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I confess

Miss

Kerrigan Bally boreen; on the contrary, gives me creeps. I have no the half-door is alwaye wide foundation whatever for the open, and the postmistress feeling, unless it be the un- shows you inside and follows, pleasant effeot of those extra- there to engage you in oonordinarily pale pink - rimmed versation. Miss Kerrigan is eyes, with the lank frame of not a great talker as talkers grey hair narrowing the large go in Ireland, but she oan faoe. The official entry to speak, and to the point when Bally boreen post-office further needful. She can even become arouses feelings of embar. eloquent upon certain subjects. rassment. Why, when the One of these is the varying office is situated in one of changes in the routine of postal two adjoining oottages, the duties, for she abhors changes. sole door must needs open For example, the introduction into the one in which Miss of the telephone into the recepKerrigan and other members tion and transmission of teleof her family live is a mystery. graphio messages is a rankling But so it is. In order to get souroe of indignation. into the office you are obliged “What call had they to be to make your way through altering the old way," she asks, Miss Kerrigan's kitchen, which with cold and deliberate pasis very dark, being lit by a sion, “if it t'wasn't to spite three-foot square window, reinforced by the flames of a turf Another and even more bitter fire whioh burns smokily on diatribe is aroused by any the open hearth, with a pot mention of the National Health hanging over it. There is Insuranoe Aot. always some one eating in a “I deolare to God!”-Miss oorner, and few things are Kerrigan always folds her arms more embarrassing than to across her ample bosom when intrade upon strangers during she utters this "that was & meal, despite the fast that the sin of the worrld, so it was; publio meals favourite as if we hadn't enough to do, festivities of our high civilisa- an' more than we could do, tion. Whon postal business without that. An' the dear oompels me thither, I can feel knows"-a thin soornful laugh myself sneaking through that outs the aorid words through living-room in hot shamefaced “there's as many have died

to the office, whioh is since that came out as ever separated from the other by & died before it, and more, for half-door in the partition wall, them dootors 'll let ye die now The half-door has a ledge in- for the fun of it, when they tended, doubtless, to form a wouldn't be getting the money counter, at which customers from ye.” may stand and parley with the This dark and dreadful inoffioial on the other side of it. sinuation awakes in me

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oratory which introduced these to rob the poor and puzzle “rare and refreshing fruits" ye in yer ohange ? to a siok world.

To this I have no reply “What do you want?” With ready. Before I can think this question, Miss Kerrigan of one, Miss Kerrigan's sister whirls round upon a small bare- thrusts in her head and gazes legged child who has been at me with an amiable if standing upon one foot, the slightly vacant smile. other tuoked up beneath her Miss Kerrigan's sister is a faded red flannel petticoat, dwarf and misshapen. in apparently charmed con- It is said in Bally boreen that templation of myself. The she's “not right.” Legend

. little girl gives a violent start affirms that three days after and lets her second foot drop her birth her mother “awoke precipitately to the ground. in her bed and saw her own

“Me ma wants a stamp,” is child—may the Lord of Meroy the reply in a voice husky preserve us!-being snatched from sudden shyness.

out of the cradle by a fairy“Why oouldn't you say so woman, and another' left in sooner?” With morose dig- its place. An' sure, she (the nity Miss Kerrigan approaches mother) let one screeoh, and the grimy receptacle in which the right sense left her. They her books of stamps are con- got the priest, and he brought tained. “Is it a penny or a holy water, but she never did halfpenny or three - half- a ha'porth of good, and they penny stamp yer ma wants ?” buried her that day week,” she asks severely.

Supernatural talents are, in “ Three - halfpenny,” is the consequence, ascribed to Miss still huskier reply, and the ap- Kerrigan's sister, and great plioant tenders sixpence in care is taken to be oivil to silver,

her. Perhaps it is owing to The postmistress of Bally. this that when, one day, I boreen pushes the required take my letters to the post, stamp over the table, and and she interposes herself becounts the

ooppers

with tween the slit in the front wall growling hauteur. She gives of the post-office in which you & halfpenny too little, then insert them on their way to reotifies the mistake with an regions beyond, and myself, I air of exasperated patience. meekly await her pleasure.

They're a nuisance these “Not within,”she announces three-halfpenny stamps," I in- mysteriously,

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within terpose, partly to appease her, there." and partly to relieve my own The day is hot, and I am enabarrassment.

tired, and bored by the interThey're a ourse, and that's ruption; nevertheless, sudden God's truth," is Miss Kerri- suspicion awakes in me. gan's response. “What are For weeks past, at or about they for, in God's name, but midnight, a thin quiok whistle

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has resounded through the rigan's sister aside grandly, woods and round the cross- for even if she is “not right" roads at Bally boreen, and we I will not allow her to cow all know, though we may not me. As I try to push my choose to say so openly, what it letters into the slit, I wonder means. It is the call to arms, if she can see how my hand Sinn Fein arms, and the drill. is shaking. Whether she can ing has been going on night or not, one thing is clear-the after night in flagrant de letters won't go in. Perhaps fiance of the rulers of Ire- Miss Kerrigan's sister has land.

