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or stay. No, then, you will not- "for Johnny tried to put his arm round her. "Quit, I tell you," she cried sharply. Johnny drew back in angry confusion.
"Why would I not? Sure, aren't you promised to me?" he said.
"'Deed, then, I'm no such thing,-nor never will, till I'm asked right-and that will be the long day, I'm thinking. Oh, the long day it will be, before Robert Corscadden comes to our house looking a wife for his son.
"Ah, what matter," said the boy. "We're young yet, any way. But sure, Mary, you kissed me many's the time." "Maybe I did, when you and me was wee childer. But if we're young enough, we're not that young now.
"You kissed me the last time I was going to Scotland, any way," he said resentfully; "an' I didn't think you would ask to part this way, and me going across the sea.
"It wasn't this way the last time," she retorted. "And what's taking you at all? Sure, no beasts died on Robert this year."
"You won't give me leave to tell you," he said sullenly, "and me striving to, since ever
I saw you. Indeed, it's the sore day with me."
"Ah, for goodness sake, Johnny, what is it," the girl cried, her dark eyes suddenly softening. "Tell us, quick
Johnny told her then as such stories are told-how his father had driven him out of
VOL. CLXXVIII.-NO. MLXXX.
his sight, how he was not going to put up with the like of that, how his mother was for not giving him the money, but how at last she gave in to give it. But as he told his story, Johnny felt less and less comfortable, and he paused with a lame ending. Then at last the girl spoke.
And you went off that way and left him! Johnny, I never thought you would do the like of that."
Johnny's face reddened, and his blue eyes swelled.
"I may be going from here the same way," he said, "for all the fair play you give me. What use would there be in waiting to see him, and me with my mind made up? Was it looking a quarrel you would want to see me? You know yourself he wouldn't give me leave to go-nor think I had a right to go. Here's the whole of it, Mary-I'm a man grown, and he makes a child of me."
As he spoke, the girl began to realise that this was an issue more complicated than her first swift condemnation made it.
"Don't be angry, now, Johnny," she said. Maybe I was too quick. But no matter what you say, it was a hard thing to leave your own father, and not a word to bid him good-bye. There's not a better man in Ireland than Robert, and I would like badly to see him vexed. Many's the good turn he done me, and me a wee herd down by yonder, that another man wouldn't give a thought to." "Ay," said the boy reflect2 N
ively, "you and him was still the one kind. He would be bringing you wee books and ballants, and histories of Ireland,—an' he would be leathering me for scheming school."
"Indeed, an' many's the time I wondered at you, Johnny, that you would scheme, and me envying you the whole time that could get learning. I doubt, Johnny, wee Robert and Katie will be to quit school now. An' that won't please Robert.-Ach, Johnny, sure the harm's not done yet. If you rue now, there's no one but themselves will know you rued-no one else in the world but me."
"Deed is there," he answered. "Every one that saw me on the road, and the bundle with me. An' if there wasn't itself, Mary, I wouldn't rue. Why would I? Many's the
time an' the hundred times I heard Robert saying, and you heard him, that this country was no good. Why would I stay in it, then?"
Sure, you're not the one that should go, any way, Johnny," the girl answered eagerly. "'Tis to you the farm will come. If them that has something to look to goes, who'll there be left in the country? For the younger ones now, when they're growed, I wouldn't think that bad of them going. But, sure, you'll have all."
"All!" he repeated contemptuously. "All the slavery on my own showlders. And maybe in twenty years or in thirty I'll be able to call a pound my own. What use is
that to me? now, Mary, there's nothing but the bite of meat that isn't grudged me. Robert gave me all sorts this day when he seen me smoking-wasting good money on that dirty stuff, says he."
I'm telling you
Mary's eyes were sad now, and pleading, as she had a vision of the numberless small things that built the barrier between father and son.
"Ach! never heed the like of that," she said. "Robert's bark is worse nor his bite. He's a good man all out, and he thinks the world of you, Johnny."
"Does he, troth?" said the boy. "That's news, then. I might get fair play from my mother, but I'll get none from him. He's a good man, Mary, and I'm not saying against, but there's many a man not so good that it would fit me better to live with. An' I'm not that bad either," he said eagerly. "I'll send them money the same as I did before,-all I can save, only whatever I put by to buy some wee thing for yourself, Mary."
The girl broke down now and sobbed.
“Johnny dear, sure, I know you're not bad. There's not many as good. Too good you always were to But, Johnny dear, don't be buying me things. If the like of that came round to your mother, what would she think?"
"Let her think," said Johnny stoutly, with his arm round the crying girl.
"No, but Johnny, it's bad enough; she hates the picture
of me; don't be making it worse. And don't be writing to me or asking me to write; sure, all's known at the post office, and it would put a talk out on me. And go now, Johnny dear, for I wouldn't
for the world you would be seen with me this day of all days. Ach, what a fool I Go now,
am to be crying. and God go with you! No, 'deed, I won't forget you, Johnny."
That year, as it chanced, came in fine, and Robert Corscadden got his harvest in without loss a girl of fifteen, and a little boy of twelve, not much taller than the sheaves he lifted, were the labourers who helped him. But however hard they laboured, there were still haycocks standing out in the fields when the corn was ripe for cutting. It vexed the soul of Robert to see the work thus through other, and not done in orderly sequence as he liked to have it. But still the work was done. Money came, too, from the boy in Scotland, and letters to his mother. Robert did not complain, felt no right to complain; but he brooded.
