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igigging a 1
\\ BYII \ \\S C. HALL.
BY MRS. S. C. HALL.
I, \' ,s.
P, OsT iIN:
N .9 r' F1i Ng1111. 1 P.
-- ~- -- ~-- -Sl~a~a~plylLII1EllICY
- -- ---
'* '-H' L
Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1871, by
in the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.
E'S a fine likely boy--there's no
denying it," asserted Mistress Peggy
Byrne, to an observation her pretty
young friend, Mary Flynn, had just made,.in
a shy, blushing sort of manner, concerning
their mutual acquaintance, Terence Boyd.
SHe is so; and bates the three kingdoms
for eyes, which are the making of a face --"
the'glory of it, anyhow! I stand up for eyes :?
all the world over. Some stand by mouth~,
bit they--the Irish ones especially .
4 DIGGING A GRAVE
spake for themselves. Others cry up noses,
which," added Peggy Byrne, after caressing
her own with a floundering pocket-handker-
chief, "I count nothing. What signifies the
nose! You'd never read a man or woman's
meaning by their nose; there it stands, steady
and constant, always the same, barring when,
like Jim Garret, a clip of a stick turns it
crooked for the rest of its days. You can't
read a man's nature by his nose. But, O,
darlint -the dance or the wink of an eve.
the corner up
a lip, to
)r the corner down, of
'oon! Whether they're
or ugly, there the book of nature
t in the eyes; and I'd ask no more
glance of an eye, or the twist of
read the heart. No wonder at the
of the men, who are so fond of
up their mouths by those mouse-
the poor girls now can only get
the light in
WITH A WINE-GLASS.
eyes bothers them. The Irish girls are not
that bould yet, bless the saints, that they can
stare into a man's eyes to read his meaning.
But long ago they could peep under their
eyes lashes and read .it, and he never the
wiser, just out of the curl of his lip. But
now the mouths are all hidden under the
furze-bush, so no wonder the poor craythurs
of girls are more bothered than in the would
Peggy paused to take breath, and, after
some time, added,
"But handsome is
Yes," repeated Peggy,
they all, that have any
some is that handsome
go to forget it."
"But what has that
Boyd? questioned Mar
that handsome ddes.
sense, say that hand-
does, and don't you
to do with Terence
'y, drooping her head;
"what is it
me, to be
A t ~
handsome ? -
only I don't
6 DIGGING A GRAVE
like to hear a neighbor's child run down
"Neighbor's child!" repeated Peggy, while
she drew more tightly the ends of the hand-
kerchief that circled her keen, yet good-
natured face, under her coal-box bonnet,
" A fine 'child' Terence Boyd is, to be sure.
And where's the neighborhood, Mary ?"
"His mother and my grandmother, Peggy,
lived close beside the Seven Castles of Clon-
mines,--before either of us were born,- and
if that does not make us neighbors, I don't
know what does, Peggy Byrne;" and she
drew up her little figure to its full height,
and tried to look delighted.
Peggy had a peculiar way of replying to
anything she either did not believe in or
disliked. She produced a peculiar sound
like thhah-tha! and tossed her head -" an
indignation toss," Mary called it. She
"thhad" and tossed her head mere vigor-
WITH A WINE-GLASS.
ously than usual, and pressed close to her
side her bonny basket containing, very neatly
crimped, various muslin articles. Peggy was
proud of the contents of her basket; and
well she might be; they were "got up"
in a manner that would not disgrace a Par-
isian clear-starcher! Mary had a roll of
needlework that she was taking home to the
lady to whom the muslins belonged. She
was that rare thing in those days of natural
sewing machines an excellent needlewo-
man, plying her needle rapidly and neatly.
The women stood almost beneath the shad-
ow of Buckingham Palace, just where the
bars divide St. James' Park from the broad
trottoir. Seated on the curb-stone, her bare
feet nearly embedded in the brown mud of
the highway, for a heavy autumn shower had
just fallen was a dark-haired, weird-looking
girl about fourteen, bearing a small flat
basket of walnuts beside lier; she was' crack-
8 DIGGING A GRAVE
ing the walnuts with her white, strong teeth,
then partially shelling, and exhibiting them
in rows round the edge of her extemporized
shop. She was jesting mirthfully with one
of the lads of the shoe-black brigade, who
had indulged himself with a pennyworth
of what the girl affirmed to be "fine gool-
"Why, if that isn't Nelly Livermore,'
,said Peggy Byrne to her young friend;
"Nelly, is your father in work on the Em-
bankment still? "
The sunshine faded out of the poor girl's
face while she answered,
No, Mrs. Byrne, he is not."
"Not! repeated the clear-starcher, "then
where is he ? "
"Well, there was a bit of a misunder-
standing, and trying to set his comrade right,
they said he hot him rather hard; any.
way, he's got twelve Sundays for it."
WITH A WINE-GLASS. 9
my law thhad-thha! I suppose he
was overtaken, honest man, when it hap-
pened. 0, my! it's at the top of the tree
James Livermore would ha' been years ago,
if he hadn't a turn for DIGGING HIS GRAVE
WITH A WINE-GLASS."
Well," said the girl, with deepened color
and flashing eyes, "he's not the only one
with a fault."
"No, more's the grief of the world, he.
is not; and that fault in particular counts
its hundreds and thousands. But your moth-
er, Nelly--sure it must be hard times when
pretty Polly Livermore's daughter turns into
soft shoes and takes her sate on a curb-stone!"
"Yes, Mrs. Byrne, the times are hard;-
but there's Nancy Bayne signing to me over
the way. I must run, for she was to have
a chance of some cherry-cheeked apples-,.
and Nancy and I always go shares." She
snatched up her basket, flopped through the
DIGGING A GRAVE
mud, "dodged" among the cabs (it was
not the season for carriages even there),
and disappeared down James street.
"Is there anything especially wrong with
her mother, Phil?" inquired Mrs. Byrne of
the shoe-black brigade-boy, who was one of
her numerous acquaintances. "Since I have
left Pye street and come to the West-end,--
not out of any grandeur," she added, tossing
her head; "only, you know, to be near
Mary,-I haven't set eyes on one of the
Livermores until t
"0, it sets poor
Nelly wild to
her mother to her," answered the lad. "She's
More trouble to her than her father; it was
her drunkenness and ways that drove him
Altogether to the bad. If Nelly catches
sight of her, she runs like-a hare before
the hounds; poor Livermore is thankful for
the jail that keeps him from his wife and
WITH A WINE-GLASS. 11
drink-he says he does not khow which
is the worst curse."
"But he had a turn for it first, Phil,"
said Peggy, "I remember that. She's gone
fast down the hill, as women do-- they go
down faster than men, and have not the
strength to get up again. Every day I hear
of another and another digging their graves
with a wine-glass," muttered Peggy. O,
dear," she continued, "will the curse of
drink ever pass from the people !--the more
people, the more drink; the more drink,
the more graves ?"
)ELL," said Phil,
" Thank God for
; "and pray for
"I'm a Band
it!" said Peggy,
strength to keep
your pledge; don't put faith in your strength,
but in HIM who gives the strength."
But the girl," said Mary; "you find
such ways of helping people, Peggy,- can't
you think of something for her ?"
"Thhath-thha! I think awhile, Mary, dear,
and then I pray awhile; and betwixt the
both, the Lord strikes out something for
me to do; the thinking would be nothing
without the rayingg; but we
dear; they won't let me
WITH A WINE-GLASS.
through the Park;
vulgarer, and not
never mind, I'll go
a basket isn't
as a cab; but
minster, and meet you by the natural gallery;
there's fine resting on the steps, and the
sparkle of the fountains is, like the waterfall
at Powers' court, barring the want of the
trees; and go easy through the park, go
round by the water, the ducks are as inno-
cent and as pretty a sight as you'd see in
a day's walk; and here's some bits of crusts
I put in my left hand pocket, for you to
give. 4hem, since I could not have that
pleasure meeself, on account of the basket;
but for your life, Mary, don't let them gob-
bling swans get a crumb! I hate the sight
of them; bloated out, swelling with pride
and impudence, bobbing their heads forward
without the high heels or the tight lacing
either! As if
not crawl into
the world with
14 DIGGING A GRAVE
must cramp and squeeze our poor sinful
"Do you mean the swans, Peggy, dear?"
questioned Mary, with a saucy little smile
that.played about her lips like a sunbeam.
