CHAPTER II. TYPES.

I DO not think any one has ever written anything about Ireland without alluding, at least once, to the Dublin Metropolitan Police, and I cannot resist the temptation either. They are all so big, so beautiful, and so unutterably stupid. As one approaches the fashionable part of Dublin, they get larger and handsomer in every street. One particularly beautiful specimen stood at the top of Grafton Street,and was a well -known landmark. A friend of mine, if asked whether she was going out that morning, would reply, " I shall just stroll up Grafton Street and look at the policeman, and then home again." He was certainly well worth looking at. Towards the river, they tail off a little. However, I found it was useless to ask them the simplest question. They smiled quite delightfully, but seldom knew the name of the street at the corner of which they were standing. The destinations of the various trams were a sealed book to them, and I am sure they never knew the time. One half of Dublin seems to live by selling newspapers to the other half. With horrid yells, boys and men dashed down the street several times a day with special editions. Rumours of agreements with England, conflicts between the police or military and the I.R.A., the almost daily murders. There was always something to sell the papers. The posters of these Irish newspapers were often amusing reading : they displayed such marvellous ingenuity. I am sure that, during the Kidwelly murder trial, countless people in Ireland believed, as they were intended to believe, that it was the Irish Secretary who was on trial for the murder of his wife. Huge placards appeared, " H. Greenwood on trial for his life." " Did Greenwood poison his wife ? " I felt quite sorry for the papers during the last few weeks of the Cork hunger-strike. For the first month the posters were pathetic and moving ; later they felt the strain. It was a long time, and to find something fresh daily was evidently difficult.

The other inhabitants of Dublin which made the most impression on me literally, indeed were the fleas. Never have I known such animals. The Italian and Spanish varieties, which I had already encountered, paled into insignificance before these monsters. I never went on a tram without returning with one or more of these creatures, and I never faced the theatre in Dublin, as I was warned I should be eaten alive if I did. Fortunately, I personally escaped the other perils. One poor lady told me in an awestruck whisper that, after going on one particularly filthy tram, which we all knew well, she had found " one of those things the men had in the trenches." I do not think that even Dublin's admirers and I do not count myself among them would deny its dirt and its beggars. The beauty of its children is undeniable, at least as far as you can see it for dirt. The beggars nearly drove me distracted ; they all looked at the last stage of destitution, and they were so horribly persistent, following one for quite long distances, whining and flattering. They missed many a penny from me, though, by calling me a " lovely lady with Irish eyes," or " you might be Irish yourself now " another favourite remark which doubtless well meant compliments, had they but known it, were the invariable signal for me to put my money back in my pocket. I am Scotch, and I glory in the fact, and I detested being told I looked Irish. Probably they would have been equally disgusted if I had told them that they looked Scotch. The horses in the cars were the nicest things I saw in Dublin. I was always too busy holding on when I was on an outside car to admire them, but safely in the street again, I could, and did, realise what extraordinarily good and well kept animals some of them were. The drivers were a curious mixture. Once, in a hoarse whisper, I was told by one old gentleman that he was afraid of the Sinn Feiners himself. He had warned a member of the R.I.C. of an attempted plot against him, and now he was terrified out of his life for fear he would be shot himself. Whether this was really true, or whether he merely hoped to get an extra tip out of me by his pathetic story, I do not know. Anyway, he got his shilling.

