With the Irish in America
Ireland's living symbol was now a big-headed, dark, bigmouthed man, loud-voiced, with a weighty moustache that gave a bend to his shoulders, and curtained off the big mouth completely; a man who was hilarious with everyone that seemed to matter, who was ever shouting out, with his right arm lifted so that its shadow seemed to stretch from one end of the land to the other; shouting in a strange tongue, Come and follow me, for behind me marches the only Ireland worth knowing.
Sean O'Casey, Drums Under the Windows
On Monday, November 6, 1905, the day of the Hydes' departure from Ratra to Dublin, the featured news items in the Irish Times (then the leading Ascendancy newspaper) were the massacre of Jews in Odessa, a banquet held in London to celebrate the conclusion of an Anglo-Japanese treaty, and an account of student demonstrations—headlined "The Disorders at the Royal University"—that had broken out in Dublin when "God Save the King" was played at a Royal Irish University convocation. Not mentioned was the fact that a reception at the Gresham Hotel on Sackville (O'Connell) Street and a giant torchlight procession, planned to bid farewell to Douglas Hyde on the eve of his departure for a lecture tour in America, were scheduled for 7:15 in the evening. Inside the Gresham, reporters for the Evening Herald, the Irish Independent, and the Weekly Freeman scribbled notes
as Hyde responded to the well-wishers who took turns at the podium, among them representatives of the Dublin Corporation, the Trades Council, the students at Maynooth, the Gaelic Athletic Association, and, of course, the Gaelic League. The stories filed by the reporters later that evening described Hyde as a pale-complexioned man in his forty-fifth year (actually forty-sixth, as he had had his forty-fifth birthday in January), middle of height (group photographs show him as taller than average), dressed in dark blue serge, standing before the crowds in the glare of the gas lamps. They took note of his Gaelic League pin gleaming in his buttonhole; the gleaming silver streaks in his drooping, dark mustache; the same silver streaks in his thick, dark hair, worn a bit longer than fashion dictated; and his small but bright blue-gray eyes, set in his broad, bony, round forehead. They quoted his words of thanks to his assembled well-wishers and his assertion that the principle behind the Gaelic League was the resurrection of Ireland. "Our movement is founded on the bed-rock principle of nationality," he had proclaimed to the excited audience's cheers. The stories also included details of how the Hydes looked on their departure: he seated next to Lucy in the lord mayor's carriage, waving to the crowd from the depths of a greatcoat with collar and cuffs trimmed with the fur of Irish otters (a talisman from thirty devoted friends), a hard bowler hat upon his head; she in an outfit made exclusively of Irish lace and wool by Irish dressmakers. As the lord mayor's open coach bearing the Stars and Stripes front right, the Irish harp front left, drew away from the curb, the complementary colors of the two flags were illuminated by the flaring torches. At either side of the coach a file of marching hurlers shouldered their sticks as if they were rifles, to the cheers of dreaming men.
Preceded by an advance guard of hurlers and representatives from the different branches of the Gaelic League, carriages bearing the Hydes, the lord mayor, and the Coiste Gnótha headed a procession that wound its way from the Gresham on Sackville Street to Kingsbridge Station. Leaning forward in the coach, his bright eyes shining even more when they lingered momentarily on a familiar face, Hyde waved now right, now left, to those who lined the route. They were followed by the hurling and football leagues of the Gaelic Athletic Association, Trades Council executives, temperance bodies, boys' brigades, Friendly Societies, the Old Grand Union, and the Foresters. Separating the marching units were five Dublin bands.
Marching close beside Hyde's carriage that evening, wryly taking in the fine display, was a young laborer for the Great Northern Railway,
twenty-five-year-old John Casey, better known to his friends in the Drumcondra branch of the Gaelic League in which he was learning Irish as Seán Ó Cathasaigh. Forty-one years later the playwright and prose writer Sean O'Casey would publish a semifictionalized account of the night that Dr. Douglas Hyde went off to America:
The hurlers of Sean's club were chosen to be the bodyguard around the coach bearing him to Kingsbridge Station. . . . Sean, in full dress of the club's jersey, of hooped bands of alternate dark blue and dark green, walked beside the protestant Chief of the Gael, in the midst of thousands of flaming torches carried before and behind the carriage, followed by all the hurling and football clubs of the city and its suburbs. Horsemen headed the cavalcade, carrying the Stars and Stripes, the French Tricolour, and the green banner of popular Ireland. . . . Everywhere the drums beat again their lusty rolls, making the bright stars in the sky quiver, and bands blew Ireland's past into every ear, and called forth her history of the future. . . . On we all went slow along the meanlooking flanks of Anna Livia Plurabelle singing songs of Eireby by the dozen that would rouse up even the stone outside Dan Murphy's door.
Momentarily blocked by the Dublin Metropolitan Police from the station platform, hurlers and footballers, tactical experts in such situations, rushed and broke through the line.
There was the big beaming face of Hyde, topped by the globular skull, with the bushy moustache like an abandoned bird's nest, filling up a carriage window, nodding, nodding to the excited crowd, while a band outside played When shall the day break in Eirinn with extreme dignity and unction.
Watching the spectacle along with O'Casey were Dubliners who wondered how it was that this country squire with his Ascendancy manners and his old-fashioned Roscommon Irish had such a grip on Dublin crowds. Yet a grip it was, according to the Irish Independent, not just in Dublin but all over Ireland. In the Independent 's recent poll Hyde had been declared the fourth most popular man in the country, preceded only, in 1905, by John Redmond, Cardinal Logue, and Archbishop Walsh. The young laborer on the Great Northern Railway, wondering too, listened and remembered:
"Look, there." He's waving a last farewell! The guard's green flag was waving, the engine gave a few steamy snorts, strained at the carriages, and began to slide out of the station through a storm of cheers. Hyde was high on Ireland's shoulders, and his carriage window framed the big head, the bunchy moustaches, the staring eyes, draining down the last drop of the mighty farewell and godspeed, till distance hid the crowd, and stilled the stormy sweltering roar of the gathered Gaels.
In the Irish Times for November 7, twenty lines at the bottom of a page in the middle section (next to the day's racing selections at English tracks and an announcement by the Post Office of a new form for postal orders) briefly noted what it clearly considered to be a nonevent that had ended when "a procession was formed outside, and Dr. and Mrs. Hyde were accompanied to Kingsbridge. Many of the processionists carried torches." The Evening Herald and Weekly Freeman were more generous with their space and attention. The Irish Independent carried an interview with Hyde in which he credited his June 1891 observation of Irish classes in America, sponsored by the Bowery branch of the New York Philo-Celtic Association, with having given him and through him MacNeill and others the idea of founding the Gaelic League. He was going back to America, he said, to carry the creed of the Gaelic League to Irish Americans, to let them know what they had started here at home. What Hyde did not explain fully was exactly what had started at home. That the Times should regard the public celebration of his departure as a nonevent; that the Independent should regard him as an ambassador from the Irish of the United Kingdom to the Irish of the United States; that the other newspapers should accurately depict the size and extent of his popular support: all this was in his favor. The correlative of Thomas Davis's proposition—"a nation without a language is a nation without a soul"—was implicit in the founding principles of the Gaelic League: to restore the soul of a nation it was necessary to recover its language. Whether the Gaelic League would be able to continue on its course would depend on how much support, for its spirit and its treasury, it could obtain from America. For the moment spirits were high—certainly there had been plenty of evidence of that in Dublin on the evening of November 6—but the treasury was nearly depleted.
Young O'Casey understood better than most Hyde's immediate purpose: he was to tell the Americans, of course, "of Ireland's honour, nobility, and undying devotion to her ancient language," but above all he was to "rake in the needful, argent and or, at all costs." That had been John Quinn's understanding as well. In a frank letter to Lady Gregory written from New York on October 27, 1905, he had stated his own reasons for arranging Hyde's tour: "I am after money for Hyde. Hyde and his work need money. I wouldn't have got Hyde to come out if I thought he couldn't get money and I don't hesitate to say so."
Whatever personal misgivings Hyde had had during the past ten months about the trip on which Quinn had so firmly insisted, on the
even of his sailing he kept them firmly under control. Yeats had assured him that he was doing the right thing by going—that it was important to Ireland to keep the friendship of Irish America, and important to Irish Americans to have a sense of the dignity and antiquity and continuity of their culture before all was lost in the melting pot. It was Yeats who had spoken of Hyde to his own audiences on his trip to America and had urged Quinn to bring him over. Wherever he went in America, Yeats had made a point of arousing interest in Hyde and the Gaelic League. The train chugged slowly out of the station, gradually picking up moderate speed; at each stop between Dublin and Cork people gathered to cheer him on his way. The journey that ordinarily took five hours stretched out for two days, with an overnight stop at Limerick Junction and trackside meetings on November 7 in Tipperary and Mallow where, addressing enthusiastic crowds, Hyde warned that it was "a hard and difficult task to build up a nation from the inside." It was also a hard and difficult task to get through Cork, where an immense crowd that included the Cork branch of the Irish Drapers' Association, as big or bigger than the one that had cheered him out of Dublin, had assembled at the station to form the procession that would escort him to City Hall. There, at the lord mayor's reception, the Reverend Father Augustine extolled Hyde as "our pride, our joy, our hope, our glory, and the uncrowned king of Ireland."
