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´╗┐Title: Fardorougha, The Miser - The Works of William Carleton, Volume One
Author: Carleton, William, 1794-1869
Language: English
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FARDOROUGHA, THE MISER.

By William Carleton



CONTENTS

     Part I.
     Part II.
     Part III.
     Part IV.
     Part V.
     Part VI.
     Part VII.
     Part VIII.



PART I.

Fardorougha, the Miser.

It was on one of those nights in August, when the moon and stars shine
through an atmosphere clear and cloudless, with a mildness of lustre
almost continental, that a horseman, advancing at a rapid pace, turned
off a remote branch of road up a narrow lane, and, dismounting before a
neat whitewashed cottage, gave a quick and impatient knock at the door.
Almost instantly, out of a small window that opened on hinges, was
protruded a broad female face, surrounded, by way of nightcap, with
several folds of flannel, that had originally been white.

"Is Mary Moan at home?" said the horseman.

"For a miricle-ay!" replied the female; "who's _down_, in the name o'
goodness?"

"Why, thin, I'm thinkin' you'll be smilin' whin you hear it," replied
the messenger. "The sorra one else than Honor Donovan, that's now marrid
upon Fardorougha Donovan to the tune of thirteen years. Bedad, time for
her, anyhow,--but, sure it'll be good whin it comes, we're thinkin'."

"Well, betther late than never--the Lord be praised for all His gifts,
anyhow. Put your horse down to the mountin'-stone, and I'll be wid you
in half a jiffy, acushla."

She immediately drew in her head, and ere the messenger had well placed
his horse at the aforesaid stirrup, or mounting-stone, which is an
indispensable adjunct to the midwife's cottage, she issued out, cloaked
and bonneted; for, in point of fact, her practice was so extensive, and
the demands upon her attendance so incessant, that she seldom, if ever,
slept or went to bed, unless partially dressed. And such was her habit
of vigilance, that she ultimately became an illustration of the old
Roman proverb, _Non dormio omnibus_; that is to say, she could sleep as
sound as a top to every possible noise except a knock at the door, to
which she might be said, during the greater part of her professional
life, to have been instinctively awake.

Having ascended the mounting-stone, and placed herself on the crupper,
the guide and she, while passing down the narrow and difficult lane,
along which they could proceed but slowly and with caution, entered into
the following dialogue, she having first turned up the hood of her cloak
over her bonnet, and tied a spotted cotton kerchief round her neck.

"This," said the guide, who was Fardorougha Donovan's servant-man, "is
a quare enough business, as some o' the nabors do be sayin--marrid upon
one another beyant thirteen year, an' ne'er a sign of a haporth. Why
then begad it is quare."

"Whisht, whisht," replied Molly, with an expression of mysterious
and superior knowledge; "don't be spakin' about what you don't
understand--sure, nuttin's impossible to God, avick--don't you know
that?"

"Oh, bedad, sure enough--that we must allow, whether or not, still--"

"Very well; seein' that, what more have we to say, barrin' to hould our
tongues. Children sent late always come either for great good or great
sarra to their parents--an' God grant that this may be for good to the
honest people--for indeed honest people they are, by all accounts. But
what myself wonders at is, that Honor Donovan never once opened her lips
to me about it. However, God's will be done! The Lord send her safe over
all her throubles, poor woman! And, now that we're out o' this thief
of a lane, lay an for the bare life, and never heed me. I'm as good a
horseman as yourself; and, indeed, I've a good right, for I'm an ould
hand at it."

"I'm thinkin'," she added, after a short silence, "it's odd I never was
much acquainted with the Donovans. I'm tould they're a hard pack, that
loves the money."

"Faix," replied her companion, "Let Fardorougha alone for knowin' the
value of a shillin'!--they're not in Europe can hould a harder grip o'
one."

His master, in fact, was a hard, frugal man, and his mistress a woman
of somewhat similar character; both were strictly honest, but, like
many persons to whom God has denied offspring, their hearts had for a
considerable time before been placed upon money as their idol; for, in
truth, the affections must be fixed upon something, and we generally
find that where children are denied, the world comes in and hardens by
its influence the best and tenderest sympathies of humanity.

After a journey of two miles they came out on a hay-track, that skirted
an extensive and level sweep of meadow, along which they proceeded
with as much speed as a pillionless midwife was capable of bearing.
At length, on a gentle declivity facing the south, they espied in the
distance the low, long, whitewashed farm-house of Fardorougha Donovan.
There was little of artificial ornament about the place, but much of the
rough, heart-stirring wildness of nature, as it appeared in a strong,
vigorous district, well cultivated, but without being tamed down by
those finer and more graceful touches, which nowadays mark the skilful
hand of the scientific agriculturist.

To the left waved a beautiful hazel glen, which gradually softened away
into the meadows above mentioned. Up behind the house stood an ancient
plantation of whitethorn, which, during the month of May, diffused its
fragrance, its beauty, and its melody, over the whole farm. The plain
garden was hedged round by the graceful poplar, whilst here and there
were studded over the fields either single trees or small groups of
mountain ash, a tree still more beautiful than the former. The small
dells about the farm were closely covered with blackthorn and holly,
with an occasional oak shooting up from some little cliff, and towering
sturdily over its lowly companions. Here grew a thick interwoven mass of
dog-tree, and upon a wild hedgerow, leaning like a beautiful wife upon
a rugged husband, might be seen, supported by clumps of blackthorn, that
most fragrant and exquisite of creepers, the delicious honeysuckle. Add
to this the neat appearance of the farm itself, with its meadows and
cornfields waving to the soft sunny breeze of summer, and the reader
may admit, that without possessing any striking features of pictorial
effect, it would, nevertheless, be difficult to find an uplying farm
upon which the eye could rest with greater satisfaction.

Ere arriving at the house they were met by Fardorougha himself, a small
man, with dark, but well-set features, which being at no time very
placid, appeared now to be absolutely gloomy, yet marked by strong and
profound, anxiety.

"Thank God!" he exclaimed on meeting them; "is this Mary Moan?"

"It is--it is!" she exclaimed; "how are all within?--am I in time?"

"Only poorly," he returned; "you are, I hope."

The midwife, when they reached the door, got herself dismounted in all
haste, and was about entering the house, when Fardorougha, laying his
hand upon her shoulder, said in a tone of voice full of deep feeling--

"I need say nothing to you; what you can do, you will do--but one thing
I expect--if you see danger, call in assistance."

"It's all in the hands o' God, Fardorougha, acushla; be as aisy in your
mind as you can; if there's need for more help you'll hear it; so keep
the man an' horse both ready."

She then blessed herself and entered the house, repeating a short
prayer, or charm, which was supposed to possess uncommon efficacy in
relieving cases of the nature she was then called upon to attend.

Fardorougha Donovan was a man of great good sense, and of strong, but
not obvious or flexible feeling; this is to say, on strong occasions he
felt accordingly, but exhibited no remarkable symptoms of emotion.
In matters of a less important character, he was either deficient in
sensibility altogether, or it affected him so slightly as not to be
perceptible. What his dispositions and feelings might have been, had
his parental affections and domestic sympathies been cultivated by the
tender intercourse which subsists between a parent and his children,
it is not easy to say. On such occasions many a new and delightful
sensation--many a sweet trait of affection previously unknown--and, oh!
many, many a fresh impulse of rapturous emotion never before felt gushes
out of the heart; all of which, were it not for the existence of ties
so delightful, might have there lain sealed up forever. Where is the man
who does not remember the strange impression of tumultuous delight which
he experienced on finding himself a husband? And who does not recollect
that nameless charm, amounting almost to a new sense, which pervaded his
whole being with tenderness and transport on kissing the rose-bud lips
of his first-born babe? It is, indeed, by the ties of domestic life that
the purity and affection and the general character of the human heart
are best tried. What is there more beautiful than to see that fountain
of tenderness multiplying its affections instead of diminishing them,
according as claim after claim arises to make fresh demands upon its
love? Love, and especially parental love, like jealousy, increases
by what it feeds on. But, oh! from what an unknown world of exquisite
enjoyment are they shut out, to whom Providence has not vouchsafed
those beloved beings on whom the heart lavishes the whole fulness of its
rapture! No wonder that their own affections should wither in the cold
gloom of disappointed hope, or their hearts harden into that moody
spirit of worldly-mindedness which adopts for its offspring the miser's
idol.

Whether Fardorougha felt the want of children acutely or otherwise,
could not be inferred from any visible indication of regret on his part
by those who knew him. His own wife, whose facilities of observation
were so great and so frequent, was only able to suspect in the
affirmative. For himself he neither murmured nor repined; but she could
perceive that, after a few years had passed, a slight degree of gloom
began to settle on him, and an anxiety about his crops, and his few
cattle, and the produce of his farm. He also began to calculate the
amount of what might be saved from the fruits of their united industry.
Sometimes, but indeed upon rare occasions, his temper appeared inclining
to be irascible or impatient; but in general it was grave, cold,
and inflexible, without any outbreaks of passion, or the slightest
disposition to mirth. His wife's mind, however, was by no means so firm
as his, nor so free from the traces of that secret regret which preyed
upon it. She both murmured and repined, and often in terms which drew
from Fardorougha a cool rebuke for her want of resignation to the will
of God. As years advanced, however, her disappointment became harassing
even to herself, and now that hope began to die away, her heart
gradually partook of the cool worldly spirit which had seized upon the
disposition of her husband, Though cultivating but a small farm, which
they held at a high rent, yet, by the dint of frugality and incessant
diligence, they were able to add a little each year to the small stock
of money which they had contrived to put together. Still would the
unhappy recollection that they were childless steal painfully and
heavily over them; the wife would sometimes murmur, and the husband
reprove her, but in a tone so cool and indifferent that she could not
avoid concluding that his own want of resignation, though not expressed,
was at heart equal to her own. Each also became somewhat religious,
and both remarkable for a punctual attendance upon the rites of their
church, and that in proportion as the love of temporal things overcame
them. In this manner they lived upwards of thirteen years, when Mrs.
Donovan declared herself to be in that situation which in due time
rendered the services of Mary Moan necessary.

From the moment this intimation was! given, and its truth confirmed, a
faint light, not greater than the dim and trembling lustre of a single
star, broke in upon the darkened affections and worldly spirit
of Fardorougha Donovan. Had the announcement taken place within a
reasonable period after his marriage, before he had become sick of
disappointment, or had surrendered his heart from absolute despair to an
incipient spirit of avarice, it would no doubt have been hailed with all
the eager delight of unblighted hope and vivid affection; but now a
new and subtle habit had been superinduced, after the last cherished
expectation of the heart had departed; a spirit of foresight and severe
calculation descended on him, and had so nearly saturated his whole
being, that he could not for some time actually determine whether the
knowledge of his wife's situation was more agreeable to his affection,
or repugnant to the parsimonious disposition which had quickened his
heart into an energy incompatible with natural benevolence, and the
perception of those tender ties which spring up from the relations of
domestic life. For a considerable time this struggle between the two
principles went on; sometimes a new hope would spring up, attended in
the background by a thousand affecting circumstances--on the other hand,
some gloomy and undefinable dread of exigency, distress, and ruin,
would wring his heart and sink his spirits down to positive misery.
Notwithstanding this conflict between growing avarice and affection,
the star of the father's love had risen, and though, as we have already
said, its light was dim and unsteady, yet the moment a single opening
occurred in the clouded mind, there it was to be seen serene and pure,
a beautiful emblem of undying and solitary affection struggling with
the cares and angry passions of life. By degrees, however, the
husband's heart became touched by the hopes of his younger years,
former associations revived, and remembrances of past tenderness, though
blunted in a heart so much changed, came over him like the breath
of fragrance that has nearly passed away. He began, therefore, to
contemplate the event without foreboding, and by the time the looked-for
period arrived, if the world and its debasing influences were not
utterly overcome, yet nature and the quickening tenderness of a father's
feeling had made a considerable progress in a heart from which they had
been long banished. Far different from all this was the history of
his wife since her perception of an event so delightful. In her was no
bitter and obstinate principle subversive of affection to be overcome.
For although she had in latter years sank into the painful apathy of a
hopeless spirit, and given herself somewhat to the world, yet no sooner
did the unexpected light dawn upon her, than her whole soul was filled
with exultation and delight. The world and its influence passed away
like a dream, and her heart melted into a habit of tenderness at once
so novel and exquisite, that she often assured her husband she had never
felt happiness before.

Such are the respective states of feeling in which our readers find
Fardorougha Donovan and his wife, upon an occasion whose consequences
run too far into futurity for us to determine at present whether they
are to end in happiness or misery. For a considerable time that evening,
before the arrival of Mary Moan, the males of the family had taken up
their residence in an inside kiln, where, after having kindled a fire
in the draught-hole, or what the Scotch call the "logie," they sat and
chatted in that kind of festive spirit which such an event uniformly
produces among the servants of a family. Fardorougha himself remained
for the most part with them, that is to say except while ascertaining
from time to time the situation of his wife. His presence, however, was
only a restraint upon their good-humor, and his niggardly habits raised
some rather uncomplimentary epithets during his short visits of inquiry.
It is customary upon such occasions, as soon as the mistress of the
family is taken ill, to ask the servants to drink "an aisy bout to the
misthress, sir, an' a speedy recovery, not forgettin' a safe landin' to
the youngsther, and, like a Christmas compliment, many of them to
you both. Whoo! death alive, but that's fine stuff. Oh, begorra, the
misthress can't but thrive wid that in the house. Thank you, sir, an'
wishin' her once more safe over her troubles!--divil a betther misthress
ever," etc., etc., etc.

Here, however, there was nothing of the kind. Fardorougha's heart, in
the first instance, was against the expense, and besides, its present
broodings resembled the throes of pain which break out from the stupor
that presses so heavily upon the exhausted functions of life in the
crisis of a severe fever. He could not, in fact, rest nor remain for any
length of time in the same spot. With a slow but troubled step he walked
backward and forward, sometimes uttering indistinct ejaculations
and broken sentences, such as no one could understand. At length he
approached his own servants, and addressed the messenger whose name was
Nogher M'Cormick.

"Nogher," said he, "I'm throubled."

"Throubled! dad, Fardorougha, you ought to be a happy and a thankful man
this night, that is, if God sinds the misthress safe over it, as I hope
He will, plase goodness."

"I'm poor, Nogher, I'm poor, an' here's a family comin'."

"Faith, take care it's not sin you're com-mittin' by spakin' as you're
doin'."

"But you know I'm poor, Nogher."

"But I know you're _not_, Fardorougha; but I'm afraid, if God hasn't
said it, your heart's too much fix'd upon the world. Be my faix, it's
on your knees you ought to be this same night, thankin' the Almighty for
His goodness, and not grumblin' an' sthreelin' about the place, flyin'
in the face of God for sendin' you an' your wife ablessin'--for sure I
hear the Scripthur says that all childhres a blessin' if they're
resaved as sich; an' wo be to the man, says Scripthur, dat's born wid a
millstone about his neck, especially if he's cast into the say. I know
you pray enough, but, be my sowl, it hasn't improved your morals, or
it's the misthress' health we'd be drinkin' in a good bottle o' whiskey
at the present time. Faix, myself wouldn't be much surprised if she had
a hard twist in consequence, an' if she does, the fault's your own an'
not ours, for we're willin' as the flowers o' May to drink all sorts o'
good luck to her."

"Nogher," said the other, "it's truth a great dale of what you've
sed--maybe all of it."

"Faith, I know," returned Nogher, "that about the whiskey it's parfit
gospel."

"In one thing I'll be advised by you, an' that is, I'll go to my
knees and pray to God to set my heart right if it's wrong. I feel
strange--strange, Nogher--happy, an' not happy."

"You needn't go to your knees at all," replied Nogher, "if you give us
the whiskey; or if you do pray, be in earnest, that your heart may be
inclined to do it."

"You desarve none for them words," said Fardorougha, who felt that
Nogher's buffoonery jarred upon the better feelings that were rising
within him--"you desarve none, an' you'll get none--for the present at
laste, an' I'm only a fool for spaking to you."

He then retired to the upper part of the kiln, where, in a dark corner,
he knelt with a troubled heart, and prayed to God.

We doubt not but such readers as possess feeling will perceive that
Fardorougha was not only an object at this particular period of
much interest, but also entitled to sincere sympathy. Few men in his
circumstances could or probably would so earnestly struggle with a
predominant passion as he did, though without education, or such a
knowledge of the world as might enable him, by any observation of the
human heart in others, to understand the workings in his own. He had
not been ten minutes at prayer when the voice of his female servant was
heard in loud and exulting tones, calling out, ere she approached the
kiln itself--

"Fardorougha, ca woul thu?--Where's my footin', masther? Where's
my arles?--Come in--come in, you're a waitin' to kiss your son--the
misthress is dyin' till you kiss our son."

The last words were uttered as she entered the kiln.

"Dyin'!" he repeated--"the misthress dyin'--oh Susy, let a thousand
childre go before her--dyin'! did you say dyin'?"

"Ay did I, an' it's truth too; but it's wid joy she's dyin' to see
you kiss one of the purtiest young boys in all the barony of
Lisnamona--myself's over head and ears in love wid him already."

He gave a rapid glance upwards, so much so that it was scarcely
perceptible, and immediately accompanied her into the house. The child,
in the meantime, had been dressed, and lay on its mother's arm in the
bed when its father entered. He approached the bedside and glanced at
it--then at the mother who lay smiling beside it--she extended her hand
to him, whilst the soft, sweet tears of delight ran quietly down her
cheeks. When he seized her hand he stooped to kiss her, but she put up
her other hand and said--

"No, no, you must kiss him first."

[Illustration: PAGE 191-- Imprinted the father's first kiss]

He instantly stooped over the babe, took it in his arms, looked long
and earnestly upon it, put it up near him, again gave it a long, intense
gaze, after which he raised its little mouth to his own, and then
imprinted the father's first kiss upon the fragrant lips of his beloved
first-born. Having gently deposited the precious babe upon its mother's
arm, he caught her hand and imprinted upon her lips a kiss;--but to
those who understand it, we need not describe it--to those who cannot,
we could give no adequate notion of that which we are able in no other
way to describe than by saying that it would seem as if the condensed
enjoyment of a whole life were concentrated into that embrace of the
child and mother.

When this tender scene was over, the midwife commenced--

"Well, if ever a man had raison to be thank--"

"Silence, woman!" he exclaimed in a voice which hushed her almost into
terror.

"Let him alone," said the wife, addressing her, "let him alone, I know
what he feels."

"No," he replied, "even you, Honora, don't know it--my heart, my heart
went astray, and there, undher God and my Saviour, is the being that
will be the salvation of his father."

His wife understood him and was touched; the tears fell fast from her
eyes, and, extending her hand to him, she said, as he clasped it:

"Sure, Fardorougha, the world won't be as much in your heart now, nor
your temper so dark as it was."

He made no reply; but, placing his other hand over his eyes, he sat
in that posture for some minutes. On raising his head the tears were
running as if involuntarily down his cheeks.

"Honora," said he, "I'll go out for a little--you can tell Mary Moan
where anything's to be had--let them all be trated so as that they don't
take too much--and, Mary Moan, you won't be forgotten."

He then passed out, and did not appear for upwards of an hour, nor could
any one of them tell where he had been.

"Well," said Honora, after he had left the room, "we're now married near
fourteen years; and until this night I never see him shed a tear."

"But sure, acushla, if anything can touch a father's heart, the sight
of his first child will. Now keep yourself aisy, avourneen, and tell
me where the whiskey an' anything else that may be a wantin' is, till I
give these crathurs of sarvints a dhrop of something to comfort thim."

At this time, however, Mrs. Donovan's mother and two sisters, who had
some hours previously been sent for, just arrived, a circumstance which
once more touched the newly awakened chord of the mother's heart, and
gave her that confidence which the presence of "one's own blood," as
the people expressed it, always communicates upon such occasions. After
having kissed and admired the babe, and bedewed its face with the warm
tears of affection, they piously knelt down, as is the custom among most
Irish families, and offered up a short but fervent prayer of gratitude
as well for an event so happy, as for her safe delivery, and the future
welfare of the mother and child. When this was performed, they set
themselves to the distribution of the blithe meat or groaning malt,
a duty which the midwife transferred to them with much pleasure, this
being a matter which, except in matters of necessity, she considered
beneath the dignity of her profession. The servants were accordingly
summoned in due time, and, headed by Nogher, soon made their appearance.
In events of this nature, servants in Ireland, and we believe everywhere
else, are always allowed a considerable stretch of good-humored license
in those observations which they are in the habit of making. Indeed,
this is not so much an extemporaneous indulgence of wit on their part,
as a mere repetition of the set phrases and traditionary apothegms
which have been long established among the peasantry, and as they are
generally expressive of present satisfaction and good wishes for the
future, so would it be looked upon as churlishness, and in some cases,
on the part of the servants, a sign of ill-luck, to neglect them.

"Now," said Honora's mother to the servants of both sexes, "now,
childre, that you've aite a trifle, you must taste something in the way
of dhrink. It would be too bad on this night above all nights we've seen
yet, not to have a glass to the stranger's health at all events. Here,
Nogher, thry this, avick--you never got a glass wid a warmer heart."

Nogher took the liquor, his grave face charged with suppressed humor,
and first looking upon his fellow-servants with a countenance so droll
yet dry, that none but themselves understood, it, he then directed a
very sober glance at the good woman.

"Thank you, ma'am," he exclaimed; "be goxty, sure enough if our hearts
wouldn't get warm now, they'd never warm. A happy night it is for
Fardorougha and the misthress, at any rate. I'll engage the stranger
was worth waitin' for, too. I'll hould a thrifle, he's the beauty o'
the world this minnit--an' I'll engage it's breeches we'll have to be I
gettin for him some o' these days, the darlin'. Well, here's his health,
any way; an' may he----"

"Husth, arogorah!" exclaimed the mid-wife; "stop, I say--the tree afore
the fruit, all the world over; don't you know, an' bad win to you, that
if the sthranger was to go to-morrow, as good might come afther him,
while the paarent stocks are to the fore. The mother an' father first,
acushla, an' thin the sthranger."

"Many thanks to you, Mrs. Moan," replied Nogher, "for settin' me
right--sure we'll know something ourselves whin it comes our turn, plase
goodness. If the misthress isn't asleep, by goxty, I'd call in to her,
that I'm dhrinkin' her health."

"She's not asleep," said her mother; "an' proud she'll be, poor thing,
to hear you, Nogher."

"Misthress!" he said in a loud voice, "are you asleep, ma'am?"

"No, indeed, Nogher," she replied, in a good-humored tone of voice.

"Well, ma'am," said Nogher, still in a loud voice, and scratching his
head, "here's your health; an' now that the ice is bruk--be goxty, an'
so it is sure," said he in an undertone to the rest--"Peggy, behave
yourself," he continued, to one of the servant-maids, "mockin's
catchin': faix, you dunna what's afore yourself yet--beg pardon--I'm
forgettin' myself--an' now that the ice is bruk, ma'am," he resumed,
"you must be dacent for the futher. Many a bottle, plase goodness, we'll
have this way yet. Your health, ma'am, an' a speedy recovery to you--an'
a sudden uprise--not forgettin' the masther--long life to him!"

"What!" said the midwife, "are you forgettin' the sthranger?"

Nogher looked her full in the face, and opened his mouth, without saying
a word, literally pitched the glass of spirits to the very bottom of his
throat.

"Beggin' your pardon, ma'am," he replied, "is it three healths you'd
have me dhrink wid the one glassful?--not myself, indeed; faix, I'd be
long sorry to make so little of him--if he was a bit of a _girsha_ I'd
not scruple to give him a corner o' the glass, but, bein' a young man
althers the case intirely--he must have a bumper for himself."

"A girsha!" said Peggy, his fellow-servant, feeling the indignity just
offered to her sex--"Why thin, bad manners to your assurance for that
same: a girsha's as well intitled to a full glass as a gorsoon, any
day."

"Husth a colleen," said Nogher, good--humoredly, "sure, it's takin'
pattern by sich a fine example you ought to be. This, Mrs. Moan, is the
purty crature I was mintionin' as we came along, that intends to get
spanshelled wid myself some o' these days--that is, if she can bring me
into good-humor, the thief."

"And if it does happen," said Peggy, "you'll have to look sharper afther
him, Mrs. Moan. He's pleasant enough now, but I'll be bound no man 'ill
know betther how to hang his fiddle behind the door when he comes home
to us."

"Well, acushla, sure he may, if he likes, but if he does, he knows
what's afore him--not sayin' that he ever will, I hope, for it's a woful
case whin it comes to that, ahagur."

"Faix, it's a happy story for half the poor wives of the parish that
you're in it," said Peggy, "sure, only fore----"

"_Be dhe huath Vread, agus glak sho_--hould your tongue, Peggy, and
taste this," said the mother of her mistress, handing her a glass: "If
you intend to go together, in the name o' goodness fear God more than
the midwife, if you want to have luck an' grace."

"Oh, is it all this?" exclaimed the sly girl; "faix, it 'ill make
me hearty if I dhrink so much--bedeed it will. Well, misthress, your
health, an' a speedy uprise to you--an' the same to the masther, not
forgettin' the sthranger--long life an' good health to him."

She then put the glass to her lips, and after several small sips,
appearing to be so many unsuccessful attempts at overcoming her
reluctance to drink it, she at length took courage, and bolting it down,
immediately applied her apron to her mouth, making at the same time two
or three wry faces, gasping, as if to recover the breath which it did
not take from her.

The midwife, in the mean time, felt that the advice just given to Nogher
and Peggy contained a clause somewhat more detrimental to her importance
than was altogether agreeable to her; and to sit calmly under any
imputation that involved a diminution of her authority, was not within
the code of her practice.

"If they go together," she observed, "it's right to fear God, no doubt;
but that's no raison why they shouldn't pay respect to thim that can
sarve thim or otherwise."

"Nobody says aginst that, Mrs. Moan," replied the other; "it's all fair,
an' nothin' else."

"A midwife's nuttin' in your eyes, we suppose," rejoined Mrs. Moan; "but
maybe's there's thim belongin' to you could tell to the contrary."

"Oblaged to you, we suppose, for your sarvices--an' we're not denyin'
that, aither."

"For me sarvices--maybe thim same sarvices wasn't very sweet or
treaclesome to some o' thim," she rejoined, with a mysterious and
somewhat indignant toss of the head.

"Well, well," said the other in a friendly tone, "that makes no maxims
one way or the other, only dhrink this--sure we're not goin' to quarrel
about it, any how."

"God forbid, Honora More! but sure it ud ill become me to hear my own
corree--no, no, avourneen," she exclaimed, putting hack the glass; "I
can't take it this--a--way; it doesn't agree wid me; you must put a
grain o' shugar an' a dhrop o' bilin' wather to it. It may do very well
hard for the sarvints, but I'm not used to it."

"I hird that myself afore," observed Nogher, "that she never dhrinks
hard whiskey. Well, myself never tasted punch but wanst, an' be goxty
its great dhrink. Death alive, Honora More," he continued, in his most
insinuating manner, "make us all a sup. Sure, blood alive, this is not
a common night, afther what God has sint us: Fardorougha himself would
allow you, if he was here; deed, be dad, he as good as promised me he
would; an' you know we have the young customer's health to drink yet."

"Throth, an' you ought," said the mid-wife; "the boy says nuttin' but
the thruth--it's not a common night; an' if God has given Fardorougha
substance, he shouldn't begridge a little, if it was only to show a
grateful heart."

"Well, well," said Honora More--which means great Honora, in opposition
to her daughter, Fardorougha's wife; this being an epithet adopted for
the purpose of contradistinguishing the members of a family when called
by the same name--"Well," said she, "I suppose it's as good. My own
heart, dear knows, is not in a thrifle, only I have my doubts about
Fardorougha. However, what's done can't be undone; so, once we mix it,
he'll be too late to spake if he comes in, any way."

The punch was accordingly mixed, and they were in the act of sitting
down to enjoy themselves with more comfort when Fardorougha entered.
As before, he was silent and disturbed, neither calm nor stern, but
laboring, one would suppose, under strong feelings of a decidedly
opposite character. On seeing the punch made, his brow gathered into
something like severity; he looked quickly at his mother-in-law, and was
about to speak, but, pausing a moment, he sat down, and after a little
time said in a kind voice--

"It's right, it's right--for his sake, an' on his account, have it; but,
Honora, let there be no waste."

"Sure we had to make it for Mrs. Moan whether or not," said his
mother-in-law, "she can't drink it hard, poor woman."

Mrs. Moan, who had gone to see her patient, having heard his voice
again, made her appearance with the child in her arms, and with all
the importance which such a burden usually bestows upon persons of her
calling.

"Here," said she, presenting him the infant, "take a proper look at
this fellow. That I may never, if a finer swaddy ever crossed my hands.
Throth if you wor dead tomorrow he'd be mistaken for you--your born
image--the sorra thing else--eh alanna--the Lord loves my son--faix,
you've daddy's nose upon you anyhow--an' his chin to a turn. Oh, thin,
Fardorougha, but there's many a couple rowlin' in wealth that 'ud be
proud to have the likes of him; an' that must die an' let it all go
to strangers, or to them that doesn't care about them, 'ceptin' to get
grabbin' at what they have, that think every day a year that they're
above the sod. What! manim-an--kiss your child, man alive. That I may
never, but he looks at the darlin' as if it was a sod of turf. Throth
you're not worthy of havin' such a bully."

Fardorougha, during this dialogue, held the child in his arms and
looked upon it earnestly as before, but without betraying any visible
indication of countenance that could enable a spectator to estimate the
nature of what passed within him. At length there appeared in his eye a
barely perceptible expression of benignity, which, however, soon passed
away, and was replaced by a shadow of gloom and anxiety. Nevertheless,
in compliance with the commands of the midwife, he kissed its lips,
after which the servants all gathered round it, each lavishing upon the
little urchin those hyperbolical expressions of flattery, which, after
all, most parents are willing to receive as something approximating to
gospel truth.

"Bedad," said Nogher, "that fellow 'ill be the flower o' the Donovans,
if God spares him--be goxty, I'll engage he'll give the purty girls many
a sore heart yet--he'll play the dickens wid 'em, or I'm not here--a
wough! do you hear how the young rogue gives tongue at that? the sorra
one o' the shaver but knows what I'm savin'."

Nogher always had an eye to his own comfort, no matter under what
circumstances he might be placed. Having received the full glass, he
grasped his master's hand, and in the usual set phrases, to which,
however, was added much extempore matter of his own, he drank the baby's
health, congratulating the parents, in his own blunt way, upon this
accession to their happiness. The other servants continued to pour
out their praises in terms of delight and astonishment at his
accomplishments and beauty, each, in imitation of Nogher, concluding
with a toast in nearly the same words.

How sweet from all other lips is the praise of those we love!
Fardorougha, who, a moment before, looked upon his infant's face with an
unmoved countenance, felt incapable of withstanding the flattery of
his own servants when uttered in favor of the child. His eye became
complacent, and while Nogher held his hand, a slight pressure in return
was proof sufficient that his heart beat in accordance with the hopes
they expressed of all that the undeveloped future might bestow upon him.

When their little treat was over, the servants withdrew for the
night, and Fardorougha himself, still laboring under an excitement so
complicated and novel, retired rather to shape his mind to some definite
tone of feeling than to seek repose.

How strange is life, and how mysteriously connected is the woe or the
weal of a single family with the great mass of human society! We beg the
reader to stand with us upon a low, sloping hill, a little to the left
of Fardorougha's house, and, after having solemnized his heart by a
glance at the starry gospel of the skies, to cast his eye upon the long,
white-washed dwelling, as it shines faintly in the visionary distance of
a moonlight night. How full of tranquil beauty is the hour, and how
deep the silence, except when it is broken by the loud baying of the
watch-dog, as he barks in sullen fierceness at his own echo! Or perhaps
there is nothing heard but the sugh of the mountain river, as with
booming sound it rises and falls in the distance, filling the ear of
midnight with its wild and continuous melody. Look around, and observe
the spirit of repose which sleeps on the face of nature; think upon the
dream of human life, and of all the inexplicable wonders which are read
from day to day in that miraculous page--the heart of man. Neither your
eye nor imagination need pass beyond that humble roof before you, in
which it is easy to perceive, by the lights passing at this unusual hour
across the windows, that there is something added either to their joy or
to their sorrow. There is the mother, in whose heart was accumulated
the unwasted tenderness of years, forgetting all the past in the first
intoxicating influence of an unknown ecstasy, and looking to the future
with the eager aspirations of affection. There is the husband, too, for
whose heart the lank devil of the avaricious--the famine-struck god
of the miser--is even now contending with the almost extinguished love
which springs up in a father's bosom on the sight of his first-born.

Reader, who can tell whether the entrancing visions of the happy mother,
or the gloomy anticipations of her apprehensive husband, are most
prophetic of the destiny which is before their child. Many indeed and
various are the hopes and fears felt under that roof, and deeply will
their lights and shadows be blended in the life of the being whose
claims are so strong upon their love. There, for some time past the
lights in the window have appeared less frequently--one by one we
presume the inmates have gone to repose--no other is now visible--the
last candle is extinguished, and this humble section of the great
family of man is now at rest with the veil of a dark and fearful future
unlifted before them.

There is not perhaps in the series of human passions any one so
difficult to be eradicated out of the bosom as avarice, no matter with
what seeming moderation it puts itself forth, or under what disguise it
may appear. And among all its cold-blooded characteristics there is none
so utterly unaccountable as that frightful dread of famine and ultimate
starvation, which is also strong in proportion to the impossibility of
its ever being realized. Indeed, when it arrives to this we should not
term it a passion, but a malady, and in our opinion the narrow-hearted
patient should be prudently separated from society, and treated as one
laboring under an incurable species of monomania.

During the few days that intervened between our hero's birth and his
christening, Fardorougha's mind was engaged in forming some fixed
principle by which to guide his heart in the conflict that still went on
between avarice and affection. In this task he imagined that the father
predominated over the miser almost without a struggle; whereas, the fact
was, that the subtle passion, ever more ingenious than the simple
one, changed its external character, and came out in the shape of
affectionate forecast and provident regard for the wants and prospects
of his child. This gross deception of his own heart he felt as a relief;
for, though smitten with the world, it did not escape him that the
birth of his little one, all its circumstances considered, ought to have
caused him to feel an enjoyment unalloyed by the care and regret which
checked his sympathies as a parent. Neither was conscience itself
altogether silent, nor the blunt remonstrances of his servants wholly
without effect. Nay, so completely was his judgment overreached that he
himself attributed this anomalous state of feeling to a virtuous effort
of Christian duty, and looked upon the encroachments which a desire of
saving wealth had made on his heart as a manifest proof of much parental
attachment. He consequently loved his wealth through the medium of his
son, and laid it down as a fixed principle that every act of parsimony
on his part was merely one of prudence, and had the love of a father and
an affectionate consideration for his child's future welfare to justify
it.

The first striking instance of this close and griping spirit appeared
upon an occasion which seldom fails to open, in Ireland at least, all
the warm and generous impulses of our mature. When his wife deemed
it necessary to make those hospitable preparations for their child's
christening, which are so usual in the country, he treated her intention
of complying with this old custom as a direct proof--of unjustifiable
folly and extravagance--nay, his remonstrance with her exhibited such
remarkable good sense and prudence, that it was a matter of extreme
difficulty to controvert it, or to perceive that it originated from any
other motive than a strong interest in the true welfare of their child.

"Will our wasting meat and money, an' for that matthur health and time,
on his christenin', aither give him more health or make us love him
betther? It's not the first time; Honora, that I've heard yourself make
little of some of our nabors for goin' beyant their ability in gettin'
up big christenins. Don't be foolish now thin when it comes to your own
turn."

The wife took the babe up, and, after having gazed affectionately on
its innocent features, replied to him, in a voice of tenderness and
reproof--

"God knows, Fardorougha, an' if I do act wid folly, as you call it, in
gettin' ready his christenin', surely, surely you oughtn't to blame the
mother for that. Little I thought, acushla oge, that your own father
'ud begrudge you as good a christenin' as is put over any other nabor's
child. I'm afraid, Fardorougha, he's not as much in your heart as he
ought to be."

"It's a bad proof of love for him, Honora, to put to the bad what
may an' would be serviceable to him hereafter. You only think for the
present; but I can't forget that he's to be settled in the world, an'
you know yourself what poor means we have o' doin' that, an' that if we
begin to be extravagant an' wasteful, bekase God has sent him, we may
beg wid him afore long."

"There's no danger of us beggin' wid him. No," she continued, the
pride of the mother having been touched, "my boy will never beg--no,
avourneen--you never will--nor shame or disgrace will never come upon
him aither. Have you no trust in God, Fardorougha?"

"God never helps them that neglect themselves, Honora."

"But if it was plasing to His will to remove him from us, would you ever
forgive yourself not lettin' him have a christenin' like another child?"
rejoined the persevering mother.

"The priest," replied the good man, "will do as much for the poor child
as the rich; there's but one sacrament for both; anything else is waste,
as I said, an' I won't give in to it. You don't considher that your
way of it 'ud spend as much in one day as 'ud clothe him two or three
years."

"May I never sin this day, Fardorougha, but one 'ud think you're tired
of him already. By not givin' in to what's dacent you know you'll
only fret me--a thing that no man wid half a heart 'ud do to any woman
supportin' a babby as I am. A fretted nurse makes a child sick, as Molly
Moan tould you before she went; so that it's not on my own account I'm
spakin', but on his--poor, weeny pet--the Lord love him! Look at his
innocent purty little face, an' how can you have the heart, Fardorougha?
Come, avourneen, give way to me this wanst; throth, if you do, you'll
see how I'll nurse him, an' what a darlin' lump o' sugar I'll have him
for you in no time!"

He paused a little at this delicate and affecting appeal of the mother;
but, except by a quick glance that passed from her to their child,
it was impossible to say whether or not it made any impression on his
heart, or in the slightest degree changed his resolution.

"Well, well," said he, "let me alone now. I'll think of it. I'll turn it
over an' see what's best to be done; do you the same, Honora, an' may be
your own sinse will bring you to my side of the question at last."

The next day, his wife renewed the subject with unabated anxiety; but,
instead of expressing any change in her favor, Fardorougha declined even
to enter into it at all. An evasive reply was all she could extract from
him, with an assurance that he would in a day or two communicate the
resolution to which he had finally come. She perceived, at once, that
the case was hopeless, and, after one last ineffectual attempt to bring
him round, she felt herself forced to abandon it. The child, therefore,
much to the mother's mortification, was baptized without a christening,
unless the mere presence of the godfather and godmother, in addition to
Fardorougha's own family, could be said to constitute one.

Our readers, perhaps, are not aware that a cause of deep anxiety,
hitherto unnoticed by us, operated with latent power upon Fardorougha's
heart. But so strong in Ireland is the beautiful superstition--if it can
with truth be termed so--that children are a blessing only when received
as such, that, even though supported by the hardest and most shameless
of all vices, avarice, Fardorougha had not nerve to avow this most
unnatural source for his distress. The fact, however, was, that, to a
mind so constituted, the apprehension of a large family was in itself
a consideration, which he thought might, at a future period of their
lives, reduce both him and his to starvation and death. Our readers may
remember Nogher M'Cormick's rebuke to him, when he heard Fardorougha
allude to this; and so accessible was he then to the feeling, that, on
finding his heart at variance with it, he absolutely admitted his error,
and prayed to God that he might be enabled to overcome it.

It was, therefore, on the day after the baptism of young Connor, for
so had the child been called after his paternal grandfather, that, as a
justification for his own conduct in the matter of the christening,
he disclosed to his wife, with much reluctance and embarrassment, this
undivulged source of his fears for the future, alleging it as a just
argument for his declining to be guided by her opinion.

The indignant sympathies of the mother abashed, on this occasion, the
miserable and calculating impiety of the husband; her reproaches were
open and unshrinking, and her moral sense of his conduct just and
beautiful.

"Fardorougha," said she, "I thought, up to this time, to this day, that
there was nothing in your heart but too much of the world; but now I'm
afeard, if God hasn't sed it, that the devil himself's there. You're
frettin' for 'fraid of a family; but has God sent us any but this one
yet? No--an' I wouldn't be surprised, if the Almighty should punish your
guilty heart, by making the child he gave you, a curse, instead of a
blessin'. I think, as it is, he has brought little pleasure to you for
so far, and, if your heart hardens as he grows up, it's more unhappy
you'll get every day you live."

"That's very fine talk, Honora; but to people in our condition, I can't
see any very great blessin' in a houseful of childre. If we're able to
provide for this one, we'll have raison to be thankful widout wishin'
for more."

"It's my opinion, Fardorougha, you don't love the child."

"Change that opinion, then, Honora; I do love the child; but there's no
needcessity for blowin it about to every one I meet. If I didn't love
him, I wouldn't feel as I do about all the hardships that may be before
him. Think of what a bad sason, or a failure of the craps, might bring
us all to. God grant that we mayn't come to the bag and staff before
he's settled in the world at all, poor thing."

"Oh, very well, Fardorougha; you may make yourself as unhappy as you
like; for me, I'll put my trust in the Saviour of the world for my
child. If you can trust in any one better than God, do so."

"Honora, there's no use in this talk--it'll do nothing aither for him or
us--besides, I have no more time to discoorse about it."

He then left her; but, as she viewed his dark, inflexible features
ere he went, an oppressive sense of something not far removed from
affliction weighed her down. The child had been asleep in her arms
during the foregoing dialogue, and, after his father had departed, she
placed him in the cradle, and, throwing the corner of her blue apron
over her shoulder, she rocked him into a sounder sleep, swaying herself
at the same time to and fro, with that inward sorrow, of which, among
the lower classes of Irish females, this motion is uniformly expressive.
It is not to be supposed, however, that, as the early graces of
childhood gradually expanded (as they did) into more than ordinary
beauty, the avarice of the father was not occasionally encountered in
its progress by! sudden gushes of love for his son. It was impossible
for any parent, no matter how strongly strongly the hideous idol
of mammon might sway his heart, to look upon a creature so fair
and beautiful, without being frequently touched into something like
affection. The fact was, that, as the child advanced towards youth, the
two principles we are describing nearly kept pace one with the other.
That the bad and formidable passion made rapid strides, must be
admitted, but that it engrossed the whole spirit of the father, is
not true. The mind and gentle character of the boy--his affectionate
disposition, and the extraordinary advantages of his person--could not
fail sometimes to surprise his father into sudden bursts of affection.
But these, when they occurred, were looked upon by Fardorougha as so
many proofs that he still entertained for the boy love sufficient to
justify a more intense desire of accumulating wealth for his sake.
Indeed, ere the lad had numbered thirteen summers, Fardorougha's
character as a miser had not only gone far abroad throughout the
neighborhood, but was felt, by the members of his own family, with
almost merciless severity. From habits of honesty, and a decent sense
of independence, he was now degraded to rapacity and meanness; what had
been prudence, by degrees degenerated into cunning; and he who, when
commencing life, was looked upon only as a saving man, had now become
notorious for extortion and usury.

A character such as this, among a people of generous and lively feeling
like the Irish, is in every state of life the object of intense and
undisguised abhorrence. It was with difficulty he could succeed in
engaging servants, either for domestic or agricultural purposes, and,
perhaps, no consideration, except the general kindness which was felt
for his wife and son, would have induced any person whatsoever to enter
into his employment. Honora and Connor did what in them lay to make the
dependents of the family experience as little of Fardorougha's griping
tyranny as possible. Yet, with all their kind-hearted ingenuity and
secret bounty, they were scarcely able to render their situation barely
tolerable.

It would be difficult to find any language, no matter what pen might
wield it, capable of portraying the love which Honora Donovan bore to
her gentle, her beautiful, and her only son. Ah! there in that last
epithet, lay the charm which wrapped her soul in him, and in all that
related to his welfare. The moment she saw it was not the will of God
to bless them with other offspring, her heart gathered about him with a
jealous tenderness which trembled into agony at the idea of his loss.

Her love for him, then, multiplied itself into many hues, for he was in
truth the prism, on which, when it fell, all the varied beauty of its
colors became visible. Her heart gave not forth the music of a single
instrument, but breathed the concord of sweet sounds, as heard from the
blended melody of many. Fearfully different from this were the feelings
of Fardorougha, on finding that he was to be the first and the last
vouchsafed to their union. A single regret, however, scarcely felt,
touched even him, when he reflected that if Connor were to be removed
from them, their hearth must become desolate. But then came the
fictitious conscience, with its nefarious calculations, to prove that,
in their present circumstances, the dispensation which withheld others
was a blessing to him that was given. Even Connor himself, argued the
miser, will be the gainer by it, for what would my five loaves and three
fishes be among so many? The pleasure, however, that is derived from the
violation of natural affection is never either full or satisfactory.
The gratification felt by Fardorougha, upon reflecting that no further
addition was to be made to their family, resembled that which a hungry
man feels who dreams he is partaking of a luxurious banquet. Avarice,
it is true, like fancy, was gratified, but the enjoyment, though rich to
that particular passion, left behind it a sense of unconscious remorse,
which gnawed his heart with a slow and heavy pain, that operated like a
smothered fire, wasting what it preys upon, in secrecy and darkness.
In plainer terms, he was not happy, but so absorbed in the ruling
passion--the pursuit of wealth--that he felt afraid to analyze his
anxiety, or to trace to its true source the cause of his own misery.

In the mean time, his boy grew up the pride and ornament of the parish,
idolized by his mother, and beloved by all who knew him. Limited and
scanty was the education which his father could be prevailed upon to
bestow upon him; but there was nothing that could deprive him of his
natural good sense, nor of the affections which his mother's love had
drawn out and cultivated. One thing was remarkable in him, which we
mention with reluctance, as it places his father's character in a
frightful point of view; it is this, that his love for that father was
such as is rarely witnessed, even in the purest and most affectionate
circles of domestic life. But let not our readers infer, either from
what we have written, or from any thing we may write, that Fardorougha
hated this lovely and delightful boy; on the contrary, earth contained
not an object, except his money, which he loved so well. His affection
for him, however, was only such as could proceed from the dregs of a
defiled and perverted heart. This is not saying much, but it is saying
all. What in him was parental attachment, would in another man, to
such a son, be unfeeling and detestable indifference. His heart sank
on contemplating the pittance he allowed for Connor's education; and no
remonstrance could prevail on him to clothe the boy with common decency.
Pocket-money was out of the question, as were all those considerate
indulgences to youth, that blunt, when timely afforded, the edge of
early anxiety to know those amusements of life, which, if not innocently
gratified before passion gets strong, are apt to produce, at a later
period, that giddy intoxication, which has been the destruction of
thousands. When Connor, however, grew up, and began to think for
himself, he could not help feeling that, from a man so absolutely
devoted to wealth as his father was, to receive even the slenderest
proof of affection, was in this case no common manifestation of the
attachment he bore him. There was still a higher and nobler motive. He
could not close his ears to the character which had gone abroad of his
father, and from that principle of generosity, which induces a man, even
when ignorant of the quarrel, to take the weaker side, he fought his
battles, until, in the end, he began to believe them just. But the most
obvious cause of the son's attachment we have not mentioned, and it is
useless to travel into vain disquisitions, for that truth which may be
found in the instinctive impulses of nature. He was Connor's father,
and though penurious in everything that regarded even his son's common
comfort, he had never uttered a harsh word to him during his life, or
denied him any gratification which could be had without money. Nay,
a kind word, or a kind glance, from Fardorougha, fired the son's
resentment against the world which traduced him; for how could it be
otherwise, when the habitual defence made by him, when arraigned for
his penury, was an anxiety to provide for the future welfare and
independence of his son?

Many characters in life appear difficult to be understood, but if those
who wish to analyze them only consulted human nature, instead of rushing
into far-fetched theories, and traced with patience the effect which
interest, or habit, or inclination is apt to produce on men of a
peculiar temperament, when placed in certain situations, there would be
much less difficulty in avoiding those preposterous exhibitions which
run into caricature, or outrage the wildest combinations that can be
formed from the common elements of humanity.

Having said this much, we will beg our readers to suppose that young
Connor is now twenty-two years of age, and request them, besides, to
prepare for the gloom which is about to overshadow our story.

We have already stated that Fardorougha was not only an extortioner, but
a usurer. Now, as some of our readers may be surprised that a man in
his station of life could practise usury or even extortion to any
considerable extent, we feel it necessary to inform them that there
exists among Irish farmers a class of men who stand, with respect to the
surrounding poor and improvident, in a position precisely analogous to
that which is occupied by a Jew or moneylender among those in the higher
classes who borrow, and are extravagant upon a larger scale. If, for
instance, a struggling small farmer have to do with a needy landlord or
an unfeeling agent, who threatens to seize or eject, if the rent be not
paid to the day, perhaps this small farmer is forced to borrow from one
of those rustic Jews the full amount of the gale; for this he gives him,
at a valuation dictated by the lender's avarice and his own distress,
the oats, or potatoes, or hay, which he is not able to dispose of in
sufficient time to meet the demand that is upon him. This property, the
miser draws home, and stacks or houses it until the markets are high,
when he disposes of it at a price which often secures for him a profit
amounting to one-third, and occasionally one-half, above the sum lent,
upon which, in the meantime, interest is accumulating. For instance, if
the accommodation be twenty pounds, property to that amount at a ruinous
valuation is brought home by the accommodator. This perhaps sells for
thirty, thirty-five, or forty pounds, so that, deducting the labor of
preparing it for market, there is a gain of fifty, seventy-five, or a
hundred per cent. besides, probably, ten per cent, interest, which is
altogether distinct from the former. This class of persons will also
take a joint bond, or joint promissory note, or, in fact, any collateral
security they know to be valid, and if the contract be not fulfilled,
they immediately pounce upon the guarantee. They will, in fact, as a
mark of their anxiety to assist a neighbor in distress, receive a pig
from a widow, or a cow from a struggling small farmer, at thirty or
forty per cent, beneath its value, and claim the merit of being a friend
into the bargain. Such men are bitter enemies to paper money, especially
to notes issued by private bankers, which they never take in payment.
It is amusing, if a person could forget the distress which occasions the
scene, to observe one of these men producing an old stocking, or a long
black leathern purse--or a calf-skin pocket-book with the hair on, and
counting down, as if he gave out his heart's blood drop by drop, the
specific sum, uttering, at the same time, a most lugubrious history of
his own poverty, and assuring the poor wretch he is fleecing, that if he
(the miser) gives way to his good nature, he must ultimately become the
victim of his own benevolence. In no case, however, do they ever put
more in the purse or stocking than is just then wanted, and sometimes
they will be short a guinea or ten shillings, which they borrow from
a neighbor, or remit to the unfortunate dupe in the course of the day.
This they do in order to enhance the obligation, and give a distinct
proof of their poverty. Let not, therefore, the gentlemen of the
Minories, nor our P------s and our M------s nearer home, imagine for
a moment that they engross the spirit of rapacity and extortion to
themselves. To the credit of the class, however, to which they belong,
such persons are not so numerous as formerly, and to the still greater
honor of the peasantry be it said, the devil himself is not hated with
half the detestation which is borne them. In order that the reader may
understand our motive for introducing such a description as that we have
now given, it will be necessary for us to request him to accompany a
stout, well-set young man, named Bartle Flanagan, along a green ditch,
which, planted with osiers, leads to a small meadow belonging to
Fardorougha Donovan. In this meadow, his son Connor is now making hay,
and on seeing Flanagan approach, he rests upon the top of his rake, and
exclaims in a soliloquy:--

"God help you and yours, Bartle! If it was in my power, I take God
to witness, I'd make up wid a willin' heart for all the hardship and
misfortune my father brought upon you all."

He then resumed his labor, in order that the meeting between him and
Bartle might take place with less embarrassment, for he saw at once that
the former was about to speak to him.

"Isn't the weather too hot, Connor, to work bareheaded? I think you
ought to keep on your hat."

"Bartle, how are you?--off or on, it's the same thing; hat or no hat,
it's broilin' weather, the Lord be praised! What news, Bartle?"

"Not much, Connor, but what you know--a family that was strugglin', but
honest, brought to dissolation. We're broken up; my father and mother's
both livin' in a cabin they tuck from Billy Nuthy; Mary and Alick's gone
to sarvice, and myself's just on my way to hire wid the last man I ought
to go to--your father, that is, supposin' we can agree."

"As heaven's above me, Bartle, there's not a man in the county this day
sorrier for what has happened than myself! But the truth is, that when
my father heard of Tom Grehan, that was your security, havin' gone to
America, he thought every day a month till the note was due. My mother
an' I did all we could, but you know his temper; 'twas no use. God
knows, as I said before, I'm heart sorry for it."

"Every one knows, Connor, that if your mother an' you had your way an'
will, your father wouldn't be sich a screw as he is."

"In the meantime, don't forget that he is my father, Bartle, an' above
all things, remimber that I'll allow no man to speak disparagingly of
him in my presence."

"I believe you'll allow, Connor, that he was a scourge an' a curse to
us, an' that none of us ought to like a bone in his skin."

"It couldn't be expected you would, Bartle; but you must grant, after
all, that he was only recoverin' his own. Still, when you know what
my feeling is upon the business, I don't think it's generous in you to
bring it up between us."

"I could bear his harrishin' us out of house an' home," proceeded the
other, "only for one thought that still crasses in an me."

"What is that, Bartle?--God knows I can't help feelin' for you," he
added, smote with the desolation which his father had brought upon the
family.

"He lent us forty pounds," proceeded the young man; "and when he found
that Tom Grehan, our security, went to America, he came down upon us the
minute the note was due, canted all we had at half price, and turned
us to starve upon the world; now, I could bear that, but there's one
thing----"

"That's twice you spoke about that one thing," said Connor, somewhat
sharply, for he felt hurt at the obstinacy of the other, in continuing
a subject so distressing to him; "but," he continued, in a milder tone,
"tell me, Bartle, for goodness' sake, what it is, an' let us put an' end
to the discoorse. I'm sure it must be unpleasant to both of us."

"It doesn't signify," replied the young man, in a desponding
voice--"she's gone; it's all over wid me there; I'm a beggar--I'm a
beggar!"

"Bartle," said Connor, taking his hand, "you're too much downhearted;
come to us, but first go to my father; I know you'll find it hard to
deal with him. Never mind that; whatever he offers you, close wid him,
an' take my word for it that my mother and I between us will make you
up dacent wages; an' sorry I am that it's come to this wid you, poor
fellow!"

Bartle's cheek grew pale as ashes; he wrung Connor's hand with all his
force, and fixed an unshrinking eye on him as he replied--

"Thank you Connor, now--but I hope I'll live to thank you better yet,
and if I do, you needn't thank me for any return I may make you or
yours. I will close wid your father, an' take whatsomever he'll order
me; for, Connor," and he wrung his hand again--"Connor O'Donovan, I
haven't a house or home this day, nor a place under God's canopy where
to lay my head, except upon the damp floor of my father's naked cabin.
Think of that, Connor, an' think if I can forget it; still," he added,
"you'll see, Connor--Connor, you'll see how I'll forgive it."

"It's a credit to yourself to spake as you do," replied Connor; "call
this way, an' let me know what's done, an' I hope, Bartle, you an' I
will have some pleasant days together."

"Ay, an' pleasant nights, too, I hope," replied the other: "to be sure
I'll call; but if you take my advice, you'd tie a handkerchy about your
head; it's mad hot, an' enough to give one a fever bareheaded."

Having made this last observation, he loaped across a small drain that
bounded the meadow, and proceeded up the fields to Fardorougha's house.

Bartle Flanagan was a young man, about five feet six in height, but of
a remarkably compact and athletic form. His complexion was dark, but
his countenance open, and his features well set and regular. Indeed his
whole appearance might be termed bland and prepossessing. If he
ever appeared to disadvantage it was whilst under the influence of
resentment, during which his face became pale as death, nay, almost
livid; and, as his brows were strong and black, the contrast between
them and his complexion changed the whole expression of his countenance
into that of a person whose enmity a prudent man would avoid. He was not
quarrelsome, however, nor subject to any impetuous bursts of passion;
his resentments, if he retained any, were either dead or silent, or, at
all events, so well regulated that his acquaintances looked upon him as
a young fellow of a good-humored and friendly disposition. It is true, a
hint had gone abroad that on one or two occasions he was found
deficient in courage; but, as the circumstances referred to were rather
unimportant, his conduct by many was attributed rather to good sense
and a disinclination to quarrel on frivolous grounds, than to positive
cowardice. Such he was, and such he is, now that he has entered upon the
humble drama of our story.

On arriving at Fardorougha's house, he found that worthy man at dinner,
upon a cold bone of bacon and potatoes. He had only a few moments before
returned from the residence of the County Treasurer, with whom he went
to lodge, among other sums, that which was so iniquitously wrung from
the ruin of the Flanagans. It would be wrong to say that he felt in
any degree embarrassed on looking into the face of one whom he had so
oppressively injured. The recovery of his usurious debts, no matter
how merciless the process, he considered only as an act of justice to
himself, for his conscience having long ago outgrown the perception
of his own inhumanity, now only felt compunction when death or the
occasional insolvency of a security defeated his rapacity.

When Bartle entered, Fardorougha and he surveyed each other with perfect
coolness for nearly half a minute, during which time neither uttered a
word. The silence was first broken by Honora, who put forward a chair,
and asked Flanagan to sit down.

"Sit down, Bartle," said she, "sit down, boy; an' how is all the
family?"

"'Deed, can't complain," replied Bartle, "as time goes; an' how are you,
Fardorougha? although I needn't ax--you re takin' care of number one,
any how."

"I'm middlin', Bartle, middlin'; as well as a man can be that has his
heart broke every day in the year strivin' to come by his own, an' can't
do it; but I'm a fool, an' ever was--sarvin' others an' ruinin' myself."

"Bartle," said Mrs. Donovan, "are you unwell, dear? you look as pale as
death. Let me get you a drink of fresh milk."

"If he's weak," said Fardorougha, "an' he looks weak, a drink of fresh
wather 'ud be betther for him; ever an' always a drink of wather for a
weak man, or a weak woman aither; it recovers them sooner."

"Thank you, kindly, Mrs. Donovan, an' I'm obliged to you, Fardorougha,
for the wather; but I'm not a bit weak; it's only the heat o' the day
ails me--for sure enough it's broilin' weather."

"'Deed it is," replied Honora, "kill in' weather to them that has to be
out undher it."

"If it's good for nothin' else, it's good for, the hay--makin',"
observed Fardorougha.

"I'm tould, Misther Donovan," said Bartle, "that' you want a sarvint
man: now, if you do, I want a place, an' you see I'm comin' to you to
look for one."

"Heaven above, Bartle!" exclaimed Honora, "what do you mean? Is it one
of Dan Flanagan's sons goin' to sarvice?"

"Not one, but all of them," replied the other, coolly, "an' his
daughters, too, Mrs. Donovan; but it's all the way o! the world. If Mr.
Donovan 'll hire me I'll thank him."

"Don't be Mistherin' me, Bartle; Misther them that has means an'
substance," returned Donovan.

"Oh, God forgive you, Fardorougha!" exclaimed his honest and humane
wife. "God forgive you! Bartle, from my heart, from the core o' my
heart, I pity you, my poor boy. An' is it to this, Fardorougha, you've
brought them--Oh, Saviour o' the world!"

She fixed her eyes upon the victim of her husband's extortion, and in an
instant they were filled with tears.

"What did I do," said the latter, "but strive to recover my own? How
could I afford to lose forty pounds? An' I was tould for sartin that
your father knew Grehan was goin' to Ameriky when he got him to go
security. Whisht, Honora, you're as foolish a woman as riz this day;
haven't you your sins to cry for?"

"God knows I have, Fardorougha, an' more than my own to cry for."

"I dare say you did hear as much," said Bartle, quietly replying to the
observation of Fardorougha respecting his father; "but you know it's a
folly to talk about spilt milk. If you want a sarvint I'll hire; for,
as I said a while ago, I want a place, an' except wid you I don't know
where to get one."

"If you come to me," observed the other, "you must go to your duty, an'
observe the fast days, but not the holydays."

"Sarvints isn't obliged to obsarve them," replied Bartle.

"But I always put it in the bargain," returned the other.

"As to that," said Bartle, "I don't much mind it. Sure it'll be for the
good o' my sowl, any way. But what wages will you be givin'?"

"Thirty shillings every half year;--that's three pounds--sixty shillings
a year. A great deal o' money. I'm sure I dunna where it's to come
from."

"It's very little for a year's hard labor," replied Bartle, "but little
as it is, Fardorougha, owin' to what has happened betwixt us, believe
me, I'm right glad to take it."

"Well, but Bartle, you know there's fifteen shillins of the ould account
still due, and you must allow it out o' your wages; if you don't, it's
no bargain."

Bartle's face became livid; but he was perfectly cool;--indeed, so much
so that he smiled at this last condition of Fardorougha. It was a smile,
however, at once so ghastly, dark, and frightful, that, by any person
capable of tracing the secret workings of some deadly passion on the
countenance, its purport could not have been mistaken.

"God knows, Fardorougha, you might let that pass--considher that you've
been hard enough upon us."

"God knows I say the same," observed Honora. "Is it the last drop o' the
heart's blood you want to squeeze out, Fardorougha?"

"The last drop! What is it but my right? Am I robbin' him? Isn't it due?
Will he, or can he deny that? An' if it's due isn't it but honest in him
to pay it? They're not livin' can say I ever defrauded them of a penny.
I never broke a bargain; an' yet you open on me, Honora, as if I was
a rogue! If I hadn't that boy below to provide for, an' settle in the
world, what 'ud I care about money? It's for his sake I look afther my
right."

"I'll allow the money," said Bartle. "Fardorougha's right; it's due, an'
I'll pay him--ay will I, Fardorougha, settle wid you to the last farden,
or beyant it if you like."

"I wouldn't take a farden beyant it, in the shape of debt. Them that's
decent enough to make a present, may--for that's a horse of another
color."

"When will I come home?" inquired Bartle.

"You may stay at home now that you're here," said the other. "An' in the
mane time, go an' help Connor put that hay in lap-cocks. Anything you
want to bring here you can bring afther your day's work tonight."

"Did you ate your dinner, Bartle?" said Honora; "bekase if you didn't
I'll get you something."

"It's not to this time o' day he'd be without his dinner, I suppose,"
observed his new master.

"You're very right, Fardorougha," rejoined Bartle; "I'm thankful to you,
ma'am, I did ate my dinner."

"Well, you'll get a rake in the barn, Bartle," said his master; "an' now
tramp down to Connor, an' I'll see how you'll handle yourselves, both o'
you, from this till night."

Bartle accordingly--proceeded towards the meadow, and Fardorougha, as
was his custom, throwing his great coat loosely about his shoulders,
the arms dangling on each side of him, proceeded to another part of his
farm.

Flanagan's step, on his way to join Connor, was slow and meditative. The
kindness of the son and mother touched him; for the line between their
disposition and Fardorougha's was too strong and clear to allow the
slightest suspicion of their participation in the spirit which regulated
his life. The father, however, had just declared that his anxiety to
accumulate money arose from a wish to settle his son independently in
life; and Flanagan was too slightly acquainted with human character to
see through this flimsy apology for extortion. He took it for granted
that Fardorougha spoke truth, and his resolution received a bias from
the impression, which, however, his better nature determined to subdue.
In this uncertain state of mind he turned about almost instinctively,
to look in the direction which Fardorougha had taken, and as he observed
his diminutive figure creeping along with his great coat about him, he
felt that the very sight of the man who had broken up their hearth and
scattered them on the world, filled his heart with a deep and deadly
animosity that occasioned him to pause as a person would do who finds
himself unexpectedly upon the brink of a precipice.

Connor, on seeing him enter the meadow with the rake, knew at once that
the terms had been concluded between them; and the excellent young man's
heart was deeply moved at the destitution which forced Flanagan to seek
for service with the very individual who had occasioned it.

"I see, Bartle," said he, "you have agreed."

"We have," replied Bartle. "But if there had been any other place to be
got in the parish--(an' indeed only for the state I'm in)--I wouldn't
have hired myself to him for nothing, or next to nothing, as I have
done."

"Why, what did he promise?"

"Three pounds a year, an' out o' that I'm to pay him fifteen shillings
that my father owes him still."

"Close enough, Bartle, but don't be cast down; I'll undertake that my
mother an' I will double it--an' as for the fifteen shillings I'll pay
them out o' my own pocket--when I get money. I needn't tell you that
we're all kept upon the tight crib, and that little cash goes far with
us; for all that, we'll do what I promise, go as it may."

"It's more than I ought to expect, Connor; but yourself and your mother,
all the counthry would put their hands undher both your feets."

"I would give a great dale, Bartle, that my poor father had a little of
the feelin' that's in my mother's heart; but it's his way, Bartle, an'
you know he's my father, an' has been kinder to me than to any livin'
creature on this earth. I never got a harsh word from him yet. An' if he
kept me stinted in many things that I was entitled to as well as other
persons like me, still, Bartle, he loves me, an' I can't but feel great
affection for him, love the money as he may."

This was spoken with much seriousness of manner not unmingled with
somewhat of regret, if not sorrow. Bartle fixed his eye upon the fine
face of his companion, with a look in which there was a character of
compassion. His countenance, however, while he gazed on him, maintained
his natural color--it was not pale.

"I am sorry, Connor," said he slowly, "I am sorry that I hired with your
father."

"An' I'm glad of it," replied the other; "why should you be sorry?"

Bartle made no answer for some time, but looked into the ground, as if
he had not heard him.

"Why should you be sorry, Bartle?"

Nearly a minute elapsed before his abstraction was broken. "What's
that?" said he at length. "What were you asking me?"

"You said you were sorry."

"Oh, ay!" returned the other, interrupting him; "but I didn' mind what I
was sayin': 'twas thinkin' o' somethin' else I was--of home, Bartle, an'
what we're brought to; but the best way's to dhrop all discoorse about
that forever."

"You'll be my friend if you do," said Connor.

"I will, then," replied Bartle; "we'll change it. Connor, were you ever
in love?"

O'Donovan turned quickly about, and, with a keen glance at Bartle,
replied,

"Why, I don't know; I believe I might, once or so."

"I _am_," said Flanagan, bitterly; "I _am_ Connor."

"An' who's the happy crature, will you tell us?"

"No," returned the other; "but if there's a wish that I'd make against
my worst enemy, 'twould be, that he might love a girl above his means;
or if he was her aquil, or even near her aquil, that he might be
brought"----he paused, but immediately proceeded, "Well, no matter, I
am, indeed, Connor."

"An' is the girl fond o' you?"

"I don't know; my mind was made up to tell her but it's past that now; I
know she's wealthy and proud both, and so is all her family."

"How do you know she's proud when you never put the subject to her?"

"I'm not sayin' she's proud, in one sinse; wid respect to herself, I
believe; she's humble enough; I mane, she doesn't give herself many
airs, but her people's as proud as the very sarra, an' never match below
them; still, if I'd opportunities of bain' often in her company, I'd not
fear to trust to a sweet tongue for comin' round her."

"Never despair, Bartle," said Connor; "you know the ould proverb,'a
faintheart;' however, settin' the purty crature aside, whoever she is,
I think if we divided ourselves--you to that side, an' me to this--we'd
get this hay lapped in half the time; or do you take which side you
plase."

"It's a bargain," said Bartle; "I don't care a trawneen; I'll stay where
I am, thin, an' do you go beyant; let us hurry, too, for, if I'm not
mistaken, it's too sultry to be long without rain, the sky, too, is
gettin' dark."

"I observed as much myself," said Connor; "an' that was what made me
spake."

Both then continued their labor with redoubled energy, nor ceased for
a moment until the task was executed, and the business of the day
concluded.

