THE HOUND OF IRELAND
BY DONN BYRNE
So Ireland was free at last! Glory be to God and the blue sky over us! Ireland was free! He took his glasses off and wiped them, and again he read the account of the opening of a Home Rule Parliament in Dublin, "in the Old House in College Green," as the agitators' phrase used to go, where Grattan had thundered. Young men! New men! There were none of the old feudists left, barring himself, and a moisture had come into his eyes that the former fighters should be dead - O'Brien and John Mitchel and Meagher of the Sword, and Charles Parnell, and O'Leary, the Wild Goose. The bold Fenian men!
Where was O'Donovan Rossa now, he whom his captors manacled and forced to lap up his food for thirty days like a mongrel dog? And where was Davitt, who had but one arm? And James Finton Lawlor? And the little Captain of Cork? And all the men who had tried to free Ireland, some by oratory, and some by dynamite, and some with pike and musket on the green hills? All were dead now, though their names should live forever. And young men, bred in colleges, had taken up the burden, and not by romance but by brain power, not by open warfare but by a reign of fear, had secured autonomy for their country. Now that the great war had killed religious issues, they were winning over the hard Ulster Scottish to their side - the lean hatchet-faced descendants of Gaidhlig islanders, men who never fought a losing fight.
He looked around the little tobacconist's shop with a smile, as a king might look at a disguise he was about to leave off. And he patted the great gray wolfhound by his side, that would have been more at home in the hall of some princely castle than in a little store of New Rochelle.
"Do you hear, big fellow? Ireland is free!"
Cuchulain laid a great shaggy paw on the old rebel's knee, as though he understood.
To be sure, the newspapersd said that though Ireland was to have its parliament, its customs, its internal arrangements, yet the military power, the high judges and this and that were to be held by England. Old Shawn laughed. The first session of the Parliament in College Green would declare Ireland a free republic, and if the English didn't get out then and there, the young men would rise and drive them into the sea. Ah, God, what a pity it was that Meagher of the Sword was not alive to see this blessed day! But all were gone.
All but him, old Shawn Mahoney!
He was so old now that every day of life was precious to him, was a surprise. When he went to bed at night that he would awake to mortal life in the morning was not a certain thing. Always at six in the new dawn the wolfhound would push him gently with its gray muzzle and he would open his eyes.
"Bless God and the new day!"
All he wanted to do now, all that he asked of life, was that he remain in it until he could tread the green Irish hills, and he had sworn when he left there more than half a century ago, with Cuchulain's grand-sire by his die, and the police hot after him, that he would never return until Ireland was free.
He turned to the great wolf dog again, talking to him as though he were a human being, as he all but was.
"Did you hear me? Were you listening to me at all, at all? Ireland is free."
The great hound thumped the ground with his tail, and it sounded like the welting of flails on a threshing floor. Then he rose and went to the door. Old Shawn watched him.
"You're right, big fellow. It's bundle and go!"
The new, the young men who were piloting Ireland to freedom spoke of economics, of statecraft, of internal and external taxation. They were for intensifying agricultural production, alleviating urban congestion, reviving the mining of coal and gold. To them Ireland was an estate in trust to be cared for and developed. And undoubtedly this was right.
But the older men had thought only of setting Ireland free. And to them Ireland was no estate, but a lovable and downtrodden lady, pleading to her sons and lovers to be set free.
There was a picture of Ireland, which an artist had once drawn to represent her, and which had become popular, and this picture was ever in the elder rebels' minds. Ireland, a tall, magnificent, full-bosomed woman, with black hair and gray eyes, stood in the foreground, dressed in a loose flowing robe of white. Back of her was a round tower, one of those relics of the strange African colonies which had once sailed to her shores. Her hand was resting on the native harp, and by her side was the Irish wolf dog, biggest, fiercest, and most loyal of hounds. This was the Ireland poor Mangan saw when he wrote "My Dark Rosaleen."
