“So we kissed like a pair av girls, and off he was driven, leavin’ a great hollow inside the rim av the hills. An’ I ran up to the windy dormitory, stumblin’ at ivery third step for the blindin’ tears, and watched um from the window there growin’ small along the road. ’Ye Mountains av Gilboa,’ said I, shakin’ my fist at the hills, ’let there be no dew, neither let there be rain upon ye;’ for I hated the place now that Jemmy was gone.
“Well, ’twas the ould story—letters at first in plenty, then fewer, then none at all. Long before I came over to try my luck I’d lost all news of Jem: didn’t know his address, even. Nor till to-day have I set eyes on um. He’s bald-headed, me boy, and crooked-faytured, to-day; but I knew him for Jemmy in the first kick av surprise.
“I was evicted this mornin’, as I’ve towld ye. Six years I’ve hung me hat up in those same apartments in Bloomsbury; and, till last year, aisy enough I found me landlord over a quarter’s rent or two overjue. But last midsummer year the house changed hands; and bedad it began to be ‘pay or quit.’ This day it was ‘quit.’ The new landlord came up the stairs at the head av the ejectin’ army: I got up from breakfast to open the door to um. I’d never set eyes on um since I’d been his tenant. Bedad, it was Jemmy!”
O’Driscoll paused, and poured himself another glass of hock.
“So I suppose,” I said, “you ran into each other’s arms, and kissed again with tears?”
“Then you suppose wrong,” said he, and sat for a moment or two silent, fingering the stem of his glass. Then he added, more gently—
“I looked in the face av um, and said to meself, ’Jemmy doesn’t remember me. If I introduce meself, I wonder what’ll he do? Will he love me still, or will he turn me out?’ An’ by the Lord I didn’t care to risk ut! I couldn’t dare to lose that last illusion; an’ so I put on me hat an’ walked out, tellin’ him nothing at all.”
I.—THE FAMILY BIBLE
There lived a young man at Tregarrick called Robert Haydon. His father was not a native of the town, but had settled there early in life and became the leading solicitor of the place. At the age of thirty-seven he married the daughter of a county magistrate, and by this step bettered his position considerably. By the time that Robert was born his parents’ standing was very satisfactory. They were living well inside an income of L1,200 a year, had about L8,000 (consisting of Mrs. Haydon’s dowry and Mr. Haydon’s bachelor savings) safely invested, and were on visiting terms with several of the lesser county families.