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I can only whisper and
gesticulate, and as I am thus freed from responsibility, I share the
emotion of the crowd, and perhaps even feel as they feel when the glass
crashes. Maud Gonne has a look of exultation as she walks with her
laughing head thrown back.

Later that night Connolly carries in procession a coffin with the words
"British Empire" upon it, and police and mob fight for its ownership, and
at last that the police may not capture, it is thrown into the Liffey. And
there are fights between police and window-breakers, and I read in the
morning papers that many have been wounded; some two hundred heads have
been dressed at the hospitals; an old woman killed by baton blows, or
perhaps trampled under the feet of the crowd; and that two thousand pounds
worth of decorated plate glass windows have been broken. I count the links
in the chain of responsibility, run them across my fingers, and wonder if
any link there is from my workshop.

* * * * *

Queen Victoria visits the city, and Dublin Unionists have gathered
together from all Ireland some twelve thousand children and built for them
a grandstand, and bought them sweets and buns that they may cheer. A week
later Maud Gonne marches forty thousand children through the streets of
Dublin, and in a field beyond Drumcondra, and in the presence of a Priest
of their Church, they swear to cherish towards England until the freedom
of Ireland has been won, an undying enmity.

How many of these children will carry bomb or rifle when a little under or
a little over thirty?

* * * * *

Feeling is still running high between the Dublin and London organizations,
for a London doctor, my fellow-delegate, has called a little after
breakfast to say he was condemned to death by a certain secret society the
night before. He is very angry, though it does not seem that his life is
in danger, for the insult is beyond endurance.

* * * * *

We arrive at Chancery Lane for our Committee meeting, but it is Derby Day,
and certain men who have arranged a boxing match are in possession of our
rooms. We adjourn to a neighbouring public-house where there are little
pannelled cubicles as in an old-fashioned eating house, that we may direct
the secretary how to answer that week's letters. We are much interrupted
by a committee man who has been to the Derby, and now, half lying on the
table, keeps repeating, "I know what you all think. Let us hand on the
torch, you think, let us hand it on to our children, but I say no! I say,
let us order an immediate rising."

Presently one of the boxers arrives, sent up to apologise it seems, and to
explain that we had not been recognized. He begins his apology but stops,
and for a moment fixes upon us a meditative critical eye. "No, I will
not," he cries. "What do I care for anyone now but Venus and Adonis and
the other Planets of Heaven."

* * * * *

French sympathisers have been brought to see the old buildings in Galway,
and with the towns of Southern France in their mind's eye, are not in the
least moved. The greater number are in a small crowded hotel. Presently an
acquaintance of mine, peeping, while it is still broad day, from his
bedroom window, sees the proprietress of the hotel near the hall door, and
in the road a serious-minded, quixotic Dublin barrister, with a little boy
who carries from a stick over his shoulder twelve chamber pots. He hears
one angry, and one soft pleading explanatory voice, "But, Madam, I feel
certain that at the unexpected arrival of so many guests, so many guests
of the Nation, I may say, you must have found yourself unprepared." "Never
have I been so insulted." "Madam, I am thinking of the honour of my
country."

* * * * *

I am at Maud Gonne's hotel, and an Italian sympathiser Cipriani, the
friend of Garibaldi, is there, and though an old man now, he is the
handsomest man I have ever seen. I am telling a ghost story in English at
one end of the room, and he is talking politics in French at the other.
Somebody says, "Yeats believes in ghosts," and Cipriani interrupts for a
moment his impassioned declamation to say in English, and with a
magnificent movement and intonation, "As for me, I believe in nothing but
cannon."

* * * * *

I call at the office of the Dublin organization in Westmoreland Street,
and find the front door open, and the office door open, and though the
office is empty the cupboard door open and eighteen pounds in gold upon
the shelf.

* * * * *

At a London Committee meeting I notice a middle-aged man who slips into
the room for a moment, whispers something to the secretary, lays three or
four shillings on a table, and slips out. I am told that he is an Irish
board-school teacher who, in early life, took an oath neither to drink nor
smoke, but to contribute the amount so saved weekly to the Irish Cause.

