Skip to main content

Full text of "The wasted island"

See other formats


THE WASTED ISLAND 



TO 
MY MOTHER 



THE WASTED ISLAND 



BY 

EIMAR O'DUFFY 



MARTIN LESTER, LIMITED 
44 DAWSON ST., DUBLIN 



CONTENTS 

CHAP. PAGE 

i. A GENTLEMAN'S SON i 

II. GLENCOOLE 21 

III. END OF A STORY 37 

IV. YOUNG ENGLAND 46 

V. WILLOUGHBY TOWERS 93 

VI. DUBLIN 114 

VII. STEPHEN 135 

VIII. A DEAD HAND 173 

IX. A MEETING . i 193 

X. THE RUSTY SWORD 2l8 

XI. WAITING 247 

XII. GUNS 276 

XIII. WAR 305 

XIV. AN AMATEUR ARMY 357 

XV. GATHERING CLOUDS 403 

XVI. CATASTROPHE 453 



THE WASTED ISLAND 



CHAPTER I 

A GENTLEMAN'S SON 



LOVE'S main function is to make the world go round and he 
cares nothing for the subsequent fate of the instruments he 
uses to that end. * From fairest creatures we desire increase,' 
and many a clever young man who has been caught in Nature's 
lure has spent a life of vain regrets unconsoled by the physical 
perfection of the offspring for whom he has sacrificed his 
happiness. 

One such was that handsome and plausible young 
physician Eugene Lascelles who, one night of wonder in a 
garden by the sea, told pretty foolish affectionate Alice 
Reilly that he loved her, and in due course led her to the 
altar. So far as their personal happiness was concerned 
their wedding was a disaster. The honeymoon itself revealed 
insurmountable barriers between their souls : six months of 
married life accentuated them. He was too selfish and she 
was too stupid to make the best of things and in another year 
all pretence of agreement between them was gone : hatred 
even was beginning to creep into the soul of the man and 
despair into that of the woman. It remained to be seen 
whether Nature would justify her trickery by making the 



2 THE WASTED ISLAND 

union fertile Aiice longed for a son in the hope of thereby 
regaining her husband's affections ; and to him a son was a 
necessity to console him for his disappointment in his wife. 
So in patient longing the third year of their marriage went 
by ; in desperate longing the fourth. And then, in the 
spring-time of the first year of the closing decade of the 
century, Bernard was born. 



Dr. Lascelles stood by his wife's bedside and looked down 
on his three day old son. 

" He'll be like his father, won't he ? " said Alice. 
" He's a Lascelles all right," assented her husband . . . 
" But he has your eyes," he added, thinking she deserved 
some commendation. 

" Really ? Do you think so ? " she said happily. 

He hated her habit of answering everything with a further 
question, but on this occasion made no comment. His 
wife smiled to see him take the tiny fist of his son in his fine 
white capable hands. 

" My son," he said. 

To himself he was saying : 

" Mustn't let her have too much say in his up-bringing. 
I'll /nake a man of him . . . make him a success in life 
. . . she shan't teach him any damned nonsense." 

He lingered a moment contemplating his son, then kissed 
his wife and went out. 

He went through his work that day in a state of pre- 
occupation, son and wife alternately sharing his thoughts. 

" Why did I marry her ? Better not ask myself that again. 
. . . Doesn't bear examination. ... I once thought her 
witty. How often has she told me the story of her Aunt 
Jane and the pot of mustard ? 

" Mustn't exasperate myself. The Boy is some com- 
pensation after all. I'll make a man of him . . . keep him 
out of her clutches . . . her rotten little ideas and 
superstitions. Good lord ! 

" I promised her he'd be a Catholic, but she shan't make 
a Jesuit of him. . . . My son a Jesuit ! Not likely . . . 
nor any sort of a priest. 



A GENTLEMAN'S SON 3 

"I'll make him a good staunch Britisher for all that he's 
a Catholic. . . . Must keep that Fenian brother of Alice's 
away from the house . . . sarcastic disloyal young hound ! " 

His thoughts here became incoherent. Clarifying again 
they reverted to his son. 

" Will Alice try to make him a Nationalist as well as a 
Catholic ? Bah ! She's no politician. She hasn't the 
brains. . . . Wish she had, in a way. 

" Why did I marry a woman without any brains ? . . . 
Says she's a heart anyway. So she has. She's so unselfish 
that she makes my life a burden to me. . . . Damn these 
religious people." 

He meditated bitterly on the folly of his marriage. 

" What a hot-headed sentimental young fool I was. She 
was beautiful and sweet, and I thought her witty. . . . 
That story of her Aunt Jane . . . good lord ! 

" Well, she might have been worse. . . . She keeps the 
house well, and there's the boy. . . . Jove, I don't half 
realise that I've got a son. . . . Must be nicer to her for 
his sake. After all, she's his mother . . . 

" But how many more times must I listen to the story of 
her Aunt Jane and the pot of mustard ? " 

With a deliberate effort he put his wife's shortcomings 
out of his head and made plans for the boy. Now if Eugene 
Lascelles was dissatisfied with the course of his life he was 
eminently satisfied with himself. Indeed his main objection 
to his wife was her difference from himself, and when he 
resolved to make a man of his son he meant to make him as 
like himself as possible. 

" I'll make a success of him. He'll be a credit to his father. 
. . . Public School and Varsity man of course. . . . 
Shall it be Eton or Harrow ? . . . And after that, Oxford 
probably. . . . Shall I put him in the Army ? " 

This consideration made him pause. The Army had much 
to recommend it socially ; but then, a chance bullet in a 
skirmish on the outposts of the Empire, and twenty years of 
work and hope thrown away. 

" No. We can do better than that. A Public School 
and Varsity man has the Empire at his feet." 

He visioned wonderful things. 

" But, damn it, I'd forgotten his religion. He'll have to 



4 THE WASTED ISLAND 

go to one of those Jesuit holes, I suppose. . . . Good 
lord ! What would my poor father have said to that ? Break 
with the family tradition, isn't it ? 

" Still, Ashbury ranks as a Public School . . . and he'll 
go to Oxford anyway." 

He began to feel satisfied that after all the divergence of 
the boy's career from the family tradition would be but small. 
The Lascelles, be it noted, were descended from a Huguenot 
who had settled in Queen's County early in the seventeenth 
century, and, owing to the laws then in force, acquired at 
a very low price an estate which had been confiscated from 
the native owners in the name of civilisation and religion. 
This gentleman had married a lady of his own faith and 
nationality, and reared his family along with the neighbouring 
Protestant settlers in such a manner as to preserve them from 
all contact with and contamination from the surrounding 
Papist multitude. Fortune, industry, and the turn of history 
favoured the Lascelles. From being persecuted they became 
persecutors, and in defence of their rights in this prerogative 
they fought for William at the Boyne and helped to rivet the 
chains on their beaten countrymen after Limerick. During 
the century-long swoon in which Ireland then lay they gained 
prosperity in peace, and eventually, finding their prosperity 
threatened by their erstwhile protector, flew to arms, 

inscribed " Free Trade or Else " on their banners, and 

along with their kind almost succeeded in disrupting the 
British Empire. They helped to dragoon the rebels in '98 ; 
petitioned violently against the Union in '99 ; protested as 
violently against its repeal in 1845 ; and then, save for passive 
and financial support of the Unionist Cause, dropped out of 
public life. 

Such was the ancestry of which young Bernard was to be 
made worthy, a task requiring on the father's part much toil 
and vigilance. There was much the boy must learn ; there 
was more of which he must be kept ignorant. There were 
fixed ideas to be implanted in him : and fancies of course the 
boy would have fancies to be eradicated. There were 
certain courses which his mind must take, and he, the father, 
would trace them out and guide him accordingly. Yes. 
He would make a man of his son. 



A GENTLEMAN'S SON 5 

3 

" So this is my nephew ! " 

Mrs. Lascelles enjoyed complacently her brother's homage 
to her son. She asked the usual question. 

" There's far too much of his Majesty in him,' Christopher 
replied. " I wish he was more like you." 

A long rambling talk followed. She was much more at 
home with her brother than with her husband, and she 
became quite animated with tales and praises of young 
Bernard. Christopher listened sympathetically. He was a 
tall, self-possessed young man, who never seemed completely 
serious, a perpetual puzzle to his brother-in-law. He closely 
resembled his sister in features, but the play of thought and 
intelligence across them caused a world of difference in 
expression. 

" How's his Majesty been behaving himself lately ? " he 
asked, " Oh, you needn't answer. I can read it in your 
eyes." 

" I wish you wouldn't call him that name, Chris." 

" It suits him better than his own, anyway. You'd think 
he was the hero of a novel with that mouthful." 

" You'll be his godfather, won't you Chris ? " 

" What does he want with a godfather at his age ? " 

" Chris, vou silly ! I didn't mean Eugene's. I meant the 
baby's." 

"It's a big responsibility. Don't I have to guarantee 
that he'll renounce the devil 'and all that sort of thing ? " 

"No. If you hold him without dropping him at the 
christening it's all we'll expect from you." 

Dr. Lascelles returning from work seemed little pleased 
at meeting his brother-in-law. 

" Still clinging to effete old Yurrop ? " he said, speaking 
jocularly to conceal his displeasure. " I thought Wall 
Street would have recalled you to her yearning bosom before 
this." 

Christopher answered seriously. The Doctor's pleasantries 
never moved him to laughter. 

" I meant to go to-morrow," he said, " but now I must 
wait for the christening. Alice has asked me to be the god- 
father, you know." 



6 THE WASTED ISLAND 

The Doctor said " Oh ? " colourlessly, and changed the 
conversation. A few minutes later the two men left the room 
together and descended to the hall. Here Lascelles drew 
Christopher into his consulting room and confronted him 
nervously. 

" Look here," he said, *' you're going to be my boy's 
godfather. I trust you won't abuse that position." 

" He shall have a christening mug as good as can be got," 
replied the other impassively, " and on every birthday an 
increasingly valuable present." 

The Doctor seemed nonplussed. 

" Look here," he said irritably, " you don't seem to catch 
my meaning. ... I don't want you to make a Nationalist 
of him." 

" You seem to think very highly of my powers as a 
proselytiser," replied the younger man. " Or is it the cause 
itself you're flattering ? " 

" Nothing of the sort," said the Doctor stiffly. " I'm 
merely informing you of my wishes." 

" Well, the boy's young yet, and he may never be any use. 
They're born not made you know. Good bye, old man. 
I'm off to see about that mug." 



Young Bernard broke no traditions in the early years of his 
growth. He grew normally ; he laughed and cried 
normally ; he ate normally ; he got sick normally ; his teeth 
erupted normally ; his fontanelles closed normally ; he 
walked and talked at a normal age. His mother adored 
him and his father gave him first place among all his pos- 
sessions. He had a normal number of brothers and sisters : 
two of each to particularise. 

He passed his childhood in a bright airy nursery surrounded 
with toys and comforts. Pleasant pictures adorned the walls, 
There were illustrated nursery rimes ; photographs of Queen 
Victoria and her consort and the Prince of Wales ; coloured 
representations of victorious British soldiers charging Zulus ; 
and a supplement from a Christmas annual depicting a little 
boy wearing his father's red tunic, labelled ' A Chip of the 
Old Block: 



A GENTLEMAN'S SON 7 

With his brothers and sisters he grew up as a gentleman's 
child should. He was washed and combed regularly, and 
neatly and prettily dressed. He was trained to be * good* 
which meant not being a nuisance to nurse ; and to be polite 
to visitors, which meant answering their inane questions 
nicely without sheepishness or giggling. He learnt his 
A. B. C. and how to count and how to recite simple verses 
about lambs and spiders. He was taken to the seaside in 
the summer and to the Pantomime at Christmas. In short, 
he had a very pleasant time, and he was a very nice little boy. 

His first great crime against tradition was committed at 
the age of six, when one terrible day he played with Hektor 
O 'Flaherty. For a full realisation of* the enormity of this 
deed the circumstances under which he came to be forbidden 
to do so must first be told. Hektor O 'Flaherty was a domineer- 
ing youth of eight, the leader of a gang of youngsters whose 
martial games Bernard had long wished to join. Stephens 
Green, the scene of their warlike operations, was also the 
place to which nurse each morning led the decorous cavalcade 
of Dr. Lascelles' children, consisting at the time of Alice in 
the perambulator, Eugene, aged four, holding on to nurse's 
skirts, and Bernard ranging free in all the independence of 
trousers and six winters. Here nurse would choose a shady 
seat, bury her nose in a novelette, and with her toe against 
the wheel of the perambulator, impart to the steeping Alice 
the sensation of reposing on the topmost bough of a wind- 
shaken tree. Bernard was thus left to his own resources 
and the insipid company of Eugene. On one of these 
mornings Hektor 's operations had brought him into the 
vicinity and Bernard had conquered his shyness sufficiently 
to go up to the young general and say : 

" Can I play with you ? " 

And while a ruddy glow spread over his countenance, the 
hero had looked him over slowly and said : 

" All right. Fall in." 

That evening the Doctor had come up to the nursery to 
see his children, and Bernard had poured out a rapturous tale 
of his doings. His father listened impatiently and then asked : 

" Who is this Hektor ? " 

Bernard had no more definite information, but nurse had 
said he was one of them O 'Flaherties of Baggot Street ; and 



8 THE WASTED ISLAND 

the Doctor's brows had contracted, and he had said that 
Bernard must on no account play with Hektor again. 

" Why, daddy ? ' 

" Because he's not a nice boy. 5 ' 

" Sure he's awfully nice." 

" Don't say * sure.' You're not to play with him because 
I tell you so, and that's all about it." 

Then, with a parting injunction to nurse to see that his 
wishes were carried out, he kissed his son hurriedly and left 
the room. 

For a few days Bernard had obeyed his parent's behest, 
but this was mainly due to his nurse's vigilance. In those 
youthful days he did not appreciate the difference between 
Stephens Green and Upper Baggot Street, and his whole 
soul revolted against the tyranny which robbed him of the 
only thing in life which at the moment seemed worth having. 
At last, realising one day that Eugene and the perambulator 
would be a severe encumbrance to nurse's pursuit he seized 
a favourable moment to slip from her side, and dodging 
through a shrubbery, rushed off to find the gang. 

Hektor received him coldly, asking why he had stayed 
away so long. Bernard explained that his nurse had kept 
him. 

" Well, if you're afraid of your nurse you needn't come 
here," said Hektor, whereat the Army laughed loudly. 

" Silence ! " bellowed the general. " Remember you're 
on parade." 

The warriors smothered their laughter and wiped out their 
smiles, while Bernard explained that he had just run away from 
nurse in defiance of all orders. He could see that he rose 
considerably in Hektor's estimation at this and finally the 
latter bade him fall in with the rest. 

" Number ! " said Hektor. 

The Army proceeded to do so. Number one was a rather 
coarse boy called Har'ld, who lived in Cuffe Street. He was 
the second in command, and would have been a bully if 
Hektor had not kept him well in hand. Number two was 
Hektor's younger brother Michael. He ought really to have 
been in Har'ld's place, but Hektor, rather than suspect 
himself of nepotism, relegated him to the ranks. Number 
three was another Baggot Street boy called Hugh. Number 



A GENTLEMAN'S SON 9 

four was Har'ld's brother Willy, a dirty little youngster with 
a perpetually dripping nose. The rest of the Army, acting 
as the enemy for the time being, was waiting in an adjacent 
shelter intending to hold it to the death against Hektor's attack, 
which was to be delivered as soon as the departure of a keeper 
in the vicinity rendered it possible. Meanwhile Hektor 
divided his forces into three parties. Hugh and Willy were 
to attack the right flank ; Har'ld and Bernard were to deliver 
a frontal attack ; while Hektor and Michael were in reserve, 
ready to fling themselves into action when needed to push 
home a victory or stave off defeat. 

The uniformed figure of law and order having taken its 
departure, the battle began. Bernard, rushing blindly into 
action was at grips with a wiry little newsboy, when he felt 
himself drawn out of the fight from the rear. Nurse had 
come up, taken him by the slack of the pants, and hauled him 
ingloriously home. 

Words cannot describe the pain and anger of Dr. Lascelles 
on learning of the plebeian tastes of his son. "Your conduct," 
he explained, " has been unworthy of a gentleman's son," 
and hastened to apply with a strap the recognized cure for 
such behaviour. 

After this incident the children were taken to the Leinster 
Lawn for their recreation, so the young mutineer saw nothing 
of his hero for some months. Then nurse was taken ill 
and had to return to her home in the country, and her place 
was taken by a much less conscientious person who openly 
ignored the Doctor's instructions and brought the children 
once again to Stephens Green, where henceforward Bernard 
played to his heart's content with Hektor and his followers ; 
a happy state of things which lasted until the flowing tide of 
social and pecuniary prosperity carried his father to Merrion 
Square, where the children were more desirable if less 
original. 



A tendency to play the politician which early manifested 
itself in Bernard, was a symptom of abnormality that would 
have alarmed his father had he not been too busy diagnosing 
other people's complaints to notice it. 



io THE WASTED ISLAND 

After an abortive attempt to organise the inhabitants of 
the nursery into a monarchical state (abortive because it 
required too continuous a use of make-believe, which Bernard 
always detested) he applied his statecraft to the construction 
of toy commonwealths. The nursery was well stocked with 
toys of the usual kind : dolls, tea-sets, soldiers, animals, 
railways, bricks, and odds and ends. Each child had its 
share of these, and Bernard with a piece of chalk divided the 
nursery table into three territories for their occupation. 
This done he tried to institute wars between the different 
states, but Alice was too young and Eugene too unenterprising 
to make the game a success, and eventually it was abandoned 
for another scheme by which all toys and owners were united 
under his own energetic rule into one vast city state. 

First the railway line was laid, and each child received 
ground on which to build a station. Then battered bricks 
eked out with cardboard boxes formed the framework of a 
wonderful metropolis. Stables, cottages, shops and temples 
lined its thoroughfares, which were paraded by soldiers, 
cows, lions and chessmen. The railway ran under tunnels 
made out of draper's boxes, on the roof of one of which a 
shepherd tended his sheep, while on another Noah and his 
family, a brass band, and a cat with her kittens formed harmon- 
ious groups. Proportion was flouted. A fox terrier filled 
a whole carriage of the train, while a family of china elephants 
reposed comfortably in the tender. And as for the train 
it visited strange places in its journey, travelling frequently 
from Dublin, via New York or Timbuctoo, to Howth. 

The principal occupations of the citizens were travelling, 
wolf hunting, and courts martial. One day the train would 
buzz round and round transferring the population of New 
York to Howth ; the next all commercial activity would 
come to a standstill while the wolves from the neighbouring 
woods were repulsed in a marauding raid on the suburbs 
with horse, foot and artillery. A third day would see a 
reign of terror in full swing, Noah, chessmen and visitors 
from Japan being tried in batches and blown from the cannon's 
mouth. (All offences were thus treated, from treason to 
overcrowding on the railway.) 

There were wars too, based on no quarrel and fought with 
no strategy, in which the soldiery on each side stood up to 



A GENTLEMAN'S SON n 

each other like Frederick's Prussians while marbles mowed 
them down, the prize of victory being a triumphal march 
through the streets of the capital. 

Time and again the whole mighty Babylon was swept 
away by the barbarian hand of nurse, only to rise again on 
its ruins as glorious as ever. Thus hour after hour through the 
seemingly endless days of childhood they played, each suit- 
ing the game to his own tastes. For Alice liked best to gather 
her citizens round a table and entertain them to a banquet, 
and Eugene loved to parade his soldiers and arrange aesthetic 
groups on the station platform and then sit and gaze at them, 
while Bernard was for ever and ever dissatisfied, and built and 
destroyed, and reconstructed, and destroyed again, and in 
the intervals dreamed great projects which he never found 
himself able to accomplish. 

Dissatisfaction often caused him to give up play altogether, 
much to the disappointment of the others, whose amusements 
became chaotic without him, and plunge into the world 
of books. There were beautiful illustrated editions of 
Cinderella and Bluebeard in the nursery, but his favourites 
were a big History of England, British Battles, and a bound 
volume of the Navy and Army Illustrated. From these he 
drew much of the inspiration of his games, and back to them 
he went after his recurring failures. There was also a big 
Shakespeare, plenteously illustrated, which he found very 
hard to understand, though he managed to appreciate the 
story of many of the pictures by referring to the text 
beside. Passages and characters here and there had a strange 
fascination for him. MacDuff was his favourite character, 
and next to him came Sampson and Gregory. Indeed their 
scene was the only part of Rorneo and Juliet that held any 
interest for him. He loved the line " No sir. I do not bite 
my thumb at you, sir. But I bite my thumb, sir," and 
(but this was a little later) the sonorous ring of some of the 
speeches in the tragedies pleased him long before they con- 
veyed any meaning. 

In those days the artist in him was concerned mainly with 
form. The solid shapes of things gave him pleasure. He 
liked the firm stand of a toy regiment of Life Guards, and the 
small broad wheels of railway trucks, and the straight 
symmetry of the tracks ; and he would stand for hours watch- 



12 THE WASTED ISLAND 

ing a steam-roller at work. The smell of furniture vans 
and of certain stone bricks that formed a temple in Babylon 
were his only exotics. 



Mr. Christopher Reilly kept his promise to Doctor Lascelles. 
The christening mug was orthodox and very expensive, 
and each of Bernard's birthdays brought a present over from 
America. First it was a rattle, a wonderful silver rattle, 
with melodious little bells attached. Next year came a cow, 
a most life-like animal, with horns of cow-horn, and a realistic 
" moo." The third year brought a huge wooden railway 
train with doors and windows that opened and shut. After 
that came soldiers and cannons, and clockwork trains, and a 
magic lantern which he was not allowed to use, for fear of 
accidents, and which eventually rusted away from neglect. 
For his eight birthday . . . but let us turn to his mother's 
letter of thanks. 

My Dear Chris, 

I'm so glad to hear that you are quite well and getting on so 
splendidly. Why don't you hurry up and get married ? Are 
the American girls not so charming as we are told ? 

Why on earth did you send Bernard that Child's History of 
Ireland ? You might have known what would happen. Eugene 
was perfectly furious, he flung it straight into the f re and Bernard 
was crying for hours after. The whole birthday was spoilt. 
Now please don't think that I mind myself, because I don't. I 
should like Bernard to be a patriotic Irishman but his father 
simply won't have it and it's impossible as you know for me to 
have any say. Besides I'm not going to have politics spoiling 
the happiness of my home. 

I haven't much news. Old Dr. Wilton is dead. The children 
had chicken pox but are well over it. Eugene gave me a Christ- 
mas present of a new drawing-room suite, but like most of his 
presents it's for himself as much as for me, and it's not as if I 
hadn't hinted enough for a necklace. 



A GENTLEMAN'S SON 13 

When are you coming over to Dublin again ? Tm longing 
to see you, and you'll be delighted with your godson, he's such, 
a pretty child. 

Try and come soon. 

With much love from 

Your loving sister, 

ALICE. 

Her brother's reply was brief. 

I shall be in Dublin on business, he wrote, next month, and 
Til take a short holiday there as well. I am sending Bernard 
another present to replace that which his father did in beastly 
rage destroy. 

1 see old England's on the warpath again for Justice and 
Mammon, so 1 suppose His Majesty is in fine imperial fettle. 
Don't heed him. The Boers are a small people standing up for 
their rights against a bully and that's all there's to it. 

Thine, 

CHRIS. 

Mrs. Lascelles ran upstairs to the nursery with this letter 
and its accompanying parcel. The children deserted Babylon 
and rushed to her arms in a body 

" A present Irom Uncle Christopher," she said, giving 
the parcel to Bernard. " He s coming to see us soon. Won't 
that be nice ? " 

"Oh, mummy, what's he like ? " 

" Like his photograph of course." 

" Yes but I mean how big is he, and how does he talk." 

" Such a boy ! He's tall, and you'll hear him talk when he 
comes." 

" Mummy, come and see my new invention." 

" I haven't time, darling. Some other day." 

Bernard looked dismayed. 

" Just for a minute, mummy," he pleaded. 

He drew her over to the city and tried rapidly to impress 

, her with some wonderful piece of railway engineering. She 

listened absently with an occasional insincere ' Yes,' or 

' Really,' her glazed eyes showing that her thoughts were 



i 4 THE WASTED ISLAND 

elsewhere in Chatham Street with the butcher and grocer 
most likely. Bernard, disappointed, let her go without com- 
pleting his lecture. 

" Mummy never seems to listen to us," he complained 
when she had gone. 

" Why don't you open your parcel ? " asked Eugene, 
impatiently. 



" I see that we are about to fight the Boers," said Dr. 
Lascelles one day, unfolding a large map of South Africa at 
the dinner table. 

" How terrible ! " said his wife. 

" Serve them right," answered the Doctor. " They've 
been asking for trouble this long time, and by God they'll 
have it." 

Mrs. Lascelles remembered her brother's letter. 

" It's a shame for a big country to be attacking a little 
one," she said. 

" Do you think England's going to let herself be bullied 
by a pack of Dutch farmers ? " 

" I don't think anything. I only know the Boers are 
standing up for their rights." 

" Rights ! " scoffed the Doctor. " Precious lot you know 
about rights. These Boers are a truculent narrow-minded 
lot of money-grubbing psalm-singing bigots," 

Mrs. Lascelles would sacrifice anything for peace. 

" Perhaps you're right, dear," she admitted. 

" There's no * perhaps ' about it," rejoined her husband 
irritably. " Of course I'm right." Doctor Lascelles had 
nothing but scorn for his wife's belief in the infallibility of 
the Pope, but he had not the slightest doubt of his own. 

" Very well, dear," said his pusillanimous wife with a sigh, 
mentally comparing her husband's hectoring behaviour 
with Chris's considerate statement of a case. The Doctor 
went on studying his map. 

War means the slaughter of myriads of men, the destruction 
of homes, the impoverishment of masses ; in its train come 
crime, misery and disease ; it is the root of hatred and revenge, 
it is the plague and despair of the world. What manner 



A GENTLEMAN'S SON 15 

of man then is this who can look forward with complacency 
nay with eagerness to the loosing of all these horrors 
with his connivance and at his expense upon a distant people, 
a small people of whose existence he but recently became 
aware and whose destruction can in no wise improve his 
happiness ? Let his friends speak for him : they would 
praise him highly ; call him generous, kind-hearted, 
hospitable ; a good husband and father ; a man of culture 
and taste ; an excellent companion and a sayer of good 
things ; a judge of wine and cigars too ; a gentleman. They 
are not far wrong either. He is beyond doubt a hard-working 
capable physician, popular wherever he goes, and a social 
success. He has indeed all the attractive virtues ; and if he 
is selfish overbearing and tyrannical it is known only to his 
family ; if he is a snob it is noticeable only to his social 
inferiors ; and if he is narrow-minded and hypocritical it 
is known only to God. 

8 

Bernard impatiently waited for his nurse to finish brushing 
his hair. It was an annoying process at the best of times, 
for at the end of every stroke of the brush she brought the 
bristles down on to his ears or some other sensitive part ; but 
now it was intolerable, for Uncle Christopher had come from 
America and was waiting below in the drawing room to see 
him. The operation being at last concluded to nurse's satis- 
faction he rushed downstairs to the drawing room, but 
shyness overcoming him at the door he entered with commend- 
able decorum. 

A tall gentleman was talking to Mrs. Lascelles beside the 
fireplace. He looked over at Bernard's entrance and said : 

" Hello ! Is this Bernard ? " 

" This is your godson," said Mrs. Lascelles, beaming on 
them both. Bernard came nearer. 

" Do you remember me at all ? " said Uncle Christopher, 
to which Bernard solemnly answered " No." 

' That's strange," said Uncle Christopher, " because it's 
barely eight years since we parted." 

" How absurd you are, Chris," giggled Mrs. Lascelles, 
and Bernard, forgetting his shyness, laughed outright. 



16 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" I was only a baby then," he said. 

" May I take Bernard out to tea ? " inquired Uncle 
Christopher, and, on his sister's assenting. " Will you come 
along to Mitchells with me ? " he asked Bernard. 

Bernard had no objection to offer and inside a quarter of an 
hour they were seated at a table laden with good things. 

" Have an eclair ? " said Uncle Christopher holding a 
plate towards his nephew. Bernard, remembering previous 
teas when his father had been the host, asked : 

" Aren't they unwholesome ? " 

" Very," said his Uncle with his eyes twinkling. " Take 
two." 

For a time there was silence while Bernard made devastat- 
ing raids on the gorgeous contents of several plates. After- 
wards by sympathetic questioning the man set the child 
sufficiently at his ease to let him talk spontaneously, and 
Christopher was delighted with the intelligence of his nephew 
and the clear voice and accent in which he spoke. 
Enthusiastically Bernard told him of his wars and cities, 
and Christopher casting aside all the difference of age between 
them joined with him in an eager conversation. The dreams 
and limitations of his own childhood came back to his memory, 
and he became a child again comparing notes with another 
child. Bernard on his side was gloriously astonished to find 
in his uncle a kindred spirit. Nobody had ever listened to 
him in this way before. When he tried to interest his father 
in something that was all the world to him it was ' Yes, 
yes ' impatiently, and ' I must be off, laddie. I'm busy.' 
How he hated that word " busy," the spoiler of a thousand 
joys. Why were grown ups always busy ? Why wasn't 
his uncle busy ? 

" What does being busy mean ? " he asked suddenly. 

" It means having something unpleasant to do. And that 
reminds me, I'm busy this evening, so I'll leave you home 
at once." 

" But you'll come and see my toys to-morrow, won't you ? " 
Bernard inquired anxiously. His uncle promised to do so, 
and the pair parted company at Dr. Lascelles' hall door, each 
mightily pleased with the other. 

Home again, Bernard felt a kind of chill come over him. 
This was the land of absent-minded ' Yes, yes,' and * I'm 



A GENTLEMAN'S SON 17 

busy, laddie.' His thoughts went back down the street 
after his uncle, and he resolved to confide in him many dreams 
and fancies such as he had never wanted to divulge before. 
Slowly he ascended to the nursery, and blinking after the 
darkness of the stairway entered the gas-lit room. Its 
familiarity struck oppressively to his heart. Eugene and Alice 
dull homely figures in their overalls called him joyfully 
in their everyday voices to come and join in their game, 
but he shook his head and retired moodily to a chair apart. 

" Sometimes," Eugene remarked to Alice, " Barnie goes 
on like a grown up." 

Bye and bye Bernard fetched the Army and Navy Illustrated 
from a shelf and immersed himself in it. Eugene and Alice 
weary of play began to make remarks. 

" Granny ! " said Eugene, and Alice tittered. Bernard 
pretended not to hear. 

" Granny ! " repeated Eugene, giving the book a shove 
by way of emphasis. 

" Shut up ! " snapped Bernard. 

" Temper cat," said little Alice. 

Something snapped inside Bernard's head. He was 
seized with a violent desire to wring Alice's neck, but knew 
better than to touch her, for punishment of the direst kind 
always visited any assault on his sister. * The boy who would 
strike a girl is a coward ' was his father's dogma, the natural 
result being that since Alice was an irritating little tyrant both 
boys heartily detested her. So it was on Eugene's head that 
the blow fell. The corner of the chronicle of Britain's glories 
drew blood from his pudgy nose and he fled to nurse 
howling. Instantly the culprit was arrested and brought to 
justice before the bar of the dinner table. Sullenly deter- 
mined that his brother, chief witness standing by in all the 
glory of injured innocence, should not have the pleasure of 
seeing him punished, he began by stubbornly denying his 
crime : a disastrous course. Such an attitude could not 
long be maintained in the face of systematic browbeating 
and eventually he was forced to admit the truth. 

" To think that my son could be a liar ! " said Dr. Lascelles 
solemnly. " A liar ! " he repeated. " Don't you know 
that the most despicable of all faults is dishonesty, and honesty 
the first of all virtues. Think how splendid it would be to 



18 THE WASTED ISLAND 

look back on a long life and say * I never told a lie.' You 
can never say that now." 

Bernard hung his head and traced the outlines of the 
pattern of the carpet with his toe. 

" And to think that you should deliberately strike your 
little brother so as to make him bleed. Your behaviour 
to-day has been that of a liar a bully and a coward. Go 
away. I'm ashamed of you." 

But in spite of his crimes his mother came up to his bed- 
side and put her arms round him and kissed him. 

So ended an eventful day, eventful enough even as here 

related with perhaps the most important event left out. 

For as his father delivered his homologue upon truth Bernard 

had looked once into his eyes, and in that look doubt for the 

\ first time entered his soul. The age of acceptance was over. 



Uncle Christopher came several times to the nursery 
during the remainder of his stay in Dublin. Mrs Lascelles 
smiled indulgently on him, calling him * a great child,' and 
pitying this weakness in an otherwise sensible nature. Bernard 
liked to see him standing watching their play (he was one of 
those men who never sit down) his hands in his trousers' 
pockets, an amber-stemmed pipe between his fine white 
teeth, making now and then in his pleasant voice some illumi- 
nating suggestion on engineering or politics. Alice too 
confided to Bernard that she loved Uncle Chris * because he 
had such twinkly eyes.' 

Babylon improved marvellously between his suggestions 
and his gifts. The children, it should be mentioned, were 
well brought up, having a code one of whose clauses forbade 
asking for presents. Toys, of course, always came to them 
in a flood at Christmas time or on their birthdays, but they 
were always of father's or mother's choice, and consequently 
not always satisfying. Uncle Chris appreciated their needs 
better and commenced by remedying the shortage of building 
materials. Babylon immediately solved her housing problem 
and shook off a great slumland of cardboard. 

** What do you think you need most now ? " he asked 
another day. 



A GENTLEMAN'S SON 19 

" It's a pity we haven't more straight tracks," said Bernard. 
1 It's not very real to have the train always going on a curve. 
Oh, I'm not hinting, you know," he added with a sudden 
blush as he remembered the code. 

"I'd noticed that myself, old man," and Christopher 
produced a parcel. 

One day he arrived to find a battle in progress between the 
armies of Eugene and Bernard. 

" Go it, Ireland ! " said Bernard triumphantly as a cannon 
ball ploughed a lane through Eugene's cavalry. 

" Why do you call yourselves Irish and English," asked 
Christopher, surprised to hear the elements of treason coming 
from his father's son. 

" I know it's funny," replied Bernard, " because they're 
both the same, aren't they. But, you see, when we used to be 
French and English neither of us wanted to be the enemy. 
So now Eugene is the English because they have the biggest 
city in the world, but I'd rather be Ireland because we live 
there you know." 

" An excellent reason too," said Uncle Christopher. 

" Do you notice," said Bernard afterwards to Eugene, 
" Uncle Chris sometimes says things in a queer way as if he 
meant something else." 

" You're always thinking queer things," was all Eugene's 
reply. 

Soon after that Uncle Christopher went away, and he left 
behind him as a last present for Bernard a book in a grey blue 
cover called Cuchulain of Muirthemne. ' Kewkelayn of 
Murthem,' Bernard pronounced it, and he read it fascinated, 
and as soon as he had finished it re-read it, and re-read it 
again, till he came to know.it almost by heart. The great 
stand up fights between champions and the clash of armies 
in battle delighted him immensely, but the wonderful 
descriptions of costumes appealed to him almost more keenly. 
He used to try and imagine himself clad in a shining white 
shirt striped with purple down the sides, a gold shield on 
his back with a border of silver and edge of white bronze 
as sharp as a knife, a great spear in his hand, and a mighty 
two edged sword with silver hilt at his jewelled belt. 

But most of all, as in after days he loved the. catalogue of 
the ships in Homer, he loved the catalogue of the troops on 



20 THE WASTED ISLAND 

the eve of a battle. And one passage always thrilled him 
tremendously when he read it. This was where Mac Roth 
describing to Fergus the arrival of the Ulstermen on the field 
of Ilgaireth, tells at last of a downhearted troop of leaderless 
men, to which Fergus replies : "I know them well, and it 
is well for those on whose side they are, and it is a pity for 
those they are against, for they are Cuchulain's men from 
Muirthemne." 

Up till then his favourite heroes had been Sir Walter 
Raleigh, Nelson, Wellington and Lord Roberts, but now 
Cuchulain and Conal and Fergus and the rest displaced them 
entirely. They were more heroic, more lovable, and 
infinitely more real. He longed now to talk to Uncle Chris 
about his treasure and to ask his explanation of the strange 
discrepancy with accepted history which it involved. But 
Uncle Christopher was gone away. 



CHAPTER II 
GLENCOOLE 



A SOLITARY cyclist was wheeling his machine up a narrow and 
uneven road winding through the Dublin mountains. It 
was a hot summer day and the cyclist's clothes were covered 
with dust and his brow with sweat. For a mile he plodded 
on in grim determination, till at length he reached the highest 
point of the track it was little more and looked down into 
the valley beyond. It was a beautiful scene that met his gaze ; 
a verdant glen well wooded with beech and pine and mountain 
ash, and watered by a little stream that splashed and sparkled 
down the centre. A wisp of lazy smoke and a splash of white 
proclaimed the presence of an occasional cottage, and far 
below the road could be seen to cross the tiny rivulet by a 
totally disproportionate bridge. The cyclist stood admiring 
the view for some minutes, then sat down by the roadside 
and lit a cigarette. When it was finished, he mounted his 
bicycle and free-wheeled down the slope into the glen. 
Reaching the bottom he again dismounted to climb the 
further slope, and just before reaching the gap that led out 
of the glen stopped at the garden gate of a two storied cottage. 
This he opened, and advancing up a short walk rapped with his 
ringers on the sun-blistered green-painted door. He heard 
' a heavy step on the flags within and the door was opened 
by a majestic looking man, well-dressed, with longish but 
well-groomed white hair, and neatly trimmed beard. He 
stood for a moment in the doorway, looking inquiringly at 
the cyclist. 

" Don't you recognize me, Ward ? " said the latter. 

21 



22 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" Well, if it's not Chris Reilly ! " cried the white haired 
man in a hearty voice. The voice was strangely inconsistent 
with the hair, which, one suspected, was prematurely white. 

Christopher looking at him could see that this was a young 
man made old ; that it was suffering that had furrowed his 
brow and sorrow that had sunk his eyes so deep in their 
sockets. 

" I'm glad you haven't forgotten me," he said. " It 
must be twenty years since I saw you last." 

" You were only a lad then," replied the other, " but 
those twenty years haven't changed you as much as they've 
changed me. . . . Come inside. You can leave your 
bicycle against the wall there." 

Christopher followed him into a small red-flagged hall 
from which a flight of plain deal stairs led to the upper storey. 
Ward put his head through a doorway on the left and told 
someone to prepare tea, and then motioned his guest to enter 
the room opposite. Christopher did so, and almost gave 
vent to an exclamation of surprise so different was the furnish- 
ing of the room from what the exterior of the cottage would 
lead one to expect. As for the room itself it was similar to 
all of its kind : with two small windows looking out into the 
shrubbery in front of the house, and a big open hearth, 
filled now with golden-flowered furze branches. But the 
furniture was of mahogany ; there were two comfortable 
arm-chairs ; and a cottage-piano stood in a corner. More- 
over the walls on three sides of the room were lined with 
book-cases, and even a hurried glance would show that their 
contents were the collection of a true book-lover. There were 
no pictures in the room save for a coloured reproduction 
of the Sistine Madonna over the mantelpiece and a few 
photographs here and there. 

" Yes. Twenty years. Twenty mortal years," said Ward 
pensively as they sat down. He remained silent a few 
moments meditating. 

Christopher, watching him, allowed his mind to travel 
back to the last occasion on which he had seen him. 
Before his mind's eye passed a vision of an attic in 
London, in which five men, including himself, a boy 
of seventeen, and Ward, a young man of twenty-three, were 
preparing to sit down to a meal. In imagination he felt 



GLENCOOLE 23 

again the tense anticipatory excitement of the moment, for 
these men were going from that meal to certain death. All 
of those present seemed to be in a greater or less degree 
affected by the imminence of the crisis except the leader, 
a quiet determined-looking man with iron-grey hair and 
beard, who appeared to have no care in the world except the 
proper preparation of the supper. As the party was about 
to sit down this man suddenly exclaimed : ' By Jove, we 
haven't enough butter. That won't do at all. A death- 
feast without butter would be unthinkable. . . . Chris, 
like a good fellow run down the street for some butter.' 
And he saw himself leave the room. 

He was roused from his reverie by the voice of his host. 

" You went out to fetch something, didn't you ? " queried 
Ward. 

" Butter," said Christopher with a smile, and added, 
" I had some trouble in getting it, and when I got back I 
found the police-van and a great crowd at the door, and over 
their heads I saw the helmets of the policemen who were 
arresting you." 

" You had a lucky escape. What did you do afterwards ? " 

" I lay in hiding in east-end attics for the best part of a 
year, and then got away to America. I've lived there ever 
since." 

" And what brings you over here now? " 

Christopher looked round the room hastily as if to assure 
himself that nobody could overhear him, and sinking his voice 
replied : 

" You know that the English are going to fight the Boers ? " 

Ward nodded. 

" Well," Christopher went on, " there are a few people 
who'd like to give a helping hand where it's needed." 

Ward suddenly became convulsed with energy. 

" For God's sake, Reilly," he exclaimed, " think what 
you're about. You're going to waste yourself . . . waste 
yourself." 

Christopher was amazed at this outburst, and was about to 
speak when he heard a tap at the door. 

" Come in," said Ward, and a girl entered with a tea-tray, 
which she deposited upon the table. As Ward went to pour 



24 THE WASTED ISLAND 

out the tea a dark shy boy of about ten years of age came into 
the room. 

" Well, laddie, where have you been ? " asked Ward. 

" Over in Glendhu, father," said the boy. 

" This is my son, Stephen, Chris," said Ward. 

Christopher held out his hand which Stephen touched 
hurriedly, immediately afterwards retiring to a distant chair. 

" How did you find me out ? " asked War4Jn the course 
of the meal. 

" I met Magrath in Brunswick St. the other day, and he 
told me." 

" Is he with you in that business ? " 

" Not he. He was always a quitter.' 

They talked on indifferent subjects for a while. All the 
time Stephen sat silent, and Christopher's attempts to draw 
him into conversation extracted only monosyllables or a 
somewhat sheepish smile. Christopher was beginning to 
think the boy stupid and to compare him unfavourably with 
his bright little nephew in Dublin, when in the middle of 
something he was saying he happened to glance in Stephen's 
direction and saw that the boy's eyes were fixed intently 
upon himself as if he were analysing what he was saying. 
Stephen at once looked away, but as long as he remained in 
the room Christopher felt uncomfortably conscious of being 
under constant inspection. 

Tea over the men produced their pipes and adjourned 
to a seat in the garden where they basked in the mellow 
warmth of the afternoon sun. Stephen whistled up a dog 
and went off with him for a walk. After a short silence 
Christopher spoke. 

" I was very surprised by what you said before tea. I 
thought you were unchangeable." 

" So did I once," said Ward grimly. 

" But how much have you changed ? " asked the younger 
man anxiously. 

" Just to this extent : that I see no good in letting a man 
waste his life pursuing the unattainable or serving those who 
don't want to be served/' 

"I'd like to know," said Christopher thoughtfully, " what 
brought a man like you to that frame of mind ? " 

" It's a long story," said Ward. " Have you patience to 



GLENCOOLE 25 

listen to all that has happened to me since since you went 
out for the butter ? " 

" That's what I came for," said Christopher. 



" You know, of course," said Ward, " that Doyle turned 
Queen's evidence. As a matter of fact he had betrayed us 
from the beginning. If ever a man looked honest and trust- 
worthy that man was Doyle. I would have trusted him more 
completely than myself; and I was to have married his sister. 
She trusted him too, the dear girl. The best and bravest 
girl ever born in Ireland, Chris. Well as she knew that her 
brother and her sweetheart were going to certain death she 
made no complaint and never tried to stop us. Well, Doyle 
proved false, and when a man like him is found wanting, 
Chris, it shakes your faith in mankind and makes you ask 
whom can one be sure of ? But Doyle wasn't our only 
disappointment. You'd think that the imagination even of 
a race of slaves would be fired by what we proposed to do. 
England's ministers, the authors of all Ireland's miseries, 
slain in their own stronghold, and the heart of the Empire 
held against her by a handful of determined Irishmen. 
What oppressed people would fail to take new courage and 
new inspiration from such an exploit ? Ireland failed. 
The weaklings joined with their masters in thanksgiving for 
the unmasking of the conspiracy ; the strong man and his 
parliamentary following politely deprecated our folly ; and 
the best that anyone said for us was that we were honest but 
misguided. . . . Misguided ! We were called misguided 
by men who mouthed the name of Robert Emmet on the 
election platforms for a foreign Parliament. 

' Meanwhile we languished in gaol. You've heard that 
Rafter went mad. Superior people remarked that it was no 
wonder as revolutionaries were half mad already. You know 
what nonsense that is. You know what a solid man Rafter 
was : not much of the high-strung fanatic about him. Yet 
their treatment drove him mad. The wonder is that any of 
us remained sane. 

" No better leader ever fought for Ireland than James. 
Milligan. They gave him a life sentence, but in twelve years 



26 THE WASTED ISLAND 

they had killed him. He lies in a nameless grave in Portland 
Prison and Ireland has forgotten him. ... As for me, I 
was young and they let me off with seven years. Seven 
years of hell they were. They didn't think it enough to take 
my freedom from me and rob me of the sight of the sky and 
the trees and the grass, but they made the ten square feet of 
ground they gave me as uncomfortable as the inventions of 
petty spiteful minds could make it. I had only one window 
and it was so small and so far from the floor that the sun 
never reached me. Just one little bar of sunlight used to 
shine high up on the opposite wall for half an hour of the day. 
I used to wait for it and watch it all the time it was there, 
and if that hour was cloudy then my whole day was black. 
... I had only a stool to sit on and it was clamped in the 
centre of the cell, so that if I wanted to rest my back I had to 
sit on the floor leaning against the wall. And my little table 
was also clamped down at such a distance from the stool 
that I had no comfort in eating my food. 

" They talk of the rack and the scavenger's daughter of 
Elizabethan days. Well, modern England is civilised and 
her tortures are more refined. 

" They wouldn't even let me sleep. On the pretext of 
making sure that I hadn't escaped (as if I could escape through 
a window ten feet up and fifteen inches square with two thick 
bars to it, and the door locked and bolted) they flashed 
a light through the spy hole every hour. They flashed it 
on my face deliberately to wake me, and soon I came by 
force of habit to wake beforehand in expectation of it. 

" Do you wonder Patsy Rafter went mad ? 

" They took seven years out of my life that way. Took 
my youth clean away from me so that it was worse than if it 
had never been. I went into that cell a young man of twenty 
three and I left it at thirty, tottering and half crazed. 

" How I love the sunshine ! It's the greatest gift of God to 
man, and well do they know it who send their fellow creatures 
to gaol. When I got my release I wanted to leave cities behind 
and begin a new life out in the open where the sun could 
shine on me and the breezes blow through and through me 
and bring me new strength. 

" And I wanted sympathy. When for seven years you've 
heard nothing but sharp commands shouted at you, you want 



GLENCOOLE 27 

kindness, you want to be praised and made much of. And 
then it was for Ireland I had suffered, and I had lived for the 
day when Ireland should tell me I had deserved well of her. 
But Ireland had forgotten me. The old spirit had passed 
away and save for a few faithful souls men looked upon me 
as an ordinary criminal. 

" But Mary remembered. She had waited for me all 
those years, and at the end of them, knowing what I would 
like, she got me this cottage and filled it with my books and 
brought me here from the gaol gate. 

" And now I could have been happy but for the spiteful 
minds of men. Minds that are too small to take in anything 
else, take in suspicion with a wonderful facility. When 
I married the sister of Doyle the traitor, men looked at one 
another knowingly. Insinuating talk was in the air. Some 
people suggested that my short sentence was a sign that I 
had given information ; others that my imprisonment was 
not genuine. 

" Strange that the one name remembered out of all who 
took part in our enterprise should be the traitor's. 

" But the suspicions of men mattered little to me. Why 
should I mind the glances of village gossips when the sun 
shone upon me ? No. I care nothing for what men think ; 
but serve them again ? Never. 

" And then, as if I had not suffered enough, my Mary was 
taken from me when Stephen was born. No man could 
have had a better wife, and no cross word ever passed between 
us. She was too good for this world altogether but there 
was no one to follow her coffin but myself." 

Michael Ward paused, gazing vacantly in front of him. 
The accumulated misery of twenty years was working upon 
his soul. As for Christopher, he remained silent. There 
was no comment to make upon this record of a broken life. 

After a time Ward by an almost visible effort of the will, 
cast his brooding memories aside and turned to his companion. 

" Can't you understand me now ? " he said. " Can you 
free a slave who uses his very chains as a weapon against his 
liberator ? " 

Christopher hesitated before replying, and when he spoke 
his words came haltingly. It was as if he weighed each 
before he let it fall. 



28 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" After such a story as yours," he said, " one like me, who 
has suffered nothing, must feel that any opinion he offers 
must to a certain extent contain some element of impertin- 
ence. But what I think is this. Your sufferings might be 
ten times worse than you have said, and men ten times more 
unjust, ungrateful and small-minded than you have found 
them to be, and yet there still remains Ireland." 

He reddened slightly as he said this, for he was not given 
to voicing primal things. The words seemed to touch some 
responsive chord in the older man's soul, for he looked up 
suddenly with a strange light in his eye. But this was only 
momentary. His head drooped again and he said : 

" You're young and vigorous. I'm old and broken : 
old and broken at forty three." Then, almost beseechingly 
" Leave me to my trees and sunshine. I'm tired." 

Christopher was reminded of Mangan's lines : 

And lives he still then ? Yes old and hoary. 
At thirty nine from despair and woe. 

and felt that this wreck of a man, clinging so desperately to 
what was left of the youth within him was too pathetic a 
creature to argue with. 

Suddenly Ward sprang to his feet. 

" But this is a melancholy reception to give you," he said, 
" after twenty year's separation. Let's take a stroll down the 
glen." 

Christopher looked at his watch and said : 

" I'm afraid it's nearly time for me to be off. I've a long 
ride before me." 

" Nonsense. You'll stay the night surely ? " 

After some persuasion Christopher agreed, and they set out 
for the gap at the far end of the glen. Here they left the road and 
ascended the tree-clad hillside, treading a carpet of pine-needles. 

" One of our few surviving woods," said Ward. " Ireland 
is being steadily stripped of her trees by the short sighted 
greed of her land owners. I come here every day to enjoy 
the sight of them so long as they are left to me. Already a 
little wood beyond the hill there has been cut down and I 
can't bear to look at the spot." 

There was sorrow and anger in his voice. They had paused 
in their climb to take breath. 



GLENCOOLE 29 

" All over the country this wholesale destruction cf 
irreplaceable beauty goes on," continued Ward. "And 
because some damned young fool of a land owner is drinking 
and whoring in London these trees here that I've known 
and loved for years will soon be taken to pay for his pleasures. 
. . . Well, let us enjoy them while they last. Aren't they 
magnificent ? " 

" In America," said Christopher, " they call them sunshine- 
stoppers and regard them merely as potential telegraph 
poles." 

They resumed the ascent and emerging from the belt of 
trees reached the top of the hill. A magnificent panorama 
spread itself before them. Across the valley were the gently 
curved Three Rock and Two Rock Mountains, bare and 
barren, with little woods in the valleys beneath. To the 
south the Sugar Loaf, threatening and volcanic-looking, 
domineered over his little brother. Away to the left Bray 
Head sloped to the sea. 

" Such a compact little country ! " said Christopher, 
mentally comparing it with the great sprawling bulk of 
America. 

" I find it sufficient," said Ward. " I haven't travelled 
more than a couple of miles beyond the glen since Mary died." 

Skirting the edge of the wood they descended to the valley. 
As they neared the house they overtook Stephen and the dog. 
Ward slapped the boy heartily on the back, asking had he had 
a good walk, to which Stephen merely answered ' Yes,' and 
taking his father's arm accompanied the men home in silence. 



During supper Christopher, under Ward's questioning, 
talked of America and of his life there, and when Christopher 
endeavoured to shift the conversation to Ireland, Ward 
skilfully fenced him off and reverted to the original topic. 
All the time young Stephen sat silent, listening intently, 
and, so Christopher fancied, taking in as much of what was 
unsaid as of what was said. After supper Ward put a match 
to a pile of wood which had been substituted for the furze 
boughs on the hearth. 

" Curious primeval instinct, isn't it ? " he remarked. 



3 o THE WASTED ISLAND 

" It's a fine warm night, but without a fire we always feel 
something lacking." 

" Another of the things they deprive you of in gaol," he 
was reflecting. 

The men lit their pipes and drew their chairs up to the 
cheerful blaze. 

" Go and get your Horace, Stephen," said Ward, and the 
boy left the room. 

" He's young to have got to Horace," remarked 
Christopher. 

" Eleven. Well, yes. I was only doing Caesar myself 
at that age, but then that was at school. I teach Stephen 
myself." 

Stephen returned carrying a slim copy of the Third Book of 
Odes and stood beside his father's chair. 

" Where are we now ? " asked Ward. 

" First half of Ode Two." 

" Read it out then. You won't mind ? " he added looking 
apologetically at Christopher who shook his head. 

Stephen began to read the ode beginning : " Angustam 
amice pauperiem pati." He then translated the first three 
stanzas into very fair English, and began on the fourth. 

" Duke et decorum esi pro patria mori," he read. ' It 
is sweet and proper to die for one's country.' Is it ? " he 
asked, looking up. 

" That's only one of Horace's attempts at nobility," said 
Ward. 

" Then he must have thought other people would think it 
noble," said Stephen. 

" Not necessarily," said Ward. 

Stephen looked hard at his father for a moment, seemed to 
realise that he shirked being questioned, and picked up the 
translation where he had left off. 

Stephen went early to bed, and after his departure 
Christopher said : 

" That boy has brains." 

"So I think," replied Ward. "But he's a queer lad 
altogether. You've noticed how seldom he speaks. That's 
not shyness. He's always like that. And yet he's not mopy. 
He spends most of his time out ratting or rabbiting with his 
aog, and he's as healthy as can be." 



GLENCOOLE 31 

" Does he read much ? " 

" Next to nothing. To my knowledge he's only read one 
book in his life, and he hasn't finished that one yet. It's 
a big history of France, and he's been working his way slowly 
through it for the best part of a year. It seems to me that 
though he has plenty of brains they work very slowly and 
methodically but when they once get hold of a thing they 
never let it go again. When I give him new information on any 
subject he doesn't make any remark : just looks hard at me 
and then goes away to let" it sink in. Yes. He's a queer 
lad." 

" Yesterday," said Christopher, " I was entertaining a 
little boy who is his opposite in every way. He's a nephew 
of mine and my godson, and he's all chatter and questions, 
questions that take some answering too. And though he's 
only eight he's a tremendous reader. Your boy is luckier 
than Bernard, though. He has room for full development 
up here, but my nephew will have to shake his active little 
mind free from shackles and hammer it against walls if it 
is to grow at all. His father's a narrowminded irreligious 
bigot and a violent Unionist, and my sister is completely 
under his thumb, so I know the kind of up-bringing he'll 
get. They'll train his mind to run in a groove, and a damned 
twisty groove it will be, dodging obstacles and downhill 
all the way. They'll try to prevent him thinking too much 
and fix his attention on the accepted. They'll teach him 
that things as they are are all for the best ; that it is unwise 
to probe too deep into ideas which it would be dangerous 
to follow to their logical conclusion ; and that the connection 
with England is part of the established order of the universe. 
' Eat, shirk, and be respectable, for to-morrow you may be 
knighted,' is the motto they'll set him, and if he's the boy I 
take him for he'll be struggling most of his youth with the fog 
they'll raise round him, like Peer Gynt with the Boig. If 
I could only he near I'd be some help to him but God knows 
what this war may bring." 

" So you fully intend to throw your life away for a people 
who are only a name to you ? " 

" No. I fight against England. Those I fight with 
don't matter a damn, though for that matter they've as good 
a cause as England ever fought against," 



32 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" Well, it's no business of mine. But I hate to see life 
wasted." 

" So does any man. It all turns on what you mean by 
waste." 

" Any life given for this island of * bellowing slaves and 
genteel dastards * is wasted. And I tell you this, I'm not 
going to let Stephen waste himself for such a people. You're 
afraid that your little nephew may drift into one kind of 
slavery and you'd like to hurry him into another. My 
Stephen shall be slave to nothing. Written or spoken word 
about this island of fools and traitors he has never seen or 
heard, and never shall so long as I can prevent it." 

" Then he becomes a slave to you and to ignorance.' 

Ward was momentarily taken aback. He fumbled for 
words for a minute and then stammered out : 

" I don't want him to suffer as I did." 

" Not even of his free choice ? " 

" There's no free choice," Ward almost shouted in his 
excitement. " This damnable old island gets her spell on 
you and you're no longer your own master. Well I know it, 
and so do you." 

" Methaphysical rubbish," said Christopher coolly. "Eye- 
wash, my friend. The will to do what one considers one's 
duty comes from oneself. There's no Granuailing about it. 
And as for you, if you jail your boy's mind you'll go one 
worse than those who jailed your body . . . 

" My God ! " he exclaimed suddenly, " are children's 
minds always to be at the mercy of the fools who beget them ?" 

" You have no son, Reilly," said Ward. 

" Which remark, though tragic, is quite off the point," 
replied the other. 

He put his pipe in his pocket and lit a cigarette. Ward 
refilled his pip< and for quarter of an hour they smoked in 
silence. Ward was thinking hard, and the younger man, 
watching him intently, seemed to follow his meditations. 

" Besides," he said at length, " you can't keep him ignorant 
for ever. And when knowledge comes he'll be hard on those 
who tried to keep it from him." 

" There's something in that," Ward admitted. He yawned 
heavily. 

11 Let's go to bed," he suggested. 



GLENCOOLE 33 



Next morning after breakfast Ward went off on some farm 
business leaving Christopher in the garden to enjoy the cool 
freshness of the air. Bye and bye Stephen approached and 
without any preliminary asked : 

" Is it a sweet and proper thing to die for your country ? " 

" Yes, and more." 

" Why ?" 

" Well, to answer that I'd have to be sure that you know 
what your country is." 

" I don't." 

" Your country, or your fatherland, (which is a better 
translation for * patria ') is the land where you and your 
fathers were born." 

" Yes. But why is it proper to die for it ? Does it do the 
land any good ? And why should you do the land any good ? " 

" All the children of the same fatherland are in a sense 
brothers, and ior the good of all they must stick together. 
And if anyone attacks them they must unite and help each 
other, and if necessary be ready to die in the fight. So that 
dying for fatherland really means dying for the sake of your 
friends and brothers. You see, the safety of each one depends 
on the safety of them all, and the safety of all depends on 
the readiness of each man to sacrifice his own safety for the 
rest." 

' Then Horace was telling the truth ? " 

" For once. But you needn't mind Horace. He was a 
nasty little beast who only told the truth when it sounded 
clever. And now, to turn to more interesting subjects, 
how's your rabbitting ? '' 

" I was just going to see to some snares I set. Would you 
like to come ? " 

" Sure thing. Lead on and I'll follow." 
They went up the slope behind the cottage, crossing some 
of Ward's fields, and emerged on some waste land which was 
a veritable rabbit warren. They went to each snare in turn, 
Stephen pocketing the prey. Some of the rabbits were still 
living, and these Stephen killed in spite of Christopher's 
appeal to let them go free. 



34 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" I couldn't bear to kill a thing like that," said Christopher. 

" They rob us and they're good to eat," replied Stephen 
in matter-of-fact tones. 

" I know. I might reason that way myself, but their screams 
and the look in their eyes would be too much for me." 

" You wouldn't bother much about the look in their eyes 
if you saw them eating your cabbage patch." 

" Dulce et decorum est pro patchia mori," said Christopher, 
and Stephen grinned. 

" Young barbarian," thought Christopher. " Puts his 
head before his heart every time. He'll be a great man 
some day. Wonder will he and Bernard ever meet." 

Stephen having despatched the last of his victims, they 
turned homewards. 

In the early afternoon Christopher got ready to return to 
town. 

" Good-bye, old man," said Ward standing at the gate. 
" Good-bye, and the best of luck." 

" Good-bye," said Christopher, and they shook hands 
warmly. 

" I'll see you to the top of the glen," said Stephen. 

They set off together, Christopher wheeling his bicycle 
and Stephen by his side. They said very little. Christopher 
joked about the size of the bridge and Stephen told him 
disjointed stories about the other people in the valley. At 
length they reached the top of the rise and looked down 
on the city in the distance. 

' I've never been in Dublin," said Stephen. 

' You'll go there soon enough," replied Christopher. 

' Why do you say that ? Won't I like it ?" 

' Glencoole's a better place." 

' It's a lonely place then." 

' There are worse things than loneliness." 

You know better than me. Are you ever coming back 
here again ? " 

" If I have luck," said Christopher. " Good-bye, 
Stephen.' 

" Good-bye.-? 

They shook hands. Christopher mounted his bicycle 
and slid down the road towards the city. 



GLENCOOLE 35 



Michael Ward was profoundly moved by his last talk 
with Christopher. He had been leading a self centred and 
monotonous life for years, a perpetual Achillean sulk which he 
had considered rather fine and which was really an emotional 
luxury. The preservation of his son's ignorance also it 
had pleased him to regard as a heaven-appointed task. Now 
he began to see things in a new light. He saw how much of 
personal pride and selfishness had been in his whole attitude, 
and though he could not bring himself to change his own mode 
of life and thought he began to be ashamed of the restrictions 
he had imposed on Stephen. Pride yields slowly, and this 
self revelation occupied some time. Meanwhile life at 
Glencoole went on much the same as ever save that Ward 
became gradually more communicative on subjects he had 
formerly shirked. 

Ward was very much mistaken when he told Christopher 
that his son's mind worked slowly. The boy's intelligence 
was if anything quicker than the average, but it was a singularly 
cool one. He was gifted with a detachment beyond his 
years, and he never received any information without asking 
himself whether the speaker was telling the truth and, if he 
was, whether his opinion would be of value. This was the 
cause of the long hard look which his father had imagined to 
be a sign of slowness. 

This attitude of perpetual doubt and detachment was only 
a part of the general hardness of Stephen's character. No 
extraneous emotion ever seemed to deter him from anything 
he wanted to do. Christopher had noticed this in connection 
with the rabbit-trapping incident and hastily concluded that 
the boy was callous. But Stephen would as soon have thought 
of killing a song-bird as of sparing a rat. He was pre-eminently 
logical and purposeful. 

His father too found him lacking in affection : unde- 
monstrative he preferred to call it. Stephen's affections 
as a matter of fact were not really shallow, but when the 
dependent filial feeling of youth had begun to wear off he 
had begun to question his father and later on to see through 
him. Blood has strong ties, but as adolescence approached 



36 THE WASTED ISLAND 

he began to wonder why he should love this proud selfish 
irritable old man. The mere fact that he had begotten him 
did not seem sufficient explanation. 

About nine months after Christopher's departure Michael 
Ward quietly unlocked a cupboard underneath one of the 
bookshelves. Some time before Stephen had at last come to 
the end of his History of France and was now well started 
on a History of Ancient Greece, so his father felt that the risk 
of the contents of the cupboard being soon discovered was 
but small. However, one day not long after Stephen suddenly 
said at breakfast : 

" Father, you never told me we'd been conquered by the 
English." 

" It happened a long time ago, Stephen." 

" Well, oughtn't we do something to drive them out ? : 

Stephen was a disconcertingly logical child. 



\ 



CHAPTER III / 



END OF A STORY 



THE Empire was at war . . . 

When England goes to war she is not content like other 
countries to claim that her quarrel is right. It is always for 
Righteousness itself that she fights, so of course her foes must 
naturally be for Evil. The Boers therefore, being enemies 
to the Empire, were found to be dirty uncivilised and un- 
christian and to have no respect for treaties, while their 
leader was revealed as a criminal of the lowest type. To 
conquer such a people and annex the gold and diamond mines 
they were unfit to possess thus became for England a 
Christian duty. 

" That fellow Kruger," said Dr. Lascelles, full of virtuous 
indignation brought on by a character sketch in the Morning 
Post, " ought to be shot." 

England's little colony in Dublin was not to be out-done 
in fervour or fever by its mighty mother. Red-white-and- 
blue bunting flaunted a gaudy farewell to the dust-coloured 
troops when they marched away ; Kipling's songs were 
on every loyal lip ; badges were sported in every loyal button 
hole. Fond mothers dressed their little boys in khaki, 
much to the envy of Bernard, who, forgetful of purple-striped 
shirts and silver-rimmed shields, tormented his mother 
into getting the like for him. But by the time he had got it 
the craze had died out, and finding himself alone and con- 
spicious he soon returned to his sailor suit. Later on his 
father gave him a badge with a photograph of Queen 
Victoria on one side and one of Lord Roberts on the other. 

37 



38 THE WASTED ISLAND 

This he wore in his button-hole for a few days until he met 
Hektor O'Flaherty in Stephen's Green, who, with con- 
temptuous words which greatly puzzled our hero, tore it 
from its place and ground it under his heel. The children 
also inserted a new invocation into their prayers : " God 
bless the Queen and give her victory over her enemies," and 
Bernard used to add under his breath : " And don't let the 
Boers come and kill us." It was a thrilling and exciting time. 

" Why don't we always do these things ? " he asked his 
mother. 

And the wsr went on. 

Bernard used to steal the illustrated papers from his father's 
waiting-room and make tableaux with his lead soldiers after the 
manner of the battle pictures. He feasted full of glory and great 
deeds and longed to be a man and out in the fighting. He 
used to picture himself holding the pass alone like Cuchulain 
against tremendous odds, or slaying Kruger in single combat 
while two armies looked on. He wanted to talk to Uncle 
Christopher about it all, but his godfather had mysteriously 
vanished, and when he asked his mother was he gone to the 
war she only shook her head. 

A year went by and still the war went on. 

Doctor Lascelles was knighted and Bernard wondered 
what dragon he had slain and was very disappointed when he 
donned no shining armour to go out and fight the Boers. 
But the war was forgotten in the excitement of moving to 
the new house on Merrion Square, and exploring the new 
nursery, and making new friends, and playing new games in 
the secluded walks of the Square itself. And Bernard was 
somewhat compensated for the loss of Hektor O'Flaherty 
by his own attainment of an analogous position among his 
new associates. 



When Bernard was ten years of age he made his First 
Communion. 

His early religious training had been the work of his mother. 
She was what is generally called a good pious Catholic : that is 
to say she went to Mass frequently, fasted on Fridays, had 



END OF A STORY 39 

numerous 'devotions' and superstitions, had no code of ethics, 
and was totally ignorant of the philosophy of the Catholic 
religion. Destitute as she was of reason and knowledge she 
nevertheless considered it her maternal duty to instruct her 
son in the fundamentals of both. If her v/atch had gone 
out of order she would not have dreamt of meddling with its 
mechanism herself, yet she felt in no way incapable of 
revealing infinity to the subtle and complicated mind of a 
child. So when Bernard was very young she took him on 
her knee and told him pretty stories about angels, and good 
little children who went to heaven, and bad big children 
who went to hell. She told him that if he was good he would 
sit on a jewelled throne in heaven wearing a crown and a 
pair of O such lovely wings (which last was what most appealed 
to Bernard in the prospect), and that if he was bad he would 
be burnt to ashes with the devils in hell. Later on she 
taught him his cathechism and was annoyed to find that 
Bernard was more interested in finding out the meanings of 
the long words than in the doctrines they expressed. 

Then he was sent to a preparatory school where the good 
nuns (as they love to be called) prepared him for his first 
confession in much the same ignorant way as his mother had 
employed. He was eight years of age when he first presented 
his soul to be cleansed of its iniquities and after that he was 
compelled to repeat the process monthly. Frequently he 
was so ashamed of his cleanliness as to invent sins, and once 
he even went so far as to accuse himself of Lust, not knowing 
in the least what it meant, but because it was a new sin. and 
a deadly one. 

And now came the first Communion Day. ' The greatest 
day of your life/ he was told, * and the happiest/ He 
bent his head and joined his hands as reverently as any, and 
his mother thought he looked a little cherub in his white 
sailor suit. Afterwards there was a magnificent breakfast, 
and the good nuns went about saying pious things to the 
First Communicants and presenting them with what are 
called Holy Pictures. And towards the end of the day 
Bernard dismayed his mother by saying in a disappointed 
tone : 

" Mother, when is the happiness going to begin ? 

" Aren't you happy now, darling ? " she remonstrated. 



40 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" O I'm all right but nothing extra." 

" O Bernard ! what a thing to say ! " 

" Well, it's true." 

His mother sighed. He was no longer the innocent 
thoughtless boy she would have liked him to remain. She 
had noticed his growing roughness and impatience of caresses, 
and as his golden curls darkened into brown and his chubby 
cheeks lengthened she felt that he was becoming more and 
more independent of her. She almost resented his growth 
to boyhood, and indeed wished him still an infant. She 
remembered the days when he came with all his questions to 
her as to the fount of wisdom and knowledge ; when her 
answers were taken for granted without hesitation or demur. 
Now it was always to his father that he went, or to a book, 
and she began to regret the * Don't bother me ; I'm busy ' 
with which she had too frequently fended off his inquiries. 



The war still went on. 

And one day Bernard came upon his mother in tears 
with an open letter in her lap. He asked her what was wrong, 
and she put her arms round him and told him that Uncle 
Chris had been killed in the war, and the two of them wept 
together for a little while. Then Bernard went away to think 
of Uncle Chris by himself, and he fancied him fighting his 
last fight like Cuchulain, driving his chariot through the hosts 
of the enemy till they overwhelmed him. 

That night he slept with Cuchulain of Muirthemne against 
his cheek, and his father going up to the nursery saw it and 
took it downstairs to read. Perceiving it to be a dangerous 
book he put it away on a shelf in the dark. 



It was through Mrs. Harvey, wife of Dr. Harvey the 
fashionable oculist, and an old school friend of Lady 
Lascelles, that the news leaked out that Sir Eugene's brother- 
in-law had been killed fighting for the Boers. The young 
man was unknown in Dublin and the plausible physician 
might have glossed things over but for this woman's meddling 



END OF A STORY 41 

tongue. Where she learned the truth is not known, but 
once it was in her possession she was as anxious as Midas' 
barber to spread it abroad, and her weekly at-home gave her 
the opportunity. 

" Isn't it sad about poor Lady Lascelles' brother ? " said 
her first visitor, Mrs. Moffat. 

" Doubly sad, isn't it ? " replied the hostess, significantly 
enigmatic. 

" Why doubly ? " inquired Mrs. Moffat. 
" O, don't you know ? . . . Well, perhaps I'd better say 
nothing about it." This was Mrs. Harvey's usual pre- 
liminary to telling everything. 

" But I wouldn't let it go any further," said Mrs. Harvey 
after the revelation. " Don't you think I'm right ? " 
" Perfectly right," said Mrs. Moffat. 
But to make quite sure that she was right to keep the matter 
secret each guest in turn had to be told the story and her 
advice on the point requested, and one and all were agreed 
that it should go no further. 

When the truth came out in Merrion Square it caused quite 
a flutter in that tranquil dovecot. Mrs. Gunby Rourke 
openly proclaimed her intention of cutting Lady Lascelles 
on the first opportunity and actually did so, but the general 
feeling was one of sympathy for the sorrow and disgrace 
that had befallen an unquestionably loyal family, and con- 
dolences in very guarded phraseology began to trickle in. 
Mrs. Harvey's were among the first : eight pages of conven- 
tional consolations and religious tags. 

" / know, dear Alice," she wrote, " that your grief is greater 
than that of others who have lost their dear ones^ for your sorrow 
for his death is increased by the knowledge that he fought for the 
enemy. I pray that God may give you grace to bear this doubly 
bitter trial" and a great deal more in the same strain. 

" Damned hard lines on Lascelles, this news about his 
brother-in-law," said old Colonel Delamere in the Kildare 
Street Club. 

"Damned hard to know what to do in a case like this. 
One can't feel sorry when a traitor meets his deserts, but one 
can hardly be unfriendly to people one knows. I suppose 
I'd better leave my card." 
And he did. 



42 THE WASTED ISLAND 

Mrs. Heuston Harrington, who was intellectual and very 
superior to the little island in which she deigned to live, 
remarked : 

" Fancy an intelligent man bothering like that over ancient 
grievances ! I can't understand how a man with big interests 
in a great country like America should worry his head over 
a silly little place like this." 

Mrs. Heuston Harrington did not leave her card, but that 
was because she was too intellectual to possess such con- 
ventional things. 

Among all the denizens of the Square not one was to be 
found who would say that a brave man had died for the cause 
he believed to be right. For among them it is not considered 
the thing to die for a cause that is not ' respectable/ 



The death of his god-father wrought a great change in 
Bernard. Deprived of his one confidant he turned in on 
himself more and more, reading and dreaming instead of 
playing with his brothers and sisters. Wearied of the limita- 
tions of toy states and toy wars he sought solider things in 
the wars and politics of English History, which he read 
right through from the Roman Invasion to the accession of 
George the First, where it became too complicated for his 
understanding. Historical stories like those of G. A. Henty 
also attracted him and a little book called " Stories from 
Roman History " set him hunting among his father's books 
for a full history which when found he read from Anno Urbis 
Conditae to the Battle of Actium. The Empire somehow 
failed to attract him. 

Then he got dissatisfied with the ways of real history, 
where the countries and people he favoured nearly always 
came off worst, and must needs construct an imaginary 
history free from those blemishes in his own head. He 
invented an island and divided it up into a number of states 
each with its own laws and customs. One of these it 
was a small state on the north-east coast was his favourite 
and he made it the hero of his political drama. It was 
inhabited by a brave and enlightened people who made up 
in quality what they lacked in numbers. In the south-west 






END OF A STORY 43 

was the largest and most powerful state inhabited by a bully- 
ing and treacherous population. This was the villain state 
and between it and the hero state was a deadly feud. As they 
were separated by neutrals the wars which perpetually broke 
out between them were of necessity preceded by diplomacy 
and the making of alliances. Interests and principles pulled 
the different states in varying directions and were responsible 
for ever-changing enmities and friendships If Bernard 
could possibly manage to keep control over events the weaker 
and better cause always won, but a train of events once started 
he frequently found it impossible in the interests of 
verisimilitude to thwart the unfavourable course of fate, and 
then the triumph of might over right made of his ,siand 
another Europe. 

Into this imaginary continent Bernard would frequently 
retire, building up a history of war and mtngue sometimes for 
hours at a time, while those who observed him thought he 
was merely absent minded. This occupation lasted well 
on into his school days, but as he grew older the character 
of his imagination changed. His mind became less political 
and more constructive. He thought less of warfare and more 
of building and law-making. He envisaged beautiful cities, 
pleasant villages, roads, bridges, harbours and fortifications. 
Formerly he had drawn for himself maps, physical and 
political, of his island, colouring the different states as in a 
map of Europe. Now he took to making plans of cities 
and harbours, and even elaborated an imaginary census. 
These documents he drew up in moments of privacy ; he 
would have died sooner than let anybody see them. 

But before he had reached this stage a notable event 
occurred. A History of France came into his hands, and the 
tale of the French Revolution made him at eleven years of 
age a red republican. Hitherto his affections had been 
generally given to peoples rather than to causes. He backed 
the Yorkists against the Lancastrians, the Carthaginians 
against the Romans, because for no discoverable reason he 
liked them better. Patriotism itself meant nothing to him, 
for love of Ireland, that fruitful mother of rebels, could find 
no place in his father's teaching, and a way has not yet been 
found to inculcate love of the United Kingdom. An inde- 
finable pride in Britain's glory was all Bernard possessed as 
D 



44 THE WASTED ISLAND 

a substitute for the basis of citizenship. . . . But now he 
had obtained a creed, and by degrees it became a passion. 
The very name of king soon came to affect him as it had affected 
the ancient Romans. Back to English history he went with 
his new view point : no more partisanship for this apostle of 
an idea. Gone his championship of York against Lancaster : 
it was but a petty dynastic squabble in the eyes of thfs young 
republican. Gone his enthusiasm for the Cavaliers : all 
his favour was transferred to their opponents, and the star 
of Prince Rupert paled before the sun of Hampden. His 
imaginary island shared in the general revolution, and his 
hero state became a republic of extraordinary virtue in 
desperate contention with the villain state, now a bigoted 
upholder of the ancien regime. 

His father knew nothing of all this mental activity, and it 
was just as well that he did not, for the truth would have 
frightened and annoyed him. He would indeed have been 
rather ashamed of his son's precocity, of his imagination, 
of his pre-occupation with ideas ; all of which conflicted 
with his own conception of what a boy should be, and was 
associated in his mind with queer-mannered undesirable 
people with strange collars and long hair. 

(And as for you madam, you are quite right in saying that 
you would not have liked Bernard at all at this age. So 
different from other little boys, isn't he ? He thinks far 
too much, which isn't right in one so young, and he's apt to 
go into the moon when you are amiably questioning him about 
school and other things that ought to interest a little boy. 
How much nicer Eugene is : so quaint and thoughtless. 
He lets you pat him on the head too, and when you kissed 
him he did not shrink from your lips as Bernard did. And 
Eugene is quite ready to chatter with you and flatter your age 
and wisdom by his own childishness, whereas Bernard is 
obviously impatient to return to that book he was reading 
when you interrupted him. . . . Yes, of course, it's this 
reading that does it. He reads far more than is good for so 
young a child. Gives them ideas, doesn't it. ... Yes, 
madam, you are quite right. You would not have liked 
Bernard at all.) 



END OF A STORY 45 



It remains to be recorded how the news of Christopher 
Reilly's death was received at Glencoole. It came in a letter 
from a comrade in arms who had been beside him when he 
died and heard his last words. Michael Ward read it in the 
porch of his cottage on a grey morning in April. 
" My God ! " he groaned. " What waste ! " 
Entering the sitting room he found Stephen lying on the 
floor engrossed in a huge volume. The mysterious cupbdard 
was open, and the book was the History of the Four Masters. 



CHAPTER IV 
YOUNG ENGLAND 



SIR EUGENE LASCELLES gave some fatherly advice to his son 
on the eve of his departure for school. 

" Don't push yourself forward too much at first," he said. 
" And don't try to be too clever. If the boys question you, 
answer them straight, unless it's about your sisters, in which 
case I leave it to your own wit to find a way out. Don't be 
too friendly with masters or you'll get a bad name among the 
boys. Try and make friends with decent gentlemanly fellows. 
Never funk anybody, but don't do any more fighting than 
you can help ; I believe it's out of date at Public Schools 
nowadays. I needn't tell you never to do anything dis- 
honourable, because you're my son. Good-bye, my boy, 
and God bless you." 

" A good sound manly talk," thought Sir Eugene, " and 
no nonsense about it." 

A cab was at the door bearing Bernard's luggage. He said 
good-bye to Eugene, who was still at a preparatory school, 
and to Sandy who was too young to go to school at all. Then 
he kissed Alice and^the baby and entered the cab with his 
mother. 

" I've asked Mrs. MacBride to ask her boy to look after 
you," said Lady Lascelles as they drew near to Kingstown. 
" So you'll have one friend to start with." 

Bernard mumbled something. He '' dared not speak, 
being on the verge of tears. He nearly broke down as she 
kissed him good-bye on the deck of the steamer. 

" Good-by, darling." 

46 



YOUNG ENGLAND 47 

A bell clanged and there was a cry of * All for the shore.' 
After a last kiss Lady Lascelles went down the gangway. 
With tear-dimmed eyes Bernard watched her as they cast the 
vessel off. The pier seemed to glide away. He waved his 
handkerchief in reply to hers until it had become a fluttering 
white speck indistinguishable among a multitude of others. 

Then he looked around for MacBride, but that youth was 
too much occupied with his own friends to trouble himself 
about ' a kid my mater asked me to look after.' So he 
made the journey alone, miserable, and sea-sick. 



He stood in the vast play ground of Ashbury College, a 
forlorn little figure, very shy, very unhappy, and very cold. 
His hands were thrust deep into his breeches' pockets, partly 
to keep them warm and partly because he did not know what 
else to do with them. Also, jingling his money gave him some 
employment. 

Interminable hour ! He was too shy to stand still : too 
shy to walk about. He shifted his weight from one foot to 
another. He took out his watch and replaced it without 
observing the time. He studied the pattern of the railings 
Looking out through them he felt like a caged animal in a 
zoo. There were cows outside who looked at him stolidly 
like spectators. 

He turned back to view the stene in the play-ground. 
Some of the boys were playing football ; others were strolling 
about conversing. No one noticed the new boy. 

Just then a chattering group passed by and suddenly 
turned upon him He seemed to be surrounded by gigantic 
figures. 

" Hello, new fellow. What's your name ? " 

" How old are you ? " 

" Where do you come from ? " 

" What's your father ? " 

" What class are you in ? " 

Bernard answered as politely as he knew how. 

" God ! You must be an awful stewpot to be put into 
Rudiments at twelve," said one boy after Bernard's reply 
to the last question. 



48 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" Awful cheek of a new kid to be put above you, Sexton," 
said another : whereat all burst out laughing at Sexton and 
took themselves off, much to Bernard's relief. 

Soon afterwards a whistle sounded and the boy? streamed 
indoors. Amid the prevailing chatter Bernard changed his 
boots in silence and made his way to the washroom. In the 
lobby outside a big Higher Line boy beckoned to him. 

" Here kid ! " he said. 

Bernard approached bashfully. His summoner was a 
greasy looking person with a nasty mouth whose isolated 
teeth resembled lichenous tombstones in a neglected grave- 
yard. He put a flabby hand on Bernard's shoulder, looking 
at him in a queer way that puzzled and rather frightened him. 

" Be my tart/' he said in an eager rasping voice. 

Bernard had no idea of his meaning, but the fellow's touch 
sent a virginal shudder through his frame and wrenching 
himself free he fled into the washroom. Like a hunted 
animal he crept along the galleries to his class, glancing 
around in every direction in a fearful search for the boy 
with the nasty mouth. All through class he sat wondering 
at his fear, puzzling after the big fellow's meaning and think- 
ing what a horrible mouth he had. 

This, Bernard's third day at the school, was a half-holiday, 
but the ground was too bad for football owing to the heavy 
rain of the previous day. Accordingly the school went for 
walks in its customary way. class by class, each accompanied 
by its master. Bernard was the only new boy in his class 
and was glumly anticipating the prospect of being left to 
himself among the crowd when he was hailed by a cheery 
voice. 

" Hullo, new fellow ! Have you no one to walk with ? " 

The speaker's pleasant smile broke sun-like through 
Bernard's cloudy cogitations. Bernard had heard his name 
Jack Willoughby. 

" You can come with me if you like," said Willoughby, 
without waiting for an answer to his question. 

" It's awfully decent of you," stammered Bernard. 

" Don't mention it," said Willoughby lightly. " Murray, 
who I usually go with, has a cold. Let's come on." 

The class, numbering some two dozen boys, passed out 
of the gates and took the road to the hills. It was a soft 



YOUNG ENGLAND 49 

autumn afternoon and the air was fresh and sweet from 
the recent rain. Through ragged gaps in the clouds the 
sun glittered down on puddles in the road. The elms were 
already stripped of their leaves but the beeches were still 
respl ndent in golden brown. The atmosphere was faintly 
perfumed with the scent of fallen leaves. 

" I like the feel of the air after rain," said Bernard con- 
versationally. 

" By Jove, yes, it is decent," replied Willoughby in the tone 
of one to whom a revelation had been imparted. "I'd never 
noticed that before. . . . Are you any use at footer ? " 

" Well, I've played" said Bernard deprecatingly, and added, 
" at a preparatory school, you know." 

" I must keep an eye on you. You look like a good runner, 
but you need weight." 

" I generally won the hundred at my last school," said 
Bernard, " but I'm not much at the half mile." 

They were now ascending a stiff incline and were silent for 
a moment. Bernard was the first to speak. 

- ; I say," he blurted out. " What's a tart ? " 

Willoughby looked at him blankly. 

" Why do you ask that ? " he said. 

Bernard related the morning's episode. 

" That must have been Musgrave," said Willoughby after 
Bernard had described his questioner. " He s an awful 
sloppy idiot." 

" Yes. But what did he want ? " 

Willoughby's explanation came as a horrible and discon- 
certing surprise. Musgrave's nasty mouth recurred to 
Bernard's memory. 

" Good lord ! " he said. " There are things in life I'd 
never dreamt of." 

" Nothing to wonder at in that, Methuselah," said 
Willoughby, whereat Bernard laughed. 

" Yes. "That was a queer thing for me to say," he 
admitted. 

" Don't let this turn you against Ashbury, now," said 
Willoughby. " You'll run into a lot of this kind of slop, 
but it's not the fault of the school, only the crowd that's in 
it. My pater says this is a degenerate age. He was here 
you know, and so were my uncles, and so was my grandfather 



50 THE WASTED ISLAND 

It's one of the oldest schools in England, and I hope you'll 
come to "be proud of it and not call it a hole like some of the 
rotters here." 

Bernard looked at Willoughby. His face, usually 
impassive, was lighted up now by enthusiasm. His general 
air of cleanliness and health was very pleasing. Bernard 
already had friendly feelings for him. 

The class came to a halt in a little valley among the hills. 
Someone suggested a game of Prisoner's Base, and sides 
having been rapidly picked, play began. The game went 
smoothly for a time. Then a question arising on some 
knotty point in the rules the absence of an umpire resulted 
in the break up of the game into a medley of arguing groups. 
Bernard, forgetting discretion in his enthusiasm, found himself 
engaged in a heated altercation with the opposing captain. 
Suddenly he was conscious of a hush round about him. His 
was the only voice to be heard. He faltered in the middle of 
a sentence and then came to a stop, his cheeks burning, his 
skin pricking. It was probably one of the most terrible 
moments of his life, but it was mercifully ended by the sudden 
resumption of the argument round about, and he thankfully 
sought oblivion. 

" Are you Irish ? " asked Willoughby on the way home. 

" I suppose I am." 

" Why do you say ' I suppose ' ? " 

" Because it's not a thing that matters much, is it ? " 

" Don't let Mallow hear you say that." 

" Who's Mallow ? " 

" That big heavy-looking chap in front there." 

" Why shouldn't I let him hear me ? " 

" He might cut up rough about it. He's the hell of a rebel 
you know." 

This was all very obscure to Bernard, but he was not 
sufficiently interested to push his inquiries any further. 

When they reached home they found Murray in the 
recreation room. He was a jovial person whose slight Irish 
accent Bernard found very restful to the ear. 

" Another Irishman," said Willoughby. " There's a good 
crowd of your countrymen here you know. Let's go thirds 
in a cake for tea." 



YOUNG ENGLAND 51 

" I've already asked that ass Molloy to join us," said 
Murray. 

" Good lord ! " groaned Willoughby, " what did you do 
that for ? " 

" Couldn't get anyone else who wasn't booked." 

" Anyone worse I suppose you mean." 

" What's wrong with Molloy ? " asked Bernard. 

" He's the biggest ass in the school," replied Willoughby. 
" He's got a notion that it's a great thing to be pally with 
lords and he's always jabbering about the dukes he meets in 
the holidays. He's too much of an ass to know it doesn't 
go down here considering half the chaps in the school are 
related to lords." 

" The other day," put in Murray, " he handed over a 
letter to his brother under my nose. * Interesting that about 
Lord Galway ' says he. He's a blithering ass." 

" Then why on earth did you annex him ? Well, never 
mind. Has he paid up yet ? " 

" No." 

" Then let him go to hell." 

Molloy thus disposed of they went up to the refectory 
together. 

" There's Molloy looking at us," said Murray as they sat 
at tea. " But don't worry. He'll be too proud to butt in 
on us now." 

" Most likely he'll apologise to us later for having for- 
gotten us," said Willoughby. 

Tea over, they adjourned to the recreation room where 
Willoughby and Murray played billiards while Bernard 
marked. 

Molloy approached, smiling apologetically. 

" I say, you chaps," he began, " I'm frightfully sorry " 

" All right, old chap. I forgive you," interrupted Murray. 

" Sure you don't mind ? " 

" Delighted," said Murray. " Anything to oblige." 

And Molloy retired. 

The day wore on ; evening studies ; supper ; recreation ; 
night prayers. It was restful at the end to kneel in the half- 
lit chapel knowing that the long day was done, and looking 
at the Tabernacle to say the little homely prayers he had 
learnt at his mother's knee. Then the official prayers began. 



52 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" Blessed be the holy and undivided Trinity now and for 
ever more," said the mechanical voice of the prefect. 

" Amen," faintly and sleepily from some of the congrega- 
tion. 

" Come O holy Spirit fill the hearts of thy faithful and 
kindle in them the fire of thy love," ran out the meaningless 
unpunctuated monotone. 

For Bernard custom had not yet taken the significance from 
the words. " Do people really mean prayers like this ? " 
he wondered. 

" Enlighten me I beseech thee and give me an humble and 
contrite heart." 

" I don't feel very beseeching," thought Bernard. " Does 
anyone else, I wonder." He looked round at his fellows. 
Their desire for humble and contrite hearts did not seem to 
occasion them much uneasiness. The prayers went on and 
came to an end, and bench by bench beginning with the big 
boys at the top the chapel began to empty. In single file 
they streamed out. Pad pad pad went their feet on the 
parquet flooring, with an occasional squeak of new boots. 

Pad, pad, pad, squeak. Pad, squeak. Pad. 

First the tall Higher Line fellows, young men almost, 
many of them, whom Bernard found it hard to picture sitting 
at school desks. Here and there a small precocious youth 
appeared among them, high-collared and self-conscious. 
Bernard watched their faces as they passed along : ordinary 
faces most of them under every shade of hair. Sunny faces 
and sniggering faces. Heavy brutal faces. Broad good- 
natured faces. Strong mature faces and weak chinless faces. 
One went by with the careless fine-featured kind of face that 
Bernard liked to look at. He had heard someone call to 
another : * I say, Clarence ! ' A good name, Clarence. 
This must be Clarence. (He turned out to be Smithers.) 
A sinister and beastly face. More ordinary faces. Then 
Musgrave's face loomed into sight, and gave a sidelong leer 
at Bernard as it passed. He walked with quick short steps 
hunching his shoulders. What different walks there were. 
Long paces, short paces, quick paces, slow paces. Heavy 
steps, light steps, springy steps. Somebody went by who 
bobbed up and down at each pace. Higher Line tailed 
out into Lower Line, ranging from hulking adolescence to 



YOUNG ENGLAND 53 

graceful boyhood, long-legged, slim-hipped, and large- 
headed like himself. Big anachronisms whose bodies had 
outgrown their brains. Shapeless stunted creatures. Very 
young monkey-like children. His own turn came at last. 

" That's for staring at me, brat," said someone, kicking 
him from behind. It was Clarence, (or rather Smithers). 

Up the stairs and to bed, where he lay awake for an hour or 
more thinking of things : Sexton, Musgrave, Willoughby, 
Clarence. He remembered the game of Prisoner's Base and 
suddenly blushed all over his body. 

" What an ass I must have looked," he thought. " And, 
father told me not to shove myself forward." 

" Why shouldn't I shove myself forward ? " he asked 
himself a little later, and soon after fell asleep. 



A boy's first few weeks at a public school are all mystery 
and confusion. He is like a swimmer tossed helplessly about on 
a stormy sea, thrown hither and thither with no volition of 
his own, and never knowing what is going to happen next. 
After a time however the mystery is dissipated ; what appeared 
to be chaos is recognized as insuperable order ; the bewilder- 
ing herd of boys analyses itself into individuals with names of 
their own ; and life settles down to the monotony of a familiar 
and invariable time table. 

The boys of Bernard's own class were the first to assume 
their individuality. The studious head boy was found to be 
Whits, and the gay and idle second boy (who would have 
been first if he took the trouble to work) was Neville, 
while in the back bench were the heavyweights, Sherring- 
ham, Lashworthy, Roden, and others, who were never expected 
to work, and indeed could not by any known means have been 
made to work, since Nature had so constructed their frames 
that punishment was to them a thing of no account. Between 
these extremes came the centre, ranging from idle competence 
through solid mediocrity down to studious incompetence. 
Here were to be found Mallow the saturnine Irishman ; 
Rumpworth the self-satisfied who worked because his hands 
were soft ; Beaton who was so ashamed of the brains he 
possessed that he was put to endless shifts to avoid learning 



54 THE WASTED ISLAND 

things ; Ledbury the plausible deviser of cribs and excuses ; 
Sedgwick the athlete who worked like a Trojan in the ambi- 
tion to be an all-rounder ; and half a score others, among 
whom may be mentioned Molloy the snob, the friend of Lord 
Galway, and de Valona and Tolmeda the Dagoes. Wil- 
loughby was generally to be found within the first eight 
places, whilst his friend Murray might be first or fifth accord- 
ing as his mood was studious or the reverse. 

With Willoughby, Bernard's acquaintance soon developed 
into friendship. They had not very much in common, but 
for some reason or other they liked each other. These 
things are not easily explainable. Willoughby's friend 
Murray, the mercurial Liverpool Irishman, would have 
seemed a more suitable companion to Bernard, since he too 
was interested in politics ; but Murray was almost entirely 
pre-occupied with Home Rule for Ireland, a subject in which 
Bernard was profoundly ignorant, and in which Murray's 
enthusiastic half-knowledge bored him intensely. 

Games were compulsory at Ashbury, and on the Sunday 
after the walk with Willoughby the whole school turned out 
for football. Bernard being a new boy found himself picked 
in Third Match, an institution which owed its existence to 
the compulsory system. Here congregated all those who out 
of distaste or slackness took no interest in^ football. The 
physically unfit, the corporally clumsy, the intellectual, the 
cricketer, the naturalist, the cyclist, the slacker, all were 
collected together and compelled to spend the afternoon 
making a farce of football. The main object of the players 
was, of course, to play as little football as possible. Accord- 
ingly within ten minutes of the start someone succeeded in 
kicking the ball into the topmost branches of one of the elms 
that bordered the field, where it stuck fast. Quarter of an hour 
was consumed in pretending to try to dislodge it, by which 
time the arrival of a prefect changed the pretence to earnest 
and the game recommenced under the perfect's watchful 
eye. Bernard was very disappointed with these proceedings. 
He rather fancied himself as a forward, having somewhat 
distinguished himself in that capacity fat his preparatory 
school, and he had looked forward to a similar career on the 
larger stage of Ashbury. He now did his best to show off 
some of his skill under the eye of the prefect with the result 



YOUNG ENGLAND 55 

that the latter came up to him afterwards and asked him why 
he was in Third Match. Bernard explained, and the prefect 
went away saying that he would see what he could do about 
getting him promoted. The following /Tuesday and for the 
rest of the term Bernard was picked in second match where 
the game was played properly, and where Bernard so dis- 
tinguished himself that Club Captains began to take notice 
of him with an eye to the club matches played in the following 
term. 

And while Bernard. showed promise of becoming a very fair 
athlete he made an immediate and unmistakeable mark in 
the school room. Lacking the patience and methodical 
mind that makes the scholar he yet had the quickest wits in 
the class, and being also gifted with a comprehensive memory, 
he assimilated knowledge rapidly and retained from a cursory 
reading more than even the more intelligent of his mates 
could master by conscientious memorising. He topped the 
lists at the first half-term examinations, displacing both the 
studious White, who was much the better scholar, and the 
careless Neville, who was the cleverer linguist. To a certain 
extent he felt the hollowness of his triumph, but youth, 
vanity, and gratified ambition will blind any eye to what it 
has no wish to see. 

And Ashbury began to charm him with her beauty and 
stretched out the tentacles of her traditions to enfold him. 
Beautiful she certainly is, and beautiful are her surroundings 
from the wild majesty of her fells to the soft luxuriance of her 
valleys and the trim neatness of her fields. The tawny 
Avon gliding at her feet receives its laughing tributary the 
Dawe under the shadow of her towers, and the sprawling 
waste of the Pennine Range thrusts a finger-like process down 
to her very gates. And as you approach her by the rolling 
avenue lined by noble elms she reveals herself as a grey stone 
mansion old and stately, battlemented and turret-crowned, 
and you cannot help but love her. Then you hear her story 
and her ancient legends ; and old as the school is its home 
is older. You hear how she gave hospitality to Queen 
Elizabeth and Charles I. ; how Cromwell battered her gates 
down ; how Constable painted her ; and how Tennyson 
wrote some beautiful lines under her inspiration. You will 
also hear of the clandestine school kept in the harsh old times 



S 6 THE WASTED ISLAND 

by the good fathers in a neighboring farm house and attended 
by the sons of sturdy Catholic squires, and how when better 
times came Sir James Osterley presented them with Ashbury 
Manor for their habitation. Then come tales of the school 
life of last century, when all was hard Spartan simplicity ; 
when on winter mornings the boys had to break the ice in 
the washing trough and did an hour's work before breakfast ; 
when food was scarce and tough ; when discipline was strict 
and punishments terrible ; when Ashbury played her own 
games, and rough games too, a tax on lungs and limbs ; 
when, in short, the world was a finer place and men a finer 
> race than in these degenerate days. 

Old Ashbury ! Bernard learned to love her with all the 
sudden devotion of youth. Grey walls, bold mountains, 
mingling rivers ; well-sounding names, old customs, oft- 
heard legends ; he loved them all, and when, after the half- 
term results had been read out and the medals distributed, 
the great Hall rang with the melody of the Ashbury song, 
his heart swelled with pride and joy in being part of it all. 
In the emotion of the moments the unpleasant events of earlier 
days were forgotten He was an Ashburian, he told himself, 
and to be an Ashburian seemed then to be all-sufficient. The 
very name of Ashbury was robust and breezy, bluff and 
honest ; typical of all that was best in old England . . . 
Ashbury. . . . The word was satisfying to pronounce. 
Could meanness, beastliness, nastiness be associated with 
such a name ? No, he told himself. Such things were 
only accidental blots, with no deeper roots than the lichen 
on her old giey walls. 

The song came to an end, and abruptly Bernard realised 
that he had not been singing it. 

" Absent minded idiot," said someone, jostling him as he 
made for the door. 



To Ashbury College a boy was a mass of crude metal to 
be fused in the flame of her tradition, cast in the mould of 
her curriculum, and finally exported to Oxford for the finishing 
touches. 

Her duty as she conceived it was to prepare her children's 



YOUNG ENGLAND 57 

souls for heaven and the rest of them for governing the 
British Empire ; to which end she aimed at producing a type 
of character which was a skilful blend of that of St. Aloysius 
with that of Nelson and Squire Brown, and which could 
be recognized at any time and in any corner of the world as 
Old Ashburian. 

The young Briton was prepared for his task of bearing the 
White Man's Burden by stuffing his head full of Latin and 
Greek Syntax and Prosody, and duly impressing upon him 
the importance of Variae Lectiones. If he asked what was 
the use of these dead languages to him he was told that they 
formed the bases of other languages. (But as he never 
learnt any other languages but French, which was taught by 
a ' Froggie ' and treated with a truly British contempt 
which would not condescend even to learn the pronunciation 
correctly, the function of the basis is not very clear.) He 
was also told that Latin and Greek gave him culture, but 
his teachers were so busy impressing on him the correct use 
of the Ablative Absolute and the Iota Subscript that if there 
was anything of beauty in Euripides or wisdom in Plato he 
had to find it out for himself (Which he never did.) 

In his own language he learned by heart large quantities 
of selected lyrics and passages of predigested Shakespeare, 
and carried away a general impression that Tennyson is the 
greatest of all poets. History was a dull tale with England 
as hero, the rest of Europe her vassals, and France the villain 
of the piece. As for geography, he acquired a vague idea 
that there were three or four powerful countries in Europe, 
but Bulgaria, Servia, and Croatia were not even names to 
him ; while he had an intimate knowledge of what parts of 
the British Empire exported indigo or imported jute, even 
though his idea cf what jute is was somewhat vague. A 
little elementary science was thrown in at one stage of his 
training, but it was a half-hearted business, which was but 
natural in a school where the names of the great scientists 
were constantly being held up as examples of unbelief and 
infamy. 

It was fortunate for the victims of this process that so few 
of them had occasion to earn their own livings in after life, 
for it fitted them for nothing better than the running of third 
rate second-hand bookshops on inefficient lines. And as for 



58 THE WASTED ISLAND 

the Empire of which they were tc be the props the result was 
the Battle of Mons. (For the point of which observation the 
reader is invited to consult oome private soldier who fought 
there.) 

Religious training at Ashbury consisted in holding up St. 
Aloysius as a model and Darwin as a devil to a lot of brats 
who had no more intention of following the one than of reading 
the other. And while the virtue of purity was preached 
with almost indecent frequency, truth, charity, humility and 
forgiveness received but cursory mention. But truth to tell, 
Ashbury herself played but a small part in framing the 
characters of her alumni. Far more important was the 
unwritten law, the code built up by generations of boys 
similar in every English Public School to break which was 
ruination. 

The code is difficult to summarise, but when thoroughly 
dissected it is seen to consist mainly in this ; that to differ 
from the herd is the greatest evil, and the best man is he 
who conforms best to type. And what is the type ? The ideal 
public schoolboy of Tom Brown's Schooldays does not exist. 
The typical public school boy may be physically courageous* ; 
morally he is the reverse, as his very type-worship shows. 
He may be honourable in his dealings with his friends ; he 
is nothing of the kind in dealing with those who are not his 
friends. And for the rest he is ignorant, narrow-minded, 
arrogant, foul-mouthed and blasphemous. He has no code 
of ethics, but he is by nature a conservative ever distrustful 
of what is new, firmly believing that what is is best. He is 
not religious, yet he would not dream of professing Atheism 
(which is not * the thing '), but he may bully the weak, 
cheat in exams, blaspheme, or talk filth, and think none the 
worse of himself. 

Ideas he looks upon with suspicion, as sand in the smooth- 
running machinery of the Type. He hears vaguely of such 
things as labour unrest and though he may look up a few 
' points ' on the subject for his speech in the Debating 
Society, he puts it all down to ' discontent ' and ' disloyalty,' 
and worries no more about such unpleasant subjects. Should 
any exceptional boy hold views running counter to those 
generally accepted he comes under the imputation of not being 
a gentleman, the penalty for which is ostentatious ignoring 



YOUNG ENGLAND 59 

or even ragging. At a public school it is better to be immoral 
than a Socialist. 

Another serious crime from the Ashburian view-point is 
poverty. M. Moulin, the assistant French master, was poor. 
It was whispered that he had but one suit of clothes : certainly 
he was never seen in any other. It was accordingly decided 
that the miscreant must be punished, and six valiant Rhetori- 
cians penetrated to his room in his absence, where they burnt 
his books and collars, smashed his pictures, cut up the tyres 
of his bicycle, and poured ink into his chest of drawers. 
If a boy was suspected of falling short of the genera 1 standard 
of wealth, someone would question him publicly about his 
pocket money ; or a visit would be paid to his wardrobe, 
when the screamingly funny information would run through 
the school that so-and-so had but two suits of clothes, or was 
deficient in underclothing. 

Physical deformity was not so much a crime as a source of 
amusement. Poor Stickleback who had a cleft palate heard 
his attempts at speech mimicked at every turn, and Wilson, 
who squinted, was invariably addressed as ' Swivel Eye.' 
It was also a standing joke to say : " Wilson, look here. Oh, 
I forgot. You can't." 

Lowness of origin was yet another failing in Ashburian 
opinion. Business people were considered outsiders, and 
professional men were merely tolerated, the ideal being the 
man who did nothing. Bolton, whose father kept a shop 
in Warrington was made to feel this. He led a lonely 
existence outside the pale of good society, and none would 
speak to him except the good-natured, like Willoughby, 
or the democratic, like Bernard. To hear a group of Ash- 
burians discussing the origins of some of their questionable 
school mates reminded one of a crowd of old maids talking 
scandal over afternoon tea, and wonder whether the manly 
healthy British boy existed outside the imagination of story- 
tellers and Imperialistic journalists. 

The English public school boy is a conservative from the 
cradle to the grave. He is a conservative even at fifteen. 
From the generous political emotions which rise in every 
breast all the world over at the period of adolescence he 
appears to be entirely exempt. He is quite satisfied with 
himself and the world which is his setting, and he does not 
E 



60 THE WASTED ISLAND 

wish to be disturbed. Perhaps it is part of this conser- 
vativism that he objects to enthusiasm of any kind. The 
enthusiast on any subject he considers lather a fool, and bored 
indifference is the fashionable pose. Like all boys he despises 
the brainworker, but he alone prefers blase brilliancy to keen- 
ness and hard training in football and athletics. There is more 
than a suspicion of fear in this contempt, for it is born of a 
hazy notion that enthusiasm is somewhat akin to Restlessness, 
and as everyone knows Restlessness is what the public school- 
man in after life has most to dread. 

Imperialism is inborn in the public school boy. He will 
verbally deny that Might is Right, but he always acts on the 
assumption that it is. The big boy does what he likes ; 
he gets precedence everywhere ; the weak must get out of 
his way ; and no one questions his right to these prerogatives. 
Nay, if he does not take full advantage of his strength the weak 
despise him and do not hesitate to show it. This belief 
in the right of the strong he shows in such crude politics 
as he may give expression to in youth and act upon in later 
life. " Of course it's right to conquer other countries " he 
will tell you. " Nations must expand. It would be a queer 
world if countries couldn't grow and get richer. The idea 
that conquest might be wrong never even enters into his head. 
Well, the child is father to the man, and any Englishman 
will tell you that the public schools have made England what 
she is. 

