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Title: The Purcell Papers — Volume 3
Author: Le Fanu, Joseph Sheridan, 1814-1873
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Purcell Papers — Volume 3" ***

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THE PURCELL PAPERS.

BY THE LATE

JOSEPH SHERIDAN LE FANU,

AUTHOR OF 'UNCLE SILAS.'

With a Memoir by

ALFRED PERCEVAL GRAVES

IN THREE VOLUMES.

VOL. III.

LONDON: RICHARD BENTLEY AND SON,

Publishers in Ordinary to Her Majesty the Queen.

1880.


Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

LeFanu, Joseph Sheridan, 1814-1873.

The Purcell papers.

Reprint of the 1880 ed. published by R. Bentley, London.

I. Title. PZ3.L518Pu5 (PR4879.L7) 823'.8 71-148813 ISBN 0-404-08880-5

Reprinted from an original copy in the collection of the University of
Chicago Library.

From the edition of 1880, London First AMS edition published in 1975
Manufactured in the United States of America

International Standard Book Number: Complete Set: 0-404-08880-5 Volume
III: 0-404-08883-X

AMS PRESS INC.

NEW YORK, N. Y. 10003



CONTENTS:

     JIM SULIVAN'S ADVENTURES IN THE GREAT SNOW
     A CHAPTER IN THE HISTORY OF A TYRONE FAMILY
     AN ADVENTURE OF HARDRESS FITZGERALD, A ROYALIST CAPTAIN
     'THE QUARE GANDER'
     BILLY MALOWNEY'S TASTE OF LOVE AND GLORY



JIM SULIVAN'S ADVENTURES IN THE GREAT SNOW.

     Being a Ninth Extract from the Legacy of the late Francis
     Purcell, P.P. of Drumcoolagh.

Jim Sulivan was a dacent, honest boy as you'd find in the seven
parishes, an' he was a beautiful singer, an' an illegant dancer
intirely, an' a mighty plisant boy in himself; but he had the divil's
bad luck, for he married for love, an 'av coorse he niver had an asy
minute afther.

Nell Gorman was the girl he fancied, an' a beautiful slip of a girl she
was, jist twinty to the minute when he married her. She was as round
an' as complate in all her shapes as a firkin, you'd think, an' her two
cheeks was as fat an' as red, it id open your heart to look at them.

But beauty is not the thing all through, an' as beautiful as she was
she had the divil's tongue, an' the divil's timper, an' the divil's
behaviour all out; an' it was impossible for him to be in the house with
her for while you'd count tin without havin' an argymint, an' as sure
as she riz an argymint with him she'd hit him a wipe iv a skillet or
whatever lay next to her hand.

Well, this wasn't at all plasin' to Jim Sulivan you may be sure, an'
there was scarce a week that his head wasn't plasthered up, or his back
bint double, or his nose swelled as big as a pittaty, with the vilence
iv her timper, an' his heart was scalded everlastin'ly with her tongue;
so he had no pace or quietness in body or soul at all at all, with the
way she was goin' an.

Well, your honour, one cowld snowin' evenin' he kim in afther his day's
work regulatin' the men in the farm, an' he sat down very quite by the
fire, for he had a scrimmidge with her in the mornin', an' all he wanted
was an air iv the fire in pace; so divil a word he said but dhrew a
stool an' sat down close to the fire. Well, as soon as the woman saw
him,

'Move aff,' says she, 'an' don't be inthrudin' an the fire,' says she.

Well, he kept never mindin', an' didn't let an' to hear a word she was
sayin', so she kim over an' she had a spoon in her hand, an' she took
jist the smallest taste in life iv the boilin' wather out iv the pot,
an' she dhropped it down an his shins, an' with that he let a roar you'd
think the roof id fly aff iv the house.

'Hould your tongue, you barbarrian,' says she; 'you'll waken the child,'
says she.

'An' if I done right,' says he, for the spoonful of boilin' wather riz
him entirely, 'I'd take yourself,' says he, 'an' I'd stuff you into the
pot an the fire, an' boil you.' says he, 'into castor oil,' says he.

'That's purty behavour,' says she; 'it's fine usage you're givin' me,
isn't it?' says she, gettin' wickeder every minute; 'but before I'm
boiled,' says she, 'thry how you like THAT,' says she; an', sure enough,
before he had time to put up his guard, she hot him a rale terrible
clink iv the iron spoon acrass the jaw.

'Hould me, some iv ye, or I'll murdher her,' says he.

'Will you?' says she, an' with that she hot him another tin times as
good as the first.

'By jabers,' says he, slappin' himself behind, 'that's the last salute
you'll ever give me,' says he; 'so take my last blessin',' says he, 'you
ungovernable baste!' says he--an' with that he pulled an his hat an'
walked out iv the door.

