Imágenes de páginas

wave your hands about a little, and crook his foot slightly, and made him think that your fingers, and waggle your head," Mac it would be pleasant to stop for a while. said, doing so to show how, "and those So he said: “ Do you see how it's all is signs."

ruffled up in there between those two “But what do savages make them for?” sticking-out rocks? It must be crammed said Aylmer.

full of troutses. I'll begin fishing now.” "Why, of course," said Mac, “ so that “ That's only the wind in the water," people mayn't understand what they mean. said Mac. “ Fishes make round circles, Savages is uncommonly cunning."

and hop up out of the middle of them like - Oh, I see," Aylmer said. But when big, shiny frogs. I don't believe there's they had gone a few steps further he any in that place. But you may have the added : “ If I wanted people not to know first turn of fishing at them.” what I meaned, I just wouldn't say any- Aylmer sat down on a gray boulder, thing at all.” Aylmer, who was fat, and which looked as if it had been badly rather lazy, often considered about ways cracked long ago and stuck together with of saving trouble.

strips of the greenest velvet; and le It was not far to the lough, along a path began to fish steadily. His hook was a smooth under thick evergreens, and rough- tin tack, and his fly a buttercup. “ They er presently under hazel and hawthorn might think it was a yellow, very fat bushes, and then soft and springy where wasp,” he said. Mac was for a while it crossed the corner of a bog. However, quite content to go on with his wading. Mac and Aylmer luckily did not stray He went in deliciously deep, and once, into any of the treacherous places where falling down, partly by accident, got thorblack-looking holes lurked among mossy oughly wet, which was most enjoyable. patches sprinkled with dim white blos- And he hopped on one leg to and fro besoms. They followed the faint track until tween several islanded tufts of bracken it brought them to the brow of a grassy and clumps of furze. But when both his slope leading down to the lough. One ankles began to ache, he thought he would end of the long, narrow lake curved round like a change, and, standing beside Aylmer, there and met a wide band of greensward. he said, affably : “Now you're tired holdRainy weather had filled it fuller than ing it. I'll take it for a bit, and you can usual, so that the clear water came brim- be playing about." ming up over the gravelly rim, which gen- Aylmer, however, only wagged his head erally bounded it with a sharp gleam, and slowly, and waved one of his hands in the it lay amongst the fi-, short grass-blades air. in silvery-edged streaks, as if it had been “You great gaby," said Mac, “ we're spilt on a carpet. If you looked down not going to be savages except to other into it, you could see drowned daisies and people. And you know you were talking speedwell at the bottom, strangely mixed like anything just this minute." with the drifting blue and snow of the Aylmer nodded three times, and kept a sky. A lane, overhung by steep woods, firm hold on the fishing-rod. skirted the opposite shore, but nothing “Look here," said Mac, “ you might be was moving on it. The little boys thought finding sticks to light the fire with, when they had come to a delightful place, espe- we want to cook them.” cially when Mac remembered that savages Still Aylmer said nothing, but flourished never wore shoes and stockings, and they his hand in a way which evidently meant, put theirs on the flat top of a boulder. “Find them yourself.” He looked comIt was very luxurious wading, with the fortable and aggravating, and as if he did soft grass underfoot, and the sun-warmed not intend to stir. So Mac said: “Give ripples lapping about their ankles, and it to me, will you ? and get out of that !" nobody to be shocked no matter how and made a curch at the rod. much they splashed each other. They “You beast !” said Aylmer. “I'd just had made their way along by the margin got the feel of a beautiful bite, and you've nearly round to the lane, before either of went and shook it off !” them had had enough of the amusement. “I wouldn't mind if I had shook off Then Aylmer, who was carrying the fish- your stupid head,” Mac said. Whereupon ing-rod, stepped on a pebble, which hurt they scuffled so violently that Aylmer's hat, which was a large straw one, fell into so appropriate that he put on the other the water, and began to float quickly away. one; and then they did both look as unThis accident dismayed them so much civilized as anybody could wish, with bare that they stood still immediately; for to a legs, and arms and dirty faces emerging small boy the loss of his head-covering from the rough, earth-colored folds. The seems as serious as the destruction of a elder little girl, whose name was Matty roof. Aylmer lay face downwards on the Shanahan, spread out the blue and white flat boulder, and made a grasp at the hat jackets to dry on the flat-topped boulder. as it went bobbing by, but all he did was “Bovver!”, said Mac, feeling in his to soak one of his jacket-sleeves right up pocket, “ I declare, my three matches has to the shoulder. “ There now !” he said, got quite wet, too. I suppose now all the turning up a countenance full of wrath; fire's washed out of them; and how are we “it's swum away to drown itself, and here to cook the troutses, if we get some bites am I in the blazing sun, enough to kill that stick on?" me.”

