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Project Gutenberg Australia
Title: Brave Employments
Author: Marjorie Bowen
eBook No.: 2301041h.html
Language: English
Date first posted: September 2023
Most recent update: September 2023

This eBook was produced by: Colin Choat

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Brave Employments


Marjorie Bowen



Portrait traditionally identified as Patrick Sarsfield,
c. 1655-1693), Franciscan Library, Killiney. (Wikipedia)


Honor de Burgh (Honora Burke) 1675-1698,
who married Patrick Sarsfield. (Wikipedia)

A review of this book, which appeared in The Spectator, 18 April 1931, Page 37, is reproduced at the end of the story.

"Chase brave employments with a naked sword
Throughout the world. Fool not; for all may have,
If they dare choose, a glorious life or grave.

* * *

If that thy fame with every toy be posed
'Tis a thin web, which poisonous fancies make;
But the great soldier's honour was composed
Of thicker stuff, which would endure a shake"

George Herbert.



The Tale:
Chapter 1.
Chapter 2.
Chapter 3.
Chapter 4.
Chapter 5.
Chapter 6.
Chapter 7.
Chapter 8.
Chapter 9.
Chapter 10.
Chapter 11.
Chapter 12.
Chapter 13.
Chapter 14.
Chapter 15.
Chapter 16.
Chapter 17.
Chapter 18.
Chapter 19.
Chapter 20.
Chapter 21.
Chapter 22.
Chapter 23.
Chapter 24.
Chapter 25.
Chapter 26.
Chapter 27.
Chapter 28.
Chapter 29.
Chapter 30.
Chapter 31.
Chapter 32.
Chapter 33.
Chapter 34.
Chapter 35.
Chapter 36.
Chapter 37.
Chapter 38.
Chapter 39.
Chapter 40.
Chapter 41.
Chapter 42.
Chapter 43.
Chapter 44.
Chapter 45.
Chapter 46.
Chapter 47.
Chapter 48.
Chapter 49.
Chapter 50.
Chapter 51.
Chapter 52.
Chapter 53.
Chapter 54.
Chapter 55.
Chapter 56.
Chapter 57.
Chapter 58.



The following apologia for the historical novel was made nearly a hundred years ago by the French critic, Mons. P. Douhaire:

"The alliance of history and fiction has nothing of the hybrid; it is universal and as old as the world. It is the essence of an epoch, the reality of the past made poetical. The active fecundity of our imaginations has need of a base and it is in the past it loves to take it...we all like to remake the world and the society of other times. This is the charm that we find in history; it is a feast where we satisfy our imagination. We each of us make in some degree an historical novel when we open the pages of the historians; for we fill in, according to our own fashion, the outline they trace."

The author of the following narrative can think of nothing better as an excuse or explanation of the feelings about a type of fiction that is frequently misunderstood and undervalued, and of the spirit in which this novel has been attempted.

While errors of fact have been carefully avoided and the genuine circumstances of history as carefully followed, this is a novel in design and detail and makes no pretensions to be more.

No more need be said here than that all historical personages mentioned (including Lord Galmoy, Colonel Henry Luttrell and Galloping O'Hogan) are drawn according to what is known of their characters.

The spelling of the Irish proper names makes no pretension to be accurate; the usual English forms have been used throughout; nor, as the story concerns people of various nationalities, has there been any attempt to reproduce dialects or the manner of speech actually employed by the many foreigners who passed through Ireland in 1689-91.

For those readers who like to know something of the material used by the historical novelist a brief appendix is affixed; the author, in venturing on a subject that still provokes such bitter controversy, feels it prudent, if not necessary, to give some authorities for the view point taken and the incidents used.

M. B.
London, November, 1930.



"Where is the glory of thy sires?
The glory of Art with the swift arrow;
Of Meilitan, with the swift darting spears;
Of the lordly race of the O'Neil?
To thee belonged red victory,
When the Fenian wrath was kindled,
And the heroes in thousands rode to war,
And the bridles clanked on he steeds..."
—"Old Bardic Lament", from the Irish.

"I have heard some Great Warriors say,
that in all the services which they had seen in foreign
countries they never saw a more comely man than an Irishman,
nor one that cometh more bravely to his charge."

He suddenly saw her as an enemy.

"You are Irish yourself, mademoiselle, it is strange that you do not understand."

"But I do—a faery tale." Olivia Joyce did not care to be under the imputation of belonging to the defeated, the subject race. "I've no claim to be Irish, though; 'tis centuries since the Joyces left Connemara, Captain Sarsfield."

"More is the pity, and that Ireland should be alien to one bearing your name."

"Why, so it is, and barbarous, too, and I'll be glad to return to London."

She smiled, to humour him; she was not fine enough to sense that he felt her as hostile; he had been bred in Paris, trained in the French wars, polished at Whitehall; she did not believe that his wretched country could mean much to him.

"So you'll not marry me?"

"No. And you can understand why."

"I cannot."

"My father would tell you. He looks higher than a younger son, a gentleman of the King's Guard, a landless man!"

She affected to sigh romantically; she did regret the loss of this ardent lover, but she was cold and prudent; she preferred the fine, safe marriage her family were negotiating for her; she intended to go no further with this delightful coquetry he had taken too seriously.

"Tell me some more tales of your kingdom of Kerry." She smiled, enticing as a spread flower.

"I will not, since you believe none of them." He looked at her unsmilingly. "Do you refuse me because I am Irish, Olivia?"

"You are too downright. There is every obstacle between us. And I do not care for you enough to do anything foolish for your sake, Captain Sarsfield."

"You will never do anything foolish for the sake of any man."

He had been acquainted with her since they were children. He knew her indifference to human passions and human dreams. Yet had never ceased to desire to possess her with a perversity that was at once his torment and his delight.

He thought: "Why does she not like me enough?"

This was the first time they had been together in Ireland; chance had brought the young officer to his brother's demesne at Lucan where he had heard that Olivia Joyce was reluctantly visiting some of her mother's kin near Kenmare. When he had crossed Ireland to see her, she had welcomed him; she found the wet summer dull.

Now this interlude was over; she had refused him, he would go, she would return to London, then to Paris where her marriage with the Marquis de Bonnac would be concluded. Convention was heavy over both of them.

"It is raining again." She gazed out of the window, past trees, the wide, distant lake, mountains silvered with vapour, at a sky crossed with rainbows that leapt from peak to peak. "It is a mournful country, I do not know how people can live here."

"There are some who wonder how those who have Irish blood can live away. God knows, I count myself an exile!"

He considered her sadly, his usual gaiety overclouded, it was easy to see that she really was an enemy; descendant of renegades who had long since forsaken the ancient land to fawn on the conqueror. She was of mixed blood too, cold English, hard French, daughter of the merchants and the traders, yet to him lovely as a rose carved in snow, with her features of infantile purity, her fine locks of silver-gold, the exquisite delicacy of her shape. Perhaps her small mouth, so richly coloured, had already too firm a line, perhaps the gold-brown eyes had too calculating a gleam; perhaps, to the cynic and the experienced, her early youth gave promise of a future cold voluptuousness, wanton and heartless, but she was beautiful enough to Patrick Sarsfield who was a man who must have a goddess.

"Will you come with me to the Abbey of Irrelagh this evening?" he asked.

"To see a ruin and an old woman and, maybe, a ghost?"

"To say a charm with me under the ancient yew, Olivia, my darling, one that will bind us all our lives, whether you will or no."

His presence and his persistence shook her; her blood strove against her training; she was convent-bred, cautious and dutiful, ignorant, unawakened beneath her city manners, only twenty years old; she was determined on the grand marriage that meant a rich court life, but she quivered at the caress in the voice of this rejected suitor. The rain was pale at the window; the silent house was desolate.

"I go back to London to-morrow," she sighed; "the long journey is hateful, but I shall be glad to be away from Ireland."

"Come to Irrelagh this evening. I'll show you the wonders you laugh at, and you'll not laugh. The yew there is a thousand years old, the quiet woman knows much magic, or maybe I could row you out to Innisfallen, and there's the world well forgot."

"I could not come."

"You could. They leave you quite free. It is not far away."

She considered him, feature by feature. There was an uneasy stir in her liking for him that had been so serene; almost she was troubled. She regretted his magnificence, she felt jealous as she realised the other women who would gladly take this love she could not accept, she felt baulked by destiny and cheated by convention. The rainbows were brilliant beyond the rain. He opened the window and she saw him outlined against the radiance and moisture. He was of great height and strength, yet slim and flexible and not many years older than herself. She liked his clear brow with the thick fair hair, red as scorched flax, his noble outline—liked his well-shaped, full mouth, and the alertly-open gray eyes, his broad shoulders and slender hips. She liked the bravery of the King's Gentlemen which he wore so easily; she liked his strong hands and full throat, and the Irish turn in his speech, persistent through long exile. She inclined towards him, but she did not forget her admired father's judgment of this Patrick Sarsfield—"Reckless, thriftless, without influence or the gifts that make success, penniless...a younger son."

Fear and fascination opposed each other in her mind; his eyes grew heavy with meaning as, full of lightness and grace, he came back from the window; she had more beauty in his regard then than she would ever really possess. She saw the rainbows behind his head as he bent directly to her face.

"You'll come to Irrelagh this evening?"

A strong tremor ran through her yielding limbs; she knew that this was the end of playing with him, and she mourned the loss of a flattering amusement. She winced before the brilliant eyes so near, she sank beneath the warm lips pressed on hers, he held her close and she felt useless, helpless in the circle of his strength.

But her carefully-trained virtue asserted itself; she rejected the natural warmth that moved her, she refused to lose herself in this unworldly love, she chilled his tide of passion by her resistance. As he was very proud, he put her by...

To be rid of him and her own blind emotion, she said:—"I will come to Irrelagh this evening."

When he had gone she was ashamed of the heat in her blood, she almost hated him for disturbing her coolly ordered life.

The young man frequently looked back at the flat damp-stained façade of the mansion of the MacCarthys; through the swaying gray boughs of the dripping ash-tree and the lush lawn, he could long see the brightness of her spruce town dress at the wide window.

To him she was innocent and sweet as she was lovely; he could not see her as hard, ambitious, mercenary, petty-minded, though he disdained these faults in the stock from which she came; her nobility, like her beauty, lay largely in his generous fancy; she was no more than a pretty young woman, finely shaped.

Even her contempt of Ireland and her laughter at what she called his superstition, he forgave her; but in London he had been in two brawls with Englishmen who had sneered at his country, and his shoulder sometimes ached from a thrust got in a duel provoked by some insult to his despised island.

He lodged in a peasant's hut near the lake edge; he had only a few days before he must return to London; he put that out of his mind. He envied his elder brother who might live at Lucan on the estates; never before the visit had he known how dear Ireland was, how desolate and how hopeless. He realised that he was capable of two passions, each full of stimulation and inspiration—one for Olivia Joyce, one for Ireland.

The country opened about him generous with an unbelievable beauty; the deep solitude was flooded with a golden light that glanced sparkling in the misty rain; the distant peaks showed azure and violet against heavy veils of pure, tender vapour which glittered with raindrop hues. Changing shadows passed over the surface of the lake, ruffling the waters from silver to purple. All was warm, exotic, drowsy, the ferns and grasses clustered in rich tangles gemmed with drops of moisture, starred with prodigal flowers expanding in the damp heat. The smooth stems and dark glossy leaves of the arbutus waved in groves of extravagant loveliness. Patrick Sarsfield had not seen this tree before. He felt moved at this hidden exotic exceeding beauty that was the beauty of Ireland, which no one praised. So opulent and warm was the scene that he did not notice the loneliness.

At sunset he was in Irrelagh Abbey expecting Olivia Joyce; his very soul surged towards her in expectation. His romantic mind endowed her with all the beauty of the Ireland that she disliked. This moment made all his life that had gone before—the soldiering, the city days, the repetition of commonplace—seem utterly trivial, a wastage of time.

The woman he had met before at Irrelagh was seated in the ruins; she had told him she was a Shanahus, a story-teller, descendant of the bards or historians attached to the great sept of O'Donaghoe, Princes of Kerry. But it was the MacCarthys, Princes of Desmond, who had built the abbey; the Franciscans it had housed had long vanished; pious hands had repaired it two generations ago, but it now stood in desolate decay, surrounded by gravestones and dense groves of ash, oak and sycamore.

Patrick Sarsfield passed through the roofless nave; thick fragrant weeds grew between the stones that covered the vaults where lay the dust of kings. Mural tablets showed the stately arms and coronets of MacCarthy Mór, Glencare and the last of the O'Donaghoes. Above the gray altar waved ash saplings, long trails of dark, glossy ivy garlanded the porch. There was a perpetual sound of the wind sighing in the trees and long grasses, and through the empty belfry.

The young man joined the Shanahus in the gray marble cloisters. She sat under one of the moss-covered arches with her beads in her hands. Her dress and shawl were gray-green as the abbey stones, and her face was as expressionless as one of the saint-like masks mouldering above the pillars. She wore a hare's skin cap over a red kerchief tied under her chin.

"Good-evening to your honour."

"Good-evening to you, Shanahus. I have come to meet a fair woman, and you must give me the charm that will bind us for this world and the next. For, humanly speaking, she is denied to me."

"And what fair woman should be denied to your honour and you fine as King Finvarra? And like one of the Sidhe yourself with your red sash and the gold band on your hat."

"I've neither land nor money, Shanahus, nor careful arts. I've nothing at all but the blood of Conn of the race of Rory and of Rory O'More. And they are dead and the splendour of them, and this is a good place to remember it." He smiled across the gray arches to the overgrown graves which marked where the proud, the disinherited, the forgotten rested.

In the centre of the garth grew a yew tree, so mighty and spreading that the trunk was like a pillar, and the boughs touched the four walls of the cloisters. There was no tree more famous in Ireland; to profane it was damnation, to pluck a leaf carelessly was death. In the twilight the shade was black beneath the yew tree. The Shanahus peered there with searching eyes.

"Does your honour think Ireland is dead, and the last Prince of O'Donaghoe, murdered by the English, resting beneath us? You can see Castle Ross hollow to the moonlight, but the O'Donaghoe will rise every year and ride across the lake on his white horse. What can your honour see beneath the yew tree? The Phouca waiting, or the horned women making their spells?"

"I can see nothing but dark shadows, Shanahus. Teach me the charm that I may learn how to bind my beloved."

The gray woman looked at him wistfully; yearning, vague and unsatisfied were her eyes. She was a peasant, a beggar, but she roused in the young man an emotion enthusiastic, passionate, infinitely mournful; the shadow of great unattainable glories and losses fell over his spirit; the foreboding of useless sorrow darkened his heart. Without speaking he leant against the damp gray pillar of the cloister, the tips of the flat, black yew boughs touched his braided shoulder-knot. In his strength and fairness, with his red and gold, his air of noble candour, he looked indeed like one of the Princes of the Sidhe, who will never know death nor immortality, but who flourish in their beauty and splendour, till on the Last Day they vanish utterly.

"The finest charm I could give your honour and the kindest," said the Shanahus, "would be the power to hear the harp of the unseen people."

"And what benefit would I get from that?"

"Forgetfulness you would get. All the old memories of the race of Conn that torment you would be still. And you would not be able to guess the future that is coming to you."

"Is it evil, then, the future?"

"Evil it is not." The Shanahus stooped and plucked a long trail of ground ivy. "Hold this as a safeguard against the Evil One. It is bold to recite charms by the yew of Saint Bridget."

He smiled as he took the small, firm, shining sprig; he feared that Olivia Joyce would not come, and all the magic and beauty of this evening be lost like rare, cherished wine spilled on the common ground.

She was fearful and town-bred and foreign; he was sorry that he loved her, he felt hostile towards her and drawn with sudden passion to this sad spot of earth. Through the blackness of the yew he could see the misty sapphire brilliancy of twilight. The Shanahus recited, as she turned her beads, the glories of the royal house of O'Donaghoe. Great they had been and beautiful, slain in their pride, the earth lay on their white breast-bones and the foxglove grew on their mouldering hearths. Ross Castle was open to the dews and winds of heaven, and the empty lakes lay desolate beneath the bare hills of the Kingdom of Kerry.

Patrick Sarsfield felt the company of the dead gathered close about him in the shade of the great yew. Very ancient the tree was and unutterable the legends that enfolded it. Some said that is was from the very heart of Saint Bridget herself that it grew.

"The fair woman is coming," said the Shanahus. "The Merciful word, the Singing word, and the Good word—may the power of these be on all the men of Ireland!"

The young man startled; his heart beat hot and magnificent. A stately gold flashed behind the yew, the final sunburst coloured the darkened land. The graves were outlined in shadow and the raindrops glittered like fire on the rank leaves of wild flowers and the lush grasses heavy with moisture. In this transient light the Shanahus appeared withered and small like a bat, like the mocking Phouca itself. She pointed down the cloisters where the gold air could not penetrate. There in the shadows, dense and heavy, stood the woman.

She had disguised herself with care. A gown of gray drugget concealed her form, the linen kerchief tied round her chin was pulled forward to muffle her face. Without speaking she passed under the black boughs of the yew into the heart of the shadow.

The last light of the sun faded, the blue darkness, swift as the stroke of a wing, fell over the ruins of Irrelagh.

Patrick Sarsfield followed into the dense shade of the yew. In the dark hollow under the boughs he and the woman stood side by side. She put out her hand to him and he was profoundly touched that she had come. He drew her cold hand to his heart and felt a deep wave of excited joy suffuse his being. At that moment his whole life was vowed to her service.

In his warm eager voice, that no sensitive ear could listen to with indifference, he repeated the charm the Shanahus had taught him.

"By the power that Christ brought from Heaven mayest thou love me, woman! As the sun follows its course, mayest thou follow me. As light to the eye, as bread to the hungry, as joy to the heart, may thy presence be with me, O woman that I love, till death comes to put us asunder!"

Quick and soft she answered him:

"This is a charm I set for love; a woman's charm of love and desire, a charm of God none can break. You for me and I for you, and none else. Your face to mine and your head turned from all others!"

These whispering husky tones were strange to him; he caught hold of her and drew her swiftly through the black boughs. The sharp foliage brushed against them. When he had her unresisting in the gray cloisters he plucked the kerchief from her head. The twilight showed him a stranger in his arms.

Dark eyes looked up at him, dusky hair fell on his sleeve, a creature who was in all different from Olivia Joyce smiled at him with beseeching tenderness.

Patrick Sarsfield felt the keen humiliation of one fooled by his own romantical dreaming; he set the girl from him and turned bitterly to the Shanahus.

"Belike I deserve this for meddling with old wives' trumpery, but what is at the bottom of your trick?"

"It is your honour who is tricked," replied the Shanahus coolly, "not to know the woman of your heart when you hold her. How long have you lived in exile, Patrick Sarsfield, that you have let yourself be deceived by the daughter of the enemy?"

He looked at the young girl who still leant against the gray marble cloisters; even through his disappointment, his disillusion, something in his blood responded to the fantastic moment, he thought of dark childhood tales of the unseen people, of the Sidhe who sometimes visit the earth to draw mortals into their invisible world of delight and damnation.

"Who are you?" he asked.

"Look on me," she replied. "Can you love me? Every time you have come to the lake edge or walked in the ruins I have followed you. Could you not join your fate to mine?"

He strove to put aside the sense of strangeness that overpowered him almost to faintness.

"You are unknown to me, and it must be that you speak in mockery or folly."

The Shanahus rose; she seemed angry, her eyes sparkled under the shade of her hare-skin cap.

"Would you pledge yourself to the cold foreign woman of the mean soul and the narrow heart? Do not the Sidhe hate the niggard hand and the bargaining tongue? Would you turn your back on your own people for the foreigner? This is Ishma O'Donaghoe who has waited for you since she was cradled in the ruins of Ross Castle. Is she not fitted for you, royal and fair, lover of music and song, and noble pleasures?"

The girl moved forward from the deeper shadows, but it was now so dusk that she seemed but a cloud wraith.

"Did the Shanahus mistake," she sighed, "when she told me you wished to say the love charm with me?"

He knew she was beautiful and graceful. Her voice was full of a soft, enticing melancholy; all the passionate qualities of his race responded to her; all the extravagance of dreams ever creating incredible passion and glory, all the fantastic belief in wonder, all the deep yearning towards the mystic, the unseen, that had always been hidden in him, overlaid by the limitations of his commonplace life, rose in his baffled heart, and almost he could have accused these two of bewitching him, almost he could have believed they belonged to the lost race of the Sidhe. He crossed his breast and fixed his mind on Olivia Joyce.

"We meet and part as strangers," he sighed painfully.

Instantly the girl turned and walked away down the cloisters, huddling her dark shawl over her head. In a moment she had disappeared among the graves. A louder sigh came from the ash trees and the tall grasses as the wind rose across the shivering lake.

The Shanahus slipped her hands into her bosom.

"It is a pity that a grand gentleman like your honour should try to mock the power of God. But the charm is said and will not be broken not even when one of you lies beneath the hawthorn by the Holy Porch, and the other far away under sods the strangers have turned."

The warm, soft dark was about him like a charm indeed. He made a movement to follow the girl, but missed his way; when he turned about, the Shanahus had gone or was hiding from him in the interlacing shadows.

He was alone in the ruins of Irrelagh. He had thought to sit here with Olivia Joyce waiting for the moon that was to guide them home. Safe in her bed, contemptuous of him and his love, she would be watching the crescent rise through the ash trees on the lawn. He sat on a gravestone and took his head in his hands. He thought of the woman who had come in place of Olivia Joyce. He had rejected her; but these were his people and this was his place; he yearned towards them in a mute longing. He found nothing fantastical in the episode and the charm he had uttered, and her reply seemed to be repeated in the sighing of the ash trees over the altar stone, in the murmur of the grasses on the graves.

When the moon had mounted through wraiths of blown, hurrying clouds, and cast an uncertain light over the ruins of Irrelagh, the young man rose and returned through the groves of arbutus to the cottage by the lake's edge. Wet ferns brushed against his knees, the scent of night flowers was in his nostrils. The quivering lake was pallid beneath the moon clouds and purple dark of the woods of Innisfallen.

The owner of the hut where he lodged had returned from fishing; he was cooking salmon over a fire of arbutus wood, the glowing light of the flames fell over Patrick Sarsfeld as he paused, and the Kerryman looked at him in a great admiration. In this race, only he may be King who is strong and beautiful, splendid and gentle.

The peasant would have been happy to give his life for this noble gentleman.

"Is there a woman lives here or near who is named Ishma O'Donaghoe?"

"There is not. Has not your honour seen the graves of them in Irrelagh, and they slain by the English?"

The smoke was blown across the lake and mingled with the moonshine. Swift veils of fine cloud confused the glittering radiance of light on sky and water. The smoke from the arbutus wood vanished, as did the sense of the meeting and parting in Irrelagh. A trick put on him by a cunning peasant who had thought him credulous. But she had not asked nor waited for money.

The young man gazed across the lake to the moon-misted hills. All his life the truth of his heart and soul had been repressed. In dry routine, in serving foreigners, in learning their manners and their catchwords, in loving one of their daughters, his powers had been laid waste.

And he would return to the dulling round of commonplace; Irrelagh, the whispered charm beneath the black yew, the Shanahus and the girl who had asked, "Could you love me?" would be but fragments of a thwarted vision.

His nature, ardent, sensitive, enthusiastic, did not resent the play of the Shanahus. There had been something lovely in the mockery. In the warm breath of the secret young woman had been, maybe, the spell to connect him with all from which he had been exiled so long—Ireland herself, desolate, forsaken, captive.

He wished to put up a little prayer for many things, but his heart was heavy. All night he watched by the shores of the lake. The wind grew more lusty in the arbutus, the ash and the oak, yet remained but a gentle sound. The warm rain fell on the soft mosses and lush grasses. In his gold-corded, scarlet coat Patrick Sarsfield rested among the tall, strong ferns, in the shelter of the waving sycamore. Sometimes the moonbeams struggled through the mournful vapours, the thick boughs, and fell on his face, pale and finely shaped with the upcurling locks of flaxen red and the wide gray eyes heavy with defeated slumber.

In her warm bed in the old mansion of the MacCarthys Olivia Joyce woke to listen to the drifts of rain through the ash trees on the lawn.

She was pleased that she had been able to resist a childish impulse to go to Irrelagh. She wished she could forget his kiss. His mouth was soft and finely shaped, and his breath had had a perfume of health and the pure air. She moved her limbs uneasily beneath the coverlets, she hoped she would never see him again. She tried to think of the lean, dark face of the man she was pledged to marry. As the moonlight cast vague beams on to her bed she hid from them beneath the sheet. Comfortable and dreamless, she slept.

When Patrick Sarsfield came to the quiet shadowed house in the morning he found she had gone. He did not follow her; his loneliness was inexpressible.



O BOYNE, once famed for battles, sports and conflicts,
And great Heroes of the Race of Conn,
Art thou gray after all thy blooms?
O aged old woman of gray-green pools,
O wretched Boyne of many tears.

O River of Kings and the sons of Kings
Of the swift bark and the silver fish,
I lay my blessing on thee with my tears
For thou art the watcher by a grave—
O Boyne of many tears.

My sons lie there in their strength
My little daughter in her beauty...
—Bardic Lament, circa 1690.

"Ce qu'il y a d'effrayant pour la sagesse de l'homme c'est que le jour ou les rêves les plus fantasques de l'imagination seront péses dans une sure balance avec les solutions les plus averées de la raison, il n'y aura, si elle ne reste égale, qu'un pouvoir incompréhensible et inconnu qui puisse la faire pencher."
—CHARLES NODIER, Le Pays de Réves.


PATRICK SARSFIELD leant on the gilt rail of the French ship and watched, through glowing gleams of rain, the coast of Ireland; the distant hills of Cork, dimmed by the soft, swiftly-moving clouds which passed across their summits, showed, even behind the straight March rain, with that tender azure he had seen in no other country. The long, gray, racing waves of the sea parted round the noble ship as she turned into the bay past the grim promontory of the harbour with the bleak outline of Fort Charles in the east; spray and rain wetted the Irishman's clear pale face and his thick, strong, fair hair blown stiffly behind him as he stood bareheaded on the poop.

He thought:

"That is my country and I am a man in the best of his years with some power and authority, maybe some gifts of strength and wit. What can I do for Ireland?"

He considered his youth and early manhood spent in foreign service, carrying the Lilies of France behind Turenne, or wearing the gold and scarlet of a gentleman of His Majesty's Guard. He yet wore that uniform, for he believed his chance had come to serve Ireland, and emotion, almost impossible to suppress, possessed him as the sombre, rocky coast showed nearer through the mist; above the ship loomed the old Head of Kinsale, with the desolate ruins of Duncearma Castle; hawks and sea eagles flew through the rain to their high rocky eyries; pallid beams of sunlight fell aslant the misty, moving vapours that blurred the grand outline of the purple cliffs of Cork and Waterford.

Nearly ten years had passed since Patrick Sarsfield had last looked on these hills; they seemed then ten empty years of waiting. He recalled the ruins of Irrelagh and the night he had spent beside the ashes of the arbutus fire on the banks of the lake, the black yew and a strange girl whom he had never seen before or since, and with whom he had exchanged a love-charm. He smiled at the persistency of his own folly in remembering such futility, yet he knew that this smile was but an assumed sophistication resulting from the routine of his ordinary life, and not touching his wild and secret heart, his deep and fantastic beliefs.

The decks of the magnificent French man-of-war were crowded with men straining for a first glance of Ireland. Some few were exiles returning, but most were foreigners and, of them all, only Patrick Sarsfield was lost in single-hearted love for the land at which he looked. These weeping skies, these dark secret bays, jutting crags, and lonely stretches of lofty hills, even the chill, blue pearly light which penetrated all the drifting rain and was, to Patrick Sarsfield, so lovely, seemed alien and desolate to these strangers, forbidding to the exiles used to foreign comfort.

Count d'Avaux, who represented the French king, shivered into his mantle. He was an elderly man, a civilian, of refined habits, his thin blood soon ran cold. He smiled at his companion, the Marshal Konrad de Rosen.

"It looks forbidding, I had hardly supposed so grim a coast."

De Rosen replied, in his gruff, off-hand manner:

"No matter for the land, my dear Count, it's the people who concern me."

He spoke with feeling, for he was in charge of nearly five hundred captains, lieutenants, cadets and gunners who were to train the Irish kerns and squireens into an efficient army not only able to hold their own island, but if need should be, to undertake an invasion of Scotland.

De Rosen, rude, violent tempered, but able and experienced, wished he had a convoy of ships behind him with ten thousand Frenchmen. He gloomed at the prospect of raising his army from this country which he believed was half-barbarous. He glanced doubtfully and shrewdly at Lieutenant-General Maumont and Brigadier Pusignan who, wrapped in their greatcoats, were silently leaning against the rail. They were regarding the coast of Ireland with inscrutable eyes, and De Rosen knew that their thoughts were the same as his—suspicious, discontented, disdainful.

"I wish," he grumbled half to himself, "I knew more of the Irish."

"The Irish gentlemen," remarked D'Avaux, "are of the finest material in the world. Consider Colonel Sarsfield—"

"He has been bred in France, he has served France, and for years. I take him to be almost a Frenchman."

D'Avaux replied quietly with his dry, precise air:

"Indeed you make a vast mistake, Marshal. Colonel Sarsfield is nothing but an Irishman, and I dare swear that, of all those in this ship, he alone has no thought of self-interest. I shall do my utmost," he added abruptly, "to have him made Brigadier."

De Rosen shrugged, pulling his cockaded hat across his broad brow, for the driving rain was strong.

"I have not noticed," he replied, "that he has more than ordinary ability, and it is against my principles to give high commands to foreigners."

D'Avaux insisted, with some emphasis:

"Use all the material you have, my dear De Rosen, all the material you have! If you can find honesty, and patriotism, and enthusiasm, and sincerity—well, make the most of them. You will find them as useful qualities for your purpose as paid jobbery or hired knavery. Colonel Sars 'd," added the old minister, "was the only one of His Majesty's Guards who remained faithful to him—the only one, mark you, my dear Marshal."

"That," replied De Rosen, "might set him down merely as a simpleton, and, indeed, I take him to be a visionary, one with fantastic notions about loyalty and patriotism; I do not know, my dear Count, that I have great use for such a man."

"But, I take it, Marshal," the diplomat reminded the soldier dryly, "that you yourself are actuated by principles of honour and loyalty."

"But you and I serve France—" De Rosen checked himself with a shrug. "How can you make such a comparison—France and this miserable island?"

"Yet perhaps, my dear De Rosen, to Patrick Sarsfield this miserable island means the same as France to us." But he recalled that his companion was a Livonian. He lightly touched the Marshal's arm to point his words. "And since we are forced, my dear De Rosen, to use this barbarous, boggy rock and its inhabitants, let us make the most of men like Patrick Sarsfield. Trust me, I have observed him well. Look at him now and tell me if there is not an asset there?"

The two glanced covertly at the Irishman who was oblivious of them and every one else on the ship. He stood apart from all, and even to the dry, professional insensibility of De Rosen, there was something touching in his isolation, his self-absorption, and in the magnificence of his appearance; the force of his splendid presence would have impressed in any company.

"Certainly," admitted De Rosen, "he would look well at the head of an army."

"The Irish people may think so," commented D'Avaux. "He is descended, I believe, through his mother, from some of their mythical champions, and it is very likely he will arouse in them an enthusiasm which we shall find useful."

De Rosen did not reply. He intended to have no rivals, least of all an Irish rival, in this mission with which his king had entrusted him. To him it was quite intolerable that an Irishman should be put on a level with a French officer in any post. He wondered at D'Avaux's championship of Patrick Sarsfield.

"Keep him a colonel," he said at length abruptly, "see what use he is in recruiting men; I hear he has come into his estates now—"

"By his brother's death," replied D'Avaux, "I believe he has some rich lands and a fine fortune. You may be sure it will all be dedicated to His Majesty's cause. But it is the man himself, not his money, who will be most useful to us."

Again they keenly and cautiously considered the Irishman with the eyes of traders ruminating over a piece of merchandise.

Patrick Sarsfield, then about thirty-four years of age, was far above the common height and had that aspect of noble candour and heroic enthusiasm which is one of the most valuable qualities in a leader of men. This was given by the ease and grace of his carriage, an air of radiance that came from his thick, upspringing, richly-curling flaxen-red hair, the healthy pallor of his finely-shaped face, and the wide, clear alertly-open eyes which were something of the azure gray hue of his native skies; he had great charm, vitality and a look of incomparable distinction.

De Rosen, bred in a court where personal appearance was a ready passport to fortune, conceded:

"It is a pity he is not a Frenchman—or a Russian."

The high, violet hills, with low clouds blowing about them like tattered banners, darkened the bay with purple shadows as the French vessel, burnished gold through the pure mist, steered for Kinsale. Above the crow's-nest fluttered the blue and silver elegance of the Bourbon flag and the hot, tawny, yellow and vermilion of the Royal Arms of England.

Count d'Avaux made his way cautiously across the wet deck to where Patrick Sarsfield leant, his face towards the encroaching darkness of the Irish hills.

"This must be an agreeable home-coming for you, Colonel Sarsfield?"

The Irishman started, and almost painfully, for he was sunk in a reverie and had forgotten time and place, but on seeing the little Frenchman, he instantly smiled with his ready good humour which was entirely without artifice or calculation.

"Agreeable? Indeed I do not know, monseigneur." He spoke French with cultured ease, but to D'Avaux he was all Irish as he stood there outlined in the moist and shifting light against the purple azure Irish horizon. "I have great hopes surely, for I see that there is much to be done."

"And you should be the man to help us do it," smiled D'Avaux. "We, too, have great hopes and in you, Colonel Sarsfield."

"I'll do what I can for the King and for Ireland."

D'Avaux's smile deepened as he noted how the last three words had been spoken unconsciously.

"I intend," he said, "to use all my influence to have you made Brigadier."

Sarsfield faintly flushed. He was not personally ambitious but avid for some scope in which to prove his powers.

"Indeed, monseigneur, I had hardly looked for that."

"You undervalue yourself." The Frenchman spoke with gracious kindness. "You allow yourself to be jostled by more presumptuous men. Your service has been very distinguished and, believe me," he added, "I at least know how to prize a probity and honour without stain."

Sarsfield, by breeding and nature exquisitely sensitive, did not know how to answer this. He almost winced before what seemed flattery, but D'Avaux added in a tone which took all offence from his commendations:

"Believe me, my dear Colonel, we are surrounded by men bat-blind to those words: 'probity and honour.' I represent His Majesty King Louis. I stand for his interests and nothing else, as you, I believe, stand for Ireland and nothing else."

"I should not have put it so boldly," murmured Sarsfield. He put his hand to his cheek which was wet with rain.

"No, you have grown accustomed to other loyalties. Your allegiance is to King James, that for the moment jumps with your own secret desires. Pray do not think me prying, Colonel Sarsfield, but too well I know the rarity of men like you. Look to me for friendship and support."

"Can I make use of them?" asked Sarsfield wistfully. "I know not yet what I can do for any man, even for myself. It is true I have my brother's estates, the Manor of Lucan, some two thousand a year, but I am not of the position of my Lords Mountcashel or Galmoy."

"But you will be more important. Pray realise that in this ship we have a few trained officers, three generals, a certain amount of ammunition and money—equipment for an army; all else is to be found in Ireland, a country of which we none of us know much."

"Ireland will give of her all, monseigneur, no doubt."

D'Avaux smiled. "But I have spent my life at court, in diplomacy, I know the difficulties of bringing even an ordinary task to a conclusion, and this is no ordinary task, my dear Colonel, but the setting on his throne again of a king who is, between you and me, detested in his own country and has all Europe, except France, against him. We have also," added D'Avaux in a confidential tone, "to deal with men of varying nationalities, ambitions and honesties. His Britannic Majesty himself will never be either energetic or popular."

"Why," asked Sarsfield candidly, "do you put these obstacles before me?"

D'Avaux replied instantly:

"Because I see, perhaps, what no one else in this expedition will see, that we shall have to rely on men like you who understand the Irish."

He turned away abruptly and joined a group of French officers pacing the upper deck. The wind shouted in the flapping wet sails, the sailors strained at the creaking cordage; Patrick Sarsfield glanced up at the two flags which straggled out with difficulty against the rain in a wan gleam of sun—the flag of France, the flag of England, but where, he thought, the flag of Ireland? He was conscious, as never before, of being surrounded by self-interested foreigners and aliens meaning to use him and his country for their own ends. Had not the old man warned him of as much just now? Wishing to use him, to gain his friendship, his confidence, for his own ends? He had been clever enough to see that he, an Irishman, cared for Ireland. He had pounced on that proud, hidden patriotism as another factor in the game for France.

Patrick Sarsfield, watching Kinsale come into view, knew that he cared nothing at all for France and nothing at all for England, and nothing at all for King James praying in the cabin below. But that he cared everything for this chance to redeem Ireland from the yoke that pressed so heavily on her galled shoulders.

"He said that I understand them, that I might have influence...Suppose I had such influence?"

The mist lifted in long shreds, showing the dark trees, the pale cleft valleys, the little poor dwellings, the distant lonely grandeur of the hills. An unreasoning love of this hushed ancient land shook him; he felt stupid before his own emotion. The years had passed and he had done nothing save sometimes weep a little in his heart for Ireland, sometimes pray for Ireland in an alien church. The years had passed.

"One must die or grow old and what will have been done? Is this a chance? Can I do anything?"

There had been something, Sarsfield thought, easily contemptuous behind the Frenchman's graceful courtesy; he wished to use every possible material for the aggrandisement of France; he was playing a fine, difficult game for his master; he looked upon the Irish as an ignorant, credulous rabble who must be made to serve their turn.

Sarsfield's superb glance rested on the widely extended outline of the noble bay. He held out his hand through the chill purity of the vaporous rain. A sea hawk, stern and beautiful, swooped near his open fingers and his drenched laces.

The shouts of the French sailors, bringing the ship to anchor cut across the lawless cries of the ocean birds.


FITFUL gusts of soft wind drove apart the rain clouds and showed the translucent, azure heavens above the pale, vivid mountains. Foaming on the rocky shores in opal traceries the strong swell of the Atlantic Seas made a restless surge in the wide bay. Above, the Old Head of Kinsale, dark and mighty, broke pale and melancholy sunshine, the pearl-gray gulls circled round the mighty foreign ship, with the proud alien standard floating above, with stout sails furled as she rode at anchor.

Patrick Sarsfield, leaning on the taffrail, watched the small boats putting out, through the breaking waves, to Kinsale. To him the land was all glamour, crossed and recrossed by silvery-golden light and trailing mists of azure moisture; as the balmy wind shifted, the loose clouds revealed prospect after prospect of tender distance, the mountains so radiant and of so exquisite a glow that one might not tell whether they were of earth or heaven.

To sail across the great rolling gray waves of the seas, through lowering tumults of gales and lashing storms of mid-ocean into this warm harbour, circled by these hills of gold and pearl, was to find credible the ancient fable that said Ireland had been created by a race of magicians and wizards, the Firbolgs, who, before they had perished utterly through the onslaught of brute force, had left much of their magic behind them.

Looking at this land enveloped in shifting light and shade, Patrick Sarsfield forgot the company he was in, where he stood and what tasks lay before him; his spirit was rapt away to mossy fairy glades, through forests filled with immemorial silence, to the infinitely pure light on the infinitely far hills...

He was about to take a place in one of the boats; his mood fell. He glanced at the other men disembarking; they were alert, absorbed in their own affairs, silent, save for those who had to give commands. Their faces were turned with a secret curiosity and a secret hostility towards Ireland. Sarsfield could discern that they disliked this warm mist, this slanting rain, these lonely hills. If, to contemplate the fair land had been exaltation, to contemplate this company was depression. The words of Count d'Avaux, spoken in what appeared such candid friendship, had dissipated something of Patrick Sarsfield's romantic and enthusiastic illusion, for he was, in spite of his native readiness to visionary self-deception, keen and intelligent. He saw all those disembarking at Kinsale as cards in a great pack being dealt out by that foreign king in Versailles. None of them—neither the old monarch (who had been hurled from his English throne) nor his two stripling bastard sons, nor Melfort, his Scottish minister, nor the loyal exiles who accompanied him, nor the three able French generals, nor all these experienced trained officers, recruiting sergeants and gunners, were anything to King Louis but so many cards that, for the moment, he happened to hold in his hand, and Ireland was merely the table on which he laid them. Among all these there was only one who was of any real importance in Versailles, and that was the diplomat who represented King Louis, D'Avaux, the man who had the money, the authority, and the secret instructions from Louvois and his master.

As Sarsfield watched the trim, well-equipped, well-groomed Frenchmen disembark from boat after boat, he recalled very vividly the royal personality which was behind them—that urbane, courtly gentleman, with his smiling courtesy, his Gaelic face with the high cheek-bones and the narrow lips, who had so overwhelmed the fallen monarch and his faithful followers with flattery, with compliments, with gifts, and who had cared nothing at all for any of them, but merely used them as so many assets in the struggle he waged against the only man who had ever challenged his supremacy in Europe.

"And I, too, I and my like are to be used," thought Patrick Sarsfield. "And what do any of these care what becomes of Ireland as long as their king gets best from the Dutchman?"

But, as he set foot on Irish soil his spirit lifted again.

"It is for us to make our count in this; surely while they use us we can use them."

The rain clouds wholly lifted and the wintry sun, mild and melancholy, shone on the shouting people who were on the quay-side to welcome the Frenchmen. It was noisy as a fair. Kerns, priests, monks, peasants, beggars, gentlemen on fine horses, esquires on foot or on steady small garrons, barefoot, handsome girls with shawls and drugget gowns, gentlewomen on palfreys, all contended in a struggling, shouting press to welcome the Frenchmen, and the king whom the Frenchmen had sworn to set upon his throne again. None of these people knew anything of European politics; few knew much of English politics. They were not cognisant of any of the events which had led to the second son of Charles I. losing his throne as his father had lost his before him, nor did they know why that great fleet had sailed from the Netherlands in the November of '88, nor why the old king's nephew had taken his throne amid the wild acclaim of the English and at the snap of a finger; nor did they know why, having lost two of his kingdoms, James Stewart had decided to make his stand in this his third; nor had they any knowledge of the complicated statecraft which had decided Louis of France and his ministers to choose their island (which had seemed, during the last two hundred years, to have been forgotten in Europe) for the scene of his renewed conflict with William of Orange.

All that these Irish, shouting and struggling in their enthusiasm on the quay of Kinsale, knew was that this king was the king of their old faith, a faith hitherto persecuted and despised; that he had come to lead them against the Saxon oppressor, the loathed and feared Protestant settler; that Tyrconnel, his viceroy and friend, had armed and set them against these same Protestants, refusing to recognise the revolutionary government of England, and promising them deliverance from that tyranny which had been their lot since the days of Strongbow, of Elizabeth Tudor, of Oliver Cromwell.

Patrick Sarsfield considered this impulsive, thoughtless crowd and smiled wistfully. He, who had long been close to the courts of Versailles and Whitehall, knew something of the affairs of Europe and could plumb the depths of the Irish ignorance. He stood aside and watched the French officers disembark. Quick and sensitive to every impression, he glanced at their faces; for the most part these had set and inscrutable expressions, but here and there the aliens showed an active disdain, as they made their way through, what no doubt seemed to them, a crowd of barbarians. They had the aloofness and the concentration of men who have a duty to perform, who may neither question nor complain.

Two other Irishmen, Colonel Henry Luttrell and Claude Hamilton, Earl of Abercorn, who both had served with Patrick Sarsfield on the Rhine under Turenne, stepped on to the wet quay. Sarsfield thought that not only their uniform but their air set them apart from their countrymen.

"They are like foreigners here," he thought sadly. He remembered, what he had not troubled to recall before, that Abercorn was not of the native Irish, but descended from the conquerors—Normans of the Pale.

The earl shrugged as he looked at his friend on the quay and seemed to show that he too remembered he had a right to disdain the native Irish, but Luttrell smiled easily, and paused.

"Hold your hand and bide your time, my dear Sarsfield, these are troubled waters and I dare swear stinking too, but maybe we can fish in them to our own advantage."

Patrick Sarsfield liked Henry Luttrell; there was something bold yet reserved, enthusiastic yet haughty in his demeanour; his character Sarsfield did not know very well, but he had found Luttrell in everything attractive, and among the friends he so readily made, he had singled him out for his special confidence. It was with him that he walked along the cobbled, narrow and dirty streets of Kinsale.

When the Irish gathered on the shore saw the good supply of ammunitions, the imposing arms and massive equipments landed by the French, the files of trim cornets, mechanics and gunners who disembarked, they became distracted with a lively stirring of joy and excitement. Every church bell in Kinsale was ringing. The music of pipe and harp sounded from every alley corner. The kerns and the squireens were pulling off their long frieze coats and throwing them down on the mud and stones for the king and the French to walk over.

Luttrell and Sarsfield were quartered in the same house, one of the best in Kinsale, and next to that which Tyrconnel had prepared for the King. When they had found their way there through the confusion, Luttrell touched Sarsfield's arm:

"I did not know that Madame the Marquise de Bonnac had come with the expedition."

"I knew, but I had forgotten. Have you seen her?"

Luttrell smiled towards the house opposite. There, in the low-arched doorway, full of shade, stood Madame de Bonnac, hesitant and reluctant, with some other officers' wives, staring down the wet, dirty street. Sarsfield turned into his lodgings with no comment, but Colonel Luttrell laughed gently; he knew something and could guess more of how matters were between Patrick Sarsfield and this lady.

Olivia Joyce had married another man nearly ten years ago, and she and Sarsfield had been separated by time and space, chance and circumstance, but Luttrell knew that Sarsfield could not be in her presence without uneasiness, that he had kept inviolate that love idyll of their common youth. Colonel Luttrell never showed how much he knew or guessed, even his laugh just then might have meant something else; but Sarsfield, whose spirits were already sunk, felt them further flag and wither at the sight of Madame de Bonnac. He wished that she had not accompanied this expedition, and recalled with a pang how near they were to the ruins of Irrelagh and the mansion of the MacCarthys, where so many years before, he had asked her to marry him and she had dismissed him without regret; and he had turned from what had wounded him, to earthly vanities, for consolation.

Henry Luttrell peered from the window and watched the French officers searching for their quarters.

"What will they make of Ireland?" he mocked. Then, "Did you see the Livonian's scowl?"

"He was wondering, no doubt," said Patrick Sarsfield dryly, "where he was going to discover the ten thousand to wear his fine equipments. Did you mark how he glowered at the rabble, lowering and scornful, how he put them aside with the back of his gloved hand, as if he would not have them press on him too close? He may be hated if he does not have a care."

Luttrell, leaning easily in the window-place, answered relevantly:

"You could find the ten thousand Irish, Sarsfield."

"If I was allowed to recruit them as Irishmen to fight for Ireland, maybe, but will they be drilled and officered by Frenchmen to fight for a French quarrel? And, as for the king—" He checked himself.

Luttrell finished the sentence:

"The king is an old, a burdensome, a miserable man, with neither grace nor prudence. Besides, he counts for very little—he is reproached, nicknamed, scorned as weak and low; it is D'Avaux who is everything, even De Rosen is under his orders." He added casually, "Madame de Bonnac is at the window opposite. She really is very beautiful, in a loose and carnal fashion, even after the usage of the voyage. What folly for a woman like a glass-house lily to come to this miserable country!"

"She may not wish to leave her husband for perhaps many a long campaign," said Sarsfield, without irony.

Colonel Luttrell of Luttrelstown laughed again. He was lithe, of medium height, dark and elegant, with an easy, well-bred, good-humoured air, and a touch of lightness in all he did. He had a certain influence over any one on whom he chose to exercise it, and it was difficult to discern that the essential man was wild, reckless and unstable; though he was clever at flattery, as a rule he disdained such beguilements, but fascinated merely by good nature, his air of casual candour, the attractiveness of his personality; his face was well shaped, his eyes curious; one disfigured by a cast, which, however, seldom showed under his heavy lids; he was foppish in his habits.

One of D'Avaux's secretaries, greenish and sour from the sea voyage, came to beg Colonel Sarsfield's presence at His Majesty's lodgings. Henry Luttrell lightly wished his companion ample luck.

"Nobody singles me out for favours," he mocked, "but D'Avaux seems to have taken a sharp liking to you. I saw him talking to you on the ship, hat in hand—smiling like a ferret."

"He had no good matters to say," replied Sarsfield, buckling on his sword. "He merely reminded me very civilly that we are all pawns in the game played by His Most Christian Majesty."

Lord Tyrconnel, who had come posting from Dublin to receive his master, had done what he could to prepare a regal lodging, but the best house in Kinsale was not magnificent, and in the eyes of the French officers used to Versailles, Marli, the Louvre and Fontainebleau, the apartments prepared for His Majesty were wretched; this was even worse accommodation, they whispered to each other with a sneer, than they expected to find when on an active campaign in Flanders or Italy.

King James himself peered round with a muttering disgust, then dropped into the worn leather chair drawn up by the wide wood fire. He had refused any food, but warmed his stomach, queasy from the sea voyage, with brandy; when Patrick Sarsfield was shown into his presence his grim humour had not abated, and he listened with listless annoyance to the bitter remarks of the men who were arguing about his chair.

Sarsfield knew all these. D'Avaux himself, Tyrconnel (James's loyal viceroy who had held Ireland for him when his other two kingdoms had slipped away) John Drummond Earl of Melfort, His Majesty's Scottish Councillor; Marshal de Rosen, and the king's eldest bastard son James Fitzjames, Duke of Berwick.

Patrick Sarsfield waited inside the door, apart from this group of men. For a while the king took no notice of him at all. He leant forward and began to complain to Tyrconnel, sometimes muttering under his breath, sometimes raising his voice in sullen protest, thus silencing the harsh arguments of the others.

Everything, he declared, was wrong. He told D'Avaux that his comfort had not been properly considered on the voyage, told Tyrconnel that his reception had been contemptible, told De Rosen that it was ridiculous to bring officers and no soldiers; he complained and lamented:—

"What is the use of attempting anything in this accursed country?"

D'Avaux and De Rosen, clear-headed and unimaginative, concentrated on their responsibilities and their work, made but superficial response. In Melfort's remarks only was there some sympathy; he also detested the Irish, and the circumstances that had sent him to Ireland.

The young Duke of Berwick held himself dignified and inscrutable; his eyes flashed to Sarsfield a look of understanding. To both of these young men the old king seemed a symbol of disillusion and defeat. Here was royalty in eclipse, one of an unfortunate house most unfortunate, one who had, foolhardy in the extreme, tempted his destiny and brought all his honours tumbling into the dust beneath his feet; one who still blamed all but himself.

Sarsfield was sorry to see the king's heavy, full-veined hands shake as he held them over the spluttering fire, and when he said he was thirsty Tyrconnel offered him, casually, a wooden noggin of goat's milk.

The king seemed to perceive something of his own humiliation; he muttered to Melfort, who paid him more deference than did the others:

"The Lord hath broken the man in me—I grow old."


AT the first pause in His Majesty's renewed complaints D'Avaux put in quietly:

"Here is Colonel Sarsfield, sire, whom I have sent for to wait on you."

The king's heavy, swollen eyes glanced up ungraciously at the Irishman.

"Monsieur D'Avaux wishes me to make you a brigadier, Colonel Sarsfield," he said. "What can you do for me?"

"Sire," replied Sarsfield gravely, "as much as any man of my power and position may."

He was sad with compassion for the old king whose whole life had been exile and misery, who had always been greatly detested in England both for his religion and his character, who had never made many friends, nor evoked much loyalty, and who had, at the climax of his fortunes, been forsaken even by his own children. It was not possible that many could have loved this James Stewart, who was a passionate bigot and a cold voluptuary, characteristics which do not gain the affections of mankind. He was also of a narrow understanding, obstinate and arrogant, and one who could never bend himself to the gracious word, or engage with the generous gesture and (defects which would have mattered less had he been able to disguise them) withal cruel and tyrannical.

He stared sourly at Sarsfield, though he knew well enough that this man was the only one of all his guards who had remained faithful to him, that he had been in the skirmish at Wincanton, one of the few who had drawn their sword in his cause against the Prince of Orange, and that he had refused the offer of the usurping prince to confirm him in his estates and employ him as an envoy to Tyrconnel.

"It is necessary that we raise men immediately and I think you are among those well qualified to do this, Colonel Sarsfield. Must I be plagued with business? It seems I am to have no moment to myself."

The king pulled his broad-leaved hat over his brows.

D'Avaux very respectfully, yet as one who is master of the situation, said:

"Much must be arranged before we get to Dublin."

Tyrconnel took the word, he had been silent hitherto, considering with intense dislike the rough, passionate De Rosen, whom he already saw as a rival. The Livonian appeared to regard the viceroy with disdain and fumed in gross impatience, anxious to be about his own business.

Tyrconnel stepped in front of the king and began to expound, with many fine words and wide gestures, on his own high services. He was, he flattered himself, the only man in the room who had any influence with King James. He had been the rakish friend of his early licentious manhood and always in his confidence; though he bore the magnificent name of Talbot he was only of the middle-classes, yet he stood there an earl, Commander-in-Chief of the Irish forces and Viceroy of Ireland. He related with much enthusiasm how he, when every one else had forsaken His Majesty, had held Ireland firm to his cause, and done his best to reduce Derry. With his deep voice, with his majestic gestures—for he was a man of a noble and commanding port—Tyrconnel painted an encouraging picture of the state of the last kingdom belonging to His Majesty.

Sarsfield listened with a rising hope that after all there might be in all this something for Ireland. The viceroy was Irish, though not native of the soil, but descended of the English of the Pale. He glanced about him and, seeing that every one was listening to him intently, became more glowing in his account of the condition of the kingdom.

"The diligence of the Roman Catholic nobility and gentry," he grandiloquently declared, "have raised about fifty regiments of foot and several troop of horse and dragoons...I have all defined as accurately as possible in my army list; I have distributed among them above twenty thousand arms, but they are mostly so old and unserviceable that not above a thousand of the matchlocks may be of use. There are," he added, "about one battalion of Guards, together with MacCarthy's, Clancarty's and Newcomen's troops, all pretty well armed, also there are Mountjoy's several companies...I have besides three regiments of horse, my own, Russell's and one of dragoons."

As he came to a pause waiting for the silent king's praise, De Rosen asked sharply, "If all the Catholics in the country were armed?" And Tyrconnel was forced to admit that they were not, whereas the Protestants had great plenty of war material, and the best horses in the kingdom.

"And your artillery?" asked De Rosen with a scowl.

Tyrconnel replied that he had about eight small pieces in a condition to march, the rest not mounted...

"From what you told me," put in D'Avaux suavely, "I fear, my lord, that you have few stores in the magazine, little powder and ball, that all the best officers have gone to Ulster and there is no money in cash."

Tyrconnel lifted his lip at the Frenchman.

"All that is true. You must remember, sir, that this country is the only one that has held firm to His Majesty, that all the north is in rebellion, even in other parts of the country we have many Protestants and settlers who are better equipped with arms and money than the native Irish; though I have done what I can it has been impossible to completely efface these difficulties."

"And you have not," jeered De Rosen coolly, "been able to reduce Derry, that is a pity."

At mention of this defiant town which he regarded with a peculiar dislike, the sullen king flared up:

"That nest of rebels must be reduced at once—I have been much abused in this business. You shall have all I can give you—cannon and mortars. I consider it is of the first consequence to master Derry."

"We shall do that soon enough," boasted Tyrconnel, "with the fine help that we now have from France. As soon as Your Majesty is in Dublin and has summoned your parliament, I doubt not these sturdy rebels will lose some of their stoutness."

"They will receive help from England, without doubt," said D'Avaux. He did not add, what he perfectly well knew, that King Louis intended to create a diversion in Ireland which should bring over the flower of the English army and possibly the usurping prince in person. Louvois, the French minister of war, had even said that it might be possible to detain the Prince of Orange ten years in Ireland with his best generals and troops, while the King of France swept the board in Europe.

Melfort put in:

"I hope we shall not be long for Dublin. The news from Scotland is of the best. Claverhouse has roused the entire Highlands. If we could but get His Majesty to Edinburgh the struggle were half won—"

"We must think first," put in D'Avaux, "of getting His Majesty to Dublin."

The king agreed with Melfort. After a few hours in Ireland he felt more exiled than in France, where he had had every comfort, splendour, luxury and deference. The winter had been bright and shining in France, crisp snow in the parks and clear blue skies above the bare allées, but here, this greenish, pale gold sunshine streaming athwart the endless wreaths of mist, this incessant rain, these hordes of dirty, shouting, barbarous people, this rough accommodation—all irritated King James into a melancholy of distaste. He had for a long while resisted King Louis's advice to "make his stand in Ireland;" now he regretted that he had in the end taken it; like all of his race and caste he utterly despised the neglected island and its inhabitants and could hardly keep his speech from disdain of them, even in face of Tyrconnel and Sarsfield. Painfully he kept to the business in which Tyrconnel, D'Avaux and De Rosen had instructed him.

"Do you think you could raise a troop of horse, Colonel Sarsfield? I intend to ask as much of Berwick, Abercorn, Luttrell, Dangan, Sutherland, Parker and a few others. I suppose you have enough influence to get some men from your own estates?"

D'Avaux put in shrewdly:

"My Lord Berwick is to make an attempt on Derry immediately. Colonel Henry Luttrell is to be Governor of Sligo. We will find some post of honour for you, Colonel Sarsfield."

The king sat moody, sunk-in his chair, as if he had forgotten all of them. There was a certain stately grace in his gaunt figure and his haggard face, but that was all he had of kingliness. He was very richly dressed in the French fashion—cinnamon brown velvet, gallooned, looped and scrolled with gold bullion, much costly lace and an imposing blond peruke. But all this luxury seemed but a fantastic comment on his dispirited old age.

Tyrconnel crossed to D'Avaux, eagerly flattering the Frenchman; though he resented De Rosen (who might challenge his military ascendency), yet he was keen to keep in favour with the King of France: as D'Avaux had written to his master, "if a Frenchman had been made Viceroy of Ireland he could not be more zealous for the interests of Your Majesty."

The viceroy knew that through D'Avaux's interest he had been promised the patent for a dukedom; if his manners had not been very polished and engaging there would have been something fulsome and fawning in the deference he paid to the French plenipotentiary. The viceroy was a big, strutting, magnificent man with something of the haughty port of King Louis himself and when he spoke loudly, with many gestures and flourishes, he seemed to dwarf all who were about him.

The king sat silent as Tyrconnel spoke to D'Avaux; Sarsfield crossed to the window place where Berwick and Melfort whispered with De Rosen and told the French commander that he believed he could by his own influence and at his own expense raise a troop of two hundred and fifty men.

"If every gentleman of your standing does as much," conceded the Livonian, "we shall not do so badly for cavalry."

Berwick remarked:

"Tyrconnel has been very energetic and done remarkably well, but from all I can hear the north is strong and the Protestant opposition considerable, even without they send nothing from England."

"But the moment," said De Rosen, "they know that I am raising an army they will send troops from England."

Berwick shrugged. "Well, we must do what we can. If we have trained men to oppose them—" He shrugged again and added slightly: "It seems to me that we have gotten into a barbarous country, and that it will be very difficult to make good soldiers out of these people."

He spoke without the least intention of offence to Sarsfield, for he had really forgotten that that officer was native Irish, and considered him more as an Englishman or a Frenchman, which last indeed he was by training. But the very fact that the slighting words were spoken so thoughtlessly, added to their sting.

All his life Sarsfield had known how the Irish were regarded by the rest of Europe. The bitterness of that knowledge was accentuated, he felt, when he was on his native soil.

He looked at Berwick shrewdly and wondered whether he disliked him or not. This young prince had a remarkable personality. He was the son of Arabella, the sister of that John Churchill who, long the favourite of King James, had been the first to desert him with cynical coolness. If this youth, half Stewart, half Churchill, with many of the gifts of both brilliant families, had been legitimate, it is possible his father had not lost his throne. He was then twenty years old, Jesuit-trained, reserved, stately, cautious beyond his years, fastidious in his manners, alert and sensitive under a smooth and austere exterior. He had entered the service of the Emperor at fourteen and at the age of sixteen had distinguished himself in commanding troops at the siege of Buda; he was essentially a leader of men. Recalled from the battlefields of Esseth and Mockhals to help support his father's falling government he had distinguished himself with ardour in the Stewart cause, striving to maintain Portsmouth against the Prince of Orange. He had been one of that small company who had gone with King James when he had escaped the guards at Rochester and crossed to France in a small boat which had landed at Ambleteuse at six o'clock on a Christmas morning.

Sarsfield envied him; he was so young, he had every opportunity for glory, "for it is almost better to be the base-begotten son of a king than to belong to a country wholly despised."

The king rose, peevishly cut short all their mingled talk, Tyrconnel's boasting, D'Avaux's advice, Melfort's cautious suggestions. He was weary, his priests awaited him, he had an intense longing to cast himself into the comfort of what would have been (in another man) a spiritual ecstasy, but which was with him, some thought, merely the support of a heavy superstition. He dismissed all save Melfort at whom Tyrconnel cast a look of growing dislike; the viceroy feared the quiet and elegant Scotsman who undermined his influence with the king.

They went down the mean stairs into the mean streets of Kinsale; the last rays of watery sunshine fell on the huddled houses and the rain clouds were gathering again.

Two French officers, acting on the king's express instructions, kept back with scant gentleness the crowd of Irish enthusiasts who loyally besieged His Majesty's door, clamouring to kiss his hand, his foot, even for a glimpse of him. The remarks the Frenchmen made to each other as they kept the street clear caused Sarsfield to wince. He said impetuously to D'Avaux, who walked at his side:

"No one will be able to manage these people who treats them like dogs."

D'Avaux replied:

"That is why I wish to employ Irish officers and gentlemen like yourself as much as possible, Colonel Sarsfield. I rely on you, your loyalty and discretion, that is why I have got you brigadier in command of the second Troop of Horse." He glanced up at the tall Irishman striding beside him over the cobbles, and added: "You do not seem as pleased as I thought you would have been with this mark of confidence from His Majesty."

"His Majesty," repeated Sarsfield, "you mean the King of France?"

D'Avaux smiled. He knew, and Sarsfield knew that there was only one king for him.

They parted at the door of D'Avaux's lodgings. The diplomat's heart was heavy; there seemed before him a task of almost impossible difficulty. He secretly despised and disliked the feeble, sour bigot whose every act was, to a man like D'Avaux, one of almost incredible folly, and he saw this King Log who had neither the wit, the courage nor the presence to play the leader, was surrounded by profiteers, turncoats, traitors and dishonest jobbers. Tyrconnel was violent, blustering, indiscreet and, D'Avaux suspected, corrupt. Melfort was sly, cautious, dishonest and probably cowardly. Berwick and his younger brother, Henry Fitzjames, were mere youths, probably serving their secret ambitions. De Rosen was a good man, but utterly ignorant of Ireland, hard and autocratic, and not likely to get on well with Tyrconnel. Then there were the native Irishmen like Galmoy, Galway, Abercorn, Luttrell—impulsive, impetuous, hasty, who, long-exiled from their own country, could have but little influence, quarrelling among themselves, poverty stricken...

"There is only," said D'Avaux to himself, "one single-hearted, single-minded man, and that's Patrick Sarsfield, and exactly because," added the diplomat with a bitterness born of a long experience, "he is single-minded and single-hearted, honest and a patriot, every one else will be against him, and I shall make myself exceedingly unpopular if I venture to support him."

He lingered at the door of his house and watched the figure of the tall Irishman going up the narrow street, the last rays of precious gold gleaming through the moving mists on to the fine appointments of his uniform.

"If I had my way, I would make that man Viceroy of Ireland, put him in full authority over all the others."

Patrick Sarsfield paused in the wet street. The soldier of an army that was not yet raised, commander of a nonexistent regiment, he had nothing to do. He envied the Frenchmen their precise, set tasks, As he lingered he saw Madame de Bonnac again standing at the door of her house. It was strange that she should have come to Ireland, that they should meet again so close to where they had parted ten years before. A great gulf of time was between them; he had seen so little of her since her marriage, he did not know whether she was content with her state or no. He had but small acquaintance with her husband. He believed him a dull man immersed in routine. That they should meet thus in Ireland seemed to bridge the years and many of the formalities and conventions which had kept them apart while she was in France and he in England.

She beckoned him to her side, and told him the sad depression she felt at being again in this miserable country.

"Why did you come?"

"Oh"—she lifted her pretty shoulders—"the war may go on for years. I could not endure to be one of those women who wait, wait, wait—"

He supposed from this that she was attached to her husband. He thought that through the silver twilight she appeared curiously beautiful. She was silver, rosy fair, very exquisite. Of the real woman behind that frail yet opulent loveliness he knew nothing. She startled him by asking:

"Is it true that you are going to marry Lord Galway's sister, Honor de Burgh?"

"How have you heard that, Madame de Bonnac? It is true there has been some talk of it between Galway and myself, it is also true that it is time I had an establishment."

"Ah, yes"—she smiled—"you are wealthy now, you have the estates, and are free to marry."

He knew she was remembering that she had refused him ten years ago, exactly because he had neither money nor estates. With her lovely red lips, dewy fresh, she idled into a song:—"The grasshopper sang all the summer."


MADAME DE BONNAC told him that her husband was engaged in the disembarkation of the arms and stores, that the other ladies were abroad satisfying their curiosity by visiting the town, and she asked him to come into the parlour and keep her company for this half-hour of twilight.

He followed her, and he thought, "Perhaps she would like me to tell her that I still love her, that I have never loved any one else all these years since I knew her first as a child in France, and," he added in his heart, "would it be true if I did so tell her? Love? Who is to define it? It has certainly seemed impossible for me to rid myself of the thought of her, of the desire for her, lack of her has left me restless and incomplete, all other women whom I have tried to put in her place I remember with regret and shame." Yet, as he was by nature chaste and temperate, he could look at her without any uneasy violence of passion; his religion was to him real and definite and by its aid he had been able to transmute his feelings for Olivia de Bonnac into a chivalrous, half-mystical, half-visionary devotion.

Olivia put off her hood; her gray dress was fantastic and very costly. In the candlelight the soft loops of her blonde hair showed like new cedarwood in hue, her flesh seemed to have the warm whiteness and the close texture of a summer-warmed rose.

They had not been alone together in a room since he had parted from her in the solitary mansion of the MacCarthys. He smiled at the thought of how young he had been then, with what hopeful ardour he had pressed her to meet him beneath the haunted yew, and exchange charms taught him by the Shanahus. He could recall poignantly his sensation of utter loneliness when he had discovered that she had not come, when he realised that she had never intended to come.

In a manner, that sensation of loneliness had never left him since. He remembered, too, the other girl, the stranger who had seemed to grow out of and then dissolve into the shadows of the gray alabaster cloisters. But that part of the adventure in Irrelagh had seemed unreal, it had been so odd, so transient. He found it hard to credit that he and a girl named Ishma O'Donaghoe had ever exchanged love vows under the shade of the yew at Mucruss.

"What are you thinking of?" asked Madame de Bonnac, sitting on the table and resting her rounded chin in her rosy palm.

"Of Irrelagh, it is quite near here, I shall visit it on the march to Dublin."

"Why, has it such a pleasant memory? I can remember the rain falling like it falls now. Does the sun never shine in Ireland?" She did not speak querulously, but in rather a soft and pleasing melancholy.

"Those were old dreams, beatitudes and ardours of youth," he thought, "now we are man and woman and the world has us firmly. I must never ask her if she regrets those days, and she will never tell me."

Madame de Bonnac questioned:

"Is it true that you are to have a troop of horse?"

"Yes, I shall have some work to do." And because she was Olivia Joyce he could not keep his dearest wish from his tongue, that which he would not have voiced to any other. "I hope to do something for Ireland."

"Always an enthusiast," she smiled. "What can any man do for Ireland?" Then she added: "Honor de Burgh is a patriot too."

Patrick Sarsfield did not take up that challenge, if challenge it were. He was surprised that she had heard this rumour of his approaching marriage; Lord Galway, ruined, disinherited, discouraged, had suggested to him this match with his young sister. They were one in nationality, faith and loyalty. Sarsfield's chivalry and loneliness had been moved towards the dowerless orphan girl; she was young and malleable, she might cure him of some of his aching melancholy. Yet he had hesitated to use her thus selfishly, and she had never given him any mark of favour; he feared she could not care for him. He had let Galway's proposals wait—neither accepting nor denying them, but now, as he stood before Madame de Bonnac, he thought that he would like to have a wife between him and this other man's wife, if they were to be in Ireland together in this cruel proximity.

For ten years he had evaded the Marquise de Bonnac, now he could not evade her; he wished he did not consider her so beautiful. Her blunt features were almost coarse, her mouth was not a fine shape, but her complexion was so pure, her lips so freshly crimson, her hair so silver-gold that it seemed to hold light, and she had such vitality, such radiance, she seemed so sure of herself and her destiny. Her voluptuous air promised a kind forgiving comfort, she was easy and elegant. Yet she could be cruel and her good breeding often failed sufficiently for her to maliciously diminish some one in his own esteem with a glance or a sneer.

But now she was, to Sarsfield, all melting tenderness.

"You will do well, you will succeed, among all these jobbers and poor sneaking fellows who surround the king." She dismissed him sedately, he barely touched her hand; as he left she was biting her handkerchief with her small, white, irregular teeth.

Sarsfield found in his lodgings Henry Luttrell already writing out the list of men who were to officer his troop of horse.

"Consider"—he smiled—"that we shall not only have to raise, but maintain, these men at our own charges."

"D'Avaux is responsible."

"Ay," replied Luttrell, "he may be responsible, but it will be a long time before we shall see any French gold, especially," he added, "if it has to pass through Melfort's hands. Well, I am to go to Sligo," he concluded, "and that's as good a post as another."

As Sarsfield did not reply, Luttrell added with emphasis: "Trust none of these foreigners, my dear Sarsfield, let us use them as they intend to use us—'He who gains the knaves and fools need never fear the wise men.'"

Sarsfield saw that he wished to convey more than the actual meaning of the words and candidly questioned him.

"Oh, I mean," cried Luttrell, with some impatience and a wild air, "we owe allegiance neither to King James nor King Louis, and it might be possible for us to throw both of them overboard and set up some one of our own."

Sarsfield laughed this off as a reckless impossibility, but he looked at Henry Luttrell very keenly. Luttrell had a way of making the fantastic seem possible, an enticing manner of presenting the incredible; Sarsfield had heard him called a grand hypocrite and a crafty cheat, but set this abuse down to malice; no doubt Luttrell had his mixture of alloy, but Sarsfield gave him both respect and trust.

Looking up from his papers Luttrell laughed, and he had an agreeable laugh that could gild the most dismal situation; the cast in his lively eyes seemed no defect in his pleasing features; Sarsfield, fastidious himself, was gratified by the neatness of his companion's habit; Colonel Luttrell wore the scarlet and gold of the English Guards that King James's officers retained in default of any other uniform; a Paris tailor had set off his elegant shape very handsomely; like most of the younger fashionable men he wore his own hair carefully curled on to his shoulders; this was nut brown and glossy. Good taste and judgment showed in his whole person; his deportment befitted his noble birth and the grandeur of his breeding.

"I see," he observed, "that I must be very specious with you, or what I have to say will not go down."

"What have you to say?"

"To-night—nothing. You are brigadier and are to have a troop of horse. I am to be Governor of Sligo—these are the lollipops, but we must sweat to earn 'em."

He turned decently and easily to his task; he had already listed almost all his officers and was now concerned with quarter-master, chaplain and surgeon; he seemed by his absorption in his business to dismiss Sarsfield, but with so obliging a mien that no offence could be taken.

That night Patrick Sarsfield could not sleep. At dawn he rose and noticed a light burning in the chamber of Madame de Bonnac in the house opposite. Then he saw the taper extinguished and a pale arm draw the drugget curtain aside, and her dim-seen face peer up the street towards the eastern sky.

They were divided, it seemed to him, not only by the narrow street, but by a thousand futilities, by years of absence, and conventions, each had been going for so long a different way in a different life. He knew nothing of her mind or her moods; they might be regretful and sad, or gay and content; she was careful to be inscrutable.

She leaned on her elbow and stared along the little rainy street at the sky, flushing faintly to a wet dawn.

It was some years ago, he believed, since he had lived down the devastating fury of passion with which he had once desired her. But then as he watched her, framed in the mean window, half-seen in that melancholy silvery light, he believed that furious passion might easily return to torment him. Why had she come to Ireland where there was so much work, man's work, ready to his hand? She would not be, she had said, one of the women 'who stay behind and wait.' Yet he could not believe that she loved her husband so much that she could not endure to be parted from him. He did not know why, but it seemed to him incredible, this marital devotion. Far out of his reach as she had been for so long he could never really think of her as belonging to another. She was childless and this helped to keep her aloof from common life, and leave her tender, virginal air to dignify her florid beauty.

In the opal azure of dawn the little hushed town was empty of everything except that blurred loveliness at the window opposite. The sea breeze blew fresh and pure on his face, a misty rain trembled in the fragrant air which was balmy with the first scent of spring and with, he fancied, the perfume of the arbutus growing by the lake's edge near Innisfallen. He drew back behind the curtain feeling that she would consider she was spied upon if she saw him; their relations had been for long so formal. He could see the warm pallor of her raised face, the drifting loop of her silvery hair over her smooth shoulder. Was it possible that she was thinking of him, of the strangeness of their meeting here in Kinsale?

The silence and sanctity of the untouched hour of dawn made him feel that the facts of every day were ridiculous; always had he felt a passionate desire to escape from the commonplace into a world of his own creation; it seemed to him absurd that anything should keep him from Olivia de Bonnac, ridiculous that he did not cross the narrow street, mount the mean stairs, and take her in his arms, press his body to her body, her lips to his lips. He mused: "I will not be cheated of everything, I will not end my youth, like an eminent simpleton, having tasted nothing but pretences. There's Ireland and I'll find another woman."

The estates were his now, and the name; he had a chance to obtain renown, an opportunity for glory, he must have heirs...Olivia was the unpossessed, the departing woman...There was Honor, so young, almost a child, with her husky voice, her dead-leaf hair, her blue eyes...He persuaded himself that in Honor he could see a likeness to the girl with whom he had exchanged the love charm beneath the haunted yew of St. Bridget. He vowed to the pale sky and the drifting rain of Ireland that he would make Honor de Burgh love him, that he would love her with great loyalty; in a newly-redeemed country they would preserve renown and dignity.

He turned back into the low room; the light filtering through the window he had uncurtained showed him Henry Luttrell awake on his pallet bed, resting on his elbow regarding him, Sarsfield thought, with eyes of a tender mockery. Luttrell had a way of smiling as if he knew every one's secrets.

Sarsfield said: "It's raining again, a wet dawn, and the whole country will be sodden."

On the morrow the streets were glittering with the French, with the gleam of polished leather, of glossy horses, of scoured steel, of gold buckles and sword-hilts. The disembarkation had proceeded smoothly, and Tyrconnel was boastful about the way he had done his part; but De Rosen found much to complain of; both the transport and the horses were inadequate, the roads, he said, were in the worst possible condition, and he showed violent impatience with the excited Irish who impeded progress on the atrocious Dublin highway.

At the sight of the king and his corps of Jesuit priests the motley crowd had gone wild with anticipated triumphs, had capered round the cortege, and almost swept the rearing horses off their legs. The king's haggard face showed the bitterest disgust; he harshly ordered aside the women who were struggling to kiss his hand, even his stirrup; he pulled his hat over his weary eyes, and did not attempt to acknowledge them; it was obvious in his every look and gesture that he considered himself humiliated by such barbarous loyalty. The French priests also held themselves haughtily; it seemed as if they did not recognise the Irish Catholics as being of their faith. With poignant self-pity the king kept behind his guards who began, with the flat of their swords, to beat a way through the squealing, shouting, ragged and filthy Irish.

Tyrconnel, to please the king's mood, made vigorous efforts to clear the way; as the frieze and drugget coats were flung in the mud for the king to ride over his sallow face flushed with vexation. The rain came down with sudden warm heaviness, cloud and mountain were alike eclipsed in mist; this increased the confusion; the struggling column halted, trying to maintain order. Sarsfield rode up to Galway in the press, he wished to settle his own destiny at least; he was too apt in his impulses, too quick in putting a vagrant thought into concrete action.

"If your sister would like me," he said. "Well, my lord, we'll settle all at Dublin."

Galway jumped at once to the meaning of this, he scarcely troubled to disguise his gratitude. He had, like many another Irish gentleman, lost everything by espousing the Stewart cause. His father had been Clanricarde, and wealthy—all that was gone. He was thankful to place his sister in the hands of a man like Sarsfield. The two young men, in that pause of the march, reached out across their saddles and pressed each other's hands.

Sarsfield thought with pleasure, "They are Irish of the Irish, no drop of alien blood in Honor's veins." Yes, he would be happy and content, raised above the need for brutish and transitory follies; he turned and glanced back at the rude carriages in which the women were travelling.

But Madame de Bonnac was on horseback, graceful, alert, in a cavalier's habit; indifferent to the veils of warm rain she stared curiously at the shouting crowds which lined the road. The Irish gave evidence of the most frantic loyalty. Again the women's shawls, the men's long coats, were thrown down on the muddy way. D'Avaux and De Rosen gazed at the rabble, critically glancing over the men, sizing them up as possible material for the use of His Most Christian Majesty.

De Rosen thought: "Fine, likely-looking fellows, but mon Dieu! how long will they take to train, and are they to be trained?" For they seemed to the Livonian no better than savages. The further he glanced along the road, the more he saw of the wild, uncultivated country, the ragged, shouting people, the deeper grew his scowl and the less he liked either Ireland or his task...some of the peasants wore no more than blankets, with wisps of straw for hats—most were barefoot.

The broken column, now closing up, now dividing, halting and proceeding in an irregular manner, made little progress that first day. Small streams which crossed the road were swollen with the rains of winter, these fordings were difficult, the road itself in places almost impassable, the yelling, disorderly crowds impeded the horses and baggage wagons.

Tyrconnel, stung by the king's complaints and the Frenchman's disdain, was moved to swear passionately "that he had not made the highways."

De Rosen sneered to General Pusignan:

"I think the devil made the whole country."

Melfort talked of the necessity of rapidly subduing the north and then going to Scotland; he dwelt on the untrustworthiness of the Irish and their false superstitious patriotism, and warned the king there was no reliance to be placed on their present display of fanatic, unbalanced loyalty.

Berwick was silent; he had the quiet enthusiasm of a youth eager to test his own powers, but his brother, Henry Fitzjames (the Lord Grand Prior and Duke of Albemarle), said openly that he thought it "folly to leave a civilised country for a place like this, that they owed little gratitude to His Most Christian Majesty for equipping this most foolish expedition."

That night they encamped as best they might at Mallow. Sarsfield regretted Kinsale, the rocky promontory with the ruins of the castle of the Kings of Ireland, and the seagulls flying grandly overhead. He yearned towards the bleakness and desolation, the bold romantic grandeur of those emerald-blue cliffs. But a deeper reason for his regret was that he had an almost superstitious dislike to turn again to Killarney, yet he knew if they halted here for long he must once more visit the Abbey of Irrelagh. To protect himself by reality from the torment of this thin substance of dreams he found out the Lady Honor de Burgh, and put to her the question he had put to her brother that morning. She was lodged very poorly, but seemed resigned; her head hung wearily, her attitude was drowsy.

"Could you like me, Honor, could you trust me and accept all I have to give, now and for ever? Your brother has spoken to you? Forgive this scant courtship, dear heart, the times are hurried and full of manifest confusion." He was as unconscious of the magnificence of the gift he offered, as he had been ten years before when he had proposed himself to Olivia Joyce; in his dignity, grandeur and strength he stood humbly before the young girl who looked like one of the nuns whose charge she had lately left, so quiet was her gray habit, so modest her air.

She regarded him curiously with a deep searching look, and yet as if she knew she could hope to learn no more than the outward aspect of him; she seemed sweetly surprised by his words, her fingers trembled over a crucifix on her girlish bosom.

"The angels guard us in all our ways, Colonel Sarsfield, and offend our enemies! My brother spoke to me, but I, who might once have been a match for a gentleman, have, through our present ruin, nothing to bring."

"I have sufficient to treat you according to your estate, Honor, happy is he who can get and keep a noble gentlewoman like yourself. If you could be at ease in this marriage, you would give me gracious advantages, nay, dear heart, we have known each other long, though formally, pray don't think I speak in a careless way, now pray don't."

"I may not, if I would, be nice or difficult," she answered seriously, looking away. "But you, sir, should satisfy a woman with every right to be exacting. I do accept you, as my brother, advises. May," she added quickly, "we each bring a deep and diligent care to the other's misfortune."

Moved by her youth, her submission and her trouble, he answered, plain and opened-hearted:

"You shall be my best and dearest friend, Honor."

"God grant as much," she said, and escaped him with a profound reverence.

Honor de Burgh thus accepted Patrick Sarsfield candidly, without confusion. He thought her too young to have any knowledge of love or life, and pitied her simple innocence. She was small, elegant and lively, well graced and finely bred. He vowed desperately to attach her to him by every means in his power. She would give him peace, a sense of reality, children. With her, and his estates, and the war he would be able to be done with many dreams.

But the next morning when he learnt that the king sickened and would halt for some days at Mallow, Patrick Sarsfield obtained leave for a few hours and at once mounted the fine gray he had bought at Kinsale and took the road for Killarney. As soon as he was clear of the noise of the little town suddenly invaded by soldiers and foreigners, and the defilements of the camp, his nostrils expanded and he breathed in the pure air with delight. It was still raining and there was a warm hush over the newly-budding trees; odours of wet ferns and mosses which he had not known for ten years filled him with an inexpressible, almost an incredible pleasure; his whole heart and being lifted towards the blue line of the Killarney Mountains robed in the pearly azure of interchanging misty cloud-shapes. No country surely was ever as green as Ireland; even now, in the early spring, lush grasses were vivid as jewels; the strong curled fronds of the young ferns, the small thick buds on the lofty trees seemed alike of a pure richness of verdure unknown anywhere else, and nowhere was there this blue pearliness of distance, this hyacinth azure of hills and clouds, this rippling, cerulean, violet-silver of silent lakes.

Patrick Sarsfield's heart hardened against all those men whom he had left behind in Mallow—greedy, autocratic, domineering foreigners, or Irishmen who had lived abroad so long that they had forgotten their blood...

He reached at the evening the solitary mansion of the MacCarthys where he had parted from Olivia. It was deserted, a witness to the devastation of war. Bare willows which he remembered in full leafage swept the lawns of last year's grass grown long and coarse. The gate was broken between the stone posts, a blackening of smoke showed on one side of the house. Sarsfield rode on, frowning; he knew that Ireland would be ruined like that from shore to shore, with neighbour risen against neighbour, countryman against countryman; rapine, bloodshed, murder, bitterness, fury, and restrained, but now suddenly loosened hatred, devastated Ireland. So much Patrick Sarsfield knew, but it was difficult to credit it in the perfect peace of the Kerry landscape.

He turned sadly away from the sight of the deserted mansion; he saw a girl walking by the hedgerow beyond the fallen wall. She wore a drugget petticoat and a dark shawl, but her gait was not that of a peasant. He knew her at once for Ishma O'Donaghoe, the woman with whom he had exchanged the love-charm under the haunted yews. She walked slowly like one musing pleasantly; the breeze divided her hair into long strands that blew softly about her fine head. She seemed full of delicate thoughts. The wan light, falling through the bare trees, fell like a gift of fine gold on to her open bosom.


PATRICK SARSFIELD, eager, nervous, reined up his horse and gazed at the girl who lingered by the leafless yet fragrant hedgerow with the first young weeds, green and hardy, springing strongly round her sandalled feet. He conceded to himself a freedom to escape from the world of commonplace into that visionary realm where he was most at ease.

He felt that his return to this desolate place had been long expected, as if the girl standing there had the power to summon him, that the years which had passed since he had first seen her were no matter at all; she seemed to him one of those lovely mystic creatures who have strange knowledge and the gift to know the hidden mysteries because they stand apart from all the gross violences and bitter desires of life.

He noted that she carried a little gray ash wilding, and he recalled the tale which said this was sacred, and held by holy women when they prayed and cherished by those who timidly fill their lives with deeds of fruitful graciousness and generous kindness.

She moved a little towards him and he recalled an old saying (heard in his childhood) applied to those who had this lightness of step, so delicate that, like the old warriors of the Sidhe, it seemed as if they might pass over a rotting bough and never break it. "He has danced to faery music on the green hills," was said of such. Part of the old life of ancient Ireland was this woman, part of the old deeds, and music, and words, and beliefs which the conquering English had trampled into the dust; he felt the whole country enclose her with a clear love.

"You are early," she said.

Her shawl had fallen back, her dark hair had a purple look like the depths of her native hills, her shirt was of pleated linen of saffron Irish yellow. A torque of native gold held together the folds across her breast. She was the colour of honeysuckle buds, faintly golden, firm of contour, with the bloom given by wind and rain; her eyes were gray as wood ash or chilled early violets.

Patrick Sarsfield dismounted and stood by his horse. He doubted now if she was Ishma O'Donaghoe whom he had held for so brief a moment in his arms beneath the magic yew...that dark night of blowing rain in the Abbey of Irrelagh became one with many nights of dreams when he and this woman had met.

Looking at him she sighed deeply, and crossed herself as a girl might who gazes at the ghost of her lover.

"Are you coming to the lake?" she asked, she touched him with the ash wand which is so powerful a charm against all manner of witchcraft and evil, she was very serious; she seemed to cleave to him with full purpose of heart.

Leading his horse Patrick Sarsfield walked beside her down the muddy narrow lane. A mild wind shook the buds on the high trees. They turned away from the desolate mansion of the MacCarthys and followed the rough track through groves of alder, of sycamore and of oak to the banks of the great lake. A deep love for the noble shape of the mountains rising like castles from the still dark water, for the mist and the rain and the clouds, for the woman beside him, combined into one passion in the heart of Patrick Sarsfield, it was a passion touched also with an infinite melancholy...he was an exile from his beloved, almost an alien, he had missed so much.

He thought with horror of his companions on the voyage, of the old, sick, peevish king; of the shrewd, keen, managing Frenchman; of the dishonest, quarrelling, chaffering, bargaining men who surrounded both; of their jealousy, greed and self-seeking. He thought with profound bitterness of the days when his beautiful Ireland had only native kings and native swords to protect her, when saints and faeries had mingled on the gentle undulating hills and in the lush secret valleys and by the banks of the gray, still rivers.

Looking at the girl beside him he thought of Oonagh, the wife of Finvarra, King of the Unseen People, the Sidhe, who were once holy in Paradise, but who had lost their immortal souls and are doomed to the horror of utter annihilation at the Day of Judgment; yet while they live they have all that is rapturous and dwell in magic palaces of translucent emerald in the heart of the green hills; youth, loveliness, pleasure and music have been given to the Sidhe; yet often they are driven to despair with the madness of longing for the immortality which they may never obtain.

Their melodies, Sarsfield knew, were of a music so plaintive, so mournful and poignant that it had the power to enchant the soul out of man, and he remembered how the Shanahus, ten years ago, in the ruins of Irrelagh, had told him that it would be best for him if he could hear such music and forget the earth, and all which he might be appointed to do in this earthly life—"a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep."

"You are not a stranger, but you come in the attire of a stranger," said the girl; there was a hand's breadth between them; she caressed the horse as the animal walked quietly, fatigued with the long ride.

"It is only the attire," answered Sarsfield, "my heart is here."

"But how long you have been away!"

"Was it you I met in the twilight of Irrelagh?"

She did not reply. Had it been she, she must have been young indeed, younger than he...for now she seemed but in the full bud of youth. She asked him, as if it were but a matter of simple courtesy, if he would come to her abode and partake of food. She did not demand his business, why he was there, or what was the uniform he wore, or express any fear, though she seemed to live lonely in the midst of a land rent by war. He thought her protected by invisible powers...that there were guides and seers about her, who would not suffer her to miscarry.

She led him along a winding path bordered by low evergreen plants of fresh green; the noise of water tumbling heavily was in his ears; a turn brought them in sight of a water-break, dispersing in swirling foam among smooth greenish rocks and leaping in darkening violence towards a gloomy gorge that opened into the shining lake beneath.

Young ferns uncurled, varied mosses showed cold green against the wet boulders, fine spray hung in the chill air; behind a cluster of brilliant-leaved holly trees stood a beehive-shaped oratory or chapel, pierced with rude windows and surrounded by a low wall of undressed stone; the broken base of a round tower stood close, from the centre of which grew the smooth gray stems of young ash trees and beyond this a scatter of huts; there were no graves, for people would carry their dead weary miles to rest in Mucruss Abbey; the huts were sheltered from the waterfall by an arm of rock.

The air on the wooded shore was warm and mild, filled with the eternal noise of the falling waters which gleamed behind the church; misty shadows of clouds lay over the distant heather-purple mountains glimpsed beyond the gorge; there was a tang in Sarsfield's nostrils of peat smoke, of wet earth, of fresh, first sprouting buds; his nostalgia became almost unbearable.

The girl led him to the most important of the huts, built of hard green stone in the old wattle shape with a rectangular doorway and a little window in the eastern wall; he had to stoop low to enter, holding his sword close to his side and pulling off his great cockaded hat; a barefoot beautiful boy, girdled with rags, had led away his horse. As Sarsfield straightened himself inside the cottage he looked at the maiden who was regarding him gravely.

"What is your name?"

"Ishma O'Donaghoe."

There was an aged woman baking cakes amid the fine clean embers; he believed she was the Shanahus of ten years ago, withered like a bat, like the Phouca, with her hare-skin cap and drugget gown. All the Irishman's haunted blood saw the supernatural in this scene—in the quiet girl in her ancient dress, the withered woman, in the loneliness of these few huts, the grand beauty of the waterfall, the untouched trees and the hoary rocks, azure and emerald, the temperate wind, the veiled, opal gray skies. He forgot the routine he had left, the routine that awaited him, even the uniform that he wore, and that he must return to Mallow.

He sat on a wooden stool by the fire of arbutus wood which burnt slowly into white ash. Salmon and trout were cooking beside the cakes, there was an oak noggin of goat's milk and two platters set ready.

The girl shook off her shawl and her purple-black hair fell tangled over the saffron-dyed bodice. He was convinced that these people knew nothing of the commotions about them, that they lived in the old Ireland of the saints and the Sidhe, the mists and the rainbows, the harpers and the poets, the seers and the wise men. He wished that he also lived in that world which was where his soul belonged. His elbows on his knees, holding his face in his hands, he asked them "if they had seen any of the fighting and the troubles?"

The old woman crossed herself, the girl touched the beads of carved black bog oak which hung at her waist.

"We are under a protection here," they answered together.

They spoke the old Irish of which he could understand very little, and their English was laboured and difficult, yet soft with a melancholy inflection. And he forgot his French and his court English, and answered them in a simple language which had the same inflection which his nurse had taught him at Lucan; it came back very easily to his tongue.

The old woman said that on the coast of Cork and Kerry, and in the dark defiles of Munster there were pirates and smugglers and wild evil men, that these had lately come their way, robbing, burning and slaying what they might find; then they had gone again discovering but little, for the land had long since been laid waste by Cromwell and the English, the Kingdom of O'Donaghoe had been desolate for two generations. As the old woman served the meal on the wooden bench she nodded and laughed towards the musing girl:

"She is a princess, a king's daughter; by right the Queen of all Kerry. The English thought they had slain every O'Donaghoe, but her father was left and was brought up secretly. He married a descendant of Donald MacCarthy Môr, who built the Abbey of Irrelagh, and this is their daughter, and there has been no greater Iady in Ireland since Queen Maeve of Connaught."

Like one spinning a tale she continued her low speech. Patrick Sarsfield cared nothing that what she said was wild, incredible. She spoke of the extermination of the royal line of O'Donaghoe by Ludlow who brought ships on to the lake and took Ross Castle—as the old wise sibyls had prophesied. And told how one little child had been hidden by his nurse and had grown up to wed a daughter of the sept of MacCarthy Môr, and how, loving each other as if they were chained together with gold, they had been taken young by the Sidhe to dwell beneath the lake.

"They died," said Sarsfield.

The Shanahus ignored this; she continued her story. She declared that the Lady Ishma had been served by her, as if she was a princess indeed. She had often taken her to Ross Island, and they had wandered together over the mighty keep where Ishma's forefathers had watched, they had mounted the spiral staircase to the summit of the square tower whence they could see the disused copper mines which were full of unseen folk. Often had Ishma stood in the ruins of the great window from which the O'Donaghoe leapt on his white charger into the noble lake.

"You know," said Ishma, turning on Sarsfield her eyes, the colour of fading violets, "that every seventh year he rises from the waters and rides over the surface of Lough Lein."

"I know it."

He thought she was indeed like one of royal birth, and he had known many palace-born, sumptuous ladies; it was easy to see that she had never done manual work, that she had been carefully tended, bathed, combed and waited upon, and that she accepted this service with ingenuous simplicity; her ankles and wrists were very delicate, her step very light, she had an easy stateliness and the gaiety of one who leads naturally a chaste and pious life; though sweetly coloured by sun, wind and rain and perfumed only by hedgerow flowers, she was in nothing common.

The young man said:

"You do not know my name. I am Patrick Sarsfield of Lucan."

"I know you very well," replied the Shanahus.

"Should you ever be able to find me of service I shall be in Dublin, or be heard of there."

"Dublin is a long way off," said Ishma. "Weary would be the need and sad, could take one so far."

An Irish wolf-hound walked softly in through the doorway, he came up to Sarsfield and laid his head on the man's knee, looking up with keen and affectionate topaz-coloured eyes. The girl smiled and the old woman seemed pleased; she was certainly the Shanahus; she began to recite a fragment of an old bardic description of a dog in the ornate language of the professional storyteller.

"We call him Bran, who was the dog of the great Fionn Macoul. Is he not the same, a ferocious, small-headed, white-breasted, big-haunched hound? With the eyes of a dragon, the claws of a wolf, the vigour of a lion, the venom of a serpent?"

Sarsfield put out his hand in warm greeting to stroke the animal's head. He then saw beneath the rough, clean fur a splendid collar of plaited, greenish gold and silver exquisitely interwrought. The old woman's wrinkled smile deepened. She glanced up and down the magnificence of Sarsfield and crooned:

"A noble, handsome, fair-haired Fianian, young, courteous, manly, puissant; powerful in action, tallest of the warriors, strongest of the champions, most beautiful of the human race..."

And she went on to mutter about the great Fianna meeting when three thousand princes had gathered with three thousand hounds. A fine army truly was this. All the knights wearing silk under their mail, mantles the hue of spring leaves and pleated, violet-coloured burnished cloaks, gold and flashing diamond helmets on their heads, a keen javelin in each man's hand...She began to tell the story of Bran, the mighty wolf-hound of Fionn, who chased the ice-white hart over the endless blue hills, until the pursued animal leaped into the cold purple lake and was changed into the form of a handsome, enticing woman who drew the noble dog down beneath the silent water...this creature was not really lovely or gracious, but was called the "Hag of the Lake," a foul, clever witch, and "many times still will she work her evil spells...She might sometimes be seen in the dark gloom of a dreadful day washing her clothes in some stormy dark inlet of the lake...monstrous, dreadful, the wind blowing her out of one terrible shape into another..."

Ishma spoke across this tale, a voice of gold over the elder woman's mutter.

"Why have you been away so long?" she asked. "Why have you come back now?"

Patrick Sarsfield tried to tell her of the war which had blazed up in their country, of the king in France who had sent men and money, and stores to assist the King of England to regain his throne, but all this sounded dry, and trite, and sordid on his tongue, and indeed he had himself largely forgotten the rights and the wrongs of the quarrel.

The two women, the hut of dark-green stone, and the meal of fish and bread cooked on the embers, the bowl of milk and the wooden platters, the view of the lake and the rain from the window, the perfume from the arbutus ash, and the musing eyes of Ishma in the oval Irish face, reduced all those heavy worldly matters to ridiculous folly; here all was firmly settled and well grounded in peace.

They served him as if he were a prince and he, who had always been set aside and sneered at for an Irishman, thwarted and chagrined by his nationality, found himself honoured for the sake of his race. Here he was no mere adventuring alien, proscribed papist, set below the foreigner, overlooked and jostled in the race for preferment and honours, he was a prince, descendant of MacCarthy Môr, heir to the splendid chieftain who had fought with Brian Boru at the battle of Clontarf; so much the Shanahus seemed to know of him, though he never spoke of these things.

They brought out treasures from a cupboard of oak wood. There was a magnificent royal chess-board made of the bones of the king's enemies, the old woman said, a precious stone in every square, and a bag of woven gold wire in which to keep the pieces, some of which were of shining wood and some of yellow ivory. Ishma had ornaments besides the torque she wore—rings, bracelets and pins, all of pure gold, Irish gold, she said, twisted in intricate patterns, which had been long lying in the earth, turned up by spade or harrow from the long green raths in the days when Kerry was prosperous.

"Take me," said Patrick Sarsfield, "to the ruins of Irrelagh."

The old woman watched them depart. They thought from the look of her that she gave them her blessing. She said (and surely she was a witch-wife) that this night the kingly ghost might leap from the hollow walls of Ross castle and ride across the surface of the lake...

"She is a wise woman?" asked Patrick Sarsfield, as they walked through the short grass, beginning to show the luscious green of spring, and the spray of the water-break.