There was Ireland! Of the dark-haired, full-bosomed women there were plenty in the country. The harp had not been forgotten. The east Irish coast was dotted with Phenician round towers to which a century was but as a year. But the great hound of Ireland had disappeared.
The last of the breed that the Goban Saor, the Master of the Irish Masons, developed, and that went to Cuchulain's heel, and that Ossian hunted with, was now in a little tobacconist's store in New Rochelle.
Of the authentic Irish wolfhound there are no specimens, so the dealers and breeders said, playing their game, which is more cunning than horse coping. The last of the Celtic breed, they claim, was in the possession of the Knight of Kerry, and died in 1785. The breed now shown as Irish wolfhounds is a reconstruction, containing, following different schemes of different breeders, Scottish deerhounds and Russian wolfhounds, and Norwegian elkhounds crossed on mastiff strain.
But the last did not die in the kennels of the Lord of Kerry in the eighteenth century. Kerry was the last Irish nobleman to keep them in his kennels. But scattered through the Galtee Mountains, Galtee More and Galtee Beg, and in the wild country which paid tribute to Macgillicuddy of the Reeks as overlord, there were perhaps eight or ten huge animals, all bone and sinew, big as a small horse, gray, shaggy, spectral. When one put its webbed forefeet on a tall man's shoulders it towered a head above him. But there was little opportunity for breeding - a man had to travel perhaps twenty miles to find sire or dam - and so little by little they died, their usefulness gone now that they had killed all the wolves and elk of Ireland. The last of the breed had been Finn MacCool, the two-year-old pup that Shawn had brought from Ireland with him after '67.
It had hardly been a revolution, that '67, though men had been hanged for it, and buried in quicklime, and men had been deported and died in exile. It was just the magnificent and futile protest of a peasantry goaded to hysteria by misgovernment, led by romantic lovers of the country, who took to the hills with blunderbusses and pikes and a flag that had seen '98. One of the revolutionists, a strong farmer's son, brought with him Finn MacCool, the great dog.
"Sure, he loves Ireland too," was the only explanation. And in a land of romance it was accepted without protest or wonder.
"Arrah, and why shouldn't you, hound of my heart?"
Against the meager rebel commandos was thrown the majesty of the English army, horse and foot and guns, and generals cock-a-hoop. There were even the Coldstream Guards. And half the starved commandos were killed or captured, and another great victory won. In Shawn Mahoney's district the rising amounted only to a rapid skirmish behind the walls of a ruined church. Shwn had accounted for two of the opposing battalion, when he was plucked by the sleeve. Finn's owner was trying to cough a bullet up. "Glory be to God!" he choked. "I'm a dead man, that's what I am. Don't let them get the dog, Shawn. Don't let them have the dog!"
"They'll never have the dog," Shawn swore .......
When, a week later, after traversing the country by dead of night, he escaped from Waterford in a lugger to France, the dog went with him. In France they both found succor, as Irish rebels will anywhere on the Continent, where O'Neill is Duke of Tetuan in Spain, and O'Donnell great in Portugal; where Byrne is a Freiherr of Saxony, and Taaffe, lord of Galway, is an Austrian Prince.
France, with the memory of the Irish Brigade at Fonenoy, and the crash of Clare's Dragoons on Ramillies field, is ever kind. They protected the fleeing rebel and his great hound, that had also been under fire for Ireland, and sent them aboard a vessel for America. They bade them both Godspeed, and when Shawn said that he woulod never return to Ireland until Ireland was free, they assured him he would return in a few years to "l'Irlande libre," though they shook their heads in private. Had not Lazare Hoche, the French general who conquered La Vendee, failed to free Ireland? And if a French general......C'est dommage, mais......Ah, la pauvre Irlande!
