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Ireland For Ever by James Owen Hannay

An Extract from - Our Casualty And Other Stories

I

Lord Dunseverick picked his way delicately among the pools and tough cobble stones. He was a very well-dressed young man, and he seemed out of place amid the miry traffic of the Belfast quays. A casual observer would have put him down as a fashionable nincompoop, one of those young men whose very appearance is supposed to move the British worker to outbursts of socialistic fury. The casual observer would, in this case, have been mistaken. Lord Dunseverick, in spite of his well-fitting clothes, his delicately coloured tie, and his general air of sleek well-being, was at that moment—it was the month of May, 1914—something of a hero with the Belfast working man. And the Belfast working man, as everybody knows, is more bitterly contemptuous of the idle rich, especially of the idle rich with titles, than any other working man.

The Belfast working man had just then worked himself up to a degree of martial ardour, unprecedented even in Ulster, in his opposition to Home Rule. Lord Dunseverick was one of the generals of the Ulster Volunteer Force. He had made several speeches which moved Belfast to wild delight and sober-minded men elsewhere to dubious shaking of the head. Enthusiasm in a cause is a fine thing, especially in the young, but when Lord Dunseverick's enthusiasm led him to say that he would welcome the German Emperor at the head of his legions as the deliverer of Ulster from the tyranny of a Parliament in Dublin, why then—then the rank and file of the volunteer army cheered, and other people wondered whether it were quite wise to say such things. Yet Lord Dunseverick, when not actually engaged in making a speech, was a pleasant and agreeable young man with a keen sense of humour. He even—and this is a rare quality in men—saw the humorous side of his own speeches. The trouble was that he never saw it till after he had made them.

A heavy motor-lorry came thundering along the quay. Lord Dunseverick dodged it, and escaped with his life. He was splashed from head to foot with mud. He looked at his neat boots and well-fashioned grey trousers. The blade slime lay thick on them. He wiped a spot of mud off his cheek and rubbed some wet coal dust into his collar. Then he lit a cigarette, and smiled.

He stepped into the porch of a reeking public-house and found himself beside a grizzled man, who looked like a sailor. Lord Dunseverick turned to him.

“Can you tell me,” he said, “where Mr. McMunn's office is?”

“Is it coal you're wanting?” asked the sailor.

It is thus that questions are often met in Belfast with counter-questions. Belfast is a city of business men, and it is not the habit of business men to give away anything, even information, without getting something in return. The counter-question may draw some valuable matter by way of answer from the original questioner. In this case the counter-question was a reasonable one. McMunn, of McMunn Brothers, Limited, was a coal merchant. Lord Dunseverick, though a peer, belonged to the north of Ireland. He understood Belfast.

“What I want,” he said, “is to see Mr. Andrew McMunn.”

“I've business with Andrew McMunn myself,” said the sailor, “and I'm going that way.”

“Good. Then we'll go together.”

“My name,” said the sailor, “is Ginty. If you're intimate with Andrew McMunn you'll likely have heard of me.”

“I haven't But that's no reason why you shouldn't show me the way.”

“It's no that far,” said Ginty.

They walked together, sometimes side by side, sometimes driven apart by a string of carts.

“If it had been Jimmy McMunn you wanted to see,” said Ginty, “you might have had further to go. Some says Jimmy's in the one place, and more is of opinion that he's in the other. But I've no doubt in my own mind about where Andrew will go when his time comes.”

“You know him pretty well, then?”

“Ay, I do. It would be queer if I didn't, seeing that I've sailed his ships this ten year. Andrew McMunn will go to heaven.”

“Ah,” said Lord Dunseverick, “he's a good man, then?”

“I'll no go so far as to say precisely that,” said Ginty, “but he's a man who never touches a drop of whisky nor smokes a pipe of tobacco. It'll be very hard on him if he doesna go to heaven after all he's missed in this world. But you'll find out what kind of man he is if you go in through the door forninst you. It's his office, thon's one with the brass plate on the door. My business will keep till you're done with him.”

Lord Dunseverick pushed open one of a pair of swinging doors, and found himself in a narrow passage. On his right was a ground glass window bearing the word “Inquiries.” He tapped at it.

For a minute or two there was no response. Lord Dunseverick brushed some of the mud, now partially dry, off his trousers, and lit a fresh cigarette. The ground glass window was opened, and a redhaired clerk looked out.

“I want to see Mr. McMunn,” said Lord Dunseverick, “Mr. Andrew McMunn.”

The clerk put his head and shoulders out through the window, and surveyed Lord Dunseverick suspiciously. Very well dressed young men, with pale lavender ties and pearl tie-pins—Lord Dunseverick had both—are not often seen in Belfast quay-side offices.

“If you want to see Mr. McMunn,” said the clerk, “—and I'm no saying you will, mind that—you'd better take yon cigarette out of your mouth. There's no smoking allowed here.”

Lord Dunseverick took his cigarette out of his mouth, but he did not throw it away. He held it between his fingers.

“Just tell Mr. McMunn,” he said, “that Lord Dunseverick is here.”

The clerk's manner altered suddenly. He drew himself up, squared his shoulders, and saluted.

The discovery that a stranger is a man of high rank often produces this kind of effect on men of strong democratic principles, principles of the kind held by clerks in all business communities, quite as firmly in Belfast as elsewhere. But it would have been a mistake to suppose that Mr. McMunn's junior clerk was a mere worshipper of title. His salute was not the tribute of a snob to the representative of an aristocratic class. It was the respect due by a soldier, drilled and disciplined, to his superior officer. It was also the expression of a young man's sincere hero-worship. The redhaired clerk was a Volunteer, duly enrolled, one of the signatories of the famous Ulster Covenant Lord Dunseverick had made speeches which moved his soul to actual rapture.

“Come inside, my lord,” he said. “I'll inform Mr. McMunn at once.”

Lord Dunseverick passed through a door which was held open for him. He entered a large office, very grimy, which is the proper condition of a place where documents concerning coal are dealt with. Six other clerks were at work there. When Lord Dunseverick entered, all six of them stood up and saluted. They, too, so it appeared, were members of the Volunteer Force. The red-haired junior clerk crossed the room towards a door marked “Private.” Then he paused, and turned to Lord Dunseverick.

“Might I be so bold as to ask a question?” he said.

“A dozen if you like,” said Lord Dunseverick.

“What about the rifles? It's only them we're wanting now. We're drilled and we're ready, but where's the rifles?”

“You shall have them,” said Lord Dunseverick.

The clerks in Mr. McMunn's office were accustomed to behave with decorum. No more than a low murmur of approval greeted Lord Dunseverick's words; but the men looked as if they wished to cheer vehemently. The red-haired boy tapped at the door which was marked “Private.” A minute later he invited Lord Dunseverick to pass through it.

Andrew McMunn is a hard-faced, grizzled little man, with keen blue eyes. He can, when he chooses, talk excellent English. He prefers, when dealing with strangers, to speak with a strong Belfast accent, and to use, if possible, north of Ireland words and phrases. This is his way of asserting independence of character. He admires independence.

His office is a singularly unattractive room. He writes at a large table, and has a fireproof safe at his elbow. There are three wooden chairs ranged against the wall opposite the writing-table. Four photographs of steamers, cheaply framed, hang above the chairs. They are The Andrew McMunn, The Eliza McMunn, and, a tribute to the deceased Jimmy, The McMunn Brothers. These form the fleet owned by the firm, and carry coal from one port to another, chiefly to Belfast. On the chimney-piece under a glass shade, is a model of The McMunn Brothers, the latest built and largest of the ships.

“Good-morning to you, my lord!” said McMunn, without rising from his seat.

He nodded towards one of the chairs which stood against the wall. This was his way of inviting his visitor to sit down. His eyes were fixed, with strong disapproval, on the cigarette, which still smoked feebly in Lord Dunseverick's hand.

“Your clerk gave me a hint,” said Dunseverick, “that you object to tobacco.”

“It's my opinion,” said McMunn, “that the man who pays taxes that he needn't pay—I'm alluding to the duty on tobacco, you'll understand—for the sake of poisoning himself with a nasty stink, is little better than a fool. That's my opinion, and I'm of the same way of thinking about alcoholic drink.”

Lord Dunseverick deposited the offending cigarette on the hearth and crushed it with his foot.

“Teetotaller?” he said. “I dare say you're right, though I take a whisky-and-soda myself when I get the chance.”

“You'll no get it here,” said McMunn; “and what's more, you'll no' get it on any ship owned by me.”

“Thank you. It's as well to understand before-hand.”

“I'm a believer in speaking plain,” said McMunn. “There's ay less chance of trouble afterwards if a man speaks plain at the start. But I'm thinking that it wasn't to hear my opinion on the Christian religion that your lordship came here the day.”

