CHATTING TO JANE
WALKING TO CHURCH
ORANGE ORDER MEETING
”That was a good match”, said Duncan Self catching his breath and flicking some mud off his football jersey. Duncan was six feet tall and broad shouldered though tending to corpulence. He had dense warm brown hair, a pale complexion that spoke of his twenty years, slightly thin lips and and well proportioned face that was dashed with feint freckles.
”It was but we could have licked them”, said Denis Edwards wiping the perspiration of his teenage brow. Denis was 6’2” and blessed with a crop of thick blond hair that was carefully brushed. He was slim but not feeble. His eyes were incongruously hazel on a pale though healthy and perfectly unblemished face and he had a Roman nose protruding from a strikingly handsome face.
”Two-two. We could have thrashed them papists” said Jude Conroy through bucked teeth. ”That first goal the papists scored – I think our goalie let it in on purpose. He is a papist pig – don’t forget.” His eyes blazed with sheer hatred. Jude stood barely 5’3” and was porcine. His chestnut brown hair was lank and greasy. Jude was slightly stooped from being to idle to draw himself up to his full height. In his early twenties he already had a slight self-inflicted crooked back. His oval face was olive tinted and his brown eyes blazed malevolence and resentment. Jude was stooped and seemed to hold himself in as if hoarding spite. His uneven teeth were permanently set on edge. ”Fucking Fenians” he growled up rancorously from asthmatic lungs.
”Leave it out” said Duncan wearily. ”Alan is a fine goalie. He plays his best for us. Does not matter he is a Catholic.” He had heard Jude’s screeds too many times.
”Yeah” said Denis engaginly, ”Alan O’Rourke is on our time and if you don’t like it then leave. I think we only drew because you were so lazy in defence.”
”Well I have flat feet. And asthma and I broke my leg this match.” said Jude.
”Broke your leg? You broke your leg did you?’‘ said Duncan vividly. ”I suppose you blame that on the Catholics too.” The asthmawas true and Duncan knew it.
”I never said a bad word about papishes in my life”, said Jude without a hint of irony. He turned and walked off in a sulk across the damp, dark green fields.
Steam rose off the teenage players in the cool spring afternoon. They nattered as they walked back down the unpaved country rode past briars and brambles with wild bushes and tangled hedges just coming into bloom. In a few minutes they reached the edge of the market town of Dunmore with its rows of red brick houses, slate grey houses and the odd white washed cottage.
”I remember when I was in the Boys’ Brigade – we were the best football team in Tyrone” said David Henderson. David stood 5’9” and was an average build. His skin was exceptionally pale and rosy cheeks lent point to this pallor. His brown eyes flashed with exuberance and a brooding folly lay under his sharp facial features. His dark brown hair was messily cast over his narrow brow. There was a gap between the middle of his unusually sharp teeth.
”Best in Tyrone? We were quite good but we were not that good” said Duncan indulgently.
”It is true. Catholics cannot play football. Not the two left feet – that’s nonsense. But they spend most of their time playing Gaelic and hurling and suchlike.” said David. ”Not real football.”
”Well maybe that’s so.” said Duncan, ”But I think you are letting your drama get the better of you. How do you know Gaelic is not older than our football?”
”I am a serious actor. I will get a big part in no time – you’ll see.” said David defiantly. He took a cigarette of his pocket and lit it.
”Serious actor – that is another word barman is it?” chortled Denis.
David took a fraught drag on his cigarette and exhaled.
”I am just a barman till I make it big. You’ll see. You saw my star at the pantomime in Dungannon? There’s a theatre in Londonderry is very interested in me. ” said David compellingly. He then offered his pack of Woodbines around. Duncan and Denis both took one and thanked him before lighting up.
Apropos of nothing Duncan turned to Denis. ”Denis did you see this thing in the Belfast Newsletter – there is a Home Rule Bill going before Parliament.”
”yes, I did. Haven’t I a brother a journalist on the Newsletter? ” said Denis. He was unmistakably proud of his brother.
”Home Rule – could that get through? Last election Liberals hardly mentioned it. I used to like Asquith. They won’t do it – not to Ulster at any rate.” said Duncan concernedly.
”I am not so sure. They might do. Asquith needs the Home Rulers. That was only way he got the People’s Budget. That Lloyd George is trying to sell us down the river just like he betrayed the whole country in the South African War.” said Denis tutting. ”My uncle was there ten years ago with the Royal Irish Fusiliers.”
”You two talking politics again? Give over, will you?’‘ said David.
”I shall see you down the pub tonight” said Denis peeling off towards his home.
”See youse there” said David cheerily.
Once Denis started to walk down his unpaved lane towards his red brick single story house then David turned to Duncan.
”You know the Roman Catholics asked if we could play on the Sabbath?” asked David.
”Play on Sunday? They didn’t?” said Duncan.
”They did. I see them playing their GAA game on the Lord’s day all the time.” said David in horror.
”Now to be fair the boys we played football against do not play GAA. Gaelic Athletic Association will not let them. They either play football or they play GAA. GAA bigots will not play football because it comes from England.” said Duncan.
”I suppose they won’t speak English because it comes from England, won’t touch a Bank of England pound note, won’t drink tea because it comes from China. ” said David.
”Won’t they claim their pensions as England subsidises Ireland.” said Duncan wryly.
”My father is a big noise in the Lord’s Day Observance Society. The Sabbath is the Lord’s Day and we shall keep it holy. No work – not thy manservant not thy maidservant.’‘ David intoned gravely.
”I do not mind a child kicking a ball on Sunday. Seems a big excessive to me – this no games on Sunday. But everyone knows a team will not play a proper game on a Sunday.” said Duncan.
”Now that is the first step to Rome. I am not that godly but you know that playing sport on a Sunday is not on.’‘ said David.
”It does not matter to me. The GAA play their games on Sunday and the police do not stop them. Does not bother me but the Catholic team was foolish to ask us if we would play. Captain of the Queen of Clergy was foolish to ask.” said Duncan.
”Queen of Clergy who is that?” said David in puzzlement.
”That team we just played from Carrickmore – they are called the Queen of Clergy. Queen of Clergy is the Virgin Mary.” said Duncan.
”Queen of Clergy – Virgin Mary. What a queer name.” David disapprovingly.
”Catholic teams have their patron or patroness saint.” said Duncan.
”Good morning at school was it?’‘ said David changing the subject.
”Yes it was – most of the pupils turned up. Only a few helping on family farms and shops.” said Duncan. His cigarette was finished and he cast the butt aside.
”I see. I would have loved to have been a teacher but family finances would not stretch to that. But being a barman is great. When the pipkin is about to go off the landlord sells it to us at half price.” said David.
Duncan tried not to wince. Though David was only 17 he had noticed that David drank far too much. Duncan chose to bite his tongue.