“ Is it a fire ?” Matty said. “We do be "I don't believe savages ever do wear sometimes gettin' the loan of a light off a hats, now that I think of it,” Mac said, man goin' by wid a pipe. But there's no putting a bold face on the matter, “ and I sticks, unless you look up yonder under won't, anyway." He Aung down his straw the trees. And I never heard tell of any hat so roughly that the brim cracked troutses catchin' in it at all.” nearly off the crown, and a tuft of water “What'll we be cookin', then ?" said forget-me-not stuck up through the chink. Aylmer, who was only half reconciled to

“ And dripping wet I am, too,” Aylmer the loss of his bite and hat, and felt diswent on, “ getting my death, most likely.” posed to make difficulties.

“ He'd be welcome to a loan of the ould “Oh, potatoes," Mac said, cheerfully, sack," a voice said startlingly close behind though he did not really think this a them; and there stood two little girls, very satisfactory substitute. “ Do you who had come quietly over the grass, on happen to know if there are many about bare feet, though they had not been here ?" wading. One of them held in her hand “Sorra a pitaty we've in it this long a long rope with a small white goat grazing while back," said Matty. “Sure we had at the end of it, and the other was carry- the last of them ate before Easter." ing a couple of brownish sacks and a “ Then why on earth don't you get reaping-hook. They wore short, ragged some more ?" said Mac. skirts, and over their heads coarse gray “How at all would we,” said Matty, shawls, under the shadow of which their “when the rest of them wasn't fit to throw narrow faces looked all eyes. The biggest to the hins ? And ne'er a one saved for of them was perhaps as much as nine seed, for where'd be the sinse, me father years old, so that to Mac and Aylmer she was sayin', of puttin' them down, wid the seemed an experienced person.

whole of us starvin' fast while they would “If he had it over the head of him," be growin' slow? So we ate them. But she said to Mac, “ he could take the little frettin' he is now every day, since he was wet coateen off of him, and let it get a took sick, sittin' on the wall, to see the chance to dry in the sun. There's a very bit of field lyin' empty under the weeds, handy hole in the end of this one,” she as yella as gould—frettin' bad he is.” said, unrolling the empty sacks. “ And “Well, but one must be cooking somethere's plenty of time yet to be fillin' them thing; and it's getting pretty late," Aylwid the grass. Rosy McClonissy owns it, mer remarked, sternly. but she'll loan it and welcome-wouldn't “ Sure it isn't hardly hungry-time yet, you, Rosy! Say, “ Ay, bedad !'”

glory be to goodness!” said Matty; "and “ Ay, bedad !” Rosy said, in a hoarse, I was tellin' you me mother's had no shy whisper.

could pitaties to be givin' us to take along Aylmer, who found his drenched sleeve wid us, and we grazin' the little goat, or uncomfortable, and the unshaded sun daz- else yous ’ud be welcome to a bit. When zling, thought he would try this plan, and, we had them, we did be warmin' them up taking off his jacket, wisped himself up grand wid a fire lightin' in there under in the sack. Mac considered the costume the trees. Only yous had a right to not be

burnin' your fingers grabbin' at them the a cool shade of green leaves above, and way Rosy done, instead of rowlin' them below a soft paving of dead ones, crossed out wid a stick."

