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The Girl Emigrant

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She leaned out of the carriage window and saw the van door close, and then asked the porter if her box were safe and sound. "Aw, aye," said he and slouchefl np, I i sviping the wet from his hand on his jorduroys. "Aw, aye, it'll folly ye safe to Piogheda anyhow. Goodby, an God ] ipeed ye, " 1 1 "Gopdbf." she said and gave hirn her hand. "Bat aren't tbe rest o' ye i in?" she called. The statiou master carne and gave her a parting word, then two or three town loiterers, then the station rnaster's i wife, with a shawl over her head and i i picking her way through the puddles. Last of all carne a man - the girl's 1 1 ther, one could see- running stiffly and j ] glanclng hack often at the horse and I oart standing forlorn outside the gate. "Goodby, Mary,.an God be with ye, l aiygirl." He held her hand for a ] ond or two, and his lips kept moving, i while she answered bravely. "Ye'll write from New Vork?" i "I will - aw - at once. " : "Do. Don 't keep us," he said, then etood back with the others and blinked at the driving rain. She pulled a kerchief from a battered brown ■ bag and nervously wiped her lips. "Ah," called she, "yez all thought yez'd see me cryin. Ah, I tricked yez rightly. " "Ah, no," answered the porter. "We knew ye'd be brave." "Aye, aye," assented the rest and shifting their legs. "Aye, aye." "Away ye go!" shouted the guard. The engine shrieked. Mary shook out her handkerchief and called goodby;' her friends waved their arms. She had started for the United States. "They thought I'd cry, " eaid she as she sat back and feil to plucking at the fingers of her woolen gloves. "They tbougnt I'd cry - och, no. " She was brave, yct her lips were quivering, and j her eyes were turned monrnfully on the fields and hcdges and the cottages, here and there shining white through the I gray drift of the rain. "We'll soon be I at it, " she said presently. "Ah, Lord, the day it is. Au the state I'm in - och, och!" She stooped and wrung the water from her bedraggled skirt. "An me hair that tattered. Aw, it's shockin. But I didn't cry," she said and flashed her black eyes at me. "Och, no. Whishtl We're gettin near it. Aw, there it ïs. There they are. Goodby, mother. Goodby, Patsey an Johnny an Lizzie. Gocdby, all." I stocd np, and over her hat canght a glimpse of the group gathered on the i street before the cottage - the mother in her uightcap, the children bare l.gged, all waving their arms and caps and crying their farewells. "Goodby," cried Mary back through the rain, "Och, goodby." That was the last of them she would see, she said, asshe sat down again - the ' lust, till the Lord knew when. She was for the United States? asked some one. Ah, she was; she could get work there; she could do nothing at home. Sure, it was bet ter to go than to be a burden on them all. Ah, yes, she'd been out before and had come home to settle, but - but, and here the handkerchief went fast to her lips - well, things had turned out troublesome. She'd do better out there. There were too many at home, ! and her mother was poorly. Ah, and Eure times were shocking bad. ' 'Aye, aye, " the men went in chorus, "they wur; they wur. " Then looked mournfully at her red cheeks, and from one to another passed the word that she v:is a brave girl, so she was - a brave girl, and God speed her, said they as one by one they went out clumsily at Navan station and left Mary and me together. It was a fair day at Navan, therefore did the train settle itself by the platform for a long rest. "The guard mebbe's gone to see the fair," said Mary, and I laughed, stamped vigorously (for it was cold) across the carriage floor, wiped the window and looked out. Down the farther bank of the railway, aloug a narrow path which had started beyond the fields somewhere near the Boyne, was coming a little procession of six men, bearing a coffln on a rough hurdle made of ash poles. The men were bare headed ; a single bunch of wíld flowers lay atop the streaming coffin; there were no mouriiers, nor anywhere could one see any sign of sorrow or curiosity. They came on down, the men with their pitiful burden, crossed the track, carne to a siding, slid the coffin into a fish van, shut the door, pulled their soft feit hats from their pockets, moppcd their faces, then took shelter behind the van and lit their pipes. There wanted only a bottJe to make the scène complete, and I was confidently watching for it, when right at rny elbow there rose a great sobbing. "Aw, awl" cried Mary. "Didye see, did ye see? Och, what a way to be tr'ated. An such a day for a buryin. All out in tbe wet - the wet an the cowld. Aw, poor creature! Aw, muther, muther, ye'll die, ye'll die! I'll niver see ye ag'in, nor father, nor no one! Aw, it's cruel to l'ave yel I'll go back, I'll go back!" Her sobs were pitiful. Loiterers began to gather round the door. It was only a poor girl going to America, I explained. They would pity her, I was sure. Oh, they would, said they, and went, all but oue, a big, sunburned fellow, dressed in rough tweed, who came forward and asked my leave. For what? Ah, he knew the girl. Came in, went over and laid a rough hand on Mary's shoulder. "Ah, don't," she said. 