Flanagan's observation was indeed correct, as to the change in the
day and the appearance of the sky. From the hour of five o'clock the
darkness gradually deepened, until a dead black shadow, fearfully
still and solemn, wrapped the whole horizon. The sun had altogether
disappeared, and nothing was visible in the sky but one unbroken mass of
darkness, unrelieved even by a single pile of clouds. The animals, where
they could, had betaken themselves to shelter; the fowls of the air
sought the covert of the hedges, and ceased their songs; the larks fled
from the mid-heaven; and occasionally might be seen a straggling bee
hurrying homewards, careless of the flowers which tempted him in his
path, and only anxious to reach his hive before the deluge should
overtake him. The stillness indeed was awful, as was the gloomy veil
which darkened the face of nature, and filled the mind with that ominous
terror which presses upon the heart like a consciousness of guilt. In
such a time, and under the aspect of a sky so much resembling the pall
of death, there is neither mirth nor laughter, but that individuality
of apprehension, which, whilst it throws the conscience in upon its own
records, and suspends conversation, yet draws man to his fellows, as if
mere contiguity were a safeguard against danger.

The conversation between the two young men as they returned from their
labor, was short but expressive.

"Bartle," said Connor, "are you afeard of thundher? The rason I ask," he
added, "is, bekase your face is as white as a sheet."

"I have it from my mother," replied Flanagan, "but at all evints such an
evenin' as this is enough to make the heart of any man quake."

I'll feel my spirits low, by rason of the darkness, but I'm not afraid.
It's well for them that have a clear conscience; they say that a stormy
sky is the face of an angry God--"

"An' the thundher His voice," added Bartle; "but why are the brute
bastes an' the birds afraid, that commit no sin?"

"That's true," said his companion; "it must be natural to be afraid,
or why would they indeed?--but some people are naturally more timersome
than others."

"I intinded to go home for my other clo'es an' linen this evenin',"
observed Bartle, "but I won't go out to-night."

"I must thin," said Connor; "an, with the blessin' o' God, will too;
come what may."

"Why, what is there to bring you out, if it's a fair question to ax?"
inquired the other.

"A promise, for one thing; an' my own inclination--my own heart--that's
nearer the thruth--for another. It's the first meetin' that I an' her
I'm goin' to ever had."

"_Thigham, Thighum_, I undherstand," said Flanagan; "well, I'll stay at
home; but, sure it's no harm to wish you success--an' that, Connor, is
more than I'll ever have where I wish for it most."

This closed their dialogue, and both entered Fardorougha's house in
silence.

Up until twilight, the darkness of the dull and heavy sky was unbroken;
but towards the west there was seen a streak whose color could not be
determined as that of blood or fire. By its angry look, it seemed as if
the sky in that quarter were about to burst forth in one awful sweep of
conflagration. Connor observed it, and very correctly anticipated the
nature and consequences of its appearance; but what will not youthful
love dare and overcome? With an undismayed heart he set forward on his
journey, which we leave him to pursue, and beg permission, meanwhile, to
transport the reader to a scene distant about two miles farther towards
the--inland part of the country.



PART II.


The dwelling of Bodagh Buie O'Brien, to which Connor is now directing
his steps, was a favorable specimen of that better class of farm-houses
inhabited by our most extensive and wealthy agriculturists. It was a
large, whitewashed, ornamentally thatched building, that told by its
external aspect of the good living, extensive comforts, and substantial
opulence which prevailed within. Stretched before its hall-door was a
small lawn, bounded on the left by a wall that separated it from the
farm-yard into which the kitchen door opened. Here were stacks of hay,
oats, and wheat, all upon an immense scale, both as to size and number;
together with threshing and winnowing machines, improved ploughs, carts,
cars, and all the other modern implements of an extensive farm. Very
cheering, indeed, was the din of industry that arose from the clank of
machinery, the grunting of hogs, the cackling of geese, the quacking
of ducks, and all the various other sounds which proceeded from what at
first sight might have appeared to be rather a scene of confusion, but
which, on closer inspection, would be found a rough yet well--regulated
system, in which every person had an allotted duty to perform. Here
might Bodagh Buie be seen, dressed in a gray broad-cloth coat, broad
kerseymere breeches, and lambs' wool stockings, moving from place to
place with that calm, sedate, and contented air, which betokens an easy
mind and a consciousness of possessing a more than ordinary share
of property and influence. With hands thrust into his small-clothes
pockets, and a bunch of gold seals suspended from his fob, he issued his
orders in a grave and quiet tone, differing very little in dress from an
absolute _Squireen_, save in the fact of his Caroline hat being rather
scuffed, and his strong shoes begrimed with the soil of his fields or
farm-yard. Mrs. O'Brien was, out of the sphere of her own family, a
person of much greater pretension than the Bodagh her husband; and,
though in a different manner, not less so in the discharge of her duty
as a wife, a mother, or a mistress. In appearance, she was a large, fat,
good-looking woman, eternally in a state of motion and bustle, and, as
her education had been extremely scanty, her tone and manner, though
brimful of authority and consequence, were strongly marked with that
ludicrous vulgarity which is produced by the attempt of an ignorant
person to accomplish a high style of gentility. She was a kind-hearted,
charitable woman, however; but so inveterately conscious of her station
in life, that it became, in her opinion, a matter of duty to exhibit
a refinement and elevation of language suitable to a matron who could
drive every Sunday to Mass on her own jaunting car. When dressed on
these Occasions in her rich rustling silks, she had, what is called in
Ireland, a comfortable _flaghoola_ look, but at the same time a carriage
so stiff and rustic, as utterly overcame all her attempts, dictated
as they were by the simplest vanity, at enacting the arduous and awful
character of a Squireen's wife. Their family consisted of a son and
daughter; the former, a young man of a very amiable disposition, was, at
the present period of our story, a student in Maynooth College, and
the latter, now in her nineteenth year, a promising pupil in a certain
seminary for young ladies, conducted by that notorious Master of Arts,
Little Cupid. Oona, or Una, O'Brien, was in truth a most fascinating and
beautiful brunette; tall in stature, light and agile in all her motions,
cheerful and sweet in temper, but with just as much of that winning
caprice, as was necessary to give zest and piquancy to her whole
character. Though tall and slender, her person was by no means thin;
on the contrary, her limbs and figure were very gracefully rounded,
and gave promise of that agreeable fulness, beneath or beyond which no
perfect model of female proportion can exist. If our readers could get
one glance at the hue of her rich cheek, or fall for a moment under the
power of her black mellow eye, or witness the beauty of her white teeth,
while her face beamed with a profusion of dimples, or saw her while in
the act of shaking out her invincible locks, ere she bound them up with
her white and delicate hands--then, indeed, might they understand why no
war of the elements could prevent Connor O'Donovan from risking life and
limb sooner than disappoint her in the promise of their first meeting.

Oh that first meeting of pure and youthful love! With what a glory is it
ever encircled in the memory of the human heart! No matter how long or
how melancholy the lapse of time since its past existence may be, still,
still, is it remembered by our feelings when the recollection of every
tie but itself has departed. The charm, however, that murmured its
many-toned music through the soul of Una O'Brien was not, upon the
evening in question, wholly free from a shade of melancholy for which
she could not account; and this impression did not result from any
previous examination of her love for Connor O'Donovan, though many
such she had. She knew that in this the utmost opposition from both her
parents must be expected; nor was it the consequence of a consciousness
on her part, that in promising him a clandestine meeting, she had taken
a step which could not be justified. Of this, too, she had been aware
before; but, until the hour of appointment drew near, the heaviness
which pressed her down was such as caused her to admit that the
sensation, however painful and gloomy, was new to her, and bore a
character distinct from anything that could proceed from the various
lights in which she had previously considered her attachment. This was,
moreover, heightened by the boding aspect of the heavens and the dread
repose of the evening, so unlike anything she had ever witnessed before.
Notwithstanding all this, she was sustained by the eager and impatient
buoyancy of first affection; which, when imagination pictured the
handsome form of her young and manly lover, predominated for the time
over every reflection and feeling that was opposed to itself. Her mind,
indeed, resembled a fair autumn landscape, over which the cloud-shadows
may be seen sweeping for a moment, whilst again the sun comes out and
turns all into serenity and light.

The place appointed for their interview was a small paddock shaded by
alders, behind her father's garden, and thither, with trembling limbs
and palpitating heart, did the young and graceful daughter of Bodagh
Buie proceed.

For a considerable time, that is to say, for three long years before
this delicious appointment, had Connor O'Donovan and Una been wrapped
in the elysium of mutual love. At mass, at fair, and at market, had they
often and often met, and as frequently did their eyes search each other
out, and reveal in long blushing glances the state of their respective
hearts. Many a time did he seek an opportunity to disclose what he felt,
and as often, with confusion, and fear, and delight, did she afford him
what he sought. Thus did one opportunity after another pass away, and as
often did he form the towering resolution to reveal his affection if
he were ever favored with another. Still would some disheartening
reflection, arising from the uncommon gentleness and extreme modesty
of his character, throw a damp upon his spirit. He questioned his own
penetration; perhaps she was in the habit of glancing as much at others
as she glanced at him. Could it be possible that the beautiful daughter
of Bodagh Buie, the wealthiest man, and of his wife, the proudest woman,
within a large circle of the country, would love the son of Fardorougha
Donovan, whose name had, alas, become so odious and unpopular? But then
the blushing face, and dark lucid eyes, and the long earnest glance,
rose before his imagination, and told him that, let the difference in
the character and the station of their parents be what it might, the
fair dark daughter of O'Brien was not insensible to him, nor to the
anxieties he felt.

The circumstance which produced the first conversation they ever had
arose from an incident of a very striking and singular character. About
a week before the evening in question, one of Bodagh Buie's bee-skeps
hived, and the young colony, though closely watched and pursued,
directed their course to Fardorougha's house, and settled in the mouth
of the chimney. Connor, having got a clean sheet, secured them, and was
about to submit them to the care of the Bodagh's servants, when it
was suggested that the duty of bringing them home devolved on himself,
inasmuch as he was told they would not remain, unless placed in a new
skep by the hands of the person on whose property they had settled.
While on his way to the Bodagh's he was accosted in the following words
by one of O'Brien's servants:

"Connor, there's good luck before you, or the bees wouldn't pick you out
amongst all the rest o' the neighbors. You ought to hould up your head,
man. Who knows what mainin's in it?"

"Why, do you b'lieve that bees sittin' wid one is a sign o' good luck?"

"Surely I do. Doesn't every one know it to be thrue? Connor, you're a
good-lookin' fellow, an' I need scarcely tell you that we have a purty
girl at home; can you lay that an' that together? Arrah, be my sowl,
the richest honey ever the same bees'll make, is nothin' but alloways,
compared wid that purty mouth of her own! A honey-comb is a fool to it."

"Why, did you ever thry, Mike?"

"Is it me? Och, och, if I was only high enough in this world, maybe I
wouldn't be spakin' sweet to her; no, no, be my word! thry, indeed, for
the likes o' me! Faith, but I know a sartin young man that she does be
often spakin' about."

Connor's heart was in a state of instant commotion.

"An' who--who is he--who is that sartin young man, Mike?"

"Faith, the son o' one that can run a shillin' farther than e'er another
man in the country. Do you happen to be acquainted wid one Connor
O'Donovan, of Lisnamona?"

"Connor O'Donovan--that's good, Mike--in the mane time don't be goin' it
on us. No, no;--an' even if she did, it isn't to you she spake about any
one, Michael ahagur!"

"No, nor it wasn't to me--sure I didn't say it was--but don't you know
my sister's at sarvice in the Bodagh's family? Divil the word o' falsity
I'm tellin' you; so, if you haven't the heart to spake for yourself, I
wouldn't give knots o' straws for you; and now, there's no harm done I
hope--moreover, an' by the same token, you needn't go to the trouble o'
puttin' up an advertisement to let the parish know what I've tould you."

"Hut, tut, Mike, it's all folly. Una Dhun O'Brien to think of
me!--nonsense, man; that cock would never fight."

"Very well; divil a morsel of us is forcin' you to b'lieve it. I suppose
the mother o' you has your _wooden spoon_ to the fore still. I'd kiss
the Bravery you didn't come into the world wid a silver ladle in your
mouth, anyhow. In the mane time, we're at the Bodagh's--an' have an eye
about you afther what you've heard--_Nabocklish!_"

This, indeed, was important intelligence to Connor, and it is probable
that, had he not heard it, another opportunity of disclosing his passion
might have been lost.

Independently of this, however, he was not proof against the popular
superstition of the bees, particularly as it appeared to be an augury
to which his enamored heart could cling with all the hope of young and
passionate enthusiasm.

Nor was it long till he had an opportunity of perceiving that she whose
image had floated in light before his fancy, gave decided manifestations
of being struck by the same significant occurrence. On entering the
garden, the first person his eye rested upon was Una herself, who,
as some of the other hives were expected to swarm, had been engaged
watching them during the day. His appearance at any time would have
created a tumult in her bosom, but, in addition to this, when she heard
that the bees which had rested on Connor's house, had swarmed from _her
own hive_, to use the words of Burns--

     She looked--she reddened like the rose,
     Syne pale as ony lily,

and, with a shy but expressive glance at Connor, said, in a low hurried
voice, "These belong to me."

Until the moment we are describing, Connor and she, notwithstanding that
they frequently met in public places, had never yet spoken; nor could
the words now uttered by Una be considered as addressed to him, although
from the glance that accompanied them it was sufficiently evident that
they were intended for him alone. It was in vain that he attempted to
accost her; his confusion, her pleasure, his timidity, seemed to unite
in rendering him incapable of speaking at all. His lips moved several
times, but the words, as they arose, died away unspoken.

At this moment, Mike, with waggish good-humor, and in a most laudable
fit of industry, reminded the other servants, who had been assisting
to secure the bees, that as they (the bees) were now safe, no further
necessity existed for their presence.

"Come, boys--death-alive, the day's passin'--only think. Miss Una, that
we have all the hay in the Long-shot meadow to get into cocks yet, an'
here we're idlin' an' ghosther--in' away our time like I dunna what.
They're schamin', Miss Una--divil a thing else, an' what'll the masther
say if the same meadow's not finished to--night?"

"Indeed, Mike," replied Una--; "if the meadow is to be finished this
night, there's little time to be lost."

"Come, boys," exclaimed Mike, "you hear what Miss Una says--if it's
to be finished to-night there's but little time to be lost--turn
out--march. Miss Una can watch the bees widout our help. Good evenin',
Misther Donovan; be my word, but you're entitled to a taste o' honey any
way, for bringing back Miss Una's bees to her."

Mike, after having uttered this significant opinion relative to his
sense of justice, drove his fellow-servants out of the garden, and left
the lovers together. There was now a dead silence, during the greater
part of which, neither dared to look at the other; at length each
hazarded a glance; their eyes met, and their embarrassment deepened in
a tenfold degree. Una, on withdrawing her gaze, looked with an air of
perplexity from one object to another, and at length, with downcast
lids, and glowing cheeks, her eyes became fixed on her own white and
delicate finger.

"Who would think," said she, in a voice tremulous with agitation, "that
the sting of a bee could be so painful."

Connor advanced towards her with a beating heart. "Where have you been
stung, Miss O'Brien?" said he, in a tone shaken out of it's fulness by
what he felt.

"In the finger," she replied, and she looked closely into the spot as
she uttered the words.

"Will you let me see it?" asked Connor.

She held her hand towards him without knowing what she did, nor was it
till after a strong effort that Connor mastered himself so far as to ask
her in which finger she felt the pain. In fact, both saw at once that
their minds were engaged upon far different thoughts, and that their
anxiety to pour out the full confession of their love was equally deep
and mutual.

As Connor put the foregoing question to her, he took her hand in his.

"In what finger?" she replied, "I don't--indeed--I--I believe in
the--the--but what--what is this?--I am very--very weak."

"Let me support you to the summer--house, where you can sit," returned
Connor, still clasping her soft delicate hand in his; then, circling her
slender waist with the other, he helped her to a seat under the thick
shade of the osiers.

Una's countenance immediately became pale as death, and her whole frame
trembled excessively.

"You are too weak even to sit without support," said Connor, "your
head is droopin'. For God's sake, lean it over on me! Oh! I'd give ten
thousand lives to have it on my breast only for one moment!"

Her paleness still continued; she gazed on him, and, as he gently
squeezed her hand, a slight pressure was given in return. He then drew
her head over upon his shoulder, where it rather fell than leaned; a
gush of tears came from her eyes, and the next moment, with sobbing
hearts, they were encircled in each other's arms.

From this first intoxicating draught of youthful love, they were
startled by the voice of Mrs. O'Brien calling upon her daughter, and,
at the same time, to their utter dismay, they observed the portly dame
sailing, in her usual state, down towards the arbor, with an immense
bunch of keys dangling from her side.

"Oonagh, Miss--Miss Oonagh--where are you, Miss, Ma Colleen?--Here's
a litther," she proceeded, when Una appeared, "from Mrs. Fogarty, your
school-misthress, to your fadher--statin' that she wants you to
finish your Jiggraphy at the dancin', wid a new dancin'--teacher from
_Dubling_. Why--Eah! what ails you, Miss, Ma Colleen? What the dickens
wor you cryin' for?"

"These nasty bees that stung me," returned the girl. "Oh, for goodness
sake, mother dear, don't come any farther, except you wish to have a
whole hive upon you!"

"Why, sure, they wouldn't sting any one that won't meddle wid them,"
replied the mother in a kind of alarm.

"The sorra pin they care, mother--don't come near them; I'll be in, by
an' by. Where's my father?"

"He's in the house, an' wants you to answer Mrs. Fogarty, statin' feder
you'll take a month's larnin' on the _flure_ or not."

"Well, I'll see her letter in a minute or two, but you may tell my
father he needn't wait--I won't answer it to-night at all event's."

"You must answer it on the nail," replied her mother, "becase the
messager's waitin' in the kitchen 'ithin."

"That alters the case altogether," returned Una, "and I'll follow you
immediately."

The good woman then withdrew, having once more enjoined the daughter to
avoid delay, and not to detain the messenger.

"You must go instantly," she said to Connor. "Oh, what would happen me
if they knew that I lov--that I--" a short pause ensued, and she blushed
deeply.

"Say, what you were goin' to say," returned Connor; "Oh, say that one
word, and all the misfortunes that ever happened to man, can't make me
unhappy! Oh, God! an' is it possible? Say that word--Oh! say it--say
it!"

"Well, then," she continued, "if they knew that I love the son of
Fardorougha Donovan, what would become of me? Now go, for fear my father
may come out."

"But when will I see you again?"

"Go," said she anxiously; "go, you can easily see me."

"But when?--when? say on Thursday."

"Not so soon--not so soon," and she cast an anxious eye towards the
garden gate.

"When then--say this day week."

"Very well--but go--maybe my father has heard from the servants that you
are here."

"Dusk is the best time."

"Yes--yes--about dusk; under the alders, in the little green field
behind the garden."

"Show me the wounded finger," said he with a smile, "before I go."

"There," said she, extending her hand; "but for Heaven's sake go."

"I'll tell you how to cure it," said he, tenderly; "honey is the
medicine; put that sweet finger to your own sweeter lip--and,
afterwards, I'll carry home the wound."

"But not the medicine, _now_," said she, and, snatching her hand from
his, with light, fearful steps, she fled up the garden and disappeared.

Such, gentle reader, were the circumstances which brought our young and
artless lovers together in the black twilight of the singularly awful
and ominous evening which we have already described.

Connor, on reaching the appointed spot, sat down; but his impatience
soon overcame him; and, while hurrying to and fro, under the alders,
he asked himself in what was this wild but rapturous attachment to
terminate? That the proud Bodagh, and his prouder wife, would never
suffer their beautiful daughter, the heiress of all their wealth, to
marry the son of Fardorougha, the miser, was an axiom, the truth of
which pressed upon his heart with a deadly weight. On the other hand,
would his father, or rather could he, change his nature so far as to
establish him in life, provided Una and he were united without the
consent of her parents? Alas! he knew his father's parsimony too well;
and, on either hand, he was met by difficulties that appeared to him
to be insurmountable. But again came the delightful and ecstatic
consciousness, that, let their parents act as they might, Una's heart
and his were bound to each other by ties which, only to think of, was
rapture. In the midst of these reflections, he heard her light foot
approach, but with a step more slow and melancholy than he could have
expected from the ardor of their love.

When she approached, the twilight was just sufficient to enable him to
perceive that her face was pale, and tinged apparently with melancholy,
if not with sorrow. After the first salutations were over, he was
proceeding to inquire into the cause of her depression, when, to his
utter surprise, she placed her hands upon her face, and burst into a fit
of grief.

Those who have loved need not be told that the most delightful office
of that delightful passion is to dry the tears of the beloved one who
is dear to us beyond all else that life contains. Connor literally
performed this office, and inquired, in a tone so soothing and full
of sympathy, why she wept, that her tears for a while only flowed the
faster. At length her grief abated, and she was able to reply to him.

"You ask me why I am raying," said the fair young creature; "but,
indeed, I cannot tell you. There has been a sinking of the heart upon me
during the greater part of this day. When I thought of our meeting I
was delighted; but again some heaviness would come over me that I can't
account for."

"I know what it is," replied Connor, "a very simple thing; merely the
terrible calm an' blackness of the evenin'. I was sunk myself a little."

"I ought to cry for a better reason," she returned. "In meeting you I
have done--an' am doing--what I ought to be sorry for--that is, a wrong
action that my conscience condemns."

"There is nobody perfect, my dear Una," said Connor; "an' none without
their failins; they have little to answer for that have no more than
you."

"Don't flatter me," she replied; "if you love me as you say, never
flatter me while you live; I will always speak what I feel, and I hope
you'll do the same."

"If I could spake what I feel," said he, "you would still say I
flattered you--it's not in the power of any words that ever were spoken,
to tell how I love you--how much my heart an' soul's fixed upon you.
Little you know, my own dear Una, how unhappy I am this minute, to see
you in low spirits. What do you think is the occasion of it? Spake now,
as you say you will do, that is, as you feel."

"Except it be that my heart brought me to meet you tonight contrary to
my conscience, I do not know. Connor, Connor, that heart is so strongly
in your favor, that if you were not to be happy neither could its poor
owner."

Connor for a moment looked into the future, but, like the face of the
sky above him, all was either dark or stormy; his heart sank, but the
tenderness expressed in Una's last words filled his whole soul with a
vehement and burning passion, which he felt must regulate his destiny in
life, whether for good or evil. He pulled her to his breast, on which
he placed her head; she looked up fondly to him, and, perceiving that he
wrought under some deep and powerful struggle, said in a low, confiding
voice, whilst the tears once more ran quietly down her cheeks, "Connor,
what I said is true."

"My heart's burnin'--my heart's burnin'!" he exclaimed. "It's not love I
feel for you, Una--it's more than love; oh, what is it--Una, Una, this I
know, that I cannot live long without you, or from you; if I did, I'd go
wild or mad through the world. For the last three years you have never
been out of my mind, I may say awake or asleep; for I believe a night
never passed during that time that I didn't drame of you--of the
beautiful young crature. Oh! God in heaven, can it be thrue that she
loves me at last? Say them blessed words again, Una; oh, say them again!
But I'm too happy--I can hardly bear this delight."

"It is true that I love you, and if our parents could think as we do,
Connor, how easy it would be for them to make us happy, but--"

"It's too soon, Una; it's too soon to spake of that. Happy! don't we
love one another? Isn't that happiness? Who or what can deprive us of
that? We are happy without them; we can be happy in spite of them; oh,
my own fair girl! sweet, sweet life of my life, and heart of my heart!
Heaven--heaven itself would be no heaven to me, if you weren't with me!"

"Don't say that, Connor dear; it's wrong. Let us not forget what is
due to religion, if we expect our love to prosper. You may think this
strange from one that has acted contrary to religion in coming to meet
you against the will and knowledge of her parents; but beyond that, dear
Connor, I hope I never will go. But is it true that you've loved me so
long?"

"It is," said he; "the second Sunday in May next was three years, I
knelt opposite you at mass. You were on the left hand side of the altar,
I was on the right; my eyes were never off you; indeed, you may remember
it."

"I have a good right," said she, blushing and hiding her face on his
shoulder. "I ought to be ashamed to acknowledge it, an' me so young at
the time; little more than sixteen. From that day to this, my story has
been just your own. Connor, can you tell me how I found it out but I
knew you loved me?"

"Many a thing was to tell you that, Una dear. Sure my eyes were never
off you, whenever you wor near me; an' wherever you were, there was
I certain to be too. I never missed any public place if I thought you
would be at it, an' that merely for the sake of seein' you. An', now
will you tell me why it was that I could 'a sworn you lov'd me?"

"You have answered for us both," she replied. "As for me, if I only
chance to hear your name mentioned my heart would beat; if the talk was
about you I could listen to nothing else, and I often felt the color
come and go on my cheek."

"Una, I never thought I could be born to such happiness. Now that I know
that you love me, I can hardly think that it was love I felt for you all
along; it's wonderful--it's wonderful!"

"What is so wonderful?" she inquired.

"Why, the change that I feel since knowin' that you love me; since I had
it from your own lips, it has overcome me--I'm a child--I'm anything,
anything you choose to make me; it was never love--it's only since I
found you loved me that my heart's burnin' as it is."

"I'll make you happyr if I can," she replied, "and keep you so, I hope."

"There's one thing that will make me still happier than I am," said
Connor.

"What is it? If it's proper and right I'll do it."

"Promise me that if I live you'll never marry any one else than me."

"You wish then to have the promise all on one side," she replied with a
smile and a blush, each as sweet as ever captivated a human heart.

"No, no, no, my darling Una, _acushla gra gal machree_, no! I will
promise the same to you."

She paused, and a silence of nearly a minute ensued.

"I don't know that it's right, Connor; I have taken one wrong step as it
is, but, well as I love you, I won't take another; whatever I do I must
feel that it's proper. I'm not sure that this is."

"Don't you say you love me, Una?"

"I do; you know I do."

"I have only another question to ask; could you, or would you, love me
as you do, and marry another?"

"I could not, Connor, and would not, and will not. I am ready to
promise; I may easily do it; for God knows the very thought of marrying
another, or being deprived of you, is more than I can bear."

"Well, then," returned her lover, seizing her hand, "I take God to
witness that, whilst you are alive an' faithful to me, I will never
marry any woman but yourself. Now," he continued, "put your right hand
into mine, and say the same words."

She did so, and was in the act of repeating the form, "I take God to
witness----" when a vivid flash of lightning shot from the darkness
above them, and a peal of thunder almost immediately followed, with an
explosion so loud as nearly to stun both. Una started with terror, and
instinctively withdrew her hand from Connor's.

"God preserve us!" she exclaimed; "that's awful. Connor, I feel as if the
act I am goin' to do is not right. Let us put it off at all events, till
another time."

"Is it because there comes an accidental brattle of thunder?" he
returned. "Why, the thunder would come if we were never to change a
promise. You have mine, now, Una dear, an' I'm sure you wouldn't wish
me to be bound an' yourself free. Don't be afraid, darling; give me your
hand, an' don't tremble so; repeat the words at wanst, an' let it be
over."

He again took her hand, when she repeated the form in a distinct, though
feeble voice, observing, when it was concluded,

"Now, Connor, I did this to satisfy you, but I still feel like one who
has done a wrong action. I am yours now, but I cannot help praying to
God that it may end happily for us both."

"It must, darling Una--it must end happily for us both. How can it be
otherwise? For my part, except to see you my wife, I couldn't be happier
than I am this minute; exceptin' that, my heart has all it wished for.
Is it possible--Oh! is it possible that this is not a dream, my heart's
life? But if it is--if it is--I never more will wish to waken."

Her young lover was deeply affected as he uttered these words, nor was
Una proof against the emotion they produced.

"I could pray to God, this moment, with a purer heart than I ever had
before," he proceeded, "for makin' my lot in life so happy. I feel that
I am better and freer from sin than I ever was yet. If we're faithful
and true to one another, what can the world do to us?"

"I couldn't be otherwise than faithful to you," she replied, "without
being unhappy myself; an' I trust it's no sin to love each other as
we do. Now let us----God bless me, what a flash! and here's the rain
beginning. That thunder's dreadful; Heaven preserve us! It's an awful
night! Connor, you must see me as far as the corner of the garden; as
for you, I wish you were safe at home."

"Hasten, dear," said he, "hasten; it's no night for you to be out in,
now that the rain's coming. As for me, if it was ten times as dreadful I
won't feel it. There's but one thought--one thought in my mind, and that
I wouldn't part with for the wealth of the universe."

Both then proceeded at a quick puce until they reached the corner
of Bodagh's garden, where, with brief but earnest reassurances of
unalterable attachment, they took a tender and affectionate farewell.

It is not often that the higher ranks can appreciate the moral beauty of
love as it is experienced by those humbler classes to whom they deny
the power of feeling in its most refined and exalted character. For our
parts we differ so much from them in this, that, if we wanted to give an
illustration of that passion in its purest and most delicate state, we
would not seek for it in the saloon or the drawing--room, but among the
green fields and the smiling landscapes of rural life. The simplicity
of humble hearts is more accordant with the unity of affection than any
mind can be that is distracted by the competition of rival claims upon
its gratification. We do not say that the votaries of rank and fashion
are insensible to love; because, how much soever they may be conversant
with the artificial and unreal, still they are human, and must, to a
certain extent, be influenced by a principle that acts wherever it can
find a heart on which to operate. We say, however, that their love, when
contrasted with that which is felt by the humble peasantry, is languid
and sickly; neither so pure, nor so simple, nor so intense. Its
associations in high life are unfavorable to the growth of a healthy
passion; for what is the glare of a lamp, a twirl through the insipid
maze of the ball-room, or the unnatural distortions of the theatre,
when compared to the rising of the summer sun, the singing of birds,
the music of the streams, the joyous aspect of the varied landscape, the
mountain, the valley, the lake, and a thousand other objects, each of
which transmits to the peasant's heart silently and imperceptibly that
subtle power which at once strengthens and purifies the passion?
There is scarcely such a thing as solitude in the upper ranks, nor an
opportunity of keeping the feelings unwasted, and the energies of
the heart unspent by the many vanities and petty pleasures with which
fashion forces a compliance, until the mind falls from its natural
dignity, into a habit of coldness and aversion to everything but the
circle of empty trifles in which it moves so giddily. But the enamored
youth who can retire to the beautiful solitude of the still glen to
brood over the image of her he loves, and who, probably, sits under the
very tree where his love was avowed and returned; he, we say, exalted
with the fulness of his happiness, feels his heart go abroad in gladness
upon the delighted objects that surround him, for everything that
he looks upon is as a friend; his happy heart expands over the whole
landscape; his eye glances to the sky; he thinks of the Almighty
Being above him, and though without any capacity to analyze his own
feelings--love--the love of some humble, plain but modest girl--kindles
by degrees into the sanctity and rapture of religion.

Let not our readers of rank, then, if any such may honor our pages with
a perusal, be at all surprised at the expression of Connor O'Donovan
when, under the ecstatic power of a love so pure and artless as that
which bound his heart and Una's together, he exclaimed, as he did,
"Oh! I could pray to God this moment with a purer heart than I ever had
before!" Such a state of feeling among the people is neither rare nor
anomalous; for, however, the great ones and the wise ones of the world
may be startled at our assertion, we beg to assure them that love and
religion are more nearly related to each other than those, who have
never felt either in its truth and purity, can imagine.

As Connor performed his journey home, the thunder tempest passed
fearfully through the sky; and, though the darkness was deep and
unbroken by anything but the red flashes of lightning, yet, so strongly
absorbed was his heart by the scene we have just related, that he
arrived at his father's house scarcely conscious of the roar of elements
which surrounded him.

The family had retired to bed when he entered, with the exception of his
parents, who, having felt uneasy at his disappearance, were anxiously
awaiting his return, and entering into fruitless conjectures concerning
the cause of an absence so unusual.

"What," said the alarmed mother, "what in the wide world could keep him
so long out, and on sich a tempest as is in it? God protect my boy
from all harm an' danger, this fearful night! Oh, Fardorougha, what 'ud
become of us if anything happened him? As for me--my heart's wrapped up
in him; wid--out our darlin' it 'ud break, break, Fardorougha."

"Hut; he's gone to some neighbor's an' can't come out till the storm is
over; he'll soon be here now that the thunder an' lightnin's past."

"But did you never think, Fardorougha, what 'ud become of you, or what
you'd do or how you'd live, if anything happened him? which the Almighty
forbid this night and forever! Could you live widout him?"

The old man gazed upon her like one who felt displeasure at having a
contingency so painful forced upon his consideration. Without making
any reply, however, he looked thoughtfully into the fire for some time,
after which he rose up, and, with a querulous and impatient voice, said,

"What's the use of thinkin' about sich things? Lose him! why would I
lose him? I couldn't lose him--I'd as soon lose my own life--I'd rather
be dead at wanst than lose him."

"God knows your love for him is a quare love, Fardorougha," rejoined the
wife; "you wouldn't give him a guinea if it 'ud save his life, or allow
him even a few shillings now an' then, for pocket-money, that he might
be aquil to other young boys like him."

"No use, no use in that, except to bring him into drink an' other bad
habits; a bad way, Honora, of showin' one's love for him. If you had
your will you'd spoil him; I'm keepin' whatsomever little shillin's
we've scraped together to settle him dacently in life; but, indeed,
that's time enough yet; he's too young to marry for some years to come,
barrin' he got a fortune."

"Well, one thing, Fardorougha, if ever two people were blessed in a good
son, praise be God we are that!"

"We are, Honor, we are; there's not his aquil in the parish--_achora
machree_ that he is. When I'm gone he'll know what I've done for him."

"Whin you're gone; why, Saver of arth, sure you wouldn't keep him out
of his---- husth!----here he is, God be thanked! poor boy he's safe. Oh,
thin, _vich no Hoiah_, Connor jewel, were you out undher this terrible
night?"

"Connor, _avich machree_," added the father, "you're lost! My hand to
you, if he's worth three hapuns; sthrip an' throw my Cothamore about
you, an' draw in to the fire; you're fairly lost."

"I'm worth two lost people yet," said Connor, smiling; "mother, did you
ever see a pleasanter night?"

"Pleasant, Connor, darlin'! Oh thin it's you may say so, I'm sure!"

"Father, you're a worthy--only your Cothamore's too scimpt for me.
Faith, mother, although you think I'm jokin', the devil a one o' me is;
a pleasanter night--a happier night I never spent. Father, you ought to
be proud o' me, an' stretch out a bit with the cash; faith, I'm nothin'
else than a fine handsome young fellow."

"Be me soul an' he ought to be proud out of you, Connor, whether you're
in arnest or not," observed the mother, "an' to stretch out wid the
_arrighad_ too if you want it."

"Folly on, Connor, folly on! your mother'll back you, I'll go bail, say
what you will; but sure you know all I have must be yours yet, acushla."

Connor now sat down, and his mother stirred up the fire, on which she
placed additional fuel. After a little time his manner changed, and a
shade of deep gloom fell upon his manly and handsome features. "I don't
know," he at length proceeded, "that, as we three are here together,
I could do betther than ask your advice upon what has happened to me
to-night."

"Why, what has happened you, Connor?" said the mother alarmed; "plase
God, no harm, I hope."

"Who else," added the father, "would you be guided by, if not by your
mother an' myself?"

"No harm, mother, dear," said Connor in reply to her; "harm! Oh! mother,
mother, if you knew it; an' as for what you say, father, it's right;
what advice but my mother's an' yours ought I to ask?"

"An' God's too," added the mother.

"An' my heart was nevir more _ris_ to God than it was', an' is this
night," replied their ingenuous boy.

"Well, but what has happened, Connor?" said his father; "if it's
anything where our advice can serve you, of coorse we'll advise you for
the best."

Connor then, with a glowing heart, made them acquainted with the
affection which subsisted between himself and Una O'Brien, and ended by
informing them of the vow of marriage which they had that night solemnly
pledged to each other.

"You both know her by sight," he added, "an' afther what I've sed, can
you blame me for sayin' that I found this a pleasant and a happy night?"

The affectionate mother's eyes filled with tears of pride and delight,
on hearing that her handsome son was loved by the beautiful daughter of
Bodagh Buie, and she could not help exclaiming, in the enthusiasm of the
moment,

"She's a purty girl--the purtiest indeed I ever laid my two livin' eyes
upon, and by all accounts as good as she's purty; but I say that, face
to face, you're as good, ay, an' as handsome, Fardorougha, as she is.
God bless her, any way, an' mark her to grace and happiness, _ma colleen
dhas dhun_."

"He's no match for her," said the father, who had listened with an
earnest face, and compressed lips, to his son's narrative; "he's no
match for her--by four hundred guineas."

Honora, when he uttered the previous part of his observation, looked
upon him with a flash of indignant astonishment; but when he had
concluded, her countenance fell back into its original expression. It
was evident that, while she, with the feelings of a woman and a mother,
instituted a parallel between their personal merits alone, the husband
viewed their attachment through that calculating spirit which had
regulated his whole life.

"You're thinkin' of her money now," she added; "but remimber,
Fardorougha, that it wasn't born wid her. An' I hope, Connor, it's not
for her money that you have any grah for her?"

"You may swear that, mother; I love her little finger betther than all
the money in the king's bank."

"Connor, avich, your mother has made a fool of you, or you wouldn't
spake the nonsense you spoke this minute."

"My word to you, father, I'll take all the money I'll get; but what am I
to do? Bodagh Buie an' his wife will never consent to allow her to marry
me, I can tell you; an' if she marries me without their consent, you
both know I have no way of supportin' her, except you, father, assist
me."

"That won't be needful, Connor; you may manage them; they won't see her
want; she's an only daughter; they couldn't see her want."

"An' isn't he an only son, Fardorougha?" exclaimed the wife. "An' my
sowl to happiness but I believe you'd see him want."

"Any way," replied her husband, "I'm not for matches against the consint
of parents; they're not lucky; or can't you run away wid her, an' thin
refuse marryin' her except they come down wid the cash?"

"Oh, father!" exclaimed Connor, "father, father, to become a villain!"

"Connor," said his mother, rising up in a spirit of calm and mournful
solemnity, "never heed; go to bed, achora, go to bed."

"Of coorse I'll never heed, mother," he replied; "but I can't help
sayin' that, happy as I was awhile agone, my father is sendin' me to bed
with a heavy heart. When I asked your advice, father, little I thought
it would be to do--but no matter; I'll never be guilty of an act that
'ud disgrace my name."

"No, avillish," said his mother, "you never will; God knows it's as much
an' more than you an' other people can do, to keep the name we have in
decency."

"It's fine talk," observed Fardorougha, "but what I advise has been done
by hundreds that wor married an' happy afterwards; how--an--iver you
needn't get into a passion, either of you; I'm not pressin' you,'
Connor, to it."

"Connor, achree," said his mother, "go to bed, an' instead of the advice
you got, ax God's; go, avillish!"

Connor, without making any further observation, sought his
sleeping-room, where, having recommended himself to God, in earnest
prayer, he lay revolving all that had occurred that night, until the
gentle influence of sleep at length drew him into oblivion.

"Now," said his mother to Fardorougha, when Connor had gone, "you must
sleep by yourself; for, as for me, my side I'll not stretch on the same
bed wid you to-night."

"Very well, I can't help that," said her husband; "all I can say is
this, that I'm not able to put sinse or prudence into you or Connor;
so, since you won't be guided by me, take your own coorse. Bodagh Buie's
very well able to provide for them--; an' if he won't do so before they
marry, why let Connor have nothing to say to her."

"I'll tell you what, Fardorougha, God wouldn't be in heaven, or you'll
get a cut heart yet, either through your son or your money; an' that it
may not be through my darlin' boy, O, grant, sweet Saver o' the earth,
this night! I'm goin' to sleep wid Biddy Casey, an' you'll find a clane
nightcap on the rail o' the bed; an', Fardorougha, afore you put it an,
kneel down an' pray to God to change your heart--for it wants it--it
wants it."

In Ireland the first object of a servant man, after entering the
employment of his master, is to put himself upon an amicable footing
with his fellow-servants of the other sex. Such a step, besides being
natural in itself, is often taken in consequence of the _esprit du
corps_ which prevails among persons of that class. Bartle Flanagan,
although he could not be said to act from any habit previously acquired
in service, went to work with all the tact and adroitness of a veteran.
The next morning, after having left the barn where he slept, he
contrived to throw himself in the way of Biddy Duggan, a girl, who,
though vain and simple, was at the same time conscientious and honest.
On passing from the barn to the kitchen, he noticed her returning from
the well with a pitcher of water in each hand, and as it is considered
an act of civil attention for the male servant, if not otherwise
employed, to assist the female in small, matters of the kind, so did
Flanagan, in his best manner and kindest voice, bid her good-morning and
offer to carry home the pitcher.

"It's the least I may do," said he, "now that I'm your fellow-servant;
but before you go farther, lay down your burden, an' let us chat
awhile."

"Indeed," replied Biddy, "it's little we expected ever to see your
father's son goin' to earn his bread undher another man's roof."

"Pooh! Biddy! there's greater wondhers in the world than that, woman
alive! But tell me--pooh--ay, is there a thousand quarer things--but I
say, Biddy, how do you like to--live wid this family?"

"Why, troth indeed, only for the withered ould leprechaun himself, divil
a dacenter people ever broke bread."

"Yet, isn't it a wondher that the ould fellow is what he is, an' he so
full o' money?"

"Troth, there's one thing myself wondhers at more than that."

"What, Biddy? let us hear it."

"Why, that you could be mane an' shabby! enough to come as a sarvint to
ate the bread of the man that ruined yees!"

"Biddy," replied Flanagan, "I'm glad! you've said it; but do you think
that I have so bad a heart as too keep revinge in against an inimy? How
could I go to my knees at night, if I--no, Biddy, we must be Christians.
Well! let us drop that; so you tell me this mother an' son are kind to
you."

"As good-hearted a pair as ever lived."

"Connor, of course, can't but be very kind to so good-looking a girl as
you are, Biddy," said Bartle, with a knowing smile.

"Very kind! good-looking! ay, indeed, I'm sure o' that, Bartle; behave!
an' don't be gettin' an wid any o' your palavers. What 'ud make Connor
be kind to the likes of me, that way?"

"I don't see why you oughtn't an' mightn't--you're as good as him, if it
goes to that."

"Oh, yis, indeed!"

"Why, you know you'r handsome."

"Handsome," replied the vain girl, tightening her apron-strings, and
assuming a sly, coquettish look; "Bartle, go 'an mind your business, and
let me bring home my pitchers; it's time the breakwist was down. Sich
nonsense!"

"Very well, you're not, thin; you've a bad leg, a bad figure, an' a bad
face, an' it would be a terrible thing all out for Connor O'Donovan to
fall in consate wid you."

"Well, about Connor I could tell you something;--me! tut! go to
the sarra;--faix, you don't know them that Connor's afther, nor the
collogin' they all had about it no longer ago than last night itself.
I suppose they thought I was asleep, but it was like the hares, wid my
eyes open."

"An' it's a pity, Biddy, ever the same two eyes should be shut. Begad,
myself is beginning to feel quare somehow, when I look at them."

A glance of pretended incredulity was given in return, after which she
proceeded--

"Bartle, don't be bringin' yourself to the fair wid sich folly. My eyes
is jist as God made them; but I can tell you that before a month o'
Sundays passes, I wouldn't be surprised if you seen Connor married
to--you wouldn't guess!"

"Not I; divil a hap'orth I know about who he's courtin'."

"No less than our great beauty, Bodagh Buie's daughter, Una O'Brien.
Now, Bartle, for goodness sake, don't let this cross your lips to a
livin' mortal. Sure I heard him tellin' all to the father and mother
last night--they're promised to one another. Eh! blessed saints, Bartle,
what ails you? you're as white as a sheet. What's wrong? and what did
you start for?"

"Nothin'," replied Flanagan, coolly, "but a stitch in my side. I'm
subject to that--it pains me very much while it lasts, and laves me
face, as you say, the color of dimity; but about Connor, upon my throth,
I'm main proud to hear it; she's a purty girl, an' besides he'll have a
fortune that'll make a man of him. I am, in throth, heart proud to
hear it. It's a pity Connor's father isn't as dacent as himself. Arrah,
Biddy, where does the ould codger keep his money?"

"Little of it in the house any way--sure, whenever he scrapes a guinea
together he's away wid it to the county ---- county ---- och, that
countryman that keeps the money for the people."

"The treasurer; well, much good may his thrash do him, Biddy, that's
the worst I wish him. Come now and I'll lave your pitchers at home, and
remember you owe me something for this."

"Good will, I hope."

"That for one thing," he replied, as they went along; "but we'll talk
more about it when we have time; and I'll thin tell you the truth about
what brought me to hire wid Fardorougha Donovan."

Having thus excited that most active principle called female curiosity,
both entered the kitchen, where they found Connor and his mother in
close and apparently confidential conversation--Fardorougha himself
having as usual been abroad upon his farm for upwards of an hour before
any of them had risen.

The feelings with which they met that morning at breakfast may be easily
understood by our readers without much assistance of ours. On the part
of Fardorougha there was a narrow, selfish sense of exultation, if not
triumph, at the chance that lay before his son of being able to settle
himself independently in life, without the necessity of making any
demand upon the hundreds which lay so safely in the keeping of the
County Treasurer. His sordid soul was too deeply imbued with the love
of money to perceive that what he had hitherto looked upon as a proof
of parental affection and foresight, was nothing more than a fallacy
by which he was led day after day farther into his prevailing vice.
In other words, now that love for his son, and the hope of seeing him
occupy a respectable station in society, ought to have justified the
reasoning by which he had suffered himself to be guided, it was apparent
that the prudence which he had still considered to be his duty as a
kind parent, was nothing else than a mask for his own avarice. The idea,
therefore, of seeing Connor settled without any aid from himself, filled
his whole soul with a wild, hard satisfaction, which gave him as much
delight as perhaps he was capable of enjoying. The advice offered to
his son on the preceding night appeared to him a matter so reasonable in
itself, and the opportunity offered by Una's attachment so well adapted
for making it an instrument to work upon the affections of her parents,
that he could not for the life of him perceive why they should entertain
any rational objection against it.

The warm-hearted mother participated so largely in all that affected the
happiness of her son, that, if we allow for the difference of sex and
position, we might describe their feelings as bearing, in the character
of their simple and vivid enjoyment, a very remarkable resemblance.
This amiable woman's affection for Connor was reflected upon Una
O'Brien, whom she now most tenderly loved, not because the fair girl was
beautiful, but because she had plighted her troth to that Son who had
been during his whole life her own solace and delight.

No sooner was the morning meal concluded, and the servants engaged at
their respective employments, than Honor, acting probably under Connor's
suggestion, resolved at once to ascertain whether her husband could so
far overcome his parsimony as to establish their son and Una in life;
that is, in the event of Una's parents opposing their marriage, and
declining to render them any assistance. With this object in view, she
told him, as he was throwing his great-coat over his shoulders, in order
to proceed to the fields, that she wished to speak to him upon a matter
of deep importance.

"What is it?" said Fardorougha, with a hesitating shrug, "what is it?
This is ever an' always the way when you want _money_; but I tell you
I have no money. You wor born to waste and extravagance, Honor, an'
there's no curin' you. What is it you want? an' let me go about my
business."

"Throw that ould threadbare Cothamore off o' you," replied Honor, "and
beg of God to give you grace to sit down, an' have common feeling and
common sense."

"If it's money to get cloes either for yourself or Connor, there's no
use in it. I needn't sit; you don't want a stitch, either of you."

Honor, without more ado, seized the coat, and, flinging it aside, pushed
him over to a seat on which she forced him to sit down.

"As heaven's above me," she exclaimed, "I dunna what come over you at
all, at all. Your money, your thrash, your dirt an' filth, ever, ever,
an' for evermore in your thought, heart and sowl. Oh, Chierna! to think
of it, an' you know there is a God above you, an' that you must meet
Him, an' that widout your money too!"

"Ay, ay, the money's what you want to come at; but I'll not sit here to
be hecthor'd. What is it, I say again, you want?"

"Fardorougha ahagur," continued the wife, checking herself, and
addressing him in a kind and affectionate voice, "maybe I was spakin'
too harsh to you, but sure it was an' is for your own good. How an'
ever, I'll thry kindness, and if you have a heart at all, you can't but
show it when you hear what I'm goin' to say."

"Well, well, go an," replied the pertinacious husband; "but--money--ay,
ay, is there. I feel, by the way you're comin' about me, that there is
money at the bottom of it."

The wife raised her hands and eyes to heaven, shook her head, and after
a slight pause, in which she appeared to consider her appeal a hopeless
one, she at length went on in an earnest but subdued and desponding
spirit--

"Fardorougha, the time's now come that will show the world whether you
love Connor or not."

"I don't care a pin about the world; you an' Connor know well enough
that I love him."

"Love for one's child doesn't come out merely in words, Fardorougha;
actin' for their benefit shows it better than spakin'. Don't you grant
that?"

"Very well, may be I do, and again may be I don't; there's times when
the one's better than the other; but go an; may be I do grant it."

"Now tell me where in this parish, ay, or in the next five parishes to
it, you'd find sich a boy for a father or mother to be proud out of, as
Connor, your own darlin' as you often cau him?"

"Divil a one, Honor; _damnho_ to the one; I won't differ wid you in
that."

"You won't differ wid me! the divil thank you for that. You won't
indeed! but could you, I say, if you wor willin'?"

"I tell you I could _not_."

"Now there's sinse an' kindness in that. Very well, you say you're
gatherin' up all the money you can for him."

"For him--him," exclaimed the unconscious miser, "why, what do you
mane--for--well--ay--yes, yes, I did say for him; it's for him I'm
keeping it--it is, I tell you."

"Now, Fardorougha, you know he's ould enough to be settled in life on
his own account, an' you heard last night the girl he can get, if you
stand to him, as he ought to expect from a father that loves him."

"Why, last night, thin, didn't I give my--"

"Whist, ahagur! hould your tongue awhile, and let me go on. Thruth's
best--he dotes on that girl to such a degree, that if he doesn't get
her, he'll never see another happy day while he's alive."

"All _feasthalagh_, Honor--that won't pass wid me; I know otherwise
myself. Do you think that if I hadn't got you, I'd been unhappy
four-an'-twenty hours, let alone my whole life? I tell you that's
_feasthalagh_, an' won't pass. He wouldn't eat an ounce the less if he
was never to get her. You seen the breakfast he made this mornin';
I didn't begrudge it to him, but may I never stir if that Flanagan
wouldn't ate a horse behind the saddle; he has a stomach that'd require
a king's ransom to keep it."

"You know nothing of what I'm spakin' about," replied his wife. "I
wasn't _Una dhas dhun_ O'Brien in my best days; an' be the vestment, you
warn't Connor, that has more feelin', an' spirit, an' generosity in the
nail of his little finger than ever you had in your whole carcass. I
tell you if he doesn't get married to that girl he'll break his heart.
Now how can he marry her except you take a good farm for him, and stock
it dacently, so that he may have a home sich as she desarves to bring
her to?"

"How do you know but they'll give her a fortune when they find her bent
on him?"

"Why, it's not unpossible," said the wife, immediately changing her
tactics, "it's not impossible, but I can tell you it's very unlikely."

"The best way, then, in my opinion, 'ud be to spake to Connor about
breaking it to the family."

"Why, that's fair enough," said the wife. "I wondher myself I didn't
think of it, but the time was so short since last night."

"It is short," replied the miser, "far an' away too short to expect
any one to make up their mind about it. Let them not be rash themselves
aither, for I tell you that when people marry in haste, they're apt to
have time enough to repint at laysure."

"Well, but Fardorougha acushla, now hear me, throth it's thruth and
sinse what you say; but still, avourneen, listen; now set in case
that the Bodagh and his wife don't consint to their marriage, or to
do anything for them, won't you take them a farm and stock it bravely?
Think of poor Connor, the darlin' fine fellow that he is. Oh, thin,
Saver above, but it's he id go to the well o' the world's end to ase
you, if your little finger only ached. He would, or for myself, and yet
his own father to trate him wid sich--"

It was in vain she attempted to proceed; the subject was one in which
her heart felt too deep an interest to be discussed without tears. A
brief silence ensued, during which Fardorougha moved uneasily on his
seat, took the tongs, and mechanically mended the fire, and, peering at
his wife with a countenance twitched as if by _tic douloureux_,
stared round the house with a kind of stupid wonder, rose up, then sat
instantly down, and in fact exhibited many of those unintelligible and
uncouth movements, which, in person of his cast, may be properly
termed the hieroglyphics of human action, under feelings that cannot be
deciphered either by those on whom they operate, or by those who witness
them.

"Yes," said he, "Connor is all you say, an' more--an' more--an'--an'--a
rash act is the worst thing he could do. It's betther, Honor, to spake
to him as I sed, about lettin' the matther be known to Una's family out
of hand."

"And thin, if they refuse, you can show them a ginerous example, by
puttin' them into a dacent farm. Will you promise me that, Fardorougha?
If you do, all's right, for they're not livin' that ever knew you to
braak your word or your promise."

"I'll make no promise, Honor; I'll make no promise; but let the other
plan be tried first. Now don't be pressin' me; he is a noble boy, and
would, as you say, thravel round the earth to keep my little finger from
pain; but let me alone about it now--let me alone about it."

This, though slight encouragement, was still, in Honor's opinion,
quite as much as, if not more, than she expected. Without pressing him,
therefore, too strongly at that moment, she contented herself with a
full-length portrait of their son, drawn with all the skill of a mother
who knew, if her husband's heart could be touched at all, those points
at which she stood the greatest chance of finding it accessible.

For a few days after this the subject of Connor's love was permitted to
lie undebated, in the earnest hope that Fardorougha's heart might have
caught some slight spark of natural affection from the conversation
which had taken place between him and Honor. They waited, consequently,
with patience for some manifestation on his part of a better feeling,
and flattered themselves that his silence proceeded from the struggle
which they knew a man of his disposition must necessarily feel in
working up his mind to any act requiring him to part with that which
he loved better than life, his money. The ardent temperament of Connor,
however, could ill brook the pulseless indifference of the old man; with
much difficulty, therefore, was he induced to wait a whole week for the
issue, though sustained by the mother's assurance, that, in consequence
of the impression left on her by their last conversation, she was
certain the father, if not urged beyond his wish, would declare himself
willing to provide for them. A week, however, elapsed, and Fardorougha
moved on in the same hard and insensible spirit which was usual to him,
wholly engrossed by money, and never, either directly or indirectly,
appearing to remember that the happiness and welfare of his son were at
stake, or depending upon the determination to which he might come.

Another half week passed, during which Connor had made two unsuccessful
attempts to see Una, in order that some fixed plan of intercourse
might be established between them, at least until his father's ultimate
resolution on the subject proposed to him should be known. He now felt
deeply distressed, and regretted that the ardor of his attachment had so
far borne him away during their last meeting, that he had forgotten to
concert measures with Una for their future interviews.

He had often watched about her father's premises from a little before
twilight until the whole family had gone to bed, yet without any chance
either of conversing with her, or of letting her know that he was in the
neighborhood. He had gone to chapel, too, with the hope of seeing
her, or snatching a hasty opportunity of exchanging a word or two, if
possible; but to his astonishment she had not attended mass--an omission
of duty of which she had not been guilty for the last three years. What,
therefore, was to be done? For him to be detected lurking about the
Bodagh's house might create suspicion, especially after their interview
in the garden, which very probably had, through the officiousness of
the servants, been communicated to her parents. In a matter of such
difficulty he bethought him of a confidant, and the person to whom the
necessity of the ease directed him was Bartle Flanagan. Bartle, indeed,
ever since he entered into his father's service, had gained rapidly upon
Connor's good will, and on one or two occasions well-nigh succeeded
in drawing from him a history of the mutual attachment which subsisted
between him and Una. His good humor, easy language, and apparent
friendship for young O'Donovan, together with his natural readiness of
address, or, if you will, of manner, all marked him out as admirably
qualified to act as a confidant in a matter which required the very tact
and talent he possessed.

"Poor fellow," thought Connor to himself, "it will make him feel more
like one of the family than a servant. If he can think that he's trated
as my friend and companion, he may forget that he's ating the bread of
the very man that drove him an' his to destruction. Ay, an' if we're
married, I'm not sure but I'll have him to give me away too."

This resolution of permitting Flanagan to share his confidence had been
come to by Connor upon the day subsequent to that on which he had last
tried to see Una. After his return home, disappointment on one hand, and
his anxiety concerning his father's liberality on the other, together
with the delight arising from the certainty of being beloved, all kept
his mind in a tumult, and permitted him to sleep but little. The next
day he decided on admitting Bartle to his confidence, and reposing this
solemn trust to his integrity. He was lying on his back in the
meadow--for they had been ricking the hay from the lapcocks--when that
delicious languor which arises from the three greatest provocatives to
slumber, want of rest, fatigue, and heat, so utterly overcame him, that,
forgetting his love, and all the anxiety arising from it, he fell into a
dreamless and profound sleep.

From this state he was aroused after about an hour by the pressure of
something sharp and painful against his side, near the region of the
heart, and on looking up, he discovered Bartle Flanagan standing over
him with pitchfork in his hand, one end of which was pressed against
his breast, as if he had been in the act of driving it forward into his
body. His face was pale, his dark brows frightfully contracted, and
his teeth apparently set together, as if working over some fearful
determination. When Connor awoke, Flanagan broke out into a laugh that
no language could describe. The character of mirth which he wished
to throw into his face, jarred so terrifically with his demoniacal
expression when first seen by Connor, that, even unsuspecting as he
was, he started up with alarm, and asked Flanagan what was the matter.
Flanagan, however, laughed on--peal after peal succeeded--he tossed the
pitchfork aside, and, clapping both his hands upon his face, continued
the paroxysms until he recovered his composure.

"Oh," said he, "I'm sick, I'm as wake as a child wid laughin'; but, Lord
bless us, after all, Connor, what is a man's life worth whin he has an
enemy near him? There was I, ticklin' you wid the pitchfork, strivin'
to waken you, and one inch of it would have baked your bread for life.
Didn't you feel me, Connor?"

"Divil a bit, till the minute before I ris."

"Then the divil a purtier jig you ever danced in your life; wait till I
show you how your left toe wint."

He accordingly lay down and illustrated the pretended action, after
which he burst out into another uncontrollable fit of mirth.

"'Twas just for all the world," said he, "as if I had tied a string to
your toe, for you groaned an' grunted, an' went on like I dunna what;
but, Connor, what makes you so sleepy to-day as well as on Monday last?"

"That's the very thing," replied the unsuspicious and candid young man,
"that I wanted to spake to you about."

"What! about sleepin' in the meadows?"

"Divil a bit o' that, Bartle, not a morsel of sleepin' in the meadows is
consarned in what I'm goin' to mintion to you. Bartle, didn't you tell
me, the day you hired wid my father, that you wor in love?"

"I did, Connor, I did."

"Well, so am I; but do you know who I'm in love with?"

"How the divil, man, could I?"

"Well, no swerin', Bartle; keep the commandments, my boy. I'll tell
you in the mane time, an' that's more than you did me, you
close-mouth-is-a-sign-of-a-wise-head spalpeen!"

"Did you ever hear tell of one _Colleen dhas dhun_ as she's called,
known by the name Una or Oona O'Brien, daughter to one Bodagh Buie
O'Brien, the richest man, barin' a born gentleman, in the three
parishes?"

"All very fair, Connor, for you or any one else to be in love wid
her--ay, man alive, for myself, if it goes to that--but, but, Connor,
avouchal, are you sure that sure you'll bring her to be in love wid
you?"

"Bartle," said Connor, seriously and after a sudden change in his whole
manner, "in this business I'm goin' to trate you as a friend, and a
brother. She loves me, Bartle, and a solemn promise of marriage has
passed between us."

"Connor," said Bartle, "it's wondherful, it's wondherful! you couldn't
believe what a fool I am--fool! no, but a faint-hearted, cowardly
villain."

"What do you mane, Bartle? what the dickens are you drivin' at!"

"Driven at! whenever I happen to have an opportunity of makin' a drive
that id--but! I'm talkin' balderdash. Do you see here, Connor," said he,
putting his hand to his neck, "do you see here?"

"To be sure I do. Well, what about there?"

"Be my sowl, I'm very careful of--but!--sure I may as well tell you the
whole truth--I sed I was in love; well, man, that was thrue, an'," he
added in a low, pithy whisper, "I was near--no, Connor, I won't but
go an; it's enough for you to know that I was an' am in love, an' that
it'll go hard wid me if ever any one else is married to the girl I'm in
love wid. Now that my business is past, let me hear yours, poor fellow,
an' I'm devilish glad to know, Connor, that--that--why, tunder an' ouns,
that you're not as I am. Be the crass that saved us, Connor, I'm glad of
that!"

"Why, love will set you mad, Bartle, if you don't take care of
yourself; an', faith, I dunna but it may do the same with myself, if I'm
disappointed. However, the truth is, you must sarve me in this business.
I struv to see her twiste, but couldn't, an' I'm afraid of bein' seen
spyin' about their place."

"The truth is, Connor, you want to make me a go-between--a blackfoot;
very well, I'll do that same on your account, an' do it well, too, I
hope."

It was then arranged that Flanagan, who was personally known to some of
the Bodagli's servants, should avail himself of that circumstance, and
contrive to gain an interview with Una, in order to convey her a letter
from O'Donovan. He was further enjoined by no means to commit it to the
hands of any person save those of Una herself, and, in the event of his
not being able to see her, then the letter was to be returned to Connor.
If he succeeded, however, in delivering it, he was to await an answer,
provided she found an opportunity of sending one; if not, she was to
inform Connor, through Flanagan, at what time and place he could see
her. This arrangement having been made, Connor immediately wrote the
letter, and, after having despatched Flanagan upon his errand, set
himself to perform, by his individual labor, the task which his father
had portioned out for both. Ere Bartle's return, Fardorougha came to
inspect their progress in the meadow, and, on finding that the servant
was absent, he inquired sharply into the cause of it.

"He's gone on a message for me," replied Connor, with the utmost
frankness.

"But that's a bad way for him to mind his business," said the father.

"I'll have the task that you set both of us finished," replied the son,
"so that you'll lose nothin' by his absence, at all events."

"It's wrong, Connor, it's wrong; where did you sind him to?"

"To Bodagh Buie's wid a letter to Una."

"It's a waste of time, an' a loss of work; about that business I have
something to say to your mother an' you to--night, afther the supper,
when the rest goes to bed."

"I hope, father,you'll do the dacent thing still."

"No; but I hope, son, you'll do the wise thing still; how--an--ever let
me alone now; if you expect me to do anything, you mustn't drive me as
your mother does. To-night we'll make up a plan that'll outdo Bodagh
Buie. Before you come home, Connor, throw a stone or two in that gap,
to prevent the cows from gettin' into the hay; it won't cost you much
throuble. But, Connor, did you ever see sich a gut as Bartle has?
He'll brake me out o'house an' home feedin' him; he has a stomach for
ten-penny-nails; be my word it 'ud be a charity to give him a dose of
oak bark to make him dacent; he's a divil at aitin', an' little good may
it do him!"

The hour of supper arrived without Bartle's returning, and Connor's
impatience began to overcome him, when Fardorougha, for the first time,
introduced the subject which lay nearest his son's heart.

"Connor," he began, "I've been thinkin' of this affair with Una O'Brien;
an' in my opinion there's but one way out of it; but if you're a fool
an' stand in your own light, it's not my fault."

"What is the way, father?" inquired Connor.

"The very same I tould your mother an' you before--run away wid her--I
mane make a runaway match of it--then refuse to marry her unless they
come down wid the money. You know afther runnin' away wid you nobody
else ever would marry her; so that rather than see their child
disgraced, never fear but they'll pay down on the nail, or maybe bring
you both to live wid 'em."

"My sowl to glory, Fardorougha," said the wife, "but you're a bigger an'
cunninner ould rogue than I ever took you for! By the scapular upon me,
if I had known how you'd turn out, the sorra carry the ring ever you'd
put on my finger!"

"Father," said Connor, "I must be disobedient to you in this at all
events. It's plain you'll do nothing for us; so there's no use in sayin'
anything more about it. I have no manes of supportin' her, an' I swear
I'll never bring her to poverty. If I had money to carry me, I'd go to
America an' thry my fortune there; but I have not. Father, it's too hard
that you should stand in my way when you could so easily make me happy.
Who have you sich a right to assist as your son--your only son, an' your
only child too?"

This was spoken in a tone of respect and sorrow at once impressive
and affectionate. His fine features were touched with something beyond
sadness or regret, and, as the tears stood in his eyes, it was easy to
see that he felt much more deeply for his father's want of principle
than for anything connected with his own hopes and prospects. In fact,
the tears that rolled silently down his cheeks were the tears of shame
and sorrow for a parent who could thus school him to an act of such
unparalleled baseness. As it was, the genius of the miser felt rebuked
by the natural delicacy and honor of his son; the old man therefore
shrunk back abashed, confused, and moved at the words which he had
heard--simple and inoffensive though they were.

"Fardorougha," said the wife, wiping her eyes, that were kindling into
indignation, "we're now married goin' an--"

"I think, mother," said Connor, "the less we say about it now the
better--with my own good will I'll never speak on the subject."

"You're right, avourneen," replied the mother; "you're right; I'll say
nothing--God sees it's no use."

"What would you have me do?" said the old man, rising and walking' about
in unusual distress and agitation; "you don't know me--I can't do it--I
cant do it. You say, Honor, I don't care about him--I'd give him my
blood--I'd give him my blood to save a hair of his head. My life an'
happiness depinds on him; but who knows how he an' his wife might
mismanage that money if they got it--both young an' foolish? It wasn't
for nothing it came into my mind what I'm afeard will happen to me yet."

"And what was that, Fardorougha?" asked the wife.

"Sich foreknowledge doesn't come for nothing, Honor. I've had it
an' felt it hangin' over me this many a long day, that I'd come to
starvation yit; an' I see, that if you force me to do as you wish, that
it 'ill happen. I'm as sure of it as that I stand before you. I'm an
unfortunate man wid sich a fate before me; an' yet I'd shed my blood for
my boy--I would, an' he ought to know that I would; but he wouldn't ax
me to starve for him--would you, Connor, avick machree, would you ax
your father to starve? I'm unhappy--unhappy--an' my heart's breakin'!"

The old man's voice failed him as he uttered the last words; for the
conflict which he felt evidently convulsed his whole frame. He wiped his
eyes, and, again sitting down, he wept bitterly and in silence, for many
minutes.

A look of surprise, compassion, and deep distress passed between Connor
and his mother. The latter also was very much affected, and said,

"Fardorougha, dear, maybe I spake sometimes too cross to you; but if I
do, God above knows it's not that I bear you ill will, but bekase I'm
troubled about poor Connor. But I hope I won't spake angry to you again;
at all events, if I do, renumber it's only the mother pladin' for her
son--the only son an' child that God was plazed to sind her."

"Father," added Connor, also deeply moved, "don't distress yourself
about me--don't, father dear. Let things take their chance; but come or
go what will, any good fortune that might happen me wouldn't be sweet if
it came by givin' you a sore heart."

At this moment the barking of the dog gave notice of approaching
footsteps; and in a few moments the careless whistle of Bartle Flanagan
was heard within a few yards of the door.

"This is Bartle," said Connor; "maybe, father, his answer may throw some
light upon the business. At any rate, there's no secret in it; we'll all
hear what news he brings us."

He had scarcely concluded when the latch was lifted, but Bartle could
not enter.

"It's locked and bolted," said Fardorougha; "as he sleeps in the barn I
forgot that he was to come in here any more to-night--open it, Connor."