That night Hyde and Lucy stayed at the home of Willie Stockley, Hyde's old friend from Trinity, the man for whom he had served in 1890-1891 as interim professor of modern languages at the University of New Brunswick. Now on the faculty at Queens College, it was Stockley who had tried unsuccessfully to secure for Hyde the vacant chair in English. On the morning of Wednesday, November 8, Stockley accompanied the Hydes on the 9:50 mail train to Queenstown (now Cobh) for one last mass meeting on the dock before they boarded the tender that took them to the SS Majestic, where in a sitting room reserved for his use Hyde held a last informal reception.
As the tender bearing the last of his well-wishers edged from the liner's side to return to the quay, Hyde felt the throb of the Majestic 's engine through the planks of the deck. For better or worse the future of the language movement now lay in the hands of John Quinn and himself. It was curious, the partnerships that had evolved out of this work. Who would have thought that he, born in Castlerea, brought up in Kilmactranny and Frenchpark, educated at Trinity, would one day, for the sake of what he had learned as a boy in Roscommon cot-
tages, be drawn into an alliance with the man he was now on his way to meet?
A prominent lawyer, son of Irish-Catholic parents, who had been brought up in Ohio, John Quinn, B. L. Reid's "Man from New York," was a sophisticated lover of literature and art, a hardheaded, anticlerical, narrow-minded, opinionated American, an admirer of efficiency, optimism, and pragmatism and a hater of brashness, boorishness, and low taste, who for a time, at least, excepted the Irish from his stereotypical prejudices because he had a soft spot in his heart for Ireland. His support of the populist Gaelic League was especially unlikely, as it was the beautiful, lofty Ireland in which Lady Gregory, Yeats, and Hyde made their lives to which Quinn on his first visit had responded in 1902. To the circle of literary and cultural nationalists that had then become his friends he was unfailingly patient, generous, and loyal. No doubt there still would have been an Irish Literary Renaissance without Quinn; with him it came more easily. An irony of history is that, although Quinn mistrusted extremists of either political persuasion and abhorred coercion and physical violence, it was his masterful organization of Douglas Hyde's United States tour in 1905–1906 that secured the funds critically needed for the league's survival—funds that thereby nurtured, sublimated the force that ten years later Quinn deplored. Had there been no fund-raising tour of America on behalf of the impoverished Gaelic League, no doubt there still would have been an insurrection. But when would it have occurred, who would have been its leaders, and what would have been its outcome?
Characteristically, Quinn had taken personal charge of arrangements for Hyde's arrival. In a letter to Lady Gregory, he explained why:
If I let it go it would be miserably bungled. . . . One Gaelic Leaguer here wanted Hyde to be met at the dock by the 69th Regiment (all Irish), by a band (all German, I suppose), and by a platoon of policemen (all Irish, of course). I had to kill that. Then another wanted a "ladies chorus" (all singing through their noses as they usually do) "just so his lecture wouldn't be so dry."
Nothing was either bungled or in bad taste when Quinn was in charge. For Hyde's arrival he had arranged a dignified reception. Absent from the dockside event were the enthusiasts ("nothing is more dangerous than enthusiasm," he assured Hyde). In their place he had assembled a small party of handpicked "representative Irishmen," by which Quinn meant men like Martin J. Keogh, justice of the New York state supreme court.
When Quinn was in charge, there was also never a moment wasted. The itinerary he had set for Hyde for the next seven months made that clear. It called for Hyde to crisscross the country as follows, with one or more lectures and fund-raisers in each location, depending on the proximity of colleges and universities and the popular audience potential, and with some locations marked for a second or third visit:
November: Boston; New Haven, Connecticut; Washington, D.C.; Hartford, Connecticut.
December: Boston again; Manchester, New Hampshire; Springfield, Massachusetts; Ansonia, Connecticut; Lowell, Massachusetts; Boston again; Waterbury, Connecticut; Providence, Rhode Island; Philadelphia; Worcester, Massachusetts; Lawrence, Massachusetts; Brooklyn; and New Haven, Connecticut.
January: Pittsburgh; Chicago; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Chicago again; Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis; Cincinnati; St. Louis, Missouri; South Bend, Indiana; Madison, Wisconsin; St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota.
February: Omaha, Nebraska; San Francisco, Berkeley, San Jose, and Oakland, California.
March: Sacramento, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and Santa Clara, California; Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington.
April: Spokane, Washington; Butte and Anaconda, Montana; St. Paul again; Chicago again; Memphis, Tennessee; Louisville, Kentucky; Baltimore; Ithaca and Elmira, New York; and Scranton, Pennsylvania.
May: Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Rochester, New York; Toronto, Canada; Washington, D.C.; Bridgeport, Connecticut; Paterson, New Jersey; New York.
Lucy, meanwhile, was to be entertained in the major cosmopolitan centers along Hyde's route.
From Wednesday, November 15, the day of his landing, until November 19, Hyde's days and nights were spent in the Manhattan Hotel with newsmen whom Quinn had thoroughly briefed in advance. The week before the Majestic docked, Quinn personally had visited the offices of the Sun, World, Journal, Tribune, and Times to arrange interviews, discuss pictures, and issue reports of Hyde's visit and its purpose. For those papers that could not (or would not) spare a reporter, he provided for distribution to news writers a printed "interview" that required only that they strike out the questions and put the answers in narrative form to have an item that would fill one-and-a-half newspaper
columns. Wonderfully wise in the ways of publicity and the necessity for, as he said, "beating the drum," Quinn repeatedly reminded Hyde to talk up the program on which he would lecture on Sunday evening, November 26, in Carnegie Hall at every chance that he got. Other lectures were to precede it, but this, Quinn pointed out, was the first major fund-raising event on Hyde's schedule.
Hyde was nervous at first about talking with the American press: the reporters at home were all people he knew, who would write what they wanted whatever he said; the fact that he did not know what to expect of American reporters intimidated him. Quinn, however, was pleased with the results of Hyde's interviews. Although Hyde was not always sure that he was "beating the drum" appropriately, Quinn had been satisfied that he had an instinct for the right phrase at the right time when, in response to a potentially delicate question from a New York Times reporter on November 19, Hyde had explained:
We have worked a tremendous revolution in Ireland. It has no political significance yet. It is simply an intellectual fight at this stage. What it may lead to can be conjectured. . . . The English government is doing everything possible to suppress the movement. It wants a benighted Ireland.
It was true that Hyde quickly perceived the wisdom of Quinn's advice: with the American press, being accessible, amusing, intelligible, and wary yet quotable obviously paid off. Only once did he falter in those first few tense weeks, when after an exhausting day he fell into bed late at night, only to be awakened by an insistent newsman's continuous knocking on his door. His remarks to the reporter were, according to Maurice Leahy, "not in the nature of a benediction," with the result that the next day Quinn was faced with the necessity of having to correct a fictitious account of a forthcoming event which the offended reporter had submitted to his paper in place of the interview he had tried to obtain.
Hyde's first commitment before the fund-raiser in Carnegie Hall was a lecture at Harvard on Monday, November 20. Remembering the pleasant day in 1891 that he had spent on the Cambridge campus located close to metropolitan Boston, Hyde looked forward to being there again. For his topic he had selected "The Folk Tale in Ireland," described in his publicity notes as "founded on more than sixty tales taken directly from oral sources and never before collected." On the day of his lecture Hyde took the train from Grand Central Station in New
York to the Back Bay Station in Boston, where he was met by Fred Norris Robinson, a medievalist with Celtic interests with whom he shared a mutual regard. Hyde and Robinson had little time to talk on this occasion, as Hyde had only moments to spare for a quick bite and a change of clothes before he had to be delivered to the office of the dean of the college, who was to introduce him. Time was short, the dean was shy, and Hyde was full of nervous energy as together they started up the stairway to the lecture hall. "We stuck halfway up the stairs," Hyde wrote to Annette, "as we could not decide which of us was to go first nor . . . whether I was to be on his right hand or on his left hand, as though that made any matter. But," he added impishly, "they are much more formal in America."
Hyde's Harvard lecture drew about five hundred students and faculty. It was for him a reassuring experience. After all his months of worrying and rewriting, he discovered that he had hit just the right note. His audience not only listened attentively but laughed in all the right places. Robinson hosted a reception following the lecture at which Hyde took the opportunity to study the "matrimonial tastes," as he put it, of Harvard society. "As the ladies seem better looking than any I have yet seen," he noted in his diary, it "speaks highly in favor of Harvard culture." The next day, as he had mentioned to Robinson that he was very anxious to see the place from which the shot heard around the world had been fired, Robinson's brother was enlisted to provide a tour of Concord by motorcar. The statue of the Minuteman, he confessed to his diary, had the greatest effect on his imagination. He made a point of reading the rolls on stone monuments and working out how many of those who had fallen were Irish.