McMunn, besides being a teetotaller, and opposed to the smoking of tobacco, was the president of a Young Men's Anti-Gambling League. He was, therefore, in a position to throw valuable light on the Christian religion.

“I came to settle the details about this expedition to Hamburg,” said Lord Dunseverick.

“Well,” said McMunn, “there's no that much left to settle. The Brothers is ready.”

The Brothers?

The McMunn Brothers. Thon's the model of her on the chimneypiece.”

Lord Dunseverick looked at the model attentively. It represented a very unattractive ship. Her bow was absurdly high, cocked up like the snout of a Yorkshire pig. Her long waist lay low, promising little freeboard in a sea. Her engines and single funnel were aft. On a short, high quarterdeck was her bridge and a squat deck-house. She was designed, like her owner, for purely business purposes.

“You'll have the captain's cabin,” said McMunn. “Him and me will sleep in the saloon.”

“Oh, you're coming too?”

“I am. Have you any objection?”

“None whatever. I'm delighted. We'll have a jolly time.”

“I'll have you remember,” said McMunn, “that it's not pleasuring we're out for.”

“It's serious business. Smuggling rifles in the teeth of a Royal Proclamation is——”

“When I understand,” said McMunn, “and you understand, where's the use of saying what we're going for? I'm taking risks enough anyway, without unnecessary talking. You never know who's listening to you.”

“About paying for the—er—the—er—our cargo? Is that all arranged?”

“They'll be paid in bills on a Hamburg bank,” said McMunn.

“Won't they expect cash? I should have thought that in transactions of this kind——”

“You're not a business man, my lord; but I'd have you know that a bill with the name of McMunn to it is the same as cash in any port in Europe.”

“Well, that's your part of the affair. I am leaving that to you.”

“You may leave it What I say I'll do. But there's one thing that I'm no quite easy in my mind about.”

“If you're thinking about the landing of the guns——”

“I'm no asking what arrangements you've made about that. The fewer there is that knows what's being done in a business of this kind, the better for all concerned. What's bothering me is this. There's a man called Edelstein.”

“Who's he? I never heard of him before.”

“He's the Baron von Edelstein, if that's any help to you.”

“It isn't. He's not the man we're buying the stuff from.”

“He is not. Nor he wasn't mentioned from first to last till the letter I got the day.”

He turned to the safe beside him and drew out a bundle of papers held together by an elastic band.

“That's the whole of the correspondence,” he said, “and there's the last of it.”

He handed a letter to Lord Dunseverick, who read it through carefully.

“This baron,” he said, “whoever he is, intends to pay his respects to us before we leave Hamburg. Very civil of him.”

“It's a civility we could do without. When I'm doing business I'd rather do it with business men, and a baron, you'll understand, is no just——”

“I'm a baron myself,” said Lord Dunseverick.

“Ay, you are.”

McMunn said no more. He left it to be understood that his opinion of barons in general was not improved by his acquaintance with Lord Dunseverick.

“I don't think we need bother about Von Eddstein, anyway,” said Lord Dunseverick. “What harm can he do us?”

“I'm no precisely bothering about him,” said McMunn; “but I'd be easier in my mind if I knew what he wanted with us.”

“We sail to-night, anyway,” said Lord Dunseverick.

“Ay, we do. I tell't Ginty. He's the captain of The McMunn Brothers, and a good man.”

“I've met him. In fact——”

“If you've met Ginty you've met a man who knows his business, though I wish he'd give over drinking whisky. However, he's a strong Protestant and a sound man, and you can't expect perfection.”

“Capital!” said Lord Dunseverick. “It's a great comfort to be sure of one's men.”

“I wish I was as sure of every one as I am of Ginty,” said McMunn. “I'm no saying that your lordship's not sound. The speech you made last night at Ballymena was good enough, and I'm with you in every word of it; but——”

“Oh, speeches!” said Lord Dunseverick.

He was uneasily conscious that he had allowed himself to be carried away by the excitement of the occasion when speaking at Ballymena. It was right and proper to threaten armed resistance to Home Rule. It was another thing to offer a warm welcome to the German Emperor if he chose to land in Ulster. The cold emphasis with which McMunn expressed agreement with every word of the speech made Lord Dunseverick vaguely uneasy.

“Ay,” said McMunn; “your speeches are well enough, and I don't say, mind you, that you're not a sound man; but I'd be better pleased if you were more serious. You're too fond of joking, in my opinion.”

“Good heavens!” said Lord Dunseverick. “I haven't ventured on the ghost of a joke since I came into your office!” He looked round him as he spoke, and fixed his eyes at last on the fireproof safe. “Nobody could.”