”Those woodbines are splendid. Cleans the lungs – so the doctor says. Relaxes the larynx.”said Duncan.
”You should give them to your pupils/” said David. He was not joking.
”Well I do sometimes but only when they are over the age of ten. But there are a few fathers who object – religious grounds. Not Church of Ireland or even Presbyterians. There are some low church folk with very funny ideas. You know those who go to gospel hall. Puritans really.” said Duncan.
”Ridiculous. Just because cigarettes make you feel good. Smoking is no sin.” said David. ”The Good Lord would not have made tobacco for us if he did not want us to smoke.”
”You are right. That is natural theology – like William Paley.” He chuckled but meant what he said. ”Don’t the Church of Ireland rectors smoke and the Presbyterian ministers smoke? It is the most innocent thing in the world.” said Duncan. ”It is an innocent pleasure. One of the fathers – he found his teenage son smoking and he thrashed him with a horse whip. I know a father has the right to discipline his children but that was too much.”
”I agree. Why would anyone be against smoking? It is as strange as being a Catholic” said David.
”It is it is. But Catholics are not so different.” said Duncan. ”Anyway Catholic priests smoke. Nothing wrong with that.”
”You are right. They are not so different. There is that fella on our team. Could not find a goalie so we took a Catholic. Supposed to be a Protestant team but he is as a good a lad as any of them.” said David.
”I got to turn here. This is my lane’‘ said Duncan.
”Off you go.” said David.
TEA WITH JANE
After Duncan got home he washed and changed his clothes he went downstairs. His parents and sister Anna were there at the kitchen table of their two up two down abode having afternoon tea. Anna’s nine year old daughter Jane was there.
Jane was a chubby child with mid brown hair in French plaits and rubicund cheeks. Despite her rotundity she walked with a gait that spoke of lengthy countryside rambles.
”Uncle Duncan what is the Orange Order?” she asked in a Southern English accent.
”Of course you would not know that having grown up in England. Well now you are back in Ireland you need to know.” said Duncan indulgently.
”I asked daddy but he does not know.” said Jane.
”Well your daddy is English and in Buckinghamshire there are no Orange lodges.’‘ said Duncan.
”All right we, the Protestants, came here well on 300 years ago. We came from England and Scotland. A few from Wales and even the Isle of Man. Anyway – the English and the Scots totally intermarried here in Ireland. That is why we are the most British of all. The perfect mix of English and Scots. There were already Catholics here in Ireland – especially in the south. ANyway then there was the Catholic King James II.” said Duncan avuncularly.
‘‘King of England?” Jane clarified?
”King of Ireland too and King of Scots.” said Duncan. ”James II made a secret treaty with the King of France. James II was going to outlaw Protestantism and bring back Catholicism as the established church. James II liked the divine right of kings. You remember the English Civil War?”
”Yes, I do” said Jane.
”Well that was all about that. Divine right of kings. Anyway people found out that James II was trying to impose Catholicism on the people. So they overthrew him. They asked his nephew William of Orange to come over from Holland to be king.” said Duncan.
”His nephew wasn’t it a bit bad to kick out his uncle?” said Jane her faced lined with analysis.
‘‘Well maybe but James II ran away to his friend the King of France. So Parliament decided that he had given up the throne. He did not stay to fight. That was the Parliament of England. The Parliament of Ireland supported James II because most Irishmen are Catholics. Anyway James II came to Ireland to make a stand. The Catholics backed him. William of Orange came over here to the north of Ireland. That is where the Protestants are who supported him and needed his protection. James II and William of Orange fought by the River Boyne. James II lost and ran away to France again. The Catholic cursed him because he let them down. So William of Orange became King William III. He was married to Mary the daughter of James II.” said Duncan.
”What so Mary went against her father?” said Jane.
”Yes, she did.” said Duncan
”But that is against the commandments” said Jane.
”Yes, it is” said Duncan ‘‘but the idea is that James II was taking away the people’s liberty so in this case the commandment had to be broken to serve a greater good. What James had done was an attack on God. A lower commandment may be broken to serve a higher commandment”
”That does not make any sense.” said Jane.
”Perhaps you are right. They call it the Glorious Revolution. I am not so sure. Anyway nobody supports James II and his family now. The Orange Order was founded in about 1790. It is to honour William of Orange – uphold the rule of Parliament, to support Protestantism. It is a charity. They parade to celebrate liberty.” said Duncan.
”So are you a member of it?’‘ asked Jane.
”No, I am not.” said Duncan. ‘‘I do not entirely agree with all they do. There are some decent fellows in the Orange Order. But there are some troublemakers too you know.”
”So are we Irish?” asked Jane.
”Yes, we are Irish. We have been in Ireland for 300 years. Some of us married the Native Irish – you know the Catholics who were here even before us. So we are English, Native Irish, Scots and whatever else. We are Irish. But we are an unusual kind of Irish. ” said Duncan.
‘‘But Uncle Duncan yesterday Lizzy Fitton told me that Nuala O’Flaherty said ‘youse are not Irish. Youse are Protestants and should go back to England where youse belong.’ ” said Jane imitating the local accent.
”Well that is not a nice thing to say. We are not English we probably have some English ancestors a long time ago. We are Irish but we want to stay linked to England.” said Duncan.
”And what was the Relief of Derry? People are always talking about that?” said Jane.
”Well Jane that was 1688 just before the Glorious Revolution. James II sent Catholic troops to the Protestant city of Derry.” said Duncan. He was pleased with her inquisitiveness but this many questions was starting to exasperate him.
That night most of the team foregathered at the Dunmore Arms. The lads were togged out in their suits such as had them. Their shoes were spit polished. The scene was sheened with greased down hair. The pub was thronging with men and only men.
Duncan walked into the pub and it was already echoing with revelry. In the corner a skinny old man with a shaggy white beard played the fiddle as he tapped his toe.
”How’s about you Duncan?” said John King bonhomously. John was 5’9”, broad shouldered and had very dark brown hair atop a square face. John’s dark blue eyes were a little hooded but still very expressive. His nose was a little broad and his teeth had only one filling. John’s semi-sculpted features recommended him to womenfolk. John wore a perfectly tailored navy blue suit, transfiguration white shirt and a dark green tie. His black leather brogues were polished to brilliance. Not a hair was out of place nor was there a crease on his shirt. He stood swilling his pint.
”Ah John – not so and yourself.” said Duncan.
”I am very well. We will beat those papishes next time five nil” said John exuberantly.
Duncan deduced from John’s tone and demeanour that John was not simply talking optimistically – he actually believed it.
”Well it would be nice if it happened” said Duncan soothingly.
”I am one of the best players on the team. Don’t know how I didn’t score. You should have scored too.” said John.
”Oh me? Well thanks but come on we both know I have two left feet. I like the game. Don’t mind much if we lose. We could lose every game in the seasons and I would still enjoy it.” said Duncan placidly.