This much of Ashbury and of all English Public Schools 
for Ashbury is but one of many and an improvement on most 
of them is definite and tangible. It is living; harshly, 
narrowly, viciously living ; but still understandably and 
palpably living. But underneath the turbulent ever-changing 
surface of that life flowed a perpetual poisonous sluggish 
current of nasty sneering thought to which nothing was 
sacred. It was offensive yet indefinable ; all-pervading 
and yet elusive ; and its noxious miasma tainted and vitiated 
the whole atmosphere. Herein is the germ of death which 
is slowly and surely killing the whole system. 

Such was the life sheltered within the fine old walls of 
Ashbury, cloaked by her beauty and bolstered up by self- 
deception, self-contradiction, fine phrases and the glory of 
tradition : a life of great possibility and mean achievement ; 






YOUNG ENGLAND 61 

of plausible aspiration and damnable purpose ; of noble 
pretension and hideous reality. 



Into this topsy-turvey world Bernard stepped full of zest and 
hope. He had h'gh standards of manliness, acquired mainly 
from Tom Browns Schooldays, which he fondly believed 
must hold sway in a great school like Ashbury. Bullying and 
lying weie, he felt sure, offences which would be treated 
with the contempt they deserved and though he felt a little 
disconcerted by Willoughby's casual attitude towards the 
Musgrave episode, yet he told himself that Musgvave must 
after all be an exceptional person. It was not long before 
Bernard disco veied that his high hopes were vain. 

At Ashbury, if a boy is popular he can do nothing wrong, 
if he is unpopular he can do nothing right. If Sugden, the 
dull and boring, were to be found bullying a smaller boy, 
some noble minded hero, or heroes, full of righteous indigna- 
tion would come to the victim's rescue and knock his 
persecutor down ; but Smithers, the popular sport and 
humorist, could kick a small boy out of his way and be told : 
" Quite right. He's a cheeky kid." Hence it was that 
Tomkins and Tracy-Sidbotham, who took an instant dislike 
to Bernard, could bully him with impunity. The cause ot 
this dislike Bernard never found out, and probably they were 
unaware of it themselves ; but so far as it was not causeless 
it must have sprung from a feeling that this boy in his very 
being violated the code. Tomkins and Tracy- Sidbotham 
would not have been accused of this crime by their worst 
enemies. They were, as a matter of fact, typical Ashburians. 
Tomkins was gross and truculent ; Tracy-Sidbotham slender 
and sneering. They were in the class above Bernard's and 
two years his senior in age. Tracy-Sidbotham 's persecution 
was occasional and mainly verbal, except when a retort from 
Bernard called for suppression by violence. Tomkins' 
attacks on the other hand were perpetual, and consisted in 
smacking him on the head with a book or tripping him up 
at every possible opportunity a procedure which infuriated 
Bernard not so much by the pain or annoyance caused him 
as by its utter uselessness. He soon came to hate Tomkins 



62 THE WASTED ISLAND 

with a murderous hate, the one personal hatred of his life. 

One day as Bernard was going along a gallery Tomkins 
came up behind him and for the fiftieth time banged him on 
the head. 

" You bloody fool i " said Bernard, turning on him. Some- 
how his individualism had not saved him from adopting the 
prevailing dialect. 

" You dare give cheek to me ? " demanded Tomkins 
striking him again. 

" You were asking for it, you cursed ass.*' 

This was too much for Tomkins. He seized Bernard's 
arm and twisted it. Thereupon the pent up fury of months 
instantaneously exploded, and Bernard's free fist shot out 
and caught his tormentor under the eye. 

" Fight ! " shouted someone, and an eager crowd gathered 
round. 

There was no story-book hero to interpose and point to 
the inequality of the combatants. Tomkins advanced 
confidently on his victim, who put up his hands weakly in a 
futile effort at defence. His rage was of the fierce short- 
lived type, and without it he had little fighting spirit. 
Tomkins would have pulverised him in a minute but for the 
timely arrival of a prefect. 

" Nix ! " said a voice, and the crowd dispersed, the 
principals mingling therein as inconspicuously as possible. 

Bernard dreaded the vengeance of Tomkins, who, he 
noticed with a certain amount of satisfaction, bore a black 
bruise under his left eye. In this predicament he looked 
about for Willoughby but failed to find him before after- 
noon class. 

" I say," whispered Willoughby, " your ear's bleeding/' 

Bernard mopped it with his handkerchief and gave 
Willoughby a whispered account of what had happened. 

" Tomkins is a bleeding rotter," said Willoughby. " He 
used to be the same to me once. Look here, you stick with 
me and Murray next rec. and we'll see what'li happen." 

" Right oh." 

" Willoughby and Lascelles stop talking and get twelve 
ferulas each." 

Willoughby grinned, but Bernard's heart almost stopped 
beating. It was his first punishment. 



YOUNG ENGLAND 63 

At tea Willoughby told Murray Bernard's story, and Murray 
said : 

" Look here, let's smash him up, the three of us." 

This was agreed, and they descended to the recreation 
room. Bernard had no fear here, for the enemy was in the 
second line, and during the rest of that day by careful scouting 
Bernard kept clear of him. But another ordeal awaited him 
in the evening when he and Willoughby took their places in 
the queue outside the prefect's room waiting for punishment. 
Three big boys and a small boy were there already. The 
prefect came along fumbling for his keys. He opened the 
door, and the first boy followed him inside. Twelve re- 
sounding cracks rang out, and the victim emerged looking 
deliberately careless. The second boy was less stoical, 
blowing upon his swollen fingers as he walked away. The 
third boy imitated the first. It was the small boy's turn next, 
but he hesitated, looking at Willoughby. Imperialism, as 
we have said, is inborn in English boys. The right of might 
is never disputed, and this little fellow assumed that his 
right of priority would count for nothing since he was not 
big enough to defend it. 

" Go on, kid," said Willoughby. " Get it over," and the 
youngster hurried in gratefully 

" Your turn now," said Willoughby, and Bernard entered 
the lion's den. 

" Stiff ? " inquired Willoughby when all was over. 

" Easy as hell," replied Bernard, clenching his teeth with 
pain. 

Next day Tomkins had to be faced. At first recreation 
he strolled up to the three arm in arm with Tracy- Sidbotham. 

" Lascelles," commanded Tomkins, " come here and be 
kicked for your bloody cheek." 

" Go to hell," said Bernard. 

" My God, wait till I get you." 

" Go to blazes out of this, the pair .of you," said Murray 
fiercely. 

" God, these blasted kids are too bloody cheeky for any- 
thing," drawled Tracy-Sidbotham. " Come on Tomkins 
and toe their fundaments'." 

At this point Willoughby took the offensive and kicked 
Tomkins with all his might, and Bernard followed up with a 



64 THE WASTED ISLAND 

punch in the solar plexus. The languid Sidbotham began 
a scuffle for form's sake with Murray, and then the two big 
boys beat a retreat, Tomkins vowing vengenace and Sidbotham 
covering his cowardice with a sneer. 

After this episode Tomkins discreetly ignored Bernard. 

" I don't care what you say, Willoughby," remarked 
Bernard, " what with Musgrave and Tomkins and Tracy- 
Sidbotham, this place is the hell of a hole." 

None the less school life still held many pleasures. At 
the half-term examinations Bernard retained his medal, 
and the club-matches which commenced during this term 
opened up new interests. The club- matches are Ashbury's sub- 
stitute for the House matches of other public schools. In 
each of the three Lines into which the whole school of four 
hundred boys is divided a shield is offered for competition 
between clubs picked by six prominent players. The clubs 
average about twenty-five members each, including every 
type from members of the Line Eleven to Third Match 
men and medical dispensationers, from among whom the 
captain selects his team. Bernard was picked by Sedgwick, 
whose club was admittedly a favourite for the shield, including 
as it did two Third Line Eleven men, Willoughby and 
Lumsden, several First Match men, and some of the cream of 
Second Match. Before selecting his team Sedgwick instituted 
a Possibles v. Probables match between the members of the 
club. Bernard played right half-back for the Possibles, 
but failed to distinguish himself, his light weight making 
him no obstacle to the opposing left outside. After the 
match however Sedgwick came up to him and said : 

"I'm going to put you on the team." 

" Afraid I wasn't much use to-day," said Bernard. 

" You hadn't much chance. You can play all right. I'll 
put you on the wing and then you can use your legs." 

But Bernard's legs were destined to be of less service to 
his team than his head. With the eye of a strategist he 
watched the course of the game and thought out dispositions 
and tactics whereby the players might be welded into a 
coherent whole. These he laid before Sedgwick, who after 
the preliminary hesitation that might be expected from a 
veteran footballer, eventually put them into tentative practice. 
Thereafter he had a brilliant run of successes and ended by 



YOUNG ENGLAND 65 

carrying off the shield. His own magnificent play and the 
strength of his team were universally credited with the 
achievement and all his attempts to secuie recognition of 
Bernard's services were put down to heroic modesty and 
laughed to scorn. Football lost much of its interest for 
Bernard after this. 



They never made an Ashburian of Bernard. He despised 
St. Aloysius ; he never forgave Nelson for ' Kiss me 
Hardy ' ; and he regarded Squire Brown as an old fool. 
He never conformed to the code, and it was even whispered 
that he approved of the French Revolution (which of course 
all true Ashburians look upon with horror, as Catholics and 
English gentlemen should). Moreover he refused to accept 
the dogma that the battle of Waterloo was won on the playing 
fields of Eton. His heterodox essay on this subject is still 
remembered with dismay at Ashbury. 

It was in his second year at the school and he was approach- 
ing his fourteenth birthday. His class-master, Mr. Bumpleigh, 
was a dull conscientious overworked man who feared Bernard 
more than all the rowdies of the class on account of his 
cruelly obvious contempt for his intellect. (Bernard's one 
intolerance was for stupidity, and from thirteen years of age 
to sixteen, Boy is at his cruellest.) It was Mr. Bumpleigh's 
habit to set a weekly English essay, and to read out and 
comment upon the themes sent in, hoping thereby to impart 
instruction and guidance for the future, but in reality giving 
the boys light amusement and a much-appreciated respite 
from work. 

" Osgood, your essay may be excellent for all I know, 
but your handwriting is like the track of a beetle, wandering 
over the page, so I couldn't read it. I'll have to get you a 
headline copy book. Rumpworth, your ideas are good, 
but your grammar would bear improvement, and you've 
spoilt the effect of what would otherwise have been an 
excellent final sentence by using slang. ' When all is taken 
into ^consideration one thing stands out clear, that Waterloo 
was a soldier's victory won by the men of England made 
tough by games over the softies of France.' * Degenerate 



66 THE WASTED ISLAND 

sons ' would sound better there ; don't you think so, 
Rumpworth ? " 

" Yessir," said Rumpworth. 

" Ledbury's essay is so good," went on Mr. Bumpleigh, 
" that I shall read it to you in full." 

There was suppressed excitement in the class at this, 
for Ledbury had copied his essay word for word from a book 
on essay-writing which he had picked up at home, containing 
sample essays on stock subjects such as Hobbies, A Country 
Walk, Friendship, and the like, and everyone knew of the 
trick. Suppressed laughter punctuated Mr. Bumpleigh's 
reading of the platitudinous disquisition, which was about 
as much in Ledbury's style as Paradise Lost. Mr. 
Bumpleigh, in a tone he fondly imagined to be scathing, 
told them that their minds must be deficient if a piece of 
beautiful writing roused them to ridicule, but almost 
simultaneously Ledbury's self-control gave way and he 
exploded with laughter. 

" What's the meaning of this ? " thundered Mr. Bumpleigh. 

Ledbury, slow of wit, decided on the spur of the moment 
to tell the truth. It frequently paid. 

" Please sir, I copied it out of a book." 

" Dear me ! I might have known. Why did you do that, 
Ledbury ? " 

" I couldn't think of anything to say myself, sir," said 
Ledbury. 

" Try and use the brains God gave you, Ledbury. Well, 
you owned up, so I'll say no more about it," and Mr. 
Bumpleigh turned to another essay. 

" ' Threequarters of the British Army at Waterloo was 
Irish and the other quarter Scotch.' Well, Mallow, I think 
even you will agree that that's a little exaggerated." 

There was a grim look on Mr. Bumpleigh's face as he picked 
up the next essay. 

" Lascelles," he said gravely, " you may think this kind 
of thing funny, but it isn't gentlemanly. An Ashbury boy 
should be ashamed to write such stuff." 

The gist of Bernard's essay was that the title was an 
implication that the Battle of Waterloo had been won by the 
skill of the British officers, whereas the victory was really due 
to the stubbornness of the British rank and file aad the good 



YOUNG ENGLAND 67 

marching of the Prussians. This paved the way for a strongly 
Republican thesis which wound up the essay. 

" I didn't mean it to be funny," said Bernard. " I meant 
every word of it." 

" So much the worse," said Mr. Bumpleigh, handing back 
the theme book. Underneath the essay was a large blue 
Nought. 

After class Bernard was surrounded by the curious and 
overwhelmed with questions. 

" Why was Bumface so shirty ? " 

" What did you write ? " 

" I said the battle was really won on the fields of Yorkshire 
and in the slums of London." 

" What bloody rubbish ! " exclaimed Rump worth. " I 
suppose you thought that clever .? " 

" Damn sight truer than the subject anyway," said Bernard. 

" Rot," said Ledbury with tremendous scorn. 

There was a general feeling that Bernard was not very good 
form. 

" If you think things like that you've no business coming 
to Ashbury," remarked someone. 

The last word had been said on the discussion. Every- 
one felt that his own opinion had been spoken. 

Shortly after this altercation Bernard happened to come 
across Mallow. 

" I say, Mallow," he cried, " what was that awful rubbish 
you stuck into your essay ? " 

" What awful rubbish ? " inquired Mallow surlily. 

" That about the Irish at Waterloo." 

" What of it ? " 

" Well, in the first place it wasn't true." 

" I only exaggerated a bit. Nearly half the British Army 
was Irish as a matter of fact." 

" Well, I won't quarrel over that, since I don't know 
enough about it. What I'm after is the reason why you make 
such a fuss about it. What on earth does it matter even if 
it is true ? " 

" Why wouldn't it matter ? " 

" What difference does it make whether they were Irish 
or English ? Aren't they all the same ? " 

Mallow seemed to collapse at this question. 



68 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" Great Scott ! " he gasped. " Do you mean that ? " 
" Keep your hair on," said Bernard. " What's up ? " 
" Well," said Mallow, as if giving Bernard up entirely, 
" I knew you were a West Briton, but I didn't think you were 
as ignorant as that. You're no better than an Englishman, 
God help you." 

He went away leaving Bernard amused and puzzled. 



" I tell you what, Willoughby, I can't stand St. 
Aloysius." 

Willoughby looked rather shocked. He liked Bernard, 
but found him a trifle disconcerting at times, and when 
Bernard came out with abrupt heresies like this he was at a 
loss how to receive them. At the present announcement 
he merely stared and said nothing. 

" Yes," went on Bernard, " I'm fed up with having him 
dinned into us morning noon and night, and now that I've 
read his life I'm more fed up than ever." 

" You shouldn't talk like that about a saint," said 
Willoughby. 

" Saint ! What's a Saint ? Is it saintly to go about the 
world with your eyes stuck on the ground ? Is it saintly 
to half-starve yourself so that you die young ? I call that 
slow-suicide. Is it saintly to be afraid to remain alone with 
your own mother ? I call that having a dirty mind." 

" That's a rotten thing to say about a Saint, Bernard. I 
don't like it." 

" You've read his life yourself. Didn't you see every word 
I've said there in black and white ? " 

" Well, yes." 

" And you think these things are signs of goodness ? " 

" I suppose they must be." 

" Do you mean to say you think a chap would be right to 
think like that about his mother ? " 

" I don't know. I don't worry about these things." 

" Do you mean to say you can go on praying to a Saint 
with a mind like that ? " 

" I don't do such a lot of praying, you know." 






YOUNG ENGLAND 69 

" That's not the point. Do you admire a chap who thinks 
that way about his mother ? " 

" I tell you I don't bother about such things." 

" But you should bother." 

" Look here, Bernard, if you want to argue about theology 
try it on a J. Come on to the playground." 

Bernard saw that further discussion with his friend was 
useless, but he seized an early opportunity of tackling Father 
Bowman the Chaplain. He would have liked to continue 
with the question of St. Aloysius' relations with his mother 
but abstained from doing so from a feeling that this aspect 
would not make much appeal to a celibate ; moreover he 
had a fear lest Father Bowman might decline discussion on 
such a delicate matter altogether. Accordingly he com- 
menced in a non-committal way. 

" Tell me, father, why is St. Aloysius the patron of youth ? " 

Father Bowman was a saintly-looking man, white-haired, 
and of serene manner and appearance. Doubt, one felt, 
had never disturbed those placid features. He always pro- 
fessed himself ready to answer questions ; indeed, he invited 
them. But never had any question been submitted to him 
that a few words and an encouraging smile had failed to 
dispose of. This he felt sure was one of them, and the kindly 
tolerant smile and lambent voice were ready to be poured 
like oil upon the seething waves of puerile doubt. 

" Because he was young himself, my child, and was a 
model of those virtues which youth should aim at." 

" Then are we supposed to imitate him in our lives." 

" Certainly ; at least so far as it is possible for us to do 
so." 

" Then should we keep our eyes always on the ground, 
and scourge ourselves, and and never look at women ? " 

" Oh no. That is not expected of everybody." 

" Who is it expected of, then ? " 

"It is only expected of those who feel called to a life of 
perfection." 

Father Bowman felt that the argument was finished and 
made as if to move away, but Bernard was persistent. 

" But shouldn't we all try for perfection ? " he said. 

" We all cannot," replied Father Bowman, a little 
impatiently. 



70 THE WASTED ISLAND 

Bernard felt the thread of the argument slipping from 
his grasp, so he plunged headlong for facts. 

" Well," he said, " if the prefect found me scourging myself 
in the dormitory, I know jolly well I'd get into a row." 

" Yes. It's a college rule that when you go to the 
dormitory you must undress at once and get into bed. 
Obedience to rules comes before voluntary austerities." 

" But even if I wasn't breaking a rule I'd be told I was an 
ass and made chuck it." 

Father Bowman sighed impatiently. 

" It all depends on your motive," he said. 

" I don't feel that you've answered my question, Father," 
Bernard reproached him. 

" Don't worry your head about speculations like that," 
said Father Bowman with his complacent smile. " Run 
off to the playground and kick a ball about." 

Bernard moved off pensively. Doubt was hammering 
at the gates of his soul. 

" What sort of a church is it," he pondered, " that puts 
St. Aloysius above Newton and George Washington ? " 

" Clever little chap that pupil of yours, Lascelles," said 
Father Bowman to Mr. Bumpleigh. " But he thinks too 
much about religious questions. Not good at his age. I'm 
afraid for his faith." 

" He has very revolutionary ideas," said Mr. Bumpleigh, 
which, though he knew it not, meant that Bernard had the 
faith that moves mountains. 

8 

There was a boy called Reppington in the class below 
Bernard's who violated the code even more thoroughly than 
our hero though less flagrantly. He was a quiet retiring 
youth who spoke little and moved through life in a perpetual 
dream. He had mousy hair, large ears, and ungainly feet, 
and the natural ugliness of his face was enhanced by a pair 
of huge glasses, over which he peered timidly at the 
tumultuous world. His was a hard lot, masters and boys 
equally despising him, for he took no interest either in play 
or, outside mathematics, in work. Mechanics was the one 
thing he cared for, a taste little catered for at Public Schools. 



YOUNG ENGLAND 71 

However Ashbury had a well equipped carpenter's shop, 
and here Reppington spent most of his time, dreaming, 
experimenting, and constructing. 

Reppington even at fourteen showed signs of being a 
mechanical genius, and the fruit of months of toil and patience 
was a working model of a steam engine. The presence of 
this wonder in the carpenter's shop was soon known to the 
school, and the little engine at first attracted a good deal of 
honest admiration. Reppington became quite a celebrity, 
and was often seen surrounded by admirers whose praise of 
his handiwork made his eyes beam behind his spectacles 
with happiness, like a young mother being congratulated on 
her offspring. 

But the Code had zealous defenders at Ashbury, and none 
more zealous than in Bernard's class. When the news of 
Reppington's achievement reached them Rumpworth and 
Ledbury and Lashworthy and Sherringham and other 
defenders of tradition held a council of war. 

;< This business can't go on/' said Ledbury. 

" It's a disgrace to the school," said Lashworthy. 

" Playing trains ! " snorted Sherringham. " We'll have 
kids coming here soon with dolls or teddy-bears." 

" It's got to be stopped," said Rumpworth. 

" How is it to be stopped ? " said Ledbury. 

" Kick his bum and tell him to chuck being a kid," someone 
suggested. 

" Take the bloody engine from him," proposed Rump- 
worth. 

" Come on, boys, he's probably playing with it now," 
cried Sherringham, and the half dozen of them made a rush 
for the carpenter's shop. 

In the carpenter's shop Reppington was eagerly and proudly 
explaining the workings of his engine to Bernard, who listened 
with great interest. 

" He loves this thing," Bernard observed to himself. 

He was about to go away when Sherringham entered at 
the head of his retainers. Sherringham approached 
Reppington with that smile half assertive half sheepish which 
Bernard detested. The Ashbury smile he called it, for it 
symbolised a great portion of the Ashbury mind. 

" Let's see the engine, Repp." said Sherringham. 



72 THE WASTED ISLAND 

Reppington indicated his treasure. Instantly with a 
sweep of his hand Sherringham knocked it to the floor and 
hacked at it with his heel. 

" Sherringham ! " cried Reppington, making a vain 
attempt to rescue his toy. 

" Shut your mouth," said Rumpworth, shoving him away. 

The suddenness of Sherringham's action had taken Bernard 
by surprise, and this vision of callous cruelty left him for a 
moment paralysed with anger. Reppington was gazing 
helplessly with tear-blinded eyes at the wreckage of his 
engine, which Sherringham lacked over to Lashworthy 
who kicked it into the fireplace. Suddenly Bernard stepped 
up to Sherringham, breathing hard. 

" You beastly swine," he said. 

" Shut up and mind your own business," growled 
Sherringham. 

" Will you fight ? " demanded Bernard. 

" Not | with a bloody outsider like you," sneered 
Sherringham. 

Bernard struck him across the face with his open palm. 
Sherringham stepped back apace and clenched his fists, 
whilst the blood flooded the injured cheek. 

" Smash him, Sherry ! " cried Lashworthy. 

" Make a ring," shouted Rumpworth. 

Immediately everyone sprang into action. The furniture 
was cleared away from one end of the shop, and a ring was 
made, which, owing to the narrowness of the room, was 
bounded on three sides by walls, whilst the fourth consisted 
of the spectators sitting on tables and benches. In the 
centre were the combatants : Sherringham, gross and 
ungainly ; Bernard slim and graceful. Sherringham was 
by a few months the elder ; slightly taller ; and a good deal 
heavier ; but Bernard as a compensation had science, being 
a member of the boxing club. Well-grown healthy boys of 
fifteen both of them they seemed fairly matched and the 
spectators waited keenly for what must prove a hard battle. 
Bernard glanced round at them once. He was fighting 
the cause of the weak against the strong but save for the boy 
he was defending all present were backing his opponent. 

' Time," said Rumpworth who had appointed himself 
referee. 



YOUNG ENGLAND 73 

Bernard came rapidly into action and got in two blows at 
Sherringham's jaw before the latter had time to decide on 
his guard. Sherringham however could take punishment 
and owing to Bernard's own impetuosity and carelessness 
countered heavily on his cheek. Bernard forthwith cooled 
down and became more wary. 

" I say, Lascelles, thanks awfully you know," stammered 
Reppington in the interval as he flapped his defender with 
a handkerchief. 

" Don't mensh," said Bernard. 

He went into the second round determined to finish 
Sherringham as quickly as possible. His anger was of the 
quickly raised quickly cooled kind, and without it he had 
little stomach for fighting. But confidence in his own skill 
made him underrate his opponent's staying power. After 
some brisk sparring he delivered a hasty and ill-conceived 
attack, and before he could recover his guard Sherringham 
got in a terrific blow behind the ear, and then followed up 
driving Bernard into a corner, who, dazed and shaken was 
only saved from a cruel battering by the call of Time. 

" Good man ! One more round will finish him," said 
Sherringham's backers crowding round him. 

" For God's sake be more careful," whispered Reppington, 
" He's no match for you if you keep your head." 

In the third round it was Sherringham who was over- 
confidant, whilst Bernard remained on the defensive, content 
to rest his lungs and legs. 

"Go in, Sherry ! " shouted his friends. 

Sherry went in and came out rather mauled, and the round 
ended uneventfully. In the next round Sherringham, 
goaded on by the cries of his supporters, made a second 
determined attempt to pulverise Bernard, who, having warded 
it off successively, began to drive his panting opponent up 
against the wall. Crack ! Bernard's left catching him on 
the chin drove his head back against the wainscotting, and 
his right following up beneath the jaw repeated the 
performance. 

" Time ! " called the referee. 

Sherringham was no Spartan. He completely collapsed, 
and his supporters clamorously assailed the referee. 



74 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" It wasn't fair to hit him against the wall," was the general 
complaint. 

Rumpworth smiled judicially. He did not care for 
Bernard, but he realised that Sherringham was beaten, and 
he enjoyed the feeling of being absolute dictator which 
refereeing gave him. 

" Sherringham should have had more sense than to go 
near the wall," he said. 

" He was driven there," protested Ledbury. 

" Then he was beaten," replied Rumpworth imperturbably. 

" Well it's not fair," grumbled Ledbury. 

" That's my decision anyway," snapped Rumpworth. 
" Time ! " 

" Stay where you are, Sherringham," counselled 
Lashworthy, his second. Sherringham nodded, but as a 
matter of fact he had no intention of rising from his seat. 

" I give you ten seconds," said Rumpworth looking at his 
watch. " Then it's Lascelles' fight," he added after a pause, 
and walked off in a huff. 

Bernard approached Sherringham. 

" Look here, you swine," he said, " you've just destroyed 
something you can't replace, like the clumsy ass that you 
are. Don't think you'll get off without making some sort of 
amends." 

'* That's a rotten thing to say to a chap after you've beaten 
him," said Lashworthy. 

" You've had your fight and that ought to be enough for 
you. Can't you shake hands like a gentleman." Ledbury 
was the speaker. 

" Look here," said Bernard, " I didn't fight this rotter 
for fun, and a fight is no excuse for dodging out of doing the 
right thing." 

" Sherringham was right to smash the engine," said 
Ledbury. " We don't want Ashbury turned into a nursery." 

" I don't care a damn what you want," retorted Bernard, 
" but Sherringham's got to pay up." 

" Look here, Lascelles," broke in a new speaker, " are 
you going to shake hands or not ? " 

" I won't touch his dirty hand until he makes amends to 
Reppington." 

" Well come on Sherry. Leave him alone. He's hopeless.". 



YOUNG ENGLAND 75 

The crowd, full of virtuous scorn moved off with the 
battered Sherringham in their midst, leaving Bernard speech- 
less with indignation. He had fought for Right against 
Might and triumphed, but against the stone wall of the 
Ashbury mind he might beat for ever in vain. 

" What's to be done with people like that ? " he demanded, 
turning to Reppington. 

" God only knows," said Reppington, and added, " I 
say, you can box." 

But the worst was yet to come. The story of the fight 
spread round the school, and there was great speculation 
as to the cause. The true cause however could not possibly 
occur to the Ashbury intelligence, and before long it was 
hinted abroad that Bernard took a sensual interest in 
Reppington. 

" Have you heard the latest ? " said Robinson to Fortescue. 
" Lascelles is gone on Reppington." 

" My God," said Fortescue. " Well he's not hard to 
please." 

People took to coughing if ever Bernard and Reppington 
were observed in the same vicinity, and occasionally a wag 
would inquire of Bernard after Reppington' s health. 

" Great Scott ! " thought Bernard. " If those idiots 
who write school stories only knew " 



Meanwhile Bernard was being educated. He learned how 
to write Latin and Greek prose and verse by the help of 
Gradus and Dictionary ; how to translate sonorous Latin 
and facile Greek into clumsy ponderous English ; and how 
to cram three centuries of ancient history into a page of 
outline. One year his class had as master one who had a 
real appreciation of the inner beauty of classical literature 
which he tried to convey to the boys, instead of using the 
classics as other masters did merely as examples of gram- 
matical rules. From Bernard he drew a ready response. 
Indeed our hero had already developed a certain critical 
faculty. He had a qualified admiration for Homer and an 
ardent one for Euripides (cultivated deliberately perhaps for 
this apostle of new ideas). He was a little doubtful over 
F 



76 THE WASTED ISLAND 

^schylus ; was not much of this oft-praised ' grandeur 
touched with banality, he queried. Vergil's Eclogues roused 
him to enthusiasm which even the discovery that they were a 
plagiarism never could kill. (He never read Theocritus.) 
And yet after seven years of constant study during which he 
acquired the reputation of being a brilliant classical scholar, 
he never gained sufficient facility in these languages to make 
him wish to read them for pleasure. 

In the chaos and pandemonium of M. Moulin's classes 
he picked up a smattering of odiously pronounced French 
and in the almost equally unacademic atmosphere of the 
science laboratory he learned that if a candle is burned inside 
a lamp chimney with a waist to it it increases in weight. 

He learned the accepted version of English History and it 
was here that Ashbury came nearest to success with him, for 
his tendency to revolutionary ideas extended only to politics. 
Economics were a closed book to him and in mere ignorance 
he accepted all the economic doctrines laid down by the 
mildewed minds of those curious creatures who write history 
text books for schools. None the less he was a staunch 
upholder of all rebellions from Wat Tyler's to William 
Ill.'s. " Rebels are always in the right," he used to say, 
" or what would they rebel for ? " 

But to this generalisation he made one exception, and that 
was in the case of Ireland. In the first place the accounts of 
rebellions in that country were always of the most meagre 
description, glossed over and distorted, and the masters never 
cared to dwell upon them ; and in the second the rebels were 
always upon what he considered the reactionary side, for 
the King against the Parliament, for James against William. 
His complete lack of any kind of national feeling was the 
obvious reason for such an attitude. 

Right through the Ashbury curriculum he and Willoughby 
went, fast friends all the time. Willoughby took the whole 
thing as an Ashbury boy should, and promised to emerge as a 
fairly typical example of the public school product, albeit 
that Bernard was responsible for flaws that would have been 
looked at askance by Alma Mater. Also he conformed to 
the better parts of the code and was on the whole a very 
popular boy. The mould however had no effect on Bernard. 
He was not fusible enough. 



YOUNG ENGLAND 77 

But while Ashbury was trying every device to cramp and 
distort his growing mind, he was gradually half-unconsciously, 
unsystematically educating himself. He was an omnivorous 
reader and the school library was an excellent one. By the 
time he was sixteen he had read extensively Scott, Dickens, 
Thackeray and Stevenson ; he had read Tom Sawyer and 
Huckleberry Finn, Gulliver's Travels, Mr. Midshipman Easy, 
Westward Ho /, Max Pemberton's Iron Pirate and Impregnable 
City, most of Mr. Wells' early scientific romances, and Conan 
Doyle's mediaeval tales. With foreign literature however 
he was poorly acquainted : Don Quixote and a few of Victor 
Hugo's novels, with Jules Vernes' romances, made the total 
sum. In spite of his teachers' attempts to make him hate 
Shakespeare by using him as a class text he read and re- 
read Macbeth, Lear, Hamlet, Coriolanus, Julius Ccesar and the 
Historical Plays. Beyond this his acquaintance with poetry 
was slight : The Ancient Mariner, The Masque of Anarchy, 
U Allegro, The Rubaiyat, the Ballad of Reading Gaol, and, a 
little later, the Hymn to Proserpine, were his favourites. 
But history and geography were still his main delight. He 
read the articles on many strange lands in Chamber's 
Encyclopaedia, and he would spend hours pouring over 
maps. He read books of history in every size and form. 
The ancient eastern empires ; Greece, Rome and Carthage ; 
the Byzantine empire ; France and Medieval Italy : these 
he knew best, while he had a fair knowledge of general 
European History from the middle ages to the beginning of 
the nineteenth century. 

And of course it was but natural that he should have read 
the Social Contract. He had some difficulty in procuring a 
copy, for it was not in his father's library or, needless to say, 
in that of Ashbury. Finally he ran it to earth in the National 
Library during the holidays, and read it with tremendous 
eagerness. The finely balanced opening sentence gave 
promise of great things to come but he found the treatise 
on the whole rather dull, though he would not have admitted 
this even to himself. After the opening chapters had worn down 
his enthusiasm he read on to the end most conscientiously, 
accepting the doctrines of revolt without any of that impatient 
questioning with which he would have greeted a work of any 
other character. Willoughby was somewhat shocked to 



78 THE WASTED ISLAND 

hear that Bernard had read a book on the Index. Although 
he had imbibed a certain democratic outlook from his two 
Irish friends his whole mental tone was conservative, reverence 
for anything established being the keynote of his character. 

" I've something to tell you that'll shock you more than 
that, my friend," said Bernard. 

" Spit it out," said Willoughby grimly. 

" I've become a Socialist." 

" Impossible, my dear man," said Willoughby very 
decisively. " Unless, of course, you've given up your 
religion." 

" And why not ? " said Bernard. 

10 

It is necessary here to retrace our steps a little. 

We left Bernard, at the time a mere child of fourteen, 
struggling with the doubts born of an interview with Father 
Bowman on the subject of Saint Aloysius. Now as a con- 
viction of ignorance is the first step to knowledge, so doubt 
is the first step to faith, provided that the doubt is answered 
with wisdom. But wisdom Father Bowman had not. In 
fact, beyond Piety and the Fear of the Lord he was 
inadequately provided with the gifts of the Holy Ghost, 
and he had felt quite conscience free in dismissing Bernard's 
doubts with a command to play football. So Bernard from 
doubting one thing began to doubt many. His disgust at 
St. Aloysius' prudity made him question celibacy altogether 
and ask himself whether voluntary abstention from pro- 
creation could really be pleasing to the God who said 
' Increase and Multiply.' This was the starting point of 
a bitter feeling of anti-clericalism, which was intensified 
by the antagonistic attitude of the Church to his innate 
republicanism By the time he was fifteen he was definitely 
anti-cleric, and before he was sixteen he was completely 
anti-religious. All this time he sought advice or argument 
from nobody. Father Bowman had finally repelled him from 
that. 

And then, before he was quite aware of it, he began to 
doubt the existence of God. A certain strange harsh 
materialism that had found it's way into his soul through 



YOUNG ENGLAND 79 

the wounds made by injustice and unpopularity, coming 
upon him while he was drifting in the course we have 
described, was responsible for this. 

" Could there really be intangible spiritual things ? " he 
asked himself. 

" Impossible ! " 

" And yet " 

One of his cousins, a youth somewhat older than himself, 
a Protestant in name but of no definite faith, said to him 
in the holidays : 

" You religious people say that God is infinitely just, 
infinitely merciful, and infinitely loving, and yet say that he 
condemns people to eternal torture for offending him. Now 
I don't claim to be anything wonderful in the way of justice, 
kindness or mercy, but I wouldn't dream of doing that to 
everyone no matter how badly he offended me." 

Bernard had no answer to this and his doubts increased 
in intensity. 

" God tells me I'm to believe the Church, and the Church 
tells me that God treats sinners as even an ordinary decent 
man wouldn't treat his enemies. Is there a God at all ? " 

So he reflected, and at last decided to test the matter by 
going to confession. 

" I'm always being tempted to sins against faith, Father," 
he said. 

" Against what articles of faith, my child ? " 

" Against all religion altogether, Father." 

" But, my child, when these temptations come to you 
you must pray against them. Pray to our Blessed Lady and 
our holy patron St. Aloysius to intercede for you. Pray to 
the Holy Ghost to give you this precious gift of faith." 

" But how can I pray to the Holy Ghost if I don't believe 
he exists ? " asked Bernard desperately. 

" Have you been reading irreligious books, my child ? " 

" No, Father," he said. He would have liked to say that 
it was religious books that were mainly responsible for his 
downfall but dared not. 

" I've only been thinking," he put in weakly. 

" My child you must put these thoughts away from you. 
The mysteries of faith are beyond our mortal comprehension, 
but I would ask you to look around at the wonderful world 



8o THE WASTED ISLAND 

about you ; at the stars, those gigantic bodies that seem mere 
pin points lost in the immensity of space ; at the intricate 
workmanship of a simple daisy ; and ask yourself was there 
no designer of all this. Also, my child, read good books, 
and above all things pray. Any other sins, my child ? " 

Bernard went away but half satisfied. The wonderful 
world was all very well, but how material it was. Could 
there be immaterial things ? Was his mind limited because 
he could not conceive the immaterial ? Could other fellows 
conceive it ? Could Willoughby ? Yes. Could Lash- 
worthy or Rump worth ? Well, they didn't care enough 
about these things to bother about doubting them. . . . 
Then there was this question of Hell. 

His mind remained in a ferment for a time, but soon settled 
down to a cold indifferent atheism. Such an attitude how- 
ever was incompatible with his whole temperament, and 
gradually his atheism became positive and missionary. He 
began to feel that it might be his duty to save others from the 
slough of superstition from which he had dragged himself, 
and commenced operations by breathing doubts about the 
scientific accuracy of the book of Genesis into the ears of 
Eugene. The latter was a good Ashburian but also a good 
boy and he staved off the tempter by showers of dogmata. 
He also told his mother about Bernard's delinquencies, to 
the terrible dismay of the good lady, who had an immediate 
vision of devouring flames searching the soul of her darling 
boy. It was in the Christmas holidays of his last year at 
school that Eugene made his revelation, and she seized the 
first opportunity when she was alone with Bernard to 
approach him about it. 

She was amazed to find that he did not deny the charge. 
Nay, to her grief and dismay, he appeared to take pride in 
it. She tried tearful remonstrance, but in vain. She tried 
argument but proved to be no theologian. Bernard himself 
knew more about the religion she was defending than she did 
herself. Then she said to him : 

" I see you are quite hardened, and I've done all that my 
conscience requires in trying to reclaim you. Well, go your 
own way if you like, but one thing I insist on. Let Eugene 
and Sandy alone. I won't have their faith undermined." 

" But look here, mother," replied Bernard. " If I 



YOUNG ENGLAND 81 

sincerely believe Atheism right and Christianity a demoralis- 
ing superstition haven't I as much right to preach my views 
as you have ? " 

" No. I'm your mother." 

" That has nothing to do with it." 

" Now, Bernard, I don't want any argument. I can't 
prevent you going wrong yourself, but I forbid you to lead 
others astray." 

" I'm not leading anyone astray." 

" I say you are." 

" But, hang it all, mother, can't you understand that ? " 

" No. And I don't want to. Now that's enough." 

And so the conversation closed. 

From his father he gained a more sympathetic hearing. 
For the sake of his practice he was an orthodox Protestant, 
but he was in reality an agnostic. He prided himself on his 
broad minded and tolerant attitude towards religious things : 
" Priests and nuns ought to be shot," he used to say, and 
Bernard quite agreed with him. 

He was very pleased to find that Bernard was on this point 
shaping according to his wishes. More than once he had 
regretted his matrimonial promise in respect to his children, 
but with all his faults he was on the whole an honourable man 
and he had never broken it. 

" You're quite right, my boy," he said. " There's too 
much of this damned superstition. I wish I'd never allowed 
your mind to be soiled by it, but a promise is a promise 
you know." 

ii 

And while this spiritual development was in progress he 
heard for the first time of Socialism. He heard it spoken of 
invariably in accents of condemnation, which alone was 
enough to make Bernard think favourably of it, and the fact 
that its strongest enemies were the Church and the boys of 
Ashbury made him ready to acquit it unheard. " This 
leads to Socialism " was one of the accepted final arguments 
in the debating society against any democratic principle 
under discussion. " Atheists, anarchists, and Socialists," 
generalised the preacher in the pulpit;' 



82 THE WASTED ISLAND 

So Bernard became a Socialist and bought books on the 
subject. He read Shaw and Snowden and Wells' Modern 
Utopia. He read Chesterton and wondered where was the 
difference between that brilliant controversialist and the 
principles he was attacking. 

His economics of course were of the vaguest description, 
but philosophically Socialism gripped him. It became his 
creed, a creed as fixed and based on as much ignorance as 
his mother's Catholicism, but ten times more ardent. He 
set out to make converts but failed miserably. Willoughby 
agreed with everything he said about the evils of the existing 
< order but considered remedial measures sufficient. Murray 
said that competition was the soul of effort and that Socialism 
would simply kill initiative. Rump worth asked where would 
England be without her aristocracy and Ledbury said : 

" You wouldn't be a Socialist, Lascelles, if you owned a 
jolly good bit of land for shooting." 

Finally Mallow said that he was only a revolutionary 
where Ireland was concerned. Otherwise he was a con- 
servative like all decent Irishmen. The meaning of which was 
obscure to Bernard. 

Then the motion * that this house disapproves of the 
principles of Socialism ' was discussed in the Debating 
Society and Bernard undertook to lead the opposition. He 
had much difficulty in collecting speakers. Willoughby 
agreed to speak in favour of a * moderate ' kind of Socialism 
and Murray gave his adherence because he hated to be on the 
re-actionary side even when he disapproved of the other. 
To his surprise Reppington, who was not a member of the 
society, promised to join and make his maiden speech. One 
other member volunteered his services as there was no room 
for him on the ministerial list. He would speak, he said, 
but not vote. 

Rumpworth opened with the usual speech demanded on 
such occasions. Political platitudes, economic fallacies, 
and religious insincerities made up the bulk of an oration 
which was warmly applauded. Then amid ironic cheers 
and encouraging remarks Bernard rose. He had decided to 
reserve his most crushing arguments for the closing speech 
which was his privilege as leader, when he could pulverise 
the arguments of his opponents who had concluded, and so 



YOUNG ENGLAND 83 

he now contented himself with a dispassionate definition of 
what Socialism really was, and then sat down. The debate 
then ran its course, differing in nowise from its predecessors 
and contemporaries. Competition, initiative, and encourage- 
ment of idleness were the main planks in the ministerial 
program, with occasional appeals to religion and ' our 
glorious aristocracy.' The opposition was half-hearted, 
but Reppington astonished everyone by his extraordinary 
knowledge on the subject. He was the only person in the 
room who understood a word of economics. Finally 
Bernard returned to the charge. He attacked each of the 
main ministerial arguments in turn. Socialism, said his 
opponents, would abolish competition. All the better. 
Competition, he held was an evil. (Oh ! oh !) Yes. He would 
substitute for it a better thing, Co-operation. Capitalism 
made the world a waste of selfish striving, every man for 
himself and the weakest to the wall. Why not look upon 
mankind as a community in which everyone strove to improve 
the world in which all had to live ? Let their motto be 
each for all and all for each. Poverty must be abolished 
because it was as injurious to the rich as to the poor. (This 
from Shaw.) Then as to the killing of initiative, had they so 
low an opinion of themselves and of the rest of mankind as 
to imagine that human initiative could be measured in terms 
of shillings and pence ? Did they not know that there was 
such a thing as love of a work for its own sake ? The 
ministry also claimed that Socialism would encourage people 
to be idle at the expense of the rest. Did not Capitalism 
do the same ? Were not the unemployed a perpetual burden ? 
And what about our pampered idle aristocracy ? (Voices : 
" Not idle ! ") Yes. Idle aristocracy. Anyone who lived 
on the work of others, be he rich or poor, was an idler. Well, 
they knew what bees did to drones. He would do the same 
to the aristocracy. (Booh !) Some honourable members 
had said that Socialism was an attack on property. That 
was not strictly true. Socialism attacked the superfluous 
and often illgotten wealth of the rich. Capitalism, as 
Chesterton, an opponent of Socialism, pointed out, attacked 
the necessities of the poor. 

" One word more," he said. " The religious argument 
has been frequently brought up this evening. Too frequently 



84 THE WASTED ISLAND 

in my opinion. But I see no force in it. I see no reason 
why all genuine Christians shouldn't become Socialists. 
The universal argument against Socialism, which I have 
already refuted on other grounds, seems to be that it rewards 
the undeserving as much as the deserving. Well, I say ; 
why not ? Christianity preaches * Do as you would be done 
by.' Which of you would object to being rewarded 
undeserved ? Therefore I say : ' Practice your religion and 
pay all equally regardless of their deserts of which, by the 
way, you are not the judge.' " (Boohs and slight applause.) 

The motion was carried by twenty six votes to four. 

" You're a great rebel except where your own country is 
concerned," said Mallow after the meeting. 

" Oh, go to Hell ! " replied Bernard. 

After this Bernard found himself frequently drawn into 
argument about Socialism, and the utter inability of his 
opponents to oppose to him anything but dogma and their 
own stupidity confirmed his belief in the infallibility of his 
principles. He was convinced that because arguments 
could not be found against him they simply did not exist. 

One of these conversations is worth recording because it 
throws a further light on the Ashbury mind. It was Rump- 
worth who set the question going between himself and 
Bernard and Willoughby. Beaten in controversy he took 
refuge behind Mother Church. Thereupon Bernard burst out : 

" I'm fed up with the Church and all her ways. She's 
been a re-actionary force from the beginning of her history 
till now. And I tell you this, what first made me think 
Socialism right was the fact that the Church was against it." 

" Well, that's a bloody rotten thing to say," said 
Rumpworth. " You go a damn sight too far." 

And he walked off. Bernard, turning to Willoughby said : 

" Fine moral indignation, eh ? And he reads a novel in 
church and goes to Communion every day because thanks- 
giving gets him off a few minutes of study." 

" Rot ! " 

" It's true. He bragged of it to me the other day. And 
he spends his spare time footling round with little boys, 
what's more. Yet he can't stand plain speaking about the 
Church." 

" Still, that was a bit strong," remonstrated Willoughby. 



YOUNG ENGLAND 85 

" I mean, even if you think things like that about the Church 
you shouldn't say them." 

" To hell with suppression ! " said Bernard. " We 
shouldn't be afraid of the truth." 

" I don't mean you should hide the truth, but you ought 
to think twice before you trot out a big statement like that. 
It saves the trouble of taking it back afterwards, you know." 

" I don't think I'll ever want to take that back," said 
Bernard. 

" You never know," replied Willoughby. 

12 

A discussion arose in the recreation room one evening 
during Bernard's second last term at Ashbury. The 
participants were Sedgwick, Mallow, Lashworthy, Bernard 
and one or two others. A boy called Osgood had been 
reading the Exploits of Brigadier Gerrard and, apropos of 
some remark made by Sedgwick related the incident where 
Gerrard commented upon the delusion common to all nations 
that their soldiers are braver than those of any other nation. 

" And then," Osgood said, " the Brigadier says that isn't 
true. * All nations are equally brave/ he says, * except 
that the French are slightly more courageous than the 
others.'" 

Every one laughed, and then Mallow interjected in his deep 
voice : 

" I bet you English think you're the bravest nation in the 
world." 

; ' Yes. But it's true in our case," said Sedgwick. 

" What price Gerrard now ? " said Bernard. 

" You needn't laugh," said Sedgwick. " Doesn't our 
history prove it ? ' 

Bernard shrugged his shoulders and remained silent. 
He had grown tired of arguing with fools. But Mallow was 
not so constituted. 

" That's all my eye," he said. " The French or the 
Spanish or anybody else could say the same. Give me a 
decent proof." 

" We all know it's true," said Sedgwick, calmly entrenched 
in self-complacency. 



86 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" It's well known," put in Lashworthy. 

" Rot ! " said Mallow. 

" Your opinion doesn't matter a damn," drawled 
Lashworthy. " You're only a dirty Irishman." 

The light of battle leaped in Mallow's ordinarily dull eye 
at this insult. He went for Lashworthy in a trice and they 
had a tussle. It was no regular fight. They just bashed 
each other for a while and then left off as if by mutual consent. 

But the incident left an impression on Bernard. 

" There must be something in this Irish business," he 
reflected. " Mallow's an awful ass, but he'd hardly fight 
for nothing. And if Lashworthy did mean something 
insulting, then ..." endless vistas of speculation opened 
before him. 

In his perplexity he thought of questioning Murray, but 
the prospect of a lecture on Home Rule deterred him, so he 
went to Mallow instead. 

" Look here," he said, " don't waste time abusing me for 
being no better than an Englishman. Tell me straight out 
what's at the bottom of this English-Irish business." 

" God help you," said Mallow. " Don't you know that 
the English conquered Ireland ? " 
No. When was it ? " 

A good while ago. In the reign of Henry the Second." 
Of course. I remember reading something about it." 
Half a line in an English History, I suppose," said 
Mallow scornfully. 

Yes. Well, is that all ? " 
Isn't it enough ? " 

It doesn't affect me very much, I must say." 
Ah, get away," said Mallow. " I'm fed up with you." 
And he strolled away. 

Bernard's knowledge of his native land remained in this 
state of development until the evening of Felim O'Dwyer's 
speech on Home Rule in the Debating Society. 

Felim O'Dwyer was another of Ashbury's failures. He 
was a small slight fair haired boy two classes below Bernard, 
and therefore a neophyte to the Debating Society. Owing 
to that strange clannishness that keeps boys in cliques and sets 
of their own, and also to the disparity in their ages and position 
in the school he was known to Bernard only by name and 



YOUNG ENGLAND 87 

repute. From the viewpoint of the average school boy he 
was a person of no account, being weak in body, timid in 
character, and indifferent to athletics. But he was at the 
top of his class without appearing to exert himself unduly, 
and he was known to have a sharp and witty tongue. Besides 
being a classical scholar he was the best essayist in the school, 
and had beaten Bernard in the contest for the Senior Essay 
Prize. In addition to this literary distinction he acquired 
notoriety from a note book he always carried in his pocket 
in which he scribbled satirical verses and lampoons about 
his fellows. These he used to recite to his companions 
and in consequence received many kicks from big boys 
infuriated by hearing their rimed failings chanted in public. 
Ledbury nearly wrenched his arm from its socket for a cutting 
Limerick, while Mallow on the other hand was rather flattered 
by a little quatrain which ran : 

Brian Mallow 
Will die on a gallow 
By hook or by crook. 
It's his favourite nook. 

And Bernard himself was made to wince by a similar one : 

Bernard Lascelles 

In Spain has castles. 

That's why 

You never can catch his eye. 

There was also a comic opera which introduced most of 
Ashbury's celebrities. Bernard figured in a stage direction 
which read : 

Enter Lascelles on a high horse, very much in earnest. 

It can be easily understood that O'Dwyer was unpopular. 
His only friend was Bernard's brother Eugene, and he seemed 
to take pleasure in his isolation. 

A Home Rule debate at Ashbury always ran on certain 
traditional lines. The Unionist side simply abused Ireland 
and asserted that if England had not conquered her some 
other country would. Occasionally some original genius 
would proclaim that to be governed by England was freedom 



88 THE WASTED ISLAND 

enough for anybody, England being herself the land of the 
free." As for the Home Rulers, they were mainly amiable 
people who advocated Home Rule on the ground that it 
would make the Irish more ' loyal/ The Irish boys, what- 
ever their politics at home, always came out with rebellious 
speeches as a reaction. To this rule Bernard and Molloy 
were exceptions. Molloy always spoke for England because 
that was the respectable side, and Bernard did not speak at 
all because because he was uninstructed and uninterested. 

When it came to O'Dwyer's turn to speak he leaped to 
his feet flushed with anger and trembling with impatience. 
Some one had said that the best Irish people did not want 
Home Rule, and O'Dwyer seized upon this as the text for 
his attack. 

" The honourable member is quite right," he said. ;< The 
best Irish people and I am quite aware that the honourable 
member and I hold different views as to who they are don't 
want Home Rule. But what do they want ? They want 
and I want separation. We want a republic. (Hisses.) 
Yes. A Republic. But I don't intend to argue the point 
here. It would be quite useless, and I don't consider that 
it's any concern of this house. I only got up to set your 
doubts at rest as to what Ireland really wants, and having done 
so I'll sit down." (Groans.) 

Bernard observed Lashworthy approach O'Dwyer after 
the debate and say : 

" You ought to keep that kind of thing for your pigstye 
in Connemara. Remember you're in England now." 

" I thought I was in a pigstye," replied O'Dwyer. " Silly 
mistake, wasn't it ? " 

Lashworthy, nonplussed, turned away. 

Bernard determined to make O'Dwyer's acquaintance. 
The supreme contempt with which he had treated the society 
rather appealed to him, and the fact that O'Dwyer was like 
himself an outsider and a revolutionary was a further recom- 
mendation. But their meeting, brought about by Eugene, 
was a failure. Bernard sought eagerly for information 
about Ireland, but O'Dwyer was one of those quick impetuous 
people who are too impatient to give full explanations, and 
too patently contemptuous of views they disagree with to 
be successful propagandists. Moreover he failed to realise 



YOUNG ENGLAND 89 

that Bernard, owing to his origin and training, was without 
both the intellectual and emotional fundamentals of 
Nationalism essential to making the subject vital or even 
important. To Bernard it was only a small problem of local 
government that was under discussion and O'Dwyer's 
excitability over the question irritated and annoyed him. 
At the same time the force of hi*s facts and logic went home 
and made of him a dispassionate esoteric devolutionist. 

" I don't see why Home Rule shouldn't satisfy you," he 
said, and against this breakwater the torrent of O'Dwyer's 
eloquence dashed in vain. " This republic business seems 
to me a mere piece of narrow minded selfishness. It just 
means cutting yourself off from your fellow men in England 
and the world. It isn't progress at all. It's reaction." 

They got more and more on each other's nerves. O'Dwyer 
thought Bernard self-satisfied, and Bernard thought O'Dwyer 
needlessly offensive, for the latter made difference in argument 
a personal matter and always broke out sooner or later into 
heated language. And with the egotism and confidence of 
clever youth each felt that anyone who disagreed with him 
must be a knave or a fool. 

One day Bernard wound up the controversy by saying : 

" Anyway, the question isn't of tremendous importance. 
The world is a big place and Ireland a very small part of it. 
I think it's sheer waste of time to bother about such a piffling 
little corner." 

" I suppose you think that a bloody fine broadminded 
sort of thing to say," sneered O'Dwyer. 

" I think it's common sense." 

" Common high falutin excuse for dodging what you don't 
understand." 

" Don't excite yourself over nothing." 

" Is your intelligence nothing then ? " 

They descended to vulgar abuse after that and their 
acquaintanceship terminated. 

13 

Bernard's school-days were drawing to a close, but he 
was destined to have one more experience before the end 
On arriving at Dillingworth station for his last term he found 



9 o THE WASTED ISLAND 

that he had mislaid his ticket. It took some time to unearth 
it from a forgotten pocket and when he arrived at the gates 
he found that all the brakes sent from the school were packed 
and ready to move off. One little boy was in a similar 
predicament, and was also uncertain of the road, so they 
walked up together in the summer evening. Next day they 
passed each other in the corridor and Bernard nodded to 
the youngster who returned the salute with a smile : he 
had a very pleasant smile. This happened once or twice 
afterwards, and suddenly Bernard became aware that he 
was taking too much interest in the boy. 

No. He was not a degenerate. He was a victim of the 
system that herds young children and craving adolescents 
together in a harsh comfortless atmosphere. An unnatural 
system, and ' unnatural deeds do breed unnatural trouble.' 
. . . Love, in one form or another, is essential to all human 
beings. It is the source of life, the nutriment of infancy, 
the prop of youth, the end and the purpose of maturity, 
and the gratification of parenthood. The very existence of 
the universe is due to the love of the Creator for creating 
and the created thing, and the creative origin and purpose of 
love is its most vital clamant and impelling fact. Hence the 
evil of this harsh unwholesome herding of youth. You 
take boyhood, passively loving, leaning on love for nourish- 
ment, instruction, and protection, away from the love of its 
natural fosterers and protectors ; and you place it in a cold 
rough loveless atmosphere along with adolescence, actively 
loving, seeking in love self-expression and self- fulfilment, 
exuberant as the spring, hungry for beauty, unschooled to 
restraint, with the seeds of self-reproduction vividly ripening 
and clamouring to be sown, and the naturally unnatural 
result follows inevitably. Pedagogues may blind themselves 
to facts and feel that they have done their duty in expelling 
a flagrant case, but rare individual depravity spreads but 
small contagion. Any mind free from self-interest in the 
matter can see that it is the system that is at fault. 

Bernard, being healthy and clean minded, fought the 
temptation. He fought it with his own weapons : with his 
manliness, with his self-respect, with his hatred of softness 
and uncleanness, with his love of order and restraint. For 
a time he was successful, but soon he found his defences 



YOUNG ENGLAND 91 

insufficient, and began to realise that alone he was but a weak 
child. He discovered that he needed help. 

And then all of a sudden he began to pray. Warm springs 
in his soul that he had imagined to be dried up broke the dams 
he had built for them and gushed forth in a comforting stream. 
Faith and hope and love came back to him without any 
intellectual effort. He felt like a child whose mother, flouted 
formerly, had come to its rescue in distress and danger. 
God had come to him, it seemed, in sheer pity to save his 
tottering manhood. 

So he returned temporarily at any rate, to the shelter of 
the rock. 

H 

The last day arrived. 

Willoughby had invited Bernard and Murray to spend a 
week at his home in Warwickshire after the Public Schools 
Camp, to which they were now going, was over. 

" We'll have some sport," he said. " My brother will be 
down from Oxford and he'll probably have a friend with him." 

The three were going up to Oxford next year, and had 
decided on Magdalen College. 

And now the O.T.C. was drawn up in the quadrangle 
for the final inspection. Bernard in khaki with three stripes 
on his arm cursed his section in truly military style. Then 
came the inspection, followed by the command. 

" Fall out. Into the brakes with you." 

To the scream of bugles and the thud of drums the brakes 
filled up. 

" Mind you all join the Union," said the Prefect as he bid 
good bye to those who were leaving for good. 

Then the band ceased playing and packed itself into the last 
brake. Someone in front struck up the Ashbury song. 
Out dashed the horses through the gate way and the old grey 
mansion receded in the distance. 

All the way to the station and afterwards in the train 
Bernard sat in silent meditation. 

" Old Ashbury ! " he said to himself. " What has she done 
for me ? Given me a smattering of culture and a lot of other 
stuff that I'd have had to unlearn if I hadn't rejected it at the 
G 



92 THE WASTED ISLAND 

start. You're a failure, old Ashbury. You tried to make me 
religious and you nearly made me an atheist ; you tried to 
make me a celibate and you nearly made me a rake ; you 
tried to make me an English gentleman and you've made me 
a cosmopolitan Socialist. ... I wonder what you're making 
of Eugene." 

Quite suddenly he realised that he and Eugene had been 
strangers to one another all these years. 

" Old Alma Mater you're a fraud," he said to himself as 
the train slid out of Dillingworth station. 

Through a gap in the hills he caught a last glimpse of the 
towers of Ashbury dim in the distance. 



CHAPTER V 

WILLOUGHBY TOWERS 



A GREAT silent smooth-running motor car carried three sun- 
burnt khaki-clad young men from Deeping Station to 
Willoughby Towers. Along the broad highway it sped, 
then wound through trim green-hedged byways to emerge 
on a long straight road of a different complexion, narrow and 
unfenced. 

" The Roman road," said Willoughby. 

" Queer how countries show their character in their roads, " 
said Murray. "Roman roads are hard and straight like bands 
of steel : conqueror's roads to hold a land in subjection. 
English roads show England's love for personal property- 
rights ; they dodge and twist about, skirting this man's 
meadow and avoiding that man's mill, and insinuating 
themselves between the baron's demesne and the cottager's 
kitchen garden. French roads combine efficiency with 
beauty, running from place to place by the shortest and most 
picturesque route ; and if the way isn't naturally beautiful 
they make it so artificially by means of shade trees. I'm 
sure Russian roads are dreary and melancholy, and German 
roads smooth and efficient ; and I'd like to know if Scottish 
roads are dour and Turkish roads sinuous. As for Irish 
roads, they're chucked down anyhow, all over the place. 
. . . Hello ! We're coming out on to the high road again." 

" Half a mile more," said Willoughby. 

They reached a lodge gate which was opened by an 
obsequious gate keeper exactly like a thousand other gate 
keepers. They drove up a serpentine avenue between rows, 

93 



94 THE WASTED ISLAND 

of cedars, crunching the thickly laid gravel. The chauffeur 
tootled his horn and as they emerged on a great circular sweep 
of gravel before the house an old gentleman came down the 
steps. Willoughby waved his service cap and the old gentle- 
man cried out : ' Here we are again.' The car stopped, 
panting, and the three young men jumped out. 

Willoughby introduced his friends to his father who 
welcomed them in a bluff breezy manner. After a moment 
he said : 

" You'll find your mother in the drawing-room, Jack," 
whereat Willoughby sped off into the house. Then, to a 
servitor standing impassively and unobtrusively in the back- 
ground : 

" Show these gentlemen to their rooms, Hawkins." 
Murray and Bernard were conducted through the hall, 
cumbrously adorned with suits of armour, stags' heads, 
skins of wild beasts, and portraits of departed Willoughbys ; 
up a grand oak-balustraded stairway ; and then by bewildering 
corridors to two bedrooms side by side. Hawkins wanted 
Bernard's keys to unpack for him, but Bernard detested the 
flunkeyism with which the well-to-do English surround 
themselves and refused this service. After washing shaving 
and changing into civilian attire he went into Murray's room, 
and a moment later Willoughby arrived and led them down 
to the drawing room to introduce them to his mother. She 
was a tall pale delicate woman who received them with a 
cordiality that was transparently superficial. Her husband, 
however, a fine type of the robust English country gentleman, 
did much to set them at their ease. They were engaged 
in the delicate process of eating thin bread and butter and 
drinking china tea out of eggshell balanced on their knees 
when three other young men entered the room, who were 
introduced as : 

" Mr. Hastings, Mr. Moore, and my eldest son Frank." 
Frank Willoughby was just an older version of Jack, some- 
what more polished and somewhat less ingenuous. Hastings 
was a rather pompous young man, fair haired, not over tidy 
in his dress, and obviously not in the best physical training. 
Moore was tall, of dark complexion, with a slightly bitter 
smile perpetually hovering over his lips. High cheek 
bones, a long upper lip, and a shade of accent 



WILLOUGHBY TOWERS 95 

showing through the Oxford varnish of his speech pro- 
claimed the Irishman. These three had just been served 
with tea when everyone rose at the entry of two 
girls. One, Maud Willoughby, instantly attracted the gaze 
of every male stranger in the room, for she was the typical 
English beauty of magazine story writers and illustrators. 
She knew it, and she carried herself accordingly. As for her 
friend, Janet Morecambe, the minx must have chosen her for 
a foil. She was small and shapeless, and save for a pair of 
piercing eyes, totally undistinguished in appearance. 

A light conversation began and rambled along pleasantly, 
and Bernard, looking at Maud's profile, decided that destiny 
had been kind to him. He almost hated Willoughby for 
tearing him along with Murray away from the company, 
in order, as he said, to show them round the place. Through- 
out the process he was so absent minded and distraught that 
Murray at any rate found little difficulty in diagnosing the 
cause. 

They met again at dinner, when Bernard to his delight 
found himself placed next to her. At first the ceremonial 
nature of the meal rather oppressed him. The great size of 
the dining room, hung with the usual manorial relics of the 
chase and the glories of departed days ; of the table itself, 
and of the other appointments of the room ; the formality 
of everything, of the well-dressed company, of the statuesque 
and attentive menials, of the whole ritual designed to com- 
plicate rather than to comfort this everyday process of 
assimilating nourishment ; all this weighed upon him and 
made him nervous and anxious. Also he was reflecting 
upon the little parody of all this time honoured observation 
nightly performed in Merrion Square. A glass of sherry 
restored his confidence and he perceived that Maud was 
deliberately trying to entertain and interest him. 

" I've heard a great deal about you from Jack," she said. 
" He's always talking about you." 

" He must have exhausted all the good he had to say very 
early," said Bernard. " I hope he was discreet about the 
rest," 

" He tells me you're a terrible Socialist," said Maud. 

" Nothing terrible about me, I assure you," said Bernard. 
" But the rest is true enough." 



96 THE WASTED ISLAND 

They were drawn into the general conversation for a time. 
Old Mr. Willoughby was quite the most talkative person in 
the room and it was easy to set his hearty laugh going. 
Bernard did it frequently. Hastings also talked a good deal, 
very seriously and very egotistically. The projected insurance 
act was the topic of the day and he was an ardent supporter 
of the measure. It was on this subject that Mrs. Willoughby 
made her sole contribution to the conversation by remarking 
that for her part she would never lick stamps for a vulgar 
little Welsh demagogue. 

" Let him lick them himself if he likes," she added. 

The two Willoughbys told their mother that this wasn't 
practical politics and diverted the conversation to pleasanter 
channels such as the prospects for the Twelfth. 

Moore, the dark Irishman, took little part in the conversa- 
tion, answering briefly when directly addressed and otherwise 
remaining silent. The queer little bitter smile seldom left 
his lips. 

Bernard and Maud returned to their own conversation. 
It was trifling enough, but with her eyes and with her smile 
she enmeshed him in a tangle of enchantment. After the 
ladies had withdrawn he moodily gnawed his cigar while the 
other men chatted, and that night before going to bed he 
walked among the cedars dreaming about her under the 
moon. 



Life at Willoughby Towers passed very pleasantly. They 
rode and fished and played tennis, and on one occasion they 
watched a cricket match on the village green. They motored 
to Warwick and to Coventry and to Stratford-on-Avon, 
where they were shown over Shakespere's house by a guide 
who recited by heart a guide-book description of the place 
ending up with : " And now ladies and gentlemen here is the 
ingle nook in which no doubt the bard often sat. Perhaps 
you would like to sit there and see if any of the noble thoughts 
which inspired him might come to yourselves." 

Conversation flowed pleasantly in the evenings. Mr. 
Willoughby was a man who treated youth with respect, 
differing thus from Bernard's father who seemed to consider 



WILLOUGHBY TOWERS 97 

age and wisdom synonymous, and treated the opinions of 
his juniors either with contempt if he disagreed with them 
or with exasperating patronage it they coincided with his own. 
Mr. Willoughby however was inclined to the humourous 
view of life. Progressive opinions in young men he received 
with a tolerant smile and the prophecy that they would wear 
off in time. His contribution to a social argument that sprang 
up one evening was to the effect that industrialism itself 
was the cause of poverty, and that England would not be 
herself again till she returned to the good old days when the 
squire paternally ruled his tenants and the tenants were 
respectful to the squire and all was agricultural bliss and 
harmony. 

" But your very socks and shirts are the products of 
industrialism," said Bernard. 

" I'd cheerfully go back to homespuns," said the squire. 

" And give up your motor ? " queried Bernard. 

" There are flaws in my theory, I know," said Mr. 
Willoughby. " Well, there are more in Socialism. But I 
can't help thinking the world was a happier place before the 
invention of machinery." 

11 Happy, but inconvenient," said Hastings. 

" The world could be both happy and convenient," put 
in Mrs. Willoughby, " if politicians wouldn't stir up the lower 
classes and make them discontented." 

This put an end to the discussion, for nobody cared for 
the futile task of arguing with Mrs. Willoughby. 

But conversations among the younger members of the 
party uninterfered with by their elders frequently took place 
when, the weather being too hot for tennis, they lay basking 
in the sun on the lawn. All aspired to be politicians, and two 
of them at any rate were in close touch with existing politics ; 
for Hastings was the son of a Radical M.P., and Murray's 
father was prominent iu the United Irish League in 
Liverpool. Willoughby compromised between Ashbury and 
Bernard by developing into a kind of Tory Democrat, his 
brother Frank being a Tory pure and simple. Murray was 
a democratic Imperialist and Hastings followed his father's 
principles. Moore appeared to have no politics. He sat 
apart from the discussions smoking endless cigarettes and 
showing no sign of interest beyond an extra twitch 



98 THE WASTED ISLAND 

occasionally of that queer smile of his. As for Bernard he 
intervened occasionally when some peculiarly irritating 
argument dragged him from dreams of Maud. Maud herself 
was never present to stimulate him to eloquence, but her 
friend Janet frequently joined the conclave and was always 
decidedly on the progressive side. 

The Liberal programme of land legislation, reform of the 
House of Lords, payment of members, national insurance, 
and Home Rule furnished good ground for controversy. 
Frank was against it in toto. The world was a fairly comfort- 
able place, he said, for those who were even moderately well 
off, and as for the poor they were an inevitable evil. There 
had always been poverty and there always would be so it was 
no use trying to abolish it. Let them alleviate it by 
organized Charity if they wished. As for the proposed 
legislation it was an attempt to filch government from the 
only class fitted to govern. Privileged classes were inevitable, 
and it was their privileges that fitted them for government. 
Payment of members abolished the excellent principle of 
gratuitous public service and opened parliament to needy 
professional politicians. Home Rule, of course, was an 
absurdity. They might as well restore the Heptarchy. 

This line of argument produced violent opposition from 
Hastings, who, typically English himself, made no attack 
on the false premises and axioms and illogical deductions of 
his opponent but simply put axiom against axiom and sub- 
stituted rhetorical flourishes for reason. He was for 
government of the people by the people, the greatest good of 
the greater number and democratic measures generally. 
He talked of the anachronism of the House of Lords and the 
anomaly of Dublin Castle Rule and proclaimed equality 
of opportunity as his motto. 

But Bernard had recently been reading Shaw. 

41 What's the use of equality of opportunity/' he asked, 
" if you don't go on with it ? It's no use leaving things half 
done. Equality of opportunity is no use when there isn't 
equality of ability. I'm for pushing the thing to its logical 
conclusion and establishing complete equality of income." 

' Now, Bernard," said Willoughby, " you're not going to 
get in a lecture on Socialism. We all know that it's an 
infallible remedy in theory and would work admirably if 



WILLOUGHBY TOWERS 99 

the whole world was populated by perfectly reasonable beings 
like you and Bernard Shaw. But it isn't." 

Bernard, his argumentative energy sapped by love-lorn 
dreams, subsided into contemptuous silence. 

" I take it," resumed Hastings, " that the British Empire 
has a mission of freedom to preach to the world. How can it 
fulfil that mission when it is governed by a worn out feudal 
system, when a large percentage of its population lives in 
poverty ignorance and subjection, and when the Irish question 
remains as a running sore at its very vitals ? " 

" Free Ireland," said Murray, " and she'll be the loyalest 
spot where the British flag flies." 

" I agree," said Willoughby. " But I think Hastings is 
too sweeping in his notions. I grant that things are pretty 
bad but I don't think our system itself is entirely responsible. 
It has its virtues as well as its vices, and if you discard the 
system you discard its virtues along with it, and merely let 
yourself in for a new system with all sorts of new virtues 
but with a lot of new vices as well. A radical change would 
simply put the Empire out of the running as a civilising force. 
It would turn all its energy in on itself." 

" I'm all for reforming what you've got instead of taking 
up new things," said Murray. " I take it, Willoughby, 
that you and I are for putting a reformed British Empire 
in the van of the world's progress." 

Willoughby agreed. 

" Set a streptococcus to cure sepsis," interjected Moore. 
It was his first remark that afternoon, and it was unintelligible 
to his hearers. 

" What's that ? " someone asked. 

" Good lord ! " said Moore, " it makes me laugh to -hear 
you fellows gassing away like a lot of unsophisticated school- 
girls about a world you know nothing about. Reform the 
British Empire by a lot of priggish legislation ! My hat ! 
You might as well preach vegetarianism to a pack of wolves. 
Make the British Empire a civilising force ! You might as 
well make burglars into policemen. You might as well 
set out to evangelise Hell bv converting the devil." 

" I don't think that's a fair way to describe the British 
Empire," objected Willoughby. 

" Well, go into politics and you soon will/' 



ioo THE WASTED ISLAND 

" Great Scott, Fergus," said Frank, " you're the deuce of 
a Rad. I never knew you thought that sort of thing before. 
Why did you never come out like that at the Union ? " 

" Because I'm not interested in politics." 

" So I thought once. But, good lord, you know, this 
speech just now " He paused wordless. 

" Forget it," said Moore. " It was only an ebullition of 
feeling." 

" Don't tell me," said Bernard, " that you aren't interested 
in politics." 

" It's quite true." 

" But why ? " 

" Politics are only one of the torments of this Hell we call 
the world." 

' This Hell ? " asked several. 

" Yes. I agree with Father Keegan in John Bull's Other 
Island that this earth is Hell and that we are here being 
punished for sins committed in a former existence. Why ? 
What's the worst of the torments of Hell ? The perpetual 
presence of devils of course, and being governed and played 
with by them. Well, isn't that the way the world is run ? 
The rottenest blackguards are the successful politicians 
and it's they who rule us. It makes me fairly sick to think 
that I can't take up a newspaper without seeing a eulogy 
of some dirty grafter or an illustrated weekly without his 
photograph. And these demons make our laws, take charge 
of our money, educate us and deal out justice to us, and when 
they quarrel with another set of equally infamous scoundrels 
in another country they make us fight their quarrel and pay 
for it, and when it's over they reap the reward in collusion 
with the other scoundrels. These are the rulers. And if a 
truly great and noble man appears and shows up this tyranny 
and corruption the rulers persecute him as a traitor and 
criminal, and the people scorn him as a crank. Where else 
are we but in Hell, where the wrong always triumphs over the 
right ; where the great men are the successful robbers and the 
great nations the oppressors of the small ? And to crown 
everything where there isn't a dirty deed done by man or 
nation that won't find some sanctimonious humbug of a 
journalist to justify or extenuate it. Ruled by devils body 
and mind, where are we but in Hell ? " 



WILLOUGHBY TOV/ERS 101 

" Moore's a pessimist," said Hastings. 

<% Pessimist ! " snorted Moore. " I wish you wouldn't 
use cliches you don't know the meaning of. You English 
radicals think in cliches." 

" Your cynicism is appalling, Moore," said Willoughby. 
" The world isn't one fraction as bad as you make out." 

" More cliche. What's cynicism ? " 

Willoughby seemed at a loss to explain. Moore went on : 

" Cynicism, as I understand it, means scoffing at sacred 
things, or taking a flippant view of serious things. British 
politics is neither, and you've no more right to call me cynic 
for my poor opinion of them than I have to call you senti- 
mentalist for your exalted one. Labels and phrases are 
ruinous to reasoning." 

" Party politics," said Bernard, " have always seemed to 
me to be a huge game. They can't be called government. 
The successful politician is the man who gets his wishes 
put into force by inducing the majority of the people to vote 
for him on some other issue." 

" Not a bad definition at all," said Moore approvingly. 

" It only applies to the Tories," said Hastings stoutly. 

" Rot ! " cried Frank Willoughby. " And anyway, if 
England's to boss the world I'm all for a strong navy and 
cutting out politics at the Admiralty." 

Moore resumed his discourse as if heedless of this dialogue. 

" Two mutually contradictory statements cannot both be 
true," he said. " Yet it is upon the denial of this self-evident 
axiom that the system of party politics is based. Under the 
circumstances government is carried on by making a case for 
what may well be the worse cause. 

" Take the case of Ireland. You English have no more 
right there than you have in the moon. That's not an 
opinion. That's truth based on abstract right and the facts 
of the case. The only thing to consider then is whether 
your presence is by Ireland's consent and whether it benefits 
her. The former condition you know to be untrue, but you 
don't even try to get at the truth of the latter. One party 
supports one view, the other supports the opposite, and either 
party might support either view as it suited them. Then 
the Unionist crowd finding the argument going against 
them fall back on the line that whether it's good for Ireland 



102 THE WASTED ISLAND 

or not England must keep her ; and the Liberals, beaten in 
barefacedness, make a compromise and bring in a bill to give 
her partial freedom. Meanwhile the two parties wrangle 
over the case without using a single argument that is applicable 
or vital and without the smallest consideration of truth or 
justice. That's British politics." 

" But the Irish are such a disloyal crowd," said Frank, 
whereat Moore burst out laughing and said : 

" Look here. We've had enough politics The sun's a 
bit lower. Let's have a sett." 

Janet drew Bernard aside as the others went over to the 
tennis courts. He yielded to her, and they walked through an 
arch of roses into the flower garden. 

" That was an interesting talk," said Janet. " You Irish 
are certainly our intellectual superiors. You and Mr. Moore 
were the only people who got anywhere near to the depths 
of the question to-day." 

Bernard began to stammer some modest disclaimer, but 
Janet impatiently resumed : 

" Mr. Hastings and myself, and perhaps Jack Willoughby 
are all democrats in a kind of way. But it's artificial in us. 
Bring us in touch with working people and we show at once 
that we feel we are a race apart. But democracy seems to 
come naturally to you Irish. I can't imagine you or Mr. 
Moore doing anything snobbish." 

" To tell you the truth," said Bernard, " I've only just 
begun to realise that there's any difference between Irish and 
English. My father's a fierce old Tory and Unionist you 
know." 

" I've a tremendous admiration for Ireland," said Janet. 
" I think she's the finest nation in the world." 

' That's strange," said Bernard. " I don't know any- 
thing at all about her." 

" You ought to read," said Janet. 

Bernard watched her as she bent her graceless figure to 
gather some sweet pea for her belt. He was thinking of 
Maud. Lately she had seemed to take pleasure in his 
company, and that morning their hands had met momentarily 
and he fancied that hers had been in no hurry to resign 
contact. But her talk was a little vapid, he could not help 
feeling in spite of his rapture Janet was more interesting, 



WILLOUGHBY TOWERS 103 

and her voice was softer and pleasanter. If he could only 
hear her without seeing. . . . There was something about 
her eyes too, especially when she looked at him. . . . 
Perhaps . . . 

Life was a complex thing. 

And then came Maud along the path making the roses 
fairer. 



Moore's diatribe on politics roused intense interest and 
curiosity in Bernard, and on the first occasion on which he 
succeeded in finding him alone he began questioning him on 
the subject. 

" You don't really believe all that tosh about this being 
hell, do you ? " he demanded, 

" Well," said Moore, throwing away his cigarette and 
lighting another, " I do and I don't." 

It was a fine summer evening and they were standing in 
the gravelled space before the house. Bernard drew his 
companion towards the avenue as he spoke. 

" Politics," said Moore, " mean different things to different 
people. To some they're just a newspaper topic not to be 
taken too seriously. To you they're among the important 
things of life, and so they were to me once, though in 
a different sense. I find it hard to explain things to you, 
because for all your ability and honesty your upbringing has 
left a gap in your mind and soul which I see no way of filling. 
You see, you belong to one of the strangest communities of 
men that ever existed. . . . The Cleruchs of the Athenian 
Empire seem to be your only parallel in history, for, like 
them, you live in a country for the purpose of holding it 
for another country, but, unlike them, you are natives of the 
subject country. In that country you have no part. You 
know little and care less for her traditions ; you don't observe 
her customs ; you don't think as she does ; your heroes are 
not her heroes, and your flag is not her flag ; and instead 
of that patriotism which is a natural feeling innate in every 
normal man you have a bastard thing you call ' loyalty/ 
which there is no defining and which is nothing more in 
reality than the fealty which a garrison owes to its paymasters. 



104 THE WASTED ISLAND 

To the bulk of your kind politics is merely the method of 
keeping the natives in subjection. To you, who are a thinker, 
and, I fancy, one of those people who are born to be 
revolutionaries, they are the vital goal of your reforming 
aspirations, but since your origin has made you a man with- 
out a country you're developing into a sort of cosmopolitan 
doctrinaire, and the whole basis and foundation of my politics 
must seem to you small and feeble." 

" Let's have it, anyway." said Bernard. 

" Well, I'm one of the natives whom your crowd keeps in 
subjection, and to us the question of ending that subjection 
is the most important thing in our politics. To you England 
and Ireland are more or less one and the same. You have 
never read the history which would have told you that the 
one is the implacable enemy of the other, has ruined her and 
is continuing to ruin her. Irish politics to you, supposing 
you to adopt Home Rule as part of your progressive creed, is 
merely a question of methods of government. To us it is a 
question of our existence. Now the passage of time and the 
confusion of thought natural to ordinary men have left 
this whole business very complicated and two-sided to the 
superficial observer, but I found out very early in life that the 
truth at the bottom of every question is simple and easy to 
find if you disregard the side issues raised by those interested 
in obscuring it. It was enough for me to read, and when I 
was twelve I was an emotional separatist and by seventeen a 
logical one. 

11 You know nothing about ninety eight and the United 
Irishmen. These words bring no thrill to your spine, so 
you'll find it hard to appreciate my feelings when I went down 
to the local branch of the United Irish League expecting to 
be presented with a pike and a revolver, and was offered 
instead a resolution of confidence to vote for. 

" Well, I found in that league of professed patriots nothing 
but cant and self deception. I won't go into that. One 
example of the kind of thing is enough. They were going 
to accept that emasculated measure called Home Rule as 
a final settlement. Of course I objected to that, so they 
consoled me by saying that this was a piece of deception 
necessary to success. Well, I don't mind deceiving the 
enemy, but that piece of deception deceived themselves and 



WILLOUGHBY TOWERS 105 

deceived the Irish people, and it'll be the destruction of the 
whole movement eventually. 

" Of course I learnt sense in the League. An appreciation 
of relative values was enough to show me the futility of 
force and the necessity of diplomacy, but soon I began to 
realise the futility of diplomacy also. If you've followed 
Irish politics at all you'd see how our party is beaten and 
bamboozled at every turn. I've a symbol in my mind for 
our present state of affairs : a dwarf with a sword fighting a 
giant finds he can't win, so throws away his sword and appeals 
to the giant's reason. Somewhat futile, eh ? Well, when I 
realised that force was useless and reasoning absurd I began 
to despair, and it was then that this predestined and perpetual 
triumph of might over right first made me inclined to agree 
with Father Keegan, not literally you know, but as a sort of 
gratification of a feeling of poetical futility. So you see me 
at twenty three quite convinced that Ireland is a hopeless case, 
and while I refuse homage to England I've no intention of 
wasting my time in a futile struggle against her." 

" There's a fellow I know at Ashbury," said Bernard, 
" who holds all the principles that you do, but he hasn't 
given up hope." 

" He's young," said Moore. 

" I think," said Bernard, " if I once had the truth and the 
facts of the case and really felt that the cause was mine, I'd 
go on until I found a way out." 

" It would be sheer waste of time. I've come to the con- 
clusion that the affairs of this world aren't really worth 
bothering about at all. Look at that star. It's billions of 
miles away. It's perhaps ten times the size of our sun, 
yet how small it appears. Look at this whole universe of 
stars, all immense, all infinitely far away. Now imagine 
yourself withdrawn into space of billions of billions of miles 
until all these stars that we see coalesce into a point of light 
such as one star seems to us now. What insignificant specks 
are men now, and how contemptible their affairs ! " 

" I don't agree," said Bernard. " Size is an accident 
and not frightfully impressive when you see enough of it. 
Besides, everything has an intrinsic value which isn't altered 
by its relative value to other things." 



ro6 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" Humph ; " said Moore. " You're a better philosopher 
than I am." 

They had passed the gate and gone some distance down the 
road. They now turned and retraced their steps. 

"I'm an" unfortunate man," Moore suddenly exclaimed. 
" Everything I touch seems to go wrong. ... I fell in 
love with Maud last year and she seemed to encourage me. 
I came here this summer with the full intention of proposing 
to her, and what must she do but fall in love with the first 
sight of your handsome face." 

Bernard's heart leaped. In his exultation the misery of 
his companion was nothing to him. . 

" Do you do you really mean that," he asked timidly. 

" I'm afraid I do." 

Up the avenue they went, the light hearted and the heavy 
hearted side by side. 

" She loves me, she loves me," Bernard kept saying to 
himself, and could hardly sleep for joy. 



But the lyrical exaltation of the night gave place to doubt 
and hesitation in the cold light of day. 

41 Love me ? What does Moore know about it ? He's 
not infallible. She encouraged him once." 

He was abnormally sensitive, and feared a rebuff should he 
presume too far on insufficient evidence. 

Then in the morning he encountered Janet, and they had 
an extremeiy interesting talk, political and philosophical. 
The attraction exercised by her mind for his was undeniable, 
but Bernard did not want to fall in love with this ungraceful 
being. Why the devil did she obtrude upon his idyll ? 

And later on, 

" She'd laugh at me," he said to himself. " She's lived 
all her life in luxury. It'll be five years before I've a pro- 
fession and five more before I could marry. What a romantic 
ass I am ! " 

Abruptly he began to think of Moore. 

" Bet he makes half his melancholy for himself," he 
muttered. " I'm not going to get like that." 

The Irish question thrust itself on his attention. 



WILLOUGHBY TOWERS 107 

" Queer business," he said. " Doesn't seem to appeal 
to me somehow. Haven't any grip of the essentials. Don't 
know enough about it." 

He resolved to seek information. 

Wandering through the gardens in the fresh morning air 
he came upon Moore and Murray arguing in a pseudo- 
rustic bower. 

" Rubbish ! " Moore was saying. " This ' partnership 
stunt simply won't work. Even if all the material points 
you make were granted (and I don't grant them) there's the 
spiritual objection. The two countries are incompatible, 
and that's the long and the short of it. The tradition, spirit, 
and purpose of the one are absolutely hostile to those of the 
other. You couldn't find common ground for Tone and 
Castlereagh, could you ? " 

" I suppose not." 

" Neither could you for the countries they served. 
Where one man's patriot is another man's traitor what is 
their common interest ? " 

" Those days are past." 

" Yes. But not done with." 

'* The modern Liberal spirit has changed everything." 

" Only the phrases. Not the realities." 

" I don't agree with you." 

" I don't care whether you do or not. Ten years hence, 
when Home Rule is no nearer than it is to-day, you will." 

Moore observed Bernard at the entrance to the bower. 
Pointing to Murray he said : 

" Here's a man who believes in the English." 

" What's wrong with the English ? " asked Bernard. 

" O, nothing at all. Nothing at all, except that they're 
the most selfish, self-satisfied, hypocritical, vulgar, material- 
istic people on the face of the earth." 

He went on in a kind of litany : 

" The English have grabbed half the world, and yet they're 
never done talking of freedom. They pretend to believe 
that their empire was come by honestly and humanely. 

" The English can never see any point of view but their 
own. 

' The English expect gratitude for injuries given. The 
Russians have conquered Poland but they don't expect them 
H 



io8 THE WASTED ISLAND 

to be ' loyal,' The English are always preaching ' loyalty ' 
to Ireland. 

",The Englishman thinks that lapse of time can wipe out 
any 'crime. They forgive and forget all their own offences. 

" The English are more self opinionated than all the rest 
of mankind put together. If some scandal in the govern- 
ment of their Empire is revealed they talk of ' un-English ' 
methods. We Irish, from our experience of them, know 
better. We drop the ' -un.' 

" The English are so self-satisfied that satire doesn't hurt 
them. 

" Prove a case to an Englishman with the simplest 
straightest logic ; prove it up to the hilt, and he'll only say : 
* Yes. I quite see your point. There's something in what 
you say.' 

" O, but they're damned fools. They think in phrases 
and mixed metaphors and they never follow an idea as far as 
it'll go. Their philosophy is summed up in priggish proverbs 
and their morality in tuppenny maxims. 

" Complete summary of the English mind. Captain of 
sinking ship : * Now, men, be British. y 

"Oh, damn the English ! " he concluded, and lit another 
cigarette. 

" You're an irreconcileable," said Murray. 

" You've lived too long in England," retorted Moore. 
" That's just what I expected you to say." 

" Chuck it, both of you," interrupted Bernard. " Come 
out and enjoy the sunshine." 

They found Willoughby and walked to Deeping and back 
before lunch. The pleasant agricultural country-side seemed 
to bask as much in its own prosperity as in the sun. Bernard 
mentally compared the neat pretty village with those he had 
seen in Ireland, but said nothing for fear of eliciting another 
diatribe from Moore. They drank lemonade in the clean 
cool parlour of a picturesque inn which suggested fresh 
comparisons. 

On the way home Bernard found an opportunity to say to 
Moore : 

" You remember that symbol of yours about the dwarf 
and the giant ? How would it do if the dwarf took to per- 



WILLOUGHBY TOWERS 109 

suasion without giving up his sword ? Sort of drive home 
his points, wouldn't it ? " 

" Especially when the giant is at heart a coward," added 
Moore. 

5 

Mrs. Willoughby gave a small dance the night before her 
guests' departure, and Maud, for reasons best known to 
herself, put on her most ravishing frock for the occasion. 
As a matter of fact she was slightly in love with Bernard, 
and she felt that during the last couple of days he had not 
been doing his duty. She had observed a certain slackening 
in his attentions, and her preparations were made with the 
object of revivifying them. 

And Bernard failed to respond. Nay, he gave at least four 

dances to her friend Janet. Could it be possible that ? 

No. Absurd. 

The truth was that the hard facts of life were too much for 
Bernard. He dared not make the plunge, weighted as he was 
with the prospect of those ten years. He asked for three 
dances only, and she punished him by refusing to grant the 
third, and by giving half a dozen to young Slitherly, a neigh- 
bour. Bernard saw here an age-long romance and sadly 
took it as his conge. 

To all else the dance was a most enjoyable affair. To Maud 
it was an exasperation ; to Bernard a torture. Their second 
dance together was towards the end of the evening. Maud 
pleaded fatigue so they retired to a conservatory to sit it out. 
All the story-book accessories to romance were present ; 
drooping palms, the scent of flowers ; the half-light ; the 
music in the distance. Maud gazed with her wonderful 
eyes into his ; her elbow, on the arm of her chair, came in 
contact with his ; her hair fluttered in the faint breeze. 
She gave him many conversational openings, but he was in a 
mood of such blank pessimism that he gave no heed to the 
most obvious, and at the beginning of the next dance they 
parted in silence 

So ended his first romance. 

Next day the house party broke up. Bernard got a stiff 
farewell from Mrs, Willoughby and a genial one from her 
husband. 



no THE WASTED ISLAND 

" Come again soon," he said. 

11 Good bye, old man. See you at Magdalen," said 
Willoughby at the station. 



But a disappointment awaited Bernard when he reached 
home. 

A fashionable physician's life is a vicious circle : he must 
live expensively in order to have a big practice, and he must 
have a big practice in order to live expensively. When in 
addition he is lavishly hospitable, has extravagant tastes in 
wine and cigars, and has a reputation as an art connoisseur to 
maintain, life ceases to be an economic proposition. In 
order to keep the glitter and the luxury, necessities must go 
by the board, and in many a Merrion Square mansion more 
money is spent on cigars than on butter, on entertaining one's 
friends than on educating one's children. Then a knight 
has to 'pay heavier for everything than the simple and 
unadorned, so one day Sir Eugene realised that he must pull 
in somewhere. Humming and hawing he approached his 
son. 

" I'm afraid, old chap," he said, " that money matters 
are going a bit hard with me at present. I've been having a 
lot of expenses lately and some investments I've made haven't 

turned out too well. So you see Oxford's a damned 

expensive place (This he jerked out suddenly. 
Bernard's eyes made humming and hawing impossible.) 
" Damned expensive," he re-iterated. " I wouldn't like 
to send my son there unless I could give him enough money 
so as he could shine as well as anyone else. No poor 
hard-working scholars for me. How will Trinity suit you ? " 

Bernard, bitterly disappointed, said it would have to do. 
It was a hard blow to him. It meant losing all his hopes 
and projects, all the grand talks and theorisings he had 
promised himself, all his plans for galvanising the academic 
heart of the Empire with revolutionary ideas. Also it meant 
losing Willoughby. 

'* There are worse Universities than Trinity," said his 
father, observing his troubled face. 

A few days afterwards Bernard met Geoffrey Manders on 



WILLOUGHBY TOWERS in 

the beach at Bundoran. Manders was a Clongownian but 
they had been at the same preparatory school and had 
frequently met afterwards when on holiday. They had many 
tastes in common, both literary and artistic, and they both 
held cosmopolitan and socialistic views. Bernard told him 
of the change in his prospects and Manders said : 

" Yes. Trinity's pretty small beer compared with Oxford. 
Look here, why not strike out a new line entirely and come 
to the National ? I've just got my Matric there." 

The National University, only just founded, was but a 
name to Bernard. 

11 I'll think about it," he said. 

" It's something new in Universities," said Manders. 
" No traditions about it at all. Trinity's just a second rate 
Oxford. Quite as musty and not half so magnificent. You'd 
only stifle there. It's a mere Rathmines university, if you 
know what I mean. The National's new. It may be a bit 
shoddy, but we might make something of it." 

" The notion rather appeals to me," said Bernard. 

" You wouldn't half shine there, Mr. Public Schoolman," 
said Manders. 

" After all," said Bernard, " there's a good deal to be said 
for a University that isn't a Varsity." 

When he returned to town in September he announced 
his intention of taking the National University Matriculation. 

" Good lord ! " exclaimed Sir Eugene. " What on earth 
for ? " 

" I don't much care for a tuppenny tin imitation of Oxford. 
Besides, I'd like to be with chaps of my own religion." (This 
with his tongue very much in his cheek.) 

" I suppose that settles it," said Sir Eugene. " Got 
religious again ? " 

" Partially," said Bernard. 

" And now," said Sir Eugene, " what have you decided to 
do in life ? " 

" Well, I want to go into politics, so I suppose the best 
opening is to go for the bar." 

" Politics ! " exclaimed Sir Eugene. " What do you want 
to go in for politics for ? " 

" I have ideas . . . and plans." 

" Oh ! Out to reform the world, eh ? The usual disease 



ii2 THE WASTED ISLAND 

at your age. . . . Well, why not try the Indian Civil 
Service, eh ? " 

" Well . . . no thanks. That's not quite the sort of 
politics I meant. Besides I'm not keen on living in the 
tropics." 

" But politics in this benighted country are no good. 
You'd be a struggling briefless barrister until you were middle 
aged, and I couldn't afford to keep you all that time. . . . 
As for F,ngland, it's out of the question. You'd find the 
Irish bar difficult enough, but over there you'd be quite 
unknown . . . might starve eventually. When my finan- 
cial affairs were better I'd planned some such career for you, 
but I'm afraid it's impossible now. You'd better put politics 
out of your head, because, in addition to the other difficulties, 
our party hasn't any seats outside Ulster and Trinity, in 
neither of which you'd have a ghost of a chance." 

" You quite misunderstand me," said Bernard. " If 
you say the bar is out of the question, I suppose it is. Let 
me take out a course of economics in the University and then 
let me try and make a living by journalism m London until I 
can make my way into politics. ... I don't mean the 
kind of politics you imagine, of course. The fact is, I'm a 
sort of ... Socialist." 

" A Socialist ! " 

There was as much scorn as anger in Sir Eugene's tone. 
This was for him a totally unexpected development. 

" Since when, may I ask ? " he demanded. 

" A long time," said Bernard. 

" No politics for you, my boy," said Sir Eugene in his most 
determined manner. " It would be a nice thing for me to 
have a Socialist M.P. for a son, wouldn't it ? Where would 
my practice go to then, do you think ? And what would 
become of your mother and sisters ? You must think of 
other people occasionally you know. ... I never imagined 
you could be so selfish." 

The argument dragged on for twenty minutes or more, 
and finally Bernard was bullied into acquiescing to his father's 
point of view. As the least of numerous evils he chose 
the medical profession. Sir Eugene having got his way at 
once assumed a more conciliatory tone. 

" It's a noble profession, my boy. You'll spend your 



WILLOUGHBY TOWERS 113 

life in the service of suffering humanity, which I think is 
the highest aim a man could have." 

" That's to appease my wounded Socialism," thought 
Bernard. 

His hopes and ambitions had received a shattering blow. 
He lay awake that night, tossing about and fretting under his 
disappointments . 

"A Merrion Square doctor ... me ! ... After all 
my dreams. ... I, who have ideas to give to the world, 
to spend my life sitting by the bedsides of hypochondriacal 
old ladies ! . . . Good lord ! . . 

There are those who will be inclined to smile at the idea 
of this boy of eighteen confidently planning to "reform the 
world, but if it were not for the bold-thinking arrogant 
broad-scheming young men who have dreamed through the 
ages where would the world be now ? Bernard's mind as a 
matter of fact was of singularly fine quality. There were no 
shams about him. He had no taboos. He never sought to 
make thinking easier by the common method of fixing labels. 
If he was hasty and intolerant in his ideas, at any rate his ideas 
were on the generous side, and personal interest counted 
with him not at all. He felt injustice in any quarter of the 
world or at any period of time more acutely than any personal 
grievance : Thucydides' narrative of the massacre of Melos 
roused as hot emotion in him as Bernard Shaw's account of 
the Denshawai atrocity. His thoughts and sympathies 
and ambitions were world-wide, the sorrows of mankind 
w r ere his sorrows, and the removal of those sorrows was his 
ambition. He wanted to see the world clean and orderly and 
busy : the city of his childish games grown large. And, 
here entered his boyish vanity, he burned to be the principle 
figure in making it so. 

" A respectable G.P." he muttered in his sleepless tumbling. 
" Lord save me from respectability anyhow." 



CHAPTER VI 
DUBLIN 



AT five o'clock on an afternoon in October Bernard and 
Geoffrey Manders sat sipping coffee in the smoking-room 
of a Graf ton Street tea-shop, amid a crowd consisting of 
University students, business men, clerks and loiterers, with 
here and there a girl under male escort. Attendants bustled 
about. The air was full of the clatter of china, the hum of 
conversation, and the fumes of cigarette smoke. 

"Well, it's a great college," Bernard was saying. "I 
found it a bit hard to get my bearings at first though. An 
English public school is full of people you can't speak to, 
either because they're infinitely far above you or abysmally 
far beneath you. . . . In U.C.D. a freshman can talk to 
a final man without feeling he's condescended to. Then 
there's such a general air of friendliness : no cliques that 
snub you if you butt in on their conversation. Everyone's 
free to move and talk as he likes, and there are no damned 
taboos and questions of Form. Good lord, it's such a change. 
When I was at Ashbury I was a sort of herald of revolt ; 
almost the only fellow in the place that had an idea in his 
skull. . . . Here it's all ideas. If I talk of Socialism I'm 
argued with. One man will attack me for an economic 
fallacy, another for a lapse in logic, and another has an 
economic theory of his own. At Ashbury they simply said 
' If you're a Socialist you can't be a gentleman,' and that 
closed the argument as far as they were concerned." 

" I'm sure Ashbury had its points," said Manders. " And 
I'll bet opposition like that did you good." 

114 



DUBLIN 115 

" No. It was merely exasperating." 

A tall lanky man with black hair and loose-lipped mouth 
came over to their table and addressed Bernard. 

" I say, what the blazes did you cut dissecting for this 
morning ? I had to do those deep pectorals by myself." 

" Sorry, old chap," replied Bernard. " I simply couldn't 
help it. I was dancing till three last night, at Lady 
Bartley's." 

" God bless our aristocracy ! " said the other raising his 
hat reverently. 

" That," said Bernard lowering his voice, " was spoken 
for the benefit of a young gentleman in the middle distance. 
I want to attract him over here." 

" Well, I'm off. Be down to-morrow, won't you ? " 

" Who's that ? " asked Manders when the stranger had 
gone. 

" Chap called Crowley. My dissecting partner. . . . 
Ah ! How are you, Molloy ? How's the world treating 
you ? Let me introduce my friend Mr. Manders. Mr. 
Manders, Mr. Molloy." This to a smug young man who had 
been hovering near-by during the conversation with Crowley. 

" Rottenly," said Molloy. " I say, did you ever hear such 
luck as this ? My pater made me go up for the entrance 
exam to both Trinity and the National, and I got plucked by 
Trinity, so I'm doing law in this damned awful cheap low 
down hole on Stephens Green." 

" That's rotten luck," Bernard agreed. " Awful types 
one does meet there, I'm sure." 

" Awful," said Molloy. 
' Types like Manders and me, for instance." 

" I say," gasped Molloy, taken aback, " I'm awfully sorry 
you know. I didn't really mean anything." 

" We'll pardon you," said Manders. 

" I say, I hope I haven't hurt your feelings." 

" Oh, they're used to it. Tol lol, old son." 

Molloy took himself off looking very foolish. 

" Fine type of manly Britisher," said Bernard to Manders. 
" Made at Ashbury." 

" Pooh ! He might have been made anywhere. Geo- 
graphy doesn't account for types." 

At this moment Bernard saw Brian Mallow enter the room 



n6 THE WASTED ISLAND 

along with a burly jovial and untidy companion. As they 
approached our friends' table the latter hailed Manders in 
jocular fashion and Mallow came over to shake hands with 
Bernard. 

" Sit down with us," said Manders and ordered more 
coffee. 

Mallow introduced the burly young man to Bernard as 
McGurk, and Bernard introduced Manders to Mallow. 

"Another Ashburian," said Manders. " Lord, but the 
college swarms with them." 

" None of your old Ashburian for me," growled Mallow. 
" I'm done with the rotten hole." 

" Mallow might just as well have been at Clongowes for 
all the difference Ashbury's made in him/' said McGurk. 

" You're talking through your hat, McGurk, as usual," 
said Manders. " Since I came to college I've been studying 
the products of the different schools and I've got them all 
pretty well ticked off. Clongownians are consciously cocks 
of the walk here. They're the Etonians of Ireland. Would 
you like to hear the rest ? " 

There was a murmur ot assent. 

" Belviderians are genteel. They feel that they ought to 
be the premier school but they know that's hopeless for a day 
school, so what they lose in prestige they make up for in 
gentility. Caslleknock men are conscientiously rowdy 
whether they feel like it or not because they've a reputation 
for toughness to keep up. McGurk's a Castleknock man. 
Mungretians are dark and mysterious, which is only natural, 
for nobody knows where Mungret is. I wouldn't be surprised 
Lascelles, if your friend Crowley's from Mungret." 

" Wrong. He's from Blackrock." 

" I haven't analysed Blackrock yet. But, by the way, 
between clerics and national school men, this College is going 
to the dogs." 

11 You're right about the Clerics," said McGurk. 

" The National Schoolmen call the Professors ' Teacher ' 
and always seem to be expecting a walloping." 
1 They need it," said McGurk. 

" You're a bally snob, Manders," said Mallow. 

" I'm not. I'm only stating facts. The problem for us 
is to make this place a real University, and the sooner we 



DUBLIN 117 

recognize the obstacles the better. One of the obstacles is 
the type of mind produced by our beautiful National Schools." 

44 We were at the Abbey last night," said McGurk. 

" What was on ? " 

<: The Playboy. Lord ! You should have seen Mallow 
writhing in his seat." 

" The play's a bloody insult to the country," said Mallow 
" It ought to be stopped." 

" Who by ? " asked Manders. 

'* The people," said Mallow. 

" They tried to stop it once," said Manders. [< They 
kicked up unholy ructions the first time it was produced. . . . 
Blasted idiots ! The Irish people make me sick. What 
right have people to interfere with a play ? If they don't 
like it they needn't go to it." 

" It was an insult to the country," repeated Mallow. 

" And is anyone who feels insulted by a play entitled to 
kick up a row and prevent others enjoying it ? What would 
you say if the Unionists kicked up a row over the Rising of 
the Moon ? " 

" That's different," said Mallow. 

"And we call ourselves an intelligent people," said 
Manders. " Look here, Lascelles. Here's a situation for 
you. The Nationalist crowd considers a play insulting to 
Ireland. So they go down to the Theatre to break up the 
performance. The Trinity men hear of it and go down to 
make a counter- demonstration in favour of the play, also 
because they consider it insulting to Ireland. There's a 
night of cheers hisses and pandemonium. And all the time 
the play is no more insulting to Ireland than Hamlet is to 
Denmark." 

" I think," said Bernard, " that the Nationalists were only 
just a shade less contemptible than the Trinity asses." 

" Lascelles," said Mallow. ** I'd just like to know what 
side you're on. I think you're a bally trimmer." 

" You can think what you like. There's one thing I'm 
sure of anyway. I wouldn't feel entitled to stop a play just 
because I didn't agree with it." 

" Ah, you're a bally West Briton,' said Mallow. 

" People like that fellow Mallow," said Manders afterwards 
to Bernard. " are the curse of this country. We have them 



n8 THE WASTED ISLAND 

on every side, and they've an invariable trade mark whatever 
side they're on : if you argue from analogy they always 
answer ' That's different.' Mallow and his kind are always 
ranting about Irish freedom and yet they won't allow 
people to produce a play they don't like. They can't stand 
anything that conflicts with their rotten little notions and 
prejudices. As for their politics ... It makes me ill to 
listen to them. Thank heaven, Lascelles, that you and I 
are neutral in that quarrel." 



Normality has its claim on us all. Bernard had been 
precocious as a child and had gripped on to ideas and abstract 
things earlier and more intensely than his contemporaries. 
But three months after leaving school his interest in these 
things had begun to wane. He began to read less and then 
to think less, and at the same time his interest in games, 
which had slackened during his last years at Ashbury, began 
to revive. He found pleasure in ordinary students' society 
and became a little bored by Manders and the intellectuals ; 
he came to enjoy the coarse pleasantries of the dissecting 
room ; even the vapid chatter of Merrion Square drawing- 
rooms ceased to arouse his contempt. He went to dances 
and music halls ; he c knocked about ' with his fellow medicals 
round town ; and he took girls he cared nothing about to 
teas and picture houses. . . . The re-action to Ashburian 
restraint and supervision may have been partly responsible 
for this, but as a matter of fact his brain needed rest. It 
had been worked and over-developed from his earliest child- 
hood and now it clamoured for relaxation. So he gave him- 
self up for the first time in his life to ease and enjoyment. 

And there was nothing to interrupt his repose. In those 
days Ireland as far as politics were concerned was a stagnant 
pool. The national struggle was not at an end, but it had 
ceased to be a struggle. The blight of Parliamentary success 
had settled on the land. Everything was in the hands of the 
party politicians and the people could attend to their private 
affairs with a clear conscience, for when everything was being 
done for them all they had to do was to keep peaceful and grow 
prosperous. So the very right to think on politics was sur- 



DUBLIN 119 

rendered. The Party was presumed to be both infallible 
and impeccable and a word of criticism was the brand of a 
traitor ; it had ceased to be the servant of the people and had 
taken to itself the airs of a master and Dictator. 