He was not an orator. He was not a business man. He was not an organizer. He was only a lover of Ireland, who would lay down his ife, if that were of any use, for his country's cause. But he was no particular asset in the fight the Irish Americans were waging, which was a war of money, of diplomacy, of politics. Little by little he came to take a back place in the councils of Clan-na-Gael. A thin, burning-eyed man, with a tremendous shyness, he was passed over when it came to easy jobs and political appointments. He wanted nothing, but if ever again they went out, as goes the Irish euphemism for revolution, he would be there gun in hand, and his dog would be with him......
He left New York after a few months and located in New Rochelle, a town founded by rebels, and opened a small store where papers of interest to the Irish were sold, weekly editions of Dublin papers, New York papers edited by Irish exiles, and his shop became the center of Irish activities in Westchester County.
There were always Irish dropping in for a chat, old Irish who came to ask how Ireland was, and newer Irish immigrants who told him how it was since he left. And all their eyes would turn on Finn MacCool, gray, quiet, and dignified at the rear.
"Yerra, but that's the gran' dog entirely. One of the ould breed. And they do be saying that they're all dead!"
"All old things die, and the new ones are never as good. Once these dogs were common as terriers and now you could travel the thirty-two counties and you'd find ne'er a one."
"A king's dog, him!"
Winter and summer New Rochelle saw both of them at dawn, Shawn and his dog going for exercise, and all the dogs knew him and rendered him fealty. Even the little sporting terriers were silent and the bulls cowered in their kennels as he went by. Once a borzoi, meeting him, dropped dead of fear.
But what was most remarkable was how he knew when Ireland was spoken about. He would prick up his ears and an intent look would come into his brown eyes.
At Irish gatherings, concerts, ceilidhs, he used to accompany Shawn and accept the welcome offered him with great dignity. He would only move when some reciter intoned the dirge for the true Earl of Lucan:
Patrick Sarsfield, Erin's wonder,
Fought in the field with bolts of thunder.
One of Ireland's best commanders
Now lies food for the crows of Flanders!
Then he would lift his head and bay sorrowfully with a belling that filled the street.
Or it might be the terrible lament for the victor of Benburb, done to death by the English:
Did they dare, did they dare, to slay Owen Roe O'Neill?
Yes, they slew with poison him they feared to meet with steel!
May God wither up their hearts! May their blood cease to flow!
May they walk in living death who murdered Owen Roe!
Every hair on Finn's body would rise, and his white teeth strip and his great bulk balance itself on his haunches as though ready to spring.......
The years passed and patriots died. First Isaac Butt went, and then the great Parnell, and then came Dillon and Redmond and O'Brien. But Finn was growing old, and it seemed to Shawn Mahoney that with the ending of the great hound's race would end the hope of ever treading the hills of a free Ireland.......
It was nothing short of a miracle that the dynasty was saved. Shawn was doing some business in Port Chester when he ran into a wizened man with a great gray dog.
"Glory be to God! and what kind of a dog would you be calling that?"
"That's a Scottish deerhound, mister." The weazened man had a broad Scots accent.
"I've seen many a deerhound, but never a deerhound like that deerhound! Where in Scotland does she come from?"
"From Islay Island, mister."
"From Islay Island. That's no more nor twenty miles from Ireland."
"That's so, mister. And, what's more, that breed of dog has been on Islay for nigh on two hundred years, and there's not a half dozen in the world left, beyond Giorsal here, and what Campbell o@Kilchoman, the poet, has on his place in Canada. They're of Alan Dhu the piper's strain, him that's but a byword in the mouth of the people, he's dead that long."
"And he learned his piping in Ireland, I'll be bound," said Shawn. "Now, my friend, I've got a dog, and if you're for mating her ladyship here -"
"She would no' mate wi' your ordinar' deerhound, and, as for a Russian wolfhound" - he laughed - "she'd tear him to pieces-"
"Wait until you see my dog -"
So Finn MacCool was mated with Giorsal of Islay, and Giorsal threw two whelps.