”I am going to stop working in the shop. A sales clerk is no future. I am thinking of going to be a keeper at the mad house. Now that is a real job and going somewhere. It is sort of scientific. ” said John.
”I saw your results in the schools certificate – you could study medicine” said Duncan/
”Study medicine? Are you joking me? Only posh boys do that. Where would I get the money from? It is a miracle that my father paid for me to stay at school till 17. A waste of money he says. Should have gone off to get a job in the Bank of Ireland, dad said. My uncle wrote me a letter of recommendation because he has an account. I think maybe dad is right. I missed the boat on that one. Any I will go off and work at the lunatic asylum. Lunatics cannot be as hard to handle as some customers. It is good money. I even thought of being a medical orderly in the army. You see the uniform is fine.” said John.
”You are so fastidious about your clothes. It would suit you. You look like a Guardsman.” said Duncan.
”That is the nicest thing we ever said. My cousin Billy is in the Irish Guards you know. Ireland’s finest. Makes me proud to be Irish. Half the men in the Irish Guards are Roman Catholics mind but that’s no harm.” said John.
”But think of it – do you really want to be in the army. What if there is a war?” said Duncan.
”A war. There will be no war. Don’t be silly. I think you should be in the lunatic asylum” John chuckled. ”Now what’ll you have, a drink?”
”Let me have some lager please.” said Duncan.
”Right you are” said John sidling up to the bar and ordering one for Duncan and another for himself. Duncan could tell that John had had a few already.
As John was at the bar Duncan fell into conversation with Mark Walker. ”Hello there Mark” said Duncan.
”Hello Duncan, put it there.” he extended his hand and they shook ardently. Mark was a fleshy faced youth with a mass of dark brown curls. His round ugly faced was disfigured by a bulbous nose liberally covered in carbuncles. His very fair skinned jowls wobbled as he spoke. Mark was not too fast around the pitch.
”A good game we had today”, said Duncan.
”Yes it was all right. I had been hoping to win. I must have not prayed hard enough. The Lord granted a draw to the Catholics.” said Mark.
”I am not sure that the Good Lord involves himself in something so petty as a football match between us and Queen of Clergy.” Duncan felt like laughing but he saw that Mark was in earnest.
”Oh but he does. God is with us in all things great and small.” said Mark. ”I am becoming a deacon so I am going to a course at Queen’s – the Queen’s University of Belfast” he pronounced its name with a proud flourish. Duncan could see that being a deacon would appeal greatly to Mark’s self-importance. Mark took a sip of his pint.
”Very good – Church of Ireland.” said Duncan.
”Yes, Church of Ireland. Presbyterians do not have deacons.” said Mark.
”You are right they don’t but I thought you were brought up as a Presbyterian.”
”I was brought up in both really. I became a bit more Church of Ireland in the last few years. Our church has light, and colour and music and everything positive. ” said Mark.
David came over presently with a pint.
”Ah thanks David” said Duncan. ”Cheers” all three chinked glasses and took a swig.
”Ah …bathing my gums in a frothy pint” said John ”nothing finer.”
Duncan saw the beginnings of redness on John’s nose. He was a functioning dipsomaniac.
”Work at the county council offices this morning.” said Mark. ”Not so fun. But now I have that testamentarium in divinity I do not need to study in my free time”.
”That is a feather in your cap” said Duncan.
Over sidled Thomas Flaherty looking timid. Thomas was 5’10” built like the side of a barn and had dark brown hair. His long face was not usually sorrowful. His skin was an average complexion and his eyes were the clearest blue. Thomas’ cheekbones were prominent and his teeth were a little too large. He was a powerfully built youth.
”Hello Thomas – good to see you” said Duncan loudly.
”Hi fellas” said Thomas finally pulling himself up to his full height. There were handshakes all around. ”Good match. Good skills to teach the boys at school” .
”I wonder which one of us would get to be headmaster first” said Duncan.
They chuckled. ”Sad thing is how some of our boys – really bright lads will have to go into work at 12. You take Sam Igoe. He would love to do secondary school but this June that is it. There are eight children in the family. He has to go out and bring in a wage. Makes me listen to those socialist johnnies when I hear of this happening.”
‘‘Come on” said Mark almost in dismay ”How could the country afford for most children to stay in school after the age of 12. I know I did till 16 but still. It would mean more tax and ruin. Lloyd George is already taxing beer enough” he quipped.
”That’s true” said Thomas – his mood lightening. ”My dad says if the government has so much money why can’t they pay the RIC more?”
”Your father is in the RIC isn’t he?” said Mark remembering. ”The Royal Irish Constabulary” he said with elan. ”That is a fine body of men. I would like to be their chaplain.”
”Is that the beer talking. You getting carried away with yourself? You’ve a secret ambition to be a clergyman?” said Duncan sagely then his face splintered into a smile.
”Ah no” said Mark pompously – looking anxious and suddenly rubbing the bridge of his nose with his forefinger and thumb.
The others laughed at his blatant lie.
”People like us do not get to be clergy in the Church of Ireland” said David. ‘‘You have to be a gentleman, you know a toffee nose with money. We are working class.”
”Thomas’ father is a sergeant in the police I wonder if that is not getting on for middle class.” said Duncan.
”Some on look at you” said David. ” I am a barman. Sharing a room with six other men. After food and beers and fags I have no money left. You are a teacher. I have seen your articles in the county gazette. You get extra for that. You are not so poor. You are middle class.”
”Middle class is a very broad term. I am maybe on the lower end of middle class” said Duncan.
Just then Andrew Saddler entered the pub with an awkward goofy gait. He was 5’5” inclining towards fatness and had slightly receding tawny hair. His forehead was very convex and he wore thin rimmed glasses. His skin was a tad redder than the others and his lips were very thin. His clothes were very tidy but certainly not stylish.
”Speaking of middle class it is Andrew – the finest account’s clerk in Ireland” Duncan joked. The others laughed. He gave Andrew a strong pat on the back. Andrew creased up in embarrassment and went red.
”Right now pint everyone?” so Duncan suggested. ”I have not bought one so far.”
”yes we noticed” said David mirthfully.
Duncan made his way to the bar to purchase pints for his chums.
‘‘How is life at the accountants’ firm?’‘ said Mark.
”It is right enough” said Andrew in a soft monotone. He lowered his eyes.
‘‘Good to hear it is going well.” said David. ‘‘I don’t suppose they would lend me a hundred pounds” he laughed raucously.
”No they would not” said Andrew completely oblivious to the fact that David had been joking. ‘‘If I do well they shall move me to the Omagh office.”
”Omagh now that is a big town. What a thing!” said David with mock flattery.
”Twenty miles away – never been so far in all my life” said Andrew contemplating it as though it daunted him.
”I have been all over Ireland and to England” David bragged.
Duncan returned with the pints.
