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tract can be otherwise than enchanting to the eye that has ample colour in the foreground and the middle distance, and boasts mountain horizon. Alike in Queen's County, in King's County, and in Westmeath, the Slieve Bloom Mountains are rarely out of sight; and I observed more than once, in the light and shade of their ample folds, effects of colour such as I had hitherto seen only in Italy. I spent a delightful morning, wandering tracklessly and aimlessly over a portion of the Bog of Allen, which strongly reminded me of the wetter portions of the Yorkshire moorlands famil

iar to my childhood. But apart altogether from the glamour of association, I saw in its colour and and its character, in its heather, its bog-cotton, its bilberry leaves and blossoms, an effective and unusual contrast to the golden gorse, to the patches of green oats, to accidental clumps of timber, and to the irregular barrier of purple hill-land in the immaterial distance. It was pleasant to pay a visit to a property in that part of Ireland, the owner of which was, for thirty years of his manhood, engaged in administering the affairs of many millions of her Majesty's subjects in India, and who, now that in the course of nature he has come into his inheritance, spends his days, his pension, and his savings in improving "the old home "and developing his estate, instead of hanging about London Clubs and trying to extract diversion out of the hackneyed amusements of society. Will those who come after him do the same? Let us hope so; for what Ireland most wants is the presence, the love, and the encouragement of its own children. I found the majority of

landowners with whom I talked in favour of the compulsory sale and purchase of holdings; and when I asked if they did not think this would finally deplete Ireland of its rural gentry, which would be a culminating curse to it, they one and all expressed the opinion that it would have no such effect, since the expropriated landlords would retain the house, the demesne, and what we call in England the home farm, and would live on excellent terms with the farmers and the peasantry, once the burning question of the tenure of land was extinguished.

It has frequently been said to me, when extolling the extraordinary beauty and natural charm of Ireland, "But what a climate! It rains incessantly." This assertion is one of the exaggerations incidental to ignorance or to very partial knowledge. Most persons of my acquaintance who live habitually in London abuse the English climate, which, I humbly venture to assert, is the best climate in the world. The climate is good, though the weather may sometimes be bad; just as in Italy and kindred countries, the weather is generally good, but the climate is usually the reverse of pleasant, being almost either excessively hot or excessively cold, or, thanks to conflict between sun and wind, both one and the other at the same time. I cannot well conceive of an agreeable climate without a certain amount of rain. Londoners, who do not like to have their hats injured or their boots dirtied, and to whom the beauty of Nature, as not being within sight, is a matter of complete indifference, consider the weather good when the pavements are clean and the sky cloudless. But that is a characteristically

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narrow view of the matter. may be that Ireland has too much of a good thing in respect of rain. But there is a quality of mercy in Irish showers, which are, for the most part, of the soft sort sent by southerly or westerly breezes. We had abundant sunshine at Killarney; but I remember greatly enjoying a tramp in the rain one wet morning up to Aghadoe and Fossa. I cannot understand why people abuse rain as they do. It is one of the most beautiful, as well as one of the most precious, of Nature's gifts. Watch it beginning to fall on the silvery water, making delicate fretwork of the dinted surface, which, as the rain comes faster, becomes a sheet of dancing diamonds. Then the watery spears slacken, and gradually cease to fall, and the lake resumes its silvery serenity as though nothing had happened. I say it rained that morning, and on into the early part of the afternoon; and what a goodly sight were the young children, the girls especially, making haste homeward from school, with bare legs and bare heads, save that some of the girls cowled the latter with their picturesque shawls, lest they should be caught in another shower! It might have rained all day, for anything I cared, after the comfort I had gleaned from the stockingless legs and unbonneted heads that went withal with comely garments and well-washed faces; and I came to the conclusion that Irish rain is warm as an Irish welcome, and soft as an Irish smile. But by three o'clock-in Ireland the children leave school, I observed, at that early hour-the clouds melted into thin air; and what Killarney then was for hour on hour, till the gloaming deepened into starlight, I shall never forget,

but should vainly struggle to describe.