Ishma replied that the woman was a descendant of the secret people, bards or storytellers, who acquired great wisdom. She knew the ancient, venerable language and minstrelsy, and the powers of sacred herbs; she could cure disease, cause love or hatred, peer into the mysteries of life and death, and even converse with the unseen people; she knew in what lonely glen to pluck the faery plant which was sought for its potency in divination. She had learnt the worth of dark ivy, pungent vervaine, eye-bright, groundsel, deadly foxglove, and the bark of the elder tree and the young shoots of the hawthorn. She could tell where to find the magic elf stone near an ancient rath which, being once lifted up with a spade, must never touch earth again or all its virtue is gone...She was skilful to make a plaister for wounds from the wood wind-flowers and in using the many properties of the hazel tree and the yarrow, the best cure for many diseases; she knew too the faery grass of straysod which is dangerous to step on, for whoever puts his foot on the path it grows on will travel on without stopping, following an irresistible impulse, all through the night, delirious and restless, over bog and mountain, through hedges and ditches till, wearied and bruised, he finds himself—where? All those who touch the faery grass have a sensation of flying and are unable to pause or turn back or change their career.

"It is called the straysod or faery grass among us mortals," said Ishma; "but its real name no one will dare to pronounce."

Patrick Sarsfield smiled at her. He thought that he might truly say that he had touched some such magic herb, for he had forgotten all his yesterdays and felt indeed as if he asked no more than for ever to travel beside this woman along the shores of the lake. Though he had forgotten everything that till this morning he had considered of importance, forgotten even his restless and devastating passion for Olivia Joyce, and the formal pledge he had given to Honor de Burgh, yet he could remember very clearly the charm he had repeated under the yew tree nearly ten years before:

"As the sun follows its course, mayest thou follow me, woman! As light to the eye, as bread to the hungry, as joy to the heart, may thy presence be with me, O woman that I love, till death come to part us asunder."

He looked down at Ishma, walking stately and simple, beside him.

"Did you say a love-charm with me many years past in the holy Abbey of Irrelagh?"

She replied:

"It is you who should remember."

As she led him through the braes into the old gray alabaster cloisters she said with a touching look of faith:—

"I will give you a charm—The fair man and the turbulent woman who laid Christ in the grave—a charm which God made for Himself when His divinity within Him was darkened..."


IN the cool cloistral shade of one of the cells, which yet remained well roofed from the weather, Ishma O'Donaghoe had laid fragrant bracken which served as a couch. Thin webs of moisture, one behind the other, descended till stone and early greenery were all alike spangled with the sweet mild rain which seemed visibly to draw forth life from the earth; Ishma invited Patrick Sarsfield to the clean dryness of the cell. Through the open door they could see the moss-grown cloisters and the shadowed arcade where grew the gigantic tree. Behind the cold dead blackness of the yew which wore withered winter foliage, dropped last faint gleams of sun and Patrick Sarsfield, standing at the door of the fern-lined cell and looking out, felt that his senses presented to him some mock world, some wrack of old sleepy dreams which it was agony to remember and despair to forget. Ishma clasped her hands round her knees and began to tell him of herself, as if he were an ancient lover newly returned, yet in all she did and said she was impersonal.

She told him of her life with the Shanahus in the hut by the edge of the lake, of her deep, tangled memories of the green valleys, of fern-plumed shores and the azure-opal mountains, and the skies of endless movement and change and of all the unseen people unthwarted who had made this solitude crowded to the mind. She spoke of the treasure she had saved from the princely fortunes of her ancestors—the fine, pale Irish gold, the chessmen, and the collar of the wolf-hound—buried all very deeply in a crock outside the hut like the treasure of the leprechaun at the rainbow's end—for fear, she said, of pirates and smugglers and the wild men or rapparees.

Sarsfield asked her if she felt safe in her green solitude, and if the late war, the springing to arms of all the country, had made any difference to her retreat.

Ishma seemed surprised at this and answered, "No."

There had always been war and tumult not far from the kingdom of Kerry, but they were too poor to attract any marauders, she was surprised that the mansion of the MacCarthys had been burnt down. Then she glanced at him and laughed with the candour of a child, and put her hands behind her neck, looking past him at the pale fire of the sky gleaming beyond the monstrous darkness of the yew.

Patrick Sarsfield wished that he could reconcile the world in which she lived with the world from which he had come and to which he must return, but he knew that this was hopeless. Never could he take her away from the lake's edge, her safe solitude, and never could she draw him to remain with her there. And, while he looked at her, old mists of fancy obscured all reality, but he strove to tell her something of his task, why he had come to Ireland and what he hoped to do, and his heart ached because she did not understand.

The slant sun pierced the light clouds and fell athwart the yew tree into the unglazed window of the cell in which she sat, tufts of early grass were by her feet near the dried gold of last year's ferns and through the aperture trailed stiff, hairy tendrils of ivy, showing the first hard red-green of the new leaves. The lonely silence was sweet as honey, pure as the rain.

Patrick Sarsfield broke his casual whispered talk. He heard his own voice tremble to a dim eagerness.

"Can you remember coming here and exchanging a love charm with me? Was it you trapping me, unwary, to a desolate dream?"

Ishma looked at him; she was neither disturbed nor discontented.

The last sunlight strengthened and made a shower of golden sparkles in the delicate moisture of the air. Dank and cold from years of rain, the alabaster of the cloisters shone like muted silver in the ebbing rain; in the rich black loam beneath the yew Sarsfield saw the splendour of toadstools and fungi not an hour old but brocaded like kings. Protected by the magic yew and by the haunted cloisters from what men call the world, there was nothing to break the golden shadows of their mutual dreams.

Seated on her rough bed of ferns Ishma answered gravely, like one searching for the exact truth; he thought that never before had she been asked in her shadow-life to grasp realities; that, moving through the dun twilight of flower-seeking, never before had she been asked to face the bright noisy day. He thought, too, that she hardly knew the difference between the deep chill of death and the fiery heat of love.

"It may be," she said carefully, "that I have met you before, and even exchanged with you some vows—standing by a cold fountain in the green rock or watching the changing lake; the Shanahus would tell me many things, when I was young I always found light and shade mingled, nor could really tell one from the other. But I have met armoured heroes, princes of the Fianna, knights of Mirvanna, and perhaps," she added with a poignant simplicity, "you were one of those."

"I am no armoured hero nor shining god, but a poor mortal man," and it was in him to beseech her to come out of her endless world of fantastic dreaming and look upon him as he was.

"You have met me before," he insisted. "Why did you bring me to this place?"

She scrutinised him carefully and rose, leaning against the wall of the cell, so that the hesitant light from the window was full on her noble head and tender throat. The thinning rain clouds had let through the tender azure fire of the sinking March sun, and the little cell was illuminated as if with light reflected from a clear blue jewel.

"I do not know," she said. "At times the Shanahus has had a charm on me, and I have gone I know not where and returned I know not when. I have feasted in the crystal bright mansions of Mirvanna, in the heart of the mountains, and sailed along pale streams that had no end, and met the ancient knights in their silken raiment, the scarlet sashes and the gold bands on their heads, and I have been below the lake in a city that has many round towers and bells that ring continuously."...Her voice was dove-soft, hoarse yet sweet. "It may be that among these adventures I found my lover."

"Did you not say to me," asked Patrick Sarsfield eagerly, forgetting all else, "did you not say to me, 'Could you not join your fate with mine?'"

"If I had met my lover so might I have spoken. But why do you question me? If we are bound together with a charm we must meet again and again until at the end we are together always."

And he remembered the words she had spoken ten years ago so near this spot..."My face turned away from all others."

"Do you like me?" he asked. "Do you wish me to stay?" He felt like a shadow seeking consolation in a world of shadows that was as bright as tossed water, glittering in airy descent to vanish for ever into the earth; the light coming through the rain mist closed over them.

"It matters not if you go or stay," said, Ishma. "If you are indeed my lover."

He frowned down at his sword which looked fierce and alien in this place.

"Am I to be like a drifting weed? To come and go knowing nothing of the wherefore?"

But he knew that he could never take her with him into the hard, sensual world to which he had been given as a child and to which he now belonged. If the eyes of curiosity, lust and greed, maybe of mockery and laughter, flicked over her she would die, as a wind-flower, taken from the dewy wood into a close room lit with gross wax candles, dies. And the other alternative? To leave everything of action, of manliness, of decision, of danger, and stay with her in her forgotten and forsaken kingdom, haunted by the rain-blowing wind, fair days, fantastic nights, all shot with changing glories of dreams...She seemed to him to be shut in a paradise to which he had no entry. The lewd din of the world he had left clanged like brass in his ears; compared with all he had ever known of women she was like the very source of a light so blinding that he must shield his eyes.

He left the fern-lined cell and walked in the gray-green cloisters. He was still so far away from her that he could not imagine what it would be like to love her, to hold her like a lakeside flower, dewy from dawn rays, in his bosom. He felt that he must be purged of much before he could completely understand her or touch her hand with a sense of equality.

She came out of the cloistered chilliness of her cell; she was as glamorous to him as if she had drawn over her head the dark hood of magic. Dumb and listless he leant against the ashen-coloured pillars carved by pious hands so many centuries ago. He was bareheaded, and the sunburnt fairness of his blond hair, radiant as scorched gold, seemed too bright for the rain-wreaths shot with the pale spangles of the March sun, for the alabaster of the rain-stained cloisters, for the blackness of the wintry yew.

"Am I to be a drifting weed on a dark stream?" he repeated.

She seemed surprised at his question, as if she was secure that she did not know what either danger or discontent meant. She said with a sudden touching warmth of feeling:

"Wherever you go and whatever you do, Knight of Mirvanna, may the blessing of Christ, St. Bridget and St. Patrick rest upon you and your deeds."

Conscious neither of hyperbole nor exaggeration, he answered:

"I wish I could do some deed of arms to restore you to your kingdom, Princess."

Ishma was used to this mode of address from the Shanahus and the other dwellers in the little village by the lake, and acknowledged it by a glance of grave courtesy, then asked him, as if there were no question but of their parting, if he would not be on his way again?

"How few come here, and how long I shall remember this coming of yours!" She led him again to the graves, pointing out where kings and chieftains lay beneath stones carved with mystic letters, uncouth Latin and ancient Irish.

As he trampled these rain-wet graves, the glowing splendour of him in his magnificent manhood turned all this into but a dark sadness of cold decay. The rainy wind lifted his harsh, stiff hair from his shoulders. He ceased to feel that he was Patrick Sarsfield, newly-created brigadier in His Britannic Majesty's non-existent army, he ceased to remember that he was Patrick Sarsfield of Lucan. He was part of the rain-wet soil from which the ashes and sycamores had sprung, part of the bones of the dead men lying beneath. He felt their ancient pride and splendour, their aspirations and frustrations, their generous arrogance and their noble princeliness, their complete defeat, fused in his blood. And in the still woman walking beside him in her pleated saffron linen, her peasant's gown, her blue-black rain-wet hair loose on her shoulders, he saw the heiress of all dead, beautiful Ireland, of all that was brave and magical in the country.

As they neared the village the ragged boy brought the horse (which Patrick Sarsfield had bought in Kinsale) towards them through the short tufts of sweet new grass. It was a splendid animal and stepped finely, and Sarsfield thought of the great ancient necromancers who built forts in the hills and bred steeds; "that could not be surpassed in the world, with arched necks, broad chests and quivering nostrils like fire and flame; they were shod with bright silver, had bridles of precious plaited gold and no slave was allowed to ride them. A splendid sight it was to see the knights of Tuatha Danann riding in a stately procession, each with a starlike jewel on his white forehead; all such as were kings had folded grass-green mantles fringed with the precious gold, and casques crested with living blooms on their heads, each having in his long fine hand a delicate golden spear..."

This fragment from an ancient tale told in the words of his old nurse who had brought him up at her knee in Lucan before he went abroad to serve the alien, flashed across the mind of Sarsfield, as he saw the horse of noble blood being led towards him, and walked with the woman by the shore of the tumbling water...he also remembered the story of the Queen, Ireland's Helen, who had been taken away by Midir, chief of the unseen people; the song by which he had won her from the feast held by her husband, the King of Munster, had been chanted to Sarsfield in his childhood.

"O woman, if thou comest to my proud people, the golden crown shall circle thy head, thou shalt dwell in the sweetness of my land and drink mead as wine in the arms of thy lover."

Patrick Sarsfield looked down at the girl beside him and wished that he could put his arm round her waist and lead her away into the mountains, or to the crystal and coral under the water.

But Ishma said nothing to detain him; she had no arts or any guile, and even as he saw the ancient church and the hovels he steadied himself by the thought of common things and told his incredulous soul that she was but a peasant, maybe of the ancient Irish blood, but living in a manner which the English would call barbaric, knowing nothing but the sights of nature which had been round her from her birth, the ancient mysteries and old-time legends which had been told her since she could understand any word; shadowy traditions and fantastic dreams nourished her; in those twilight ways she would always walk, nor could he, if he would, disturb her.

Yet it might be that in leaving her he put by the dearest gifts that any God could ever offer him.

He crossed his brow and then his breast and took her little rain-wet hand and pressed it beneath his and, looking into the childlike radiance of her gray eyes, he forgot both Olivia Joyce and Honor de Burgh and almost that there was any other place in the world besides this.

"Why have you been so kind to me and treated me with such hospitality and charity?"

She replied, not lowering her eyes:

"So I have been taught, for any wayfarer might be a holy saint or a Knight of the Fianna in disguise. And you have treated me with the true courtesy which is beloved both of the holy men and the invisible people, who hate a meanness and are never malignant nor harsh-natured."

The spring sunshine was then full over them, the veils of rain had drawn away across the lake and had flushed into azure emerald over the distant mountains.

She left her hand between his and added earnestly:

"It might be that you are bound to me by some charm, for I think I recall some dream within a vision, when I said the words that bound me to some such knight as your self, but take no heed for that, go your way. But, if we are thus enchained together, our souls entangled, we shall meet when God and the invisible people will." Then she took her hand from his and crossed her forehead and breast.

There seemed a great urgency on Patrick Sarsfield to depart. He turned and rode away and did not look back. The road wound swiftly; the church, the huts and the pasturage in the hollow of the shore by the lake beneath the water-break were soon hidden by dark purple rocks and trees heavy with March buds. He passed the broken walls and fallen gate-posts of the mansion of the MacCarthys and did not think of Olivia Joyce; and so rode long and slowly through the night; only when he returned to Mallow and saw the sordid defilements of the encampment about him again, and heard the shouting and the clamour which marked the coming and going of many strangers, did he recall that he had bound himself in honour to Honor de Burgh, and his heart sank; though there was no fickleness in him, he had found himself against his will entangled with three women.

The cavalcade was taking the desolate Dublin road. Henry Luttrell sought out Patrick Sarsfield and smiled at him as if he knew where he had long away.

"You are a dreamer," he mocked. "I believe you have forgotten even why we are all here. Why did you ride away into the wilderness?"

Patrick Sarsfield did not answer that question.

"I am a poor dreamer," he said with self-contempt, "for I have not the courage to believe in my dreams."

"We all have need of them," mocked Luttrell, "and it's little else we'll get here, I dare swear—the French already feel they've been bubbled, De Rosen has the temper of a Bedlamite."

They fell into their several places in the procession of horsemen and wound their way towards Dublin. The sun clouded over suddenly and the rain fell heavily from a low sky. The banners that were borne before them sank in heavy dripping folds.


PATRICK SARSFIELD felt the need of a miracle to reconcile him with life, so piteous was the difference between what he would have and what he must endure. The thought was too strong to be suppressed; he put it into words addressed to his companion, Olivia de Bonnac; brave and gay she replied immediately:

"You have your miracle—the Irish flag over Dublin Castle."

He smiled at her quickness and at the stinging truth behind her comment—Dublin had never been Irish, but the city of the conqueror, the alien and the usurper. Every stone in it was a symbol of the subjection of the native population; the memories of its walls and streets were those most hateful and humiliating to an Irishman, and, as Olivia had reminded him with some touch of irony, this was the first time in the hundreds of years since the city had been built that the native flag had been broken above the sombre citadel built to overawe the native Irish.

"It may not fly there long, or ever again," she reminded him with a sudden restlessness in her demeanour. "Why must you trouble yourself about these things? A miracle," she added sharply. "You waste life looking for miracles."

"I waste time here," he reminded her gently, and he pondered what she had said. Yes, even now when the proud flag with Tyrconnel's motto "Now or Never, Now and For Ever" hung above the castle, it could not be said that an Irishman of the old race ruled there. The new Irish banner hung over a horde of foreigners, self-seeking, obeying an alien master; and Sarsfield, walking up and down the elegant chamber, confessed to the woman, who regarded him with a barely-restrained impatience, that he was glad to be away from the dark and gloomy castle of ugly history and ill omen for all who named themselves Irish.

"That is why you come to be partaker of my leisure, I suppose, Colonel Sarsfield? Not for the pleasure of my company but to be away from work?"

The Marquis de Bonnac had hired a fashionable house in Skinner's Row close to the pompous mansions of the Butlers and Geraldines. Madame de Bonnac had surrounded herself with the costly modern furnishings to which she had been used in Paris. Her extreme luxury contrasted sharply with the stark poverty of the land to which she had come and the already obvious embarrassment of the court to which her husband was attached.

She idled by a desk of ivy and olive wood, in a gown of thick gray satin cunningly arranged to show off her voluptuous shape. At thirty years of age she was in the full bloom of a flamboyant beauty. "Belle à la folie" Sarsfield had heard her named by one of her countrymen. There was a radiance about her colouring, a dazzle about her eyes, a rich grace about her movements which prevented any but the coldest spectator from remarking her defects—the underlip too heavy, the brown eyes too wide apart, the neck too long, a certain native grossness that for all her dainty breeding tainted her magnificence, but man must make beauty where he can find even a hint of it, for Patrick Sarsfield, as for other men, she offered enough out of which to create a goddess.

He asked her why she did not come more often to the court in Dublin, where Tyrconnel's wife, Frances Jennings, and her three daughters by her first marriage with Hamilton, contrived to make some gaiety and diversion, though it was hectic and distraught, a gilding of penury and alarm.

"I did not," replied Madame de Bonnac, "come to Ireland for either gaiety or diversion."

"I wonder, madam, you came to Ireland at all," he smiled candidly. "You live so close here that it must be very tiresome for you to be mewed up after Paris."

"How do you know," she asked, "what my life has been in Paris? Why do you suppose I should regret it? Did I not tell you at Kinsale that I was not one of those women who could stay behind and wait?"

"You wished to be with your husband?" remarked Sarsfield quietly.

She replied: "My husband..." and there was a silence between them.

Indeed he knew nothing of her life and little of the man to whom she was married, save what was apparent to the most casual observer; Mons. de Bonnac was a steady, efficient officer, a quiet, self-controlled gentleman of whom no one had heard either much good or any evil. It being impossible to discuss him, Sarsfield began to speak of his own affairs, of his recent visit to his estates at Lucan, and his busy recruiting for a troop of horse, of the Duke of Berwick being sent to subdue Derry, and all the divisions there were between De Rosen and Tyrconnel...Madame de Bonnac cut him short with a sudden flare of impatience.

"Is it possible that you are so stupid as to come here and talk to me of these affairs, or do you merely wish to torment me? You know I detest my husband. Have you not even guessed it?"

The brutal statement came to Sarsfield with a certain shock. He stood in the window-place looking at her intently, while she broke out into a low railing against the man she had married, whispering complaints and lamentations, all the familiar charges usually brought by a partner in an unhappy marriage. The man neglected her, ill-treated her, scorned her and spied on her, kept one miss after another... Ah, his infidelities!

Sarsfield sickened to hear her speak so. He felt involved in a subtle treachery, she debased herself in his estimation by these spiteful complaints.

He felt that she should have endured anything rather than loosen her secrets before him, and Olivia de Bonnac was clever enough to see by his face that she was injuring herself in his regard. She checked herself, furious at her indiscretion, and broke into tears, genuine tears of disappointment, humiliation and anger; at that he was deeply moved and blamed himself that he had judged her. Surely she had a right to express her distress, surely he should have been honoured that she had taken him into her confidence and he had been petty-minded to condemn her...

He made an impulsive movement towards her where she sat gorgeous at her elegant desk. She put out her beautiful hand appealingly, and he stood holding it, gazing down on her, and thought of that moment ten years ago in the old mansion of the MacCarthys, when the rain had swept through the willows on to the lush grass of the lawn and the rainbow had hovered over the golden-purple of the distant hills, and life had seemed as untainted as an April flower.

"You used to love me," she whispered. "I came to Ireland to be near you because I could not endure my barren life any longer...was that a gross delusion? Do you, like the spider's web, deceive those who trust you?"

"Olivia, I can be of no comfort to you. My hands are full with many tasks and, I fear, mean affairs, and I am to be married to Honor de Burgh."

"That child!" she exclaimed angrily. Contemptuously she pulled her soft hand away. "A cold-hearted girl, artful, sly and impertinent, who will make you her bubble on every pleasing occasion." She rose to face him, turning on him her magnificent tear-filled eyes full of reproach; her full, gleaming satin gown, ample as it was, yet showed the outline of her long limbs.

He was conscious of something both tragic and splendid in her demeanour which redeemed her words and her attitude from commonness or spite; and, flushed and moved as she was, her rosy comeliness shone very bright.

"You are a dreamer." Her words had the sound of an accusation. "You think so much of Ireland that you have let the years go by and done nothing for Ireland. You think so much of me, and the years have gone by and you have done nothing for me. You have drifted into a betrothal with this little creature who is a stranger to you; you have never inquired whether I was not waiting for you. Was I to rest for ever in a forced, girlish choice?"

"You were married, Olivia, and for all I knew happily."

"But you had not stopped for that?"

Patrick Sarsfield raised his hand and let it fall again. He believed that he had loved her all these ten years with a hidden aching torment of love, but never had he considered that he might make her his mistress, and that seemed what she was offering on the eve of his own wedding.

He was stirred, confused, excited; but there was too much between them, his honour was nice and fastidious and even while Madane de Bonnac looked at him with those passionate reproachful eyes he remembered her husband and Galway's sister...he thought, too, with an odd, perverse ache of disappointment, of the queenly Irish girl with whom he had exchanged the vows under the black yew of Irrelagh.

He turned from Olivia de Bonnac and looked out of the window into the narrow, fashionable street, crowded with the coming and going of the French, Scotch and Irish adherents of King James who then overwhelmed the city. It had been weak of him ever to have entered this elegant house in Skinner's Row, he must not come again; he still believed her pride was stronger than her passion, that she would wish him to forget what she had just an expedient for a sudden extremity.

Olivia de Bonnac watched this cold lover with a despairing impatience.

Ever since her marriage she had regretted this man refused from prudence; an unnecessary prudence, for he was now as rich as her husband, better considered and more highly placed.

She wished she could read his mind or understand his hesitation. Part of his persistent attraction for her was his difference from other men (an extraordinary difference from her own countrymen), yet this same strangeness then chafed her furiously. She stared at him keenly and saw a gentle tenderness in his face; his attitude was indolent and resigned, yet she knew his intelligence quick and his nature passionate; she knew the deep well-springs of a fanatic love for Ireland were within him.

Yet, what had he done, what would he do for Ireland?

She would have accepted his country if he had accepted her, and she thought that she might have inspired him with those definite aims, that earnest energy which is the mainspring of heroic success. Yet for the moment she dare say no more, nor dissemble and fawn, lest he should suddenly despise her as trivial or even base; for, though she was without any high ideals herself, she sensed how strongly he held to honour and virtue.

Sarsfield turned to glance at her and there was something wild and woful in his gaze, as if he pleaded her indulgence for an inevitable failure on his part; he took her hand again and kissed it. She was too cunning to ask for an explanation; she had been revealed to him and surely he must remember that...He looked at her earnestly, still as if he entreated desperately for her indulgence...

"It is as if a doom had been laid on us," he murmured. "In all I attempt nothing goes fairly. I am diverted here and there, 'till at last the end cometh like an armed man.'"

"'Tis in yourself the fault lies. Strike straight for what you want, be bold and short with your desires."

He sighed without replying, and she could not keep the tremble of warm scorn from her enchanting voice as she added:

"You do not know what you want, Colonel Sarsfield," and she was the one who turned away to save herself the pang of being left; there was nothing ignoble in her retreat.

Patrick Sarsfield went out into the crowded narrow street and passed through the fashionable locality inhabited by the followers of King James round the castle. He tried to readjust his mind after this poignant confession from Olivia de Bonnac. He told himself that she was not for him and that he would not take her. It was too late. Perhaps she expected of him, perhaps he ought to have felt, a passion so overwhelming, so devastating, that he would have responded at once to her proud advances. But this was not so. Had it been so, he told himself, he would not have waited patiently, away from her, for ten years. He was sorry that she had spoken; he had so much to do apart from women; his spirit was clogged with a dead weight of melancholy; she had lost her hazard.

At the corner of Fishamble Street a gentleman, with whom he had some slight acquaintance, one Captain Brian Maguire, addressed him impulsively, asking "if he might have a commission in his newly-raised troop of horse?"

Sarsfield startled himself out of his reflections to answer civilly:

"I thought you were under my Lord Galmoy's command?"

"You have not heard why I left it?" asked the other, and appeared surprised. He was a stout young gentleman with a candid face.

"No, I have heard nothing," replied Sarsfield. "I have been but a few weeks in Ireland, as you know."

Maguire then told him, standing at the street corner and speaking in a loud voice for all the passers-by to hear, the occasion of his resigning his commission under Lord Galmoy.

He, Brian Maguire, had been captured by the Protestant rebels at Crom, and Lord Galmoy had offered to exchange a certain Captain Dixie for him.

This proposal had been accepted and Maguire in due form released. But when the Jacobites came to Belturbet, where my Lord Galmoy, lately defeated by Hamilton, had his headquarters, the Jacobite general had refused to give up the Protestant prisoner unless he forswore his heresy and followed King James. Captain Dixie, in vigorous and peremptory terms, had haughtily refused and, with a fellow-prisoner, was ruthlessly hanged from a signpost in Belturbet, exposed to the mocks and jeers of the Jacobite soldiers.

"I could no longer serve under such a man. It was impolitic as well as infamous, for it hath made a great stir in Ireland and has put poison into all the quarrels, and many of the rebels have vowed neither to give nor receive quarter from a Jacobite, reminding each other of my Lord Galmoy's broken word."

Sarsfield sickened. He had heard of too many of these treacherous and hasty deeds. He was revolted by these traits of baseness and cruelty in his countrymen; a queer secret pride reminded him that Piers Butler, Lord Galmoy, was not native Irish but English of the Pale...but so he was himself on his father's side...he was defeated by his vanity.

Captain Maguire strode beside him towards the castle in the crowd of foreigners, contractors, hucksters, traders, loose women, moneylenders, priests, who swarmed in Dublin.

"What is to come out of all this welter, Colonel Sarsfield?"

Troubled, Sarsfield replied:

"I do not know, I cannot see a pace ahead. If the English send an army we may fight, I suppose."

"If the French don't send more supplies," said Maguire, "we may starve, I suppose."

As they entered the grim precincts of the old castle they heard the babbled news (which had speedily gone abroad) that the young Duke of Berwick and his newly-raised troop of horse had been repulsed from the walls of Derry, the stoutest and most bitter of the rebel towns and one which King James had vowed to take.

Despite Tyrconnel's boast, half the island was in the hands of the Protestants. Every one remarked on the fallen mien and confusion of the king, who seemed confounded. From the day when, entering Dublin, he had been met at the castle gates by four of his bishops bearing the Host and had fallen on his knees in the mud to receive the blessing from the primate, the viceroy's brother, he had done nothing either to endear himself to these subjects who had embraced his cause or to forward his own advantages. His privy council, his parliament, his proclamations, had had but little effect; the country wanted good government, men and money; and already the differences between the Scotch and Irish followers of the king and the wishes of Louis XIV. (who paid the piper and expected to call the tune) showed in an ominous series of clashes. Tyrconnel and the French faction, Melfort and the English faction tried to draw the king along a different road. D'Avaux doled out the French gold with increasing reluctance; his expression became inscrutable, his dispatches to his master very long.

Sarsfield felt heavy-hearted and was relieved to see Henry Luttrell, the Governor of Sligo, among the crowd cursing and arguing in the shabby antechamber. Luttrell's fine face wore an expression of amusement; he left the press to take Sarsfield by the arm and whisper to him that he had much to relate; Sarsfield always felt comforted by the presence of this man; there was a steadiness beneath his lightness, a good fellowship beneath his mockery that revealed a strong and settled character.


"WHAT do you see amidst these manifold confusions?" asked Sarsfield.

He was not himself interested in politics, nor keen in any court or bedchamber intrigues, and he relied considerably on Henry Luttrell—a man who always seemed to have the most intricate affairs of the moment at his fingers' ends and to be able to give a good and clear account of them.

Colonel Luttrell smiled and seemed to be amused by the trouble and heaviness of his companion as he explained that he had come from Sligo, where there was nothing to do, to be at the heart of events in Dublin Castle. He had contrived, as he had a way of contriving, to be in any place where he wished to be, to be present at the last privy council held by the king.

Briefly and shrewdly he related to Sarsfield what he had heard there and his own conclusions. The king, it seemed, was still reluctant to wholly trust the Irish, he relied sooner on the French. D'Aaux and Louis, his master, had perceived, Henry Luttrell thought, that it would be hopeless to endeavour to oust William of Orange from the English throne, but they did believe it might be possible to establish James permanently in Ireland, to expel from that island the puritan colonists, restore the roman catholics and establish their Church there.

"King Louis," said Luttrell with his indulgent smile, "counts on the Irishmen to fight his battles, on our harbours to shelter his troops, and all of us to be a thorn in the side of England. D'Avaux went so far as to say the best thing King James could do would be to forget that he had ever reigned in Great Britain and think only of establishing himself in Ireland.

"And did the king agree?"

"The king, as always, hesitated. Melfort, the English and the Scotch are for the other side. They would have him wait till Derry falls—and they believed it would fall immediately—and then sail for Scotland. That is the king's own wish. He detests us, my dear Sarsfield, as much as we are doubtful of him.

"He will never be popular in Ireland," said Sarsfield.

The wild enthusiasm with which the exiled Stewart had been received at Kinsale had indeed sharply waned. There had been several ugly incidents showing alike the king's bigotry, imprudence and want of tact. By his behaviour he had alienated the Protestants, some of whom might have been induced to join him from motives of loyalty to his House. He had repelled harshly and even brutally the advances of the populace, having the crowd cleared from his doors by the soldiery; a recruit who had dropped a carbine through clumsiness had been shot because the weapon had exploded; both in public and in private the king had been heard to make sneering remarks about the Irish; Tyrconnel backed him, looking beyond James and despairing of any restoration in England he relied entirely on the court of Versailles.

"These intrigues," said Sarsfield, "make my head and my heart ache. What will be the upshot?"

Colonel Luttrell said that he thought the king would go north and join the Jacobite army which was endeavouring to quell the colonists who had shown such a surprisingly strong resistance. In spite of Berwick's repulse at the walls of Derry they believed that town might fall, and once they had Derry and Inniskillen they might count on having the whole of Ireland.

"Meanwhile," said Sarsfield, "we sit about and talk. Why does no one do anything? I have raised my troop of horse, maintained and paid them at my own expense, but no use is made of them."

Pacing about he told Luttrell of the information he had gathered from stragglers and fugitives as to the state of the country. There were hundreds of wild rapparees abroad, burning and slaying, killing the cattle for the mere sake of the tallow and fat; crops were unsown, fields uncultivated, rivers defiled—all a chaos; private feuds and hates being satisfied regardless of the public interest or the king's cause.

Then he mentioned the contempt of De Rosen and his officers that he, as a trained soldier, was bound to share for the Irish they were endeavouring to recruit. "Uncouth, stubborn and conceited, the Irish must be governed with rigour and severity and were not to be wrought upon with lenity and gentleness; they respected no officer except he who beat them daily without mercy and followed none but their own particular leaders to the utter ruin of the army."

Colonel Luttrell smiled, with his fingers in the nut-brown curls on his breast.

"The officers know no more than the men and understand nothing of how to exercise or train them. How should they?—for there is scarce a gentleman among them. They are sons of bakers and even of cowherds."

"Some of them have been sent to the north," said Sarsfield, "who have never seen service. As for arms, they have been taught the little they know with sticks; when they come to handle pike or musket they are to begin again. One cannot blame De Rosen for saying that he can do nothing with officers who are from the plough, from digging potatoes, and from such like exercise, or who have been put into commission because they have a few men to follow them and bear the name of a good family, and who are," added Sarsfield with gloomy heat, "without experience, without conduct, without authority, without even a sense of honour."

Luttrell agreed that the only troops worth considering in the event of an army being sent from England were the troops of horse raised by private noblemen and which consisted of eight regiments, each having about two hundred and fifty men.

Luttrell also commented, and with his usual light irony, on the misery of the assistance rendered by France.

For months they had talked of supplies from France as they might have talked of Golconda or El Dorado, as if that country not only possessed all the gold of the Indies, but was willing to send it to Ireland. It had been cheerfully discussed as to how many millions must be poured into the west by the generous hands of King Louis; but ever since the landing at Kinsale, D'Avaux had been doling out pence with a more and more reluctant hand. He now stated that he had nearly exhausted the gold he had brought with him from France and had, so far, received no promise of any more. The officers' pay was long in arrears; the men were paid by the gentlemen who had raised them or not at all; poverty began to show bleakly even in the royal household; the food was coarse and poor; appointments had become tarnished and ragged, service unwilling and sullen. Even the spirited Lady Tyrconnel and her gay daughters were no longer able to lend an air of elegance and gaiety to the gloomy chambers of Dublin Castle.

"Yet, withal that affairs are so bad with us," said Sarsfield stubbornly, "it will cost the English something to dislodge us, and dislodge us they must; for, without the subjugation of Ireland, England cannot flourish and perhaps not subsist, for if England does not hold our harbours where is her famous and boasted trade?"

"We are here and we shall stay," replied Luttrell. "You do not yet know your own power."

This sudden personal note startled Sarsfield.

"How do I come into this?" he asked, surprised, and added with some bitterness, "I am no more than the least of those who follow King James. I am only spoken fair because I could raise two hundred and fifty men and pay them. They have given me the rank of brigadier but I have no power."

"You have if you wish," urged Luttrell swiftly. "The Irish love you and would follow you. You are the only one among them who thinks of the people as the people and who puts in no claim for himself—of the ancient blood, too, not gay, brisk, modish, but grave such as carries weight."

Sarsfield could not follow the trend of this; he had never quite understood Luttrell, but the man fascinated him.

"There's a party for France, Colonel Sarsfield, a party for England and a party for Scotland, and those who think of nothing but restoring the House of Stewart at any cost. Why not a party for Ireland?"

Rising, he added rapidly: "Trust none of them; neither D'Avaux, nor De Rosen, who is, after all, only a blustering wooden soldier; nor Tyrconnel, nor the old worn-out king himself. Make your count and your party where you may and rely on me."

"Do you think I am willing or wishful to join in these intrigues? I am a plain soldier—"

"'Tis unfortunate," interrupted Luttrell drily. "Had you some head for politics you might best all these wrangling foreigners."

It was plain that he would have said more but the two were interrupted by a messenger who came to summon Sarsfield to D'Avaux's closet.

The Frenchman, who had behaved to him with uniform but official kindness since the conversation he had had with him on the man-of-war in the harbour of Kinsale, greeted him now with a friendliness which seemed full of goodwill and candour. With that simplicity so effectively employed by many wily and veteran diplomats, D'Avaux put before him his views and plans.

"Whatever you hear, Colonel Sarsfield, do not believe that King Louis still hopes to put King James on the throne of Great Britain. It is manifest that the Prince of Orange is very firmly established there and not a man to be lightly dislodged. But King Louis does intend to maintain King James in Ireland. Forget everything else, Colonel Sarsfield."

"But why have you told this to me, monseigneur?"

"Because it will only be by the aid of men like you that King James can be maintained in this country. I spoke to you frankly before; I need your enthusiasm, your patriotism. King Louis will know how to reward your services."

Sarsfield did not attempt to refrain from answering:

"I serve the King of England, not the King of France. I would not touch French money or French rewards."

"Without King Louis," smiled D'Avaux, "King James is nothing. There is no need to press that point with you, you are a man of sense. I have work for you," he said with a smile of engaging encouragement. "I intend to send you with your guards and some others, say a body of five hundred, to Lough Erne in Fermanagh."

He indicated a place on the map which lay under his hand.

"There you may try your mettle, face to face with these invaders and usurpers whom you, Colonel Sarsfield, regard with such warrantable detestation. A chance," he added shrewdly, "to make your name sparkle, to attract the attention of those whose attention it is worth while to attract. You will receive your formal orders from De Rosen or Tyrconnel, but I tell you this early and in confidence that you may have good time for preparations. Which preparations, I believe," he added, smiling more deeply, "include a marriage."

"Yes, monseigneur, I would be married before I leave Dublin. It will be hurried, but in time of war that may be overlooked."

Comte d'Avaux held out his hand; Sarsfield noticed that it shook a little; the diplomat was not the man he had been when he stood on the warship and looked for the first time at the coast of Ireland. He was worn, weakened, even on the verge of nervous illness; dealing with King James, with Tyrconnel, with Melfort, had shaken even his humble constancy and quiet patience.

"Be careful of Henry Luttrell," he advised. "He is a sly, cautious, working man; of a great charm, I admit, and a curious fascination. But I would not be of his advice, by his means fortunes might be cast away."

The Frenchman rose with a gracious gesture of dismissal, as if he would have no comment on this statement, which had astonished Sarsfield, who had always regarded Henry Luttrell as an upright gentleman not likely to be miscalled by any; yet he respected D'Avaux's observation and judgment.

Sarsfield was exhilarated at the prospect of action; he left the presence of D'Avaux elated with the thought of leading his troop to Fermanagh, but at the same time he was something confounded by the thought of the sudden marriage that this would mean. His relations with Honor de Burgh had been so formal. The girl, on a closer acquaintance, had seemed slight, childish, trivial. He believed that he wronged her in making her his wife while he felt for her no more than a kindly indifference. But her brother and her other relatives were expecting of him the fulfilment of his bond. They would certainly consider that he must assure her future before he went into the campaign. And there was Olivia de Bonnac; his heart warmed at the thought of her but his spirit sank. Must he say farewell to this woman who had twice told him she was not of those who are left behind? would he mortify her by a silent departure?

And there was that other, blithe as a wood-thrush in June, who had already shared with him a leave-taking and gone serenely to her dreams; and he grew weary of these buffetings of chance, he felt hoodwinked by events, unable to get so much as a glimpse of a definite truth.

He passed with indifference through the busy passageways of the castle and was startled through his reverie by a voice saying:

"'Tis with great reluctance, Colonel Sarsfield, that I broach to you a nice subject."

The Duke of Berwick stood at his elbow; Sarsfield paused with quick courtesy and invited the young man into a little disused cabinet of pictures collected by former viceroys; he stood civilly waiting, his back to the light from the corridor (there was no window), and so disinterested that he was considering an Italian landscape with ice-blue mountains and daisied foreground. He believed Berwick, who appeared absorbed in his profession, wished to speak to him on some military matter.

But as the young duke remained rigid and motionless Sarsfield glanced at him keenly; despite his recent sharp defeat in the brush with the rebel colonists the youth retained his usual composure; Sarsfield reflected that, being a landless and a nameless man, James Fitz James had had little to lose through the misfortunes of his royal father, that in any case his life would have had to be one of pure adventure; he would never have much that he would not be able to gain for himself.

Berwick stood in an erect, precise attitude; he looked older than his twenty years; his long, smooth face had the Stewart outlines and the Churchill beauty; he was very graceful, his eyes large, dusky, thoughtful, his abundant hair of the Stewart auburn and richly curled, his handsome scarlet and gold gallooned uniform was very nicely kept; he made an admirable figure. As he continued silent, in what seemed an austere musing, Sarsfield asked with a smile:

"Well, my lord, what did you wish with me?"

Berwick gave him a sharp and strange look, then said:

"Nothing, after all. Silence is best, sir," and turned on his heel and walked rapidly away without a backward look, his hand grasped tightly on the hilt of his Parisian sword.

Sarsfield was impressed that whatever the young duke had had on his mind to say had not been of a trivial nature, and he was puzzled. He had never had any intimacy with Berwick; he thought that they would never have either vice or virtue in common. He was not jealous of the king's bastard; he even felt his own unblemished descent superior to this tainted royalty, and he had been stung when his brother had married Monmouth's sister; but he did not think he would ever like Berwick, so cool, so sure of himself, so little concerned in those matters over which Sarsfield's heart ached...

"What could he have meant to say to me? But if he does not intend to speak I shall never loosen his resolve."

The shadows gathered round the work of dead men in the little closet; Sarsfield wearied at his own reluctance to face the relentless demands of everyday.

"I have no patience thus to beat the air to no purpose—I must put aside this musing."


WHEN Sarsfield approached the Lady Honor de Burgh he felt awkward, uneasy and almost guilty. She had rooms in the castle and the kindness of Lady Tyrconnel had secured her the name of lady-in-waiting on herself, but the title, like all titles of this mock court, meant nothing. This convent-bred girl, clad in mignonette-coloured silk, faded and unadorned, sat at her harpsichord in one of the large gloomy chambers of the citadel; she sang in an idle, casual voice a song from a book in front of her, the meaning of which Sarsfield was sure she did not understand:

"Brightness falls from the air;
Queens have died young and fair;
Dust fills Helen's eyes;
I am sick, I must die.

—'Miserere Domini!'"

She stood up dutifully when he entered and his heart went out to her in pity, remorse and tenderness. He tried to snatch at memories of formal marriages between strangers which had ended in mutual love and comfort, and he hoped fervently that so it might be with him and Honor de Burgh.

He told her that he was ordered to Fermanagh and asked her with kind humbleness if she would have him before he went. There were many of her and of his relations in the castle in Dublin, and they might be wed with some ceremony in the chapel...he thought his words sounded dry as autumn leaves.

She replied meekly that she "supposed it was all arranged, that her brother had seen to the affair, as for herself, why, she was willing enough."

Sarsfield explained to her that the reason for this hasty wedding was that she might find herself, in case of any mishap, mistress of Lucan and his fortune.

Honor put in quickly:

"But it seems, sir, that you spend all that on your troops, that there will be little enough left for your poor wife or widow."

She smiled prettily, that he might take her words for childishness, yet it seemed to him a strange thing for her to have said, and he remembered Olivia de Bonnac's large and generous scorn of her as a sly, artful girl.

He assured her that she should be provided for and that, bar his total ruin, which could only come if the Roman Catholic cause and that of King James were completely lost, she was safe enough, and that in a waste of woe and the desolation of war in which few were secure.

He asked if she would go to Lucan or if he should hire a house for her in Dublin, in Fishamble Street or Skinner's Row, or if she would remain near her brother and her relatives in the castle?

"'Tis the same to me," replied the Lady Honor. "Everywhere I feel homeless. When is the war coming to an end?" she asked in a kind of sharp simplicity, and turned on him clear, questioning blue eyes.

"I wish I knew, my dear, one must not expect to get one religion and king out, and another in, in a week or so."

"Will the Protestants and colonists return to Scotland or England," she asked, "now they see that they are dispossessed, that their cause is hopeless?"

"They do not believe it is hopeless," replied Sarsfield. "There is no doubt they will fight, and one cannot but applaud 'em for it. You cannot, my dear," he added sadly, "cast down the mighty and exalt the humble without much confusion. It is a dull and tedious time for the women," he added, with tenderness for her slight, childish figure in the pale, faded silk, for her wistful resigned face.

"Or else too gay," said Honor de Burgh.

And again he was faintly startled at her shrewd and worldly air.

"What do you know of such gaiety," he smiled, "who have not been above six months from a convent?"

Honor replied:

"Lady Tyrconnel and her daughters are lively and splendid enough, they contrive to find diversions even when mewed up in the castle."

"Why, so shall you if you will." And all his anxiety to please and win her glowed in his words.

She gazed into his handsome face keenly, but not with candour. She was small, finely formed, her soft hair was of a soft brown colour and hung heavily on her shoulders; her features were precise; but she seemed too reserved for her age. As he considered her he knew that never would he have chosen this woman; he could not now get back to or understand the mood which had allowed him to drift into an acceptance of her brother's proposals, and even here he half recoiled from the final step and wondered if, however deep his honour and his dignity were engaged, it would not be more honest to release Honor from her formal promise. Their indifference to each other was too manifest.

"What are you thinking of?" she asked, noting his abstraction, and she added: "Of Madane de Bonnac, perhaps?" Her tone was curious, free from all jealousy. He was contemptuous of himself for supposing that she would not have heard his name coupled with that of Olivia.

"You are much, sir, in her company?" added Honor with her probing air. "For myself, I do not like her; she will never be a friend of mine."

"There is no need that she should be, dear heart—I shall do all in my power to oblige you, in this and everything else. I wish to be your servant in all—you shall find my heart immovable against allurements from your service."

"So," said Honor, with her odd little air of quiet assurance, "you would make a faithful husband, but it is certain that you have been a laggard lover."

He learnt from that, that she was displeased with her marriage and that she had gossiped about him with her friends, as he might have expected, and he said to her immediately and with a remorseful sincerity:

"Honor, I have been no lover to you at all, this has been but a formal and easily fixed affair, though in the estate in which we are, many marriages have no more pretence than conveniency in them. If your heart is elsewhere or you would be free of me, why, say so, and I will contrive all for your peace of mind and dignity."

"You cannot hope," she replied, with a slow smile, "that I should have any great tenderness for you, Colonel Sarsfield. You are to me a stranger, and you have never wooed me; though, without effort, you have won me."

"Yet," he replied earnestly, "I do not enter into this marriage lightly. I intend that there shall be affection and even love between us, companionship and comfort. And as we are of one faith and one nationality, bound in one effort and one misfortune, that should not be so difficult, Honor."

She faltered a little beneath this earnestness touched with passion, and he urged further, clasping both her small hands: "Could you not trust me and help me, Honor, in this proud yet dreadful moment for Ireland? Amid all this turmoil and confusion could we not stand together?"

He broke off and pressed her fingers convulsively.

"Believe me, I could easily love you, Honor." He spoke sincerely; he believed at that moment that he could easily love any woman who asked of him protection, who gave him affection; his life had been so long barren, filled merely with the music of dreams lulling a monotonous routine.

As she did not answer but hung her head, he released her hands and said:

"If you would be free, tell me so, I conjure you, Honor." And as she still did not reply—"There's no other holds your fancy or affection?"

At that she looked up, and smiling, said: "No, and 'tis my wish that this marriage should take place."

"You speak truly, Honor, faithfully? Do not be frightened or ashamed. Confide in me who am so much yout elder."

She smoothed the stiff folds of mignonette silk which rippled from her waist.

"I do confide in you," she said, "and I will marry you and be your good and faithful wife, and wait for your return, as other ladies await their lords. Try to be satisfied with this." But she spoke with too little emotion; either she was cold-hearted or was concealing something from him and, since he could get no more from her, he felt rebuffed, despondent.

After what she had said it was impossible for him to free himself, even had he wished it, and he persuaded himself that he did not wish it, and he was glad he was going to share his life with this young, innocent, delicate girl, high-born, finely-bred, of his own nationality and faith.

Now there were the estates and the money, the wife, the high military command, work to do—the thought of all this inspired him to snatch her to him and kiss her with sudden passion which brought the colour to her smooth cheeks.

But she whispered no endearments and endured his caresses rather than welcomed them. But he believed in her truth.

Believing her to be childish yet and not disliking her for that, he spoke to her of certain jewels which had come to him with Lucan that he would send to her; she seemed pleased at that and flushed, and told him that she was indeed stripped of everything, her brother having had to sell her mother's gems in Paris.

When he left her he felt fortified against the doubts and confusions and distress; he was able to think, with serenity, of Olivia de Bonnac.

It was better for her as for him that this woman should be put between them, and he turned into the sombre chapel of the castle where, for the first time since the reformation, Romish incense darkened the air, and prayed with the full ardour of his simple and manly faith.

He believed in God and in what the priests told him. He believed in honour and in keeping the law of heaven and of earth.

But through his prayers came a thought, and behind his locked hands he saw a face, and neither the thought nor the face should have been in this holy place. He thought in a passion of weary home-sickness of Irrelagh, the shimmer of the lake, the purple-gold of the mountains, and all the drifting veils of rain, the high battalions of airy clouds and the night-black yew, the wet marble and the graves of the gray old kings, and his heart was like to burst from his bosom with longing to be away from this alien city, these alien people, all these complications and conventionalities of everyday life, and to stand once more in the ruins or by the lake edge, and smell the peat and the fern, and to know that Ishma O'Donaghoe stood beside him, in her garment of saffron yellow, saying: "It may be I pledged myself to you and if so and we are united lovers we must meet again."...Dreams, wild and foolish dreams and faery romances of his lost youth, matters to be put aside.

Patrick Sarsfield left the chapel with a heavy step; the even serenity which he believed he had gained by his understanding with Honor had largely left him.

He went aside into a neglected gallery where rolls of tapestry and furniture, used only on festival occasions, were piled; but there he could not be alone for Henry Luttrell had spied him leaving the chapel and had followed him. At first Sarsfield was irritated, then glad because of this man's company; difficult for him to realise, impossible for him to explain the fascination Henry Luttrell had for him; there was a comfort in his presence he had not found in the chapel.

Pacing up and down in the long, dusty, disused gallery, encumbered with the chairs covered with canvas, with arras on wooden rollers, pictures turned to the wall, disturbed now and then by the scamper of rats, the two soldiers talked of Ireland; Sarsfield earnestly, sadly; Luttrell with his mocking lightness.

Sarsfield mentioned with impatient contempt and horror the episode Maguire had told him, and Luttrell laughed and said all Ireland rang with the rank tale. He added that Galmoy had allowed his soldiers to decapitate the two young men after they were hanged and make footballs of their heads...Galmoy was that manner of man.

"But worse has happened than that, I marvel that you wonder at it. What can you expect of a country where such hate is let loose?"

"But men like Galmoy ruin us," said Sarsfield. "It was an ugly thing to send Mountjoy to Paris on a false errand and then have him flung into the Bastille. The English cast that in our faces. We have used too much treachery, Luttrell."

"See that you keep your own hands clean," mocked the other, amiably. "We are fighting for our very existence. What do you intend to do when you go north? You think you will find warfare like you are used to in Flanders and Italy? The Protestants are flying as fast into Ulster as if the devil was after 'em. You will see the ditches filled with their household goods, and if you do come across a mansion from which the colonists have not been able to escape in time, why, you will find all the inhabitants massacred from the oldest dame to the youngest babe."

"We are recruiting the scum of Ireland!"

"Not only that," said Luttrell smoothly. "The orders of De Rosen and his generals say 'Massacre all the Protestants and the colonists! If they will not leave the island that is the only way to be rid of them. After all, they have had their choice. The king has offered an amnesty to such as would lay down their arms and acknowledge him, and the most prudent have done so or fled already. Waste no pity on them, my dear Sarsfield. After all, it is what they did in the days of Elizabeth and Cromwell. These people have long memories. If they massacre the Protestants they only massacre the descendants of those who slew their ancestors'."

Sarsfield, wearied before the truth of this, almost turned away from his task and his duty, for he was a man of a mild and merciful disposition, who could not in cold blood slaughter his worst enemy.

Three days later Patrick Sarsfield and Honor de Burgh were married before a gay company in the chapel of St. Patrick in Dublin Castle. For a few hours all made shift to forget the war; a creditable feast was provided, and the bride received rich presents from the king, Tyrconnel, De Rosen, her own relatives and those of her husband. She seemed in high spirits and Sarsfield was soothed at the thought of future happiness, so much glow and excitement did she display...

Yet, even as she knelt at the altar steps in her silver run brocade she was eclipsed by Olivia de Bonnac who stood beneath a cluster of white candles in silent radiance, the light on her pearly satins, her pear-shaped diamonds, her brilliant hair, her sparkling eyes opulent with triumph; for she knew that all must mark the difference between her and the little bride.

Sarsfield did not look at Olivia; as he knelt at the altar with Honor he had sworn, not only with his lips but in his soul, fidelity to this young creature entrusted to him in circumstances so piteous. His warm imagination and tender heart had almost presuaded him that he was beginning to love her; he thought of her as one with the task before him; behind the church violins was the throb of war drums. On his wedding-night, when he went into the chamber, he surprised her in a passion of tears; at his entrance she started aside like a broken bow; she was weeping in an abandonment of half-hysterical despair.

Amazed beyond prudence, dismayed, he questioned her. She refused to answer, hid her face in terror against the great bed; Sarsfield pulled her to her feet. She was his wife, he could suffer no mystery. From her young bosom, from her hot moist hands, fell a picture in little of the Duke of Berwick.


IT was a noble apartment, arranged with some pomp, through the impetuous kindness of the Duchess of Tyrconnel. Hangings, showing in deep colours the Jovian loves, darkened the walls; the sumptuous curtains of the high plumed bed cast coverlet and pillows, satin embroidered, gold fringed, into heavy shade; all the tapers had been quenched save two on the toilet table where the bride's jewels and favours had been flung down before the round mirror which reflected nothing but darkness.

Sarsfield stood by the bed pillar with the miniature of Berwick dangling by a short ribbon from his fingers; he recalled stupidly that the young Duke had been the only person of note not present at the marriage; with his inscrutable, cold air he had ridden away that morning to the camp at Ardee (he had said); Sarsfield stared at the painted face that smiled haughtily from the ivory; he wished to give his wife some leisure in which to compose herself; he wished, too, for a pause in which to take up his own courage; he felt overthrown.

He had come to her full of tenderness; he had been so glad to escape, with his easy good humour, from the merrymaking and the pleasant jesting of their friends, to this privacy where he might (he thought) reassure and comfort the woman committed to his charge; it was hateful to him to have thus outraged her privacy, her secret; why had her simpering chamber woman, putting away the bride robe in the closet, admitted him eagerly, saying: "My lady is waiting"?

He moved away to the dishevelled toilet table and stared down at some of his own jewels, no doubt cast aside with aversion...and she had seemed so pleased to receive them...he could not leave her without all was clear between them; he prayed that she might cease weeping; this she soon contrived to do; her overthrow was the painful overthrow of a woman whose intelligence usually mastered her emotion. The humiliation of having betrayed herself and the ignominy of this surprise by the stranger who was her husband served to nerve her into calm. He could hear her struggling desperately and sincerely to control her sobs, and respected her courage.

But he wished bitterly she had not lied to him a few days before when she had said that she was heart-free and willing for their marriage to take place. All his hopes of creating some happiness and peace out of this union were blasted. He blamed himself and pitied her, and smarted under the behaviour of Berwick. When she was silent, he turned at last, and said:

"My poor child, I am very sorry, you should have been candid with me."

Honor was again cool, reserved, proud. He marvelled at so much self-control in one so young and inexperienced; at her lack of ardour, too, even her tears seemed passionless; she must be the same age as Ishma, but how poor and pale in comparison; he could not think that she had any sweet, joyous love to bring any man; Ishma was brightly shining with life, straight and lustrous as a lily on its stem...why must he think of Ishma? Honor was now his care; she looked at him with eyes already dry though reddened; she wore a silk shift under a loose bed-gown; he could see her slight shoulders, her bare feet, her garters, a confusion of rose-yellow ribbons on the bed step; he winced from this enforced intimacy; never had she seemed more of a stranger to him; he felt deeply punished for some obscure but unpardonable sin.

"I will now tell you everything," said Honor hoarsely.

"No, it is your secret," he replied, "and I am sure an honourable one."

He spoke sincerely, and when she, still cold, stammered that the original of the picture she had been cherishing had no more than kissed her hand, he believed her, yet thought she should have been too innocent to need to offer this assurance.

"But you should not have married me, Honor, if you think so well of him. Why did you do it?"

They had been united by Holy Church in face of God and men; a contract for ever, sacred, not to be broken without the last step in sinning. He dreaded the years ahead.

Honor did not answer, and he could painfully guess her piteous need for silence.

She had married him at the prudent urging of her brother, the cautious advice of her relatives; it would not be likely that she would easily find a man of her own rank with money and lands willing to marry her in the midst of the stress and confusion of war.

She was neither a beauty nor a wit, she was herself careful and timid; maybe others knew her infatuation for Berwick, maybe that was why Galway had proposed and urged on the marriage; Sarsfield felt trapped and taken.

He blamed no one; his own life, his own marriage seemed as difficult and as ill-omened as the sad affairs of his country. He put his hand before his eyes, the light of the two candles beside the dark surfaced mirror made them ache, and said:

"Honor, you were too young to know that you should not have married me—I am much troubled by the lateness of this knowledge."

She had wiped away the tear-stains from her childish face.

"We stand as equals," she said quietly. "You know that you prefer Madame de Bonnac to any other woman, and had no thought at all for me."

"Alas that you have listened to this idle vapouring, which it was a breach of charity to bring to your ears!"

"People will talk, and I am not so young. Every one knows your devotion to her, and she is very beautiful, or most think so."

"She is not your rival, there is capacity in the heart for many secret loyalties—to dreams maybe—this of mine was no matter for prying worldlings."

"You wished to marry her once."

"That was ten years ago—so you've heard that too!"

Sarsfield marvelled at the eager, curious spite which circulated all these tales. Who had told Honor that he had once been the persistent suitor of Olivia Joyce? And in this moment of distress, confusion and humiliation, his mind and heart both turned back with a glad leap of escape to the memory of Irrelagh and that woman there of whom no one knew, whose name none could turn over their tongue, who would be for ever hidden, secret in his heart.

"I have no confession to make," said Honor, keeping her voice surprisingly steady. "But it is better I should tell you."

She glanced at the miniature, a skilful painting of the smooth, dark face, which he had dropped on the coverlet beside her, and added with a pride and a control he respected: "I cared for my lord very greatly, and he allowed me to think he held me dear. We did not see each other very often nor speak very much, but we appeared absolutely to understand each other, when we were together everything was different."

Sarsfield could believe that; knowing Berwick and knowing her he could discern there was something akin in their natures; both were hard, brilliant, inclined to be cold and austere, prudent, thoughtful, proud...

"What was there between you—what was the difficulty?"

"He did not think enough of me to let me hamper his fortunes. He said he was in no way to think of a wife, that he was dependent on his father and King Louis, and that neither of them wished him to wed so young, and I believe, too, there was a scheme afoot to unite him to a French princess—" Honor's delicate face quivered, she spoke with a piteous dryness. "And I thought to the very last he would have intervened."

Sarsfield recalled the incident of a few days ago when Berwick had met him in the gallery, stopped, and said he had to speak with him, then mused awhile in silence, and turned on his heel; he had then been struggling with his pride, prudence and self-interest, no doubt; he had deliberately sacrificed his strong inclination, perhaps his strong love, to ambition.

"He has nothing," whispered Honor, turning away her head, "he is nameless and landless, a pretence of a prince! Let him go, I am your wife now."

"You do well to remind me," said Sarsfield heavily, "we must even make the best of this same marriage."

"It shall be no worse than others," she replied with that irony that sat so painfully on her extreme youth. She took the miniature from the bed, came towards him, and said quickly: "Take that back to my Lord Berwick, say I sent it."

"If you wish."

Sarsfield himself thought it as well that Berwick should be aware that Honor's husband knew of this thwarted romance.

As he put the case in his pocket he wondered how deep it went with her; a girl's caprice, a woman's whim, or a deep, endless passion? She had greatly wronged herself by this marriage, and he had wronged her by taking her when he could give her no more than a faint compassion. He could no longer create tenderness or affection out of this compassion. He looked at her with an immense coldness not to be overcome. He wondered what Berwick, so uncommonly gifted, attractive, had seen in this haughty, chill creature; for even now in her humiliation and distress she repulsed him, and he could not bring himself to offer warm comfort.

"Will you go to Lucan?" he asked.

She seemed to shrink from that prospect, rather would she stay in Dublin in the castle with her relatives and friends where there was some attempt at diversion; she plucked at the bed curtains; she was half-lost in shade.

"You need not fear for me," she said, catching at his thoughts too shrewdly for his liking, "for my Lord Berwick is going north."

"I am very sorry for your distress and your state. You can do nothing now to help yourself but to break utterly with him, even in your thought."

"You need not, sir, remind me of my plain duty."

"Each of us," said Sarsfield, "must become used to our duty. You will see nothing of me for some weeks. Think of me kindly and as your husband."

Honor sank on to the bed-step; she seemed exhausted and overborne. With her strange worldly wisdom, which at once pierced and alienated Sarsfield, she whispered:

"If you had loved me, if you could come to love me, you might make me forget that other. As it is—" She broke off with a hopeless gesture.

Sarsfield could force no tenderness, they might both have been of stone for all the emotion, passion, or feeling there was between them; he remembered what Madame de Bonnac had said of her—"artful, sly;" he was resolved not to blame her, but he could not set her high; she had put a cheat on herself, on him, which all his life he must pay for; how much had they not both irrecoverably lost!

He thought: "I must not be defeated by this, it is many a man's lot—time is already so far past that there is only half my life to live at longest." And he dwelt with relief on the mischances of war; he was eager not to leave her disconsolate, and stood, hesitant as to what he should say of kindness and comfort...

Honor, drawn deeper into her curtained shade, regarded him shyly; unobserved by him there was the same expression, half regret, half vexation, in her eyes which ten years before had darkened Olivia's gaze when she had looked at him across the rain-swept window of the MacCarthys' mansion.

In his unconscious pain and dignity, his comeliness set off by his formal splendour, carefully arrayed for his marriage, Patrick Sarsfield would have been splendid in any woman's eyes; he had pushed back the thick hair from his forehead and his beautiful lips were pale and strained; he impetuously approached the slight, watchful figure by the marriage bed, and she as impetuously drew away.

"You must leave me. I'll not be touched."

She had her bed-gown to her throat, and her figure, held back against the coverlet, was rigid and defiant; Sarsfield was heavily rebuked by her misunderstanding.

"Think not," he said sternly, "I sought you for wilful desires or amorous designs—such with me are lost or laid aside—I came but to contrive—how we might come upon comfort, believing that was my clear obligation to you—but all that is changed."

"You approached me."

"Ay, I still had it in my mind to offer some compassion, but all, it seems, is turned to mischief and calamity."

Honor glanced at him, saw his proud distress, and snatched the coverlet to her face, crouching away in shame. He left her in her bereaved bridal-chamber and went to his closet; as he unbuckled his sword, put off his sash and baldric, lovely as the sound and sight of running water pure from the mountains through fragrant grasses came the memory of Irrelagh; the gray alabaster ruins, the black enchanted yew, and Ishma, serene and bright as a rainbow, who had walked beside him above the graves.

"No sleep for me to-night, nor any certainty to reflect on—I have this proud, wilful hurt child on my hands, and a parcel of regrets to haunt me."

But his resolution to help his country was not shaken; that held firm even through this acrid disillusion of his marriage; Ireland was more to him than Honor de Burgh, than Madame de Bonnac, Ireland was one with Ishma O'Donaghoe, his secret treasure.

He was to go to Bundoran on Lough Erne, to guard the outposts against Ulster; there, in Fermanagh, with work to do, he could think without distress of these poor women, so weak, impulsive and frustrated; he opened the window in his closet; it looked over the grim, massive bastions, faintly visible in the light of an overclouded moon. Patrick Sarsfield felt the cool air blowing across his face as he gazed at the gray-smoky outline of the sleeping city. Again, in his weariness and disillusion, he felt the need of a miracle to reconcile him with life, and, for the first time, that deep longing, known sooner or later to all, for the final release of death.

He remained long at the window, watching the scudding vapours hasten across the moon that was shining over the darkness of the yew at Irrelagh and on the hut of dark-green stone where Ishma was sleeping on her pillow of fern, guarded by the dog with his collar of fine plaited Irish gold. But he could come to no firm conclusions about either the heavy matters or the thin gaudy toys that made up his life.

Yet, though this hateful night brought torment instead of repose to him, he was, with composed front, attendant early in the chapel which was yet hung with the adornments for his marriage.

Colonel Henry Luttrell knelt beside him and followed him when Mass was over; Sarsfield envied this man who seemed on such good terms with his destiny, who was able to maintain the part of an amused spectator of other's farces and tragedies without being ever affected himself.

"The king is to go to Ardee," said Luttrell. "Melfort hath over-persuaded him against D'Avaux, who would keep him in Dublin."

"And Ardee is but a step on the way to Scotland?"

"Ay, the news from Dundee is good—Melfort hopes to beat the Ulster rebels in one large battle, and then, laurelled, lead His Majesty to Edinburgh—" Luttrell was smiling. "The court hums with this, your marriage is already forgotten. Lord! the long faces of the Irish—they believe the king will forsake them and they take D'Avaux for their man—"

"'Tis clear as noon," said Sarsfield. "We are to be sucked and flung away like a squeezed orange—what does De Rosen say?"

"He is to try to reduce Derry—"

"'Tis against all credibility that it should hold out against French troops."

"So Melfort thinks; he waits daily for the news that both Inniskillen and Derry have fallen."

"I admire the Protestants' stubborn courage," said Sarsfield.

Luttrell laughed and gave his companion an ironic glance.

"These Protestants," continued Sarsfield, "whom one might have taken to be cornered like rats, desperate and undone, are worthy of much praise."

Luttrell carelessly agreed that "every one expressed their astonishment at the foolhardy impudence of the colonists in refusing the free pardon offered them by Tyrconnel on condition that they laid down their arms."

He added that the Council of the North had had indeed the insolence to tell the Duke of Tyrconnel that, he having broken all such undertaking as he had lately made to the Protestants, they "had no reason to expect a true performance of the offers made to them, but could only suppose that they would be reduced to poverty and slavery." They had reminded each other of the cases of Captain Dixie and Lord Mountjoy and had warned each other that "as we value our lives it is well not to put confidence in the Lord Tryconnel or any of his promises, but, if we possibly can, to defend ourselves to the utmost."

"They all make but a puppet of His Majesty," said Sarsfield. He felt some pity for the fallen king who was turned this way and that by the Irish, English and French...he asked, "where Berwick had been sent yesterday? To Ardee?"

Luttrell replied, no, the young duke had but gone to visit a depot in Dublin; Sarsfield understood that Berwick had purposely left the castle and purposely given out that he had been ordered to the northern headquarters; he recalled Madame de Bonnac's epithets, "sly, artful"—perhaps these might be applied to Berwick as well as to Honor; but he tried to think generously of both of them.

Luttrell seemed to understand his troubled silence; there were few subtleties that Luttrell did not understand.

"I am to reinforce you at Sligo—perhaps we shall see a little action, I feel my sword stick to its scabbard with rust, and I grow stale myself," he said warmly, "with all this fiddle faddle of politics."

The castle was full of activity; brisk, ordered movement among the soldiers, some confusion and agitation among the civilians and women, who were to be left, as they felt, defenceless; but the general atmosphere was one of hopefulness; the French, Scotch and English were sure that De Rosen would reduce Derry, that, once the king took the field he could utterly defeat the rebels for whom no help came from England; only the Irish were sullen, discontented, believing themselves overlooked, forsaken, despised through this desertion of their capital.

Sarsfield, under immediate orders to march (the council's resolution had hastened the departure of all the troops) sought out Berwick; though Luttrell advised him to "let be the wilful, haughty youth."

"Why, you don't know for what reason I would see him," said Sarsfield, smiling at Luttrell's vehemence.

"He is no friend to you, nor like to be, you want him on some nice punctilio, and will get but dry courtesy for your pains."

But Sarsfield was resolved to see Berwick; it might well be that one of them or both of them would never return to Dublin.

As he went up one of the gloomy, old-fashioned stairways, he saw a group of ladies mournful in a doorway, all agitated, hesitant, some half-weeping; this was, for them, the first sharp pinch of war, this sudden separation from lovers, this quick leave-taking from friends, this prospect of fear-filled waiting for news.

Among them was Honor; it was grotesque to Sarsfield to remember she was his wife; last night's scene in the desolate bridal chamber returned before his inner eye with the ugly livid hues of something evil; he thought:

"Well, she will be glad of my sudden going."

But Honor stepped forward, she seemed to appeal to him to help her disguise the desperate breach between them.

"Oh, these sudden hurries make the heart ache!" she cried. "There is much I would have said."

She was hastily attired; her delicacy easily took a look of illness; she appeared so young, so full of tears; Sarsfield remembered that she would have to part from her brother as well as Berwick and he was filled with kindly human compassion for her; he took her hand so warmly that the other women moved aside, thinking they intruded on a tender moment.

"I would forfeit much to have some comfort to give you," he said sincerely.

"There is only God."

He did not think that these words sounded false or pretentious; he could not account, even to himself, for the respect he had for Honor.

"I'll not detain you," she added swiftly. "I wished to exchange a decent civility. Pray consider me obedient. Write sometimes." Withdrawing her hand, she whispered: "Return that futility to my Lord Berwick—that lies much in my desire."

"I do go now about that business. It is difficult. I see him after we leave Dublin. Farewell, God keep you safe and easy. You'll not forget the name you now have?"

"I will not. Trust me. Farewell."

He discovered Berwick in company with Lord Galmoy, a man singularly hateful to Sarsfield, doubly loathsome since the affair of Captain Dixie which had set many an Irish gentleman against his murderer; this man was of a brutal appearance, but coarsely handsome, with fine manners; many extraordinary stories were told of him, and none was to his honour; but his birth and influence were high; he was courted and flattered and his insolence flourished; he thought it sufficient to be Piers Butler without straining after other virtues; and many others seemed to think so too.

Upon Sarsfield's insistence to see Berwick privately, Galmoy who had been merely casually boasting of his horses, left the cabinet, but not in an agreeable fashion.

"You don't favour him, Colonel Sarsfield?" smiled Berwick. "You were scarcely civil."

"Nor meant to be, my lord, such men taint our ranks—I hold him foul. The rebels will never forgive what he did. It was plain murder."

Berwick frowned; he was himself, albeit coldly, chivalrous.

"I know. But one cannot be too queasy. There are many men I must use I would not sit down to table with."

"Use for what, sir?" asked Sarsfield curiously, for the landless adventurer spoke like a king.

"Mine own ends. And now, your business? I have to march with De Rosen to Derry—you, I think, to Bundoran."

"It is because we shall be separated, perhaps eternally," smiled Sarsfield, "that I must intrude on you now."

He drew the miniature from the wide pocket of his uniform; Berwick immediately observed it, and a faint flush crept under his pure olive skin; but he remained master of himself, even retaining that air of authority by which he contrived to efface his extreme youth.

Sarsfield felt for him exactly the same manner of cold respect that he felt for Honor; he held out the locket on the lilac ribbon—piteously childish, pretty and forlorn.

"The Lady Honor asked me to put this into your hands. I think there is little to be said."

Berwick took the case with superb self-assurance, showing neither humiliation nor amazement.

"But you might have told me," added Sarsfield, sternly stung by this calm, "how matters stood with you."

"My fortunes," replied Berwick coolly, "are in no fit state for me to think of a wife. I have nothing but my sword and am a penniless gentleman-at-arms."

"Yet you did allow yourself, my lord, some love passages—they must be forgotten."

"Does she wish them forgotten?" asked Berwick. "Have you won her so soon? You could afford a wife and I could not, and there's an end of it."

"I have been wronged in the affair; you are very young, my lord, to be so prudent and so far-seeing. I had liked you better had you married her out of hand without so much thought of fortune, or for the future in these days when none of us has stable destinies."

Berwick took no offence at this clear speaking. He replied thoughtfully:

"I was minded to tell you the other day, but thought better of it. We are as we are made and I am, as you say, prudent; I cannot easily, with open eyes, commit a folly."

Sarsfield could get no more from him, nor did indeed wish to hear any more; he admitted that this dryness was better than a wordy romantical fit of passion.

That day, without seeing Madame de Bonnac, Colonel Sarsfield and his troop of horse rode towards Lough Erne.


COLONEL SARSFIELD, with his brigade of five hundred horse, had his headquarters at Bundoran, where Lough Erne widens into the Bay of Donegal; he was supported by Colonel Luttrell and his troop who occupied Sligo; the post was important but monotonous; despite their vigilant patrolling the Jacobites could detect no sign of activity in the Protestants.

The lovely waters of the lake, beautiful with many green islands, remained undisturbed under the changing, melancholy skies of spring; remote from all echoes of war, Sarsfield shook from his mind the miasma of Dublin; he could not remain impervious to the influence of the vistas of gray-green water, of the eternal hills, horizon merging into horizon, that had seen war and peace come and go. He found in the melancholy austerity of nature a charm to soothe transient passions; for he was not one of those who see their own moods reflected in the landscape; to him the beloved country was immutable, indifferent beyond all human emotions, and in this implacable calm he discovered consolation.

Henry Luttrell frequently visited him at Bundoran; this man, whose usual demeanour was one of negligent grace and self-indulgent ease, proved himself alert, resourceful, tireless. Sarsfield was surprised by his energy and industry; he had trained his troops to a nicety and was most diligent in visiting his outposts, strengthening Sligo and looking to the equipment of his garrison; it might then be claimed that he and Sarsfield had brought their troops of horse to as fine a pitch of efficiency as any in the French service. The expresses who came in from the main army had nothing but sour news.

King James's army had advanced to Charlemont, to Strabane, through foul weather, enduring every hardship, to actual privation at the royal table; D'Avaux, a sick and shaken man, utterly out of humour with this northern campaign, had returned to Dublin.

"Our sole trouble, sire," he wrote to his master, "is the irresolution of the King of England, who so often changes his mind and never decides on the best course. He busies himself with little things with which he employs all his time and passes lightly over the more essential matters."

This bad opinion of King James was shared by most of the native Irish who, the farther he went north, distrusted him the more. All expected soon to hear the news that he had cut through the Protestants and sailed for Scotland. De Rosen could make no impression on the walls of Derry and Inniskillen; his two generals, De Pusignan and Maumont, had been slain in an attack on the stubborn cities.

Patrick Sarsfield, though himself on his father's side of the Norman blood, had always felt a strong, racial dislike towards the Protestant colonists, those dour, haughty, resolute men who bore themselves always with the superiority of a dominant and conquering people, who regarded the Pope as Antichrist, the native Irish as dogs and slaves, but he did not underestimate the worth of these people nor the inadequacy of the forces opposed to them.

General de Rosen himself had been heard to say that if the walls of Derry had been of buckram instead of stone he could scarcely have been expected to take the town, so ragged and miserable, wild, undisciplined and unarmed were the Irish troops with which the French officers contended. The besiegers and the besieged alike lacked everything, but the iron spirit of resolute Puritanism within the walls was the strongest factor in the struggle.

"They will never give in," said Sarsfield. "It is a shameful thing to be held in check by a handful of rebels. Why was not I sent to Derry? Berwick is a boy and Hamilton incompetent—I had thought D'Avaux stood my friend."

He and Colonel Luttrell were riding along the shores of Lough Erne between the outposts; rain was falling, but so lightly that it scarcely disturbed the surface of the lake which gleamed into silvery distances between the jutting, woody shores; the hues were those dull, pale tints of the early year on a misty day; from a nearby island rose the ruins of a church and the gray height of a round pillar tower, broken at the summit.

Sarsfield shook off the drowsy influence of this scene which made all violence seem grotesque, and added briskly:

"I had thought that D'Avaux had put me in a post of greater activity."

Luttrell replied with his smooth irony:

"D'Avaux is not as powerful now that he has ceased to supply the gold so freely." Then added with a sudden flare of passionate impatience unlike his usual demeanour: "Why d'ye endure this, Sarsfield? Why do you not make a party of your own, call all the native Irish together, and see what we may do against all these foreigners?"

Sarsfield took this as a jest, for Luttrell was a man of whimsies. He put it aside without much regard, but Luttrell insisted with a glowing earnestness:

"You have gotten into the country, you have an influence here, you are the only native Irishman in any important rank who is in the least liked or trusted by the people. Mountcashel, Galway, Galmoy, Hamilton—all of them are men of no capacity or ambition."

"What capacity and ambition do you think I have?" asked Sarsfield.

Luttrell replied with his cool smile:

"I know what I would do in your place."

"Why do you not do it then in your own place?" asked Sarsfield, looking curiously through the rain mist at his companion.

"You know me," said Luttrell, with a frankness that was oddly distasteful to the other man; "I am not trusted or greatly liked. I can intrigue but not command. I have no influence, my dear Sarsfield, but I can provide all the qualities which you lack. I can scheme and make a party for you and defeat the French and the Scots, and the English in the council or the court if not in the camp—"

Sarsfield checked what seemed to him arrant fantasy.

"Do you want me to fall into a rebellion and add to the confusion?" he demanded; he looked across the lake towards the tower and the island.

"My God!" exclaimed Luttrell, "if I were raising men and paying them myself I'd listen to no master."

And he proceeded with clarity and decision to sketch out a plan whereby Patrick Sarsfield might put forward a party as strong as any in the distracted island.

It was clear from the way he talked that he had reasoned out his scheme. He pointed out the difficulties, almost the impossibilities which the French officers had to contend with in training and commanding the Irish troops who refused all obedience to the foreigner, and how this mutual dislike was fostered by the haughty impatience of the French. He dwelt on the waning popularity of the king who never had much hold on the hearts of the people. He remarked on the huge quantities of rapparees, kerns, or gallow-glasses as they were severally termed, a large body of roving Irish who owned no master, but lived on what they found, plundering, marauding and slaying to the desolation of all. He pointed out that on the receipt of the first good news from Scotland, or on the fall of Derry or Inniskillen, the king would at once escape north and, failing that, at the first brush with the enemy he would fly to France...he was a man discredited, broken, in whom no one any longer believed...old Shamus, the Irish called him with contempt, with terms not to be named.

"And Tyrconnel?" put in Sarsfield dryly.

"Are you so simple? Tryconnel will treat with the Prince of Orange. I doubt not that he is a traitor already."

Sarsfield had not thought of that. A deeper shade of vexation fell on his soul; he felt himself simple beside the other man, so ready, so easy, so brilliant and cool.

"Tyrconnel blusters and raves," added Luttrell, "but I doubt not he is already in treaty with the usurper. His wife is the sister-in-law of the traitor, Marlborough. Do you not believe that they have communicated one with the other? They do not think of Ireland or the Roman Catholic faith but only of their own private fortunes."

Sarsfield was silent. He considered Luttrell's scheme wild, impracticable, fantastic; but it had a certain swift audacity that tempted his own nature and even while he completely rejected it he felt he showed a certain irresolution and timidity in doing so. After all, if Ireland were ever to be free of the foreigner and conqueror, was not this the moment? By what right was James Stewart King of Ireland? By no greater right than was William of Orange—only by the right of conquest...And might it not be possible, in this time of tumult and stress, that all the natives, now roused and partially armed and trained, could be led to overcome alike English, French and Scots?

"Throw 'em all out," insinuated Luttrell, "as the French were thrown out at the Sicilian Vespers."

He sat easy in the saddle with something mocking in his air as usual, and his queer eyes in which the cast was pronounced, were keen and eager in the shade of his great plumed hat.

Sarsfield looked at him; there was then something implacable about him, despite his careless air.

"What's your count in this, Luttrell? Why don't you put this scheme into practice yourself?"

"I'm not the man, I know what I can do and what I can't do. I can stand behind you and rise on your shoulders—your adviser, your devil, what you will—but I cannot do this by myself. Why, who would follow me? You have but to lift your finger and you will get thousands. Have you no imagination, Sarsfield? Cannot you see the scene, when you would raise a native flag and proclaim Ireland for the Irish at last?"

Sarsfield laughed. They were surely in the realm of pure fantasy, and therefore, licensed by fantasy, his mind went back to Irrelagh and his Irish princess dwelling beneath the arbutus shade in the green-stone hut by the water-break, a symbol of Ireland—fair, wronged, desolate and despised; the beauty of the rain-gray landscape through which he rode was heavy on him like an enchantment.

"The days of knight-errantry are past," he said, with an effort, "and it is not for me to play the liberator."

Luttrell stared, frowning; his steady eyes showed disappointment and some scorn. He said coolly:

"Why, I thought you pretended to some such part, I thought you held life to be more than mere brutish pleasure or stiff dull duties, that you were willing to make a push for a sparkle of greatness."

"All this has a tang of rambling fancy," replied Sarsfield sternly, and then he laughed. "Let us take that boat and row out to the island."

"Why?" asked Luttrell, reining up suddenly.

"It is good to have a little leisure, 'twill be but half an hour."

Luttrell indulged this fantasy without comment; one of the men idling on the shore took the two horses; the other agreed to row the officers to the island; it was a holy place; people often went there to fulfil a vow; the flat-bottomed boat was used for funerals; from very far mourners brought their dead to rest in the sacred ruins; often was the placid lake disturbed by the echoes of the keeners and the bards; the peasant did not know why the wild, lonely island should be so venerated, only that it was consecrated ground.

"A gloomy spot," remarked Luttrell; but his easy cheerfulness did not seem affected; Sarsfield thought that he was observing him, obliquely but intently.

The stout young man, slowly rowing the cumbrous boat, told them, with awe, of the great age of the ruins and the tower on the green island; they had been built by the saints and the faeries, creatures who seemed one in his mind, when Ireland was free; the invisible people still dwelt there; "sometimes you could hear their lamentations sighing in the ash trees."

They landed on the island; as the boat was drawn through the shallows, the two officers ascended the slight incline on which the ruins stood; beyond were several other islands, darkling in water that a mournful gleam of sun had changed to sudden gold, beyond these the cloud-wrapped hills that bounded the lake shut in the horizon rich with hues of purple and azure. A boat with a single sail proceeded slowly under the guidance of a gentle wind, there was a scent, sweet and crude, from the wild plants blowing on the rocks and silence save for the sound, so poignant to Sarsfield, of the breeze stirring the budding gray foliage of the ash trees.

The pillar tower was already thickly grown about with weeds and bushes; in and round the ruin were crosses and head-stones, some green with moss, some fresh and stark.

"There are nothing here but graves," said Colonel Luttrell.

The dead lay close to the sacred ruins as if they clustered there for refuge; the spot was full of the atmosphere of grief and resignation; some of the stones were split from time and weather, some of the crosses had sagged as if the strong ivy that entwined them had dragged them down; the sunlight strengthened and threw into relief the broken delicate traceries of the ruined church window, then the light clouds, swift and low, eclipsed the radiance and enveloped the whole island.

Colonel Luttrell looked about him with a decent curiosity; he uncovered as they entered the roofless church.

"Does this place stir your lukewarm inclinations?" he asked; he spoke without mockery, but Sarsfield was vexed to be so well read; for it was true that in these Irish solitudes he found excitement, beauty, splendour, dreams, ay, even when walking above Irish graves, and standing here he might very well fancy himself in Mucruss Abbey.

"Well," added Luttrell, leaning against one of the half-fallen doors and folding his arms. "Pray to your Irish saints to help you save Ireland."

"Talk sober sense," smiled Sarsfield. "Consider that I have no money and that the Church and France are behind King James."

"I have gone over that with you, was not Ireland to be your peculiar care? Will you risk nothing?"

"All—within honour."

"I see you quibble, like a playhouse fool," Luttrell spoke gently like one confident from long experience; Sarsfield became aware that he was beguiling, enticing, using all his power to persuade and influence, as he stood there, seemingly at ease, smiling, half-mocking, yet flashing out such keen earnest purpose.

Sarsfield crossed the tender wet grass in the open chancel; leaning against one of the walls was a rude stone coarsely cut with the likeness of a coiled serpent.

"I wonder what we all mean," he said, staring at this ugly carving.

With a defiant curl of his lip Luttrell replied:

"I know well enough my own meaning and have explained it."

As Sarsfield neither turned nor answered, the other added:

"Do you take me to be one caught up in hysterical fancies, bred of sick charms? You know me for a man who thinks clearly, sees straight. Neither did I speak obscurely."

"Nay, not obscurely."

"You feel so loyal to His Majesty, this old, mean, fallen prince, in whom there is no sparkle of greatness?"

"I would avoid a miscarriage of affairs that would leave Ireland without remedy."

"So would I." Luttrell's answer came quickly. "I have thought on't more than you. But you keep my purpose dangling, do not scruple to say that you will have none of my offer."

"An offer, Luttrell?"

"Ay, and one I might take to Mountcashel, Galmoy or Berwick, should you put me off with fiddle-faddle catchwords."

Sarsfield turned so that his back was to the serpent on the stone and looked at Luttrell who had not changed his careless attitude; the mist had wavered and sunk, it floated in shreds through the ruined aisles; Sarsfield felt his hands and face wet from this vapour.

"Galmoy is a scoundrel, Mountcashel of moderate parts, Berwick a youth," he answered sternly. "The folly of it! What do you think you could do with such?"

"They are lively, ambitious," replied Luttrell, with a flash of impatience that seemed to throw prudence to the winds. "Berwick I take to be of great parts—"

"But cautious, prudent, for his years oddly so, as well I know."

"Ay, you'll know that," smiled Luttrell. "I've raked up an old sore there, no doubt; I'll swear my young lord's prudence has set your affairs askew."

"You guess too freely."

"You mean that I observe too sharply, the simpleton thou art to think thyself secure from watching!—most of us have spoiled and soiled something in our lives, eh? God will have His japes of us."

"You will neither entice nor anger me," said Sarsfield. "I am a poor hand at intrigue, nor do I fancy being any man's cat's-paw, even thine, my dear Luttrell."

Luttrell replied in a voice that seemed warm with sincerity.

"You mistake me. Before God, you have me wrong! I, too, am Irish; I detest these greedy, sucking foreigners; I choose the perilous way, rather than follow 'em. D'ye think I find sport in their sneers and insults? D'ye think that I dote on their doled-out pay and preferments? I would use 'em and keep straight on mine own path."

Sarsfield considered this bold statement; he was himself absolutely fearless; of that courage which could feel the steel at his breastbone and not wince; without effort he could affront any danger; like most of his countrymen he was full of audacity, resource, sharp devices, brilliant expedients; none of these qualities had yet been used, for he had always been in an inferior position under the orders of others. Therefore, Luttrell's plans, at once reckless and skilfully laid, daring and prudently devised, giving scope alike for skill and boldness, appealed to Patrick Sarsfield; but he had been rigidly trained, carefully disciplined in convention of honour and duty towards the English crown. And he knew that, should he lend himself to Luttrell's essentially reckless scheme, he would have for his support neither the coinage of Caesar nor the blessing of God; he could not see where he was to obtain a penny of money, and the Church would be behind the old tradition of royalty, supporting the divine right of kings.

From the inner chapel (the hermit's cell as the peasants called it) a stranger came briskly out and interrupted the talk of the two officers; this was a rosy, pursy priest, full of cheerful goodwill and vitality, shabby and humble in his attire.

He saluted the gentlemen and simply explained his presence on the island; it had always been his habit to offer a prayer, once a year, on the ancient altar in the sacred shrine; the peace of the sanctuary had a mystical healing quality, even in time of war one could here feel in touch with God.

"Ay, no doubt," smiled Luttrell, "in Ireland, God must be far to seek these days."

"No, sir," replied the priest earnestly. "He is everywhere—it is only that being mortal our weakness is comforted by the place where we may feel assured of His presence."

He did not ask their business in this lonely spot. He was a tactful, experienced man who had been enabled (by the grace of God as he was sure) to detach his soul from worldliness; as he came slowly over the wet grass, holding his battered hat in his hand, he looked keenly from one gentleman to another. Luttrell still lounged in the broken arch, Sarsfield still stood with his back to the great serpent in stone; the priest discerned that they were both remarkable men; he saw Luttrell, whose attitude was easy to indifference and whose expression was composed to gentle mockery, as the more powerful force; quite clearly the priest could see that this was a man obsessed by ambition, full of energy and violence, held taut as a coiled spring, of a most dominating personality, implacable, dangerous; as Luttrell turned on him his intense crooked glance vivid beneath the heavy lids, the priest felt as if some one had brutally thrust at his very soul. Terence O'Fahy had come to know humanity very well; he was sure that there was force, cruelty, vindictive malice and pride behind this well-bred distinction. The priest then glanced at the other officer and felt, as the Irish folk at Irrelagh had felt, that there was something almost legendary about the grandeur of Patrick Sarsfield; the simple in heart might so easily mistake him for some prince of the Tuatha Danaan, or for one of the Fianna, or for Conall, the Red Branch champion celebrated in the bardic tales; so the priest thought, not knowing that Sarsfield was descended from this same Conall Cearnach the Victorious of the famous race of Rury, descended from Ir, the son of Milith, who gave his name to Ireland.

Sarsfield, to the quick, clear observation of this man, seemed above his fellows in spirit as in stature, to belong to another age, almost to another world, to be lonely, out of tune with all his company, to be filled by longings that came from an immense distance.

Father O'Fahy had only heard of one man who could give that impression.

"You are Colonel Patrick Sarsfield of Lucan?" he declared earnestly.

"Ay, how strange you should guess it!"

They began to converse, standing by the serpent stone, Luttrell silently observing both. Father O'Fahy came from the borders of Fermanagh, he had seen much of the sudden tumult that had followed King James's decree restoring the Catholics to their estates, this meant the turning out of the Protestants who had in some cases lived on these lands since the days of Essex.

"It is not easy to right an old wrong," said Sarsfield, "many of the colonists must feel unjustly treated as well as ruined."

"Indeed it is so."

And the priest, cheerfully and modestly inspired by the (to him) almost unearthly magnificence of the man to whom he spoke, pleased Sarsfield with tales of how he had been the means of saving many Protestants, protecting their property and finding them ways of escape from the country. He also told of many instances where the Roman Catholic gentlemen, far from retaliating on their neighbours for the deep wrongs of many gene ations, had helped these in their distress, and Sarsfield, quick to respond to all that had a touch of splendour or heroism, liked the priest and his tales of the chivalry which had gilded the Roman Catholic cause. There had been no massacres to repeat those of 1641, but there might well have been. It was true that many of the sturdy colonists had chosen to stay and fight, but numbers of women and children had sailed from Carrickfergus for England or Scotland, taking their fortunes with them.

"We are well rid of 'em," put in Luttrell; "but I would they had left their money and goods behind. I hold it a pernicious weakness to have let those go. I hope you speak on hearsay information."

"No, sir, I was there myself doing what I could. Do not repine, there will be ere this war is over enough of woe to glut all malice."

The rain was closing over them again; they were isolated from reality in the sweet pure mist through which the budding trees shook their wet leaves above the gray ruins and the thick-set graves; neither Sarsfield nor the priest noticed this mist, but Luttrell discovered a sudden resolute impatience.

"We must return if the boatman can see the shore."

They left the roofless chancel; the vapour, perpetually rising and falling, disclosed the foreshore, the funeral boat and the peasant, huddled in his frieze, waiting with a sad patience.

They got into the boat; Sarsfield looked, to the priest, uncommon tall through the vapour; his vermilion uniform, the glitter of his bullion fringes and epaulettes, his bright, stiff, slightly harsh hair, reddish-flaxen, so boldly curling on to his shoulders, his fine features, clearly defined, his wide-open gray eyes, and the carriage of his head, unconsciously proud like a hawk, or a lion, all formed an heroic picture in the eyes of the Irish priest.

He thought: "What will this man do for Ireland?"

Luttrell seemed to guess this unspoken question; he leaned forward, put his gloved hand on the priest's arm and asked:

"What do you think of Colonel Sarsfield? I see you have a mind above the craft whereby your cloth usually get their living—is this not a man to help us now?"

"He is," nodded the priest.

"And yet," smiled Luttrell, "he puts me off with apologies, evasions and sophisms."

"I do not," said Sarsfield. "I think you talk like a pamphlet-monger or a flashy-head—"

"I am willing," replied Luttrell, shaking the moisture out of his wet plumes (for he held his hat on his knee), "to plunge my hand into a hot crucible to get gold."

"Then," said the priest gravely, "you are willing to damn yourself in a vain curiosity."

"'Tis probable," said Luttrell.

They landed; Luttrell fee'd the man, who blessed all three, the priest returning gently:

"Let no loss discourage you, no menaces turn you from the right way."

Father O'Fahy then took leave of them; he was journeying on foot to Dublin, where his sister was one of the Clares in the new convent King James had allowed to be established there; there was work for him in the capital, but he preferred his toilsome mercies on the Protestant borders.

Sarsfield asked him:—"if he was not already weary with so long a trudge?"

The priest confessed, with a smile, that the soles of his feet had soon become covered with blisters, but that a poor woman at whose hut he had stopped had run clean wool thread through these and given him great ease.

Sarsfield caught his reins from the waiting peasant.

"Father O'Fahy," he asked, "dost thou consider a man should obey his conscience, albeit he comes at that dimly, or the precise letter of the law?"

"To most, Colonel Sarsfield, I would make some bandying in my reply to that—to many I would say, obey the law and question not. To you I say, be your own warrant for your deeds, put all nicely to your own conscience and abide the decision."

Sarsfield mounted without replying, but Luttrell smiled on the priest.

"I bow to your good authority," he declared; "may my friend do the same!"

"I said that Colonel Sarsfield's conscience, sir, was to be his tribunal, not any advice of thine."

"Make not a clutter about that," said Luttrell.

The priest took leave of them; they watched his short, thick figure, walking heavily, disappear into the rainy woods.

The two officers continued their ride along the sedgy borders of the lake.

"That priest," said Luttrell, "has a prompt and active wit."

"A man of some holiness, I thought."

"That too, if thou wilt; now, I have allowed thee thy meditation, what of my project?"

Sarsfield leaned forward and caressed his horse, the feel of the warm, wet, firm flesh gave him pleasure, he loved the beast as he loved the gray lake by which he rode, and the cool rain on his face, and the wet trees overhead.

"How can you hesitate?" demanded Luttrell sternly, "seeing the lamentable condition of blood and confusion this island is in? And blind fortune throwing this way and that with none to direct her gifts."

Sarsfield was not hesitant, but quiet, reflecting gravely.

"I'll think on't," he conceded. "If King James should fail us wholly, if the French should grow too insolent—well, I'll think on't."

And with that Colonel Henry Luttrell seemed well content.

That night, at the fall of the darkness, Patrick Sarsfield lonely in the little house in Bundoran that served as his headquarters, lit a small lamp and wrote a love letter.

He had seen silent women with the placid sheep on the banks of Lough Erne who had reminded him of Ishma; grave, blithe, they were, with sombre folded hair, and eyes the colour of mist or ashes, yet vivid; and clothed in drug-get gown and saffron shirt, as he thought on them he seemed wrapped in a flame of joy; the letter was easy to write in the silence and solitude.

When he had finished it he went to the window and pulled back the shutter; it was raining across a veiled moon; the lamplight glittered on the slow, round water-drops, on the coarse pane of thick glass.

The soldier returned to the table and tore up his letter, across and across, into small pieces. Then he wrote another—gentle, full of dutiful affection and the superscription was, "To the Lady Honor Sarsfield, The Castle, Dublin."

Sarsfield, diligently patrolling Lough Erne, watched the coming of summer; Luttrell, alert, vigilant, also waited on the news.

The campaign seemed to be ending in a series of skirmishes; England sent no help to the colonists, nor France to the Irish; on each side was a good deal of talk; on Lough Erne all was quiet, it seemed the very heart of peace.

"Waste and parade for nothing!" exclaimed Luttrell. Derry and Inniskillen continued, incredibly, to hold out.

Berwick was now at Newry, then marching and countermarching between Inniskillen, Donegal and Trellick. He had had some successes—burnt a magazine and the town of Donegal, brought off oxen, sheep and horses—but none of this was of much importance. Then came the news that Wolseley, the Williamite Colonel, had flung himself out of Belturbet, and defeated Berwick's forces at Tullaghmongan near Cavan. Sarsfield, sickening in his inactivity, thought of the young Duke and of Honor, and wondered if they wrote to one another. She expressed herself with more than dutiful kindness, she begged his pardon for any errors or faults in the past, she looked forward (she said) impatiently to his return, she gave him news of Tyrconnel's court; the slow slipping by of the days, the added pinch of war showing more keenly in everyday life, the miseries caused by the brass money, the delay of supplies from France, the ill-health of Mons. d'Avaux and the passionate temper of Marshal de Rosen.

Sarsfield read all this without interest, he knew as much before. At the end of the letter were a few sentences that suddenly startled all his blood. Honor wrote:

"Three uncouth creatures have been at the castle asking for you. They were brought to me and I could scarce understand their language. They come from Cork County and are fugitives, it seems. 'Tis a priest, and an old and a young woman. They claim to have known you once, but I think it scarce possible. They might be spies for all I know, and I sent them to Mons. d'Avaux's secretary who could make nothing of them, so I gave them a little money for charity's sake and sent them off into the town. Pray tell me if you have any knowledge of such creatures. The women spoke of having met you at Irrelagh."

Sarsfield crushed up the letter and walked out of the streets of Bundoran to the shores of Lough Erne. A full moon filled the midsummer sky with light, a high wind was in the boughs of the lonely groups of trees, the little town was sleeping, there was silence round the standard of King James which hung above the house where Sarsfield lodged; the moonlight made glittering sallies in the dance of the ripples on the lake; the air was deep azure and the hills enclosed by pearly vapour.

Sarsfield stared across the water which lapped at his feet; the unseen flowers absorbed into the night gave out faint perfumes; it was an hour to make the disembodied dead homesick for the earth.

Ishma in flight, in peril, in distress had fled to him for protection, and his wife had sent her away with "a little money for charity's sake."


SARSFIELD wrote to his wife, entreating her, with the candour of a man who disdains a misunderstanding, to give especial courtesies to the fugitives; he said he would inform her of his reasons (and the whole tale) on his return. Honor replied, by the next express, that she had lost sight of the refugees, but that she supposed the nuns in Dublin would look after all such—she believed these creatures had gone to the Convent of the Poor Clares. Sarsfield applied for leave to return to Dublin; it was curtly refused, and he felt the yellow sunshine of midsummer on him like a weight; he sunk as if panting and struggling in the embrace of death.

"Surely," he said, "I am a fool to be thus bruised, for she is nothing to me."