”Thanks for the bevvies” said David. Alcohol was clearly getting to him.
”Slainte” said Duncan as he chinked his glass against David’s/
”Shla what?’‘ said David.
”Slainte – it is Irish for cheers. Well literally it means health.” said Duncan.
”Why are you speaking Irish. Aren’t you a Protestant?” said David.
”Yes, I am. I was just curious. I only know a few words. We can learn it too. Catholics all speak English so why shouldn’t we know a bit of Irish? There’s this organization called the Gaelic League – encouraging the language. The president of it is Douglas Hyde and he’s a Prod.” said Duncan.
”Gaelic League – is that like the Gaelic Athletic Association? We are Irish. We are not Gaelic.” said David resolutely. ”We should we speak that prate? Ulster-Scots there’s a language. I do not like Gaelic anything. It is for rebels who would cut your throat.”
”We are not Fenians’‘ said Mark firmly. ”As for Catholics speaking English – my granny grew up in Donegal. When she was a wee girl there was some Catholics spoke no English.”
”We are the greatest country in the world.” said Andrew ” That ship we are building in Belfast. It will be the biggest in the world. I can tell you all its statistics – how long it is, how many tonnes displacement…” the others groaned until he stopped. He started there blinking and uncomprehending as to why they would not wish to hear all this information. He mused unhappily as to why everyone did not wish to hear the technical specification of the ships.
”Why on earth are they calling it Titanic?” said David.
”Titans in Ancient Greek mythology – like a titan.’‘ said Duncan ‘‘Let’s hope it does not become a Prometheus” he joked. Only Mark chuckled the others were uncomprehending.
Just then Joel Coles walked in. ”Joel ‘‘they chorused.
Joel was a gaunt little man – not conventionally good looking with thick brown hair in tight little curls. He wore glasses and had woeful teeth that grinned permanently. His ears were larger than he would have liked. His nose was overly prominent. He stalked over looking scarecrowish, hands thrust into his pockets.
”Hi fellas”, said Joel in a high pitched tone that was at once apologetic and truculent.
”You had an all right game today” said Mark.
”I am not one for football but you lads needed me so I came along” Joel looked sheepish.
”Drink for you?” asked Duncan. He had an enviable ability to put even a gauche person at his ease.
”Ah yes I will have a half of bitter” Joel nodded softly . There was something refined about him. He lent on the bar and began drumming his fingers.
”A half – a half? What is wrong with you? Only got on ball?” David sneered. This was no mere persiflage. David was genuinely incensed.
‘‘Calm down will you? The fella only wants a half all right?” Duncan.
”A half, a half!” David carried on fulminating – his face growing redder. Joel went crimson for a different reason and stood rooted to the spot – speechless.
”Leave it out will you?’‘ said Mark. The distant flutters of dialogue died away as other groups began to pay attention to this fracas.
Duncan sidled off to the bar and came back with Joel’s drink. David had finally regained his composure. His eyes were narrowed and he grew melancholic.
”Thanks for very much Duncan” said Joel. He was grateful for more than the drink. ‘‘I do not know how I would have handled David if you hadn’t…”
”Think nothing of it. Good of you to come out so it was. I know football is not your thing nor drinking. Let’s not talk about that fool.” said Duncan. Joel brightened – seeing Duncan as almost a savior.
”It is going well at the solicitor’s firm. The gaffer says I am a good clerk. Might start articles next year.” said Joel beaming.
”What you got going on at the solicitor’s firm then?” said Duncan.
‘‘Well there is lots of it I am not allowed to talk about but there is one case of embracery going on” said Joel cautiously.
”Embracery, what on earth is that?” said Duncan nonplussed.
‘‘There’s a fella called Fewtrell has been burgling or accused of burgling a lot. He is trying to knobble the jury you know. Anyway, I had better leave it there.” said Joel his voice trailing off.
Just then Tim Mullins came over. He was 6’3” stick thin cursed with crooked front teeth and a misshapen face that somehow befitted his gangly frame.
”Hello fellas how is it going?” Tim said said cheerily.
”Hi Tim” they chorused.
”Tim scorer of the second goal. You saved us” said Duncan.
”Ah too kind” said Tim self-effacingly. ”Anyone could have got that one” he was not fishing for compliments. ”Now lads can I get you anything?” He took orders for drinks and wandered off to the bar.
The conservation had moved on when Tim came back with beers for the others and a lemonade for himself.
”Lemonade – lemonade” snorted David. ‘‘What the hell you doing drinking lemonade in a pub?”
”I don’t drink you know” said Tim calmly.
”Lemonade. You should be too ashamed to show your face in here drinking lemonade aren’t you a real man.” said David.
”Listen I do not drink. It is my religious principle”, said Tim patiently.
‘‘Ah oh you are so good. Are you too much of a miser to buy a real drink. And buying drinks for others. Is that not against our religion? Nothing wrong with Protestants drinking.” said David, ”Some of them papists are teetotal you know” he said coruscatingly.
”There is nothing wrong with Catholics. They don’t like to be called papists you know. Some Prods are teetotal too.” said Duncan.
”You love the Pope do you?” said David rolling around on his stool. His eyes were drawn into slits and his face bright red. ”I do not trust a man that does not drink.”
”David just because you are a drunkard is no reason why Tim should drink. Shut up about it will you. Give over!” said Duncan.
”Jesus drank says so in the Bible,” said David
”I know. It is not a commandment to drink.” said Duncan.
”What are you doing arguing for the papishes?” said David.
”There are plenty of them I like. Come on our goalie? My cousin lives in Mayo. Went to the Catholic school – there was no Protestant one around. They treated him decently. I have Catholic pals too. ” said Duncan.
”My brother was beaten up by Roman Catholics once. Don’t forget the slaughter at Portadown. WHo won the Boyne, hey? What about the Siege of Derry?” said David.
The others jeered at him and he turned away in silence.
”Thomas are you still walking out with Ingrid?” asked Joel.
”I am – I might even propose.” said Thomas very seriously.
”Aren’t you too young to die?” asked Duncan. They others chuckled but Thomas looked choleric.
Just then Alan O’Rourke walked in. He was 5’9” and slim. His very dense, black hair curled in waves. He had a large and wide nose and slightly swarthy complexion.
”Alan” said Duncan warmly and gave him a vigorous handshake. A cheer went up from the others ”the goalie.”
David had been half asleep on his bar stool – he opened his eyes. ”Ah our pet papist” said David.
”Shut up will you” said Duncan
”Yeah put a sock in it!” added Thomas.
Just then a hefty bald headed man turned around. His named was Justin Savage. ”What a papist? A popehead dare to come in here?” his eyes shot hatred at Alan.
Alan stopped in his tracks. Through a gap between his buttons a pectoral crucifix protruded.
”Get the hell out of here you Taig!” shouted Justin clearly on edge ”youse filthy fuckin Fenians are not wanted here.” There was a sudden change in atmosphere.
