How was it that the gardener got on with the local people? How was it that they stood on the road to speak with him, shouting their extravagant laughter at his keen, dry Northern humour?
When he first came the gardener had been more grimly hostile to the place than the Rector himself. There had been an ugly row on the road, and blows had been struck. But that was some years ago. The gardener now appeared very much merged in the life of the place; the gathering outside the Rectory garden was friendly, almost a family party. How was it to be accounted for? Once or twice the Rector found himself suspecting that at the bottom of the phenomenon there might be all unconscious among these people a spirit of common country, of a common democracy, a common humanity, that forced itself to the surface in course of time. The Rector stood, his lips working, his nicely-shaped little head quivering with a sudden agitation. For he found himself thinking along unusual lines, and for that very reason dangerous lines—frightfully dangerous lines, he told himself, as an ugly enlightenment broke across his mind, warming it up for a few moments and no more. As he turned in the gate at the Rectory it was a relief to him—for his own thoughts were frightening him—to see the peasants moving away and the head of the gardener disappear behind the wall. He walked up the path to the Rectory, the lawn dotted over with sombre yew trees all clipped into the shape of torpedoes, all trained directly upon the forts of Heaven! The house was large and comfortable, the walls a faded yellow. Like the church, it was thrown up against the background of the hills. It had all the sombre exclusiveness that made appeal to the Rector. The sight of it comforted him at the moment, and his mental agitation died down. He became normal enough to resume his accustomed outlook, and before he had reached the end of the path his mind had become obsessed again by the thought of the Ne Temere decree. Something should, he felt convinced, be done, and done at once.
He ground his umbrella on the step in front of the Rectory door and pondered. At last he came to a conclusion, inspiration lighting up his faded eyes. He tossed his head upwards.
“I must write a letter to the papers,” he said. “Ireland is lost.”
Scene: A farmhouse in Connacht.
Hugh: They’ll make short work of the high field. It’s half ploughed already.
Donagh: It was good of the people to gather as they did, giving us their labour.
Hugh: The people had always a wish for your family, Donagh. Look at the great name your father left behind him in Carrabane. It would be a fine sight for him if he had lived to stand at this door now, looking at the horses bringing the plough over the ground.