"For the sake of all the money you keep in the house, father," said
Connor, smiling, "it's hardly worth your while to be so timorous; but
God help the county treasurer if he forgot to bar his door--Asy, Bartle,
I'm openin' it."

Flanagan immediately entered, and, with all the importance of a
confidant, took his seat at the fire.

"Well, Bartle," said Connor, "what news?"

"Let the boy get his supper first," said Honor; "Bartle, you must be
starved wid hunger."

"Faith, I'm middlin' well, I thank you, that same way," replied Bartle;
"divil a one o' me but's as ripe for my supper as a July cherry; an' wid
the blessin' o' Heaven upon my endayvors I'll soon show you what good
execution is."

A deep groan from Fardorougha gave back a fearful echo to the truth of
this formidable annunciation.

"Aren't you well, Fardorougha?" asked Bartle.

"Throth I'm not, Bartle; never was more uncomfortable in my life."

Flanagan immediately commenced his supper, which consisted of flummery
and new milk--a luxury among the lower ranks which might create envy in
an epicure. As he advanced in the work of destruction, the gray eye
of Fardorougha, which followed every spoonful that entered his mouth,
scintillated like that of a cat when rubbed down the back, though from
a directly opposite feeling. He turned and twisted on the chair, and
looked from his wife to his son, then turned up his eyes, and appeared
to feel as if a dagger entered his heart with every additional dig of
Bartle's spoon into the flummery. The son and wife smiled at each other;
for they could enjoy those petty sufferings of Fardorougha with a great
deal of good-humor.

"Bartle," said Connor, "what's the news?"

"Divil a word worth telling; at laste that I can hear."

"I mane from Bodagh Buie's."

Bartle stared at him; "Bodagh Buie's!--what do I know about Bodagh Buie?
are you ravin'?"

"Bartle," said Connor, smiling, "my father and mother knows all about
it--an' about your going to Una with the letter. I have no secrets from
them."

"Hoot toot! That's a horse of another color; but you wouldn't have me,
widout knowin' as much, to go to betray trust. In the mane time, I may
as well finish my supper before I begin to tell you what-som-ever I
happen to know about it."

Another deep groan from Fardorougha followed the last observation.

At length the work of demolition ceased, and after Honor had put past
the empty dish, Bartle, having wiped his mouth, and uttered a hiccup or
two, thus commenced to dole out his intelligence:--

"Whin I wint to the Bodagh's," said Bartle, "it was wid great
schamin' an' throuble I got a sight of Miss Una at all, in regard of
--(hiccup)--in regard of her not knowin' that there was any sich message
for her--(hiccup). But happenin' to know Sally Laffan, I made bould to
go into the kitchen to ax, you know, how was her aunt's family up
in Skelgy, when who should I find before me in it but Sally an' Miss
Una--(hiccup). (Saver of earth this night! from Fardorougha.) Of coorse
I shook hands wid her--wid Sally, I mane; an', 'Sally,' says I, 'I was
sent in wid a message from the masther to you; he's in the haggard an'
wants you.' So, begad, on---(hiccup) out she goes, an' the coast bein'
clear, 'Miss Una,' says I, 'here's a scrap of a letther from Misther
Connor O'Donovan; read it, and if you can write him an answer, do; if
you haven't time say whatever you have to say by me.' She go--(hiccup)
she got all colors when I handed it to her; an' run away, say--in' to
me, 'wait for a while, an' don't go till I see you.' In a minute or
two Sally comes in agin as mad as the dickens wid me, 'The curse o' the
crows an' you!' says she, 'why did you make me run a fool's erran' for
no rason? The masther wasn't in the haggard, an' didn't want me good or
bad.'"

"Bartle," said the impatient lover, "pass all that over for the present,
an' let us know the answer, if she sent any."

"Sent any! be my sowl, she did so! Afther readin' your letther, an'
findin' that she could depind on me, she said that for fear of any
remarks bein' made about my waitin', espishally as I live at present
in this family, it would be better she thought to answer it by word o'
mouth. 'Tell him,' said she, 'that I didn't think he wa--(hiccup) (Queen
o' heaven!) was so dull an' ignorant o' the customs of the country, as
not to know that whin young people want to see one another they stay
away from mass wid an expectation that'--begad, I disremimber exactly
her own words; but it was as much as to say that she staid at home on
last Sunday expectin' to see you."

"Well, but Bartle, what else?--short an' sweet, man."

"Why, she'll meet you on next Thursday night, God willin', in the same
place; an' whin I axed her where, she said you knew it yourself."

"An' is that all?"

"No, it's not all; she sed it 'ud be better to mention the thing to
her father. Afther thinkin' it over she says, 'as your father has the
na--(hiccup) '(Saints above!) the name of being so rich, she doesn't
know if a friend 'ud interfere but his consint might be got;' an' that's
all I have to say about it, barrin' that she's a very purty girl, an' I'd
advise you not to be too sure of her yet, Bartle. So now I'm for the
barn--Good night, Far--(hiccup) (at my cost, you do it!) Fardorougha."

He rose and proceeded to his sleeping--place in the barn, whither
Connor, who was struck by his manner, accompanied him.

"Bartle," said O'Donovan, "did you take anything since I saw you last?"

"Only a share of two naggins wid my brother Antony at Peggy Finigan's."

"I noticed it upon you," observed Connor; "but I don't think they did."

"An' if they did, too, it's not high thrason, I hope."

"No; but, Bartle, I'm obliged to you. You've acted as a friend to me,
an' I won't forget it to you."

"An' I'm so much obliged to you, Connor, that I'll remimber your
employin' me in this the longest day I have to live. But, Connor?"

"Well, Bartle."

"I'd take the sacrament, that, after all, a ring you'll never put on
her."

"And what makes you think so, Bartle?"

"I don't--I do--(hiccup) don't know; but somehow something or another
tells it to me that you won't; others is fond of her, I suppose, as well
as yourself; and of coorse they'll stand betune you."

"Ay, but I'm sure of her."

"But you're not; wait till I see you man and wife, an' thin I'll say so.
Here's myself, Bartle, is in love, an' dhough I don't expect ever the
girl will or would marry me, be the crass of heaven, no other man will
have her. Now, how do you know but you may have some one like me--like
me, Connor, to stand against you?"

"Bartle," said Connor, laughing, "your head's a little moidher'd; give
me your hand; whish! the devil take you, man! don't wring my fingers
off. Say your prayers, Bartle, an' go to sleep. I say agin I won't
forget your kindness to me this night."

Flanagan had now deposited himself upon his straw bed, and, after having
tugged the bedclothes about him, said, in the relaxed, indolent voice of
a man about to sleep,

"Good night, Connor; throth my head's a little soft to-night--good
night."

"Good night, Bartle."

"Connor?"

"Well?"

"Didn't I stand to you to-night? Very well--goo--(hiccup) good night."

On Connor's return, a serious conclave was held upon the best mode of
procedure in a manner which presented difficulties that appeared to be
insurmountable. The father, seizing upon the advice transmitted by Una
herself, as that which he had already suggested, insisted that the most
judicious course was to propose for her openly, and without appearing to
feel that there was any inferiority on the part of Connor.

"If they talk about wealth, Connor," said he, "say that you are my son,
an' that--that--no--no--I'm too poor for such a boast, but say that you
will be able to take good care of anything you get."

At this moment the door, which Connor had not bolted, as his father
would have done, opened, and Bartle, wrapped in the treble folds of a
winnow--cloth, made a distant appearance.

"Beg pardon, Connor; I forgot to say that Una's brother, the young
priest out o' Maynooth, will be at home from his uncle's, where it
appears he is at present; an' Miss Una would wish that the proposal 'ud
be made while he's at his father's. She says he'll stand her friend,
come or go what will. I forgot, begad, to mintion it before--so beg
pardon, an' wishes you all good--night!"

This information tended to confirm them in the course recommended by
Fardorougha. It was accordingly resolved upon that he (Fardorougha)
himself should wait upon Bodagh Buie, and in the name of his son
formally propose for the hand of his daughter.

To effect this, however, was a matter of no ordinary difficulty, as they
apprehended that the Bodagh and his wife would recoil with indignation
at the bare notion of even condescending to discuss a topic which, in
all probability, they would consider as an insult. Not, after all, that
there existed, according to the opinion of their neighbors, such a vast
disparity in the wealth of each; on the contrary, many were heard
to assert, that of the two Fardorougha had the heavier purse. His
character, however, was held in such abhorrence by all who knew him, and
he ranked, in point of personal respectability and style of living,
so far beneath the Bodagh, that we question if any ordinary occurrence
could be supposed to fall upon the people with greater amazement than
a marriage, or the report of a marriage, between any member of the two
families. The O'Donovans felt, however, that it was better to make
the experiment already agreed on, than longer to remain in a state of
uncertainty about it. Should it fail, the position of the lovers, though
perhaps rendered somewhat less secure, would be such as to suggest, as
far as they themselves were concerned, the necessity of a more prompt
and effectual course of action. Fardorougha expressed his intention of
opening the matter on the following day; but his wife, with a better
knowledge of female character, deemed it more judicious to defer it
until after the interview which was to take place between Connor and Una
on the succeeding Thursday. It might be better, for instance, to make
the proposal first to Mrs. O'Brien herself, or, on the other hand, to
the Bodagh; but touching that and other matters relating to what was
proposed to be done, Una's opinion and advice might be necessary.

Little passed, therefore, worthy of note, during the intermediate time,
except a short conversation between Bartle and Connor on the following
day, as they returned to the field from dinner.

"Bartle," said the other, "you wor a little soft last night; or rather a
good deal so."

"Faith, no doubt o' that--but when a man meets an old acquaintance or
two, they don't like to refuse a thrate. I fell in wid three or four
boys--all friends o' mine, an' we had a sup on account o' what's
expected."

As he uttered these words, he looked at Connor with an eye which seemed
to say--you are not in a certain secret with which I am acquainted.

"Why," replied Connor, "what do you mane, Bartle? I thought you were
with your brother--at laste you tould me so."

Flanagan started on hearing this.

"Wid my brother," said he--"why, I--I--what else could I tell you? He
was along wid the boys when I met them."

"Took a sup on account o' what's expected!--an' what's the manin'o'
that, Bartle?"

"Why, what would it mane--but--but--your marriage?"

"An' thunder an' fury?" exclaimed Connor, his eyes gleaming; "did you
go to betray trust, an' mintion Una's name an' mine, afther what I tould
you?"

"Don't be foolish, Connor," replied Flanagan; "is it mad you'd have me
to be? I said there was something expected soon, that 'ud surprise them;
and when they axed me what it was--honor bright! I gave them a knowin'
wink, but said notion'. Eh! was that breakin' trust? Arrah, be me sowl,
Connor, you don't trate me well by the words you spoke this blessed
minute."

"An' how does it come, Bartle, my boy, that you had one story last
night, an' another to-day?"

"Faix, very aisily, bekase I forget what I sed last night--for sure
enough I was more cut than you thought--but didn't I keep it well in
before the ould couple?"

"You did fairly enough; I grant that--but the moment you got into the
barn a blind man could see it."

"Bekase I didn't care a button wanst I escaped from the eye of your
father; anyhow, bad luck to it for whiskey; I have a murdherin' big
heddick all day afther it."

"It's a bad weed, Bartle, and the less a man has to do with it, the less
he'll be throubled afther wid a sore head or a sore conscience."

"Connor, divil a one, but you're the moral of a good boy; I dunna a
fault you have but one."

"Come, let us hear it."

"I'll tell you some day, but not now, not now--but I will tell you--an'
I'll let you know the raison thin that I don't mintion it now; in the
mane time I'll sit down an take a smoke."

"A smoke! why, I never knew you smoked."

"Nor I, myself, till last night. This tindher--box I was made a present
of to light my pipe, when not near a coal. Begad, now that I think of
it, I suppose it was smokin' that knocked me up so much last night, an'
mide my head so sick to-day."

"It helped it, I'll engage; if you will take my advice, it's a custom
you won't larn."

"I have a good deal to throuble me, Connor; you know I have; an' what we
are brought down to now; I have more nor you'd believe to think of; as
much, any way, as'll make this box an' steel useful, I hope, when I'm
frettin'."

Flanagan spoke truth, in assuring Connor that the apology given for
his intoxication on the preceding night had escaped his memory. It was
fortunate for him, indeed, that O'Donovan, like all candid and ingenuous
persons, was utterly devoid of suspicion, otherwise he might have
perceived, by the discrepancy in the two accounts, as well as by
Flanagan's confusion, that he was a person in whom it might not be
prudent to entrust much confidence.



PART III.

The tryste between Connor and Una was held at the same place and hour as
before, and so rapid a progress had love made in each of their hearts,
that we question if the warmth of their interview, though tender and
innocent, would be apt to escape the censure of our stricter readers.
Both were depressed by the prospect that lay before them, for Connor
frankly assured her that he feared no earthly circumstances could ever
soften his father's heart so far as to be prevailed upon to establish
him in life.

"What then can I do, my darling Una? If your father and mother won't
consent--as I fear they won't--am I to bring you into the miserable
cabin of a day laborer? for to this the son of a man so wealthy as my
father is, must sink. No, Una dear, I have sworn never to bring you to
poverty, and I will not."

"Connor," she replied somewhat gravely, "I thought you had formed a
different opinion of me. You know but little of your own Una's heart,
if you think she wouldn't live with you in a cabin a thousand and a
thousand times sooner than she would live with any other in a palace. I
love you for your own sake, Connor; but it appears you don't think so."

Woman can never bear to have her love undervalued, nor the moral dignity
of a passion which can sacrifice all worldly and selfish considerations
to its own purity and attachment, unappreciated. When she uttered the
last words, therefore, tears of bitter sorrow, mingled with offended
pride, came to her aid. She sobbed for some moments, and again went on
to reproach him with forming so unfair an estimate of her affection.

"I repeat that I loved you for yourself only, Connor, and think of what
I would feel, if you refused to spend your life in a cottage with me. If
I thought you wished to marry me, not because I am Una O'Brien, but the
daughter of a wealthy man, my heart would break, and if I thought you
were not true--minded, and pure--hearted, and honorable, I would rather
be dead than united to you at all."

"I love you so well, and so much, Una, that I doubt I'm not worthy of
you--and it's fear of seeing you brought down to daily labor that's
crushing and breaking my heart."

"But, dear Connor--what is there done by any cottager's wife that I
don't do every day of my life? Do you think my mother lets me pass my
time in idleness, or that I myself could bear to be unemployed even if
she did; I can milk, make butter, spin, sew, wash, knit, and clean a
kitchen; why, you have no notion," she added, with a smile, "what a
clever cottager's wife I'd make!"

"Oh, Una," said Connor, now melting into tenderness greater than he had
ever before felt; "Una dear, it's useless--it's useless--I can't, no,
I couldn't--and I will not live without you, even if we were to beg
together--but what is to be done?"

"Now, while my brother John is at home, is the time to propose it to
my father and mother who look upon him with eyes of such affection and
delight that I am half inclined to think their consent may be gained."

"Maybe, darling, his consent will be as hard to gain as their own."

"Now," she replied, fondly, "only you're a hard--hearted thing that's
afraid to live in a cottage with me, I could tell you some good news--or
rather you doubt me--and fear that I wouldn't live in one with you."

A kiss was the reply, after which he said--

"With you, my dear Una, now that you're satisfied, I would live and die
in a prison--with you, with you--in whatever state of life we may be
placed, with you, but without you--never, I could not--I could not----"

"Well, we are young, you know, and neither of us proud--and I am not a
lazy girl--indeed, I am not; but you forget the good news."

"I forget that, and everything else but yourself, darling, while I'm in
your company. O heavens! if you were once my own, and that we were never
to be separated!"

"Well, but the good news!"

"What is it, dear?"

"I haye mentioned our affection to my brother, and he has promised to
assist us. He has heard of your character, and of your mother's, and
says that it's unjust to visit upon you----"

She paused--"You know, my dear Connor, that you must not be offended
with anything I say."

"I know, my sweet treasure, what you're going to say," replied Connor,
with a smile; "nobody need be delicate in saying that my father loves
the money, and knows how to put guinea to guinea; that's no secret. I
wish he loved it less, to be sure, but it cannot be helped; in the mean
time, _ma colleen dhas dhun_--O, how I love them words! God bless your
brother! he must have a kind heart, Una dear, and he must love you very
much when he promises to assist us."

"He has, and will; but, Connor, why did you send such a disagreeable,
forward, and prying person, as your father's servant to bring me your
message? I do not like him--he almost stared me out of countenance."

"Poor fellow," said Connor, "I feel a good dale for him, and I think
he's an honest, good--hearted boy, and besides, he's in love himself."

"I know he, was always a starer, and I say again _I don't_ like him."

"But, as the case stands, dear Una, I have no one else to trust to--at
all events, he's in our secret, and the best way, if he's not honest,
is to keep him in it; at laste, if we put him out of it now, he might be
talking to our disadvantage."

"There's truth in that, and we must only trust him with as little of our
real secrets as possible; I cannot account for the strong prejudice
I feel against him, and have felt for the past two years. He always
dressed above his means, and once or twice attempted to speak to me."

"Well, but I know he's in love with some one, for he told me so; poor
fellow, I'm bound, my dear Una, to show him any kindness in my power."

After some further conversation, it was once more decided that
Fardorougha should, on the next day, see the Bodagh and his wife, in
order to ascertain whether their consent could be obtained to the union
of our young and anxious lovers. This step, as the reader knows, was
every way in accordance with Fardorougha's inclination. Connor
himself would have preferred his mother's advocacy to that of a person
possessing such a slender hold on their good-will as his other parent.
But upon consulting with her, she told him that the fact of the proposal
coming from Fardorougha might imply a disposition on his part to provide
for his son. At all events, she hoped that contradiction, the boast
of superior wealth, or some fortunate collision of mind and principle,
might strike a spark of generous feeling out of her husband's heart,
which nothing, she knew, under strong excitement, such as might arise
from the bitter pride of the O'Brien's, could possibly do. Besides, as
she had no favorable expectations from the interview, she thought it an
unnecessary and painful task to subject herself to the insults which she
apprehended from the Bodagh's wife, whose pride and importance towered
far and high over those of her consequential husband.

This just and sensible view of the matter, on the part of the mother,
satisfied Connor, and reconciled him to the father's disinclination
to be accompanied by her to the scene of conflict; for, in truth,
Fardorougha protested against her assistance with a bitterness which
could not easily be accounted for. "If your mother goes, let her go by
herself," said he; "for I'll not interfere in't if she does. I'll take
the dirty Bodagh and his fat wife my own way, which I can't do if Honor
comes to be enibbin' and makin' little o' me afore them. Maybe I'll pull
down their pride for them better than you think, and in a way they're
not prepared for; them an' their janting car!"

Neither Connor nor his mother could help being highly amused at the
singularity of the miserable pomp and parsimonious display resorted to
by Fardorougha, in preparing for this extraordinary mission. Out of an
old strongly locked chest he brought forth a gala coat, which had
been duly aired, but not thrice worn within the last twenty years. The
progress of time and fashion had left it so odd, outre, and ridiculous,
that Connor, though he laughed, could not help feeling depressed on
considering the appearance his father must make when dressed, or rather
disfigured, in it. Next came a pair of knee--breeches by the same hand,
and which, in compliance with the taste of the age that produced them,
were made to button so far down as the calf of the leg. Then appeared a
waistcoat, whose long pointed flaps reached nearly to the knees. Last of
all was produced a hat not more than three inches deep in the crown, and
brimmed so narrowly, that a spectator would almost imagine the leaf had
been cut off. Having pranked himself out in these habiliments, contrary
to the strongest expostulations of both wife and son, he took his
staff and set forth. But lest the reader should expect a more accurate
description of his person when dressed, we shall endeavor at all events
to present him with a loose outline. In the first place, his head was
surmounted with a hat that resembled a flat skillet, wanting the handle;
his coat, from which avarice and penury had caused him to shrink away,
would have fitted a man twice his size, and, as he had become much
stooped, its tail, which, at the best, had been preposterously long, now
nearly swept the ground. To look at him behind, in fact, he appeared all
body. The flaps of his waistcoat he had pinned up with his own hands,
by which piece of exquisite taste, he displayed a pair of thighs so thin
and disproportioned to his small--clothes, that he resembled a boy who
happens to wear the breeches of a full-grown man, so that to look at
him in front he appeared all legs. A pair of shoes, polished with burned
straw and buttermilk, and surmounted by two buckles, scoured away
to skeletons, completed his costume. In this garb he set out with a
crook-headed staff, into which long use, and the habit of griping
fast whatever he got in his hand, had actually worn the marks of his
forefinger and thumb.

Bodagh Buie, his wife, and their two children, were very luckily
assembled in the parlor, when the nondescript figure of the deputy-wooer
made his appearance on that part of the neat road which terminated at
the gate of the little lawn that fronted the hall-door. Here there was
another gate to the right that opened into the farm or kitchen yard,
and as Fardorougha hesitated which to enter, the family within had an
opportunity of getting a clearer view of his features and person.

"Who is that quare figure standing there?" inquired the Bodagh; "did you
ever see sich a----ah, thin, who can he be?"

"Somebody comin', to see some of the sarvints, I suppose," replied his
wife; "why, thin, it's not unlike little Dick _Croaitha_, the fairyman."

In sober truth, Fardorougha was so completely disguised by his dress,
especially by his hat, whose shallowness and want of brim, gave his face
and head so wild and eccentric an appearance, that we question if his
own family, had they not seen him dress, could I have recognized him! At
length he turned into the kitchen-yard, and, addressing a laborer whom
he met, asked--

"I say, nabor, which is the right way into Bodagh Buie's house?"

"There's two right ways into it, an' you may take aither o' them--but if
you want any favor from him, you had better call him _Mr_. O'Brien. The
Bodagh's a name was first given to his father, an' he bein' a dacenter
man, doesn't like it, although it sticks to him; so there's a lift for
you, my hip striddled little codger."

"But which is the right door o' the house?"

"There it is, the kitchen--peg in--that's your intrance, barrin' you're
a gintleman in disguise, an' if be, why turn out again to that other
gate, strip off your shoes, and pass up ginteely on your tipytoes, and
give a thunderin' whack to the green ring that's hangin' from the door.
But see, friend," added the man, "maybe you'd do one a sarvice?"

"How," said Fardorougha, looking earnestly at him; "what is it?"

"Why, to lave us a lock o' your hair before you go," replied the wag,
with a grin.

The miser took no notice whatsoever of this, but was turning quietly
out of the yard, to enter by the lawn, when the man called out in a
commanding voice--

"Back here, you codger!--tundher an' thump!--back I say! You won't be
let in that way--thramp back, you leprechaun, into the kitchen--eh! you
won't--well, well, take what you'll get--an' that'll be the way back
agin."

'Twas at this moment that the keen eye of Una recognized the features of
her lover's father, and a smile, which she felt it impossible to subdue,
settled upon her face, which became immediately mantled with blushes. On
hurrying out of the room she plucked her brother's sleeve, who followed
her to the hall.

"I can scarcely tell you, dear John," she said, speaking rapidly, "it's
Fardorougha O'Donovan, Connor's father; as you know his business, John,
stay in the parlor;" she squeezed his hand, and added with a smile on
her face, and a tear in her eye, "I fear it's all over with me--I
don't know whether to laugh or cry--but stay, John dear, an' fight my
battle--Una's battle."

She ran upstairs, and immediately one of the most beggarly, sordid, and
pusillanimous knocks that ever spoke of starvation and misery was heard
at the door.

"I will answer it myself," thought the amiable brother; "for if my
father or mother does, he surely will not be allowed in."

John could scarcely preserve a grave face, when Fardorougha presented
himself.

"Is Misther O'Brien widin?" inquired the usurer, shrewdly availing
himself of the hint he received from the servant.

"My father is," replied John; "have the goodness to step in."

Fardorougha entered immediately, followed by young O'Brien, who said,

"Father, this is Mr. O'Donovan, who, it appears, has some important
business with the family."

"Don't be mistherin' me," replied Fardorougha, helping himself to a
seat; "I'm too poor to be misthered."

"With this family!" exclaimed the father in amazement; "what business
can Fardorougha Donovan have with this family, John?"'

"About our children," replied the miser; "about my son and your
daughter."

"An' what about them?" inquired Mrs. O'Brien; "do you dar to mintion
them in the same day together?"

"Why not," said the miser; "ay, an' on the same night, too?"

"Upon my reputaytion, Mr. O'Donovan, you're extramely kind--now be a
little more so, and let us undherstand you," said the Bodagh.

"Poor Una!" thought John, "all's lost; he will get himself kicked out to
a certainty."

"I think it's time we got them married," replied Fardorougha; "the
sooner it's done the better, and the safer for both o' them; especially
for the colleen."

"_Dar a Lorha_, he's cracked," said Mrs. O'Brien; "sorra one o' the poor
soul but's cracked about his money."

"Poor sowl, woman alive! wor you never poor yourself?"

"Yis I wor; an' I'm not ashamed to own it; but, Chierna, Frank," she
added, addressing her husband, "there's no use in spakin' to him."

"Fardorougha," said O'Brien, seriously, "what brought you here?"

"Why, to tell you an' your wife the state that my son, Connor, and your
daughter's in about one another; an' to advise you both, if you have
sinse, to get them married afore worse happen. It's your business more
nor mine."

"You're right," said the Bodagh, aside to his wife; "he's sartinly
deranged. Fardorougha," he added, "have you lost any money lately?"

"I'm losin' every day," said the other; "I'm broke assistin' them that
won't thank me, let alone paying me as they ought."

"Then you have lost nothing more than usual?"

"If I didn't, I tell you there's a good chance of losin' it before
me;--can a man call any money of his safe that's in another man's
pocket?"

"An' so you've come to propose a marriage between your son and my
daughter, yet you lost no money, an' you're not mad!"

"Divil a morsel o' me is mad--but you'll be so if you refuse to let this
match go an."

"Out wid him--_a shan roghara_," shouted Mrs. O'Brien, in a state of
most dignified offence; "_Damho orth_, you ould knave! is it the son of
a miser that has fleeced an' robbed the whole counthry side that we 'ud
let our daughther, that resaved the finish to her edication in a Dubling
boardin' school, marry wid?--_Vic na hoiah_ this day!"

"You had no sich scruple yourself, ma'am," replied the bitter usurer,
"when you bounced at the son of the ould Bodagh Buie, an' every one
knows what he was."

"He!" said the good woman; "an' is it runnin' up comparishments betuxt
yourself an' him you are afther? Why, Saint Peter wouldn't thrive on
your money, you nager."

"Maybe Saint Pethur thruv on worse--but havn't you thruv as well on the
Bodagh's, as if it had been honestly come by? I defy you an' the world
both--to say that ever I tuck a penny from any one, more than my right.
Lay that to the mimory of the ould Bodagh, an' see if it'll fit. It's no
light guinea, any how."

Had Fardorougha been a man of ordinary standing and character in the
country, from whom an insult could be taken, he would no doubt have
been by a very summary process expelled the parlor. The history of his
querulous and irascible temper, however, was so well known, and his
offensive eccentricity of manner a matter of such established fact, that
the father and son, on glancing at each other, were seized with the same
spirit, and both gave way to an uncontrollable fit of laughter.

"Is it a laughin' stock you're makin' of' it?" said Mrs. O'Brien, highly
indignant.

"Faith, achora, it may be no laughin' stock afther all," replied the
Bodagh.

"I think, mother," observed John, "that you and my father had better
treat the matter with more seriousness. Connor O'Donovan is a young man
not to be despised by any person at all near his own class of life who
regards the peace and welfare of a daughter. His character stands very
high; indeed, in every way unimpeachable."

The bitter scowl which had sat upon the small dark features of
Fardorougha, when replying to the last attack of Mrs. O'Brien, passed
away as John spoke. The old man turned hastily around, and, surveying
the eulogist of his son, said,

"God bless you, asthore, for thim words! and they're thrue--thrue as the
gospel, arrah what are you both so proud of? I defy you to get the aquil
of my son in the barony of Lisnamona, either for face, figure or temper!
I say he's fit to be a husband for as good a gill as ever stood in your
daughter's shoes; an' from what I hear of her, she's as good a girl
as ever the Almighty put breath in. God bless you, young man, you're a
credit yourself to any parents."

"An' we have nothin' to say aginst your son, nor aginst your wife
aither," replied the Bodagh; "an' if your own name was as clear----if
you wor looked upon as they are--tut, I'm spakin' nonsense! How do I
know whether ever your son and my daughter spoke a word to one another
or not?"

"I'll go bail Oona never opened her lips to him," said her mother; "I'll
go bail she had more spirit."

"An' I'll go bail she can't live widout him, an' will have him whether
you like it or not," said Fardorougha.

"Mother," observed John, "will you and my father come into the next room
for a minute--I wish to say a word or two to each of you; and will you,
Fardorougha, have the goodness to sit here till we return?"

"Divil a notion," replied O'Donovan, "I have of stirrin' my foot till
the thing's settled one way or other."

"Now," said young O'Brien, when they got into the back parlor, "it's
right that you both should know to what length the courtship between Una
and Connor O'Donovan has gone."

"Coortship! _Vich no hoiah!_ sure she wouldn't go to coort wid the son
o' that ould schamer."

"I'm beginning to fear that it's too thrue," observed the Bodagh; "and
if she has--but let us hear John."

"It's perfectly true, indeed, mother, that she has," said the son. "Yes,
and they are both this moment pledged, betrothed, promised, solemnly
promised to each other; and in my opinion the old man within is acting a
more honorable part than either of you give him credit for."

"Well, well, well," exclaimed the mother; "who afther that would ever
thrust a daughter? The girl that we rared up as tindher as a chicking,
to go to throw herself away upon the son of ould Fardorougha Donovan,
the misert! Confusion to the ring ever he'll put an her! I'd see her
stretched (dead) first."

"I agree with you in that, Bridget," said the husband; "if it was only
to punish her thrachery and desate, I'll take good care a ring will
never go on them; but how do you know all this, John?"

"From Una's own lips, father."

The Bodagh paced to and fro in much agitation; one hand in his
small--clothes pocket, and the other twirling his watch-key as rapidly
as he could. The mother, in the meantime, had thrown herself into a
chair, and gave way to a violent fit of grief.

"And you have this from Una's own lips?"

"Indeed, father, I have; and it is much to her credit that she was
candid enough to place such confidence in her brother."

"Pledged and promised to one another. Bridget, who could believe this?"

"Believe it! I don't believe it--it's only a schame of the hussy to get
him. Oh, thin, Queen of Heaven this day, but it's black news to us!"

"John," said the father, "tell Una to come down to us."

"Father, I doubt that's rather a trying task for her. I wish, you
wouldn't insist."

"Go off, sir; she must come down immediately, I'll have it from her own
lips, too."

Without another word of remonstrance the son went to bring her down.
When the brother and sister entered the room, O'Brien still paced the
floor. He stood, and, turning his eyes upon his daughter with severe
displeasure, was about to speak, but he appeared to have lost the power
of utterance; and, after one or two ineffectual attempts, the big tears
fairly rolled down his cheeks.

"See, see," said the mother, "see what you have brought us to. Is it
thrue that you're promised to Fardorougha's son?"

Una tottered over to a chair, and the blood left her cheeks; her lips
became dry, and she gasped for breath.

"Why, don't you think it worth your while to answer me?" continued the
mother.

The daughter gave a look of deep distress and supplication at her
brother; but when she perceived her father in tears, her head sank down
upon her bosom.

"What! what! Una," exclaimed the Bodagh, "Una--" But ere he could
complete the question, the timid creature fell senseless upon the floor.

For a long time she lay in that friendly trance, for such, in truth, it
was to a delicate being, subjected to an ordeal so painful as that she
was called upon to pass through. We have, indeed, remarked that there
is in the young, especially in those of the softer sex, a feeling of
terror, and shame, and confusion, when called upon by their parents to
disclose a forbidden passion, that renders its avowal perhaps the most
formidable task which the young heart can undergo. It is a fearful trial
for the youthful, and one which parents ought to conduct with surpassing
delicacy and tenderness, unless they wish to drive the ingenuous spirit
into the first steps of falsehood and deceit.

"Father," said John, "I think you may rest satisfied with what you
witness; and I am sure it cannot make you or mother happy to see poor
Una miserable."

Una, who had been during the greater part of her swoon supported in
her weeping and alarmed mother's arms, now opened her eyes, and, after
casting an affrighted look about the room, she hid her face in her
mother's bosom, and exclaimed, as distinctly as the violence of sobbing
grief would permit her:

"Oh, mother dear, have pity on me! bring me up stairs and I will tell
you."

"I do, I do pity you," said the mother, kissing her; "I know you'll be a
good girl yet, Oona."

"Una," said her father, placing his hand gently on her shoulder, "was I
ever harsh to you, or did I--"

"Father dear," she returned, interrupting him, "I would have told you
and my mother, but that I was afraid."

There was something so utterly innocent and artless in this reply, that
each of the three persons present felt sensibly affected by its extreme
and childlike simplicity.

"Don't be afraid of me, Una," continued the Bodagh, "but answer--me
truly, like a good girl, and I swear upon my reputation, that I won't be
angry. Do you love the son of this Fardorougha?"

"Not, father, because he's Fardorougha's son," said Una, whose face was
still hid in her mother's bosom; "I would rather he wasn't."

"But you do love him?"

"For three years he has scarcely been out of my mind."

Something that might be termed a smile crossed the countenance of the
Bodagh at this intimation.

"God help you for a foolish child!" said he; "you're a poor counsellor
when left to defend your own cause."

"She won't defend it by a falsehood, at all events," observed her
trustworthy and affectionate brother.

"No, she wouldn't," said the mother; "and I did her wrong a while ago,
to say that she'd schame anything about it."

"And are you and Connor O'Donovan promised to aich other?" inquired the
father again.

"But it wasn't I that proposed the promise," returned Una.

"Oh, the desperate villain," exclaimed her father, "to be guilty of
such a thing! but you took the promise Una--you did--you did--I needn't
ask."

"No," replied Una.

"No!" reechoed the father; "then you did not give the promise?"

"I mean," she rejoined, "that you needn't ask."

"Oh, faith, that alters the case extremely. Now, Una, this--all this
promising that has passed between you and Connor O'Donovan is all folly.
If you prove to be the good obedient girl that I hope you are, you'll
put him out of your head, and then you can give back to one another
whatever promises you made."

This was succeeded by a silence of more than a minute. Una at length
arose, and, with a composed energy of manner, that was evident by her
sparkling eye and bloodless cheek, she approached her father, and calmly
kneeling down, said slowly but firmly:

"Father, if nothing else can satisfy you, I will give back my promise;
but then, father, it will break my heart, for I know--I feel--how I love
him, and how I am loved by him."

"I'll get you a better husband," replied her father--"far more wealthy
and more respectable than he is."

"I'll give back the promise," said she; "but the man is not living,
except Connor O'Donovan, that will ever call me wife. More wealthy! more
respectable!--Oh, it was only himself I loved. Father, I'm on my knees
before you, and before my mother. I have only one request to make--Oh,
don't break your daughter's heart!"

"God direct us," exclaimed her mother; "it's hard to know how to act. If
it would go so hard upon her, sure--"

"Amen," said her husband; "may God direct us to the best! I'm sure God
knows," he continued, now much affected, "that I would rather break
my own heart than yours, Una. Get up, dear--rise. John, how would you
advise us?"

"I don't see any serious objection, after all," replied the son, "either
you or my mother can have to Connor O'Donovan. He is every way worthy
of her, if he is equal to his character; and as for wealth, I have often
heard it said that his father was a richer man than yourself."

"Afther all," said the mother, "she might be very well wid him."

"I'll tell you what I'll do, then," said the Bodagh--"let us see the
ould man himself, and if he settles his son dacently in life, as he
can do if he wishes, why, I won't see the poor, foolish, innocent girl
breaking her heart."

Una, who had sat with her face still averted, now ran to her father,
and, throwing her arms about his neck, wept aloud, but said nothing.

"Ay, ay," said the latter, "it's very fine now that you have everything
your own way, you girsha; but, sure, you're all the daughter we have,
achora, and it would be too bad not to let you have a little of your
own opinion in the choice of a husband. Now go up stairs, or where you
please, till we see what can be done with Fardorougha himself."

With smiling face and glistening eyes Una passed out of the room,
scarcely sensible whether she walked, ran, or flew, while the others
went to renew the discussion with Pardorougha.

"Well," said the miser, "you found out, I suppose, that she can't do
widout him?"

"Provided we consent to the marriage," asked the Bodagh, "how will you
settle your son in life?"

"Who would I settle in life if I wouldn't settle my only son?" replied
the other; "who else is there to get all I have?"

"That's very true," observed the Bodagh; "but state plainly what you'll
do for him on his marriage."

"Do you consint to the marriage all of yees?"

"That's not the question," said the other. "Divil a word I'll answer
till I know whither yees do or not," said Fardorougha. "Say at once that
you consint, and then I'll spake--I'll say what I'll do."

The Bodagh looked inquiringly at his wife and son. The latter nodded
affirmatively. "We do consent," he added.

"That shows your own sinse," said the old man. "Now what fortune will
you portion your colleen wid?"

"That depinds upon what you'll do for your son," returned the Bodagh.

"And that depinds upon what you'll do for your daughter," replied the
sagacious old miser.

"At this rate we're not likely to agree."

"Nothin's asier; you have only to spake out; besides it's your business,
bein' the colleen's father."

"Try him, and name something fair," whispered John.

"If I give her a farm of thirty acres of good land, stocked and all,
what will you do for Connor?"

"More than that, five times over; I'll give him all I have. An' now when
will we marry them? Throth it was best to make things clear," added the
knave, "and undherstand one another at wanst. When will we marry them?"

"Not till you say out openly and fairly the exact amount of money you'll
lay down on the nail--an' that before even a ring goes upon them."

"Give it up, acushla," said the wife, "you see there's no screwin' a
promise out of him, let alone a penny."

"What 'ud yees have me do?" said the old man, raising his voice. "Won't
he have all I'm worth? Who else is to have it? Am I to make a beggar of
myself to please you? Can't they live on your farm till I die, an' thin
it'll all come to them?"

"An' no thanks to you for that, Fardorougha," said the Bodagh. "No, no;
I'll never buy a pig in a poke. If you won't act generously by your son,
go home, in the name of goodness, and let us hear no more about it."

"Why, why?" asked the miser, "are yees mad to miss what I can leave him?
If you knew how much it is, you'd snap--; but God help me! what am I
sayin'? I'm poorer than anybody thinks. I am--I am; an' will starve
among you all, if God hasn't sed it. Do you think I don't love my son as
well, an' a thousand times better, than you do your daughter? God alone
sees how my heart's in him--in my own Connor, that never gave me a sore
heart--my brave, my beautiful boy!"

He paused, and the scalding tears here ran down his shrunk and furrowed
cheeks, whilst he wrung his hands, started to his feet, and looked
about him like a man encompassed by dangers that threatened instant
destruction.

"If you love your son so well," said John, mildly, "why do you grudge to
share your wealth with him? It is but natural and it is your duty."

"Natural! what's natural?--to give away--is it to love him you mane? It
is, it's unnatural to give it away. He's the best son--the best--what do
you mane, I say?--let me alone--let me alone--I could give him my blood,
my blood--to sich a boy; but, you want to kill me--you want to kill me,
an' thin you'll get all; but he'll cross you, never fear--my boy will
save me--he's not tired of me--he'd give up fifty girls sooner than
see a hair of his father's head injured--so do your best, while I have
Connor, I'm not afraid of yees. Thanks be to God that sent him!" he
exclaimed, dropping suddenly on his knees--"oh, thanks be to God that
sent him to comfort an' protect his father from the schames and villainy
of them that 'ud bring him to starvation for their own ends!"

"Father," said John, in a low tone, "this struggle between avarice and
natural affection is awful. See how his small gray eyes glare, and the
froth rises white to his thin shrivelled lips. What is to be done?"

"Fardorougha," said the Bodagh, "it's over; don't distress
yourself--keep your money--there will be no match between our childhre."

"Why? why won't there?" he screamed--"why won't there, I say? Havn't
you enough for them until I die? Would you see your child breakin' her
heart? Bodagh, you have no nather in you--no bowels for your _colleen
dahs_. But I'll spake for her--I'll argue wid you till this time
to-morrow, or I'll make you show feelin' to her--an' if you don't--if
you don't--"

"Wid the help o' God, the man's as mad as a March hare," observed Mrs.
O'Brien, "and there's no use in losin' breath wid him."

"If it's not insanity," said John, "I know not what it is."

"Young man," proceeded Fardorougha, who evidently paid no attention to
what the mother and son said, being merely struck by the voice of the
latter, "young man, you're kind, you have sinse and feelin'--spake to
your father--don't let him destroy his child--don't ax him to starve
me, that never did him harm. He loves you--he loves you, for he can't
but love you--sure, I know how I love my own darlin' boy. Oh, spake to
him--here I go down on my knees to you, to beg, as you hope to see God
in heaven, that't you'll make him not break his daughter's heart! She's
your own sister--there's but the two of yees, an' oh, don't desart her
in this throuble--this heavy, heavy throuble!"

"I won't interfere farther in it," replied the young man, who, however,
felt disturbed and anxious in the extreme.

"Mrs. O'Brien," said he, turning imploringly, and with a wild, haggard
look to the Bodngh's wifs, "I'm turnin' to you--you're her mother--Oh
think, think"--

"I'll think no more about it," she replied. "You're mad, an' thank God,
we know it. Of coorse it'll run in the family, for which reasing my
daughter 'ill never be joined to the son of a madman."

He then turned as a last resource to O'Brien himself. "Bodagh, Bodagh, I
say," here his voice rose to a frightful pitch, "I enthrate, I order, I
command you to listen to me! Marry them--don't kill your daughter, an'
don't, don't, dare to kill my son. If you do I'll curse you till
the marks of your feet will scorch the ground you tread on. Oh," he
exclaimed, his voice now sinking, and his reason awaking apparently from
exhaustion, "what is come over me? what am I sayin'?--but it's all for
my son, my son." He then rose, sat down, and for more than tweny minutes
wept like an infant, and sobbed and sighed as if his heart would break.

A feeling very difficult to be described hushed his amazed auditory into
silence; they felt something like pity towards the unfortunate old man,
as well as respect for that affection which struggled with such moral
heroism against the frightful vice that attempted to subdue this last
surviving virtue in the breast of the miser.

On his getting calm, they spoke to him kindly, but in firm and friendly
terms communicated their ultimate determination, that, in consequence
of his declining to make an adequate provision for the son, the marriage
could by no means take place. He then got his hat, and attempted to
reach the road which led down to the little lawn, but so complete was
his abstraction, and so exhausted his faculties, that it was not without
John's assistance he could reach the gate which lay before his eyes.
He first turned out of the walk to the right, then crossed over to the
left, and felt surprised that a wall opposed him in each direction.

"You are too much disturbed," said John, "to perceive the way, but I
will show you."

"I suppose I thought it was at home I was," he replied, "bekase at my
own house one must turn aither to the right or to the left, as, indeed,
I'm in the custom of doin'."

Whilst Fardorougha was engaged upon his ill-managed mission, his wife,
who felt that all human efforts at turning the heart of her husband from
his wealth must fail, resolved to have recourse to a higher power. With
this purpose in view, she put on her Sunday dress, and informed Connor
that she was about to go for a short time from home.

"I'll be back if I can," she added, "before your father; and, indeed,
it's as good not to let him know anything about it."

"About what, mother? for I know as little about it as he does."

"Why, my dear boy, I'm goin' to get a couple o' masses sed, for God
to turn his heart from that cursed _airaghid_ it's fixed upon. Sure it
houlds sich a hard grip of his poor sowl, that it'll be the destruction
of him here an' hereafther. It'll kill him afore his time, an' then I
thrimble to think of his chance above."

"The object is a good one, sure enough, an' it bein' for a spiritual
purpose the priest won't object to it."

"Why would he, dear, an' it for the good of his sowl? Sure, when Pat
Lanigan was jealous, his wife got three masses sed for him; and, wid the
help o' God, he was cured sound and clane."

Connor could not help smiling at this extraordinary cure for jealousy,
nor at the simple piety of a heart, the strength of whose affection he
knew so well. After her return she informed the son, that, in addition
to the masses to be said against his father's avarice, she had some
notion of getting another said towards his marriage with Una.

"God help you, mother," said Connor, laughing; "for I think you're one
of the innocentest women that ever lived; but whisht!" he added, "here's
my father--God grant that he may bring good news!"

When Fardorougha entered he was paler or rather sallower than usual;
and, on his thin, puckered face, the lines that marked it were exhibited
with a distinctness greater than ordinary. His eyes appeared to have
sunk back more deeply into his head; his cheeks had fallen farther into
his jaws; his eyes were gleamy and disturbed; and his Whole appearance
bespoke trouble and care and the traces of a strong and recent struggle
within him.

"Father," said Connor, with a beating heart, "for Heaven's sake, what
news--what tidings? I trust in God it's good."

"They have no bowels, Connor--they have no bowels, thim O'Briens."

"Then you didn't succeed."

"The father's as great a bodagh as him he was called after--they're a
bad pack--an' you mustn't think of any one belongin'to them."

"But tell us, man dear," said the wife, "what passed--let us know it
all."

"Why, they would do nothin'--they wouldn't hear of it. I went on my
knees to them--ay, to every one of them, barrin' the colleen herself;
but it was all no use--it's to be no match."

"And why, father, did you go on your knees to any of them," said Connor;
"I'm sorry you did that."

"I did it on your account, Connor, an' I'd do it again on your account,
poor boy."

"Well, well, it can't be helped."

"But tell me, Fardorougha," inquired Honor, "was any of the fault your
own--what did you offer to do for Connor?"

"Let me alone," said he, peevishly; "I won't be cross-questioned about
it. My heart's broke among you all--what did I offer to do for Connor?
The match is knocked up, I tell you--and it must be knocked up. Connor's
young, an' it'll be time enough for him to marry this seven years to
come."

As he said this, the fire of avarice blazed in his eyes, and he looked
angrily at Honor, then at the son; but, while contemplating the latter,
his countenance changed from anger to sorrow, and from sorrow to a mild
and serene expression of affection.

"Connor, avick," said he, "Connor, sure you'll not blame me in this
business? sure you won't blame your poor, heart--broken father, let thim
say what they will, sure you won't, avilish?"

"Don't fret on my account, father," said the sonj "why should I blame
you? God knows you're strivin' to do what you would wish for me."

"No, Honor, I know he wouldn't; no," he shouted, leaping up, "he
wouldn't make a saicrefize o' me! Connor, save me, save me," he
shrieked, throwing his arms about his neck; "save me; my heart's
breakin'--somethin's tearin' me different ways inside; I can cry, you
see; I can cry, but I'm still as hard as a stone; it's terrible this
I'm sufferin'--terrible all out for a weak ould man like me. Oh, Connor,
avick, what will I do? Honor, achora, what 'ill become o' me--ainn't I
strugglin', strugglin' against it, whatever it is; don't yees pity me?
Don't ye, avick machree, don't ye, Honor? Oh, don't yees pity me?"

"God pity you!" said the wife, bursting into tears; "what will become of
you? Pray to God, Fardorougha, pray to Him. No one alive can change your
heart but God. I wint to the priest to-day, to get two masses said to
turn your heart from that cursed money. I didn't intind to tell you, but
I do, bekase it's your duty to pray now above all times, an' to back the
priest as well as you can."

"It's the best advice, father, you could get," said the son, as he
helped the trembling old man to his seat.

"An' who bid you thin to go to lavish money that way?" said he, turning
snappishly to Honor, and relapsing again into the peevish spirit of
avarice; "Saver o' Heaven, but you'll kill me, woman, afore you have
done wid me! How can I stand it, to have my hard--earned----an' for
what? to turn my heart from money? I don't want to be turned from it--I
don't wish it! Money!--I have no money--nothin'--nothin'--an' if there's
not better decreed for me, I'll be starved yet--an' is it any wondh'er?
to be robbin' me the way you're doin'!"

His wife clasped her hands and looked up towards heaven in silence, and
Connor, shaking his head despairingly, passed out to join Flanagan at
his labor, with whom he had not spoken that day. Briefly, and with
a heavy heart, he communicated to him the unsuccessful issue of his
father's interference, and asked his opinion as to how he should
conduct himself under circumstances so disastrous to his happiness and
prospects. Bartle advised him to seek another interview with Una, and,
for that purpose, offered, as before, to ascertain, in the course of
that evening, at what time and place she would see him. This suggestion,
in itself so natural, was adopted, and as Connor felt, with a peculiar
acuteness, the pain of the situation in which he was! placed, he
manifested little tendency to conversation, and the evening consequently
passed heavily and in silence.

Dusk, however, arrived, and Bartle prepared himself to execute the
somewhat difficult commission he had so obligingly undertaken. He
appeared, however, to have caught a portion of Connor's despondency,
for, when about to set out, he said "that he felt his spirits sunk and
melancholy; just," he added, "as if some misfortune, Connor, was afore
aither or both of us; for my part I'd stake my life that things will go
ashanghran one way or other, an' that you'll never call Una O'Brien your
wife."

"Bartle," replied the other, "I only want you to do my message, an' not
be prophesyin' ill--bad news comes to soon, without your tellin' us of
it aforehand. God knows, Bartle dear, I'm distressed enough as it is,
and want my spirits to be kept up rather than put down."

"No, Connor, but you want somethin' to divart your mind off this
business altogether, for a while; an' upon my saunies it 'ud be a
charity for some friend to give you a fresh piece of fun to think of--so
keep up your heart, how do you know but I may do that much for you
myself? But I want you to lend me the loan of a pair of shoes; divil
a tatther of these will be together soon, barrin' I get them mended in
time; you can't begrudge that, any how, an' me wearin' them on your own
business."

"Nonsense, man--to be sure I will; stop an' I'll bring them out to you
in half a shake."

He accordingly produced a pair of shoes, nearly new, and told Bartle
that if he had no objection to accept of them as a present, he might
consider them as his own.

This conversation took place in Fardorougha's barn, where Flanagan
always slept, and kept his small deal trunk.

He paused a moment when this good--natured offer was made to him; but
as it was dark no particular expression could be discovered on his
countenance,

"No!" said he vehemently; "may I go to perdition if I
ought!--Connor--Connor O' Donovan--you'd turn the div--"

"Halt, Bartle, don't be angry--whin I offered them, I didn't mane to
give you the slightest offence; it's enough for you to tell me you won't
have them without gettin' into a passion."

"Have what? what are you spakin' about?"

"Why--about the shoes; what else?"

"Yes, faith, sure enough--well, ay, the shoes!--don't think of it,
Connor--I'm hasty; too much so, indeed, an' that's my fault. I'm like
all good-natured people in that respect; however, I'll borry them for a
day or two, till I get my own patched up some way. But, death alive, why
did you get at this season o' the year three rows of sparables in the
soles o' them?"

"Bekase they last longer, of coorse; and now, Bartle, be off, and don't
let the grass grow under your feet till I see you again."

Connor's patience, or rather his impatience, that night, was severely
taxed. Hour after hour elapsed, and yet Bartle did not return. At length
he went to his father's sleeping-room, and informed him of the message
he had sent through Flanagan to Una.

"I will sleep in the barn to-night, father," he added; "an' never fear,
let us talk as we may, but we'll be up early enough in the morning,
plase God. I couldn't sleep, or go to sleep, till I hear what news he
brings back to us; so do you rise and secure the door, an' I'll make my
shakedown wid Bartle this night."

The father who never refused him anything unpecuniary (if we may be
allowed the word), did as the son requested him, and again went to bed,
unconscious of the thundercloud which was so soon to burst upon them
both.

Bartle, however, at length returned, and Connor had the satisfaction
of hearing that his faithful Una would meet him the next night, if
possible, at the hour of twelve o'clock, in her father's haggard. Her
parents, it appeared, had laid an injunction upon her never to see him
again; she was watched, too, and, unless when the household were
asleep, she found it altogether impracticable to effect any appointment
whatsoever with her lover. She could not even promise with certainty to
meet him on that night, but she desired him to come, and if she failed
to be punctual, not to leave the place of appointment for an hour. After
that, if she appeared not, then he was to wait no longer. Such was the
purport of the message which Flanagan delivered him.

Flanagan was the first up the next morning, for the purpose of keeping
an appointment which he had with Biddy Neil, whom we have already
introduced to the reader. On being taxed with meanness by this weak but
honest creature, for having sought service with the man who had ruined
his family, he promised to acquaint her with the true motive which had
induced him to enter into Fardorougha's employment. Their conversation
on this point, however, was merely a love scene, in which Bartle
satisfied the credulous girl, that to an attachment for herself of
some months' standing, might be ascribed his humiliation in becoming a
servant to the oppressor and destroyer of his house. He then passed from
themselves and their prospects to Connor and Una O'Brien, with whose
attachment for each other, as the reader knows, he was first made
acquainted by his fellow-servant.

"It's terrible, Biddy," said he, "to think of the black and revengeful
heart that Connor bears to Bodagh Buie and his family merely bekase they
rufuse to let him marry Una. I'm afeard, Biddy darlin', that there'll
be dark work about it on Connor's side; an' if you hear of anything bad
happenin' to the Bodagh, you'll know where it comes from."

"I don't b'lieve it, Bartle, nor I won't b'lieve it--not, any way, till
I hear that it happens. But what is it he intends to do to them?"

"That's more than I know myself," replied Bartle; "I axed as much, an'
he said till it was done nobody would be the wiser."

"That's quare," said the girl, "for a better heart than Connor has, the
Saver o' the world never made."

"You think so, agra, but wait; do you watch, and you'll find that he
don't come in to-night. I know nothin' myself of what he's about, for
he's as close as his father's purse, an' as deep as a draw--well; but
this I know, that he has black business on his hands, whatever it is. I
trimble to think of it!"

Flanagan then got tender, and, after pressing his suit with all the
eloquence he was master of, they separated, he to his labor in the
fields, and she to her domestic employment, and the unusual task of
watching the motions of her master's son.

Flanagan, in the course of the day, suggested to Connor the convenience
of sleeping that night also in the barn. The time of meeting, he said
was too late, and his father's family, who were early in their hours,
both night and morning, would be asleep even before they set out. He
also added, that lest any of the O'Briens or their retainers should
surprise him and Una, he had made up his mind to accompany him, and act
as a vidette during their interview.

Connor felt this devotion of Bartle to his dearest interests, as every
grateful and generous heart would.

"Bartle," said he, "when we are married, if it's ever in my power to
make you aisy in life, may I never prosper if I don't do it! At all
events, in some way I'll reward you."

"If you're ever able, Connor, I'll have no objection to be behoulden to
you; that is, if you're ever able, as you say."

"And if there's a just God in heaven, Bartle, who sees my heart, however
things may go against me for a time, I say I will be able to sarve
you, or any other friend that desarves it. But about sleepin' in
to-night--coorse I wouldn't be knockin' up my father, and disturbin' my
poor mother for no rason; so, of coorse, as I said, I'll sleep in the
barn; it makes no difference one way or other."

"Connor," said Flanagan, with much solemnity, "if Bodagh Buie's wise,
he'll marry you and his daughter as fast as he can."

"An' why, Bartle?"

"Why, for rasons you know nothin' about. Of late he's got very much out
o' favor, in regard of not comin' in to what people wish."

"Speak plainer, Bartle; I'm in the dark now."

"There's work goin' on in the counthry, that you and every one like you
ought to be up to; but you know nothin', as I said, about it. Now Bodagh
Buie, as far as I hear--for I'm in the dark myself nearly as much as
you--Bodagh Buie houlds out against them; an' not only that, I'm tould,
but gives them hard words, an' sets them at defiance."

"But what has all this to do with me marrying his daughter?"

"Why, he wants some one badly to stand his friend wid them; an' if
you were married to her, you should on his account become one o' thim;
begad, as it is, you ought, for to tell the truth there's talk--strong
talk too--about payin' him a nightly visit that mayn't sarve him."

"Then, Bartle, you're consarned in this business."

"No, faith, not yet; but I suppose I must, if I wish to be safe in the
counthry; an' so must you too, for the same rason."

"And, if not up, how do you know so much about it?"

"From one o' themselves, that wishes the! Bodagh well; ay, an' let me
tell you, he's a marked man, an' the night was appointed to visit him;
still it was put back to thry if he could be managed, but he couldn't;
an' all I know about it is that the time to remimber him is settled, an'
he's to get it, an', along wid other things, he'll be ped for turnin'
off--however, I can't say any more about that."

"How long is it since you knew this?"

"Not long--only since last night, or you'd a got it before this. The
best way, I think, to put him on his guard 'ud be to send him a scrape
of a line wid no name to it."

"Bartle," replied Connor, "I'm as much behoulden to you for this, as if
it had been myself or my father that was marked. God knows you have
a good heart, an' if you don't sleep sound, I'm at a loss to know who
ought."

"But it's hard to tell who has a good heart, Connor; I'd never say any
one has till I'd seen them well thried."

At length the hour for setting out arrived, and both, armed with good
oaken cudgels proceeded to Bodagh Buie's haggard, whither they arrived
a little before the appointed hour. An utter stillness prevailed around
the place--not a dog barked--not a breeze blew, nor did a leaf move on
its stem, so calm and warm was the night. Neither moon nor stars shone
in the firmament, and the darkness seemed kindly to throw its dusky
mantle over this sweet and stolen interview of our young lovers. As
yet, however, Una had not come, nor could Connor, on surveying the large
massy farm--house of the Bodagh, perceive any appearance of light, or
hear a single sound, however faint, to break the stillness in which it
slept. Bartle, immediately after their arrival in the haggard, separated
from his companion, in order, he said, to give notice of interruption,
should Una be either watched or followed.

"Besides, you know," he added, "sweethearts like nobody to be present
but themselves, when they do be spakin' soft to one another. So I'll
just keep dodgin' about, from place to place wid my eye an' ear both
open, an' if any intherloper comes I'll give yees the hard word."

Heavily and lazily creep those moments during which an impatient
lover awaits the approach of his mistress; and woe betide the wooer of
impetuous temperament who is doomed, like our hero, to watch a whole
hour and a half in vain. Many a theory did his fancy body forth, and
many a conjecture did he form, as to the probable cause of her absence.
Was it possible that they watched her even in the dead hour of night?
Perhaps the grief she felt at her father's refusal to sanction the match
had brought on indisposition; and--oh, harrowing thought!--perhaps
they had succeeded in prevailing upon her to renounce him and his hopes
forever. But no; their affection was too pure and steadfast to admit of
a supposition so utterly unreasonable. What, then, could have prevented
her from keeping an appointment so essential to their future prospects,
and to the operations necessary for them to pursue? Some plan of
intercourse--some settled mode of communication must be concerted
between them; a fact as well known to herself as to him.

"Well, well," thought he, "whatever's the reason of her not coming, I'm
sure the fault is not hers; as it is, there's no use in waitin' this
night any longer."

Flanagan, it appeared, was of the same opinion, for in a minute or two
he made his appearance, and urged their return home. It was clear, he
said, that no interview could take place that night, and the sooner they
reached the barn and got to bed the better.

"Folly me," he added; "we can pass through the yard, cross the road
before the hall-door, and get over the stile, by the near way through
the fields that's behind the orchard."

Connor, who was by no means so well acquainted with the path as his
companion, followed him in the way pointed out, and in a few minutes
they found themselves walking at a brisk pace in a direction that led
homewards by a shorter cut. Connor's mind was too much depressed for
conversation, and both were proceeding in silence, when Flanagan started
in alarm, and pointed out the figure of some one walking directly
towards them. In less than a minute the person, whoever he might be,
had come within speaking distance, and, as he shouted "Who comes there?"
Flanagan bolted across the ditch, along which they had been going, and
disappeared. "A friend," returned Connor, in reply to the question.

The other man advanced, and, with a look of deep scrutiny, peered into
his face. "A friend," he exclaimed; "faith, it's, a quare hour for a
friend to be out. Who are you, eh? Is this Connor O'Donovan?"

"It is; but you have the advantage of me."

"If your father was here he would know Phil Curtis, any way.''

"I ought to 'a known the voice myself," said Connor; "Phil, how are you?
an' what's bringin' yourself out at this hour?"

"Why, I want to buy a couple o' milk cows in the fair o' Kilturbit,
an' I'm goin' to catch my horse, an' make ready. It's a stiff ride from
this, an' by the time I'm there it I'll be late enough for business, I'm
thinkin'. There was some one wid you; who was it?"

"Come, come," said Connor, good--humoredly, "he was out coortin', and
doesn't wish to be known; and Phil, as you had the luck to meet me, I
beg you, for Heaven's sake, not to breathe that you seen me near Bodagh
Buie's to-night; I have various reasons for it."

"It's no secret to me as it is," replied Curtis; "half the parish knows
it; so make your mind asy on that head. Good night, Connor! I wish you
success, anyhow; you'll be a happy man if you get her; although, from
what I hear has happened, you have a bad chance, except herself stands
to you."

The truth was, that Fardorougha's visit to the Bodagh, thanks to the
high tones of his own shrill voice, had drawn female curiosity, already
suspicious of the circumstances, to the keyhole of the parlor-door,
where the issue and object of the conference soon became known. In
a short time it had gone among the servants, and from them was
transmitted, in the course of that and the following day, to the tenants
and day-laborers! who contrived to multiply it with such effect, that,
as Curtis said, it was indeed no secret to the greater part of the
parish.

Flanagan soon rejoined Connor, who, on taxing him with his flight, was
informed, with an appearance of much regret, that a debt of old standing
due to Curtis had occasioned it.

"And upon my saunies, Connor, I'd rather any time go up to my neck in
wather than meet a man that I owe money to, whin I can't pay him. I knew
Phil very well, even before he spoke, and that was what made me cut an'
run."

"What!" said Connor, looking towards the east, "can it be day-light so
soon?"

"Begad, it surely cannot," replied his companion.

"Holy mother above us, what is this?"

Both involuntarily stood to contemplate the strange phenomenon which
presented itself to their observation; and, as it was certainly both
novel and startling in its appearance, we shall pause a little to
describe it more minutely.

The night, as we have already said, was remarkably dark, and warm to an
unusual degree. To the astonishment, however, of our two travellers,
a gleam of light, extremely faint, and somewhat resembling that which
precedes the rising of a summer sun, broke upon their path, and passed
on in undulating sweeps for a considerable space before them. Connor had
scarcely time to utter the exclamation just alluded to, and Flanagan to
reply to him, when the light around them shot farther into the distance
and deepened from its first pale hue into a rich and gorgeous purple.
Its effect, however, was limited within a circle of about a mile, for
they could observe that it got faint gradually, from the centre to the
extreme verge, where it melted into utter darkness.

"They must mean something extraordinary," said Connor; "whatever it is,
it appears to be behind the hill that divides us from Bodagh's Buie's
house. Blessed earth! it looks as if the sky was on fire!"

The sky, indeed, presented a fearful but sublime spectacle. One spot
appeared to glow with the red-white heat of a furnace, and to form the
centre of a fiery cupola, from which the flame was flung in redder and
grosser masses, that darkened away into wild and dusky indistinctness,
in a manner that corresponded with the same light, as it danced in red
and frightful mirth upon the earth. As they looked, the cause of this
awful phenomenon soon became visible. From behind the hill was seen
a thick shower of burning particles rushing up into the mid air,
and presently the broad point of a huge pyramid of fire, wavering in
terrible and capricious power, seemed to disport itself far up in the
very depths of the glowing sky. On looking again upon the earth they
perceived that this terrible circle was extending itself over a wider
circumference of country, marking every prominent object around them
with a dark blood--red tinge, and throwing those that were more remote
into a visionary but appalling relief.

"_Dhar Chriestha_," exclaimed Flanagan, "I have it; thim I spoke about
has paid Bodagh Buie the visit they promised him."

"Come round the hip o' the hill," said Connor, "till we see where it
really is; but I'll tell you what, Bartle, if you be right, woe betide
you! all the water in Europe wouldn't wash you free in my mind, of being
connected in this same Ribbon business that's spreading through the
country. As sure as that sky--that fearful sky's above us, you must
prove to me and other's how you came to know that this hellish business
was to take place. God of heaven! let us run--surely it couldn't be the
dwelling-house!"

His speed was so great that Bartle could find neither breath nor leisure
to make any reply.

"Thank God!" he exclaimed; "oh, thank God it's not the house, and there
lives are safe! but blessed Father, there's the man's whole haggard in
flames!"

"Oh, the netarnal villains!" was the simple exclamation of Flanagan.

"Bartle," said his companion, "you heard what I said this minute?"

Their eyes met as he spoke, and for the first time O'Donovan was struck
by the pallid malignity of his features. The servant gazed steadily upon
him, his lips slightly but firmly drawn back, and his eye, in which
was neither sympathy nor alarm, charged with the spirit of a cool and
devilish triumph.

Connor's blazed at the bare idea of his villainy, and, in a fit of manly
and indignant rage, he seized Flanagan and hurled him headlong to
the earth at his feet. "You have hell in your face, you villain!" he
exclaimed; "and if I thought that--if I did--I'd drag you down like a
dog, an' pitch you head--foremost into the flames!"

Bartle rose, and, in a voice wonderfully calm, simply observed, "God
knows, Connor, if I know either your heart or mine, you'll be sorry for
this treatment you've given me for no rason. You know yourself that, as
soon as I heard anything of the ill-will against the Bodagh, I tould it
to you, in ordher--mark that--in ordher that you might let him know it
the best way you thought proper; an' for that you've knocked me down!"

"Why, I believe you may be right, Bartle--there's truth in that--but I
can't forgive you the look you gave me."

"That red light was in my face, maybe; I'm sure if that wasn't it, I
can't tell--I was myself wonderin' at your own looks, the same way; but
then it was that quare light that was in your face."

"Well, well, maybe I'm wrong--I hope I am. Do you think we could be of
any use there?"

"Of use! an' how would we account for being there at all, Connor?
how would you do it, at any rate, widout maybe bringin' the girl into
blame?"

"You're right agin, Bartle; I'm not half so cool as you are; our best
plan is to go home--"

"And go to bed; it is; an' the sooner we're there the better; sowl,
Connor, you gev me a murdherin' crash."

"Think no more of it--think no more of it--I'm not often hasty, so you
must overlook it."

It was, however, with an anxious and distressed heart that Connor
O'Donovan reached his father's barn, where, in the same bed with
Flanagan, he enjoyed, towards morning, a brief and broken slumber that
brought back to his fancy images of blood and fire, all so confusedly
mingled with Una, himself, and their parents, that the voice of his
father calling upon them to rise, came to him as a welcome and manifest
relief.

At the time laid in this story, neither burnings nor murders were
so familiar nor patriotic, as the fancied necessity of working out
political progress has recently made them. Such atrocities, in these bad
and unreformed days, were certainly looked upon as criminal, rather than
meritorious, however unpatriotic it may have been to form so erroneous
an estimate of human villainy. The consequence of all this was, that
the destruction of Bodagh Buie's property created a sensation in
the country, of which, familiarized as we are to such crimes, we can
entertain but a very faint notion. In three days a reward of five
hundred pounds, exclusive of two hundred from government, was offered
for such information as might bring the incendiary, or incendiaries, to
justice. The Bodagh and his family were stunned as much with amazement
at the occurrence of a calamity so incomprehensible to them, as with
the loss they had sustained, for that indeed was heavy. The man was
extremely popular, and by many acts of kindness had won the attachment
and goodwill of all who knew him, either personally or by character.
How, then, account for an act so wanton and vindictive? They could not
understand it; it was not only a--crime, but a crime connected with some
mysterious motive, beyond their power to detect.

