Upon that particular morning, as upon nearly every other morning throughout the year, Grania had left the cabin early, after settling Honor in her usual corner for the day, and had taken down the cow to pasture it upon the bent-grass growing upon the seashore at the foot of the hill, not far from where the two sisters owned a small strip of potato-ground.

It was a bleak, unfriendly day, bitterly cold, with driving showers, though the month was already April. The sea, whenever she chanced to raise her head to look at it, was of a dull blackish purple, varied with vicious, ????? windy-looking streaks of white along the{113} edges of the rocks over which the rollers were sweeping heavily. ?Moonyeen,? the short-horned cow, was eagerly cropping the scanty grass, her head turned intelligently away from the blast. It was strictly forbidden, by the way, for anyone to pasture cattle on this bent-grass, and that for the excellent reason that a breach once made in it the wind got in, and the whole became once more a mere driving waste of sand. The agent for the property, however, lived away on Aranmore, at a safe distance across Gregory?s Sound, and everyone upon the Middle island did, therefore, as they pleased in this respect, and Grania O?Malley did like the rest.