"Oh, there, don't bother me; it's troub-
led I am about the wakeness, as much as
the wickedness of the world; and that poor
Nelly Livermore is going between me and
my rest. I wish I had not seen her! "
S"Oh, Peggy!" exclaimed Mary, "don't
say that; that is cowardly. Sure you're not
one to grudge, the trouble of stretching out
a hand to draw a poor fellow craythur out
of the mire !"
"There, go your ways through the, Park;
only don't hurry, but take it asy," said the
worthy woman, as she turned down James
street, then paused and called her back.
Mary looked after her, and then looked
at the little lad, who was beating one shoe
WITH A WINE-GLASS.
brush against another, while he whistled
softly the refrain of a street song-- one of
those that popularize music to the million.
"Has Mrs. Livermore been long gone to
the bad ? she inquired.
"Well, some time," he replied; "there's
score of 'em down Westminster; t
with a thimble full, mother says,
--well, I don't like to think how
but the women are worse than t
They don't seem, mother says, to
strength to overcome it, when
love of the drink takes holt of 'em."
Mary entered the park, crossed
turned down by the water, while her old
friend trotted on With her basket. She
passed Mr. Martin's chapel and the alms-
houses, and. on the same side of the way
saw Nelly Livermore and another young
girl talking over and arranging a couple
of baskets of nuts and apples, at the corner
16 DIGGING A GRAVE
of the pavement. They were so intent on
their task that they did not see the stagger-
ing approach of a drunken woman, who,
with a yell of a wild Indian, fastened on
Nelly, who attempted to rush across the
street to. escape her. They staggered togeth-
er and fell, and at the same moment a cab
Going at a faster pace than is justifiable in
a crowded thoroughfare, passed almost over
Stlthem. Peggy seized the horse's head and
'held him firmly, the animal neither kicked
nor moved. A gentleman who was inside
S sprang out, and there was no lack of ready
hands to endeavor to extricate the sufferers.
The woman, somewhat sobered, had received
.but little injury, but poor Nelly's temple
was bleeding from a frightful wound, and
she was quite insensible. Peggy, with a
presee of mind that never deserted her,
placed her basket on the seat of the cab,
and prepared to lift in the insensible child.
WITH A WINE-GLASS.
Let a policeman take her to the hospital,"
said the driver; my cab will be destroyed."
I will pay the damage," exclaimed the
"I will go with my child," said the wretch-
ed mother. "Peggy, you won't hinder me;
you knew me in better days."
"I don't want to stand betwixt a mother
and her child," answered Peggy, while she
placed the young girl on her lap and sup-
ported her head on her bosom; "you will
want looking to, but you drove her to her
death, as you drove her father to a jail.
Oh, if the first glass of spirits that passes
the lips of man or woman, could be turned
into present poison, what thousands on thou-
sands would be spared degradation aEd
The gentleman having taking his number,
gave some money to the driver, a policeman
jumped on the box, the once pretty "Polly
18 DIGGING A GRAVE
Livermore," her large bleared eyes fixed
with an expression of terror and helpless-
ness on her daughter, huddled her rags into
a corner of the cab. The quickly collected
crowd as quickly dispersed; all except Nelly's
little friend, who hung on to the door crying,
and in a few minutes the poor girl was
carried into Westminster Hospital.
The woman's case was attended to else-
where; but the surgeon shook his head,
while he examined the injury Nelly had
She is not dead," he said, in answer to
Peggy's inquiring; "and she may recover
consciousness; but the hurt is deep."
"And dangerous your honor," added Peggy.
"Sure I knew it; and your honor knows
me, if you'd only take time to remember;
I clear-starched you, a good five years ago,
and you used to say no one could turn
out your shirt fronts with Peggy Byrne."
WITH A WINE-GLASS. 19
The good-natured surgeon recognized the
"You might know me also by this, your
honor," she said, pushing back a band of
silky gray hair from her left temple; "but
it wasn't as bad a hurt as that."
What became of him?" inquired the
surgeon, though he kept his eyes fixed on
Nelly, and his finger on her pulse.
"Well, sir, he travelled for the benefit
of his education. Not that I ever raised a
word to harm him." And then she paused,
and her great gray eyes into vacancy saw
mentally what was seen by no other-- the
.worthless yet ever precious husband, who
had disgraced and abandoned her.
Oh, darlint !" she exclaimed. "You
war as tattering a lover as ever broke this
world's bitter bread, or supt the sorrows
of sin; I'll say that for you, Mickey Byrne!
And yet I'd rather see your handsome face,
20 DINING A GRAVE WITH A WINE-GLASS.
this blessed minute, than wear the ,Queen's
crown-God bless her!-in Westminster
Abbey." An expression passed over the
surgeon's face that said, plainly enough -
"What fools women are!" but still his
eyes were fixed on poor Nelly.
There was a slight upheaving of the sheet
that the nurse had thrown over the child,
and a filmy gray mistiness gradually over-
spreading the ghastly pallor of her poor
pinched face. There was a movement of
the lips---an effort, it seemed to Peggy, to
The impulsive woman sank on her knees
beside the bed. Oh, doctor, dear, sure it
can't be THAT come for the poor young thing
already ? Oh, doctor, say it isn't! and she
to go without the priest to clear her way;
and her misfortunate mother the cause! "
She is, indeed, gone," said the doctor, as
he turned away. Saved most likely, from
a life of misery and shame."
and laid the crucifix
"Aisy, aisy," she said to the doctor.
a minute,- the
and if her mother
over a prayer
has sense enough
how it is.
to ask for her,
Another grave dug
And the child
full of life not
we mourn, cry and
lament over those
DIGGING A GRAVE
young hearts? Just one minute, nurse; it's
the .blessed prayers I should be saying, and
not crooning my own thoughts."
And then she repeated what she believed
in reverently and tenderly, and having, heard
that the miserable mother was sleeping,
she could not help muttering,-" it would
be a mercy if she never woke,"-- as she
left the hospital. On the steps she was way-
laid by poor Nelly's little friend, whose, cries
were great because she was refused admit-
tance; she was a fierce little thing, whose
feelings knew no restraint, and when she
heard her friend was dead, she clung to
Peggy wildly, entreating to see "her Nelly
only once, once more."
"Oh, my child," said Peggy; "you must
not take on so; she is out of all sin and
"And has left me alone in it; she was
the only thing I had in the world to care
for," screamed the girl.
WITH A WINE-GLASS.
heedless of Peggy's words,-
wait here night
I'll wait here
till her mother
the stones in me basket ready."
She seized a stone and held
ed in her emaciated fingers.
it* aloft, clasp-
"Nelly my Nelly!
said her mother
be her death,
so she has
have her life!"
child ? "
at the wild vehemence,
her great eyes burned, rather
on; what's the good
24 ..'DIGGING A GRAVE
of the whole biling of parents, in Westmin-
ister? They drink and fight over gin all
night, and drive every scrap of a starving
child they can get, to beg and steal for the
-gin, all day; it's the children keep the parents.
I haven't got none. Oh, my Nelly! my
Nelly!" she continued, with a sudden burst
of grief, as she cast herself on the steps;
/ I have nothing now."
Terrified at the violence of the little girl,
Peggy addressed herself to a policeman, in
whom she recognized an acquaintance;
"You've heard what that poor child said;
can't you see to her? has she no one be-
longing to her ?"
'I'll make her move on presently," he
replied; "that's all I can do for her, until
she does something; it's like enough she'll
assault the woman, for she's a regular tiger
kitten, and those poor apple girls are often
greatly attached to each other; she's as
WITH A WINE-GLASS.
I'll see after i
parents as gin
myself, and always thankful
like that are put off
Peggy went up close to the policeman.