here and there by roots, which made “You don't explain properly : people irregular steps in it. Mac accounted for must have enough to eat, whether there his tripping over them by saying that they are cold potatoes or not,” Mac said, polite- were a different pattern from the stairs in ly but decidedly. .

most places. However, all the children Matty stared at him hard. “You are a scrambled safely up them to Saint Brigid's quare one," she said. “Has any people Well, niched in its rounded rock basin ever enough to eat?"

under the high, steep bank. Moss, which “Well, if they want to go on for ever seemed a golden green light among the and ever and ever, they must be great fickering shadows, muffled its brim, and Pigs," Mac said, with severity.

from the creviced stones behind it hare* When I've got joggolates," Aylmer bells trembled and hartstongue drooped. said, reflectively, “I always do want to go Large, shining drops swelled at the points on for ever and ever and all the evers of the long leaves, and plashed down that ever were.”

slowly one by one as if a string of beads Matty continued to look puzzled. “Now were broken into the transparent water, and again," she said, after a pause, “we which they kept astir with a sliding, cirlights a fire, and sticks a few biggish-sized cling ripple. The little girls crossed lumps of round stones in it be way of themselves and said some queer-sounding pitaties roastin'. But that's only lettin' on, words, which were Latin, Matty explained and most whiles we go to the wishin’-well to Mac; but she could not answer him above there in the wood for our bit of satisfactorily when he wanted to know, dinner."

further, what they meant-a question "I didn't know there was anything ex- which might indeed have puzzled the most cept water in wells,” said Aylmer.

scholarly—whether savages spoke Latin, * She said a wishing one, didn't you and whether Saint Brigid was a savage. hear?" Mac said, intending to convey an “I don't see how I'm to order dinner that entirely false impression that this made way,” he said, “because I happen not to the matter quite clear to him.

remember the Latin for anything to eat.” “ Saint Brigid owns it,” said Matty. “Sure how could she help knowin' right "Grand she is. I seen her picture below enough what pitaties is,” Matty said. at Father Daly's, in an iligant white gown “ And a sup of buttermilk,” Rosy whisstreelin' after her, and a gould sunbonnet pered at her elbow. blowin' out flat off the back of her head. “Is that all you're goin' to order ?” said And they say that if you drop a little bit Mac. “Why, that's only a little bit of a of somethin'into the wather to remind her, dinner--there's lots of other things.” she'll send you whatever you're wishin' " Joggolates,”suggested a familiar husky for. So Rosy and I do be mostly wishin' voice beside him. a bit of dinner off of her."

“I will not order chocolate,” said Mac; “And what does she send you ?” Mac “I know very well she'd say it wasn't inquired, with interest.

wholesome enough for people's dinners." Aylmer murmured, hopefully, “ Joggo- “I'd liefer have pitaties than stirabout,” lates, maybe.”

said Matty. “ The yella male's a quare, "Nothin',” Matty replied, disappoint- ugly brash, and there doesn't be more than ingly. “But you can never tell she a little dab of it for everybody when it's mightn't take the notion to some day. boiled. Me mother mostly has only the Rosy and me'll be slippin' up prisently." pot-scrapin's, but she says it's plenty. “We'll come along,” said Mac.

Pitaties is the best.” “ 'Deed yous might better," said Matty, “Roast chicken,” said Mac, “and "than to be drowndin' of yourselves mashed potatoes, and cold apple pie, and fightin' on the edge of the pool. The custard, might do. What shall I drop in ?" bits of coateens can be dryin' here till we “Thim little thimbles off of the fir-trees come back. I'll tether the little goat the is handy, if you haven't e'er a pin or a way she won't get swallyin' them.” button,” Matty said ; and several small

The footpath to the well wound up with cones were found without difficulty.