Once that summer the Te Deum rose from the gothic chapel in Dublin Castle and the scented aisles of Christ Church, and that was when the Count of Chateau-Renard, in spite of the opposition of Admiral Herbert, landed stores and money at Bantry Bay, while the English commander was compelled to withdraw to the Scilly Islands for reinforcements.

But Marshal de Rosen retired in furious disgust from under the impregnable walls of Derry. He declared that if he had had a dozen battering pieces he would have made himself master of the town within twelve days after the trenches had been opened; the passionate, proficient, thwarted Livonian fell ill of chagrin and mortification.

The Duke of Tryconnel had quarrelled with Berwick, who remained in charge of a flying division employed to check the raids of the men of Inniskillen. The young Duke had been defeated in several skirmishes, had lost many of his soldiers and had numbers taken prisoner; the viceroy accused him to his father's face of incapacity and avarice. In this he was seconded by D'Avaux who did not care for the king's son, he thought him an incapable officer, a man too prudent and saving for his years.

Sarsfield pondered all these flying rumours which he received in letters, advices and newspapers. The year was slipping away in worse than inaction, for on every side were growing discords and discontents, furies and hatreds.

The ships for the relief of Derry lay in the Foyle, under Colonel Kirk, and he sent a detachment for the relief of Inniskillen under the command of Colonel Wolseley. With two thousand Ulster recruits this English officer, who had repulsed Anthony Hamilton, advanced against the Jacobites to protect Inniskillen. He was met by General MacCarthy, recently made Lord Mountcashel. With his hastily-raised soldiers, mostly Protestant civilians, Wolseley grimly faced six thousand professionals across the bog beyond the village of Newtown-Butler. The news of this sudden offensive on the part of the Protestants was brought to Sarsfield at Bundoran by an express from Mountcashel; Luttrell, in Sligo, was immediately warned, and Sarsfield set out through the haze of August sunshine towards the enemy.

"I am glad," he said gaily, "that the rebels should have given us this joy, for we were grown drowsy in Bundoran."

His spirits were high as he rode to the battle; he felt assured (despite his late terrors) that Ishma was safe and trustful of him, that he would be happy with his wife; but he was sorry that Mountcashel's forces so outnumbered the English.

At Wattlebridge Sarsfield's horse met a body of Irish smoke-blackened, panic-shaken dragoons; they would not pause to give their news; the foot followed, gouted with blood, hacked and torn; there was a sombre red streak in the sky beyond Newtown-Butler, and the sound of cannon mingled with the crack of shot.

Sarsfield himself seized the reins of a dragoon whose frightened horse was stumbling along the rough road slowly, for it was lame.

"What's this? A defeat's impossible!"

The fellow gave a silly laugh; one of his eyes was closed, purple and bleeding.

"A defeat, sir. Hundreds drowned in the lough, hundreds slain and made prisoner—"

"And Mountcashel?"

"A prisoner, too, they say, or dead. God help us! Get back to Sligo, sir," added the dragoon, half-weeping with rage and terror. "Surely the devil is on the side of these filthy rogues."

Sarsfield drew his horse aside; his troop was near overwhelmed by the press of fugitives; little by little the truth came out; Sarsfield, galloping back to Sligo, forced to abandon the banks of Lough Erne and Bundoran, found it incredible. The whole of Ulster now remained in the hands of the Williamites. And this despite the marvellous French administration directed by the great genius of Louvois, despite the skill of the French officers and the care they had taken in recruiting the Irish, despite the fact that Mountcashel had had three times the number of men. With a bitter heart Sarsfield listened to the tale of the flight, both of the horse and foot, before the fierce onslaught of the irregular troops; hard on Newtown-Butler came the news that Derry had been relieved; the Protestants had materially and morally triumphed. "You see what the French have done for us," said Luttrell, when Sarsfield arrived at Sligo. "The blaze of their boasting has soon been damped."

"Had I been there—"

"Ay, but thou wast not there, because thou art not thine own master."

Colonel Luttrell bore the news of the defeat with equanimity; he had always had a mean opinion of Mountcashel; he wished that Kirke and Wolseley would charge in the direction of Sligo, though the place was ill-prepared, he was pleased by the humiliation of the French, delighted by the rumour that King James, overwhelmed by the ill news, meant to retreat to France. But Sarsfield, who felt as if he had been tumbled backwards to the ground, cared for nothing of this; "the Irish fled" was all that mattered to him; he was wounded through all his defences.

Sligo was full of tattered, defeated men; some of them had brought with them the torn rags of company colours; Luttrell threatened to shut the gates on any more "useless carcases" as he termed them; the sweet shores of Lough Erne were fouled by corpses.

Sarsfield fumed that there came no summons from Dublin; his letters to Honor and his friends remained unanswered, as if communications were broken; a sense of confusion, of futility soured everything. Luttrell said:

"This will be a gripping medicine for De Rosen and no buttered parsnips for Tyrconnel, there'll be a mighty bustle in Dublin."

Among the French officers who had retreated to Sligo was the Marquis de Bonnac, Olivia's husband, and Sarsfield, in the light of his wife's tales of him, observed him closely with a kind of curious reluctance, for he detested anything that savoured of prying or espionage.

Mons. de Bonnac, he found on report from the other Frenchmen, was respected by his fellow-officers and liked by his men, his ability was not conspicuous but he did his duty carefully. Sarsfield learnt that through some unfortunate investment or speculation he had lost much of his fortune, and was by no means the rich man he had been when Olivia had married him. Sarsfield wondered if this had anything to do with the lady's impatience with her marriage. He could not dislike De Bonnac, nor see him as a man cruel to a woman, nor, despite his wife's accusations did he seem loose in his manners, but rather of an austere and even puritanical bearing, such as Sarsfield had sometimes noticed in the Huguenot French, though De Bonnac was a Catholic. He was a slight man with a pale, gray face, much given to study and reading in his leisure moments.

His constant companion was an elderly abbé of an unobtrusive presence, who appeared to serve him as secretary or adviser and who helped him in his learned diversions; this priest had accompanied him to Newtown-Butler and been his companion in his flight. De Bonnac treated Sarsfield as a mere casual acquaintance, with official courtesy and no more. He mentioned his wife only once and that suddenly when he said, upon remarking that the state of the country grew daily worse, that "he was sorry she had followed him to Ireland, for it was no country for a civilised woman." Sarsfield thought of Olivia like a rich exotic rose, with her carefully cultivated beauty and her fastidious exquisitiveness, blooming amid all this filth and blood, chaos and despair.

He wondered if De Bonnac had heard of his relations with Olivia which had been so maliciously distorted by the gossips, but the Frenchman remained, in his quiet way, friendly.

"This must go hard with one of your mettlesome temper, Colonel Sarsfield."

"With any Irishman, monseigneur."

"Well, we have gotten no glory out of it either. De Rosen was confounded by the resistance of Derry. Strange how men will defend what they love! At Newtown-Butler I saw an ensign with both legs shattered, fighting with an empty pistol to protect the colours."

"Any man would like to die like that."

"Any man? Oh, I don't know!" The marquis gave his aslant, not displeasing smile.

The little abbé put in:

"Some would rather die brawling about a woman."

Mons. de Bonnac added:

"It is better to do one's duty with honour, though that may sound dull. Some women are worth a man's whole attention, but he who finds them is fortunate."

Sarsfield wondered if these suave words were directed at him; he cared nothing; all the three women with whom his life was involved had gone into the background of his thoughts, nor was he vexed or troubled by any concern about them, save only he was sometimes distressed by the thought of Ishma in Dublin, yet he felt a secret assurance that between the care of the Shanahus and the priest she was hidden in some house for holy women.

Suddenly Luttrell and Sarsfield were summoned to Dublin; Sligo was left well-garrisoned and they went hastily.

"Now," said Luttrell, "we shall see who is to be jostled out of office and who kicked in; methinks the French and their money are parted, and I tell ye, Sarsfield, have an eye to their shams, and do not let 'em persuade you that a cabbage is a cucumber."

"I will not."

The two men exchanged hardy glances.

"Don't endure their little peddling devices," urged Luttrell, "which will inflict a wound on Ireland from which she'll maybe not recover."

"I'll be alert and ready," replied Sarsfield. "I'll watch 'em all, study all their affronts, rudeness and extravagances to see how the Irish may come by their own. There is none I respect save D'Avaux and he serves another master."

"We shall find ourselves," declared Luttrell, "amid a rabble of cause-splitters, hectors, ruffians and puppies ready to swear a riot, jobbers and traitors all covered up by a cloak of loyalty—test 'em by common sense."

The two officers had scarcely dismounted from their sweating horses in the castle yard than they were summoned to a general council (summoned hastily and even in a manner of panic), at which D'Avaux insisted Sarsfield should be present; the French ambassador had never ceased to press Sarsfield's claims to consideration; and when it came to the pinch, as now, he did not hesitate to show who was really master and peremptorily told Melfort to his face that Colonel Sarsfield should be of the council.

The atmosphere of the meeting, held in one of the large gloomy chambers of the castle, which had an almost dungeon-like air and had been built for defence, not pleasure, was one of irresolution, anger, almost despair.

The king sat huddled in a great chair with arms, at the head of the long dark table. He wore a plain cinnamon-coloured suit with a small black braid, the George slung on a blue ribbon round his shoulder, a brown hat with a feather pulled over his brow; his head was sunk a little on his breast, so that the thick curls of his fair wig shaded his hollow face. His hands lay along the arms of the chair and hung down with a helpless and inactive look; his height, his trained and stately carriage gave him an air of sullen grace, but his expression and his attitude conveyed sulky discouragement and peevish ill-humour.

Beside him, erect and smooth-faced, stood Berwick, recently returned from his foray on the Ulster border; Sarsfield disliked the expression of almost contemptuous unconcern on his handsome features, which seemed to say that he was a mere spectator in this quarrel, and had no stake in any of the interests employed; a king's son, young and brilliant already, at twenty well trained as a soldier, he could find work either in Spain or the Empire, and it must matter very little to him what became of Ireland. He was dressed with that careful splendour which distinguished the French officers, who, by this meticulous attention to magnificence in their person, seemed to give an added scoff at the poverty of the country in which they found themselves, and at the ragged misery of the troops they commanded.

The powdered curls and perfumed precision of these Frenchmen served to emphasise their conscious superiority to the Irish.

Sarsfield was sensible of this, he glanced from Berwick to De Rosen, whose heavy face was scowling with ill-suppressed anger, and then at Henry Luttrell seated beside him.

Luttrell smiled openly and returned the Frenchman's stare, insolence for insolence. Sarsfield envied him his mocking ease. Berwick's younger brother, Henry Fitz James, Duke of Albemarle and Grand Prior, lounged and fidgeted next the small anxious figure of D'Avaux; Sarsfield thought it one mistake among many to include this restless, pampered and impatient boy in even such a council as this. Tyrconnel, huge and stately, carelessly attired, his hands shaking, his eyes suffused, stared across the table at Melfort, the precise Scotchman, whose good-looking face was blank of all expression; the viceroy had been gambling as usual; oddly for him he had left the tables a loser.

It was a full summer day; the air blew sweetly, all gold, blue and green, without, but the light fell bleakly from a high-set window and gave a grim pallor to all these defiant, anxious, alert faces.

Lord Melfort spoke first.

His manner was by training pleasant, his voice devoid of any tone of offence, but, regardless of the presence of Luttrell and Sarsfield, he spoke with the utmost contempt and scorn of the Irish.

It had been proved, he said, what their loyalty was worth. Of all the men raised and trained during six months of excessive labour under the direction of some of the most experienced officers in the world, not a dozen were worth their pay. They had failed before Derry and Inniskillen—two towns which a battalion of trained troops could have taken in a fortnight. Then, at Newtown-Butler, the first brush with the enemy, they had with all their advantage of numbers and superior officers, fled in an ignoble panic before the onslaught of unprepared recruits.

Melfort then touched on the defeats suffered in the border skirmishes and smoothly, with a courteous motion of his head towards Berwick, put this down to the material that young general had had at his command.

He then mentioned the selfish scramble of the Irish Roman Catholics to return to their estates without any regard for the service of the king which required every man actively in the field. He dwelt on the fact that the island was running short of provisions, even raw material, and that King Louis neither could nor would send sufficient money, food and ammunition and arms to equip the whole of Ireland for an indefinite period; he brought out the growing strength and confidence of the north, and the tone of the advices from England which revealed the increasing interest in that country for the Protestant colonists, and the growing resolve of the English Parliament that the north should be supported. He was certain, despite the retirement of Herbert to the Scilly Isles, that a fleet would sail to Carrickfergus bringing relief to the Williamites. It was even rumoured that the usurping prince would come in person to conclude the quarrel; the sum of this speech on the part of Lord Melfort was that King James should instantly, and while flight was possible, leave this miserable bog where he had met with nothing but humiliation and disaster, and embark at Cork or Waterford for France.

When he had made this speech Melfort leant back in his chair, with the air of placid triumph of a man who has said what cannot very easily be disputed, and who has put before others mere common sense. But he knew perfectly well that his project was directly against the interests of King Louis who had determined to keep King James as long as possible in Ireland, thus causing a torment in England and distracting the attention of William of Orange from the continent; he knew too that if a considerable army and even the usurping prince himself were to come from England that would be exactly what King Louis had intended.

D'Avaux was aware that Melfort knew this and leant forward wearily, putting his fingers together and resting his sharp chin on them. He did not waste many words, but said directly that His Britannic Majesty knew his, D'Avaux's, mind, which was the mind of King Louis.

"The will of King Louis," muttered Melfort, with a smile.

D'Avaux affected not to hear, but addressed himself to the figure of the drooping king at the head of the table.

"One defeat, sire, is nothing. As for the reinforcements from England, they are not here yet, and when they are, they will have to strive with the same difficulties as those which go far to overwhelm us. Surely I do not need to repeat to Your Majesty King Louis's intention to hold you here established. Have we not had within the last few weeks proof of his earnestness in the supplies brought by Mons. Chateau-Renard?"

King James spoke for the first time, wearily raising his head; he looked ill; he had had that morning a bleeding from the nose; the handkerchief he took from his nostrils was faintly spotted with blood.

"These supplies were not enough," he said sombrely. "Every time I speak to you, D'Avaux, I have to tell you that what your master sends is not enough. You know perfectly well that the subsidies which my Irish Parliament have voted me were made on paper, and it will be almost impossible to collect these taxes and, could I do so, they are in commission. You know yourself I am reduced to brass money, which makes me a ridicule and a reproach." He glanced at Melfort, and added with an irresolute air: "I am for retiring to Scotland, Dundee contrives to hold the Highlands, and it is certainly true that I should feel easier in Scotland, easier anywhere out of Ireland."

The unfortunate gentleman seemed to dwell with longing on the thought of Scotland. He had many grievances against his northern kingdom, but at least it was his native place, the seat of his ancestors, and half the population were animated by a passionate and unreasoning loyalty to his House and to his person, which he had never found even the reflection of in Ireland.

"None of these people," he added sullenly, looking round the council table, "love our person. See how they fight for me, see how I am respected." He turned sharply to De Rosen: "Marshal de Rosen, have you not found these Irish impossible to train or discipline?"

De Rosen replied at once in brutal language, depicting with coarse invective the vices, cowardice, instability and poverty of the Irish in every department, both civil and military. A look from D'Avaux checked him; the impetuous soldier reflected that he must consider before his own feelings the policy of his master, so he said with a graceless effort: "I doubt not, sire, that with reinforcements the country could be held—"

"Must be held," commented D'Avaux, pressing his fingers in his chin.

Sarsfield glanced up and took the word.

"It will be held," he said, his wide gray eyes glanced from the Frenchman to the king.

Every one looked at him; in appearance he was by much the most remarkable man there; he seemed quite easy under their scrutiny.

Colonel Luttrell's glance applauded his audacity and warned him not to carry it too far; Luttrell was always for subtle methods; it did not irk him at all to be very civil to those whom he despised and meant to use.

The pale sunlight seemed to gather colour as it rested on the splendour of Patrick Sarsfield; but his eyes were heavy with fatigue; the coolness with which he faced them all was quite unconscious, so little was he thinking of himself.


THE king looked up sharply at Sarsfield's words which were spoken with a superb self-assurance seldom heard in the Jacobite councils.

"I admire your assurance, Colonel Sarsfield," he sneered, "yet I think that all you have gotten to your credit is a defeat. Did not the Protestants push back your patrol at Lough Erne?"

"They were outnumbered ten to one, I had but five hundred men in all. We have, sire, all of us, the greatest difficulties in the world to contend with."

"And yet you speak confidently," said the king.

"I speak confidently, sire, because I believe in Ireland."

"A patriot," murmured the king, sourly, stroking his long chin. "Well, I do not know that you can do much for me."

"I can do a great deal, sire, had I a free hand." Sarsfield controlled himself, he did not wish to betray enthusiasm, ardour, or his deep and secret passion for his country before these cold, self-interested worldly men; he wished to maintain the practical matter-of-fact tone of the assembly, where all seemed to be speaking from their heads not their hearts. Even young Berwick had a dryness in his look which seemed to bespeak disdain of all generous sentiments; his brother, Henry Fitz James, lounged as if he was at a tavern, and made a little game for himself with dice that he took from his pocket, and tossed up and down on the cloth. In such a company Sarsfield could not reveal his soul, he merely said:

"Neither Ireland nor the Irish have had a chance, sire."

D'Avaux came to his support. The dry little Frenchman remarked, speaking to the king with an indifference that was scarcely respectful:

"Colonel Sarsfield has been wasted, sire. From the first I have urged you to use his abilities, his popularity. Any pretty fellow who has just gotten a commission in the Guards could have kept the patrol on Lough Erne, Colonel Sarsfield's troop of horse are well trained, they do not run away—a pity they were not at Newtown-Butler—"

Colonel Henry Luttrell put in without regard for precedence or permission:

"Irishmen require to be officered by Irishmen and by gentlemen. When you recruit cow herds and ploughmen you must take some pains in the turning of them into honest soldiers. I agree with Mons. d'Avaux that Colonel Sarsfield is the man to recruit his countrymen."

D'Avaux gave Henry Luttrell a sharp and, Sarsfield thought, not altogether a friendly look. The king interrupted impatiently:—

"Words, words, always words!"

"Irresolution, irresolution, always irresolution," muttered D'Avaux, even he, long trained to patience as he was, could scarcely endure the daily fret of dealing with this wavering, weak, undecided man.

Marshal de Rosen threw his sharp opinion across that of the others, without any regard for what had been said, before he demanded more severity.

The king, he swore, "was too lenient." This was a charge that had not been brought against King James before, and Melfort, remembering some affairs in Scotland and the west of England, smiled discreetly behind his hand, but the French general, his face suffused with passion—for he was a man hot-tempered almost to madness—insisted that "the king had been too lenient."

No terms should have been offered to the Protestants or, if they had, upon their refusal all the rebels should have been massacred, it was the only way to deal with obstinate heretics.

De Rosen spoke as a man smarting under a rebuff, for the king had sharply rebuked him for driving all the women, children and old men under the walls of Derry, thus exposing them to the fire of the defenders, their kinsmen. King James was once a cruel, even a merciless man, but of late his malice seemed to have failed him. Perhaps he remembered what his bloody severity had cost him in England and Scotland; in any case, in Ireland, to the fury of De Rosen and even to the irritation of D'Avaux, he hesitated to take stern measures; at one moment he would be tyrannical, at the next, clement; one day he would endeavour to flatter the Protestants, the next, sacrifice them to the Roman Catholics; it seemed as if he fought against his own nature.

"Wait till I get two regiments of French dragoons," stormed De Rosen, "and I will clear the country of these gray rats within a few weeks."

"But the dragoons have not arrived," put in Melfort smoothly, "and if they should arrive they must be fed and clothed, and armed."

Sarsfield said impetuously:

"We rely too much on foreign aid, we must look to ourselves, the country must be so organised that it can itself provide even for its own sustenance and defence."

"That is the only true policy," agreed Colonel Luttrell. He gave his oblique and mocking glance at D'Avaux, and added: "But we must remember that we do not serve our own policy, but that of the King of France. We are the bait, are we not, Mons. d'Avaux, to draw aside the dogs who fly at the throat of His Most Christian Majesty King Louis?"

D'Avaux ignored this stinging truth by saying:

"Gentlemen, gentlemen, we wrangle to no purpose! You know my mind—"

"That of your master," interrupted Luttrell, half under his breath, "and that is to keep us here till we are all dead and damned." He turned to Sarsfield, urging him to speak again.

Colonel Luttrell was the only man who did not feel slightly uneasy, faintly vexed by the presence of Patrick Sarsfield, whose sincerity and single-mindedness were repellent to the others; as Father Terence O'Fahy had noticed, Sarsfield spoke with the spiritual accents of another race; his place was not here; there was, too, to some, cause for offence in the splendour of his appearance and his unconsciousness of it; and cause for dismay in his growing popularity, which was puzzling to many. The Irish, who had begun to show anger against both King James and the French, now shouted for Patrick Sarsfield whenever they saw him; his own troop regarded him with proud devotion; it was clear that he would soon have an immense influence with the army.

For all these reasons the other men at the council board, save only Henry Luttrell who hoped to associate himself with this strange power possessed by Sarsfield, regarded the magnificent Irishman with distrust and suspicion. Sarsfield was not conscious of this atmosphere; he was too absorbed in his energetic desires to think of himself or to consider any man's opinion of him; he began to speak in that warm, persuasive voice which soothed even his enemies, but he was interrupted after a few sentences.

Melfort's secretary broke in; an express from Scotland, news from the Highlands...

The king broke the seal slowly; his fingers were unsteady, every one was silent, some fidgeting, some steady in their places.

Sarsfield looked at all of them; they seemed revealed, like portraits of themselves, in that sudden enforced silence; the ruined splendour of Tyrconnel with his violet, drink-sodden features, his gaudy ill-kept clothes; De Rosen's brutal precision; the anxious, sober neatness of D'Avaux; the prim, handsome slyness of Melfort; Berwick's unblemished, but oddly cold youthfulness; his brother already marked by sloth and vice; Luttrell alert, visibly mocking, disclosing himself to none, squinting at the king.

And the king himself, so old, so pitiful, so little master of himself or his destiny, with that air of unprovoked, unmerited doom that the Stewarts contrived to cast over the failures their own faults and follies had brought about. A sense of futility sank the enthusiasm of Sarsfield; what could one hope to do with such men?—with any men?

"We are all surely," he thought, "a little mad, a little childish; each to be so much in earnest about his affairs, one would think we were going to live for ever—these old men, too, so in earnest, so fierce, and soon they will be dead and no one speaking of them. And while we sit here wrangling, time is flowing away, and peace and beauty to be had without price if we willed it so."

King James looked up from his despatch and round at the anxious faces, all tense save those of Berwick, Sarsfield and Luttrell.

The news from Scotland was good and bad; the Cameronians had defeated the Jacobites at Dunkeld. The Highlanders had defeated the Williamites at Killiecrankie; but Lord Dundee was slain.

"The war in the Highlands is over," said King James, "and Scotland closed to me."

The council broke up in disorder and dismay. Melfort kept his countenance and was heard to say, above the vehemence and disjointed comments, that "though it might no longer be expedient for His Majesty to go to Scotland, there was no reason why he should not retreat to France."

"Why retreat anywhere?" asked D'Avaux sharply, catching the remark through the tumult. "I think that Killiecrankie was a victory, not a defeat."

"But Dundee is dead," emphasised Melfort quickly.

"Have you no other leaders?" asked the Frenchman, as he glanced at Sarsfield. "Is there no one will do for Ireland what Dundee did for Scotland?"

"None, sir," replied Melfort smoothly, and the king added with a sour impatience:

"Has it not always been my misfortune to be ill-served? Men like Dundee are rare enough, where shall I find another to give me such service?" And he glanced with dislike at all who surrounded him. "They follow me, not for my good it seems, but for what rewards they may get out of me."

The young Duke of Berwick turned on his father a look of blank haughtiness; this was the first sign he had given of being interested in the proceedings of the council.

"You might, sire, have excepted me."

King James glanced at his son with a half-reluctant affection.

"You're too young," he conceded.

Berwick smiled patiently. "The fault will mend."

Colonel Luttrell whispered to Sarsfield as they moved from the room: "How they despise us! We had to sit there and listen to Ireland being insulted; they forget that we are Irish."

"And that," retorted Sarsfield, "is the worst insult of all."

"Tyrconnel hates you," said Luttrell. "D'Avaux praises you too much, and the viceroy has become jealous—the taking away of the apartments in the castle from the Lady Honor was meant as a slight; he poisons you all he can to the king. I have been at some pains to discover how you are served in Dublin."

"I care not."

"Hast thou fallen into an easy sloth with all this brisk news on hand? Is a little action irksome to thee?"

"You try to wheedle and hector me, Harry."

"Think of what we discussed at Bundoran—be not abased."

"Why do you seek to inflame me?" asked Sarsfield wearily. "Surely we must have what unity we may in our wretched councils. Daily I pray for patience, and you would take from me the little that I have."

"It is no time for patience, or inaction, or procrastination," said Luttrell. "Have you thought what it would mean," he asked, with an earnestness uncommon to his volatile moods, "if we had a few more defeats like Newtown-Butler? Supposing the Prince of Orange sent over a number of regular troops or even came himself? Supposing that the reinforcements from France do not arrive, that the king flies like a cur, the French draw off, sucking burnt fingers...what then?"

"It is scarcely possible."

"I think it very possible. We shall then have to submit to the foreigner and usurper or go ruined into exile; our only chance for existence to volunteer to fight the Turks. I say," he added with vehemence, "we must look out for ourselves and trust none of these people."

Sarsfield did not reply, but stood with downcast eyes in the antechamber closet where they had drawn aside, and Luttrell continued.

"Does the counsel I gave you at Bundoran seem so fantastical now? Can you view these men at close sight, consider their separate self-interests, rogueries, jobberies, indifferences and treacheries, ay, treacheries (do not trust Tyrconnel) and still believe that by their means we can come to any good for Ireland?"

"You did not use," said Patrick Sarsfield, "to be so vehement a patriot, Luttrell."

"A patriot!" replied Luttrell lightly. "You may give it what name you like, the truth is I would take some active part in these active times and I marvel that you are so slow." He paused, and looked at Sarsfield keenly and added: "I think the Duke of Berwick, in whom I see some hints of greatness, would make a throw for it."

"A throw for what?" asked Sarsfield sharply.

And Luttrell replied:

"Why, some pre-eminence. He is a king's son and has extraordinary parts; his age is a fault that will mend, as he said just now. I told you this before, lately I have observed him better—a sweet youth, hard and sharp as tempered steel."

Sarsfield checked his companion.

"Thou art a wild, fantastical fellow, Harry, or sometimes I think so; but what you say has some bottom of sound sense, with the government so unsettled and all in pieces—"

"Your chance has come to unravel the whole contrivance of our confusions."

"I will," replied Sarsfield, "consider this, if the king forsake us, even the odium of rebellion, even the risk of being totally trampled down might be dared. Come to me in Fishamble Street, let us not be seen whispering here."

No doubt, he thought, as Luttrell left him, that resolute man had taken these words as a pledge and Sarsfield was much minded to make them so; all were dull and helpless, or greedy and corrupt, broaching impudent and mischievous schemes, they had treated him with disdain, too, because he was Irish; why, even after the despatch had been read, some one might have asked him to take up his speech, but no one had cared to hear what he might have been about to say—of Ireland, for Ireland...

Galway had lodged his sister in Fishamble Street; Sarsfield dreaded intruding on his wife but she would be expecting him, he wondered if she and Galway, her brother, would be of Luttrell's advice?

As he left the castle he had to pass the door of the royal apartments; the king stood in the entrance; behind him were the figures of two priests; James stopped Sarsfield who remained, surprised at being accosted, his hat in his hand, in the centre of the corridor.

The king supported himself against the door jambs; he played with his handkerchief stained with small spots of fresh blood; his full-veined hand shook. Sarsfield observed the rough gray stubble on his ill-shaven jaws, the bistre shadows beneath his sunk eyes almost hidden by the weighty lids, the deep-cut, sour lines from nose to mouth which was set in a constant sneer; some of the braid was loose on his coat; his linen was slightly soiled; he was no longer prinked out as he had been at St. Germains or on his first coming into Ireland.

Sarsfield was expecting some reproach against the Irish.

The king said:

"Colonel Sarsfield, I hold you to be one of my best officers. At the council I spoke out of a weariness and impatience. I know you would do very much for me. Without all doubt you spoke to good purpose. But I am much hemmed in."

This, coming straight on his words to Luttrell, left Sarsfield without a reply; the king's dim gaze, clouded with melancholy, filled the Irishman with remorse.

"I am resolved to stay in Ireland, Colonel Sarsfield, don't think you are to be forsaken."

"Your Majesty is well advised."

"I do hope it. They say you have influence with the rabble. I pray you control their ruffling which often smacks little of loyalty to me."

"Your Majesty means the Irish?"

"Ay, I am much in the hands of others." The king's attention seemed to wander; he gave his hand, still elegant, to Sarsfield to kiss. "I thank you for your loyalty." He fumbled in his deep, laced pocket, and brought out a small crystal phial enclosing a dry reddish substance. "'Tis a drop of the blood of Saint Ignatius," he muttered, "of much virtue. Keep it always on your person. Do not think I confuse you with a parcel of peevish fellows who ought to be hanged out of the way."

Sarsfield, under some concern, thanked him for the relic.

"It hath been my great misfortune," added the king, "to be ill served and often betrayed."

He entered his apartment; the door closed on him and the priests.

"It would be a Judas trick to play him false," thought Sarsfield; the aslant light from a deep-set window shone on the relic in his hand.


PATRICK SARSFIELD made his way through filthy crowded streets foul with smells drawn up by the rays of summer sun, to the house Galway had chosen for Honor in the fashionable Fishamble Street.

The lady was prepared for her husband's arrival; he believed her a person who would never be either astonished or confused; there was a certain proud fineness about her that he much admired.

She wore a dress of shining silk, dead-lavender colour, with much silver tinsel and braiding, that gave her a moonlight brightness; her childish slenderness was dignified by her prim carriage, and the stately dressing of her smooth hair, the colour of a faded bay leaf. She seemed a stranger to Sarsfield and not the girl whose overthrow in their bridal chamber he had miserably witnessed.

He was glad she had left those gloomy chambers in the castle; this commonplace fashionable house had an ordinary cheerfulness that suited Honor and her husband's need for solace.

She had fitted up a tiny chapel in a closet off the dining-room; a lamp hung before a half-seen shrine; the wick fluttered behind the red glass so that the glowing light shook in a perpetual monotony; a pastel slowly consumed in a brazier, the fumes withering a vase of curled lilies on the narrow altar. The Lady Honor had all in order, she had been well trained by the nuns.

The neat house, the decent, sober servants, the exact appointments, the air of quiet regularity, the costly and courtly appearance of Honor herself took away all embarrassment from their meeting.

She received her husband with a ceremonious kindness, a dutiful respect, that warmed his heart towards her. She had spent his money freely. Her rooms, he observed, were elegant and full of trivial luxuries. She had recompensed herself for her period of poverty by purchasing all that Dublin could afford of comfort and extravagance.

Sarsfield, though the most easy and generous of men, cared nothing for luxury and marked with a secret regret his wife's expensiveness. For the more of his money that went to her the less there was for Ireland, and he was already maintaining his troop of horse at his own expense.

Honor, for all her youth easy and sophisticated, startled him by saying with a cool, pleasant air, "that she had seen much of the young Duke of Berwick" during her husband's absence; "he was sent here and there on a series of skirmishes but was often in Dublin."

"His Grace said it was the most horrid silly campaign he had ever heard of," she smiled, "and when he came to the castle he was kind enough to wait on me and give me all the news. But," she added smoothly, "I never spoke to him save in the way of honour."

"You do yourself a wrong to assure me of that," said Sarsfield; the kindness of her welcome was overcast when he thought, with a chill, how utterly a stranger she was to him, how they must live together, man and wife, till death did remove one of them; how much was to be debated and corrected between them.

"The duke," she added undeterred by his rebuke, "speaks very highly of you, sir, and thinks it is a misfortune for the country and His Majesty's cause that you have not been further advanced and more conspicuously employed."

Sarsfield smiled a little sadly. It was odd that she should repeat to him the praise and patronage of the Duke of Berwick—had she forgotten their wedding-night, when he had found her wildly sobbing over that youth's miniature? Some men might have taken this as the very dregs of impertinence. He turned away lest he should show vexation with her dainty curious gossip; but Honor, like one who has a point to pursue, refused to be turned from her object.

"If you made a party," she added, "the duke would be of it."

"A party for me! Who would be talking to you of that?"

"Oh, Colonel Luttrell spoke to every one of this. He intrigues for you very cleverly."

"Behind my back and without my knowledge," said Sarsfield. "Has he also been much at Dublin?"

"Oh, frequently. In fact, sir, I think you were the only officer of position and merit who has been kept so far and so long from the court, and you must, no doubt, perceive in it the malice of some enemy."

"If my inaction has irked me I have made no complaints nor do I wish others to do so for me. My duty, if monotonous, has been plain. Honor, I do not wish to mingle in intrigue."

"But merely," she asked, "to do as you are bid as any young fellow who carries a pair of colours in the Guards?"

Sarsfield saw himself being drawn into an argument.

He was not able, experienced or willing in discussion, and he could see his wife, with adroit feminine wit and shallow cleverness, defeating him at every turn by mere choice of phrase and use of darting stinging words. At once and with an air of finality, he said:

"Honor, it does not please me that you, or Luttrell, or Berwick, should intrigue in my behalf. Such influence as I may possess with the Irish I intend to use in the service of His Majesty, and it is but a dream, misbegotten during the furies of these difficult times, to suppose that I could set myself up."

"Colonel Luttrell said that you were slow and heavy in spirit."

"And I say," returned Sarsfield quietly, "that he is subtle-working and artful; I shall withdraw my friendship from him and I desire, Honor, that you do the same." It seemed to him, as he spoke, that this woman, whom he must welcome to his board and bed and see for ever on his hearth, had joined his enemies; and yet this was a fact, too, that she had done him no wrong, only chattered and gossiped a little, listened to designing and foolish people. And what else had she to do, poor soul, shut up lonely in Dublin, with the name of wife only? He came abruptly to a matter that had been close to his heart since he had returned to the city.

"What of those poor creatures who came to you asking for protection in my name, those of whom you wrote, Honor? You did not mention them again, though I requested you for some further knowledge as to their fortunes."

"The matter went from my mind," said the Lady Honor, casually. "The old woman is dead, we have had the plague in the lower parts of the city, and the priest gone I know not where—"

"The girl," interrupted Sarsfield. "Where is the girl?"

"Are you concerned in the girl?" smiled his young wife.


"Then you must go to Madame de Bonnac for your news. She took pity on the creature when none else would."

Sarsfield's whole soul flowed out in a glow of gratitude towards Olivia de Bonnac.

"Could not you have kept her yourself, given her some post about you?" he asked, but gently and not in a tone of reproach.

"I? No. Then I had the apartments in the castle and there was no accommodation; besides the girl was good for nothing, she had no accomplishments—"

"I think she had," said Sarsfield, "there were many matters in which you might have employed her."

"You know her well?" asked his wife.

"I have seen her"—he hesitated—"twice, I think. Of gentle birth," he added dryly, and then paused; it was impossible for him to tell Honor of the half-faery atmosphere in which he had seen Ishma O'Donaghoe, of her regal descent, of her strange life on the banks of the lake in the west. And Honor looked at him shrewdly, and seemed amused.

"Of course, you know, sir," she remarked, "the girl is a simpleton, a natural, there is one in every village."

"Does she seem so to you?" asked Sarsfield, and then he reflected that so indeed might Ishma O'Donaghoe appear to the Lady Honor...a natural, a simpleton, a half-wit.

"Her head's full of nonsense," said Honor; "scarcely can one get any sense out of her. Her language, too, is uncouth; she knows nothing and has seen nothing; indeed, I could not be plagued with her, and I wondered how she came to know your name and think she might ask protection from you."

Sarsfield would speak no more of this matter to his wife.

"I have half-forgotten myself," he replied.

Honor leant back in her low yellow satin chair and clasped her small hands behind her smooth head; she looked at him, Sarsfield thought, as if she read him; his affairs seemed as public as if they had been bawled in the streets. His heart turned from Luttrell; the man must be no better than a busy intriguer, talking with women, trying to draw all into his schemes; how carefully he had kept from Sarsfield that he had frequently left Sligo for Dublin, that he had endeavoured to involve Honor and—of all men—Berwick, whom he had rather spoken of as a possible rival. And Honor wished him to fall into these secret workings against authority; her childish vanity entered into Luttrell's plots...

The whole affair which, discussed on the shores of Lough Erne or broached after the hot sting of Newtown-Butler, had had a certain brave nobility, was now tainted for Sarsfield.

Candles were brought in; husband and wife looked at each other across the sudden light. She noted that he was fatigued beyond his natural pallor, and he noted that her young face was delicately painted.


"SIR," smiled the Lady Honor, "if you wish to see the simple creature, pray go to Madame de Bonnac and make inquiry after her..."

"I do intend to do as much."

"I hope, sir, you do not blame me for some supposed lack of charity."

"I blame you for nothing, but as this Irish lady—"

"You call her by that title," broke in Honor softly.

"I have told you she is a gentlewoman. I say that if this lady, this gentlewoman, came to Dublin asking for my protection, I had rather she had been at the charges of my wife than at those of Madame de Bonnac."

"She is at no one's charges," replied Honor; "the woman is well supplied. She had some old cried-up gems, some gold work in three colours that she sold very well in Dublin—again, through Madame de Bonnac's care."

"And again," replied Sarsfield, "I would it had been through yours, dear heart."

And he thought, "Had we been really husband and wife, had there been any tenderness between us, for my sake she would have done what she could for this other woman."

He made no disguise of the haste he was in to be on his errand, but deferred all her business, her household accounts and some requests she had to make, the gossip which had accrued since his departure, until he had visited Madame do Bonnac.

That lady still lodged in Skinner's Row; Sarsfield made his way through the crowd, now more ragged and more clamorous than before, for the French, the English refugees, the Roman Catholic Irish were flocking to and swarming in the capital. The brass money, the scanty supplies from France, the continued obstinacy of the rebel north, the ill news from Scotland, England and the continent had left their mark upon the followers of King James. There were discontented faces and ragged coats, sly looks and sulky brows, among the press which hurried or lounged in the fashionable streets of Dublin. It was a hot summer evening, the defilements of the city filled the afternoon air with a sour reek. Sarsfield thought of that other Ireland—the wild, noble coast of Cork; the sweet vistas of purple mountains; the placid lake between the azure hills and the arbutus trees waving long leaves in the pure air overhung with pearly skies. He ached with home-sickness as he elbowed his way among this alien crowd, over the dirty pavements, through the dull alleys.

Madame de Bonnac was not abroad and Sarsfield was received immediately. As he entered the trim house he met Colonel de Bonnac issuing from a cabinet with the little abbé, his inseparable companion, beside him. For a second he glanced at Sarsfield, without hostility, but as if he did not recognise him, though they had so lately met in Sligo. His face was curiously without colour and his lips strained in a half-grin, his right hand pressed tightly to his side. Sarsfield explained his business and then Mons. de Bonnac appeared to remember him and greeted him civilly.

"The young damsel is in my wife's charge, I believe. The women say that she is half-witted, but for myself I perceive nothing of the kind."

"Her simplicity," declared Sarsfield, grateful for this opinion, "is merely that of one who has lived long enclosed in solitude with nature and the old tales that rise from nature; there are many such in my unfortunate country, Mons. de Bonnc, who must appear as simpletons to the sophisticated."

"My wife will tell you further of her," replied the Frenchman, and he courteously motioned his guest up the rich narrow stairway. His regard was keen but not unfriendly; Sarsfield liked the man.

Madame de Bonnac received him as if she had been waiting for him; indeed she made no disguise of the fact that since she had heard of his arrival in Dublin she had been expecting him, and had sat at home, putting off her pleasures abroad.

"I knew that you would come," she smiled, "but do not accuse me of conceit. I did not expect you for my own sake."

"I must relieve you of a charge you take for me," replied Sarsfield. "I am sorry it hath been so long. I knew nothing of it and was detained these many months at Bundoran."

"You did not get leave as did the other officers," remarked the lady. "There are few of them I have not seen in my drawing-room this spring and summer—save only yourself, Colonel Sarsfield."

He was conscious, seeing her again after these many months, of a sweeth warmth and radiance in her lovely presence. She seemed to give out light and joyousness as Honor, his poor wife, appeared to give out chilliness and disdain. Her beauty, besides, was of a luxuriance impossible to ignore and the old, uneasy passion rose in him. He admired, too, of all things, her generosity and her action towards Ishma O'Donaghoe which had done much to revive his admiration for her. He wished in all simplicity that he had been coming home to Madame de Bonnac instead of to the Lady Honor Sarsfield. She put him utterly at his ease, her manners were sweetly tolerant, she made no effort to rouse his tenderness; here was affection, understanding, sympathy. She related to him, with pleasant matter-of-factness, her chance visit to Dublin Castle to the Duchess of Tyrconnel where she had heard through one of the vicereine's daughters of the Lady Honor Sarsfield's embarrassment on the arrival of the three fugitives from Cork.

"So I relieved her of her difficulty, which I could very easily do—why, there is nothing in it. The young girl is no trouble. She cards and spins very neatly and is neat and innocent in all her ways."

Patrick Sarsfield winced at this hint that Ishma might have been reduced to some genteel manner of servitude.

"She is a gentlewoman, Madame de Bonnac."

"Yes, I think she is a gentlewoman, but one strangely bred, I only just begin to understand her speech." Madame de Bonnac smiled delicately and added: "She is simple-minded or what we worldly folk call so. See her for yourself," she added, "and judge if or no I have been kind," and her last whisper sighed, "for your sake."

She opened an inner door and led him through an antechamber into a pleasant closet overlooking the street, which was light and sweet, with a large open window.

Sarsfield first noticed a long dark crucifix on one wall and a tumult of flowers in a beaupot on a side-table, then Ishma O'Donaghoe between blossoms and cross, seated at a delicate spinning-wheel, carding pure white wool.

"No doubt," said Madame de Bonnac, "she has some explanation to make to you, to me she would say nothing."

Ishma O'Donaghoe rose and curtsied to her hostess and Sarsfield; she had easily learned a touching formality and her simplicity had an air of breeding; her candid eyes turned to Sarsfield with pleasure and without amaze, as if she welcomed one long-expected; he remembered that sweet expression on her face when he had met her by the ruined mansion of the MacCarthys, holding the ash-wand in her hand, walking on the lonely road.

Madame de Bonnac left them and Patrick Sarsfield sat down by the open window as Ishma again took her place by the spinning wheel. The air was purer here than down in the street and blew freshly across his face. He said:

"I am very sorry that you should have come to Dublin and found me away."

She answered: "I have found a gracious hospitality with your friend."

Ishma sat still by her spinning wheel and looked at him without timidity, and he looked at her and found all the best of Ireland in her aspect, so warm and innocent, so lovely pure she was in her comely grace, in her abandonment and desolation, with her air of gentle, secret musing.

"Tell me," he asked in a low voice, for he was most moved, "what happened to disturb you in your pleasant solitude?"

Ishma folded her hands childishly in her lap and told him, in a language that he found difficult to follow yet sweetly musical to hear, that a horde of rapparees had broken into the lonely village and murdered some people, caused others to flee, and burnt the huts, nobody knowing the why and the wherefore. She and the Shanahus and the priest had set out, inquiring their way from village to village, from road to road, until they had come to Dublin where, he had told her, he might be found if she were in any distress or necessity. They had their hardships and their terrors on this journey, but had escaped outrage. They had had a little money which they had managed to conceal in their bundles and some of their treasures—the collar of the wolf-hound, the chessmen, some brooches and bracelets of fine pale Irish gold.

"The Shanahus is dead," she added, and her gray-purple eyes were washed with tears.

The priest had gone, seeking help from a convent he knew of outside Dublin, and she had not seen him again. She had sold, through Madame de Bonnac, some of her treasures, she would accept hospitality but not charity, she had waited for his coming, his wife had repulsed her, almost (she thought) with mockery. She excused that and had taken no offence. She added that it was strange that he should have a wife, she had not thought of him as wed; at Irrelagh he had seemed so free, there was much she could not piece together.

"My marriage was but a few months ago," said Sarsfield, and he wished to add that it had been but a mere matter of convention and ceremony, but loyalty to Honor silenced him. He wondered, with anguish, what he should do with Ishma. There she sat, paler and slighter than before, with her heavy blue-black hair and her purple shadowed eyes, her serene and queenly face, her childlike air, waiting in a proud patience for his decision. In the regard of every one she would be, he knew, but one penniless refugee the more in the already overcrowded city, a peasant girl without friends or kinsfolk, of no matter at all; even to his own heart he dare not confess what she was to him. He wished to take her into his own home but thought of Honor's cool sophisticated smile, her cruel wonder; he pondered if he might send her to his own demesne at Lucan...She broke into his thoughts by saying:

"I would not be a bewilderment or a distress to you; it was not knowing of any other and we fugitive, and the murdering rapparees behind us that made me think of the great city and the name you had given me."

He rose, approached her and asked:

"What would you like to do, Ishma O'Donaghoe? Are you happy here with Madame de Bonnac?"

She replied, looking at him earnestly, but without appeal or coquetry:

"I would rather be independent, I would rather return to Irrelagh, I would rather live alone somewhere in the country."

"I fear it is not possible, we have most bloody war from coast to coast; all women and feeble folk must gather in the towns."

"Then if I must stay here, I would have a little room to myself, and bide quiet, and it may be a decent old woman to wait on me, for I have never done the work of a servant and I'm an O'Donaghoe. And may be a priest to visit me now and then, and a chapel nearby where I can go for my prayers, I might see you perhaps from a window sometimes coming to and fro the castle."

She smiled like a child who has painted some delicious picture of delightful but impossible pleasure, and Patrick Sarsfield turned aside that she might not guess the emotion he could scarcely hide.

"That can easily be done, I will contrive it for you, and I think myself that you should no longer be in the charge of Madame de Bonnac, who is not even an Irishwoman."

"She has a fair regard for you. She did for me what your wife would not do—without stint or question or reproach, she sheltered me."

"The Lady Honor is very young and inexperienced. She has come from a convent but a few months since."

"It is in the convent that they, these holy women of God, should teach the kindness of heart and hospitality and charity. But the narrow heart and the closed hand Christ and the Sidhe do not bless. They delight in the magnificence and the splendour of love, the generosity and the kindness."

She wound her white wool close on the spindle and looked at him as a gentle queen, as one giving audience.

"I have treasure"—she did not appear to know the word "money"—"and Brian the wolf-hound yet; they keep him here for me in the stables. I am unskilled in the city and in any manner of business, but if you could find me a lodging, a room like this, high-set if possible, above the filth of the streets, I should be satisfied. To some come the loneliness and the waiting and the courage to put aside desire."

Sarsfield, full of confused sorrow, stood looking at the girl, who expected nothing more from him but his departure. He longed to ask her if she could recall the details of their last meeting, and if she could remember at all when he had held her under the dark yew at Irrelagh.

Again he knew that overwhelming need of a miracle to reconcile himself to the drab commonplaces of life; he was so bound by duty and convention, and what he must term honour, that he could scarcely venture to ask her why she had come to him, what she expected of him, and what her feelings might be.

Ishma's mien and face told him nothing, but he believed that she had brought her invisible world with her, that she was aware of very little of what passed about her; therefore no doubt she was termed a simpleton. He kissed her hand with great respect and she accepted the homage without confusion, and went back to her pleasant toil. There was nothing to be said, nothing to be done.

Patrick Sarsfield returned to Madame de Bonnac who sat in a listless attitude in a gleaming brocade-covered chair, her beautiful rounded arm supporting her fair face, her glittering hair falling heavily round her white wrist. She glanced up at him and smiled a little wistfully.

"She is beautiful, is she not?" she asked. There was a great mirror behind her in which she was reflected, brilliant in the light of the cluster of candles.

"Do you think she is beautiful?" he evaded, listless, heavy with distress.

Then Madame de Bonnac said that which startled him out of his melancholy reverie.

"My Lord Galmoy thinks her beautiful—eh, mon Dieu! He finds her fresh, sweet, I know not what."

"I am very sorry my Lord Galmoy hath seen this lady. Is he a friend of yours?"

"He knows my husband, he comes here sometimes with the other officers," replied Madame de Bonnac indifferently. "What have you against him?"

"All honest men have against him the murder of Captain Dixie and many other such acts," replied Sarsfield hotly. "He hath done more than any to make the name of the loyalists detested in this country. I dislike him."

Madame de Bonnac shrugged her smooth bare shoulders with a negligence that seemed to say, "These are the affairs and judgments of men and nothing to do with me."

"He is a pretty fellow and has smooth manners," was her comment. "He is fastidious in his choice of beauty and I thought you would be pleased to hear that he confirmed your taste for this young creature—this wild maiden with the barbaric name. My lord named her 'the snowy-breasted pearl.'"

"Who else hath remarked her?"

"Why, one or two greedy glances were given her but none were as eager as my Lord Galmoy, yet he did not think so highly of her when I commented that she was scattered in her intellects."

"It is not fair to burden you with her, especially as you think her a simpleton, Madame de Bonnac. She has, as you said, some treasure and some pride; I will take her away and house her with some of my own relatives."

This was not his intention. He intended to keep Ishma O'Donaghoe secretly, as she herself had suggested, in some sequestered chamber with some decent woman as a companion, but he spoke of his relatives to give the affair a conventional air, though he knew there was none of them who would not have regarded Ishma O'Donaghoe as his wife regarded her, and treated her with amused indifference.

"Why do you want to take her away?" demanded Madame de Bonnac with sudden heat. "Have I not been kind to her, have I not done all I could? She is not an easy house companion."

"For that reason," exclaimed Sarsfield, quick to seize his advantage, "I will remove her. She is my responsibility, not yours, Madame de Bonnac. Her gratitude, my gratitude are infinite." The words "we cannot take favour from a foreigner" rushed foolishly to his lips, but he checked them. "It is but a trifling affair," he said with an affected lightness, "and I will not have you concerned further in't."

"Where did you meet this charmer?" asked Madame de Bonnac, also affecting a light indifference to the whole matter, but her gleaming eyes beneath her lowered lids showed an avid curiosity.

Patrick Sarsfield smiled at the question. Impossible to answer that he had met the girl when he had been waiting for her, Olivia Joyce, that he had held and kissed the girl under the dark yew, thinking it was she, Olivia Joyce, whom he then believed his dear, true love. He could not tell her this fantastic story, could not speak in her presence of that faint, far-off episode, that vision within a foolish, how romantical, how obsessed he had been to suppose that Olivia Joyce would ever come to murmur a love-charm amid the graves and ruins of Irrelagh; he knew her now and knew his own folly; the hum of the spinning-wheel sounded from the closet. Sarsfield replied that he had met the girl and her relatives when he had been quartered near Kinsale, that they had offered him kindness...why, no more.

Madame de Bonnac did not urge for details. She rose to her full height, but was still little beside him; she stared at his martial presence so handsomely equipped for war and asked him with heavy impatience in her rich voice:

"Have you come back to Honor or to me?" She linked her soft hands together and added swiftly. "Do you think I am going to be for ever patient?"

The hum of the spinning stopped, went on, stopped; in the tawny candle-light the folds of Madame de Bonnac's satins gleamed like solid silver, the shadows were of an exquisite tenderness beneath her chin, between her round, half-exposed breasts.


"I AM sorry to the heart," said Sarsfield, "that you should be displeased with me."

He was overwhelmed by a sense of perpetual frustration; he felt a great need of Olivia de Bonnac, of her worldly gaiety, of the serenity with which she dealt with confused affairs, of her warm beauty and lively charm which made existence so adorned and so easy. But he was deep-rooted in tradition, in honour, in reserve, which bred a thousand hesitations.

"I believe," smiled Madame de Bonnac, "that you still dream as you did when you were a boy," and she added, "Take care or you will miss everything worth while, even the dream."

"Sometimes," he replied, "I think that I have already missed it. Believe that I am conscious of my failure."

She gave him from under her heavy lids a glance which was at once an offer and a reproach, but she was not the woman to importune or plead.

"So," she said quietly and with a smile, "you did return to Dublin for Honor and not for me?"

"I am pledged to her," he replied; "we need each other's help."

Madame de Bonnac pulled at the laces which fell over a bosom the colour and texture of orange blossom in the warm yellow light.

"If you really wished to help little Honor you should bid her be more discreet. She has seen a good deal of my Lord Berwick during your absence. I suppose you will think me no more than a vulgar gossip, but I cannot endure that you should be laughed at. No one respects the deceived husband."

She swiftly lowered herself in his eyes by this; he thought her very gross in her judgment and much lacking in that gentleness he so prized in women. He could not answer and moved away, and she laughed in his face as if she thought him childlike and simple; and this laugh also said, "I have not done with you yet, however impregnable you think yourself." She drew him into another apartment, as if the hum of the spinning-wheel vexed her; preceding him she carried in her steady hand a branched candlestick, the light went before them into the dark room, dispelling shadows.

"I have been and may be deceived in much," smiled Sarsfield, "but never in the character of my wife. What you term indiscretion is but a proud candour."

"I'll not dispute it," replied Madame de Bonnac slightly, "'tis of no matter."

She set down the candles.

"No doubt you are eager to begone, Colonel Sarsfield, but I wish to speak to you—and not of love."

But she looked at him as if love must be her sole theme.

"What business can we have to discuss?" asked Sarsfield in pure surprise; he had never thought of Olivia de Bonnac as likely to be concerned in anything save languorous frivolities.

"Colonel Luttrell," she answered, "has been much with me this summer. He is very able and daring—he is the man you need—I, too, would help—"

Sarsfield checked her immediately and sternly; Luttrell's project, Luttrell himself was now finally condemned in his eyes; there was, it seemed, no patriotism, no sincerity in it, nothing but chamber intriguing and the drawing in of artful women—so Luttrell had chattered, not only to Honor but to Olivia de Bonnac! Sarsfield looked at her with newly-opened eyes; she was the type so well known at the court from which she came—the busy, subtle intriguer, though he had never troubled to guess it; but Henry Luttrell had found her out and quietly and quickly enough; Sarsfield was humiliated.

"We have all mistaken one another, Madame de Bonnac. If Colonel Luttrell used my name it was without my warranty—if I had any hesitation 'tis over." As she was about to answer he added angrily, "Set no snares for me, nor try to encumber me with persuasions. I do intend to be free of all of it."

"Have you no ambition?"

"None to be Luttrell's cat's-paw. And you, how far have you gone in his schemes? Your husband is a French officer, and Luttrell designs directly against the French interest."

"That is spoken like a child. I hope you will come to a clearer sense of what is intended for you. Ah, I perceive I must fight your engrossing dreams. Could you put them away you might be a great man, you might even save the country over which you have mused so much—have you thought of that? I am more powerful than you think. And so is Henry Luttrell."

"I do believe it. I pray you let us have no more of this."

The whole intrigue was hateful to Sarsfield; he was disgusted, ashamed at ever having been involved in even the fringes of it; his pride and his honesty alike recoiled from the thought of Henry Luttrell, Olivia de Bonnac and his wife (the most strangely assorted company, surely!) intriguing, for their several ambitions and vanities, to exploit his shy and guarded patriotism.

"I am too clumsy for these fine webs," he said, "even should you enmesh me I should break them. Hold me, Madame, too simple, too dull to serve your turn."

Olivia de Bonnac had the grace and prudence not to foment this into a quarrel; she saw she dealt with an angry, disgusted man; she could even conceal her own pain, and that was keen.

Her smile appealed for pity; she seemed to offer her beauty in extenuation of all her faults; she sighed, raised her hand, let it fall and sighed again.

He went into the other room and picked up his hat and cane; he thought that this was the end of all between him and Henry Luttrell, between him and Olivia de Bonnac.

The lady thought otherwise. But for the moment she dismissed him with a smiling gentleness, and he went heavily down the stairs trying to put women out of his head, for he had many affairs on his mind. As he descended he could hear the hum of the Irish girl's spinning-wheel, and it made a melody in the most secret recesses of his heart.

As he was leaving the house he was accosted by the little abbé, who was secretary to Mons. de Bonnac. This person begged leave to accompany him a few yards along the street.

"Mons. de Bonnac," remarked the abbé, as they moved adroitly through the jostling crowds in Skinner's Row, "and I also in my poor judgment think that you should move the young Irish gentlewoman to another lodgment."

Sarsfield was surprised by this and answered readily:

"Such was my intention. She is, in a manner, my responsibility, and above all I would not have Mons. de Bonnac's establishment incommoded—"

The abbé interrupted:

"It is not that, my master is not ungenerous nor inhospitable. The young gentlewoman, as you understand, knows nothing."

"She is totally inexperienced, hath lived entirely away from what we call the world."

"Therefore she is out of place in that house," replied the abbé. "Madame de Bonnac is a woman of the world. She receives a worldly company; there is much idleness and lewd play in Dublin now and many men who think of nothing but amusement—" He broke off and then added with an agreeable smile and a conciliatory air: "Mons. de Bonnac thinks that your young refugee would be happier in a convent such as that of the Clares than mingling in society which to her must be alien." With that he saluted his companion and returned rapidly through the press.

Sarsfield was startled. He was forced to suppose this was part of the malice of which Madame de Bonnac had complained in her husband, for though there was obvious wisdom in the advice, it was not possible for him to believe that Ishma O'Donaghoe was not as safe in the house of Olivia de Bonnac as she would have been in a convent; nevertheless he felt an added pressure on him to remove her. He thought of his mother, of his two sisters—Lady Kilmallock and Lady Mount Stephen. These gentle and enthusiastic women, who would willingly have helped him, had remained at St. Germains in the court of the exiled Queen, together with many other ladies of their rank who were not willing to risk the confusion of war in Ireland.

A convent! He did not wish to put that young creature, the very symbol of all that was natural and free, behind the high walls and under the rigid discipline of a nunnery. And as he returned to his own house he was already considering how he might place the Irish girl on his own estates in Lucan...somewhere safe from all of them, their convents, their advice, their amusements.

Honor was waiting in the apartment she had so elaborately and extravagantly adorned; her look and her attitude reminded him that he had left her alone on the first evening of his return as he had left her alone on his wedding-night, and that they were in reality strangers. She greeted him nervously and seemed at once pleased to see him and angry with him; he remembered that he had been with two women whom she might consider her rivals.

"You saw the young creature from Irrelagh?"

"Yes, Honor, and Madame de Bonnac. Do not concern yourself—"

She interrupted:

"Madame de Bonnac said something spiteful of me, I dare swear."

Sarsfield was amused at the way these women understood each other. He replied drily: "It need not concern you what Madame de Bonnac or any other woman may say, it is you and I who have to make a life together. As for the young girl, she will be protected and you need think of her no more."

For answer Honor put her face into her hands and began to weep.

Patrick Sarsfield could not reproach her; she was a young girl overborne by worldly considerations and her relatives; he was a man many years older and had committed as great a folly; his impetuous chivalry, his need of a companion in his new honours had wrought as much harm as her cowardice.

"Honor, you must not weep for our mistakes. It is true that I thought you very simple and heart-whole, that I considered our marriage as formal as between people of our quality—"

"You married me out of pity and charity."

"Nay, Honor, you must never think so. It was largely for my own sake, too; I needed a wife—some one to stand close to me, to help me in many ways, and I thought that you were she. Honor, for your own sake, you must be that woman now.

"For we are bound before God and man," added Honor, sobbing.

She had been brought up in undeviating submission to her Faith and her principles were high, but the thought of the man whom she really loved was humbling her spiritual pride. Her husband perceived this and felt an immense pity. How strong, how detestable was this conventional ambition, this selfish greed and cold timidity which had robbed him of Olivia Joyce, which had come between Honor de Burgh and James Fitz James, which had set all their destinies awry and made a hard, bitter struggle of what should have been ease and felicity.

"Honor, it is better you see no more of this young gentleman. If he respects you he will stay away from you."

"Nothing but formalities have passed between us," she replied mournfully; "but it is difficult for us to keep out of one another's company."

She rose, and added with some pride: "I do not know how I find the courage to tell you this, but after all I suppose you married me to put some one between yourself and Madame de Bonnac."

This accurate reading, this bald statement of one of his half-unavowed motives coming from one whom he had deemed so inexperienced and simple, made the man smile sadly.

"It seems we are very plain with one another, Honor," he replied, "and honesty is surely a fair foundation for a good understanding." As she did not answer he added: "You will understand I married you intending to be faithful to you in thought and deed."

"I believe it," she replied, "but what is that without love? Had you loved me," she continued perversely, "you might have made me forget that other."

As he did not respond to that she added listlessly: "Why did you and Madame de Bonnac part ten years ago?"

"She would not marry me because of worldly prudence."

Honor hung her head; she recalled the sting inflicted upon her by the worldly prudence of her favoured lover, the worldly wisdom which had put aside passion for convenience and profit.

"You would have married where you loved, without thought or consideration, like a rash fool?" she asked her husband.

"Ay, Honor, so I would have wed."

"And I, too. We are both unfortunate."

"Why, so are many, Honor, and it is a mistake to think that we are born into this world for pure happiness and delight. It is true that you are young for such a blow as you have received, but you are not alone, Honor; I will stand by you all I may."

She looked at him, her eyes wet, all her pride sunk, her attitude suddenly humbled.

"If you could love me a little," she whispered, "if you could only feign to love me..."

Sarsfield could understand that; being a woman and so young, love was really all she required and without it her life would be intolerably arid; she wanted a lover—a lawful lover—to make her forget the love she might not have; he admired her, he pitied her...Could not his will overpower his heart, could he not endeavour to put her in the place of Olivia de Bonnac and that other?

It was not difficult for him, in his disillusion and fatigue, to embrace her; she did not resist but rather clung to him and, in the intensity with which she submitted to his sad caresses, he could read her long loneliness, her secret heartbreak, her pitiful need for comfort. He tried to forget that he embraced a substitute in her as she embraced a substitute in him, but still in the secret recesses of his heart, like an enticing entreaty, was the thrum of the spinning-wheel turned by Ishma O'Donaghoe.

They could not long comfort one another; their relationship was too false; her pride too sharp, too newly stung. She left him.

"If you could have loved me," she muttered in unreasonable reproach.

Sarsfield remained alone in the handsome, alien room; he put his hand idly into his pocket and felt the little phial given him by King James. Only, he thought, in loyalty and honour could there be any defence against a load of cares.


THE COMTE D'AVAUX endeavoured to obtain the command of Mountcashel's Brigade for Sarsfield, but was thwarted by Tyrconnel's and De Rosen's influence over the king; Berwick was sent to Newry to affront the north; on August 13th Ireland was invaded; an English fleet sailed into Belfast Lough bringing twenty thousand troops under the Duke of Schomberg.

Sarsfield fought his way through the press of officers, jobbers, loungers, the idle, the self-interested, the curious who encumbered the antechambers, into the presence of the viceroy.

Tyrconnel was, as usual, doing nothing; his restless inaction showed him to be waiting on events; he did not wish to see Sarsfield and his fine, flourishing, courtly manner hardly disguised a jealous impatience.

"Will your grace give me something active to do?" demanded Sarsfield. His courtesy was strained. Tyrconnel remembered that this subordinate was better born than himself, more respected, in everything a finer man.

He replied sourly:

"Before God, what is there for any one save swearing, roaring and huzza-ing?—jobs I believe your followers are clever enough at, Colonel Sarsfield."

"I have no followers."

"Oh, I have heard you make a party for yourself."

"I suppose we have all heard foolish fanatic tales of each other, my lord duke. Why do you trouble your head with such libels?"

Tyrconnel straddled in front of the fireplace. He was very grand and imposing, as stately and dignified as King Louis himself, but Sarsfield dwarfed him.

"Send me to Connaught, my lord. I will undertake to raise men there on my own credit."

"That might be dangerous—a setting up of parties and seditions."

"As long as I am in the king's service it were pitiful and ridiculous in you, sir, to question my loyalty."

Tyrconnel's swollen eyes glanced at him sideways.

"Well, well, Colonel Sarsfield, power will make any man feel he hath in him a wild ambition, not easy to bridle."

"I ask some active part. I hear you, sir, have refused Mons. d'Avaux's request in my favour for Mountcashel's Brigade."

"Ay, he should not interfere, that embroils all; we are sweetly mixed here, every man with his nose in t'other's poke."

"These are mere blustering vapours, there is work for those who'll find the will for it. Schomberg hath taken Carrickfergus and is advancing, but it seems as if every one in Dublin had forgotten it."

"Berwick is at Newry to meet him."

"I was serving under Luxembourg when Berwick was in petticoats—send me at least to reinforce him."

"I thought," remarked Tyrconnel with an unpleasant grin, "that young Berwick hung over your head like a scourge."

Observing Sarsfield's stare, he dare pursue this theme no further, but broke into the ranting, bullying air that so often took the place of his fine manners.

"I don't fear the damned old rascal Schomberg, nor his raw yokel army, he's got the accursed climate to consider as much as we have; let him sink in a bog and rot to death."

"All this means, sir, that you wink at sloth, inaction, incapacity?"

"Well," replied the viceroy, biting his forefinger, "it certainly don't mean I wink at your intrigues with Harry Luttrell."

"There are none, and you know it. Whatever I did 'twould be open. I've no wits for intrigue."

"I wonder."

"You need not. I ask for some active post. I can't see all go to the dogs and stay here mewed up in Dublin with swaggerers, jobbers and speechmakers all railing like naughty boys against the birch."

"Oh, ye can't, can't ye? I think ye're a little too broad, Colonel Sarsfield."

"And I see your Grace means to put me off with a parcel of uncivil words."

The viceroy's overworn countenance coloured deeply with wrath, he freely used vile language which seemed to Sarsfield but a silly piece of impertinence, and then declared:

"I have heard much to your disparagement and, as for Luttrell, I take him to be little better than a subtle working traitor who would rise behind you."

Sarsfield smiled; he thought: "How well we are all known one to the other!" Aloud he said: "I am not the keeper of Harry Luttrell's conscience. I like the man, no more."

"He is a double-damned, confounded dog," swore Tyrconnel. "I have a packet of complaints of him from Sligo."

"Why, tell him so; he'll have an answer—but what of my affair?"

"I can do nothing."

"Will you say so before the king?"

Tyrconnel gave Sarsfield a fiery glance, plucked at the curls of his huge periwig and took up the challenge with dignity.

"Ay, I'll carry you to the king myself immediately."

James was closeted with Marshal de Rosen and D'Avaux, but Tyrconnel broke in on them without ceremony.

The king seemed indifferent as to who was in his company; he was sunk very low in his chair and appeared to be listening to none. The Comte d'Avaux was in the window-place; he winced and shut his lips tightly as Tyrconnel blustered into the cabinet, then turned his head to stare out into the dull enclosed courtyard.

"He must be sick of Ireland, he does his duty very well," thought Sarsfield with sympathy.

"Sire," said Tyrconnel, "here is Colonel Patrick Sarsfield of Lucan desiring some active post, and no excuse will avail to silence him."

The king turned as if about to speak; but, swelling with rage, Marshal de Rosen imposed silence on them all.

The Livonian, an angry man since landing at Kinsale, had been by no means softened by the misery he had seen around him since he had come to Ireland. He had always been of opinion that some of the wonted severity that he had been allowed to employ in King Louis's service would have reduced Derry, and he had been heard to declare more than once that no terms should be offered the rebels but that they should be obliged to surrender themselves with halters about heir necks.

Standing forward now, with his hands on his hips, he addressed the king, who looked at him with hostility, but appeared to lack the spirit to answer, and when Sarsfield would have stepped forward to say something, he motioned that officer into silence with a gesture of his heavy, weary-looking hand.

"You," he declared, scowling towards Sarsfield, "with your patrolling of Lough Erne know nothing of the real conditions of the country—"

"I've seen enough," muttered Sarsfield, and he half-turned his back on Marshal de Rosen whom he considered a man no better than Lord Galmoy. He had heard how the French general had ordered gallows to be erected on the double bastion in sight of the enemy's camp, and commanded all the prisoners to prepare for instant death. In a word, Marshal de Rosen had treated the Protestants as what Sarsfield could not regard them—malefactors, traitors and rebels. He marvelled that the king should continue to listen to this man; that D'Avaux, though he looked worried and anxious, made no endeavour to stop him.

"I have heard all this before," remarked the king peevishly.

"I wonder then," said the Livonian, with a hot look, "Your Majesty does not see that your orders are better attended, that Irish officers, like Colonel Sarsfield here, do not stop their vauntings and boastings of what they can do in the country."

"Sire," said Sarsfield, addressing the king, "I know not if Marshal de Rosen needs to insult me, but Ireland being so troublesome and embarrassed I take no heed of it."

The king replied:

"Let De Rosen speak, he knows my affairs better than any man."

Scowling, grumbling and working himself up to a pitch of passion near madness, De Rosen continued:

"Troops that were sent to me lately outside Derry were in the worst possible condition, their arms damaged and broken and accordingly useless, and in the whole army there was not a single gunsmith to mend them."

"'Tis incredible," murmured Tyrconnel smoothly.

"Hamilton's troops were in as vile a plight," added De Rosen, "entirely lost and ruined. The strongest battalion had but two hundred men and more than two-thirds of them without belts, swords or bandoliers."

"But was not your cavalry good enough?" asked the king drearily and without much hope; he looked at Sarsfield.

"The cavalry and dragoons were not the better that they were the more numerous," replied De Rosen with black sarcasm, "for of the strongest company not more than twelve or fourteen troopers were able to serve—all this I have set forth in my memorandum."

"The Duke of Berwick—my son Berwick—acquitted himself very well," replied the king weakly.

"The detachment under the Duke of Berwick's command," replied De Rosen scornfully, "being more than thirty miles from Derry weakened us extremely. But, sire, useless to go over all this embarrassment." The Livonian, however, could not hush his grievances: he added: "There was but one road and that a bad one...The guns could not be mounted for lack of carriages, and when the regiments of Walter Butler came from Dublin without swords, without powder and ball, I confess I was surprised."

"Tyrconnel should have seen to that," said the king, sneering towards the viceroy.

"Recommend me not to my Lord Tyrconnel," replied De Rosen, purpling even more deeply in the face; "when the money was sent from Dublin under Bagnall's escort and they had not a single shot between them, although the officers had begged for ammunition—Hamilton, Lord Galmoy, Lord Galway can do nothing, patriots though they be—and no others may effect anything when the country is in such a condition."

Sarsfield replied quietly:

"But very much may be done with affairs even in the condition Marshal de Rosen laments. For the very reason that he, used to commanding disciplined and foreign troops, finds matters here difficult, it is possible that a native officer may with more ease achieve some success."

"I applaud that," said D'Avaux, fixing his bright yet tired eyes on the king.

But James, with that peevish, obstinate sticking to one point or repetition of one fact which often distinguishes the weak and ill-tempered man, replied:

"Colonel Sarsfield's patrol was defeated at Lough Erne—Colonel Sarsfield fell back after Newton-Butler—"

"Mon Dieu!" cried D'Avaux. "Any man would have been defeated at Lough Erne. Many officers have reported to me that they frequently asked for arms without being able to obtain any."

De Rosen continued, his grievances seemed to rise up and break from him without his own volition:

"The garrison of Belturbet is in the same situation, having, as Sutherland told me, but little powder and not a single ball. My heart bleeds, sir," added the ferocious Livonian, "when I reflect on the continuation of this negligence, for it appears to me that no one is in any pain about the ruin of your affairs and," he added with a biting sarcasm, "with very profound respect, submission and loyalty, sire, I ask Your Majesty how it may be supposed that a few officers, native Irish like Colonel Sarsfield, though they may have a far higher spirit than we have reckoned on, can do anything at this juncture?"

The king glared at D'Avaux. He appeared to ignore both De Rosen and Sarsfield, and suddenly fixed an exasperated malice on the diplomat; the early dislike between the two men had developed almost to hatred.

Whatever James might do openly to oblige D'Avaux out of fear of his master, because he was the source of all financial supplies, secretly he turned towards Melfort, the subtle Scotchman.

The king, too, had lately discovered that D'Avaux had had with him, when he landed at Kinsale last March, double the amount of money to which he had confessed; one portion had been secretly retained for an emergency; James had been intensely irritated at this slur on his prudence, still more by D'Avaux's answer, when he had charged him with keeping back some of the money, that Lord Melfort, who had the handling of the king's finances, was not to be trusted; at the end of the wrangle D'Avaux had said dryly: "I may tell Your Majesty that now all is spent, both what I had to display openly and my secret reserve."

This grievance returned now to the slow and obstinate mind of the king and he said:

"Instead of listening with what seems to me relish to the account by Marshal de Rosen of the disasters and ill-discipline which have dogged my troops in the field, you might consider how it is that my policies at Dublin have caused this dismal state of affairs. How can my cavalry be anything but inferior, my infantry but little better than half-armed and half-drilled rapparees, my laws and edicts anything but disregarded everywhere when I have no means? What king can do anything with little money and scant credit? The brass tokens I was obliged to issue put us all in a confusion, and the guinea fetches three pounds ten in this coinage."

"That was last June," smiled D'Avaux dryly, "at present it is at least five pounds. We have issued a million of this brass money and it will probably be necessary to issue at least another half-million to carry us over the winter."

"Brass itself is growing scarce," scowled De Rosen, "and I have already been asked to forego the great gun in the castle yard in order that it may be melted down and coined."

"I have written here with my own hand to His Most Christian Majesty about this scarcity of money and even of brass," said James sourly.

"If His Majesty can do nothing else," smiled D'Avaux, "he may, sire, send you a few ancient guns."

He turned into the room. He had an air of fortitude, yet of great fatigue as of a man weary to the bone.

"We lose time and temper in these recriminations," he added. "We all know the state of Your Majesty's affairs, the despair and desolation of the country, the ill-equipment of the troops, the disorganisation of the civilian population—"

The king stopped him impatiently:

"But what we do not know is how far His Most Christian Majesty intends to help us."

Sarsfield's sympathies were with the king; for what was he but a most unfortunate man who had been made the puppet for the devices and ambitions of other princes?

As Sarsfield eyed the two Frenchmen he said with some sternness and some tone of authority:

"Mons. d'Avaux, certainly it would be for the good of the cause if we could have some assurance as to the help we may be likely to expect from His Most Christian Majesty."

D'Avaux replied:

"You speak boldly, Colonel Sarsfield, and I think none the less of you for it. His Majesty will send you succour in due course—"

"Words, words, as usual," replied Sarsfield. And King James, who was never burdened with much sense of gratitude, sneered:

"We do not want a handful of officers to drill recruits and a few damaged guns to turn into coins, but a large well-disciplined army, fit to meet the army which has been sent from England."

D'Avaux stroked his chin and did not reply at once. He knew what was not perfectly clear even to De Rosen, that it was not part of the policy of King Louis and his minister, Louvois, to send large supplies of either men, money or material to Ireland; their object was to prolong the struggle there, not to gain any sensational victory, but to distract the English Government and draw away from Flanders and the other seats of war the troops of the Prince of Orange and the other Allies. He knew from his despatches sent from Louvois that already the Emperor was telling the usurping King of England that the trouble in Ireland must be settled before the war could be pursued with fitting fervour on the other front, and that the other Allies, the German princes, the King of Spain, were even hinting—and rather broadly hinting—that they might be induced to make a separate peace unless this running sore of Ireland could be healed. For it was clear to them that the usurping king could not maintain his new government with this fester in his side. D'Avaux said nothing of this, but fell back on the smooth, well-worn language of diplomacy and soothed the king as well as he could with vague and dubious promises and encouragements for the future.

To these General de Rosen listened with ill-concealed ferocity; he longed to say that he hoped if this game in Ireland was to continue for long he might be recalled; he considered his task a hopeless one. It was all very well talking about native recruits, but he considered Ireland a nation impossible to deal with. When he had looked at so-called regiments, newly-raised by the French officers, he had remarked with bitter sarcasm: "There is nothing uniform about them but their rags."

Suavely and pleasantly D'Avaux came round to what had been uppermost in his mind since the entrance of Tyrconnel and Sarsfield; the employment of the latter in some important command. He again urged the king to send this officer to Connaught, infested by the enemy, and employ him to hold Sligo, the key to those parts of Ireland.

"Else, sir," he added, "a Protestant army will be well into the centre of the island, whereas, with Sarsfield at Sligo—"

The king suddenly rose.

"No doubt," he said, "with Colonel Sarsfield at Sligo we shall be safe enough."

Sarsfield did not know if this were meant for an expression of confidence or for sarcasm; but he recalled the moment when James Stewart had pressed the little relic into his hand.

"I think I could do it, sire," he said. "I will take my own troop of dragoons and possibly those of Mountcashel and see what men I can raise, and arm on my own credit and persuasion. It is true there are those, even among these so-called rapparees, who will follow and serve, and serve with loyalty one of Irish birth and name."

"You've a hard task," sneered De Rosen insultingly. "My God! to hold Connaught with a rabble of cattle thieves."

"I know," replied Sarsfield, "I came to Ireland prepared for a hard task and found one harder than I anticipated—that of waiting and doing nothing, Marshal de Rosen."

"And Berwick—what is Berwick to do?" asked the king, jealous of his young son's credit. "Berwick stays idle at Newry."

D'Avaux replied glibly:

"Marshal de Rosen, if my advice had to be followed I would say that the Duke of Berwick had better keep his headquarters at Newry, and that His Majesty should join him there, setting up the royal standard to hearten the rest."

"Am I to leave Dublin again?" exclaimed the unfortunate king, dismayed. "'Tis bad enough here with the discomforts and the miseries. But these camps and headquarters...I am not a young man, Mons. d'Avaux, to fall into these broils."

"All shall be made as smooth as possible for Your Majesty," replied D'Avaux, gentle but implacable. "Yet I do consider it necessary that Your Majesty should be seen with the army."

De Rosen, who loathed the king as representing everything detestable to his nature, was thankful that James was not appointed to be with his contingent. He made a brief salute and left the chamber, bearing himself as if he was master of all. Tyrconnel swung after him.

The king looked at Sarsfield.

"You have your wish, Colonel Sarsfield," he said with dignity. "You shall go to Connaught. You shall raise men on your own credit. You see how I am beset."

"I ask nothing, sire, but what you have given me. I do undertake to defend Connaught."

"I trust you," replied James. "And I am a prince whose trust hath often been betrayed."

He was not a man of much intelligence, but Sarsfield felt that there were some truths he understood very well; no doubt he, too, had heard (what every one seemed to have heard) of the intrigues of Henry Luttrell.

"Even my own children," added the king; he suddenly spoke, out of the confusion of his faults and misfortunes, with exact clarity. "Loyalty is worth while, Colonel Sarsfield. I have found that even in much misery—loyalty to God."

"Yes," said Sarsfield gravely.

The two men looked at each other directly; it was a moment of complete comprehension; each saw clearly into the soul of the other.

"Thank you, sir." The king bent his head as if accepting a gift; all his peevish ingratitude, his querulous impatience had left him. "'Tis worth while," he repeated.

He turned away, his tall stooping figure blocked the light, his trembling fingers fumbled with a little crucifix enclosing a portion of the True Cross, that hung under the laces on his bosom. He left the closet.


SARSFIELD stood silent; his fancy was far away, D'Avaux was regarding him keenly.

Sarsfield's mind was busy with that other Ireland; not the country which these foreigners had been discussing, the starved ragged troops, the ill-organised, crowded, foul cities, the jobbing and the intriguing; but the Ireland of the gray-green rivers and the silver-bosomed lakes, of the purple azure mountains and the emerald green swards. He thought of the wet wind, the racing waves on the long rocky shores, the cry of the cormorants and the gulls, and a gray ruined chapel and cloisters; the beautiful outline of gigantic crosses in lonely places, the purple dun stretches of the swamps, the pale bog lilies floating on dark, distant and solitary pools. This secret, real Ireland, of the soil, of the elements, of the old faiths and virtues, of the unseen magic people, combined in one personality, that of the girl he had left under the charge of Madame de Bonnac; a fair, lonely creature who belonged to no one and therefore to all, who had seemed of another race seated in the fashionable room between the spinning-wheel and the loosened rich flowers, in her resigned ruin, in her unsurprised bewilderment. His poignant longing for the lonely gray places and the companionship of that girl, for the old days when he had walked from the mansion of the MacCarthys under the arbutus trees, with the long grasses and the wet mosses beneath his feet, and in the distance the lake slipping in between the hills with gleams of radiant colour, so obsessed him that he believed he was alone. His poignant vision of Ireland and Ishma as one entity seemed to be connected with the king's words, the king's trust; Ireland had been often betrayed, even by her own children, as had James Stewart; he could not help her by playing the traitor to the king; "loyalty is worth while," the old man had said; despite his own looseness and weakness he knew that. Out of treachery, out of intrigues with Harry Luttrell, with Olivia de Bonnac, nothing noble could come. "Obey your conscience," the shabby, cheerful old priest on the sacred island of Lough Erne had advised, and nothing but rectitude would satisfy the conscience of Patrick Sarsfield. And it seemed curious that the king, of all men, alone knew this. D'Avaux began to speak, Sarsfield started and looked at him stupidly. The Frenchman said dryly:

"I believe, Colonel Sarsfield, that I have gotten you this command. You are willing to go immediately to Connaught? 'Tis hard for you as you have but a new-made wife whom you have been forced to leave already."

"My wife and I understand each other," replied Sarsfield, with an effort bringing himself back to sad reality. "She has her relatives and her brother coming and going." And in his heart he added: "She has her thoughts of Berwick and no doubt will see much of him, as his father will contrive that he often visits Dublin."

"You will need to concern yourself no more about the matter," said D'Avaux, "it is certain you have the command; irregular as it may be," he added acidly. "But all our organisation is irregular. You will take, at least while he is a prisoner, Lord Mountcashel's troop and your own, and you will raise as many more men as you can, and you will endeavour to hold Sligo and Connaught against the Protestants. You will keep in communication with the Duke of Berwick at Newry. You see, I am giving you your orders, I dare say you will take them better than from Marshal de Rosen." He was silent for a second, keenly observing Sarsfield, then added: "And I dare say you will not take them from either of us much longer, Colonel Sarsfield. I will not conceal from you that it will be almost impossible for me to continue long in my post, I cannot lend myself to the humours of King James nor adapt myself to a man so various, so uncertain, and in every way"—the Frenchman pursed his lips—"so inefficient and unfortunate."

"Unfortunate," repeated Sarsfield, "and an old, ailing man."

D'Avaux said no more of King James; in taking leave of Sarsfield he felt he was taking leave of all that was best in Ireland, of all at least that he could understand in Ireland.

With the desire to give some comfort to a man left with what he felt to be an impossible task, he added:

"Believe me, Colonel Sarsfield—and here I speak with authority—that whatever you may hear or think for yourself, it is not King Louis's intention to abandon Ireland, although he has had some advice in that direction."

"From Tyrconnel?" asked Sarsfield quickly.

"You may be assured," said D'Avaux dryly, "that I have my eye on my Lord Tyrconnel. I trust neither him nor Melfort, nor indeed any man save yourself."

This compliment made Sarsfield wince; he felt it no honour to be the only honest man in a company of rogues.

"One thing more," D'Avaux spoke earnestly, "of all whom I mistrust Colonel Luttrell comes first."

"Is every one to warn me of Harry Luttrell?" asked Sarsfield indifferently. "For my part, though he may brag and intrigue I do not think him capable of active harm, and his services are very valuable in Sligo."

"I hold him," insisted D'Avaux, "to be a dangerous man."

"Not to me," said Sarsfield, and thought he spoke the truth.

There remained then the evening and Honor; he had got the post, the difficult, perilous post for which he had striven and hardly hoped, but the triumph was damped by a subtle sadness, by the thought of the three women with whom he was involved, and by certain drowsy dreams that would not be banished; in these moods, when his melancholy was on him, he wondered, with self-contempt, if he really was a man of action.

He looked back at the castle, the Irish flag hung heavily in the hazy summer air; it was impossible to read Tyrconnel's boasting motto: "Now or Never, Now and Forever."

Sarsfield went direct to his wife and told her of his appointment, and asked if she would come with him to Connaught. But Honor shrugged her pretty shoulders.

"Am I to be left again? Is this war never coming to an end? Why should they choose you of all men to go to Connaught? 'Tis known to be a barbarous place."

He ignored her childish complaints and stroked the little hand which lay in his, not unwillingly, he thought, despite her temper.

"Did I not ask you to come with me, Honor, that you might not be left alone?"

"But it will be rough in Connaught, worse than it is here. I shall have no conveniences or privacies. There will be few other women there and those few hateful."

"Well then, Honor, if you are nice and dainty you must stay in Dublin, and in that case I am forced to tell you that you must be careful with your expenses, for I shall have little assistance in this work I do, and have undertaken to raise what men I can at my own credit."

"And I am to go short for that?" she exclaimed reproachfully.

"I did not say short, Honor. This is a time of war, there is no need for Parisian luxury, nor to have two maids where one will do; nor to spend on toys what is needed for necessities."

"You call your troop a necessity?" she demanded.

"I call the defence and protection of Ireland a necessity, Honor."

She saw that she had vexed him and was silent, but she had not given in graciously and he was minded to add:—

"If my Lord Berwick comes to and fro Dublin, and he may have that indulgence being the King's son, I beg of you, Honor, for you own sake, to see but little of him, even in company, even at a music-making or a card-playing avoid him."

"In sooth," said she, biting her pretty underlip, "I see a dull season ahead of me."

"It will be such a season as all other women must endure. Do not reproach me, Honor; I thought we had straightened affairs between us and at least I may console myself that your estate is not worse because of your marriage to me."

"I will do my best," she faltered with a childish air, "but loneliness and economy—"

He would have reminded her that she should have been used to economy, since she had spent her girlhood strictly in a convent, and when she had come into the world the family fortunes had been already ruined; but he endeavoured to soothe and caress her, though with an absent heart.

"You will have your friends and your toys and games within reason, Honor; I would not be harsh, and if it were not for the war, why, you should have all my fortune without question. I am not one for preaching, but you must have, being a woman and so young, a tender heart, and do you but think of the misery that is abroad now, and of the ladies of gentle birth brought to a state that I would not even have you guess at, and enduring humiliations and privations I would not have you even know of. Take a little comfort that you are not so ill-entreated, my Honor."

She did not answer but sat meekly, leaving her hand in his, and his eyes dwelt on her kindly; how pretty she was, how smooth and precise, with what care she had arranged her toilet, how fragrant and elegant was her whole appearance; yet how completely indifferent she left him!

"You will want to say good-bye to Madame de Bonnac, I suppose she remains in Dublin too."

"Yes, I shall say good-bye to her, Honor."

"That girl?"

"I shall provide for her also."

Sarsfield hesitated, he half-thought of endeavouring once more to persuade Honor to the gentleness and kindness which he, in his masculine simplicity, felt must be inherent in one so young and so soft-looking. He thought that if he could leave Ishma as companion to Honor his mind would be at rest, his heart at ease, and he would be able, whatever toil and difficulty, alarm and peril awaited him, to think of the two girls together in loving friendliness, one helping the other in sweet companionship.

Then he despised this as sentimentality, as weakness, and some fierce, secret pride in him revolted at the thought of Ishma being his wife's companion, and he decided even in that moment that he would take her away to his estates at Lucan and lodge her there with one of his tenants in placid secrecy, in some place where she might live as she wished to live, with the dog, Brian, and a priest at hand, the wide-open country and gentle solitude. She would like Lucan, he thought, the great avenues and the wide park, the lake and all that was his. She could live there in some cottage without scandal or affront to any, without curiosity, without questioning from either his wife or Madame de Bonnac. So he said no more to Honor about Ishma O'Donaghoe and she did not question him, but her manner was unsatisfied; and he knew, little wise as he was in affairs of love, that there must be this deep discontent between them until some real affection grew, so false was their position.

He was leaving her in a kind but formal fashion when she called him back; there was fear, almost panic in her voice. Returning slowly to where she sat, he reminded himself that he was her husband.

"Don't leave me so," she whispered.


WHEN the tall man, magnificent in his military equipment, cunningly designed for parade and pomp, was standing close to her chair, waiting for her to speak, Honor's nervously wrought up courage sank.

"I spoke on a foolish impulse," she whispered. "Have no heed, trouble with me no more."

"A generous impulse, I'll go warrant, Honor, and woe befall the heart that has none such, better be wrong with a warm folly than be ever right with a cold calculation."

She did not answer and, eager to comfort her, he continued:

"It is a fine pride to feel you can trust some one, Honor."

"Can you trust me, sir?"

"Yes, I can." He thought of himself and the king.

"I trust you, though I know nothing of you save that you care not at all for me. Can we," she added timidly, "do anything with those dry loyalties? I am much your inferior in everything."

"That makes a rank fool of me, Honor. We must treasure any spark of loyalty."

"'Tis all," she whispered looking down, "so horrid strange—like a raving in dreams, when all should be orderly and agreeable, my own short life seems to me already incredible."

"Were we, any of us, dear heart, to confess to our real adventures of mind and soul, 'twould make odd, oft fearful reading. 'Tis why so much must be glossed over with feints and ceremonies—our poor defences, Honor. But let us not make all fruitless between us."

She looked up at him, her dignity and her calm largely recovered.

"You know, lately I have got much comfort out of old tales, and your speech minded me of them. My mother used to tell me about the unseen people, how they were everywhere and sometimes became visible to mortal eyes—how they loved music and noble deeds, the open hand, the generous heart—" She smiled at her own memories which already seemed of events and speeches very far away. "We were never allowed to put out the embers or lock up the food and the maidens had to leave milk in the jugs and the doors ajar, and now and then a new baked cake on the threshold, and indeed we all felt a sweet blessing on the house. But in the convent we were taught differently."

"Yet 'tis all the same," said Sarsfield, consoled that they had this bond in common; they were both Irish, fed on the same traditions, the same faiths. "Such, too, are my early recollections, difficult to speak of, heartening to muse over—"

"I believe in all of it," sighed Honor, shielding her face with her hand. "And all was easy then—lately I have been at a plunge and all flies in my face."

"We must overbear our disillusions, Honor, not be drudge to our own disappointments."

"You remember, sir, the ban-sidhe, who gave warning of death; methought I heard her once, wailing high in a budding ash tree before my mother died, and to comfort me they talked of the leanan-sidhe, the spirit of life, how beautiful and serene she was, and so different from mortal men; some said she was Ireland herself, lonely and patient, after many miseries."

Sarsfield did not answer, and Honor added shyly:

"That girl from Cork made me think of the leanan-sidhe."

"Why did you turn her away, Honor?"

"I cannot answer that."

Fearful lest she should again fall into her deep reserve he snatched at her hand, then went on his knee beside her chair.

"Come with me to Connaught, Honor, be my wife in true earnest. Honor, I am somewhat serious, we may not pretend at happiness, but maybe we shall come on something of greater value."

She sat taut, thinking, he knew, of Berwick; touched by despair Sarsfield added:—

"I am much alone, Honor. I, too, have had my bouts with fortune and have been deceived by trumpery."

"Oh, I know—Olivia de Bonnac," said Honor. "I have seen how you have turned from her—at last. And she has seen also."

Sarsfield could not forbear a smile at this young girl's shrewdness even as he replied:

"I did not think of that."

Honor rose impetuously.

"Oh, I am tormented most pitifully!"

She could not escape, he held her, seeking his own release as much as hers; a gallant defiance of misery was heart-rending in one so young, so feeble, so inexperienced.

She stood still against him for a while, then put out her fingers and, like a child recovering from exhausting sobs, played in an absorbed fashion with the long braided tassels that fell from his epaulettes.

He believed that with care and patience he might win her; he believed she was worth winning, he promised himself, if he should survive the war, if fortune should be kind, an honourable life with her at Lucan...

As if she very well knew his thoughts she whispered:

"I'll help. You shall have no complaints of me. I am very tired and afraid, stay with me to-night—only to-night. I'll not come to Connaught to plague you."

He had hardly thought, the strait he was in, that it had been so much comfort to hold her in his arms, to feel her warm, soft, gentle, needing him; he too was tired and, though not afraid, grave with many expectations of tragedy. She prayed that night, aloud and childishly, in the gaudy little oratory she had fitted up so dutifully, and when he came into her bed-chamber he saw that she had been weeping; but she turned to him with relief. He did not feel, as he had felt on their bridal night, that he intruded, that he was hateful to her; in the fine tester bed, in the shade of the curtains with gold lilies, she looked, in her thin smock, candid, childish, sincere; he vowed to himself that whatever ambuscade might be in wait for his soul, he would never hurt or forsake Honor.

"You want me to stay, Honor, this it not a patch'd up peace?"

"I would be an honest wife," said Honor, sunk in the pillows with her eyes closed.

Her submissive youth, her pure prettiness, his pity helped them to forget that they were strangers who knew no passion for each other.

But when Patrick Sarsfield woke suddenly and found the early dawn light between the curtains he thought it was the hum of a spinning-wheel which had aroused him, and that his spirit had come from very far away, from some rain-blown solitude where a bog lily floated on darkness.

He looked at Honor lying in slumber beside him. He had heard her, between sleeping and waking, murmur, a few hours before, another name than his own; her defencelessness, her childish aspect greatly moved him; she seemed to be again rapt in a secret isolation, the shy, horrible solitude of the very young who are alone, frightened and proud. He let the first sunshine into the room, folded the coverlet close about her and left her for the work waiting in his own cabinet; he had got his responsible post; Connaught was his to defend.

Honor did not wake till she heard high voices in the narrow streets; one of these voices she knew; she was quickly in her bed-gown, quickly at the window, peeping between the curtains.

Olivia de Bonnac was below, even at this early hour she was carefully rich as if she had been long closeted with her tire maids...such provoking summer gauzes, such glittering flower-sewn silks, such dyed curled feathers, an air so radiant, good-humoured and indifferent!

Honor shivered as if she was naked in a great cold; odd that she should have slept so heavily. She stared at herself in the mirror with the fine apple and acanthus frame; odd that she should look the same as she had looked she was really his wife, but they each moved in separate worlds in whatever kind desperation their bodies might embrace; she felt wounded as a broken flower, plucked by one who has no value for what he has in duty taken.

But when her husband came into the room she was smiling valiantly above the French brocade which protected her childishness.

"That was Madame de Bonnac, Honor; you heard some ado? She has brought another gentlewoman."

"She always had a cunning decorum."

"Will you see her, Honor?"


"I must."

"It is about—that girl?"

"Yes, at least I must make it so. That affair must be settled before I go to Connaught."

"I understand."

"And Madame de Bonnac—"

Honor turned away murmuring so that he could not catch the sense of what she said.

"It is not of Madame de Bonnac I should be afraid."

The Frenchwoman was easily at home in Honor's precise parlour; the other lady, with mischievous glances, had gone on up the street in her painted chair—to early mass, she said...Olivia de Bonnac appeared to know everything (even some secrets she could not possibly have come by); with this exasperating air of completely understanding him and his affairs she greeted Sarsfield.

Her husband, she said, must stay in Dublin with De Rosen, tied to the capital; she had come to take leave of the Lady Honor—"and yourself, Colonel Sarsfield."

"My wife will not go to Connaught."

"Then I must sometimes lend her my poor company."

Her beautiful eyes (fleur de la tête, as Sarsfield had heard the French call them) were full of a light mockery. She asked him, if he would sometimes have leave, and he replied, "yes, he supposed so."

Their interview was most formal until he spoke to her about the Irish girl still in her care.

When she heard of his plan of taking Ishma to one of his tenants on his estates at Lucan she fell into a temper and with fast violence struck one hand on the other, and asked him if he did not "consider her fit to be at the charge of looking after his protegée?"

This was a betrayal of that coarseness or commonness which smirched all Madame de Bonnac's charm for Sarsfield and made it easy for him to deal with her enticing allure.

"You put the matter on too common a level," he replied. "I do what I do for honourable reasons and so you should take them."

"But I have a liking for the creature, she amuses me, we have become good friends; I take her out into company, I am civilising her." As she spoke Sarsfield remembered the words of the little abbé. A malicious, a stupid warning, no doubt, but he could not altogether ignore what had been so deliberately spoken.

"Ishma is not a creature to be civilised, I will take her away, Madame de Bonnac."

"Ah, so formal!" she cried. "I shall begin to think that it is she and not your wife who is my rival."

"Our affection is not such that you should talk of a rival. And this is Honor's house, and she above stairs while we talk. No more, for common charity."

But, either from deliberate malice or common weakness, she said:

"You loved me once."

"And the echo of that love has long been in my heart," he replied, "and is there still, but it may not be dragged down to colour cruelty and malice. The world is close to us, we must tread our peculiar ways, Olivia. And I have certain duties to which I do mean to be faithful."

"That is grandly spoken," replied she in a temper, "and I hope I shall not hear that you have made this pretty peasant your mistress."

"I wish you had not said that. It shows you know so very little, that you must speak from tricks or idleness, having seen this gentlewoman."

"Oh, I have known smooth faces before kept candid to give a colour to what must be outbrazened; the creature has a coarse rustic comeliness, as others have remarked, I have no warranty that your taste does not lie that way; plain dealing is a jewel, if you find this miss a shrewd temptation it were wiser you told me so."

This scarcely touched Sarsfield, save that it told him Ishma must instantly leave Dublin and no one know where she was hidden.

"We can have no descants on this matter, madame, my decision is steady; and, as I would avoid all umbrage of offence, why, it were better we spoke no more."

Madame de Bonnac rose, very handsome and sumptuous.

"Consider me not at all," she said, "we may meet again and in another mood."

She was gone; almost he could persuade himself she was not in a transport of fury, so cleverly could she bear herself.

He returned to his wife; she was lying on her bed again as if she had no heart to begin the day.

"Madame de Bonnac has gone."

