“Has managed to have her own way,” Walter laughed.
“I suppose so, and that in spite of my grandfather. Certainly I owe everything to her, for I am sure, if it hadn’t been for her, my father would never have ventured to oppose the old man, even so far as to let me know you. It makes one sad to think, Walter, that religion should sometimes make those who think most of it tyrants in their families. My grandfather is terribly earnest in his religion. There is no pretence or mistake about it; but, for all that, or rather because of it, he would, if he could, allow no one else to have a will or opinion of his own.”
“I don’t think it’s the religion, John, but the manner of the religion. My mother and grandmother are both as religious as anyone could be; but I don’t think I ever heard either of them say a hard word of a soul. Their religion is a pleasure to them, and not a task, and I know that some years ago, when we had a priest who was always denouncing the Protestants, they very soon managed to get him changed for another.
“What a funny thing it is, to be sure, that people should quarrel about their religion! After all, we believe all the same important things; and as to others, what does it matter, provided we all do our best in the way that seems right to us?”
But this was too liberal for John. He had been brought up in too strait a sect to subscribe to such an opinion as this.
“I do think it makes a difference, Walter,” he said slowly.
“I don’t,” Walter said. “It’s just a matter of bringing up. If you had been born in the Castle, and I had been born in your place, you would have thought as I do, and I should have thought as you do; and of course, still more if you had been born in a Catholic country like Italy, where you would never have heard of Protestantism, and I had been born in a Protestant country like Holland, where I should never have had a chance of becoming a Catholic. Very few people ever change their religion. They just live and die as they have been born and educated.”
“It seems so,” John said after a pause; “but the question is too deep for us.”
“Quite so,” Walter laughed, “and I don’t want to argue it.
“Well, when are you going to start?”
“I am off tomorrow morning. My father has an acquaintance in Dublin who is starting for Derry, and I am to go in his charge.”
For another hour the boys chatted together, and then, with mutual promises of writing regularly, whenever they had the chance, they said goodbye; and the following morning John started with his father to Dublin, and next day journeyed north towards Derry.
Chapter 3: The King In Ireland.
On the 12th of November, a vessel arrived in Dublin with the news that William of Orange had landed at Torbay on the 5th. The news created the wildest excitement. The Protestants, who had been deeply depressed, by the apparent intention of James to hand back, to their original owners, the land which had been wrested from them, now took heart and began openly to arm. Upon the other hand, the Catholics felt that, if William and the Whigs succeeded to the chief power in England, their faith, their remaining property, and their lives were alike menaced, and they, too, prepared to fight to the last for all they held dear.