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The Fenian Messenger
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ISBN-10: 1-55404-340-9
Genre: Young Adult/Mystery
eBook Length: 87 Pages
Published: August 2005

From inside the flap

Georgina buys a beautiful figurine at an action and discovers that it is much older than she thought. Her mother uses her contacts and finds that the figurine of a beautiful Irish Colleen is called The Fenian Messenger.Learn about the attempt of Irish rebels and veterans of the American Civil War as they plan to invade and conquer Canada and hold it for use as a bargaining chip to force Britain to give Ireland its freedom. But Georgina discovered that the Fenian Messenger holds a secret and that secret could ruin the political future of an Irish politician who might soon become the leader in Ireland.

The Fenian Messenger (Excerpt)

Chapter One


"You?re not going to stay in bed all day, are you?" Georginaís mother asked.

"What else is there to do?" her daughter replied. "I?m here doing nothing while Meghan is out west enjoying the Equestrian School and both Michael and Andrew are earning some money with good summer jobs. All I can do is baby-sit and thatís not always such a wonderful experience."

Dorothy Small knew what was happening. Georgina was in a funk because she felt left out and deprived of something.

"School is starting next week and then Meghan will be home shortly after. Can?t you think of something to do?"

Georgina looked downhearted, and even resentful.

"No, I can?t think of anything. I?m bored."

"Well then, why don?t you come with your father and me to the auction? I don?t think you?ve ever been to one. Auctions can be fun."

Georgina looked skeptical, but since it was the only thing going, it might be better than lying here feeling sorry for herself. She reluctantly agreed to go.

Her mother always went to auctions and usually her dad went too. He was away more than once a week each month because of his position with Magnatrox, but Dorothy didn?t seem to mind. Before she was married she had a hectic life on the road and swore, that if or when she settled down, she?d stay in one place and raise a family where there was a small town atmosphere. She didn?t like big cities, so she only worked on consignment and if it could be done from her home so much the better. Her earlier job was in antique appraising and it took her all over Canada and even outside the country, but travelling like that, soon lost its lustre, although she still enjoyed some involvement in the world of antiques and artifacts.

"Going twice! Going three times! The Irish Figurine in lot 35 is sold to the girl in the pink blouse!" the auctioneer in green suspenders yelled.

The auctioneer looked over the sparse crowd and wondered if it had been wise to hold the auction after all. This place was more than off the beaten track; it was so far back in the township that few people ever used the gravel roads. How could anyone outside the district understand how to get here and avoid being helplessly lost?

"Little girl, you?ve got a real treasure there. At six dollars itís nearly highway robbery. You?re very lucky."

"Oh Georgina, itís beautiful!" her mother said with pleasure and amazement in her voice.

As Georgina held the porcelain figurine, she felt suddenly as if indeed it was more than a treasure; it almost seemed alive and talking to her. Her mind was playing tricks on her. She could almost feel the mist of an Irish bog shroud her and spirit her away. Was the figurine dancing in a jeweled glen? The figure of the girl in her flowing dress of dark green with its lace around her throat and along the bodice sparkled in the sun. How extraordinary.

"Will the saints preserve us? Folks, this is an auction sale and not a 25 cent garage sale. I?ve been an auctioneer for twenty years but never have I seen such low bids. Remember all these goods are from a hardworking family, people who worked their whole lives. Now itís time to settle up. Wilbert McBride is trying to start a new life and he needs a good nest egg. I?m not going to accept any further 25 cent or 50 cent bids."

"Mom, this is great. I wish you had told me that auctions are so much fun, and interesting."

Her mother smiled, knowingly; ?you can?t force a horse to drink but only lead it to water?.

"I?m glad for you. When we get home I must look at that figurine more closely. Itís not a reproduction. You should take it out to the car before you drop it.?

Georgina asked for the car keys and her father handed them to her.

"Hurry back; you?re on a roll," he said with a laugh.

Georgina grinned. "If you see something I?d like you can spend up to $6.00; thatís my upper limit."

When their daughter left with her acquisition her parents laughed. "I think the auction bug has bitten her, but I hope the garage sale bug isn?t around," Jim Small said.

Dorothy looked at her husband with suspicion. "Oh, itís the garage sales where you really find treasures. This auction is something more. I feel sorry for that man they mentioned. People are keeping their hands in their pockets.