" Look here,"
she said, "Mr.
looking at the world many a year
windows" (" windss"
them), "and so have you; but do
ago ? "
by a long
and for one woman
take no shame to it."
" I know that," answered Peggy; I
cause reason there is none;
S.. 'DIGGING A GUAVB
"More',learning," interrupted Mr. Connor,
sententiously, who was a model policeman,
erect, unflinching, dictatorial and very ob-
servant -as all policemen ought to be -
an adamantine faith in himself. There's
much in the differ between learning and
education-not that there's any support in
either, where there's no beef and taters--
and them that hasn't what we mentioned
takes some to brandy, some to gin, according
to the class its easier got; its fire as well
as food, and the more of it that goes in, the
more sense goes out, and so on, Mrs. Byrne."
"Well, I suppose so; but, Mr. Connor,
it's not only poor women that take to it." '--
. Mr. Connor elevated his right eyebrow,
and passed his hand over.his mouth to con-
ceal an involuntary smile.
"Right again, Mrs. Byrne; and it's just
among such like as you are now thinking
of, that the habit has increased. The rail-
WITH A WINE-GLASS.
roads has to
it, and the competitive
up with champagne;
first with one thing, then with
take to get
the steam and then to keep
it up; its
on the sly, that we see so much of the
taken up to
and in the corners,
my lady's chamber, unbeknown,
and the red lavender, aye,
and the lots sipt by
and the gentlemen coaxing
them on to
do it, and
all he knows,
Mr. Connor; and one waiting
for me, and
Woburn Place; look
to that little
28 DIGGING A GRAVE WITH A
Mr. Connor, for the sake of Him who called
little children to His knees and loved to
talk to them, and if you can't find her peo-
ple, bring her, to me, Mr. Connor, Mistress
Peggy Byrne, at the corner of Wrice Place;
I call it Belgravia. 'Kindness will cut the
claws of the wildest cat,' and there's a power
and all of love in her for poor Nelly. It
is the Lord's breath; in every heart love
and hope live together--she loved poor
(ARY Flynn acted according to her
S friend's instructions as nearly as she
could. She fed the ducks, and did
her best to protect them from the assaults
of the tyrannical swans; but her efforts were
almost in vain. Her attention to the pretty
birds did not prevent her turning over in
her mind, not for the first time, what it
could be that made her old friend always
object to her going alone to the lady who
gave them both so much to do, and paid
so liberally for it; and she again turned her
attention to the swans, for she had a natural
appreciation of the beautiful, and a gentle,
kindly feeling towards all living things. She
DIGGING A GRAVE
on her way, for she did not much like
for Peggy on the steps of the National
; and just as she turned to go up
Spring Gardens, she heard a well
voice, laughing and talking loudly.
the words sound thick as well as loud
hoped not; but the color, she knew,
to her cheeks, and her heart beat r
She was not deceived in the voice. I
'Boyd, two other young men, and a
woman, came boisterously from C
Cross. The girl was sauntering b
Terence and one of his friends -a
fellow she did not like-Abel Do)
name; and Mary was not pleased to sE
Terence's hand was placed on the girl's
shoulder, and that they were talking and
looking at each other so earnestly that he
did not see her until she came close *to him.
She would have passed them but Terence
of and rushed
WITH A WINE-GLASS.
"Mary! he exclaimed, is that the way
you cut an old friend? Walk on walk
on," he said to his companions. Walk on;
maybe, I'll overtake you."
"Maybe, you'll overtake us!" echoed the
girl in a coarse voice, mockingly. Maybees
don't fly this time of year. Is the young
lady too fine. to join company.? We are
going for a row on the water."
Mary shrank instinctively from the party.
"I am taking home work," she replied,
and I have no time to spare "-adding.
in a low tone to Terence -
You are not in a fit state to walk with
me, or any well-behaved girl; and to bd
so overtaken at this hour in the morning.
Oh, Terence, Terence, if I had not seen--
I could not -have believed it!" Her affec-
tionate, gentle heart sent the tears to her
eyes. She walked quickly on, Terence still
side; his friends went
DIGGING A GRAVE
"You're hard on me, Mary; it's all along
of Peggy Byrne, who has set you against
me-that's what it is."
Peggy Byrne did not give you the spirits
you drank this morning," answered Mary.
"I wish you'd leave me, Terence, I don't
like to be seen walking' with you, in the
state you're in."
"If I leave you now, Mary, I'll never
come back," answered Terence passionately.
"So take your choice. I always knew you
had a weak heart, but still thought there
was a well of love at the bottom."
Mary was bewildered. The young man's
heated manner, loud words and excited ges-
tures, drew the attention of the passers-by,
and Mary's sense of propriety and timid
nature caused her to tremble and turn pale.
She had gained a little self-command from
the hope that, having intentionally loitered
on the way, Peggy's rapid footsteps would
WITH A WINE-GLASS.
have brought her first to their trusting place;
but no Peggy was there. Then she thought
it was a mercy that Peggy did not see Terence
in his present excited state. He kept re-
peating-" If I lave *you now, Mary, I'll
never come back. I'll take my oath to it."
"You had better take yourself off!" said
a policeman, wearied with having nothing to"
do. I've watched you annoying this young
person for some time; and a man's no man
who forces his company on a woman. Walk
Terence replied to the admonition with
an oath, and at the same moment dealt him
an unscientific but a telling blow. The po-
liceman returned it, and in a moment there
was that delight of the London roughs-
a street row-from which poor Mary; terri-
fied and panting, quickly escaped to the steps
of the National Gallery, from whence she saw
Terence, after much resistance, marched off
in a circle of policemen.
DIGGING A, GRAVE
by an early f
called 'on to
confess that '
and was not s
mnn who had
for her, who
ment of the
give her evidence, she must
Terence'* struck the first blow,
ober. She observed the police-
been so unceremoniously dealt
among the crowd, doubtless
had witnessed the commence-
fracas. To avoid this, she
ie moment when his head was
steps, and concealed herself behind one of
the pillars, to which she tremblingly clung for
support, apparently satisfied that his was
a 'hopeless search. She saw him, at last,
follow his companions, until they mingled
with the crowd; agitated and trembling, she
seated herself in the bend of one.of the steps
to wait for Peggy. She bent her head over
her parcel to conceal her tears.
WITH A WINE-GLASS.
composed, her old friend's warnings stood in
array before her. Could it be'really so?
Was the love of her young heart another
victim to the vice that was leading thousands
to destruction ? Was it possible that it had
brought one of her people," as she felt him
to be, before a magistrate ? Had she seen
him taking off by a "peeler "- all through
the drink ? Suddenly St. Martin's clock told
the hour. She hastily dried her eyes, and
wondered what could have delayed Peggy.
The lady would be ,
than half an hour past
she required the work f
at a particular hour.
be better to disobey
to Woburn Place, than
her's displeasure. She
very touchy lady, for
so angry; it was more
the time. Mary knew
or a particular purpose,
She thought it would
Peggy, and go alone
to'hazard her employ-
had heard she was a
Peggy had told her
no matter, if
said, she was
DIGGING A GRAVE WITH l WINE-GLASS.
and that what she'd have to
to go on never minding and s
She could form no idea of
Peggy, who was, for an. Irish
ishingly punctual; but she was
do, would be
Peggy had not seen Terence overt
and woaered how she could concea
terrible facts from her.
Should she, or should she not, j
Woburn place without Peggy? The
chimed the quarter; shading her eyes
her hand, she gazed over the crow<
Peggy's peculiar bonnet and gay-colored
~~J ~ rvMrrrr VIUV ~~~. fCtg ~VVI~7
kerchief, in vain, and
to Woburn Place.
.HEN Mary arrived at htr desti-
A nation, she was admitted by the
footman, and ushered up stairs by
the lady's. maid, who reprimanded her rather
sharply for her unpunctuality. Mary had
the Irish readiness at framing an excuse,
and she managed to soften the Abigal's dis-
pleasure before they reached the lady's dress-
Mrs. Layton had her baby in. her lap, and
her feet on the fender-stool, and examined the
work over and over again, in a way that
Mary thought very peculiar. She told her
maid twice she need not wait, before the
woman attempted to move.
