White from imprisonment, her small round steel-rimmed glasses dropping away from her blue eyes, and her curly brown hair wisping out from under her black felt hat, the countess embraced a few of the women in the room and exchanged handclasps with the men. Below the crowd was clamoring for her appearance at the window.
“Fellow rebels!” she began as she leaned out into the mellow night. Then with the apparent desire to say everything at once that makes her public speech stuttery, she continued: “It’s good to come out of jail to this. It is good to come out again to work for a republic. Let us all join hands to make the new republic a workers’ republic. A change of flags is not enough!”
Two oil flares with orange flame throwing off red sparks on the crowd, were fastened to the brake below. It was the brake that was to carry “Madame” on her triumphal tour of Dublin. The boys of the Citizens’ Army made a human rope about the conveyance. In it I climbed with the countess, the plump little Mrs. James Connolly, the magisterial Countess Plunkett, Commandant O’Neill of the Citizens’ Army, Sean Milroy, who escaped from Lincoln jail with DeValera, and two or three others. Rows of constables were backed against the walls at irregular intervals. I asked Sean Milroy if he were not afraid that he would be re-taken, and he responded comfortably that the “peelers” would never attempt to take a political prisoner out of a gathering like that. As we neared the poverty-smelling Coombe district, the countess remarked that this, St. Patrick’s, was her constituency. At the shaft of St. James fountain, the brake was halted. Shedding her long coat, and standing straight in her green tweed suit, with the plush seat of the brake for her floor, the countess told the cheering workers that she was going to come down to live in the Coombe. Heated with the energy of talking and throwing her body about so that her voice would carry over the crowd that circled her, the countess sank down on the seat. As the brake drove on, motherly little Mrs. Connolly tried to slip the big coat over the countess. But the countess, in one of those sudden meditative silences during which she seems to retain only a subconsciousness of her surroundings, refused the offer of warmth with a shrug of her shoulders. Then, emerging from her pre-occupation, she demanded of Sean Milroy:
“What have you planned for your constituency? I’m going to have a soviet.”
THE WORKERS’ REPUBLIC
Like the countess, the Irish Labor party wants a workers’ republic. But it wants a republic first.