Well, she never minded a word he said, for he used to say the same thing
all as one every time she dhrew blood; an' she had no expectation at all
but he'd come back by the time supper id be ready; but faix the story
didn't go quite so simple this time, for while he was walkin', lonesome
enough, down the borheen, with his heart almost broke with the pain,
for his shins an' his jaw was mighty troublesome, av course, with the
thratement he got, who did he see but Mick Hanlon, his uncle's sarvint
by, ridin' down, quite an asy, an the ould black horse, with a halter as
long as himself.

'Is that Mr. Soolivan?' says the by. says he, as soon as he saw him a
good bit aff.

'To be sure it is, ye spalpeen, you,' says Jim, roarin' out; 'what do
you want wid me this time a-day?' says he.

'Don't you know me?' says the gossoon, 'it's Mick Hanlon that's in it,'
says he.

'Oh, blur an agers, thin, it's welcome you are, Micky asthore,' says
Jim; 'how is all wid the man an' the woman beyant?' says he.

'Oh!' says Micky, 'bad enough,' says he; 'the ould man's jist aff, an'
if you don't hurry like shot,' says he, 'he'll be in glory before you
get there,' says he.

'It's jokin' ye are,' says Jim, sorrowful enough, for he was mighty
partial to his uncle intirely.

'Oh, not in the smallest taste,' says Micky; 'the breath was jist out
iv him,' says he, 'when I left the farm. "An", says he, "take the ould
black horse," says he, "for he's shure-footed for the road," says he,
"an' bring, Jim Soolivan here," says he, "for I think I'd die asy af I
could see him onst," says he.'

'Well,' says Jim, 'will I have time,' says he, 'to go back to the house,
for it would be a consolation,' says he, 'to tell the bad news to the
woman?' says he.

'It's too late you are already,' says Micky, 'so come up behind me, for
God's sake,' says he, 'an' don't waste time;' an' with that he brought
the horse up beside the ditch, an' Jim Soolivan mounted up behind Micky,
an' they rode off; an' tin good miles it was iv a road, an' at the other
side iv Keeper intirely; an' it was snowin' so fast that the ould baste
could hardly go an at all at all, an' the two bys an his back was jist
like a snowball all as one, an' almost fruz an' smothered at the same
time, your honour; an' they wor both mighty sorrowful intirely, an'
their toes almost dhroppin' aff wid the could.

And when Jim got to the farm his uncle was gettin' an illegantly, an' he
was sittin' up sthrong an' warm in the bed, an' improvin' every minute,
an' no signs av dyin' an him at all at all; so he had all his throuble
for nothin'.

But this wasn't all, for the snow kem so thick that it was impassible to
get along the roads at all at all; an' faix, instead iv gettin' betther,
next mornin' it was only tin times worse; so Jim had jist to take it
asy, an' stay wid his uncle antil such times as the snow id melt.

Well, your honour, the evenin' Jim Soolivan wint away, whin the dark
was closin' in, Nell Gorman, his wife, beginned to get mighty anasy in
herself whin she didn't see him comin' back at all; an' she was gettin'
more an' more frightful in herself every minute till the dark kem an',
an' divil a taste iv her husband was coming at all at all.

'Oh!' says she, 'there's no use in purtendin', I know he's kilt himself;
he has committed infantycide an himself,' says she, 'like a dissipated
bliggard as he always was,' says she, 'God rest his soul. Oh, thin,
isn't it me an' not you, Jim Soolivan, that's the unforthunate woman,'
says she, 'for ain't I cryin' here, an' isn't he in heaven, the
bliggard,' says she. 'Oh, voh, voh, it's not at home comfortable with
your wife an' family that you are, Jim Soolivan,' says she, 'but in the
other world, you aumathaun, in glory wid the saints I hope,' says she.
'It's I that's the unforthunate famale,' says she, 'an' not yourself,
Jim Soolivan,' says she.

An' this way she kep' an till mornin', cryin' and lamintin; an' wid the
first light she called up all the sarvint bys, an' she tould them to
go out an' to sarch every inch iv ground to find the corpse, 'for I'm
sure,' says she, 'it's not to go hide himself he would,' says she.

Well, they went as well as they could, rummagin' through the snow,
antil, at last, what should they come to, sure enough, but the corpse
of a poor thravelling man, that fell over the quarry the night before
by rason of the snow and some liquor he had, maybe; but, at any rate,
he was as dead as a herrin', an' his face was knocked all to pieces jist
like an over-boiled pitaty, glory be to God; an' divil a taste iv a nose
or a chin, or a hill or a hollow from one end av his face to the other
but was all as flat as a pancake. An' he was about Jim Soolivan's size,
an' dhressed out exactly the same, wid a ridin' coat an' new corderhoys;
so they carried him home, an' they were all as sure as daylight it was
Jim Soolivan himself, an' they were wondhering he'd do sich a dirty turn
as to go kill himself for spite.