"It matters so little—Madame de Bonnac."

Sarsfield could see, through the open door of the closet, his war equipment, his polished pistol, his sword, lying ready. He looked down at his wife, stretched prone with a wave of dark hair across her smooth brow, and thought how bitterly poignant was this leave-taking between two who did not love each other, but were bound together by invisible and spoken loyalties. She had clung to him, she had wept on his shoulder, and he had felt how frail and delicate she was; her brother had told him that her health was not strong; she had all that was necessary to appeal to his chivalry and his pity, and he detested himself that he remained so cold towards her. He could, however, admire her; she was not capable of flinging at him the words that Madame de Bonnac had tossed like an insolent gesture in his face: "I hope I shall not hear you have made the Irish girl your mistress."

As he saw the expression on her face, fatigue and weariness overshadowing extreme youth, he wished that he had left her the little miniature of Berwick, and that Berwick had been another kind of man and had married her despite her poverty and the uncertainty of their fortunes. "So it had gone differently for me and for her."

He roused her to say farewell; he could not tell when he might return from Connaught; all affairs, both of war and state, were in a turmoil of uncertainty.

Honor sat up on the large bed; she looked pale against the heavy darkness of the curtains which made a cavern of shadow behind her white figure. She pulled the over-rich bed-gown about her, her chin quivered a little, and her hands clasped on her slight bosom; he heard from her pale lips the familiar rhythm of prayer.

Patrick Sarsfield went on his knees on the bed-step, clasped his hands and bowed his head, and prayed as he had been taught to pray since he was a little child—for himself, for her, for Ireland, and that God in His graciousness would permit them all to keep their integrity.

Her fingers timidly stroked the thick curls on his bent head. "My husband," she sighed wistfully.

And he was touched, and yet wondered if she were not imagining another man in his place.

When he rose from his knees she gave him her hand and said piteously: "I will remember what you said about the extravagance." And at that he could do no more than reply impetuously:

"Have what you will, I can deny you nothing, Honor. Some way I will provide for my troop. I do not need, my child," he added tenderly, "to stint you in anything, and I shall deal more in faith and loyalties than in money." He stooped to kiss her, and it seemed to him, in the summer light which was to him without colour or radiance, that she had already lost her bloom. Fine lines like little scars were between her brows and at the corners of her lips, her eyes had faint violet stains beneath them, the extreme freshness of her youth was already gone.

"One little matter, Honor. You spoke of Colonel Luttrell, he is very busy with intrigue. I think him honest enough but restless, full of fantastical whimsies. But I—I must be loyal to the king. I have thought on't and prayed on't—not even for Ireland—no use that way. So, should Luttrell get to Dublin and I not near, you'll give his rash talk no countenance."

She had listened gravely; he had expected some flare of vanity, of ambition, of peevishness, but there was none of this. Looking at him intently, like a child who makes a promise, she said earnestly:

"I understand."

She wished him good fortune, but did not ask him why he had departed so early though she must have known well enough that his troop did not leave Dublin until the afternoon. Without demur, or reproach, or regret, or more than a loyal goodwill she let him go...

Sarsfield closed the door between her chamber and the closet; while he was putting on his uniform and appointments he heard her lonely sobbing, but he did not return to her, he had no comfort to offer beyond what he had already given, and to see her again was but to renew a pain; he had nothing more to offer Honor.


PATRICK SARSFIELD left the castle thus early because he had to escort Ishma to his estates of Lucan before departing for Connaught. It was Henry Luttrell who had arranged this embarrassing affair. Luttrell, with all his cynicism, his mocking ways, uncertain moods and unscrupulous schemes, was possessed of a fastidious fineness and an exquisite tact which made him rarely useful on such an occasion. At Sligo Sarsfield had told him of the girl who had come to Dublin seeking him; by chance (he did not know how the words had slipped out) he had mentioned at the castle his vexation that she should have been seen and admired by the dissolute gallants of Dublin, particularly by Piers Butler, Lord Galmoy. Henry Luttrell had sympathised with a delicate appreciation of the situation at which it was impossible for Sarsfield, sensitive as he was on this matter, to take any offence. He had himself seen the girl in Madame de Bonnac's salon and declared that she looked "like a windflower among a bouquet of tuberoses, a creature whom a vitiated air or a too-closely perfumed atmosphere would blast," and he agreed with Sarsfield that it was wise she should go to Lucan until affairs were more certain.

He listened with respect to the disjointed account Sarsfield, encouraged by this sympathy, gave of the poor girl's simple, sad story.

Luttrell, himself Irish, found nothing strange in the circumstances, in the legends, in the landscape, which had given birth to Ishma O'Donaghoe. When Sarsfield had told him that he wished to remove the girl from the French woman's care, and this for many subtle, unexplained reasons, Luttrell, who had a wide acquaintance with all manner of people, proposed at once an old sempstress who had been his nurse, and who at present did his lace-making, embroidering and fine mending. This woman, who had been a portress at the Convent of Poor Clares in France, had come to Dublin with King James and his troops, and was now installed in decent apartments in the city.

Sarsfield was grateful to be able to put Ishma in this good creature's care. Her name was Brighita Begg. She was a large dwarf, rugged and clean, pious and precise; she seemed to have a deep devotion for Henry Luttrell.

Ishma accepted these changes in her fortunes without apprehension or excitement. She seemed to rely on Sarsfield as if it were the most natural thing in the world for her to do so.

He recalled, with a pang, the gesture, at once simple and noble, with which she had taken from her own wrist a double-knotted bracelet of fine gold, plaited, perhaps, a thousand years ago, and given it to Madame de Bonnac with graceful words of gratitude for her hospitality. There had been something that hurt him in this, the juxtaposition of the two women—the Irish girl's stately simplicity and the mockery in the fine light eyes of the Frenchwoman as she had taken the bracelet with careless courtesy and shot at him a glance of malice.

Many other of Ishma's ornaments he had himself sold in Dublin; he would passionately have liked to pay her expenses from his own means, but a fastidious loyalty to her own wishes forbade him to do this. He safeguarded her independence as carefully as she could have done herself, and the ornaments, in a city where gold was so scarce and daily becoming scarcer, fetched a high price. Ishma had sufficient good English guineas to keep her for many months in the modest fashion in which she lived. It was, perhaps, unnecessary for Sarsfield himself to take the girl to Lucan, but he felt this to be an imperative duty.

When he went out into the street which looked unfamiliar in this pale, early light, in this emptiness, he felt a thrill before him as of a pleasing adventure. The evening before he had taken Ishma from Madame de Bonnac and left her with Brighita; now, all arrangements made, he went to fetch her. Ishma had been told to be ready immediately, and all her simple preparations were made. She was waiting in a little parlour, seated by a table. There was a great peace in the chamber, which was poor; the one window was darkened by a wall without. A little lamp was lit and standing on the table and the pool of pale light which it made was like a pool of luminous water. All seemed suave and immobile. Sarsfield felt a sweet torpor descend upon his spirit. He had been, without knowing it, greatly fatigued the last few days, mind and body. The long and inevitable struggle in which he and Ireland were engaged suddenly overcame him with a sense of exhaustion. He sat down the other side of the table and looked at Ishma without speaking, while the dwarf put together the packages, and Brian, the large greyhound, lifted his head from his post at Ishma's feet, but, scenting a friend, fell again into his stately repose; here Sarsfield could forget his debates with Tyrconnel, D'Avaux, De Rosen, his promises to the king, his wife, Madame de Bonnac and her malice.

Ishma greeted Sarsfield with a gentle blessing, almost as old as the solitudes from which she came; then she fell, too, into a silence which was without fear or expectation.

Her dark wool cloak fell away from her shoulders. Her rich hair was knotted with a simple fillet of green.

In cruel contrast to his poor young wife and to the brilliancy of Olivia, the freshness, the purity of Ishma were almost unearthly; she bloomed like a lily breaking the sheath, strong, untouched, unblemished. There was a warmth about her pallor, a firmness about the curves of her lips, a soft brightness in her candid eyes, that seldom remain beyond childhood. All her movement, all her looks bespoke a simplicity and an innocence of which she was herself unconscious.

"She is one of those who have the right to deride all, yet do not do so out of sweet humility," thought Sarsfield, and he gave himself up to the illusion that there existed nothing in the world but the felicity and peace of this lamp-lit room, and the young girl sitting the other side of the humble table, the dog like a noble guardian at her feet, the city without shut away; all ferocity, all cruelty, all bestiality hushed, distant and chained, so that there was not even the most distant noise, the most far away menace to disturb this utter calm.

It was Ishma who spoke first, asking, "if he was not ready?" She would not, she said, with gentle courtesy, disturb him more than she need, for she had heard that he and his troop must leave the city that day.

She rose and he observed the fair exquisite fineness and pallor of the hands which fastened the brooch at the throat of her dress. She made him think of all that was fresh and lovely—of infancy, of the early morning in springtime, of a rose in bud, of pure mountain water running between fresh mosses, above all of the secret, hidden, untouched Ireland, the gray-green pools, the unseen bog lilies, the secret clusters of water violets, the willows sighing in the rain and the cascades of pure water falling over green and gray marble. As she stood there with her long delicate hands arranging the torque of many colours at her young bosom, she turned and smiled at him.

"One must do much for Ireland, must one not?" she said, without a note of complaint in her low voice; "suffer and, perhaps, die." Then she added reflectively: "No doubt to die would be the easiest of all."

"There are things one must do before one dies," said Sarsfield; as he spoke he felt a knocking at his heart, a clamour for the ultimate rest, that yearning for the complete slumber which assails men throughout their lives; by some sad shifting of his tired thoughts, the pure virginity of the girl with her infantile freshness seemed blended with the thought of death, as if immortal sleep were offered to him with her pale graces as, soft-footed, she came towards him.

He could not tell if she had inclined her body towards him, or if he had taken her in his arms, but she was resting against his breast and for a long moment stood thus. Tall as she was her head only came to his shoulder.

They stood quite still, he enchanted by her proximity and by the solemn sweetness of her voice. She began to tell him of the things she had seen and heard in Dublin, of her adventures hiding in the mountains before she had been able to make the city, and the sum of it all in her own mind which was the great need of Ireland calling out from wood and pasture, from lake and river, from mountain and village, from church and wayside cross, for succour. She raised her ingenuous regard, there seemed nothing strange to either of them in the fact that she lay loosely in his embrace; though he was capable of the utmost heights of passion there was nothing sensual in this contact, nor was he conscious of the least infidelity to his wife.

He said: "I will do what I can for Ireland, but you, my darling, will pray." And half to himself he added: "It is a difficult life for a woman."

His heart was full of desolate love and of sad joy. He thought: "It is something to meet, even once, amid all the foolish contradictions and stupid frustrations of destiny, one perfect love!" He wished to extract from her something of her thoughts, her emotions, to make the utmost of this lovely moment, which might never have a counterpart, to lay up for himself richnesses of memories which no one could steal; yet it was impossible to find words, where each word must be rare, essential, poignant. He felt confounded in face of this precious opportunity.

Her clothes were still perfumed with the fragrancy of fern and moss; a scent of bay leaves came from her hair; as if she had set aside some garland that was her due.

They moved apart without shyness; the dwarf entered and said:

"It is a hot summer day, though there was a great mist happened about the sunrise."


COLONEL HENRY LUTTRELL came to see the little cavalcade, which consisted of Sarsfield and his body-servant, Ishma and the dwarf woman, Brighita Begg, leave Dublin, and Sarsfield was touched by this friendly consideration and by the respect with which Luttrell, who was so often dissolute in his manners, treated Ishma, considered her comfort and her welfare and listened with what seemed a keen interest to Sarsfield's description of where he meant to house her and her companion, in a keeper's cottage close to the chapel on his demesne nearby the great cross with the runes which the peasants considered magic, the three ash trees and the well. All these things made the place a sacred one in the eyes of Sarsfield's tenantry, and he thought it fitting that Ishma should be housed there. Luttrell agreed, with a certain suave tenderness in his assent; Sarsfield thought: "I have considered this man in too ill a fashion, he has a finer nature than I believed." And the two parted warmly, Luttrell saying that he wished to speak on matters of importance to Sarsfield when he returned from Lucan and before he left for Connaught.

Ishma said: "That is a noble and courteous cavalier. Does he also fight for Ireland?"

"We are all supposed to be fighting for Ireland," replied Sarsfield, "but do not confuse yourself, child, with all these issues."

"There should be no confusion; either you fight for Ireland or you do not; either you love or you do not."

These words seemed to him to rouse all his strength and all his tenderness. He knew himself her lover and her slave. Through the spiritual passion which had long been growing in his heart for her rose a thrill sad of voluptuousness.

Withdrawn into their reveries they rode through the gates of Dublin. A slight rain fell through the heat haze. From the heights of the dry roofs the long trickles descended and dripped into the streets. Sarsfield no longer felt the strength in himself to struggle against destiny, whatever it might be. He could do no more than submit himself to the clemency of God.

The small Irish horses were fresh and trotted briskly, the sound of their hoofs on the cobbles fell into a rhythm in Sarsfield's brain like the rhythm of Honor's prayer that morning in her chamber. The day, after fair promise, became wet and cloudy, the obscurity of the dawn returned; the shade of everything was gray and dim.

They had hardly passed the gates when they were met by what seemed to Sarsfield the unhappiest of mischances—Galmoy with a group of companions returning from some dissolute haunt or evil errand; even in the rank life of Dublin Galmoy had an ugly name.

He recognised Sarsfield and the girl and drew up his horse, laughing unpleasantly and coarsely, thrusting his gloved hand on his hip as he stared with vulgar curiosity from one to the other. His presence seemed to dissipate the mysterious tranquillity of the morning, the mournful reverie in which Sarsfield's soul had been withdrawn. He saluted briefly this man whom he despised, who lived by rapine, pillage, treachery and all atrocities; but Galmoy was not minded to let this encounter pass so easily. Brusquely and in a brutal voice he exclaimed:

"So it begins—the pretty stratagem!"

Ishma raised her face, the pure outline of her features was clear in the gray gold light behind the obscure veils of the light rain. She said:

"I have met this cavalier at Madame de Bonnac's house."

"The airs of a princess!" sneered Galmoy, pushing back a hat with a broken feather; but he ventured no further for Sarsfield's look had crossed his; Galmoy put what insult he could into a gross laugh and rode away with his lewd companions, who stupidly applauded his insolence.

The rain increased, but was light, fresh and pleasant. Like a distant menace they heard behind them the raucous voices of the city; drop by drop the water fell from their equipment, from their cloaks and from the ears of the horses.

Ishma appeared glad of the rain. She threw back her mantle and her hair, like a dark vapour, spread over her shoulders; now and then the breeze penetrated the rain, lifting a lock across her pale, pure forehead; the golden distant sun was veiled and unveiled by the quick passing clouds. The girl kept her eyes on the heavens when she was not guiding her horse and gave no attention to the ugly sights along the road and all the defilements of war, the foulness of the soldiery.

The little horses went steadily, Sarsfield and Ishma side by side, the dwarf woman and his body-servant behind; they rode almost all the way beside the Liffey and were glad of the river. As they neared his demesne of Lucan beauty began to spread about them in protected fields, in ancient trees, full blooming with summertide opulence, in pastures gray and cool and lush, in untainted air. The sunbeams slipped through the rain and rainbows leapt from horizon to horizon before them. Sarsfield recalled the rainbow on the day when he had first met Ishma in the ruins of Irrelagh.

They entered his park and seemed as far from the war as they were from the city. Noble allées of beech hung golden leaves against the pearl-gray clouds and the vivid rainbow; the very shadows were full of radiance.

By an enchantment of the senses this moment became fused with many other moments in the life of Patrick Sarsfield, fused with those earliest days when, an ardent child, he had read the rich legends of his country and had made impetuous vows that he would help this grand and piteous land which had given him birth, and which had been so long enchained; with those alien days in a foreign country where he had felt himself lonely and, even despite his strength, his beauty and his gifts, despised; and with the day, when after his monotonous foreign service, he had returned to Ireland and seen her afresh in her lovely desolation, and met at Irrelagh the girl who now rode beside him.

He turned away from the wide avenue which led to his mansion, uninhabited since his brother's death and, with love in his looks, gained the spot he had selected for the habitation of Ishma. It was not unlike that where he had found her first on the banks of the lake. There was a well guarded by may trees, which in their season of flowering were hung with offerings and ribands, and there was the cross, mighty, gray, interlaced with strange circles and runic letters, to which the faithful on bare knees would make pilgrimage; and there was a little chapel where from generation to generation the Sarsfields had sent up their prayers and sometimes buried their dead or christened their children. There was the priest's house, long since empty, for Sarsfields chaplain had for many years resided in the mansion. But this priest came daily. The cross and the well of the sacred may trees, and the chapel were carefully tended as if the war were far away. The little house itself was in good repair, for many a refugee or poor distracted creature had found shelter there. And at a word from the lord of the demesne the four rooms had been decently furnished and the neat abode stood fair and sweet, with the windows wide on to the wet grass and the fresh rain and the distant blowing trees, and the view of a small lake on which the swans swam in slow tranquillity.

"This is a poor place for you," said Patrick Sarsfield.

He lifted her from her horse across the threshold and he knew that this—this precise moment, never any other before or since—was the moment of bringing his wife home.

"It is a finer abode than I have left," she said.

He could not tell her of his regrets that he was unable to install her in his mansion; that was what he wished to have done—to put her like a great lady, like a fine princess, like a delicate queen, in his noble halls and grand rooms and surround her with all the treasure which his ancestors had accumulated. But this could not be. Lucan, like his loyalty, belonged to Honor de Burgh. Ishma divined nothing of his thoughts, she was grateful for this sweet and gentle shelter. The poor dwarf, Brighita Begg, who had long lived in penury and discomfort in Dublin, helped only by the kindness of Henry Luttrell, was full of joy. She was eager with housewifely business, putting this and that in order.

"I must return to Dublin," smiled Sarsfield. "This afternoon I ride for Connaught."

Ishma made no demur, without speech everything seemed clear between them. He remembered the charm he had murmured over her bent head in the shade of the black yew at Irrelagh.

"I for thee, thee for me, and thy face turned from all others."

She looked at him with a passionate submission; he did not dare raise his eyes. Her hand touched his, and she said:

"We met too late or wrongly, my love, but let there be no mistake, O darling of my heart, what thou art to me, nor any"—and her voice rose more clearly—"as to what thou shalt be for Ireland." She clasped her warm arms about him, her wrists were rain wet; the same thoughts passed through their minds.

"Do you not feel," she murmured, "that you are in the middle of a great agony—a silent agony? Can you not hear the friars and the priests saying the mass for the dying and dead? Can you not hear, vague and profound, the lamentations of all Ireland?"

"I have been slow to hear it," he said, "the world has been too much with me, but now I understand. The rest of my life is for Ireland and for you."

"For duty," Ishma said, leaning on his breast, "is it not the duty of all of us to sacrifice ourselves to our dreams? For what is true, my darling, but dreams? They alone cannot deceive us, they alone are not corrupt with the desires and passions of men."

He bent his face on to her two hands which he raised tenderly. At that moment he was conscious of nothing but his complete love for her, a love faithful, burning, humble, which was one with his love for Ireland, with the resolve to be loyal to Honor and the forsaken.

As if exhausted, although the ride had been short and easy, she leant against the wall and then let him take her once more in his arms, yet gently; there was an unspoken bond between them which he would never violate.

Over her head he could see the changing colour of the leaves, bronze, gold and silver, as they shook against the fading rainbow; the vistas of gray-green grass and the blue-gray lake where the swans moved tranquilly. His sense of solitude was so strong he could scarcely believe that his body-servant and the dwarf were moving about the other rooms of the house.

"Perhaps I shall not see you again," whispered Ishma. "Do you remember how in the old far-off days you came and did not know me?"

She was effaced, humble before him, and again he was conscious of her freshness and her purity like the freshness and purity of mountain water at dawn. It seemed impossible that there should ever be any discord between them, yet they were separated for ever.

"My prayers," she said, with infantile sweetness, "will brighten your sword. There will be a glory on your flag—"

"You will be safe here," he murmured, and felt the words futile, hollow and foolish.

"Of what account is my safety? When you are victorious you will return to your wife. She, too, is Irish; she, too, will rejoice in your success."

"I cannot explain to you how little there is I may do. My master is foreign—" He checked himself, words seemed a gross stupidity.

"To remain thus longer is a weakness," she reminded him.

But, fine as thistledown though the idyll was, he could not resist the human supplication:

"Do you care for me, Ishma? Could you have loved me if it had been different?"

"What difference should have made any contradiction in my love? I have always loved you, perhaps in a dream I first met you, I do not know. The Shanahus led me once to the cloisters of Irrelagh and under a black yew I said the charm. And ever since that love has been with us both, invisible." Tears, crystal clear, hung on her dark lashes.

"And I betrayed that love." He began to abuse himself for a fool, a beast, stupid, gross, worldly...

But she hushed him, putting her delicate hands on his trembling lips.

"None of that matters—it is you and I always. Perhaps at the end and without wronging any we shall come together."

She covered her face to protect it from his possible kisses and to conceal her disarray.

He said on a great sigh:

"Weep no more." And kissed those sheltering hands, and rode away.

Only once did he have the courage to look back; then he saw the dwarf woman standing at the doorway watching his departure with, he thought, regret, and the noble outline of the hound lying under the may trees on which the red fruit began to glisten, as if he kept there a rendezvous for some ancient Irish knight who had been mortally wounded in most distant battle, and would never return; but the hound would keep vigil beneath the hawthorns until all the berries had fallen, and the snow fell light and thin round the holy well.


WHEN King James joined Berwick's camp at Newry, Colonel Henry Luttrell left Dublin for his governorship of Sligo.

Sarsfield who had, in a few weeks, on his own credit and through his own popularity, raised two thousand men in Connaught, received Luttrell with pleasure for his own sake and with distaste for what his mission might be.

The very day he had left Dublin, Luttrell, encroaching on the confidence Sarsfield had been induced to give him in the affair of Ishma, had again approached him with suggestions of "forming a party of native Irish and kicking all the Jack Hell-rogues out of office."

Sarsfield had checked him with some sternness and, in an endeavour to make him understand his attitude to the king, had shown him the relic James had given him.

"Does it work miracles?" Luttrell had asked.

"Nay, not in my hands, of a surety."

"Well, I'll tell thee the greatest miracle worker of all and that's Saint Ignoramus; bethink thee of the mass of superstition thou hast to deal with in Ireland; why, a few old tales dressed up, a few wonders worked, and all who be in a flame—"

"Am I a vulgar cheat?" Sarsfield had replied.

When Colonel Luttrell came to Sligo he showed no sign of remembering this rebuke; he was all serene gaiety and pleasant mocking humour; the most heartening and agreeable of companions. He was, with his secret finesse, often the first to receive important news and was believed to employ spies and agents on his own account. He informed Sarsfield that Berwick would probably be forced to fall back on Omagh; the Protestants were firmly settled at Bundoran and Ballyshannon, the posts that Sarsfield had been forced to abandon. Luttrell knew what D'Avaux had written to Louvois of the defeats of Newtown-Butler, Derry and Inniskillen.

"The troops returned from the siege of Derry were entirely ruined, and those commanded by Lord Mountcashel beaten and put to flight in a manner to make one despair of such soldiers. When the Inniskilleners came in great disorder, but with much courage, to attack Mountcashel, the cavalry and dragoons fled without firing a pistol, and after some of them had burst their horses with the force of flight they took to their heels, threw away their weapons, their swords and jackets that they might run the more swiftly—the infantry also behaved badly. Mountcashel, who headed the reserve battalions, has been wounded, his horse killed, himself taken and, as he was forsaken by all, it was reported that he was dead, but he is under good treatment at Inniskillen."

"Such was the Frenchman's despatch," smiled Luttrell, showing a clerkly copy to Sarsfield.

"How do you know?"

"I have my ways of finding out—I am no mole to work in the dark."

"Thou art too keen and violent, Harry, under thy bright japes."

"Can I say nothing thou wilt not scruple at?"

"Not on this matter."

"You have no stomach for ill news? Well, King James will be at Drogheda in a day or so. Melfort even advises him to retire, to Castle Rathfarnham and give up the struggle; 'tis touch and go if D'Avaux and Tyrconnel succeed in keeping him at his post."

"Whether or no," replied Sarsfield, "I can hold Connaught, I am better provided than I was at Bundoran."

But Henry Luttrell seemed little impressed by this.

"It is certain," he said, "that this struggle can have but one conclusion. Schomberg has twenty thousand men, all, I take it, armed and well-disciplined troops. He may be followed by his master."

"Prince William would never dare to leave England."

"I think there is little Prince William would not dare to do to end this quarrel."

"The French have always underrated the English and the Protestants," frowned Sarsfield. He himself intensely disliked the colonists, their hard faces, their brusque manners, their money-getting ways, their stern religion; the very fact of their being there at all, usurping aliens, pressing this yoke firmly on the necks of the natives, was sufficient to raise in him a deep detestation amounting to loathing, but he recognised their quality, their fanaticism, their fortitude, their persevering courage and their grim belief in a grim God, which made them almost unconquerable foes.

It was already eight months since James had landed with such hope and confidence on the part of his allies at Kinsale and the struggle had gone steadily in favour of the rebellious colonists. The amateur soldiers, without experienced generals or help from England, had contrived to more than hold their own and now, with the raising of the siege of Derry and Inniskillen, it seemed to Sarsfield's clear mind and wise experience that Luttrell judged correctly. But he said with more confidence than he felt:

"Schomberg also will have the country, the rapparees and the climate to contend with. He will arrive in a land already ruined and, unless he is well supplied from England, I pity his case. Schomberg is also old and cautious and will not risk a battle. His troops will be decimated by disease and treachery. Believe me, my dear Luttrell, he will not find things so easy."

"No one has ever found anything easy in Ireland," smiled Luttrel; "but one must believe that the Protestant government in London is in earnest. Schomberg is not the least capable of their generals," he added, with meaning.

Patrick Sarsfield admired and respected the Marshal of France who, at the age of seventy, had cast away a brilliant career for the sake of conscience. Frederick Herman, Duke of Schomberg, had faithfully served King Louis until the latter had begun to persecute the Huguenots. Since his landing at Bangor in County Down the whole of the northwest of Ireland had come into the hands of the Protestants, while in the north-east the Jacobites merely held Newry and Charlemont.

"Even Schomberg might be stopped," said Sarsfield, pacing up and down the withdrawing-room of the house which formed his headquarters at Sligo; "he might be stopped, but it is not done. How many men has Berwick?"

"Sixteen hundred,"—said Luttrell instantly; he was always well-informed—"at Drogheda, where he has four regiments, De Rosen is raising an army in Dublin."

"The Protestants are raising an army, too, no doubt."

"Yes, I lave heard fine accounts of 'em, too, from some who have come over to us from Ulster."

"We have more to fear from them than from the troops that will be sent from England, but they will not bear discipline or be under the orders of any foreigners," said Sarsfield. "Why do we discuss this matter? Have we nothing to do but turn our tongues about events which we cannot control?"

"But you can control them," put in Luttrell quickly. "Multitudes admire you and you do nothing with it—in a sense, you betray those who look to you. Galway, your own wife's brother, hinted as much to me."

"I know," replied Sarsfield, "the rock whereon I am set."

"I know the dreams that befog thee." He looked closely at Sarsfield, peering with his oblique glance. "Art thou fanatic, Sarsfield?" Then he added almost instantly: "No, it is not possible."

"I grope and wonder, and take comfort where I can," replied the other soldier.

"I fear thy comforts are but trumpery, would ye keep a mistress and never enjoy her? Despise a king and serve him? Hold to dim, fantastical, vague loyalties beyond a plain man's understanding? Confuse all clear issues with scruples and doubts that are beyond the patience of all to unravel?"

"Thou art clever," smiled Sarsfield, with some affection in his look, "and may be a better man than I. But I am not so weak that I must spy through another's glasses."

Luttrell changed the matter of his discourse.

"Have you heard lately from your lady in Dublin?" he asked easily. "The roads are so bad the expresses come through with difficulty."

"I have had letters from her full of evil news; of what else should she write, poor soul, from a damned city? Her health fails, too; they lack luxuries there and even necessities."

Honor had told him she was expecting his child; news given without pleasure and received almost with pain; he felt her resentment through her formal phrases, it was clear that this would bring them no nearer. Absence seemed to have withered all their valiant endeavour at an understanding.

"Well," said Colonel Luttrell, "the Lady Honor is better entertained in Dublin than she could be in Sligo; the capital is not so ill provided and some of the ladies are gay enough. The vicereine contrives to hold a court, and Madame de Bonnac has her salon. They say she has made a favourite of my Lord Galmoy."

Sarsfield did not know if he said this with the intention to sting. But it was not like Luttrell to wound and possibly he had already, with his delicate sense, guessed that Sarsfield had become indifferent as to who might enjoy the graces of Madame de Bonnac. Sarsfield could think of this lady without regret or reluctance...

"And that other?" asked Luttrell gently, with a certain tenderness, "that poor girl, Ishma—that child? I hope she is well."

Sarsfield replied with the same candour as he was offered; subterfuge or any manner of concealment never came naturally to him; though he knew how perilous the truth could be, he had never learnt to lie.

"She is still at my demesne, Lucan. My bailiff writes to me of her with other news; she has no company beyond Mrs. Brighita Begg, thy friend, and the dog. But I take it she is happy."

"If one can be who has lost everything," smiled Luttrell.

"What do you think she has lost?" asked Sarsfield, startled.

"Why, all. But then she never hoped for anything."

"You seem to understand her very well," exclaimed the other; his gray eyes wide open, his head held high. "Remember, she is a stranger to both of us."

"There are some people whom one never sees as strangers. I do understand that girl very well. To you and to me, too, she is Ireland herself—the beautiful little daughter of the beautiful earth, sprung from such far off, such ancient and such sacred hopes and loves—" He changed his tone briskly. "Or is she but a peasant from Irrelagh, whom some would call simpleton?"

Sarsfield interrupted him:

"You understand too much, Luttrell, you read me too clearly. You twist yourself too closely round my heart, I would not have such a near friend."

"Why not?"

"Because," sighed Sarsfield, with something of an effort to put a difficult thought into words, "I know you must want something of me."

"But could I not love you for yourself alone?" asked Luttrell in his most candid manner. "You do yourself wrong, my dear Sarsfield, you are the most popular of men."

"I do not doubt your sincerity," said Sarsfield, walking to and fro again, with his hands clasped behind the wide flaps of his skirts, "and yet I feel there is something insinuating in your address." He broke off to add: "And I have not forgotten what you said to me before—"

"And what I must say to you again. You are more foolish than any man of your parts could be if you do not take advantage of the fortune now spread before you. Mon Dieu! if I were in your place—"

"Why do you not put yourself in my place?" asked Sarsfield quickly, "you have all the opportunities that I have."

Luttrell replied in a mild manner but with a deep impatience:

"I have none of your opportunities. Are you not beloved by all, have you not great influence? Has it not come easy to you to raise these men in Connaught? How many have you now under your command?"

"Two thousand," said Sarsfield, without pride. "All Irishmen and willing to die for Ireland."

"That is the kind of bravado we want," smiled Luttrell. "A man who can talk like that. Well, why don't you go with these men and meet Schomberg while he is still entangled in difficulties, curtailed in supplies, riddled by treachery? Confound King James and King Louis, and endeavour to obtain Ireland for the Irish."

Sarsfield replied with a force and sternness rare in him. He was both impressed and troubled. He could not doubt his friend's earnestness, but he must, after all, suspect his sincerity. He paused in front of Luttrell, towering over him, making the other, for all his ease and elegance, look small and insignificant by comparison.

"What is your count in this, Luttrell?" he demanded. "What do you want from me that you urge me on to this strange, fantastical course? Once again let us have it clear between us."

"If you like to put it brutally I want to rise by your influence, I want to be to you"—he laughed—"what Louvois is to King Louis. I have all the qualities you lack. Your virtues would remedy my defects. Between us we could rule Ireland very well, far better than these fools, fops and braggarts and jobbing knaves who at present undertake the task. You for the field," he went on with growing animation; "I for the cabinet; believe me, I know more than you credit of the government, the affairs and state of this country—"

Sarsfield broke in:

"It is not possible that you can be serious!"

"It seems to me," replied Luttrell coolly, "impossible that you should refuse to take me seriously. What is this King Shamus to us? A poltroon, a miserable old man, a foreigner! Do you want to raise native Irish to bleed and die for him? Is not this the moment?" He struck his fine, delicate hand lightly on the table near which he stood. "Perhaps you have not heard that Berwick has burnt Newry and that Schomberg is approaching Drogheda? Aye, burnt Newry," he continued impatiently and contemptuously; "that is the manner of man this princeling is. He has simply provoked the English who have sent a trumpeter to warn him that if any other towns are thus treated they will give no quarter. I did not mean to tell you, yet better you should know."

"Where is Schomberg now?" asked Sarsfield, in a low voice. "You seem well informed, Luttrell."

"I had an express but ten minutes before I spoke to you," replied Luttrell. "Schomberg is about a mile northwest of Dundalk. The country about him is deserted, he is encamped on the marshy ground behind the river, with castle Dundalk on his right flank, the sea on the left."

"He cannot be attacked," said Sarsfield.

"He is waiting to see what we do at Drogheda. And are we to wait on both of them—on King James and on Schomberg?"

"It may be counted as a success that we have gotten into Sligo," said Sarsfield dryly.

"Leave the old man behind the Shannon then, aye, leave it all to chance," said Luttrell, and he turned away with a look of such real disappointment and gloom that Sarsfield was softened, and followed him, putting his hand upon his shoulder, saying:

"I cannot consider what you say. It may be that if King James follows cowardly counsel, and the Protestants gain more successes that I might throw in my own hand to strike for Ireland herself—but never as a rebel."

Luttrell clasped Sarsfield's hand and replied warmly:

"I am behind you in all you do, and I have more weight than you perhaps think."

Sarsfield looked at him keenly, wondering what this man, with his peculiar fascination, his subtlety and his unscrupulousness, quite hoped from this strange alliance; he did not really fear him nor his schemes; he believed that he could afford to smile at his wild ambitions, and that when it came to a push Harry Luttrell would be as loyal as he himself.


PATRICK SARSFIELD had little space in which to consider the bold, insidious and, as he thought, perfidious counsels of Henry Luttrell, for he was summoned to Drogheda where King James held a council as to what was to be done in the face of Schomberg's encampment behind the Shannon.

De Rosen had contrived to assemble twenty thousand men at this rendezvous. The three disasters of Derry, Inniskillen and Newton-Butler had shaken the confidence alike of officers and men, all were disheartened by the sense of failure and by the activities of deadly disease. Fevers, agues, the bloody flux, dysentery were rife among the disorderly ranks; there was a shortage of all necessities.

Sarsfield found the cavalry fairly good, the infantry in no more than passable condition, and most of the officers inefficient. He found, too, divided counsels. He was the only officer who had any success to report. Not only had he succeeded in securing Sligo, the key of Connaught, and in leaving troops there, but he had been able to arm Galway, thus holding the western provinces for James. For the rest, no one had good news; they remained like men confounded; many clamoured that the King should abandon Dublin and cross the Channel.

De Rosen desired to withdraw to Athlone, to play a waiting game till winter set in, by merely defending the line of the river, disciplining his men and endeavouring to obtain supplies. He declared, with his brutal impetuosity, that the loss of a battle now would be fatal to the prestige of the King of France. An efficient officer, he had studied all the details of the plans he proposed.

"The Shannon in spate," he declared, "presented a strong barrier to the Protestants and from the fortified towns along its banks they might be assailed without fear of pursuit, and the wild mountains of Connaught abounded in rocky defiles and deep retreats which were known only to the Irish. If the river were crossed the English might be harried by continuous attacks."

D'Avaux, for once, seconded the advice of De Rosen, but James protested that to retreat to Athlone meant the surrender of Dublin, and Tyrconnel threw his weight on the side of the king, who, with a flash of his old spirit, declared that he would not "be walked out of Ireland without having, at least, one blow for it;" the viceroy added "that the effect of a withdrawal would be disastrous on the spirits of the fresh levies." De Rosen trembled at this decision but he knew the defects of the officers he commanded; the king vacillated between one counsel and another.

Patrick Sarsfield, leaning forward across the council table, pointed out that between Schomberg and Dublin lay nothing except the River Boyne and the Pass of Duleek. He believed that a well-executed diversion in the west might compel the English to retreat...He had only got thus far in his speech when an express came post to Drogheda. Schomberg had sent the Inniskillens across the Curlew mountains and astonished the outposts by a fierce attack in the fog of an autumn day.

Over two hundred and fifty Jacobites had been killed and three hundred, including their colonel, O'Kelly, captured, and eight thousand head of cattle taken; the Inniskillens had lost no more than fourteen men. The express added that Schomberg had ordered both the artillery and musketry to make three salvoes in honour of this success.

He had been himself so pleased that he had paraded the Inniskillens and praised them for their soldier-like qualities, riding along the whole line with head uncovered.

"If the rest of the army were like the Inniskillens," remarked Sarsfield, when this news was made known to the council, "he would be marching into Dublin, but he knows that his men are as unfit as our own, and no doubt he is determined to remain on the defensive until we are all forced into winter quarters."

"If he had attacked us when he first landed," said De Rosen, "he might have been in Dublin at a step; we had not two thousand men ready to defend the capital. The old fox was too cautious, and now, whatever flourishes the Inniskillens may make, we have thirty thousand to meet him."

The council at Drogheda broke up with no decision arrived at, and Sarsfield returned to Connaught.

He contrived, as a counterblast to Schomberg's success, to capture Jamestown, but when De Rosen, attempting to cut off Schomberg's communications with Newry, failed, there was a lull in operations.

The weather was hot and stagnant, and seemed of a piece with the spirits of the men in both the opposing camps.

Neither De Rosen nor Schomberg wished to risk a battle though many on James's side were for vigorous action, and though the Prince of Orange wrote impetuously from London bidding his cautious old general attempt an engagement before disease ruined his troops, and fresh reinforcements for James arrived from France.

Schomberg remained at Dundalk fifty miles distant from the capital. Spies, traitors, deserters and scouts brought a fair account of the state of the invading army to Sarsfield in Connaught. Schomberg's finance, transport, and supplies were all cruelly mismanaged. Commissary-General Henry Shales had gathered large supplies at Belfast, but lacked means to convey them to the front; so there was an abundance of beef, flour, bread and brandy at Belfast, but none at Dundalk. There was no bread issued to the officers because there was not sufficient for the men. When the army halted the officers were forced to dig out potatoes and forage for stray herbs and vegetables. The corn still lay in the fields, rotted with the heavy rains; the other crops had been devoured or destroyed. When the long-delayed supplies did arrive the men, already weakened by semi-starvation, found them unwholesome. They could neither eat the beef nor drink the brandy. Two months after the Treasury had paid the bill the shoes had not arrived at the camp. Schomberg was reported to be almost sinking under the load of anxiety laid on his aged shoulders. He was used to efficiency, to a well-disciplined army, to regular supplies and proper communications; he could do little or nothing with the English peasants he commanded; they did not, it appeared, know how to load their pieces, the dragoons did not know how to manage their horses. He was further discouraged by discovering a conspiracy; some of his French companies were in communication with D'Avaux, six men were hanged and two hundred sent to England in irons. In one of his despatches to the Prince of Orange, Schomberg wrote:—

"The army is without shoes, a march of two days would leave my army barefoot besides their other miseries."

On the other hand, Sarsfield learned that James was at length stirred to activity and wished to give battle. De Rosen knew and feared the effect of inactivity and sickness, hardship and discipline upon the Irish; his numbers were at present superior to those of the invader. His chief advantage consisted in at least eight to ten thousand well-mounted cavalry, while Schomberg, on landing, had never had more than two or three thousand; the Irish army was then punctually paid, the brass money passed as currency; there was plenty of good beef, corn, mutton, French wines and brandy; meanwhile the condition of Schomberg's men became steadily worse and the cautious old general refused to fight until he believed himself ready.

Sarsfield was moved by the accounts the spies brought of the miseries endured by the invaders. The heavy autumn rains had descended on the low-lying boggy soil, the indolent and ignorant English did not erect huts till it was impossible to secure dry timber for the walls or dry straw for the roofs.

Schomberg had exclaimed bitterly: "I never was in an army where there were so many new and lazy officers, if all were broke who deserved it on this account there would be few left." The English soldiers succumbed first, from want and privation.

"The English nation," wrote Schomberg, "are so delicately bred that as soon as they are out of their own country they die in the first campaign in all countries where I have seen them serve."

The men would not renew the rotting ferns in their wretched beds and they would not drain the marshy soil; the miseries of poor insufficient food were added to the horrors of exposure and filth...

Within a month after their arrival at Dundalk one thousand of the fourteen thousand were in hospital.

Men made use of their dead comrades for pillows and when the dying were carried to hospital those who remained behind lamented that they were the more exposed to the wet winds; the bloody flux began in the camp and numbers died daily.

The weather continued very various, sometimes rain, then sharp cold, then foggy.

The Inniskillens, the other northerners who were used to the climate, and the Dutchmen survived, but the peasants of Yorkshire and Derbyshire were unable to resist.

Schomberg did all that one man could do, and Sarsfield could not help his heart going out to the veteran who was enduring such a terrible experience in his old age. He was hampered by the heartlessness of his officers who did not care how many died; the more deaths there were the more pay for their pockets.

The old general did not spare himself; he gave the least jaded men the labour of searching for wood, and ordered stimulants to be given even to those not sick; the fatal camp was moved from low boggy land to higher ground; some of the sick were sent on board war vessels lying in Belfast docks.

King James's peasants also began to suffer. Out of a total of forty thousand men, about fifteen thousand perished of disease. As the wet autumn stormed into winter neither army any longer thought of victory; as one Irishman expressed the matter: "They contended for the honour of who could look the longest at the Angel of Death encamped with them."

Patrick Sarsfield could do nothing but hold Connaught; horrors seemed to thicken on the earth and in the air until all the atmosphere was congealed with dread, like the gray misery of a nightmare.

At the beginning of November the Jacobites withdrew into Dublin to winter quarters, and Schomberg, retrieving his mistake of leaving Ulster and seeing now, with great bitterness, how delusive had been his hope of a speedy conquest of Ireland, moved his tents from Dundalk to Lisburne.

When he had pitched his camp there before, he had had fourteen thousand troops; only seven thousand survived to leave the graveyard of their fellows; some regiments had not sixty effective men in their ranks.

Schomberg sat his horse for hours in the chill wind and blowing rain watching this wretched remnant of the invading army pass; trembling with age and emotion he gave his thanks to the dispirited ranks as they defiled past him, offered them his sympathies for their sufferings and endeavoured to inspire them with renewed hope. The distress and courage of the old man and the memory of what he had endeavoured to do for them moved some of the wretched soldiers to tears; none of them knew what the war was really about; they were tired of catch words and had heard nothing else.

De Rosen might easily have fallen on the army of the Protestants as they marched to Lisburne, weary and enfeebled, encumbered with so many sick and disabled.

Such an attack would have been greatly to the advantage of King James, but not, as D'Avaux and De Rosen well knew, to that of King Louis who did not wish any victory but a prolonged struggle in Ireland.

The Jacobites, when they returned to Dublin, leaving a garrison at Drogheda and some others dispersed through Connaught and Leinster, persuaded themselves that they might be congratulated on a successful campaign. "They had done tolerably well and Schomberg might count himself defeated," declared the young officers in haste to get to Dublin, where "the ladies expected them with impatience."

Through idleness and disease the army had become debauched and "Dublin was a seminary of vice, an academy of luxury," the Protestants said forcibly, "a sink of corruption, a living emblem of Sodom."

For three months nothing had happened, yet the Protestants had lost well nigh half their army. Schomberg had not advanced nearer Dublin, indeed he had fallen back. James might plume himself on this, and though there were rumours that William himself intended coming to Ireland it was believed in Dublin that party emergencies would mean his setting out.

Meanwhile, the sturdy Protestants in the north held their own despite the disasters attendant on Schomberg. From Lough Erne to Belfast stretched, guarding their lines, a succession of their outposts which formed the basis of fresh expeditions against the Jacobites.

Berwick did his best to keep the Irish communications open between Drogheda and Dublin, and was sometimes sent to endeavour to cut off English communications between Inniskillen and Lisburne. The Williamites had a striking success in the capture of Belturbet, thus leaving Charlemont the only fortress in Ulster still in the possession of James. This, however, did not take place before the garrison had been forced to eat horse-hide, and Schomberg, on seeing the wretched men march out, expressed good-humoured contempt for the miserable appearance they made. Friend and foe alike showed scorn for the native Irish.

But King James, shut up in Dublin, was not feeling as confident or as fortunate as perhaps his enemies believed he might be; Sarsfield, with his hand always on the pulse of affairs, saw that the king's own plans had helped to ruin the country and that their sole hope of salvation still lay in France.

When the Jacobites came south they drove their cattle with them, and with the crowds of animals the grass and corn threatened to fail; the march of the soldiery infuriated the Irish farmers and the land was neglected. At the same time D'Avaux was writing to France that no army composed of Irishmen could succeed. It was suggested that De Rosen and D'Avaux, neither of whom got on well with the king, should be recalled.

Sarsfield was kept at his post much later than the other officers; he still felt himself shut out from the confidence of the inner council by the marked hostility on the part of Berwick, the growing indifference on the part of D'Avaux, the growing hatred on the part of De Rosen; the dispirited king took no notice of him, Tyrconnel was his open enemy and on every occasion flouted him.

Sarsfield sent a memorandum to the king pointing out several defects and suggesting various improvements in the organisation of the army. He remarked that, "Ireland possessed no gun factories nor arsenals, that it was not easy to import war material; that though the brass money might pass muster at home, abroad foreign merchants refused to accept it." He pointed out without pride that he himself had been able to recruit, maintain and discipline a considerable body of men in Connaught, amounting at times to three thousand, and with them to guard the passes of the Shannon and hold the whole province, and that if he were allowed a free hand he might do as much with the rest of the army.

There was no answer to this letter and Sarsfield hid his heart in silence. "They all despise us," he thought, "they none of them can see the spirit there is behind the rags and the misery; none of them can believe that a nation exists, they see nothing but hordes of untrained peasants, of quarrelling mercenaries, of braggadocio cowards."

He felt strangely overborne, as if the miseries of the whole country, Catholic and Protestant, increasing with every day, weighed on his own breast. He received letters more and more rarely from his wife. She was in poor health, but she was guarding his honour and his coming child. He tried not to think of her as a stranger. Reports of Madame de Bonnac's gaieties fell coldly on his ears.

The bailiff at Lucan reported that the poor refugee, Ishma O'Donaghoe, lived like a nun and was seldom seen abroad. When at last Sarsfield had permission to retire to winter quarters it was, by an uncontrollable impulse, to his domain at Lucan that he rode before entering the capital.


PATRICK SARSFIELD'S splendid mansion stood closed and silent, the precise façade white against the autumnal sky covered with loose, flying clouds which seemed to gather and take up with them the last dry leaves in one continuous and steady whirl of destruction.

A certain gracious obscurity was over the whole landscape, mournful the place was and melancholy, yet far from the echoes of war. Everything seemed harmonious and natural, as if all had achieved a perfect grace and beauty, and would never suffer any unworthy change.

Sarsfield mounted the wide winged steps, entered the empty but well-kept house and went slowly from room to room. He thought of his mother and the childhood he had spent here, those early days full of brave dreams, and wonders, and poignant delights. He would not have the shutters opened nor the curtains drawn, but passed from one chamber to another in deep greenish shade, where the furniture and the tapestry, the huge beds and the great chairs, the massive overmantels appeared monstrous and almost unreal, like forms seen in the depths of a forest that was itself a vision.

Sarsfield was glad to be away from the veiled light of day. He took no practical heed of what was about him, he scarcely listened to what his steward said, he made no inspection; he barely sensed that all his property was in order.

As he passed from room to room he was allowing himself to enter that secret world which is the right of every man to find refuge in. He thought of the wife he should have brought home here, the children who should have run about these closed-up chambers, of their heritage that should have been the freedom and independence, and the name of a proud nation. The portraits of his forbears on the walls, the mirror in which he saw his own pale, composed face reflected—all to him were eloquent of the tarnished bravery of his futile dreams. Majestic and magnificent, but veiled by the gray austerity of the clouds, the park lay spread in the waning light of the waning year. The trees were bare, the crossing of their boughs in the great allès made a darkness in the air, the dead leaves were thick under foot, they rested on the still surface of the lake, and when the breeze lifted them like a blown breath they floated through the air as if borne reluctantly to an invisible destination.

Sarsfield went to the lake. He found the water soothing and delicious, he stooped and trailed his fingers in it; the swans floated beyond the swathes of dry leaves, they seemed no more real than their own pure reflection. Sarsfield felt indescribably moved by this water which mirrored year after year the moon, the sun, the fires of the evening and the distant brilliancy of the stars. The serenity and loneliness of the scene filled him at once with pain and compassion. He thought of the wearinesses, of the fatigues and miseries, of the humiliations and the cruelties of the past year, not only for himself but for others. He thought of the dead and dying, of the drunken, the lewd and the blasphemous, of all who defiled and were themselves defiled, and he pitied all; he thought of the English peasants in Schomberg's army, rotting in the stagnant marsh; of the men choking with plague, using a dead companion's body for a shelter against the wind, of the sullen sound of the firing as the soldiers gave the last salute over a body trampled into the bog. He thought of Schomberg himself who had been a Marshal of France, the proud, grand man, sitting there on his lean horse, trembling with age and grief while he tried to mumble out a few words to hearten the scarecrow remnant of his men.

He thought of the Irish rapparees, the scorned, despised of all, burning and slaying, and in their own turn burnt and slain.

They were all about him, hiding in the bogs and in the mountains, even behind the sheaves of grain mouldering in the ground, crouching behind the trees heavy with unplucked and corrupt fruit, the fields which had not been sown, the harvest which had not been reaped, or hiding in the bogs up to their lips drawing in air through pipes; the Irish of Ireland perishing daily with every ignominy and horror.

The thought of all these miseries, of all this waste, tormented the heart of Patrick Sarsfield as he paced in the dead leaves by the border of the lake; he thought of all he had done and all he must do, of the failures that lay like a garland of straw at the end of all his travail.

For he had no great confidence in himself nor any hope of success for Ireland. His own unhappiness seemed to spread out and embrace the unhappiness of all these others. There was a doom on all of them and surely on his beloved. Say what she would, keep up her heart as she might, she was sad, she suffered and she was lonely and alone in the midst of strangers.

He walked slowly through the park towards her cottage and the little church. In the distance he could see the gaunt bulk of the cross raised against the sky which was now darkening down to a violet tint, overblown with blue vapours. The air was heavy with the dull sweetnesses of decay, the may trees beside the holy well were robbed of all but the last coronel of small wrinkled leaves, their thorns were sharply visible.

Ishma was at her door as if she had expected him. He recalled that in all their meetings she had been there with that air of waiting for him. She was grave, but not sad, and unchanged, in a gown of her own weaving and sewing, a kerchief knotted under her chin, her ornaments gleaming like the pale gold of a harvest moon. She stood aside and invited him to pass into the cottage.

"It is all clean and decent," she said, "there is no dust on any of the furniture."

"An invisible dust," thought Sarsfield, "the dust of our memories of a time ended, an epoch disappeared."

"There would have been," said Ishma, "flowers on the table, but it is so late now there are none in your garden."

There was an odour in the room, (though its poverty was bare and stark,) of balm and aromatic herbs, and an unknown poignant perfume of freshness.

Ishma sat down by the spinning-wheel, her eyes were closed, her hands folded in her lap. It seemed to Sarsfield almost as if she slept, but, watching her keenly, he saw two tears of crystal purity tremble at the edge of her lashes and fall down her cheeks. He asked her, not of his own volition for never had he considered putting such a question at once so intimate and so cruel:

"What would you have done if I had not come back?"

Her mouth was tormented by an expression of grief or fear. He approached her, he knelt beside her, placing his hands and then his face on her knees. Then she spoke:

"It does not seem as if you had been away, and if these monsters which are now in Ireland had devoured you, my darling, we should have been together all the sooner."

"I cannot stay," said Sarsfield, "we must always be separated." But he spoke as if this separation seemed to him impossible.

He had some pearls and diamonds in his pocket which he had taken earlier in the day from the charge of his steward. It seemed to him the most natural thing in the world, nay, a desire that it was almost impossible to resist, to take these jewels, long worn by the women of his family, and lay them in the lap of Ishma. But they were for his wife and he must carry them to Dublin and offer them to Honor.

"Are you not content?" came Ishma's gentle voice. "Have you not confidence?"

"In what, my darling?" he asked. "There is but to go on and do what one may."

He raised his noble head a little and saw behind her shoulders the landscape suddenly illuminated by the scarlet of the sunset which trailed in vivid vapours behind the bare trees.

He took between his cold hands the sweet and gentle face of Ishma, and softly pressed his fingers into the masses of her black hair, drawing her so close that he could perceive the tear-drops forming in the corners of her candid eyes like wet water violets, the freshness of her carnation which was all lily pure; the red transient light of the passing of the sun streamed through the narrow window over both of them.

Forgetting all else he said, with passion:

"We must re-find our great happiness, our happiness without shame, our innocent happiness which caused no suffering to any."

"Suffering?" she repeated, "we suffer enough ourselves; surely we shall be pardoned." Her lids drooped, the tears overbrimmed and ran down her cheeks.

"You are happy here, Ishma, there is nothing I can do, there is no way I can change your life?"

"What else? Though I am in Ireland, I feel in exile. Perhaps one day I may return to Irrelagh, but there everything was destroyed...Yes, I am happy, the world is very beautiful. No one could guess," she added, with a musing smile, "the sweetnesses of my grief, the glories of my miseries."

The evening air was of an extraordinary damp freshness.

He could see outlined in the red light of the sunset the heavy arms of the sculptured cross, and the bell-tower and bell of the little church, and one of the hawthorns with dry and seemingly broken outline, and he thought of the crown of thorns.

"How long have you been gone?" she asked, "and when will you return? I cannot measure the time."

"I shall be in Dublin, my Iove, the great city which is but a few miles from here, and all these about you are my servants. If you have any need of me you must tell them and I would come quickly."

"Beautiful strange dream!" she cried. "Get up, my love, and ride away before it breaks to pieces in our hands."

He obeyed and she, too, got to her feet and stood beside him, resting her hands on his shoulders and looking into his eyes. With a touching care, with a loving gentleness, he caressed her as with an ingenuous pride he passed through his fingers the rings of her dark hair.

Outside the trees rustled in a rising wind, the bare branches crossing and recrossing beneath the fiery sky, and on the heavy sombreness of the runic cross the sunset light lay in a stain like ancient blood.

Sarsfield thought of what this approaching autumn night would bring of agony and despair for many in Ireland and a tenderness of superhuman pity drew him towards the woman. She was Ireland herself that he pressed to his bosom. It was she then who took his cold, firm face between her long hands and gazed at it intently, while her whole body seemed broken with languor and sweet submission, as she murmured:

"I cannot remember when I loved you for the first time, it is so long ago."

He said farewell almost with indifference, it was as if nothing now could further move him. He left her in the darkening room; he was conscious of the dwarf woman Brighita Begg and his body-servant standing by the well, and of Brian, the dog, the two human beings talking and the dog sleeping, the autumn wind blowing over all of them, and the cross gaunt and dark above.

Sarsfield entered the church but could not pray, a confusion was between him and God, but he leant against the humble wall full of a lassitude that seemed as vast as the earth and sky. The priest was there, placid in the shadows. He spoke to him, kindly and respectfully, seeming not to notice his emotion. But Sarsfield, without concealment of his pain, said:

"The young gentlewoman—how does she live, how does she conduct herself? There is not too much suffering, too much loneliness?"

The priest replied gravely: "It is a saint, one of those sent to show us what the angels are."

Sarsfield did not smile at the extravagance of his language. He said faintly:

"I think she is one of the sidhe, of the unseen people, father; I doubt if she is a mortal at all."

But the priest, with some reproach, replied:

"But the unseen people have no souls and this young gentlewoman is no pagan, but a pious Christian. If prayers could save Ireland—" He shook his heavy head sadly. "She lives in another world than ours," he added.

Sarsfield felt as if he were losing control of his senses, as if all the arduous, monotonous work of the campaign was now suddenly, in one burden, weighing on his shoulders; the peace of this place affected him like a blow shattering his fortitude; the livid red had faded from the sky, a glacial blue overspread the vista behind the long allées which now began to be obscured in deep shade; they were like endless roads to nowhere. The feeble wind increased in force. Sarsfield spoke in a low voice not to trouble the charm of this immense solitude.

"You will take care of her, my father?"

"She shall have everything she wants." The old man inclined his rough head.

"My soul is disarmed before you, and I need give neither explanations nor excuses; you have seen her, you know her."

Sarsfield made an effort to forget his lassitude; he conquered the almost unconquerable desire to return to the woman and lie on the floor at her feet on a pillow of fern, and sleep away the fatigue, misery, the despair and delusion.

But he took his horse from his body-servant and rode to Dublin, slowly, under the bare trees along the gray Liffey.

His wife made some delay about receiving him. He guessed that some one had told her that he had gone first to Lucan. He was distressed and even angry that she should be thus disturbed.

When at last he did see her he was moved by her look of ill-health, the more touching compared with the delicate robustness of Ishma. In a few months his child would be born; she admitted in despair that she had led a life gay and fatiguing, that she had gone from routs to balls, gaming parties, riding parties, and danced till the dawn, regardless of prudence, of decorum, of his wishes; she seemed to have found the brave pact she had made with him impossible to keep.

"What else is one to do?" she asked. "There is nothing in my life but pleasure."

She looked at him defiantly, daring him to reproach her, but he sensed the pain behind the words and was silent.

That evening he did not share her chamber; all was prepared for him in his closet; their separation seemed complete.

When all were abed, he stayed late in the oratory; he still cherished the king's relic, though it was probable that James had himself forgotten it, and even that he had put his trust in Sarsfield.

"But what matters that if I remember?"

O bone Jesu, exaudi me.
Intra tua vulnera absconde me.
Ne permittas me separari a te.
Ab hoste maligno defende me."


THE JACOBITES kept their winter quarters in Dublin with a show of worldly grandeur as if they had accomplished some stupendous victory and seemed alike regardless of the miseries of the country and of the uncertainties of the future.

The sober men among them advised, with bitterness and vexation, a greater prudence and a more stringent care, pointing out that now was the moment to recruit the troops, see to their health and comfort, and look out supplies for the forthcoming campaign.

But confident in the retreat of Schomberg and in the news from England, which seemed to indicate that the usurping prince would not be spared from the conflict of politics to come in person to Ireland, King James's officers gave themselves up to those lewd and unrestrained diversions which always form the interludes of any internecine warfare. It was playing on the edge of an abyss and spending the last reserves of treasure, health and material in pleasure. For Louvois and his master, Louis, thinking they had already lavished away enough money in Ireland, sent no further supplies. D'Avaux, who had pushed disagreement with King James to an extremity, confided to Sarsfield his intention of returning in the spring; he felt that he could no longer serve his master in a country abandoned even by her own patriots.

"I had hopes of you, Colonel Sarsfield," he said frankly; "but it seems you can do nothing."

"What I have been asked to do I have done. I am holding Connaught and Galway."


"What you do not do," replied D'Avaux sombrely, "is not done, and it's impossible for one man—" He checked, and added: "Unless he has supreme power, to save the country. If you were in King James's place"—he smiled—"or even in that of the Duke of Berwick—"

Sarsfield started and thought of Henry Luttrell's schemes; he wondered whimsically if the Frenchman would be his guide and inspiration supposing he were to stand out for his own hand? but the thought passed as quickly as it had come, for he knew it was not in the least the French policy to consider Ireland, but only to keep King James there as a means of vexing and distracting England.

"You are disappointed in us," he declared, "you feel that we have treated you meanly, muddled you in your expectations. Believe me," he added with force, "we also have been a little deceived. Your assistance, my dear Count, has never been sufficient. A few more men, a little more money, and we might have beaten not only the Protestant colonists but Schomberg himself."

D'Avaux admitted frankly:

"You know we have played for time. Schomberg's army is dying of disease and want. The Prince of Orange will find it more and more difficult to send assistance and supplies. He has already been severely hampered in his continental campaign—"

Sarsfield interrupted impatiently:

"All this I know. And you must be aware, my dear count, that while you stand for France, I stand for Ireland."

D'Avaux looked at him keenly, and added softly:

"I have heard something of this."

"Of what?" asked Sarsfield quickly.

"That you intended to set yourself up regardless of us. And yet I take you to be a man of too great a sense to ferment new broils at such a time as this."

"Who told you this? From whom did you get your information? It is untrue that I have done anything outside my duty. This is not a boast," he added sternly, "for I begin to think that I may have been a fool in my restraint."

"I have had Henry Luttrell watched and spied upon, some of my information comes from a woman, I believe you know who. She holds a salon in Dublin and is very useful to me."

"Madame de Bonnac," murmured Sarsfield involuntarily.

"I speak no names. Henry Luttrell is a man full of upstart inventions, using many seductive arguments and eager importunities—"

"None of them prevail with me," broke in Sarsfield shortly. "I have no intrigues to confess to you. I am content to serve King James, to oust the Protestants and keep off the English, and I trust to the honour of France to see that when we have conquered, Ireland gets her rights."

"Have you found many people concerned in the rights of Ireland?" asked D'Avaux shrewdly; "even myself I am only interested so far as I can make your patriotism serve my cause. You see, I am frank and would not fool a man of your quality."

"Fickle are the friendships of great men," smiled Sarsfield, "our mutual endearments have only been for our mutual advantages. But I remain unshaken in my duty, which is to King James."

"Not to King Louis?"

"I am not a subject of His Most Christian Majesty."

"Do not let any one put it into your head that you can do without my master, he is as necessary to Ireland as he is to Christendom."

"We speak from different points of the compass," smiled Sarsfield, "but have no spiteful surmises of me."

"I have none," said the Frenchman, "I treat you as a man of honour."

"But what you have said has been meant as a warning, and as such I take it. As for Henry Luttrell, he is a friend of mine and, I believe, a good patriot, but his notions are often fantastical."

He paused, drawing on his gloves, then raised his wide gray eyes and asked with candour:

"Does Madame de Bonnac play the spy?"

"You should know her better than I," evaded D'Avaux. Then he said irrelevantly: "Her husband is a man of the strictest probity. As for Madame de Bonnac," he laughed wryly, "she has all the virtues and good qualities that belong to a woman of her dignity, her condition well declares the same. As for more on this matter I must humbly beseech you to spare me; for yourself I had thought, Colonel Sarsfield, that it would be well for you to leave Ireland and to command one of the Irish regiments which are to be sent to France for the use of His Most Christian Majesty. I have already approached the king on this subject, and though he seemed loth to lose so good an officer I believe I can persuade him to this end."

"But I," said Sarsfield, "would refuse any service outside my own country." And on that they parted; each felt that neither could any longer serve the other, and that the formal friendship was at an end; but mutual respect remained.

Sarsfield went directly to Madame de Bonnac. He had avoided her withdrawing-room where the most sumptuous company in Dublin was to be found, but now he felt bound to face her on this subtle and vital matter.

He walked through streets full of vile characters and over-dressed, overfed men and women loaded with ornaments, contemptuous French officers, English and Scotch refugees, Jews, beggars displaying their sores, pimps, agents, spies and all the refuse that will gather where there may be some carcase to pick, all the birds of prey who will hover to dip their bloody heads into corruption, and found himself, with a sick sense of loathing, in the presence of the beautiful woman who had been so long his secret desire, but for many months now nothing to him.

Madame de Bonnac showed beautiful indeed, flourishing in the full bloom of her maturity; her vivid complexion, her brilliant hair, the vermilion of her lips, and the whiteness of her complexion again reminded him of a rose in snow.

It was the afternoon and she was expecting a press of company; her salon was gorgeously apparelled; she seemed to be spending her husband's fortune as lavishly as Honor was spending Sarsfield's...Her robe, of royal purple, Ballooned with gold, lacked no cunning art to set off the voluptuous loveliness of her figure.

"I wonder, madame," said Sarsfieid, "that you care to stay in Dublin where all is either miserable or full of lewd practices, where you must see every day a hundred hideous and humiliating sights. Would you not be better esteemed and better entertained in Paris?"

"You speak in a tone of rebuke," she cried, "as if you would put me to shame. What have you against me?"

To this direct challenge he replied:

"I believe you have meddled in my affairs. I have been flatly told so by Mons. d'Avaux, and I would have you consider your modesty and not venture into these disorderly politics, and if you endeavour to draw me into any intrigue or to suffer it to be said that I am already in them you do me and yourself wrong, and it is all a weariness."

"Speak to Henry Luttrell, not to me. He has repeated to me some conversations you have had together."

"Henry Luttrell will sometimes outsay truth and bury it under a heap of lies and slander."

Gazing at him with her beautiful clear eyes which appeared never to have been vexed or troubled, she replied:

"You are foolish not to listen to Henry Luttrell; he is a wiser man than you."

"Let him, then, take the place he designs for me. Let him set himself up as a rebel against King James and call together a herd of rapparees and gallow-glasses."

"Ah," said Madame de Bonnac contemptuously, "you were always one to talk and dream, and so will accomplish nothing. Henry Luttrell is a man who will succeed in the world."

"Let him succeed. I like neither his temper nor his advice."

Walking about this apartment rich with the luxury so hateful to him, he added:

"It is not a man like Henry Luttrell who will cure our distemper—"

"But a man like you supported by Henry Luttrell," she put in quickly, "might do so."

"Aye, and so be horribly dishonoured," cried Sarsfield impetuously. He paused in front of Madame de Bonnac and looked at her with amazement. It seemed so strange to him that since his love for her had vanished he had seen her with other eyes, as very beautiful but very alien; he could hardly believe she was the same woman whom he had left with tears and anguish in the old mansion of the MacCarthys while the rainbow spanned the hills and the willows drooped over the lush grass on the lawn—the same woman for whom he had waited in the ruins of Irrelagh, where instead his own true secret love had come.

"What is your count in this?" he asked. "You are no Irish patriot and by serving me or Henry Luttrell in some fantastical rebellion you do damage to your own cause, and your own kin. It does not require such complications."

"Henry Luttrell," replied Madame de Bonnac, "has done you good service in swaggering in your interest, and do not you endeavour so to varnish over your heart and soul to me, sir. Well I know you. You now play cold chastity with me whom once you desired, yet out of idleness would not take."

Her displayed bosom heaved, her eyes sparkled, she seemed in a passion she could not restrain.

"With ingenuity and quaint invention you denied yourself to me," she said; "you are a strange man, and I am tormented that I do care for you. Yet play not the saint with me, it is not for your wife's sake that you leave me, but for that of your peasant mistress whom you keep so snug in Lucan. How many times did you visit her during the last campaign?"

He beheld her as but a vulgar fair vanity, yet because he had once held her so high he was ashamed, and could not rebuke her for her words.

"We have never understood each other, but, believe me, I have never regarded you with lustful covetousness. My love for you was of a different nature."

"Was?" she cried, clapping her hands together. "Is it then no more?"

"No more indeed," he replied gravely, "than that I may give to any woman who is fair and of good report. No man could look on you and not find you lovely, but for me, I have changed."

"But I can change you back again," she declared, with a proud smile. "It is impossible that we have been completely and for ever parted. But you must not play the hypocrite with me, sir, your little wife is nothing to you.

"She is much to me. I think of her continually, day and night; I feel towards her a vast responsibility."

"She feels little towards you, I think," sneered Madame de Bonnac. "Do you know how often she has seen young Berwick while you have been campaigning? I have seen them exchanging looks, she at her harpsichord, and he with his music, too, their sighs, and their hands touching."

"This affects me nothing. I trust in her honour as in my own."

"So self-confident and so flourishing!" smiled Madame de Bonnac.

"So sure of her, madame, and so sure of myself. Meddle not with me nor with my marriage, meddle not with Henry Luttrell's fantastical schemes."

"Your little mistress," she cried bitterly, "has you fast indeed; by now I had thought that over."

"Madame," replied Sarsfield mournfully, "I thought of you once very well, even as a garden of delight, and give me not this pain to hear you befoul yourself."

"'Tis another woman I befoul!" she said fiercely.

"That you cannot do. The girl of whom you speak is so little of the world that no slander can soil even the hem of her garment."

Madame de Bonnac threw back her fair head with a hard and painful laugh. She said coarsely:

"I dare swear 'tis only an earthen drinking-pot that a blow would shatter!"

Sarsfield turned away with sad disgust. This gorgeous woman seemed to him then as detestable as she had once been desirable. He said:

"I think to take my wife away from Dublin. It has become a sottish place full of impostures and devilry, and never have I loved this alien city; therefore, it is not likely that we shall meet often. I would we could part with goodwill, Madame de Bonnac, for the sake of the dreams you once gave me."

"Oh, your dreams! Your dreams!"

This seemed to Sarsfield to come to but a wrangle; he would have broken it short and, gathering all his forces, he turned on Madame de Bonnac and with stately composure reminded her "not to interfere in his affairs, nor to intrigue in his name with Henry Luttrell, for I will have none of it—"

But she interrupted, approached him impetuously and cast herself against him, so that he felt, close to his heart, her warm bosom, her satin gown, her delicate weight, and sensed in his nostrils the perfume she used; her carefully-dressed locks of shining hair were against his lips. Her ill temper was gone or was controlled. With pleading wilfulness she laughed and said:

"My love, could I not be more to you than that stupid peasant, whom all call a half-wit? What do you expect to get from your designs? Trophies of pride, of victory? I tell you there will be none, your country is lost and damned! But we are very free to take some pleasure."

Patrick Sarsfield did not need to put her by, so little she tempted him; he suffered her to remain leaning against him and smiled down at her. How less than nothing she meant to him! Even her beauty did not seem so fair and tempting as it had when he had first entered her room. He looked upon her naked breasts and shoulders, her ruffling and fantastic garb, her patches and painting, her curlings and crispings, as so many fooleries...And she, shrewd enough, felt this indifference a worse beggary than if he had violently repulsed her...

She withdrew and seated herself at a table of rich-coloured marble, cunningly devised to show up the roundness and whiteness of her arm, and for a moment she forgot her arts and said with real pain:

"Is it possible that you leave me to go to that dull creature you have hidden in Lucan?"

"I leave you, madame, and very easily, but I have no mistress hid in Lucan nor in any other quarter of the globe, and who spreads such a beastly scandal spreads an abominable falsehood; so much I can vouch on good authority."

He added sternly: "And so much you know, madame, by your proper wit, what you have said was but an invention to draw me."

"Why, no," she cried, with apparent sincerity, "nothing of the kind! I cannot believe that there is not love between you and that girl. I have watched you both—I know, but for her you had been all mine—'tis love, I say!"

Sarsfield thought: "Aye, but what manner of love? Is it possible Olivia cannot conceive a pure affection?"

He pitied her for this lack and, looking at her, he thought she could not understand any simple or pure affection, but only a voluptuous and carnal appetite. Do what she would, wring her hands and plead with him, even in a vague way threaten him as if she would thus demolish his constancy, by any means, even those without dignity or grace...she could not move him...

He left her with a stately courtesy, the more stinging to her as it showed she had not in the least discomposed his steadfastness. Only on the threshold did he repeat to her his warning, begging her to keep a golden mean in her discourse and actions.

When he returned to the Castle he felt the heavy day lay idle on him. He was surprised to find the Duke of Berwick's body-servant waiting for him with a request that he would immediately attend His Grace.

He had not spoken with Berwick in private since he had returned him Honor's miniature.


THE DUKE OF BERWICK received Patrick Sarsfield with that courtesy which seemed a natural heritage of the Churchills. His personality, so suave, so austere, never failed to impress the older man. Berwick had a precocious habit of command and an air of authority which was not ridiculous on his extreme youth. His appointments and the care he had taken with his person set off an attractive personality to advantage. Had it not been for the singular beauty of his face, which was of a manly, resolute and stately cast, he might have been accused of foppishness. Whenever he came into the young prince's presence, Sarsfield thought of his extreme suitability as a lord for Honor; he was sure that they had not much, but everything, in common, and he could not control a bitter pang at the thought of his useless marriage and the misplaced impulsive chivalry, as foolish and as dangerous in its way, as Berwick's misplaced prudence, which had come between these two appointed lovers, and he thought to himself, "Should I disappear amid the chances of war, I believe this young man, who has now learned his lesson, would marry her," and he hoped that it might be so.

Berwick began by asking Sarsfield if he intended to take advantage of D'Avaux's offer and go with the newly-raised Irish regiments which were to sail for France? These were to form the nucleus of an Irish Brigade in foreign service and were to be some recompense to King Louis for the troops he had supplied for King James's use in Ireland.

"You know," added Berwick, "that D'Avaux and De Rosen are both to be recalled—they have been failures."

"It has scarcely been their fault."

"No, but possibly the fault of the people they have come to help. D'Avaux himself says that he was sent to be a sacrifice to a poor-spirited and cowardly people, whose soldiers would never fight, whose officers would never preserve order."

"My lord duke," said Sarsfield, "I am Irish and, though well inured to insult, that was needless."

Berwick shrugged. "I have heard," he said, "that Lauzun is to be sent in place of De Rosen."

Sarsfield felt a shoot of despair. The Duke of Lauzun, an eccentric adventurer, was well known to be useless as a general and unreliable and fantastic as a man.

"It is His Majesty," said Berwick, "who naturally has conceived a great affection for Mons. de Lauzun because he contrived the escape of the queen from London."

"A mountebank courtier like that!" exclaimed Sarsfield softly.

"But to come to our affairs and the reason for which I have asked of you this interview. You know something," he said, with dry precision unsuited to his years, "of our situation. You have heard great tales of the stresses on the other side, of how Shale, Schomberg's Commissary-General, has behaved, but you must confess that our own Lord Dover is no better. He has no magazines or depots and is forced to import breadstuff, his staff-officers quarrel among themselves, with De Rosen, with the Government, and with the king; the officials are enriching themselves at the expense of the public."

"I well know," said Sarsfield bitterly, "that more soldiers exist on paper than ever appear on the parade ground; that I, and Hamilton, and Luttrell, and, I think," he added with reluctance, "Lord Galmoy alone have well-disciplined troops."

"We shall need them," said Berwick with still greater dryness. "I believe that the Prince of Orange gathers a formidable troop and is well aware that on the next Irish campaign may depend the fate of Europe—he regards it as the scene of an international struggle and realises that for him, as well as for us, all is at stake. We must not expect," continued the young duke, "any very great help from King Louis, for I am sure D'Avaux's report has been to the effect that money sent here will be money wasted."

"My lord, have you asked me here to discuss these miseries and uncertainties? It seems to me that neither you nor I are in a position to remedy them."

"I am sorry for the women," remarked Berwick; for all his composure he showed a slight sign of emotion, his candid brow was troubled, a faint flush stained the long, smooth, olive-complexioned face.

"He loves her," thought Sarsfield, "and he bears it with fortitude."

"Indeed, I am sorry for the women," he repeated aloud. "But you, sir, have none to your account, and I do the best for those who depend on me."

Berwick added, not without a deepening of his flush:

"'Twere well that the Lady Honor Sarsfield were sent to Lucan, Dublin is no fit place for a gentlewoman of her breeding. The court has become corrupt and dissolute. They all behave as if they had lost control of their destiny and were riding with loose reins to the devil."

He spoke with a personal bitterness that Sarsfield could well interpret, for the king had returned to his former ways of dull licentiousness and had taken for his mistresses two women of ill-repute in Dublin, such as were contemptuously termed "old trollops"; these accompanied him everywhere and contended with his confessor and his attendant priests for his confidence. Berwick's brother, too, had taken on a lewd and foolish course. His brawls were of daily occurrence and more than once he had insulted officers in a coffee-house or the street. There had been an occasion when the most open and deadly scandal had been saved only by the smooth intervention of Henry Luttrell. The vicereine, too, was light and gay, and her daughters thought of nothing but pleasure; honesty and good manners seemed to be alike considered of no value.

"I cannot take my wife to Lucan since she has conceived some dislike of the place and will not go."

"Is that your honest reason?" asked Berwick, in such a tone of authority that Sarsfield flashed into a haughty reply. "What right have you, my lord, to question me?"

The young man did not flinch nor abase his princely air as he replied in formal stateliness:

"The right of one who has always had the welfare of Lady Honor close to his heart."

"Too close, perhaps, my lord," said Sarsfield with a bitter smile. "You forget that if I were not very tolerant we might have crossed swords on this affair. But I have had a greater work in hand than to concern myself with the disaster of my marriage."

"You admit that it was a disaster?"

"To me, to her and, I think, to you," replied Sarsfield heavily, turning away and leaning in the window-place. "But it is done and may not be undone. You know how I regard the vows I took."

"I know how she regards them," said Berwick dryly. "No man could have a more faithful wife."

"He who doubted it would be a dolthead, but you may believe, my lord, that this is not a matter I can easily discuss. I have been blasted by many untoward affairs. The lady's interests are now twisted inseparably with mine."

"Therefore I do request you," said Berwick, "consider removing her from Dublin to your estates where you are fortunate enough to have some peace and quietness away from this frenzied extravagance which here undoes all sober men."

Sarsfield repeated:

"She will not go."

"But must she stay here?" asked the duke with a rising passion, "among the bankrupts, sots and cullies, the upstarts and bullies who fill the castle and the city?"

"I think, sir, we play at cross-purposes. I know the mind of my wife."

A sudden violent antagonism flashed out between the two men. Sarsfield, though so much the older and admiring the youth, could not altogether control his sense of deep dislike of this cold and stately antagonist.

"Do not domineer, my lord," he added dryly.

And Berwick, not yielding an inch, said:

"I have heard some scandalous report, that the Lady Honor cannot go to Lucan because you keep a mistress there."

"Madame de Bonnac told you that," replied Sarsfield, smiling with pale lips. "I do ignore it. You become tedious, my lord duke, you shall lay no plot nor trap to seize my good temper."

Berwick controlled himself with admirable strength of mind and skilfully turned the subject:

"I have another matter on which to speak to you. It may be that is also a libel."

He put his handkerchief to his full lips and his dark eyes were full of a suppressed passion.

"I believe you intrigue, Colonel Sarsfield, and leave the management of it to Henry Luttrell."

"This matter seems very well noised abroad. Have we not enough troubles on our hands that we must embroil ourselves in these private stupidities? Might not you, my lord duke, as well as myself, better manage our time by making some preparation for the invading army which is like to be on us in the spring than by exchanging gossip of the chitcats?"

"I knew you would outface this," replied Berwick coldly, "but I am well aware of what truth there is behind this smoke of rumour. I myself have been approached," he added.

This startled Sarsfield; Luttrell then was deeper, more determined than he thought.

"Henry Luttrell has been to me. He thinks the king means nothing and is already disliked in Ireland. He knows that the French are not popular, but he sees a nation in arms and would find a leader."

"He has suggested your grace as this leader?"

"Yes," said Berwick, "with insinuation and oblique temptation. But I am a plain man and would have none working secretly for my advantage. I am," he added with great pride, "ever likely to stand alone, and I do not doubt my ability to do so."

"None deny you brilliant gifts," said Sarsfield coldly. "But why tell me, my lord, what must have filled you with abhorrence? Of all men you are the last who should make a clamour against your father."

He added, with a rising impatience:

"These intrigues of Henry Luttrell seem to me but a ridiculous impertinence."

"Have you told him so?"

"I have put off all his notions as mere fantasy."

"I am glad of that. I spoke to you because of the friendship I have for you, an interest in your fortunes, and I would not have you entangle yourself. I wish to give you warning, too, that if you do intrigue and it comes to my knowledge, I shall publicly denounce you."

"Why speak of friendship when your grace means me to understand that you are my enemy?"

Berwick looked at him, and a softer passion seemed to show in his large dark eyes.

"Forgive me if I speak with some heat," he said, with even more than his wonted stateliness yet in a gentle manner, "for I have found these last months but a miserable time of frustration and have been robbed and foiled," he continued in anguish and heaviness.

"My lord," replied Sarsfield, "not you alone, but I, too. You can assure yourself that not the highest seat of all honour or the most princely place of dignity could, by devised practices and false, deceitful, wild subtlety, be attempted by me."

"I believe you," replied the duke, "and will listen no more to anything that Henry Luttrell says, for I take him to be a man most rampant and mischievous in evil working."

"I do not understand him," admitted Sarsfield, "he has ever seemed a friend of mine and I liked the fellow. Maybe he is moved by patriotism and that you would scarce understand, your grace. There are some of us who feel that even King James is not the real master of Ireland. But let that go, I do not think it moves Henry Luttrell, though he has always passed as a gentleman of good credit, yet—"

"One day he will be of very ill repute."

"I am very sorry that this has arisen. I see around me such a darkness in our affairs, such intriguers, jobbers and the devil knows what, that it is impossible to find the root of the matter."

"We thus must go on from day to day," said Berwick, "and hope for a victory next campaign."

"We do not seem to be preparing for one."

The young man replied with his gracious seriousness: "We must do what we can for the conservation of the Catholic Faith and the sustaining of God's Honour."

"Amen," said Sarsfield proudly, and leaving the chamber he added: "Make no unjust and inconsequent judgments on any incidental passages you hear of me and any woman, my lord. Believe that the gentlewoman, my wife, will be indulged by me in her least conceit."

As he returned to his own apartments he wondered sadly if Honor had any part in this affair. He believed not, but he was smitten to think of the true and deep love with which Berwick seemed to regard her, and he had no doubt that she returned it, and his mind played over the possibility of a divorce...if he might place her in the care of Berwick and take Ishma to his heart for ever...

But there was no excuse he could put forward at Rome—no relationship, no illegality in the ceremony. And she was about to have his child; with all his most diligent deliberations he could see no way out for the three of them save his own death in battle. That he would have met very readily if it were certain that there was no more he could do for Ireland.

He was hardly in his own house, meaning to have a gentle interview with Honor, for he was lonely, when the man of whom he had just been speaking, Henry Luttrell, came upon him and insisted on instant speech.

Sarsfield sat in the window-place and watched the rain that came down in a great drench over the city. It gave him small comfort to think of the Irish flag hanging soaked over the castle.

"You heard some noise and clamours of me," said Luttrell, with his curious oblique glance and his fascinating smile, "my honour and integrity have been assaulted. Berwick is a pragmatical young Jesuit and Madame de Bonnac—the devil knows what she is."

Sarsfield replied with some heat.

"You have confounded me by your intrigues, nay, by what seemed to be grossly and notoriously blown abroad, by asserting that I have listened to any chimerical scheme. Berwick knows and Madame de Bonnac knows, no doubt, Galmoy and other of my enemies know—if it gets to the ears of the king or De Rosen I am but a ruined man."

"Softly! softly!" exclaimed Henry Luttrell with a deepening of his cool smile. "Hold your prating, my dear Sarsfield, or I will take you also for a pragmatical ass if you fall foul of your only friend. Why are you in so stiff and ill a humour? Your lady wife promises you an heir, you have your mistress safe at Lucan—"

Sarsfield interrupted with bitter heat:

"Luttrell, you turn all to a poison, like a spider. I fear that your roguery comes out and confounds us all."

"You are bat-blind and bigoted," said Luttrell. "I tell thee, Sarsfield, once and for all, you lose a great gain for nothing. I will not rake up sluttish stories little to your credit if such be your will, but parade no airs of virtue! Do you intend to trudge on like some hungry starved lieutenant, content with a mere promise of guineas? Do you not see the state of all about us?"

"Madame de Bonnac and Berwick have already run over that matter with me," replied Sarsfield. "I see what this winter in Dublin is like to be and what the campaign to come is like to be, and I am resolved to do the part I have undertaken. I tell you, Luttrell," he cried, striking his hand on the window-sill, "I, who have been able to forego the fairest flowers that life can offer, do not hanker after any uneasy grandeur. Go, search another for your plots, Luttrell, if you must have such to beguile your tedium."

Luttrell laughed lightly, with a charming air of good-humour.

"The devil helps his children," he asserted, with a swagger that had nothing in it of affront or offence and left Sarsfield to his gloomy meditations, and these were no less mournful and melancholy than the rain which fell over the riot and filth of Dublin.

He was sorry to have lost Luttrell for a friend (it seemed he must lose him). The man fascinated him, though he felt the seduction of his charming manners were but shams and hypocrisies to cover his real designs. And he remembered what Luttrell had said that he would be Louvois to his Louis, the power behind the throne, the subtle, corrupt, unscrupulous intriguer, working behind a florid figurehead...

"My God! he takes me for less than a man," thought Sarsfield bitterly. "The woman, too—I suppose she would be the Montespan—the gold-glutted mistress, and I the fool between my jackal and my doxy!"

He believed that he had taken an inveterate spleen against Luttrell and could never meet the man more. That sad evening he was heartened by a letter from his bailiff enclosing one from the priest, which had but one line about Ishma, and that sufficient—"She grows daily in great grace."


COLONEL PATRICK SARSFIELD of Lucan, on a night of storm, rode from Dublin towards Howth across the site of the battle of Clontarf.

He was pleased to leave behind the filth, the lewd pleasures, the raucous noises and purposeless quarrels of the city.

He had had a sharp, a humiliating little quarrel with his wife. She had given him a son but this had not brought them nearer together. She had wished to call his heir James, after the king, she said, but Sarsfield knew that it was Berwick of whom she was thinking, and his pride of race and of manhood first refused this concession to her secret passion, then gave way, coldly. She had displayed a cutting indifference to the child which stung him sorely, and, as soon as she was able to leave her room, had returned to her mechanical pleasures; Sarsfield had endeavoured to get in touch with her heart, with her spirit, to draw her somehow closer in to his side; he had said:

"Honor, if you would like me a little?"

And she had replied, flaming hostility showing horribly on her pale, painted little face:

"It is not that, if you could have loved me at all! What a wrong you did me to marry me with nothing but indifference in your heart for me! Nay, though you are so suave and pleasant with me, sometimes I think you feel not indifference but dislike."

He knew the truth beneath these furious sentences. If he could have loved her only a little he could have won her away from Berwick. He had come to her empty-handed. And she had added mournfully with a sense of infinite loss:

"You are a man who could win any woman if you wished, but you have never wished to win me."

Without waiting for his reply she had returned to her gambling parties, to her dances, her visits to mantuamakers, fortune-tellers and theatres, leaving her child to the foster-mother and him to his solitude.

So poignant had become his loneliness that he had been minded to ride to Lucan, if only to see for one fine moment the pure face of the woman from Irrelagh. At the very gate of the city he had checked and turned in another direction. He believed that it was already whispered that his wife could not go to his demesne because he kept a secret mistress there.

Though he was exalted above the petty stings of gossip (from which he knew none was exempt), he could not endure to give this handle to lies about Ishma. So he rode out along the great tongue of land which stretched beyond the city round the bay across the site where the black ravens of the Danes had been beaten down and trampled in the bloody mud by the forces of King Brian Boru.

A storm was coming up from the distant sea which was usually of a celestial blue, so calm, so hazed with pearl-like mist that it seemed incredible it should wash the shores of the man-made city of Dublin.

The moon was high overhead, cold, blue and sharp as ice, floating in the chill and mist of the distant heavens. Around this space where the moon shone, the storm-clouds scudded, above, then before the silver light of the remote orb, leaving the lonely rider for a space in almost complete darkness.

His senses were very acute. He thought he could distinguish the separate sound of each leaf that trembled on the trees which formed a mournful broken avenue beyond the city gates. Then he was bereaved even of the trees and out upon the low-lying marshland which led to the rock of Howth. The moon conquered the clouds and the night was not altogether sombre, though the lower sky darkened as Sarsfield rode towards the sea.

A convulsive flame darting along the horizon lit up the great mass of the rock of Howth and the pale line of the midnight ocean beyond. This livid landscape shown by the lightning was like an hallucination, a vision forced on the misty obscurity of the moonlight. The gusty wind caught Sarsfield's light mantle, his thick hair and the harsh mane of his horse and blew all seaward.

The man felt an immense desire to be free of his life, to leap exultant into the abyss of death; yes, he was like a slave chained by the feet to the ground, while all his body and soul were straining for liberty.

The thunder rumbled over the ancient battlefield. Sarsfield believed that an invisible company of dead warriors were crowding about him, gigantic in stature, massive in form, brandishing bloody spears, erect, superb and terrible for the defence of Ireland. Though it was early spring the day had been cold, but the storm had brought an unnatural heat as if the burning breath of some crouching monster poisoned all the air; yet when the moon showed in the rifts of the tempest clouds it was cold, icy, very far away.

Sarsfield heard the alarmed cry of a bird which flew over his head into the darkness, the cracking and bending of the low scrub bushes before the wind, and on his hand felt the first drops of rain. The silence between the distant claps of thunder was frightful and charged with menace. He rode on.

"Who is riding beside me?" said Patrick Sarsfield, not knowing he spoke.

His gray eyes were wide, his senses alert; he seemed to be surrounded by a supernatural light, to be attended by a supernatural company.

He thought of the dead Irish kings buried under the wet gray marble of the abbey of Irrelagh, of the unseen people, the sidhe, in whom every one of Irish birth believed; like a monstrous drum, summoning the huge army of dead warriors, the distant storm beat across the sea, like the torn banners of innumerable defeats the lightning flashed convulsively across the hurrying blackness of the clouds.

The moon was swiftly obscured by veil on veil of vapour; and all Patrick Sarsfield's dreams and reveries, sprung from solitude and enchantment, that he so sternly banished in the world of what men called real affairs, gathered round him, pressing close to his saddle.

He was tormented, yet in the midst of his torment he had a sense of inner peace. He listened to his own heart-beats, regular as those of a sleeping man. In the midst of his misery he felt submissive, resigned; but it was difficult to resist the impulse to ride on and on until his horse trod the wet sands, until the lashing foam of the sea began to flicker in his face.

"Have I not already expressed all my soul? Have I not already exhausted all my pains? May I not slip into the beautiful abyss of death without reproach from any?"

Patrick Sarsfield crossed himself on his brow and looked up at the faint light of the moon, veiled more and more deeply by the hurrying storm. It was like the pale impassive face of God withdrawn before the darknesses cast upward by the passions of men.

He prayed, for his faith was always strong within him. The hordes of stern and valiant spirits were at the same time superb and beautiful, they seemed to drag at him by the bridle, to pull him across the ancient battlefield towards the cold oblivion of the sea and to whisper in his ear through the long-blown tresses of their hair, their nodding tattered plumes, that "his work was done and his country lost, that he might now take his rest."

But he thought, though heart and soul responded to this wild appeal:

"She lives, the woman lives and prays for me."

In that thought, through all his grief and disarray, was comfort. "But what can I do? I am helpless, overborne. I will neither be the puppet of another man's intrigue nor a frantic rebel against authority; yet how can those I serve help Ireland?"

The moon and her light disappeared entirely. The horse started as the rain fell straight on him with a steady sound as imposing and as frightful as the silence which had preceded the downpour.

"Who has anything to reproach me with?" asked Sarsfield of his invisible companions. "I have betrayed none, not willingly have I made any one suffer. Must I spend more years of unease, of agony, of suspense, of delusion?"

Through the rain the gigantic spirits seemed to grow more imperious and more threatening; they shook their plumed heads and appeared to urge him to snatch at final peace.

"Here we fought for Ireland, here we conquered. And what did it avail? How often has the victor trod above our dust! Our exploits are become tales for the chimney-corner, our names are the names of forgotten people, our wounds and our deaths benefited none. And so shall it be with thee."

Sarsfield turned his head to listen; the horse went slowly through the dark; the lightning showed fainter; it lit in greenish pallor a phantom sea, a high dark rock, an ancient battlefield.

"Meet the embraces of the waves, let them draw thee down to slumber, it is good to sleep. What wilt thou have at best for all thy labour, self-sacrifice and tears? A little sleep...Take it now."

Sarsfield thought that Prince O'Donaghoe paced beside him on the white horse on which he was wont to ride across the waters by Innisfallen.

"I am come for thee, descendant of Conall, because thou hast cherished my little daughter in her beauty, because thou hast left her innocence and pride about her like the petals about a lily. I, too, loved Ireland well."

Across the moon mist showed a kingly face, a glittering coronal, the sparkling eyeballs, the floating mane of a daemon steed, white as bleached bone.

"Shall I not fetch for thee my little maiden so that she may sleep with thee, resting forever in thy clasp of love?"

"I am a haunted man," said Sarsfield aloud. By his ears rushed the voices of many spirits urging him to ride into the ocean; the storm was a little stayed; the moonlight was cold as snow on the rock of Howth and on the tossed-up foam of the flashing sea.

The phantoms dissolved into the moonbeams; their voices became one with the rise and fall of the waves.

The rain ceased as suddenly as it had begun, the last clouds were torn asunder and the moon appeared with a vaporous light which, to Sarsfield's exalted gaze, took the form of a cross. That was all, that was enough; his agony returned. It was not for him to seek ease by forbidden ways.

"My dreams are too powerful, too dear, too poignant and too close. I must never allow them again nearly to gain the mastery."

There came again to his lips the prayer of Saint Ignatius which he had uttered in Honor's little oratory:

"Anima Christi, sanctifica me,
Corpus Christi, salve me,
Sanguis Christi, inebria me,
Aqua lateris Christi, lava me,
Passio Christi, comforta me."

"If she lives and is not afraid to suffer constantly, may not I endure a little longer a great pain? Because nothing is understood much must be borne, while life has me in thrall I must obey."

He thought he heard his own words taken away on a gust of wind; yet knew not if he himself or another had spoken.

Sarsfield reined up the obedient horse, he stroked the animal's wet neck and turned his head towards the foul city; the beautiful creature was not frightened, surely there had been no evil abroad.

"But I cannot return to that woman whom I do not love and who does not love me."

The rain had stirred a melancholy perfume from the marshy earth, flavoured, Sarsfield thought, with the ancient blood of those long-dead Irish over whose bones his horse must be treading. With the pause in the rain the wind had risen, and there was once more the cry of frightened birds and the groaning of the dead trees, and in the distance, accompanying the retreating thunder, the hard, monotonous beat of the surf on the shore...a menace...a farewell.

Patrick Sarsfield evoked the image of Ishma; in his desolation he had only his forlorn spirit to offer her; he did not even know if she would have wished him to empty his life into the ocean.

She had followed him all the way, passive, modest, meek; through the armed forces of the spirits, through the tumult of the storm she had been beside him; she was attired like an ancient queen seated in a great hall on a green mountain in the days when Ireland was free, with pale native gold on her brow, pure and peaceful, with the hues of grass and flowers blowing through her robe; tall and serene, with fair hands folded; thus he had been taught to believe the sidhe looked; but this woman was not one of the unseen people who have no souls, for she looked at him with eyes clear with the ecstasy of self-sacrifice.

He put out his hands towards her and held but an intangible moonbeam which ran over his fingers with pale colours.

Sarsfield returned to the city; the foul smells, the coarse incessant noises, the crude lights, the pressure of the crowds blended into one agony for him. His desire to go to Ishma was so powerful that he shook like a man in a fever; but he returned to his house and went at once to his wife's chamber where she lay wide-awake in her great bed, the coverlet sewn with wild strawberries drawn to her chin; "frightened," she said, "of the storm."

"How terrible to die young," she murmured, "if God should take one on a night like this."

Sarsfield had taken off his wet cloak and she marked that even his' undergarments were damp and stained, and that he was without his boots; he looked at her in silent appeal for comfort and solace.

"You've been riding in the wet," she said quickly, "out in the storm."

She thrust herself forward, eagerly, curiously, it was seldom he came to her; in the warm shadows of the bed-curtains she appeared young, so sickly, without her paint, her eyes so feverishly anxious. She coughed frequently, her voice was hoarse. He remembered that the doctors had always had a bad opinion of her health; perhaps she also inwardly endured much in patience.

"You have been riding in the storm," she repeated keenly.

"I was glad to get away from the city for a while, but I have come back to you, Honor, as a refuge."

"To me!" Her thin pale lips receded into a wild smile. "But you know I can give you no comfort."

"We should be able to comfort each other. Honor, we have both been so deceived and cheated, we both have such difficult lives to live. Come, my child, you know well enough that these foolish toys and hollow pleasures of yours give you no more satisfaction than do my monotonous duties."

She lay back on the pillows and turned her head away from him.

"There is a question I long to ask you but may not," she whispered, evading a reply.

"I know. You would demand if I have been to Lucan—'tis not so. I have been riding out towards the sea, towards Clontarf and Howth."

This was the pure truth; yet he did not feel that he could so truthfully have told her that he had not seen Ishma O'Donaghoe.

He approached the bed and looked down on her; she had said that she could give him no comfort; she was herself in need of solace; dreadful was the thought to him that she turned from the child who should have consoled her, because he was the father.

Without looking at him, sunk in the pillows, she whispered:

"You rode into the storm towards Clontarf?"

"I did not notice the storm."

"Your hair is wet, so is your coat, even your shirt. Why did you go?"

"How shall a man say what drives him into solitude? But I have come back to you."

With a violent movement Honor sat up in the bed; she clasped her hands round her knees, her hair, usually so smooth, was shaken in tangles over her thin shoulders.

"I know why you rode into the storm—withdrawn into secrecy."

"Do you, Honor?"

He sat on the end of the great bed, far from her, and leant against the footboard; he was a man whose strength it was difficult to exhaust, he had an heroic cast of body; but of late he often looked fatigued, and now he seemed completely weary.

"Yes, I know."

"Tell me then, Honor, anything, so that we may have some solid understanding between us."

She replied without looking at him:

"Because you wished so much to go to Lucan."

"My wife, I would take you to Lucan; the demesne is wide and the house large and peaceful. You would be better there than in Dublin you and—and the child."

