardens without 
turning his head. " Listen to this," he said, 
pulling some papers out of his pocket. " Here are 
one or two choice little extracts from the rules of 
the Cumann na mBan, the woman's branch of 
the Irish Republican Army, of which Countess 
Markievicz is the head. The Countess is said to 
go about with an armed escort, and to carry a 
bag with a gun inside. The spring of the bag fires 
the gun. It may be a legend. Here we are. 

" As a start, members have to subscribe to the 
following declaration : ' I, mindful of my high 
responsibilities as an Irishwoman, am resolved to 
do my part in the service of the Republic. I enrol 
myself as a member of the Cumann na mBan. I 
bind myself by personal attention to duty as a 
member of this branch to aim at the highest degree 
of efficiency which alone will make us a valuable 
unit in the Republican Army. I pledge myself to 
keep perfectly secret all matters connected with 
the Irish Volunteers and Cumann na mBan,' etc. 

" This is what I am after : Rule 11. ' That 
Cumann na mBan should be instructed in the use 
of firearms.' Rule 12. ' That Cumann na mBan 
include detective work and the acquiring of in- 
formation about the enemy among its activities.' 

" Dublin Castle has in its possession a full list 
of the executive of the Cumann na mBan this 
organisation of enemy spies yet none of these 


women are touched, but they are left to go about 
their work as freely as they like. The Irish 
Republican Army states that it is at war with 
Britain ; the penalty for spies is death. These 
women could quite logically be executed ; they 
most certainly should be interned. But no, not 
a finger must be lifted against them." 

" What else did you glean ? " I urged. 

" That these gardens were much used by the 
Sinn Feiners. My ' cousin ' pointed out a man 
loitering on a little switchback path over there 
near the waterfall. He warned me most of us were 
shadowed now and again, but in most cases it was 
clumsily done. He warned me Sinn Fein was 
everywhere, that one could trust nobody, that the 
rot was even in the army and the police. The 
question was dividing fathers against sons, and 
husbands against wives. He urged me to believe 
in nobody who was not of the brotherhood : he 
need not have worried on that score. 

" I was told to look out for men and women 
sitting together on the park benches the man 
dictating, the woman taking shorthand notes. 
That's how they often dictate their dispatches. 

" My ' cousin ' went on to say that after dark 
motor cyclists carried the Sinn Fein dispatches 
through the empty streets. One passed his house 
at great speed at a certain hour every evening, 
almost to the minute. He meant to get him. 

" He told me, as I had guessed, that the bars 
were the great places for passing information. 


Important meetings were held in the houses of 
trusted people and in the private rooms of hotels 
with good escapes. 

"He ended by announcing the Irish could 
breed horses, grow flowers, and conspire, and that^> 
was the sum total of their qualifications." 

47 came to the end of his oration. He had told- 
everything in a level voice, rubbing his chin on the 
top of his stick all the time. 

" That's amusing," I owned. " You must keep 
me posted." 

" You'll be wise not to see too much of us, 
though we'd both like to have a talk with friends. 
They may start shadowing me at any time, and it 
won't be worth your while to be seen in bad com- 
pany. I'll tell you where I hang out ; but don't 
turn up often. We'll run across each other now 
and then like this." 

44 1 don't want a bullet into me on your 
account," I assured him. 44 Besides, I want to see 
as much of the other side as I can. Remember, 
I'm going to keep strictly neutral. Do you hear ? " 

He grunted something, and did not seem much 
interested. Then he said 

" What are you doing now ? " 

44 Looking for a flat, I suppose," I answered. 

44 This is a good part of the town. The flats 
are very dirty, but you may find something. We 
were tied to a top floor." 

44 How's that ? " 

44 The top floor has many advantages, including 



the fact that it can be defended better than another 
floor, and also that nobody has any business on 
your stairs." 

He was getting up as he said this. He waited a 
moment, said, " We'll run across each other in a 
day or two. Good luck with your flat." 

He nodded, and was gone. 



NEXT morning Himself and I breakfasted early 
and went flat hunting. We went light-heartedly, 
not knowing what was before us. I had started 
with some idea of comfort and cleanliness : I had 
made up my mind that my life should be comfort- 
able as well as interesting. But that dream was 
soon dispelled. The flats we saw had never seen 
brooms since the days of Cuchulan, a man the 
Irish are very fond of. We were eyed up and 
down by frowsy maids and dilapidated landladies. 

" God knows where we'll end if we get into any 
of these ! " Himself exclaimed, in the middle of 
the hunt. 

u Now, look here, my poor husband, we must 
get a flat. It's the basements that have put us off. 
Don't let's look at basements, let's just see the 
possibility of soap and water." 

" That's a good idea ; but what shall we let 
ourselves in for ? " 

" We've got to die somehow some day." 

We walked along a street in the neighbourhood 
of Stephen's Green. Somewhere about the middle, 



on the right-hand side, a cab was drawn up, and 
luggage was being brought out by a bibulous- 
looking cabman. 

" That looks hopeful," Himself said. " Some 
one is clearing out." 

We mounted the steps before the door was shut. 

A middle-aged servant stood on the top step, 
directing the cabman with his last load. She had 
black hair, an apron, sand-shoes they had started 
life white and her sleeves were rolled up. 

" Are there any flats to let here ? " I asked 

Before replying, she looked us up and down in 
the Irish way. 

" There are," she said, at last. " There do be 
two, and some one's just after leaving now." 

" Can we see any one ? " 

" You can. Mrs. Slaney's upstairs." 

We went inside. 

The hall floor was depressing. The stair rods 
endangered our ascent. The stair carpet had once 
been red. 

" I've not been able to sweep to-day," said the 
servant. " The mistress was after giving the loan 
of the broom next door, and it hasn't come back 

" Mrs. O'Grady ! Mrs. O'Grady ! " screamed 
some one below us. " When do I put the pud den 

" Such a girl ! " exclaimed Mrs. O'Grady. 
" She is like a headless cock ! It's half- four now," 


she answered. " Use your head ! That girl ! " she 
exclaimed to me indignantly, " she doesn't know 
the clock. Here you are, mum, a party to see 
the rooms." 

Mrs. Slaney sat with her back to the door, 
trimming a hat. Her mouth was full of pins. 
There were drying bulbs spread out on newspapers 
over the floor. 

44 Have you a flat to let ?" I asked, as she got 
up from the chair and came towards us. 

" Rooms to let," she corrected with a smile. 
44 Yes, I have rooms to let." She eyed the creases 
in Himself's trousers. 4e You're English ? What 
are you doing in Ireland ? " She tried to question 
us pleasantly. 44 You're army, of course ? I don't 
know that I'd care to let my rooms to army people." 

44 We are not army people," I assured her. 
" Nothing to do with it." 

44 You can't be too careful," declared Mrs. 
Slaney. 44 I'm sure you'll understand that. Most 
of the army people are doing spy work now. At 
one time they were all right ; but that was before 
the war. They were gentlemen then." 

44 1 can give you references," I said. 

We sat down. 

She returned to her chair and faced us. Him- 
self's hand strayed to a book, and he picked it up. 

44 The Evolution of Sinn Fein ? " he read. 
44 You're interested in Sinn Fein, Mrs. Slaney ? " 

44 1 am," she said emphatically. 44 Everybody 
in Ireland is since we were terrorised by the 


English army. I'm a Sinn Feiner, and I have been 
for some time. It is monstrous what England is 
doing ! Monstrous ! Ireland will never forget it. 
Look at all those young fellows that England is 
murdering. The flower of Ireland ! Look at what 
she's doing to-day ! " 

11 I'm English, as much as I'm anything else," 
said Himself slowly. "I'm full-blooded British 
anyway. But I'm interested in Sinn Fein, gen- 
uinely interested." 

" Then you'll see things here that will make 
your blood boil. Thank God, my son didn't die 
in France ! How England clamoured about the 
rights of small nations." 

" It's a great pity that there is this feeling," 
said Himself lamely. " After all, the British Isles 
are one geographically. They should be friends." 

Mrs. Slaney snorted. 

" Friends ! Ireland can never be friendly. 
Ireland can't forget. Look how she has been 
treated. Look what Cromwell did. Look at last 
Thursday. They arrest the Lord Mayor of Cork 
a perfectly innocent man. I suppose they'll treat 
him the same as Lord Mayor MacCurtain." 

" I thought the papers said the Lord Mayor 
was presiding over an illegal court, and that a 
stolen police cypher was found, and oh, lots of 
other things," I ventured. 

" Nonsense ! That's Hamar Greenwood and 
his lie factory. I was talking to Father Murphy, 
who tells me the Lord Mayor is a perfectly innocent 


man, And, look, only the other night those soldiers 
ran amok on the quays. They're here to terrorise 
the citizens. But you want to see the rooms ? " 

" I would like to." 

We went downstairs. Mrs. Slaney trotted 
busily a pace or two ahead. 

" This is the flat." She opened a door leading 
into a sitting-room. 

" Nice and airy," she declared, bustling towards 
a window, and vainly trying to put it up. " I must 
get that sash fixed. There's a bedroom at the back, 
and the use of a bathroom." 

" How much ? " I asked, in a faltering voice. 

" Three guineas. I give services for that, too. 
It's cheaper than most flats, and the best situation 
in Dublin. So near the Green." 

" What are the services ? " 

44 Mrs. O'Grady is a very good cook that goes 
without saying ; and there is a housemaid as well. 
You dine at night, I suppose ? " 

44 Yes." 

" I don't like dinner served much after seven. 
There's Mrs. O'Grady to consider." 

44 It's early," I said dubiously, " but I see you 
must consider the servants. We might think about 
these rooms." 

14 I'm afraid you must make up your minds 
about them soon. I have several people after 
them. Rooms are scarce now." 

44 1 vote we take them," said Himself. " You'll 
have them properly cleaned up for us ? " 


"Of course," smiled Mrs. Slaney. "I am 
always most particular about cleanliness. You'll 
want them in a few days, I suppose ? I can set 
Mrs. O'Grady to work to-morrow, and I'll have the 
curtains taken down and the windows cleaned. 
You could come in the day after." 

Himself tried the door. 

" The locks are out of order," he said. 

" They are," Mrs. Slaney agreed ; " but no one 
bothers about locks here. We're all friends. I've 
always tried to keep that atmosphere in the house. 
We need no locks. Until this trouble began, there 
was not a more crimeless country than Ireland. 
The front door has never been locked at night since 
I came into the house." 

" I should like these doors to lock," I said 
sharply. " After all, I understand that the Black- 
and-Tans raid frequently. It's not nice to feel that 
they can walk in without warning." 

" We can find you keys, of course." She soothed 
me like a child. " You'll come, then, the day after 
to-morrow ? " 

" I'll look in to-morrow, probably, to see what 
I shall want in the way of odds and ends, and 
perhaps some of the luggage could come. The 
heavy stuff has been at the station all this time." 

"You'll like Ireland," said Mrs. Slaney to 
Himself, ignoring my suggestion about the luggage. 
" You'll find nothing but kindness in the South. 
You must go to the North for bitterness. It's 
wonderful, the patience of the Southerners ; they've 


suffered so much and so long. Eight hundred 
years ! But at last it has burst out. It couldn't 
be bottled up any longer. Your blood must boil 
at the wrongs of Ireland." 

" I must hear all you've got to say later." 
" Yes. I expect you'll be more Irish than the 
Irish after a few months. It is always like that 
with the English who come here. Are you passing 
a pillar-box ? I'll get you to post a letter as you 
go out. It will save me a journey. I haven't a 
stamp in the house, by the way ; but you might 
perhaps put one on, and we'll make it right next 



THREE days later we took up our abode with Mrs. 

She directed our arrival. She was like a busy 
bird on several twigs. She did not seem able to 
keep away. 

The flat had been imperfectly cleaned ; the 
curtains had been imperfectly put up ; the window- 
cleaner had not come, but was coming at some date 
known only to himself; the door locks had not 
been mended. 

" There are one or two little items I've over- 
looked," Mrs. Slaney said. " I make a small charge 
for cleaning the front hall. I allow Mrs. O'Grady 
a little extra for that; and there's coal and light." 

She looked at me uncertainly ; but I was not 
prepared to do battle. 

" Mrs. O'Grady hadn't time to clean the fire- 
place to-day," she said. " She'll do it to-morrow. 
I've had the walls brushed down. Well," she next 
said regretfully, " I mustn't disturb you. Let me 
know if you want anything." 

She got as far as the door, then she burst out 



" Look at what the blackguards are doing to 
the Lord Mayor of Cork ! What do you think now 
of Lloyd George and Hamar Greenwood and their 
lie factory, starving all those splendid young Irish- 
men to death in Brixton and in Cork ? What must 
decent Englishmen think ? " 

I quailed under her eye. 

" It's deliberate, cold-blooded murder. I was a 
loyalist before 1916. The murder of those splendid 
young fellows by the British Government after the 
rebellion caused a thrill of horror through the 
whole country. Why can't England leave Ireland 
alone ? " 

" It's a long story," said Himself. 

44 A long story ! It's shameful ! And all the 
talk of the rights of small nations." She quieted 
a little, and said, " We must have some little talks 
in the evening. I'll get Father Murphy to come 
round. He's just had Father O'Hara from Cork 
staying with him, and he'll be able to give us a 
little of the truth of what's going on. Now I must 
say good-bye." 

This time Mrs. Slaney was as good as her word. 
I looked round, and found Himself in a trance. 

" I wish the doors would lock," I said bleakly. 
" Mrs. O'Grady tells me the house is full. I hate 
the idea of people being able to come in and 
out as they please. Especially when we're in 

" No one will hurt you." 

" I hate the feeling that they can prowl in 


and out. It's not much to ask that the doors are 
fixed up." 

There was a timid knock. "ome in," I said. 

A spikey little girl of fourteen or fifteen came in. 

" Who are you ? " 

44 Please, mum, I'm Polly, the housemaid. 
Mrs. O'Grady wants to know if you want your 
dinner at half seven." 

" Yes, Polly." 

" Well, it's half six now, and it's done, and 
Mrs. O'Grady wants to know what she'll do 
with it." 

" Let it go for to-night," said Himself. 

" Bring it in now. But do remember half -past 
seven in future." 

" We'll go for a long walk afterwards," said 
Himself, trying to cheer me up. " It looks rather 
interesting along the canal." 

We moved mournfully towards the room where 
our meals were to be served. 

" You'll have all you want," Mrs. O'Grady said, 
cheerfully dusting a small plate with her apron. 
' 4 The little bell's lost, but you may call from the 
top of the stairs." 

" It's very early for dinner," I said severely. 

Mrs. O'Grady sniffed. 44 It's this way," she 
said. 4i That girl's bad with her feet. It comes 
from running up and down all day for the woman 
upstairs and wearing fashionable boots. I sez 
to her, it do be to bed you should be going, 
and it is the lady who has just moved into the 


drawing-room flat is the grand lady, and will not 
be after keeping you.' ' 

" She should stay away until she's better," 1 
said decidedly. 

"It'd be a charity," declared Mrs. O'Grady, 
earnestly, but with no sincerity. " But these 
stairs do be terrible on my legs." 

She threw up her hands and withdrew. 

Himself was gazing into the soup like Melisande. 
I, being a philosopher, started on mine at once. 



HIMSELF and I had got a grip of Dublin at the 
end of a week by using a map and doing a lot of 

All this time Mrs. Slaney was becoming more 
friendly. She swallowed rebuffs as an ostrich 
swallows stones. 

We began to know by sight the people in the 
neighbourhood. A number of officers lived in one 
of the houses. Sometimes they were in uniform, 
and sometimes in mufti. They went out at night 
very late, returning during or after curfew as they 
felt inclined. Usually a car called for them, driven 
by a soldier, and it brought them back again with 
a great clatter, when the street was doing its best 
to sleep. These men carried guns in their pockets. 

" Those men are spies," Mrs. Slaney said, 
coming in to borrow a little butter. " Look at 
them going out in mufti. Do they think our 
people are fools ? Absurd ! The Government lets 
them go about like that, and expects them to get 

44 They must get information, I suppose," I 



said. " After all, if they were no good they wouldn't 
be kept on." 

She threw up her hands. 

" The Government pours out money like 
water ! " 

The men in this particular house fascinated me. 
They came and went so often it seemed as if they 
never slept. There was one individual I found 
more absorbing than the others. He was about 
forty, tall and immaculate. His ties and socks 
were wonderful, his shoes the most beautiful suede, 
his collar fitted as no other collar I have seen fitted 
a man, and I am sure he wore stays. On his head 
was a bowler at an extreme angle. He looked a 
" wrong un," the sort of person you would not 
introduce to your daughter. He usually made a 
first sortie about eleven, and tottered towards the 
Shel bourne for a cocktail. 

Dublin intrigued me. The people are grubby 
and intellectual, and crafty and philosophic, and 
sublime and material all at the same time. The 
fat beggars whine their piteous stories at every 
corner, and the children tell the tale as glibly as 
the mothers. Each person is more droll than the 
next, and nobody really believes anybody else. 

Every day provided a new excitement. I have 
forgotten half of them now ; but one I remember 
clearly. It happened during one of my first walks. 

I was coming home across one of the bridges 
over the canal on the south side of the city. Men, 
women, and children were peering over into the 


water, and I peered too. All I saw were four big, 
important policemen, who seemed to be guarding 
the canal. 

Then, in the middle of the canal, I discovered a 
large oil drum floating with the Sinn Fein flag on 
top. Below the flag was a placard " Spies and 
Informers, beware." 

While I was still gaping, as was everybody else, 
a lorry load of troops, with tin hats and rifles, 
rattled up. 

" This is thrilling ! " I exclaimed. 

At every window was a head, at most t\\o, in 
some there were half a dozen heads, and the 
crowd, which had fallen back before the troops, 
drifted as near as it dared. 

The capture of the bridge and the bank of the 
canal was the matter of moments, and then there 
was an armistice while two officers, displaying many 
ribbons, discussed the next stage of the attack. 

" Certain to be mined," I heard one declare. 
" What would be the sense of the Shinners putting 
a thing like that there if it wasn't ? " 

" There may be a dead body attached. Some 
poor devil gone west," answered the other. He 
scratched his head. " Let's put a shot into it to 
make sure." 

" Blow the bally canal to bits, what ? " declared 
the first man, gaily. Then he became depressed. 

" There must be a catch in it," declared the 
second man. " Some one '11 have to go out and see 
to it. Where the devil's a boat ? " 


k; There's a boat the other side," said a police- 
man, heavily. 

" Bring her across, what ! " cried the officer. 

The policeman suddenly lost all joy in the day ; 
but he got the boat. He gave it over to the officers, 
who clambered in. 

Some girls giggled. 

The senior of the officers reached out his hand 
and carefully drew the oil drum towards him. He 
fell upon the notice and destroyed it, and captured 
the Sinn Fein flag. 

" Empty ! " he said, as he cleared the drum 
from its moorings and they lifted it into the boat. 

"It'll be full next time," I couldn't help 

Everybody looked at me with one accord as if 
I had done it. I started to depart, and the good 
example set the soldiers scrambling into the lorry, 
the policemen stalking off on their beat, and the 
crowd drifting on its way. 

Such adventures as this might be met with at 
any street corner. 

Himself speaks. 

Everywhere there were signs of the times. All 
day long the military lorries rumbled about the 
city great brutal concerns crowded with armed 
soldiers in tin hats, so that they looked like mouths 
bristling with teeth. And faster than they rolled 
the armoured cars like little forts on wheels. And 
faster still and more furious, lighter lorries choked 
with Auxiliary police and Black-and-Tans. 



At any hour of the day one might walk on top 
of a raid, though night was the more chosen time 
for such things. There was generally a small 
crowd of errand boys, beggars, and telegraph boys, 
and other people with nothing important on hand, 
kept at rifle's length by a line of Tommies drawn 
across the streets ; and a hundred yards beyond 
was the fatal house with lorries like empty mouths 
before it the teeth having got out and gone 
inside. These raids had a fascination for the passer- 
by, although, nine cases out of ten, nothing was 
to be seen, and the tenth time there was a chance 
of being shot, as some one would try and escape, 
or something would happen inside the house. 

There would be days of special military activity, 
when the bridges over the canals were held up, 
and motorists had their cars searched for arms and 
documents, and drivers their carts. At nights, 
when dark fell and the cold crept through the city, 
there came occasional cracking shots, which were 
more frequent as the weeks went on. 

Every morning a flaring poster of the Freeman's 
Journal, the most violent organ of the National 
Press, shouted out some fresh Government atrocity. 
Yes, signs of the times everywhere, and most 
eloquent where least was said, as in the public 
places where never a word of politics was spoken. 

But for a day the humblest person could get 
out of it all. On Howth Head he could wander in 
solitude. Up Killiney Hill he could climb and 
feast his eyes on peace. 


One afternoon, in the lounge of the Shelbourne 
Hotel, we were introduced to our acquaintance of 
the wonderful waistcoats and socks. His clothes 
were still as perfectly put on ; but he seemed less 
at his ease than usual. Whenever some one came 
in, he pivoted round, turning the whole of his 
body in the movement, and every now and then 
he beat his forehead with a beautiful silk handker- 

" Oh, I'm rocky to-day, very rocky," he 
declared, swallowing the last of the whiskey. 
" It's a terrible place for a man to find himself in. 
I was in uniform the other day, on the step out 
there, trying to get inside. Suddenly a dear old 
lady trotted up to me and grasped me by the hand. 
' Let me thank you,' she said, c thank you in the 
name of all the loyal women of Ireland, for coming 
over here to defend us from those murderous Sinn 
Feiners.' ' Yes, madam, that's all very well, 
that's all very nice,' I answered, trying to get her 
to let go of my hand ; ' but if I don't get inside 
there with this uniform on there'll be a bit of day- 
light let into me.' ' He mopped his brow, and 
exclaimed, " Oh, my God, my God ! " 

" Would you sooner deal with the women on 
the other side ? " I asked. 

"Oh no ; oh, not at all. Oh, nothing like 
that about me. I know the other sort, too well I 
know them. You meet 'em at the top of the 
landing when you and your merry men dash into 
a house full of beans. Oh, I know the sort. They'd 


bite a man in the tonsils before he had his collar 
on in the morning." 

44 D'you raid houses ? " 

44 That's me. That's me in the cold dark night. 
That's unfortunately me. I'm always getting 
myself into some trouble or other. As soon as I've 
done with one stunt I say, Never again. But I get 
rested ; I get full of beans ; I grow full of joy. 
On a fatal day, six months ago, I met a pal. 4 What 
are you doin', old bean ? ' he said. * Come to 
Ireland. Come and chase Shinners. Wonderful 
people, Shinners. All believe in the soap boycott. 
It's money for nothing.' 

" Money for nothing ! I felt full of joy. And 
here I am up all night and all day, and feeling like 

44 As bad as that ? " 

44 Oh, terrible ! Out every night, out all night 
long, hail and rain and frost. Rushing up stairs, 
expecting a bullet on every landing. Tearing into 
terrible slums where men and women and children 
all sleep in the same bed, and you come away with 
the itch, and where you have to crawl about with 
your hand to your nose looking for patriots. And 
they told me it was money for nothing. And then, 
in the small hours, you stagger back to bed and 
find an Irish patriot leaning against the door, and 
you dodge by with your gun under your coat 
pointing at him, and he swings about with his gun 
under his coat, and neither of you has the nerve 
to shoot the other, Oh, it's money for nothing. 


and the life fills a man full of joy ! " He beat his 
mouth with his handkerchief, and muttered, " My 
God, my God, my God ! " 

" Poor man," said my wife. 

He pivoted round. " And the Castle people 
expect such wonderful things. Last night, oh, 
last night I " 

" What happened last night ? " 

" Last night they said to me, ' Old bean, just 
paddle down to Irishtown and watch a house there 
for half an hour. Watch it from ten to ten-thirty, 
and see if anything happens. We think it's a 
meeting-place. Just watch for half an hour. It's 
quite simple. Money for nothing ! ' 

"Terrible place, Irishtown. Have you been 
there ? Then don't. Home of dock labourers and 
navvies. I found my house, and in two minutes a 
patriot who believed in the soap boycott came 
and breathed in my face. And in five minutes a 
dear old lady came and looked at me as if she 
wanted to bite me in the tonsils. I began to feel 
hot and bothered. It was cold, cold, cold, and there 
was one lamp, which I seemed to be getting under 
all the time. In ten minutes I was feeling like 
death. Then, as the dear old bean at the Castle 
suggested, something did happen. All the doors in 
Irishtown opened at the same moment, and people 
came rushing out. And one man shouted, in a 
terrible voice, 4 There he goes, the C.I.D. ! J 

" The C.I.D. did go. Oh yes, the C.I.D. went. 
I butted into an old beggar lady, and knocked 


spinning. I rushed down one street and up the 
next, and bowled over two or three children, and 
a dear old girl who was trotting out of church full 
of beans at having saved her soul. I trod on a 
blind man and his dog, and the dog bit the blind 
man, and all the other dogs barked, and all the 
boys whistled, and the married women hitched up 
their stockings, and the old men and the cripples 
joined in the chase, shouting, 'There goes the 
C.I.D.' And if I couldn't have heard 'em, I 
could have smelt they were after me. 

" And then I began to get a stitch, a terrible 
stitch, and every yard I went it got worse. Money 
for nothing ! Yes ! What ? I couldn't go another 
yard, and I pulled out my gun and came about 
under a lamp and waved it at them. 

" It was money for nothing the first time since 
I came over. They pulled up like a tide coming 
against a wall the old girls, and the boys, and the 
cripples, and the dogs, all treading on one another's 
toes. And while I waved I tried to get rid of my 
damned stitch. ' Now you stop where you are,' I 
said, giving my gun a final shake, ' or you'll find 
it the worse for you ! ' And round I went, and 
started to run again. And all the dogs barked, and 
all the beggars picked up their crutches, and all 
the married women hitched their garters, and came 
after me again. And I didn't know where I'd got, 
and I charged over a few more blind men, and I 
got the damned stitch again, and I stopped and 
shook my gun at 'em, and we all lined up again, 


and then we started off once more. And then, 
when the stitch was killing me, a tram came by, 
and I made a running jump on to the step, and 
dug my gun into the conductor's ribs. ' No funny 
business with the bell,' I said. ' You let her rip.' 

" And I waved my gun all round the tram, and 
everybody tried to get off at once, and two or three 
dear old ladies spread themselves on the floor, and 
I said to one, ' Yes, madam, that's very nice, and 
we'll bring you to at the other end ; but we're 
letting this old tram rip just now.' " 

He sank back in his seat, mopping his forehead 
with his handkerchief, muttering, " Money for 
nothing ! " Then he saw the clock, and beat his 
mouth with his handkerchief, and cried, " My 
God, my God, my God ! I was due somewhere 
else half an hour ago." and seized his hat and 
stick and hurried through the swing doors of the 
Shelbourne into the street. 

We found Dublin more interesting every day. 



DURING our first months, September, October, and 
November, Ireland passed into a state of war. The 
country had been going there step by step, by way 
of raid and arrest on the one hand, and hedge and 
ditch shooting on the other ; but the walk turned 
to a run and the run to a slide when the system of 
reprisals began. As summer turned into autumn, 
and autumn wore out, the hate and terror engen- 
dered by the deeds of either side were to beget the 
shameful happenings of the winter, so that Ireland, 
like a woman frightened during her time, produced 
a monster when her hour came. 

The three months saw the mellow sunshine of 
an Indian summer exchanged for dreary autumn 
skies, saw the tender mauves and lavenders of the 
flowers in Phoenix Park flowers which for delicacy 
of hue I have not seen exceeded in any part of the 
world decay and change for hardier blooms ; 
witnessed the soft starlight nights become the early 
evenings and the discourteous hours when, through 
the curfew at this time from twelve to three 
wind swept the desolate streets. The months 



witnessed the fear, which had been gathering over 
the land in clouds, come down upon the country in 

To what page shall one turn in the book of 
history, on what paragraph shall one put a finger 
and say " Here was the beginning ! Here ended 
Ireland's golden age." 

Was it fifty years ago, was it a hundred years 
ago, was the beginning made when Strongbow and 
his knights crossed the Irish Sea ? Centuries 
before an English foot had trodden Irish soil, Irish 
kings had been perishing as soon as the crown was 
settled on their brows. Then who shall place a 
finger upon any page ? There is no place ; there 
was no clean cut beginning. 

Never have the gods been kind enough to Ireland 
to give her a united national opinion, which might 
have knit her together ; nor has Ireland succeeded 
in absorbing her successive waves of invaders and 
making them one people. The Celt with his hoary 
tradition passes through the mists of long ago, 
driving westward before him the Firbolg, the 
inarticulate aboriginal of the country. In turn 
follow other more masculine peoples, sweeping after 
the Celt, sweeping to the west and the south the 
melancholy Celt with his age-long memory. 

You must go south and west to find the Celt, and 
to-day you are not likely to find him pure anywhere. 
But his mark is in many places. This Celtic blood, 
when blended with other more masculine bloods, 
makes a rich mixture. 


As a result Ireland has become a house with 
three tenants who are constantly calling upon the 
landlord the first to tell him that he requires no 
repairs to the house and is willing for it to be left 
as it is ; the second declaring that the house is in 
sad disrepair and that something must be done ; 
the third announcing he will have nothing more to 
do with such a shameful landlord. Thus the 
Unionists, the Nationalists, and the Republicans. 

The landlord all this while, hearing several 
opinions and pleading inability to distinguish the 
right one, does what is easiest and suits him best, 
and leaves things as they are. It is small excuse 
that Britain should have been so tardy with justice ; 
but it is probable that she would have been swifter 
righting Ireland's wrongs had she heard a united 
voice in place of many. 

The illustration of landlord and tenant suits 
better than any other ; but it smacks unpleasantly 
of possessor and possessed. Let us be clear. The 
landlord of Ireland is that single people made out 
of the four separate peoples of the British Isles. 

Let us turn to a more profitable question. 
When were the beginnings of Sinn Fein ? 

Who shall say so late in the day what might 
have checked the growth of this movement ? May 
Sinn Fein have been a distemper which, contracted, 
must be gone through with ? May it have been 
something altogether different, a coming to rebirth 
of a people, as the nearly drowned man is brought 
back to life with pain and tears ? Is it that the 


gods decide such and such a thing shall befall and 
determine when it shall take place ? The Gaelic 
League went before Sinn Fein like John of old. 
" After me shall come another mightier than I." 
It is sufficient that the movement had a beginning, 
and like an avalanche gained way as it moved. 

First, in 1893, the language movement and talk 
of a Celtic revival. A Dublin professor becomes 
inspired, and disciples gather about him to master 
an antique tongue. Dr. Douglas Hyde, in every- 
day life a pleasant sociable man, is touched with 
the geist when he pleads for the Gaelic tongue. 
The movement grows, pen and pencil are snatched 
up, and the remotest country-side is explored for 
folklore and fairy tales. There arrives the Celtic 
illuminator with his paintbrush and his parch- 
ment, and the Celtic jeweller, hammering out his 
brooches old fashioned a thousand years ago. 
The prophets awaken the seers of visions, the 
dreamers of dreams. One dreams of the avatar 
that is to come, and sees a phantom drummer 
drumming about the land. A second, reading a 
telegram of the Russo-Japanese war, receives the 
intuition that Japan is the masculine pole of the 
earth and Ireland is the feminine pole, and that 
some mystic union of the two peoples will bring 
order into disorder. A third, on Howth Hill, sees 
bloody giant figures moving across the sky. A 
fourth, on the top of a tram, sees letters of fire in 
the heavens. 

The national fire burning more brightly and 


more steadily. All the while Arthur Griffith's 
paper, The United Irishman, calling to the 
nation to come together. 

Then, about 1906, the birth of Sinn Fein, in 
those days not a thing of the sword ; but a mild 
and respectable movement claiming Ireland's right 
to develop along her own lines to nationhood. 
Half a dozen years and this movement making 
little headway, then 1914, Ulster thwarting Home 
Rule and the Citizen Army getting itself together ; 
next 1916 and the Easter Week rising. A thousand 
romantic men strike at Britain in her extremity and 
rouse her at last. 

Was that week which followed the Easter rising 
the time when a pitiless policy might have brought 
this movement to an end ? The general who 
could ably have struck the blow was in Ireland at 
the time. The movement was not yet a national 
matter. A thousand men had stood together in 
what they believed was a splendid burst of chivalry ; 
but the nation was still impatient of them, thought 
them a little ridiculous. A hammer was at hand 
to be used. Had the blow fallen, would this live 
thing called Sinn Fein have been killed outright ? 

The hammer did not fall ; it gave a tap or two. 
Sixteen men were executed, and numerous restric- 
tions followed ; restrictions which did not affect 
considerably the law-abiding citizen, but were 
intended to fetter the growth of a distinctively 
national spirit. Once again Britain was loth to 
cripple, discovering a quality for which her enemies 


refuse her credit ; but for which she may receive 
credit some day when national bitternesses have 
gone out of fashion. She tapped here, she tapped 
there ; and she succeeded in rousing to a renewed 
courage that live thing, Sinn Fein. 

Two years of repression, and the Irish Re- 
publican Party coming to life again like the Phoenix 
under the flag of Sinn Fein. Here a policeman shot, 
there a house burned. The British Government 
replying with a new repressive measure. Other 
houses levelled, and in answer sterner repressive 
measures ; other policemen murdered, and still 
sterner repressive measures. So the descent into war. 
It is understandable that the youth of Ireland, 
represented by the Irish Republican Army and the 
Cumann na mBan, should throw in their lot with 
a movement which had a gentle beginning as a 
Celtic revival. First of all the great European war 
had passed most of Ireland by ; and the spirit of 
combat and sacrifice, which had bred giants on the 
Continent, must have trailed the fringe of its 
garments into all corners of the British Isles. There 
was the great Capital and Labour unrest, which 
must have rippled across the Irish Sea in course of 
time. The Irish peasant boy, with his plough and 
his pigs as a horizon, with America as an ultimate 
limit of vision, was in a state to welcome any change 
in the procession of his days ; and along comes the 
patriot with his splendid story. 

The unprejudiced person admits that the 
British Government passed by first challenges and 


insults, and in the beginning the task of Irish 
Volunteer was more exhilarating than onerous. It 
presented itself to the gaping ploughboy as a great 
adventure at little cost. Here was opportunity to 
defy authority, to expand into something more 
eloquent than a cowherd. So a beginning was 

But in time the duties of a volunteer spelt more 
than an inspiring game. They called ever and anon 
for a man's whole courage. But there was come 
a new thing to take the place of the bait of splendour 
which had sufficed in the beginning. The flame of 
a national being had burst alight. The prize of 
sacrifice for an ideal was now offered to the dazzled 
feeder of swine. 

This burst of nationalism, which had been 
lighted and fanned quite falsely by the first enthu- 
siasts, penetrated from the cities to the villages ; 
and the laggard to join the I.R.A. became inspired 
by example. Thus the army swelled its ranks, 
thus the national spirit was fanned as if by a 
bellows. And a third agent went to work in 
intimidation. The village lout who hesitated to 
enlist found it the worse for him. That youths 
joined the I.R.A. in haste to repent at leisure is 
borne out by orders issued by Republican authorities 
concerning deserters. But every wide movement 
of necessity gathers a certain scum, and there is no 
denying this national awakening was to turn many 
a village clown into a staunch soldier of the Irish 


A fact to be examined at this point is the 
surprising absence of people of breeding in the 
ranks of Sinn Fein. The rank and file of the move- 
ment was drawn from the working classes, while 
the leaders for the most part belonged to the lower 
middle classes. It would seem as if the Sinn Fein 
movement was a peculiar national expression of 
the world- wide conflict between servant and master. 
Europe as a whole, the world indeed, was in the 
throes of the Capital versus Labour question, and 
the Sinn Fein movement was Ireland's personal 
expression of the revolt of the humble person 
against authority. 

There was, of course, a sprinkling of gentry in 
the movement. 

The Dublin universities illustrated how opinion 
and class went together. The students of Trinity 
as a rule are gentlemen of birth, and as a body they 
were loyal to the Crown ; the students of the 
National University, who are drawn from the middle 
classes, to a man declared for Sinn Fein. 

I have tried to be free of prejudice as I tramped 
the Dublin streets, yet I say out of my heart if one 
met a prosperous person, a spruce person, such 
person, nine times out of ten, proved a loyalist. 

After a month in Ireland I could pick out the 
Irish Volunteer. He wore a dirty velour hat, a 
shabby raincoat, and generally had his hands in his 
pockets. There was a youthful, cheeky type, 
belonging to the National University, and there was 
a dirtier, rather more prepossessing type, drawn 


from the errand boy and working classes. There 
was a better type still, which came from the 

One had only to notice the Republican Volunteer 
rubbing shoulders in the street with the British 
officer, to comprehend these people belonged to 
two poles, which could never meet. Barriers of 
class, education, and standards were between them 
it was Capital and Labour over again. The 
British officer, from his stupendous height, regarded 
the Sinn Feiner through the big end of the telescope, 
classed all connected with Sinn Fein as " Shinners " 
and valued them as such. 

The Irish struggle did not develop along the 
lines of an ordinary war. It was not the late 
European war on a smaller scale. It was the case 
of an immensely powerful man fighting the shadow 
of a man. 

The Republican Army had no uniform, or more 
correctly found it impolitic to wear uniform, and 
the volunteers were on and off active service as a 
man puts on and off a coat according to the change 
in weather. Your butcher, your baker, the man 
who cleaned your boots might be an Irish Volunteer, 
and when orders came, and opportunity, might 
make an end of you. A franc-tireur I understand 
this type of soldier to be ; but in reality the I.R.A. 
had many of the strengths and weaknesses of a 
numerous and hastily built up secret service. 

The British Government had to contend with 
another difficulty it could not make a straight 


ahead attack, it could not level every house in a 
row. The Government had the power to do this ; 
but not the opportunity. They were fighting only 
the shadow of a man. In every row half the houses 
might be friendly ones, and who could say which 
were which ? For it was only in the winter of 
1920-21 that the nation became welded, and that 
one could count on most people in the street being 
followers of Sinn Fein. 

On the one point of uniform the British Govern- 
ment was able to stigmatise the Irish Volunteers 
as murderers, and this stand it took up, applying 
the phrase " murder gang " to them. The Irish 
Volunteers had to pay the penalty of being termed 
murderers, of being hanged as murderers when 
caught red-handed instead of getting the treatment 
of prisoners of war ; but more than balancing these 
disadvantages was the boon of becoming this 
shadowy foe, which could not be brought to bay. 

Unless the country was flooded with troops and 
artillery and such a plan had many difficulties 
in the peculiar circumstances the affair was likely 
to be long drawn out. A long-drawn-out campaign 
was all to the advantage of Sinn Fein. In the 
first place the world must gradually come to notice 
the Irish resistance, and the " murder gang " cry 
of the British Government would hardly ring true 
if operations were drawn out to the length of a war. 
Again, time was to the advantage of Sinn Fein in 
recruiting its strength. As, month after month, 
raid and arrest went on, and the cities and country 


places were patrolled by troops not of the country, 
and wrongs and injustices followed one upon another 
wrong houses were raided, wrong arrests were 
made friend after friend, neutral after neutral 
became foe. The impartial observer could see the 
nation laid on an anvil as it were and welded into a 
blade of defence. 

The shoot-and-run murders continued in the 
country places, from the country murder found its 
way into the cities ; and the phantom enemy 
continued to move round and about but would not 
come into the open. I heard an exasperated 
soldier cry out, " Let us give them ten days to get 
uniform and then declare war properly. Let us 
treat every man taken in uniform as a prisoner of 
war, and let us shoot out of hand every armed 
man caught out of uniform. Their war, as they 
call it, will be over in a week." 

There was truth in this. As a fighting machine 
the I.R.A. was outnumbered and so ill equipped 
that had pitched battles taken place, it would not 
have existed on the seventh day. Consequently 
the disadvantages of no uniform were far outweighed 
by the advantages. 

I have no doubt the Republican leaders weighed 
up things and decided on the course of action they 
considered most profitable, and though for pro- 
paganda purposes an outcry was made when a 
volunteer, caught red-handed, was hanged, yet I 
believe the Irish leaders saw the logic of this, and 
looked upon the event as one of the misfortunes 


of war. I have always found the leaders to take a 
more professional view of things and to be less 
emotional than the follower on the skirts of the 

As matters went from bad to worse the British 
Government proceeded to wage the war in the only 
way that was possible. In the beginning, increasing 
difficulties had been met by arming the established 
police, and by drafting more troops into the 
country. The police of the cities took to carrying 
revolvers on duty ; but these very arms were to 
prove a source of danger. One gun or ten guns 
were equally useless to a man standing up all day 
as a target. What use are arms to a man when any 
person in a crowd may step up to him and shoot 
him ? The man who shoots first lives longest in 
this type of struggle. 