But of all who became acquainted with the outrage, not one sympathized
more sincerely and deeply with O'Brien's family than did Connor
O'Donovan; although, of course, that sympathy was unknown to those for
whom it was felt. The fact was, that his own happiness became, in some
degree, involved in their calamity; and, as he came in to breakfast on
the fourth morning of its occurrence, he could not help observing as
much to his mother. His suspicions of Flanagan, as to possessing some
clue to the melancholy business, were by no means removed. On the
contrary, he felt that he ought to have him brought before the bench of
magistrates who were conducting the investigation from day to day, and,
with this determination, he himself resolved to state fully and
candidly to the bench, all the hints which had transpired from Flanagan
respecting the denunciations said to be held out against O'Brien and
the causes assigned for them. Breakfast was now ready, and Fardorougha
himself entered, uttering petulant charges of neglect and idleness
against his servant.

"He desarves no breakfast," said he; "not a morsel; it's robbin' me by
his idleness and schaming he is. What is he doin', Connor? or what has
become of him? He's not in the field nor about the place."

Connor paused.

"Why, now that I think of it, I didn't see him to-day," he replied; "I
thought that he was mendin' the slap at the Three-Acres. I'll thry if
he's in the barn."

And he went accordingly to find him. "I'm afraid, father," said he, on
his return, "that Bartle's a bad boy, an' a dangerous one; he's not in
the barn, an' it appears, from the bed, that he didn't sleep there last
night. The truth is, he's gone; at laste he has brought all his clothes,
his box, an' everything with him; an' what's more, I suspect the reason
of it; he thinks he has let out too much to me; an' it 'ill go hard but
I'll make him let out more."

The servant-maid, Biddy, now entered and informed them that four men,
evidently strangers, were approaching the house from the rear, and ere
she could add anything further on the subject, two of them walked in,
and, seizing Connor, informed him that he was their prisoner.

"Your prisoner!" exclaimed his mother, getting pale; "why, what could
our poor boy do to make him your prisoner? He never did hurt or harm to
the child unborn."

Fardorougha's keen gray eye rested sharply upon them for a moment; it
then turned to Honor, afterwards to Connor, and again gleamed bitterly
at the intruders--"What is this?" said he, starting up; "what is this?
you don't mane to rob us?"

"I think," said the son, "you must be undher a mistake; you surely can
have no business with me. It's very likely you want some one else."

"What is your name?" inquired he who appeared to be the principal of
them.

"My name is Connor O'Donovan; an' I know no reason why I should deny
it."

"Then you are the very man we come for," said the querist, "so you had
better prepare to accompany us; in the mean time you must excuse us
if we search your room. This is unpleasant, I grant, but we have no
discretion, and must perform our duty."

"What do you want in this room?" said Fardorougha; "it's robbery you're
on for--it's robbery you're on for--in open daylight, too; but you're
late; I lodged the last penny yesterday; that's one comfort; you're
late--you're late."

"What did my boy do?" exclaimed the affrighted mother; "what did he do
that you come to drag him away from us?"

This question she put to the other constable, the first having entered
her son's bedroom.

"I am afraid, ma'am, you'll know it too soon," replied the man; "it's a
heavy charge if it proves to be true."

As he spoke his companion re-entered the apartment, with Connor's
Sunday coat in his hand, from the pocket of which he drew a steel and
tinder-box.

"I'm sorry for this," he observed; "it corroborates what has been sworn
against you by your accomplice, and here, I fear, comes additional
proof."

At the same moment the other two made their appearance, one of them
holding in his hand the shoes which Connor had lent to Flanagan, and
which he wore on the night of the conflagration.

On seeing this, and comparing the two circumstances together, a fearful
light broke on the unfortunate young man, who had already felt conscious
of the snare into which he had fallen. With an air of sorrow and manly
resignation he thus addressed his parents:--

"Don't be alarmed; I see that there is an attempt made to swear away my
life; but, whatever happens, you both know that I am innocent of doin'
an injury to any one. If I die, I would rather die innocent than live as
guilty as he will that must have my blood to answer for."

His mother, on hearing this, ran to him, and with her arms about his
neck, exclaimed,

"Die! die! Connor darlin'--my brave boy--my only son--why do you talk
about death? What is it for? what is it about? Oh, for the love of God,
tell us what did our boy do?"

"He is charged by Bartle Flanagan," replied one of the constables,
"with burning Bodagh Buie O'Brien's haggard, because he refused him his
daughter. He must now come with us to jail."

"I see the whole plot," said Connor, "and a deep one it is; the villain
will do his worst; still I can't but have dependence upon justice and
my own innocence. I can't but have dependence upon God, who knows my
heart."



PART IV.

Fardorougha stood amazed and confounded, looking from one to another
like a man who felt incapable of comprehending all that had passed
before him. His forehead, over which fell a few gray thin locks, assumed
a deadly paleness, and his eye lost the piercing expression which
usually characterized it. He threw his Cothamore several times over his
shoulders, as he had been in the habit of doing when about to proceed
after breakfast to his usual avocations, and as often laid it aside,
without being at all conscious of what he did. His limbs appeared to
get feeble, and his hands trembled as if he labored under palsy. In this
mood he passed from one to another, sometimes seizing a constable by the
arm with a hard, tremulous grip, and again suddenly letting go his hold
of him without speaking. At length a singular transition from this state
of mind became apparent; a gleam of wild exultation shot from his eye;
his sallow and blasted features brightened; the Cothamore was buttoned
under his chin with a rapid energy of manner evidently arising from the
removal of some secret apprehension.

"Then," he exclaimed, "it's no robbery; it's not robbery afther all; but
how could it? there's no money here; not a penny; an' I'm belied, at any
rate; for there's not a poorer man in the barony--thank God, it's not
robbery!"

"Oh, Fardorougha," said the wife, "don't you see they're goin' to take
him away from us?"

"Take who away from us?"

"Connor, your own Connor--our boy--the light of my heart--the light of
his poor mother's heart! Oh, Connor, Connor, what is it they're goin' to
do to you?"

"No harm, mother, I trust; no harm--don't be frightened."

The old man put his open hands to his temples, which he pressed
bitterly, and with all his force, for nearly half a minute. He had,
in truth, been alarmed into the very worst mood of his habitual vice,
apprehension concerning his money; and felt that nothing, except a
powerful effort, could succeed in drawing his attention to the scene
which was passing before him.

"What," said he; "what is it that's wrong wid Connor?"

"He must come to jail," said one of the men, looking at him with
surprise; "we have already stated the crime for which he stands
committed."

"To jail! Connor O'Donovan to jail!"

"It's too true, father; Bartle Flanagan has sworn that I burned Mr.
O'Brien's haggard."

"Connor, Connor," said the old man, approaching him as he spoke, and
putting his arms composedly about his neck, "Connor, my brave boy, my
brave boy, it wasn't you did it; 'twas I did it," he added, turning to
the constables; "lave him, lave him wid her, an' take me in his place!
Who would if I would not--who ought, I say--an' I'll do it--take me;
I'll go in his place."

Connor looked down upon the old man, and as he saw his heart rent, and
his reason absolutely tottering, a sense of the singular and devoted
affection which he had ever borne him, overcame him, and with a full
heart he dashed away a tear from his eye, and pressed his father to his
breast.

"Mother," said he; "this will kill the old man; it will kill him!"

"Fardorougha, a hagur," said Ha wife, feeling it necessary to sustain
him as much as possible, "don't take it so much to heart, it won't
signify--Connor's innocent, an' no harm will happen to him!"

"But are you lavin' us, Connor? are they--must they bring you to jail?"

"For a while, father; but I won't be long there I hope."

"It's an unpleasant duty on our part," said the principal of them;
"still it's one we must perform. Your father should lose no time in
taking the proper steps for your defence."

"And what are we to do?" asked the mother; "God knows the boy's as
innocent as I am."

"Yes," said Fardorougha, still upon dwelling the resolution he had made;
"I'll go stand for you, Connor; you won't let them bring me instead of
you."

"That's out of the question," replied the constable; "the law suffers
nothing of the kind to take place; but if you will be advised by me,
lose no time in preparing to defend him. It would be unjust to disguise
the matter from you, or to keep you ignorant of its being a case of life
and death."

"Life and death! what do you mane?" asked Fardorougha, staring vacantly
at the last speaker.

"It's painful to distress you; but if he's found guilty, it's death."

"Death! hanged!" shrieked the old man, awaking as it were for the
first time to a full perception of his son's situation; "hanged! my boy
hanged! Connor, Connor, don't go from me!"

"I'll die wid him," said the mother; "I'll die wid you, Connor. We
couldn't live widout him," she added, addressing the strangers; "as God
is in heaven we couldn't! Oh Connor, Connor, avourneen, what is it that
has come over us, and brought us to this sorrow?"

The mother's grief then flowed on, accompanied by a burst of that
unstudied, but pathetic eloquence, which in Ireland is frequently
uttered in the tone of wail and lamentation peculiar to those who mourn
over the dead.

"No," she added, with her arms tenderly about him, and her streaming
eyes fixed with a wild and mournful look of despair upon his face; "no,
he is in his loving mother's arms, the boy that never gave to his father
or me a harsh word or a sore heart! Long were we lookin' for him, an'
little did we think it was for this heavy fate that the goodness of God
sent him to us! Oh, many a look of lovin' affection, many a happy heart
did he give us! Many a time Connor, avillish, did I hang over your
cradle, and draw out to myself the happiness and the good that I hoped
was before you. You wor too good--too good, I doubt--to be long in
such a world as this, an' no wondher that the heart of the fair young
colleen, the heart of the _Colleen dhas dhun_ should rest upon you and
love you; for who ever knew you that didn't? Isn't there enough, King
of heaven! enough of the bad an' the wicked in this world for the law to
punish, an' not to take the innocent--not to take away from us the only
one--the only one--I can't--I can't--but if they do--Connor--if they do,
your lovin' mother will die wid you!"

The stern officers of justice wiped their eyes, and were proceeding to
afford such consolation as they could, when Fardorougha, who had sat
down after having made way for Honor to recline on the bosom of their
son, now rose, and seizing the breast of his coat, was about to speak,
but ere he could utter a word he tottered, and, would have instantly
fallen, had not Connor caught him in his arms. This served for a moment
to divert the mother's grief, and to draw her attention from the son
to the husband, who was now insensible. He was carried to the door by
Connor; but when they attempted to lay him in a recumbent posture, it
was found almost impossible to unclasp the deathlike grip which he held
of the coat. His haggard face was shrunk and collapsed; the individual
features sharp and thin, but earnest and stamped with traces of alarm;
his brows, too, which were slightly knit, gave to his whole countenance
a character of keen and painful determination. But that which struck
those who were present, most, was the unyielding grasp with which he
clung even in his insensibility to the person of Connor.

If not an affecting sight, it was one at least strongly indicative of
the intractable and indurated attachment which put itself forth with
such vague and illusive energy on behalf of his son. At length he
recovered, and on opening his eyes he fixed them with a long look of
pain and distraction upon the boy's countenance.

"Father," said Connor, "don't be cast down--you need not--and you ought
not to be so much disheartened--do you feel better?"

When the father heard his voice he smiled; yes--his shrunk, pale,
withered face was lit up by a wild, indescribable ecstasy, whose
startling expression waa borrowed, one would think, as much from the
light of insanity as from that of returning consciousness. He sucked in
his thin cheeks, smacked his parched, skinny lips, and with difficulty
called for drink. Having swallowed a little water, he looked round him
with more composure, and inquired--

"What has happened me? am I robbed? are you robbers? But I tell you
there's no money in the house. I lodged the last penny yesterday--afore
my God I did--but--oh, what am I sayin'? what is this, Connor?"

"Father dear, compose yourself--we'll get over this throuble."

"We will, darlin'," said Honor, wiping the pale brows of her husband;
"an' we won't lose him."

"No, achora," said the old man; "no, we won't lose him! Connor?"

"Well, father dear!"

"There's a thing here--here"--and he placed his hand upon his
heart--"something it is that makes me afeard--a sinkin'--a weight--and
there's a strugglin', too, Connor. I know I can't stand it long--an'
it's about you--it's all about you."

"You distress yourself too much, father; indeed you do. Why, I hoped
that you would comfort my poor mother till I come back to her and you,
as I will, plase God."

"Yes," he replied; "yes, I will, I will."

"You had better prepare," said one of the officers; "the sooner this is
over the better--he's a feeble man and not very well able to bear it."

"You are right," said Connor; "I won't delay many minutes; I have only
to change my clothes, an' I am ready."

In a short time he made his appearance dressed in his best suit; and,
indeed, it would be extremely difficult to meet, in any rank of life, a
finer specimen of vigor, activity, and manly beauty. His countenance,
at all times sedate and open, was on this occasion shaded by an air of
profound melancholy that gave a composed grace and dignity to his whole
bearing.

"Now, father," said he, "before I go, I think it right to lave you and
my poor mother all the consolation I can. In the presence of God, in
yours, in my dear mother's, and in the presence of all who hear me, I
am as innocent of the crime that's laid to my charge as the babe unborn.
That's a comfort for you to know, and let it prevent you from frettin';
and now, good by; God be with you, and strengthen, and support you
both!"

Fardorougha had already seized his hand; but the old man could neither
speak nor weep; his whole frame appeared to have been suddenly pervaded
by a dry agony that suspended the beatings of his very heart. The
mother's grief, on the contrary, was loud, and piercing, and vehement.
She threw herself once more upon his neck; she kissed his lips, she
pressed him to her heart, and poured out as before the wail of a wild
and hopeless misery. At length, by the aid of some slight but necessary
force, her arms were untwined from about his neck; and Connor then,
stooping, embraced his father, and, gently placing him on a settle--bed,
bade him farewell! On reaching the door he paused, and, turning about,
surveyed his mother struggling in the hands of one of the officers
to get embracing him again, and his gray--haired father sitting in
speechless misery on the settle. He stood a moment to look upon them,
and a few bitter tears rolled, in the silence of manly sorrow, down his
cheeks.

"Oh, Fardorougha!" exclaimed his mother, after they had gone, "sure it
isn't merely for partin' wid him that we feel so heart--broken. He may
never stand under this roof again, an' he all we have and had to love!"

"No," returned Fardorougha, quietly; "no, it's not, as you say, for
merely partin' wid him--hanged! God! God! Mm--here--Honor--here,
the thought of it--I'll die--it'll break! Oh, God support me! my
heart--here--my heart'll break! My brain, too, and my head--oh! if God
'ud take me before I'd see it! But it can't be--it's not possible that
our innocent boy should meet sich a death!"

"No, dear, it is not; sure he's innocent--that's one comfort; but,
Fardorougha, as the men said, you must go to a lawyer and see what can
be done to defind him."

The old man rose up and proceeded to his son's bedroom.

"Honor," said he, "come here;" and while uttering these words he gazed
upon her face with a look of unutterable and hopeless distress; "there's
his bed, Honor--his bed--he may never sleep on it more--he may be cut
down like a flower in his youth--an' then what will become of us?"

"Forever, from this day out," said the distracted mother, "no hands
will ever make it but my own; on no other will I sleep--we will
both sleep--where his head lay there will mine be too--avick
machree--machree! Och, Fardorougha, we can't stand this; let us not take
it to heart, as we do; let us trust in God, an' hope for the best."

Honor, in fact, found it necessary to assume the office of a comforter;
but it was clear that nothing urged or suggested by her could for a
moment win back the old man's heart from the contemplation of the loss
of his son. He moped about for a considerable time; but, ever and anon,
found himself in Connor's bedroom, looking upon his clothes and such
other memorials of him as it contained.

During the occurrence of these melancholy incidents at Fardorougha's,
others of a scarcely less distressing character were passing under the
roof of Bodagh Buie O'Brien.

Our readers need not be informed that the charge brought by Bartle
Flanagan against Connor, excited the utmost amazement in all who heard
it. So much at variance were his untarnished reputation and amiable
manners with a disposition so dark and malignant as that which must have
prompted the perpetration of such a crime, that it was treated at first
by the public as an idle rumor. The evidence, however, of Phil Curtis,
and his deposition to the conversation which occurred between him and
Connor, at the time and place already known to the reader, together with
the corroborating circumstances arising from the correspondence of
the footprints about the haggard with the shoes produced by the
constable--all, when combined together, left little doubt of his guilt.
No sooner had this impression become general, than the spirit of
the father was immediately imputed to the son, and many sagacious
observations made, all tending to show, that, as they expressed it, "the
bad drop of the old rogue would sooner or later come out in the young
one;" "he wouldn't be what he was, or the bitter heart of the miser
would appear;" with many other apothegms of similar import. The family
of the Bodagh, however, were painfully and peculiarly circumstanced.
With the exception of Una herself, none of them entertained a doubt that
Connor was the incendiary. Flanagan had maintained a good character, and
his direct impeachment of Connor, supported by such exact circumstantial
evidence, left nothing to be urged in the young man's defence. Aware as
they were of the force of Una's attachment, and apprehensive that the
shock, arising from the discovery of his atrocity, might be dangerous
if injudiciously disclosed to her, they resolved, in accordance with the
suggestion of their son, to break the matter to herself with the utmost
delicacy and caution.

"It is better," said John, "that she should hear of the misfortune from
ourselves; for, after breaking it to her as gently as possible, we can
at least attempt to strengthen and console her under it."

"Heaven above sees," exclaimed his mother, "that it was a black and
unlucky business to her and to all of us; but now that she knows what a
revingeful villain he is, I'm sure she'll not find it hard to banish him
out of her thoughts. _Deah Grasthias_ for the escape she had from him at
any rate!"

"John, bring her in," said the father; "bring the unfortunate young
crature in. I can't but pity her, Bridget; I can't but pity ma colleen
voghth."

When Una entered with her brother she perceived by a glance at the
solemn bearing of her parents, that some unhappy announcement was about
to be made to her. She sat down, therefore, with a beating heart and a
cheek already pale with apprehension.

"Una," said her father, "we sent for you to mention a circumstance that
we would rather you should hear from ourselves than from strangers. You
were always a good girl, Una--an' obadient girl, and sensible beyant
your years; and I trust that your good sinse and the grace of the
Almighty will enable you to bear up undher any disappointment that may
come upon you."

"Surely, father, there can be nothing worse than I know already," she
replied.

"Why, what do you know, dear?"

"Only what you told me the day Fardorougha was here, that nothing
agreeable to my wishes could take place."

"I would give a great deal that the business was now as it was even
then," responded her father; "there's far worse to come, Una, an' you
must be firm, an' prepare to hear what'll thry you sorely."

"I can't guess it, father; but for God's sake tell me at once."

"Who do you think burned our property?"

"And I suppose if she hadn't been undher the one roof wid us that it's
ourselves he'd burn," observed her mother.

"Father, tell me the worst at once--whatever it may be;--how could I
guess the villain or villains who destroyed our property?"

"Villain, indeed! you may well say so," returned the Bodagh. "That
villain is no other than Connor O'Donovan!"

Una felt as if a weighty burden had been removed from her heart; she
breathed freely; her depression and alarm vanished, and her dark eye
kindled into proud confidence in the integrity of her lover.

"And, father," she asked, in a full and firm voice, "is there nothing
worse than that to come?"

"Worse! is the girl's brain turned?"

"_Dhar a Lhora Heena_, she's as mad I believe as ould Fardorougha
himself," said the mother; "worse! why, she has parted wid all the
reasing she ever had."

"Indeed, mother, I hope I have not, and that my reason's as clear as
ever; but, as to Connor O'Donovan, he's innocent of that charge, and of
every other that may be brought against him; I don't believe it, and I
never will."

"It's proved against him; it's brought, home to him."

"Who's his accuser?"

"His father's servant, Bartle Flanagan, has turned king's evidence."

"The deep-dyed villain!" she exclaimed, with indignation; "father, of
that crime, so sure as God's in heaven, so sure is Connor O'Donovan
innocent, and so sure is Bartle Flanagan guilty--I know it."

"You know it--explain yourself."

"I mean I feel it--ay, home to the core of my heart--my unhappy heart--I
feel the truth of what I say."

"Una," observed her brother, "I'm afraid you have been vilely deceived
by him--there's not the slightest doubt of his guilt."

"Don't you be deceived, John; I say he's innocent--as I hope for heaven
he's innocent; and, father, I'm not a bit cast down or disheartened by
anything I have yet heard against him."

"You're a very extraordinary girl, Una; but for my part I'm glad you
look upon it as you do. If his innocence appears, no man alive will be
better plazed at it than myself."

"His innocence will appear," exclaimed the faithful girl; "it must
appear; and,--father, mark this--I say the time will tell yet who is
innocent and who is guilty. God knows," she added, her energy of manner
increasing, while a shower of hot tears fell down her cheeks, "God knows
I would marry him to-morrow with the disgrace of that and ten times as
much upon him, so certain am I that his heart and hand are free from
thought or deed that's either treacherous or dishonorable."

"Marry him!" said her brother, losing temper; "nobody doubts but you'd
marry him on the gallows, wid the rope about his neck."

"I would do it, and unite myself to a true heart. Don't mistake me,
and mother, dear, don't blame me," she added, her tears flowing still
faster; "he's in disgrace--sunk in shame and sorrow--and I won't conceal
the force of what I feel for him; I won't desert him now as the world
will do; I know his heart, and on the scaffold to-morrow I would become
his wife, if it would take away one atom of his misery."

"If he's innocent," said her father, "you have more pinetration than
any girl in Europe; but if he's guilty of such an act against any one
connected with you, Una, the guilt of all the divils in hell is no
match for his. Well, you have heard all we wanted to say to you, and you
needn't stay."

"As she herself says," observed John, "perhaps time will place
everything in its true light. At present all those who are not in love
with him have little doubt of his guilt. However, even as it is, in
principle Una is right; putting love out of the question, we should
prejudge no one."

"Time will," said his sister, "or rather God will in His own good time.
On God I'm sure he depends; on his providence I also rely for seeing
his name and character cleared of all that has been brought against him.
John, I wish to speak to you in my own room; not that I intend to make
any secret of it, but I want to consult with you first."

"_Cheerna dheelish_," exclaimed her mother; "what a wife that child
would make to any man that desarved her!"

"It's more than I'm able to do, to be angry with her," returned the
Bodagh. "Did you ever know her to tell a lie, Bridget?"

"A lie! no, nor the shadow of a lie never came out of her lips; the
desate's not in her; an' may God look down on her wid compunction this
day; for there's a dark road I doubt before her!"

"Amen," responded her father; "amen, I pray the Saviour. At all evints,
O'Donovan's guilt or innocence will soon be known," he added; "the
'sizes begin this day week, so that the business will soon be settled
either one way or other."

Una, on reaching her own room, thus addressed her affectionate brother:

"Now, John, you know that my grandfather left rue two hundred guineas in
his will, and you know, too, the impossibility of getting any money from
the clutches of Pardorougha. You must see Connor, and find out how he
intends to defend himself. If his father won't allow him sufficient
means to employ the best lawyers--as I doubt whether he will or
not--just tell him the truth, that whilst I have a penny of these two
hundred guineas, he mustn't want money; an' tell him, too, that all the
world won't persuade me that he's guilty; say I know him to be innocent,
and that his disgrace has made him dearer to me than he ever was
before."

"Surely, you can't suppose for a moment, my dear Una, that I, your
brother, who, by the way, have never opened my lips to him, could
deliberately convey such a message."

"It must be conveyed in some manner; I'm resolved on that."

"The best plan," said the other, "is to find out whatsoever attorney
they employ, and then to discover, if possible, whether his father has
furnished sufficient funds for his defence. If he has, your offer is
unnecessary; and if not, a private arrangement may be made with the
attorney of which nobody else need know anything."

"God bless you, John! God bless you!" she replied; "that is far better;
you have been a good brother to your poor Una--to your poor unhappy
Una!"

She leaned her head on a table, and wept for some time at the trying
fate, as she termed it, which hung over two beings so young and so
guiltless of any crime. The brother soothed her by every argument in his
power, and, after gently compelling her to dry her tears, expressed his
intention of going early the next day to ascertain whether or not
any professional man had been engaged to conduct the defence of her
unfortunate lover.

In effecting this object there was little time lost on the part of young
O'Brien. Knowing that two respectable attorneys lived in the next market
town, he deemed it best to ascertain whether Fardorougha had applied to
either of them for the purposes aforementioned, or, if not, to assure
himself whether the old man had gone to any of those pettifoggers, who,
rather than appear without practice, will undertake a cause almost on
any terms, and afterwards institute a lawsuit for the recovery of a
much larger bill of costs than a man of character and experience would
demand.

In pursuance of the plan concerted between them, the next morning found
him rapping, about eleven o'clock, at the door of an attorney named
Kennedy, whom he asked to see on professional business. A clerk, on
hearing his voice in the hall, came out and requestedm him to step into
a back room, adding that his master, who was engaged, would see him the
moment he had despatched the person then with him. Thus shown, he was
separated from O'Halloran's office only by a pair of folding doors,
through which every word uttered in the office could be distinctly
heard; a circumstance that enabled O'Brien unintentionally to overhear
the following dialogue between the parties:

"Well, my good friend," said Kennedy to the stranger, who, it appeared,
had arrived before O'Brien only a few minutes, "I am now disengaged;
pray, let me know your business."

The stranger paused a moment, as if seeking the most appropriate terms
in which to express himself.

"It's a black business," he replied, "and the worst of it is I'm a poor
man."

"You should not go to law, then," observed the attorney. "I tell you
beforehand you will find it is devilish expensive."

"I know it," said the man; "it's open robbery; I know what it cost me
to recover the little pences that wor sometimes due to me, when I broke
myself lending weeny trifles to strugglin' people that I thought honest,
and robbed me aftherwards."

"In what way can my services be of use to you at present? for that I
suppose is the object of your calling upon me," said Kennedy.

"Oh thin, sir, if you have the grace of God, or kindness, or pity in
your heart, you can sarve me, you can save my heart from breakin'!"

"How--how, man?--come to the point."

"My son, sir, Connor, my only son, was taken away from his mother an'
me, an' put into jail yesterday mornin', an' he innocent; he was put in,
sir, for burnin' Bodagh Buie O'Brien's haggard, an' as God is above me,
he as much burnt it as you did."

"Then you are Fardorougha Donovan," said the attorney; "I have heard
of that outrage; and, to be plain with you, a good deal about yourself.
How, in the name of heaven, can you call yourself a poor man?"

"They belie me, sir, they're bitther enemies that say I'm otherwise."

"Be you rich or be you poor, let me tell you that I would not stand in
your son's situation for the wealth of the king's exchequer. Sell your
last cow; your last coat; your last acre; sell the bed from under you,
without loss of time, if you wish to save his life; and I tell you that
for this purpose you must employ the best counsel, and plenty of them.
The Assizes commence on this day week, so that you have not a single
moment to lose. Think now whether you love your son or your money best."

"Saver of earth, amn't I an unhappy man! every one sayin' I have money,
an' me has not! Where would I get it? Where would a man like me get it?
Instead o' that, I'm so poor that I see plainly I'll starve yet; I see
it's before me! God pity me this day! But agin, there's my boy, my boy;
oh, God, pity him! Say what's the laste, the lowest, the very lowest you
could take, for defendin' him; an' for pity's sake, for charity's sake,
for God's sake, don't grind a poor, helpless, ould man by extortion. If
you knew the boy--if you knew him--oh, afore my God, if you knew him,
you wouldn't be apt to charge a penny; you'd be proud to sarve sich a
boy."

"You wish everything possible to be done for him, of course."

"Of coorse, of coorse; but widout extravagance; as asy an' light on a
poor man as you can. You could shorten it, sure, an' lave out a grate
dale that 'ud be of no use; nu' half the paper 'ud do; for you might
make the clerks write close--why, very little 'ud be wanted if you wor
savin'."

"I can defend him with one counsel if you wish; but, if anxious to save
the boy's life, you ought to enable your attorney to secure a strong bar
of the most eminent lawyers he can engage."

"An' what 'ud it cost to hire three or four of them?"

"The whole expenses might amount to between thirty and forty guineas."

A deep groan of dismay, astonishment, and anguish, was the only reply
made to this for some time.

"Oh, heavens above!" he screamed, "what will--what will become of me!
I'd rather be dead, as I'll soon be, than hear this, or know it at all.
How could I get it? I'm as poor as poverty itself! Oh, couldn't you feel
for the boy, an' defend him on trust; couldn't you feel for him?"

"It's your business to do that," returned the man of law, coolly.

"Feel for him; me! oh, little you know how my heart's in him; but any
way, I'm an unhappy man; everything in the world wide goes against me;
but--oh, my darlin' boy--Connor, Connor, my son, to be tould that I
don't feel for you--well you know, avourneen machree--well you know that
I feel for you, and 'ud kiss the track of your feet upon the ground:
Oh, it's cruel to tell it to me; to say sich a thing to a man that his
heart's braakin' widin him for your sake; but, sir, you sed this minute
that you could defend him wid one lawyer?"

"Certainly, and with a cheap one, too, if you wish; but, in that case, I
would rather decline the thing altogether."

"Why? why? sure if you can defind him chapely, isn't it so much saved?
isn't it the same as if you definded him at a higher rate? Sure, if one
lawyer tells the truth for the poor boy, ten or fifteen can do no more;
an' thin maybe they'd crass in an' puzzle one another if you hired too
many of them."

"How would you feel, should your son be found guilty; you know the
penalty is his life. He will be executed."

O'Brien could hear the old man clap his hands in agony, and in truth he
walked about wringing them as if his heart would burst.

"What will I do?" he exclaimed; "what will I do? I can't lose him, an' I
won't lose him! Lose him! oh God, oh God, it is to lose the best son and
only child that ever man had! Wouldn't it be downright murdher in me to
let him be lost if I could prevint it? Oh, if I was in his place, what
wouldn't he do for me, for the father that he always loved!"

The tears ran copiously down his furrowed cheeks; and his whole
appearance evinced such distraction and anguish as could rarely be
witnessed.

"I'll tell you what I'll do," he added; "I'll give you fifty guineas
after my death if you'll defind him properly."

"Much obliged," replied the other; "but in matters of this kind we make
no such bargains."

"I'll make it sixty, in case you don't axe it now."

"Can you give me security that I'll survive you? Why, you are
tough-looking enough to outlive me."

"Me tough!--no, God help me, my race is nearly ran; I won't be alive
this day twelve months--look at the differ atween us."

"This is idle talk," said the attorney; "determine on what you'll do;
really my time is valuable, and I am now wasting it to no purpose."

"Take the offer--depind on't it'll soon come to you."

"No, no," said the other, coolly; "not at all; we might shut up shop if
we made such _post obit_ bargains as that."

"I'll tell you," said Fardorougha; "I'll tell you what;" his eyes
gleamed with a reddish, bitter light; and he clasped his withered hands
together, until the joints cracked, and the perspiration teemed from his
pale, sallow features; "I'll tell you," he added--"I'll make it seventy!"

"No."

"Aighty!"

"No."

"Ninety!"--with a husky shriek

"No, no."


"A hundhre'--a hundhre'--a hundhre'," he shouted; "a hundhre', when I'm
gone--when I'm gone!"

One solemn and determined No, that precluded all hopes of any such
arrangement, was the only reply.

The old man leaped up again, and looked impatiently and wildly and
fiercely about him.

"What are you?" he shouted; "what are you? You're a divil--a born divil.
Will nothing but my death satisfy you? Do you want to rob me--to
starve me--to murdher me? Don't you see the state I'm in by you? Look at
me--look at these thremblin' limbs--look at the sweat powerin' down from
my poor ould face! What is it you want? There--there's my gray hairs
to you. You have brought me to that--to more than that--I'm dyin' this
minute--I'm dyin'--oh, my boy--my boy, if I had you here--ay,
I'm--I'm--"

He staggered over on his seat, his eyes gleaming in a fixed and intense
glare at the attorney; his hands were clenched, his lips parched, and
his mummy-like cheeks sucked, as before, into his toothless jaws. In
addition to all this, there was a bitter white smile of despair upon his
features, and his thin gray locks, that were discomposed in the paroxysm
by his own hands, stood out in disorder upon his head. We question,
indeed, whether mere imagination could, without having actually
witnessed it in real life, conceive any object so frightfully
illustrative of the terrible dominion which the passion of avarice is
capable of exercising over the human heart.

"I protest to Heaven," exclaimed the attorney, alarmed, "I believe the
man is dying--if not dead, he is motionless."

"O'Donovan, what's the matter with you?"

The old man's lips gave a dry, hard smack, then became desperately
compressed together, and his cheeks were drawn still further into his
jaws. At length he sighed deeply, and changed his fixed and motionless
attitude.

"He is alive, at all events," said one of his young men.

Fardorougha turned his eyes upon the speaker, then upon his master, and
successively upon two other assistants who were in the office.

"What is this?" said he, "what is this?--I'm very weak--will you get me
a dhrink o' wather? God help me--God direct me! I'm an unhappy man; get
me a dhrink, for Heaven's sake! I can hardly spake, my mouth and lips
are so dry."

The water having been procured, he drank it eagerly, and felt evidently
relieved.

"This business," he continued, "about the money--I mane about my poor
boy. Connor, how will it be managed, sir?"

"I have already told you that there is but one way of managing it, and
that is, as the young man's life is at stake, to spare no cost."

"And I must do that?"

"You ought, at least, remember that he's an only son, and that if you
lose him--"

"Lose him!--I can't--I couldn't--I'd die--die--dead--"

"And by so shameful a death," proceeded Cassidy, "you will not only be
childless, but you will have the bitter fact to reflect on that he died
in disgrace. You will blush to name him! What father would not make any
sacrifice to prevent his child from meeting such a fate? It's a trying
thing and a pitiable calamity to see a father ashamed to name the child
that he loves."

The old man arose, and, approaching Cassidy, said, eagerly, "How much
will do? Ashamed to name you, alanna, Ghierna--Ghierna--ashamed to name
you, Connor! Oh! if the world knew you, as thore, as well as I an' your
poor mother knows you, they'd say that we ought to be proud to hear your
name soundin' in our ears. How much will do? for, may God stringthen me,
I'll do it."

"I think about forty guineas; it may be more, and it may be less, but we
will say forty."

"Then I'll give you an ordher for it on a man that's a good mark. Give
me pin an' paper, fast."

"The paper was placed before him, and he held the pen in his hand for
some time, and, ere he wrote, turned a look of deep distress on Cassidy.

"God Almighty pity me!" said he; "you see--you see that I'm a poor
heart--broken creature--a ruined man I'll be--a ruined man!"

"Think of your son, and of his situation."

"It's before me--I know it is--to die like a dog behind a ditch wid
hunger!"

"Think of your son, I say, and, if possible, save him from a shameful
death."

"What! Ay--yis--yis--surely--surely--oh, my poor boy--my innocent boy--I
will--I will do it."

He then sat down, and, with a tremulous hand, and lips tightly drawn
together, wrote an order on P----, the county treasurer, for the money.

Cassidy, on seeing it, looked alternately at the paper and the man for a
considerable time.

"Is P----your banker?" he asked.

"Every penny that I'm worth he has."

"Then you're a ruined man," he replied, with cool emphasis. "P----
absconded the day before yesterday, and robbed half the county. Have you
no loose cash at home?"

"Robbed! who robbed?"

"Why, P----has robbed every man who was fool enough to trust him; he's
off to the Isle of Man, with the county funds in addition to the other
prog."

"You don't mane to say," replied Fardorougha, with a hideous calmness of
voice and manner; "you don't, you can't mane to say he has run off wid
my money?"

"I do; you'll never see a shilling of it, if you live to the age of a
Hebrew patriarch. See what it is to fix the heart upon money. You are
now, what you wish the world to believe you to be, a poor man."

"Ho! ho!" howled the miser, "he darn't, he darn't--wouldn't God consume
him if he robbed the poor--wouldn't God stiffen him, and pin him to the
airth, if he attempted to run off wid the hard earnings of strugglin'
honest men? Where 'ud God be, an' him to dar to do it! But it's a
falsity, an' you're thryin' me to see how I'd bear it--it is, it is, an'
may Heaven forgive you!"

"It's as true as the Gospel," replied the other; "why, I'm surprised
you didn't hear it before now--every one knows it--it's over the whole
country."

"It's a lie--it's a lie!" he howled again; "no one dar to do such an
act. You have some schame in this--you're not a safe man; you're a
villain, an' nothin' else; but I'll soon know; which of these is my
hat?"

"You are mad, I think," said Cassidy.

"Get me my hat, I say; I'll soon know it; but sure the world's all in a
schame against me--all, all, young an' ould--where's my hat, I say?"

"You have put it upon your head this moment," said the other.

"An' my stick?"

"It's in your hand."

"The curse o' Heaven upon you," he shrieked, "whether it's thrue or
false!" and, with a look that might scorch him to whom it was directed,
he shuffled in a wild and frantic mood out of the house.

"The man is mad," observed Cassidy; "or, if not, he will soon be so; I
never witnessed such a desperate case of avarice. If ever the demon of
money lurked in any man's soul, it's in his. God bless me! God bless
me! it's dreadful! Richard, tell the gentleman in the dining-room I'm at
leisure to see him."

The scene we have attempted to describe spared O'Brien the trouble
of much unpleasant inquiry, and enabled him to enter at once into the
proposed arrangements on behalf of Connor. Of course he did not permit
his sister's name to transpire, nor any trace whatsoever to appear, by
which her delicacy might be compromised, or her character involved.
His interference in the matter he judiciously put upon the footing of
personal regard for the young man, and his reluctance to be even the
indirect means of bringing him to a violent and shameful death. Having
thus fulfilled Una's instructions, he returned home, and relieved her of
a heavy burthen by a full communication of all that had been done.

The struggle hitherto endured by Fardoroug--he was in its own nature
sufficiently severe to render his sufferings sharp and pungent; still
they resembled the influence of local disease more than that of a malady
which prostrates the strength and grapples with the powers of the whole
constitution. The sensation he immediately felt, on hearing that his
banker had absconded with the gains of his penurious life, was rather
a stunning shock that occasioned for the moment a feeling of dull, and
heavy, and overwhelming dismay. It filled, nay, it actually distended
his narrow soul with an oppressive sense of exclusive misery that
banished all consideration for every person and thing extraneous to his
individual selfishness. In truth, the tumult of his mind was peculiarly
wild and anomalous. The situation of his son, and the dreadful fate that
hung over him, were as completely forgotten as if they did not exist.
Yet there lay, underneath his own gloomy agony, a remote consciousness
of collateral affliction, such as is frequently experienced by those
who may be drawn, by some temporary and present pleasure, from the
contemplation of their misery. We feel, in such cases, that the darkness
is upon us, even while the image of the calamity is not before the mind;
nay, it sometimes requires an effort to bring it back, when anxious to
account for our depression; but when it comes, the heart sinks with a
shudder, and we feel, that, although it ceased to engage our thoughts,
we had been sitting all the time beneath its shadow. For this reason,
although Fardorougha's own loss absorbed, in one sense, all his powers
of suffering, still he knew that something else pressed with additional
weight upon his heart. Of its distinct character, however, he was
ignorant, and only felt that a dead and heavy load of multiplied
affliction bent him in burning anguish to the earth.

There is something more or less eccentric in the gait and dress of every
miser. Fardorougha's pace was naturally slow, and the habit for which,
in the latter point, he had all his life been remarkable, was that of
wearing a great-coat thrown loosely about his shoulders. In summer it
saved an inside one, and, as he said, kept him cool and comfortable.
That he seldom or never put his arms into it arose from the fact that
he knew it would last a much longer period of time than if he wore it in
the usual manner.

On leaving the attorney's office, he might be seen creeping along
towards the County Treasurer's, at a pace quite unusual to him; his
hollow, gleaming eyes were bent on the earth; his Gothamore about his
shoulders; his staff held with a tight desperate grip, and his whole
appearance that of a man frightfully distracted by the intelligence of
some sudden calamity.

He had not proceeded far on this hopeless errand, when many bitter
confirmations of the melancholy truth, by persons whom he met on their
return from P----'s residence, were afforded him. Even these, however,
were insufficient to satisfy him; he heard them with a vehement
impatience, that could not brook the bare possibility of the report
being true. His soul clung with the tenacity of a death--grip to the
hope, that however others might have suffered, some chance might,
notwithstanding, still remain in Ms particular favor. In the meantime,
he poured out curses of unexampled malignity against the guilty
defaulter, on whose head he invoked the Almighty's vengeance with a
venomous fervor which appalled all who heard him. Having reached
the treasurer's house, a scene presented itself that was by no means
calculated to afford him consolation. Persons of every condition, from
the squireen and gentleman farmer, to the humble widow and inexperienced
orphan, stood in melancholy groups about the deserted mansion,
interchanging details of their losses, their blasted prospects, and
their immediate ruin. The cries of the widow, who mourned for the
desolation brought upon her and her now destitute orphans, rose in a
piteous wail to heaven, and the industrious fathers of many struggling
families, with pale faces and breaking hearts, looked in silent misery
upon the closed shutters and smokeless chimneys of their oppressor's
house, bitterly conscious that the laws of the boasted constitution
under which they lived, permitted the destroyer of hundreds to enjoy,
in luxury and security, the many thousands of which, at one fell and
rapacious swoop, he had deprived them.

With white, quivering lips and panting breath, Fardorougha approached
and joined them.

"What, what," said he, in a broken sentence, "is this true--can it, can
it be true? Is the thievin' villain of hell gone? Has he robbed us,
ruined us, destroyed us?"

"Ah, too thrue it is," replied a farmer; "the dam' rip is off to that
nest of robbers, the Isle of Man; ay, he's gone! an' may all our bad
luck past, present, and to come, go with him, an' all he tuck!"

Fardorougha looked at his informant as if he had been P----himself; he
then glared from one to another, whilst the white foam wrought up to his
lips by the prodigious force of his excitement. He clasped his hands,
then attempted to speak, but language had abandoned him.

"If one is to judge from your appearance, you have suffered heavily,"
observed the farmer.

The other stared at him with a kind of angry amazement for doubting it,
or it might be, for speaking so coolly of his loss. "Suffered!"
said he, "ay, ay, but did yeea thry the house? we'll
see--suffered!--suffered!--we'll see."

He immediately shuffled over to the hall door, which he assaulted with
the eagerness of a despairing soul at the gate of heaven, throwing into
each knock such a character of impatience and apprehension, as one might
suppose the aforesaid soul to feel from a certain knowledge that the
devil's clutches were spread immediately behind, to seize and carry him
to perdition. His impetuosity, however, was all in vain; not even
an echo reverberated through the cold and empty walls, but, on the
contrary, every peal was followed by a most unromantic and ominous
silence.

"That man appears beside himself," observed another of the sufferers;
"surely, it he wasn't half-mad, he'd not expect to find any one in an
empty house!"

"Devil a much it signifies whether he's mad or otherwise," responded a
neighbor. "I know him well; his name's Fardorougha Donovan, the miser
of Lisnamona, the biggest shkew that ever skinned a flint. If P----did
nothin' worse than fleece him, it would never stand between him an' the
blessin' o' Heaven."

[Illustration: PAGE 245-- He rattled, and thumped, and screamed]

Fardorougha, in the mean time, finding that no response was given from
the front, passed hurriedly by an archway into the back court, where he
made similar efforts to get in by attempting to force the kitchen door.
Every entrance, however, had been strongly secured; he rattled, and
thumped, and screamed, as if P----himself had actually been within
hearing, but still to no purpose; he might as well have expected to
extort a reply from the grave.

When he returned to the group that stood on the lawn, the deadly
conviction that all was lost affected every joint of his body with
a nervous trepidation, that might have been mistaken for _delirium
tremens_. His eyes were full of terror, mingled with the impotent fury
of hatred and revenge; whilst over all now predominated for the first
time such an expression of horror and despair, as made the spectators
shudder to look upon him.

"Where was God," said he, addressing them, and his voice, naturally thin
and wiry, now became lmsky and hollow, "where was God, to suffer this?
to suffer the poor to be ruined, and the rich to be made poor? Was it
right for the Almighty to look on an' let the villain do it? No--no--no;
I say no!"

The group around him shuddered at the daring blasphemy to which his
monstrous passion had driven him. Many females, who were in tears,
lamenting audibly, started, and felt their grief suspended for a moment
by this revolting charge against the justice of Providence.

"What do you all stand for here," he proceeded, "like stocks an stones?
Why don't yees kneel with me, an' let us join in one curse; one, no, but
let us shower them down upon him in thousands--in millions; an' when we
can no longer spake them, let us think them. To the last hour of my life
my heart 'ill never be widout a curse for him; an' the last word afore
I go into the presence of God, 'll be a black, heavy blessin' from hell
against him an' his, sowl an' body, while a drop o' their bad blood's
upon the earth."

"Don't be blasphamin', honest man," said a bystander; "if you've lost
money, that's no rason why you should fly in the face o' God for P----'s
roguery. Devil a one o' myself cares if I join you in a volley against
the robbin' scoundril, but I'd not take all the money the rip of hell
ran away wid, an' spake of God as you do."

"Oh, Saver!" exclaimed Fardorougha, who probably heard not a word he
said; "I knew--I knew--I always felt it was before me--a dog's death
behind a ditch--my tongue out wid starvation and hunger, and it was he
brought me to it!"

He had already knelt, and was uncovered, his whitish hair tossed by
the breeze in confusion about a face on which was painted the fearful
workings of that giant spirit, under whose tremendous grasp he writhed
and suffered like a serpent in the talons of a vulture. In this
position, with uplifted and trembling arms, his face raised towards
heaven, and his whole figure shrunk firmly together by the intense
malignity with which he was about to hiss out his venomous imprecations
against the defaulter, he presented at least one instance in which the
low, sordid vice of avarice rose to something like wild grandeur, if not
sublimity.

Having remained in this posture for some time, he clasped his withered
hands together and wrung them until the bones cracked; then rising up
and striking his stick bitterly upon the earth--

"I can't," he exclaimed, "I can't get out the curses against him; but my
heart's full of them--they're in it--they're in it!--it's black an'
hot wid them; I feel them here--here--movin an if they war alive, an'
they'll be out."

Such was the strength and impetuosity of his hatred, and such his
eagerness to discharge the whole quiver of his maledictions against the
great public delinquent, that, as often happens in cases of overwhelming
agitation, his faculties were paralyzed by the storm of passion which
raged within him.

Having risen to his feet, he left the group, muttering his wordless
malignity as he went along, and occasionally pausing to look back with
the fiery glare of a hyena at the house in which the robbery of his
soul's treasure had been planned and accomplished.

It is unnecessary to say that the arrangements entered into with
Cassidy, by John O'Brien, were promptly and ably carried into effect. A
rapid ride soon brought the man of briefs and depositions to the prison,
where the unhappy Connor lay. The young man's story, though simple, was
improbable, and his version of the burning such as induced Cassidy,
who knew little of impressions and feelings in the absence of facts,
to believe that no other head than his ever concocted the crime. Still,
from the manly sincerity with which his young client spoke, he
felt inclined to impute the act to a freak of boyish malice and
disappointment, rather than to a spirit of vindictive rancor. He
entertained no expectation whatsoever of Connor's acquittal, and hinted
to him that it was his habit in such cases to recommend his clients
to be prepared for the worst, without, at the same time, altogether
abolishing hope. There was, indeed, nothing to break the chain of
circumstantial evidence in which Flanagan had entangled him; he had been
at the haggard shortly before the conflagration broke out; he had met
Phil Curtis, and begged that man to conceal the fact of his having seen
him, and he had not slept in his own bed either on that or the preceding
night. It was to no purpose he affirmed that Flanagan himself had
borrowed from him, and worn, on the night in question, the shoes whose
prints were so strongly against him, or that the steel and tinder--box,
which were found in his pocket, actually belonged to his accuser, who
must have put them there without his knowledge. His case, in fact, was a
bad one, and he felt that the interview with his attorney left him more
seriously impressed with the danger of his situation, than he had been
up till that period.

"I suppose," said he, when the instructions were completed, "you have
seen my father?"

"Everything is fully and liberally arranged," replied the other, with
reservation; "your father has been with me to--day; in fact, I parted
with him only a few minutes before I left home. So far let your mind be
easy. The government prosecutes, which is something in your favor;
and now, good-by to you; for my part, I neither advise you to hope or
despair. If the worst comes to the worst, you must bear it like a man;
and if we get an acquittal, it will prove the more agreeable for its not
being expected."

The unfortunate youth felt, after Cassidy's departure, the full force of
that dark and fearful presentiment which arises from the approach of
the mightiest calamity that can befall an innocent man--a public and
ignominious death, while in the very pride of youth, strength, and those
natural hopes of happiness which existence had otherwise promised.
In him this awful apprehension proceeded neither from the terror of
judgment nor of hell, but from that dread of being withdrawn from life,
and of passing down from the light, the enjoyments and busy intercourse
of a breathing and conscious world, into the silence and corruption of
the unknown grave. When this ghastly picture was brought near him by the
force of his imagination, he felt for a moment as if his heart had
died away in him, and his blood became congealed into ice. Should this
continue, he knew that human nature could not sustain it long, and he
had already resolved to bear his fate with firmness, whatever that fate
might be. He then reflected that he was innocent, and, remembering the
practice of his simple and less political forefathers, he knelt down and
fervently besought the protection of that, Being in whose hands are the
issues of life and death.

On rising from this act of heartfelt devotion, he experienced that
support which he required so much. The fear of death ceased to alarm
him, and his natural fortitude returned with more than its usual power
to his support. In this state of mind he was pacing his narrow room,
when the door opened, and his father, with a tottering step, entered and
approached him. The son was startled, if not terrified, at the change
which so short a time had wrought in the old man's appearance.

"Good God, father dear!" he exclaimed, as the latter threw his arms with
a tight and clinging grasp about him; "good heavens! what has happened
to change you so much for the worse? Why, if you fret this way about me,
you'll soon break your heart. Why will you fret, father, when you know
I am innocent? Surely, at the worst, it is better to die innocent than
to live guilty."

"Connor," said the old man, still clinging tenaciously to him, and
looking wildly into his face, "Connor, it's broke--my heart's broke
at last. Oh, Connor, won't you pity me when you hear it--won't you,
Connor--oh, when you hear it, Connor, won't you pity me? It's gone, it's
gone, it's gone--he's off, off--to that nest of robbers, the Isle of
Man, and has robbed me and half the county. P----has; I'm a ruined man,
a beggar, an' will die a dog's death."

Connor looked down keenly into his father's face, and began to entertain
a surmise so terrible that the beatings of his heart were in a moment
audible to his own ear.

"Father," he inquired, "in the name of God what is wrong with you? What
is it you spake of? Has P----gone off with your money? Sit down, and
don't look so terrified."

"He has, Connor--robbed me an' half the county--he disappeared the
evenin' of the very day I left my last lodgment wid him; he's in that
nest of robbers, the Isle of Man, an' I'm ruined--ruined! Oh God!
Connor, how can I stand it? all my earnin's an' my savin's an' the
fruits of my industry in his pocket, an' upon his back, an' upon his
bones! My brain is reelin'--I dunna what I'm doin', nor what I'll do.
To what hand now can I turn myself? Who'll assist me! I dunna what I'm
doin', nor scarcely what I'm sayin'. My head's all in confusion. Gone!
gone! gone! Oh see the luck that has come down upon me! Above all men,
why was I singled out to be made a world's wondher of--why was I? What
did I do? I robbed no one; yet it's gone--an' see the death that's afore
me! oh God! oh God!"

"Well, father, let it go--you have still your health; you have still
my poor mother to console you; and I hope you'll soon have myself, too;
between us well keep you comfortable, and, if you'll allow us to take
our own way, more so than ever you did--"

Pardorougha started, as if struck by some faint but sudden recollection.
All at once he looked with amazement around the room, and afterwards
with a pause of inquiry, at his son. At length, a light of some
forgotten memory appeared to flash at once across his brain; his
countenance changed from the wild and unsettled expression which it
bore, to one more stamped with the earnest humanity of our better
nature.

"Oh, Connor!" he at last exclaimed, putting his two hands into those of
his son: "can you pity me, an' forgive me? You see, my poor boy, how I'm
sufferin', an' you see that I can't--I won't--be able to bear up against
this long."

The tears here ran down his worn and hollow cheeks.

"Oh," he proceeded, "how could I forget you, my darlin' boy? But I
hardly think my head's right. If I had you with me, an' before my eyes,
you'd keep my heart right, an' give me strength, which I stand sorely in
need of. Saints in glory! how could I forget you, acushla, an' what now
can I do for you? Not a penny have I to pay lawyer, or attorney, or any
one, to defind you at your trial, and it so near!"

"Why, haven't you settled all that with Mr. Cassidy, the attorney?"

"Not a bit, achora machree, not a bit; I was wid him this day, an' had
agreed, but whin I wint to give him an ordher on P----, he--oh saints
above! he whistled at me an' it--an' tould me that P----was gone to
that nest o' robbers, the Isle of Man."

"Connor," said he, feebly, "I am unwell--unwell--come and sit down by
me."

"You are too much distressed every way, father," said his son, taking
his place upon his iron bedstead beside him.

"I am," said Fardorougha, calmly; "I am too much distressed--sit nearer
me, Connor. I wish your mother was here, but she wasn't able to come,
she's unwell too; a good mother she was, Connor, and a good wife."

The son was struck, and somewhat alarmed, by this sudden and
extraordinary calmness of the old man.

"Father dear," said he, "don't be too much disheartened--all will be
well yet, I hope--my trust in God is strong."

"I hope all will be well," replied the old man, "sit nearer me, an'
Connor, let me lay my head over upon your breast. I'm thinkin' a great
dale. Don't the world say, Connor, that I am a bad man?"

"I don't care what the world says; no one in it ever durst say as much
to me, father dear."

The old man looked up affectionately, but shook his head apparently in
calm but rooted sorrow.

"Put your arms about me, Connor, and keep my head a little more up; I'm
weak an' tired, an', someway, spakin's a throuble to me; let me think
for a while."

"Do so, father," said the son, with deep compassion; "God knows but
you're sufferin' enough to wear you out."

"It is," said Fardorougha, "it is." A silence of some minutes ensued,
during which, Connor perceived that the old man, overcome with care and
misery, had actually! fallen asleep with his head upon his bosom. This
circumstance, though by no means extraordinary, affected him very much.
On surveying the pallid face of his father, and the worn, thread--like
veins that ran along his temples, and calling to mind the love of the
old man for himself, which even avarice, in its deadliest power, failed
to utterly overcome, he felt all the springs of his affection loosened,
and his soul vibrated with a tenderness towards him, such as no
situation in their past lives had ever before created.

"If my fate chances to be an untimely one, father dear," he slowly
murmured, "we'll soon meet in another place; for I know that you will
not long live after me."

He then thought with bitterness of his mother and Una, and wondered at
the mystery of the trial to which he was exposed.

The old man's slumber, however, was not dreamless, nor so refreshing
as the exhaustion of a frame shattered by the havoc of contending
principles required. On the contrary, it was disturbed by heavy groans,
quick startings, and those twitchings of the limbs which betoken a
restless mood of mind, and a nervous system highly excited. In the
course of half an hour, the symptoms of his inward commotion became
more apparent. From being, as at first, merely physical, they assumed
a mental character, anil passed from ejaculations and single words, to
short sentences, and ultimately to those of considerable length.

"Gone!" he exclaimed, "gone! Oh God my curse--starved--dog--wid my tongue
out!"

This dread of starvation, which haunted him through life, appeared in
his dream still to follow him like a demon.

"I'm dyin'," he said, "I'm dyin' wid hunger--will no one give me a
morsel? I was robbed an' have no money--don't you see me starvin'? I'm
cuttin' wid hunger--five days without mate--bring me mate, for God's
sake--mate, mate, mate!--I'm gaspin--my tongue's out; look at me, like a
dog, behind this ditch, an' my tongue out!"

The son at this period would have awoke him, but he became more
composed, for a time, and enjoyed apparently a refreshing sleep. Still,
it soon was evident that he dreamt, and as clear that a change had come
o'er the spirit of his dream.

"Who'll prevent me!" he exclaimed. "Isn't he my son--our only child? Let
me alone--I must, I must--what's my life?--take it, an' let him live."

The tears started in Connor's eyes, and he pressed his father to his
heart.

"Don't hould me," he proceeded. "O God! here, I'll give all I'm worth,
an' save him! O, let me, thin--let me but kiss him once before he dies;
it was I, it was myself that murdhered him--all might 'a been well; ay,
it was I that murdhered you, Connor, my brave hoy, an' have I you in
my arms? O, aviek agus asthore machree, it was I that murdhered you, by
my--but they're takin' him--they're bearin' him away to--"

He started, and awoke; but so terrific had been his dream, that on
opening his eyes he clasped Connor in his arms, and exclaimed,--

"No no, I'll hould him till you cut my grip; Connor, avick machree,
hould to me!"

"Father, father, for God's sake, think a minute, you wor only dreaming."

"Eh--what--where am I? Oh, Connor, darling, if you knew the dhrames I
had--I thought you wor on the scaffie; but thanks be to the Saver, it
was only a dhrame!"

"Nothing more, father, nothing more; but for God's sake, keep your mind
aisy. Trust in God, father, everything's in _His_ hands; if; it's His
will to make us suffer, we ought to submit; and if it's not His will,
He surely can bring us out of all our throubles. That's the greatest
comfort I have."

Fardorougha once more became calm, but still there was on his
countenance, which was mournful and full of something else than simple
sorrow, some deeply fixed determination, such as it was difficult to
develop.

"Connor, achora," said he, "I must lave you, for there's little time
to be lost. What attorney would you wish me to employ? I'll go home and
sell oats and a cow or two. I've done you harm enough--more than you
know--but now I'll spare no cost to get you out of this business.
Connor, the tears that I saw awhile agone run down your cheeks cut me to
the heart."

The son then informed him that a friend had taken proper measures for
his defence, and that any further interference on his part would only
create confusion and delay. He also entreated his father to make no
allusion whatsoever to this circumstance, and added, "that he himself
actually knew not the name of the friend in question, but that, as the
matter stood, he considered even a surmise to be a breach of confidence
that might be indelicate and offensive. After the trial, you can and
ought to pay the expenses, and not be under an obligation to any one of
so solemn a kind as that." He then sent his affectionate love and duty
to his mother, at whose name his eyes were again filled with tears, and
begged the old man to comfort and support her with the utmost care and
tenderness. As she was unwell, he requested him to dissuade her against
visiting him till after the trial, lest an interview might increase her
illness, and render her less capable of bearing up under an unfavorable
sentence, should such be the issue of the prosecution. Having then bade
farewell to, and embraced the old man, the latter departed with more
calmness and fortitude than he had up to that period displayed.

When Time approaches the miserable with calamity in his train, his
opinion is swifter than that of the eagle; but, alas! when carrying them
towards happiness, his pace is slower than is that of the tortoise. The
only three persons on earth, whose happiness was involved in that of
O'Donovan, found themselves, on the eve of the assizes, overshadowed by
a dreariness of heart, that was strong in proportion to the love they
bore him. The dead calm which had fallen on Fardorougha was absolutely
more painful to his wife than would have been the paroxysms that
resulted from his lust of wealth. Since his last interview with Connor,
he never once alluded to the loss of his money, unless abruptly in
his dreams, but there was stamped upon his whole manner a gloomy and
mysterious composure, which, of itself, wofully sank her spirits,
independently of the fate which impended over their son. The change,
visible on both, and the breaking down of their strength were indeed
pitiable.

As for Una, it would be difficult to describe her struggle between
confidence in his innocence, and apprehension of the law, which she knew
had often punished the guiltless instead of the criminal. 'Tis true she
attempted to assume, in the eyes of others, a fortitude which belied
her fears, and even affected to smile at the possibility of her lover's
honor and character suffering any tarnish from the ordeal to which they
were about to be submitted. Her smile, however, on such occasions, was
a melancholy one, and the secret tears she shed might prove, as they did
to her brother, who was alone privy to her grief, the extent of those
terrors which, notwithstanding her disavowal of them, wrung her soul
so bitterly. Day after day her spirits became more and more depressed,
till, as the crisis of Connor's fate arrived, the roses had altogether
flown from her cheeks.

Indeed, now that the trial was at hand, public sympathy turned rapidly
and strongly in his favor; his father had lost that wealth, the
acquisition of which earned him so heavy a portion of infamy; and, as he
had been sufficiently punished in his own person, they did not think it
just to transfer any portion of the resentment borne against him to a
son who had never participated in his system of oppression. They felt
for Connor now on his own account, and remembered only his amiable and
excellent character. In addition to this, the history of the mutual
attachment between him and Una having become the topic of general
conversation, the rash act for which he stood committed was
good-humoredly resolved into a foolish freak of love; for which it
would be a thousand murders to take away his life. In such mood were the
public and the parties most interested in the event of our story,
when the morning dawned of that awful day which was to restore Connor
O'Donovan to the hearts that loved him so well, or to doom him, a
convicted felon, to a shameful and ignominious death.

At length the trial came on, and our unhappy prisoner, at the hour of
eleven o'clock, was placed at the bar of his country to stand the brunt
of a government prosecution. Common report had already carried abroad
the story of Una's love and his, many interesting accounts of which had
got into the papers of the day. When he stood forward, therefore, all
eyes were eagerly riveted upon him; the judge glanced at him with calm,
dispassionate scrutiny, and the members of the bax, especially the
juniors, turned round, surveyed him through their glasses with a gaze
in which might be read something more than that hard indifference which
familiarity with human crime and affliction ultimately produces even in
dispositions most human and amiable. No sooner had the curiosity of the
multitude been gratified, than a murmur of pity, blended slightly with
surprise and approbation, ran lowly through the court-house. One of
the judges whispered a few words to his brother, and the latter again
surveyed Connor with a countenance in which were depicted admiration
and regret. The counsel also chatted to each other in a low tone,
occasionally turning round and marking his deportment and appearance
with increasing interest.

Seldom, probably never, had a more striking, perhaps a more noble
figure, stood at the bar of that court. His locks were rich and brown;
his forehead expansive, and his manly features remarkable for their
symmetry; his teeth were regular and white, and his dark eye full of a
youthful lustre, which the dread of no calamity could repress. Neither
was his figure, which was of the tallest, inferior in a single point to
so fine a countenance. As he stood, at his full height of six feet, it
was impossible not to feel deeply influenced in his favor, especially
after having witnessed the mournful but dignified composure of his
manner, equally remote from indifference or dejection. He appeared,
indeed, to view in its proper light the danger of the position in which
he stood, but he viewed it with the calm, unshrinking energy of a
brave man who is always prepared for the worst. Indeed, there might be
observed upon his broad, open brow a loftiness of bearing such as is not
unfrequently produced by a consciousness of innocence, and the natural
elevation of mind which results from a sense of danger; to which we may
add that inward scorn which is ever felt for baseness, by those who are
degraded to the necessity of defending themselves against the villany of
the malignant and profligate.

When called upon to plead to the indictment, he uttered the words "not
guilty" in a full, firm and mellow voice, that drew the eyes of the
spectators once more upon him, and occasioned another slight hum of
sympathy and admiration. No change of color was observable on his
countenance, or any other expression, save the lofty composure to which
we have just alluded.

The trial at length proceeded; and, after a long and able statement from
the Attorney-General, Bartle Flanagan was called up on the table. The
prisoner, whose motions were keenly observed, betrayed, on seeing him,
neither embarrassment nor agitation; all that could be perceived was
a more earnest and intense light in his eyes, as they settled upon his
accuser. Flanagan detailed, with singular minuteness and accuracy,
the whole progress of the crime from its first conception to its
perpetration. Indeed, had he himself been in the dock, and his evidence
against Connor a confession of his own guilt, it would, with some
exceptions, have been literally true. He was ably cross-examined, but no
tact, or experience, or talent, on the part of the prisoner's counsel,
could, in any important degree, shake his testimony. The ingenuity
with which he laid and conducted the plot was astonishing, as was his
foresight, and the precaution he adopted against detection. Cassidy,
Connor's attorney, had ferreted out the very man from whom he purchased
the tinder-box, with a hope of proving that it was not the prisoner's
property but his own; yet this person, who remembered the transaction
very well, assured him that Flanagan said he procured it by the desire
of Fardorougha Donovan's son.

During his whole evidence, he never once raised his eye to look upon the
prisoner's face, until he was desired to identify him. He then turned
round, and, standing with the rod in his hand, looked for some moments
upon his victim. His dark brows got black as night, whilst his cheeks
were blanched to the hue of ashes--the white smile as before sat upon
his lips, and his eyes, in which there blazed the unsteady fire of a
treacherous and cowardly heart, sparkled with the red turbid glare of
triumph and vengeance. He laid the rod upon Connor's head, and they
gazed at each other face to face, exhibiting as striking a contrast as
could be witnessed. The latter stood erect and unshaken--his eye calmly
bent upon that of his foe, but with a spirit in it that seemed to him
alone by whom it was best understood, to strike dismay into the very
soul of falsehood within him. The villain's eyes could not withstand the
glance of Connor's--they fell, and his whole countenance assumed such a
blank and guilty stamp, that an old experienced barrister, who watched
them both, could not avoid saying, that if he had his will they should
exchange situations.

"I would not hang a dog," he whispered, "on that fellow's evidence--he
has guilt in his face."

When asked why he ran away on meeting Phil. Curtis, near O'Brien's
house, on their return that night, while Connor held his ground, he
replied that it was very natural he should run away, and not wish to
be seen after having assisted at such a crime. In reply to another
question, he said it was as natural that Connor should have ran away
also, and that he could not account for it, except by the fact that God
always occasions the guilty to commit some oversight, by which they
may be brought to punishment. These replies, apparently so rational and
satisfactory, convinced Connor's counsel that his case was hopeless, and
that no skill or ingenuity on their part could succeed in breaking down
Flanagan's evidence.

The next witness called was Phil. Curtis, whose testimony corroborated
Bartle's in every particular, and gave to the whole trial a character of
gloom and despair. The constables who applied his shoes to the footmarks
were then produced, and swore in the clearest manner as to their
corresponding. They then deposed to finding the tinder-box in his
pocket, according to the information received from Flanagan, every
tittle of which they found to be remarkably correct.

There was only one other witness now necessary to complete the
chain against him, and he was only produced because Biddy Nulty, the
servant--maid, positively stated, and actually swore, when previously
examined, that she was ignorant whether Connor slept in his father's
house on the night in question or not. There was no alternative,
therefore, but to produce the father; and Fardorougha Donovan was
consequently forced to become an evidence against his own son.

The old man's appearance upon the table excited deep commiseration for
both, and the more so when the spectators contemplated the rooted sorrow
which lay upon the wild and wasted features of the woe-worn father.
Still the old man was composed and calm; but his calmness was in an
extraordinary degree mournful and touching. "When he, sat down, after
having been sworn, and feebly wiped the dew from his thin temples, many
eyes were already filled with tears. When the question was put to him if
he remembered the night laid in the indictment, he replied that he did.

"Did the prisoner at the bar sleep at home on that night?"

The old man looked into the face of the counsel with such an eye of
deprecating entreaty, as shook the voice in which the question was
repeated. He then turned about, and, taking a long gaze at his son, rose
up, and, extending his hands to the judges, exclaimed:

"My lords, my lords! he is my only son--my only child!"

These words were followed by a pause in the business of the court, and a
dead silence of more than a minute.

"If justice," said the judge, "could on an occasion waive her claim to a
subordinate link in the testimony she requires, it would certainly be
in a case so painful and affecting as this. Still, we cannot permit
personal feeling, however amiable, or domestic attachment, however
strong, to impede her progress when redressing public wrong. Although
the duty be painful, and we admit that such a duty is one of unexampled
agony, yet it must be complied with; and you consequently will answer
the question which the counsel has put to you. The interests of society
require such sacrifices, and they must be made."

