The wearing of the green

Advised by sage and experienced friends, I fled the country early on the morning of St. Patrick’s day. But here is a (slightly belated) present to the internet on a related subject. It’s from Angela Brazil’s The New Girl at St. Chad’s:


Honor looked without enthusiasm at the knitted woollen coat, and with marked disfavour at the white sailor hat, with its band of orange ribbon.

“I can’t wear that!” she ejaculated.

“Why not?” enquired Vivian, in surprise.

“There’s an orange band round it.”

“Orange is the St. Chad’s colour,” explained Vivian. “We all have exactly the same hats at Chessington, but each house has its own special ribbon—blue for the School House, pink for St. Aldwyth’s, scarlet for St. Hilary’s, and violet for St. Bride’s. I thought you knew that already.”

“If I had, I’d have insisted upon going to another house,” declared Honor tragically. “You ask me to wear orange? Why, the very name of ‘Orangeman’ sets my teeth on edge. I’m a Nationalist to the last drop of my blood; we all are, down in Kerry.”

Vivian smiled.

“Don’t be absurd!” she said, in rather an off-hand manner. “Our hats have nothing whatever to do with politics. Here are two long pins, but if you prefer an elastic you can stitch one on,” and without deigning to argue further she walked away.

Honor stood turning the hat round and round, with a very queer expression on her face. She was a devoted daughter of Erin. Her country’s former glories and the possible brilliance of its future as a separate kingdom could always provoke her wildest enthusiasm; to be asked, therefore, to don the colour which in her native land stood as the symbol of the union with England, and for direct opposition to national independence, seemed to her little short of an insult to her dear Emerald Isle. There were still five minutes left before she need start for chapel, so, making up her mind suddenly, she rushed upstairs to her bedroom. She would show these Saxons that she was a true Celt! They might compel her to wear their emblem of bondage, but it should be with an addition that would proclaim her patriotic sentiments to the world.

Hurriedly hunting in her top drawer, she produced a yard of vivid green ribbon and the bunch of imitation shamrock that old Mary O’Grady had given her as a parting present. Then she set to work on a piece of amateur millinery. There was little time to use needle and thread, but with the aid of pins she managed to twist the ribbon into several loops, and to fasten the shamrock conspicuously in front. She looked at the result of her labours with great approval.

“One could almost imagine it was St. Patrick’s Day,” she said to herself. “Nobody could possibly mistake me now for a Unionist. I’m labelled ‘Home Rule’ as plainly as can be.” Then, hastily pinning on her hat before the mirror, she ran downstairs, humming under her breath:

“So we’ll bide our time; our banner yet
And motto shall be seen,
And voices shout the chorus out,
‘The Wearin’ o’ the Green’!”

One Comment to “The wearing of the green”

  1. Is orange really the color of St. Patrick? Just curious because its my first time to hear a color that is associated with a saint.

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