Georgina took her treasure out to the parking lot and passed an old man who was leaning up against the wall. She had seen him before, peeking into the auction hall.

The clouds that surrounded them were threatening rain and perhaps that was the reason few people were here.

"Itís funny, right here we are in sunshine and all around us it looks like it might be raining," she said, trying to make conversation.

"Yep, the weather has been queer this summer. Those meteorologists haven?t got one weekend predicted right. What are they paying them for?"

Georgina didn?t have an answer. "Well even if it rains, I?m very happy. I just won a fabulous figurine."

The old manís eyes looked a little sad. Then he smiled. "Yes, I saw you bid. I guess if that figurine had to go to anyone it might as well go to you. I hope you look after it. It was one of my daughterís most prized possessions."

Georgina suddenly felt her day was ruined. Why did they put one of their daughterís most cherished things up for sale?

"Oh, I didn?t know; I can give it back. She shouldn?t be without it if itís important to her."

The man said quietly, "thatís a very kind offer, but you won it fair and square; besides my daughter can?t use it now."

He looked beaten down by lifeís demands and Georgina wondered if it had anything to do with his daughter.

"What is your daughterís name?" she asked. He looked up, perhaps drawn out of his thoughts by her question.

"Oh, we named her Caitlin, after her great-grandmother. Her hair was redder than the maple leaves in autumn and her eyes were so green that you could think they were made of jade.

I bought that figurine at an auction very much like this. We didn?t have the cash in those days to buy things new, so we made do, and auctions were a good way to cheer up the house.

When Caitlin saw it she was so excited I thought she?d have an accident with all that jumping up and down. I doubt she was much older than you. It was a lot of foolery and my wife lectured me for being so wasteful with our money. But that figurine made my daughter bubble over with joy and there were many evenings I saw her staring at it and talking to it.

Perhaps it was alive to her because I think sometimes she seemed to have a two-way conversation with it. Looking back, that was probably the best investment I ever made. Itís not often that a father can do something and have his daughter overjoyed. That was nearly 50 years ago. The auctioneer at the time said it was Irish and I hoped it would bring my girl luck."

She died in one of those epidemics that swept through this country after the Second World War. It broke my wifeís heart and she wasn?t alive for too long after Caitlin died. We had only one child. I?ve been alone working my farm ever since, but now itís time for a change. They say the retirement home is a good place.

You take care of it for Caitlin. If she is looking down from up there, I bet she thinks her dad did the right thing. Itís got a dark history, some history thatís not so very good if you believe the rumours that came with the figurine. Once a collector came and bought some of my household goods, but he wouldn?t buy the figurine in green. He said he didn?t like the vibes it gave him. Whatever that means. I?m not a believer in ghosts or phantoms or the dark side. Perhaps because it was Irish and from an Irish immigrant he thought it might have a checkered history, and he wanted to make sure no leprechauns would start playing their mischievous games with him. I can?t discount it, nor do I have the education to explain, but after my daughter died I swear that the face on the figurine changed from a dazzling, happy one to the quieter one that you see it with today.

Georgina didn?t know what to say. This figurine meant a lot to this old man. "I promise I will look after it. Perhaps you can tell me which retirement home you are in. I could come to visit you and bring the figurine, if you would like to see it again."

The face of the old man widened into a broad smile and his missing teeth made him look younger and not older.

"What is your name?" he asked.

"Itís Georgina Small and I live outside Spoonerville."

He reached out his hand. "Well, Georgina Small, you have shown me that there is hope for mankind after all. Perhaps one of these days I?ll take you up on your kind offer."

Georgina took his hand and they solemnly shook hands. "Itís a deal, Mr. McBride."

Again the smile was there. "Call me Wilbert, my friends do!"

When Georgina returned to her parents they looked a bit worried.

"My, that took long enough. We wondered what had happened to you," her mother said.

"I was just talking to a nice old man, Wilbert McBride. He was telling me some of the history of the figurine. It was his daughterís and he bought it at an auction too, over 50 years ago. He said it belonged to an Irish immigrant woman and has a coloured history."

Dorothy Small smiled. "Well thatís even more reason for me to see if I can find out its history. You didn?t miss anything, although I had to stop your father from bidding. Now that he has six dollars to spend it was all I could do to control him."

They laughed. The auction was a success.

The figurine of the young Irish colleen in green was one of Georginaís prized possessions and stood beside her first place gold medal that she won at the divisional jump several years before.