The Concord tour included a visit to the home of Ralph Waldo Emerson. There Hyde talked at length with Emerson's daughter and tried to imagine what it would be like to use Emerson's library, "a dark, dingy, square room, very puritanic in style, no ornaments and very little brightness of any kind to relieve it." He saw the Old Manse on Monument Street that had been Hawthorne's house and talked with Longfellow's daughter and the daughter of the Harvard ballad collector, Francis James Child. In the evening he was taken to meet the editors and writers of several Boston newspapers. At their request he wrote greetings in Irish to the Boston Irish community which were printed in facsimile in the next day's papers. There was so much to see and do in Boston and everyone was so congenial that Hyde hated to leave. Robinson
cheered Hyde with the reminder that he was due back for a "great Boston meeting" at which Robinson himself was scheduled to introduce him on December 3.
After a day's rest in New York, on Thursday, November 23, Hyde went to New Haven to lecture at Yale. No one met him at the station—his train had arrived early—and for some moments he stood looking at the unfamiliar surroundings and feeling disconsolate. Then suddenly he found himself surrounded by a group of local Irish Americans who appeared with apologies and elaborate explanations of what had happened, delivered with much good-natured pushing and shoving and laughing. They took him at once to the university, where his Irish-American escort was overcome with awe to discover that Hyde was to be presented by President Hadley himself. It was a thing, these young Irish Americans said, that Hadley never did for any visitors. The topic Hyde had chosen for Yale was fortuitously "The Gaelic Movement: Its Origin, Importance, Philosophy, and Results." New Haven, he discovered, was the home of "a lot of fine old veterans . . . who had fought in the Civil War and then had become Fenians and gone to Ireland." Politically sophisticated and nostalgic, they provided him with the core of an ideal audience. Later, at the New Haven Irish Club, a Captain O'Brien regaled everyone with an account of how after weeks of filing through the bars of his window he had broken out of jail in Clonmel, in County Tipperary, just as he was going to be condemned to death or penal servitude.
New Haven was but one of many American cities in which Hyde encountered Fenians who had fought as officers in the American Civil War. He was acquainted as a result of his 1891 visit with the old Fenians of Boston and New York. As many had died, their numbers had been reduced. He knew or knew of others—with some he had exchanged correspondence—through Frenchpark connections. In Philadelphia he was startled to learn that one of his dinner partners, "an ascetic looking Episcopalian clergyman" with an English accent whom he was prepared to dislike, turned out to be a grandson of John Mitchel who hated England "as deeply as ever his grandfather" did. The clergyman had, moreover, family connections with the O'Conors of Clonalis House in Castlerea, through collateral relatives of their American cousin, Charles O'Conor of New York. Another guest at the same dinner was an ex-Fenian Catholic priest. In Milwaukee, Hyde met Jeremiah Quinn, a leader of that city's Irish Third Ward and a bitter anticleric because of the Church's attitudes toward Fenianism. All the way to California,
Hyde would continually cross and recross the Fenian trail that extended between Ireland and Australia, with the United States and Canada forming part of the bridge in between. Sometimes, as he sipped whiskey and talked far into the night of Fenian exploits and Fenian heroes, the years slipped away and he felt as if he were a boy again sitting with Seamus Hart, listening to the men from Mayo in a cottage in Frenchpark.
On Friday, November 24, accompanied by John Quinn, Hyde took the night train to Washington D.C., where Quinn had booked rooms for them at the Willard Hotel; Lucy remained in New York, shopping and dining with Quinn's friends and attending the theater. The next day Hyde made his first call on Theodore Roosevelt, then president of the United States. Hyde and Roosevelt liked each other immediately. He was invited to have lunch with the president and his family. "Roosevelt was delightful, perfectly genial, and very gracious," Hyde wrote in his diary. "There was no formality whatsoever about him." Like Jeremiah Curtin before him, Hyde discovered that Roosevelt had a strong interest in everything related to Ireland and an unexpectedly broad knowledge of Irish folklore and history. They talked of present conditions in Ireland, especially education. Hyde told him about the government's attempt to cut off result fees for the teaching of Irish. "Extraordinarily wrong and stupid," Roosevelt said, shaking his head. Assuring Hyde that he understood what the Gaelic League was trying to accomplish, he promised to appeal to monied Irish Americans to see if he could persuade them to endow chairs in Celtic literature in American universities. Relaxing and smoking together after lunch, they put problems aside and talked of Curtin (whom Roosevelt had known but Hyde had never met), of folklore, of Irish and Norse sagas, and of the great heroes of Irish literature. Roosevelt explained that he had been brought up by Irish nurses and that Cuchulain and Finn MacCool had been familiar and vivid figures to him before he ever saw their names in literature. His children, he said, had been brought up by Irish nurses, too. They parted reluctantly, with Roosevelt insisting that Hyde try to arrange a return to the White House before going back to Ireland.
So far Hyde had been in the United States for ten days and he had begun to feel a little foolish that he had allowed himself to be upset by talk of feuding and backbiting in the Irish-American community. Everyone he had met had been warm and generous, interested in talking with him, eager to be friends. It seemed to him, in fact, that he had encountered nothing in America to match the sniping and backbiting
and feuding that he had left behind him in Ireland. The mail would catch up with him eventually, he was sure, but for the moment it was a pleasure not to receive the daily communications from the Coiste Gnótha with their chronology of petty problems or the clippings from newspapers that still showed a frustrating ignorance of the Gaelic League's goals and aspirations. There in the White House sat the president of the United States, that great and famous man, and he had an immediate and perfect understanding of why the league had been founded and what it was trying to accomplish. But Hyde had no time to think about these things as the train took him back to New York. It was Saturday, November 25, and on Sunday he would have his first big test of his ability as a fund-raiser in New York's famous Carnegie Hall. Quinn had told him just to relax and concentrate on delivering his lecture with his usual combination of humor and seriousness, a good mix. For his topic he had chosen, with some additions, his old warhorse on the necessity for the deanglicization of Ireland.
The Carnegie Hall lecture followed a pattern with which Hyde unfortunately was soon to become familiar as, in his travels across the country, he found himself in territory where the long knives of factionalism had been drawn between competing Irish-American groups. To his dismay he slowly discovered that the roots of this factionalism were in part much the same as they were in Ireland (parochialism, social and economic status, attitudes for or against language revival). In part they were peculiarly Irish American, in that attitudes differed depending on such factors as time of and reason for emigration. In general, he observed, a higher status was conferred on those whose families had been in the United States for one or more generations.
As Hyde described the situation that developed at Carnegie Hall, the first indication that all was not well came moments before the time announced for the program to begin. A man named Finn had arranged to buy the entire tier of boxes, thirty-one or thirty-two in number, and at the last moment he had canceled these reservations, apparently with the sinister intention of spoiling the event. He also returned 150 tickets, apparently for the same reason. Quinn was at the door within moments. The immediate task, he instructed the ushers, was to mask what had happened, and the only way to accomplish that was to fill the visibly empty boxes with those who arrived from that moment on, without regard for the original price of the tickets they were holding. Quinn himself stood at the door to make sure that this was done as expeditiously as possible. His quick thinking resulted in some grumbling,
as it delayed the start of the program for half an hour, but it saved the day, although it could not recover the lost revenue represented by the returned tickets.
The chair of the program was Judge Keogh of the New York supreme court, the man Quinn had chosen also to chair the host committee. An eminent, much-respected, and much-loved figure in the city, especially in Irish-American circles, as a young man Keogh had been introduced to Charles O'Conor of New York—a man honored in his state, as he told Hyde, as the father of both the appellate court and the bar association. Keogh kept his introductory remarks to a minimum, then stepped aside to allow Bourke Cockran to make the opening speech. A popular political figure with a reputation for spellbinding oratory, Bourke Cockran would have the task, Quinn had explained, of warming up the audience. Bourke Cockran had promised to hold his remarks to fifteen minutes but he talked for over half an hour—a feat Hyde found both entertaining and remarkable, as he spoke not just convincingly but even "eloquently" upon a subject he "knew nothing about."
When Hyde finally rose to take his place at the podium, he saw that the delegations from each of the Irish-American clubs were seated separately, each beneath its own large identifying green banner. Small green pennants with words of greeting in Irish had been hung in rows around the perimeter of the auditorium. The most numerous and prominent were those that carried Thomas Davis's famous message to the Irish people: "A nation without a language is a nation without a soul." It was a stirring sight, all those people and all those banners and all those messages from Thomas Davis, but Hyde knew that it would be better if the banners, too, had been hung around the perimeter and the people were sitting together.
Hyde began his speech, he later confessed in his diary, "with fear and trembling." The success of his entire trip depended on whether what he had to say would fire the imagination and reach the hearts of the people before him. It was an entirely different experience from that of speaking to Irish men and women who were already committed to his cause or to lecturing about folklore or early Irish literature. For five minutes he spoke only in Irish, dumbfounding the majority of the audience who obviously thought that they were going to have to sit quietly and listen to an hour or more of sounds that were completely unintelligible to them, unable to leave because the purpose for which they had come was to raise money for the preservation of this language
that they did not understand. When he switched to English there were audible sighs of relief and wild applause.