38 DIGGING A CRAVE
"Let me have baby, ma'am," she said;
"this is his sleeping time." She returned
from the door, and attempted to take the
child, who was more than half asleep.
"No, he can sleep here," replied Mrs.
Let me have him, please, ma'am," per-
sisted the girl. "Master said he was not to
sleep in this room."
"But I say lie shall!"
" and you are impertinent.
Oh, very well!" was
"If anything happens t
let him fall in the fire,
before, I shall call this
prove I did my best to pi
said the mother;
Leave the room !"
the child, and you
as you have done
And she flounced out of the
who had been a servant, was
such' conduct, for she had still
remnant of old Irish reverence
players, and, she thought, her
surely give her warning.
more than a
for her em-
WITH A WINE-GLASS. 39
Mrs. Layton rose from her seat in great
excitement. She was a young; pretty, grace-
ful woman; slight and fair, with large blue
eyes, and a full complexion, which anger
deepened into scarlet. She still held the
child in her arms; but to Mary's horror, as
she attempted to walk along the room, she
turned the infant on one arm and staggered
as she did so. Was it possible that a lady
-"a born lady"-could have fallen into
the degrading vice, which she could not have
believed had risen from the streets and en-
tered into such a sanctuary as that! No,
she must be ill. Mrs. Layton went towards
a wardrobe, the child hanging half in, half
out of the bend of her arm. Again she
staggered, and Mary, seeing the child falling,
caught it, and exclaimed-
"You are ill, ma'am."
Mrs. Layton turned on her a changed
40 DIGGING- A GRAVE
"How dare you touch my child, and spek
when you are not spoken to! Put down
my baby --lay it in the chair. I suppose
you had your lesson on the stairs. A pretty
pass the world is coming to, when the
canaille are permitted to-to--but where is
Mrs. Byrne ?-nurse, I mean; and where
are my frills, where the chemisette, and the
set-where, I say?"
"Madam," answered, poor Mary, trembling,
for Mrs. Layton had come so close to her
that her breath, tainted by brandy, told a
too sadly true story,
"I beg your pardon, Madam, but its Mrs.
Byrne that's the clear-starcher, and some-
thing has hindered her being here at the
right time; but as she told me your ladyship
wanted the needle-work, and to explain some-
thing Peggy could not get. under-I mean
understand -she said she would come with
me herself. I'm the needle-woman, your
WITH A WINE-GLASS. 41
honor," she said, courtesying in answer to
the lady's half-wild, half-stupefied look. I
thought it best to come alone than to wait
any longer for Mrs. Byrne, who was delayed
in some way."
In a vague, listless manner, the lady took
the needle-work, and examined or endeav-
ored to examine it; the angry, excited ex-
pression gave way to one almost idiotic.
SO yes, I understand now I under-
stand; that impertinent girl made me angry;
but I shall discharge her; I will not keep
her another week. You heard how imper-
tinent she was. Are you in service?" she
questioned, dropping the work on the floor.
"Not now my lady," said Mary, with an-
other courtesy; "not now. I can make as
good bread by my needle, and have more
"But I have taken a fancy to you ; you shall
have her situation. You would be faithful,
DIGGING A GRAVE
and do as I desired,
things. I should be
"Many thanks to
such a place as this
mind as I desired in all
your mistress you know."
I'd be fit for.
exclaimed, in a terrified tone, as "the lady"
staggered over the chair where the child lay,
playing with it's fingers. "Oh! take care,
my lady! sure it's the precious baby you're
just going to sit on!"
Mary's exclamation was barely in time, for
it was echoed by a scream from the child.
The terrible habit that was growing on this
unfortunate lady, had not yet destroyed her
natural affections even when under its influ-
ence. She snatched up the child, sank into
the chair, and burst into tears.
"Oh, don't go into asterichs, my lady,
don't; the darling isn't hurt. Your weight
didn't rest on him; he was only frightened.
WITH A WINE-GLASS. 43
of them screaming," thought poor Mary;
and I'm afraid to call that vixen."
She managed to bring Mrs. Layton a glass
of water, and just as a comparative tranquil-
litywas restored, the same vixen," to Mary's
great relief, ushered in Mrs. Byrne, who, as
if to add to poor Mary's perplexity, darted
an angry look at her. Mrs. Layton seemed
"May I take the baby now, ma'am," in-
quired the maid; "he's been crying, I see,
"Leave the room instantly," was Mrs.
Layton's fierce answer.
The servant exchanged glances with Peggy,
the expression of whose face said as plainly
as she could say without words,-" Go at
once." The girl lounged out of the room;
her insolent behavior increased Mrs. Layton's
anger. Turning to Peggy,- You have seen
more than once," she said, "that woman's
conduct. I must get rid of her."
44 DIGGING A GRAVE
"The master thinks she takes such care of
baby," replied Mrs. Byrne.
Others could do that as well. Oh, Peggy;
you who nursed me in my infancy, might
have more feeling than you have; I was so
glad to find you after so many years, and
thought I had found a true friend, but you're
like the rest; you're like the rest; you take
part with my husband against me; I'wish I
was in my grave, I do;" and her vehemence
returned. Peggy, without replying to her,
turned to Mary and said sharply, Have you
given up tle work you were in such a hurry
to deliver to the lady?"
"Have you received the fresh order for
what she would see you about?"
"Then you'd better go home. I will bring
whatever work Mrs. Layton has for you, or
you can come some other time."
WITH A WINE-GLASS.
Mary curtsied to the lady and was about
leaving the room, when Mrs. Layton said,-
"Nurse, I intend to take that girl into my
service. Stay; I have something to say to
"Not now, ma'am; and she's not fit for
your service. And now let me tell you about
her first, said Peggy," with an air of authority.
"Then she must come to me to-morrow."
"Very well, ma'am; go now."
Mary was too bewildered almost to take
refuge in a curtsey, and felt wonderfully re-
lived when she found herself on the 14nding,
where she encountered the servant, astonish-
ingly close to the door; the girl stood still,
and looked Mary over, from her coarse,
serviceable shoes, up to her neat straw bonnet,
which was trimmed- with green ribbon.
"And so you are to come and have my
place, she said, in a contemptuous tone;-
that's the best news!
Was I listening ?
46 DIGGING A GRAVE
of course I was; sure a drunken woman is a
mad woman as long as she's drunk; but it's
how she gets the drink, astonishes us all.
That old Irish woman was her nurse, we know
that; but there never was one stood out more
against bribery than Mrs. Byrne; yet, she's
very fond of her, We have a weary, Weary
time of it; we all pity Mrs. Layton and love
,the dear children. The eldest was sent away,
and Mrs. Layton was as nice a lady and as
good a mistress, I have heard,.as ever lived,
until she fell into this habit; but, of course
as you are Mrs. Byrne's friend, you know more
about.it than I do." *
"Indeed," replied, Mary, "I know nothing
about it; I have worked for the lady,--Mrs.
Byrne bringing me the work,-for a good
while; but I never knew she was her nurse;
we poor Irish, I know, are very ignorant;
but we have too much respect for our employ-
ers to make a talk about their affairs, partiesu
WITH A WINE-GLASS. 47
larly if there's any cloud over them; and, if
Mrs. Byrne was thle lady's nurse, sure she'd
bite the tongue out of her head, rather than
let it tell of her faults; and if I knew this
morning as much as I know now, it's longs
sorry I'd have been to come by myself; which
Peggy, that's Mrs. Byrne, told me not to do,
only she was delayed; and time was up and
over, and I wanted to be in time, and betwixt
the two, I was fairly bothered; and so good
morning to you, and be sure of one thing-
I wouldn't, for twenty guineas a year, take
your place; though if such ill luck overtook
i9e, I'd keep a civil tongue in my head to my
employer as long as I lived with her, and a
silent one behind her back."
The maid was, for a time, paralyzed by
Mary's plainL speaking. She left her to find
her way down stairs; but some rude word,
she knew followed her over the balusters.
