Recollections of My Life and Reflections on Times and Events During It: A Memoir by Father W. J. Howlett

Page 61

gave a good address marked with true Christian sentiments. I was new in my parish at that time and the patriots were a little bit uncertain about me, but after that night I had them body and soul.

          The end of my last vacation in Ireland was spent with Father Browne at the chapel Ballycullane where he was appointed curate of St. Leonard’s in the parish of Tinturn. One morning he drove me to the boat-landing at Ballyhack where I was to get the river boat for Waterford. The boat was fulling [pulling] out just as we drove to the landing, but a couple of boatmen hurried me into a boat and rowed me out to midstream where the steamer waited for me. I did not have time even to shake hands with Father Browne, but waved his goodbye from the deck as I reached the waiting vessel. At Waterford I got a boat for Milford Haven in England and said Goodbye to Ireland, as I thought then: “It may be for years,” but as I think now: “It may be forever.”

          For a time I corresponded with Father Browne, but like so many other things, in time it ceased except for a very occasional letter. I did not forget him, but distance and other distractions made it easy to postpone writing. Both of us found weighty obligations to draw our attention and occupy our days. He became parish priest at Ditter in Wexford and Canon Penitentiary, of the Cathedral Chapter of the Diocese of Ferns.

          When leaving Ireland it was my intention to pass that way again after my ordination, so in good spirits I left it and all the many friends I had found there. Promising myself a sure visit soon and many through the course of succeeding years. But the years passed and always something to prevent the fulfilment of that promise, and now, too late. One by one the old friends passed away until but few remain--Father Browne being almost the only one remaining--it seems almost better to picture the old scenes as
                    “Oft in the stilly night, ere slumber’s chain has bound me,
                     Fond memory brings the light of other days around me.”

than to go and find everything so changed that a visit could be but little more than a disillusion and a disappointment.

          Now let me close this revery on Ireland by a transcription of one of the precious letter of Father Browne, written on a special occasion:

                                                                                                               Corey, Ireland,
                                                                                                                         1 July, ‘25.

My dear Father William:

                                        I thank you with all my the warmth of my poor old heart for your truly kind remembrance of me on what may be called

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