By William O'Brien

Page 46


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watch from the shore while the strange steamers were loading up to the hatchways with turbot for the London or the Paris market. The strangers had fared so well that they charitably threw the coarser kinds of fish in their draw overboard to the natives!

Is it possible for human words to heighten the argument, either against eviction or against Dublin Castle government, preached by such facts? The last touch of gruesome comedy is given to the scene by the announcement that, while X. the Elder, with his evicting expedition, may any day again be descried off Clare Island, X. the Younger is being once more set in motion as poor-law inspector to report what is to be done, by emigration to Manitoba or otherwise, with the pestilent O'Malleys. If any Briton by his fireside likes to think the Irish difficulty is an affair of our grandfathers, or, at all events, of the days when the Balfourian bloom was on the rye, let him fix his eyes upon the thin figures of the O'Malleys, only too pitifully 'up to date,' on the Clare Island cliffs, wringing their helpless hands while a fleet of strange steamers carries off the treasures of the deep under their noses, and straining their eyes towards the point where any day the Sheriff's gunboat may loom in sight to evict them for rents less in moneys numbered than a French trawler might earn in a single cruise, and to cut off their last chance of sustenance by land or sea. Is it a contravention of the Coercion Act to sigh for one day of the lion-hearted old sea-queen who sleeps amidst the ocean surges under the ruins of the island abbey? page »

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