The iday," thought Mary, "the iday of
48 DIGGING A GRAVE
behaving like that; and she waiting her bread.
*So that was Peggy's reason," -so ran her
thoughts, as she walked back to Pimlico, -
"So that was Peggy's reason for not letting
me get sight at that poor lady. Oh dear! but
the Lord's hand is heavy on the country,
when such a one falls into those ways; I've
often argued with Peggy that there is an ex-
cuse for the poor crayshures, that get warmth
and support from a penn'orth of-poison!
when they have neither, food nor fire; but for
the likes of her, with all earth's blessings
blossoming round her, to let herself down to
the level of the staggerers in the street! Sure,
it's past understanding how it can be! and me,
with my heart like lead in me'bosom on ac-
count of that fine handsome boy, whose been
the love of my life, before I knew what love
was; I wish I had money enough to be a nun;
and wouldn't I be one to-day before to-morrow,
and so shut out the sin and the shame of the
WITH A WINE-GLASS.
Only, God help us; it would
all the same,"- added
"whether I was a nun or not! "
!aIIHEN Mary had parted from Peggy
A she was full of hope that she should
be able to convince her old friend
that Terence Boyd was all she. wished him
to be; for he had promised her the week be-
fore, to join the teetotallers, and Mary was
laying in wait to discover how he kept the
pledge. The park and trees looked green,
and the sunbeams danced on the waters, and
the wild fowl were enjoying their baths; and
Mary, when she fed them, seemed to show their
enjoyment, and was as happy as a lark soaring
over a cornfield; but on her return walk she
thought the trees looked dusty, and the water
WITH A WINE-GLASS.
lead-colored, and her feet felt as heavy as her
heart. The shoe-black brigade boy had left
his box and brushes close to the railings at
Buckingham palace, and was talking with a
knot of youngsters at the entrance to the Bird-
cage walk. They were all troubled about
something, gesticulating; and as the boy turned
his face towards her, Mary saw two stripes
down his face, that had been washed quite
clean by tears. Another time she would have
inquired the reason, but curiosity was dead
within her, and she went heavily homeward,
and set about preparing tea in the one really
clean and comfortable room that Mrs. Byrne
shared with her; it boasted of two windows,
and its being at the top of-the house they con-
sidered a great advantage, for two rooms had
been thrown into one; which, according to
Peggy, made it as good as two; and Peggy
had "the finest board and the best light in
getting up small
52 DIGGING A-GRAVE
Mary another window, all to herself, for
needle-work ; and no-one could bother them
passing the door. It was a relief to Maryo.
weep while she worked, and the scene at
Mrs. Layton's was. obliterated by her anxiety
about her lover; she could not go to see after
him herself. Nothing she could state (how
often her thoughts reverted to that) would do
him anything but harm; he was not sober,
and he struck the first blow! No wonder,
sighed poor Mary, that Peggy "talks of the
hundreds that dig their own grave with a
wine-glass." It was quite dark, and Mary
had lighted her candle before -she heard her
friend's well-known steps on the stairs.
Mrs. Byrne looked wearied in mind and
body; she cast off her bonnet, untied her hand-
kerchief, so that her neat little white cap
showed round her' face, and now that her
cumberous head gear was throws off, her
head looked full and well-shaped; but not so
' WITH A WINE-GLASS. 53
enormously.large as when it was "dressed"
for walking. Mary unpinned her:shawl and
ed her basket on the bed.
'WW don't see any work for me, Aunt Peggy,"
adding, and but little for yourself."
There's work and plenty, but not the sort
that will fill our pockets, my child;" replied
the woman, sitting down an~d resting her arms
on the table.
Thank God for His many gifts," she con-
tinued, "the cup of tay, before all earthly
things; and you have it all nice and warm for
the old woman, Mary, and she never wanted ;:.-
God help you Mary, and brake hard fortune
before every honest man's child."
The two woman, the old and young, drank,
their tea in silence; and Mary saw that Peggy's
eyes were moist with suppressed tears.
"May I take off your hard boots, Peggy,
dear?" said Mary. "That will ease your
54 DIGGING A GRAVE
feet; you must have had a long wait at ,the
lady's, or a long walk after."
"Long enough, both, dear; we'll talk of that
presently; but if ever you let pass your lips
what you come to the knowledge of this day,
the back of my hand to you, 'Mary, for ever
Never fear, Peggy; you don't think I'd
give the wind of the word to such as that;
sure I blushed all over with shame to see a
born lady forget what she owed herself."
Mary, you little know what I've' gone
through this blessed day," said Peggy, with a
long drawn sigh; "lay by the things, dear,
take off your thimble; and--ay, that will
do; sit down just there."
And Peggy told her the tragedy of poor
'Nelly's death; winding up with her ob-
"And that wretched mother, the wife of
Livermore, whom I remember such a little
WITH A WINE-GLASS.
a clean, neat, handy
and he now in prison and she the murderer
of their own child; such a heap of rags and
"And you saw it all with your own two
eyes, and that was what kept you; sure I
wonder the life did not leave you, dear
Aunty," said Mary, drawing closer to her
"No, dear ; it has always pleased the Lord
to put strength
laid out before
will be given us; and
help but go back to
It wanted to see after
you of on the steps;
I got there, I met the
"She did it, sure
said the policeman.
woman coming down
to the work
when we ask for it, it
after you left I couldn't
that poor child I told
and sure enough, before
child in custody."
enough, Mrs. Byrne,"
"She watched for the
the steps, flew at
56 DIGGING A GRAVE
and battered her with the stones she had
"It was ul to see how the child gloried
in it; the deil stood upright in her; but the
love she bore poor Nellie made her human to
me, and I went to the police court to see
the end of it. I know the policeman .could
have hindered her; but he wanted to get
her sent to the reformatory, and I had to
give in; for it will take her off the streets,
anyway, and do more than I could have done;
but my poor Mary, she was not the only
one, that I knew there. 0! my darling, how
many graves are dug with .a wine-glass-
by rich and poor-every day and night
in this great city."
Such a mingled expression of love and
pity came into Mrs. Byrne's eye as she looked
at Mary, that the poor girl shivered from
head to foot; she felt instinctively that her
old friend had seen Terence Boyd at -ke
police court seen him in custody.
WITH A WINE-GLASS. 57
"How white you've turned, Mary, my
child -keep a good heart, darling."
"You may spake out, Peg,; she an-
swered; "I know who you saw there besides
the child. The policeman was too sudden
with him; I could have got rid of him without
his meddling; they're always interfering with
what they've no call to."
Thah i thah my child. If that was all,
you'd have been there yourself to give evi-
dence; but you could not do it. I guessed
who the young woman was; and it's not
hid away in the crowd she'd have been,
if :sne could have saved him. I heard the
wholh story, and as he turned round and saw
me you'd ha' thought he'd have fainted."
Mary started from her seat, her cheeks
flushed, her eyes on fire.
Didn't you spake one word for him,
Peggy.? was there no one to spake a word
for him ?"
DIGGING A GRAVE
" I did w
the prisoner to be
well brought up, ai
he'd insult any fe
it was altogether I
and the magistrate,
it I could
f that was
p f -
me me cnarge o
at that office and
s he says, 'Then
e,' he says.
,yer honor, the i
got them well
who -was in it,
not the only one in the coort-I go
yer honor-who has dug his grave
But to be even half drunk at this
of the day, and to strike a policeman,
only told him to move on; even (to the
ner) you allow that was what pro-
WITH A WINE-GLASS.
S"' IIt was
his; but, of
in to that.
so, sir; it was no
course, none of them
So he was fined or
had the money all
to be im-
but half a
"You gave him that; I know you did,"
exclaimed Mary, as she hid her convulsed
face on her old friend's ample shoulder and
pressed her arms round her neck.
"I did; but neither for love nor liking,
but for the honor of old Ireland; and he
followed hot foot after me when he was
"Well," sobbed Mary, breathlessly,
what'did he say?"
"'Mrs. Byrne,' he says; God bless
he says; 'you've saved me from shan
says, 'for no one belonging to me wa
in a jail: and she to know it; I'll ta
pledge, upon the face of the earth,' h(
' to satisfy you.'