Well, your honour, they waked him as well as they could, with what
neighbours they could git togither, but by rason iv the snow, there
wasn't enough gothered to make much divarsion; however it was a plisint
wake enough, an' the churchyard an' the priest bein' convanient, as soon
as the youngsthers had their bit iv fun and divarsion out iv the corpse,
they burried it without a great dale iv throuble; an' about three days
afther the berrin, ould Jim Mallowney, from th'other side iv the little
hill, her own cousin by the mother's side--he had a snug bit iv a farm
an' a house close by, by the same token--kem walkin' in to see how she
was in her health, an' he dhrew a chair, an' he sot down an' beginned to
convarse her about one thing an' another, antil he got her quite an' asy
into middlin' good humour, an' as soon as he seen it was time:

'I'm wondherin', says he, 'Nell Gorman, sich a handsome, likely girl,
id be thinkin' iv nothin' but lamintin' an' the likes,' says he, 'an'
lingerin' away her days without any consolation, or gettin' a husband,'
says he.

'Oh,' says she, 'isn't it only three days since I burried the poor man,'
says she, 'an' isn't it rather soon to be talkin iv marryin' agin?'

'Divil a taste,' says he, 'three days is jist the time to a minute for
cryin' afther a husband, an' there's no occasion in life to be keepin'
it up,' says he; 'an' besides all that,' says he, 'Shrovetide is almost
over, an' if you don't be sturrin' yourself an' lookin' about you,
you'll be late,' says he, 'for this year at any rate, an' that's twelve
months lost; an' who's to look afther the farm all that time,' says he,
'an' to keep the men to their work?' says he.

'It's thrue for you, Jim Mallowney,' says she, 'but I'm afeard the
neighbours will be all talkin' about it,' says she.

'Divil's cure to the word,' says he.

'An' who would you advise?' says she.

'Young Andy Curtis is the boy,' says he.

'He's a likely boy in himself,' says she.

'An' as handy a gossoon as is out,' says he.

'Well, thin, Jim Mallowney,' says she, 'here's my hand, an' you may
be talkin' to Andy Curtis, an' if he's willin' I'm agreeble--is that
enough?' says she.

So with that he made off with himself straight to Andy Curtis; an'
before three days more was past, the weddin' kem an', an' Nell Gorman
an' Andy Curtis was married as complate as possible; an' if the wake was
plisint the weddin' was tin times as agreeble, an' all the neighbours
that could make their way to it was there, an' there was three fiddlers
an' lots iv pipers, an' ould Connor Shamus(1) the piper himself was in
it--by the same token it was the last weddin' he ever played music at,
for the next mornin', whin he was goin' home, bein' mighty hearty
an' plisint in himself, he was smothered in the snow, undher the ould
castle; an' by my sowl he was a sore loss to the bys an' girls twenty
miles round, for he was the illigantest piper, barrin' the liquor alone,
that ever worked a bellas.


     (1) Literally, Cornelius James--the last name employed as a
     patronymic. Connor is commonly used. Corney, pronounced
     Kurny, is just as much used in the South, as the short name
     for Cornelius.


Well, a week passed over smart enough, an' Nell an' her new husband was
mighty well continted with one another, for it was too soon for her to
begin to regulate him the way she used with poor Jim Soolivan, so they
wor comfortable enough; but this was too good to last, for the thaw kem
an', an' you may be sure Jim Soolivan didn't lose a minute's time as soon
as the heavy dhrift iv snow was melted enough between him and home to
let him pass, for he didn't hear a word iv news from home sinst he lift
it, by rason that no one, good nor bad, could thravel at all, with the
way the snow was dhrifted.

So one night, when Nell Gorman an' her new husband, Andy Curtis, was
snug an' warm in bed, an' fast asleep, an' everything quite, who should
come to the door, sure enough, but Jim Soolivan himself, an' he beginned
flakin' the door wid a big blackthorn stick he had, an' roarin' out like
the divil to open the door, for he had a dhrop taken.

'What the divil's the matther?' says Andy Curtis, wakenin' out iv his
sleep.

'Who's batin' the door?' says Nell; 'what's all the noise for?' says
she.

'Who's in it?' says Andy.

'It's me,' says Jim.

'Who are you?' says Andy; 'what's your name?'

'Jim Soolivan,' says he.

'By jabers, you lie,' says Andy.

'Wait till I get at you,' says Jim, hittin' the door a lick iv the
wattle you'd hear half a mile off.

'It's him, sure enough,' says Nell; 'I know his speech; it's his
wandherin' sowl that can't get rest, the crass o' Christ betune us an'
harm.'

'Let me in,' says Jim, 'or I'll dhrive the door in a top iv yis.'

'Jim Soolivan--Jim Soolivan,' says Nell, sittin' up in the bed, an'
gropin' for a quart bottle iv holy wather she used to hang by the back
iv the bed, 'don't come in, darlin'--there's holy wather here,' says
she; 'but tell me from where you are is there anything that's throublin'
your poor sinful sowl?' says she. 'An' tell me how many masses 'ill make
you asy, an' by this crass, I'll buy you as many as you want,' says she.

'I don't know what the divil you mane,' says Jim.

'Go back,' says she, 'go back to glory, for God's sake,' says she.

'Divil's cure to the bit iv me 'ill go back to glory, or anywhere else,'
says he, 'this blessed night; so open the door at onst' an' let me in,'
says he.

