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She had, as all the old ladies had, relics of the old life about her which gave her garret room a certain distinction. What if the wall paper was of the cheapest and commonest and the floor-covering an “ Art Square,” of an incredible dreariness of color, the place was redeemed by Miss 'Stasia's own furniture, which she had brought in with her. One or two elegant Chippendale chairs, a sofa brass-inlaid, with heraldic eagles supporting it on their wings and their claws grasping a ball, a few miniatures, a brass-bound cellarette, Miss 'Stasia's workbox and writing desk, the old chintz curtains which draped the small bed and hid it completely away in the daytime—these things gave the little room its air of refinement and charm.
The room in itself was a certain happiness to Miss Anastasia. She had imagined fancifully, smiling to herself, that it would have been a comfort if she could have taken it with her when the other world opened its doors. It was the dearer to her because she looked forward to the day when its friendly shelter might no more be hers.
It had been prettier once on a time, but there had been emergencies when one and another article had disappeared, as had most of her trinkets. John Cronin had been the kindly and discreet medium in the disappearance of the things; that was something she could not have managed for herself, and John had removed the things after nightfall, never betraying by a stumble on the steep garret stairs or by so much as a creaking boot to the other inmates of the house Miss Anastasia's lamentable necessity.
"If I should die in the night,” she had said to Mrs. Cronin, “these things”-indicating the furniture that was left“will bury me. I have left them to you, you kind creature. You will find my will in my writing desk when I am gone. If I should have an illness you must sell them, and keep me as long as they will pay my expenses. After that you must send me to a hospital.”
“Is it me to do the like?” Mrs. Cronin had responded in horror; "me, that was born on the estate and was in the kitchen at Moneymore the day I was twelve years old! An' 'ud never have left ye, Miss 'Stasia, if the place hadn't been sold. I wouldn't be talkin' of sickness or wills or the like. Sure you're young yet. As for hospitals, never one o' my flesh and blood I put into them; an' it isn't likely I'd ever be thinkin' of it for you."
“Oh, my dear creature,” Miss Anastasia cried, beginning to tremble, “I couldn't wrong you and your family like that. Indeed, you'd have to put me into hospital. It would be a thousand times worse to lie here knowing that I was taking the bread out of your children's mouths. I know you don't do very well: You're not cut out for business any more than the rest of us. Promise me, now do promise me, that if I fall ill, and it is likely to be a long illness, you will send me to hospital."
Mrs. Cronin promised “for the sake of peace,” as she ex. plained to John afterwards, adding that if sickness were to come upon Miss 'Stasia she wouldn't stand up against it very long, since she'd no more strength than a sparrow and ate as little.
“There she sits, up in that terrible cowld room,” she said, “mendin' her stockin's. I offered to put in a bit o' fire for her, but she wouldn't hear of it. It's roastin' too in summer, bein' under the slates. She used to be a wiry little lady, Miss 'Stasia, for all that she was so delicate and pretty locking; but she wants comforts, God help her, and I can't give them to her, an' she wouldn't take them if I could. 'Tis a shame, so it is, that she should be left like it in her age."
It was a rather hopeless outlook just then in the Cronin family. John had lost his job as a waiter, having been superseded by a young Swiss lad, deft and quick beyond what John had ever been. The place which Mary Anne had looked forward to so long, had been given away, as she put it, over her head. John in his shirt-sleeves, sat turning over a newspaper, scanning the long columns of advertisements somewhat hopelessly.
“I'll never wait again, Eliza,” he had said despondently, “an' I don't know what else there's for me to do. I'm too owld to learn a new trade. Aye, it's sad about the poor owld lady, but, sure it's a sad world for most of us. It 'ud be as well some of us were out of it.”
While his wife rebuked him for this unusual fit of despondency, half-scolding, half-rallying, John turned to the portion of the paper which contained the news of the day. He had to go nearer the murky kitchen window to read it. The light, always bad in Wharton Street basements, was worse than usual on this winter afternoon.