The I.R.A. was, on the whole, systematic in its 
plan of aggression. It dealt with its avowed enemies 
and did not meddle with those who left it alone. 
It regarded such people as the Dublin Metropolitan 
Police as passive rather than active enemies, until 
the constables came on duty armed. 

The police perceived their new danger and 
presently petitioned the authorities to relieve them 
of their arms, which petition was granted. 

The city police did not show up in a courageous 
light ; but undoubtedly their position was a diffi- 
cult one. A certain sympathy for their own 
countrymen may have been at work ; but in the 
main the negative attitude they adopted came from 


an appreciation of the British Government's 
inability to protect them. 

The situation during the winter of 1920-21 was 
a striking illustration of the manner in which a small 
organised body can intimidate a far larger dis- 
organised body. The fear created in the country 
by this struggle below the surface was incredible ; 
the boldest seemed numbed. A man might have 
been murdered in broad day in the Dublin streets, 
and not a policeman have lifted a finger. The 
uniformed men on point duty would have gone on 
waving the traffic this way and that. 

The attitude of the police was reasonable. 
While they stayed neutral they were safe ; as soon 
as they interfered they became marked men. And 
once they were marked men they stood up in the 
streets as a target until somebody stepped out of 
the crowd and shot them dead. 

A similar spell had fallen upon the civilian 
population. Most people desired nothing better 
than to be let go about their business in peace. 
They might have loyalist sympathies, they might 
have Sinn Fein sympathies ; they kept their 
sympathies to themselves and such friends as they 
were sure of. 

And nobody was sure of anybody. 

Thus it was the British Government could get 
no support in Ireland. 

The following illustrates the condition of 

A stone flew through a Dublin shop window, and 


the shopkeeper came running out and demanded 
what the stone thrower meant. The man retorted he 
had thrown the stone because he felt like it, that 
he was a Sinn Feiner, and he defied the shopkeeper 
to touch him. He demanded for his services a 
cigarette, which he was given. A policeman on 
point duty was close by, a crowd was looking on, 
and nobody moved in the matter. The shopkeeper 
returned to his shop. The stone thrower was 
unlikely to have been an Irish Volunteer, probably 
he was a hooligan ; but the announcement was 
sufficient to place everybody under a spell. 

As matters went from bad to worse the British 
Government found it necessary to supplement the 
troops in the country, and an auxiliary body of 
police was recruited to reinforce the country police, 
who were dotted about in isolated barracks. The 
recruits, many of whom were Irishmen and ex- 
service men, wore black uniforms and tan bandoliers 
and so earned the name of Black-and-Tans. They 
were armed with rifles, they rode in lorries, and 
they swept about the roads at breakneck speed. 

In addition to the Black-and-Tans, the Govern- 
ment recruited a second auxiliary police force, 
which came to be known as the Auxiliary Cadets. 
The recruits were all ex-officers and wore a most 
dashing uniform, which culminated in a Balmoral 
bonnet perched at a jaunty angle. These people 
were also armed with rifles, and rode in lorries. 
They were more in evidence in the cities than the 


These reinforcements were to assist the search 
for active members of the I.R.A. and to raid 
suspected houses for arms and documents. But 
before you can arrest your man it is necessary to 
know his whereabouts and if he be guilty or not. 
This work could not be undertaken by such military 
and police forces as were in commission, and the 
British Government met the situation by extending 
the operations of the secret service. The Sinn 
Fein organisation was one gigantic secret service, 
and only another secret service could cope with it. 

This strange situation of an immensely powerful 
man fighting the shadow of a man continued. 
Justice was ready with the prison and the hangman ; 
but there was no murderer for the scaffold. But 
the secret service was bringing in all the time little 
bits of information that Paddy Murphy was 
responsible for this, that Denny Burke had done 
that. It was useless to arrest Paddy or Denny as 
there was no concrete proof, for no witness would 
come forward because of intimidation or out of 
sympathy, and until the courts martial sat, should 
a man be brought to trial, no civil jury would 
convict for like reasons. 

The police were scattered through the country- 
side in isolated barracks. In course of time these 
barracks were roughly fortified with barbed wire 
and sandbags. In the undisturbed districts as 
often as not the police found themselves cut off 
from social amenities through the villagers regarding 
them with suspicion and fearing to hold comrmmi- 


cation with them lest they fell under suspicion of 
being sympathisers and informers. The police 
waited month after month, never venturing far 
from barracks, in a state of siege by an invisible 

In the disturbed areas the life of the Crown 
forces was unbearable. Not a man, woman, or 
child but had been taught to look on them with 
contempt and hatred. They found themselves 
picked off as opportunity availed, and they were 
powerless to say whose hand had pulled the trigger, 
thov^h probably every villager knew, and knew the 
road the gunman had taken. 

They were out in all weathers patrolling the 
roads and scouring the country for the phantom 
army, which never materialised, though it left 
frequent marks of its presence in trenches dug at 
the turn of roads, in trees felled across the path, 
and in walls torn down for an obstruction. Indeed, 
at any hour, at any favourable spot, it might 
materialise, round a sudden corner, over the 
shoulder of a hill, from some wooded height above 
the road. A volley of shots would pour down, and 
the gunmen would make away across country, of 
which they knew every inch of ground. The 
nerves of the police must have been stretched to 
the breaking point during those patrols, so that 
hate was breeding in them like maggots in meat. 

The recognised policy of the I.R.A. was to 
harass the Government forces continuously ; 
orders were issued to that effect, and in cases of 


isolated barracks it was the practice to fire occasional 
shots at the windows night after night with the 
idea of keeping the inmates on the qui vive for an 
attack, which was never to take place. Occasionally, 
if sufficient volunteers were in the neighbourhood, 
a barracks would be attacked, the attackers bringing 
with them the materials for setting the place on 
fire, and so forcing the garrison to capitulate. 
When it is borne in mind that the attackers 
frequently arrived in force, it is strange they met 
so seldom with success ; but the hit and run policy 
must have been on the whole demoralising to the 
volunteers. I do not think, when their number 
and equipment are taken into account, any other 
policy could have been adopted, nor do I wish to 
suggest that the volunteers had a lesser share of 
courage than other men. They are part of the 
British nation, and many fine soldiers have come 
from Ireland. But when a soldier goes to battle 
in the belief that in nine chances out of ten he will 
come away without a scratch, in fact that all he 
will be asked to do will be to fire one or two shots 
and then away, he gets that sense of safety before 
all which is likely to be fatal to his daring. 

The phantom enemy continued to fail to 
materialise ; but little by little Government agents, 
swimming up and down in the sea of Sinn Fein, 
found out who were the responsible Republican 
leaders in their districts, captured documents 
gave further evidence, and the police came to know 
in time whether the butcher standing politely 


behind his counter was always a butcher ; whether 
the baker gave up kneading bread on occasion and 
produced a gun from under the floor, and so on. 
They came to know whether the grocer held 
meetings at the back of his shop after the shutters 
were up. 

Then one day some constable in most cases a 
marked man who had been shifted from another 
part of the country strolling through the village 
to buy a stick of tobacco, would get fired on by 
half a dozen men round a corner. The chances 
were the assassins belonged to another district, as 
it was a policy to send volunteers to work in a 
district where they were not known. The men who 
fired the shots were gone when the police arrived 
to their murdered comrade ; but the butcher, the 
baker, and the grocer were behind their counters 
like worthy tradesmen. These very men, guiltless 
of this crime, had possibly done similar work in 
another neighbourhood ; it was known they were 
members of the detested phantom army. The 
police, filled with hate, fear, and worn out with 
weeks of vigil, turned upon these people and their 
shops for their just revenge. 

Up went the town. 

These were the circumstances which brought 
about the reprisals. 



SEPTEMBER wore out ; October wore out ; Novem- 
ber arrived. The long, unkind evenings of those 
months seemed a forcing ground for the terror, 
which was going about like a disease that one 
person after another catches. The private citizen, 
who asked only for peace, seemed to pass to and 
fro looking neither to right nor left, as if he feared 
above anything else to stir the curiosity of some 
partisan of the British Government or of Sinn 

Some evening walks I took through the chilly 
streets, seeing the lights and the shining mud, 
hearing the clamour of the paper boys shouting of 
other policemen shot, of other homes gone up 
in flames, have fixed those days for ever in my 

And still the shaking, groaning lorries, crammed 
with troops, rumbled round the corners, and still 
the lighter flying police cars fled up one street and 
down another. In alleyway and shadowy doorway 
stood waiting figures to be seen by him with eyes 
pickets posted to give the alarm to the meeting 
not far away ; and in the bars and the coffee- 



houses the man with eyes saw the messages passed, 
and might occasionally hear passwords exchanged. 

My French barber says one day, as his razor 
wanders round my Adam's apple, " I go. Zees 
country is no good to me." 

" What's up ? " I ask, speaking like a ven- 

"I go out zees morning. I go by Merrion 
Square, arid a young man come up to me and look 
into my face, and he say, ' Life is sweet.' ' It 
ees,' I sez, and turn round and come back home. 
He have mistook me for some one else. I take no 
more reesks. I stay here with ze door locked until 
I can sell ze beesness." 

An acquaintance of mine is rung up on the 
telephone. " Who's there ? " he asks. 

" Irish Republican Army Headquarters speak- 
ing. You have been observed going about with 
Captain Jones. This acquaintance must cease." 

" Captain Jones is " 

" The conversation is closed." 

Captain Jones wonders why he has lost a friend. 

Some one else receives with his breakfast egg the 
following warning. " You are ordered by the 
Republican Authorities to leave the country 
within thirty-six hours. If this order is not com- 
plied with, you will be suitably dealt with. By 
Order. I.R.A." 

But threat and intimidation were not the privi- 
lege of one faction. The following reminder was 
received by a number of the members of Dail 


Eireann, the Republican Parliament, which met 
when it could in secret session 

" An eye for an eye, 
A tooth for a tooth, 
Therefore a life for a life." 

The worthy burghers of Drogheda were startled 
one morning by the following poster 

" Drogheda, Beware ! 

"If in the vicinity a policeman is shot, five of 
the leading Sinn Feiners will be shot. It is not 
coercion. It is an eye for an eye. We are not 
' drink maddened savages ' as we have been des- 
cribed in the Dublin rags. We are not out for loot. 
We are inoffensive to women. We are as humane 
as other Christians, but we have restrained our- 
selves too long. Are we to lie down while our 
comrades are shot by the cornerboys and ragga- 
muffins of Ireland ? We say, ' never,' and all the 
inquiries in the world will not stop our desire of 
revenge. Stop the shooting of the police, or we 
will lay low every house that smells Sinn Fein, and 
remember Balbriggan. 

" (By Order) BLACK-AND-TANS." 

These shorter days of sharper winds I would 
cut across Stephen's Green to the top of Grafton 
Street, finding the gardens a more desolate place 
than on the brilliant August morning I had strolled 
in them first. One's travels seldom took one into 
the arms of the Sinn Fein leaders, who were " on 
the run," and moved about as opportunity allowed, 
sleeping nightly in different houses ; but one did 
meet prominent women now and then, for the 


British Government, fatherly and sentimental in 
this to the end, continued to leave women severely 
alone, except in one or two exceptional cases. 

Round about the Green one would come upon 
the tall black figure of Madam Gonne MacBride, 
looking like a cypress tree, or get a glimpse of 
what one believed to be the Countess Markievicz, 
muffled up in mediaeval fashion. In the distance, 
with firm tread and firmer aspect, a dispatch case 
always in her hand, would appear Mrs. Sheehy 
Skeffington ; round a corner, at her tireless trot, 
Mrs. Desmond FitzGerald in her green dress ; 
occasionally the charming figure of Mrs. Despard, 
the Lord Lieutenant's sister, slowly pacing with her 
stick, like a fairy godmother in a Christmas story. 

Once in a blue moon one did come upon some 
badly wanted man. Three times, during the most 
violent spasm of the struggle, I passed the most 
wanted man in Ireland. In each case he had an 
escort of eleven. 

One of these escorts I met coming up Grafton 
Street, and two moving parallel with Stephen's 
Green. The men walked in pairs, their hands in 
their pockets on their guns and their bombs. In 
the crowd each pair kept a few yards apart, when 
the streets were empty they increased the distance, 
to lose the appearance of a military formation. 
But the man who knew what to look for could still 
pick them up. How was it these escorts could 
move about unchallenged in the face of troops, and 
police, and spies ? 


In the first place, most of the Sinn Fein leaders 
were not known by sight to the Government agents. 
This, more than any other reason, gave them 
immunity during those final two years. Secondly, 
these men, with their armed escort, only appeared 
abroad on rare occasions, for a few minutes, 
perhaps, when they left one meeting-place to reach 
another. The ordinary Dublin Metropolitan police- 
man, who might recognise them, was of no more 
consideration than a lamp-post. If necessary, he 
would have waved the traffic back while they 
marched across the road. 

There was more danger from some Government 
agent, swimming up and down in the crowd like 
a predatory fish ; but a solitary man could not 
arrest twelve men, and he could do no more than 
shadow them to their destination, and then was 
the difficulty of getting back to Dublin Castle with 
the news. The telephone exchanges were full of 
Sinn Fein spies who would give warning. 

In the course of their travels these escorts would 
be passed by constant flying lorries, choked with 
Auxiliary police. A Government man, theoretically, 
could call upon these people for assistance ; but he 
himself was much more likely to meet his end than 
the men he was shadowing. The Auxiliaries always 
travelled at breakneck speed, sweeping round 
corners like a train. The slower the pace, the 
better the target they made for ambushers. The 
only way our man could have halted them would 
be by walking into the middle of the road and 


holding up a hand. The Auxiliaries would not 
have pulled up ; but, with one accord, believing he 
was about to hurl a bomb, they would have arisen 
and shot him to bits. 

The Sinn Fein escort would have gone on its 
way rejoicing. 

Occasionally, these wanted men went about 
without escorts, trusting in fate. In such cases 
they would be unarmed, for occasionally pedestrians 
were searched for arms. There were always 
rumours that in this street or that street some well- 
known man had been seen cycling along, perhaps 
Michael Collins (Minister of Finance), Richard 
Mulcahy (Chief of Staff), or Charles Burgess 
(Minister of Defence), the three most wanted men 
in the land men whom fate and a Celtic renais- 
sance had placed astride a bicycle and set higher 
than a king. 

Time and again military and police united in 
their efforts to get hold of the Republican leaders ; 
but generally without result. Extraordinary pre- 
cautions were taken for their safety. If a meeting 
was to be held in a certain house, the streets would 
be picketed for a great distance round by peaceful 
citizens leaning smoking against doorposts, and 
other worthy townspeople propped up against 
lamp-posts, spitting. Not a fly could have got 
through the final cordon without the agreed-on 
signs and passwords. 47 told me once it was 
necessary to produce a tram ticket of a certain 
value, dated the previous day, and folded in a 


certain fashion. It was said on occasions street 
musicians were posted with orders to play certain 
tunes in certain events. Many of these stories were 
true, some legendary, no doubt. 47 was an in- 
structor who taught me well, and tramping Dublin 
streets, I saw much that was not given to ordinary 
passers to see, and was told much that must not 
be repeated. 

In the midst of this strange time, while the new 
movement was aiming to push Ireland into the van 
of progressive nations, there occurred one of those 
mediaeval happenings which only take place to-day 
in Ireland, of all parts of the British Isles. 
The statues of Templemore began to bleed. 
The story goes that on a Friday evening 
statues of the Blessed Virgin, the Crucifixion, the 
Blessed Virgin with the child Jesus, and St. Joseph 
with the Holy Child, belonging to a newsagent at 
Templemore, began to ooze blood from heart and 
mouth. At the same time the statues in a nephew's 
house also started to ooze blood, and the nephew, 
a young man of nineteen, had a vision of the Blessed 
Virgin. The Blessed Virgin ordered the young man 
to make a depression in the floor of his room, and 
immediately after there was a miraculous flow of 

At once cures were effected, the first being that 
of a little girl in the last stages of consumption, 
who was carried into the house and restored to 
perfect health. The elders of the town gathered 
about the statues and offered loud prayers, giving 


their thanks to God that the town had been saved 
from the rage of the Black-and-Tans on the previous 
Monday night, and that none of the innocent 
citizens had been destroyed. 

The local clergy, as a whole, were chary of 
expressing their opinions ; but in spite of their 
silence a great pilgrimage began from all parts of 
Ireland, travelling to Templemore on horse, on 
foot, on bicycle, in gig, in dray, in dogcart, in 
jaunting car, bringing the sick in body and the 
sick in soul. There was an amazing scene in the 
yard at the back of the house, where the statues 
were placed upon a table covered with a white 
cloth. Townspeople and countrypeople, grand- 
mothers, and their grandchildren, husbands, wives, 
knelt in a crowd about the table, murmuring their 
prayers, and touching the statues with beads and 

This miraculous bleeding, which caused Ireland 
momentarily to hold her breath, as if supernatural 
intervention was coming, became a nine days' 
wonder, and then was no more. This week it was : 
next week it was not. Perhaps it could not survive 
the arrival of the Daily Sketch reporter with his 
gimlet eye, his notebook, and his camera. 

Once or twice I passed 47 in the street, but he 
took no notice of me, and I let him go in case he 
had business on hand. He would not come to see 
us, as the acquaintance might be unhealthy, and 
we did not like to look him up without an invitation. 

Finally, I dropped him a line telling him to 


meet me in the Botanical Gardens if he were free. 
I wandered down to the water in the hollow, and 
there he was coming across the little bridge. A 
yard or two off he waved a hand in salute ; we 
joined up and strolled down a sheltered walk. He 
took a cigarette from me, and started to smoke 
without saying a word. 

" How do you like life ? " I said. 

" It's interesting," he admitted. Looking up, he 
added grimly, " Are you finding your way about ? " 

I agreed Dublin was interesting. 

" What have you seen ? " he said. 

" Plenty of your chaps about. At least every- 
body says they're in your line. Every man serving 
the Government seems to be called a Black-and- 
Tan, but now and then some more exact person 
than the rest hisses into your ear, 4 Those men are 
secret service.' ' 

47 said quietly, " Those fellows you see aren't 
the old secret service. They've been got together 
to meet this emergency." 

He proceeded to wind up. He was not a talka- 
tive fellow ; but he could be communicative when 
he liked. I have no doubt I was the only audience 
he had had for many a day. 

" A secret service isn't built up in a day. An 
agent should be chosen after long, long observation. 
After courage more important than courage, 
really your man should possess the power of 
holding his tongue. 

" Our service has always been limited, and it 


was a good deal chopped up in the war. Then we 
were faced with this business. We had to be 
reinforced holus bolus. The men had to be trust- 
worthy, and the authorities decided to enrol 
ex-army officers. I dare say this was as good a 
choice as any other. But it has its drawbacks. We 
work in all strata of society, and we should belong 
to all classes of society. The military man is 
limited. He is likely to be loyal and courageous ; 
but his caste prejudices are his ruin. He calls his 
enemies Shinners, and smiles at their efforts." 

47 stopped, looked round suddenly and said, 
44 Have you seen our mutual friend since you came 
over ? " 

44 Not once," I told him. 

44 1 have passed him a couple of times. A 
fellow I know told me he bewitches them at the 
Castle of an evening with his piano. Well, he told 
me once that when he was working in Germany 
during the war, before putting a foot over the 
frontier he turned over what he would be, and he 
decided to be a farmer. Accordingly, hour after 
hour, he practised a farmer's slouch. He sat down 
and invented his farm. Hour after hour he lived 
in imagination on that place, until he saw it so 
clearly that he could walk over every inch of it, 
discuss every foot of it, and he said he had only 
to close his eyes to see it all again the chestnut 
mare with the wall eye, the duck with rheumatics. 
He tried to sell the place to me," 

44 Did you buy ? " 


" He knew his job ; but what is happening now 
is pathetic. These ready-made sleuths, who are 
the best-dressed men in Dublin, have been arriving 
in batches. Men with eyeglasses appear suddenly 
to sell bootblacking. Men in spats turn up to 
explain they hold an agency in condensed milk. 
These people fill the lounges of the best hotels, 
drink together, and talk confidently together." 

" And," said I, breaking in, " the barmaids 
ogling them explore their inmost souls, and the 
waiters bearing them cocktails pass on to Sinn Fein 
headquarters the pearls that drop from their lips." 

He smiled. " Not as bad as that. I don't sup- 
pose they give much away apart from themselves ; 
but wherever there is a decent lounge they can be 
found gobbling like turkeys in a farmyard 
turkeys that have not heard of a Christmas dinner. 
I have seen one of those peaceful commercial 
travellers drop an automatic pistol in the lounge 
of the Shelbourne Hotel, and I slunk into the lift 
in horror. I have seen a commercial traveller in 
spats leaning over a bar talking to a dimpled bar- 
maid, while a gentleman at his elbow, in a shabby 
black velour hat and a dirty trench coat, took down 
his particulars. Even my ' cousin,' who has many 
of the best qualities of an agent, the keenness, the 
tirelessness, and so on, is attacked with this autumn 
madness, and any of these evenings if you care to 
hang outside his house, you will see a Government 
car rattle and bang up to the door, you will see 
half a dozen sleuths file up into his house, and 


presently they will come down again with him. 
These merry gentlemen get into the car and rattle 
away on some raiding expedition. And, of course, 
in the shadows on the other pavement, is a gentle- 
man in a black velour hat and a dirty trench coat." 

" Do you think some of them are going to be 
done in soon ? " 

47 shrugged his shoulders. " Most of these 
chaps are doomed by the Castle people to a double 
life. By day they pass as peaceable citizens. At 
night they disappear into the Castle, rig them- 
selves out in military clothes, and turn out again 
to raid and arrest. By Gad ! they work for their 
living all right ! There's a legend that Sinn Fein 
agents watch the Castle gates all day to get descrip- 
tions of all who go regularly in and out. There 
are spies inside the Castle too, and officials in high 
places in whom the Sinn Fein rot has set as a fungus 
attacks a tree." 

44 You're fed up," I said. 

44 A bit. I'm a bit fed up. It's a nervy game. 
We're getting in a lot of stuff ; but we're up against 
a pretty big thing. Half the nation are ready to 
help the Sinn Fein intelligence. The joke is the 
women one meets never cease singing the praises 
of their own intelligence people, and in the same 
breath they damn us for spies." 

44 What's the opposite show like ? " 

44 They're not better than us I don't think 
they're as good ; but they have the pull of working 
in their own country and having the backing of 


three parts of the nation. They all look the same ; 
but most of our fellows are another caste." 

' You'd think your chaps would get no in- 
formation. People would know them and tell 
them nothing." 

" It's not easy to get hold of good stuff ; but 
man suffers from the inability to keep his secrets. 
People with a little bit of news burst to tell it, and 
sometimes the least thing is worth a lot. It may 
be the link that was wanted to complete the chain." 

47 broke a leafless twig off a bush and began 
bending it in his fingers. 

" Agent 1 reports that at 10.25 he found a 
dead man at such and such a spot, and a hatless 
man with a smoking gun running away. Agent 2 
reports at 10.30, five minutes away from Agent 1, 
he saw a hatless man, panting hard, jump on a 
tram going to the station. Like Agent 1, who 
found the body, he was not able to get a description 
of him. 

" Agent 3 reports that as he left the station by 
the 10.50 train, a hatless man jumped into his 
compartment. He was able to get a full description 
of this man, which was, etc.. etc. The man got out 
at such and such a station. 

" In a certain room in Dublin Castle a man sits 
putting together the reports, which come in helter- 
skelter. He finds these three make up an interesting 
story. Records are looked up, the description 
tallies with a certain man, in whom Dublin Castle 
has been mildly interested for some time. Inquiries 


are made where the gentleman in question left the 
train ; the gentleman in question is secured, and he 
finds himself asked a number of questions that 
but there's no need to go on with the story." 

47 shrugged his shoulders. c ' What's the time ? ' ' 
he said next, and looked at his watch. 

" You're not going yet," I said. " I haven't 
seen you for a month. The tram fare here and back 
is sixpence. I want my money's worth. What's 
your wife doing nowadays ? Tell her we sent all 
sorts of good wishes." 

47 frowned. " It's a lonely life for a woman." 
he said, " and a nervy one, too. Of course, one 
always is meeting new people, always going from 
door to door ; but in his heart a man is as lonely 
as a desert islander. Never a word spoken in favour 
of his beliefs. Never, never, never ! " 

A fish moved in the running water which was 
the boundary of this side of the gardens. It 
brought 47 out of the brown study into which he 
was falling. 

" They're trout," I said. " I saw them earlier 
in the year, when the sun was about. We'll come 
and give your wife a look up." 

" Not yet," he answered. " I expect it would 
be all right ; but wait a bit." 

" Don't be too long, or we'll come along in spite 
of you. Do you mean you are shadowed ? " 

" Not as far as I know. Did you ever hear 
our mutual friend's receipt for getting rid of a 
follower ? " 


44 No." 

4 When you look behind and find what you 
suspected is a fact, and the man in the dirty velour 
hat and shabby raincoat is still hanging a hundred 
yards behind, saunter to a shop window. In a 
minute your friend will follow suit a few doors 
down. Directly he has chosen his window, you 
find you have seen all you want in your window, 
and you go along and look in at his window. There 
you both stay. But sooner or later somebody has 
to move, and you make sure that he does. Directly 
he moves off you follow him. By the time he has 
gone down two streets and found you at his heels 
he wonders what has happened. At the end of 
another two streets he makes a bolt for a passing 
tram. He won't come on any more expeditions 
with you." 

44 That sounds simple." 

44 It wouldn't do you much good if you stayed 
all the time in the same place. You'd soon get 
picked up by somebody else. I'm off." 

44 1 wanted to hear how you think things are 

44 I've not made up my own mind yet. I'll tell 
you next time." 

Without any more fuss he started to walk away 
down the path, and I let him go. It was some 
weeks before we saw him again. 



I TOOK the tram back to College Green, and found 
the paper boys raising a great clamour there. The 
first of the Cork hunger strikers had died. As I 
left the tram and threaded through the crowd 
towards Grafton Street, I felt that, like myself, all 
these people I was rubbing shoulders with were 
fearful this was an augury of more terrible 

For more than two months the incredible fast 
of fifty Irishmen had been capturing the public 
imagination, and, according to the Nationalist 
Press, the imagination of half the world. Interest 
in the fasting men had lasted through eight weeks 
of fierce events violent deed followed daily by 
violent reprisal. 

On August 12th, Terence MacSwiney, who had 
succeeded to the office of Lord Mayor of Cork on 
the assassination of Lord Mayor MacCurtain, was 
arrested, and with other prisoners to the number 
of fifty-one, went on hunger strike. 

This represented a definite battle it had a 
beginning, it had an end between the British 



Government and Sinn Fein ; and as the Cabinet 
acted with a consistency it had seldom shown 
before and was not often to show after, Sinn Fein 
suffered a defeat. There had been many previous 
hunger strikes ; and the authorities had invariably 
given way at the eleventh hour. 

It is curious to look over Dublin newspapers of 
that date and see the black headlines, which 
announced, morning after morning, the straits of 
the Irish " martyrs." Back come those gloomy 
weeks when days were shortening and cold and 
damp were returning to the land again. 

I find what seems to be one of the first entries. 
" Lord Mayor, Terence MacSwiney, arrested 
Thursday night in the City Hall. The (Republican) 
Arbitration Courts were sitting, and about fifteen 
persons were arrested with the Lord Mayor." 

At his trial the Lord Mayor, as chief magistrate 
of the city, declared illegal a court martial which 
sat to try him in Cork, and those taking part in it 
were liable to arrest under the laws of the Irish 

He was charged with (a) having a police cypher 
under his control ; (b) having in his possession a 
document likely to cause disaffection ; (c) having 
made a seditious speech on the occasion of his 
election as successor to the late Lord Mayor 

" A perfectly innocent man ! " as Mrs. Slaney 
had declared. 

Throughout his trial the Lord Mayor behaved 


with dignity, and at the end said, " I wish to 
state that I will put a limit to any term of imprison- 
ment you may impose. I have taken no food since 
Thursday, therefore I shall be free in a month. 
I shall be free, dead or alive, within a month." 

But the Lord Mayor was to be alive two months 
after that. 

The National Press began a campaign for the 
release of the hunger strikers. Before the fast 
was many days old the following headlines had 
appeared : 

" Lord Mayor unable to speak. Signs of the 
end. Deathbed message." " Sinking very 
rapidly." In smaller type, " Cork captives dying." 
" Just fading away. Deathbed scenes." 

But to the embarrassment of the Press, which 
as usual lacked restraint, the strikers delayed 
dying, and week after week passed, until all fasting 
records were broken. Little by little the fury of 
the Press abated, and presently the " martyrs " 
were shifted from the leading columns to less 
important places. 

A cloud gathered over the affair. Then threats 
were tried. The Medical Officer at Cork Prison 
received the following letter :~ 

" As your professional attendance upon the 
eleven hunger strikers in Cork Jail gives a tinge of 
legality to the slow murder being perpetrated upon 
them, you are hereby ordered to leave the jail at 
once, and the country within twenty-four hours oi 
this date 3 p.m. 6th Sept. '20. 


" Failure to comply with this order will incur 
drastic punishment. 

" O.C. No. 1 Brigade, I.R.A." 

With the majority of the nation the strikers 
remained national heroes, " martyr " was the word 
most commonly used in connection with them ; 
but as the fast became more and more incredible, a 
section of the public began to experience doubt. 
All sorts of rumours were afloat that the Lord 
Mayor could not return to Cork owing to the rage 
of his friends that the Catholic Church was 
troubled and divided whether this decision to 
starve should be considered as suicide or not. In 
the meantime prayers were offered for the strikers 
in thousands of homes, and tears stole down 
thousands of cheeks at thought of the men suffering 
for Ireland. 

" One of God's miracles ! " frequently declared 
Mrs. Slaney, as the fast passed from fifty days to 
sixty days, and went on towards seventy. And 
this belief in Divine intervention was common to 
many hearts. 

What would happen if the Lord Mayor died ? 
It was hinted there would be some terrible reply 
from the Irish Volunteers. 

Now, when the strikers were becoming legendary, 
one of them had died, and crisis had returned like a 

" Monstrous ! " Mrs. Slaney exclaimed, meeting 
me at the top of the stairs. " Monstrous ! So at 


last they have murdered that splendid young 
Irishman ! They'll murder the others before they 
have finished their bloody work ! " 

The British Government murdered two others, 
or two others decided to murder themselves, 
according to one's politics, and it looked as though 
the British Government had the strength of mind 
to murder the lot ; but before this could be done 
Sinn Fein gave up the battle, and Arthur Griffith, 
the acting President, called off the strikers. Victory 
went to the British Government, and there were 
no more hunger strikes. 

Did these men, who had suffered a long illness 
and a painful death, die for nothing ? No. In 
spite of doubts as to the strictness of the fast, the 
sacrifice made by them helped in the hardening 
process the nation was undergoing. 

It had been intended to bring the dead Lord 
Mayor to Dublin ; but this was forbidden, and the 
coffin was taken by ship to Cork. Sinn Fein replied 
by ordering a day of mourning, and presented 
Dublin with the shadow of a funeral, flowers taking 
the place of the coffin in the hearse. Citizens were 
ordered to close their shops, and those whom 
sentiment for the Lord Mayor did not persuade to 
renounce a day's trade, put up their shutters upon 
warnings that they would be wise to show visible 
marks of respect. 

I went down to O'Connell Bridge to see this 
funeral without a corpse. The day had turned into 
a Sunday, and the streets were filled with the 


proletariat. The Mass, which 1 had listened to at 
the pro-cathedral, had been a stupendous ex- 
perience. Every inch of the stone pavement of 
the great church had been covered with kneeling 
humanity crying out dolorous Latin cries to the 
chanting of the priests, and fingering countless 
rosaries. The flood of feeling flowed this way and 
that like waves heaving in a sea. I did not know 
whether to marvel at this spectacle or to sneer at 
it. Were we in this mourning church wrapped in a 
flame of sorrow, which was going to weld the nation 
into a metal out of which an everlasting sword 
could be forged : or more truly were a few tricksters 
playing on the easily wrought feelings of a not quite 
adult nation, which, childlike, weeps as easily as it 
laughs ? Labour and Capital over again ! Look 
right, look left who here was not drawn from the 
working or shop assistant classes ? As I heard 
these people calling out the sounding Latin phrases, 
I shook my head. 

The press upon O'Connell Bridge was tre- 
mendous, and presently the hearse came round a 
corner. It was filled with flowers. After it rolled 
a Dublin funeral, only there went by a greater line 
of shabby carriages than even Dublin usually gets 
together. One looked and looked, and still more 
horses came round the distant corner. 

In the following of this funeral marched Irish 
Volunteers and Cumann na mBan. They left no 
impression on me other than being dusty and 
riding on the top of a wave of emotion, which 


might set them down as quickly as it had lifted 
them up. Again it was Labour versus Capital, the 
servant against the master. These people were the 
same as the kneeling congregation, and the majority 
of them were growing up. 

But this demonstration was a manifestation of 
that resolution which was affecting the nation as 
new blood poured into the veins of an ansemic man. 
Whether the exaltation was enduring enough to 
carry the nation to a renaissance, to a splendid 
rebirth, or whether it was sufficient and no more 
to take this people through a struggle with Britain, 
was a matter for a prophet. A temporary state or 
a lasting state, its existence could not be denied. 

One of these nights a man started signalling 
from a house which looked upon the back of our 
own. We watched him from our beds. He had a 
lamp, and lived in a top story. The signalling con- 
tinued at intervals over a period of several weeks, 
and what came of it all I do not know ; but it made 
these nights more mysterious watching this lonely 
man and his lamp high up in the attic. 

Then, one evening, Mrs. Slaney started to act 
in a peculiar manner. About ten o'clock she began 
fluttering up and down the stairs, and when I 
suggested locking the front door as usual, she said 
she would do it. A quarter of an hour later I 
caught her fluttering on the stairs, and this time 
she was unable to contain herself. She took me 
into the half dark of one of the landings. 

" I am putting up a friend for a night or two," 


she said, avoiding my glance. " He's a Sinn 
Feiner, and he doesn't want to go home. I'm 
giving him the little spare room at the top of the 
house. He has to come after dark, as he doesn't 
want it known where he is. I don't want a word 
said to anybody." 

" Is he on the run ? " I asked brutally. 
" Well, not exactly that ; but he has a little 
work on hand, and he doesn't want to be disturbed. 
He thought it was safer to come round here in 
case they should think of raiding his flat during 
the next day or two. Ah ! " 

A gentle knock had come to the front door. 
Mrs. Slaney fluttered down to the hall, where, as 
usual, no light was burning. 

She managed successfully to manoeuvre our 
mysterious caller into the upper reaches of the 
house ; I heard no more of them, and nobody 
seemed to have noticed his incoming or his out- 
going next morning. But the following night 
Mrs. Slaney, who made the journey to the hall 
shorter by drifting into our rooms early in the 
evening, began to fidget as soon as the clock had 
turned ten. The gentle knock came at last, and 
she bustled down to the hall. 

Somebody had to make the visitor's bed, and 
on the morrow Mrs. O'Grady, on her knees on a 
piece of newspaper raking out our fire, sniffed, and 
said, " Terrible, times ! " 

" What's up, Mrs. O'Grady ? " we inquired. 
" Ah," said Mrs. O'Grady, sniffing again, " the 


woman upstairs is always up to something or other. 
She's always after keeping in with somebody." 

" Who's it now ? " 

44 God forgive her for having a man like that 
in the house these times. Risking us all ! There's 
my man downstairs, he says the Black-and-Tans 
have only got to know there's some one here, and 
they'll come and take every man in the house off 
to the Castle, and perhaps burn the house down." 

44 If that's the case, Mrs. O'Grady, these do 
indeed be terrible times." 

" That woman doesn't know how to treat decent 
people when she do get them in the house," went 
on Mrs. O'Grady, passing over my wit. " Now, 
what right has she got to have a man like that 
with you here ? Now you're what I call class. I 
said to himself downstairs, I said those new people 
that have taken the drawing-room flat, they're 
class. They're the nicest lady and gentleman 
we've ever had here. They're class." 

We changed the conversation. 

But I was in some part to solve the mystery 
that evening, for this time Mrs. Slaney had arranged 
to leave the hall door on the latch. Our visitor 
must have come in unheard and gone upstairs. 
Mrs. Slaney, strangely enough, was spending the 
evening in our rooms, and had brought down, as 
far as I remember, a tray with coffee things on. 
When she proposed retiring, I carried this up for 
her, and going ahead into the sitting-room, found 
there, in a corner by the fire as if he had been 



warming his hands at it, and still with his overcoat 
on, the mysterious visitor. He looked round like 
an animal caught in a trap, and then he said good 
night in answer to my good night. I was only a 
moment putting the tray down and going. 

I tell this story because this man's advent was 
to be my downfall later on. I did not then know 
who he was ; but his identity leaked out in time. 

He bore the most picturesque name in Ireland 
Barrel Figgis and he wore the most romantic 
beard. He looked like some mediaeval personage 
stepped out of a picture. He was a novelist, a poet, 
a dramatic critic, and other things. Not very long 
before he had been nearly hanged at a drumhead 
court-martial held by some irresponsible, and it 
was whispered among the philistines that he went 
about the country afterwards selling pieces of the 
true rope. He was not one of the recognised Sinn 
Fein leaders ; but he had been fairly prominent 
in the cause, doing propaganda work, and he had 
been imprisoned. There was only one such beard 
as his in Dublin his own and it was said he 
refused to part with it, even when he went on the 
run, although by so doing he added materially to 
the chances of capture. 

He visited us three or four nights, and then 
departed as unostentatiously as he came. 

So every day brought its new event, and the 
weeks stalked by in grim procession. 

Early in November, the execution of Kevin 
Barry caused another of those demonstrations, 


which revealed the national temper. On the bleak 
morning a vast crowd gathered in the yard of 
Mount joy Prison and recited the Rosary, standing 
and kneeling together some time before the execu- 
tion, and continuing in prayer until the hour of 
execution was passed, when they quietly withdrew. 

Since his capture in the skirmish outside the 
King Street bakery, Kevin Barry, who was a 
medical student, eighteen years old, had joined 
the number of national heroes. He was young, he 
was a soldier of the Republic, it was repeated every- 
where that he had been tortured by the British 
military authorities, and in spite of his treatment 
he had refused to speak. The nation set itself with 
a will to the making of this new hero. 

" Splendid ! " declared Mrs. Slaney, returning 
from her baby club. " You should have been there 
this afternoon to hear those mites singing of Kevin 
Barry. We all helped to teach them, and they 
picked up music and words at once. Where, but 
in Ireland, would you find such quick children ? " 

Poor little devils ! Taught their prejudices 
before they know what they are doing. As soon as 
they can stand put into the strait- jacket of a 
narrow national patriotism that thing which has 
had its uses, but now should be out of date. 

There is every reason to suppose that Kevin 
Barry met his death as a soldier would wish to 
meet it ; but that is no reason why one should not 
look sternly at the facts of the case. The scrimmage 
outside the bakery was not a glorious affair. The 


Irish Volunteers, guns in their pockets, posed as 
civilians until the chosen moment, and Kevin 
Barry alone did not make good his escape. A 
woman said, in my hearing, " Was there ever a 
country like Ireland for the number of patriots 
and martyrs ? Look at Kevin Barry a boy of 
eighteen ! " 

What of the two British soldiers who were killed 
in that skirmish, one of whom was said to be 
sixteen ? Did they not give their lives for their 
country as surely as did Kevin Barry ? What of 
the men who have perished in every corner of the 
Empire for generations back ? Their numbers 
must be as the sands of the seashore. But some 
peoples use words more easily than others, and 
those who work for the inarticulate must expect 
their epitaph short and sharp. 

Before the anguish of that tragedy was over 
there came a new shout from the Nationalist Press : 
" Expectant Mother Shot Dead." 

A countrywoman was killed at her cottage door 
by a stray bullet fired from a lorry passing along 
the road. " Expectant Mother Shot Dead ! " The 
headlines struck one like a blow in the face. 