'The Lord forbid,' says she.

'By jabers, you'd betther,' says he, 'or it 'ill be the worse for you,'
says he; an' wid that he fell to wallopin' the door till he was fairly
tired, an' Andy an' his wife crassin' themselves an' sayin' their
prayers for the bare life all the time.

'Jim Soolivan,' says she, as soon as he was done, 'go back, for God's
sake, an' don't be freakenin' me an' your poor fatherless childhren,'
says she.

'Why, you bosthoon, you,' says Jim, 'won't you let your husband in,'
says he, 'to his own house?' says he.

'You WOR my husband, sure enough,' says she, 'but it's well you know,
Jim Soolivan, you're not my husband NOW,' says she.

'You're as dhrunk as can be consaved, says Jim.

'Go back, in God's name, pacibly to your grave,' says Nell.

'By my sowl, it's to my grave you'll sind me, sure enough,' says he,
'you hard-hearted bain', for I'm jist aff wid the cowld,' says he.

'Jim Sulivan,' says she, 'it's in your dacent coffin you should be, you
unforthunate sperit,' says she; 'what is it's annoyin' your sowl, in the
wide world, at all?' says she; 'hadn't you everything complate?' says
she, 'the oil, an' the wake, an' the berrin'?' says she.

'Och, by the hoky,' says Jim, 'it's too long I'm makin' a fool iv
mysilf, gostherin' wid you outside iv my own door,' says he, 'for it's
plain to be seen,' says he, 'you don't know what your're sayin', an' no
one ELSE knows what you mane, you unforthunate fool,' says he; 'so, onst
for all, open the door quietly,' says he, 'or, by my sowkins, I'll not
lave a splinther together,' says he.

Well, whin Nell an' Andy seen he was getting vexed, they beginned to
bawl out their prayers, with the fright, as if the life was lavin' them;
an' the more he bate the door, the louder they prayed, until at last Jim
was fairly tired out.

'Bad luck to you,' says he; 'for a rale divil av a woman,' says he. I
'can't get any advantage av you, any way; but wait till I get hould iv
you, that's all,' says he. An' he turned aff from the door, an' wint
round to the cow-house, an' settled himself as well as he could, in
the sthraw; an' he was tired enough wid the thravellin' he had in the
day-time, an' a good dale bothered with what liquor he had taken; so he
was purty sure of sleepin' wherever he thrun himself.

But, by my sowl, it wasn't the same way with the man an' the woman in
the house--for divil a wink iv sleep, good or bad, could they get at
all, wid the fright iv the sperit, as they supposed; an' with the first
light they sint a little gossoon, as fast as he could wag, straight off,
like a shot, to the priest, an' to desire him, for the love o' God,
to come to them an the minute, an' to bring, if it was plasin' to his
raverence, all the little things he had for sayin' mass, an' savin'
sowls, an' banishin' sperits, an' freakenin' the divil, an' the likes
iv that. An' it wasn't long till his raverence kem down, sure enough,
on the ould grey mare, wid the little mass-boy behind him, an' the
prayer-books an' Bibles, an' all the other mystarious articles that was
wantin', along wid him; an' as soon as he kem in, 'God save all here,'
says he.

'God save ye, kindly, your raverence,' says they.

'An' what's gone wrong wid ye?' says he; 'ye must be very bad,' says
he,' entirely, to disturb my devotions,' says he, 'this way, jist at
breakfast-time,' says he.

'By my sowkins,' says Nell, 'it's bad enough we are, your raverence,'
says she, 'for it's poor Jim's sperit,' says she; 'God rest his sowl,
wherever it is,' says she, 'that was wandherin' up an' down, opossite
the door all night,' says she, 'in the way it was no use at all, thryin'
to get a wink iv sleep,' says she.

'It's to lay it, you want me, I suppose,' says the priest.

'If your raverence 'id do that same, it 'id be plasin' to us,' says
Andy.

'It'll be rather expinsive,' says the priest.

'We'll not differ about the price, your raverence,' says Andy.

'Did the sperit stop long?' says the priest.

'Most part iv the night,' says Nell, 'the Lord be merciful to us all!'
says she.

'That'll make it more costly than I thought,' says he. 'An' did it make
much noise?' says he.

'By my sowl, it's it that did,' says Andy; 'leatherin' the door wid
sticks and stones,' says he, 'antil I fairly thought every minute,' says
he, 'the ould boords id smash, an' the sperit id be in an top iv us--God
bless us,' says he.

'Phiew!' says the priest; 'it'll cost a power iv money.'

'Well, your raverence,' says Andy, 'take whatever you like,' says he;
'only make sure it won't annoy us any more,' says he.

'Oh! by my sowkins,' says the priest, 'it'll be the quarest ghost in the
siven parishes,' says he, 'if it has the courage to come back,' says he,
'afther what I'll do this mornin', plase God,' says he; 'so we'll say
twelve pounds; an' God knows it's chape enough,' says he, 'considherin'
all the sarcumstances,' says he.