“ bewitohed the box-anyConspirasy, a new conspir. how they fall out again at aoy, flashes before me through my feet. Stooping to pick the summer haze. Arms, them up, a horrid wave of drilling, risings-nay, Rebel- sick panio goes over me, and lion once more. 1916 is not. I turn from heat to cold, with 80 far away that its details nauseating sensations. are forgotten. Is Bally boreen When I raise my head Miss post - office to be the head. Kerrigan herself is standing at quarters this time? Heaven her open door looking at me. knows, it looks innocent A minute or a century, I know enough with the sunshine on not which, passes as we face its lowly whitewashed walls one another,

one another. She is the first and roof of brown thatoh, to speak. Nevertheless, it seems to me

“Is it the letters," she says that Miss Kerrigan's aura composedly,“ that ye'd be after envelops it with & sinister posting? Here"—she stretches atmosphere. What if-? out a large hand—“I'll post And if

them for ye. Sure, the box is I oonfess to a wild impulse full up.” to run away, regardless of my

The last words olear my plain daty or anything else. brain. Bally boreon box full For my duty is quite clear up indeed at this time of day, it is, if anything is wrong, to or atany time! Suspicion gives inform the authorities at once; way to certainty, and with it but the authorities are far oomes that desperation which away-they generally are- nerves cowardice. I grip the and Miss Kerrigan is near: letters more firmly. Miss that reflection makes me long Kerrigan may no doubt be His to run & way

more Majesty's postmistress, but strongly than before. Shame, she is not to be trusted. As however, goads me to try a if she had divined my thoughts, desperate plunge after my she smiles, and the smile makes fleeing courage. If I am worth her eyes look paler and the eyemy salt, I oan at least make lids pinker than ever. an attempt to discover what "Come inside then and I'll is wrong with Bally boreen olear the box for ye." post-office. I wave Miss Ker- I hesitate: is it & trap?

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Miss Kerrigan turns about it cool. 'Tis easily jaded with and I follow her inside. As the heat, and that's a grand usual there are people wire oage, and the dra-ft comes couple of men-eating at the through it like a big wind.” table in the dark corner. Are Forth from the offioial rethey?

ceptacle for the outward mails "'Tis too bad,” Miss Kerri. at Bally boreen post-office Miss gan is saying with great Kerrigan draws carefully-a geniality, "but sure I didn't leg of matton. ... think there'd be e'er & one seeking the letter-box so early Like the man in the Soripin the day. I do put the meat ture, I opened the door and for the week in there to keep fled i

THE GOLD-SEEKERS.

Fertilissimi sunt auri Dardæ.

BY AL KHANZIR.

We all know that there are when I got to the Yacht Club, in this world certain places and I found the big downwhere one cannot reappear, stairs bar - room already after the lapse of no matter crowded. But most of the how many years, without run- crowd were boxwalas, none ning across a friend. Among of whom I happened to have such places the Yacht Club met, and at firet I could not in Bombay must assuredly see a single face I knew. rank high, for that eminently However, I had not long to oomfortable spot means to wait for the expected friend, many Easterners, ag it does and I could not have asked to me, either civilisation's for a more weloome one; for first foretaste or her last fare. I had hardly got my drink well, according to whether when the swing.doors opened, ours is & homeward or an and in oame dear old Douglas outward journey.

Rowland, Douglas is a politiLast April I made one of cal.1 A certain summer, a few my periodical descents on the years before the war, had Yacht Club. The war was found me shooting in Ladakh, over at last, home leave had that

quaint old

Western been reopened, and I had Tibetan kingdom, now an found myself among the outlying province

of the favoured few seleoted to go dominions of His Highness with the first batoh. Mine of Jammu and Kashmir. At had been the very ordinary that time Rowland had been story of & regimental officer in charge at Leb, the former throughout the war-Egypt, Tibetan capital, in whose great Gallipoli, Egypt again, and bazaar the traders of half a then Mesopotamia. My bat- continent forgather on their talion had been seleoted finally way to India, bringing with to form part of the post-bellum them in their pony-paoks the garrison of Assyria, and I had briok - tea of China, and the just completed the wearisome borax and the wool, the musk journey by desert, river, and and the turquoises of Tibet, sea from Mosul to Bombay. the carpets of Bokara, and The boat from Basra had the felts of Kashgar

Kashgar and got in only that very morn- Yarkand. A bad go of snow. ing, and as the leave - boat blindness bad driven me in to sailed next day, I had bad Leh — for treatment by the a busy time. So it was late Moravian Mission dootor there

1 The Political Department is India's Diplomatic and Consular Service.

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