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An Isle in the Water by Katharine Tynan

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AN ISLE IN THE WATER

An Isle in the Water

BY KATHARINE TYNAN (Mrs. H.A. Hinkson)

LONDON: ADAM & CHARLES BLACK NEW YORK: MACMILLAN & CO. 1896

TO JANE BARLOW THESE UNWORTHY PRESENTS

CONTENTS

PAGE

1. THE FIRST WIFE 1

2. THE STORY OF FATHER ANTHONY O'TOOLE 12

3. THE UNLAWFUL MOTHER 28

4. A RICH WOMAN 49

5. HOW MARY CAME HOME 67

6. MAURYEEN 84

7. A WRESTLING 102

8. THE SEA'S DEAD 112

9. KATIE 122

10. THE DEATH SPANCEL 136

11. A SOLITARY 148

12. THE MAN WHO WAS HANGED 168

13. A PRODIGAL SON 184

14. CHANGING THE NURSERIES 201

15. THE FIELDS OF MY CHILDHOOD 209

I

THE FIRST WIFE

The dead woman had lain six years in her grave, and the new wife had reigned five of them in her stead. Her triumph over her dead rival was well-nigh complete. She had nearly ousted her memory from her husband's heart. She had given him an heir for his name and estate, and, lest the bonny boy should fail, there was a little brother creeping on the nursery floor, and another child stirring beneath her heart. The twisted yew before the door, which was heavily buttressed because the legend ran that when it died the family should die out with it, had taken another lease of life, and sent out one spring green shoots on boughs long barren. The old servants had well-nigh forgotten the pale mistress who reigned one short year; and in the fishing village the lavish benefactions of the reigning lady had quite extinguished the memory of the tender voice and gentle words of the woman whose place she filled. A new era of prosperity had come to the Island and the race that long had ruled it.

Under a high, stately window of the ruined Abbey was the dead wife's grave. In the year of his bereavement, before the beautiful brilliant cousin of his dead Alison came and seized on his life, the widower had spent days and nights of stony despair standing by her grave. She had died to give him an heir to his name, and her sacrifice had been vain, for the boy came into the world dead, and lay on her breast in the coffin. Now for years he had not visited the place: the last wreaths of his mourning for her had been washed into earth and dust long ago, and the grave was neglected. The fisherwives whispered that a despairing widower is soonest comforted; and in that haunted Island of ghosts and omens there were those who said that they had met the dead woman gliding at night along the quay under the Abbey walls, with the shape of a child gathered within her shadowy arms. People avoided the quay at night therefore, and no tale of the ghost ever came to the ears of Alison's husband.


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