And Giorsal and one of them belonged to the Islay man, and the other to Shawn Mahoney - Oisin he called the pup. And Finn died a year later, and was buried with honors in a little copse near the golf course of Wykagyl. The Islay fisherman was not lucky. Distemper took Giorsal and MacCrimmen, her pup, but Oisin thrived and grew to powerful doghood, and with him revived Shawn's belief that Ireland would one daybe free, and he would tread the hills of Munster, and the dark Rosaleen would be a queen again, not a fettered slave girl in the house of the slavering Saxons.......
Though he hated to think it, Shawn always believed that Oisin was a better dog than Finn. There was not much to choose between them as far as physical power and appearance went. Oisin was a trifle cleaner in the legs, a trifle heavier in the chest, a trifle better about the collar than his sire. But he was a more dignified, a more princely, dog. He was the hound of romance. In his brown eyes one could see Ireland of the elder days: the Red Branch knights carousing at Emain Macha, the Children of Lear on the shadowy waters, Maeve the magnificent, the glory of the Fenians, the crash of the Danish battles. Gentle and strong, he might have been a companion of Patrick the saint, as he stood against the magic of the Druids on Tara Hill.
And New York grew and with it New Rochelle. And into the old Huguenot township there came a bevy of people of the theatre, who trod the sturdy Huguenot stones with mincing gait and affected gesture, very theatrical, eye-compelling. But perhaps in all America there was nothing more dramatic than the gray-haired rebel in his dingy little tobacconist's shop, with the great dog an emperor would have envied.
Came a change over Ireland, too. There was the victory of the Land League; there was the new beneficient legislation; there were the old-age pensions, the laborers' cottages, the this-and-that material things, but freedom there was none.
"Look at what we have given them," England clamored to the world.
"A blind man wants more than a loaf of bread," the Irish replied. "He wants the sight of his eyes."
"What is wrong?"
"Our sons, Celts, are born serfs to an alien king. That is wrong."
There seemed no prospect of freedom, and Oisin, the great dog, would soon be old, and with him his race would end. This time there would be no miracle, such as the meeting of the Islay man in Port Chester. There was just one chance in a hundred, and that was to find Campbell, the poet, in Canada, on the off chance that he might have a slut to breed. It took half a year before he located his man, and even then he wasn't sure it was he, at Port Caledon in Nova Scotia. He took part of his savings and traveled thither the summer the German war broke out. And his heart fell when Campbell was pointed out to him, a lean high-bred country gentleman, with a golfer's shoulders and a horseman's knees.
"Are you Mr. Campbell, the poet?"
"Campbell, the poet, by the grace of God, I am."
"Then you have some dogs. An Islay man of Port Chester in America told me."
"That would be Alec Murray," Campbell remembered; "he had a lady of the Alan Dhu breed."
"I got a dog out of her, and I thought maybe you'd do me the favor to let me get a whelp by him out of one of your dogs."
"Man alive" - Campbell's eyes were hard - "you're from the wrong part of Ireland. Why for should I do you a favor?"
Old Shawn's heart sank. He groped for the Gaelic of his youth: "Clann nan Gaedhel guala re cheile," he pleaded. "Children of the Gael shoulder to shoulder. Will you hear my story?"
"A poem lasts longer than a great tree." The Gaelic had softened Campbell. "And a good story is a meal for a king. Come into the house, good man, and let's have your tale."
"I've just one left," he said when he heard Mahoney's history, "a two-year-old that's never been mated. I'm off to the war next week, so I'll give her to you. For the sake of an Irishwoman I once knew when I was a young fellow, I'm giving you the dog. Paraig," he called, "put the couples on Mairi Lea. I'm letting her go with this man from Ireland......."
The war went on, and then came the lightning of Easter week in Ireland, and for a week old Shawn Mahoney hardly slept. They were fighting in Dublin streets, and he wasn't there. He wrung his hands, and about him Oisin and Mairi Lea clustered, and Mairi's pup, Cuchulain, clawed at his knees in silent sympathy.