Once, on my way to our stables by car, I gave the horse a bit of the sugar I was taking to my own mare, at the same time asking the driver, " Is your horse a Sinn Feiner too ? " Without a moment's hesitation he replied, " Yes, indeed, my lady." I always used to tell the driver where I wanted to go before getting on to the car, as often, after I had climbed laboriously up and given the direction, " The Castle " or "The Royal Hospital," I was told to get down again. They would not take you to these hated places. I always felt furious, but there was nothing for it but to climb ignominiously down and try again. Other people find so much in the Irish to amuse them. I only found them funny when they were unconsciously so. There was a dear old lady who occupied a flat in our house, who was a perpetual source of amusement to me. She started our first conversation by telling me she had a castle. Most Irish people have, I fancy ; they are always talking about them. I only have one lot of friends in England who have a castle, and they are only too thankful if they can let it, furnished, at five guineas a week ; but in Ireland they take their castles more seriously . This old lady was always indicating to me unconsciously, I am sure how very superior she, as a member of an old Irish family with castle complete, was to every one else. Once when I told her I was going to a dance at Dublin Castle, she said, " A very mixed affair, I expect." I replied meekly that, as it was only for military people, it probably would be mixed. Another time, when I returned from a fortnight in England, she asked me what my friends in England were saying about Ireland. I truthfully replied, " Literally nothing ; as far as I can see, no one ever talks, or wants to hear anything at all about Ireland." She said, " Oh, that would be just among the bourgeoisie, I suppose. " But, though struggling with laughter, I could not help murmuring that all my friends were not" among the bourgeoisie." This same old lady had two sons in the British Army, but she was an ardent Sinn Feiner, and had many and varied grievances against the British Government. Some of her remarks on that subject I really dare not reproduce. One day I said something about the coming Christmas in Dublin. " Christmas in Dublin," she replied ; " surely all the troops will have gone long before that." I said I sincerely hoped so, but that it seemed very unlikely and added, " You know if we do all go, you and your friends will probably be murdered," and repeated the formula I had heard so often that it was only the troops who stood between Ireland and civil war. " Well," she said, " leave us to be murdered ; can't we even murder each other without England interfering ? " But a few weeks later, when murder was done in that very house, this old lady lay on the floor in her room. She explained that she had heard. that this was the safest thing to do in an air-raid. Not that there had ever been any air- raids in Ireland, of course. She was so terribly frightened when I saw her, that I took her up a lovely Dublin Metropolitan policeman, whom I had found standing aimlessly in the hall. I thought he might be a comfort to her.

I met another very characteristic Irish lady at Dublin Castle one day. I was having tea with an official there, and she had come to complain about her own castle. It was not being properly treated, she said, by the Auxiliaries, or Black and Tans, as she called them, who were billeted there. When she was introduced to my husband and myself, she said severely, " There are far too many military people here." I felt the same, so replied, " I quite agree with you ; at least, there are two too many." But afterwards, when my husband was nearly killed, hers was the first message of sympathy that I received. She was genuinely and utterly horrified at the murders. She felt for us with her whole heart. I think she was typical of many. She had three great loves Ire- land as one nation, the British Empire (though not the British Government), and the Royal Irish Constabulary. But there were three things she hated as much as she loved the others. They were the Germans, Ulster, and the Black and Tans. The last Home Rule Bill she utterly condemned as dividing Ireland in two. But, though she declared herself an ardent Home Ruler, she did not state how she proposed to reconcile her hatred for Ulster with Ireland as one nation. I have repeated her conversation almost word for word. She bears a name which is known throughout Ireland. She has great wealth and a great position, and I found much food for thought in her remarks, but no solution of the problem, her statements were so hopelessly inconsistent, her feeling so irreconcilable. And I am certain she is only one of many who love as she loves, hate as she hates, and whose loves and hates are daily getting further apart. But I do not propose to discuss politics or religion in these pages. The two are, to a great extent, one in Ireland. I think what I most want to write about is the British Army. I have always understood that Cromwell, of whom I heard so much in Dublin, founded our Army. I can only wonder that Ireland has not finished it. It was Cromwell who said that soldiers ought to be " men who make some conscience of what they do ; men who know what they are fighting for, and love what they know." I only know from hearsay of the deeds, chivalry, self-sacrifice, and devotion to duty of our men in France and in the other theatres of war. But what I did see with my own eyes in Ireland was the same devotion to duty, discipline, and cheerful obedience to orders under the most hateful and disagreeable circumstances : the same never failing courtesy and good temper under the greatest provocation. Only once did I see them otherwise. And these are the men and boys, we are told, who murder and rob the innocent and peaceful inhabitants, and burn unoffending villages wholesale. In every other country in the world in which he has fought, except Ireland, the British Tommy has made friends. He bears no malice, and he is quite unable to hit a man when he is down. In Germany, as in the war, the New Army carried on the splendid traditions of the Old. A great deal of the soldier's work in Dublin is done at night. He is often short of sleep, the strain on his nerves is appalling, but he never fails, never loses patience. All the horrible work he has to do is carried out with kindness and consideration But how he despises and hates the inhabitants ! I read in the papers one day that they were letting out five hundred of the less dangerous lunatics from the asylums, as they could no longer afford to feed them.I remarked on this to one of our sergeants. " Well, they won't be noticed among all the other lunatics," was his only comment.