"I wonder if she'd come down an' take a hate o' the fire,” Eliza said. “I believe she would if I asked her. She was never proud with us.”
"Coming-of-age of Lady Anne Chute,'” read John from his paper. “Entertainment to the tenantry.' She's a cousin o' Miss 'Stasia, isn't she, Eliza ? You wouldn't think that she'd be after lettin' the owld lady want if she knew it, an' she her own flesh and blood. An' I'm ateared it'll be want with the whole of us before long."
Eliza was arrested midway of the table and the door; she was just going up to ask Miss 'Stasia “to come down and take a hate o' the fire.”
“To be sure she is,” she said, coming back and looking curiously at the paper. “Miss 'Stasia's papa was sixth cousin to the Lord Shandon before last. What were you thinkin' of, John Cronin ?".
“Mary Anne's a fine scholar an' a beautiful hand with the pen,” he said, staring abstractedly into space.
“She'd never forgive us if she was to know," Eliza said, in an agitated voice.
“We'd never forgive ourselves if we had to turn her out,” replied John, “an’ we might have to come to it, Eliza. An' perhaps the young lady ’ud never forgive us ayther.”
“ If you tell me it ought to be done, John,” said Eliza trembling. “Poor Miss 'Stasia. 'Tis little I thought she'd ever come to it. I remember her in white satin with roses in her hair comin' down the stairs at the Abbey the first time I ever laid eyes on her. I thought she was like a queen.”
A shadow crossed John's paper as he held it to the light of the window, a slight shadow that was gone almost as soon as it came. An angular child's figure came down the area steps to the kitchen entrance.
“There's Mary Anne,” said John, “there's our little scholar. Get the pen and ink, Eliza, and a bit o' paper."
“'Tis a great comfort," sighed Mrs. Cronin, as she watched her offspring's pen glide quickly over the paper, “to have a man to make up your mind for you, so it is. But I won't be able to look Miss 'Stasia in the face. Indeed she'd murder me if she knew what we were after doin'.”
rew off the yoke of ecclesiasticism, have done little else but ondemn and silence every one, within their own borders, who
aimed the right to engage in free scientific inquiry. And for cience, that has progressed only because it was, fortunately, ndependent of her, and safe from her machinations, Rome ias had nothing but curses and anathemas. Her accusers de
ght in brilliant metaphors about owls blinking in the noonjay, the blind man denying that the sun is shining, upas trees
bisoning all the vegetation around them. Modern knowledge is the dawn that has chased the darkness of mediæval super
tition, and science is likened to the infant Hercules who began his career by strangling the venemous serpent that would lave killed him in his cradle. The Roman Church not opposed co science ! Si monumentum quæris circumspice : examine the record of the Index from Paul IV. to Pius X., and if you are not yet convinced, cast an eye over the famous Syllabus of Pius IX. Besides, if we are to believe our opponents, in resisting intellectual progress, Rome was but obeying a profound instinct of self-preservation, for the triumph of science means her destruction. The progress made by rational knowledge may, we are told, be accurately expressed by the figures thit indicate the decline of ecclesiasticism, and of Roman ecclesiasticism in particular.
In reply to these allegations, we can point to a long, glorious list of Catholics, from Copernicus to Secchi, from Ampère to Pasteur, who have been among the leaders in the advance of modern knowledge. But this argument, that would seem conclusive, is not allowed to count for us. The retort is that, of course, no instructed person would dream of denying that a Catholic may be a brilliant astronomer, or mathematician, a successful physicist, or chemist, or surgeon, or biologist; he may become famous in almost any science. The antagonism of Catholicism is not to the sciences, but rather to Science, to the spirit which vivifies all the sciences; which demands complete freedom to investigate every field of inquiry that opens to the human mind, and to follow truth whithersoever it may lead. Science scorns to acknowledge a power which claims the right to say to the thinker or the investigator : You may range at will through the boundless realm of mathematics; you may experiment upon molecules and gases and chemical affinities;