Then came days of horror: the rebellion crushed ruthlessly under foot, the leaders executed or thrown into prison and, what was worse, the clamor against the rebels for disloyalty to England.
"How could they be disloyal?" Shawn said bitterly. "They were never loyal."
Now was this the end of the saddest of weeks. Mairi Lea was killed by a racing taxicab, and an English resident of New Rochelle patriotically poisoned Oisin. Passing the store, he fed the great hound a piece of liver with two needles thrust into it. And Oisin's death was terrible.......
But Cuchulain, the very last of the great breed, thrived and grew from awkward puppyhood into magnificent prime, and as he grew so arose from the ashes of revolution the phenix of Irish freedom. The dead of Easter week clamored and their mute and terrible tongues awoke young Ireland to white wrath. There was no longer romantic warfare in the hills, a child at the mercy of a son of Anak. There was a silent duel to the death, a pitting of brains and purpose, and suddenly Ireland was all but free. Cuchulain the magnificent, king of dogs, raised his head. And Shawn Mahoney, white-headed, weeping, paraphrased the cry of the Hebrew matron of old:
Shall I of a surety see Ireland free, which am old? Is anything too hard for the Lord?
A week later, for the second time in his life, he passed Sandy Hook. His ticket had been purchased quietly, and none who might have seen him would ever have thought that here were the finishing couplets of a great romance: this old, very old man with the great dog. Down in the second-class cabin he sat in a deck chair and watched the great Atlantic wallow by unchanged since the day his countryman, St. Brendan, had sailed to America centuries before Columbus - so goes the story old Gaelic-speaking tellers say by the turf fires of Connacht and Kerry and Donegal, when the harvest is gathered, and cold comes on the land.
The steamer, a great English liner, was to touch at Queenstown before proceeding to Liverpool, and there were no Irish in the second cabin. All were Americans or English, and old Shawn had no words for them nor they for him. What could there have been, anyway, between the young merry voyagers and the old man knocking on the portals of death? In the morning and evening he would have the big hound up from his quarters and sit with him on the foward deck, waiting patiently until the green hills of Kerry should arise in the east.
The only one that spoke to him was the chief engineer, a heavy Scot with a low, soft voice and an eye like chilled steel.
"That's a grand dog you've got, mister!" He strolled forward and sat on the hatch beside the old man. He patted the dog's head and Cuchulain nuzzled his knees. "The only man I knew ever had a dog like that was a man from my country, Campbell of Kilchoman, the Islay poet, him that went to Nova Scotia and was killed in France."
"He's killed, you say?" Shawn took off his hat. "God be good to him, he was good to me. He gave me the mother of this dog."
"He must have liked you well -"
"Listen, young man, are you very fond of the English?"
"My forefathers weren't," the engineer laughed. "They liked this tune" - and he whistled "The White Cockade," the Stuart melody - "better than this" - and he gave a few bars of "Rule, Britannia".
"Black hell to their souls! I've got a story to tell you-" (The engineer listened with his eyes on the hound.) "And to think that in a few hours you say, my friend, the dog and I'll be in Ireland. I could cry, that's what I could, and I will -"
"But, mister -" The chief looked at him in dismay.
"What is it?"
"Didn't you know -"
The navigator came trotting down the steps from the bridge. "Land ahead, chief."
"Where? Where? Oh, my Ireland! Where?" Old Shawn staggered to his feet.
"Off the port bow you'll see it soon." He left the white-haired rebel and the dog and strolled aft. Amid-ships he met the doctor.
"I see you've been talking to Mahoney. I wonder why the steamship agents sell tickets to people like that - you don't know the minute they'll die. I didn't think he'd live to land."
"Poor old fellow!" the chief said. "He thinks he's going ashore with the dog."
"Did you tell him?"
"I hadn't the heart!"
