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A Child of the Glens by Edward Newenham Hoare

Tom Kinley knew all about the parties

them on the sands last spring.

It's been heavy on my mind this long time, and I can't go out of the world without explaining all I know about the story. And now to begin at the beginning. It's just about seven years ago, and a couple before we came here, that the children came to us. We were very hard-up at that time, and 'Lisbeth and I were down in heart about loosin' our own wains, when one day I was in the market at Ballymena, and there I met James Kinley. He asked me, would the missus like to make a trifle by taking charge of a couple of children? I said I thought she might, and so he brought me to the hotel, and I saw a young woman as said she and her husband were going abroad, and wished to leave the two little ones with some respectable person in the glens. Well, I saw her a second time, and then it was all settled. She gave us 20 pounds down, and said she would write. I didn't like to ask questions, thinking, perhaps, it wasn't all on the square about the bairns, and so I'm not sure I ever even knew the name rightly--it was Davis, or Davison, or Dawson, or something that way. Tom Kinley knew all about the parties, and so I did not trouble. And then when he went to America there was no one to inquire of. Well, we had one letter about a year after, from some place in Inja, I think, and in it they said they was going further, and mightn't be able to write for some time. There was a directed envelope inside, and I sent off a few lines to say the wains was well. After that we never heard more,
and we always thought the father and mother had got killed in the strange parts they went to. So we never told the young 'uns anything, but determined to make the best shift we could for them. Then came the day they found the body, and this is where my sore trouble began. After Elsie left me, I was still lookin' at the poor dead thing, when it come on me like a dream that I had seen the face before. At first I couldn't think where it was, and then I remembered the lady Kinley had brought me to see in Ballymena. I stooped down to look at her, and then I noticed the chain round her neck. There was no watch on it, but a sort of wee case that opened, and inside there was a picture and a wee bit o' paper folded. You may be sure Mike McAravey had no thought of stealing; but when I saw some one comin', I said to myself, 'These things belong to the wains, and if I leave 'em here they 'll not get 'em unless I tell all I knows.' And my heart bled to think of the children hearing the first of their mother, when they saw her lying dead. So I slipt the chain and case into my pocket, just as George Hendrick came up. Ye remember, perhaps, I was so confused-like I didn't know what I was doing. Maybe ye thought I was scared. Then, when we brought up the body, I went and put the chain under the big heap o' sea-weed. When all the fuss was made at the inquest, I was sorry I had hid the things, but I daren't tell then. And mind ye, Father Donnelly, I told no lie, for there was no watch, and the chain wasn't gold at all, but an old-fashioned silver affair. Even so it was a weight on me, so I thought the best thing I could do was to sell it, and they gave me fifteen shillings in Coleraine. And that's how I got the first money for the monument. The wee case--a locket, I believe, they call it--I 've kept yet. It's made up in a parcel in the corner of the wee box under the bed. And now that's all I 've to say; but I knows this affair, and the way the folk has doubted me has been the cause of my breaking up. And there 's poor Elsie--I believe she swore she didn't see the chain just to keep me out of trouble, and that cut me most of all to be the means o' bringin' the poor innocent lass to tell a lie."

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