The old man kept his eyes fixed on the judge while he spoke, but when he
had ceased he again fixed them on his son.

"My lord," he exclaimed again, with clasped hands, "I can't, I can't!"

"There is nothing criminal, or improper, or sinful in it," replied the
judge; "on the contrary, it is your duty, both as a Christian and a man.
Remember, you have this moment sworn to tell the truth, and the whole
truth; you consequently must keep your oath."

"What you say, sir, may be right, an' of coorse is; but oh, my lord,
I'm not able; I can't get out the words to hang my only boy. If I said
anything to hurt him, my heart 'ud break before your eyes. May be you
don't know the love of a father for an only son?"

"Perhaps, my lords," observed the attorney-general, "it would be
desirable to send for a clergyman of his own religion, who might succeed
in prevailing on him to--"

"No," interrupted Fardorougha; "my mind's made up; a word against him
will never come from my lips, not for priest or friar. I'd die widout
the saykerment sooner."

"This is trifling with the court," said the judge, assuming an air of
severity, which, however, he did not feel. "We shall be forced to commit
you to prison unless you give evidence."

"My lord," said Fardorougha, meekly, but firmly, "I am willin' to go to
prison--I am willin' to die with him, if he is to die, but I neither can
nor will open my lips against him. If I thought him guilty I might; but
I know he is innocent--my heart knows it; an' am I to back the villain
that's strivin' to swear his life away? No, Connor avourneen, whatever
they do to you, your father will have no hand in it."

The court, in fact, were perplexed in the extreme. The old man was not
only firm, from motives of strong attachment, but intractable from an
habitual narrowness of thought, which prevented him from taking that
comprehensive view of justice and judicial authority which might
overcome the repugnance of men less obstinate from ignorance of legal
usages.

"I ask you for the last time," said the judge, "will you give your
evidence? because, if you refuse, the court will feel bound to send you
to prison."

"God bless you, my lord! that's a relief to my heart. Anything,
anything, but to say a word against a boy that, since the day he was
born, never vexed either his mother or myself. If he gets over this,
I have much to make up to him; for, indeed, I wasn't the father to him
that I ought. Avick machree, now I feel it, may be whin it's too late."

These words affected all who heard them, many even to tears.

"I have no remedy," observed the judge. "Tipstaff, take away the witness
to prison. It is painful to me," he added, in a broken voice, "to feel
compelled thus to punish you for an act which, however I may respect the
motives that dictate it, I cannot overlook. The ends of justice cannot
be frustrated."

"Mylord," exclaimed the prisoner, "don't punish the old man for refusing
to speak against me. His love for me is so strong that I know he
couldn't do it. I will state the truth myself, but spare him. I did not
sleep in my own bed on the night Mr. O' Brien's haggard was burned, nor
on the night before it. I slept in my father's barn, with Flanagan; both
times at his own request but I did not then suspect his design in asking
me."

"This admission, though creditable to your affection and filial duty,
was indiscreet," observed the judge. "Whatever you think might be
serviceable, suggest to your attorney, who can communicate it to your
counsel."

"My lord," said Connor, "I could not see my father punished for loving
me as he does an' besides I have no wish to conceal anything. If the
whole truth could be known I would stand but a short time where I an nor
would Flanagan be long out of it."

There is an earnest and impressive tone in truth, especially when
spoken under circumstances of great difficulty, where it is rather
disadvantageous to him who utters it, that in many instances produces
conviction by an inherent candor which all feel, without as process
of reasoning or argument. Theis was in those few words a warmth of
affection towards his father, and a manly simplicity heart, each of
which was duly appreciated by the assembly about him, who felt, without
knowing why, the indignant scorn of falsehood that so emphatically
pervaded his expressions. It was indeed impossible to hear them, and
look upon his noble countenance and figure, without forgetting the
humbleness of his rank in life, and feeling for him a marked deference
and respect.

The trial then proceeded; but, alas! the hopes of Connor's friends
abandoned them at its conclusion; for although the judge's charge was
as favorable as the nature of the evidence permitted, yet it was quite
clear that the jury had only one course to pursue, and that was to
bring in a conviction. After the lapse of about ten minutes, they
returned to the jury--box, and, as the foreman handed down their
verdict, a feather might have been heard falling in the court. The faces
of the spectators got pale, and the hearts of strong men beat as if the
verdict about to be announced were to fall upon themselves, and not
upon the prisoner. It is at all times an awful and trying ceremony to
witness, but on this occasion it was a much more affecting one than had
occurred in that court for many years. As the foreman handed down the
verdict, Connor's eye followed the paper with the same calm resolution
which he displayed during the trial. On himself there was no change
visible, unless the appearance of two round spots, one on each cheek, of
a somewhat deeper red than the rest. At length, in the midst of the dead
silence, pronounced in a voice that reached to the remotest extremity of
the court, was heard the fatal sentence--"Guilty;" and afterwards, in
a less distinct manner--"with our strongest and most earnest
recommendation for mercy, in consequence of his youth and previous good
character." The wail and loud sobbings of the female part of the crowd,
and the stronger but more silent grief of the men, could not, for many
minutes, be repressed by any efforts of the court or its officers. In
the midst of this, a little to the left of the dock, was an old man,
whom those around him were conveying in a state of insensibility out of
the court; and it was obvious that, from motives of humane consideration
for the prisoner, they endeavored to prevent him from ascertaining that
it was his father. In this, however, they failed; the son's eye caught a
glimpse of his grey locks, and it was observed that his cheek paled
for the first time, indicating, by a momentary change, that the only
evidence of agitation he betrayed was occasioned by sympathy in the old
man's sorrows, rather than by the contemplation of his own fate.

The tragic spirit of the day, however, was still to deepen, and a more
stunning blow, though less acute in its agony, was to fall upon the
prisoner. The stir of the calm and solemn jurors, as they issued out
of their room; the hushed breaths of the spectators, the deadly silence
that prevails, and the appalling announcement of the word "Guilty," are
circumstances that test in man fortitude, more even than the passing of
the fearful sentence itself. In the latter case, hope is banished, and
the worst that can happen known; the mind is, therefore, thrown back
upon its last energies, which give it strength in the same way in which
the death-struggle frequently arouses the muscular action of the I
body--an unconscious power or resistance that forces the culprit's heart
to take refuge in the first and strongest instincts of its nature,
the undying principle of self-preservation. No sooner was the verdict
returned and silence obtained, than the judge, now deeply affected, put
on the black cap, at which a low wild murmur of stifled grief and pity
rang through the court-house; but no sooner was his eye bent on the
prisoner than their anxiety to hear the sentence hushed them once more
into the stillness of the grave. The prisoner looked upon him with an
open but melancholy gaze, which, from the candid and manly character of
his countenance, was touching in the extreme.

"Connor O'Donovan," said the judge, "have you anything to say why
sentence of death should not be passed upon you?"

"My lord," he replied, "I can say nothing to prevent it. I am prepared
for it. I know I must bear it, and I hope I will bear it as a man ought,
that feels his heart free from even a thought of the crime he is to die
for. I have nothing more to say."

"You have this day been found guilty," proceeded the judge, "and, in the
opinion of the court, upon clear and satisfactory evidence, of a crime
marked by a character of revenge, which I am bound to say must have
proceeded from a very malignant spirit. It was a wanton act, for the
perpetration of which your motives were so inadequate, that one must
feel at a loss to ascertain the exact principle on which you committed
it. It was also not only a wicked act, but one so mean, that a young man
bearing the character of spirit and generosity which you have hitherto
borne, as appears from the testimony of those respectable persons who
this day have spoken in your favor, ought to have scorned to contemplate
it even for a moment. Had the passion you entertained for the daughter
of the man you so basely injured, possessed one atom of the dignity,
disinterestedness, or purity of true affection, you never could have
stooped to any act offensive to the object of your love, or to those
even in the remotest degree related to her. The example, consequently,
which you have held out to society, is equally vile and dangerous. A
parent discharges the most solemn and important of all duties, when
disposing of his children in marriage, because by that act he seals
their happiness or misery in this life, and most probably in that which
is to come. By what tie, by what duty, by what consideration, is not a
parent bound to consult the best interests of those beloved beings whom
he has brought into the world, and who, in a great measure, depend upon
him as their dearest relative, their guardian by the voice of nature,
for the fulfilment of those expectations upon which depend the principal
comforts and enjoyments of life? Reason, religion, justice, instinct,
the whole economy of nature, both in man and the inferior animals, all
teach him to secure for them, as far as in him lies, the greatest sum
of human happiness; but if there be one duty more sacred and tender than
another, it is that which a parent is called upon to exercise on behalf
of a daughter. The son, impressed by that original impulse which moves
him to assume a loftier place in the conduct of life, and gifted also
with a stronger mind, and clearer judgment, to guide him in its varied
transactions, goes abroad into society, and claims for himself a bolder
right of thought and a wider range of action, while determining an event
which is to exercise, as marriage does, such an important influence upon
his own future condition, and all the relations that may arise out of
it. From this privilege the beautiful and delicate framework of woman's
moral nature debars her, and she is consequently forced, by the graces
of her own modesty--by the finer texture of her mind--by her greater
purity and gentleness--in short, by all her virtues, into a tenderer
and more affecting dependence upon the judgment and love of her natural
guardians, whose pleasure is made, by a wise decree of God, commensurate
with their duty in providing for her wants and enjoyments. There is no
point of view in which the parental character shines forth with greater
beauty than that in which it appears while working for and promoting the
happiness of a daughter. But you, it would seem, did not think so. You
punished the father by a dastardly and unmanly act, for guarding the
future peace and welfare of a child so young, and so dear to him. What
would become of society if this exercise of a parent's right on behalf
of his daughter were to be visited upon him as a crime, by every
vindictive and disappointed man, whose affection for them he might, upon
proper grounds, decline to sanction? Yet it is singular, and, I confess,
almost inexplicable to me at least, why you should have rushed into the
commission of such an act. The brief period of your existence has
been stained by no other crime. On the contrary, you have maintained
a character far above your situation in life--a character equally
remarkable for gentleness, spirit, truth, and affection--all of which
your appearance and bearing have this day exhibited. Your countenance
presents no feature expressive of ferocity, or of those headlong
propensities which lead to outrage; and I must confess, that on no
other occasion in my judicial life have I ever felt my judgment and my
feelings so much at issue. I cannot doubt your guilt, but I shed those
tears that it ever existed, and that a youth of so much promise should
be cut down prematurely by the strong arm of necessary justice,
leaving his bereaved parents bowed down with despair that can never
be comforted. Had they another son--or another child, to whom their
affections could turn--"

Here the judge felt it necessary to pause, in consequence of his
emotions. Strong feelings had, indeed, spread through the whole court,
in which, while he ceased, could be heard low moanings, and other
symptoms of acute sorrow.

"It is now your duty to forget every earthly object on which your heart
may have been fixed, and to seek that source of consolation and mercy
which can best sustain and comfort you. Go with a penitent heart to the
throne of your Redeemer, who, if your repentance be sincere, will in no
wise cast you out. Unhappy youth, prepare yourself, let me implore you,
for an infinitely greater and more awful tribunal than this. There,
should the judgment be in your favor, you will learn that the fate,
which has cut you off in the bloom of early life, will bring an
accession of happiness to your being for which no earthly enjoyment
here, however prolonged or exalted, could compensate you. The
recommendation of the jury to the mercy of the crown, in consideration
of your youth and previous good conduct, will not be overlooked; but in
the mean time the court is bound to pronounce upon you the sentence
of the law, which is, that you be taken from the prison from which you
came, on the eighth of next month, at the hour of ten o'clock in the
forenoon, to the front drop of the jail, and there hanged by the neck,
until you be dead; and may God have mercy on your soul!"

"My lord," said the prisoner, unmoved in voice or in manner, unless it
might be that both expressed more decision and energy than he had shown
during any other part of the trial; "my lord, I am now a condemned man,
but if I stood with the rope about my neck, ready to die, I would not
exchange situations with the man that has: been my accuser. My lord,
I can forgive him, and I ought, for I know he has yet to die, and
must meet his God. As for myself, I am thankful that I have not such a
conscience as his to bring before my Judge; and for this reason I am not
afraid to die."

He was then removed amidst a murmur of grief, as deep and sincere as
was ever expressed for a human being under circumstances of a similar
character. After having! entered the prison, he was about to turn along
a passage which led to the apartment hitherto allotted to him.

"This way," said the turnkey, "this way; God knows I would be glad to
let you stop in the room you had, but I haven't the power. We must put
you into one of the condemned cells; but by ---, it'll go hard if I
don't stretch a little to make you as comfortable I as possible.

"Take no trouble," said Connor, "take no trouble. I care now but little
about my own comfort; but if you wish to oblige me, bring me my father.
Oh, my mother, my mother!--you, I doubt, are struck down already!"

"She was too ill to attend the trial to-day," replied the turnkey.

"I know it," said Connor; "but as she's not here, bring me my father.
Send out a messenger for him, and be quick, for I wont rest till I see
him--he wants comfort--the old man's heart will break."

"I heard them say," replied the turnkey, after they had entered the cell
allotted to him, "that he was in a faint at Mat Corrigan's public house,
but that he had recovered. I'll go myself and bring him in to you."

"Do," said Connor, "an' leave us the moment you bring him."

It was more than an hour before the man I returned, holding Fardorougha
by the arm, and, after having left him in the cell, he instantly locked
it outside, and withdrew as he had been desired. Connor ran to support
his tottering steps; and wofully indeed did unfortunate parent stand
in need of his assistance. In the picture presented by Fardorougha the
unhappy young man forgot in a moment his own miserable and gloomy fate.
There blazed in his father's eyes an excitement at once dead and wild--a
vague fire without character, yet stirred by an incomprehensible energy
wholly beyond the usual manifestations of thought or suffering. The son
on beholding him shuddered, and not for the first time, for he had on
one or two occasions before become apprehensive that his father's mind
might, if strongly pressed, be worn down, by the singular conflict
of which it was that scene, to that most frightful of all
maladies--insanity. As the old man, however, folded him in his feeble
arms, and attempted to express what he felt, the unhappy boy groaned
aloud, and felt even in the depth of his cell, a blush of momentary
shame suffuse his cheek and brow. His father, notwithstanding the
sentence that had been so shortly before passed upon his son--that
father, he perceived to be absolutely intoxicated, or, to use a more
appropriate expression, decidedly drunk. There was less blame, however,
to be attached to Fardorougha on this occasion, than Connor imagined.
When the old man swooned in the court-house, he was taken by his
neighbors to a public-house, where he lay for some minutes in a state of
insensibility. On his recovery he was plied with burnt whiskey, as well
to restore his strength and prevent a relapse, as upon the principle
that it would enable him to sustain with more firmness the dreadful and
shocking destiny which awaited his son. Actuated by motives of mistaken
kindness, they poured between two and three glasses of this fiery
cordial down his throat, which, as he had not taken so much during the
lapse of thirty years before, soon reduced the feeble old man to the
condition in which we have described him when entering the gloomy cell
of the prisoner.

"Father," said Connor, "in the name of Heaven above, who or what has put
you into this dreadful state, especially when we consider the hard, hard
fate that is over us, and upon us?"

"Connor," returned Fardorougha, not perceiving the drift of his
question, "Connor, my son, I'll hang--hang him, that's one comfort."

"Who are you spaking about?"

"The villain sentence was passed on to--to--day. He'll swing--swing for
the robbery; P----e will. We got him back out of that nest of robbers,
the Isle o' Man--o' Man they call it--that he made off to, the villain!"

"Father dear, I'm sorry to see you in this state on sich a day--sich a
black day to us. For your sake I am. What will the world say of it?"

"Connor, I'm in great spirits all out, exceptin' for something that I
forget, that--that--li--lies heavy upon me. That I mayn't sin, but I
am--I am, indeed--for now that we've cotch him, we'll hang the villain
up. Ha, ha, ha, it's a pleasant sight to see sich a fellow danglin' from
a rope!"

"Father, sit down here, sit down here upon this bad and comfortless bed,
and keep yourself quiet for a little. Maybe you'll get better soon. Oh,
why did you drink, and us in such trouble?"

"I'll not sit down; I'm very well able to stand," said he, tottering
across the room. "The villain thought to starve me, Connor, but you
heard the sentence that was passed on him to-day. Where's Honor, from
me? she'll be glad, whin--whin she hears it, and my son, Connor, will
too--but he's, he's--where is Connor?--bring me, bring me to Connor. Ah,
avourneen, Honor's heart's breaking for him--'t any rate, the mother's
heart--the mother's heart--she's laid low wid an achin', sorrowful head
for her boy."

"Father, for God's sake, will you try and rest a little? If you could
sleep, father dear, if you could sleep."

"I'll hang P----e--I'll hang him--but if he gives me back my money, I'll
not touch him. Who are you?"

"Father dear, I'm Connor, your own son, Connor."

"I'll marry you and Una, then. I'll settle all the villain robbed me
of on you, and you'll have every penny of it _after my death_. Don't be
keepin' me up, I can walk very well; ay, an' I'm in right good spirits.
Sure, the money's got, Connor--got back every skilleen of it. Ha, ha,
ha, God be praised! God be praised! We've a right to be thankful--the
world isn't so bad afther all."

"Father, will you try and rest?"

"It's not bad, afther all--I won't starve, as I thought I would, now
that the _arrighad_ is got back from the villain. Ha, ha, ha, it's
great, Connor, ahagur!"

"What is it, father dear."

"Connor, sing me a song--my heart's up--it's light--arn't you
glad?--sing me a song."

"If you'll sleep first, father dear."

"The _Uligone_, Connor, or _Shuilagra_, or the _Trougha_--for,
avourneen, avourneen, there must be sorrow in it, for my heart's low,
and your mother's heart's in sorrow, an' she's lyin' far from us, an'
her boy's not near her, an' her heart's sore, sore, and her head achin',
bekase her boy's far from her, and she can't come to him!"

The boy, whose noble fortitude was unshaken during the formidable trial
it had encountered in the course of that day, now felt overcome by
this simple allusion to his mother's love. He threw his arms about his
father's neck, and, placing his head upon his bosom, wept aloud for
many, many minutes.

"Hiisth, Connor, husth, asthore--what makes you cry? Sure, all 'ill
be right now that we've got back the money. Eh? Ha, ha, ha, it's great
luck, Connor, isn't it great? An' you'll have it, you an' Una, _afther
my death_--for I won't starve for e'er a one o' yees."

"Father, father, I wish you would rest."

"Well, I will, avick, I will--bring me to bed--you'll sleep in your own
bed to-night. Your poor mother's head hasn't been off of the place where
your own lay, Connor. No, indeed; her heart's low--it's breakin'--it's
breakin'--but she won't let anybody make your bed but herself. Oh, the
mother's love, Connor--that mother's love, that mother's love--but,
Connor--"

"Well, father, dear."

"Isn't there something wrong, avick: isn't there something not right,
somehow?"

This question occasioned the son to feel as if his heart would literally
burst to pieces, especially when he considered the circumstances under
which the old man put it. Indeed, there was something so transcendently
appalling in his intoxication, and in the wild but affecting tone of his
conversation, that, when joined to his pallid and spectral appearance,
it gave a character, for the time being, of a mood that struck the heart
with an image more frightful than that of madness itself.

"Wrong, father!" he replied, "all's wrong, and I can't understand it.
It's wel for you that you don't know the doom that's upon us now, for
I feel how it would bring you down, and how it will, too. It will kill
you, my father--it will kill you."

"Connor, come home, avick, come home--I'm tired at any rate--come home
to you mother--come, for her sake--I know I'm not at home, an' she'll
not rest till I bring you safe back to her. Come now, I'll have no put
offs--you must come, I say--I ordher you--I can't and won't meet her wid
out you. Come, avick, an' you can sing mi the song goin' home--come wid
your owi poor ould father, that can't live widout you--come, a sullish
machree, I don't feel right here--we won't be properly happy till we go
to your lovin' mother."

"Father, father, you don't know what you're making me suffer! What
heart, blessed heaven, can bear--"

The door of his cell here opened, and the turnkey stated that some five
or six of his friends were anxious to see him, and, above all things, to
take charge of his father to his own home. This was a manifest relief to
the young man, who then felt more deeply on his unhappy father's account
than on his own.

"Some foolish friends," said he, "have given my father liquor, an'
it has got into his head--indeed, it overcame him the more as I never
remember him to taste a drop of spirits during his life before. I can
see no body now an' him in this state; but if they wish me well, let
them take care of him, and leave him safe at his own house, and tell
them I'll be glad if I can see them tomorrow, or any other time."

With considerable difficulty Fardorougha was removed from Connor, whom
he clung to with all his strength, attempting also to drag him away. He
then wept bitterly, because he declined to accompany him home, that he
might comfort his mother, and enjoy the imagined recovery of his
money from P----e, and the conviction which he believed they had just
succeeded in getting against that notorious defaulter.

After they had departed, Connor sat down upon his hard pallet, and,
supporting his head with his hand, saw, for the first time, in all its
magnitude and horror, the death to which he found himself now doomed.
The excitement occasioned by his trial, and his increasing firmness, as
it darkened on through all its stages to the final sentence, now had--in
a considerable degree abandoned him, and left his heart, at present,
more accessible to natural weakness than it it had been to the power of
his own affections. The image of his early-loved Una had seldom since
his arrest been out of his imagination. Her youth, her beauty, her wild
but natural grace, and the flashing glances of her dark enthusiastic
eye, when joined to her tenderness and boundless affection for
himself--all caused his heart to quiver with deadly anguish through
every fibre. This produced a transition to Flanagan--the contemplation
of whose perfidious vengeance made him spring from his seat in a
paroxysm of indignant but intense hatred, so utterly furious that the
swelling tempest which it sent through his veins caused him to reel with
absolute giddiness.

"Great God!" he exclaimed, "you are just, and will this be suffered?"

He then thought of his parents, and the fiery mood of his mind changed
to one of melancholy and sorrow. He looked back upon his aged father's
enduring struggle--upon the battle of the old man's heart against the
accursed vice which had swayed its impulses so long--on the protracted
conflict between the two energies, which, like contending fivmies in
the field, had now left little but ruin and desolation behind them. His
heart, when he brought all these things near him, expanded, and like a
bird, folded its wings about the gray-haired martyr to the love he bore
him. But his mother--the caressing, the proud, the affectionate, whose
heart, in the vivid tenderness of hope for her beloved boy, had shaped
out his path in life, as that on which she could brood with the fondness
of a loving and delighted spirit--that mother's image, and the idea
of her sorrows prostrated his whole strength, like that of a stricken
infant, to the earth.

"Mother, mother," he exclaimed, "when I think of what you reared me for,
and what I am this night, how can my heart do otherwise than break, as
well on your account as on my own, and for all that love us! Oh! what
will become of you, my blessed mother? Hard does it go with you that
you're not about your pride, as you used to call me, now that I'm in
this trouble, in this fate that is soon to cut me down from your loving
arms! The thought of you is dear to my heart, dear, dearer, dearer than
that of any--than my own Una. What will become of her, too, and the
old man? Oh, why, why is it that the death I am to suffer is to fall so
heavily on them that love me best?"

He then returned to his bed, but the cold and dreary images of death
and ruin haunted his imagination, until the night was far spent, when at
length he fell into a deep and dreamless sleep.

By the sympathy expressed at his trial, our readers may easily conceive
the profound sorrow which was felt for him, in the district where he
was known, from the moment the knowledge of his sentence had gone abroad
among the people. This was much strengthened by that which, whether in
man or woman, never fails to create an amiable prejudice in its favor--I
mean youth and personal beauty. His whole previous character was now
canvassed with a mournful lenity that brought out his virtues into
beautiful relief; and the fate of the affectionate son was deplored
no less than that of the youthful, but rash and inconsiderate lover.
Neither was the father without his share of compassion, for they could
not forget that, despite of all his penury and extortion, the old man's
heart had been fixed, with a strong but uncouth affection, upon his
amiable and only boy. It was, however, when they thought of his mother,
in whose heart of hearts he had been enshrined as the idol of her
whole affection, that their spirits became truly touched. Many a mother
assumed in her own person, by the force of imagination, the sinking
woman's misery, and poured forth, in unavailing tears, the undeniable
proofs of the sincerity with which she participated in Honor's
bereavement. As for Flanagan, a deadly weight of odium, such as is
peculiar to the Informer in Ireland, fell upon both him and his. Nor was
this all. Aided by that sagacity which is so conspicuous in Irishmen,
when a vindictive or hostile feeling is excited among them, they
depicted Flanagan's character with an accuracy and truth astonishingly
correct and intuitive. Numerous were the instances of cowardice,
treachery, and revenge remembered against him, by those who had been his
close and early companions, not one of which would have ever occurred
to them, were it not that their minds had been thrown back upon the
scrutiny by the melancholy fate in which he had involved the unhappy
Connor O'Donovan. Had he been a mere ordinary witness in the matter,
he would have experienced little of this boiling indignation at their
hands; but first to participate in the guilt, and afterwards, for the
sake of the reward, or from a worse and more flagitious motive, to turn
upon him, and become his accuser, even to the taking away of the young
man's life--to stag against his companion and accomplice--this was
looked upon as a crime ten thousand times more black and damnable than
that for which the unhappy culprit had been consigned to so shameful a
death.

But, alas, of what avail was all this sympathy and indignation to the
unfortunate youth himself or to those most deeply interested in his
fate? Would not the very love and sorrow felt towards her son fall upon
his mother's heart with a heavier weight of bitterness and agony? Would
not his Una's soul be wounded on that account with a sharper and more
deadly pang of despair and misery? It would, indeed, be difficult to say
whether the house of Bodagh Buie or that of Fardorougha was then in the
deeper sorrow. On the morning of Connor's trial, Una arose at an earlier
hour than usual, and it was observed when she sat at breakfeast,
that her cheek was at one moment pale as death, and again flushed
and feverish. These symptoms were first perceived by her affectionate
brother, who, on witnessing the mistakes she made in pouring out the
tea, exchanged a glance with his parents, and afterwards asked her to
allow him to take her place. She laid down the tea-pot, and, looking him
mournfully in the face, attempted to smile at a request so unusual.

"Una, dear," said he, "you must allow me. There is no necessity for
attempting to conceal what you feel--we all know it--and if we did not,
the fact of your having filled the sugar-bowl instead of the tea-cup
would soon discover it."

She said nothing, but looked at him again, as if she scarcely
comprehended what he said. A glance, however, at the sugar-bowl
convinced her that she was incapable of performing the usual duties of
the breakfast table. Hitherto she had not raised her eyes to her father
or mother's face, nor spoken to them as had been her wont, when meeting
at that strictly domestic meal. The unrestrained sobbings of the mother
now aroused her for the first time, and on looking up, she saw her
father wiping away the big tears from his eyes.

"Una, avourneen," said the worthy man, "let John make tay for us--for,
God help you, you can't do it. Don't fret, achora machree, don't, don't,
Una; as God is over me, I'd give all I'm worth to save him, for your
sake."

She looked at her father and smiled again; but that smile cut him to the
heart.

"I will make the tea myself, father," she replied, "and I _won't_ commit
any more mistakes;" and as she spoke she unconsciously poured the tea
into the slop--bowl.

"Avourneen," said her mother, "let John do it; acushla machree, let him
do it."

She then rose, and without uttering a word, passively and silently
placed herself on her brother's chair--he having, at the same time,
taken that on which she sat.

"Una," said her father, taking her hand, "you must be a good girl, and
you must have courage; and whatever happens, my darling, you'll pluck up
strength, I hope, and bear it."

"I hope so, father," said she, "I hope so."

"But, avourneen machree," said her mother, "I would rather see you
cryin' fifty times over, than smilin' the way you do."

"Mother," said she, "my heart is sore--my heart is sore."

"It is, ahagur machree; and your hand is tremblin' so much that you
can't bring the tay--cup to your mouth; but, then, don't smile so
sorrowfully, anein machree."

"Why should I cry, mother?" she replied; "I know that Connor is
innocent. If I knew him to be guilty, I would weep, and I ought to
weep."

"At all events, Una," said her father, "you know it's the government,
and not us, that's prosecuting him."

To this Una made no reply, but, thrusting away her cup, she looked with
the same mournful smile from one to the other of the little circle about
her. At length she spoke.

"Father, I have a request to ask of you."

"If it's within my power, Una darling, I'll grant it; and if it's not,
it'll go hard with me but I'll bring it within my power. What is it,
asthore machree?"

"In case he's found guilty, to let John put off his journey to Maynooth,
and stay with me for some time--it won't be long I'll keep him."

"If it pleases you, darling, he'll never put his foot into Maynooth
again."

"No," said the mother, "dhamnho to the step, if you don't wish him."

"Oh, no, no," said Una, "it's only for a while."

"Unless she desires it, I will never go," replied the loving brother;
"nor will I ever leave you in your sorrow, my beloved and only
sister--never--never--so long as a word from my lips can give you
consolation."

The warm tears coursed each other down his cheeks as he spoke, and both
his parents, on looking at the almost blighted flower before them, wept
as if the hand of death had already been upon her.

"Father, and John are going to his trial," she observed; "for me I like
to be alone;--alone; but when you return to-night, let John break it to
me. I'll go now to the garden. I'll walk about to-day--only before you
go, John, I want to speak to you."

Calmly and without a tear, she then left the parlor, and proceeded
to the garden, where she began to dress and ornament the hive which
contained the swarm that Connor had brought to her on the day their
mutual attachment was first disclosed to each other.

"Father," said John, when she had gone, "I'm afraid that Una's heart
is broken, or if not broken, that she won't survive his conviction
long--it's breaking fast--for my part, in her present state, I neither
will nor can leave her."

The affectionate father made no reply, but, putting his handkerchief to
his eyes, wept, as did her mother, in silent but bitter grief.

"I cannot spake about it, nor think of it, John," said he, after some
time, "but we must do what we can for her."

"If anything happens her," said the mother, "I'd never get over it. Oh
marciful Savior! how could we live widout her?"

"I would rather see her in tears," said John--"I would rather see her
in outrageous grief a thousand times than in the calm but ghastly
resolution with which she is bearing herself up against the trial of
this day. If he's condemned to death, I'm afraid that either her health
or reason will sink under it, and, in that case, God pity her and us,
for how, as you say, mother, could we afford to lose her? Still let us
hope for the best. Father, it's time to prepare; get the car ready. I am
going to the garden, to hear what the poor thing has to say to me, but I
will be with you soon."

Her brother found her, as we have said, engaged calmly, and with a
melancholy pleasure, in adorning the hive which, on Connor's account,
had become her favorite. He was not at all sorry that she had proposed
this short interview, for, as his hopes of Connor's acquittal were
but feeble, if, indeed, he could truly be said to entertain any, he
resolved, by delicately communicating his apprehensions, to gradually
prepare her mind for the worst that might happen.



PART V.

On hearing his step she raised her head, and advancing towards
the middle of the garden, took his arm, and led him towards the
summer--house in which Connor and she had first acknowledged their love.
She gazed wistfully upon it after they entered, and wrung her hands, but
still shed no tears.

"Una," said her brother, "you had something to say to me; what is it,
darling?"

She glanced timidly at him, and blushed.

"You won't be angry with me, John," she replied; "would it be proper for
me to--to go"--

"What! to be present at the trial? Dear Una, you cannot think of it.
It would neither be proper nor prudent, and you surely would not be
considered indelicate? Besides, even were it not so, your strength is
unequal to it. No, no, Una dear; dismiss it from your thoughts."

"I fear I could not stand it, indeed, John, even if it were proper; but
I know not what to do; there is a weight like death upon my heart. If I
could shed a tear it would relieve me; but I cannot."

"It is probably better you should feel so, Una, than to entertain hopes
upon the matter that may be disappointed. It is always wisest to prepare
for the worst, in order to avoid the shock that may come upon us, and
which always falls heaviest when it comes contrary to our expectations."

"I do not at all feel well," she replied, "and I have been thinking of
the best way to break this day's tidings to me, when you come home. If
he's cleared, say, good-humoredly, 'Una, all's lost;' and if--if not,
oh, desire me--say to me, 'Una, you had better go to bed, and let yaur
mother go with you;' that will be enough; I will go to bed, and if ever
I rise from it again, it will not be from a love of life."

The brother, seeing that conversation on the subject of her grief only
caused her to feel more deeply, deemed it better to terminate than to
continue a dialogue which only aggravated her sufferings.

"I trust and hope, dear Una," he said, "that you will observe my
father's advice, and make at least a worthy effort to support yourself,
under what certainly is a heavy affliction to you, in a manner becoming
your own character. For his sake--for my mother's, and for mine, too,
endeavor to have courage; be firm--and, Una, if you take my advice,
you'll pray to God to strengthen you; for, after all, there is no
support in the moment of distress and sorrow, like His."

"But is it not strange, John, that such heavy misfortunes should fall
upon two persons so young, and who deserve it so little?"

"It may be a trial sent for your advantage and his; who can say but it
may yet end for the good of you both? At present, indeed, there is no
probability of its ending favorably, and, even should it not, we are
bound to bear with patience such dispensations as the Great Being, to
whom we owe our existence, and of whose ways we know so little, may
think right to lay upon us. Now, God bless you, and support you, dear,
till I see you again. I must go; don't you hear the jaunting-car driving
up to the gate; be firm--dear Una--be firm, and good--by!"

Never was a day spent under the influence of a more terrible suspense
than that which drank up the strength of this sinking girl during
the trial of her lover. Actuated by a burning and restless sense of
distraction, she passed from place to place with that mechanical step
which marks those who seek for comfort in vain. She retired to her
apartment and strove to pray; but the effort was fruitless; the
confusion of her mind rendered connection and continuity of thought and
language impossible. At one moment she repaired to the scenes where they
had met, and again with a hot and aching brain, left them with a shudder
that arose from a withering conception of the loss of him whose image,
by their association, was at once rendered more distinct and more
beloved. Her poor mother frequently endeavored to console her, but
became too much affected herself to proceed. Nor were the servants less
anxious to remove the heavy load of sorrow which weighed down her young
spirit to the earth. Her brief, but affecting reply was the same to
each.

"Nothing can comfort me; my heart is breaking; oh, leave me--leave me to
the sorrow that's upon, me."

Deep, indeed, was the distress felt on her account, even by the
females of her father's house, who, that day, shed many bitter tears
on witnessing the mute but feverish agony of her sufferings. As evening
approached she became evidently more distracted and depressed; her
head, she said, felt hot, and her temples occasionally throbbed with
considerable violence. The alternations of color on her cheek were
more frequent than before, and their pallid and carmine hues were more
alarmingly contrasted. Her weeping mother took the stricken one to her
bosom, and, after kissing her burning and passive lips, pressed her
temples with a hope that this might give her relief.

"Why don't you cry, _anien maehree_? (daughter of my heart). Thry and
shed tears; it 'ill take away this burning pain that's in your poor head;
oh, thry and let down the tears, and you'll see how it 'ill relieve I
you."

"Mother, I can't," she replied; "I can shed no tears; I wish they were
home, for I the worst couldn't be worse than this."

"No, asthore, it couldn't--it can't; husth! I--do you hear it? There
they are; that's the car; ay, indeed, it's at the gate."

They both listened for a moment, and the voices of her father and
brother were distinctly heard giving some necessary orders! to the
servant.

"Mother, mother," exclaimed Una, pressing her hands upon her heart, "my
heart is bursting, and my temples--my temples--"

"Chierna yeelish," said the mother, feeling its strong and rapid
palpitations, "you can't stand this. Oh, darling of my heart, for the
sake of your own life, and of the living God, be firm!"

At this moment their knock at the hall-door occasioned her to leap with
a sudden start, almost out of her mother's arms. But, all at once, the
tumult of that heart ceased, and the vermillion of her cheek changed to
the hue of death. With a composure probably more the result of weakness
than fortitude, she clasped her hands, and giving a fixed gaze towards
the parlor-door, that spoke the resignation of despair, she awaited the
tidings of her lover's doom. They both entered, and, after a cautious
glance about the room, immediately perceived the situation in which,
reclining on her mother's bosom, she lay, ghastly as a corpse, before
them.

"Una, dear," said John, approaching her, "I am afraid you are ill."

She riveted her eyes upon him, as if she would read his soul, but she
could not utter a syllable.

The young man's countenance became overshadowed by a deep and mournful
sense of the task he found himself compelled to perform; his voice
faltered, and his lips trembled, as--, in a low tone of heartfelt and
profound sympathy, he exclaimed:

"Una, dear, you had better go to bed, and let my mother stay with you."
Calmly she heard him, and, rising, she slowly but deliberately left
the room, and proceeded up stairs with a degree of steadiness which
surprised her mother. The only words she uttered on hearing this
blighting communication, were, "Come with me, mother."

"Una, darling," said the latter when they had reached the bed-room, "why
don't you spake to me? Let me hear your voice, jewel; only let me hear
your voice."

Una stooped and affectionately kissed her, but made no reply for some
minutes. She then began to undress, which she did in fits and starts;
sometimes pausing, in evident abstraction, for a considerable time, and
again resuming the task of preparing for bed.

"Mother," she at length said, "my heart is as cold as ice; but my brain
is burning; feel my temples; how hot they are, and how they beat!"

"I do, alanna dheelish; your body, as well as your mind, is sick; but
we'll sind for the doctor, darlin', and you'll soon be betther, I hope."

"I hope so; and then Connor and I can be married in spite of them. Don't
they say, mother, that marriages are made in heaven?"

"They do, darlin'."

"Well, then, I will meet him there. Oh, my head--my head! I cannot
bear--bear this racking pain."

Her mother, who, though an uneducated woman, was by no means deficient
in sagacity, immediately perceived that her mind was beginning to
exhibit symptoms of being unsettled. Having, therefore, immediately
called one of the maid-servants, she gave her orders to stay with Una,
who had now gone to bed, until she herself could again return to her.
She instantly proceeded to the parlor, where her husband and son were,
and with a face pale from alarm, told them that she feared Una's mind
was going.

"May the Almighty forbid!" exclaimed her father, laying down his knife
and fork, for they had just sat down to dinner; "oh, what makes you say
such a thing, Bridget? What on earth makes you think it?"

"For Heaven's sake, mother, tell us at once," inquired the son, rising
from the table, and walking distractedly across the room.

"Why, she's beginning to rave about him," replied her mother; "she's
afther saying that she'll be married to him in spite o' them."

"In spite o' who, Bridget?" asked the Bodagh, wiping his eyes--"in spite
o' who does she mane?"

"Why, I suppose in spite of Flanagan and thim that found him guilty,"
replied his wife.

"Well, but what else did she say, mother?"

"She axed me if marriages warn't made in heaven; and I tould her that
the people said so; upon that she said she'd meet him there, and then
she complained of her head. The trewth is, she has a heavy load of
sickness on her back, and the sorra hour should be lost till we get a
docthor."

"Yes, that is the truth, mother; I'll go this moment for Dr. H----.
There's nothing like taking these things in time. Poor Una! God knows
this trial is a sore one upon a heart so, faithful and affectionate as
hers."

"John, had you not betther ait something before you go?" said his
father; "you want it afther the troublesome day you had."

"No, no," replied the son; "I cannot--I cannot; I will neither eat nor
drink till I hear what the doctor will say about her. O, my God!" he
exclaimed, whilst his eyes filled with tears, "and is it come to this
with you, our darling Una?--I won't lose a moment till I return,"
he added, as he went out; "nor will I, under any circumstances, come
without medical aid of some kind."

"Let these things be taken away, Bridget," said the Bodagh; "my appetite
is gone, too; that last news is the worst of all. May the Lord of heaven
keep our child's mind right! for, oh, Bridget, wouldn't death itself be
far afore that?"

"I'm going up to her," replied his wife; "and may God guard her, and
spare her safe and sound to us; for what--what kind of a house would it
be if she----but I can't think of it. Oh, wurrah, wurrah, this night!"

Until the return of their son, with the doctor, both O'Brien and his
wife hung in a state of alarm bordering on agony over the bed of
their beloved daughter. Indeed, the rapidity and vehemence with which
incoherence, accompanied by severe illness, set in, were sufficient to
excite the greatest alarm, and to justify their darkest apprehensions.
Her skin was hot almost to burning; her temples throbbed terribly, and
such were her fits of starting and raving, that they felt as if every
minute were an hour, until the physician actually made his appearance.
Long before tins gentleman reached the house, the son had made him
fully acquainted with what he looked upon as the immediate cause of her
illness; not that the doctor himself had been altogether ignorant of
it, for, indeed, there were few persons of any class or condition in the
neighborhood to whom that circumstance was unknown.

On examining the diagnostics that presented themselves, he pronounced
her complaint to be brain fever of the most formidable class, to wit,
that which arises from extraordinary pressure upon the mind, and unusual
excitement of the feelings. It was a relief to her family, however, to
know that beyond the temporary mental aberrations, inseparable from the
nature of her complaint, there was no evidence whatsoever of insanity.
They felt grateful to God for this, and were consequently enabled to
watch her sick-bed with more composure, and to look forward to her
ultimate recovery with a hope less morbid and gloomy. In this state
we are now compelled to leave them and her, and to beg the reader will
accompany us to another house of sorrow, where the mourning was still
more deep, and the spirits that were wounded driven into all the wild
and dreary darkness of affliction.

Our readers cannot forget the helpless state of intoxication, in which
Fardorougha left his unhappy son on the evening of the calamitous day
that saw him doomed to an ignominious death. His neighbors, as we then
said, having procured a car, assisted him home, and would, for his
wife's and son's sake, have afforded him all the sympathy in their
power; he was, however, so completely overcome with the spirits he had
drank, and an unconscious latent feeling of the dreadful sentence that
had been pronounced upon his son, that he required little else at their
hands than to keep him steady on the car. During the greater part of the
journey home, his language was only a continuation of the incoherencies
which Connor had, with such a humiliating sense of shame and sorrow,
witnessed in his prison cell. A little before they arrived within sight
of his house, his companions perceived that he had fallen asleep; but
to a stranger, ignorant of the occurrences of the day, the car presented
the appearance of a party returning from a wedding or from some other
occasion equally festive and social. Most of them were the worse for
liquor, and one of them in particular had reached a condition which
may be too often witnessed in this country. I mean that in which the
language becomes thick; the eye knowing but vacant; the face impudent
but relaxed; the limbs tottering, and the voice inveterately disposed
to melody. The general conversation, therefore, of those who accompanied
the old man was, as is usual with persons so circumstanced, high and
windy; but as far as could be supposed by those who heard them cheerful
and amiable. Over the loudness of their dialogue might be heard, from
time to time, at a great distance, the song of the drunken melodist just
alluded to, rising into those desperate tones which borrow their drowsy
energy from intoxication alone. Such was the character of those who
accompanied the miser home; and such were the indications conveyed
to the ears or eyes of I those who either saw or heard them, as they
approached Fardorougha's dwelling, where the unsleeping heart of
the mother watched--and oh! with what a dry and burning anguish of
expectation, let our readers judge--for the life or death of the only
child that God had ever vouchsafed to that loving heart on which to rest
all its tenderest hopes and affections.

The manner in which Honor O'Donovan spent that day was marked by
an earnest and simple piety that would have excited high praise and
admiration if witnessed in a person of rank or consideration in society.
She was, as the reader may remember, too ill to be able to attend the
trial of her son, or as she herself expressed it in Irish, to draw
strength to her heart by one look at his manly face; by one glance from
her boy's eye. She resolved, however, to draw consolation from a higher
source, and to rest the burden of her sorrows, as far as in her lay,
upon that being in whose hands are the issues of life and death. From
the moment her husband left the threshold of his childless house on that
morning until his return, her prayers to God and the saints were truly
incessant. And who is so well acquainted with the inscrutable ways of
the Almighty, as to dare assert that the humble supplications of this
pious and sorrowful mother were not heard and answered? Whether it was
owing to the fervor of an imagination wrought upon by the influence of
a creed which nourishes religious enthusiasm in an extraordinary degree,
or whether it was by direct support from that God who compassionated her
affliction, let others determine; but certain it is, that in the
course of that day she gained a calmness and resignation, joined to an
increasing serenity of heart, such as she had not hoped to feel under a
calamity so black and terrible.

On hearing the approach of the car which bore her husband home, and on
listening to the noisy mirth of those, who, had they been sober, would
have sincerely respected her grief, she put up an inward prayer of
thanksgiving to God for what she supposed to be the happy event of
Connor's acquittal. Stunning was the blow, however, and dreadful the
revulsion of feelings, occasioned by the discovery of this sad mistake.
When they reached the door she felt still farther persuaded that all
had ended as she wished, for to nothing else, except the wildness of
unexpected joy, could she think of ascribing her husband's intoxication.

"We must carry Fardorougha in," said one of them to the rest; "for the
liquor has fairly overcome him--he's sound asleep."

"He is cleared!" exclaimed the mother; "he is cleared! My heart tells me
he has come out without a stain. What else could make his father, that
never tasted liquor for the last thirty years, be as he is?"

"Honor O'Donovan," said one of them, wringing her hand as he spoke,
"this has been a black day to you all; you must prepare yourself for
bad news."

"Thin Christ and his blessed mother support me, and support us all! but
what is the worst? oh, what is the worst?"

"The _barradh dhu_," replied the man, alluding to the black cap which
the judge puts on when passing sentence of death.

"Well," said she, "may the name of the Lord that sent this upon us be
praised forever! That's no rason why we shouldn't still put our trust
and reliance in him. I will show them, by the help of God's grace, an'
by the assistance of His blessed mother, who suffered herself--an' oh,
what is my sufferin's to her's?--I will show them I say, that I can
bear, as a Christian ought, whatever hard fate it may plase the Saviour
of the earth to lay upon us. I know my son is innocent, an surely,
although it's hard, hard to part with such a boy, yet it's a consolation
to know that he'll be better wid God, who is takin' him, than ever he'd
be wid us. So the Lord's will be done this night and forever! amin!"

This noble display of glowing piety and fortitude was not lost upon
those who witnessed it. After littering these simple but exalted
sentiments, she crossed herself devoutly, as is the custom, and bowed
her head with such a vivid sense of God's presence, that it seemed as if
she actually stood, as no doubt she did, under the shadow of His power.
These men, knowing the force of her love to that son, and the consequent
depth of her misery at losing him by a death so shameful and violent,
reverently took off their hats as she bent her head to express this
obedience to the decrees of God, and in a subdued tone and manner
exclaimed, almost with one voice--

"May God pity you, Honor! for who but yourself would or could act as you
do this bitther, bitther night?"

"I'm only doin' what I ought to do," she replied, "what is religion good
for if it doesn't keep the heart right an' support us undher thrials
like this; what 'ud it be then but a name? But how, oh how, came his
father to be in sich a state on this bitther, bitther night, as you say
it is--aif oh! Heaven above sees it's that--how came his father, I say,
into sich a state?"

They then related the circumstance as it actually happened; and she
appeared much relieved to hear that his inebriety was only accidental.

"I am glad," she said, "that he got it as he did; for, indeed, if he had
made himself dhrunk this day, as too many like him do on such occasions,
he never again would appear the same man in my eyes, nor would my heart
ever more warm to him as it did. But thanks to God that he didn't take
it himself!"

She then heard, with a composure that could result only from fortitude
and resignation united, a more detailed account of her son's trial,
after which she added--

"As God is above me this night I find it asier to lose Connor than to
forgive the man that destroyed him; but this is a bad state of heart,
that I trust my Saviour will give me grace to overcome; an' I know He
will if I ax it as I ought; at all events, I won't lay my side on a bed
this night antil I pray to God to forgive Bartle Flanagan an' to turn
his heart."

She then pressed them, with a heart as hospitable as it was pious, to
partake of food, which they declined, from a natural reluctance to give
trouble where the heart is known to be pressed down by the violence of
domestic calamity. These are distinctions which our humble countrymen
draw with a delicacy that may well shame those who move in a higher rank
of life. Respect for unmerited affliction, and sympathy for the sorrows
of the just and virtuous, are never withheld by the Irish peasant when
allowed by those who can guide him either for goqd or for evil to follow
the impulses of his own heart. The dignity, for instance, of Honor
O'Donovan's bearing under a trial so overwhelming in its nature, and the
piety with which she supported it, struck them, half tipsy as they were,
so forcibly, that they became sobered down--some of them into a full
perception of her firmness and high religious feelings; and those who
were more affected by drink into a maudlin gravity of deportment still
more honorable to the admirable principles of the woman who occasioned
it.

One of the latter, for instance, named Bat Hanratty, exclaimed, after
they had bade her good, night, and expressed their unaffected sorrow for
the severe loss she was about to sustain:

"Well, well, you may all talk; but be the powdhers o' delf, nothin'
barrin' the downright grace o' God could sup--sup--port that dacent
mother of ould Fardorougha--I mane of his son, poor Connor. But the
truth is, you see, that there's nothin'--nothin' no, the divil saize the
hap'o'rth at all, good, bad, or indifferent aquil to puttin' your trust
in God; bekase, you see--Con Roach, I say--bekase you see, when a man
does that as he ought to do it; for it's all faisthelagh if you go the
wrong way about it; but Con--Condy, I say, you're a dacent man, an' it
stands to raison--it does, boys--upon my soul it does. It wasn't for
nothin' that money was lost upon myself, when I was takin' in the
edjigation; and maybe, if Connor O'Donovan, that is now goin' to suffer,
poor fellow--

     For the villain swore away my life, an' all by perjuree;
     And for that same I die wid shame upon the gallows tree.

So, as I was sayin', why didn't Connor come in an' join the boys like
another, an' then we could settle Bartle for staggin' against him. For,
you see, in regard o'. that, Condy, it doesn't signify a traneen whether
he put a match to the haggard or not; the thing is, you know, that even
if he did, Bartle daren't sweat against him widout breakin' his first
oath to the boys; an' if he did it afther that, an' brought any of them
into throuble conthrary to the articles, be gorra he'd be entitled to
get a gusset opened undher one o' his ears, any how. But you see, Con,
be the book--God pardon me for swearin'--but be the book, the mother has
the thrue! ralligion in her heart, or she'd never stand it the way she
does, an' that proves what I was axpoundin'; that afther all, the sorra
hap'-o'rth aquil to the grace o' God."

He then sang a comic song, and, having passed an additional eulogium
on the conduct of Honor O'Donovan, concluded by exhibiting some rather
unequivocal symptoms of becoming pathetic from sheer sympathy; after
which the stiporific effect of his libations soon hushed him into a
snore that acted as a base to the shrill tones in which his companions I
addressed one another from each side of the car.

Fardorougha, ever, since the passion of avarice had established its
accursed dominion in his heart, narrowed by degrees his domestic
establishment, until, towards the latter years of his life, it consisted
of only a laboring boy, as the term is, and a servant girl.

Indeed, no miser was ever known to maintain a large household; and that
for reasons too obvious to be detailed. Since Connor's incarceration,
however, his father's heart had so far expanded, that he hired two men
as inside servants, one of them, now the father of a large family, being
the identical Nogher M'Cormick, who, as the reader remembers, was in his
service at the time of Connor's birth. The other was a young man named
Thaddy Star, or Reillaghan, as it is called in Irish, who was engaged
upon the recommendation of Biddy Nulty, then an established favorite
with her master and mistress, in consequence of her faithful devotion
to! them and Connor, and her simple-hearted participation in their heavy
trouble. The manner in which they received the result of her son's trial
was not indeed calculated to sustain his mother. In the midst of the
clamor, however, she was calm and composed; but it would have been
evident, to a close observer, that a deep impression of religious duty
alone sustained her, and that the yearnings of the mother's heart,
though stilled by resignation to the Divine Will, were yet more
intensely agonized by the suppression of what she secretly felt. Such,
however, is the motive of those heroic acts of self-denial, which
religion only can enable us to perform. It does not harden the heart, or
prevent it from feeling the full force of the calamity or sorrow which
comes upon us; no, but whilst we experience it in all the rigor of
distress, it teaches us to reflect that suffering is our lot, and that
it is our duty to receive these severe dispensations in such a manner as
to prevent others from being corrupted by our impatience, or by our open
want of submission to the decrees of Providence. When the agony of the
Man of Sorrow was at its highest, He retired to a solitary place, and
whilst every pore exuded water and blood, he still exclaimed--"Not My
will, but Thine be done." Here was resignation, indeed, but at the
same time a heart exquisitely sensible of all it had to bear. And much,
indeed, as yet lay before that of the pious mother of our unhappy hero,
and severe was the trial which, on this very night, she was doomed to
encounter.

When Fardorougha awoke, which he did not do until about three o'clock
in the morning, he looked wildly about him, and, starting up in the bed,
put his two hands on his temples, like a man distracted by acute pain;
yet anxious to develop in his memory the proceedings of the foregoing
day. The inmates, however, were startled from their sleep by a shriek,
or rather a yell, so loud and unearthly that in a few minutes they stood
collected about his bed. It would be impossible, indeed, to conceive,
much less to describe, such a picture of utter horror as then presented
itself to their observation. A look that resembled the turbid glare of
insanity was riveted upon them whilst he uttered shriek after shriek,
without the power of articulating a syllable. The room, too, was dim and
gloomy; for the light of the candle that was left burning beside him had
become ghastly for want of snuffing. There he sat--his fleshless hands
pressed against his temples; his thin, gray hair standing out wildly
from his head; his lips asunder; and his cheeks sucked in so far that
the chasms occasioned in his jawbones, by the want of his back teeth,
were plainly visible.

"Chiemah dheelish," exclaimed Honor, "what is this? as Heaven's above
me, I believe he's dyin'; see how he gasps! Here, Fardorougha," she
exclaimed, seizing a jug of water which had been left on a chair beside
him, but which he evidently did not see, "here, here, darlin', wet your
lips; the cool water will refresh you."

He immediately clutched the jug with eager and trembling hands, and at
one rapid draught emptied it to the bottom.

"Now," he shouted, "I can spake, now I can spake. Where's my son?
where's my son? an' what has happened me? how did I come here? was I
mad? am I mad? but tell me, tell me first, where's Connor? Is it thrue?
is it all thrue? or is it me that's mad?"

"Fardorougha, dear," said his wife, "be a man, or, rather, be a
Christian. It was God gave Connor to us, and who has a better right
to take him back from us? Don't go flyin' in His face, bekase He won't
ordher everything as you wish. You haven't taken off of you to-night, so
rise, dear, and calm yourself; then go to your knees, lift your heart
to God, and beg of Him to grant you stringth and patience. Thry that
coorse, avoumeen, an' you'll find it the best."

"How did I come home I say, Oh tell me Honor, was I out of my wits?"

"You fainted," she replied; they gave you whiskey to support you; an'
not bein' accustomed to it, it got into your head."

"Oh, Honor, our son, our son!" he replied; then, starting out of the
bed in a fit of the wildest despair, he clasped his handy together, and
shrieked out, "Oh, our son, our son, our son Connor! Merciful Saviour,
how will I name it? to be hanged by the neck! Oh, Honor, Honor, don't
you pity me? don't you pity me? Mother of Heaven, this night? That
barradh dim, that barradh dim, put on for our boy, our innocent boy;
who can undherstand it, Honor? It's not justice; there's no justice in
Heaven, or my son wouldn't be murdhered, slaughtered down in the prime
of his life, for no rason! But no matther; let him be taken; only hear
this: if he goes, I'll never,bend my knee to a single prayer while I've
life; for it's terrible, it's cruel, 'tisn't justice; nor do I care what
becomes of me, either in this world or the other. All I want, Honor,
is to folly him as soon as I can; my hopes, my happiness, my life, my
everything, is gone wid him; an' what need I care, thin, what becomes of
me? I don't, I don't."

The faces of the domestics grew pale as they heard, with silent horror,
the incoherent blasphemies of the frantic miser; but his wife, whose
eyes were riveted on him while he spoke, and paced, with a hurried step,
up and down the room, felt at a loss whether to attribute his impiety to
an attack of insanity, or to a temporary fever, brought on by his late
sufferings and the intoxication of the preceding night.

"In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Fardorougha," she
said calmly, placing her hand upon his shoulder, "are you sinsible that
you're this minute afther blasphemin' your Creator?"

He gave her a quick, disturbed, and peevish look, but made no reply. She
then proceeded:

"Fardorougha, I thought the loss of Connor the greatest punishment that
could be put upon me; but I find I was mistaken. I would rather see
him dead to-morrow, wid, wid the rope about his neck, than to hear his
father blasphemin' the livin' God! Fardorougha, it's clear that you're
not now fit to pray for yourself, but, in the name of our Saviour, I'll
go an' pray for you. In the mean time, go to bed; sleep will settle your
head, and you will be better, I trust, in the mornin'."

The calm solemnity of her manner awed him, notwithstanding the vehemence
of his grief. He stood and looked at her, with his hands tightly
clasped, as she went to her son's bedroom, in order to pray for him.
For a moment, he seemed abashed and stunned. While she addressed him, he
involuntarily ceased to utter those sounds of anguish which were neither
shrieks nor groans, but something between both. He theli resumed his
pace, but with a more settled step, and for some minutes maintained
perfect silence.

"Get me," said he, at length, "get me a drink of wather; I'm in a flame
wid drouth."

When Biddy Nulty went out to fetch him this, he inquired of the rest
what Honor meant by charging him with blasphemy.

"Surely to God, I didn't blasphame," he said, peevishly; "no, no, I'm
not that bad; but any how, let her pray for me; her prayer will be
heard, if ever woman's was."

When Biddy returned, he emptied the jug of water with the same trembling
eagerness as before; then clasped his hands again, and commenced pacing
the room, evidently in a mood of mind about to darken into all the
wildness of his former grief.

"Fardorougha," said Nogher M'Cormick; "I was undher this roof the
night your manly son was born. I remimber it well; an' I remimber more
betoken, I had to check you for flying in the face o' God that sent
him to you. Instead o' feelin' happy and delighted, as you ought to ha'
done, an' as any other man but yourself would, you grew dark an' sulky,
and grumbled bekase you thought there was a family comin'. I tould you
that night to take care an' not be committing sin; an' you may renumber,
too, that I gev you chapter an' verse for it out o' Scripture: 'Woe
be to the man that's born wid a millstone about his neck, especially
if he's to be cast into the say.' The truth is, Fardorougha, you warn't
thankful to God for him; and you see that afther all, it doesn't do to
go to loggerheads wid the Almighty. Maybe, had you been thankful for
him, he wouldn't be where he is this night. Millstone! Faith, it was
a home thrust, that same verse; for if you didn't carry the millstone
about your neck, you had it in your heart; an' you now see and feel the
upshot. I'm now goin' fast into age myself; my hair is grayer than your
own, and I could take it to my death," said the honest fellow, while a
tear or two ran slowly down his cheek; "that, exceptin' one o' my own
childre', an' may God spare them to me! I couldn't feel more sorrow at
the fate of any one livin', than at Connor's. Many a time I held him in
these arms, an' many a little play I made for him; an' many a time he
axed me why his father didn't nurse him as I did;' bekase,' he used to
say, 'I would rather he would nurse me than anybody else, barring my
mother; and, afther him, you, Nogher.'"

These last observations of his servant probed the heart of the old man
to the quick; but the feeling which they excited was a healthy one; or,
rather, the associations they occasioned threw Fardorougha's mind upon
the memory of those affections, which avarice had suppressed, without
destroying.

"I loved him, Nogher," said he, deeply agitated; "Oh none but God knows
how I loved him, although I didn't an' couldn't bring myself to show
it at the time. There was something upon me; a curse, I think, that
prevented me; an' now that I love him as a father ought to do, I will
not have him. Oh, my son, my son, what will become of me, after you?
Heavenly Father, pity me and support me! Oh, Connor, my son, my son,
what will become of me?"

He then sat down on the bed, and, placing his hands upon his face, wept
long and bitterly. His grief now, however, was natural, for, during the
most violent of his paroxysms in the preceding hour, he shed not a tear;
yet now they ran down his cheeks, and through his fingers, in torrents.

"Cry on, cry on," said Nogher, wiping his own eyes; "it will lighten
your heart; an' who knows but it's his mother's prayers that brought
you to yourself, and got this relief for you. Go, Biddy," said he, in
a whisper, to the servant-maid, "and tell the mistress to come here;
she'll know best how to manage him, now that he's a little calm."

"God be praised!" ejaculated Honor, on seeing him weep; "these tears
will cool your head, avourneen; an' now, Fardorougha, when you're tired
cryin', if you take my advice, you'll go to your knees an' offer up five
pathers, five Aves, an' a creed, for the grace of the Almighty to direct
and strengthen you; and thin, afther that, go to bed, as I sed, an'
you'll find how well you'll be afther a sound sleep."

"Honor," replied her husband, "avourneen machree, I think you'll save
your husband's sowl yet, undhor my merciful Saviour."

"Your son, undher the same merciful God, will do it. Your heart was
hard and godless, Fardorougha, and, surely, if Connor's death 'll be the
manes of savin' his father's sowl, wouldn't it be a blessin' instead
of a misfortune? Think of it in that light, Fardorougha, and turn your
heart to God. As for Connor, isn't it a comfort to know that the breath
won't be out of his body till he's a bright angel in heaven?"

The old man wiped his eyes and knelt down, first having desired them to
leave him. When the prayers were recited he called in Honor.

"I'm afeard," said he, "that my heart wasn't properly in them, for I
couldn't prevent my mind from wanderin' to our boy."

This touching observation took the mother's affections by surprise.
A tear started to her eye, but, after what was evidently a severe
struggle, she suppressed it.

"It's not at once you can do it, Fardorougha; so don't be cast down.
Now, go to bed, in the name of God, and sleep; and may the Lord in
heaven support you--and support us both! for oh! it's we that want it
this night of sorrow!"

She then stooped down and affectionately kissed him, and, having wished
him good night, she retired to Connor's bed, where, ever since the day
of his incarceration, this well-tried mother and enduring Christian
slept.

At this stage of our story we will pause, for a moment, to consider
the state of mind and comparative happiness of the few persons who are
actors in our humble drama.

To a person capable of observing only human action, independently of the
motives by which it is regulated, it may appear that the day which saw
Connor O'Donovan consigned to a premature and shameful death, was one of
unmingled happiness to Bartle Flanagan. They know little of man's heart,
however, who could suppose this to be the case, or, who could even
imagine that he was happier than those on whom his revenge and perfidy
had entailed such a crushing load of misery. It is, indeed, impossible
to guess what the nature of that feeling must be which arises from the
full gratification of mean and diabolic malignity. Every action of the
heart at variance with virtue and truth is forced to keep up so many
minute and fearful precautions, all of which are felt to be of vast
moment at the time, that we question if ever the greatest glut of
vengeance produced, no matter what the occasion may have been, any
satisfaction capable of counterbalancing all the contigencies and
apprehensions by which the mind is distracted both before and after its
preparation. The plan and accomplishment must both be perfect in all
their parts--for if either fail only in a single point, all is lost, and
the pleasure arising from them resembles the fruit which is said to grow
by the banks of the Dead Sea--it is beautiful and tempting to the eye,
but bitterness and ashes to the taste.

The failing of the county treasurer, for instance, deprived Bartle
Flanagan of more than one half his revenge. He was certainly far more
anxious to punish the father than the son, and were it not that he
saw no other mode of effecting his vengeance on Fardorougha, than by
destroying the only object on earth that he loved next to his wealth, he
would have never made the innocent pay the penalty of the guilty. As he
had gone so far, however, self-preservation now made him anxious that
Connor should die; as he knew his death would remove out of his way the
only person in existence absolutely acquainted with his villany. One
would think, indeed, that the sentence pronounced upon his victim ought
to have satisfied him on that head. This, however, it failed to do. That
sentence contained one clause, which utterly destroyed the completeness
of his design, and filled his soul with a secret apprehension either of
just retribution, or some future ill which he could not shake off,
and for which the reward received for Connor's apprehension was but
an ineffectual antidote. The clause alluded to in the judge's charge,
viz.--"the recommendation of the jury to the mercy of the Crown, in
consideration of your youth, and previous good conduct, shall not be
overlooked"--sounded in his ears like some mysterious sentence that
involved his own fate, and literally filled his heart with terror and
dismay. Independently of all this his villanous projects had involved
him in a systematic course of guilt, which was yet far from being
brought to a close. In fact, he now found by experience how difficult it
is to work out a bad action with success, and how the means, and plans,
and instruments necessary to it must multiply and become so deep and
complicated in guilt, that scarcely any single intellect, in the case
of a person who can be reached by the laws, is equal to the task of
executing a great crime against society, in a perfect manner. If this
were so, discovery would be impossible, and revenge certain.

With respect to Connor himself it is only necessary to say that a short
but well-spent life, and a heart naturally firm, deprived death of its
greatest terrors. Still he felt it, in some depressed moods, a terrible
thing indeed to reflect, that he, in the very fullness of strength and
youth, should be cut down from among his fellows--a victim without a
crime, and laid with shame in the grave of a felon. But he had witnessed
neither his mother's piety nor her example in vain, and it was in the
gloom of his dungeon that he felt the light of both upon his spirit.

"Surely," said he, "as I am to die, is it not better that I should die
innocent than guilty? Instead of fretting that I suffer, a guiltless
man, surely I ought to thank God that I am so; an' that my soul hasn't
to meet the sin of such a revengeful act as I'm now condemned for. I'll
die, then, like a Christian man, putting my hope and trust in the mercy
of my Redeemer--ever an' always hoping that by His assistance I will be
enabled to do it."

Different, indeed, were the moral state and position of these two young
men; the one, though lying in his prison cell, was sustained by the
force of conscious innocence, and that reliance upon the mercy of God,
which constitutes the highest order of piety, and the noblest basis of
fortitude; the other, on the contrary, disturbed by the tumultuous and
gloomy associations of guilt, and writhing under the conviction, that,
although he had revenge, he had not satisfaction. The terror of crime
was upon him, and he felt himself deprived of that best and only
security, which sets all vain apprehensions at defiance, the
consciousness of inward integrity. Who, after all, would barter an
honest heart for the danger arising from secret villany, when such an
apparently triumphant villain as Bartle Flanagan felt a deadly fear, of
Connor O'Donovan in his very dungeon? Such, however, is guilt, and such
are the terrors that accompany it.

The circumstances which, in Ireland, usually follow the conviction of
a criminal, are so similar to each other, that we feel it, even in this
case, unnecessary to do more than give a mere sketch of Connor's brief
life as a culprit. We have just observed that the only clause in the
judge's charge which smote the heart of the traitor, Flanagan, with a
presentiment of evil, was that containing the words in which something
like a, hope of having his sentence mitigated was held out to him, in
consequence of the recommendation to mercy by which the jury accompanied
their verdict. It is very strange, on the other hand, that, at the
present stage of our story, neither his father nor mother knew anything
whatsoever of the judge having given expression to such a hope. The
old man, distracted as he was at the time, heard nothing, or at least
remembered nothing, but the awful appearance of the black cap, or, as
they term it in the country, the barradh dhu, and the paralyzing
words in which the sentence of death was pronounced upon his son.
It consequently happened that the same clause in the charge actually,
although in a different sense, occasioned the misery of Bartle Flanagan
on the one hand, and of Connor's parents on the other.

The morning after the trial, Fardorougha was up as early as usual, but
his grief was nearly as vehement and frantic as on the preceding night.
It was observed, however--such is the power of sorrow to humanize and
create sympathy in the heart--that, when he arose, instead of peevishly
and weakly obtruding his grief and care upon those about him, as he was
wont to do, he now kept aloof from the room in which Honor slept, from
an apprehension of disturbing her repose--a fact which none who knew his
previous selfishness would have believed, had he not himself expressed
in strong terms a fear of awakening her. Nor did this new trait of his
character escape the observation of his own servants, especially of his
honest monitor, Nogher M'Cormick.