”You get out of it!” said Duncan. ”Fuck off!” he shot back at Justin. There was a hushed conversation in the corner. Were more going to weigh in.
”Get the Fenian out of here” a square jawed man shouted.
Justin walked up to Duncan – eyeballed him and pressed his chest to Duncan’s. ”You telling me to fuck. Are you a fucking Taig too? I don’t like popery.” in a slow menace.
”I am not. So what if I was. We are all Irish.” said Duncan death staring him back
”We are a different sort to them.” said Justin quietly.
”He is our friend – he is our teammate and he is having a drink with us.” said Duncan his blood racing.
”All right then – one drink’‘, said Justin crestfallen. He turned away and walked back with the little dignity he could muster.
Just then Duncan felt his heart rate double. The fear had hit him now the moment had passed. Had he been stupid? He was tipsy. He sensed that the others had cut him adrift when he had gone toe to toe with Justin.
The others praised Duncan ”good for you – standing up to that fat thug”
”Wow thanks Duncan’‘ said Alan – patting him on the back.
”I would not like a Protestant to be treated like that in a Catholic pub. Do as you would be done by” said Duncan. ‘‘I wanted to tell that fella that he could not dictate how long Alan could stay but I thought I have won. DOn’t push it – don’t provoke him more.”
It was a long bibulous evening.
Well before closing time Tim said ”I must be off home I have church in the morning.” As he bade them farwell David had got a second win.
”Lads who is coming to mine for some whiskey?” said David.
”Ah no thanks it would be almost midnight by the time we get there” said Thomas.
”So what?” said David
”Then it is the Sabbath. Party must be over before midnight.” said Thomas.
”I am the same” said Tim. ”Besides tomorrow we have a meeting at the Orange lodge. It is April – time to start touching up the paint on the Lambeg drum. Not long to go to the marching season so we will start practising the instruments”
”Which lodge are you in?’‘ said Duncan.
”Three twenty-two” said Tim, ”You know the temperance lodge – only temperance one in the district.”
”Temperance” said Duncan ”But I know Sammy Hanson – he is in your lodge and he was having a few pints tonight.”
”Aye – are not against drinking but we are against getting drunk. Now some people cannot stick to that. I prefer to keep it simple. I might be foolish and drink too much so I never touch a drop. I don’t mind if others do” said Tim.
”I see. Well I have seen the harm it can cause. You know the fights and the peelers waiting on the high street to arrest the lads who get into fights. There are some drunkards beat their wives and the children are starving because the father spent all the money on drink.” said Duncan.
”I know” said Thomas ” there was a jobbing builder in Strabane – he used to pay his men on a Friday night in the pub. ”Will you stay for a round?” – he says ”. Come on don’t me a miser like” and the fellows are spending half their wages getting drunk because the builder is in league with the publican. He is getting a cut of all the takings.”
‘‘There would be no fighting on the Twelfth of July is there was no drinking. A glorious twelfth is a dry twelfth. It is a great show we put on” said Tim..
”It is a great show!’‘ Alan chipped in. ”I love to watch. My pal at the work is in your lodge.”
”Who is he?” said Tim.
”Jack Caithness” said Alan O’Rourke.
”Caithness? The lad with the long chin. I know him.” said Thomas ”He might be worshipful master next year. My uncle was worshipful master last year. You know who else is in the lodge? Lord Douglas Johnson. Think of it! Titled people! That man went to Eton and to University and he is in our lodge. When my uncle was worshipful master Lord Johnson had to be respectful to my uncle and my uncle’s only a butcher.” said Tim
”It is amazing what the Orange Order does for equality. I thought of joining. ” said Duncan. ”A peer of the realm and he is subordinate to a butcher.”
”Amazing what it does for your career.” said Tim ‘‘ A bit like the Freemasons. Look at David Head. He would not have got into the police if he had not been in the Orange Order. He cannot write well. Look at him now a sergeant in Galway.”
‘‘Difference is the Orange Order is Protestants only” said Thomas.
”Well yes but Catholics are allowed in the Freemasons but the Catholic Church will not allow them join. Some of them join anyway/” said Tim.
”I find that hard to believe. Roman Catholics will always do what the pope says. They are said and led by that man in Rome.” said Thomas. He then turned to Alan. ”Ah sorry about that Alan no offence like.”
”Ah well it is not so bad. The pope is a very good man and a very educated man. ” said Alan.
”Well yes I can agree on that” said Thomas awkwardly. ”You have a sort of Orange Order too don’t you?”
”A green order?” Alan quipped. They chuckled. ”Yes we do the Ancient Order of Hibernians.”
”That’s it!’‘ said Thomas.
”I am not in it but my brother Vincent is. Really looks after people a friendly society. Not so big here. Big in America. My cousin in Baltimore says it is huge there.” said Alan.
”Makes me want to join!” said Duncan. They all chortled. ”This is why I think of joining the Orange Order. Great to be marching up and down with your pals – proud in the sash and the music is banging out the tattoo. Then you pay in and if you fall sick or out of work your loyal brethren will help you out because you paid in.”
”It is the same in the Hibernians” said Alan.
”You see Roman Catholics like Orange parades” said Tim ”People even keep the Orange walk in the South. It is only a few corner boys and drunkards start trouble. It is not Orangemen who fight. Frankly, the laners who start the trouble could not afford to join the Order. They are stevedores and labourers. only men with good jobs can afford to be Orangemen.”
”It is not just us that starts it – it is Protestants attacks us in the marching seasons.” said Alan.
”There are bad Prods” said Tim. ”But the one;s that start the trouble are almost never Orangemen. They are the riff raff hangs around – follows the Orange walk. The corner boys. They are not Orangemen. Sometimes its the bandsmen. Not everyone in the band is an Orangeman. We even had a Roman Catholic playing the flute in the band!”
”Catholics are not in the Orange Order.” said Alan in astonishment.
‘‘No they are not. He was in the band. You can be a Catholic in the band. He is the only papist I ever knew in an Orange band.” said Tim.
Next day Duncan was walking down the street in his Sunday best. His parents, two sisters , their husbands, his nieces and nephews were with him. They sauntered towards their church. They passed Alan and his family heading to mass. Duncan say Alan and greeted him warmly. ”Hello Alan’‘ he said shaking his hand.
”Hi there Duncan. After mass I am going to see Gaelic. The boys have a big game on against Strabane They are the best team in the county. But Dunmore will be champions of Tyrone if we win!” said Alan.
Duncan’s father chided him. ‘‘Why are you so friendly with them?”
”Because many of them are good people same as ourselves.” said Duncan.
”You are right’‘ said his father totally changing his tone without any sense of irony. ”I have nothing against Roman Catholic. Seamus O’Malley was one of the finest men I ever knew and his brother was a priest!”
