The Cross and the Shamrock eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 188 pages of information about The Cross and the Shamrock.

Poor Norry “had not a chance,” she said, of going to her duties for several years; and that is why she considered “Peggy Doherty’s” talk about forgiveness so strange and unaccountable.

“Yes, a Greffour,” resumed “old Peggy,” “we must forgive all the world; and myself would forgive any thing sooner than kidnappin’ or stealing away the children of Catholics, which these Yankee parsons are so fond of doing.”

“O, so they are, the villains,” said Norry.  “Did they take away or steal any of this poor woman’s children?  ’Tis a wonder if they didn’t.”

“Well, besides the four children you see here, asthore, she had another neat child, one year old, named Aloysia, whom a lady up town took with her, two months since, to rear her up along with her own children; and it was only about ten days since she got news of her death.  When the poor woman heard this, the heart broke entirely within her, especially as she could not be present at the child’s death bed or at the funeral.”

“Why, that’s rather strange,” said Norry.  “Did they send her word that she was sick?”

“Not a word.  It was only when I went up to Mrs. Sillerman’s, the other day, to inquire about the child, she comes out and tells me the child died, and was decently interred.  When I told the mother, she cried out, ‘O Aloysia, Aloysia, my darling! are you, too, gone?’ And she was not herself since.”

“I do think there must be something wrong in the matter,” said Norry.  “Did you tell the priest?”

“No, I did not, for I had not time,” said Mrs. Doherty.  “God forgive me.  I have a doubt in my own mind that the lady of the house (I renounce judging her) was not honest when she told me of the child’s death.  ‘Perhaps,’ says I to myself, ‘she is kidnapped.’  And she was such a purty angel, with a face you would delight looking on; and on her right hand,—­the Lord save us!—­a circle like a ring was on her middle finger.  She was too good to live; and was made for heaven, I suppose.  Glory be to God.”

CHAPTER III.

AN OFFICIAL.

Our poormaster, Van Stingey, was a very conscientious officer.  He never squandered what he called the people’s property, the commonwealth.  He was none of your vulgar, ordinary poormasters.  He did not want the office; they only forced it on to him.  Like some of your great statesmen, he acted for man, as he emphatically said; not for poor widows and orphans, taken one by one; that was only a secondary consideration.  His whole duty, his very existence, seemed to be needed for the good of man, or humanity in general.  The question with him was, not how to relieve this or that poor man or woman. That might engage the attention of a man of no intelligence, no education, or no philosophy:  what he aspired to was, always to act by principle; to act so that the state, or the people who owned real estate, and who elected him against his

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The Cross and the Shamrock from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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