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General John Regan   By: (1865-1950)

Book cover

First Page:

GENERAL JOHN REGAN

By George A. Birmingham

Copyright, 1913 By George H. Doran Company

TO CHARLES H. HAWTREY who has allowed me to offer this story to him in memory of times that were very pleasant to me. July 1913

Contents

CHAPTER I

CHAPTER II

CHAPTER III

CHAPTER IV

CHAPTER V

CHAPTER VI

CHAPTER VII

CHAPTER VIII

CHAPTER IX

CHAPTER X

CHAPTER XI

CHAPTER XII

CHAPTER XIII

CHAPTER XV

CHAPTER XVI

CHAPTER XVII

CHAPTER XVIII

CHAPTER XIX

CHAPTER XX

CHAPTER I

The Irish police barrack is invariably clean, occasionally picturesque, but it is never comfortable. The living room, in which the men spend their spare time, is furnished with rigid simplicity. There is a table, sometimes two tables, but they have iron legs. There are benches to sit on, very narrow, and these also have iron legs. Iron is, of course, harder than wood. Men who are forced to look at it and rub their legs against it at meal times are likely to obtain a stern, martial spirit. Wood, even oak, might in the long run have an enervating effect on their minds. The Government knows this, and if it were possible to have tables and benches with iron tops as well as iron legs police barracks in Ireland would be furnished with them. On the walls of the living room are stands for arms. Here are ranged the short carbines with which, in extreme emergencies, the police shoot at the other inhabitants of Ireland. The sight of these weapons serves to remind the men that they form a military force.

Near the carbines hang a few pairs of handcuffs, unobtrusively, because no one wants to emphasize the fact that the police in Ireland have to deal with ordinary wrong doers as well as with turbulent mobs. Ornament of every kind is rigorously excluded from these rooms. It is all very well to aim at the development of the aesthetic faculty for children by putting pictures and scraggy geraniums in pots into schoolrooms. No one wants a policeman to be artistic. But the love of the beautiful breaks out occasionally, even in policemen who live in barracks. Constable Moriarty, for instance, had a passion for music. He whistled better than any man in Ballymoy, and spent much of his leisure in working up thrilling variations of popular tunes.

Being confined by the call of duty to the living room of the barrack in Ballymoy for a whole morning, he had accomplished a series of runs and trills through which the air of "The Minstrel Boy" seemed to struggle for expression. His attention was fixed on this composition, and not at all on the newspaper which lay across his knees.

At twelve o'clock he rose from the bench on which he was sitting and allowed the newspaper to fall in a crumpled heap on the floor at his feet. He stretched himself and yawned. Then he glanced round the barrack room with an air of weariness. Sergeant Colgan, his tunic unbuttoned, his grey flannel shirt open at the neck, dozed uncomfortably in a corner. Moriarty looked at him enviously. The sergeant was much the older man of the two, and was besides of portly figure. Sleep came easily to him under the most unpromising circumstances. Moriarty was not more than twenty four years of age. He was mentally and physically an active man. Before he went to work on "The Minstrel Boy" he had wooed sleep in vain. Even a three days' old copy of the Weekly Freeman had brought him no more than a series of stupefying yawns. If a man cannot go to sleep over a back number of a weekly paper there is no use his trying to go to sleep at all. He may as well whistle tunes.

Moriarty left the living room in which the sergeant slept and went out to the door of the barrack. He stared across the market square. The sun shone pitilessly. Except for a fat white dog, which lay asleep in the gutter opposite the shop of Kerrigan, the butcher, no living thing was to be seen. Hot days are so rare in west of Ireland towns that the people succumb to them at once... Continue reading book >>




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