Even the soldier servants, who came daily to our flats to clean the boots and uniforms of the various officers, refused to do their work in the same room as the Irish servants. They preferred not to mix with them at all, and cleaned and polished on the landings. Two or three of these Irish servants openly said they hated us ; the others were civil and obliging far more so than most English servants and they never seemed to mind how much they ran up and down stairs. I wonder where the murderers of 21st November got their accurate knowledge of the house. They knew who occupied each room, they made no mistakes, and wasted no time. One Irish friend who came through Dublin on her way to her home in Limerick told me of the extraordinary vindictiveness of the people there. Her brother had joined the Army, and had been killed in the war. The family had lived in the neighbourhood for generations, and everybody knew them. Yet the sole remark of an old man who worked on the estate, when told of this boy's death in action, was, " A good thing too ; one dirty traitor the less." Another lady told me that her daughter had tried to do some recruiting during the war in Kerry, I think. She asked an old woman if none of her three sons were joining up. " Indeed no, my lady ; it is much too dangerous." The girl said, "It is lucky that every one does not think like you." "It is indeed, my lady," was the answer to that. All the more honour to those splendid Irishmen who did know the danger, and did not hesitate to go. Major Redmond's death in action was one of the greatest misfortunes that ever happened to Ireland.

Discharged soldiers have a very indifferent time in Ireland. There are numbers of them in Dublin, but very few venture to wear their service badges or medal ribbons. Early one morning my husband was the only passenger inside a tram. He was in uniform, and the conductor, looking round to see that he was not observed, bent over him, and drew a Divisional Christmas card of the 5th Division in France out of his breast pocket, and whispered to him, " This is all I have now ; they won't even let me wear my medal ribbons. I spent the twelve happiest years of my life in an Irish regiment. I am a Dublin man, but had I known what Ireland is like now, I would never have left the Army." A few days before the murders, I visited a military hospital near Dublin, where some scores of soldiers, wounded in the war, are still receiving treatment. I walked through the wards, talking to the men. Some of them had come from Lancashire, and had been sent to Dublin, as it was sufficiently near their homes. But I found several Irishmen. One of them was the type I had imagined all Irishmen to be like. I am glad I met this one. He had been totally paralysed for three years, but had had some marvellous operation a few days before, and they hoped he might be able to walk a little in a few months' time. But when I saw him, he was still encased in plaster of Paris and bandages, and in fearful pain. I began to sympathise with him, but he looked up with a cheery grin, and said, " I ought to have better luck in the next war; I have had such bad luck in this." Had he any opinions on the Irish question ? I wonder. I could not ask him.

Among the people I pitied most in Dublin were the unfortunate professional men who, in their endeavours to make a living, tried to steer a middle course between the two parties, and who generally ended in annoying both. There was a cheery professor of dancing, a well-known figure in Dublin, who instructed all classes in the Foxtrot, Tango, etc. One day a week he went to the Castle, where his pupils consisted entirely of officials and their wives. We paraded solemnly up and down St Patrick's Hall, women at one end, men at the other. With set faces and harassed expressions, the Government of Ireland, Generals and Colonels, tried, with more or less success, to carry out the sharp commands of their stern instructor. The banners of the Knights of St Patrick, hanging on the walls, had surely through the ages never looked down on a more moving scene. On other days, the same professor received pupils at his " Academy," by appointment. On four or five evenings a week, he arranged small subscription dances. His method of letting both sides know which of these dances they might safely attend was quite delightful. A notice was given out, somewhat as follows : " Dances will be held on three nights a week. Monday Evening dress will be worn. Wednesday Evening dress optional. Friday Morning dress, and on Friday evenings God save the King will not be played." Was there ever a more tactful man ? Of course, this was some months ago, and I do not imagine these dances are still being held. There was also a professor of military subjects, who arranged to coach officers for their promotion examinations. Only one lecture was held. The I.R.A. evidently did not approve of the education of young officers in military tactics. The course came to an abrupt end, and the poor professor lost his work.

Mrs Woodcock's Story