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tucked under its arm, as attendant.

I hope the apparition enjoyed his supper that evening, professed anchorite though he was, as much as I did. He seemed to, for when I caught a glance of him just before turning in to my tent for the night, he was sitting in the centre of a ring of admiring natives, eating rice and ourried fish with extraordinary enthusiasm, while he recounted in brief intervals the tale of his wanderings, and above all, the meeting with the "ohik

deree," who took him for a dead man in the shadow of the fig-tree, and would not alter his opinion until he had turned him well round and round under the moonlight and heard him speak. Wah! that was wonderful, and the fakir took some more rice, and the man in the background beat a low approving measure on his goatskin drum, while all the rest of the encircling natives nodded sleepily as they meditated on the adventure.





THE neighbourhood of Gortnacool, the remote country place where I live with my people, is fairly quiet on the whole, though Sinn Fein is rampant in the post-town of Dunreagh. Still it had never troubled us much, and we had always been on good terms with the working people, the tradesmen from whom obtained our supplies, and the men in our employment. Consequently it was all the more surprising suddenly to find ourselves the victims of a peculiar persecution, which masqueraded under the name of "strike," though almost all the usual characteristics of & strike were missing.

I think the actual beginning of the whole business dates as far back as the Rebellion of 1916, At that time we had had for some months a chauffeur called Horgan, a clever hardworking man just over military age. Ireland being then under martial law, one could not ordinarily use one's ear, but one day I was given a special permit te motor to Inchbeg (which is about 20 miles frem Gortnacool) on business.

At Inchbeg Bridge we were challenged and stopped, while soldiers belonging to the English regiment guarding the bridge searched the car for arms and ammunition.

It was just after we had

started again, and were wrig. gling past the zigzags of barbed wire and the ether obstacles on the bridge, that Horgan leaped suddenly to a high place in my esteem.

He said: "I never thought to see a German Front in Ireland, and the grand British Army bothered by dirty Sinn Fein tinkers, and me own peor brother facing death in Flanders this minute," and he wiped his eyes with his cuff.

Until then I had never spoken to him about the War, or the Rebellion; from that day I talked freely, and abused the Sinn Feiners as warmly as I praised the Allied armies, believing him to be firm on the right side.

My high opinion of him was confirmed a year or so later, when he begged to be moved from the cottage he had ocoupied ever since entering our employment. The families in the adjacent cottages were Sinn Feiners, he said, and they "annoyed him with their talk." So my father, always ready to help a loyalist, gave him the lodge at our front gate which chanced to be unoccupied.

All through the winter of 1917-18, when the Sinn Feiners were inaugurating their eampaign of raiding for arms, Horgan used to give me interesting detailed accounts of the raids before they appeared in

the newspapers. In the spring of 1918 my father sent his firearms to the police station, for he naturally was unwilling to risk a raid, or put it in the power of Sinn Feiners to use his guns for shooting down British soldiers. Horgan, with a grave face, informed me it was a pity the master had parted with the guns, for the Sinn Feiners were 66 raging mad" about it. They had hoped for a good haul, he said.

Some time later, to my amusement, he announced that our family were on the "Black List," because my father by chance had been able to give the authorities some useful information. I was surprised, as well as amused, for I could not imagine how the fact could have reached Sinn Fein ears. However, I just laughed, and said we did not mind being on the "Black List" of a set of cowards and traitors.

"Take oare, miss, take care!" exclaimed Horgan. "Ye'll draw their edge on ye. And no matter if they strike slowly, they'll strike sure, and they'll strike hard."

I glanced at him. His usual bland and respectful expression had vanished, and though he gazed straight at his own boots, his eyes showed smouldering fanatic light. A vague suspicion orept into my mind. I dimissed it instantly as unfounded and unjust.

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passed the windows. It was led by Horgan, holding a bunch of keys ostentatiously at arm's length. Close behind him were Leahy the gardener, and his wife, while Flavin and Daly, the farm men, followed hesitatingly, casting sheepish sidelong glances at the windows.

These people were all that the war had left in our employment. They were over military age, and had worked for my family respectively four, eleven, seventeen, and fortyfive years.

My father, on finishing his breakfast, went to the hall door, thinking they had come for instructions in stacking the oats, but to his surprise Horgan, after a rambling speech on the rights of the working man, handed over his keys. Completely mystified, my father asked for an explanation.