No eulogy of the attractions of Ireland would be complete that did not bear grateful testimony to the hospitality of its people, the example of which seems to be imitated even by those who go to live there only for a time. On first arriving at Dublin, anxious as I was to push on into the interior, I could not well reject the graceful welcome that kept me a willing prisoner for several days in a comely home, surrounded by a beautiful garden and exquisite grounds, not far from the Viceregal Lodge; and on reaching the Capital again on my way homeward, it was difficult to get away from the hearty hospitality of the brilliant soldier, himself an Irishman, who had just published the first instalment of that important biography on which he has for years been working, amid a thousand distractions of public duty, private friendship, and social intercourse, with characteristic tenacity; and the popularity of which, added to the distinction its author has won as an active and successful soldier, justifies one in enrolling him among those quibus deorum munere datum est-the original, it will be remembered only says, aut facere scribenda, et scribere legenda.

My parting exhortation, therefore, naturally is-"Go to Ireland, and go often." It is a delightful country to travel in. Doubtless the Irish have their faults; I suppose we all have. Ireland never had, like England, like most of Scotland, like France, like Germany, like Spain, the advantage of Roman civilisation and Roman discipline, by which their inhabitants are still influenced far more than they dream of. Ireland, no

doubt, is a little undisciplined; for it has remained tribal and provincial, with the defects as with the virtues of a tribal and clannish race. But the only way to enjoy either countries or people is to take them as they are, and not, when you travel, to carry your own imprimatur about with you. There is no true understanding without sympathy and love, and Ireland has not been loved enough by Englishmen, or by Irishmen either. The direst offence, however, against the duty they owe each other

would be to sever or weaken the tie that subsists between them; and I cannot help thinking it might be insensibly but effectually strengthened, and rendered more acceptable to both, if Englishmen would but make themselves more familiar with the charm of Irish scenery and Irish character.

I have said the Irish seem to be

somewhat deficient in a sense of beauty. Yet I noticed one gesture, one attitude, as common as the gorse itself, the gracefulness of which would be observed if one met with it even in Italy or Greece. As you drive along the rudest parts of Ireland, there will come to the open doorway of a ling-thatched hut a woman, bareheaded, bare-footed, very quiet and patient of mien, and she will raise her hand, and with it shade her eyes, while she gazes on you as you pass. Then she will return to the gloom of her narrow home. When I think of Ireland, now that I have visited it, I seem to see a solitary figure, that emerges at moments from a settled twilight of its own to gaze, but with shaded eyes, at the excessive glare and questionable march of English progress.




FOR a moment Mrs Ogilvy's heart sank within her. There was something in the moment, in the hour, in that sudden appearance like a ghost, only with a noise and energy which were not ghost-like, of this man whom at the first glance she had taken for Robbie, which chilled her blood. Then she reminded herself that a similar incident had befallen her before now. A tramp had more than once made his way into the garden, and, but for her own lion mien, and her call upon Andrew, might have robbed the house or done some other unspeakable harm. It was chiefly her own aspect as of a queen, protected by unseen battalions, and only conscious of the extraordinary temerity of the intruder, that had gained her the victory. She had not felt then as she felt now: the danger had only quickened her blood, not chilled it. She had been dauntless as she looked: but now a secret horror stole her strength away.

"I think," she said, with a little catching of the breath, "you have made a mistake. This is no public place, it is my garden; but if you have strayed from the road, I will cry upon my man to show you the right way to Edinburgh, or wherever you may be going."

"" 'Edinburgh's not good for my health. I like your garden," he said, strolling easily towards her; "but look here, mother, give me something for my scratch. I've got a thorn in my hand."

"You will just go away, sir," said Mrs Ogilvy. "Whoever you may be, I permit no visitor here at this late hour of the night. I will cry upon my man."