Frequently one hears the remark made with that air of 
profundity which characterizes all fatuous pronouncements 
that there is too much politics in Irish life ; an absurd state- 
ment. Politics means the affairs of men, and men cannot 
be too careful of their affairs. It is the neglect of their own 
affairs by the men of other countries and the consequent 
uprise of professional politicians that makes politics what 
they are: the battle to the dirty and the devil take the cleanest. 
The reason for the comparative cleanliness of Irish politics 
is that the people take, as our superior thinkers say, ' too 
much interest ' in them. 

But at this time the people slumbered or grubbed on their 
farms and the Party played at politics in the Westminster 
style. They assisted the Liberal Government to foist an 
absurd Insurance Bill and a ruinous budget on their 
unsuspecting country, and were now engaged in supporting 
a measure to limit the power of the House of Lords in opposing 
some future Home Rule Bill. With the national affairs on 
so sound a footing what had the layman to do with politics ? 

Only in forgotten places and by unknown people were 
Irish politics still taken seriously. In halls in the city and 
deserted quarries in the country the physical force men 
a few hundred in Dublin, a few thousand scattered over the 
country drilled quietly and armed themselves and waited 
patiently but none too hopefully for the day when their 
countrymen should cease talking and do something. And, 
struggling against abuse contempt and misrepresentation, 
Arthur Griffith and his handful of Sinn Feiners strove to 
teach Ireland to turn her back on the useless and dishonest 
game of English politics and cultivate herself. But the 
politicians and the vast compact majority of the people 
ignored these disturbers of the peace, or when they noticed 
them at all called them, in their superior way, cranks and 
dreamers. 

And Bernard and his fellows danced and played billiards. 



120 THE WASTED ISLAND 



The gas flared yellow in the dissecting room. The air 
was hot and heavy with mingled odours ; formalin, tobacco, 
and the faint but recognisable halitus of cadavera. 

Bernard, perched on a high stool, was working at the 
superficial fascia of Scarpa's triangle under the direction of 
Crowley who read out the instructions from a big anatomy 
resting against the subject's knee. 

" Let's chuck it," said Crowley suddenly, " we've done 
enough for to-day." 

Bernard ceased working and began to clean his instruments, 
turning round on his stool at the same time to view 
the crowded room. Only about half the population was 
working. The rest stood about, chatting and smoking or 
reading the evening paper. The atmosphere of this chamber 
of death was distinctly hilarious. 

The red-haired man at the left upper limb told his dark- 
haired partner a dirty story. The dark-haired man capped it 
with another. 

" Those are as old as sin," said Crowley. " Did you ever 
hear this one ? " 

Crowley's effort was greeted with acclamation. 

" You first-years do talk unadulterated filth," said the man 
at the head-and-neck. " You'll be tired of it by the time you 
get your second." 

A man from a neighbouring table strolled over. 

" Crowley got some new ones ? " he inquired. 

Crowley obliged with another. His hearers roared with 
laughter, thereby attracting others. The man at the head- 
and-neck threw down his scalpel in disgust and went away 
for a smoke. Bernard felt a little ashamed of himself for 
not following ; but then Crowley was his friend. 

The dark-haired man at the upper limb recited a Limerick. 
Bernard felt impelled to recite another, and then Crowley 
dispersed the company with a perfectly outrageous one. 

" Come and have a game of billiards," he said to Bernard 
after that. 

They washed their hands in a good lather of Carbolic 
soap and went out from the school into the darkling streets. 



DUBLIN 121 

" I feel like a drink after that atmosphere," said Crowley 
as they passed a public house. 

Bernard was no tee-totaller, but he had never yet entered 
a public house. It felt like taking a new step in life to do 
so now. 

" Nothing like experience/' he told himself as they sat at 
the counter drinking whiskey and soda. 

" Telegraph, Hen died or Mayul ! " shrieked a newsboy 
through the spring door. 

" Mail/' said Crowley producing a penny. He plunged 
straight into the racing column. " Hurray," he cried, 
" Salted Almond wins." 
" Got something on him ? " 

" Drew him in a sweep at the Arcade last night. . . . 
Four quid at least. . . . Come along and collect the dibs. 
We'll make a night of it." 

They went out into the street, Bernard feeling distinctly 
exhilarated by his drink There was a crowd of students 
and others, MacGurk amongst them, in the billiard saloon. 
Crowley was greeted with a howl of " lucky dog ! " and the 
stake holder, a sporting -looking man smoking a cheroot, 
handed him over his winnings. 

" Come on, boys, drinks all round," said Crowley, and half 
a score of them tumbled out to the nearest public house. 

" What about a good dinner ? " said Crowley, drawing 
Bernard and MacGurk aside from the throng. 
" I'm on," said Bernard draining bis glass. 
"Wheie'll we go?' 
" Jammers " suggested Bernard. 

" None o' your bloody swank/' said McGurk. " Becky's 
for me." 

" It's a dinner I'm inviting you to " said Crowley. " I 
suggest the Green Bank *' 

" Right you are, old man," said McGurk whiskily genial. 
The drinkers returned in a noisy crowd to the billiard 
saloon ; and Bernard, Crowley and McGurk, after a stroll 
up and down Grafton Street ' to get an appetite/ went to 
the Green Bank and ordered dinner. They had lentil soup, 
turbot, roast mutton, and sweet omelette, with a bottle of 
sparkling moselle, and they wound up with coffee, 
Benedictine, and cigars. Crowley and McGurk were fairly 



122 THE WASTED ISLAND 

seasoned drinkers, but Bernard in a couple of hours had taken 
three times as much alcohol as he had ever taken in a day 
before, so his head was swimming and his speech loud and 
incoherent. Crowley now suggesting a Picture House they 
made their way back to Grafton Street. Bernard by this 
time was in that state of detachment from the world, that 
condition of feeling almost as if one were looking out at life 
from a concrete chamber through a thick glass window, so 
muffled and confused were the sounds and so blurred the 
sights to senses blunted by the beginnings of alcoholic intoxica- 
tion. He seemed to walk by no volition of his own and 
Crowley almost supported him to the crimson plush seat in 
the picture house into which he sank with a sigh of relief. 
They had come in in the middle of a society drama which 
dragged on a seemingly interminable course while Bernard 
endeavoured by sheer mental concentration to recall his 
sobriety. . . . The drama flickered to its close, and as the 
lights went up McGurk drew Crowley's attention to Bernard's 
flushed face. 

" Damned hot in here," said Bernard to dispel their 
suspicions. 

An uproarious ' comedy ' followed, the principal situation 
of which was the loss by the heroine of the principal part of 
her attire in a public street. McGurk howled with laughter, 
Crowley grinned appreciatively, but Bernard was still modest 
enough to be rather disgusted. This was the end of the 
programme, for they had entered rather late, and Bernard's 
still throbbing head was relieved by the cool air of the street. 

" Bloody funny, that last film," said McGurk. 

Crowley chuckled. 

" Human dignity," he said, " is dependent on the nether 
garments. Stripped of everything else you can still hold 
up your head, but what a helpless and ridiculous figure is a 
man without his trousers or a woman without her skirts." 

McGurk exploded with laughter, and even Bernard smiled 
reminiscently. 

" I say, boys," said Crowley. " The night's still young. 
Let's go down town." 

" Right you are," said McGurk, and Bernard, not guessing 
his meaning, and thinking that a walk would sober him, 
also agreed. 



DUBLIN 123 

They went down D'Olier Street and crossing the river by 
Butt Bridge passed by Amiens Street into the disreputable 
labyrinth of ways beyond. Bernard wondered at his friends' 
choice, but said nothing. A brazen slatternly female hailed 
them from a doorway but they took no notice and passed on. 
Gaunt dark houses with grimy broken windows towered 
cliff-like over the narrow street. Here and there were 
occasional rifts in the line where a house had collapsed into 
a heap of rubbish. Through the upper windows of a 
crumbling roofless framework the inscrutable face of the moon 
could be seen. This street was silent and deserted, but in 
an upper storey a child was wailing, and from the distance 
drunken shouts could be heard. Their feet stumbling against 
broken bricks and tin cans the three young men strode on. 
Turning a corner they came upon a small crowd gathered 
round a brightly lit window and door. 

" Here we are again ! " said McGurk cheerfully. 

" You're not going in there ? " remonstrated Bernard 
nervously. 

"iWhat do you think ? " said McGurk. 

" Non cuivis est adire Corinthum," said Crowley. 

" So this . . . ? " said Bernard, and paused inquiringly. 

" ... Is, if not a temple, at least a shrine of the Cyprian 
goddess," said Crowley with perfect suavity. 

A boldly handsome but untidy !young^woman'"approached 
the young men. 

" Well, duckies," she said. 

" The pass word," said Crowley. " The mystic symbol 
of the Coryb antic priestesses of the Western World. . . . 
It's a warm night," he added turning to the girl. 

" Good night, boys, I'm off," said Bernard to his friends. 

"Hold on, ye bloody fool," said McGurk, starting after 
him. He was restrained by Crowley. 

" Let him alone," said the latter. " He's still virgo 
intactus." 

Bernard sped away * on the wings of disgust. 

" Hould that fella ! " shrieked a voice from the doorway. 

Hot with shame he broke into a trot, heedless of his 
direction. After a few minutes he suddenly realised that he 
was losing his way. Tired and angry he prowled about the 
ghostly monotonous ways searching for a landmark. All 

I 
$ 



124 THE WASTED ISLAND 

inadvertently in the end he struck upon Earl Street, and within 
half an hour he was resting his throbbing head on the cool 
softness of his pillow at home. 



" Are you anyway friendly with Jack Harvey ? " Lady 
Lascelles asked of her son one day. 

"No. I just know him to nod to." 

" That's a pity. His mother and I are very old friends, 
and he's such a nice boy." 

' That's exactly why he doesn't appeal to me." 

" Such a thing to say." 

" I mean it. Nice people always bore me." 

" Now, Bernard, if you're going with boys who are not 
nice it's my duty as your mother to warn you that bad com- 
panions are the ruin of many a young man." 

" I didn't mean what you think at all. ' Nice ' is a con- 
fusing word. It might mean anything. I'll make friends 
with him if you like." 

" Do. I'm sure you'll like him." 

" I'm quite sure I won't," thought Bernard. 

Jack Harvey was a mother's son. His father had died when 
he was quite a child and his whole upbringing had been in the 
hands of his mother. Mrs. Harvey was a very positive and 
aggressive personality who left her mark upon all with whom 
she associated. Consequently Jack grew up as a very ladylike 
young man. Though manly at bottom all his actions were 
feminine. His walk was mincing ; his smile was a simper ; his 
voice was gentle. He could not smoke a pipe and he smoked 
cigarettes in a ladylike manner. All his ideas and methods 
of thought bore the impress of the female hand that had 
implanted them. 

He received Bernard's friendly advances with a lambent 
smile and said he hoped they would soon be great chums 
(a word Bernard never heard without a shudder running 
down his spine.) 

" Our mothers have always been great old cronies, you 
know," he added. 

" Drop in to see us some Tuesday evening," he said at a 
later stage of their acquaintance. " We're always at home 



DUBLIN 125 

then and we generally have a few friends in. Music and that 
sort of thing, you know. Hymn books supplied." (This 
last was his idea of a joke.) 

The following Tuesday, having nothing else to do, Bernard 
decided to ' drop in ' as invited, but he brought his mother 
with him for protection. 

Mrs. Harvey had fallen on evil days since we last saw her 
disseminating scandal in Merrion Square. Her husband, 
the fashionable oculist, had died within a year of that incident, 
leaving her, with her son and three daughters, almost pen- 
niless. Many women would have succumbed to such a 
strain, but Mrs. Harvey was cast in heroic mould. She 
, moved as much of her furniture and silver as she was not 
compelled to sell into a little house on the North Circular 
Road and kept hens and lodgers the while she gave her 
children as good an education as possible and kept up as much 
of her pristine state as her straitened fortunes would allow. 
She kept her Tuesday Jt home just as in former days and with 
jest and scandal entertained those of her old friends who 
remained true to her. She had but one servant, but her she 
trained to the duties of cook, parlourmaid, poultry keeper 
and lady's maid, and though she mercilessly overworked and 
underpaid her yet managed to convey to the girl the convic- 
tion that she was her benefactress and to win and keep her 
respect and affection. Through trouble and poverty she 
smiled and flounced her way. There was something almost 
of nobility in this tenacious narrowminded old snob. 

Bernard and his mother were admitted by the maid of all 
work, starched and self-conscious for the occasion. Bernard 
hung up his hat and coat in the miniature hall, and then the 
maid opened the drawing-room door, ceremoniously 
announcing : 

" Lady Lascelles. Mr. Bernard Lascelles." 

Mrs. Harvey was deliciously surprised to see her old friend. 
(It would not do to admit that she had seen her through the 
window mounting the steps.) She kissed Lady Lascelles 
rapturously for the benefit of a couple of humble North 
Circular Road acquaintances who were present, and shook 
hands heartily with Bernard. Jack then came forward and 
introduced Bernard to his sisters while their mothers sat down 
to chat over old times. The eldest girl, Susan, was tall 



126 THE WASTED ISLAND 

plain and pimply, and having said * how do you do ' remained 
silent. Molly, the second girl, was of medium height, 
almost pretty, and plunged into conversation at once, so that 
Bernard's introduction to the youngest sister Mabel, a shy 
fair haired girl of sixteen, was of a perfunctory nature. Molly 
was a jolly girl whose conversation consisted almost entirely 
of a string of funny stories. Bernard found them amusing 
at first but was beginning to feel boredom approaching 
when Mrs. Harvey commanded Molly to sing. Molly, 
nothing loath, obeyed at once and sang in the conventional 
humorous way Are you right there Michael? and on being 
encored, an English music hall comic ditty. While the 
songs were in progress Mabel slipped into the chair beside 
Bernard vacated by her sister, and as the applause died away 
turned to talk to him. She was a pretty child, with deep 
brown eyes and golden hair tied back by a big blue bow at 
her neck. At the first word she uttered she suddenly became 
shy and faltered while her cheeks became flooded with pink 
blushes. Bernard tactfully took up a commonplace topic. 

" Your sister sings very well," he said. 

" Do you think so ? " said Mabel, still a little timid. Then 
abruptly her shyness seemed to slip away from her. " But 
you don't think so," she went on. " You only said that to 
be polite." 

" Well, perhaps I did," Bernard admitted. 

" We've none of us got any talents really," said Mabel, 
" but mother makes us perform whether we like it or not. 
She'll probably call on me in a minute, and I daren't refuse. 
Susan's the bravest of us. She used to have to. play the piano 
but last year she struck and that's finished, thank goodness." 

" Mabel, won't you sing something now," came Mrs. 
Harvey's voice across the room. 

Mabel made a little face at Bernard and went to the piano. 
She sang Robin Adair with deep expression and a thin voice, 
and gave Beautiful Garden of Roses as an encore. After that 
a visitor played Dvorak's Humoreske jerkily on the violin, 
and then Jack Harvey, in a fine bass voice that contrasted 
strangely with his general manner, sang My Old Shako, 
and Just before the Battle, Mother, which last brought tears 
to Mrs. Harvey's eyes and necessitated the calling in of Mary 



DUBLIN 127 

Ann and her despatch to the upper regions for a fresh pocket- 
handkerchief. 

Then tea was served and Lady Lascelles came over to 
Molly and said : 

" Many happy returns. I've just heard it's your birth- 
day," and a golden present found its way into Molly's hand. 

Meanwhile Bernard was buttonholed by Mrs. Harvey 
and compelled to sit beside her and listen to a genteel account 
of herself and her family. He learned that his mother and 
Mrs. Harvey had been O such friends at school and that both 
ladies hoped their sons would be the same. Jack was such a 
good boy. So kind to his mother and sisters. 

" Be kind to your mother always, Bernard," Mrs. Harvey 
admonished him. " If you knew what your mother had to 
suffer to bring you into the world you'd think no sacrifice 
too great to please her." 

Bernard, as a medical student, thought he knew as much on 
this subject as Mrs. Harvey, but made no comment. 

" The girls are so good to me too," said Mrs. Harvey. 
" They're all in good positions except Mabel of course 
and they give me every penny they earn." (She omitted to 
mention that they did so by duress.) " Susan has just 
obtained a new position as lady companion to Lady 
Donegal." (Susan was governess to that Lady's children.) 
" And Molly has a Government appointment." (She was a 
typist in the Custom House.) " Do you know Lady Donegal, 
Bernard ? I suppose not. She's a relative of ours." 

So Mrs. Harvey rambled on serenely and graciously, 
cloaking her shabbiness and striving to impress, while 
Bernard listened with the ill-concealed contempt of youth. 

Bernard breathed a sigh of relief as he and his mother 
stepped into the open air, very refreshing after the close little 
sitting room of the Harvey's. 

" It's awfully funny," said Lady Lascelles as they drove 
home. " But whenever I call on Mrs. Harvey it's the birth- 
day of one or another of the family. It's a curious 
coincidence, isn't it ? " 

" Very curious," said Bernard. 



I 2 8 THE WASTED ISLAND 



It was not long before Bernard took to falling in love with 
that fervour and inconstancy characteristic of adolescence. 
For a month or more he was faithful to the memory of Maud, 
thinking of her frequently and dreaming of her sometimes, 
but finally she glided into the gallery of things half forgotten. 
And then he met Muriel. 

He saw her first at a meeting of a college society and was 
enraptured by her profile. He lay awake half that night 
thinking of her, ate no breakfast, and haunted the college all 
next morning to get a glimpse of her. By some artifice or 
other he managed to secure an introduction a few days after, 
and the clasp of the neat-gloved hand she gave him completed 
his surrender. He wooed her timidly for a time, and she 
encouraged him to be bolder. At last, greatly daring, he 
invited her to tea and pictures, and she accepted graciously, 
almost eagerly he fancied. At a dance a week later he met 
her again, and she gave him ten dances, of which they sat 
out six. Of course Bernard went through all the emotions 
of first love. His feeling for Maud, he told himself, had been 
a mere piece of boyish sentimentality. This was different. 
Muriel troubled the very depths of his soul. His love for 
her was compounded of almost equal parts of passion and 
worship. Her image disturbed his sleep and truncated his 
meals. If he met her suddenly he trembled, his heart seemed 
to stop beating, and all the blood in his body rushed to the 
surface. When he talked to her his knees shook and his 
veins pulsated at his temples. She was the only girl in the 
world, he told himself, and marriage with her would be an 
eternity of bliss. So for many weeks he led a highly emotional 
existence. Yet it was only calf-love after all, short and 
fluttering. A tea or two, a walk or two, a dance or two, a 
kiss or two, and it was over. 

Now Bernard felt tremendously experienced. He knew 
woman. He had sounded her depths. He had tasted passion. 
He thought he had got to the end of these things and found 
them insipid, and he posed (to himself) as a slightly 
melancholy cynic. Tired of True Love he tried a flirtation. 
The girl he chose was an accomplished flirt ; they enjoyed 



DUBLIN 129 

each other's company for a while ; and all ended happily 
when they grew tired of each other -and parted. 

Not long after this he was at a dance. He was standing 
rather glumly in a corner fiddling with his program which 
was full of the names of newly introduced partners quite 
uninteresting people, when he became conscious that some- 
one was looking at him. He glanced round and saw a tall 
dark girl with red flowers in her hair gazing at him intently. 
He was not surprised, for he was quite aware of his own good 
looks, but he blushed, and, the music of the first dance 
striking up at that moment, he went to find his partner. 
He was conscious of the dark girl's observation all through 
the dance, and then, as if under a spell she had cast, began to 
take notice of her. Then he perceived with a surprising pang 
of disappointment that she had ceased to look round for him. 
For a time he was miserable. Then, later on, he caught her 
glancing in his direction once more. It was during an 
interval and her partner had left her. She stood beneath 
a palm, leaning alluringly against the wall. Stammering 
some excuse to his partner he plucked up all his courage and 
accosted her. They left their respective partners in the lurch 
and danced the next dance together, and when it was over 
they sought a retired spot to converse in. They talked freely 
and naturally together as if they had known each other for 
a long time, and the interval, usually a long-drawn-out tedium 
of ball room commonplaces, flashed by. Both made 
involuntary exclamations of disappointment when the music 
recommenced. 

" Need we ? " said Bernard. 

Her eyes answered him. They tore up their programs 
and the rest of the evening was undiluted joy. 

Bernard had cooled off considerably by the morning, 
and, when in the afternoon he met her in Stephen's Green 
stripped of the ball room's glamour, his ardour almost 
vanished. But there was no backwardness about Rose. 
She made no pretence to hide the attraction, she felt towards 
him, and this acted upon Bernard in two opposite ways. 
Partly the flattery of it attracted him : partly the fear of it 
repelled him. Altogether he was in a mixed state of mind. 
He wanted to be loved, but this love seemed too easily won. 
In this unstable condition of mind a sudden appreciation of 



130 THE WASTED ISLAND 

the beauty of her hair turned the scale. So began a curious 
affair in which Bernard perpetually vacillated between love 
and hate until the day when a particularly affectionate 
demonstration frightened him away for ever. . . . 

For a fleeting instant perplexing memories of Janet 
Morecambe recurred to him, only to pass rapidly away . . . 

Facial beauty had been the main attraction for Bernard 
up to this, but now he was to discover new symptoms in 
himself. In August he went with the family on its annual 
trip to the seaside. At the bathing-place one day he casually 
noticed a girl making her way down the strand to the water. 
He recognised her at once. She was a Miss Heuston 
Harrington who was staying with her mother at the same 
hotel as the Lascelles family. Their respective mothers 
were distantly acquainted, but Bernard had never met the 
daughter, the plainness of whose features had deterred him 
from going out of his way to seek an introduction. But now 
something in the way she balanced herself as her bare feet 
trod the shingle, something of sinuous grace in her figure, 
clad only in a simple bathing costume, caught his attention 
and he had his first appreciation of the beauty of the female 
form. Rose had been rather angular, Muriel slightly dumpy, 
yet he had not noticed it. Now Dora was a revelation. 
He found himself thinking of her graceful shape on the way 
home to lunch, and that afternoon as she sat on a bench in 
the hotel garden (they wore tight skirts in those days with a 
slit from hem to knee) he discovered new beauty in a well 
formed calf and ankle. He determined to get to know her 
by means of Alice. 

Alice was much amused when Bernard ingenuously 
requested her to make friends with Miss Heuston Harrington. 

" Why, you silly boy," she exclaimed, " she's not even 
pretty." 

" Love doesn't depend on beauty," said Bernard 
sententiously. (And all the time the hypocrite was dreaming 
of the afternoon's vision.) 

" Love ! " laughed Alice. " This is quick work. Never 
mind. I'll get her for you." 

And she did. 

The introduction produced a recrudescence of the 
symptoms Muriel had evoked in forrrucr days. Next day they 



DUBLIN 131 

met by appointment on the golf links. A foursome was 
arranged with Alice and Eugene ; and Bernard noticed with 
joy that she showed signs of satisfaction when it was decided 
that she should be his partner. His manoeuvres to secure 
her in subsequent matches were pathetically ingenious and 
transparently fraudulent, for Bernard was so much better a 
player than Eugene, and Dora was so much better than Alice, 
that the partnership between Bernard and his heart's desire 
was manifestly unfair. When his diplomacy failed poor 
Alice had to put up with a silent furious partner jealously 
glaring across the links to where Eugene seemed to be having 
extraordinarily intimate talks with the fair one. His golf 
too seemed to go to pieces on these occasions, so that Alice 
and he were usually beaten ten up and eight to play, when he 
went through feverish manoeuvres to prevent the playing of 
the bye. 

He never succeeded in making love to Dora. She seldom 
permitted him to be alone with her, but sometimes they 
conversed together in the garden in full view of the residents 
of the hotel. They talked about art and books and theatres 
and intellectual things generally, coldly and impersonally, 
and all the time Bernard was wishing he was rambling the 
country with her and helping her over streams and stiles. 

And August came to an end. 



During his second and third years in University College 
Bernard entered upon a new phase in his development. 
His appetite for light pleasures was already less keen and 
intellectual interests revived. The transition was slow 
however ; the enthusiasm which had rilled him in earlier 
days did not return, and a cold detached interest for a long 
time took its place. The college was a vast incoherence of 
half-expressed but stimulating thought ; mental energy was 
in the atmosphere ; and if the professors and lecturers were 
pedagogic and uninspiring the students were themselves a 
university. In the draughty and uncomfortable common- 
rooms, round the fireplace in the porter's lodge, on the front 
steps of the College and of the National Library they talked 
in groups. Everything in heaven and earth came up f o r 



132 THE WASTED ISLAND 

discussion : religion, politics, economics, philosophy, love, 
art, interspersed with horse-racing, cards, tobacco, athletics 
and dirty stones. And the debating societies were so different 
from that of Ashbury. Here there was no class creed to drop 
its fatuous yet incontrovertible dogmata like heavy weights 
upon the fine points of argument. There was no fore 
ordained verdict upon any subject of discussion however 
revolutionary. Even theology was not secure from the 
i nvestigations of these sons of the Church . Yet on the subject of 
Ireland Bernard still found accurate information unobtainable. 
The fiery optimism of Murray, the impatient logic of 
O'Dwyer, the gloomy pessimism of Moore had rent but small 
gaps in the veils of his ignorance, and now in University 
College the very fact that Nationalism was taken for granted 
and all Irish questions approached on that basis was a further 
bar to his advancement. His fellows put him down as a 
West Briton and left him at that. 

One day at the beginning of the October term Bernard 
encountered Felim O'Dwyer in the hall of the medical 
school. 

" Hello ! " he said. " You taking up medicine ? " 

" Looks like it, doesn't it ? " said O'Dwyer. " Coming up 
Graf ton Street ? " 

Bernard said he was and they set out together by Crow 
Street, Dame Street, and Trinity Street. 

" Yes. I'm starting medicine," said O'Dwyer, " and I 
wish to the devil I wasn't." 

' Then why do it ? " 

" I've a Roman father," said O'Dwyer, " with whom there's 
no disputing." 

" Father's are a curse," exclaimed Bernard. " They seem 
to think their sons are their property." 

[< Yes. When they're young. And sort of old age pensions 
later on. I hate my father." 

' That's natural instinct in the young male," said Bernard. 
" I don't care much for mine." 

' This stunt of making every available man a doctor is 
going to be the ruin of this unfortunate country," went on 
O'Dwyer. " It's rotten economics. We can't live by curing 
one another's diseases. In Ireland every farmer and business 
man puts one son into the Church another into medicine 



DUBLIN 133 

and hands the farm or the business over to the third usually 
the fool of the family. Then the people who are already 
doctors won't let their sons sink any lower and make doctors 
or lawyers of them all. Result an Irish doctor on every ship 
that sails the seas and in every town in England, while 
Ireland goes steadily downhill for lack of brains and business 
ability." 

" I thought," said Bernard with a smile, " that it was 
British government was Ireland's ruin." 

"So it is. It's British government that creates the 
conditions that lead to this." 

" You're a monomaniac, O'Dwyer," said Bernard. 

" Maybe so. But even a monomaniac may speak the 
truth." 

In Grafton Street Bernard was surprised to see Fergus 
Moore, whom he had not met since their visit to Willoughby 
Towers, coming towards them. He stopped Moore and 
introduced him to O'Dwyer. The three immediately 
adjourned to the nearest tea-shop, where Bernard asked 
Moore what he intended doing in Dublin. 

" I've finished with Oxford," said Moore, and I'm going 
to take a post graduate course in Philosophy in the National." 

" Good. We're Nationals too . . . Medicals . . . And 
by the way, what's your present philosophy of life ? " 

" Much the same as ever. In theory I'm a revolutionary 
but in practice I'm a hedonist." 

" And what form does your hedonism take ? " 

" Free Love," said Moore. 

" Good Lord ! " said Bernard and O'Dwyer in one breath. 

" Don't be startled. I don't mean promiscuity. I said 
Free Love." 

" Where's the difference ? " 

" All the difference in the world, my dear boy. Free Love 
is based on the doctrine that cohabitation without love is 
immoral. In other words that most marriages automatically 
become immoral after a few years. Free Lovers cohabit 
as long as love lasts and not a minute longer." 

" If I wasn't an orthodox Catholic," said Bernard, " I 
might be disposed to favour that doctrine. It's most 
attractive. But what of the children ? " 

" I hadn't considered that aspect yet," said Moore. " It's 



134 THE WASTED ISLAND 

certainly a difficulty. That is," he added, " under present 
economic conditions." 

" Present economic conditions," said Bernard, " are 
responsible for the whole of the modern sex problem. 
Physiologically we ought to marry at twenty. Economically 
we can't manage it till thirty. Is ten years of voluntary 
suppression of a physiological function that's as natural as 
eating and sleeping good for a man ? Is it even possible ? 
Half the fellows I've met I know to be unchaste (pro- 
miscuously too) and the other half I don't know about. 
Well, suppression is an evil ; prostitution an abomination. 
Early marriage is impossible owing to the present economic 
system. Therefore the present economic system must be 
abolished." 

" Very well," said Moore, " and what happens then ? 
Hasty marriages of young people who fancy they're in love 
ending in lives of unhappiness or conjugal infidelity. Those 
conditions would be as bad as the present, if not worse." 

" The majority of healthy minded people will always be 
content with monogamy. You can't legislate for exceptions. 
Besides, even an increase in conjugal infidelity is better 
than prostitution. I've really only one fixed belief in this 
matter, and that is that the purpose of sex is to produce 
children, therefore man's personal comfort must come 
secondary to the welfare of the .children. Children require 
family life. Therefore, to hell with Free Love." 

* Family life," said Moore, " is all very well for creature 
comforts, but it's ruinous to the mind." 

" Ruin the mind in youth and it'll recover. Ruin the body 
and it won't. Look at me. I was brought up to be a Tory 
Imperialist and Capitalist, and you see before you a 
Cosmopolitan Socialist." 

" Here's to family life : " said O'Dwyer, finishing his tea. 

' There was a young fellow called Lascel 
Deserted the fold of the Castle. 

While Fergus O 'Moore 

Succumbed to the lure 
Of Omar, wine, women, and wassail. 

<f Why don't you clap ? " he asked. " That was 
extempore." 



DUBLIN 135 

" I hate the way you twist my name to suit your beastly 
verses," said Bernard. 

" Poetic licence," said O'Dwyer. 

" Licence verging on obsession," retorted Bernard. 

A cadaverous individual in the distance at this moment 
waved a salutation to Moore who beckoned him over to their 
table. Moore introduced him to his friends as Austin 
Mallow. 

" Had you a brother, called Brian, at Ashbury ? " asked 
Bernard. 

" Yes. Did you know him ? " 

" Slightly." 

Austin Mallow was a contrast to his burly brother. He 
was very lean and his shoulders stooped. There was a 
strange unnatural brightness in his sunken brown eyes. 

" Mr. Mallow and Mr. O'Dwyer," said Moore, " you are 
each meeting a fellow-poet." 

The poets bowed to each other. 

" If you can call O'Dwyer a poet at all," interjected 
Bernard. 

O'Dwyer cast a look of scorn at Bernard. 

"Pooh ! You've no sense of humour," he said, "or criticism 
either. You always resent the impertinence of my verses, 
while you ought to be admiring the mind of the person who 
made them." 

" How old are you, O'Dwyer ? " said Bernard. 

" Eighteen." 

" If you're not careful you'll develop the artistic 
temperament." 

" Artistic temperament me neck ! I can express all I 
think." 

" A grave deficiency," said Austin. 

" Not if you think the things I think." 

" Personally," said Austin, " I think a lot more than I can 
express." 

" That doesn't prove that your thoughts are anything 
wonderful. It merely means that your powers of expression 
are deficient." 

" Nothing of the sort," said Austin dogmatically. " There 
are thoughts that cannot possibly be put into words. Words 
a re finite and thoughts infinite." 



136 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" If I ever thought anything I couldn't express I'd be 
afraid," said O'Dwyer. 

" Of what ? " 

" Lunacy." 

" To the common mind inspiration is often mistaken for 
lunacy." 

" Yes. And I've heard of lunacy being mistaken for 
inspiration." 

" I don't see the point of that remark," said Austin, calm 
but furious. 

" Well, have some tea," said Moore, and so diverted the 
conversation to safer courses. 

When Austin after a hurried tea excused himself and went 
away, O'Dwyer asked : 

" Has that fellow a slate loose ? " 

" I often think so," said Moore. " He's one of these 
mystics. And in politics he's a martyromaniac." 

" What's that ? " 

" Thinks that the only way to redeem Ireland from her 
present slough of respectability is to get a half dozen heroes 
to attack the Castle with their naked fists and get hanged. 
Robert Emmet stunt, you know. ' One man must die for 
the people.' ' 

" What infernal rubbish," said Bernard. 

" Not so hasty ! " said O'Dwyer. " It's not my line, 
but there's something to be said for it all the same." 

" Well," said Moore, " I must say I see very little sense 
in dying for this tuppenny hapenny country. Her case is 
hopeless. She's never made an effort that didn't fail, mainly 
owing to her own stupidity. Her finest men have wasted 
themselves in useless endeavour, and to-day after seven 
centuries of bondage, she's as far from freedom as ever. 
The fact is, the country's in a vicious circle of hopelessness. 
She can't be free till she's educated, and she can't be educated 
till she's free." 

" I've eliminated the word * can't ' from my vocabulary," 
said O'Dwyer. " All things are possible." 

" Ah well," said Moore resignedly, " I waver perpetually 
between two verses of Omar : the one about : 

But leave the wise to wrangle, and with me 
The quarrel of the universe let be ; 






DUBLIN 137 

etcetera, and the one that ends : 

Would we not shatter it to bits and then 
Remould it nearer to the heart's desire. 

Have a cigarette ? " 

A few days after this Bernard came upon Crowley holding 
forth in his half serious half flippant way to O'Dwyer, 
Manders and another man called Lynch on the steps of the 
college. 

" The Union," said Crowley, " made Ireland John 
Bull's unwilling and downtrodden wife. Home Rule will 
merely make her his fractious concubine. Sanity and 
decency require that Cathleen should seek a divorce." 

" Metaphors don't mean anything," said Lynch. " Home 
Rule, whatever you say, is common sense and practical 
politics." 

" Not this footling clumsy makeshift of a Home Rule bill 
anyway," said O'Dwyer. " What on earth made the Party 
accept such thrash ? " 

" I think it's a damn good bill," said Lynch. 

" Have you read it ? " 

" Well in a summary." 

" Well go and read the damn thing through before you 
have the assurance to support it. I'll bet ninety nine people 
out of a hundred who've accepted the bill with shrieks of 
joy haven't taken the trouble to read it." 

" Would you have the whole country read the bill right 
through ? " 

" Of course. What the hell else would they do ? Isn't 
it to decide their whole future ? " 

" What John Redmond takes is good enough for me. 
You separatists are such unpractical dreamers." 

" What cliche ! What self-satisfied humbug ! Unprac- 
tical indeed ! Surely it's more practical to trust to your own 
right arm, however weak it may be, than to the pledges of 
English politicians ? The kind of dreamer who does that 
gets let down every time." 

Here Crowley grinned. 

" Like the man who trusts to the buttons on ready-made 
trousers," he suggested. 



138 



THE WASTED ISLAND 



" But look here," interposed Manders, " this theorising's 
all very well, but how does it work out in practice ? An 
odd fizzle of rebellion, and then an era of strong government. 
Constitutionalism has got us some very tangible advantages." 

" Perhaps. But Nationally it leaves us at a standstill," 
said O'Dwyer. 

" O, Nationality ! Nationality ! " said Manders im- 
patiently. " I hate the very sound of the word. What 
does it mean anyway ? 

" Now, look here," said Crowley suddenly, " I know you're 
relying on our making some sort of sentimental reply to that. 
But we'll disappoint you. Independence means that we 
won't have to spill our blood or spend our money in England's 
wars. Isn't that a practical enough argument for anyone 
. . . especially for a pacifist like you ? " 

" My dear Crowley," said Manders suavely, " small nations 
are things of the past. European history is a history 
of consolidation. Little states were found to be a nuisance 
and got swallowed up, and the time is approaching when 
the whole world will be federated and this nonsensical idea 
of patriotism which has created all the wars that have 
devastated the world will disappear. Well, in the British 
Empire we have a great world federation already in being, 
which will be the model for the federation of the rest of the 
world. We're given the opportunity to be a free part of it, 
and yet you'd separate us from it and add one more to the 
muddle of flags and frontiers that makes the world so 
confused and quarrelsome." 

" Yes," interjected O'Dwyer hastily. " If we're ever to 
join that confederation we must leave it first and then, if we 
like, join it by negotiation as with an equal. We've always 
denied England's right to legislate for us, so what right can 
she have to settle our place and rights in the confederation ? 
You're a logical man, Manders. Can't you see that if we 
once grant England's right to give us self-government we 
also grant her right to take it away ? Our whole case logically 
rests on our natural right to independence." 

" Yes. But politics aren't logical." 

" When your case is logical it's dangerous to use illogical 
methods. They recoil on you in the end." 

' There's a nice bit of goods " said Crowley suddenly 



DUBLIN 139 

as a girl undergraduate passed by, leaning forward against 
the wind, hat flapping and skirts fluttering. 

" Queer how the eternal feminine will distract us from any 
topic however interesting," said O'Dwyer looking after the 
girl's receding figure. 

" Not in Crowley's case/' put in Bernard. " I know what 
you were hoping for," he said to Crowley. "You must be 
one of Max Nordau's degenerates." 

" Perhaps I am," said Crowley, not at all disturbed. 
" But what harm ? We're a mixed lot, all of us. 
Bribery couldn't lure me to serve England, and yet I can't 
resist the lure of a petticoat. The kindest hearted man I 
ever knew was a drunkard and a thief, and the most honour- 
able was a tyrannical bigot. We're all streaked and crossed. 
Look at McGurk. He spends his days serving Cathieen ni 
Houlihan at 6, Harcourt Street, and his nights with Kitty 
Hoolahan of Tyrone Street." 

" Here, less o' that ! " said McGurk indignantly. " I 
sometimes give Kitty a night off." 

" I wonder, McGurk," said Bernard, " if in the exuber- 
ance of your spirits on these occasions you ever consider the 
other side of that question. Does it never occur to you that 
you're merely taking advantage of conditions imposed by 
the existing social system?" 

" Ah, galong with yer preaching !" said McGurk. 

Here O'Dwyer, whose eyes had assumed the introspective 
look of composition, began to recite : 

" There was a young fellow called Crowley 
Whose desires were not wholly unholy . . ." 

Thereat politics were by general consent dropped and they 
set themselves to the serious task of completing the Limerick. 
Those two years seemed to be punctuated by talks such as 
these : crude wrangling arguments about generalities, 
degenerating as often as not into ribaldry. Then came the 
passage of the Home Rule Bill through the British House of 
Commons and its rejection a little later by the Lords. Lynch 
and Manders and Home Rulers generally were in no wise 
perturbed by this. Under the Parliament Act, they pointed 
out, the Lords could no longer reject but only delay a measure 



140 THE WASTED ISLAND 

to which they objected. Then came that shock of reality 
in politics, the foundation of the Ulster Volunteers. Lynch 
foamed with rage at the event and groaned over this 
* violation of constitutional principles.' Less orthodox 
Home Rulers felt afraid that this complication might give 
the Liberals an excuse to violate their pledges, but O'Dwyer, 
Crowley, and McGurk looked upon the movement with 
unmixed joy. 

" Who said Ulster was loyal ? " asked O'Dwyer. " That's 
the way to treat a British Government. . . . Bully it." 

" What price physical force now ? " said Crowley. " Let 
the U.I.L. chaunt a quanta patimur." 

" All I can say," said McGurk, " is that Carson must be 
the hell of a bloody fine leader. Wish to God he was on 
our side." 



Bernard's coming of age was celebrated with venison and 
pops of Sillery. Sir Eugene shone his brightest in the char- 
acter of host, and Lady Lascelles chatted amiably at the 
foot of the table. All the Harvey's were present and the 
Heuston Harringtons, and Bernard to his joy had Dora by 
his side. Of his College friends he had invited only Crowley 
and O'Dwyer, and their conversation was really the life of 
the party. Crowley's urbane wit, with its quaint spicing of 
classical quotations and long winded periphrasis was no less 
delightful for being expurgated ; and O'Dwyer talked 
alternate nonsense and philosophy until his hearers found 
distinction difficult. Fergus Moore, who was also present, 
made little contribution to the conversation beyond an 
occasional bitter interjection into O'Dwyer's philosophising. 
Teddy Conroy, a Trinity man and a friend of Eugene's, was 
another guest. Near to him sat Eugene himself, jealously 
eyeing Bernard's obvious happiness, and comparing his 
innumerable successful light love affairs with his own hopeless 
devotion, now nearly two years old, to Conroy's sister. 
Eugene's younger brother Sandy, just home from school 
seemed completely monopolised by Mabel, the youngest of 
the Harveys. It was a brilliant and successful party. 



DUBLIN 141 

Two days later Sir Eugene came to Bernard's room with 
an opened letter in his hand. 

" I'm sorry, Bernard," he said. " I opened this without 
noticing the envelope." 

" Don't mention it," said Bernard. His father's cor- 
respondence was so large that the mistake was of common 
occurrence. 

In the envelope Bernard found a letter and an enclosure. 
The letter was from a well-known Dublin solicitor asking 
for an interview in connection with the contents of the 
enclosure, to which Bernard now turned his attention. It 
was an envelope addressed simply : 

Bernard Lascelf.es, Esq. 

and in one corner was written : to be opened on his twenty- 
first birthday. The writing was strange to Bernard and it 
had evidently been written a long time ago, for the ink was 
bleached and the envelope itself showed unmistakeable 
signs of age. Bernard opened it and took out the following 
letter : 

yd January, 1899. 
My dear Bernard, 

If ever you read this letter you will be reading the words of a 
dead man, for I am starting out on an enterprise which may 
cost me my life. What little money I have I am leaving by will 
to you, my godson. It will not be enough to live on, for which 
I am glad, as I should not like to encourage you to live an idle 
life (not that I think you would ever want to), but you will 
find it a help in the early struggling years in whatever profession 
you take up. Mr. Murchison, my friend and solicitor, will give 
you full particulars. 

Pray for me. 

Your affectionate Uncle, 

CHRISTOPHER REILLY. 

Bernard sat pondering over the letter for a long time. 
Memories of his kind clever handsome uncle passed before 
his mind's eye. A question suddenly sprang up within 
him : 

" I wonder what became of Cuchulain ? " 



142 THE WASTED ISLAND 

He returned to the letter again. It was written in a very 
small hand, sloping backwards, an unusual hand. 

" Not the sort of writing I'd have expected from Uncle 
Chris," he commented to himself. " Well, now for Mr. 
Murchison." 

8 

Bernard's favourite sport was yachting. He was a member of 
a small club at Kingstown and was one of the crew of three who 
sailed Fergus Moore's yacht in the frequent races and regattas 
of the summer. To possess a craft of his own was his highest 
ambition, as it is of all true seamen, and his uncle's benefic- 
ence gave him the opportunity to gratify it. He expended 
the whole of his first quarter's income on a little half-decked 
yacht, and in it he explored by himself the w r hole of Dublin 
Bay, and sometimes sailed down the coast to Wicklow and up 
to Malahide. Sailing is a pastime that satisfies every mood. 
He rejoiced in the exhilaration of a battle with stiff breezes 
that lashed him with spray while the hard green water 
crunched under his lee timbers : and again when the breeze 
was light and the sun shining he would heave to and lie for 
hours in tranquil enjoyment. 

Meanwhile College life pursued its accustomed way. 
Those of Bernard's friends who were taking courses shorter 
than medicine qualified and passed out. The first to go was 
Jack Harvey, who, having obtained his B.A., was given a 
post as tutor to the son of the Russian consul. (His mother 
never tired thereafter of talking of " my son in the Russian 
Diplomatic Service.") Next year Manders was called to the 
Bar, and Molloy set up as a solicitor. Mallow still remained 
as a * chronic ' engineer, and Moore never seemed tired of 
taking out new courses. 

If Bernard's politics still remained in a state of flux Moore 
was to a large extent responsible. His pessimistic outlook 
on life exercised a strange fascination over his younger friend. 
A conversation in College would turn Bernard's opinions 
definitely Nationalist, and then Moore would come out with 
a torrent of obloquy and abuse for the Irish character 
scarcely less vehement than his philippics against England 
against which Bernard, destitute of O'Dwyer's knowledge 



DUBLIN 143 

of facts and ultimate causes, could make no defence, and came 
almost to consider that his country was not worth saving. 
And if he expressed a desire to read Irish History and so form 
an opinion of his own, Moore always said : 

" Don't. It's too horrible. It'll only embitter your life 
as it did mine." 

Many and varied were the conversations they held at this 
time on the steps of the College on Stephens Green. One 
day Brian Mallow in his truculent way was inveighing against 
a recent production of the Shadow of the Glen at the Abbey 
and was supported by a man called Mullery, an enthusiastic 
member of the then discredited Sinn Fein following. 
Moore had been listening in patience for a while and then 
burst out with characteristic scorn and heat : 

" What idiot ever called the Irish an intelligent people ? 
The Greek's didn't think GEdipus Tyrranus accused them 
all of incest. The Scots didn't think 'Macbeth accused them 
all of murder. The English didn't think Lear accused them 
of lack of family feeling. Yet we Irish fly into a rage over a 
play that contains an unchaste Irishwoman just as if it was a 
reflection on the whole race. It's simply absurd ! " 

" The play's a libel on Irishwomen," said Mullery. 

" A hellish libel," reiterated Mallow. " Only a cynical 
West Briton like Moore could put up with it." 

" Have sense," said O'Dwyer. " I'm no West Briton, as 
you ought to know, and I agree with Moore. It's quite 
true that we Irish are an exceptionally chaste people, but 
we've no business to jump to the conclusion that an unchaste 
Irishwoman is an impossibility. . . . Statistics alone should 
prevent that." 

" What statistics ? " said Mullery. 

" The illegitimacy statistics." 

" They're lower than in any other country." 

" Yes. Because the priests make the people marry when 
consequences become inevitable." 

" Rot," said Mallow. " It's our chastity." 

" That talk about the chastity of Irishwomen," said Moore, 
" is the damnedest nonsense ever heard. Look at the streets 
of Dublin." 

" Cities are exceptional," said Mullery. 



H4 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" And most of the women are foreigners," said Mallow. 

" Prove it," said Moore. 

" Irishwomen are chaste," repeated Mallow dogmatically. 

Here McGurk, who had not yet spoken, burst into ribald 
mirth. 

" Chaste me neck ! " he said. " I never had any difficulty 
with them." 

At this Mullery and Mallow walked off in disgust. 

" The worst fault of us Irish," said Moore, " is our vanity 
and objection to criticism or satire. The English on the 
other hand are so self-satisfied that satire doesn't affect them 
at alL I wonder which is the worse way to be." 

" In our case," said O'Dwyer, " it isn't our own fault. 
It's the re-action to England's calumny." 

" But for sheer national truculence," said Moore, " Mallow 
and the * Morning Post ' are at one." 

The Labour troubles just then beginning were a frequent 
subject of discussion among the students, and here Bernard 
had definite views and was a prominent disputant. He was 
amazed to find that the revolutionaries on the National issue, 
Mallow, Mullery and others, were reactionaries on this 
point. But there were differences amongst them. Mallow 
held strongly ultramontane views and based his attacks on 
labour on clerical arguments, whereas Mullery was rather 
annoyed to find the priests, those determined enemies of 
his adored Fenians, on his side, and confined his opposition 
to the international doctrines of the leaders. Of the actual 
economic conditions which were responsible for the trouble 
all the young doctrinaires were comparatively ignorant, 
and their arguments were generally on principles and general- 
ities and as often as not went in a circle " People don't 
undergo the losses and hardships of a strike for nothing," 
was Bernard's usual argument. " Strikers are not always 
in the right, but you will generally be on the safe side in 
assuming that they are." He was glad to find that O'Dwyer 
was on the revolutionary side in this matter, and their former 
friendship, so rudely broken at Ashbury, began to revive. 



DUBLIN 145 



It was through Eugene, who was now in Trinity College, 
that Bernard became acquainted with Fred Heuston 
Harrington and through him with his mother. Bernard 
had dropped in to Eugene's rooms in Trinity and found 
Harrington there. He was a nice young man, good-looking 
and polished, but not particularly intelligent, and Bernard 
cultivated his acquaintance at once in the hope of meeting 
again his sister Dora whom he had not seen for several months. 

About this period Bernard began for the first time in his 
life to know his brother. Since they had first gone to school 
they had always been separated, and moreover Eugene's 
mental development was not only actually but relatively 
slower than Bernard's, which rendered companionship 
between them impossible. Now it was different. At 
twenty years of age Eugene had a definite philosophy and 
definite politics and was a capable, if not a brilliant, con- 
troversialist. Friendship with O'Dwyer had, in his last 
years at Ashbury, made him a Nationalist, but with inborn 
sentiments for the British connexion which O'Dwyer's 
sarcasms failed to eradicate. The brothers bore little resem- 
blance one to the other. Eugene was pious gentle and 
unobtrusive ; Bernard quite the reverse. Eugene's manner 
was courteous and dignified ; while Bernard's good breeding 
barely concealed his natural rudeness and impatience. 
Eugene's polished conversation contrasted strongly with 
Bernard's jerky argumentative manner, and his voice, calm 
and well-modulated, was more pleasing to the ear than 
Bernard's, which in moments of excitement became high- 
pitched and raucous. Eugene's dress was inexpensive yet 
neat ; Bernard's extravagant yet untidy. Bernard was 
lean and sinewy with narrow loins, and broad shoulders ; 
his head was large, with brown hair straggling over his fine 
broad brow ; he had deep-set blue eyes and strong cream 
coloured teeth irregularly set in his square hard jaw. 
Eugene's limbs were almost feminine in their roundness ; 
his face was almost chubby, his teeth white and even, and 
his hair black, sleek, and carefully brushed. 



146 THE WASTED ISLAND 

When they had discovered each other's politics Eugene 
said : 

" What'll the governor say when he finds out ? He hates 
Socialists, but Nationalists are anathema." 

" He'll never find out," replied Bernard. " It would 
never occur to him that we could be such fools as to differ 
from him." 

" Still hankering after Dora ? " inquired Eugene. 

" More or less," Bernard admitted. 

" I must wring an invitation out of Fred," said Eugene. 

" Decent chap," said Bernard. 

" Don't mention it. You'd do the same for me I'm sure." 

It was not long before Bernard and Eugene were invited 
by Fred to one of his mother's at-homes. Mrs. Houston 
Harrington was the widow of a well known literary and art 
critic, and though her natural taste for these things was 
small it had been highly cultivated by intercourse with her 
husband. Her intellectual reputation was great and to her 
at-homes foregathered hosts of unknown and rising people 
in the artistic world. Here they chattered and sipped tea 
and smoked cigarettes and posed and strutted and flattered 
each other, and Mrs. Heuston Harrington moved about 
among them feeling like a modern Aspasia or Madame de 
Stael. 

On Bernard's first visit the room was crowded with guests 
and he had no opportunity of speaking to his hostess. How- 
ever he made the acquaintance of one young man who 
interested and amused him. He was a poet named Edwin 
D'Arcy who had published one very slender volume and 
neglected his hair and cultivated his tie on the strength of 
it. He talked feelingly of art and his own temperament 
most of the evening and presented Bernard with a copy of 
his book Earth Songs which he happened to have in his 
pocket. Bernard glanced through it at home that evening 
and found it full of Mist, Purple, Dreams, and Visions, and 
of invocations to Love and My Soul. 

Dora vouchsafed him only a word or two on this occasion 
and made him very jealous by ostentatiously cultivating 
D'Arcy. However on a subsequent visit she gave him her 
undivided attention, and confided to him that she simply 
hated D'Arcy, he was such a conceited young ass. Bernard 



DUBLIN 147 

fondly imagined that she was trying to allay his jealousy and 
make up for her former treatment, but Dora was really 
speaking the literal tnith and was seeking Bernard's society 
simply because she found him interesting. While the other 
guests walked about and chattered Bernard and Dora sat 
in a corner deep in conversation. From the usual prelim- 
inaries about books and plays they came at length to solider 
subjects. Bernard confessed to unorthodox religious views 
and Dora announced that she was an agnostic. 

" I've never been baptised," she said. " You see, father 
was always an agnostic and mother soon became one. 
Religion has its good points, I'm sure, but I'm glad I haven't 
any. It leaves your mind so much freer." 

" I'm not sure that it does," said Bernard. " Any more 
than lawlessness would make your body freer." 

" But all these religious dogmas are so narrowing. They 
stop all freedom of thought." 

;t Freedom of thought isn't necessarily and intrinsically 
a good thing. Suppose for a minute that some particular 
thing is true. Take anything as an example : transubstan- 
tiation, say. I know you don't believe in it, but grant it 
true for the sake of argument." 

"Very well." 

[< Then, if it's true, and your claim for freedom of thought 
allows you to disbelieve it, and my bondage to religion makes 
me believe it, surely I'm better off than you in possessing 
the truth." 

" But how are we to believe that religion itself is true ? " 

" Ah, there we come to the fundamentals, and its in fun- 
damentals that my own doubt exist. But on the whole, 
my love of order, justice, and good government makes me 
accept an omnipotent God expressing his will through an 
infallible church." 

" Well, I'm for ficedom of thought. How can you hope 
to attain to any comprehension of the universe if there are things 
you must accept whether you like it or not ? I don't see 
myself being dictated to by clergymen as to what I'm to 
think or not to think. I can't understand how a person 
like you could submit to being forbidden to read anything 
you like by these Index people." 

"Well, I'm afraid I don't bother very much about the Index." 



148 THE WASTED ISLAND 

A little later the topic of Home Rule cropped up. 

" I think it's awful nonsense," said Dora. " This country 
simply couldn't govern itself. It would be on the rocks in 
a month." 

" How do you make that out ? " 

" Why, it's obvious." 

" In what way ? " 

" I can't tell you much about it, because I'm no politican. 
I just know it. Everyone with any sense knows it." 

" I thought you didn't like dogmas," said Bernard. 
" And here you take for granted the opinions of politicians 
and journalists who have far less claim to knowledge and 
disinterestedness than priests have in religion. I can see 
it didn't take any index to prevent you reading the opposite 
side in the controversy." 

" I don't take any interest in politics anyway," said Dora 
huffily. 

" Then why dogmatise about them ? " 

" Let's talk of something else," said Dora, and brought 
back the conversation to literature again. 

" Poor narrow little mind," thought Bernard, " that 
thinks itself so big. Instead of stuffing your head with ideas 
it was too small to hold you'd have been better employed 
in using that graceful figure of yours to secure a mate and 
populate the world. Comprehend the universe, indeed ! 
Why you're too small even to wonder at it." 

How hollow her intellectuality now appeared. To the 
note of revolt that sounds through the major part of all great 
literature she was absolutely deaf. She professed to admire 
Shakespeare, but heard not his cry of universal chanty and 
brotherhood. She professed to admire Dickens, but re- 
sponded not to his pleading for the poor and down trodden. 
She professed to admire Dostoieffsky but was not moved to 
any indignation against autocratic tyranny. She professed 
an overwhelming admiration for Shaw but his plea for clarity 
of thinking and ruthless reasoning, and the social philosophy 
which was the very essence of the man meant nothing to her. 
In Shakespeare she saw only a supreme dramatist and master 
of poetic diction ; in Dickens only a great creator of char- 
acters ; in Dostoieffsky only a grimly tragic story teller ; in 



DUBLIN 149 

Shaw only a clever comedian. It was all she had been told 
to see. 

She mentioned Keats' Isabella as a favourite poem, and 
Bernard quoted the fierce attack on Capitalism in the stanza 
beginning : 

For them the Ceylon diver held his breath, 
And went all naked to the hungry shark. 

Her only comment was to the effect that ' noisy factories ' 
was not a very poetic phrase. 

They wound up with small-talk, and Bernard found that 
this was what suited her best. She abused this person's hat 
and that person's dress, someone else's manners and yet 
another person's pedigree. In fine, she exposed in its 
entirety the native conventionalism of her mind. To 
Bernard it was a revelation. He obtained an insight into 
her soul, for the smallness of which not even her body's 
grace could compensate. 

(I am afraid, ladies, that you are getting a little impatient 
of the facility with which our hero falls in and out of love. 
" Surely," you say, " that is not usual in a young man. Our 
own sweethearts have told us they never loved before." 
Mesdemoiselles in loving- kindness they deceive you. They 
would spare you the pangs of jealousy retrospective, which 
is the worst kind of jealousy. We men are all alike, and 
Bernard is one of us.) 

On yet another visit he had a short colloquy with Dora's 
mother. At first she talked, in her facile clever way, of books 
and music, and Bernard could see whence came Dora's 
opinions. He succeeded eventually in drawing her to 
politics, and the admirer of Shelley and Shaw spoke thus : 

" These labour troubles are a frightful nuisance don't you 
think. Why on earth can't the workers be reasonable ? 
These people, like that awful man Larkin, coming along and 
stirring up discontent they ought to be shot. . . . But 
don't let's talk politics In my opinion they're the real curse 
of this country. How I wish we could get away from them, 
but people drag them in everywhere. . . . Now, what 
do you think of this. I'm trying to run some concerts in 
the winter and we've got a mixed committee together to 



150 THE WASTED ISLAND 

manage them. . . . Well, the whole business is held up 
at present because some of the Nationalists on it object to 
having God Save the King played at the end." 

" Well, isn't it a political act on your side to insist on 
having it ? " 

" Oh, nonsense. The King is above politics." 

" But the Nationalist point of view is that they won't 
recognize the King until what they consider their rights are 
restored to them." 

"But that's disloyalty." 

" Not from their point of view/* 

" They've no right to have such a point of view," said the 
apostle of freedom of thought. 

Then she passed on to other subjects. She gave her 
opinions on various Dublin personalities, and her opinions 
were almost invariably uncomplimentary. One person was 
a fool, another a knave, another not a gentleman. Then she 
moved on to another guest. 

Bernard found himself next to Edwin D'Arcy again and 
tried to sound him on the subject of the strike. 

" Oh ! " said the poet mellifluously, " I think these affairs 
are beneath the artist's attention." 

" I say, Eugene," said Bernard as the brothers left the 
house, " Mrs. Heuston Harrington is a treat. I'd like to 
put her in a novel, only people would say she's too con- 
tradictory to be true to life. Do you know that she believes 
in palmistry, and yet she considers our religion superstition ? 
I think she's the clearest vindication of Pope's rather question- 
able line about a little learning being a dangerous thing. 
She fancies herself to be tremendously broadminded, so she 
professes agnosticism as a revolt against the narrowness of 
dogma, and at the same time her whole system of politics 
is a collection of the silliest little old-fashioned dogmas you 
ever heard. It's all ' Agitators ought to be hanged,' and 
' Socialism is nonsense,' and * the present Social system is 
inevitable and quite good enough,' and ' the Irish are so 
disloyal/ and, God help her, ' England is a free country/ 
Why, her very agnosticism is dogmatic. Christianity 
preaches, on excellent grounds, the dogma of the Virgin 
Birth of Christ, and Mrs. Agnostic, on no grounds at all, 
simply trots out the dogma that it's impossible." 



DUBLIN 151 

Eugene was never quick on the uptake. 

'* Your own faith isn't so good that you can complain of 
other peopk," he said. 

Bernard gasped with that helpless feeling that always 
came over him when he failed to make himself clear to slower 
witted people. It was the principal barrier between him and 
his mother and Eugene. Time was when he had made 
attempts to cross it, but he never succeeded in doing any- 
thing but exasperate himself and earn a reputation for rude- 
ness and ill temper. Now he had learnt by experience and 
always took refuge, as here, in silence. 

At Fred's solicitation they visited the house frequently 
again. 

" I say, Eugene," said Bernard after one such occasion, 
" At one time I couldn't see much in Christianity's praise 
of the virtue of humility, but I do now. Ten minutes of 
conversation with Mrs. Heuston Harrington have done more 
than a life time of Christian teaching to show me the real 
beauty of Christ's words : ' Blessed are the poor in spirit,' 
and ' Blessed are the meek.' Henceforth I'm a Christian." 

" It's taken you a long time to get back to the faith you 
were born in," said Eugene. 

" I think it's better to have doubted and returned than 
never to have doubted at all," was Bernard's reply, and 
Eugene prayed for his faith in the night. 

10 

For all his re-awakening revolutionary ardour Bernard 
consented to go to the Castle. Partly it was because his 
father and mother desired it, partly it was because he enjoyed 
any kind of festivity, and partly it was because he was always 
glad to get new experiences. Moreover Alice was to make 
her d6but that season and she prettily implored him to be 
a spectator of her glory. At any rate he went. 

The Drawing-Room was a brilliant affair. The Lascelles 
motor took its place in the queue of vehicles leading to the 
Upper Castle Yard. It was a strange motley queue. The 
more prosperous courtiers came in private motors, from 
gorgeous landaulettes to battered two-seaters, while the 
less fortunate ones came in hired cabs, looking as they sat 



152 THE WASTED ISLAND 

in their finery in these dingy equipages for all the world like 
diamonds set in tarnished pewter. The queue moved at a 
snail's pace and for the best part of an hour these seekers 
after place and pleasure had to endure cramp and tedium. 
To many however the wondering gaze of the poor women 
and urchins of Cork Hill and the neighbourhood, and the 
salutes of the white-gloved constables on duty were ample 
recompense. 

Dublin Castle is at once the most sinister and the most 
ridiculous feature in Irish life. It is the centre and strong- 
hold of foreign domination and the playhouse of native 
snobbery. In its dungeons Ireland's noblest children have 
languished; in its drawing rooms her meanest and pettiest 
have simpered. And to-day it holds within its walls a sham 
meaningless tawdry court attended by the silliest narrowest 
and most servile people on the face of the earth. 

There were knights in scores and would-be knights in 
hundreds, with here and there an odd baronet or a stray 
viscount. Among the throng you could distinguish Sir 
Perry Tifflytis who had preserved a Viceroy's useless cousin 
to cumber the earth, and Mr. Bonegraft who hoped for an 
opportunity to do the same. Not far off was Sir Tomkins 
Tidbit who got knighted by mistake owing to a relative 
having charge of the honours list. He was engaged in con- 
versation with Sir Everard Back wood, better known as the 
Lord Mayor of Ballygutter, who had had the good fortune 
to be chairman of the council of that municipality during a 
royal visit. Looking rather bashful and out of place was the 
uncouth form of Sir Cornelius O'Tractor skulking behind a 
pillar. He had been knighted as a reward for bringing a 
'loyalist' motion before the Corporation and he found present 
company just a little oppressive. In another corner was Mr. 
Whitelead who hoped to get the contract for repainting St. 
Patrick's Hall and was taking even now a mental estimate of 
the cost. And then there were the knights who had got 
their titles no one knew how, and those whose gallant deeds 
were lost in the mist of legend. And among this bevy of 
Sirs strolled the baronets and the viscount serenely aloof 
and contemptuous of the servility of their inferiors. 

But we are forgetting the ladies. In plumes and lappets 
and seven-foot trains, blazing with real and sham jewellery, 



DUBLIN 153 

they were a glorious sight. There were Countesses and 
Baronesses of course, but they are beyond our purview. 
We shall content ourselves by recognizing the wives of the 
knights and squires. There was Lady Mallaby Morchoe 
who would not deign to notice Lady Lascelles whose husband 
had been knighted a year later than her own. There was 
aggressive Lady Liverlung, but three months titled and still 
angry over her long wait for the distinction. There was 
Lady Backwood, stately and silent, who was of aristocratic 
blood and whose recently obtained title was but an accessory. 
She looked around the gathering with an expression that 
plainly said : " Everyone seems to come to the Drawing 
Room now." There was Lady This and Lady That and 
Lady the Rest of It, and Lady Lascelles pointed them all 
out to her son. 

Then there were the commoners. There was Mrs. Gunby 
Rourke plainly enjoying herself, and Mrs. Heuston Harring- 
ton doing the bored intellectual pose, and Mrs. O'Driscoll 
pushing forward her bashful husband, and Mrs. MacNifT 
the iron monger's wife. They were all there, metaphor- 
ically pushing and scrambling, their petty little minds 
clashing, their vicious little tongues stabbing one another. 

Quite definitely the gathering was split into two factions. 
On the one hand were the Unionists, the regular Castle- 
goers, very angry and disdainful of the crowd of Nationalists 
whom the Aberdeens had introduced into the stronghold. 
On the other were the Nationalists, some aggressive, some 
rather overwhelmed, many quite obviously trying hard to 
reconcile their attendance with their principles. 

A hush fell upon the assembly and the ceremony of pre- 
senting the debutantes to their Excellencies began. For 
them this was the threshold of life and much the finest part 
of it. One by one, glittering with jewels and swamped in 
silks and satins they swept up the room and sank to the floor 
before the vice-regal throne. In her turn came Alice, proudly 
shy. 

One by one they passed from the presence and mingled 
in the crowd. In a short space they would be married and 
would commence to urge their children along the road their 
fathers had trod before them. 

" How did I look, Bernard ? " inquired Alice. 



I S 4 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" Splendid," said Bernard. 

When the ceremony was over the bejewelled throng packed 
itself into its motors and its cabs and drove homeward through 
the murky streets. 

n 

And while the garrison and its hangers-on played courtier, 
and the Irish Party at Westminster played politics, out of 
the slums of the city came a cry of agony : of agony long 
endured and no longer tolerable. The great Transport 
Strike had begun and before the eyes of men stalked Reality, 
crude and grim and menacing. 



CHAPTER VII 

STEPHEN 



WHILST all the resources of parental and scholastic education 
were being employed to twist and distort the mental growth of 
young Bernard Lascelles, away in Glencoole Stephen Ward's 
mind was developing as freely and naturally as the trees that 
surrounded him. His father did little more than supervise 
the education which the boy was giving himself. A sug- 
gestion here, an explanation there, and now and then a 
helping hand in difficulties these were all that was required 
of him. 

Michael Ward was not pious, but he was fundamentally 
religious, and he was firmly determined that his son should 
learn his religion without the aid of the pietistic stories and 
pretty religiosity by which clerics and nuns try to make the 
divine revelation interesting and acceptable to the young. 
Thus at the age at which Bernard had arrived by way of 
Catechism, miraculous medals, 'holy' pictures, lives of saints, 
and ignorance of the Gospel to an indefinite kind of atheism, 
Stephen was possessed of a synthetic and definite religious 
philosophy. Quite early in life the conception of a supreme 
spirit came to him without any very great difficulty and 
unconfused by the usual preliminary notion of a greybearded 
magician sitting on a cloud. He learned the theory of creation 
without any Garden of Eden symbolism first taught as fact 
to be afterwards unlearned when the first appreciation of 
science renders continued deception impossible and to be 
the starting point of general doubt. Straight from this he 
was taken to the study of Christianity at its source in the 
L 155 



156 THE WASTED ISLAND 

New Testament. He was taught to understand the divine 
wisdom and beauty of the Sermon on the Mount, and only 
when he had fully grasped and appreciated this, the founda- 
tion of the Christian religion, did he come to the dogmata 
which the Church has erected upon that foundation. 

Then, when he was in his fifteenth year, he began the 
study of Plato. With his father's help he construed the 
Crito, the Apology, and the Phcedo, and (herein he was more 
fortunate than Bernard) his teacher was more concerned 
with the wisdom of the books than with their illustration 
of grammatical rules. The analogy between the Apology 
and the Passion of Christ struck Stephen at once and he came 
to have an almost passionate love and admiration for Socrates, 
so that, when his Greek became fluent enough, the Apology 
ranked next in his estimation to the Gospel of Saint Matthew. 
Other stray philosophical works Aristotle, the Summum 
Theologicum, Thus Spake Zarathustra, A Modern Utopia 
he found in his father's library and read, but they had none 
of the influence of these two. 

On his own account Stephen took to the study of History. 
He read the histories of half the countries of the globe and 
all the books of travel he could find, so that he became 
acquainted with nearly every system of government, good and 
bad, known to mankind. Works of this kind he read with 
the same avidity with which most young men read novels. 
For fiction made no appeal to him. Once he had picked up 
David Copperfield but tired of it before the end of the first 
chapter. The Talisman, being historical, pleased him better, 
but the mixture of truth and fiction eventually annoyed him 
so that he abandoned the tale unfinished. Pendennis bored 
him before he reached page three, and a glance at the first 
paragraph of Diana of the Crossways was more than enough 
for him. After that he deserted fiction for good and returned 
to his histories and philosophies. 

As a result of the course of his education the universe of 
wisdom and knowledge was to Stephen a great coherence : 
Politics, Philosophy and Religion were interdependent ; 
and Truth and Justice (or, to use the Platonic word which 
expresses both, to dikaion) absolute and universal. To one 
trained in the usual way such a conception could only come 
late if at all. _ He learns his religion first by means of dogmata 



STEPHEN 157 

in the shape of an almost un-understandable Catechism ; 
then he comes to the New Testament in the form of the 
fragment of gospel read at Sunday's Mass, which is 
usually a parable or a narrative of a miracle (and as for the 
Sermon on the Mount, his knowledge of it is confined to 
the opening sentences known as the Eight Beatitudes) ; 
and he often attains to no conception of God as an all- 
permeating spirit until almost adult. To him therefore 
Philosophy and Religion are distinct : the one being * deep,' 
a matter of long words and no concern of his ; the other a 
matter of prayers and observance. Politics are on a lower 
plane altogether, a matter of votes and speeches and news- 
papers, which may or may not have an interest for him. 
Thus he is capable of imagining that what is philosophically 
right may be religiously wrong, and vice versa, and of 
acquiescing in a social or political expediency that he knows 
to be philosophically unreasonable without considering 
that it is thereby morally wrong. In other words the existing 
system of mental education produces the muddled head, the 
basis of nine tenths of the injustice of the world ; where 
religion is mainly a conflict between prejudice and pre- 
judice, philosophy a conflict between speculation and specula- 
tion, and politics, where it is not mere bullying and thieving, 
a conflict between opinion and opinion, instead of all these 
things being a humble search by the collective mind of man 
after truth and justice. 

Two thousand years ago Socrates preached that the one 
important thing for man was to find out what Justice is, and 
to-day ninety-nine hundredths of civilised mankind do not 
know that he preached it, and but few of the hundredth part 
have engaged in the search. To Stephen however the search 
was a necessity towards which his whole nature impelled 
him. Absolute truth was so essential to his mind that when 
he first came into contact with the actual thoughts and affairs 
of men through the medium of newspapers (a literature 
which he left severely alone until he was over eighteen years 
of age), he was astounded to find what small importance was 
attached to it. The actual controversy which was agitating 
the Press at the time was the impending assault by the Liberal 
Government of England on the House of Lords. The battle 
of brains, viewed even in the Irish Press where the skirmishes 



158 THE WASTED ISLAND 

were only subsidiary, was so interesting to Stephen that he 
sent for a number of English papers to study the central 
conflict. As a spectacle it was exciting, but as political 
philosophy it was a lamentable exhibition. False premise 
pitted against false premise ; wrong deductions founded on 
true premises pitted against logical deductions from false 
premises ; meaningless side issues thrashed to death ; petitio 
principii passing as unanswerable argument : all these made 
Stephen, unused to the facts of the game, imagine that the 
participants were battling in a mist of stupidity. 

" Hang it all ! " he exclaimed one day sitting in the midst 
of a heap of crumpled paper, " two mutually contradictory 
theories cannot both be true. Why can't the two sides 
realise this and instead of each trying to force its view on the 
other co-operate in an effort to extract the truth ? Modern 
politics seems to consist entirely in bolstering up a point of 
view, so that the worse system of government may be in force 
because it happens to have the cleverer exponents. We need 
another Socrates to walk amongst men and say to them : 
' Let us seek together for what is justice and when we have 
found it let us rule ourselves accordingly.' ' 

The suggestion set him pondering a long while in silence. 



Stephen is not to be pictured as a pale thought-worn student. 
The free mountain air he breathed would be sufficient guar- 
antee against that, and moreover he worked hard on their 
little farm and he was a tireless walker and swimmer. He 
grew up strong and active and of fine physique, devoted to 
the open air life, and save for his preference for philosophic 
reading and lack of desire for companionship his boyhood 
was not abnormal. 

When we last saw him he was just commencing to read the 
History of the Four Masters, being then twelve years of age. 
It took him four months in his methodical way to digest 
that treatise, but though it increased his knowledge of facts 
immensely it did not alter the simple political philosophy 
he had acquired by his reading of one very small book when 
first the mysterious cupboard was opened. ' The English 
have conquered us,' he had said. * Therefore they must be 



STEPHEN 159 

driven out.' It was a simple logical sequence and there was 
no one to interpose subtle side issues. Not that these would 
have had much effect. If anyone had told him, for instance, 
that British Rule was for Ireland's good he would simply 
have answered that he didn't want to have good things forced 
on him, thank you. And was it for Ireland's good, anyway ? 
It would have been hard to prove this thesis to him, for 
Stephen could not be impressed by long words that he did 
not understand, and he would probably fall back on his 
instinctive feeling that servitude, even if it were beneficial, 
was degrading. But as a matter of fact such argument 
never came his way. 

When he had finished the Four Masters he read more of 
the books from the one time mysterious cupboard. He 
discovered early that his father was disinclined to talk with 
him about these books as he did about others, but he failed 
to elicit any explanation of the fact. Undeterred by this 
however Stephen read all the books in the cupboard, and 
thereby learned the whole history of his native land, with 
the natural and logical result which his father dreaded but 
did not seek to prevent. Had these books been kept per- 
manently out of his hands Stephen might have remained all 
his life a student of abstract philosophy. His first view of 
modern politics, as we have seen, made him pity mankind 
for its stupidity and contemplate the possibility of himself 
becoming an exponent of knowledge. Further exploration 
however showed him that what he had taken for stupidity 
was in reality dishonesty and he had shrunk from participation 
in a conflict where truth was not merely unrecognised but 
unsought. But here in Ireland he now saw a war of reality : 
right struggling heroically against might ; justice fighting 
the eternal fight with injustice ; thought wrestling with 
the strangling grip of the material ; the light of truth stabbing 
eternally with its beams the overwhelming darkness of deceit. 
His gaze, searching infinity for abstract justice, suddenly 
focussed upon the moment of the eternal drama being enacted 
in one insignificant corner of the universe. Here was the 
birth in him of the desire to do. He ascended the hill behind 
the house and looked down on the city slumbering, as it 
seemed, at the edge of the bay. Often in his boyhood he 
had asked to be taken to the city, but his father, on one excuse 



160 THE WASTED ISLAND 

or another had always refused. Gradually the requests 
became less and less frequent, and finally ceased. Now the 
desire was strong upon him to set forth at once and walk 
among men. But in the end he retraced his steps homeward. 
" It can wait," he muttered. " There's still a lot to learn/' 
And one day he and his father had reason to visit a village 
down in the plain. When they arrived there they found it 
crowded with people and very noisy. There were drums 
beating and bugles and pipes playing and green flags flying, 
and there were some men bustling around in dirty flashy 
uniforms and others reeling about in various stages of intoxica- 
tion. They came to a platform from which a man, a fat, pros- 
perous, dishonest looking creature was addressing the crowd. 
!< The day of victory is approaching," he was saying. 
" The dark clouds are being dispersed by the will of the 
people constitutionally spoken." (Cheers.) " Let cranks 
and faction mongers croak as they will, the dawn was never 
more surely at hand. Let us stick by the old flag. The 
flag of Hugh O'Neill, and Owen Roe, and Tone and Mitchell ; 
of Parnell and John Redmond." (Cheers.) " Only let us 
remain firm and united and loyal to our heaven-sent leader," 
(cheers) " and freedom will be ours before three years 
are out." (Tremendous applause and more music.) 
" What's all this father ? " asked Stephen. 
" Politics," said Michael Ward. 

Which confirmed Stephen's intention of biding his time. 
So you envisage Stephen's growth from boyhood to man- 
hood in the lonely glen in the Dublin mountains, jealously 
and fearfully watched by his broken father, yet developing 
in his own way for all that. A quiet regular life he led, 
working and reading, one day much the same as another, 
for twenty four years. And you may picture him in the full 
flower of his manhood thus : a form physically perfect, of 
medium height, broad in the shoulders, narrow in the loins, 
long in the limbs ; the whole surmounted by a fine square- 
shaped head, with a crop of thick black hair ; the face not 
handsome, but clear-skinned, with high cheek-bones, good- 
sized nose, bright steel-blue eyes, and a long upper lip cover- 
ing a set of powerful white teeth. An aboriginal Celt, 
ethnologists would call him, but ethnology is a discredited 
pseudo-science. 



STEPHEN 161 



The clatter of galloping hoofs rang out on the hard sun- 
baked road. A cry of fear made Stephen halt. In the next 
instant a pony and trap enveloped in a cloud of dust hurtled 
into sight round the bend of the road. A girl, a picture of 
frantic despair, clung with all the relics of her strength to 
the reins. As the runaway dashed past him Stephen 
sprang instantly into action. With a nimble leap he caught 
the rein by the bit and ran alongside the pony gradually 
checking him. When he had brought him to a halt and 
soothed him down he turned to assist the girl out of the trap. 
She was breathing hard and trembling. He led her to the 
grassy bank by the roadside, where she sat down, gave a 
sigh of relief, and then incontinently broke out into 
hysterical sobs. Stephen was at a loss what to do. He was the 
incompetent male at a crisis like this. The decision and 
promptitude of action that had controlled the runaway horse 
were useless factors now, and he stood by, puzzled and 
helpless, while the fit worked itself off. 

" I'm a fool," she said, suddenly recovering herself. 
" Thanks for your help." 

He felt awkward, reddened, and stammered vaguely for 
a reply. She looked up at him for a moment and then 
quickly looked down again. Stephen returned to the pony 
and stroked its damp neck. 

" What made him run away ? " he asked. 

" He took fright at a motor char-a-banc full of tourists, 
all shouting and waving flags." 

A little later she said : 

" Would you mind very much if I asked you to drive me 
home. I'm still rather shaken. . . . It's only about a 
mile away." 

Stephen complied at once. He turned the trap round 
while she watched the manly strength and grace of his figure 
with admiring eyes. They drove along the dusty road under 
the July sun in silence, until at last they reached an open 
gateway, on the pillars of which were the words : " The 
Beeches." 



162 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" Here we are," said the girl. 

Stephen drove up a short gravelled avenue that led to a 
moderate sized country house. A boy of about sixteen 
years of age who had been lounging in the shade of the 
verandah, jumped up at sight of the trap, exclaiming : 

" Hello ! Madge, you're back early . . . ' He stopped 
as he caught sight of Stephen. 

" My brother Teddy," said Madge to Stephen. " Teddy, 
this is Mr. . . .," she paused inquiringly, and Stephen 
filled in the blank. 

" Tony took fright at a char-a-banc and ran away with 
me," explained Madge. " Only for Mr. Ward I'd have had 
a spill." 

" Come inside and have a drink," said Teddy. 

" No, thanks. I won't trouble you. I was on my way to 
Rathfarnham and this has really been a lift for me." 

" O, come on ! " said Teddy. 

" Please come in," said Madge. 

Stephen yielded, and they went in to a handsome dining 
room. 

" Whiskey or lemon-squash ? " asked Teddy. 

Stephen chose the latter. 

" Father and mother are out to-day," said Madge to 
Stephen. " Won't you call in another time and meet them ? " 

Stephen said he would be delighted, and a few minutes 
later announced that he must be off. Madge saw him to 
the gate. 

" Good bye," she said, giving him her hand. " For the 
present," she added. 

He resumed his way to Rathfarnham and, as he did not 
look back, he was unaware that Madge stood at the gate 
looking after him until he was out of sight. He walked 
pensively with his head down absorbed in meditation. 

" What did that strange look in her eyes mean ? " he was 
asking himself. But he could obtain no answer, being 
unschooled in romantic fiction. 

One afternoon a week later he set out again for Rathfarn- 
ham. He passed the scene of the previous week's adventure 
and came at last to the low wall that separated the Conroy 
grounds (Conroy was Madge's surname) from the road. 

" Hello, Mr. Ward ! " cried a voice. 



STEPHEN 163 

Stephen looked up and saw Madge swinging in a hammock 
slung between two cherry trees. He was hot and dusty, 
and she was a picture of cool freshness in a frock of summery 
white. There was a pink flush on her cheeks but Stephen 
was not aware that he was the cause of it. He came over to 
the wall and looked up at her, leaning his elbows on it. 

" How are you to-day ? " he said. 

" Quite recovered thanks," she replied. 

Stephen, having no more to say, fidgetted nervously with 
the moss on the top of the wall. 

" Won't you come inside and talk to me," suggested Madge. 
" There's another hammock over there," indicating one 
hanging loose by one end from the bough near at hand. 

" I'm afraid I haven't time," said Stephen. 

" Oh ! " she said, looking very disappointed. 

" I live up in Glencoole, you know," he explained, " and 
I'm going down to Rathfarnham to buy some things." 

* That's a long way to walk." 

" Eight miles. . . . Nothing at all." 

" And eight back." 

" I'm accustomed to it." 

" But wouldn't you like a rest ? " 

" I haven't time for that." 

She swallowed her disappointment and asked : 

" When are you coming to see us ? Mother and Father 
are longing to thank you for saving me." 

" It was nothing. But I'll come any time you like." 

" Let's see. . . . O yes. We're having a little garden 
party on Thursday afternoon. Could you come ? " 

[< Yes. Thanks very much." 

" Don't forget now. Four o'clock." 

" I'll remember . . . W T ell, good bye. I must go on." 

He made his purchases in Rathfarnham and started back 
for home at once. Madge was in the hammock again when 
he passed, but he did not know that she had carefully cal- 
culated the probable time of his arrival and that she had 
been waiting for him for three quarters of an hour in the chill 
of the dusk-fall. The conversation that ensued was short 
and disappointing to her, and she was mortified to observe 
that the young man showed no emotion in parting from her 
at this magic flower-scented hour, and that he made no 



164 THE WASTED ISLAND 

attempt to retain the hand that would willingly have lingered 
in his. 

Thursday came, and Stephen was welcomed at the gate 
by Madge. She led him over to the lawn where under the 
shade of a couple of hawthorns Mrs. Conroy was dispensing 
tea to her guests. Her husband lolled in a deck chair chatting 
with three young ladies who laughed industriously at regular 
intervals. Two young men in flannels were handing round 
tea and cake. A third, little more than a boy, stood apart 
fidgetting and distraught, gazing at Stephen and his con- 
ductress as they drew near. A game of tennis was in progress 
on the court just beyond. 

" Mother, this is Mr. Ward." 

Madge's parents greeted Stephen effusively. Then he 
was introduced all round and set in a deck chair with a cup 
of tea and a slice of cake precariously balanced in his hand . 
He felt like a dark spot on the prevailing whiteness, for, 
though he had spent some time in making himself spruce 
for the occasion, he was the only male present who was not 
in white flannels, and all the ladies were in the daintiest 
summer frocks. 

" Madge told me all about the rescue," said the girl sitting 
nearest to him. " How on earth were you so quick ? I 
can't understand it. I'm sure I'd have been out of my wits." 

" Romantic, wasn't it ? " observed another girl in a harsh 
and rather scornful voice. 

Madge brought over a chair and planted it down beside 
Stephen's. The youth who had been standing apart there- 
upon moved round unobtrusively and sat on the grass 
close at hand. He kept looking anxiously at Stephen and 
Madge as they talked. There was general conversation 
punctuated by the musical clink of tea cups for a while. 
Then the tennis players, Teddy among them, having finished 
their game, strolled up. 

" Our turn now," said one of the girls. 

" Do you play tennis, Mr. Ward ? " Madge inquired. 
Stephen shook his head. 

" I've never had a racquet in my hand," he said. 

Madge turned to the melancholy youth on the grass. 

" Mr. Lascelles," she said, " will you and Miss Ridley 
play Fanny and George ? " 



STEPHEN 165 

" I'm not in very good form to-day," the young man 
demurred. " I've got a stiff wrist." 

" Nonsense." 

" Fact." 

" Well, will you make the fourth," she asked another 
young man, who gladly accepted. The four moved off to 
the tennis court. 

" Let's go and look on," said Madge to Stephen a few 
minutes later. 

" Yes. I've never seen a game before," said Stephen, 
and they set off after the players. 

The young man called Lascelles stood looking after them 
for a moment, longing and yet afraid to follow. 

" He won't leave me for a minute," whispered Madge to 
Stephen. " I hope we've shaken him off now." 

" Who is he ? " 

" He's a school friend of Teddy's. They're in the same 
class at Ashbury, you know. Teddy brought him to see us 
last holidays and he had the impudence to fall in love with 
me. He's been the plague of my life ever since." 

" Love is a queer thing," said Stephen meditatively. 

Madge looked at him sideways, seeking to divine a par- 
ticular meaning, but Stephen's eyes were quite impersonal. 
They had started in the direction of the tennis court but some- 
how their course had got diverted towards a shrubbery to 
one side of it. 

" I wonder why you should dislike him for loving you," 
said Stephen. " But I don't know much about these things. 
I've lived practically alone all my life." 

" You wouldn't dislike someone for loving you. then ? " 

" I don't think so. But then I don't know. No one 
does, anyhow." 

" Somebody might, some day." 

" I'll think about it then. What did you say that boy's 
name was ? " 

" Lascelles . . . Eugene Lascelles. Rather a mouthful, 
isn't it ? Like the hero of a novel. ... He won't be the 
hero of mine though." 

" I've never read any novels." 

" Really ? Well, I don't read much myself. Books are 
such dull things. . . . But you're so clever looking I was 



i66 THE WASTED ISLAND 

sure you'd be a tremendous reader. I declare, I'm quite 
relieved to find you aren't." 

" You mistake me. I do read. But not novels. History 
and philosophy and that sort of thing, you know." 

" I know. Of course that's what one really means by 
reading. That's what I'd like to read if I could, but I'm 
a wee bit afraid that perhaps I'm not clever enough." 

" Nonsense. If you've enough intelligence to like that 
sort of thing, yoir've enough to understand it." 

" I do hope so. That's very encouraging." 

After a pause Stephen said : " Will you and Teddy drive 
over to Glencoole some day ? It's a lonely spot, but it's 
very beautiful. I could show you some of my books if you 
like." 

" I should love to," said Madge. 

" Now, let's have a look at this tennis," said Stephen. 
"I'd like to learn it." 

The party came to an end. To Madge's feeling the 
lengthening shadows of the evening were not colder than 
Stephen's farewell. 



On a pleasant afternoon a fortnight later Madge and Teddy 
drove over to Glencoole. 

" I suppose I'll have to be tactful and keep in the back- 
ground," said Teddy as they neared the Wards' cottage. 

" Silly ! " said Madge with a blush. 

Stephen and his father met them outside the gate and they 
had a somewhat sedate tea in the cool of the sitting- cum- 
dining room. Teddy told inconsecutive anecdotes about 
tennis and cricket and Ashbury and Lascelles and a terrible 
ass called O'Dwyer, a friend of the latter ; and Madge made 
complimentary remarks about the weather and the road and 
the garden and the tea. 

" And oh ! " she exclaimed, " your books ! How lovely ! " 

She insisted on going round the shelves and reading out the 
titles of the books, just as if she were well acquainted with 
them. 

" I never knew you were a book -worm, Madge," said 
Teddy. 



STEPHEN 167 

" O Teddy ! How could you ! " said the deceiver 
reproachfully. 

Stephen rose and followed her to the book case. He took 
down some of his favourite volumes for her inspection, 
fondling them while he did so as a book lover does. 

" Lovely ! . . . beautiful ! ... how interesting ! " 
Madge kept exclaiming. 

" The Wisdom of the world is in this," said Stephen 
taking down Plato's Republic. 

" How nice/' said Madge. 

Stephen fetched down a fine edition of Shakespeare. 

' The only poet I care about," he said. 

" I don't like poetry either," said Madge. 

" Most poets," went on Stephen, " seem to be so pre- 
occupied with their own moods and emotions. Shakespeare's 
so different. He's the essence of humanity and the store- 
house of wisdom. . . . Don't you think so ? " he inquired 
turning to where Teddy still lounged in his chair. 

" Well, personally I think Shakespeare's an awful ass," 
replied Teddy. 

" O Teddy," remonstrated Madge, " I think Shakes- 
peare's frightfully nice," she put in for Stephen's benefit. 

" Have a cigarette ? " said Teddy, offering his silver case. 

" No thanks. I don't smoke," said Stephen. 

" Heart ? " inquired Teddy. 

" No. I want to have a minimum of things I can't do 
without." 

Teddy's face expressed pitying scorn. A person who 
didn't play tennis or cricket, didn't smoke, and enjoyed 
Shakespeare, was something less than half a man in his 
estimation. 

Stephen suggested a walk down the glen and the three of 
them set out. When he was not pointing out some view or 
object of interest Stephen talked philosophy and theology 
at Madge, which she punctuated with her ever-recurring 
exclamations while Teddy walked beside them in silent 
boredom and disgust. 

" I say, I think Ward's an awful ass," said Teddy in the 
trap on the way home. " I was fairly bored stiff." 

" I wasn't," said Madge. 

Teddy stared hard at her. 



168 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" I do believe you're gone on him," he said. 

At the same time Michael Ward was saying to his son 

" Stephen, I'm afraid that girl is fond of you." 

" Rubbish," said Stephen. 

" Nothing of the kind," declared his father. 

" I'm not fond of her anyway," said Stephen. 

" Well, take care what you do." 

" I did. I talked philosophy at her the whole afternoon.' 

" Not much use I'm afraid. Women are queer creatures.' 

'* Fools," said Stephen. 

" I'm afraid you're heartless," said his father. 

" I hope so," said Stephen. 

" That shows your ignorance then." 

" Good-night," said Stephen. 



" So the leader of the Irish race at home and abroad has 
agreed to accept a little emasculated parliament house as a 
final settlement." 

It was Stephen who spoke. He and his father were just 
finishing breakfast. 

" What does it matter ? " said Michael Ward carelessly. 

" Matter ! " exclaimed Stephen. " It's wrong ! It's 
illogical ! It's damnable ! How can we logically or honestly 
accept a Home Rule Bill framed by England ? Isn't our 
whole case based on the fact that England has no right to 
legislate for us at all ? " 

" There's no logic in politics Stephen. Logically we 
shouldn't send members to London at all, but what do 
people care about logic ? I gave up all interest in politics 
years ago and I'd advise you to do the same." 

" And assist British rule by my acquiescence. No thanks." 

"To try and overthrow British rule in this country is to 
attempt the impossible." 

" I don't admit such an impossibility." 

" I'm talking from experience. In my time I tried and 
failed." 

' You tried ? " 

" Yes. I never told you anything about it because I 
hoped you'd never interest yourself in this unfortunate 



STEPHEN 169 

country's affairs. Well, I'll tell you the whole story now, 
and let it be a warning to you." 

Michael Ward re- told the tale with which the reader is 
already acquainted. When he had finished Stephen said : 

" Very well. You tried and failed. I must find a better 
way, that's all." 

" Stephen," said the father, " do nothing hasty. For all 
you know Home Rule may be better for Ireland than 
Independence." 

' That's a matter for discussion among Irishmen," replied 
Stephen. " It's no concern of England's. All we want of 
her is the simple requirement of justice withdrawal from 
our country bag and baggage. Then we can decide for 
ourselves whether we want a partnership with her or not." 

" You needn't expect justice from England." 

" I'm quite aware of that. It's no argument for accepting 
half measures. By right and justice we claim independence. 
All that remains to be done is to devise a method of securing 
it. Force has failed : compromise is illogical, dishonest, 
and I believe will also fail. There must be another way 
and I'll find it if I have to spend my life in the searching." 

This prospect of a long wait reassured the father that his 
son would do nothing rash. Indeed, so convinced was he 
of the impossibility of solving the problem that he felt satisfied 
that ' nothing rash ' really meant ' nothing.' 

" My dear boy," he said, filling his pipe as he spoke, " to 
the truly philosophical mind the ephemeral affairs of men 
are not worthy of prolonged consideration. Do you see 
that apple on the plate there ? Science tells us that it is 
divided into an enormous number of infinitesimal molecules 
all in perpetual motion, and that the very molecules are 
divided into still tinier atoms. Yet we see nothing but a 
quiet rotund solidity. Now consider the universe in which 
we live. Our earth is but an atom of the molecule called 
the solar system, and that molecule is but one of the millions 
that compose the universe. Look at that apple again. Won- 
derful happenings may be in progress in one of its atoms 
but of what ultimate import are they ? Similarly I can 
imagine a gigantic being contemplating our universe which 
he sees as small and as solid as we see the apple, and amusino- 
himself by wondering whether things could really happen 



iyo THE WASTED ISLAND 

in one of its atoms. How small it all is really." 

' That's a very pretty thesis," replied Stephen. " I'd 
often thought of it myself. But, my dear father, you mustn't 
let yourself be carried away by relativity of size. To regard 
size and importance as synonymous is the most revolting 
kind of snobbery. I've come to look at everything from the 
absolute point of view in regard to size and the intrinsic 
point of view in regard to value. That match you're going 
to light your pipe with is a small thing compared with . . . 
say Jupiter ; but it has a definite size. And if you compare 
both with the vastness of infinite space the difference between 
them is very slight. Then the match has an intrinsic value 
of its own. It's complete in itself and perfect to its own 
end. . . . You couldn't light your pipe with Jupiter. 
... If then the match is absolutely important, how very 
much more so is man, who, small as he is, has an immortal 
soul and carries the Kingdom of Heaven within him." 

" That's right Stephen. Stick to philosophy and leave 
politics alone." 

" They're all one to me," said Stephen. " The battle 
between right and wrong, truth and falsehood is going on 
everywhere : here in Ireland, billions of miles away in some 
planet revolving round Alpha Centauri, and away in some 
corner of space invisible from the most distant star we 
can see. And I want to be on the right side." 

" How are the potatoes doing ? " asked Michael Ward. 



Life pursued its even course at Glencoole for more than a 
year. Then one morning at breakfast Stephen read out 
from the newspaper the account of the formation of the 
Ulster Volunteers. 

" That settles it," he said. " There'll be no Home Rule now, 
thank heaven. It's just the excuse England was looking for." 

He read silently for a few moments, then dropped the 
paper and sat wrapped in thought for a while. 

" I have an idea," he cried suddenly. 

" What is it ? " asked his father. 

" I must think it out," replied Stephen, and became silent. 



STEPHEN 171 

7 

" This strike," said Stephen some months later, " brings 
us to realities at last." 

Michael Ward grunted. Even in his youthful days he 
had been a re-actionary on social questions, not so much 
from conviction as from the old Fenian desire to demonstrate 
a purely spiritual Nationalism uncontaminated by material 
aspirations. 

" And oh ! " said Stephen, " the mess they're making of 
it ! The hopeless muddle and mess ! No controversy even, 
much less any attempt to get at the truth. Mere vitupera- 
tion and mud slinging. Why amn't I there ? " 

" You're better where you are," said his father, and there 
was an anxious note in his voice. 

" Shall I sit quiet while my fellow men fall ? . . .1 
know what should be done ... I have things to say that 
are worth saying. . . . The question is, is society to be a 
chaos of righting animals, each getting what he can for him- 
self, or is it to be a commonwealth of civilised beings where 
all co-operate to make the world as fine a place as possible ? " 

" You'll find that these labour people are just out for 
themselves." 

" No wonder, under existing conditions. In that they're 
the same as every other class. But for all that the founda- 
tions of the better system are in them. ... I'm going to 
Dublin, father." 

" My boy . . . ' exclaimed Ward. There was 
anguish in his tone. 

" I must," said Stephen. "I've things to say and do 
... in this question and others. . . . They're all one, 
remember." 

" Stephen, if you really must go I suppose you must. 
. . . You're a man now, and I've no right to stop you. 
. . . But think first what you're going to do. ... You're 
my only son. . . . All I have to care for, and I've had a 
hard life, laddie ... a lonely life. If anything happened 
to you . . . 

" Nothing can happen, father. I'm not a hot headed 
young fool. I've never done anything I didn't think out 
first, and I never will." 

M 



172 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" And how are you going to live, Stephen ? I can allow 
you a little money, but it won't go far in a big city." 

" We're told not to be over anxious as to what we shall 
eat and wherewith we shall be clothed, aren't we ? ... 
Trust me to find enough to live on imyway." 

The next couple of days were spent in preparation for 
Stephen's departure. His more bulky luggage and even 
that was but some clothing in a parcel was sent by post 
to a small hotel on the north side of Dublin owned by one, 
Doran, a friend of Ward's of days gone by ; and at last with 
a satchel on his back and fifty pounds in his pocket Stephen 
said good bye to his father at the end of the glen. Michael 
Ward looked older and more haggard than ever. 

" I can hardly bring myself to let you go, Stephen," he 
said. " You're going off full of hope and vigour ... to 
waste yourself and break yourself in a useless struggle for an 
ungrateful people. . . . My boy, when you're tired and 
worn out won't you come back to youi old father and rest ? " 

Stephen laughed lightly. 

" I'll come back often," he said. " And pretty soon too. 
There's no need to be tragic." 

" Well, good bye, my boy. Write soon." 

" Of course. This very night." 

They shook hands, and Stephen went down the road 
towards the city. It was the afternoon of Saturday the 3Oth 
of August, 1913. 

An hour's walk brought him to " The Beeches," where, 
over the low wall, he could see Madge and a young man 
swinging in hammocks close together. 

" How are you, Miss Conroy ? " he called. 

" Hello, Mr. Ward," she replied. " I haven't seen you 
for ages. Where are you off to ? " 

" Dublin," said Stephen. " Good bye." 

" Good bye . . . and good luck." 

" Who's that, dear ? " inquired the young man, after 
Stephen's departure. 

' O, a terrible bore who lives up the mountains. ... I 
only know him slightly." 

" He looks rather a rustic idiot," said the young man. 

" He is," said Madge. 

Stephen walked on to Rathfarnham, where he took the 
tram to the city. 



CHAPTER VIII 
A DEAD HAND 



MRS. GUNBY ROURKE gave a summer dance at her house at 
Dundrum. The great drawing room was beautifully 
arranged for the occasion. Graceful palms and green and 
white decorations gave a cool appearance to the eye and 
electric fans kept the atmosphere pleasant. The glass doors 
at one end of the room opened on to the garden, where the 
dancers could come out and refresh themselves in the balmy 
night air. At a table in a rose bower a couple of bored but 
ever polite servitors dispensed drink and ices to all who 
sought them. 

Bernard and his pretty partner emerged from the ball 
room, the girl fanning herself vigorously. 

" Will you have some refreshment ? " inquired Bernard, 
conventionally solicitous. 

" Please ... I think I'll have an ice." 

They approached the bower and Bernard asked for their 
requirements. 

" I'm sorry, sir," said the butler humbly. " No ices left, 
sir ... Short, sir ... The strike sir ... Lemonade, 
sir ? or claret cup ? " 

" Those awful strikers ! " said the girl sipping claret cup. 
" Why can't they be sensible ? " 

' That's what they are," said Bernard. 

" But they're so discontented. . . . Always wanting 
something more. Give them all they ask now, and they'll 
ask twice as much next year. . . . The world was such a 

173 



174 THE WASTED ISLAND 

pleasant place until all this trouble arose. . . . I'm sure / 
don't want to change a bit of it." 

A year ago Bernard would have hated her for the smallness 
of her mind but he was growing more tolerant nowadays. 
Hers was but one of many types of mind, all human. Surely, 
he reflected, it had its own merits, merits of which, perhaps, 
superior minds were destitute. 

He brought her to a seat in a secluded corner of the garden. 
She babbled on about ' those horrid strikers ' for a while 
and then broke off to say : 

" What a lovely night ! " 

She was sane and stupid and kindly and pleasure-loving. 
She was human. That love of humanity which is funda- 
mental in every revolutionary thinker, even though he know 
it not, suddenly welled up in Bernard's heart. He loved the 
silly lovable humanity in her, and moved by a sudden impulse 
he put his arms around her and kissed her. 

She thought it was an ordinary ball-room kiss and said : 

" Oh, Mr. Lascelles ! " 

" I'm sorry," he said, recovering himself. 

" Oh, don't mind," she said. " You can do it again if 
you like." 

And he did. 

After the sun had risen they were still dancing. 



Through sordid lanes and decayed old streets Bernard and 
Crowley followed their weary little guide. It was night, but 
they were bent on a different errand from that which we 
last described. Crowley carried a bag. They were passing 
through slums that had been aristocratic quarters in the days 
of Ireland's prosperity. Every doorway they passed was a 
thing of battered beauty ; the rusted and broken area railings 
showed the craftsmanship of a bygone age ; and one might 
fancy that the thin wisp of smoke eddying round one of those 
chimneys was the product of the combustion of some carved 
oak panel. 

" Epitome of our history," said Crowley. " My God, 
what waste ! " 



A DEAD HAND 175 

Bernard looked at him, a little surprised at his tone. Was 
this the Crowley he knew, the Crowley of the Common 
Rooms and the Billiard Saloons ? 

" The pity of it ! " went on Crowley. " The wasted 
endeavour of the days of hope ! It would have been better 
if we had never succeeded at all. It would have meant less 
wreckage." 

Bernard made no answer, for he was not sure what Crowley 
was talking about. 

" Dublin," said Crowley, " is a city of blighted beginnings. 
Look at the Bank of Ireland, built to house an independent 
parliament, and not yet completed when the parliament 
was taken from us. Look at our Custom House, built in 
the days when we had control of our own revenue, and its 
function taken from it within a few short years. Look at 
Sackville Street, the commencement of a great town planning 
scheme that we haven't been allowed to continue. . . . 
Rule Britannia and God save our noble King ! " 

The bitterness in his tone as he made this last exclamation 
astonished Bernard. Could the Crowley who thought like 
this, he asked himself, talk like the other Crowley ? They 
walked for a while in silence, and then Bernard spoke. 

" I'm afraid things are going hard with the strikers. It 
looks as if the employers were going to win." 

" I'm afraid you're right," said Crowley. " Damnation 
on it ! What's wrong with the world at all that the right is 
always beaten ? " 

They turned down a narrow and filthy court through an 
archway under one of the tumbledown mansions of the 
main street. It was a hot summer night and the air here 
was stiffling and fetid. They trudged on past many open 
doors each of which gave forth a new and viler stench. The 
roadway was pitted and rutted, and littered with rubbish. 
Foul heaps of sweepings occurred haphazard. Buckets of 
horror stood on the pathway outside some of the doors ; 
dirt was piled on the steps of others. 

" I was at a dance the other night," said Bernard, " and 
one of my partners said she was quite satisfied with the 
world as it is and wouldn't change a bit of it." 

' 'Uncertain coy and hard to please,' " said Crowley with 
a sniff. 



176 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" Here y'are, docther," said the little boy who was their 
guide, stopping before a crazy door held together with 
packing-case battens. A dirty towselled little girl with 
nothing on but a tattered pinafore that had once been white 
answered his knock. 

" This way, docther," she whispered preceding them up 
a stairway, her bare feet pat-patting on the boards. This 
was not a decayed mansion but a modern jerry built house, 
and the stairs, as far as one could see in the darkness and 
through their own grime, were of plain deal, warped and 
ricketty. So were the bannisters, which had been cut away 
in places, probably for firewood. They passed a landing 
and went up another flight of stairs even dirtier than the first. 
On the next landing the little girl opened a door and beckoned 
to the two students to enter. 

The room was twilit by the flicker of half an inch of 
candle stuck in a porter bottle on the window ledge. The 
first thing that caught Bernard's eye on entering was the figure 
of a man lying on the floor dead drunk and snoring in the 
corner opposite the door. The walls of the room were 
covered with a dirty wall paper of indeterminate pattern 
which was peeling off everywhere in large patches. The 
ceiling was black save where more recent flaking off of the 
plaster had left white splotches. The bare floor was black 
with dirt and littered with rubbish. Some half -washed 
tattered garments hung across the room on a string, inter- 
cepting what little air came through the window, one of whose 
broken panes was stuffed with rags and another with a 
piece of cardboard. About half the floor space was occupied 
by the bed, where amid a heap of torn and filthy bedclothes 
lay the prospective mother. Leaning over her and com- 
forting her were four women of the neighbourhood. A 
little boy and girl aged two and three sat up among the 
blankets at the foot of the bed, wide-eyed arid expectant. 

The entry of the two students was the signal for instant 
commotion. The four women came bustling forward with 
offers of assistance, but Crowley quickly sent them packing. 

" One's enough," he said. Then to the cleanest, a fat 
matron of about fifty, " You stay, ma'am. The rest of you 
can clear out, everyone of you," 



A DEAD HAND 177 

He drove them expostulating to the door as one would a 
flock of hens. 

" Some hot water please," he said to the woman who 
remained, and she went away and presently fetched some in 
a dirty chipped enamel basin. A petticoat was torn down 
from the clothes line for him to wipe his hands on. 

A ramshackle chair and two packing-cases w r ere the sole 
furniture of the room. The little girl came forward to offer 
the chair to the doctor, dusting the broken seat of it with 
the hem of her pinafore. Cats could be heard squalling 
on the roofs. Somewhere a clock chimed the quarter. 
The women and the two young men sat down to await the 
birth of one of the heirs of the ages. 



" Look here, Eugene," said Bernard, " you've been moping 
too much lately. It's bad for you. What's it all about ? " 

Eugene smiled wanly. 

" Nothing," he said. 