DIGGING A GRAVE
easy to take a pledge,' I answers,
. .. . . ..1..
'but it's the keeping of it, 'lerence; ancu mai
can't be done without the help of Him who
will help when we ask it in spirit and in
"And what did he say to that ? inquired
"Why, he covered his face with his hands,
and, with a loud sob, turned away."
"O! Peggy, darling," exclaimed the poor
girl, "why did you not take him, then and
,there, to Father Green who gives the pledge."
Thah thah !" muttered Mrs. Byrne, Father
Green is his director, and if he was so minded,
he'd go to the priest's knee without my taking
him; that he would; and it's sorry I am to
say that there's many a one of Terence's com-
rades who think but little of mass or priest.
We'll pray for him, dear, and for all sin-
ners. Watch and pray, and he may take a
turn for good,
You must wait till
WITH A WINE-GLASS. 61
ie does; if the sweetheart
fore marriage, he'll never
after it, if
your heart is ever so much set on him. Wait
and watch; he had sober parents, and that's
in his favor; for the love of drink runs in
the blood like any other disease, and parents
should know that and act according. And
that reconciles me to that poor Nellie's death
-for surely it must have run in her blood,
poor child--and I thought, when the shock
of her death was.over, what a blessing it
was that she was taken before she became
what her mother
devil puts many a
but the worst of all
sure, I'll pray that
was. God help us! the
poisoned cup in our way,
I is the whisky. 0! then,
the Lord will save all we
know from a drunkard's burning life and un-
Mary could only answer with her tears;
she knew the truth of what Peggy said.
Daily, nightly, she saw the crimes that arose
DIGGING A GRAVE
active agent in
der-the instigator of all crime in her
class. But great as was her distress at
Terence's "misfortune," love-the love that
springs up'in the heart of every true woman,
no matter how sinful or unlovely the object
is in other eyes--furnished many apologies
for him; "he was over-persuaded," over-
taken ;" she was certain it was the first time
he ever touched a drop in the morning. But
she would wait, she would watch, and she
would never marry him unless he had kept
the pledge unbroken for six months. But
Terence's backslidings did not impress her
with the same dismay, as the scene she
had witnessed in Woburn Place. She under-
stood perfectly how poor men and women in
her own sphere were tempted by the drop;,"
and once beguiled into the habit, how glass
followed glass, until the grave Peggy talked
of was dug and filled. She had seen how
WITH A WINE-GLASS.
of poverty, and heard
in all the elegance of life,
such a habit,
was something be-
and she shivered
said Peggy, after
to have ye
if she takes
it into her head
what would you do then?"
could not force me
to do with
of work. from plenty
but it was a bitter,
WITH A WINE-GLASS.
ful smile, and she "thah-thahed" more than
"True for ye, Mary," she said at last;
"but I love the smallest bone in her body
more than the bodies of all my customers
"Ay, do I; her mother was the sweetest
lady that ever broke this 'world's bread.
My other and grandmother, and great
graifdmother, all lived in the family; wor
born in the family, farther back than I can
tell. They had estates in both England and
Ireland, the great family I mean; sometimes
living in one country, and by-times in anoth-
er; but my people held on that they were
Irish, and my sweet lady used
to..that, IPeggy! Thah! thah!
"Think of what, Peggy?
"Of the world's changes;.-
DIGGING A GRAVE
look at, hard to bear. Well, Mary, Mrs.
Layton's mother was an angel; and I was
brought up, as one may say, to run at her
foot; and when she married and she mar-
ried as fine a looking
noble, as you'll meet on
earth; kind and gentle,
himself was in it; and
of riches; he thought he
she walked on; yet, he
she withered off the earti
and the shame he brought
dear darling, when she i
be her maid; and it was
saw that the young' masi
call himself 'after dinner
drink was in him. And
gentleman and as
the face of the
too, when it was
with the prospect
loved the ground
broke her heart;
[, with the sorrow
t her to. My poor
married I went to
4 not long before I
ter was seldom to
; the love of the
sore sorry was I
'a jolly companion,'
in the gay hunting
bred and born; and
they called him, down
country, where he was
when my poor young
WITH A WINE-GLASS.
was only a
babby, his papa's glory was to stand him
on the table and make him drink off a brim-
ming glass of port, without drawing his
breath; that was his first lesson, but his
mother did her best for him as long as
she lived; but still the taste was given
him in his babyhood and strengthened by
his father's precept and example-it never
left him. The would gentleman's constitution
was as hale as a March morning, and who
knows he might have lived till now; but
though he was put straight on his saddle,
with his whip and his bridle in his hands,
as he'd often been before, after a day's
hunting and a night's carouse; and went off
rocking in the saddle like a cradle, tallyhoing
the hounds so that the leaves of the trees
quivered at the sound, he fell and broke
his neck at his own avenue gate, which the
DIGGING A GRAVE
at the right time.
night that we got
lady was expecting the
.soon too come into the w
would wait up for master.
and loving to her; but
friends, and they could
he was with them, like
and> though he'd promise
the' more h
was a glass
If she wa
so he was to hij
twist him, when
a silken thread;
my darling to be
', they'd get over him; and she
d the way to get round him was,
e stayed away, the kinder to grow;
Swas too soft. I hate men that
a good stiff backbone, to make
I up manfully for the right. Why,
from what the doctor had told
every glass of spirits he took,
;s of poison; and yet he'd take it.
is by, he'd let her coax it from
WITH A WINE-GLASS.
in the chill before daybreak, he came home;
and she at last made him understand how
it was that his father was dead. I was
not in the room, but I was nigh at hand;
and bitterly they cried together, for the shock
of the news sobered him. He was very re-
ligious by fits and starts, and lamented with
her, to think of the poor dear gentleman
being commanded away where the sin of
his life had scorched the heart and brain
out of him, and he had not the knowledge
of all she
even in he
left to say, 'Lord, save
Of course, my dear lady
y to reason with her
Ld gently, and he owned to
said, as he had done
t he did what he nev
i which put new life i
r sorrows-it took that
DIGGING A GRAVE
took the Scripture in
himself to neither
taste spirits as long as he lived; and then
ordered horses, and away down to what
was to be their home evermore in this- world.
My poor young lady could not go on account
of her situation. When he was leaving us
that night, he turned round on the steps
and, laying his hand on my shoulder,' Peggy,'
he says, 'you have been. faithful to her all
your life, ahd I leave her in your care; the
doctor and nurse are at hand; but if she's
taken ill, you send for me at once. She
is my very life, Peggy-you know that,'
and out he went into the night. And as
he got into the carriage, the light from her
window, where she was watching him, stream-
ed down on the carriage, and he stretched
half out of it, kissing his hand and waving
his hat long after she could get sight of
him, though the carriage lamps cast a
WITH A WINE-GLASS.
mad sort of
continued the old woman, pressing a hand
over her eyes; I can see the whole of it
now. The would master, we heard, had a
wonderful funeral, for he was well beliked
in the country. My darling said she did
not know how they would get on by-and-by,
for her husband had little taste for field
sports; but I could see, and thanked God
for it, that her dear head was at peace
-she rested on the oath he took against
'stimulants,' which was what she called all
kind of spirits. I prayed every night, on my
two bended knees, that God would give him
strength to keep that pledge; but I trembled
for her happiness; for I knew that he was
a man of sand,-no strength in him; a kind
give-way sort of heart; never able to say no,
and fond from his cradle of the drop,- but
love adds to woman's weakness: a woman
72 DIGGING A GRAVE WITH A WINE-GLASS.
will go on believing that what she wishes
to be true is true; ay, while the man of her
heart lies and laughs at her! Sure, I've done
it myself; and if that vagabone husband of
mine came back would as I am-I'd do
it again. She was full of the joy of faith,--"
there's nothing so sweet to a woman as the
feeling that she can trust the man she loves
without thought or question,- and she be-
lieved in the core of her heart, that he'd
never break that oath."