Horgan replied, "You got your notice some time ago. We are all going on strike."

"I have had no notice," said my father; "why are you going on strike?" Horgan was silent.

"Do you wages?"

No answer.

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"This is ridiculous," I said; "there can be no strike with out knowing what you are striking for. Any one who wishes for higher wages entitled to ask for them-or to find another place. What you are doing is not only silly but unfair, and no good can come of it."

My eyes wandered round the little group as I spoke, and noted nearest to me Horgan gazing fixedly at his boots, with the same smouldering fanatio look I had seen once before. Beyond him the Leahys stood in defiant attitudes, and farther back were Flavin and Daly with shame and dejection evident in every line of their faces.

I was turning to go in, when Leahy, with a sudden bound, placed himself in front of me. He shook his fist in my face and poured forth violent abuse. My class had "downed" his for years, and robbed him and his; now his turn had come, and he would get it all back again! This and much more, accompanied by flashing eyes and threatening gestures, while his wife joined in with shrill vituperations.

Nothing that has ever happened to me was more amazing than this attack. The Leahys had been with us many years and had always seemed quiet respectable people, professedly devoted to "the family." They were receiving the wages they themselves asked for; they had always been treated with kindness and consideration. Certainly Leahy was a bad

tempered man, but it would have been impossible to have supposed he could forget himself to such an extent.

However, there was no use saying anything to him while in this mood, so I stepped past him into the house and shut the door.


At midday I walked down to the cottage where Flavin lived. A high fence and thicket of blackthorns closes the little yard and completely hides it from the adjoining bohereen. I strolled into the yard yard and stood absently gazing at the pigsty.

Soon, as I anticipated, the cottage door was gently opened, and Flavin, glaneing furtively about him, came out. I asked him if he could explain the "strike." Beneath the sheltering fence he told me in a low voice that he and Daly were miserable and ashamed at playing such a dirty game, but that Horgan had forced them into it.

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"Sure Horgan was mad for a strike this good while, and he telling us we'd be turned out of the union if we didn't back him; and for the matther of that, meself and Daly never wanted to join the union at all, only for Horgan saying we'd get no work anny where if we didn't. Them unions has the country destroyed entirely-though indeed, miss, 'tis not the union that's in it this time at all."

He paused significantly, then, coming a step nearer"God help me! I'd be apt

to lose me life if they knew I was after telling ye. 'Tis a Sinn Fein business," he whispered.

The sound of footsteps on the bohereen out short his confidences. He faded away, as it were, into his own pigsty, but not before I had extracted an assurance- that he would return to his work at once; and "the divil roast any one who would be laying a hand on him to prevent him."

Leahy was walking up the bohereen towards his cottage when I left Flavin's yard. Judging by the set of his shoulders, he was either brooding over his fancied wrongs or bitterly ashamed of his recent behaviour. I hoped the latter might be the ease, for I had resolved to try and bring him to reason.

He reached the gate leading to his cottage only just before me, and at that moment Mrs Leahy, who must have seen me coming, rushed out with a red flag tied to a broomstick, which she shook threateningly at me. Her husband turned abruptly, showing a fierce and soowling face, and I felt at once I should do no good with either of them.

I did say, though, by way of warning, that if they refused to work they would be dismissed, and must leave the house. Leahy yelled that if we wanted to turn him out we should have to get the "English military," and then he would fight them, and "drive pikes through their bodies."

"Your day is done," he conoluded ferociously, "and the workers will take what they want."

As I walked home I reflected that though the "strike" might have a Sinn Fein foundation, there was a distinct aroma of Bolshevism about it.

The next surprise W&9 launched on us in the afternoon by the cook, who summoned me to the foot of the backstairs, ostensibly to say that she had "promised God ere yestherday to flavour the rabbits with a dash of curry powder." She then explained solemnly that this promise must unavoidably be broken, for the grocer's cart (and the ourry powder) had failed to come. She added as an afterthought, with a fine assumption of indifference, that she supposed the household need expect no more food, because Horgan had declared we were to be boycotted, and that no cart, van, or messenger would venture into the place. He had actually told the servants this early in the morning, showing that the whole plan was prearranged.

In Ireland one must never appear disconcerted before one's dependants. There was nothing for it but to laugh contemptuously, and await developments.

A couple of days passed uneventfully. Horgan and Leahy kept out of sight. Flavin, though he came to work as usual, seemed depressed and apprehensive, and brought a

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