Although Hyde had said to himself that he would adapt his talk, as Quinn had advised, from his old speech on deanglicization, during the day he had reviewed his notes against the nature of the event and what he had learned of the composition of his audience. His conclusion had been that a presentation that required less specific knowledge of Irish history beyond the recent past but which would yield slogans and quotable lines would be more appropriate. Drawing on the rhetorical devices and oratorical style that had earned medals at Trinity, Hyde therefore began his revised speech by celebrating the sense of kinship that had brought him and his listeners together ("When I hear your voices, I feel as if I had only transported myself from one Ireland to another"), then introduced, strengthening his statements through contrast, the ideas they shared ("Twelve years ago we found our country becoming a province, no, not a province but a mean little outpost of England. Today we are making it a nation").
As minute by minute, in response to such statements, applause rose, filled the hall, and washed over him, Hyde knew that he had chosen correctly. He emphasized the bonds that joined the Irish in Ireland and America ("I look upon the moral support of the Irish in America to be the most valuable asset that the Gaelic League at home could have") and played on the idea of the word "bonds" to introduce the purpose of his speech ("I would sooner have the moral support of the Irish in American than a quarter of a million dollars poured into the Gaelic League tomorrow"). He then raised the significance of his appeal through a series of statements separated by dramatic pauses, reaching for a level of oratory appropriate to the sum he had mentioned. Beginning softly, he allowed his voice to grow louder as he approached his penultimate exclamation, then reduced it to end the first part of his lecture on almost a whisper:
I am here today to explain to you the life and death struggle upon which we are engaged in Ireland.
I see that the papers say that this is the last grand struggle of the Irish race to preserve their language.
Oh, ladies and gentlemen! It is ten times, it is a hundred times, it is a thousand times more far-reaching than that!
It is the last possible life and death struggle of the Irish race to preserve not their own language but their national identity.
The applause rose and swelled again and then died down as, now comfortable that his audience was with him, Hyde moved gradually from peroration to explanation (of the league's nonsectarian character, of how it embraced Catholic and Protestant), concentrating their attention. Quickening his pace and raising his voice, he reached again as if for the final high moment of his speech, then—once more reversing expectations—dropped his voice to normal level and intoned matter-of-factly:
We are the white dove of peace passing over the land and obliterating the old feuds and hatred and black bad blood of the country. . . .
We are no clique, we are no faction, we are no party.
We are above and beyond all politics, all parties, and all factions; offending nobody but the anti-Irishman.
We stand immovable on the rock of the doctrine of true Irish nationhood—an Ireland self-centered, self-sufficing, self-supporting, self-reliant; an Ireland speaking its own language, thinking its own thoughts, writing its own books, singing its own songs, playing its own games, weaving its own coats, wearing its own hats, and going for nothing outside the four shores of Ireland that can possibly be procured inside them.
The Gaelic League is founded not upon hatred of England but upon love of Ireland. Hatred is a negative passion; it is a powerful, a very powerful destroyer; but it is useless for building up. Love, on the other hand, can remove mountains and we have removed them.
It was over. He had spoken for ninety minutes, interrupted only by bursts of applause. Now there was more applause and cheers, they were on their feet, and somewhere in the audience some small group was singing "A Nation Once Again." Judge Keogh and Bourke Cockran were shaking his hand, and people were holding out their programs for his autograph.
His spirits lifted by the success of the New York meeting, on November 27 Hyde wrote to Pádraig O'Daly and Nellie O'Brien in Dublin, assuring them that the factionalism he had feared was indeed a factor of Irish-American life, but that he had developed a technique for staying above it. Two days later, in a letter to the Coiste Gnótha, he said that already he had made a start at building a financial reserve, but as he needed to be able to assure the Americans that it would not be frittered away, he wanted to establish that no more than £1,000 of it would be used for routine operating expenses in any one year. He knew he could not expect every meeting to yield the sum that had been collected in New York, but if he did half as well on a regular basis with
occasional larger returns in places like Boston and Chicago, there should be no trouble, he believed, in not just reaching but exceeding the figure he and Quinn had set as a reasonable goal. The thing was to watch out for tactics such as those that had been used to nearly wreck this first performance. If it had not been for Quinn's quick action, anger and embarrassment on the part of those who were the real target of the intended sabotage would have distracted his audience from his speech in particular and the purpose of the program in general.
It was in this mood that Hyde set out for Hartford. The crowd was large and responsive, but at the end of the program there was no collection. Somehow, someone had overlooked this important detail. Distressed local organizers drove him around the city the next day, stopping at the offices of successful Irish Americans—most of them in the wholesale liquor, paper, or insurance business—where Hyde could introduce himself, explain his mission, and request a donation. No one even pretended that the results of this approach could begin to match what he might have had if a collection had been taken at the end of his lecture, but no one thought he would leave Hartford with net proceeds of only a little more than a hundred dollars. Hyde made a mental note to remind Concannon, who had been serving as his advance man, to check before each event about arrangements for the collection. Months later Hyde's suspicion that the Hartford problem had been not oversight but sabotage was confirmed by a letter of apology from one of the Hartford organizers. There had been a last-minute falling out between Irish-speaking and non-Irish-speaking groups in the city, he explained. He had thought he had things patched up, but on the day of the program tempers had flared and some people had walked out, with the result that all his hard work of nearly two years had been nullified. Hyde could not help but feel sorry for this well-meaning, honest but frustrated man.
Although the Boston meeting was successful, it was threatened by a different set of problems. The city had been well prepared by the newspapers for the December 3 event. The influential archdiocesan weekly, the Pilot , had given prominent space to Hyde's visit to the White House. Under "Entertainment" the Boston Post for Saturday, December 2, carried a large advertisement for Hyde's speech next to another advertisement for Maggie Cline ("the Irish Queen"), and "ten other big acts" that were to follow Hyde in the Boston Theater. The Philo-Celtic Society of Boston had announced that it would sponsor a reception.
On Saturday, with Lucy accompanying him, Hyde left New York
by an early train in order to reach Boston in time for a luncheon in his honor to be hosted by acting mayor Whelton on behalf of the city of Boston. En route Hyde received a telegram instructing him to leave the train at the Back Bay station where he would be escorted to the Hotel Lenox and introduced there to the acting mayor and a number of leading educators and newspaper editors. All seemed to be going well and Hyde was about to sit down to luncheon with the acting mayor and other guests when he was called to the telephone. The caller was Concannon, who insisted that Hyde make clear to Whelton that his presence was to be regarded as the visit of one friend to another and not an official event. His acceptance of Whelton's invitation, although innocent, already had caused a split in the Boston Gaelic League, which was divided, Concannon explained, on the question of which candidate to support in the coming mayoralty elections. Taking the acting mayor aside, Hyde tactfully told him that he understood that there was a mayoralty campaign in progress and hoped that the luncheon would not be construed by anyone as an indication that he was involving himself in Boston politics. Whelton laughed at the suggestion and assured him that no politicians, just a few educators, had been invited, but Hyde was so wary of the situation that he could not give his luncheon address the concentration it required. The next day Hyde discovered that another welcoming committee accompanied by Concannon and headed by John F. Fitzgerald (grandfather of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and a leading candidate in the mayoralty race) had been waiting for him at Boston's other railroad station. Moreover, Matthew Cummings, president of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the chair of the committee that had planned Hyde's visit, was upset at not having been invited to the Hotel Lenox luncheon.
Meanwhile, stories began to circulate about an erroneous newspaper announcement that had given the wrong time and place of Hyde's lecture. Rumor had it that this was no honest error but the work of the United Irish League. It was contested by a second rumor that the first rumor had been planted to embarrass the United Irish League. Although both rumors added to Hyde's discomfort, neither had any other effect, nor did the erroneous announcement apparently discourage attendance, for despite pouring rain the Boston Theater was four-fifths full when the moment came to begin the program. Moreover, as the figures seated together on the stage indicated, the politicians had managed to reach a détente, at least for the duration of Hyde's visit. With them were officials of the organizing committee and other
prominent persons, including Professors Fred Norris Robinson (who, as promised, introduced Hyde), George Lyman Kittredge, and Leo Wiener of Harvard; high-ranking dignitaries of the Catholic church in Boston; and various local officials. Thomas Concannon was also there, identified on the program by a title he had newly bestowed upon himself: chief organizer of the Gaelic League in Ireland.
The event began inauspiciously with the long and painful reading of a pedestrian poem entitled "The Language of the Gael" and Robinson's polite but not exciting introduction. There had been no Bourke Cockran warm-up, Hyde realized, with a certain amount of trepidation, as he took his place at the podium. As in New York, he began speaking in Gaelic to a partly delighted but mostly bewildered audience, then switched within a few minutes (to a roar of laughter and much applause) to English. This time he did focus on the necessity for deanglicization, denouncing "that devouring demon" that has "swallowed up our language, our music, our songs, our dances, and our pastimes." "Back, demon, back! You shall swallow no more," he cried melodramatically, acting the part as if he were performing at the Mosaic in Dublin, gratified by his Boston audience's appropriate cheers and whistles and catcalls. Then, pausing somberly, he introduced his sober topic: As a result of imitation the people of Ireland have "ceased to be Irish without becoming English." An Irish identity is essential if Ireland is to become "a new nation on the map of Europe." The idea of reviving Irish is no longer a dream; it is already a reality. In Ireland, "a dozen years ago Irish was taught in only six schools. Today it is taught in 3,000 schools. . . . 250,000 Irishmen are learning to read and write Irish." The Gaelic League is "a popular democratic movement" with a modest budget. "On this we are trying to save Ireland." Despite its limited funds, it already has accomplished much. "We brought together for the first time Protestant and Catholic, priest and parson, landlord and tenant. If we have the support of the Irish in America, we are bound to win."