"You hadn't the heart!" the doctor laughed. "You! The worst-hated engineer on the seas. Slave Driver Stuart! You hadn't the heart!"
"That's just it. I hadn't the heart!"
So all morning and all afternoon the ship forged along, past the Blaskets, past Bantry Bay, past Cape Clear, past Clonakilty, past Kinsale. Toward evening she swung into Cork Harbor and dropped anchor off Queenstown. The purser came to old Shawn as he was collecting his belongings in his cabin. "Old man, about the dog -"
"What about him?" Old Shawn threw his head up proudly.
"You're not thinking of taking him ashore?"
"Of course I'm taking him ashore."
"Ha-ha! That's rich. Lor' love a duck! That's good. Didn't you know, didn't you, that he's got to be in quarantine for six months at half a crown a day? I'll trouble you for a hundred and thirty-four dollars."
"Come along. Get a move on!"
Old Shawn was all a-tremble. He saw the chief engineer pass the door.
"Young fellow, Mr. Stuart!" he called. The chief came through the cabin door. "Is this true - that the hound has to go in quarantine for six months - before he can land?"
"It's the law, Mr. Mahoney. It's very hard, but it's the law."
"The good old British law," the purser chanted. "It mayn't go with the rebels in Ireland, but it goes aboard this ship -"
The chief swiveled his chilled-steel eye toward him. His mouth closed.
"Six months! I won't live that long. And the dog in the hands of the stranger!"
"You know if you haven't got the money the dog will be killed."
"I think" - the old man gulped - "we'd better go back to America, the dog and I. To be so near and to go away again - that's hard."
"I hope you have your fare back!"
"If he hasn't, I have," Stuart snapped.
"I take it very kindly of you, Mr. Stuart, but I've got sufficient for my needs. Now, if you don't mind -"
The chief shoved the purser before him out through the cabin door.
The liner was not to pull out until the tide turned, and that would be two in the morning. The soft Irish night had set in now, and most of the passengers had gone to their cabins in preparation for the morrow's landing in Liverpool. Through the dark the lights of Queenstown pier glimmered like near stars. The chief engineer strolled forward on the hurricane deck. He came across the second officer leaning over the rail.
"What do you know, chief?" the navigator hailed him. "The Sinn Fein have taken the admiralty pier and their volunteers are patrolling it. God, man, they'll soon be demanding passports."
"Right there at the pier."
"They've taken down the Union Jack and run up the rebel flag!"
"Ah, well! Times change."
Around the hurricane deck came a trio of voyagers laughing, two girls with a man between them, conversing in high-pitched English accents.
"So help me, the old bounder's sitting on the hatch downstairs crying his silly old chump off, and so help me, his tyke's crying too. W'at a lark!"
"Serve him right, I s'y. An old Irish mick and his mutt -"
The navigator shook his head. "Poor old beggar!" he murmured.
"So that's the way you feel about it!" the chief jeered. "I forgot you were Irish."
"I'm no' Irish. I'm Ulster Scotch," the Antrim man snapped. "I'd rather be crippled nor Irish, but - I'd rather be dead nor English." The bridge bell sounded. "My watch." He turned to go.
"Willie John." The navigator turned in surprise.
It was seldom the dour chief used a man's given name.
"Keep a good watch for'a'd to port the night."
"You might see the sea serpent, y' ken, and you'd get a medal for that from the Geographical Society. At any rate, don't mind t'other side."
The departing engine-room watch were surprised to see the chief swinging down the ladder. Usually they were free from the visits of Simon Legree when at anchor. Black, gigantic, muscled like Titans, they regarded him with the hot, reined-in animosity of jungle folk.
"The finest bunch of thugs and cut-throats this side of the clinkers of hell," he said, not without pride. "Well, men, there's very little love lost between us."
The stokers approved his reflection in grim silence.
"There's a bloody sight less since you tried to put me in the furnace two voyages ago."