As they walked sedately Duncan’s nieces bounded up to him ribbons flailing in her chestnut plaits.
”Uncle Duncan! Uncle Duncan! Why do we always said ‘we believe in a holy Catholic apostolic church’? We are Protestants!” said Jane
”Well Jane. That is a very clever question for a nine year old” said Duncan smiling avuncularly.
”No one else can answer it and they said ask you” said Jane trying not to seem sychophantic.
”Jesus appointed the twelve apostles. One of them Peter became the Pope. The Bishop of Rome we could say. He started the Church. The church was good in the old days.” said Duncan.
”The Pope? But Catholics believe in the Pope.” said Jane.
”Well we know the Pope exists. He is not a bad man but he is not the head of our church. The head of our Church would be the King but we changed that about 50 years ago. Anyway – cut a long story short. The Catholic church was good in the old days. But over time it turned bad. It became all about the wrong sort of men going into it and leading people away from Jesus. Greedy, selfish men more caring for their own titles and money – inventing beliefs that have nothing to do with the Bible. They spent time praying to saints and to Mary and not so much on Jesus. Busy inventing silly ceremonies and mad rules that clergy could not marry – tricking poor people into giving them money or else their relatives would go to hell. They would not let people read the Bible in English because then people would know the word of God. Then along came Martin Luther about 400 years ago some people said that is enough. They protested. Protest like Protestant. We broke away from the Roman Catholic Church. Protestantism was invented. But not all Catholicism was bad. So we say we are Catholics in the sense that we accept the good side of the old church from long, long ago like St Peter. ” said Duncan.
”So we believe in St Patrick?” said Jane?
”Well we do. St Patrick came here in 432 to bring Christianity. He set up the Church of Ireland. Ireland had its own church. Later Roman Catholicism came. Then the Church of Ireland came back about 400 years ago. ” said Duncan knitting his brow. This was confusing even him.
”So we were Roman Catholics once? ” said Jane looking puzzled.
”Well we were but Roman Catholicism was not so bad back then. The Church of Rome lost its way later. It is not all bad now.” said Duncan.
”So the Catholics do not get to read the Bible?” asked Jane.
”They do. The Roman Catholic Church fought tooth and nail against having the Bible in modern languages in English or French or German. Then after Protestantism came along the Roman Catholic Church admitted that Protestants had been right all along. Protestants had been killed for printing the Bible in a language people could understand. In the old days it was only in Latin because priests understood it and they did not want ordinary folk to be able to understand it because then they would see the priests were tricking them.” said Duncan.
”But the Catholics still speak Latin” said Jane.
”You are right. Their priests are speaking Latin in their church and 9/10 Catholics cannot understand a word.’‘ said Duncan.
”That is very silly. But why Latin. Did Jesus speak Latin?” said Jane.
”No the Bible was in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Jesus lived in the Holy Land. He did not speak Latin. That is what is so stupid about it. Why say the Bible has to be in Latin. It was never in Latin in the first place. The Roman Catholics just translated it into Latin.” said Duncan.
”But you speak Latin uncle Duncan/” said Jane eagerly.
”I can read it I am not that good at it. Nobody speaks it now.” said Duncan.
Jane’s mother Louise caught up with her. ”Now Jane – that is enough. A girl should not want to know so much about religion. When you are grown up who will ever want to marry you if you are always asking such brainy questions?” Louise spoke with genuine irritation.
They arrived at a grey stone church that was not quite a century old. A venerable patina of moss was between its stones. The damp churchyard was the last resting place of strong farmers, shopkeepers and a few labourers.
The congregation attired in grey, dun, black and navy blue shuffled towards the door as the slate coloured sky threatened rain. Every woman wore a hat as she entered the church and every male removed his headgear.
As Duncan approached the church door he saw a girl skipping along the road in her almost ragged clothes. Her mother called after her ‘‘Priscilla! Stop skipping. You are wearing out the leather in your shoes!”
Duncan reflected he had little money. But there were many who had less than him. He knew that many children would take off their shoes the moment they left church and walk barefoot. They could not afford to wear out the leather.
”Ah Duncan how good to see you” said the tranquil voice of Rev Jones. Duncan turned to see the reddish, clean-shaven face of Rev Christopher Jones. Jones was about 40, 5’11”, slim and had black-grey hair perfectly brushed. His docile gentleness made him almost effete. Despite Rev Jones words he was not remotely surprised to see Duncan who came there with a religious regularity.
”Good morning” said Duncan stiffly extending his hand to shake that of the robed clergyman. His robes were transfiguration white.
”Duncan I want to ask if you could help with Sunday school? Perhaps we could speak after the service?” said Reverend Jones.
”Yes, certainly Reverend Jones.” said Duncan.
Duncan filed in and took his seat on the wooden family pew. The church was fairly plain inside. The brass eagle lectern was the most eye catching feature. There were plaques on the walls to those who had been called to their reward. Soldiers who had perished on the North-West Frontier and a low level civil servant who had expired in British Bechuanaland.
There was some lusty singing of ‘Onward Christian soldiers.’ Rev Jones treated his congregation to a blamelessly banal sermon on one of the more forgettable books of the Old Testament. This clergyman spoke in the most genteel of Dublin accents. Duncan paid rapt attention despite the anodyne delivery of the sermon. He was an amateur Biblical scholar. The congregation forced themselves to try to listen. Jane was perhaps the only child to concentrate. The parishoners were told to rise to their feet once more while an old woman bashed out the melody of ‘Abide with me’ and the people sang eagerly. After the collect the service rounded off with a hymn by Mrs C F Alexander.
After the service most of the congregation adjourned to the parish hall. For the poorer congregants free tea and sandwiches were a welcome supplement to a meagre diet.
Tea was almost over in the parish hall. Rev Jones had bided his time till most of his flock had left the parish hall. Then Rev Jones took Duncan aside.
”Duncan you are an admirable young man. A sort of role model for youngsters in the parish. I know you go to the pub and I cannot say I approve but it is not quite a sin.” said Rev Jones with as much enthusiasm as a dull man can muster.
”Thank you Reverend Jones,” said Duncan circumspectly.
”As I was saying earlier – I need a new teacher for Sunday school. Something for the younger children. I know you are so lively when you teach and do drama with them. Something to really bring the Bible stories to life – with trains of camels and David slaying Goliath and the like. So the children know the message of Jesus for our times. Mrs Crutwell is moving to Dublin so we need something new. A bit of help with confirmation classes could not go amiss either,” said Jones growing pessimistic owing to the look on Duncan’s face.
”Thank you so much rector”, said Duncan stiffly. ”It is flattering to be asked. I shall think about it. But I also have to think about my future. I wonder if this will really help me.”
”Yes, certainly” said Jones unconvincingly ”this is the Lord’s work. And there shall be a great reward in heaven. But in time you could become a deacon. Who knows maybe you would even go for ordination one day.”