Aylmer dropped one in unobserved, and of small boots lying on the top of a flat as he did so murmured, “ Joggolates." stone. No living creature was in sight,

except a white goat steadily browsing ; For nearly an hour after the children and the thought flashed into her mind had gone into the wood, nobody came that the wearers of these things must have next or nigh the lough. Then over the been the little boys she had come to look brow of the steep grass-slope, and down for-a thought which made old Moriarty's the same path that Mac and Aylmer had conjecture seem dreadfully probable. In taken, came a figure all in soft white, just a great fright she ran along the water's tinged with a delicate lilac, as are some edge calling, “ Mac—Aylmer," and soon crocus-cups. Softly white, too, and plumed she was still more alarmed by a gleam of with faintly tinted feathers, was the large something blue and white a little way from hat which shaded her golden-brown hair the shore. It was Aylmer's jacket, which So that she made a very high light in the Matty had so carefully spread to dry, and strong sunshine as she passed through it. which a breeze had whisked regardlessly She was carrying a small hamper. Any into the water. But to Amy Barry it body who had met her might have noticed seemed likely to be something so terrible that the lowest flounce of her pretty gown that she was afraid to look at it, and, was a little bedraggled along its lacy edge, dropping her hamper on the grass, she and that her pretty face looked a little fled panic-stricken down the lane in search unhappy and anxious. The facts were of help. that she had driven over from Glenamber Very soon after she had gone, the four to bring a share of some wedding festivi- children descended the shadowy path beties to the exiles at Sheenagh House, tween the tree-trunks, and stepped out where, arriving, she had found it deserted, again upon the sunny green margin-four for its master was out, and the servants as wild small figures in their ragged wraphad slipped down to McQueen's place at pings as you could have met in the width the cross-roads in hopes of a glimpse of Connaught. The little boys had wanted when the bridal carriage drove by honey- to linger up at the well, imagining their moonwards. Only old Moriarty was by wishes more likely to be fulfilled upon the this time scraping in front of the house, spot; but Matty, speaking with the authorand told her how he had seen the young ity of a much longer experience, assured gentlemen a while ago in the shrubbery them that Saint Brigid “was just as apt yonder, on their way to the lough he'd be to lave them their dinners down below," bound, as they were carrying the master's and at last persuaded them to come and old fishing-rod. “And you'll be apt to see. She was anxious to reclaim her meet them comin' back by now, Miss," sacks and resume her grass-cutting. And, he added, “ unless they're after drowndin' “I declare to goodness,” Mac exclaimed, themselves somewheres—that's noways too as they emerged from the wood, “ she's unlikely."

left it—in a basket. There it is, near the “ Is it far?" she asked.

big stones. Come along and look what's “ Sure, not at all,” he said. “You in it.” might sling an ould cabbage-stump into it “Musha good gracious, and there it is from the end of the bit of a grove." And sittin' wid itself sure enough," Matty said. on the strength of this she had started. “Where's it come from at all-unless it's But she was not used to bogs, and con- from Herself? A grand new little hamsequently had the imprudence to step on per.” a jewel-green mossy patch, with results “If there's all our dinners in it,” Aylharmful to her dainty bridesmaid's attire mer remarked, discontentedly, when they and little silver-buckled shoes. This acci- had raced up to the hamper, “ it doesn't dent caused her some vexation, but she look very big. The plates 'll take up forgot all about it when she reached the nearly all the room." lough. For, as she ran down the green “Of course she knew perfectly well slope, the first thing she noticed was a that savages don't want plates,” said Mac, straw hat floating on the water, and a few who was fumbling with the fastening. steps further brought her where she saw “Which way do you pull the little peggy two pairs of long stockings and two pairs thing—do you know, Matty ?”

