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from the standpoint of go experience.
-Macy's the time I would be wondering that you never wied America Tourveld"
Robert passed in his thresh ing, and passed his sleeve over is forebead mechanically before be answered.
- Do you know, then JihanT. someway I never thought oẻ in The time I was young there wasn't many going bai them that had no place here. An there was always work to dɔ here; an, since ever I married. the place was my own you may say, an' I had no notion of leaving it. A man doesn't shift easy when he sees a family getting up round him.”
Johnny moved uneasily on his feet, then lifted his fail
“Ay," he said. “marriage makes a quare differ to a man." Then he fell to work on the sheaves.
noon Johnny came back laden with small presents, and as he was unfolding them on the kitchen table, one of the small children made a pounce.
"Show us what's in the big brown paper. Johnny!" she cried, and without waiting for leave, opened it, disclosing a bottle of whisky. Annie started. "Och, Johnny, what's the sense of bringing the like of that into this house? Sure, you know your father can't abide the sight of it. Put it away now, before he comes in, there's a good boy."
But Robert was in the door
before she had finished speak- lurked an expression of smiling ing. surprise.
"Never you mind her, Johnny," he said, "I'm not that bigoted. Many's the one you'll be wanting to offer a glass to, and you going away and a glass hurts no man that's able to watch himself."
But Johnny reddened.
"I was thinking, maybe you would step out a piece with me this night yourself," he said abruptly.
Annie started, for a meaning was conveyed in his words. Choosing to ignore it, she laughed shrilly; but there was a note of opposition in her tone.
"Dear, oh! but that would be newance, for your father to be going out drinking of an evening," she cried. "And where would you be for going to?"
"Up to James M'Cormick's," answered Johnny, with a setting of shoulders and head, as if he looked for a contest of wills.
"To M'Cormick's," his mother retorted. "I was doubting that. 'Deed and you have little call to be taking whisky to M'Cormick's, 'twould be water to the sea."
""Tis the custom," Johnny answered sullenly.
"Custom, indeed!" she retorted. "Many's the one comes in here of an evening, and I don't see them bringing whisky with them. A nice thing that would be for your father to take to."
But Robert interrupted. He had listened with a grave face, about which, nevertheless, there
"Be easy now, Annie," he said. "I'm thinking I could give a guess what Johnny means. He's maybe looking for more than a chat by the fire up at M'Cormick's."
"Faith and troth, then, it would be a bad place to go to look for any other thing, Annie scolded. "I wonder at him and at yourself that would go near that ugly old vagabone, and him for ever drunk, and not twopence to his name. Och, you needn't be looking at me that way, Johnny. Sure, don't I know well you were always foolish about yon wee black brat of a girl."
"Her an' me's promised, anyway," her son broke in angrily. "An' if Robert won't stand by me to go and ask her from her own ones, I be to find some other man that will."
He lifted his cap as he spoke, to make towards the door; but Robert interposed.
"Sit down, Johnny, and never mind your mother; she must be talking. Who but me should go with you, and you looking a wife?"
"I wonder at you, Robert," cried Annie. "Sure, what call has he with a wife, and him. going to America? How will he pay the passage? Answer me that."
"Never fear but he'll be able to answer you, then," said Robert. "I would trust Johnny to have his road made out. Still and all, Johnny, 'twill be needful for me to know before I can speak for you."
"I was thinking to go out
first myself, and let her come after when I saw a place to bring her to," Johnny answered. "An' indeed, Robert, I'll be thankful to you if you speak for me."
"To be sure I will, Johnny, the best way I can," said Robert.
But Annie, still fuming, commented sharply.
"Troth, then, you needn't put yourself about. It's not every day them people will have ones looking after their daughter. 'Deed, then, Johnny, you're foolish-that's what you are. Why but you took up with some girl that would be a help to you? And the dear knows who you might meet out yonder."
But again Robert interposed.
"Faith, Annie, by what I read, Johnny's not that far wrong. A good wife out yonder is ill to come by-one that would be a help to a man, and maybe worth more nor a bag of gold."
"Ay, by what you read," cried Annie contemptuously. "You have for ever them notions out of books. Little good books ever were, I'm thinking, for the likes of you or Johnny."
"Ach, give us peace, woman!" said Robert, ruffled at last. "Get me my coat, and we may be going."
"Is it go that way?" cried Annie; "and you without your clean shirt! Go or not go, you'll go decent anywaythough it's little decency you'll find before you."
Night had fallen dark when
Robert and his son reached the M Cormick's cottage. According to
ceremonial custom, Johnny stayed outside in the muddy boreen while his supporter approached the house, and, finding only the halfdoor closed, opened it and entered slowly, as befits a stranger.
"Good evening to yous all," he said-for the North has dropped the pious benedictions with which South and West still accompany salutation.
James M Cormick rose from his seat at the right-hand of the fire: a small man, almost buried in a portentous bush of foxy beard.
"Is that Robert? It's yourself is a stranger here."
