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My Lady of the Chimney Corner   By: (1863-1941)

My Lady of the Chimney Corner by Alexander Irvine

First Page:

MY LADY OF THE CHIMNEY CORNER

BY ALEXANDER IRVINE

AUTHOR OF "FROM THE BOTTOM UP," ETC.

NEW YORK THE CENTURY CO. 1914

Copyright, 1913, by THE CENTURY CO. Published, August, 1913

TO LADY GREGORY AND THE PLAYERS OF THE ABBEY THEATRE DUBLIN

FOREWORD

This book is the torn manuscript of the most beautiful life I ever knew. I have merely pieced and patched it together, and have not even changed or disguised the names of the little group of neighbors who lived with us, at "the bottom of the world." A. I.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

I LOVE IS ENOUGH 3

II THE WOLF AND THE CARPENTER 21

III REHEARSING FOR THE SHOW 38

IV SUNDAY IN POGUE'S ENTRY 63

V HIS ARM IS NOT SHORTENED 85

VI THE APOTHEOSIS OF HUGHIE THORNTON 110

VII IN THE GLOW OF A PEAT FIRE 133

VIII THE WIND BLOWETH WHERE IT LISTETH 153

IX "BEYOND TH' MEADOWS AN' TH' CLOUDS" 171

X THE EMPTY CORNER 198

MY LADY OF THE CHIMNEY CORNER

A STORY OF LOVE AND POVERTY IN IRISH PEASANT LIFE

CHAPTER I

LOVE IS ENOUGH

"Anna's purty, an' she's good as well as purty, but th' beauty an' goodness that's hers is short lived, I'm thinkin'," said old Bridget McGrady to her neighbor Mrs. Tierney, as Mrs. Gilmore passed the door, leading her five year old girl, Anna, by the hand. The old women were sitting on the doorstep as the worshipers came down the lane from early mass on a summer morning.

"Thrue for you, Bridget, for th' do say that th' Virgin takes all sich childther before they're ten."

"Musha, but Mrs. Gilmore'll take on terrible," continued Mrs. Tierney, "but th' will of God must be done."

Anna was dressed in a dainty pink dress. A wide blue ribbon kept her wealth of jet black hair in order as it hung down her back and the squeaking of her little shoes drew attention to the fact that they were new and in the fashion.

"It's a mortal pity she's a girl," said Bridget, "bekase she might hev been an althar boy before she goes."

"Aye, but if she was a bhoy shure there's no tellin' what divilmint she'd get into; so maybe it's just as well."

The Gilmores lived on a small farm near Crumlin in County Antrim. They were not considered "well to do," neither were they poor. They worked hard and by dint of economy managed to keep their children at school. Anna was a favorite child. Her quiet demeanor and gentle disposition drew to her many considerations denied the rest of the family. She was a favorite in the community. By the old women she was considered "too good to live"; she took "kindly" to the house of God. Her teacher said, "Anna has a great head for learning." This expression, oft repeated, gave the Gilmores an ambition to prepare Anna for teaching. Despite the schedule arranged for her she was confirmed in the parish chapel at the age of ten. At fifteen she had exhausted the educational facilities of the community and set her heart on institutions of higher learning in the larger cities. While her parents were figuring that way the boys of the parish were figuring in a different direction. Before Anna was seventeen there was scarcely a boy living within miles who had not at one time or another lingered around the gate of the Gilmore garden. Mrs. Gilmore watched Anna carefully. She warned her against the danger of an alliance with a boy of a lower station. The girl was devoted to the Church. She knew her Book of Devotions as few of the older people knew it, and before she was twelve she had read the Lives of the Saints. None of these things made her an ascetic. She could laugh heartily and had a keen sense of humor.

The old women revised their prophecies. They now spoke of her "takin' th' veil." Some said she would make "a gey good schoolmisthress," for she was fond of children.

While waiting the completion of arrangements to continue her schooling, she helped her mother with the household work... Continue reading book >>




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