'TH go home, I'll go home!" "What ails ye, Mary, at all?" said he and shook her again. She turned. "Ah, God A'mighty, James]" she cried, and her tears went, "it's you? Where are ye goin? What briugs ye? Who towld ye?" James sat down heavily and began beatiug his boot with his stick. Ah, be'd been to the fair, had sold earJy, was waitiug for a train to take him home. "Where are ye goiu?" he sa i d over his shoulder. "What were ye bleartin about?" Sh-3 looked up at him quickly, almcst definntly. "To the United States." He nodded, began again the tattoo on his boot, and before another word came the train had started. "We're goin," said Mary. "Hurry and say goodby, or they'll shut ye in." "No matter," he. answered. "I'll g'wnn a bit." The maid sat apart frotn the man and answered his abrupt, manuerless qnestions as bravely as she might. Why was 6he going? Ah, he knew. There was uo need to ask. Why had she not told him? Better not, What was the ose? All was over bet ween them. The man eyed her wonderingly. Over, he repeated. Over? Did she not know he was ready to make it up - to do his best? Aye, yes, she knew, still - Still what? It was better to go, sne said, and looked tearfully out at the fiyiug fields. Yes, it was better to go. I agreed with Mary. He was a lont, for certain; a good for nothing by all chance. She would lose nothing by leaving him. There - there, sitting beside her, was the trouble about whioh she had spoken. She had come home to settle down with him, but things had been tronblesorne. Ah, yes, oue knew it all. Ho bad been easy going and lazy; wanted thiugs to turn up; feltno inclination to hurry into married cares. Ah, sure, he could wait awhile, and if he, then Mary. Somethinglike that it had been; anyhow Mary had not settled. They had quarreled, and now she was leaving him for better or worse. She waa wise. Had the man no bowels? Had he nothing for her bnt hard questions and pitying looks? Would he not, beforo he went, say one kind word to tuis girl who had trusted in his word and manhood, and, finding them wanting, was now leaving him forever? Did there not some golden mernory linger about his heart? Not one. He was wooden to the core. He would sit on there, tapping his boot and staring at his big freckled hands, neither hurt nor sorry, but just wondering that a girl could be such a fooi. The train would stop, and, with a nod and a flabby shake of the hand, he would take bimsolf out into the rain. And gcod riddance. The train sJowed. Mary's Ups began to quiver. The train stopped. I gathered in my legs, so that the fellow might pass without touching me. He raised his head and looked out at the sky. "Ah, I may as well g'wan to the junction," he drawled. "It'll beall the same. One could do nothin such a day anyhow. ' ' "Yis," said Mary, not cheerlessly. "Sure ye may as well. " We sat silent all the way to da, and there we parted - Mary, so it j was set down, to catch a train north, James one back home and I to do my ! work in town. Two henrs afterward I met the two in the rain swept streets, and in my surprise stopped short before them. Mary looked up and laughed. "Ah," said she, "I'm here yit. That train went without me." "Oh," Sfüdl, "that'svery bad. Why, the next won't be here for honrs. And you're drenched. But - but" - and I looked at James as he stood slightly flushed and dripping wet, blandly staring across tbe street. "Ah, yis," Mary answered. "James missed his too. I'm not goin at all. Sure we've made it up. " I put ruy watch slowly back into my pocket and nodded. "James has promised me, "ehe went on, and her eyes feil, "an we're goin to get rcarr'ed come harvest time, an he'il try hard for a place wi' the marquis. An - an - God knows, sur, I'ra not sorry, for me heart was sore at l'avin home." They knew their own business best, but there feil an awkward silence, so I asked James concerning his prospects. Did he see his way clearly? Ah, he did, and began tapping his boots. Sure there was always a way if one could only wait till it came. "Isn'tshe better here anyway, whatever comes, " said he and gave me a moment'sglimpseathisface, "than out yonder wid the strangers? Sure 'twas madness av her to think av it. Sure Providence seut rne to Navin fair." Providence? AndhadProvideuce sent also that dismal procession to the fish van, that Mary might see it and sob for her friends aud her James and the home of her heart? "And you, Mary," I asked, "are yon quite satisfied!" "Ah, yis," said ehe mournfully. "Ah, I hope so. " I took her into a shop and bought her a little wedding gift - a silver brooch, shaped like a harp and set with green marble - then wished them more happiness than I expected they would have aud went my way. Three honrs afterward saw me at Drogheda station again, and there was Mary, standing dejectedly by lier box. "Notgone homeyet, Mary?" I asked. Her handkerchief fluttered out. "N o, sur. I - was lookin for ye. I - I wanted to give ye back this, " and she held out the brooch. "I'll never wear it. Och, it's all over. I - I'm goin on to catch the ship. " It was well. I determined now that neither Providence nor emotiou should hinder her goiug. "Ah, no, " she sobbed. " 'Twas only foolishness. Me heart was sore at l'avin them all, an the sight of the coffin an James comin like that. Och, I c'u'dn't bear it. But 'twas foolish av me. It's better for me to go. ' ' I took the brooch, pinned it on her jacket and spoke a foolish word r two by way of comfort. She would, I hoped, wear it for my sake, if not for - "Aw, sur," she burst out, "if he'd only been studdy, for I liked him well. Och, och!" She turned and looked down the platform. There sat James, drunk and asleep.- Shan F. Bullock in Speaker.


Old News
Ann Arbor Democrat