"Well, well," exclaimed this rustic philosopher; "see what God's
affliction does. Faith, it has brought Fardorougha to feel a trifle for
others, as well as for himself. Who knows, begad, but it may take the
millstone out of his heart yet; and if it does, my word to you, he may
thank his wife, undher God, for it."

Before leaving home that morning to see his son, he found with deep
regret that Honor's illness had been so much increased by the events of
the preceding day, that she could not leave her bed. And now, for the
first time, a thought, loaded with double anguish, struck upon his
heart.

"Saver of earth!" he exclaimed, "what would become of me if both should
go and lave me alone? God of heaven, alone! Ay, ay," he continued, "I
see it. I see how asily God might make my situation still worse than I
thought it could be. Oh God, forgive me my sins; and may God soften my
heart! Amin!"

He then went to see his wife ere he set out for his unhappy son; and it
was with much satisfaction that Honor observed a changed and chastened
tone in his manner, which she had never, except for a moment at
the birth of his child, noticed before. Not that his grief was much
lessened, but it was more rational, and altogether free from the
violence and impiety which had characterized it when he awoke from his
intoxication.

"Honor," said he, "how do you find yourself this mornin', alanna? They
tell me you're worse than you Wor yesterday."

"Indeed, I'm wake enough," she replied, "and very much bate down,
Fardorougha; but you know it's not our own stringth at any time that
we're to depend upon, but God's. I'm not willing to attempt anything
beyant my power at present. My seeing him now would do neither of us any
good, and might do me a great dale o' harm. I must see him, to be sure,
and I'll strive, plase God, to gather up a little strength for that."

"My heart's breakin', Honor, and I'm beginnin' to see that I've acted a
bad part to both of you all along. I feel it, indeed; and if it was the
will of God, I didn't care if--"

"Whisht, accushla, whisht--sich talk as that's not right. Think,
Fardorougha, whether you acted a bad part towards God or not, and never
heed us; an' think, too, dear, whether you acted a bad or a good part
towards the poor, an' them that was in distress and hardship, an' that
came to you for relief; they were your fellow-crathers, Fardorougha, at
all evints. Think of these things I'm sayin, and never heed us. You know
that Connor and I forgive you, but you arn't so sure whether God and
them will."

These observations of this estimable woman had the desired effect, which
was, as she afterwards said, to divert her husband's mind as much as
possible from the contemplation of Connor's fate, and to fix it upon
the consideration of those duties in which she knew his conscience, now
touched by calamity, would tell him he had been deficient.

Fardorougha was silent for some time after her last observations--but at
length he observed:

"Would it be possible, Honor, that all this was brought upon us in
ordher to punish me for--for--"

"To punish you, Fardorougha? Fareer gaih avourneen, arn't we all
punished? look at my worn face, and think of what ten days' sorrow can
do in a mother's heart--think, too, of the boy. Oh no, no--do you think
I've have nothin' to be punished for? But we have all one comfort,
Fardorougha, and that is, that God's ever and always willin' to re-save
us, when we turn to Him wid a true heart? Nobody, avillish, can forget
and forgive as He does."

"Honor, why didn't you oftener spake to me this a-way than you did?"

"I often did, dear, an' you may remember it; but you were then strong;
you had your wealth; everything flowed wid you, an' the same wealth--the
world's temptation--was strong in your heart; but God has taken it from
you I hope as a blessing--for, indeed, Fardorougha, I'm afeard if you
had it now, that neither he nor--but I won't say it, dear, for God sees
I don't wish to say one word that 'ud distress you now, avourneen. Any
how, Fardorougha, never despair in God's goodness--never do it; who can
tell what may happen?"

Her husband's grief was thus checked, and a train of serious reflection
laid, which, like some of those self-evident convictions that fastened
on the awakened conscience, the old man could not shake off.

Honor, in her further conversation with him, touching the coming
interview with the unhappy culprit, desired him, above all things, to
set "their noble boy" an example of firmness, and by no means to hold
out to him any expectation of life.

"It would be worse than murdher," she exclaimed, "to do so. No--prepare
him by your advice, Fardorougha, ay, and by your example, to be
firm--and tell him that his mother expects he will die like an innocent
man--noble and brave--and not like a guilty coward, afeard to look up
and meet his God."

Infidels and hypocrites, so long as their career in vice is unchecked
by calamity, will no doubt sneer when we assure them, that Fardorougha,
after leaving his wife that morning once more to visit his son, felt a
sense of relief, or, perhaps we should say, a breaking of faint light
upon his mind, which, slight as it was, afforded him more comfort
and support than he ever hoped to experience. Indeed, it was almost
impossible for any heart to exist within the influence of that piety
which animated his admirable wife, and not catch the holy fire which
there burned with such purity and brightness.

Ireland, however, abounds with such instances of female piety and
fortitude, not, indeed, as they would be made to appear in the
unfeminine violence of political turmoil, in which a truly pious
female would not embroil herself; but in the quiet recesses of domestic
life--in the hard struggles against poverty, and in those cruel
visitations, where the godly mother is forced to see her innocent son
corrupted by the dark influence of political crime, drawn within the
vortex of secret confederacy, and subsequently yielding up his life to
the outraged laws of that country which he assisted to distract. It is
in scenes like these that the unostentatious magnanimity of the pious
Irish wife or mother may be discovered; and it is here where, as the
night and storms of life darken her path, the holy fortitude of her
heart shines with a lustre proportioned to the depth of the gloom around
her.

When Fardorougha reached the town in which his ill-fated son occupied
the cell of a felon, he found to his surprise that, early as were his
habits, there were others whose movements were still more early than his
own. John O'Brien had come to town--been with his attorney--had got a
memorial in behalf of Connor to the Irish government, engrossed, and
actually signed by more than one--half of the jury who tried him--all
before the hour of ten o'clock. A copy of thi's document, which was
written by O'Brien himself, now lies before us, with the names of all
the jurors attached to it; and a more beautiful or affecting piece of
composition we have never read. The energy and activity of O'Brien were
certainly uncommon, and so, indeed, were his motives. As he himself told
Fardorougha, whom he met as the latter entered the town--

"I would do what I have done for Connor, although I have never yet
exchanged a syllable with him. Yet, I do assure you, Fardorougha, that
I have other motives--which you shall never know--far stronger than any
connected with the fate of your son. Now, don't misunderstand me."

"No," replied the helpless old man, who was ignorant of the condition of
his sister, "I will not, indeed--I'd be long sarry."

O'Brien saw that any rational explanation he might give would be
only thrown away upon a man who seemed to be so utterly absorbed and
stupefied by the force of his own sufferings.

"Poor old man," he exclaimed, as Fardorougha left him, to visit Connor;
"see what affliction does? There are thousands now who pity you--even
you, whom almost every one who knew you, cursed and detested."

Such, indeed, was the fact. The old man's hardness of heart was
forgotten in the pity that was produced by the dreadful fate which
awaited his unhappy son. We must now pass briefly over occurrences
which are better understood when left to the reader's imagination.
John O'Brien was not the only one who interested himself in the fate
of Connor. Fardorougha, as a matter of course, got the priest of the
parish, a good and pious man, to draw up a memorial in the name, as he
said, of himself and his wife. The gentry of the neighborhood, also,
including the members of the grand jury, addressed government on his
behalf--for somehow there was created among those who knew the parties,
or even who heard the history of their loves, a sympathy which resulted
more from those generous impulses that intuitively perceive truth, than
from the cooler calculations of reason. The heart never reasons--it
is, therefore, the seat of feeling, and the fountain of mercy; the head
does--and it is probably on that account the seat of justice, often
of severity, and not unfrequently of cruelty and persecution, Connor
himself was much relieved by that day's interview with his father. Even
he could perceive a change for the better in the old man's deportment.
Fardorougha's praises of Honor, and his strong allusions to the support
and affection he experienced at her hands, under circumstances so
trying, were indeed well calculated to prepare "her noble boy," as she
truly called him, for the reception of the still more noble message
which she sent him.

"Father," said he, as they separated that day, "tell my mother that
I will die as she wishes me; and tell her, too, that if I wasn't an
innocent man, I could not do it. And oh, father," he added, and he
seized his hands, and fell upon his neck, "oh, father dear, if you love
me, your own Connor--and I know you do--oh, then, father dear, I say
again, be guided in this heavy affliction by my dear mother's advice."

"Connor," returned the old man, deeply affected, "I will. I had made my
mind up to that afore I saw you at all to-day. Connor, do you know what
I'm beginning to think?"

"No, father dear, I do not."

"Why, then, it's this, that she'll be the manes of savin' your father's
soul. Connor, I can look back now upon my money--all I lost--it was no
doubt terrible--terrible all out. Connor, my rint is due, and I haven't
the manes of meetin' it."

Alas! thought the boy, how hard it is to root altogether out of the
heart that principle which inclines it to the love of wealth!

"At any rate, I will take your advice, Connor, and be guided by your
mother. She's very poorly, or she'd be wid you afore now; but, indeed,
Connor, her health is the occasion of it--it is--it is!"

Fardorougha's apology for his wife contained much more truth than he
himself was aware of at the time he made it. On returning home that
night he found her considerably worse, but, as she had been generally
healthy, he very naturally ascribed her illness to the affliction she
felt for the fate of their son. In this, however, he was mistaken,
as the original cause of it was unconnected with the heavy domestic
dispensation which had fallen upon them. So far as she was concerned,
the fate of her boy would have called up from her heart fresh energy
and' if possible a higher order of meek but pious courage.--She would
not have left him unsustained and uncherished, had the physical powers
of the mother been able to second the sacred principles with which she
met and triumphed over the trial that was laid upon her.

It was one evening about ten days after O'Donovan's conviction that
Bodagh Buie O'Brien's wife sat by the bedside of her enfeebled and
languishing daughter. The crisis of her complaint had passed the day
before; and a very slight improvement, visible only to the eye of
her physician, had taken place. Her delirium remained much as before;
sometimes returning with considerable violence, and again leaving
reason, though feeble and easily disturbed, yet when unexcited by
external causes, capable of applying its powers to the circumstances
around her. On this occasion the mother, who watched every motion and
anticipated every wish of the beloved one, saw that she turned her eye
several times upon her as if some peculiar anxiety distressed her.

"Una, jewel," she at length inquired, "is there anything you want,
colleen maehree; or anything I can do for you?"

"Come near me, mother," she replied, "come near me."

Her mother approached her still more nearly.

"I'm afraid," she said, in a very low voice, "I'm afraid to ask it."

"Only wait for a minute or two," said her mother, "an' John will--but
here's the doctor's foot; they wor spakin' a word or two below;
an' whisper, darlin' o' my heart, sure John has something to tell
you--something that will"--

She looked with a searching anxiety into her mother's face; and it might
have been perceived that the morning twilight of hope beamed faintly but
beautifully upon her pale features. The expression that passed over
them was indeed so light and transient that one could scarcely say
she smiled; yet that a more perceptible serenity diffused its gentle
irradiation over her languid countenance was observed even by her
mother.

The doctor's report was favorable.

"She is slowly improving," he said, on reaching the parlor, "since
yesterday; I'm afraid, however, she's too weak at present to sustain
this intelligence. I would recommend you to wait for a day or two, and
in the meantime to assume a cheerful deportment, and to break it to
her rather by your looks and manner than by a direct or abrupt
communication."

They promised to observe his directions; but when her mother informed
them of the hint she herself threw out to her, they resolved to delay
the matter no longer; and John, in consequence of what his mother had
led her to expect, went to break the intelligence to her as well as
he could. An expectation had been raised in her mind, and he judged
properly enough that there was less danger in satisfying it than in
leaving her just then in a state of such painful uncertainty.

"Dear Una," said he, "I am glad to hear the doctor say that you are
better."

"I think I am a little," said she.

"What was my mother saying to you, just now, before the doctor was with
you? But why do you look at me so keenly, Una?" said he, cheerfully;
"it's sometime since you saw me in such a good humor--isn't it?"

She paused for a moment herself; and her brother could observe that the
hope which his manner was calculated to awaken, lit itself into a faiut
smile rather visible in her eyes than on her features.

"Why, I believe you are smiling yourself, Una."

"John," said she, earnestly, "is it good?"

"It is, darling--he won't die."

"Kiss me, kiss me," she said; "may eternal blessings rest upon you!"

She then kissed him affectionately, laid her head back upon the pillow,
and John saw with delight that the large tears of happiness rolled in
torrents down her palo cheeks.

It was indeed true that Connor O'Donovan was not to die. The memorials
which had reached government from so many quarters, backed as they were
by very powerful influence, and detailing as they did a case of such
very romantic interest, could scarcely fail in arresting the execution
of so stern and deadly a sentence. It was ascertained, too, by the
intercourse of his friends with government, that the judge who tried
his case, notwithstanding the apparent severity of his charge, had been
moved by an irresistible impulse to save him, and he actually determined
from the beginning to have his sentence commuted to transportation for
life.

The happy effect of this communication on Una O'Brien diffused a
cheerful spirit among her family and relatives, who, in truth, had
feared that her fate would ultimately depend upon that of her lover.
After having been much relieved by the copious flood of tears she shed,
and heard with composure all the details connected with the mitigation
of his sentence, she asked her brother if Connor's parents had been yet
made acquainted with it.

"I think not," he replied; "the time is too short."

"John," said the affectionate girl, "oh, consider his mother; and think
of the misery that one single hour's knowledge of this may take away
from her heart! Go to her, my dear John, and may all the blessings of
heaven rest upon you!"

"Good--by, then, Una dear; I will go."

He took her worn hand in his, as he spoke, and, looking on her with
affectionate admiration, added--

"Yes! good-by, my darling sister; believe me, Una, that I think if
there's justice in Heaven, you'll have a light heart yet."

"It is very light now," she returned, "compared with what it was; but
go, John, don't lose a moment; for I know what they suffer."

Her mother, after John's departure for Fardorougha's, went up to sit
with her; but she found that the previous scene, although it relieved,
had exhausted her. In the course of a few minutes their limited dialogue
ceased, and she sank into a sound and refreshing sleep, from which
she did not awaken until her brother had some time returned from the
execution of his pious message. And piously was that message received
by her for whose misery the considerate heart of Una O'Brien felt
so deeply. Fardorougha had been out about the premises, mechanically
looking to the manner in which the business of his farm had been of late
managed by his two servants, when he descried O'Brien approaching the
house at a quick if not a hurried pace. He immediately went in and
communicated the circumstance to his wife.

"Honor," said he, "here is Bodagh Buie's son comin' up to the
house--what on earth can bring the boy here?"

This was the first day on which his wife had been able to rise from her
sick bed. She was consequently feeble, and, physically speaking, capable
of no domestic exertion. Her mind, however, was firm as ever, and prompt
as before her calamity to direct and overlook, in her own sweet and
affectionate manner, whatever required her superintendence.

"I'm sure I don't know, Fardorougha," she replied. "It can't, I hope,
be wid bad news--they thravel fast enough--an' I'm sure the Bodagh's son
wouldn't take pleasure in bein' the first to tell them to us."

"But what can bring him, Honor? What on earth can bring the boy here
now, that never stood undher our roof afore?"

"Three or four minutes, Fardorougha, will tell us. Let us hope in God it
isn't bad. Eh, Saver above, it wouldn't be the death of his sister--of
Connor's Oona! No," she added, "they wouldn't send, much less come, to
tell vis that; but sure we'll hear it--we'll hear it; and may God give
us stringth to hear it right, whether it's good or bad! Amin, Jasus,
this day!"

She had hardly uttered the last words, when O'Brien entered.

"Young man," said this superior woman, '"it's a poor welcome we can give
you to a house of sorrow."

"Ay," said Fardorougha, "his mother an' I's here, but where is he? Nine
days from this; but it 'ill kill me--it will--it will. Whin he's taken
from me, I don't care how soon I folly him; God forgive me if it's a sin
to say so!"

"Fardorougha," said his wife, in a tone of affectionate reproof,
"remember what you promised me, an', at all evints, you forget that Mr.
O'Brien here may have his own troubles; I heard your sister was unwell.
Oh, how is she, poor thing?"

"I thank you, a great deal better; I will not deny but she heard a piece
of intelligence this day, that has relieved her mind and taken a dead
weight off her heart."

Honor, with uncommon firmness and solemnity of manner, placed her hand
upon his shoulder, and, looking him earnestly in the face, said,

"That news is about our son?"

"It is," replied O'Brien, "and it's good; his sentence is changed, and
he is not to die."

"Not to die!" shrieked the old man, starting up, and clapping his hands
frantically--"not to die! our son--Connor, Connor--not to be hanged--not
to be hanged! Did you say that, son of O'Brien Buie, did you--did you?"

"I did," replied the other; "he will not suffer."

"Now that's God," ejaculated Fardorougha, wildly; "that's God an' his
mother's prayers. Boys," he shrieked, "come here; come here, Biddy
Nulty, come her; Connor's not to die; he won't suffer--he won't suffer!"

He was rushing wildly to the door, but Honor placed herself before him,
and said, in that voice of calmness which is uniformly that of authority
and power:

"Fardorougha, dear, calm yourself. If this is God's work, as you say,
why not resave it as comm' from God? It's upon your two knees you ought
to drop, an'--Saver above, what's the matther wid him? He's off; keep
him up. Oh, God bless you! that's it, avourneen; jist place him on the
chair there fornext the door, where he can have air. Here, dear," said
she to Biddy Nulty, who, on hearing herself called by her master, had
come in from another room; "get some feathers, Biddy, till we burn them
undher his nose; but first fetch a jug of cold water."

On looking at the face of the miser, O'Brien started, as indeed well he
might, at such a pallid, worn, and death--like countenance; why, thought
he to himself, surely this must be death, and the old man's cares, and
sorrows, and hopes, are all passed forever.

Honor now bathed his face, and wet his lips with water, and as she
sprinkled and rubbed back the gray hair from his emaciate! temples,
there might be read there an expression of singular wildness that
resembles the wreck produced by insanity.

"He looks ill," observed O'Brien, who actually thought him dead; "but I
hope it won't signify."

"I trust in God's mercy it won't," replied Honor; "for till his heart,
poor man, is brought more to God--"

She paused with untaught delicacy, for she reflected that he was her
husband.

"For that matther, who is there," she continued, "that is fit to go to
their last account at a moment's warnin'? That's a good girl, Biddy;
give me the feathers; there's nothing like them. Dheah Gratihias! Dheah
Gratihias!" she exclaimed, "he's not--he's not--an' I was afeard he
was--no, he's recoverin'. Shake him; rouse him a little; Fardorougha,
dear!"

"Where--where am I?" exclaimed her husband; "what is this? what ails
me?"

He then looked inquiringly at his wife and O'Brien; but it appeared
that the presence of the latter revived in his mind the cause of his
excitement.

"Is it--is it thrue, young man? tell me--tell me!"

"How, dear, can any one have spirits to tell you good news, when you
can't bear it aither like a man or a Christian?"

"Good news! You say, then, it's thrue, an' he's not to be hanged by the
neck, as the judge said; an' my curse--my heavy curse upon him for a
judge!"

"I hate to hear the words of his sentence, Fardorougha," said the wife;
"but if you have patience you'll find that his life's granted to him;
an', for Heaven's sake, curse nobody. The judge only did his duty."

"Well," he exclaimed, sinking upon his knees, "now, from this day out,
let what will happen, I'll stick to my duty to God--I'll repent--I'll
repent and lead a new life. I will, an' while I'm alive I'll never say a
word against the will of my heavenly Saviour; never, never."

"Fardorougha," replied his--wife, "it's good, no doubt, to have a
grateful heart to God; but I'm afeard there's sin in what you're sayin',
for you know, dear, that, whether it plased the Almighty to take yur
boy, or not, what you've promised to do is your duty. It's like sayin',
'I'll now turn my heart bekase God has deserved it at my hands.' Still,
dear, I'm not goin' to condimn you, only I think it's betther an' safer
to love an' obey God for His own sake! blessed be His holy name!"

Young O'Brien was forcibly struck by the uncommon character of Honor
O'Donovan. Her patience, good sense, and sincere acquiescence in the
will of God, under so severe a trial, were such as he had never seen:
equalled. Nor could he help admitting to himself, while contemplating
her conduct, that the example of such a woman was not only the most
beautiful comment on religious truth, but the noblest testimony of its
power.

"Yes, Honor," said the husband, in reply, "you're right, for I know
that what you say is always thrue. It is, indeed," he added, addressing
O'Brien, "she's aquil to a prayer-book."

"Yes, and far superior to any," replied the latter; "for she not only
gives you the advice, but sets you the example."

"Ay, the sorra lie in it; an', oh, Honor, he's not to die--he's not to
be h----, not to suffer. Our son's to live! Oh, Saver of earth, make me
thankful this day!"

The tears ran fast from his eyes as he looked up to heaven, and uttered,
the last; words. Indeed, it was impossible not to feel deep compassion
for this aged man, whose heart had been smitten so heavily, and on the
only two points where it was capable of feeling the blow.

After having indulged his grief for some time, he became considerably
more composed, if not cheerful. Honor made many kind inquiries after
Una's health, to which her brother answered with strict candor, for he
had heard from Una that she was acquainted with the whole history of
their courtship.

"Who knows," said she, speaking with reference to their melancholy fate,
"but the God who has saved his life, an' most likely hers, may yet do
more for them both? While there's life there's hope."

"Young man," said Fardorougha, "you carry a blessin' wid you wherever
you go, an' may God bless you for the news you have brought to us this
day! I'll go to see him tomorrow, an' wid a light heart I'll go too, for
my son is not to die."

O'Brien then took his leave and returned home, pondering, as he went,
upon the singular contrast which existed between the character of the
miser and that of his admirable wife. He was no sooner gone than Honor
addressed her husband as follows:

"Fardorougha, what do you think we ought both to do now afther the happy
news we've heard?"

"I'll be guided by you, Honor; I'll be guided by you."

"Then," said she, "go an' thank God that has taken the edge, the
bitther, keen edge off of our sufferin'; an' the best way, in my
opinion, for you to do it, is to go to the barn by yourself, an' strive
to put your whole heart into your prayers. You'll pray betther by
yourself than wid me. An' in the name of God I'll do the same as well
as I can in the house here. To-morrow, too, is Friday, an', plaise our
Saviour, we'll both fast in honor of His goodness to us an' to our son."

"We will, Honor," said he, "we will, indeed; for now I have spirits to
fast, and spirits to pray, too. What will I say, now? Will I say the
five Decades or the whole Rosary?"

"If you can keep your mind in the prayers, I think you ought to say the
whole of it; but if you wandher don't say more than the five."

Fardorougha then went to the bam, rather because his wife desired him,
than from a higher motive, whilst she withdrew to her own apartment,
there humbly to worship God in thanksgiving.

The next day had made the commutation of Connor's punishment a matter
of notoriety through the whole parish, and very sincere indeed was the
gratification it conveyed to all who heard it. Public fame, it is true,
took her usual liberties with the facts. Some said he had got a
free pardon, others that he was to be liberated after six months'
imprisonment; and a third report asserted that the lord lieutenant sent
him down a hundred pounds to fit him out for marriage with Una; and it
further added that his excellency wrote a letter with his own hand, to
Bodagh Buie, desiring him to give his daughter to Connor on receipt of
it, or if not, that the Knight of the Black Rod would come down, strip
him of his property, and bestow it upon Connor and his daughter.

The young man himself was almost one of the first who heard of this
favorable change in his dreadful sentence.

He was seated on his bedside reading, when the sheriff and jailer
entered his cell, anxious to lay before him the reply which had that
morning arrived from government.

"I'm inclined to think, O'Donovan, that your case is likely to turn out
more favorably than we expected," said the humane sheriff.

"I hope, with all my heart, it may," replied the other; "there is no
denying, sir, that I'd wish it. Life is sweet, especially to a young man
of my years."

"But if we should fail," observed the jailer, "I trust you will act the
part of a man."

"I hope, at all events, that I will act the part of a Christian,"
returned O'Donovan. "I certainly would rather live; but I'm not afeard
of death, and if it comes, I trust I will meet it humbly but firmly."

"I believe," said the sheriff, "you need entertain little apprehension
of death; I'm inclined to think that that part of your sentence is not
likely to be put in execution. I have heard as much."

"I think, sir, by your manner, that you have," returned Connor; "but I
beg you to tell me without goin' about. Don't be afeared, sir, that I'm
too wake to hear either good news or bad."

The sheriff made no reply; but placed in his hands the official document
which remitted to him the awful penalty of his life. Connor read it over
slowly, and the other kept his eye fixed keenly upon his countenance, in
order to observe his bearing under circumstances that are often known
to test human fortitude as severely as death itself. He could, however,
perceive no change; not even the unsteadiness of a nerve or muscle was
visible, nor the slightest fluctuation in the hue of his complexion.

"I feel grateful to the lord lieutenant for his mercy to me," said he,
handing him back the letter, "as I do to the friends who interceded for
me; I never will or can forget their goodness. Oh, never, never!"

"I believe it," said the sheriff; "but there's one thing that I'm
anxious to press upon your attention; and it's this, that no further
mitigation of your punishment is to be expected from government; so that
you must make up your mind to leave your friends and your country for
life, as you know now."

"I expect nothing more," returned Connor, "except this, that the hand
of God may yet bring the guilt of burning home to the man that committed
it, and prove my innocence. I'm _now_ not without some hope that such a
thing may be brought about some how. I thank you, Misther Sheriff, for
your kindness in coming to me with this good news so soon; all that I
can say is, that I thank you from my heart. I am bound to say, too, that
any civility and comfort that could be shown was afforded me ever since
I came here, an' I feel it, an' I'm grateful for it."

Both were deeply impressed by the firm tone of manly sincerity and
earnestness with which he spoke, blended as it was by a melancholy which
gave, at the same time, a character of elevation and pathos to all he
said. They then shook hands with him, after chatting for some time on
indifferent subjects, the jailer promising to make his situation while
he should remain in prison as easy as the regulations would allow him
or, "who knows," he added, smiling, "but we might make them a little
easier?"

"That's a fine young fellow," said he to the sheriff, after they had
left him.

"He is a gentleman," replied the sherif "by nature a gentleman; and a
very uncommon one, too. I defy a man to doubt word that comes out of
his lips; all he says is impressed with the stamp of truth itself and
by h----n's he never committed the felony he's in for! Keep him as
comfortable as you can."

They then separated.

The love of life is the first and strong principle in our nature, and
what man is there except some unhappy wretch pressed down by long and
galling misery to the uttermost depths of despair, who, knows that life
was forfeited, whether justly or it matters little, to the laws of his
country will not feel the mercy which bids him live with a corresponding
sense of gratitude. The son of the pious mother acted, as if she was
still his guide and monitress.

He knelt down and poured out his gratitude to that great Being who had
the final claim upon it, and whose blessing he fervently invoked upon
the heads of those true friends by whose exertions and influence he
knew that life was restored to him.

Of his life while he remained in this country there is little more to
be said than what is usually known to occur in the case of of convicts
similarly circumstanced, if we exclude his separation from the few
persons who were dear to him. He saw his father the next day and the
old man felt almost disappointed discovering that he was deprived of
the pleasure which he proposed to himself of be the bearer of such glad
tidings to him. Those who visited him, however, noticed with a good deal
of surprise, that he appeared as laboring under some secret aim which,
however, no tact or address on their part could induce him to disclose.
Many of them, actuated by the best motives, asked him in distinct terms
why he appeared to be troubled; but the only reply they received was a
good-humored remark that it was not to be expected that he could leave
forever all that was dear to him on earth with a very cheerful spirit.

It was at this period that his old friend Nogher M'Cormick came to pay
him a visit; it being the last time, as he said, that he would ever have
an opportunity of seeing his face. Nogher, whose moral impressions
were by no means so correct as Connor's, asked him, with a face of dry,
peculiar mystery, if he had any particular wish unfulfilled; or if there
remained behind him any individual against whom he entertained a spirit
of enmity. If there were he begged him to make no scruple in entrusting
to him a full statement of his wishes on the subject, adding that he
might rest assured of having them accomplished.

"One thing you may be certain of, Nogher," said he, to the affectionate
fellow, "that I have no secrets to tell; so don't let that go abroad
upon me. I have heard to-day," he added, "that the vessel we are to go
in will sail on this day week. My father was here this mornin'; but I
hadn't heard it then. Will you, Nogher, tell my mother privately that
she mustn't come to see me on the day I appointed with my father? From
the state of health she's in, I'm tould she couldn't bear it. Tell her,
then, not to come till the day before I sail; an' that I will expect
to see her early on that day. And, Nogher, as you know more about this
unhappy business than any one else, except the O'Briens and ourselves,
will you give this little packet to my mother? There's three or four
locks of my hair in it; one of them is for Una; and desire my mother to
see Una, and to get a link of her hair to wear next my heart. My poor
father--now that he finds he must part with me--is so distracted and
distressed, that I couldn't trust him with this message. I want it to
be kept a secret to every one but you, my mother, and Una; but my poor
father would he apt to mention it in some fit of grief."

"But is there nothing else on your mind, Connor?"

"There's no heavy guilt on my mind, Nogher, I thank my God and my dear
mother for it."

"Well, I can tell you one thing before you go, Connor--Bartle Flanagan's
well watched. If he has been guilty--if--derry downs, who doubts
it'?--well never mind; I'll hould a trifle we get him to show the cloven
foot, and condemn himself yet."

"The villain," said Connor, "will be too deep--too polished for you."

"Ten to one he's not. Do you know what we've found out since this
business?"

"No."

"Why, the divil resave the squig of punch, whiskey, or liquor of any
sort or size he'll allow to pass the lips of him. Now, Connor, aren't
you up to the cunnin' villainy of the thraitor in that maynewvre?"

"I am, Nogher; I see his design in it. He is afeard if he got drunk that
he wouldn't be able to keep his own secret."

"Ah, then, by the holy Nelly, we'll sleep him yet, or he'll look sharp.
Never you mind him, Connor."

"Nogher! stop," said Connor, almost angrily, "stop; what do you mane by
them last words?"

"Divil a much; it's about the blaggard I'm spakin'; he'll be ped, I can
tell you. There's a few friends of yours that intinds, some o' these
nights, to open a gusset under one of his ears only; the divil a thing
more."

"What! to take the unhappy man's life--to murdher him?"

"Hut, Connor; who's spakin' about murdher? No, only to make him miss his
breath some night afore long. Does he desarve mercy that 'ud swear away
the life of an innocent man?"

"Nogher," replied the other, rising up and speaking with the utmost
solemnity--

"If one drop of his blood is spilt on my account, it will bring the
vengeance of Heaven upon the head of every man havin' a hand in it. Will
you, because he's a villain, make yourself murdherers--make yourselves
blacker than he is?"

"Wiry, thin, death alive! Connor, have you your seven sinsis about you?
Faith, that's good; as if it was a sin to knock such a white-livered
Judas upon the head! Sin!--oh hell resave the morsel o' sin in that but
the contrairy. Sure its only sarvin' honest people right, to knock
such a desaiver on the head. If he had parjured himself for sake of
the truth, or to assist a brother in trouble--or to help on the good
cause--it would be something; but to go to--but--arra, be me sowl,
he'll sup sarra for it, sure enough! I thought it would make your mind
aisy, or I wouldn't mintion it till we'd let the breath out of him."

"Nogher," said Connor, "before you leave this unfortunate room, you must
take the Almighty to witness that you'll have no hand in this bloody
business, an' that you'll put a stop to it altogether. If you don't, and
that his life is taken, in the first place, I'll be miserable for life;
and in the next, take my word for it, that the judgment of God will fall
heavily upon every one consarned in it."

"What for? Is it for slittin' the juggler of sich a rip? Isn't he as
bad as a heretic, an' worse, for he turned against his own. He has got
himself made the head of a lodge, too, and holds Articles; but it's not
bein' an Article-bearer that'll save him, an' he'll find that to his
cost. But, indeed, Connor, the villain's a double thraitor, as you'd
own, if you knew what I heard a hint of?"

"Well, but you must lave him to God."

"What do you think but I got a whisper that he has bad designs on her."

"On who?" said O'Donovan (starting).

"Why, on your own girl, Oona, the Bodagh's daughter. He intends, it's
whispered, to take her off; an' it seems, as her father doesn't stand
well with the boys, that Bartle's to get a great body of them to assist
him in bringing her away."

Connor paced his cell in deep and vehement agitation. His resentment
against this double-dyed villain rose to a fearful pitch; his color
deepened-his eye shot fire, and, as he clenched his hand convulsively,
Nogher saw the fury which this intelligence had excited in him.

"No," he proceeded, "it would be an open sin an' shame to let such an
etarnal limb of the devil escape."

It may, indeed, be said that O'Donovan never properly felt the sense
of his restraint until this moment. When he reflected on the danger to
which his beloved Una was exposed from the dark plans of this detestable
villain, and recollected that there existed in the members of the
illegal confederacy such a strong spirit of enmity against Bodagh Buie,
as would induce them to support Bartle in his designs upon his daughter,
he pressed his hand against his forehead, and walked about in a tumult
of distress and resentment, such as he had never yet felt in his bosom.

"It's a charity it will be," said Nogher, shrewdly availing himself of
the commotion he had created, "to stop the vagabone short in the coorse
of his villany. He'll surely bring the darlin' young girl off, an'
destroy her."

For a few moments he felt as if his heart were disposed to rebel against
the common ordinances of Providence, as they appeared to be manifested
in his own punishment, and the successful villainy of Bartle Flanagan.
The reflection, however, of a strong and naturally pious mind soon
enabled him to perceive the errors into which his passions would lead
him, if not restrained and subjected. He made an effort to be calm, and
in a considerable degree succeeded.

"Nogher," said he, "let us not forget that this Bartle--this--but I will
not say it--let us not forget that God can asily turn his plans against
himself. To God, then, let us lave him. Now, hear me--you must swear
in His presence that you will have neither act nor part in doing him
an injury--that you will not shed his blood, nor allow it to be shed by
others, as far as you can prevent it."

Nogher rubbed his chin gravely, and almost smiled at what he considered
to be a piece of silly nonsense on the part of Connor. He determined,
therefore, to satisfy his scruples as well as he could; but, let the
consequence be what it might, to evade such an oath.

"Why, Connor," said he, "surely, if you go to that, we can have no
ill-will against the d--n villain; an' as you don't wish it, we'll
dhrop--the thing; so now make your mind aisy, for another word you or
any one else won't ever hear about it."

"And you won't injure the man?"

"Hut! no," replied Nogher, with a gravity whose irony was barely
perceptible, "what would we murdher him for, now that you don't wish it?
I never had any particular wish to see my own funeral."

"And, Nogher, you will do all you can to prevent him from being
murdhered?"

"To be sure, Connor--to be sure. By He that made me, we won't give pain
to a single hair of his head. Are you satisfied now?"

"I am," replied the ingenuous young man, who was himself too candid to
see through the sophistry of Nogher's oath.

"And now, Nogher," he replied, "many a day have we spent together--you
are one of my oldest friends. I suppose this is the last time you will
ever see Connor O.'Donovan; however, don't, man--don't be cast down; you
will hear from me, I hope, and hear that I am well too."

He uttered this with a smile which cost him an effort; for, on looking
into the face of his faithful old friend, he saw his muscles working
under the influence of strong feeling--or, I should rather say, deep
sorrow--which he felt anxious, by a show of cheerfulness, to remove. The
fountains, however, of the old servant's heart were opened, and, after
some ineffectual attempts to repress his grief, he fell upon Connor's
neck, and wept aloud.

"Tut, Nogher," said Connor, "surely it's--glad you ought to be, instead
of sorry. What would you have done if my first sentence had been acted
upon?"

"I'm glad for your sake," replied the other, "but I'm now sorry for my
own. You will live, Connor, and you may yet be happy; but he that often
held you in his arms--that often played with you, and that, next to your
father and mother, you loved betther than any other livin'--he, poor
Nogher, will never see his boy more."

On uttering these words, he threw himself again upon Connor's neck, and
we are not ashamed to say that their tears flowed together.

"I'll miss you, Connor, dear; I'll not see your face at fair or market,
nor on the chapel--green of a Sunday. Your poor father will break his
heart, and the mother's eye will never more have an opportunity of being
proud out of her son. It's hard upon me to part wid you, Connor, but it
can't be helped; I only ax you to remember Nogher, that, you know, loved
you as if you wor his own; remimber me, Connor, of an odd time. I never
thought--oh, Grod, I never thought to see this day! No wondher--oh, no
wondher that the fair young crature should be pale and worn, an' sick
at heart! I love her now, an' ever will, as well as I did yourself. I'll
never see her, Connor, widout thinkin' heavily of him that her heart was
set upon, an' that will then be far away from her an' from all that ever
loved him."

"Nogher," replied Connor, "I'm not without hope that--but this--this is
folly. You know I have a right to be thankful to God and the goodness
of government for sparin' my life. Now, farewell--it is forever, Nogher,
an' it is a tryin' word to-day; but you know that every one goin'
to America must say it; so, think that I'm goin' there, an' it won't
signify."

"Ah, Connor, I wish I could," replied Nogher; "but, to tell the truth,
what breaks my heart is, to think of the way you are goin' from us.
Farewell, then, Connor darlin; an' may the blessin' of God, an' His holy
mother, an' of all the saints be upon you now an' foriver. Amin!"

His tears flowed fast, and he sobbed aloud, whilst uttering the last
words; he then threw his arms about Connor's neck, and, having kissed
him, he again wrung his hand, and passed out of the cell in an agony of
grief.

Such is the anomalous nature of that peculiar temperament, which, in
Ireland, combines within it the extremes of generosity and crime. Here
was a man who had been literally affectionate and harmless during his
whole past life, yet, who was now actually plotting the murder of a
person who had never,--except remotely, by his treachery to Connor, whom
he loved--rendered him an injury, or given him any cause of offence.
And what can show us the degraded state of moral feeling among a people
whose natural impulses are as quick to virtue as to vice, and the
reckless estimate which the peasantry form of human life, more clearly
than the fact, that Connor, the noble--minded, heroic, and pious
peasant, could admire the honest attachment of hia old friend, without
dwelling upon the dark point in his character, and mingle his tears
with a man who was deliberately about to join in, or encompass, the
assassination of a fellow-creature!

Even against persons of his own creed the Irishman thinks that revenge
is a duty which he owes to himself;--but against those of a different
faith it is not only a duty but a virtue--and any man who acts out
of this feeling, either as a juror, a witness, or an elector--for the
principle is the same--must expect to meet such retribution as was
suggested by a heart like Nogher M'Cormick's, which was otherwise
affectionate and honest. In the secret code of perverted honor by which
Irishmen are guided, he is undoubtedly the most heroic and manly, and
the most worthy also of imitation, who indulges in, and executes
his vengeance for injuries whether real or supposed, with the most
determined and unshrinking spirit; but the man who is capable of braving
death, by quoting his own innocence as an argument against the justice
of law, even when notoriously guilty, is looked upon by the people, not
as an innocent man--for his accomplices and friends know he is not--but
as one who is a hero in his rank of life; and it is unfortunately a kind
of ambition among too many of our ill-thinking but generous countrymen,
to propose such men as the best models for imitation, not only in their
lives, but in that hardened hypocrisy which defies and triumphs over the
ordeal of death itself.

Connor O'Donovan was a happy representation of all that is noble and
pious in the Irish character, without one tinge of the crimes which
darken or discolor it. But the heart that is full of generosity and
fortitude, is generally most susceptible of the kinder and more amiable
affections. The noble boy, who could hear the sentence of death without
the commotion of a nerve, was forced to weep on the neck of an old and
faithful follower who loved him, when he remembered that, after that
melancholy visit, he should see his familiar face no more. When Nogher
left him, a train of painful reflections passed through his mind. He
thought of Una, of his father, of his mother, and for some time was
more depressed than usual. But the gift of life to the young is ever a
counterbalance to every evil that is less than death. In a short time he
reflected that the same Providence which had interposed between him and
his recorded sentence, had his future fate in its hands; and that he had
health, and youth, and strength--and, above all, a good conscience--to
bear him through the future vicissitudes of his appointed fate.



PART VI.


To those whose minds and bodies are of active habits, there can be
scarcely anything more trying than a position in which the latter is
deprived of its usual occupation, and the former forced to engage itself
only on the contemplation of that which is painful. In such a situation,
the mental and physical powers are rendered incapable of mutually
sustaining each other; for we all know that mere corporal employment
lessens affliction, or enables us in a shorter time to forget it, whilst
the acuteness of bodily suffering, on the other hand, is blunted by
those pursuits which fill the mind with agreeable impressions. During
the few days, therefore, that intervened between the last interview
which Connor held with Nogher M'Cormick, and the day of his final
departure he felt himself rather relieved than depressed by the number
of friends who came to visit him for the last time. He was left less to
solitude and himself than he otherwise would have been, and, of course,
the days of his imprisonment were neither so dreary nor oppressive
as the uninterrupted contemplation of his gloomy destiny would have
rendered them. Full of the irrepressible ardor of youth, he longed for
that change which he knew must bring him onward in the path of life; and
in this how little did he resemble the generality of other convicts,
who feel as if time were bringing about the day of their departure
with painful and more than ordinary celerity! At length the interviews
between him and all those whom he wished to see were concluded, with the
exception of three, viz.--John O'Brien and his own parents, whilst only
two clear days intervened until the period, of his departure.

It was on the third morning previous to that unhappy event, that the
brother of his Una--the most active and indefatigable of all those
who had interested themselves for him--was announced as requiring
an interview. Connor, although prepared for this, experienced on the
occasion, as every high-minded person would do, a strong feeling of
degradation and shame as the predominant sensation. That, indeed, was
but natural, for it is undoubtedly true that we feel disgrace the more
heavily upon us in the eyes of those we esteem, than we do under any
other circumstances. This impression, however, though as we have said
the strongest,--was far from being the only one he felt. A heart like
his could not be insensible to the obligations under which the generous
and indefatigable exertions of young O'Brien had placed him. But,
independently of this, he was Una's brother, and the appearance of one
so dear to her gave to all his love for her a character of melancholy
tenderness, more deep and full than he had probably ever experienced
before. Her brother would have been received with extraordinary warmth
on his own account, but, in addition to that, Connor knew that he now
came on behalf of Una herself. It was, therefore, under a tumult of
mingled sensations, that he received him in his gloomy apartment--gloomy
in despite of all that a humane jailer could do to lessen the rigors of
his confinement.

"I cannot welcome you to sich a place, as this is," said Connor,
grasping and wringing his hand, as the other entered, "although I may
well say that I would be glad to see you anywhere, as I am, indeed, to
see you even here. I know what I owe you, an' what you have done for
me."

"Thank God," replied the other, returning his grasp with equal pressure,
"thank God, that, at all events, the worst of what we expected will
not----" He paused, for, on looking at O'Donovan, he observed upon
his open brow a singular depth of melancholy, mingled less with an
expression of shame, than with the calm but indignant sorrow of one who
could feel no resentment against him with whom he spoke.

O'Brien saw, at a glance, that Connor, in consequence of something in
his manner, joined to his inconsiderate congratulations, imagined that
he believed him guilty. He lost not a moment, therefore, in correcting
this mistake.

"It would have been dreadful," he proceeded, "to see innocent blood
shed, through the perjury of a villain--for, of course, you cannot
suppose for a moment that one of our family suppose you to be guilty."

"I was near doin' you injustice, then," replied the other; "but I ought
to know that if you did think me so, you wouldn't now be here, nor
act as you did. Not but that I thought it possible, on another account
you----No," he added, after a pause, "that would be doin' the brother
of Una injustice."

"You are right," returned O'Brien. "No circumstance of any kind"--and
he laid a peculiar emphasis on the words--"no circumstance of any kind
could bring me to visit a man capable of such a mean and cowardly act;
for, as to the loss we sustained, I wouldn't think of it. You, Connor
O'Donovan, are not the man to commit any act, either the one or the
other. If I did not feel this, you would not see me before you."
He extended his hand to him while he spoke, and the brow of Connor
brightened as he met his grasp.

"I believe you," he replied; "and now I hope we may spake out like men
that undherstand one another. In case you hadn't come, I intended to
lave a message for you with my mother. I believe you know all Una's
secrets?"

"I do," replied O'Brien, "just as well as her confessor."

"Yes, I believe that," said Connor. "The sun in heaven is not purer than
she is. The only fault she ever could be charged with was her love for
me; and heavily, oh! far too heavily, has she suffered for it!"

"I, for one, never blamed her on that account," said her brother. "I
knew that her good sense would have at any time prevented her from
forming an attachment to an unworthy object; and upon the strength of
her own judgment, I approved of that which she avowed for you. Indeed, I
perceived it myself before she told me; but upon attempting to gain her
secret, the candid creature at once made me her confidant."

"It is like her," said Connor; "she is all truth. Well would it be for
her, if she had never seen me. Not even the parting from my father and
mother sinks my heart with so much sorrow, as the thought that her love
for me had made her so unhappy. It's a strange case, John O'Brien, an'
a trying one; but since it is the will of God, we must submit to it. How
did you leave her? I heard she was getting better."

"She is better," said John--"past danger, but still very delicate and
feeble. Indeed, she is so much worn down, that you would scarcely
know her. The brightness of her dark eye is dead--her complexion gone.
Sorrow, as she says herself, is in her and upon her. Never, indeed, was
a young creature's love so pure and true."

O'Donovan made no reply for some time; but the other observed that he
turned away his face from him, as if to conceal his emotion. At length
his bosom heaved vehemently, three or four times, and his breath came
and went with a quick and quivering motion, that betrayed the powerful
struggle which he felt.

"I know it is but natural for you to feel deeply," continued her
brother; "but as you have borne everything heretofore with so much
firmness, you must not break down--"

"But you know it is a deadly thrial to be forever separated from sich a
girl. Sufferin' so much as you say--so worn! Her dark eye dim with--oh,
it is, it is a deadly thrial--a heart--breaking thrial! John O'Brien,"
he proceeded, with uncommon earnestness, "you are her only brother, an'
she is your only sister. Oh, will you, for the sake of God, and for my
sake, if I may take the liberty of sayin' so--but, above all things,
will you, for her own sake, when I am gone, comfort and support her,
and raise her heart, if possible, out of this heavy throuble?"

Her brother gazed on him with a melancholy smile, in which might be read
both admiration and sympathy.

"Do you think it possible that I would, or could omit to cherish
and sustain poor Una, under such thrying circumstances! Everything
considered, however, your words are only natural--only natural."

"Don't let her think too much about it," continued O'Donovan. "Bring
her out as much as you can--let her not be much by herself. But this is
folly in me," he added; "you know yourself better than I can instruct
you how to act."

"God knows," replied the brother, struck and softened by the mournful
anxiety for her welfare which Connor expressed, "God knows that all you
say, and all I can think of besides, shall be done for our dear girl--so
make your mind easy."

"I thank you," replied the other; "from my soul an' from the bottom of
my heart, I thank you. Endeavor to make her forget me, if you can; an'
when this passes away out of her mind, she may yet be happy--a happy
wife and a happy mother--an' she can then think of her love for Connor
O'Donovan, only as a troubled dream that she had in her early life."

"Connor," said the other, "this is not right--you must be firmer;" but
as he uttered the words of reproof, the tears almost came to his eyes.

"As for my part," continued Connor, "what is the world to me now, that
I've lost her? It is--it is a hard and a dark fate, but why it should
fall upon us I do not know. It's as much as I can do to bear it as I
ought."

"Well, well," replied John, "don't dwell too much on it. I have
something else to speak to you about."

"Dwell on it!" returned the other; "as God is above me, she's not one
minute out of my thoughts; an' I tell you, I'd rather be dead this
minute, than forget her. Her memory now is the only happiness that is
left to me--my only wealth in this world."

"No," said John, "it is not. Connor, I have now a few words to say to
you, and I know they will prove whether you are as generous as you are
said to be; and whether your love for iny sister is truly tender and
disinterested. You have it now in your power to ease her heart very much
of a heavy load of concern which she feels on your account. Your father,
you know, is now a ruined man, or I should say a poor man. You are going
out under circumstances the most painful. In the country to which you
are unhappily destined, you will have no friends--and no one living
feels this more acutely than Una; for, observe me, I am now speaking on
her behalf, and acting in her name. I am her agent. Now Una is richer
than you might imagine, being the possessor of a legacy left her by our
grandfather by my father's side. Of this legacy, she herself stands in
no need--but you may and will, when you reach a distant country. Now,
Connor, you see how that admirable creature loves you--you see how that
love would follow you to the uttermost ends of the earth. Will you, or
rather are you capable of being as generous as she is?--and can you show
her that you are as much above the absurd prejudice of the world, and
its cold forms, as he ought to be who is loved by a creature so truly
generous and delicate as Una? You know how very poorly she is at present
in health; and I tell you candidly, that your declining to accept this
as a gift and memorial by which to remember her, may be attended with
very serious consequences to her health."

Connor kept his eyes fixed upon the speaker, with a look of deep and
earnest attention; and as O'Brien detailed with singular address
and delicacy these striking proofs of Una's affection, her lover's
countenance became an index of the truth with which his heart
corresponded to the noble girl's tenderness and generosity. He seized
O'Brien's hand.

"John," said he, "you are worthy of bein' Una's brother, and I could say
nothing higher in your favor; but, in the mane time, you and she both
know that I want nothing to enable me to remember her by. This is a
proof, I grant you, that she loves me truly; but I knew that as well
before, as I do now. In this business I cannot comply with her wish an'
yours, an' you musn't press me. You, I say, musn't press me. Through my
whole life I have never lost my own good opinion; but if I did what you
want me now to do, I couldn't respect myself--I would feel lowered in
my own mind. In short, I'd feel unhappy, an' that I was too mane to
be worthy of your sister. Once for all, then, I cannot comply in this
business with your wish an' hers."

"But the anxiety produced by your refusal may have very dangerous
effects on her health."

"Then you must contrive somehow to consale my refusal from her till
she gets recovered. I couldn't do what you want me; an' if you press me
further upon it, I'll think you don't respect me as much as I'd wish
her brother to do. Oh, God of Heaven!" he exclaimed, clasping his hands,
"must I lave you, my darling Una, forever? I must, I must! an' the drame
of all we hoped is past--but never, never, will she lave my heart! Her
eye dim, an' her cheek pale! an' all forme--for a man covered with shame
and disgrace! Oh, John, John, what a heart!--to love me in spite of all
this, an' in spite of the world's opinion along with it!"

At this moment one of the turnkeys entered, and told him that his mother
and a young lady were coming up to see him.

"My mother!" he exclaimed, "I am glad she is come; but I didn't expect
her till the day after to--morrow. A young lady! Heavens above, what
young lady would come with my mother?"

He involuntarily exchanged looks with O'Brien, and a thought flashed on
the instant across the minds of both. They immediately understood each
other.

"Undoubtedly," said John, "it can be no other--it is she--it is Una.
Good God, how is this? The interview and separation will be more than
she can bear--she will sink under it."

Connor made no reply, but sat down and pressed his right hand upon his
forehead, as if to collect energy sufficient to meet the double trial
which was now before him.

"I have only one course, John," said he, "now, and that is, to appear to
be--what I am not--a firm--hearted man. I must try to put on a smiling
face before them."

"If it be Una," returned the other, "I shall withdraw for a while.
I know her extreme bashfulness in many cases; and I know, too, that
anything like restraint upon her heart at present--in a word, I shall
retire for a little."

"It may be as well," said Connor; "but so far as I am concerned, it
makes no difference--just as you think proper."

"Your mother will be a sufficient witness," said the delicate--minded
brother; "but I will see you again after they have left you."

"You must," replied O'Donovan. "Oh I see me--see me again. I have
something to say to you of more value even than Una's life."

The door then opened, and assisted, or rather supported, by the governor
of the gaol, and one of the turnkeys, Honor O'Donovan and Una O'Brien
entered the gloomy cell of the guiltless convict.

The situation in which O'Donovan was now placed will be admitted,
we think, by the reader, to have been one equally unprecedented and
distressing. It has been often said, and on many occasions with perfect
truth, that opposite states of feeling existing in the same breast
generally neutralize each other. In Connor's heart, however, there was
in this instance nothing of a conflicting nature. The noble boy's love
for such a mother bore in its melancholy beauty a touching resemblance
to the purity of his affection for Una O'Brien--each exhibiting in its
highest character those virtues which made the heart of the mother proud
and! loving, and that of his beautiful girl generous and devoted. So
far, therefore, from their appearance together tending to concentrate
his moral fortitude, it actually divided his strength, and forced him to
meet each with a I heart subdued and softened by his love for the other.

As they entered, therefore, he approached! them, smiling as well as he
could; and, first taking a hand of each, would have led them over to a
deal form beside the fire, but it was soon evident, that, owing to their
weakness and agitation united, they required greater support. He and
O'Brien accordingly helped them to a seat, on which they sat with every
symptom of that exhaustion which results at once from illness and mental
suffering.

Let us not forget to inform our readers that the day of this mournful
visit was that on which, according to his original sentence, he should
have yielded up his life as a penalty to the law.

"My dear mother," said he, "you an' Una know that this day ought not to
be a day of sorrow among us. Only for the goodness of my friends, an' of
Government, it's not my voice you'd be now listening to--but that is
now changed--so no more about it. I'm glad to see you both able to come
out."

His mother, on first sitting down, clasped her hands together, and in a
silent ejaculation, with closed eyes, raised her heart to the Almighty,
to supplicate aid and strength to enable her to part finally with that
boy who was, and ever had been, dearer to her than her own heart. Una
trembled, and on meeting her brother so unexpectedly, blushed faintly,
and, indeed, appeared to breathe with difficulty. She held a bottle of
smelling salts in her hand.

"John," she said, "I will explain this visit."

"My dear Una," he replied, affectionately, "you need not--it requires
none--and I beg you will not think of it one moment more. I must now
leave you together for about half an hour, as I have some business to do
in town that will detain me about that time." He then left them.

"Connor," said his mother, "sit down between this darlin' girl an' me,
till I spake to you."

He sat down and took a hand of each.

"A darlin' girl she is, mother. It's now I see how very ill you have
been, my own Una."

"Yes," she replied, "I was ill--but when I heard that your life was
spared, I got better."

This she said with an artless but melancholy naivete, that was very
trying to the fortitude of her lover. As she spoke she looked fondly but
mournfully into his face.

"Connor," proceeded his mother, "I hope you are fully sensible of the
mercy God has shown you, under this great trial?"

"I hope I am, indeed, my dear mother. It is to God I surely owe it."

"It is, an' I trust that, go where you will and live where you may, the
day will never come when you'll forget the debt you owe the Almighty,
for preventin' you from bein' cut down like a flower in the very bloom
of your life. I hope, avillish machree, that that day will never come."

"God forbid it ever should, mother dear!"

"Thin you may learn from what has happened, avick agus asthofe, never,
oh never, to despair of God's mercy--no matter into what thrial or
difficulty you maybe brought. You see, whin you naither hoped for it
here, nor expected it, how it came for all that."

"It did, blessed be God!"

"You're goin' now, ahagur, to a strange land, where you'll meet--ay,
where my darlin' boy will meet the worst of company; but remember,
alanna avillish, that your mother, well as she loves you, an' well, I
own, as you deserve to be loved--that mother that hung over the cradle
of her only one--that dressed him, an' reared him, an' felt many a proud
heart out of him--that mother would sooner at any time see him in his
grave, his sowl bein' free from stain, than to know that his heart was
corrupted by the world, an' the people you'll meet in it."

Something in the last sentence must have touched a chord in Una's heart,
for the tears, without showing any other' external signs of emotion,
streamed down her cheeks.

"My advice, then, to you--an' oh, avick machree, machree, it is my last,
the last you will ever hear from my lips--"

"Oh, mother, mother!" exclaimed Connor, but he could not proceed--voice
waa denied him, Una here sobbed aloud.

"You bore your thrial nobly, my darlin' son--you must thin bear this
as well; an' you, a colleen dhas, remember your promise to me afore I
consulted to come with you this day."

The weeping girl here dried her eyes, and, by a strong effort, hushed
her grief.

"My advice, thin, to you, is never to neglect your duty to God; for, if
you do it wanst or twist, you'll begin by degrees to get careless--thin,
bit by bit, asthore, your heart will harden, your conscience will leave
you, an' wickedness, an' sin, an' guilt will come upon you. It's no
matter, asthore, how much wicked comrades may laugh an' jeer at you,
keep you thrue to the will of your good God, an' to your religious
duties, an' let them take their own coorse. Will you promise me to do
this, _avuillish machree?_"

"Mother, I have always sthrove to do it, an' with God's assistance,
always will."

"An', my son, too, will you bear up undher this like a man? Remember,
Connor darlin', that although you're lavin' us forever, yet your poor
father an' I have the blessed satisfaction of knowin' that we're not
childless--that you're alive, an' that you may yet do well an' be
happy. I mintion these things, acushla machree, to show you that there's
nothin' over you so bad, but you may show yourself firm and manly undher
it--act as you have done. It's you, asthore, ought to comfort your
father an me; an' I hope, whin you're parted from, him, that you
'ill--Oh God, support him! I wish, Connor, darlin', that that partin'
was over, but I depend upon you to make it as light upon him as you can
do."

She paused, apparently from exhaustion. Indeed, it was evident, either
that she had little else to add, or that she felt too weak to speak much
more, with such a load of sorrow and affliction on her heart.

"There is one thing, Connor jewel, that I needn't mintion. Of coorse
you'll write to us as often as you convaniently can. Oh, do not forget
that! for you know that that bit of paper from your own hand, is all
belongin' to you we will ever see more. Avick machree, machree, many
a long look--out we will have for it. It may keep the ould man's heart
from breakin'."

She was silent, but, as she uttered the last words, there was a shaking
of the voice, which gave clear proof of the difficulty with which she
went through the solemn task of being calm, which, for the sake of her
son, she had heroically imposed upon herself.

She was now silent, but, as is usual with Irish women under the
influence of sorrow, she rocked herself involuntary to and fro, whilst,
with closed eyes, and hands clasped as before, she held communion with
God, the only true source of comfort.

"Connor," she added, after a pause, during which he and Una, though
silent from respect to her, were both deeply affected; "sit fornint me,
avick machree, that, for the short time you're to be with me, I may
have you before my eyes. Husth now, a colleen machree, an' remimber your
promise. Where's the stringth you said you'd show?"

She then gazed with a long look of love and sorrow upon the fine
countenance of her manly son, and nature would be no longer restrained--

"Let me lay my head upon your breast," said she; "I'm attemptin' too
much--the mother's heart will give out the mother's voice--will speak
the mother's sorrow! Oh, my son, my son, my darlin', manly son--are you
lavin' your lovin' mother for evermore, for evermore?"

She was overcome; placing her head upon his bosom, her grief fell into
that beautiful but mournful wail with which, in Ireland, those of her
sex weep over the dead.

Indeed, the scene assumed a tenderness, from this incident, which was
inexpressibly affecting, inasmuch as the cry of death was but little out
of place when bewailing that beloved boy, whom, by the stern decree of
law, she was never to see again.

Connor kissed her pale cheek and lips, and rained down a flood of
bitter tears upon her face; and Una, borne away by the enthusiasm of her
sorrow, threw her arms also around her, and wept aloud.

At length, after having, in some degree, eased her heart, she sat up,
and with that consideration and good sense for which she had ever been
remarkable, said--

"Nature must have its way; an' surely, within reason, it's not sinful,
seein' that God himself has given us the feelin's of sorrow, whin thim
that we love is lavin' us--lavin' us never, never to see them agin. It's
only nature, afther all; and now ma colleen dhas"--

Her allusion to the final separation of those who love--or, in her
own words, "to the feelin's of sorrow, whin thim that we love is lavin
us"--was too much for the heart and affections of the fair girl at her
side, whose grief now passed all the bounds which her previous attempts
at being firm had prescribed to it.

[Illustration: PAGE 282-- O'Donovan took the beloved one in his arms]

O'Donovan took the beloved one in his arms, and, in the long embrace
which ensued, seldom were love and sorrow so singularly and mournfully
blended.

"I don't want to prevent you from cryin' a colleen machree; for I know
it will lighten an' aise your heart," said Honor; "but remimber your
wakeness an' your poor health; an', Connor avourneen, don't you--if you
love her--don't forget the state her health's in either."

"Mother, mother, you know it's the last time I'll ever look upon my
Una's face again," he exclaimed. "Oh, well may I be loath an' unwillin'
to part with her. You'll think of me, my darlin' life, when I'm
gone--not as a guilty man, Una dear, but as one that if he ever
committed a crime, it was lovin' you an' bringin' you to this unhappy
state."

"God sees my heart this day," she replied--and she spoke with
difficulty--"that I could and would have travelled over the world;
borne joy and sorrow, hardship and distress--good fortune and bad--all
happily, if you had been by my side--if you had not been taken from
me. Oh, Connor, Connor, you may well pity your Una--for yours I am and
was--another's I never will be. You are entering into scenes that will
relieve you by their novelty--that will force you to think of other
things and of other persons than those you've left behind you; but
oh, what Can I look upon that will not fill my heart with despair and
sorrow, by reminding me of you and your affection?"

"Fareer gair," exclaimed the mother, speaking involuntarily aloud, and
interrupting her own words with sobs of bitter anguish--"Fareer gair,
ma colleen dhas, but that's the heavy truth with us all. Oh, the ould
man--the ould man's heart will break all out, when he looks upon the
place, an' everything else that our boy left behind him."

"Dear Una," said Connor, "you know that we're partin' now forever."

"My breaking heart tells me that," she replied. "I would give the wealth
of the world that it was not so--I would--I would."

"Listen to me, my own life. You must not let love for me lie so
heavy upon your heart. Go out and keep your mind employed upon other
thoughts--by degrees you'll forget--no, I don't think you could
altogether forget me--me--the first, Una, you ever loved."

"And the last, Connor--the last I ever will love."

"No, no. In the presence of my lovin' mother I say that you must not
think that way. Time will pass, my own Una, an' you will yet be happy
with some other. You're very young; an', as I said, time will wear me by
degrees out of your mimory."--

Una broke hastily from his embrace, for she lay upon his breast all this
time--

"Do you think so, Connor O'Donovan?" she exclaimed; but on looking into
his face, and reading the history of deep--seated sorrow which appeared
there so legible, she again "fled to him and wept."

"Oh, no," she continued, "I cannot quarrel with you now; but you do
the heart of your own Una injustice, if you think it could ever feel
happiness with another. Already I have my mother's consent to enter a
convent--and to enter a convent is my fixed determination."

"Oh, mother," said Connor, "How will I lave this blessed girl? how will
I part with her?"

Honor rose up, and, by two or three simple words, disclosed more
forcibly, more touchingly, than any direct exhibition of grief could
have done, the inexpressible power of the misery she felt at this
eternal separation from her only boy. She seized Una's two hands, and,
kissing her lips, said, in tones of the most heart--rending pathos--

"Oh, Una, Una, pity me--I am his mother!"

Una threw herself into her arms, and sobbed out--

"Yes, and mine."

"Thin you'll obey me as a daughter should," said Honor. "This is too
much for you, Oona; part we both must from him, an' neither of us is
able to bear much, more."

She here gave Connor a private signal to be firm, pointing unobservedly
to Una's pale cheek, which at that moment lay upon her bosom.

"Connor," she proceeded, "Oona has what you sent her. Nogher--an' he
is breakin' his heart too--gave it to me; an' my daughter, for I will
always call her so, has it this minute next her lovin' heart. Here is
hers, an' let it lie next yours."

Connor seized the glossy ringlet from his mother's hand, and placed it
at the moment next to the seat of his undying affection for the fair
girl from whose ebon locks it had been taken.

His mother then kissed Una again, and, rising, said--

"Now, my daughther, remimber I am your mother, an' obey me."

"I will," said Una, attempting to repress her grief--"I will; but--"

"Yes, darlin', you will. Now, Connor, my son, my son--Connor?"

"What is it, mother, darlin'?"

"We're goin', Connor,--we're lavin' you--be firm--be a man. Aren't
you my son, Connor? my only son--an' the ould man--an' never, never
more--kneel down--kneel down, till I bless you. Oh, many, many a
blessin' has risen from your mother's lips an' your mother's heart, to
Heaven for you, my son, my son!"

Connor knelt, his heart bursting, but he knelt not alone. By his side
was his own Una, with meek and bended head, awaiting for his mothers
blessing.

She then poured forth that blessing; first: upon him who was nearest to
her heart, and afterwards upon the worn but still beautiful; girl, whose
love for that adored son had made her so inexpressibly dear to her.
Whilst! she uttered this fervent but sorrowful benediction, a hand was
placed upon the head of each, after which she stooped and kissed them
both, but without shedding a single tear.

"Now," said she, "comes the mother's wakeness; but my son will help me
by his manliness--so will my daughter. I am very weak. Oh, what heart
can know the sufferin's of this hour, but mine? My son, my son--Connor
O'Donovan, my son!"

At this moment John O'Brien entered the room; but the solemnity and
pathos of her manner and voice hushed him so completely into silent
attention, that it is probable she did not perceive him.

"Let me put my arms about him and kiss his lips once more, an' then I'll
say farewell."

She again approached the boy, who S opened his arms to receive her,
and, after having kissed him and looked into his face, said, "I will now
go--I will' now go;" but instead of withdrawing, as she had intended, it
was observed that she pressed him more closely to her heart than before;
plied her hands about his neck and bosom, as if she were not actually
conscious of what she did; and at length sunk into a forgetfulness of
all her misery upon the aching breast of her unhappy son.

"Now," said Una, rising into a spirit of; unexpected fortitude, "now,
Connor, I will be her daughter, and you must be her son. The moment
she recovers we must separate, and in such a manner as to show that our
affection for each other shall not be injurious to her."

"It is nature only," said her brother; "or, in other words, the love
that is natural to such a mother for such a son, that has overcome her.
Connor, this must be ended."

"I am willing it should," replied the other. "You must assist them
home, and let me see you again tomorrow. I have something of the deepest
importance to say to you."

Una's bottle of smelling salts soon relieved the woe-worn mother; and,
ere the lapse of many minutes, she was able to summon her own natural
firmness of character. The lovers, too, strove to be firm; and,
after one long and last embrace, they separated from Connor with more
composure than, from the preceding scene, might have been expected.

The next day, according to promise, John O'Brien paid him an early
visit, in order to hear what Connor had assured him was of more
importance even than Una's life itself. Their conference was long and
serious, for each felt equally interested in its subject-matter. When it
was concluded, and they had separated, O'Brien's friends observed
that he appeared like a man whose mind was occupied by something that
occasioned him to feel deep anxiety. What the cause of this secret care
was, he did not disclose to anyone except his father, to whom, in a few
days afterwards, he mentioned it. His college vacation had now
nearly expired; but it was mutually agreed upon, in the course of the
communication he then made, that for the present he should remain with
them at home, and postpone his return to Maynooth, if not abandon the
notion of the priesthood altogether. When the Bodagh left his son, after
this dialogue, his open, good-humored countenance seemed clouded,
his brow thoughtful, and his whole manner that of a man who has heard
something more than usually unpleasant; but, whatever this intelligence
was, he, too, appeared equally studious to conceal it. The day now
arrived on which Connor O'Donovan was to see his other parent for the
last time, and this interview he dreaded, on the old man's account, more
than he had done even the separation from his mother. Our readers may
judge, therefore, of his surprise on finding that his father exhibited
a want of sorrow or of common feeling that absolutely amounted almost to
indifference.

Connor felt it difficult to account for a change so singular and
extraordinary in one with whose affection for himself he was so well
acquainted. A little time, however, and an odd hint or two thrown out
in the early part of their conversation, soon enabled him to perceive,
either that the old man labored under some strange hallucination, or had
discovered a secret source of comfort known only to himself. At
length, it appeared to the son that he had discovered the cause of this
unaccountable change in the conduct of his father; and, we need scarcely
assure our readers, that his heart sank into new and deeper distress at
the words from which he drew the inference.