Her look of anguish and pride further bleached her already pale face. She shook her head. He believed that she thought, as did Madame de Bonnac, that he kept a mistress there. He said with some sternness:

"I have infinitely trusted you, Honor; you might, in your charity, trust me."

"I have never reproached you," she replied proudly. "I know you married me out of chivalry and pity. I am in your debt. It is very petty in me that I spend your fortune when you need it to fulfil you own loyalties. But a woman must have something."

With fierce self-contempt she added:

"I have my plays, ploys, gowns and trinkets; you have your troops, your horses, your hopes for Ireland."

"We both have the child," pleaded Sarsfield, full of tenderness and compassion, leaning towards her eagerly.

Honor replied with a bitter coldness as if she alienated herself deliberately from him:

"The child is nothing to me. Look you after the child, he is your heir."

"You can help me no further than that?" he asked. He rose and turned away from her that he might not see her sad angry face.

"Leave me," she said. "It has all gone beyond words."

"Why, then, Honor, let us come on peace at least. I'll intrude on thee no more."

Honor's hoarse voice flung at him:

"What value has your fidelity to me? What care I if you go to Lucan or no?"

"Very little, as I suppose. I have not asked nor offered fidelity, Honor, yet neither I nor you are so easy and common as to readily smirch what is full of grace. Why should a pledge be honoured? You know and I know, Honor."

He left her. It was still early in the evening, the narrow street was full of noise; he had hoped to find a refuge with her, but she had barred him out.

He should have been dead by now; he could see his scarlet uniform washed to and fro in the moonlit waves...the horse speeding back to the gates...

He held a taper close to the reflection of his face in a mirror in his closet.

"What wilt thou do now, my fool? Go down into the stews and get drunk?"

He pulled on his boots, took up his hat and sword and went out into the street and made his way to the Several Keys—a tavern much frequented by the fashionables of Dublin.


THE TAVERN PARLOUR that Sarsfield deliberately sought was the antithesis of the stormy landscape of Clontarf and of the solitude of Honor's bedchamber; it was noisy, garish, reeking of smoke, fumes of food, of wine, and the stench of mud brought in on the boots of the officers.

By the fireplace four men were gambling: Galmoy, Galway, Henry Fitz James, Grand Prior of Malta and Duke of Albemarle, and Henry Luttrell; behind them stood Berwick leaning against the wall, his arms folded.

The three first were drunk, their eyes swollen and inflamed by lack of sleep; the Jacobites, during their winter quartering in Dublin, had lived in the most reckless and dissolute fashion, nor were they much to be blamed, for all was not only confusion but chaos; the administration of the cabinet, the army, the city, was alike corrupt and incapable. The high-born officers, having no duties and none, save Berwick, any ambition, spent their enforced idleness in what they termed pleasures, devices gross or foolish according to their natures and their means. The Duke of Albemarle, a dissolute and useless youth, was quarrelling violently with Galmoy, who received his insults with a half-mocking, half-amused fashion. They were discussing some woman in the coarsest terms; when Sarsfield approached they, drunk as they were, turned the conversation. He wondered, with indifference, why they took this trouble; he seated himself on the bench beside Berwick; he had deliberately chosen this company as he had deliberately chosen the tavern. He asked the drawer for a rummer of French brandy; it was odd to feel the curls on his breast wet from the rain that had blown across the field of Clontarf, and again he saw himself tossed to and fro by the clean, lovely waves, a sparkling cascade of foam falling on his face beneath the waxing moon. That seemed more real than the tavern scene of which he was part; here and not beneath the storm he was surrounded by ghosts.

The Duke of Albemarle threw over a bottle of claret, purposely, Sarsfield thought, and this stupid incident absorbed them all in foolish laughter.

Berwick stood apart. He was, as always, sober, and Sarsfield wondered why he should thus waste his leisure. Ignoring his disorderly companions he spoke with his usual cool stateliness to Sarsfield:

"You have heard that De Rosen and D'Avaux are to depart immediately, and it is decided that Lauzun is to come? We shall take the field very soon."

"God be thanked for that!" said Sarsfield.

Lord Galmoy insolently looked up at him.

"Why?" he demanded. "Has it not been pleasant enough in these winter months in Dublin?"

Sarsfield replied with indifferent contempt:

"I am glad that you have found it so, Lord Galmoy."

Albemarle suddenly broke into unreasoning invective:

"It has been agreeable for all except sour-faced knaves; we want no lily-livered Calvinists here, whining psalms through their noses, let such villains hang, I say!"

Sarsfield was conscious of a deep hostility directed against him emanating from this young man and from Galmoy; even Galway, his brother-in-law, seemed unfriendly. But Berwick, with the air of a much older man, said calmly:

"These are but drunken tavern brawls and serious men should keep out of them."

"Why are you here?" demanded Sarsfield, amused, negligent of all of them.

"Oh, I have to see that my brother Albemarle does not make too great a fool of himself."

Henry Luttrell glanced up, alert, cool, yet excited.

"There is certain news," he said, "that another English expeditionary force will be landed in the spring."

"I'll lay a wager that will be denied," said Albemarle.

"Do you value the drivellings of the chitcats and gazetteers? But as for Schomberg, we'll roast the old fool in bad earnest." The youth was very drunk; he put down his cards and swayed back in his seat. Luttrell ignored him and looked at Sarsfield; he too had been drinking heavily enough, but never showed himself fuddled in his senses; in contrast to the carelessness of his three companions he was as aways neat in his attire; a certain precise grace seemed natural to him. He mixed much in companies where wantonness and debauchery were passports to the general favour; but himself lived quietly, hoarding his health and his fortune. He kept a discreet mistress in his lodgings and was supposed to entertain her more for her house-wifely economies and careful management than her charms; she was seldom seen, but known to sing exquisitely; Luttrell, however, never allowed her to parade this talent; but sometimes an idler going home at night would hear a gentle lovely voice float out from his high-set window in Skinner's Row.

"You look as if you had ridden far into the storm," smiled Colonel Luttrell, with his odd, queer, squinting glance.

Galmoy turned and stared at Sarsfield over his shoulder; he had taken off his wig and hung it on the knob of his chairback; his reddish hair was cropped close to his shapely head; drink had brought out the brutality of his face; though handsome and finely bred there was something ignoble about him. He began to laugh offensively at Sarsfield, and Albemarle, in his boyish tones, joined the gross, stupid ribaldry.

"They make all a mere May game and laughing-stock," remarked Berwick scornfully. He put no gloss on his disgust. In his slightly sneering withdrawal from the ribaldry of the others, he had an air of his father; he reminded Sarsfield of a painting of his uncle the Duke of Gloucester who had died young.

"My lord," sniggered Albemarle, "you may be packing if you would damp down all honest mirth."

Galway seemed a little shamefaced, he was never quite easy in the presence of Sarsfield; he knew that Honor's marriage was not happy though he would not glance at that subject.

"You look cloudily, Patrick," he said with a foolish smile.

"Would you have me towering on the wind with affairs as they are?" Sarsfield drank his brandy regardless of all of them. "One would think ye all cannon-proof, with your childish ploys and filthy lewd nonsense, when all's to be done."

"May the devil fetch me to hell in a hand-basket," swore Galmoy, "if I would not slit the throat of all the pragmatical dogs in Dublin!"

"Amen," hiccoughed Albemarle.

Galway feared that his brother-in-law would be dangerously incensed at this, but Sarsfield was indifferent; he saw all of them as vague unsubstantial figures, squeaking puppets impotently banging sticks; he smiled beyond them at the kingly shapes trailing moonshot clouds that had (he thought) accompanied him to the tavern. Galway began an incoherent tale of some exploit which had ended in "a rogue being brought to the wooden ruff and the whipping post."

"'Tis unjust," frowned Berwick, "if you speak of the affair of O'Hogan."

Galway said he meant O'Hogan and did not the fellow deserve a whipping?

"He'll be hanged," said Galmoy fiercely. "I've seen to't, as I'll see any double-damned scoundrel hanged who interferes," he added, staring about him.

Luttrell laughed.

"Who shall be hanged and why?" asked Sarsfield. "Where there is so much licence, prithee, what's the fault deserves a rope?"

From their ranting and swaggering, their drunken talk, a few gibes from Luttrell, a few dry comments from Berwick, Sarsfield learnt a clear tale.

O'Hogan, known as Galloping O'Hogan from his horsemanship, was a leader of those rapparees who fought sometimes for King James, occasionally for the Protestants, and often independently. He came from Athlone and was valuable because of his courage, his cunning, his influence with the horde he had gathered about him, and his minute and exact knowledge of the country; he had a wild eloquence and an impressive port; or as Colonel Luttrell put it, "he knew how to bounce and vapour."

He had been in Dublin on some crafty business and had crossed Galmoy whom he had met (in Luttrell's words "in some cabal, or tavern conventicle, or bog house in the suburbs, or club for ranters and roarers.") O'Hogan was born a gentleman and is as "fine as if the devil was his tailor, so ho! boys, and up we go! Here's good company for my Lord Galmoy."

Sarsfield was not listening; when the three men talked at once and Albemarle broke in with a drunken catch, Berwick tapped his foot impatiently and eyed his brother with cold irritation.

"It was about a horse," said Luttrell. The words came clearly to Sarsfield through the turmoil and then he listened; he could never be wholly indifferent when horses were discussed; he gave his attention to the disjointed tale and made out these particulars.

O'Hogan had possessed a horse, named John Luby, of which he made great vaunt and boast; Galmoy had envied the animal and had offered good English guineas, not brass money, for him; O'Hogan had accepted the price, then hidden the horse; Galmoy had found it and taken it to his own stables. On this O'Hogan had sought out my lord where he sat over his dish in an ordinary, had insulted him, calling him thief, horse-stealer and, in conclusion, had struck him over the face.

It had been, of course, impossible for Lord Galmoy to challenge a known rapparee, and O'Hogan had been arrested and (without a trial, civil or military, as far as Sarsfield could understand) condemned to death; in the state of Dublin at present it was not difficult for a man in Galmoy's position to contrive this punishment for an enemy.

"I am sorry for the loss of O'Hogan," smiled Luttrell. "The villain was useful."

Galmoy smiled in brutal satisfaction; Sarsfield thought that he must have looked so when he watched his troopers kicking Captain Dixie's head about the village street.

"So," said Galmoy, "I was punished for my horrid silly forbearance; the horse was, of course, in the first place stolen, and I should have taken it without any to-do."

"Where is O'Hogan?" asked Sarsfield.

"In the castle prison," replied Luttrell; he seemed to speak maliciously, "lying by the brink of his grave."

Albemarle, on a sudden, provoked a quarrel with Galway and, staggering to his feet, struggled to draw his sword; Berwick seized hold of him, but the shouting boy bid him defiance. Sarsfield helped to wrench his hand from his sword hilt, for Galway was dangerously inflamed.

"Does your grace think O'Hogan justly condemned?" he asked Berwick through the scuffle.

"No, I spoke to the king of it, but was rebuked and will not be so again. And no doubt 'tis a ruffian, maybe well out of the way."

"What's that you say, my lord?" cried Galmoy.

"Nothing I'll repeat to thee," replied Berwick, and dragged his brother away with the help of the drawer.

Galmoy cursed lewdly and swore he'd "take no setting down from Belle Churchill's bastard."

"Say that to his face," advised Sarsfield; indifferent to Galmoy's look of black hate he left the tavern, Luttrell followed him and after them came the laughter of the others.

"You are going to see O'Hogan," said Luttrell, as they stood in the narrow, dark street. The wind that had blown away the storm rattled the sign of The Several Keys above their heads.

"You read me well, Harry. I think Galmoy lied."

"It is very sure. But O'Hogan is also a ruffian and to interfere is to provoke Galmoy's hate. He is already incensed against you for taking Captain Maguire into your troop and reflecting on the hanging of Dixie."

"Galmoy lives in settled habits of corruption," replied Sarsfield wearily; "all his actions must be suspect."

"There is no soul in the man; 'tis one whom death will catch with wine in his head, flesh between his teeth, like the lusting Israelites, and, no doubt, a harlot in his arms."

Luttrell followed Sarsfield up the lamp-lit street; a barefoot woman was dancing in the gutter, splashing the liquid filth; sounds of a quarrel came from a cellar flap. "I'm for bed, let the rogue be; he deserves all of a hanging—why cross Galmoy?"

"I'm in no mood for sleep, Harry."

"But thou art very weary." Luttrell's soft voice was gentle with affection.

"'Tis true. But I am past repose to-night."

Sarsfield needed something to blunt and dull his mind; his distresses ached for a palliative, but not for these reasons did he, when Colonel Luttrell left him, turn towards Dublin Castle, but because he could not endure injustice.

It was easier for him to do what he would than it was for many having greater authority; all the Irish were eager to obey him; without difficulty he found himself in the cell of Toby O'Hogan, who was condemned to be whipped and hanged on the morrow.

He was lodged in one of the old, dismal dungeons of the castle which smelt of damp and bad air; Sarsfield obtained a lamp from the gaoler, and, when it was set on the rude table, stood within the heavy doorway looking at the prisoner, who rose from the straw where he had flung himself.

"Colonel Patrick Sarsfield of Lucan," said O'Hogan.

"You know me then?"

"Every one knows you. I had not thought you had meddled with my affair."

O'Hogan was a splendid-looking man, powerful and graceful, near as tall as Sarsfield himself; he did not appear either brutal or stupid; Sarsfield found a faint likeness to Ishma, in the shape of his wide face, in the masses of his purple-black hair, in the hue of his clear, gray-violet eyes; he wore the tatters of gaudy finery that had been torn in a fierce struggle; his shirt and cravat were in rags over his noble chest, bunches of ribbons hung in tatters at his knees; he was manacled and chained by one ankle to the wall.

"I've heard Galmoy's story of his quarrel with you just now for the first time. I should like to hear your account of it, Mr. O'Hogan."


"Because I know Galmoy to be a liar."

"He is that. But I am sentenced to death. Would you be troubling with me, Colonel Sarsfield?"

"Will you answer a few questions, Mr. O'Hogan?"

"I know," said the rapparee without servility, "that you have a noble temper and good breeding. I'll answer your questions straightly."

"First, did you steal the horse John Luby?"

"I did not. I hid him myself on a little demesne I had in Athlone. I reared him and taught him; he would obey a whisper of mine."

"Did Galmoy offer for him?"

"He did."

"And you took the money?"

"I did not. I would take no money for John Luby. I refused."

"Tell me, Mr. O'Hogan, what then occurred?"

"Galmoy stole the horse—broke into the stables when I was away, and his troopers killed a little lad I had who was defending John Luby. And then I went directly and charged him with it, and he set servants on me to throw me out as a ranting brawler; but I first called him a filthy horse-thief and child-slayer and struck him across his ugly jowl. God be praised!"

"This is all true?" asked Sarsfield.

"On my word of honour," said the rapparee gravely. He stood erect with folded arms; by not so much as a glance did he ask for pity, mercy, or help.

"I believe you," said Sarsfield. "There is no honour in my Lord Galmoy."

"There is none. I know somewhat of his dirty acts."

"I'll not hear them. As for your case I'll do what I can, Mr. O'Hogan. But build nothing on't, prithee, for I know not how much influence I may have, having never yet asked for anything. My Lord Berwick spoke for you to the king and in vain."

"You know nothing of me, Colonel Sarsfield," remarked O'Hogan. "I've lived a freebooter since the troubles began."

"That does not touch me. I believe you unjustly condemned. I'll do what I may. You shall at least hear from me within a few hours."

O'Hogan glanced curiously over the tall figure in the scarlet and gold whose magnificence was hardly dimmed by the ugly horror of the cell.

"You look a weary man," he said quietly. "Why should you break your rest for me? You've heard me called hell-rogue, if you've heard of me at all."

"You do not break my rest, Mr. O'Hogan. My own affairs keep me abroad. A good-night, sir."

"Good-night, Colonel Sarsfield. You are the only man in Dublin would have done this."

The rapparee added no more either of thanks or supplication and Sarsfield left the cell. For several hours he could do nothing; it was not near the dawn, it was even possible that the king might not be astir before the hour fixed for O'Hogan's execution, but Sarsfield remembered that he always attended early mass in the chapel of the castle.

That night Colonel Sarsfield did not return home, but slept a little on a chair in the guard-room, and when King James approached the door of the chapel in the morning, he perceived this officer standing in his way, and asked him "if he attended the mass?"

Sarsfield said his business could not wait and directly asked for a reprieve for Toby O'Hogan.

The king was distracted, impatient; Tyrconnel was with him and tried to put Sarsfield aside with his stately bluster—Galmoy had settled the affair, he declared—O'Hogan was a known ruffian.

But the king's mistress, who hung on his arm, looked with eyes of favour at Sarsfield; she was a woman past everything save the favours of the old man she despised and soon, she knew, to be left by him, for his dull likings did not long endure; but she had gay and kindly memories of a joyous youth, and the sight of Sarsfield stirred in her a thousand regrets. She pulled about her a great flounced skirt of green taffeta and showed pretty buckled shoes; in her casual and tawdry comeliness she reminded Sarsfield of the woman he had seen, a few hours ago, dancing in the gutter under the street lamp.

"Give Colonel Sarsfield what he asks," she coaxed the king. "Surely he held Galway and Connaught when none other could, and has asked nothing for it."

"Why do you want the life of this notorious villain?" asked the king uneasily.

"For simple justice," replied Sarsfield.

"It will mean angering Lord Galmoy, sire," remarked Tyrconnel, definitely saying the wrong thing. The king frowned into some majesty.

"And what obligations am I under to my Lord Galmoy?" he demanded dryly. "I believe I am not yet so insignificant that I need go nicely with such as he. Colonel Sarsfield deserves this favour. You shall have your reprieve."

"I thank Your Majesty. And may Mr. O'Hogan have his horse again which Galmoy took by force?"

"Ay, that too; but tell him to leave Dublin for some secret place. I want no roaring and bawling."

The king passed into the chapel, not waiting for Sarsfield's gratitude; but the woman lingered and held out her hand wistfully.

"You've the kind heart, Colonel Sarsfield."

She spoke as one who would soon need kindness herself.

"I owe my success to you, madam," replied Sarsfield, and kissed her hand, at which she shrugged, laughed, sighed, and followed the king and Tyrconnel into the chapel.

Sarsfield entrusted the matter of Toby O'Hogan and the recovery of the horse from Galmoy to Captain Maguire. By midday that energetic officer reported that the rapparee, mounted on John Luby, had left Dublin before Galmoy, who was abroad on his pleasures, knew anything of the matter.

Sarsfield did not expect to hear of Toby O'Hogan again.


THE CAMPAIGN of 1690 opened with the Prince of Orange sending over seven thousand Danes under the Duke of Wurtemburg; soon after several other English and Dutch regiments landed. They had money and weapons, and thus reinforced morally as well as physically Schomberg's camp at Dundalk. As a counterblast, Lauzun landed with seven thousand three hundred men at Kinsale. King Louis, however, declared that he must receive an equal number of Irish to replace them. Accordingly four Irish regiments under Mountcashel, who had contrived to escape from Derry, sailed for France; D'Avaux and De Rosen, both embittered by the most unfriendly feelings towards King James and the Irish, went back in the transport which had brought the new Commander. D'Avaux again tried to persuade Sarsfield to bring his wife and little son with him to France.

"You will do nothing in this country," he said with emphasis, "nothing."

But Sarsfield instantly and without reflection refused. He had been stimulated by the news of the arrival of fresh forces from England; he hoped that he might soon find an opportunity of meeting the enemy in open battle; he even believed that, despite the cautious waiting policy of the French, he might be able to force a definite victory which would raise Ireland in the eyes of the whole of Europe.

The Duke of Lauzun had, however, received instructions absolutely contrary to the hopes of Sarsfield, for Louvois had told him not to be carried away "by the excitement of giving battle or achieving a triumph, but to play a waiting game."

Lauzun remarked ironically when he landed at Kinsale that he "was obliged to wait in any case for though his coming had long been expected, on landing he found not cosmos but chaos."

There was absolutely nothing ready for him, no preparations whatever had been made, there lacked the meanest transports to take his troops to Dublin; there were no magazines, no depots, everywhere was quarrelling, jobbery, avarice, dishonesty and even treachery; Lauzun, the excitable, accomplished courtier, was no man to struggle with such a state of affairs.

Sarsfield himself soon noticed that the fiery Livonian, De Rosen, experienced and skilful, had been the better man for such an impossible post. The treasury at Dublin was also empty. Such means as the Jacobites possessed, instead of being garnered against the opening of the campaign, had been scattered in dissipation, and had fallen into the hands of traders and Jews who refused to part with them. Lauzun, with the best grace possible, waived his pay which he could not have received since such a sum did not exist.

A little heartened by the sight of the French troops, encouraged too by the presence of Lauzun, who, although in much a vain braggadocio, was high in the favour of His Britannic Majesty, James set out for his headquarters on the south banks of the Boyne, thus affronting as closely as possible the camp of the invaders.

News from the north reported that, highly encouraged by their reinforcements, the Protestants were eager for battle and confident of victory over "a tattered, cowardly Irish army."

Before Sarsfield left with the troops for the opening of the campaign, he came again on what he would most willingly have avoided—a clash of wills with his wife.

The Lady Honor had come to know obliquely (through Henry Luttrell, Sarsfield suspected) that her husband had refused the chance to go with the Irish troops to France. She summoned him imperiously to her presence. They did not meet casually then but were so far separate that it needed some sudden special occasion for him to come into her apartments.

She greeted him with vivid reproaches.

"Why did you not take this chance?" she cried. "Do you think I wish to stay in this country which daily becomes more impossible? Perhaps you have no idea of what I have suffered during this hideous winter in Dublin?"

Sarsfield leant against the marble mantelpiece of her sumptuous apartment. He was so weary and heartsick that only his exquisite breeding enabled him to maintain a courteous demeanour.

He found his wife in everything unreasonable, her extravagance had been without bounds and often the matter of his stern rebuke. Her company was such that he could not approve, and though through all she maintained that hard, unblemished honour, still she had done nothing to help him in the terrible coil in which they found themselves.

Often he had thought, with a rising bitterness, that a little kindness, a little generosity from Honor would have made his way easier. Now she reproached him with all the unreasonableness of a disappointed nervous woman. She would have liked to return to France. The English exiles were treated with every consideration at St. Germains; with her rank and his fortune she might have hoped for a pleasant life...

"Your mother and your sisters stay there," she reminded him. "Why should I be exposed to all the horrid chances of war? The usurper is landing with an enormous army; he may even take Dublin. What is to become of me if we are all fugitive?"

"Believe me, you are in no danger," replied Sarsfield wearily. "The Prince of Orange's object is not to outrage but to conciliate; even should he prove victorious you are safe from every possible outrage. If Dublin is distasteful to you, you may go to my estates at Lucan."

Honor pinched her painted lips and cast up her neat head and was about, he was sure, to remind him of "the miss" he kept at Lucan; but he turned on her such a look of stately rebuke that she was silent. She had generally saved herself from the last meanness of ignoble reproaches. Now she seemed overwrought to the point of tears. "All the men would be leaving Dublin, she would be left alone with the women, with the raddle, careless, casual crowd gathered round Lady Tyrconnel and Madame de Bonnac, who disliked her and lost no opportunity of expressing that dislike..."

"Your position would have been far better in France," she reminded her husband; "you would have been certain at least of your pay and your position; but here all is chaos. What manner of man is Lauzun to serve under? Tyrconnel seems beside himself." And she added, repeating the name proudly and defiantly: "There is only the Duke of Berwick who can be relied upon."

"There are many men who can be relied upon," said Sarsfield quietly, "but they lack one to lead them. But it is useless, my dear, for me to discuss this matter, I have definitely refused to go to France. I am not in the service of King Louis but in that of King James, and if I do not fight for Ireland I am no more than a mercenary soldier."

"Many a noble gentleman is that," she retorted, "and makes a fair fortune out of it."

"I have resolved to remain in Ireland and you, as I say and can swear to you, are safe enough, either in Dublin or Lucan, and no more exposed to the chances of war than the queen herself." And he added: "Since you have chosen we should be strangers, Honor, my absence will grieve you little."

He raised his hand and let it fall on the cold white marble mantelpiece; the grief on his face was such that even Honor was almost moved to pity, but she hardened her heart, it was not difficult for her proud resolute nature to do so.

She was indeed truly disappointed and shocked that he had refused the chance to return to Paris; she saw herself mated for ever to a man who would always pursue an impossible and vexatious ideal and never consider gain, security or comfort.

Sarsfield could guess at the suffering she expressed in trivial laments and was gentle with her, the more so as she made a gallant shift to check her upbraiding and to give him a dignified farewell.

"I am very weak and infirm," she said suddenly. "I vacillate greatly in my resolves. You have never seen the best of me."

"But I do know it, Honor. Remember that I shall not be far away, that an express may easily reach me and that, bar some great downfall that I will never suspect, you are safe and cosy in Dublin. Recall, too, how possible it is that this campaign may end all, and we live at peace in Ireland."

Honor smiled with a touch of tenderness.

"Live in peace, Patrick? You and I at Lucan?"

"There would be no obstacle," he smiled.

"None—but your heart and mine. And there, I think, we should find penance enough. Well, I must stay here, waiting for news of battles."

"Pray that I be slain, poor soul," thought Sarsfield; he marvelled how he had ever resisted that impulse to ride into the sea beyond Clontarf; how easy a widowhood would Honor have had...and so he was gone from her, and he knew that he would have nothing but formal farewells before he rode away.

Some of his last leisure was broken in upon by Olivia de Bonnac; he did not wish to see her nor yet care enough to evade her invitation, so went openly to her fashionable little house where she had kept such jovial company all the winter.

The moon was at the full, the spring night sweet even in the centre of the city. Madame de Bonnac's windows were open, and above the black roofs opposite was a wide space of sky, vivid and dark as violets under water.

Olivia received Sarsfield with a certain radiant impatience that warned him she had, in her own mind, brought affairs between them to a crisis.

He found Colonel Henry Luttrell in her company and knew definitely (what he had sensed long before), that these two were in secret, if not open, league.

Luttrell lounged at his ease in a chaise-longue. Madame de Bonnac was alert, vigilant, seated by her alabaster table. She was gorgeously set off by French brocades, her fine pearls in her ears and round her throat. Sarsfield knew that this woman was his opponent; he recalled what he had learnt from D'Avaux who had hinted she was a spy or agent, no doubt not of one party, but of whoever paid her the highest fee. Her obvious beauty was without any blemish that its merits could not conceal; amid all the privations and miseries; the ruinous pleasures and hectic dissipations of this winter in Dublin she had survived, blooming like a hardy exotic which appears so frail, yet is very firm and robust...a tuberose, an orange or citron bloom. Her carnation was dazzling, her hair, elaborately dressed and perfumed, gleamed in smooth loops, she needed no paint, her eyes sparkled with a flashing lustre; yet there was something hard, even metallic, about this radiant and brilliant beauty so carefully cherished, so laboriously set off. She moved him not at all; she was not even the echo of an old dream.

"Eh, well, madam," he asked, with some impatience, "I am full of business after too long an idleness, and what can you and Colonel Luttrell have to say to me?"

"I think you can guess," she said directly, like a challenge. "You have evaded me too long."

"And is Colonel Luttrell to be a witness of this interview?" asked Sarsfield, smiling towards that gentleman.

Colonel Luttrell was full of vital energy under his insolent air as Sarsfield well knew, but he remained outwardly passive, squinting pleasantly before him, and playing with the gold acorns on his sword hilt.

"Colonel Luttrell and I," cried Olivia de Bonnac, putting an exquisite hand on an exquisite bosom and speaking with fine breeding and fine contempt, "have often discussed you and your prospects, Colonel Sarsfield. I believe offers were made to you by D'Avaux to take your troop to France?"

"Why, so they were," smiled Sarsfield, "though it seems to me this is no business of the present company, and I refused."

"You did well to refuse," said Luttrell casually, "no one but a fool would have accepted."

Sarsfield's smile deepened as he thought how contrary this was to the advice and reproaches of his wife.

"Some think one thing and some another," he replied negligently; "but it is my wish to remain and fight in Ireland."

"Still to fight for King James?" demanded Madame de Bonnac.

He replied directly to her challenge.

"Still to fight for King James, madam."

She lifted her shoulders, sparkles of fury lit her magnificent eyes.

"Are you stupid, doltish, or infatuate?"

"I am patient," he replied, "or I should not be here to listen to your abuse, which you have on no account whatever the right to use."

"I have always been interested in you." She looked at Luttrell, much as to say: "Here is what we have to deal with!"

"Why?" demanded Sarsfield, moving forward so that he stood between the two of them. "Why are you and Harry Luttrell interested in me?"

"My dear Sarsfield," said Luttrell, rising, "you know perfectly well why, it is long since I told you. I am interested in you because I know—yes, I know—that you are the one man who can create anything out of the present chaos. If you were to make a party of your own...Think how easily you contrived the O'Hogan affair—no other man could have done that—your popularity—"

"I have listened to all that before," interrupted Sarsfield. "I count it as of little worth."

"I wish you to listen to it again," cried Madame de Bonnac. "I know the world and so does Colonel Luttrell, and surely in you"—here her voice took on a note of appeal—"we do not still deal with an incompetent dreamer."

"A dreamer, certainly," smiled Sarsfield, "I cannot conceive how a man can exist on any other terms than that of having dreams. But I have not troubled you for many a year with any dreams of mine. As for you, Colonel Luttrell, have I not suggested to you again and again that you take the place you offer to me?"

"If I were to endeavour to raise what you would call a 'rebellion,'" said Luttrell calmly, "I should find myself with a halter round my neck. No one would follow me, no one would listen to me, nor respect me. With you it is different. You are, though you do not seem to know it, the one power in Ireland."

At these words Sarsfield's blood stirred in spite of himself; he could not be altogether impervious to Luttrell's insinuating address, the quiet force in his cool phrases; he knew there was truth in it; he knew his own popularity, not only with his own men but with the entire army, he knew how easy it would be for him to rouse the native Irish not only against the invader but against the French and the English king whom they had learned to despise, and who despised them. But he replied:

"It is fantastic."

"Do you tell me to my face," said Madame de Bonnac, "that it is fantastic? Why, Colonel Luttrell will work for you and I will work for you, and," added the proud woman significantly, "neither he nor I is an ally to be despised. We are equal to all their lies, shams and outcries."

"I suppose you would make your terms," smiled Sarsfield. He knew what her terms would be; she would have to be his mistress more or less openly; a flaunting demi-queen of revolt; while Harry Luttrell would hold him in the hollow of his hand, make of him a puppet, write his speeches for him, no doubt, dictate his actions, whisper dropped counsel in his ear, point out this and that to do...Sarsfield turned away...Not on these conditions nor by these two was Ireland to be saved.

"Go your own way and fail," said Madame de Bonnac, furious at his gesture of refusal.

"And remember," added Henry Luttrell lazily, "that you have made an enemy at least of me, for I am tired of your impertinent vanity."

"You are tired," said Sarsfield, "of trying to flatter me without success. I bear you no ill-will, Luttrell, you have been a charming companion. To Madame de Bonnac I owe much." He looked at her with ease. "But to the proposal that you have made to me I say again—No."

There could be no mistaking the finality of his words.

"That was all I wished to learn," said Luttrell, "whether you still, at this last chance, refused us."

"You say us—are you and this lady in a cabal? Let me warn you, Harry, for old friendship, you go too far, all know of your intrigues—"

"And none can stop 'em."

"Will you hear what we have done?" asked Olivia. "What is offered you?"

"No, 'tis but to inflame ourselves for nothing—a starting of devices and an evading of them—"

Colonel Luttrell sprang to his feet; his passion made the defect in his eyes appear an ugly deformity.

"You will make too many enemies, Sarsfield. Galmoy is hot after you, he believes you meddled in the O'Hogan scandal, though all your Irish are mum for your sake."

"You bungle this with clamour," replied Sarsfield. "Once and for all, I am not your man."

He was at the door when Olivia called him, and he stayed in mere courtesy.

"What works against us in your mind?" she demanded.

He was silent because it was impossible to satisfy her on this point, and she continued while Luttrell watched him keenly.

"Is it not that rustic piece you have hidden in Lucan, with her pious, mystical airs who has made you sick of a canker of visionary virtues?"

This was at once so near the truth and so utterly false that Sarsfield smiled; true inasmuch as contact with Ishma had made him incapable of perjury, disloyalty, or love for Olivia; false inasmuch as Ishma was entirely ignorant of any shade of intrigue.

Luttrell said:

"I thought by now that you had been clear of that besotted folly. God! that a man of your parts should be so blinded by the superstition of the vulgar; I'll warrant this white witch has addled your wits."

This was a violent speech for Luttrell and Sarsfield responded violently; he felt himself in the presence of active enemies, and this was the more odious to him in that he had once given the woman his candid love, the man his candid friendship.

"You'll not ruffle me, Luttrell, with these notorious, lying scandals, furbished up to vex me—'tis pitiful—"

"And may be dangerous!" cried Olivia.

"Why, what have I to fear from thee?" asked Sarsfield with an angry smile. "Or from that poor intriguer Luttrell with his perverse and unlawful schemes? I am weary of your glosses and colours with which you seek to palliate your silly fiddle-faddle of plots and intrigues!"

They would have spoken again but he left them; he indeed thought he was invulnerable before either Luttrell or Madame de Bonnac, and put them resolutely out of his mind.


COLONEL SARSFIELD soon discovered, to his great chagrin, that Lauzun had been inspired by Tyrconnel with dislike of himself. He found the king, too, dull at his interviews with him, inattentive to his suggestions; Melfort also was hostile, indeed it seemed as if he had not a single friend among all the Jacobites, except the native Irish officers who were mostly in insignificant commands.

Sarsfield endeavoured to hearten the king into making a stand, but he saw that James was intimidated by the reports he had heard of the magnitude of the forces brought against him, by the failure of the revolt in Scotland, and by the solid form which the English Government had then taken; it seemed hopeless to suppose that anything would move the Prince of Orange from the throne he had usurped.

"I wish," he said to Sarsfield, "I could trust your countrymen better."

"If you would trust them a little more, they, sire, would serve you with a greater zeal."

But James only gave his rare melancholy smile and shrugged his bent shoulders; he seemed without hope.

Resolutely Sarsfield made all his preparations for the campaign; with a shrinking of his heart he thought of Ishma and Lucan. All the winter he had not seen her, and when he had visited his demesne he had avoided the little cottage by the holy well and the may trees.

Only from his bailiff or the rough, square-headed priest had he learnt that the girl was well, and occupied herself in humble but sometimes gay tasks.

In the spring she had gone abroad in the park with ease and lightness, watching the Irish hound course through the long grass, the swans sailing with proudly-arched wings on the azure surface of the lake, or had sat with her needlework beneath the budding may. "She herself as white and as pure," said the old priest tenderly...

"But now I go into the most horrible confusion," thought Sarsfield, "I can be no more sure of my life than if I were a man a hundred years old. And I have given much to discipline and duty, surely it will be no sin to seek her out."

He vowed it should be for the last time, that even if he came alive out of the forthcoming fierce campaign nevermore would he see Ishma O'Donaghoe alone. He had listened to the old priest's advice, which was that the girl should be moved to one of the convents newly established in Ireland since the coming of King James, and there take up her residence to discover whether or no she had a vocation. Or, if Sarsfield wished for her even greater safety, she might be sent to some establishment in France. Sarsfield's whole spirit winced at the thought of separating the girl from Ireland. But he agreed she was too young to spend her whole life in passive inactivity in the little cottage on his demesne.

Besides, whichever way the war went, the time would come when he must live at Lucan and take his wife there. Evil scandal had already poisoned all chance of the two women being companions. He could not endure the thought that Honor might have the opportunity to lift her skirt away from Ishma or glance at her with haughty coldness, or that Madame de Bonnac, visiting his wife, might give one of her gross laughs and fling out one of her coarse remarks.

And, if Ishma had no vocation, she must find a woman's life—husband, children, work in the world. And he must endure to live through the news of her troth-plight...Yet that seemed an impossible prospect. He thought of Ishma as perpetually virginal, a faery who would vanish from the close embrace of any mortal. He said sternly to himself: "I have never been a profligate, I have kept myself above those voluptuous vices by which men ruin body and soul. Why should I be ashamed of this honourable love even in my secret heart? I have nothing to lament but mistakes."

So he rode to Lucan along the banks of the Liffey on a fair day.

He found Ishma sitting by the holy well in the shade of the may trees which were in the full perfection of their blossom, and flung out a rich odour like almonds on the pearl-coloured air.

She was no tormented saint, betrayed or outraged, or full of conscious virtue, but a young woman, very candid and lovely and gay, it seemed to Sarsfield, despite their long absence from one another; yet he did not marvel at this gaiety for he felt their love was above all human vicissitudes and composed of pure joy.

He sat beside her on the stone well edge, his scarlet coat and gold bravery making brilliant colour in that pale moving shadow.

"Ishma," said he, turning on her his tired yet brilliant eyes, "bid me good-bye and pray for me if you will. At last after many crosses and frustrations I go to fight in a pitched battle for Ireland."

"Are there not enough battlefields in Ireland?" she said gravely. She clasped her hands in her lap; the sunlight falling through the hawthorn boughs flecked over her fingers.

"Ishma, we must fight again, and I believe we have good chances, though there seems some providence which interferes with all our endeavours. Oh, my dear, it has gone beyond words. I go and you remain. And all is a horror of war, save only here, where I must not stay."

"You will think of me sometimes? In the battle and when the night is silent?"

"How can I forget you when you are Ireland to me? Out of all the discords which have of late surrounded me you are the one natural and simple pleasure."

A few small petals from the may tree fell on to her passive hands. She smiled at him without either reproach or anguish. She was as utterly without pride as without fear, and he wondered, with compassion and admiration, at her serene calm; for she was at the mercy of the world, and had none but himself to stand between her and utter disaster.

He began to reassure her, telling her how she was living well behind the Jacobite lines, that Prince William was a merciful man with disciplined troops, that she need have no fear of outrage; and yet he felt that it was needless thus to speak to her, for she had no dread or apprehension.

"But what does it matter?" She smiled. "One could die so easily. The battlefield does not provide the only means of escape."

"Well, eh, well, perhaps it is enough to colour all the years—the may flowers, the blue sky, and you and I sitting here, at peace at least for half an hour—without dissembling, or reproaches, or need of speech."

The small, dark leaves of the trees and the clusters of little cup-shaped blossom were between him and the prospect of the park, between him and reality; under the low sweep of the boughs he could see the huge base of the heavy cross and Brian, the dog, lying against the gray stone. All this was very beautiful to Sarsfield.

Ishma placed her hand on his and looked at him with grave eyes.

With her other hand she took a cross of gold covered with delicate symbols in the finest wire, and with a simple gesture, held it to his lips.

It was at that period of the spring day when all motion seemed to be at pause, the very hours to stand still; a few sheep grazed on the peaceful slope beyond where they sat; azure and green the pastures faded into the mist of perfect peace.

Sarsfield kissed the little gold cross she held to his lips and she without a word returned it to her bosom.

He thought: "Though we have had no pleasure, no joy, no sport, nor worldly lust in this our love, perhaps we have had a deeper tenderness and a higher nobility than if mischance had not come so sorely our way; perhaps my great folly has been rewarded instead of being chastised."

He felt his love light and pure as the dew in May falling on an open flower.

They sat hand in hand and neither spoke. The priest passed and entered the little chapel.

They heard the bell and rose, and passed in together to pray with the shepherd, and Sarsfield's tenants and servants.

He bent his head, overwhelmed by sweetness and sadness.

A soft dreaminess fell over him, his spirit was nearly spent; but when they parted at the church door a certain strength upheld him; the task before him appeared neither gigantic nor impossible. Ishma, standing by the door, smiled at him as if she humbly entreated to be allowed to share his thoughts.

"Surely we think too much of ourselves," she said. "Living quiet here I have heard the cry of all Ireland in my ears. The priest and your servants have told me of the great army that invades us. Last night I thought I stood on the mountains and saw the naked bodies of the Irish dead, white as sheep on the slopes. Then again I saw the ranks of the heroes, the Fianna, rising from the lake and galloping fast—and thou wert there, my love."

Sarsfield thought of the night when he had ridden over the battlefield of Clontarf.

"Is it very terrible, the war?" asked Ishma. "Much slaying, misery and fire?"

He could not answer that, nor bring into her enclosed peace any taint of what the war meant.

"And the children," said Ishma, "sometimes I hear little children crying, very frightened. And that is very hard for a woman."

Still Sarsfield did not speak; he had never told her that he had a son; she did not heed his silence, and he saw that she had a musing smile as if pleased at happy, secret thoughts.

"Yet life is lovely," she added, "and very lovely the thought of death."

A faint smoke rose from the cottage; through the open door the dwarfish figure of Brighita Begg could be seen moving busily to and fro; the ancient cross, so gaunt and rugged, was softened by the early sunlight into a tender amber hue, as if brushed (he might think), by gold dust from angelic wings.

"I have such agreeable pleasures every day," mused Ishma. "It is not just, when so many others suffer."

"Dost thou not suffer, dear heart, in that we must part?"

"But we are never parted." She spoke gaily. "Such joys are mine! 'Thy face turned from all others...'"

The dog came forward to meet them, the plaited gold of his collar shone through his long fur.

"Guard her well, Brian," said Sarsfield as the animal looked up at him; then, to the priest who was closing the door of the church: "Guard her well."

They had but a few moments more; but a few moments of lingering by the door; Ishma then seemed to him queenly, as she had appeared on the battlefield of Clontarf.

"A blessing of God, Christ and His angels go with thee," she said, smiling on the humble threshold as if she stood by a throne.

"My dear."

A light breeze shook the hawthorn blossoms on to the stones of the old well.

"Though our meetings," said Ishma, "have been brief as the shadow of a flying bird which falls through a little window, yet love ever bridges the deepest abyss."

Still smiling she put up her little hand and touched his face very lightly, then went into the dwelling.

Sarsfield leant for a second against the lintel of the door, and time seemed to rush by him, so that he knew not in what place his life was set. Then he sat his horse and rode away out of his noble demesne of Lucan; the misty spring sunshine shone in glances of gold on his breastplate; the beech trees were budding, the grass was thick with opening flowers; on the lake the swans idled with arched snowy wings.


OVER AT LAST was the long idle waiting, the skirmishes, the purposeless marching and counter-marching, the meaningless outrages and cruelties, the deadly dalliance with decisive events, which had devastated the country since the landing of King James at Kinsale.

A decisive struggle between implacable foes had begun in bad earnest, a struggle that was not to be checked or ended other than violently.

William of Orange, a man never to be turned from his purpose nor daunted, had landed in Ireland.

When Sarsfield reached his headquarters he heard that the usurper was at Carrickfergus; he had escaped the French fleet, either because they wished this formidable enemy shut up in Ireland or through negligence. This prince had with him a fine army of well-disciplined, well-trained mercenaries. The mistake made the previous year with the army of Schomberg was not repeated. The commissariat, with transport and provisions, was provided by responsible contractors. Sarsfield smiled to learn that the Prince of Orange, with that statesman-like tact which distinguished all his actions, had brought with him but few English regiments; if he gained the victory he hoped, he did not wish to leave among the Irish the bitter feeling that they had been beaten by their ancient enemies, the English. All his actions were marked by moderation and wisdom, or, as his enemies declared, by cunning and artifice. He forbade plunder, nor would he permit his men to press carts and horses from the farmers; he gave generous and tactful rewards to the loyal and zealous.

It was reported in the Irish camp that he had ordered the entire army to take the field, that when Schomberg still counselled delay he had replied "that he had not come to Ireland to let the grass grow under his feet, but to prosecute the war with the utmost rigour." Thirty-six thousand men were at his camp at Loughbrickland.

The Duke of Lauzun was as resolute to avoid a battle as William of Orange was to force one.

Sarsfield hoped that the enemy would triumph in their designs, he despised Lauzun, and more and more detested the policy of his master.

Some good news cheered the Jacobite headquarters; Tourville had beaten Herbert in a decisive battle off Beachy Head, had landed, and burnt the small fishing village of Teignmouth. None of James's counsellors was statesman-like enough to perceive that this action would do the French little good, and unite the English only the more firmly under the banner of the Prince of Orange.

Sarsfield warned Lauzun, who was openly exulting in the Teignmouth affair, "that a little moderation had been better for the cause."

The Prince of Orange marched through Loughbrickland and Newry, then halted at Dundalk, Schomberg's winter camp.

Lauzun, who had no great experience and was blinded by conceit and the favour of King James, was, however, soldier enough to perceive that he could hardly avoid, much as he desired to do so, a battle with the enemy advancing so steadily upon him.

He had already been forced to retire from Dundalk, and take up an inferior encampment on the south bank of the Boyne.

Sarsfield pointed out that they "had given up a stronghold without fighting for it, merely to retire to a weak enough position," but Lauzun was indifferent to these reproaches; he made no disguise of the fact that he did not wish to fight; he was then only eight miles from the enemy; nothing was between them but the River Boyne, which was in several places fordable.

On the 29th of June the two armies affronted each other—the Williamites had advanced to the north bank, and the Jacobites stood at bay on the south bank of the old gray river.

Lauzun, whatever his mistake in abandoning Dundalk, had made the best of his position with skilful care.

He was protected in front by the river and marshy land, behind the adjacent morass were rising fields steep enough, so that the enemy could not see how many men were concealed by the undulations of the ground; he had thrown up breastworks along the winding sedgy banks of the river.

A stone house at Oldbridge, quickly fortified, formed his headquarters; the village beyond was also protected by trenches and held by Tyrconnel's dragoons.

The Irish army had, Lauzun thought, what seemed an impregnable front and a safe retreat through Duleek on the high road to Dublin.

It was believed that the Williamites intended to attack at whatever disadvantage and at any cost; they had been observed reconnoitring in small parties along the sloping fields and glens of the north bank.

King James—vacillating, reluctant, alarmed as usual—held his council of war; the prospect of a battle put no heart into him, though it was pointed out, even by Tyrconnel, by no means a confident man, that the deficiency in the Jacobite numbers was more than balanced by their good position. Moreover, they were defending, not attacking—another considerable advantage...besides the road to Dublin lay open to them through Duleek.

"Will your Irish fight?" asked James, looking at Sarsfield and Berwick; "much depends on that."

These two officers commanded between them the best of the native cavalry; Berwick had the second troop of Guards, Sarsfield was now major-general in command of the third troop of horse.

"I can answer for my men as for myself," said Berwick, "but the infantry are very unreliable."

James smoothed his long chin and looked at Sarsfield.

"No need for you to speak," he said, "I know your faith, General Sarsfield; but can you put your courage into other men? Eh, well, well!"

Lauzun, compliant and civil as he was to the king, bore himself insolently to the Irish officers. He looked now at Sarsfield with contempt.

"The only troops Your Majesty may really be sure of," he declared, "are those I brought with me from France, and they are but seven thousand odd, while the Prince of Orange reviewed thirty-six thousand at Dundalk." He stared about him with his high-flown air of bravado, and added: "I can only repeat the advice I gave Your Majesty when I heard that the usurper had landed—a battle always seemed to me impossible—retreat, and delay, was our only course. I would have burnt Dublin and, falling back from point to point, have devastated the land completely."

"And you came as Ireland's friend," said Sarsfield, with bitter sternness.

The king sat silent; he put his elbows on the table, his hand over his eyes; he had aged greatly since he had come to Ireland; his lips were continually unsteady and unnatural bistre stains in the deep wrinkles of his face showed up the waxy sallowness of his complexion.

Lauzun leant back in his seat with an air of cocksure triumph.

"I would still urge that advice," he declared. "What is to prevent us stealing away in the night, destroying Dublin, and laying waste the country?"

"You would get no Irishman to obey such orders," said Sarsfield.

Lauzun smiled complacently.

"I have enough French for such work."

The king uncovered his eyes.

"The plan seems to me too cruel," he said. "I have shed enough blood. Let us give a blow for it to-morrow."

He pulled forward the map that Colonel Richard Hamilton and General Sarsfield had carefully prepared; Tyrconnel snuffed the candles.

No one believed that the Prince of Orange would risk a direct attack; Hamilton eagerly pointed out that the enemy had failed, by some curious oversight, to secure the road from Slane Bridge to Duleek.

"It is the key to the whole position," said Sarsfield keenly.

But Lauzun sneered; he vowed that Slane Bridge had no importance, and brushed aside Sarsfield's argument that the enemy, by using Slane Bridge and the Duleek road, might take them in the rear and cut off their retreat to Dublin. James followed Lauzun's opinion; the Prince of Orange had found a ford near the narrow glen opposite; the struggle would be there; but he admitted the importance of the ford at Rosnaree and agreed with the Frenchman that it was worth while to send a detachment of dragoons there, though Hamilton protested, "there were no men to spare for a post of dubious importance."

"We have no artillery," remarked the king sombrely, and he added that he would take his stand by the church of Donore; there was a hill there, and with a glass he would be able to see the action very well.

There was little more for any one to say; Lauzun asked no advice, but stated his orders; Sir Neill O'Neill was to hold Rosnaree ford; Berwick was to be stationed at Oldbridge—it could not be so easy, the Frenchman boasted, for the Williamites to cross the river and even if they succeeded in doing this, the rising ground gave many chances of resisting their onslaughts.

Sarsfield asked dryly "where he was to be stationed?"

Lauzun hesitated, shrugged and vapoured; the king seemed sunk in a musing indifference; Sarsfield was conscious that all the other officers regarded him with jealous hostility.

The July night was hot; a fly buzzed in a soiled glass; an old clock in a corner ticked loudly.

Lauzun at length announced that Sarsfield's cavalry was to hold the road that ran from the Dublin highway to the river between Oldbridge and Rosnaree; this seemed likely to be well out of the main action, but on Sarsfield's protest and demand to be sent to Slane Bridge, Lauzun conceded that he might be sent for to reinforce Berwick who, with Tyrconnel and Hamilton, would be with the bulk of the foot, and the right wing of horse and dragoons at Oldbridge...or to support the king's escort at Donore.

Sarsfield listened no more; he saw enmity in all the faces bent over the map on which were a few drops of grease from a guttering candle; even Berwick would not look at him; but, as the short council broke up, he saw Luttrell's crooked glance directed towards him with malice.

Through the newly-made loopholes in the walls of the house the summer air blew warm with the scent of the July pastures.

Sarsfield watched the king, with a small escort, mount and ride towards Donore Church; his dark progress had an air of flight; it was so still that a little wind could be heard, creeping through and rustling the reeds on the edges of the marshy river banks.


MAJOR-GENERAL PATRICK SARSFIELD of Lucan sat his horse at the head of the third regiment of horse which was largely the result of his own expense and effort; eager as himself, the men were taut in their saddles behind him. He knew, that with the exception of Berwick's brigade of Guards, his was the best cavalry in the Jacobite army, though Luttrell, Galmoy, Abercorn and others had fine regiments.

He had been intensely chagrined at being given a post to guard a road which was not likely to be attacked; but he expected at any moment a summons from Lauzun to join in the main action.

He believed it impossible, much as Lauzun disliked him and many enemies as he had—in Tyrconnel, in Melfort, in Luttrell, possibly in Berwick—that his fine body of horsemen would be left out of the Jacobite defence.

The sky was of an unblemished azure, overlustred with the lovely gold of the July sun; the gray-green Boyne took on tints of blue in the shallows; on the lush grasses, where only yesterday the herds had grazed, still glittered the drops of dew.

Sarsfield, a professional soldier since his early youth, felt no excitement; he found it difficult to credit that this was the day, reached after so much effort, intrigue and misery, which was at last to decide, perhaps for many generations, the fate of Ireland; he applauded the implacable resolution of William of Orange which had forced a battle; he would have wished to have served under such an energetic leader; he thought with disgust of the ill-managed Jacobite retreat to Drogheda, pass after pass abandoned, the Williamite army behind, the Williamite fleet hugging the coast. How many difficulties the usurper had had to put underfoot before he had been able to come to Ireland, delayed by conspiracy, forced to send Dartmouth—accused of a scheme to destroy English navies and arsenals—to the Tower, on every side harassed, hampered, menaced; yet he was here, making a throw for it on the banks of Boyne water.

"So," thought Sarsfield, "I would have done in his place."

And he longed to meet, face to face, with his troop of horse, William of Orange at the head of his Blue Guards.

The heavy cannonade of the English shattered the pastoral peace of the dawn, the Jacobites had no artillery with which to reply; but Oldbridge had been tolerably well entrenched and fortified.

Sarsfield sent his adjutant, Major d'Archange, to discover how the action went; he himself could see very little, owing to the rising ground. D'Archange reported that the English right wing under Douglas and the younger Schomberg, comprising nearly all the English horse, had been on the road to Slane Bridge at six o'clock; Schomberg, discovering unexpectedly the ford at Rosnaree, had defeated O'Neill and his dragoons, and crossed there, driving the Jacobites towards Duleek.

"And Slane Bridge could have been secured last night!" muttered Sarsfield.

The Duke of Lauzun did his best to retrieve his error in not guarding this ford; he immediately observed that he had been outmanceuvred and threw his Frenchmen towards Rosnaree; but the Prince of Orange had also observed the importance of this little ford, and Douglas with two brigades of English infantry swept to the assistance of Schomberg.

The enemies were perforce inactive, for between them there lay a great boggy marsh where a horse could not move and in which even the infantry sunk above their boots; but the English had crossed the river, they watched the French across this morass.

Tyrconnel, Berwick and Hamilton remained at Oldbridge in charge of nine regiments of foot and the right wing of horse and dragoons. The Prince of Orange, learning that his right flank had crossed the river, gave the signal for the Duke of Schomberg to attack this main body of the Jacobites.

It had always been his secret intention, disclosed to none for fear of treachery on the part of the English officers, to execute a flank movement; he now began to put his design into practice.

Sarsfield, listening keenly, noted that the great cannon ceased firing, and were followed by the rattle and pipe of drums and fifes.

"'Tis an advance of the Guards," he said to Captain Maguire; the two officers rode to the top of the incline on which the summer grass was glowing and intently Sarsfield stared through his perspective glass towards the river at Oldbridge, about two miles away; the drums and fifes throbbed through the deep stillness of the sunny day, the honeyed quiet of repose and summer idleness.

Sarsfield noted a yellow butterfly which flew from the flowering grasses and lit with incredible fragile lightness on his horse's ears, then fluttered away to descend again upon Maguire's gauntlet. Turning in his saddle and using his glasses Sarsfield could see the Dutch Blue Guards, one of the finest regiments in Europe, stepping out, a steady block of azure under the July sun, towards the Oldbridge ford. They were supported by a gray mass which he knew to be that of the two Inniskillen regiments, another brigade and the Danes; then they were crossing the river, it was no longer possible to see the water, only the mass of blue and red, the sweeping green of the leafy twigs each man carried in his hat; the men were carrying their carbines in their teeth so as to keep them above the water line; a heavy volley of musketry from the Irish crackled out, but the blue mass advanced against the breastworks. As the Dutch, Danes and Inniskillens struggled out of the water, the marshy banks and the sedges, they were charged by Berwick's Horse; Sarsfield could see the young man's white plumes floating in the blue air, and the fiery glint of his unsheathed sword.

The Dutch scrambled clear of the muddy reaches of the Boyne and met the cavalry with a sharp fire; the Derry men went swiftly to their support, blue and gray mingled, pressed forward slowly, advanced more quickly, held back the charge. In the bright confusion Berwick was down; then old Schomberg sank from sight at the crossing, but it was clear through the acrid confusion of the dense smoke which there was no wind to disperse, the hideous noises, the ugly mêlée of the battle, that the Williamites continued to advance to, and beyond the Irish fortifications. Richard Hamilton made gallant endeavours to check the steady forward plunge of the Danes; but the Antrim men under him fled at the first belch of fire; the fight at Oldbridge and the vicinity was hand to hand; Parker charged the Huguenots; Berwick had rallied his cavalry; unmistakably the Jacobites were falling back towards Donore where the king watched the battle. Sarsfield saw that the enemy were now beginning a second flank movement; another large body of men were fighting through the river between Oldbridge and Drogheda.

Major d'Archange, galloping up to Sarsfield, told him that the Prince in person was leading this detachment; in the gray mass behind him were the Ulstermen; the Jacobite cavalry fell back in stern retreat to Plantin House near the Drogheda road; they paused, turned about and made a stand; Sarsfield saw the colours go up, he believed he could distinguish Berwick, Hamilton and Parker; the glass shook in his hand.

"The Irish," said the aide, who had lost his hat, and with a mechanical movement put back the flowing hair from his face, "are certainly bested—I believe Lauzun has given up all for lost and is making for the Dublin road."

"My God!" muttered Sarsfield, not in blasphemy. "My God! are there no orders for us? Has Lauzun forgotten that I exist? Does he think so lowly of us that he believes my men would be of no use to him?"

Major d'Archange replied that from what he could learn there were "no generals and no orders" any longer; it was each for himself; some of the Irish were running like scared sheep; almost all the Williamites were across the river; the Prince of Orange had laid his plans with great skill and put them into execution with great audacity.

"The Horse make a stand at Plantin House?" asked Sarsfield.

"Yes, to allow the remnants of the infantry to escape to Duleek, they show great devotion."

"And the Prince of Orange attacks in person?"

"So, sir, 'tis reported."

Sarsfield drew his lace handkerchief from his gallooned pocket-hole and wiped the sweat from his face, it was not his intention to show the least agitation but he had a nervous horror of this inaction which became almost unendurable. He had attired himself for the battle with precision, no officer in either army flourished more bravely in scarlet and bullion, fine lace and spotless plumes. His fine Irish horse was well groomed and furnished with a splendid set of harness. Sarsfield nervously turned his eyes towards the men sitting rigidly behind him beneath the slope; he could see that they too, were strained to the utmost; they were so far from the battle; there was something hideous and sinister in the peace of the fenced fields, the swaying of the grass in the breeze, the clear pearl blue of the sky overhead; some of O'Neill's dragoons came struggling up; their commander was badly wounded; such as had unscathed horses were riding ventre à terre towards Duleek; Sarsfield sent Captain Nargle to rally them; they paid no heed, but disappeared over the hillocks.

"Since no one will give us orders," declared Sarsfield vehemently, "we will act without 'em." And he bade his troop follow him in the direction of Plantin House.

At this spot was taking place the last stand of the Irish; all else, on the scattered battlefield, was chaos; Berwick had resolved at any cost to gain time; but he had to face greatly superior numbers, and one whose name was worth many veteran troops; the Prince of Orange was himself leading the attack; in the first charge he made, at the head of the Inniskilleners, he was repulsed fiercely; but the counter charge of the Irish was foiled by the gleaming defence of the pikes of the Huguenots; the Danes grimly supported their comrades; the Prince of Orange again led a charge against Berwick and Hamilton; the undaunted ardour of their king filled his men with fiery enthusiasm; since his landing at Carrickfergus his personality and his actions had made him the darling of the north, as Patrick Sarsfield was the darling of the south.

He had been wounded the night before and carried one arm in a sling; he had been unhorsed and down in the mud of the Boyne ford; his holster pistols had been broken, he had been lost in the mêlée and had had an Ulsterman's carbine thrust at his breast in the confusion; he was a mark for all the Jacobite fire; for on the breast of his blue uniform glittered the costly diamonds of the star of the garter.

"If we could get him," muttered Berwick, "we should end the war." And the impetuous young man sought out his princely cousin through the press of man and horse.

When Sarsfield and his troop of horse reached Plantin House the Jacobite resistance was broken; Berwick had been thrown and trampled on, Hamilton taken a prisoner before the Prince he had betrayed; the rest were in retreat towards the Duleek road; but their half-hour's gallant fight had prevented the total destruction of the infantry which was now moving in disorder towards Donore and Dublin.

Sarsfield's fresh troop of nearly four hundred men was useless save to swell the flight; his lieutenant-colonel, Lord Kinsale, began to curse bitterly.

"Can we not," cried Sarsfield, "charge again?"

But his men, without waiting for his orders, were already swinging along the Dublin road. Berwick had succeeded in rallying his broken troop; Sarsfield made his way to the side of the young officer who had already recovered that noble serenity which masked the impetuous ardour of his youth; it was a quality inherited from his uncle, the Earl of Marlborough, a peculiar dignity that impressed even when disguising base actions.

Berwick had been unhorsed three times; once he had been wounded; his right sleeve was in rags, a long bruise disfigured one cheek, his hair was clotted with dust and sweat. "We charged ten times," he remarked, "the best part of the Foot should have gotten off;" in the same breath he asked Sarsfield for his handkerchief and, receiving it, wiped away a trickle of blood that ran from a cut on his forehead into his eyes; he had the coolness, the insensibility of one bred to arms from childhood.

"All lost? A defeat?" cried Sarsfield. "'Tis incredible—my God! incredible!"

"They were superior in number and we had no artillery," said Berwick calmly. "Besides, the Irish ran."

Sarsfield felt sick; a frightful paleness overspread his face, he was wounded, humiliated in the most vulnerable places of his manhood; he felt abased, fooled, insulted.

"Defeat," he repeated.

Berwick glanced at him, noted his appearance and glancing at his own tattered sleeve and scarred arm, said simply:

"Yes, we had bad luck."

"Where is the king?" exclaimed Sarsfield. "Surely he has some desire to make a further stand?"

But all, pressing along the dusty road, were crying: "To Dublin! To Dublin!"

All was confusion, there was no one either to give Sarsfield orders or to take his commands. The bitterest mortification was in his heart. He asked of every one of authority he passed as he rode at the head of his fresh troops:

"Why was I not sent for? Why was I sent to that outpost and left there?"

The officers whom he questioned shrugged or laughed or grimaced according to their humour. But one who overheard him cried with a bitterness equal to his own:

"You chose to be a pawn and now you know what it is to be kicked off the board."

"I did not know it was you, Luttrell," said Sarsfield, staring at the speaker; their horses were jostling side by side in the crowd; Luttrell was much defaced with dust and smoke; his cravat was swathed, a bloody rag, round his neck, a shot had carried away the heel of one of his boots; he tossed back the lank tangle of his dark hair from his squinting eyes.

"You!" He grinned at Sarsfield. "You have been no use, no, none at all! Look at the coil we have gotten into! This is the result of your pragmatical virtue!"

He edged his rearing roan away; Sarsfield could not speak, even his own horse were leaving him, each man seeking helter-skelter his own safety; a field of standing corn with the sun on it seemed to Sarsfield the oddest sight in the world. He made his way to the little hill at Donore where, beside the old church, King James had watched the struggle at Oldbridge, at Rosnaree, at Plantin House; he had been well out of the action; he showed the greatest bitterness in his old yellow face, a man well used to defeat, he had been again cruelly buffeted; he stared at Tyrconnel and Sarsfield galloping up to the churchyard wall.

"How you Irish fight!" he muttered; then, seeing all his men in full retreat about him, he gave orders that all were to fall back on Dublin; orders that were not needed, as the entire Jacobite army was pressing towards the capital.

Sarsfield turned in his saddle and looked back at the Boyne; through the smoke which had spread in a thick haze from Oldbridge to Plantin House he could discern the colours of the Dutch, Danes, English and Huguenot regiments slowly advancing; he saw that to charge the enemy was impossible by reason of the double ditches and a little brook.

"We are not going to abandon Dublin?" he asked of Tyrconnel who, breathing heavily, was trying to ease his smoke-inflamed eyes with the end of a handkerchief dipped in water from his flask.

"I don't know," muttered the viceroy. "I don't know."

Sarsfield glanced at the graves in the little churchyard, at the church, empty, silent; the priest had fled.

Luttrell and Galmoy set their horses at Donore hill and stayed them by the king; Luttrell shouted:

"Sire! Lauzun is ahead—on the Dublin road!"

Galmoy looked at Sarsfield with contempt; he whispered a half-heard remark about his brilliant uniform, his unblemished horse; then the two were away, their broken baldrics and ragged cravats flying behind them.

The king turned his head towards Dublin; the road was choked with soldiers; they overspread into the fields, beating down fences and hedges, trampling crops.

Many of them did not seem to see much sting in their defeat, they were even elated that they had been allowed to draw off in fairly good order, and congratulated themselves that they had kept up so fine a countenance; and that the Prince of Orange observing it, had thought it more prudent to halt and suffer them to march away.

The truth was that the Prince believed that the Irish would scatter and then surrender; a sharp pursuit would only have brought about a useless rout and bloodshed, and of that he had always a horror. Besides, Schomberg was dead. William's siege train had not arrived, he did not know of what value were the regiments of militia which James had still in reserve in Dublin. He reflected that it was perhaps imprudent to advance on the capital while Drogheda remained untaken. Without a commissariat with the army and the land so exhausted that nothing could be derived from it the victorious general did not think it prudent to advance farther. He had, besides, out of the last forty hours spent thirty-five in the saddle, with brief intervals.

Sarsfield did not know these considerations. He only thought with sick rage and mortification that as the pursuit had been so mild they might have turned about and made a counter-attack.

The retreat settled into a more orderly march as the enemy made no great attempt to harry their flight.

Sarsfield believed that the Williamites were something disorganised by the suddenness of their victory. From a military point of view the action had not been of much account; from a political one even Sarsfield, who was no politician, could see that it might, nay, that it must be of tremendous account.

A detachment of the enemy followed the Jacobites, but every time there was a forced halt at a defile or pass, the Williamites halted also.

"They are allowing us to go very peacefully," smiled Berwick. "Nay, I believe they are glad to build us a golden bridge to be rid of us; if old Schomberg had not fallen, this had been a rout indeed!"

"Why is the doubled-damned, confounded Dutchman letting us off so cheap?" shouted Tyrconnel.

"He wishes," replied Berwick, "to shed as little blood as possible, and he thinks we shall abandon Dublin without any more ado."

The young man had the complacent calm of one who has done his utmost; beneath the stain of blood and the bruises his olive complexion showed no more than its usual pallor. With a stiff precision and a control which showed him already inured to the most disconcerting chances, he straightened his cravat and baldric; Sarsfield riding up beside him as their cavalry passed through a defile between marshy ground broke out:

"Could you not guess, my lord duke, what it meant to me to be left out of this?"

Berwick's almond eyes turned on him without friendliness.

"Lauzun was in command, General Sarsfield."

"Lauzun is malicious or a fool!"

"It may be," returned Berwick, "I did as I was bid," he added, with a stare; "and so did you. I suppose neither of us has any reason to blame the other."

"You might, my lord, have said a word for me. You might, on your own authority, have sent for me."

As Berwick did not answer, he added passionately: "Luttrell, Galmoy—had their chances."

"I know nothing about it," declared Berwick; "Lauzun made no confidant of me. Luttrell and Galmoy are your enemies. I believe you know why."

"And you, too, an enemy," thought Sarsfield; he knew they both thought of Honor.

The straggling, broken ranks pressed towards Dublin through suffocating dust.


KING JAMES brought the news of his own defeat to Dublin Castle; after a ride of near five hours he entered the capital with his staff officers and a small escort at ten o'clock at night; the victor Prince had halted at the pass of the Naul; a dead weight of fatigue was on every one.

"Dusty, wounded and tired soldiers were coming in till one o'clock, several of James's Guards came straggling in without pistols or swords, and could not tell what had become of His Majesty. Near ten that night he came in with near 200 horse all in disorder. We concluded now that it was a total rout and that the enemy were just ready to come into the town, but were greatly surprised when an hour or two afterwards we heard the whole body of Irish Horse come up in very good order, with kettle-drums, hautboys and trumpets, and early the next morning the French and a great party of Irish foot. These being a little rested marched out again to meet the enemy, which was supposed to draw nigh."

So wrote "a person of quality" resident in Dublin; the capital was astir with rumour, excitement, alarm and joy; already the Catholics were packing up their goods, the priests taking the shrines and relics from the churches and chapels; the women were running about looking for their men.

James was received at the castle gates by Lady Tyrconnel who, after he was upstairs, asked him "what he would have for supper," he then gave her an account of "what a breakfast he had got that made him have little stomach for his supper."

Immediately afterwards he shut himself in his apartments, none with him but his priests.

As Sarsfield rode into the courtyard, with all his troop now very orderly, the kettledrums beating, he glanced up at Tyrconnel's Irish flag hanging livid in the first light of the dawn.

It was full day before he could send a message to his house in Fishamble Street; he begged Honor to come to the castle, he did not know when he might be able to leave his duty; with several other officers of high rank he slept on rolled-up mantles in the guard-room; when they awoke after a few uneasy hours they heard that the king had already sent for the Lord Mayor and Council.

Sarsfield went into the great throne-room; it was thronged with men and women; Honor was beside Lady Tyrconnel, she gave her husband a cold smile. The viceroy had adjusted his attire with surprising quickness; only his cut chin and bandaged cheek showed he had been in a battle; Sarsfield could see neither Luttrell, Galmoy, nor Berwick.

The king stood on the steps of the throne; he was forlorn and majestic, tall, haggard and bent; when he spoke his voice was steady; he looked before him as if he spoke to an empty room.

He told them all "that though the Irish did not desert him as did his subjects in England yet when it had come to the trial they had basely fled the field, and left it a spoil to his enemies, nor could they be prevailed upon to rally, though the loss in the whole defeat was inconsiderable, so that henceforth he determined never to head an Irish army and was now resolved to shift for himself, as they must do. He advised them not to burn the town, but to submit to the Prince of Orange who was a merciful man and would set the prisoners at liberty."

Many were confounded at this for they had expected to have made a stand at Dublin; Lauzun, strutting and important, gave no sign of his feelings; he appeared to try to diminish the importance of the whole affair.

The king moved from the throne, he held himself with dignity.

"Justice," he said, "is on my side, but Fate is against me. Enough blood has been spilt already. Release all the Protestant prisoners you have and surrender the city. You are faced with the Prince of Orange, he is a merciful man."

He repeated reflectively this tribute to his son-in-law, nephew, conqueror, and sighed; perhaps he recalled that he had not been a merciful man and that his pitiless cruelty had not availed; he had no more to say, but he appeared to linger in a state of indecision.

Sarsfield, unnoticed in his corner, put his hand before his eyes; the crowd broke into whispers, movements; Lauzun took snuff.

The French officers and many of the Irish knew that by the flight of James to France the victory of William at the Boyne would be converted from a mere flourishing military skirmish into a victory of the first magnitude. But they also knew that James would listen to nothing. He was as sharply determined to fly as he had been that wretched day at Whitehall when he had ordered Lord Craven's guard to give place to the Dutchmen; standing there, tall and gaunt, before them, broken from the battle in which he had taken no part, in this hour of his defeat, of his evasion, of his cowardice, James II was not without a certain dignity, even a certain grandeur; the seal of utter failure, of complete misfortune was upon him, but it was borne with a touch of magnificence. There was some nobility in the gentle way in which he referred to the merciful qualities of his rival, something of the fascination of his race and breed in the grace with which he took farewell of his adherents, and walked from the room and, in a melancholy, stately fashion, towards the staircase, leaving "each to shift for himself," as he said.

Yet whatever gloss of grandeur he might give to his behaviour it smacked not only of foolishness but of baseness. He betrayed by his flight a whole nation, a whole faith, a whole dynasty; he showed himself to be unworthy of the sacrifice of the meanest rapparee.

Sarsfield, watching the king through a cloud of unhappy thoughts, heard Tyrconnel's voice loudly raised "for an immediate surrender, for making terms with the Prince of Orange, for giving up everything—" Sarsfield started out of his gloomy reverie and hotly recommended the sternest possible resistance...

The king checked the argument between the two men who so disliked each other and who were so opposed in ideas, who had flamed at once into active opposition.

"You had best fall back on Limerick," he advised, "and discuss your plans there."

For himself he was riding at once for Waterford, where the Comte de Lauzun rode at anchor; he had done with Ireland. He complained again that "the Irish had infamously forsaken him," as, with the stiff step of age and holding on to the balusters, he proceeded down the stairs.

An aide-de-camp broke into the king's painful progress; he came from Berwick. That energetic young leader had gathered together seven thousand foot at Brazeel, he asked his father for reinforcements; his design was to stay the advance of the Prince of Orange. James, after some hesitation, ordered some of Luttrell's dragoons and some of Abercorn's horse to his son's relief, but he was in no wise heartened by this news; he was still for Waterford.

Sarsfield watched the king go; again he had been overlooked...for good reasons, no doubt; in no way had he distinguished himself; he wondered if Luttrell and Galmoy were at Brazeel. All agreed that the next stand must be made at Limerick or Galway; hasty but not disorderly preparations were made for retreat; apart from the hopes held out by Berwick at Brazeel, it was not believed likely that the Prince of Orange would advance in any impetuous haste on Dublin; a peaceful occupation was known to be his desire, and all were well aware how keenly he wished to avoid a personal encounter with his father-in-law; it might easily be two or three days before the victorious army entered the capital.

Tyrconnel, suddenly heartened and drinking himself into a patriotic fervour, swore to defend Limerick; out of a cloud of argument, passion and excitement the resolve to abandon Dublin and make a final stand there was come to; it was then late in the afternoon; exhausted and heavyhearted, Sarsfield turned to his private affairs.

Already the Protestants were coming out of their homes and rejoicing openly in the streets. Honor was safe with the other women, her child and nurse and her goods, and with that order, prudence and decorum which characterised all her actions, she had prepared her flight.

Greeting her husband without either reproach or enthusiasm she had asked him a few direct questions, and when she had learned that all was lost had made her arrangements without stupid haste or alarmed delay. She could accept defeat like a soldier's daughter. Her peaked little face, now free of paint, showed resolute but wistful; she neither invited nor offered caresses, but she pleased her husband's pride by relying entirely on his advice and protection. She told him that it was already decided that the Duchess of Tyrconnel was to go to France...

"Will you go, too, Honor?"

"Is not another stand to be made at Limerick?"

"Yes. But you wished to return to France—it will be safe for you with the king; I should not resent it, Honor."

"No." Her voice was hard. "But I will stay—do we go to-night to Limerick?"

"Within a few hours."

But before he could go an imperative duty claimed him; Honor was safe, amply protected and provided for; but Ishma waited at Lucan for his news. Lucan would, with Dublin, fall into the hands of the invader. But Sarsfield's thoughts scarcely touched the fact that he was a ruined man now, would be outlawed, his estate confiscated; he was thinking of Ishma, waiting; perhaps she had already heard frightful rumours...He must snatch a few hours in which to fetch her himself; there was now no choice in the disposal of the girl, she must go to Limerick with his wife. Leaving Lord Kinsale in charge of his troop and unattended, riding a fresh, stout horse, he took the road for his demesne of Lucan.

Before he left Dublin came the news that the army gathered together at Brazeel had completely dispersed; before the reinforcements could arrive Berwick had lost every man...

The road was now open to the Williamites, and Sarsfield had another reason for haste. As he neared the gates he encountered Madame de Bonnac on a fine jennet, in company with her husband and another French officer; he wondered if she intended to retire to France with Tyrconnel's wife—he hoped so.

"General Sarsfield!" she cried out, when he would have passed. "Do you forsake us like His Majesty?"

He was forced to rein up his horse and reply. She was composed, brilliant as usual; she even seemed as if exulting in some secret pleasure.

"She is glad of my discomfiture," thought Sarsfield.

"Mon Dieu!" she exclaimed softly, peering through the ghastly light of the street lamps, "you look very pale and overborne, General Sarsfield."

Sarsfield explained, more to her grave husband than to her, that he "rode to Lucan to secure some papers and other property, and should not be gone from his post more than a few hours or so."

Mons. de Bonnac said it was very wise to save what one could, such as title deeds; his wife's vivid prominent eyes flashed a look at Sarsfield that sneered:

"You are going to fetch your little mistress."

Sarsfield rode on; such a sudden gust of laughter was borne after him from the lady that he wondered negligently what her companions could have said to amuse her, for it was the laugh of one surprised into sudden merriment.


SARSFIELD rode along the banks of the Liffey in the summer twilight, his estates lay away from the road that led to the Boyne, and all was silent.

As he came clear into the open country and felt the low evening breeze on his forehead a hundred wild enthusiasms burnt in his heart. "They are baseless exaltations," he thought, "but the delusion they give is exquisite."

He had no longer need for action, and into his tired mind slipped pictures of the day of battle that he hardly knew he had seen. His forced inaction had caused him to observe very clearly sights and episodes that if he had been hotly engaged he would never have seen; the English floundering in the bog beyond Donore—the Irish stragglers who had thrown away their arms being shot down "like hares among the corn"—the scattered wounded horsemen riding pell-mell up and down the slopes—Lauzun's senseless bravado of "dying on the field"—Berwick's Horse struggling across the Nanney Water, and across the hill of Cruizrath—the hard fighting below Donore—the sound of the Dutch bugles—the sudden stoppage of their drums as the waters of the Boyne, swollen by so many men, rose to their waists, their armpits—the rain of badly-aimed shot from the Meath bank—the six small Irish guns firing frantically against the heavy enemy artillery; and with this transient confusion the curving river embracing the battlefield, the wide plain with the old graves of the kings of half magic lineage who had been conquered by the race of Milith, as the native Irish had been conquered by the Dutchman's mercenaries; lonely, lonely, even amid the mêlée of the battle were those solitary tumuli between Rosnaree and Oldbridge, those remote memorials of another world.

Into that other world the spirit of Sarsfield travelled; wooed and soothed by the murmur of the Liffey that was like the murmur of the low voice of Ishma, blithe, serene and lovely; the peace of the July evening almost effaced from his lacerated heart the bewilderment and fury of his bitter humiliation; his vivacious and impetuous spirit even began to throb with renewed hope. If the king, poor irresolute creature that he was, returned to France and took with him the braggadocio Frenchman, Lauzun, and the incapable, perhaps treacherous Tyrconnel, Melfort, and such men; if he even by some chance took with him the arrogant Berwick, why, then would come honourably the opportunity that he, Sarsfield, had refused when offered with dishonour by Luttrell and Madame de Bonnac.

The whole of the west still remained to the Jacobites...He might organise the defence of Limerick, ay, and hold it as Derry had held out against De Rosen. The foreigners, the harpies, and the jobbers gone, the native Irish might honourably undertake their own defence; and he wondered if he could, in honesty, persuade his wife to go with Lady Tyrconnel to France. She would be happy there, he thought, away from him and amid her comforts and luxuries; if she had found Dublin odious, how much rougher would be Limerick, in the midst of the most boggy and desolate parts of the country and deprived of all but the sternest necessities of life; nay, better for Honor to be lapped in the silken graces of Versailles among women of her own breed and misfortune, than side by side, through all the grim perils of the siege, with the husband whom she did not love, to whom she could not even offer sympathy or comradeship. He had seen, at the top of the painted staircase, the coldness of her little face through the dark grimness of the shadows as she had looked at him. Then his warm impulsive heart was filled with pity for Honor with her impossible love, and even for Berwick; he pitied the inexperience of that youthful commander who had so gallantly and hopefully gathered together his army at Brazeel, then seen all scatter, leaving him ridiculous.

Strange that the king should fly! Sarsfield anticipated the verdict of Louvois in his estimate of James Stewart; he thought he had "lost everything by his ignorance, overconfidence and folly"; in the eyes of the proudest, most severe military caste in Europe, the French, this runaway monarch must cut a deplorable figure...

As Sarsfield reached the gates of his own demesne he forgot the king; fragments of thought disturbed him; could one hold Limerick and Galway? How much help would the French continue to give? Could one trust Tyrconnel, Galmoy, Luttrell—if not, whom?

The native Irish could easily be roused to make a stand; he knew their temperament, quickly cast down, quickly raised up—"like myself."

He began to feel almost light-headed; the fatigue, the long and bitter anxiety of the last few days and nights, the tension of the mind began to react more strongly on the body; the hurried and shameful retreat to Dublin, the confused disgraceful scenes in Dublin Castle, the ride back through the city, the hasty gallop to Lucan (for he had no more than just time for this errand) had left him, after all the stress, in that mood when, through fatigue, the invisible world draws closely about a man. He was no longer sure what he had himself experienced and what had come to him in dreams and visions.

His park was very desolate under the golden shadows of the July twilight.

He found his mansion empty, the usual guardians gone, the bailiff fled; he was surprised that his people had not more loyalty. But he steadied himself by remembering the wild rumours, the uncertain news that must have been brought to them, and, after all, why should one expect these poor creatures to have more fortitude than a king? If James were to fly, swift as a startled hare, why, many would be in his track.

But he stayed his horse by his deserted home and sorrow pierced his heart; then he rode about, called, hallo'ed and knocked; yet knew the while there was no one there.

The sun was setting behind the beech trees; Sarsfield rode away from the empty house; his mind again veered from the poignancy of the present moment and dwelt perversely on the incidents of the bitter months which had passed since he had landed, so full of hope, with King James at Kinsale. And all that frustration seemed haunted with the smooth, radiant, placid and yet half-malicious beauty of Madame de Bonnac, and with the cold, reproachful, hostile glances of Honor, his wife.

There were no swans on the lake; in the dark water lay the red reflection of the sunset; the trees in full leafage rustled like the flowing of water, like the running of the Liffey.

"Tyrconnel," thought Sarsfield wildly, guiding his beautiful horse through the allées, "thinks all is over. Now, perhaps, I may have a chance to show what I think."

Here hidden in his demesne of Lucan was his soul's solace and delight; only once had he kissed she would ride behind him, close on the friendly horse.

He turned up the path which led to the holy well; against the sky, in the universal gold of the last hour of light, he could see the massive, dark and mournful outline of the ancient cross; instinctively he stayed his horse, murmured a prayer and made the sign of the cross on his own forehead.

The may trees had lost all blossoms, but the small leaves showed compactly against the dazzling clarity of the sky, as did the outline of the little church and the cottage.

For a second Sarsfield lost heart. He thought, "If every one is fled, who protected Ishma?"

He pressed his hand to his eyes, and was surprised at the roughness of the war gauntlet on his lids and the shaking of his own fingers.

But he consoled himself rapidly: "The priest would be faithful, the dwarf woman and the dog, and who should come here as yet ravaging? I am crazy, the enemy can be no nearer than the pass of Naul. Besides"—his comfort grew valiant—"the Prince of Orange permits no plundering."

He rode up to the cottage and dismounted. There was no light in any of the little windows, no light in the church save the unhuman glow of the sunset on the panes. He struck on the door and called her name. No answer. Sarsfield, to steady himself, took a long time in securing his horse to one of the may trees; he looked about in the gathering obscurity, hoping to see some living creature in the darkening park. He returned to the cottage; there was no smoke from the chimney. "What matter of that—'tis a warm evening, and the dog does not bark because he knows the step of a friend." He knocked.

"Mrs. Begg! Mrs. Begg!" He opened the door.

"Ishma, I am here! Do not be frightened!" He entered the small empty room. "Ishma! Ishma!"

The room was dark; even the crimson glow of the sunset had receded from the window panes; outside was cold, violet twilight; Sarsfield had a tinder box in his hand and soon contrived a light. There was a taper standing on the shelf near the door. He lit that and saw her spinning-wheel with white wool on the thrum, and over a wooden chair was the Irish saffron shirt he had seen her wear, but nothing else of hers...

She had gone. He passed into the other room. He called upon her and upon the dwarf woman, Mrs. Brighita Begg, with a wilder and a wilder accent. But he knew that he shouted merely to relieve his own secret passion, for he had no hope of any response. The cottage was abandoned. He had known as much since he had first seen the dark windows.

Ishma had gone.

Sarsfield stood on the threshold of the bedchamber which he knew must be hers; so straight and simple the bed with the white linen coverlet, so sweet the air of purity and calm! The whitewashed walls, the wooden crucifix, the summer flowers tenderly arranged; a box of women's work, a pair of latchet shoes, a crock of water—all hers, he knew; he had had to stoop to enter the little room. He held the taper high to scatter the bewildering shadows.

"Ishma, Ishma!"

Beyond the spinning-wheel lay a dark shape in a pool of shade; Sarsfield sprang forward and saw, with the utmost horror, the dead body of Brian the wolfhound.

The animal had been violently maltreated, his throat was gashed, his body battered, his collar of fine, plaited Irish gold gone.

Sarsfield stood staring down, the taper sunk in his hand. Had the dog been slain in endeavouring to defend his mistress?

The thought was unbearable; but as in a vision Sarsfield saw the girl leaping from her bed, ruffians rushing in on her, the dog snarling to the defence, a murderous struggle, the girl running to the cross, standing there at bay, but snatched away while the dog stiffened in his last agony...

"I must control myself, this is but fantasy."

He stared round the room; nothing disturbed, nothing overthrown, not even the sheets ruffled, not even the bowl of flowers overcast...then, no violence...the dog had been slain by one of his own kind, in dying he had dragged himself back to the sanctuary that in life he had so proudly guarded...

With this exercise of reason Sarsfield struggled to subdue his anguish; even at this moment she might be in Dublin asking for him...

He knelt down beside the animal and stroked the rough fur, stared with pity and admiration at the glazed eyes, at all the blood and foam about the snarling mouth, the stiff, bleeding limbs. Then he took the taper and carefully examined the floor of the cottage; he sighed with relief; his desperate surmise had been correct. There was a trail of blood from the outer door to the bedchamber; the animal had dragged himself from without to die.

Sarsfield passed out of the cottage; it was odd to see his horse waiting patiently under the may trees which bore little discoloured ribbon flags from the last festival which fluttered in the dusk; he passed into the open church.

In vain he called the priest; the silence was heavy. The building was as he had last seen it, undesecrated; and (it seemed to him) untouched; the silver vessels and silk-stitched cloths were on the altar, the mournful and sombre faces of saints frowned out of the shadows as he held aloft his taper. In every cranny he searched in hope that the girl would be hiding there. There was no one. His wild fantasy again possessed him; he began to mutter to himself:

"She was not mortal, the sidhe have taken her, she has returned to the courts of Mirvanna, under the lakes, in the depths of the hills; she has vanished into the elements, even now she may be shining over Irrelagh."

He came out into the churchyard; the heavy tombstones showed dark in the uncut grass. There was, even in that moment, rest and peace in the heavy lines of the cross rising a shadow among the shadows.

Sarsfield was able to think:

"How much suffering when that was cut a thousand years ago! And all now dust...And I shall be dust in so much less than a hundred years, and what will all this matter?"

His duty tugged at him; it would be something of a scandal if it was known he had left his regiment at such a time, on such an errand; there was every urgent need to return at once to Dublin.

"But first I will bury the dog."

He would not have her chamber defiled and he felt a brotherhood with the animal; he took off his gorget, coat, baldric and sword; he found a spade and dug a deep hole at the foot of the hawthorn trees; the leaves and the sacred ribbons rustled above his head; he stuck the taper on the edge of the stone well to give him light. The exercise of his strength gave him ease; he never thought how grotesque it might seem to many that Major-General Sarsfield should bury a dog with his own hands.

He fetched the animal, laid him in the grave, and cast in the earth; it was then nearly completely dark, but the taper held.

He returned to her room, after he had put on his coat, and gathered into a sheet all that might have been hers, leaving the room bare save for the furniture; her crucifix he put into his breast. Then he returned to his horse and fastened the sheet to the saddle and rode to the lake; he cast in there all that he believed might have been used by Ishma—her shoes, her flowers, her needlework, her smock, and watched the pure water suck at the sheet that contained them—the sheet in which she had lain...He rode back to the mansion and searched again, looked into the priest's apartment; there was no disorder; it was as if everybody, at a given signal, had taken flight.

Sarsfield endeavoured to use his intellect to dominate his emotion. Why, because he had found the dead dog, should he imagine any evil? The girl, the dwarf and the priest might have fled with his other dependants days before. They might have gone on the first news of a possible engagement at the Boyne; they might have gone immediately the army had left Dublin for the campaign, immediately he had taken farewell of her...How was he to tell? He was lost in wild conjecture, he had had no communication with any of them since. The priest, a man of wisdom, of foresight, might have withdrawn the two poor women to some place of shelter; there were a hundred comforting possibilities. The dog Brian—how could he account for that? And he tried to accept that the creature had fought with another of its own kind—yes, that might be. There were many fierce, half-maddened dogs abroad now, he had seen them on the high roads searching for a human carcase...On this he would let his mind rest; he forced himself by a supreme effort to remember that he had other responsibilities—Honor and his child awaited him in Dublin—there was, too, his military duty. What was the use of his boasting of his wish to do something for Ireland, his complaint of his inaction, when he was thrown out of his way by an incident like this? The girl was gone but not lost. And he reminded himself again that she had been with friends, that the whole countryside was Jacobite; there was no one who could possibly have entered his demesne and harmed her...No stragglers from the great defeat had touched Lucan, not so much as a twig was broken in the park—all reason told him that she was safe.

But he stayed his horse at his wide-set gates and asked himself wildly:

"Where have I been? What have I done and seen?"

Webs of fantasy encumbered his aching heart; Ishma floated past him on the night breeze, in the first falling leaves of the dry summer; as he rode back to Dublin she seemed to call him from the gray waters of the Liffey.


THE Prince Of Orange was advancing slowly from the Naul; in this Pass he had slept in his carriage; most of his troops bivouacked on the ground without tents; it appeared as if he wished to give his enemies time to get clear of Dublin; his desire to avoid further bloodshed was obvious.

Lauzun, Tyrconnel and all the members of the Jacobite court at Dublin prepared, despite all difficulties (many found themselves almost penniless) to withdraw with the army to Limerick; the viceroy sent expresses to all the isolated garrisons to withdraw behind the Shannon; again changing his mind, he had decided not to treat with the conqueror.

Lauzun felt bitter towards every one; he had failed and he knew what his reception at Versailles would be; his one object was to return to France with the greatest possible credit and not to risk another French soldier; for all his misfortunes he blamed (and loudly) King James and the Irish.

It was true that the King, who had been regarded with some contempt by all men of spirit, even before the battle, was now looked upon with active disdain and anger even by those who had pitied him before—his anxiety for his personal safety, his abandonment of those who had rallied to his always dubious cause, disgusted all; and his abuse of the native Irish was returned by them with a flame of hate; they admired and applauded more William of Orange, the man they were determined to resist to the utmost, than the man for whom they had risked and lost everything.

On the morning of the Wednesday after the battle, Patrick Sarsfield rode into the courtyard of the castle, which was crowded with carriages, waggons, carts and all manner of conveyances, priests, servants, bundles, packages encumbered the ground; Lauzun and his bodyguard were in the midst of the press.

Henry Luttrell, who appeared in a cool, indifferent mood, indicated to Sarsfield where his wife awaited him in a small carriage; he had not seen her since before the ride to Lucan; she had, he found, already asked for him; she was waiting his return, her child on the nurse's knees beside her; a great scarf was wrapped round her head. He thought he had never looked at any one who was so utterly a stranger to him, the loss of Ishma seemed to put him still further from his wife. She had said nothing except to ask him in commonplace tones and phrases where they were to go and when. Was it to Limerick?

"To Limerick at once," he replied. "What has Tyrconnel decided?" he asked negligently of Luttrell who had followed him in a thoughtful manner across the courtyard and halted by the little carriage.

"Tyrconnel will probably go to France. First there is to be a council in Limerick."

"Where were you last night?" asked Honor, pulling at the leathers of the carriage window.

Sarsfield stared at her a second before answering; he did not seem to see her; Luttrell laughed, apparently at nothing.

"I was at Lucan," said Sarsfield, "endeavouring to see what I could save—then—I had many duties."

Lauzun, pompous and florid, his dwarf-like figure massed with splendours, was riding to and fro gathering together the French officers, saying continually in a loud and pompous voice:

"The affair of the Boyne was nothing, nothing; it was a mere scuffle. We had no artillery, and then those wretched Irish recruits—"

Tyrconnel, biting his finger fiercely, hurled out at last, his deep voice cutting through the Frenchman's ejaculations:

"Skirmish! A scuffle! It has driven the king from Ireland!"

Colonel Luttrell turned in his saddle and remarked carefully:

"You know quite well, my dear Lauzun, that the Boyne was a most disastrous check to His Most Christian Majesty."

Lauzun rode away without replying.

"I suppose the Protestants will be here by now," smiled Luttrell. "I have already seen many long, severe faces peering out of windows and even parading the streets; let us get away, for it is a hideous sight."

The Protestants were indeed triumphing; with great fervour they waited for the Prince of Orange; they saw the Jacobite cavalry departing; sullenly, reluctantly, but departing; they saw the king had left the castle with even the very furniture and plate untouched in his rooms, so hurried was his flight; they saw that every Roman Catholic rose up from the house where he lay and made for the gates without even pausing to take his goods, they began to flourish and show a cautious triumph.

Before Lauzun was well on the road the Protestants had broken into the cathedral and removed all the symbols of the Romish faith and put back the furniture of the church as it had been before King James had taken up his residence in the castle.

Sarsfield remained till the last, seeing the women and children, the infantry and his own troops well on the way, then he, too, left Dublin.

The only flash of spirit came from Berwick who, undaunted by his check at Brazeel, asked Tyrconnel if, with the cavalry (amounting to three thousand five hundred men), he might raid the advancing Williamites? Tyrconnel refused; he said there was nothing to be done but to get beyond the Shannon; he was quite confounded by the flight of his king and friend.

He had no longer any confidence in the Irish army, and remarked with his usual impudent truculence: "that for all the good the French had been they might as well have stayed at home."

Lauzun replied furiously: "How can men be expected to fight when there is no chance of either glory or spoil?"

Quarrelling, they took the road; neither believed that Limerick could be defended, nor Galway; Lauzun wondered how soon he could get to France and what kind of tale he could dress up to appease the keen contempt of Louvois; Tyrconnel wondered what chances there were of coming to some manner of respectable terms with the Prince of Orange, but he joined with Lauzun in execrating the usurper who had been, they declared, the plague of Europe since he was in petticoats; it was maddening, the Frenchman declared, to reflect that though this Nassau—this "little Lord of Breda"—was so often down, so often defeated in the field and in the cabinet, yet he was never daunted, but contrived to confound them all by some odd luck, cunning or shifty intrigue...And the Frenchman roundly cursed the man who had fired the bullet which had hit, but not killed, the Dutchman as he was breakfasting on the grass.

Sarsfield eagerly searched among the press of fugitives for Ishma, Mrs. Begg, the priest, one of his servants, but found himself always staring at strangers.

He thought:

"I am behaving like a cornet of eighteen—I am thirty-five, have a high rank and grave responsibilities—was it I last night who threw her possessions into the lake lest they should be profaned? What little shoes she had, and her chamber how sweet and clean," he mused bitterly, and, being a man of an intense inner vision, he saw himself, like a spectre in the twilight, digging the dog's grave at the foot of the hawthorns decked with flags, as he had seen himself in his uniform, scarlet in the moonlight, tossing to and fro in the waves beating on the rock of Howth.

By noon that day the evacuation of Dublin was complete; not a Jacobite, not a Catholic remained in the city.

Sarsfield watched the flag with Tyrconnel's device: "Now or Never, Now and for Ever" being taken down from the castle.

In a few hours the English standard would again be broken there; and for how long would it hang above Dublin? How many years must pass, how much blood be shed, how many miseries endured before the native flag again dominated the capital?

Sarsfield would not look back at the bare staff; he tasted to the dregs the shame of defeat, the mortification of inaction, the pangs of unutterable loss.

It was a brilliant day, but he saw all through greyness; the very sunshine was tainted.

Yet beneath his melancholy was a steady resolution: "Whatever they say, I'll fight."


A CONFERENCE was hastily summoned at Limerick; Major-General Boisseleau had the command of the garrison; under him was Major-General the Duke of Berwick and Major-General Patrick Sarsfield of Lucan. The Commander-in-Chief of the Irish forces was still the Duke of Tyrconnel who also continued to hold the empty and nominal post of viceroy.

There was an end of James Stewart, as far as Ireland was concerned, it seemed, and all the men gathered round the table in a room in Limerick Castle thought that it might mark a crisis in their fortunes; Luttrell laughed up his sleeve at the chagrin of the French. They had not reckoned on this flight of James which turned the skirmish at the Boyne into a decisive victory for the Williamites.

James Stewart had ridden post-haste to Waterford, put to sea in the Comte de Lauzun which made for Kinsale, and there, finding a French squadron, he had re-embarked on a frigate and was conveyed to Brest. Dublin was in the hands of the Williamites, the Protestants were in the full blast of their triumph, a Calvinist service was rising once more from the proud aisles of the cathedral; the usurper was encamped at Finglass, after having ridden through the capital like a conqueror with a crown on his head—it was the complete triumph of the Protestant cause.

Sarsfield, leaning back in his place at the table, could see the many intelligent glances of meaning which passed between Lauzun and Tyrconnel. They were, no doubt, the staunchest of friends, both of them were his enemies; as for the Duke of Berwick, he did not feel that he could range him among his supporters. The young duke was, as usual, austere and self-contained, he gave himself away to no man, nor disclosed his thoughts to any, but held himself precisely and proudly; though he had been in defeat he had been in a battle and behaved with credit; he seemed continually, by his looks and gestures, to show his consciousness of his renown.

But Patrick Sarsfield had power, secret power; he saw the tired sarcastic eyes of Henry Luttrell seated opposite to him, gazing at him across the table, he remembered that intriguer's talk of his being "the darling of the army"; and more than ever he was popular among the Irish; his countrymen knew how he had been treated at the Boyne and the slight and humiliation that had been put upon them which he had in a way shared; they had sensed in him the national hero, the national symbol. There were fifteen thousand men in Limerick and nearly all of them ready to do his bidding; Sarsfield listened to the futile comments, complaints and quarrels that passed round and round the table; only Berwick maintained the dignity of silence while forced to listen to hard things of his father which appeared to affect him very little; he wore the Star of the Garter which the king allowed him to display although his banner had never been hung at Windsor. At length Sarsfield rose; he had been called on for his opinion, but negligently, as a matter of form.