* * * * *


VI

A few months before I was drawn into politics, I made a friendship that
was to make possible that old project of an Irish Theatre. Arthur Symons
and I were staying at Tillyra Castle in County Galway with Mr. Edward
Martyn, when Lady Gregory, whom I had met once in London for a few minutes
drove over, and after Symon's return to London I stayed at her house,
which is some four miles from Tillyra. I was in poor health, the strain
of youth had been greater than it commonly is, even with imaginative men,
who must always, I think, find youth bitter, and I had lost myself besides
as I had done periodically for years, upon _Hodos Camelionis_. The first
time was in my eighteenth or nineteenth years, when I tried to create a
more multitudinous dramatic form, and now I had got there through a novel
that I could neither write nor cease to write which had _Hodos Camelionis_
for its theme. My chief person was to see all the modern visionary sects
pass before his bewildered eyes, as Flaubert's St. Anthony saw the
Christian sects, and I was as helpless to create artistic, as my chief
person to create philosophic order. It was not that I do not love order,
or that I lack capacity for it, but that--and not in the arts and in
thought only--I outrun my strength. It is not so much that I choose too
many elements, as that the possible unities themselves seem without
number, like those angels, that in Henry More's paraphrase of the
Schoolman's problem, dance spurred and booted upon the point of a needle.
Perhaps fifty years ago I had been in less trouble, but what can one do
when the age itself has come to _Hodos Camelionis_?

Lady Gregory seeing that I was ill brought me from cottage to cottage to
gather folk-belief, tales of the fairies, and the like, and wrote down
herself what we had gathered, considering that this work, in which one let
others talk, and walked about the fields so much, would lie, to use a
country phrase, "Very light upon the mind." She asked me to return there
the next year, and for years to come I was to spend my summers at her
house. When I was in good health again, I found myself indolent, partly
perhaps because I was affrighted by that impossible novel, and asked her
to send me to my work every day at eleven, and at some other hour to my
letters, rating me with idleness if need be, and I doubt if I should have
done much with my life but for her firmness and her care. After a time,
though not very quickly, I recovered tolerable industry, though it has
only been of late years that I have found it possible to face an hour's
verse without a preliminary struggle and much putting off.

Certain woods at Sligo, the woods above Dooney Rock and those above the
waterfall at Ben Bulben, though I shall never perhaps walk there again,
are so deep in my affections that I dream about them at night; and yet the
woods at Coole, though they do not come into my dream are so much more
knitted to my thought, that when I am dead they will have, I am persuaded,
my longest visit. When we are dead, according to my belief, we live our
lives backward for a certain number of years, treading the paths that we
have trodden, growing young again, even childish again, till some attain
an innocence that is no longer a mere accident of nature, but the human
intellect's crowning achievement. It was at Coole that the first few
simple thoughts that now, grown complex, through their contact with other
thoughts, explain the world, came to me from beyond my own mind. I
practised meditations, and these, as I think, so affected my sleep that I
began to have dreams that differed from ordinary dreams in seeming to take
place amid brilliant light, and by their invariable coherence, and certain
half-dreams, if I can call them so, between sleep and waking. I have
noticed that such experiences come to me most often amid distraction, at
some time that seems of all times the least fitting, as though it were
necessary for the exterior mind to be engaged elsewhere, and it was
during 1897 and 1898, when I was always just arriving from or just setting
out to some political meeting, that the first dreams came. I was crossing
a little stream near Inchy Wood and actually in the middle of a stride
from bank to bank, when an emotion never experienced before swept down
upon me. I said, "That is what the devout Christian feels, that is how he
surrenders his will to the will of God." I felt an extreme surprise for my
whole imagination was preoccupied with the pagan mythology of ancient
Ireland, I was marking in red ink upon a large map, every sacred mountain.
The next morning I awoke near dawn, to hear a voice saying, "The love of
God is infinite for every human soul because every human soul is unique,
no other can satisfy the same need in God."

Lady Gregory and I had heard many tales of changelings, grown men and
women as well as children, who as the people believe are taken by the
fairies, some spirit or inanimate object bewitched into their likeness
remaining in their stead, and I constantly asked myself what reality there
could be in these tales, often supported by so much testimony.



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