And all this while increasing ruin and arrest. 
Tales of girls' hair cut off because they talked to 
the police. Tales of the police stripping men, 
beating them, and sending them home naked. 
Tales of men tied to chairs and thrown into the 
river. Tales of men who waited in ambush hour 
after hour for their quarry to come round the curve 


with an insatiable lust of hate. Tales of ferocious 
reprisals when homes were looted and the in- 
habitants driven into the fields to couch with fox 
and hare. Who dare give the story in detail : one 
would never be done. Deed of terror replied to by 
deed of terror, and never an attempt by the 
partisans of one side or other to reach the truth, 
and give that exact truth to the world, and tell 
that exact truth to themselves. 

Three furious November weeks passed away. 



SUNDAY, November 21st, Himself and I went to 
Howth, and spent all day by the sea on that wild 
bit of foreland, which Dublin City has not managed 
to tame. It was getting dusk as we came back on 
the tram. The ride is long, and it was too late in 
the year for the tops of trams. We were soon 
shivering and wanting to be back home. Then 
something happened to make us forget the wind, 
As we came among the houses the reflection of a 
great fire caught our eyes. It was on the far side 
of the water, a strong, clear blaze, as if a ship were 
on fire. 

; ' We must get along and see it," said Himself. 
" What the deuce is it ? " 

" Government supplies, I bet. The Auxiliaries 
got bored and went to sleep, and the Sinn Feiners 
came along." But I was not joking in my heart. 
I was feeling uneasy. 

We did not go to the fire when the tram stopped 
at Nelson's Pillar. It was too late and too cold. 
We climbed down into the middle of an ugly-looking 
crowd. A lorry passed quite close to us. 



" Hallo ! " Himself exclaimed, " there's a 
dead man ! " 

We stared after the lorry. The booted feet of 
a dead man poked out of one end. The crowd 
stirred unpleasantly. What had happened ? More 
lorries, full of armed men, were following the first 
one. An armoured car rolled by. They all passed 
over O'Connell Bridge and fled down the quays 
towards the Castle. From the Castle another 
stream of lorries passed towards the fire. 

A newsboy came quite close calling out some- 
thing, and we got a paper. There, in great lines 
across the page, we read, " British Officers Murdered 
In Bed." We went home astounded. 

The flat seemed unusually still. Mrs. Slaney 
heard us and came down the stairs before we had 
shut the door. She looked a little shaken. 

" Have you heard the news ? Dreadful ! 
Horrible ! But I have no doubt they deserved it." 

" You can't approve of this ?" 

" No, I don't approve of it. I don't approve 
of shooting at all ; but you must remember how 
the Irish people are goaded." 

Without warning there was the sound of firing 
outside. We crowded to the window in time to 
see an armoured car rolling by at the end of the 
road, and people flying in all directions. A Lewis 
gun on top of the car was firing shots into the air 
at intervals. 

" That's blank cartridge," Himself said. " It's 
to clear the streets." 


" There ! " Mrs. Slaney exclaimed. " Why do 
they terrify innocent people like that ? No wonder 
the people of Ireland are bitter. Ireland is the 
most crimeless country in the world when she is 
left alone." 

Mrs. O'Grady came in with our teapot. 

" You'll feel the better, mum, iv a cup of tea," 
she declared. "It do be dreadful, and all those 
beautiful young men." 

" I can't understand why we didn't hear the 
shooting this morning," I said. " It must have 
been all round." 

" I'll leave you to your tea," said Mrs. Slaney, 
who wanted to stay. " You won't be going out 
to-night. Perhaps you'll come up and see me." 

"I'll probably go and see what the fire is," 
Himself answered. He turned to me. "It'll 
do you good to get out." 

Mrs. Slaney retreated, and Mrs. O'Grady nodded 
her head. " It'd be a charity to leave her alone. 
She's that frightened it would do her good." Then 
she went out. 

" Well ? " 

" What a haul," Himself exclaimed. 

" How about poor 47 ? " I cried. 

" He must be all right. His name's not in the 
paper. We must look him up." 

" Look his poor wife up." And then I said, 
" Let's have tea and get out for a bit. I hate the 
feeling of this house." 

" We'd better get back before it's late. It's 


sure to be a disturbed night. I expect they'll 
make curfew earlier after this." 

As soon as I got into the street I felt better. 
The moving people gave me confidence, although 
all through the city there was a feeling of fear such 
as I cannot describe. Rumours of the Croke Park 
affair, where a dozen people had been shot by the 
police at a football match, were being whispered 
abroad ; but nobody seemed to know much. We 
remembered the dead man in the lorry. 

The fire was burning out. We saw it now and 
then through the openings of the streets ; but we 
never got as far as it. It had long been dark, and 
I soon found the night was getting colder and colder. 
Presently I began to think a fire at home would be 
less dismal than this tramping about in the dark. 
After half an hour everybody seemed to have gone 
indoors, and there was danger of being curfewed 
if a sudden change was made in the time. 

We went back. 

When we were indoors again shooting began all 
through the city. Patrols were probably firing more 
blank cartridge to clear the streets. Down the roads 
tramped soldiers in tin hats, and armoured cars 
rolled by. We put out the light and leaned from 
the window watching. Now and then some passing 
officer, fearful of a bomb, would shout, " Keep your 
heads in." 

In the middle of it all Mrs. Slaney bustled into 
the room, giving us no time to answer her knock. 

" I have just been talking to a leading Sinn 


Feiner," she announced, " and those men who were 
shot this morning were all spies. I told you that 
our boys must have had something definite against 

" I don't think it makes it a bit better," I 
declared. " A life is a life, and it's frightful to 
sneak into a man's bedroom while he's asleep, and 
kill him in front of his wife." 

" It's disgusting," exclaimed Mrs. Slaney, " to 
think that English officers and gentlemen will 
descend to such things. Monstrous ! Before the 
war such a thing was never heard of." 

" I think it a pity the Sinn Feiners murdered 
them." I stuck to my guns stoutly. 

Mrs. Slaney borrowed the paper and departed. 

" Her Sinn Feiners are all spies too," I said, as 
soon as she had gone. " What's she talking 
about ? " 

Himself nodded. " In any case I take off my 
hat to spies, Sinn Feiners or British. They have 
to be brave men. I should think a spy wants all 
the qualities of a soldier, and many more besides." 

That was all I got out of him. We went to bed 
soon after, but not to sleep, at least I did not. 
Desultory shooting and bombing went on all night. 

After " Bloody Sunday " as it came to be called, 
the world drew a horrified breath over the men who 
were shot in bed. " Poor So-and-so shot asleep. 
Frightful ! " What of his wife who was not shot, 
but who lost her reason three days after, and three 
weeks after lost her life and her baby's life ; his 


wife, who for the rest of her brief life saw men 
filing into the room, heard the sound of shooting, 
heard the raiders laugh, saw them wash their hands 
after the killing ? 

What of the other wife who cried out to her 
husband and tried to help him escape through the 
window, and saw his broken body on the window- 
sill ? 

What of the wife, coming from her bath, who 
was confronted with five men with revolvers ? 
Pausing outside the bedroom door where her 
husband was sleeping, she faced them, appearing 
not to notice their revolvers. " Do you want my 
husband ? " she asked, smiling. " He has just gone 
out, but do come in and wait." Her face was 
untroubled. " Or perhaps you can leave a 
message," she said. " I always take my husband's 
messages, you can trust me." 

The man mumbled something, and the party 
filed away. 

What of the wife who was held by two men 
while her husband was shot in front of her ? When 
the raiders had left she found her husband still 
alive. She rushed into the street, looking wildly 
for a doctor, praying no doubt as she ran. She 
found a man and ran up to him. 

" My husband has just been shot," she gasped, 
" but he is alive. Will you get a doctor, quick ! " 

" Alive ! My God, I'll finish him ! " He went 
up the steps pulling out his gun. 

The Sinn Fein women fought and suffered for 


their men equally well, lied for them, fetched and 
carried for them. The men had the limelight; 
but with few exceptions the women were unknown, 
and were content to be unknown. There was no 
reward for their services. I wonder how far a 
national movement would go if there was no public 
recognition for any one. A man unable to read 
about himself and his hunted companions would 
cut a sorry figure. A man hanged for his cause 
would go far less steadily to the scaffold without 
the support of the newspapers and the crowd. 
But I fancy a woman would acquit herself in all 
circumstances because her greatest instinct is 



THE officers met their ends in their beds, in their 
baths, at shaving. One and all were shot in cold 
blood, and, extraordinary to relate, no defence 
seems to have been made. In every case the 
victim was taken unawares. This veritable 
Slaughter of the Innocents could only have occurred 
to such a race as the British. These officers, on 
a par with their behaviour in the hotels, went to 
bed in an enemy country with unlocked doors and 
locked-up guns. That supreme British contempt 
for the enemy at once the making and the undoing 
of Britain limited the imagination of these people 
to such an extent that though they were engaged 
upon what is allowed to be most dangerous work, 
they could not conceive calamity falling upon 

Some time afterwards I spoke to a Dutchman, 
and he held up his hands and cried, " Here am I 
who would not go into a strange house without 
making inquiries and locking my door ; and these 
men come into an enemy country and go openly 



about their work ; and at night lock up their guns 
and go to sleep with the door open. Ach ! " 

The Sunday death roll in no way represents the 
magnitude of the plan. There were several escapes 
people were not at home, wives tricked the 
raiders ; but more far-reaching than these things 
was the fact that there seems to have been a serious 
miscarriage in the Sinn Fein plans. One story 
goes to relate that a list of eighty victims was 
prepared, and a number of Irish Volunteers gathered 
on Baggot Street Bridge, or one of those bridges 
over the canal, waiting for guides who did not 
turn up. 

The men detailed to carry out the work of 
assassination took no more risk than was essential 
to the undertaking. In every case they called in 
overwhelming numbers on their victims. 

The task was not glorious ; but when one 
examines the circumstances, what other means 
had Sinn Fein of getting rid of such dangerous 
enemies ? Man for man, an agent of the secret 
service should greatly exceed the value of a soldier. 
His power lies in his secrecy. 

The penalty of secrecy has always been death. 
An agent knows this, and is reconciled to the law. 
It is just enough. But the men who carried out 
the work of assassination wore no uniform, they 
too worked under a civilian cloak. The pot came 
to destroy the kettle. 

It was now towards the end of November, arid 
getting dusk soon after the middle of the afternoon. 


There were long damp depressing evenings and 
interminable nights. That extraordinary terror, 
which had been coming in puffs, was at last sweeping 
through Ireland like a wind. 

It is curious what one recalls looking back over 
a troubled time. It is an atmosphere rather than 
events. There come back to me those early 
darkening afternoons when people passed sullenly 
with bent heads, and the paper-boys raced through 
the mire, bearing their printed aprons which told 
of fresh ruin. I remember meeting on successive 
days three carts fallen over on their sides because 
a wheel had run away. 

I do not remember in any other city, great or 
small, this kind of accident, and I asked myself 
were these errant wheels, which had run away 
because somebody had forgotten to screw them up, 
a sign, a portent that Ireland was not quite an 
adult nation ? 

On one of these evening walks, in Dawson Street 
I think it was, I saw a horse that had jumped into 
an area, and was standing down there unhurt, 
eating hay and oats, unable to be got out. For a 
minute or two I joined the crowd, which was 
gaping through the railings at this accident. But 
while we all gaped we were gloomy and suspicious 
of one another. 

For with greater fury than before, the Crossley 
tenders, choked with police, raced up and down 
the streets ; searching, searching, searching for those 
butchers, those bakers; those candlestick makers 


who laid aside their aprons now and then when 
the hour was propitious and grasped a pistol in 
their hands ; those candlestick makers, those bakers, 
those butchers who never seemed to leave their 
counters and untie their aprons from their middles. 
By day, by night ; in storm, in calm, the flying 
wheels splashed through the mire. Knock, knock, 
knock. " Open ! The military ! " Knock, knock 
knock. " In the King's name ! " Up rattle 
windows. Out poke heads. " Open, open, or we 
break in the door." 

The butcher's wife, the baker's mother, the 
candlestick maker's aunt open the door as slowly 
as they dare, and the stream of police sweep in 
like a tide down into the cellar, out into the garden, 
up into the attic, through the skylight, everywhere 
in an instant that the hunted man may not escape ; 
peering into grates for ashes of burned papers, 
pulling out mantleshelves for hidden arms, ex- 
amining picture frames for secret documents ; and 
when all is done clattering down from attic and 
up from basement, pouring down the steps and 
climbing into the tender, and then at breakneck 
speed to the next house on the list. Bang, bang, 
bang ! " Open ! The military ! " 

In the week that followed the murders of the 
officers, the British Government made the supreme 
effort of this tremendous police hunt operations 
in Ireland never assumed the proportions of a war 
and in three or four days the prisons were filled. 
The British Government was altering its tactics, 


and finding a solution for dealing with this will-o'- 
the-wisp enemy by arresting all suspects, in 
preparation for lodging them in one or other of 
the internment camps under construction. In 
Dublin the arrests of that week numbered hundreds, 
and among the prisoners was Arthur Griffith, the 
father of Sinn Fein. 

The funeral of the officers passed along the 
Liffey, and all the world and his wife went down 
to the quays to see. Shops were shut, sometimes 
after a little persuasion by mourning Black-and- 
Tans, and the streets were left empty. The 
crowd was reverent ; and cases of lack of feeling 
were rectified by Black-and-Tans posted in lorries 
at points of vantage. Hats that did not come off 
as the gun carriages went by were helped off, and 
three young men who were disrespectful were 
thrown into the Liffey. 

A Mr. Goodbody, of Cork, who was jammed 
against me, said to a friend, " Michael Collins him- 
self is in the crowd. He do be a profitable man to 
look at. Indade, and he would have made a good 
king in a sporty country. But he is headstrong, 

Said an old woman, striking me in the stomach 
with her elbow, to a friend, " Och, 'tis a beautiful 
sight this, and sure it's a pity they had to kill those 
beautiful young men." 

" Indade," said the friend, poking me over the 
appendix, "it's our boys I would like to see dressed 
out like this. Give me the military, I sez, and not 



they Black-and-Tans. It will be a grey day for 
Ireland whan she sees the last iv the military." 

" Sure," said the first dame, "it is our boys 
will be all in green then, and that'll be a grander 
sight for ye." 

" Och ! " exclaimed a second friend, making 
use of my toes to see better, " the Black-and-Tans 
came to us the other day, and I was sitting over the 
fire. * Who's there ? ' I sez at the bang on the 
door. ' Open, the military ! ' sez they. ' I will 
not,' I sez. ' We'll have to break in,' sez they. 
' Break away,' I sez, 4 I don't have to pay for 
it,' I sez. ' It's the landlord as does,' I sez." 

The funeral passed, the crowd dissolved ; for 
some reason I wandered about the streets without 
going home. In course of time I was surprised to 
find it had got dark. I came across College Green, 
sauntered up Graf ton Street, which was crowded. 
The mud was shining as usual, and the paper boys 
were shouting some catastrophe. I had come to 
the corner of Wicklow Street when a man turned 
quickly into it from Grafton Street. He was hi the 
shadow, but I knew him anywhere. I overtook 
him in a stride or two. 

" Good night," I said. 

" I saw you," 47 answered, " but I was in a 
hurry. Come my way a little." He slowed up. 

The street was dark and nearly empty. 

" They didn't get you ? " 

" We saw no sign of them." 

44 How's your wife taking it ? " 


" She's right enough. She's been a bit jumpy 
because we've no arms. I'm off to the Central 
Hotel now to see my * cousin. 5 Most of our lot have 
been called into the Central. My wife says she 
won't stick it any longer unless I have a gun, so 
I'm off to see about one." 

44 1 don't wonder at her." 

He nodded. " The last few days have been 
pretty worrying." 

" You people aren't going into the Central ? " 

" We're banking on the chance we aren't 
suspected. If we go into the Central it won't do 
us any good when we come out." 

" I see that." 

I think 47 was rattled that evening in spite of 
his matter-of-fact words. At this time a man had 
to cope not only with his own fear, but with the 
national fear that was suffocating everybody, so 
that each man had to bear more than his own share. 
There was a touch of bitterness, a touch of philo- 
sophy, and more than a touch of pathos in 47's 
voice as we walked along the gloomy street. 

44 We chaps last just as long as we are undis- 
covered. Discovery may take place to-day, to- 
morrow. A man may make a slip ; but if he makes 
a slip he probably knows what he has done. But 
somebody else may have made the slip. He may 
leave his Sinn Fein friends in smiles ; he may go 
back to cold faces. This state of things plays the 
devil with the nerves. 

44 A soldier, after the battle, lies down among 


his companions, safe, secure, knowing no harm can 
come ; but an agent is never safe, never secure. 
This minute, next minute the ground may have 
opened under his feet, his secret may be out, and he 
standing alone against a nation. The curtain may 
hold an assassin, the street corner may conceal the 
bullet. While he eats the foe may be drawing 
near ; while he sleeps they may be coming. Shall 
he take this road ? Shall he take that ? 

" After some time in the service he becomes 
like a beast of the field. Danger comes on the 
breeze, in the rustle of the grass, in the shadows of 
the trees. While he eats he listens. While he 
sleeps he plans." 

I interrupted him. " I've got to get home now. 
Tell your wife we'll be along to see her to-night." 

" She'd like it," he admitted. 

4i We'll be there quite soon." 

" I don't think it will matter. We haven't 
been shadowed as far as I know." 

" So long," I said, pulling up. 

" So long," he said, going on. 

I turned round and went back to Grafton 



As soon as Himself and I had had dinner, we went 
to look up 47's wife. There was no time to waste 
if we were to get back before curfew. I was longing 
to see her after all this time. 

They lived in a top story. A dilapidated 
servant opened the door, and gave us a peculiar, 
sidelong look. She did not know us, but she stood 
aside and made no effort to show the way up. 

The house seemed grubby in the dim light of 
the hall. The windows showed the city's dust and 
fog ; in the better light the curtains would have 
revealed the dirty hands of maids who had tended 
the fires and then pulled the curtains across the 
windows. How well I knew it all ! And then the 
house grew more and more dilapidated as we 
mounted. There was an ancient meat safe at the 
foot of the last lot of stairs with a cat asleep on 
top of it. 

The final flight of stairs was bare, and we made 
the steps creak as we went up. 

Her ears were ever atune to footsteps, and the 
sound of ours brought her out on the landing. 



" You ! " There was relief in her voice. 

"Hallo! All well? My dear, you look seedy. " 

She laughed, but her laughter did not ring true. 

" It was nice of you to come." She shut the 
door behind us. 

" You are seedy," I said, looking at her care- 

" I'm all right," she answered. " This is funk ; 
pure, unadulterated funk has brought me to this. 
I'm behaving in a beastly manner, really. The 
only thing I haven't done is run away. Some day 
I'm afraid I will." 

" But your husband's all right ? " 

"For how long? To-day? To-morrow? 
There's not a door that will lock. You know Irish 
doors. He's out now. I made him go and get a 
gun. I said if he didn't I wouldn't stay another 
day. One man against a dozen hasn't much chance ; 
but an armed man can do more than a man with 

Himself nodded. 

" It's terrible terrible," 47 's wife went on. 
" There is no one to talk to about the risks. My 
husband won't talk. He thinks it's bad for me. 
But it's driving everything in, it's strangling me. 
I can't sleep. I'm always afraid. Sometimes I 
hear noises and footsteps, I am afraid of the noises ; 
sometimes there is silence, I am afraid of the 
silence. People come to see me, I laugh and talk, 
and try to show I am listening, and really every 
sound outside is more important to me. Even up 


here I can hear the front door bell ring. I haven't 
felt so bad this afternoon because I'm alone, and 
if they called it wouldn't matter." 

" You're safe in this house for a time, anyway," 
Himself declared. " Sinn Fein isn't going to repeat 
the dose just yet. Every one is lying pretty low. 
No one wants to come into the limelight." 

" I realise all that in the day ; but at night it's 
so different." 

" Night's really the safe time," said Himself. 
" I should think it's not much of a job trying to 
get about during curfew." 

She laughed shakily. " My husband has said 
all that before. I know I'm a coward ; but I shall 
be better if we have the gun. I'm thinking, think- 
ing what we'll do if they come all night long I'm 
thinking. We've only one heavy stick, which I 
hang on the end of the bed. I've planned it out. 
When they knock at the door, my husband will 
open it, and as the first man comes in I will throw 
the water jug at him, and my husband will hit his 
wrist with the stick. He may drop his gun, and 
we can get hold of it. My husband says assassins 
bore him, and won't talk about it, and so I have to 
keep my feelings to myself, and they are going 
in in all the time." 

" Talk to us now," I said. 

" I'll put on the kettle," she answered, getting 
up. " It won't take long boiling. What's that ?" 

I had heard nothing. She leaned out of the 


" Well ? " 

" There's a car," she said slowly. " It looks 
like a Government car. There are five or six men." 

I looked out. " I know that front man," I 
cried. " He lives near us. We met him at the 
Shelbourne once." I beckoned to Himself to look. 

" I know him," she admitted. " What does he 
want ? He would never be sent here with a mes- 
sage. We told him to keep away." 

The men descended from the car and came into 
the house. 

" He'll bring in every Sinn Feiner in Dublin at 
his heels," I suggested. 

" My dear, he's not important enough, though 
he thinks so himself." 

In a minute there was the sound of single foot- 
steps coming up the stairs. 

" He's alone, anyway." 

The next moment the man of the beautiful 
waistcoats and socks came into the room. He was 
subtly changed. His hair was less sleek, his clothes 
were not so well brushed, and the silk handker- 
chief, which he used to beat his brow and mouth, 
had got crumpled. 

" Oh, my God ! " he exclaimed, as he appeared. 
" What a lot of stairs ! " He saw us, hesitated, 
and said to 47's wife, " How's our friend ? " 

" He's all right," she answered coldly. 

" Good ! Went up to the Castle on Sunday. 
Saw them there safe by Gad ! so safe. Lots of 
fellows, well fed fellows, happy, cheery fellows. 


They had a long list of names, all the brotherhood, 
and they were ticking off the chaps who were 
killed. ' How's 47 ? ' I asked. 4 All right,' said 
one chap, after a glance at the list ; ' at least, we've 
had no word through about him.' ' My God ! ' I 
said, ' I must get along and see for myself.' ' 

" Who are your five friends ? " 

" An armed guard. You couldn't expect me to 
go about without an armed guard. Every Shinner 
in Dublin is at my heels." 

" My dear fellow, didn't it strike you that by 
bringing an armed guard clattering into the hall 
you would be likely to turn the Sinn Fein attention 
to us ? " 

Our friend laid a soothing hand on 47's wife. 

" Have you been out much since the affair ? " 
she asked abruptly. 

" Every day and every night. No peace. 
Nothing like that about me. But it doesn't matter, 
for I can't sleep. My God ! and I was told this was 
money for nothing ! Money for nothing, and the 
life filled a man full of joy ! " 

" You've got nerves." 

" Nerves ! By Gad, nerves ! Hear her." He 
pivoted round towards us, showed he had recog- 
nised us, and smiling, said, " How are you ? " He 
came across and laid a hand on my shoulder. He 
was the type of man who touches women. Then 
he jerked round again to 47's wife. 

" Pitchforked in, I was. Never knew a thing. 
Didn't know enough to keep my mouth shut, or to 


change my clothes when I went down the slums. 
Looked on all men as brothers. Thought they 
loved me as I loved them. I haven't slept for 
months. Let me talk. Let me get it off my chest. 
I'm all for peace, I am. I always have been, and 
somehow I always seem to get flung into some 
beastly mess. Some one said, ' Come and chase 
Shinners, old bean.' And here I am, but the 
beastly Shinner's always chasing me. Every time 
I go out some one follows me, sometimes a man, 
sometimes a woman. The life's killing me. Wat- 
kins you know old Watkins he and I got digs 
together at last, and took it in turn to keep watch 
while the other slept. I got wind up in case he 
dropped off. I didn't dare go to bed without my 
guns in case some one came in, and I always had 
the feeling that I'd shoot Watkins by mistake 
some night, or get the old woman in the stomach 
when she came in with the hot water in the 

" Hush, old man," said 47 's wife. 

" Hush ! That's it. Hush ! If I don't talk, 
I'll go mad ! None of the fellows at the Central will 
talk. We're all in the Central Hotel now. They 
hang in corners brooding on their sorrows. They 
don't care about mine. The chaps at the Castle 
don't talk. They don't know what it is to be out 
and alone." 

" It's what you're here for." 

" Splendid ! What I'm here for ! " our friend 
exclaimed. " I'll be killed next ! Mark my words. 


No ; don't let's talk of death. It makes me feel 
all hot and bothered." 

" Hush," said she, again. 

He put a hand on her arm. " I must be on the 
move. I'll tell the fellows at the Castle 47 is all 
right." He came across and patted my shoulder, 
and waved to Himself. And then he clattered down 
the stairs to his escort in the hall. A minute later 
we heard the engine throb and the lorry drove 

The kettle was boiling, and we drew our chairs 
up to the fire. 



TEA was over when 47 came in. He was out of 
breath from climbing up the stairs ; but he seemed 
satisfied with life and pleased to see us. 

" So you got here ? " he said. 

My wife made room for him beside her. " Come 
over and get warm," his wife said. When he came 
across she said eagerly, " What luck ? " 

His answer was to put a hand into a pocket and 
pull out an automatic pistol. 

" That's better," she exclaimed, almost happily. 
" Now I'll stop worrying. Have you plenty of 
bullets ? " 

" Enough," he answered. " I hope you've got 
something left over there. I'm devilish hungry. 
I'll hide this thing in the mattress for the present." 

He went off, and when he came back he had 
left his coat and hat behind. He was given the 
best place by the fire, and was soon busy eating 
everything that was left. 

" Did you bring any news back ? " she presently 
demanded impatiently. " You never tell me 



anything What did your ' cousin ' say ? Did 
you see him ? " 

" I did. It was dark when I got to the Central. 
There were any quantity of loafers in the opposite 
doorways ; but I think it was too dark to be 
recognised. There was a bit of a delay while the 
sentry unchained the gate. I had to give my 
4 cousin's ' name before he let me in. The hall was 
full of soldiers. They look after themselves all right 
there. It was a damned relief to be somewhere 
safe at last. I haven't felt as well off for months. 

" My ' cousin,' who was away at the Castle, 
came in in a few minutes, and we pushed a way up 
the crowded stairs, went past the out-of-work 
sleuths at the bar, and into his bedroom. I told 
him what I wanted. He produced a number of 
guns from sundry portmanteaux ; but these were 
not for me. One was as long as his arm. He told 
me he'd take me to the Castle and get me something. 

" He wouldn't do anything until he had had 
something to eat. We went into the dining-room. 
Depressed sleuths were at tea. My ' cousin ' was 
the same as usual, making a gesture do for a word. 

;t ' That was a bad show on Sunday,' I said. 
4 What are all the fellows in here going to do ? ' 

" ' They'll stay here a bit until we're re-sorted.' 

" ' I suppose most of them are known to the 
opposition show now ? ' 

*' He nodded. * Several of the chaps were 
getting warning letters before the Sunday show took 
place. We'll have to shift ourselves about a bit.' 


" ' Very busy ? ' 

" c Going all day. We've got two or three big 
fish in the net lately.' 

" Presently we left the depressed sleuths at tea, 
passed the out-of-work sleuths at the bar, and 
pushed a way down the stairs, which were full of 
men going up and down. It was pitch dark outside. 

46 The last thing my 4 cousin ' did, as we stepped 
into the dark, was to raise his eyebrows for me to 
follow. He stalked like a great cat down an alley, 
which is one of the ways to the Castle. There were 
sundry loafers in the lane, of course. Two police- 
men, who touched their hats to us, let us through 
the gate. 

" It was too dark to see anything. We seemed 
to be crossing a great yard. We skirted the lower 
edge of this, and the ghost of a charming chapel 
moved past us, as foggy land goes past a steamer. 
We stalked along a line of dreary buildings into a 
doorway among many other doorways, and up a 
dirty wooden stairway. There were landings, and 
doors which had not seen paint for years, and on 
the door was the word 4 Intelligence.' We mounted 
turn after turn, and came presently to a shabby 
room with packing cases and odds and ends of 
ammunition in it, and nothing else. With a lift of 
his eyebrows and a wave of his hand, my ' cousin ' 
went off on his toes, and I sat on a packing case 
cooling my heels. The electric light burned through 
a smeary globe ; there was nothing to look at odds 
and ends of uniform, odds and ends of ammunition. 


Outside the windows the dark was curling like a 
fog, and there were occasional shouts from the 
yard. I waited a full ten minutes, tapping my 
heels and feeling wonderfully safe. 

" I seemed on land, and you " he nodded to 
his wife" out in the city, a waif swimming in a 
friendless sea. Here were people ready to defend 
my beliefs. Here were people who upheld my 
traditions. That profound loneliness, which is the 
tragedy of an agent's life, for a brief space was no 
longer mine." 

47 had dropped his chin in his hands, and was 
looking into the fire. He threw up his head. 

" My ' cousin ' came back. He was standing in 
the doorway before I heard him. He lifted his 
eyebrows, and I slid off my packing case, and we 
passed down the passage into another room with a 
cheerful fire and people at work. This room was 
crowded with papers and typewriters, and though 
the people there sat in glum silence and went on 
with their work, nevertheless it seemed the best 
room I had ever been in. 

" The fire was burning up, and in a box to the 
right was a mongrel bitch with a litter of blind 
pups. They were never still, and tugged at her all 
the time, rolling over with warmth and pleasure. 
A man sat on a stool gazing at the coals, and now 
and then he would put his hand among those 
rolling things, and the bitch would lick it. I envied 
that family. 

" Another man smoked on the edge of a table, 


and a third man, a man who worked so furiously 
that he never raised his head, was standing with 
his back to a window, leaning over a high desk 
overwhelmed with papers. On a sheet he had an 
endless list of names, down which he was running 
a finger. With another hand he opened a directory 
and looked up addresses, and constantly he referred 
to the stack of papers. 

" This great round-up was bringing in a mass 
of information, and each new bit of news opened 
up fresh avenues. I soon gathered from this man's 
exclamations that he was going through the latest 
batch of information, and arranging fresh raids. 

" He mentioned some name or other. ' I am 
going to get the blighter to-night, I think,' he said. 
All the while we were there he continued to run 
his finger up and down the pages and give instruc- 
tions ; and one could visualise the lower end of 
the Castle yard, and the great gates through which 
we had come, near which lorries, shaking with 
armed men, waited to be loosed in torrents down 
the streets. 

" My ' cousin ' went to something, which was 
half a desk and half a table, and opening it with 
an effort, for there was a great weight of books and 
papers on top, he pulled out an automatic pistol, 
somewhat the worse for wear, took it to pieces, put 
it together again, loaded it, and fumbling among 
debris at the bottom of the desk, he rescued a spare 
magazine and a handful of nickel bullets. All these 
things were presently handed over to me." 


His wife interrupted him. " Don't tell me what 
you have brought back is no good ? " 

" No ; it's tip-top," answered 47, hastily. 
" It wants a good clean, that's all. I'll fix it up 
to-morrow. Anyhow, I stuck it into a pocket, and 
we went back to the Central for my ' cousin's ' 
guns, for he was going to look up his wife in her 
flat. The one which was as long as his arm he 
thrust into a tremendous pocket, and a second he 
kept in another pocket, with his hand on it. So 
we sallied forth, and I have no doubt on the 
way passed many a citizen of one persuasion 
or the other prepared for eventualities like our- 

" In Graf ton Street our ways parted. My 
' cousin ' lifted his eyebrows and disappeared." 

" Are you still hungry ? " his wife asked, as 
soon as 47 had done speaking. "I'll cook you 
something presently." 

" That'll do me," he answered, nodding his 
head. " This early curfew is the devil. You 
people haven't got too much time." 

" There's an hour," I retorted, looking at my 
watch. " It wasn't much of a pilgrimage here. 
You're pretty snug. Up in the roof isn't as bad as 
it sounds." 

" No place like a top story," 47 said. " No one 
has any right on your stairs then. And there's 
usually a skylight ; and a man can put up a good 
show through the skylight. The skylight here is 
pretty handy. Come and look." 



4 You're not taking him on the roof ? " his wife 

" He can put on a coat. We won't be a minute." 

" He'll freeze." 

" Not me," I said, getting up. 

" Stick on something," 47 suggested, getting up 
too. " It isn't a bad night." 

" You're off your heads ! " his wife retorted, 
from her chair by the fire. 

We wrapped up, and 47 led the way through 
the skylight on to the roof. The ascent was tricky, 
but no worse than that. One had to mount on the 
banisters and haul oneself through the skylight, 
and one day the affair would give way, and the 
escaping sleuth would be precipitated among the 
advancing assassins. However, this did not happen 
this time. 

" Don't show yourself," 47 ordered, as we 
shinned up. " People creeping about roofs at night 
aren't popular in this city." 

He bent double and crept behind a chimney 
stack, and waved me to follow. I glanced through 
the skylight before I went. One could see down 
half a flight of stairs. From here a man really 
could put up a show, as he had said. 

We were among the chimneys, like birds in a 
nest. We were in a forest of chimneys, in a 
mountainous country of roofs. The house was on 
a hill, the house was tall ; we could see everywhere. 
The night was sharp, and as a consequence the sky 
was filled with stars. And below, all over the 


place, were the city lights. The roar of life came 
faintly up from down there, and here we seemed 
removed and secure, as if this perch were a rock 
which the sea of terror could not submerge. Yet, 
now and again, some drops of spray seemed to 
outleap the waters and dash against our mouths, 
as, with headlights which tore great holes in the 
dark, the Crossley tenders, filled with armed men, 
raced through the streets, and on their heels rolled 
armoured cars from which poked the Lewis guns 
I could not see. We followed these grim pro* 
cessions as they fled. Presently it was as if the 
city had become a pot, and we up here were in- 
toxicated by the rising vapours. 

On 47 it acted as a drug. His tongue was 
loosened, he became prophetic. 

" Can you feel it ? " he said, cupping his hand 
as if it held water. " Can you feel it coming up 
to us ? Of course you can. I mean the terror, 
the rage, the hate. Can't you see through the dark 
to the police on their way ? Can't you see through 
the houses as if they were glass, to the hunted men ? 
Loyalist and Republican in all those hearts the 
same passions hate, and fortitude, and cruelty, 
and loyalty to their beliefs, and terror. In this 
whirlpool of passion can the spiritual endure ? " 

He peered between the chimneys. His face was 
a blur ; but he began to permeate the atmosphere 
with the feeling which he left out of his lowered 

" Sometimes I think," I put in, " that in the 


evolution of man the gods choose certain people to 
develop by trial certain qualities. Courage, forti- 
tude, idealism has Ireland been chosen for a year 
or two as the forcing ground for these ? " 

" Who knows ? " he answered vaguely. " These 
qualities are being bred here ; and treachery and 
cruelty and hate." 

" Don't you feel the quality of this struggle is 
spiritual ? Don't you feel something hard and 
pointed like a sword blade there, though covered 
with the rust of every vile passion ? " 

" If there was nothing of the spirit here, 
could men be brought to contend so long and so 
furiously ? " he answered. " But what are we to 
do with these passions, evil as well as good, that 
we have raised in the name of idealism ? Nothing 
that has been created can die." He peered out 
between the chimneys. 

" Look down there," I said. " Fear and hate 
and a certain exaltation. Of course, in this 
struggle Sinn Fein has the exhilaration of the 
small man against the big man. However right 
the big man may be, he cannot have much zest in 
an unequal show." 

Then it was that 47 became like a prophet on 
the housetops. 

" Truth ! Truth ! Who shall find truth in all 
this untruth ? One begs and begs for bread, and 
receives always a stone. Lies, lies, lies ! Who can 
get at the truth now ? Can it ever be found ? I 
am tired of stones. Who will give me bread ? 


" No man down there wants the truth ; no man 
down there would listen to the truth ; one wishes 
to shout his case louder than the other, that is 
all. The people lie, the papers lie it is lies, all 
lies ! " 

" And this thing which makes men mad is 
called patriotism," I said. 

He turned round from gazing at the city. 
" There you have it. There is one voice speaking 
the truth. Patriotism, how it limits a man, in 
judgment, in sincerity, in his horizon. 

" Nowadays, can nationalism be other than a 
rather poor thing ? It was useful in the past, but 
it was only a stepping stone to better things. First 
individual against individual, then family against 
family, then tribe warring against tribe, nation 
striving against nation. Only to-day the in- 
spiration that all nations may be bound together. 
Has man been deceived ? Can nationalism and 
patriotism after all be false gods ? " 

I, harking back to his cry of " lies, all lies," 
interjected : " Here is the truth spoken by Loyalist 
and Republican in the golden age before all men 
were liars : 

" ' You started it,' the Republican says. * For 
generations we asked you for more generous 
legislation, and you made promises and broke 
them. Then we took up arms.' 

" ' My dear fellow, you have hit the nail on the 
head. We were continuously unjust,' the Loyalist 
answers ; ' but listen to the excuses. Either the 


peoples of the British Isles are one nation, or else 
they are several nations, of which more than one 
resides in Ireland. We have to listen to so many 
opinions. You Sinn Feiners want to break right 
away, the Nationalists want Home Rule, and the 
Ulster people want things to stay as they are. 
Naturally, this decision does not help us to do what 
we are disinclined to do." 

" ' The majority want a republic ; the majority 
should rule,' answers the Republican. 

" ' My dear sir, might I suggest the argument 
is illogical out of your mouth ? ' answers the 
Loyalist. 4 If the part, Ulster, must be given to 
the whole, Ireland, then the part, Ireland, must 
be given to the whole, the United Kingdom. And 
only a few who cry "Up the Republic" earnestly 
and intelligently want that same republic. After 
the rising of 1916 you had few friends, and the 
people have only been bludgeoned into desire for 
a republic by the cries of the leaders, by the 
presence of British troops, by the repression and 
the personal injustices attendant on the political 
situation. This feeling is false, and would quickly 
pass on a return of normal conditions.' 

" ' There is a great deal in what you say,' the 
Republican admits ; ' but what of the atrocities 
committed by your people ? How can we forget 
those ? * 

" ' I cannot deny the atrocities,' answers the 
Unionist ; ' but are you not to blame ? What is 
your army other than a collection of people who, 


while it suits them, masquerade as peaceful 
citizens ? ' 

" The Republican answers, ' Your accuracy and 
penetration are extraordinary. As a military unit 
we are corner boys and assassins ; but in the 
circumstances, how can we be otherwise ? ' 

" ' True, very true,' the Loyalist assures him, 
4 on that last point I see with you eye to eye. 
Against such odds there is no other method you can 
adopt, unless you went in for passive resistance and 
boycotted England on a grand scale ; but, of course, 
a nation cannot be organised to that type of cold- 
blooded resistance it must have the stimulus of 
war. As things are, if you were to come out into 
the open, your army would be no more in a week. 
But if I give you that point you must give me this. 
The excesses of the military and the police have 
been caused by the type of war you wage. Our men 
don't know friends from enemies, there are no rules 
of warfare, consequently they take justice into 
their own hands.' 

" The Republican winks. ' The intelligent 
among us realise this. The outcry we raise is for 

" ' Ah ! ' cries the Loyalist, winking back, c it is 
the same with us, and our shout of murder gang. 
We use it to stimulate our followers and justify 
ourselves. Your leaders know and our leaders know 
that we are both out to win, and we must use every 
trick and shift. For, of course, we both have a 
contempt for the mob, haven't we ? The mob is 


necessary to us, but its opinion is worth nothing. 
Once the mob enthusiasm is raised, it will swallow 
any lie. it will shout any slogan.' ' 

My oration appeared to have sent 47 to sleep. 
I came to a full stop. When he began, it was on a 
line of his own. 

" An empire, an imperfect instrument, is nearer 
the co-operative ideal than separate states watching 
one another. Therefore, when Ireland, a part, 
demands to break away from the whole, it is an 
effort towards old tribal days, and I am out of 
sympathy. And if the whole feel they are en- 
dangered, in justice to themselves they are at 
liberty to deny the demands of the part." 

" You grudge Ireland independence ? " 

He passed over my interruption. " But, of 
course, a vigorous national life and a noble national 
ideal are undeniable advantages. Then how 
reconcile these two things the liberty of the 
nation with the safety of all nations ? It is 
the old difficulty of reconciling anarchy with 
socialism, those poles with equally strong claims." 
He paused and said, " Yes, there is a way out." 

" Dominion status ? " 

He nodded. " That will allow Ireland internal 
development, and that will keep her within the 
Empire, and there will be no breach made in the 

" Do you expect that to be the end ? " 

" I hope so." He switched his mind elsewhere 
again. " It's in bigger things than Ireland I'm 


interested at bottom. It is in world questions 
the class wars and that kind of thing." 