Mrs McCormick, tall and grave of face, kindly and decent, rose too with greetings.
"Come forward to the fire, Mr Corscadden," she said, drawing a chair to face the blaze of ruddy turf. Behind her the children were grouped along a settle, or squatted in the corner. A dark-haired girl sat nearest the wall, busy carding wool. She kept her face bent bent down over her work.
"I'm thankful to you, Mrs M'Cormick," Robert answered. "But," and he drew with ceremony the bottle from his coat pocket, "there's a boy outside would like to know if you would let him stand treat to you this evening.'
There was a sudden stir among the children—a nudging and a whispering. The
"Och, poor Johnny! Bring him in, surely then, and welcome," said Mrs M'Cormick. "Johnny is still welcome in this house."
Robert turned to the door, went out into the light streaming from it, and beckoned; then re-entered, with Johnny at his back. The household was on its feet now to greet the newcomer, and he went round shaking hands with each in turn.
"How's Johnny?" "Well, thank God. how's yourself?
The dark-haired Mary laid down her carding for a moment to give him the same greeting.
"How's Johnny?" "Well, thank God. how's Mary?"
Before she was back, Johnny had moved from his chair and contrived to seat himself next to her. Robert uncorked the bottle with the same air of ritual observance, filled a glass and handed it to M'Cormick, then another to his wife, who took it with some protestation. Then filling another, "Here, Johnny," he said, "give that to Mary, and make her drink success to you."
Johnny offered it. "No, then," she answered. "Drink it yourself, Johnny. But I'm wishing you good fortune in your journey-indeed I am.”
"Well, here's luck," said Robert raising his glass, and "Here's luck" was the answer.
"And so you're for leaving us, Johnny," said M'Cormick, setting down his glass drained.
Well, many a one goes, and there's none should do better than yourself. And it's young Ogilvie that's taking you out. Man, you're the lucky one that has his passage paid and all."
"I'll hold you now," put in And Mrs M'Cormick, "he'll be counting the days till he's off. There's some think bad of going, but Johnny has a stout heart."
"Well, thank God." "Sit down, Johnny, now, and draw in your chair," said James M'Cormick. "Tell us, now, is it the truth you're for America?"
But Robert interposed.
"Don't let us be dry talking," he said. "It's not often I taste; but surely yous will take a glass with me when I do."
"Bring out the glasses, Mary," said Mrs M'Cormick ; and the girl rose from her work.
"Troth, then," said Robert, "whatever's the way, Johnny thinks bad enough of going from some that's here. He doesn't want to go single, Mrs M'Cormick, that's the truth of it, and that's what we come here for this night-to see if we could come to some agreement amongst us."
As Robert spoke, Mary rose from her corner and slipped quietly, evading Johnny's out
stretched hand, into the room adjoining the kitchen.
Again there was a stir among the wide-eyed children. "Look at her running," one whispered to the other. But James M'Cormick and his wife noticed them no more than the dogs and cats who crouched under chairs and tables. An Irish household has few secrets.
"And what kind of agreement would that be," said James M'Cormick, his countenance falling into the lines that a peasant's lifetime of bargaining had moulded. "I'm thankful to you, Robert, for thinking on us, but we're as poor people as God ever made, and that's the short and the long of it."
"Come now, James," said Robert, "you needn't be taking it that way. If you give in to the marriage, let you give her whatever you think right, much or little, and we're content. I was never one for them kind of bargains."
ing on the rosiest Johnny's prospects. faces of his listeners fell manifestly.
"An' it's not for taking her with him he would be," said James M'Cormick. "He would be to go off, and her to stay till he would come back for her, and her living with us, a married woman and likely a child with her."
But Johnny, who had sat so far silent and somewhat sheepish, started up now.
"Are you evening it to me that I would desert her, then? he cried. "Or that I would not be fit to rise as much money as would pay her passage? Faith, and if that's what you think
"Whisht now, Johnny," said his father, "leave this to me, will you? Sure, James is right to take care for his daughter. Now, James, here's what I would say. I would say. If you're against keeping her, and her married to him, let her come to our house and live there till he can fetch her. And if you're for keeping her, let her stay here. You know the sort of Johnny well enough, and I needn't be talking. But if anything would happen him, she'll be no charge on you, without you wish it. Is that fair, now?'
'Deed, then," said Mrs M'Cormick, "and you may say that, Mr Corscadden. You had never the name of a grasping man, for all you were no great spender; and whatever comes of it, I'll mind that you were a good friend to Mary since she was a wee thing, and us not looking for the like of this.'
"I'm not saying against it," said James M'Cormick. "Robert's a respected man, we know that. But speak up now, Robert, and tell us what you're meaning."
Robert stated his proposal then, clearly and briefly, dwell
"Och ay, that's fair enough," James M'Cormick answered, drawing at his pipe, and striving to conceal his surprise at SO incautious a bargainer. "But still, nowHe seemed anxious and uncertain, and looked at his wife. She spoke then, filling up his pause.
"Ay, Robert, it's a quare