"Connor," said the miser, "I had great luck yestherday. You remember
Antony Cusack, that ran away from me wid seventy-three pounds fifteen
shillin's an' nine pence, now betther than nine years ago. Many a curse
he had from me for his roguery; but somehow, it seems he only thruv
under them. His son Andy called on me yestherday mornin' an' paid me to
the last farden, inthrest an' all. Wasn't I in luck?"

"It was very fortunate, father, an' I'm glad of it"

"It was, indeed, the hoighth o' luck. Now, Connor, you think one thing,
an' that is, that; we're partin' forever, an' that we'll never see one
another till we meet in the next world. Isn't that what you think?--eh,
Connor?"

"It's hard to tell what may happen, father. We may see one another even
in this; stranger things have been brought about."

"I tell you, Connor, we'll meet agin; I have made out a plan in my own
head for that; but the luckiest of all was the money yestherday."

"What is the plan, father?"

"Don't ax me, avick, bekase it's betther for you not to know it. I may
be disappointed, but it's not likely aither; still it 'ud be risin'
expectations in you, an' if it didn't come to pass, you'd only be more
unhappy; an' you know, Connor darlin', I wouldn't wish to be the manes
of making your poor heart sore for one minute. God knows the same young
heart has suffered enough, an' more than it ought to suffer. Connor?"

"Well, father?"

"Keep up your spirits, darlin', don't be at all cast down, I tell you."

The old man caught his son's hands ere he spoke, and uttered these words
with a voice of such tenderness and affection, that Connor, on seeing
him assume the office of comforter, contrary to all he had expected,
felt himself more deeply touched than if his father had fallen, as was
his wont, into all the impotent violence of grief.

"It was only comin' here to-day, Connor, that I thought of this plan;
but I wish to goodness your poor mother knew it, for thin, maybe she'd
let me mintion it to you."

"If it would make me any way unhappy," replied Connor, "I'd rather not
hear it; only, whatever it is, father, if it's against my dear mother's
wishes, don't put it in practice."

"I couldn't, Connor, widout her consint, barrin' we'd--but there's no us
in that; only keep up your spirits, Connor dear. Still I'm glad it came
into my head, this plan; for if I thought that I'd never see you agin, I
wouldn't know how to part wid you; my heart 'ud fairly break, or my
head 'ud get light. Now, won't you promise me not to fret, acushla
machree--an' to keep your heart up, an' your spirits?"

"I'll fret as little as I can, father. You know there's not much
pleasure in frettin', an' that no one would fret if they could avoid it;
but will you promise me, my dear father, to be guided an' advised, in
whatever you do, or intend to do, by my mother--my blessed mother?"

"I will--I will, Connor; an' if I had always done so, maybe it isn't
here now you'd be standing, an' my heart breakin' to look at you; but,
indeed, it was God, I hope, put this plan into my head; an' the money
yestherday--that, too, was so lucky--far more so, Connor dear, than you
think. Only for that--but sure no matther, Connor, we're not partin' for
evermore now; so acushla machree, let your mind be aisy. Cheer up, cheer
up my darlin' son."

Much more conversation of this kind took place between them during
the old man's stay, which he prolonged almost to the last hour. Connor
wondered, as was but natural, what the plan so recently fallen upon by
his father could be. Indeed, sometimes, he feared that the idea of their
separation had shaken his intellect, and that his allusions to this
mysterious discovery, mixed up, as they were, with the uncommon delight
he expressed at having recovered Cusack's money, boded nothing less than
the ultimate derangement of his faculties. One thing, however, seemed
obvious--that, whatever it might be, whether reasonable or otherwise,
his father's mind was exclusively occupied by it; and that, during the
whole scene of their parting, it sustained him in a manner for which he
felt it utterly impossible to account. It is true he did not leave him
without shedding tears, and bitter tears; but they were unaccompanied
by the wild vehemence of grief which had, on former occasions, raged
through and almost desolated his heart. The reader may entertain some
notion of what he would have felt on this occasion, were it not for the
"plan" as he called it, which supported him so much, when we tell him
that he blessed his son three or four times dining their interview,
without being conscious; that he had blessed him more than once. His
last words to him were to keep up his spirits, for that there was little
doubt that they would meet again.

The next morning, at daybreak, "their noble boy," as they fondly and
proudly called him, was conveyed, to the transport, in company with many
others; and at the hour of five o'clock p. m., that melancholy vessel
weighed anchor, and spread her broad sails to the bosom of the ocean.

Although the necessary affairs of life are, after all, the great
assuager of sorrow, yet there are also cases where the heart persists in
rejecting the consolation brought by time, and in clinging to the memory
of that which it loved. Neither Honor O'Donovan nor Una O'Brien could
forget our unhappy hero, nor school their affections into the apathy of
ordinary feelings. Of Fardorougha we might say the same; for, although
he probably felt the want of his son's presence more keenly even than
his wife, yet his grief, notwithstanding its severity, was mingled with
the interruption of a habit--such as is frequently the prevailing
cause of sorrow in selfish and contracted minds. That there was much
selfishness in his grief, our readers, we dare say, will admit. At all
events, a scene which took place between him and his wife, on the night
of the day which saw Connor depart from his native land forever, will
satisfy them of the different spirit which marked their feelings on that
unfortunate occasion.

Honor had, as might be expected, recovered her serious composure, and
spent a great portion of that day in offering up her prayers for the
welfare of their son. Indeed, much of her secret grief was checked by
the alarm which she felt for her husband, whose conduct on that morning
before he left home was marked by the wild excitement, which of late had
been so peculiar to him. Her surprise was consequently great when she
observed, on his return, that he manifested a degree of calmness, if
not serenity, utterly at variance with the outrage of his grief, or, we
should rather say, the delirium of his despair, in the early part of the
day. She resolved, however, with her usual discretion, not to catechize
him on the subject, lest his violence might revive, but to let his
conduct explain itself, which she knew in a little time it would do.
Nor was she mistaken. Scarcely had an hour elapsed, when, with something
like exultation, he disclosed his plan, and asked her advice and
opinion. She heard it attentively, and for the first time since the
commencement of their affliction, did the mother's brow seem unburdened
of the sorrow which sat upon it, and her eye to gleam with something
like the light of expected happiness. It was, however, on their
retiring to rest that night that the affecting contest took place,
which exhibited so strongly the contrast between their characters. We
mentioned, in a preceding part of this narrative, that ever since her
son's incarceration Honor had slept in his bed, and with her head on the
very pillow which he had so often pressed. As she was about to retire,
Fardorougha, for a moment, appeared to forget his "plan," and everything
but the departure of his son. He followed Honor to his bedroom, which he
traversed, distractedly clasping his hands, kissing his boy's clothes,
and uttering sentiments of extreme misery and despair.

"There's his bed," he exclaimed; "there's our boy's bed--but where is
he himself? gone, gone forever! There's his clothes, our darlin' son's
clothes; look at them. Oh God! oh God! my heart will break outright. Oh
Connor, our boy, our boy, are you gone from us forever! We must sit down
to our breakfast in the mornin', to our dinner, an' to our supper at
night, but our noble boy's face we'll never see--his voice we'll never
hear."

"Ah, Fardorougha, it's thrue, it's thrue!" replied the wife; "but
remember he's not in the grave, not in the clay of the churchyard; we
haven't seen him carried there, and laid down undher the heart--breakin'
sound of the dead--bell; we haven't hard the cowld noise of the clay
fallin' in upon his coffin. Oh no, no--thanks, everlastin' thanks to
God, that has spared our boy's life! How often have you an' I hard
people say over the corpses of their children, 'Oh, if he was only alive
I didn't care in what part of the world it was, or if I was never to see
his face again, only that he was livin'!' An' wouldn't they, Fardorougha
dear, give the world's wealth to--have their wishes? Oh they would, they
would--an' thanks forever be to the Almighty! our boy is livin' and may
yit be happy. Fardorougha, let us not fly into the face of God, who has
in His mercy spared our son."

"I'll sleep in his bed," replied the husband; "on the very spot he lay
on I'll he."

This was, indeed, trenching, and selfishly trenching upon the last
mournful privilege of the mother's heart. Her sleeping here was one of
those secret but melancholy enjoyments, which the love of a mother or
of a wife will often steal, like a miser's theft, from the very hoard of
their own sorrows. In fact, she was not prepared for this, and when he
spoke she looked at him for some time in silent amazement.

"Oh, no, Fardorougha dear,the mother, the mother, that her breast was
so often his pillow, has the best right, now that he's gone, to lay her
head where his lay. Oh, for Heaven's sake, lave that poor pleasure to
me, Fardorougha!"

"No, Honor, you can bear up undher grief better than I can. I must sleep
where my boy slept."

"Fardorougha, I could go upon my knees! to you, an' I will, avourneen,
if you'll grant me this."

"I can't, I can't," he replied, distractedly; "I could sleep nowhere
else. I love everything belongin' to him. I can't, Honor, I can't, I
can't."

"Fardorougha, my heart--his mother's heart is fixed upon it, an' was. Oh
lave this to me, acushla, lave this to me--it's all I axe!"

"I couldn't, I couldn't--my heart is breakin'--it'll be sweet to
me--I'll think I'll be nearer him," and as he uttered these words the
tears flowed copiously down his cheeks.

His affectionate wife was touched with compassion, and immediately
resolved to let him have his way, whatever it might cost herself. "God
pity you," she said; "I'll give it up, I'll give it up, Fardorougha. Do
sleep where he slep'; I can't blame you, nor I don't; for sure it's only
a proof of how much you love him." She then bade him good--night, and,
with spirits dreadfully weighed down by this singular incident, withdrew
to her lonely pillow; for Connor's bed had been a single one, in which,
of course, two persons could not sleep together. Thus did these bereaved
parents retire to seek that rest which nothing but exhausted nature
seemed disposed to give them, until at length they fell asleep under the
double shadow of night and a calamity which filled their hearts with so
much distress and misery.

In the mean time, whatever these two families might have felt for
the sufferings of their respective children in consequence of Bartle
Flanagan's villainy, that plausible traitor had watched the departure of
his victim with a palpitating anxiety almost equal to what some unhappy
culprit, in the dock of a prison, would experience when the foreman of
his jury handed down the sentence which is either to hang or acquit him.
Up to the very moment on which the vessel sailed, his cruel but cowardly
heart was literally sick with the apprehension that Connor's mitigated
sentence might be still further commuted to a term of imprisonment.
Great, therefore, was his joy, and boundless his exultation on
satisfying himself that he was now perfectly safe in the crime he had
committed, and that his path was never to be crossed by him, whom,
of all men living, he had most feared and hated. The reader is not
to suppose, however, that by the ruin of Connor, and the revenge he
consequently had gained upon Fardorougha, the scope of his dark designs
was by any means accomplished. Far from it; the fact is, his measures
were only in a progressive state. In Nogher M'Cormick's last interview
with Connor, our readers will please to remember that a hint had been
thrown out by that attached old follower, of Flanagan's entertaining
certain guilty purposes involving nothing less than the abduction of
Una. Now, in justice even to Flanagan, we are bound to say that no
one living had ever received from himself any intimation of such an
intention. The whole story was fabricated by Nogher for the purpose of
getting Connor's consent to the vengeance which it had been determined
to execute upon his enemy. By a curious coincidence, however,the story,
though decidedly false so far as Nogher knew to the contrary, happened
to be literally and absolutely true. Flanagan, indeed, was too skilful
and secret, either to precipitate his own designs until the feeling of
the parties should abate and settle down, or to place himself at the
mercy of another person's honesty. He knew his own heart too well to
risk his life by such dangerous and unseasonable confidence. Some months
consequently passed away since. Connor's departure, when an event took
place, which gave him still greater security. This was nothing less than
the fulfilment by Fardorougha of that plan to which he looked forward
with such prospective satisfaction, Connor had not been a month gone
when his father commenced to dispose of his property, which he soon did,
having sold out his farm to good advantage. He then paid his rent, the
only debt he owed; and, having taken a passage to New South Wales for
himself and Honor, they departed with melancholy satisfaction to seek
that son without whose society they found their desolate hearth gloomier
than the cell of a prison.

This was followed, too, by another circumstance--but one apparently of
little importance--which was, the removal of Biddy Nulty to the Bodagh's
family, through the interference of Una, by whom she was treated with
singular affection, and admitted to her confidence.

Such was the position of the parties after, the lapse of five months
subsequent to the transportation of Connor. Flanagan had conducted
himself with great circumspection, and, so far as public observation
could go, with much propriety. There was no change whatsoever
perceptible, either in his dress or manner except that alluded to by
Nogher of his altogether declining to taste any intoxicating liquor. In
truth, so well did he act his part, that the obloquy raised against him
at the period of Connor's trial was nearly, if not altogether, removed,
and many persons once more adopted an impression of his victim's guilt.

With respect to the Bodagh and his son, the anxiety which we have
described them as feeling in consequence of the latter's interview with
O'Donovan, was now completely removed. Una's mother had nearly forgotten
both the crime and its consequences; but upon the spirit of her daughter
there appeared to rest a silent and settled sorrow not likely to be
diminished or removed. Her cheerfulness had abandoned her, and many an
hour did she contrive to spend with Biddy Nulty, eager in the mournful
satisfaction of talking over all that affection prompted of her banished
lover.

We must now beg our readers to accompany us to a scene of a different
description from any we have yet drawn. The night of a November day had
set in, or rather had advanced so far as nine o'clock, and towards the
angle of a small three-cornered field, called by a peculiar coincidence
of name, Oona's Handkerchief, in consequence of an old legend connected
with it, might be seen moving a number of straggling figures, sometimes
in groups of fours and fives; sometimes in twos or threes as the case
might be, and not unfrequently did a single straggler advance, and,
after a few private words, either join the others or proceed alone to a
house situated in the angular corner of the field to which we allude. As
the district was a remote one, and the night rather dark, several shots
might be heard as they proceeded, and several flashes in the pan seen
from the rusty arms of those who were probably anxious to pull a trigger
for the first time. The country, at the period we write of, be it
observed, was in a comparative state of tranquility, and no such thing
as a police corps had been heard of or known in the neighborhood.

At the lower end of a long, level kind of moor called the Black Park,
two figures approached a* kind of gate or pass that opened into it.
One of them stood until the other advanced, and, in a significant tone,
asked who comes there?

"A friend to the guard," was the reply.

"Good morrow," said the other.

"Good morrow mornin' to you."

"What age are you in?"

"In the end of the Fifth."

"All right; come on, boy; the true blood's in you, whoever you are."

"An' is it possible you don't know me, Dandy?"

"Faix, it is; I forgot my spectacles tonight. Who the dickins are you at
all?"

"I suppose you purtind to forget Ned M'Cormick?"

"Is it Nogher's son?"

"The divil a other; an', Dandy Duffy, how are you, man alive?"

"Why, you see, Ned, I've been so long out of the counthry, an' I'm now
so short a time back, that, upon my sowl, I forget a great many of my
ould acquaintances, especially them that wor only slips when I wint
acrass. Faith, I'm purty well considherin, Ned, I thank you."

"Bad luck to them that sint you acrass, Dandy; not but that you got
off purty well on the whole, by all accounts. They say only that Rousin
Redhead swore like a man you'd 'a' got a touch of the Shaggy Shoe."

"To the divil wid it all now, Ned; let us have no more about it; I don't
for my own part like to think of it. Have you any notion of what we're
called upon for to--night?"

"Divil the laste; but I believe, Dandy, that Bartle's not the
white-headed boy wid you no more nor wid some more of us."

"Him! a double-distilled villain. Faith, there wor never good that had
the white liver; an' he has it to the backbone. My brother Lachlin,
that's now dead, God rest him, often tould me about the way he tricked
him and Barney Bradly when they wor greenhorns about nineteen or twenty.
He got them to join him in stealin' a sheep for their Christmas dinner,
he said; so they all three stole it; an' the blaggard skinned and cut
it up, sendin' my poor boacun of a brother home to hide the skin in the
straw in our barn, and poor Barney, wid only the head an' trotters,
to hide them in his father's tow-house. Very good; in a day or two
the neighbors wor all called upon to clear themselves upon the holy
Evangelisp; and the two first that he egg'd an' to do it was my brother
an' Barney. Of coorse he switched the primmer himself that he was
innocent; but whin it was all over some one sint Jarmy Campel, that lost
the sheep, to the very spot where they hid the fleece an' trot--ters.
Jarmy didn't wish to say much about it; so he tould them if they'd
fairly acknowledge it an' pay him betune them for the sheep, he'd dhrop
it. My father an' Andy Bradly did so, an' there it ended; but purshue
the morsel of mutton ever they tasted in the mane time. As for Bartle,
he managed the thing so well that at the time they never suspected him,
although divil a other could betray them, for he was the only one knew
it; an' he had the aiten o' the mutton, too, the blaggard! Faith, Ned, I
know him well."

"He has conthrived to get a strong back o' the boys, anyhow."

"He has, an' 'tis that, and bekase he's a good hand to be undher for my
revinge on Blennerhasset, that made me join him."

"I dunna what could make him refuse to let Alick Nulty join him?"

"Is it my cousin from Annaloghan? an' did he?"

"Divil a lie in it; it's as thrue as you're standin' there; but do you
know what is suspected?"

"No."

"Why, that he has an eye on Bodagh Buie's daughter. Alick towld me that,
for a long time afther Connor O'Donovan was thransported, the father an'
son wor afeard of him. He hard it from his sister Biddy, an' it appears
that the Bodagh's daughter tould her family that he used to stare her
out of countenance at mass, an' several times struv to put the furraun
on her in hopes to get acquainted."

"He would do it; an' my hand to you, if he undhertakes it he'll not
fail; an' I'll tell you another thing, if he suspected that I knew
anything about the thraitherous thrick he put on my poor brother,
the divil a toe he'd let me join him; but you see I--was only a mere
gorsoon, a child I may say at the time.

"At all events let us keep an eye on him; an' in regard to Connor
O'Donovan's business, let him not be too sure that it's over wid him
yet. At any rate, by dad, my father has slipped out a name upon him an'
us that will do him no good. The other boys now call us the Stags of
Lisdhu, that bein' the place where his father lived, an' the nickname
you see rises out of his thrachery to poor Connor O'Donovan."

"Did he ever give any hint himself about carryin' away the Bodagh's
pretty daughter?"

"Is it him'? Oh, oh! catch him at it; he's a damn sight too close to do
any sich thing."

After some further conversation upon that and other topics, they arrived
at the place of appointment, which was a hedge school-house; one of
those where the master, generally an unmarried man, merely wields his
sceptre during school-hours, leaving it open and uninhabited for the
rest of the twenty-four.

The appearance of those who were here assembled was indeed singularly
striking. A large fire of the unconsumed peat brought by the scholars on
that morning, was kindled in the middle of the floor--it's usual site.
Around, upon stones, hobs, bosses, and seats of various descriptions,
sat the "boys"--some smoking and others drinking; for upon nights of
this kind, a shebeen-housekeeper, uniformly a member of such societies,
generally attends for the sale of his liquor, if he cannot succeed
in prevailing on them to hold their meetings in his own house--a
circumstance which for many reasons may not be in every case advisable.
As they had not all yet assembled, nor the business of the night
commenced, they were, of course, divided into several groups and engaged
in various amusements. In the lower end of the house was a knot, busy at
the game of "spoiled five," their ludicrous table being the crown of a
hat, placed upon the floor in the centre. These all sat upon the ground,
their legs stretched out, their torch-bearer holding a lit bunch of fir
splinters, stuck for convenience sake into the muzzle of a horse-pistol.
In the upper end, again, sat another clique, listening to a man who
was reading a treasonable ballad. Such of them as could themselves read
stretched over their necks in eagerness to peruse it along with him,
and such as could not--indeed, the greater number--gave force to its
principles by very significant gestures; some being those of melody, and
others those of murder; that is to say, part of them were attempting
to hum a tune in a low voice, suitable to the words, whilst others more
ferocious brandished their weapons, as if those against whom the spirit
of the ballad was directed had been then within the reach of their
savage passions. Beside the fire, and near the middle of the house, sat
a man, who, by his black stock and military appearance, together with a
scar over his brow that gave him a most repulsive look, was evidently
a pensioner or old soldier. This person was engaged in examining
some rusty fire-arms that had been submitted to his inspection. His
self-importance was amusing, as was also the deferential aspect of
those who, with arms in their hands, hammering flints or turning screws,
awaited patiently their turn for his opinion of their efficiency. But
perhaps the most striking group of all was that in which a thick-necked,
bull-headed young fellow, with blood-colored hair, a son of Rousin
Redhead's--who, by the way, was himself present--and another
beetle-browed slip were engaged in drawing for a wager, upon one of
the school-boy's slates, the figure of a coffin and cross-bones. A
hardened-looking old sinner, with murder legible in his face, held the
few half-pence which they wagered in his open hand, whilst in the other
he clutched a pole, surmounted by a bent bayonet that had evidently seen
service. The last group worthy of remark was composed of a few
persons who were writing threatening notices upon a leaf torn out of
a school-boy's copy, which was laid upon what they formerly termed a
copy-board, of plain deal, kept upon the knees, as a substitute for
desks, while the boys were writing. This mode of amusement was called
waiting for the Article-bearer, or the Captain, for such was Bartle
Flanagan, who now entered the house, and saluted all present with great
cordiality.

"Begad, boys," he said, "our four guards widout is worth any money. I
had to pass the sign-word afore 'I could pass myself, and that's the
way it ought to be. But, boys, before we go further, an' for fraid of
thraitors, I must call the rowl. You'll stand in a row roun' the walls,
an' thin we can make sure that there's no spies among us."

He then called out a roll of those who were members of his lodge and,
having ascertained that all was right, he proceeded immediately to
business.

"Rousin Redhead, what's the raisin you didn't take the arms from Captain
St. Ledger's stewart? Sixteen men armed was enough to do it, an' yees
failed."

"Ay, an' if you had been wid us, and sixteen more to the back o' that,
you'd failed too. Begarra, captain dear, it seems that good people is
scarce. Look at Mickey Mulvather there, you see his head tied up; but
aldo he can play cards well enough, be me sowl, he's short of wan ear
any how, an' if you could meet wan o' the same Stewart's bullets, goin'
abroad at night like ourselves for its divarsion, it might tell how he
lost it. Bartle, I tell you a number of us isn't satisfied wid you. You
sends us out to meet danger, an' you won't come yourself."

"Don't you know, Rouser, that I always do go whenever I can? But I'm
caged now; faix I don't sleep in a barn, and can't budge as I used to
do."

"An' who's tyin' you to your place, thin?"

"Rouser," replied Bartle, "I wish I had a thousand like you, not but
I have fine fellows. Boys, the thruth is this, you must all meet here
to-morrow night, for the short an' long of it is, that I'm goin' to run
away wid a wife."

"Well," replied Redhead, "sure you can do that widout our assistance, if
she's willin' to come."

"Willin'! why," replied Bartle, "it's by her own appointment we're
goin'."

"An' if it is, then," said the Rouser, who, in truth, was the leader
of the suspicious and disaffected party in Flanagan's lodge, "what the
blazes use have you for us?"

"Rouser Redhead," said Bartle, casting a suspicious and malignant glance
at him, "might I take the liberty of axin' what you mane by spakin'
of me in that disparagin' manner? Do you renumber your oath? or do you
forget that you're bound by it to meet at twelve hours' notice, or less,
whinever you're called upon? Dar Chriestha! man, if I hear another word
of the kind out of your lips, down you go on the black list. Boys," he
proceeded, with a wheedling look of good-humor to the rest, "we'll have
neither Spies nor Stags here, come or go what may."

"Stags!" replied Rouser Redhead, whose face had already become scarlet
with indignation. "Stags, you say, Bartle Flanagan! Arrah, boys, I
wondher where is poor Connor O'Donovan by this time?"

"I suppose bushin' it afore now," said our friend of the preceding part
of the night. "I bushed it myself for a year and a half, but be Japurs I
got sick of it. But any how, Bartle, you oughn't to spake of Stags, for
although Connor refused to join us, damn your blood, you had no right
to go to inform upon him. Sure, only for the intherest that was made for
him, you'd have his blood on your sowl."

"An' if he had itself," observed one of Flanagan's friends, "'twould
signify very little. The Bodagh desarved what he got, and more if he had
got it. What right has he, one of our own purswadjion as he is to hould
out against us the way he does? Sure he's as rich as a Sassenach, an'
may hell resave the farden he'll subscribe towards our gettin' arms or
ammunition, or towards defindin' us when we're brought to thrial. So
hell's delight wid the dirty Bodagh, says myself for wan."

"An' is that by way of defince of Captain Bartle Flanagan?" inquired
Rouser Redhead, indignantly. "An' so our worthy captain sint the man
across that punished our inimy, even accordian to your own provin', an'
that by staggin' aginst him. Of coorse, had the miser's son been one of
huz, Bartle's brains would be scattered to the four quarthers of heaven
long agone."

"An' how did I know but he'd stag aginst me?" said Bartle, very calmly.

"Damn well you knew he would not," observed Ned M'Cormick, now
encouraged by the bold and decided manner of Rouser Redhead. "Before
ever you went into Fardorougha's sarvice you sed to more than one that
you'd make him sup sorrow for his harshness to your father and family."

"An' didn't he desarve it, Ned? Didn't he ruin us?"

"He might desarve it, an' I suppose he did; but what right had you to
punish the innocent for the guilty? You knew very well that both his son
and his wife always set their faces against his doin's.'"

"Boys," said Flanagan, "I don't understand this, and I tell you more I
won't bear it. This night let any of you that doesn't like to be undher
me say so. Rouser Redhead, you'll never meet in a Ribbon Lodge agin.
You're scratched out of wan book, but by way of comfort you're down in
another"

"What other, Bartle?"

"The black list. An' now I have nothin' more to say except that if
there's anything on your mind that wants absolution, look to it."

We must now pause for a moment to observe upon that which we suppose the
sagacity of the reader has already discovered--that is, the connection
between what has occurred in Flanagan's lodge, and the last dialogue
which took place between Nogher and Connor O'Donovan. It is evident
that Nogher had spirits at work for the purpose both of watching and
contravening all Flanagan's plans, and, if possible, of drawing him into
some position which might justify the "few friends," as he termed
them, first in disgracing him, and afterwards of settling their account
ultimately with a man whom they wished to blacken, as dangerous to the
society of which they were members. The curse, however, of these secret
confederacies, and indeed of ribbonism in general, is, that the savage
principle of personal vengeance is transferred from the nocturnal
assault, or the midday assassination, which may be directed against
religious or political enemies, to the private bickerings and petty
jealousies that must necessarily occur in a combination of ignorant
and bigoted men, whose passions are guided by no principle but one of
practical cruelty. This explains, as we have just put it, and justly put
it, the incredible number of murders which are committed in this unhappy
country, under the name of way-layings and midnight attacks, where the
offence that caused them cannot be traced by society at large, although
it is an incontrovertible fact, that to all those who are connected with
ribbonism, in its varied phases, it often happens that the projection
of such murders is known for weeks before they are perpetrated.
The wretched assassin who murders a man that has never offended
him personally, and who suffers himself to become the instrument of
executing the hatred which originates from a principle of general enmity
again a class, will not be likely, once his hands are stained with
blood, to spare any one who may, by direct personal injury, incur his
resentment. Every such offence, where secret societies are concerned,
is made a matter of personal feeling and trial of strength between
factions, and of course a similar spirit is superinduced among persons
of the same creed and principles to that which actuates them against
those who differ from them in politics and religion. It is true that the
occurrence of murders of this character has been referred to as a proof
that secret societies are not founded or conducted upon a spirit of
religious rancor; but such an assertion is, in some cases, the result
of gross ignorance, and, in many more, of far grosser dishonesty. Their
murdering each other is not at all a proof of any such thing, but it,
is a proof, as we have said, that their habit of taking away human life,
and shedding human blood upon slight grounds or political feelings,
follows them from their conventional principles to their private
resentments, and is, therefore, such a consequence as might naturally be
expected to result from a combination of men who, in one sense, consider
murder no crime. Thus does this secret tyranny fall back upon society,
as well as upon those who are concerned in it, as a double curse;
and, indeed, we believe that even the greater number of these unhappy
wretches whom it keeps within its toils, would be glad if the principle
were rooted out of the country forever.

"An' so you're goin' to put my father down on the black list," said the
beetle-browed son of the Rouser. "Very well, Bartle, do so; but do
you see that?" he added, pointing to the sign of the coffin and the
cross-bones, which he had previously drawn upon the slate; "dhav a
sphirit Neev, if you do, you'll waken some mornin' in a warmer counthry
than Ireland."

"Very well," said Bartle, quietly, but evidently shrinking from a threat
nearly as fearful, and far more daring than his own. "You know I have
nothin' to do except my duty. Yez are goin' aginst the cause, an' I must
report yez; afther whatever happens, won't come from me, nor from any
one here. It is from thim that's in higher quarters you'll get your
doom, an' not from me, or, as I said afore, from any one here. Mark
that; but indeed you know it as well as I do, an' I believe, Rouser, a
good deal bether."

Flanagan's argument, to men who understood its dreadful import, was one
before which almost every description of personal courage must quail.
Persons were then present, Rouser Redhead among the rest, who had been
sent upon some of those midnight missions, which contumacy against the
system, when operating in its cruelty, had dictated. Persons of humane
disposition, declining to act on these sanguinary occasions, are
generally the first to be sacrificed, for individual life is nothing
when obstructing the propagation of general principle.

This truth, coming from Flanagan's lips, they themselves, some of whom
had executed its spirit, knew but too well. The difference, however,
between their apprehension, so far as they were individually concerned,
was not much; Flanagan had the person to fear, and his opponents the
principle.

Redhead, however, who knew that whatever he had executed upon
delinquents like himself, might also upon himself be visited in his
turn, saw that his safest plan for the present was to submit; for indeed
the meshes of the White-boys' system leave no man's life safe, if he
express hostile opinions to it.

"Bartle," said he, "you know I'm no coward; an' I grant that you've a
long head at plannin' anything you set about. I don't see, in the mane
time, why, afther all, we should quarrel. You know me, Bartle; an' if
anything happens me, it won't be for nothin. I say no more; but I say
still that you throw the danger upon uz, and don't--"

"Rouser Redhead," said Bartle, "give me jour hand. I say now, what I
didn't wish to say to-night afore, by Japurs, you're worth five men; an'
I'll tell you all, boys, you must meet the Rouser here to-morrow night,
an' we'll have a dhrink at my cost; an', boys--Rouser, hear me--you all
know your oaths; we'll do something to-morrow night--an' I say again,
Rouser, I'll be wid yez an' among yez; an' to prove my opinion of the
Rouser, I'll allow him to head us."

"An', by the cross o' Moses, I'll do it in style," rejoined the
hot-headed but unthinking fellow, who did not see that the adroit
captain was placing him in the post of danger. "I don't care a damn what
it is--we'll meet here to-morrow night, boys, an' I'll show you that I
can lead as well as folly.

"Whatever happens," said Bartle, "we oughtn't to have any words or
bickerin's among ourselves at any rate. I undherstand that two among yez
sthruck one another. Sure yez know that there's not a blow ye giv to a
brother but's a perjury--an' there's no use in that, barin an' to help
forid the thruth. I'll say no more about it now; but I hope there'll
never be another blow given among yez. Now, get a hat, some o' yez, till
we draw cuts for six that I want to beat Tom Lynchagan, of Lisdhu; he's
worken for St. Ledger, afther gettin' two notices. He's a quiet, civil
man, no doubt; but that's not the thing. Obadience, or where's the
use of our meetin's at all? Give him a good sound batin', but no
further--break no bones."

He then marked slips of paper, equal in number to those who were
present, with the numbers 1, 2, 3, &c, to correspond, after which
he determined that the three first numbers and the three last should
go--all of which was agreed to without remonstrance, or any apparent
show of reluctance whatever. "Now, boys," he continued, "don't forget to
attend to-morrow night; an' I say to every man of you, as Darby Spaight
said to the divil, when he promised to join the rebellion, _'phe dha
phecka laght,'_ (bring your pike with you,) bring the weapon."

"An who's the purty girl that's goin' to wet you, Captain Bartle?"
inquired Dandy Duffy.

"The purtiest girl in this parish, anyhow," replied Flanagan, unawares.
The words, however, were scarcely out of his lips, when he felt that he
had been indiscreet. He immediately added--"that is, if she is of this
parish; but I didn't say she is. Maybe We'll have to thravel a bit to
find her out, but come what come may, don't neglect to be all here about
half-past nine o'clock, wid your arms an' ammunition."

Duffy, who had sat beside Ned M'Cormiek during the night, gave him a
significant look, which the other, who had, in truth, joined himself to
Flanagan's lodge only to watch his movements, as significantly returned.

When the men deputed to beat Lynchaghan had blackened their faces, the
lodge dispersed for the night, Dandy Duffy and Ned M'Cormick taking
their way home together, in order to consider of matters, with which the
reader, in due time, shall be made acquainted.



PART VII.

Our readers may recollect, that, at the close of that part of our tale
which appeared in the preceding number, Dandy Duffy and Ned M'Cormick
exchanged significant glances at each other, upon Flanagan's having
admitted unawares that the female he designed to take away on the
following night was "the purtiest girl in the parish." The truth was, he
imagined at the moment that his designs were fully matured, and in the
secret vanity, or rather, we should say, in the triumphant villainy of
his heart, he allowed an expression' to incautiously pass his lips which
was nearly tantamount to an admission of Una's name. The truth of this
he instantly felt. But even had he not, by his own natural sagacity,
perceived it, the look of mutual intelligence which his quick and
suspicious eye observed to pass between Duffy and Ned M'Cormick would at
once have convinced him. Una was not merely entitled to the compliment
so covertly bestowed upon her extraordinary personal attractions, but
in addition it might have been truly affirmed that neither that nor any
adjoining parish could produce a female, in any rank, who could stand on
a level with her in the character of a rival beauty. This was admitted
by all who had ever seen the _colleen dhan dhun_, or "the purty brown
girl," as she was called, and it followed as a matter of course, that
Flanagan's words could imply no other than the Bodagh's daughter.

It is unnecessary to say, that Flanagan,--knowing this as he did, could
almost have bit a portion of his own tongue off as a punishment for its
indiscretion. It was then too late, however, to efface the impression
which the words were calculated to make, and he felt besides that he
would only strengthen the suspicion by an over-anxiety to remove it. He,
therefore, repeated his orders respecting the appointed meeting on the
following night, although he had already resolved in his own mind to
change the whole plan of his operations.

Such was the precaution with which this cowardly but accomplished
miscreant proceeded towards the accomplishment of his purposes, and such
was his apprehension lest the premature suspicion of a single individual
might by contingent treachery defeat his design, or affect his personal
safety. He had made up his mind to communicate the secret of his
enterprise to none until the moment of its execution; and this being
accomplished, his ultimate plans were laid, as he thought, with
sufficient skill to baffle pursuit and defeat either the malice of his
enemies or the vengeance of the law.

No sooner had they left the schoolhouse than the Dandy and M'Cormick
immediately separated from the rest, in order to talk over the
proceedings of the night, with a view to their suspicions of the
"Captain." They had not gone far, however, when they were overtaken by
two others, who came up to them at a quick, or, if I may be allowed the
expression, an earnest pace. The two latter were Rousin Redhead and his
son, Corney.

"So, boys," said the Rouser, "what do you think of our business
to-night? Didn't I get well out of his clutches?"

"Be me troth, Rouser, darlin'," replied the Dandy, "you niver wor
completely in them till this minnit."

"_Dhar ma lham charth_," said Corney, "I say he's a black-hearted
villin."

"But how am I in his clutches, Dandy?" inquired the Rouser.

"Why," rejoined Duffy, "didn't you see that for all you said about
his throwin' the post of danger on other people, he's givin' it to you
to-morrow night?"

Rousin Redhead stood still for nearly half a minute without uttering a
syllable; at length he seized Dandy by the arm, which he pressed with
the gripe of Hercules, for he was a man of huge size and strength.

"_Chorp ad dioual_, you giant, is it my arm you're goin' to break?"

"Be the tarnal primmer, Dandy Duffy, but I see it now!" said the Rouser,
struck by Bartle's address, and indignant at the idea of having been
overreached by him. "Eh, Corney," he continued, addressing the son,
"hasn't he the Rouser set? I see, boys, I see. I'm a marked man wid him,
an' it's likely, for all he said, will be on the black list afore he
sleeps. Well, Corney avic, you an' others know how to act if anything
happens me."

"I don't think," said M'Cormick, who was a lad of considerable
penetration, "that you need be afeard of either him or the black list.
Be me sowl, I know the same Bartle well, an' a bigger coward never put a
coat on his back. He got as pale as a sheet, to-night, when Corney there
threatened him; not but he's desateful enough I grant, but he'd be a
greater tyrant only that he's so hen-hearted."

"But what job," said the rouser, "has he for us to-morrow night, do you
think? It must be something past the common. Who the _dioual_ can he
have in his eye to run away wid?"

"Who's the the purtiest girl in the parish, Rouser?" asked Ned. "I
thought every one knew that."

"Why, you don't mane for to say," replied Redhead, "that he'd have the
spunk in him to run away with Bodagh Buie's daughter? Be the contents o'
the book, if I thought he'd thry it, I stick to him like a Throjan;
the dirty Bodagh, that, as Larry Lawdher said tonight, never backed or
supported us, or gev a single rap to help us, if a penny 'ud save us
from the gallis. To hell's delights wid him an' all belongin' to him,
I say too; an' I'll tell you What it is, boys, if Flanagan has the
manliness to take away his daughter, I'll be the first to sledge the
door to pieces."

"_Dhar a spiridh_, an' so will I," said the young beetle-browed tiger
beside him; "thim that can an' won't help on the cause, desarves no
mercy from it."

Thus spoke from the lips of ignorance and brutality that _esprit de
corps_ of blood, which never scruples to sacrifice all minor resentments
to any opportunity of extending the cause, as it is termed, of that
ideal monster, in the promotion of which the worst principles of our
nature, still most active, are sure to experience the greatest glut of
low and gross gratification. Oh, if reason, virtue, and true religion,
were only as earnest and vigorous in extending their own cause, as
ignorance, persecution, and bigotry, how soon would society present a
different aspect! But, unfortunately, they cannot stoop to call in the
aid of tyranny, and cruelty, and bloodshed, nor of the thousand other
atrocious allies of falsehood and dishonesty, of which ignorance, craft,
and cruelty, never fail to avail themselves, and without which they
could not proceed successfully.

M'Cormick, having heard Rousin Redhead and his son utter such
sentiments, did not feel at all justified in admitting them to any
confidence with himself or Duffy. He accordingly replied with more of
adroitness than of candor to the savage sentiments they expressed.

"Faith, you're right, Rouser; he'd never have spunk, sure enough, to
carry off the Bodagh's daughter. But, in the mane time, who was spakin'
about her? Begor, if I thought he had the heart I'd--but he hasn't."

"I know he hasn't," said the Rouser.

"He's nothing but a white-livered dog," said Duffy.

"I thought, to tell you the truth," said M'Cormick, "that you might give
a guess as to the girl, but for the Bodagh's daughter, he has not the
mettle for that."

"If he had," replied the Rouser, "he might count upon Corney an' myself
as right-hand men. We all have a crow to pluck wid the dirty Bodagh,
an', be me zounds, it'll puzzle him to find a bag to hould the
feathers."

"One 'ud think he got enough," observed M'Cormick, "in the loss of his
haggard."

"But that didn't come from uz," said the Rouser; "we have our share to
give him yet, an' never fear hell get it. We'll taich him to abuse us,
an' set us at defiance, as he's constantly doin'."

"Well, Rouser," said M'Cormick, who now felt anxious to get rid of him,
"we'll be wishin' you a good night; we're goin' to have a while of a
_kailyeah_ (An evening conversational visit) up at my uncle's. Corney,
my boy, good night."

"Good night kindly, boys," replied the other, "an' __banaght lath any
how."

"Rouser, you divil," said the Dandy, calling after them, "will you an'
blessed Corney there, offer up a Patthernavy for my conversion, for I'm
sure that both your prayers will go far?"

Rousin Redhead and Corney responded to this with a loud laugh, and a
banter.

"Ay, ay, Dandy; but, be me sowl, if they only go as far as your own
goodness sint you before now, it'll be seven years before they come back
again; eh, do you smell anything?--ha, ha, ha!"

"The big boshthoon hot me fairly, begad," observed the Dandy.
Aside--"The divil's own tongue he has."

"Bad cess to you for a walkin' bonfire, an' go home," replied the Dandy;
"I'm not a match for you wid the tongue, at all at all"

"No, nor wid anything else, barrin' your heels," replied the Rouser; "or
your hands, if there was a horse in the way. Arrah, Dandy?"

"Well, you graceful youth, well?"

"You ought to be a good workman by this time; you first lamed your
thrade, an' thin you put in your apprenticeship--ha, ha, ha!"

"Faith, an' Rouser I can promise you a merry end, my beatity; you'll be
the only man that'll dance at your own funeral; an' I'll tell you what,
Rouser, it'll be like an egg-hornpipe, wid your eyes covered. That's
what I call an active death, avouchal!"

"Faith, an' if you wor a priest, Dandy, you'd never die with your face
to the congregation. You'll be a rope-dancer yourself yet; only this,
Dandy, that you'll be undher the rope instead of over it, so good
night."

"Rouser," exclaimed the other. "Rousin Redhead!"

"Go home," replied the Rouser. "Good night, I say; you've thravelled a
great deal too far for an ignorant man like me to stand any chance
wid you. Your tongue's lighter than your hands (In Ireland, to be
light--handed signifies to be a thief) even, and that's payin' it a high
compliment."

"Divil sweep you, Brien," said Dandy, "you'd beat the divil an' Docthor
Fosther, Good night again!"

"Oh, ma bannaght laht, I say."

And they accordingly parted.

"Now," said Ned, "what's to be done Dandy? As sure as gun's iron,
this limb of hell will take away the Bodagh's daughter, if we don't do
something to prevent it."

"I'm not puttin' it past him," returned his companion, "but how to
prevent it is the thing. He has the boys all on his side, barrin'
yourself and me, an' a few more."

"An' you see, Ned, the Bodagh is so much hated, that even some of thim
that don't like Flanagan, won't scruple to join him in this."

"An' if we were known to let the cat out o' the bag to the Bodagh, we
might as well prepare our coffins at wanst."

"Faith, sure enough--that's but gospel, Ned," replied the Dandy; still
it 'ud be the _milliah_ murdher to let the double-faced villin carry off
such a girl."

"I'll tell you what you'll do, thin, Dandy," rejoined Ned, "what if
you'd walk down wid me as far as the Bodagh's."

"For why? Sure they're in bed now, man alive."

"I know that," said M'Cormick; "but how--an--ever, if you come down wid
me that far, I'll conthrive to get in somehow, widout wakenin' them."

"The dickens you will! How, the sarra, man?"

"No matther, I will; an' you see," he added, pulling out a flask of
spirits, "I'm not goin' impty-handed."

"Phew!" exclaimed Duffy, "is it there you are?--oh, that indeed! Faith
I got a whisper of it some time ago, but it wint out o' my head. Biddy
Nulty, faix--a nate clane girl she is, too."

"But that's not the best of it, Dandy. Sure, blood alive, I can tell you
a sacret--may dipind? Honor bright! The Bodagh's daughter, man, is to
give her a portion, in regard to her bein' so thrue to Connor O'Donovan.
Bad luck to the oath she'd swear aginst him if they'd made a queen of
her, but outdone the counsellors and lawyers, an' all the whole bobbery
o' them, whin they wanted her to turn king's evidence. Now, it's not but
I'd do anything to serve the purty Bodagh's daughter widout it; but you
see, Dandy, if white-liver takes her off, I may stand a bad chance for
the portion."

"Say no more; I'll go wid you; but how will you get in, Ned?"

"Never you mind that; here, take a pull out of this flask before you go
any further. Blood an' flummery! what a night; divil a my finger I can
see before me. Here--where's your hand?--that's it; warm your heart, my
boy."

"You intind thin, Ned, to give Biddy the hard word about Flanagan?"

"Why, to bid her put them on their guard; sure there can be no harm in
that."

"They say, Ned, it's not safe to trust a woman; what if you'd ax to see
the Bodagh's son, the young soggarth?"

"I'd trust my life to Biddy--she that was so honest to the Donovans
wouldn't be desateful to her sweetheart that--he--hem--she's far gone in
consate wid--your sowl. Her brother Alick's to meet me at the Bodagh's
on his way from their lodge, for they hould a meetin to-night too."

"Never say it again. I'll stick to you; so push an, for it's late.
You'll be apt to make up the match before you part, I suppose."

"That won't be hard to do any time, Dandy."

Both then proceeded down the same field, which we have already said
was called the Black Park, in consequence of its dark and mossy soil.
Having, with some difficulty, found the stile at the lower end of it,
they passed into a short car track, which they were barely able to
follow.

The night, considering that it was the month of November, was close and
foggy--such as frequently follows a calm day of incessant rain. The
bottoms were plashing, the drams all full, and the small rivulets and
streams about the country were above their hanks, whilst the larger
rivers swept along with the hoarse continuous murmurs of an unusual
flood. The sky was one sheet of blackness--for not a cloud could be
seen, or anything, except the passing gleam of a cottage taper, lessened
by the haziness of the night into a mere point of faint light, and
thrown by the same cause into a distance which appeared to the eye much
more remote than that of reality.

After having threaded their way for nearly a mile, the water spouting
almost at every step up to their knees, they at length came to an old
bridle--way, deeply shaded with hedges on each side. They had not spoken
much since the close of their last dialogue; for, the truth is, each had
enough to do, independently of dialogue, to keep himself out of drains
and quagmires. An occasional "hanamondioul, I'm into the hinches;" "holy
St. Peter, I'm stuck;" "tun--dher an' turf, where are you at all?" or,
"by this an' by that, I dunno where I am," were the only words that
passed between them, until they reached the little road we are speaking,
of, which, in fact, was one unbroken rut, and on such a night almost
impassable.

"Now," said M'Cormick, "we musn't keep this devil's gut, for conshumin'
to the shoe or stockin' ever we'd bring out of it; however, do you folly
me, Dandy, and there's no danger."

"I can do nothing else," replied the other, "for I know no more where I
am than the man of the moon, who, if all's thrue that's sed of him, is
the biggest blockhead alive."

M'Cormick, who knew the path well, turned off the road into a pathway
that ran inside the hedge and along the fields, but parallel with the
muddy boreen in question. They now found themselves upon comparatively
clear ground, and, with the exception of an occasional slip or two, in
consequence of the heavy rain, they had little difficulty in advancing.
At this stage of their journey not a light was to be seen nor a sound
of life heard, and it was evident that the whole population of the
neighborhood had sunk to rest.

"Where will this bring us to, Ned?" asked the Dandy--"I hope we'll soon
be at the Bodagh's."

M'Cormick stood and suddenly pressed his arm, "Whisht!" said he, in an
under-tone, "I think I hard voices."

"No," replied the other in the same low tone.

"I'm sure I did," said Ned, "take my word for it, there's people before
us on the boreen--whisht!"

They both listened, and very distinctly heard a confused but suppressed
murmur of voices, apparently about a hundred yards before them on the
little bridle--way. Without uttering a word they both proceeded as
quietly and quickly as possible, and in a few minutes nothing separated
them but the hedge. The party on the road were wallowing through the
mire with great difficulty, many of them, at the same time, bestowing
very energetic execrations upon it and upon those who suffered it to
remain in such a condition. Even oaths, however, were uttered in so
low and cautious a tone, that neither M'Cormick nor the Dandy could
distinguish their voices so clearly as to recognize those who spoke,
supposing that they had known them. Once or twice they heard the
clashing of arms or of iron instruments of some sort, and it seemed to
them that the noise was occasioned by the accidental jostling together
of those who carried them. At length they heard one voice exclaim rather
testily. "D--n your blood, Bartle Flanagan, will you have patience till
I get my shoe out o' the mud--you don't expect me to lose it, do you?
We're not goin' to get a purty wife, whatever you may be."

The reply to this was short, but pithy--"May all the divils in hell's
fire pull the tongue out o' you, for nothin' but hell itself, you
villin, timpted me to bring you with me."

This was not intended to be heard, nor was it by the person against
whom it was uttered, he being some distance behind--but as Ned and his
companion were at that moment exactly on the other side of the hedge,
they could hear the words of this precious soliloquy--for such it
was--delivered as they were with a suppressed energy of malignity,
worthy of the heart which suggested them.

M'Cormick immediately pulled Duffy's coat, without speaking a word, as
a hint to follow him with as little noise as possible, which he did,
and ere many minutes they were so far in advance of the others, as to be
enabled to converse without being heard. "_Thar Bheah_ Duffy," said his
companion, "there's not a minute to be lost."

"There is not," replied the other--"but what will you do with me? I'll
lend a hand in any way I can--but remember that if we're seen, or if
it's known that we go against them in this--"

"I know," said the other, "we're gone men; still we must manage
it somehow, so as to save the girl; God! if it was only on Connor
O'Donovan's account, that's far away this night, I'd do it. Dandy you
wor only a boy when Blannarhasset prosecuted you, and people pitied you
at the time, and now they don't think much the worse of you for it; an'
you know it was proved since, that what you sed then was thrue, that
other rogues made you do it, an' thin lift you in the lurch. But
d--n it, where's the use of all this? give me your hand, it's life or
death--can I thrust you?"

"You may," said the other, "you may, Ned; do whatever you wish with me."

"Then," continued Ned, "I'll go into the house, and do you keep near to
them without bein' seen; watch their motions; but above all things, if
they take her off--folly on till you see where they'll bring her; after
that they can get back enough--the sogers, if they're a wantin'."

"Depind an me, Ned; to the core depind an me."

They had now reached the Bodagh's house, upon which, as upon every other
object around them, the deep shadows of night rested heavily. The Dandy
took up his position behind one of the porches of the gate that divided
the little grass--plot before the hall--door and the farmyard, as being
the most central spot, and from which he could with more ease hear, or
as far as might be observe, the plan and nature of their proceedings.

It was at least fifteen minutes before they reached the little avenue
that led up to the Bodagh's residence; for we ought to have told our
readers, that M'Cormick and Duffy, having taken a short path, left
the others--who, being ignorant of it, were forced to keep to the
road--considerable behind them. Ned was consequently from ten to
fifteen minutes in the house previous to their arrival. At length they
approached silently, and with that creeping pace which betokens either
fear or caution, as the case may be, and stood outside the gate which
led to the grass-plot before the hall-door, not more than three or
four yards from the porch of the farm-yard gate where the Dandy stood
concealed. And here he had an opportunity of witnessing the extreme
skill with which Flanagan conducted this nefarious exploit. After
listening for about a minute, he found that their worthy leader was not
present, but he almost immediately discovered that he was engaged in
placing guards upon all the back windows of the dwelling-house and
kitchen. During his absence the following short consultation took
place among those whom he left behind him, for the purpose of taking a
personal part in the enterprise:

"It was too thrue what Rousin Redhead said to-night," observed one of
them, "he always takes care to throw the post of danger on some one
else. Nowit's not that I'm afeared, but as he's to have the girl
himself, it's but fair that his own neck should run the first danger,
an' not mine."

They all assented to this.

"Well, then, boys," he proceeded, "if yez support me, well make him head
this business himself. It's his own consarn, not ours; an' besides, as
he houlds the Articles, it's his duty to lead us in everything. So I for
wan, won't take away his girl, an' himself keepin' back. If there's any
one here that'll take my place for his, let him now say so."

They were all silent as to that point; but most of them said, they
wished, at all events, to give "the dirty Bodagh," for so they usually
called him, something to remember them by, in consequence of his having,
on all occasions, stood out against the system.

"Still it's fair," said several of them, "that in takin' away the
colleen, Bartle should go foremost, as she's for himself an' 'not for
huz."

"Well, then, you'll all agree to this?"

"We do, but whist--here he is."

Deeply mortified was their leader on finding that they had come
unanimously to this determination. It was too late now, however, to
reason with them, and the crime, to the perpetration of which he brought
them, too dangerous in its consequences, to render a quarrel with them
safe or prudent. He felt himself, therefore, in a position which, of all
others, he did not wish. Still his address was too perfect to allow any
symptoms of chagrin or disappointment to be perceptible in his voice
or manner, although, the truth is, he cursed them in his heart at the
moment, and vowed in some shape or other to visit their insubordination
with vengeance.

Such, indeed, is the nature of these secret confederacies that are
opposed to the laws of the land, and the spirit of religion. It matters
little how open and apparently honest the conduct of such men may be
among each other; there is, notwithstanding this, a distrust, a fear,
a suspicion, lurking at every heart, that renders personal security
unsafe, and life miserable. But how, indeed, can they repose confidence
in each other, when they know that in consequence of their connection
with such systems, many of the civil duties of life cannot be performed
without perjury on the one hand, or risk of life on the other, and that
the whole principle of the combination is founded upon hatred, revenge,
and a violation of all moral obligation?

"Well, then," said their leader, "as your minds is made up, boys, follow
me as quickly as you can, an' don't spake a word in your own voices."

They approached the hall-door, with the exception of six, who stood
guarding the front windows of the dwelling-house and kitchen; and, to
the Dandy's astonishment, the whole party, amounting to about eighteen,
entered the house without either noise or obstruction of any kind.

"By Japurs," thought he to himself, "there's thraichery there, any how."

This now to the Dandy was a moment of intense interest. Though by no
means a coward, or a young fellow of delicate nerves, yet his heart beat
furiously against his ribs, and his whole frame shook with excitement.
He would, in truth, much rather have been engaged in the outrage, than
forced as he was, merely to look on without an opportunity of taking
a part in it, one way or the other. Such, at least, were his own
impressions, when the report of a gun was heard inside the house.

_Dhar an Iffrin_, thought he again, I'll bolt in an' see what's
goin' an--oh _ma shaght millia mattach orth_, Flanagan, if you spill
blood--Jasus above! Well, any how, come or go what may, we can hang him
for this--glory be to God!

These reflections were very near breaking-forth into words.

"I don't like that," said one of the guards to another; "he may take
the girl away, but it's not the thing to murdher any one belongin' to a
dacent family, an' of our own religion."

"If it's only the Bodagh got it," replied his comrade, who was no other
than Micky Malvathra, "blaizes to the hair I care. When my brother
Barney, that suffered for _Caam Beal_ (crooked mouth) Grime's business,
was before his thrial, hell resave the taisther the same Bodagh would
give to defind him."

"Damn it," rejoined the other, "but to murdher a man in his bed! Why,
now, if it was only comin' home from a fair or market, but at midnight,
an' in his bed, begorra it is not the thing, Mickey."

There was now a pause in the conversation for some minutes; at length,
screams were heard, and the noise of men's feet, as if engaged in a
scuffle upon the stairs, for the hall-door lay open. A light, too, was
seen, but it appeared to have been blown out; the same noise of feet
tramping, as if still in a tumult, approached the door, and almost
immediately afterwards Flanagan's party approached, bearing in their
arms a female, who panted and struggled as if she had been too weak
to shriek or call for assistance. The hall-door was then pulled to and
locked by those who were outside.

The Dandy could see, by the passing gleam of light which fell upon
those who watched beside him, that their faces were blackened, and their
clothes covered by a shirt, as was usual with the Whiteboys of old,
and for the same object--that of preventing--themselves from being
recognized by their apparel.

"So far so good," said Flanagan, who cared not now whether his voice was
known or not; "the prize is mine, boys, an' how to bring ma colleen dhas
dhun to a snug place, an' a friendly priest that I have to put the knot
on us for life."

"By ---," thought Duffy, "I'll put a different kind of a knot on you for
that, if I should swing myself for it."

They hurried onwards with as much speed as possible, bearing the
fainting female in a seat formed by clasping their hands together. Duffy
still stood in his place of concealment, waiting to let them get so far
in advance as that he might dog them without danger of being heard.
Just then a man cautiously approached, and in a whisper asked, "Is that
Dandy?"

"It is--Saver above, Ned, how is this? all's lost!"

"No, no--I hope not--but go an' watch them; we'll folly as soon as we
get help. My curse on Alick Nulty, he disappointed me an' didn't come;
if he had, some of the Bodagh's sarvant boys would be up wid us in the
kitchen, an' we could bate them back aisy; for Flanagan, as I tould you,
is a dam-coward."

"Well, thin, I'll trace them," replied the other; "but you know that
in sich darkness as this you haven't a minute to lose, otherwise you'll
miss them."

"Go an; but afore you go listen, be the light of day, not that we have
much of it now any way--by the vestment, Biddy Nulty's worth her weight
in Bank of Ireland notes; now pelt and afther them; I'll tell you
again."

Flanagan's party were necessarily forced to retrace their steps along
the sludgy boreen we have mentioned, and we need scarcely say, that,
in consequence of the charge with which they were encumbered, their
progress was proportionally slow; to cross the fields on such a night
was out of the question.

The first thing Flanagan did, when he found his prize safe, was to tie
a handkerchief about her mouth that she might not scream, and to secure
her hands together by the wrists. Indeed, the first of these precautions
seemed to be scarcely necessary, for what with the terror occasioned by
such unexpected and frightful violence, and the extreme delicacy of her
health, it was evident that she could not utter even a shriek. Yet, did
she, on the other hand, lapse into fits of such spasmodic violence as,
wrought up as she was by the horror of her situation, called forth all
her physical energies, and literally give her the strength of three
women.

"Well, well," observed one of the fellows, who had assisted in holding
her down during these wild fits, "you may talk of jinteel people, but
be the piper o' Moses, that same sick daughter of the Bodagh's is the
hardiest sprout I've laid my hands on this month o' Sundays."

"May be you'd make as hard a battle yourself," replied he to whom he
spoke, "if you wor forced to a thing you hate as much as she hates
Bartle."

"May be so," rejoined the other, with an incredulous shrug, that seemed
to say he was by no means satisfied by the reasoning of his companion.

Bartle now addressed his charge with a hope of reconciling her, if
possible, to the fate of becoming united to him.

"Don't be at all alarmed, Miss Oona, for indeed you may take my word for
it, that I'll make as good and as lovin' a husband as ever had a purty
wife. It's two or three years since I fell in consate wid you, an' I
needn't tell you, darlin', how happy I'm now, that you're mine. I have
two horses waitin' for us at the end of this vile road, an', plase
Providence, we'll ride onwards a bit, to a friend's house o' mine, where
I've a priest ready to tie the knot; an' to-morrow, if you're willin',
we'll start for America; but if you don't like that, we'll live together
till you'll be willin' enough, I hope, to go any where I wish. So take
heart, darlin', take heart. As for the money I made free wid out o' your
desk, it'll help to keep us comfortable; it was your own, you know, an'
who has a betther right to be at the spendin' of it?"

This, which was meant for consolation, utterly failed, or rather
aggravated the sufferings of the affrighted girl they bore, who once
more struggled with a power that resembled the intense muscular strength
of epilepsy, more than anything else. It literally required four of them
to hold her down, so dreadfully spasmodic were her efforts to be free.

The delay caused by those occasional workings of terror, at a moment
when Flanagan expected every sound to be the noise of pursuit, wrought
up his own bad passions to a furious height. His own companions could
actually hear him grinding his teeth with vexation and venom, whenever
anything on her part occurred to retard their flight. All this, however,
he kept to himself, owing to the singular command he possessed over his
passions. Nay, he undertook, once more, the task of reconciling her to
the agreeable prospect, as he termed it, that life presented her.

"We'll be as happy as the day's long," said he, "espichilly when
heaven sends us a family; an' upon my troth a purty mother you'll make?
suppose, darlin' love, you wondher how I got in to-night, but I tell
you I've my wits about me; you don't know that it was I encouraged Biddy
Nulty to go to live wid you, but I know what I was about then; Biddy it
was that left the door open for me, an' that tould me the room you lay
in, an' the place you keep your hard goold an' notes; I mintion these
things to show you how I have you hemmed in, and that your wisest way is
to submit without makin' a rout about it. You know that if you wor taken
from me this minit, there 'ud be a stain upon your name that 'ud never
lave it, an' it wouldn't be my business, you know, to clear up your
character, but the conthrary. As for Biddy, the poor fool, I did all in
my power to prevint her bein' fond o' me, but ever since we two lived
with the ould miser, somehow she couldn't."

For some time before he had proceeded thus far, there was felt, by
those who carried their fair charge, a slight working of her whole body,
especially of the arms, and in a moment Flanagan, who walked a little in
advance of her, with his head bent down, that he might not be put to the
necessity of speaking loud, suddenly received, right upon his nose, such
an incredible facer as made the blood spin a yard out of it.

"May all the curses of heaven an' hell blast you, for a cowardly,
thraicherous, parjured stag! Why, you black-hearted informer, see
now what you've made by your cunnin'. Well, we hope you'll keep your
word--won't I make a purty mother, an' won't we be happy as the day's
long, espichilly when Heaven sends us a family? Why, you rap of hell,
aren't you a laughing-stock this minute? An' to go to take my name
too--an' to leave the guilt of some other body's thraichery on me, that
you knew in your burnin' sowl to be innocent--me, a poor girl that has
only my name an' good character to carry me through the world. Oh, you
mane-sphirted, revengeful dog, for you're not a man, or you'd not go to
take sich revenge upon a woman, an' all for sayin' an' puttin' it out
on you, what I ever an' always will do, that struv to hang Connor
O'Donovan, knowin' that it was yourself did the crime the poor boy is
now sufferin' for. Ha! may the sweetest an' bitterest of bad luck both
meet upon you, you villin! Amin I pray this night!"

The scene that followed this discovery, and the unexpected act which
produced it, could not, we think, be properly described by either pen or
pencil. Flanagan stood with his hands alternately kept to his nose,
from which he flung away the blood, as it sprung out in a most copious
stream. Two-thirds, indeed we might say three-fourths of his party, were
convulsed with suppressed laughter, nor could they prevent an occasional
cackle from being heard, when forcibly drawing in their breath, in an
effort not to offend their leader. The discovery of the mistake was, in
itself, extremely ludicrous, but when the home truths uttered by Biddy,
and the indescribable bitterness'caused by the disappointment, joined to
the home blow, were all put together, it might be said that the darkness
of hell itself was not so black as the rage, hatred, and thirst of
vengeance, which at this moment consumed Bartle Flanagan's heart. He who
had laid his plans so artfully that he thought failure in securing
his prize impossible, now not only to feel that he was baffled by the
superior cunning of a girl, and made the laughing-stock of his own
party, who valued him principally upon his ability in such matters; but,
in addition to this, to have his heart and feelings torn, as it were,
out of his body, and flung down before him and his confreres in all
their monstrous deformity, and to be jeered at, moreover, and despised,
and literally cuffed by the female who outreached him--this was too
much; all the worst passions within him were fired, and he swore in his
own heart a deep and blasphemous oath, that Biddy Nulty never should
part from him unless as a degraded girl.

The incident that we have just related happened so quickly that
Flanagan' had not time to reply a single word, and Biddy followed up her
imprecation by a powerful effort to release herself.

"Let me home this minnit, you villin," she continued; "now that you find
yourself on the wrong scent--boys, don't hould me, nor back that ruffin
in his villany."

"Hould her like hell," said Bartle, "an' tie her up wanst more; we'll
gag you, too, my lady--ay, will we. Take away your name--I'll take care
you'll carry shame upon your face from this night to the hour of your
death. Characther indeed!--ho, by the crass I'll lave you that little of
that will go far wid you."

"May be not," replied Biddy; "the same God that disappointed you in
hangin' Connor O'Donovan--"

"Damn you," said he, "take that;" and as he spoke he struck the poor girl
a heavy blow in the cheek, which cut her deeply, and for a short time
rendered her speechless.

"Bartle," said more than one of them, "that's unmanly, an' it's
conthrary to the regulations.'

"To perdition wid the regulations! Hasn't the vagabone drawn a pint of
blood from my nose already?--look at that!" he exclaimed, throwing away
a handful of the warm gore "hell seize her! look at that--Ho be the--"
He made another onset at the yet unconscious girl as he spoke, and would
have still inflicted further punishment upon her, were it not that he
was prevented.

"Stop," said several of them, "if you wor over us fifty times you won't
lay another finger on her; that's wanst for all, so be quiet."

"Are yez threatenin' me?" he asked, furiously, but in an instant
he changed his tone--"Boys dear," continued the wily but unmanly
villain--"boys dear, can you blame me? disappointed as I am by this--by
this--_ha anhien na sthreepa_--I'll----" but again he checked himself,
and at length burst out into a bitter fit of weeping. "Look at' this,"
he proceeded, throwing away another handful of blood, "I've lost a quart
of it by her."

"Be the hand af my body," said one of them in a whisper, "he's like
every coward, it's at his own blood he's cryin'; be the vartue of my
oath, that man's not the thing to depind on."

"Is she tied an' gagged?" he then inquired.

"She is," replied those who tied her. "It was very asy done, Bartle,
afther the blow you hot her."

"It wasn't altogether out of ill--will I hot her aither," he replied,
"although, boys dear, you know how she vexed me, but you see, the thruth
is, she'd a' given us a great dale o' throuble in gettin' her quiet."

"An' you tuck the right way to do that," they replied ironically; and
they added, "Bartle Flanagan, you may thank the oaths we tuck, or be the
crass, a single man of us wouldn't assist you in this consarn, afther
your cowardly behaver to this poor girl. Takin' away the Bodagh's
daughter was another thing; you had betther let the girl go home."

Biddy had now recovered, and heard this suggestion with joy, for the
poor girl began to entertain serious apprehensions of Flanagan's revenge
and violence, if left alone with him; she could not speak, however, and
those who bore her, quickened their pace at his desire, as much as they
could.

"No," said Bartle, artfully, "I'll keep her prisoner anyhow for
this night. I had once a notion of marryin' her--an' may be--as I am
disappointed in the other--but we'll think of it. Now we're at the
horses and we'll get an faster."

This was indeed true.

After the journey we have just described, they at length got out of
the boreen, where, in the corner of a field, a little to the right, two
horses, each saddled, were tied to the branch of a tree. They now made
a slight delay until their charge should be got mounted, and were
collected in a group on the road, when a voice called out, "Who goes
there?"

"A friend to the guard."

"Good morrow!"

"Good morrow mornin' to you!"

"What Age are you in?"

"The end of the fifth."

"All right," said Bartle, aloud; "now, boys," he whispered to his own
party, "we must tell them good-humoredly to pass on--that this is a
runaway--jist a girl we're bringin' aff wid us, an' to hould a hard
cheek (*To keep it secret) about it. You know we'd do as much for them."

Both parties now met, the strangers consisting of about twenty men.

"Well, boys," said the latter, "what's the fun?"

"Devil a thing but a girl we're helpin' a boy to take away. What's your
own sport?"

"Begorra, we wor in luck to-night; we got as party a double-barrelled
gun as ever you seen, an' a case of murdherin' fine--pistols."

"Success, ould heart! that's right; we'll be able to stand a tug whin
the 'Day' comes."

"Which of you is takin' away the girl, boys?" inquired one of the
strangers.

"Begad, Bartle Flanagan, since there's no use in hidin' it, when we're
all as we ought to be."

"Bartle Flanagan!" said a voice--"Bartle Flanagan, is it? An' who's the
girl?"

"Blur an' agres, Alick Nulty, don't be too curious, she comes from
Bodagh Buie's."

Biddy, on hearing the voice of her brother, made another violent
effort, and succeeded in partially working the gag out of her mouth--she
screamed faintly, and struggled with such energy that her hands again
became loose, and in an instant the gag was wholly I removed.

