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ground she says, with a pleasing touch of swagger, a slightest waving of the plume:
“My grandfather and great gran', too, were 'out' in the '98; and the old man had been fout in the '45. I hope to make his acquaintance in the sojer-boy's Paradise, which is my bourne, if I be good.”
In one of her earliest essays, "A Child in Camp,” she makes her bow thus, with a pretty grace:
“Like the royal personages in the drama, I was ushered on the stage of life, literally, 'with flourish of trumpets.' The Civil War was at its bursting point, the President calling for recruits: it was impertinent of me, but in that solemn hour I came a-crowing into the world. And since I was born under allegiance, a lady whom I learned to love with incredible quickness,
'O bella Libertà! O bella!' rocked my fortunate cradle."
This was Irish stock with a strain of English, Scots and French, a quicksilver blend of buoyancy and happy wit, duly tempered by a special potency of Gallic grace with its ap
prehension of the mot juste and its infallible divination in forms of art. The road between the two boundary dates of her life ran without much incident we vitally need to know. Her portrait, painted here chiefly for the friends who marveled at her and equally at their own luck in the fortunate incident of ever so slight a knowledge of her, may best be done with the broad strokes of a brush dipped in remembrance, against a blurred background of time and place. She herself, in her life of Hurrell Froude, quotes the expert dictum of George Tyrrell, who guessed what sort of biography is likely to live longest :
“We have cause to care less for a full inventory of the events which make up a man's life or for the striking nature of those events in themselves, than for such a judicious selection and setting of them as shall best bring out and explain that individuality which is our main interest. We care less for what a man does and more for what he is; and it is mainly as a key to what he is that we study the circumstances which act upon
him and the conduct by which he acts upon them."
Louise Imogen Guiney, poet, essayist and scholar, was an extraordinarily limpid and valiant soul, whose death seems, in no sense referable to our own responsive emotion, but one of bare fact and calm inevitableness, a rebirth into a sort of present immortality in letters, a new affirmation of response to her unique accomplishment even among those to whom she had become only a name out of the many-syllabled past. For the last third of her life she had been living in England, with breaks of a few months each in America, and though the remembered vision of her was not dimmed among us, still that impalpable medium made up of the day's demands, the helter-skelter of this world of disordered strivings and later the wreckage of the war, had risen between her and her v western affiliations. The rude stumbling servitors of life had crowded between her and the America she loved with a passion lineally her own.
Time and circumstance had been as remorseless to her as to us. She
was, in these later years, “every day i' the hour” when her somewhat unstable balance of health would allow it, immersed in work, the scholar's drudgery, the pain that ends in perfectness: and yet it made her studious delight, this rescue of half-forgotten names, unwearied research upon long trails where only the spirit of the born antiquary never tires nor falters. The warm, persistently light-hearted letters came to us less frequently; but they came, unfailingly at Christmas, like gay holly sprays flung from December to young January, as if in token of the lastingness of things. She was so rare a creature, our common memories had been so mingled of life and laughter, that she had become one of the certainties in a fleeting and tumultuous world. We were stupidly used to her, as you are used to sunrise or a star. Then without warning the news came, and the word went from lip to hushed lip: "Lou Guiney is dead.” That was the name, Lou Guiney, as it had been in the day of her youth. And at once we became poignantly alive to her with a more sensitive
appreciation, a new awareness. We turned renewedly to her work and found in it a more quickly breathing presence. We had been recalled, in a shock of haste, to crown it before our own hands should be too lax to lift the heaviness of laurel. So it was that she seemed to have stepped at once into that porch of continued being which is the house of an immortality of love and praise, the only thing the world has really to offer the spirits of its dead.
To recall the form and color of her youth is the eager task likely to give her oldest friends their first imperfect solace. For it is the pathetic human instinct to catch at the mantle of time past, as if to assure itself of something in the web of life that holds. Those who knew her at twenty and thirty need not err widely in their guess at her at fifteen. For being one of that gay fellowship for whom “a star danced” and who buoyantly refuse infection from the "hungry generations” that “tread” us "down," she stayed, in every sense, except that of the disciplined mind and an acquired patience of