“It's no what you've said, it's your lordship's appearance. But it's too late to alter that, I'm thinking.”

“Not at all,” said Lord Dunseverick. “I'll join you this evening in a suit of yellow oilskins, the stickiest kind, and a blue fisherman's jersey, and a pair of sea-boots. I'll have——”

“You will,” said McMunn, “and you'll look like a play actor. It's just what I'm complaining of.”

II

The McMunn Brothers lay, with steam up, at a single anchor a mile below the Hamburg quays. The yellow, turbid waters of the Elbe swept past her sides. Below her stretched the long waterway which leads to the North Sea. The lights of the buoys which marked the channel twinkled dimly in the gloom of the summer evening. Shafts of brighter light swept across and across the water from occulting beacons set at long intervals among buoys. Above the steamer lay a large Norwegian barque waiting for her pilot to take her down on the ebb tide. Below The McMunn Brothers was an ocean-going tramp steamer. One of her crew sat on the forecastle playing the “Swanee River” on a melodeon.

McMunn, Ginty, and Lord Dunseverick were together in the cabin of The McMunn Brothers. McMunn, dressed precisely as he always dressed in his office, sat bolt upright on the cabin sofa. In front of him on the table were some papers, which he turned over and looked at from time to time.

Beside him was Ginty, in his shirt sleeves, with his peaked cap pushed far back on his head. He sat with his elbows on the table. His chin, thrust forward, rested on his knuckles. He stared fixedly at the panelling on the opposite wall of the cabin. Lord Dunseverick, who had a side of the table to himself, leaned far back. His legs were stretched out straight in front of him. His hands were in his pockets. He gazed wearily at the small lamp which swung from the cabin roof.

For a long time no one spoke. It was Lord Dunseverick who broke the silence in the end. He took his cigarette-case from his pocket.

“You may say what you like about tobacco, McMunn,” he said, “but it's a comfort to a man when he has no company but a bear with a sore head.”

“Ay,” said McMunn, “you'll smoke and you'll smoke, but you'll no make me any easier in my mind by smoking.”

Ginty drew a plug of black tobacco from his pocket, and began cutting shreds from it with a clasp knife. He was apparently of opinion that smoking would relieve the strain on his mind.

“I'm no satisfied,” said McMunn.

“I don't see what you have to grumble about,” said Lord Dunseverick. “We've got what we came for, and we've got our clearance papers. What more do you want? You expected trouble about those papers, and there wasn't any. You ought to be pleased.”

“There you have it,” said McMunn. “According to all the laws of nature there ought to have been trouble. With a cargo like ours there ought to have been a lot of trouble. Instead of that the papers are handed over to us without a question.”

“It's peculiar,” said Ginty. “It's very peculiar, and that's a fact.”

“Then there's the matter of those extra cases,” said McMunn. “How many cases is there in the hold, Ginty?”

“A hundred, seventy-two.”

“And the contract was for one-fifty. What's in the odd twenty-two? Tell me that.”

“Pianos,” said Lord Dunseverick. “Look at your clearance papers. 'Nature of Cargo—Pianos.'”

“You'd have your joke,” said McMunn, “if the flames of hell were scorching the soles of your boots.”

“It's peculiar,” said Ginty.

“It's more than peculiar,” said McMunn. “I've been in business for thirty years, and it's the first time I ever had goods given me that I didn't ask for.”

“Well,” said Lord Dunseverick, “if we've got an extra five hundred rifles we can't complain. There's plenty of men in Ulster ready to use them.”

“Maybe you'll tell me,” said McMunn, “why they wouldn't let me pay for the goods in the office this afternoon. Did anyone ever hear the like of that—a man refusing money that was due to him, and it offered?”

“It's out of the course of nature,” said Ginty.

“They told you,” said Lord Dunseverick, “that you could pay Von Edelstein, and he'd give you a receipt.”

“Ay, Von Edelstein. And where's Von Edelstein?”

“He's coming on board this evening,” said Lord Dunseverick. “But you needn't wait for him unless you like. We've got steam up. Why not slip away?”

“Because it's no my way of doing business,” said McMunn, “to slip away, as you call it, without paying for what I've got I'm a man of principle.”

“Talking of your principles,” said Lord Dunseverick, “what did you bring on board in that basket this afternoon? It looked to me like beer.”

“It was beer.”

“I'm glad to hear it,” said Lord Dunseverick. “Let's have a couple of bottles.”