Well, there wasn't a second word to the bargain; so they paid him the
money down, an' he sot the table doun like an althar, before the door,
an' he settled it out vid all the things he had wid him; an' he lit a
bit iv a holy candle, an' he scathered his holy wather right an' left;
an' he took up a big book, an' he wint an readin' for half an hour,
good; an' whin he kem to the end, he tuck hould iv his little bell, and
he beginned to ring it for the bare life; an', by my sowl, he rung it
so well, that he wakened Jim Sulivan in the cowhouse, where he was
sleepin', an' up he jumped, widout a minute's delay, an' med right for
the house, where all the family, an' the priest, an' the little mass-boy
was assimbled, layin' the ghost; an' as soon as his raverence seen him
comin' in at the door, wid the fair fright, he flung the bell at his
head, an' hot him sich a lick iv it in the forehead, that he sthretched
him on the floor; but fain; he didn't wait to ax any questions, but he
cut round the table as if the divil was afther him, an' out at the door,
an' didn't stop even as much as to mount an his mare, but leathered away
down the borheen as fast as his legs could carry him, though the mud was
up to his knees, savin' your presence.

Well, by the time Jim kem to himself, the family persaved the mistake,
an' Andy wint home, lavin' Nell to make the explanation. An' as soon
as Jim heerd it all, he said he was quite contint to lave her to Andy,
entirely; but the priest would not hear iv it; an' he jist med him marry
his wife over again, an' a merry weddin' it was, an' a fine collection
for his raverence. An' Andy was there along wid the rest, an' the priest
put a small pinnance upon him, for bein' in too great a hurry to marry a
widdy.

An' bad luck to the word he'd allow anyone to say an the business, ever
after, at all, at all; so, av coorse, no one offinded his raverence, by
spakin' iv the twelve pounds he got for layin' the sperit.

An' the neighbours wor all mighty well plased, to be sure, for gettin'
all the divarsion of a wake, an' two weddin's for nothin.'



A CHAPTER IN THE HISTORY OF A TYRONE FAMILY

     Being a Tenth Extract from the Legacy of the late Francis
     Purcell, P.P. of Drumcoolagh.


INTRODUCTION.

In the following narrative, I have endeavoured to give as nearly as
possible the ipsissima verba of the valued friend from whom I received
it, conscious that any aberration from HER mode of telling the tale of
her own life would at once impair its accuracy and its effect.

Would that, with her words, I could also bring before you her animated
gesture, her expressive countenance, the solemn and thrilling air and
accent with which she related the dark passages in her strange story;
and, above all, that I could communicate the impressive consciousness
that the narrator had seen with her own eyes, and personally acted in
the scenes which she described; these accompaniments, taken with the
additional circumstance that she who told the tale was one far too
deeply and sadly impressed with religious principle to misrepresent
or fabricate what she repeated as fact, gave to the tale a depth of
interest which the events recorded could hardly, themselves, have
produced.

I became acquainted with the lady from whose lips I heard this narrative
nearly twenty years since, and the story struck my fancy so much that
I committed it to paper while it was still fresh in my mind; and should
its perusal afford you entertainment for a listless half hour, my labour
shall not have been bestowed in vain.

I find that I have taken the story down as she told it, in the first
person, and perhaps this is as it should be.

She began as follows:

My maiden name was Richardson,(1) the designation of a family of some
distinction in the county of Tyrone. I was the younger of two daughters,
and we were the only children. There was a difference in our ages of
nearly six years, so that I did not, in my childhood, enjoy that close
companionship which sisterhood, in other circumstances, necessarily
involves; and while I was still a child, my sister was married.


     (1) I have carefully altered the names as they appear in the
     original MSS., for the reader will see that some of the
     circumstances recorded are not of a kind to reflect honour
     upon those involved in them; and as many are still living,
     in every way honoured and honourable, who stand in close
     relation to the principal actors in this drama, the reader
     will see the necessity of the course which we have adopted.


The person upon whom she bestowed her hand was a Mr. Carew, a gentleman
of property and consideration in the north of England.

I remember well the eventful day of the wedding; the thronging
carriages, the noisy menials, the loud laughter, the merry faces, and
the gay dresses. Such sights were then new to me, and harmonised ill
with the sorrowful feelings with which I regarded the event which was to
separate me, as it turned out, for ever from a sister whose tenderness
alone had hitherto more than supplied all that I wanted in my mother's
affection.

The day soon arrived which was to remove the happy couple from Ashtown
House. The carriage stood at the hall-door, and my poor sister kissed me
again and again, telling me that I should see her soon.

The carriage drove away, and I gazed after it until my eyes filled with
tears, and, returning slowly to my chamber, I wept more bitterly and, so
to speak, more desolately, than ever I had done before.

My father had never seemed to love or to take an interest in me. He had
desired a son, and I think he never thoroughly forgave me my unfortunate
sex.

