Monthly Archives: December 2015

“The Way of Peace” by Bram Stoker

I knew both Michael Hennessey and his wife Katty, though under the local pronunciation of the surname-Hinnessey. I had often gone into the little farmhouse to smoke a pipe with the old man, and to have, before I came away, a glass of milk from the old woman’s clean, cool dairy. I had always understood that they were looked upon as a model couple; and it was within my knowledge that a little more than a year ago they had celebrated their golden wedding. But when old Lord Killendell – “The Lard” as they called him locally – suggested that I should ask old Michael how it was that they had lived such a happy life, there was something in his tone and the quiet laugh which followed it, which made me take the advice to heart. More especially when Lady Killendell, who had always been most kind to me, added with an approving smile –

“Do! You are a young man and a bachelor; you will learn something which may be of some service to you later on in your life.”

The next time I was near Hennessey’s farm the advice occurred to me, and I went in. The two old folk were alone in the house. Their work for the day – the strenuous work – was done, and they were beginning the long evening of rest, which is the farmer’s reward for patient toil. We three sat round the hearth enjoying the glowing fire, and the aromatic smell of the burning turf, which is the only fuel used in that part of Ireland.

I gradually led conversation round to the point of happy marriages by way of the Golden Wedding, which was not yet so far off as to have lost interest to the old folk.

“They tell me,” I said presently, “that you two are the happiest couple in the Country. I hope that is so? You look it anyway; and every time I have seen you the idea has been with me.”

“That’s true, God be thanked!” said Michael, after a pause.

“Amin!” joined in Katty, as she crossed herself.

“I wish you’d tell me how you do it?” I asked. Michael smiled this time, and his wife laughed.

“Why do ye want to know, acushla?” she said in reply. This put me in a little personal difficulty. As a matter of fact, I was engaged to be married, but I had been enjoined not to say anything about it – as yet. So I had to put my request on general grounds, which is never so appealing as when such information is asked for personal reasons.

“Well, you see, Mrs. Hennessey,” I said, stumbling along as well as I could, “a man would always like to know a secret like that. It is one which might – at some time in his life – be – be useful to him. He – ”

“Begob it might, yer ‘ann’r,” broke in Michael. “Divil recave me if a young man beginnin’ life wid a knowledge like that mightn’t have all the young women iv a township follyin’ round afther him like a flock iv geese afther a ghander.” He was interrupted in turn by Katty –

“Ay, or th’ ould wans too!” Then she turned to me –

“An’ so ye’re goin’ to be married, yer ‘ann’r. More power to ye; an’ as many childher as there’s days in the month.”

“Hold hard there, ma’am!” I retorted. “That would be an embarras de richesse.” She winced at the foreign phrase, so I translated it – “too much of a good thing – as the French say. But why do you think I’m going to be married?”

“Ah, go on out iv that wid ye! For what would a young man like yer ‘ann’r want to know how marrid people does get on wid wan another, unless he’s ceasin’ to be a bhoy himself!” (In Ireland a man is a “bhoy” so long as he remains a bachelor. I have myself known a “bhoy” over ninety.) Her inductive ratiocination was too much for me; I remained silent.

To read the rest of this story visit:
“The Way of Peace” at

“A Yellow Duster” by Bram Stoker

When my old friend Stanhope came unexpectedly, late in life, into a huge fortune he went traveling round the world for a whole year with his wife before settling down. We had been friends in college days, but I had seen little of him during his busy professional life. Now, however, in our declining years, chance threw us together again, and our old intimacy became renewed. I often stayed with him, both at Stanhope Towers and in his beautiful house in St. James’s-square; and I noticed that wherever he was, certain of his curios went with him. He had always been a collector in a small way, and I have no doubt that in his hard-working time, though he had not the means to gratify his exquisite taste, the little he could do served as a relief to the worry and tedium of daily toil. His great-uncle, from whom he inherited, had a wonderful collection of interesting things; and Stanhope kept them much in the same way as he had found them – not grouped or classified in any way, but placed in juxtaposition as taste or pleasure prompted. There was one glass-covered table which stood always in the small drawing room, or rather sitting room, which Mr. and Mrs. Stanhope held as their own particular sanctum. In it was a small but very wonderful collection of precious and beautiful things; an enormous gold scarib with graven pictures on its natural panels, such a scarib as is not to be found even amongst the wonderful collection at Leyden; a carved star ruby from Persia, a New Zealand chieftain’s head wrought in greenstone, a jade amulet from Central India, an enamelled watch with an exquisitely-painted miniature of Madame du Barri, a perfect Queen Anne farthing laid in a contemporary pounce-box of gold and enamel, a Borgia ring, a coiled serpent with emerald eyes, a miniature of Peg Woffington by Gainsborough, in a quaint frame of aqua marines, a tiny Elzivir Bible in cover of lapis lazuli mounted in red gold, a chain of wrought iron as delicate as hair, and many other such things, which were not only rare and costly as well as beautiful, but each of which seemed to have some personal association.

And yet in the very middle of the case was placed a common cotton duster, carefully folded. It was not only coarse and common in its texture, but it was of such crude and vulgar colours that it looked startlingly out of place in such a congeries of beautiful treasures. It was so manifestly a personal relic that for a long time I felt some diffidence in alluding to it; though I always looked at that particular table, for as Mrs. Stanhope was good enough to share her husband’s liking for me, I was always treated as one of themselves and admitted to their special sitting-room.

One day when Stanhope and I were bending over the case, I remarked:-

“I see one treasure there which must be supreme, for it has not the same intrinsic claim as the others!” He smiled as he said:-

“Oh, that! You are right; that is one of the best treasures I have got. Only for it all the rest might be of no avail!”

This piqued my curiosity, so I said:-

“May an old friend hear the story? Of course, it is evident by its being there that it is not a subject to be shunned.”

“Right again!” he answered, and opening the case he took out the duster and held it in his hand lovingly. I could see that it was not even clean; it was one that had manifestly done service.

“You ask the missis,” he said: “and if she doesn’t mind I’ll tell you with pleasure.”

At tea that afternoon, when we were alone, I asked Mrs. Stanhope if I might hear the story. Her reply was quick and hearty:-

“Indeed you may! Moreover, I hope I may hear it, too!”

“Do you mean to tell me,” I said, “that you don’t know why it is there?” She smiled as she replied:-

“I have often wondered; but Frank never told me, and I never asked. It is a long, long time since he kept it. It used to be in the safe of his study till he came into Stanhope Towers; and then he put it where it is now. He keeps the key of the table himself, and no one touches the things in it but him. You noticed, I suppose, that every thing in it is fastened down for traveling?”

To read the rest of this story visit:
“A Yellow Duster” at

Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving by Bram Stoker

Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving was Bram Stoker’s fourth major piece of nonfiction. This set of books is a biography of the English stage actor Henry Irving (February 6, 1838 – October 13, 1905). It was first published in the UK as a two-volume set in October 1906 by William Heinemann, London.

For more information and a copy of this book visit:
Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving at