Great Irish Short Stories

Great Irish Short Stories by Unknown

Book: Great Irish Short Stories by Unknown Read Free Book Online
Authors: Unknown
author to find that you have not forgotten my little book, although,” I added, laughing, “ten or twelve years is a considerable time to have managed without it; but I suppose you have been turning the subject over again in your mind, or something has happened lately to revive your interest in it.”
    At this remark, accompanied by a glance of inquiry, a sudden embarrassment disturbed Mr. Jennings, analogous to that which makes a young lady blush and look foolish. He dropped his eyes, and folded his hands together uneasily, and looked oddly, and you would have said, guiltily, for a moment.
    I helped him out of his awkwardness in the best way, by appearing not to observe it, and going straight on, I said: “Those revivals of interest in a subject happen to me often; one book suggests another, and often sends me back a wild-goose chase over an interval of twenty years. But if you still care to possess a copy, I shall be only too happy to provide you; I have still got two or three by me—and if you allow me to present one I shall be very much honoured.”
    “You are very good indeed,” he said, quite at his ease again, in a moment: “I almost despaired—I don’t know how to thank you.”
    “Pray don’t say a word; the thing is really so little worth that I am only ashamed of having offered it, and if you thank me any more I shall throw it into the fire in a fit of modesty.”
    Mr. Jennings laughed. He inquired where I was staying in London, and after a little more conversation on a variety of subjects, he took his departure.
    II
The Doctor Questions Lady Mary and She Answers
    “I like your vicar so much, Lady Mary,” said I, as soon as he was gone. “He has read, travelled, and thought, and having also suffered, he ought to be an accomplished companion.”
    “So he is, and, better still, he is a really good man,” said she. “His advice is invaluable about my schools, and all my little undertakings at Dawlbridge, and he’s so painstaking, he takes so much trouble—you have no idea—wherever he thinks he can be of use: he’s so good-natured and so sensible.”
    “It is pleasant to hear so good an account of his neighbourly virtues. I can only testify to his being an agreeable and gentle companion, and in addition to what you have told me, I think I can tell you two or three things about him,” said I.
    “Really!”
    “Yes, to begin with, he’s unmarried.”
    “Yes, that’s right—go on.”
    “He has been writing, that is he was, but for two or three years perhaps, he has not gone on with his work, and the book was upon some rather abstract subject—perhaps theology.”
    “Well, he was writing a book, as you say; I’m not quite sure what it was about, but only that it was nothing that I cared for; very likely you are right, and he certainly did stop—yes.”
    “And although he only drank a little coffee here to-night, he likes tea, at least, did like it extravagantly.”
    “Yes, that’s quite true.”
    “He drank green tea, a good deal, didn’t he?” I pursued.
    “Well, that’s very odd! Green tea was a subject on which we used almost to quarrel.”
    “But he has quite given that up,” said I.
    “So he has.”
    “And, now, one more fact. His mother or his father, did you know them?”
    “Yes, both; his father is only ten years dead, and their place is near Dawlbridge. We knew them very well,” she answered.
    “Well, either his mother or his father—I should rather think his father, saw a ghost,” said I.
    “Well, you really are a conjurer, Dr. Hesselius.”
    “Conjurer or no, haven’t I said right?” I answered merrily.
    “You certainly have, and it was his father: he was a silent, whimsical man, and he used to bore my father about his dreams, and at last he told him a story about a ghost he had seen and talked with, and a very odd story it was. I remember it particularly, because I was so afraid of him. This story was long before he died—when I was quite a child—and his

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