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The Red Hand of Ulster   By: (1865-1950)

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THE RED HAND OF ULSTER

BY

G. A. BIRMINGHAM

AUTHOR OF "SPANISH GOLD," "THE MAJOR'S NIECE," "PRISCILLA'S SPIES," ETC.

HODDER & STOUGHTON

NEW YORK

GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY

Copyright, 1912,

By George H. Doran Company

UNIFORM EDITION of the WORKS of G. A. BIRMINGHAM

Each, net $1.20

LALAGE'S LOVERS SPANISH GOLD THE SEARCH PARTY THE SIMPKINS PLOT THE MAJOR'S NIECE PRISCILLA'S SPIES THE RED HAND OF ULSTER

GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY NEW YORK

PREFATORY NOTE

In a book of this kind some of the characters are necessarily placed in the positions occupied by living men; but no character is in any way copied from life, and no character must be taken as representing any real person. Nor must the opinions of Lord Kilmore of Errigal, the imaginary narrator of the tale, be regarded as those of the Author.

G. A. B.

INTRODUCTORY NOTE

BY

LORD KILMORE OF ERRIGAL

The events recorded in this chapter and the next did not fall under my own observation. I derived my knowledge of them from various sources, chiefly from conversations with Bob Power, who had, as will appear, first hand knowledge. In the third chapter I begin my own personal narrative of the events which led up to the final struggle of Ulster against Home Rule and of the struggle itself. Accidents of one kind or another, the accidents of the situation of Kilmore Castle, the accident of Bob Power's connection with my daughter Marion, the accidents of my social position and personal tastes, have placed me in a position to give a very full account of what actually happened. The first two chapters of this book will therefore be written in the impersonal manner of the ordinary history; I myself occupying the position of unseen spectator. The rest of the book is largely founded upon the diary which I actually kept.

THE RED HAND OF ULSTER

CHAPTER I

It was in 1908 that Joseph Peterson Conroy burst upon London in the full magnificence of his astounding wealth. English society was, and had been for many years, accustomed to the irruption of millionaires, American or South African. Our aristocracy has learnt to pay these potentates the respect which is their due. Well born men and women trot along Park Lane in obedience to the hooting calls of motor horns. No one considers himself degraded by grovelling before a plutocrat.

It has been for some time difficult to startle London by a display of mere wealth. Men respect more than ever fortunes which are reckoned in millions, though they have become too common to amaze. But Joseph Peterson Conroy, when he came, excited a great deal of interest. In the first place his income was enormous, larger, it was said, than the income of any other living man. In the next place he spent it very splendidly. There were no entertainments given in London during the years 1909, 1910, and 1911, equal in extravagance to those which Conroy gave. He outdid the "freak dinners" of New York. He invented freak dinners of his own. His horses animals which he bought at enormous prices won the great races. His yachts flew the white ensign of the Royal Yacht Squadron. His gifts to fashionable charities were princely. English society fell at his feet and worshipped him. The most exclusive clubs were honoured by his desire of membership. Women whose fathers and husbands bore famous names were proud to boast of his friendship.

It cannot be said that Conroy abused either his position or his opportunities. He had won his great wealth honestly that is to say without robbing any one except other robbers, and only robbing them in ways permitted by American law. He used what he had won honourably enough. He neither bought the favours of the women who thronged his entertainments; nor degraded, more than was necessary, the men who sought benefits from him. For a time, for nearly four years, he thoroughly enjoyed himself, exulting with boyish delight in his own splendour. Then he began to get restless. The things he did, the people he knew, ceased to interest him... Continue reading book >>




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