" You don't mean to say you're still sighing for Madge ? 
. . . You are. . . .1 say, you know, this is absurd. 
' If of herself she will not love, Nothing can make her, The 
Devil take her.' There are other fish in the sea." 

' That's no consolation when you only want the one." 

" O, this is insanity. What's a girl ? A human female. 
None of them is very much better than any other. They eat 
drink talk and think very much like ourselves not quite 
so well as a matter of fact. . . . Shut your eyes, take a deep 
breath, and forget her. I've often cured myself that way." 

" What do you know about love ? " said Eugene. " A 
fickle philanderer like you. . . . How is it that you can be 
so constant to principles and so changeable towards women ? " 

" As my friend Crowley says, we're all mixed and streaked. 
What would life be without inconsistency ? You're a damned 
faithful lover, Eugene, but you're infernally self-satisfied." 

" I'm not ... I know quite well I'm unworthy of 
her." 

" You're wrong there, my boy. . . . But you're self- 
satisfied for all that. ... I know you'll deny it, for you 
couldn't be self-satisfied knowingly. . . . Look here, this 



178 THE WASTED ISLAND 

love sickness is absurd. Love's too trivial a thing for a man's 
total outlook. The world's before you, you know, so shake 
it off. Get your togs and we'll buzz over to the tennis club." 

" Very well," said Eugene listlessly, but he complied with 
the request. 

They went on the top of a tram to the grounds of the 
Baggotrath Tennis Club, and all the time Bernard lectured 
his brother. 

" Love," he said. " What's love ? Poets rave about the 
beauty and the wonder of it as they rave about the songs of 
birds and the scent of flowers, and yet all of them are merely 
physiologica. incidents in the phenomenon of procreation." 

Eugene blushed. 

" Bernard, you're almost Rabelaisian," he said. 

" What ? Have you read Rabelais ? " 

" Not likely." 
' Then why take his name in vain ? " 

" I know what he's like." 

" I suppose you were told by someone who hadn't read 
him either." 

" He's on the index as an immoral writer." 

" That word ' immoral ' ! " exclaimed Bernard. "I'd 
like to cut it out of the dictionary. It means too many 
things for you people who think loosely. Rabelais may be 
dirty, but he's a sight less demoralizing than hundreds of 
books that aren't on the index. ... I suppose you wouldn't 
dream of reading Ghosts or Widowers' Houses ? " 

" Certainly." 

" Well, why would you read Macbeth or Coriolanus ? 
They deal with Murder and Treason. Isn't that just as 
immoral as unchastity and harlotry ? " 

Eugene shuddered at the mention of the last two words. 

" I don't like to discuss this kind of subject," he said. 

" Funk ! " said Bernard. " I'd just like to tell our theo- 
logians what I think of their attitude to sins of the senses. 
They aren't the worst sins by long chalks. I can always 
find some excuse for an adulterer, but none for the oppressor 
of the poor. Christ himself was lenient to the sinful woman, 
but he had nothing but anger for the Pharisees and money- 
changers." 

" You do mix up religion and indecency ! " said Eugene. 



A DEAD HAND 179 

" Let's talk of something else for heaven's sake." 

They played tennis throughout the afternoon, and there 
was an interval at half-past five for tea in the club house. The 
elegant Molloy was there, a picture of lounging prosperity. 
Naturally execration of the strikers formed a large part of 
the conversation. 

" Personally," said Molloy, " I'm doing rather well out 
of the situation. You see, these fellows who have been 
arrested aren't well off and can't afford to go to the big men 
in the profession. That gives us beginners a chance. . . . 
Of course they're rather a low type of client, but so long as 
they pay I don't mind." 

" By jove," said Bernard, " that's damn decent of you." 

" My brother's a socialist," said Sandy, whom Bernard had 
not noticed before. 

" I say ! . . . Not really ? " exclaimed another young 
man. 

" Yes. Isn't that awful ? " said Bernard. 

" Get away. You're joking," said the young man. " Come 
and have another sett/' 

" Damn that smug stupid unprincipled snob Molloy ! " 
exclaimed Bernard on the way home. " Whatever happens, 
good or bad, he'll be there to make money out of it. I 
wonder does he know what a worm he is." 



The industrial crisis was now at its height. Collisions 
between strikers and police were frequent, and arrests were 
increasing in number. The employers wer3 determined 
to break the labour movement for good, and relied on starva- 
tion as their principal weapon. Already this was beginning 
to have its effect. Infant mortality is high in Dublin at the 
best of times : now it was becoming appalling. But at last 
English labour woke up to the importance of the battle in 
Dublin in regard to its possible effect on their own position. 
So ships laden with food sailed into the port of Dublin and 
enabled the wearied people to hold out a little longer. 

One afternoon Bernard set out with O'Dwyer on a tour 
oi inspection. They met McGurk in Westmoreland Street 



i8o THE WASTED ISLAND 

and stopped for a moment to talk, but two burly policemen 
interrupted them. 

" Move on now," said one. " No gatherin's are allowed." 

The ' gathering ' broke up, McGurk continuing his way 
towards Grafton Street, the other two making for the river. 
A patrol of mounted police clattered by. 

" Stimulating, isn't it ? " said O'Dwyer. " I do love a bit 
of coercion." 

On the quay they came upon the end of a queue of women 
and children waiting their turn to be served with rations 
from one of the distributing stations. They carried sacks 
and boxes and all kinds of queer battered domestic utensils. 
In their eyes was a uniform look of patient misery. Bernard 
and O'Dwyer passed the whole length of the queue, which 
was nearly two hundred yards long : two hundred yards of 
human dirt disease and wretchedness. 

" My God ! " said Bernard, " how can men allow this 
kind of thing to go on ? " 

Just then Molloy emerged from the distributing office. 
Evidently he had been there in connection with the affairs 
of one of his unfortunate clients. 

" Phew ! What a crew ! " he said, lighting a Turkish 
cigarette, and went his way. 

One of the food-ships had been sighted just before this 
and was now making her way to the quay-side. Bernard 
experienced a queer kind of thrill when he saw her. 

" See ! " he said to O'Dwyer. " She's from England, 
the country you hate. How do you reconcile that with your 
national quarrel theory ? This is a class war, and the working 
class is solid whatever flag flies over it." 

" Rot ! " said O'Dwyer. " The English labour crowd 
want their battle fought out here. It saves them the trouble 
and expense. What are a few tons of food to them ? " 

Bernard shrugged his shoulders, feeling that O'Dwyer 
was entrenched impregnably in prejudice. They turned 
now into the wilderness of slums behind the quays. Here 
they encountered sights which Bernard had often seen before, 
but which were now stripped of the covering of night. 
Tumble-down houses propped up with beams ; roofless 
wrecks still inhabited in their lower stories ; skeleton walls ; 
heaps of rubble where a house had collapsed ; windows 



A DEAD HAND 181 

boarded up ; windowpanes smashed and stuffed with rags 
and paper ; dirt and ugliness everywhere : all this made a 
hideous picture of desolation in the middle of the capital of 
a civilised country. 

And the people ; they were as repulsive a picture as their 
houses. Men : slouching, emaciated, unkempt, yet healthy 
and strong ; tubercular wrecks ; rickety children grown up ; 
men with the vacuous faces caused by adenoids ; cripples ; 
degenerates. Girls : pasty-faced and slatternly ; some pretty, 
but with blackened decayed teeth or none at all ; hunchbacks ; 
sore-encrusted faces ; grimy creatures all, clad in filthy 
clothes put on anyhow. Children : some dirty half-naked 
yet healthy happy little squallers ; others rickety, scrofulous, 
strumous or crippled. Infants : some crushingly wrapped 
in the foul shawls of their sisters others sprawling amid 
the germ-laden dust of the roadway. Old women : the most 
horrible of all ; vermin-haunted bundles of rags with grime - 
enseamed faces tottering to the grave. ' Citizens of a mighty 
Empire ! ' said Bernard to himself. 

" Lord, how I wish I was in politics," he said aloud. 
" I've got such schemes, you know. Our housing people 
at present seem to have got hold of the wrong end of the stick 
altogether. Look at that new model tenement house over 
there. Already half the windows are smashed, the usual 
dirty linen is hanging on that ridiculous balcony, and the 
inside is as dirty as ever. What's the good of building new 
houses without altering the people ? In a few more years 
that new model thing will be just as bad as the old mansion 
that it replaced, and not half as picturesque. We ought to 
smash the whole thing up. Strip the people of their rags 
and camp them all by the side of a lake somewhere in the 
country. Then have a big conflagration and burn up the 
houses, dirt, bacilli, and everything. Then build a new 
city on my plan, or, better still, start building first on a 
new site altogether. I've never seen a garden city, but I 
think my plan is something altogether new. In the first 
place I'd forbid high houses : they prevent proper circulation 
of the air. Two stories high would be quite enough. My 
houses would all be square with flat roofs, perhaps with a 
central court yard, and of course they'd be detached. They'd 
stand inside a garden, having a few yards of ground in front 



i8a THE WASTED ISLAND 

and at the sides and a space of say thirty yards or so at the 
back. Then the houses would surround a square, so that 
there' d be a big common area in the centre, into which the 
back garden of each house would enter. I'd plant that with 
trees and have it all grass. This plan gives every house 
plenty of free space and a fair amount of private space as 
well. Then all the streets would be as wide as Sackville 
Street, and I'd have them lined with trees and have fountains 
here and there. Oh, and above all I'd abolish the possibility 
of slums, aristocratic quarters, snobbery and class hatred 
by appropriating all house-property to the state and having 
a low and universal rental, so that scholars, commercial men, 
shopkeepers, labourers, and marquises (unless I succeed in 
abolishing them) shall live side by side and their children 
play in the common square. . . . What do you think of 
that scheme ? " 

" It would require some acreage." 

" That's obtainable. But what really stands in my way ? 
The natural conservatism of the human mind, and muddled 
stupid irresponsible inefficient government," 
" British government," said O'Dwyer. 
" Always the same old answer." 

" To me it's such an obvious truism," said O'Dwyer. 
" You take a country and you rob it of its government and 
exchequer, transferring them to another country across the 
sea. What must happen ? The best brains and ability in 
the plundered country either waste themselves in a futile 
effort to regain their rights, or else go over to the foreign capital 
to employ their capacities where there's an outlet and a market 
for them. Their own country is thus left to the mediocrities 
and the incapables. Keep that process up long enough 
and you eventually get the state of things now existing in 
Ireland. . . . My dear chap, England won't let us improve 
our position. If we were to prosper we'd soon cease to be 
her kitchen-garden and dumping-ground, which is what 
she wants us to be in the interests of her own economic 
position." 

" But Home Rule is coming, and that ought to settle that 
difficulty." 

" Well, I'll believe we're going to get Home Rule when 
our Parliament is actually sitting ; not before. But how 



A DEAD HAND 183 

a glorified county council for local affairs, that hasn't even 
got control of its own finances, post office, commerce or 
police, is going to change everything beats me. . . . Be- 
sides, we've a right to independence, confound it." 

" Hang it all ! " said Bernard. " I'll chuck Moore's 
advice overboard and go and read some Irish History." 

" About time you thought of it," said O'Dwyer. 

They had almost shaken off the slums by this and had 
reached a more respectable locality. Bernard turned back 
for a last look, and said : 

" The dirt and disease and discomfort of all this are bad 
enough, but I think the worst part of it all is its ugliness. 
What sort of souls can you breed down there ? " 

" Dublin fusiliers," said O'Dwyer. 

They walked on in silence for a while and then O'Dwyer 
spoke again. 

" What we've seen to day is bad enough," he said, " but 
it's only one of a thousand results of British rule. Why 
are we cityless, harbourless, without industries, rottenly 
educated, and declining in population ? There's a rather 
delightful article on Ireland in the old Encyclopaedia Britan- 
nica written by someone quite obviously prejudiced against 
us. In the year before the Union he says there were forty 
silk mercers in Dublin ; that fifteen years after the Union, 
as well as I remember, only about half a dozen were left ; 
ten years after that there was only one, and what became of 
him isn't recorded. Doesn't that speak for itself ? Then, 
apart from France which is committing race suicide, we're 
the only country in Europe with a declining population : 
also we're the only country in Europe under British rule. 
Isn't that, to say the least of it, significant ? The position 
of Unionists is to me incomprehensible. If Ireland is just 
a part of Britain as they hold, how is she poor, and without 
industries and cities, and declining in population. Corn- 
wall and Aberdeen share the prosperity of Britain. Why 
doesn't Wexford ? Their own phrase ' British Government 
in Ireland ' shows that they don't consider us part of Britain. 
They don't talk of 'British Government in East Anglia.' 
They must know quite well that England regards Ireland 
as a conquered country, and how their Irish blood doesn't 
boil at the indignity is a puzzle to me. But I find it hard 



184 THE WASTED ISLAND 

ever to convert anyone, for I was born a Nationalist and don't 
really understand the other side . . . don't know what 
to grip on to in them. You must have seen that yourself. I've 
longed to set Ireland free ever since I first heard she'd been 
conquered . . . longer than I can remember in fact. 
I dreamed of wars of liberation when I was a little boy in 
knickerbockers, and later on I dreamed of great projects of 
reconstruction. In my imagination I've built great cities 
and harbours, roads, bridges, fleets and forts. I've made 
laws and raised armies and founded industries. I've even 
built a cathedral more splendid than Solomon's Temple. 
These are the things that matter to me. It's torture to me 
to see pictures of Parliament houses in Venezuela, 01 harbours 
in Canada, or cathedrals in Italy. They only remind me of 
the might-have-beens of Ireland. Sometimes when hope 
for Ireland seems dead I go back deliberately to my imagin- 
ings and try to satisfy myself with them. But it's no use. 
Actuality is only too obvious. Here is Ireland, a land of 
tumble-down villages, wrecked cities, empty harbours, and 
tubercular people ; the back garden from which John Bull 
gets his bacon and butter and the roast beef of old England. 
To say I hate England is to express a very small part of my 
feeling for her. I loathe her, I detest her and I curse her." 

O'Dwyer stopped abruptly and seemed a little ashamed 
of his emotional explosion. But Bernard had lent only half 
an ear to the last part of his harangue. An earlier portion 
had caught and held his attention. 

" I dreamed of cities and things like you," he said. It 
was the first time he had ever thought of making such a 
confession. " But it wasn't for Ireland," he added. " The 
world was my country then . . . but it's a big place." 

" Why, we're kindred spirits," said O'Dwyer ; and they 
started comparing notes. 



The very next day the whole complexion of Bernard's 
life was altered by a letter. 

It came into his hands under peculiar circumstances. 
He had just written a letter which had to be despatched 
that evening, and at the last minute found himself without a 



A DEAD HAND 185 

stamp. He went the round of the house to borrow one but 
it chanced that nobody had any. It was too late for a 
post office to be open, so he decided, as his father was out, 
to search the sacred and inviolate bureau in his consulting 
room. In none of the drawers could he find what he wanted, 
and finally he opened a rather obvious secret drawer full of 
papers. Without really expecting to find a stamp he turned 
these over and suddenly came upon an envelope addressed 
to himself in a strange hand. He pulled it out and gave a 
gasp of astonishment, for in the top left hand corner were 
the words : to be opened on his twenty-first birthday. 

For a moment he sat still staring at his find. Then he 
took out his pocket book, the kind of pocket book that 
every young man keeps ; a receptacle for notes, photographs, 
postage stamps, souvenirs, letters, and odds and ends,and 
took from it the letter he had received from Mr. Murchison 
eighteen months ago. He laid it beside the other and quietly 
compared them. The inscriptions on both were the same, 
but in all else they were different : the paper was different 
the ink was different, the writing was different. The fine 
bold lettering of the newly discovered envelope was a strong 
contrast to the puny backhand of the old one. Turning over 
the former he found that it had been sealed. The seal was 
unbroken and the top of the envelope had been cut open with 
a paper-knife. Bernard took out the enclosure and read as 
follows : 

yd January, 1899. 
My dear Bernard, 

If ever you read this letter you will be reading the words of 
a dead man, for if I survive the enterprise on which I am about 
to set out I hope to be spared long enough to say to you what I 
am now going to write. I find it difficult to realise that my 
words are addressed not to the little boy I parted from yesterday 
but to a young man of twenty one. However, 1 shall begin at 
once. 

When I was a boy I dreamt like you of wars and states 
and cities, and my games were very similar to yours. My 
ambition was to make the world a fine well-ordered place with 
good laws and good roads and beautiful well-built cities and a 
strong healthy population to inhabit it. Yours, I should think 



i86 THE WASTED ISLAND 

would be the same. But I differed from you in one thing. My 
parents taught me to know and love my own country, Ireland. 
They taught me her history, her glorious beginnings, her splendid 
struggle, her miserable tragedy, so that the desire of my life has 
always been to drive out her oppressor and make her once more 
peaceful and prosperous like the land of my boyish dreams. As 
a young man I took part in an ill-conceived attempt to achieve 
this end. We failed. My companions all lost their liberty 
and I myself had a narrow escape. For years I have waited 
for another opportunity to strike a blow at the enemy, and now 
at last it has come. The British Empire is about to deprive 
yet another little nation of its liberty and in a few days I sail 
from here to go to the help of the Boers. 

So much for myself. I should be the last person ever to try 
and influence the principles of another. These I think should 
be the spontaneous outcome of the individual mind and will. 
But you, Bernard, are going to be brought up in ignorance of 
your country's history, in ignorance of her needs, in ignorance 
almost of her name. That I do wish to combat, and I earnestly 
implore you to break through that ignorance by reading now, 
if, as I suppose, you have not done so, the history of Ireland. 
What decision you may take after you have done so I shall not 
presume to say, but if you are the boy I take you for I am certain 
what it will be. 

And what history should you read? Of course I should 
suggest an impartial one. But is there such a thing ? Is there 
such a thing for any country ? Human nature is such that the 
history one writes of ones own country is sure to be prejudiced 
one way, and what one writes of another country will be pre- 
judiced the other way. The truth is not in us. And the his- 
tories that profess to be impartial (for most of them realise the 
futility of the pretence) are really more misleading than any. 
They seem to think that impartiality consists in telling half the 
truth or in throwing sops to both sides. Therefore I can only 
advise you to read as many histories as you can and form your 
own judgment as to where the truth lies. 

Most of my fortune is embarked upon our present enterprise, 
but the remainder I am leaving to you by will. It is not enough 
for you to live on, which is just as well, as I don't want you to 
become one of the idle rich. But it is at least enough to enable 
you to take your own line in politics by making you independent 



A DEAD HAND 187 

of the paternal purse. Call on Mr. Murchison, my friend and 
solicitor, who will give you full particulars. 

And now, Bernard, I'll say good-bye. This letter may never 
have to be delivered. I sincerely hope so myself. But in case 
things go wrong, good-bye, and God bless you. 
I remain, 

Your affectionate uncle, 

CHRISTOPHER REILLY. 

The letter finished, Bernard sat back in his father's chair 
and literally gasped. Here was a revelation ! The last 
shreds of political doubt were torn from his mind and the 
last shreds of filial respect from his heart by the clutch of a 
dead hand. The forgery was now quite obvious. That 
back-hand script was so clearly a hand-writing disguised ; 
the age of the envelope and paper so clearly faked ; the ink 
quite evidently bleached, probably with peroxide. What 
damnable dishonesty and obscurantism ! He sat for quarter 
of an hour in meditation. What course should he now 
pursue ? Should he face his father with the evidence of 
his deception ? What need after all ? It had failed in it's 
object. Why raise unnecessary unpleasantness ? Better 
put the letter back and say nothing about it. But then, he 
wanted Uncle Chris's letter ; the letter of a hero ; the letter 
of a martyr to an idea. ... He had a sudden inspiration. 
He changed the envelopes of the letters, and replaced his 
uncle's envelope containing his father's forgery in the drawer, 
which he closed. Now if his father went to the drawer he 
would think his treasure was safe unless he opened the letter, 
which was very unlikely. Chris's letter he placed in his 
pocket-book. 

Suddenly the door opened and Sir Eugene entered. He 
was in evening dress. 

" Hello ! What are you doing here ? " he said. 

" I was looking for a stamp father.'* 

" Well, you've no business to go to my desk. Don't you 
know that that's dishonourable ? " 

The blood rushed to Bernard's cheeks, and his heart 
jumped violently. Before he could control himself he 
blurted out : 
N 



188 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" And don't you think it's dishonourable to lie and forge 
letters ? " 

Sir Eugene's face became black with rage. 

" You 3'oung brat," he shouted. " How dare you speak 
to me like that ? " 

Bernard was his father's son. His own anger boiled over 
simultaneously. 

" What the devil did you mean by forging my uncle's 
letter ? " he demanded. 

Sir Eugene controlled himself by a visible effort. 

" I forged your uncle's letter, did I ? " he sneered. 
" That's a nice accusation to make against your father." 

" It's no use denying it, governor," said Bernard. " I 
have the original in my pocket." 

Sir Eugene evidently realised that further deception was 
impossible, for he said nothing and sat down. But Bernard 
was not finished. His tone was bitter as he said : " You're 
the fine moral teacher aren't you. ' I needn't tell you never 
to do anything dishonourable, for you're my son.' Hm ! " 

Sir Eugene winced at the quotation, but he sprang up to 
defend himself. 

" I did my duty as your father in trying to keep from you 
the insidious suggestions of a traitor to his King and country. 
I wish to heaven I'd burnt the thing. I only kept it so as 
to show it to you when you were old enough to think for 
yourself." 

" Ninety-nine ? " suggested Bernard. 

" Bernard for God's sake tear the thing up now and don't 
read it." 

" I've read it already." 

" Well, burn it and think no more about it." 

" Look here, father. You must think very highly of a 
cause if you're afraid that a few words in its favour will make 
me take it up." 

" Young men are easily led into romantic absurdity, 
Bernard." 

" Still, it would surely have been better to let me see the 
letter and put your case against it instead of deceiving me." 

" I acted for the best, laddie. I was hasty, I admit, but 
I was so afraid for your future." 

" Well," said Bernard, " I'll say no more. What's done 



A DEAD HAND . 189 

can't be undone, and things have come out all right in the 
end. . . . Good night father." 

He made for the door but a sudden recollection made him 
stop, and turning to his father he said : 

" The beastliest part of all your treachery was sticking 
that ' Pray for me ' into your forgery. I'll find it hard to 
forgive that." 

And without another word he left the room. 



Two days later Bernard sailed out of Kingstown Harbour 
with a book and a lunch basket. The weather was perfect. 
A 'light breeze flicked the water into ripples that danced and 
glinted in the sun and swished and lapped under his clinker 
planks. A heat haze was beginning to rise at the mouth of 
the bay, promising a flat calm. He headed for the purple 
lump of Howth and hove to a dozen cable lengths from her 
shore. Already the wind was dropping and his reef -points 
slap-slapped lazily against the slackened sail. In this idyllic 
way he commenced to read Joyce's Concise History of Ireland. 
He read for two hours to the accompaniment of the creak of 
his timbers, the plup-plup of the wavelets, and the screams 
of sea gulls. Then he stopped ; lunched off ham sand- 
wiches, sultana cake, and bottled beer ; and smoked his 
pipe. That done, he resumed his reading until the chill of 
the rising evening breeze suggested home. 

During the following week Bernard ransacked the book- 
sellers of Grafton Street and the quays and bought every book 
about Ireland that he could find. They made a miscellane- 
ous collection : Lecky, Jonah Barrington, John Mitchell, 
Standish O'Grady, O'Connor-Morris, A. M. Sullivan, Mrs. 
Stopford Green, Joyce, Barry O'Brien ; the Autobiography 
of Wolfe Tone, The Jail Journal, The Spirit of the Nation ; 
recently published Nationalist and Unionist brochures ; 
and most instructive of all, the works of Fintan Lalor. . . . 
Bernard was due for his final examination in September, 
and had already been studying for it for a month or more, 
but he resolved to postpone it till March in order to fill what 
he now realised had been an enormous gap in his education. 
It was now the sixth of August, and but for his examination 



THE WASTED ISLAND 

work he would have been away iiom Dublin on holiday. 
His decision taken, he hired a lent, pitched it in a convenient 
position near the sea at Malahide, stocked it with his books, 
and sailed over to moorings in the estuary three days later. 
Then he settled down to his task. 

He read the History of Ireland. He read of her half- 
legendary beginnings, of her semi-historical heroic period, 
of her early arts and sciences. He read of her astounding 
conversion to Christianity and of the glorious days when 
she seemed to be entirely devoted, as no other country before 
or since has been devoted, to religion and learning : of the 
days when she was a university to a dark and savage Europe. 
Then he read of the desperate long drawn out struggle with 
the Norsemen when she seemed doomed to destruction 
but won through by the valour of her sons and the genius 
of Brian Borumha. Evil days followed on her triumph 
and he read with dismay of the sickening dissensions that 
broke up the nearly completed unity of the nation and left 
it at the mercy of the organised invader from England. Then 
he read of the seven hundred years' struggle against the 
strangling grip of the conqueror : of Godfrey O'Donnell 
and Edward Bruce and Art MacMurrough ; of the Geraldincs 
and Shane the Proud and Hugh O'Neill ; heroic efforts, 
tragic failures that served only to rivet the chains more firmly. 
He read on as generation after generation in turn took up 
the sword only to fall beaten and exhausted : Owen Roe 
O'Neill and the men of 1641 ; Sarsfield and the men of the 
Williamite wars ; passed in a splendid and mournful pageant 
before his eyes. Then came the penal laws and he saw his 
disarmed and broken countrymen clinging manfully to their 
persecuted religion. Then came the gleam of temporary 
hope and fugitive success in 1782, followed by the lurid 
catastrophe of 1798, and finally the sordid transaction of the 
Union with Great Britain came as a pitiful anti-climax. 
Yet for this indomitable nation the struggle was not yet over. 
Came the tithe war and then the battle for religious emancipa- 
tion, won eventually from the fear of the conquerer for this 
disarmed and weary people. Then the Repeal agitation, 
the trumpet call of Young Ireland, the hideous tragedy of 
the great famine, and the miserable collapse of the '48 insur- 
rection. With quarter of the population dead and another 



A DEAD HAND 191 

quarter flying over the seas for life was Ireland conquered 
yet ? No. At the call of the Fenians he saw her draw the 
sword again, and again fall beaten to the ground. And 
then he came to Parnell and modern history and saw the 
survivors of that wonderful nation peaceably reasonably, 
yet firmly for all that, asking for a tithe of their rights, and 
clinging to their demand in face of perpetual rebuffs. The 
history of a wasted island. 

" Good God ! " groaned Bernard, " what we might have 
done for the world had this heavy hand been lifted off us ! 
The wasted wasted effort ! " 

He thought of the mighty men who had worn themselves 
out in the futile struggle : of Hugh O'Neill, as great a mon- 
arch as Louis XIV., beaten and broken to a miserable sur- 
render ; of Owen Roe, as great a general as Cromwell, 
already with a European reputation, who threw up all to 
serve his country and die in the attempt ; of Wolfe Tone, 
a statesman of the noblest type, who attempted a greater 
task than Hannibal, and perished by his own hand in a 
dungeon cell ; of the brilliant constructive intellects of the 
Young Irelanders wasted and smashed by the conqueror's 
unrelenting hand ; of Parnell sacrificed to the hypocrisy of 
pretended liberators. What might not the world have gained 
from these had not duty called them to take up their mother- 
land's eternal cause ? Burning hate entered into his soul 
at the thought ; righteous hate ; hate such as he had never 
felt before, save once. The same feelings surged up in 
him, only more intensely, as on that distant day at Ashbury 
when he had seen Sherringham smash Reppington's steam 
engme. ' You've destroyed something you can't replace,' 
he had said on that occasion and the same phrase recurred 
to him now. 

And then for the first time he realised fully the selfishness 
and shallowness of the class he belonged to : of his father, 
of the Heuston Harringtons, of the Harveys, and of hundreds 
'of others. The tragedy of their country was a closed book 
to them, and if they knew anything of its contents they took 
care not to think about it lest it should interfere with their 
way of life. They call it ' politics,' he reflected, and so 
banish it from polite conversation. A phrase of Mitchell's 
occurred to him. 



I 9 2 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" Dastards i " he said. " Genteel dastards." 

And again . 

" / was to have been brought up that way. Thank God 
I was saved from that." 

" All our middle class is the same," he said later, " even 
those who call themselves nationalists. And there's less 
excuse for them, because they know the facts and disregard 
them. They think aright, most of them, but won't act ior 
fear of injuring their damned respectability." 

Later still he asked himself, 

" And what now ? What can I do ? I must act, for he 
that isn't with Ireland is against her. Everyone who stands 
by and does nothing acknowledges and assists British 
government by his acquiescence." 

The problem was a difficult one. Home Rule he knew to 
be illogical, a delusion and a snare, and possibly a will-o'- 
the-wisp. Yet the people had accepted it. His democratic 
principles forced him to abide by the decision of the people, 
but he resolved to set out to convert them. 

Suddenly he began to laugh at himself. 

" Convert them ! I ? A young medical student. 
Recently a seoinin and a convert myself. . . . Well, 
stranger things have happened." 

He remembered the state-making dreams of his boyhood. 
Surely, thought he, that was not all for nothing ? 

" Was I a statesman in embryo ? Am I too with my 
plans and projects wasting to nothing under the blight of 
the conquest ? Let's be up and doing. There are heads 
and hands in Ireland still, and let mine be among them." 

All night he lay awake in his tent listening to the wash of 
the sea on the beach below, and through his mind passed 
visions of stately cities and teeming commerce and fertile 
fields and fine healthy men and women. 

" How long, O Lord, how long ? " he muttered, and fell 
asleep just as the sun crept up out of the eastern sea. 



CHAPTER IX 
A MEETING 



A YOUNG man in the middle twenties, not tall but powerfully 
built, with a leathern satchell on his back and a tough ash- 
plant in his hand, alighted from the Rathfarnham tram at 
Nelson Pillar and stood looking about him with mingled 
interest and astonishment. To a dweller in the country, 
as everything about this young man from his bronzed com- 
plexion to his rough-cut clothing proclaimed him to be, 
his first impression of a city, even if he be prepared for it 
by photographs and descriptions, is bound to be one of 
stupefaction, for no description can adequately convey an 
appreciation of the eternal roar and rattle of traffic, and no 
photograph can impart the sensation of being alone in a 
crowd of hurrying and unnoticing humanity. And on that 
day Dublin must have been more than usually stupefying. 
For the streets were more than ordinarily thronged with 
people, many of whom stood about in little whispering 
groups until the police came and moved them on. The 
police were very much in evidence, the glittering metal work 
of their helmets showing here and there above the heads of 
the crowd, while others patrolled the street on horseback. 
There was mental tension in the atmosphere, perceptible 
even to the stranger. 

He turned and addressed a dirty ill-clad figure lounging 
against the railings round the pillar. 

" There seems to be some sort of expectation in the air," 
he said. " What's going to happen ? " 

193 



I 9 4 THE WASTED ISLAND 

The lounger took from his mouth the short black clay 
pipe he was smoking, spat voluminously into the street, and 
replied contemptuously. 

" D'ye mean to say ye don't know that ? " 

" Obviously." returned Stephen, for it was he, "or I 
shouldn't ask." 

" Yer English maybe ? " said the lounger. 

" Maybe I'm not," said Stephen. 

" Then yer accent deceived me." 

" Well, what's going to happen anyway ? " 

" Is it the counthry yev come from now ? " 

"Yes. But . . . ' 

l< Ah, it's fine to be livin' in the country at this time o 
year. I do be mindin' the time I was livin' in the county 
Wexford an' me a boy. Them was the gran' times entirely. 
But musha 'twas another thing for the young men. Up 
workin' before the sun an' maybe not gettin' to bed till a 
long time afther. Sure the city's good enough for me.'' 

He gave a sigh and began to pare chips off a plug of greasy 
tobacco he took from his pocket. 

" But will you tell me what's all the excitement about ? " 
said Stephen as patiently as he could. 

" Yerra, what would it be about but Jim Laarkin ? He 
has the whole town turned upsydown this twelve months 
maybe. . . . Him an' his ' To Hell wid conthracts.' Why 
can't he let well alone ? That's what I say." 

" But what has he done now ? " 

" It's going to hold a meetin' he is, as if we hadn't enough 
and to spare this three months. ... I'd meetin' him 
begob if I got me hands on um, so I would." 

" And when is the meeting to be ? " 

" It's not goin' to be at all. . . . It's . . . what d'ye 
call it ? . . . Proclaimed. Laarkin swears he'll hold it 
all the same though. An' maybe he will, ar/ maybe he 
won't." 

" And where and when is it to be ? " 

" Sure there won't be anny meetin' at all I'm tellin' ye. 
Leastways there mightn't be." 

" But supposing it's held where will it be ? " 

" It'll be here, o' course, afther twelve o'clock Mass." 
" I see. Thank you." 



A MEETING 195 

] 

" No. I'm sorry." 

" Arra, what good are ye ? Why, I mind the time ..." 
But Stephen did not wait for any more reminiscences. 
He went over to the sweet shop at the corner and asked the 
way to the street where his hotel was. Dusk was falling as 
he climbed up the slope of Cavendish Row. Five minutes 
walk took him to his destination, a shabby looking house 
grandiosely labelled in large soot-grimed gilded letters : 

HO EL NEPTU E 

He waited in the tarnished hall wondering what could have 
induced anyone to buy the vases, mirrors, stands, statues 
and pictures with which it was encumbered, while the slovenly 
streeling maid went to fetch ^the proprietor. The latter 
emerged eventually from dim regions at the back of the 
house, a fat genially-smiling man clad in shiny grease-spotted 
clothes. He held out a fat moist hand to Stephen, saying : 

" An' are you the son of oul' Mick Ward ? I'm right 
glad to see you. Yer bag's here safe an' sound. An' how's 
yer father ? Come along up an' I'll show ye yer room. 
Mind ye don't thrip there. I've been goin' to have that 
carpet tacked down this three year, but I always forget, 
an* sure what does it matter ? Ye mus' be tired afther yer 
thramp. I've toul' them to bring y'up some tay to the 
coffee room, an' maybe ye'll thry a bit o' cold mate." 

At this point they reached the room assigned to Stephen, 
who was glad to see his bag lying in one corner. 

" When yer done washin' ye can come down," said his 
host, leaving him alone. 

Stephen surveyed the room. Its seedy appearance and 
musty atmosphere were very oppressive to eyes and 
lungs accustomed to greenery and mountain air. But the 
room was large and had a generous window, for the Hotel 
Neptune was an Old Georgian Mansion in the second stage 
of the descent which Dublin houses of that kind inevitably 
follow. When the Act of Union drove its original aristo- 
cratic owner to London it had become the abode of comfort- 
able people of the middle class. This was the first stage of 
the descent. As the house grew shabbier and society de- 



196 THE WASTED ISLAND 

serted the north for the south side of the city such tenants 
no longer sought it, and it descended to the second stage. 
When its present proprietor smashed or died it would pass 
into the third stage, becoming converted into offices for 
obscure societies and struggling young solicitors. Finally 
it would become a tenement house, and remain so until the 
day of its ultimate collapse. 

Stephen washed and went down to the coffee room where 
on a table-cloth stained with gravy and mustard was laid a 
meal consisting of tea, bread and butter, jam and nearly 
cold beef. In the centre of the table was a dismal and 
crooked cruet stand ; one of whose bottles was missing, 
another empty, while dried up mustard occupied the third, 
a pinch of pepper the fourth, and quarter of an inch of 
vinegar the fifth. The tea was served in a chipped earthen- 
ware pot with a cover that did not match ; the handles of the 
knives were loose and the blades worn and battered ; while 
the prongs of the fork were bent, with traces of dried up egg 
between them. In spite of these deterrents to appetite he 
made a good meal, distracted a little by the chatter of his 
host who sat with him for a while. Almost immediately 
after he went upstairs to bed, and lulled by the graduallly 
decreasing sounds of traffic, fell asleep. 



Mass was over at the Pro-Cathedral. The congregation 
swept in a dense jostling stream along the narrow alley lead- 
ing into Sackville Street carrying Stephen along with it. 
In the great thoroughfare there was an air of expectation 
tenser than on the night before. There were small knots 
of Transport Workers Bere and there, but most of the occu- 
pants of the street were church-goers in their Sunday best 
who had paused on the way to and from their devotions in 
anticipation of excitement. The police were even more 
conspicuous than on the Saturday and there was a compact 
force at the north side of the street. 

" Jem'll keep his word, never you fear," Stephen heard 
a working-man say to an inquiring clerk. 

Suddenly there was a murmur and then a cry from the 
crowd. Stephen, following the direction of the general 



A MEETING 197 

gaze, saw a bearded man in a frock coat step out on the 
balcony of the great hotel before him and raise his hand. 
In a second the beard and silk hat were cast aside revealing 
the well-known features of the labour leader. A cheer 
went up from the crowd, to be changed immediately into a 
cry of alarm. The press grew denser to Stephen's left, 
swayed a moment, and then broke up into stampeding units. 
Above the heads of the people Stephen could see the helmets 
of the police, who had formed into a close line and charged. 
Shouts and the sound of blows could be heard. He was 
almost lifted from his feet and borne away by the living 
avalanche. All round him men women and children fought 
and scrambled their way to safety. After yielding at first 
Stephen managed eventually to hold his ground. The line 
of police was nearer to him now. He could see the rise and 
fall of their batons striking indiscriminately at the crowd. 
Women and old men seeking for nothing but escape were 
struck as savagely as young men who had tried to resist. 
Stephen saw one policeman deliberately strike on the head 
a middle-aged man who had already been beaten to the 
ground. Suddenly events took a new turn. The police 
thrust a wedge into the heart of the crowd, and the portion 
in which Stephen was included was driven back on the portico 
of the General Post Office. Some of the unfortunate people 
descried a lane here which offered some prospect of refuge 
and there was an immediate rush in that direction. Stephen 
was swept along in the general panic into the narrow alley, 
which, however, proved to be a cul-de-sac, a veritable death- 
trap. The police were now fighting mad and beyond con- 
trol. A few of them followed the terrified crowd into the 
cul-de-sac plying their batons with demon fury on their 
unresisting victims. Shouts and shrieks hurtled through 
the air. In the main thoroughfare the crowd had broken 
up in panic flight pursued by the unrelenting forces of the 
law. In the blind alley the huddled and paralysed mass of 
people was at the mercy of its assailants. A young woman 
near Stephen shrank cowering into the shelter of a doorway 
as an enormous policeman raging like a bull ploughed his 
way through the crowd towards her as if he had singled her 
out for destruction. Stephen hurriedly interposed with 
his ash-plant, but before he could free his arm sufficiently 



198 THE WASTED ISLAND 

to use it the policeman's heavy baton had descended with 
crushing force on his head. Uttering a sharp cry Stephen 
fell to the ground insensible. 



When he regained consciousness he found himself lying 
on the ground, his head, which was bound up with a hand- 
kerchief, being supported by a young man who was kneeling 
beside him. 

" What's happened ? " said Stephen. 

"You're all right/' replied the young man. "You got 
a nasty bat on the head, but I don't think it's done any real 
damage. Let me shift you over so as you can rest against 
the wall there." 

With the young man's help he propped himself up in a 
sitting position in a slight recess. Looking round him he 
saw that the alley was like a battle field. Slightly injured 
persons were moving away tying up their wounds with hand- 
kerchiefs ; three or four prostrate figures were being attended 
to by their friends ; ten yards from where he sat lay the 
senseless figure of the policeman who had assaulted him. 

" Not a bad bit of work that," said Stephen's protector, 
following the direction of his glance. " He bent down to 
finish you off with a second tap, so I caught up your ash- 
plant and laid him out. . . . Some stick ! " 

He fingered the ash-plant affectionately. Then he said 
suddenly : 

" If you're anyway fit to walk let's get a more on. Good- 
ness knows what's happening, but if that mass of viscous 
adiposity," he indicated the policeman, " were to come 
to, he'd identify us. . . . We might get a cab in Parnell 
Street. Where do you live ? " 

Stephen told him. The young man assisted him to his 
feet, and Stephen found that though his head was painful 
and his limbs shaky he was well able to walk. They made 
their way out of the alley into Sackville Street where the 
likeness to a stricken field was even stronger. Turning to 
the left they passed along Upper Sackville Street and by good 
fortune secured a cab in Parnell Street. As they drove 
towards his hotel Stephen said : 



A MEETING 199 

" My name's Stephen Ward. What's yours ? " 

" Lascelles," said the young man. " Bernard Lascelles. 
. . . You're not a Dubliner I suppose ? " 

" I only arrived here last night." 

" You've had rather a rough welcome I'm afraid. But 
we're used to that kind of thing here. This was really only 
a culmination. . . . How's the head ? " 

The ramshackle cab drawn by its decrepit old horse rum- 
bled on. Stephen had time to observe his rescuer. He had 
an interesting face : there was firmness in his finely modelled 
lips, will and purpose in his powerful jaw, thought in his 
broad brow, and laughter and sorrow in his light blue eyes. 
The carriage of his head showed confidence and good breed- 
ing, the latter not belied by a certain untidiness in his cloth- 
ing, the untidiness of the student not of the sloven. 

Bernard on his side was also making observations, less 
openly perhaps by reason of the conventions in which he 
had been educated. At first it was the physical perfection 
of his protege" that attracted his admiration. Then he glanced 
at Stephen's eyes, the cold steel-blue eyes of the impersonal 
thinker. 

" A baton is an excellent means of driving home the logic 
of a case, isn't it ? " he said. 

" It's an argument which can only be answered by a 
reductio ad ashplant," replied Stephen . . . 

" Holy God ! " exclaimed the paternal proprietor of the 
Neptune as he and Bernard assisted Stephen to bed. " I'd 
have the tripes out o' them peelers, so I would. Every 
bloody mother's son o' them . . . them an' their batons. 
. . . Ah, it's a quare world, glory be to God ! " 



When Bernard arrived at the Neptune next day he found 
Stephen sitting in the smoke-room along with another man, 
a dark-haired florid-complexioned man of about thirty, 
whom Stephen introduced as Mr. McCall. 

" Here's a man," said the latter, speaking with a slight 
Northern accent, " who expects to appeal to the employers 
by reason." 

Bernard laughed. 



200 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" Why not ? " said Stephen. " The arguments used on 
both sides in this controversy have seemed to me stupid 
rather than malicious. I thought there was room for a little 
sound reasoning and that's why I left the mountains and came 
to Dublin." 

" Well," said McCall, " as far as the stupidity of the argu- 
ments is concerned you're right. But you needn't imagine 
that the people who use them are stupid. They aren't. 
They only use stupid arguments because the fnujblic is stupid, 
and because, owing to the hypocrisy of modern society, 
malicious arguments don't pay. I've been a journalist in 
my time, so I ought to know." 

" But surely if truth and reason were put before the 
public . . . ' 

" My dear sir, the public doesn't know the meaning of 
the words. If truth and reason were of any avail the strike 
would have been settled months ago by A.E's letter." 

" The fact is," said Bernard, " that the employers mean 
to smash the Transport Workers' Union once and for all, 
and smash it they will. The strikers are half-starved already 
and can't last much longer." 

" A fight by an isolated section is bound to end that way," 
said McCall, " and I'm not really sorry. The workers will 
have to join in with the National fight now and make their 
cause a part of it." 

" You're an Ulsterman, aren't you ? " said Bernard. 
" Well there are a few questions I want to ask you. I'm a 
recent convert to Nationalism and there are a few difficulties 
I'm always running up against in controversy. One is the 
question ' If Ireland's poverty is due to British government 
why is Ulster so prosperous ? ' Can you explain that ? ' ' 

" Well," said McCall, " the best answer to that is that it's 
not true. Certain individuals in Ulster are prosperous 
but the province itself isn't. There's worse sweated labour 
in Belfast than in Dublin, and worse slums too. You've 
heard of the famous linen company of Addison and Monk- 
house ? Addison himself is a millionaire and a political 
boss, but do you know what he pays his workers ? Take 
the poor old women who work the initials on the handker- 
chiefs he sells at fifteen and eighteen shillings the dozen. 
He pays them twopence halfpenny the dozen, and it takes 



A MEETING 201 

them a whole day to earn it. When I was a boy I served my 
time in a well known cardboard box factory that employed a 
couple of hundred girls. They were paid according to the 
amount of work they got through, and the most efficient of 
them could only manage to earn about nine shillings a week. 
Of course the average was much lower than that. . . . 
Ulster prosperous ! Good heavens, Ulster's population is 
dropping just as rapidly as Leinster's ? " 

" So I've piftfted out. But people said that was an 
advantage as it left more wealth to those who remained 
behind." 

" 111 fares the land, to hastening ills a prey, 
Where wealth accumulates and men decay." 

quoted McCall. " But I wouldn't be surprised if the dead 
hand of Whately had cut those lines out of the school editions." 

" Who was Whately ? " asked Bernard. 

" Whately was the Protestant Archbishop who dominated 
the beautiful educational system of this Catholic country 
a generation ago. His job was to knock the national spirit 
out of the children and if he failed it wasn't his fault. First 
he attacked the language. Irish was forbidden in the schools 
even in the Irish speaking districts, and children who knew 
nothing else were punished for using it. Then he took 
hold of the reading-books and expurgated them. He knocked 
out every reference not only to Irish patriotism mind you, 
but to patriotism of any kind. One of the poems he cut out 
was Scott's ' Breathes there the man with soul so dead ? ' 
Instead of it he inserted this touching verse : 

I thank the goodness and the grace 

That on my birth have smiled, 
And made me in these Christian days 

A happy English child. 

Can you imagine the little barefooted Connacht children 
reciting that drivel ? . . . And mind you, that kind of 
thing is going on still. Only five years ago a Protestant 
member of the Board of Education insisted on cutting the 
line ' Embrace the faithful Crucifix ' out of Mangan's Lament 



202 THE WASTED ISLAND 

for the Princes. Damn it, I'm a Protestant myself, if I'm any- 
thing, but I'm ashamed of my Church." 

" I've never been in Belfast," said Bernard, " but from all 
I hear of them the people there must be a hard bigoted lot/' 

" No," said McCall. "They're mad and ignorant on 
politics and religion, but otherwise they're just the same as 
the rest of the Irish, a decent kind-hearted, hospitable 
people. Of course their politics are absurd. I had to leave 
Belfast on that account. I was never more than six months 
in a job before they found out I was a Nationalist and gave 
me the sack. And the whole thing's just sheer downright 
ignorance. In their schools they never learn a word about 
their own country. They know they're Irish and not English 
just as they know they're male and not female, or vice versa, 
but it's a matter of no importance. The only history they 
learn is English History and they think King William founded 
the Orange Order." 

" Didn't he ? " asked Bernard. 

" Not he. It was founded in 1795 as a political expedient. 
I once told an Orangeman that and he wouldn't believe me. 
I showed it to him in a book and he wouldn't believe the 
book ; and it was written by an Orangeman. That's the 
Ulsterman all over. He knows what's so and nothing will 
ever convince him he's wrong. . . . But don't think the 
Ulsterman is loyal to England. He supports the Union 
because he's under the delusion that it makes Ulster pros- 
perous. If he ever finds out his mistake and some day he 
will he'll cut the cable quicker than any of you. He's a 
business man you know and sentiment counts for nothing 
with him." 

" The Ulster Volunteer movement shows how little he 
cares for parliament," put in Bernard. 

" Quite so. . . . Lord, what a mess the Irish party 
have made of things. Why on earth didn't they set out to 
convert Ulster instead of the English ? The goodwill of 
the English doesn't matter a damn, whereas a united Ireland 
could bully the British government into anything. Instead 
of that they went abusing their possible friends, and con- 
ciliating their historic enemy. It'll serve them right if they 
get a kick up the backside for their trouble." 

There was a momentary silence and then Stephen spoke. 



A MEETING 203 

" We've one thing to be grateful to Ulster for anyway," 
he said. " They've demonstrated a possibility." 

" What's that ? " asked Bernard. 

" Volunteeering is a game that two can play at." 

" Begad ! " said McCall, " I wonder we never thought of 
that before." 

" I've thought for years," said Stephen, " over the solution 
of our dilemma. Physical force has failed every time, and 
its failure becomes more and more certain as year by year 
makes England stronger and Ireland weaker. On the other 
hand, Constitutionalism is illogical demoralising and futile. 
Failure is written all over the present Party. A little more 
stiffening on the part of the Volunteers and the Liberals 
will climb down. . . . Well, what remains for us ? Why 
not a mixture of the two methods. Leave the Party to blither 
at Westminster and raise an army of Volunteers here to 
show we mean business." 

" Great scheme ! " ejaculated McCall. 

" Then," said Stephen, " Volunteers will come in useful 
in the not very distant future, when ... I suppose you'll 
agree that a European war is inevitable sooner or later ? " 

" I doubt it," said Bernard. " Civilisation's got beyond 
that." 

" Has it ? " sniffed McCall. " I give Europe five years 
more of peace, and then " 

" I give her less," said Stephen. " Well, if the war comes 
before Home Rule, the Volunteers can extract some pretty 
strong measure of self-government right at the start. And 
if Home Rule comes first, the Volunteers will be there to 
extract a few more of our rights, and perhaps to maintain 
our neutrality." 

" You're a statesman," said McCall. 

" Pooh ! That's common sense. I wonder no one else 
thought of it. I came to Dublin in order to get hold of 
people well enough known to father the scheme." 

" The Party won't cotton on to it," said McCall. 
" They're tied hand and foot to the Liberals. I wouldn't be 
surprised if they even denounced it." 

" I never even thought of the Party," said Stephen. " The 
people I want to get in touch with are the Gaelic Leaguers. 
They've more grip on reality than any politicians." 



204 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" Well, I can introduce you to some of them," said McCall, 
and they set to discussing ways and means. 

Shortly after Bernard took his leave. 

" I shan't see you again for a fortnight or so," he said. 
" I'm running over to England on a visit to a friend of mine. 
. . . He's a candidate in this Deeping Bye-Election, and a 
damn decent fellow and very friendly to Ireland though he's 
a Tory. I'll put him in touch with some of the facts of the 
situation and see how they go down with the English 
electorate." 

' These honest amiable philo-Irish Englishmen," said 
McCall, " are more dangerous enemies to us than the other 
kind, for they don't really count in English politics and we're 
apt to soften our attitude to suit them." 

" I think Willoughby will count some day," said Bernard. 
" Well, I'll be off. See you again in a fortnight. . . . Take 
care of that head of yours, Ward." 



On a mellow evening in September Bernard arrived at 
Deeping. Willoughby met him at the station. Four years 
had made little alteration in their appearances : if anything 
Willoughby had aged rather more than Bernard, and he was 
actually the elder by a year. They had much to talk about 
on the drive to the Towers, for neither cared much about 
letter writing. 

" The first thing I've got to tell you," said Willoughby, 
" is that I'm engaged to be married." 

" My dear chap I congratulate you. Why didn't you 
tell me before ? " 

" It only happened a month ago, so I thought I'd keep 
the news until you came. . . . Do you remember a Miss 
Morecambe who was staying with us when you were here ? 
It's her sister. They're both on a visit at the Towers at 
present." 

" And how's Mrs. Slitherly ? " 

" Maud's very well. . . . Second son arrived six weeks 
ago." 

" Have you heard anything of your old friend Murray ? " 

" Not a word for ages. He did brilliantly at Oxford, 



A MEETING 205 

but he only wrote to me once since he left, and that's nearly 
a year ago. . . . We did miss you in our little set. Rotten 
luck I call it." 

They talked for a while about the careers of various school- 
fellows, but eventually Willoughby harked back to the subject 
that is always uppermost in the minds of young lovers. 

" No," said Bernard in reply to a feeler, " I've been into 
love, through it, and out at the other end dozens of times. 
The woman doesn't live that I could be faithful to." 

" Nonsense," objected Willoughby. " You'll meet your 
fate some day, and be worse than any of us. That's what 
always happens to your sort." 

" I hope not," said Bernard. " I've more important 
things to bother about. How's the election going ? " 

" I haven't the ghost of a chance, I'm afraid. You see, 
the Tory push wouldn't have me as I wasn't true-blue on 
the Irish question, and a couple of others as well ; so I'm 
going up as an Independent. It'll be a three cornered fight. 
Do you remember Frank's friend Hastings ? He's the 
Liberal candidate, and the Unionist is a crusty old soldier 
Major Allardyce. It's between those two really. I'm 
too young to catch votes and my views don't seem to go down 
somehow." 

" We must have a talk about that later on. I've heard 
and read nothing but Irish politics for the last three years 
and I haven't an idea what's been happening over here." 

They swept along by highway, by-way, Roman Road and 
cedar-bordered avenue to the well remembered entry to 
Willoughby Towers, Everything was the same as on 
Bernard's previous visit four years ago : a picture of unchang- 
ing prosperity. The squire's welcome was as hearty, his 
wife's as frigid as on the former occasion. The two Miss 
Morecambes came down to the drawing-room dressed for 
dinner. Bernard's attention was entirely occupied by 
Willoughby's fiancee, Dorothy, who was fair, graceful, and 
extremely pretty, that at the salutation with which he greeted 
her sister was of the most perfunctory nature. Dorothy 
though pretty, was no doll, and Bernard highly approved 
his friend's choice, a fact which he communicated to him 
in a whisper as they moved in to dinner. 



206 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" Have you ever been back to Ashbury ? " Bernard asked 
Willoughby during the course of the meal. 

" Oh yes," said Willoughby. " I go there every year for 
the Easter retreat. . . . You're not at all popular there, 
you know, ever since that article of yours on the morals of 
Public Schools." 

" What did they object to in it ? " 

" They objected to it altogether. In the first place, they 
said, even if it was a true statement you'd no business to make 
it, and in the second place they said it wasn't true." 

" Just what they would say. If a person who has first 
hand experience isn't entitled to speak, who is ? " 

' They call it lack of esprit-de-corps . . . ' 

" I suppose they'd prefer to leave the question to be 
thrashed out in the mawkish pages of John Bull. Well, 
if they don't like me they can lump me." 

" Are things really as bad as you say ? " asked tKe Squire. 

" What things ? " aeked Dorothy innocently, whereat 
Mrs. Willoughby cut into the conversation with some 
incisive remarks about the weather, giving the while an 
angry glance at her son for having introduced so un- 
fortunate a topic. 

Then the squire began gently to chaff Jack about his 
political speeches and about Tory democracy in general. 

" Jack thinks it a good compromise between Toryism 
and democracy to take up both," he said to Bernard. 

r< You talk as if they were opposites," objected Willoughby. 

"So they are, my boy. In my father's time all true Tories 
held the very name of democrat in horror. You might as 
well talk of a Christian Atheist as a Tory democrat." 

" If I thought that," said Willoughby, " I should cease 
to be a Tory." 

" So you have, except in name." 

" Look here, father, can you not conceive a democracy of 
gentlemen ? That's what they have in Ireland." 

" In Ireland ! " interrupted Mrs. Willoughby. " What 
nonsense you're talking, Jack. Ireland's a country of small 
farmers, cattle drivers, and murderers." 

" Mother ! " exclaimed Willoughby. " Remember Mr. 
Lascelles." 

"Oh ; Mr. Lascelles knows what I mean. The Irish upper 



A MEETING 207 

classes are different. I don't really count them as Irish. 
They're mostly of English descent, aren't they Mr. 
Lascelles ? " 

" I don't think we bother much about our descent," said 
Bernard. " I'm Irish, and as for our being murderers, if 
anyone came to put you out of Willoughby Towers because 
they wanted the site to graze cattle on, I think it wouldn't 
be long before you took up a gun yourself." 

" We're not tenants you know," said Mrs. Willoughby, 
looking haughtily along her beautiful nose. " Willoughby 
Towers is our own." 

" My dear madam," said Bernard aggressive in his turn, 
" before England was ever heard of the O'Neills were lords 
in Tir Owen." 

This retort produced silence, for the point of it was utterly 
lost on its hearers. The altercation had introduced a certain 
embarrassment into the atmosphere, which Willoughby 
hastened to allay. 

" You've picked up the deuce of an Irish brogue, Bernard, 
these last few years," he remarked. 

" In Dublin," replied Bernard, " I'm perpetually chaffed 
about my English accent. I wonder what sort of accent I 
have in reality." 

" The most charming brogue I ever heard," asserted 
Dorothy. " What do you think, Janet ? " 

Janet regarded Bernard whimsically a moment. 

" You've a distinctly Dublin accent," she said. 

" You speak daggers to me," laughed Bernard. 

" Dorothy's never been in Ireland," said Janet. " She 
thinks it's an island near Killarney where the people wear 
red petticoats and caubeens and keep pigs as pets and shoot 
each other with shillelaghs." 

" Janet stayed in Connemara for a month once," said 
Dorothy, " so she thinks she's a great authority. Have you 
a shillelagh, Mr. Lascelles ? " 

" Yes. Five or six. I use them to drive the pigs to 
market." 

" How lovely ! " exclaimed Dorothy. " I should so love 
to have one." 

" I'll send you one for a wedding present," said Bernard. 

" Oh do ! . . . And, do you know, Jack wants to spend 



208 THE WASTED ISLAND 

the honeymoon in Ireland. Do you think I ought to agree ?" 
" Certainly. But make him bring a revolver." 
Dorothy gasped. But here Janet interposed. 
" Don't mind him. He's only ' taking the cod of you ' 

as they say in Ireland. You're a regular stage Irishman, 

Mr. Lascelles." 

" Can't help it, Miss Morecambe," Bernard sighed. 

r ' You see I'm on the Irishman's favourite stage." 
" What's that ? " asked Dorothy. 
" England," said Bernard. 



To leave the lovers alone together Janet took Bernard for 
a stroll in the garden. 

" It was a good deed," said Janet, " to answer Mrs. 
Willoughby the way you did . . . even though she is our 
hostess. What was the point of what you said about 
Tyrone?" 

" Irish landlordism only dates from the English conquest. 
There were no owners of the soil in ancient Ireland. The 
chieftains were just the leaders of the people, who owned the 
land in common. That was the only thing in the old Gaelic 
system that appeals to me." 

" So you've been reading your history since we last met ? 
It's altered your outlook, I'm sure." 

" Yes, I'm a convinced Nationalist now, and ruthless 
logic has driven me to believe in the necessity of Separation. 
. . . You English I think picture an Irish revolutionary 
as a dreamy idealist sentimentalising over a green flag. So 
did I at one time. But nothing would be further from the 
truth. Anything harder, colder, or more practical than the 
young Nationalists who are responsible for my conversion 
you couldn't imagine. The real sentimentalists are those 
ardent Home Rulers like Murray do you remember him ? 
who believe in the goodwill of England and expect justice 
from her. ... I hope you don't mind such plain 
speaking ? " 

" Oh no. I know what our politicians are like, and it's 
they who run our policy." 

" Well, as I say, I'm logically convinced, but I can't help 



A MEETING 209 

a feeling that the cause is rather a small one. ... I wish I 
could explain myself. . . . You see, all my enthusiasms 
are for mankind as a whole. Since first I could think I've 
thought in terms of the world, and I've a feeling that its a 
narrowing strangling thing to get caught up in an obscure 
local squabble. . . . I've a sort of fear of losing sight of 
the big human issue and getting stained in the muck of party 
politics. For it is a muck in spite of all the fine ideals of 
some of the fighters. ... If you could hear some of the 
speeches I've heard. . . . Then the cause doesn't grip 
me very vitally. I feel to it rather like a sympathetic out- 
sider. When I first read Irish history the tragedy and 
injustice of it filled me with wild emotions and resolves. 
But they had no roots. I feel that this is only one of a thou- 
sand tragedies and it has no more motive power for me than 
any of the others. ... It isn't vital to my being like the 
great ideas, Republicanism or Socialism. . . . The 
Marseillaise means more to me, if you understand, than A 
Nation Once Again. A couple of bars of the Marseillaise 
is enough to set my heart throbbing and my nerves thrilling, 
whereas the other it's just a song." 

' Then you don't . . . love Ireland ? " 

" I confess I don't see much to love in her. I can't stand 
my countrymen at all. . . . They're shiftless, inefficient, 
not very honest, not very clean, very thin-skinned and down- 
right intolerant of criticism. They never keep appointments, 
they talk a great deal too much, they're insincere, and they're 
damnably shallowly clever. Why, their very virtues are 
only the reverse side of their vices. People praise their 
unworldliness and indifference to material gain : it's just part 
of their shiftlessness. They've a reputation for courtesy, 
but it's only part of their insincerity. And as for their 
charm and hospitality, as soon as the stranger has turned his 
back they're laughing at him and abusing him." 

" They have the softest voices in the world," put in Janet. 
" So different from our strident screeching." 

" Maybe so," said Bernard. " I don't like them all the 
same. ... So much for my people. As for the country 
well, you can get beautiful scenery anywhere, and I don't 
think ours very great shakes anyhow." 

Janet laughed lightly. 



2io THE WASTED ISLAND 

" You. don't understand the merest A.B.C. of patriotism," 
she said. " Do you think I don't love England because I 
hate her oppression of other countries ? Because if you do, 
you're wrong. 

If England was what England seems, 
And not the England of our dreams, 
But only putty, brass and paint, 
How quick we'd chuck 'er But she ain't. 

The man who wrote that is a professional patriotic rhapso- 
diser, but he's as ignorant of the first principles of patriotism 
as you are." 

" I'm still in the dark," said Bernard. " I may be 
deficient in patriotism, but whatever the reason may be, 
while I'm firmly convinced of the righteousness of the cause 
I feel no overwhelming desire for action." 

"I'm afraid I must leave it to nature to help you out," 
replied Janet. 

They talked for a while on various topics. Janet's social 
work, Bernard's August reading, and the labour crisis in 
Dublin were the chief. 

" That's what the papers called a riot," said Janet when 
Bernard had described the famous baton charge. " Good 
heavens, its . . . " she paused for words but failed to find 
them, "... it's unspeakable," she added lamely. Her 
eyes shone and her voice shook with indignation. For a 
moment she was almost beautiful. 

There was silence between them for a while. This girl 
troubled the very depths of Bernard's soul. His mind 
leaped responsively to hers, and he was conscious of a re- 
ciprocal movement of hers to his. And now he was aware 
of an unfamiliar feeling of contentment in being with her, 
and as they walked in the ever deepening darkness among 
the cedars he gave himself up to the enjoyment of this sensa- 
tion. For many minutes the crunching of gravel beneath 
their feet was all that disturbed the delicious silence . . . 

Then he turned to look at her and the spell was broken. 
The primitive savage in him hungered for physical beauty, 
and while all that was fine and civilised and cultivated in 
him cursed him for a shallow sensual fool the primitive 
savage won the day. A hard brutal desire to wound that 



A MEETING 211 

which troubled him thrust itself uppermost in his 
consciousness. 

" Jack and Dorothy seem very happy," said Janet : an 
indication of the way her thoughts had run. 

" I don't envy them," said Bernard. " I distrust and fear 
happiness. ... I never see a happily married couple 
especially an elderly couple but I thank God I am not 
such as they." 

" Why ? " asked Janet, a touch of alarm in her voice. 

" I think happiness is demoralising. Also I think it's an 
accident. We weren't put here to be happy but to work. 
Happiness this side of the grave is a fraud and a snare, and 
when you die your little smiling heaven dies with you. Leave 
happiness to cats ; man has for ever : that's my motto, if 
I may misquote Browning." 

" You don't know what you're talking about," said Janet. 
Then, rather timidly, " Have you ever been in love ? " 

" Too often. That's the trouble. I've gathered roses 
and they've turned to dandelions or nettles in my hand." 

Janet laughed at his tragic tone, a pleasant tinkling laugh 
peculiar to herself, and said : 

" You talk like a disillusioned old rascal of fifty, and I 
don't suppose you're twenty-four yet." 

" I've no use for love," said Bernard. " A man in leve 
is a pathetic idiot, and a girl in love is simply cloying." 

" Mr. Lascelles ! " Janet gasped. " I don't think you 
realise v>hat you're saying. . . . You're , . . O 
you're . . . ' 

She turned away from him abruptly and fled. Bernard 
stood staring stupidly after her for a moment, feeling a kind 
of gloomy satisfaction. 

" Lord ! " he muttered. " I've done it now." 

7 

" Of course," said Willoughby, " I'll go on with it to the 
end, but I haven't a dog's chance. My views don't go down 
somehow. . . . You see the British electorate are a lot of 
children. They want their politics to be either amusing 
or exciting. They certainly don't want them to be seiious. 
. . . Perhaps I'm a bit of a proser, but when I talk of an 
enlightened British Democracy with a great destiny of con- 



212 THE WASTED ISLAND 

struction and education before it they simply yawn. That's 
not their notion of politics. They don't care about con- 
struction or education. They want a sort of Punch and Judy 
show, with comic papers for programmes. . . . And their 
notion of a political speech is a string of humourous or bitter 
attacks on one's opponent mixed up with gross flatteries of 
themselves. Hastings and Allardyce are what they like. 
Hastings tells funny stories about the other side, paints Bonar 
Law as a harmless ass, Balfour as a doting old villain, and 
Allardyce as their tool. And he talks about Asquith and 
Lloyd George as if they were compounds of Solomon and 
Good King Wenceslaus with a touch of John Hampden 
thrown in. As for Allardyce, he just calls Asquith a traitor, 
Lloyd George a thief, and Redmond a rebel, and calls upon 
Old England to remain always Old England. . . . You 
should hear the cheers those two can raise . . . 

" My dear Willoughby," said Bernard, " all this simply 
goes to prove that your ideas about England are sheer rubbish. 
How can you expect a democracy like that to lead the world ? 
What right have they to an Empire about whose geography 
they know damn little and about the people less ? The 
only thing that seems to impress them in the whole affair 
is its size, and they're not even sure of that. All they know 
is that it's bigger than any other Empire." 

But Willoughby's belief in his ideas and in their practic- 
ability was unshaken. Throughout the next few days he 
pursued his canvassing and oratorical course as vigorously 
as ever. 

On the evening before polling day the squire motored his 
guests in to Deeping ' to see the fun.' Threading their way 
slowly and with great difficulty through the crowds they 
passed close to the platform from which the Liberal candi- 
date was addressing his supporters. Hastings had altered 
considerably in appearance since Bernard had seen him last. 
His figure verged on the middle aged, and there was a 
laughable suggestion of Broadbent about his attitude. 

" There is a well-known story," he was saying, " which, 
however well known, I feel justified in repeating because of 
its remarkable aptness in the present political position. I 
refer to the story of the gentleman who met one day on a 
road a small party of workers followed at some distance by 



A MEETING 213 

a solitary man, very tired and anxious and having obvious 
difficulty in keeping up the pace. ' Why,' asked the gentle- 
man, ' are you following these men ? ' 'I must follow them/ 
replied the other in plaintive accents, ' because I'm their 
leader.' ' (Loud laughter.) " Mr. Bonar Law," resumed 
Hastings, " seems to be in a similar plight." (Laughter.) 
" He is the leader of a party, but . . . ' 

Here the motor, being clear of the crowd, took a spurt 
forward and the rest of the sentence was lost. Almost 
immediately they ran into Allardyce's audience and caught 
a few sentences as they passed. 

" . . .In the House no doubt they profess loyalty, or 
what they choose to call loyalty, but the motto of their 
followers is ' Ireland for the Irish.' ' (Groans.) 

" There's Redmond's ' Great Heart of the British 
Democracy ' for you," said Bernard to Janet. 

She agreed with him listlessly. She spoke to him but 
seldom now and never on her own initiative. He had long 
wanted to recall the cruel words of that first evening but did 
not know how to begin, and with the lapse of time the 
difficulty increased. 

They reached Willoughby's committee rooms and found 
him inside with his dispirited agents and friends. 

" Hello, Jack, why aren't you out speechifying ? " asked 
the squire. 

Willoughby grinned helplessly. 

" No good," he said. " Couldn't get a crowd. Let's 
go home." 

Polling day came and went, and in the evening Deeping 
was a seething shouting mass of people waiting for the result. 
It came at last. Hastings was in by over eight hundred 
votes. Willoughby's total poll was seven hundred and 
sixty nine. 

" Well," said Janet, " that's something. Seven hundred 
enlightened people in a county division is a good deal." 

" Not in the circumstances," said Willoughby grimly. 
" At least half of them are villagers who voted for t' Squire's 
son, and half the remainder are disgruntled Tories who 
don't care for Bonar Law." 

Cheer upon cheer burst from the crowd as the results 
were announced. Then there were cries of " Speech ! 



214 THE WASTED ISLAND 

Speech ! " and Hastings went out on to the balcony to address 
his constituents. There was a crescendo of cheers and 
boohs, and as they died down scattered female voices cried 
" Votes for Women." Then there was a momentary silence. 

" Gentlemen ..." began Hastings. 

" Votes for Women ! " 

The persistent female voice was drowned by hoarse shouts 
of hostility. " Put her out ! G-r-r ! " 

" Ladies and gentlemen, from the bottom of my heart 
I thank you for the honour you have done me. I am going 
to Westminster to assist in furthering the great measures of 
the Liberal Government for increasing our constitutional 
liberties . . . ' 

" Votes for women ! " 

" Practice what you preach ! " 

So it went on, the meaningless speech and its meaningless 
interruptions, and in the end the squire and his party drove 
home through the mob that howled and sang and waved 
torches late into the night. 

" Never mind," said Bernard to Willoughby. " Politics 
doesn't consist in sitting at Westminster in a silk hat. . . . 
The pen may or may not be mightier than the sword, but 
it's certainly mightier than the voice of a non-party back- 
bencher." 

" By Jove, I must think about that," said Willoughby. 

8 

Bernard returned to Dublin in October and at the first 
opportunity called at the Hotel Neptune. Stephen however 
was out, and McCall had gone the way of all commercial 
travellers. Bernard called again twice, but each time Stephen 
was away, and the proprietor informed him that he was very 
busy and seldom appeared even at meal time. 

The last occasion was a Saturday afternoon and Bernard 
found himself with nothing to do. McGurk and Crowley 
and Moore were out of town, and O'Dwyer when telephoned 
for was not to be found. So Bernard took his bicycle and 
rode out through Terenure and Rathfarnham along the 
Glencree road. Reaching the stiff slope leading to Feather- 
bed pass he was forced to dismount and walk. Half way 



A MEETING 215 

up the hill he halted and sat down by the roadside to smoke. 

He fell presently into a reverie, wondering at his strangely 
inconsistent attitude towards the vital necessities of his 
country. Why this intense logical conviction unaccompanied 
by any desire to act ? This was the question that puzzled 
and dismayed him. He knew many young men who as 
far as conviction went held views as strong as his own and had 
held them long before he had. These men also, able and 
intelligent as they were, felt no impulse to act. Was he cast 
in their mould ? He hoped not, because with all their abili- 
ties and good qualities he rather despised them. One in 
particular occurred to his mind, a young barrister called 
Kennedy, who protested himself a strong Separatist but 
took no steps towards joining any Separatist organisation, 
and, though he could write admirably, never wrote a line for 
any Separatist paper. Was he, Bernard, like Kennedy ? 
No. For Kennedy was one of those who would have resented 
any suggestion of action being required of him, whereas 
Bernard's inaction caused him acute uneasiness. . . . 
Moore also thought right and took no action. But that was 
because of his vile philosophy. ... An echo of his first 
conversation with Moore recurred to him. ' A man without 
a country. A cleruch/ 

" By Jove, yes ! I'm a member of the garrison. A 
seoinin. A West Briton. . . . Yet I feel no loyalty to 
England. Loyalty ! Already I hate her as much as O'Dwyer 
does. What's wrong with me at all ? " 

He gave up the problem and resumed the climb. He 
emerged at last on an open space where the road divided 
into two. One branch went winding back through rusting 
woodland to the plain beneath. The other curved over 
heathery bog to disappear in the mist among the looming 
purple mountains. Here on a shelf as it were between the 
hills and the sea he paused to take breath leaning over his 
bicycle. The fresh damp autumn breeze fanned his cheek ; 
autumn tints were in the landscape and autumn grey was 
in the sky. Bernard looked around the scene with an admir- 
ing eye. The panorama of mountain, waste land, wood 
and farmland made an instant appeal to his sense of beauty. 
He turned from the mist haze on the hills to the smoke haze 
hanging over the city dim and distant in the plain, and then 



2 i6 THE WASTED ISLAND 

out again to the grey mystery of the sea. . . . And sud- 
denly the feeling inspired by sheer beauty gave place to a 
new unnameable feeling that sprang into being with inex- 
plicable suddenness, a feeling of ownership and yet of service, 
of intimacy and yet of homage ; and on that instant he loved 
the hills and the forests and the plain and the city itself and 
the whole wide horizon with a love incomparable to any 
human love save perhaps that of a son for his mother. 
It was the birth of patriotism. rfn-rrr 

In that moments all doubts were solved and he saw his 
position as clear as day. A well-worn proverb which in 
the arrogance of his cleverness he had long despised flashed 
before him now pregnant with meaning. ' Charity begins 
at home.' Slowly he began to realise the lonely ineptitude 
of his philosophical position. He had feared to cut himself 
off from the world by serving Ireland ; now he saw that 
only in her service could he come in contact with the world. 
Alone he could achieve nothing, but with a liberated and 
regenerated homeland for a model what precepts could he 
not demonstrate to men ? Ireland as Ireland might yet 
have a place in the world's councils ; might eventually lead 
them : Ireland as West Britain could have none. The 
great world-thinkers of other lands had not, after all, neglected 
their own countries. They had not been less national for 
being international, less international for being national. 
France by. her Revolution had re-made the world, but her 
revolutionists had arisen for France. Germany by her 
scientific work had become the school of Europe, but it was 
in developing herself that she had become so. 

And Ireland set free would have her mission too. Even 
now in her subjection the germs of her genius could be seen. 
Her polity would aim at combining the maximum of personal 
liberty with the minimum of individual licence, the maximum 
of public good with the minimum of private restraint. She 
would be a land of courtesy and hospitality free from the curse 
of commercialism, and she would show the nations how to 
be strong without being aggressive, how to be free without 
being arrogant, how to be rich without soul-killing 
industrialism, and how to be great without being large. 

But first to set her free 

To shake off this ^oppressive weight of English Govern- 



A MEETING 217 

ment under which Ireland was being steadily suffocated 
that was the immediate task. If the world could but realise 
its loss, thought Bernard, it would arise in its wrath and 
end the tyranny. But the world is a collection of men who 
attend to their own affairs ; the men of world-vision are few, 
and insufficient to leaven the mass. Bernard could imagine 
here and there in 'other oppressed countries : Poland, 
Finland ; in America ; all over Europe too stray people 
like himself, probably young like himself, who sympathised 
with this distant oppressed island and amid scorn and indif- 
ference yearned for the unity of mankind. But of what 
avail were they ? Ireland must work out her salvation 
alone and self-reliant. The magnitude of the task both 
appalled and braced him as he contemplated it. 

' To work ! " he cried exultantly, and mounting his bicycle 
whirled down through the pine forest to the city. 



CHAPTER X 
THE RUSTY SWORD 



THROUGH a powdery drizzle that danced and sparkled under 
the street lamps hundreds upon hundreds of men moved in 
one direction along the main thoroughfares of Dublin. 
Bernard coming down Nassau Street plunged into the stream 
at the foot of Grafton Street and was carried along in its 
course. This human river moved steadily and almost silently. 
Here and there a laughing girl with a red-clad soldier or a 
smart draper's assistant moved in the contrary direction 
like foam against the current. 

Near the Rotunda the press grew denser, and it took 
Bernard twenty minutes to force his way into the great 
skating rink. Through a door opposite to that by which 
he had entered came a procession of young men four hundred 
strong, the students of University College, among whom 
Bernard could see McGurk and O'Dwyer. They were 
followed almost immediately by another and somewhat 
smaller procession of grim dirty men carrying sticks and 
hurleys, members of the Transport Workers' Union 
still ;on strike. 

" There'll be trouble wid them fellas," said an ancient 
sage next to Bernard. 

The crowds still poured in. The seats were filled, all 
standing room was occupied, and still multitudes clamoured 
for admittance. The atmosphere was stifling and already 
thickening with tobacco fumes. . . . An outburst of 
applause welcomed the appearance of a little group of men 

218 



THE RUSTY SWORD 219 

on the platform, amongst whom Bernard recognised the 
stalwart figure of Stephen Ward. 

When the applause had somewhat abated Eoin MacNcill 
the Chairman, a bearded scholarly-looking Ulsterman, 
stepped forward to speak. 

" We are meeting in public," he said, " in order to proceed 
at once to the enrolment and organisation of a National 
Force of Volunteers. We invite all the able-bodied men of 
Ireland to form themselves into a united and disciplined 
body of freemen, prepared to secure and maintain the rights 
and liberties common to all the people of Ireland." 

He went on to point out that the Irish Volunteers would 
be a non-partisan non-sectarian movement whose sole object 
was to maintain the elementary right of freemen to bear 
arms for the preservation of their natural liberty. Their 
liberties were now menaced by the armed force of a section 
of their countrymen who were openly backed by one of the 
great English political parties and winked at by the other, 
and this line of action was calculated to diminish and 
mutilate the form of Self-Government which was ready to 
be put into force. 

" If this is so it is plain to every man that even the modicum 
of civil rights left to us by the Act of Union is taken from us, 
our franchise becomes a mockery, and we ourselves become 
the most degraded nation in Europe. This insolent menace 
does not satisfy the hereditary enemies of our national freedom. 
Within the past few days a political manifesto has been issued, 
signed most fittingly by a Castlereagh and a Beresford, 
calling for British Volunteers, and for money to arm and 
equip them to be sent into Ireland to triumph over the Irish 
people and to complete their disfranchisement and 
enslavement." 

The speaker concluded by pointing out that the proposed 
Volunteer force was to be on a Territorial basis, the members 
contributing to its funds and electing their own officers. 

A savage yell burst from the Liberty Hall men as the next 
speaker, a stern black-bearded man, came forward. He 
stood for a few moments waiting for the uproar to subside 
but it only increased in volume. In vain MacNeill requested 
a hearing for the speaker. He pointed out that those who 
had come together that evening had done so in the cause of 

p 



220 THE WASTED ISLAND 

their common country and that no sectional disputes should 
intrude. This was too altruisic a philosophy for the Trans- 
port Workers, and as soon as MacNeill had resumed his 
seat the din broke out afresh. 

" Who's the speaker ? " Bernard asked oi' his neighbour. 

" Larry Kettle, one o' th' employers." 

" Put out them Liberty Hall men ! " yelled a voice. 

In spite of the noise the dark man read out a long document 
from beginning to end at the top of his voice. All the time 
the Transport Workers kept up a deafening clamour, shout- 
ing, boohing, stamping their feet and clattering their sticks 
on the benches, so that not a syllable of the manifesto could 
be heard. 

" W T ell, to hell with the Larkinites," shouted a man near 
Bernard. 

" Come on boys and stop their row," cried another, and 
a little knot of men began to make its way round the room 
in the direction of the disturbers. Things looked ugly for 
a moment, but opportunely the reading of the manifesto 
came to an end,' and when the next speaker arose the 
clamour ceased and a collision was averted. 

A succession of speakers, some constructive and passion- 
less, some fiery and oratorical, addressed the meeting, and 
then the chairman called for the National Anthem. A man 
on the platform rose immediately and a hush fell on the 
gathering. The song began : 



" When boyhood's fire was in my blood. 

I read of ancient free men, 
For Greece and Rome who bravely stood 

Three hundred men and three men." 



For the first time the crudity of the versification and the 
banality of the tune failed to jar on Bernard. The vast size 
of the room, the vivid human excitement in the air, the 
emotions roused by ardent generous oratory, the portentous 
nature of the moment, all combined to invest both song and 
singer with a certain dignity and symbolism. And as the 
voice of the singer, weak in the beginning, gathered strength 
and soared up to the girdered roof, he felt a pricking of the 



THE RUSTY SWORD 221 

skin and a thrill of the spine such as only the Marseillaise 
had given him before. 

" And then I dreamed I yet might see 

Our fetters rent in twain, 
And Ireland long a province be 

A Nation once again." 

A vision of all who had died for that dream passed before 
Bernard's eyes and he knew he was one in thought and in 
hope with the rebels of all the ages. As the cadence surged 
up to the high note he felt himself swamped by waves of 
emotion. A myriad projects formed themselves in his 
brain and his soul made vows of service. 

There was a pause, and the chorus came crashing from 
five thousand throats, 

" A Nation once again ! 
A Nation once again ! " 

magnificent passionate reiteration of the love and hate, 
the hope and despair, and the vengeful determination of 
seven centuries of woe. 

" And Ireland long a province be 
A Nation once again." 

Ere yet the echoes of the chorus had died away the singer 
had started on the second verse. Bernard felt that some- 
thing was wrong. It seemed almost an indecent profanity 
to call forth again the emotions of a splendid moment. A 
second verse was an anti-climax. As it sped on its way 
Bernard became once more critical of the song (and 
indeed its later verses had better never have been written). 
Then the chorus came and he gathered himself together 
and joined his voice ^vith the others. 

And then 

" No ! No ! No ! He'll never sing a third verse." 

But he did, and a fourth as well, and each verse was worse 
than the preceding, and even the stately re-iteration of the 
chorus became a tiresome redundance. It came to an end 



222 THE WASTED ISLAND 

at last and the stewards bustled about distributing enrolment 
forms. 

As Bernard signed his the two Mallows came up to him. 

" Glad to see you're joining," said Austin. "This is the 
beginning of a new era in Irish History. We're on the eve 
of great things." 

There was a feverish light in his eyes and his voice trembled. 

" So you're converted at last," said Brian. " All due to 
me you know." He laughed hoarsely, and turning to his 
brother said : " You should have seen him at Ashbury. 
He was the rottenest West Briton you ever struck." 

" No matter," said Austin sharply. Then to Bernard, 
" Won't you drop in and see us some evening ? " 

Bernard promised and hurried out into the street. He 
heard McGurk's voice calling him from somewhere in the 
crowd and making his way towards him with some difficulty 
found him standing beside a tall sandy-haired man whose 
face was vaguely familiar to Bernard. 

" Here you are, Lascelles," said McGurk. " Let me intro- 
duce you. This is Mr. Hektor Hannibal O'Flaherty all the 
way from Minnesota." 

" Perhaps you remember me," said Bernard. " We 
knew each other as kids in Stephen's Green." 

" Sure thing. So we did," said O'Flaherty. " Put it 
there," and they shook hands heartily. 

" Some crowd, this," remarked O'Flaherty. " Gee, we'll 
waken this one-horse camp some before we're through. 
Yes sir." 

They watched the dispersing crowds for a while and were 
soon joined by Crowley and Moore. McGurk introduced 
the latter to O'Flaherty, who then said, 

" Say boys, I move that we all come up to my rooms for 
a bit. I'm living in a sort of backwoods shanty called the 
Neptune Hotel. Some hotel, take it from pop. But it'll 
do to be going on with." 

" I know a member of the committee who's staying there," 
said Bernard as they turned northwards. 

" Stephen Ward ? " inquired O'Flaherty. " Yes. I've 
met him. Good stuff he seems." 

They overtook Doran, the benevolent proprietor of the 
Neptune, on his way home. 



THE RUSTY SWORD 223 

" Well, Doran," said O'Flaherty. " Did you join up ? " 

" What else would I be doing ? But sure what use am 
I ? Fifty years of age and twelve stone o' me, God help 
me." 

Arrived at the Neptune the whole crowd poured into the 
coffee room and O'Flaherty ordered drinks all round. A few 
minutes later Stephen entered bringing with him Lynch, 
O'Dwyer, and Eugene. After the necessary introductions 
had been made O'Flaherty called for a toast, and Fergus 
Moore raising his glass, gravely proposed, 

" The Volunteers ! Ireland, fed up with herself and the 
world in general, decides to cut her throat." 

" Moore, you're an ass," said Lynch. " Here's a proper 
toast for you." He paused a moment and said : " To the 
spontaneous rising of the Nation in arms in support of Mr. 
Redmond and the Irish Party. Here's to the Irish National 
Volunteers." 

" Here, less o' that," said McGurk indignantly. " You 
fellows never can think of anything but your bloody old party." 

" Well, well," said Lynch agreeably, " we'll leave the party 
out. Here's to the Irish National Volunteers." 

" Cut out the ' National ' ' said O'Dwyer. " It stinks 
too much of Westminster, and it's not the title anyhow. 
Here's the Irish Volunteers." 

The toast was drunk with acclamation. 

McCall now came in to join the revellers and took a seat 
near to Bernard. 

" Great meeting, wasn't it ?" he said. " The movement's 
sure to catch on. The country's about sick of the Party's 
weakness." 

" Let's have a song, boys," said McGurk sitting down to 
the battered piano in a corner of the room and jangling the 
keys. 

Thereat everyone who was not already seated seized a 
convenient chair and made himself comfortable. Bernard 
let his eye wander round the assembly studying each face 
and attitude in turn. There was Eugene, shy and uncom- 
fortable, in the corner near the door, and beside him the 
expansive figure of Lynch, quietly enjoying a small cheroot. 
Then came the landlord, fat vulgar and genial, smoking 
cut plug in a blackened clay pipe ; then Moore, handsome 



224 THE WASTED ISLAND 

and reckless, chewing a cigar ; and Crowley with his chair 
tilted back against the wall blowing smoke rings up to the 
ceiling ; and McCall meditatively puffing at a huge calabash 
pipe. On Bernard's left was O J Flaherty, square-jawed and 
masterful, and beyond him could be seen the flushed and 
excited face of O'Dwyer, whose teeth were clenched on an 
empty briar pipe. At the end of the line sat Stephen Ward 
with a smile of faint amusement on his features. 

At McGurk's call Lynch rose and sang T. D. Sullivan's 
famous song beginning : 

" Deep in Canadian Woods we've met 

From one bright island flown. 
Great is the land we tread, but yet 

Our hearts are with our own. 
And e'er we leave this shanty small 

E'er fades the autumn day 
We'll toast old Ireland, dear old Ireland, 
Ireland, boys, hurray." 

The chorus rang out lustily, and Bernard thought of the 
story he had heard lately of how an Irish regiment in the 
Federal Army on the night before the battle of Chancellors- 
ville had struck up that song round their bivouac fires, and 
when they had finished heard it come back like an echo across 
the Rapidan from the lips of an other Irish regiment in the 
opposing camp. 

" Come on, O'Dwyer," said McGurk when the song was 
finished, " give us your parody of that." 

O'Dwyer got up and sang to the same air : / 

" See bold Britannia greater grow 

On her high imperial throne, 
Small are the lands she loves, and so 

She's added them to her own. 
Then subjects all, both great and small, 

Fill up your glass to-day 
And toast old England, noble England, 

England, boys, hurray ! " 

The company joined in the ironical chorus with a will, 
and verse after verse full of sarcasm and invective followed. 

" Damn good ! " cried McGurk enthusiastically at the 
finish, and then someone called to McGurk to sing the 



THE RUSTY SWORD 225 

Stuttering Lovers. The next hour passed merrily with song 
and story, and then as people made preparations to depart, 
Crowley sprang up and said : 

" Another toast, boys ! Here's Sever the Ligature." 

Those who had any dregs left in their glasses drank the 
toast and the remainder cheered. 

" I suppose you signed on ? " said Bernard to Eugene on 
the way home. 

" Indeed I didn't," said Eugene. " I don't believe in 
violent methods. We have the law on our side and we 
ought to keep it that way." 

" Good lord ! " said Bernard. " You're not a Nationalist 
at all. You're only a Whig." 

" I was a Nationalist before you were," retorted Eugene. 

" Hmph ! " muttered Bernard. " Logic was never your 
strong point." 



Merrion Square and its environs was hostile to the new 
movement. The Tories of course were furious, denounced 
the Volunteers as blackguards and rebels, and plainly regarded 
the thing as an infringement of Ulster's copyright. The 
Whigs, while feeling as strongly about it, did not venture on 
such unqualified vilification. ' Unfortunate,' ' ill-con- 
sidered,' ' inopportune,' were the epithets they applied to it. 
They were in fact both annoyed and frightened by this rattling 
of the sword of Ireland. It was but a few years since Nation- 
alism had begun to live down its association with murder, 
dynamite, agrarian outrage, and pro-Boer-ism, and to become 
a respectable creed for a gentleman ; and here was a definite 
lapse back to those bad old days of violence and defiance. 
So for a time the Whigs began to write letters to the papers 
sincerely deprecating this attempt to force the hand of the 
Government and substitute the out-of-date methods of 
violence for those of peaceful persuasion, or gravely announc- 
ing that their Home Rule Faith was seriously shaken. 

And then the Irish Times came out with a leading article 
in praise of the vigorous and generous spirit of the young 
generation of Nationalists. True, the Irish Times had an 
axe to grind. It hoped that the Volunteers would overthrow 



226 THE WASTED ISLAND 

Mr. Redmond and his party and wished to patronise and 
flatter them into that course. But the net result was to 
stabilise the wavering Whigs. 

Then there were the neutrals, the people who claimed to 
have no politics. Mrs. Heuston Harrington, for instance, 
thought it rather absurd to arm and drill for the trifling and 
unimportant cause of Ireland, and Sir Perry TifHytis expressed 
a hope that the Government would be firm and suppress both 
forces of Volunteers, Ulster and Irish alike. George, the 
only and darling son of Mrs. Gunby Rourke, was another 
neutral. 

" I've no politics," he said. " But this armed bullying 
of parliament by both sides is a menace to order and 
government." 

" I thought you said you'd no politics," said Bernard. 

" Neither have I. I consider both sides equally in the 
wrong." 

" But if you deny the right of ourselves or the Ulstermen 
to resist the Government you uphold the right of the Govern- 
ment to coerce us. Isn't that politics ? My dear chap, it 
won't wash. You can't help being a politician if you live 
in a conquered country." 

It was at one of Mrs. Gunby Rourke's Tango Teas that 
this conversation took place. Bernard was there as an 
escort to Alice who was an enthusiast of the new craze. They 
sat at tea in the front drawing-room watching through the 
folding doors the evolutions of the professional exponents of 
the dance. When these had finished Alice and George and 
another couple took the floor. Bernard watched his sister, 
looking, he thought, rather absurd in her outre frock, perform 
the movements of voluptuous symbolism with the non- 
chalance of perfect innocence, 

" Isn't it lovely ? Your sister dances beautifully, Mr. 
Lascelles." 

It was Madge Conroy, Eugene's divinity, who spoke. 
Turning to her brother she continued : 

" You'll have to learn it, Teddy, and dance it with me." 

" Too much brain work about it for my taste," said Teddy. 
" The jolly old One-Step's good enough for me." 

" I say, you know," said Molloy coming over, " this is 
a backward town. The Tango's been the rage for ages in 



THE RUSTY SWORD 227 

London. Just about getting stale as a matter of fact, and 
it's only beginning here. May I have the pleasure, Miss 
Conroy ? " 

He took her away to the dancing-room, and Teddy began 
to discuss critically with Bernard the musical comedy, a 
' London success ' of the year before last, then being per- 
formed by a fifth rate company at the Gaiety. This interest- 
ing topic exhausted he searched about in his mind for moie 
to say. 

" Awful rot this Nationalist Volunteer business," he said 
at last. " But this Arms Proclamation ought to put the lid 
on them, what ! And the good old Ulstermen aie armed 
already." 

11 The Arms Proclamation doesn't matter a damn," said 
Bernard. " We can get arms in spite of it." 

" We ? " queried Teddy. 

" Yes. I happen to be a member of the Irish Volunteers." 

" Rot," said Teddy. 

Bernard showed him his membership card. Teddy was 
stupefied and stammered incoherently. 

" Thinking of joining ? " asked Bernard. 

" Me ! " 

" Why not ? Tell me, do you think it right for French- 
men to arm themselves in defence of France ? " 

" I suppose so." 

" And for Italians to arm themselves in defence of 
Italy ? " 

" Yes." 

" And for Englishmen to arm themselves in defence of 
England ? " 

" Of course." 

" And for Irishmen to arm themselves in defence of 
Ireland ? " 

" Ah, that's different." 

" Why ? " 

" I don't take any interest in politics, but I object to 
disloyalty." 

" Disloyalty to whom ? " 
' To the King, of course." 

11 Then you disapprove of the Ulster Volunteers ? " 

" Oh, no. They're loyal." 



228 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" They're resisting an Act of Parliament." 

" An Act that puts them under a rule they hate." 

" Then is it always right to resist being put under a rule 
you hate ? " 

" Well I suppose so." 

' Then wasn't Robert Emmet light ? " 

" Oh no. He was a rebel." 

Bernard felt like taking Teddy by the feet and battering 
his head to pulp against the wall. But all he said was : 

" Look here, Conioy, you're a fool. You'd better start 
exercising your brain by learning the Tango." 

He got up quickly and took his cup over to Mrs. Gunby 
Rourke for more tea. 



" And how are things shaping in your Company ? " asked 
O'Flaherty. He and Bernard were taking tea in the same 
restaurant that had been the scene of so many conversations. 

" We're pulling ourselves together gradually," said Bernard. 
" After a couple of drills we had an election of temporary 
officers. I'm first Lieutenant. Our captain's a preposter- 
ous little fellow called Brohoon whose principal claim to 
notoriety seems to be the letters he writes to the newspapers. 
He's an ass of the first water." 

" This system of electing officers is absurd," said 
O'Flaherty. 

" It's the only system we can manage at present. And I 
like the democratic idea of it." 

" Sir, you take it from me, democracy's a cod. It's ridicul- 
ous enough in civil affairs, but in military matters it's a wash 
out, and I tell you, if we're to make this movement of ours 
a success it's got to be cut right out of it. That's all there's 
to it." 

" You may be right as far as the military side is concerned," 
replied Bernard, " but I'm a democrat heart and soul in 
everything else." 

" Well, I'm not," said O'Flaherty. " Democracy means 
the rule of cods, because it puts the government of a country 
into the hands of the men who can cod the people most. 
If you want efficient government you must have the efficient 



THE RUSTY SWORD 229 

people on top, and they'll never be put there by the votes 
of a democracy. No, sir. Monarchy for me. If you've 
a fixed and stable head to the state he can nominate the right 
people to the right place. . . . Look at Germany." 

" I prefer freedom to efficiency," said Bernard. 

" What do you know about it ? I've tried both. You've 
had neither. . . . Hello ! There are Ward and Crowley 
coming in." 

He called them over and made room for them. 

*' Lascelles'J has-been telling me he7 prefers freedom to 
efficiency," he said when they were seated. 

" Freedom for me," said Crowley. 

' The two aren't necessarily contradictory," said Stephen. 

" I know," said O'Flaherty. " What I was going to tell 
him when you came in was that you can't be sure of keeping 
your freedom unless you're efficient, and you can't be efficient 
without giving up some of your freedom. I maintain that 
the German system is better than the English. They've 
good and efficient laws there that you're properly punished 
for breaking. In England you can do practically anything 
you like, especially if you're rich. So Germany's a safer 
country for poor men like you and me. We couldn't be run 
over there by rich men's motor cars with impunity. We 
couldn't have our public beauty spots destroyed by the 
selfishness of individuals. In Germany everyone gives up 
some of his personal liberty for the benefit of others. In 
England everyone does what he likes no matter how he 
inconveniences others. That's the distinction between 
freedom and efficiency. . . . Well, as I was saying, give me 
a Monarchy, where the King is a fixed institution that can 
pick and choose among the people for the men best fitted to 
govern." 

" Well," said Bernard, "just look at the Kings of modern 
Europe. They're a nice lot. The only one worth his salt 
is the Kaiser." 

' The result of in-breeding," said Crowley. 

" Well, one remedy for that," said O'Flaherty, " would 
be, when a kingly line seems to be. degenerating, pension 
them off or put them in a lethal chamber, and choose a strong 
healthy child of good sound bourgeois parentage to educate 
for kingship and so start a new line. A king, you know, 



230 THE WASTED ISLAND 

doesn't need more than average mental qualities. His 
business is to pick out the good stuff in other people." 

" It's an intersting proposition," said Stephen, " but it 
has obvious disadvantages." 

" I daresay. But it saves us from the rule of cods any- 
how. And that's what an Irish democracy would mean." 

" The Irish people," said Crowley, " may be divided 
into four parts : cods, bags's, lunatics and elite. Cods are 
people who blither a great deal, mean nothing, are entrusted 
with the doing of everything, and with the maximum of fuss 
get through the minimum of work. Our friends Lynch and 
Mullery are cods, so are about a quarter of the Irish people, 
and about three quarters of the Irish Party. Bags's on the 
other hand, while they blither as much as cods, mean a great 
deal and are very earnest and serious, but they never do any- 
thing at all, and don't want to. The balance of the Irish 
Paity, most Sinn Feiners, all middle class Home Rulers, 
and nine tenths of the students of University College are 
bags's. Geoffrey Manders is a typical bags. There's one 
really perfect bags I know, a man called by the melodious 
name of Cornelius Featherstonehaugh. He's a fat prosperous 
man who goes to every Nationalist meeting or celebration 
he was at the Rotunda meeting and never does anything. 
He's a jolly decent fellow, but he'll never grow thin on his 
hard work for Ireland. . . . Where are we now ? Oh, 
yes. The next division are the lunatics. Most of them are 
fervent physical force men. Physical force is their remedy 
for everything. If they don't like a play they smash up the 
theatre ; if their dirty little minds consider a picture indecent 
they break up the shop it's on sale in. And as for their 
politics ! Some of them, like Brian Mallow, really believe 
they can free Ireland with pikes and green flags. Others, 
like his brother Austin, think that if they get us thrashed 
often enough we can win in the end." 

" And the elite ? " questioned Stephen. 

" There are two divisions of the elite," said Crowley. 
" First the fine quiet sturdy rank and file that fought in 
Ninety-Eight and Sixty-Seven, and is pouring into the Volun- 
teers at present, without waiting, like the cods and bags's 
for the Party leaders to give the word." 

" And then ? " said Bernard. 



THE RUSTY SWORD 231 

' Then the intelligent politicians like MacNeili and our 
humble selves. . . . There's my complete analysis of the 
Irish people." 

" Some people ! " said O'Flaherty. 

" It looks as if we shall have to do without the cods and 
bags's for the present," said Stephen. " The Party hasn't 
given us the seal of its approval yet. Quite the contrary in 
fact." 

" The longer they stay out the better," said O'Flaherty. 
" But even the cods and bags's will begin to get fed up if 
the Party goes on hauling down the flag long enough." 

An attendant brought tea and cake for Stephen and 
Crowley, and for a time the talk was on trivial subjects. 
Presently Bernard said to O'Flaherty : 

" You've knocked round the world a bit since I last saw 
you. Tell us some of your adventures." 

" I've had a few," O'Flaherty admitted. 

" Well, spit 'em out, old chap," said Crowley. 

" Where shall I begin," said O'Flaherty. 

" At the beginning," said Stephen. 



" Well," said O'Flaherty, " anyone who took the trouble 
to study my habits and inclinations from the time I was a 
kid till I was seventeen, could tell I was cut out to be a soldier 
or a diplomat, or both. Lascelles here remembers the 
games we had in Stephen's Green when we were youngsters ; 
and when I was fifteen or so, when I wasn't reading military 
books I was studying the diplomatic news in the papers and 
trying to catch their drift, as far as a man could for the flap- 
doodle and eyewash of the language it's written in. Well, 
sir, fathers as a general rule have about as much notion of 
considering their son's inclinations as a butcher has for a 
sheep, and mine was no sort of exception. He was bound 
I'd be a respectable sort of professional guy, but I wasn't 
having any. But this unfortunate island hasn't more open- 
ing for soldiers or diplomats than Maine has for saloon- 
keepers, and I'd no intention of dirtying my soul or my skin 
by putting on Englands' uniform. In fact, way down in 
my heart I'd always had a kind of hankering to be up against 



232 THE WASTED ISLAND 

that same uniform. Well, one day just after I'd left school 
and was preparing for matric, I got about fed up and decided 
to skip off and join the French Foreign Legion. I waited 
about a bit and saved up some money, and the day I heard 
the examiners had stuck me I made a bolt for London, and 
a week later I shipped as a stowaway for Algiers. ... A 
stowaway's life isn't all romance and adventure by the way. 
It's mostly boredom and seasickness, but we won't go into 
that. . . . We reached Algiers at last and f as soon as I 
could escape from the ship, I struck out for the nearest 
depot of the Foreign Legion and enlisted. 

" Well, boys, I daresay you've a lot of romantic notions 
about that Legion. I know / had. But they came out pretty 
quick in the wash I can tell you. You take it from me boys, 
life in the Foreign Legion is no joke. It's a dog's life and 
about as profitable as selling bootlaces on O'Connell 
Bridge in wet weather. However I'd joined up at a 
pretty exciting time. Some months before a French 
company had begun to build a railway from Casablanca in 
Morocco, and right in their track was a very ancient Moorish 
cemetery. With the characteristic tact of Christians in 
dealing with people of another religion, and with the human- 
ity and politeness which so distinguishes Europeans in 
dealing with less civilised peoples, they decided to cut right 
through this cemetery in spite of the objections of the natives. 
Well, naturally there were ructions and some sacred European 
lives were lost. In next to no time we had invaded Morocco 
and marched on Casablanca. After some stiff fighting in 
the neighbourhood we bombarded the city, wrecked most of 
it, and killed several thousands of the inhabitants. Gee, 
it was dirty work, and when it was over we occupied the 
whole Shawiya district around it, not without some stiff 
fighting, for the Moors are tough stuff. 

" Now I hadn't read the diplomatic news of the last three 
years for nothing, and I knew that this invasion of Morocco 
was a flat violation of the Act of Algeciras, the treaty signed 
by the Great Powers in 1906 guaranteeing the independence 
and sovereignty of Morocco. France had already infringed 
it in a minor way by occuping Udja in retaliation for the 
murder of some damned idiot of a Frenchman who probably 
deserved all he got. Of course she made the usual promises 
of immediate withdrawal, but devil a one she kept, and as 



THE RUSTY SWORD 233 

everyone knows she's in Udja and Shawiya to this day.- 
... I can tell you I was pretty fed up. I hadn't joined 
the Legion to help France with England's connivance to- 
put her yoke on a lot of unfortunate Moors : damn good 
stuff those Moors, take it from Pop. I got this scar over my 
eye taking a village in Shawiya : anyway, I was fed up and 
took my first chance to desert. Getting away wasn't so very 
hard, though I had to tap a sentry who got officious on the 
head. Then I madte my way southwards towards the desert. 
I had a bundle of native clothes with me that I stripped off 
a corpse (there were lots of corpses in Shawiya in those days) 
and as soon as I could I chucked off my uniform and put 
them on. All through the day I lay in hiding, thinking out 
a line of action. My only landmark was a great range of 
mountains a hundred miles away in the east. I knew Fez 
was behind them, and I decided to make that way, travelling 
by night and hiding by day, and then to pass myself off as 
a German and beat up the German consulate. (You see 
the Germans are pretty popular in Morocco because they're 
the only European nation that treats the Moors any way 
decently.) . . . Well, I struck out further south the next 
night so as to get clear of the French lines of communication, 
and hid again all through the next day. 

' Things had gone gaily up to this, but now I hit a bad 
streak of luck. Lying in the sun all day must Jiave been 
bad for my head, for I don't know what I did or where I 
went that night. I must have wandered miles off thC track 
and then dropped in a faint, for when I came to it was day- 
light and a Moorish girl was looking down on me and mv 
head was in her lap. You won't guess what had happened 
to me. I'd fallen into the hands of a band of marauding 
Nomads and she was the chieftain's daughter. I started 
babbling out at once that I wasn't French but German 
in English too, like the sunstruck ass that I was. But it made 
piecious little difference to the damsel, for she didn't under- 
stand a word. When my head got clearer I looked around 
and saw the band, half a dozen of the dirtiest-looking black- 
guards you ever struck, and a grey-bearded old patriarch,, 
their chief. Their horses were tethered near at hand. (Arab 
steeds ! Not on your life. A collection of the mangiest 
cab horses you could pick up.) Well the gang seemed to 



234 THE WASTED ISLAND 

be holding a sort of consultation as to the best way of dis- 
posing of me. One ruffian quite obviously wanted to 
practice his markmanship on me, but he was outvoted. The 
chiefs daughter pleaded for me, and I was taken on as a sort 
of man-of-all-work to the gang. It wasn't a very dignified 
position for a white man, but it was that or starvation, which 
was rather a poor choice. I was given the spare horse. 
Some horse ! I bet I'd seen him on a cabstand in Dublin 
a few years before. Well, on that horse's back I assisted 
in their marauding till we'd made the district too hot ;o 
hold us, when we bolted for a season to the Sahara and lay 
low. 

" I stuck that life for nine solid months. I've practised 
many professions in my time, but I think marauding is the 
last one I'd go back to. It's a bit monotonous you know, 
with its perpetual alternations of riding raiding and hiding. 
And I did get sick of that desert, all sand and sunshine. 
Don't you get taken in boys by any punk dope you may read 
about the free joyous life of the nomads. Not that I was 
badly treated. The chief was a decent old skin with an out- 
landish name I never quite got the hang of. I used to call 
him Methuselah. He kind of took to me because I reminded 
him of his son who h ad been captured way back in a raid on 
Tamagrut and tortured to death for the amusement of the 
Sultan. I got on all right with the gang too, all except the 
man who wanted to shoot me at the start. I never quite 
got his name either, so I called him Cain. It was he who 
rode after me and captured me the night I tried to escape, 
and stood by fingering his trigger in the hope that the old 
man would condemn me to death. Gee, you should have 
seen his face when Methuselah gave me a free pardon. The 
Sahara climate took a full week to warm my blood afterwards. 

