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Mount Music   By: (1858-1949)

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First Page:

MOUNT MUSIC

by

E. OE. SOMERVILLE and MARTIN ROSS

Authors of The Real Charlotte , Some Experiences of an Irish R.M. , All on the Irish Shore , etc., etc.

1920

By the same Authors

Some Experiences of An Irish R.M. Further Experiences of An Irish R.M. In Mr. Knox's Country All On The Irish Shore Some Irish Yesterdays An Irish Cousin The Real Charlotte The Silver Fox Irish Memories

PREFACE

This book was planned some years ago by Martin Ross and myself. A few portions of it were written, and it was then put aside for other work.

Without her help and inspiration, it would not have been begun, and could not have been completed. I feel, therefore, that to join her name with mine on the title page is my duty, as well as my pleasure.

E. OE. SOMERVILLE.

CHAPTER I

"Christian, dost them see them?" sang an elder brother, small enough to be brutal, large enough to hurt, while he twisted Christian's arm as though it were indeed the rope that it so much resembled.

"I won't say I saw them, because I didn't!" replied Christian, who had ceased to struggle, but was as far as ever from submission; "but if I had, you might twist my arm till it was like an old pig's tail and I wouldn't give in!"

Possibly John realised the truth of this defiance. He administered a final thump on what he believed to be Christian's biceps, and released her.

"Pretty rotten to spoil the game, and then tell lies," he said, with severity.

"I don't tell lies," said Christian, flitting like a gnat to the open window of the schoolroom. "You sang the wrong verse! It ought to have been ' hear them,' and I do !"

Having thus secured the last word, Miss Christian Talbot Lowry, aged nine in years, and ninety in spirit, sprang upon the window sill, leapt lightly into a flower bed, and betook herself to the resort most favoured by her, the kennels of her father's hounds.

What person is there who, having attained to such maturity as is required for legible record, shall presume to reconstruct, either from memory or from observation, the mind of a child? Certain mental attitudes may be recalled, certain actions predicated in certain circumstances, but the stream of the mind, with its wayward currents, its secret eddies, flows underground, and its course can only be guessed at by tokens of speech and of action, that are like the rushes, and the yellow king cups, and the emerald of the grass, that show where hidden waters run. Nothing more presumptuous than the gathering of a few of these tokens will here be attempted, and of these, only such as may help to explain the time when these children, emerging from childhood, began to play their parts in the scene destined to be theirs.

This history opens at a moment for Christian and her brethren when, possibly for the last time in their several careers, they asked nothing more of life. This was the beginning of the summer holidays; the sky was unclouded by a governess, the sunny air untainted by the whiff of a thought of a return to school. Anything might happen in seven weeks. The end of the world, for instance, might mercifully intervene, and, as this was Ireland, there was always a hope of a "rising," in which case it would be the boys' pleasing duty to stay at home and fight.

"Well, and Judith and I would fight, too," Christian would say, thinking darkly of the Indian knife that she had stolen from the smoking room, for use in emergencies. She varied in her arrangements as to the emergency. Sometimes the foe was to be the Land Leaguers, who were much in the foreground at this time; sometimes she decided upon the English oppressors of a down trodden Ireland, to whose slaughter, on the whole, her fancy most inclined. But whatever the occasion, she was quite determined she was not going to be outdone by the boys.

At nine years old, Christian was a little rag of a girl; a rag, but imbued with the spirit of the rag that is nailed to the mast, and flaunts, unconquered, until it is shot away. She had a small head, round and brown as a hazel nut, and a thick mop of fine, bright hair, rebellious like herself, of the sort that goes with an ardent personality, waved and curled over her little poll, and generally ended the day in a tangle only less intricate than can be achieved by a skein of silk... Continue reading book >>




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