Ginty took his pipe from his mouth and grinned pleasantly. He wanted beer.

“You'll be thinking maybe,” said McMunn, “that I'm going back on my temperance principles?”

“We don't think anything of the sort,” said Lord Dunseverick. “We think that foreign travel has widened your principles out a bit That's what we think, isn't it, Ginty?”

“My principles are what they always were,” said McMunn, “but I've some small share of commonsense. I know there's a foreigner coming on board the night, a baron and a dissipated man——”

“Come, now,'“ said Lord Dunseverick, “you can't be sure that Von Edelstein is dissipated. You've never met him.”

“He's a foreigner and a baron,” said McMunn, “and that's enough for me, forbye that he's coming here under very suspicious circumstances. If I can get the better of him by means of strong drink and the snare of alcoholic liquors——”

“Good Lord!” said Lord Dunseverick. “You don't expect to make a German drunk with half a dozen bottles of lager beer, particularly as Ginty and I mean to drink two each.”

“There's a dozen in the basket. And, under the circumstances, I consider myself justified I'm no man for tricks, but if there's any tricks to be played, I'd rather play them myself than have them played on me. Mind that now. It's the way I've always acted, and it's no a bad way.”

“Gosh,” said Ginty, “there's somebody coming aboard of us now. The look-out man's hailing him.”

He left the cabin as he spoke.

A few minutes later Ginty entered the cabin again. He was followed by a tall man, so tall that he could not stand quite upright in the little cabin.

“It's the baron,” said Ginty.

Guten Abend,” said McMunn.

He possessed some twenty more German words, and knew that “beer” was represented by the same sound as in English. The equipment seemed to him sufficient for the interview.

“I have the good fortune to speak English easily,” said Von Edelstein. “Am I addressing myself to Mr. McMunn?”

“Ay,” said McMunn, “you are. And this is Lord Dunseverick, a baron like yourself.”

Von Edelstein bowed, and held out his hand.

“I prefer,” he said, “my military title, Captain von Edelstein. I believe that Lord Dunseverick also has a military title. Should I say colonel?”

“As a matter of fact,” said Lord Dunseverick, “I'm not in the Army.”

“I understand,” said Von Edelstein. “You are in the Volunteers, the Ulster Volunteers. But, perhaps I should say general?”

“I don't call myself that,” said Lord Dunseverick.

“As a matter of fact, my rank is not officially recognized, in England, I mean.”

“Ah, but here—we recognize it I assure you, general, we regard the Ulster Volunteers as a properly constituted military force.”

McMunn had been groping in a locker behind him. He interrupted Von Edelstein by setting a basket on the table.

“Beer,” he said.

Von Edelstein bowed, and sat down.

“Ginty,” said McMunn, “get some tumblers. And now Baron——”

“Captain,” said Von Edelstein.

“Well get to business. What's in them twenty-two cases that was dumped into our hold today?”

“Ah,” said Von Edelstein, smiling. “A little surprise. I hope, I feel confident, a pleasant surprise, for my comrades of the Ulster Volunteer Force.”

Ginty entered the cabin carrying three tumblers and a corkscrew. The beer was opened and poured out Von Edelstein raised his glass.

“To the Ulster Volunteer Force,” he said, “and to the day when the pleasant little surprise we have prepared for you may prove a very unpleasant surprise for—the enemy.”

He bowed and drank.

“What's in them cases?” said McMunn.

“Gentlemen,” said Von Edelstein, “something that will be of great value to you—machine guns.”

“We didn't order them,” said McMunn, “and I'm not going to pay for them.”

“I am not authorized,” said Von Edelstein, “to reveal secrets of State; but I think I may trust your discretion so far as to say that one very highly placed desires that the Ulster Volunteer Force should be thoroughly equipped for war. It is his wish:——”

“Baron,” said McMunn, “here's a bill drawn on my firm for the price of the rifles. I'll trouble you for a receipt, and in the matter of the contents of them cases—I don't say they're not machine guns, but I've no way of knowing at present. If it turns out that they're any use to us we may strike a bargain, but I'll no pay for a pig in a poke.”

He laid his bill and a form of receipt on the table. Von Edelstein pushed them aside.

“Gentlemen,” he said, “between comrades in arms there is no question of payment. It is the wish of one who is very highly placed that your army——”

“But look here,” said Lord Dunseverick, “we are not comrades in arms, as you call it.”