" But the chief's daughter, gee, she was a peach. Hair 
black as night, and the blush of the rose under her tawny 
skin. Eyes like two sloes with a flame in the depths of them 
like you get in an opal. Teeth as white as Pentelic marble, 
and a figure like the Winged Victory of Samothrace. She 
sure was some girl, and though you mayn't believe it she got 
quite a mash on your humble servant. She'd a heathenish 
name that I couldn't pronounce but I used to call her Jenny, 
which pleased her just as well and suited her a lot better. 



THE RUSTY SWORD 235 

. . . You boys won't like what I did next, but I believe in 
taking what comes to you, and I was fair sitk of the gang 
and ready to do anything to get away. 

" Yes. She tipped me the glad eye, and I responded so 
as to get an ally. I handn't learnt much of her language 
but we fixed up a means of communication somehow. These 
things come easy if you know how. I won't give you the 
details, but the gist of the matter was that she arranged to 
help me to escape if I'd promise to come back some day and 
fetch her away with me. It wasn't a fair promise to make, 
but necessity knows no decency, and I meant to keep the 
promise at the time, and maybe I'll keep it yet. Anyhow, 
she put some drug or other in their supper one night, and I 
tcok the best of the horses and my leave. She came a bit 
of the way to see me off, and there in the heart of the desert 
by the sandy bank of the Wady Saoora we took a tender 
farewell. The moon was up and the weird silence of the 
desert was all around us, and she clung to me and we kissed 
each other and she made me repeat my promise. Gee, it 
was just like a romance by Robert Hichens. It only needed 
a few bulbuls to complete the picture, but I guess there 
weren't any in that locality. 

" She went back to the camp and I crossed the Saoora 
and followed the course of the Wady Susfana for several 
days. Then about twenty miles south of Figuig I struck off 
to the east into Algeria. This was the most dangerous part 
of my travels because I was on French Territory now and 
liable to be shot as a deserter, if caught. However, I came 
through all right. After four months of travelling by night 
and hiding by day, and starving most of the time (not to 
mention such details as sicknesses and fevers) I crossed the 
frontier into Tripoli and joined on to a caravan making for 
Egypt. . . . Boys, I never thought I'd live to be glad to 
see the Union Jack, but you'd be glad to see the devil himself 
if he marked the end of a journey you were sick of. At 
length I landed in Cairo, dead beat and without a red cent 
in my pocket. 

" Well, I kept myself for a year in Cairo on all sorts of odd 
jobs, and at the same time I looked up the back numbers, 
so to speak, of the Moroccan situation. During the time 
I'd spent in the desert things had been going from bad to 

Q 



236 THE WASTED ISLAND 

worse there. The French, you may remember, sent in an 
indemnity bill to the Sultan for a couple of millions. Some- 
thing like England charging the Union bribery on Ireland, 
eh ? By this time poor old Morocco was tied hand and foot 
by European finance, and the Sultan was forced to torture 
his people to raise enough money to make ends meet. Result, 
fresh chaos in Morocco and a demand for renewed French 
intervention. . . . Useful sort of vicious circle, don't you 
think ? . . . Then Spain thought she ought to have a 
finger in the pie, and answered France's occupation of Fez 
by pouring troops into the Riff. When I left Cairo there 
were a hundred thousand foreign troops in Morocco and the 
Act of Algeciras had been virtually torn up. Fine object 
lesson in Christianity and civilisation for the Moors, what ? 
Well 

" I shipped from Cairo as a greaser on a steamship for 
Boston. A hundred miles south-west of Cape St. Vincent 
we sighted a little German gunboat making south. It turned 
out ofterwards to be the Panther bound for Agadir. You 
may remember the fuss kicked up in the English papers at 
the time about what they called this ' display of German 
brutality.' Well, the Germans hadn't more or less right in 
Morocco than the rest of the powers, but they didn't shell 
any city or occupy any territory anyhow. They didn't as 
much as fire a gun or land a marine, and if they were out for 
aggression don't you think they'd have sent more than a 
little tin gunboat ? The Germans don't do things by halves. 

" But I'm wandering from my story. When I reached 
Boston I got the nastiest shock of my life. I found I couldn't 
join the American Army until I was a properly squared up 
citizen. It was some jar, but I quickly decided I'd stay and 
serve out my seven years for Rachel so to speak. For six 
months I loaded cargoes on the quays of Boston and was a 
good deal more than sick of it when I knocked up against 
Augustus X. Skinner. He was standing on the quay one 
day and seemed to be interesting himself in the way I 
manoeuvred the landing of a cargo of lions and camels. (I 
didn't tell you I was foreman by this time.) 

" 'Like a new job at four times what you're getting now ? ' 
says he. 

" ' Sure thing,' says I. 



THE RUSTY SWORD 237 

' Mind breaking the law ? ' says he. 

" ' Try me,' says I. 

" And that settled it. He was organising a gun-running 
stunt on the Mexican frontier, and he'd spotted me as a 
likely second-in-command. Well, I stayed in that line of 
business for a good while, and when I'd put by a bit of cash 
I decided to increase it by blossoming out as a financier. 
I went to New York, studied the markets for a bit, speculated, 
and in a couple of days lost half the money I had. I went 
careful after that and lost more. Then in despair I put all 
my money to the last dollar into a gamble that would bring 
me five hundred per cent, or ruination. For a marvel it 
panned out all right and I made a pile. For the next couple 
of months everything I touched turned to gold, and I became 
a rich man. . . . Then one day along comes a man I'd 
known at school, Sullivan, now on the Provisional Com- 
mittee. He was touring America to get support for the new 
Irish movement. The idea of the old country arming herself 
and getting a buzz on things appealed to me some, and in a 
few days I'd packed my traps and come right over. . . . 
None too soon either, I think, because I tell you what, boys, 
when the Panther went to Agadir I sized things up pretty 
well. I guess there'll be a scrap in Europe pretty soon, 
and Ireland will need every man if she's to keep her end up. 
Do you get me ? What price armed Neutrality ? " 

The waitress came along scribbling the bill. 



As may be expected Bernard's action in joining the Irish 
Volunteers did not long remain unnoticed by his family. 
His mother called him to her room one day, having, as she 
said something very serious to say to him. He had not 
a moment's doubt as to its nature. 

" Have you joined the Nationalist Volunteers ? " she 
began directly. 

' The Irish Volunteers," corrected Bernard. 

" What does the old name matter ? " said Lady Lascelles 
irritably. " I hear they've made you an officer." 

" Quite true." 



238 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" You should have consulted your father before taking a 
step like that." 

" Why ? " 

" Because he's your father." 

" I don't see the force of the argument." 
;;: " O Bernard, what a nasty thing to say ! As if you didn't 
owe everything to your father, even your very existence. 
. . . And he's the best of fathers too. You've always had 
the best of everything food, clothes, everything. The 
best of education and careers. . . . Everything," she 
ended weakly. 

" Well, as to food and education and the rest of it, my 
father could scarcely afford to let his children go about 
starving or in rags or send them to Christian Brothers' schools. 
It wouldn't look well for a man in his position, would it ? 
As for my career, it was forced on me. I didn't want it. 
. . . And as for my existence, well, the less said about 
that the better. He wasn't thinking of me when he married 
you, anyhow." 

" That's a very ungrateful way to speak, Bernard. Your 
father loves you, and you know it, and it's your duty to try' 
and please him." 

" Well, I've never done anything to disgrace him." 

" These Volunteers, darling ' 

" Look here, mother, I have my own principles and opinions 
in these matters. I don't want to interfere with his, and I 
refuse to let him interfere with mine." 

" But he's your father." 

" I'd have my own opinions if I'd fifty fathers." 

" But you don't know how annoyed he is, my darling 
boy. I've had an unpleasant time of it these last few days, 
I can tell you. . . . Now, do give this up, just to please 
me. I don't want to have rows and unpleasantness in my 
home. I want peace and quiet." 

" Even peace with dishonour ? " said Bernard. " My 
dear mother, if father objects to anything I do he ought to 
come to me himself and not send you to plead with me. 

. . . It's no use anyway. I have a right to my own 
principles and to think for myself." 

" Yes, darling boy. Think what you like. Nobody can 
object to that. Only don't do anything." 



THE RUSTY SWORD 239 

Bernard fairly gasped at this piece of advice. What could 
one say to this type of mind ? Where could it be grasped ? 
And how ? 

" Mother ! " he said at last, "Can't you see you're asking 
me to be a liar and a coward." 

" No, darling, I know my boy could be neither of those 
things. I'm only asking you to be sensible." 

" Mother, I do believe. that if we'd lived in Judea in the 
time of Christ, if I'd told you I believed in him and meant to 
follow him you'd have tried to stop me." 

" No, Bernard. What a thing to say !/' 

" O yes, you would. And you'd have said too, ' Believe 
what you like, but don't do anything,' meaning ' Be a Nico- 
demus instead of a Peter/ Oh yes. I can imagine it all." 

" That's absolutely j different Bernard. Amn't I always 
trying to keep you to your*religion ? " 

Bernard laughed and kissed her cheek. 

" You're a darling illogical old mother," he said, and after 
another embrace ran away, leaving her very much puzzled. 

Sir Eugene had of course been rendered perfectly furious 
by Bernard's action, but he knew that Bernard with an income 
of his own and within a few months of qualification could 
not be diverted from his course by any display of parental 
wrath. He had therefore decided to play on Bernard's love 
for his mother, and had driven her to action by grumbles 
and threats to disinherit the boy. After her failure he re- 
doubled his threats and the poor lady had visions of her home 
broken up and her favourite son a penniless wanderer over 
the face of the earth. Diffident of her own controversial 
abilities she decided to secure allies, and went to her old friend 
Mrs. Harvey for advice and consolation. 

" Why not get Augustine Reilly to speak to him ? " said 
Mrs. Harvey. 

Augustine Reilly was a distant cousin to Lady Lascelles. 
He was a pietistic old bachelor of fifty who consorted with 
priests and old ladies and read the Bible, or rather the 
Old Testament, more assiduously than is customary among 
Catholics. From his rare knowledge of rubrics and cere- 
monial he was supposed to be a great theologian, and his 
solemn platitudes passed among his simple relatives for deep 
philosophy and inspired wisdom. He was, as a matter of 



240 THE WASTED ISLAND 

fact, a pompous old fool, who knew as much about theology 
and philosophy as he did about science (and the sum total of 
his knowledge of this was that the theory of evolution was 
wicked and not to be thought about). Lady Lascelles however 
was not in a position to know this, and like most of her 
relatives looked up to Augustine Reilly with awful respect. 

" Yes. Augustine is just the man," said Lady Lascelles. 
' Bernard, I'm glad to say, is getting quite religious. He 
talked to me about Our Lord the other day, so I'm sure 
Augustine should be able to manage him." 

' That's splendid," said Mrs. Harvey. " I'll say a few 
words to him myself, if you like. I know just how these 
clever young men should be taken, you know." 

" Do. That's awfully good of you. Why not come to 
lunch next Saturday ? " 

" Delighted," said Mrs. Harvey. " I'll bring Mabel 
along too. It'll be a nice birthday treat for her." 

In due course Saturday arrived and Mrs. Harvey with it. 
Mabel was now twenty years of age, a slim fair haired young 
woman nearly as tall as Bernard. Her pretty face was some- 
what pale and there was a tired look about her eyes due to 
long hours of office work. She saw the sun only in the 
evenings in summer and not at all in winter ; the air she 
breathed was mostly dust ; the food she ate was not of the 
best quality, nor did she get enough of it ; her surroundings 
both at home and at work were comfortless and unlovely ; 
her pay was small and her mother took most of it ; and she 
had but sixteen days holiday in the year : yet she faced life 
bravely and with a smile. Bernard liked what little he had 
seen of her and he manoeuvred to have her beside him at 
lunch. Lady Lascelles however had arranged things other- 
wise and took Mabel to herself. Bernard was at the foot of 
the table and Mrs. Harvey deposited her bulky form in the 
chair on his right. Alice sat on her mother's left and opposite 
to Mabel, and Eugene and Sandy were on Bernard's left. 
These two were deeply absorbed in discussing the route 
by which they intended cycling to Bohernabrena after 
lunch, and Lady Lascelles and the girls at the far end of the 
table formed a remote conversational group, so Mrs. Harvey 
had Bernard quite at her mercy. She talked winningly and 



THE RUSTY SWORD 241 

sentimentally about Ireland, professing to hold moderate 
political views. 

" I don't like extremists," she said. " I don't think they're 
practical. Mind you, I've no doubt the men who hold 
extreme views are honest and self-sacrificing. But I think 
our unfortunate country needs a little compromise and good- 
will." 

Bernard had no desire to argue and simply said ' Yes, 
yes ' to everything she said, so Mrs. Harvey was able to 
re-assure Lady Lascelles and to inform her that her son was 
a most reasonable and sensible young man. 

" I'm sure he'll do well in his profession," she volunteered at 
parting. Her visit had been a double success, for there was 
a glittering birthday present in Mabel's purse. 

A few days later Augustine Reilly called, as had been pre- 
arranged, when Bernard and his mother were alone together 
at afternoon tea. Bernard knew him but slightly, for he 
was an infrequent visitor, and was rather surprised to see 
him. When, a few minutes later, Lady Lascelles slipped 
away on a transparent excuse he realised what was coming 
and determined to make of Augustine a terrible warning to 
future missioners. 

Augustine was prematurely senile in appearance. The 
bald and shiny crown of his head was bordered by snow- 
white locks ; his eyes were rheumy ; and his gait was falter- 
ing. His manner was preternaturally solemn and his words 
were weighted and spaced out with silences. He began, in 
a way he thought diplomatic, to praise fulsomely the virtues 
of youth : its courage, its vigour, its honesty, its idealism. 
But youth, it appeared, needed the restraint of experience. 
It needed the guidance of age. Bernard listened to this 
homologue without any attempt to conceal his impatience 
and contempt. Finally he took advantage of a pause to say : 

" Look here, let's cut out the preamble. You've come 
here to advise me to chuck the Volunteers, haven't you ? " 

Augustine was a little disconcerted by this sudden rupture 
of the veils of diplomacy, but he replied almost immediately : 

" Well, frankly I have. Your dear mother, relying upon 
our time-honoured friendship a friendship which began 
before you, Bernard, were born has asked me to show you 
the ... rashness of the course you have recently under- 



242 THE WASTED ISLAND 

taken. . . . Personally I think that your mother's express 
disapproval should have been enough for you. It certainly 
would have been for me. The love of a mother for the child 
of her womb is the most wonderful and sacred thing in nature 
and entitles her to a corresponding obedience and respect." 

" I'm not a child," said Bernard. " I've a right to decide 
my actions for myself." 

" You are still a child to her. As I have said, the love of 
a mother for the child of her womb is the most powerful 
force in the universe. Did not even Our Blessed Lord give 
obedience to his mother ? " 

" She didn't try to interfere with his mission." 

" My boy, don't let us quibble. A mother's love is an 
ever-present love. It makes her always anxious for the safety 
of her child. The thought that he may be in danger is a 
pain to her. We are bound to consider this in any action we 
contemplate. . . . Moreover your action tends io disturb 
the peace and harmony of the household over which she rules." 

" I can't help that," said Bernard. " I'm going to do what 
I think right. If other people upset themselves about it it's 
their own look out." 

" My boy, it is never right to disturb the peace of a happy 
home. ' My little children, let you love one another.' Those 
are the words of Christ. Christ came to this earth to preach 
the gospel of peace and love, and woe to those who infringe 
God's peace ! " 

" As w r ell as I remember, Christ said : ' I come to bring 
not peace but a sword," retorted Bernard. Augustine was 
a little nonplussed by this, but his stock of cliches was 
inexhaustible. 

' The devil can quote scripture to his purpose," he said. 

" Why did you quote it then ? " said Bernard. 

Augustine for a moment was at a loss how to continue. 
At last he resumed with his eternal tag : 

" The love of a mother for the child of . . . ' 

But here Bernard interrupted him. 

" I wish you'd drop that highly indecent phrase," he said. 

" Very well, my boy, if you wish," said Augustine blandly. 
" But I wish I could get you to see how wrongly you are 
acting in opposing the wishes of your parents, those Jo 
whom, after God, you owe your first duty." 



THE RUSTY SWORD 243 

" I deny that," said Bernard. " My first duty, after my 
duty to God, is to myself, and my next is to my country." 

"Yes. And you can best serve your country not by follow- 
ing the lead of rebels and anarchists but by obeying the law 
and your parents. He who sets himself against the law, 
remember, sets himself against God." 

" Look here," said Bernard, " I'm fed up with you. You 
simply don't know what you're blithering about. You may 
be a very good man in your way, but it's a rotten way. Good 
people like you are the curse of the world. It was good 
people like you who put Socrates to death, crucified Christ, 
imprisoned Galileo, and burnt the library of Alexandria. 
You've been gassing a lot about Christ just now, but what 
would you have said of Him if you'd been a respectable Jew 
of His own time ? You'd have said, ' What a wicked man 
this Christ is ! He attacks our established customs, reviles 
our priests, breaks our laws, gives the poor thoughts above 
their station. He's an anarchist, a socialist, an anti-cleric. 
Kill the scoundrel.' That's what you'd have said." 

" I should have said nothing of the kind," said Augustine. 
" I consider you a very impertinent young man." 

" Impertinent ! " said Bernard. " Well, I like that. 
Who asked you to come and meddle with my affairs ? The 
insolence of old people is astounding. They poke their 
noses in where they aren't wanted and then stand on their 
dignity if they get it in the neck." He suddenly rose, and, 
changing his tone to one of earnest solicitude, said : " But 
I'm forgetting my duties as host. I can recommend these 
hot cakes ... or perhaps you'd prefer some of this 
iChocolate cake . . .No? Then let me get you some more tea?" 
But his attempt to mitigate the cruelty of the blows he 
had dealt was a failure. Augustine was implacable. From 
Christian duty he blessed Bernard henceforward in his 
prayers, but he never forgave him in his heart. 

The consequences of Bernard's intransigeance fell heaviest 
on his mother who was now deprived of what little conjugal 
affection still remained to her. Bernard himself was treated 
by his father with coldness and silence, but this worried 
him little if at all, for he passed his final examination in the 
following March and set about finding a .house for himself 
,at once. 



244 TH E WASTED ISLAND 



" The Lord has delivered them into our hands," said 
O' Flaherty triumphantly, and crumpling the newspaper 
into a ball addressed himself to his breakfast. 

Mr. Asquith had announced a new solution of the problem 
in Ireland a few days before, namely the partition of the 
country. Mr. Redmond had accepted it and Sir Edward 
Carson had contemptuously refused the concession, so a 
vital part of the national claim had been abandoned without 
result. 

" This ought to settle the Party's hash for good and all," 
said O' Flaherty. 

Stephen, on the other side of the table, looked gloomy. 

" It's a pity," he said. " It sets up an issue between us at 
once, and our one hope of achieving anything is in unity. 
Why can't they be trusted to be strong even for a minute ? 
Why can't they use us to put pressure on that quaking shifting 
bulliable government ? Why can't they learn something 
from Carson ? " 

" Because what little good was ever in them has been sapped 
by Westminster air and ministerial breakfasts," said 
O' Flaherty. " May it poison them outright," he added. 

" Well, it'll give a stimulus to our recruiting anyhow," 
said Stephen. " But what we want now is arms." 

When they had finished their meal Stephen asked 
O' Flaherty what he intended to do that day. 

" Going to meet a girl," said O'Flaherty. 

Stephen gave a snort of contempt. 

" You're some ascetic, Ward," said O'Flaherty. " You 
never smoke or drink or make love. Have you ever been 
human, I wonder ? " 

" Irishmen really haven't time for these things," replied 
Stephen. " With our country in the state she is she requires 
our undivided attention. I gave up all notion of enjoyment 
long ago. There was a girl fell in love with me once, and I 
took some sort of a fancy to her too. But she was a fool, 
and I frightened her off by talking philosophy at her. 
. . . You can't be human and completely efficient, you 
know. Take our little crowd for instance. Good stuff every 



THE RUSTY SWORD 245 

one of them, but not one but has his weakness to distract 
him. With Crowley and McGurk it's women, with O'Dwyer 
it's verse-making, with Lascelles it's vanity and dancing, 
and so on. . . .1 wish we could make that man Moore 
shake off his confounded pessimism. He'd be a real 
acquisition." 

" You've got very unsound dope," said O'Flaherty. " It 
won't be supermen who'll set this country free, and I'd rather 
have her free than sober, anyhow." 

' The two hang together, I think," said Stephen. 

" Well," said O'Flaherty, " I may be a man of low ideals, 
but I've a pretty good notion which task is easiest. . . . 
Is anyone on the committee seeing about getting guns ? " 



So Ireland once more drew the sword that had been rusting 
in its sheath for nearly fifty years, and brandished it in the 
face of the enemy. For a moment she seemed astonished 
at her own audacity. At the end of 1913 no more than ten 
thousand men had enrolled in the Volunteers, but confidence 
came gradually and in five months more their numbers had 
increased sevenfold. Then came a sudden unexpected rush 
of recruits. In two months the muster-rolls were doubled 
and men were marching and drilling on hillside, plain, 
and valley, in town and village, all over the face of Ireland. 

To Bernard, recent adherent to the cause, it was a 
sufficiently moving spectacle. To O'Dwyer it was well 
nigh miraculous. 

" I wish I could make you understand my feeling in all 
this," he said to Bernard one day as they watched a company 
manoeuvring in County Dublin. " When I was a boy I 
dreamed of nothing else but a day of arming and revenge, 
and I thought everyone else was the same. As I grew up 
I met with nothing but disappointment. Those were the 
deadest days in Irish History, when even Home Rule was 
barely spoken of, and as Home Rule came to the front and 
a tame bloodless winning of a fraction of our rights seemed 
to be all the people wanted I thought life a pretty humdrum 
affair. . . . And now to see this. To see the spirit of the 
people. To see armies rising out of the earth. To hear 



246 THE WASTED ISLAND 

Irish war-songs again. To see men drilling by moonlight 
as I did the other night. . . . Visions of Ninety-Eight, 
Lascelles. . . . Who would have thought it ? After seven 
centuries of subjection. Lord, but we're a wonderful 
people ! . Poland is doing nothing like this, or 

Finland. . . . Thank God that we're alive this day." 
" And to be young ..." said Bernard. 



CHAPTER XI 
WAITING. 



IT was some time before Bernard fulfilled his promise to 
call on Austin Mallow. He had no liking for the disease- 
worn fanatic, and always experienced an odd uncanny feeling 
of uneasiness in his presence. However one evening 
O'Dwyer induced both him and Stephen to pay the poet a 
visit. 

Austin lived with his mother, brother, and sister in a 
small house on the Rathgar Road. Mrs. Mallow had a small 
private income on which she supported her invalid elder 
son, her incapable second son, and her unmarriageable 
daughter. Austin's poetry never brought him in a farthing, 
and Brian was still making futile efforts to pass his final 
engineering examination. Theodosia, their sister, was an 
ill-made pasty-faced unhealthy girl who wore spectacles 
and bedroom slippers and spent most of her day reading. 
In a futile effort to assist their mother's finances they ran a 
monthly (more strictly an occasional) review called Manannan. 
Austin was editor and contributed his poems ; Brian was 
manager and contributed an occasional political polemic ; 
Theodosia was office-boy and contributed stray verses and 
stories as mystical as Austin's poems. The financial status 
of the paper can easily be imagined. 

When O'Dwyer and his friends arrived they were admitted 
by Brian who welcomed them with crushingly hearty hand- 
clasps into a hall lighted by a small oil lamp. As he hung up 
his hat and coat Bernard noticed a faint aromatic odour in the 
air, which became suddenly intensified as Brian threw open 
a door to his left. Bernard now saw into a room dimly lighted 
by two oriental lamps and cloudy with tobacco smoke which 

247 



248 THE WASTED ISLAND 

evidently was the source of the aroma he had observed. The 
mixed furnishing of the room produced a very bizarre effect. 
There were a table and chairs of mahogany of very ordinary 
pattern, and numerous easy-chairs. Along with them were 
a couple of Turkish divans, and in places the floor was heaped 
with brilliantly coloured cushions. There was no carpet, 
but its place was taken by rugs of various shapes, colours 
and kinds, from Donegal, Axminster and India. The 
windows were hung with curtains of Indian stuff, very fine 
and flaming with colour. In one corner stood a Ninety- 
Eight pike alongside a Japanese umbrella and an old-fashioned 
rifle. The wall opposite to the windows was adorned with 
three engravings and a tiger's skin, and over the mantel- 
piece were an antelope's head and an engraving of the trial 
of Robert Emmett. Most of the aromatic haze came from 
a hookah smoked by Austin, who sat curled up in an enormous 
armchair close to the fireplace. Opposite to him sat 
Theodosia smoking a cigarette, and on a divan at his left 
sat a small and rather corpulent man smoking a long church- 
warden pipe, who was introduced as Mr. Umpleby. 
Mrs. Mallow did not appear. 

Brian bustled about getting chairs and cushions for the 
visitors, and when alt were comfortable he came round with 
new churchwardens and a terra cotta bowl containing a 
spicy sandy tobacco. 

" Well, as I was saying ..." said Mr. Umpleby, and 
he resumed the story in which the entry of the visitors had 
evidently interrupted him. 

He was a little man with the beginnings of a paunch, fat 
cheeks, and a moustache and prominent canine teeth that 
gave him a comic resemblance to a walrus. O'Dwyer already 
knew him slightly and by repute. He was a little over thirty 
years of age and lived on a small private income. He was 
known to be extremely vain, but his vanity took the harmless 
and rather humble form of pluming himself on the great 
people poets, artists, politicians, rather than aristocrats 
with whom he scraped up acquaintance. After this his 
principal characteristic was his habit of telling long, tiresome 
stories full of parentheses, and of parentheses within paren- 
theses, such as could only be simplified by process of Algebra, 
and in which he frequently became so involved as to forget 



WAITING 249 

the main story altogether. He had taken no active part in 
politics until the formation of the Volunteers, into which 
movement he had flung himself with astonishing vigour. 
His present story seemed to be an apologia for this step. 

" As I was saying, the whole world -{ or at any rate the whole 
civilised world (which is what really counts in these matters)J- 
seemed to be about to perish of vanity and inanition, when 
on an instant 'this new movement [a movement which -f in 
my opinion (and I give my opinion in all humility) J- was 
-Jwith all its faults (and they were many, almost as many indeed 
as its virtues)j- at any rate distinguished by sincerity and a wish 
for achievement] sprang into being. Thereupon . . . 

" You've let your pipe go out," said Theodosia. 

" Dear me, so I have," said Mr. Umpleby, and in the 
pause necessitated by remedying this misfortune Austin 
took a sheet of paper from his pocket and said : 

" Would you like to hear my latest ? " 

There was general polite assent from the company, and a 
rapturous ' Yes, please ' from Theodosia, and Austin, clearing 
his throat, began : 

" IGNIS IMMORTALIS. 

Seven spears in the day of light 

Shall avenge with might our blood and tears, 

Seven seers shall in death indict 

The blasting blight of the bitter years." 

There was a terrible energy in the voice issuing from so 
frail a frame, and Bernard noticed a feverish gleam in the 
eyes set so deep in their sockets. Austin went on to the 
second stanza : 

" Seven victims upon the altar 

Shall sing a psalter of faith renewed. 
The flame re-kindled no more shall falter 

Nor word-wise palter the multitude." 

" Magnificent ! " cried Umpleby fulsomely. 

" What does it mean ? " asked Bernard. 

" What it says, of course," said Austin contemptuously. 

Then seeing Bernard's lips twitch slightly, he added : 

" You may smile. I'd expect it of you. But some poems 



250 THE WASTED ISLAND 

are prophecies, and perhaps you'll understand this one in a 
few years' time." 

" I say, Austin," broke in O'Dwyer, " I've discovered a 
new poet who'd be exactly to your liking. He prefers to 
remain anonymous, but he gave me a poem to submit to 
your opinion." 

" Read it to me," commanded Austin. 

O'Dwyer took a folded sheet of paper from his pocket, 
and to Bernard's amazement read as follows : 

" AlSLING. 

" A Vision in the Void of Night ! 

The moon her face in fear did veil ; 
The stars did shudder at the sight : 
The firmament did quail. 

" And through earth's rent and rotting rocks 

The boiling billows broke and burst 
Whereon cold flames in feral flocks 
Assuaged their thorny thirst. 

" Black lightnings seared the sallow air 

The quaking sun dissolved in gloom. 
Then oozed from out its loathsome lair 
The pallid Worm of Doom ! " 

" By Jove ! " cried Austin in tremendous excitement, 
" that's wonderful ! A true vision ! . . . That was 
written by a great poet." 

" Marvellous ! " echoed Umpleby. 

" I confess I don't see anything in it," said O'Dwyer, 
" but then mysticism isn't in my line. I suppose there 
must be a deep meaning in it somewhere." 

" The meaning is quite plain to anyone who knows any- 
thing of mysticism," said Austin. " You must ask that 
young poet to come and see me." 

" I remember once," began Umpleby, " a most extra- 
ordinary experience occurred to me. I was . . . 

But here Brian cut in with : 

" Look here, everybody. What about drinkables ? " 

He wheeled forward a little table on which were a decanter 
of whiskey, a siphon of soda-water, bottles of stout, a bottle 
of white wine, and glasses. The kettle on the fire had just 



WAITING 251 

boiled, and Theodosia began to brew coffee in the urn on 
the hearth. When everyone was served with his particular 
drink Umpleby had forgotten his story, and Austin launched 
into a dissertation on politics. 

" This generation needs blood," he said. " We alone 
amongst all the generations of Irishmen have undergone 
no sufferings in the cause of freedom. We have submitted 
tamely to the yoke ; the mark of slavery is upon us ; and 
only by blood can it be wiped out." 

" I don't see much sign of slavish acceptance in the 
Volunteers," interrupted Bernard. 

" A parade army," said Austin. " Until they have taken 
and given blood they can be nothing but a political demon- 
stration like the Orangemen. Until England strikes at 
us we remain as we are : an army of flag- wavers." 

" If England strikes we'll crumple," said Bernard. " I 
regard the Volunteers as a defensive force, of more value 
to stand up against political bullying than to take military 
action." 

"Nonsense!" said Austin. "No bargaining for me! 
Martyr's blood is of more value than rifles." 

Bernard said no more. As he watched that emaciated 
body eaten away by disease (Austin was suffering from a 
slow internal cancer) jerk forth the blood-lust of the restless 
tortured spirit it harboured, he realised that he might as well 
argue with a lunatic. There was something uncanny about 
Austin's drawn yellow cheeks and great luminous eyes, and 
Bernard was relieved by the interruption of Umpleby's 
commonplace voice beginning a new parenthetic story. 

At ten o'clock Stephen arose and said : 

" I must go. Good-night." 

It was the first time he had spoken that evening. Bernard 
and O'Dwyer decided to accompany him, and in a few 
minutes they found themselves in the street. 

" Some entertainment ! " said O'Dwyer. 

" That poem of yours did some useful work to-night," 
said Stephen. " It confirmed a suspicion of mine." 

" Which ? " asked O'Dwyer. 

" Austin Mallow is a liar," said Stephen. 

" Exactly what I wanted to prove," said O'Dwyer. 

" Then that poem . . . ? " questioned Bernard. 



252 THE WASTED ISLAND 

"... Was my own," said O'Dwyer. " Look here, 
boys, the street's no place for metaphysical discussion. Let's 
drop into my place for a while and I'll tell you about 
a discovery I've made." 

O'Dwyer's father lived at Stephen's Green, so they caught 
a passing tram and arrived there in five minutes. O'Dwyer 
let them in by latchkey and led them to his sanctum, a 
comfortable little room in the return part of the house. 

" Draw up your chairs, boys," he said, lighting the gas 
stove. " And what about a decent smoke ? . . . I'm half 
poisoned with that muck of Mallow's." He passed Bernard 
the tobacco-jar from the mantel-piece. 

" Now, what about this discovery ? " asked Bernard. 

" Well," said O'Dwyer, blowing forth a dense, cloud of 
tobacco smoke, " about a month ago I bought a splendid 
book : Jean Christophe by Remain Holland. It's an enor- 
mous work ten volumes of it, all packed with psychology 
and philosophy. But in the whole thing one sentence stood 
out for me that seemed to be an entirely new discovery and 
to be quite shatteringly true. It was this: 'Every nation has 
its lie, which it calls its idealism,' and the hero of the novel 
exposes in turn the German lie and the French lie. I found 
myself immediately wondering : ' What is the Irish lie ? ' 
and thinking : ' If we can discover it and rid ourselves of 
it we shall have taken a definite step on the road to freedom.' 
Well, I set myself to the discovery. First I asked myself 
what did we call our idealism. I found that hard to answer, 
because the word has been so shockingly misused. Then 
I remembered that Jean Christophe discovered the French 
and German lies in their art, and I set myself to look for the 
lie in ours. The question at once arose : what is Irish art ? 
In the first place, it is almost entirely literary. Our music, 
painting, and architecture are almost negligible. Then as 
to our literature a further question arose. We could not 
fairly be restricted to Gaelic literature, but to how much of 
English literature might we lay claim ? Some of our greatest 
geniuses Sheridan, Goldsmith, Wilde, Shaw, for example 
deliberately cut themselves off from Ireland and wrote 
of England for England. These I rejected. I felt we could 
only claim those who had written of Ireland and for Ireland, 
or took their inspiration from Ireland. I think we might 



WAITING 253 

go so far as to claim Swift among these. Well, now I took a 
survey of our whole literature. First there was the old 
Gaelic stuff : the Epic of the Tain, and the Fenian Legends, 
and some minor things of the same period : that fine old 
saga, the Wars of the Gael and Gall too : and St. Patrick's 
Confession : and St. Columba's Works these are just 
samples. My knowledge is a little fragmentary I'm afraid, 
for the next thing that I can point to is the History of the Four 
Masters. Then you come to the product of the worst times 
in our history, the Penal times, and it's all full of fierce and 
sorrowful songs like Jeremiads. After that, the next 
things you hit on are in English : Tone's Autobiography, 
Carleton's novels, and so on. Then you get the Young 
Irelanders : Mitchel, and Davis and Mangan. Griffin and 
Kickham and a few more follow them, and so we reach 
modern da}^s. 

" Now let's just glance back at the quality of all this stuff 
of the past before we look too close at the moderns. The 
early epics are the product of the great men of a great people. 
They've all that bigness and spaciousness that you feel in 
really great art. The Tain is equal to the Iliad and better 
than the Mneid. The Wars of the Gael and Gall is quite 
up to Herodotus, and the Four Masters run Thucydides 
pretty close. (Lord, what the world loses in not knowing of 
these !) Some of the poetry of the Penal times is wonderful 
stuff. Some of it is equal to Keats at his best, and there are 
patches that smack of Browning : very little descends to the 
level of Tennyson. Then look at Tone's Autobiography : 
it's the autobiography of one of the greatest statesmen, 
finest men, and heartiest humorists that ever lived : a really 
great work. I keep it on ti;e same shelf with Shakespeare, 
Rabelais, Plato, and Robinson Crusoe. Carleton's a big 
man too, but Mitchell's bigger, and Ferguson and Mangan 
are on a line with the great poets of any country. Everything 
I've mentioned up to this is great stuff : the kind of stuff 
that makes you catch your breath and say : ' This is the 
thing.' The work of the great men of a great people. 

" Well, now I looked at the work of modern days, and what 
did I see ? Not badness, not clumsiness ; no real fault you 
could point to ; but smallness. Apart from Russell and Yeates, 
and including Synge, no one in Ireland of recent years has 



254 THE WASTED ISLAND 

produced a work of decent size. Our much-boasted revival 
has produced hardly anything but short plays, short stories, 
and a bewildering multitude of tiny booklets of microscopic 
verses. You'd find it hard to point to a flaw in any of them 
(they aren't big enough to make big mistakes), but the small- 
ness and mediocrity of the stuff is appalling. That's the 
great Renaissance we hear so much about." 

" Yes," said Stephen. " That may be all quite true, 
but where's this lie you're talking about ? " 

" The lie," said O'Dwyer, " is not in the smallness of the 
literature, but in the reason for it. I'm coming to that 
presently. But there's one other thing I want you to notice, 
and that is that half of the poetry turned out is what they call 
' mystic,' and half the remainder is what I call ' misty.' As 
for the second kind, you know the sort of stuff I mean : 
poems full of ' white mist on the brown bog,' and that kind of 
tosh. The other's harder to deal with. You see it's quite 
unintelligible, and if you say so you're told you're unfit to 
criticise. However, after a careful examination into a num- 
ber of these poems I came to this conclusion : that they really 
mean nothing, and that anyone acquainted with the laws 
of prosody and gifted with a muddled head could produce 
them automatically by self- hypnosis induced by rime and 
alliteration. I immediately decided to try the experiment 
on myself, and produced the monstrosity you heard to- 
night. I had no idea in my head when I sat down. I 
honestly assure you of that. I wrote down the first line that 
came into my head and the rest were simply fitted in to suit 
the rime, and I tacked on to every noun the first alliterative 
adjective I could think of. Voila tout ! Mallow thought 
the result a great poem and thought he saw a meaning in 
it." 

" If you were dishonest enough," remarked Bernard, 
" you could make a book of those things and pass as a mystic 
poet." 

" And I wouldn't be the first. . . . Now do you see the 
He ? When nine tenths of a country's literature is character- 
ised by mistiness mystery and brevity what conclusion do 
you come to ? There's no ' imagination ' in mistiness ; 
it's mere sentimentality. There's nothing in their mysticism 
but muddled and slovenly thinking, (Mallow, for instance, 



WAITING 255 

couldn't think clearly if he tired). And as for Jieir brevity 
they're not men enough to produce work of any size. 
That's the long and the short of it. Why do you think 
there's so much poetry produced in Ireland ? Because it's 
the easiest form in which to say nothing impressively. 

" Well, there's our lie. We've been posing as a nation 
of poetical unwordly idealists, and we're really a nation of 
slackers. Our literature gives us away : it's the work of 
the lazy men of a lazy nation." 

" Our laziness is a bad sign," said Stephen, " but we're 
getting over it. . . . Your poem showed up something 
much worse to-night. The man who could pretend to see a 
meaning in that drivel is a liar, and a self-deceiver. . . . 
Did you listen to his own poem ? " 

" Not particularly," replied the others. 

" He called it a prophecy. It's easy to prophesy what 
one intends to carry out. . . . We'd better keep our eyes 
open." 

2 

239, HARCOURT STREET, 

DUBLIN, 

20th May, 1914. 
My dear Jack 

/ read your article in the Twentieth Century on recent events 
in Ireland with great interest, but you've been guilty of one 
inaccuracy. The Irish Volunteers were not founded to "protect 
the law and defend Parliament against those who would over- 
awe it by armed force." The protection of your Parliament 
is none of our business, and Carson can bully it as much as he 
likes for all we care. In fact, our principal function is to do a 
little bullying of that same august assembly on our own account. 
Your Press and the Unionist Press over here has been preaching 
at us for the last fifty years that we can only obtain our autonomy 
by resorting to Constitutional methods. Well, we took them at 
their word, and what's the result ? As soon as these methods 
begin to achieve anything, the law-and-order party flouts the 
Constitution, starts a rebel army, sets up a Provisional Govern- 
ment, seduces the British army, and threatens to call in the help 
of the German Emperor. No more Constitutionalism for us, 
thank you. The Curragh mutiny and the Lame gun-running 
have killed it. 



256 THE WASTED ISLAND 

Would you like to have a glance at Ireland as she really is ? 
Tm going north in June with my brother Eugene and a man 
called McGurk to Cloughaneely , an Irish-speaking district, 
and well be delighted if you'll form one of the party. 

You may notice I've changed my address. I've taken the 
hall- flat of this house, consisting of consulting-room, dining- 
room, sitting-room, and bed-room, with use of kitchen, and I'm 
busy looking over my blind for patients . I've engaged a servant 
too, an Englishman, a perfectly priceless person called Swathythe. 
Your "lower orders" make much better servants than ours. 
They're more servile. 

Hoping to see you in June, if you aren't married by then, 

I remain, and the rest of it, 

BERNARD LASCELLES. 

This letter brought Willoughby over to Dublin at the end 
of May. Bernard took him all over the city, showing him 
the great public buildings, the treasures in the museum, the 
harbour, the slums, and, by special request, a company of 
Volunteers drilling at Kimmage, which impressed Willoughby 
mightily. 

Two days later the party, with the addition of O' Flaherty, 
left Amiens Street by the nine o'clock train. They rattled 
above mean streets and sped out on to the great grassy via- 
duct that spans the inlet of the sea at Fairview. Over the 
flat hedge-bounded fields of north County Dublin they rushed, 
along the sandy coast of grassy Meath, and into the historic 
town of Drogheda. 

" The river Boyne," said McGurk to Willoughby. 

Willoughby rushed eagerly to look out of the carriage 
window, but he seemed disappointed somehow. 

" I'd an idea from the newspapers," he said " that all 
Ireland was camped on opposite sides of the river." 

" The Boyne is a Leinster river," Bernard explained. 
We're nowhere near Carsonland yet." 

" Oh ? I thought it was the frontier," said Willoughby. 

At Portadown they had to change trains, and Willoughby 
was told he was now genuinely in the "North-East Corner." 
He looked around eagerly for signs of Ulster Volunteers, 
but none were forthcoming. 

" This is very disappointing," he said. " I thought the 



WAITING 257 

country was on the verge of civil war and I haven't seen as 
much as a bayonet." 

" Our military activities are carried on at night," said 
Bernard. " During the day we have our work to do. If 
you want to see what Ulster Volunteers are like, just look 
round you. That porter there is probably one." 

Willoughby became round-eyed with interest. 

" Yes. He has a decidedly fanatical look," he said. (The 
porter was as commonplace a porter as could be found.) 

" Say, Bernard," whispered McGurk, " this English 
friend of yours is an awful eejit." 

The next change was at Strabane, where they took advan- 
tage of an hour's wait to have lunch, and Willoughby had 
h,s first experience of an Irish country hotel. 

" Do you long for the Inn at Deeping ? " said Bernard, 
as Willoughby picked a hair out of the butter. 

" Oh, no," replied Willoughby politely. " Everything's 
very charming." 

On the light railway they leaped the Bann and plunged 
into the wildness of the Western World. The green 
pastures of Leinster and south-east Ulster were far behind 
them and they rattled through a land of bog and rocks. On 
and on they clattered and jolted, winding along in a serpent- 
ine track, now shrieking through rocky cuttings, now purring 
peacefully over the open bog. Station after station fled past 
them, mere platforms of wood standing out of the heathery 
waste. To their left Errigal, grim and menacing, towered 
over his brother mountains. To their right stretched the 
flat surface of the bog, weird and lifeless in the gloaming. 

" By the way, Jack," said Bernard, " you must remember 
that you're entering a democratic country. The people 
don't touch their hals to squire here. They reserve that 
for the priest. You must shake hands with them naturally 
and as a matter of course : not in a patronising way like a 
lord of the manor visiting a faithful retainer, or like a parlia- 
mentary candidate at an election, but as one gentleman with 
another. If you go into a shop to buy a threepenny packet of 
cigarettes, you must shake hands first and talk about the news 
or the weather, and if they give you sixpence worth of choco- 
late along with your cigarettes, remember it's a present and 
take it as such." 



258 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" How delightfully Irish ! " said Willoughby. 

A few minutes later they alighted on the wind-blown plat- 
form of Cashelnagore, and, having deposited their baggage 
in a donkey-cart, cycled the three or four miles to the little 
village of Gortahork, at the principal hotel of which they had 
engaged rooms. 

3 

Next morning after breakfast they sat in the sun on the 
bench before the hotel smoking their pipes. An old woman 
hobbled by. 

" Maidin breagh ! " she cried in a hearty voice, a smile 
wrinkling all over her face. 

"Ana bhreagh," replied Eugene and McGurk together. 

" What was that ? " asked Willoughby. 

" Fine day," said Eugene. 

A labourer going down the hill to his work shouted the same 
salutation, and three or four others who passed in succession 
did likewise. 

' They seem mighty interested in the weather in this 
locality," observed O' Flaherty. 

"No wonder," said McGurk. "It's not often they get 
the chance to say ' Id breagh ' up here. ' La bog ' is the 
usual complaint." 

" Say, boys," said O' Flaherty a little later, " Willoughby 's 
just itching to have a near view of the natives. What about 
a tour of inspection ? " 

All were agreed and they set out at once. They stopped 
at a small but crowded shop in the village to buy cigarettes, 
and Willoughby for the first time realised that he was in a 
foreign country. Nothing was to be heard anywhere but 
this strange Irish language of whose existence he had been 
ignorant until quite recently. Dublin, save for some minor 
local peculiarities had seemed but a part of his own country, 
where putting his watch back twenty-five minutes was the 
greatest wrench in the scheme of things. Now he suddenly 
felt himself a stranger isolated in a distant land. 

On Bernard also this first continuous rush of the language 
that should have been his own had a strange effect, but a 
different one. The sound had a baffling enchantment for 
him and he felt an extraordinary desire to join in the con- 



WAITING 259 

versation, half-expecting that his native language would come 
bubbling from his lips by some miracle of atmosphere and 
will-power. . . . He registered an instantaneous resolve 
to learn the language at once. 

McGurk, who spoke Irish fairly fluently, made purchases 
for the rest of the party and was presented with a parcel of 
milk chocolate for his English friend. Emerging from the 
shop they encountered O'Dwyer and two other young men 
from Dublin. 

" Hello ! " cried O'Dwyer. " What ? Is that Willoughby ? 
What brings you to Cloughaneely ? ' Old Ashbury, thy 
sons are found Beyond the Empire's furthest bound ' eh ? " 

Greetings followed. O'Dwyer's companions were two 
men in his own year, called Conachy and Leeds, and were a 
striking contrast to one another. Conachy was a dark- 
haired young man with a solemn face rather like a horse, 
a depressingly polite manner and a tactful, tentative way of 
speaking. He was neatly dressed in dark grey cloth. Leeds 
on the other hand was loud-voiced and self-assertive. His 
head was covered with a tangled mass of straw-coloured 
hair, and he wore an untidy saffron kilt and green plaid. 
With both of them Bernard and his friends were slightly 
acquainted. Conachy was harmless and of little note, but 
Leeds summed up in himself all that Bernard disliked in 
Irish Nationalism. He was vulgar, stupid, ignorant and 
bigotted and always talked dogmatically at the top of his 
voice. He talked of nothing else but politics and always in 
an aggressive manner. He maintained that the ancient 
literature of Ireland, which he had not read, was the greatest 
literature in the world ; that Irish music was the greatest 
music in the world ; that the Round Towers were the most 
beautiful pieces of architecture in the world ; and that the 
Book of Kells was a greater work of art than all the pictures 
ever painted. Those who differed from him in this opinion 
he considered traitors to Ireland, in which category he also 
placed everyone who had ever been in England, everyone who 
admired English literature, everyone who spoke English 
without a pronounced Irish accent, everyone who parted his 
hair or brushed his clothes, and everyone who did not, 
like himself, talk torrents of ungrammatical Irish on every 
unsuitable occasion. 



260 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" How do you like Ireland ? " he asked Willoughby. 
His tone was intentionally hostile. 

" Immensely," said Willoughby. " I think it's a delightful 
place." 

" How very nice and patronising of you ! " sneered Leeds. 

" Oh, I mean it quite sincerely, I assure you," said 
Willoughby politely. 

"Oh do you ?" said Leeds. "I say, do you know that 
Ireland was Christian and civilised when your country was 
full of painted savages ? " 

"So I believe," said Willoughby mildly. "And I'm 
sorry to see to what a state English rule has brought you." 

Conachy insinuated himself into the conversation. 

" You were asking for that," he said to the discomfited 
Leeds. " Don't think we're all like him, Mr. Willoughby. 
Most Irishmen are prepared to forgive and forget. You 
seem to have run into a great crowd of extremists, but don't 
forget the majority are moderate men like me." 

Leeds turned all his wrath on Conachy, and the two began 
to wrangle about extremes and moderation, becoming so 
heated as to be oblivious to the rest of the company. McGurk 
seized this opportunity to whisper to O'Dwyer : 

" Slip off from these eejits and come for a walk with our 
crowd." 

O'Dwyer did so, and leaving the disputants behind the 
party set out in the direction of Ardsmore. The road led 
them up hill through a typical piece of Irish mountain 
scenery. The whole outlook was bleak and spacious, the 
land poor and unproductive but dotted all over with ill- 
made and often unhealthy-looking cottages, the inhabitants 
of which maintained a meagre existence on potatoes grown 
in patches painfully reclaimed from the bog or hacked out 
of the stony hillsides. Here and there a man so labouring 
shouted greetings to them in Irish. 

" Everything is delightful," said Willoughby. " The 
friendly hospitable atmosphere ! And how delicious is that 
faint smell of turf -smoke one gets everywhere." 

" How did you pick up with that pair of asses ? " O'Flaherty 
asked O'Dwyer. 

" Staying in the same digs." 

" Couldn't you shift over to the hotel with us ? " 



WAITING 261 

" Too dear," said O'Dwyer. He turned to Willoughby 
and said, " That Leeds creature is what you friendly English 
people generally imagine an Irish extremist to be like. He's 
a lunatic of course, but he's not a bit more extreme in his 
desire for independence than I am. It makes me furious 
when English people won't believe I'm in earnest about 
separation because I don't look like Leeds." 

" We're not a bit more at fault than you are," said [ 
Willoughby. " Your politics are based entirely on the 
assumption that the English people are a lot of blood-thirsty 
tyrants." 

" Nothing of the sort," said O'Dwyer. " Quite the con- 
trary. That has nothing to do with my politics. Even if 
England was populated entirely by decent civilised people 
like you I don't want to be governed by her, or even under 
her suzerainty : I've my pride, you know. I'm quite fit 
to govern myself, foreign affairs and all." 

" Felim," said Eugene, " you're a fanatic, an unpractical 
extremist. Nothing can be done without compromise." 

" Compromise ! " snorted O'Dwyer. 

" Yes. I'm a moderate man, and I believe that there must 
be compromise and give and take on both sides." 

" In my vocabulary," said O'Dwyer, " compromise is 
another word for surrender, and moderation another word 
for cowardice." 

" Well, if you will descend to abuse, in my vocabulary 
extremist is another word for lunatic." 

" Here, you two," said^ Bernard. " Chuck it. Don't 
get excited. This is too nice a day for politics. Let's rest 
awhile." 

They were now out on the mountain-side far above the 
village. They left the road and lay down, sprawling lazily 
in the heather on the turf hot with the sun. The irrepressible 
O'Dwyer at once returned to the attack on Eugene. 

" You think I'm an extremist out of mere obstinacy," he 
said. " You think I like the battle for its own sake. Well 
I don't. I wish it was over, because I'm all for peace. I'm 
not a revolutionary like Bernard, who would never be content 
with things as they are. I want things settled quickly and 
at once so as I can chuck politics and get at my writing. I 
can't fiddle while my country falls, but I wish she'd stop 



262 THE WASTED ISLAND 

falling so that I might have a chance to do some fiddling " 

" All the more reason for moderation," said Eugene. 
' That's the way to peace and prosperity." He lay back 
enjoying the sun. " How beautiful and peaceful nature is, 
so different from the angry passions of men. Look ! " 

Sentimentally he gazed up at a skylark winging its way 
aloft. " Hail to thee blithe spirit," he spouted. 

Suddenly a hawk swooped from nowhere on its prey. 

" What price peaceful Nature now ? " said O' Flaherty. 

" Nature's an extremist all right," said Bernard. " Only 
civilisation saves your type from extinction, Eugene." 

" Well, moderation is the civilised thing," said Eugene. 
" I'm glad you admit it." He spoke triumphantly as having 
gained a point. 

" You say you like moderation in everything ? " asked 
McGurk. 

" Yes." 

" Well, what about moderating the number of your fingers ? 
Lend us a knife someone." 

" Let me go ! " cried Eugene as McGurk seized his wrist. 

" Well if you aren't the awful extremist ! Isn't half a 
dozen fingers enough for you ? Come on, Bernard. Let's 
do a fingerectomy on him." 

" Chuck it, Hugo," said O'Dwyer, who had been scribbling 
in his note-book for the last few minutes. " I'm writing a 
poem on Nature." 

" Let's hear it," said O'Flaherty. 

" It began seriously," said 7 O'Dwyer, " but like all my 
poems it took the bit between its teeth and bolted. 

I wish I could sing of the beauties of spring 

When the lark's on the wing and the lambkins are bleating, 

When every hour brings forth a new flower 

And lessens our bills for lighting and heating. 

And I wish I could write of the wonders of night, 
The magical light of moon, star, and planet, 
The shimmer and beam of the ocean, the gleam 
Of the glow-worm : I would if I could but I cannot. 

And if only the cloud of the mystic would shroud 

And inspire me to ununderstandable language 

Ah, then you'd concede I'm a poet indeed, 

But it doesn't. So pass me a hard-boiled -egg sangwich." 



WAITING 263 

" Bloody good ! " cried McGurk. 

" You've sound dope on poetry," said O' Flaherty. 

' There's too much of this mystic rubbish going round 

Ireland at present. Now that's got to be cut right out. "We 

haven't time for it. There was never a country in less need 

of minor poets than this, and never a country so full of them." 

" There's too many of them on the Provisional Committee 
anyhow," said McGurk. 

" Quite right," said O' Flaherty. " We're supposed to 
be a military movement and we're ruled by people like Austin 
Mallow, who instead of reading up military stuff scribbles 
symbolical muck about swords and spears." 

" You're wrong about Mallow," said Eugene. " I don't 
agree with his politics, but his poetry is beautiful." 

" Shows how well you understand it," said O' Flaherty 
contemptuously. " Isn't it all a symbolic appeal to Ireland 
to rise and avenge her wrongs. . . . He's got spears on 
the brain. . . . Precious lot of good an insurrection would 
do us now." 

" I thought you were all red-hot rebels," said Willoughby. 

" Do I look very red-hot ? " demanded O'Flaherty. " No, 
boys. The sooner this Provisional Committee's kicked out 
the better. I counted at least six poets on it, and I'm sure 
there's as many more." 

" You're right," said Bernard. 

" It's hard-chaws we want," said McGurk. 

" The one good thing about the movement is the poets 
and idealists who govern it," said Eugene. " I look to them to 
redeem it from its present narrow and selfish policy and make 
it a means of reconciliation with England instead of a weapon 
to stab her. Your policy of hate simply sickens me." 

" Eugene, you're a soft-headed old donkey," said Bernard. 
" You'll find precious little peace and good-will in Mallow's 
poetry. It's hate sublimated. I hate England as much as 
Mallow does, but there's some sense and coolness in my 
hatred. I wouldn't have Ireland cut her own throat to 
spite England, and Mallow would. He'd rush us into rebel- 
lion to-morrow just to have the satisfaction of killing one 
Englishman before he dies. He told me so himself a few 
days ago. The man's a lunatic, and I wouldn't trust him with 
a popgun, much less an army. . . . And I tell you this. 



264 THE WASTED ISLAND 

There are more men than he on the Committee of that frame 
of mind, and I'm afraid of them/' 

" Well," said Eugene, " that only shows Redmond was 
right in opposing Volunteering. You've only yourselves to 
blame for joining them. I wish he'd never withdrawn his 
opposition." 

" He had to," said McGurk. 

" Well, well," laughed Willoughby. " It's true after all, 
Irishmen can never agree. What on earth can my poor 
country do with you ? " 

" Leave us alone," said O'Flaherty. 

" I wish we could," said Willoughby. 

" No more politics," cried Bernard. " Read us another 
poem, Felim." 

Felim looked through his note- book and said : 

" Here's a triolet, supposed to be spoken by a fair and 
inconstant maiden : 

Jack, give me a kiss: 

I'm weary of Willy's. 
What dp you call this ? 
Jack, give me a kiss. 
That's no better than his 

Here he comes bringing lilies. 
Jack, give me a kiss : 

I'm weary of Willy's." 

" You're a beastly cynic, Felim," said Eugene. 
" Here are some personalities," said O'Dwyer. 

" A. E. (George Russell) 
Made the Celt bustle, 
And turned his fairyland 
Into a dairyland." 

" Grand ! " said McGurk. " Any 'more of those ? " 

" W. B. Yeates 

Weary of bills and rates 
Took a hive for the honey bee 
On the lake Isle of Innisfree." 

The sun mounting to the zenith suggested dinner. As 
they commenced the return journey Willoughby said : 



WAITING 265 

" You fellows aren't a bit like the champions of an oppressed 
people. Here you've spent the morning arguing, abusing 
each other, telling stories and reciting comic verses, while 
the battle for your liberties is being fought at Westminster." 

" Alas ! me poor Cathleen ! " sobbed McGurk, taking 
out his pocket handkerchief. " Is that the sort of thing ye 
want ? " he asked. 



For a fortnight their sojourn at Cloughaneely was uninter- 
rupted. It was a perfect place for a holiday, and everyone 
did just as he pleased. Bernard, Eugene and O'Dwyer 
attended lectures every morning at the Irish College ; 
O' Flaherty studied guerilla strategy in the mountains ; 
Willloughby conscientiously wandered about the country- 
side studying the Irish Question and getting materials for 
articles and letters to the Radical reviews ; McGurk took his 
ease about the hotel. In the afternoons they would assemble 
for a collective walk or a bathe, and in the evenings they would 
gather together in the hotel and tell each other endless anec- 
dotes, compose Limericks about their friends, or listen to 
extracts from O'Dwyer's notebook. Occasionally they went 
to the ceilidhes at the college, and once even induced 
Willoughby to come. He made no show at the dancing, but 
came home in a very sentimental mood induced by certain 
Irish songs of plaintive melody and banal wording. The 
chorus : 



" Ni'l sf Id, ni'l go jdil, 
Ni 'I s6 an oidhce, nd 



na mhaidin." 

affected him almost to tears, and another song, ' Cruacha na 
h-Eireann ' sung, though he knew it not, to a commonplace 
English music-hall air, made him, as he said, ' appreciate 
what a wonderful people the Irish really are.' 

They decided to impress him as much as possible and took 
him one day to see what they called ' the last independent 
portion of Ireland.' This meant a journey by sea to Tory 
Island, which has paid no taxes to the British Empire since 
the day when a gunboat sent to collect them got wrecked on 



266 THE WASTED ISLAND 

its treacherous shores. But Willoughby was still more 
impressed by the sight of the corps of Volunteers drilling 
every evening in different parts of the county ; for now all 
Ireland was organising and two hundred thousand men were 
clamouring for arms. 

He thought the Sunday Mass a very edifying spectacle. 
The church was a small one and it was crowded to the doors, 
the congregation overflowing even into the churchyard and 
the road outside. Round the Communion-rails the old 
women remained prostrate, foreheads to the ground, shawls 
drawn over their heads, all through the service. Bernard 
found the atmosphere and the sermon in Irish rather trying, 
but Willoughby was enthusiastic. 

" I never knew what Catholicism was before," he said. 
" We English haven't the true spirit at all." 

" Hmph ! " said McGurk, " these fervent Catholics 
would cheat you in a business deal to-morrow." 

' And maybe give you a present costing double what they'd 
made out of you the day after," put in Eugene. 

" And abuse you behind your back for taking it," added 
O'Flaherty. 

" We're a queer people," Bernard explained. " We've 
heaps of piety and no ethics ; a craze for generosity, and no 
notions of charity." 

" I find you all very charming anyhow," said Willoughby. 

" Do you see these people learning to think Imperially ? " 
asked Bernard, and Willoughby had to confess that he didn't. 

" And tfris," said Bernard, " is the real Ireland. The 
foundations on which the Ireland you think you know is 
built. The edifice is superficially altered by climatic and 
political conditions, but it's of the same stuff as the founda- 
tions. . . . My dear Willoughby, we're a different people 
from you entirely. We haven't an idea in common. We're 
more different from you than the French from the Germans, 
or the Tibetans from yourselves. ... By force and fraud 
you may succeed in governing us, but we can never be 
partners." 

" I love to hear Bernard spouting," said O'Dwyer. " He 
was a Unionist a few months ago. 

There was a young man called Lascelles 

Who read Marx, Norman Angel, and Wells .... 



WAITING 267 

" Shut up ! " said Bernard, but O'Dwyer had the rapt 
look that told of further composition . . . 

Willoughby had expressed himself ' charmed ' with every- 
thing he had seen up to this, but he was less pleased by a 
political meeting they happened to witness a few days later 
at Letterkenny. They had gone there to try and obtain 
some tobacco more suited to his taste than the brands obtain- 
able in Gortahork. The moment they reached the station 
it was obvious that something big was afoot. The streets 
were full of hurrying crowds and the thump and rattle of 
different bands could be heard in the distance. One band 
swung past them in seedy uniforms adorned with tarnished 
gold braid ; a tawdry banner borne in front ; a terrible 
blare bursting from its battered instruments. Behind 
marched a company of half-disciplined Volunteers in fours 
armed with dummy rifles and commanded by an obvious 
ex-Sergeant Major of the British Army. Our friends 
only Bernard, Willoughby, and O' Flaherty had come to 
Letterkenny followed in their wake to the focus on which 
all were concentrating the market-place, one vast dis- 
cordance of sights, sounds, and smells. Men, organised 
and unorganised, hurried here and there. Banners of motley 
kinds flaunted the sky. Pipes, bugles, fifes, drums rent the 
air. Shouts and bells added to the confusion. The atmos- 
phere was stifling ; it barely stirred the great green flag over 
the platform in the centre of the square. 

Suddenly a big, burly, red-faced man mounted the plat- 
form, and as he raised his hand silence gradually fell. 

"Ladies and gentlemen," he said, " we have assembled here 
to-day, we men and women of the land of the O'Donnells " 
(cheers) " to pledge once more our renewed faith and loyalty " 
(cheers) " to the men who have fought for us so long and so 
faithfully on the floor of the House of Commons, and have 
brought the Home Rule ship to the mouth of the harbour " 
(cheers) " to Mr. John Redmond and the Irish Parliamentary 
Party " (loud and prolonged cheering). " And, ladies and 
gentlemen, we would associate with them in our gratitude 
those young men " (cheers) " who, inspired by them, called 
the people of Ireland to arm themselves, lest the rights they 
had won by constitutional means should be filched from 



268 THE WASTED ISLAND 

them by the armed bullying of the Orangemen (groans). 
But " 

It was a long-drawn-out and ominous ' But.' It trans- 
pired that the young men who had founded the Volunteer 
movement were not the right people to carry it on. They 
were rash, unskilled in politics. Their leaders must be 
' tried and trusted men/ for now ' by a single false step the 
cup might be dashed from the Nation's lips just as it was 
about to bear fruit.' In short, the speaker moved that this 
meeting requested Mr. John Redmond and the Irish Party 
to take over the leadership of the Volunteers. (Tremendous 
cheering as the speaker made place for another.) 

" Shows the way the wind's blowing," remarked Bernard 
to Hektor. " Wonder what's happening in Dublin." 

" Goodness knows," said Hektor gloomily. They had 
heard nothing from their friends in town since their arrival 
in Cloughaneely, and though they had gathered from the 
papers that there was trouble afoot between the Volunteer 
Committee and the Party they could only guess vaguely at 
its extent. 

They left the market-place and searched the tobacconists 
of Letterkenny, but to Willoughby's dismay no Perique was 
to be found, and he was forced to wire to Dublin for it. 

" Why the devil couldn't the Party be content with co- 
operation ? " demanded Hektor savagely in the train. " W T hy 
must they dominate everything ?" 

Their news brought gloom to the jolly crowd gathered 
that evening at the hotel. Eugene deprecated ; O'Dwyer 
raved ; McGurk cursed ferociously ; Willoughby looked 
on, politely puzzled. 

And the next evening Stephen Ward arrived at Gortahork. 



He was pale and haggard, and his weary eyes told of sleep- 
less nights. He said little and went to bed almost im- 
mediately on his arrival. By the time he came down to 
breakfast the morning paper had told them that the Pro- 
visional Committee had yielded to Mr. Redmond's pressure 
and allowed him to nominate twenty-five members to their 
body. 



WAITING 269 

" I know you'll think it weak of us," he said as he took 
his place late at the breakfast table. " But it was inevit- 
able. We couldn't afford to split the country on the issue." 

" Suppose not," was the unwilling agreement. 

" Such work as we've had this last week," said Stephen. 
" All-night sittings, interviews, letters, negotiations I 
I need a holiday badly." 

He attacked his breakfast almost greedily. 

The following morning when the list of Redmond's 
nominees was read out there was a storm of indignation. 

" Holy murdher ! " cried McGurk. " Half the crooks 
and jobbers in the U.I.L. ! Is that what he calls his repre- 
sentative men ? The bloody old cod ! " 

" Half of them are Dublin men too," observed Stephen. 
"And one of the reasons he gave for wanting to enlarge the 
committee was that Dublin was too well represented." 

" A good indication of the Party's honesty," said Bernard 
to Eugene. 

" The question is," said O' Flaherty, " have they come in 
to make the movement subservient to the Party, or to wreck 
it ? " 

" To wreck it, of course," said McGurk. " That's what 
they've been trying to do all along." 

" And what's to be done now ? " asked Bernard 
despairingly. 

" We must hold together in spite of them," said Stephen. 

He took Bernard and Hektor off for a walk away from the 
others that afternoon. 

" Don't suppose I came here for a holiday entirely," he 
said. " There's work to be done still. While civil war 
rages on the committee the men have got to be armed, and 
our crowd will have to do it. There's a small committee 
just formed, we're raising money, and we're just thinking 
out the best way of bringing the guns into the country when 
we've got them. I came up here partly to see you fellows 
and partly to find out if there's a good landing-place on this 
coast." 

" This looks like business ! " said Bernard, his drooping 
spirits quickly reviving. 

" What would be the good of landing guns in a place like 
this at the back of god-speed ? " asked Hektor. 



270 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" Just what I said myself," said Stephen, " but our people 
have got obsessed with a notion that things must be done 
in a hole-and-corner way. I'd like them to take a leaf out 
of Carson's book, and do the thing with a splash." 

" That's the right dope," said Hektor. " Land the guns 
at Howth or Kingstown in full daylight ; then you're near 
your base ; everything is much easier ; you get a good politi- 
cal effect ; and the risk of being interfered with isn't a bit 
greater not worth reckoning, anyhow. . . . Take your 
holiday, man, and waste no time speculating over Donegal." 

" I think I'll take your advice," said Stephen. " And 
now there's one thing more I want to ask you. The 
guns will have to be bought on the continent, so we'll 
need men to go for them who have leisure, who know their 
way about, and who aren't too well known to the authorities. 
That description seems to point to you two, I think. Will 
you be ready when wanted ? " 

" Rather," said Bernard. 

" Sure thing," said Hektor. 

Stephen spent a week at Gortahork and then returned to 
town. Next day Willoughby, who was to be married in 
July, also took his departure. Bernard and Eugene saw him 
as far as Letterkenny whence he was to travel by Belfast 
and Fleetwood homeward. His last words to Bernard were 
a promise to fight Ireland's cause in England to the end. 

As soon as they reached Gortahork they encountered 
Hektor who handed Bernard an opened telegram, which ran : 

Come to town at once. 

Stephen. 



" You two will have a colleague in this business," said 
Stephen as he Bernard and Hektor set out from the Neptune 
next day. " His name is Umpleby, Cyril Umpleby, and 
unfortunately he's rather an ass. But he has the tremen- 
dous advantage of being a good French speaker and he knows 
his way about Antwerp. He's not very discreet, he's a fair 
supply of brains, he's a sublime egoist and a snob of the first 
water. You'll find him amusing on the whole, but you'll 



WAITING 271 

have to keep him in order. I may add that he's quite 
insuppressible." 

" Some handful ! " said Hektor. 

" In addition to him you're now going to meet two of the 
finest men in the world. I say that without any hesitation. 
The first is George Calverley. He's an Englishman, and 
one of the best friends Ireland ever had. He's a sportsman 
of the best type, and probably the best yachtsman in England. 
He's offered to run the guns for us in his yacht the Cormorant, 
one of the speediest boats of her size I believe, and, by the 
way, that reminds me. Umpleby is such a blitherer that 
we're telling him nothing he needn't know. So he thinks 
the guns are going to be run home in a fleet of fishing smacks, 
and if that rumour gets around it'll be all to the good. Un- 
fortunately the Cormorant won't hold all the guns we intend 
to buy so we've had to ask another yachtsman to take half 
of them, an Irishman this time, a real jewel of a man with 
an English accent that would knock you down. Have you 
ever heard of Angus O'Connor ? I suppose not. He lives 
most of his time in London and he's well known there I 
believe. Calverley 's going to run his cargo into Howth 
and O'Connor's taking his to Kilcool, to prevent accidents. 
O'Connor of course isn't the other finest man in the world 
I was telling you about. . . . He's . . . but you can 
judge for yourselves, for here we are at our destination." 

They turned into a hotel in Sackville Street and ascending 
to the second floor entered a small private sitting room. 
There were several men in the room, but one was of such 
distinguished appearance that he caught Bernard's undivided 
attention at once. He was standing with his back to the 
fire leaning against the mantelpiece, his arms folded across 
his chest. He was very tall, well over six feet, and of mag- 
nificent proportions. His face was one of singular beauty 
and serenity, and his eyes were dark and kindly. The 
strength and character of his well-modelled jaw were softened 
but not hidden by his curling black beard. In short, this 
was a figure that in any assembly would be the first to attract 
the attention of an onlooker. When our friends entered 
he was talking with another man, Sullivan of the Provisional 
Committee ; but he now looked up with an eager smile of 
welcome. 



272 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" This is my friend Mr. Lascelles," said Stephen. " Mr. 
Lascclles, Sir Roger Casement." 

" I've heard great things about you," said Sir Roger with 
a courtly smile. His accent was that of the educated and 
travelled" Irishman : that is to say it was colourless save for 
the faintest indications of that native tint that Irishmen 
give to certain vowels and consonants. 

" Any relation to Sir Eugene Lascelles ? " asked Sir Roger. 

" Son," said Bernard. 

" I knew him slightly in days gone by. He's not one of 
us, I'm afraid." 

Bernard laughed. He was pleasantly flattered by the 'us ' 
spoken by this magnificent man, the world- renowned exposer 
of the Congo and Putomayo atrocities. Sir Roger turned 
now to greet Hektor, and Bernard had an opportunity of 
observing the other people present. They were three : 
two stood conversing in a far corner of the room and the third 
was bent over a table at the window with his back to the door, 
so intent on the study of a map as not to have paid any atten- 
tion to the new arrivals. Of the other two, one was a tall 
dandified man with well-oiled hair and a neat moustache : 
and the other he recognised at once as Cyril Umpleby. He 
was talking rapidly to his companion and did not cease at 
the entry of Stephen and his friends. However, Sir Roger 
now came forward and interrupted him by quickly going 
through the necessary introductions. Umpleby 's companion 
turned out to be Angus O'Connor. The man with the map 
who now relinquished his labours and came up to be 
introduced was George Calverley, a sturdy clean-cut sailorly 
man of few words and brisk action. 

" Were you followed ? " Umpleby anxiously inquired of 
Stephen. 

" Who by ? " 

" G men, of course." 

" I don't suppose so." 

" Do you mean to say you didn't make sure ? " 

Stephen rudely turned his back on his questioner, as if 
to dismiss his anxiety as trivial, and remarked to Sullivan : 

" Umpleby has G men on the brain." 

" We can't be too careful," said Umpleby. 



WAITING 273 

" Just what we can be," said Hektor much to the general 
amusement. 

" Let's get to business anyway." said Sullivan. " You three 
are going to buy the guns for us, I take it. Very well, then. 
In the first place here's the money, divided into three packets 
for safety. Take one each." 

He handed the three young men a packet each in his turn 
and went on : 

" We've decided that Antwerp is the most suitable place for 
all our needs and your orders are simply to go there at once 
and get as many rifles as the money can buy, with a good 
supply of ammunition. You must then ship them down the 
river and out to sea to a spot marked on this chart, I'll 
entrust it to you, O'Flaherty." 

He produced another packet and handed it over. 

" You must be at that spot punctually at midday on the 
fourteenth of July next, when you'll meet the er fleet of 
trawlers commanded by Calverley and O'Connor, who will 
take over all responsibility from then. This is the twenty- 
seventh of June, which gives you exactly sixteen and a half 
days for the job. Is everything quite clear ? " 

Hektor repeated these instructions correctly, and the three 
gun-runners decided to start by next morning's mail-boat. 
Umpleby immediately prepared to leave. 

" I've a lot of arrangements to make," he said, " and then 
I've my packing to do. We can plan out the rest of our 
journey on board : I have a Bradshaw. Au revoir." And 
he went out. 

" Thank heaven for his packing," said Calverley. He 
turned to Bernard. " You're Lascelles aren't you ? " he 
said. Bernard nodded. " I hear you can sail a boat ? " 

" Pretty well," said Bernard. 

" Well, I'll have to pay off several of my hands for this 
trip as they aren't all trustworthy. Now I don't mind 
sailing the Cormorant out shorthanded, but I wouldn't care 
to risk it coming home with the cargo. So if you're willing 
I'll take you on." 

Bernard was perfectly willing. It appeared that to make 
quite sure of punctuality the yacht was to remain longer at 
sea than was necessary, the date for delivering the arms at 
Howth being the twenty-sixth of July at 12.45 P- 1 ^-) when 



274 THE WASTED ISLAND 

the harbour would be occupied by the Dublin Volunteers. 

" I'll see you again off Antwerp on the fourteenth of 
July," said Bernard taking leave of Calverley. " And you 
on the twenty-sixth at Howth," he said to Stephen. " Good- 
bye, Sir Roger." 

" Good-bye," said Casement, " and good luck." 

Bernard never saw him again. 

He and Hektor descended to the street. 

" I like these short business-like interviews," said Hektor. 
They're rare in Ireland. . . . Well, we'll meet to-morrow." 

They parted at that and Bernard turned towards home. 
Arrived there he summoned before him the excellent servitor 
Swathythe, mentioned in his letter to Willoughby. 
Swathythe was a treasure. He did everything for Bernard from 
tending his clothes and polishing his door plate to cleaning 
his motor. He was an impassive dark-haired man who 
might have been any age from twenty to forty and was 
actually twenty six. 

" Swathythe," said Bernard, "I'm going away again for a 
month." 

" Yes, sir," said Swathythe. 

" To-morrow morning, Swathythe." 

" Yes, sir." 

" You show no surprise, Swathythe ? " 

" I am not surprised, sir. No business to be, sir." 

"I'll be back to dinner at seven sharp on the twenty- 
sixth of July, Swathythe." 

" Yes, sir." 

" I'll have oysters, Swathythe." 

" Yes, sir." 

" And mutton broth, Swathythe." 

" Yes, sir." 

" And a sweetbread. And roast duck and green peas." 

" Yes, sir." 

" And a chocolate soufflee, Swathythe." 

" Yes, sir." 

" At seven o'clock on the twenty-sixth prox., Swathythe." 

" Yes, sir." 

" And now you might go and pack my bag, Swathythe." 



WAITING 275 



All the world was at peace when Bernard and his friends 
started on their mission. The most disturbed spot in all 
Europe was Ireland, but even there the trouble did not 
seriously affect ordinary life. There was no need to notice 
it at all if one did not read the newspapers, and there was a 
general feeling that things would soon settle down to their 
normal state. Bloodshed and starvation seemed very impos- 
sible occurrences in those days : the thought of them never 
crossed the minds of ordinary men. The world sprawled 
in blissful ignorance under the glorious sun of June. 

" Thank God for a quiet life," murmured O'Dwyer to 
McGurk as they basked on the beach of Magheruarty. 
" I wonder what fetched those fellows off in such a hurry." 

At that very moment Gavrilo Prinzip in the streets of 
Serajevo fired the first shot in the great European War. 
The news was known over the whole world the following 
morning, but nobody anticipated the drama to which it was 
a prelude, or saw anything beyond the actual tragedy. 

" The poor, poor Archduke ! What a blow to the old 
Emperor ! " exclaimed Mrs. Harvey, who always felt the 
misfortunes of royalty acutely and personally . . . 

" Those savage Balkan states!" said Mrs. Gunby Rourke. 
" They ought to be exterminated. I hope Austria will wipe 
the Servians off the face of the earth . . . ' 

" What a lesson to our government," said Sir Eugene 
Lascelles. " They've no excuse for not suppressing these 
Volunteers now . . . 

"Dear me!" said Mrs. Heuston Harrington. "Fancy 
anyone taking another man's life and risking his own for a 
wretched little country like Servia ! " 

And in a Hotel in Antwerp Hektor O'Flaherty said to 
Bernard : 

" We aren't arming a bit too soon. This means war." 



CHAPTER XII 
GUNS 



CYRIL UMPLEBY hurriedly drew Bernard and Hektor into 
his cabin and shut the door. 

" The less we're seen together," he said, " the better ; 
for fear of spies, you know. I'm afraid I've been noticed 
already. . . . However it can't be helped. . . . We'll 
just settle on our plans and then separate until w r e reach 
Euston. I consulted my Bradshaw last night and I find that 
if we leave London at seven to-morrow we can get an after- 
noon boat from Harwich that will land us at Antwerp in the 
small hours of Thursday. What do you say to that ? " 

Bernard and Hektor had no objection to this course, so 
they left Umpleby without any reluctance, and, regardless 
of his warnings paced the deck together. After a calm 
crossing they reached Holyhead where they saw Umpleby, 
ostentatiously ignoring them, plunge into the first-class dining 
saloon. The friends were glad to be without him, and the 
journey passed uneventfully save for one incident. At 
Crewe a porter brought Hektor a note which ran as follows : 

Spi on owf\ cp^ic. t<voi in bUc. Ceep fepAp-dce. 

c.n. 

" ' Spy on our track. Lady in black. Keep separate,' ' 
read Bernard. " What an ass of a cipher. He might as 
well have written it in English. Need we bother, I wonder ? " 

" Umpleby has spies on the brain," said Hektor. " Unless 
he's been blithering himself no one could guess we're up to 
anything." 

They took no further notice of the communication, and 

276 



GUNS 277 

on arriving at the Euston Hotel waited so as to overhear 
the number of Umplcby's bedroom and then followed him 
thither. 

" You got my note ? " asked Umpleby in great excitement. 
" She got into the train at Chester, a tall slender woman 
in black, a typical adventuress. No doubt of it at all." 

" That's too true to type altogether," said Bernard. "I'd 
be much more inclined to suspect an innocent looking pussy- 
like miss, or a friendly commercial traveller. Things aren't 
done in this dramatic way." 

" See if she doesn't follow us here," said Umpleby. 

" She might come here without being after us." 

" I know, but we must make certain. If she's downstairs 
now, I'll go and order a reserved carriage for somewhere or 
other to put her off the track. Come down now, but don't 
keep together." 

Sure enough a tall slender woman in black was standing 
near the bureau in the hall. Umpleby glanced triumphantly 
at Bernard as much as to say : ' I told you so,' and going 
to the telephone asked in a loud voice (unnecessarily loud, 
thought Hektor the strategist) for a reserved carriage on the 
2.15 train for Southampton next day. Then they returned 
severally to Umpleby's room. 

" Now, wasn't I right ? " demanded Umpleby. " We 
must separate at once. I'll start right out now for the Cecil. 
Lascelles, you'd better make for the Metropole. You can 
stay here, O'Flaherty, unless you've a preference. We'll 
meet again at seven o'clock to-morrow at Liverpool Street. 
Au revoir." 

When he was gone Bernard said to Hektor : 

" Leave him to the flesh-pots of the Cecil. Let's come 
down to dinner." 

The lady in black was already at the soup when Bernard 
and Hektor entered the dining-room. She paid not the 
smallest attention to their presence and left the room while 
they were still lingering over coffee. 

" That's no spy," said Bernard emphatically. 

" I don't know so much," said Hektor. " She's a peach 
anyhow." 

They strolled out into the busy streets and, after consulting 
an evening paper, made for an adjacent music hall. 



278 THE WASTED ISLAND 

Here, during an interval, they adjourned for a moment 
to the bar, where, in ' immaculate evening dress,' the first 
person they saw was Bernard's old school-fellow Molloy, 
Bernard introduced him to Hektor after a whispered injunction 
to ' mark him well.' 

" Dull show, isn't it ? " said Molloy. " I came here to 
kill time. Where are you fellows staying ? I'm at the 
Carlton." . 

" Euston," said Bernard. " But we're only passing 
through. Surprised to see you . . . but one meets Dublin 
people everywhere." 

" One does," said Molloy. " Considering what a little 
bit of a place it is its population scatters pretty well. Where- 
ever I go I knock up against Dubliners. Lord Donegal's 
staying at the Carlton, and I met Sir Perry Tifflytis at the 
Ritz the other night. . . . How are things with you ? 
Patients rolling in ? " 

" Slowly. However . . . we won't keep you. So 
long." 

Bernard and Hektor returned to the auditorium. 

" It's true what he says," observed Hektor. " You meet 
Dublin people wherever you go, from Oklahoma to St. 
Petersburg. . . '. Why did you tell me to mark him ? 

" Because he's the greatest snob I ever met, and his snob- 
bery is of the very crudest kind. It's so crude that if you 
put it in a book your character-drawing would be called 
clumsy and obvious. . . . Did you notice how prosperous 
he looks ? That man has no brains, yet everything he 
touches turns to gold. He's been two years in practice as 
a solicitor, and already he's rich. Of course he had money 
to start with, but he made heaps defending unfortunate 
rioters in the great strike, and he knows how to toady the 
wealthy. ... I tell you what, Hektor, when we two stand 
on the gallows, as well we may, he'll be there to make money 
out of us." 

" No gallows for us, old son," said Hektor. " We're 
going to win this time." 



GUNS 279 



Umpleby was already on board the train and buried in 
his newspaper when Bernard and Hektor arrived at Liver- 
pool Street, so they did the journey to Harwich without him. 

" No sign of the lady in black," said Bernard as he watched 
the crowds on the platform before departure. " We must 
have given her the slip, or else she was never after us." 

On the arrival platform at Harwich Umpleby jostling 
against them said between his teeth : 

" Different hotels. I'm for the Royal." 

The railway hotel was good enough for the other two, 
and there they took a hearty lunch interrupted by occasional 
glances round for the lady in black. 

" We've shook her off for sure," said Hektor. " Well, 
if she's a fair sample of the English secret service, God help 
them." 

The boat was to start at half-past two, but Bernard and 
Hektor went on board half an hour beforehand to secure 
berths. That done they took seats on deck and awaited 
Umpleby's arrival. 

" Who'll arrive first ? " said Bernard. " Umpleby or 
the lady in black ? " 

" Ten to one on Umpleby," replied Hektor. " Black 
Lady's scratched." 

" I'll chance it," said Bernard. " Take you in sovereigns." 

" It's taking your money," said Hektor. 

" Just you wait," said Bernard. 

Scattered passengers kept coming on board during the 
next quarter of an hour, and they were beginning to feel 
anxious lest Umpleby should be late, when suddenly Bernard 
cried : 

" You owe me a tenner, Hektor. Here's the lady ! " 

" Well, I'm jiggered ! " said Hektor. 

Down the gangway came the tall slim figure of the lady in 
black. She passed them without a sign of recognition and 
went down the companion way. 

" Well," said O'Flaherty, " if she isn't after us, coincidence 
must have a jolly long reach. What'll Umpleby say?" 



28o THE WASTED ISLAND 

" That reminds me," said Bernard. " Where is Umpleby ? 
The boat starts in four minutes." 

They waited anxiously. Non-passengers were being 
cleared off the decks, steam was getting up, already one of 
the gangways had been pulled in, and still there was no sign 
of Umpleby. 

" Twenty eight minutes past," said Bernard glancing at 
his watch." 

Another minute sped by and preparations were being made 
to pull up the last gangway, when in an instant Umpleby 
leaped into view and literally hurled himself on deck. 

" You've cut it rather fine," said Hektor. 

" Sensible thing to do," said Umpleby, panting for breath. 
" Suppose you two . . . here this . . . hour or two. 
. . . Lay low till last minute. . . . That's the way to 
dodge spies." 

" No luck this time then," said Hektor. ' The lady in 
black came on board five minutes ago." 

" My God ! " said Umpleby. " And you two refused to 
believe me." 

" Never mind, old chap," said Bernard. " The question 
is, What's to be done now ? We ought to be able to give 
her the slip in Antwerp." 

" No use," said Hektor. " If she gets even an inkling 
what we're up to there she'll wire back, and there'll be cruisers 
patrolling the straits for a month to come. She's got to be 
convinced that we're up to nothing." 

" We'd better chuck her overboard when it's dark," said 
Umpleby, trying to make his funny little face look stern and 
relentless. 

" No good," said Hektor. " You bet they know exactly 
where she is and if she disappeared it would be just as good 
as a telegram declaring us dangerous." 

The boat was now standing out to sea, and the lady in 
black emerging on deck went to the railings and gazed back 
sentimentally at the land. She was just within earshot of 
the three Irishmen. 

" Isn't she like Milady in the Three Musketeers ? " 
whispered Bernard to Hektor. 

" A little too like for my taste," returned Hektor. 



GUNS 281 

" What on earth are we to do ? " whispered Umpleby. 
" Really the situation's desperate." 

" I've an idea," said Hektor. " Just leave me a moment 
to do a good think on it." 

They relapsed into silence and the little steamer throbbed 
its way over the water. . . . After about ten minutes of 
cogitation Hektor spoke : 

" We may take it that if we give Milady the faintest cause 
for suspicion, in' fact if we don't eradicate the suspicions we've 
roused already, Antwerp will be watched by British cruisers 
for months. That means that we must convince Milady of 
our innocence before this sea trip is over. And how are we 
to do that ? One of us has just got to go and make friends 
with her make love to her if necessary and tell her what 
good little boys we all are and how we're off for a summer 
spree over Belgium and Holland. Probably he'll also have 
to occupy her attention, if she stays in Antwerp, while the 
others do the work." 

" Excellent," said Umpleby. ' The question is, who's 
to be the man. . . . I'm afraid I'm not a very romantic 
figure, and I'm married anyway." 

" It's your plan, Hektor," said Bernard, " so you'd better 
carry it out." 

" I haven't the required artistic imagination," said Hektor. 
" Besides, you're the best looking." 

" No, thank you," said Bernard. " I'm not used to adven- 
turesses." 

" Don't be shy," said Umpleby. " If I had your advantages 
I'd do it like a shot. . . . Look at her profile." 

" Come on, Bernard," said Hektor. " It's up to you. 
What's the good of a handsome face if you won't put it to 
your country's service ? " 

" O, very well," assented Bernard with a grimace. " But 
I'm going below first for a bracer." 

It happened that Milady had decided on Bernard, the 
youngest and most guileless-looking of the party, as the one 
for her to pump, so, both parties being anxious for an excuse 
to meet, they were not long in making one. Bernard, having 
emerged from the saloon well primed with whiskey and soda, 
found his legs entangled by Milady's silk wrap which the 
rough breeze had torn from her shoulders. To restore it 



282 THE WASTED ISLAND 

was but common courtesy ; to remain, charmed by her 
beauty and the limpid sweetness of her voice, for a few 
moments conversation was to be expected ; the hint that she 
was tired and would like a seat quite naturally suggested 
deck-chairs for two in a sheltered spot. Friendship and even 
love, come quickly on the decks of liners, and it need occasion 
no surprise to find Bernard and Milady chatting together 
like old friends two hours out from Harwich. At first each 
was content merely to make a good impression and create 
confidence in the mind of the other. But after a time their 
ultimate purposes came into play. 

Looking at her, Bernard found it hard to believe that she 
could be a spy, for she was undeniably beautiful. She had 
golden hair, a clear ivory complexion faintly tinged with 
pink, and very red lips, which, on parting in a smile, revealed 
a set of teeth as nearly resembling pearls as Bernard had ever 
seen. But the most distinguished characteristic about her 
was the colour of her eyes : they were a rich brown. Bernard 
wondered for a moment where he had seen brown eyes with 
fair hair before. In a moment he remembered. . . . Mabel 
Harvey. But Mabel's hair was not of this metallic sheen, 
but of the commonplace fluffy kind. 

" I knew a girl just like you at home," declared Bernard 
romantically. " She had just your hair and eyes." 

" Had? " queried Milady. 

" She's nothing to me, any more," said Bernard ruefully. 
" She encouraged me and led me on, and then just threw 
me aside. . . . That's why I'm here. I'm travelling so 
as to forget." 

" I must say you don't seem to find forgetting very difficult. 
You always seemed quite cheerful whenever I looked at you." 

" I was very fortunate in meeting those two men you saw 
me with. . . . Mr. Umpleby, the small man with the 
moustache, is one of the wittiest people I've ever met. He 
has sometimes almost made me forget my sorrow." 

" Indeed. I should like to meet him." 

" So you shall, if I can manage it. Unfortunately he's 
extremely shy. One of the most unassuming and retiring 
men I ever saw. With his friends he's delightful, but he 
absolutely shrinks from strangers." 

" Really ? He doesn't look it." 



GUNS 283 

" No. But it's a fact. However, I'll introduce him to 
you if I get an opportunity. . . . You've no idea what a 
kind-hearted soul he is too. He was going to France by 
Southampton originally and had ordered himself a special 
carriage (on account of his shyness, you know) but when 
my friend Mr. O'Flaherty told him of my misfortune that 
evening he changed all his plans and came with us, just to 
cheer me up. . . . You see, poor O' Flaherty's a good fellow, 
but very dull. I don't know why I chose him as a fellow 
traveller, but it doesn't matter now that I've Umpleby. . . . 
and you," he added shyly, "... that is, if I may venture 
to hope for your continued friendship." 

" Is the fair what is her name ? forgotten so soon 
then ? " 

" Blanche ? Alas, why do you remind me of her ? " 

" Poor boy ! I'm sorry. . . . This Mr. Umpleby, 
won't you introduce him to me soon ? " 

" Yes. But not yet. Let me have you to myself awhile 
first. . . . Almost you make me . . . forget." 

" The other gentleman then, Mr. O'Flaherty I think 
you called him has been with you from the start ? Where 
did you meet Mr. Umpleby ? " 

" On the mail boat from Ireland." 

" Ah ! You are from Ireland ? There's a great deal of 
excitement going on over there now, isn't there ? " 

" Yes. My friend O'Flaherty is a great politician. He's 
one of these Nationalist Volunteers in fact. I caught his 
enthusiasm for a time myself, and even drilled once or twice. 
But I must confess politics interest me very little. I think 
it would be a wise thing to have a sort of Council in Dublin 
to decide purely local affairs too trifling to submit to West- 
minster, but we are really unfit for full Home Rule. My 
father, of course, is a strong Unionist and wouldn't even 
agree to a Council, but I think that's so unreasonable. . . . 
But perhaps I'm boring you. I must apologise for talking 
politics." 

" Thank heaven for the gift of the gab," said Bernard to 
himself. He had never found his tongue so fluent. On 
any subject that came up he talked gracefully and at great 
length, giving her no opportunity of getting in her sidelong 
tentative questions. He brought Milady tea on deck, 



284 THE WASTED ISLAND 

supplied her with cigarettes (the best Sullivans), and in the 
evening took her down to dinner on his arm. She ceased her 
probing and he ceased his inventions and they talked agree- 
ably about books and music and the pictures they intended to 
visit at Antwerp, where they hoped to meet again, and at 
Munich, whither Milady professed herself bound and where 
she longed, so she said, for Mr. Lascelles to follow her. 

The steamer still throbbed its way over the water, and in 
the evening they watched the moon rise, standing together 
looking over the stern. Bernard had almost come to believe 
as firmly in her innocence as Milady had in his, but he 
stuck to his pose. He became very romantic in the dusk 
and quoted Yeates' poem beginning : 

One that is ever kind said yesterday : 

Your well-beloved's hair has threads of grey. 

And when he came to those last despairing lines : 

O Heart, O Heart, if she'd but turn her head, 
You'd know the folly of being comforted 

Milady put a kindly hand on his arm and consoled him so 
gently for his loss that he felt quite ashamed of his deception. 

As midnight approached most of the passengers went below, 
and eventually they were alone on deck. And as they reached 
the mouth of the Scheldt and saw the lights of FlusTiing 
twinkling on the port bow Bernard and Milady bade one 
another a tender good-night and went to their respective 
cabins. Bernard gave Hektor a full report of his doings, 
and Hektor chuckled with amusement. 

" We've been consulting Baedeker's hotel list," said he. 
" Where's Milady going to put up ? " 

" Hotel de 1'Europe," said Bernard. 

" Then Umpleby and I will go to the Grand Laboureur 
on the Place de Meir. Where would you fancy for yourself ?" 

" An English hotel for me, if you please. My French 
was made in Ash bury : damn little and pronounced wrong." 

" Well, here's the thing for you." Turning over the 
pages of Baedeker he read out : " Hotel d'Angleterre. Quai 
Vandyck. Under English management . . . ' 



GUNS 285 

He broke off suddenly as Bernard, winking one eye hard, 
began to spout thus : 

" I tell you, my boy, she's perfect . . . adorable, Didn't 
you see her hair, her eyes ? . . . O Hektor, the self same 
hair and eyes. . . . My Blanche ! " 

" Cheer up, old chap," said Hektor gruffly, " she seemed 
to take to you all right." 

" Do you think so ? Really ? Ah, no ... f 

" Get into bed anyhow, I'm sleepy," said Hektor. 

A few seconds later Bernard cautiously opening the door 
peered out and saw a black figure retreating down the passage. 

" Milady," he said to Hektor. " I heard a slight rustle 
at the door that time I started spouting. . . . We've no 
doubt of her now, I'm afraid." 

" Well," said Hektor, "go on as you've begun. May you 
have a pleasant time at Antwerp." 



Next morning Bernard insisted on escorting Milady to 
her hotel. 

" But your friends ? " she said. 

" I have no other friends when you are near," said Bernard. 

She invited him to breakfast with her. The Hotel de 
1'Europe is run on English lines, so Bernard, whose hatred 
of England did not extend to the national dish, feasted full 
on bacon and eggs paid for by British secret service money. 
After the meal he excused himself, saying that he really 
must go to see his friends, and at the same time expressing 
a timid hope that he might meet her again in the afternoon. 
She graciously granted his request and asked where he and 
his friends were staying. 

" The Rose d'Or," he told her and, anticipating inquiries, 
went there straightway and booked and paid for three rooms 
on his way over to the Grand Laboureur. 

Hektor and Umpleby were arranging their line of action. 
Hektor was to purchase the guns and was already compiling 
a list of gunsmiths from a big directory, while Umpleby was 
to see about hiring some craft suitable for conveying the 
cargo to the rendezvous, and was ready to set out. Bernard 
was told to go and keep Milady quiet, so he left at once and 



286 THE WASTED ISLAND 

repaired to his own hotel to wait for the afternoon. Not 
having anticipated the nature of his share in the expedition 
he was poorly provided for gallantry in the matter of clothes, 
so on his way home he went to a tailor and ordered a fashion- 
able suit of clothes to be made for him at once. Then he 
went to a barber and a florist, and, adorned by these minis- 
ters of beauty, after a light lunch at the Angleterre, he went 
to pay his respects to Milady. 

She suggested a quiet afternoon's sight-seeing, so they went 
out into the glowing sunshine of the Place Verte. Milady 
was no longer in black. She wore a delicious- looking white 
summer frock and carried a dainty parasol. Bernard began 
almost to fall genuinely a victim to her charms. What a 
pity, he thought, that such a beautiful creature should have 
to earn her living in so base a way. They duly admired the 
statue of Rubens in the centre of the Place and then turned 
to regard the magnificent facade of the Cathedral, whose 
south transept rose above them. They entered and inspected 
the interior of the building, and Bernard pondered long over 
Ruben's great picture, ' The Descent from the Cross.' and, 
scarcely inferior to it, his ' Elevation of the Cross.' 

" I wonder why all these great painters love to put dogs 
in their pictures," said Milady, and Bernard's mind travelled 
back to the Ghirlandaio and Perugino chromolithographs 
at Ashbury before which he had so often asked himself the 
same question. Through the majestic nave and aisles of 
the Cathedral they wandered for nearly an hour, and then 
went out again to the Place. They strolled about the busy 
streets, rested for a while at a cafe, visited some shops, and 
altogether spent a very pleasant afternoon. 

" How well their streets are named," thought Bernard. 
" Avenue des Arts, Avenue Rubens, Rue Van Dyck." He 
compared them with the Dublin streets, all called after 
departed Lords Lieutenant. " When independence comes 
we must change all that. . . . Wolfe Tone Street. . . . 
Srdid Eoghain Ruaidh O'Neill . . . Yes. The Irish way 
sounds better. . . . Srdid Seumuis Fiontdin Ldlor. . . . 
Rue Jean Jacques Rousseau." 

" Penny for your thoughts ? " said Milady. 

" I'm feeling hungry," said Bernard. " Where shall we 
dine ? " 



GUNS 287 

Milady suggested the Restaurant Bertrand, and thither they 
went. Then, having wound up the evening at a music hall, 
Bernard saw her to her hotel, and parted from her after 
arranging to visit the picture galleries the following day. 

" Does she still suspect us ? That's the question," said 
Bernard to himself. " If she doesn't she wouldn't go on 
gadding about with me. On the other hand, if she does 
she wouldn't let me keep her off the track so easily. . . . 
Perhaps she thinks I'm just an innocent red-herring dragged 
after the others. She certainly did keep coming back to their 
whereabouts very frequently. . . . Wonder did my jeal- 
ousy stunt work ? . . . I'll have to convince her of the 
innocence of the others. There's nothing else for it. They'll 
have to meet her. . . . I'll go straight over and see them 
now, stop though. Home first. She might be following 
me." 

He made for the Rose d'Or, and after spending half an hour 
in one , of the rooms there slipped out by a tradesmen's 
entrance, thus escaping the observation of Milady, who, 
true to his surmise, had followed him all the way. 

Hektor was much perturbed by Bernard's suggestion. 

" We haven't the time," he said. " We drew blank 
to-day. I visited five gunsmiths and they were all too 
inquisitive to deal with. Umpleby's story is the same." 

" All the gunsmiths in the world won't help us if Milady 
gets suspicious." 

" Quite true," said Umpleby. " Lascelles is right. We'd 
better see her." 

" I believe you're smitten," said Hektor. 

" Now, boys, this is serious," said Bernard. " When you 
meet her remember to keep up your characters. Umpleby 
you're as shy as a schoolgirl with a witty sparkle about once 
an hour, and you Hektor are the dullest bore in Europe. 
. . . You'll hear from me to-morrow. Good night." 

Next day, after a couple of hours spent with Van Dyck, 
Teniers, Memling, Holbein, Rubens and other masters, 
enough altogether to stagger the mind, Milady asked the 
usual question. 

" I'm sure they'll be delighted at the honour," replied 
Bernard, and they made arrangements for meeting which he 
communicated that night to his friends. 



288 THE WASTED ISLAND 

The three presented themselves at her hotel next afternoon 
and they then drove off to the Zoological Gardens, where 
they strolled about and had tea. Milady afterwards pro- 
fessed herself charmed by 'that dull droll Mr. O'Flaherty,' 
but was thoroughly bored by poor Umpleby's stories. 
Hektor had acted his part to perfection, but Umpleby in his 
vanity had cast away all pretence at shyness at a very early 
stage and striven to exhibit his wit. 

" My poor Bernard," said Milady, " is that your taste in 
humour ? The man is far duller than Mr. O'Flaherty, 
and unfortunately does not know it." 

" He has been very kind to me," said Bernard. 

" So I mustn't abuse him, eh ? " said Milady. " Very 
well. But don't bring him near me again." 

" He'll be disappointed . . . distracted." 

" No matter. I could not endure him." 

" Your wishes shall be obeyed, Madam," said Bernard, 
much relieved. 

Milady's suspicions were now almost dispelled, but she 
was enjoying herself so much at her employers' expense 
that she decided to remain in Antwerp a little longer. More- 
over she had taken rather a fancy to Bernard and wanted to 
see a little more of him, so for the next few days the two of 
them went about together, flirting, picnicing, and sight- 
seeing. 

On the eighth day of their stay Hektor at length announced 
that he had found a suitable gunsmith, one who was ready 
to give them two thousand rifles and fifty thousand rounds of 
ammunition for their money, and who asked no questions. 
Umpleby however had not yet found a boatman, and the 
two were going to continue the search next day. So 
Bernard continued his round of pleasure with Milady 
and on the evening of the twelfth of July came again to 
inquire after his friends' progress. 

" I wish to heaven you'd hurry up," he said. " My 
virtue won't stand the strain of perpetual temptation, you 
know." 

" It's in your country's cause," said Hektor. " However 
it's all right now. We've found our man, a sturdy Fleming 
called Klapdorp. He was a bit inquisitive the Belgians 
are the most inquisitive people I've ever struck so we told 



GUNS 289 

him we were running the guns into Mexico for Villa. That 
satisfied him." 

' Two days to wait now," said Umpleby. 
" I say," said Hektor. " You'd best arrange an all- 
night entertainment for Milady to-morrow. We'll be 
loading up then." 



So to make quite sure that his friends should have a free hand 
in the most arduous portion of their task Bernard took Milady 
to a great public dance that night. It was a summer dance, 
and took place in a great hall that opened into wonderful 
spacious gardens where the dancers could wander to refresh 
themselves during the intervals. Bernard enjoyed the whole 
thing tremendously. Always full of the zest for life, now the 
importance of the moment and the anticipation of a rush of 
events to come increased the natural excitement due to music, 
crowds and festivity. He and Milady were quite the gayest 
of the gay throng. 

He called for her at half-past six and they went to the 
Queen's Hotel to dine. Milady looked adorable and 
Bernard's admiration for her was immense. His emotions 
were really beginning to be stirred and he was not a 
little proud to have so brilliant a companion to show off. 
Mrs. Gunby Rourke at a neighbouring table saw the sparkle 
in his eye and whispered something to her husband. 

" An adventuress, I suppose," replied the latter. " Young 
fool." 

" Mischief thou art afoot," thought Bernard as he noticed 
her presence and returned her distant bow. " Lord, this'll 
be all over Dublin when she gets home. What'll my mother 
say ? " 

They walked in the delicious evening air to the dance hall, 
and arriving early had some good dances before the floor 
filled up. 

" I'm glad we had these dances," said Milady. " We 
can sit out when the crush comes. . . . You dance 
beautifully." 

She danced like a leaf herself and Bernard was intoxicated 
with the charm of her. She thought he was hers as they 



290 THE WASTED ISLAND 

stood in the garden later, and remembering her almost for- 
gotten duty she laid a hand on his shoulder and putting her 
face close to his said : 

" You may as well admit it. You're here to plot with 
Germany, aren't you ? " 

But she was premature, and she had hit the wrong nail. 
Had she mentioned guns Bernard might have given himself 
away, but she was sure that his mission, if mission he had, 
was something bigger than that. 

" Germany ! Me ! " said Bernard with well feigned 
astonishment. 

" I believe you," she cried, and kissed him suddenly. He 
returned the embrace with ardour and said, with all the 
reproachfulness he could muster : 

" Felice, you should never have doubted me." 

" Forgive me," she pleaded, and he did so magnanimously. 

The band was playing the familiar, sensuous strains of 
Offenbach's Barcarolle. They retired to a secluded nook in 
the garden and surrendered themselves to the enjoyment of 
each other's society. Milady stretched out her legs in front 
of her and looked admiringly at her graceful feet and ankles, 
Bernard was tempted to quoth a favourite triolet of O'Dwyer's : 

" Why are ladies ashamed 

To show us their ankles ? 
I have often exclaimed 
' Why are ladies ashamed ? ' 
When I looked I was blamed 

And the memory rankles. 
Why are ladies ashamed 

To show us their ankles ? " 

" We aren't nowadays, anyway," laughed Milady. " Did 
you write that ? " 

" No. It's by a friend of mine." 

*' I'd give anything to be able to write poetry," said Milady. 

" So would I. Anything . . . with one exception." 

" What's that ? " 

" You," said Bernard. 

" Fickle boy !" said Milady. " And what of Blanche ? " 

" She is nothing to me . . . she is forgotten . . . she 
never was." 

And all night long while these gallantries were in progress 



GUNS 291 

Hektor and Umpleby were assisting Klapdorp and his men 
to load the tug Van Dyck from the quays of the Scheldt. 

" Artistic nation this," observed Hektor during a resting 
space. " This is the Quai Tenters, and the tug's called the 
Vandyke. . . . Better than Ormond Quay and the Mary 
Ann, eh ? " 

They were in bed by four o'clock, but it was five before 
Bernard left Milady at the Hotel de 1'Europe. 



Later in the morning the tug stood with steam up at the 
quay side. Hektor and ( Umpleby were already on board, 
and at the stroke of eight Bernard, white-faced and weary, 
alighted from a taxi at the head of the gangway. 

" Gee, you've been making a night of it," said Hektor. 
" You're a regular wash-out." 

" My first need is something to eat," said Bernard. " I 
hadn't time for breakfast." 

*As the Van Dyck's screw began to churn up the waters of 
the Scheldt they took him below and rummaged out a meal 
of ham, bread, cheese, and bottled beer. While Bernard 
made hungry inroads into these he told them about the night's 
adventures, and how before leaving he had left three letters 
with the Commissionaire at his hotel to be posted on three 
successive days. In the first he begged to be excused from 
meeting Milady that day owing to a headache resulting from 
the dance ; in the second he pleaded continued indisposition 
but promised to call on her next day ; the third letter ran 
thus : 

/ die for love of Blanche. No flowers by request. 

" I'd like to see her face when she reads that," said Umpleby 
gleefully. 

" I wouldn't," said Bernard. " I was beginning to like 
her." 