ER time came,
a letter wrote
poor lady, and
to. the master to
: L home; but long before he could get
the letter, the baby was born; and to be sure
he did come as quickly as he could, and she
was asleep at the same time, and the doctor
so charged us to keep her quiet, that I ran to
meet him and to hinder him from going in,
because it might startle her, and she so weak;
but my heart went down into my shoes, for
I smelt the smell and saw the flush on his
cheek' and the fire in his eve, that I knew
was never kindled by beer or wine; and
heart died in my bosom, when I thought
- - --
74 DIGGING A GRAVE,
the broken oath, and how she'd feel it a
weight on her soft, pure, Christian heart for
ever more. He would see her at once, and
she saw him. Considering the weak way she
was in, I thought it would have killed her,
but it did not, only she was, so to says
maimed for life; she was crushed and soon
withered, as I
of course we
a beautiful p
hall now; all
lot of 'good
told you, quite withered away;
weit down to the family hall,
lace wonst, but the drunkard's
gone to wrack, all more or less$
master's example. The father's
fellows' gathered round the
son, and though bills and debts a]
as plenty as sand over the s(
houhds were kept, and dinners a:
and drinking went on as bad
place well deserved the name
Madman's Hall. I used to see
nd dues were
as ever; the
it got, of
and in the
paler, and weaker, day
mornings sometimes, he'd
WITH A WINE-GLASS.
to worse, and it was pitiful when it came
near the last, to hear her whispering prayers
that the dear Lord would not take into
account his broken oath." I knew how that
hung about her heart. Itwas cruel to see
the wreck and ruin of that fine property,
but it was harder for me to see her dying,
with her baby so rosy and cooing on her
last in tl
I had se
I don't tI
She raised herself when the light-
)re death came on her, and turned
over, from her bosom to my arm,
sed my hand over it, and then she
wr husband with such a cry her
his world; she had never taken her
the door since the night fell, and
y did n
ot believe the messages, and
understood them; but when
she was really
.DIGGING A GRAVE
raised a moan through
the house; and there
came, they said, a sort of hoot round it, and
the great hall door blew open, though it
had been a still night before, and there was
a sough in the wind blasting through the
house that frightened the drinkers; and when
they found that DEATH had come, they gath-
as they could,
and staggered away from the hall, leaving
him half. sitting, half lying, at the head. of
his table; like a tree once the beauty of the
forest, and rent and blasted by lightning.
I nevei can forget it; I had come down from
the stillness of death, knowing that she had
been murdered- by his ways. My sweet rose;
my lily! The moon-light had flooded the
bed and the room, and the infant was coo-
ing like a young dove,--poor little mother-
less baby,--and my blood was rushing from
felt as if
from my head to
God had forgotten
"I had come down from the stillness of death,"-Page 76.
WITH A WINE-GLASS.
me; and the servants, little knowing the sav-
ageness that was in my heart, kept hustling
me into the hall, saying, Go to him, Peggy ;
he'll mind you, Peggy; he doesn't understand;'
and there he was; his blue, watering eyes,
unwinking, staring, but seeing nothing, not
the broken glasses, nor the sputtering lights
flaring out, nor the slops on the mahogany,
and the furniture broken and tossed; the
great, grand pictures of his ancestors, looking
.grim from the broken frames and the smoky
walls. His long, white, powerless right hand
curled round the half empty tumbler, which
it had not strength to hold, and the servants
so scared, calling, Go to him, Peggy;' and
I did go to him; I flew at the poor helpless
drunkard like a wild beast. It was God's
mercy I did not murder him. I forgot what
he was and what I
the curses I'd have
I got words for the
was. I felt choked
poured on him; at
Terrible truth, and
DIGGING A GRAVE
back; and he quite past understanding, tried
to stagger to his feet, to make a speech! "
Overcome by the memory of that dreadful
night, the Irish woman sank on her knees,
drew out her rosary and muttered a prayer,
pressing the cross to her lips; she wiped
the drops from her forehead, and looking
at her young friend, who sat white and tremb-
ling before her, she said,-
"There,.Mary, that has quieted me
ever you're in trouble, Mary, dear,
the beads; them's the comfort A
prayer to the Almighty Father will give you
-the strength of a hundred men. They who
were so eager to get me to speak to him,
carried me away. I pitied him the next day.
I did more; God help me, his agony was
so great, I tried to copy her, and forgive
. him; and many d pull I took at the beads that
day, and they helped me to keep the devil
WITH A WINE-GLASS.
same as if
a knife and cut her throat. And the oaths
that man took, and the promises he made
against the drink, would choke the Pope!
God forgive me! And yet, would you be-
lieve it, the day of her funeral he could
hardly stand upright. Think of that! Mary
Machree; think of that! I'm sure it was
nothing but the knowledge I had, that she
depended on me to be as a Inother-to her child,
that kept the life in me; but for that I should
have been thankful to have my grave made
at her feet, for the world was still a long
way before me, and I knew pretty well, what
sort of a world it was; and immediately
after the funeral, he gave up entirely, and
the creditors fell upon the place; and when
it was all up, those who might have looked
after him, wouldn't walk the. same side of
the road with him;
and he'd come and look
DIGGING A GRAVE
me and the baby so
the same time, full
pitiful, and the
of bailiffs,- the
crew,- and ask
me, with his
ling lips, if I wasn't glad she
SWell, of course, among the lawy
creditors, they made ducks and
the property; and his relations
too glad to get him out of the
an allowance, and so we were
France for ease and cheapness.
"To France!" repeated Mary, ,
great eyes; no wonder you're E
learned woman, after such travellii
"Brandy whs cheap there," continued Peg-
gy; but the village we were in was sober,
and somehow the delight he took in the
child, weaned him off wonderful from the
heavy drinking;' he would dander about with
her,. from hour to hour. And truth to tell,
his ways and his mind were almost childish,
and from -quiet and early hours and fresh
e and tremb-
ers and the
sent off to
such a well-
WITH A WINE-GLASS.
he got back some of
my poor lost mistress' heart. I kept the
spirits as much out of his way as I could;
for in spite of me, he'd sometimes steal
a spoonful or two of his punch to the child,
and make her cunning
me. I had such a terro
might grow up with his
that I watched her, and
almost turned to stone,
into the sitting
thur dabbing he
had been spilt o
fingers as child
I never let her
and down went
she saw me, an
it, dear Nursy,
how the devil t
not to tell
me, that she
taste for it,
ening I was
room, I saw the little
r hands where some
n- the table, and suck
,en suck sweeties sh
her pretty hands
id then she
of the kind,
so sweet.' Oh,
on lips that the
Lord made innocent ? "
and my heart turned
to the poor master; for he was
a rale gentleman for more than two
hundred years, and she had so loved him;
and I was grieved to the heart to see him
wanting so many things, and no sign of any
proper teaching for the child. But in an
ill hour a lady (she called herself) came
to the village for. quiet a great, stalking
baragagh of a woman-and sdnehow, she
and the upshot
it was, he
and placed her as
child. I put up
WITH A WINE-GLASS. 83
child a little, and her hatred to me altogether;
for I knew I was most of all in the world
to the sweet one who loved me, and I hum-
bled myself to her as if she'd been a born
lady. But she was determined to get us
both out of the way; and the master, always
aisy led, gave in; and my jewel was sent-
to a convent school and I in a foreign country,
packed off with a month's wages, which I
had the comfort to fling in the woman's face.
Ay, think of a gentleman, born, bred and
reared, that had such an angel for his first
choice, and stood six foot two in his stocking
vamps, taking up with such thrash as that,
and wanting my little darling child to call
her mamma "
"And you, Peggy, dear; what did you
do. in a strange country ? Oh, how could
any gentleman treat you like that -you that
had been the blessing to his wife and child ?"
