On the present occasion her first step was to write and acquaint McKeown that she would be at Moodie's Hotel, Dominick Street, the same evening, and begged he might call there at eight or nine o'clock, as her business with him was pressing.
Call on McKeown, and find out where Miss Betty is stopping; break this business to her gently for with all that damnable temper, she has a fine womanly heart tell her the poor boy was not to blame at all: that he went over to see her, and knew nothing of the place being let out or hired; and tell her, besides, that the blackguards that beat him were not her own people at all, but villains from another barony that old Gill brought over to work on short wages.
Destiny had decreed that Mrs. McKeown, being, as she expressed it, "an epicure about boots," should choose this day of all others to go to "town" to buy herself a pair, leaving the direction of the hotel in the hands of her husband, a person of minor importance, and of Mary Ann Whooly, a grey-haired kitchen-maid, who milked the cows and made the beds, and at a distance in the back-yard was scarcely distinguishable from the surrounding heaps of manure.
What was the good of asking Jamesey McKeown to sing Gaelic songs and till the land when his heart was hungering for the tuppeny excitements of a Glasgow music-hall? What would Jamesey McKeown make of Galway's translations? Would bind him to the nurture of the earth when What ho! she bumps called him to Glasgow? "We must think of something!"
Here is a letter from Tom McKeown, of Abbey Street. I wrote to him about raising a few hundreds on mortgage, to clear off some of our debts, and have a trifle in hand for drainage and to buy stock, and he tells me that there's no use in going to any of the money-lenders so long as your extravagance continues to be the talk of the town. Ay, you needn't grow red nor frown that way.
Sometimes, in his walks, Henry met young farmers and labourers returning from the Orange Hall where they had been doing such drill as can be done indoors. On Saturday afternoons, they would set off to join other companies of the Ulster Volunteer Force in a route march. Jamesey McKeown had begun to learn wireless telegraphy and was already expert with flag-signals and the heliograph.
I'm not used to seeing my house uncomfortable, and I cannot bear it. Such were some of his reflections, over his agent's advice; and it may be imagined that the Machiavellian Mr. McKeown had fallen upon a very inapt pupil. It must be owned that Mathew Kearney was somewhat out of temper with his son even before the arrival of this letter.
It is true the old lady disputed this position, and so strongly resented even allusion to it, that, for the sake of inheriting that twelve thousand pounds she possessed in Dutch stock, McKeown warned Gorman to avoid anything that might imply his being aware of this fact.
'And this insult is, then, to be submitted to? 'It is, first of all, to be ignored. It's the same as if you never heard it. Just get it out of your head, and listen to what he says. Tom McKeown is one of the keenest fellows I know; and he has business with men who know not only what's doing in Downing Street, but what's going to be done there.
Her notion was to retire into some religious sisterhood, and away from life and its cares, to pass her remaining years in holy meditation and piety. She would have liked to have sold her estate and endowed some house or convent with the proceeds, but there were certain legal difficulties that stood in the way, and her law-agent, McKeown, must be seen and conferred with about these.