As he rose he was conscious of the atmosphere of general hostility, but he was unconscious how much of this was provoked by his superiority, his magnificent appearance, his power over his countrymen, the sincerity of his motives and his unblemished integrity. Without any desire on his own part he was like a king speaking courteously to his subjects.

"I know, gentlemen, all you would say; let us make no more weak words." He smiled, his soft persuasive voice with the Irish accent was gentle. "I have heard my lord, the Duke of Tyrconnel, observe that the great army which we at first raised has been disbanded to almost half. He has dwelt on the ill-success of the armies at Newtown-Butler, at Derry, at Inniskillen, their miscarriage at the Boyne, through which the province of Leinster and the best part of Munster hath been lost; he hath reminded us that the king has returned to France, that the French Brigade is going away, that the brass money has been brought to no value, and that we have no other; there is no store of provisions, that Connaught"—and Patrick Sarsfield's smile deepened; he was again thinking of his own sacrifices in that province—"is not able to maintain the army and the vast multitudes of people brought there together from the other provinces. Limerick is a very weak town, yet is our chief defence against the enemy. Mons. de Lauzun hath reminded us that even if the Prince of Orange should be beaten in a pitched battle, England, with the assistance of Holland, would send yet another army and after that another, rather than be at the mercy of King James or that he should be restored to the Irish throne. We have been told, too, that His Most Christian Majesty is not in a state to send us competent aid by reason that he has so many enemies which keep all his armies at work, and that while the Catholic army was entire was the proper time to get advantageous conditions from the Prince of Orange who would readily grant them to secure his crown. We have heard all this, gentlemen, heard, in fine, that it was not prudent, in the aforesaid circumstances, to run the risk of destroying the lives and liberties of the people by a strained undertaking together with the expectation of their estates and their hopes of enjoying their religion—"

Sarsfield paused, he could see that they were all surprised that he should speak so contrary to his known opinions, putting thus briefly and better than they could have put themselves the usual objections to his own plan; in particular, Berwick's long almond eyes dwelt upon him shrewdly; Luttrell looked down, Sarsfield sensed that he was all attention.

"But, despite all this," continued Sarsfield, "my opinion and the opinion of thousands of my countrymen is not altered. I believe that we could defend Limerick as Derry was defended, that men of Catholic faith and loyalties can do what men of heretic faith and loyalties did—"

"Tut tut," interrupted Tyrconnel impatiently. "You will split us into two parties as before, the moderates and the extremists."

"Are there not always," asked Berwick, with something of a sneer, "two parties in every cause, as you have named them, the moderates and the extremists?"

"We have twenty thousand men in the town," added Sarsfield, continuing coolly, his hand on his hip above the tassel of his baldric, "and our cavalry, my lord"—he looked towards Berwick—"being encamped on the Connaught side it will be easy for us to level the suburbs and burn the neighbouring country houses. Consider, too, that the Williamites are not in any vast numbers; they cannot, I think, be more than our own, allowing for the garrisons they have thrown into Dublin, Waterford and other towns. We must remember, too, that the Prince of Orange is stinging under the news of the defeat of Beachy Head, and must be anxious to end the campaign and return to England."

"I think," cried Tyrconnel rudely, "that you talk, sir, a great manner of romantic nonsense. For my part I am of the opinion of Mons. de Lauzun; it is wise to make the best terms with the usurper whom, on my faith, I am inclined to call usurper no longer but King of England. It is said that he is merciful and it is known he is prudent. He will no doubt give us fair and generous conditions."

"I believe His Highness to be a just and resonable man," replied Sarsfield with impetuous vivacity, "but that is nothing to do with the matter." His look, his bearing defied them all. "Aye, and the Irish intend to fight."

"Even if you stand alone, sir?" asked Mons. de Lauzun, rising to the full height of his dwarfish figure, with an odd air of pompous dignity.

"It seems," replied Sarsfield, "that we shall stand alone, since it is your intention to take your brigade back to France."

Lauzun began to bluster and swagger, "that King Louis's interest was still very important in Ireland, that he had spent much money on the country, that many of his soldiers would remain there, that the very Governor of Limerick was a Frenchman—"

Sarsfield cut him short:

"I have other things to think of," he said decisively, as if he were in sole command, "matters that may not interest you, sir, in view of your return to France, but which are vastly important to me."

He turned to Berwick and spoke to him as to a man who might dislike him, but whom he felt he could trust and who would trust him.

"My lord," he urged, "you must understand how Limerick lies on the Shannon, how it is very finely defended by nature if poorly by man. We have in the middle of the river King's Island, where we are now, a castle, a cathedral and the old city. Remember that the stone walls which enclose us have long since defied the attacks of Ireton...We have outworks between the river and St. John's Gate; beyond the wall we have a great ditch with a bank of earth and stones, near a month hath been spent in strengthening the defences. At Englishtown we have a bastion, and Ireton fort hath been repaired. We have a new fort at the north end of King's Island—"

"You appear to ignore me, sir," said Tyrconnel, hardly able to contain his rage and dislike; "you seem to have made your plans as if you were in command of Limerick. I take it that I am still Viceroy of Ireland and Mons. de Boisseleau the governor of the garrison?"

"Sir," replied Sarsfield, the summer sun streaming through the window in front of him was full on his pale beautiful face, on his heavy hair, his perfectly-formed mouth, and on the precision of his worn but carefully-kept uniform; "I am not to consider who is put in authority over me by a king who has deserted me, and by foreigners who seek to serve their own ends, but rather what I may, at this push, do for my own country."

The Duke of Lauzun, smarting with injured vanity, spoke with great rancour and virulence.

"It will be impossible," he sneered, "to defend Limerick, the walls could be beaten down by rotten apples." And he added vehemently that "the town is weak, it has no outward works, but a toy of a palisade before some part of it, not a rampart within, the wall itself is of old standing and far from being thick—"

Berwick quietly gave his opinion:

"The place hath no fortifications. What are walls without ramparts having only some miserable little towers without ditches? Major-General Boisseleau has done what he could, but—" Berwick broke off with a smile at that officer, who added:

"All the works are old and irregular, the stone walls are not cemented. I have made a kind of covered way and a horn work palisaded before the great gate; it is true that I have twenty thousand men, but only half of them are armed; the MacMahon regiment has not a single weapon of any kind."

"The strength of a town lies in its defenders," replied Sarsfield. "We are as well fortified and as well provided as was Derry or Inniskillen, if we fail in the same manner of pinch where they succeeded it can only be that our resolution and courage are less."

"Words! words!" stormed Tyrconnel, angrily clutching at his wig.

"I am prepared to offer more than words," smiled Sarsfield.

Berwick, glancing up from an agate seal handsomely set with diamonds with which he had been playing, pulling to and fro the laces on his wrist idly, remarked dryly:

"General Sarsfield has great popularity, the Irish shout for him wherever he shows his face."

"Of what use," asked Lauzun, "are the shouts of the Irish?"

The Frenchman's words touched Sarsfield very little.

"Now is the moment," he urged, "when we can prove of what mettle we are made. Let us show the Prince of Orange that he has at least one opponent who does not fly from him like a hare scuttling to her form."

"There were those at the Boyne," said Berwick with icy tones, "who did not fly."

"I know, my lord, but your courage and that of your cavalry were useless where there was so much incompetence, and never," cried Sarsfield, "never will I forgive that I and my cavalry were allowed to remain inactive!" He glanced at Lauzun and added dryly: "Were we private gentlemen, sir, and this not a time of war, we could cross swords over that matter."

The Frenchman turned away with a certain uneasiness; he was conscious of having gratified a futile and a private spite in leaving Sarsfield out of the battle of the Boyne. It had been to please his own vanity, to please Tyrconnel, in a way to please Berwick and Luttrell, but it had been foolish and, perhaps, helped to cause the loss of the day.

Patrick Sarsfield left the council without waiting for the permission of any; he felt as if he was the master of them all. At last he had come into his kingdom. Everywhere he showed himself the Irish gathered round him; he had become the darling, the idol of the soldiery; even the French considered him with a new respect. His old ardours and enthusiasms mounted high in his bosom; what did it matter if all these men flung away hope—fled in the track of the king? He would rally Ireland and Ireland would rally to him.

And any day, hour or moment he would hear news of Ishma; he was sure of that; he had to be sure of that or lose his faith; her little crucifix hung beneath his shirt.

The lovely bells of Limerick's ancient cathedral were pealing as he passed through the narrow streets made dark by the lofty houses built in the step-gabled Flemish fashion.

Here and there an alley allowed a swift glimpse of the sparkling waters of the Shannon, and the soft green summer fields; the whole city, Sarsfield thought, was fairly well fortified by nature, and, embraced by a narrow arm of the Shannon, that portion named Englishtown was like a fortress itself...Sarsfield, warmly saluted by every passerby, crossed the ancient Thomond's Bridge and came out at the simple house overlooking the water where his wife was lodged; women were knee-deep in the water's edge washing clothes; the smoky mist of the old town made a haze in the veiled gold of the summer day. The bells still rung soft, gay, blithe, like Ishma herself, from St. Mary's steeple.

When Sarsfield entered his house he felt that spiritual exaltation which has so little to do with material considerations; for no reason at all he felt glad, triumphant; as if he had done with all hindrances, all handicaps—and was free.

But he had other oppositions to endure than those shown him in the council chamber.

His wife greeted him with enmity, she was enraged at the prospect of a siege; she still urged him to fly to Waterford, to endeavour to make for Kinsale before the French squadron departed.

She complained continuously of the dreariness of the town, of the misery of her apartments, of all her discomforts and discontents.

She asked, with what seemed a peculiar bitterness, why he had brought nothing away from Lucan? His demesne was now, of course, in the hands of the enemy—Lucan, the mansion, the lake, the old cross, the may trees, the cottage, all that he had known and loved as his own were sequestrated, soon, no doubt, to be granted to some follower of the conqueror—there must be a great change in affairs before they could ever hope to see Lucan again, for she was sure that he would find himself put on the next bill of outlawry; he was penniless save for what he might earn as a mercenary soldier...

"You have brought nothing away?" urged the Lady Honor. "What was that hurried visit to Lucan so late at night for if it were not to fetch something? Why, you might have taken servants and a wagon with you and at least have brought some silver, some ornaments, even some chests of linen—and what of the title deeds? We have a son."

"They would have been of no use, Honor; title deeds or no, all is lost while I continue Catholic and loyal to King James."

But he admitted that perhaps Honor's anger was justified; it was true that during that hurried visit to Lucan he had not thought of her at all; and again he saw that spectre of himself digging a dog's grave, casting a maid's humble possessions into a lake...

But Honor, who had hardly spoken to him since they had come to Limerick, continued to lament his carelessness—the papers, the valuables—Sarsfield hardly listened—how unimportant such things were! Did she know him so little as to imagine that when the invader was fast approaching Dublin he had left everything to fly to Lucan to fetch household treasures? But Honor was sincerely vexed at what she thought his negligence. She reminded him that she was unprovided with everything, he had had time to rescue much that would have been for her ease and comfort.

"But I do not believe," she cried at last, "that you did go there out of any prudence or foresight, but merely to discover if that girl was safe!"

Sarsfield did not answer.

"Was she there?" insisted Honor, "was she? What's to become of her? Have you hidden her somewhere?"

Then Sarsfield did look at his wife. In her cold but candid eyes he read with deep relief that she knew nothing about Ishma; there had been times when he had had to face the ugly thought that perhaps she had had the girl conveyed away out of spite and jealousy, but he believed that Honor was, as always, upright; no such baseness was on her conscience; he answered frankly:

"Yes, I went there to find if the young gentlewoman was still there as I expected she should be. She was under the protection of a priest." He could hardly bring himself to tell the story, the words came cold, almost evenly. "She was gone. I did not find any trace of her. I have searched for her since—"

"Oh, you have searched for her," interrupted Honor. "Was she as important as that?"

"To me she was important, she was one who had trusted me."

"Ay, it's all very romantical, but I was left behind in the city, while you must go galloping after a stranger. And, after all, she had no courage, she has very likely fled with some soldier, some gallant who has been visiting her while you were away."

"No," said Sarsfield quietly. "She had no lover."

"Are you so sure?"

"Very sure."

Honor opened her pale lips as if to speak but said no more.

That evening Lauzun and Tryconnel withdrew to Galway; in a few days the Prince of Orange, who had been reassured that neither the defeat at Fleurus nor that at Beachy Head was of any importance, marched from Cahirconlish and, unfurling his standard before Ireton Fort, summoned Boisseleau to surrender.

The Frenchman replied in terms of courteous defiance and the Williamites began to open their trenches.


FROM THE SUMMIT of the old castle of Limerick Sarsfield could see with his glass the standard of the heretic Prince of Orange rising from the camp of the besiegers at Singland on the sacred place where St. Patrick saw the vision of an angel; this gave him a strong exultation and raised his already high spirits; he thought much of the personality of the usurper; when, as a boy, he had served under Luxembourg against the young stadtholder, he had admired that adamant opponent of the French, and now he thought wistfully (envy was not in his nature) "that man of about my own age has had the life I would have wished. What he has done! And I—nothing."

But here in Limerick might be a chance for action, for decision, for using his long-pent-up energy; he was second-in-command, Boisseleau, his superior, was civil, honest and willing to be advised; Tyrconnel had taken his angry despondency, his violent vacillation, to Galway; with him had gone Lauzun, wholly concerned in his own prestige and the care of the French troops; Galmoy was posted with his cavalry along the Shannon and did not often come into the city; Sarsfield was, therefore, rid of the forced company of those whom he most disliked; Luttrell, a declared enemy and Berwick, a cold acquaintance, remained in Limerick, but Sarsfield could not dislike Luttrell nor mistrust Berwick.

There still seemed, to all the Irish, good hopes of successfully maintaining this last stand of a Church and a Kingdom; though the town was assaulted on the Munster side, supplies could be freely obtained from Clare; and through Clare also was free egress and entry for the garrison.

Openly declaring his passionate national feelings, revealing himself for the first time as the man he was, Sarsfield, at length freed of all authority, dominated the Irish and infused into them something of his own spirit; he occupied himself with a thousand cares, precautions and labours; he brought his own troops to a pitch that evoked the praise even of Boisseleau who, courteous as he was, shared his countrymen's prejudice against the Irish.

So occupied was the soldier with this definite important task entrusted to him, that he had no time for other matters, for other thoughts than those connected with the defence of Limerick. King William lacked guns; his small cannon made no impression even on the walls Lauzun had declared could be "beaten down with rotten apples"; this ineffectual firing was a pleasant sound in the ears of Sarsfield, but he knew that the besiegers were expecting a heavy siege train from Dublin, and that when this arrived the position in Limerick would be desperate indeed; but he was not daunted, his mood had still that unreasoning exhilaration of the man who, despite all material appearances, trusts in a favourable destiny.

So absorbed was he in his duties that Honor scarcely existed for him; he could give her no more than a distracted kindness.

But sometimes, hurrying through the dark streets of Limerick, he would see the Shannon rippling round the long sedges on the banks, or he would glance up one night when on a tour of inspection and see the moon or the stars veiled by summer clouds, or on a wet day he would be striding over the pavements and notice the sky reflected in a pool at his feet, so that he seemed to be treading in heaven, or he would scent the perfume of wildings, pulled by some casual hand from the moist earth; and at these times Ishma would be there.

It did not concern him that Madame de Bonnac was among the few Frenchwomen in Limerick; her husband was on Boisseleau's staff and she had refused to go with the other women to Kinsale.

Yet one twilight when he came upon her full and unexpectedly, he was somehow shocked. She was leaving her chair at the door of her house by the old Baal Bridge and Luttrell was in attendance by her gate; he was saying:

"I abhor the odour of lilies and hawthorn—'tis the sickly sweet of almond pie."

Madame de Bonnac, glancing at the small garden, replied:

"The hawthorns are dead and the lilies rot—I will have both removed—one is very ill-lodged in Limerick."

Sarsfield paused; he could not pass them without open discourtesy and he, who never bore rancour to any, had almost forgotten that these two had declared themselves his enemies; there was something childish, to Sarsfield, about that sordid episode. Why then did the appearance of Olivia de Bonnac shock him? He was bewildered by his own sensations.

She was gorgeous, with the radiance of a woman who makes her beauty her first consideration; even in Limerick she had with her a most accomplished Parisian tirewoman; the brilliancy of her colouring, the lustre of her eyes and hair concealed all the defects of her features; the careless richness of her silk robe, her satin mantle, her curled plumes put to shame the humble house before which she stood; but what stirred Sarsfield was that she had paused beneath a blighted may tree; the rusty leaves, the dry boughs looked harsh in the twilight.

Luttrell, lounging at the mean gate while Sarsfield spoke his civil commonplaces, remarked:

"It is withered at the roots."

He and Madame de Bonnac looked at Sarsfield who had come to a stand in his walk; never before had he met Luttrell's direct glance, for those squinting eyes habitually gazed pleasantly aside, but now, wide open, they gazed at him and it was very noticeable how the clear, light orbs turned inwards; the effect on Sarsfield was as if a stranger stared at him; in Madame de Bonnac's prominent eyes seemed, too, to dwell a creature whom he did not know; the twilight darkened and he passed on.

And for the first time since he had been married he observed something agreeable in the atmosphere of the transient home which Honor created about her; though in contrast to Olivia de Bonnac she showed a plain little creature, for she took no more trouble with herself than sufficed to preserve neatness. She was playing on a small Irish harp as her husband entered, and singing to herself in a low pleasing voice; in the soft light of the lamp the tiny boy showed snug in his cradle; Honor, of late, had the child more often with her; the evening salvo from the ineffective Williamite guns sounded in the distance.

"There is a strange fellow to see you," said Honor, putting aside the harp. "He would wait, I dared not send him away, not knowing in these times what may be of importance."

Sarsfield commended her care, but he had so little time to give any one—still, he would see the man...

"In your small cabinet at the back," said Honor. She rose, lit a taper and gave it to him; the sudden flame showed her reddened eyes.

"I fear you are lonely and troubled, my dear," he said gently.

"Oh, no more than the others! I fear I have complained too much. I have lacked patience."

Her husband knew, even through his own absorption, that she prayed a good deal; he believed that her character was changing; surely she was less petulant, less hard; her innate dignity and fastidious honour seemed emphasised; in an access of pity he stooped to kiss her brow.

The man waiting alone in the little closet rose at Sarsfield's entrance; the taper light showed him to be Toby O'Hogan, the rapparee leader; Sarsfield had forgotten him; he set the taper on the bureau.

"What is your business, Mr. O'Hogan?"

The rapparee was roughly dressed in a countryman's suit of frieze; he wore knives and pistols, no sword, his long black hair was buckled back from a face darkened by exposure to all chances of weather; he had no marks left of the gentility he had always claimed except his speech and his hands, which held a broad-leafed hat.

"My business is to serve you," he replied at once. "May be, General Sarsfield, I can now repay a little of what I owe."

"Where have you been these many weeks, Mr. O'Hogan?"

The rapparee replied simply that he had been "keeping out of Galmoy's path—that noble lord would make no scruple of getting a man put out of the way—"

"Galmoy has had many ploys and affrays since then, Mr. O'Hogan. He will have forgotten his little difference with you."

"He will not, nor how you helped me, General Sarsfield. Why should he?" The Irishman did not seem to expect any one to forgo a revenge. "If he knows the last," added O'Hogan, "I hope not."

"What doth it matter? You have not come here to talk to me of my Lord Galmoy?"

"I have not. I know things, General Sarsfield. I have many obedient men, and spies; there is no one as clever as I in finding the ways across the bogs, the fords across the Shannon, the defiles in the hills. I have the map of the southwest in my mind. I know all the people too, and where one may hide and escape."

"Well, Mr. O'Hogan?" Sarsfield spoke without impatience.

"King Willie is expecting field guns from Dublin," remarked the rapparee.

"You name him king, do you?"

"King enough. It is an able man and a brave—but King Shamus!" O'Hogan made a gesture of unutterable contempt. "You are the leader for us, General Sarsfield."

"About the Prince of Orange's artillery—you've heard something?"

"This is Sunday night; to-morrow night the train will be as far as Ballyneety."

"You are sure?"

"Sure. I have my certain means of information."

"What does this train consist of?"

O'Hogan answered promptly:

"One hundred and fifty-five ammunition wagons, five mortars, two eighteen-pounders, six twenty-pounders, twelve wagons of provisions, and a set of eighteen pontoon boats under the convoy of two troops of the second dragoon guards."

The two men looked at each other across the flicker of the taper.

"Limerick will fall as soon as that siege train arrives," said the rapparee.

"This information should go to Major-General Boisseleau."

"But I bring it to you, Patrick Sarsfield of Lucan."

"You think I could intercept them?"

"You could. You could cross at Killaloe, ambush at Keeper's Hill, fall on them at night, blow the ammunition store up and retire by Banagher at the head of Lough Derg. I could guide you, General."

The rapparee outlined this daring exploit as if it were the simplest thing in the world to put it into execution. And as simply Sarsfield replied:

"I will make the attempt. Meet me in three hours at the gates."

"I shall be there."

O'Hogan was leaving when Sarsfield stayed him.

"I should value a further service, Mr. O'Hogan, with your great knowledge of the country—"

"I would do anything."

"Before we left Dublin I visited my demesne. My servants, my chaplain were gone. I have never seen any of them since."

"'Twould be difficult, the country being as it is."

"There was a dwarf woman, a Mrs. Begg, and in her charge a young gentlewoman under my protection. I have searched for them—"

Quick and subtle the rapparee understood.

"If they are to be found, I'll find them, General Sarsfield."

"They might be in a religious house or gone away over the mountains, not caring to reveal themselves."

"She was that manner of gentlewoman?"

Sarsfield raised his eyes.

"She was."

"And what sort of woman to look at, General arsfield?"

"Kind and tall, dark and gentle, blithe, gay, much rapt above the earth."

"As she might have been a sidhe or a saint," said the rapperee gravely.

"She was like that, she wore the clothes of a peasant, but Irish gold, three colours, plaited, like you find in the old raths. Her name is Ishma O'Donaghoe."

"If a mortal can find her," said the rapparee, "I shall be he."

Sarsfield, disdaining the rapparee's wish for secrecy, went directly to Boisseleau, told him what he had heard and volunteered to intercept the Williamite convoy; the French commander gave instant permission; he quickly perceived that this audacious enterprise was the only chance of saving Limerick.

That evening, under the light of a full harvest moon, Patrick Sarsfield and eight hundred cavalry, guided by Galloping O'Hogan, who was mounted on John Luby, rode under the Jacobite fort at Thomond's Bridge, by Harold's Cross, and then proceeded through Bridgetown and Ballycorney; when they reached Killaloe they avoided the bridge, which was held by the enemy and, skilfully guided by O'Hogan, who knew every inch of the way, crossed the Shannon at the ford of Ballyvalley.

They encamped for the remaining hours of the August night on the side of Keeper Mountain; a man named O'Ryan offered Sarsfield shelter in his cottage, but the soldier preferred to sleep, wrapped in his cloak, on the sweet grass.

Before he rested he took Ishma's cross from his bosom and looked at it in the mingled light of the setting moon and rising sun. It was one of the happiest moments of his life.

DURING the next day Sarsfield and his troop lurked by the mountain; the weather was fair but cloudy, the solitude undisturbed save by a party of rapparees galloping past under the spur of the hill to hide their plunder in some secret defile. Late in the afternoon Sarsfield's scouts rode into his hidden camp to inform him that the Williamite convoy was nearing the old castle of Ballyneety where they intended to encamp.

Almost immediately afterwards he was himself able to observe the siege train with the escort of dragoon guards slowly winding along the path beneath the mountain.

Toby O'Hogan, who had his disguised rapparees everywhere, informed Sarsfield that some news of the raid had leaked through (from a Protestant Irish gentleman, Magnus O'Brien) to the English camp.

"He saw us crossing at Killaloe."

Sarsfield gripped his perspective glass nervously.

"Then they'll be warned?"

"No," smiled the rapparee. "Mr. O'Brien went to the Dutchman, he they call Portland, and he made nothing of it—he said it was cattle-raiding."

"That's what they think of us, Mr. O'Hogan."

"They do," replied the rapparee blandly. "Cattle-thieves, rogues and villains they name us." His gray eyes gazed blandly at Sarsfield. "How could you expect a Dutchman to understand an Irishman?"

"If it gets to the ears of the Prince of Orange, he'll listen," remarked Sarsfield thoughtfully.

"It will not—in time."

"And if the train encamp inside the castle there will be no getting at them."

"They will not, they are too confident. I've got their password. You'll smile to hear it—'tis 'Sarsfield.'"

The two Irishmen looked at each other and laughed; there were moments when a kinship of blood made Sarsfield feel more intimate, more at one with the rapparee chief than with any of his own equals and friends; they understood each other without need of exchanging confidences, and Sarsfield relied absolutely on the loyalty of the man whose life he had saved.

The rising moon was obscured by thick scudding clouds when the Irish cavalry, skilfully guided by O'Hogan, came cautiously down the slopes of Keeper Mountain.

The rapparee scouts, slipping unseen through the fields, brought the most welcome of information; the convoy had halted without taking any precautions; they were but seven miles from Limerick and felt secure; the wagons had been left outside the protection of the stout ruins of Ballyneety; the horses had been turned out to grass; wagoners and soldiers were alike asleep; there were neither sentries nor vedettes, only a corporal's guard.

Sarsfield waited motionless at the head of his troop until a languidly-advancing cloud dimmed, darkened, then totally hid the moon. Sarsfield gave the order for the night attack. An outpost heard the approach and challenged them; Sarsfield gave his own name and the man stood aside; again, and then close to the camp, a guard demanded "Who goes there?"

"Sarsfield," was the answer. "Sarsfield is the word and Sarsfield is the man!"

Without further pause the Irish hurled themselves on the Williamites; there were cries, shouts, a bugle sounded "To horse!" Figures sprang towards the picketed animals; but the surprise was complete; most of the English were sabred in their sleep or shot as they ran for their horses; a few escaped in the darkness, flying towards the village of Ballyneety.

The moon cleared the clouds; as Sarsfield saw the great guns he felt a high exultation; O'Hogan called out to him that a troop was riding hard, at last, from the Prince of Orange's camp.

"We have very little time, General Sarsfield."

"Time enough, Mr. O'Hogan."

Sarsfield ordered the guns to be crammed to the mouth with powder and the muzzles sunk in the earth; the broken pontoon bridges, ammunition wagons, stores and carriages to be heaped round and powder poured over all.

"'Tis a bonfire they'll see in Singland camp!" cried O'Hogan with joy.

All the Irish, implicitly obeying Sarsfield as he rode here and there giving directions, worked with speed and skill, the rapparees were as cool and adroit as the trained soldiers; though their haste was extreme they bungled nothing. The train of powder was lit; the Irish drew back; the whole night seemed to break into noise and flame as the burst guns, like monsters in a quick death agony, sprang into the reddened air. The deep roar of the explosion, the shuddering of the earth, the long jets of flame that licked all whiteness from the moonlight, shrieks and lamentations that were unhuman yet surely came from human throats, changed the peaceful night scene into a vision of hellish unreality, Sarsfield, the tall man on the heavy horse, hatless, his hair blown back, his eyes wide open, his features strained with exultation and stained crimson from the glare, looked monstrous on his dark hillock.

Success, complete and obvious success.

"Quick," said O'Hogan; "by Banagher ford—the English are at O'Brien's Bridge."

Sarsfield gave the order to retreat; there were still six guns that he had not been able to spike, but he could delay no longer; with celerity and clever handling the Irish brought away with them four hundred draught horses and a hundred chargers of Colonel Villier's regiment, which were saddled, bridled, and with pistols in their holsters.

Galloping O'Hogan rode beside Sarsfield as they galloped along Lough Derg; the moon showed the rapparee's blood-stained, bare arms and his face which was set in a grin of intense satisfaction. Sarsfield understood that the slaying of the sleeping men had given O'Hogan great pleasure; he asked, as their horses cautiously stepped into the water, if there had been much slaughter.

"All we could find," replied the rapparee, with simple barbarity. "Wagoners, country people—there were some women, too."


"Yes, you could hear their squealing."

"I gave no orders for that!" cried Sarsfield fiercely.

"I needed none." The rapparee squarely met his gaze. "My men are used to that work. 'Tis the less to breed heretics. King Willie will be in a great rage."

The professional soldier, the high-bred gentleman in Sarsfield was revolted; he thought of Galmoy, his own exploit that had been so glorious was marred by the same atrocities which stained the name of that officer.

"It is infamous," he said sternly, as the horses mounted the opposite bank.

"It is war," replied O'Hogan unmoved.

Glancing back at the red glare in the sky Sarsfield thought of Honor; thought of Ishma; a sudden horror caused him to turn a speechless stare on O'Hogan; the rapparee who was quick of perception as he was lawless and brutal, said instantly:

"No—they had yellow hair."

But though Boisseleau had Limerick illuminated for Sarsfield's brilliant piece of audacity, and declared that this "was the finest piece of service any officer had done His Majesty since the beginning of the war," the hero of the daring exploit felt his triumph tainted. But never before had he been so praised and admired; and the Irish were more heartened than they had been since Boyne water.

When the information given by Mr. O'Brien to the Earl of Portland came to the knowledge of the Prince of Orange, Sir John Lanier was sent with a troop of horse to further protect the convoy; this officer did not set out until four hours after he had received his urgent orders; when he did take the road it was too late. He was amazed by a sudden flash as of lightning breaking the stillness of the early morning, a shuddering of the earth and the hideous tumult of a terrible explosion. When he arrived, breathless and expectant of the worst, near Ballyneety, he found shattered corpses, glowing embers, spiked cannon, charred provisions, nothing but useless wreckage. He dashed after Sarsfield, but missed him...This achievement was of the utmost importance, the moral effect was out of all proportion to the material amount of success gained.

Blackened by smoke, portions of his uniform charred, his face lined with fatigue, Sarsfield in that early morning pointed out triumphantly to Boisseleau that unless William was able, by some miracle, to completely surround the city—and how could he do that seeing the Clare side was uninvested?—he had no chance of capturing Limerick.

The Duke of Berwick alone refused to join in the laudation given to Sarsfield; he said: "that the night attack had the air of a cattle raid, that it was shameful to consort with rapparees and such trash, that Sarsfield was no general and was like to have his head turned by Henry Luttrell who went about crying him up in all companies."

And with his pedantic air Berwick commented on the news from Galway where the Duke of Tyrconnel had summoned a meeting of the general officers of the Irish army, and read to them a letter from His Majesty, which gave permission "to such of the officers as pleased to take advantage of the French fleet, then riding in Galway Bay, to join him in France," and allowing all men of inferior rank to make "the best terms in their power with the Prince of Orange."

"What men we serve!" cried Sarsfield, and contempt for both the king and the viceroy sickened him, destroying his pleasure in his own success.

He had always suspected this side to Tyrconnel's character. He could do little, however, to counteract the effect of the viceroy's declaration, save by that stating that "when the king wrote such a letter he could not have been aware how strong a position Limerick was in, that there was a large army of Irish still in the field, willing and able to fight to the last drop of their blood, that Connaught at least could hold out for a long while."

Sarsfield looked up at King James's standard flying above the tower of St. Mary's Church, and then at the invader's farthest set colours flying on the stone pillar above the camp at Singland; his sense of a personal struggle was increased; he felt himself pitted, man to man, against William of Orange.

Another siege train came up from Waterford; the Williamites, vigorously disciplined, kept down the rapparees who had been so troublesome.

On the 17th August the energetic Dutchman had forty guns directing hot fire against Limerick. The Irish were almost immediately driven from their advanced redoubts. Sarsfield recognised that the Prince of Orange left nothing unattempted that "the art of war, the skill of a great captain, the valour of veteran soldiers" could put into execution to gain the place. He saw to it that the garrison omitted nothing that courage and constancy could practise to defend it. He had contrived to rouse all the Irish in Limerick to a high pitch of exalted enthusiasm, which was increased by a curious detail, very important to a superstitious people. An old prophecy had said that an "O'Donnell with the red mark" should free his country from the dominion of the English, and at one of the most critical moments of the siege a certain Roe O'Donnell, with a red mark on his forehead, arrived from Spain. Sarsfield, remembering some episodes in his own life, felt he could not scorn any superstition, and used this Irishman's presence to ferment the excitement and the enthusiasm in Limerick.

Sarsfield recognised that the usurper was employing as much enthusiasm and energy as he was himself; led by their Prince in person the Grenadiers, in their piebald red and yellow, with their cope-crowned, furred caps, with bells on their belts to frighten the horses, took redoubt after redoubt.

The new battering train executed hideous damage in the ancient city; red-hot shot sizzled into the waters of the Shannon, split the pavement and set the houses alight, the thirty-six pounders and mortars kept up a continual fire.

Sarsfield and Boisseleau rode about the devastated streets encouraging the citizens; Honor moved her child to the cellar of her house; her prayers took on an almost fanatic fervour; her husband sometimes wondered if she prayed for him—for Berwick, or for Ireland; she made no complaint even when the bombardment became so furious that many inhabitants of Limerick left their half-destroyed houses to live in huts on the Clare side of the Shannon, and on King's Island.

The rains began early that year, and the low-lying banks of the river soon became swamps from which rose thick miasmas of disease. Of all the women in Limerick only Madame de Bonnac retained her bloom, her radiance, her gaiety; while the shot was falling below her windows she was carefully tending her beauty which remained unstained by fear, anxiety or compassion. She was constantly with Henry Luttrell; Sarsfield cared nothing for the rumour that she was his mistress.


SPIES AND DESERTERS constantly crept into Limerick on the Clare side. These encouraged Sarsfield in some of his wildest and most secret hopes. Always daring and full of romantical and fantastical ideas he was tempted by the thought of ending the war by the death or capture of the Prince of Orange. It was well known that this Prince was most reckless in his care of his own person, that in order to encourage his men he would go through the trenches like any common soldier, risking his life in the most hazardous fashion.

A deserting French gunner showed Sarsfield the exact spot where the royal tent was pitched. Sarsfield turned his batteries in that direction. The shots fell thick and fast; the tent was removed.

"'Tis as if he had a charmed life," muttered Sarsfield; but it was well known that the Prince had had many narrow escapes, and many slight wounds.

The early autumn settled into heavy rains. The Williamites who were encamped outside Limerick had to keep their blood warm in their bodies by constant potations of claret, cinnamon and Geneva. The camp was intersected with drains and bogs; such a quantity of rain fell that the marshes became puddles; the bloody flux broke out. Round each tent a ditch had to be cut to draw off the stagnant water; the officers and such of the privates as could afford it set fire every night to a pewter dish full of brandy to take off the hideous raw damp, foul with disease, which penetrated to the marrow.

On the 20th August William of Orange led a sussessful attempt to take the strong redoubt near St. John's Gate. The struggle was fierce and bitter. Under Sarsfield's passionate leadership the Irish sallied forth to retake the captured fort, but were repelled by the Sixth Dragoon Guards. Over three hundred Irish were killed; Sarsfield heard some beg for quarter, and the English reply that "they should receive the same mercy as the wagoners at Ballyneety."

Colonel Luttrell, who behaved with great gallantry, got the credit of this engagement.

The besiegers had now a battery nearer the inner walls, their trenches were only about twenty yards from the last ditch of the city; a breach had been made; the firing was incessant, so was the rain.

Sarsfield's hopes were increased by the news brought in by spies and scouts that this endless rain was adding greatly to the miseries of the besiegers; disease had increased considerably in their camp; their supply of ammunition was beginning to run short. It became obvious that the city must either be stormed or the siege raised. Knowing the man with whom he had to deal, Sarsfield was sure that the first alternative would be taken.

"If the rain continues," said the Irishman grimly to himself, "it will be impossible for the oxen to draw off the heavy guns."

On secure information mostly brought in by the rapparees, and in particular by Galloping O'Hogan, Sarsfield then proceeded to put into execution his most audacious plan, which he believed would not only end the siege of Limerick but also the war.

He did not inform Boisseleau of this design as he had informed him of the night attack on Ballyneety; he knew the plan would seem too rash to the Frenchman. Sarsfield was in a foolhardy mood and did not wish to listen to prudence; the sense of his power among the Irish had brought out his natural audacity; he preferred the advice of the wild rapparee to that of the sober Frenchman who was merely coldly performing his duty; and he was able, on his mere personal influence, to obtain the services of as many Irish as he wished.

So he conceived his plan with O'Hogan, who slipped secretly in and out of Limerick for fear of Galmoy; this officer, though his post was farther up the passes of the Shannon, was often in the city in the company of Albemarle, Galway or Luttrell, and the rapparee kept out of his way with the cunning agility of a cat.

Accompanied only by O'Hogan, Sarsfield was on his way to a rendezvous he had made with his men on the Clare side when, having to pass Madame de Bonnac's house, she, who seemed watching, opened the door, and called out:

"General Sarsfield! Sarsfield!"

Her voice came warm and round through the beat of the rain, the dismal boom of the distant firing.

"I cannot stay," said Sarsfield.

"A moment only—'tis important."

He paused by the withered hawthorn, then bid O'Hogan precede him to the meeting place; it mattered to him so little whether he spoke to Madame de Bonnac or no; he knew that she had no power to detain him against his wish.

Madame de Bonnac had drawn her curtains closely, fire and lamplight gave a warmth to her charming little room, so incongruously furnished in primrose brocade, gilt-framed wall-glasses and fashionable Parisian trifles, which she had somehow contrived to bring to the very seat of war.

Sarsfield, pausing inside the door, laughed; he was in the wildest high spirits.

"You seem in a good humour," remarked Madame de Bonnac, scattering bon-bons in a crystal box. "And you have no reason."


She ran over his misfortunes.

"You are defeated, even if you hold Limerick what does it matter? Your cause is lost—was lost from the first. And you are ruined—your estates, all gone!"

"That is true."

"And you are not so fortunate in your affaires du coeur, eh? What prospects have you? None."

"What have these material things," smiled Sarsfield pleasantly, "to do with exhilaration of spirits? Can you not imagine a happiness that has nothing to do with such matters?"

"No." She was angry in a quiet fashion; he thought that she really did not understand, when she suddenly added, half-breathless:

"Is it possible that there is another world and that you come from it?" Then she swept that aside, and exclaimed: "You are Irish! Irish! Irish!"

It was like an accusation and one that Sarsfield accepted; he was indeed Irish, his Norman blood had counted very little in his heritage; he belonged to the soil that his forebears had conquered; to the race into which they had married. In his unreasonable melancholy, in his unreasonable high spirits, in his moods alike of exaltation and gloom, in his fantastic imaginings, in his queer sensitive pride, in his temperate fastidiousness, in his capacity for chaste and romantic passion, he was Irish. In his audacity, his recklessness, his reserve and his impeding, tormenting, yet uplifting dreams, in his certainty of the invisible worlds, he was Irish.

And lately, the long painfully-acquired manners and habits of an alien race had fallen from him; all that foreign civilisation, really so distasteful to him, but which he had not been able to escape nor judge (since he knew no other), had begun to mean very little to Patrick Sarsfield; he had found his affinity more in Toby O'Hogan than in any of the French, English or Norman-Irish fine gentlemen who had once been his friends. Now that he had native Irish under him, that he lived close to them and had learned their language and their thoughts, he saw how much he was like them, in their faults, their misfortunes, their consolations, their sufferings...

"Yes, I am Irish." He smiled, nothing could put him out of humour; he was eager to be away. "What did you want with me?"

"Vous êtes fou," whispered Madame de Bonnac. She then saw him exactly as he was, but he saw no more than the shell of her. "I, too, am mad," she added; "'tis the incessant cannonading and the incessant rain. I'd sooner ride through it than hear it beating on the window-panes."

Sarsfield felt a touch of her ancient magic; he would not have minded taking her in his arms and kissing her farewell, for maybe the errand he was going on would be fatal to him. But his loyalty was with Ishma spiritually, to his wife materially. Olivia de Bonnac had no place in his affections and very little in his desires. Yet she was beautiful enough as she stood there, and beauty had been rare in Sarsfield's life the last few months; she remained unblemished through all the horrors of the siege like a strong lily growing out of filth; her hair was burnished, her eyes shone, her bosom was smooth and pure beneath her lawn chemisette. There was about her a certain romantic gallantry, a certain audacious courage which accorded well with his own disposition and his own mood.

"If everything had been different," he thought, with ironic scorn of himself, "she might have made me a good wife and I her a good husband."

"Where are you going to-night?" she demanded. "A piece of folly, I'll warrant, like Ballyneety—that was no more, though successful."

He laughed in her face. Was it likely he would tell her, for he still suspected her of being little better than a spy of Tyrconnel and Lauzun; perhaps even worse than that, perhaps a spy of the Williamites...

"The rain, I say," she cried, with a sudden change of mood, "is beginning to drive me mad, I fear I cannot bear much more of it. It never ceases—day and night one hears it upon the roof, splashing in the puddles or in the gutter."

"You should have gone to Galway," he told her, with smiling eyes.

"I wish," she said wildly, "that wherever you were going I could accompany you, I should have made a fine soldier," added the strange woman, smiling. "Better the rain outdoors than indoors," she declared. "Why do you not surrender the town and have done with it? Will you have us all dead of starvation or shelled to pieces?"

"Indeed, madam," replied Sarsfield, "it matters very little to me what happens to any so long as I save Limerick and Ireland. But, indeed, I must be gone, if you have no more to say than random talk."

Olivia persisted in detaining him; she wished to know where he was going. She seemed to know so much of his movements that he thought she must have had him watched, she could get nothing out of him but laughter.

Suddenly she recoiled into silence and stood still considering him; he was cloaked and held his plumed leaf hat in his hand; the steel and linen at his throat and breast were hard and colourless against the firm, healthy pallor of his face; his thick rather harsh hair had darkened in his middle years from the scorched flax colour she remembered it, and he had fastened it out of his way (she could imagine the impatient gesture) with a horn buckle; his clear eyes were wide open; was that look of his, she wondered, expectant, startled or haunted?

"God keep you," he said, and turned away.

Madame de Bonnac spoke one of the few sentences that could have detained him.

"Have you found Ishma, the little Irish girl?" she asked.

"Who told you she was lost?" demanded Sarsfield keenly. "Not I, I do not think we have been in that intimacy, madam, to make me give you so much information."

"It was your wife who told me."

He was sorry that Honor gossiped over his affairs, if this could be called gossip; he did not wish any one, least of all these two women, to talk over Ishma and himself; he frowned, swinging his heavy war gloves.

"Put the whole thing out of your head, I have it in my mind that she is safe," he said. "It is impossible that any evil could come to her. The enemy were not near Lucan, and even if they had been they could be trusted to make no outrage."

Madame de Bonnac smiled sourly.

"How can you trust any one in time of war? If you like to think the little creature safe, if it comforts you—" She saw him turn aside and open the door. "Ah, my God!" she cried, "you are going into danger and will not even say good-bye to me, you do not know what my patience has been."

"Waste no patience on me, madam," he replied impetuously. "I have but one thought in my mind and but one thing to do."

"You are different from any man I have ever met!"

"To your mischance, no doubt, Olivia."

"Oh, 'tis Olivia again, after all!"

"If you please—what matter is it? You poor creature, this is no life for you."

"You think kindly of me then, and of Henry Luttrell, too. He praises you everywhere."

"Why, yes, you both declared yourself my enemies once—but that was folly. I have no malice towards any, but must be gone."

"Vous êtes fou," repeated Madame de Bonnac, in her own language.

She followed him on to the narrow stairhead; he dwarfed the mean house; she had, she thought, seen him dwarf a palace; she would almost have given her beauty to have been his lover. But she would have her farewell of him whatever he might say or do; she caught him to her, her beautiful head resting on his arm—how tall he was! She kissed his hand, she interlaced her fair fingers round his wrist, between a sob and a smile she bade him farewell. There was a warmth about that unwelcome embrace which he had missed in the chill good-bye of Honor...she listened to his departure, to his laughing good-natured:

"Good-night, Olivia!"


LORD GALMOY had discovered, by what means Sarsfield did not know, though he suspected Luttrell's spying, that some audacious enterprise was on foot and he was at the Clare Gate rendezvous where, greeting Sarsfield, he eagerly offered his services, affirming, with many oaths, "that he was weary of the monotony of the siege to which the vile weather added an infernal discomfort."

Sarsfield would not have taken Galmoy with him on any expedition whatsoever. His dislike of the man, although it had little to feed on, had grown fiercely. He could not look at him with patience.

He therefore curtly refused to have him with him; he said that the expedition was secret and important, and entirely undertaken on his own responsibility.

"But you take some other gentlemen with you," sneered Galmoy, who was near roaring drunk, "and even, I believe, promise yourself the company of such a rogue as Galloping O'Hogan."

"A useful rogue," replied Sarsfield, refusing to be offended, "and one who knows the country well. Believe me, my lord, this is no pleasure party and I would risk no reputation in it beyond my own."

"You mean, I suppose," shouted Galmoy, "that you will take with you none but your friends?"

Sarsfield laughed; the big, bullying, blustering man, with his sodden features and gross voice, really amused him; in a dishevelled array and mounted on a raw-boned chestnut, Piers Butler Lord Galmoy looked no better than one of the cattle stealers he despised. He began to rail against Sarsfield as "a silly, crack-brained fanatical fellow who would have his lesson yet"—he then poured out blasphemies, and asked if Sarsfield "considered himself a great general because he had blown up the guns at Ballyneety, which exploit was in the compass of any fool, and if he took to himself Luttrell's compliments which were really meant in mockery?" And then turning his horse, so as to impede Sarsfield's passage to the gate, he demanded where was his "peculiar lady?"

"You are roaring drunk sir!" cried Sarsfield. "Do not presume to meddle with me!"

He was angry at being kept in the narrow, wet street under the heavy rain when his men must be waiting for him, he was angry at the company of Galmoy being thrust on him.

"Perhaps you have been sent to spy," he added fiercely; "but you have taken too much drink to be able to do your business—let me pass!"

"May I be fetched to hell in a basket if I do! Wherever you go 'tis without Boisseleau's knowledge—you will have to answer to him—"

"Break off this wrangle—"

Sarsfield thrust aside the chestnut and galloped to the gate; he heard Galmoy shouting after him and smiled, for his good humour was restored, his spirits soared.

Yet it was a frightful night and there was something in the incessant downpour falling through the heavily-clouded dark sufficient to depress the spirits of any man; though Sarsfield knew the damage it was doing in the enemy's camp, through the ghastly diseases that were rising from the damp bogs, the spectres evoked from the marshes and puddles, he could not help wishing that the rain might cease.

"I am late," he said to O'Hogan, who was waiting patiently on the soaked ground by a clump of willows streaming with water. "I had to get rid of tedious company:"

"There is time enough, General Sarsfield."

The little expedition started cautiously, guided by half-darkened lanterns.

Sarsfield had with him fifty of his best troopers, Galloping O'Hogan and several other rapparees whose great use was their perfect knowledge of the country. They were able to discover paths across what seemed impassable bog and through what appeared impregnable mountains; they had secret nooks and hiding-places in the most unlikely holes and corners. They were besides completely loyal to the Irish cause and as unscrupulous as ferocious. Sarsfield had no hesitation in availing himself of the services of these men, though he knew the invader decried them as thieves and murderers. He even felt in himself some taint of that reckless ferocity which had disgusted him at Ballyneety; yet he was a man of a naturally soft and merciful disposition.

"The most peaceful man will fight," he muttered to himself in justification, "when he gets his back to the wall."

They left Limerick and passed out through the Clare side, and made their way in a wide semi-circle beyond the lines of the besiegers' camp at Singland. Slowly they advanced from hedge to hedge till they came to bog land, and stole across the Shannon at the ford between Bridgetown and Bailycarney; then across the orchards and hedges the enemy had felled, then made their way, with even greater caution, till they were beyond and behind the English camp. The cannonade had stopped; the rain was incessant and although it was not yet the end of August the air was chill. The Irish were muffled to the throat, their hats pulled over their eyes. Sarsfield felt streams of water pouring off the edge of his beaver; his feet began to squelch in his boots, he was often obliged to dismount and lead his horse; the rain seemed to slash the darkness, as if it would never cease; but for the careful guiding of the rapparees they would have been several times sunk in the treacherous bog. But Galloping O'Hogan knew his way. He led them deftly and with the greatest patience and skill to the spot he had in his mind; they came almost in sight of Newcastle House, used by the Williamites as an observation post.

"Is it possible," muttered Sarsfield, touching the rapparee's shoulder through the wet dark, only faintly dispersed by the beams of the necessary lantern which the man screened as much as possible under his mantle, "that he ever comes here?"

"He is of an extraordinary recklessness," replied the rapparee. "Impatient, too, always riding about seeing to everything."

"I know as much," said Sarsfield, "from the old days. But now? This is no fool's errand?"

"My information is certain," replied the rapparee; his loyalty to Sarsfield was such that he could take no offence at anything he might say; with a careful patience he declared (for the hundredth time) how carefully he had laid his plans, how impossible it was for them to miscarry; there were the most resolute and skilful spies in the Williamite camp; indeed the whole war, the whole country, camp and council, was riddled with treachery...

"He thinks to put up a battery in the old mansion," added Toby O'Hogan. "He believes that from this point he can command Limerick very well."

"If I know the spot, I believe he has not chosen ill."

"He is impatient of all restraint and goes about with no more than a small escort," smiled Galloping O'Hogan, "as you saw yourself, General Sarsfield, at Boyne water."

It was to an abandoned and partly-demolished stone mansion, raised on a little height beyond Singland, similar to the castleways (embattled houses of Limerick), to which Galloping O'Hogan finally led Sarsfield and his guards; Sarsfield disposed his men about the stone walls. He, Toby O'Hogan and Galway, his brother-in-law, went into one of the chambers and, firmly shuttering the broken windows, permitted themselves a light. They took off their soaked mantles and hats and refreshed themselves with draughts from their brandy flasks; even in the house the night was of an incredibly chilly rawness.

"He'll never come," complained Galway, wringing out his dripping gauntlets; he was subject to glooms of depression. The enterprise, to which his brother-in-law had persuaded him, now seemed to him ridiculous; he could hear the echo of the laughter of his friends. He could see the sneer of the French if they should guess what they had been at and how egregiously they had failed when he must return to Limerick in the morning. He comforted himself with the thought of Ballyneety—that had appeared not only impossible but ridiculous, yet it had been achieved. His elegant French watch told him that it was near the dawn; there must be at least an hour of impatient waiting. The rain had not ceased. It fell in sheets, the monotonous noise was almost unbearable.

Sarsfield and O'Hogan went to and fro with the dark lanterns seeing to everything; they were both in the best of humours.

But Galway felt a fool, playing dice with Major d'Archange, trying to keep himself warm over the small fire they had lit on the ruined hearth, yawning and wishing he had remained in Limerick where at least it was possible to snatch a few hours of sleep or diversion; so he passed what had been a miserable and, he believed, a purposeless vigil.

At the dawn Sarsfield entered the bare room, opened the shutters and put out the lanterns. To right and left stretched the purple-brown expanses of the swampy bog; here and there an oak tree, standing on higher ground, showed dark, soaked, dripping leaves in the colourless light of the stormy dawn, the arms of the Shannon showed ghost-white in the distance.

"Nothing, no one," said Galway in a tone of the most acute disappointment; his depression increased with the sight of the bleak and dreary landscape, the distant view of the beleaguered city rising gray and mournful out of the universal swamp and the large formidable camp of the invader.

Sarsfield, absorbed in his own thoughts, took no heed of the other officers; he kept his mind on the information O'Hogan had given him. "He will wear the uniform of the Dutch Blues, he will have a guard of no more than ten men of that regiment, he will come and go quickly before it is quite light, he will have with him either Ruvigny, Portland, or some such foreigner."

Galway looked at his brother-in-law leaning in the window-place and said gloomily to himself, kicking at the ashes with his yet wet boot: "I hope he is not mad."

O'Hogan came in.

"'Twill be 'Now or Never'," he quoted Tyrconnel's motto, then said he would creep out on the side nearest the English camp and scout.

"Lord! Lord!" cried Galway, "soon it will be too light for us to return."

Sarsfield continued to stare at the yellowish sky rapidly becoming gray; he felt a need of distraction, of immediate action; the long, seemingly senseless vigil was telling on him too; he alternated between melancholy and his high spirits of the night before; there was no doubt that they were all in danger.

"How lonely he is," thought Galway, looking at him; it was a pity about Honor...and now that her husband was ruined there was nothing in the match, after all; dull and spiritless the young earl continued throwing the dice.

"It is true," said Sarsfield, "that I cannot risk the men much longer."

He strode out into the open, himself took his horse from the broken stables, and rode out into the twilight; the dawn glow could hardly penetrate the cloudy obscurity; the air was humid, steaming vapour made a fog; riding slowly through this on the narrow path Sarsfield almost jostled into two horsemen coming from the opposite direction; they were laboriously setting their horses at the slippery incline.

Enemies. Sarsfield lifted his whistle to his lips; in a second the Irish had run out from the courtyard and surrounded the two strangers who, after exchanging a whisper in some foreign tongue, came quietly.

Major d'Archange said in disappointment:—

"They are not of any importance or rank—a couple of scouts."

"Perhaps," replied Sarsfield, "they will give us some information."

He looked at the two figures, gray in the mist; they were wrapped in horsemen's cloaks and wore plain buckled hats without plumes. Sarsfield brought them into the courtyard; they dismounted; he did not disarm them of their swords, their pistols were left in the holsters.

"Will they tell us anything?" asked d'Archange.

Sarsfield said: "No, they seem to be gentlemen." He believed, too, that they could talk no English, they were probably Germans or Danes. The prisoners, who comported themselves with much philosophy, followed Sarsfield into the bare room where the other Irish officer waited.

Sarsfield laughed at himself; he felt as if he had perilously hunted a royal stag and brought down, in the end, a couple of sparrows.

"Of what use are two prisoners to us?" grumbled Galway. "We have mouths enough to feed in Limerick as it is. Best let them go."

"It may be," suggested another officer in the ear of Sarsfield, "these are the forerunners of the man we wait for. Question them cleverly."

Sarsfield very civilly brought the two officers to what remained of the fire; he was interested in meeting any of his enemies face to face; he took them to be Danes and treated them courteously, offering them such accommodation as there was in the matter of broken chairs, brandy in dirty glasses and stale biscuits.

One foreigner was a tall, imposing man in a lightish wig with an air of grandeur in his presence; there was nothing to indicate his rank. Sarsfield thought him to be no more than a captain or else that all his martial insignia had been carefully removed. He was older than his companion, who remained wrapped in his heavy horseman's mantle and whom Sarsfield took to be some lieutenant or cornet; this prisoner seated himself silently, coughing in the choking damp.

"Well, gentlemen," remarked Sarsfield, smiling pleasantly, "I have only a poor hospitality to offer you. I must confess you are not the guests I expected."

Galway turned away in disgust; the bleak light was filling the gaunt room in every cranny. The man in the light peruke took a pair of square spectacles from his pocket and adjusted them on his nose; he was an elderly though fine man, the other was of about Sarsfield's own age.

The elder officer said: "It is surely strange, sir, for you to be expecting any guest at this time and place. Am I to suppose I have walked into an ambush?"

"It is not, sir," replied Sarsfield, "an ambush set for you."

"May I ask," replied the officer, "who then you were expecting?" He spoke in an easy French, and Sarsfield replied in that language.

"No doubt, sir, you can guess; it is not for me to enlighten you. I suppose," he added negligently, "it is useless to ask you for any information."

At this the younger man spoke and in a strong accent of irony, in a hoarse, slow voice.

"I think it is needless for you to ask us for any information, General Sarsfield, seeing you must be so well served by your spies."

"You know me?"

"It is not difficult. Your features are familiar to me from the public prints and caricatures. Besides, there can't be many like you, General Sarsfield, in the rebel army."

The elder officer remarked: "You surely are aware, General Sarsfield, that your appearance is as conspicuous as your character?"

Sarsfield did not like the tone of these remarks; he resented the word "rebel." He said in rather a peremptory manner:

"Well, gentlemen, I suppose it behoves me to send you into Limerick as prisoners of war?"

He felt suddenly dejected; his plans had failed. It was merely stupidly reckless of him to endanger his men by lingering longer in the daylight in this exposed position, he would get back to Limerick as fast as he could. As for the two insignificant prisoners, they were merely a mockery of his original intention; yet he lingered, interested in his enemies. The elder of them, addressing him coolly, demanded: "Whom had he hoped to ambush?"

"Why, your Prince," replied Sarsfield, with a frankness that surprised Galway, but not the rapparees. "I have heard he rides about recklessly, reconnoitring, and that he intended to come here with the dawn. He is, I know, impatient and restless, and is often abroad with no more than twenty-five escort or so, and I believe if they had been more," he added quietly, "we could have disposed of them as we disposed of the men at Ballyneety."

The younger officer remarked, his handkerchief to his lips, his glance on the glowing ashes:

"You are a very useful man, no doubt, General Sarsfield. I am sorry you are not fighting on the same side as myself."

"I'm fighting for Ireland," said Sarsfield mournfully; "no one understands that; no doubt you'll have a poor opinion of the Irish. Who are you, sir, one of the Prince of Orange's mercenaries?"

"Not a mercenary, and I understand very well, General Sarsfield, that you should wish to fight for your country. I have spent all my life," he added, "fighting for mine." He smiled as he spoke, and for the first time Sarsfield was drawn to look at him closely.

The elder officer, staring about from behind his square spectacles, put in:

"We are captains in De Ruvigny's regiment, French Huguenots. This is a detestable climate."

"I hope it will drive you away, gentlemen!" cried Sarsfield gaily. "Take off your wet coats and dry them a little. Galway, my dear, get up the fire."

They were safe for half an hour or so; the rapparees were scouting far; O'Hogan would see he was not surprised.

"I perceive," remarked the younger officer, "that you are a man of volatile spirits, General Sarsfield. You have helped your country make an extraordinary resistance—and that is a fine, a difficult thing to do. To hearten a crowd of defeated, betrayed, ill-armed people, a defenceless nation! Not easy."

"'Tis strange that you should be enthusiastic about what I've tried to do," said Sarsfield, interested.

The elder man rather nervously stroked his stiff, long features and said:

"His Majesty is tolerant to a fault—and his officers learn it from him."

"Tolerant! I like a good sharp, clean hate. And who is His Majesty?"

"King William; 'tis childish to deny him the title."

"I do and must; but, a brave able man. I wish you would change leaders with us."

The younger officer replied:

"Yes, a good hate is a fine stimulus, no doubt. But 'tis more noble to hate a principle than a man. 'Tis the cause we sense, the cause we fight." He added, with sudden vivacity: "You and I, for instance, General Sarsfield, would not hate each other."

"Put off your wet mantle, sir," said Sarsfield, wishing to see the Huguenot's uniform.

The officer did so, at the same time he made a swift movement from his breast to his pocket. Sarsfield could not understand this, it was certainly not a weapon that had been so quickly concealed. His instincts of breeding forbade him to demand of a gentleman that he should show the contents of his pocket. He let the episode pass; plainly the Huguenot was of no great rank, his uniform was of the simplest; a chamois undercoat, a blue sash, a red coat, an orange scarf of knitted silk (the colour worn by the Williamites in compliment to their king), jack-boots spattered to the thigh with mud, a plain cravat the ends of which were tucked into his bosom—there was nothing of importance in the person of the Huguenot.

He took off his wet gauntlets and held out his hands to the blaze Galway had evoked by fresh wood on the embers; he wore no rings (Sarsfield judged him poor); his hands were of an extraordinary elegant fineness; he wore his own hair, of a dark chestnut, and this, damp and abundant, hung forward over his face.

Sarsfield liked him; and at once, with his impulsive, reckless generosity, decided to release him. Useless to him was this prisoner who was obviously a man of no consequence; and supplies were running short in Limerick.

"You have been strangely misled, General Sarsfield; though the King of England exposes himself with a great deal of carelessness, he is not such a fool as to gallop about your swamps unattended."

"What were you doing here?" asked Sarsfield.

The officer replied that they had been sent out as scouts from Ruvigny's battalion which intended to reconnoitre the mansion to see if it were a fit spot for a battery—"For His Majesty means, at all costs, to take Limerick."

"And I mean to prevent him," smiled Sarsfield, his spirits rising.

The younger officer spoke.

"You are a brave, honest man, General Sarsfield, but if you save Limerick you will not save Ireland."

Sarsfield was nettled by this haughty compliment coming from an inferior and a prisoner.

"What do you know of it, sir?" he demanded.

"Do you not perceive," returned the other, raising his large weary eyes which were full of ardour and pride, "that even if I—even if—I mean, we, the English, withdraw now we shall return? Another army will be sent. Limerick will fall, if not this year, next. And Ireland will be lost to King James forever. It is clear that he is not a man who can keep anything."

"It is true. Your king must think us all fools to follow him."

"There are fools, rogues, jobbers, traitors on both sides, that is why we make so little progress towards a good settlement. We lack toleration, cool heads, unselfish aims, sincerity, men like yourself, General Sarsfield."

The elderly Huguenot, who was walking about with quick steps, here asked nervously:

"What would you have done, General Sarsfield, if your crazy scheme had succeeded, and you had really captured the King of England?"

Sarsfield glowed as he replied:

"I'd have had him to Waterford, on board a French frigate—he'd have been in Paris, keeping his uncle company in a week or so."

The younger prisoner appeared extraordinarily moved by this.

"My God!" he exclaimed. "My God!" He put his handkerchief again to his mouth. Sarsfield perceived that his eyes, staring above it, were dark with rage.

"Oh, I've touched you!" he exclaimed.

The Huguenot replied with an effort:

"I was thinking that if you had been successful you would have upset the affairs of Europe." Then he turned again to the fire and seemed lost in thought. The flames leaping up disclosed his austere face, remarkable for its look of stately composure; Sarsfield, more and more interested in him, thought he had endured much with courage and, though this was grotesque, that the countenance shaded by thick and now disordered locks of that peculiar dark chestnut, had a large look of Berwick; surely the same long, almond-shaped eyes, the same finely-formed lips! But the man moved and the likeness was lost.

"'Tis curious," he remarked, "we should be sitting here, General Sarsfield; you are a bold, curious fellow. It is fine to be able to do something for one's country; but I fear you will lose this throw."

"What does it matter what goes, if one neither loses nor breaks faith?" smiled Sarsfield.

"Why, that's true," the other cried, and turned to his companion. "Do you hear? That's very true!"

"May be," added Sarsfield, "you've suffered in this war—lost all, maybe?"

"Suffered? One does not think of it," the Huguenot replied, with an ungrateful haughtiness. "Lost? Eh, my God!" he added coldly. "Yes, no doubt you are right. What is your intention now? One of our vedettes will be here very soon."

He rose; he seemed both weary and excited, but his self-control was very powerful; the agitation of his companion increased.

"Well," said Sarsfield, with a great sigh, "you'd best get back to your camp, gentlemen, and I to Limerick."

Galway protested—the two prisoners might be questioned, might be induced, forced to speak...the younger Huguenot looked at him aside and very dryly.

"Petty actions," he said, "are certainly beneath any one who undertakes to command men. I commend you for your generosity, sir."

"I would rather," replied Sarsfield, "have a fine enemy than a mean friend. I do not hate you nor yet your Prince. I served against him once—it seems a long time ago."

"I remember that," said the elder officer nervously; "but I understand your loyalty. I think I can assure you that if William of Orange should do what you call 'conquer Ireland' you would not be the worse off for it, a good settlement all round, eh?"

"He shall not have the chance to prove his magnanimity, if I can prevent it," smiled Sarsfield. "No, I've not lost hope, I'm not disillusioned—"

The three went out into the courtyard where the prisoners' horses, held by rapparees, waited. The landscape was clear in a dull gray light; the fog had lifted. The foreigners mounted easily and Sarsfield noted the extreme beauty of the younger man's charger; a Polander of great speed and lightness. The rapparees were reluctant to part with their prize, but made no attempt to disobey Sarsfield.

Limerick, the Shannon, the besieging camp lay below in a faint, distant mist; Sarsfield mocked himself; this was not a second Ballyneety. He had failed, foolishly failed, as the reckless, the audacious must so often fail; a sharp sting of mortification bit him, but he smiled gallantly.

"You're lucky in your animal, sir," he said, stroking the arched neck of the gray steed. "Plunder, or a lucky bargain?"

"Eh?" asked the rider, as if startled; then he laughed good-humouredly, looking round at the dirty gray stone house, the drab landscape, the dark lines of the beleaguered city. "They ought to begin the cannonade," he remarked.

Then to Sarsfield: "'Tis very generous of you to give us our liberty, General Sarsfield; I take you to be a good officer. We could do with such, but—well, you will fight according to your conscience and that is God's province."

He smiled on all about him and made a little bow, touching his hat, then offered his hand to Sarsfield; as the Irishman took it he felt, pressed into his palm, the other's handkerchief wrapped about some hard object.

"My ransom."

The two officers turned their horses, made for the ruined gate, and galloped through and across the bog path towards Singland.

Sarsfield unwrapped the handkerchief, which was of a costly fineness unsuitable to a poor captain of Ruvigny's regiment; it contained a vinaigrette, heavily mounted in gold.

O'Hogan ran into the courtyard breathless, his face red, his hair wild, his clothes wet with thick mud.

"I had work to avoid them—Solms' men—two hundred of them; they've caught some of us. That made me late getting through the bog—"

Sarsfield gave brisk Borders—"To Limerick, the way we came!"

O'Hogan said:

"You have him? He came this way—alone—with Solms, wearing the uniform of De Ruvigny's men to-day, in his cunning, flattering way, riding up here in a shabby great cloak?"

"Who? Who?" demanded Sarsfield, as his men began to hasten from the courtyard.

"Why, King Willie—hoarse, very plain and quiet, not like any of the prints of him—cool, but impatient too, wearing the George, though—"

Sarsfield did not reply; he led his men under O'Hogan's skilful care back to the ford, the Clare banks; the rain began again, the whole landscape was sodden and colourless.

O'Hogan, disappointed and exhausted, dared not question Sarsfield as to the particulars of this enterprise which had failed so ignominiously, nor did he remark on the odd sentence which Sarsfield muttered as the horses floundered through the swamps:

"I suppose that was what he put in his pocket."


THE LADY HONOR SARSFIELD looked at her husband sleeping on the camp bed that he kept in his closet; she could see that he was very weary; he had flung himself down without even pulling off his boots; he was splashed with the bog mud, and his thick, rain-soaked hair was still in wet rings. She considered him very keenly; his face, shadowed and overspread with a pallor of fatigue, was the same in slumber as in his most vivacious mood; his candid soul had no secrets. She noted that and remembered that never had she detected the slightest subterfuge in him; he was so tall, too, a giant; but when he moved she was hardly aware of that, he was so swift and graceful.

He grew restless under her scrutiny and woke, sat up startled, then smiled quickly to see her there.

"You are overborne," said Honor. "I have made you some coffee."

He listened to the rain and the cannonade, and came back to all his fatigues. He was very grateful to Honor for the coffee.

"Another day! And I overslept!"

"You did not come back till the dawn, you were out all night—such weather."

"A wild expedition, Honor, and it failed through my own great folly." He looked despondent and mortified, then added to himself: "But of course after all it was not he."

Honor took no heed of this; she never pried into his affairs; it was very unusual for them to be alone together, he noticed that she stayed with him and he was pleased.

"This is dismal for you, Honor, mewed up." Then he added shyly, "The boy is well?"

"Yes. One contrives."

He considered her plain, almost drab, attire; she was very neat and her natural dignity much emphasised of late, he thought.

"I'm sorry I spoke about the spending, in Dublin, Honor; get yourself some brocade, some lace—"

"How could I—in Limerick?" she smiled. "Besides, I don't want it; I have given away much of what I had—or sold it."

"For money? For your needs?" He was startled, he was so careless about money; they were very poor, having nothing but his pay and that often delayed, but he had never thought of that, nor how he had fallen from affluence to poverty; but now he wondered who had, or would have, Lucan—some foreigner—

"For charity," said Honor, "there are always some Jews who are willing to buy."

"I don't like you trading, Honor, I'd rather you wore the things." He recalled Madame de Bonnac's careful splendour. "The world isn't worth while without extravagance."

"There is the boy to think of, I try to put a little by for him."

Sarsfield did not reply; he had nothing to leave his son. He poured out more coffee and drank it slowly. The cannonading became more violent; some of the big guns were being brought into action. War, ever since Honor could remember, war somewhere; the boy, too, he would have to be a mercenary soldier; she had no hope for the future.

"I must go to the castle," said Sarsfield, roused by the challenge of the firing; but she tried to detain him.

"Do you think there is a chance?"

"For us?"

"For Ireland."

"I don't know." He was very grave. "We've our backs to the wall. If we are defeated we can't stay, not under a conqueror; it will be exile." Then suddenly: "Do you care—for Ireland?"

She had not before seemed much concerned though she was a De Burgh.

"Yes, I do. I've felt it, shut up here—the horror, the shame, harried, dispossessed by these foreigners. Yes, I care."

He could not speak of it, even after that; to thank her he said:

"Luttrell and Berwick have distinguished themselves in the sorties." The sudden tears rushed to her eyes, and he held out his hand. "Berwick's a good lad, pedantic maybe, and too prudent, but—well, only a lad—"

"He is my age."

"Yes," he stared at her. "I forget, I'm too old for you—fifteen years and more—that's too much, poor child."

He considered that death might soon release her; but could he count on Berwick? If not, she would be desolate indeed, and there was his boy...

"'Tis odd I've never had a wound," he mused. Swiftly she read his thought.

"Oh, don't think I want that! I pray for your safety."

"I know, I know, the kindest heart, the tenderest conscience—"

She wept at his praise; this was a finer man than he whom she loved.

"I see nothing of the Duke of Berwick," she assured him childishly.

"What if you did? I know you, Honor, and him—he does very well." Then, as he knew Berwick had spoken spitefully of him, he added, not being able to take a mean reprisal: "He will make a very good soldier, a great man, perhaps. For his youth he lives very soberly, no lewd pleasures like his brother—"

She understood that he assured her delicately that her lover had no mistress, and her tears fell faster.

"Don't weep, Honor, now prithee don't, there are tears enough in Ireland."

Duty was driving him; he was buckling on his sword, tying on his sash. Honor desperately checked her sobs.

"Have you found—that girl?"

He paused, his hands on the buckles, and stared at her, amazed.

"The girl—at Lucan," added Honor, gathering up her courage.

"No, I have not."

"You—you've searched?"

"Toby O'Hogan is looking for her for me—he'll find her if any can."

"Oh, he has given you no news?"

"I've not asked; when he finds her he'll tell me," replied Sarsfield simply; "and he'll never give up searching."

"Do you think she is safe?"

"I must think she is safe."

"But, humanly speaking, these times—"

"She had a woman with her and a priest, and—" He stopped, not wishing to speak of the dog.

"Oh, so well guarded!"

"The best I could."

His wide eyes looked at her with a complete candour, she knew he concealed nothing, nor ever would.

"I wish," she said, "I had not sent her away."

"Do you, Honor?"

"Yes, I have wanted to tell you so, there has been no chance. I wish, Patrick, that I had been more—noble."

"You would have liked her," he said ingenuously. "She knows nothing, but a princess by birth, Honor, a great lady, turning all to dignity and favour, like yourself, Honor. Patient, too, and blithe; gay, though she never had anything. Nothing at all."

Honor thought: "How he loves her and he has scarcely kissed her, once perhaps—no more."

"Where can she be, Patrick?"

He made a gesture with his hand as if he followed the flight of something almost intangible.

"She'll be safe," he said, "between God and the sidhe," he added in his mind.

"If you find her, bring her to me."

"To you? You wish that, Honor? I expect she would be very docile."

"I do wish it."

As he pulled his sash-knot into place he said:

"Why did you tell Madame de Bonnac about her being gone from Lucan?"

"I did not. Madame de Bonnac and I hardly speak, hardly meet; she has nothing but contempt for me. She told you I had so spoken? She often lies."

"How would she come to know of it, Honor?"

"Oh, easily! She has so many—gallants. Colonel Luttrell finds out everything; Lord Galmoy, too, and others. They have their spies and agents."

"But this news would be of no importance to them, Honor."

"They gossip over everything," said Honor briefly. And Sarsfield remembered that Madame de Bonnac had seen him riding to Lucan, and had probably guessed his errand.

"She is a proud, expensive woman," added Honor. "She keeps herself very fine whatever the miseries of others may be, and the men like to go with her as a diversion; she is always clever, cool and beautiful—one can understand"—she smiled shrewdly—"the value of a creature like that—always brilliant, she is like a light in a bog damp. Well, you must go?"

She approached him, hardly to his shoulder, but full of dignity.

"I want to be very loyal, a faithful wife." She frowned in her earnestness. "Do you—do you think that has any value, Patrick, to you? Knowing what you do of my heart—and yours?"

"A great value, dear."

"It is not mere lip service? A hollow formality?"

"No." He thought of himself and the king he served. "Loyalty is something in itself—worth while—I know, my poor child; now prithee, be not burdened with these problems. Look up, dear heart, thou art so young, bethink of the years to come, of the love that surely awaits thee."

He stooped, kissed her brow, and was gone.

"How faithful he is to her," thought Honor and, lonely, wept anew.

Sarsfield, making his way through the shelled streets and the rain, thought of last night's wasted effort; no one would ever know; O'Hogan and his Irish would be as mute over this as they had been over the Dublin episode; Sarsfield's interference in that had never come to the ears of Galmoy. But his personal mortification was keen.

"Not to know him! He knew me, the sharp, cunning fox, and not to betray himself by a look—but I'll not think it he, but one of Ruvigny's Frenchmen."

Still Sarsfield's mood, saddened by the pathos of the interview with his young wife, was one of unrest and despondency. If he should have actually captured his victim and allowed him to escape! It seemed an incredible piece of misfortune, and he was bound to ascribe it largely to his own romantic folly...Galway and all his friends would blame him severely if they knew; yet in his heart was a feeling not altogether of mortification or regret, there had been something noble in the episode. As for the Prince of Orange, whatever he might be towards King James or towards Ireland, Sarsfield liked the man. He pulled from his pocket the handkerchief given him by the stranger last night, and for the first time ventured to look closely at the vinaigrette it contained. The crystal, that held a pungent aromatic, was engraved with the arms of Nassau; the stopper was a royal crown with the beautiful cipher of enlaced W's...Sarsfield smiled bitterly. "But he might easily have had that without being the Prince."

But he remembered that cool, that ironic farewell bow—that plunge of the noble horse into the dark. How was it that he had not known that face which would have been noticeable anywhere? It seemed so incredible that even the Prince's well-known recklessness would go to the extent of riding far with a single companion. Yet it was well noised abroad that he was of a careless impatience which could ill brook even a short period of inaction, that he had a passion for long and lonely rides, and cared nothing for the rain or swamp.

"Like myself," thought Sarsfield, recognising a kinship with his enemy, "that is what I would have done in his place. Well, 'twas a fine chance to end the war, and I lost it. I was too sure. I despised that ruffian Galmoy, but if I'd taken him with me maybe he'd have known."

He heard the echo of Madame de Bonnac's "Vous êtes fou," and "Irish! Irish!"

That afternoon an assault was made on Limerick, and Sarsfield's entire energies were instantly and completely absorbed.

After midday there came a pause in the rain, and the red August sun shone on the beleaguered city, the swamps, the fierce struggle, on the two standards—one at Singland and one on the steeple of St. Mary's Church.

Harassed by the plundering of the rapparees who, under the guidance of O'Hogan, effected considerable damage and annoyance on the besiegers whose health and morale were undermined by the interminable raids, by disease in several of its most ghastly forms, by the approach of autumn, the Prince of Orange endeavoured to take Limerick by storm and so bring this costly siege to an end.

Through his glasses Sarsfield saw wool-packs and fascines being conveyed to the trenches, where the grenadiers under General Douglas had the post of honour.

At half-past three in the afternoon these strange-looking soldiers, supported by a large body of horse, rushed from their trenches, crossed the counterscarp and hurled themselves on the breach, vigorously throwing their grenades. The Irish fell back, hotly chased by the foe. But success did not long lie with the English, the Prince of Orange was not there and the wrong order was given, to attack the counterscarp (instead of storming the city); the grenadiers were not supported in their swift advance. The Irish rallied and overpowered the English; Sarsfield, leading in person, animated his men valiantly; even the women joined in the foray, crowding on the breach, hurling stones and broken glass. The Brandenburgers threw themselves to the rescue and had near captured the Black Battery when the magazine exploded.

The Germans wavered before the frightful burst of fire, and Sarsfield charged with every man under his command. After a deadly struggle of three hours the besiegers retreated sullenly, reluctantly to their swampy camp; Limerick was not taken. About the counterscarp were scattered five hundred English dead and more than a thousand wounded, who writhed, moaned, struggled up and sank again, their blood washed away by the rain that with the sunset again fell incessantly.

The Prince of Orange sent a trumpet to ask permission of Boisseleau to bury his dead and fetch his wounded...that was a proud moment for Sarsfield, who was smoke-blackened, ragged, filthy, but animated into high spirits by the hand-to-hand fight.

"He will give it up," remarked Boisseleau with satisfaction; "he will raise the siege." He added that he knew "the plague was increasing in the Williamites' camp, and the ammunition becoming more scanty, and that it would soon be impossible for the oxen to draw off the heavy guns—he must give it up."

"And that will be difficult for a man like that," said Sarsfield exultantly.

The Frenchman made a wry face; he disliked enthusiasm. "But of course the Prince of Orange has conquered Ireland," he remarked dryly. "Another army will be sent in the spring—and—voila!"

Sarsfield remembered the previous night, and the man who had spoken almost these very words; he laughed, wondering why, in all the desperate fighting on the counter-scarp, he had received no more than bruises and scratches.

That night a fireball set alight one of the houses; the flames raged so violently, despite the rain, that it was necessary to blow up some of the other houses to prevent the whole city being burnt.

Exultant from deeds of arms, animated by unreasonable ardour, Sarsfield superintended this work, aided by some of the rapparees to whom this task of lavish destruction was very congenial.

As the stone dwellings blew into the air and the flames shot up the Irish gave cries of excitement and pleasure, and leapt about among the wreckage. The light illuminated the surgeons, chaplains and Dutch soldiers who, during the brief truce, were removing the dead and the dying from the shattered counterscarp; they worked quietly without looking up; Sarsfield watched them curiously.

Presently, amid the sounds of the intermittent explosions and the yells of the rapparees, he heard the rise and fall of a Protestant hymn, resolute, steady, monotonous; these people were not defeated; Sarsfield knew that they might retreat but that they would return.


THE ASSAULT on Limerick which had been, in the words of one of the Williamites, "one continual cloud of smoke which left many of our men powder blind," had been the last effort of the Prince of Orange to take the stubborn city. He had lost over two thousand men in the final attack; it was a severe reverse.

Sarsfield was exultant to hear that the Prince had stood near Cromwell's Fort all the time of the final assault "very much concerned, with a mixture of anger and sorrow in his countenance." Sarsfield watched the besiegers strike their tents and slowly draw off through the rain and mist. All the Protestants followed the army, with them went waggons of wounded and sick; such stores as could not be taken away were blown up; the camp was burnt; behind this screen of fire, the enemy went out of sight to Cahirconlish on the Waterford road.

No sooner had they disappeared than Lauzun and the viceroy sent ammunition and men into Limerick from Galway.

"The powder was needed," said Sarsfield simply. "There were but fifty barrels left in Limerick, and not much of anything else." The Lady Honor wept with relief at the cessation of the cannonading.

Sarsfield was one of those detailed to destroy what remained of the enemy's encampments, to remove the last defilements of the heretics from the spot made holy by association with the blessed Saint Patrick.

He got what satisfaction he could from this check to the Prince of Orange; the defence of Limerick was, after all, a fine feat of arms.

Against great odds his own religious and patriotic fervour had accomplished a task which serious soldiers had told him it was ridiculous to attempt.

Major-General Boisseleau had done his duty, but no more than his bare duty. He would be rewarded by the King of France for what seemed a magnificent effort, but it was to Sarsfield that all was owing. Abandoned by the commander who should have defended her, spoken of with contempt by experienced warriors, Limerick had yet been able to resist veteran troops and one of the finest generals in the world.

But Sarsfield felt a perverse loneliness at the loss of his most worthy enemy; the Prince of Orange would return to England—"a man I understood and who understood me."

Solms and Wurtemburg, left in command of the Protestants, were, to Sarsfield, merely mercenaries. Now the enemy had gone, Lauzun and Tyrconnel returned to Limerick; the latter, always an opportunist, was inclined to regard the Irish cause as now more hopeful; yet he was fast friends with Lauzun who was not at all impressed by the raising of the siege of Limerick and still resolute to take his men back to France together with his field train—"of which (he boasted) he had only lost one gun and that not to the enemy but in a damned bog."

Sarsfield endeavoured to persuade him to remain during the winter in order to meet the English army which would certainly be sent in the spring.

Lauzun, with his petulant air, turned on him roundly: "If there was one to whom I wished the greatest plague in the world I would get him sent to Ireland! It is a desperate business to be in my place which is only fit for some one who has neither interest, nor quiet, nor anything else to lose!"

Sarsfield did not reply, but Tyrconnel, who had lately grown very corpulent and violent, put in that "After all it was a piece of mere good nature on His Christian Majesty's part to keep up a war in Ireland at all, and that for his part he knew that the French officers only came over—to get there, to fight, and to get back again."

"You must admit that it is a barbarous country, lacking everything," added Lauzun, eyeing Sarsfield with irritation, and playing with the George of Charles I, which King James had given him. "Even our privates cannot live like your cow-stealers, on a handful of oatmeal a day, and it is all quite impossible for a gentleman."

"You are delicate," said Sarsfield quietly; "one understands, you want white bread, dainties, clean linen, good wine, clear fires, down beds, soft pretty women, gold to gamble with—but perhaps, monseigneur, if you were fighting for your country, and that down, down, down, you would contrive to do without these things."

The autumn set in with mists, fogs, heavy continual storms of rain and sleet; fighting was nearly over for the year; the various armies went into winter quarters, such French as did not sail with Lauzun went to Carlow, the Dutch and Danes to Clonmel, Cashel and Waterford. The Duke of Wurtemburg and General Scravemore marched to Cork.

Berwick and Sarsfield, who wished to celebrate the end of the campaign by some encouraging and brilliant exploit, endeavoured to take Birr Castle which was occupied by the Inniskillens; General Kirk with the Blues and other regiments came to the relief, and the two Jacobites were obliged to retire, not with a heightening of their reputation.

Sarsfield's friends, the rapparees, whom he had found so useful, were bringing some disrepute on his name; they plundered, too, do what he would, enemy and friend with equal rapacity; he discovered that even his officers were conniving at this rapine and robbery, sometimes actually encouraging it because they themselves were on the same game.

Near Mallow the Duke of Wurtemburg came upon a large body of these rapparees who, encouraged by Sarsfield, had made up a manner of regiment of their own; the Germans inflicted severe punishment on these Irish, killing above three hundred and recovering some rich plunder, including magnificent horses and rich swords; the Williamites, however, continued to be seriously harried by the rapparees who were so skilful that "when they feared detection they would sink down into the long grass, standing corn or other convenient cover, would dismount the locks of their pieces, stow them away in some dry spot or about their clothes, would stop the muzzles of their pieces with corks and the touch-holes with small quills, and then throw them away confidently into a pond so that a hundred of them might be seen without arms looking like the most miserable creatures in the world"; and the Williamites could search them until they were weary before they "could find one gun, yet when the rapparees had a mind to do a mischief they were all ready at an hour's warning." Sarsfield, strictly bred a professional soldier, thought with chagrin of the strict discipline enforced by the Prince of Orange who, in his anger at seeing a poor woman robbed, had struck the offender with his cane, and hanged any man of his who dared to plunder; but he could not blame his poor Irish who, unpaid, despised, starving, hounded, were fighting for their lives, their country, their faith.

General Ginckel, a Dutchman of high repute, was left in command of the English forces; he had not finished the campaign as Sarsfield had too confidently believed.

The Earl of Marlborough landed at the Cove of Cork at the end of September and made a union with the Duke of Wurtemburg; within a few days Cork and Kinsale fell.

Tyrconnel and Lauzun appeared more pleased with this ill news than they were with the raising of the siege of Limerick. Sick with the hardships of Ireland which he detested and longing more with every day to return to France, Lauzun impressed once again on Sarsfield the complete folly of any attempt to further resist the King of England, as he now openly named William of Orange.

Sarsfield found himself heading a "No surrender party" against the followers of the viceroy, who finally decided to sail for France with Lauzun, to put, he said, "the Irish case before King Louis."

He relegated his military authority to the Duke of Berwick with a council of twelve officers to assist him. With a smile of real humour Sarsfield saw his name last on the list of those who were to advise the boy of twenty; there was something childish about the viceroy's jealousy of the one man who could have helped him save Ireland.

"Well," thought Sarsfield with his ardent spirits rising, "Berwick is already a better man than his father, and maybe help will come from France."

He had the name of Governor of Connaught, with what authority he could himself obtain. But he could not disguise from himself the frightful state of the country; there was a dearth of everything; the "gun" or brass money was no longer accepted anywhere; the trade with France which had continued during the war had now to be kept up by means of barter; tallow, cattle, butter, corn and hides being sent in return for other provisions and war material.

Limerick having been battered almost to a ruin, the Jacobites moved their headquarters to Galway, the old, dark, severe Spanish town.

The news from France was bewildering, if amusing. Lauzun had only escaped the Bastille through the pleas of Mary of Modena; King James often waited in vain on the threshold of King Louis's antechambers, and Tyrconnel was reported to be urging Louvois to send supplies to Ireland which was "well worth fighting for."

"Tyrconnel veers with every wind that blows," said Sarsfield. "Who may guess what game he plays now?"

But his own duty was plain; he must continue to animate the party willing to make a last stand for Ireland.

Matters did not go smoothly in Galway; civil affairs were controlled by a council of twelve; faction fights were continuous; the Duke of Berwick was neither of the age nor the authority to quell them. With disarming candour Sarsfield sought out the young Duke and asked of him his intentions, for since he had been in the position of commander-in-chief Berwick had borne himself with his usual haughty, austere reserve.

"You need not, my lord, talk to me of politics," said Sarsfield mournfully. "I am as intimate as you with the various factions and intrigues which distract us. I know that Tyrconnel at one moment urges Louvois to send fresh troops here, and at another moment he is maybe in secret negotiation with the Prince of Orange."

"He is not the only one," said Berwick coolly. "Do you suspect none other?"

"I suspect many," said Sarsfield bitterly, "but I do not know who your grace means in particular."

Berwick replied: "Henry Luttrell."

Sarsfield was startled. He knew the man to be, under his cool, mocking exterior, both sly and ambitious, and he remembered the proposals he had made to both Berwick and himself, but he had not believed he would go so far as negotiations with the enemy...

"You are sometimes simple, sir," added Berwick. "I at least am having Luttrell watched; I may order his arrest at any moment."

"I believe it would be dangerous—the man has a considerable following."

"Why, every jumped-up-Jack hath a considerable following," sneered Berwick. "But you have spoken to me frankly and I would frankly answer. I have sent a deputation secretly to France to explain directly to Louvois, who is more important than King Louis, the Irish point of view. I have ordered these men to urge," he added, with cold pride, "my own inexperience, and that my legal authority is questioned. I have begged them to send a generalissimo of weight and knowledge, some man who will be obeyed and respected by all."

"My lord, your grace has acted nobly."

"I have done my plain duty."

Sarsfield did not answer, he had not known till now where Berwick considered his plain duty lay, he was not an Irishman; it was strange that he should have so correctly gauged the Irish feeling, that he should have had the dignity to understand that he was in an impossible position and the address to try to get out of it with credit.

"It's the only way to get French help," he added; "it's the only way to prolong the war. Now, General Sarsfield, you understand my intentions, I hope you respect my integrity."

"That I have always done."

"I do not think King Louis will utterly break with us, we are but a pawn in his game, yet we are a pawn which may at any moment be useful. I believe he will send a general, also some supplies and money, and I believe with this help, General Sarsfield," added the young man with a brilliant flash in his long eyes, "you and I and the Irish can hold out even against General Ginckel and the Earl of Marlborough. There is much to put right," he added, walking up and down and speaking with an authoritative air. "There is too much pillage; you and your friendship with the rapparees, Sarsfield, are responsible for much of that—"

"I have done what I can," replied the Irishman; "it is almost impossible to control these people or to manage without their help."

"I must warn you," continued Berwick, who seemed to be holding himself well in hand and labouring under the stress of some strong emotion that he would by no means disclose, "that if a generalissimo is sent from France I may be recalled. That will be of little loss to you, you will not miss a friend, but you may miss an ally," he added with his cool smile. "But I, as matters stand, am useless here. I have to learn to obey before I can command. None of you Irish listen to me. I suppose to you I am an alien like my father."

"If you are going, my lord, I am sorry," said Sarsfield. "Indeed, I would sooner have you here than any French general. I must confess that I shall ill brook to act under such a one."

"You will act under Tyrconnel," said Berwick; "he will return."

The two men, who had so much in common, who shared a mutual admiration one for the other, yet who were separated by a great deal, shook hands. Sarsfield remembered how he had clasped hands with the enemy officer who might have been the most redoubtable of his foes—there was something noble in a fine enmity, in the hand-grasp of one disliked but respected and trusted.

"It will be the last stand," remarked Berwick coolly. "If we do not succeed in this next campaign it will be other battlefields for us, my dear Sarsfield"; and he added in a gentle tone: "I am sorry for your wife—I am sorry for all the women."

Young as he was the words did not sound absurd, nor did Sarsfield smile.


THE HOUSE that the Lady Honor had in Galway was a noble mansion but stately and gloomy, too grand, she said, for her state; the dark Spanish city oppressed her; the wild loneliness of the sea flowing into the great bay was in the very air, she thought. But she rallied her spirits and her dignity and lived with some distinction in the grim, austere house. This grandiose dwelling stood at the corner of the street and was handsomely adorned with coats of arms, sculptured brackets and deep mullioned Gothic windows; the entries were wide, the stairs broad, an inner stone courtyard was filled with heavy vases that held the withered flags of what had been summer flowers.

The furniture was sombre, massive; Honor tried to please her husband by making what light and splendour she could in these rooms too large, in these corridors too shadowy. In dresses of pale sarcenet and flowered taffeta with small braids of pearl and little combs of coral she modestly entertained Sarsfield's friends; Galway her brother, Dominic Sarsfield, Lord Kilmallock, her husband's cousin, Berwick, some of the French officers and their ladies, and Colonel Luttrell, who lately professed the warmest friendship for Sarsfield and seemed to have forgotten that they had ever had any cause of difference; and Sarsfield was willing to forget it also. Luttrell was the most entertaining of companions and could make himself as agreeable in a lady's parlour as in a tavern or a guard-room. He took the colour of any society he was in and was as elegant at a tea-drinking as he was lively in a pothouse.

It was difficult to resist such vivacity, such insinuating charm, when all was so sad, uncertain and painful; Luttrell encouraged Sarsfield's natural easy humour and made Honor laugh with his tales which were a little wild and fantastic, but always fitting the austerity of the little dévote, as Luttrell named Honor in his heart.

He did much to enlighten the winter in Galway where the most distinguished of the Irish shut up in Connaught and Clare had crowded.

When the viceroy returned from France in the middle of January the Lady Honor was entertaining a little company in her dark leather-hung withdrawing-room; they were listening to Henry Luttrell's (Brigadier now, and of great influence in court and camp) amusing account of the capture of Charlemont Castle, which had been taken by Schomberg who now lay waiting his monument in St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Charlemont had been held for James by a tough old soldier, Teague O'Regan who, when summoned to surrender, roared a high defiance: "Tell your master he is an old knave and, by St. Patrick, he shall not have the place!" Schomberg replied that Teague should have greater cause for anger before long and sent reinforcements and soon starved out the garrison of eight hundred men...they were allowed to march out with arms and baggage, women and children.

"And then was a sight diverting indeed," smiled Luttrell, "and one very creditable to the spirit of the ancient Irish. Old Teague was mounted upon an old horse and he very lame with the scratches, spavin, ringbone and other infirmities, but withal vicious and would fall a-kicking and squealing if any one came near him...Teague himself had a great hunch upon his back, a plain red coat, an old weather-beaten wig hanging down at full length, a little narrow white beaver cocked up, a yellow cravat-string, but that all one side, boots with a thousand wrinkles in them; and, though it was a very hot day, yet he had a great muff hanging about him, and to crown all, he was almost tipsy with brandy! Schomberg, seeing so many women and children, asked the reason of keeping such a number in the garrison, who no doubt destroyed their provisions? Teague answered that naturally the Irish were very hospitable and that they all fared alike, but the greatest reason was that the soldiers would not stay in the garrison without their wives and mistresses. The duke replied there was more love than policy in it."

"I am sorry for the old man," said Honor, but she laughed; Luttrell had brought gaiety into the shadowed, ancient room.

The gathering was interrupted by the entry of Tyrconnel who had just arrived in Galway, and with odd condescension had come to Sarsfield's house; the company rose to receive him. He seemed in the best of humours and his huge person, still most corpulent, was set off with Paris clothes and a fine great periwig, so that he had a very majestic, stately appearance.

He made himself very affable to the ladies and complimented all on the fashion in which the government had been run in his absence. Sarsfield smiled openly; Tyrconnel must know, he thought, the real state of affairs; for himself, his conscience and his hands were clean.

He had maintained honourable but cold relations with Berwick, the young commander-in-chief, who had continued to accept his position with grace and dignity, holding himself above the quarrels and intrigues of the civil and military councils. Sarsfield regarded the viceroy with some suspicion and dislike, for he half-believed that Tyrconnel had played a treacherous part at St. Germains, thinking only of his own interests and assuring the king and his ministers it was useless to send further help to "a lost island and a cowardly people." But the viceroy, whose character it was difficult for any man to precisely come at, had a way of trimming his sails to the breeze at the moment—he might have honestly tried to get help from France. At the first opportunity he withdrew Sarsfield into a small closet, complimented him again, appeared satisfied with everything and laughed over Lauzun whom he termed "a vicious old monkey," having just escaped the Bastille.

"I thought he was your grace's friend," remarked Sarsfield.

With many full, round oaths the viceroy justified his change of sentiment towards Lauzun; Sarsfield had always admired Tyrconnel's command of flowing invective and blasphemous abuse which he contrived to deliver with a stately and dignified air.

Leaning on the back of a heavy bureau, fine in his purple velvet coat and his fashionable appointments, the viceroy laid bare affairs with what seemed noisy candour—and professed a new and odd friendliness for Sarsfield. He had brought with him Sir Richard Nargle and Sir Stephen Wright entrusted with the king's commands for the civil administration—very able men who would make all go smoothly. In his jovial, hasty manner he seemed to court Sarsfield who, worn and pale with public and private anxiety, looked at him dubiously.

"Well, sir, affairs go very well and you shall have no need to complain of me. I do not admit that we have not had our differences, as honest gentlemen must; there have been times when we have not danced in step."

"I doubt if we ever shall," smiled Sarsfield.

But Tyrconnel motioned him to silence with a wave of his plump hand.

"We must, we must. You have not heard me out." Then his spirits seemed to fail; he stared moodily at the small fire.

Sarsfield had noticed that the viceroy looked ill and as if he had been drinking heavily. He was after all but a wreck of his former magnificence, although so sumptuously decked in French fashions. He spoke again rapidly and, rather to the Irishman's surprise, as if he wished to win Sarsfield to his views. He repeated with oaths (and Sarsfield was almost sure he was lying) that he had done all he could to persuade the King of France to send succours to Ireland. "And he is sending them. I am followed by a frigate and nine other vessels," he boasted, striding about heavily. "And what is in the ships?" demanded Sarsfield. "Provisions, clothes, arms, ammunition, money, money, my dear Sarsfield—"

"But no men?"

"Nay. I myself advised His Majesty that French and Irish soldiers do not agree well, that we have plenty of troops here and gallant fellows, too, if they were well-officered by men like yourself and some experienced Frenchmen."

Sarsfield loathed this flattery; in Tyrconnel's sunken eyes he thought he saw the ancient hatred still gleaming viciously, "like in the eyes of a bad-tempered horse with a hard mouth."

"How much money has His Most Christian Majesty deigned to send?" he asked.

"Eight thousand pounds," said Tyrconnel, and Sarsfield laughed aloud.

"Berwick will be recalled," said Tyrconnel, without noticing the bitter interruption, "and instead we are to have Lieutenant-General St. Rhue, who will bring with him Maréchaux de Camp D'Usson and De Tessé; they have orders to replenish all the stores, to overhaul our defences, to inspect and organise everything—"

"Such inspection and organisation that could be done Berwick and I have done," cried Sarsfield. "Is this man to be put over all of us, this Frenchman?"

"Not over me," replied Tyrconnel, purpling in the face. "I shall remain his superior both in the council and in the camp. I doubt," he added with a chuckle, "if he will brook it very well, for he is a creature of a most imperious temper who has never been controlled. He has earned a hard name by his severity in the Cevennes."

"He does not sound to me the manner of man who will please the Irish."

"No," grinned Tyrconnel, "but it may be that he is the manner of man who will beat the English."

"I hear," said Sarsfield, "that you have also brought a number of lawyers. There have been complaints already about that."


"The Irish believe," smiled Sarsfield with his mournful glance fixed on the gross yet still impressive figure of the Duke of Tyrconnel, "that you have come with no soldiers because you still wish to make a treaty with the English, and that you have brought your lawyers to engross the parchment."

"These tales," returned the viceroy contemptuously, "get abroad with any public man. I wonder that you should listen to them."

"I must listen to everything I hear; my position is one of great difficulty, almost intolerable."

Tyrconnel shrugged and Sarsfield continued:

"You have given great discontent, my lord duke, by ordering the release of those friends of yours, in particular Riverstown and Daly, whom we cast into prison on suspicion that they wished to treat with the English."