Down the busy commerce-filled Scheldt they sped, out 
from the narrow river into the broad estuary. They passed 
Walsoorden at half-past nine and Terneuzen an hour later. 
By twelve they had left Flushing behind and were speeding 



292 THE WASTED ISLAND 

to the rendezvous, a spot five miles out from the Zeeland 
coast. Before they reached it they could see two widely 
separated craft converging towards them." 

" Those are our men," said Hektor confidently. 

As they watched eagerly the foremost yacht swiftly bore 
down on them. Nearer she came and nearer, and they could 
distinguish the figures on her deck. 

" Is it dese are your Mexican friends ? " inquired Klapdorp 
of Hektor. 

" Oh, wee," said Hektor. " At least, je pense ainsi." 

Someone standing in the bows of the yacht shouted some- 
thing unintelligible through a megaphone, but in a few 
minutes more the screws of the Vandyck were reversed, 
bringing her to, and the yacht came near enough for them to 
see that the man with the megaphone was Angus O'Connor. 

" Connis thah thu ? " came Angus's cultured voice across 
the water. "Are you the tug with the guns for Ahreland?" 

" Qu'est-ce qu'ildit?" asked Klapdorp suspiciously, turning 
to Umpleby. 

" We're done," thought Bernard, but O'Connor's accent 
would have baffled people more skilled in English than the 
little Belgian skipper. 

" Je ne saispas," said Umpleby blandly. " Ilparle Mexican 
peut-etre." Then he shouted over to O'Connor : " Dun do 
bheal, dtuigeann tin. Td tU amaddn" 

O'Connor grinned and called back : 

" Dhia smirrah guth." 

" Vous paries done Mexican ? " asked Klapdorp of 
Umpleby. 

" Un peu," said Umpleby. 

The Spindrift now hove to about ten cables off, and the 
Cormorant which had come up in the meantime did the same. 
The transhipping of the cargo began at once, and was carried 
out by means of a large boat carried by the Van Dyck, assisted 
in a small way by the yachts' dinghies. It was difficult and 
dangerous work, for there was a swell on, and the ammuni- 
tion cases in particular were extremely heavy and awkward 
to handle, but by good luck it was accomplished without 
mishap. Bernard went on board the Spindrift with the 
first boatload and drawing O'Connor aside told him about 
the Mexican fiction. O'Connor was delighted and there- 



GUNS 293 

upon set about giving the thing verisimilitude by shouting 
a fervent ' Caramba ! ' at every hitch in the lading. 

The Spindrift, which was the smaller of the two yachts, 
received half the rifles and twenty thousand rounds of am- 
munition, and as soon as she was loaded sailed off amid a salvo 
of cheers. The Cormorant was then loaded up in her turn, 
and Bernard bid good-bye to his companions on the deck of 
the Vandyck. 

" I'll have Umpleby all to myself now," said Hektor rue- 
fully. " He's just removing the twenty-first bracket from the 
fiftieth sentence in his sixtieth story. . . . Well ... see 
you at Howth." 

Bernard dropped into the dinghy and was carried over to 
the Cormorant. The Van Dyck immediately got up steam 
and pointed back for Antwerp. The Spindrift could be seen 
as a speck on the horizon. 



They were twelve days at sea, and it was a most uncomfort- 
able time. Being heavily laden their progress was necessarily 
slow, and in any case they dared not rouse suspicion by appear- 
ing off the Irish coast too soon. The fifteen cases of ammuni- 
tion were stacked round the deck, and, in order to ensure 
speed in unloading at Howth, when every second might be 
of importance, the rifles were unpacked and laid in rows on 
the floor of the cabin to a depth of four feet. It was therefore 
impossible to stand up in the cabin, so meals were a succes- 
sion of scrappy picnics held in odd corners and sleep was a 
process of little comfort. However, for .all this, everyone 
was very cheery and full of a spirit of adventure, an unfamiliar 
feeling in those civilised days, when Europe had been at 
peace for years and danger and strife had been banished to 
distant parts of the earth. Not caring to trust a crew of paid 
hands Calverley had enlisted the help of a few personal 
friends who were excellent company. There was his own 
brother Frank, a youthful irresponsible replica of himself : 
and Morgan, a very sentimental English Home Ruler, a 
good sort but destitute of tact, who was always talking of his 
sympathy for ' poor Ireland ' ; and McCarthy, a cheery 
young London Irishman, who talked a good deal and played 



294 THE WASTED ISLAND 

a concertina. Calverley himself was as good a host as 
he was a sailor and was the life and soul of the party. 

On the second day of the cruise as they sailed slowly up 
the English Channel, the weather being fine and the sea 
calm, they were all basking on deck, except Frank Calverley 
who was at the helm, while McCarthy played snatches on 
his concertina. Suddenly the latter said ; 

" Give us a song, Morgan. I'll accompany you." 
Morgan, who had a fair baritone voice, was quite ready to 
oblige, and with the best intentions in the world . meaning 
only to compliment, sang the following song : 

" ' Don't be ashamed you're Irish '; 

Said a mother to her son. 
' Wherever you roam, over the foam, 

Or under the tropic sun. 
Be true to the land of the Shamrock 

Whatever the world may say, 

And come back to Erin where the grass grows green 
Next St. Patrick's Day.' " 

It was a terrible ordeal to endure, and it was a trying 
business to frame suitable words of applause. Calverley 
looked his sympathy at Bernard and tried to start a conversa^ 
tion that might prevent a resumption of Morgan's vocal 
activity. But to no purpose. The dense young man insisted 
on singing again and this time produced, to the air of The 
Wearing of the Green, one of those monstrous ' loyal ' parodies 
of rebel songs composed by some well-meaning fool of an 
Englishman like himself. It was called The Red Entwined 
with Green. 

Bernard was seething with disgust and irritation. He lay 
back on deck with his eyes shut and longed for the genius 
of O'Dwyer to inspire him with retaliatory measures. . . . 
A line, born of pure rage, suddenly formed itself in his brain. 
He twisted and turned it and strove to match it as he lay 
there oblivious to Morgan's drone. Fresh ideas occurred 
to him. As he wrought the lines into shape an odd jingle 
of a tune he had heard somewhere fitted them to its tempo 
and almost before he was aware of it he had composed two 
short stanzas. He repeated them over to make sure of them 
and then sat up, 
" Anyone else got a song ? " asked McCarthy. 



GUNS 295 

" I picked up a little thing the other day," said Bernard 
modestly, and on being pressed to sing it trolled out his new- 
born ditty. " It's called Please Keep Off the Grass," he 
explained, and began : 

" You may slander, abuse us, and hate us ; 

You may curse and anathematize us ; 

You may plunder and exterminate us ; 

But, Englishman, don't patronise us. 

Some day we'll forgive the Invasion 
And the icst of our sorrows and wrongs 

(If Freedom should grant the occasion), 
But not if you edit our songs." 

Morgan smiled fatuously but failed to see the point, but 
Bernard's feelings had been relieved by composition and that 
was all he wanted. He could see Calverley's eyes twinkling 
with amusement. 

That afternoon they reached Spithead, and passed right 
through the historic review of the British Fleet. As they 
gazed upon line after line of those magnificent ships Calverley 
jestingly said to Bernard : 

" Don't you wish you were an Englishman ? " 

" All this makes our little cargo sing very small, doesn't 
it ? " said Bernard. " I can't believe we'll ever be free." 

" I confidently hope that your freedom is very near," said 
Calverley. " Perseverance does it." 

The following day they passed by a fleet of trawlers which 
was being held up and searched by a British cruiser. The 
yacht passed by all unsuspected. 

" By gad ! " exclaimed Bernard. " Umpleby must have 
blithered. Just like him. It's well we spun him that yarn. 
Luck seems to be with us for once." 

" What did he say when he saw the yachts ? " asked 
Calverley. 

" Nothing," said Bernard. 

" That was wise of him. It was all he could say, of course. 
He'd be too vain to ask an explanation." 

" His face spoke volumes," said Bernard. 

Hitherto the weather had been fine, but on the afternoon 
of the fifth day, forty miles south of the Lizard, a darkening 
of the surface of the sea and a cold nip in the breeze pro- 



296 THE WASTED ISLAND 

phesied a change, and in a few hours the storm broke. The 
next two days were one long thundering drenching confusion. 
Short-handed as they were there was little time for anyone to 
rest, and Bernard seemed to be working perpetually in a 
ceaseless me!6e with wind and lashing spray. The Cormorant 
was a yawl and she rode out the storm safely on reefed mizzen 
and trysail. Calverley himself never left the helm for more 
than a few moments at a time. Bernard marvelled at 
the man's skill and endurance, and wondered- &ow O'Connor 
without half his ability would weather the storm. On the 
second day, when the tempest was at its height a fresh danger 
manifested itself. Some of the ammunition cases began to 
work loose from their fastenings, and two of them becoming 
detached, began to slide and roll about the deck. It was an 
anxious moment. All hands immediately hurried up to 
prevent disaster, and with much difficulty, and not without 
many falls and bruises, succeeded in recapturing the cases, 
and, to lighten the labouring yawl, cast them overboard. 
'Four thousand rounds gone west,' muttered Bernard. Then 
fresh fastenings were applied to the surviving cases, and the 
yawl began to ride across the waves more buoyantly. 

Next day the storm had somewhat abated, but it was still 
blowing hard. They had been carried far out of their course 
and were now driving in a south-westerly direction out to 
the Atlantic. The weather-worn Cormorant accordingly 
went about and began to beat up northward almost in the 
teeth of the gale : a long and bitter struggle. Yet another 
anxious night was spent, but in the morning the sun came out 
and the breeze had considerably moderated its violence. 
They were able to heave to off the Scilly Isles in the after- 
noon and discuss the position. The principal danger now 
was from British cruisers, for, though they knew it not, the 
Irish sea was at the moment being actively searched and all 
trawlers were being held up and boarded. Four days had 
still to pass before the Cormorant was expected at Howth, and 
they spent three of them loitering about the lee side of the 
Isles as if for pleasure. 

Meanwhile those at home were rendered very anxious 
by the arrival of His Majesty's Cruiser Forward, which about 
this time took up her station just outside Dublin Bay and so 
right in the track of the white yacht for which they were 



GUNS 297 

eagerly watching. A rumour was accordingly spread amongst 
the numerous people in Dublin whose indiscretion could be 
relied on that gun-running on a large scale was to be indulged 
in on the coast of Wicklow. The result was that on the 
twenty-fourth of July the Forward weighed anchor and 
steamed south leaving the way clear for the Cormorant. 

Running before a stiff breeze the White Yacht scudded 
northward all through the night of Saturday the twenty- 
fifth, and in t&ehfrlorning set her course north-west, heading 
straight for Howth. At breakfast time, the Dublin Moun- 
tains rose from the sea. An hour later they sighted Howth, 
and as the hot July sun mounted to the meridian they passed 
obliquely across the mouth of Dublin bay, all glittering in 
his rays, rounded the Bailey, and came in full view of Howth 
Harbour and Ireland's Eye. As these dear familiar features, 
so reminiscent of childish days, slipped into Bernard's view 
under such dramatic circumstances and after such strange 
adventures, something seemed to clutch at his heart and he 
was suddenly filled with a wild impatience to leap ashore 
and embrace the earth. 

Nearer and nearer they sailed. They reached the harbour 
mouth, and Bernard, straining his eyes, could see the heads 
of a marching column of men above the sea wall. At quarter 
to one exactly the yacht crossed the bar, and at the same 
moment the column of Volunteers, one thousand strong, 
came down the East Pier at the double. The yacht was 
immediately brought alongside and the unloading began. 
At first the sight of the cargo so astonished the Volunteers 
that they broke all discipline in their eageiness. But only 
for a moment. Hektor, Stephen, and the other officers 
soon restored order. The men were formed up in two lines 
and the rifles were passed along from hand to hand) while a 
number of motors came up and whirled off with the ammuni- 
tion. Within forty minutes the work of unloading was 
complete and Bernard stepping ashore was greeted by Hektor 
and Stephen. 

One of Bernard's first enquiries was for the Spindrift, 
and he was told that O'Connor had sent home word that he 
had been compelled by the storm to seek refuge in a Welsh 
harbour and would be in Ireland next week. 

Meanwhile the alarm had been given and the first sign of 



298 THE WASTED ISLAND 

opposition from the forces of the crown was the arrival along- 
side the yacht of a boat containing three or four coastguards. 
They were easily disposed of. A firing party of half a dozen 
men pointed empty rifles at them and they beat a hasty 
retreat. At the same time a few police tried to force an 
entrance to the pier, but were repelled by a rear guard, armed 
with oak cudgells, who had been drawn across the end of it. 
The most persistent enemy was the old Harbour Master 
who came up clamouring for his dues but Md to go empty 
away. 

Preparations were now being made for departure, and a 
small guard was told off to remain behind and secure that 
the Cormorant's retreat should be unmolested. Bernard 
returned on board to bid farewell to Calverley and then 
stepped ashore to rejoin Hektor and Stephen. 

" I suppose I'd better go and join my company," he said 
as the commanding officer ordered the ' Fall in.' " Come 
to my digs to-night, you two." 

He went at once and reported to his Captain, the pre- 
posterous Brohoon, an untidy little man with a brown beard 
and a general air of self-satisfaction, but a welcome and 
homely figure to the wanderer from Antwerp and the high 
seas. Commands rang out : 

" Battalion . . . Shun ! Slope . . . Arms ! Move 
to the left in fours. . . . Form fours ! . . . Left ! By 
the left . . . quick . . . march ! " 

An Irish army was marching on Dublin. 



It was an historic moment ; the beginning of a new act 
in the national drama. So Bernard thought as, rifle on 
shoulder, he marched by Brohoon's side at the head of the 
column. (It happened that theirs was the leading company.) 
The weapon he carried was a long heavy wide-bore Mauser 
of an old-fashioned type but strong and serviceable. His 
spirits were high and he was fit and well after the sea voyage. 
It was rather restful, contrasted with all he had been through, 
to listen to Brohoon jabbering small talk. It appeared that 
the Redmondite nominees had been behaving very badly 
on the executive, obstructing at the meetings, and preventing 



GUNS 299 

progress, and evidently trying hard to break up the move- 
ment. This coup would come as a shock to them, Brohoon 
said, and added : 

" See if they don't try to get a holt of the guru for their 
own crowd." 

Meanwhile Bernard was wondering what lay ahead of 
them. If the Government could collect their forces in time 
they could easily hold the narrow neck of land joining Howth 
to the mainland against the Volunteers. On the other hand 
if the Volunteers could once pass the isthmus they had a 
choice of many roads, and could if necessary break up into 
small bands and so defy interception. The whole success 
of the expedition depended therefore on reaching Raheny 
at the far end of the isthmus in time, and the weary column 
of men pressed forward at their best pace in that direction. 

" Can we do it ? " was the anxious query in every heart. 

For a breathless moment it looked as if they had failed. 
A handful of constabulary armed with rifles awaited them 
just outside Raheny, but, deeming it prudent not to interfere 
with so large a force, opposed no obstacle to their advance. 
Raheny was reached at last and a much needed halt was 
called, the exhausted Volunteers lying down by the roadside 
at once. Their weariness was understandable. They had 
been mobolised at ten that morning and had already marched 
fifteen miles without refreshment, burdened during the last 
five with their exceptionally heavy rifles. And the column 
was made up of very uneven material. Many of the men 
were sturdy labourers, but many were in sedentary employ- 
ment and so in bad physical condition. Many were poor 
and their footwear was unsound. Many were oldish men, 
many mere boys ; none had imagined when starting that 
they were out for anything more serious than a route-march. 
Moreover the day was hot, and to add to their discomfort 
they had encountered a shower of rain just after leaving 
Howth. 

While they rested one of the advance cycle scouts rode 
back with the report that a military force had marched out 
to Clontarf, a mile and a half away, and seemed ready to 
dispute the passage. At once the order to fall in was given 
and, groaning and cursing, the dusty and footsore men 
tumbled into their ranks and resumed their march. Bernard 



300 THE WASTED ISLAND 

wondered whether the leaders intended to fight their passage 
but the truth was that the men were so tired that the staff 
had decided that it would be useless to attempt any manoeuvres 
and were relying on bluff and good fortune to carry them 
through. The prospect of a possible conflict made Bernard 
ask himself what his sensations were. Was he exhilarated 
or afraid ? He was surprised to find that he was neither, 
and wondered over his coolness. As a matter of fact his 
attitude was the same as that which dominated the whole of 
Europe prior to the outbreak of the great War. He was so 
used to civilisation, with its smoothness and peacefulness, 
that he did not really believe that violence was possible in 
this quietest of all possible worlds. His whole habit of 
mind led him to believe that, by what chance or miracle 
mattered not, at the last moment things would straighten 
themselves out and all would be well. 

Painfully, patiently, the leaden-footed men plodded on- 
wards. Bernard could hear Brohoon muttering things about 
' the bloody redcoats ' absurd melodramatic phrase- under 
his breath. Stray complaints and curses could be heard 
breaking from parched lips in the ranks. Heavier and 
heavier grew his rifle. Sweat trickled down his face. . . . 
Then, rounding a bend, he saw the line of soldiers drawn 
right across the road a hundred yards in front of him. . . 

" Right wheel ! " came an order from the rear, and the 
column turned into a byway that led to the Malahide Road, 
parallel with that on which they were marching. It was 
evident that the Volunteer leaders wished to avoid a conflict, 
but the military had other intentions. Doubling back along 
the tram road they reformed their line at the foot of the 
Malahide Road. The police were drawn up on the side- 
walk in front of them. The Volunteers marched straight 
on and halted within a short distance of the flashing bayonets. 
After a tense moment of expectation the Volunteer staff, 
amongst whom Bernard could see Umpleby looking immen- 
sely important and pleased with himself, went forward to 
negotiate with the officers of the Crown. There were a 
few moments of argument and then an order rang out. The 
police drawing their batons, began to advance on the Volun- 
teers. Some seemed to be hanging back, but the great 
majority after a moment's hesitation came on with a rush. 



GUNS 301 

Brohoon gave a shout. Bernard gripped his rifle and 
swung it club wise over his head. The foremost Volunteers 
lined up to meet the shock, and the next few minutes were a 
confused melee. A few stray revolver shots were fired and 
there was the sound of blows and the clatter of baton on rifle. 
Police and Volunteers became inextricably mixed up, and 
Bernard found his heavy rifle a crushing though rather 
unmanageable weapon. The dense mass of Volunteers in 
rear, pressing forward, drove the comparatively few com- 
batants down towards the line of bayonets. Brohoon, 
who at the outset had been stupefied by what was happening, 
now lost his head completely and rushed about raging hyster- 
ically and shouting abuse at the soldiers. One of these, 
getting irritated, made a pass at him with his bayonet and 
wounded him slightly, and about the same moment the 
police withdrew from the fray. 

" It's all up boys. Give up the guns ! " cried Brohoon, 
and collapsed into Bernard's arms. Bernard lowered him 
to the ground and opened his shirt, but found nothing but 
a rather deep scratch. Dropping Brohoon's head with a 
good bump on the road he went to the help of other sufferers, 
who now that the scrimmage was over were sitting or standing 
about bandaging their hurts with the help of the first-aid 
sections. Fortunately there were no serious cases. 

Matters now seemed to have reached a deadlock, but the 
situation was saved by Umpleby. Approaching the Com- 
missioner of Police he imperiously demanded that he should 
withdraw his forces. 

" Not till you hand over those rifles," replied the Com- 
missioner stoutly. 

" Now, look here," said Umpleby. " Let's thrash this 
matter right out from the beginning. . Diarmuid and 
Devorgilla . . . 

" Diarmid and what's-her-name be damned ! I want 
those rifles." 

" All in good time," replied Umpleby suavely. " Mean- 
while we must thrash out the rights and wrongs of the affair 
from beginning to end. Diarmuid and Devorgilla, 
I say . . . ' 



302 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" Look here. I've no time for any nonsense of this sort," 
said the officer angrily. 

" I insist on your hearing me," answered Umpleby. 
" Nothing can be done satisfactorily without a clear know- 
ledge of the facts and theories governing the case. Diarmuid 
and Devorgilla, I repeat, by their lax morality [not that I 
am a puritan by any means, [though indeed I have a sincere 
respect for puritanism in moderation (for instance I approve 
of Rabelais though I cannot say the same for Ghosts) but I 
disapprove of open adultery (especially when attended by dis- 
astrous sequels as in the case of Helen of Troy and this same 
Devorgilla)] Diarmuid and Devorgilla, I resume, are at the 
root of this whole affair. Henry the Second's claim to 
Ireland, resting as it did upon the immorality of the said 
Diarmuid and Devorgilla . . . 

* The Commissioner of Police tilted his cap over his eyes 
and scratched the back of his head. He was stupefied by 
the torrent of Umpleby's language. 

" Just a minute," he began feebly, but Umpleby put up 
his hand. 

" Allow me," he said. " If you interrupt I shall have to 
begin all over again." 

This prospect so alarmed the unfortunate policeman that 
he held his peace. 

" Diarmuid and Devorgilla," resumed Umpleby, but 
we shall leave him to his task of holding the enemy's attention 
and return to the Volunteers. 

As soon as it was observed that the Commissioner of 
Police was completely occupied with Umpleby the Volunteer 
officers ordered their men to disperse. Abandoning their 
formation accordingly the latter began to leave the road 
and make their way across fields and private demesnes in 
the direction of the city, so that when, during a pause in 
Umpleby's eloquence, the Commissioner of Police looked 
up he found that the strategical and moral questions in- 
volved had been settled by the disappearance of his opponents 
from the field of operations. He turned angrily on Umpleby 
and said : 

" Well I think, Mr. Umpleby, you've played me a very 
dirty trick." 



GUNS 303 

" Not half so dirty as the trick Diarmuid played on 
O'Ruarc," retorted Umpleby. 

The Battle of Clontarf was over. An hour later the solemn 
Swathythe admitted a dusty tattered master to the trim flat 
in Harcourt Street. 



8 

" That's an excellent soufflee, Swathythe/' said Bernard. 

" Yes, sir," said Swathythe. 

" You might run out and buy me that stop-press they're 
calling, Swathythe. It'll contain an account of my exploits." 

" Yes, sir," said Swathythe and silently evaporated. 

Bernard reflected what an excellent servant Swathythe was. 
Here was he, Bernard, obscure and not very rich, after 
journeying a thousand miles, perfumed and dinner-jacketed, 
eating the very soufflee he had ordered a month ago . . . 
without doubt an excellent soufflee. How imperturbable 
Swathythe was. He had made no comment whatever on 
his master's strange return but had respectfully relieved him 
of the battered rifle as if it had been a walking- stick, placed 
it in the umbrella stand, and said : ' Dinner will be ready 
in half-an-hour, sir/ just as if Bernard had been out for a 
short stroll. And the dinner had been perfect : the soufflee 
was not alone in its excellence. . . . Luxuriously he 
revelled in the pleasure of being home again. 

Swathythe returned and served coffee and the paper, 
lighted Bernard's cigar, and vanished. Bernard opened the 
paper and in an instant had read the terrible news of Bachelor's 
Walk : how the soldiers from Clon^arf on their return to 
Dublin had been jeered and taunted by the crowd, and had 
finally turned and fired a volley that killed four and wounded 
forty people . . . 

And then he came upon a letter to the editor, in which 
Mr. Cyril Umpleby, bubbling with modesty, and slashed with 
parentheses, told how ' ably assisted by Messrs. O' Flaherty 
and Lascelles/ he had conducted the Howth gun-running. 

" The impudent little beast," said Bernard to himself. 
Then he turned to Swathythe who had come in to clear the 
table. 



304 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" Would you remove an enemy from my path, Swa- 
thythe ? " he asked. 

" In what way, sir ? " 

" O, by the dagger or by poison. I care not." 

" No, sir," said Swathythe without a smile. 

' Then you aren't quite such a perfect servant as I thought, 
Swathythe. . . . However, that soufflee was excellent." 



CHAPTER XIII 
WAR 



THEN began that slaughter of the world's sons which is called 
the Great European War. It was a commonplace at the 
time, but none the less true, to call it a war without parallel. 
Never before had the horrors and sufferings of war been so 
tremendous ; never before had they been faced with such 
daring and self-sacrifice. Never before had common men 
gone to war with nobler purpose in their hearts : never 
before had politicians and journalists lied so meanly and so 
detestably. Never before had financiers so callously raked 
in their blood-bought gains ; never before had those gains 
been so stupendous. On the plains of Flanders and Northern 
France, among the wilds of the Carpathian Mountains, and 
in the marshes of the Russo-German border the common 
men of Europe slaughtered each other at the bidding of their 
masters and died gloriously for a lie. 

For this orgy of destruction the nations organized them- 
selves as they had never organized for any good or useful 
purpose. Personal liberty, a delicate regard for which had been 
so prominent in all opposition to mere Social reform, was cast 
aside, held as nought. Everywhere person and property were 
ruthlessly commandeered by the state . And not only the liberty 
of the body but the liberty of the mind was assailed. Freedom 
of the press, freedom of speech, cherished fruits of bygone 
struggles, vanished of a sudden, and none were found to 
protest. National resources in blood and wealth were drawn 
upon without stint. The reserves of the past were exhausted 
in an instant ; the supplies of the future were mortgaged, 

305 



306 THE WASTED ISLAND 

lavishly, recklessly. The flower of the world's youth, the 
source potential of the coming generations, the life blood of 
mankind, was poured in an ever-swelling stream into the 
insatiable gulf of destruction. Gay and gallant and clean- 
minded young men : honest and unsuspecting souls : 
they went forth from the peace and comfort of their homes, 
with a smile on their lips and love in their hearts French- 
men, Germans, Russians, English, Belgians, Serbs ; smaller 
races innumerable to face hardship and toil and sleepless- 
ness and disease and danger ; torture of the senses ; wounds 
most horrible ; mutilations unspeakable ; death in a thousand 
ghastly forms. Kindly, quiet, gentle boys many of them ; 
mother's sons ; they left the women they had kissed and 
embraced to slay and be slain. They slew each other from 
a distance with shell and ball ; they disembowelled each 
other with the bayonet ; they poisoned each other with 
gases ; they rent each other asunder with explosives ; in 
desperate combats in the night they stabbed and battered 
each other to death. And there were other and fearfuller 
deaths than these : drowning like rats trapped in submarines ; 
living burials in mines ; sickening falls from great heights ; 
burnings. ... All these things and more men faced 
because they were told and believed. In the blasphemed 
name of patriotism the German student was taken from his 
studies and told that Shakespeare's countrymen were his 
foes ; the French workingman was taken from his labour 
and told that the country of those whose cry for universal 
emancipation and brotherhood still sounded in his ears 
desired nothing but his enslavement ; the dull English yokel 
at his plough was told that civilisation was in need of his aid ; 
and the simple Russian moujik was herded to slaughter he 
knew not why. All over Europe boys of eighteen and twenty, 
their generous emotions roused, were called to the defence of 
treaties and the fulfilment of obligations which the cynical 
politicians who summoned them would have been the first 
to repudiate should their interests so require : and all over 
Europe youth, ingenuous trusting and obedient, answered 
the call. But to these simple virtues alone the masters of 
men could not trust. More was needed. During the long 
peace men had forgotten how to hate. The nations had 
grown interdependent : you cannot hate those with whom 



WAR 307 

you buy and sell, or those with whom you share pleasures 
and interests : trade and the arts had united mankind. 
These ties must now be broken, so by tales of atrocities, 
by lies and misrepresentations, hate was deliberately re- 
manufactured and righteous anger raised on all sides by 
slander and false accusations. 

Until the storm had actually burst few among the masses 
of Europe realised what was happening. All through those 
sunny July days, while the diplomatists wrangled, the ordinary 
man went about his ordinary business, prepared for his holi- 
day in August, and wondered how long the present spell of 
glorious weather would last. In Ireland people's minds 
were too much occupied with the course of events at home 
with the Howth and Kilcool gun-runnings and the Bache- 
lor's Walk atrocity to notice any signs of the impending 
disaster, and even when, two days after these occurrences, 
Austria-Hungary declared war on Servia (as we then called 
her) not many realised the inevitable sequel. 

" Can't you see, mother ? " said Bernard. " Russia's 
bound to defend Servia ; that brings in Germany to back 
up Austria ; France must then come to help Russia, and that 
brings England in too." 

Lady Lascelles was incapable of following a chain of 
reasons. 

" I can't believe it," she said . . . 

And then event followed event with surprising rapidity. 
Germany declared war almost simultaneously on Russia 
and France. Belgium was invaded, and the British Govern- 
ment having found the righteous excuse wherewith to delude 
the people of England Scotland and Ireland, plunged into 
the fray. . . . There was a rushing about in the streets of 
great cities ; and a shouting and a bustle on the bourses ; 
and a buying of stop-press editions, and panic and chatter 
everywhere. People stood about at street corners in ani- 
mated discussion of what they could not understand. Chance 
acquaintances stopped you to say : ' Awful business this ! 
Isn't it?' And you answered: 'Yes, awful!' . . . Wild 
rumours were circulated and implicitly believed. There 
were accounts of great naval battles, with convincingly 
detailed lists of losses. Wiseacres darkly hinted that Paris 



308 THE WASTED ISLAND 

had already fallen and the Government daren't admit it ... 

" Where do we come in ? " asked some. 

Before the days of madness were the days of ignorance 
when men waited to be told what they were going to fight 
for. 



But while all Europe in those first fatal weeks went mad ; 
while ordinary men raved like lunatics, and philosophers 
and thinkers babbled like angry children ; while the wise 
equally with the foolish believed all they were told and 
hearkened to every rumour ; in an obscure island in the 
western sea one little band of men remained calm and serene, 
unmoved by the passions of the war, undeceived by its lies. 
Stephen Ward with his keen unemotional insight ; Bernard 
with his free comprehensive grasp of essentials ; O'Dwyer 
with his hard piercing logic ; Hektor with his downright 
common sense ; McGurk with his bluff humorous honesty ; 
Crowley with his lucid wit ; even Moore with his morose 
cynicism : all saw through the mist of deceit and credulous 
passion down to the naked and repulsive reality below. 
The profession of the Allies that they were fighting for 
Christianity and civilisation, truth and justice and the sanctity 
of treaties, the freedom of small nationalities and all the rest 
of it left them quite cold. Stephen knew how small a part 
truth and justice played in the councils of the world ; Bernard 
saw no world-vision in Imperial England and Russia and 
Chauvinist France ; O'Dwyer knew England's record in the 
matter of treaties only too well ; Hektor was too well versed 
in the tricks of European diplomacy ; all felt that the spectacle 
of the oppressor of Ireland coming forth as the champion 
of small nationalities was, to say the least of it, humorous. 

' The whole position's absurd on the face of it," said 
Crowley. " The Czar of All the Russias and Hetman of 
the Don Cossacks fighting for democracy and civilisation ! 
France fighting against militarism ! The Harlot of the 
Nations fighting for Christianity and Justice ! It couldn't 
take a baby in." 

" The world's been taken in for all that " Bernard pointed 
out. 



WAR 309 

" The British Empire against world domination," ex- 
claimed O'Dwyer. " Men must be a pack of fools." 

" So I have ventured on previous occasions to remark," 
said Moore. It was felt distinctly that Moore had scored a 
point off the idealists. 

" Well, Hell roast John Redmond anyhow," said McGurk. 

Redmond's famous declaration of the unconditional 
adherence of Ireland to the British and Allied cause was 
already two days old on the occasion of this conversation. 

1 The question is," said O'Dwyer, "is he a knave or a 
fool ? Could a man who's been as long in politics as John 
Redmond be such a fool as to take European diplomacy at 
its face value ? " 

" What I want to know," said Crowley, " is : has he got 
so completely West Britonised as to forget that an English- 
man is most to be feared when he's friendly." 

" But the opportunity he's thrown away ! " groaned Hektor. 
" My God, he could have had Repeal of the Union for the 
asking. He could have held back every reservist in Ireland 
till he'd got it in force." 

" We could have had Repeal working in a week and cut 
the cable at the first British defeat," said McGurk. 

" And the opportunity's gone for ever," said Crowley. 
" Half the reservists are in England by this time." 

" The question is : how will the country take it ? " said 
O'Dwyer. 

" Repudiate it ! " said Bernard promptly. 

" I doubt it," said Crowley. ' They've shown no signs 
of it yet anyway." 

" The Volunteers will repudiate it," said Hektor. 

" They might," said McGurk. " But sure they're young 
and they haven't votes most o' them." 

" I'll tell you how the country'll take it," said Stephen. 
" Volunteers and all," he added. 

" How ? " asked several. 

" Lying down," said Stephen. 

Bernard, full of the zeal of the convert, refused to believe 
this. 

" You'll see I'm right," said Stephen in his quiet dogmatic 
way. " They're not ripe for bold action yet. Ireland's 
history has left her incapable of sound political thinking, so 



3 io THE WASTED ISLAND 

she'll just do what she's told. Perhaps things would have 
been different if the Volunteer movement was a year or two 
older, but as it is . . . ' He shrugged his shoulders. 
Everyone was unwillingly convinced that he was right. 

" England's always had all the luck," said O'Dwyer. " Oh 
for a Parnell ! " 

" Or a Carson," said McGurk. 

It was the war and the anticipation of exciting possibilities 
that had brought our friends to the capital in August. Moore 
had returned hurriedly from holidays in France. Crowley 
had rushed up from Ballylangan in Ossory where he was now 
dispensary doctor. O'Dwyer had left his family down in 
Greystones. He was not yet qualified, nor was McGurk. 
The latter indeed showed signs of development into a 
' chronic ' for he was due for his third attempt at his Third 
Examination in September. Bernard's flat was the scene 
of their assembly. 

Events justified Stephen's prophecy. At first indeed 
Ireland was a little taken aback by the new departure. ' That 
was a queer speech of Redmond's ' was the general comment 
heard in trams and trains and public places generally. 
Mr. Redmond's step was unprecedented in the annals of 
nationalism. The majority of even the most orthodox Home 
Rulers were at bottom only Home Rulers faute-de-mieux and 
regarded England as an enemy who, being too strong to be 
fought, had to be cajoled*; and the traditional attitude of 
Ireland towards England's wars had always been one of hope 
for her defeat. Various therefore were the explanations put 
forward for the present policy. Some considered it mere 
bluff. ' Redmond's codding the English so as to make sure 
of Home Rule,' they said. Others opined that he was gen- 
uinely convinced that a German victory would merely mean 
a change of masters for Ireland, and acted on the principle 
that ' the devil you know is better than the devil you don't 
know/ 

" But anyone is likely to be an improvement on the person 
you know to be a devil," Bernard used to suggest to these, 
but without effect. 

Few people then had sufficient political imagination and 
knowledge to see that it might be to Germany's interest to 
create a free and friendly Ireland : indeed a free Ireland 



WAR 311 

seemed to be beyond the purview of a generation suckled 
on constitutionalism and accustomed to having its thinking 
done for it. Very few also realised the completeness of 
Mr. Redmond's surrender. They did not see the insult implied 
in Sir Edward Grey's ' One Bright Spot ' oration. Ireland 
was not a consideration that would have to be taken into 
account, said Sir Edward, and Mr. Redmond had crawled 
gratefully to pick up the bone thus contemptuously flung at 
him, and found it marrowless. 

" The slaves are content with their fetters and will fight 
loyally for their masters like the good little slaves they are." 
This was Crowley's paraphrase of Redmond's speech. The 
papers, however, both Irish and English, called the thing a 
' Statesmanlike declaration/ a phrase bestowed henceforward 
almost automatically on each successive gracefully-worded 
surrender. 

And the Irish people, as Stephen had prophesied, took it 
all lying down. Obedience to the Party had become a habit, 
yet it took some time before people got completely accus- 
tomed to the new ' Union of Hearts ' as it was called. Their 
' loyalty,' like a strange garment, clove not to its mould, 
needing the aid of use. This showed itself specially in the 
Volunteers, many of whose companies were presented with 
Union Jacks by enthusiastic Unionist ladies. This was felt 
to be rather too much. Home Rule was on the Statute 
Book all right, and there was peace between the nations, but 
flags are thicker than paper and Irishmen could not learn to 
love the symbol of their slavery in a day. So the flag of the 
Empire was generally accepted bashfully and as soon as the 
innate politeness of the people allowed relegated to the dust 
bin. 

But the new way of thinking began to take root. Reservists 
going to join their units were feted and escorted to the rail- 
way stations by the town and village bands. Young men 
flocked into the army. Soldiers were no longer looked upon 
as janissaries and alien conquerors ; while the stern spirits 
who distrusted England and refused to acquiesce in the new 
regime were regarded as unforgiving mean-spirited cranks. 
The Nationalists of the middle and upper classes were of 
course the first to adapt themselves to circumstances. They 
were in fact very much pleased with the whole course of 



312 THE WASTED ISLAND 

events. The last remaining taint of ' lawlessness ' had now 
been removed from their party, and such of them (never 
very many) who adhered to the principle of remaining seated 
for the playing of God Save the King were relieved of that 
unpleasant necessity. 

Bernard did not realise how far things had gone until one 
night at the beginning of September when he went to the 
Hippodrome with Geoffrey Manders. This man in his 
bloodless muddled and not very sincere cosmopolitanism 
professed a very detached point of view both towards the 
war of controversy in Ireland and the war of steel in Europe. 
His interest lay in watching the effects of these things on 
others and he was rather amused at the heat and excitement 
of Bernard the Bernard whose development he had quietly 
watched from the days when he had held views very similar 
to his own (albeit he held them with a clarity a sincerity and 
a passion of which Manders was incapable) down to his recent 
emerging as a ' hillside ' Nationalist. 

The programme that evening was a tiresome one. A 
war-song or two roused little enthusiasm. A conjurer made 
the audience frankly yawn. Then a screen was lowered, 
the house was darkened, and a succession of war-pictures 
was thrown upon the screen. The audience woke up. ' War 
Scenes from all Fronts' they read. A Belgian cavalry patrol 
cantering across the screen was warmly applauded, and the 
orchestra played the Braban$onne, but nobody recognised 
it. French Troops on the March produced even warmer 
applause, for Irishmen, with memories of Ninety-Eight in 
their hearts, have always a soft spot for France ; and as the 
first familiar bars of the Marseillaise sounded from the orches- 
tra the song was taken up lustily in all parts of the house. 
Bernard's pulse could not help responding to the old song of 
the Revolution and he felt bitterly the hard stroke of fate in 
placing him amid the ranks opposed to it. There was a 
perceptible slackening in the popular enthusiasm when a 
view of Russian soldiers resting on the march was flashed 
forth, and Bernard wondered what was happening in Poland 
and Finland. How would they take the war ? There would 
be less hypocrisy used with them anyway, he reflected. 
They might even be dragooned into quiescence : a more 
honorable fate than Ireland's. . And then came the 



WAR 313 

climax : British troopsljanding in France said the screen, 
and as the bustling scene was revealed cheer after cheer 
went up from the auditorium. 

" This is great ! " chuckled Manders in much amusement. 
. . . " I wonder will they try them with God save the King." 

The picture flickered along, and no sign of the anthem. 

" They don't like to risk it," said Manders. 

" It'd make the worms turn," said the disgusted Bernard. 

But a moment later the slow solemn anthem rolled forth, 
and Bernard was the only member of that vast audience who 
did not spring to his feet and burst into song. 

" Fickle, fickle people," he said to himself. 

When it was all over Manders lay back in his crjair laughing 
loudly ; a jarringfblatant laugh for which Bernard never 
forgave him . . . 

fe; The Southern Unionists professed themselves delighted 
at the Nationalist volte-face. Their young men flocked into 
the Volunteers whom they now regarded almost as a part of 
the forces of the Crown, and their newspapers glowed with 
admiration for Mr. Redmond's statemanship. ' At last we 
see what we have long wished to see/ quoth the Irish Times. 
' Ireland a Nation, brave, united, and in arms.' Strange 
words from a paper whose policy was based on the denial of 
Ireland's nationhood, bravery, unity, and right to arm. 
For acting up to the ideal there mouthed so hypocritically 
Robert Emmett had been hanged. The Ulstermen were 
more honest, and changed not their attitude to the rest of 
their countrymen one iota. They vowed that when the war 
was over they would send Home Rule to the devil ; and their 
reservists marched to the stations to the tunes of Boyne 
Water and Kick the Pope. 

The fruit of Mr. Redmond's statesmanship the return 
for all this surrender of principle and tradition and national 
advantage, was the passing of the Home Rule Bill followed 
immediately by a Suspensory Bill, postponing it until it 
should be so modified as to be acceptable to the Orange- 
men, or, as McGurk said, till Tibb's Eve : and at the very 
moment that Mr. Redmond was foisting this ' Treaty of 
Peace ' and ' Charter of Liberty ' upon his countrymen's 
acceptance, the English Tories were denouncing the passage 
of the bill as treachery and openly promising to tear the 



314 THE WASTED ISLAND 

' Charter ' in pieces, while the Orangemen no less openly 
promised to put the ' Treaty of Peace ' in the fire. In a 
manifesto to the Irish people, Mr. Redmond announced the 
opening of a new era. The Democracy of Britain, he said, 
had kept faith with Ireland : it was now a duty of honour 
for Ireland to keep faith with them. In other words, in 
return for a promise by an English party Government to 
restore (at some date unspecified) a tithe of her rights, and 
in spite of her experience of British promises in the past, 
Ireland was to give herself body and soul to assist her ancient 
enemy against a nation from whom she had never suffered 
wrong of any kind. 

And Ireland, generous, sentimental, credulous Ireland, 
only too ready to forgive and forget, hastened at his bidding 
' to keep faith.' And how did England receive her ? Need- 
less to say, England would not admit that Ireland had any- 
thing to forgive, but in her condescending way she decided 
that Ireland had come to beg forgiveness and atone for past 
rebellions by present loyalty. And in that spirit the bulk 
of the English people accepted the whole Irish situation as 
a matter of course. Official England heaved a sigh of relief 
at the trouble it had been saved. 

" They've forgiven us for all the wrong they've done us," 
said Crowley. 

" Where is it all going to end ? " Bernard asked Stephen. 

" Goodness knows," said Stephen. " I confess the 
workings of the Parliamentarian mind are beyond me. . . . 
Of course, so long as Redmond speaks for his party and they 
accept him, we've no right to complain, not being Parlia- 
mentarians. But if he goes on pretending he speaks for the 
Volunteers he's got to be stopped. There's nothing about 
Imperial Thinking in our constitution and Redmond's got 
to realise it. He can do what he likes with his own party, 
but hands off the Volunteers." 

" That'll mean a split," said Bernard. 

" Not necessarily >" said Stephen. " Not if Redmond 
leaves the Volunteers alone. But if he insists on a split, 
he'll have it.. Disunion is the devil, but there's one thing 
worse, and that is acting a lie." 



WAR 3IS 



Meanwhile in a seemingly irresistible rush the German 
armies poured into Belgium and France, and the great 
slaughter began. 

Bernard and his friends regarded the war in totally different 
lights. Bernard had come to Nationalism as part of a general 
revolutionary and Internationalist creed, whereas his friends 
were Nationalists first and such Internationalism as any of 
them possessed was but an expansion of their Nationalism. 
To Bernard therefore the war was evil unmitigated, whilst 
to the others the evil was considerably modified by the hope 
of freedom it gave to Ireland. 

Bernard however was not a mere pacifist : he was perfectly 
ready to shed his own and anyone else's blood in a good cause : 
but he hated to see human life and achievement wasted in the 
culmination of a mere game of capitalist diplomacy. So with 
a heart full of anxiety for his fellowmen he had watched all 
the manoeuvres that preceded the outbreak. Even after the 
formal ruptures he hoped against hope that the diplomatists 
would realise the horror of the game they were playing and 
pull up before it was too late : a perfectly disinterested hope, 
for he felt certain at the time that Ireland's attitude would be 
one of neutrality. But with the first news of bloodshed 
these hopes vanished, and as the sun rose on the second 
day of hostilities he knew that a thousand men who might 
have seen that dawn were dead. He felt it as a personal grief , 
as was his habit. . . . And then all Europe was ablaze 
with hatred. He saw quiet decent men and elderly ladies 
rejoicing over the news that four thousand German corpses 
had been counted on such-and-such a front : he saw his 
own friends rejoicing over similar heaps of British corpses. 
To him the slaughter gave a sickening sense of personal loss : 
every death was a separate tragedy : and every man cut off 
in the bloom of his youth made him think of the children 
who would never be born. ... He hoped that the rulers, 
the organisers of slaughter, would even now relent when they 
realised the magnitude of the massacre ; would shrink from 
piling up yet more and more misery on the shoulders of men. 



316 THE WASTED ISLAND 

But no. On went the appalling butchery day after day, 
week after week, month after month, until hope died away, 
and he could only look on helplessly and bemoan the pity of 
it. 

Very different were the views of the others. Hektor was 
not an Internationalist at all : in a free Ireland he would 
have been inclined towards jingoism. McGurk was much 
the same : he was no politician and merely wanted Ireland 
free. O'Dwyer was an Internationalist of a sort : he felt 
a benevolent neutrality towards all nations but England, 
whom he hated with all the powers of his soul ; not merely 
British Government of Ireland, he would explain, but 
England herself, the English people, the make of their minds, 
their methods of thought, their alleged religion, the look in 
their eyes, and the screeching of their damned voices. To 
a virile hatred like this partisanship in the war was inevitable. 
And as for Stephen, the ruthlessness of his purpose left no 
room for vicarious sympathies. 

All these therefore watched the German advance with 
hope and feverish impatience. They pictured the German 
army as a great relief force moving nearer and nearer to 
Ireland's deliverance, and while Hektor with a professional 
eye followed events on a large scale map and weighed and 
discounted reports, McGurk danced in jubilation over every 
fresh town occupied, and O'Dwyer prayed desperately at 
every check. 

On came the grey masses. Liege fell. Namur, it was 
predicted, would hold out for months. Its fall was reported 
the next morning. Back went the Belgian army fighting 
manfully step by step. Back went the British : slowly, 
stubbornly, hitting out heavily, but still going back. Back 
went the French ; grimly, desperately resisting ; taking 
and giving blood for every inch of the fatherland surrendered : 
but still going back. 

"Germans on the Road to Paris," screamed the newspaper 
placards. The war seemed to be won. O'Dwyer was 
exultant ; Hektor was calmly confident, full of soldierly 
admiration ; even Stephen showed himself less impassive 
than usual. 

" Paris to-morrow," said the optimists, but to-morrow 
showed no startling developments. 



WAR 317 

" Preparing to spring," said the optimists to console 
themselves. 

And then came the Marne and the disheartening days of 
the retreat. The hope of a decisive German victory was 
gone, and the great days of the war were over. Later indeed 
when the Germans were fighting their way step by step 
towards Calais hope for a time revived. 

" When they've got Calais," said O'Dwyer, " they'll 
plank down some of those big howitzers of theirs and hold 
up the Channel. . . . Dover next. Then's our chance." 

But the Germans never reached Calais. The fighting 
on the Western Front after an orgy of bloodshed ended in 
stalemate and settled down to the dull monotony of trench 
warfare, and the young strategists turned their attention to 
events nearer home. 



" I suppose I'll be losing you one of these days, 
Swathythe," said Bernard. 

" I hope not, sir," said Swathythe. 

" What ? Aren't you going to fight for your King and 
country, Swathythe ? " 

" King and country never did nothing for me, sir." 

"I'm afraid you're a materialist, Swathythe." 

" No, sir. Primitive Methodist, sir." 

" And your country's call means nothing to you, 
Swathythe ? " 

" Never heard it, sir. Shouldn't recognise it if I did." 

" Dear me. This is very disappointing. I met a man 
down town this morning who asked me what I was doing in 
the great war. I said I wasn't doing anything. He was 
very shocked and said : ' I've given my son.' Now wouldn't 
it have been nice if I'd been able to say : ' I've given my 
valet ' ?" 

" Very nice, sir. For you." 

" Exactly, Swathythe. That's what I said to the gentle- 
man in question. ... By tne way, Swathythe, you might 
put the spare room in order. Mr. O'Dwyer is coming to 
stay with me for a few days " 

" Yes, sir." 



3 i8 THE WASTED ISLAND 

"And Mr. Ward, Mr. O'Flaherty and Mr. McGurk are 
dining here to-night. Mr. Ward may be late, but you may 
serve dinner in any case at halt -past seven." 
" Yes, sir." 

Bernard had been rung up that morning by O'Dwyer, 
who told him that he had been ordered out of the house by 
his father on refusing to take a commission in the British 
Army, and requested an asylum while looking for lodgings. 
In the course of the afternoon O'Dwyer arrived, still seething 
with indignation, not only against his own father, but against 
paternity in general. 

" New definition of ' father,' " he said. " An insolent 

tyrant who thinks he owns you body and soul. One who, on 

the strength of having begotten you, takes credit for all your 

virtues and repudiates all your vices. . . . The insolence 

of fathers . . . talking about 'giving their sons' . . ." 

Bernard remembered the father he had met that morning. 

" Tell us all about it," he said. 

*'* Oh, we had ructions," said O'Dwyer. " We'd only 

just started breakfast when the Boss let me have it. ' I 

met Bonegraft at the club last night/ says he, ' and he told 

me he'd given his son to the war. I was wishing I could 

say the same,' says he. ' In fact I was quite ashamed of 

myself,' says he. I sat tight and said nothing. Suddenly 

he raps out : ' Why don't you apply for a commission ? ' 

' You know my politics,' says I, ' Politics be damned,' 

says he. ' It's every man's duty to go to the front.' ' I 

beg to differ,' says I. ' O, do you ? ' says he. ' Well, differ 

or no, you've got to do it,' says he. ' No, thank you/ says 

I. * Look here, my lad/ says he, flying into a rage, ' I've 

never interfered with your holding what principles you like, 

but in a time of crisis you've got to obey ME ! ' (Fierce 

emphasis on the ME, Bernard.) * There's a higher power 

than you/ says I diffidently. * None of your cant/ he yells. 

' What ? Is there no one higher ? ' says I innocently, and 

with that he lets a screech out of him, and ' Out of my house 

you go/ says he. So I went upstairs and packed my bag. 

Then I telephoned to you, and after that I went off and had 

a farewell lunch with the mother and sisters at Jammets, 

. . . and here I am. . . .1 composed a Limerick 



WAR 319 

about it all, by the way. How does it go now ? 

That eminent man called O'Dwyer 
Is with love of Old England on fire 

Which flame sacrificial, 

Howe'er he may wish, '11 
Not swallow the son of the sire. 

Not bad that, eh ? I composed it between the cheese and 
the coffee." 

" This damned notion of patria potestas ! " exclaimed 
Bernard. " There's too much ot it in this country in every 
class. When I see the way the farmers slave-drive their 
sons I wonder parricide isn't commoner. And these middle- 
class despots ! . . . 

He showed his guest to his room, and asked him about 
his prospects. They were all right, it appeared. He was 
due for his Final Examination at the end of the month and 
all his fees were paid. Moreover he had a little money, 
some thirty pounds lying in a savings bank, which had been 
deposited there by a benevolent god-parent in his babyhood 
and had never since been touched. This, eked out by what 
his pen might earn, should keep him until he was qualified 
and even after. He could borrow then. 

" What did you think of the Woodenbridge Oration ? " 
asked Bernard. 

This was the topic of conversation over all Ireland that 
day. On the previous afternoon Mr. Redmond had turned 
up at a Volunteer parade at Woodenbridge, Co. Wicklow, 
and told the Volunteers that whereas this was a war in defence 
of the ' highest principles of religion and morality ' it was 
the duty of Irishmen to rush at once to the fighting line. 

" A split is inevitable now," said O'Dwyer. " Redmond 
is entitled to think that sort of flapdoodle himself if he likes. 
He can even dish it out to the U.I.L. if he thinks fit. But 
he's no business to put out mat policy from a Volunteer 
platform. We're a non-party organisation formed to give 
Ireland a defence force, not to give England recruits. . . . 
Redmond and his party will just have to clear out of the 
force." 

" They're the majority," said Bernard. 



320 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" No matter. They've violated the constitution, so out 
they'll have to go." 

They went out for a stroll down Grafton Street, where 
Bernard laid in a supply of cigarettes for the evening. Then 
they returned to await the arrival of the guests. McGurk 
was the first to arrive, jovial and hungry, and, as he said, 
' Kilt with work.' He was soon followed by Hektor, heavy 
with bad news from the Aisne. Stephen not appearing when 
dinner was announced, Bernard explained that he had 
expected to be late as there was a session of the Provisional 
Committee to consider what steps were to be taken in view 
of the Woodenbridge speech. 

The mere mention of this oration produced a highly 
censorable flow of language from McGurk, and Hektor 
pronounced the event the greatest disaster in Irish history 
since the Battle of the Marne. 

Stephen arrived while they were stiil at the soup and was 
at once eagerly questioned. He took from his pocket a 
sheet of paper and read them the short pointed statement 
drawn up by the Provisiona' Committee and sent forth that 
evening to all the newspapers in the country. It said in 
brief that whereas Mr. Redmond and his nominees had 
propounded for the Volunteers a policy fundamentally at 
variance with their own professed objects and constitution, 
they had ceased to hold any piace in the administration of 
the movement : that the object and policy of the Volunteers 
still remained the same as on the day of its foundation : and 
that Ireland could not with honour or safety take part in 
foreign quarrels except through the free action of a national 
government of .her own. It concluded by demanding the 
immediate establishment of that National Government. 

" And what about Headquarters ? " asked O'Flaherty 
promptly. 

" We've an armed garrison in occupation already, " said 
Stephen. 

" Good for you," said Hektor. " Dublin will stick to 
us anyway." 

" Dublin stuck to Parnell," said O'Dwyer. " I wonder 
how will the country go ? " 

" To pieces," said Stephen. " We expect a backing in 



WAR 321 

Kerry, Athenry, Cork, and perhaps Wexford, but the rest 
of the country will go with Redmond." 

" Then," said Bernard, in slow realisation, " we're in a 
hopeless minority." 

" Hopeless," said Stephen. " About ten thousand men 
against the whole country." 

These words came as a shock to Bernard. He had been 
looking forward to a great national fight for liberty, and here 
he found himself a member of an insignificant faction. 

" Not only that," said Stephen, " but we'll have to go 
through a storm of abuse and misrepresentation and per- 
secution. Our own countrymen will denounce us and the 
enemy will try to destroy us." 

" Begob ! " said McGurk, " we're going to get it in the 
neck. You take it from me, boys, all the dirty tongues in 
the Hibernians and the U.I.L. will be let loose on us." 

" We're at war from this moment," said Hektor. " Ireland 
joins the Central Powers. Hostilities will commence at 
once." 

" Well," said O'Dwyer, " it's a relief. The compromising 
of the last few days was getting to be a bore. I like a clear 
issue." 

The prospect of what was before them seemed to brace his 
friends, but it had a depressing effect on Bernard. To have 
to oppose the will of the country he had so lately learned to 
love was a hard trial to him. He had none of the habit of 
hatred and opposition to England which buoyed up the 
determination of the others. They knew infallibly that, 
however Ireland herself might be led into wrong courses, 
the anti-English attitude was the only safe and patriotic 
policy. They knew too that it was the policy to which, 
after the English treachery which would inevitably manifest 
itself, Ireland must eventually return. But Bernard had 
none of these consolations. He foresaw no change in the 
situation. Hatred of England had not yet been ground into 
kis soul by circumstances, and love of Ireland was his pre- 
dominant passion. To oppose her will, therefore, was a 
very painful duty. 

But the others were quite hilarious. McGurk was already 
looking forward to the reaction. 

" They'll be sick of loyalty in a month," he said, " and 



322 THE WASTED ISLAND 

they'll be clamouring to come back to us. ' I told you so/ 
we'll be saying to them and we'll just give them a toe in the 
rump to teach them sense next time." 

Hektor was less optimistic. 

" They won't come back as quick as all that, Hugo," he 
said. " At least, not unless the English are clumsier fools 
than I think them. I give 'em two years." 

" Sure the war'll be over by then," said McGurk. 

" Not on your life," said Hektor. " The Marne's put the 
kybosh on that." 

" We're at war with the Empire . . . our little crowd," 
suddenly interjected O'Dwyer. " Ten thousand men against 
God knows how many ..." 

The prospect of a struggle against odds mightier than 
Xenophon's roused Bernard somewhat. And he remembered 
his duties as host. 

" Hektor, you aren't eating. Another slice of duck ? 
. . . Fill up Mr. McGurk's glass, Swathythe. . . . 
O'Dwyer, that's a new sauce made to my own recipe, sauce 
franc-tireure irlandaise." 

" That was a nice little girl I saw you with in Grafton 
Street, Bernard, the other day," said McGurk. 

" I don't remember her," said Bernard. 

" Galong now ! She was a neat little cailin with fair hair 
and brown eyes." 

" Oh," said Bernard, " I just met her by chance." 

" Will ye listen to him," said McGurk, " and he eatin' 
the face off her with his great hungry eyes." 

" You're an ass, McGurk." 

" Love's a queer thing," said O'Dwyer. " It makes 
shy things of us all. Fancy Lascelles blushing." 

" I'm not in love," said Bernard, " and if I were I shouldn't 
be ashamed of it. I've been in love often, and I don't think 
anything of it. It's just an exanthematous fever we go 
through periodically. Like the flu a previous attack seems 
to confer no immunity, but each successive illness becomes 
less and less serious." 

" Love isn't a disease," said Hektor. " It's a game." 

" Love's all my eye," said McGurk scornfully. " We all 
enjoy a bit of flirting round when we're young, but when I 



WAR 323 

want to marry which won't be for a long time yet, I hope 
it'll be for something a little more solid and lasting than 
love. . . . Sure all that gibberish and rdimeis about love 
is the invention of female novelists." 

" Hugo puts things a bit crudely," said Bernard, " but I 
agree with him in the main. We Irish seem to be a bit 
saner about love than the English. . . . Lord, how they 
wallow in it, even the best of them. Wells's magnificent 
novels are sticky with the slush of it. ... You don't find 
the sentimental heroine of the English novel in Irish art, 
thank heaven ! And you don't find love the mainspring 
of the plot in more than a fraction of our plays and novels. 
We keep it in its place : the same place as it has in life." 

" I wonder," said O'Dwyer, " if love has as big a place 
in English life as it has in their novels." 

" God forbid," said Hektor. 

" Summary of an average English novel," said O'Dwyer : 

" There was a young lady in love 
With a hero, all heroes above. 
Some strife, and some stress 
Then a murmur of ' yes,' 
And ' my darling,' ' my sweetheart,' 
' my dove !' " 

" That's it to a T ! " cried McGurk. " Now I like an 
author like Dumas. Tons of incident and hardly any love 
and that without too many of the slushy details." 

" Dickens and Scott answer to that description," said 
Bernard, " and so do nearly all the really great authors. 
It's our modern mediocrities that do the wallowing . . . 
for lack of better material." 

The conversation was all on modern literature for a while 
and then reverted naturally to the original topic. 

" To men," said Bernard, " love is a luxury. To women 
it is the necessary anaesthetic to render the hardships of 
procreation bearable." 

" You're a cynic," said O'Dwyer. 

Stephen, who had hitherto been silent, projected himself 
suddenly into the conversation at this point. 

" That word ' cynic/ " he said. " It annoys me. Look 
here. You and I and all of our crowd know how this war's 
going to end if the Allies win." 



324 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" They won't," said McGurk. 

" If they do," said Stephen, " we know that though England 
declares she doesn't covet a yard of territory the peace 
terms will give her several thousand square miles. We 
know that this is no war to end war : we that know Allied mili- 
tarism at the end of it will be a far bigger thing than German 
militarism to-day. We know it's no war for democracy : 
We know that all the democratic safeguards now given up 
won't be restored in a hurry. We know this is no war for 
small nations : we know Ireland will be still under the Act 
of Union and likely to stay there long after the Germans are 
cleared out of Belgium. We know that this is no war for 
principle at all, but a commercial war resulting from secret 
diplomacy. We know all this is so, and time will prove us 
right ; but meanwhile we're called cynics." 

" And the sentimental drivellers who believe all they're 
told about this freedom-and-justice stunt call us unpractical 
dreamers because we hold the very practical policy of drilling 
and arming to secure our own rights. And the very same 
people who call this policy dreamy and unpractical also call 
it selfish and narrow-minded. Lord ! " said O'Dwyer, 
" the contradictory abuse that I've listened to these few days. 
' Look here ! ' I said to one man, ' We may be dreamy ideal- 
ists, or we may be selfish cynics, but we can't possibly be 
both. Your case against us is too complete, so the pro- 
bability is we're neither.' But the average man isn't logical," 

" We should be highly flattered by being called dreamers." 
said Bernard. " All the great things in life have been done 
by people who were called that, for every fact is the material- 
isation of a dream. There can be no birth without 
conception." 

" The fact is," said O'Dwyer, " that the only really prac- 
tical people are the dreamers. The man who prides himself 
on being practical is mentally blind." 

" I quite agree," said Hektor. " But that's a dangerous 
doctrine to let loose unqualified in this country. Our people 
are only too ready to take people for dreamers who are merely 
wool-gatherers." 

Dinner being over, Hektor now arose, and in a mock 
after-dinner manner proposed the toast of the Captain of 
the Emden, then at the height of its career of destroying 



WAR 325 

British commerce. When this toast had been honoured 
McGurk arose and said : 

" Gentlemen, we surely cannot allow this occasion to pass 
without coupling with the name of the gay and gallant captain 
that of Madame Britannia, the cast-off mistress of the seas." 

They adjourned to the sitting-room to smoke, and amid 
all the jokes and arguments that whiled away the evening, 
one thought kept beating in Bernard's mind : 

" We're at war with our own country, and with the 
world." 



The next morning the Volunteer manifesto appeared in 
the newspapers, and, in fulfilment of expectation, the vast 
majority of the Volunteers gave in their adherence to 
Mr. Redmond, only about two thousand men in Dublin and 
about ten thousand over the rest of the country standing by 
the original Committee. 

Then the flood gates of abuse were opened and the 
fountains of decency were broken up. Reason and argu- 
ment were consigned to oblivion and it was attempted to 
swamp the recalcitrant minority with a flood of obloquy. 
They were called traitors to Ireland who stood for the very 
cause for which Mitchel was jailed and Tone died. They 
were called cowards who had thrown down the gauntlet to a 
mighty Empire and had had the courage to stand out against 
their own country when she took the wrong course. They 
were called hirelings, many of whom went without a coat in 
order to buy a gun. They were called selfish who submitted 
to persecution and imprisonment for justice' sake. They 
were called narrow-minded, who stood for the oldest and 
greatest of causes the cause for which the whole war was 
alleged to be fought the sacred cause of national freedom. 

And they were called Sinn Feiners. . . . Years before 
Arthur Griffith had propounded a policy of economic 
development and abstention from Westminster. His views 
not meeting with the approval of the Party machine he was 
crushed and driven out of public life by lies and obloquy. 
The name of Sinn Fein, though the party had practically 
ceased to exist, was still remembered by the electorate as 



326 THE WASTED ISLAND 

one of ignominy, and it was a simple matter for the Parlia- 
mentary leaders to attach that name, along with the whole 
load of calumny associated with it, to the Volunteers. So 
Bernard and his friends, most of whom had never belonged 
to Sinn Fein Bernard himself had barely heard of it were 
labelled Sinn Feiners : traitors and outcasts. 

All this abuse hurt Bernard acutely. Reading the news- 
papers made him rage incoherently. Stephen however took 
it all very philosophically ; advised him to be calm and not 
to read leading articles ; and prophesied the inevitable re- 
action. But in vain. Bernard argued high and low with 
everyone he met ; broke with many friends ; and wrote furious 
letters to the papers which were never printed. Still moving 
in the social circles to which he was accustomed he found 
himself perpetually involved in controversy. Mrs. Gunby 
Rourke having heard that he did not intend to apply for a 
commission, intimated that their acquaintanceship should 
come to an end. (Her own darling boy, George, developed 
a stiff ankle and served his country on ' work of national 
importance,' to wit, a couple of hours clerical work per week 
in a recruiting office for the first few months, to be dropped 
afterwards when people had ceased to enquire were you 
' doing your bit.') Sir Perry Tifflytis and Mr. Bonegraft 
were very contemptuous of ' shirkers and slackers,' and 
laughed Bernard's politics to scorn. 

" Wish I was your age, my lad," said Sir Perry. " I'd 
be the first in the firing line. By gad, what a chance for a 
young man ! " 

Augustine Reilly said the war was for truth and justice 
and religion and all that Ireland held dear. 

" It isn't," said Bernard. " But even if it was Ireland 
couldn't fight in it unless she had a government of her own 
to declare war." 

" We ought to stand by England," said Augustine. " She 
has given us Home Rule. It's our Christian duty to forgive 
her. ' Love your enemies,' says Christ." 

" He didn't tell us to show it by making new enemies," 
replied Bernard. 

' Let every soul be subject to the higher powers,' ' 
quoted Augustine. 

" ' No man can serve two masters,' " answered Bernard. 



WAR 327 

" I don't see the point," said Augustine. 
" ' Which of you by taking thought can add one cubic 
inch to his brain ? ' Oh, go and boil your head." 

Mr. Bonegraft appealed to Ireland's historic friendship 
for France, and Bernard responded by appealing to England's 
historic friendship for Prussia. Mr. Bonegraft had no answer 
to this and Bernard took advantage of his silence to add : 

" And talking about our French alliance in Ninety-Eight 
you'd have been the first to denounce it if you'd been alive 
then. You'd have called us pro-French and said that 
Ireland's duty was to help England in the fight against 
French domination." 

" But this is Ireland's war." 
" I don't see it." 

" Ireland will be disgraced for ever if she leaves civilisation 
in the lurch." 

" She'll be disgraced in good company, then," said Bernard. 
" She'll rank with Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, 
Holland, Bulgaria, Greece, Spain, and Italy, to say nothing 
of Asia and America." 

" Well, how will you like the Germans to come over here ? " 
said Mr. Bonegraft. 

' They aren't coming." 
" Look at Belgium." 

" Look at Denmark. She's in much greater danger than 
we are. If the Germans are so desperately keen on annexing 
small nations why don't they tackle these that are near at 
hand ? " 

Mr. Bonegraft was again at a loss for an answer, so he fell 
back on his last line of defence. 

" Ireland must do her duty as part of Britain," he said. 
" Then," said Bernard, " why didn't you say so at once ? 
If you believe that, the other reasons don't arise ; and I 
deny that we're part of Britain." 

This was Bernard's universal quarrel with the garrison 
classes. They wanted to have the argument both ways : 
to deny Ireland's nationhood, and yet to use arguments for 
her entering the war that could only apply on the assumption 
that she was a nation . . . 

" What a narrow selfish view you take ! " said Mrs. Heuston 



328 THE WASTED ISLAND 

Harrington. " Sinn Fein : Ourselves alone : and the whole 
of civilisation in danger ! " 

" England and France and Russia are all Sinn Fein," said 
Bernard. 

"How do you make that out ? ' sneered Mrs. Heuston 
Harrington. 

" Each governs itself alone, doesn't it ? Aren't they all 
fighting to establish Sinn Fein for Belgium." 

" Yes, but they're all united for a common aim." 

" So might we fight for the same aim if we were free to 
do so." 

" But you are free." 

" I beg to differ.' 

" Home Rule is on the Statute Book. What more do 
you want ? " 

"I'd like to see it in force before I went to war on the 
strength of it." 

" But that would be so mean ! A piece of political bar- 
gaining, with civilisation hanging in the balance ! " 

" So you call it mean to demand our own freedom before 
we go to fight for the freedom of others." 

" But, my dear Mr. Lascelles, we are free." 

" I'm afraid we're arguing in a circle," said Bernard. 

" Exactly ! That's always the way with you Sinn Feiners. 
You always come back to your stale old hatred of England. 
That's so narrow-minded of you. France and England 
have made up their quarrel. Why can't Ireland ? " 

" Because our grievance is still unremedied." 

" What grievance ? " 

" We're still deprived of our parliament." 

" Quite right. Why should England give up what she's 
won ? " 

" I thought you said we were free ? If England's right 
to conquer Ireland why is Germany wrong to conquer 
Belgium ? " 

" O, that's different." 

" How ? " 
' They did it in such a disgusting way." 

" I suppose England conquered us in a decent way ? " 

" Now you needn't dig up old grievances from Ninety- 
Eight. They're past and gone." 



WAR 329 

" So are the German atrocities in Belgium." 
" They're things of yesterday." 
" A small difference in the vastness of eternity." 
" Well, it's no use arguing with me. I hate politics and 
I hate disloyalty, and Ireland's a sink of both." 
" Ah ! So you dislike Ireland ? " 
" I should think so. Nasty narrow little hole ! " 
' Then why are you so keen on bringing it into the war ? " 
" I'd much rather it was sunk into the sea." 
" So," said Bernard, " the whole of your broad-minded 
attitude is this, that you simply prefer another and bigger 
country to your own. You might as well consider yourself 
broadminded for preferring a fatter man to your husband." 
This was very bad taste on Bernard's part, especially as 
Mrs. Heuston Harrington was a widow. But he was 
thoroughly exasperated by her narrow truculent muddled 
little mind. 

Lady Mallaby Morchoe was very severe on Bernard's 
hatred of England. 

"Madam," said Bernard, "I love the English people 
a great deal better than you do. I should like to see them 
paid decent wages and properly fed and housed and educated, 
and I should like to see their execrable social system 
destroyed." 

" Oh, you're a Socialist," said Lady Mallaby Morchoe . . . 
Many a grave humbug lectured Bernard on this hatred of 
his, and then went away to buy an evening paper and gloat 
over the reports of German slaughter. Bernard whose heart 
bled for every man killed, Allied or German, used to listen 
with a bitter smile. 

Soon Bernard grew tired of arguing. The Whigs in their 
fatuous belief in the English Liberals and the justice of the 
war were scarcely less irritating than the Tories. With 
these latter however he soon found it impossible to converse 
without losing his temper. While the whole of Nationalist 
Ireland in its generous foolishness surrendered freely to the 
' Union of Hearts,' these grim stalwarts, trenched in their 
haughty stupidity, made no sign of softening their opposi- 
tion to the national idea, and, as Bernard found, all their 
arguments boiled down to a bitter sediment of hatred for 
Ireland. . . . Moreover his father, already treating him 



330 THE WASTED ISLAND 

with coldness as a result of recent events, now became com- 
pletely estranged, and Bernard gradually ceased to associate 
with the class in which he had been brought up, and began 
to make a place for himself in the society of his political 
brethern. 

The very day after the split was his company's drill night. 
The pompous little Brohoon looked almost majestic as he 
put the simple issue to the men drawn up in company column 
in the gas-lit hall. 

" Those who consider that the only authority capable 
of committing Ireland to a foreign war is an Irish Parlia- 
ment elected by the Irish people will remain in their ranks," 
he said. " Those who accept the rule of the British Parlia- 
ment will fall out. No doubt they will immediately go and 
enlist in the British Army." 

With the issue put so clearly few men, however loyal to 
Mr. Redmond, had the courage to step forward. Only four, 
bashfully and with hesitation, fell out, and handed in their 
rifles to Brohoon. A jeer from the remainder was instantly 
suppressed by the officers. Bernard hoped for a while that 
this was a sign that Stephen's prophecy would be falsified, 
but next week only eighty men out of one hundred and ten 
turned up for parade, and the following week only sixty. 
Within a month their strength had been further reduced 
to less than fifty, but after that it decreased no more. By 
that time the popularity of the Volunteers had reached its 
lowest ebb and the inevitable flow had begun. 

6 

A few days after the Split, Mr. Asquith addressed a select 
meeting in the Mansion House. He proclaimed the justice 
of the Allied cause and appealed to Irishmen to join the 
forces of the Crown. The contribution, he said, must be 
the free gift of a free people, a pledge which, like all English 
pledges, was violated in little more than a year by the 
introduction of a Conscription Bill. 

Bernard went out into the street that night to observe the 
temper of the people. It was quite clear that either the 
authorities did not fully trust this new-born loyalty, or else 



WAR 331 

feared some desperate deed from the recalcitrant minority, 
for the Irish public, to whom the Premier's words were 
addressed, was carefully excluded from the Mansion (admis- 
sion being by ticket, and the tickets being reserved for trusted 
members of the garrison who must have smiled at the amiable 
sentiments expressed by Mr. Asquith) and the streets swarmed 
with police, who formed a cordon round all approaches to 
the Mansion House, while a squadron of cavalry was said 
to be waiting in the Castle Yard in preparation for all 
eventualities. 

The streets were crowded, and there was a general atmos- 
phere of curiosity and excitement. Questions of policy 
were freely discussed by groups of people meeting one 
another for the first time in their lives. The sentimental 
Englishman wandering amidst the crowds would have heara 
little to flatter him from these people whose ' loyalty ' had 
touched every soft heart in the Empire ; for the great war 
was looked upon entirely from an Irish point of view, and 
Irish ' loyalty ' was quite obviously conditional. The 
universal argument that turned the scale everywhere was 
that German rule would probably be worse than English 
rule, and the fact that France was on England's side was 
the only argument in favour of England's sincerity that 
carried any weight whatever. The general belief in France 
struck Bernard as rather pathetic. Many Irishmen who 
would otherwise have been as anti-British as Bernard were 
led to join the British Army out of a belief that Ireland ought 
to repay France for the help she had given us in Ninety- 
Eight. ' France'll see us through all right,' said one man 
to whom Bernard expressed doubts of England's good faith. 
Bernard had not the heart to tell him of the ways of diplomats. 

In the streets leading to the Mansion House the ' free 
people ' surged fruitlessly against the rocky line of police. 
Mounted constabulary clattered up and down the centre of 
the streets. Men and women, white-faced under the arc 
lamps, wandered aimlessly hither and thither. Sounds of 
singing came from divers directions : rebel airs now deemed 
harmless. 

Resting on a seat outside Stephens Green, Bernard found 
Edwin D'Arcy the young poet who frequented Mrs. Heuston 
Harrington's at homes. 



332 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" Well, what's your opinion of all this ? " asked Bernard. 

" I have none," said D'Arcy. " Opinions form no part 
of the poet's equipment." 

" What about Shelley ? " said Bernard promptly. 

" His ideas, such as they were, merely spoiled his poetry. 
I prefer to stand aloof from material happenings. Politics 
are no concern of mine. They're a dirty game." 

" Not essentially," snapped Bernard. " Only so far as 
men make them so. Man's a dirty creature. He dirties 
everything he touches from Religion to literature. But 
you wouldn't give up Religion on account of the Inquisition 
or the Penal Laws, or literature on account of the Heptame- 
ron. Then why Politics ? " 

D'Arcy swept the hair back from his forehead and said 
dreamily : 

" They are too small and finite for the poet's attention." 

" Ass ! " cried Bernard. " The life of man is in politics. 
All his greatness and smallness, all his nobility and mean- 
ness. You describe a man fully to me if you tell me his 
religion and politics, and if you desert politics you desert 
life. Great art can't be made out of the pathology of a 
neurotic soul. Man is the only theme worth singing, and 
man collectively should be the hero of great novels." 

" Lascelles, you're a philistine," said D'Arcy. 

" The hair of the human head," said Bernard, " is a hollow 
tube growing from a follicle. If allowed to exceed a certain 
length a hair is liable to split and dry up. You really ought 
to get your hair cut, D'Arcy." 

He left him, gaping prosaically. 

And now the opposition element began to make itself 
felt in the streets. Arriving at the top of Grafton Street 
Bernard could see above the crowd a string of torches 
approaching. In their midst was a waggonette. Arrived at 
the open space the waggonette halted and was immediately 
surrounded by the torch-bearers and a cordon of armed men, 
whom Bernard recognised by their uniform as members 
of the Citizen Army : dark stern dirty men, they stood at 
attention, their fixed bayonets flashing in the dancing light 
of the torches. In the waggonette Larkin arose and addressed 
the crowd. 

Bernard shook himself free from the press and walked 



WAR 333 

back towards Dawson Street. Behind him he could hear 
an occasional cheer punctuating the Labour Leader's speech. 
At the top of Dawson Street he encountered Mabel, Molly, 
and Jack Harvey. 

" Hello, Lascelles ! This is a pleasure, old chap," cried 
Jack in his effusive way. " Magnificent display of loyalty, 
what ? Makes one proud to be Irish, doesn't it ? " 

" Does one need the compulsion ? " asked Bernard drily. 
Mabel and Molly both laughed. 
" Jack's a desperate loyalist," said Mabel. 
" Well, I should think so," said Jack. " Even the most 
extreme Fenians must realise that England's on the right 
side this time." 

" I don't," said Bernard. " And even if she is I don't 
see that it's any reason why we should fight for her. We're 
not called upon to fight in every war that happens to be just 
unless we're a very exceptional nation." 
" But we're British subjects," said the scandalised Jack. 
" Oh, go to hell ! " exclaimed Bernard impatiently. 
He saw Mabel watching his impatience with eyes gleaming 
with amusement. 

" Let's have a stroll around," he suggested. 
" Oh, let's ! " cried Mabel, and, starting off by his side, 
left Molly to follow with Jack. 

" Are you a loyalist, too ? " asked Bernard. 
" I don't know what I am," replied Mabel. " You see 
I've never taken much interest in politics up to this. . . . 
I only want what's best for Ireland, and it's so hard to know 
... It seems a shame to throw Redmond over . . . 
after all he's done . . ." 

She spoke tentatively and with hesitation, blushing a 
little, and Bernard listened patiently. 

" From my knowledge of Irish history," said he, " I'm 
convinced that the only safe course is never to trust England. 
We've never trusted her yet without being let down, and I 
don't believe she's mended her ways." 

" I have the same feeling myself," said Mabel, " but Jack 
says women have no business meddling in politics. He says 
they follow their hearts rather than their heads." 
Bernard laughed loudly at this. 
" Really," he said " even though he is your brother. I 



334 THE WASTED ISLAND 

must say Jack's a donkey. Is he thinking of joining the army, 
by the way ? " 

" Oh, yes. He's applied for a commission already." 
Bernard found Mabel an interesting companion. They 
walked on, discussing a variety of subjects, quite oblivious 
of the crowd. At the remote end of the Green they came 
upon a little knot of people gathered round a tiny motor car 
from which Brian Mallow was delivering a passionate 
harangue. 

" Let's listen to him," said Mabel, and they pressed 
forward towards the car. 

" They may talk about German atrocities," Mallow was 
saying, " but we know of atrocities nearer home. What 
about the pitch-caps and half-hangings of Ninety-Eight ? 
What about Bachelor's Walk only the other day ? Victims 
of that atrocity are lying in the Dublin hospitals at this very 
minute. They may talk about small nationalities, but let 
us tell them that kindness to small nations might begin at 
home. They can set Ireland free without plunging into 
any European war. And as for broken treaties, what right 
have they to complain of broken treaties who have the Treaty 
of Limerick, and the Renunciation Act of '82, and the Home 
Rule Act of the day before yesterday to their credit. . . . 
Oh, Irishmen don't be blind trusting fools yet again after 
your long history of broken faith. England is a liar, England 
is a tyrant, England is a hypocrite, England is your 
enemy ! . . . ' 

At this moment a squad of police came pushing its way 
through the crowd. Mallow, seeing that escape was 
hopeless, cried out : 

"Oh, you can seize and imprison and murder me if you 
like. But the truth you can never kill. . . . Irishmen are 
used to persecution . . . ' 

There was a murmur from the crowd as the orator was 
dragged roughly from his place. True, Ireland had decided 
to join in the war, but the tradition of seven centuries will 
not vanish in a month, and from the moment that England 
laid her hands upon an Irishman he ceased to be a factionist 
and became a patriot and a martyr. As Bernard saw the 
glittering helmets of the police recede in the distance he felt 



WAR 335 

that the tide had already turned. Brian Mallow, pig- 
headed, stupid and sincere, had killed Imperialism. 

" I jolly well hope he'll be shot," said the voice of Jack 
from behind. " That kind of fellow almost makes one 
ashamed to be Irish." 

" Well, hurry up and get naturalised English," snapped 
Bernard, and hurried away with Mabel. 

" That shows how the English look on us," said Mabel. 

Bernard looked at her, admiring her flushed cheeks and 
flashing eyes. 

" I'm glad you don't agree with Jack," he said. 

A moment later Molly overtook them. 

" It's nine o'clock," she said. " We must be getting 
home." 

" You can get a tram at the Pillar," said Bernard. " I'll 
see you that far." 

He covered the distance as slowly as he could, which was 
not very slow owing to the necessity of keeping ahead of 
the others. At the tram he held her hand in his for quite 
three seconds. It made no resistance. 

" By gad ! " he said on the way home, " she's a great girl. 
. . . Pretty . . . my word ! . . . and she can talk 
too." 

He played with visionary possibilities and thought about 
her all the time he was undressing. 



7 

" Well, if the English aren't the bloody limit ! " said 
McGurk. " What do you think of this ? " 
He took up his newspaper and read : 

" O, the Irish love a fight, 

Says the Shan Van Vocht, 
If the cause be wrong or right 

Says the Shan Van Vocht. 
But their hearts most bravely glow 
And they deal their hardest blow 
When their foe is freedom's foe 

Says the Shan Van Vocht. 

That's out of an English Unionist paper," he said. " Hell 
roast them ! " 



336 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" I could forgive Redmond almost everything else," said 
Bernard, " but I can't forgive him for letting us in for that 
kind of thing. The English papers seem to be crammed 
with these ' loyalist ' parodies. I suppose it flatters some 
people." 

" Not it ! " said McGurk. " It'll sicken them. It's the 
best thing that could happen. Listen to this now : 

God save our noble King ! 

Says the Shan Van Vocht 
Let dissensions all take wing 

Says the Shan Van Vocht 
Hibernia bends the knee 
To Britannia bold and free, 
And hurrrah for loyalty ! 

Says the Shan Van Vocht." 

" No more, for heaven's sake," said Bernard. " Who 
the blazes does the author think the Shan Van Vocht is ? " 

Enthusiastic Englishmen, with that stupidity, self- 
sufficiency, and incapacity to see any point of view but their 
own which distinguishes their race, were at this time indulg- 
ing in the above kind of nauseating patronage of Ireland by 
the ream and the volume. The true reason and nature of 
Ireland's advocacy of the Allied cause they were incapable 
of appreciating, and it would have offended them had they 
discovered it. England's real feelings towards Ireland 
were not long in manifesting themselves. 

" Every man," said a Volunteer officer to his company 
on the occasion of the Split, " who conscientiously believes 
that this is Ireland's war and that he is fighting for Ireland 
in fighting the Germans, should hasten to don the khaki. 
We however who do not hold that view "will remain Irish 
Volunteers." He was sentenced to three months imprison- 
ment for * prejudicing recruitment.' 

One day Bernard and Stephen attended a recruiting 
meeting in a village in the North County Dublin. There 
was a platform decorated with green flags, Union Jacks, 
and the French and Belgian flags, in the street, and a band 
was playing Irish and British airs alternately. As the two 
young men entered the village it had just finished The Felons 
of Our Land and it began immediately on Rule Britannia. 



WAR 337 

" Who called us a logical people ? " said Stephen. 

The speakers ascended the platform and the population 
began to gather around. The chairman was a retired Colonel 
(to judge from his appearance) and the principal speakers 
were a young subaltern in uniform, a Member of Parlia- 
ment, and the President of the local branch of the United 
Irish League. The subaltern led off with a few formal 
remarks about the justice of the war and the duty of every 
British citizen to fight for his King and country. He was 
listened to with cold attention. Then came the M.P. He 
ranted in the approved style about gallant little Belgium 
and France the friend of Ireland, and the rights of small 
nationalities. He was lavishly applauded. Then arose the 
local light. 

" Since England has given us Home Rule," he declared, 
" it's only fair we should help her in her own hour of 
trouble . ..." 

But the chairman quickly called him to order. 

" I can't allow political speeches," he said with some 
asperity. 

The speaker scratched his head, clearly puzzled as to how 
to proceed. The only valid reason for Irishmen to go to 
the front being taken away he could not think of any other. 
He floundered for a minute, and then a mischevious look came 
into his eye. 

" If the Germans come to Ireland," he said, " they'd 
treat us like the English did in Ninety-Eight ... or 
worse maybe." 

" Hear ! Hear ! " yelled Bernard in delight. 

Purple with rage the chairman bounded from his seat 
and stalked off the platform. There was a cheer from the 
crowd and the band struck up the tune of Who Fears to Speak 
of Ninety-Eight? 

Bernard laughed heartily as he and Stephen strolled away. 

" That kind of thing is worth tons of our own propaganda," 
he said. 

He and Stephen and Hektor and O'Dwyer had spent the 
last few weeks in a feverish rush of writing, each putting 
the Volunteer case in his own characteristic way. Stephen 
in cold lucid language appealed to pure reason ; Bernard 
wrote passionately about historic analogies ; Hektor revealed 



338 



THE WASTED ISLAND 



the workings of European diplomacy ; and O'Dwyer wrote 
scathing verses. Stephen issued a handbill which ran as 
follows : 

TRUTH AND REASON. 

The truth at the bottom of any question is simple 
and easy to find if honestly sought. The essence of 
truth is simplicity, and if a case is complex it should 
be looked upon with suspicion. One simple all- 
sufficing reason is more cogent than a multiplicity of 
arguments, for in multiplicity lies redundance and 
contradiction. The Volunteer case is simple. In 
accordance with all the principles upon which 
Nationalism is based we deny the right of any body 
or party to commit the Irish People to a foreign war 
save only an Irish Parliament freely elected. This 
argument is all-sufficient, and no plea of the justice 
of the war or Ireland's interest therein or any other 
reason or excuse can stand against it or need be 
discussed. On the other hand the Parliamentary 
Party's case is too well bolstered up with arguments 
to be essentially sound. Suppose for the sake of 
argument we grant their contention that Ireland's 
interests are at stake in this war. How then does 
their second contention stand, namely that we are 
bound to assist England out of gratitude for Home 
Rule ? For surely it is no return to England to fight 
for our own interests ? There is not, in fact, a single 
argument of the Party's which is not open to question, 
whereas not even Mr. Redmond himself dare deny 
our basic principle. 

Stand by the simple case and join the Irish 
Volunteers. 

Bernard harped a good deal on one point, namely, that 
the Home Rule Act was not regarded in England as an inter- 
national treaty, but as a party measure, which another English 
party might rescind without in any way tarnishing England's 
honour in the eyes of the world, and that Nationalists need 
not count upon Home Rule as a reward for her services, 
since the Unionists could with equal justice demand its repeal 
as a reward for theirs. 

O'Dwyer's verses were of a ribald kind. Phrases like 
Sir Edward Grey's ' One Bright Spot/ Mr. Asquith's ' Free 
gift of a free people,' and Redmond's ' sharp curve in our 



WAR 339 

policy,' he gleefully seized upon as refrains. One typical 
example was sung by McGurk at a concert : 

" O, the Bill is on the Book, 

Says the John- John- Joe. 
'Tis a comfortable nook 

Says the John-John-Joe. 
And tho' the curve be sharp 
From the Bulldog to the Harp 
Sure 'tis only cranks will carp 

Says the John-John-Joe." 

But all their wit and effort went for naught, for nobody 
but those who already agreed with them ever read their 
papers. 

And it was not long before the enemy struck back. Irish 
Volunteers were deported from one end of the country to 
the other, or confined to certain districts. Thus one pro- 
minent local leader was banished from his home in Kerry 
and assigned the northern half of County Wicklow for his 
future habitat ; Crowley was confined to a radius of fifty 
miles around Ballylangan ; another man was forbidden to 
approach to within ten miles of any coast ; and finally Stephen 
received an order confining him to the city and suburbs of 
Dublin. 

" Will you obey it ? " asked Bernard. 

" Until it becomes inconvenient," said Stephen. " I've 
no desire for imprisonment, but I won't submit if I don't 
want to." 

Then their newspapers were attacked. There were three of 
these : Sinn Fein, a long-established weekly, organ of the relics 
of the political party of that name ; Irish Freedom, an in- 
dependent and very outspoken monthly ; and Ireland, a daily, 
a fearless supporter of the cause of the Volunteers. One 
morning a force of police and military arrived at the offices 
of each of these organs. An entry was forced ; all copies 
of the papers were seized upon and carried away ; the print- 
ing machinery was dismantled, and, in one case, smashed ; 
and further publication was prohibited. The only paper 
to survive the storm was the Irish Volunteer, which, being 
entirely devoted to technical military articles, furnished no 
handle that its enemies could lay hold of as an excuse for 
suppression, 



340 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" Opening of hostilities on the Irish front," announced 
McGurk. " British troops occupied several Irish positions 
this morning. There were no losses but honour." 

There were two or three arrests for writings and speeches 
at about the same time, and Brian Mallow, coming up for 
trial, received three months imprisonment. 

" What will they say of this at Ashbury ? " thought 
Bernard. He had recently received a copy of the Ashbury 
Chronicle, which announced the deaths in action of several 
Old Ashburians, among whom were Bernard's old enemies 
Sherringham and Tomkins. Tomkins was described as 
' a gentle good - humoured boy, with a deep devotion to 
St. Aloysius/ and Sherringham was ' a model of all that an 
English Catholic gentleman should be.' 

" He looks better in uniform than in my memory," said 
Bernard, surveying the accompanying photograph. 

8 

" This suit positively sings your praises as a valet, 
Swathythe. How do I look ? " 

" Very genteel indeed, sir." 

" There are only two kinds of people in the world, 
Swathythe. Those who wear their best clothes on Sunday, 
and those who wear their worst." 

" Yes, sir." 

" That was a very snobbish remark on my part, Swathythe." 

' Yes, sir." 

" But very profound all the same, Swathythe." 

" Yes, sir." 

" I think, however, one may safely stretch a point when 
taking a young lady out to tea for the first time." 

" No doubt of it, sir." 

Exceptionally spruce and very pleased with himself, 
Bernard set out for the rendezvous. It had not taken him 
long to fall in quasi-love with Mabel, her prettiness, attract- 
ive conversation, and evident liking for himself making him 
a very willing victim. Of passion he had none as yet but 
what young man will refuse the companionship of a pretty 
girl when it can be had for the asking ? We like the love 
that comes easy, and laughing love runs smoother than grand 
passion. 



WAR 341 

She ran smiling to meet him at the railway station and they 
took tickets for Howth. At first they said little ; just sat 
in opposite corners and smiled at each other. They could 
not look at each other without breaking out into beaming 
smiles. It was a dull cold day, and Bernard feeling a nip 
even through his heavy frieze overcoat, wondered how she 
kept from shivering in her thin tweed jacket, eked out with 
a shabby and exiguous fur. He noticed a chilblain on one 
finger that peeped through a hole in her glove, and he thought 
of those chilly little hands busy typewriting in the rawness 
of the early mornings when he was only just rising from bed. 
... He cursed the world's economic system fiercely in 
his heart. 

" If mother only knew what I was up to ! " exclaimed 
Mabel happily. 

" Is she very puritanical ? " 

" Oh no. Selfish merely. She thinks we ought to stay 
at home to keep her company. We'd be always dancing 
attendance on her if she had her way. Susan gives in to her 
and never gets a breath of fresh air in consequence. I 
always have to make up some unpleasant excuse if I want to 
get away. If she thought I was going to enjoy myself there' d 
be ructions." 

" The appalling selfishness of parents ! " declaimed 
Bernard. He told her about O'Dwyer's casting forth. 

" Mother made Susan promise not to get married during 
her lifetime. She was a fool to do it, I think, but then . . . 
Susan . . . ' 

Bernard laughed as she hesitated. 

" Go on," he urged. 

" O, nothing," she said. 

At Howth station they took a tram to the summit, from the 
top of which they had a fine view of the harbour. Ireland's 
Eye and Lambay, all seemingly asleep in the grey light of 
the December afternoon. Bernard told her about the 
gun-running, omitting however all reference to Milady 
and to the part Mabel's own simulacrum had played in the 
drama. He had not yet finished his narrative when they 
came to a cottage with the inviting signboard : 

TEA AND HOT SCONES. 

They went inside and over steaming hot cakes and toast 



342 THE WASTED ISLAND 

and black currant jam she listened eagerly to the conclusion 
of the tale : the storm, the landing, and the battle of Clontarf . 
Tea over, they sat talking over a hundred different subjects, 
Bernard smoking his pipe, she with a cigarette balanced 
between her dainty lips. She could chatter interestingly 
enough, and she had an amusing gift of repartee, but Bernard 
was a little disappointed at her attitude towards the things 
of which he thought most highly. She cared nothing for 
poetry, and laughed at any he quoted. Most of the great 
novelists she thought ' dry,' yet her taste in literature 
was neither cheap nor vicious. Her favourite writers were 
mediocrities. She knew nothing about painting, but she 
' liked ' certain pictures : Landseer's work, and Hobbema's 
Middleharnis Avenue, and The Fighting Temeraire. She 
' liked ' music too, she said, and it happened that her taste 
was good. She preferred Figaro to ' any of those musical 
comedies,' and she was very ' fond of ' some of Beethoven's 
work. But she did not know that music possessed a mean- 
ing (she thought it was no more than a sound-pattern) ; 
she did not know that Beethoven was great and Verdi second- 
rate ; she had no standards of merit and merely went by her 
preferences. 

It did not take Bernard long to find out all this, and then 
he resigned himself to the inevitable and allowed her to 
chatter in her own inimitable way: which was quite sufficient 
to charm away his disappointment. She was quick to see, 
too, where his main interest lay, and it was not long before 
she started to question him on politics. 

" Tell me," she said, " could Ireland really manage to 
get on if she was independent ? Everyone I know says we 
couldn't do without England's money." 

" Everyone is extraordinarily ignorant," said Bernard. 
" Especially those who are most dogmatic. So far from 
our getting any money from England, she gets it from us. 
For the last fifty years the amount she's spent on us has 
always been about three millions less than our annual revenue. 
If we were free we'd have our whole revenue to ourselves, 
and it would be quite sufficient for our needs. Norway 
and Sweden and Denmark and Belgium and Bulgaria and 
a few other small nations have all revenues in or about the 
same as ours : some a little more, some a little less. And 



WAR 343 

on that they run Kings and courts and armies and navies 
and diplomatic services and mercantile marines, and much 
better educational and agricultural systems than ours. . . . 
So far from not being able to manage without England, I 
don't see how we're going to escape ruination unless we get 
rid of her at once." 

" I'm so glad to know that," said Mabel. " I shan't 
be sat upon in argument again." 

Evening fell, and wandering out under the stars, they 
walked slowly down the hill. They spoke little, and when 
they did their voices were strangely hushed. . . . She 
shivered slightly, and apprehensively he caught her arm. 

" You're cold ? " he said. 

" Only slightly," she assured him. With her upper arm 
she imprisoned his hand against her side. He slipped his 
arm right through and held hers close. United in warm 
intimacy they strode down the hill keeping step together. 
Her eyes shone in the darkness. . . . 

Quite frankly their hands dwelt upon the farewell hand- 
clasp as he left her at her door . . . 

" She's mine . . .," he said to himself that evening, 
and not even a fleeting vision of a certain avenue of cedars 
could disturb his satisfaction. 

9 

Within a week of the declaration of war Sandy applied for 
a commission in the British Army, and Eugene was not long 
in following his example. Sandy's action was only to be 
expected, for he was a gay thoughtless youth who took no 
interest in politics and leaped at this chance of change and 
adventure. But Bernard took it upon himself to remonstrate 
with Eugene. 

" It's no use, Bernard," replied Eugene. " Only your 
biassed frame of mind prevents you seeing the justice of this 
war. Freedom, Civilisation and Christianity are at stake, 
and my conscience tells me I must go to their defence." 

" I like your self-righteousness," said Bernard angrily. 
" You religious people seem to think no one has a conscience 
but yourselves. Biassed frame of mind, indeed ! I've as 
much care for Freedom and Civilisation as you have. That's 
why I'm in the Irish Volunteers." 



344 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" Don't let us quarrel over it, anyway," said Eugene, 
and Bernard, looking at his honest good-humoured and 
perturbed countenance, and thinking of dreadful possibil- 
ities, relented. He criticised no more, and said : 

" Well, good luck, old man." 

About the same time he received a letter from Willoughby, 
who was in training at Salisbury Plain. 

" / think even you will agree," it ran, " that England is fight- 
ing for a just cause this time. Believe me, Bernard, we didn't 
want this war. It is Germany's doing entirely, and when that 
monstrous war-machine is smashed you will rejoice with us that 
war has been banished from the earth . . . 

" Religion, morality, all the amenities of civilisation as 
we know it, are at stake. The free man of the English and 
French ideal is at issue with the trained machine of the German 
system . . . 

" I knew that in such a cause Ireland would not be backward. 
Her action in this crisis has won her many friends. Even my 
brother Frank has become a Home Ruler . . . 

" I expect I'll meet you one of these days on a field in 
France ..." 

" Moore was right," groaned Bernard. " What hellish 
power rules us that can turn the honesty and bravery of 
these fine young men to its own vile ends ? . . . And what 
can I say to Willoughby ? " 

10 

Soldiers marching to battle. . . . Bernard stood at the 
foot of Grafton Street to watch them. First came the band, 
playing a stirring martial air that set the heart beating and 
made the feet want to go a-marching. Next came the fight- 
ingmen, khaki-clad figures carrying rifles, heavy laden with 
packs, great-coats, trench tools, and mess-tins. A thousand 
men . . . two thousand. One day's casualty list. . . . 
They'll bury as many to-morrow. Every day a mass of men 
like these will be blotted out of life, ever to be replaced by 
fresh drafts from home. 

" Morituros vos saluto," muttered Bernard. 

But these doomed faces are cheerful. Boyish faces most 
of them . . Irish faces. Sons of the soil of Ireland 



WAR 345 

marching to die for what ? Famine and war and emigra- 
tion have drained her of her sons for centuries. The flower 
of her manhood is gone beyond recall. She is a nation 
bled almost white. . . . Yet forth they go as their kind 
have ever gone, believing that the motherland requires it. 

" Two thousand Irishmen lost to Ireland," says Bernard, 
and bitterly curses those responsible for the wastage. 

The column passes on : the band ceases : the men strike 
up the well-known air of Tipper ary. The common-place 
hackneyed melody, sung by voices soon to be silenced for 
ever, mingles with and is drowned by the hum of traffic. 
Unexalted melancholy takes possession of the listener. 

ii 

t 1 

!" 

Christmas came : the first Christmas of the war, and the 
last before the food -shortage. But it brought no peace or 
good-will. In the trenches attempts to fraternise on the 
part of the men on both sides were sternly discountenanced 
by the Allied Commanders. The last shred of humanity 
was torn away from warfare. 

Owing to the uncompromising attitude of his father, 
Bernard was not invited to share the family Christmas dinner 
and was looking forward to eating it in solitary state under 
the servile patronage of Swathythe when he received an 
invitation from Stephen to spend Christmas week with him 
at Glencoole. Bernard accepted gladly, and it was arranged 
that they should motor out on the night of Christmas Eve. 

He spent the afternoon with Mabel. He met her at 
three o'clock, and they strolled about the streets together 
in the ever thickening crowd. There was no sign of war 
about the city that evening. The streets were brightly 
lit, the shop windows gaily adorned and blazing with light ; 
the restaurants were packed with chattering people, and the 
air of universal cheerfulness associated with Christmas was 
in no wise diminished. The war had not yet brought its 
hardships. 

Bernard and Mabel mingled with the crowd of shoppers, 
parcel-laden, wrapped and muffled, breathing steam into the 
frosty air. 

" I love jostling with a good crowd," said Bernard. 



346 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" So do I," replied Mabel. 

They went to a book-shop where he bought her a volume 
of Mangan's poems and Mitchell's Last Conquest, and theii 
she shyly presented him with a tie-pin which she had kept 
concealed in her hand-bag up to this. After that they went 
to Mitchell's and after a long wait secured a rather scrambled 
tea. Bernard's every sense was acute to seize its own par- 
ticular pleasure. He enjoyed the crimson- shaded lights, 
and the cheerful glow of the red berries amid the black 
holly-leaves of the decorations. He enjoyed the stupefying 
clamour of many voices with its accompaniment of clatter- 
ing cups, mixed as it was with the alternate crescendo and 
diminuendo of the street-noises as the doors swung open 
and closed again. The sense of being at one with all human- 
ity that always seized upon him when in a crowd thrilled 
through his being now. . . . The maid bustled up with 
the tea : delicate fragrance of China : warmer of the hearts 
of men. He "watched Mabel pouring it out, holding the pot 
gracefully as only a girl knows how. . . . Delicious creamy 
cakes that seemed to melt in the mouth. . . . The world 
seemed a good place in those few minutes. 

" Hurrah for living ! " he said, looking into Mabel's eyes, 
and she responded with a laugh . . . 

Stephen arrived at Harcourt Street that night at the time 
appointed and they set out at once in Bernard's little car. 
They rushed through the sleeping villages of Terenure and 
Rathfarnham and out along the slushy roads through the cold 
night air towards the mountains. As they climbed towards 
the high ground they felt the nip of frost, and the surface 
of the road hardened, and glittered under the lamplight of 
the car. Up and up they panted, then slid down the dark 
glenside, crossed the bottom, and up again. 

" By the way," said Stephen, " don't talk politics to my 
father. He's a bit queer on the subject. He's an old Fenian 
and got badly let down by some of his friends, so he's been 
sour about it ever since. . . . He looks on politics much 
as your friend Fergus Moore does, but he's bitterer. . . . 
Whoa ! Here we are." 

Bernard pulled up as they reached a cottage gate. Stephen 
leaned across him and tootled the horn before dismounting, 
whereupon an old man came rushing out of the cottage and 



WAR 347 

embraced Stephen with an effusiveness that rather 
embarrassed Bernard. 

" Come in ! Come in ! " cried Michael Ward, and as 
Bernard came blinking into the light of the sitting room the 
first thing that caught his eye was a large photograph of his 
dead Uncle Christopher over the mantelpiece. 

Before he could make any comment however he was bustled 
upstairs to a low-ceilinged plainly-furnished bedroom, 
while the old man ran off to hasten supper. As he per- 
formed his ablutions Bernard shouted across to Stephen's 
room that the photograph in the sitting-room was of an 
uncle of his and asked for an explanation. Stephen was 
much surprised. 

" He was a great friend of my father's in days gone by," 
he said. " They were mixed up in one of those Fenian 
plots. . . . To think of his being your uncle ! " 

" He was more. He was my godfather . . . and he 
had a lot to do with making me a Nationalist." 

" By Jove ! . . . He did the same for me." 

" How ? " asked Bernard, all curiosity. 

" I'll tell you later," said Stephen. " We'd best be going 
down now. . . . Remember what I told you." 

There was a steaming dish of bacon and eggs with tea 
and potato-cakes on the table when they came downstairs. 
Michael Ward was keenly interested to learn that Bernard 
was Chris Reilly's nephew. Shaking his hand with renewed 
warmth he said : 

" Sure he was talking to me about you the last day he was 
here ... it must be fifteen years ago." 

Bernard and Stephen fell to on the appetising supper, and 
Michael Ward sat and watched them. 

" Have you reformed the world yet, Stephen ? " he grunted 
after some moment's silence. 

" We've made a beginning," said Stephen quietly. 
" How's the farm going ? " 

" Well enough, Stephen. But I wish I had you back, 
my boy." 

When the meal was over they sat and talked for a couple 
of hours. Bernard brought his uncle's name forward several 
times in the hope of hearing some of his past history. He 
had often questioned his mother on the subject, but she 



348 



THE WASTED ISLAND 



knew nothing of the political side of Christopher's life, 
and was disinclined to talk about what she considered the 
discreditable end to it. But old Ward, though ready to 
speak in terms of enthusiasm about his friend's qualities 
was very reticent about his history, and Bernard soon dropped 
the subject. 

As they went upstairs to bed that night Bernard said to 
Stephen : 

" I say. You know you've broken bounds ? " 
" I know," said Stephen. " And it's not the first time 
either. I risk it now and again." 

12 

Bernard began for the first time to know Stephen fully 
during that visit. He had been inclined to underrate him 
before, thinking that his intense occupation with the things 
of the moment was a sign of narrowness. Now from 
close acquaintance he could see that Stephen's outlook was 
as wide as his own while he had a power of concentration 
on the matter in hand and a grip of detail in which Bernard 
was woefully lacking. 

" Going up the glen to-day ? " asked Michael Ward one 
morning as they set out from the cottage. " It isn't what 
it used to be," he said sadly. " Most of my woods have 
been cut down . . . gone to make masts for British ships 
most likely. . . . Divil sink them." 

" Father's crazy about trees," said Stephen as they climbed 
the far slope of the glen. " He's right too. I'm afraid it 
looks as if our children will be born into a treeless island. 
Look at that." 

They were passing a clearing : the site of the very wood 
in which Michael Ward and Chris Reilly had walked fifteen 
years ago. 

" I think a clearing is one of the saddest sights there is," 
said Bernard. " To think that this is going on all over the 
country. And how irreparable it is. If we got a Republic 
to-morrow the country wouldn't be fully afforrested in 
our life time. . . . Auri sacra fames! What soulless 
vandalism !" 

" It's rotten economics anyway," said 'Stephen. 



WAR 349 

They turned back and surveyed the valley behind them. 

" What a pretentious bridge that is," remarked Bernard. 
" It would be big enough for the Shannon." 

" Funny you noticed that," said Stephen. " Your uncle 
made the same remark to me years ago when I was a boy." 
And he told Bernard all about Chris's visit. 

It was a typical Irish winter's day, soft and moist, with a 
tinge of grey over everything. Heavy grey clouds hung 
in the sky with a pearly shimmer on them in the region of 
the sun. The bracken and frocken were dank and heavy 
and the turf was black and sodden. They passed a cottage, 
an ill-built miserable affair. The walls had not been white- 
washed for months and they were splotched and mouldy. 
The unhealthy looking roof of rotting thatch was caved in. 
Ruinous out-houses had been dropped about it anyhow. 
There was a large dunghill close to the doorway, whose 
brown stinking drainage puddled the yard and the adjacent 
roadway. 