”Well Rev Jones – being a clergyman might suit me. I seems like a most agreeable lifestyle. But I have not been to university. I could never afford to go to Trinity. As for ordination as a clergyman. I have some problems with my faith. This evolution thing – seems real enough to me.” said Duncan.
”Duncan – there are some very go ahead clergyman here and in England who believe in evolution. I do not believe it myself but it is not incompatible with Christian faith. You know Gladstone noticed that all the things in Genesis and evolution happened in the same sequences. There was water, then fish, then land animals and man came last of all. So this Hebrew word for day it could be interpreted as eon. By some exegeses the two accounts fit.” Rev Jones was almost triumphant.
”Well that is that!” said Duncan as if sold on the idea of teaching at Sunday school.
”Now Duncan there is a course to help you with this it is run by Magee College in Londonderry. It is all paid for.” said Jones.
”But that is a Presbyterian seminary.” said Duncan mildly surprised.
”Yes I know but we have very warm relations with them. We are all Protestants are we not?” said Jones.
‘‘We are all Christians are we not?” said Duncan
”Yes, all children of God. You know this new Roman Catholic priest – Fr Forrester. I have met him. He is a very decent man. But don’t tell people. Some say it will not do for a Church of Ireland clergyman to speak to a Catholic priest. I have read one of those papal encyclicals De Rerum Novarum – very interesting stuff. ” said Jones.
”Rev Jones I am pleasantly surprised. I thought our clergy believed the Catholic Church was wicked.” said Duncan.
”There are a few like that. But as you know those sort of people are more Presbyterian or going to those ghastly gospel halls. They let any yahoo spit fire and brimstone there. Like a circus side show barker.” said Jones.
”Rev Jones you mentioned drama. Could we do a nativity play at Christmas in the parish hall.” asked Duncan.
”Goodness me. I would have to think about it. There might be some churchwardens would not like that one. The theatre has a whiff that is not quite respectable. They would say before you know it we will have girls dancing the can can. Besides the Catholic Church used to use Nativity plays a lot. Golly. It is an exciting idea!” said Jones
Duncan supressed a smirk. For Jones the word ‘golly’ was almost a vulgarity.
The hall was almost empty.
”Duncan you must come around to dinner some time. We have been here a year now. Marjorie and I were lonely when we first came up from Wicklow. But now we and the children have settled in.” Jones looked around to check that no one was in ear shot. ” You don’t know what social twilight it is. I cannot be seen to socialize with Catholics. I cannot be seen to hobnob with the gentry because most of them have a glass of wine on Saturday night and are seen as fast. As for the working class – they would feel out of their depth having dinner with us. As for theatre – I will let you in on a secret. When I was a Trinity I tread the boards myself.”
Duncan was surprised. Rev Jones was perhaps not as bland as he appeared. But Duncan was still minded to get out of Sunday school duty. ”Rev Jones it is an honour to be asked to teach Sunday school. But as Mark Walker is going to be a deacon would it not be better to ask him?”
”Duncan I understand why you say that. Between you and me’‘ Rev Jones started speaking sotto voce ”Mark Walker asked to teach Sunday school. But he is too fond of the sound of his own voice. Pomposity! He would put the children off. I do not want to have to say yes to him. If I cannot get you to do it then I have to let Mark Walker do it and the children might find him a frightful bore.”
Duncan was surprised to hear Rev Jones say frightful. Was it an affectation? Was Rev Jones pretending to be English?
”Well I shall give it due consideration” said Duncan. He began to wonder if he could wring concessions out of Rev Jones. But what to ask for?
”Besides Mark Walker is a big noise in the Orange Order. It is not an organization that I approve of overmuch.’‘ said Rev Jones.
”The lodge will come to order!’‘ said Richard Forshaw. He was 5’11” and wore a black suit and transfiguration white shirt. This middle aged man wore his Orange collarette with a pride that was unseemly as he stood in the Orange Lodge. Richard had a comically large chin and a very wide mouth. His mid brown hair was thinning into a widow’s peak. His pale blue eyes danced kindly on his comical face.
Two dozen Orangemen sat around tables looking at their worshipful master. Most wore suits and some wore humbler clothes. Lord Douglas Johnson, however, wore a perfectly cut dark grey Saville Row suit. Lord Johnson was twenty years old but looked younger. A blue silk tie contrasted with his pink shirt. Old Etonian cufflinks adorned the sleeves. Those who sat on either side of him kept an extra few inches away from him as if not to spoilt his aristocratic aura. Lord Johnson was 5’4” and had blond almost luminous hair and very white skin. He was skinny but had a strong chin and upright manner.
Richard Forshaw continued. ‘‘Now my loyal brethren. We have some business to get through. It being April it is not so long until the marching season. So we shall have to make some arrangements. Time to sort out which band will be accompanying us. To decide which meetings we shall be going to and all that. But before we get started we will have a prayer.”
The Orangeman all bowed their heads and closed their eyes. There was a pause as they gathered themselves into a contemplative frame of mind.
Richard spoke in a tone freighted with sorrow and significance. ”Dear Lord Jesus – we beseech thee to look on us they humble servants with divine grace. Be mindful of our virtues and absolve us from our iniquities and failings. We strive to be better Christians. Strengthen us in our Reformed faith. Help our Roman Catholic brethren to see the error of their ways and to turn onto the straight and narrow way. Lord, defend our liberties and lead us to thy eternal governance. Amen.”
The assembled Orangemen slowly intoned ”Amen”
Richard Forshaw began again. ‘‘Now we shall have have Jude Conroy read up an Orange exhortation.”
Jude Conroy stood up. Still hunched over he delivered his lines with vehemence. ‘‘May the Pope be rammed, slammed and jammed into hell and locked in. May the key be in the Orangeman’s pocket. ”
Several Orangemen applauded.
Tim Mullins raised his hand. ”That is a bit unchristian isn’t it? I know we do not approve of the Pope of Rome. But we are not in cahoots with the devil. ”
”The pope is cursed’‘ said Jude ”he is the whore of Babylon” he seethed.
”He may be but he is not in league with the devil.” said Tim
”Point taken” said Richard ”it was just a bit of doggerel.”
”I am glad to hear it ” said Tim contentedly.
”We will also have to hear about the accounts later. There will be a collection taken later. Everyone has paid their dues.” said Richard.
Lord Johnson put his hand up. ”Worshipful Master” he began in a strikingly plummy tone. ‘‘One of the lads on the estate was saying to me the other day that he is rather keen on joining the Orange Order. The poor chap cannot afford it because he is only an under gardener. Might you be so good as to see your way to letting him off his dues for the first year?”
”Why don’t you pay him more?” quipped Colin York. Some of them laughed.
