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This maiden aunt was, as are most Irish folk of decayed families, very proud of her family tree with its roots in the inevitable "kings." Her particular kings were the "seven kings of "the "Milesian kings"and the tree grew up a parchment, in all its impressive majesty, over the mantelpiece of their descendant's modest drawing-room.

This heraldic monster was regarded with deep respect by child Emily, a respect in no wise deserved, I venture to suppose, by the disreputable royalties of whom she was a fortunately distant twig.

To her the lightest breath of dishonour was to be avoided at any cost of pain, and she wrought into me, her only daughter, that same proud and passionate horror at any taint of shame or merited disgrace.

To the world always a brave front was to be kept, and a stainless reputation, for suffering might be borne but dishonour never.

It is a difficult thing to tell the story of a life, and yet more difficult when that life is one's own.

At the best, the telling has a savour of vanity, and the only excuse for the proceeding is that the life, being an average one, reflects many others, and in troublous times like ours may give the experience of many rather than of one.

Since then they have given a Lord Chancellor in the person of the gentle-hearted and pure-living Lord Hatherley, while others have distinguished themselves in various ways in the service of their country.

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Even on those matters modern astrology is not quite reliablejudging from the many blunders madeor else its professors are very badly instructed; but that there is a real science of astrology I have no doubt, and there are some men who are past masters in it.For my mother has told me that when she had committed some act of childish naughtiness, her aunt would say, looking gravely over her spectacles at the small culprit, "Emily, your conduct is unworthy of the descendant of the seven kings of ." And Emily, with her sweet grey Irish eyes and her curling masses of raven black hair, would cry in penitent shame over her unworthiness, with some vague idea that those royal, and to her very real, ancestors would despise her small, sweet, rosebud self, so wholly unworthy of their disreputable majesties.Thus those shadowy forms influenced her in childhood, and exercised over her a power that made her shrink from aught that was unworthy, petty or mean.And blessings on the ancient land once inhabited by mighty men of wisdom, that in later times became the My maternal grandfather was a typical Irishman, much admired by me and somewhat feared also, in the childish days.

He belonged to a decayed Irish family, the Maurices, and in a gay youth, with a beautiful wife as light-hearted as himself, he had merrily run through what remained to him in the way of fortune.And so the autobiographer does his work because he thinks that, at the cost of some unpleasantness to himself, he may throw light on some of the typical problems that are vexing the souls of his contemporaries, and perchance may stretch out a helping hand to some brother who is struggling in the darkness, and so bring him cheer when despair has him in its grip.