My having come into the world at all as his child he regarded as a kind
of fraudulent intrusion, and as his antipathy to me had its origin in
an imperfection of mine, too radical for removal, I never even hoped to
stand high in his good graces.

My mother was, I dare say, as fond of me as she was of anyone; but
she was a woman of a masculine and a worldly cast of mind. She had no
tenderness or sympathy for the weaknesses, or even for the affections,
of woman's nature and her demeanour towards me was peremptory, and often
even harsh.

It is not to be supposed, then, that I found in the society of my
parents much to supply the loss of my sister. About a year after her
marriage, we received letters from Mr. Carew, containing accounts of my
sister's health, which, though not actually alarming, were calculated
to make us seriously uneasy. The symptoms most dwelt upon were loss of
appetite and cough.

The letters concluded by intimating that he would avail himself of my
father and mother's repeated invitation to spend some time at Ashtown,
particularly as the physician who had been consulted as to my sister's
health had strongly advised a removal to her native air.

There were added repeated assurances that nothing serious was
apprehended, as it was supposed that a deranged state of the liver was
the only source of the symptoms which at first had seemed to intimate
consumption.

In accordance with this announcement, my sister and Mr. Carew arrived in
Dublin, where one of my father's carriages awaited them, in readiness to
start upon whatever day or hour they might choose for their departure.

It was arranged that Mr. Carew was, as soon as the day upon which they
were to leave Dublin was definitely fixed, to write to my father, who
intended that the two last stages should be performed by his own horses,
upon whose speed and safety far more reliance might be placed than
upon those of the ordinary post-horses, which were at that time, almost
without exception, of the very worst order. The journey, one of about
ninety miles, was to be divided; the larger portion being reserved for
the second day.

On Sunday a letter reached us, stating that the party would leave Dublin
on Monday, and, in due course, reach Ashtown upon Tuesday evening.

Tuesday came the evening closed in, and yet no carriage; darkness came
on, and still no sign of our expected visitors.

Hour after hour passed away, and it was now past twelve; the night was
remarkably calm, scarce a breath stirring, so that any sound, such
as that produced by the rapid movement of a vehicle, would have been
audible at a considerable distance. For some such sound I was feverishly
listening.

It was, however, my father's rule to close the house at nightfall, and
the window-shutters being fastened, I was unable to reconnoitre the
avenue as I would have wished. It was nearly one o'clock, and we began
almost to despair of seeing them upon that night, when I thought I
distinguished the sound of wheels, but so remote and faint as to make
me at first very uncertain. The noise approached; it became louder and
clearer; it stopped for a moment.

I now heard the shrill screaming of the rusty iron, as the avenue-gate
revolved on its hinges; again came the sound of wheels in rapid motion.

'It is they,' said I, starting up; 'the carriage is in the avenue.'

We all stood for a few moments breathlessly listening. On thundered the
vehicle with the speed of a whirlwind; crack went the whip, and clatter
went the wheels, as it rattled over the uneven pavement of the court.
A general and furious barking from all the dogs about the house, hailed
its arrival.

We hurried to the hall in time to hear the steps let down with the sharp
clanging noise peculiar to the operation, and the hum of voices exerted
in the bustle of arrival. The hall-door was now thrown open, and we all
stepped forth to greet our visitors.

The court was perfectly empty; the moon was shining broadly and brightly
upon all around; nothing was to be seen but the tall trees with their
long spectral shadows, now wet with the dews of midnight.

We stood gazing from right to left, as if suddenly awakened from a
dream; the dogs walked suspiciously, growling and snuffing about the
court, and by totally and suddenly ceasing their former loud barking,
expressing the predominance of fear.

We stared one upon another in perplexity and dismay, and I think I never
beheld more pale faces assembled. By my father's direction, we looked
about to find anything which might indicate or account for the noise
which we had heard; but no such thing was to be seen--even the mire
which lay upon the avenue was undisturbed. We returned to the house,
more panic-struck than I can describe.

On the next day, we learned by a messenger, who had ridden hard the
greater part of the night, that my sister was dead. On Sunday evening,
she had retired to bed rather unwell, and, on Monday, her indisposition
declared itself unequivocally to be malignant fever. She became hourly
worse and, on Tuesday night, a little after midnight, she expired.(2)