" Would you regret working against Com- 
munism, if you were ordered to ? " 

" Not necessarily, for one can sympathise with 
a thing, and yet find it unworkable, and a menace. 
In the van of all these movements march men with 
the seed of truth, who are so far ahead of time that 
if they leapt, and the world leapt after them, the 
world would fall into the ditch. It is evolution 
which alone will bring the masses after these people. 
And so these prophets must be destroyed that the 
world may not fall into the ditch. I do not hate 
what I kill. I have nothing against the body that 
collapses at my feet. I thrust with the sword of 
my mind. My victim and myself, may we not both 
be honest men caught in the toils of life ? " 47 
moved. " Here, I'm freezing. We must get inside. " 

Herself speaking. 

I was sorry for 47's wife as Himself and I left 
her at the top of the uncarpeted stairs. She looked 
small and tired, and very much alone, and I have 
no doubt she felt all those things. 

But I must hurry on. That night witnessed 
our first raid. 

It was four in the morning, and bitterly cold. 
The knock at the door, or rather the crash on the 
door, was shattering, and brought me straight up 
in bed. 

" Go back." It was Himself on the landing. 


" Don't be frightened. It seems to be the 

I continued to sit up, shivering. There was the 
rush of many feet, like the rush of hundreds of 
sheep after being penned up. The house filled 
at once. 

" Hands up ! " somebody shouted. I visualised 
Himself shivering on the landing with his hands 
above his head. 

" Unarmed. Right. Put 'em down. What's 
your name ? " 

Himself gave his name. 

" Who's in the house ? Who's in that room ? " 

" My wife." 

The door burst open, and armed men raced 
through into the room beyond. They appeared to 
look at nothing, but I suppose they took everything 
in. They had guns strapped up and down their 
legs and round their bodies, and balmoral bonnets 
on the backs of their heads. One immense specimen 
was left to guard me. He stood by the empty 
fireplace and eyed me. I eyed him back again. 
Presently he smiled. 

" You look cold." I said, for he was shaking 
under his heavy coat. 

" More tired than cold. Been at this without 

a break for three days and nights. It's ! " 

He left the rest to me. 

A series of heavy thuds overhead made me 
look up. 

" It's all right," he said soothingly. " Only 


the chaps searching. The lady upstairs is a bad 

" What ? " 

" I advise you to clear out. She's coming into 
the limelight soon. Oh, we know all about her." 

" She's harmless enough," I said. " She talks 

" Some people blow too hard." He pulled off a 
glove and breathed on his fingers. " What a 
country ! What a country ! What brought you 
here ? The Irish are mean enough to pick the flesh 
off the bones of a flea." 

" Curiosity." 

44 Well, it's curious enough ; but it will never 
be anything more than England's market garden, 
whether it's a republic or part of the Empire." 

44 There are some fine men in the movement." 

44 Fine ! " There was contempt in his voice. 
44 And you an English woman ! " 

44 Not English Australian," I corrected gently. 
44 Therefore I may be counted neutral, more or less." 

He laughed. 44 More or less. But which ? " 

I shook my head. 

44 All the same," I said, 44 you do make a mistake 
in thinking the Sinn Feiners are inferior." 

He caught me up, and refused to let me con- 

44 Inferior ! Of course they're inferior ! Look 
at them skulking round corners ; look at them 
hiding behind women. They can't conduct an 
ambush in a decent manner. Oh no ; they must 


wait until the kids are coming out of school, then 
they chuck their bomb. We can't hit them then. 
Oh no, they're not a decent race. The German is 
honourable. The Turk is honourable. The nigger 
is honourable. But not a Shinner. Stick up for 
any mongrel race you like, but not the Irish." 

His torrent of words left me gasping. 

" I've just come up from Cork," he said, after a 
few moments' pause. " If you want to see the Irish 
patriot in all his glory, go to Cork." 

Himself came into the room. He had managed 
to seize a coat from somewhere ; but he was shaking 
with cold. 

" I think they're nearly through," he said. " I 
hear sounds of going." 

" We have just been discussing the Irish," I 
said weakly. 

The sound of many feet clattering down the 
stairs cut my remarks short. My new acquaintance 
joined the ebbing tide and was gone. 



" You were able to come. I'm glad," my hostess 
exclaimed. " You know every one." 

Himself drifted to a far corner, where I lost 

I made my way across the great warm room 
towards the fireplace. Tea was progressing merrily, 
and I was soon seated with a cup in my hand, 
eating potato cakes hot from the kitchen. 

There were about thirty people present grave 
professors, elderly people who might have been 
doctors or lawyers, one or two who looked like 
decadent poets, and lots of wives. Everybody was 
talking. This man had been in the post office 
during the Rebellion, that woman had carried the 
Sinn Fein flag somewhere else on that occasion. 
They told racy stories against themselves and 
against the British Government. 

" The other day," a priest next door to me 
began, " I was in Talbot Street at the time of 
that shooting. You remember ? " 

" I remember," said a woman, dropping her 
cigarette into her saucer. " Yes, do go on." 



" I was in the pork butcher's shop. As a matter 
of fact, a bullet nearly got me in there. Quite near 
enough. I haven't got the sawdust out of my 
pants yet, I hugged the floor so close. I went out 
as soon as it was safe. The D.M.Ps. had gone ; 
you know the way they go. One of the boys was 
stretched in the middle of the road. There wasn't 
much life left in him, not enough to suffer. I 
knelt down beside him, and the crowd drifted 
back. A Tommy was standing near, with his 
hands on his rifle and his tin hat on his head. He 
wasn't taking any notice of me. There were other 
wounded people. All of a sudden an old beggar 
woman shouldered her way through the crowd to 
the Tommy. ' Och,' sez she, ' take that tin lid 
off iv ye while his riverince is saying his 
prayers. 5 " 

Some one leant above me with a jug of cream. 

" Cream ? " He poured cream into my cup 
and sat down by my side with the jug in his hand. 
" What a life we lead," he said. " Have you been 
raided yet ? " 

' Yes, not so very long ago." 

" Did they take anything ? " 

" Our breakfast, and a copy of Balzac's ' Droll 
Stories.' But they were a very decent lot." 

" You were lucky. They are light-fingered 
gentlemen as a rule." 

" I expect some of those stories aren't true." 

" Not true ! " exclaimed another man. " My 
dear lady, I know a family near Cork who are 


constantly raided by the Black-and-Tans. The 
same man is always in charge. Just before 
Christmas he called upon them with a revolver in 
each hand and said, ' I've called for my Christmas 
box. Make the cheque a decent one, as I've had 
a lot of trouble with this house." 

Everybody laughed. 

" I know two old ladies," said somebody else, 
" Unionists by the way. One night at dinner 
time a party of officers arrived and captured the 
house. The man in charge told them there was 
a man on the roof; but he told them not to be 
disturbed, and to go on with dinner. He came 
back after a little, apologised, and said he'd made 
a mistake. They discovered afterwards that he 
had cleared the house of everything valuable." 

" They've got splendid opportunities, of course," 
said my friend, balancing the cream jug on the end 
of the sofa. " I don't mind looting so much as 
man-handling. I can tell you some of the boys 
get a bad time when they are interrogated." 

I swallowed my tea reflectively. 

" There are cases of torture that we never hear 
of," said a new woman, drawing close. " I know 
of several cases in the country where the boys 
were caught, rolled in barbed wire, then flung on 
the ground, and the Black-and-Tans jumped on 
them ! " 

" They must have got sore feet," I suggested. 

" I know of a policeman in Limerick," the 
woman went on, " who beats every third woman 


he meets. He kicked a crippled child from one 
side of the road to the other in one kick. And 
then the English people are surprised that the 
Irish people hold out. The Irish are the most peace- 
loving and spiritual people in the world, and they 
must overcome wrong." 

" We know the men who do these things," 
said the man beside me. " Twenty years will 
make no difference. We'll get them." 

" Well, I'm all for peace," I declared. " But 
then I'm not Irish." 

He laughed. " Do you think we'd have got 
very far if we hadn't let a little blood ? " 

" I think it might have taken longer to wake 
up the Government ; but it could have been done. 
Women got suffrage ; no blood was shed. The 
woman's war was the only clean one waged, I 
think. Why not be satisfied now with the blood- 
shed you've had, and try something else ? " 

" No ; the lion's tail must be twisted. It will 
be twisted before we've finished. Ireland's only 
a pin point ; but she's pushing right into the heart 
of the Empire." 

There was a pause, and a snatch of conversation 
came from somewhere else. 

" I saw Mrs." I couldn't catch the name 
" yesterday," a woman said. " She's working very 
hard, and, of course, her husband will kill himself 
one day." 

" Who is that ? " I asked. 

" She's an American ; but she always calls the 

OLD MEG 137 

Irish ' my own dear people.' Her husband is an 
Englishman ; but he has an Irish soul." 

Our hostess advanced. 

" Has any one heard of the Minister of Propa- 
ganda lately ? I love that man. He's the only 
man among you with wit. Tell me, somebody, 
what is going to happen." 

There was a general shrugging of shoulders as 
she settled in a chair. 

" The British Government will give in." 

" But what of poor Ireland in the mean- 
time ? " 

" Things have been quiet for a few days," I 

" An unnatural quiet," said a second priest. 
" Something is brewing for the Black-and-Tans. 
How our boys can gull them ! " 

People came towards us attracted by our 
laughter, and an old lady whose name I could not 
catch, and whom I never saw after that evening, 
drew into the circle. 

" Things are getting worse," said our hostess. 
" I can't go down the street without danger of 
being run over by armoured cars, and the soldiers 
just look as if they are going to stand up in the 
lorries and fire into the crowd." 

" We weren't talking of Curfew," said a pallid 
youth ; " but let us, because I want to tell you the 
story of old Meg." 

"Old Meg? Who's old Meg?" our hostess 


" You must know her. The dirtiest beggar 
woman in Dublin." 

" I know her," a woman exclaimed, " a dreadful 
old creature. She tore her dress open in front of 
me the other day in Wicklow Street, and said, 
' For the love iv Heaven, lady, buy me some 
combinations. It's after perishing with cold I am 
this minute, and you in furs. Look at me poor 
bare body. It's you have the good heart, lady, 
and you've never felt the cold.' ' Indeed,' I said 
indignantly, ' I have. I feel the cold very much. 
Cover yourself at once, you disgusting old woman. 
Do you see the policeman looking at you ? ' ' Him ! ' 
she said scornfully, ' I take no notice iv him. It's 
a son I have in the I.R.A. Give me the price of 
the combinations, lady, and 111 let you go.' ' I'll 
do no such thing ; but I'll give you a shilling if 
you promise not to go near the public-house with 
it.' ' Indade, an' shame on ye, lady, why would 
a poor old woman like me be going near a public- 
house ? ' " 

" That's Meg," said the youth. " She's a great 
character, and her mother and grandmother 
begged on the streets. She was curfewed outside 
my house the other night. Must have been the 
night you gave her the shilling. Drunk ? I 
heard a commotion and leaned out of window, 
and there she was defying the British Army. But 
they collared her. ' What're you doing out now ? ' 
asked a Black-and-Tan, sticking a revolver where 
her belt should have been. ' It's going home, I 


am,' said Meg. ' For the love iv Heaven give me 
a copper.' ' It's a bullet I'll give you, you old 
vermin. Get into that lorry quick.' ' That,' says 
Meg, * that ! I'm after being a lady now. Och, 
and it's me great-grandfather who was after being 
a king.' 'You'll be after being a corpse if you 
don't get a move on.' They made a start, and sud- 
denly she saw me. ' Hallo, dearie,' called out the 
descendant of kings, ' I'm curlewed ! ' 

" The Irish beggars are priceless," exclaimed 
the second priest, who had rolled and twisted with 
laughter until the tears ran down his cheeks. " You 
heard about the flower- women the day Lord French 
was attacked ? " 

" No," said our hostess. " TeU us, father." 
" Two old flower- women watched the whole 
thing. ' Did ye see the bullets flying ? ' said one. 
' I did, indeed, and a grand sight it was. Did ye 
see the boys all standing there cool and steady, 
firing at Lord French? And a lady with him. 
"Let me get out," sez she to he, "let me get out," 
sez she. "This is no place for me," sez she. 
"Let me get out," sez she. "You will not," sez 
he to she, " and you will not," sez he.' " 

" And now for a last story," said the second 
priest, getting up. " The other day a friend in 
Cork was searched by the Black-and-Tans just 
before Curfew, for arms, of course. As usual after 
going through his pockets, the gentleman went 
through his pocket-book, took all he had, which 
was five pounds, and also took his silver watch, 


My friend, who isn't a man to sit down under things, 
went over to the officer in charge and said what 
had happened. The officer came up and told the 
Black-and-Tan to return the loot. The man 
grumbled and hauled out of his pocket a dozen 
watches, and a bundle of notes. ' Take which 
is yours,' he said, swinging the watches, and he 
held out a handful of notes. It was quite dark, 
and when my friend got under a light, he found 
he had got a gold watch for his silver one, and 
ten pounds for his five." 

In the middle of the laughter that followed 
the story, the priest made his exit. 

We followed suit, and we were not many steps 
on the way when the old lady I had noticed came 
up behind us. 

" I have something to say," she said. " I 
hope you won't be influenced by what you hear 
over here. When I see strangers like you I am 
always so afraid of what will happen to them. 
The Irish are such good pleaders. But it's all 
lamentable. I am as Irish as anybody ; but I 
wish this was over, with all my heart I wish it. 
It's not a clean war. It's having a frightful effect 
on the young men. Kill, kill, kill is all they think 
of now, it's all they talk of, and what will they have 
at the end of their lives, what battles can they fight 
over again ? I can't sleep at night, I hear them 
talking as old men. 4 1 got him in his bath,' one 
will say. Another, ' I got him in bed.' And 
another, ' He was visiting his wife. I shot him at 


tea. 5 They have dirtied Ireland's name, say what 
they will, they have done that. Doesn't the most 
sympathetic American squirm when you compare 
this to the American War of Independence ? I 
think so. I read the other day of the Poles object- 
ing to the comparison with the Polish struggle for 
freedom. People who hate England pretend to 
sympathise with us for their own ends ; but there 
is not a nation that, at heart, does not hold 
our methods in contempt. We are called ditch 
murderers, and the expression is justified." 

Her face was working with emotion. We had 
come to a corner. She said good night and was 



PASSING from bad to worse, the year drew to 
an end. 

As if the fury of those days were breeding them 
and putting them upon the streets, the shaking 
lorries increased in number ; and the flying 
Crossley tenders swept by in the hunt hunting, 
hunting, hunting for the elusive foe, which was 
everywhere and nowhere which was on the 
pavements, which was behind the counters of the 
shops, which was wrapped in the uniforms of tram 
conductor, of railway porter, of postman, which 
made use of any refuge that it might help the infant 
Republic to take a place among the nations. 

Terrible tales were whispered in those final 
weeks of the dying year. Tales of frenzied men 
hunted by bloodhounds. Tales of pitiless am- 
bushes, of police slaughtered to a man, and the 
bodies hacked to pieces with axes. Tales of 
savage reprisal following on shameful deed, of 
burned shops, of deserted farms, of peasants gone 
to couch with fox and hare. Tales of new pro- 
clamations and new restrictions falling alike on 
guilty and innocent. 



" Auxiliary Division, R.I.C., the Castle, 

" Whereas foul murders of servants of the 
Crown have been carried out by disaffected 
persons, and whereas such persons immediately 
before the said murders appeared to be peaceful 
and loyal people, but have produced pistols from 
their pockets ; it is hereby ordered that all male 
inhabitants of Macroom, and all males passing 
through Macroom, shall not appear in public with 
their hands in their pockets. Any male infringing 
this order is liable to be shot at sight." 

Tales of bridges destroyed in the country 
places to impede the movement of Government 
troops, and other bridges leading to the market 
towns blown up as reprisal by forces of the Crown. 
Tales of gross murder of isolated police replied to 
by tales of blindfolded prisoners taken at dead of 
night to lonely places and there told they were to 
die, made to kneel praying and listen while a grave 
was dug, and this play-acting done, the victim 
promised life if he would say was his neighbour, 
the butcher, a peaceful citizen or a follower of Sinn 
Fein, did his friend, the bootmaker, who so amiably 
dusted his shop of a morning also in the dark of 
night dust a gun which came up from under the 
boards. And could the kneeling man rise to meet 
this fierce hour and refuse the information, his 
thwarted captors returned him to his cell. 

Tales that the golden age of robbery had come. 
Criminals in all countries hear of the anarchy 


abroad and take tickets to the distressed country. 
Armed men emerge from the lanes and the alley 
ways and rob by night and by day. It is whispered 
some of the robberies of the Ulster banks are carried 
out by Irish Volunteers acting under orders, it is 
shouted that some of the highway robberies are 
conducted by out-at-elbow Black-and-Tans, acting 
without orders and trying to turn an honest penny 
in an unfriendly land. 

Then, in the midst of war, rumours of peace. 
The dove flutters a moment into sight, and takes 
wing again. Father O'Flanagan, Acting President 
of the Irish Republic, telegraphs to the British 
Prime Minister : 

" You state that you are willing to make peace 
at once without waiting for Christmas. Ireland 
also is willing. What first steps do you propose ? ?? 

The telegram was sent when Sinn Fein was hard 
pressed. Many of the leaders were in prison, the 
rest were hunted day and night. It was imperative 
to keep a tight hold on supporters if the movement 
were to hold together. A sudden gesture of this 
kind might be taken as a sign of panic and begin 
a general rout. There was a day or two of heart- 
searching in the Republican camp, and ' Watch- 
man,' in one of the Nationalist journals, came 
forward with the warning that if the nation was 
not to be stampeded it must remain as cold as ice, 
calm as a summer lake, and wary as a fox going 
on all its toes. The mysterious Michael Collins 


emerged from his obscurity with a second letter 
in which he thanked nobody for refraining from 
murdering him, and told the nation to " stop 
talking, and get on with the work." 

The dove clapped its wings and fled away, and 
ere the sound of its flight was lost news came that 
as reprisal for an ambush in the public thorough- 
fare, the City of Cork was in flames. The machinery 
of war was in motion again. 

Deed of terror following deed of terror, the days 
wore out, Christmas came and went, and the year 
came to an end. 

Hampered but still free, fettered but not 
completely bound, finding the draught of difficulty 
as a sick man finds a strengthening medicine, 
through all that came and went, Sinn Fein con- 
tinued with the building up of the Republic. 
Republican Courts, which had been suppressed, 
continued in existence, sitting when and where 
they could, judges, lawyers, plaintiffs, defendants, 
and all the following of law, flitting from place to 
place like birds bereft of a nesting ground, against 
all legal tradition taught to be sparing of argument, 
as at the very moment of judgment, they might 
have to snatch up bag and baggage, and judge, 
lawyer, plaintiff, and defendant make tracks to the 
hills. Yet in the face of opposition, because of it, 
these courts met with considerable success. Clients 
arrived in the hope that the judgments given would 
be more lenient than in the established British 
Courts, clients came from patriotic motives, from 


motives of adventure, and not least because they 
dared not stay away. Intimidation was present 
here as elsewhere. 

For both parties in the struggle had great belief 
in the weapon of intimidation, and there was 
taking place one long competition in intimidation 
between the Crown Forces and the Republican 
Volunteers. The strange situation had arisen of 
two Governments claiming to rule the country, 
and neither one able to protect its adherents 
from the other, nor able to control its own 

The inner circle of Sinn Fein held council when 
it could, framed its policy and issued its edicts. 
Cabinet Ministers might sleep each night in a new 
bed, those of them who were not sleeping night 
after night in one of his Britannic Majesty's prisons ; 
but their words were not without weight. In their 
offices in attics and in cellars, they built up the 
infant Republic. 

It was told that the Minister of Finance found 
time to acknowledge all funds, although the very 
rumour of his name sent the gates of Dublin 
Castle back upon their hinges and a host of armed 
men abroad. Again and again his offices were 
captured, and his very signature found damp upon 
some cheque, yet with the choicest of his corre- 
spondence he was gone to some new attic, to some 
new cellar, there to begin again. 

The Minister of Commerce, passing from place 
to place like any Ishmaelite, issued his edicts that 


such and such British goods should be boycotted, 
and the unwilling shopkeepers dared not disobey. 

The Minister of Propaganda, pedalling, pedalling 
his ubiquitous bicycle, interviewed foreign jour- 
nalists, got together his facts for the day's issue of 
the Irish Bulletin, all the while thanking the dark 
for its cloak, thanking the cold for an excuse to 
muffle up. 

So the work of the Departments was done, nor 
was it probable that it would be undone, for man 
thrives on difficulty. The danger to this national 
awakening was not then, it was going to be later 
on in the easy days of peace. 

The old year came to an end, and the first day 
of the new year brought Sinn Fein Ireland a happy 
augury. It went from mouth to mouth that 
President De Valera had returned from America. 
Everywhere the question was put, " Is he come ? " 
" Where has he landed ? " 

47, whom I ran across about this time, told me 
he received reliable information of the President's 
whereabouts within a few hours of the landing, and 
he had passed on the news to Headquarters. It 
was decided that no steps should be taken to arrest 
the President, and henceforward to the truce in 
June, the difficulty for the agents of the Crown was 
to avoid coming in contact with him. 

This was not the story told by Sinn Fein, who 
made it known that the astute President, aided by 
the Republican secret service, was making ridicu- 
lous the clumsy efforts of the Crown Forces to 


capture him, and patriots chuckled over their tea- 
cups. The awakening was a rude one. Auxiliary 
police, raiding the grounds of a house in the Black- 
rock district, found digging potatoes a mysterious 
person with side whiskers, who was possessed of 
important papers. He was escorted to the nearest 
barracks, where it transpired he was no less a man 
than the President of the Irish Republic. He 
received an apology and was released. 

The patriots of the teatables were thunderstruck, 
and more insulted than if their President had been 
maltreated. Some there were who received a shock 
from which they never recovered. 

It was in these dark days my wife and I first 
made acquaintance with A. E., first saw presiding 
over a circle interested in mysticism and the occult 
this benevolent and rather giant person, wrapped 
up in an ancient greatcoat, and all crowded into a 
chair. There was not a wrinkle to speak of in his 
face, as if a serene mind had allowed him to pass 
trouble by, and through his spectacles looked out 
eyes as blue as the sky. 

On the wall were two pictures by his hand of 
visions he had seen in some uncommon hour. For 
this man, who is gaining an international reputation, 
was many-sided, and each side exceeded the stature 
of an average man. 

He was a painter of some ability, and better 
than his painting was his poetry, and better than 
his poetry was his prose, and better than his prose 
were his ideas ; and more astonishing than his ideas 


was the facility for expressing them. He seemed 
informed on half the subjects in the world, and a 
question would start the stream of eloquence flow- 
ing. Never was there such an example of rich 
payment received from trained concentration and 
years of clear thinking. 

The new year started as the old year had ended 
in fury and ruin. 

One of the dreariest of those afternoons, when 
evening was sweeping up out of the Liffey in the 
guise of a river fog, I found myself upon O'Connell 
Bridge watching a line of soldiers holding up 
traffic and searching motor cars. Standing there 
as chilly of thought as I was chilly of body, I 
became intuitive like a prophet, so that I was ready 
to open my mouth and prophesy. 

Militant Sinn Fein had reached the limit of its 
popularity with the nation, the swing of the pendu- 
lum had got to its end and would come back again. 
It had been a melancholy task for loyal people 
watching the Republican ideal spreading through 
the country like a disease, finding week by week 
the British Empire losing the Irish nation, first by 
tens, then by hundreds, then by thousands, and 
for this reason above others, that Irishmen be 
their opinions wrong, be their deeds wrong were 
being hunted down in Ireland. The case of the 
deserting Unionists was the case of the man who is 
willing to beat his own wife, but who takes her part 
when an outsider appears to do the business. 

Waiting on the bridge this evening, watching 


the fog rise off the river and the soldiers search the 
cars as they drove up, I knew the Sinn Fein militant 
policy had reached the limit of national sympathy 
and patience. As restrictions grew worse, as trade 
grew worse, that numerically greatest portion of 
the population to whom ideals are a consideration 
secondary to material prosperity, would look more 
and more askance at the people who were bringing 
them to ruin. 

The Republican cry was a false cry as far as the 
Irish nation was concerned. Only a minority of 
the people were genuine in a desire for the Republic, 
and many who shouted " Up the Republic " had no 
idea what they meant. A band of enthusiasts had 
struck a spark, and now the country was wrapped 
in the flames of a national passion ; but the majority 
of the people had been caught in the conflagration 
through circumstance. The psychology of the 
crowd had operated, the spirit of the herd. 

Now that the youth of Ireland, who had been 
cheated of the European war, had had a fill of 
struggle, the time was at hand when the wise 
fireman, dragging his hose after him, might get 
into position to put the fire out. 

Ireland suffered under a genuine grievance. 
The taxation was unjust ; there were other in- 
justices. But if a truce could be called and an 
offer made which put right what had before been 
wrong, the dream of a Republic would pass away 
as a man's dream passes away in the morning. 
Let the tension be slackened and life find its true 


values again, and all the shouts left in the throats 
of the true Republicans would not trouble the 
nation again. The effort had been used up, and 
the gods do not give such passion twice in a genera- 
tion. They are chary of their gifts. 

Thinking this, I waited on the bridge, wondering 
how long would go by before some one in the crowd 
fired at the soldiers, whereupon the soldiers would 
return the compliment, and there would follow a 
stampede, and I would be offered the choice of 
being shot to death or crushed to death. But 
nobody drew a gun on this occasion, though another 
time, very soon afterwards, I was on the same spot, 
and somebody in the crowd threw a bomb or fired 
a shot, somebody who was well down a side street 
a moment afterwards, and the soldiers fired into 
the brown as I expected, and a woman was killed. 

But the dove of peace, which had fluttered into 
sight for a day or two before Christmas, had fled 
away, and was not yet to be seen back again, and 
during these first weeks of the new year it became 
evident that spirit was to descend yet farther into 

I take the following quotations haphazard from 
issues of the Irish Bulletin (the Republican organ) 
of that date. Such remedies as these were tried to 
cope with the situation. 

" On Saturday night, January 1st, Auxiliary 
Police raided a dance hall in Lisduff, co. Leitrim. 
The dance was interrupted, and the dancers ques- 
tioned and searched. They were then compelled 


to sing ' God save the King ' and denounce 
President De Valera, after which they were ordered 
out of the dance hall, shots being fired after them." 

" A Proclamation has been issued by Major- 
General Strickland, English Military Governor in 
Cork, prohibiting the use of motor-cars, motor- 
cycles, and pedal cycles between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. 
in the Martial Law area, which now extends over 
one-third of Ireland. This order comes into force 
on the 20th inst." 

" On the afternoon of Friday, January 14th, 
1921, Auxiliary Police arrested So-and-so. All the 
men were prominent merchants in the town. . . . 
The men were taken to the local barracks and were 
then formed into a procession and compelled to 
march through the town carrying Union Jacks and 
trailing the Republican flag in the dust. An 
itinerant musician was compelled to head the 
procession playing a banjo. At the rear of the 
procession a large party of Black-and-Tan Con- 
stabulary drove in a motor lorry cheering and 
shouting. After they had marched through the 
town the merchants were forced to kneel down in 
the public street and kiss the Union Jack, whilst 
the Constabulary burned the Republican flag." 

" On Wednesday, January 26th, Constabulary 
rounded up many of the prominent residents of 
Fermoy, co. Cork, marched them to the bridge in 
the centre of the town, where they were compelled 
to paint on the walls such inscriptions as ' God save 
the King.' ' God bless the Black-and-Tans.' ' 

" On Friday, January 28th, at Leitrim, men of 
all ages and classes were commandeered by Con- 
stabulary and marched to parts of the road were 
' ambushes might occur.' There they were com- 


pelled to fell trees and cut down hedges on both 
sides of the roads." 

" On Wednesday, February 2nd, a number of 
the residents of Glanworth, co. Cork, were com- 
mandeered and were marched out of the village. 
They were then compelled to remove trees which 
had been felled across the roads (by the I.R.A.) 
some time previously." 

" On February 4th military and constabulary 
rounded up over a hundred men in Listowel, co. 
Kerry, including elected representatives, merchants, 
professional men, etc., formed them up into parties 
and marched them out of the town to various 
country roads across which trenches had some time 
previously been dug. There the parties were given 
picks and spades and compelled under threats of 
being shot to fill in the trenches. The weather was 
very inclement, and no discrimination was made in 
selecting the victims age or illness being no pro- 
tection. Mr. John W. Galvin, proprietor of the 
Central Hotel, who was suffering from heart affec- 
tion and asthma, was among those forced to fill the 
trenches. During the work he complained of heart 
trouble, but was compelled to continue. While 
being marched back to town he fell dead." 

From the Irish Independent of January 1st. 

" Martin Con way, one of the victims near 
Bruff, is stated to have crawled four miles after he 
had been wounded, while he was acting as a sentry 
near Caherguillamore House. He was tracked by 
a bloodhound, which had accompanied the police 
party, and he immediately fired at the hound, 
killing him ; but was himself killed by the return 
fire. Mr. Conway was a prominent Sinn Feiner, 
and had been on the run." 


Independent of January 4th. 

" Afterwards, it was stated, a bloodhound was 
employed in a search for Tobin, and a pool of blood 
was found on the mountain where the wounded 
man had evidently rested. On Sunday morning 
his dead body was found within a hundred yards 
of his mother's house, whither he had evidently 
crawled from some place of hiding during the night. 
He had his coat under his head, and had evidently 
lain down to die." 

Tragic to read ? Yes. Regrettable to read ? 
Yes. But the Crown Forces were victims of cir- 
cumstances no less than were the Irish Volunteers. 
The trouble began by Britain refusing to concede 
certain Irish claims ; this led to outrage, and out- 
rage to reprisals, and reprisals to a state of civil 
war. The reprisals were carried out to intimidate 
(and to a certain extent the reprisals did justify 
themselves), to satisfy thwarted effort, out of con- 
tempt. I have spoken to several Auxiliary Police, 
humane men, men who had taken part in the Euro- 
pean War, and not one of them spoke of the Sinn 
Feiner as an enemy and an equal, as he might have 
spoken of a Frenchman or a German. If it were 
suggested the reprisals were unworthy, the answer 
would be, " Good enough for them, the swine ! " 

Yet the Irish Volunteer believed himself to be 
serving an ideal. I quote an extract from General 
Lawson's report, dated December 30th. 

" The captains . . . appear to have been . . . 
as a class, transparently sincere and single-minded, 
idealists, highly religious for the most part, and 


often with an almost religious sense of their duty 
to their country. . . . They fought against drunken- 
ness and self-indulgence, and it is no exaggeration 
to say that as a class they represented all that was 
best in the countryside. . . . They and their 
volunteers were trained to discipline, they imbibed 
the military spirit, and then as now they looked 
upon their army as one in a very real sense, an 
organisation demanding implicit obedience and self- 
abnegation from rank to rank. . . . They stood for 
much that is best in human nature. . . . There is a 
spirit of a nation behind the organisation . . . 
sympathising with and believing that those who 
belong to the I.R.A. are fighting for the cause of 
the Irish people." 

The Irish Volunteers, lacking numbers and 
equipment, were forced to conduct the fight by 
any method they could, and the Crown Forces, if 
they were to get in a blow at all, had frequently to 
get down on hands and knees, and meet the enemy 
on their own level. Such are the humours of life. 

Surely the gods must laugh as they watch, or, 
indeed, are they wiser than man believes, and order 
these complex events that he, weary of reading 
from the old lesson book, may have his attention 
caught by old truths put in a new way, and learn 
again the lessons of fortitude and restraint. 

January came to an end, February came to an 
end, and the disastrous tale of deeds continued ; 
but the days were getting longer, and the cold was 
going out of the air, and a man felt when the sun 
came back again, peace also might return. 



ONE March morning Mrs. Slaney rapped at the door. 
Himself was out. I put down my pen with a 

" I see you have c engaged ' on the door," 
she said cheerfully, "but I must come in for a 
moment to tell you something. It's very bad for 
you to sit writing like this, you should be out in 
the sun. We don't get much sunshine as a rule at 
this time of the year." 

She shut the door, walked over to the sofa, and 
lowered her voice. 

" I've let the hall flat," she said. " I had to 
come and tell you." 

" But you let it yesterday ? " 

" I know . . . but " she rustled with excite- 
ment " but I am writing at once to put those 
people off. On second consideration, it is most 
unsuitable. They are so young and only just 
married, later on it might mean a baby, and I have 
to consider my other tenants, you and your husband, 
for instance. You remember I asked you before 
I took that musical man upstairs. There's a 



great art in making a household run on oiled 

44 You're pleased with the people coming to-day, 
then ? " 

She hesitated, and then she said, " I must tell 
you. I trust you. I know you won't talk." She 
must have thought I looked puzzled, for she went 
on nervously, " I've let the hall flat to Mrs. Fitz- 
gerald." She paused to see the effect of her words. 
44 Mrs. Desmond Fitzgerald. Her husband is 
Minister of Propaganda. Now I feel that I've 
done something for Ireland ! No one will take her, 
they are so afraid of raids ; but I made up my mind 
at once." 

" Mr. Barrel Figgis has made this place rather 
popular with the Black-and-Tans. Is it wise 
from Mrs. Fitzgerald's point of view ? " 

44 Of course it is. I met Mr. Figgis only yester- 
day, and he told me he was sure the house wouldn't 
be raided again." 

44 How on earth can he tell ? " 

44 Mr. Figgis has a wonderful brain. I think 
he's the brains of the movement myself. Besides, 
I'm not afraid of the Black-and-Tans. I'm an 
Irishwoman. Look at the sacrifices Irishwomen 
have made. Mr. Fitzgerald isn't going to live 
here. He's coming sometimes after dark for meals. 
Mrs. Fitzgerald and the baby will be here. I don't 
want the people upstairs to know who she is. 
After all, Fitzgerald is a common enough name. 
They can think she's a widow." 


" There's a baby. I thought you wouldn't have 
a baby ? " 

" But this baby is a grown baby. It's eleven 
months old, and its mother says it's a very good 
baby, it makes no noise at all." 

" Of course, one can only prove that," 

" There's one other thing." Mrs. Slaney moved 
uneasily. " It's about the baths. You and your 
husband have always had as many baths as you 
wanted. We must make a little difference in that 
rule now, and treat you like the others. This 
weather you can't want more than two baths a 
week. Perhaps in summer we can make some 
other arrangement." She went on to the Minister 
of Propaganda. " Poor man, he will be delighted 
to get a flat where he can have his meals in comfort. 
He's been on the run for a long time now. It's 
shameful an Irishman should have to live like that. 
I shall soon get to know Mrs. Fitzgerald, the baby 
will be the link ; and I shall hear everything that 
is going on. I must go and write my letter." 

When I spoke to Himself about it afterwards, 
he said, " I suppose those people will be all right 
here. I wouldn't like to go bail. Since the last 
raid men always seem hanging about. I suppose 
they give the house a look up now and then. The 
less we know about things the better." 

But we were not the only people in the house 
with forebodings. 

A week later, when Mrs. Fitzgerald had already 
been settled in a day or two, the door opened 


cautiously and Mrs. O'Grady, dustpan in hand, 
came in with the air of a conspirator. 

" The mistress is after setting the hall flat," 
she said mysteriously. 

" I know. I thought they had been in a day 
or two." 

" It's bad luck she's bringing on everybody. 
She's always that frightened she'll not be noticed. 
She'll be noticed now. Never fear, the Black-and- 
Tans will be burning the place down one night." 

" Mrs. O'Grady, what do you mean ? " 

" She's not telling you who's in the house, not 
she. She's a mean, mean woman, and it's black 
trouble she's bringing on us all. Well I know it. 
I do say to O'Grady of a night that your husband, 
mum, is the only gentleman as has been in this 
house since the Captain left as had these rooms 
before you, and he wasn't any great gentleman so 
as to speak. She doesn't know how to treat nice 
people when she does get them. She's set her 
flat to Desmond Fitzgerald, that's what she's after 

" Mrs. O'Grady ! " 

"I do be going blind, but not so blind ; and 
it's himself as had his pictures in the papers not 
long ago. God help him. It's on the run he's been 
ever since the Sunday shootings, though a more 
innocent man never drew breath I'm hearing those 
who know say. It's the mistress will bring trouble 
on him if he sets a foot in this house. It's 'Mrs. 
O'Grady,' she'll be saying, 'hold your tongue or I'll 


get shot iv ye.' But she'll tell. There's not one 
person she'll meet that she won't tell, she'll be that 
swollen with pride." 

" You've seen him ? " 

" Indeed and I have. He comes on his bicycle 
after dark, and he knocks and she lets him in. Did 
ye hear the set-to with the mistress and Mrs. Fitz- 
gerald over the key last night ? Now she won't 
give Mrs. Fitzgerald a second latchkey, and himself 
there standing on the steps of a night with all the 
Black-and-Tans in Dublin looking at him. I've 
seen him indeed ; but I wouldn't know him, for he's 
that quiet he won't look at ye, and he's muffled up 
round the neck that ye can't say what's his eyes 
and what's his chin." 

" Well, let's do our parts and not talk." 

" And who should I be talking to ? There's 
only O'Grady and Polly, who's sharp enough her- 
self for a young girl, God save her, and on Sundays 
I go to my sister regular, and she so full of her own 
troubles that she's no time for mine. Will you be 
wanting your tea now ? " 

" No, thank you, Mrs. O'Grady ; I'll make it 
myself later." 

" And what would you be doing that for at all ? 
I'll be wetting my own tea when I do go down, and 
I'll do yours at the same time and send it up by 

Mrs. O'Grady was about to withdraw when 
she waxed enthusiastic. 

" The baby, he's a dote ! " she exclaimed, 


" a dote, and exactly like his father, and there are 
two beautiful boys away at school, real dotes. 
There's a photo of them on the mantelpiece. My 
legs are run off me this minute what with the 
mistress upstairs and Mrs. Fitzgerald downstairs, 
and it's extra she's after charging for the flat ; but 
it's no extra she's after giving me." 

il Well, I hope they'll be all right." 

" Indeed, mum, and I don't like it, not at all, 
at all. Only the other morning, when the luggage 
was outside the door, three men passed and looked 
down into the area, and Polly says they were Black- 
and-Tans in civics." 

" Rubbish, Mrs. O'Grady, they couldn't know 

" Couldn't they ? " She tossed her head. 
44 Couldn't they ? " she repeated darkly. " There's 
trouble coming to this house, and don't you 
forget it." 

She gave a sniff and departed. 



HIMSELF was out ; but I was not alone. Mrs. 
Slaney sat upon my sofa, and Mrs. Slaney smoked a 
cigarette, and once again Mrs. Slaney poured into 
my dulled ears the story of Ireland's martyrdom. 

" It's going to be a cold night," she said, in the 
middle of a fiery sentence. 

" Cold ? " My voice was like the night. " I 
must take my bulbs in from the window ; I don't 
want them frost nipped now." I rose and went to 
the window and opened it with difficulty, for the 
sash had never been mended. 

" I really mustn't stay long," said Mrs. Slaney, 
staying where she was. " I have letters to write. 
Are those tulips ? They have come on." 

" Yes." I carefully placed the last pot on the 
floor, shut the window carefully, and crawled up 
from my lowly position on the floor. There was 
silence for a moment after that. Mrs. Slaney 
smoked thoughtfully, and I returned to my seat. 

Suddenly the silence was broken by a shrill 
whistle. It made us start. 

" I wonder if Mr. Fitzgerald is in ? " saidjMrs. 
Slaney suddenly. 


44 1 don't know," I said, staring from the lighted 
room into the dark outside. 

" You hear him come and go, I suppose ? " 

" I seldom hear people come and go. I don't 
listen. After all, it doesn't interest me." 

" I always feel so uneasy when he's in the house. 
Poor hunted man ! You've not seen him, I 
suppose ? " 

I shook my head. " Never." 

" Awful for Mrs. Fitzgerald ! Those brutes 
might shoot him at any moment. But I suppose 
she's used to it." 

" Perhaps he gets a certain amount of fun out 
of the life. No man can call it dull eluding the 

" Fun ! Being hunted to death like the vermin 
of the fields. Fun ! Battered from pillar to post. 
The military are getting more and more audacious. 
I often wonder where they will stop. Women are 
frightened to have a bath now in case they come in, 
and they raided a convent the other day. Thank 
goodness, there was an outcry at that ! A convent 
which had never admitted a man inside it. And at 
night. I heard the Mother Superior said the nuns 
behaved magnificently, there was no outcry from 
them, and when it was all over they went to the 
Chapel and tendered thanks to the Blessed Virgin 
that they had come to no harm." 

