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And so, whate'er they answered, she would say-
She had not wept.
And ere that week was over, came the girl
Her boy had loved. With tears and a white face And garbed in black she came; and when she neared The gate, his mother, proud and white with scorn, Bade her return and put away that garb
Of mourning: and the girl saw, shrinking back,
And all that year The widow lit the little Kindly Light And placed it in the window. All that year She watched and waited for her boy's return At dawn from the high hill-top: all that year She went in white, though through the village streets Far, far below, the women went in black; For all had lost some man; but all that year
She said to her friends and neighbours, "He will come;
He is delayed; some ship has picked him up
And borne him out to some far-distant land!
Why should I mourn the living?" And, at dusk,
The year passed;
Beneath the last faint colours of the sun
A hymn came on a waft of evening wind
"Come near and bless us when we wake,
We lose ourselves in heaven above."
And when she passed the pink thrift by the gate,
And near her dead cold hand upon the floor
THE GRIP OF THE LAND.
ROBERT CORSCADDEN was an Ulster farmer who owned the farm that he strove to live by. There were thirty acres of it, cold sour land, and a third part of the whole barren moor. The screen of trees which Robert had raised about the row of buildings-double cottage, byre, barn, and stable grew starved and twisted, yet there was a shelter in the homestead for folk and beasts. The beasts, for they were part of the farm, were well fed there, the folk were underfed. Yet the human beings, hardiest of animals, lived, if they did not thrive; the beasts died sometimes. Then the pinch would come.
A year before this Robert lost two cows, and after that, worse than all, the stout mare that had stood well to him since he reared her. Another horse had to be bought; the instalments of purchase-money due to Government must be paid punctually in hard cash; and, as the least ruinous way to raise it, young Johnny, a boy now man - big, who had wrought beside his father for seven or eight years, was sent to the labour in Scotland. The money was earned, the boy came back, decent, quiet, industrious, but changed. That was how trouble began.
One cold sunless morning in May, Robert and his son stood outside the door, coming out
from their mid-day meal of tea and potatoes, and preparing to go back to weeding in the drills. They were looking at three men who tramped along the road from which a short cart - track led, through waste moor, to the house. Each man carried a bundle and was dressed in dark clothes.
"Yon will be some of the Glendoe fellows," said Johnny, who watched them with a curious eagerness.
"Ay," his father answered, "they're early off. They're easy spared from the kind of farms they have in the low country."
Johnny did not notice the farmer's contemptuous reference to the patches of ground on which migratory labourers make their dwelling.
"Work should be plenty in Scotland the year, when them ones is going now," he said.
As he spoke, he pulled a pipe from his pocket and began to fill it.
His father spoke roughly. "What matter about Scotland? That's a trick you got there, any way. Why must you be for ever with a pipe in your mouth?"
"I can't be wanting it," the boy answered sullenly.
"You can't be wanting it! An' how do I do, then? I have no patience with you, wasting good money on the dirty stuff."
Johnny took the pipe out of
into the house.
his mouth and turned to go "For Scotland! Ah, nonsense! What notion is this you took? Put back the things this minute, now."
She ran over to him and tried to snatch away the bundle. But the boy thrust her aside, and, knotting the ends of the handkerchief, he lifted it in his hand.
"What are you looking now?" Robert asked sharply.
"I was thinking I would. write a letter to Mr Guthrie to see would he be wanting me this harvest."
Robert swung round with a gesture of angry impatience, as if refusing to argue with a troublesome child.
"Quit talking," he said. "I'm for Scotland this day."
"And did you tell Robert this?" she asked, her voice still pitched to scolding.
"Never mind Robert," the boy answered, sullen as a snarling dog.
Quickly Annie's tone changed. "Sure, I know all about it now. You and your father had some fall-out. Ah, be sensible now, Johnny. You wouldn't do the like of that to ask to go away and leave us with the throng time coming. Who's to help Robert? Sure you know old John can't do a hand's turn."
"How did he do before? Didn't you send me to Scotland the other time? And didn't I send back the money I earned?"
Johnny's eyes were flaming, and stubborn lines showed about his mouth. His mother's face was written over with a conflict of feelings. Unable to command, unable to let him go, she tried persuasion, yet with little confidence.
"You did so, Johnny," she said. "No boy could do more than you did, when we asked you. But why would you go now, and vex us?"
"It's because I'm a man there and I'm a slave here, and that's the long and the short
"When it you when I have it earned, and more to it."
of it," he broke out. did I see the colour of money here, and me slaving late and early? You see them clothes on me that I got in Scotland; they're all the thing I ever bought myself, and they're all the thing I ever had of my own. I was never proud till the first day I put them on. Ach, mother, Robert's a hard master to me."
"He's no harder on you nor he is on himself," the mother answered, with a touch of anger. "What does poor Robert grudge you that he ever got for himself?"
"It's the kind of him to want nothing but work," said the boy doggedly.
"An' isn't it for you he's working, and for the rest of the childer?" Annie cried,-"an' has been working, and killing himself working.
"An' what has he for it?" Johnny answered, with contempt. "A farm of land that the crows wouldn't pick on. Let me go where there's money to be earned and let him stay here. Each of us to be where he wants to be,-that's all I'm asking."
But at that the instinct of parental authority rose again, outraged in Annie.
Indeed, then, and I'll do no such thing. Go back to the field, I tell you," she cried, breaking again into anger. "I never heard the like of it,— you to go off and not say as much as goodbye to your father."
Johnny's lips knit tight and his cheeks flushed.
"If you don't give it me," he said, "I'll go to the shop and borrow it off them, and tell them you were afraid I'd steal it. They won't be frightened to trust me, I'm thinking. And a good name that will leave on you in the country."
Annie's eyes filled with tears. "You wouldn't do the like of that, Johnny."
"I would, then, if you drove me to it, and wouldn't trust me with a pound or two."
"Indeed, then, it's not for the money I'm frightened," cried
Annie, breaking into sobs. "You may have the money, since you force me, but I doubt it's little good will go with it. I wouldn't believe it of you, Johnny, to go away and leave your father without help. What way will he get the crops in, with wee Annie out at service and the other childer too young to labour?"
"If he has more nor he can work, let him set a field of it. There's plenty would take it. The crops are in the ground. Let him sell them in the ground."
"Well you know your father