Similar to the speech he had delivered in 1892 as president of the Irish Literary Society yet modified for American audiences, the text that Hyde used in Boston became a basic item in his repertoire. It became the one that he employed most frequently during his entire fund-raising campaign, with small changes to incorporate local or current references or to infuse the text with more energy or more constraint, as the occasion required.
The Boston program received excellent press coverage that was
picked up and repeated in other newspapers across the country as well as in Ireland. The Boston Evening Transcript ran a full column on the entertainment page under the headline "The Revival of Gaelic"; it was fairly handled. But the real public relations advantage was the Boston Globe 's front-page story under the two-column headline "Dr. Hyde Tells of Erin's last Fight," followed below by "Preservation of Her Identity at Stake." The text, which began on page one with the announcement that $1,000 had been subscribed in twenty minutes and continued on page three with a full transcript of Hyde's speech, ended with the announcement that the Globe had opened a subscription list to which it, the Boston Post, the Boston Herald, and the Republic each had donated $100. Page three also carried a two-column picture of Hyde. Under the heading "Big Fund for Hyde" the Post gave the address to which contributions might be sent, noted the "tremendous ovation" Hyde's speech had received, and said that "wild enthusiasm" had characterized the entire program.
Although Hyde's complaints about the Boston program had focused on the embarrassing position in which he had been placed by the competing local politicians, John Quinn's concern was the amount of money raised. It was substantial; it should have been more, he declared. Assuring smooth relations and arranging efficient methods of fund-raising were both responsibilities that had been assigned to Concannon. Immediately upon meeting him Quinn had felt, as he wrote to Martin Keogh, that Concannon was the wrong man for the job. "He is a child of nature and a child of nature is not the man to organize meetings in this country or to get people to give money." Any Irish-American millionaire would give money of Hyde if he asked for it but would "size up a man like Concannon in ten minutes and wouldn't give him a cent. . . . Money is what we want, we need a man who can touch the hearts of plutocrats."
In Quinn's objections to Concannon he had an ally in Lucy, whose different criticisms focused on the self-aggrandizing interviews the self-appointed Gaelic League's chief organizer gave to the newspapers. She addressed her complaints to Agnes O'Farrelly in Dublin: "We have in plain language brought out the wrong man —but for Concannon's blunders and conceit and selfishness Dr. Hyde would have got by now thousands of dollars. " Moreover, influential men had told her that Concannon "was giving a bad impression of the Gaelic League. " She was especially indignant at the report that he had been telling people that he himself was going to "remodel the Gaelic League in Ireland . . . on
new and modern lines." And he had not yet provided an account of his expenses but had been buying expensive presents for "his girl."
Both Quinn and Lucy believed that Concannon should not be allowed to proceed to California, but Quinn felt restrained as Hyde had specifically requested that Concannon be put in charge of arrangements. Nor would Hyde listen to Lucy, who finally out of exasperation sent her observations to Agnes, with instructions that she use her own discretion about how to bring them to the attention of O'Daly or Barrett, the league's secretary and treasurer. Agnes went instead to John MacNeill, Hyde's close friend and co-worker, and the vice-president of the league. Her recommendation was that MacNeill call a special meeting of the Coiste Gnótha to discuss Lucy's general observations and to recall Concannon if he did not promptly give an account of his expenses. MacNeill agreed to demand from Concannon, by cable, an immediate accounting, and to write a letter to Hyde suggesting that Concannon's services might be better employed in Ireland, but he refused to snatch Concannon from Hyde's staff with only Lucy's testimony against him. To Agnes, MacNeill confided that a good part of the problem could well be that Concannon had "made himself obnoxious" to Lucy. Others before him had felt the scorn of her disfavor and the sharpness of her tongue.
With no one willing to dismiss Concannon or change his assignment, he remained on the fund-raising tour, to the dismay of both quinn and Lucy, who fumed in New York while Hyde and Concannon left on a three-week tour of New England and the Northeast. When they returned, there remained only two more commitments in the New York area before the Hydes and Concannon began their journey westward. Lucy again asked Hyde if Concannon had drawn up an account of his expenses; Quinn again reviewed receipts and found them short of what he expected. To Lucy's question Hyde responded by urging her to tell him all about how she had been enjoying herself with the Keoghs and her other new friends in New York who had taken charge of her during his absence. To Quinn he insisted that animosities among Irish-American societies were to blame. In Lowell, after a small turnout had left him with a meager collection, a man had volunteered the information that it was the fault of the local organizer, the chief of police; had matters been left in the hands of the Irish societies, the program would have been more successful. In Philadelphia, where Hyde personally solicited a contribution from the archbishop and received but a taken sum, he was told that behind the scenes an intense campaign against
the Gaelic League had been waged on behalf of the United Irish League, who feared a loss in their subscriptions. And also in Philadelphia, Hyde reported, if it had not been for the Clan na Gael, which stepped in with a contribution of $1,500 supplemented by an additional $500 from one of its leading members, Joseph McGarrity, expenses might have been greater than contributions, for again as in New York there had been a last-minute return of a large block of reserved tickets.
There seemed to be nothing either Quinn or Lucy could do about Concannon, who already had headed toward the Midwest as advance man when on January 4 the Hydes boarded the train for Pittsburgh, their interim stop en route to Chicago. Lucy had received assurances of sumptuous accommodations and invitations to luncheons, dinners, concerts, theater performances, parties, and sightseeing and shopping trips during the three weeks she would spend in Chicago. Hyde's schedule included trips out of the city to Milwaukee, where Jeremiah Curtin had grown up; to Minneapolis and St. Paul; to Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati; to South Bend and Indianapolis; and to St. Louis, Missouri.
All through the Midwest Hyde encountered women and men whom he had known in Ireland or who were relatives of people he knew in Ireland. Usually these encounters were joyous, but at least one was upsetting. After his lecture at Butler College in Indianapolis, Hyde had turned to shake hands with committee members and their guests who had been seated on the platform. Suddenly he found himself in front of "the notorious Lenchechaun," a scoundrel with a vicious temper who had fled from Ireland after disfiguring his landlady (who was also very likely his mistress) by biting off her nose. (Lenchechaun's full story recently has been told by James Carney in The Playboy and the Yellow Lady ). Discovered living in Indianapolis, Lenchechaun was charged and would have been extradited had he not aroused the sympathy of Indianapolis Irish Americans with his claims that the crimes he was said to have committed were but the actions of a poor tenant trying to save himself from the landowner who had mistreated him. On the one hand Hyde wholeheartedly approved of Irish unity in America when it came to protecting Irish patriots and righting genuine injustice; in this case he regretted that the object on which so much trouble had been wasted was not a worthier one. Caught among the crowd on the platform with no alternative but to join in the general handshaking, Lenchechaun had tried to keep his head down "in a rather shame-faced way," but Hyde had recognized him. "I have heard talk about you," Hyde said icily,
turning away. Other aspects of Hyde's Indianapolis visit more than compensated for this unpleasant encounter. In his diary he described an old-fashioned Irish evening in which everyone told ghost stories of the kind he used to hear from Seamas Hart. One afternoon he visited the Hoosier poet, James Whitcomb Riley, bringing him a "splendid floral harp of roses and lilies of the valley, about four feet high," in return for a large bouquet of roses sent by Riley that he had found in his hotel room when he arrived.
From Indianapolis, Hyde went to Cincinnati, where the weather was warm and pleasant, but as soon as he reached St. Louis, he encountered winter. The further north he traveled, the lower the temperature dropped. Standing in train stations, braving icy winds, freezing rain, and snow at temperatures that rivaled those he remembered from New Brunswick, Hyde thought wryly of a note he had sent to Quinn the preceding February, when plans for his tour were in the making. Lucy, he had said, was "looking forward" to America as an "escape from an Irish winter"! In Milwaukee a cold wind blew continuously off the freezing waters of Lake Michigan, but the warmth of the greeting he received from the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Norwegian governor, and the general population more than made up for the continuing chill. Madison weather was worse. Finishing his January 30 evening lecture on folklore at the University of Wisconsin, he and his host, A. C. L. Brown, a former student of Fred Norris Robinson and a specialist in Celtic elements in Arthurian literature, went to Brown's rooms where a convivial group smoked and sipped whiskey and talked late into the night. At one o'clock in the morning—too late to get a cab—Hyde and Brown started out on foot for the railroad station, usually a simple walk of a mile or two. On this night, however, they had not taken more than a dozen steps before they found themselves in the teeth of a snow-filled howling gale. Since Brown did not seem to be intimidated by the weather, Hyde assumed that there was nothing unusual about it for Madison, although he wished that he had brought with him the fur hat he had worn in New Brunswick. When they reached the station he had to wait a half hour, his teeth chattering, for the 2:15 A.M. train to St. Paul. For some days afterward he had a severe earache that left him partially deaf in one ear. Later he discovered that he had walked through one of the worst midwestern blizzards of recent years.