"I'm glad you've got a about the place," said the stranger, sitting down calmly upon the bench and regarding her little figure as she stood before him, with an air half of mockery, half of kindness. "It's a little lonely for an old lady. But then you're all settled and civilised here. None the better for that," he continued, easily; "snakes in the grass, thieves behind the door."

"I have told you, sir," said Mrs Ogilvy, trembling more and more, yet holding her ground, "that Í let nobody come in here, at this hour. You look like-like a gentleman:" her voice trembled on the noiseless colourless air, in which there was not a breath to disturb anything: "you will therefore not, I am sure, do anything to disturb a woman-who lives alone, but for her faithful servants--at this hour of the night."

"You are a very plucky old lady," he said, "and you pay me a compliment. "I'm not sure that I'm a gentleman in your meaning, but I'm proud that you think I look like one. Sit down and let

us talk. There's no pleasure in sitting at one's ease when a lady's standing: and, to tell the truth, I'm too tired to budge."

"I will cry upon my man Andrew

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"Not if you're wise, as I'm sure you are." The stranger's hand made a movement to his pocket, which had no significance for Mrs Ogilvy. She was totally unacquainted with the habits of people who carry weapons; and if she had thought there was a revolver within a mile of her, would have felt her


self and the whole household to be lost. "It will be a great deal better for Andrew," said this man, with his easy air, "if you let him stay where he is. Sit down and let's have our talk out."

Mrs Ogilvy did not sit down, but she leant trembling upon the back of her chair. "You're not a tramp on the roads," she said, "that I could fee with a supper and a little money-nor a gentleman, you say, that will take a telling, and refrain from disturbing a woman's house. Who are you then, man, that will not go away, -that sit there and smile in my face?"

"I'm a man that has always smiled in everybody's face,-if it were the whole posse, if it were Death himself," he replied. "Mother, sit down and take things quietly. I'm a man in danger of my life."

A shriek came to her lips, but she kept it in by main force. In a moment the vague terror which had enveloped her became clear, and she knew what she had been afraid of. Here was the man who was like Robbie, who was Robbie's leader, his tyrant, whose influence he could not resist-provided only that Robbie did not come back and find him here!

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Sir," she said, trembling so that the chair trembled too under the touch of her hand, but standing firm, "you are trying to frighten me-but I am not feared. If it is true you say (though I cannot believe it is true), what can I do for you? I am a peaceable person, with a peaceable house, as you see. I have no hiding-places, nor secret chambers. Where could I put you that all that wanted could not see? Oh, for the love of God, go away! I know nothing about you. I could not betray you if-if I desired to do so.'

"You would never betray any

body," he said, quite calmly. "I know what is in a face. If you thought it would be to my harm, though you hate me and fear me, you would die before you would say a word."

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"God forbid I should hate you!" cried Mrs Ogilvy, with trembling white lips. 'Why should I hate you?-but oh, it is late at night, and you will get no bed any place if you do not hurry and go away."

"That's what I ask myself," he said, unmoved. said, unmoved. "Why should you hate me, if you know nothing about me-that is what surprises me. You know something about me, eh ?-you have a guess who I am? you are not terrified to death when a tramp comes in to your grounds, or a gentleman strays: eh? You call for Andrew. But you haven't called for Andrew-you know who I am?"

"I know what you are not," she cried, with the energy of despair. "You are no vagrant, nor yet a gentleman astray. You would have gone away when I bid you, either for fear or for right feeling, if you had been the one or the other. I know you not. But go, for God's sake go, and I will say no word to your hurt, if all the world were clamouring after you. Oh, man, will ye go?"

She thought she heard that wellknown click of the gate,—the sound which she had listened for, for years-the sound most unwished and unlooked for now-of Robbie coming home. He saw her momentary pause and the holding of her breath, the almost imperceptible turn of her head as she listened. It had now become almost dark, and she was not much more than a shadow to him, as he was to her but the whiteness of her shawl and cap made her outline more distinct underneath the faintly waving shadows of the surrounding trees. The stranger settled himself into


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