The firemen grinned. Only for the third's quick and accurate shooting there'd have been a vacancy for chief engineer.
"So you think it strange I came down here to ask a favor of you?" They glowered at him. "This has nothing to do with the ship," he explained. "As a matter of fact, it's a jailing business." They looked up interestedly. Their faces cleared. "At any rate, I'll accept the responsibility."
"Ah, t' 'ell with the responsibility," some one growled. "Shoot."
"Well, here goes. There's an old man above, with a dog. They won't let him ashore without the dog going into six months' quarantine. And he won't leave the dog. So he's chosen to go back to America and take the dog with him. He's been waiting to come back here for forty years or more. Now, here's the favor I want you to do for me. Man the lifeboat on the starboard quarter, after dark, and bring him to the Queenstown pier. Give him and the dog to the Sinn Fein officer. He's an old rebel and they'll take care of him. Will you do it?"
A New York fireman stepped forward. "Cheese, chief! They ain't one of us wouldn't cut your heart out and feed it to th' dogs, but, Cheese! a favor. D'at's a different t'ing. Sure we will."
"Good, boys . Now, easy does the trick. No noise. If you get into a scrap, no noise either. Use spanners or a slicing bar. Get him ashore......."
A fireman collected the gear from Mahoney's stateroom, to the horror of a steward with a choked gullet. The chief touched old Mahoney on the shoulder. He and the dog looked up.
"Mr. Mahoney, come on. Get into this boat quick. And bring the dog. You're going ashore in Ireland."
"Don't joke me, sonny, Mr. Stuart. I'm an old man."
"I'm not joking you." He pointed to the boat ready to swing out, the men at the oars, the crew at the davits.
"These boys will take me ashore - to Ireland?"
"They'd take you to hell and back again, for the matter of that." He helped him in, and a couple of stokers lifted the dog after him.
"Sure, 'tis like the ould days, the boat in the night time."
"Good-by, sir. Good-by, Cuchulain. Swing her out."
"The blessing of God and Mary and St. Patrick and St. Brigid be on you all your days, on you and yours -"
"Thank you, sir. Let her go......"
He took a turn or two around the deck before lying down for a few hours. Abaft the smoking room he ran full tilt into the purser. "I'm hunting for that old Fenian and his dog," the purser complained querulously. "I can't seem to lay a hand on them."
"I hope you find them," the chief laughed. Something in his tone made the purser look at him keenly. Then suddenly from Queenstown pier came a burst of cheering, peal upon peal of welcome and triumph, and through it ran a deep full note of the great hound's joyous belling. The purser became incoherent with fury.
"It was you. You did it," he accused the chief. "I'll report it. I'll report you -"
"Report and be damned, you spavined jackass!"
The chief had enough of the air. He turned in for the night. He took his tunic off with difficulty, for the shrapnel of Jutland still pained his left shoulder. "Well, Alec, when you get out of jail you can get a job with the Irish navy," he told himself. He took his watch out to wind it. "That'll be some job for you, my lad!"
Donn Byrne – born Brian Oswald Patrick Donn-Byrne - (20 November 1889 – 18 June 1928) was born in New York, where he claimed his parents were on business at the time, and later they returned to Ireland. He attended the University of Dublin and began writing stories. He returned to New York in 1911, where he began working for the publishers of the Catholic Encyclopaedia. His first poem was published in 1912 and his first short story in 1914. His first novel was published in 1919 but he had already had a large number of short stories published by then and became a prolific writer of novels as well until his death in a car accident. He and his wife were living in Ireland at the time, at Coolmain Castle, near Bandon in County Cork.
The Hound of Ireland was first published in Colliers Magazine 1923 and republished as a booklet in 1978 by dog ink.
One of Donn Byrne's novels was Hangman’s House, which was made into a silent film in 1928, set in Co. Wicklow, directed by John Ford and distributed by 20th Century Fox. One of the characters in the film was an Irish wolfhound.