"Oh Alick, Alick, for the love o' God save me from Flanagan! it's me,
your sisther Biddy, that's in it; save me, Alick, or I'll be lost; he
has cut me to the bone wid a blow, an' the blood's pourin' from me."

Her brother flew to her. "Whisht, Biddy, don't be afeard!" he exclaimed.

"Boys," said he, "let my party stand by me; this is the way Bartle
Flanagan keeps his oath!" (* One of the clauses of the Ribbon oath was,
not to injure or maltreat the wife or sister of a brother Ribbonman.)

"Secure Bartle," said Biddy. "He robbed Bodagh Buie's house, an' has the
money about him."

The horses were already on the road, but, in consequence of both parties
filling up the passage in the direction which Bartle and nis followers
intended taking, the animals could not be brought through them without
delay and trouble, even had there been no resistance offered to their
progress.

"A robber too!" exclaimed Nulty, "that's more of his parjury to'ards uz.
Bartle Flanagan, you're a thraitor, and you'll get a thraitor's death
afore you're much oulder. He's not fit to be among us," added Alick,
addressing himself to both parties, "an' the truth is, if we don't hang
or settle him, he'll some day hang us."

"Bartle's no thraitor," said Mulvather, "but he's a thraitor that says
he is."

The coming reply was interrupted by "Boys, good night to yez;" and
immediately the clatter of a horse's feet was heard stumbling and
floundering back along the deep stony boreen. "Be the vestment he's
aff," said one of his party; "the cowardly villin's aff wid himself the
minit he seen the approach of danger."

"Sure enough, the bad dhrop's in him," exclaimed several on both sides.
"But what the h--l does he mane now, I dunna?"

"It'll be only a good joke to-morrow wid him," observed one of
them--"but, boys, we must think how to manage him; I can't forgive him
for the cowardly blow he hot the poor colleen here, an' for the same
rason I didn't dhraw the knot so tight upon her as I could a' done."

"Was it you that nipped my arm?" asked Biddy.

"Faix, you may say that, an' it was to let you know that, let him say as
he would, after what we seen of him to-night, we wouldn't allow him to
thrate you badly without marryin' you first."

The night having been now pretty far advanced, the two parties separated
in order to go to their respective homes--Alick taking Biddy under his
protection to her master's. As the way of many belonging to each lodge
lay in the same direction, they were accompanied, of course, to the turn
that led up to the Bodagh's house. Biddy, notwithstanding the severe
blow she had got, related the night's adventure with much humor,
dwelling upon her own part in the transaction with singular glee.

"There's some thraicherous villin in the Bodagh's," said she, "be it
man or woman; for what 'id you think but the hall-door was left lying to
only--neither locked nor boulted. But, indeed, anyhow, it's the start
was taken out o' me whin Ned M'Cormick--that _you_ wor to meet in our
kitchen, Alick--throth, I won't let _Kitty Lowry_ wait up for _you_ so
long another time." She added this to throw the onus of the assignation
off her own shoulders, and to lay it upon those of Alick and Kitty.
"But, anyhow, I had just time to throw her clothes upon me and get into
her bed. Be me sowl, but I acted the fright an' sickness in style. I
wasn't able to spake a word, you persave, till we got far enough from
the house to give Miss Oona time to hide herself. Oh, thin, the robbin'
villin how he put the muzzle of his gun to the lock of Miss Oona's desk,
when he couldn't get the key, an' blewn it to pieces, an' thin he took
every fardin' he could lay his hands upon."

She then detailed her own feelings during the abduction, in terms so
ludicrously abusive of Flanagan, that those who accompanied her were
exceedingly amused; for what she said was strongly provocative of mirth,
yet the chief cause of laughter lay in the vehement sincerity with which
she spoke, and in the utter unconsciousness of uttering anything that
was calculated to excite a smile. There is, however, a class of such
persons, whose power of provoking laughter consists in the utter
absence of humor. Those I speak of never laugh either at what they say
themselves, or what any one else may say; but they drive on right ahead
with an inverted originality that is perfectly irresistible.

We must now beg the reader to accompany them to the Bodagh's, where a
scene awaited them for which they were scarcely prepared. On approaching
the house they could perceive, by the light glittering from the window
chinks, that the family were in a state of alarm; but at this they
were not surprised; for such a commotion in the house, after what had
occurred, was but natural. They went directly to the kitchen door and
rapped.

"Who is there?" said a voice within.

"It's Biddy; for the love o' God make haste, Kitty, an' open."

"What Biddy are you? I won't open."

"Biddy Nulty. You know me well enough, Kitty; so make haste an' open,
Alick, mark my words," said she in a low voice to her brother, "Kitty's
the very one that practised the desate this night--that left the
hall-door open. Make haste, Kitty, I say."

"I'll do no such thing indeed," replied the other; "it was you left the
hall-door open to-night, an' I heard you spakin' to fellows outside. I
have too much regard for my masther's house an' family to let you or any
one else in to-night. Come in the mornin'."

"Folly me, Alick," said Biddy, "folly me."

She went immediately to the hall-door, and gave such a single rap with
the knocker, as brought more than Kitty to the door.

"Who's there?" inquired a voice, which she and her brother at once knew
to be Ned M'Cormick's.

"Ned, for the love o' God, let me an' Alick in!" she replied; "we got
away from that netarnal villin."

Instantly the door was opened, and the first thing Ned did was to put
his arms about Biddy's neck, and--we were going to say kiss her.

"Saints above!" said he, "what's this?" on seeing that her face was
dreadfully disfigured with blood.

"Nothin' to signify," she replied; "but thanks be to God, we got clane
away from the villin, or be the Padheren Partha, the villin it was that
got clane away from hus. How is Miss Oona?"

"She went over to a neighbor's house for safety," replied Ned, smiling,
"an' will be back in a few minutes; but who do you think, above all men
in the five quarters o' the earth, we have got widin? Guess now."

"Who?" said Biddy; "why, I dunna, save--but no, it couldn't."

"Faix but it could, though," said Ned, mistaking her, as the matter
turned out.

"Why, vick na hoiah, no! Connor O'Donovan back! Oh! no, no, Ned; that
'ud be too good news to be thrue."

The honest lad shook his head with an expression of regret that could
not be mistaken as the exponent of a sterling heart. And yet, that the
reader may perceive how near akin that one circumstance was to the other
in his mind, we have only to say, that whilst the regret for Connor was
deeply engraven on his features, yet the expression of triumph was as
clearly legible as if his name had not been at all mentioned.

"Who, then, Ned?" said Alick. "Who the dickens is it?"

"Why, divil resave the other than Bartle Flanagan himself--secured--and
the constables sent for--an' plaze the Saver he'll be in the stone jug
afore his head gets gray any how, the black-hearted villin!"

It was even so; and the circumstances accounting for it are very simple.
Flanagan, having mounted one of the horses, made the best of his way
from what he apprehended was likely to become a scene of deadly strife.
Such was the nature of the road, however, that anything like a rapid
pace was out of the question. When he had got over about half the boreen
he was accosted in the significant terms of the Ribbon password of that
day.

"Good morrow!"

"Good morrow mornin' to you!"

"Arrah what Age may you be, neighbor?"

Now the correct words were, "What Age are we in?" (* This order or
throng of the Ages is taken from Pastorini) but they were often slightly
changed, sometimes through ignorance and sometimes from design, as in
the latter case less liable to remark when addressed to persons not
_up_.

"In the end of the Fifth," was the reply.

"An' if you wor shakin' hands wid a friend, how would you do it? Or
stay--all's right so far--but give us a grip of your cham ahas (right
hand)."

Flanagan, who apprehended pursuit, was too cautious to trust himself
within reach of any one coming from the direction in which the Bodagh
lived. He made no reply, therefore, to this, but urged his horse
forward, and attempted to get clear of his catechist.

"Dhar Dhegh! it's Flanagan," said a voice which was that of Alick Nulty;
and the next moment the equestrian was stretched in the mud, by a heavy
blow from the but of a carbine. Nearly a score of men were immediately
about him; for the party he met on his return were the Bodagh's son, his
servants, and such of the cottiers as lived near enough to be called up
to the rescue. On finding himself secured, he lost all presence of mind,
and almost all consciousness of his situation.

"I'm gone," said he; "I'm a lost man; all Europe can't save my life.
Don't kill me, boys; don't kill me; I'll go wid yez quietly--only, if I
am to die, let me die by the laws of the land."

"The laws of the land?" said John O'Brien; "oh, little, Bartle Flanagan,
you respected them. You needn' be alarmed now--you are safe here--to the
laws of the land we will leave you; and by them you must stand or fall."

Bartle Flanagan, we need scarcely say, was well guarded until a posse
of constables should arrive to take him into custody. But, in the mean
time, a large and increasing party sat up in the house of the worthy
Bodagh; for the neighbors had been alarmed, and came flocking to his
aid. 'Tis true, the danger was now over; but the kind Bodagh, thankful
in his heart to the Almighty for the escape of his daughter, would not
let them go without first partaking of his hospitality. His wife, too,
for the same reason, was in a flutter of delight; and as her heart was
as Irish as her husband's, and consequently as hospitable, so did
she stir about, and work, and order right and left until abundant
refreshments were smoking on the table. Nor was the gentle and
melancholy Una herself, now that the snake was at all events scotched,
averse to show herself among them--for so they would have it. Biddy
Nulty had washed her face; and, notwithstanding the poultice of
stirabout which her mistress with her own hands applied to her wound,
she really was the most interesting person present, in consequence of
her heroism during the recent outrage. After a glass of punch had gone
round, she waxed inveterately eloquent, indeed, so much so that the
mourner, the colleen dhas dhun, herself was more than once forced to
smile, and in some instances fairly to laugh at the odd grotesque spirit
of her descriptions.

"The rascal was quick!" said the Bodagh, "but upon my credit, Biddy,
you wor a pop afore him for all that. Divil a thing I, or John, or
the others, could do wid only one gun an' a case o' pistols against so
many--still we would have fought life or death for poor Una anyhow.
But Biddy, here, good girl, by her cleverness and invention saved us the
danger, an' maybe was the manes of savin' some of our lives or theirs.
God knows I'd have no relish to be shot myself," said the pacific
Bodagh, "nor would I ever have a day or night's pace if I had the blood
of a fellow-crathur on my sowl--upon my sowl I wouldn't."

"But, blood alive, masther, what could I 'a' done only for Ned
M'Cormick, that gave us the hard word?" said Biddy, anxious to transfer
the merit of the transaction to her lover.

"Well, well, Bid," replied the Bodagh, "maybe neither Ned nor yourself
will be a loser by it. If you're bent on layin' your heads together
we'll find you a weddin' present, anyway."

"Bedad, sir, I'm puzzled to know how they got in so aisy," said Ned.

"That matter remains to be cleared up yet," said John. "There is
certainly treachery in the camp somewhere."

"I am cock sure the hall--door was not latched," said Duffy; "for they
had neither stop nor stay at it."

"There is a villing among us sartainly," observed Mrs. O'Brien; "for
as heaving is above me, I locked it wid my own two hands this blessed
night."

"I thought it might be wid the kay, Bridget," said the Bodagh, laughing
at his own easy joke; "for you see, doors is ginerally locked wid
kays--ha! ha! ha!"

"Faix, but had Oona been tuck away tonight wid that vag o' the world,
it's not laughin' you'd be."

"God, He sees, that's only thruth, too, Bridget," he replied; "but
still there's some rogue about the place that opened the door for the
villins."

"_Dar ma chuirp_, I'll hould goold I put the saddle on the right horse
in no time," said Biddy. "Misthress, will you call Kitty Lowry, ma'am,
i' you plase? Ill do everything above boord; no behind backs for me;
blazes to the one alive hates foul play more nor I do."

We ought to have observed that one of Biddy's peculiarities was a more
than usual readiness at letting fly, and not unfrequently at giving an
oath; and as her character presented a strange compound of simplicity
and cleverness, honesty and adroitness, her master and mistress, and
fellow-servants, were frequently amused by this unfeminine propensity.
For instance, if Una happened to ask her, "Biddy, did you iron the
linen?" her usual reply was, "No, blast the iron, miss, I hadn't time."
Of course the family did everything in their power to discourage such
a practice; but on this point they found it impossible to reform her.
Kitty Lowry's countenance, when she appeared, certainly presented strong
indications of guilt; but still there was a hardness of outline about
it which gave promise at the same time of the most intrepid assurance.
Biddy, on the. other hand, was brimful of consequence, and a sense
of authority, on finding that the judicial power was on this occasion
entrusted chiefly to her hands. She rose up when Kitty entered, and
stuck a pair of red formidable fists with great energy into her sides.

"Pray ma'am," said she, "what's the raisin' you refused to let me in
to-night, afther gettin' away wid my life from that netarnal blackguard,
Bartle Flanagan--what's the raisin I say, ma'am, that you kep' me out
afther you knewn who was in it?"

There was here visible a slight vibration of the head, rather gentle
at the beginning, but clearly prophetic of ultimate energy, and an
unequivocal determination to enforce whatever she might say with
suitable action even in its widest sense.

"An' pray, ma'am," said the other, for however paradoxical it may
appear, it is an established case that in all such displays between
women, politeness usually keeps pace with scurrility; "An' pray, ma'am,"
replied Kitty, "is it to the likes o' you we're to say our catechize?"

Biddy was resolved not to be outdone in politeness, and replied--

"Af you plaise, ma'am," with a courtesy.

"Lord protect us! what will we hear next, I wondher? Well, ma'am?" Here
her antagonist stood, evidently waiting for the onset.

"You'll hear more than'll go down your back pleasant afore I've done wid
you, ma'am."

"Don't be makin' us long for it in the mane time, Miss Biddy."

"You didn't answer my question, Miss Kitty. Why did you refuse to let me
in tonight?"

"For good raisons--bekase I--hard you cologgin' an' whisperin' wid a
pack of fellows without."

"An' have you the brass to say so, knowin' that it's false an' a lie
into the bargain?" (Head energetically shaken.)

"Have I the brass, is it? I keep my brass in my pocket, ma'am, not in
my face, like some of our friends." (Head shaken in reply to the action
displayed by Kitty.)

This was a sharp retort; but it was very well returned.

"Thank you, ma'am," replied Biddy, "if it's faces you're spakin' about,
I know you're able to outface me any day; but whatever's in my face
there's no desate in my heart, Miss Lowry. Put that in your pocket."
(One triumphant shake of the head at the conclusion.)

"There's as much in your heart as'll shame your face, yet, Miss Nulty.
Put that in yours." (Another triumphant shake of the head.)

"Thank God," retorted Biddy, "none o' my friends ever knewn what a
shamed face is. I say, madam, none o' _my_ family iver wore a shamed
face. _Thiguthu shin?_" (Do you understand that? )

This, indeed, was a bitter hit; for the reader must know that a sister
of Lowry's had not passed through the world without the breath of
slander tarnishing her fair fame.

"Oh, it's well known your tongue's no slander, Biddy."

"Thin that's more than can be said of yours, Kitty."

"If my sisther met with a misfortune, it was many a betther woman's case
than ever you'll be. Don't shout till you get out of the wood, ma'am.
You dunna what's afore yourself. Any how, it's not be lettin' fellows
into the masther's kitchen whiff the family's in bed, an' dhrinkin'
whiskey wid them, that'll get you through the world wid your character
safe. * * * An' you're nothin' but a barge, or you'd not dhraw down
my sisther's name that never did you an ill turn, whatever she did to
herself, poor girl!"

"An' do you dar' for to call me a barge? * * * * Blast your insurance!
be this an' be that, for a farden I'd malivogue the devil out o' you."

"We're not puttin' it past you, madam, you're blaggard enough to fight
like a man; but we're not goin' to make a blaggard an' a bully of
ourselves, in the mane time."

[The conversation, of which we are giving a very imperfect report, was
garnished by both ladies with sundry vituperative epithets, which it
would be inconsistent with the dignity of our history to record.]

"That's bekase you haven't the blood of a hen in you * * * sure we know
what you are! But howld! be me sowl, you're doin' me for all that. Ah,
ha! I see where you're ladin' me; but it won't do, Miss Kitty Lowry.
I'll bring you back to the catechize agin. You'd light the straw to get
away in the smoke; but you're worth two gone people yet, dhough."

"Worth half a dozen o' you, any day."

"Well, as we're both to the fore, we'll soon see that. How did you know,
my lady, that the masther's hall door was left open to-night? Answer me
that, on the nail!"

This was what might be very properly called a knock-down blow; for if
the reader but reflects a moment he will see that Kitty, on taxing her
antagonist, after her rescue, with leaving it open, directly betrayed
herself, as there was and could have been no one in the house cognizant
of the fact at the time unless the guilty person. With this latter
exception, Alick Nulty was the, only individual aware of it, and
from whom the knowledge of it could come. Kitty, therefore, by her
over-anxiety to exculpate herself from a charge which had not been made,
became the unconscious instrument I of disclosing the fact of her having
left the door open.

This trying query, coming upon her unexpectedly as it did, threw her
into palpable confusion. Her face became at once suffused with a deep
scarlet hue, occasioned by mingled shame and resentment, as was at once
evident from the malignant and fiery glare which she turned upon her
querist.

"Get out," she replied; "do you think I'd think it worth my while to
answer the likes o' you? I'd see you farther than I could look first.
You, indeed! faugh! musha bad luck to your impidence!"

"Oh, i' you plaise, ma'am," said Biddy, dropping a courtesy, that
might well be termed the very pink of politeness--"we hope you'll show
yourself a betther Christin than to be ignorant o' your catechize. So.
ma'am, if it 'ud be plaisin' to you afore the company maybe you'd answer
it."

"Who made you my misthress, you blaggard flipe? who gave you authority
to ax me sich a question?" replied the other. "A fellow-servant like
myself! to the devil I pitch you. You, indeed! Faix, it's well come up
wid the likes o' you to ballyrag over me."

"Well, but ma'am dear, will you answer--that is, i' you plaise, for sure
we can't forget our manners, you know--will you jist answer what I
axed you? Oh, be me cowl, your face condimns you, my lady!" said Biddy,
abruptly changing her tone; "it does, you yolla Mullatty, it does. You
bethrayed the masther's house, an' Miss Oona, too, you villin o' blazes!
If you could see your face now--your guilty face!"

The spirit of her antagonist, being that of a woman, could bear no more.
The last words were scarcely uttered, when Lowry made a spring like a
tigress at her opponent, who, however, received this onset with a skill
and intrepidity worthy of Penthesilea herself. They were immediately
separated, but not until they had twisted and twined about one another
two or three times, after which, each displayed, by way of a trophy, a
copious handful of hair that had changed proprietor-ship during their
brief but energetic conflict.

In addition to this, there were visible on Kitty's face five small
streams of liquid gore, which, no doubt, would have been found to
correspond with the red expanded talons of her antagonist.

John O'Brien then put the question seriously to Lowry, who, now that
her blood was up, or probably feeling that she had betrayed herself,
declined to answer it at all.

"I'll answer nothin' I don't like," she replied, "an' I'll not be
ballyraged by any one--not even by you, Misther John; an' what's more,
I'll lave the sarvice at the shriek o' day to-morrow. I wouldn't live in
the house wid that one; my life 'udn't be safe undher the wan roof wid
her."

"Thin you'll get no carrecther from any one here," said Mrs. O'Brien;
"for, indeed, any way, there was never a minute's peace in the kitchen
since you came into it."

"Divil cares," she replied, with a toss of her head; "if I don't, I must
only live widout it, and will, I hope."

She then flounced out of the room, and kept grumbling in an insolent
tone of voice, until she got to her bed. Alick Nulty then detailed all
the circumstances he had witnessed, by which it appeared unquestionable
that Kitty Lowry had been aware of Flanagan's design, and was
consequently one of his accomplices. This in one sense was true, whilst
in another and the worst they did her injustice. It is true that Bartle
Flanagan pretended affection for her, and contrived on many occasions
within the preceding five months, that several secret meetings should
take place between them, and almost always upon a Sunday, which was
the only day she had any opportunity of seeing him. He had no notion,
however, of entrusting her with his secret. In fact, no man could
possibly lay his plans with deeper design or more ingenious precaution
for his own safety than Flanagan. Having gained a promise from the
credulous girl to elope with him on the night in question, he easily
induced her to leave the hall door open. His exploit, however, having
turned out so different in its issue from that which Kitty expected,
she felt both chagrined and confounded, and knew not at first whether to
ascribe the abduction of Biddy Nulty to mistake or design; for, indeed,
she was not ignorant of Flanagan's treacherous conduct to the sex--no
female having ever repulsed him, whose character he did not injure
whenever he could do so with safety. Biddy's return, however, satisfied
her that Bartle must have made a blunder of some kind, or he would not
have taken away her fellow-servant instead of herself; and it was the
bitterness which weak minds always feel when their own wishes happen to
be disappointed, that prompted her resentment against poor Biddy, who
was unconsciously its object. Flanagan's primary intention was still,
however, in some degree, effected, so far as it regarded the abduction.
The short space of an hour gave him time to cool and collect himself
sufficiently to form the best mode of action under the circumstances.
He resolved, therefore, to plead mistake, and to produce Kitty Lowry
to prove that his visit that night to the Bodagh's house was merely to
fulfil their mutual promise of eloping together.

But there was the robbery staring him in the face; and how was he to
manage that? This, indeed, was the point on which the accomplished
villain felt by the sinking of his heart that he had overshot his mark.
When he looked closely into it, his whole frame became cold and feeble
from despair, the hard paleness of mental suffering settled upon his
face, and his brain was stunned by a stupor which almost destroyed the
power of thinking.

All this, however, availed him not. Before twelve o'clock the next day
informations had been sworn against him, and at the hour of three
he found himself in the very room which had been assigned to Connor
O'Donovan, sinking under the double charge of abduction and robbery.

And now once more did the mutability of public feeling and opinion as
usual become apparent. No sooner had fame spread abroad the report of
Flanagan's two-fold crime, and his imprisonment, than those very people
who had only a day or two before inferred that Connor O'Donovan was
guilty, because his accuser's conduct continued correct and blameless,
now changed their tone, and insisted that the hand of God was visible in
Flanagan's punishment. Again were all the dark traits of his character
dragged forward and exposed; and this man reminded that man, as that man
did some other man, that he had said more than once that Bartle Flanagan
would be hanged for swearing away an innocent young man's life. Such,
however, without reference to truth or justice, is public opinion among
a great body of the people, who are swayed by their feelings only,
instead of their judgment. The lower public will, as a matter of course,
feel at random upon everything, and like a fortuneteller, it will for
that reason, and for that only, sometimes be found on the right side.
From the time which elapsed between the period of Bartle's imprisonment
and that of his trial, many strange circumstances occurred in connection
with it, of which the public at large were completely ignorant. Bartle
was now at the mercy of a man who had been long looked upon with a
spirit of detestation and vengeance by those illegal confederations with
which he had uniformly declined to associate himself. Flanagan's
party, therefore, had now only two methods of serving him, one was
intimidation, and the other a general subscription among the various
lodges of the district, to raise funds for his defence. To both of these
means they were resolved to have recourse.

Many private meetings they held among themselves upon those important
matters, at which Dandy Duff and Ned M'Cormick attended, as was their
duty; and well was it for them the part they took in defeating Bartle
Flanagan, and serving the Bodagh and his family, was unknown to their
confederates. To detail the proceedings of their meetings, and recount
the savage and vindictive ferocity of such men, would be pacing the
taste and humanity of our readers a bad compliment. It is enough to say
that a fund was raised for Flanagan's defence, and a threatening
notice written to be pasted on the Bodagh Buie's door--of which elegant
production the following is a literal copy:--

"Buddha Bee--You 'ave wan iv our boys in for abjection an' rubbry--an'
it seems is resolved to parsequte the poor boy at the nuxt 'Shizers--now
dhis is be way av a dalikit hint to yew an' yoos that aff butt wan spudh
av his blud is spiled in quensequence av yewr parsequtin' im as the
winther's comin' on an' the wether gettin' cowld an' the long nights
settin' in yew may as well prapare yewr caughin an' not that same
remimber you've a praty dother an may no more about her afore you much
shoulder.

"Simon Pettier Staeught."

This and several others of the same class were served upon the Bodagh,
with the intention of intimidating him from the prosecution of Flanagan.
They had, however, quite mistaken their man. The Bodagh, though
peaceable and placable, had not one atom of the coward in his whole
composition. On the contrary, he was not only resolute in resisting
what he conceived to be oppressive or unjust, but he was also immovably
obstinate in anything wherein he fancied he had right on his side. And
even had his disposition been inclined to timidity or pliancy, his son
John would have used all his influence to induce him to resist a system
which is equally opposed to the laws of God and of man, as well as to
the temporal happiness of those who are slaves to the terrible power
which, like a familiar devil, it exercises over its victims under the
hollow promise of protection.



PART VIII. AND LAST.

As the Bodagh and his son took the usual legal steps to forward the
prosecution, it was but natural that they should calculate upon the
evidence of Dandy Duffy, Ned M'Cormick, and Alick Nulty. John O'Brien
accordingly informed them, on the very night of the outrage, that his
father and himself would consider them as strong evidence against Bartle
Flanagan, and call upon them as such. This information placed these
young men in a position of incredible difficulty and danger. They knew
not exactly at that moment how to proceed consistently with the duty
which they owed to society at large, and that which was expected from
them by the dark combination to which they were united. M'Cormick,
however, begged of John O'Brien not to mention their names until the
day after the next, and told him if he could understand their reason for
this request, he would not hesitate to comply with it.

O'Brien, who suspected the true cause of their reluctance, did not on
this occasion press them further, but consented to their wishes, and
promised, not to mention their names, even as indirectly connected with
the outrage, until the time they had specified had elapsed.

In the course of the following day Nogher M'Cormick presented himself to
the Bodagh and his son, neither of whom felt much difficulty in divining
the cause of his visit.

"Well," said Nogher, after the first usual civilities had passed,
"glory be to God, gintlemen, this is desperate fine weather for the
season--barrin' the wet"

John smiled, but the plain matter-of-fact Bodagh replied,

"Why, how the devil can you call this good weather, neighbor, when it's
raining for the last week, night and day?"

"I do call it good weather for all that," returned Nogher, "for you
ought to know that every weather's good that God sends."

"Well," said the Bodagh, taken aback a little by the Nogher's piety,
"there's truth in that, too, neighbor."

"I am right," said Nogher, "an' it's nothin' else than a sinful world to
say that this is bad weather, or that's bad weather--bekase the Scriptur
says, 'wo be to thee----'"

"But, pray," interrupted John, "what's your business with my father and
me?"

Nogher rubbed down his chin very gravely and significantly,

"Why," said he, "somethin' for your own good, gentlemen."

"Well, what is that?" said John, anxious to bring him to the point as
soon as possible.

"The truth, gentlemen, is this--I'm an ould man, an' I hope that I never
was found to be anything else than an honest one. They're far away this
day that could give me a good carrechtur--two o' them anyhow I'll never
forget--Connor an' his mother; but I'll never see them agin; an' the
ould man too, I never could hate him, in regard of the love he bore
his son. Long, long was the journey he tuck to see that son, an', as he
tould me the day he whint into the ship, to die in his boy's arms; for
he said heaven wouldn't be heaven to him, if he died anywhere else."

Nogher's eyes filled as he spoke, and we need scarcely say that neither
the Bodagh nor his son esteemed him the less for his attachment to
Connor O'Donovan and his family.

"The sooner I end the business I come about to-day," said he, "the
better. You want my son Ned, Dandy Duffy, an' Alick Nulty, to join in
givin' evidence against blaggard Bartle Flanagan. Now the truth is,
gintlemen, you don't know the state o' the country. If they come into a
court of justice against him, their lives won't be worth a traneen. Its
aginst their oath, I'm tould, as Ribbonmen, to prosecute one another;
an' from hints I resaved, I'm afraid they can't do it, as I said,
barrin' at the risk o' their lives."

"Father," said John, "as far as I have heard, he speaks nothing but
truth."

"I believe he does not," rejoined the Bodagh, "an', by my sowl, I'll be
bound he's an honest man--upon my credit, I think you are, M'Cormick."

"I'm thankful to you, sir," said Nogher.

"I'm inclined to think further," said John, "that we have proof enough
against Flanagan without them."

"Thin, if you think so, John, God forbid that we'd be the manes of
bringin' the young men into throuble. All I'm sorry for is, that they
allowed themselves to be hooked into sich a dark and murdherous piece of
villainy."

"I know, sir, it's a bad business," said Nogher, "but it can't be helped
now; no man's safe that won't join it."

"Faith, and I won't for one," replied the Bodagh, "not but that they
sent many a threat to me. Anything against the laws o' the counthry is
bad, and never ends but in harm to them that's consamed in it."

"M'Cormick," added the son, "villain as Flanagan is, we shall let him
once more loose upon society, sooner than bring the lives of your son,
and the two other young men into jeopardy. Such, unhappily, is the state
of the country, and we must submit to it."

"I thank you, sir," said Nogher. "The truth is, they're sworn, it seems,
not to prosecute one another, let whatever may happen; an' any one of
them that breaks that oath--God knows I wish they'd think of others as
much as they do of it--barrin' a stag that's taken up, an' kep safe by
the Government, is sure to be knocked on the head."

"Say no more, M'Cormick," said the Bodagh's inestimable son, "say no
more. No matter how this may terminate, we shall not call upon them as
evidences. It must be so, father," he added, "and God help the country
in which the law is a dead letter, and the passions and bigoted
prejudices of disaffected or seditious men the active principle which
impresses its vindictive horrors upon society! Although not myself
connected with them, I know their oath, and--but I say no more.
M'Cormick, your friends are safe; we shall not, as I told you, call upon
them, be the result what it may; better that one guilty should escape,
than that three innocent persons should suffer."

Nogher again thanked him, and having taken up his hat, was about to
retire, when he paused a moment, and, after some consideration with
himself, said--

"You're a scholar, sir, an'--but maybe I'm sayin' what I oughtn't to
say--but sure, God knows, it's all very well known long ago."

"What is it, M'Cormick?" asked John; "speak out plainly; we will not
feel offended."

"'Twas only this, sir," continued Nogher, "I'm an unlarned man; but he
would write to you may be--I mane Connor--an' if he did, I'd be glad to
hear--but I hope I don't offind you, sir. You wouldn't think of me, may
be, although many and many's the time I nursed him on these knees, an'
carried him about in these arms, an he cried--ay, as God is my judge,
he cried bitterly--when, as he said, at the time--'Nogher, Nogher, my
affectionate friend, I'll never see you more.'"

John O'Brien shook him cordially by the hand, and replied--"I will make
it a point to let you know anything that our family may hear from him."

"An' if you write to him, sir, just in a single line, to say that the
affectionate ould friend never forgot him."

"That, too, shall be done," replied John; "you may rest assured of it."

The Bodagh, whose notions in matters of delicacy and feeling were rough
but honest, now rang the bell with an uncommon, nay, an angry degree of
violence.

"Get up some spirits here, an' don't be asleep. You must take a glass of
whiskey before you go," he said, addressing Nogher.

"Sir," replied Nogher, "I'm in a hurry home, for I'm _aff_ my day's
work."

"By ---, but you must," rejoined the

Bodagh; "and what's your day's wages?"

"Ten pence."

"There's half-a-crown; an' I tell you more, you must come an' take a
_cot--tack_ undher me, and you'll find the change for the betther, never
fear."

In point of fact in was so concluded, and Nogher left the Bodagh's house
with a heart thankful to Providence that he had ever entered it.

The day of Flanagan's trial, however, now approached, and our readers
are fully aware of the many chances of escaping justice which the
state of the country opened to him, notwithstanding his most atrocious
villainy. As some one, however, says in a play--in that of Othello,
we believe--"God is above all," so might Flanagan have said on this
occasion. The evidence of Biddy Nulty, some of the other servants,
and the Bodagh, who identified some of the notes, was quite sufficient
against him, with respect to the robbery. Nor was any evidence adduced
of more circumstantial weight than Kitty Lowry's, who, on being
satisfied of Flanagan's designs against Una, and that she was
consequently no more than his dupe, openly acknowledged the part she
had taken in the occurrences of the night on which the outrages were
committed. This confession agreed so well with Bartle's character
for caution and skill in everything he undertook, that his object in
persuading her to leave the hall door open was not only clear, but
perfectly consistent with the other parts of his plan. It was a capital
crime; and when fame once more had proclaimed abroad that Bartle
Flanagan was condemned to be hanged for robbing Bodagh Buie, they
insisted still more strongly that the sentence was an undeniable
instance of retributive justice. Striking, indeed, was the difference
between his deportment during the trial, and the manly fortitude of
Connor O'Donovan, when standing under as heavy a charge at the same bar.
The moment he entered the dock, it was observed that his face expressed
all the pusillanimous symptoms of the most unmanly terror. His brows
fell, or rather hung over his eyes, as if all their muscular power had
been lost--giving to his countenance not only the vague sullenness of
irresolute ferocity, but also, as was legible in his dead small eye,
the cold calculations of deep and cautious treachery; nor was his white,
haggard cheek a less equivocal assurance of his consummate cowardice.
Many eyes were now turned upon him; for we need scarcely say that his
part of a case which created so much romantic interest as the conviction
of Connor O'Donovan, and the history it developed of the mutual
affection which subsisted between him and Una, was by no means
forgotten. And even if it had, his present appearance and position
would, by the force of ordinary association, have revived it in the
minds of any then present.

Deprived of all moral firmness, as he appeared to be, on entering the
dock, yet, as the trial advanced, it was evident that his heart and
spirits were sinking still more and more, until at length his face,
in consequence of its ghastliness, and the involuntary hanging of his
eyebrows, indicated scarcely any other expression than that of utter
helplessness, or the feeble agony of a mind so miserably prostrated, as
to be hardly conscious of the circumstances around him. This was clearly
obvious when the verdict of "guilty" was uttered in the dead silence
which prevailed through the court. No sooner were the words pronounced
than he looked about him wildly, and exclaimed--

"What's that? what's that? Oh, God--; sweet Jasus! sweet Jasus!"

His lips then moved for a little, and he was observed to mark his breast
prvately with the sign of the cross; but in such a manner as to prove
that the act was dictated by the unsettled incoherency of terror, and
not by the promptings of piety or religion.

The judge now put on the black cap, and! was about to pronounce the
fatal sentence, when the prisoner shrieked out, "Oh, my Lord--my Lord,
spare me! Oh, spare me, for I'm not fit to die. I daren't meet God!"

"Alas!" exclaimed the judge, "unhappy man, it is too often true, that
those who are least prepared to meet their Almighty Judge, are also the
least reckless in the perpetration of those crimes which are certain,
ere long, to hurry them into His presence. You find now, that whether as
regards this life or the next, he who observes the laws of his religion
and his country, is the only man who can be considered, in the true
sense of the word, his own friend; and there is this advantage in his
conduct, that, whilst he is the best friend to himself, it necessarily
follows that he must be a benefactor in the same degree to society at
large. To such a man the laws are a security, and not, as in your case,
and in that of those who resemble you, a punishment. It is the wicked
only who hate the laws, because they are conscious of having provoked
their justice. In asking me to spare your life, you are aware that you
ask me for that which I cannot grant. There is nothing at all in your
case to entitle you to mercy; and if, by the life you have led, you feel
that you are unfit to die, it is clear upon your own principles, and by
the use you have made of life, that you are unfit to live."

He then proceeded to exhort him, in the usual terms, to sue for
reconciliation with an offended God, through the merits and sufferings
of Christ. After which he sentenced him to be executed on the fifth day
from the close of the assizes. On hearing the last words of the judge,
he clutched the dock at which he stood with a convulsive effort; his
hands and arms, however, became the next moment relaxed, and he sank
down in a state of helpless insensibility. On reviving he found himself
in his cell, attended by two of the turnkeys, who felt now more alarmed
at his screams and the horror which was painted on his face, than by the
fainting fit from which he had just recovered. It is not our design to
dwell at much length upon the last minutes of such a man; but we will
state briefly, that, as might be expected, he left nothing unattempted
to save his own life. On the day after his trial, he sent for the
sheriff, and told him, that, provided his life were granted by the
government, he could make many important disclosures, and give very
valuable information concerning the state and prospects of Ribbonism in
the country, together with a long list of the persons who were attached
to it in that parish. The sheriff told him that this information, which
might under other circumstances have been deemed of much value by the
government, had already been anticipated by another man during the very
short period that had elapsed since his conviction. There was nothing
which he could now disclose, the sheriff added, that he himself was
not already in possession of, even to the rank which he, Flanagan, was
invested with among them, and the very place where he and they had held
their last meeting. But, independently of that, he proceeded, it is not
usual for: government to pardon the principals in any such outrage as
that for which you have been convicted. I shall, however, transmit
your proposal to the Secretary, who may act in the matter as he thinks
proper.

In the meantime his relatives and confederates were not idle outside,
each party having already transmitted a petition to the Castle in
his behalf. That of his relations contained only the usual melancholy
sentiments, and earnest entreaties for mercy, which are to be found in
such documents. The memorial, however, of his confederates was equally
remarkable for its perverted ingenuity, and those unlucky falsehoods
which are generally certain to defeat the objects of those who have
recourse to them.

It went to say that the petitioners feared very much that the country
was in a dangerous state, in consequence of the progressive march
of Ribbonism in parts of that parish, and in many of the surrounding
districts. That the unhappy prisoner had for some time past made himself
peculiarly obnoxious to this illegal class of persons; and that he was
known in the country as what is termed "a marked man," ever since he
had the courage to prosecute, about two years ago, one of their most
notorious leaders, by name Connor O'Donovan, of Lisnamona; who was, at
the period of writing that memorial, a convict during life in New South
Wales, for a capital White-boy offence.

That said Connor O'Donovan, having seduced the affections of a young
woman named Una O'Brien, daughter of a man called Michael O'Brien,
otherwise Bodagh Buie, or the Yellow Churl, demanded her in marriage
from her father and family, who unanimously rejected his pretensions.
Upon which, instigated by the example and practice of the dark
combination of which he was so distinguished a leader, he persuaded
memorialist, partly by entreaties, but principally by awful and
mysterious threats, to join him in the commission of this most atrocious
crime. That, from the moment he had been forced into the participation
of such an act, his conscience could not permit him to rest night or
day; and he consequently came forward boldly and fearlessly, and did
what he considered his duty to God and his country.

That, in consequence of this conscientious act, O'Donovan, the Ribbon
ringleader, was capitally convicted; but through the interest of some
leading gentlemen of the parish, who were ignorant of his habits and
connections, the sentence was, by the mercy of government, commuted to
transportation for life.

That, upon his banishment from the country, the girl whose affections
he had seduced, became deranged for some time; but, after her recovery,
expressed, on many occasions, the most bitter determinations to revenge
upon petitioner the banishment of her lover; and that the principal
evidence upon which petitioner was convicted, was hers * and that of a
girl named Bridget Kulty, formerly a servant in his father's house, and
known to have been his paramour.

     * This was a falsehood, inasmuch as Una, having been
     concealed in another room, could give, and did give, no
     evidence that any way affected his life.

That this girl, Bridget Nulty, was taken into O'Brien's family at the
suggestion of his daughter Una; and that, from motives of personal
hatred, she and Bridget Nulty, aided by another female servant of
O'Brien's named Kitty Lowry, formed the conspiracy of which petitioner
is unhappily the victim.

It then proceeded to detail how the conspiracy of Una O'Brien and the
two females she had taken in as accomplices, was carried into
effect; all of which was done with singular tact and ingenuity; every
circumstance being made to bear a character and design diametrically
opposed to truth. It concluded by stating that great exultation had
been manifested by the Ribbonmen of that parish, who, on the night
of petitioner's conviction, lit bonfires in several parts of the
neighborhood, fired shots, sounded horns, and displayed other symptoms
of great rejoicing; and hoped his excellency would, therefore, interpose
his high prerogative, and prevent petitioner from falling a sacrifice to
a conspiracy on one hand, and the resentment of a traitorous confederacy
on the other; and all this only for having conscientiously and firmly
served the government of the country.

Our readers need not be surprised at the ingenuity of this plausible
petition, for the truth is that before government supported any system
of education at all in Ireland, the old hedge school-masters were,
almost to a man, office-bearers and leaders in this detestable system.
Such men, and those who were designed for the priesthood, with here and
there an occasional poor scholar, were' uniformly the petition writers,
and, indeed, the general scribes of the little world in which they
lived. In fact, we have abundance of public evidence to satisfy us, that
persons of considerable literasy attainments have been connected with
Ribbonism in all its stages.

This fine writing, however, was unfortunately counteracted, in
consequence of the information already laid before the sheriff by no
less a personage than Rouser Redhead, who, fearing alike the treachery
and enmity of his leader, resolved thus to neutralize any disclosures he
should happen to make. But lest this might not have been sufficient to
exhibit the character of that document, the proposal of Bartle himself
to make disclosures was transmitted to the Secretary of State, by the
same post; so that both reached that gentleman, _pari passu_, to his no
small astonishment.

Had Flanagan's confederates consulted him, he would of course have
dissuaded them from sending any petition at all, or at least, only such
as he could approve of, but such is the hollowness of this bond, and
so little confidence is placed in its obligation, that when any of
its victims happen to find themselves in a predicament similar to
Flanagan's, his companions without lead such a life of terror, and
suspicion, and doubt, as it would be difficult to describe. But when,
as in Bartle's case, there exists a strong distrust in his firmness
and honesty, scarcely one can be found hardy enough--to hold any
communication with him. This easily and truly accounts for the fact of
their having got this petition written and sent to government in his
name. The consequence was, that, on the day previous to that named for
his execution, his death warrant reached the sheriff, who lost no time
in apprising him of his unhappy fate.

This was a trying task to that humane and amiable gentleman, who had
already heard of the unutterable tortures which the criminal suffered
from the horror of approaching death, and the dread of eternity; for
neither by penitence nor even by remorse, was he in the slightest degree
moved.

"To die!" said he, staggering back; "to be in eternity to-morrow! to
have to face God before twelve o'clock! tarrible! tar--rible! tarrible!
Can no one save me? To die to--morrow!--tarrible!--tarrible!--tarrible!
Oh that I could sink into the earth! that the ground 'ud swlly me!"

The sheriff advised him to be a man, and told him to turn to God,--who,
if he repented, would in no wise cast him out. "Act," said he, "as
O'Donovan did, whom you yourself prosecuted and placed in the very cell
in which you now stand."

"Connor O'Donovan!" he exclaimed, "he might well bear to die; he was
innocent; it was I that burned Bodagh Buie's haggard; he had neither act
nor part in it no more than the child unborn. I swore away his life out
of revinge to his father an' jealousy of himself about Una O'Brien.
Oh, if I had as little to answer for now as he, I could die--die! Sweet
Jasus, an' must I die to-morrow--be in the flames o' hell afore twelve
o'clock? tarrible! terrible!"

It was absolutely, to use his own word, "terrible," to witness the
almost superhuman energy of his weakness. On making this last disclosure
to the sheriff, the latter stepped back from a feeling of involuntary
surprise and aversion, exclaiming as he did it,--

"Oh, God forgive you, unhappy and guilty man! you have much, indeed, to
answer for; and, as I said before, I advise you to make the most of the
short time that is allotted to you, in repenting and seeking pardon from
God."

The culprit heard him not, however, for his whole soul was fearfully
absorbed in the contemplation of eternity and punishment, and death.

"Sir," said the turnkey, "that's the way he's runnin' about the room
almost since his thrial; not, to be sure, altogether so bad as now, but
clappin' his hands, an' scramm' an' groanin', that it's frightful to
listen to him. An' his dhrames, sir, is worse. God, sir, if you'd hear
him asleep, the hair would stand on your head; indeed, one of us is
ordered to be still with him."

"It is right," replied the sheriff, who, after recommending him to get
a clergyman, left him, and, with his usual promptness and decision,
immediately wrote to the Secretary of State, acquainting him with
Flanagan's confession of his own guilt, and of Connor O'Donovan's
innocence of the burning of O'Brien's haggard; hoping, at the same time,
that government would take instant steps to restore O'Donovan to his
country and his friends.

Soon after the sheriff left him, a Roman Catholic clergyman arrived, for
it appeared that against the priest who was chaplain of the jail he
had taken an insurmountable prejudice, in consequence of some fancied
resemblance he supposed him to bear to the miser's son. The former
gentleman spent that night with him, and, after a vast deal of exertion
and difficulty, got him so far composed, as that he attempted to confess
to him, which, however, he did only in a hurried and distracted manner.

But how shall we describe the scene, and we have it from more than one
or two witnesses, which presented itself, when the hour of his
execution drew nigh. His cries and shrieks were distinctly heard from a
considerable distance along the dense multitudes which were assembled
to witness his death; thus giving to that dreadful event a character of
horror so deep and gloomy, that many persons, finding themselves unable
to bear it, withdrew from the crowd, and actually fainted on hearing the
almost supernatural tones of his yells and howlings within.

In the mean time, the proceedings in the press-room were of a still
more terrific description He now resembled the stag at bay; his strength
became more than human. On attempting to tie his hands, five men were
found insufficient for the woeful task. He yelled, and flung them aside
like children, but made no attempt at escape, for, in truth, he knew not
what he did. The sheriff, one of the most powerful and athletic men to
be found in the province, was turned about and bent like an osier in his
hands. His words, when the fury of despair permitted his wild and broken
cries to become intelligible, were now for life--only life upon any
terms; and again did he howl out his horrors of death, hell, and
judgment. Never was such a scene, perhaps, witnessed.

At length his hands were tied, and they attempted to get him up to the
platform of death, but to their amazement he was once more loose, and,
flying to the priest, he clasped him with the gripe of Hercules.

"Save me, save me!" he shouted. "Let me live! I can't die! You're
puttin' me into hell's fire! How can I face God? No, it's tarrible! it's
tarrible! tarrible! Life, life, life--only life--oh, only life!"

As he spoke he pressed the reverend gentleman to his breast and kissed
him, and shouted with a wildness of entreaty, which far transcended in
terror the most outrageous paroxysms of insanity.

"I will not lave the priest," shrieked he; "so long as I stay with him
so long I'll be out of the punishments of eternity. I will stick to you.
Don't--don't put me away, but have pity on me! No--I'll not go, I'll not
go!"

Again he kissed his lips, cheeks, and forehead, and still clung to him
with terrific violence, until at last his hands were finally secured
beyond the possibility of his again getting them loose. He then threw
himself upon the ground, and still resisted, with a degree of muscular
strength altogether unaccountable in a person, even of his compact and
rather athletic form. His appearance upon the platform will long be
remembered by those who had the questionable gratification of witnessing
it. It was the struggle of strong men dragging a strong man to the most
frightful of all precipices--Death.

[Illustration: PAGE 311-- Most frightful of all precipices--Death]

When he was seen by the people in the act of being forced with such
violence to the drop, they all moved, like a forest agitated by a sudden
breeze, and uttered that strange murmur, composed of many passions,
which can only be heard where a large number of persons are congregated
together under the power of something that is deep and thrilling in its
interest. At length, after a struggle for life, and a horror of death
possibly unprecedented in the annals of crime, he was pushed upon the
drop, the spring was touched, and the unhappy man passed shrieking into
that eternity which he dreaded so much. His death was instantaneous,
and, after hanging the usual time, his body was removed to the goal; the
crowd began to disperse, and in twenty minutes the streets and people
presented nothing more than their ordinary aspect of indifference to
everything but their own affairs.*

     * We have only to say, that W--m O--k, Esq., of Jj--sb--e,
     sheriff of the county of D--n. and those who officially
     attended, about four years ago, the execution of a man named
     M--y--, at the gaol of D--rip--k, for a most heinous murder,
     will, should they happen to see this description, not
     hesitate to declare that it falls far, far short of what
     they themselves witnessed upon this terrible occasion.
     There is nothing mentioned here which did not then occur,
     but there is much omitted.

Such, and so slight, after all, is the impression which death makes upon
life, when the heart and domestic affections are not concerned.

And now, gentle and patient reader--for well, indeed, has thy patience
been tried, during the progress of this tantalizing narrative--we beg
to assure thee, that unless thou art so exquisitely tender-hearted as to
mourn over the fate of Bartle Flanagan, the shadows which darkened the
morning and noon of our story have departed, and its eye will be dewy,
and calm, and effulgent.

Flanagan's execution, like any other just and necessary vindication of
the law, was not without its usual good effect upon the great body
of the people; for, although we are not advocates for a sanguinary
statute-book, neither are we the eulogists of those who, with sufficient
power in their hands, sit calmly and serenely amidst scenes of outrage
and crime, in which the innocent suffer by the impunity of the guilty.
Fame, who is busy on such occasions, soon published to a far distance
Flanagan's confession of having committed the crime for which O'Donovan
was punished. John O'Brien had it himself! from the sheriff's lips, as
well as from a still more authentic statement written by the priest who
attended him, and signed by the unhappy culprit's mark, in the presence
of that gentleman, the governor of the gaol, and two turnkeys. The
sheriff now heard, from O'Brien, for the first time, that O'Donovan's
parents, having disposed of all their property, followed him to New
South Wales, a circumstance by which he was so much struck at the
moment, that he observed to O'Brien,--

"Do you not think it the duty of the Government, considering all the
young man and his parents have suffered by that rascal's malice, to
bring the whole family back at its own expense? For my part, aware as
I am of the excellent disposition of the Secretary, I think, if we ask
them, it will be done."

"Our best plan, perhaps," replied John, "is to get a memorial to that
effect signed by those who subscribed to the former one in his behalf.
I think it is certainly necessary, for, to tell you the truth, I doubt
whether they are in possession of funds sufficient for the expenses of
so long a journey."

"I know," said the sheriff, "that there is little time to be lost, for
S----," naming the governor of the gaol, "tells me that the next convict
ship sails in a fortnight. We must, therefore, push forward the business
as rapidly as we can."

Well and truly did they keep their words, for we have the satisfaction
of adding, that on the seventh day from the date of that conversation,
they received a communication from the Castle, informing them that,
after having taken the peculiar hardships of O'Donovan's singular case
into mature consideration, they deemed the prayer of the memorial such
as they felt pleasure in complying with; and that the Colonial Secretary
had been written to, to take the proper steps for the return of the
young man and his parents to their own country at the expense of the
Government.

This was enough, and almost more than O'Brien expected. He had now done
as much as could be done for the present, and nothing remained but to
await their arrival with hope and patience. In truth, the prospect that
now presented itself to the Bodagh's family was one in which, for the
sake of the beloved Una, they felt a deep and overwhelming interest.
Ever since Connor's removal from the country her spirits had gradually
become more and more depressed. All her mirth and gayety had abandoned
her; she disrelished reading; she avoided company; she hardly ever
laughed, but, on the contrary, indulged in long fits of bitter grief
while upon her solitary rambles. Her chief companion was Biddy Nulty,
whom she exempted from her usual employment whenever she wished that
Connor should be the topic of their conversation. Many a time have they
strolled together through the garden, where Una had often stood, and,
pointing to the summer--house, where the acknowledgments of their
affection were first exchanged, said to her humble companion,--

"Biddy, that is the spot where he first told me that he loved me, and
where I first acknowledged mine to him."

She would then pull out from her heart the locket which contained his
rich brown hair, and, after kissing it, sit and weep on the spot which
was so dear to her.

Biddy's task, then, was to recount to the unhappy girl such anecdotes as
she remembered of him; and, as these were all to his advantage, we need
scarcely say that many an entertainment of this kind she was called
upon to furnish to her whose melancholy enjoyment was now only the
remembrance of him, and what he had once been to her.

"I would have been in a convent long before now, Biddy," said she, a few
days before Flanagan's trial, "but I cannot leave my father and mother,
because I know they could not live without me. My brother John has
declined Maynooth lest I should feel melancholy for want of some
person to amuse me and to cheer me; and now I feel that it would be
an ungrateful return I should make if I entered a convent and left
my parents without a daughter whom they love so well, and my brother
without a sister on whom he doats."

"Well, Miss," replied Biddy, "don't be cast down; for my part I'd always
hope for the best. Who knows, Miss, but a betther lave may be turned
up for you yet? I'd hould a naggin' that God nivir intinded an innocent
creature like you to spind the rest of your life in sadness and sorrow,
as you're doin'. Always hope for the best."

"Ah, Biddy," she replied, "you don't know what you speak of. His
sentence is one that can never be changed; and as for hoping for the
best how can I do that, Biddy, when I know that I have no 'best' to hope
for. He was my best in this world; but he is gone. Now go in, Biddy, and
leave me to myself for a little. You know how I love to be alone."

"May God in heaven pity you, Miss Oona," exclaimed the poor girl, whilst
the tears gushed from her eyes, "as I do this day! Oh, keep up your
heart, Miss, darlin'! for where there's life there's hope."

Little did she then dream, however, that hope would so soon restored to
her heart, or that the revolution of another year should see her waiting
with trembling delight for the fulness of her happiness.

On the evening previous to Bartle Flanagan's execution, she was pouring
out tea for her father and mother, as was usual, when her brother
John came home on his return from the assizes. Although the smile of
affection with which she always received him lit up her dark glossy
eyes, yet he observed that she appeared unusually depressed, and much
more pale than she had been for some time past.

"Una, are you unwell, dear?" he asked, as she handed him a cup of tea.

She looked at him with a kind of affectionate reproof in her eyes, as if
she wondered that he should be ignorant of the sorrow which preyed upon
her.

"Not in health, John," she replied; "but that man's trial, and the many
remembrances it has stirred up in my mind, have disturbed me. I am very
much cast down, as you may see. Indeed, to speak the truth, and without
disguise, I think that my heart is broken. Every one knows that a
breaking heart is incurable."

"You take it too much to yourself, a lanna dhas," said her mother; "but
you must keep up your spirits, darlin'--time will work wonders."

"With me, mother, it never can."

"Una," said John, with affected gravity, "you have just made two
assertions which I can prove to be false."

She looked at him with surprise.

"False, dear John?"

"Yes, false, dear Una; and I will prove it, as I said. In the first
place, there is a cure for a breaking' heart; and, in the next place,
time will work wonders even for you."

"Well," said she, assuming a look of sickly cheerfulness, "I should be
very ungrateful, John, if I did not smile for you, even when you don't
smile yourself, after all the ingenious plans you take to keep up my
spirits."

"My dear girl," replied John, "I will not trifle with you; I ask you now
to be firm, and say whether you are capable of hearing--good news."

"Good news to me! I hope I am, John."

"Well, then, I have to inform you that this day Bartle Flanagan has
confessed that it was not Connor O'Donovan who burned our haggard, but
himself. The sheriff has written to inform the Government, so that we
will have Connor back again with a name and character unsullied."

She looked at him for a moment, then at her parents; and her cheek
still got paler, and after a slight pause she burst into a vehement and
irrepressible paroxysm of grief.

"John, is this true?" inquired his father.

"Vic va hoiah! John--blessed mother!--thrue?--but is it, John? is it?"

"Indeed, it is, mother--the villain, now, that he has no hope of his
life, confessed it this day!"

"God knows, darlin'," exclaimed the Bodagh's warm--hearted wife, now
melting into tears herself, "it's no wondher you should cry tears of joy
for this. God wouldn't be above us, a cushla oge machree, or he'd sind
brighter days before your young and innocent heart."

Una could not speak, but wept on; the grief she felt, however, became
gradually milder in its character, until at length her violent sobbings
were hushed; and, although the tears still flowed, they flowed in
silence.

"We will have him back, sartinly," said the Bodagh; "don't cry, dear,
we'll have him here again with no disateful villain to swear away his
life."

"I could die now," said the noble--minded girl; "I think I could die
now, without even seeing him. His name is cleared, and will be cleared;
his character untainted; and that is dearer to me even than his love.
Oh, I knew it! I knew it!" she fervently exclaimed; "and when all the
world was against him, I was for him; I and his own mother--for we were
the two that knew his heart best."

"Well," said John, smiling, "if I brought you gloomy news once, I
believe I have brought you pleasant news twice. You remember when I told
you he was not to die."

"Indeed, John, dear, you are the best brother that ever God blessed a
sister with; but I hope this is not a dream. Oh, can it be possible!
and when I awake in the morning, will it be to the sorrowful heart I had
yesterday? I am bewildered. After this, who should ever despair of the
goodness of God, or think that the trial he sends but for a time is to
last always?"

"Bridget," said the gracious Bodagh, "we must have a glass of punch; an'
upon my reputaytion, Oona, we'll drink to his speedy return."

"Throth, an' Oona will take a glass, herself, this night," added her
mother; "an' thanks be to Goodness she'll be our colleen dhas dhun
again--won't you have a glass, asthore machree?"

"I'll do anything that any of you wishes me, mother," replied Una.

She gave, as she uttered the words, a slight sob, which turned their
attention once more to her, but they saw at once, by the brilliant
sparkle of her eyes, that it was occasioned by the unexpected influx of
delight and happiness which was accumulating around her heart.

"Mother," she said, "will you make the punch for them to--night?
I cannot rest till I let poor Biddy Kulty know what has happened.
Cleared!" she added, exultingly, "his name and character cleared!"

The beautiful girl then left the room, and, short as was the space which
had elapsed since she heard her brother's communication, they could not
help being struck at the light elastic step with which she tripped out
of it. Brief, however, as the period was, she had time to cast aside the
burthen of care which had pressed her down and changed her easy pace to
the slow tread of sorrow.

"God help our poor colleen dhas," exclaimed her mother, "but she's the
happy creature, this night!"

"And happy will the hearth be where her light will shine," replied her
father, quoting a beautiful Irish proverb to that effect.

"The ways of Providence are beautiful when seen aright or understood,"
observed her brother. "She was too good to be punished, but not too
perfect to be tried. Their calamitous separation will enhance the value
of their affection for each other when they meet; for pure and exalted
as her love for him is, yet I am proud to say that Connor is worthy of
her and it."

That night her mother observed that Una spent a longer time than usual
at her devotions, and, looking into her room when passing, she saw her
on her knees, and heard her again sobbing with the grateful sense of a
delighted heart. She did not again address her, and they all retired to
happier slumbers than they had enjoyed for many a night.

Our readers have already had proofs of Una's consideration, generosity,
and common delicacy. Her conduct at the approach of her lover's trial,
and again when he was about to leave her and his country forever, they
cannot, we are sure, have forgotten. When her brother had shown the
official communication from the Castle, in which government expressed
its intention of bringing Connor and his parent's home at its own
expense, the Bodagh and his wife,--knowing that the intended husband of
their daughter possessed no means of supporting her, declared, in order
to remove any shadow of anxiety from her mind, that O'Donovan, after
their marriage, should live with themselves, for they did not wish, they
said, that Una should be separated from them. This was highly gratifying
to her, but beyond her lover's welfare, whether from want of thought or
otherwise, it is not easy to say, she saw that their sympathy did not
extend. This troubled her, for she knew how Connor loved his parents,
and how much any want of comfort they might feel would distress him. She
accordingly consulted with her ever faithful confidant, John, and begged
of him to provide for them, at her own expense, a comfortable dwelling,
and to furnish it, as near as might be practicable in the manner in
which their former one had been furnished. She also desired him to say
nothing to their parents about this, "for I intend," she added, "to have
a little surprise for them all."

About the time, therefore, when the vessel in which they were to arrive
was expected, a snug, well--furnished house, convenient to the
Bodagh's, amply stored with provisions, and kept by a daughter of
Nogher M'Cormick, awaited them. Nothing that could render them easy was
omitted, and many things also were procured, in the shape of additional
comforts, to which they had not been accustomed before.

At length the arrival of the much wished-for vessel was announced, and
John O'Brien, after having agreed to let Una know by letter where the
Bodagh's car should meet them, mounted the day coach, and proceeded to
welcome home his future brother-in-law, prepared, at the same time, to
render both to him and his parents whatever assistance they stood in
need of, either pecuniary or otherwise, after so long and so trying a
voyage.

The meeting of two such kindred spirits may be easily conceived. There
were few words wasted between them, but they were full of truth and
sincerity.

"My noble fellow," said O'Brien, clasping Connor's hand, "she is at home
with a beating heart and a happy one, waiting for you."

"John," replied the other fervently, "the wealth of the universe is
below her price. I'm not worthy of her, except in this, that I could
shed my heart's dearest blood to do her good."

"Little you know of it yet," said the other smiling significantly, "but
you will soon."

It appeared that Fardorougha's wife had borne the hardships of both
voyages better than her husband, who, as his son sensibly observed, had
been too much worn down before by the struggle between his love for him
and his attachment to his money.

"His cares are now nearly over," said Connor, with a sigh. "Indeed, he
is so far gone that I don't know how to lave him while I'm providin' a
home for him to die in."

"That is already done," replied O'Brien. "Una did not forget it. They
have a house near ours, furnished with everything that can contribute to
their comfort."

Connor, on hearing this, paused, and his cheek became pale and red
alternately with emotion--his nerves thrilled, and a charm of love and
pleasure diffused itself over his whole being.

"There is no use in my speaking," he exclaimed; "love her more than I do
I cannot."

In consequence of Fardorougha's illness, they were forced to travel by
slower and shorter stages than they intended. O'Brien, however, never
left them; for he knew that should the miser die on the way, they would
require the presence and services of a friend. In due time, however,
they reached the place appointed by John for the car to meet them; and
ere many hours had passed, they found themselves once more in what they
could call their home. From the miser's mind the power of observing
external nature seemed to have been altogether withdrawn; he made no
observation whatever upon the appearance or novelty of the scene to
which he was conveyed, nor of the country through which he passed; but
when put to bed he covered himself with the bed-clothes, and soon fell
into a slumber.

"Connor," said his mother, "your father's now asleep, an' won't miss
you; lose no time, thin, in goin' to see her; and may God strinthen you
both for sich a meetin'!" They accordingly went. The Bodagh was out,
but Una and her mother were sitting in the parlor when the noise of a
jaunting-car was heard driving up to the door; Una involuntarily looked
out of the window, and seeing two she started up, and putting her hands
together, hysterically exclaimed thrice, "Mother, mother, mother, assist
me, assist me--he's here!" Her mother caught her in her arms; and at the
same moment Connor rushed in. Una could only extend her arms to receive
him; he clasped her to his heart, and she sobbed aloud several times
rapidly, and then her head sank upon his bosom.

Her mother and brother were both weeping.

Her lover looked down upon her, and, as he hung over the beautiful and
insensible girl, the tears which he shed copiously bedewed her face.
After a few minutes she recovered, and her brother, with his usual
delicacy, beckoned to his mother to follow him out of the room, knowing
that the presence of a third person is always a restraint upon the
interchange of even the tenderest and purest affection. Both, therefore,
left them to themselves; and we, in like manner, must allow that
delicious interview to be sacred only to themselves, and unprofaned by
the gaze or presence of a spectator. The Bodagh and his wife were highly
gratified at the steps their children had taken to provide for the
comfort of Fardorougha and his wife. The next day the whole family paid
them a visit, but on seeing the miser, it was clear that his days were
numbered. During the most vigorous and healthy period of his life, he
had always been thin and emaciated; but now, when age, illness, the
severity of a sis months' voyage, and, last of all, the hand of death,
left their wasting traces upon his person, it would indeed be difficult
to witness an image of penury more significant of its spirit. We must,
however, do the old man justice. Since the loss of his money or rather
since the trial and conviction of his son, or probably since the
operation of both events upon his heart, he had seldom, if ever, by a
single act or expression, afforded any proof that his avarice survived,
or was able to maintain its hold upon him, against the shock which
awakened the full power of a father's love.

About ten o'clock, a. m., on the fourth day after their arrival, Connor,
who had run over to the Bodagh's, was hurriedly sent for by his mother,
who desired Nelly M'Cormick to say that his father incessantly called
for him, and that he must not lose a moment in coming. He returned
immediately with her, and found the old man reclining in bed, supported
by his wife, who sat behind him.

"Is my boy comin'?" he said, in a thin, wiry, worn voice, but in words
which, to any person near him, were as distinct almost as ever--"is my
boy Connor comin'?"

"I am here, father," replied Connor, who had just entered the sick room;
"sure I am always with you."

"You are, you are," said he, "you were ever an' always good. Give me
your hand, Connor."

Connor did so.

"Connor, darlin'," he proceeded, "don't be like me. I loved money too
much; I set my heart on it, an' you know how it was taken away from me.
The priest yesterday laid it upon me, out of regard to my reignin' sin,
as he called it, to advise you afore I die against lovin' the wealth o'
this world too much."

"I hope I never will, father, your own misfortune ought to be a warnin'
to me."

"Ay, you may say that; it's I indeed that was misfortunate; but it was
all through P----an' that nest o' robbers, the Isle o' Man."

"Don't think of him or it now, my dear father--don't be discomposin'
your mind about them."

Connor and his mother exchanged a melancholy glance; and the latter,
who, on witnessing his frame of mind, could not help shedding bitter
tears, said to him--

"Fardorougha dear, Fardorougha asthore machree, won't you be guided by
me? You're now on your death--bed, an' think of God's marcy--it's that
you stand most in need of. Sure, ayourneen, if you had all the money you
ever had, you couldn't bring a penny of it where you're goin'."

"Well, but I'm givin' Connor advice that'll sarve him. Sure I'm not
biddin' him to set his heart on it, for I tould the priest I wouldn't;
but is that any raison why he'd not save it? I didn't tell the priest
that I wouldn't bid him do that."

"Father," said Connor, "for the love o' God will you put these thoughts
out o' your heart and mind?"

"So Connor dear," proceeded the old man, not attending to him, "in
makin' any bargain, Connor, be sure to make as hard a one as you can;
but for all that be honest, an' never lind a penny o' money widout
interest."

"I think he's wandherin'," whispered his mother. "Oh grant it may be so,
marciful Jasus this day!"

"Honor ahagur."

"Well, darlin', what is it?"

"There's another thing that throubles me--I never knew what it was to
feel myself far from my own till now."

"How is that, dear?"

"My bones won't rest in my own counthry; I won't sleep wid them that
belong to me. How will I lie in a strange grave, and in a far land? Oh,
will no one bring me back to my own?"

The untutored sympathies of neither wife nor son could resist this
beautiful and affecting trait of nature, and the undying love of one's
own land, emanating, as it did, so unexpectedly, from a heart otherwise
insensible to the ordinary tendernesses of life.

"Sure you are at home, avourneen," said Honor; "an' will rest wid your
friends and relations that have gone before you."

"No," said he, "I'm not, I'm far away from them, but now I feel more
comforted; I have one wid me that's dearer to me than them all. Connor
and I will sleep together, won't we, Connor?"

This affectionate transition from every other earthly object to himself,
so powerfully smote the son's heart that he could not reply.

"What ails him, Connor?" said his wife. "Help me to keep up his
head--Saver above!"

Connor raised his head, but saw at a glance that the last struggle in
the old man's heart was over. The miser was no more.

Little now remains to be said. The grief for old age, though natural, is
never abiding.

The miser did sleep with his own; and after a decent period allotted
to his memory, need we say that our hero and heroine, if we may be
permitted so to dignify them, were crowned in the enjoyment of those
affections which were so severely tested, and at the same time so worthy
of their sweet reward.

Ned M'Cormick and Biddy Nulty followed their example, and occupied
the house formerly allotted to Fardorougha and his wife. John O'Brien
afterwards married, and the Bodagh, reserving a small but competent
farm for himself, equally divided his large holdings between his son and
son-in-law. On John's mojority he built a suitable house; but Una and her
husband, and Honor, all live with themselves, and we need scarcely say,
for it is not long since we spent a week with them, that the affection
of the old people for their grandchildren is quite enthusiastic, and
that the grandchildren, both boys and girls, are worthy of it.





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