”Now, now – we shall have no disrespect towards Lord Johnson. ‘‘ Richard chided them. ‘‘With respect your lordship I am afraid the lodge’s finances are tight. We have many calls on our generosity. We have the widows and orphans of Orangemen to support. The lodge roof needs repairing. We simply cannot afford to let someone join for free. If people cannot get aid by joining the order then some brethren will leave. To be frank not everyone is here for religious or political reasons only. We all believe in maintain the Protestant settlement but if the Order did not support the brethren when they were sick or out of work then some brethren would go and join a trades union instead and we do not want socialism.”
‘‘Jason Dorsett is in a trades union isn’t that right?’‘ said Zachary Newsom.
”I am” said Jason awkwardly ”nothing wrong with that. A man is allowed to be a loyal Orangeman and a trades unionist too. There is no rule against it is there worshipful master?”
”No, the brother is right. There is no rule against being in a trades union but it is true that not all the brethren approve.” said Richard
‘‘But there are Roman Catholics in your trades union” said Jude.
‘‘So what nothing that matter with that. There are good papists as there are bad Prods.” said Jason.
”Only a rotten Prod would be in a trades union with the papishes” said Jude scowling. ‘‘You would sell us out to the Fenians.”
”You mind your tongue” said Jason angrily.
”My loyal brethren I remind you we are all Orangemen here. We are all to behave honourably and charitably and disagree with each other politely.” said Richard.
”You employ two Catholics in your butcher’s shop. Could you not give a job to a wee Protestant lad?” said Jude.
”I do employ two Protestants too. one of them is right here.’‘ said Richard looking at Alfred Daventry.
”Yes, that’s me” said Alfred. ‘‘And there is nothing about the Catholics that works with us.”
”No Catholic is any good” said Jude.
‘‘I think we have heard quite enough from you brother” said Richard testily. The others murmured their assent.
Lord Johnson chipped in ”belt up will you Conroy? There’s a good fellow” . It was not intended to be droll but the others could not help burst out in raucous laughter. Conroy was crushed. ‘‘And let’s have no more nonsense about Catholics being so bad. None of us worship the pope but Roman Catholics can be decent sorts. There is a Catholic chappie with me at Christ Church and he is a good egg.”
”Now’‘ said Richard ”On to other business. The marching season may be tense this year. As you know the last several years in Tyrone the marching season has been very peaceful and even the Roman Catholics have come to applaud us. Pride in the town – that is what it is. Everyone likes to see a fine Orange lodge marching down the street with the band playing – even the Catholics like it. But this year tensions may be raised. There is this whole Home Rule thing. As you may have seen in the newspapers the other day the Prime Minister has said he is going to introduce a Home Rule Bill. ”
”Don’t you worry” said Lord Johnson ”My father shall vote it down in the House of Lords like my grandfather did the last one 20 years ago. And even if this Asquith chap were to get it through we shan’t stand for Home Rule. Shan’t! Home Rule is balderdash. Last time Home Rule was threatened my grandfather helped set up this thing called Young Ulster. It was a very fine body of men. I was in my infancy at the time. But it was for loyalists pledged to defend Ulster from the threat of Home Rule. If needs be we shall do it again. Back then the mere show of determination was enough to give Home Rule what for!”
Richard continued. ”That is good to know. We shall not have Home Rule. We do not want it for any part of Ireland. But I have to be honest most people in the South want it. They are Catholics – well most of them. They want Home Rule because they want Rome Rule. We might have to allow it there.”
”Abandon our loyal brethren in the South?” said Jude. ‘‘Never! That is disloyal.”
‘‘We have to be realistic” said Richard ‘‘ We cannot hold on to Munster, Leinster and Connaught. Home Rulers have every county in the South. But here in Ulster it is a different story.”
”We must remember we are not that strong in Ulster either. Half the people in Ulster are Catholics. 9 out of 10 Catholics are Home Rulers. And not every Prod is a unionist.” said Jason.
”Yes, some are rotten Prods like you” said Jude. ‘‘A unionist and a trades unionist are totally different things.”
”Listen – a man can be an Orangeman and a trades unionist. Yes, I am a socialist. Nothing wrong with that. As Protestants we want social justice. ‘‘ said Jason defensively.
”My loyal brethren – if you do not mind let us get back to our agenda. ‘‘ said Richard authoritatively, ‘‘The next item of business is the marching season. As I said there may be some comment on our activities form our Roman Catholic brethren this year. We shall inform the RIC of our concerns. However, the police locally cannot be relied upon. Sergeant Flaherty is a Catholic of course and every policeman in Dunmore is a Catholic. There are some fine Catholic officers of course but Flaherty is a Home Ruler and makes no bones about it!”
”What is wrong with that a man has a right to an opinion. We believe in liberty of conscience.’‘ said Jason.
”Yes, we do of course” said Richard. ”But there may be dark days head. Push may come to shove.”
”Come off it worshipful master” said Lord Johnson, ”Nothing of the sort shall happen. Home Rule? The Tory Party shall never stand for that. Half the Liberals do not believe in it. Believe me I was at school with enough Liberal peers.”
”I think you shall find they are Liberal Unionists – they joined the Conservatives 25 years ago. They more or less are Conservatives now. The actual Liberal Party is hellbent on Home Rule” said Richard,
”Worshipful Master” said Lord Johnson ‘‘You are too defeatist – a faint heart. It is all hot air. It shan’t happen. Now mark this. There shall be no Home Rule!”
‘‘I do not for a moment it will happen in Ulster” said Richard ‘‘It might happen in the rest of Ireland. But we cannot afford to be complacent. We must be vigilant. Yes, we have seen off the threat of Home Rule before. That does not guarantee that we can do so again. The influence of America is growing. America is all for Home Rule. ”
”But there is this idea that America will come back into the Empire.” said Lord Johnson,” Forget their revolution. There was this Rhodes chappie went out to South Africa – made a mint as a miner or something. My uncle owns coal mines by the way. Anyway, Rhodes has this idea that Americans will come back to be with Mother England. So he set up scholarships. I met a few Yanks at Oxford. I met a few Africans too. Funnily enough the Africans are all whiteю Africans want to be under Britain and that’s a jolly good show.”
”Lord Johnson” said Richard, ”With respect I think Cecil Rhodes was living in the past. There is so sign that Americans want to come back to be under Britain.”
Lord Johnson decided not to hear what Richard said.
”I have a question about the marching season” said Jason Dorsett. ‘‘Will we be going to LondnDerry this year?”
”Yes” said Richard, ”the Apprentice Boys of Derry have requested that we attend their march in August for the closing of the Gates against King James.”
”I would rather go to march in Dublin” said Jude. ”I know that LondonDerry is a fine city but we should march in our capital. Come on!”
”I am afraid that lodge in Dublin that used to invite us has not invited us any more for the Orange march there.” said Richard.
”Well that is a pity.” said Jude.
”Well the sight of Orangeman marching anywhere makes me proud to be Irish!” said Richard.