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The Big Poor People

But I suppose your mother could never be leavin' Ireland now, John; she's gettin' so old now, maybe she couldn't stand the journey."

"Have no fear about that," John answered; "mother's not so old as you'ld make out, and she's likely to live longer now than some others that's here this minute."

As he said this John felt Kitty's hand suddenly holding his closer, and he knew that he ought not to have said it. "Don't mind what I'm sayin'," he said to her in a whisper; "I dunno what I'm talkin' about, but I didn't mean you at all, darlin', nor anybody particular. It'll all come right somehow, and we'll soon see the roses back in your cheek, and the smile on your lips, and the light in your eyes. Don't mind what I said."

"But what's the use talkin' of it at all?" said Peter. "You've no money and we've less. We might as well be talkin' of goin' to the moon as to the States."

The old woman did not seem to be paying any attention to what the others were saying, and now nobody at all said anything for a little while. Then Mrs. O'Brien began: "John and Kitty, I think sometimes it's true I'm getting old and foolish. I don't know what has made me talk the way I have to-night I've seen it coming—oh, I've seen it coming all along—yes, longer than any one of you has seen it—and I knew I couldn't stand in the way. And yet to be leaving the old places—the old fields and hills and paths—the old streams and trees and rocks—the old places where your father and I walked and sat and talked so often together, where you were born and where he lies—I couldn't bear to think of it. It's old and weak and foolish I'm getting, and I couldn't bear to think of it. And so I've tried to make you think of other things and to make you think that it would be better somehow, some time. Maybe I've said too much, and maybe I've kept you from going when you ought to have gone, but you'll know that it was because I couldn't bear to think of leaving all the dear places, and you'll forgive me; John and Kitty, you'll forgive me.

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