" I heard it said that the raid was conducted 
with great civility." 

44 Yes. I believe those special raiders were not 


a bad lot of men. But the indignity of it ! 
Would nuns intrigue and be interested in politics ? " 

" I really couldn't say. You know best, of 
course. But there must have been some reason 
for the raid." 

" None whatever. It was simply to show their 
power. The love of terrifying people. But they 
didn't terrify the nuns." 

" A Unionist told me the other day that the 
Irish question would be settled only when education 
was taken completely out of the Church's hands 
and no religion was taught in the schools. I believe 
he's right." 

" Every man and woman worth the name in 
Ireland would die before they consented to such a 

" It'll come to pass. What's really wrong with 
Ireland is religion. You can say what you like. 
The religion is distorted, people aren't balanced 
about it. I'd like to see a wave of agnosticism pass 
through the country, and after that people might 
take up religion at its true value." 

" Of course we both think so differently. But 
I tell you that such a thing can never happen in 
this country." 

A blaze of light shone suddenly into the room. 
There were loud sounds of throbbing engines. We 
both started to our feet when a knock, which 
should have roused all the dead in Ireland, shook 
the front door. 

Mrs. Slaney's hand flew to her heart. 


4 What's that ? 5! I hardly heard her voice 
above the noise. 

She moved towards the door and then back 
again. Again the house was shaken with the 

Mrs. Slaney put out the light. 

" Don't do that," I said sharply. " You'll draw 

She put it up again, and ran out of the room 
and halfway up the stairs, as if she remembered 
something. Then she turned and came back, 

I went out on the landing. By this time Polly 
had opened the front door, and figures in uniform 
poured into the hall. " Open that door," the first 
man ordered, pointing at the Fitzgeralds 5 sitting- 
room. " Wide." Polly obeyed, and the stream 
poured in. Others were coming up the stairs when 
a shout, " Got him ! " halted them. " It's all right, 
boys ! " The people on the stairs went down into 
the hall again, and began to go through the pockets 
of the coats hanging there. 

" His bicycle I " exclaimed the officer in charge. 
" Put her on board, some one." 

Mrs. Slaney and I leant over the stairs. I 
wondered if Mrs. Fitzgerald felt as upset as I did. 

The murmur of voices mounted all the time 
from the flat below. There was an occasional 
laugh. Through the half-opened door, which 
showed us the sitting-room, we could see the baby 
laughing and being handed round by the Auxiliaries. 
The infant Fergus created a good atmosphere, and 


seemed delighted with his new friends, who had 
wakened him to search the cot. Finally Mrs. 
Slaney gathered herself together for the attack. 

The Auxiliaries seemed delighted with their 
capture, and were obviously ready to be amiable. 
Mrs. Slaney descended upon them, her wooden 
heels tapping as she walked, and the light from the 
hall lamp glinted on a tortoiseshell comb that rose 
from her hair. 

" Who is the officer in command of the raid ? " 
she demanded. 

A youthful Auxiliary turned towards her, the 
baby kicking in his arms. His revolvers rested 
peacefully round his waist and in holsters on his legs. 

" The officer in charge." He beamed upon her 
as a friend. 

A tall gaunt man, with a face like a red Indian, 
appeared in the doorway. 

" Who wants me ? " 

" Are you the officer in charge of this raid ? " 

" Yes, madam. Is there anything I can do for 

" Are you the blackguard who murdered those 
unfortunate boys at Drumcondra the other 
night ? " 

A cold shiver ran down my spine. Mrs. O'Grady, 
hovering in the shadows in the hall, withdrew to the 
basement. I heard the shuffle of her sandshoes. 

" Will some one take the baby, please ? " 

Mrs. Fitzgerald, unconscious of the question or 
of the storm it raised, came out of the sitting-room. 


" He ought to be asleep. Where's Mrs. O'Grady ? 
She could take him downstairs." 

I went down and took the baby, while Mrs. 
Slaney and the chief of Auxiliaries eyed each other. 

44 What reason have you for arresting this man 
in my house ? " Mrs. Slaney demanded. " A 
perfectly innocent man." 

" Enough, madam." Like Pharaoh, the man 
had hardened his heart. " Are you the owner of 
this house ? " 

44 1 am." 

" Then perhaps you can explain why you let 
this flat to a rebel." 

"I let the rooms to Mrs. Fitzgerald," Mrs. 
Slaney corrected. 

" You didn't know who she was, I suppose ? 
Come, Mrs. Slaney, did you know who Fitzgerald 
was or not ? " 

"I let the rooms to his wife. He only has his 

44 You are in a very serious position, Mrs. Slaney. 
Do you know the penalty for harbouring rebels ? " 

I was mounting the stairs with the infant Fergus, 
to tuck him up on our sofa, when I ran into the 
musical man who lived over our heads. 

44 Do you think they'll search the house ? " he 

44 If Mrs. Slaney annoys them enough they will." 

44 I've a paper here they don't search women," 
he suggested. 

The infant Fergus whimpered at that moment, 


and I rolled him up on our sofa. The man of music 
had followed me. He held a newspaper cutting in 
his hand. 

" I got this out of the paper this morning. 
They mightn't like it." 

I read it. " There's nothing in it." 

" You wouldn't keep it ? " 

" Oh, I'll keep it ; but burn it if you like and get 
another paper to-morrow." As I spoke I put it in 
my pocket. He was very young. 

Mrs. Slaney bustled into the room, her eyes 

" The unfortunate man ! They'll murder him 
before he reaches the Castle. She's taken it 
wonderfully ; but what else would you expect from 
an Irish woman ? Did you hear that man talking 
to me ? The brutality of him. But he couldn't 
frighten me. Can you let me have a scarf ? It's 
such a cold night, and I promised Mrs. Fitzgerald 
to let her husband have mine ; but it's a long way 

I got Himself 's own scarf, and followed after her 
as she bustled downstairs with it. Preparations 
for departure were going forward. I heard Mrs. 
O'Grady sniffing in the dark under the stairs. 

" Ready ? " said the man in charge. 

I could just hear Mr. Fitzgerald's answer. Mrs. 
Fitzgerald tucked his neck with eager fingers. 
She followed him to the step. 

" Good-bye." 

" Good-bve." 

HIS TEA 169 

The clutches grated as the lorries turned. The 
armoured car rolled after them. In a minute it 
was all dark again outside. 

I went to the basement to find what Mrs.O'Grady 
was doing. She was in tears on a chair near the 

" I'll never get over this night, at all, at all. 
And him with his lovely hair and his beautiful 
smile; him that will be dead before morning. It's 
lucky you are. It's you have your scarf round the 
neck of a fine young Irishman, and O'Grady's is 
there, too, for I gave it to him last thing. Sure, but 
I do be glad he's finished his dinner, it's the last 
dinner he'll take maybe. And there's his tea, not 
half drunk in his cup, just as he left it. I hadn't 
it in me heart to throw it away. It's black trouble 
has been brought on us all, and it's blacker will 

She rose from her chair and produced a box of 
matches from some mysterious pocket, and lighted 
the gas stove for me. 

"God help him!" she exclaimed. "There's 
his tea." 



OUR road came in for a spell of peace after the 
departure of the Minister of Propaganda. From 
time to time other houses up and down the way 
had been looked up by the Crown Forces ; but for 
a while the neighbourhood seemed to pass out of 
the public eye, and the lorries rolled down other 

I had been out when the Auxiliaries made their 
call, and I returned to find a gaping congregation 
at the mouth of our street, and outside our house 
the glaring headlights of an armoured car, and two 
great shadowy lorries, which were rilling up again 
with men. As I reached the door, a neighbour, on 
tiptoe with excitement, called from her top door- 
step, " They've raided your house again, and 
they've taken a man out of it." 

I had come as the curtain was falling. The 
engines of the lorries were humming, and first one 
lorry moved off and then the next, and the armoured 
car rolled on their heels. In a few moments the 
street, which had been filled with noise, became 



quiet again, heads went in from windows, and 
people retreated from doorsteps. 

But our door remained open, and on the top 
step, in the hall light, stood a little group of 
women : Mrs. Slaney, upright and defiant, Mrs. 
Fitzgerald gazing wistfully into the dark, and my 

" What do you think of this ? " Mrs. Slaney 
demanded, turning terribly upon me as I came up 
the steps. " Any honest Englishman must blush 
for what his Government does." 

While I was searching for a happy answer, Mrs. 
Fitzgerald said something which gave me a peep 
into her mind. 

"If it weren't for the work," she said, " it's a 
good thing in some ways that this has happened. 
There was always the chance he might be shot in 
the street. He's safer where he is. And he 
wanted a rest." 

" There you are, Mabel," said a voice, and Miss 
Gavan Duffy, sister of the Sinn Fein Ambassador 
to Rome, came up the steps. 

" They've just taken him," Mrs. Fitzgerald said. 

" I heard," Miss Gavan Duffy answered, making 
me wonder at the speed at which news travelled 
among them. 

Mrs. Fitzgerald had become all energy. " I 
shall have to go down and let the newspapers 
know," she said. " They'll have it in to-morrow 
morning like that. Once it's in the papers the 
Castle people are less likely to do anything to him." 


" I expect he'll be all right, Mabel," Miss Gavan 
Duffy suggested. " There's not much time for 
you before Curfew." 

" Are you expecting anything to happen to 
him?" I asked. 

Mrs. Fitzgerald turned in my direction. " It 
will be all right if I let the papers know he has been 
taken. The Castle people can't deny things then. 
It's on the way to the Castle and during interroga- 
tion that our people sometimes come in for a bad 
time. Once they are properly lodged they are all 
right. Desmond will probably be interrogated 
to-night. There is a captain " I forget now what 
name she said " who was wounded in the war and 
seems to be a degenerate. He takes a delight in 
torturing our people. Desmond may come before 
him to-night. It makes a difference whom our 
boys go before when they are up for interrogation." 

Before the night was much older, I believe Mrs. 
Fitzgerald, true to her word, was on her way down 
town to hand in her news at the newspaper offices. 

We saw very little of her at first after that 
evening. She lived underneath us with a nurse 
and the infant son, Fergus. There were two other 
boys at school. 

There was no more tireless worker in the 
Republican cause. She worked all day, and for 
a while after her husband went she worked all 
night keeping his propaganda work up to date, 
I suppose. Mrs. O'Grady, kneeling on a piece of 
newspaper before our sitting-room fire of a morning, 


would sniff and say, " That woman's light is never 
out. That woman's writing there all night. She'll 
kill herself if she doesn't mind. She's that pale 
each morning she looks like a ghost. And what 
now, if the Black-and-Tans come back again and 
find what she's got there ? " 

" Och, Mrs. O'Grady, indade and these do be 
terrible times," I would answer. 

When Mrs. Fitzgerald was not at work below 
she was in the streets, hurrying, no doubt on the 
business of the Republic, from house to house. 
She never walked, she went always at a trot. She 
seemed always behind time, always at the end of 
her tether ; always ready for any new work that 
might have to be done. If all she did in a day 
were well done, she must have been one of the most 
useful members of the Cumann na mBan. 

Yet, as was the case with numerous other 
prominent women, the British Government never 
took steps to put an end to her activities, though 
it was common knowledge that as the men were 
taken, the work fell more and more upon the 
shoulders of women. 

For days after her husband's arrest, Mrs. 
Fitzgerald kept very much to herself, partly, no 
doubt, because of her press of work, partly because 
her work was confidential ; but also, I think, 
because she was sensitive and loth to intrude. 

In the beginning it was " Good morning," if we 
passed in the hall or in the street ; then she came 
up one day to get the address of some publishers 


for her husband's plays, and so the acquaintance 
made headway. One evening, on some errand or 
other, I penetrated for the first time into her 

She was reading at the table in the small circle 
of light cast by the lamp, and she looked immensely 
lonely. It was as though there was just the circle 
of light where she sat reading, and outside that the 
dark the dark room with high lights here and there 
on the bookcases, the dark city in a greater circle 
outside, and encircling the city the darkness one 
felt resting over the land, over the troubled world 
for that matter. I do not know if she felt as I felt 
about this, she looked as lonely as any creature I 
have seen. 

I cannot recall whether we had said " good 
evening" we had said no more than that when 
furiously, wildly on the silence, a volley of shots 
burst out near Stephen's Green, abruptly as light 
flashing out of darkness. The shooting continued 
for several seconds, seconds which any one unused 
to shooting would have reckoned as minutes, and 
then wore out in the customary fashion, odd 
shots coming from a greater and greater distance, 
as if a running fight was moving away from us. 

Mrs. Fitzgerald threw up her head, not in fear, 
hardly with a startled movement ; but as though 
hearing the battle afar off, the thunders of the 
captains and the shouting. I forget what we said 
at the end of the shooting, remarks were fatuous in 
the circumstances ; but in those moments I had 


seen more clearly than ever before the stupendous 
waste of energy caused by man not having learned 
to work in harmony with man. 

If ever there had been an attempt to reach the 
truth of the Irish story, that effort had long ago 
been expended. Nobody wanted the truth now, 
neither Loyalist nor Republican, and it was difficult 
to remain in Ireland and be a bystander. It was 
necessary to take up the cudgels for one side or the 
other, and to lie for the side you chose. 

That honest men were to be found holding to 
either opinion, and that rogues were to be found 
holding to either opinion was as absolutely a fact 
as that there had just been firing going on ; but 
neither man, woman, nor child desired such an 
unpalatable truth. It suited the Republicans to 
label all members of the Crown Forces as jailbirds 
and assassins, to state this for propaganda purposes 
at the tops of their voices, to bludgeon themselves 
into believing it to be the case. 

It suited the Loyalists to call the Irish Volunteers 
a murder gang, though the long resistance of the 
Republican army, and the numbers enlisted in the 
ranks had long confounded this statement. It 
suited Loyalists to hypnotise themselves into this 
belief, otherwise they might have stopped short 
with their mouths open in the middle of a shout, 
and demanded of one another was there not some 
justice in the Republican cause. 

Faugh ! a man grows cynical if he contemplates 
too long this state of things, and asks himself what 


is any controversy other than a handful of thinking 
men leading a mob against a second handful of 
thinking men leading a mob, and the mob some 
blundering animal which can be made wild or tame 
as it is stroked or beaten. Never is it fed with the 

Yet fundamentally all men are the same. 

Those Black-and-Tans, those Auxiliary Police 
who had been shopping in Grafton Street at Christ- 
mas, went shopping in armoured lorries, and when 
the lorry stopped at the shop door, and the shoppers 
went inside, guards with rifles were posted in the 
street. Such trouble and risks did these people 
take that their wives, their children, and their 
friends should be remembered at this time. 

And no doubt the Republican Volunteers, such 
of them as were lying out on the bleak hillsides, 
such of them as frequently had to retreat into caves, 
turned in thought at Christmas to such gentle 
things as mothers, lovers, wives, and children and 
their toys. A few months after this struggle was 
done, the " murder gang " and " Hamar Green- 
wood's assassins " would be living as friends again. 

Waste ! Waste ! 

Looking at this woman who sat here so lonely, 
who once must have been pretty and still was good- 
looking, with the light from the lamp falling upon 
her fair hair, which was neither gold nor brown nor 
red nor auburn, but a blend of those colours, I felt 
the pity of the fact that she was using her energies 
against the British nation instead of with it. 


She had chosen the thorny instead of the smooth 
path of life, for I understand she had been reared in 
easy circumstances ; she had borne three children 
during her difficulties, she had witnessed raid and 
arrest, she had had her furniture and clothes 
destroyed, and she had had to do battle for herself 
and her children while her husband was in prison. 
She was tireless in helping on the Republic, which 
was her creed, and she never complained. She 
was only one of others like herself. 

All day long and all night long the lorries and 
the armoured cars rolled up and down the streets, 
and the patrols of armed men tramped round the 
corners Loyalist energy to meet this Republican 
energy. What waste that the two energies should 
be employed against each other ! 

Or is it that the gods have longer vision 
than mortal men, and afflict man with an 
idea that, like rain upon a plant, difficulty 
shall water his spirit, and it shall sprout and 
flourish ? Is it that men live and live again, the 
spirit working in matter and mastering it life by 
life ? If this be so there seems a plan in confusion, 
use in wasted effort, hope in hopelessness. 

The acquaintance with Mrs. Fitzgerald grew, 
though circumstance set limits upon it. Her work 
kept her to herself. All sorts of people used to 
call, and I do not doubt some of them were of 
interest to the British authorities. Once she must 
have held a meeting of some importance, because 
a picket, who seemed to have cross eyes, stood 


outside the house and glared at me when I came 
home, and I thought he was there to assassinate me. 

But though we never shared the secrets of her 
work, the acquaintance grew, and she gave us peeps 
into her life, 

She was an out-and-out Republican, and con- 
templated nothing short of the Republic. I was 
sure she was doomed to disappointment, and hinted 
this once. She answered : 

" It we do not get a Republic at the end of this, 
there will always be a Republican party, and I shall 
belong to it. We will never give up the Republic." 
A minute later she said an illuminating thing. 
>4 We are not in sympathy with England. We 
would sooner make an alliance with some country 
like France." 

Although she held extreme views and had 
suffered for them, I found her far less bitter in her 
statements about the enemy than the sympathisers 
who gave sympathy as a sole contribution to the 
movement. She spoke of the Crown Forces in a 
professional manner as part of the obstacles to be 
got out of the way. She would have shown them 
no mercy ; but she bore them no more rancour 
than was necessary. She was used to dealing with 
them, knew all the tricks of the trade, and made 
use of her advantages. 

This same Mrs. Fitzgerald, I came to find out, 
mother of three children, woman of so many duties 
that she went at a jog-trot in the streets, this Mrs. 
Fitzgerald was a most romantic person. Her first 


hero had been Padraig Pierce, a leader of the 1916 
Rising, and she had called one of her boys after 
him. The man to fill his place was Michael Collins, 
Mick as she called him, the Republican Minister of 
Finance, who used to be spoken of as "a certain 
minister," the phrase whispered from person to 
person, as if his name spoken aloud would blast the 
lips that uttered it. 

She spoke quite simply of being battered from 
pillar to post, of having her household gods damaged, 
of doing without them, of the frequent difficulty of 
getting a roof over her head, yet I believe she 
thought wistfully now and then of the fleshpots she 
had given up for the Republic. She reminded me 
of those women who have been drudges for the sake 
of their children, and who point fiercely at what 
they have produced when some scented, jewelled 
creature passes by. 

I have spoken of her at length, because she 
represented a type of Irish woman whose sincerity 
and generosity could not be denied. 

Seldom a day went by without sound of ex- 
plosion near or far, seldom a night went through 
without shooting, it might be an intermittent shot 
or two or a sudden volley breaking out wildly on 
the quiet, followed by desultory shooting, growing 
fainter as the exchange of shots passed down 
distant streets. 

It was too early yet for the weather to be chari- 
table, for days to lengthen appreciably or nights to 
shorten ; but one had the fancy that the sun was 


on the way back from happier lands, and when it 
returned peace might come with it, that honourable 
peace without which neither side would stay a hand, 
that honourable peace which seemed so impossible 
to conceive and to bring about. 

It was a case of wish being father to the thought, 
for matters were continuing to go from bad to worse. 
The Republican Volunteers appeared to be adopting 
a bolder policy, and some of the skirmishes which 
took place deserved the name. From the private 
citizen's point of view, the situation had become a 
great deal worse. Volunteers had taken to am- 
bushing the military lorries in the streets, and this 
method of campaign was the last drop in the cup 
of woe of the peace-loving person. 

The arguments the Republicans put forward for 
this step were sufficiently sound in their way. 
They declared the enemy used the streets on their 
work of raid and arrest, and obtained special pro- 
tection. Where the Republican policy was most 
open to criticism was in the fact that the Volunteers 
made flagrant use of the protection afforded by the 

The Volunteers could have operated in deserted 
places, the outlying streets and so on ; but such a 
course increased personal risks. There was greater 
likelihood of discovery from loitering, there was 
more chance of coming under the return fire from 
police lorries, and the neighbouring getaways would 
not be good. When a busy street was decided on, 
it was chosen for its escapes, for the opportunities 


afforded the ambushers of mingling with the crowd 
until the chosen moment, and thirdly, because, after 
the attack, the Volunteers could become the crowd 
again, and the ambushed troops would not know 
where to shoot. 

In nine cases out of ten it was the inoffensive 
citizen who paid the penalty of other people's 
political views. In the exchange of fire some 
harassed bystander was generally brought to the 
ground. Finally, public nerves were so stretched 
that sudden explosions brought about stampedes, 
and it is on record that the backfire of a motor- 
cycle caused women near at hand to faint. 

The climax was the Grafton Street ambush, 
when sixteen passers were wounded by bomb 
splinters. There were no casualties among the 
police, and the ambushers got away unscathed. 

It is possible in the beginning there were more 
casualties among the Crown Forces than were 
acknowledged ; but casualties on either side were 
few. On the heels of the weapon of offence follows 
always the defensive weapon. It was not long 
before stout wire netting, sloped at such an angle 
that bombs aimed at the lorries rolled off on to the 
ground, was stretched over the tops of the lorries. 
" Chook, chook, chook ! " cried the rebel children 
as the police flew by, and the following mot went 
the rounds of Dublin, " The Boers put them in 
khaki, the Germans put the tin hats on them ; but 
it took the Sinn Feiners to put them into cages." 

" Four years, five years," Mrs. Erskine Childers 


said to me one day, " our people can carry on like 
this, and by that time England will have experienced 
a social upheaval and Ireland will have come into 
her own." 

In truth, the Irish people would never be over- 
come by this glorified police hunt. Though the 
leaders might be netted one by one, others would 
spring up like wheat in their places. Where one 
man went down another would rise up. Old women 
of seventy carried the guns to the Volunteers in the 
fields. Children as high as one's hip acted as spies 
and messengers. The nation was in travail, but 
the nation was exalted. The military force which 
the British Government saw fit to use could only 
bleed, it could not kill. 



MRS. O'GRADY rose from the ashes in the fender 
one morning, and balancing herself so that she 
threw her minimum weight on her bad leg, said : 

" They do be saying that poor Mike Collins is 

" Michael Collins ! " 

" Himself. I was after hearing it from my 
priest, who knows the priest who attended him." 
She sniffed. 

" But, if he is dead, why should they hide it ? " 

" And why should they tell ? Mike's given the 
Government a long run for him sure enough, and 
faith they're running still. But he's dead and 
buried for all that under another name." She 
sniffed and lowered her voice. " People do be 
saying as how all those officers were shot for him, 
and there'll be worse to come." 

" I don't believe he's dead. It would surely 
slip out." 

" Nothing slips out in Ireland if it's not wanted 
to. If it's never to come out that Mike's dead it 
never will. And why should the Irish people be 



after giving the Government the satisfaction of 
knowing they killed him ? But it's a wonderful 
little island, Ireland is ! You never saw the like." 

" No, I never really did," I said with all earnest- 

" And you never will." 

I watched the door close behind her. Of course, 
Michael Collins was not dead. Then what did 
Sinn Fein mean by throwing dust in the eyes of 
the public through the mouths of the priests ? 

The door opened and Mrs. O'Grady returned 
with a duster. 

"There's another thing," she began. "We 
don't know all that is going on, nor half. Things 
will be worse before they're better. God help us, 
they're bad enough now. And the mistress is mad, 
too, she wants the house noticed. Sure, she'll get 
all the notice she wants, and more." She became 

" What do you mean ? " 

" What I can't say. And there's men always 
after watching this house. There's Black-and-Tans 
in civies in the road this very minute." 

" How do you know they're Black-and-Tans ? " 

" Polly Pluck knows them all. She lives just 
behind Beggars Bush Barracks. There are spies 
everywhere, and you never know who you're 
talking to." 

" That's quite true. You be very careful, 
Mrs. O'Grady." 

" Me ? The Irish are born careful. They need 


to be. The best known saying round these parts 
is never trust the heels of a horse, the horns of a 
bull, or the smile of an Englishman. And it's 
true." She came near, flourishing her duster and 
peering at me. " It's been on me mind to tell 
you, for I sez to Polly Pluck, the lady what has the 
drawing-room flat has more brains than the lot of 
us put together, and it's she will know what 
to do." 

" Well," I said, " go on, Mrs. O'Grady." 

She shuffled. " Bedad, I may keep me thoughts 
to meself, as O'Grady was after saying only last 
night. The fewest knows, the least harm, sez he, 
and it's himself is mostly always right." 

" Something Mrs. Slaney has been doing, I 
suppose ? " 

She tiptoed to the door, looked out, shut it 
carefully and then came back to me, looking as 
mysterious as an ostrich which is about to bury its 
head in the sand. 

" No, I don't trust the mistress that far," she 
declared, waving her arm. " But it's meself that 
I keep me thoughts to. She's up to something, 
and if you'd seen what I've seen in this very house, 
you'd know it too. And it's Polly Pluck who 
knows it. She's a smart little girl, is Polly ; but 
I don't trust her. Blowing hot first and then cold, 
and first this way and then that, walking out one 
week with a Black-and-Tan and the next with a 
Shinner. If you can't be for one side, I sez, for 
land's sake be for the other, and don't go chopping 



and changing like a cock with no head. But do 
you think she'll listen. Not she." 

" Why do you stay here, Mrs. O'Grady, if it's 
so dangerous ? " 

44 It suits me," she declared. " I could leave 
to-morrow and get a place where you'd be proud 
to eat your dinner off the floors, and a kitchen, 
mind you, that I wouldn't mind living me life in ; 
but this suits me." 

" I think you are very stupid to stay." 

44 1 do be, mum, I do be. But it suits me. 
I've had me fortunes too." 

44 Really ? " 

44 Yes, mum. Real fortunes. The first I spent 
going to Killarney. I stayed at the best hotel. 
Och, and a grand evening dress and all to me back. 
I had peaches, not sixpenny peaches, but peaches 
worth four or five shillings, and my sister, who 
hasn't spent a penny of hers yet, called me a fool. 
I may be a fool, and she may feel a lady with her 
money in the bank ; but she'll never feel as I did 
in that evening dress." 

44 What happened to the other fortune ? " 

44 1 bought a burying ground with it. My 
father had a burying ground, but there was only 
room for one more in it, so me brother having the 
name, we thought he should have it. I was afraid 
O'Grady would put me anywhere, and I wouldn't 
like that. I'm come from Brian Boru. though you 
wouldn't think it to look at me now, but there was 
a time when I was as particular as yourself about 


me boots and gloves." She sighed. " Well, I can 
rest easy, and I have my grave, and room in it for 
O'Grady, too, though I've seen as much of him as 
I want in life, and that's the truth." 

Himself came into the room brisk for a walk. 

" Well, Mrs. O'Grady," he said cheerfully, " so 
O'Grady was ambushed last night ? " 

44 Indeed, and he was, sir." Mrs. O'Grady 
stopped as she spoke, and tweeked a chair cover 
straight. 44 It shook him." 

44 Terrible times, Mrs. O'Grady." 

44 They do be terrible times. Sure, but we're 
used to terrible times in Ireland. It was the same 
when I was a girl, and before I was a girl. Why, 
my grandfather was murdered out there on the 
Wicklow Hills. There was terrible times then. 
It's me mother I've heard tell of them over and 
over again. Never trust the English, she said, and 
I never have, no, not the length of me arm, nor my 
children either. Ah, well you don't have to go 
streeling the streets for news in Ireland." 

There was a tap at the door, which made us all 
jump, and the next minute Mrs. Slaney bustled 
into the room. 

44 Mrs. O'Grady, I've called you three times, 
what are you doing ? " 

44 I'm after taking the orders for dinner." 

44 You won't mind if I take Mrs. O'Grady away, 
I'm sure," she said. 44 You're going out, I see. 
Are you going near the Electric Light Company's 
offices ? It would save me a trip. No ? Grafton 


Street ? Now, I wonder if you would buy me a 
sixpenny saucepan at Woolworth's. Mrs. O'Grady 
burnt my little cocoa saucepan last night." 

She hurried from the room, Mrs. O'Grady going 
before her. 

"Well," said Himself, "I thought you were 
going to refuse any more errands ? " 

" She didn't give me time to answer." 

Mrs. Slaney bustled into the room again. 

" Excuse me coming in again. Father Murphy 
is coming to-night. He has just come back from 
Cork, and has met a priest who came from the 
place where Father Griffin was murdered. I have 
asked him to meet a woman who is interested in 
the Peace with Ireland League. I'd like you to 
come to-night, too, you might find it interesting. 
The Peace with Ireland League is going to do 
wonderful work. Lady Bange brought out a 
splendid pamphlet. Just plain facts ; but the 
Government suppressed it. That's freedom and 
justice. That's England's way of protecting small 
nations. Monstrous ! Now, I'll not keep you any 
longer. You won't forget the saucepan ? " 

She trotted out of the room, 



MRS. O'GRADY'S forebodings were to prove them- 
selves only too true. The fatal evening came at 
the end of an April day when the Crown Forces 
made a great haul of propaganda in Molesworth 
Street. Rumour had it they had penetrated into a 
basement and found there the temporary offices of 
the Irish Bulletin, the official organ of Sinn Fein. 
Six typewriters and two tons of literature to do 
with propaganda were borne off in triumph to the 
Castle. Rumour also had it that Barrel Figgis had 
incriminated himself to his beard. A neighbour 
received word over the telephone that Figgis's 
flat had been raided, his typewriter smashed, the 
bindings of some of his books destroyed. Figgis 
had gone on the run, and warning came to us to get 
anything seditious out of the house, as it was likely 
to be raided for him at any time. By five in the 
evening Mrs. Desmond Fitzgerald had got all her 
stuff away, a man carrying it off in a sack through 
the streets. 

There was more of winter than spring these 



days, as one knew as soon as it got dark. We were 
sitting after dinner as close up to the fire as we 
could get when at our sitting-room door came the 
knock which we knew better than Poe ever knew 
the knock of his raven. 

" Come in," I said, and stood bowing by the 

The door opened, and Mrs. Slaney entered. 
" I thought you might like this morning's paper," 
she said, smiling from one to the other of us. 

She joined us on the sofa, and took one of my 
cigarettes. Silence reigned until she had had a puff 
or two, and then she broke it. 

"It is perfectly monstrous what those brutes 
did this morning to Mr. Figgis. They have raided 
his flat four times to-day. They wantonly destroyed 
his typewriter, and I hear they have damaged the 
backs of a number of his books. He has such a 
choice library. A most cultured, refined man." 

" I suppose they smashed his typewriter because 
he used it for seditious work, and they probably 
pulled the backs off his books to see if he had any- 
thing hidden behind. They often get information 
that way," I suggested. 

" Nonsense, they take a pleasure in wanton 

" What's that ? " 

There came into the street the noise of powerful 
engines. In two or three seconds the sound had 
risen to a loudness which filled every empty space. 
We threw up our heads, and Mrs. Slaney flushed. 


I went to the window, drew the blind aside, and 
peered into the dark. Under the window there 
were blinding shafts of light from acetylene lamps, 
and pitch dark everywhere else. Two lorries had 
drawn up to the door, and men were leaping 

" They've come again," Mrs. Slaney exclaimed, 
her hand on her heart. " They're after Mr. Figgis." 

There were two lorries, one a bomb-proof affair 
like a chicken coop, and the other unlike a chicken 
coop. Before Mrs. Slaney had stopped there came 
a thunderous knock on the door. 

I held the door open for her, and she bustled 
out of the room and down the stairs. For a moment 
her voice dominated everything in the hall, and 
then it was lost in the noise of many men tramping 
into the hall and bounding up the ancient stairs. 
I made a dive for my MS. 

" They'll be coming in here," I said. " It'll be 
a beastly nuisance if they disarrange things. I 
wouldn't be surprised if they found Figgis upstairs, 
only he'd be a fool to come." 

I had got the MS. in a bundle when the door 
was thrown open, and men covered with guns 
poured in. This was only a tributary of the main 
river, which continued to flow into the upper reaches 
of the house. 

" What's your name ? " 

I gave my name. " This lady is my wife." 

" Where's Figgis ? " 

" Haven't seen him for months." 


" He was here last night." 

" Was he ? " 

44 Are you a friend of Michael Collins ? " 

" Haven't met him yet." 

Suddenly the tributary left off questioning and 
joined the main stream, in which, through the open 
door, I caught sight of several acquaintances who 
had visited the house on other occasions. We 
finished tidying the valuable things, so that if the 
rooms were searched we could show what was there. 
Then a terrible man in khaki, the man in khaki who 
was always in charge of the job, climbed the stairs. 
He looked redder, fiercer, and more morose than 
ever. He stalked in and looked us up and down. 

" What's your name ? " 

I gave my name. " This is my wife." 

44 Are you Irish ? " 

44 No." 

44 What are you doing in Ireland ? " 

44 We came over on business." 

44 What business ? " 

44 1 had a scheme of child adoption I hoped to 
get going," said my wife. 

" Where is it ? " he demanded, as if we would 
pull it out of our pockets. 

44 It was a frail plant," I answered, 44 and is 
now no more. First the Catholics came, and said 
to me, will you please be giving up that work for 
its after converting our children to Protestantism 
you are. Then the Protestants came and said they 
to me, will you be after giving that up, please, for 


it's converting our children to Rome you have in 
mind. The plant was frail and it died." 

" Why didn't you go home ? " 

" We stopped to write a book." 

He grunted and said, " What do you write ? " 

I showed him the MS. on the table. " This is 
some of our stuff." 

He came across and took up some of it, and 
looked through it as if he thought very little of it. 
He flopped it down on the table and stalked out on 
to the landing, and called down the stairs in a great 

" Hi, two more of you fellows come up here. 
There seems to be the only man in the house in this 
room, and not a damn one of you looking after 

A good-looking, refined and most dapper little 
man answered this request. He came into the 
room and, finding a woman there, seemed consider- 
ably embarrassed. He began a perfunctory search 
of our belongings ; but when the man in khaki 
went to the top of the house, he looked behind a 
picture or two and sank into a chair. 

The door had been shut. A depressing silence 
fell. The little man in the chair was the neatest 
Auxiliary I ever saw, and in spite of the rake of his 
Balmoral bonnet might have appeared in any 
drawing-room. By his voice he was quite well bred. 

" I'm fed up with this job," he announced, 
breaking the strained silence, and giving my wife 
the benefit of most of his attention, " but I've had 


no say in it. I'm a major in the Regular Army in 
India and came home on leave, and then they 
bunged me over here, and made me join up in the 
Auxiliaries. I sent for my wife then, and we were 
among the people called on by the Shinners on the 
November Sunday. I was out, and they insulted 
and intimidated my wife, who was going to have a 
child. She has been semi-paralysed since, and I'm 
waiting to do in one or two Shinners before returning 

" There's a catch in that story somewhere," I 
thought, and the result of my scepticism was that 
we all sank into another silence, hearing only the 
movement of many people trampling overhead. 
There seemed a great deal of talking below, and 
occasionally the high, quick voice of Mrs. Fitzgerald. 
I knew they would find it a case of Mother Hubbard 
with her, unless some brilliant searcher of seditious 
papers had discovered the secret of the infant 
Fergus. But let that secret rest ! 

Presently the trampling seemed to be getting 
louder, and coming down from the top of the house. 
Was Mrs. Slaney coming down in chains ? The 
door was thrown open, it was the habit of these 
people to throw a door wide open so that nobody 
could shoot from behind it, and in stalked our 
morose acquaintance in khaki. Behind him I saw 
two men staggering downstairs with a portmanteau, 
and thought, " Begad, they've captured some- 
thing." But there was no Mrs. Slaney in chains. 

Our friend stuck his legs apart, balanced on 

A FIND 195 

them, and said, after looking round the room, " You 
had better put a coat on. It's a cold night." 

This made me look up. " Eh ? " I said. 

" You're coming with us," he answered. 

" Coming with you ? " 

" We've found ammunition in the house," he 
announced, " and we're taking every man in the 

" Ammunition ? " 

" Oh yes, you know nothing about it, of course. 
It was in Mrs. Slaney's bedroom." 

" But I'm a married man," I expostulated. 
" How am I likely to know what's in Mrs. Slaney's 
bedroom ? " 

A brief three-handed conversation, in which my 
wife joined, took place, and at the end of it I sub- 
mitted to fate, and wrapped myself in my oldest 
overcoat. The last of the party had tramped 
down the stairs. The raid was over. 

Mrs. Slaney came in looking double her size 
with indignation. 

" You've got me into trouble now, Mrs. Slaney," 
I said, or something to that effect. " They've 
found your ammunition, and they're taking me to 
the Castle." 

" Monstrous ! " she exclaimed. " Iniquitous ! 
Just a few war trophies." She turned on our 
morose friend. " I swear to you I did not know 
what those things were." 

" You mean to tell me you don't know bullets ? " 

" No." 


He turned away from her and grunted at me, 
" Come along." Mrs. Slaney marched out of the 

Finishing my toilet with a scarf, I followed in 
the descent, the man in khaki, our dapper guard, 
and my wife making up the rear. The front door 
was open, and all the cold and dark in the world 
were coming in through it. The black of outside 
was blacker because of the lorry lights, and the 
said lorries were now cranked up and humming to 
be off. Men were climbing into them by the back. 

The hall had emptied of raiders. At the bottom 
of the stairs we found Mrs. Fitzgerald, Mrs. Slaney, 
and a tearful Mrs. O'Grady standing in a circle like 
chickens come round a trough, and in the middle of 
them, miserable as a whippet in the wind, O'Grady 
in a bowler and a threadbare overcoat. They had 
plunged into the bowels of the house and captured 
him. There was no check in the tide and I seemed 
to be passing through the hall and down the steps 
like a boat passing an island. There were upraised 
women's voices. Mrs. Fitzgerald was quite col- 
lected and giving advice. My wife was ordering 
me to wrap up. Mrs. O'Grady was calling upon 
the saints to help her poor man. 

Mrs. Slaney had the last word. " Iniquitous ! " 
she exclaimed in my ear, as I was looking for the 
top step. " But now you will be able to see for 
yourself what our splendid young men are 
experiencing every day." 

As I have said there were two lorries, one like 


a chicken coop and the other unlike a chicken coop. 
We were told to get into the chicken coop. This I 
at least was most agreeable to do, as I had no 
desire to be a target of homeless Sinn Feiners. 
Then with a flourish we were away under the eyes 
of many interested people hanging from upper 
windows. We raced through the deserted streets. 
It had been raining, and the roads shone wherever 
the lamps fell upon them. 

We were the second car. There seemed in our 
lorry two sorts of seats, a bad sort, and a worse 
sort, wooden planks resting on boxes, and rolls 
of wire. We sat, about a dozen all told, on these 
things, and except for O'Grady and myself, every 
man had a rifle and about three guns apiece. At 
the end of a minute we were about to fly down 
Grafton Street, when the front car came to a halt 
and began to run round. This time it took the 
lead down Kildare Street, and we after it, and we 
all came to a stop this side of the ruined Maples 
Hotel, at No 29, which was Barrel Figgis's flat. 

" They're after him," I thought. " They are 
very optimistic people." 

Figgis's flat was under the roof, and there was 
no light burning. Half the Auxiliaries left the 
lorries, filed up the steps, and a great banging began 
at the door. The sound echoed down the streets. 
Then a light appeared at the top of the house, the 
window opened, and a woman in a nightgown 
leaned out. I thought it was Mrs. Figgis ; but it 
turned out to be Mrs. Coneray, president of the 


Woman's Franchise League. The knocking never 
ceased, the figure above disappeared, and presently 
the door opened, and the Auxiliaries were swallowed 
up in the dark of the passage. 

There followed a long wait in the cold. 

Suddenly a man at my side leapt round like a 
cat spotting a mouse. Everybody waked up. 
" A man ran across the road just then," he called 
out. " At the mouth of Molesworth Street. I 
swear he did." 

One or two Auxiliaries mooched backwards and 
forwards across the road with their rifles under 
their arms. One of these, with his rifle at the ready, 
went as far as the corner of Molesworth Street ; 
but he came back saying there was nothing to see. 
There was another wait, which was shortened by a 
small chatty individual who came up to our lorry 
and began to talk to me through the wire netting. 
He chatted like an old acquaintance. 

" We took Desmond Fitzgerald," he said, in 
the pleasantest fashion. " A bad house that." 

" Is it ? " I answered. 

" Figgis was there lately," he went on. 

" So I am told. I never saw him." 

" Why are you there ? " 

" I don't appear to be there just now." 

" Why don't you move ? " 

" No need to. You've done it for me." 

The door opened, and the Auxiliaries came 
filing out. Never a word was said. They climbed 
into the lorries, and we began to tear round the 


corners at the previous breakneck speed. Soon 
we were racing past Trinity and the Bank of 
Ireland. In the middle of College Green an 
armoured car was at work with a searchlight, 
turning the beam slowly across the face of Trinity, 
lighting up the windows one after another. Not a 
fly could have crawled unnoticed upon that surface. 
We took no notice of them, nor they of us. For a 
minute we were racing along Dame Street, and then 
with a sweep we were turning in to the Castle Gate, 
the great doors were pulled apart, and we were at 
a standstill within the Castle Yard. 



IN a few seconds the lorries were empty and every- 
body was disappearing into the dark. A voice had 
cried out, " Come along, boys, the bar's open for 
another half-hour." 

Not everybody succumbed to the magic of those 
words, for O'Grady and I were led away to the left 
to a place which must have been a guardroom. 
The spell of the army was upon everything. There 
were endless unbrushed passages as a start, and 
everybody we came upon seemed to come to life 
suddenly, and to wave us on to somebody else. 

In the guardroom we were delivered over to 
new people. 

The room was of no special size, shape or 
description, and had only one attraction, which 
was a fire. The windows were sandbagged. There 
was a table at which a strenuous Auxiliary sat 
writing; two other Auxiliaries nodded over the 
fire ; and to one side of the room were three baths, 
and in each bath slumbered an Auxiliary. On some 
biscuits, not the edible kind, on the floor slept 
two young prisoners. The strenuous Auxiliary 


TO BED 201 

reluctantly put down his pen. The two men 
nodding at the fire watched out of an eye each. 

As a start we were prodded all over for arms 
and seditious documents, and I was told to give up 
my pocket-book. 

" Any money in it ? " demanded the strenuous 
Auxiliary, as I was passing it over. 

" Thirty bob, I think," I answered. 

" Well, count it and see," he ordered, " or 
you'll say we pinched it." 

I counted it and handed him the pocket- 
book, which he went through page by page, asking 
me to explain every likely-looking sentence. 
Finally he slapped it back at me on the table. He 
waved a hand at some dirty biscuits and dirtier 
blankets, which were stacked in a corner. 

" You can take some of those," he said, " and 
doss on the floor." 

I nodded to show I was grateful for the favour, 
and O'Grady and I explored these biscuits. I 
wondered if O'Grady had ever been in as bad 
straits before. I had had to put up with all sorts 
of beds in my life, beds on the bare earth, beds on 
the rolling sea, most bitter barren beds ; but they 
had not taught me to be friendly to the colour of 
these blankets. However, O'Grady seemed to find 
what he wanted, took off his boots, put his hard 
hat on top of them, rolled up just as he had been 
standing, and was asleep before I had made a first 
choice. Before long the men nodding by the fire 
came across. . 



" The old un's got down to it quickly," one of 
them said with admiration. " The old dog for the 
hard road." 

" You can doss by the fire there," the other one 
said to me, jerking his hand to a place by the side 
of the fire. 

I took him at his word and emigrated with two 
blankets which seemed to have known fewer 
generations of Sinn Feiners than any of the others. 
I grew more friendly with them as gradually I 
became warm and sleepy. 

But I never quite fell asleep, and though it was 
late when I lay down, what remained of the night 
was ages long. 

It was a very restless place. People came in 
and out, cheery people, people in evening dress who 
had dined well, people in uniform who seemed to 
have nothing to do and no desire for bed. Now 
one Auxiliary arose out of his bath like Lazarus 
come out of his tomb ; now a second sprang up 
like a jack-in-the-box and the first sank back again. 
All the while the strenuous Auxiliary continued to 
write, and to this day I believe he was at work 
upon his reminiscences. Finally, an Auxiliary, who 
had arisen from his bath and not gone back again, 
started an argument with the strenuous Auxiliary 
about who burned Cork. He was serious and 
anxious to get at the truth. They produced paper 
and worked at the answer with a will. 

The Auxiliary from the bath proved there were 
only a small number of his fraternity in Cork at 


the time, and that most of them, including himself, 
were in hospital having pieces of bomb taken out 
of them. He said there were over four thousand 
soldiers in Cork, and God knew how many Shinners, 
and it was either the military or the I.R.A. ; but 
the Auxiliaries were blameless. This argument 
lasted a very long time, and caused books to be 
tossed about, and feet to be shuffled, and other 
things to happen unconducive to sleep, and it must 
have worn out the Auxiliary from the bath, for at 
the end of it he sank into his bath again like a 
corpse sinking into a grave. The strenuous 
Auxiliary returned to his writing. 

The Auxiliaries who lived in the baths were thin 
Auxiliaries ; there was a stout Auxiliary dozing 
on a chair on the farther side of the fire. He was 
middle-aged, and had something of the look of a 
father of a family ; but there was never a moment 
when he was not picturesque, with his rifle at his 
hand and his Balmoral bonnet on his head. 

Whatever might be one's feelings towards these 
men, there was no denying they were a fine type 
active, young, for the most part in splendid physical 
condition, and most romantically dressed. I kept 
on dozing and coming to again, coming to and dozing, 
for I would suddenly be aware of everything of 
the room full of miscellaneous and dreary things, 
of the sandbagged window with the Lewis gun in 
position, of the men nodding on their arms, of the 
two young prisoners rolled up in one blanket, of 
O'Grady dreaming of Mrs. Slaney's basement, and 


of the kindly fire next door to me leaping up the 
chimney and then all would pass away again. 

About breakfast time everybody awakened. I 
sat up blinking with my tongue sticking to the roof 
of my mouth, O'Grady felt himself all over and put 
on his boots, the youthful prisoners came to, and 
the Auxiliaries emerged from their baths and stayed 

Breakfast came in ham and eggs in a pile, and 
pyramids of bread. These encouraging things 
began to disappear down the throats of the 
Auxiliaries ; but half-way through the feast some- 
body heartened us a little by announcing we would 
get something later on. And in time we found 
ourselves sitting down to ham and immense wedges 
of bread and butter. While we ate somebody 
cleaned the Lewis gun, pointing the muzzle at the 
pit of my stomach. The last wedge of ham was 
eaten, and that was the end of whatever good time 
O'Grady and I had at the Castle. 

We were still looking at our empty plates when 
an escort turned up, and O'Grady and I began a 
new journey, down winding passages where the 
plaster was peeling off walls and roof. We seemed 
to be going on and on into the bowels of the Castle ; 
but at last came round a sudden corner into a small 
chamber given over to a military guard. 

The soldiers looked at us resentfully, as if they 
thought us a disturbing influence ; but the sergeant 
of the guard came forward, shuffled some dreary 
papers, produced a bad pen, which he straightened 


upon the wooden table, found some worse ink, and 
proceeded to give a receipt for us. After that 
transaction I gathered we no longer belonged to 
the police ; but our new possessors seemed to 
distrust their possessions until we had proved 
beyond a doubt that we were our fathers' sons. 
This I found a more difficult thing to do than it 
sounds, and it took several sheets of official paper. 
These papers were slapped on top of a pile of 
others, and we were told to go through an ancient 
wooden door, past a sentry with fixed bayonet. 
Through the door we went into the most dismal 
place I have seen in my life. 

Verily we had fallen from the frying-pan into 
the fire. 

The room was no size at all, with one long high 
window boarded up to the top so that little light 
got in and the gas had to burn all day. There was 
a good fire leaping in the grate ; but the air was 
stale and thick, and hazy with tobacco smoke. 
There was nothing but the names of past prisoners 
written in pencil on the walls from which the 
plaster was falling, and in a corner some blankets 
filthier than those we had left behind us. Three or 
four men sat on the ground round the fire talking 
in whispers. 

They looked up as we stood just inside the door 
discovering what had happened to us, and beckoned 
us to the fire. We joined the sad circle. 

" Have you got in here, too ? " said a dark 
fellow like a Spaniard. 


44 It looks like it," I answered, gaping at the 
desolate prospect. 

" What was the trouble ? " 

i; They found some ammunition under somebody 
else's bed and said it was mine." 

My listener looked respectful. " Ammunition ! 
That's bad," he said. 

Everybody was smoking. The smoke curled up 
and made the thick air thicker. O'Grady pulled a 
pipe out of some part of him, and I found a cigarette. 

" How long are we going to be here ? " I said. 

" Until you go up for interrogation." 

44 When's that ? " 

44 Sure and it's the same day sometimes, or it's 
two days or three days." 

4t And what happens after that ? " 

44 Indade, and if you can explain things you can 
go. And if you can't it's to Ballykinler Internment 
Camp you go." 

46 What's that like ? " 

44 Sure, and I hear tell it's not bad in summer. 
Plenty of sports and games, and a chap gets a rest ; 
but it's no place at all at all in winter, but wind and 

Somebody else joined in the talk. 

44 They got me on Monday. They had me up 
for interrogation two days ago and put me back. 
They put you back to find out more about you. 
One of them says to the other, reading it off a 
paper, this man's a lieutenant in the I.R.A. Their 
intelligence men are very good." 


The man like a Spaniard spoke. " When they 
got hold of me one man said to the other, ' Take 
care of this fellow, we want him. He's a prominent 
Sinn Feiner.' " 

I found everybody rather inclined to hint at his 
value as a Republican ; but I had no intention of 
following the good example when I went up for 
interrogation. I found in these people the trait 
common to all men who come together in difficulties. 
They made a great show of cheerfulness and good 
humour, finding a joke in everything and laughing 
at nothing. 

At long intervals a new prisoner came through 
the door, and eventually the number had grown to 
thirteen. The arrival of a new companion always 
wakened us up for a little, and then the spell of the 
place fell on us again. The atmosphere was too 
devastating to think in, to read in ; we passed the 
time on our backs, pacing up and down in twos or 
singly, now and then wearily playing cards and 
sleeping. And everybody who was not asleep 
smoked until the air was like a fog. 

Lunch time came. A couple of us went away 
under escort and returned with two tin dishes laden 
with food. There was food and to spare, and good 
food too ; but strange are the ways of Dublin 
Castle, and there was nothing to eat it off or with. 
Among thirteen people there were three or four 
plates, a couple of knives, a couple of forks and a 
spoon. We had to eat in turn. I saw that my 
turn never came. If you keep a bird in a cage you 


should see that the cage is clean. These people, 
who were of inferior social position, two were rail- 
way porters, may not have been squeamish ; but 
the conditions were unnecessary, and gave the Sinn 
Fein party a genuine handle for their propaganda. 
There was a gallon of tea for us, and not one cup, 
and an apologetic sergeant could only produce five 
jam jars of different sizes. Yet countless prisoners 
have lain in Dublin Castle. 

We asked for coal, we got coal, and the place 
was never chilly. " Eat as much as you want," 
the sergeant said, " but don't get more than you 
can eat or there'll be trouble about it." The 
contrast was extreme between the accommodation 
provided and the readiness of our guards to make 
us comfortable. I found no man who was not 
accommodating. One had only to knock on the 
door and the guard opened it to grant any little 
request he could, such as purchasing cigarettes or 
a pack of cards. When night came along one 
soldier gave up his blankets to us because we had 
not enough to go round. 

The man like a Spaniard had seen the inside of 
many prisons. 

" A man is better off when it's their minds they 
have made up what they're going to do with him," 
he said. " Sure, once a man's sentenced conditions 
are better. It's these places where they grab chaps 
and keep them for interrogation that are worst." 

At night, when we rolled up in our blankets, we 
covered the whole floor. I was to get an intimate 


glance into Catholic life. As each man finished 
taking off his boots and such clothes as he thought 
fit, he knelt upon his blankets in the most natural 
way in the world and said his prayers. Nobody 
seemed to think there was anything strange in this 
behaviour ; but it was surprising to a stranger, and 
proved how intimate a part of a Catholic's life his 
religion is. The fire was made up last thing to last 
through the night. 

For three days thirteen of us stayed in an 
atmosphere which was foul in the beginning and 
staling all the time. 

The third day we were told to get ready for 
exercise, and were taken under escort to a back 
yard of the Castle where we wandered wearily up 
and down, while female servants looked down on 
us disdainfully from upper stories. In the middle 
of our wanderings somebody arrived with a chair, 
and a sprightly young man, waving a diminutive 
camera on very long legs, so that it looked like some 
breed of spider, invited us to take the chair in turn 
and be photographed. At the same time another 
gentleman with a waxed moustache and a very 
penetrating eye jotted down his personal reflections 
upon our looks. This was for the Castle archives. 
Tears came into the eyes of poor old O'Grady when 
he had to suffer the indignity of the chair ; but I 
disguised myself behind a three days' growth of 
beard and remained unashamed. After the photo- 
graphy we were headed back to our cell, to staleness, 
to boredom and to dreary contemplation. 


The end of my adventure came as suddenly as 
the beginning. We were exercising next day. A 
sergeant of Military Police tapped me on the 
shoulder and said, "This way." I started at his 
side and we crossed the Upper Castle Yard, and 
then the Lower Castle Yard, and finally we came 
to the main gate. He gave a flourish of his hand 
and said, " There you are. You are free." 

Not to be outdone, I also waved my hand. 
" I'm to walk out there ? " 

" You're free." 

" What about the other fellow, the old man ? " 

" I don't know anything about him. He'll be 
out in a few minutes." 

" But I've not got my gear. I must go back 
and get it." 

He looked scandalised. " You can't. You're 
free. You can't be in the Castle without a permit. 
You must go. You have no right here. You must 
go. The other fellow will bring your bag." 

" I didn't want to come, and you brought me 
here. Now you want me to go, and I don't want 
to go without the old man and my gear." 

" You are free, and you can't be in the Castle 
without a permit." He was shocked to the root 
of his being. 

I departed. 



WE stood shivering on the steps, and watched 
Himself and O'Grady climb into one of the lorries. 
Himself was wrapped up well enough ; but I had 
a pang at the sight of O'Grady, who was elderly 
and had on a threadbare overcoat and scarf. 

Mrs. Slaney denounced the British Government 
until the last sounds of the wheels had died away. 
I listened dazed. A plait of Mrs. O'Grady's hair 
hung down her back. The spell was broken by 
Mrs. Slaney retreating upstairs ; but with a bound 
Mrs. O'Grady outstripped her, and towered above 
her with her hands raised over her head. 

" God forgive you for a wicked old woman ! 
God forgive you, for I never will. You're a wicked, 
wicked woman, Mrs. Slaney. Do you hear me ? " 

" Hush, Mrs. O'Grady ! " Mrs. Fitzgerald urged. 
" Hush. You'll say something you'll be sorry for 
later. Mrs. O'Grady, be quiet." 

" Be quiet ! I cannot with himself all perishing 
of the cold. And the cough on his chest something 
awful. It's dead he'll be before he reaches the 
Castle. You wicked, wicked woman, you were 



after knowing those bullets were there." Her 
voice rose and cracked, and she became in- 

44 Now, Mrs. O'Grady, pull yourself together," 
ordered Mrs. Slaney, sharply. " Pull yourself to- 
gether at once. You're hysterical. O'Grady will 
come out of this all right, he'll come to no harm. 
Indeed, it will be good for them both to experience 
what hundreds of our splendid young men are 
suffering every day. Come upstairs and I'll give 
you a little wine. Come up all of you. It's things 
like this, trials, that bring us close together. Mrs. 
Fitzgerald will tell you that. It is trials that have 
united Ireland." 

Mrs. O'Grady mouthed words that never came. 
We could only catch an occasional croak of " wicked 
old woman." 

" We'd better go along, too," said Mrs. Fitz- 
gerald, "for Mrs. O'Grady's sake. We little 
thought when we watched Desmond drive away 
that night that the next person would be your 

44 No, and I don't quite know what to do about 
it, or who to go to." 

44 You'll go to the Castle the first thing in the 
morning. And if you can't do any good, I should 
suggest finding a Unionist solicitor. I can only 
send you to Sinn Feiners, and they have all been 
mixed up in court-martial cases, which make them 
useless as far as the Castle is concerned. If you 
could get a Unionist for your husband it would be 


better. You must do everything quickly. Am- 
munition is a serious charge." 

We had reached Mrs. Slaney's quarters. They 
were upside down. 

" Look at this ! " she exclaimed. " Monstrous ! 
They have no respect for sex or age. They thought 
they would terrify me ; but I'm not afraid, not if 
the whole British Army were to come. I never 
flinched once, and the man in charge was abomin- 
ably rude. I showed them that an Irish woman, 
and an elderly and helpless one at that, could face 
them. I never flinched." 

Mrs. O'Grady had recovered her voice. 

" It's black trouble you've brought on us all, 
and it's worse you'll bring. Leaving bullets under 
your bed where little girls can find them." 

" What do you mean ? " 

Mrs. O'Grady shook. 

" You can't pretend that you didn't know 
those bullets were there, not to me, mum. Little 
Polly Pluck told me on them weeks ago, and it's 
little sleep either O'Grady or me has had ever 


My mind leaped back to the day Mrs. O'Grady 
had talked so mysteriously. 

" Do you mean to say that you kept such stuff 
there ? Why didn't you send it to the proper 
quarters ? " demanded Mrs. Fitzgerald. " If you'd 
told me, I could have had it all taken away by the 
right people." 

"A few war trophies ! " Mrs. Slaney exclaimed. 


"A few simple war trophies of no interest to 

"The Auxiliaries thought them interesting," I 
retorted bitterly. 

"Yes, mum," chorused Mrs. O'Grady. 

" How did I know what they were ? Would I 
have kept them if I did ? My son sent his port- 
manteau home from France and these were a few 
trophies. I didn't know they were there. I didn't 
know what they were. I told the officer in charge 
so. ' Are those bullets ? ' I asked him, and you see 
he believed me." 

" Do you mean to tell me," said Mrs. Fitz- 
gerald, " that a woman of your age doesn't know a 
bullet when she sees it ? " 

" I don't believe you, mum," declared Mrs. 
O'Grady. " Not if you was to go down on your 
knees, and what's more, those never came home 
from France, for I went through everything in 
your room at Christmas time meself, and that box, 
too, and they were never there then. You'll 
remember, I was looking for your shoes, which you 
had with you all the time." 

" I declare I didn't know what they were. 
Dumdum, he called them. There were some little 
ones, too, loose, or he said there were." 

" Have you anything else ? " I asked. 

She shuffled, but we had got her in hand. 

" Well, they didn't find everything. I told my 
beads all the time, and they didn't pull out the 
shutters. I had some things there. And they 


must have tripped over a revolver a dozen times. 
By the goodness of God, they didn't find everything." 

" You'll get rid of all those things at once, Mrs. 
Slariey," I said. " You'll burn the papers and get 
rid of the revolver and whatever else you have. 
They'll come back, you may be certain of that." 

" You must get rid of them, Mrs. Slaney," said 
Mrs. Fitzgerald, taking up the chorus. " Our 
people haven't authorised you to keep them. It's 

Mrs. Slaney sought to pour oil upon troubled 
waters. " I'll make you tea," she suggested. 
44 We'll all feel better then." She hurried out of 
the room to make tea. 

" She's an astonishing woman," I said bitterly. 

Mrs. Fitzgerald looked thoughtful. " She said 
something about gelignite. You'd better see that 
she gets rid of that." 

" Gelignite ! " I exclaimed. 

44 If they raid again and find gelignite it will be 


44 1 don't feel I can battle with her to-night," I 
said. 44 I'll see her about it to-morrow." 

44 There's a uniform and a rifle in this very room, 
too, under the books in that cupboard ! " said Mrs. 
O'Grady. 44 She's got stuff stowed away every- 
where, and nobody knows it better than myself." 

44 But why has she got it ? " I demanded, 
44 unless the I.R.A. leave it here." 

Mrs. Slaney came in briskly with the tea. 

44 The I.R.A. don't leave stuff with people they 


can't trust absolutely," declared Mrs. Fitzgerald. 
" I can assure you that they wouldn't leave it here. 
Mrs. Slaney, you really must get rid of everything. 
It will be fatal if anything more is found. Thank 
goodness, they didn't search the house the night 
they took Desmond. Nothing would have made 
them believe that it wasn't his." 

Mrs. Slaney was ruffled. 

" I call the attitude of you all most extra- 
ordinary," she retorted. " You're making a great 
deal out of a very little. We'll have some tea. It 
will do us all good." 

She became busy at the tea-tray. 

" I'll tackle her in the morning about it," I said, 
getting up. "I'll see her now about wiring to her 
son as soon as the office opens. He must claim the 

" Of course, he'll claim it," Mrs. Fitzgerald 
agreed. "He'll catch the first boat across to- 
morrow, and wire ahead to the Castle." 

" You're not going," said Mrs. Slaney, as I 
turned to her. " Have some tea first, it will pull 
you together. I'm quite proud of my household. 
You all behaved very well. No Black-and-Tan 
can boast that he terrorised us." She beamed on 
me. " It's a pity about O'Grady and your husband, 
of course ; but it might have been much worse." 

" I've got to straighten up our flat. I must go," 
I said. " I want to be at the post-office as soon as 
it opens. Will you write out a wire for your son 
to-night, and I'll send it off." 


44 A wire to my son ? We can't bring my son 
into it." 

46 Mrs. Slaney, what do you mean ? " Mrs. 
Fitzgerald exclaimed. 44 You say the stuff is your 
son's. Of course he must claim it." 

44 Oh, I know you're thinking of your husband," 
Mrs. Slaney said to me, 44 and I'm thinking of my 
son. I can't bring him into it." 

44 Mrs. Slaney, my husband and O'Grady are in 
prison, do you understand that, and they are 
charged with a serious offence. I insist on the 

44 1 told the officer I was willing to go instead 
of them. But he laughed. And now you want to 
bring my son into it." 

44 Your son's in the army. It's quite easy for 
him ; and if it isn't, it's the least he can do. After 
all, the stuff isn't mine ! I expect you to get rid 
of everything you have in the house, too." 

44 I'll do anything, anything. I'm a broken 
woman. I'll write the wire in the morning. I 
promise I will." 

44 Very well. Good night. I'm going to 

I was up first thing in the morning ; but Mrs. 
O'Grady was up before me. She looked as if she 
had not had a wink of sleep. 

44 I'm after getting your breakfast now," she 
said to me. 44 I'll send Polly up with it. Sure, I 
thought I heard them coming a hundred times, and 
you're looking washed out yourself, mum." 



Ten minutes later Polly clattered up with an ill- 
fried egg upon an ill-warmed plate. She expressed 
excitement in every movement. Her eyes snapped 
as she put down the plate in front of me. 

" Polly," I said, " I want you to go up to Mrs. 
Slaney. Take this pencil and paper and ask her 
to write out a wire to her son. I'm ready to go as 
soon as you come back." 

I had scarcely poured out my tea before Mrs. 
O'Grady came back in place of Polly. 

" The mistress says she'll not give you the 
address. The meanness of her. c I didn't know the 
bullets were there,' sez she to me, 4 and when they 
showed them to me I didn't know what they were.' 
' I don't believe you, mum,' sez I. * Not a wink have 
I slept this night,' sez she. 1 1 was just after settling 
down when you disturbed me. No one thinks of 
me. You can just take that pencil back,' sez she." 

I got up. " Thanks, Mrs. O'Grady, I'll tackle 
her myself. I'm going to get that address." 

Mrs. Slaney called " Come in " to my knock. 
She had prepared a line of defence. 

" I've been awake thinking of you all night," 
she said. " L I haven't closed my eyes. I know it's a 
terrible thing for you ; but I don't think we should 
wire to my son. It can do no good. I'll just go 
along this morning and see one or two men I know. 
Men with wise heads, who will advise us well." 

" What objection have you to wiring to your 
son ? I am sure your son would hate to know his 
bullets had got two men into difficulties." 


" My son is so highly strung. He was a shell- 
shock case, and he's never been the same." 

44 My husband was worse than a shell-shock 

"If it was a question of that, I would say 
nothing ; but my son has a sprained ankle." 

" A sprained ankle ! " 

" They're not at all sure that he hasn't seriously 
hurt his foot. They may have to operate. They 
may have to do it to-day." 

" And if they do he can still send a wire. Mrs. 
Slaney, time is very precious. I can't leave those 
two men there without making some effort." 

" They were only war trophies." Then to my 
relief she took the pencil reluctantly. " What do 
you want me to write ? " 

44 Simply his address. I'll do the rest." 

She put the pencil down. 

44 Hadn't I better write to my son ? Yes, that 
would be better. I'll write straight away now, and 
then I can explain things so much better." 

44 I'm going to write to your son, Mrs. Slaney, 
you needn't do that. But the wire's to go too." 

She gave in, and ten minutes later I was sending 
the wire. 

Then I went to the Castle. 

The Castle yard was full of lorries, there were 
soldiers and Auxiliaries everywhere, and men in 
mufti walked busily about, though as far as I could 
see they had no business. 

It is an easy matter to get a husband locked up ; 


but, until I laced the Tommies at the Castle gates 
and stated my case, I did not know what a difficult 
matter it is to get one unlocked. Ammunition 
sounds so simple. It sounds so simple to say that 
it belonged to somebody else, and you had no 
knowledge of it. But the word ammunition changes 
the expression on every face in Dublin Castle. 

There seemed no one to go to. I was sent from 
guardroom to guardroom. I sat upon hard forms 
while weary Tommies dawdled off to mysterious 
inner rooms with a paper which I had filled up and 
signed. At last there came one Tommy, brighter 
than the others, who returned and said briskly, 
" This way," and I grew hopeful. 

This way proved to be across the yard and into 
another building with other ill-swept corridors, with 
other stairs which proclaimed that un wiped feet 
had climbed them for many years. The Tommy 
left me and disappeared through a door. 

I sat beside a small table, and one or two men 
eyed me. After some time the Tommy emerged. 

44 Wrong," he said cheerfully. " Fill this up." 
He pulled another slip of paper out of a box, and, 
while I wrote on it, argued with one of the lounging 
men as to which was the best place to take me. 

44 Room 8," declared one man at last. 44 He's 
shifted lately, but I think he's Room 8. Anyway, 
Room 8 will tell you." 

Once more we made our way along dirty 
passages, and climbed up and down unswept 


" It's Room 11," declared Room 8 to our in- 
quiries. " You'll find what you want there." 

" They've been shifting," the Tommy apologised 
to me. He stopped a man he knew. " Who's the 
best person to go to ?" He jerked his head in my 

The man rubbed his chin with his forefinger. 
He thought for a long time. 

" I don't know," he said at last. 

" Have people never been here to inquire 
before ? " I asked the Tommy. 

" Lots," he replied cheerfully. " Things have 
been shifted round a bit lately. I was in armoured 
cars before. Wait here." He disappeared from 
my sight into Room 11. I propped up a wall and 

Presently the door of No. 11 opened cautiously, 
and a pair of eyes stared at me. 

" Come in here," ordered the owner of the eyes 
mysteriously, as soon as he had madfe up his mind 
that I was not dangerous. 

It was a medium-sized room filled with photo- 
graphs. There were photographs all over the walls, 
all over the table, all over the chairs. The Tommy 

The people in attendance upon the photo- 
graphs, both male and female, stared at me 

" Fill this up," said my mysterious acquaintance. 
He put a form before me in secretive fashion. 

u Haven't I filled up enough before ? " I asked, 


looking sadly at the slips in his hand. I dipped the 
pen in the ink, and prepared to write again. 

The man leaned over my shoulder confidentially. 
" You've come to sign on as a woman searcher ? " 

" What ? " 

" A woman searcher ? " 

" Good Heavens, no ! " I cried. " If you had 
troubled to read those papers you are holding you 
wouldn't have thought that. Your people arrested 
my husband last night because they found am- 
munition ..." 

The look of horror on his face stopped me. I 
glanced all round at frozen faces. Everybody 
seemed to have been turned into stone. At last 
the spell was broken. My mysterious acquaintance 
jerked himself to life and pushed me out of the room. 

" The wrong department," he hissed. " Good 
God, you should never have got in here ! " 

The Tommy slid slowly off the window sill. 
" All right ? " He seemed an old and tried friend. 

" The wrong department," I said drearily. 
" Why, don't you know your way about your old 
Castle ? " 

" It's a tricky sort of a place." He scratched 
his head at the thought of its trickiness. 

An officer was crossing the yard. I hurried 
after him, stopped him, and poured forth my wrongs. 
He listened attentively, guiding me as he walked by 
my side with gentle motions of the hand. 

" Room 18," he said with a smile, as we stopped 
outside it. "I think you will find what you want 

ROOM 13 223 

in here." He knocked on the door and went in, 
leaving me outside. Presently he came out again. 

" Go in. This is right." 

" To the last day of my life, I'll never forget 
your goodness," I murmured. 

He nodded and disappeared round a corner. 

Room 13 was an agreeable surprise after my 
dreary journey. Here was comfort ; here a fire ; 
here the carpet was swept and fairly new, and the 
tables were dusted. Over six foot of man rose from 
behind one of the tables. 

" So you've had trouble getting in ? " He was 
polite. " Come over near the fire." He indicated 
an armchair, and his manner was helpful. " Now 
what can I do for you ? " 

" It's about my husband," I began. The fire 
gave me confidence. Ammunition seemed a milder 
charge in here. I poured forth my woes. He made 
no comment until I finished. " Well ? " I ended. 

" Of course, he is a perfectly innocent man ? " 

" But he really is. Would you expect my 
husband to know what was under another woman's 
bed ? " 

44 I'd make it my business to know in these 
times," he declared. 4t Your house hasn't much of 
a name. Figgis was probably up to no good there. 
Fitzgerald was arrested there. And now this 
charge of ammunition. Why should I believe 
your husband ? Of course, I'm not suggesting 
that he isn't innocent. But, good God, if you'd 
heard that story as often as I have ! Do*you know 


that Figgis was seen going into that house only two 
days ago ? " 

I shook my head. 

" It's true." 

;; If the ammunition was such a crime, why not 
arrest Mrs. Slaney, and earn the thanks of us 
all ? " 

" Ah, there you have me. Look." He walked 
over to the window and pointed to a large building 
opposite. "Irish Office. Causes us more trouble 
than all the Shinners put together. We can't 
arrest half the people we would like to because of 
them. They tie us hand and foot. The public is 
so sentimental. Women can always get interest 
roused, and questions asked in Parliament. Yet 
we know the women are as deeply in it as the men. 
Oh, we know all that is to be known about them ; 
but we've got to leave them alone." 

"I see. Then you intend to keep my hus- 
band ? " 

" I don't know about that. Mrs. Slaney's son 
should communicate with us soon, and if he can 
establish his claim to the stuff, your husband will 
be released. Do you know any one who would be 
ready to answer for him ? " 

I mentioned 47's name, and he became interested. 
" He's away now," I said, " or I would have gone 
to him at once." 

" He'll not be back for some weeks," said the 
man. " If he can vouch for your husband, it will 
be all right." 


" Some weeks ! My poor man will be dead by 

" Not he. He's very comfortable where he is. 
You can send him in anything you like. He has 
others with him, and they're all very happy." 

" There's nothing more that I can do ? " 

" Nothing at the moment." 

" A solicitor can always see him, I understand ? " 

" Certainly. Any time that you like." I got 
up to go. "I haven't been able to give you much 
satisfaction ; but you'll get him back as soon as 
Major Slaney claims the stuff." He walked to the 
door and opened it for me. " If there's anything 
I can do for you, come along and let me know." 

" There's nothing, thank you." 

The Tommy had either died or deserted. I 
found my way back into the Castle yard. As I hesi- 
tated there, a man detached himself from a group 
and came smiling upon me in the warmest fashion. 

" Good morning," he cried. " So you came 
along to look us up ? " 

I tried to place him, but the effort was too much 
for me. 

" You don't remember me ? " 

" I'm afraid not." 

He laughed the heartiest of laughs. " Your 
memory is short. Why, I arrested your husband 
last night." 

" Did you ? Then perhaps you can tell me how 
he is?" ' 

" He's splendid. We're F Company. We take 


special care not to manhandle our prisoners. We 
take a pride in getting them to the Castle in good 
condition. Shall I see you to the gate ? " 

" Thanks, I know the way." 

My coldness did not chill him. He smiled 
pleasantly after me. 

I travelled far that day; but the end of it brought 
no reward to my efforts. Mrs. O'Grady had become 
dumb, and had resigned herself to the worst. Mrs. 
Slaney had retreated into the fastness of her bed- 
room, where I followed her to do battle about the 

" You call this gelignite, I suppose," she said, 
unearthing a tin and showing it to me. 

" Where did you get it ? " 

" It's wonderful for pot plants," she declared. 
" I got it to make the plants grow." 

She put it away like a squirrel storing a nut. 

The following day I went to a solicitor. 

He was pessimistic. " It's not much of a job 
going to the Castle ! " he exclaimed. " There are 
Sinn Feiners always watching. I shall be shot as 
a spy." But for all that he went. Returning to 
lunch, I met Mrs. O'Grady in the hall. 

" No news, mum ? " 

44 None." 

" And her upstairs going about this way and 
that just as if it wasn't her fault. 4 God forgive 
you, mum,' I sez, ' for I never will.' She thinks 
nothing of me, never a word, but it's ' Mrs. O'Grady, 
have you swept the stairs ? ' 4 Mum,' I sez, 4 the 

FOUND 227 

stairs can wait with them two away like this.' 
4 Nonsense, Mrs. O'Grady,' she sez, ' rubbish ! 
Work will pass the time for you, so it will. Nothing 
like being up and doing, and keeping yourself 
occupied.' " 

"How I wish they'd take her ! " 

44 It'd be a charity, mum ; but there's not one 
of us but would wear ourselves thin to get her 

44 1 wonder. Mrs. O'Grady, send up lunch as 
soon as you can, please. I'm off to see what I can 
do this afternoon." 

" Shall I order something in case they get back 
for dinner ? " 

I shook my head. " Time enough when we see 
them, Mrs. O'Grady." 

44 It's a drop of gin I'll have ready for my man, 
God help him, if the life's still in him." 

The next day at five o'clock I walked into the 
solicitor's office. Himself was there. A chastened, 
saddened Himself. An older, dirtier Himself ; but 
a free man. 

The solicitor was laughing. His success had 
exhilarated him. 44 Take him home and feed 
him ! " he said. 

44 Where's O'Grady ? " 

44 He's on the way." 

44 Go home and tell Mrs. O'Grady, and get a 

44 You keep out of sight of the Castle now," 
said the solicitor. 44 Look me up again. I didn't 


hope for much success, I can tell you. I thought 
it would be a court-martial. When I was at the 
Castle I got in touch with somebody over the 
telephone, who said, ' Ask your client if he knows 
anything of the I.R.A.' " 

We departed home. 

Mrs. Slaney was in the hall to greet us. She 
wrung Himself by the hand. 

" What an experience ! " she exclaimed. " Now 
you will be able to write about what happens every 
day to our splendid young Irishmen." 



WE did at last seem to be putting the winter 
behind, and like divers in a sea, to be coming out 
of darkness and cold. Spring did seem to be 
arriving. The sun shone, the days lengthened, and 
the leaves began to poke out of the barren boughs 
of the lilacs and the hawthorns across the way. 
One could not do other than grow cheerful with the 
carolling birds. And surely the Republican Volun- 
teers lying out on the mountains, and surely the 
police driving up hill and down hill, found time to 
do as we other men were doing ? 

These Volunteers lying in ambush, drunk with 
patriotism and hate, must have been aware of the 
high blue sky, of the bright white clouds ; they 
must have raised their eyes now and then from the 
turn of the road round which their prey was to 
come, to watch the birds wildly wheeling ; they 
must have felt the strong grass pushing up. 

And the police driving, driving, driving, furious 
and foiled, seeking, seeking, seeking their invisible 
enemy, above the throb of the engines must have 
heard a little of the singing in the hedges, through 



the reek of petrol must have drawn in a little of the 
bouquet of the flowers. 

With spring came rumours of a change in policy. 
It went from mouth to mouth that the British 
Cabinet was debating a definite peace offer, which 
would prove acceptable to the Republicans, or as 
an alternative, the making of real war. 

Could Britain survive the humiliation of a 
truce ? Yes. Her very might permitted her to 
take this step. Her strength was so overwhelming, 
and so plainly had never been exerted to any extent, 
that she could make an offer of peace without 
mortal injury to her prestige. There were no doubt 
Republican Volunteers, men who had never had a 
taste of real war, the war of heavy rifle fire and 
shell fire, who believed the Republican Army the 
equal of the British Army in the open field ; but 
these men could not be many. 

The rumour came and went, and came again. 

Rumour brought other news besides talk of 
peace. The return of the sun had laid the bogey 
of the long winter nights ; but winter had left a 
mark upon a good many people. Rumour said 
the men on the run were at the end of their tether. 
The barber to Michael Collins reported that the 
Minister of Finance jumped out of his skin at any 
sound. The barber experienced a good deal of 
difficulty shaving the Minister. Possibly the said 
Minister used a safety razor ; but the whisper was 
a sign of the times. 

" What I notice most about our boys is the way 


they have aged," Mrs. Desmond Fitzgerald said 
to me. " Some of them, who were quite young 
men at the Rising four years ago, walk and talk like 
middle-aged men." 

I asked Mrs. Fitzgerald how the leaders with a 
price on their heads kept their nerve day after day, 
and her answer was they had no time to think of 
danger because of the work to get through. These 
people slept in a different house most nights of the 
week ; but all arrangements were made for them, 
and when they laid down to sleep, be it by night or 
by day, they knew those round them put their 
safety first of all things. They knew they were the 
chosen of a nation, which had lifted them out of 
obscurity in a few brief years, and this must have 
been a stout prop to their courage. Nevertheless, 
I have been assured the life told on the stoutest, 
for in this warfare, carried on below the surface, it 
was in the most secure moment a man found 
himself destroyed. 

So spring brought rumours of peace, but did not 
bring peace. Attacks upon the Crown Forces had 
increased, and though the Republican Volunteers 
had returned to their old ambushing tactics, having 
found the open skirmishing too costly, they carried 
out daring coups now and then, which helped to 
restore the damage to their reputation caused by 
their tactics in the cities. 

Then one day I met a neighbour who told me 
her greengrocer, one of the I.R.A., had announced 
that the six weeks to follow were to be the worst 


weeks of the struggle. Lo ! anything might 
happen to anybody at any moment, and the most 
obscure citizen might find all in an instant that 
though the age of chivalry might be dead, the age 
of romance still existed. 

One sunny day, when the wind was shaking 
open the lilacs across the way, a thin stream of 
smoke curled up into the sky over the river, and 
the word went round that the Customs House, the 
most beautiful building in Ireland, was in flames. 

I turned my steps that way. The wind was 
high, and there was little hope for the building. I 
came in good time to the shabby streets, which 
have an end upon the quays. The stream of smoke 
was rolling up, filling all one part of the sky. I 
judged the building must be in its death throes. 
At last, through a gap in the streets, I saw the 
Customs House straight before me on the other 
side of the river, and on the quays on this side all 
the world had gathered. When I emerged from 
my dive into the mean streets, I came against a 
wedge of several thousand people. They were from 
all parts of the city ; but swallowing up all the others 
were the denizens of this slum quarter. 

There were women with babies, women without 
babies, and women who might have had babies with 
them had the Volunteers delayed their operations 
for a few weeks. There were urchins with boots 
and urchins without boots, and half-grown people 
hi their fathers' coats, and other half -grown people 
in their mothers* skirts, and children who would 


grow up into touts, and other children who would 
grow up into beggar-women and flower-girls. 

And here and there, like islands in a sea, were 
prosperous citizens ; high and low all brought to 
a single level by their curiosity. And, of course, 
there were Republican Volunteers in the crowd, and 
perhaps agents of the British secret service. 

To the man who could bide his time the crowd 
presented a gap here and a gap there, and I slipped 
into this place and slipped into that place, and 
presently had a front row view of what was going 
forward. The Liffey held us in check. It was a 
high tide, and the wind sent the wave-tops into the 
air in spray. A quay was on the farther side, and 
rising beyond, the lovely building of the Customs 
House, that morning doomed to death and now in 
the agony. 

" Sure, and it's the clock is still going, God save 
us," said a lady on my left, drawing a shawl round 
her infant's face, and giving it a jerk to send it into 

" And Lady Liberty standing up there so brave, 
it's her we must see come down," answered her 

" Indade, and I hear tell it's Lady Hope up 
there," retorted she of the baby. 

I looked up at the statue of Commerce, which 
crowned the dome of the building. It seemed the 
final prize to which all the flames were leaping. 