     (2) The residuary legatee of the late Frances Purcell, who
     has the honour of selecting such of his lamented old
     friend's manuscripts as may appear fit for publication, in
     order that the lore which they contain may reach the world
     before scepticism and utility have robbed our species of the
     precious gift of credulity, and scornfully kicked before
     them, or trampled into annihilation those harmless fragments
     of picturesque superstition which it is our object to
     preserve, has been subjected to the charge of dealing too
     largely in the marvellous; and it has been half insinuated
     that such is his love for diablerie, that he is content to
     wander a mile out of his way, in order to meet a fiend or a
     goblin, and thus to sacrifice all regard for truth and
     accuracy to the idle hope of affrighting the imagination,
     and thus pandering to the bad taste of his reader. He begs
     leave, then, to take this opportunity of asserting his
     perfect innocence of all the crimes laid to his charge, and
     to assure his reader that he never PANDERED TO HIS BAD
     TASTE, nor went one inch out of his way to introduce witch,
     fairy, devil, ghost, or any other of the grim fraternity of
     the redoubted Raw-head-and-bloody-bones. His province,
     touching these tales, has been attended with no difficulty
     and little responsibility; indeed, he is accountable for
     nothing more than an alteration in the names of persons
     mentioned therein, when such a step seemed necessary, and
     for an occasional note, whenever he conceived it possible,
     innocently, to edge in a word. These tales have been WRITTEN
     DOWN, as the heading of each announces, by the Rev. Francis
     Purcell, P.P., of Drumcoolagh; and in all the instances,
     which are many, in which the present writer has had an
     opportunity of comparing the manuscript of his departed
     friend with the actual traditions which are current amongst
     the families whose fortunes they pretend to illustrate, he
     has uniformly found that whatever of supernatural occurred
     in the story, so far from having been exaggerated by him,
     had been rather softened down, and, wherever it could be
     attempted, accounted for.


I mention this circumstance, because it was one upon which a thousand
wild and fantastical reports were founded, though one would have thought
that the truth scarcely required to be improved upon; and again, because
it produced a strong and lasting effect upon my spirits, and indeed, I
am inclined to think, upon my character.

I was, for several years after this occurrence, long after the violence
of my grief subsided, so wretchedly low-spirited and nervous, that
I could scarcely be said to live; and during this time, habits of
indecision, arising out of a listless acquiescence in the will of
others, a fear of encountering even the slightest opposition, and a
disposition to shrink from what are commonly called amusements, grew
upon me so strongly, that I have scarcely even yet altogether overcome
them.

We saw nothing more of Mr. Carew. He returned to England as soon as the
melancholy rites attendant upon the event which I have just mentioned
were performed; and not being altogether inconsolable, he married again
within two years; after which, owing to the remoteness of our relative
situations, and other circumstances, we gradually lost sight of him.

I was now an only child; and, as my elder sister had died without issue,
it was evident that, in the ordinary course of things, my father's
property, which was altogether in his power, would go to me; and the
consequence was, that before I was fourteen, Ashtown House was besieged
by a host of suitors. However, whether it was that I was too young, or
that none of the aspirants to my hand stood sufficiently high in rank or
wealth, I was suffered by both parents to do exactly as I pleased;
and well was it for me, as I afterwards found, that fortune, or rather
Providence, had so ordained it, that I had not suffered my affections
to become in any degree engaged, for my mother would never have
suffered any SILLY FANCY of mine, as she was in the habit of styling an
attachment, to stand in the way of her ambitious views--views which she
was determined to carry into effect, in defiance of every obstacle, and
in order to accomplish which she would not have hesitated to sacrifice
anything so unreasonable and contemptible as a girlish passion.

When I reached the age of sixteen, my mother's plans began to develop
themselves; and, at her suggestion, we moved to Dublin to sojourn for
the winter, in order that no time might be lost in disposing of me to
the best advantage.

I had been too long accustomed to consider myself as of no importance
whatever, to believe for a moment that I was in reality the cause of all
the bustle and preparation which surrounded me, and being thus relieved
from the pain which a consciousness of my real situation would have
inflicted, I journeyed towards the capital with a feeling of total
indifference.

My father's wealth and connection had established him in the best
society, and, consequently, upon our arrival in the metropolis we
commanded whatever enjoyment or advantages its gaieties afforded.

The tumult and novelty of the scenes in which I was involved did not
fail considerably to amuse me, and my mind gradually recovered its tone,
which was naturally cheerful.

It was almost immediately known and reported that I was an heiress, and
of course my attractions were pretty generally acknowledged.

Among the many gentlemen whom it was my fortune to please, one, ere
long, established himself in my mother's good graces, to the exclusion
of all less important aspirants. However, I had not understood or even
remarked his attentions, nor in the slightest degree suspected his or
my mother's plans respecting me, when I was made aware of them rather
abruptly by my mother herself.

We had attended a splendid ball, given by Lord M----, at his residence
in Stephen's Green, and I was, with the assistance of my waiting-maid,
employed in rapidly divesting myself of the rich ornaments which, in
profuseness and value, could scarcely have found their equals in any
private family in Ireland.

I had thrown myself into a lounging-chair beside the fire, listless and
exhausted, after the fatigues of the evening, when I was aroused
from the reverie into which I had fallen by the sound of footsteps
approaching my chamber, and my mother entered.

'Fanny, my dear,' said she, in her softest tone, 'I wish to say a word
or two with you before I go to rest. You are not fatigued, love, I
hope?'

'No, no, madam, I thank you,' said I, rising at the same time from my
seat, with the formal respect so little practised now.

'Sit down, my dear,' said she, placing herself upon a chair beside me;
'I must chat with you for a quarter of an hour or so. Saunders' (to the
maid) 'you may leave the room; do not close the room-door, but shut that
of the lobby.'

