This preview shows page 140 - 142 out of 145 pages.
When they walked up and down together now on the terrace-path he talked usually of old things that had occurred long ago. About them his memory was unfailing and he seemed to linger only on gentle and pleasant things of the past. His animosities, which had been fierce enough, began to fade. He no longer denounced the agitators who had impoverished him, and the Government which he had been used to call their accomplices. Even the name of Walter Burke had less and less power to disturb him. "A time will come," Madam said to herself, "when only I shall remember." Hugh's dog, Rory, an old, very big Irish terrier, crippled with rheumatism, turned one melancholy watchful eye upon her as though he understood the thought. It was a morning of April. All the winter it had been a winter of storms, and if they had no big wind in the sense of those that made history, the piping and shrieking of the wind about the castle and down the long corridors and in the disused rooms had become so familiar a sound that it was as if one always lived in a hurly-burly. The green was on the boughs now, and the sun was warm, but the wind, between the North-West and the South-West, showed no sign of abating. In shelter it was warm enough; and the old dog
lay on the mat which Madam had spread for him in front of the hall-door and basked in the sun. "I believe you remember," she said, stooping to fondle the dog. "But he will never come back. Don't you know that he died in Australia long ago? Even his bones are not laid among us." Hugh had gone away after the ruin had fallen upon them, with some vague, generous youthful dream of building up a fortune for Ardlewy and had never returned. Five years after he had gone they had heard of his death from a chum of his who had watched his last hours in an Adelaide hospital. The news had come a week after Cecilia had been carried in in the sail of a fisherman's boat, drowned and dead. Madam could yet hear the dripping from the sail on the black and white marble pavement of the castle hall into which they had carried her. She wondered how they had all lived to be old, seeing that such things had happened to them. The old dog whimpered as she caressed him and trembled violently. "I believe you remember," she said. "And to be sure Maeve remembers. But she will not remember for long, and when the cloud deepens on her brain it will be a mercy to me." Old Maeve had been curiously excited of late. Once or twice she had muttered half-apologetically that the big wind had got into her head, and that the roaring of it confused her: and, as a matter of fact, that same thing had happened to many persons, some of whom experienced deafness, others headache, and many a confusion of the senses, so that it was no wonder an old half-mad woman, living amid ghosts and the past and thinking, thinking incessantly, should have been affected by it.