"They were falsely charged," blustered Tyrconnel. His friendly manner to Sarsfield, which had been but a gloss over his deep dislike, began to disappear. "It seems to me you wish to pick a quarrel," he added. "I tell you I have been a sick man...You may think yourself very loyal and patriotic in holding Limerick and Connaught, but I tell you it's been nothing to the bedchamber intrigues I have been through in Paris. By St. Patrick! I've had to deal with King Louis and Louvois and King James, who has almost turned dotard monk. Why do you doubt my zeal? Only yesterday when I landed I issued a proclamation inviting the English soldiers to return to His Majesty, offering a reward to each man who does so, promising to send them to France if they wish, and I'll dare swear that a good many will come forward in the hope of getting out of this accursed country."

"You call it an accursed country!" said Sarsfield. "Do not, therefore, my lord, expect me to believe in your patriotism and loyalty. Besides, you talk of offering temptations, enticing bribes—where is the money to make good your promises?"

The Duke of Tyrconnel seemed after all resolute not to be affronted; Sarsfield perceived that his design was to preserve at least an outward amity with himself. He further confirmed this impression by saying that he would reside in Galway where Sarsfield intended to make his winter quarters, in order, as he said, "to prove to the Irish that harmony was restored and that their leaders were acting in concert." Then he added, with a touch of graciousness in his manner:

"I have brought you a reward for your loyalty and gallantry. I have in my pocket your commission as Lieutenant-General and your patent as Earl of Lucan, Viscount Tully and Baron Rosberry."

Patrick Sarsfield flushed. It seemed to him that this was like a sugar-plum offered to a schoolboy. Tyrconnel was quick and adroit enough to see that he had merely offended the man to whom he spoke, and he added courteously:

"It will please my lady your wife and gratify the people to whom you are such an idol—well, well, take it for what 'tis worth."

"I want authority, not commissions and titles," said Sarsfield. "You took good care, my lord duke, to put my name last on the Council—these belated honours come ill from your hands." And he wondered, with a sickening depression of spirit, if Tyrconnel tried to bribe him, if there was some scheme (in which he was to be involved), whereby the rest of Ireland was to be delivered over to the conqueror. No men sent and very little money—Tyrconnel in this mood, sly and cunning—so that one could not get hold of his real intentions—this title, flung as it were in his face—

"You've deserved more, no doubt," remarked the stout duke, stroking his sleek, fleshy jowl with his carefully-kept hand, "but it must suffice for a time, my lord. And now," he added, as if he threw a weight off his broad shoulders, "let us endeavour to make the winter in Galway as gay as the winter in Dublin, and have a few balls and banquets, fetes and entertainments to please the ladies—ay, and to show the accursed Dutchman, Ginckel, that we have a little spirit left."

"My God!" exclaimed Sarsfield, "shall we not rather think to get ourselves in good fettle for the next campaign which I do believe will be the last?"

"Gloom and repining," declared Tyrconnel curtly, "will help nothing. You should take a lesson from the court of France where they contrive to dance and amuse themselves and rule the world as well. And I advise you"—there was a touch of sharpness in his voice—"to prepare yourself, my lord, to get on well with the Marquis St. Rhue; he is a difficult man and I cannot say I, myself, can well endure his damned arrogance, but we must put up with it; in the Cevennes he was known as the scourge of the heretics."

"That is not the manner of man to send to Ireland when the Prince of Orange uses the weapons of conciliation and moderation," exclaimed Sarsfield. "Does this Frenchman think he has come here to flog the Protestants as he did in France?"

"Why, so he does, and a great deal of good it would do 'em!"

Sarsfield left the interview feeling like a man who has been entreated with indulgent irony—a title, a commission as lieutenant-general! He judged himself and weighed up his actions. Well, perhaps he deserved no more. What had he done after all? In so much he had failed. Tyrconnel's words: "It will please my lady your wife," echoed in his ears. No doubt women liked these honours—after all the striving—a toy to please his wife!

Sarsfield took some faint pleasure in informing Honor that she was a countess. She did seem, at first, to glow at the news and to appreciate the kindness with which he gave it; but she did not long conceal from him that she was in panic grief. He knew why. Berwick was departing on the frigate that was bringing the French generals.

"Patrick," she said, (how seldom had she given him his name,) "this is the end for me; you know how I have striven; I have done nothing wrong," she said, with the pitiful futility of a child caught in a mischief, "and it has been hard."

"Hard for all of us," said Sarsfield, "and better he should go."

Honor flung herself on her husband's bosom and clasped him passionately. Her smooth cheek pressed into the gold braid on his uniform, and he held her in an infinite pity and not without a hope that even yet some comfort might come between them, one from the other.

"There is only you now," she said. "There is only you, and I have resolved to think of you as my husband. I have been harsh and cruel and left undone so much I might have done."

"God knows," said Sarsfield, stroking her smooth dark hair; "there are few of us who could not say that, if we were sincere, and I bear you no grievance, my wife."

Honor dried her tears and, with a wild change of mood in itself indicating unhappiness, began to dilate on the gaieties promised in Galway that winter. After all, the prospect was not so dark...The Prince of Orange had left, Marlborough had come and gone...Cork might have fallen and Kinsale, but Galway and Connaught were safe, and they did not lack supplies. She babbled foolishly of these things, but her mention of Cork and Kinsale had reminded him that Irrelagh was in the hands of the enemy, and even while his wife talked to him, voluble in her piteous, hollow gaiety, in her new honour, and pathetically anxious, he thought, to please and conciliate him, he was thinking of the lost Ishma—vanished like a dryad in leaves, like a nymph in foam...Oh, she was safe in some dark defile, some hidden glen...some secret cloister!

Ishma was with him like his sword, never thought of but ever necessary, she had become one with Ireland; never, he believed, could he have achieved this frantic exaltation, this almost desperate agony of patriotism, had it not been for Ishma O'Donaghoe. He was strangely supported in his belief, which was one with his unquestioning faith, that somewhere the girl was safe, hidden and safe...But at times pain would overtake him, seizing, overwhelming the citadel of his fortified heart and mind. So changed became his face that his wife stopped her chattering and asked him sharply, "what ailed him?"

"What is the matter, Patrick? You are not thinking of me, nor Tyrconnel, nor his news, your mind is very far away."

Sarsfield started; Honor, who had been so valiantly talking down her own perturbed heart, stood looking at him in silence; the last January light falling faintly in the narrow street, through the narrow window, showed her slim youth in the pale green silk, the seed pearls with the smooth banded hair, the fine precise face. He did not attempt to deceive her.

"I am very sorry, Honor," he added whimsically. "I am sorry, too, that now we have the title of Lucan we have not the estate."

"'Tis a pity."

"But all may come, there is to be one more throw for it, next spring."

"Would that you were to take the post given to this Frenchman."

"Would I were!" cried Sarsfield, all his soul in his eyes. "But I am only an Irishman." He took Honor's hands in his and added simply: "I wonder if the day will ever come when Irishmen will rule in Ireland. No French, or English, or any foreigners—but we alone in our own country."

"You dream of that, Patrick?"

"Yes, even after centuries of subjection, of contempt, of ruin and slavery, I dream of that. But not for me, I think, nor for my children's children."

Honor trembled and her husband at once assumed a lighter tone.

"Luttrell was here to-day. He is a man I like but do not trust. Never a word before him you would not say before your coachman."

"Oh, he only tells foolish stories that distract, but indeed I am careful."

He left her, he had to attend the viceroy at the council; left her to walk about in the shadows of the dark Spanish mansion and muse over the lover who would so soon leave Ireland and whom it was very unlikely she would see again.

That night of solitude even her prayers did not soothe Honor de Burgh, now Countess of Lucan; she saw a spectre in every shade, heard a cry in every gust of wind, and woke in cold terror to dream she saw the ban sidhe seated on the sill of her narrow window.

"For whom art thou come?" cried the young woman, solitary in her dark-hung bed; she clutched her thin night-gear to her slight bosom and marked with horror the wavering red light cast by the little lamp beneath a shrine set high above the door through the gloom, and the cold creep of the January wind down the chimney which blew the ashes on the hearth.


HORRIBLE were the days, dreadful was the waiting that winter in Galway. Tyrconnel flattered the Earl of Lucan, almost fawned on him, but their public and private enmity continued...Lucan perpetually reproached the viceroy for not making sufficient preparations for the arrival of the new commander-in-chief; he reminded him what an ill effect the letting out of prison of the men who had been treacherously dealing with England had had. Tyrconnel had laughed in his face and said:

"The Duke of Berwick who put them there is himself suspected of corresponding with his uncle, the Earl of Marlborough."

Lucan did not believe this. He went his own way, that of wild action; he seldom attended the balls, the banquets, the gambling parties, the useless, expensive, foolish entertainments where his handsome face and figure, his brilliant presence were so admired and applauded; when he did he was like an automaton, his heart and mind elsewhere. Tyrconnel made little attempt to control him, no attempt to support him; with an army largely of his own raising Lucan defended the passes of the Shannon, now here, now there, with his rapparees, his horse, his almost unarmed volunteers, lacking artillery, lacking powder, lacking all but the staunch fortitude, the flame of ardour which is all; he kept Douglas, Kirke, Lanier and Tettau at bay, he fed his men on corn cunningly buried, he mounted them on horses stolen in raids from the enemy; he took twenty-two mounts from General Lanier's stables under his very nose; he worried Ginckel himself, the cautious Dutchman safe in his winter quarters at Mullingar...

Always swift in action, kept by the rapparees accurately informed of the movements of the English, he galloped from post to post, Toby O'Hogan usually by his side, guarding the great noble river, strengthening guards, entrenching positions, protecting the very heart of truth the governor of Connaught.

Tyrconnel, who held that there should be no fighting in the winter, smiled offensively through his flatteries, and said:

"My lord, this is freebooters' behaviour; you should wait till St. Rhue comes in May."

Lucan did not answer; he was absorbed in watching for a chance to take the offensive against Kirke or Lanier...he seldom came to Galway where the mad gaieties of the garrison offended him; he had fixed his headquarters at Athlone.

But he left Honor, under the protection of the viceregal court, in the old Spanish mansion, and now and then visited her; riding in muddy, rain-soaked; with great haste and with an escort of Irish, scarf, hair and sash blowing in the harsh winds from the Atlantic, a superb figure taking heed of none save those willing to fight with him, disdainful of the factions, the intrigues, the party spites that seethed among the Jacobites.

Once he galloped into Limerick and found his wife abroad card-playing at Galway's lodgings; he followed her there and strode into the heated room, bringing with him the scent of the rain, the bog, the frost. And all stared.

"Honor," said Lucan, ignoring them all, and his pale young wife rose up from her stool beneath a garlanded wall mirror.

"Have you come home, Patrick? Will you stay tonight?"

"Nay, Lanier is moving on Lanesborough. I have no time at all—for a word only, my dear."

She followed him, too proud to make excuses, out between the gamblers and idlers. But one there was not minded to let him go so easily; Madame de Bonnac, leaning across a card-table glittering with real gold (part of the French hoard), caught him by the coat lapel as he passed and asked him earnestly, so that he was forced to look down and regard her beauty, "why he was so stern and hasty?"

"If you have a secret grief perhaps I can help you."

Brigadier Henry Luttrell and Lord Galmoy, who were in her company, laughed, whispering comments on "great rapparees and muddy cow-stealers."

"Do you try to make me publicly ridiculous, madam?" asked Lucan without bitterness; he gently loosened the lovely fingers that held his coat.

But she rose and followed him and his wife and spoke again by the doorway, where there was a little space so that they could not easily be overheard. She seemed in a wild, emotional mood. She challenged him, asking him to his face if he could suppose that she had ever forgotten him, if he imagined that she had ever given up hope "of being your friend, my lord."

"Your wife," she added, with a boldness that was not without its generosity, "is nothing to me, nay, nor that other girl."

Lucan smiled without replying; he considered her beauty, as something cold, almost repellent, a blossom without root or fruit. But she had her heart, her feelings, it seemed. She broke into checked tears and turned away from him, a stately, voluptuous woman overcome by what looked like heartbreak; he watched her return to the card table and fling about the gold pieces with Luttrell, laughing loudly, then he followed his wife from the room.

"If I had known that you were coming I had been at home," said Honor.

"It matters not. I cannot say when I may come or when I may go. Tyrconnel gives you news?"


"So I thought. I am come to tell you, Honor, my poor child, that the Marquis de St. Rhue is due in a week or so, and that now 'tis certain Berwick will return to France on the frigate that brings him."

He was frightened by her face and turned aside.

"Why do you tell me this?"

"You might hear it in company from others. Have you seen him much of late?"

"Indeed, no. They say he now minds his youthful pleasures more than his duties."

"But you—still?"

"Yes. Always, I think. I would I had not this tedious fidelity."

"Say farewell to him, Honor, in private, when you will. If you wish I will bid him wait on you."

"You came to Galway for this?"

"Yes, maybe I shall not be able to come again before Berwick leaves."

"Thank you. Must you go so soon—now?"

"Why, you don't want my company?"

"Yes. Oh, a great deal. Look, there is a little fire here, let us sit by it but half an hour."

He indulged her out of pity for her loneliness, grief and youth, out of respect for her valiancy. The rain beat on the small panes of the window hidden by the red curtains; the noise of the gamblers could be faintly heard; Honor shivered, sat on a stool near the hearth, and put her little feet near the feeble embers.

"The young gentlewoman—you have not heard of her?"

"No, my dear. But I have no fears."

She looked at him and envied, as Olivia Joyce had once envied, any woman whom he might love; though he wore his uniform as lieutenant-general in His Majesty's Forces he had no longer the spruce look of a soldier on parade; but seemed more a man acting on his own authority, having many to obey him; she could see that he cared very little for Tyrconnel; "The viceroy gives me a thousand caresses," he said, "but I do not trust him," and he added that he was himself sending despatches direct to Louvois.

Generously responding to her unfeigned interest, he told her something of his work on the Shannon...he had hoped to cross the river and attack the English in the rear but had had to dash to support O'Hara attacked at Jamestown by Douglas who aimed at Sligo. "And I can't rely on Clifford; he is one of Tyrconnel's men, he ought to have been made a major-general, that would have kept him quiet; twice he has asked permission to throw up his commission; I fear he'll abandon Ballymore, I must get him removed."

"Is that place important?"

"Ay, dear heart, it supports a county of twenty thousand peasants with their cattle, besides several regiments; it threatens the garrisons of Mearescourt and Streamtown. When the campaign opens it will be the first place Ginckel will attack. I must," he added restlessly, "get there at once; Clifford has burnt a castle near Mullingar that I wished to hold, and without orders from me." He glanced down at his wife's pale, intent face and laughed. "What is all this hard business to thee?"

"I am sorry," she said, with a glow of real championship, "that this Frenchman will come to supersede you in what you do so well."

"Why, so am I; if I were in the place the Marquis de St. Rhue will have!" He paused, then added simply: "There was a riot in Limerick the other day, the men wanted to seize Tyrconnel and make me commander-in-chief—I had but to speak the word."

"And you would not?"

"I would not."

"Out of loyalty to that old cowardly king who ran away?"

"Out of loyalty to loyalty, Honor." He smiled brilliantly. "You'll understand?"

"Yes, but it is hard. This new Frenchman will be difficult like De Rosen and Lauzun?"

"I hope not. I must pray not; I mean to serve him zealously. I have written to Louvois begging that he be sent with full independance of Tyrconnel who, if he has the least authority, is capable of spoiling the designs of the best captain in Europe."

"You know nothing of him?"

"Why, nothing. We never met in France. But I must ask him to trust me, to be my friend. Do you think I can, Honor?"

"You can win any one whom you choose," replied his wife, speaking truthfully; she leant back, heavy with lassitude; he hardly heard what she said; his wide clear eyes were turned towards the embers.

"If I had but some artillery, or more matchlocks—but those miserable Turkish pieces mounted on cart wheels!"

A stronger gust blew the rain with a sharper violence against the curtained pane; an opened door allowed a shriller burst of merriment to be heard from Galway's guests...

"I must be gone," said Lord Lucan.

As he bent to kiss his wife she saw, twisted under the laces on his wrist, a rough rosary of bog oak, with a plain crucifix such as the peasants used attached...she was sure that one or both of these pious objects had belonged to Ishma...

His lips were cool and firm on her cheek; his hair, unfashionably buckled back, fell over his shoulder and brushed her right hand...she wished him "good fortune," and when he had gone she returned silently, without taking leave of any, to the old, shadowed, Spanish house near the market-place.

Before Sarsfield rode back to Athlone he went quietly under the rain which was shot by the beams of a rising moon, to the fishing village of Cloddagh, for no reason save that he loved the place on the noble bay of Galway, which stretched as far as the Isles of Arran, loved the sullen, massive proud people, speaking their ancient language, resenting the stranger; loved the haughty solitude of this grand coast line "where you can hear no tongue but the native tongue and can believe that Ireland belonged to the Irish."

The strong mighty man sat his horse so sunk in musing that he might have been a statue of one of the ancient heroes; the boom of the surf was in his ears, he felt the salt on his lips, the wind rushing by, the rain falling on his ungloved hands.

The intermittent moonlight flushed with silver the crests of the waves and showed a glimpse of an horizon infinitely far away; the man who watched and listened was snatched above mischance and, in a sad rapture, content. Some of the fisherfolk, taking their nets from the night boats, saw the magnificent horseman staring at the sea, his red and gold dimmed in the moonlight, and crossed their brows, thinking him one of the hidden folk made visible; they thought the still horseman beautiful, audacious, formidable and dominant; but when he turned away he bowed his head beneath the burden of a dream.


PATRICK SARSFIELD, Lord Lucan, guarding the passes of the Shannon, became more and more obsessed with the thought of the arrival of the Marquis de St. Rhue and the personality of the new commander-in-chief of the forces in Ireland on whom, he felt, so much of the success of this last campaign depended; during his marches and countermarches, his brushes with Lanier, Kirke and Douglas, he considered deeply in his heart the man who held the post which he would have given half his life to have held; he wondered if St. Rhue was as difficult as De Rosen or Lauzun; the new general had a reputation for haughty courage and unbending pride, for cruelty and sternness; he was one of King Louis's most experienced generals, a man in the prime of life, for whom the most brilliant future was predicted—but what did any one know of him?

"If he should hate me," thought Lucan, "as De Rosen and Lauzun hated me, then I and, I fear, the country are lost."

He resolved that he would do his utmost to conciliate, to bring himself into the good graces and favour of this man, the new actor on the crowded scene of Ireland who was to mean so much to her future.

"I will do anything," he resolved. "I will put pride under foot, I will serve him loyally, if he can but best the English there will be no limit to what I will endure from him."

That Tyrconnel, nominally the Frenchman's superior, already disliked him depressed Lucan's spirits, but he hoped to circumvent the viceroy and to ingratiate himself by every means in his power with the foreigner; it was not the first time that he had had to coin his personality to gain his ends, to use all his charm, all his gifts of persuasion, all the graces of his fine presence to win some one who might be useful for Ireland...

He went so far as to endeavour to persuade Tyrconnel to give "the Frenchman a free hand, to stand back and in every way flatter him."

But the viceroy swore, with a gust of oaths, that he would see "the blasted Frenchman up to his neck in a bog before he cringed to him."

"Your grace warned me not to interfere with him."

"That's different. I'm the king's deputy. I'll not give an inch."

"You'll be in a peck of troubles, sir, if the man is half as arrogant as is reported. Good God! How can one govern a country with these factions?"

Hast ever seen a country governed without, my lord? Wilt thou stand down?"

Tyrconnel smiled cunningly.

"Ay, I will—I'll lavish on him all the flatteries he needs, if he'll get us together to beat the English—do you think I wish to ferment broils? I'll stand down, never fear."

The viceroy, who seemed out of pure idleness or malice to wish to raise a discord between Lucan and St. Rhue, added that the Irishman "would not even be second-incommand, the Chevalier de Tessé would have that position."

"I care nothing, I will do anything he bids. Why should we not work together? He can have no cause in the world to dislike me."

"He is a very overbearing, passionate man," said Tyrconnel, as coolly as if those defects could never be laid to his own charge. "The very swagger of him is enough to give an honest fellow the bile."

"I'll endure it," smiled Lucan.

He was indeed prepared to put more labour and pains into gaining St. Rhue than he had even put into winning a woman; he ingenuously reminded himself that he had never found it difficult to get on with his fellows of any nationality.

He did all in his power to make matters smooth for the coming of the Frenchman, and watched Ginckel who surely, cautious as he was, would with the first fine weather attack Ballymore. The spring was late, as the last autumn had been early; the swamps and bogs, marshes and overflows of the Shannon between Galway, Athlone and Limerick were slow in drying; the winds and rains were keen and violent, the first leaves on the bowed, swaying trees were drowned or blasted as they appeared; the land heaved with the crawlings of disease and misery as a corpse will heave with the writhing of vermin.

Madame de Bonnac, vowing she was weary of the bitter Atlantic gales, came, dainty in a carriage above the befouled mud from Galway to Athlone, from nothing she seemed able to create an illusion of glory and beauty; she rode about Athlone on a white jennet, a handkerchief dipped in vinegar at her nostrils.

She found, after many endeavours, occasion to speak to Lucan as he came and went on his desperate affairs; she set the jennet across his path as he rode with Colonel O'Hara and Toby O'Hogan towards the gates.

Lucan reined up and gave her his wide stare, as if he had forgotten her existence.

She broke at once into her business, as if she feared he would ride past.

"The Marquis de St. Rhue will be here in a fortnight. I know him very well."

Lucan paused, interested.

She looked up, cool, smiling; there was nothing about her of the sorceress; she seemed able, when she wished, to obscure all that was dangerous in her beauty.

There was no extravagance in her carriage, no flaunting in her habit; yet in all she said and did was something ambiguous.

"Eh, well, madam," smiled Lucan, "tell me of St. Rhue."

Madame de Bonnac's smooth complacency made it almost impossible to believe (he thought) that she was the same woman who had so passionately disclosed her utmost soul to him. Deftly and eagerly the lady described the new commander-in-chief:

"At one time he was most intimate with my husband, they were together at Saint Cyr...He is severe, haughty, a peer of France, very brilliant..."

"He must be," said Lucan firmly, "my friend."

Madame de Bonnac laughed; he wondered why she should laugh at such a moment; perhaps, underneath her half-contemptuous calm her nerves were giving way through the long strain of war and intrigue...

"Is he a man," he continued, "who could, if he would, beat the English? Though the Earl of Marlborough hath gone General Ginckel is not contemptible."

"Yet, I think if he wished, St. Rhue could beat him." She smiled as if she spoke to a child, promising him a toy. "How do you feel in your new honours, my lord?" she asked. "You have deserved them long since." She laughed again. "Do you remember the mansion of the McCarthys? I did not know then that I was refusing an earl and a fortune. We women are often fools."

"The fortune has gone," he reminded her. "I have nothing but my soldier's pay. The Prince of Orange will put me on the roll of outlawry. Lucan and all my demesne are in the enemy's hands."

"But if St. Rhue," simpered Madame de Bonnac, "were to beat them you would have that and more returned to you." She added, swinging a heart-shaped crystal, hard and brilliant, which hung about her bosom, "I believe you are the kind of man who will never realise how much a simpleton you have been."

"Will that matter?" asked Lucan.

He added, with maddening kindness, as if he feared her not at all:

"Why do you stay in Ireland, madam? It becomes daily less fit for a woman."

"Oh, I must be near my husband—my duty is there."

She glanced at him without meaning and went her way through the filthy streets, very nice and dainty, her aromatics to her nostrils.

Tyrconnel, with what pomp he could muster, went to meet St. Rhue when he landed, after long delays by storms, early in May; Lucan was not invited to accompany this expedition; he hastened to Limerick where, like thunder heralding a storm, the fierce complaints of the new commander-in-chief had preceded him; he had objected to everything and already quarrelled with Tyrconnel.

Brigadier Luttrell, who had a few weeks ago unaccountably gone to France, had returned with St. Rhue and, with his wicked habit of being able to enjoy himself anywhere and at any one's expense, gave an amusing account of the new general to Lucan.

"Faith, he has brought material for twenty thousand mouse-coloured tunics for the Irish whom he has heard are miserably naked. Oh, he hopes to see as fine an army, created out of your cow-stealers, as ever paraded at Versailles."

"Your jest is sour," said Lucan; "the misery of the people is beyond belief—"

"—and help. Whose fault is that?"

"What else has St. Rhue brought—with his escort of thirty-five ships?"

Luttrell replied that the French had brought arms, food, brandy...

"We need them," replied Lucan simply. "Most of us are ragged and starving. What of this man himself?"

"He is one of the best captains the French have—Rosen and Lauzun are amateurs to him; the Marquis d'Usson and the Chevalier de Tessé are good men. There are, too," added Luttrell maliciously, "civilians sent to look after the money and stores—they think us a lot of bedraggled thieves."

Lucan took no notice of Luttrell's wild talk; he made all efforts to give the French a worthy reception in Limerick which remained half-battered to ruins from the siege. He found that he missed the presence of the young Duke of Berwick; austere, cold, difficult to read as that youth was, at least there had been about him, as there was about the Lady Honor, something steadfast and trustworthy. Lucan felt that, as Berwick had himself said, he had lost, if not a friend, at least an ally. But Berwick could not come again to Ireland, his interest in the island had been but transitory; after all, he had the whole of Europe out of which to carve his errant fortune...

"I shall not meet him again," thought Lucan, "unless all is lost and I, too, am forced to France."

The French commander-in-chief, embittered by long beating about the dangerous Kerry coast in a troopship, had not hesitated immediately to tell Tyrconnel to his face how disgraceful he considered the state of everything; he had not accepted with Lauzun's courtly indifference the condition of the roads, of the troops sent to meet him, of the depots which he passed on his way. He was reported, Lucan heard, to have said sharply to Tyrconnel:

"I see, my lord duke, you have made no provision for this campaign."

"It is for you, monseigneur," Tyrconnel had replied insolently, "to make up for lost time."

The Frenchman had retorted without ceremony:

"I begin to perceive I have come to a country where time is not considered a valuable commodity."

Burning with zeal and ardour, sick with anxiety to gain the friendship or, at least, the trust of this important man, Lord Lucan met St. Rhue after his formal entry into Limerick.

The Irishman was instantly impressed by the magnificence of the figure who came forward (supported by his brilliant, insolent staff) obviously a step or two before Tyrconnel, taking as his right full precedence.

Charles Calmotte, Marquis de St. Rhue, was a man almost of Lucan's own height and superb bearing; all the generals of the King of France were chosen, not only for their useful qualities in the field, but for grandeur and majesty in their deportment, and these qualities Lieutenant-General the Marquis de St. Rhue possessed in full; he was eminently fitted to shine on the parade ground or at the head of troops. His breeding and training had all combined to enhance his natural advantages; he was a fighting general, but had served under the famous tactician, Catinat.

His sumptuous uniform, the gorgeous honours dazzling on his breast, the excellence and precision of every detail all helped in the magnificence of the effect he created; a critical eye might have judged—"a figurehead, a coffee-house fop!" But there was a pride of port, a haughtiness of gesture, an abruptness of speech which could belong to no puppet courtier or man of fashion.

The Frenchman was in the flower of his days, about Lucan's own age, with well-formed features, olive complexion, black hair and a powerful glance. His whole expression was one not only of intense arrogance, but of utter wilfulness; he made no attempt to disguise his disdain for all who did not belong to the proud aristocratic military caste of France. He had brought with him four valets, a perruquier, a train of servants; he was shaved to the blood, powdered, perfumed, curled, and Lucan, whose red coat, for all Honor's care, showed signs of the ravages of the winter's fighting, whose linen was plain, who had no jewelled orders, whose sword was cheap, looked shabby beside him; but the Irishman, in his ingenuous, zealous desire to please, took no thought of his disadvantages.

But when formal salutations were exchanged Lucan was as startled as confounded to observe that the new commander-in-chief regarded him with what seemed a cold hostility.

"Now what can he have heard of me?" he thought, overwhelmed by this new misfortune. "Can he dislike the mere look of me?" Abrupt and cold as the Frenchman's manners were to all it was not possible to mistake the extra edge of enmity with which he regarded Lucan.

After the curtest greeting he began a complaint.

"I believe, my lord"—he spoke in careful English—"that you have much influence with the Irish troops. How is it possible then that they are not in a better condition?"

Lucan, for all his desire to please, could not bring himself to instant flattery after this rebuke. He answered in French, his fluency in that language appeared to annoy St. Rhue.

"I have had, monseigneur, to take the material at my hand. You yourself will find you are obliged to summon to your standard men you would no doubt consider as robbers and murderers—"

"I have already," put in Tyrconnel pompously, "issued a proclamation directing all the rapparees in Connaught to join the army without delay...And you, I fear,"—he addressed St. Rhue—"will find it necessary to second me. You must also order the men to drive with them all the cattle of private owners found on the line of march to enable you to maintain your soldiers, for you have not, I am sorry to see, brought with you sufficient provisions to last even the first part of the campaign."

He smiled provokingly, ready for any quarrel, and St. Rhue's expression said that he considered this mere insolence on the part of the viceroy. He turned on his heel, and said with disgust:

"I have been informed that only six boats are available for the work of conveying stores from Limerick to Athlone. Neither water carriage nor land carriage is effective. Gentlemen"—he addressed both Lucan and Tyrconnel—"do you realise that the delay in forwarding supplies will prevent the Irish army taking the field early? I have come here to act promptly, I have come here to end the campaign and, if possible, the war. The English are already gathering their forces on the other side of the Shannon, reviewing troops, advancing on Ballymore—"

"You tell me what I know, monseigneur," said Lucan civilly. "I hoped that you had come to correct many of these disorders, and that we might work together in amity."

The Marquis de St. Rhue stared at him without replying.

"Unless I am bewildered in my wits," said Lucan to himself, "it is hate that I read in that man's eyes. Now, dear God in heaven, what can be the cause?"

With his dashing and audacious impetuosity he longed to inquire at once if there was any reason why the new commander-in-chief should dislike him, but reminded himself of his resolution to win this man—"and win him I will, however difficult he makes it."

The Frenchman had further complaints to put forward:

"The Irish troops were disgracefully equipped, the very officers in rags, all the French money would go in mere doles to relieve beggary; as for the condition of the country he had not believed such a place could exist outside hell." He swung round on Tyrconnel and broke out about the army lists supplied by the viceroy; there were twelve thousand more on paper than in reality: "How did his grace account for that?"

Tyrconnel was not perturbed; he was always ready to hold his own in any dispute, and retorted boldly that he "had not allowed for the four thousand men captured at Cork, and as for the others, they had followed that double-damned rogue, Baldearg O'Donnell, who had been sent by the devil from Spain and had slunk into the wilds of Sligo with a swarm of rapparees at his heels, and who would obey none, declaring himself to have a better right to be King of Ireland than either the Stewart or the Dutchman."

"Grand Dieu!" cried St. Rhue furiously; "is this what I am to contend with?"

"And worse," said Tyrconnel smoothly. "But, surely, all our difficulties will disappear now we have a fine, clever, bold man like yourself to lead us."

Lucan, anxious to placate, put in some more sober account of the state of affairs; he mentioned what had been done during the winter in defending the passes of the Shannon, in harrying the enemy; two thousand cavalry were mounted on horses taken in these raids—

St. Rhue interrupted scornfully:

"These are the exploits of banditti, mere robbing and slaying."

"Well," said Lucan good-humoredly, "where is the difference, monseigneur, between your troops flogging and hanging the heretics in the Cevennes, and my poor fellows killing them in Connaught?"

"All the difference," replied St. Rhue, without humour. "One is discipline, the other is not."

"You won't find," chuckled Tyrconnel, "that discipline goes down very well in Ireland."

St. Rhue flared out on him.

"Grand Dieu! what I say goes down—if it needs a ramrod behind it; learn that first and last, my lord duke."

The viceroy purpled as if on the verge of a seizure, but Lucan adroitly stepped before him, forcing the Frenchman's attention on himself.

"We are prepared to make any sacrifice," he said gravely. "I have done what I could—a better man had done better; we are in your hands entirely. No pretensions, no factions that I can prevent (and I have some influence) shall vex you, monseigneur; command me in all." This generous candour did not disarm the Frenchman.

"Oh, you," he muttered, and glanced back over his heavy gold epaulette at his staff as if he invited a scornful survey of the Irishman; "a leader of bog trotters!"

The insolence was too stressed to be overlooked; a faint colour overspread Luck's pale features, he replied steadily:

"Yes, I, Patrick Sarsfield of Lucan, Earl and Lieutenant-General in His Britannic Majesty's army, I know a little of soldiering—I also was at St. Cyr. I have served under Luxembourg. I know a great deal of Ireland, my help is not to be despised, General the Marquis de St. Rhue."

The Frenchman made a violent effort to control himself; conscious that he had gone too far, he tried to speak more civilly; but there could be no mistaking the hatred in his narrow dark eyes.

"And why?" thought the Irishman in misery. "Why?"


GENERAL THE MARQUIS DE ST. RHUE set himself vigorously to make the best of what he considered the atrocious materials at his command. It was a dreadful spring; the French squadron under the Chevalier de Nesmond had to ride in the mouth of the Shannon waiting for the gales to cease. All efforts were concentrated on the river line, which was bridged only at the French headquarters at Limerick, at Athlone and Ballagher.

General Ginckel proceeded with infinite precaution towards Ballymore; he had, to Lucan's chagrin, discovered the importance of that place, and it would be impossible to spare men to defend it.

Lucan had relinquished his command of the Shannon passes and his governorship of Connaught without complaint; he received neither reward nor gratitude for his winter's strenuous work, and was coldly subordinated not only to St. Rhue but to De Tessé.

His relations with the commander-in-chief were his principal interest; he was puzzled, amazed, disheartened by the Frenchman's active enmity, but he was too single-hearted to be angry; he watched and waited, doing all he could to forward the opening of the campaign, already late.

St. Rhue did not have all his own way; on every possible point Tyrconnel opposed him; he was, compared with St. Rhue (St. Ruth to the Irish and English) no soldier, but he had his rights, his dignities and opinions, and stuck to all with a stoutness that Lucan, much as he disliked him, secretly admired.

This inflamed St. Rhue almost to madness, but his control was admirable, and he was a fine routine worker, superbly trained, experienced, active, laborious and careful; he therefore absorbed himself in his task.

He found that the infantry which he reviewed twenty thousand strong, were in no such ill-condition as he had feared, and he was diligent in providing them with gray tunics, and the white Bourbon cockade.

The lack of horses was bitter to him, and he sharply rebuked Lucan for allowing "animals to perish of neglect during the winter."

"Many human beings perished the same way, sir."

St. Rhue sneered; he remarked, "A lot of useless people have been kept needlessly alive." He showed Lucan a report from the Marquis d'Usson, who had reviewed fifteen battalions at Killaloe—"Their discipline was poor and the lack of arms at least a hundred a battalion."

"Ginckel," said Lucan, steadily refusing to take offence, "has also to deal with rough, untrained recruits; his infantry is inferior to ours."

"But his cavalry is four times as strong, and he has a very good artillery."

"We must do what we can, monseigneur, and avoid cabals which break out fresh every day."

St. Rhue did not reply to that; he came out with another furious comment on the Irish; the regiments complained about wearing the mouse-coloured tunics and white cockades.

"Grand Dieu! it is a lunatic people! There was the same trouble with Mountcashel's Brigade in Savoy, the Irish wanted red coats and a flag with St. George's Cross and the Lion—do they want to fight under the standard of their oppressors, the English?"

Lucan winced.

"'Tis pitiful, these poor Irish—" He caught himself up, identified himself proudly with the despised, the conquered. "We, I should say, have no flag of our own. These men think the English standard is theirs." Erect before the Frenchman's sneer, he added: "One should respect so much misery."

St. Rhue did not answer, but stared as if he had forgotten what was being spoken of; his lustrous southern eyes were slumbrous with dark thoughts as he gazed at Lucan as if he would read his secret heart.

Lucan, quick, fine, subtle, thought:

"He is not happy, he has some private anguish, there is more than Tyrconnel, more than the war tormenting him, but why this hatred of me?"

For Lucan could not doubt hatred when he saw it any more than he could doubt love.

St. Rhue recovered himself and looked away.

"We must rally yet some more horses."

Lucan brought himself to ask Tyrconnel what inner fury "beyond loathing of us all" was driving the commander-in-chief?

The viceroy said that St. Rhue, a very passionate man, bold and extravagant in his amours, was probably tormented by some woman—"a mistress who would not follow him here, or some creature dead or lost."

Lucan thought of Ishma, and for the first time could feel some sympathy for the Frenchman; but day by day he saw himself deprived of all effective power and this, though many an Irish officer had gone to St. Rhue and said to the brilliant Frenchman's face:

"I care nothing for the King of France nor for the King of England, I obey Patrick Sarsfield. If he were to tell me to cut the throat of any man in the army I would do it—"

No one could tell Lucan why St. Rhue should have this particular dislike to him; all agreed he was a man who would ill brook any manner of interference, most said that he was probably jealous of Lucan's prestige and influence. But Brigadier Henry Luttrell remarked casually: "There is a good reason why the Marquis de St. Rhue does not like you and will not trust you, but I doubt if you will ever know what it is."

Lucan was inclined to take this as mere impertinence; yet he had a secret dread of Luttrell, a growing mistrust, a deepening suspicion of his goodwill, his good faith. As far as he knew Luttrell had never harmed him, never thwarted or intrigued against him, though he had not been in his confidence since he had refused to accede to Luttrell's desire to make of him a puppet rebel.

But he sometimes remembered those threats in Madame de Bonnac's Dublin house and, though he was himself utterly fearless, yet he would then feel a startled dread that in some way Luttrell was his enemy and would interfere in his work for Ireland.

However Lucan might burn under the evidences of the new commander-in-chief's antagonism, he saw that the Frenchman continued both courageous and active; he did his best to repair the faults of Tyrconnel's administration though it was obvious that, imperious as he was, he suffered bitterly from the advice, suggestions and even orders of the viceroy.

Lucan eagerly seconded him. He thought: "What does it matter if he hates me or I hate him, this campaign is Ireland's last stand."

St. Rhue, haughty and stern as he was, neither giving nor asking a confidence, was not beloved by the Irish (whom he hung by the dozen for light offences,) although he was supposed to have been popular with the exiles in France.

By early June there was no doubt that General Ginckel intended to assault Athlone; St. Rhue laughed at the Dutchman's insolent presumption, and made his final preparations to take the field.

His dislike of Lucan and his unswerving intention of setting that officer down on every occasion could no longer be overlooked by any; even his constant quarrels with Tyrconnel had not the deadly spite of his constant slightings of Lucan.

"You say you know," Lucan demanded in despair of Luttrell. "Tell me then, whatever it is, it must be set right." Luttrell smiled, squinted and laughed the matter off. "No one will tell you, my dear Lucan," he declared. But the Irishman swore to himself that he would know if he had to challenge St. Rhue to his face.

General Ginckel was in the field first; regarding Ballymore as lost, St. Rhue proceeded to protect Athlone. Since his arrival in Ireland he had worked hard and got his men into some semblance of the armies he was used to command, but he was intensely galled by lack of artillery and horses, and seemed consumed by some hidden grief or rage which could only be assuaged by fierce action; nor was his humour improved by the viceroy's determination to accompany the army and even to assume the airs of commander-in-chief; the affair had a laughable side.

"But their comedy," thought Sarsfield sadly, "is Ireland's tragedy."

The French commander marched with twenty thousand foot and five thousand horse from Loughrea towards Athlone, and encamped at Ballinasloe on the River Suck.

He had hardly got his men under canvas before he heard that Ballymore (which was defended by about a thousand men under Colonel Alec Bourke) had surrendered, and was already fortified and garrisoned by Ginckel.

Lord Lucan, burning for action, did all in his power to bring himself to the favourable notice of the commander-in-chief; he was wrought to a pitch of anxious expectancy which was almost unendurable; the full extent of the miseries of his most wretched country was daily under his eyes.

St. Rhue had left behind on the banks of the Shannon all the old men, women and children who had gathered in the protecting wake of the army; all through the winter the Irish had sent all their people useless for war over to the English side of the Shannon, to live or die as best they could; Ginckel could not feed this multitude and had endeavoured to drive them back. Lucan heard daily reports from the rapparees of how these wretches, crazed with hunger, were still crowding round Ginckel's camp devouring the refuse thrown away by the soldiers, "falling on dead horses, crawling with vermin as the sun parched them, while the infants sucked those carcases with as much eagerness as if they were their mothers' breasts."

As the hideous June suddenly burned into great heat, Ginckel crept steadily onwards till his outposts neared the Suck. Lucan found himself still ignored, frustrated, set down at every turn. As the time for action neared, the Irishman, overborne by sorrow, went to St. Rhue, and asked him: "What cause for offence he had found in him that he so refused to take advantage of his experience and his services?"

St. Rhue stared; his English was limited to a few sentences. Lucan continued in French:

"Are you afraid of me, monseigneur, because I am too popular with the Irish? Believe me, I have refused many insidious rogues who would set me up as a rebel against His Majesty. I have no thought but loyally to fulfil my commission."

Saint Rhue looked at him steadily, and replied:

"It would have a better effect, my lord, if you were to wear the uniform of the King of France, you would easily get a commission."

Lucan wore the scarlet of the English guards. He heard in this remark a direct insult, but he replied quietly:

"I serve not the King of France, but the King of England."

"Well, serve him," said St. Rhue, "I put nothing in your way."

"You give me no help," cried Lucan passionately. "Do you not understand what this campaign is to me?"

The Frenchman replied with increasing coldness:

"It is something also to me. My reputation stands on it. You do not think that I wish to return to Versailles as Lauzun returned—recalled, disgraced? Believe me, I can beat General Ginckel and without your assistance or that of any Irishman."

Ignoring Lucan's appeal he began to break out against Tyrconnel, who had had the impertinence to pitch his tent in the encampment, to thrust his presence on the army councils, to give advice to him, St. Rhue.

The commander-in-chief spoke with the hard arrogance of the efficient, he knew his business completely, which was more (he was sure) than could be said of any Irishman; but Lucan took the part of the viceroy, much as he was forced to mistrust him; he knew that the opportunist is often right.

"Tyrconnel," he said as suavely as possible, "is right about the entrenchment on the south of Athlone, that should be levelled."

"Tyrconnel is right about nothing, Lord Lucan."

"Well, sir, he hath a large following and I hope you won't push matters to a pinch with him—we are promised a decisive action, and 'tis the last moment for a divided camp."

"The Duke of Tyrconnel must return to Limerick," insisted St. Rhue, with a face of adamant. "I thought you were his opponent, now you speak for him, how can I trust any of you?"

Lucan was silent in sheer despair; he felt that the hard, pragmatical Frenchman would never believe any one save one so dull as to be incapable of any invention; what was presented to him with any subtlety, or fire, or imagination he utterly discredited; he could no more understand the Irish temperament than he could speak their language, and what he could not understand he utterly ruled out from the scheme of the universe.

He stiffly waited for Lucan to take his leave but the Irishman, struggling with himself to maintain calm and civility, tried to put forward the viceroy's side of the matter.

"Even if I am against him I can see his point of view—you can't humiliate the man before the whole camp, and he is right about the entrenchment, is the King's Deputy, after all, and he has local knowledge and speaks English at least. You, monseigneur, must depend on some one for these points."

"Brigadier Luttrell has been useful to me on such matters," conceded St. Rhue impatiently.

"And he is the last man to be relied on!" exclaimed Lucan, who had noticed with deep vexation that Luttrell, with his insinuating manners and graceful flatteries, had worked himself into the good favours of even St. Rhue—was there any, man or woman, Luttrell could not charm?

Lucan rose; he felt it useless to say more; he looked with distaste round the over rich pavilion hung with tapestry, lit by crystal lamps, furnished with elegance, at the bureau scattered with objects in onyx and agate, silver and ivory, at Saint Rhue himself in his extravagant uniform with the diamonds of the Saint Esprit star sparkling insolently on his breast. Then his glance met that of the Frenchman and again he saw hatred, lively and audacious, in those narrowed dark eyes, unmistakable defiance in the precise lines of the sensual mouth and slightly heavy jaw.

"I have sent a formal message to the Duke of Tyrconnel," said St. Rhue, "that unless he leaves the camp by to-morrow morning the cords of his tent will be cut."

Lucan, with the briefest salutation, left the pavilion; his despondence almost overwhelmed him; impossible to deal with this man from whom he had hoped so much, who must mean everything to Ireland; impossible to fathom this steady hostility, this deep hatred that could have no basis. He stood among the tents thinking of his winter's work, gone for nothing; of the valiant defence of Limerick, gone for nothing; of the thousands of poor Irish who had died in torment during the last few months—all for nothing. Like a rift in the mists of a foul miasma there came to him suddenly a picture of the may trees at Lucan and the holy well with Ishma, so gay and gentle, seated there...

That was gone too; in the darkness, scattered by starlight and the lanterns and flares of the camp, Lucan stood motionless, his hand to his side.

Who had his estates? In the eyes of the conqueror he was an outlaw; there would be a heretic priest in the little chapel, the hawthorns felled perhaps, the well-head and cross demolished as relics of popery. The utter bitterness of the dispossessed penetrated his soul; he sighed and made his way to the tent of Tyrconnel which stood on the confines of the village of Ballinasloe.

He urged his flagging spirits as a man may urge a weary horse and entered the presence of the viceroy. At all costs these two, Tyrconnel and St. Rhue, must not quarrel.

He found the viceroy and his retinue preparing to leave. Tyrconnel was in one of his grand, stately moods and welcomed Lucan as a friend; he had received St. Rhue's message...

"Look ye, Lucan, if I would I could best him, I have the larger following in the camp, but I don't want a division now."

"I commend your grace's self-restraint!" cried Lucan, gay with relief. "'Tis the better man gives way in an affair of this sort."

"I know; St. Rhue is a fool, ay, under all his bravado, a fool. He can see but one aspect of a case and that the wrong one." A crisp flow of invective further expressed the viceroy's opinion of St. Rhue; but he comported himself with dignity, corpulent as he was, his crimson face veined with purple, his eyes sunk and blurred, his hands shaking, he had more serenity than the Frenchman who was in a tumult behind his forced control.

"I am no soldier, they say, but I am no skulker either. I don't want to stay behind the lines when there is a fight on, but dealing with a fool like that! A leaden brain! Well, I'll be reasonable."

He swallowed a cup of apricot brandy; he looked ten years older than on the night before. Lucan warmly praised his resolution.

Tyrconnel' smiled.

"Well, you never believed in me, but we are both Irish, I suppose. I do something for Ireland to-night—cut the cords of my tent, would ye, ye rascal with a brow of brass? I'd like to twist his stiff neck for him and could too, though he is twenty years younger. But, enough of this tragical bickering—" He broke out again: "So rude, so ungenteel! But I'll be patient."

"We all must be, sir. St. Rhue treats me with the highest insolence. I feel like a horse bloody from a pulled bit, ready to start at a shadow; he has me so vexed and stung and I have been mighty civil to him. But you, sir," added Lucan, with sudden humour, "have, it must be confessed, done your best to exasperate him from the first."

"Thank God for that!" cried the viceroy, "since this is to be the end on't."

The two Irishmen laughed, and Tyrconnel added:

"Once this battle is over I'll give the brazen rogue such trouble that he'll cut his own throat in a fury, 'tis a creature of no stability and mad with vanity."

Tyrconnel paused and watched his tent being dismantled; a sadness overspread his purpling face. Lucan felt for him—"an old, brave man and humiliated."

"I did my best for Ireland," added the viceroy, "and for King James. I always stood his friend. I may have jumped with times and parties, but I've been staunch and I believe in Ireland."

"Do you, sir?"

"Ay, even now. I took the liberty of writing to His Majesty and saying he ought to pawn the shirt off his back to help Ireland at this juncture."

"But he has nothing," smiled Lucan; "even his shirt belongs to King Louis."

Tyrconnel strode into the open and mounted his great square-looking horse. The tent was struck, the viceroy flung on his hat which was adorned with costly, streaming feathers; he leaned down towards Lucan.

"As for that damned gray cloth our fellows won't wear, it has been rotting for years in French warehouses, and no one knowing what to do with it—tell him so if he throws it up at you!"

"This is a farcical comedy," smiled Lucan bitterly. He watched the viceroy and his suite ride along the Limerick road, and was returning wearily through the encampment when a man silent as a shadow was by his side.

"Toby O'Hogan, my lord."

"Come into my pavilion, Mr. O'Hogan."

"No, I will not," replied the rapparee; "and they discrediting you for keeping company with cow-stealers. And the news I have is said in a word or so."

"News?" Lucan stood at pause.

"A man of mine, now beyond Aughrim, sends to say he has seen a dwarf woman among the poor people of Loughrea—a large dwarf, he said, but she slipped away, and there are many such. But I am having her tracked. That is all."

"Quite all, Mr. O'Hogan?"

"Nothing else. And not for lack of searching."

"I know." Lucan closed his eyes. "I feel she is safe. 'Tis an article of faith with me. Snatched from it all, Mr. O'Hogan, in some isle or mountain where there is still peace—she'll be there."

"And not sending you a word of comfort?" asked the rapparee simply.

"She would have forgotten all the world. She was like that."

"More a spirit," said Mr. O'Hogan gravely, "than a woman. A maid from the hidden people, maybe, I've heard tell of them. And she would go away in silence."

"Yes, she would do that."

"I'll bring you more news if I get it—this is nothing, just a dwarf woman seen beyond Aughrim."

The rapparee slipped away among the tents; Lucan thought stupidly:

"Were I in St. Rhue's place and O'Hogan my second, we'd beat the Dutchman as flat as a plate."

He came to his own tent to be told that a French officer waited to see him. Thinking at once of some further insults from St. Rhue, Lucan swung into the presence of his visitor.

It was the Marquis de Bonnac who faced him, who smiled, and said:

"I come on my own business."

Lucan had forgotten his existence.


LORD LUCAN, dishevelled and wide eyed, with a wild look about him, stared at the neat Frenchman who greeted him as if their meeting was the most ordinary event in the world; but Lucan had not seen the man for months nor thought of him all the winter.

"I should like half an hour of your time," said M. de Bonnac. "I fear, sir, I a little amaze you—being scarcely of your acquaintance and coming on you thus suddenly. In the midst of important affairs, no doubt."

"Sir, you must forgive me, I have been with the viceroy—my thoughts were scattered—and with St. Rhue—"

"He does not love you—cet animal la?"

"All the world knows that," replied Lucan; he wondered if De Bonnac was the secret agent of some intriguer; he sighed and seated himself heavily. A man of action and of a candid, impulsive nature, he was totally unfitted for politics and loathed plots; a deadly weariness oppressed him.

But the Frenchman, perceiving his discomfort, said courteously:

"I am not here either to discuss politics—eh, grand Dieu, how childish—nor the war—how tedious is war! I, monseigneur, I am a philosopher."

Lucan trimmed a cheap lamp that lit an untidy tent, then leant back on his hard seat. He wished the Frenchman would come quickly to the point; there was a letter to Honor in Galway that should have gone to-night...

"I have come to speak," said M. de Bonnac, "of the marquise—of my wife."

The other man did not reply.

"She is at present lodged in Ballinasloe," continued the Frenchman. "Do you think you know her very well?"

"Olivia? No, I do not."

"Olivia? Eh, an impossible word for us. We use her second name—Solange. I wish to tell you something about her."

"You think that it has anything to do with me?"

"Perhaps—a little. Remember always I am a philosopher. I am sorry if I fatigue you, you look weary."

Lucan glanced into the Frenchman's haggard, cool face; he had honest, hazel eyes, a sensitive mouth. Lucan had always liked him—despite Olivia's tales.

"You do not fatigue me. And I am always a little weary."

"I heard of you, my Lord Lucan, some years ago—a penniless younger son who was no parti for Olivia Joyce. I was a fool myself in those days. I thought it was glorious to possess a beautiful woman. I thought that to marry Solange would be to possess her—she is beautiful, is she not?"

"Yes—very beautiful," said Lucan. He folded his arms on his breast and watched the other man keenly.

M. de Bonnac continued, in a musing manner:

"She will not be beautiful when she is dead—without colour and her hair in a napkin. Some women are lovely in death. But Solange, no! But alive one does not notice her defects. Of course she despised me from the first. And from the first was unfaithful. Did you suspect that?" he asked sharply.


"Ah, I thought you did not. You are not exactly a simpleton, but you are apt to think that every well-behaved woman is chaste. You could have had her—any time."

"Eh, monseigneur—this is of a revolting frankness!"

"I am sorry. I came here to be plain and always admired you. Potiphar must have had some regard for Joseph, do you not think?"

"If you imagine I played that ridiculous part—"

"I know it. Not ridiculous—it simply never occurred to you to behave otherwise. I have studied your nation. It really amused me to see her vain devices and I respected you. Not that it would have mattered among so many—"

"You speak very lightly of your own—misfortune, monseigneur," remarked Lucan sternly.

"Shame, disgrace perhaps you mean? Eh, bien, I am not one of those who think one can be dishonoured by the actions of another. I am quite detached from it all. I study Mons. Des Cartes and collect curiosities." The Frenchman smiled with dry pride. "This light woman is really nothing to me."

"I had not so thought of her—even now it seems impossible—"

"To no one but yourself. She takes so little trouble to conceal anything. Henry Luttrell, Galmoy, others." M. de Bonnac's cold voice was suddenly edged with hate. "A harlot."

"My God! Why need I know it?"

"It hurts, I am sure. You made an idol of her for years—you never satisfied more than your senses with other women—she was always the chaste unattainable—and you could have had her by a whistle."

Lucan spoke with an effort; there was an ugly weight on his heart.

"But at least—all is past, now—"

"No—not yet. I must be just to Solange—she has for you an unappeasable passion, I almost think that, could she snare you she would let the others go and be faithful—for a while, at least. She has suffered a good deal this winter, poor Solange."

Lucan felt a sick bewilderment as he realised that this quiet, drab man, unnoticed by any, had been observing him so closely, so keenly for so long; studying his character, remarking his actions; he could not speak.

"Do you recall, my Lord Lucan, when I asked you—when I sent my friend to advise you—to take that young gentlewoman from our house?"

Lucan turned away his face.

"Now you will understand why."


M. de Bonnac continued to speak of his wife; his discourse was discursive; he could not, he said, put all he had to say into a few words. With a cool, keen irony he sketched the character and career of Olivia; for ten years he had been narrowly observing her without illusion or pity; he showed her stripped of every grace.

"You are not listening, monseigneur? You look as if your mind was far away."

"To give you candour for candour, M. de Bonnac, the affairs of this lady have long been indifferent to me."

"Yes, that is what infuriates her so. But I have something to tell you about her to which you will not be indifferent. Though most of her lovers have soon tired of her, there is one man whom she holds as if in a spell. He desires her to madness. And she knows how to shrewdly torment him." M. de Bonnac rose. "I must tell you," he added very dryly, "that Solange has some excuse—I bruised my side slipping from my saddle years ago and I have an imposthume there—a sick, a suffering man, always in pain, eh? One could not tolerate that, unless there was some kindness and affection—and there never was any—"

Lucan rose also; he faintly reddened; Olivia had certainly lied about this man.

"The little abbé is my doctor—that is why we are always together—he keeps me just able to get through my duties. That young demoiselle, now, she is safe?"

"Yes, I am sure she is safe." Lucan did not know that he lied.

"I am glad. A fair creature, I thought. I admire Ireland. The abbé makes me little sketches. One amuses oneself somehow and what does any of it matter? All will soon be over."

"You had some purpose in seeking me out?"

M. de Bonnac looked up shrewdly, with kindly indulgence, at the tall Irishman.

"Yes, I wanted to help you—to tell you the source of all your troubles—your difficulties—"

"You know it?"

"I do. St. Rhue is Solange's infatuate lover, and she has persuaded him that you are his favoured rival. He is really a fool and a cunning woman can do anything with him."

M. de Bonnac was gone softly, with a philosophic air.


LORD LUCAN sat alone in his tent, his head in his hands; all was combining against him, like the moves on a chessboard all leading to the final "check!" He understood with the fullest sense of dismay the appalling situation in which he found himself...

So St. Rhue was the lover of Olivia de Bonnac; Lucan could understand.

It mattered nothing at all to him whom she loved; he was sorry for her husband, that dry, austere, unattractive man. Not any passion, however idyllic, he might once have felt for her, not any restraint of honour or of decorum would prevent him from setting right this grotesque mistake. He would refuse to be enmeshed in intrigues with this dangerous woman as before he had refused to be ensnared by Henry Luttrell; St. Rhue's mad jealousies should be eased. With every half-hour that passed he heard how opportunities, instead of going to him, had been given to others. It was abundantly clear that he was to be set down and overlooked while the incompetent, perhaps the treacherous, were to hold the fortunes of Ireland in their hands...

Tyrconnel was not to be trusted, St. Rhue hated him, every officer in the army seemed to have more influence, more power, more scope than himself. Yet, he had but to lift his finger and every Irishman in Ballinasloe would follow him...

Yes, almost better to do what that rogue adventurer, O'Donnell had done, set up for oneself in some inaccessible bog with a crowd of rapparees than be the puppet—the fool—of these foreigners—Olivia and St. Rhue—she and her lies, Ireland's last chance to go for that! Through his fatigued, yet excited mind, fevered with this fresh mischance, spun intermingled visions; spectres of himself kissing Olivia in the old mansions of the MacCarthys with the willows and the rainbow without—talking with the old priest on the Isle of Lough Erne—burying the dog under the cross, casting her garments into the undefiled water, riding over the field of Clontarf—and tossing in his red coat in the moonlit surf under the rock of Howth...

He endured a brief night of anguish, then in the fresh blue daylight went to the house in Ballinasloe where Madame de Bonnac lodged. He was resolved to see her, if it meant forcing aside her domestics. But she received him immediately, came down easily and lightly into the humble room, in her dress of mulberry and amber-coloured silk, silver ribbons at her breast. She stepped to the window, careless of the pure azure light, and played with the roses that touched the sill, looking at him aside; she appeared to have been expecting him, she appeared—and this perversity further angered him—pleased at his quiet wrath.

Her prominent eyes seemed to flash mockingly: "So I have at last roused you, so I have at last made you take some notice of me."

"I perceive," she remarked coldly, "by your looks, Lord Lucan, that this visit is not on a matter of love."

As Lucan answered his agony overcame his wrath:

"I fear that you hate me and have set about me to pull me down. Ay, madam, I fear more than that, I fear that you have accomplished your design."

Madame de Bonnac waited for him to disclose himself, giving him no help whatever; she stood still, was neat and sumptuous, playing with the flowers. When he saw her well-nourished, well-cherished beauty, so carefully guarded, so exquisitely adorned, and thought of the hideous corpses, the starving refugees who made foul the banks of the Shannon, he loathed her. She seemed to him like a bright poison, a gorgeous fruit gaily glossed but ashes within.

"Women like you," he said sternly, "should keep away from the seat of war. Only those who know how to suffer have the right to be here."

Madame de Bonnac, never lacking in rapartee, said: "And have you come to make me suffer, Lord Lucan?"

"I do not know if that is possible," he replied. "I have come to ask you if it is true that between you and the new commander-in-chief there is some intrigue?"

"Put your matter more plainly," she said, contemptuous of the courtesy which he maintained even in his pain. "You have come to ask me if I have been Saint Rhue's mistress. I wondered," she added insolently, "how long you would be in finding it out, and I wonder who told you at the last."

"That is no matter," replied Lucan. "I can judge by your hard words and your look of indifference, madam, you will not deny the charge which you have made against yourself. You and this man have been, perhaps are, lovers."

"Perhaps," she replied; "he is very brilliant, and there have been many women"—and she plucked a rose—"at Versailles who would have done much for his good graces."

"That concerns me not at all, nor your relations with this gentleman. What I have come here to know"—and he spoke striving with an overwhelming passion—"is, have you told Saint Rhue that I am his favoured rival? Is that the cause of his enmity which he scarcely takes the trouble to disguise, is it the cause why I, at this crisis of my fortunes and the fortunes of Ireland, am cast aside as useless?"

"It may be," she said again, with provoking insolence.

"I told you, and I think it was some while ago, that in me you had an enemy, or," she added indifferently, "perhaps it was Brigadier Luttrell who told you."

"Luttrell has played the fool and havoc with Ireland," cried Lucan; "and I believe with me! But let him go—deal with me—with me, I say!"

She turned, eagerly, as if she welcomed his wrath; never before had she seen him openly angry.

He asked her directly and with a brutality of which he had not believed himself capable "Have you told St. Rhue that you are my mistress, either to inflame his passion or to injure me?"

"No woman would answer such a question."

"No woman such as you, perhaps," he said, in sudden despair; "I waste my time in coming to you, I might have known."

He turned away so directly that she could see at once, adroit and shrewd as she was, that he had some keen purpose in his mind; she became a little alarmed and strove to detain him.

"What are you going to do? How do you mean to find out?" she exclaimed. And added fiercely: "I believe it was my miserable husband told you, it is not the first time that he has behaved thus dishonourably to me."

Lucan could not answer that. He opened the door and she flung herself upon him—perfume, satin, flowing hair and sparkling eyes, yet in everything loathsome to his senses.

"Perhaps I will tell you if you will wait a little, perhaps I will let you know everything, if you would give me something of your company," she implored in warm, soft accents.

"I desire nothing of you, madam. You often have reminded me I am a fool, and in nothing a greater fool than this, that I came to you now. I will go—"

"Where are you going?"

And he, to be rid of her, said:

"To the commander-in-chief himself and to tell him, whatever your lies, I am not his rival."

She seemed startled even through her insolent effrontery.

"Can a man do such a thing?" she demanded; she had always relied on a certain masculine code of honour.

"I am past that. I am not going to lose a chance for Ireland out of respect for the delicacy of a discredited woman," he replied.

She fell back, with exasperating persistence, on her old plea; still putting her arms about him, so that it was impossible for him to pass through the doorway without rudely shaking her off, she urged in supplicating tones:

"You loved me once, you wanted me for years."

But he turned his head, straining away from her as far as possible without violently loosening her clinging hands.

"This, madam, is of a revolting absurdity!"

She cried with fury:

"It is not for your wife's sake that you have been thus austere, but because you had another mistress."

"Leave it at that, then." He looked down at her. "Say I had, say that any trollop who followed the army pleased me better than you, Madame de Bonnac; say or do anything so it is clear that all is finished between us! I tell you in no way do you please me or impress me. I would rather expose you for what you are before the entire camp than jeopardise for one moment further the fallen fortunes of my most wretched country."

Olivia, prying, peering, saw the anguish in his eyes, the quiver of his finely-shaped mouth, but she knew that these were no signs of softening towards her. She withdrew from him, pressing her long fine fingers on a breast which rose and fell bitterly.

"Perhaps one day you will know that I am even more dangerous than you seem to think; you may humble me, you cannot make me humble—"

"I am sunk very low," said Lucan, "that I must stand here and listen to a light woman's invective."

He put her by, and left her; her insulting laughter sounded through the roses.

Lucan went directly to the pavilion of Saint Rhue.

The commander-in-chief was in a good humour, for he was pleased with the success of a strange piece of cunning which he had employed to make up for the lack of horses. He had asked all the Jacobite gentlemen throughout Connaught to appear mounted at Limerick, and when they had come, eager for his orders or favours, they were asked to dismount and hand over their steeds for the use of His Britannic Majesty.

The acquisition of this large number of fine Irish horses, and the disgust of the Irish gentry whom he hated, had gratified St. Rhue. He also felt sure that he was about to very soon witness or to hear of the complete discomfiture of Ginckel; he believed that when he marched towards Athlone it would be to see the retreating brigades of the Dutch commander. He and all his French officers swore that it was impossible to cross the river, and he had remarked in his superb insolent fashion:

"General Ginckel's master should hang him for trying to take Athlone, and mine ought to hang me if I lose it."

Also there was the departure of Tyrconnel to soothe him.

He therefore received even Lucan with a sufficiency of courtesy, though he expressed his surprise at the earliness of the visit when they had met only yesterday.

The pavilion showed very sumptuously in the daylight and lacked no possible detail of luxury. It was in haughty and, Lucan thought, in bitter contrast to the desolation of the boggy, swampy country swarming with the natives, the starved, the dying and the dead. St. Rhue was in a brocade bed-chamber gown, and fresh from the hands of his barber.

He asked Lucan to seat himself, and the two men, so magnificent in their physical bearing, so different in all else, faced each other.

For a second Lucan could not speak, so hateful to him was the thing he must say, but as he watched the cold hatred mount slowly in the Frenchman's fine eyes he was sure that Madame de Bonnac had lied, that her husband had spoken the truth—and it came to him more easily to speak with that candour which was natural to him.

"Monseigneur, I believe you have been misinformed as to my success in the favours of a certain lady. The affair seems impossible to discuss, yet it is more impossible that we should labour under any misunderstanding. I cannot endure to be left out of another battle as I was left out of the Boyne Water skirmish."

Completely taken by surprise St. Rhue did not answer; his handsome face grew harder, more hostile and imperious in expression; he turned aside and picked up an inlaid fowling piece. Lucan added haughtily:

"You understand me, Monseigneur?"

"I understand," said the Frenchman sternly, "what you would wish me to understand, but you must know there is no good reason why I should believe you, Lord Lucan."

"If this lady—whom it is needless for me to name—has, through coquetry, or because she is a most intriguing woman, conveyed to you that I am her favoured lover she has dealt in lies, before God and on my honour I may swear it!"

He leaned forward as he spoke, his whole being absorbed in endeavouring to read St. Rhue's soul as that personage turned slowly to face him, still holding the fowling piece.

The expression of smouldering fury, of half-belief, of half-incredulity, of hope and passion that he read in that dark face, despite the Frenchman's efforts to maintain an impressive calm, convinced Lucan that Madame de Bonnac's tactics had been indeed what her husband had declared; partly to torment the man who loved her, partly to ruin Lucan whom she believed she loved, she had told a ruinous lie.

"Do you not believe me," he asked, "sooner than—that woman?"

St. Rhue averted his fine eyes. He was struggling with a most imperious pride with jealousy, an instinctive hatred of the splendid Irishman and a situation which was, as Lucan had surmised, most difficult for him. For it was perfectly true that though Madame de Bonnac had been for years his mistress, he still desired her with a haughty and jealous desire; that he had been unable to find any one to put in her place since her wilful exasperating departure from France; that she had informed him by letter and by contemptuous words since he had come to Ireland that Lord Lucan was his successor in her graces. He so far betrayed himself to say:

"I believe many years ago you were a suitor for the hand of Mademoiselle Olivia Joyce."

This showed Lucan how keen an interest he took in the affairs of Madame de Bonnac, and how accurately he had informed himself as to the events of her life.

"That was the beginning and the end. I desired the lady in honour."

"Pouf!" cried St. Rhue. "Grand Dieu! I do not think we are here to talk of honour—" He stopped and seemed to again struggle with himself. "You are a good soldier, Lord Lucan," he added, rising and walking up and down, "you are very popular with your countrymen, I have heard nothing but fair reports of you."

"I desire to serve you, to second you. I assure you that what I have just told you is the truth; I hope that you find it impossible to doubt my word."

St. Rhue, who seemed resolute not to return to that detestable subject, added:

"Brigadier Luttrell, he is also a very clever man and popular with the Irish, your friend, too, I think?"

Not understanding what this sudden allusion meant, Lucan said:

"That was some time ago."

"But Luttrell," added St. Rhue, "I suspect of double-dealing. I think he treats underhand with the English."

"It may very well be, but it was not on this matter, monseigneur, that I came to speak to you. I feel myself in a maze of treachery, of intrigue—"

He would have spoken something of his frantic patriotism and the agony of his desire that in this last stand Ireland should acquit herself well, but he felt too shame-faced to talk before the arrogant and heartless Frenchman of the love and pain so near his heart, as he had been ashamed to mention it three years before when the first council was called at Kinsale.

But St. Rhue appeared to guess what was in his mind and said:

"You are eager in the cause of your country, Lord Lucan. Ireland is nothing to me. I can only tell you, what I told you before, that I shall do my utmost to obtain a victory over your enemies."

"Will you give me any part in that?" demanded Lucan, with eager candour. "I can help. Will you give me a chance? Trust me? Believe in me? I came here to have all straight between us—"

St. Rhue looked at him clearly and steadily for a moment and Lucan had a wild hope that despite the sly treachery of Madame de Bonnac his difference with the commander-in-chief might come to a generous solution.

But the Frenchman was not the man to decide on a magnanimous course, nor could his imperious and cynic nature easily believe in candour and honesty. His hatred of the Irishman was deep-rooted, not only because of Madame de Bonnac, but on professional grounds. Tyrconnel had warned him from the first that in Lord Lucan he would find a serious rival to his influence and authority; nor could St. Rhue forget any more than De Rosen or Lauzun had forgotten that he, St. Rhue, represented the King of France, that Lucan was of the despised, the conquered, the outcast race. Besides he was sure Madame de Bonnac loved him. Therefore, he turned at last on his heel, and said dryly:

"I have not yet decided on my orders, Lord Lucan. When I have you shall know them and your post."

The words were empty, formal, but the tone, for deliberate intention of insolence, was like a blow in the face. Ignoring the presence of Lucan, the Frenchman called to one of his valets and complained of some rust on the fowling piece; it was his intention, he said, to go shooting that morning.

Lucan left the pavilion; he had been dismissed like a lackey.


ON THE LAST DAY of June, St. Rhue, who had moved his camp two miles from Athlone on the Connaught side, gave an entertainment to the gentlefolk of Galway and the neighbourhood.

He was perfectly confident about the progress of the siege which General Ginckel had commenced on the eighteenth of June when he had, after garrisoning Ballymore, marched to Ballyburn Pass with twenty thousand men. St. Rhue, it is true, had only arrived after Ginckel had taken Englishtown, that portion of Athlone on the other side of the Shannon, but he made very little of this, still holding to his opinion that "it was impossible for the Dutchman to get across the river, and that he would soon raise the siege."

There had been severe fighting round the bridge, and several attempts to ford the waters of the Shannon; but Ginckel remained on the Westmeath bank, and there the French were sure he would stay until he fell back, discomfited, on Ballymore.

With Lucan and his party humiliated, Tyrconnel withdrawn to Limerick, Luttrell and his followers fawning on him, St. Rhue was tolerably satisfied with the manner in which he had, as he put it to himself, "quelled the mutineers and asserted the supreme authority of the King of France."

He was completely contemptuous of his growing unpopularity among the Irish soldiery, whose fierce loyalty was given to Lucan under whose leadership they had endured the miseries of the past winter, fighting with him for their country as best they could, even passing the Shannon when snow was on the ground. He was the man who had been their idol, their darling, who knew every inch of their ground, every corner of their hearts, and who, from being governor of Connaught and first in command, was now degraded to a subordinate position to a foreigner who delighted in humiliating him at every turn, and their deep love smouldered near to rebellion.

It was impossible for St. Rhue to omit Lucan from his entertainment, and almost impossible for the Irishman to come to his table. But Lucan's supporters urged him to keep up a semblance of civility.

Lucan came to the Frenchman's pavilion early, but with no thought of relaxation, ease or diversion in his tormented mind. He wished to make a protest against the weakening of the garrison of Athlone, now held only by weak recruits without bullets in their pouches, and against the obstinacy of the commander, the Marquis d'Usson, in refusing to level the fortifications on the Connaught side, in neglecting to use scouts, vedettes, or even sentries.

"How do you know all this, Lord Lucan?" demanded St. Rhue. "It seems to me none of your affair—I am responsible for Athlone—"

"That is why I thought you would like the warning, monseigneur."

"The siege is over, Ginckel will retreat to-morrow."

"On the contrary, I think he will make another attack."

"Again, where do you get your information?"

"I have men, native Irish, on whom I can rely, who never fail to keep me supplied with all details of the enemy's movements. If I had not had such faithful allies I had not been able to hold Connaught last winter, deprived as I was of everything."

"You continue to stress your own services, Lord Lucan. Your forays were of no importance—these thieves and banditti you employ make you little better than a mutineer. My Lord Galmoy tells me he suspects you encourage a notorious rogue, one O'Hogan, or some such barbarous name, who, should have been hanged long since—but broke prison—perhaps with your connivance, eh? Understand I'll not employ such scoundrels."

"I am reprimanded?" asked Lucan. He was very pale, he tried to smile, but his lips were stiff.

"You may take it so, if you please, Lord Lucan."

The pavilion was drenched in aromatics to deaden the stenches of the camp. The French valets prevented, by fine nets, the entrance of the swarms of bloated flies that fed on rotting corpses of men and animals, on filth and refuse. Services of silver and crystal, Persian carpets, linen stiff with lace, silk cushions and bouquets of roses created an illusion of civilisation.

Provisions were ample among the staff officers though the soldiery starved where they could not rob. St. Rhue had brought the choicest luxuries from France, and these the French cooks turned into exquisite dishes.

After supper there were to be bonfires, music, dancing, illuminations and fireworks; it would really he quite a creditable copy of a fête at Versailles or Marli. The filthy, brutal, ragged Irish were to keep, at the bayonet's point, far from the commander-in-chief's pavilion and the surroundings, now turned into a pleasure ground.

Madame de Bonnac was the queen of this festival; it was given for her, to please her, woo her, intoxicate her into forgetting the discomforts of war, her silly passion for a wild Irishman—to bring her again into the arms of the man who longed for her with so bitter, so jealous a passion.

She had been very fine of late; it was supposed that her fashionable Paris clothes and modish jewels must have been brought from France by St. Rhue himself. She made all the other ladies seem shabby, almost draggled. She kept her other admirers; Luttrell, whose flattery of St. Rhue was the ironic servility of a clever man making a dupe of a vain one, was still her gay cavalier; Galmoy was openly in her company.

She arrived radiant in white and rose brocade under a coat of azure velvet in the pavilion; plumes frosted with silver mingled with her lustrous tresses. She had an air of triumph, of self-assurance, of gaiety, some special grace and beauty that drew all eyes.

Lucan was thankful that Honor, formally bidden to his festival, had declined to leave the dark Spanish mansion in Galway.

Luttrell began to abuse Ginckel in a light, sneering way, making a jest of the slow, cautious Dutchman, telling little anecdotes to his discredit, holding him up to ridicule. St. Rhue was pleased, but Lucan winced. He knew that the Dutchman had shown great skill and energy, that he was a man of an even temperament and a sweet disposition, respected by all; his justice and moderation had done much for the English cause in Ireland. He had also superseded three officers, Douglas, Kirk, and Lanier, who were not popular among the Protestants, and replaced them by Mackay, Ruvigny and Talmash. It was reported that these, with Generals Nassau and Wurtemberg, and the troops of various nationalities which they commanded, worked together in perfect concord. Lucan remarked on this, and St. Rhue replied with a sneer:

"That therein would lie their success as in their perpetual disputes would lie the failure of the Irish."

Lucan went to the door of the pavilion; the June afternoon was of a thick sweetness, the sky above the purple bogs was dove-coloured, veiled with hues of changing pearl. From very far away came scents of summer, hay, hedgerows, water sedges, wayside flowers—or so he thought.

Lucan looked along the causeway which led across the swamps to Athlone. Everything was still save for the chatter in the pavilion. Lucan returned to the company who were drinking French brandy and wines in glasses like frozen lilies. St. Rhue was close to Olivia de Bonnac. Lucan heard one of his staff murmur that the commander-in-chief was "ivre avec d'amour et de haine—"

Lucan was considering the details of the siege and the skill and caution of Ginckel, which had defeated his own brilliant audacity; the Dutchman had thrown up entrenchments at the foot of the bridge across the river and mounted fresh batteries on Englishtown; a train of artillery on a scale which had not been hitherto known had been made ready at Dublin—thirty-nine pieces of cannon, six mortar and twelve steel pieces and five hundred draught horses came to reinforce Ginckel who, learning from the experience of the Prince of Orange before Limerick the preceding year, had taken every precaution against a surprise. It had been impossible for Lucan to repeat his exploit at Ballyneety. Every day powder and provisions came up from the great depots at Mullingar. Ginckel could not at first discover a ford across the Shannon, and his tin boats and pontoons were insufficient to convey his army across the swift river. A ford was found; Lucan saw this, and St. Rhue had erected earthworks commanding the passage...Ginckel made no further attempt in this direction...for four days the English guns had fired without ceasing...the main prize was the bridge. Since Ginckel was not able to cross by the ford he concentrated all his arts upon this.

St. Rhue, to amuse Madame de Bonnac, was talking about this fight round this bridge which had been blasted so that only one arch remained.

"It was so narrow that a few men might hold it against an army, and I was confident that it could not be taken."

The Dutch general also began to think so, but other devices appeared equally impossible...he could not attempt to build a pontoon under gunfire; he could not attempt to pass the keenly guarded ford; he came reluctantly to the decision that he must take the stone bridge.

The English contrived to lay planks across the wide chasm which yawned between the end of the masonry and the broken arch; Maxwell perceived that Athlone was seriously threatened.

St. Rhue, lightly, and with the air of a man talking to please ladies, told of a little exploit on last Sunday morning, which had been "quite a pretty piece of work"—he had himself seen it through his perspective glasses.

Lucan listened, gnawing his nether lip; his head was aching and fits of giddiness made the overheated, over-perfumed tent spin before his weary eyes.

"Of course, madam, it was death to go on the bridge, but very necessary to destroy the planks—which of these animals would go? Grand Dieu, on my faith, a sergeant and ten men volunteered to put on their armour and creep out to destroy the beams. With axes and swords they crawled out, exposed to cannon, musket shot and hand grenades. I soon could not see them for flames—when the smoke had a little blown away I saw eleven dead, but the planks had been torn up and cast into the Shannon...eleven others sprang forward and when they were gone the English work had been destroyed, the beams were floating down the river together with the bodies—it was really a very useful piece of work—"

Lucan approached the speaker:

"Does not this brilliant act of devotion do much to raise the name of Irishmen in the eyes of the Frenchmen?" he asked.

St. Rhue stared at him as if he had been a stranger, then said:

"It was no doubt quite courageous—if they had been Frenchmen one might have called it heroic, but I suppose these animals are so stupid they do not know what they risk—but I remain obliged to them, as Ginckel has not since tried to take the bridge."

But Madame de Bonnac cried, in the liveliest fashion:

"But the Irish are the bravest people in the world and the handsomest men—eh, le beau gars!"

And she gave Lucan looks of love and favour that sent St. Rhue's hand clutching on his sword.

Lucan saw her design to create enmity and hatred, confusion and fury.

"If she forces her amorous advances on me, I'll insult her before them all—"

Luttrell, squinting with amusement, began to tell stories of the wretched rapparees, thus hitting at Lucan who protected them, and pleasing St. Rhue, who detested them; he mentioned one who "called himself a sergeant who had been found like an otter, hiding in a stream with only his nose out—he had been dragged out and hanged though he had offered forty shillings for his life, which he thought a great sum!"

Every one laughed save Lucan; and Luttrell added, in tones of sparkling malice, he "wondered what would become of the poor garrison of Ballymore who had been sent to the Isle of Lambray to starve?"

Lucan went out into the outer air; at the risk of an open breach with St. Rhue he could not eat with these people.

An express from Maxwell, on duty that day in Athlone, broke in with a request for reinforcements on the French entertainment, as the Scot suspected that Ginckel was about to make some movement.

St. Rhue replied that "if General Maxwell was afraid, another should be sent to take his place"—to a request for powder he returned: "Did they want to shoot laverocks?"

Lucan, sullenly, mournfully seated in his own desolate tent, did not hear of this; but, as the angelus bells were ringing, Toby O'Hogan crept into his presence and said that Ginckel was certainly intending an attack.

"You're sure, O'Hogan?"

"I am sure."

Lucan returned to the commander-in-chief's tent; the sumptuous supper had begun; jest, wine, music, laughter, boasts, merry tales made the aromatic air full of noise.

Standing in the doorway, pale and unsmiling, Lucan gave his information.

"Brought by one of your cow-stealers, I suppose?" smiled St. Rhue.

"By a friend of mine. There is great negligence, your self-assurance is shared by D'Usson who has not demolished the ramparts as he has been ordered to do; he even became careless in the matter of sentinels when he saw that the English were withdrawing their troops. I said there is great negligence—"

A silence fell on the insolent, brilliant company of French officers, all looked at the Irishman standing immovable in the doorway, the June sunshine behind him; Olivia de Bonnac made a movement as if she would rise and go to him, but St. Rhue with a sudden, violent gesture caught her bare arm and pulled her to her seat with a force that revealed his passion.

"This to my face!" he cried.

"I accuse you," replied Lucan, "of folly, of neglect, to your face—"

St. Rhue leapt to his feet; his staff closed in behind him; but before he could speak a dusty dragoon broke in to stammer that the English soldiers were breasting the ford.

The commander-in-chief replied imperiously, "that the thing was impossible! That the English would not attack a town at such a disadvantage when he was near with his army to succour it, that he would give a thousand pistoles to see them make the attempt!" But on the instant arrival of several other messengers with the same incredible news, the furious Frenchman reluctantly left his pavilion, and ordered Hamilton to the town. Too late; as the Jacobites approached Athlone they found themselves unable to enter; D'Usson had not demolished the fortifications and the Jacobites found their own gates shut in their faces, the drawbridge raised, their own guns fired upon them; St. Rhue, who had not taken sufficient interest in the news to refrain from returned to his pavilion, was informed of the amazing tidings by Lucan, who had been galloping to and fro, doing what he could.

"Taken!" Saint Rhue exclaimed. "It cannot be! A town taken and I close by with an army to relieve it!"

He rode out into the summer twilight and beheld with his own eyes the English flag raised above the citadel of Irishtown.

Athlone had fallen in half an hour.

Mackay, Wurtemberg, Tettau Hesse (accompanied by Talmash as a simple volunteer), and Hamilton had made an assault at six o'clock that same the angelus was ringing and St. Rhue's guests laughing, two thousand troops, each man carrying fifteen rounds of ammunition and wearing as a badge a spray of green in their hats, had made the attack, their advance covered by their powerful guns. It was an utter rout; Maxwell had handed over his sword in silence; St. Rhue met D'Usson being carried along unconscious over the bog; he had been trampled down in the flight of his own men "So the impossible has happened," said Lucan.

The tents were struck, rich wines spilled, gay finery soiled into the mud as in all haste the French fell back on Ballinasloe.

Lucan saw beneath his horse's hoofs the hat with the silvered plumes worn by Madame de Bonnac; as the English fired the Irish batteries from Athlone, he remarked:

"St. Rhue has had his fireworks, after all."


ST. RHUE'S dinner-party was spoilt; spoilt, too, seemed the chances of the King of France of detaining indefinitely the Prince of Orange in Ireland.

The end was in sight.

There remained nothing, in Lucan's opinion, but to make a last stand in Connaught, and nothing, in St. Rhue's opinion, to retrieve his shattered reputation but a brilliant battle.

The dogged perseverance of the Dutch general had won the day, and the bitterness of gall had been in the heart of St. Rhue as he gave orders for his troops to withdraw. As soon as he did so, General Wauchope surrendered the castle of Athlone. The English, in this surprise assault, had taken Athlone with a loss only of twelve killed and thirty wounded...

As St. Rhue retreated he heard that the small garrisons guarding the fords of the Shannon had abandoned their posts, that the peasants were going over in large numbers to the English camp, promising henceforth to live "as loyal subjects of King William and Queen Mary."

General Ginckel, who had accomplished an extraordinary feat in taking a fortified town in the face of a large army, bore his honours with modesty, and with his usual good-natured intolerance granted letters of protection to all who asked for them; he was in this matter in complete understanding with his master, who had secretly told him to take measures of the utmost clemency with the Irish. The prudent and thoughtful Dutchman expressed his pleasure at finding six fine brass guns, two mortars, twenty barrels of powder and huge quantities of provisions in Athlone.

Lucan had done little in the action; though he had foreseen the surprise he shared the blame and disgrace that fell upon St. Rhue; his hands had been tied and he had been as inactive as a puppet...

During the retreat to their headquarters at Ballinasloe he had seen Madame de Bonnac gorgeously arrayed in a satin gold-embroidered cloak, travelling in a little light wagon...She was laughing and seemed to regard the misfortunes of her lover as a jest full of flavour...

Sensitive as Lucan was, and often changing his mood according to circumstances, he shared to the full the Irish liability to depression in misfortune and exultation in good fortune; he was in a black despondency and advised a retreat to Limerick. There was obviously no hope of retaking Athlone which Ginckel had repaired and re-fortified.

At Ballinasloe a council of war was held; it was impossible to exclude Lucan from this, though he knew that St. Rhue would like to have done so; losing Athlone under such humiliating circumstances had made a deal of difference to the mood of the French commander who, always harsh and imperious, was now gloomy and sullen, and disguised from none how embittered he was with the sting of defeat. He fiercely and coldly blamed Tyrconnel for his interference which had rendered their joint part so difficult...and tried to put the blame on the "runaway Irish." In reality he knew, as every soldier under his command knew, that the loss of Athlone was largely due to the fatal faults of underrating the enemy, and his own over self-assurance. These errors St. Rhue now meant, by every means in his power, to repair. The imperious Frenchman, who brooked not even the slightest advice and who considered himself the superior of every Irishman yet owned a master and dreaded to return to Versailles in disgrace. He feared that he might be recalled to meet the stare of His Most Christian Majesty and the sneer of Louvois; he feared disgrace, perhaps the Bastille.

In the council chamber he declared vehemently, with an impulsiveness that hitherto seemed foreign to his character, that he would fight, throwing all his forces to defend the passage of the river...Tyrconnel objected; he could not see that victory lay in the gaining of a single battle; he declared that it was better to make a defensive and dilatory war in expectation that they would be superior next year by reason of succours from France.

With a touch of his old wit, which had been much in eclipse of late, he swore that the best Irish generals were "General Rain" and "General Disease."

Lucan backed Tyrconnel; he said that he considered the counsel of St. Rhue too difficult, and added that it was perilous to risk all in a single encounter. He thought that Galway and Limerick ought to be further garrisoned—he spoke soberly, almost dully, like a man detached from life; he had avoided St. Rhue for he knew that their private meeting would mean a quarrel.

"No doubt," sneered St. Rhue, "the Irish fight better under cover than they do in the open."

Without a change of expression Lucan added:

"We can give Ginckel enough to do until French assistance shall arrive; we could make raids in Munster or Leinster, or could blockade the Dutchman in Athlone."

"All talk!" exclaimed St. Rhue impatiently. "What is the use of that? It is my intention to fight."

"You are thinking, Monseigneur, of your own reputation, not of Ireland."

"I was not sent here," was the retort, "to think of Ireland."

The council ended in mutual quarrelling, recrimination and heat. St. Rhue, absorbed in his own private shames, jealousies and furies, took no heed of what any of them said; Madame de Bonnac continued to torment him with all the subtle arts of a sensual, heartless woman; through torturing him she knew that she achieved her real aim which was to torture Patrick Sarsfield (always that to her), the man she perversely loved.

Never before that July night had Lucan noticed such crowded galaxies of stars; the glittering clusters hung low as marsh lights over the dark stretches of the swamp. Lucan, fatigued, overwrought, anguished, felt the supernatural drawing veils about his soul; somewhere in the camp an Irish harp was playing; the peaty smell of the bog was strong; he felt as if he must put out his hand to brush aside the stars; they seemed to dazzle his eyes and impede his progress.

When he half stumbled into his tent he found O'Hogan waiting in the shadows.

Lucan cast himself down on a pile of mantles.

"The Frenchman means to fight, O'Hogan—out of injured vanity. Risk all for that!"

"You have quarrelled with him, my lord?"

"As far as I dare."

"It would not be difficult," mused the rapparee, "to put a bullet through his hard, black heart."

As Lucan did not answer, he added:

"—and that gay mischief, too. She would make a dainty meal for the crows, with her soft, white flesh and her fine blue eyes—a delicate dainty vermin."

"Let her go."

"I know what she does. Every one knows. She tells the damned Frenchman that you enjoy her, under his nose, and laugh at him—and he mad with brutish lust."

"Let them go."

"And you in torment, as it might be a foretaste of Hell. God is good, but the Devil is everywhere! Supposing they were strangled and flung together in the bog of Urrachree?" The rapparee looked longingly at his strong hands. "It has been the grave of many a finer man, of many a fairer woman."

"I have to go on," said Lucan. "I suppose I must go on and see all lost—lost—lost! Sometimes I feel the heart of Ireland break in my breast."

The rapparee bowed his head; his heavy, handsome figure was black in the shadows; only a small taper lit the tent which was very poorly furnished.

"Why are we thus accursed!" added Lucan wildly. "O, Ireland! I am sick with the smell of blood, of rotting flesh—I am deafened by wails and cries, I am giddy with staring at desolation! What shall avail! Twenty died to cut the bridge at Athlone and it makes a jest for the foreigner! When shall they have a song, a monument! Where are our laurels, our flags, our privacies, our prides? Who shall ever right the wrongs we endure!"

"Exile for us, captivity or death," sighed the rapparee, "and for our children's children the same, the yoke of the conqueror, the scorn of the heretic, desecration in our sacred places and on all we love pollution. O Holy Ghost! Look down on this poor isle!"

Lucan crossed his brow.

"We must play our part, O'Hogan. Blessed are those already beneath the waters of the Shannon, happy those whose bones we see whiten the bog—we have yet more to suffer."

The rapparee rose suddenly and spoke in a different tone.

"And you, Patrick Sarsfield, more than you yet know. I debated if I would speak or not, but nothing but the truth can be between us."

"What would you tell me? I am so weary and I thought that I was a man who could never tire."

"My men found the dwarf woman—"

"The dwarf—Brighita Begg?"

"In a peat cutter's hut, on the bogs, towards Athenry."

"Put out that taper, O'Hogan. It hurts my eyes—I grow near-sighted of late, like Mountcashel."

The rapparee obeyed; he held back the tent flap; the dazzle of stars seemed very near; out of the dark Lucan spoke:

"Tell me."

"The young gentlewoman is with her—"

"Not Ishma?"

"I do think so. They are very timid and will not answer questions. I am having them watched. Protected."

"Oh, not Ishma!"

"You will come yourself and see—it is not five miles from the camp."

Lucan did not move.

"You know their story, O'Hogan?"


"Did you ask it?"



"Why should I? They were just two women sheltering in a hut—as there be many."

"Where had they come from? Why did they not ask my protection? What do you know? Answer me."

The rapparee's voice came low and hoarse.

"I will not. Come yourself, come now, not in white daylight with all the curious spies about, but now at night when the darkness is kind and the stars are light enough."

Lucan replied that he would go at once, but before he could leave the tent came the message that St. Rhue, who appeared to have bowed to the decision of the majority of the council, had in the end obeyed the dictates of his own imperious temper, and resolved to fight. Abandoning the fords of the Suck he had decided to retire to Kilcommodon Hill, a position behind his camp, which sloped up from the bog. Ginckel had already passed the Shannon and taken possession of the heights of Corbally. It seemed his intention also to risk all on a battle.


LORD LUCAN followed Galloping O'Hogan from the camp at Kilcommodon across the gloomy waste of bog stretching beyond the little village of Aughrim towards Athenry; as he followed the rapparee into the quiet of the windy twilight he glanced behind him and saw the Jacobite forces occupying the ridge of the hill for about two miles.

St. Rhue's pavilion was pitched near the steepest part of the hill where lay the majestic ruins of two old mighty fortifications. Toby O'Hogan passed to the north of this where a great swampy valley spread for miles, sloping beneath the castle of Aughrim which dominated the road from Ballinasloe.

"We're not going there?" asked Lucan, for he knew that beyond this the bog was impassable; behind the marsh, the hill of Urrachree was mournful in the solemnity of the pale azure summer twilight; the low stream trickling through the bog, which was too soft for the cavalry to use and could only be crossed by the infantry if they were guided by one who knew the paths, reflected the opal silver light of the waning sky.

Lucan followed the rapparee, who was wrapped in his Irish mantle, into the deepening twilight. Lucan himself wore over his uniform that antique Irish garment of which an Englishman had once said indignantly: "It is a fit house for an outlaw, a meet bed for a rebel, an apt cloak for a thief." He was disguised; he did not wish his brave scarlet to be recognised; St. Rhue or Tyrconnel might even claim that leaving his post at such a moment amounted to cowardice or treachery.

It was so still that they could hear on a sudden a bell tolling out from the little church at Aughrim.

Overhead were multitudes of sea birds with coral-red feet; Lucan noted their swift brilliant grace and their unblemished purity, they did not seem to belong to the same creation as that which defiled and soiled the gloomy earth. He wished that he could fly with them across the wild Bay of Galway through the scud and foam of the great Atlantic waves. The melancholy of the country depressed him. They came up to the peat-cutter's hut, a miserable-looking hovel, a place too wretched to attract even the attention of the marauding soldiery; only on the purple bogs, only to be found by one who knew the hidden causeway.

"Is she here?"

The rapparee noded and entered the door of the mud cabin.

A turf fire was smouldering on the hearth in a rude circle of stones and a pot was suspended from an iron crane above; a bent creature who was covered by an old ragged yellow frieze cloak (Lucan instantly recognised her as Mrs. Brighita Begg) crouched over these embers; though it was summer the day was chill; a wind was abroad, blowing humid mists.

Making the sign of the cross with a reverence which was in ill accordance with his ferocious appearance, the rapparee humbly pointed the way to an inner apartment.

Lucan stumbled on the threshold.

He saw a straw bed with a rude coverlet, a plain chest on which was a taper still unlit and a cup; everything showed penury and misery.

The dwarf woman who had suddenly observed Lucan's entrance (for she had seemed in a manner of stupor when he had first darkened the door) sprang up, and, with a raucous cry, endeavoured to prevent him passing into the inner room.

She tugged at his peasant mantle which fell apart; she saw the fine scarlet uniform beneath; at that she gave another mournful and bitter exclamation and hid her withered face in her dirty hands.

"But you must go in, my lord," said Galloping O'Hogan. "The gentlewoman I want you to see lies there...on the bed."

Lucan could not, for the first fell moment, put his fortitude to the test; he turned his head sharply aside and stared out of the small square unglazed window, at the cheerless and desolate country; stretches of loose stones and a gloomy swamp, patches of miserable tillage, the few poverty-stricken dwellings of the peasantry presented a wretched picture of Ireland's woe.

Close by the hut where he stood were a few stunted thorns and he was reminded, with that unutterable pang happy memories can give, of the thorn trees by the well on his estate at Lucan, and of how before he had lost Ishma he had sat there with her hand lying in his; staring at this gray and melancholy waste he felt that his destiny and his country were alike accursed.

He bowed his head, the door was very low; he entered the mean room and bent over the pallet in the corner. The creature beneath the tattered coverlet did not stir. All that he could see was straggling locks of dark hair spread on the pile of straw that served as a pillow. He seated himself on the low chest and gently turned back the patched rags.

The girl lying there seemed to be asleep or blind; she was wasted by fierce disease; her beauty had long since been effaced but her youth was as apparent as her present misery.

Her lover knew at once, despite this frightful change, that it was she. The poor blanket fell from his hand which went up to his heart; he sighed deeply.

Galloping O'Hogan, with such delicacy and self-effacement that it was impossible for his presence to be an offence, stood humbly in the doorway.

He asked softly and in the native Irish, which Lucan had lately learned to understand:

"Is it she? Is it the gentlewoman?"

Lucan replied:

"It is she whom I sought."

A low sound of protest broke from the lips of the rapparee; he turned into the outer room.

Lucan lifted up Ishma; her weight seemed lighter than that of a young child, no loveliness at all remained to her, she was wasted, scarred, unclean.

"Are you blind, my love?" he asked. "Cannot you see me? Do you not know that I am come at last?"

And he was sure by her blank look that she had lost her sight; after she had gazed at him blindly a while, she timidly, with wasted fingers, touched his laces and his gold braid, then whispered: "A man! A soldier!" and a convulsive shudder of horror shook her and she tried to struggle from him; he laid her back on the straw. The mud floor crawled with vermin; the very light that flowed through the narrow window seemed soiled; her long locks were harsh and rusty; her lips were strained out of shape; from a deep sore on her brow the blood trickled; for the first time he saw her bare breasts, her bare arms; they were fallen and thin beneath her rags; no longer did she wear gold ornaments, no longer was her skin smooth and fine. Her soul was as vacant as her stare; he saw that her intellect was clouded, she was like hundreds of abandoned, starving, perishing women whom he had seen of late.

"Surely I am dying," he thought. "Surely I shall soon be dead."

He took off his mantle and placed it over her. She seemed to sleep; he could believe she did not suffer. He went into the outer room where Mrs. Begg cowered and O'Hogan stood with downcast head.

Leaning against the wall to hold himself upright, for his strength had all slipped from him, Lucan asked:

"What happened?"

Yet too well he knew.

Mrs. Begg, with sunk eyes scarlet from much weeping, peered at him mournfully.

"The soldiers took her away, the soldiers came up to Lucan, they killed the dog—"

"Who could have done it?" whispered Lucan stupidly. "The enemy was not then within Dublin. Who? Who?"

Mrs. Begg did not answer; she seemed stupid and confused; she gave a deep moan, wrapped her tattered cloak closer round her deformed shoulders, and huddled over the embers.

"Not the enemy," said O'Hogan; "base villains who are the enemies of all."

The tall man leant in the wretched window place; the rapparee stood near to support him if he should seem to fall.

"Then tell me," muttered Lucan. "What happened? What is their story?"

"There is no need to tell their story. The young girl was snatched by the fine gentlemen, then given to the soldiers, then lost among the refugees and hidden in the mountains, and now the Blessed Virgin has pity on her and is taking her away."

"She's dying," said Lucan, leaning on O'Hogan's heavy shoulder.

