Mother Beckett, on the point of accepting for us all, hesitated. The hesitation had to be explained: and the explanation was the O'Farrells. I had hoped we might be spared them, but it was not to be. Our host and hostess, hearing of the travellers of the Red Cross, insisted that they must come, too. Mrs. Beckett was sure they would both be charmed, but as it turned out, she was only half right.
The eldest son, Bryan O'Rourke, vas put off with a miserable pension, and detained in England lest he should claim his inheritance. Yet, in this case, the title was actually in existence. "In the county of Longford, three-fourths of nine hundred and ninety-nine cartrons, the property of the O'Farrells, were granted to adventurers, to the undoing and beggary of that princely family.
Even the O'Farrells I didn't want hurt; and I was pleased to find out that about myself, because they are a far more constant danger for me than all the aeroplanes along the German front; and when I came face to face with realities in my own soul, I might have discovered a wicked desire for them to be out of the way at any price.
The O'Farrells had not got permission for Verdun, nor for Rheims, where we of the great gray car were going next. Still more than our glimpse of the trenches were these two places "extra special." Two days later, we were to meet again at Paris, and continue as Puck impudently put it "our rôle of ministering angels," along the Noyon front and beyond.
It might be for his happiness, if " "I don't think Brian would marry Dierdre or any girl, unless his sight came back," I said. "He's often told me he wouldn't marry." "Was that before he went to Paris with the O'Farrells? Things have been rather different since then and a good deal different since the night we met Jack Curtis with Sirius." "I know," I admitted.
From what I hear, the three have spent most of their time at the piano in the private salon which the Becketts invited the O'Farrells to engage. Now, as I write, we are making our headquarters in Compiègne, sleeping there, and sightseeing by day on what they call the "Noyon Front."
But the little dining room was littered with samples of the travellers' goods: clothing for repatriated refugees, hospital supplies; papier-mâché splints, and even legs; shoes, stockings, medicines; soup-tablets, and chocolates. The O'Farrells might be doing evil, but good would apparently come from it for many.
Not for a second did I believe that the arrival of the taxi-cab in our wake was a coincidence! We drank our coffee, talking of the raid and of the O'Farrells, and as always of Jim. Then Father Beckett noticed that his wife was pale. "She looks as if she needed bed a good sight more than that little girl did," he said in the simple, homely way I've learned to love.
As a matter of fact, that is what happened; or at all events when our big, reliable motor purred with us into Bar-le-Duc, the O'Farrells were nowhere to be seen. Our officer another lieutenant had arrived in a little Ford; and as we were invited to lunch in the citadel of Verdun we could not wait.
Duncannon, where he was born, he pointed out, was but forty miles from Youghal, and the fishing boats out of Waterford Harbor often sought shelter in Blackwater River. Had any of my forebears, he asked, followed the herring? Alarmed, lest at this I might take offense, Mrs. Farrell interrupted him. "The Fletchers and O'Farrells of Youghal," she exclaimed, "were gentry.