Page 114: Paddy Hearn's Fourth Birthday on June 27, 1854

December, 2009


January, 2010

Paddy's Great Aunt Sally Brenane writes in her diary.

Dear diary,

At the Traecy Family's deluxe Grand Hotel, Tramore, Ireland.

Wednesday, June 26, 1854


It's my tenth year of widowhood.

The lovely Summers here on Ireland's Riviera are forever reminiscent of my Summers here with my late husband Justin.

With me this Summer at the Grand are my personal maid, Catherine Ronane, Paddy Hearn, and his governess, Kate Mythen.

Very early this morning we left Rathmines by Bianconi Horse Coach. We arrived in Wexford City late this afternoon. We then boarded the first class blue car on the Waterford & Tramore Railway Line for the scenic seven miles to Manor Street Station, Tramore.

Paddy's Governess, Kate Mythen, writes in her diary.

Dear diary,

Grand Hotel, Tramore

Thursday, June 27, 1854


Today is Patrick Lafcadio's fourth birthday. Mrs. Brenane had a birthday party for him in the hotel dining room. Besides the four of us, she invited Paddy's swimming instructor, Kyle, who brought his pet Wheaton Terrior.

Paddy made a secret wish. Then, in one breath, Paddy blew out all four lighted candles on his birthday cake. His secret wish will surely come true.

Mrs. Brenane's birthday gift for Paddy was a wooden toy elephant. All day he carried that elephant. He's now sleeping with it in his arms!

Editor's note:

Years later in Japan, Hearn reminisced about his toy elephant:

"Of those mysterious toys which so strangely charmed the imagination of the child the fate has ever remained a mystery to the memory of man.

You cannot tell whether the broken trunk of the wooden elephant, which you tried so vainly to repair with disappointed tears, was ever mended. Who knows whatever became of it?

What foolish little trifles they were and yet what pleasure they gave, and what power ever their recollection has upon you today? The ghost of the wooden elephant with the broken trunk may after all affect the regularity of the pulse for an instant.

That broken trunk, ridiculous as it may seem, can still stir up memories that you dare not laugh at.

What a beautiful time of life that was, and how golden the hours before we first learned that life is a struggle and that passions are playthings for children of a larger growth; in short, before we had 'become as gods knowing both good and evil' as Mephistopheles mockingly observes."


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