So it went on for a year, and a second year. There was no word of Johnny's returning. Robert's strength, spent daily in doing the work of two hired labourers, failed noticeably; the little boy, tasked beyond his years, was stunted in growth. Then a letter came to Robert with a proposal.
A son of the big house, near by Robert's farm, was going out to ranche in Texas. He wanted to take a trustworthy hand with him. Would Robert allow Johnny to go?
he came home for his noon-day dinner; and he handed it to Annie without a word. She also read it; her face was full of doubt, touched with fear restraining a desire.
"Johnny will be mad for going, Robert," she said. "Robert, will you let him go?" There was a halfchecked eagerness in her tone.
"Let him!" he repeated. "How would I stop him? and, God's truth, Annie, he would be mad not to go."
"Ah, but, Robert," she cried nervously, "sure you know the sort of Johnny. If you were against it he might think bad of staying, but not a one of him would go. An', Robert, I never thought he would come back nor you neither, for all we never let on to one another. Still an' all, I know rightly
"Ah, whisht, woman," said Robert, almost roughly. "Do you think I would stand in my own son's road?"
"An' you'll write to him?" the woman cried.
"To be sure I will."
"An' what will you write?" "I'll tell him if he's for going we'll scrape together all we can and fit him out the best Robert read the letter when way lies in us. It's little
enough to do for him, after all he's done for us.'
"Ah, Robert," she cried, laying her hand on his arm, "you were always too good." Then she hesitated a minute. "Is it for sending him money you would be?"
"What else would I do?" he asked, again with a roughness. "Surely, now, you might ask him to come home, Robert. You wouldn't want him to go away across the sea and not say Goodbye' to us.'
"If he comes, let him come and welcome," Robert answered. "He's as free to come as he was to go.'
Annie put her hand on his arm again. "Ah now, Robert, don't you know he takes after you? He's proud the way you are yourself. Not a foot he'd come if he's not asked." "Write you and ask him then," Robert said.
"He wouldn't come for my asking. Sure, Robert, I know 'twas he was in the wrong. But he's young, and 'tis easier for them that have sense to give in nor for the young. Write to him, Robert-do, now -and bid him come and see us before he goes, if he's for going." That was how Johnny came home.
He had grown in the two years' absence, physically and mentally-an able-bodied, wellset-up, straightforward-looking young fellow. But something of boyish awkwardness was to be seen as he approached the house where his arrival was heralded by the children. His mother ran out to meet him.
"An' is that yourself,
Johnny?" she cried, hugging him. Then, holding him at arm's length, "Dear oh, I would hardly know you, you're grown that grand and stout. Run over, Charlie (she turned to a child), "and tell your father that Johnny's come. He's over in the barn thrashing, Johnny -always the old way, for ever working. Here's old John " (as the old grandfather came hobbling to the door of the cottage adjoining). "John, here's Johnny back to us. And so the welcome ran on volubly, till in a minute Robert appeared, wiping his forehead.
He came up to his son with a face full of kind welcome. "Well, Johnny, and how's every inch of you? A good Man, shake of the hand now. but I'm glad to see you. Come in now to the house. If this isn't the grand chance you're getting! I tell you now, we may all be thankful to Master Harry."
At last the son found words. "Indeed, then, Robert, I know well, only the respect the family had for yourself, I would never get the offer.'
"Ah, nonsense, man," said his father. "He knows the sort of you well. And, not to be saying it before you, he might go far before he would get better. Sit down now and take a cup of tay-we're still the one way, always the tay."
And so with kindly greetings all stiffness wore off, and Johnny began to talk freely, and to expand over the prospects that were before him— how he might easily buy a beast or two, and they could run
with the other stock, breed, and so on, till in a few years he sketched himself owner of a fine herd. "And mind you, now," he went on, his eyes kindling, "I was thinking it would be good for more than me. If the country answers, it wouldn't be hard to get money saved for a ticket for Annie-there's terrible wages going there for servants. An' if she and me was there, it wouldn't be long before we would have a place for wee Robert too
A sword went through Robert Corscadden. Was the one loss, then, to be only the beginning? Were the young to drain the young after them till the parent stock would be left sapless. His face changed; but the son, eager on his idea, saw nothing of it. The mother's eyes, too, grew tense for a moment, but she dare not let silence fall on her also.
"Indeed, then, Johnny," she broke in, "we never doubted but you would be for helping us, here or there. But, sure, we have enough to think of for the one time. Tell us, now, is it true you'll have horses to ride all day?"
With a woman's wit she drew the talk her own way; and soon Johnny was busy telling of his time in Scotland, filling in the meagre outline of a peasant's letters. Robert joined in the talk, but with an effort, and soon he rose.
"I must go back to the threshing," he said. "We'll have the night to talk-and a good few of nights, too, before you're for the journey. Sit
"I wouldn't wonder at him,” Robert answered. "It's a poor job beside the machine."
""Tis a pity, too," said Johnny thoughtfully; "and you with the horse standing idle. Mr Young was asking me, had you a beast, and when I told him, he thought it very simple of us not to get the thresher one way or the other."
A queer look Robert's face-that was full of many thoughts, but chiefly full of a tolerant love for the boy who went to Scotland to be told the disabilities which his father had smarted under for a generation.
"Ay, indeed," he said. "He would think us very ignorant over in these parts. Many's the time I said to myself I would get enough gathered to buy one, but someway the lump of it was hard to come by, and I put in the winter at the old job. Come on, then, and see have you the way of it yet, for a turn anyway."
And in a minute father and son were facing each other, as so often before, across the outspread sheaves, and the flails, rising and whirling in their intricate circles, fell alternately in a ceaseless rhythm.
At last, in a pause of the