“Ah,” said Von Edelstein. “Not to-day, not to-morrow perhaps. But who knows how soon? When the word is given, and some batteries of our artillery land in Belfast to support your excellent infantry——”

“What's that?” said Ginty.

“And a regiment of Prussian Guards——”

“There'll be no Prussians in Belfast,” said Ginty, “for we'll not have it.”

“I am afraid,” said Lord Dunseverick, “that you've got some wrong idea into your head.”

“But,” said Von Edelstein, “you cannot fight alone. You would be—what do you call it?—you would be wiped out Even the English Army could do that. You have no artillery. You have no cavalry. What are you but——”

“Who said we were going to fight the English Army?” said Lord Dunseverick.

“If you think we're a pack of dirty rebels,” said Ginty, “you're making a big mistake. We're loyal men.”

“But if you are not going to fight the English,” said Von Edelstein, “God in heaven, who are you going to fight?”

“Young man,” said McMunn, “you're drinking beer in my ship, a thing which is clean contrary to my principles, though I'm putting up with it; but you're going beyond the beyonds when you sit here and take the name of the Almighty in vain. I'll trouble you not to swear.”

Von Edelstein stared at him in blank amazement Then very slowly a look of intelligence came over his face. He turned to Lord Dunseverick.

“I think I understand,” he said. “You do not quite trust me. You fear that I may be a spy in the pay of infamous Englishmen. But you are mistaken—entirely mistaken. I offer you proof of my good faith. General, be so kind as to read my commission.”

He drew a folded document from his pocket, and spread it out before Lord Dunseverick.

“It is signed,” he said, “as you see, by the Emperor himself. It places my services, the services of Captain von Edelstein, of the Prussian Guard, at the disposal of the Ulster Volunteer Force, as military organiser.”

Lord Dunseverick glanced at the document before him. He read parts of it with close attention. He laid his finger on the signature as if to convince himself by actual touch that it really was what it seemed to be.

“You see,” said Von Edelstein, “I am to be trusted. When you and I are fighting side by side against the cursed English, your enemies and ours——”

Von Edelstein was still smiling. What happened then happened in an instant Lord Dunseverick struck the German full on the mouth with his fist Von Edelstein's head went back. His hands clutched convulsively at the tablecloth. Before he had recovered, Lord Dunseverick hit him again, beat him down on the cabin sofa, and struck blow after blow at his face.

“You infernal scoundrel,” he said, “do you take me for a traitor?”

“Quit it,” said McMunn. “Quit it when I tell you. You cannot kill the man with your naked fists, and you'll break the furniture.”

Ginty drew a long coil of rope from a locker. He tied up Von Edelstein and laid him, a helpless figure, on the table.

“It's my opinion,” said McMunn, “that we'd better be getting out to sea.”

“I'm thinking the same,” said Ginty.

He went on deck. Soon The McMunn Brothers was under way.

Lord Dunseverick looked at the prostrate Von Edelstein.

“What are we going to do with him?” he asked.

“Drown him,” said McMunn.

A trickle of blood was running down Von Edelstein's chin. He spat out some fragments of broken teeth.

“It appears,” he said, “that I have made a mistake about your intentions.”

“You've offered an outrageous insult to loyal men,” said McMunn.

“A mistake,” said Von Edelstein, “but surely excusable. I have in my pocket at the present moment—would you be so kind as to feel in my breast pocket? You'll find some papers there, and a newspaper cutting among them.”

Lord Dunseverick slipped his hand into the prisoner's pocket. He drew out a number of letters and a newspaper cutting. It was a report, taken from the Belfast News Letter, of the speech which he had made at Ballymena a fortnight before. He had proclaimed the Kaiser the deliverer of Ulster. His own words stared him in the face. McMunn took the cutting and glanced at it. He thumped his fist on the table.

“I stand by every word of it,” he said. “We will not have Home Rule.”

“You are a curious people,” said Von Edelstein. “I thought—and even now you say——”

“That speech,” said McMunn, “was made for an entirely different purpose. If you thought that we wanted a German Army in Ulster, or that we meant to fire on the British flag——”

“It is exactly what I did think,” said Von Edelstein.

“You're a born fool, then,” said McMunn.

“Perhaps,” said Lord Dunseverick, “we ought not to drown him. Suppose we take him home, and hand him over to the Ulster Provisional Government?”

“I wish you would,” said Von Edelstein, “I am a student of human nature. I should greatly like to meet your Ulster Government.”

“You'll maybe not like it so much when they hang you,” said McMunn, “and it's what they'll do.”