Despite the weather the Hydes enjoyed Chicago, which Lucy described in a postcard to Nuala and Una as "a fine city with pleasant
buildings," "only 50 years old" with "streets thirty miles long" and "no indians now." There they were lavishly entertained by well-to-do Irish-American bankers and businessmen, political figures, celebrities, and literary figures; Hyde was invited to talk at the University of Chicago. As they prepared to leave they assured the friends they had made—among them, Chicago's "Mr. Dooley"—that they would return in April.
Days were already longer and the birds had begun to return to the lakefront when, at seven-thirty in the evening, February 6, the Hydes boarded their train. By eleven o'clock the next morning they were in Omaha—a visual shock, as they had not seen the gradual change in the countryside through which they had passed overnight and therefore were not prepared for the sweeping flatness of the northern midwest. To Nuala and Una, Lucy sent a picture postcard: "This is a castle of an American millionaire. Would you like one? Jane will tell you what an American millionaire is. These fine homes have no gardens worth speaking of, which is a pity."
In Omaha, Hyde continued to encounter fluent Irish speakers (including the bishop of Omaha, a Dr. Scannell from Cork) and Roscommon neighbors (such as Father Stritch, who now lived in Omaha, but was a native of Ballaghaderreen). It was not at all difficult to have such chance meetings there, he discovered, as more than one-sixth of the city's population of 150,000 was either Irish-born or of Irish extraction. Often in Omaha, as in other parts of the United States, he found among the native-born Irish and their American-born children and even grandchildren books or manuscripts in the Irish language which they preserved but could not read. The future fate of these items concerned him greatly, as he began to mention in his speeches in the hope that the owners might take steps to make sure that these endangered relics of their past would be preserved.
On February 11 the Hydes were again on a train, now headed in full daylight across the Great Plains and through the Rocky Mountains toward the coast of the Pacific Ocean. Concannon, to Lucy's great relief, had gone on ahead to spend a few days with his brother in California. Hyde divided his time between looking out the train window and translating canto 5 of Dante's Inferno from Italian into Irish, for a priest he had met at Notre Dame. He felt awed by the immensity of America, the enormous farms, each one stretched over what seemed to Hyde to be all the land and more of an Irish county, and the wild and barren scenery. Sometimes, seeing a solitary figure near a farmhouse, he
thought of the people they had met most recently in the Midwest, many of them Irish women married to German husbands or Irish men married to German wives. It struck him that, given the cultural values he felt that they shared, this might be a better combination than English and Irish. Idly, enjoying the leisure, he let his mind wander, not caring how long it might take to reach the crowds, the reporters, the photographers, and the well-wishers in San Francisco. They had left Ireland more than three months ago—ninety-six days ago to be exact—and he had spent few of them resting. He had arrived in the Midwest with a bad cold that he had never quite shaken. His ear—the one he had exposed to a Wisconsin blizzard—still bothered him from time to time. He was nodding, almost asleep, when the train stopped in Ogden, Utah, and two reporters for the San Francisco newspapers boarded to interview him. His first reaction was dismay that he quickly tried to mask. His second reaction was astonished pleasure, for one reporter was Edward F. Cahill, a Trinity man, and the other was J. T. Smith, a fluent Irish speaker. They had a fine, companionable time together, and the next day readers of the San Franciso Examiner awoke to find Douglas Hyde looking out at them from a four-column story on the front page of their newspaper.
San Francisco captured the hearts of both Lucy and Hyde. They arrived in the evening in time to see the Ferry Building and City Hall dome outlined in lights above the sparkling Pacific. Accompanied by Father Yorke and Frank Sullivan, members of the organizing committee, they were introduced to photographers who snapped them "in all the moods and tenses" and were then brought to the St. Francis Hotel where they could look out at the famous trolleys. On February 12 Hyde spoke in San Francisco. On February 14, after an informal session with the organizing committee, they were taken in a Mercedes to the Cliff House to view the sea lions, after which Hyde lectured in Berkeley. Fascinated by San Francisco, Hyde was eager to explore every corner of it, but between head cold and fatigue, he had begun to lose his voice. On Saturday, February 17, he remained in his room the entire day, steaming his throat over jugs of hot water in order to be able to address the major program set for Sunday at the Tivoli Opera House. All the boxes, he was told, had been sold in advance, bringing in $1,400 immediately, without counting the income anticipated from the stalls.
The crowd at the Tivoli was the most enthusiastic Hyde had yet encountered. He stepped up to the podium following Father Yorke's introduction, eyes sparkling, hands behind his back, bowing to a cheer-
ing, clapping, fully packed house. For an hour and a half (his vocal cords fortunately did not betray him) he alternately roared and whispered in an embellished version of what he had come to call "the Speech." Hitting all the notes that had aroused audiences of the past three months—"the devouring demon of anglicization" whose "foul and gluttonous jaws have swallowed everything that was hereditary, natural, instinctive, ancient, intellectual, and noble"; the lateness of the hour; the desperate need for Irish men and women to plant their feet firmly and say, "Back, demon, Back! Not one more mouthful of the heritage of Irish nationhood shall you swallow again forever"—he urged his lively audience not to let the abundant wealth of the Irish in America be lost in abundant indifference. He pleaded with them not just to save the dying Irish race but to help it develop upon Irish lines in a healthy future. Frank Sullivan was so moved by Hyde's performance that at its conclusion he himself pledged $1,200 on the spot. Others joined in the fever of the moment. The next evening Hyde found himself at the head table of "the greatest banquet ever given to a private person on the coast or indeed I believe to anyone else in California." Even Lucy was impressed and pleased—especially as there was no sign of Concannon.
Neither Quinn nor Lucy had given up on getting rid of Concannon. Although they were not otherwise fond of each other they exchanged letters about him through which they vented their anger and frustration. Lucy complained that he still had not provided an account of his expenses. Quinn was still dissatisfied with the discrepancy between what he had anticipated and what he was told had been collected. To Quinn, Concannon was "a fumbling, procrastinating, and conceited ass." To Lucy he was a "rat," an "eel," a "viper." If Quinn tired of this correspondence before Lucy, it was no doubt only partly because of the pressure of other matters, as he said, but also because Lucy had expanded the subject to include Quinn's conduct of his personal life, including his smoking, of which she did not approve.
Concannon presumably was still with his brother. Lucy enjoyed his absence and dreaded his return. Also absent in California were the jealousies and grievances within and among local societies on which Hyde blamed past fund-raising troubles and disappointments. After San Jose on February 26, Oakland on February 28, and Santa Barbara on March 8, the next major program was scheduled for Los Angeles on March 10. With sufficient time to rest between commitments, the Hydes were delighted when William J. Robinson, a goldminer from the north of Ireland, offered to drive them around to give them a better
acquaintance with the countryside. The weather was ideal, the scenery spectacular. On March 9 Laurence Brannick, who had escorted Father O'Growney's coffin from California to Maynooth in 1901, brought them to Los Angeles, where Lucy watched with pleasure as Hyde was feted at the Alexandria Hotel, extolled in the Los Angeles Times, and rewarded with a substantial collection for "the Speech."
In the California sunshine of Los Angeles and San Francisco Lucy did not even mind the questions of reporters, which until then she had been reluctant to oblige, but talked easily about herself and her two children. She showed the reporters pictures of both Nuala and Una; she told them that she had sent the girls more than two hundred postcards of America; she even gave an interview in which she stoutly defended the role that Irish women were playing in the Gaelic League. "The great advantage of the League," she said, was that it gave to women "as much scope for their activity as men." It was in this respect, she declared, with the poise and self-assurance of the Lucy whom Hyde had courted, that it differed from other organizations run by men, in which women have little representation. Within the league women were "fellow-workers." "Cut off women," she asserted, "and the League would not survive." One by one, she ticked off the names of the women who were most active in the league, noting their responsibilities and contributions. The only one she did not mention was Nellie O'Brien, perhaps because she was beginning to resent the pleasure with which Hyde seemed to receive Nellie's frequent long and friendly letters.
On the evening of March 26 Father Yorke, the Sullivans, and others who had been their daily companions accompanied the Hydes across the bay to their waiting train. On the Oakland ferry Hyde turned for a last look at the receding pier. Taking off his hat he waved and shouted a farewell that encompassed not only his friends but the entire city. "San Francisco, I shall never see you again."
Nothing before or after San Francisco could match it for enthusiasm, hospitality, and contributions. Its spell, although muted, seemed to continue, for all went well in Portland and Seattle, although collections were again not what had been expected. In the copper-mining city of Butte, a different world in which the emphasis was clearly on the struggle for survival, Hyde persuaded a hundred hopeful Irish Americans to form a branch of the Gaelic League, then sat down to read a waiting packet of Nellie O'Brien's letters, thinking that Ireland seemed very far away. With Lucy he visited Anaconda, where they spent the day touring the mines and where Hyde was horrified to watch a cloud of arsenic
pour out of a smokestack 300 feet high and, carried by the breeze, settle on the distant farmland. During the next few days they visited the impoverished villages of local tribes of the largest population of native Americans they had encountered and talked with a young Irishman who explained the economy of the state. "Montana is completely owned, almost body and soul, by the Standard Oil Company and other kindred corporations," Hyde wrote in his diary. "They have succeeded in preempting every source of wealth that is worth anything—all the mines, the timber upon a thousand hills, the sources of all the water power, and even all the good valley land, and of course they own the newspapers." He had come to Butte to ask for help in relieving the oppression of a people thousands of miles away. They had contributed to his cause. And who was there to help them? The people understood their plight, he was assured by several of the Irish Americans with whom he spoke. In fact, if it had not been for the election of Roosevelt, from whom they expected some help, some might have been brought to the point of revolution. But could Theodore Roosevelt really help, asked Hyde. The young men shrugged.