" Habitation of a citizen of the British Empire," said 
Stephen. " The son of the house has gone to fight for 
civilisation etcetera when he'd be much better employed 
in making this little spot fit for a civilised man to live 
in. ... Good-morning, Mr. Dolan, how are things ? " 

This was addressed to an old man smoking a foul clay 
pipe who appeared at the half door at this minute. 

" Ah, sure they might be better, glory be to God. An' 
how's yourself ? " 

" Couldn't be better thanks. Any news of Barney ? " 

" He's not at the front yet, thank God. But he soon 
will be. ... These is terrible times Mr. Stephen." 
' Terrible," said Stephen. 

" Will we be seein' Home Rule soon at all, do ye think ? " 

" We will not, Mr. Dolan, and that's my honest opinion." 

" Glory be to God, an' what are all the boys goin' to the 
war for ? " 

" God knows, Mr. Dolan." 

" Tis a terrible thing us to be losing our young men and 
no showin' for it." 

" It is that, Mr. Dolan, and you can thank our leaders 
for it." 

" Sure I felt that all along, but musha, what can you do ? " 



350 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" You're a Sinn Feiner, Mr. Dolan," said Stephen. 

" I am not," said the old man angrily. 

Stephen hastily changed the subject. 

" What's wrong with your hens ? " he asked. 

" I think it's the cholera they've got." 

" How did they manage to get that ? " 

" Faith, I dunno . . . unless it's from pickin' in the 
dung- heap there." 

" Why don't you rail it in then ? " 

" Sure it mightn't be that at all." 

" Well, we'll be going on. Good-bye, Dolan." 

" Good-bye, Misther Stephen." 

" See that," said Stephen to Bernard as they passed on. 
" No Imperial thinking there. The heart of the people is 
sound at bottom, even if loyalty to their leaders leads them 
astray superficially." 

" Rubbishy remark that of Juliet's about What's in a 
Name," said Bernard. " That man obviously believes in 
independence, yet he objects to being called a Sinn Feiner." 

The road swung out on to the open bog. 

" These bogs are playing the devil with our national 
character," said Stephen. " They enervate the whole atmos- 
phere. That's why we're what we are: a lazy inefficient 
people. We think everything worth doing, and nothing 
worth doing well. Look at that man with his hens. 
And he's not the only fool like that in Ireland. Nearly 
every cottage in the country has its dung-hill at the front 
door, and its drainage going to waste and being a nuisance." 

" How little sense of beauty they have," said Bernard. 
" Those awful outhouses ! And the makeshifts they have 
everywhere for gates : bits of old bedsteads and the like." 

" Due to history," said Stephen. " In the old days your 
rent was put up if you had a geranium in your window, 
so the habit of the poor mouth grew up and sticks to them 
still." 

" How very uncouth in their habits our people are," said 
Bernard. " What a pity they don't adopt the continental 
habit of wearing blouses at their work. How gross their 
family life is when you come to think of it, with the men 
coming home in their dirty working clothes. We'll need 



WAR 351 

to restore civilisation in this country when we've got our 
freedom." 

Stephen told Bernard about all his reconstructive pro- 
jects : the improvement of agriculture, the construction 
of a mercantile marine, the development of fisheries ; the 
completion of the canal system begun by the Irish Parlia- 
ment of 1782 and cut short by the Union; afforestation; 
industrial development and utilisation of mines and other 
natural resources ; and finally a complete reorganisation 
of education. Bernard, if the truth must be told, did not 
listen very attentively. The image of Mabel was discon- 
certingly prominent in his thoughts ; it hovered before him 
in the daytime and came to him in his dreams at night. He 
dwelt upon the image with pleasure when it came, and even 
conjured it up deliberately in idle moments. 

And she had written to him. In his pocket was a letter 
he had received that morning. She was going to a dance 
at the Gresham on New Year's Eve, she said. Would he 
be back in time for it ? Inly he swore that he would and 
was even now casting about for excuses to shorten his stay 
at Glencoole. 

" Then the army in a free Ireland," went on Stephen, 
" wouldn't be an unproductive service like in other countries. 
I'd employ the soldiers on national work reclaiming of bogs, 
afforestation, and what not. ... I wouldn't keep them in 
barracks either : they'd live in specially built military villages 
with their wives and children, the villages to be modelled 
more or less on ancient Sparta. . . . Suppose I wanted 
to reclaim this bog here for example. I'd run up a village 
quickly on that firm patch over there, and camp a regiment 
there till the work was finished. ... By this means we 
could keep up a far larger standing army than we could 
otherwise afford. And we'd need it too, with the world 
the way it is." 

They got on to the question of education for a while. 
Stephen insisted upon the necessity of a philosophic basis 
for education. 

" Modern education," he said, " teaches too many facts 
(and loo many lies also) and makes no attempt to get people 
to think . . . That's why men are so easily deceived and 
imposed upon. . . . That's why this war's going on to- 



352 THE WASTED ISLAND 

day. . . . Lack of thought, incapacity for deduction, 
that's what does it." 

Bernard was mofe concerned with organisation than with 
the curriculum. He revealed to Stephen the horrors of 
the Public School system as he had known it. 

" Let's have no big schools," he said. " Boys' schools 
should be divided into three classes : Primary, for those 
under ten, secondary for those from eleven to fourteen, and 
tertiary for those from fifteen to seventeen. Let there be 
plenty of widely-distributed primary and secondary schools, 
and let none of them be boarding-schools. The tertiary 
can be boarding or day as you like, but young boys become 
savages if they're separated from their mothers and sisters." 

Thus disjointedly and at haphazard as they wandered about 
the neighbourhood of Glencoole they discussed their plans 
and projects. Sweeping projects they were : broad in out- 
line but lacking in detail : rather absurd some of them : 
but all honest and disinterested : young men's plans. . . . 
And always at the very height of their enthusiasm they would 
be pulled up by the melancholy reflection that the first step, 
the very essential to making any attempt to realise their 
dreams, was yet unaccomplished. The shadow of the 
occupation still lay over everything ; and their own country- 
men were still hostile to them and seemingly content to 
rest in its obscurity. 

New Year's Eve approached, and Bernard felt his longing 
for Mabel growing irresistible. To dance with her would 
be joy supreme. To spend a whole evening, perhaps, in her 
company. . . . His hopes were ecstatic. 

" Look here, old chap," he said to Stephen, " I'm afraid 
I must leave to-morrow. There's a patient I can't put 
off . . ." 

And Stephen knew he was lying, and was thankful to be 
exempted from the tender emotions. 



The ball- room was ablaze with lights and garlands, the 
air throbbed with music, and the floor was slippery as ice. 
Bernard had come early, and prowled about with impatience 
gnawing at his heart, looking out for Mabel's arrival. Girls 



WAR 353 

he knew looked in his direction expecting to be asked for 
dances, but he pretended not to see them. He had two 
empty programmes in the pocket of his pique waistcoat. 

Mabel was late. 

" That cursed dawdling brother of hers ! " muttered 
Bernard savagely to himself. 

The first dance was well under way when she appeared, 
a dainty fairy-like figure clad in white net with a pink waist- 
band, the light gleaming in her hair. 

" I thought you were never coming," he said. " Here's 
a programme for you," and he handed her the fellow of his 
own. 

" Where are they to be had ? " asked Jack, whereat Bernard 
gave him directions and they were rid of him. 

" Well, how many may I have ? " asked Bernard. 

" How many do you want ? " she replied. 

" I daren't ask for that many," he said. 
' They get nothing who don't dare," said she. 

" God help me ! " said he. 

" Be brave," said she. 

" But I want such a lot . . ." 

" Here's Jack coming back." 

" I want them all," he said desperately. 
' That's a large order," she said, and his face fell. 

" That's my maximum demand," he said. " You can 
make your deductions from it." 

" Well, I've promised Jack two, and I must keep six for 
duty dances. . . . You can have the rest." 

With trembling fingers he marked off the dances on both 
programmes. 

" How am I to remember who X is ? " she asked. 

The air was suddenly rent by the opening chords of a 
wild ragtime tune, and in a minute he was swinging her over 
the hyaline floor. She danced well : too well. She seemed 
to have no volition of her own, and melting into his arms 
responded automatically to every movement of his. The 
mad ragtime strain with its fierce dissonances and breathless 
syncopation surged through him stirring his blood and 
thrilling his nerves with a vivifying current of electricity. 
Wild imaginings passed through his brain, and all that was 

rimitive in him leaped to the surface. He abandoned 



354 THE WASTED ISLAND 

himself to the sheer joy of dancing. His limbs seemed 
tireless. He felt as if he could go on like that for ever. 

And then abruptly the dance came to an end and Mabel 
was fanning herself and praising the floor. The next dance 
was promised to Jack and Bernard retired to soothe his 
impatience with a cigarette in the dressing room. Here he 
was in no way surprised to meet Molloy, who was an habitue* 
of the Gresham. 

" Hello ! " said Bernard. " I thought you were at the 
Front." 

" I haven't time," said Molloy. ' I'm frightfully busy 
at present. I've three or four of these sedition cases coming 
up shortly. . . . I'm defending the blighters too, though 
personally I'd like to see them all dumped in the Liffey. 
... I say, I saw you dancing with a damn pretty girl just 
now. You might give me an intro ? . . . ' 

Languid waltz and vivid one-step alternating, the evening 
sped by. Bernard and Mabel sat out most of the second 
part of the programme, and talked. They talked about 
everything and themselves : but chiefly about themselves. 
He told her things that he had never told anyone else. He 
told her about the nursery Babylon and his imaginary island. 
She told him about her home life and her dreary work. 
They had become confidants . . . 

" Which do you like best, the waltz or the one step ? " 
she asked suddenly. 

" The one -step, I think," replied Bernard. " I like the 
frank savagery of it. It puts the devil into you : rips the 
wrappings of civilisation off you and turns the ball-room 
into a battlefield where you carry off your bride like a 
primitive skin-clad man. ' 

" Hmph ! . . . I prefer the waltz. It makes you fall 
asleep on life and dream of operas and scenes in books." 

They were silent awhile, and then Mabel said : 

" What a lovely night ! " 

" I've never had such a night before," said Bernard. 

" Nor I." 

" ' On such a night/ " Bernard quoted, " ' Troilus me- 
thinks . . . '" 

" Try a new one," iaid Mabel. 

" Hm, let's see ... On such a night Tristan methinks, 



WAR 355 

with cheeks incarnadined And beating heart, first looked 
into the eyes Of Mark's intended in the spacious halls Of 
Chapelizod." 

" Hear ! Hear ! . . . let's try and out-night you. . . . 
On such a night Giulietta in a mirror caught The soul of 
Hoffmann." 

" On such a night Cyrano's nose did blush amid the 
verse Wafted towards Roxane's window." 

" On such a night Stood Tessa weeping by the Grand 
Canal, And uttered messages to birds a-wing For Barataria." 

" On such a night Guiseppe lilted like a love- sick boy Of 
sparkling eyes to Marco." 

" On such a night I feel like having an ice. Come down 
and get me one." 

'You're some poet," said Bernard on the way down. 

" I did The Merchant for the Intermediate my last year at 
school." 

" Don't spoil it all," said Bernard. 

They went to the ball-room and had another dance : a 
waltz to the tune of Come Back to Erin. When it was over 
they tacitly returned to their former nook. They had so 
much to say that dancing seemed an irritating interruption . . 

An hour went by thus ; and then Bernard said : 

" We must preserve that poem of ours. Let's write it 
down before we forget it." 

He started to scribble on the back of his programme, she 
looking over his shoulder the while. Intoxicating presence ! 
It distracted his memory and she had to prompt him fre- 
quently. Their heads were very close together, and a strand 
of her hair tickled him. Then, when the task was done, 
Mabel wanted to dance again. 

" It must be nearly the last dance," she said, and they 
rose from their shelter to go downstairs. As they faced 
each other for a moment a wave of passion swept over Bernard 
He found himself stammering uncontrollably. 

" Mabel ..." he said, and stopped, tongue-tied. 

She looked up at him timidly. 

" Dear I " he ventured. 

She seemed to shrink from him for a second, and then she 
was in his arms and submitting languorously to his kisses. 

The last waltz saw them not. 



356 THE WASTED ISLAND 



He awoke next morning to find Swathythe by his bedside. 

" It can't be ten yet, Swathythe," said Bernard sleepily. 

" No, sir, but ... " 

" Well go away and don't disturb me. Didn't I tell you 
not to call me till ten ? " 

" Yes, sir, but I thought . . . ' 

" You'd no business to think, Swathythe." 

" Mr. Ward has been arrested, sir. I thought . . . 

Wide awake at once Bernard sprang out of bed. Swathythe 
respectfully handed him a newspaper 



CHAPTER XIV 
AN AMATEUR ARMY 



MRS. HARVEY was somewhat taken aback when Bernard and 
Mabel came to tell" her of their engagement. Mabel, the 
beauty of the family, was expected to make a match which 
would restore their fallen fortunes ; she knew it, and so had 
kept her affair with Bernard a secret. The revelation was 
therefore an unpleasant surprise to Mrs. Harvey, but she 
recovered her equanimity in time to avoid betraying herself. 

" You're a rash pair of children," she said. " Well, 
God bless you. May you be happy." And she expressed 
a desire to have a chat with Bernard. 

He called on her a few days later when Mabel was away 
at her work, and in a short time she was pretty thoroughly 
acquainted with his financial position. 

" And now," she said, " I've one piece of motherly advice 
for you. You take far too much interest in politics. Steer 
clear of it, or you'll never get O n in your profession." 

" If Washington had taken that advLe America wouldn't 
now be free," said Bernard. 

" Perhaps," said Mrs. Harvey serenelv. " But Washington 
wasn't a suitor for my daughter." Which bowled Bernard 
over completely. 

Mrs. Harvey was less pleased than ever with the prospect 
of the marriage, not for her daughter's sake, but for her own. 
Bernard and Mabel could as a matter of fact have married 
quite comfortably by the end of another year, but that would 
not have satisfied Mrs. Harvey's requirements at all. She 
was tired (and no wonder) of hei present toilsome life, and 

357 



358 THE WASTED ISLAND 

wished to become a lady of leisure once more. Her daugh- 
ters therefore would have to look for husbands who would 
be wealthy enough lo compensate her handsomely for the 
loss of their earnings, and as Bernard was not rich, nor, 
owing to his infatuation with a very lost cause in politics 
ever likely to be so, he was a very undesirable son-in-law 
from Mrs. Harvey's point of view. Moreover there was 
a certain social stigma associated with a party whose adherents 
so frequently found themselves in gaol ( where Bernard 
might be landed any day himself) and as Mrs. Harvey's 
insatiable ambition was to regain that social status which 
she had lost, her chagrin at her daughter's choice can well 
be imagined. She was not however so foolish as to oppose 
it openly. Mabel, she knew, was not a girl of particularly 
strong character, but she was proud and could be far more 
easily led than driven, more potently influenced by ridicule 
than by force. For the present therefore Mrs. Harvey bided 
her time, and, while outwardly she blessed the engagement, 
she set herself to the discovery of a more desirable rival, 
contenting herself meanwhile with stray disparaging remarks 
about Bernard his seriousness, his untidiness, and so on 
with occasional reflections on the comforts of wealth, 
fervent hopes that Bernard would attain it, and despondent 
prophecies that this was very unlikely. 

This policy Mabel treated at first with indifference, but 
gradually she became uneasy and communicated her fears 
to Bernard. He however only laughed, and said her mother 
was over anxious about her happiness. 

" Cheer up," he said. " The spring is coming : you can 
feel it in the air. I'll work like a nigger now, and then 
in the summer, perhaps. . . . Meanwhile we have our 
Saturdays and Sundays and our evenings together, so don't 
be downhearted. . . . And, dear, who knows but Ireland 
may be free by our wedding-day. The tide is turning 
already." 

The anger and despair and bitter laughter that had tor- 
tured Bernard through the winter had not been ousted from 
his soul by love : requited love however now distracted him, 
and simultaneously hope began to revive at sight of the 
already changing attitude of the people. Hostility towards the 



AN AMATEUR ARMY 359 

Volunteers was still strong, and still widely spread, but it 
was no longer uncompromising, and it was narrowing in 
scope. Even those who strongly disagreed with them 
recognized that they had a case and that it could not be con- 
troverted by mere abuse. . . . They were seldom called 
traitors now, though names like ' factionists ' and ' cranks ' 
were still flung at them. 

These were Spring days and it was good to live and love. 
He took Mabel for long walks : out to Howth ; up the Three 
Rock ; through the Glen of the Downs. One breezy 
sunny day they climbed to the Hell-Fire Club. They raced 
each other up the grassy gorse-clad slope of Mount Pelier, 
and arriving breathless at the top were nearly blown to 
pieces by the wind. The gusts hurtled and shrieked round 
the rough stone walls of the naked ruin and in and out of its 
bleak chambers. Bernard tore off his cap and let the wind 
ruffle his hair and rattle his unbuttoned rain-coat with a 
noise of rending cloth. 

" Isn't it glorious," he said, joyously inhaling the exhilarat- 
ing fluid. 

" I'm so cold," said Mabel, and drew him into the lee of 
the building, pulling his arm round her for comfort. They 
seemed lapped in a magic silence now. after the turmoil 
outside. 

" What a sight I am/' exclaimed Mabel, ad<p isting her hair 
by the help of a pocket mirror. 

" You look your best untidy," said he. 

"Go away!" she laughed and added, "You're a perfect 
sketch yourself." 

" What ho for a hot cup of tea ? " said Bernard, and they 
ran down the sheltered side of the hill hand in hand. 

" If anyone MZV us," remonstrated Mabel. . . . 

They walked along the Velvet Strand another day from 
Portmarnock to Malahide, a great deserted stretch of beach 
at that season. 

" What a dull spot," said Mabel. 

" Is it bathing-machines and nursery maids you'd like to 
see ? " asked Bernard. 

" I don't like this loneliness," she said, holding his arm 
closer. 

They stood listening to the thud and jingle of the breaking 



360 THE WASTED ISLAND 

and retreating waves, while the wind whistled in the bent- 
grass on the sand dunes behind them. Sky and sea were grey 
and mournful. The air was scented with brine and sea-weed. 
They let the wind sweep them at a run along the hard 
crinkled sand, crunching sea-shells under their feet. 

They reached the road winding above the rocks towards 
Malahide. 

" Don't you love that sound ? " said Bernard stopping 
to listen to the sighing hum of the wind ijjirjthe telegraph 
wires, mixed now with the plashing sound of the waves 
chopping among the rocks. 

" What wild weird things you take pleasure in ! " said Mabel. 
' You're not wild and weird, are you ? " asked Bernard. 
" I soon will be if I associate much with you." 
" Well, if you're afraid . . . 
" Silly ! " said Mabel. 

Sometimes they had not time for walks like these and 
contented themselves with a stroll in Stephens Green, calm 
oasis in the noisy city, or they would walk out to the Phoenix 
Park, or along the Canal side, or suburban avenues, or even 
the less frequented city streets. 

" The glorious dust ! " says Bernard as they emerge 
blinking from a cloud of it, a swarm of sharp specks that prick 
their skin as it drives before the blast and passes on with a 
rasp of withered leaves slithering along the pavement. 
Horrid stuff!" says Mabel. "I'm half blinded." 
A peck of March dust is worth a ton of tonics." 
Thank you. I can dispense with both." 
You don't like anything I like." 
You like all sorts of queer things better than me." 
Mabel ! " 
Yes, you do." 
You're cruel, dear." 
She laughs, and immediately repents. 
" Don't mind me, old boy. I never mean half what I 
say . . . ' 

" Jack," said Mrs. Harvey to her son that same day, " next 
time you're in town on leave I wish you'd bring up one of 
your friends with you. . . . Some nice young officer with 
money, you know. . . . Brothers ought to do these things 
for their sisters." 






AN AMATEUR ARMY 361 



Meanwhile Stephen was in gaol. 

He took the whole thing in his habitual philosophic way : 
nothing ever seemed to disturb the equanimity of this taci- 
turn young mountaineer. While he was awaiting trial his 
father came to see, him (it was the old man's first visit to the 
city for more'ttin 'quarter of a century) and shed tears in 
the visitor's cage, for which his son sternly rebuked him. 
At the court-martial Stephen made no defence : he main- 
tained a dignified silence throughout the whole procedure, 
which apparently concerned him not in the slightest, nor 
did he seem to hear the sentence of three months imprison- 
ment which was passed on him. . . . Mentally he was 
resolving that those months should not be wasted months. 

So when he was locked in his cell he wasted no time 
repining over the inevitable. After a brief survey of the 
narrow bare apartment he took up the Bible which lay on 
the shelf near the door and read, most of it for the first time, 
the Old Testament. 

" Imperialism skilfully mixed with religion," was his com- 
ment as, after reading as far as Joshua, he stretched himself 
on his plank bed for the night. " Well, well. They say 
there's nothing new under the sun." 

In spite of the hardness of his couch he slept soundly. 

In the morning he awoke to the monotonous regularity 
of prison life. He took the successive events as they came 
and made the best of them. Breakfast was a coarse un- 
appetising meal consisting of sour bread and milkless un- 
sweetened cocoa. Skilly and potatoes were the variants 
in other meals : meagre unsavoury sustenance, but he 
devoured it healthily and complained only of its insufficiency. 
In his hour of exercise he trod the prison yard vigorously, 
taking great breaths of air, and planting his feet down hard 
and firmly. He was set to the task of chopping wood, and 
he chopped skilfully, taking pleasure in the work. He 
cleaned his cell with the zest one gives to a work of art. He 
burnished his tin mug till it shone like silver. In the 
exercise yard he gathered dandelion leaves to flavour his 
dinner. ... By such mitigations he made life tolerable. 



362 THE WASTED ISLAND 

For an hour in the mornings, when the day was fine, 
the sun shining through his window painted a golden square 
on the opposite wall, and Stephen used to place himself so 
as to intercept the beam that traversed the cell. By stand- 
ing on his stool he could plunge head and shoulders into 
the life giving ray, made to seem almost substantial by the 
dust particles that danced within it, and breathe in warmth 
and nourishment. . . . 

Sunday Mass was a respite amid rigour. Assisting at 
the holy sacrifice he could forget he was a captive in the 
sublimity of the occasion, in the feeling that his spirit was 
in communion with all the worshippers attending the same 
ceremony at the same time all over the world. Wondrous 
rite common to all men, friends and foes, bond and free ! 
Sacrifice offered perpetually in the same manner and in the 
same tongue by warring and allied peoples ; in prisons and 
palaces, in chapel and cathedral, on ships at sea, on rude 
altars in the open air under savage skies. Intimate con- 
solation of the single soul ; potent unifier of mankind. 

" If our International doctrinaires could be induced to 
come to Mass ..." thought Stephen. 

" Thank God I'm a Catholic, not a piping little protester 
whose creed is unknown beyond his own doorstep. ... 
What fools were those men who rejected their share in the 
one common possession of Europe . . . 

He had plenty of time for thought in the long hours he 
spent locked in his cell. He revised his whole philosophy and 
found it unaltered. He was filled with exultation at realis- 
ing how hard the universal battle between light and darkness 
was being fought. His faith was confirmed. 

He read also. The prison library was a poor one but he 
extracted value from it. On the second day of his captivity 
the libarian going the rounds with his basket of books tossed 
a volume into the cell, which Stephen hastened to pick up. 
It was a very soiled and battered Third School Reader pub- 
lished by an English educational firm. Disappointed though 
he was, Stephen started to read it. The first lesson was an 
essay on the ant, which was more concerned to point a moral 
than to be accurate in natural history. This was followed by 
a story about a boy a nobleman and a cow brought together 
to illustrate the profitableness of honesty as a business policy. 



AN AMATEUR ARMY 363 

Then came the highly edifying story of the painter who 
found in the same person at different ages the models for 
his pictures Innocence and Guilt. Four tales had for their 
themes different phases of England's career of world con- 
quest, and Freedom was patronised by the stories of two men 
who had fought against conquest by countries other than 
England : Hofer and Kosciusko. Two poems, Excelsior 
and Ye Mariners of England, together with the most priggish 
of old /Esop's fables, completed the collection. 

The book was a revelation to Stephen. It showed him 
the mould in which the English mind \\as cast. 

" No wonder they are what they are," he reflected, " if 
this is the kind of thing they're brought up on." 

He saw English Imperialism at its source : commercial 
morality (' Be good and you shall prosper ') ; the natural 
deduction therefrom (' We prosper, therefore we are good ') ; 
and that sublime assurance which sets aside as perverse 
the views of other people about their private concerns when 
those views fail to recognise that the highest morality is to 
aim directly at promoting England's prosperity . . . 

He remembered that Bernard had once told him that 
the average Englishman really believes that to be governed 
by England is freedom, and more. 

" Why," he thought, " the Irish lie is bad enough, but 
it's a pleasant harmless lie that hurts no one but ourselves, 
and it's a white shining truth beside the English lie." 

He began to speculate upon the war. 

" Perhaps on every side the truth is fighting with the lie : 
the French and English truth fighting the German lie ; the 
German truth fighting the French and English lies . . . 

" But it achieves nothing but material destruction . . . 

"No. Metaphysical half-truths won't carry us very far. 
. . . Secret diplomacy is only too evidently the cause. 

" The whole thing is wasted effort. There's no national 
truth at stake at all ... 

" Why not set the universal truth to tackle the ubiquitous 
lie ? . . .More metaphysics ! . . ." 

He began to feel that the conquest was not for Ireland an 
unmixed evil. 

" If we'd never been conquered we'd now be a great 
power . . . wrth foreign possessions ... a slice of 



364 THE WASTED ISLAND 

Africa perhaps, and some Pacific Islands. . . . Bearers 
of the white man's burden, and curses. We'd be thinking 
on lines like this . . ." 

He flung the Third School Reader from him. 

" It's better as it is. When we're free we'll be a small 
nation like Switzerland, Bulgaria, or Norway . . . sensible 
onlookers at the European tragi-comedy ... a people 
in good training, not bloated degenerate giants like the 
great Powers . . ." 

The next book they gave him was Reade's Foul Play, 
but Stephen cared nothing for novels, so he asked to have 
it changed, and they gave him a School History of England. 
After that he was given a very delapidated Hamlet, and now 
he was happy. True the version had been barbarously 
bowdlerized by a Protestant clergyman in order to make it 
f fit for the home circle.' Not only was it purged of all 
grossness, but even such words as ' damned ' and ' bloody ' 
were replaced by softer epithets : Horatio swore that he 
would ' cross ' the ghost ' though it slay ' him, and the 
speech in which Hamlet unpacked his heart with words 
and fell a-cursing like a very drab could not have brought 
the blush of shame to the cheek of modesty. Still it was 
Hamlet all the same, that wonderful poem, ever familiar, 
yet ever startling those who think they have plumbed its 
depths with some fresh undiscovered beauty or subtlety. 
Stephen's taste favoured rant, probably because his own 
manner was the reverse, and he spouted to the echoing walls 
of his cell things like : 

And thus o'ersized with coagulate gore, 
With eyes like carbuncles, the hellish Pyrrhus 
Old grandsirc Priam seeks, 

and ; 

Let them throw 

Millions of acres on us, till our ground, 
Singeing his pate against the burning zone, 
Make Ossa like a wart. 

He fell to thinking, ever and again, over the question of 
the punishment and prevention of crime. 

" What good could jailing do anybody ? " he asked him- 
self. " Can spending twenty-three hours of the day locked 



AN AMATEUR ARMY 365 

up by yourself and getting bad and insufficient food improve 
anyone's character, let alone a weak one ? . . . But a 
comfortable jail would be no deterrent. . . . Nonsense. 
In a properly-run state loss of liberty would be enough 
punishment and deterrent for anybody. It's poverty makes 
jailbirds. . . . What sort of prisons shall we have under 
the Republic ? " 

The problem occupied him for days. 

" No good," he said at last. " Atmosphere isn't suited 
to constructive thinking. . . . Prisons should improve 
men anyhow, not waste them . . ." 

The weeks went by and the months. The more frequent 
appearance of his ray of sunshine told Stephen that it was 
Spring in the world outside. Nature was awakening from 
her sleep ; the armies of men were making renewed pre- 
parations for slaughter ; and for all his stoicism Stephen's 
blood throbbed impatiently for freedom. The last weeks 
before his release seemed interminable. 



The Volunteers were a nation in miniature. They had 
their Parliament and Executive ; their Exchequer and 
Postal System ; Industries, a Labour Exchange, and an 
Insurance Society ; newspapers ; a women's organisation ; 
boy scouts ; a secret service even. They were a nation at 
war ever on the alert : a unanimous nation with a single 
purpose : a disciplined democracy : a nation of citizen 
soldiers. 

Bernard was now in a position to materialise some of the 
dreams of his childhood. At a re-election of officers he 
displaced Brohoon as captain of his company and set to 
work vigorously to drill organise and arm his men on more 
efficient lines than that officer had followed. Their num- 
bers had risen again : new members had rejoined and old 
ones were slipping back to their allegiance. The average 
-attendance was now about seventy. Less than half of these 
had rifles, but arms were being steadily and surreptitiously 
brought into the country, and nearly every week Bernard 
was able to produce a rifle to be ballotted for and paid for 
in instalments. . . . What sacrifices this payment must 



366 THE WASTED ISLAND 

have involved for many. Some of the men were heroically 
generous : unskilled labourers with ragged coats and not 
enough to eat he knew must jealously hoard every penny to 
pay the weekly instalment for the rifle which was, in every 
sense, their dearest possession ; and even the prosperous 
ones, the clerks and mechanics, must have had to dock them- 
selves of many luxuries. . . . Brohoon was a man of 
slovenly habits and no disciplinarian, and Bernard found 
his hardest task in smartening up the men and teaching 
them a military gait and carriage, the more so as he had 
neither himself by nature. He was at his best in the field, 
where he carried" out hundreds of experiments as to the 
best methods of using and economising his forces. (He 
would lie awake at night thinking out problems : how to 
block such and such a road with a force consisting of thirty- 
six riflemen, fifteen men with shotguns, and twenty-two 
men with pikes and revolvers : and so on.) He re-organised 
the company from top to bottom : into three sections he 
put his rifle and gun men, equally divided each in each ; 
and into the fourth section the unarmed men (to be armed 
in sudden emergency with pikes and revolvers). He insti- 
tuted a mobilisation scheme by which the whole company 
could be assembled in forty minutes. 

The drill-night for the company was Thursday, and on 
Saturday afternoons they used to attend the general battalion 
drill. Occasionally on Sundays there would be a field-day 
for the whole regiment : to Bernard a terrible sacrifice, 
since otherwise the day would be spent with Mabel. Mabel 
too used to resent his absence on these occasions. 

" You like this horrid volunteering better than me," she 
would say. 

" My darling, how unfair you are. If you only knew 
how I long to be with you. But a soldier isn't his own 
master, you know." 

" You could easily get off if you liked." 

" But it wouldn't be right, dear, especially for an officer." 

" It isn't right to desert your girl, is it ? " 

" My dear, aren't men leaving their girls for their country's 
sake all over the world to-day." 

" That's different." 

" Don't say a silly thing thing like that, dear. It's come 



AN AMATEUR ARMY 367 

to be the most annoying phrase in the Englisl language for 
me." 

" Why ? . . . But what matter ? Bernard, look at 
the sky. It'll be lovely at Howth to-morrow." 

" It's no use, dear." 

" O well, go then." 

They always ended thus, and the sacrifice was rendered 
all the harder for Bernard. 

Came the field day. The defending side would march 
away first : to the Dublin Mountains or to Cuala. 
The attackers would follow in due course, and when the 
pre-arranged ground was reached there would be a scrambling 
amateurish battle. You would see straggling skirmishing- 
lines blundering across the hedge-intersected fields or 
amongst the boulders and quarry-holes of the hillsides : 
fierce duels between opposing scouts : whole companies 
wandering about hopelessly at sea : charges in column on 
the road : stout old Hugo McGurk forcing his way through 
a hedge : a volley of hand -claps (to represent firing) : 
Umpleby fussing about with a map trying to find the way 
out of a morass in which he had impounded his company : 
Hektor O'Flaherty storming about as umpire : then a final 
rush by the attackers to end the battle, and fraternisation 
by the troops of both sides over sandwiches and ginger- 
beer . . . 

Then the march home, tired and dirty, in the evening. 
O the brave music of marching feet ! Physical exhilaration 
of braced shoulders and legs rhythmically swinging ! Surge 
of primal instincts in peace- tamed hearts ! Two thousand 
feet moving in unison : tramp -tramp on hard frozen roads ; 
plash-plash on muddy ones. O'Dwyer spins by on a bicycle. 
' Easy time those fellows on the staff get,' mutters Bernard. 
Tramp-tramp. ' Suppose we were really marching on 
Dublin.' Plash-plash. ' Shall we ever, I wonder ? ' 
Tramp-tramp-tramp. ' Are these infernal miles Irish or 
English ? ' Someone behind strikes up a song * 

" Deep in Canadian woods we've met 
Ffom one bright Island flown ..." 

Rings out the chorus : 



368 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" Ireland, boys, hurray ! 

Hurray ! 

Ireland, boys, hurray ! 

We'll toast old Ireland, dear old Ireland, 
Ireland, boys, hurray!" 

* What sadness there is in that story about the two regiments 
on the Rapidan . . . slaughtering each other next day for 
a cause that mattered to none of them. They became sol- 
diers in the hope of some day fighting for Ireland. . . . 
Poor devils, they slaughtered each other instead. . . . 
Eternal waste!' . . . Tramp-tramp. ... A new strain 
swells forth : 



" So-oldiers are we, whose lives are pledged to Ireland, 

Some have come from a land beyond the wave. 
Sworn to be free ... . " 

A motor whizzes by, drowning the words with its whirr : 
a load of fur-wrapped superciliousness : ' Disloyal asses ! ' 
you fancy them saying. Tramp-tramp-tramp. 

" Steady, boys, and step together. 
Steady, boys, and step together." 

' Brave boys : a column of sturdy manhood. Ridicule 
and abuse haven't moved them from their purpose. They've 
worked and toiled for the cause through it all. Great stuff ! 
Gallant souls.' ... A pair of laughing lovers passes by on 
the side- walk. ' How much pleasure do these men get out 
of life ? And they sacrifice that little for this.' Plash- 
plash. ' All over Europe armies are marching like this ' . . . 

" Let Erin remember the days of old 

Ere her faithless sons betrayed her 
When Malachi wore the collar of gold 
Which he won from her proud invader." 

' Emmett would wish to have seen this day. " O to be at 
the head of an army marching to that air," he said. And 
here we march to-day. . . .' Tramp-tramp . . . Lights 
ahead : the outskirts'of the city : traffic and chattering people. 



AN AMATEUR ARMY 369 

The Soldier's Song swells forth again and dies away : 

" To-night we'll man the Bearna-Baoghail 
In Erin's cause come woe or weal. 
'Mid cannon's roar and rifle's peal 
We'll chant a soldier's song." 

Clatter of boot-soles on cobbles. On through the city . . . 
V March to attention ! " 

The column marches in silence with sloped arms amid 
crowds that either heed not or stare and scoff. . . . 

The Volunteers had their own social life too. The different 
companies and battalions used to give concerts and ceilidhes ; 
the Boy Scouts gave theirs ; the Gaelic League gave more. 
Bernard became a habitue of the ceilidhes. He loved the 
rollicking swing of the old Irish dances ; the melancholy 
of the songs ; and the irresistible gaiety of the dance-music. 
He induced Mabel to come with him once, but never again. 
She thought the company ' low ' (it certainly was not genteel) 
and the dances were too rough and strenuous for her. The 
master of ceremonies was too odiously familiar with her, 
she thought. He was a shock-headed youth, toothless 
from canine to canine, wearing an untidy saffron kilt which 
revealed a pair of very dirty knees ; and in his good-natured 
eagerness to instruct Mabel in the intricacies of the dance 
he handled her (with those grubby paws of his) far more 
than she liked far more than Bernard liked too, for that 
matter. ... So Mabel went ;.o no more ceilidhes, and 
Bernard in consequence was prevented from attending as 
many as he would have wished. 

They were gay functions, those ceilidhes : skirling pipes 
and laughing fiddle and merry dances : wailing songs and 
fierce recitations ; babble of Irish everywhere. Someone 
would come up to Bernard and say : 

" Cionnus taoi, a Bhearnard?" 

" Tdim go maith, go raibh maith agat. Cionnus taoifein ? " 

"Go maith. Cionnus ar thaithn an Aonach leat?" 

" Middling. 7? better Sr did Graf ton e." 

" Mhaise, greadadh chugat, is mor-chuiseach ataoi le do 
diuid Gaedhealach bristc ! " 

" Cad is brigh k sin ? Ni'l acht cupla focla Gaedliealaeha 
agam." 



370 THE WASTED ISLAND 

"A Td go ledir. Beidh tu Gaedheal m6r go socair." 
And the conversation would continue in English. 

Everyone came to those ceilidhes. Staid professors and 
scholars with European reputations looked on from the back- 
ground : grave dames in Irish costume ; little shop-girls 
in white muslin ; a stray man in evening dress ; Gaelic 
Leaguers in saffron kilts ; Indian law-students in their 
brilliant native costume ; Volunteers in their grey-green 
uniforms : a motley pattern they made as they threaded 
their ways in and out of the mazes of the Rinnce Fada or 
Ballai Luimnig. Here you would see McGurk dancing 
bravely in spite of his girth ; there Umpleby hovering near 
a celebrity : here Brohoon strutting around like a peacock ; 
there Austin Mallow gazing rapt into space . . . 

One night Stephen and another man just released from 
gaol were brought in by a crowd of admirers, Stephen 
obviously against his will. The dancers it was during an 
interval rose and cheered. The other man smirked and 
bowed, but Stephen scowled angrily. He came over after- 
wards and sat by Bernard. 

" You're out early," said Bernard. 

" You get a remission for good behaviour." 

" Is gaol a very frightful experience ? " 

" No." 

" Isn't it rather boring then ? " 

" No. I learned a lot." 

" Well, I suppose that's something gained. . . . Per- 
sonally I'd rather dispense with it." 

Stephen looked round superciliously on the scene of gaiety. 

" Such a way of spending an evening," he said. 

" A damn good way," replied Bernard. " You're a terrible 
anchorite Stephen. You've nothing human in you." 

" To see our Volunteers capering about like that ! Ugh I " 

" They're none the worse soldiers for it. ... Red blood 
would be a political asset to you Stephen. You'll never 
achieve anything if you can't allow for human nature." 

" Seven centuries' oppression should have hardened us." 

" Thank God it hasn't," answered Bernard . . . 

Bernard had transplanted himself bodily from one stratum 
of society into another. He saw no more of the Gunby 
Rourkes and Heuston Harringtons and Bonegrafts and 



AN AMATEUR ARMY 371 

other denizens of the Square, and became acquainted with 
life on a totally different scale and governed by totally 
different conditions. In the Volunteers there were men of 
many grades, social and financial, but there was no sharp 
dividing line of snobbery between them : caste was unknown 
to them : their spirit was democratic, inborn and unconscious. 
First there were the civil servants and clerks : prosperous 
most of them unless they married. A single young man 
can live very comfortably in lodgings, dress well, possess 
books, and have a fair amount of enjoyment on his pay of 
anything from twenty-five to sixty shillings a week ; but 
marriage means children and a house. One of Bernard's 
lieutenants on whom he occasionally called was a man of 
thirty-five, married, with six children. He lived on the 
north side of the city in one of a row of exactly similar two- 
storied red-brick villas. There was a railing in front with a 
gate, on which was the name Emain Macha (the houses 
beside it were called The Beeches and Roseville). Inside 
the railing was a grass-plot four feet square, with a miserable 
enonymus shrub in the centre and some wilted London 
Pride in a parched flower-bed. A diminutive asphalted 
pathway led to the hall door, reached by ascending one step 
of granite. The tiny hall was so packed with unnecessary 
furniture that the door could only be opened half-way by 
the lady of the house who would come down with sleeves 
rolled up and smelling of Sunlight soap, apologising that 
this was her washing-day. Poor bothered worn-out young 
woman ! She was crushed with the burden of making 
ends meet, keeping her house clean, keeping her husband 
comfortable, and bearing and rearing children. She had 
long ceased to worry about her appearance, but she had 
evidently been pretty once. (Bernard wondered did her 
husband still love her : was there time for romance in their 
scrambled lives ?) She would show him into the sitting- 
room, a musty apartment but little larger than the hall and 
most uncomfortably congested with gimcrack furniture. 
There he would sit talking over a meagre fire and a pipe 
with his lieutenant, a big man with a hearty laugh who seemed 
not at all stifled by his cramping surroundings. Upstairs 
they would hear the squealing of the children while their 
mother, unceasing in toil, put them to bed. A piano would 



372 THE WASTED ISLAND 

jangle in the house next door and a gramophone screech 
in the one opposite. 

" Room ! room ! " Bernard would say to himself. "This 
eternal huddling ! Street upon street of these infernal 
villas : soul strangling cages : man's sacrifice of comfort 
to gentility. . . . O damn, damn, damn the whole system." 

The frank unpretentious bareness and carpetlessness of 
the houses of the lower grade the labourers and artisans 
offended him less. They were less stuffy, and so were their 
inhabitants. They made no pretence to gentility at all ; 
roared with laughter when amused ; spat on the floor ; and 
did not use pocket-handkerchiefs. Their uproarious even- 
ings were a pleasure he did not indulge in often. 

These two grades had a good deal of discomfort and not 
a little hardship in their lives, but there were Volunteers 
of a lower grade still : the class that exists on the hunger 
line : the class to which the war meant not dearer food 
but less food : not the substitution of margarine for butter, 
but the abandonment of margarine and the diminishing of 
bread. Life for them -was a perpetual struggle and a losing 
one ; they had little room for ideas, but their inspiration 
was a dumb instinctive patriotism. Their one sorrow was- 
their inability to arm themselves. They would have starved 
themselves to do it, but they were already starving. Some- 
times they tried desperate methods : a gaunt hungry ragged 
member of Bernard's company turned up on parade one day 
with a modern Lee-Enfield rifle for which he had way-laid 
one of his Britannic Majesty's soldiers in a lonesome place. 
He established a valuable precedent. 

One of Bernard's section- commanders was of this class, 
another was a grocer's assistant and the remaining two were 
clerks. One of his lieutenants was a mechanic, the other 
a civil servant. They met at his flat occasionally to discuss 
the business and progress of the company, and the lieutenants 
sometimes came in for a friendly talk. Swathythe used to 
sniff aristocratically at these visitors, waiting on whom he 
deemed beneath him. He approached Bernard once on 
the subject. 

" If you'll allow me to say so, sir," he said after some 
tactful humming and hawing, "I think it's a pity for a young 
gentleman like you to associate with such riff-raff. They'll 



AN AMATEUR ARMY 373 

just use you for their own ends, if you don't mind me saying 
so. Some of these fellows as come 'ere never brush their 
'air, sir. They spit on the carpet, sir : I've awful work 
after 'em ; they don't know 'ow to be'ave in a gentleman's 
' ouse, sir. You ought to stick to your own class, 
Mr. Lascelles, wot knows your ways and you know theirs, for 
mark my words, sir, these people will just use you and chuck 
you aside when they done with you. ... I 'ope you'll 
excuse me speaking so freely, sir." 

" You haven't spoken a bit freely, Swathythe," replied 
Bernard. " You've spoken like the slave you are." . . . 

It was about this time that there came to live in the flat 
above Bernard's a man called Malone : a stern-looking, 
grizzled Irish- American on the verge of fifty years of age. 
He came early to see Bernard and almost at once demanded 
point-blank : 

" Does this Volunteer movement mean business ? " 

Bernard assured him that it did, but Malone did not appear 
satisfied. 

" Are you going to fight ? " he asked. 

" Under certain conditions," replied Bernard. 

" See here," said Malone. " I'd better tell you right away 
what sort of a man I am. I was born in Tipperary of quiet 
decent folk who paid their rent regularly and took no part 
in politics. When I was about six years old our landlord 
discovered that cattle paid better than human beings, so 
we were flung out on the roadside and our home pulled 
down. We had to emigrate, of course, but my father wasn't 
the sort of man to take tyranny lying down, and a few days 
before we started he shot the landlord dead : and, to be as 
brief as possible, he was caught and hanged for it. My 
poor mother and I made for America where she had a brother 
who had promised to help us, and in the coffin-ship we 
crossed in my mother died. . . . Well, my uncle was a 
single man and doing well, and he stood by me. I won't 
bore you with details of my life more than to say that I made 
good and became pretty well off. But I was never contented. 
Way down I always felt that I wanted to be even with the 
people who killed my mother and father, and I'd a kind of 
objection to being driven out of my country. My uncle 
however was always telling me to stay where I was and not 



374 THE WASTED ISLAND 

bother about the old country. He said it wasn't worth 
living in so long as it was ruled by the English, and the 
English could only be driven out by war, and the country 
wasn't strong enough to fight : every time she fought she 
was beaten. I read some Irish history then, and came to 
the conclusion he was right. But about that time the Parnell 
movement began to look like winning out, and, thinking 
that perhaps there might be something in Constitutional- 
ism after all, I came over here and lent a hand. But you 
know what happened : nothing but failure : and I went 
back to America disgusted. . . . Well, after that I stuck 
to my business for a while. Then, when the trouble between 
England and the Boers began I came over here again to see 
if the people were game for a rising. But not they. The 
country was just about dead, and there were no arms in it 
anyway. However I got a chance to get my own back on 
England, for I struck up with some fellows who were getting 
up a brigade to fight for the Boers and I joined them." 

" Was there a man called Christopher Reilly among 
them ? " 

" Yes. Damn good stuff he was, too. He was killed in 
action afterwards. Did you know him ? " 
" He was my uncle." 

' Then you're sure to be the right stuff. As soon as I 
heard the Volunteers had declared against England I came 
right over to join in the fight. When is it to be ? " 

Bernard tried to explain the policy of the Volunteers, 
and Malone was obviously disappointed with it. 

" What's the good of shilly-shally ? " he said. " If we 
don't fight now we'll never get such a chance again. 
European wars are rare birds, my lad." 

They argued long and hotly, but Malone was impervious 
to reason. He was no politician ; just a plain honest man of 
one idea : and while Bernard was exasperated by his stolidity 
he could not but admire him. He was very much against 
accepting any German help. Once let them in, he said, 
and there would be no getting them out again : all great 
Powers were the same. 
His creed was very simple. 

" Our own right arm and the help of God," he said, " will 
see us through. Fight whenever you can. What matter 






AN AMATEUR ARMY 375 

if you lose ? If you fight often enough you're bound to win 
in the end." 



The fairest part of the Irish year is that season when 
Spring is melting into Summer, when the lilac laburnum 
and hawthorn, tfjpom triumphant over the fallen cheery 
blossom ; when the foliage of beech and lime and elm and 
sycamore is fresh and viridescent ; when the sunlight is 
still silvery and the breezes still cooling : the ideal season 
for lovers. Bernard and Mabel took full advantage of it. 
They spent most of their Sundays amid the bee-loud heather 
of Howth or scrambling amongst the rocks of the Scalp or 
sailing about the shimmering Bay, and in the evenings they 
watched the decrescent moon of May waning in the eastern 
sky and at her going looked for the rising sickle of June in 
the West. In the nights of her absence they gazed upon the 
stars, making new groupings and constellations of their own : 
Mabella and Bernardus and Johannes Taurus Collapsus, 
a romantic occupation. 

They began to know each other, and to question. Bernard 
was something of a puzzle to Mabel. His seriousness ; 
the long political lectures he used to give her ; his sudden 
bursts of anger over some act of English brutality or hypoc- 
risy ; his fierce enthusiasms for beautiful things, the plash- 
ing of a brook, the smell of damp woods, a stanza of poetry, 
what not all his impersonal emotions : these things amazed 
and disconcerted her. She could not understand why, 
if he loved her, he would never desert a Volunteer duty for 
the sake of her company. She resented his tendency to 
sermonise. . . . And then there were the things she loved 
in him ; the laughter and sadness in his eyes ; the play of 
the wind and sunbeams in his hair ; the gesture of his hand 
and thrust of his chin in argument t the way he held his 
pipe in his strong white teeth ; his smile, mostly in the 
eyes, with just a twitch of the lip ; the queer impetuous 
things he said ; and then the tenderness of his embrace. 

And Bernard puzzled over Mabel too : her flippancy, 
her easy acceptances, her desire for mere happiness, her 
lack of interest in ideas, her blindness and deafness to the 



376 THE WASTED ISLAND 

things he thought beautiful, her insistence on the personal 
equation in all things. He could not understand her un- 
readiness to sacrifice his company occasionally to the cause 
in which they both believed. He resented her tendency 
to turn everything into a joke. He would begin to ask 
himself if he really loved her and then a glance at her face 
would make him forget everything else. He loved her airy 
grace and the yielding slimness of her waiatfJand the wonder 
of her eyes and the scent of her hair. He loved the queer 
little things she said, and the soft touch of her hands, the 
warm tenderness of her lips, and her trustful surrender of 
herself to his embrace. 

They loved and talked of love and made love to each other 
and built castles in the air and were happy . . . 

They passed an organ grinder in the street one day. 

" What waste of human material," quoth Bernard. "What 
use is a system that leaves hundreds of men, many of pro- 
mising material, trying to grind out a living in that useless 
way." 

" Most people are poor through their own fault," proclaims 
Mabel. 

Bernard has run up against that argument with infuriating 
frequency, so he starts on a new tack (Shavian of course). 

" But take a baby just born into the world. Why should 
he be handicapped in the battle of life right at the start ? 
How can he ever win his way if his parents are too poor 
to feed or educate him properly ? He never gets a chance." 

" His parents shouldn't marry if they can't afford children," 
says Mabel primly (innocent little Malthusian : Malthusian- 
ism of this sort is rampant among good and charitable folk). 
Against this rampart Bernard's arguments storm in vain. 

" Bernard, I'm afraid you're getting indelicate," she says 
when he goes too far. 

Reluctantly after a time Bernard realised the impossibility 
of carrying Mabel with him in his social ideas. She was 
one of those people who consider Christ's statement of fact 
about the poor being always wkh us as a complete argument 
against all Social reformers. The first time she used this 
argument against him he felt a desperate clutch of disap- 
pointment at his heart, and a fleeting memory of Janet 



AN AMATEUR ARMY 377 

Morecambe crossed his mind ; but the next moment Mabel 
had said : 

" Don't let's quarrel over horrid things, dear," and put 
an arm round him and kissed him. She was irresistible 
then . . . 

One brilliant day they took a well-stocked picnic-basket 
and went by motor-boat to Ireland's Eye. Through bracken 
shoulder-high n^tlj^y; trudged to the topmost point of the 
island. Half- way up they had to stop and kiss each other, 
and then just as he had released her he had to pull her back 
to him and kiss her again. 

" Greedy boy ! " she cried, and ran from him laughing. 

Breathless they reached the top and stood upon the rocky 
pinnacle. Other picnic parties were landing on the beach : 
there were parties scattered all over the island, the smoke 
from whose fires curled up in thin wisps here and there, 
faintly perfuming the air. 

" Look, dear," says Bernard, hand sweeping the horizon, 
" we came skimming round the Bailey there, just where 
that purple patch is, then we let her run before the wind 
right into the harbour. . . . Got in exactly to time just 
as we'd arranged a month before. Not bad, eh ? " 

" You're some boy, aren't you ? " 

" You'd say that if you knew all the secrets of that stunt." 

" What secrets ? " 

" Tu ue quaesieris ; scire nefas." 

" What's all that about ? " 

" Curiosity, thy name is girl." 

" I suppose you like to be thought an enigma. Well, 
keep your old secrets. / don't care." 

" O what a gorgeous day ! On such a day Deirdre 
methinks " 

" Here, open that basket and make yourself useful. I'm 
hungry." 

They chose a mossy hollow for their meal. All around 
them insects buzzed and hummed : sea gulls wheeled sCjTeam- 
ing overhead : puffins scuttled through the air and darting 
down into the sea climbed cliffwards with silvery fish in 
their pink parrot-like beaks. The sun drew fragrant odours 
from the baking turf and the dead and living bracken and 
heather. Bernard and Mabel munched chicken and chocolate. 



378 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" Why can't we always be together, MO chroidhe r . . . 
When shall we be married ? " 
" I wonder." 
" Why not now ? " 
" How could we, dear ? " 
" Why not ? I have money." 
" Not enough to marry on, I'm afraid." 
" We could marry on a ten pound note." 
" Yes. And be miserable and uncomfofis&te ever after." 
" You talk as if I was a pauper," protested Bernard. 
" One must be sensible, dear." 
" Many people have married on less than I've got." 
" And you may be sure they've regretted it." 
" What a little bundle of common-sense it is ! " 
" I'd need to be, with a big lump of romance like you." 
" But, dear, wouldn't you like to be married soon ? " 
" O, I suppose so, but I don't want to be scraping and 
saving. I've had enough of it. . . . How goes the practice, 
dear ? " 

" Not so badly. Nine patients on the roll. A new one 
yesterday." 

" What was wrong with him ? " 

" Hay fever." 

" Why don't your friends get real bad things that you 
could charge heavily for ? We'll never get married on 
dyspepsia and hay-fever." 

" O, every little helps." 

" We've been engaged six months, half a year." 

" Tired of it yet ? " 

" Dear ! How could you ? " 

" My darling ! " 

Silence for a while. 

" Dear, will you promise not to be angry if I tell you 
something ? " 

" What is it ? " 

" But you must promise not to be angry first." 

" Well, I won't be unless you deserve it." 

" I've been appointed an organiser in the country." 

" Is that all ? Why should that make me angry ? " 

" Well, you see, it means no more Saturdays together.' 

" O, Bernard ! How could you ? " 



AN AMATEUR ARMY 379 

" Dear, I couldn't help it. Some of our country corps 
are falling to pieces for lack of instructors and I have to do 
my share to buck things up." 

" But think of me, dear." 

" Indeed I do. If it wasn't for you I'd give my Sundays 
too." 

" O, give them all if you like. Don't mind me." 

" Darling, I wish you'd be reasonable . . . ' 

" I wish you'd be kinder." 

Deadlock. Presently Mabel whimpers : 

" And only just now you were wondering when we could 
be married. How can we ever be married if you neglect 
your practice, running all over the country ? " 

" You make things very hard for me, dear." 

The joy of the day is clouded, but in the end there is 
reconciliation with kisses . . . 

Another day. 

A recruiting march through the streets of the city. A 
pipers' band in kilts, with green streamers from their pipes : 
a mighty flag of rebel green : the band is skirling out The 
Wearing of the Green. To gain recruits for the British Army 
everything is done to appeal to the national spirit which the 
very presence of that army oppresses and derides. The 
colours of England are never to be seen upon the recruiting 
platforms nowadays : the very recruiting-posters and hand- 
bills smack of Ninety-Eight : vile hypocrisy of England. 
What would Tone say to see his name used and his words 
misrepresented in order to delude his countrymen into the 
army of the oppressor ? But to hear that air : ' They're 
hanging men and women for the wearing of the green ' 

" Good lord ! " exclaimed Bernard. " They've no sense 
of decency." 

" And look at that," he said pointing to a recruiting poster 
which represented a body of troops marching past the old 
Houses of Parliament over which flew the green flag with 
the crownless harp. " The abandoned beasts ! If our 
people don't hate the swine after that they never will. The 
damned damned hypocrites ! " 

" How seriously you do take things ! " said Mabel. 
" Don't worry your poor old head over nothing." 

" Nothing ! " exclaimed Bernard. He was thinking of 

2 B 



380 THE WASTED ISLAND 

the brave boys marching away to their death in response 
to appeals written by cynical old politicians with their tongues 
in their cheeks : marching to fulfil their side of a treaty 
whose breach by the other side was a foregone conclusion. 
" O world of knaves and fools ! " he thought. " How long 
shall the tragic farce go on ? . . . And if I were to tell 
the fools what I thought of the knaves, the fools would laugh 
me to scorn and the knaves would jail or kill me." 

" Where shall we go for tea to-day ? " asks Mabel. 

" Eh ? O, tea ? . . . I don't know. Wherever you 
like." 

" Let's try the Princess for a change then." 



Crowley was out attending to a case when Bernard arrived 
at his house at Ballylangan, but he had left orders as to his 
reception and the house-keeper installed him comfortably 
in the sitting-room with tea and papers. A large volume 
lay open on a table, and Bernard picked it up : it was Max 
Nordau's Degeneration. He began to read at the opened 
pages, which contained the slashing attack on Rosetti and 
the mystics. 

" This man has sound dope," thought Bernard. " He 
says everything I've been thinking about friend Mallow and 
his gang. . . . Footling round with the number Seven 
and the rest of it. By Jove, he has all the stigmata." 

Nordau becoming heavy after a time, he went searching 
among the pile of periodicals. The mauve cover of Manarman 
caught his eye at once. 

" Hello ! Wonder what old Crowley indulges in this for. 
Thinks it a sort of duty, I suppose. I wouldn't waste six- 
pence on it." 

He turned the leaves idly. There was a pompous little 
article on The Art of Austin Mallow by Cyril Umpleby, 
mostly syrup ; a very inaccurate account of the Howth 
gun-running it might almost be called an Umplebiad 
by Austin Mallow, (''Quid pro quo," muttered Bernard) ; 
an article called ' Jail Days ' by Brian Mallow ; and two 
poems : one a thrush-and-rosebud song by Theodosia, 



AN AMATEUR ARMY 381 

the other an obscure lucubration called The Lord hath 
Arisen, by Austin. 

" Seven flames aflare in the blood-red sky 

The pallid earth shudders, then leaps on high," 

read Bernard. 

" Old Nordau, I wish you weren't quite so voluminous, 
or I'd publish you as a penny pamphlet. You're a tonic, 
Herr Professor," he said. 

Crowley's voice sounded in the hall, and the door opened. 

" Hello, old man, so glad to see you. What's that tosh 
you're reading ? Lord I'm tired. Let me get these boots 
off. . . . Just been introducing a new subject into the sun- 
kissed Empire : future citizen of the Republic, let's hope : 
he didn't seem a bit keen on entering the Empire anyhow. 
. . . Stands the Castle where it did ? " 

" More or less, though Gussie seems to regard us more 
in sorrow than in anger. . . . The Party's still gratefully 
kissing John Bull's boots." 

"Well so long as it's only his boots ..." 

" It's not doing them any good with the people though. 
The cranks and soreheads are markedly on the increase in 
town." 

" Is that so ? I wish I could say the same for this place." 

" How are things here ? " 

" Pretty rotten, I'm afraid. There's about a dozen sound 
men in Ballylangan and a couple of score in the surrounding 
district. There's one good sign though. The National 
Volunteers are falling to pieces, and only meet once in a 
way for a resolution-passing stunt." 

" It's the same everywhere. In some places companies 
are coming over to us holus bolus." 

"So I believe. Rosaleen's beginning to see through 
her seducer." 

" About time. Can we begin work soon ? " 

" Yes. I've ordered a parade in a central spot for eight 
to-night. We'll buzz over after dinner." 
' The war goes well, doesn't it." 

" Yes. The Russians have gone back so far that they'll 
have to publish new war-maps. ... By the way, did you 
see Redmond's speech about the maps of Ireland ? " 



382 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" I never bother wading through that sort of muck." 

" This was a treat. He says that every German soldier 
going into battle has a map of Ireland in his pocket with 
the farm he's going to get marked on it. Now a map that 
size would make some bundle. It would take a man twenty- 
five feet high to carry it, I reckon, so you needn't wonder 
now how the Germans are able to beat the world. They're 
a nation of Supermen." 

" But aren't we a green people ? I suppose the audience 
swallowed it all right ? " 

" To the last foot of it." 

Dinner was served presently and Crowley made inquiries 
about his friends in town. He seemed to chafe against his 
secluded life as a dispensary doctor. 

" And how's our old friend Fergus Moore ? " 

" Still on the same old tack. ... I remember years 
ago when I first met him (I was a seoinin then) he told me 
physical force was no good and constitutionalism was worse. 
I remember him one day comparing parliamentary agitation 
to a dwarf, beaten in a fight with a giant, throwing down 
his sword and saying ' Here, let's reason this out.' I 
remember at the time suggesting a combination of the two 
methods, and when I met him the other day I reminded him 
of this, and told him the Volunteer movement tried to achieve 
that. ' Well," says he, ' and what have you succeeded in 
doing ? Split the country once more : that's all. Ireland,' 
says he, ' is a hopeless case. ' I left him at that. 
These pessimists would make Mark Tapley gloomy. . . . 
I believe he drinks now on top of his other little weak- 
ness." 

" Let him go hang. But he's a loss. He has brains." 

" There's a hell of a lot of people with brains and no guts 
in this country. You know the academic intellectual type 
for instance that takes up a detached point of view and has 
the impudence to lecture the rest of us ? " 

" Kennedy, for instance." 

" Exactly. ... I'd like to kick that type. Smirking 
asses." 

" Emasculated bookworms," said Crowley. 

Crowley prided himself on his taste in cigars, and his 
housekeeper made excellent coffee. When they had just 



AN AMATEUR ARMY 383 

settled down to the enjoyment of both Bernard glanced 
casually at his watch. 

" Great Scott ! " he cried. " Eight o'clock." 

" No hurry," said Crowley calmly. 

" Isn't the parade at eight ? " 

" My dear Bernard, don't you know the national failing ? 
In Dublin eight o'clock means half -past, and in the country 
it means half-past nine." 

" Not in my command," said Bernard. " In my company 
in Dublin the men have to be in the hall five minutes before 
the fall-in or we send them away." 

11 You'll find it hard to break the countrymen into that." 

" It was hard to break the Dublin men in at first. But 
I gave them a stiff lecture on discipline once : told them 
how we lost the battle of New Ross : it had a great effect. 
Nobody's ever late now." 

" Well, nobody'll be in time to-night anyway, so you 
needn't waste that J. S. Murias." 

Shortly before nine Crowley got out his motor and they 
drove over to the meeting-place, the field of a friendly farmer 
some five miles away. About twenty men were already 
assembled whey they arrived, and half a dozen more straggled 
in during the next quarter of an hour. Under the cold light 
of the moon Bernard drilled them : a weird and romantic 
experience. Upon how many such assemblies had that 
disc looked down through the long history of Ireland's 
passion ? Fenians, Confederates, United Irishmen, all 
had drilled and marched in turn under her gentle light. 
She had watched the tide of hope and despair generation 
after generation, and was still watching for what ? The 
ghosts of Ninety-Eight and Forty-Eight and Sixty-Seven 
seemed to be abroad that night. 

In the shadow of a hedge a policeman stood taking notes. 



The silvery sun of early summer had deepened to burnished 
gold : the air currents were hot and sluggish : the foliage 
of the trees was darkened and bedraggled. It was August. 
Bernard was in Cloughaneely again, alone this time. He 
wanted to learn Irish properly and was living in a cottage 



384 THE WASTED ISLAND 

with a couple of old peasants who knew nothing else. He 
was trying to re-Gaelicize himself thoroughly in every way : 
to shake off the last remnants of Britishism that still tinged 
his ways of thought and drifted in his Huguenot blood. He 
wanted to catch some of that old Irish spirit which he had 
by some intuition dimly perceived among the people of 
Leinster and which was to be the foundation of the polity 
which lay half -formed in his brain. He set out to study 
the people. He had long conversations (dull in matter, 
most of them, and full of linguistic difficulties ; for the 
Irish of Donegal is a harsher flatter language than one learns 
in the Gaelic League in Dublin) with his Fear Tighe and 
Beann-a-tighe . He would stand and chat with people on 
the roadside ; he talked with the shop-keepers and with the 
kelp-burners on the beach. He admired the quiet dignity 
of all these people : they had neither the subservience of 
the English rustic nor the effusive familiarity of the Dublin 
demos. Their manners had the grace of simple charity 
untainted by pretentiousness or servility. They were the 
children of the dispossessed Gael, and they seemed to know it. 

Yet there was a certain worldliness in some of them that 
disappointed Bernard. Frequently he would meet someone 
who would express surprise that one like him should come 
there to learn a language for which they could see no use, 
and when, in his halting Irish, he would try to explain his 
motives they would only laugh at him. He found little 
sympathy for the purity and ardour of his national ideas 
either : he saw none of the fiery political enthusiasm of 
Dublin : Volunteering was dead in the county. There 
was an apathetic patience about the people that galled him 
and roused him to indignation that could find no expression 
in his broken Irish. As for the war their attitude of detach- 
ment from it was sublime. Even in Dublin that conflict 
was beginning to take a back place in people's thoughts : 
in the country generally it was a thing of small importance : 
here in the Gaedhealteacht it was treated with complete 
indifference. 

" Ireland is a neutral country if ever there was one," 
Bernard reflected. " And our politicians are telling the 
world we're heart and soul with the Allies. ... I wish 
old Willoughby was here." 



AN AMATEUR ARMY 385 

Willoughby was then at the front, in the trenches before 
Ypres, whence he frequently wrote to Bernard. He had 
ceased to mention Ireland in these letters. With the best 
will in the world he was unable to see Bernard's point of 
view, and, knowing Bernard as he did and being satisfied 
that he was pursuing the course he considered right, he hab! 
decided to drop the subject. He insisted however on the 
righteousness of Britain's case in the war, and Bernard, 
not caring for the ungrateful task of decrying the cause for 
which his friend was risking his life, received these pleadings 
in silence. . . . 

During his second fortnight at Cloughaneely Mabel 
arrived on the scene. In the office in which she worked 
she had made friends with another girl, an enthusiastic 
Gael, who had succeeded in imparting some of her spirit 
to Mabel and inducing her to agree that they should spend 
their annual holiday together in the Gaedhealteacht : a step 
to which certain conspiring with Bernard lent added attrac- 
tions. Her friend was none too pleased to learn at the last 
minute that Mabel's fiance was at Cloughaneely, foreseeing 
many afternoons when she would be abandoned to her own 
company, but Mabel paid no attention to her ill-humour. 

" You can go and learn your old Irish," she said in reply 
to certain forebodings expressed by the disappointed one. 
" I'm out for a holiday." 

She put an end to Bernard's studies, linguistic and 
psychological, immediately on her arrival, but he had grown 
to be so lonely without her that he did not mind. Mabel 
abandoned her friend altogether to her own devices and 
spent nearly the whole of each day with Bernard. 

" What would mother say if she knew ? " she exclaimed. 

" We're engaged, aren't we ? " said Bernard. 

" Yes, but she's so proper. She's always telling me not 
to see too much of you. I think she thinks we might get 
tired of each other." 

" As if we could ! " 

" As if we could ! " 

Kisses. 

" I've been having a dreadful time since you left," went 
on Mabel. " Jack's always bringing up officer friends 



3 86 THE WASTED ISLAND 

from the Curragh, and I have to entertain them. . . . 
Such frightful bores as they are ! " 

" Why do you have to entertain them ? Couldn't Molly 
or Susan do it ? " 

" Mother insists that / must. She says a doctor's wife 
must get used to entertaining people. . . . Have you any 
more patients yet ? " 

" A few." 

" Why isn't there a plague of some sort ? " 

" Modern sanitation's too good, I'm afraid." 

" Well, I don't see how we're going to get married without 
it." x 

" Life is long, my dear." 

" But youth isn't. I'll be passee in another ten years." 

" Not for me, darling." 

" So you think now. But wait " 

" Don't you trust me, dear ? " 

" Men are all the same." 

" Hm. What do you know about men, miss ? " 

"I've learnt a lot these last few weeks." 

" How ? " 

" Those Curragh officers." 

" Damn them ! " 

" Are you jealous ? " 

" Have I need to be ? " 

" Ah ! That's the question." 

" Mabel ! Have I ? " 

" No, dear. Don't be silly. I hate them . . . ' 

" What'll Miss Mulligan be doing without you all this 
time ? " 

" O, bother Miss Mulligan. . . . Are you comfortable 
in that cottage, dear ? " 

" Tolerably. But it's rat-haunted. I don't mind con- 
fessing I'm afraid of rats. . . . Beastly things." 

" I don't mind rats a bit, but I'm terrified of mice." 

"That's silly. They're so tiny." 

"Exactly. That's why." 

" Rats are repulsive things, and when I was a boy I read 
a story of a man who was eaten alive by them, so I've had a 
horror of them ever since. ... I can tell you it gives me 
the creeps to hear them scampering about the floor at night." 



AN AMATEUR ARMY 387 

" Silly old boy ! . . . What a lovely sunset ! . . ." 
Miss Mulligan made great progress in Irish that fortnight 
for she scarcely saw anything of Mabel. The lovers enjoyed 
each other's society undiluted day after day. They cycled 
together to the foot of Errigal, to Dunlewy Lake, to Maghe- 
roarty : they climbed Muckish : they sailed to Inishbofin. 
This was perhaps the happiest part of their courtship : the 
period of questioning was over and they had come to the 
period of acceptance. The things in which they were in 
accord seemed infinitely more important than the things 
in which they were incompatible, and the sweetness of kisses 
compensated for the bitterness of misunderstanding. They 
had a kind of romantic tolerance for each other which is an 
infinitely better basis for marriage than romantic illusion, 
but unfortunately in their case, while it was Mabel's defi- 
ciencies that Bernard tolerated, her tolerance was for his 
virtues. Still for the present they were very happy, for 
no coming events cast their shadows over the bogland of 
Tirconnell. 

" Sandy must be in action by this time," said Bernard 
one evening as they wandered by the seashore. (Sandy had 
sailed with the Tenth Division for the Dardanelles some 
weeks before.) " I wonder how these fellows manage to 
summon up any feeling against the poor old Turk. The 
only time he ever came in contact with Ireland was to send 
us foodships in the famine, God bless him." 

There was a green and gold sunset behind the black 
sprawling bulk of the Bloody Foreland. Inland was a 
wild waste of bog and heather sparsely scattered with cot- 
tages. Billows from the Arctic thudded on the shore. 
Little heaps of burning seaweed on the sand sent up fumes 
of violet smoke. At one of the heaps three cottagers were 
holding an animated conversation. Bernard stopped to 
listen to the music of the Irish tongue . . . 

" This is the real Ireland," he said at last to Mabel. 
" It's a dull place," said Mabel ; then seeing a shadow 
pass over his face she added : " But rot when you're here, 
darling." 



3 88 THE WASTED ISLAND 



Insatiably the world went on slaughtering its sons : reck- 
less sterilising butchery. An empty earth was the prospect 
anticipated by those who dared to think. 

Bernard still used to receive the Ashbury Chronicle which 
showed an ever-lengthening Roll of Honour. Of his own 
contemporaries, Sedgwick, his one-time football captain, 
had been killed at Ypres ; Reppington and Lashworthy at 
Neuve Chapelle ; and his friend Murray, crying : ' Ireland 
for ever ! ' at the head of his company of Liverpool Irish, 
fell riddled with machine-gun bullets on the slag-heaps of 
Loos. 

When Bernard returned to town towards the end of August 
Suvla Bay had been fought and won, and that strip of sun- 
baked beach had cost the quenching of laughter in thousands 
of Irish homes. Half the people he knew were in mourning 
and he found his mother pale and anxious, every day expecting 
one of those fatal telegrams . . . 

It was Sir Eugene who received it when it did come, and 
he went and told her the news. 

" Wounded ! " she cried, and gave a great sigh of relief. 
' Thank God," she said fervently ; for to be wounded in 
the Great War was the best chance of life. 

8 

Stephen and Hektor sat one evening in the smoking-room 
of the Hotel Neptune. 

" I'd like to know your opinion of Austin Mallow," said 
Hektor. "Is he a knave or a fool ? " 

" There's a little of both in every man," replied Stephen. 

" What particular knavery or folly do you suspect in 
Mallow ? " 

" Well, I was over at his place the other day and he began 
to talk in an oflriand way about rebellions and things. He 
asked me what I thought of the chances of a rebellion 
nowadays. ' Nil/ said I. He asked me would I be against 
a rebellion. ' Sure thing,' said I. ' A rebellion without 



AN AMATEUR ARMY 389 

some chances of success would be a mug's game/ ' It all 
depends on what you mean by success or failure,' says he. 
' Was Robert Emmet a failure ? ' 'A fiasco,' said I. ' Then 
you think his military failure was enough to condemn his 
action ? ' says he. ' No,' says I. ' But before you under- 
take a rebellion you must have good grounds to hope for 
military success. Perhaps he had them,' says I, ' and perhaps 
he hadn't. 1 don't know.' ' Then,' says he, ' you don't 
think a moral success any compensation for a military fail- 
ure ? ' ' I'm a soldier, not a philosopher/ says I. 'And 
you think there's no chance for a rising now ? ' says he. 
' Not a scrap,' says I. ' Don't you think,' says he, ' that if 
we fired the spark in Dublin the whole country would blaze 
up like a powder-magazine.' ' Well,' says I, ' if you will 
talk in metaphors, the country isn't a powder-magazine. 
It's a wet bog. Besides, if the country did rise, what would 
be the use ? There aren't ten thousand rifles in the place. 
An insurrection without foreign help would be squelchrd in 
a week.' ' I doubt it/ says he. Now is that man as big a 
fool as I think him ? You're on the Executive and see more 
of him than I do. What do you think ? " 

" I must have a talk with him myself," said Stephen. 

A few days later he got into conversation with Austin 
at the end of a meeting of the Executive and, after accom- 
panying him part of the way home, was invited to come 
the whole way and have a cup of tea. This was served 
not in the sitting-room but in Austin's own sanctum, a small 
room at the top of the house, the principal article of whose 
furniture was a roll- top desk littered with sheets of paper 
on which were scribbled the beginnings and rough-drafts 
of poems, and with the manuscripts of contributors to 
Manannan. Amateurish water-colours and crayon-sketches 
evidently Austin's own covered the walls, and there 
were some weird symbolic designs in oils on the panels of 
the door. Austin lit the fire which was set in the grate, 
changed his coat for the Japanese gown he had worn on 
Stephen's former visit, and poured out the tea, which 
Theodosia brought in, with a yellowish bony hand that 
trembled with the effort of lifting the pot. 

" How's the war going these days ? " he said. " I seldom 
read the newspapers." 



390 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" Much the same. I think it's fairly evident now that 
the Germans aren't going to win a military victory." 

" Do you really think so ? " 

" I'm certain of it. The best we can hope for now is a 
draw." 

" That'll be as bad for us as a British victory." 

" Nothing of the kind. It might even prove better than 
a German victory : I distrust all great Powers. It looks 
as if the the big nations will go on fighting to exhaustion 
point, and then comes our chance to wring good terms out 
of England." 

" But we don't want terms. It's independence now or 
never. I've talked to several of the Executive about it, 
and they've mostly agreed that now is the time to strike." 

" But why ? " 

" Isn't England fighting the strongest enemy she's ever 
had or ever likely to have ? You don't get European wars 
more than once in a century. If physical force is ever to 
justify itself it must be now when the enemy is at his weakest." 

" But he isn't at his weakest. So far from weakening 
England the war strengthens her. Her armies are five 
times as large as they were in peace time and she 
wouldn't miss the number that would be required to flatten 
us in a month. What forces have we ? Twenty thou- 
sand men at the most, and less than two thirds of them 
armed ; and we haven't ammunition to last three days hard 
fighting. My dear Mallow, we haven't the ghost of a chance." 

" I don't believe our chance is as poor as you think, but 
in any case I hold that the fight itself is the thing. If we 
fail, we fail, but it least it can be said that we tried. We've 
been too long without bloodshed and in consequence the 
national spirit is decaying and giving way to Imperialism. 
We must redeem the people by sacrifice." 

" Don't you worry about the people. The present im- 
perial tint is only skin deep, and it's wearing off already. 
Conditions aren't nearly so desperate as to need desperate 
remedies. If the people were really beginning to think 
imperially, to regard themselves as British, to regard the 
Union Jack as their flag, to talk of the British fleet and army 
as theirs, then perhaps a blood-sacrifice might be required 
to redeem them. But they aren't doing anything of the kind. 



AN AMATEUR ARMY 391 

They're getting less pro-British every day. The young men 
are coming into the Volunteers. The Volunteers are rapidly 
becoming a formidable weapon : they're steadily arming 
and drilling and learning to shoot : they're a fine disciplined 
force of the best material you could get anywhere. If we 
only keep on as we're going, when the war ends we'll be able 
to put up a stiff demand to England, well-backed with bay- 
onets and with a united people behind us. To go into 
rebellion simply means the smash -up of our movement 
and a fresh disarmament of the country, and giving the 
English a closer grip on us than ever. That might possibly 
produce a nation of ardent patriots, but I think our armed 
handful more useful. . . . Besides, the country doesn't 
want a rebellion, and a minority must assume infallibility 
before it can presume to commit the remainder." 

Austin Mallow was silent a moment. 

" Yes," he said at length, " I quite see the force of your 
arguments. I admit that they're convincing, and I can 
find no answer to them. But still, I feel that I'm right." 

" Great Scott ! " cried Stephen. " Do you mean to say 
that you'd plunge us into rebellion in face of arguments you 
admit to be convincing, just because of some vague, Jfeeling 
that it might be a good thing ? " 

" How could I plunge you into anything against your 
will ? " said Austin. " I'm merely expressing my own 
feeling." 

" Were you ? " thought Stephen, and drank some tea. He 
watched Mallow while he did so and noticed that his yellow- 
ish face was working with some strange excitement. His 
last words were evidently an attempt to lull the suspicions 
which he felt he had roused in Stephen, but his self-control 
was insufficient to make them convincing. Stephen could 
see that Austin was literally bursting with revelations and 
in a state to blurt out anything. He accordingly put on an 
air of obtuseness and said : 

" However we may speculate in theory, the whole notion 
of a rebellion in these unromantic days is rather laughable, 
isn't it ? " 

Austin looking at Stephen saw only a commonplace sceptic 
lounging in an armchair, and felt that he might safely 
give vent to the revelations which were tearing him. Stephen 



392 THE WASTED ISLAND 

looking up under lowered lids saw Austin rise, contorted like 
the Delphian priestess. 

" Fool ! " cried Austin. " You think your cool reasoning 
can dispose of anything. But there are things above reason. 
I've seen you laugh over my poetry : I know you laugh at 
me and at all poets. But we poets are often prophets : I'm 
a prophet." 

" Yes," replied Stephen. " I dare say. It must be 
jolly useful. What time is it ? " 

He had learnt as much as he wanted, and he took an early 
leave. 

" Mallow," he said to Hektor afterwards, " is such a 
fool that his folly is quite as mischevious as conscious double- 
dealing. He needs watching. What can you do with a 
man who is convinced that he's wrong and yet feels that he's 
right ? " 



" Things are bucking up here under your regime," said 
Crowley. " Twenty new recruits this week, and we got sixty 
odd during September." 

' That's all very well," said Bernard, " but I can't under- 
stand why we don't do even better." 

" National purity of the Gael, my boy. He's afraid to 
look on Freedom in naked beauty, and likes her to be decently 
clothed." 

There was a heavy rat-tat at the hall-door at this moment, 
and presently the house-keeper came in and in an agitated 
voice announced that a policeman wanted to speak to 
Mr. Lascelles. 

" Unsolicited testimonial to your organising abilities, 
Bernard," said Crowley. " Slip out by the window there 
and buzz off in the car. I'll blarney them for a bit." 

" I don't believe they want to arrest me," said Bernard, 
" or they'd have come right in without ceremony. " How 
many are there, did you say ? " 

" Only one, sir," said the housekeeper. " He's got a 
letter in his hand, I think he wants to give you." 

" Well, show the blighter in," said Crowley, cocking a 
revolver which he took from a drawer and placed in his 
pocket in case of necessity. 



AN AMATEUR ARMY 393 

The woman withdrew and ushered in a bashfully blushing 
young constable, who, avoiding Crowley's scornful glance, 
handed a long official envelope to Bernard, saying : 

" Me ordhers is to deliver this into your hands." 

" Thank you," said Bernard. " I'm much obliged." 

The constable shuffled shyly with his feet for a moment 
and then awkwardly stalked out. 

" Rather an unimposing instrument of tyranny," said 
Crowley. " What have we here ? " 

Bernard opened the envelope and they read the enclosed 
document, which said that whereas Bernard Lascelles. 
physician, had in sundry ways promoted disaffection among 
his Majesty's subjects and been guilty of acts prejudicial 
to recruitment for his Majesty's forces in and about the town- 
land of Ballylangan, the competent military authorities, 
under the powers conferred on them by the Defence of the 
Realm Act, hereby ordered the said Bernard Lascelles, 
physician, to quit the following area, namely Ireland, within 
ten days of the receipt of the order, failure to obey which 
would involve severe penalty. 

" New motto for the Party," said Bernard. " ' Ireland 
an area. . . . An Area Once Again! What ? " 

" This looks bad for you, old man," said Crowley. 

" What'll you do ? " 

" Consult headquarters when I go back to town. We've 
half a dozen other organisers on the road, and they'll pro- 
bably all be in the same boat. ... I wonder which is the 
more unpleasant life, dodging arrest or going to jail." 

" Not much to choose between them, I fancy." 

" I'm damned if I leave my country, anyway, for any 
blasted English general," said Bernard . . . 

When he arrived at Headquarters next day he found two 
other organisers who had received similar orders awaiting 
the decision of the Executive, which was in session upstairs, 
as to their course oi action. Presently Umpleby, who had 
been organising in the South, came in. 

" What ? You too ? " cried Bernard. 

Umpleby ruefully produced the familiar envelope. 

" I'll write to every paper in the country to denounce 
this tyranny," he said. 

" Will you ! " said Bernard. " Not if the Executive 



394 THE WASTED ISLAND 

knows it. You'll obey orders my son, and that won't be 
one of them." 

" But the world should know of this. We must have 
publicity, Lascelles. Never in the whole history of the 
tyranny of big nations over small ones [not even in Ninety- 
Eight with all its horrors, {an ancestor of mine, I believe, 
was flogged and pitch-capped in those days (he survived it 
too, poor devil) J- ] do we hear of such high-handed, barbarous, 
unrelenting ..." 

He was interrupted by the entry of Stephen, who came 
to communicate the decision of the Executive. The order 
was to be completely disregarded and organising carried on 
as usual. 

" What about informing the press ? " asked Umpleby. 

" That will be done officially," replied Stephen. 

Bernard went home in pensive mood. He felt no heroic 
exultation in suffering for the cause. He dreaded the pro- 
spect of gaol. He suffered in advance in his imagination 
the discomforts, the coarseness, the vile food, the loneliness 
of prison life. . . . And what would Mabel say ? . . . 

" Bah ! Let's forget it," he said, shaking himself. " I've 
ten days freedom anyhow. I'll make the most of them." 

" Swathythe," he said when he reached home, " I sup- 
pose you are aware that I'm an enemy to your country ? " 

" Yes, sir," said Swathythe. 

"You don't object, Swathythe ? " 

" No, sir." 

" It isn't against your conscience to serve me ? " 

" No conscience, sir. Can't afford such luxuries." 

" Sometimes, Swathythe, you talk like Lord Goring's 
valet in An Ideal Husband." 

" Yes, sir. I always strive to model myself upon him." 

" Hm. Well, look here Swathythe, I'm going to entrust 
some of my affairs to you. I've had the honour of engaging 
the attention of the military authorities of your Imperial 
country, and the possibilities are that I shall find myself in 
gaol very shortly." 

" I beg your pardon, sir ? " 

" I say, I may find myself in gaol, Swathythe." 

" I'm afraid that puts a different complexion on the case, 
sir." 



AN AMATEUR ARMY 395 

" I thought you'd no conscience, Swathythe ? " 

" Quite true, sir. But I've my prospects to consider. It 
wouldn't do me no good sir to have served a gentleman as 
'ad been in gaol, sir, if you'll excuse me, sir." 

" Don't mention it, Swathythe. So I can't rely on you ? " 

" No, sir. And if you anticipate an early arrest, sir, I 
should be much obliged if you would make it convenient 
to dispense with my services as soon as possible." 

" Certainly, Swathythe. You can take yourself to the 
devil at once if you like. Only you'll get no wages in lieu 
of notice." 

" Perfectly satisfied, sir," said Swathythe, and withdrew 
obsequiously. 

" What will life be without Swathythe ? " cried Bernard. 
" O, Ireland, you expect too much of your sons." 

Then Mabel had to be told. She fairly broke down and 
cried when she heard the news, and Bernard, after some 
clumsy and unavailing attempts to console her, stood by 
helplessly waiting for the storm to subside. It was at her 
own home that this happened, but fortunately Mrs. Harvey 
was out. 

" Everything seems against us," sobbed Mabel. " I 
don't believe we'll ever be married. . . . Where will 
you go to ? How long will you have to stay away ? " 

" I'm not going anywhere." 

" What are you going to do then ? " 

" I'm just going to sit tight." 

" But . . . ? " 

Bernard explained. He might be forcibly deported : he 
might be imprisoned : he would know for certain in a few 
days. Mabel's grief burst forth afresh. 

" O Bernard, how could you ? What will mother say ? ' 

" Dash your mother," said Bernard irritably. " You 
don't think I like going to prison do you ? " 

She was repentant in a moment. 

" Don't mind me, dear. I'm horrid and selfish I know. 
But oh, how I'll miss you Bernard." 

" Never mind. It can't be for ever, and we'll have a good 
time these next ten days, won't we ? " 

She smiled through her tears . . . 

They made the most of his ten day's freedom. October 
2 c 



396 THE WASTED ISLAND 

was drawing to a close, damp and chilly, but they contrived 
to have at least one good walk together, and they went to 
many theatres and picture houses. 

" How does your mother take it ? " Bernard asked once. 

" She hasn't said a word," replied Mabel. 

Bernard whistled and said : 

" That's ominous . . ." 

He produced two pink pieces of cardboard from his pocket. 

" What about a last dance together ? " he said. " Thurs- 
day may be my last day of freedom, or my last day in 
Ireland. Let's make it a pleasant one . . ." 

" O my dear," cried Mabel. " Why, why, why do things 
like this happen ? . . . Is it all a nightmare ? " . . . 

Malone read the deportation order with grim satisfaction. 

" Perhaps you'll admit now," he said, " that the time has 
come to fight." 

" I don't," said Bernard. 

" Are you going to wait until all the leaders are jailed or 
deported then ? If you don't fight now you're disgraced." 

" We're a military movement," said Bernard, " and we 
take our orders from our officers without criticism. We're 
the first disciplined movement Ireland ever had." 

"I'd think more of a movement that wanted to fight," 
said Malone. 



10 

On a raw morning at the beginning of November Bernard 
and O'Dwyer saw Eugene off from Westland Row Station 
bound for the Western Front. They stood on the platform 
together, but they could say little. Bernard and O'Dwyer 
hated the cause in which he was going to fight, but Eugene 
was going in all good faith to fight, as he thought, for 
Ireland : so there was little to say. 

They stamped their feet on the platform and clapped 
their gloved hands and exclaimed frequently : 

" By Jove, it's cold." 

" Queer situation ! " said O'Dwyer. " Two Sinn Feiners 
seeing off a British officer. It would make an Englishman 
stare." 



AN AMATEUR ARMY 397 

" I suppose Englishmen think Sinn Feiners have horns 
and a tail," said Bernard. 

" I hope we Irish soldiers will patch up that eternal 
quarrel," said Eugene. " Bernard, I hope you aren't in 
for too bad a time. I hate to think of you in a prison cell in 
weather like this." 

" Or any weather," laughed Bernard. " Win a V.C. 
and they might reprieve me on the strength of it." 

" Not much chance of that, I'm afraid. I'm not built 
of very soldierly stuff." 

Indeed it was hard to imagine those mild blue eyes lit 
with the spirit of battle, or those soft and gentle hands deal- 
ing out death. War and Eugene seemed things incompatible. 

" What a decent kindly fellow Eugene is," thought Bernard, 
and regretted the smailness of their intercourse together. 
" Has my neglect hurt him ? " he wondered. " How un- 
kindly I've sometimes spoken to him," he reflected bitterly. 
" I've never concealed my thinking him a fool : and he's 
no fool." He made great resolves for the future : he and 
Eugene were to be friends, and more than friends. 

Eugene got into the railway carriage and stood leaning 
out of the window. The train began to move slowly. 

" Good bye, old man. Good luck ! " said O'Dwyer. 

" Good luck," said Eugene, smiling in that grave way of 
his. 

Bernard could say nothing on account of a choking lump 
in his throat. He stood gazing after Eugene's face, still 
lit with its kindly smile until something blurred his vision. 



ii 

There was no joy in ragtime nor solace in waltzing for 
Bernard and Mabel when the tenth night came. Their 
souls were tremulous with the imminence of parting and 
they wanted to be alone together. Early in the evening they 
left the ball-room and retired to that nook where nearly a 
year ago they had told their love. They could say little, 
but sat hand in hand, whispering to one another now and 
again some tender phrase. 

" You'll think of me in prison sometimes, dear ? " 



398 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" Sometimes, did you say ? My darling, I'll think of 
nothing else . . . And you ? " 

" I couldn't think of you more than I do already. All 
day at my work you're never out of my thoughts. It's a 
wonder I don't type your name into the letters." 

" My dearest ! " 

" And can I write to you ? " 

" Not for a month . . . What a long month that will 
be." 

" How short these ten days have been." 

" That month will seem like a thousand such days." 

" Perhaps they won't put you in prison. Mightn't they 
deport you ? " 
' They might." 

" Well, if they do, I'll come over the sea and marry you." 

" Will you really ? " 

" Yes." 

He kissed her then, but he did not tell her that he felt 
sure that prison would be his fate. 

" Time seems long when you look forward," he said, " but 
time past seems very short. We've been engaged ten 
months, and they've gone by like three." 

" Like a week," said Mabel. 

" There must be great days in store for Ireland. They 
seem a long way ahead now, but when they come we'll look 
back on these times and laugh. . . . What shall I be in 
the Republic ? " 

" Foreign Secretary." 

" Ah, you'd like to be holding brilliant receptions, wouldn't 
you ? But I'd rather be Minister for Education or head of 
some department for town-planning." 

" How dull." 

" You'd be the chief guest at all the school prize-days in 
the country, or you could give grand dinners to the town- 
planning experts." 

" I'd rather entertain the foreign ambassadors." 

" You can go to the foreign secretary's wife's receptions. 
That'll be that little girl who was dartcing with Felim O'Dwyer 
to-night." 

" What nonsense we're talking. . . . Bernard, Ireland 
will never be free." 



AN AMATEUR ARMY 399 

" She will. And in our lifetime too, with luck." 

" It sounds so impossible. How long have we been 
under England ? " 

" Nearly seven hundred and fifty years." 

" And you still hope ? " 

" England was four hundred years under the Romans, 
and people still hoped, and the end of it came at last. The 
Roman Empire is dead and gone, and England still lives." 

Discussion had made them temporarily forget the coming 
separation. Then suddenly Mabel remembered it again, 
and threw herself weeping into his arms. 

" Our last night together," she cried. " My dear, can 
nothing be done ? " 

He held her and comforted her and talked more nonsense 
to her and made her forget again. The evening sped by, 
and they went downstairs and danced the last waltz together 
The tune was Come Back to Erin, a favourite finale, to which 
they had danced scores of times in happier days. Now 
the old melody seemed brimful of all the tears ever shed in 
Ireland, yet with something of hope arising through it. 
Bernard's mood was almost exultant, and Mabel, looking 
up at him with tear-dimmed eyes, wondered at the expression 
of his face . . . 

As Bernard was getting into his overcoat in the dressing- 
room, Molloy accosted him. 

" Having a last dissipation ? " he said. " I hear that two 
of your colleagues were arrested this evening. One of them 
is a client of mine too : Umpleby." 

" We're making no defence of course," said Bernard. 

" You'll get it all the harder for that." 

" Well, ' 'tis but in vain for soldiers to complain,' you 
know. How are things with you ? " 

Just then O'Dwyer rushed up to Bernard and said : 

" You're done, old man. Three policemen and a taxi 
at the door." 

" Damnation," said Bernard. " My G man's better 
than I knew. I thought I'd given him the slip." 

" Will you try and dodge them ? " 

" Not worth it. May as well take what's coming first as 
last. ... I say, will you look after Mabel and see her 
home ? " 



400 THE WASTED ISLAND 

O'Dwyer having promised they went out, and found Mabel 
waiting in the hall. She took the news quietly and they 
went to the lounge together to wait for the crowd to disappear. 
In spite of O'Dwyer's presence she held Bernard's hand 
tight till the end. 

Taxis hooted and whips cracked without and the laughing 
throng melted away. Bernard, Mabel and O'Dwyer arose 
and went out. Two taxis stood by the kerb. One was that 
which Bernard had engaged to take Mabel home : three 
policemen stood by the other. One of these came forward, 
but stopped when Bernard said : 

" It's all right. I know what you want. I'll be with 
you in a minute." 

He took both Mabel's hands in his and said : 

" Well, au revoir, my darling." 

Instantly she threw her arms round his neck and they 
kissed : a long kiss : feast of desire that knows no surfeit 
and grows greater the more it feeds : joy ever soaring yet 
reaching no culmination ; yearning and satisfaction, bliss 
and woe, dominance and surrender, despair and triumph 
all compounded. Into that moment they strove to pack 
all the rapture of the stolen months to come. Still un- 
satisfied their lips reluctantly sundered. Then abruptly 
Bernard caught her to him again and kissed her fiercely 
and swiftly once. He pushed her from him after that and 
entered the taxi without looking back. 

The policemen got in clumsily beside him. 



"I see that young Bernard Lascelles has been sent to 
prison," said Lady Mallaby Morchoe to Mrs.Gunby Rourke 
in the costume department at Switzer's. 

" Really," said Mrs. Gunby Rourke. " Well, I'm not 
surprised. He's a bad lot altogether. Poor Sir Eugene ! " 

" What makes you think him a bad lot ? " asked Lady 
Mallaby Morchoe. 

" I'm afraid I've been indiscreet. Isn't it enough that 
he's been sent to prison ? " 



AN AMATEUR ARMY 401 

" O, that's for something political. What else has he 
done ? " 

" Well, between ourselves, I saw him at Antwerp some 
time ago in the company of a very shady-looking woman 
indeed." 

" Probably some German agent." 

" I shouldn't be surprised" . . . 

" Have you heard about Sir Eugene Lascelles' son ? " 
said Mrs. Bonegraft to Lady Mallaby Morchoe at the counter 
in Mitchell's. 

" Yes. I'm sorry for his father and mother," said Lady 
Mallaby Morchoe. 

" I wonder what he's done," said Mrs. Bonegraft. 

Lady Mallaby Morchoe assumed a mystifying expression. 

" A dark business," she said. " German intrigues have 
something to say to it, and I believe there's a woman at the 
bottom of it." 

" Dear me," said Mrs. Bonegraft. " What sort of 



woman 



" A notorious adventuress, I hear, and probably in German 
pay. He was seen all over Antwerp with her." 

" Dear, dear," said Mrs. Bonegraft. " I always thought 
him such a nice young man." 

" O, I don't mind a young man sowing his wild oats, 
but he shouldn't betray his country in doing it . . ." 

" We should take care that we don't give our young men 
too much liberty," said Mrs. Bonegraft to Mrs. Metcalfe 
in the cooling-room of a Turkish bath. " There's young 
Bernard Lascelles, as nice a young man as you could wish 
for, gone sowing his wild oats and disgracing himself and 
his family." 

" What has he done ? " asked Mrs. Metcalfe. 

" O, don't ask me. It's too awful a story. German 
spies and wicked woman and all sorts of terrible things . . . 
There's some dreadful woman he associates with in 
Antwerp, his mistress I suppose . . . ' 

So the story went from mouth to mouth, and, as in the 
whispering game that changes ' Julius Caesar was stabbed 
by Brutus ' to * The cat's in the kitchen,' it reached Mrs. 
Moffat in a very much altered form, and a very spicy one too ; 
and Mrs. Moffat handed it on to Mrs. Harvey. 



4 o2 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" My poor Mabel ! " said Mrs. Harvey and dabbed a 
handkerchief to her eye. Her eyes were large and luminous 
and her lachrymal glands were very readily stimulated. 
" My poor Mabel ! " she repeated. " My innocent child. " 

But she congratulated herself on the acquisition of a weapon 
for which she had neither hoped nor sought. 



CHAPTER XV 
GATHERING CLOUDS 



" As a military expert," said Stephen to Hektor O' Flaherty, 
" what did you think of the manoeuvres yesterday ? " 

O' Flaherty smiled reminiscently and said : 

" Kind of hide-and-seek stunt, wasn't it ? When it was 
all over the Green Field-Marshal came up to me and said : 
' Well, umpire, who's won ? ' ' Search me,' said I. 'If 
I'd some vague notion what the two armies were aiming at, 
and a sort of general idea where the blazes they'd all got to, 
a decision might be hazarded. But as it is . . . ' He 
didn't like that a bit, sir." 

" He wouldn't." 

" I wonder what the hell they thought they were up to. 
There were about nine hundred men engaged and they 
covered an area twice the size of the battlefield of Waterloo. 
I guess either line could have been broken by a determined 
billy-goat. ... I was sorry for the rank and file. They 
seemed completely at sea. ... As for the generals, it made 
me laugh to hear them issue their orders. You'd have 
thought they were Hindenburgs directing army-groups." 

" Yes. There's a kind of megalomania afflicting some of 
our leaders : the intoxicating effect of power, I suppose. 
Those two generals of yesterday would think nothing now 
of tackling the British Army in the field." 

" I wouldn't put it past them." 

"I'm worried about some of our Executive, that's a fact. 
The old unanimity has been going from us during the last 
few months, and a party seems to be segregating itself from 

403 



404 THE WASTED ISLAND 

the rest of us. This party is made up of the men whose 
judgment and ability I've most reason to distrust : men 
without a sense of proportion, and some of them mentally 
unbalanced. . . . 

" Now, if you take a movement like ours, a military revolu- 
tionary and partly secret organisation, and put at the head 
of it three or four men who are fools enough to think it a 
match for a regular army, a couple of plotters who are above 
being frank with their colleagues, and an unhealthy fanatic 
like Mallow who preaches a doctrine of blood-sacrifice, 
where do you think you're heading to ? " 

" It looks bad," said Hektor. " But I doubt if they've 
the guts to do anything." 

At this moment Felim O'Dwyer entered the smoking- 
room wearing a look of unusual gravity. 

" I've something important to tell you fellows," he said. 
" Let's go somewhere where we worr't be disturbed." 

" My bedroom," suggested Stephen, and they adjourned 
there at once. 

" I'll begin right at the beginning," said O'Dwyer pacing 
up and down the room, while Stephen sat on the bed and 
Hektor on a chair. " I met Austin Mallow casually at 
Headquarters to-day, and he asked me to come out and 
lunch with him. I was rather surprised at this, because 
we're not particularly friendly, and then I came to the con- 
clusion he was going to ask me about the author of that 
poem of mine : A Vision in the Void of Night, you know ; 
so I began to cast about for excuses for his non-appearance. 
However, Mallow said very little all through the meal : it 
was at the Dolphin : a good square four-course lunch, with 
a bottle of Burgundy. Then at the end, over coffee and 
cigars, he looked me straight in the face with those piercing 
eyes of his and said : ' What do you think of the way things 
are going ? ' At once I remembered the interview he'd 
had with you, Stephen, so I looked as stupid as I could and 
said : ' What do you mean ? ' Then he began to talk quietly 
about the present policy. Did I think the arrangement to 
fight from our houses in case of an attempt to disarm us a 
good one ? Didn't I think we were taking the arrest of 
Lascelles, Umpleby and the others rather tamely ? Weren't 
the men getting impatient of inaction ? And so on. I 



GATHERING CLOUDS 405 

said very little, but gave sympathetic grunts from time to 
time. Then he began to get more definite, and asked me 
whether we were likely to get a better chance of striking 
than the present. I became duller still, and he became so 
exasperated that he gave away far more than he intended. 
I got nothing consecutive out of him, but by piecing things 
together I deduce this in brief : that there's a party on the 
Executive who mean to strike a blow as soon as possible ; 
that they're in alliance with the Liberty Hall crowd ; and 
that the date is to be about Christmas." 

" By gad, Stephen, you had sound dope," said Hektor. 

" Wait though," said O'Dwyer. " When I'd got as much 
as I wanted out of him I told him I didn't approve of an 
insurrection, and that I was sure the majority of the Volun- 
teers were the same. ' You're wrong there,' says he, ' for 
I'm in a position to know. I must insist, however, that 
you regard all I've said to you as strictly confidential,' which 
was rather like tightening the strings after you'd let the cat 
out of the bag. So I've come straight over here, and that's 
that." 

He took a chair and lit a cigarette. 

" This is serious," said Hektor. " Gad, they must be 
bigger fools than I thought them. An insurrection in mid- 
winter ! Why, the weather would be enough to quell it. 
The English needn't fire a shot." 

" This has got to be stopped," said Stephen. " I'll see the 
sane members of the Executive after the meeting this evening 
and tell them your story, O'Dwyer." 

" The Insurgent Chieftains will probably try and capture 
the Executive at the elections next week," remarked Hektor. 

" I should say, certainly," replied Stephen. " They 
wouldn't stick at a coup, but they'd like the sanction of 
majority rule if they could get it. . . . We must put up 
a ticket of sane men and canvass the country before the 
Convention meets. The organisers will make good can- 
vassers and any I know are our way of thinking." 

" I'll be on the country myself, next week," said O'Dwyer. 
" I've taken on Lascelles' district." 

" Good," said Stephen. " The question now is : who 
shall we put on the ticket ? There are let's see : yes, 
six safe men on the Executive already. We'll put them 



4o6 THE WASTED ISLAND 

up again and add three others. Plump for those and we 
get a clear majority. . . . Would you stand, O'Flaherty ? " 

" I don't mind," said Hektor. 

" And you, O'Dwyer ? " 

" I'd find it easier canvassing for a ticket I wasn't on," 
said O'Dwyer. 

" Well, the whole crowd will have to be consulted any- 
how." He looked at his watch, and said : " Five o'clock. 
I must be off to Headquarters." 



Bernard made no attempt to take his imprisonment philo- 
sophically. He chafed and fretted at his confinement, 
found the solitude intolerable, and could not stomach the 
food. Moreover he was not, like those born to Nationalism, 
inured to English injustice : he could not take it as a matter 
of course, and he lashed himself into fury by thinking of it. 

When the cell door first slammed behind him he stood for 
a moment surveying the narrow space in .which for the next 
four months he was to spend twenty-three hours out of 
every twenty-four. The cold bare walls and floor, the small 
barred window, the plank bed made a harsh and chilly pros- 
pect. Suddenly his eye fell on a book lying on a shelf near 
the door. He hastened to pick it up, found that it was a 
Bible, and threw it down again. A fit of fierce impatience 
seized him, and he began striding about the cell, striking 
his heels on the floor, head bent and hands in pockets. 

By-and-by supper was brought to him, consisting of 
the usual milkless sugarless cocoa and sour bread, but he 
could not bring himself to touch it and went hungry to bed. 
To bed, but not to sleep, for the hardness of the plank, the 
pangs of hunger, and the searching cold of the November 
night combined to keep him awake interminable hours. 
Blessed oblivion came to him shortly before morning, to be 
rudely broken into ere it had begun to refresh him, and he 
rose and dressed himself, eyelids heavily drooping and 
teeth chattering the while, in the bleak light of a winter's 
dawn. They brought him skilly for breakfast and hunger 
drove him to swallow the unappetising mess, but he could 
not retain it. Sick and miserable he sat for two hours with 



GATHERING CLOUDS 407 

his head in his hands until he was cramped and numb with 
the cold. Then he was taken out to the exercise-yard and 
along with a score of other poor creatures set to chopping 
wood. Umpleby from a far corner of the yard grinned 
sympathy to him, and was roughly spoken to by the warder 
in consequence. Shivering with cold Bernard chopped 
and chopped, which warmed him somewhat though it sorely 
blistered his hands. Then farewell to the sky and back to 
the cell again. . . . The librarian going his rounds tossed 
a book on his table. It was a Third School Reader and 
Bernard flung it from him in disgust. 

He fell to thinking of Mabel and realised that for a day and 
a night she had scarcely entered his thoughts. 

" Dear little girl, what made me forget her ? Is she 
thinking of me now ? Is she working, I wonder ? No. 
She's gone out to her lunch : a bun and a glass of milk at 
the D.B.C. What would she think if she knew I'd forgotten 
her ? . . . It was too cold to think. . . . Lord, I'm 
hungry. What would I like now ? Mutton cutlets and 
potato chips, crisp and brown and piping hot. And a glass 
of foaming beer. . . . Damn it, I am hungry." 

Dinner came : soup and potatoes. He drank a little of 
the greasy slop and dissected out the healthy part of a worm- 
bored potato. It served but to whet his appetite. He 
devoured the second potato ravenously, skin, worm-holes, 
and all. 

" Are there no better books in the prison than this ? " 
he asked a warder, holding up the School Reader. 

The warder took pity on him ; said it was hard on ' the 
likes of him ' to be in a place like that ; and gave him Daniel 
Deronda which had been rejected by the burglar in the 
neighbouring cell . . . 

The days went by ever so slowly. Bernard had none of 
Stephen's stoicism, and patience was not in him. More- 
over he was in love. So he fretted and fumed and could 
not even settle down to the enjoyment of George Eliot's 
masterpiece. He would pace his cell backwards and for- 
wards for hours on end, or he would sit still lost in dreams 
of food, or Mabel. Sometimes a bar of sunlight would 
shine through his window on to the opposite wall and he 



408 



THE WASTED ISLAND 



would stare at it gloomily fancying that it mocked his 
helplessness. 