"Will not you pray that she may die?"

Lucan turned to the window. The wide expanse of bog was dark brown and purple in the deepening twilight, the thorns stood out black and gaunt against the cold blue sky tinged with violet. One star hung above the dreary swamp.

Lucan put his hands to his face and wept the first tears of his manhood.

The rapparee glanced aside, Mrs. Begg continued her lamentations under her breath.

Lucan said, staring out at the bog that they might not see his tears:

"She does not know me."

"She knows no one," said O'Hogan. "We must praise God that she will have forgotten everything."

"She is blind?"

"She went blind with what she had to see."

Lucan did not hear, his stiff lips formed, stumblingly some of his broken thoughts:

"You would have thought that she could pass through flames—and they fall back—she had such a bloom and lustre of innocence—a child and a queen, too. Why was I so sure this would not happen to her? Yet every day I have seen the mischances of others—but I dreamed—not to her—not to me—"

"We are all great fools," said O'Hogan, "and what is left to any of us, Lord Lucan, but the fortitude with which we face that fact?"

"What shall I do? She trusted me. I thought she was so safe at Lucan. And all undisturbed, so that it seemed she had fled—"

"That was their cunning—no doubt they contrived it so, putting all neat behind them."

Lucan began to laugh stupidly...he saw himself throwing her garments into the pure lake lest they should be defiled...burying the dog beneath the cross; he saw again his vision of Ishma springing frantically to the shelter of the holy vain.

"'Tis bewildering about God," he muttered. "I trusted God."

"He is so far away, Lord Lucan, and there are so many of us in trouble—grief crowns us all. Who can understand? He sends His tempests against the flowerets."

"What shall I do?"

"You are a man."

"Something still to do, eh? The battle to-morrow? But first—tell me—who was it?"

His sombre eyes stared wildly at the wall; his glance was atrocious; the rapparee thought: "He is mad."

"I will tell you after the battle, after the great fight for Ireland. Tell you what I know, Lord Lucan," he said aloud simply, "and I will kill for you any one you name."

"I should do that myself—but you understand me."

No words of devotion, of loyalty, of acceptance of service, of gratitude or affection had ever passed between these two; such avowals would have been a slur on a complete trust; this was as far as Lucan had ever gone in rewarding the rapparee; nor did he ask him how he had found Ishma, nor by what means he knew her story.

"She lives yet," he said, "and there have been miracles—take her to Galway—nay, I do not trust my brother-in-law, he would give up the town at the first alarm—take her to Limerick where the viceroy is—you can do it?"

"I can. I can get a light cart—"

"There are some Poor Clares in Limerick—I forget where—"

"I will find them."

Lucan moved from the window where the last light glinted in the gilt of his sword.

"I must go and fight," he said. "You have men, I will give you all the money you need. Take these two and house them in Limerick." He counted out the gold, his last pay, carefully hoarded; he had meant to send it to Honor who had moved to Limerick, feeling safer there. "I have not enough money. This was for my wife. I forgot."

"I will find the money and anything else you want, Lord Lucan."

"I will get it presently, there is much owing to me."

He gave the name of an inn in Limerick where he was well known; he was surprised that he was able to do this, but his instructions were precise and methodical. He put down half the good money he had (gold, not the down-cried brass tokens) into the rapparee's hand.

"Give her all she needs, more than all she needs, every luxury; lawn sheets and fine wool, gold for her wrists and hair, if any can be got in Limerick, delicate ornaments, everything, and after the battle I will come to you again."

"I will get everything," said the rapparee.

"Like a queen, she must pass like a queen—and after the battle you will tell me what you know."

He went to the door of the inner room; Ishma lay in a stupor; her eyes that he had thought like water violets were ashy in the taperlight as she stared before her into desolation.

"She never had anything," muttered Lucan; "nothing at all."

He came from the inner room; the rapparee thought that his soul was absent from his body—"Jesu, he looks a man of fifty!"

Mrs. Begg, feeding herself from the pot on the hearth, was muttering:

"A little old woman must have a little cup of food—a little old woman must have a few embers of fire."

Lucan looked through the window. In the deepening violet of the evening the one large star showed brighter. He said:

"I can find my way across the bog, I know the paths now very well. Do you as I have commanded you, use my name, my power, my authority, my money, everything."

He walked slowly, heavily to the door; then turned, rigid with an access of frenzy, seized the rapparee by the shoulders, and shouted:

"Tell me who it was!"

"Not till after the battle—if you were to strangle me."

Lucan stared at him in sombre fury; then let him go and turned away and took the causeway across the bog. Very terrible was the landscape; yet he knew that his misery made it so, and that in truth all was beautiful save for human wretchedness.

As he was then without his cloak his scarlet uniform showed vivid even in the waning, livid light; he had forgotten his hat and his hair blew back in a soft gale of wind that bent, with invisible force, the thorns blasted by sea winds.

He thought, stupidly:

"Nesmond will be able to get out of the Shannon—the tempests have dropped."

He passed through the poor patches of tillage, the dismal huts; the people crawled out to stare at him, so strange a figure striding along the causeway towards Aughrim.

With the instinct of love they knew him; who else had this gigantic form, this majestic port?—"Patrick Sarsfield, the world's wonder; Patrick Sarsfield, Ireland's hope; Patrick Sarsfield, Ireland's darling—"

The ragged, starving wretches blessed him as he passed; a woman was holding a dying child at whom she looked with love unutterable; he put the rest of his scanty hoard into her bony hand, forgetting Honor; two corpses sprawled across the causeway; he had to step over them; beyond the scatter of huts two lean-ribbed dogs were tearing at the body of an old man; his thin blood mingled with the starlight in the soggy bog pools.

"Why did I hope to escape," muttered Lucan, "from Ireland's curse!"

The strong man staggered, like one heavily burdened; when, near Kilcommodon Hill, he lifted his eyes, it was to see the stark outline of the gallows on which St. Rhue had hanged the Irish; against a rift of gold-washed sky in which the stars sparkled gorgeous with celestial pomp, the bound corpses showed black, with bowed heads.


GENERAL THE MARQUIS DE ST. RHUE was irritated because when, on the eve of this most important engagement, he sent a messenger to Lord Lucan, that officer was shut in his tent and would see no one; his body-servant turned all away; his master had taken an opiate, he had a fever.

But early in the morning the Irishman appeared in the pavilion of the commander-in-chief with a wild suddenness that further offended the Frenchman; nor was Lucan's uniform and deportment according to the severe rules laid down by that haughty caste that was the chivalry of France.

Lucan flung down a letter among the bijoux on St. Rhue's bureau.

"These were brought me last night—they show Brigadier Luttrell to be a traitor. He should be arrested at once."

Lucan spoke as if he cared nothing for the business and St. Rhue was more deeply outraged.

"How did you come by this letter?" he demanded. "It is not addressed to you."

Lucan replied briefly:

"The trumpeter who came yesterday to inquire after the English wounded officers who are prisoners brought this too—it is from Colonel Sebastian, one of General Ginckel's men—Luttrell being at the cavalry depot this was handed to me—"

"Why? It should have come to me."

"What does it matter? It is full of plain treachery—Luttrell has been selling us for weeks."

"I should have had this letter last night." As it was in French St. Rhue could read the epistle, which plainly showed Luttrell to be in the pay of Ginckel; but the Frenchman seemed to make little of it. "Why should you break the seal?"

"Last night I was overcome by private miseries—there is time enough—arrest him at once."

"On this?" sneered St. Rhue. "It may be forged—you seem to take the ruin of your friend very lightly."

"I think of Ireland. Do we fight to-day?"

"No—to-morrow with the dawn, I believe."

"And you'll take no notice of Luttrell's treason?"

"Not on this. There must be inquiries."

"He is capable of it—I will see him myself."

"You Irish are always quarrelling," replied St. Rhue sternly. "If you provoke this gentleman to a dispute I will have you broken, Lord Lucan. But what you talk is folly."

"Very well. Who leads the cavalry to-morrow?"

"Lord Galmoy."

"And De Tessé is your second in command?"


"Will you tell me your designs?"

"No. You should have come to the council last night, Lord Lucan. I sent for you—"

"Last night I could not see or stand."

"Drunk, eh?" smiled St. Rhue.

"No, not drunk." Lucan smiled also. "Give me, instead of Galmoy, the cavalry to-morrow—he fights well, though a rogue, but I should fight better—"

"I will give it," said St. Rhue, "to whom I choose."

Profoundly vexed by being interrupted in his plans for the morrow, he stared at Lucan (who cared nothing for that) with haughty coldness. Lucan had about him the force of a man labouring under a great passion; and even St. Rhue recognised this and listened when, rising and pacing about he broke into speech, pushing his thick hair from his forehead with a total disregard for ceremony.

"I have lost all I valued in the world, there is nothing for me but to seek out some way of dying, and I do entreat you to put me in the forefront to-morrow. Give me some post of authority. Let me taste once before I die what it is to lead a charge of Irishmen against the enemy."

St. Rhue was impressed, but would not show it; the fellow was mad, he thought.

"I will do what I can for you, Lord Lucan."

"If you set me down to-morrow you are less than a man. Do you think I care for your blunders, or for those of your master? If I do not have orders to fight I may fight without orders."

St. Rhue flamed at that.

"Insubordination! Lord Lucan, do you intend to join Brigadier Luttrell, then be court-martialled and probably shot?"

"I have some power among the Irish," said the other, not as a boast or a threat, but as a plain statement, "and I might use it."

He paused by the seated Frenchman and stared down at him with such utter disregard for all conventions, with such complete self-absorption in some secret passion, that even St. Rhue was checked in what he meant to have said.

He reflected on the situation. He was moved, almost impressed by the deep passion, the recklessness of Lucan. He saw that he dealt with a man profoundly roused, who had received some main blow which made him indifferent to time and chance, and he believed he knew what that was. He thought that Lucan had quarrelled with, perhaps been dismissed by, Madame de Bonnac. He himself had had a fierce scene with that cruel wanton woman, but in the end he had shown her that he was master; that he had come to the end of his patience with her lures and tricks; he had told her what she was and how soon she would be old and past any man's desire.

She had taunted him with her preference for Lucan, had tried to drive him nearly mad with frustrated desire and flaming jealousy, and he smiled grimly to himself, as he thought that very likely in this same manner had she tormented Lucan.

No doubt, after the manner of her kind, she played fast and loose with the two of them. St. Rhue, who had a great contempt for women and a great admiration for a fine soldier, a splendid man like the Irishman, was minded for a moment to be generous with his rival; after all he had conquered in his struggle with Solange de Bonnac; she had said at last: "Come to me as soon as you can after the battle"—she would be waiting for him in the little house at Ballinasloe when he had beaten the English.

"Give me what I ask," demanded Lucan.

Almost St. Rhue was overwhelmed by this desperate, this quiet passion; the man had said he wanted to die—and he was losing Solange. But the thought of the woman he wanted and had for so long lost, the woman who might only recently have lain in Lucan's arms and mocked at him, St. Rhue, the thought that he was dealing with one who had been a successful rival hardened him against the Irishman's passion and his plea.

Yet the Frenchman had sufficient shrewdness not to outrage the man utterly, for he knew Lucan's vast popularity with the Irish, and on the Irish would depend to-morrow. He said bitterly enough:

"Lord Lucan, I have not yet made my final decision for to-morrow, when I have I will let you know."

"You can offer me no more than that?"


"And you will do nothing about Luttrell?"

"For the moment, no."

With that Lucan, who felt the strength of his passion suddenly spent, turned and left the tent.

St. Rhue stared after him and quieted his hate and rage by dwelling on the great victory he would soon win and the beautiful, wilful and envied woman whom he would soon enjoy.

Lucan sent an express off to Tyrconnel in Limerick telling of Luttrell's treachery, then shut himself up in his tent; he had no orders, he did not know the plans for the battle, his troop was in readiness; there was nothing for him to do; he would see no one and his body-servant said he was sick; it was believed that he would not fight on the morrow.

But towards evening he sent out for a priest; a poor friar was found who went in to him, and was closed long in the inner tent. The body-servant was frightened by the sound of the voice that rose against that of the old, patient priest; he knew that none but his master was there—"but that is not the voice of my master, or—" The man crossed himself. "He is mad."

About that hour, when all the camp was in movement in preparation for the battle, St. Rhue had had a short interview with Luttrell and shown him the intercepted letter; Luttrell had treated the affair lightly; he said "that it was a clumsy device on the part of the Dutchman to destroy his credit with the French, that he had never heard of Colonel Sebastian, and that he wondered that Lord Lucan should do him so ill a turn, out of mere spite and jealousy—perhaps he had even written the letter himself."

Brigadier Luttrell, cool, easy and ironically servile, with his hat cocked insolently over his narrow squinting eyes, swaggered out of the commander-in-chief's presence as if he had not a care in the world. And he was no sooner gone than an Irish squireen named O'Kelly and his shepherd, who had been waiting all day for the chance, slipped into the pavilion of St. Rhue, who was intensely irritated at seeing these two wretched figures before him; both wore the native Irish dress and that soiled and torn.

But he quickly controlled his imperious and hasty temper for he remembered that he must fight with Irish troops on the morrow and how important the morrow was to him—the battle in which he must conquer or die with loss of reputation, for he had resolved not to survive a defeat, and he had only the Irish with whom to gain a victory.

The grand gentleman, therefore, forced himself to ask the two civilly: "what was their need in thus forcing themselves upon him for an audience?"

The squireen, who gave his name as O'Kelly said "that he had come to demand redress—some of the French soldiers had taken his sheep."

This triviality, coming on the top of his heavy day's work, was almost too much for St. Rhue's control. He said with the greatest sternness in his difficult English:

"Morbleu! You might as well spare a few sheep for the soldiers who are fighting to protect you, your lands and Ireland itself!"

"What, your honour, is any of that to me?" persisted O'Kelly. "We do not know who is fighting to protect us and who is here to rob us. All the soldiers are thieves and we could have done without the battles and camps." And, dropping his voice to what he considered a persuasive note, he pleaded: "Will not your honour give me back those sheep?"

St. Rhue's brief control left him. He exclaimed in French, which he bade his valet translate:

"Be off! or I will hang you from the nearest tree, you and your hireling, too!"

These were the methods he had been encouraged to use in the Cevennes; it seemed to him intolerable that he should be afflicted with such vermin as O'Kelly and his shepherd, and that they ought really to be hanged for their effrontery in venturing to address him at all; he was furious that they had got into his presence...

O'Kelly turned to his shepherd and said in Irish:

"Mark the general."

"I will do so, your honour," replied the man in the same language. "He's robbed you, master, ask him for the skins."

In a whining, cringing tone O'Kelly began to plead for the skins of the sheep which had been slaughtered...

But St. Rhue, who knew that the soldiers were using sheep skins to sleep on, peremptorily refused this last request, told the man to begone and to be thankful that he was not first beaten and then hanged as he ought to be...

The two left the tent and St. Rhue did not give them another thought. After exchanging a few low sentences in Irish the pair crossed the bog by ways only known to the natives, to the enemy's lines, where the precaution of the far-seeing Ginckel had already drawn everything up in order of battle. The Dutchman was of a very different temperament and character to the Frenchman; he did not refuse to see the two Irishmen when his aide-de-camp told him they were inquiring for him under a plea of "important news."

With that simplicity which might have been cunning or guile they told their story through an interpreter to Ginckel.

The Dutchman made no comment.

He sent for an Irish artillery officer named Trench and told him that these men "might be able to show him a mark worth shooting at."

Trench was appointed to one of the batteries on the Aughrim side and he took the shepherd and the squireen away with him to his post.

"If there is nothing in it," remarked Ginckel placidly, "there is no harm done; if there is something in it, it may be very much worth while."

St. Rhue, having entirely put out of his mind the futile incident of the insolent Irishmen, set himself to do his utmost to ensure a victory on the following day. He even forced himself to endeavour to win the hearts of the Irish, though he could not bend himself to try to win the heart of the leader of the Irish, Lucan, whom he did not see again that night. He ordered public masses to be said and the priests to go from rank to rank, exhorting the soldiers; he endeavoured to give both a national and a religious character to the battle. But he cared nothing for the Faith or for Ireland, he was merely thinking of himself, and how he had staked all his future on the issue of the morrow—of how he must win a victory before the news of Athlone got to Paris—of the laurels, the Te Deum and the woman to follow that victory.

The Irish were astir early in the morning. St. Rhue rode forth, impressive in his massed decorations, honours and splendid uniform, to address his men who, to even his professional eye, looked soldierly enough.

At that moment Lucan received his orders. He was to stay with the reserves of cavalry behind the sloping hill on which stood the dark Castle of Aughrim, and not to move unless he received a positive command.


SO THICK was the mist that it was midday before the two opposing armies could see each other; one was on the hill of Aughrim, the other on the opposite heights of Urrachree. The Marquis de St. Rhue had done his best to ensure success and to win the Irish to whom that success must be entrusted. In the early morning he had spoken, through the drifting vapour that rose from the dark bog, to the despised aliens who were his sole hope in the forthcoming fray.

Cold and haughty as he was, he contrived, through the pressure of his own need, to put some passion into his words; little cared he for the liberty of Ireland; but he cared greatly about the issue of the day. Therefore, in passionate tones, he warned the soldiers "that they were fighting for their religion, their liberty, their honour."

The late unfortunate affairs, but too generally known, had brought a reproach on the national character for bravery and military qualities.

"Everywhere," declared the haughty Frenchman, "Irish soldiers are mentioned with a sneer; and now," he added, "you have the opportunity to retrieve the good name, the valour, of your country."

Brigadier Luttrell translated this speech with force and eloquence.

As St. Rhue sat with his staff officers and the inspired (he hoped) soldiers around him, he felt a return of his usual superb self-assurance and cold complacency. He had seen Lucan ride past to take his post behind the hill of Castle Aughrim, and had remarked with a sneer to Lord Galmoy:

"The man looks half-frantic. I have heard him very highly spoken of, but I do not admire his character nor his behaviour—he spoke to me very wildly—he has no idea of discipline."

Galmoy grinned.

"A little fanatic, Monseigneur, a man with impossible ideas in his head. He has tried to fasten quarrels on me often enough," added Galmoy negligently, "but I was always careful to keep out of his way. I did not want ruptures in the midst of a campaign."

"Mon Dieu! the man boasts himself a patriot and a good soldier, but it seems to me that before the summer is over he will find himself cashiered or sharing the prison of the traitors and rebels."

"What then will become of him?" asked Galmoy indifferently.

"He will probably be shot," said St. Rhue, thinking of Solange, and, raising his glass, he surveyed the attempt by Ginckel to take Urrachree, and he put the woman and her lover out of his mind.

The Irish eagerly repelled the advancing English.

St. Rhue was delighted to see that the cavalry was behaving with the greatest gallantry and holding their own even when Portland's Horse and two of the Duke of Wurtemburg's battalions went to the assistance of the hard-pressed English; the struggle became stationary, neither side gaining an advantage.

After a short pause Ginckel's troops again attacked the pass of Urrachree. The fight continued desperately for two hours, the volleying was incessant; the men became powder blind and deafened; with the muzzles of the English against their breasts the Irish furiously, slowly, reluctantly retreated, step by step through the pass of Urrachree, falling back from hedge to hedge. St. Rhue, seeing that this assault attacked his weakest point, ordered up reinforcements from Aughrim.

Mackay, the Williamite general, at once observed this and how it left the French centre exposed, and sent his infantry across the bog; a feat which they accomplished, thigh-deep in the marsh, under a murderous fire, driving the marksmen from behind the hedges until they had reached the main line of the Irish front.

When the English had gone too far to retreat the Irish Horse, under Galmoy, rushed down the hillside and drove the broken foe back into the bog with a loss so enormous that the spot was always known afterwards as "Bloody Hollow."

While St. Rhue, with intense satisfaction, was observing this success through his glass, he received the news that the Inniskillens, under Colonel St. John and Lord George Hamilton, had struggled across the bog along the right, been ambushed and run down by the cavalry and obliged to make a retreat, up to their middles in mud and water, leaving many dead and wounded.

"So far," exulted the French commander-in-chief, "the English left-centre is repulsed, the right has done nothing, the day is ours, mes enfants," he added, turning in his saddle to his staff officers; "we will drive them before us to the very walls of Dublin. There will be no need, after all, to call my Lord Lucan to our assistance."

So intense was his hatred of the Irishman that in the moment of his triumph this thought gave an added glow to his pleasure. Putting his spy-glass to his eye again, he saw the regiments under Mackay making a desperate onset towards the ruined castle of Aughrim, the road to which was so narrow that only two horsemen could ride abreast. St. Rhue had received one surprise in the doggedness and perseverance of Ginckel before the walls of Athlone; this was another. He watched, first with contempt, then amusement and some excitement what appeared to be an impossible feat of arms. The perseverance of the Dutchman was indeed amazing, for the twilight was falling and the battle might have been considered lost; but the Blues continued to flounder through the morass, facing the effective fire of the Irish. As St. Rhue watched them bogged, fall, rise and fall again, and still press on, he exclaimed, letting the perspective glass fall from his eyes:

"What on earth can they mean by it?" Then his astonishment turned to admiration and the experienced soldier exclaimed: "By heavens, they are gallant fellows, and it is quite a pity that they should thus court death." He looked again, all eagerness, and saw the stubborn Blues lay down hurdles on the morass. He shrugged his shoulders and remarked: "The more who pass the more will be beaten." But the English had succeeded in fighting through the worst part of the bog and they were quickly followed by a magnificent advance on the part of Ruvigny's Horse and the sixth and third Dragoon Guards to protect the Huguenot infantry, who were defending themselves behind a chevaux de frise of the pikes, which their sappers carried with them as a last defence; they had no hope, but that of "selling their lives dearly."

The Irish cavalry were then outnumbered—Ruvigny's cavalry came forward in an overwhelming sweeping charge across the dry ground beyond the bog; the Irish broke, even Galmoy, who was at their head, would have been glad then of the assistance of Lucan's reserve; all seemed at hazard. The artillery on both sides was useless, so intermingled were the forces.

St. Rhue was vexed but not shaken in his majestic self-confidence, nor could he even at this crisis overcome his hatred and jealousy of Lucan. He sent an aide-de-camp to that general, bidding him send half his cavalry, but adding that he was himself to remain with the other half behind the hill; and, to prevent any impetuous action which he was always fearing on the part of the Irishman, he told his messenger to add: "The day was going well and the demand for half the reserve was a mere precaution," and, insultingly, "that the Irish fought like men of another nation."

Lucan sent half his magnificent horse immediately. Saint Rhue left his observation post and proceeded to put himself at the head of these reserves; he intended to meet the English squadron which had just almost incredibly fought through the morass, pressing on to the very snaphances of the Irish thrust through the hedges. "It is victory," cried St. Rhue, "it is most assuredly victory! I am glad they have been such fools, we shall kill the more of them and it will make the day more decisive."

Ginckel was indeed fighting desperately to save himself from utter rout; he had thrown forward his last resources to help the masses of men, fighting fiercely, enmeshed in the bog into which they were being driven back from the high slopes and ditches round the castle.

"Yes!" cried St. Rhue, tossing his hat with the panache of white plumes above his head. "I shall beat them back to the gates of Dublin! It is three times they have been repulsed."

He saw with pleasure one colour after another, English, Huguenot, Dutch, falter, sink and fall into the mud...Mackay was making a grim last stand beyond the boggy trenches beneath the castle, where he had contrived to fight his way and where he was now trapped...

St. Rhue, observing the veteran Scot's plight, was furious that O'Bourke, commanding in the castle, did not demolish at once this audacious cavalry...

But O'Bourke was helpless; he had discovered that his bullet chests were empty—there were no bayonets and the balls were too large for the cannon; treachery or negligence as dangerous! The Irish filled their carbines with chopped ramrods and buttons...

St. Rhue saw that the moment had come to make a decisive charge; he put himself at the head of the cavalry, which, had he not been inflamed by jealous hate, he should have allowed Lucan to lead.

It was the hour of sunset. Through the incessant volleying and the heavy thud of the cannon from Ginckel's defiant batteries rang out the angelus from the little church of Aughrim. The pale sky, from which the mist had long since swept away, was flecked with red stains in the west, which lay reflected in vivid patches in the pools of the purple-brown bog; the bent and withered thorns beside the distant hovels were gilded with a false and transient gold, the whole landscape, a fitting background for the obstinate battle, seemed to express nothing but the burden of the mournful futility of the earth and existence; it was the saddest hour between waning day and darkening night. But St. Rhue felt no melancholy.

His heart swelled to think that he would be able now to redeem the disgrace of Athlone and to return to honours, advancement, and the king's smile, to the arms of Solange de Bonnac—eh, there would be something to lay at her feet!

He had, after all, snatched high good fortune and all the spoils of a victory out of these hateful bogs where his duty had so unfortunately led him, and that without help from Lucan, his rival in love and war, who had endeavoured to steal from him both the creature for whom he lusted and the honours he considered his own..."The day is ours, mes enfants! They are broken, let us beat them to some purpose!" Leading his fresh cavalry he rode slowly down the hill.

At this moment, as the Frenchman, with the fading sunlight bright upon him, put himself directly before his camp at the head of his troops, one of two ragged earth-coloured men crouching beside a battery on the Aughrim side, remarked to the officer in command:

"Master, I see the Frenchman."

It was the shepherd of the squireen who had been repulsed so haughtily by St. Rhue the previous night. He spoke in Irish and Trench impatiently asked "what he meant?"

O'Kelly interpreted "that the shepherd had seen St. Rhue leaving his observation post and coming forward at the head of the cavalry down the hill."

"Where is he?" asked Trench, with his hand on the gun.

"There," replied the shepherd, "as fine as a bandsman in front of the Horse!"

St. Rhue was a magnificent figure in the full panoply of a French general; with gold and azure and lace, flying plumes and scarves, and tasselled gauntlets, an unsheathed sword in his hand along which the last light dripped red, his dark curls blown back from his handsome, imperious face, which was flushed with the anticipation of triumph. His magnificently-appointed horse, fresh and impatient for the charge, was caracoling in the finest fashion of the haute école.

Without a word Captain Trench himself directed the laying of the gun and sighted it. He found it to be too low, for the front wheels of the carriage had sunk into the soft, boggy ground.

He then sat down and pulled off his long, stiff, hard jackboots, placed them as a hurdle under the wheels, and then sighted the gorgeous figure pointed out by the Irishmen.

O'Kelly and his shepherd grinned at each other with malign excitement. The gun was fired; for a second they could see nothing, a puff of smoke obscured their view.

When this dissolved Trench called out impatiently:

"Is the Frenchman hit?"

"He's on his horse yet," said the shepherd; "you've only blown the hat off him. No! by the Holy Virgin! But the head's in it, too, for I see it rolling down the hill!"

Trench looked and saw that St. Rhue's splendid horse had swerved round, then charged forward; but the steed only carried a headless trunk which clung to the saddle for a few strides, then was tossed off beside an old twisted hawthorn, from which gunfire had long since burnt off all leaves. Down the slope towards the ranks of De Ruvigny's straggling cavalry rolled the head of St. Rhue, plumed, bedizened, the brilliant curls bloody, a smile of triumph fixed in a stiff grin on the writhing lips.


THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF was slain in full sight of the advancing Irish cavalry and the effect on them was like a spell, as if at a given signal they broke and reeled.

The body of St. Rhue, gleaming in the sunset in all its magnificent decorations, was taken up, covered with a common soldier's frieze cloak, and carried to the rear. De Tess, now in command, gave no orders; the other leaders, falling back before their wavering ranks, did nothing. A deserter, scrambling across the bog, took the news of St. Rhue's death to the enemy, it leaped from rank to rank till it reached Ginckel himself. The Dutchman, who had been in grim despair, ordered another onslaught on the dismayed enemy. De Ruvigny had not needed this; he had seen the headless body fall beside the hawthorn and had charged with desperation, with elation, with hope...

Only one leader among the Irish-French forces gathered on those dreadful slopes behaved with fortitude and promptitude. Piers Butler Lord Galmoy led the remnants of his horse in a frantic charge; on his loyalty and courage there was at least no stain.

Ruvigny's cavalry, however, swept him back with irresistible force. The Irish right wing, completely broken, fled across the darkening morass.

During a murderous and fiercely-contested battle the balance had hung now this way, now that; but with the death of St. Rhue fortune definitely threw her favours into the lap of the English.

The entire Irish front quivered, hesitated, broke and fled—the defeat became a flight.

The sunset-flecked dusk fell on ten thousand corpses strewn across the hill, pastures and bogs; for Ginckel's men fought with fury; they rushed to victory over the heaped bodies of their enemies.

Lucan, half a mile away behind the hill, knew nothing of this disaster; as at the Boyne, he waited for the orders that never came. The last express from St. Rhue that had asked for half his forces had brought an insolent message of self-satisfied assurance of success; the first Lucan knew of the rout at Aughrim was when the scattered infantry came running over the hill.

Mackay's Horse had driven back Tyrconnel's Foot and Luttrell's Dragoons, (who had continued to make an obstinate resistance), thus turning the Irish left flank. Galmoy, fighting like a devil, was trapped between Mackay and Ginckel. When Lucan with his fresh reserves swept round the hill of Aughrim the battle was over, and the Irish in full rout.

Ginckel's perseverance, Mackay's skill and Ruvigny's magnificent charge had crushed the last hopes of Ireland on the slopes of Aughrim.

"Where," cried Sarsfield, like a man crazed; "where are Tessé, D'Usson, Galmoy?"

Galmoy was a prisoner, he was told, no one knew what had become of the Frenchmen. The English had captured cannon, tents, baggage and field equipage; standards and colours by the armful. The battle had become a massacre.

There was nothing left for Lucan to do but to rally the fugitives and draw them off towards Limerick. He wheeled and swept away, followed by what remained of the army got together by St. Rhue. The Irish railed round him as naturally as round a national flag; even his enemies wrote of him that he "performed miracles, and if he was not killed or taken it was no fault of his own."

Time ceased for Lucan; the long hour of twilight seemed the dim light of eternity. His own secret soul marvelled at his own energy, decision, rapidity of action. He seemed to see himself, as if he stared at another man conducting that frightful retreat, not only of a defeated army but of a vanquished people.

Toby O'Hogan had come to his side and was ably seconding him. Lucan accepted without surprise the presence of the rapparee among his regular staff.

The progress was slow along the narrow road; to hasten, to step aside was to risk being sucked into the bog. Lucan envied Galmoy whom he had hated. Piers Butler had been taken fighting fiercely with defiance on his lips; he had been able on that bloody field to uphold the ancient honour of Ireland.

The merciful dark seemed so long coming. The Irish detachment under Lucan fought as they retreated; others, in uttermost confusion, ran for the causeways. The ditches were levelled with the fields by the piled-up corpses.

Shrieks of desolate and limitless agony rose from the battlefield, cries of intolerable pain from mangled horse and man. Amidst the drifting mist stars twinkled through the obscurity...Sarsfield once or twice dashed his hand across his eyes, and in that stale battle smoke his morning thoughts returned. He could scarcely distinguish the real from the unreal, the seen from the unseen; his mind was breaking through a deep thicket of visions, dreams and memories; rage and agony had made him tired, horribly tired.

A party of French, even then still insolent, pushed through the fugitives; they bore the magnificent, headless body of St. Rhue, wrapped in the common, bloody mantle. At this sight O'Hogan shouted out:

"Take him to the dainty harlot whom he envied! She'll be waiting for him, all clean and painted!"

But Lucan put his hand to his eyes as past him was carried the body of the man whose pride and jealousy had cost the liberty of Ireland, as Lucan wildly thought.

The camp followers and plunderers were already about the fringes of the fight, the naked bodies of the men looked like sheep in the twilight...Lucan recalled how Ishma had once spoken of "bodies like flocks on the hills."

The pursuit slackened. Ginckel was pausing to bury his dead, Mackay to give solemn thanks to the God who had gotten him the victory; but the Irish dead would remain to rot above the earth they could not save.

As they neared Lough Derg they were clear of the slaughter, but the wounded dropped at every pace. By a sudden lantern flare Lucan saw Mons. de Bonnac fallen in a ditch; his old wound had broken out, and he was fast dying. Lucan stooped to give him the vinaigrette of the Huguenot officer whom he had so fantastically thought might be the Prince of Orange. The Frenchman pressed his hand, said that "philosophy now stood him in good stead," and bid Lucan hasten on. Before he could remount De Bonnac was dead, prone in the mud-filled ditch; the little abbé who accompanied him everywhere caught him to his bosom.

By the dawn they were near Killaloe and out of sight of any pursuit. Lucan believed that Ginckel, after securing the passes of the Shannon, would make for Galway which lay in his rear, and which he must know to be poorly garrisoned and full of careful men, rich from the trade with France...The news somehow came through the press of struggling fugitives. D'Usson had made for Galway with what French he could bring off from the disaster. But the Irish continued to press on towards Limerick.

"I can ride no more," said Lucan; he leant from his saddle across his horse's neck. O'Hogan had him out of the line of march into a fair little field grown with ash trees. With the dawn came a wind; at once there was light and movement in the heavens, clouds gossamer as thistledown veiled the setting stars; the nightjar from a dark thicket gave his lonely cry; the solitary bird seemed angry at the noisy passing of the fugitives along the road.

Lucan slipped from the saddle and lay on the ground beneath the ash trees. O'Hogan tethered the animals and sat down beside him. Lucan noticed that the rapparee rode a strange horse.

"Where is John Luby, O'Hogan?"

"He broke his legs on a hurdle in the bog, and I shot him."

"Oh, this has been a dreadful day!"

"Have you lost heart at last, Lord Lucan?"

"It seems"—he struck his breast—"as if I have no heart to lose—all empty here!"

O'Hogan saw that his sleeve was wet and dark.

"You have been wounded—you are sick with loss of blood—"

"Have I? I feel nothing. I can do no more."

"You have done all any one could, Lord Lucan."

"And all in vain." He dragged himself up, but fell against the tree trunk. "I feel as weak as a woman in childbirth—all my strength is gone."

He looked towards the east, and in the pure light his distorted face looked (O'Hogan thought) unhuman.

"Another day—the sun to rise on this! O Holy Ghost, O pitiful Jesu! look down on Thy slaughtered people! O God save Ireland in her bitter extremity!"

He leant against the rapparee; from behind the hedge came the sound of the flight from Aughrim. The ash leaves swayed and shivered, the strengthening light revealed lovely flowers in the fresh, dewy grass. Through the broken hedge, the exhausted, the maimed, crept to die; and following the fugitives came the howls and bayings of the great dogs who hurried to feast on the corpses.

Heavy against the breast of the rapparee Lucan said:

"Now you must tell me who it was."

"Not now, and you without strength."

"I shall have strength to go to her—is she alive?"

"Yesterday she was alive, and safe in Limerick."

"I shall have strength to be avenged. Who was it?

"Lord Lucan, do not force me to say—"

"You promised—after the battle. The battle is over." Sarsfield raised his head with a mad, atrocious look. "Tell me."

"Well," said Galloping O'Hogan sombrely, "a man has no right to be cheated of his revenge...It was Lord Galmoy—and Brigadier Luttrell—and a woman."

As Lucan, still staring at him, did not seem to understand, the rapparee repeated: "Galmoy, Luttrell and the damned harlot, De Bonnac's wife."

Lucan muttered something inarticulate. Toby O'Hogan looking down at the grass told what he knew of the rape of Ishma O'Donaghoe. Told what he had cleverly and with infinite pains discovered—the murder of the priest and the bailiff, the flight of Mrs. Begg after her charge, the careful setting in order of everything in Lucan, so that no trace of violence might appear. It was no doubt thoughtfully planned by Luttrell, Galmoy not having the cool head for such an affair—"as for what had followed—" Toby O'Hogan ceased to speak.

"Do you remember," whispered Lucan, "the women at Ballyneety?"

He turned away and lay prone on the grass, his fingers in his hair.

"They shall die for it," said Toby O'Hogan, bending over him. "I swear on the rood they shall die for it."

"I must do that," muttered the fallen man.

"A duel?" asked the rapparee. "The gentlemen's way?"

A savage dog, maddened by hunger and blood, was dragging a yet warm and shuddering corpse across the meadow. O'Hogan drew his pistol from his belt and shot the animal cleanly through the head; as the smoke and yelps ceased, he said:

"Like that. At least for Henry Luttrell."

"Help me up," cried Lucan; he struggled to a sitting posture and dragged the soiled linen from his throat. "Those two had Ishma, and after them—" He turned sharply on his side again.

O'Hogan, peering over him, found that he had fainted.

The rapparee, always well provided for the chances of a wild and desperate life, had both vinegar and brandy about his person. With gentle care he administered to his friend and presently got him up again, leaning half against himself, half against the ash trees; the sunlight was glittering in the clear air, the flies began to buzz over the bodies of the man and dog sprawling together on the crushed flowers.

"What is it all for, O'Hogan? What can we, unambitious men, ever gain that is worth what we suffer?"

"I do not know. I was content with a small place to eat and sleep in, a horse and a little land; my own people and freedom to pray and ride as I would, a little estate of two hundred a year. I was happy and counted an honest gentleman. But they are all murdered, all I loved, and all my pleasant hours withered like leaves in spring when a great storm blows in from the angry ocean. And I in my turn have slain many; and all is so dark I know not if I may say, 'Jesu, forgive thy poor rogue and thief.'"

"I must go to Limerick." Lucan struggled to his feet. "She is there—and Luttrell."

The rapparee rose also and went to the horses, his figure was dark and heavy in the blue air.

"There is Tyrconnel, too," he said quietly. "You must make your report to him, Lord Lucan, you must show him what you brought off from Aughrim."

"Can I do it?"

"You can do it, Lord Lucan." He gave the other man his brandy flask, but Lucan put it aside, mounted and gathered up the reins.

"How long have we been here, O'Hogan? My senses have been clouded."

"Not half an hour."

They rode through the broken hedge and took the trampled road to Limerick.


A SOFT muffled sound met Lucan as he ascended the dark stairs. Her voice, surely, crying out for him. He leant against the door behind which O'Hogan said she might be found, but soon controlled himself to enter softly. He could not know then, but he remembered afterwards with tender gratitude, how finely, for such a time of war and such a pitch of fortune, the room was decked. The light was dim, the shadows golden, and he saw here and there a holy picture, a crucifix, a golden vessel on the mantelshelf, a prie-dieu with silver lilies worked on the back, and the rich hangings of a bed, old, worn, but cherished, smelling of preserving lavender and showing here and there a tarnished gold thread.

By that bed Lucan stood mute. For a second, in his lonely hopelessness, he had a curious spark of consolation, as if somewhere, somehow, there might be deliverance, that in this great and horrible darkness, so encompassing that it seemed a witchery, there might yet rise some shining star of hope.

He glimpsed a nun the other side of the bed, one of the Poor Clares whom His Majesty had permitted to establish themselves in Dublin, and who, with the falling of that city to the Protestants, had followed the army.

He took no heed of her whatever, nor did he see the woman in the plain mantle who was behind her. He put back the curtains and looked down at Ishma, lying straight and narrow in the noble bed, propped on fine cushions covered with linen and lace. Over her was a glittering coverlet on which was embroidered his own arms in new glistening colours. He had seen it before, he had seen some one working this design, but he was not surprised to find it here, and the circumstances when he had last beheld it would not come back to his mind. He looked monstrous tall as he stood there in the taper light which had been set in a far corner so as not to trouble the eyes of the dying girl. His uniform was splashed with bog mud, he had put off his hat, his scarf, his sword, his gloves; his hair fell unclasped over his shoulders; his face, always pale, appeared quite bloodless; he looked ten years older than before his visit to the hut on the bogs, before Aughrim. His bare duty had occupied all the day; this and that to-do in Limerick for the garrison, for the press of fugitives; this was his first half-hour of freedom. O'Hogan had told him that she lived, O'Hogan had brought him to the house by Baal's Bridge, that was scarred by the cannonade of the first siege.

"Sir," said the nun (he thought it was the nun who spoke, at least it was a voice which came out of the shadows from the other side of the bed), "speak to her, she will not long understand anything, if indeed she understands now."

Lucan went on his knees on the bed-step and gathered the frail-limbed, the ruined beauty which had once been so gay and sweet, into his arms.

"I have never ceased to love you, you must understand that. So much came between, I have been so unstable and understood none of it. I would have died that this did not happen, I must die because it has happened. Speak to me, Ishma, but one word to take away with me."

The wasted figure stirred faintly in his embrace and the woman the other side of the bed whispered:

"You must take her up closer, you must press her to your bosom and kiss her; you must make her understand you are here. She has waited all day."

Lucan was not conscious of the bystanders; he muttered: "I thank you." And drew Ishma to his shoulder, her hair, now so harsh and colourless, fell over his gold epaulette. Her face, which was like a wan reflection in bog water of the face he had seen last under the may trees at Lucan, lay close to his, there was a bandage across her brow. He felt her feeble heart, her feeble breast.

"Know me, love me," he pleaded.

Ireland gone...Ishma gone...failure...his whole life...his whole love...All his world blown away like the smoke after the battle slowly disappearing across the desolation of the morass.

Her eyes which had so often looked at him with innocent love and ingenuous kindness turned on him through the death-glaze. He was aware that she stared into darkness and knew him not.

"Kiss her," urged the woman in the farther darkness. "Hold her close."

Ishma spoke, so low that none but he could hear, and even to him the words were like a whisper out of a dream:

"Water—a little water."

He called out for this, and a small gold cup was put into his hand. He held it to her lips, but she shook her head. "Water to wash—water to be clean."

She turned away from him and sat up with sudden strength. They brought her pure water in a silver bowl and set it on her knees. Lucan guided her weak hands and she bathed them, slowly, gravely, passing them in and out of the water as if she performed a ritual.

"To be clean, to be clean," she repeated. There was grandeur in her words and her action; she held herself like one of royal birth. All were hushed while she put her wet fingers over her scarred face, over her blind eyes; it was a defiled queen who performed stately ablutions. "The hawthorn blooms were very clean," she said sternly, addressing none; "but they lasted such a little while. I used to hold them in my hands and they were soon gone. My dear never came. I go alone."

The nun moved nearer the amber light of the faltering taper.

"She has received the Viaticum," she whispered; "the priest waits in the other chamber if she would see him again But the woman beside the nun who kept her hood over her face, commanded:

"Leave her with her lover."

With a dull and desperate obstinacy the kneeling man thought:

"She must not die, she will not die...Ireland will not be defeated, Ireland will not be enslaved—"

He could not command his thoughts; magnificent images raced through his mind, he felt as if he were again in that swift rout riding his horse flecked with blood, matted with sweat, through the curses and falling colours, and flashing weapons, again lying on the flowery grass while the nightjar whistled in the thicket.

Through the open door of the inner chamber he saw a fine spiral of incense; the perfume came gratefully to his nostrils. He tried to say a psalm, a prayer; he tried to repeat the charm first spoken under the black yew at Irrelagh, but his lips remained closed. In his heart only beat the words: "Thy face towards mine and mine turned from all others."

Sternly, gravely, Ishma put her hands through the water whispering: "Clean—clean—as I was before they took me away."

She fell back and the women caught up and removed the basin as the man snatched her close.

In that moment he was conscious of all the suffering of all Ireland, like a brand on his brow. He kissed Ishma on the forehead, and she sighed and died there leaning on him, her hands and face still wet.

It was some minutes before he laid her back on the pillows. All his actions were mechanical and, as he thought, against his own volition; he noticed how her poor body, so disfigured by disease and shame, was beautifully arrayed with heavy lace, azure and lilac ribbons. The woman on the other side of the bed leaned forward and put a gold-bordered handkerchief over the dead girl's face after she had closed her dimmed eyes. As she did so her own hood fell aside, and Lucan became conscious of the presence of others besides Ishma in the room; he recognised his wife. "Who told you?" he asked stupidly.

"Mr. O'Hogan told me," she answered, "to whom else should he come? A woman was needed for this service." She added: "I did what I could and I was glad to come."

"You heard what I said—you know it all?"


"Then this was not easy for you."

"I hope it was not difficult," said Honor, "I have so many faults, and of late they have been heavy on me. I pray that I may have learnt at least charity."

Lucan leant against the bed-post and stammered out he knew not what. His wife came round the old, rich curtain and took his arm.

"Defeat—utter rout," he muttered; "and this my love laid low."

"How I have been to blame!" sighed Honor. "I played my own heart false and yours! But you have lived with me and slept with me, and we know each other's secrets. Bear with me a little."

The taper flame bent and flickered as if a cold wind had suddenly entered the room. The prayers, the incense, the kindness of Honor, the brave richness of the room were very sweet to Lucan. Above the thin, dead hands that Honor folded gently one above the other he saw bracelets that had once belonged to his wife.

"You will not take them away?" he asked.

"No, I am not so poor as that."

He lifted up the gold-bordered handkerchief and looked once more on that strange, sweet sadness—her dead face.

He said stupidly:

"Galmoy—where is Galmoy? And Luttrell—Henry Luttrell? Defeated there, too," muttered Lucan, with a mad glance.

Honor went on her knees and whispered a prayer by the bed. She found it difficult to confine herself to the formula of piety, the words that beat in her brain and almost on her lips were: "I might have prevented this, I might have prevented so much. O pride and ignorance, folly and grief!"

There was little time even for this sorrow; the needs of a nation pressed. Ginckel was known to be preparing to march on Galway—and who in Galway was to be trusted?

Lucan was wanted everywhere. Was Limerick to hold out as before? Could he inspire Ireland again?...The messengers came knocking at the death chamber.

"I will see her laid in holy turf in the shade of Saint Mary," said Honor. She knew that as yet her husband was hardly aware of her presence or of her ministrations to Ishma, but as she followed him down the stairs he turned and put his hand on hers, and each felt that in their desolation they had at least one friend.

Lucan turned from the others, and sought out O'Hogan who had followed him close all day.

"Where is Luttrell—Henry Luttrell?"

"I cannot find him. I think he knows and is skulking away. I have seen several of his dragoons, and they say he was riding to Limerick."

Lucan went to Tyrconnel who, overwhelmed by work and misfortune, was dictating despatches in the castle.

"My God! Lord Lucan, you look as if your business was done! Have you the falling sickness or a mortal wound?"

"Where is Brigadier Luttrell?"

"He rode into Limerick a couple of hours ago and came here, as fresh and insolent as you please."

"Where is he? I must see him immediately."

"Where d'ye expect him to be?" asked Tyrconnel dryly. He really thought that Aughrim had unsettled Lucan's wits. "I had him arrested at once. He is in the dungeons, and it will go hard with me if I don't get him hanged—"


"Why, yes. Did not you yourself send me his damned treasonable correspondence with Ginckel?"

"I forgot," said Lucan stupidly, "it went altogether out of my mind."


A FEW DAYS after Aughrim, Galway fell; the seven poor regiments under D'Usson and Lord Dillon which comprised the garrison surrendered to Ginckel. The soldiers marched to Limerick with their arms, six pieces of cannon, drums beating, colours flying, match lighted and bullet in mouth.

Ginckel wished to hurry to Limerick before the summer campaign was over and he had granted easy terms; the secret instructions of his master were indeed to grant easy terms to all who reasonably submitted. Yet there were those who thought there had been some treachery in the quick surrender of Galway, for D'Usson was a friend of Tyrconnel and Dillon was his nephew.

Ginckel advanced on Cahirconlish and there paused, hoping that Limerick would fall without a siege. Deserter after deserter joined him. All had the same tales and those ever pleasant ones for the Dutch general to hear; tales of suspicion and strife, bitterness and quarrels in the city that was the scene of the last stand of the conquered, tales of the trial of Henry Luttrell and his sentence of death, of the mad behaviour of Lucan who was a changed man since Aughrim, of Tyrconnel, ageing, stricken, but noisy and valiant still, and of D'Usson yet at this desperate juncture giving his banquets and balls...

Lucan saw the body of Ishma O'Donaghoe laid in the shade of Saint Mary's Church; it was the day before that appointed for the hanging of Brigadier Luttrell. All was confusion, no one knew whom to trust; many were involved in Luttrell's treason, nor could their names be come at. Tyrconnel tried to animate all to offer a resistance to the victors of Aughrim who would not wait much longer patiently at Cahirconlish; he was assured, he declared, of fresh help from France; but there were many who did not trust him, nor any man.

When Lucan came from Ishma's grave he met a woman whom he had forgotten. She stood directly in his path; though he did not know it she had been following him—Olivia de Bonnac.

"Come with me," he said. He took her by the wrist and led her into the nearest inn, and into the dirty parlour at the back which looked on to the dull waters of the Shannon. Since her husband had fallen, undistinguished among the many distinguished dead, since her lover, St. Rhue, had dropped headless by the stunted hawthorn on Aughrim slopes, there were not many to concern themselves much about Madame de Bonnac.

"What do you want with me?" she asked.

He leant against the patched and broken wall; she sank into a mean chair by the stained table. Outside was the sound of drums and trumpets, as D'Usson's guards made what parade they could.

"Well, what is it, Lord Lucan?" she repeated.

Madame de Bonnac was no longer so bold as she used to be; there was a dimness about the brilliancy of her spirits, about the radiance of her beauty. She drew back against her chair and caught round her white throat a mantle no longer costly.

He thought of all the piled-up dead in Ireland, and of Ishma beneath the hasty sods in Limerick churchyard, he forgot almost the woman before him, forgot on what impulse he had drawn her into this private room, even what he had to say to her. What could he have now to say to any about Ishma and Ireland?

She took courage from his silence, thinking that his spirit failed him, and she shrugged and grimaced with something of her old arrogance, and ventured to stamp her foot, demanding:

"Why have you behaved to me so unmannerly?"

He glanced at her then with a fierce enough fire in his wide-open eyes.

She shrank back quickly, with the odd thought that he would spring forward and strike her on the cheek, on the mouth, but he did not move.

"Who was it?" he asked. "You, Galmoy and Luttrell?"

She laughed shrilly.

"All without your reach. Galmoy, a prisoner of the English; Luttrell a prisoner of the Irish, that is if he be not hanged or shot already; and I, a woman!"

"Woman!" repeated Lucan. "I have seen desolate women seated by swollen corpses and famished children sucking offal...I thought I had somewhat to say to you, but I find no words will come."

"You pay the penalty for being a fool," she replied, her vehemence gathering force as she saw that she was safe with him. "You would not serve Luttrell's purpose or mine. I wooed you for years in vain. Do you think that a woman like myself is to be with impunity put aside? You thought that I was your dainty doll, a dead image in a shrine. It was very dangerous for you to forget that I was a woman. Luttrell might have made you a king, or as near a king as is no matter, and I might have made you as fine a mistress as man ever had. But, no, you must mock, mope and hesitate, and scruple—"

"Enough!" cried Lucan, raising his hand and letting it fall again. "Enough, I pray you!"

He turned and leant against the wall of the tavern parlour as if he was spent. Even to the fierce bitter enmity of the woman who contemptuously regarded him, there was something terrible in so much weakness overcoming so much strength.

Never in her eyes had he looked less magnificent than he did now, his heart and soul gone from him, his bright hair falling over his gray-hued face, the lips set slackly, the brilliant eyes bloodshot, his hands hanging as if they were of no use to him. She gazed at him in a wondering curiosity; almost rather would she have had him upbraid and reprove her; strike and maltreat her; she would like to have been handled by him even in rage. She too had lost everything, she admitted complete defeat.

"This is an accursed country," she exclaimed, "would that I had never set foot in it. I shall leave behind here all I valued."

And then he answered her as he turned to leave her:

"What you value, madam, may be found in any place."

He noticed that a great clock over the mantelshelf was ticking, that the sound was intolerable. She made to speak again, but he left her to visit Brigadier Luttrell's prison in Limerick Castle.

Even before Aughrim, Tyrconnel had been writing desperately to King James to procure for the Irish Government as much as a thousand pistoles. Now he found the deserted Irish were left entirely to their own resources and exertions, maddened by leaders whose views were differing and distracted. The distant king himself had remarked that he was "not disposed to make further use of such ill-suited and jarring instruments." Tyrconnel was bent with age and weighed down with corpulency, but he kept up his spirits and was very active.

It was well known that only Patrick Sarsfield, that darling of the army, had prevented Limerick from surrendering at the first siege. Now, seeing a nation disunited and hopeless, Tyrconnel divided his remnant of power with Lucan. Zealous and anxious to give an example of patriotism he had urged on the trial and sentence of Luttrell who lay in the dungeon of Limerick Castle under sentence of death. The court martial found that his treason had been made manifest; with almost insolent boldness and indifference he had been dealing with the Williamites, offering to betray the interests of his own party in return for the money and honours which were eagerly enough offered. For General Ginckel had been commanded to be at no expense in procuring adherence to his master's cause. His great object was not so much the conquest as the pacification of Ireland. And all, Roman Catholics and Protestants alike, might have almost what they would if they would live peaceably under the new government. But, however desperate might seem the affairs of Ireland, Tyrconnel, the ageing, heavy, sick man, continued to show great activity, running about repairing the fortifications of the town, establishing magazines and endeavouring to enforce discipline, making the officers and soldiers take an oath of fidelity to James. At the same time he sent an express to St. Germains begging speedy succour or leave to make terms, yet all the main business he left to Lucan and no longer contradicted him in anything.

So it was easy for Lucan to do what he would in Limerick; he had more real power than he had ever enjoyed before, and no one questioned him when he said he would visit the man who had been Brigadier Luttrell of Luttrelstown, one of the proudest of Irish gentlemen and his own friend. Nor was any demur raised when he took with him Toby O'Hogan, who appeared openly since the capture of Galmoy.

That evening the Marquis D'Usson was giving a banquet to the viceregal court, Lucan alone did not attend it. Some thought it a generosity and some a meanness in him that he should prefer the company of his disgraced and doomed friend to the festival.

Henry Luttrell then had twenty-four hours to live. He had rejected the ministrations of a priest, declaring that he was "above all the superstitions of men."

As Lucan entered the dungeon, which was a decent enough room though with cold gray walls and scant furniture. ("Far finer," thought Lucan, "than the hovel where I found Ishma.") Luttrell was seated by the window; falling full upon his person was the August sunshine, which streamed through a vapour of late afternoon, yellow as run honey. The prisoner, looking up, could see the top of a tree, gold where the sunshine caught it on nether side, tossing against the veiled azure of the sky.

There was no change in him. Lucan had wildly expected to see something monstrous about his person; crazily enough he felt that he would be shown into the presence of a beast or a demon.

But here was the Henry Luttrell of the old days who had been such a pleasant companion and, it had seemed, such a warm friend, of so fantastic an imagination, of so much wit and valour, of gifts so brilliant, so amusing and agreeable in his light fastidious way—here was the same Henry Luttrell seated in his dungeon awaiting death. He had been stripped of his uniform, that was the sole difference in his appearance. He wore a civilian suit of a dark colour with many steel buttons; his linen was fair and fresh, his hair neatly dressed. His curious face, always pallid, showed little trace of what he had been through, but as he turned at Sarsfield's entrance, the oblique cast in his eye was very pronounced. ("That is the sole mark of the Devil about him.")

Luttrell did not rise at Lucan's entrance, but remained in his slightly lounging attitude and glanced again at the tree beyond the window with the air of a man who has done with worldly forms and ceremonies.

Lucan advanced, and Galloping O'Hogan was close beside him like a dog who presses nearer to his master in a moment of danger, and danger there was, though Lucan wore his sword and pistols, and the prisoner was unarmed.

"Tell me what you did?"

"When and where did you find her, Lord Lucan?" replied Luttrell coolly. He glanced with a cold and indeed a satisfied curiosity at the man who addressed him.

"I found her in a hovel near Aughrim."

"The happier for you," smiled Luttrell. "I hope you had a pleasant meeting."

"The new sods lie fresh upon her in Saint Mary's holy ground."

"Well for her." Luttrell still smiled.

"But at Aughrim all was lost."

"Then I hope you do not blame me for treating with the Williamites."

"I am not concerned with that—you are one of many traitors, and in a few hours will pay for that same treachery. But I cannot sleep, I cannot rest day or night, for the thought of her, or the wonder of why you did it...the horror—the rage."

"Who found her?" asked Luttrell dryly. "I thought that had been difficult. I lost sight of her months ago. The soldiers took her away."

"I went to her on the eve of Aughrim. It was one defeat to me—I cannot disentangle the two events."

"They were right then who complained of you," sneered Luttrell, "as leaving your post on the eve of an engagement, to visit a young harlot."

And he thought as he saw Lucan's eyes: "He has come to murder me, no doubt. He is mad. Better, perhaps," he thought, for he was utterly fearless, "to die at his hands than by hanging or shooting, whichever they intend for me to-morrow."

Lucan leant against the wall; as weak, he seemed, as if his mind was vacant. He said to O'Hogan:

"Take my hands and hold them behind my back."

Then Luttrell knew that he did not wish to strike a defenceless and doomed man, and as the rapparee did as he was bid the prisoner smiled.

"Tell me," said Lucan, very hoarse and low, "what motive you had?"

Luttrell squinted at the rapparee whose expression was ferocious.

"Why should I," he demanded, "who must presently die, and miserably too, thus paying all debts—I have heard it said that death mends everything—explain to you what motives I had?"

Lucan did not answer. The rapparee said:

"Do not flourish too much, Mr. Luttrell of Luttrelstown, 'tis only the gallows that saves you from me. I had sworn to get you, and no man whom I have sworn to get is living."

"Oh, you bring your bully to insult me!" cried the prisoner.

Lucan's hands twisted in the grasp of his friend. Luttrell again believed that he would be murdered. Straining towards him, Lucan spoke:

"You said you were my friend, yet you took my whole hope and slung it in the mud."

"You denied me," said Luttrell, and a rising passion coloured his face. "You denied Madame de Bonnac. I loathe a fool...Have you seen her?" he added sharply.

"I have seen her, but she is less than nothing." And again he begged O'Hogan to hold his arms tightly. It had long been in his mind—(long?—it seemed long since Aughrim,) that he must kill this man like a rat, and he had the strength to do it; the rapparee gripped his wrists.

Luttrell folded his arms on his breast and, careless of his great peril (which he saw very well), spoke his clear mind.

"'Tis you who are less than nothing now," he said; "the Irish cause is lost; you are a thrice-damned fool not to have seen it lost months ago. You were the only man who could have saved us, but you would not. You had your scruples, your niceties and your pride, and your hidden obsession—a peasant mistress kept snugly on your estates, with her priest, her dog, and her dwarf! There is all the weakness of the Irish, my dear Lucan. Do you think one of your conquerors would have so behaved?"

"No," said Lucan. "No."

With his malign sideway glance and a lift of his lip, Luttrell continued:

"You are in a thicket of dreams and have never been able to cut through them. I saw, and saw brightly, the chance; but you would not take it...What did we want with their mumbling, priest-ridden king? What did we want with their insolent French commanders? We wanted an Irishman to lead us—a man like me to intrigue for him, a woman like Madame de Bonnac to help him. But no, you would not."

"No, I would not," repeated Lucan; "not that way for me."

"Well then, the other way, the one you have taken. Where are you now? All gone."

"All gone for you too, Luttrell. But your reason? I want to know; all is so dark—to spite me because I would not be your tool? Was that your reason?"

"Mine and hers together," Luttrell grinned. "We thought that when you came back from your defeat you should find your toy gone, no bauble at Lucan to console you. Who was she? Of no value. Always unsettled in her wits, I think, but poor sport. I did not find her so beautiful, but Galmoy had a brief favour for her."

"Galmoy," muttered Lucan, "was made prisoner at Aughrim, or I had slain him. And were you not a man also doomed I would have slain you too, Luttrell."

"Was she worth so much?" asked Luttrell. "Well, I am glad on't. I wanted to sting you, I wanted to bring you down, you deserved to have your eyes opened to your own folly. I have no more words to say." He leant in the window-place, an elegant figure, and looked up at the tree, which swayed to and fro in the brightening sunshine.

Lucan strained in O'Hogan's grasp, but for all his great strength the massive hands of the rapparee held him tight.

"Lord Lucan, you have said your say and there is no more to it; he is a man waiting to die the death of a felon. What more revenge could your honour want?"

"It is not revenge," said Lucan, tortured to the quick. "It is not revenge I want, O'Hogan—it's understanding—to get to the bottom of it."

"And you'll not get that from him," said O'Hogan.

"I know well what you mean—it's the confusion and the darkness that sting, the wonder why things should happen and the difficulty of it all."

"You'll get no answer to any of these problems from me," said Henry Luttrell. He turned as he spoke and, despite his civilian attire, he looked exactly as he had looked that day at Kinsale, two years ago, when he had so stood in the window of their lodgings and Patrick Sarsfield had counted him a friend.

"Come away," urged the rapparee, with the persistence of a dog tugging at his master's curb; "come away, Lord Lucan, there's no good to be got here, it's like a glimpse into the darkness and a sniff of hell. Holy Virgin and the Saints! The man you're looking at, Lord Lucan, is bound straight to his destination, that's the place where there is no pity."

"Spare me," flashed Luttrell, "the comments of your rascally fellow! 'Tis a disgrace, my Lord Lucan, that you have had to enlist the help of all the scum of Ireland, it has not improved our name in Europe."

Lucan cried, like a man struggling through the influence of a drug:

"Tell me what happened, tell me what you did to her—was it you or Galmoy?" He stammered and his words trailed away. "What said the Syrian? 'Would a dog do this? But thou art the dog who did it!'"

"Ay, thou art a dog," grinned O'Hogan; "and like a dog shall perish."

"Tell me," cried Lucan, beside himself, "why did you do it?"

Luttrell did not flinch, though he believed his death even nearer than the morrow.

"Don't ask it," pleaded O'Hogan. The rapparee, nearly as tall as Lucan, breathed in his ear: "Hear nothing of it, you can guess, and there's less torment in the guessing than in the reality. She lies at peace with the bells ringing over her. Leave it at that."

"However," sneered Henry Luttrell, "you pleaded or threatened, you would get no more satisfaction from me."

O'Hogan whispered in Lucan's ear:

"He'll be hanged to-morrow."

He drew Lucan towards the door; the betrayed man muttered:

"All gone—no revenge—no explanation—"

"Find that," cried Luttrell, who overheard, "in your own weakness, your own failure. You have followed a myth, a marsh fire. You call me a traitor, but I have tried to end the war, to make good terms for Ireland. 'Tis men like you, without sense, without subtlety, entangled in legends and dreams, striving for the impossible, who ruin Ireland."

"I do not hear what he says," muttered Lucan, and he suffered the rapparee to lead him away.

There was a great brightness of sunset on the ramparts. The sunshine across the doomed city seemed incredible, an insult and a menace. O'Hogan wished that it would rain.

"I'm thinking of John Luby," he said, "and how I kept him through all—fine, glossy and well fed he was...and they to ruin him on the hurdles. The crows will be picking him clean. And to-morrow they will be picking Henry Luttrell of Luttrelstown."


AS LORD LUCAN and Toby O'Hogan left the dungeons of Limerick Castle, Major d'Archange met them. The Lord Lieutenant was ill; at D'Usson's banquet, after a fierce argument as to the defence of Limerick, Tyrconnel had collapsed suddenly, choking with rage, bemused with apricot brandy. The viceroy, over-exerted by his efforts to fortify Limerick, distracted and chagrined by defeat and misfortune, had fallen in an apoplexy; he had asked for Lucan.

In a hastily-arranged room the huge corpulent man, who was still stately and formidable, lay dying; he had been blooded and plastered. He was bandaged and reeking of drugs; his clay-coloured face, distorted by the stroke, showed horrible from the pillows on which his heavy head, bristling with gray hairs, was sunk. His spirit remained lively; he pressed Lucan's hands with twitching fingers.

"That damned Frenchman, he'll deliver the place. Look to it—what d'ye think he said?"

Lucan bent low to catch the raucous murmur of the dying man, who rambled on with gaps in his speech.

"D'Usson said we were beaten, that it was impossible to avoid a capitulation...even if France sent horses and dragoons enough—impossible to keep 'em in a country so ruined and desolate—no flesh left, which is necessary for the garrison...Limerick is nothing but the ruins of a town...Supplies could not be drawn from a blasted country—in another month we should be in need of bread, and can expect none from any part."

As Tyrconnel's labouring voice failed, Lucan said:

"D'Usson wants to capitulate?"

"Yes," came the rattling whisper. "But I'm damned if I do. You should get 'em to support me. Confound ye, Lucan, we've had our quarrels, but you're an honest fellow."

"D'Usson is resolute?"

"Ay, he said we have no news of the convoy from France that may have started from Brest, and even if it were to come as far as the mouth of the river at Limerick we cannot hope to make use of the bread before the last days of the month of October...Better, he said, take advantage of the foolish terms which General Ginckel has decided to offer, and for us to pass into France with as many men as will follow, we being assured of the greatest number of 'em...But I call this cowardly talk—"

Lucan made no answer.

Rage convulsed the gigantic frame of the dying man. He tried to raise his head so as to stare at the silent man seated by the bed-curtains.

"What ails ye? Lost heart since Aughrim, eh? Before God, I had not thought it, Patrick Sarsfield! Well, if I'm dead and you're broken, the Irish business is done."

"You would try to defend Limerick?"

Tyrconnel swore several of his vehement oaths.

"I would." He sat up, with dignity he demanded: "What means this prodigious change in Patrick Sarsfield who was once the most active of all our commanders? Who took such pains to persuade every one to a stand? Patrick Sarsfield in whom the Irish nation reposed their greatest confidence? And who they all believed to be the very last to hearken to any demand for a surrender?"

Lucan did not seem roused or stung; he said:

"I suppose the Frenchman talks common sense. We are beaten to our knees—vanquished.

"May I be blasted if I am!" cried the viceroy, with an echo of his old fury. Forcing the last of his strength he insisted on Lord Dillon, who was waiting in the antechamber, coming in and reading the last reports of the movements of the enemy.

Panting on his pillows, Tyrconnel listened to the low voice of Dillon whose nervous fingers fumbled with the papers. Lucan, passive, snuffed the candles; the night was very hot, the windows had been opened and D'Usson's continuous drums and trumpets sounded in the distance. Dillon's news was not good; it supported the pessimism of D'Usson.

General Ginckel, even with certain victory in sight, had abated nothing of his usual prudence...He had secured the passage across the river with a pontoon bridge and erected a fresh battery between Ireton and Old Church Fort to prevent a sally of the enemy. The English fleet had landed a naval brigade in County Clare...

The city was completely cut off from all communication with the cavalry stationed near Six-Mile Bridge; the English possessed the forts and earthworks on the Clare side of Limerick.

Tyrconnel groaned; he had already had some report of this disaster...The Irish had made a sortie from King John's Castle, been forced back across Thomond's Bridge. The French major in charge of the bridge was afraid that the besiegers might enter as well as the besieged, and pulled up the drawbridge too hastily, leaving six hundred of his allies outside, who were drowned and slain...No quarter had been given, though the Irish had cried for mercy, holding up their handkerchiefs. Twenty officers and a hundred men were taken prisoners in the fort with three brass guns and five cannon.

"Well," remarked Lucan, "D'Usson has good cause for his despondency."

"You did not use to talk in such a tone," muttered the dying man, and he impatiently motioned to Dillon to continue.

Dillon replied that "Ginckel was slow and cautious but deadly...It seemed as impossible to evade him here as it had been in Galway and Athlone...The French officers were satisfied that they had done their duty, even their king, stern and exact as he was in military matters, could not blame them. It was impossible to hold the city, with their backs to the sea and the sea occupied by the enemy, and they without food or ammunition."

"You too," groaned Tyrconnel, "you have lost spirit!" Without comment and in a dull official voice Dillon continued his report:

"Ginckel was slowly closing round on the city. Large escorts were bringing up the heavy trains of artillery from the Athlone depot, nine twenty-four pounders, nine eighteen-pounders and three mortars...From Dublin came twenty pontoon boats, a fleet of eighteen ships under Captain Coal had sailed from Galway Bay and anchored three miles below the town...The eleventh Foot and the fifth Dragoon Guards were manufacturing two thousand fascines. Mackay was attacking Ireton Fort; and Count Nassau Cromwell Fort, both would surrender very soon."

"Read no more," said Lucan suddenly. "His grace is past these earthly matters."

Dillon dropped the papers that he had been reading without spirit or interest, and with a look of horror bent over his uncle who lay convulsed in the final agony.

"Oh, he was faithful and honest!" cried the young man.

A sudden cannonade from the English in King John's Castle silenced D'Usson's trumpets and drums. Tyrconnel seized Lucan's hand.

"I am glad Luttrell will be hanged," he gasped. Then, with a horrid force in one nearly spent, he exclaimed: "Did ye hear that rogue, Baldearg O'Donnell, who promised to join us at Aughrim, and then here has been bought by Ginckel for money and my title? There's a fact for ye—he's Tyrconnel now...A jest—a jest."

The viceroy was dead.

"He must be buried," said Lucan, "not as his station, but as the time demands."

He spoke indifferently; there was only one grave in Galway for him. He left Dillon to do what remained to be done for Richard Talbot, Duke of Tyrconnel, Viceroy for King James in Ireland, and returned to his own house near Baal's Bridge.

Honor was waiting for him; he had hardly taken any notice of her since Aughrim. He rejected the food and drink she set before him. He said:

"Henry Luttrell will be hanged to-morrow."

Honor gazed at him with deep remorse, with sad compassion. She knew what the other officers said:

"—that there was no hope of holding out in Limerick unless they had been inspired by some such wild and fanatic enthusiasm as had inspired Derry, Inniskillen and this same town when it was besieged before...But that the man who could have supplied that inspiration was broken, as if the mainspring of a watch had snapped...With the striking down of Sarsfield (they said) the heart of Ireland was struck down, with his collapse, Limerick too must fall like a house of cards."

But Honor knew that she could not inspire him; sunk in his misery he did not regard her at all; she could not help him to lead this last hope. It was too late and she was not the woman. Even when she snatched up her child, and said: "Let him not consider himself the son of a defeated man," she could not rouse his lethargy.

"He is the heir," said Lucan wildly, "of a defeated nation. We must take the Dutchman's generosity, my dear, we must take his charity, my darling; we must let the aliens drive us from our native land, we must go into exile." He sighed. With a sudden brilliant hope he added: "How is it that I have never been touched? Why have I been preserved? It may be that if we could have but one more sally I might be slain, it would be good to die in Ireland."

"Ay," said Honor, "that I can understand."

"For die I must, as Galway died at Aughrim, and soon. And I hope there is one who will protect you, dear Honor, and maybe the child as well."

He looked at her tenderly, remembering how she had taken Ishma to her unblemished bosom, how Ishma lay with her jewels adorning her body...

"I believe he is faithful," he muttered, "I believe I can trust him—a king's son. O'Hogan too."

The tears lay in Honor's eyes, but she tried for courage and faltered:

"Even if they exile us we will return and wrest Ireland from them yet."

But these were empty words, sounding like the mournful rustle of dead leaves in the wind, useless.

That evening Lucan, in a sudden wild fury, headed a desperate sortie from Limerick.

The Irish were defeated and driven back with heavy loss, but Lucan did not receive a scratch, though he had been in the hottest of the fire and seemed to run hither and thither seeking out death. Limerick was battered to a hollow ruin by Ginckel's revenge. There was hardly a house in the streets that was not shattered by shot and shell; the bombs and the cannon balls fell steadily on the forts and earthworks on the Clare side. Lady Dillon was killed by a fireball as her husband was directing the coffining of the viceroy. Clouds came up and a sudden rain broke the heat.

When Patrick Sarsfield returned to the city from the fray in which death had evaded him, he did not return to his men, to his wife, nor to Ishma's grave.

He went to a filthy inn where the rapparees were drinking, gambling and quarrelling, while an old blind harper played ancient airs.

With his arms on the greasy table, his face in his hands, torn, powder-blackened, his tattered uniform darkened with splashed blood and dirt, he watched the Irish—drunk, despairing, hideous, fight and lament to the mournful thin melody of the little harp.

In the morning he presented himself before D'Usson who received him coldly, eyeing askance the wild disorder of his person.

"Is Henry Luttrell hanged?" he demanded.

D'Usson pursed up his lips.

"I had a trumpet from General Ginckel who had heard of Luttrell's plight. He said that if we put to death any man who had a mind to come over to him he would avenge it on the Irish, and all his prisoners—and, mon Dieu! he has many."

"What has happened to Luttrell?"

"What could I do? Ginckel has many distinguished men in his hands, though he is merciful he is a good general and means what he says; I let Luttrell go. He rode at once into the English camp."

Lucan began to laugh. He rested his elbows on the table, his face in his hands, as he had sat in the inn last night, and laughed, as if at some secret jest, so that the French officers paused in what they were saying and glanced at him in amazement.

Lucan ceased to laugh, and stared blankly in front of him.

The French officers exchanged scornful looks full of contempt for the volatile Irishman. They had, in this final issue, counted on the popularity and dash of this "darling of the Irish army." They had hoped that Lord Lucan would show something of the spirit which had inspired the Irish to resist from the first siege of Limerick, but the man seemed spent.

D'Usson remarked that during last night's severe bombardment a wide breach had been made in English Town wall between Baal's Bridge and the Abbey—broad enough for two coaches to drive abreast. The city was also now completely invested from the Clare side, and the Dutch general had issued a new proclamation in which he offered the garrison, in the event of their capitulation within eight days, the most favourable terms, pardon, restitution of their estates, rewards for their services...

Lucan said nothing to this.

D'Usson thought: "He is as Irish as Baldearg O'Donnell, and not much more to be relied on—Saint Rhue was right to give him no real power."

Another of the French officers emphasised the points that "food was running short and no relief seemed possible by sea or land, and that even if the French fleet contrived to sail up the estuary the English fleet lay waiting for them—"

Heavy rain splashed against the deepest windows of the castle; the bells of Saint Munchin could be heard tolling for Tyrconnel.

Lucan still did not speak. The French officers turned away feeling that here they had a man useless to them. They wondered much at this sudden, unexpected collapse of a leader whom, despite themselves, they had counted on; whom, despite themselves, they had admired. D'Usson, though he had quarrelled with the violent Tyrconnel on the point, had been willing to make a last stand in Limerick; he had done all he could, even causing money to be distributed among the rapparees who, shut up in the beleaguered city, had begun to mutiny.

But without Lucan's help he could do nothing, and it seemed that from Lucan no help was coming.

The severe Frenchman was inwardly moved by the spectacle of Patrick Sarsfield seated there in his tattered, bloody clothes, with his bruised face, his clenched hands pressing his cheeks, his hair matted with grime and sweat, and nothing to say, moved by the obviously heart-broken, magnificent Irishman, who scarcely seemed, since Aughrim, able to put through his mere routine duty. D'Usson thought: "He is like an oak tree, green in the branches, but dead inside and ready to fall."

"Well," he said aloud, "it seems to me, Lord Lucan, if you have nothing to suggest—"

Then Lucan looked up; he listened (it seemed) a while to the tolling of the great bell of Saint Munchin.

The French, seeing his wide eyes fixed on them, expected at last an outbreak of protest against the proposal of surrender. They would have been surprised if the man whom they had thought would be so difficult should have come so quickly to their own prudent conclusions...

D'Usson was about to speak, but suddenly Lucan rose to his great height.

"I know what you are going to say," he said, staying him with an uplifted hand; "let a parley be beaten round the walls and a white flag be hung out."


PATRICK SARSFIELD, Lord Lucan, watched King James's shot-riddled flag being hauled down from the castle of Limerick, and the Dutchman's clean colours being run up; A great wind rose and blew it wide in the gray autumn air.

As this standard of the alien and the victor broke above the shattered city that had seen the last stand of a vanquished nation, there rose from the wretched people huddled round the broken walls, and in the ruined streets the bitter Irish cry of desolation and utter misery—the low lamentation of the lost and hopeless.

Ireland was conquered.



CAPTAIN TOBY O'HOGAN stood in the garden of a cottage in the small village of Huy, close to Neer-Winden in Flanders; a large lime-tree in full leaf and flower cast a scented shade nearby; under it an old woman was picking over the thin fine leaves for tilleul tea; she was so blind and deaf that she did not know a murderous battle had recently taken place a few miles away; old age enclosed her in silence, in darkness, in peace; monotonously, mechanically her shivering stiff fingers cast into a pile the bruised and stripped lime leaves.

Another Irish soldier came up, halting and dusty. He paused by the fence that sheltered the brilliant summer flowers; he quickly answered O'Hogan's anxious questions—"No, he could find neither priest nor surgeon; he had sent O'Hara to bring the Lady Honor from Glembloux; he doubted she'd be there in time"—all was in confusion, 'twas but twenty-four hours after the engagement, which had been fierce and bloody even in the judgment of veterans...the enemy had been utterly routed, but the Prince of Orange had covered his retreat in so magnificent a manner that Luxembourg was like to find his victory barren...the Dutchman had been the last to leave the field, the last to leave the bridge across the Gheet piled high with the bodies of his broken troops.

"Ay, he would do that," said the Jacobite. "Brave, brave, by heaven, he deserves to wear a crown!"

"And my lord?" asked O'Hara.



"He is always alone, whoever is with him."

The two Irishmen were silent a moment; they both looked at the old woman under the trees who picked her leaves steadily, unknowing of their presence; swarms of bees hummed in the lime tree, the sun turned their bodies the same amber gold as the clustered blossoms, the swaying foliage; there was no sound nor sight of war.

"You must," said O'Hogan, who, in his neat French uniform, no longer looked a cattle-thief or vagabond but a trim officer, "find a fresh horse, O'Hara, and try again to get a priest and a surgeon—and Berwick. Where is my Lord Berwick, he would come, surely?"

"Hamilton told me that Berwick had been taken in the first attack. I'll do what I can."

As O'Hara turned away along the white dusty road, O'Hogan went back to the cottage; the peasant woman who had been watching the dying man, impressed by his magnificence, asked timidly "who the great gentleman was?"

"Maréchal de Camp the Earl of Lucan."

O'Hogan went into the inner room; Lucan lay on a rude bed drawn beneath the open window; he had only spoken once since he had been carried from the field, where he had been struck down in the final charge of the French cavalry as they forced the English back to the banks of the Gheet; then, as he lay on the trampled ground he had put his hand to his breast under the bullion-braided uniform, and taking it away covered with blood, had said: "Would this had been for Ireland! Would this had been for Ireland!"

Toby O'Hogan sat on the stool by the low bed; into his weary and sorrowful mind the silence crept like a spell, bringing many memories of things of which he never spoke; he thought of his country which he had not seen for two years of exile, and might never see again...of the fall of Limerick.

Two days after the Treaty was signed a French relief expedition had sailed into Dingle Bay...eighteen ships of war, six fire ships and twenty other large vessels, two hundred officers and three thousand men and arms for ten thousand—a force that would have enabled D'Usson and Lucan to hold out through the winter season and force the English to raise the siege.

But it was too late.

O'Hogan's musing look became murderous. This was all Henry Luttrell's doing; in breaking the heart of Patrick Sarsfield he had broken the heart of Ireland; Sarsfield would never have given in had not Luttrell's treachery laid him low...very keenly had O'Hogan sought for Luttrell after the fall of Limerick; but the traitor had fled to the besieger's camp; his reward had been a thousand a year and his brother's estates; he lived comfortably in Dublin, avoiding the wars.

"I'll have him yet," said O'Hogan aloud, brushing aside a bee that buzzed above the head of the unconscious man...

Toby O'Hogan watched the summer sunlight which cast a lustre on the lime tree boughs beyond the open window and thought of many trivial things...Of the long negotiations after Limerick, of the kindliness of Ginckel which seemed so galling, of that last scene when the Irish exiles (the "flight of the wild geese," they called it) had left for ever the wild shores of Kerry, the women clinging to the boats, dragged into the water, drowning in the waves, for there was not room for them, the wild keening...he remembered the news from England, how the conquered Irish colours had been taken to the young Queen, how she had given a diamond ring and five hundred pounds to the man who brought them. Why did he think of such things? Again his thoughts turned to Luttrell—Luttrell who flourished exceedingly with pensions and honours, a proud gentleman in the Williamite's administration at Dublin.

How monotonous had been the years spent in foreign service fighting under alien flags since O'Hogan had left Ireland an exile. Always with the hope, a hope put off from day to day, from hour to hour growing fainter, that he and Sarsfield's Brigade might be sent back to Ireland.

Twelve thousand Irish had followed Lucan into exile, refusing the bribes offered by the Dutchman, though their condition was so wretched that the French officers standing by had made jests of it...every month since the dispossessed, the loyal, the ruined, had followed a myth into exile; O'Hogan had seen them in Paris, despised, starving, proud gentlemen of fair estates, acting as foot soldiers swarming round the beggared court at St. Germains...happy those who were able to get into the Irish Brigade...the rest—the disabled, the old, the sickly—were "pauvres diables" and "pauvres gueux"...tasting a bitterness unspeakable.

Lucan stirred and O'Hogan raised him a little on the pillows; not unskilled in such matters, he had done what he could for the dying man...but he knew it was over for Patrick Sarsfield—the futilities, the frustrations, the heartbreaks, the dreams...Lucan opened his eyes and stared about him; his mind was quite clear. He asked "if his wife was coming?" O'Hogan answered that "his lordship might live many hours, perhaps a couple of days, that my lady was hurrying, a message having been sent immediately."

"You should not," said Lucan, "have concerned yourself so much with me."

He knew that he owed it to the fidelity of O'Hogan that he had even this rough comfort, and had not been left to perish, to be trampled under foot and stripped on the bitterly-fought battlefield. He pulled at the cross of the Saint Esprit which O'Hogan had left glittering on his tunic.

"Take away this trumpery—I liked better the other honours I had."

O'Hogan gently took off the splendours of a French general, the glittering decorations of a Maréchal de Camp...the rewards of the foreigner. What had the great Luxembourg's warm praise availed Lucan?—"A splendid soldier, a magnificent officer!"—but one who could not save his own country!

"Why," thought O'Hogan, "did he not fall like Dillon, Galway and so many other gentlemen in Ireland? O Ireland! what will become of Ireland? I remember before I left Limerick how I turned back and lit the little lamp under the shrine of Saint Patrick in the ruined chapel...They gave us fine terms by the treaty and the Prince and the general meant to keep them, but the parliaments will not. 'Twill be the city of the broken treaty, and I would he could have died then...Why has God made play with him in keeping him alive till he has tasted the bitterness of exile, eating the bread and taking the pay of the stranger?"

But O'Hogan said nothing of this aloud; for the two men never spoke of Ireland. Lucan asked "if Berwick could be found—if he would come?"

"He was made prisoner, Lord Lucan."

"I am very sorry. I am thinking of her. He might—d'ye think he would? She will be quite ruined and desolate—there is nothing to leave her, nothing at all."

"I'll answer for my Lord Berwick."

Lucan stared out at the lime tree; the sunlight was deepening in the amber gold leaves; the angelus, a cracked, timid bell, sounded from the village church.

"To-night I shall not dream," he said in a muse of pain, fatigue and sad memory. "Or are the dreams over, O'Hogan?" he asked, opening his eyes wider (he always had that large gaze), his pale beautiful lips curved into a smile. "Or do not the dreams perhaps now begin?"

"Lord Lucan, very like it is so," said O'Hogan. The tears lay under his small, fierce, inflamed lids; he replaced on the other's bosom a rosary of bogwood and the crucifix that had belonged to the woman whose name was never spoken by Patrick Sarsfield or any other; her unmarked grave was in the hands of the conqueror and all the places that had known her were ravished by the enemy.

Lucan did not speak again; he seemed to sleep and O'Hogan watched.

As the twilight fell a woman entered the room; in the village began noise and confusion, for the camp-followers, the wives and sweethearts and the children were coming up now that the English had made their sullen and magnificent retreat, and were searching for the wounded on the battlefield and in the cottages.

This woman was not the Countess of Lucan.

It was Madame de Bonnac that O'Hogan saw; a creature still of a rich beauty, but now flaunting in overblown gaudiness like a loosened flower at autumn's end. She had been openly the mistress of many men since her husband's death and with no pretence of love in any bargain. Her secret coarseness and her open degradation showed in her attire—too rich, too brilliant and yet a little tarnished and tattered.

She had entered the hut before any could stop her, being clever at obtaining information, and never having for long lost sight of Patrick Sarsfield. She crossed to his bedside and, without noticing O'Hogan's glare of hate, lit a small taper and held it high above the dying Irishman.

He lay flat on the low bed as Ishma had lain in the hut by Aughrim, his fair hair was tangled with blood and sweat; she remembered it when he had wooed her in the old mansion of the McCarthys, and how she had likened it to scorched corn. She remembered all the beauty of the love he had offered her in his magnificent and splendid youth, of what she might have had from him, and how she had been revenged on him and what she had wilfully missed, and how she had taken everything that he valued, in spite and fury. She smiled, thinking how strange was both the beginning and the end of their knowledge of each other. She put back her hood, too heavily embroidered with tarnished bullion, and fingered the beads round her throat, and stared again down at him and said:

"Patrick Sarsfield, I think you are dying." And then she turned away and left the hut.

And Lucan answered nothing; whether he heard or not O'Hogan did not know.

That evening tired O'Hara brought a priest, the village curé, obscure, frightened, honest, who looked with regret and compassion at the splendour thus laid low, and shook his head at the wide futility of war and murmured:

"A man like that!"

Captain O'Hogan left them together and went into the kitchen where the old woman was putting the lime leaves into a pot and a young woman was putting a child to sleep; the world outside was full of murmuring noises.

When the priest came out with his little case under his arm, O'Hogan went back to his vigil; he knew now that neither the wife nor the friend could arrive in time...Berwick might have had leave to come...Lucan had been chivalrous with the English prisoners after Steinkirk and Ginckel (Athlone now) had, with his king's consent, sent him a present of some fine horses..."But 'tis all too late," thought O'Hogan, "all the contrivances—too late."

Lucan was thinking of his wife; through the vague dazzling of his increasing fever he fingered the crucifix the old priest had put into his hands, and moved his head restlessly from side to side...if only Berwick could have come; he had always been able to trust Berwick. Poor Honor, still so childish, so often ill and coughing, patient and dignified. In these years of exile she had been brave and faithful...Poor Honor! He felt her fate so much harder than his own.

He could not speak of her, but deep in his mind, clouded with many visions and dreams, was the tormenting thought of how he would leave her...

They had now two children...As the result of their sad reconciliation had come a daughter...He thought of his dear demesne in Lucan which his heirs would never even see.

He said nothing but lay silent on the straw mattress enduring his martyrdom.

"If I was to speak now what has never been spoken since we left Limerick?" thought O'Hogan in anguish—"of the lost woman, and the lost land—would he like to hear?"

And he was tormented because he could not guess what was in the mind of the dying man.

"Shall I tell him I'll have Luttrell one day, or will that disturb his peace with God?"

Lucan smiled.

"His Majesty will be pleased to hear of this victory—Luxembourg must have taken many flags."

"The old king is almost turned Trappist; I doubt if he'll care."

"You'll give to her, O'Hogan, all that's in my pockets—'tis all I have. And there are the brilliants studded in the Star. But keep for yourself the phial with the blood of St. Ignatius. King James gave it to me. Bend low, I fear I speak very faint. King James said 'loyalty is enough in itself.' Well, I believe he'll fumble his way to God...just by that."

"O'Hogan put his arm under Lucan's shoulders and raised him high, for his breathing was laborious. It was the darkest hour of the summer night, the taper light showed a fair change in the dying man's face.

"I sink deathwards," he whispered, "very fast."

"O Patrick Sarsfield of Lucan!" cried O'Hogan in despair, "will you not say one word of what must be in your heart—of Ireland—of the woman under St. Mary's sod?"

He felt the heavy man sag in his arms; he heard the whisper.

"Ireland? I remember on the mountains there used to be rainbows, even in December. Oh, I've a longing—"

With but a little struggling as if he made no resistance to the overwhelming darkness Patrick Sarsfield passed; he looked stern, gigantic and terrible on the straw pallet.


IN THE YEAR 1717 Brigadier Henry Luttrell of Luttrelstown, who had grown to great estates and honours under the rule of the Protestants, was, one wild wet evening, shot in his chair as he was being carried through the streets of Dublin.

It was believed that the murderer was one of the native Irish who resented the traitor's escape after Limerick, and in particular one Toby O'Hogan, was suspected; this man, once a noted outlaw and rapparee, had been in French service and then in the household of Honor, Duchess of Berwick, who had once been Countess of Lucan; after her death of a consumption in 1698, Captain O'Hogan had attached himself to James Sarsfield, called by the Jacobites Earl of Lucan; but on that youth going to Spain, O'Hogan (it was believed) had come back to Ireland and lived, with other secretly returned exiles, in the Connemara Mountains or the wilds of Sligo.

But the murderer of Henry Luttrell, despite such surmises, remained for ever unknown.


The period covered by this novel is one that has excited the bitterest differences of opinion; both sides have been misrepresented, abused, exalted, overpraised. The earlier writers were mostly Protestants, and there is no doubt that they were not modest in the claims for their own persuasion, nor generous in their allowances to the other; Lord Macaulay caused much irritation by his purely Whig attitude and by his treatment of William III. as a kind of party hero, tactlessly stressing that Nonconformist aspect of this Prince which was best calculated to inflame his opponents. Nor were these slow to retaliate and Macaulay's partisanship pales before the fierce flames of vindictive abuse with which the Jacobite historians have sought to support their cause; these, too, have been guilty of far worse defacements of the truth than ever was Lord Macaulay; some are models of suppression, twisted statements and omission coloured with a blind spitefulness that makes them valueless; there exist among Jacobite books virulent examples of unabashed parti pris without any attempt at common fairness to "the other side" which, I think, would be impossible to match among the Protestant writers, but, not to further increase controversy, it is wiser not to mention names. Such works, though lively reading, are useless to the historian and create a cloud of bad feeling, prejudice and intolerance that completely confuses the subject. One has to seek clearer air to come at even the relative truth, for as one party writer cancels out the other, the seeker after knowledge is left starved. The Political History of England, Vol. VIII., by Sir Richard Lodge, 1910, gives a cool and unenthusiastic account of this period that cannot be attacked on the score of either accuracy or prejudice, but it is of necessity brief and not intimate. The book that the present writer has mainly used (besides contemporary sources like Kelly, Story, D'Avaux and Berwick), and which seems in every way unexceptional, is Revolutionary Ireland and its Settlement, by Robert Murray, with an Introduction by J. P. Mahaffy, London, 1911. The complexity of the subject and the amount of material available are shown by Dr. Murray's bibliography that, ranging from contemporary memoirs like Dean Story's classic, True and Impartial History, and pamphlets like Sir William Temple's Essay on the Advancement of Trade in Ireland to Lecky, Klopp and books like Bellesheim's Geschichte der Catholischen Kirche in Irland, comprises three hundred and two entries under "contemporary authorities," including twenty-nine volumes of State Papers for Ireland, and under the section "modern authorities," one hundred and forty-three. It might be noted that the very important Négociations en Irlande, 1689-90, by the Comte D'Avaux, have not been translated or annotated, and are very difficult to obtain; here is a work awaiting the attention of modern scholarship.

This selection contains, of course, expression of all possible shades of opinion, and Dr. Murray's scholarly and laborious book, written with insight and justice, is based on a painstaking assimilation of this mass of material with the result that it would have to be a violently prejudiced reader who would fail to be convinced that he has got as near the truth as mortal is likely to get; Dr. Mahaffy's Introduction gives an impartial and succinct account of the state of affairs in Ireland prior to 1688. Both Dr. Murray and Dr. Mahaffy, it may be mentioned, while giving the Protestants full blame for their acts of cruelty and intolerance, are distinctly favourable to them, and look upon the struggle between William III. and Louis XIV. as that between tyranny and freedom; the war in Ireland was a mere side issue in this titanic contest, but immensely important to the native Roman Catholic population, who hoped to find their own count by fishing in these very troubled waters. It is impossible not to feel sympathetic with the Irish at this juncture; they were exploited, deceived, abandoned, abused and despised by both Louis XIV. and James II.; and William III., who would have given them a fair deal, was committed to their enemies and divided from them by their deepest loyalties and bitterest prejudices. It was because Patrick Sarsfield stood for none of the foreign kings, but entirely for Ireland (and was almost alone in this) that he speedily and justly obtained such power and popularity with his countrymen during his life and became a national hero after his death.

The Irish instinctively felt that with "the flight of the wild geese," headed by Patrick Sarsfield, their brief and frantic hope of independence was gone and the yoke of the loathed Protestant settler sunk more deeply on their shoulders. Sarsfield had many of the qualities that fit a man to become symbolic of a brave and ancient nation; he was of an heroic presence, of an unquestioned honour, of an unblemished courage, and had that gay, gallant, easy bearing which so endears to all; above everything he was single-minded, utterly sincere; in the midst of every variety of corrupation and double-dealing he remained untainted, the ideal patriot.

There is much of the life of this fine Irishman that is unknown, and there are curiously few biographies or memoirs dealing with him; that by Dr. John Todhunter is the only "Life" known to the present writer; it is very interesting but brief and not documented; very little of fact has survived relating to Sarsfield, his personality lives largely in tradition and legend, sure sign of a people's love.

There are several portraits of Patrick Sarsfield in existence; that in the Franciscan convent in Dublin shows a beautiful face of great spirituality, so does the wax relief for a medallion in the Dublin Museum. His grave is lost, he was probably buried in the little church at Huy, where he died from wounds received at the battle of Landen.

The background, Ireland, has an even larger bibliography than the immediate period; from Ledwich's Antiquities of Ireland to Stephen Gwynn's Fair Hills of Ireland such tributes to this famous country are legion; a book of peculiar charm is W. H. Bartlett's Ireland; a collection of exquisite romantic copperplates, full of faery atmosphere with text, "historical and descriptive" in the best sense of the words, by Stirling Coyne, N. P. Willis, etc. Sir William and Lady Wilde made enthusiastic researches into the antiquities and legends of Ireland, not totally free from error, but erudite and laborious.

To those who are interested in the officers who fought for King James II. may be recommended King James's Irish Army List, 1689, by John D' Alton, 2 Vols., London, 1861. This most painstaking though confusing work gives an account of all the gentlemen who served under the Stewart standard; it contains, therefore, notices of most of the ancient families of Ireland; modern research on the subject is embodied in The Irish Brigades, 1689-1745, by F. H. B. Shrine (1921).

The songs, ballads and squibs provoked by the Irish revolution in 1689 have been collected by T. C. Croker in Historical Songs, 1688-1691 (1841), they are all extremely poor; the only one of any merit being "The Low Lands of Holland," of Scotch origin; the others are doggerel, even the famous "Boyne Water" hardly rises above this level; but the editor's comments are instructive.

The present writer feels that the above notes may be considered rather heavy and pretentious for a work of fiction; they are given because so many readers of historical novels evince a curiosity as to the dry bones of the tale, and because the author knows from personal experience that a not inconsiderable number have their attention first drawn to some period or character by a work of fiction, and through that wish to take up the subject seriously. In the service of such the above is offered.

A few personal comments: where matters of fact have been dealt with, every care has been taken to give as accurate an impression as possible; often this has been difficult enough as it has meant finding one's way through a maze of conflicting statements; historical characters have been treated impartially; Lord Galmoy was unquestionably guilty of the murder of Captain Dixie, and Henry Luttrell, "the bad son of a bad man," was so detested that eighty years after his death his grave was broken open and his skull smashed in as a "mark of infamy"; the author felt, therefore, no scruples at making these two "the villains of the piece."

A great amount of material relative to the revolution of 1689 in Ireland, the Irish exiles in France, the scenery, ruins and legends of Ireland was necessarily collected and necessarily not used in the final selection; a reader conscious of omission or gaps is referred to the authorities quoted above.

Finally, if a mere novelist may be allowed so much presumption, the author would like to plead that this novel should not be judged by either the standards of the historian, the antiquary, the folklorist or the theological controversialist; it merely represents (with what faults and failure the author too well knows) the very deep impression made on one individual by the history and landscape of Ireland and the personality of Patrick Sarsfield, Earl of Lucan, Viscount Tully and Baron Rosberry, Major-General in the army of King James II., and Maréchal de Camp in that of King Louis XIV. his grave is unknown, but "the whole earth is the sepulchre of famous men; their story lives on far away, without visible symbol, woven into the stuff of other men's lives" (Pericles).



Book Review in The Spectator, 18 April 1931, Page 37.

A Historical Romance. Brave Employments by Marjorie Bowen.

Once again Miss Bowen has maintained our trust in her as a writer of sound historical romance, a painstaking chronicler and a wizard who can clothe dead bones anew. This time she takes for her theme the upheavals in Ireland during the years 1689-1691, beginning with the arrival of King James II at Kinsale Harbour. It is, so far as dressed-up history ever can be, an honest record. Miss Bowen permits herself various surmises for the story's sake. For instance, she produces a motive for the murder of the notorious Henry Luttrell, whose death has always mystified historians.

It is difficult to say which is the best of this long but never tedious book, its fact or its fiction. There are some excellent character studies of King James, of Patrick Sarsfield, Earl of Lucan, in whose valour the Irish maintained faith until his "flight of wild geese" carried their hope away. Luttrell, Lord Galmoy and D'Avaux are also well portrayed. But, to the common reader, the chief interest of the book, apart from the picture it contains of distressed, seething and turbulent Ireland, lies in its love story. The Sarsfield, re-created by Miss Bowen, is a great and fastidious lover. There were three women in his life. The first of these was an almost symbolical figure, the spirit of Ireland herself, who was introduced to him by a Shanahus, or story teller. The second woman was Olivia Joyce, who married the Marquis de Bonnac and followed him to Ireland because she hankered after Sarsfield whom she had rejected. The third was Sarsfield's cold little wife. Miss Bowen allows these three to play their parts in and out of the story, to add relief to the records of history, and to supply a plot within the great plot of warfare. Her method is most successful, and her book deserves to be read both as a novel and a minor study of Irish character.

B. E. T.

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