At the beginning of April, while Hyde was still in Butte, he received a letter from John Quinn, who was now thoroughly fed up with Concannon. Not half of what Concannon had guaranteed had been sent in, he declared. "I am done with him," he told Hyde. He must be kept out of Baltimore, Washington, and Buffalo, for it would be "money thrown away" for him to go there. On April 9 Hyde at last conceded. He cabled the league, saying that he looked upon his tour as practically finished and therefore had released Concannon, who would sail in three weeks' time (Concannon had asked for those three weeks for himself). He wrote to Concannon, giving him leave to go whenever he chose.
From Butte, the Hydes retraced their route through St. Paul and Chicago. On April 19 they were in Memphis when they awoke to news that their beautiful and generous San Francisco had been nearly destroyed. "We were unspeakably horrified . . . ," Hyde wrote in his diary, trying hard not to see in his mind's eye its ground gaping, its buildings overthrown. Some of the money he had raised in San Francisco had to be used to pay expenses. The small fees he received from his college lectures were supposed to be his own money; it had been John Quinn's idea to arrange these for that purpose, as a way to compensate Hyde for the eight months that he was devoting to the campaign. The rest was for the league. Calculating what these figures came to, Hyde estimated that he could safely return $5,000 for the relief of the people of
San Francisco without danger of dipping into league funds or using them for expenses. He arranged with John Quinn for the money to be sent. Quinn telegraphed the money to Father Yorke who mercifully had not been among the dead and injured.
Memphis was a shock to both Lucy and Hyde, who now had been traveling in the United States for five months. Their hotel, the best in the city, was "unutterably dirty and slovenly," Hyde complained in his diary. Everything was in "ramshackle condition." The hotel elevator "always stopped three feet short of our floor, and to scale up from the lift to our landing was a feat" which required "considerable athletic prowess." They were taken to the horse races by the mayor, "a nice old man of the name of Malone" who, to Hyde's amusement, seemed to have stepped out of a novel. "He had the slow drawl and the objection to sounding an 'r' and talked about his family and the aristocracy and his estates in Ireland two hundred years ago." He said that his family had been in Virginia for two hundred years before settling in Tennessee. They were, he declared, "the old aristocracy befo' the wah, suh." Aside from their host, Father Larkin, and another man named Walsh, Hyde's impression was that there were not many Irish in Memphis. Nevertheless they had a good turnout in the theater for his lecture, and before they left, Father Larkin took Hyde to see the cotton bales packed and tightened by hydraulic pressure on the "great sheet of water" that was the Mississippi River.
By Saturday, April 21, the Hydes were on their way from Louisville to Baltimore. Delighted with the return of spring, Hyde captured the scenery in his diary:
The white blossoms of the dog trees brightened the woods and forests on both sides of the railway, and the pink patches made by the Judas trees, as they are called, were beyond anything lovely. The Judas tree appears to have no leaves, but is thickly covered with pink blossoms. Judas is said to have hung himself on one of these trees, hence the name. They are numerous all over the South, but apparently not in the North. Toward evening we struck the Allegheny Mountains, a series of lovely ridges with a beautiful river running through them. All night long these ridges were lit up by brilliant flashes of summer lightning which kept playing on the hills and river for hours.
In Baltimore, Hyde spoke to a packed theater "decorated for the meeting with what appeared to be Irish words in large Irish letters: Ginn Finn Ginn Finn Amain Failice 7 Glaince." (Obviously intended was Sinn Féin Sinn Féin amhain fáilte agus sláinte: "Sinn Féin [the name of Arthur Griffith's new nationalist organization, liter-
ally "ourselves"] only Sinn Féin, welcome and health.") It was nicely done, anyway, thought Hyde, and since it was a decoration that so few could read, it made no difference. But perhaps there would come a time when it would.
At six o'clock in the evening on April 23 the Hydes were back in New York, at John Quinn's apartment. Quinn was not looking well; in the four months since they had left New York he had lost his only brother. He was thirty-six; he came from a close family; his father had died in 1897; his mother and two of his four sisters in 1902. Yet he had not for a moment put aside or ignored in this latest grief anything that had to be done on Hyde's behalf. Just three days before their return he had written a long letter to Lady Gregory about the difficulties with which he had had to cope, not through any fault of Hyde's, but on account of the "stubborn and blundering Concannon" and the "bad tempers and petty jealousies" of a small but intensely irritating number of people in the Irish-American organizations on which he had relied. If it had not been for others, "broadminded, patriotic and generous Irishmen," the tour would have failed. He had nothing but admiration for Hyde and for the way he had managed to hold up in situations that would have discouraged many another. He noted particularly Hyde's capacity for getting along with everyone, including some whom Quinn frankly admitted that he himself could not abide. It was for Hyde that he had worked Saturdays and Sundays as well as weekdays for many months.
The Hydes were back, but the work was not yet over. There were still commitments in and around New York and as far north as Toronto that had to be kept. At nine the next morning Hyde was on his way to Cornell University. Quinn accompanied him on the ferry to Hoboken where he boarded the train to Ithaca. He was met at the station by a Trinity man, a Professor McMahon, who put him up in his own house. His evening lecture, the first of two, was about the philosophy of the Gaelic movement. The next morning was pure pleasure, devoted to examining the Cornell Dante collection (about eight thousand volumes, he estimated) and a "splendid Petrarch and Icelandic collection as well." In the afternoon he lectured on Irish poetry; by evening he was in Elmira for a banquet that lasted until almost two o'clock in the morning.
The students at the Elmira Ladies' College, where Hyde was to lecture on April 26, excelled, he was told, in athletics. In the morning he talked to them for about a half hour and made them laugh. In the eve-
ning he was to address a much larger audience—about twelve hundred, he estimated, that included the students of the ladies' college, who arrived in their caps and gowns. Unaware that no more than a fifth of those he was addressing had any Irish background or connections, Hyde had decided to give them "the Speech." Part way through, when he began to realize that he was not getting the reactions he expected, he "switched around a little," but not before the editor of the Elmira Telegraph had noticed his error, for which he afterward took Hyde to task. Had this happened four or five months earlier, Hyde would have been devastated. As it was he was grateful that his listeners received what he had to say as well as they did.
From Elmira, Hyde went to Scranton, accompanied by a Father Hurst, an "old friend . . . who had been in Ratra some years ago" and who had lived for a time in Swinford, in Mayo. He would have enjoyed talking during the journey but he was so tired he could hardly keep his eyes open, and eventually he fell asleep on the train. Another of his hosts in Scranton was a Casey from a village near Coolavin, the home of The Macdermot very near to Ballaghaderreen. The mayor, the bishop, and another crowd of 1,200 turned out to hear his evening lecture. In the morning he was on his way back to New York, grateful that he had two weeks to rest before the next major fund-raising event, in Buffalo on May 13.
Hyde spent most of his time on the train from Scranton to New York just looking out the window. It was April 28. There was not yet much foliage, but the willows, he noticed, were putting on their green and the red buds of the hard maple had started to sprout, giving the trees a reddish-yellow rather than green appearance. Taking note of the difference between Irish and American trees, he observed that in an American wood just beginning to green there were "all kinds of shades, a whitish green, dull green, dark green, but very little vivid green." He thought the green of the drooping willows "the prettiest thing in the landscape." Soon it would be time for him to return to Ireland. He wondered again, as so often before, what his life would have been like if in 1891 he had remained in North America.
By one o'clock Hyde was in New York, at Quinn's office. Although it was Saturday, Quinn was, as usual, working with other members of the host committee. A letter had come for Hyde from Father Yorke, assuring him that all his friends were safe but the city was destroyed, and they were now rebuilding. Over lunch Hyde raised the question of sending an additional $5,000 for the relief of "the San Francisco suf-
ferers." The committee members gave their permission, and Quinn telegraphed the money to Father Yorke. A few days later, catching up on his correspondence, Hyde wrote to Yorke, offering to send another $5,000 for earthquake relief from the money he had collected in San Francisco if it were needed. He assured Yorke that he took full responsibility for returning money which he felt under the present circumstances was needed more by San Francisco than by the league. He also felt confident that there was "not a single person in Ireland" who would not back him up in making such a contribution. Hyde asked Yorke if he should not also return to the Sullivans the $1,700 they had given to the league as they might now be in need of it. "All the pleasure has been taken out of my trip to America by this frightful accident," he declared. "My heart is really broken over what has happened to you."