There was a great to-do going on on the 
farther side, but the building was large, and the 


space before it ample. The place was picketed by 
military, and every now and then some Govern- 
ment motor would dash up or roll away, bringing or 
carrying off military .officials, police officials, and less 
glorious officials in mufti. 

Upon the face of the building firemen were at 
work, pigmy people of no consequence beside the 
statue, who nevertheless seemed to be making a 
last stand like warriors driven to the corners of 
their country. 

For the wind blew steadily, and every now and 
then sprang upon the great stone building in a 
squall, and the tops of the waves which held us 
where we were, would fly off in spray. And the 
fiery heart of the building would glow and redden 
and become fiercer, and the firemen would doubly 
toil at the hose, which looked like the dead body of 
some great sea-serpent lately come out of the river. 
Their backs would bend, and it would come after 
them ever so unwillingly. And other firemen, 
creeping about the grey face of the building upon 
their ladders, would peer at the molten heart 
through some gaping window, and direct tons of 
water within. 

And then the wind would sigh and fall again, 
and the water roaring down upon some outwork 
of the conflagration would batter it to death ; and 
a new wind springing up would blow like a giant's 
bellows upon the quenched sparks, blow a new fury 
of destruction into them, and they would leap up 


" Och, it's a grander sight than the Post Office 
in Easter week/' 

44 It is, it is." 

Moving to and fro upon Butt Bridge, and moving 
up and down the quays, were Crossley tenders with 
their load of police. Now and then a gust of rage 
would seize those people, as indeed rage was con- 
suming all Ireland now, the tender would awaken 
to a new pace and come running in the direction 
of the crowd, and a panic like a live thing, would 
seize us ; we would start running and bunch up 
into the alleyways. The car would roll down to 
where we had been, and the men would lean over 
its armoured sides, shaking their guns and grinding 
their teeth, as if their dumb lips were shouting for 
the phantom enemy to come out of the crowd and 
give them battle. The car would back and turn, 
and roll up the quay towards the bridge again, and 
we would come out from our holes like rats. 

" Indade, and it's shooting ye they would be if 
ye was to look at them," said a stout lady in a shawl, 
gazing up the quay after the departed enemy. 

" It's grand they look in them hats," said her 
daughter of twenty, who had enjoyed the scuttle 
into covert, and was wiping her nose on her 

44 And it's meself," agreed the mother, " will be 
sad to see the last iv the military, thieves and 
murderers as they are. It's a grand sight is the 
military." , 

44 Sure, and it's our boys are going to show them 


the way out iv the country. And it's a grand sight 
our boys will look in green." 

" They will. Them Auxiliaries be good fighters. 
I hear tell this morning they got out iv their motors 
and stood up there, and banged away with their 
legs apart and their rifles to their shoulders. I 
hear tell there was a girl standing by, and one iv 
them Auxiliaries, sez he to she, ' Lie ye down, 
mum, or it's shot ye'll be,' and he puts her on the 
ground, and his foot in the stomach iv her for to 
protect her, and he goes on shooting, and it's not a 
minute after he falls dead atop iv her with a bullet 
to the heart." 

At the end of one of these panics, when the 
police had retreated up the quay and we had 
emerged into the open, I found myself in a new 
place. I started to gape across the river again 
just as somebody beside me said, " How's the 
world treating you ? " I found 47 at my elbow. 

"Hallo," I said. 

" Hallo," he answered. 

" Where have you sprung from ? " 

" I came along to see what was doing." 

" They've made a good job of it ?" I suggested, 
nodding over the river. 

" They have," he admitted. " About their best 
stunt up to date." 

"Did you hear how they did it ? " I asked. 

" They arrived this morning in covered lorries, 
and brought the straw and paraffin with them. I 
hear our people " he dropped his voice as he said 


our people " have got over a hundred prisoners 
at the Castle, so I don't know how many there were 
on the job at the start. The Shinners took the 
Customs House people by surprise, and, of course, 
there was nobody armed to put up any resistance. 
They dismantled the telephones, herded up the 
clerks into one part of the place, chucked paraffin 
and straw all over the place, and set everything 
alight. They had taken the precaution to send 
men to hold up the firemen at the two nearest fire- 
stations. The coup was well planned, and they 
would probably have got away scot free ; but there's 
a story that some pickets standing on the bridge 
saw a tender of Auxiliaries coming along, got ner- 
vous, thought they were discovered, fired on them, 
and that gave the show away. In two minutes our 
fellows were pouring out of the Castle, and in five 
minutes the place was surrounded. I understand 
the Shinners inside went on with the work and 
completed it before they thought of escaping. 
Some of the fellows taken had petrol on their 
clothes. There was quite a good show for about 
twenty minutes between the Auxiliaries outside 
and the Shinners trying to get out." 

" Did some chaps get done in ? " 

" Quite a lot." 

" They seem to have got the laugh on you fellows 
this time," I said, nodding over the river again. 

" They have," he agreed. 

We stayed a few minutes watching the fire, and 
then I said, " How did you find things up North ? " 


He gave me a look meaning there were better 
places for talking, and we wormed our way to 
another part of the crowd. The view was not as 
good ; but there was plenty of elbow room. 

" Have you been back long ? " I asked. 

" A day or two." 

" Well, what about things ? What's the good 
of you if you don't amuse me ? " 

" I found the people up there another race as 
far as outsides go to these people. In a way they're 
the complement to the Southerners. If you could 
scrap the religious question so that North and South 
could intermarry, I believe a first-class race would 
be produced. I had a look over the internment 
camp at Ballykinler while I was in that part of 
the world." 

44 What did you think of the place ? " 

44 It was an internment camp. It doesn't 
pretend to be anything better than that. But 
it was quite a good camp as far as internment 
camps go. There are about eighteen hundred 
fellows there in two big enclosures they call cages. 
Men can go on the run in there if they like. That 
gives you some idea of the size of the place." 

44 It's pretty country, isn't it ? " 

44 In good weather ; but the men can't see much 
more than the mountains. Weather has a lot to 
do with making a place of that sort bearable or 
not. The fellows who arrived in the winter must 
have found it pretty ghastly ; but the fellows 
arriving now haven't much to complain of beyond 


the loss of their liberty. In fact, fellows from the 
slums and from poor country homes were never 
better off in some ways." 

" That may be ; but it must be pretty deadly 
putting in time." 

" They've plenty to do, especially if they like 
work. The organisation there is quite good. The 
men are more or less under military discipline, their 
own military discipline. There's a commandant, 
who is an internee, to each cage, and orders trickle 
through from him. In fact, I find responsible Sinn 
Feiners saying that it would be a good thing for 
the nation if all the uneducated fellows could be 
roped into one of these camps for a bit." 

" They're educated free, gratis and for nothing ? " 
I asked. 

" Arrivals are taken to the commandant's office 
and are put through it there, for they are very afraid 
of spies, and everybody suspects everybody else. 
Each hut has an intelligence officer to find out what 
he can about his men, to prevent them talking 
rashly, and to keep note of all that goes on outside 
the cages. They try to take the numbers of motor- 
cars, to remember any faces they can get a glimpse 
at for future reference, and to glean any information 
that's going." 

" But what's taught ? " 

" Irish first and foremost. There used to be 
daily drills ; but it has been put a stop to. There's 
not much doubt that they still hold military classes 
in the huts. There appear to be all sorts of other 


classes book-keeping, shorthand, and lots of com- 
mercial things. There's a sprinkling of educated 
chaps among the others. Let's see what else ? 
There's football and that kind of thing. There are 
shops of sorts, too. A young chap can knock a bit 
of fun out of things. The people who find con- 
ditions hardest are elderly cultivated men, and, of 
course, it must be the devil for fathers of families, 
who must be wondering whether their people are 
starving or not." 

44 What are the rations like ? " 
" The same as the soldiers, and if anybody goes 
short it's the soldiers. There'd be such a fuss 
otherwise. At first the Tommies cooked for them ; 
but they made such a fuss they were allowed their 
own cooks, and the military cooks were left to do 
their worst among their own people. There are a 
good many food complaints, chiefly from chaps who 
never had a square meal in their lives before. Their 
people send parcels, to the sorrow of the censors, 
who have to probe into cakes and gape into pots of 
jam for messages. And some devoted mothers 
send meat, which goes bad." 

" To the still greater sorrow of the censors ? " 
" The fellows have built their own chapel and 
furnished it, and services are held by an interned 

" I suppose letters are censored ? " 
44 Every one of them. It's the devil's own job. 
I gave a hand for a bit. I found it stupefying. Of 
all the letters I opened, only one remained in my 


mind five minutes after. It was an in-going letter, 
a love letter from a girl, a school teacher. This 
delightful writer had ideals and liked nice things, 
and he, it seemed, was rather uncouth. She was 
telling him what he must be dressed in, and how 
he must look when he came first to see her after 
release. There were pages of the letter full of tender 
urgings and gentle reasonings. A fellow feels rather 
guilty having to put his nose into a thing like that." 

I nodded my head. 

" One thing the letters did, they proved how 
thoroughly the rank and file were under the whip of 
the leaders. On the days of the out-going mail 
some leading spirit seemed to order what opinion 
was to be expressed on this or that event, for in 
most of the letters there was a single well-turned 
sentence blooming like a rose in the desert of 
illiteracy. The brain reeled finding the same thing, 
said more or less correctly, over and over again. 
Oh, and another thing these letters did was to make 
one realise how real a thing religion was to a good 
many of these people." 

I was looking at the burning building. " I don't 
believe that dome is going to go this afternoon." 

" Neither do I, and I can't wait for it anyhow." 

" Were you at the camp long ? " 

^ Only a day or two. I was on other business. 
I'm off." 

" When are we going to see you again ? " 

" We'll run across each other soon. I don't 
suppose I shall be leaving Dublin again." 


I knew once 47 intended to go nothing stopped 
him. I gave a flourish of my hand, and he flourished 
his and left me. 

He had not gone very long when the Auxiliaries 
paid us another of their intermittent visits, panic 
swept over us again, and we retreated to our holes 
to the sound of hundreds of steps pattering on the 
quay. These terrible men came along again, lean- 
ing over the armoured sides of the car, flashing their 
eyes, grinding their teeth, waving their guns and 
crying, " Move along there," and then, their fury 
eased, they turned the car about and sped back to 
Butt Bridge. 

The crowd had thinned a good deal since I 
came, and there was plenty of room to move about. 
This time who should I run across but Mrs. Slaney ? 
She was standing very stiffly contemplating the 
burning building. 

" It seems rather a pity," I said. 

For once she appeared a little abashed. A great 
flurry of wind came along, and the inferno within 
the stone walls glowed, and flames pushed through 
the stone crevices here and there, leapt out of the 
windows, climbed through the roof, and turning 
into smoke, went whirling into the sky. Great 
pieces of charred material went floating like black 
birds into the air. All eyes were fixed on the clock, 
which continued to tick. 

" It was the most beautiful building in Ireland," 
Mrs. Slaney said. " Many a time I have been in 
there when I was a girl with my cousins, who held 


their heads very high on the north side of the city. 
It seems unfortunate that the Volunteers should 
have considered it necessary to burn it." Then the 
old fire came back. " But England is to blame, 
England for what has happened. The Customs 
House represents to us the very heart of England. 
After Dublin Castle everything that is iniquitous in 
English rule is most strongly represented by that 
building. England has caused the ruin of that 
place just in the same way as she caused the destruc- 
tion of the Post Office, another of our beautiful 

I departed before very long, vanquished. The 
clock was still going at the time ; but it had stopped 
before next morning. The following afternoon I 
was down that way again when the dome, which 
seemed to be supporting the statue of Commerce, 
capitulated. The flames pushed through its joints, 
like the edges of some starving tongue thrusting up 
from within ; it crumpled, it palpitated, it curled 
in agony, it disappeared. But the statue stood, 
defying the lust of the great crowd gathered to see 
it crash down to the pavement, and was standing 
high over the wreckage after the last spark had been 

This coup of the Republican Volunteers, though 
one of the most brilliant they had carried out, was 
never mentioned with special satisfaction even in 
the ranks of Sinn Fein. There was regret in the 
note of rejoicing. Ireland had lost her finest 



WITH the arrival of June a long dry summer made 
a beginning. The leaves were thick upon the trees, 
the birds had done their spring singing and were 
sending their families out into the world, and the 
nursemaids and children had all come back again 
to Stephen's Green. The babies that had filled the 
perambulators of last year toddled beside the 
wheels this year, and new babies were lying upon 
the old cushions. 

But political affairs showed no alteration, and 
though it was fixed in everybody's mind that the 
British Government was about to make a change in 
policy, an overture of peace or a fiercer war, there 
was no sign of this, and affairs were more acute. 
But these days could not desolate a man as the 
winter days had done, for now there was sunshine 
and now there was light. 

One morning, as I wandered in the direction of 
Stephen's Green I saw Mrs. Desmond Fitzgerald. 
She must have come in from her cottage in the hills. 
I wanted to ask her something ; but she was moving 
at her own special pace, which resembled nothing 



so much as the tireless trot of a wolf, and perceiving 
I would have to hire a side-car to overtake her, and 
being without funds, I went into the Green and fell 
upon a seat in a muse. The nursemaids, the chil- 
dren and the cereopsis goose from Australia drifted 
out of my vision. 

I revived to see walking by me ten Republican 
Volunteers or ten of the murder gang, according to 
what were one's political opinions. These people 
wore trench coats, the pockets of which were 
swollen with guns and bombs, and they looked 
very self-conscious. They had come up Grafton 
Street and in by the main gate there, and they were 
crossing the Green in couples to the farther end. 
They must be going to blow up somebody, I thought, 
and fell into a muse again upon them. 

Of course these people were only corner-boys. 
They were corner-boys in the strictest sense of the 
word. They were on the way to a corner where 
they would throw those bombs and let off those 
guns, and then they would depart home as hurriedly 
and as safely as they could. They were corner-boys. 
And yet they were something more than corner- 
boys. The type of warfare they conducted brought 
them few casualties ; but one had only to see those 
self-conscious anxious faces to know it was not the 
joy of murder that impelled them on the way. 
These people, who had just walked by, were going 
to render a certain service at a street corner because 
they believed their country needed that service. 
Why deny them any lustre that was theirs ? 


I fell out of my muse about ten minutes later 
when I heard the roar of a couple of bombs and 
some rifle fire. Bullets clipped the leaves overhead, 
and I felt ruffled, They must have blown somebody 
up, I thought, and fell into a second muse. 

As a matter of fact they had nearly blown my 
wife up, and also several women with perambulators ; 
but the only person who got shot was an old beggar 
woman sitting on the steps of St. Vincent's Hospital. 
My wife said when the bombs were thrown and the 
Auxiliaries were firing back, the Volunteers seized 
the perambulators and hustled them and the frantic 
nurses into the shelter of Stephen's Green. Whether 
this act was to protect the children, or whether it 
was to take suspicion off the Volunteers, she could 
not make up her mind. Let us give judgment for 
the first. 

I awakened from my second muse to find a gun 
being flourished at my stomach, and a fiery 
Auxiliary, an ex-officer and a loyal gentleman or 
one of Hamar Greenwood's hired assassins, according 
to a man's views, ordering me to " go over there 
and be searched." I looked " over there," and saw 
all the men in the Green bunched together and the 
Auxiliaries searching them. I started to go over, 
and the Auxiliary flew after another solitary in- 
dividual. There were half a dozen bushes on the 
way I could have dropped guns behind. 

In a minute or two I had joined the bunch of 
men. I began to feel in a hurry all of a sudden, 
for it was getting towards Iunch-time 3 and when a 


queue was formed, I took an opportunity to get 
into the front of it. It was after I was well in 
position that I remembered my pocket-book had 
entries in it, names of Sinn Feiners and titles of 
pamphlets, which might cause these gentlemen in 
Balmoral bonnets to prick up their ears. They 
might feel it on their conscience to haul me off to 
the Castle to explain myself, and it was easier to 
enter the Castle Yard then to leave the Castle Yard. 
I became humble. I withdrew, I evaporated, I 
murmured after you, sir, and I went crabwise to 
the last place in the line. It took me twenty 
minutes and a good deal of bother to pull the 
necessary leaves from my pocket-book without 
being noticed, tear them into little bits, and 
sprinkle them in the grass. 

When my turn came the Auxiliary said without 
touching me, " You'll do." 

" Search me," I demanded. 

He smiled, patted my pockets, and said, 
" You'll do." 

They knew the sort of man to look for. 

But, of course, anybody who knew the ropes 
realised the searching of this line of men had been 
pathetic, for over on the seats sat nursemaids and 
little typists, and other high-heeled and short- 
skirted people. If any of the ambushers had had 
the misfortune to be shut in the gardens, their guns 
were not on them. They would be in some bush, 
or they would be in the dress of one of those demure 


It was nothing strange to be stopped by the 
military in the street and searched for arms, and 
the custom was growing to let women carry the 
guns until they were wanted and receive them again 
afterwards, for women were not allowed to be 
searched except in emergency by women searchers. 
The British Government was paternal in some things 
to the end, and earned the righteous scorn of 
Loyalist and Republican alike. 

About this time we paid visits to Mrs. Erskine 
Childers. Her house was one of the rocks of 
Republicanism. One met there the more extreme 
Cumann na mBan, and as the Cumann na mBan 
consisted of women they were nearly all extreme. 
It was whispered that all sorts of people on the run 
visited the place ; but the ordinary visitor to the 
house never met these people. It was necessary 
for Mrs. Childers to lead an inactive life, and her 
energies had gone into her intellect. She sat all 
day in her library dipping into her books, and she 
had become very well educated politically. 

The rule that the convert makes the fiercest 
apostle held good in the case of these two of Mrs. 
Childers, an American citizen, and of Childers, the 
Englishman, who in earlier years had served 
Britain and the British Empire in the army and 
the navy. The nationality of Mrs. Childers, and 
the fact that she was a person of breeding in a 
movement where most of the followers belonged to 
the people, made her valuable, and all wandering 
strangers whose sympathy it was desirable to 


enlist, were taken along to her with the words, 
" Oh, you must see Mrs. Erskine Childers. She 
can tell you so much." Mrs. Childers, refined, 
daintily dressed, intellectual, lying on her couch, 
put them right upon the wrongs of Ireland. 

The strangest of the birds of passage that 
passed through Ireland during these troubled 
times were Americans, who, one and all, belied 
their national reputation for shrewdness. Those 
I came across in Ireland were emotional, simple 
individuals, ready to credit any well-told 

What of Childers himself, the toiling Childers, 
the small harassed man, for ever pedalling his 
bicycle ; Childers who, of all those hard-working 
people, outworked all others ; Childers who looked 
as though he might die and still sit upon his bicycle 
with his legs going round and round ? This toil- 
ing Republican, whom the British Government ^ 
in the strangeness of its ways left free, was he a 
man with a broken heart, and this very fever of 
work the effort to escape his sorrow ? Was there 
truth in the whisper that he was a disappointed 
English naval man, who in pique had thrown 
himself into Irish affairs ? Then, indeed, he was 
a small man, and all his furious pedalling would 
never bring him balm. But if his work for Ireland 
represented truth to him, so that no doubt ever 
came to make him irresolute, so that he never 
thought hungrily of his own country which he had 
forsaken, then, indeed, he was bigger than the 



common run of man, and his toil may have brought 
repose to his spirit. 

Mrs. Desmond Fitzgerald had a cottage in the 
hills, not very far from the city. We made oc- 
casional pilgrimages there. The two-mile walk 
from the^ station was nothing on those first kind 
summer days. There were pools of shade for the 
traveller to wade through under the trees ; the 
lower lands were golden with gorse ; the sky was 
high and serene. Yet the country bore more marks 
of ruin than the city. 

An occasional gaunt building, such as the skele- 
ton of the Customs House or the General Post 
Office, was all the wear and tear the city showed, 
though observant people could find bullet holes in 
a good many windows, some of them small and 
clean as if an augur had bored them, others 
brutally done, so that the cracks had run all about 
the pane. Sometimes a great plate-glass window 
would be annihilated, sometimes the fragments of 
some bomb leaping from the pavement would tear 
a score of holes in a door and stay embedded there ; 
but next day the glazier would be along with his 
putty and the decorator with his paint brush, and 
there would be nothing to see. 

It was different in the country. One came 
upon trees felled across the road, or lying prone, 
leaving just enough space for the cart of the 
marketing peasant. One came upon walls tumbled 
to the ground, and a pyramid of broken masonry 
Jying in wait for the hurrying police tender. 


Round abrupt corners one stepped into trenches 
dug across the road to receive the front wheels of 
some military lorry shaking upon its way. 

Military and police presently took with them 
little bridges to engineer the lorries across the 
trenches, and so with a bare halt went throbbing 
on their way ; but the graves set in the road for 
leviathan fare stayed there unattended, yawning 
for the poor peasant and his cart. Nobody filled 
these gaps, perhaps from patriotism, perhaps 
because such busybody act might call down the 
vengeance of the Republican Army hanging some- 
where in the hills, or equally probably because the 
tired peasant, having negotiated the yawn with 
his own wit, left other people to be as wise as he, 
and went on home, looking neither right nor left, 
in case he saw more than was wise. 

But summer had come quite indifferent to these 
things ; and by wood and hedge and stream it 
had arrived a-blooming ; it had gone rolling up 
and down the hills, and into the shining sky. 

Those who knew the way about the slopes of 
these hills could spy outposts of the Republican 
Army, men moving about the hills with telescopes, 
sometimes the flutter of a signalling flag. What 
a draught for bold youth this mountain air ! The 
veriest bent-backed clerk, taken out here from his 
city office, would begin to straighten and stamp in 
the high romantic manner ; how then some fiery 
country boy led to these high places and told 
Ireland's fatal story ? High up there, each man 


his individual eagle, staring down with unfilmed 
eye upon the faint white roads netting the fair 
country, they could mark the hurrying police 
tenders and exult at their freedom. 

These hills held caves where men retreated in 
extremity after the police had raided the farm- 
houses that usually gave them shelter. 

On a shoulder of the outside range of these hills 
high enough for the sea to be seen, so near to Dublin 
that the city seemed to be lying a few miles away 
in a smoky pool Mrs. Desmond Fitzgerald had a 
cottage and a garden plot. She dug in the garden 
while there was excuse for digging, and it was there 
she seemed to soften for a few moments, and let 
some of this Republican load, which she had taken 
upon herself to carry, fall off her back. 

To the peasants of that hamlet, which went 
climbing up the pass for a mile, she must have been 
some one come from the bigger world, a sojourner 
with people whose names were in the papers, on 
whose heads was a price, to stimulate the cottagers 
and hold them to their purpose, to refill the cup of 
village louts drunk with the grandeur of the times. 

The fact that the Republicans were a small man 
fighting a giant was worth a second army to them, 
for however just the big man's cause, his efforts 
against a smaller man are thankless, and the world, 
which never goes to the roots of a matter, has no 
sympathy to give him. 

On the British Army and the Police fell none 
of the glory the gods were raining down. They 


carried out their orders under the most adverse 
conditions, and got the knocks and fatigues with- 
out the applause. They must have had to prop 
their energies now and then with the remembrance 
that though the nation whose servants they were 
had little interest in their doings, dismissed them 
with the morning bacon and the propped-up news- 
paper, their thankless task had as great use as any 
which trumpets heralded and all the world streamed 
out to cheer. 

One day I ran across 47, in Phoenix Park of all 
places. Some tender moment had brought him to 
walk among the flowers there. It was one of the 
few times I saw him before he saw me. He seemed 
to be communing with himself, like a monk pacing 
a cloisteral retreat. I supposed he was wondering 
how long his lonely vigil was still to last. 

I crossed the green behind him and said, " Hallo, 
I see you have the pip." 

"I've not got the pip. I've had enough of 
Ireland, though." 

" It's a tip-top day." 

He pondered this, and then said something that 
surprised me. It showed which way his thoughts 
were running. 

" The heart of a giant must beat under an 
agent's coat. He goes alone about his work. He 
goes unpraised about his work. He has no armed 
men at his back. To-day, alone. To-morrow, 
alone. Every man an oyster he must open. Ha, 
ha ! he cries, and joins once again in the laugh 


against what he loves. He waits, he waits. He 
watches, he watches. That is the order of his day. 
Let him open his eyes a little wider, let him prick 
his ears a little sharper ; some hurt may be coming 
to the country he serves. He grows tired in the end. 

" But he must not grow tired. Here and here 
and here he steps lightly, surely, certainly. And 
how does he open each golden gate ? His key ? 
He concentrates on what he takes in hand to the 
exclusion of everything else." 

We had fallen into line and were stalking over 
the lawn. 47 began again after a few steps. 

" Our mutual acquaintance has a story that on 
a Continental stunt it was necessary he should 
become a waiter, therefore he chose a waiter in his 
hotel, and sat down for six weeks and watched him. 
He looked at no other waiter. He looked at 
nothing else. He learned how a waiter waited for 
a tip, how he coughed on the plates, how he picked 
his teeth with the forks. That mutual acquaintance 
of ours knew the way to go about things." 

" Are you people any nearer clearing things 
up ? " I asked. " By gad, you all seem to work 
hard enough for your living. The Auxiliaries and 
the Black-and-Tans are going day and night." He 
made no answer, and I added, " I may as well tell 
you the Sinn Feiners can go on for ever at the 
present rate of things. You might have netted 
them all in the beginning ; there are too many of 
them now. You've pricked and pricked and pricked 
them until youVe pricked the whole nation alive. 


Why do you people delude yourselves by making 
statements every few weeks that the Irish situa- 
tion is well in hand ? It's pathetic to listen to you, 
and the awakening must come sooner or later." 

" It's beginning already in a few places," 47 
answered. " You'll find there's a change of policy 
before long. The police chase will turn into some- 
thing that can be dignified by the name of war, or 
there will be an offer made and negotiations will 
begin. You'll find it will be negotiations. Whether 
war or negotiations the issue will be the same. 
Ireland will obtain a full measure of self-govern- 
ment." He stalked on a step or two and said, 
" For the old order is changing and the British 
Empire, whether it likes it or not, is going to 
change from a number of nations dominated by a 
central power to equal nations linked by a common 

" It's time you got a move on," I retorted. 
" India and Egypt are starting to go along the 
same road as Ireland. There are the same symp- 
toms to recognise the disease by. Kidnappings, 
assassinations, and plenty of intimidation on both 
sides. Why not give India and Egypt what they 
are going to get gracefully instead of having them 
threaten it out of you ? " 

47 shrugged his shoulders and suffered from one 
of his bursts of philosophy. " Perhaps it is written 
the history of man is to be one of confusion and 
pain from beginning to end. So does the spirit 
master matter and gather its experience." 


After that we wandered round among the 
flowers, which were a new lot and as good as usual ; 
then we took our separate ways home. 

" It's a longer au revoir than usual.'* I said, 
flourishing a hand. 

" How's that ? " 

- " I'm off to Ulster for the twelfth of July. I'm 
thinking of going quite soon." 

" You may find a change when you come back. 
Peace or something of the sort." 

" By all means." 

My road always lay through the centre of the 
city, and coming to College Green one met the 
inevitable paper boys bawling their wares, and if 
one still had curiosity enough to buy another issue, 
one opened it to find " Auxiliaries capture a Number 
of Armed Civilians," or " Mysterious Death. Man's 
Body found in Field. On the Victim's Breast was 
pinned a piece of paper bearing the words ' Spies 
and Informers beware. By Order. I.R.A.' " 



THE concussion of the bomb nearly threw me off 
my feet. For a few moments I thought that I was 
hit. In a dream I could see people falling, and I 
realised that things were darting by me like fast 
and furious flies. The lorry had slackened speed, 
and the Auxiliaries were standing up shooting. A 
man prone on the ground a few yards away raised 
himself cautiously on his hands. Then I came to 
life. At the same moment a man in the gutter 
decided that the moment to retire had come. He 
scrambled to his feet and, crouching low, dashed 
past me round the corner. Others ran with him 
wildly. The fire became concentrated on the 
corner of the wall. I stepped in a panic into shelter, 
picking up a child as I stepped. Women fell over 
perambulators after me, nurses abandoned babies 
and snatched them up again, children were flung 
from side to side and were pushed into shelter by 
people who wanted shelter for themselves. The 
child I held was about three. Its face had grown 
a dull red, and it caught its breath until I thought 
it would burst. The only thing to do was to smack 



it. That took its attention off other things, and it 
howled and breathed quite naturally. There was 
no longer an ambusher to be seen. 

" What a life ! " I exclaimed to a woman beside 

" Terrible," she declared indignantly. " I de- 
clare this is the third ambush I've wheeled my baby 
into this week. I can show you a bullet hole 
through her pram top this very minute. People 
ought to be ashamed throwing bombs in a crowd." 

" Indeed, the Shinners are only doing their 
duty," broke in a girl. " Why do the Black-and- 
Tans shoot back ? It's only babies they hit." 

" And aren't the Black-and-Tans doing their 
duty, too ? " retorted the woman with the baby, 
who was thoroughly roused. " Indeed, and the 
Shinners are taking no risks, they are not. Did ye 
ever see a Shinner yet that came out in the open ? 
Did ye ever see the Shinner that " 

I walked home, leaving behind me a heated 
argument, and feeling rubbed up the wrong way. 
I decided I was quite glad to be joining Himself in 
the North in a day or two. 

Mrs. O'Grady met me at the door. 

" It's yourself that's all right ? I was after 
saying a rosary for you this very minute. God 
save us ! It's the worst we've had yet. I thought 
the house would come down." 

" I was right in the middle of it. I made sure 
I was hit at first. In fact my head is still ringing." 

" And so it would," Mrs. O'Grady agreed. 


" O'Grady is the very same. Miss OTarrell is still 
out, and the mistress is in a fuss over it to be 

She tramped off in her sandshoes to get my 
lunch, and I went into the sitting-room. 

The door opened suddenly and in bustled 
Mrs. Slaney. 

" Such an explosion ! " she exclaimed. " I'm 
glad you weren't hit. I was wondering where you 
were. Miss O'Farrell isn't in yet. I hope she's all 

" Nice place to ambush," I said, feeling aggres- 
sive. " The street was filled with perambulators." 

Mrs. Slaney flushed. 

44 1 have no doubt the Sinn Feiners find it 
necessary," she answered. " Why do the soldiers 
take advantage of the perambulators ? They've 
no business to pass down crowded streets as they 
do. They do it for protection. They have no 
business in Ireland at all. Well, you've really 
been ambushed ? You can write home to Aus- 
tralia now, and tell them all about it." 

Another crash cut her sentence short, and she 
flushed deeper. 

" That seems to be in Stephen's Green. Do 
you think that child will ever get home for her 
dinner ? " 

44 She won't leave the office if it's not safe." 

The shooting stopped, and we went to the front 
door to see what was to be seen. There were people 
running all along the street, and the jarvies from 


Stephen's Green had whipped up their horses and 
taken refuge in our direction. A tender of Auxili- 
aries drove slowly, the men in it looking this way 
and that for suspects. 

" Brutes ! Blackguards ! Threatening the 
people like that I I'd like to make faces at them ! " 

" Please don't while I'm here." 

" Ah, but that's how I feel. And our boys 
aren't always responsible for the bombs. Three 
people told me that they saw the big ambush last 
night, and that the soldiers threw the bomb de- 
liberately themselves . ' ' 

" What for ? " 

" So that they could have an excuse for firing 
at the crowd." 

" Well, I saw the bomb thrown to-day, and they 
certainly did not throw it themselves. A bomb 
isn't a toy, Mrs. Slaney. I shouldn't think many 
soldiers would throw the bomb for the pleasure of 
ambushing themselves. The man that threw it 
this morning was standing beside me, and he fell 
flat on his face when it was thrown, and then he 
scuttled away among the babies and the perambu- 

She changed the subject. " When are you 
joining your husband ? Mrs. O'Grady wants a 
holiday, so I have given her next week. You and 
I will be alone. Miss O'Farrell is going away for 
a few days at the end of this week." 

" Really ? " I made up my mind quickly. 
"I'm going away at once." 


" Oh ! " Her face fell. " I had pictured a nice 
little time together. I thought perhaps we could 
get our meals together. It would save you, and 
would be company for me." 

" I'm afraid I'm going next Friday." 

44 Well, I must try to get some one. I can't stay 
in the house alone. O'Grady isn't much good." 

She went slowly upstairs, and I remained on the 
doorstep watching the people grow calmer. While 
I watched Miss OTarrell came hurrying home. 

" I've had a dreadful time, "she said breathlessly. 
She looked shaken. " There was an ambush in 
Stephen's Green a minute ago. I had to lie on my 
tummy for ages listening to the bullets flying over 
me. I was too terrified to move." 

44 That must have been the last ambush." 

44 Yes. I don't think I'm a national hero. 
I'd hate to be shot." She talked over her shoulder 
as she mounted the stairs. " It's made me fear- 
fully late. I've hardly time for my lunch." 

44 Wonderful spirit the Irish girls have," said 
Mrs. Slaney, two hours later, as she encountered 
me on my way out. "Little Miss OTarrell wasn't 
at all put out by her experience this morning. 
' Only another ambush,' she said, when I asked her 
why she was late. Wonderful spirit, and it's all 
through the nation. You can write to Australia 
about that. It's little incidents that make the 
world thrill." 

I was alone in the flat for another three days. 
The rest of the house had gone a-holidaying. and 


there was only Mrs. Slaney overhead. On Monday 
Mrs. O'Grady would have flown, or rather limped, 
from the basement. On these nights sleep was 
impossible. Crash after crash shook the silence, 
and the rattle of rifle fire was never ending. Some 
nights the concussion was so great that every time 
I put the window up it was shaken down again. 
When it was very bad I pulled down the blind, 
feeling rather like the soldiers on guard at the 
ruined Customs House, who crept into their bell 
tents at night when they were being sniped from 
the neighbouring roofs. It was a poor security, 
but it was security of a sort, and the only security 
granted at that time to the citizens of Dublin. 

One night I saw a figure running down the 
opposite pavement, and crouching against the walls 
of the houses. The man came to a garden with a 
tree hanging over a fence. He had time to get on 
top of the fence under the tree before the Auxiliaries 
rattled down the street after him. He stood quite 
still on top of the fence. I could only see a shadow 
where his toes must have been sticking out, the 
rest was hidden in the branches of the tree. The 
Auxiliaries dropped out of their lorry and searched 
up and down. The toes did not stir. I began to 
take a passionate interest in those toes. There is 
an appeal in anything hunted. After a little the 
lorry filled again and rattled away. The toes still 
remained without motion on the top of the fence ; 
but later when I looked they had gone. 

Mrs. Slaney grew more and more warlike as 


the days passed. Probably she passed sleepless 
nights too, and the strain was telling on her. 

:t Wonderful to have a husband a patriot," she 
declared on one occasion. 

I remembered the wives of the patriots I knew, 
and recalled them to her memory. 

" Rubbish, Mrs. Slaney," I said. " A patriot 
isn't more of a hero than another man. Look at 
the limelight a patriot gets to help him. If there 
was no limelight, no publicity, a lot of the patriots 
would be a sorry crew." 

I had said rather more than I meant out of 
exasperation ; but it was Mrs. Slaney's fault. 

I made my way into the street thinking over 
my theory. Political patriots held no monopoly. 
There were heroes that worked and died unheard of, 
heroes of exploration, of medicine, of religion, of 
literature, anything one liked to name. My musings 
came suddenly to an end. I had almost stepped in 
a pool of blood. It began halfway down the steps 
of a house, and continued to the gutter. It looked 
as if some one had carried a bucket of blood and 
had thrown it down the steps. I looked at it with 
a feeling of nausea, which increased at the sight of 
a dog's footsteps running through it. Far along 
the pavement those bloody footsteps led me on my 
way. Here the owner of them had lingered sniffing, 
here he had chatted to a friend, here he had hesi- 
tated. It was a long time before the little red 
footsteps became less plain, and still longer before 
they died out altogether. I turned a corner, and a 


hundred yards in front of me lay another pool of 
blood. The horror of killing swept over me again. 
These two pools stirred something in me that the 
riddled windows had never done. Those red foot- 
steps had brought the red ruin that was upon the 
land home to me far more than any raid or fear 
of a raid had done, more than any ambush. They 
seemed to sum up the whole case against war, to 
lay it red and bare upon the pavement. Ireland 
could never do without England, nor England 
without Ireland, for man cannot do without 

The next morning we were raided for the last 
time. It was at eight o'clock. Mrs. Slaney had 
gone to Mass, and I was alone in the house, except 
for O'Grady, who had finished polishing the brass, 
and had retired to his own quarters to make ready 
to go to work. I was used to my sitting-room 
filling suddenly with men armed to the teeth, 
therefore it was not upsetting to welcome them 
again, I had a pile of Irish Bulletins, the forbidden 
organ of Sinn Fein, in the bottom drawer of my 
desk, and the recollection of them was the only 
thing that made me uneasy. 

" Where's Mrs. Fitzgerald ? " demanded an old 
friend with a scar running down his face. 

I glanced outside before I answered. Mrs. 
Fitzgerald was considered formidable enough to 
merit more lorries and armoured cars than her 
husband. Wherever I looked were Auxiliaries, 
and the house was filled with them. 


" Mrs. Fitzgerald has gone. I've had her flat 
for two months now," I answered. 

" What's your name ? " 

I gave it. 

He softened perceptibly. " You have the same 
Christian name as my wife. Now we shall get on 
really well." 

" I'm glad." 

" All these things are Mrs. Fitzgerald's, I know 
them," he said, looking round the room like an 
auctioneer in fancy dress. 

" I took the flat over from her." 

" That's her desk ? " 

" Yes." 

" I must search it." 

" Please do. You'll only find my manuscript 
in there ; but do go through it. I'd love you to. 
I'd like to be sure somebody read it. Publishers 
are such unkind people." 

I heard a smothered oath from the other room. 
The door was open, and I saw an officer with my 
stocking bag. He had evidently run his finger on 
a darning needle. He cast the bag from him, and 
turned his attention to my chest of drawers. 

The officer in charge opened the top of the desk. 
The Bulletins were in the bottom drawer ; but one 
that I had been reading was on top of the desk. 
It lay face downwards almost under his hand. I 
couldn't make up my mind whether to take the 
bull by the horns and own up to them, or try my 
luck. My luck stood me in good stead. He 


picked up a horoscope I had been casting. He had 
another attack of humanity. He put down the gun 
he had in his hand, and turned to me with the map. 

" By Jove, are you interested in astrology ? I 
started it during the war, and before I came on 
this stunt." 

" I started it when Curfew was long and life 
became perceptibly shorter." 

He propounded the map to me, as if he loved to 
hear himself on the subject. 

" Is there anywhere I can go for lessons in 
Dublin ? " 

I told him where to go, wondering what the 
feelings of the meek astrologers would be when an 
Auxiliary armed to the teeth stalked into their 

He flung down the map on top of the impious 
Bulletin, and then ran his hand through the mass 
of papers and letters. He stooped to the first 
drawer, then to the second ; but my luck held 
good. Halfway through the second drawer he 
straightened up and said 

" I'll take your word for it." 

44 Don't do that," I said. " Better finish your 

He laughed. " No, I'll trust you." He walked 
to the door of the other room where the searchers 
were busy making hay. " Stop searching," he 
said. " Mrs. Fitzgerald isn't in the mattress." 

After that we stood a few minutes in light con- 


The tenders went off down the street with a 
flourish. At every window as usual a head was 
watching, and a few of the more da? ng spirits 
hovered upon their doorsteps. The day had begun 

Mrs. Slaney returned five minutes after. I 
think she was glad to have missed the raid, although 
she declared that she wished she had been present 
to let the men have her opinion of them. 

Worse things happened in Dublin every day. 
The Sinn Feiners began to carry out their " execu- 
tions " in the streets. Two Auxiliaries were shot 
coming out of a Graf ton Street Picture House. It 
was said a woman pointed them out, and when the 
dying men were lying on the pavement nobody 
dared go near them. Two more Auxiliaries were 
shot while they were sitting at tea with their wives. 
The kidnappings were going on. The military and 
police never rested, and all night long there was 
shooting. People were sick to death at the state 
of things. 

Nobody ever said what was at the bottom of his 
or her heart, for nobody was sure of the other 
person's beliefs, and everybody feared the power 
of the opposite side. Meanwhile the country was 
going to rack and ruin, and was there a human man 
or woman who did not long for peace ? 



Now that the height of the summer had come, and 
each day was hotter than the last, there began an 
exodus from Dublin of all who had opportunity, 
and among the speeding guests was myself. I left 
my wife behind and winged a flight to Ulster, being 
primed that I would have taken no true stock of 
Ireland until I had examined the strange race that 
moved, and lived, and had its being in the north- 
east of the country. It was said that the first half 
of July was the season to study these people, as 
their national fury waxed greatest at that time of 
year, reaching its most notable height on the twelfth 
of the month, and thereafter abating. 