“Suppose somebody owns it?" Matty vanished. Matty also was tempted irsaid, hanging back. “ And suppose the resistibly by a rose-and-apricot-colored polis was comin' along the road there, and cockle-shell, which Mac would make her we meddlin' wid it?" Matty's eyes were take. It held cream flavored with someenlarged and darkened by the horror of thing delectable ; yet before it was finished the imagined catastrophe.

she stopped as if she had remembered a “Savages and saints isn't any affair of trouble, and suddenly looked ready to the polis at all," Mac said, prescribing the cry. She was thinking of some people in constabulary their duties without hesita- a dark house-room not very far off, and tion, and throwing back the hamper-lid this made her glance in the direction of with a creaky jerk. “ Whoof! Is it noth- the road leading to it. And her glance ing but old flowers ?”.

grew into a stare, for just then round the On the top, indeed, lay some sprays of corner ran a figure whose white robes white frosted blossoms, tied with wonder- swept after her over the grass—one flounce ful silvery satiny knots and bows. Mac was torn and trailing—as softly as foam, flung them down on the grass disdainfully, and whose bright head had a covering but Matty and Rosy eyed them as rever- not in the least like any of the caps and entially as if they were feathers from an hoods Matty was used to see. The feathangel's wing. Under them was a paper ery brim had got pushed far back in her bag full of small, sugary biscuits of all haste, showing a fluff of golden hair and shapes and hues; and these the boys re- a flower-tinted face. “ Bedad, then it garded with more respect. Then there was Herself brought them their dinner,” came thick slices of dark plum-cake, iced Matty said in an awe-stricken tone, while and almonded, and a number of softly Rosy edged up to her, grasping a handful flushed peaches, and a heavy bunch of of her shawl, as if for protection, and bloomy, purple grapes. Next an oval box both little girls began to retreat. of glistening crystallized fruits. And, It was really the bringer of the hamper, lastly, a round box of bonbons. “Joggo- who, having met with young Lambert lates !” Aylmer said triumphantly on see- May on his bicycle, and sent him speeding this, “ and it was me ordered them. ing to fetch assistance, had now been But you can have ones apiece.”

drawn back by the fascination of fear to When all these things were spread out the loughshore. The sight of the four on the grass, Mac said: “Let's have the ragged children there gave her a hope biscuits first. You needn't grab them and dread of news, as she hurried up to with your two hands at once, Aylmer, like a the little girls with eager questions. wolf ”—Aylmer said something indistinctly “ Be curtsiyin', Rosy, be curtsiyin',” about savages. “Come along, Matty and Matty meanwhile was exhorting. “Saints Rosy."

is a great sort of Quality.” But Matty turned away, drawing her “Do you know anything, please, about old shawl closer about a disappointed the hat floating there in the water ?” said face. " They're not our dinners, for sartin,” the stranger. she said. “Ne'er a pitaty is there at the “Ay, Miss Saint Brigid," Matty said, bottom--ne'er a one. But belike she curtseying extraordinarily low; “it fell off might send them another day, Rosy, the little boy's head, and he fightin' wid when there's nobody in it only you and the other. There's the two of them now,” me. Themselves is some manner of and she pointed to Mac and Aylmer squatQuality, so she wouldn't be mindin' the ting by the hamper in their sacks. likes of us. It's time we got the grass “Oh,” the stranger said, looking much cut, Rosy. Say, No, thankee.” Rosy, relieved. “And did you happen to see however, on the contrary, said “ Plase,” two other boys in blue-and-white sailorand accepted a handful of miniature suits anywhere about ?" stars and crowns and crescents, pink and “Ay did I,” said Matty. white and yellow, at which she looked for “And where did they go to ?”. a minute half doubtfully. It seemed like “There's the two of them now at their eating up things that were almost too pretty dinners," Matty said, pointing again at to touch. But after she had tasted the first the figures by the hamper. grudging crumb, the rest very rapidly “ Those poor children—are you quite

« AnteriorContinuar »