After dinner on April 28 Hyde went alone to an evening performance of one of his plays, An Pósadh (The Marriage) at the Lexington Opera House. He spoke in Irish at the end of the performance. "Idle generally today," he wrote in his diary on April 29. It was the first notation of its kind since well before he had left Ratra. It was Sunday: he and Quinn took a long walk along the river, looking at the French and American battleships; he was overjoyed at the prospect of being just a visitor to America for a few days, with no fund-raising events to worry about. The local committee that had arranged his lecture in Philadelphia had invited him and Lucy to return and really see the city, a prospect that pleased Lucy. On Monday morning they took the train to Philadelphia for a four-day visit that included a tour of all the historic sites and buildings, a banquet attended by forty people who had been to his lecture in December, and a night playing twenty-one with three Catholic priests, Father Coghlan, Father O'Donnell, and Father MacLaughlin, who had become his friends.
On May 4 Hyde returned with Lucy to New York, lunched with Quinn, and caught a train to Poughkeepsie, where he lectured on Irish poetry at Vassar College. After his lecture there was a reception followed by a "curious ceremony" with Celtic overtones in which students dressed in "fantastic costumes" to represent Juno and other deities "had limelights thrown upon them and chanted weird songs and college ditties." The next evening, again back in New York, Hyde spoke at a review of the Irish Volunteers at the Grand Central Palace. He had reservations about participating in such a meeting, especially as the Volunteers were Clan na Gael men, but as all proceeds of this meeting were to go for the relief of the sufferers in San Francisco, he could not bring
himself to refuse. On May 8 he found himself in very different company, at dinner at Delmonico's with Judge Keogh, with whom he attended the quarterly meeting of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick—the only society, Hyde noted, that many of the wealthiest and most successful Irish Americans would join, having been disaffected by the "perpetual disputes and unsavoury bickerings" that went on in others. On May 9 Hyde, Quinn, and Lucy were joined at dinner by the Janviers, a couple from still another circle, supporters of the Félibrige, the organization founded by Mistral to help preserve the language of Provençal. On the last day of what he and Lucy had been calling their holiday, they went to the Hippodrome, laughed at the trained seals, and enjoyed the ballet.
On Saturday morning, May 12, the Hydes left for Buffalo. From the moment they got off the train at 7:10 P.M. they were surrounded by people: members of the local host committee, local dignitaries, members of Irish-American societies, and a steady stream of reporters. "Back, back, demon, back," Hyde wished he could say, but instead he again did his best to be accessible, amusing, intelligible, and wary yet quotable. On May 13, the day of the program, it poured rain, but a good crowd (about twelve hundred people) turned up anyway, and the collection was satisfying. On Monday, Hyde took Lucy to Niagara Falls, which he had first seen fifteen years ago, and then delivered a lecture at Niagara College entitled "The Last Three Centuries of Irish Literature." On Tuesday, Hyde went alone, by invitation, to meet a Mr. Sweeney, the kind of man who in Dublin might be called a character, a dry-goods merchant from county Antrim who had given $100 at the Sunday night event. "It is not easy to get money out of me," he told Hyde. "If you didn't strike me right you wouldn't have got it."
Hyde and Lucy started for Rochester at one o'clock on May 16 via the Empire State Express. Hyde knew that it had the reputation of being one of the fastest trains in the world; still, he was astonished when they made the sixty-nine-mile journey in seventy minutes. In the afternoon he and Lucy were given an automobile tour of the Genessee Valley. Hyde's lecture in the evening was followed by a banquet complete with champagne and cigars. Although Hyde enjoyed himself, he could not forget that his next lecture was in Toronto, where he feared the attack of the Orange newspapers. All turned out well, however. "I . . . turned their flank," he noted in his diary, "by making common cause with the Scotch, saying that this was a movement of the Scotch Highlanders as much as one of our own, and that it was monstrous of the University of Toronto not to have a chair of Gaelic for the men who practically
made Canada and made Toronto." The ploy worked, to Hyde's delight. "This astute move took the wind out of the other people's sails and brought in all the Scotch audience." Even the Toronto newspapers were friendly, to the astonishment of the Toronto Irish community. Hyde returned to New York covered with glory.
After a short respite in New York, Lucy again accompanied Hyde to his next destination, Washington, D.C. They arrived on Sunday, May 20, well before his scheduled lecture. For the first time he failed to draw a big audience. Only about four hundred people attended—partly, he noted in his diary, on account of the heat, partly on account of the lateness of the season. But what the crowd lacked in number it made up for in prestige, for the Speaker of the House, "Uncle Joe Cannon," was in one of the boxes, and "others of authority and position" were present. Hyde spoke at a terrible disadvantage, as during dinner he had been struck by a severe pain in his back that kept him from drawing a long breath or even moving his arms. Nevertheless, the show went on. There was, however, "one passage where, under ordinary circumstances," Hyde would have had to stoop down "by way of picking a piece of mud off the street." He cut it out, knowing that he was "absolutely unable" to bend forward. It was a dismaying disability, for it continued, and the next day Hyde had his second luncheon date with President Roosevelt. He "hobbled up" to the White House and was rewarded with the opportunity to discuss an article which the president had just written on Irish and Norse saga. Hyde was astonished that the president of the United States could find time for such activities, but Roosevelt explained that as he knew his recent letter about railway rates would be "attacked and abused all over the country, . . . to take his mind off it he sat down and wrote his article." To their daughters Lucy sent postcards of the White House on which she wrote, "May 23, 1906. Pappy had lunch with the president in this building."
His back having improved, Hyde divided his time during the next four days between lectures and lunches at Catholic University and sight-seeing with Lucy in Washington, a city he much admired for its beauty. His one criticism was the Library of Congress, "a forest of lovely marble pillars . . . spoiled by the tawdry coloring and silly paintings upon the walls." Catholic University he found particularly impressive, on account of the freewheeling conversations he was able to have with its faculty, "the most broadminded" that he "had yet met." A chance meeting at the Smithsonian gave him the opportunity to renew his friendship with Mooney, a man whose company he had enjoyed in New Brunswick.
In Hyde's opinion Mooney knew "more about Indian rites and ceremonies than anyone living perhaps."
The next two weeks in New York were a flurry of activity as the Hydes prepared to return home. Hyde had agreed to write an article for Scribner's entitled "Scenes from the Ancient History of Ireland," to accompany a series of pictures. There were still two commitments to keep, one in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the other in Paterson, New Jersey, both within easy traveling distance. Hollenbeck, a "phonographer" who had developed a "complete apparatus" for learning French, German, and Spanish on his phonograph, had asked Hyde to "speak an Irish record" into one of his cylinders. He also had to see a publisher by the name of Wessel who had received copies of The Religious Songs of Connacht from Fisher Unwin for sale in the United States. Robinson, the mining engineer from California, showed up suddenly, invited Hyde to dinner, drove him back to Quinn's apartment, insisted on coming in, and "remained talking and reciting poetry" (which the disgusted Quinn called doggerel) until 1:30 one morning. There were also lunches and dinners and evening parties and excursions, as almost everyone whom the Hydes had met in New York wanted to entertain them before they left.
Eager to have a quiet dinner to themselves before they parted, Quinn, Hyde, and Lucy went to Tappan's Hotel in Sheepshead Bay on Sunday, June 10. Afterward they went to the home of Quinn's friend, Ada Smith, from whose balcony they could watch the lights go on at Coney Island. As the sky darkened, the amusement park lit up like fairyland and became a blaze of light, while in the opposite direction sheet lightning and fork lightning played over Sandy Hook. Lucy sent a last postcard to her daughters: "This is called a skyscraper because it nearly touches the skies. Keep it for me."
On June 15 Quinn put the Hydes aboard the Celtic . With their luggage, they had five boxes of gifts, many from Quinn himself. Among the souvenirs they brought home were a rattlesnake skin, arrowheads, and the skin of an Alaskan polar bear purchased in Spokane for sixty dollars. As the Celtic steamed eastward, taking a course two hundred miles outside the usual Atlantic shipping lanes to avoid icebergs, Hyde sat in their cabin, trying out his newly acquired typewriter and rereading letters from Nellie O'Brien, Agnes O'Farrelly, and Pádraig O'Daly, to try to concentrate his attention on what lay ahead. Twice daily he strolled the first-class deck of the White Star liner, pausing occasionally at the stern in the long June twilight to lean on the massive bleached and
holystoned teak rails, his eyes fixed on the churning ship's wake stretching westward, reaching back toward the New Island. He thought of the name the reporter from the Gaelic American had put on him, "The Man in the Gap" who would reconcile, he said, opposing Irish factions. He wished he could be equal to that task, but he knew it was beyond him. He had not even managed to explain to Quinn that the reason he could not sack Concannon was that Concannon was the man who so often, on his trips back and forth between his brother in California and his mother on Aran, had broken his trip to be a carrier of messages to and from Eugene O'Growney, dying first in the Arizona desert and then in Los Angeles. Quinn was a strong man: he would understand the feeling but deplore the sentimentality.
On balance—as it was not for a newspaper reporter to assign him his tasks, but himself alone—he had done most of what he had come for. The money he had raised for the Gaelic League was not as much as Quinn had hoped but more than enough to keep the budget going for a good few years. The people whose support he had won were another kind of treasure that both he and the Gaelic League could store away against—against what? That was the question he now had to ponder.