Mass brought him no consolation. Though he had that 
deep-rooted sub-conscious faith that no Catholic was ever 
without and which recalls nearly every wanderer in the end, 
he had none of Stephen's intellectual convictions in religion. 
His intellect in fact nearly always led him away from it, 
and it was his emotions that invariably f l>r/ojjght him back. 
In his adolescence it was the need of supernatural help in 
a crisis that had revived his lost faith, and the crisis over 
he had relapsed later on to unbelief. Then the magnificent 
music of one of Bach's Masses on a Christmas Day had 
recalled him again, to fall away once more after an argument 
over the question of eternal punishment. Thus he had 
wavered all his life. The sacrifice of the Mass therefore 
had little inspiration for him when shorn of pomp and music, 
and the effect of the little ceremony in the bare gloomy 
prison chapel was if anything depressing. He found it 
difficult even to pray . . . 

Poor Bernard was fond of the good things of life and he 
was accustomed to getting them too. For all his hunger 
he could not stomach skilly, and the prison bread gave him 
indigestion. Day by day he grew thinner and weaker. 
He came soon to think of nothing else but food and to dream 
of it when he slept. The common empyreumatic dishes 
conjured themselves up tantalisingly before his vision. In 
his imagination he saw the rich brown of grills, heard the 
sizzling of fryingpans, smelt the savour of rashers. He 
would dream of feasts, and always some of the guests would 
be late, so that he would have to wait, hungrily eyeing the 
victuals. Then the late ones would arrive ; he would draw 
out his chair to sit down ; and in that instant he would awake. 

Naturally of a nervous temperament, ill nourishment 
made him nervy. A horror of loneliness and confinement 
came upon him : a revival of the horror he had once endured 
as a small boy when a nurse had shut him up in a linen- 
press as a punishment for some naughtiness or other. A 
hysterical fear that he might be forgotten and left in his prison 
for ever took possession of him. He imagined himself 
caught here like a rat in a trap when the prison might be on 
fire above. He felt forsaken by all the world . . . 



GATHERING CLOUDS 409 

After a seeming eternity he realised that only ten days 
had passed, a twelfth part of his sentence. 

" All that I've been through already over again," he 
groaned, " and again and again eleven times ! " . . . 

Weeks went by, and the time came for Mabel's first letter 
to arrive. In the back of his Bible was the scoring 
made by some poor wretch of the days of his captivity (two 
years he had had) and Bernard used it at second hand to count 
the days up to the arrival of his letter. It came at last, a 
short and colourless note, and a day late at that. 
Dear Bernard, 

I hope you are quite well and not too lonely. It must be 
dreadful to be locked up in a cell this cold weather . . . 

So it began, and after a few items of not very interesting 
news it wound up, without any expressions of affection, 
with her initials. 

Bernard was disappointed and puzzled and then hit upon 
an explanation. 

" Silly little dear," he said, " she was shy of the governor 
seeing what she'd write." 

He wrote her a love letter, cramming all his feelings and 
a thousand endearments by writing microscopically into the 
official sheet of notepaper. At the end he wrote : ' Don't 
be shy of the governor. He's only a machine.' 

Christmas Eve came, and he remembered the last one so 
happily spent with Mabel. In his imagination he saw the 
glittering shop windows and the jostling crowds in Grafton 
Street, and heard the tinkling of tea-cups. 



Felim O'Dwyer sat idly poking the fire in the bed-sitting 
room which he inhabited in a little house on the South 
Circular Road. By daylight it was a horrible enough apart- 
ment, with its dingy yellow wall-paper, its faded thread-bare 
carpet ; its blackened ceiling ; with its enormous battered double 
bed, its rickety wash- stand, and tawdry dust-soaked mantel- 
hangings ; and with its grimy window looking out on a 
dreary yard and the back of another house. But at night 
with the blind drawn and the lamp lit it looked cosy enough, 
and O'Dwyer had added to the furniture a couple of wicker 



4 io THE WASTED ISLAND 

arm-chairs and a book case, and had covered the table with a 
red baize cloth. His means being small he was obliged to 
live modestly in order to afford a consulting room in Merrion 
Street. 

He ceased toying with the poker and took a little notebook 
from one of his pockets and a pencil from another. He 
chewed at the latter for about a minute and then scribbled 
the following lines : 

It's very true, dear, that eyes of blue, dear, 
And brown eyes too, dear, have charmed my sight. 
But .your eyes of grey, dear, my heart have made, dear, 
Very much afraid, dear, that it's killed outright. 

He paused here and muttered : 

" Now if I go on with that I'll probably spoil it and make 
it comic." 

He read the verse over to himself with approval. 

" It would fit on a post-card/' he said. 

He read it again. 

" What an ass I am/' he said. 

Felim O'Dwyer was in love . . . 

There was a knock at the hall-door and someone was 
admitted. Then the handle of his own door was turned. 
Swiftly he pocketed his note-book as Hektor O' Flaherty 
and Hugo McGurk entered. 

" Hello, boys ! Come right in." O'Dwyer poked up 
the fire to a blaze and produced cigarettes. " What are 
you doing in town, Hugo ? " 

" Working for my final," said McGurk. 

" Lazy devil ! I heard you'd got stuck again in Autumn." 

" Arrah, what harm ? Sure I'm young yet." 

" How are things in your part of the country, by the way ? " 

" Looking up a bit. They've only got two recruits for 
the Army in the last three months, and they corner-boys 
that enlisted when they were drunk. There was a recruit- 
ing meeting hissed only the other day. McGovern, the 
local gombeen-man, was speaking : small nationalities, 
Catholic Belgium, and all the rest of it : fierce rdimeis. 
' What would the Germans do if they came to Ballylennon ? ' 
says he. ' They'd take the land off ye/ says he. ' They'd 
batten on your flesh and blood/ says he. Then a fellow in 



GATHERING CLOUDS 411 

the crowd calls out : ' Sure ye wouldn't let 'em threspass 
on your presairves, McGovern/ You should have seen 
McGovern's face at that : it was a treat. He couldn't get 
another word in for the racket." 

!l The country's coming to its senses at last," said Hektor. 

" How are things going on the new Executive ? " asked 
O'Dwyer. 

" That Executive," said Hektor, " gives one furiously to 
think, as the French say. The party with sound dope has 
the majority but the other crowd don't seem to mind. I'm 
sure there's things going on behind the scenes, and I don't 
like it. No, sir. As you know, we faced them right at the 
beginning with the question of fight or no fight. McNeill 
put the thing to us fair and square in a statement that just 
put the whole case against insurrection in a nutshell. I 
watched the faces of the unsound dopers during the reading, 
and what did I see there ? Conviction ? Not on your life. 
Sheer downright obstinacy. There was a sneer on Mallow's 
face that I could have booted him for, and Barret was posing 
for a bust of Robert Emmett. When the statement was 
over the dopers got up each in turn and heartily endorsed 
every word of it. What more could be said ? And yet it's 
as plain as a pikestaff that their minds are made up, and I'm 
as sure as death that they're working underground." 

" I'll tell you a little tale," said McGurk, " that'll tack 
on to that. The other day I dropped in at Rathgar Road 
to have a crack with Brian Mallow. He didn't seem extra 
pleased to see me, and he took me up to Austin's study at 
the top of the house instead of the sitting-room. I was 
surprised of course, but I said nothing. Anyhow, we smoked 
and talked for a while a couple of hours, maybe when 
brother Austin sticks his head in at the door and tells Brian 
he wants him for a few minutes. Brian goes out, calling 
to me to wait a bit and he'd be back. Well, I waited for 
maybe quarter of an hour, and then I remembered I'd an 
appointment that I'd be late for if I didn't go at once. I 
got up and went downstairs, and then I thought I'd look 
into the sitting-room and tell Brian I was off, if he was there. 
Well, I opened the door, and what do you think I saw ? A 
meeting of anarchists it looked like. There was me bould 
Austin sitting at one end of the table looking as cute as a 
2 D 



4 i2 THE WASTED ISLAND 

leprechaun : you know the eyes of him : and P.H.P. and 
Plunkett and all the rest of the dope crowd sitting in conclave. 
I tell you Hektor, I got a look from the pote that fairly froze 
me blood, so I just banged that door and buzzed off. . . . 
Now, sirree, what do you think of that adventure ? " 

" Hm. It looks bad, sonny." 

" Damn it," said O'Dwyer, " it's clear as daylight what 
they're up to ; only what have we to go on ? What can we 
do ? If we faced them with it they'd only give renewed 
assurances, I suppose." 

" Exactly," said Hektor. " They've answered our sus- 
picions twice that way already." 

" Confound it," said O'Dwyer. " These fellows call 
themselves democrats. What do they think elections 
are for if they disregard their verdict ? What would they 
say if we were the minority and tried to stick them in the 
back ? " 

" They used to talk about the corruption of the U.I.L., 
said McGurk, " and the way the Hibs. rig elections, but 
sure these fellows out-do them altogether. And whatever 
you may say about the U.I.L. they never gambled with 
men's lives." 

" It's an absolute betrayal of the men," said Hektor. 
"We've taught them discipline for their own undoing." 

" But what can we do ? " exclaimed O'Dwyer. 

" We ought to recall the Convention," said Hektor, " and 
put the case to them fair and square. I know what that 
would mean. The delegates are a sensible crowd, and even 
those who didn't vote for our ticket don't want any insur- 
rection dope. The lunacy of the movement, I'm glad to 
say, is confined to the Executive." 

" Is that going to be done." 

" I'm afraid not. I put it up to our crowd but they didn't 
think it would work not yet anyway. You see we've 
nothing but guess-work and suspicion to go on and the 
doper's assurances will be accepted without question." 

" And meanwhile ? " 

" Meanwhile," said Hektor, " we must keep our eyes and 
ears wider open than ever." 



GATHERING CLOUDS 413 



A worried Chancellor of the British Exchequer faced with 
a war-bill of some five million pounds a day cast his eye 
round for economies which would help him to make ends 
meet and laid covetous hands upon the grant for the teaching 
of the Irish language in the schools of Ireland, thereby 
securing the continuance of the war for some ten or eleven 
minutes. The Party deputed to look after Ireland's interests 
in the Imperial Parliament took the robbery without a whine, 
whereupon the Volunteers took the matter up, convened a 
public meeting of protest in Dublin, and stepped out of the 
seclusion into which they had seemingly lapsed for more 
than a year. The Volunteers themselves were a little sur- 
prised at the size and tone of the audience which mustered 
at their call. The Round Room of the Mansion House 
was packed to the doors ; the Parliamentarian speakers 
were treated as men of no account, while the Volunteers 
were heartily cheered ; and references to the Bill on the 
Statute Book, Small Nations, and the Sanctity of Treaties 
were invariably greeted with sarcastic laughter. 

" Sure the bloody ould Empire's bust anyhow/' shouted 
an interrupter in the middle of one speech. 

" Begob ! " said McGurk to O'Dwyer, " we're out of the 
wilderness at last." 

But it was the Conscription question that really re- 
established the Volunteers as a force in Irish politics. While 
the Party hesitated as to a course of action the people of 
Dublin were once more summoned to the Mansion House. 
The numbers of the previous meeting were doubled : a 
second room had to be requisitioned and even that was 
inadequate. There was no superfluous reasoning or argu- 
ment in the speeches : simply a reiteration of the plain 
statement that Irishmen did not recognise the right of the 
British Parliament to conscript them, and the straightforward 
unmistakable resolution carried by acclamation : ' We will 
not have Conscription.' In their effort to serve two masters 
the Party leaders at Westminster made a woeful spectacle 
of themselves : they professed to regard the whole question 
as one of expediency not of principle and protested that 



4 i4 THE WASTED ISLAND 

Ireland was ready to accept the measure if it were proved 
necessary to the winning of the war, which nobody, not 
even themselves, believed. Their attempt to get the credit 
for the defeat of the measure failed lamentably, for the Irish 
people had once more come to realise that unyielding patriot- 
ism is a more potent argument with England than fine spun 
reasoning and to regard the Irish Volunteers as the saviours 
of the nation. 

" We've turned the corner now," said Stephen to Hektor. 
" It's only a question of time before the whole people comes 
over to us." 

" If only our own crowd would keep their heads," muttered 
Hektor. ' 

The season of Spring must have an enlivening effect 
upon the minds of men. The Spring of 1915 had seen 
public opinion begin to veer r6und in favour of the Volun- 
teers : by the Spring of 1916 a widespread feeling of respect 
was gradually expanding into unqualified approval. They 
were still a minority ; still even a small minority ; but they 
were no longer an insignificant minority. And their in- 
fluence was out of all proportion to their numbers, for they 
were vigorous, earnest, honest, intelligent, and fearless, 
and; to all appearance, unanimous. Neutrals openly pro- 
fessed admiration for them, and many supporters of the Party 
looked on them with favour. 

They seized an early opportunity of testing the popular 
sentiment. Fresh public meetings were held to protest 
against the persecution of Bernard, Umpleby, and the other 
organisers, and roars of approval greeted the announcement 
that for every organiser arrested two more had been sent 
on the road. 

" So the more they arrest," said the speaker, " the more 
they'll have to arrest. . . . Now who stands for Ireland ? 
Who tells England that her gaols have never stifled the soul 
of Ireland and never will ? " 

The popular imagination was caught, for, though the old 
traditions of nationalism had lapsed, they had not died. 
Scores of young men rushed to enrol themselves in the 
Volunteers. 

St. Patrick's Day gave an opportunity for an organised 
display of strength. A review and march-past of the Dublin 



GATHERING CLOUDS 415 

Regiment were held in College Green at mid-day, all traffic 
being forcibly suspended for the occasion. On the very 
spot where the Volunteers who had won the independent 
Parliament of 1782 had held their famous review the build- 
ing that had housed that Parliament looked down upon their 
descendants marshalled in the same cause. The spectacle 
of this well-armed, disciplined, green-uniformed army was 
one to appeal to the heart of the populace. Here was an 
Irish army : an army pledged to fight for Ireland alone 
and owning no allegiance but to Ireland ; an army that 
had drilled and armed in face of discouragement and per- 
secution ; an army that had flung the gauntlet in the face 
of the hereditary foe by announcing that any attempt to 
disarm it would be resisted to the death. A gallant army 
and a gay army : these men had seen through the lies that 
had deceived the rest of the nation for so long ; they had 
used the enemy's catchwords as a gibe against him ; they 
had turned England's war aims into a joke ; their witticisms 
were on every lip ; they took the enemy's persecution with 
a laugh and went to gaol jesting. And deep down in every 
heart was a feeling that since they were persecuted they 
must be in the right. 

" The man in the gap ! " shouted a spectator as Eoin 
MacNeill passed along the lines, and the epithet was 
enthusiastically applauded. 

A war-office motor-car attempted to pass through the 
cordon during the course of the review. McGurk, who 
was in command of this particular section stepped in front 
of it. 

" Go back," he said. " You're violating Irish neutrality." 

A choleric Colonel in the back of the car angrily demanded 
a passage, saying he was engaged on work of national 
importance. 

" Show me your passport signed by Eoin MacNeill," 
said McGurk. 

The Colonel ordered the chauffeur to proceed but McGurk 
levelled a rifle at him, whereupon the Colonel cursed his 
impudence roundly but deemed it prudent to retreat. 

"Some demonstration of power," remarked Hektor, 
who had witnessed the scene, to Stephen. 



416 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" If we can only keep our lunatics in control," said Stephen 
" we'll have all Ireland with us in six months." 



Bernard's second month in gaol dragged itself slowly by. 
Once more he counted the days till the arrival of Mabel's 
letter. Once more it was a day late : two days : three. 
Then came a note briefer and colder than the previous one. 

" So much for women's promises," said Bernard and wrote 
to her in similar vein though not so briefly. 

" What on earth is she up to ? " he asked himself. " Wish 
I'd insisted on her taking the visits." The visiting time 
being in the midst of her working hours it had been arranged 
that his monthly letter should be from her and his visit from 
his mother. 

The latter came punctual to the hour and babbled news 
to him. Sandy was home from the Dardanelles, poor boy, 
crippled for life. He had been buried by a high explosive 
shell and his legs had been so crushed that they had to be 
amputated, one at the knee, the other at the hip. They 
had not heard from Eugene for a week. Alice had become 
a V.A.D. Sir Eugene had burnt every photograph of 
Bernard that he could lay his hands on. She crammed an 
astonishing amount of information into the allotted quarter 
of an hour. 

So his second month ended and a third stretched itself 
before him. 

Bernard was by nature a propagandist. Any view that 
he held strongly he always wished to put before everyone 
he met in an enthusiastic desire to convert them. In this 
he differed from Stephen who thought only of conversion 
in mass and would not waste time on individuals, and from 
O'Dwyer, who hated his opponents too much to wish to 
convert them. Alone in his cell now Bernard held imaginary 
controversies with all his enemies in turn. He tackled the 
Redmondites : 

" According to your present theory Sir Edward Carson 
is a more patriotic Irishman than Eoin MacNeill ; George 
Gunby Rourke and Fred Heuston Harrington are true men, 
and Stephen and I are traitors. . . . But you wouldn't 



GATHERING CLOUDS 417 

dare follow your idea to its logical conclusion or you'd have 
to drop it at once." 

No answer. 

" What could they answer without stultifying them- 
selves ? . . . Well, why not practice humility and do 
stultify yourselves ? " 

Again no answer. 

He tackled the Unionists : 

" You do a lot of spouting now about the honour and 
glory of Ireland. You presume to call yourselves Irish 
patriots, and yet you call me a traitor because I hold different 
views from yours as to what's good for Ireland. Go on. 
Stick to your old attitude, the attitude of England's garrison 
and, you will at any rate be honest and consistent. . . . 
Ireland's War, indeed ! You'd goad her into it even if it 
wasn't." 

He tackled the ' Intellectuals,' as typified in Mrs. Heuston 
Harrington : 

" You claim to be intelligent and yet you believe that 
this war is being fought for a principle. You claim to be 
broadminded and yet you never read our side of the con- 
troversy. You call us narrowminded though we read far 
more of your propaganda than our own. You claim to be 
a thinker, and yet you find your level in the leading articles 
of the Irish Times. . . . You call the Catholic Church 
the enemy of freedom ; you call her persecution of heretics 
an attack on freedom of thought and her index an attack 
on freedom of speech and writing. Yet you support the 
British Government in its persecution of Irishmen, its 
censorship of their papers and its prohibitions of their 
meetings ? " 

' Ah that's different,' I hear you say. Fool ! 

" You think it tame and cowardly of me to take the word 
of the Church for the truths of religion, yet you'd have me 
take the word of English politicians for the truth of the war. 
You scorn me for submitting to the laws of the Church, 
yet you'd have me submit to conscription by the English 
Parliament. . . . Freedom, madam ! You don't know the 
meaning of the word." 

He tackled the Academic neutrals : 

" Bloodless bookworms ! " he cried. " Shake off your 



418 THE WASTED ISLAND 

dust and live. Why leave doing to fools ? You'd rather 
make nothing than make a mistake. Your greatest fear is 
the fear of looking ridiculous. Damn your dusty smug- 
ness ! Better make fools of yourselves by doing things 
than be fooled by doing nothing. 

" What would they answer to that, I wonder ? Relight 
their pipes and go on reading, I suppose." 

The fever of argument left him and he became reflective. 

" What fools men are ! How readily they are deceived. 
Here are the common men of the world slaughtering each 
other at the bidding of the few they know to be their common 
enemy. Here are common men at the same bidding locking 
up me who am their friend. A world of idiots ! Will 
it ever be sane ? 

" If I could only reach to the minds of the people then 
the walls of my prison would be torn down in an hour. 
Would they ? Bah ! I doubt if they'd listen to me. . . . 
Education . . . 

" I'm in a prison within a prison. Ireland is a prison, 
and we poor captives stretch out our hands vainly to our 
fellow-men. If they only knew, if we could only reach 
their minds. . . . But we can't . . . The people as yet 
know neither how to talk nor how to listen . . . 

" When is the universal Revolution coming ? Will France 
lead it ? . . .Or Russia ? . . . Why not Ireland ? We 
are the only people who ever rose for an idea. It took 
hunger to make even France rise. . . . But we're too 
small. Who'd follow us ? Snobbishness still rules the 
world. . . . Men ! What dear stupid fools you are ! 

" One thing is certain. The present system is smashing 
itself. It cannot last for ever : it cannot last our time. . . . 
Will it smash the world in the process ? Or will the people 
arise from the wreckage ? " 

Chaotically questions and ideas fermented in his half- 
starved brain. They wore him out, and yet he could not 
sleep. 

And ever and again he would return to wondering at 
Mabel's reticence. It could not possibly be due to mere 
shyness, he told himself. Could she have ceased to care ? 
He refused to contemplate the thought. Her tears at leav- 
ing him, the warmth of her last kiss forbade it. But why 



GATHERING CLOUDS 419 

Why ? Why ? He had so looked forward to those letters. 
He had hoped for some of her little jokes, for endearments 
that he could have read over and over again, so sweetening 
many a weary hour. Was she destitute of imagination 
that she could not think of this ? Did it not occur to her 
that her letters would be his only gleam of sunshine ? And 
oh the coldness of those brief notes of hers, too disappoint- 
ing to bear a second reading. Why ? Why ? Why ? 

She had become a part of himself and separation was 
gradually getting unbearable. He ached for the sight of 
her, hungered to touch her ; and in a fever of longing the 
third month went by. His desire mounted higher and 
higher as the day for the next letter approached. It brought 
nothing. He waited grimly while three more days went by. 
The fourth brought a post-card hoping that he was very well. 



By the end of March Ireland was pretty thoroughly awake. 
Recruits were pouring into the Volunteers, whole com- 
panies of Redmondite Volunteers were transferring their 
allegiance, country corps that had been dormant since the 
split were reviving, and the activity of 1913 recommenced. 
Recruiting meetings for the British Army found it increas- 
ingly harder to get a hearing, frequently they had to be 
cancelled for lack of an audience, and the number of recruits 
obtained was negligible. The Volunteers were now the 
most vital force in Irish politics. Still small in numbers 
their energy and ability were tremendous. They took 
the lead whenever any Irish interest was threatened by 
Westminster ; they dominated the Gaelic League ; student 
Volunteers permeated the life of University College, con- 
trolled the societies, were the leaders of the domestic politics 
of the College, and made of its magazine a Volunteer organ ; 
in those villages in the country where the Volunteers were 
strong the police had ceased to be petty tyrants and were 
treated with the contempt they deserved. Irish Unionists 
took serious alarm at the complexion of things, and ques- 



420 THE WASTED ISLAND 

tions began to be asked in Parliament. The Parliamentary 
leaders made new protestations of loyalty and proceeded 
to apologise and explain matters. They attributed the 
changed spirit in Ireland to the re-actionary policy of the 
Ascendancy, to the introduction of Conscription, to the 
Government's repeated rejection of their own advice, to 
the repressive measures of the military, to German gold, 
to anything rather than to a revival of national spirit 
which was disgusted with the Party's own slavishness 
surrender, and lack of policy. 

But, while externally the position of the Volunteers became 
every day more secure, internally their affairs were growing 
more and more unsatisfactory. 

" I feel as if we're sitting on a volcano," said Stephen 
to O'Dwyer. " The Pearse crowd have given us the most 
definite assurance possible that they don't intend to 
rebel, but I simply don't believe them. Mallow asked 
me the other day under what circumstances I'd go 
into rebellion. I told him that without the help of fifty 
thousand foreign soldiers and as many more rifles extra 
the thing would be suicide and disastrous to the country. 
' I quite agree with you,' says he, but his eye couldn't deceive 
me. They're up to a deep game I'm sure." 

" Why not recall the Convention ? " 

"I've put that to our crowd a hundred times but they 
keep shirking the idea. They say we've no case to put 
before it and that if we had we'd only cause a split. Well, 
I'd risk it, but they won't." 

' A split would be better than a rebellion anyway." 

They're hoping against hope that there'll be no 
rebellion." 

' They may give up hope," said O'Dwyer. " Unless 
we take immediate action the rebellion will be upon us before 
we know where we are." 

" Hello ! Have you struck on a new plot ? " 

" No. But look at this." 

He took from his pocket a folded periodical and handed 
it to Stephen. It was a copy of that month's Manannan. 

" Page four," said O'Dwyer. 

" Where have I seen this before ? " mused Stephen, and 
read out : 



GATHERING CLOUDS 421 

" IGNIS IMMORTALIS. 

Seven spears in the day of light 

Shall avenge with might our blood and tears. 

Seven seers shall in death indict 

The blast and blight of the bitter years. 

It sounds familiar, somehow." 

" Mallow read it to. us two years ago when we called at 
his house with Lascelles." 

" I remember." 

" That's a swan-song for you." 

" What does it all mean ? " 

" I'll explain to you. I know the tricks of the trade. 
The ' seven spears ' and the ' seven seers ' are the seven 
dopers. The ' day of light ' means the day of the insurrec- 
tion. The rest is obvious. And I think the fact that he 
composed the thing two years ago and only publishes it 
now means that the bust up is close at hand." 

" Hm. Somewhat fantastic." 

" Life is more fantastic than poetry. I'll stake my neck 
on this. Read the second verse." 

Stephen resumed : 

" Seven victims upon the altar 

Shall sing a psalter of faith renewed. 

The flame rekindled no more shall falter 

Nor word -wise palter the multitude. 

Double Dutch to me," he said. 

" It means that they don't hope for success, but mean 
the whole thing as a blood-sacrifice to restore the national 
spirit." 

" What's wrong with the national spirit ? It's coming 
along fine as far as I can see." 

" Poetical impatience my boy. They like the thing done 
dramatically." 

" Well, Mallow and Co. are welcome to make a blood- 
sacrifice of themselves if they like, but I object to their 
playing the game on me. I'll be no bleeding corpse in a 
slaughtered heap for Pearse to die on." 

" Nor 1. And it's a rank betraval of the men too. Thev 



422 THE WASTED ISLAND 

trusted us to lead them to some sort of success, not to make 
sanguinary object-lessons of them." 

" This'll give the English just the chance they want, to 
grind us back into the mud we're barely rising from. They 
could crush a rebellion in a month, dragoon the whole 
country, and apply conscription good and hard." 

" Good God," said O'Dwyer. " A hundred more years 
of slavery. The blind idiots ! " 

" After this," said Stephen, " you'll probably begin to 
share my distrust of poets and poetry." 

" I've more than poetry to go on," replied O'Dwyer. 
" I was down at Batlylangan yesterday and Crowley showed 
me a document he'd just received from Headquarters, 
contingent orders in the event of military action being decided 
on." 

" No such orders have been issued from Headquarters." 

" I thought as much. These were signed ' Austin Mallow, 
By Order of the Executive.' 

" Positive evidence at last. Get me a copy of that and 
I'll face them with it on Wednesday." 

" The impudence of them," said O'Dwyer. " Who 
knows but we'll find our own names some day fixed to an 
order for insurrection ? . . . I must write to Crowley." 



When Bernard emerged from gaol he was in such a state 
of pent up passion a'nd curiosity that he would have rushed 
instantly to Mabel's house had not his mother met him at 
the gate in a taxi and taken him home with her. 

" What'll the governor say ? " he asked. 

" He won't be back from his rounds till three, and he'll 
be stuck in his consulting room for a couple of hours after. 
. . . My darling boy, how thin you've got." 

Merrion Square was reached in a few minutes. In the 
breakfast room Bernard found Sandy lying on a sofa near 
the window, a ghost of his former self. 

" Some crock, amn't I," he said with a smile. " How- 
ever, I'm told they make wooden ones just as good nowadays." 

" We live in a scientific age," said Bernard. " Whether 



GATHERING CLOUDS 423 

they smash us up or put us together again it's all done 
scientifically. Progress is a wonderful thing." 

" Cynical as ever," chuckled Sandy. 

By some instinct Lady Lascelles had hit upon the exact 
meal to satisfy Bernard at the moment. A huge dish of 
bacon and eggs and sausages, steaming hot, was brought in, 
together with coffee, toast, jam, and muffins, and in a couple 
of seconds he was stuffing himself ravenously. 

" By gad, you can put a meal away," said Sandy admiringly. 
" Did they starve you, old chap ? " 

" Damn nearly," said Bernard, his mouth full. " This 
kind of meal has haunted my dreams for four months. . . . 
How goes the war for truth and freedom and Christianity 
and the rest of it ? " 

" Ugh ! " ejaculated Sandy. " Don't talk about it." 

" Why ? What's happened ? " 

" These bloody English," said Sandy with tremenduous 
emphasis. " By gad, I'm sick of them. So are all the 
Irish soldiers, and as for the Colonials, I believe they hate 
them more than the enemy." 

" Why ? What have they done ? " 

" They're yellow, my dear Bernard. You can't rely on 
them. They let you down. . . . Do you know, the Irish 
and Colonial regiments are beginning to refuse to go into 
action if there's an English regiment on their flanks. They 
can't be relied on to go over the top, and of course the flank 
they're on gets left in the lurch. . . . That's how I got 
knocked out. Our battalion did its work in fine style, cleared 
out three lines of Turkish trenches and was just going to 
settle down when we found ourselves isolated. The English 
battalions on each side of us had failed to come up, so we had 
to retreat, and on the way back I got done in ... Lord, 
those bloody English ! I've been a Shin from that moment." 

" Hm ! " said Bernard. " The failure of an English 
regiment doesn't seem to me to be a very adequate reason 
for a complete change of political conviction/ 3 

" You prosy old fish," jeered Sandy. " I thought all 
you Shins hated the English like poison." 

" Exactly. We hate them like poison. You hate poison 
when its boiling in your veins or hacking its way through 
your intestines, but you wouldn't waste time hating it in 



424 THE WASTED ISLAND 

bottle, or after the mustard-and-water have transferred it 
from you to a bowl." 

" That's a lovely metaphor/' said Sandy. " I must 
make a note of it. ". . . Well, my heart is with the Shins 
anyway, and I wish I could be some use to them. Un- 
fortunately my body's a goner, and I never had any brains 
worth speaking about. . . . Lord, those bloody English." 

" Have you used that expletive in the presence of the 
governor ? " 

" Yes, and by gad his face turned all the colours of the 
Union Jack. . '. . If you've finished gorging, the mater 
wants to see you in her room." 

" What for ? " 

" Go and see." 

He went upstairs and found his mother in her room. 
She had changed into a black dress. 

" I've something to tell you, Bernard," she began, but 
Bernard had already guessed what it was. 

"Eugene?" he said, and she nodded. 

" Dead ? " 

" He was killed in a trench-raid soon after Christmas. 
... I thought it better not to tell you in prison . . . 

Bernard was neither shocked nor very much grieved, 
for the news was only to be expected and he and Eugene 
had never been very intimate. He suffered however what 
was perhaps a more trying emotion : remorse. As on the 
day when they had parted, he realised poignantly how snap- 
pish and unkind he had often been to his brother, and how 
impatient of his harmless short- comings. Poor Eugene, 
what a gentle kindly fellow he was : how soft and woman- 
like the touch of his hand : how serene and winsome his 
smile. It was a cruel fate that sent him who had never 
spoken an unkind word, who had never given pain to man or 
beast, who should have been a loving husband and father, 
out to that bloody shambles in Flanders. What unmiti- 
gated horror must the war have held for this sensitive soul. 
Bernard could picture the last cruel scene : the surprise 
attack by night : the grey-coated raiders pouring into the 
trench : the short sharp struggle ; Eugene, wincing from 
violence and hesitating to strike, ripped with a bayonet 
and left to die in agony. And now all that he had known 



GATHERING CLOUDS 425 

of his brother lay rotting in a nameless grave. For what ? 
Would that the ghosts of him and a thousand other innocents 
like him could return to earth and face the politicians with 
that question. 

Bernard took an early leave of his mother and Sandy 
and hastened to his flat in Harcourt Street. He found there 
a heap of letters, including three from Willoughby and 
one from Eugene written the day before his death : a gay 
yet wistful document the reading of which brought tears 
to Bernard's eyes. Almost he fancied he could hear the dead 
voice speaking the written words . . . 

In due course he went to meet Mabel at the office where 
she worked, but having waited fruitlessly for ten minutes 
after all the other girls passed out he hurried over to her 
home, puzzled and apprehensive. The maid of-all-work 
admitted him. 

"Is Miss Mabel in?" 

"No, sir." 

" Mrs. Harvey, then ? " 

" Yes, sir." 

She showed him into the sitting-room, where he had to 
wait five infuriating minutes before Mrs. Harvey deigned 
to come down. The moment she appeared he blurted out : 

" Where's Mabel ? " 

Exasperatingly placid, Mrs. Harvey deposited her jelly- 
like bulk in an armchair, serenely arranging the sit of her 
dress before replying. 

" I didn't quite catch your remark," she said in a casual 
tone. " Would you mind closing the door ? " 

Bernard slammed it with a movement of his foot, and 
demanded again : 

" Where's Mabel ? " 

" I'm not sure that it isn't an impertinent question, but 
she's gone out for a walk, with her fiance." 

" With her what ? " 

" Her fiance." 

" But I'm her fiance." 

"Nonsense, my dear boy. That engagement wasn't 
serious. A mere boy-and-girl affair I always regarded it. 
It was clearly understood that she was at liberty to change 



426 THE WASTED ISLAND 

her mind if someone who could support a wife made her an 
offer." 

" I never understood that. I was perfectly serious." 

" If you were, I'm afraid I saw no sign of it. A young man 
who is really in earnest works hard at his profession and 
doesn't waste time over politics and suchlike nonsense. 
I remember giving you some such advice myself when you 
first came to ask my approval. Well, you were too high 
and mighty to listen, and must needs go gallivanting round 
the country organising sedition and landing yourself in 
prison. I don't think that shows much consideration for 
my daughter." 

Bernard heard this speech with amazement. He had 
not yet fully realised the situation. 

" You you're not fair to me," he stammered. 

Mrs. Harvey shrugged her shoulders. 

" I have my daughter's interests to consider," she said. 

" You've set her against me," cried Bernard angrily. 
" I don't believe she'd have given me up of her own accord. 
She never said a word about it in her letters." 

" No doubt she thought you had enough to worry you 
already." 

" Well, I won't believe she's ceased to care for me till 
I've heard it from her own lips." 

" You may believe it or not as you like. She's to be 
married in a fortnight." 

Bernard was completely staggered. 

" Married ? " he gasped. 

" Yes. They're to be married very quietly," said 
Mrs. Harvey imperturbably. " Captain Musgrave's leave is 
nearly over and he has to return to India . . ." 

" Captain Musgrave ? " said Bernard. 

" My future son-in-law. A charming man, Bernard, and 
very well off. A member of a good old English family. 
Probably you know him. He was educated at Ashbury." 

A horrible recollection shot through Bernard's mind : 
a scene of his first days at school that had been indelibly 
printed in his memory. 

" Stanley Musgrave ? " he asked. 

" Yes." ' 

" My God ! " exclaimed Bernard. 



GATHERING CLOUDS 427 

" I beg your pardon ? " said Mrs. Harvey. 

" Nothing," said Bernard. 

" Have you any further questions ? " said Mrs. Harvey. 

Bernard turned and left the room. In the hall he nearly 
collided with Molly. 

" Hello, Bernard," she cried. Then she saw his face. 
" I say, I'm sorry about Mabel," she said. " It's jolly 
rotten of her. However, I'd forget it if I were you. If 
you saw the thing she's chosen the shock to your vanity 
would cure your heartache." 

Bernard found himself unable to answer. Molly pressed 
his hand sympathetically and let him out without further 
speech. 

Heedless of his direction he strode rapidly through the 
streets, his mind a chaos of wonder, jealousy, anger, grief 
and humiliation. A shower of rain fell presently and for 
a long time remained unnoticed, but eventually it drenched 
him through and so drove him home. 

It was nearly dawn before he slept. 

8 

He wrote to Mabel insisting on seeing her once alone. 
She complied, appointing an hour and a certain place in 
Stephen's Green. They exchanged not a word when they 
met, and Bernard led the way to a secluded seat. They sat 
down and remained silent for a few minutes, Bernard drawing 
lines in the gravel with his walking stick, and Mabel fid- 
geting with her glove. All around them were the signs 
of another Spring : budding trees, chirping birds, ducks 
quacking on the pond, the sun blazing out at intervals when 
the clouds permitted . . . 

" What's the meaning of it all ? " said Bernard at length. 

She could not answer for a while. The reasons that 
had urged her seemed now so small and mean. Of course 
her mother was at the bottom of it. Bernard had been only 
a week in gaol when she had begun to drop stray morsels 
of Mrs. Moffat's revelations in Mabel's way ; a little later 
Mrs. Moffat herself was brought on the scene ; Mabel 
had flounced out of the room at the first word, but the germ 
of doubt had found its entry. Mrs. Harvey's subtle methods 

2 E 



428 THE WASTED ISLAND 

of work after that defy analysis. She hinted that Bernard's 
pre-occupation with politics spoke badly 'for his affections ; 
she repeated her forebodings about his financial prospects ; 
she dwelt on the social stigma involved in imprisonment. 
She did it all so lightly and casually that no purpose could 
be discerned behind it. ... Then Captain Musgrave 
began to appear more frequently. He had been introduced 
to Mrs. Harvey some time before by a friend of former days, 
and had been one of those stray guests whose entertainment 
had fallen to Mabel, of which she had complained to Bernard 
on a bygone day in Cloughaneely. It was at this stage 
that her first letter to Bernard became due, and in jealous 
anger against the past she suspected she wrote the brief 
cold note which had so puzzled him. His answering love- 
letter mollified her feelings but slightly, and she allowed herself, 
half out of a desire to be revenged on Bernard, half out of 
natural coquetry, to enjoy Musgrave's advances and even 
faintly to reciprocate. At this point her mother slipped in 
a hint of Musgrave's wealth and position, and one day, 
with that conscious tact which is the height of tactlessness, 
withdrew from the sitting-room in the very middle of after- 
noon tea in order to leave them alone together. Sub- 
sequently the Captain was allowed to take the whole family 
to the pantomime ; Mabel was given the seat next to him ; 
and in the interval Mrs. Harvey's ever-ready tact sent them 
out alone to the buffet for coffee. Mabel was in such an 
undecided frame of mind at the end of another month that 
she scribbled off an even shorter note than the previous 
one to Bernard, and then took offence at his reply. She 
began to look kindly on Musgrave now : in her innocence 
of men and the world (she had, of course, like all Catholic 
girls been educated at a Convent) she mistook for love and 
kindness what was only half-veiled sensuality, and favour- 
ably compared his considerate devotion with Bernard's 
off-hand comradeship. Bernard had sometimes found it 
necessary to control his honest passion with an enforced 
frigidity that made innocent Mabel doubt his ardour : 
Musgrave having never in his life controlled his desires, 
was actuated by no straining spirit made violent by repres- 
sion, but exuded a kind of sensual benevolence that looked 
for stimulation. Mabel began to look to him as a lover 



GATHERING CLOUDS 429 

with pleasurable anticipation. ... He proposed to her 
in the middle of the third month, and after consulting with 
her mother she accepted him the following day. Mrs. 
Harvey valued the engagement-ring at a hundred and fifty 
pounds . . . 

And now Mabel had to explain all this to Bernard. She 
could not bring herself to mention Mrs. Moffat's scandal- 
ous stories : looking at his face she found she could not 
believe them any longer, and her modesty would not have 
permitted her to discuss such a subject in any case. She 
put her excuse before him brokenly : 

" I thought perhaps . . . you didn't seem to love me 
as much as at first. ... I thought you were getting tired 
of me . . ." 

" Mabel, how could you imagine such a thing ? Did 
I give any sign of it ? " 

" You you wouldn't work at your profession. . . . 
You didn't seem in any hurry to get married. . . . You went 
on with your writing and drilling while I was slaving away 
in that horrid old office. . . . Bernard, you don't know 
how tired I was of that work ... so dull and monoton- 
ous . . . never any fresh air ... hardly any holidays 
... a long scramble. ... I couldn't have borne it 
any longer, Bernard. I looked to you to take me out of it, 
and I hoped for such happiness with you. And you didn't 
seem to care, so long as you had your politics. . . . And 
then my home, Bernard. The perpetual saving and scrap- 
ing . . . the counting of pennies . . . the three of us 
sleeping in one stuffy little room so as to have more space 
for lodgers. . . . Mother always at us for extravagance 
if we bought ourselves chocolates or kept the light on at 
night to read. ... It was bad enough before the war, 
but now Bernard, I couldn't bear it any more. It was 
killing me. . . . Don't think too badly of me, dear. I 
... I felt I v/as wearing out. You wouldn't be able to 
marry me for another two years perhaps. . . . And you 
mightn't have cared for me then . . ." 

She paused. Bernard remained silent, savagely digging 
at the ground with the end of his stick. A sparrow chirped 
monotonously in the plane-tree overhead. 

"So it comes to this," said Bernard hoarsely, " that 






430 THE WASTED ISLAND 

you've sold yourself. . . . Sold yourself. And without 
the excuse of necessity for which less fortunate women 
sell themselves. You've sold yourself for luxuries : for 
theatres and satin dresses. . . . My God, aren't your 
body and soul more value to you than that ? . . . And 
to throw me aside who love you for a beast like Musgrave ! " 

" Don't say that," said Mabel. " He's very kind." 

" Kind ! " Horrible pictures passed before Bernard's 
mind. So Musgrave was kind ? He could imagine the 
form his kindness took, and shuddered. In that moment 
the divinity slipped away from Mabel before his eyes, 
and she became as something soiled. He had never realised 
before that women are human : that good women have 
passions like good men. The thought of his Mabel, his 
innocent joyous Mabel, yielding to a sensual impulse horrified 
him. 

There was a long and painful silence. They had ceased 
even to fidget, and looked into one another's eyes. 

" Well," said Bernard at length, " I suppose there's nothing 
more to be said." 

Mabel tried to speak, but the words refused to come. 
Bernard rose. 

" Good-bye," he jerked out ; hesitated a moment ; then 
turned on his heel and strode away down the path . . . 

Mabel remained in motionless reverie for the best part 
of an hour, and then wearily walked home. 

Bernard would not have had her now if he could : she was 
spoilt for him for ever by the kiss of Musgrave. 

" The thought of it ! Ugh ! The swine ! The sensual 
lecherous beast ! A toad, a cuttle-fish were cleaner . . . 
He holds her with those flabby groping hands of his and 
kisses her my God ! kisses her with that abominable 
mouth, the mouth that has dabbled in foulness and played 
with sin. O the pollution of it ! A nymph yielding to a 
satyr ! " 

In his madness he passed his own door unheeding and 
walked half the way to Dolphin's Barn. 

" Vampire ! " he cried in his heart. " Why couldn't 
he leave my little girl alone and stick to his harlots and 
pleasure-girls ? Flogging a jaded appetite, I suppose." 

Immersed all his life in ideas he knew but little of human- 



GATHERING CLOUDS 431 

ity : did not know that licentiousness hankers after inno- 
cence. . . . Discovering where he was he turned back 
and made for home. He passed it once more before entering. 

He poured out some whiskey. Then : 

" No. That's a mug's game," he said. " Only drink 
when you're happy, or you spoil both yourself and the drink." 

The morning paper was on the table and he picked it up. 
Idly turning the pages his eye fell on a heading in the 
correspondence column : 

THE HORROR OF JAILS. 
Letter from Mr. Cyril Umpleby. 

In the most fluent journalese Mr. Umpleby dissertated on 
the soul agony he had endured in the inartistic surround- 
ings of Mountjoy. It was a heart-rending picture and it 
made Bernard laugh. 

" Vain little beast," he said, and read the' whole news- 
paper through, advertisements and all, forgetting Mabel 
in the process. 

But he hungered for her still. He sought exhaustion 
in long walks and so secured sleep, but she haunted his 
dreams. He dreamed once that the Musgrave episode had 
been a dream, and that on emerging from gaol he beheld 
Mabel waiting for him at the gate. She smiled at him as 
she had been wont to do ; he advanced to take her in his 
arms ; but in the midst of the ineffable joy of her kiss 
he awoke, his sorrow and disappointment all the more 
intensified. . . . He could take no food though his sorely 
tried body clamoured for it. He could barely summon 
up the energy to dress himself in the morning ; he put on 
whatever came handy and let his hair go wild ; one night 
after a long walk he flung himself down on the outside of 
his bed and fell asleep in his clothes. He became utterly 
careless of life. 

He shirked meeting his friends. On several occasions 
O'Dwyer, Hektor, and Stephen called, but they always 
found him from home. Stephen left a note once saying 
that he wished to speak to him about some new develop- 
ments in the political situation, but Bernard paid no atten- 
tion. On another occasion they met in the street, but 



432 THE WASTED ISLAND 

Bernard was distraught, and after a few commonplaces 
they separated. 

" I met Lascelles to-day," said Stephen to Hektor. " He 
was looking ghastly. I never imagined gaol could have 
such an effect on a man." 

" It's more than gaol that's playing the deuce with 
Bernard," said Hektor. " Haven't you heard that he was 
shook by that girl he was engaged to ? " 

" Surely that wouldn't do it ! " said Stephen. 

Passers-by in the street used to stare at Bernard's pale 
hollow cheeks and blazing eyes. He came near to a break 
down, but then Nature re-asserted herself and sheer hunger 
drove him to eat. He began to mend physically from that 
out, but it was a long time before his melancholy grew any 
bess. From the midst of his own gloom he looked forth dis- 
tastefully on the movements of a spring-enlivened world. 

He had a last glimpse of Mabel two days before her 
marriage. He had gone for a stroll by himself in the Phoenix 
Park and was walking along a narrow unfrequented path, 
admiring the budding trees and bitterly wishing for one to 
share his admiration, when she came round a corner beside 
a khaki-clad figure. Bernard's heart stopped still for a 
moment and then began beating furiously. Mabel's face 
went first white and then red. Bernard looked at his rival. 
Musgrave at thirty was, in appearance at any rate, an 
improvement on Musgrave at seventeen. Military training 
had eliminated some of the grossness of his figure, straight- 
ened his back, and smartened his slouching gait. He wore 
a moustache, and his horrible teeth had been replaced by 
a well-made artificial set that gave a fictitious firmness to the 
salacious lips that had slobbered at Bernard in the dark lobby 
thirteen years before. He smiled sheepishly at Bernard, 
whom he evidently recognised. Bernard mechanically raised 
his hat. Musgrave saluted. They passed each other by 
and went out of each other's lives . . . 

Next day he received a letter from Janet Morecambe. 
She had recently heard of his arrest, and she wrote to con- 
gratulate him on having found himself at last and to express 
a hope that his confinement had done him no harm. Bernard 
sat staring at the letter and then violently apostrophised 
himself : 



GATHERING CLOUDS 433 

" You damned fool ! You shallow sensual idiot ! You 
might have had her for the asking and you rejected her. 
You deserve everything you've got." 

He read the letter through over and over again, and then 
carefully placed it in his breast pocket. 



" Baffled again," said Stephen to O'Dwyer in his room 
at the Neptune. "Mallow took that Order without turning a 
hair. ' I understood,' says he, as cool as a cucumber, ' that 
it was unnecessary for Directors to submit the routine 
work of their departments to the Executive.' ' There was 
nothing routine about this/ said I. ' Excuse me,' said he, 
' but if you will examine the orders closely you will see that 
they are entirely contingent upon general orders, and that 
they deal only with demolitions, which is my particular 
department/ Well the Executive accepted the explanation 
and said it mustn't occur again. So of course they'll take 
care never to get found out again. They'll send no more 
orders to Crowley." 

" Do you know," said O'Dwyer. " if their party supplies 
the knaves on the Executive, ours supplies the fools. I 
feel very uneasy about things. ... I wish we had 
Lascelles with us again. He has very sound dope to hand 
out as a rule, and it would distract him from worrying about 
that woman. She was married a few days ago, by the way, 
to a damned Englishman. May his skin be tanned and 
made into slippers for the Kaiser." 

" McGurk and O' Flaherty have gone to fetch him over 
here to tea, if they can find him. But he's generally out." 

" Is McGurk staying here now ? " 

" Yes. He moved in about a week ago." 

" By Jove, this is a regular Factionists' Home. Wish 
you were nearer Merrion Street and I'd move in too." 

" How's your own little affair progressing ? " asked 
Stephen with a smile. 

" Not so bad. I took her to the pictures yesterday. I 
wonder could I dare ask her to come to the D'Oyly "Carte 
Operas in Easter Week." 



434 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" I'm afraid I'm not an expert in those matters, but why 
not try ? She can only refuse." 

" Yes, but a refusal's such a blow. It seems to discount 
all the favourable omens for weeks before it." 

" Faint heart, etcetera." 

" I know what I'll do. I'll buy the tickets before asking 
her, and then she can't refuse." 

" Not at all a bad plan, as far as my limited experience 
goes. . . . Come down and have some tea. The others 
should be back by this time." 

They descended to the coffee-room and sat down to a 
plenteous, if inelegant meal of tea, bread and butter, 
boiled eggs, jam, and cake. They had only just set to when 
Hektor, McGurk, and Bernard arrived. 

" Hello, O'Dwyer ! " cried McGurk. " How's the form ? " 

" And the fair Gladys ? " added Hektor. 

O'Dwyer blushed and said she was quite well. 

" Sit down, Bernard," said McGurk. " Tea'll be up 
in a minute. Ye won't scorn a humble tea, you that's used 
to dining late, will ye ? " 

Bernard protested his entire delight with the arrangement, 
and the newcomers drew up their chairs as the meal was 
served in. 

" Holy murdher ! " exclaimed McGurk. " Ye put no 
sugar in me tea, Stephen." 

" I put your whole ration in," said Stephen. " You can 
have some more if you don't want a second cup." 

" Well, to hell with the war," said McGurk. " Hektor, 
you rotten false prophet, how long more are the Germans 
going to spend taking Verdun ? " 

" I don't know," said Hektor gloomily. " They've made 
a bungle somewhere, I'm afraid." 

" Poor old Ireland ! " said McGurk. " The fates are 
agin her." 

' They tell me you're qualified at last, Hugo," said Bernard. 
" When are you going to start practice ? " 

" Arrah, what are ye talking about ? Haven't I done 
enough for one year ? Say, boys, I've been and gone and 
got me exam., and this fella wants me to go and practise ! " 
He took a slice of bread and butter, plastered it thickly with 
jam, bit off a huge mouthful, and turned to O'Dwyer. 



GATHERING CLOUDS 435 

" Been writing any pothry lately ? " he asked. 

O'Dwyer shook his head. 

" Felim has been better employed," suggested Hektor. 

" I always thought courting was an incentive to pothry," 
said McGurk. 

" Not to the kind of poetry you like, Hugo," said O'Dwyer. 

McGurk burst out laughing and said : 

" Janey Mack, he's been writing love pomes." 

O'Dwyer blushed red, and Stephen intervened on his 
behalf. 

" Hold your tongue, Hugo," he said. " Pass the cake, 
Hektor." 

" This is a punk cake," said Hektor, vainly attempting 
to cut it without breaking it up. " Say, boys, we'll have to 
put a stop to the war." 

Gathering afterwards in the smoke-room, where there 
happened to be no other guests, they discussed the political 
situation. Recent developments were disclosed to Bernard 
who received them with incredulity. He was not, like the 
others, personally acquainted with the leaders of the move- 
ment, but he had always felt sure that they were reliable, 
since their down-trodden cause could make no appeal to 
men who were not patriotic, unselfish, and honourable. 
Mallow being diseased, he left out of account. 

" Do you mean to say that these men that we've trusted 
would drag us into an insane rebellion by trickery ? " he 
exclaimed at last. 

" Every word I've told you is God's truth," said Stephen. 

" The meanness and treachery of it," said Bernard. " I 
wouldn't have believed it of them. . . . But what can 
be done ? " 

" That's what's so hard to decide. They've repeatedly 
sworn that there's nothing on foot, and they've explained 
away any positive evidence we've produced. If we recalled 
the Convention the only evidence we could put before it 
would be our recollections of certain conversations, the 
order sent to Crowley, and a poem of Austin Mallow's. 
We'd simply be laughed at." 

" Perhaps you're alarming yourselves unnecessarily," 
said Bernard. " If your case is so very unconvincing how 
does it convince yourselves ? " 



436 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" It's not a case where one can take any risks," said Stephen. 

" Mallow's eyes glaring across the table at the Dolphin 
were convincing enough for me," said O'Dwyer. 

" It's the devil of a puzzle," said Bernard. " What good 
do they expect from a rebellion ? " 

Stephen explained. 

" I'm all at sea," said Bernard. " It's a hopeless muddle. 
I suppose we'll just have to keep our eyes skinned in the 
hope of hitting on a piece of evidence that'll appeal to the 
Convention." 

" If you ask my advice," said McGurk, " I'd say : ' Take 
no risks. Poison their tea and have done with the whole 
job.' " 

10 

Towards the middle of April Willoughby came to spend 
the last three days of a fortnight's leave with Bernard. The 
latter was now looking more like his old self again, but his 
friend was shocked at the change in his appearance. 

" This damned Prussianism ! " he exclaimed. 

" Why do you call it Prussianism ? " asked Bernard. " I 
call it Britishism." 

" Irreconcilable still," laughed Willoughby. 

" Don't let's talk politics," said Bernard. " I'm about 
fed up with things in general, and it does me good to see 
you." 

They had a pleasant three days together. They talked 
over old times and recalled old dreams they had once held 
in common. They talked of the dead : of Eugene and 
Murray. 

" I got some nice letters of condolence from Ashbury 
after Eugene's death. Father Bumpleigh told me he was 
one of those Irishmen who had died to make England great, 
and there were others nearly as bad. The Chronicle said 
he had died as an Englishman should." 

" Lack of imagination I'm afraid is characteristic of our 
people," said Willoughby. " It looks as if it's gradually 
losing us the friendship of Ireland." 

" You had Ireland as an ally, much to my disgust, at the 
beginning of the war, but that didn't content you. You 



GATHERING CLOUDS 437 

must have her as a subject or not at all, so it looks as if you're 
going to lose her altogether." 

" The average Englishman can't conceive of the Irish as 
distinct allies. He can only conceive of them as rebels and 
traitors on the one hand, or else as ceasing to be Irish and 
becoming British." 

" Exactly," said Bernard. " That's why alliance between 
us is impossible. . . . Can you imagine Stephen and 
Hektor and me being " loyal " to Sherringham Lashworthy 
and Co. ? What have ue in common ? O Willoughby, when 
will you and the decent crowd in England step in and stop 
this perpetual waste of Ireland ? How long is our genius going 
to be stifled under your dead weight ? Look at my friends. 
Look at Hektor, condemned to play at soldiering when in 
any other country he'd be a great strategist. Look at O'Dwyer, 
who in any other country would be a successful author, 
wearing his soul out with useless hatred. Look at Stephen, 
a philosophic statesman of world-wide ideas, condemned to 
hold a second-rate position in an insignificant faction. Look 
at myself, wasted and wearing out like the rest. Why the 
devil do you let Sherringham and Co. stand between you 
and me ?" 

Willoughby had no answer, and Bernard dropped the 
subject to talk of other things. 

" How's your sister-in-law ? " he asked later. Some- 
how he found a difficulty about uttering her name. 

" Janet ? O, she's quite well. She's working in a home 
for blinded soldiers at present." 

The days slipped by all too rapidly. The third night 
they sat up over whiskey and pipes till quite late in spite of 
the early train Willoughby had to catch. 

" If all the men who love Irish whiskey loved Ireland 
she'd be free to-morrow," said Willoughby. " Here's 
Eerin go brar ! The land of good drink and sound logic." 

Bernard switched off the light and watched the fire-glow 
playing on Willoughby's honest rugged features as he told tales 
of the trenches : tales of horror and humour ; tales of sublime 
heroism and bestial cruelty ; tales of the endurance and self- 
sacrifice of common men. Willoughby's eyes and voice 
expressed far better than his halting and limited words the 



438 THE WASTED ISLAND 

love and admiration he felt for the little Cockney warriors he 
commanded. 

" By Jove," he said, " if you saw them in action. Brave 
as lions, Bernard. . . . No, that's a silly phrase of poets 
and journalists and means nothing. Terriers fits them 
better. . . . And then when it's all over, their kindness 
to one another. I've seen a foul-mouthed little beast tend- 
ing to a wounded comrade as gently as a woman. . . . 
And they take everything so philosophically, and joke through 
it all. . . . My little counter-jumpers and costers are 
made of better stuff then the old knight errants, I tell you. 
. . .No. They've no hatred of the Germans in spite of all 
the newspapers. They're decent cynical little beggars . . . 

" I wish our nations could be friends, Bernard. We 
could be, too, if only the people had their way. . . . It's 
men's natural instinct to be friends after all. Why I've 
known kindly feelings to cross No Man's Land from trench 
to trench. . . . What are we killing one another for ? . . ." 

Willoughby looked up and saw Bernard's gaze fixed 
intently upon him. He laughed uneasily. There was 
deep affection between these two men, but Willoughby's 
English stolidity and Bernard's Irish shyness forbade the 
expression of it. Bernard however with a foreboding of 
disaster in his mind was accumulating memories. They 
sat in silence until the fire died down . . . 

Bernard saw his friend off from Kingstown next morning, 
where they parted on the deck of the steamer with a hand- 
clasp and a ' Good-bye and good luck.' So Willoughby 
went his way, to be blasted out of existence a few days later 
upon a field in Picardy . . . 

The news reached Bernard almost at once, and of the three 
blows which struck him in so short a space this v/as the 
hardest. Eugene's loss had filled him with remorse ; 
thwarted desire had lacerated him on Mabel's defection ; 
but Willoughby's death left him stunned with a deep and 
abiding sorrow. 

ii 

Nobody least of all those who knew them best under- 
stood why Mr. Leeds and Mr. Conachy were such friends ; 
for Leeds was a fanatical and ignorant Republican while 



GATHERING CLOUDS 439 

Conachy was a very moderate Home Ruler ; Leeds was 
loud-voiced and ill-educated, Conachy intellectual and 
refined ; and finally Leeds had been at tremendous pains 
to find a Gaelic transmogrification of his appalling surname, 
while Conachy was acutely ashamed of the blatant Gaelicism 
of his. There was however one link between them, and that 
was that neither ever felt it incumbent upon him to act 
up to his opinions. Conachy had never taken Mr. Redmond's 
advice to join the British Army, and Leeds was not a member 
of the Irish Volunteers. 

On Wednesday the nineteenth of April at five o'clock 
in the afternoon these two were having coffee in a Grafton 
Street restaurant, and discussing a handbill which had been 
given to them before entering. At numerous other tables 
the same handbill was causing excited discussion. 

" Secret orders issued to military" read Conachy. " I 
wonder what on earth it means." 

" It means another plot by this bloody gover'ment to 
down th' Irish people," pronounced Leeds. 

41 By Jove, there's that fierce rebel O'Dwyer over there," 
said Conachy. " Perhaps he can explain it." 

" Rebel, didja say ? " said Leeds contemptuously. " The 
man's a bloody West-Briton. Did jever hear th' accent 
of um ? And he thinks Shakespeare a greater pote than 
Davis." 

Conachy paid no attention to this harangue but waved 
his hand to O'Dwyer who was sitting alone at another table 
waiting to be served. 

" Won't you sit down with us ? " said Conachy as O'Dwyer 
approached. " We want your opinion of this secret order." 

" What secret order ? " asked O'Dwyer. 

" Haven't you seen it ? It's issued as a handbill from 
your Headquarters." 

" I'm only just back from organising in the country," 
said O'Dwyer. 

" Well, what do you make of that ? " said Conachy, and 
handed over the document. 

O'Dwyer took it and read it over, with knitted brows. 

' The following precautionary measures have been 
sanctioned by the Irish Office on the recommendation of 
the General Officer Commanding the Forces in Ireland. 



440 THE WASTED ISLAND 

Hm. ' All preparations will be made to put these measures 
in force immediately on receipt of an Order issued from the 
Chief Secretary's Office.' Hm. ' First, the following per- 
sons to be placed under arrest : All members of the Sinn 
Fein National Council, the Central Executive Irish Sinn 
Fein Volunteers, Executive Committee National Volunteers.' 
Hello ! This is getting interesting. ' Coisde Gnotha Com- 
mittee Gaelic League/ By Jove ! ' See list A 3 and 4 
'and supplementary list A 2.' I wonder what, A i contains, 
and why should A2 be supplementary to 3 and 4. ... 
However. ' Police will be confined to barracks.' Hm. 
* An order will be issued to inhabitants of city to remain 
in their houses.' Devilish exciting ! ' Pickets will be 
placed at all points marked on maps 3 and 4. Accompany- 
ing mounted patrols will continuously visit all points and 
report every hour.' What sort of donkey drew up this 
I wonder ? ' The following premises will be occupied 
by adequate forces.' Hm. Adequate forces ? " 

He went on reading intently in silence. 

" Well, what do you make of it ? " asked Conachy, but 
O'Dwyer paid no heed. 

An attendant brought O'Dwyer coffee and biscuits. 

" What ? No sugar ? " he exclaimed. " You might 
bring me some saccharine." 

" It'll make syrup of your coffee," said Conachy. 

There was a cry of ' Stop Press ' in the street outside where- 
upon Leeds rushed out and presently returned with a paper. 

" The military say it's all a fabrication," he announced. 
" Just what they would say." 

"They happen to be "telling the truth this time," said 
O'Dwyer. 

" What ! " cried Leeds. " Wouldja take the word of the 
garrison against the word of yer own Executive ? " 

" I take nobody's word for anything," replied O'Dwyer 
calmly. " I'm going by internal evidence." 

' The Higher Criticism," said Conachy. " But who's 
the fabricator ? " 

" I reserve my opinion on that point, but you may take 
it from me no pogrom is intended." 

" Well you're a nice sort o' Volunteer," said Leeds. 

" Doubtless," said O'Dwyer. " Well, Conachy, I'm 



GATHERING CLOUDS 441 

afraid I must rush away. . . . O damn ! " This exclama- 
tion was caused by his having tried to drink off his coffee 
and scalded himself in the process. He caught up his hat 
and vanished. 

" Well, I'm jiggered," said Conachy. " He's grabbed the 
hand-bill." 

O'Dwyer hurried down Grafton Street, caught a north- 
going tram at College Green, and arrived in ten minutes 
at the Neptune' ir fotel in a state of breathless excitement. 
Stephen was out, but he found Hektor and McGurk waiting 
for tea in the coffee-room, and dragged them in spite of their 
protests up to the former's bed-room. 

" Where did the original of that order come from ? " 
he asked at once. 

" From the secret service," said Hektor,. 

" Who runs the secret service ? " 

" Chap called Moran." 

" What sort of dope has he ? " 

" He's rather a dark horse as far as I know, but he's a 
personal friend of Austin Mallow's." 

" That's done it then." 

" Why ? What's up ? " 

" Couldn't you see that the whole thing's a forgery ? " 

" It seems all right to me." 

" Good lord, Hektor, you're a soldier, and yet you think 
that document was drawn up by a military man ! I'm 
ashamed of you. Look here. Read the thing." 

He thrust the paper into Hektor's hand. 

" I served in an O.T.C. at school," he went on, " so I 
know how orders are drafted. That's no military order. 
It applies to no one in particular. In what earthly way 
could anyone obey the thing ? You know how explicit 
military orders are. Now look at that. ' Pickets will be 
placed. . . . Patrols will report. . . . Adequate forces 
will occupy. . . .' Delightfully vague, isn't it. It's in- 
tended for the public, not for soldiers, and it's been drawn 
up, not by a soldier but by a civilian with a smattering of 
military knowledge." 

" Glory be ! " exclaimed McGurk. 

" You're damn well right, O'Dwyer," said Hektor. " What 
a set of mugs we've been." 



442 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" The thing's a forgery on the face of it," said O'Dwyer, 
" Look at all these lists and maps they refer to : A 3 and 4. 
and no A i. Maps 3 and 4, and no i and 2. That shows your 
amateur forger trying to be too clever. Then do you notice 
the list of premises to be seized ? All the Volunteer premises 
are marked by name and number, but they've been content 
to say vaguely : ' All National Volunteer premises/ What 
does that show ? The authorities would surely put down 
the numbers in both cases, so we can only assume that this 
was drawn up by one of our people who was too lazy to look 
up the necessary details about the other movements." 

" Me dear Holmes ! " said McGurk. 

" Perfectly simple, my dear Watson," said O'Dwyer. 
" Now look right at the end and you'll see that in addition 
to the houses named they're to seize ' all premises in list 
5 D.' More amateur cleverness. Surely if they had such 
a list as 5 D it's the notorious houses ihat would be on it, 
and any otheis that they thought of would be mentioned 
separately ? " 

" Quite true," said Hektor. " And I thought myself that 
they'd scarcely be such fools as to occupy the Archbishop's 
House." 

" That alone is enough to indicate forgery. They've laid 
it on just a little too thick." 

" But what's th' idea ? " asked McGurk. 

" It's an attempt to bring the whole country out in rebel- 
lion," said O'Dwyer. :< They probably intend to strike 
at once and they hope to get people on their side by faking 
up a government pogrom against the whole national 
movement." 

" The bloody grafters ! " ejaculated McGurk. 

"Where's Stephen?" asked O'Dwyer. "We haven't 
a minute to waste. They wouldn't have produced this thing 
unless they were going to take immediate action." 

' Seven Spears in the Day of Light,' " quoted Hektor. 

"My God!" interrupted O'Dwyer. "What a fool I 
was not to see it before. ' The Day of Light ' means Easter 

O J 

ounday. 

" Begob ! " cried McGurk. " The manoeuvres ! " 
Orders had been issued the previous week for the holding 

of reviews and manoeuvres bv the Irish Volunteer forces 



GATHERING CLOUDS 443 

over the whole of Ireland, and it would be a simple matter 
for the agents of the conspirators to transfer the manoeuvres 
to reality. The only course open now to the peace party 
would be a public announcement, but this was impossible 
owing to the fact that it would inevitably result in Govern- 
ment intervention and perhaps produce a Government 
offensive which would be quite as undesirable as the rebellion 
they wished to prevent. They were therefore constrained 
to a slow and secret course of action at a moment when time 
meant everything. Hektor, plain blunt soldier as he was, 
felt completely at sea ; so did McGurk ; O'Dwyer on the 
other hand had already begun evolving schemes with lightning 
rapidity, each more complicated and futile than the last. 

" We're in the soup," he groaned. " They've had six 
months to conspire in. How are we going to undo it all 
in three days ? I wish to the devil Stephen was here." 

The mention of Stephen's name relaxed the tension at 
once. All had implicit faith in his cold calculating intel- 
ligence, and at that very moment they thought they heard 
his step outside the door. But it was only Umpleby. He 
knocked and was told impatiently to enter. 

" Hello ! " he said. " I'm looking for Stephen Ward." 

" He's out," said McGurk. " Wouldn't we do ? " 

" Well, I came to find out his opinion about this exceed- 
ingly disturbing document," (Holding out a copy of the 
handbill). " I've just written letters to the editors of the 
Daily News and the Manchester Guardian, but I'm afraid we 
may find a sanguinary pogrom in progress before they can 
publish them." 

" Arrah, be aisy now," said McGurk. 

" I'm not at all easy, my dear fellow. I take this matter 
seriously. Never in the whole course of our country's 
tragical history ; not even in the worst days of Mountjoy and 
Carew ; not even in the sanguinary and sordid transactions 
before the Union ; has such a dastardly and . . ." 

" Hould on," interrupted McGurk. " Tell him the sad 
reality, Hektor." 

The revelation made Umpleby gape. His parenthetic 
fulminations were terrible to hear, but it was hard to say 
whether the impending fate of his country or the slight 

2 F 



444 THE WASTED ISLAND 

inflicted on his vanity by the neglect of the rebel leaders 
to consult him were the more potent influence. 

" This," he said, " is the most high-handed, calculated, 
insolent, treacherous piece of cynical audacious double- 
dealing and jerrymandering that it has been my lot to be the 
innocent, duped, and deluded victim of. I shall write a 
letter immediately to the Irish Independent." 

" Holy Moses ! " exclaimed McGurk. 

" I'm afraid you'll have to restrain your epistolary 
activities," said O'Dwyer. " We don't want to drag the 
Government into the business, you know." 

" But what's to be done ? " asked Umpleby, very much 
dashed. 

" Search me," said Hektor. " We're waiting for Ward. 
Meanwhile, let us eat drink and be merry, for to-morrow 
we may be arrested. I think I heard the gong . . . 

" The worst of it is," said O'Dwyer, " I've seats booked 
for the Gondoliers on Tuesday for two . . ." 

When Bernard saw the ' Military Order ' he doubted its 
authenticity at once on the same grounds as O'Dwyer did, 
a talk with whom confirmed his opinion. He went up to 
Malone's flat to discuss the matter with him and found him 
jubiliant. 

" There'll have to be a fight now," he said. 

Bernard expressed his opinion of the Order. 

" Nonsense ! " said Malone. " It's what I've been 
expecting for the last month. I hope the Volunteers are 
ready for a scrap." 

They argued for a long time but to no effect. Malone 
positively revelled in delight at the coming battle. 

"All the world will know now," he said, "that Ireland 
hasn't surrendered. Whether we live or die the rottenest 
page in our history is going to be turned over for good. 
Get your gun out, my lad." 

He produced a neat little magazine rifle from a cupboard 
and critically examined the breech. 



12 



On Thursday night Bernard sat at home sorting some of 
Eugene's papers which had been entrusted to him by his 
mother. He realised now how little he had known of 



GATHERING CLOUDS 445 

Eugene's inner life, of his ideals emotions and ambitions. 
Having persistently underrated his brother's abilities he had 
been inclined to regard them as negligible, but these papers 
undeceived him. There were poems amongst them : re- 
ligious and nature poems mostly, lacking in high inspiration 
but simple and sincere expressions of genuine emotion. 
There were three articles which he had sent in to different 
papers and which had evidently been rejected : all on the 
subject of the Dublin slums, honestly indignant, but senti- 
mental rather than intellectual. There was an essay on the 
causes of the war, commonplace and platitudinous, but 
quite transparently an expression of opinions honestly held. 
And finally there was the rough draft of a scheme for the 
foundation of a society and a journal for the spreading of 
Irish ideas in Trinity College. 

While he was engaged on this melancholy task he heard 
a ring at the hall- door and looking up saw that it was after 
ten o'clock. His house-keeper he knew would be in bed, 
so he went out and opened the door himself. He was 
surprised to see Brian Mallow standing on the steps outside. 

" Mum's the word ! " whispered Brian, and stepped into 
the hall with a darkly conspiratorial air. " Will you take 
me where we can't be overheard ? " 

Bernard conducted him to the sitting-room, gave him 
a chair by the fire, and returned to his seat at the table. 

" Well, what's the mystery ? " he asked. 

" The greatest thing going," replied Brian. " The 
Republic's going to be proclaimed on Sunday." 

" What ! " exclaimed Bernard. He was startled out of 
his self-control, but Brian thought he was merely excited. 
Bernard restrained himself forthwith and determined to 
hear everything. 

" Yes," went on Brian. " There's to be a rising all over 
Ireland at midday on Sunday, fifty thousand Germans are 
to land in Kerry, and the German fleet is going to sally out 
and attack England. I got you the job of taking command 
in Kerry to receive the Germans." . 

" Oh. And when was all this decided on ? " 

" At a special meeting of the Executive last night." 

" I never heard of such a meeting. Ward and O'Flaherty 
were dining with me last night." 



446 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" We're not telling them. They're afraid to rebel and 
they'd only try and interfere if they knew. They'll come 
in all right when it's on." 

" Does MacNeill know ? " 

" O lord no. He'd interfere too if he did." 

" Well, he'll know from me then." 

Brian began to look anxious. 

" You mustn't tell anyone or you'll spoil everything," 
he said. " Look here. All this was between ourselves." 

" Pity you didn't mention that before," said Bernard. 
" I say, you don't mind my putting you out, do you ? I'm 
going to see MacNeill." 

" No you don't," said Brian, and whipping out a revolver 
he pointed it at Bernard's head. " Hands up ! " he cried. 

" Nonsense," said Bernard calmly, and proceeded to fill 
his pipe. " You know very well you wouldn't dare fire. 
Don't be theatrical." 

" Hands up," re-iterated Brian. 

Bernard struck a match and carefully lit his pipe. Speaking 
between the puffs he said : 

" I wish you'd . . . put that thing . . . down. It 
might go off." 

" You're not going to leave this room," said Brian, " if 
I have to spend the whole night with you." 

" Indeed ? " said Bernard. 

Brian was standing up with levelled revolver, and the 
table was between them. With a sudden jerk Bernard 
drove the table hard against Brian, who, taken unawares, 
staggered back, tripped, and fell, striking his head on the 
fender. His revolver dropped on the floor and Bernard 
hastened to seize it. 

" Damn you, Lascelles," said Brian sitting up and fingering 
the bump on his occiput. 

Bernard unloaded the revolver, put the cartridges in his 
pocket, and tossed the weapon back to its owner. 

" Woe betide you if you give us away," muttered Brian. 

" I'm sorry for my apparent inhospitality," said Bernard, 
" but I really must be going. You can follow at your leisure. 
Close the door when you're leaving, by the way." 

" And you're the man I converted," said Brian. " I 
wish to hell I'd let you remain a Unionist . . 



GATHERING CLOUDS 447 

" What'll Austin say ? " he ruefully asked himself when 
Bernard was gone. He consoled himself by reflecting that 
things had gone too far to be stopped. Those fifty thousand 
Germans would be enough to ensure action. 

" All the same," he said as he left the flat, "I'll get it 
in the neck from Austin. . . . Good lord, what'll he say ? " 

Meanwhile Bernard had taken out his car and run over 
to O'Dwyer's lodgings. He was out, the landlady said. 
Two gentlemen had called for him in a taxi about an hour 
ago. Bernard thereupon turned and hastened across town 
to the Neptune Hotel. He found McGurk in the smoking- 
room. 

" Where's Stephen ? " he asked. 

" O, is that you, Bernard ? " cried McGurk springing 
up from the arm-chair in which he had been lounging. 
" Have ye heard the news ? The fat's in the fire at last. 
Stephen and Hektor are gone to MacNeill's. There was a 
fella came in here a couple of hours ago who'd been in with 
the dopers and got cold feet. There's to be guns landed in 
Kerry and a rising on Sunday, and . . . ' 

" Are there German troops coming ? " 

" Divil a troop." 

" I thought as much." He told McGurk about the 
Brian Mallow episode. 

" O, there's to be no Germans," said McGurk. " Our 
man said so, and he ought to know, for he was thick as thieves 
with them. Sure if there was wouldn't we all be in it ?" 

" And what are our people going to do ? " 

" They'll be holding a palaver at present. Hektor swears 
he'll put lead in Mallow. I hope they'll shoot the whole 
bloody bunch." 

" Then there's nothing I can do ? " 

" The best thing you can do is to go home where they can 
find you if they want you. Stephen told me not to stir 
from here." 

Instead of going straight home however Bernard made 
for Mallow's house. He was in a most uneasy frame of 
mind, forseeing nothing in the contemplated rebellion but 
the smashing of the Volunteer movement and the loss to 
the nation of its sole defence against conscription and its 
hope of freedom. Arriving at the house at Rathgar, as 



448 THE WASTED ISLAND 

soon as he was admitted he pushed past the servant and 
opened the sitting-room door. Austin Mallow and another 
insurrectionary member of the Executive named Barret 
were sitting at the table poring over a map. 

" O, it's you, is it ? " said Austin. 

" Yes," said Bernard breathing hard. He expected a 
violent tirade from Austin, but the poet merely said : 

" I'm glad you came. Sit down." 

" I want to know the meaning of all this high-handed 
trickery," said Bernard, still standing. 

'* Certainly," said Austin. " Our methods are not quite 
what we'd like ourselves, but . . . under certain 
conditions. . . . He shrugged his shoulders. 

Bernard took a chair at the foot of the table. 

" Do you seriously expect to beat the British Army ? " 
he asked. 

" We do," said Austin. 

Bernard uttered an exclamation of derision, and Barret 
interposed. 

" You don't understand," he said. " We don't expect 
to win in a military sense, but we are confident of a moral 
victory." 

" Hmph ! " ejaculated Bernard. 

" I appreciate your feelings," said Barret. " You and 
your friends are extremely clever young men, and all the 
force of reason and common sense is on your side. But ..." 

He paused, as if not ready to speak all that was in his mind. 

" Well ? " said Bernard. 

" Reason and common sense are not enough. You have 
no vision. You are blind to the spiritual essentials. You 
will organise and drill and discipline your men for ever, 
but you'll never do anything decisive, because reason and 
common sense are always on the side of the big battalions. 
We see beyond these petty things. We see beyond failure 
and death to the victory which failure and death will achieve. 
Failure and death will be the voice by which we shall speak, 
first to our own people, and then to all the peoples 
of the world, and by our failure and death we shall forge a 
weapon which those who scoff at us now will afterwards 
use ..." 

" Yo,u may be right," said Bernard. " Personally I think 



GATHERING CLOUDS 449 

you're wrong, but I won't argue that. But however right 
you may be you can't justify your acting against the will of 
the majority of the Executive or the way in which you have 
deceived us." He addressed himself to Barret feeling it 
useless to argue with his fanatical companion. Barret 
hesitated at this however, and Austin broke in : 

" Do you think that when we've decided what must be 
done we're going to be held back by considerations of that 
sort ? Do you think that we're going to place the feelings 
of our colleagues or even our own personal honour above 
the interests of Ireland ? Do you think that we'll allow 
ourselves to be thwarted by your timidity and lack of enter- 
prise ? No, thank you. Ireland must be saved in spite 
of the strength of her enemies and the weakness of her 
friends." 

Bernard paid no attention to this harangue but continued 
to address himself to Barret. 

" It isn't fair to the men," he said. " They joined the move- 
ment in the belief that if there was to be a fight it wouldn't 
be a hopeless one. To lead them out to what even you 
admit to be certain defeat is the grossest treachery to them." 

" The men will endorse our action afterwards," said Barret. 

" All Ireland will endorse it eventually," said Austin. 
" And just mark my words. Our minds are made up. 
The fight is bound to be fought. And anyone who interferes 
with us from this out will be crushed. Ireland has been 
ruined by faint hearts too often. We shall see that it doesn't 
occur again. . . . That's a warning to you . . ." 

" Hmph ! Very dramatic I'm sure," said Bernard. 
" But don't you imagine that you're the only people who 
can play the crushing game . . . not by long chalks. 
And don't think you've a monopoly of patriotism. For 
myself I can say that I prefer Ireland to my theories about 
her, and that's more than you can say." 

" How charming ! " said Mallow, with a sneer on his thin 
lips. Barret turned to Bernard and said : 

" I've no doubt whatever that you are as much concerned 
with the good of Ireland as we are. But consider this : 
nothing can stop the fight now, and interference on your 
part will only hamper us no more. It's a pity we cannot 
agree, but there we are." 



4so THE WASTED ISLAND 

" I hold my view as strongly as you hold yours," said 
Bernard. " So I'll oppose you to the end. . . . Good 



evening. 

He rose and went out. 



Next morning Bernard was sitting down to a Good Friday 
breakfast milkless tea, butterless buns, and a kippered 
herring when O'Dwyer came in looking pale heavy-eyed 
and exhausted. 

" Can you give me some breakfast ? " he asked. " I've 
a lot to tell you and I'm in a hurry. . . . None of your 
black tea and buns. I'm starving and worn-out so I'm 
giving myself a dispensation." He dropped heavily into 
the nearest arm-chair. 

Bernard hurried out to give the necessary orders, but was 
back in a moment to ask : 

" Tea or coffee ? " 

There was no answer. O'Dwyer had fallen asleep in 
the chair. Bernard left him so until breakfast was ready 
and then roused him with difficulty. 

" Have I been asleep ? " murmured O'Dwyer. " Lord, 
I'm fagged out. Up all night and running all over the city 
this morning." 

Bernard poured out tea for him and O'Dwyer stumbled 
over to the table. He drank and ate a little and soon woke 
up completely. 

" Listen now," he said. " Stephen and Hektor discovered 
last night that there's to be a rebellion . . ." 

" I know," said Bernard. " McGurk told me." 

" Good. Then I can skip a lot. They came straight 
over to my digs and fetched Sullivan from his, and we all 
drove out to MacNeill's. He's drawn up countermanding 
orders, and we've had them typed and addressed, and we're 
sending them out by hand all over the country. I've got 
about a dozen here for you, for corps scattered over southern 
Leinster. You'll take them I suppose ? . . . Good. I've 
another set for Umpleby : he's a sound man for all his absur- 
dity. McGurk's doing the west, and I'm going north this 



GATHERING CLOUDS 451 

evening after I've had a sleep. . . . Tea's great stuff, 
Bernard. I feel a new man already." 

" I suppose I'd better start as soon as possible ? " 

" The sooner the better," said O'Dwyer, and handed over 
a bundle of letters . . . 

So Bernard found himself driving all that day over Ossory 
and Hy Kinsella. First he posted straight to Ballylangan 
where Crowley who was mightily indignant at the idiocy 
and trickery of the whole affair undertook the delivery 
of three of the documents whose addressees lived fairly near. 

" What sort of an insurrection these fellows expect in 
this neighbourhood I can't make out," he said. " Our 
corps are all small and only a quarter of them armed, and 
they're scattered about all over the place. What the devil 
we could do beats me." 

At shops in country towns, at doctors' houses, at farm 
houses, at labourers' cottages, at lonely cabins on the moun- 
tains Bernard left his missives, and the look of relief on the 
faces of the recipients was good to see. They were shrewd 
fellows, these young Volunteer captains, and there were 
few that did not realise the madness of the adventure to 
which they had thought themselves committed. They 
would not have hesitated a moment about obeying those 
orders, issued, as they thought, by the Executive they had 
elected to govern them, but the countermanding order 
was obviously welcome. Bernard's task was a long and 
tiring one, and not much more than half of it was accom- 
plished by midnight, when he put up at a village inn where 
not only the son but the proprietor himself were Volunteers. 
He completed his round by the middle of the next day and 
hastened back to Dublin. 

On arriving at the Neptune that evening he found Hektor 
sunk in intense gloom. 

" What's the matter now ? " he asked. 

" We've our backs to the wall, sonny," said Hektor. " The 
insurrectors have beaten us at every turn. Sullivan and 
Hobson have been kidnapped and Stephen escaped by the 
tips of his eyelashes." 

" Great Scott ! " 

" We had the insurrectors up to Headquarters and after 
a grand palaver they withdrew and apologised and swore 



452 THE WASTED ISLAND 

that it was all off. The only thing to worry about then 
seemed to be the arms ship and we just prayed that Jellicoe 
might be propitious to us. Well, when all was squared up 
the dopers took their departure and about three hours later 
Stephen was sitting here alone when Austin Mallow arrived 
in a cab and asked him to come to a conference at his place 
to settle up matters of detail. It seemed a bit thin to 
Stephen, but he went down to the cab, and if the fellows 
inside 'hadn't been just a trifle too quick on the draw he 
might have gone with them. As it was he just smiled and 
excused himself. Since then we've heard that the others 
have disappeared, but where they are we don't know." 

" What does it all mean, I wonder." 

" It means that they're going to try and pull the thing 
off in Dublin anyway. You see the countermanding orders 
have never reached the Dublin men as the four battalion 
commandants happen to be insurrectors. However Stephen's 
called the remainder of our party together and we've sent 
in a notice to the Sunday papers. Short of calling round on 
all the men individually I don't see what else we could do. 

. . . I'm fair sick of this game. I'm a soldier, sir, and 
my career in that line has been persistently interfered with. 
I joined this movement in a military capacity, not as a keeper 
in a criminal lunatic asylum ; which seems to be my principal 
function at present." 

The following morning on his way to Mass Bernard bought 
a Sunday paper. Prominent on the front page was the 
following notice : 

Owing to the very critical position, all orders given to 
Irish Volunteers for Easter Sunday are hereby re- 
scinded, and no parades, marches, or other movements 
of Volunteers will take place. Each individual 
Volunteer will obey this order strictly in every 
particular. 

The day passed by uneventfully. Bernard spent it with 
his mother, Alice, and Sandy. 



CHAPTER XVI 

CATASTROPHE 



ALL Dublin that is to say all Dublin that felt that it really 
counted and a good proportion that had no idea that it didn't 
was at Fairy house Races on Monday. The society papers 
said all Dublin was there, and as definitions are valuable 
to students and statisticians let it here be stated that in this 
context ' all Dublin ' means and includes five peers, six 
baronets, eleven knights, two generals, an indeterminate 
number of colonels captains and subalterns, some hundreds 
of untitled gentry, and some thousands of the commonalty : 
with women and children over and above. The Earl and 
Countess of Ringsend were there, with their son Lord 
Sandymount. Sir Swithin and Lady Mallaby Morchoe 
were there ; and Sir Perry and Lady Tifflytis ; and Sir 
John and Lady Bonegraft (newly titled and striving to appear 
unconscious of it) ; Mr. and Mrs. Gunby Rourke were there ; 
and Sir Eugene Lascelles ; and Mrs. Harvey (whose newly 
acquired son-in-law had evidently been a sound invest- 
ment). It was a most brilliant assembly. 

The refreshment room behind the Grand Stand hummed 
with conversation during the luncheon hour. 

" How dowdy Lady Inchicore is," said Mrs. Moffat to 
Mrs. Metcalfe. " Really, my dear, if I were a Countess 
I think I'd treat myself to a new hat now and then." 

" It's a long time since Mrs. Harvey appeared in society," 
said Mrs. Metcalfe. " Has she come in for money ? " 

" My dear, haven't you heard ? " said Mrs. Moffat, and 
proceeded to explain . . . 

453 



454 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" How well Sir Eugene bears his sorrow," said Lady 
Bonegraft to Mrs. Gunby Rourke. ' To look at him you 
wouldn't dream that he'd lost his son only a few months ago. 
I think it's so brave and patriotic of him to be so cheerful." 

Sir Eugene at the moment was enjoying a paternal flirta- 
tion with a pert little miss of seventeen. Sir John Bonegraft, 
who hated him, interrupted heavily, saying : 

" Hello, Lascelles. Is that boy of yours out of gaol yet ? " 

Sir Eugene flushed angrily and said : 

" I know nothing whatever about him." Whereat Sir 
John emitted his thumping laugh and went off to mimic 
him to Sir Perry TifBytis . . . 

A young man came into the refreshment room breathless 
with excitement and blurted out to the first person he saw : 

" Heard the news ? . . . Ructions in town . . . Sinn 
Feiners out. . . . Shooting everybody . . . The Castle 
taken . . . ' 

People pressed round him eager for news, which however 
was received with incredulity. 

" A mere street riot, I'm sure," said Sir Eugene Lascelles. 

' No. They've got the Castle." 

" Disloyal beggars ! " 

" What's all the excitement ? " someone asks, pressing 
into the circle. The story is told again. There is a babel 
of questions and comments. 

" Sin Fainars : what are they ? " 

" But they've got the Castle ..." 

" It's all nonsense." 

" They ought to be shot." 

" I knew this would happen." 

' This weak-kneed Government ! " 

" What can you expect with a man like Birrell ? . . ." 

" German gold you may be sure . . . ' 

. . . And in the middle of the great war too ! " 
I hope they'll all be shot." 

" I'll bet it's all over by this time." 

These are samples of the more intelligent of the remarks 
which filled the air. The excitement lasted for some ten or 
fifteen minutes but for lack of definite information it quickly 
subsided, and incredulity took its place. Interest returned 
to the races . 



CATASTROPHE 455 

The road was packed with pedestrians and vehicles when 
it was all over. The humble commonalty footed it to the 
station, or cycled, or crowded in half-dozens on to outside 
cars, while motors of every description, from insignificant 
little two-seaters to mammoth landaulettes, humming, hoot- 
ing and screaming, threaded their courses Dublinwards 
through this chattering jangling confusion. Mr. and Mrs. 
Gunby Rourke in their magnificent Rolls Royce were the 
first to extricate themselves from the multitude and hasten 
down a clear road towards the city, to their ultimate undoing ; 
for at the end of a long suburban road they came upon the 
outermost of the barricades. 

It was a ramshackle structure : a makeshift coacervation 
of diverse objects. An overturned tramcar made up nearly 
half of it ; the remainder consisting of a couple of motor- 
cars, half a dozen bicycles, a few paving stones, some sand- 
bags, and the pillage of a second-hand furniture shop. 
There was a gap at one end. The fortification was manned 
by five men in the grey-green uniform of the Volunteers, 
and rifles could be seen projecting from the windows of the 
houses that flanked it. The inhabitants of the district, 
respectable and ragged, stood about staring, grumbling, 
or cursing. 

" Halt ! " rang out the voice of one of the garrison, and as 
if to guarantee the seriousness of the command there burst 
forth the sound of rifle-fire from a distant quarter of the 
city. 

" Don't mind him," said Mrs. Gunby Rourke to her 
chauffeur, who had slackened speed. " Drive for the gap." 

" I'll blow your brains out if you do," said the Volunteer, 
whereat the great Rolls Royce stopped dead. 

" What impertinence ! " cried Mrs. Gunby Rourke. 
" Drive on Jennings." 

" We'd best go back, madam," said Jennings. 

" Ye'll do nothing of the sort, then," said the sentry 
" If ye move wan inch I'll shoot ye dead." 

" This is outrageous ! " said Mrs. Gunby Rourke. " What 
can we do, Arthur ? " 

" I'm afraid we must bow to the inevitable, dear," said 
Mr. Gunby Rourke. 

Another Volunteer, evidently a section-commander, now 



456 THE WASTED ISLAND 

came out of one of the houses and crossed the barricade. 

" We'll have to commandeer this car," he said, fingering 
the handle of a revolver at his belt. " May I ax ye to step 
out." 

Mrs. Gunby Rourke was perfectly furious at this. 

" Do you know who I am, sir ? " she demanded. 

" Ye may be the Empress o' Chiney, ma'am, but we've 
got to finish this barricade, and that car o' yauts'll just do it." 

Mrs. Gunby Rourke was almost speechless with indigna- 
tion. She gasped incoherently and then turned on her 
husband, who was lying back in his seat passively smoking 
a cigar. 

" Are you going to sit there quietly and hear me insulted ? " 
she asked. 

Mr. Gunby Rourke waved his cigar helplessly and said : 

" What can one do, my dear ? " 

" Do ! " exclaimed his wife, and became incoherent again. 

" Arrah, be aisy, ma'am," said the Volunteer. " We 
won't do y'anny harm, an' when the Republic's established 
sure we'll give ye compensation for the car. Will ye dismount 
if ye plaze ? " 

Mrs. Gunby Rourke turned her outraged eyes to heaven 
and sat still, but her husband and the chauffeur alighted. 

" Come along, my dear," said the former. " We must 
yield to superior force for the moment, but they'll all be 
shot in a few days." 

Mrs. Gunby Rourke made no answer, but seeing the 
Volunteer lovingly fondle the handle of his revolver she 
descended from the car and walked off on her husband's 
arm. The Rolls Royce was stuffed into the gap in the 
barricade. 



A shot and its echo sounded in the far distance. Bernard 
dropped the book he was reading and listened. Another 
shot rang out close at hand. Then silence. 

He heard someone come down the stairs at a run, and in 
a moment John Malone burst into the room. 

" Did you hear it ? " he cried. " They're suppressing 
the Volunteers ! " 



CATASTROPHE 457 

Another distant shot was heard, followed by tv/o others 
in rapid succession. A chill sense of realisation came to 
Bernard. 

" It isn't that," he said. " It's a rebellion." 

" Hurroosh ! " cried Malone. " I guess I'm going for 
my gun." And he rushed out. 

At the same moment Bernard heard the tramp of feet in 
the street outside,* And going to the window he saw a squad 
of men in green uniforms marching up the street. 

" Foiled again," he muttered ; and added : " Poor 
devils !" 

Malone returned carrying his rifle. 

" Aren't you coming ? " he said. 

Bernard knew it would be useless to enter into a discussion 
with him, so he merely said : 

" Not yet. Don't wait for me." 

Malone disappeared. Bernard went out a few minutes 
later. Hurrying down Harcourt Street he was struck by 
the unnatural quietness everywhere. Traffic seemed to 
have been suspended, and people stood at their doors or in 
little groups on the sidewalks, talking in subdued tones, 
with every now and again an anxious glance down the street 
in the direction of Stephen's Green. Arriving at the corner 
Bernard saw a little bunch of people being hustled out of 
the Park by some of the Citizen Army, who, as soon as the 
last of the civilians had been thrust outside closed the gate 
and secured it with a lock and chain. In a shrubbery inside 
the railings half a dozen of the men in green were digging 
entrenchments. The people who had been expelled from 
the Green stood staring at them, and from the open doors 
and windows of all the houses in the neighbourhood the 
inhabitants were staring hard. Passers-by in the street 
stopped and stared in their turn. There seemed to be 
nothing else for people to do but to stare : they were too 
puzzled and stupefied to talk. An ominous silence reigned 
over all, broken only by the clink and scrape of the tools 
of the trench diggers and the occasional pop of a distant 
rifle. 

Bernard had no time to stop and stare. He walked on 
along the east side of the square until he reached Grafton 
Street, where he stopped abruptly on seeing a section of his 



458 THE WASTED ISLAND 

own company marching towards him. Bernard succeeded 
in catching the commander's eye and raised his hand, where- 
upon the latter halted his men, came over to Bernard, saluted, 
and stood to attention. 

" How's this, Muldoon ? " asked Bernard. " How did 
you come to be mobilised without me ? " 

" Captain Skehan mobilised us, sir," replied Muldoon. 

" Captain Skehan ? " queried Bernard. 

" Yes, sir. He showed us his promotion order signed 
by Commandant- General Pearse. ... I thought you'd 
been promoted to the Staff maybe, Captain." 

" Not exactly, Muldoon," said Bernard. " In fact I 
rather fancy I've been cashiered." 

" I'm sorry to hear that, Captain." 

" This rebellion isn't an Executive affair at all, you know. 
It's a mutiny against the President as a matter of fact. The 
whole thing's a frightful mix up and there's no time to explain 
it. I'm going down to Headquarters now to see what can 
be done. Meanwhile, what'll you do ? " 

" I suppose I'll have to carry out me orders, Captain. 
But between ourselves I don't know what we're out for. 
We'll be bet for certain." 

" Something may be done yet. Where are Headquarters 
by the way ? " 

" At the G.P.O., Captain." 

" Very well. I suppose you'd better carry on for the 
present." 

Muldoon saluted and returned to his men. Bernard 
resumed his way, passed down Grafton Street and W r est- 
moreland Street, and arriving at O'Connell Bridge ran into 
Stephen and Hektor. 

" Well," said Stephen. " What do you think of this 
piece of lunacy ? " 

" Can nothing be done ? " asked Bernard. 

" Look," said Stephen, and pointed down Sackville Street. 
The Republican Tricolour of Orange White and Green 
was flying from the roof of the General Post Office. 

' There's been a scrap already," said Hektor. " A party 
of Lancers went down the street about ten minutes ago and 
were fired on. Three were killed." 

" Nothing can stop it now," said Stephen. 



CATASTROPHE 459 

There was a burst of firing far away on the south side of 
the city. 

" Attack on Portobello Barracks, I suppose," suggested 
Hektor. 

Excited groups of people were standing about on and near 
the bridge discussing the situation. Stray words from some 
of them reached Bernard's ears : ' Bloody fools ! ' ' What 
the hell do they think they're up to ? ' 'I hope they'll all 
be shot.' 

' The Republic doesn't seem to be exactly popular," 
observed Hektor. " Physical force won't have much stock 
in the country when the dust up is over." 

" I hope to heaven the country'll keep quiet," said Stephen. 
" How did things look where you were ? " 

' They didn't seem at all anxious to come out," replied 
Bernard. 

" I bet they won't like abandoning Dublin," said Hektor. 

" Well, let's hope they'll have the sense to do it all the 
same," said Stephen. 

" I don't know that sense is everything," said Bernard. 
He was looking at the flag of Ireland flying in the breeze, 
and a longing seized him to fight and die in its defence. 
A thousand emotions were welling up in his heart. The 
spirit of the rebels of all the ages was calling to him ; the music 
of Ireland was playing to him ; the anger of Ireland was 
thrilling him ; reason was being swamped in floods of passion. 
Stephen, reading all this in his face, said quietly : 

" This rebellion will be the ruin of Ireland. It'll be 
crushed in a few days ; the country will be conscripted ; 
and when the people see the damage done they'll react to 
constitutionalism for another generation and the Union 
will have a fresh lease of life." 

" I suppose so," said Bernard. 

" Hello, you chaps ! " said a voice suddenly, and turning 
round they were faced by Fergus Moore. They had not 
seen him for over a year, so they were startled by the change 
in his appearance, constitutionally wrecked as he was by 
long-continued dissipation. 

" Where are you off to ? " asked Hektor. 

"I'm going down to the G.P.O. to see if they can spare 
me a rifle." 

2 G 



460 THE WASTED ISLAND 

" I gave you credit for more sense," said Stephen. " Don't 
you know that this piece of lunacy is going to be the ruin 
of the country ? " 

" Who can be sure of anything ? And what matter 
anyway ? I've lived a rotten life, so I may as well die 
decently." 

" At your country's expense ? " said Stephen. 

" If you saw D.T.'s in front of you you wouldn't split 
hairs over the morality of a fight that gives you a chance to 
die game, would you ? I'd like to kill an Englishman or 
two anyway." 

" There's no canteen in the G.P.O.," said Stephen drily. 

" That's unworthy of you, Ward" replied Moore. " But 
I'm going to my death, so I salute you. Goodbye all." 

He shook hands sentimentally with the three and marched 
off towards the Post Office. 

" I thought that kind of character didn't exist outside 
novels," said Hektor. " Who says Sidney Carton's 
improbable now ? " 

" Those who go seeking death never find it," said Stephen. 
" I bet you Moore'll come out of this scatheless : which is 
more than will happen to more useful poor fellows." 

Suddenly Bernard cried : 

" Hello ! Here's Umpleby," and the others looking 
round saw the little man approaching from the direction of 
D'Olier Street. He was loaded up with equipment, carried 
a Howth rifle on his shoulder, and was quite breathless. 

" O, I'm so glad to have met you," he puffed. " What's 
the meaning of it all. I was mobilised for a route march 
but it looks more like a rebellion. I thought we'd cancelled 
that . . . ' 

Stephen explained the position. 

" But," said Umpleby tentatively scanning Stephen's 
face. " Er . . . doesn't honour require that we should 
throw in our lot with our comrades ? " He was hoping 
with all his heart that it didn't, and his brow was knit with 
anxiety. 

" I can't answer for your honour," said Stephen bluntly, 
" but personally I'm going home." 

Umpleby heaved a sigh of relief. Here was good company 
to err with. 



CATASTROPHE 461 

" I'll do the same," he said. " Meanwhile I think I'll 
rid myself of these superfluous and incriminating impedi- 
menta." Without more ado he divested himself of his 
accountrements and dumped them, rifle and all, over the 
parapet of the bridge into the Liffey. 

" Now I think I'll run off home," he said. " My wife 
will be very anxious about me." (Distant firing.) " Hear 
that. She'll think they're all hitting me. . . . Good 
bye, boys." He shook hands hurriedly and scuttled back 
down D'Olier Street. 

" I suppose I may as well be off home too," said Bernard. 

" No. Come along to the Neptune with us," said Stephen. 
" We can get you a room. We may as well stick together 
in case of trouble." 

Bernard was very pleased by this invitation. Since 
Mabel's defection and the loss of Eugene and Willoughby 
solitude had become intolerable to him. He craved for 
human society, and now above all he needed the support of 
Stephen's strong will and character. Hektor supplemented 
the invitation in his bluff way and Bernard accepted it. 

" Let's stroll on then," said Stephen. 

They crossed the bridge and walked down Sackville Street, 
which was a chaos of strange sights. In the upper stories 
of many shops the windows had been smashed and then 
barricaded with furniture behind which could be seen the 
green-clad forms of Volunteer sentinels silently waiting. 
The street was still thronged with wondering people, who 
walked about, stood and stared, or flung jibes at the imper- 
turbable garrisons of the shops. Excited children ran hither 
and thither, and a ring of them, with not a few of their elders 
commingled, was gathered round the body of the horse 
that had been slain in the affray with the lancers. At the 
end of Abbey Street some Volunteers were erecting a bar- 
ricade of bicycles and rolls of paper under the curious and 
not very friendly gaze of a crowd of spectators. The toilers 
seemed to be embarrassed by this publicity, and a pink-and- 
white youth who acted as sentry was shyly endeavouring 
to make the crowd stand back. Someone chaffed him 
rudely, whereat he blushed and desisted from his efforts. 
He was a bashful revolutionary. 

Bernard and his friends walked on and arrived opposite 



462 THE WASTED ISLAND 

the Post Office, whose windows had been smashed and 
barricaded like those of the shops. 

" I'd just like to go in and tell the dope crowd what I think 
of them," said Hektor. 

" You'd only get shot for your pains," said Stephen. 

Bernard drew their attention to a small crowd collected 
at the base of Nelson's Pillar, evidently reading a poster of 
some kind. He went over, followed by the others, and from 
the outskirts of the crowd read : 

POBLACHT NA HEIREANN 
THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT 

of the 
IRISH REPUBLIC 

TO THE PEOPLE OF IRELAND 

Irishmen and Irishwomen : In the name of God 
and of the dead generations from which she receives 
her old traditions of nationhood, Ireland, through 
us summons her children to her flag and strikes 
for her freedom . . . 

There were too many heads in the way to read any further, 
and the others called to him to come on. The three con- 
tinued their walk, Bernard going slowly and very pen- 
sively. When they reached the Parnell Monument he 
turned back and saw once more the flag waving in the wind, 
the sunlight enriching its gold and green. 

" It seems a shame to desert them," he said. 

" Begad," said Hektor. " I hate leaving them in the 
lurch like that." 

" Look here, you two," said Stephen. " Do you, or do 
you not believe that this rebellion is going to be ruinous to 
Ireland ? " There was no answer. "Well then," he 
resumed, " have sense and come on. If these people are 
bent on wrecking the country we're not going to help them 
anyhow." 



CATASTROPHE 463 

" But the rank-and-file ? " said Bernard. 

" Indeed I'm sorry for them," said Stephen, " but I 
don't see how we can help them. We did what we could 
these last few days." 

There was nothing more to be said. They turned their 
backs on the Post Office, walked on in silence, and in five 
minutes were at the Neptune Hotel. In the hall they met 
McGurk fully equipped and armed. 

" What are you up to, Hugo ? " asked Hektor in 
astonishment. 

" I'm going into this bloody rebellion," replied McGurk. 

" Don't be an ass, Hugo," said Stephen. 

" Ah sure I know it's absurd," said McGurk. " But 
I can't be deserting the poor boys." 

" You'd rather desert your country instead ? " said Stephen. 

" Sure this fight finishes Ireland for our time," said 
McGurk, "so we might as well go down with it. We'll 
all be shot anyway whether we fight or not." 

' That doesn't make it right to fight, Hugo." 

" What matter ? . . . And I want to kill a few of them 
bloody English before I die anyhow." 

" Well," said Hektor. " Good luck." 

" Good luck, boys." 

And Hugo McGurk made his sally. 

" What splendid material these fellows are going to waste," 
said Stephen. 

' The best stuff in Ireland," added Hektor . . . 

After lunch Bernard crossed town to pay a visit of warning 
and reassurance to his mother. The poor lady could not 
understand the situation at all : it was enough for her to 
know that her son would not be in the fighting, and she 
made him promise faithfully to take care of himself and not 
to stir out of doors. 

In the evening he returned to the Neptune Hotel. The 
aspect of the streets was unchanged ; no troops had as yet 
appeared on the scene ; but the distant sound of sustained 
firing from three different directions indicated that fighting 
had already begun on the outskirts of the city. In Sackville 
Street the crowds had increased, but they were of a different 
complexion from those of the morning. Dusk had sent 
respectable people to their homes and lured forth the under- 



464 THE WASTED ISLAND 

world in search of loot. All the ragged starving and 
deformed population of the slums was abroad and looting 
had already begun. Two sweet-shops and a boot-shop 
had been broken into and plundered to the very walls, and 
a draper's was being rapidly stripped when Bernard appeared 
on the scene. The dead horse still lay in the centre of the 
street but attracted no more attention. Ragged children 
ran about clad in all kinds of finery. Old women staggered 
along with sacks bulging with loot. Drunken harlots danced 
and sang. The crash of another window brought everyone 
racing in its direction for more plunder. The shouts of 
quarrelling thieves rang through the air. In the distance 
was the muffled roar of the fighting. 

Bernard passed on. A dirty dishevelled young woman 
wearing a gorgeous hat and with a sealskin coat over her 
tattered blouse and skirt was dancing in the middle of the 
street yelling : 

" The Volunteers is up ! Ireland's free ! Hurroo ! " 

Another equally repulsive creature was shouting obscenities 
at the garrison of the Post Office. 

" Up th' Alleys an' to Hell wid the Kayzer ! " she shrieked. 

Grim and silent stood the Post Office in the gloom. The 
tricolour hung limp from its staff. Bernard walked on. 
The uproar in Sackville Street sank to a murmur and finally 
died away. 



The dawn of Tuesday the twenty-fifth was heralded by 
fresh bursts of rifle fire. Bernard and his friends had an 
early breakfast ; and a meagre one too, for the Neptune 
having many mouths to feed had begun to ration already. 
Dolan the landlord came in to them full of news. 

" Sure they're not doing so bad at all," he said. " They've 
got the Castle and the whole country's up, and the Jairmans 
have landed in K