For this and other reasons, Gerald’s family was not inclined to view the fatal outcome of thisquarrel as anything very serious, except for the fact that it was charged with serious consequences. For years, the O’Haras had been in bad odor with the English constabulary on account of suspectedactivities against the government, and Gerald was not the first O’Hara to take his foot in his handand quit Ireland between dawn and morning. His two oldest brothers, James and Andrew, he hardlyremembered, save as close-lipped youths who came and went at odd hours of the night on mysterious errands or disappeared for weeks at a time, to their mother’s gnawing anxiety. They hadcome to America years before, after the discovery of a small arsenal of rifles buried under theO’Hara pigsty. Now they were successful merchants in Savannah, “though the dear God aloneknows where that may be,” as their mother always interpolated when mentioning the two oldest ofher male brood, and it was to them that young Gerald was sent. He left home with his mother’s hasty kiss on his cheek and her fervent Catholic blessing in hisears, and his father’s parting admonition, “Remember who ye are and don’t be taking nothing offno man.” His five tall brothers gave him good-by with admiring but slightly patronizing smiles, forGerald was the baby and the little one of a brawny family. His five brothers and their father stood six feet and over and broad in proportion, but littleGerald, at twenty-one, knew that five feet four and a half inches was as much as the Lord in Hiswisdom was going to allow him. It was like Gerald that he never wasted regrets on his lack ofheight and never found it an obstacle to his acquisition of anything he wanted. Rather, it wasGerald’s compact smallness that made him what he was, for he had learned early that little peoplemust be hardy to survive among large ones. And Gerald was hardy. His tall brothers were a grim, quiet lot, in whom the family tradition of past glories, lost forever,rankled in unspoken hate and crackled out in bitter humor. Had Gerald been brawny, he wouldhave gone the way of the other O’Haras and moved quietly and darkly among theBut Gerald was “loud-mouthed and bullheaded,” as his mother fondly phrased it,hair trigger of temper, quick with his fists and possessed of a chip on his shoulder so large as to bealmost visible to the naked eye. He swaggered among the tall O’Haras like a strutting bantam in abarnyard of giant Cochin roosters, and they loved him, baited him affectionately to hear him roarand hammered on him with their large fists no more than was necessary to keep a baby brother inhis proper place. If the educational equipment which Gerald brought to America was scant, he did not even knowit. Nor would he have cared if he had been told. His mother had taught him to read and to write aclear hand. He was adept at ciphering. And there his book knowledge stopped. The only Latin heknew was the responses of the Mass and the only history the manifold wrongs of Ireland. He knewno poetry save that of Moore and no music except the songs of Ireland that had come downthrough the years. While he entertained the liveliest respect for those who had more book learningthan he, he never felt his own lack. And what need had he of these things in a new country wherethe most ignorant of bogtrotters had made great fortunes? in this country which asked only that aman be strong and unafraid of work?