"Well," answered Peggy, slowly, "look
84 DIGGING A GRAVE
here, I think he was glad to get rid of me;
the very sight of me reminded him of what
he had been and what he was! I do. think
that, indeed! It's a good thing we can't see
the inside of each other's hearts; we'd find.
worse reading' in many of 'em than has ever
been put in print. But if ever poor craythur
was broken to bits, it was me; and though
I was that eager to find the child, that though
my knees, praise the Lord, are ready and
quick at kneeling for prayers, I almost broke
them, they were that stubborn, trying to kneel
to ax her to tell me where she had sent the
darlin'; but she wouldn't; and there was I
Aaion~:Iand my heart in my bosom shriveling
for want of something living to love; doing
a hand's turn for the poor cr4ythurs that
war that ignorant they had not a word of
English, and asking them to lend me a cat
.or company; for I had no money to get back
to England, and, sure the master and his new
WITH A WINE-GLASS.
quitted the place, and
nor tidings of them.
my heart ached for him; and it was just at
that time I had the heavy trial to meet with
my husband. He was flush of money and I
was hard up for something to fill my heart
with, or I'd never have had him. Thah!
thah! The beauty of the world he was, with
a tongue like a smoothing iron; the greatest
vagabond, Mary, dear,
that ever broke the w
anyhow, we got back to
and the biggest liar
world's bread! Well,
England, and I tried
to make out my master's lawyers, and my
dear mistress's people had been broken stock
and lock, and the estates gone in some estates'
court, and the family emigrated. And it's
no good to tell you of all I went through
with such a husband as the devil himself
sent me; but, anyhow, I found myself free,
one fine morning, to work hard for twenty-
865 DIGGING A GRAVE
"The Lord be praised for his mercies!
I've had a turn at every thing, especially
nursing in and out of hospitals and clear
starching, since the strength has gone out of
my back; and that brought me again among
"But how did. you find Mrs. Layton ?"
"One lady recommended me to another,
and that's the way of it; and the first word
she spoke me, I felt my heart swaying back-
wards and forwards, up and down; and I
stood-and looked at her, trembling all over,
and the sight left my eyes, and I should have
fallen down all as one as dead, if she had not
caught me and was'as tender, as her mother
would have been--tender in heart and hand
-and wanted to know what ailed me, and
brought me a glass of wine; but I called
for water, and then asked if she did not
know me, and she said she had never seen
WITH A WINE-GLASS.
but the young forget.
I was fool
enough to ask if she remembered her Irish
nurse; not she! and I told her a few things
I remembered- not many, I was so con-
fused-and at last I said, 'Have you the
mark of two cherries on the instep of your
right foot?-ripe, red cherries-if so, you
were once Maud Langley, and your mother,
my own dear mistress, gave you to me when
she was dying.' She started, the color flush-
ing to her cheeks and the tears to her eyes;
and she made me sit down, and sat down
beside me, and tould i
from a convent and charged her, if ever
coulq make me out, to remember what I
been to her mother and her, and how k
he was we three was ever parted; for
terrible woman, after almost breaking
heart, left him, and .never was his
for she had a husband before she saw
who never died at all, small blame to
DIGGING A GRAVE
Oh dear! it was wonderful to see how, bit
by bit, memory opened up to her the past;
and she was a warm-hearted darling, but with
more of the father, than of the mother in
her; and her husband- a kind, noble gen-
tleman--was so interested and kind, when
she told him about her old Irish nurse. And
she was expecting her confinement, for it was
about the babby
caps and laces,
up, you know.
to talk about,
how shattered e
could not ask hi
to the drink to
that though alw
he was not alv
me how she me
or other, got he
s bits o'
her poor father's deatl
and broken he was, 1
er, his own child, if he
the last, though she
ays kind and loving t
t with friends, that, somehow
r more of the property than
and after a' while, she said,
she got married and had such
*'- "f 1,1
WITH A WINE-GLASS. 89
band; and the way he took her joy at meet-
ing with her .old nurse was more than I
could have thought of; and nothing would
serve her, but she must have me in the house,
to see after her babby when it came, as I had
done after her, quite thirty years before!
I tried to insense her I was not fit for that
work now; still she held on to her fancy,
and I went into the house to satisfy her: it
-wasn't this babby, but the first one. Such
a kind, good, considerate husband as she
has a dear gentleman and everything her
heart can wish for.
"Thah! thah! I had not been long in the
house when I saw that at times she was
flushed and excited, and took more wine
than I thought right, only I did not let on
to. the servants that I noticed it. And the
doctor, I laid the blame to him, he would
talk about keeping up her strength by stim-
ulants, instead of nourishments; and the fine
DIGGING A GRAVE
lady nurse she had engaged before she hit
on me, she encouraged her; and if she only
looked a little pale, she would, bring her
brandy and water, what she was ready enough
to call for herself. I did my best, and I knew
the nurse would have choked me, if she could,
when I said the finest babies in the world
were nursed on praties and milk. She had
her wine and brandy, too, and so much of
it, that the master noticed it, and told her
if he saw her again in that state she must
leave the house, and he would speak to his
wife about it; and she was that crafty, that
whenever she felt bewildered, she would
lie on the sofa, and say her head ached.
You may believe it was a cruel trial to me,
sainted mother before me night
her, that was now a woman,
cooing in her blue-eyed innocence, to see
she had the bad of her father in her, and
to know that she was poisoning the uncon-
babe that lay
the drink that
grave with a wine-glass."
.T last he
saw what made
and spirits, and
it somehow! the
and be harder
of her mother
her time wonderful,
but the babby was a funny
morsel, and glad enough. I'was a hen
and I had
myself, and she would nurse
WITH A WINE-GLASS.
for her first-born, that 1 got her
what was right for the child, and no
but I suppose it was the Lord's
met with af accident turning into the
was knocked down by a horse, and
the dear baby I twisted myself in
which held me fast in an hospital
months, and during that time the cl
ill and the doctor would have it wear
then, indeed, she fell
all out. Even to y
into her father's ways -
ou, Mary, I cannot ex-
pose the state I've seen her in--and how
I see her dear, good husband's love falling
away from her, and her servants so disrespect-
ful that I could knock them down; and she,
like the father, so full of promises to give
it up; bowed down to the earth at times, and
as good as an angel may be for a month,
and then breaking out again. The injury
I had, made
DIGGING A GRAVE
so I was not always with her; but v
she got into one of her drinking fits,
good gentleman himself would come for.
for he said I managed her better than
'"It's bad enough for a woman to hav
upon earth to
and the half
leads them on
more to much
ards, it's easie
man at one
shame and. breaking
1 husband, but it's hell
bear with a drunken
beware of the drops
and the tasting that
Once they become drunk-
cure ten men than one
r, that good patient gentle-
Shad to put her away,
ey called it; think of the
g of his heart and home;
the little shrivelled babby
I tould you of, never took a proper grip of
life -looked when it was born like a thing
half scalded, as it really was, from the spirits-
- -Z) 7 -
WITH A WINE-GLASS. 95
she took; and it dwindled and dwindled away,
and died while she was far off, under re-
straint. I asked to see it, for I wanted to
put a few shamrocks with the flowers they
strewed over it, on account of its blessed
grand-mother's country, and while I was look-
ing at the poor little atomy, it's father came
in. 'Don't go, Peggy, he said in .a whisper
like; 'don't go; you and I know why I am
thankful that the spirit is freed from its little
suffering body! and the mother away and
all; it will half kill her, for she has a tender,
Don't give way, Sir, I says, she may take
a thought from this very thing. Who can
His face lighted up for a minute, but
fell. again, and I left him alone with his dead
child, whose grave was dug by its mother,
with a wine-glass. She came back after a
time, looking as fresh as a rose in June;
DIGGING A GRAVE
if possible, lher
was more lov-
for her would
bless him, is
time she had
way her father did
e every hour in t
a week without as
in my would stocking
and bury me dacent,- f
in my grave, if the par
in it,-and yet, I wo
her this blessed mome
night or day, I'm mis
even if the body is in
mind is pure and the
temple of the living G
than ever, and she
and the master,
the same; but at
a turn against me,
:he day, at others
working lone woman,
,and hardly as much
as will carry me out
or I could not rest easy
'ish had foot or spade
)uld not change with
nt. God be thanked,
stress of myself; and
rags, as long as the
head clear, it is the
od; He made it, and
it Iis name