The end of June found me setting out upon my 

The train that drew me out of Amiens Street 
railway station, Dublin, and disgorged me at 
Belfast, did undoubtedly take me out of one country 
and set me down in another. I left Ireland and 
came to a Scotland, not a Scotland identical with 
that over the sea ; but a Scotland that smacked 
of the other Scotland in speech, in hardihood, and 
in the make of mind that, in the face of a Catholic 



Ireland, made its sons cherish the stern old beliefs 
of Covenanting days. Behold some later race, 
vigorous, masculine, most tenacious, had breasted 
an intervening sea and found a footing in Ireland. 
New influences coming upon the fathers had 
modified the children ; but time had not yet worn 
out the original mould. 

Go north and you will find the answer to the 
question, Why are the Irish always divided ? The 
north-east quarter has the same winds as blow 
about the rest of Ireland, has the same roads as 
those on which the rest of Ireland walks, grows the 
same grass ; but has another people in whom it 
breeds a separate vision. The statement that 
Ireland absorbs all who come to her, making them 
her own, is a poet's dream or a politician's romance. 

The two Irish peoples are poles apart the 
Orangemen masculine, stern, uncompromising, 
when they are spiritual, alight with the steady 
burning fire of Puritan days taken out of some old 
history book, touched with mediaeval narrowness, 
energetic, clean ; Catholic Ireland, feminine and 
temperamental, poetical, easy going, lazy, able in 
dream to conceive the noblest ideal, unfitted in 
character to carry it to a conclusion, broad where 
the Orangemen are narrow, pliable where the 
Orangemen are rigid. 

Why did the old Covenanting blood never flow 
into the Celtic veins as other blood has done ? 
Have political differences been all the cause ? Is 
the Orangeman's love of Empire as uncompromising 


as he says ? Is Celtic Ireland's hate of Britain 
implacable ? I for one do not believe that Ulster's 
love is so burning hot ; nor am I sure that Celtic 
Ireland's hate of Britain is so undying. The Irish 
flame burns up now and then, fanned by a new 
generation of leaders ; but when the bellows cease 
to blow there seems to be no fire. 

The answer is religion. 

It is not strange that these two peoples should 
be divided in religious belief, for a man's tempera- 
ment leads his beliefs, and the teachings of the two 
Churches fit the types of mind. The Protestant 
Church, offering a father's stern love, fits the self- 
reliant Orange temperament ; and the Catholic 
Church, which holds out a mother's universal arms 
to the tired spirit, answers the Celtic need. 

The religious bigotry of this part of the world 
was astonishing to a stranger. It was mediaeval 
in vigour, and it was undeniable that the Protestants 
were the real offenders. There was a certain reason 
for this state of things, inasmuch as Catholic Ireland 
greatly outnumbered Protestant Ireland, and the 
weak man is always up in arms. At those seasons 
when the Protestant God seemed to demand of His 
devotees a greater fury of worship than usual, 
there would come a gust of religious intolerance, 
which brought the Middle Ages back again. 

How soon will these two poles, which are the 
complement of each other, meet ? If these two 
peoples would come together, and the hardy 
northern blood flow into the numerous gentler veins 


of the South, so that a new race, stiffer than the 
South, more imaginative and tolerant than the 
North, should be bred on the ancient hills, in the old 
dales, Ireland's golden age, which poets have sung 
about so long, might return again. 

They told me in Dublin that the annual fury of 
these northern people begins to wax on the first 
of July, and reaches its height upon the twelfth of 
the month ; but before the end of June the Orange 
drummer has taken his drum from its cover and the 
canes to beat it off the shelf, and on the fine even- 
ings, after work, when the summer warmth is heating 
his blood, he sets himself to a preliminary drumming, 
his insistent summons rolls down the street, and a 
careless world is reminded that once upon a time 
a certain King William of immortal memory 
crossed the Boyne River to the sound of drums 
and fifes. The fifeman has dusted his fife and 
blown a preliminary roulade, and those who are 
not musicians have cleared their throats to cry 
the more vigorously "To hell with the Pope." 

This year, on the eve of the twelfth, greater 
events were to befall than the stout Orangemen, 
in their black and their orange sashes, dreamed of. 
The murderer was to come forth, and the world 
was to receive him as equal. First, the South full 
of rumours, then, while men shook their heads in 
disbelief, news that peace had come. Out of the 
blackest clouds the dove had swooped back into 
sight, had alighted after endless flight and folded 
its wings. 


Morning brought news which evening elaborated ; 
evening's news had staled at breakfast time. Post- 
haste the rumours came. Negotiations ! Truce ! 
As if a magician's wand had waved them forth, 
the Sinn Fein leaders became flesh and blood, 
emerged into the daylight. A pause in the hunt ! 
An armistice signed ! The phantom army have 
taken their fingers from the triggers of their guns ; 
the police have switched off the engines of their 
motors ! 

It was said men with beards like goats and with 
the talons of wild beasts descended from the hills ; 
the patriots who had gone to bed with the owls 
and the rabbits returned like demigods home. 

Oh, disillusioned Ulster, whose comrade, whose 
bigger brother, whose ally of so many oaths has at 
this most exalted season of the year, under your 
very nose, at your very front door, eaten his words, 
plucked the scornful phrase off his tongue, called 
traitor friend, called assassin comrade, taken his 
hand out of yours and thrust it into the palm of 
your enemy ! 

Oh, drummers, roll your drums; oh, fifemen, 
shrill your fifes : not all your notes, not all your 
drumming will bring back your belief in Britain. 

But before you condemn too bitterly, search 
the hearts of those who have done this. Pity, then, 
may take anger's place. The story has ended as 
most human stories end. High speech has worn 
itself out in wind, enemy has met enemy on a 
common level, each giving something to the other, 


each receiving something from the other, as all men 
must who rub shoulders on this planet. 

If in man's sight this pact has brought humilia- 
tion on Loyalist and Republican alike, it may not 
be so in the sight of Heaven. Man's memory is 
short, he remembers the ends of things ; but the 
gods, to whom the past is the present, and yesterday 
is to-day, recall the days of difficulty, the hours of 
labour and the moments of sacrifice, and do not 
look to the result so much as to the making of the 

On the twelfth of the month a brazen sun climbed 
up into the sky, and after an early breakfast we 
came out of our doors garbed for the fray. All the 
world was there, and half the world was wearing 
orange sashes, and as a man was of low or high 
degree in his own Orange lodge, so was his sash 
pricked over with fewer or with more silver 

The men came forth in dark suits newly lifted 
from chests of drawers, with sombre bowlers on 
their heads ; the women, following a happier 
tradition, wore frocks that vied with the coloured 
sashes, but iron rule demanded gloved hands. 

We were a village going by train to a rallying- 
ground. Our lodge and our band went with us. 
The big drummer had his cottage at the end of 
the row, and every now and then came such a roll 
of drumming as I have heard many a time in an 
African village. It wakened memories of palms 
and fevers and alligators. The fifes were being 


tested, flights of notes fell from the air. The ear 
was tickled and then cheated, and then another 
flight tickled it again. Round a bend of the road 
came a rolling and a shrilling, and then banners 
waving in the sun. Other villages were marching 
in to join us to the rallying-ground. 

The train came in, and I was lifted up on the 
first wave of a swelling tide, and sent into a carriage 
through the gaping door. First me, and after me 
the world. There surged in men with pikes, there 
surged in men with Bibles upon poles, there surged 
in children munching sweets, there surged in women 
with babies and without babies ; and when from 
my corner I looked to the door, and wondered when 
would some one put out a hand and close it, there 
followed in other men with drums and other men 
with banners, and ever more men with spare drum- 
heads, and ever more children munching sweets. 

The engine jumped from a standing position, 
the carriages jumped after it, in our carriage we 
rolled a single time forward and backward, and 
then we were jerking through the country, past 
birds I could not hear, past flowers I could not 
smell, under skies I could not see. 

The stations came. We stopped at every one 
of them. Nobody got out ; but another fife and 
drum band got in, and other men with Bibles upon 
sticks, and other men with pikes, and other men 
with banners, and other fluttered women, and 
other munching children. We left a following on 
the platform waving us on our way. Then we 


jerked over the final mile or two, and sounds of 
drum and fife, and glimpses of road where banners 
waved and bands played told us of Orange lodges 
rallying to the try sting-ground. 

The trysting-ground of Ballynahinch was full to 
the brim, and certain of the people who had arrived 
there were also full to the brim. The day was 
another of those blazing days this spendthrift 
summer was so prodigal of, and many a wise man 
passed between swing doors, passed several times 
between swing doors, before falling into line for 
the procession. As there were ever more lodges 
coming in from the country, and ever more wise 
men passing in between swing doors, those who 
were already inside could find no way out, and 
whether they ever got out, or whether they are 
sitting there to this day, I am not able to tell. 

All things start at last, and the procession 
moved on its way. 

Across the high street, at a spot where a hill 
began and went winding up, was an archway, 
which seemed to be the holiest ground. From the 
arch dangled all sorts of symbols, most of which I 
have forgotten : one was a wooden ladder ; these 
same symbols the stout Orangemen wore in silver 
upon their sashes. 

I stood beside this arch, and fifty-seven lodges 
went drumming up the hill. Ha, drummer, whip 
those parchment faces 1 Where are your long 
canes ? Whip and whip again, until the veins at 
your wrists swell and the blood spouts forth. W T as 


ever Protestant wrist made that grew tired, for is 
not the Pope himself within your drum ? As the 
new lodge approached the arch, the pike men ran 
before, lifted their pikes on high, put the heads 
together, and the rest of the company, lifting their 
hats in deference to the arch, passed through. 
Ha, you, big drummer, need not lift your hat ! 
Are you not doing enough whipping and whipping 
and whipping those two parchment faces between 
which writhes His Holiness ? 

The last lodge went up the hill, the squeal of 
fifes and the roar of drums were on ahead. I 
fell in with the great following which followed 

We went up, and up, and up, and so did the 
sun in the sky. There was lemonade to buy, but 
that was not for me. There was beer in the town 
behind, and that was for all who fell by the way- 
side. We licked our parched lips. Mothers herd- 
ing small children before them cried as they came 
to water, " Hi, Willie, come out of that ! There's 
a wee Pope in that pond ! " 

The ascent was done, we flowed into a large 
field where people had rested their banners against 
the trees, had put their fifes and drums upon the 
grass, and were drinking ginger-beer and eating 
bananas. On a wooden stand certain speakers 
were collected, and round there the press was 

What, is the wound so deep ? One after another 
you stand upon that rough wooden platform in the 


fiery sun, and speak as if all old ties were broken 
now that Britain holds out a hand to the enemy, 
and offers it equality and respectability. 

In good time I had had my fill of the speakers, 
and wandered away, turning over the history of the 
last seven years. Surely humour was its chief 
ingredient ? Ulster had been Celtic Ireland's best 
friend. Had Ulster not made difficulties in the 
beginning, Ireland would gladly have accepted a 
limited measure of self-government, and there 
would have been no Sinn Fein to sweep the country 
like a wind. Seven years of external and internal 
difficulties, of irresolution and changing opinion on 
the part of the British Government, the steadfast 
following of an ideal on the Irish side, had brought 
two-thirds of Ireland a wider measure of self- 
government than it had previously conceived, and 
had left Ulster as she was in the beginning, but 
soured alike with friend and foe. A story like all 
human stories muddled and painful and ludicrous, 
and with its patches of splendour. 

As I came to the lower end of the field on the 
way to the railway station, nine drummers stood 
drumming in a row. All the exasperation of those 
seven years of British half-measures had passed 
into those eighteen arms, into the swelling veins of 
those wrists, into the eighteen hands which grasped 
the long canes that whipped so passionately the 
eighteen great parchment drumheads. Nine Popes 
writhed in those drums as eighteen canes beat on 
and on and on, lest if they stopped a moment His 


Holiness would step from out the Vatican, his triple 
crown upon his head, and hearing of Britain's 
apostasy and Ulster's loneliness, would then and 
there put out a hand, and gather every Orangeman 
upon that green to Rome. 



Now that an armistice had been signed, and 
Dublin was again the centre of affairs, my wife and 
I packed up at the end of the Orange celebrations 
and returned home. We arrived in the middle of 
another blazing hot day, and as we rattled from the 
station on a jaunting-car, Crossley tenders full of 
unarmed Auxiliaries with towels about their necks 
passed us, going in the direction of the sea. It 
was an astonishing sight, and more eloquent than 
all the newspaper accounts. 

There had been no public rejoicings to speak of 
at the turn of affairs. For a night or two fires had 
been lighted in the streets, and small boys had 
danced round them, and the public had shown a 
reluctance to go indoors and to bed ; but the late 
hours were little more than an expression of the 
people's satisfaction at the liberty which had 
followed the lifting of the Curfew. Irishmen and 
the British troops in Ireland took the cessation of 
hostilities in a sober spirit, as if every man carried 
a hidden sorrow. The gods had humbled all alike 
and given victory to none. 


280 TRUCE 

But though soldier and civilian both felt some- 
thing of the melancholy that follows the cessation 
of all protracted trials, public satisfaction at the 
new conditions was undeniable, and as the truce 
continued opinions were expressed with a freedom 
unknown during the reign of terror. It was 
evident the man in the street had longed for stable 
conditions, and was eager to accept the compromise 
which had been effected. 

Republican leaders who had managed to elude 
capture to the end had come down from the 
Olympian heights. They had magically material- 
ised, and might be seen in the streets rubbing 
shoulders with common men, dining in restaurants 
off forks that previously had gone into common 
mouths, wiping their lips with napkins that before 
had known less glorious patrons. They were 
joined soon by such deputies of Bail Eireann as 
had been in prison and in internment camps, and 
were unconditionally released for the furtherance 
of the negotiations. 

Young men, romantic men, high-spirited men 
had gone up to the Olympian heights two years, 
three years, four years before ; there came down 
sober men, weary men, nervy men, and men with 
blood upon their hands. Rumour had long had it 
that many of the Olympians were on the verge of 
collapse, and rumour had been true. Chastened 
demigods came down to walk among common men 

The Sunday after our return we went out to 


Mrs. Fitzgerald's cottage. Her husband, the 
Minister of Propaganda, was out of prison, and 
came wandering in from the dining-room. Under 
his eyes were marks of wear and tear. He was one 
of the least provincial of the Dail deputies, had the 
easy manner of a travelled man, and gave glimpses 
of an educated mind. The Minister of Commerce 
turned up during the afternoon. He had been 
much hunted before the armistice ; but he had not 
been taken. He looked very strung up, and 
admitted he had nerves. " I shall dye my hair 
if it starts again," he announced. " There's 
nothing to beat that." Later two uniformed Re- 
publican officers dropped in from a camp on the 
hill at the back. It was astonishing to sit among 
these people who had been shadows a few days 

The camp at the back of the cottage was a 
military centre for the district, and now and then 
the local volunteers were reviewed there. They 
came from all points on bicycles and on foot, the 
new generation, the young men, the people who 
were most affected by this national birth, this 
Irish renaissance. Some leader of the Republican 
Army would be there to review, a man who a few 
weeks before had a price on his head, and who 
could not have been seen by common men without 
permits, passwords, and all the paraphernalia of the 
Sinn Fein underworld. 

The astonishing thing about these materialised 
Irish Volunteers was their youth. The country 


282 TRUCE 

had been given into the keeping of boys, and even 
the leaders of the movement were nearly all young 
men. Elderly people shook their heads ; but I 
believe the omen a good one, for Ireland suffers 
under the burden of her antiquity, and only young 
men can bring her a new life. One looks forward 
fearfully, but with hope, to the new Ireland that 
is being hammered into shape. Ploughboys and 
shop assistants wield the hammers. 

The days passed, and the long hot summer 
drew to an end. 

Auxiliaries and Black-and-Tans continued to 
drive in state to their daily dips in the sea, and one 
never again saw them with anything more formid- 
able than a bath-towel round their necks. In 
course of time the British Government came to 
the conclusion that idleness in the erstwhile enemy 
land of Dublin was not well, and rumour said the 
bathers were to be sent away on leave. It is a 
fact that after a while the strange spectacle of these 
people come out of their wire cages and sitting 
unarmed and unharmed in open Crossley tenders 
with towels round their necks took place no more, 
and the sounds of lorry wheels were not heard 
again in the noble squares of Dublin city. But 
the memory of these people stays behind with 
Cromwell's memory, and Strongbow's memory. 

I believe that the secret service also took its 
departure at this time, for that part of it which 
I knew, that is to say 47, made its exit. 

We had a note one afternoon asking us to see 


him off by the evening boat train. We went down 
in plenty of time. She was there beside him. He 
seemed the same as usual, neither greatly elated 
nor greatly set down at his departure, while she 
was unfeignedly glad to be away and said so. 

44 I'm glad you didn't make your bow without 
letting us know," I said. 

44 How many more years are you staying ? " 
he asked. 

44 We came here to see it fixed up." 

44 It's going to be fixed up," he answered. 
44 Temporarily, at any rate." 

44 Are you quite sure ? " 

He nodded, gloomily, I thought. 44 You'll find 
it fixed up at any price. But the Government 
won't have to pay a very big price. The extreme 
people won't want to take this ; but the nation 
as a whole want it, and they'll help to see it 

44 Some time ago, one night it was," I said, 44 1 
met an old man waving about on two sticks and 
baying at the stars. He asked me if I'd like to 
know how the Irish question would be settled. I 
said certainly. He stopped waving on his two 
sticks, stopped baying at the stars, and cried out, 
4 The extremists will meet the extreme extremists 
in the Rotunda at Rutland Square, and there will 
be a final battle to the death. If nobody is left, 
then it will be settled.' " 

44 But," put in 47's wife, thankfully, 44 we shall 
not be there." 

284 TRUCE 

" We're jolly glad we came over," I said. 
:t We've got some first-hand tips for running a 
revolution, and if the same sort of thing starts in 
another country one will know how much of the 
papers to believe. I hope things are going to hurry 
up and finish now, for we're off, too, before long. I 
wish Ireland every good luck and a speedy growth 
to greatness, but I'm ready to transfer my at- 
tentions elsewhere." 

We had cut ourselves off from the others and 
were side by side. " You've no departing pangs ? " 
I asked. 

47 shrugged his shoulders. " Not really. One 
feels the usual regret at leaving places associated 
with pretty tumultuous hours in one's life." He 
turned and said with feeling, " I have only to stop 
at any street corner and those dark Christmas days 
come back. By gad, they wore one out while they 
lasted ; but everything is over in the end. I'm 
glad to be off, though one makes acquaintances, 
friends even, that a fellow is sorry to lose, even on 
a job of this sort." 

" You can do your job and make friends ? " I 

" Why not ? " A moment after he said, " You 
get used to keeping your work entirely apart, a 
sort of falcon sitting on your wrist. You make 
friends like anybody else ; but this hooded bird is 
waiting ready for the game when you start it. Or 
there's some presence behind your chair, like the 
slave at a Roman general's triumph, telling you 

THE LAST OF 47 285 

you are a servant, and greater than you is the 
Empire you serve." 

I nodded. 

" No," he exclaimed, " I wouldn't stay another 
day. My job here is done. I want to get to some- 
thing ahead. I'm like that now. The wandering 
fever has got me for keeps. We'll have a spell 
when we get over, we're looking forward to it, and 
it'll be damn fine for a few weeks. We'll go and 
watch summer turn into autumn somewhere, and 
we'll be content enough until the old thing happens 
again. It's happened too often not to expect it 
once more. One will begin by getting restless and 
talking about a change of scene, then one will want 
to know exactly what is going on, the truth, not 
the stuff the newspapers dish you out. Then I 
shall begin wondering when I shall hear from 

" And about Christmas time," I interrupted, 
" when there's nothing but wind and rain, you will 
be working again, homeless, friendless, the whole 
catalogue of lesses. I sailed round Cape Horn 
once in a four-masted barque for the fun of the 
thing. It's the last thing I ever mean to do again. 
All the men were like me, thanking God when they 
saw land. But most of them had only been a few 
days ashore after six months at sea when they had 
had their fill of land. I left them disappearing into 
the wind and the dark." 

A few minutes later the train had taken them 
away from us and we were on the way home. 

286 TRUCE 

Weeks passed with affairs still in the balance, 
and we began to talk of going. Public interest in 
the negotiations never abated. Most days of the 
week a patient crowd waited outside the Dublin 
Mansion House to see the Republican leaders come 
and go. Summer was drawing to an end, and the 
days were often wet ; but the crowd never lost 
patience, and stood in lines marshalled by Re- 
publican police, who seemed as numerous as crows. 
There were constant rumours of a break in the 
Downing Street negotiations ; but the longer the 
truce continued the more unready people were to 
return to old conditions. 

The delegates came back from the preliminary 
London conference, and the first of the public 
meetings of the Dail was held in the Dublin 
Mansion House. Fitzgerald, the Minister of Pro- 
paganda, gave us tickets. 

Long before the hour all Dublin was outside. 
All Dublin wanted to be inside ; but there was 
not room for a tenth part of Dublin. The morning 
was wet ; but the crowd kept its spirits and cheered 
at every excuse. A multitude of Republican police 
kept order. These people wore no uniform, and 
were very young ; but arrangements inside and 
outside the Mansion House were admirable. The 
Republican police were still amateur policemen, and 
if a question was asked half a dozen of them sprang 
forward to answer it. One was overwhelmed with 

The great round room was choked with people, 


except for a roped-off space, full of easy seats, 
waiting the coming of the Bail deputies. The 
Speaker's chair stood beyond and above, and to 
one side was the Press gallery, and to the other 
places for distinguished visitors. An Indian in a 
pugaree was among those people. 

A gallery, packed with more people, circled the 
room ; higher than this, against the walls, were 
coats of arms of all past Lord Mayors. In Ireland, 
that land of imagination, all Lord Mayors have 
armorial bearings. A man with a flashlight 
camera was getting his apparatus ready. 

There was a burst of cheering, and we rose to 
our feet. The applause lasted for a couple of 
minutes, and then died down like a wind subsiding, 
and behold all the empty seats were filled. All over 
the place people were digging and tapping one 
another, and pointing and whispering, and staring 
and asking. Many of the Bail deputies had been 
nobodies before they went on the run ; but after 
the day of their disappearance from among common 
men, their names had flowered like plants in a 
forcing house. 

Eamonn Be Valera, the President of the Re- 
public, sat at the end of the front bench. A tall 
man with a good figure, and a speed of movement 
that told of his foreign blood. After years of 
storm had he brought his ship safely into harbour ? 
Never had he been placed higher in popular affection 
than then, and perhaps never would be placed so 
high again. 

288 TRUCE 

On his right, so close that their elbows touched, 
was a greater than he, Arthur Griffith, the father 
of Sinn Fein. They had asked him in the beginning 
to be the first President of the Republic ; but he 
had refused the laurel wreath, seeing greater freedom 
in a secondary position, for the man placed in the 
higher seat must dance at the bidding of the crowd. 
A man nearly as broad as he was high, a cold man, 
a man with a great head, he sat motionless all that 
morning, never speaking, twisting his moustache 
now and then, oblivious of the public eye, seeming 
content to be overlooked, satisfied to see about 
him this meeting, which his eloquent pen and his 
devotion had done so much to bring about. 

On his right, touching elbows again, was the 
man whom public imagination had lifted highest of 
all. The man was Michael Collins, on whose head 
had been a reward of four thousand pounds, the 
Minister of Finance, as he was now called, " a 
certain minister " as he had been referred to in 
conversation during the terror ; Mike, as he was 
affectionately known to his followers, Michael the 
Mild as the Ulster Press bitterly described him. 

He was a young man on the way to corpulence. 
His skin had a deadly pallor. His face was large 
and handsome, and yet one fell into a muse, 
wondering was it a cruel face, or was it a sensual 
face, or was it a feminine face in spite of its strength, 
for something was wrong with it. Now and again 
he tossed his head back with all the charm of a 
boy. There were legends that he had gone about 


as a woman, that he had passed into officers' clubs 
disguised as an officer, worming secrets out of 
people. He would have made a giant woman. I 
think these tales were legends and no more. 

There may have been men present who had 
worked as hard and suffered as much as those 
three ; but those names meant most to the public. 
The remainder of the deputies looked what they 
were, several score of men, mostly young, mostly 
from the lower middle class, some few elected for 
their ability, the majority chosen because they were 
in prison or on the run at the time of the elections, 
and their election was a gesture of defiance to the 
British authority. When presently they spoke, 
some of them were inarticulate, and, no doubt, in 
good time the same popular feeling that raised 
them up will set them down from their seats, and 
put others more fitted in their places. 

But whether they stay there or go back to 
private life, responsibility has put an early mark 
on them, and they have learnt lessons while they 
are young which most men do not learn until 
middle age. 

Above them all, filling the Speaker's chair, 
lanky, folded like an idol, sat Professor MacNeil. 
He rested a hand on either arm of the chair and 
never stirred, even when he growled out a few 
words in Irish that seemed to come from a subter- 
ranean passage. 

Leave them there. Those men have brought 
Ireland to the point on the road where she now 

290 TRUCE 

stands. They have made her dream dreams and 
have shown her splendid visions. They took on a 
great responsibility. Can they guide her the rest 
of the way to peace and greatness ? They must be 
trusted. But the glass is troubled. 

Ireland has become self-conscious. Youth, for 
a while at least, has taken the place of age. The 
glass is troubled and wants clearing ; but youth 
can do most things. 



" GOD save us ! " Mrs. O'Grady exclaimed to 
Himself when she heard of the truce, and to this 
day I have not made up my mind whether the 
exclamation was one of hope or despair. 

She had summered in the stifling basement and 
had grown thin. She toiled hopelessly upstairs 
with sweat upon her forehead, she limped hopelessly 
downstairs, groaning with the burden of living, as 
she stooped to gather into her hands some par- 
ticularly obvious trail of dust left by her broom. 

As she grew lean the man in the street filled 
out with the new confidence of the truce. He 
sunned himself at the shop doors, and heard un- 
moved the sounds of motors back-firing. 

One of the avatars who roamed Dublin and 
called on us now and then, grew prophetic over a 
lobster salad in the little flat. 

44 Ireland's only hope now is from the North," 
he said thoughtfully. " The Bail is becoming 
respectable. It has lost its soul." 

44 You expected them to reject the terms ? " 



" Not at all. I expected them to accept. Sinn 
Fein has grown respectable. The North is the only 
hope." He put a lobster claw on the carpet and 
brought his great foot down on it. " That's a sight 
you wouldn't see out of Ireland," he said : "an 
avatar cracking a lobster's claw." 

44 The carpet belongs to Desmond Fitzgerald," 
I answered. " So you have the spectacle of an 
avatar cracking a lobster's claw on a Cabinet 
Minister's carpet, a sight which certainly could not 
be seen outside Ireland." 

44 It's like this," he continued. " Ireland is one 
of the spiritual poles of the earth, and the salvation 
of the world must come through her. The mould 
of Western civilisation must be broken up. It's 
rotten. If Ireland can stay as she is and not sink 
back into the materialism of other countries, she 
has the power to strike the blow that will shatter 
the present system. There is no sham in the 
North, the Ulsterman is fundamental. He holds 
the germ of spirituality in him like every Irishman 
does. The North will come to blows with the 
South. That will start the whole thing. It's 
going to be a bloody fight." 

44 1 suppose the Irishman's spiritual," I an- 
swered. 4t He is certainly always saying he is. 
Personally I believe he mixes up spirituality with 
an astonishing ability to shift his point of view 
and make it fit the occasion. Look how the truce 
is being broken every day in the most barbarous 
way, and no doubt the truce breakers salve their 


consciences by saying they want a Republic and 
not a Free State, and that they are holding to a 
spiritual ideal. You people can be material 
enough. Irish landladies can hold their own with 
any landladies in the world." 

44 The trouble will start quickly," the avatar 
announced. " It will start over the boundary 
commission, I don't know how I know, but some- 
thing tells me. A clash between England and 
America will follow, the colonies will be divided 
among themselves. The British Empire will go. 
Europe will go. In Ireland, nursed through all 
the chaos, will be a small group of people who will 
undertake the reconstruction of the world." 

44 I'll wait and see if it comes off," I said doubt- 
fully. " Ireland's rather a small place to be as 
important as that : Personally, I think she's too 
old to influence the world very much now. Her 
psyche was arrested in the days of Cuchulan. 
She's pagan at heart. Christianity fits her like a 
hair shirt. She's ages old. You want a new 
people to regenerate a world." 

44 You're right. I feel the pull of pagan 

44 I've been told that all through the west of 
Ireland the peasants still take their old pagan 
relics out of hiding and worship them as soon as 
the priest is out of sight." 

44 It's true. Don't you feel the very mountains 
of Ireland are sacred ? How can a people like us 
throw off our past ? " 


44 Shoddy days, shoddy days," Himself an- 
swered, coming out of a trance in the corner. 
44 Let's hope the world isn't too old to get better- 
I was at A. E.'s on Sunday evening. Madam 
Markievicz was there, and Barrel Figgis, and James 
Stephens the poet, and the rest of them, and some 
one brought up De Valera's letter to Lloyd George, 
the one where he says that Lloyd George offers 
Ireland margarine when Ireland wants butter. 
Madam Markievicz excused the use of such phrase- 
ology in political correspondence. 4 Ah, Constance, 
Constance,' A. E. remonstrated, shaking his head. 
Then Figgis, who has the happy knack of getting 
in a thrust all round, said, 4 The days seem to have 
gone when Cromwell chose Milton for his secretary, 
so that his despatches might be written in the best 
Latin of the period.' The thought that De Valera 
had a poorer literary taste than Cromwell upset us 
so that we all went home. If the new world is to 
come, let it come soon." 

The avatar rose to take his departure. 44 Good- 
bye," he said. 44 It's an awful thing to be the only 
sane man in the world." 

Mrs. Slaney was full of rage at the iniquities of 
Lloyd George when she first heard the British offer ; 
but after a talk with Father Murphy, who pointed 
out that the terms were all that Ireland desired, she 
shifted her ground, and became a staunch Free 
Stater. From then on her fear was lest the Re- 
publicans should upset the Free State and send 
Ireland into anarchy. 


The last day in our old flat came. Mrs. O'Grady 
shook hands with bright round tears rolling after 
one another down her face. 

" God save us ! " she said, " but I feel as if my 
own children were walking out of the house this 
very minute. Indeed, and I never looked to see 
the day when you would go." 

Later came the good-bye to Ireland. It sank 
into the sea. Its own peculiar soft atmosphere 
hung over it and passed into a sea haze. 

Two days later I was having tea with a friend 
in London. 

" My dear," she said, " what an awful time you 
must have had. Of course you were awfully brave 
to stay." 

" There was no special danger if you didn't 
interfere," I assured her. 

" No danger ? But they are murderers ? " 

" There are plenty of murderers in the world, 
and they aren't all Sinn Feiners." 

" But they murdered women. Look at the 
women they shot, and by order, too. More than 
one woman. We shot no women. And look at 
their terrible Sinn Fein regiment, the Black-and- 

" But, my dear, the Black-and-Tans were 
British Government police," I gasped. 

It was no use. She smiled in a superior manner. 

" You think I don't know," she said, " but I've 
followed every line in the papers about the Irish 
question ever since you were over there. I was 


always so afraid you might have been shot in an 
ambush, and I should so hate not seeing it. I 
remember seeing in the paper I cut out the para- 
graph to show you, but I lost it that the majority 
of the Blaek-and-Tans were Irishmen." 

" But a Government force." 

" Nonsense. I'm sure you're mistaken. I must 
look for the paragraph. More tea ? " 

Years of Sinn Fein propaganda had accom- 
plished no more than that. 



OUT of the whirlpool of lies, misunderstandings, 
prevarications, distortions, inaccuracies and pas- 
sions which go to the making up of history, can one 
secure some of the causes and effects connected 
with the Irish struggle since the Sinn Fein move- 
ment put aside pacific methods and became 
militant ? Are there conclusions to be drawn ? 

Three separate traditions seem to have been 
welded together for the purpose of uniting Ireland 
in a common cause. One tradition is the political 
tradition that Ireland possesses a national individu- 
ality, and must continue to struggle for the ex- 
pression of that individuality until it is obtained. 
A second tradition is the Gaelic tradition, that 
Ireland must revive and cherish the Gaelic spirit, 
the Gaelic culture, the Gaelic language and litera- 
ture. The third tradition is the tradition that 
internal affairs must be altered and improved. 
These three traditions came together in the Sinn 
Fein movement. The Irish Republic was to be 
an independent republic, it was to be as far as 



possible a Gaelic republic, and as a state it was 
to be an example to the world. 

Each generation of Irish leaders, to grind their 
patriotic axes, have insisted that Ireland is a 
conquered country, suffering the fate of the con- 
quered. The statement is too sweeping. Ireland 
has been part of a united kingdom with a common 
legislation. She has suffered to a certain extent 
from the too centralised parliament at Westminster, 
where her local affairs have frequently been crowded 
out. She has been legislated for as an industrial 
country when she is in reality an agricultural 
country. She has suffered from absentee land- 
lords, another effect of centralisation. She has 
suffered in other ways ; but she has suffered most 
of all from herself, from her inability ever to become 
united, to hold an individual opinion, to cease being 
hag-ridden by religion, which has starved her 

There have been bills passed for the rest of the 
British Isles which have not been passed in Ireland 
owing to the veto of the Catholic Church. One 
has only to compare the educational differences of 
the Irish people and the Scottish people, two nations 
of the same size, to comprehend what a heavy 
reckoning the Catholic Church will have to answer 
to some day. 

The Catholic Church has allowed ignorance and 
superstition. A certain intolerance can also be 
laid at its door, but not in any great degree. But 
in Ulster, Protestant Ulster, Protestantism has bred 


a ferocity of intolerance, which is astounding in 
the twentieth century. Ireland staggers about 
with these two religions upon her back. 

The old cry, Home Rule Rome Rule, was 
probably a false one. One of the results of the 
struggle for Irish independence has been the 
breaking of the power of the Catholic Church. 
The young men have in part educated themselves, 
and prevailing conditions have, whether for better 
or worse, matured their characters before their 
time. There is still a profound reverence and love 
for the Church ; but the day has gone when it 
can dictate to the nation. While Sinn Fein was 
in its infancy the Church condemned the movement, 
when it grew strong the Church had to walk beside 
it with trembling steps and grave forebodings. 
The young generation of priests threw themselves 
into the Republican movement body and soul. 

But Ireland is still hag-ridden. So long as 
North and South take their religions as violently 
as they do, the two parts of the Irish nation can 
never come together. It does not look as if North 
or South will relinquish its belief. Protestantism 
fits the vigorous masculine Northerner, Catholicism 
suits the feminine, imaginative, easy-going South- 
erner. Because Ireland is Ireland the two religions 
make a fence which keep the peoples apart. It is a 
calamity. What a people might the intermarriage 
of North and South produce ! 

So this fated nation has never had a single voice, 
and the British Government has perpetually 


listened to several contrary requests in place of 
one demand. The result has been that those 
things which ought to have been done have been 
left undone. One of the things which ought to 
have been done was to give Ireland such few original 
privileges as she asked a very long time ago. 

Let us pass on. 

The history of Ireland has been a series of 
periods of agitation, sometimes culminating in 
open rebellion, alternating with periods of quiet, 
at the end of which time political firebrands once 
more bludgeoned the people into discontent. 
There had been such a period of calm, and then 
came the birth of the Gaelic League and a Celtic 
renaissance to herald in Sinn Fein. It was a 
bellows for the Sinn Fein spark. 

The manner in which the British Government 
dealt with the Sinn Fein situation when it did 
become a menace showed lack of imagination and 
lack of information. Two errors in policy were 
made, and in the second case the error was per- 
sisted in. Irishmen of all shades of political 
opinion have informed me that the irresolute 
conduct of the Cabinet over the Irish conscription 
issue during the European war was directly re- 
sponsible for subsequent happenings. The young 
men of Ireland had become impregnated with the 
bellicose spirit which was abroad in the rest of 
Europe, and that spirit must finally find a way out 
through some channel or other. A firm conscrip- 
tion policy would have caused it to flow outwards 


to the discomfiture of the Empire's enemies ; the 
irresolution of the Government caused it to flow 
inwards. The British Cabinet was harassed at 
the time, and did not dare to put the issue to the 
test. The youth of Ireland took the Government 
change of mind as a sign of weakness, all the world 
knows with what results. Irishmen of all political 
opinions have assured me conscription could have 
been carried out. 

The second case has been happening before my 
own eyes during the last eighteen months, and has 
been evidence of the lack of imagination and the 
little knowledge of the Irish temperament in 
Government circles. 

There were two alternatives for dealing with 
the Republican movement. One was to strike it a 
hammer blow while it was in its infancy, using all 
the impedimenta of war if necessary, aiming at 
speed in all things. The other alternative was to 
be generous and give a satisfactory measure of 
Home Rule.* The course the Government did 
adopt was doomed to failure. The Irish are 
a sensitive people and a spirited people. Public 
opinion in Ireland was dead against the Easter 
week rising of 1916, the British soldiers were cheered 
when they arrived ; but four or five years of 
repression, of Irishmen hunted by Englishmen, of 

* The Government would not contemplate the first 
alternative. It was from the beginning most loath to hurt 
unnecessarily. It was most reluctant to punish. This 
quality of humanity has been denied by its enemies ; but 
it would be unjust here to pass it over. 


mistaken arrests, of wrong houses raided, of troops 

tramping Irish streets, of police and more police, 

brought about the alteration in feeling. From my 

personal observation I am under the impression 

that the British Government was continually being 

misinformed on the progress made against the 

Republicans, and while, like a cancer, Sinn Fein 

was sending out new shoots about the country, the 

British Cabinet was officially told the movement 

was collapsing. Thus the matter was spun out, 

and first in tens, then in hundreds, finally in 

thousands, Loyalists went over to the other camp. 

I saw it for myself. It was obvious to anybody 

with eyes. 

The Government's influence was further weak- 
ened through its affection for Ulster. Though 
there was repression in the South, repression which 
was reluctant, but which grew more and more 
vigorous as difficulties increased, the Government 
had not the moral strength to adopt a firm attitude 
to the North. To be found with arms in the South 
and to be found with arms in the North was a 
different matter. Absolute impartiality through- 
out the length and breadth of the country and iron 
firmness in the beginning might have done much 
to mend matters ; but the Government proved 
human, and was unable to belabour a man for 
loving it. 

Again, the Government was hampered by the 
spell which fell on the civilian population at the 
mention of Sinn Fein. The Republican movement 


manifested itself as a gigantic and spreading secret 
society, and the civilian population was as putty 
in its hands. It was illuminating to the outsider 
to discover with what ease a small organised, ruth- 
less body of men can overawe and control a vast 
disorganised body. 

It is time to speak of the type of war waged. 
The Republicans called the struggle a war, and 
used war's phraseology in connection with it ; but 
it never assumed the proportions of war. Call it 
a war and say that it was one of the most inglorious 
wars ever fought. Own at the same time that it is 
difficult to suggest what other means of aggression 
Sinn Fein could have adopted in the face of its 
military inferiority, and acknowledge also on behalf 
of the Crown Forces that there was no means of 
striking at the enemy other than by reprisal. 
Loyalist and Republican were caught in the web 
of circumstance. If one judges the struggle by 
its outer manifestations, it astonishingly lacks 
elements of glory ; but if one searches below the 
surface one finds alike in Republican and Loyalist 
the usual qualities bred of war, energy, courage, 
fortitude, sacrifice. 

That is in the past now, and Ireland is in the 
hopeful present. Sinn Fein has left Ireland with 
her internal affairs in her own hands. 

The door of an enlightened and ordered future 
is here : it is not yet open ; but the key has been 
given into the hands of Irishmen. Will they throw 
it wide open, or will they stay arguing outside ? 


Is there to be another Kali Yuga, a dark age, 
because Irishmen have split again ? Let Ireland 
remember the words of " a certain minister " and 
stop talking and get on with the work. She is 
still drunk with nationality. Let her work off her 
intoxication as quickly as she can, keeping nation- 
ality's choice qualities, a fine inspiration, a noble 
ideal ; but rooting out the faults of nationality, 
provincialism, prejudice, narrowness. She has won 
her separation ; let her not now set about working 
herself too much out of the world. To have a world 
influence, to produce a world people, she must stay 
within the world. 





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962 Ireland in traveil