This precaution against curious ears having been taken as directed, my
mother proceeded.

'You have observed, I should suppose, my dearest Fanny--indeed, you MUST
have observed Lord Glenfallen's marked attentions to you?'

'I assure you, madam----' I began.

'Well, well, that is all right,' interrupted my mother; 'of course you
must be modest upon the matter; but listen to me for a few moments, my
love, and I will prove to your satisfaction that your modesty is quite
unnecessary in this case. You have done better than we could have hoped,
at least so very soon. Lord Glenfallen is in love with you. I give you
joy of your conquest;' and saying this, my mother kissed my forehead.

'In love with me!' I exclaimed, in unfeigned astonishment.

'Yes, in love with you,' repeated my mother; 'devotedly, distractedly in
love with you. Why, my dear, what is there wonderful in it? Look in the
glass, and look at these,' she continued, pointing with a smile to the
jewels which I had just removed from my person, and which now lay a
glittering heap upon the table.

'May there not,' said I, hesitating between confusion and real
alarm--'is it not possible that some mistake may be at the bottom of all
this?'

'Mistake, dearest! none,' said my mother. 'None; none in the world.
Judge for yourself; read this, my love.' And she placed in my hand a
letter, addressed to herself, the seal of which was broken. I read
it through with no small surprise. After some very fine complimentary
flourishes upon my beauty and perfections, as also upon the antiquity
and high reputation of our family, it went on to make a formal proposal
of marriage, to be communicated or not to me at present, as my mother
should deem expedient; and the letter wound up by a request that the
writer might be permitted, upon our return to Ashtown House, which was
soon to take place, as the spring was now tolerably advanced, to visit
us for a few days, in case his suit was approved.

'Well, well, my dear,' said my mother, impatiently; 'do you know who
Lord Glenfallen is?'

'I do, madam,' said I rather timidly, for I dreaded an altercation with
my mother.

'Well, dear, and what frightens you?' continued she. 'Are you afraid of
a title? What has he done to alarm you? he is neither old nor ugly.'

I was silent, though I might have said, 'He is neither young nor
handsome.'

'My dear Fanny,' continued my mother, 'in sober seriousness you have
been most fortunate in engaging the affections of a nobleman such as
Lord Glenfallen, young and wealthy, with first-rate--yes, acknowledged
FIRST-RATE abilities, and of a family whose influence is not exceeded
by that of any in Ireland. Of course you see the offer in the same light
that I do--indeed I think you MUST.'

This was uttered in no very dubious tone. I was so much astonished by
the suddenness of the whole communication that I literally did not know
what to say.

'You are not in love?' said my mother, turning sharply, and fixing her
dark eyes upon me with severe scrutiny.

'No, madam,' said I, promptly; horrified, as what young lady would not
have been, at such a query.

'I'm glad to hear it,' said my mother, drily. 'Once, nearly twenty
years ago, a friend of mine consulted me as to how he should deal with a
daughter who had made what they call a love-match--beggared herself, and
disgraced her family; and I said, without hesitation, take no care
for her, but cast her off. Such punishment I awarded for an offence
committed against the reputation of a family not my own; and what I
advised respecting the child of another, with full as small compunction
I would DO with mine. I cannot conceive anything more unreasonable or
intolerable than that the fortune and the character of a family should
be marred by the idle caprices of a girl.'

She spoke this with great severity, and paused as if she expected some
observation from me.

I, however, said nothing.

'But I need not explain to you, my dear Fanny,' she continued, 'my views
upon this subject; you have always known them well, and I have never yet
had reason to believe you likely, voluntarily, to offend me, or to abuse
or neglect any of those advantages which reason and duty tell you
should be improved. Come hither, my dear; kiss me, and do not look so
frightened. Well, now, about this letter, you need not answer it yet; of
course you must be allowed time to make up your mind. In the meantime
I will write to his lordship to give him my permission to visit us at
Ashtown. Good-night, my love.'

And thus ended one of the most disagreeable, not to say astounding,
conversations I had ever had. It would not be easy to describe exactly
what were my feelings towards Lord Glenfallen;--whatever might have been
my mother's suspicions, my heart was perfectly disengaged--and hitherto,
although I had not been made in the slightest degree acquainted with his
real views, I had liked him very much, as an agreeable, well-informed
man, whom I was always glad to meet in society. He had served in the
navy in early life, and the polish which his manners received in his
after intercourse with courts and cities had not served to obliterate
that frankness of manner which belongs proverbially to the sailor.

Whether this apparent candour went deeper than the outward bearing, I
was yet to learn. However, there was no doubt that, as far as I had seen
of Lord Glenfallen, he was, though perhaps not so young as might have
been desired in a lover, a singularly pleasing man; and whatever feeling
unfavourable to him had found its way into my mind, arose altogether
from the dread, not an unreasonable one, that constraint might be
practised upon my inclinations. I reflected, however, that Lord
Glenfallen was a wealthy man, and one highly thought of; and although I
could never expect to love him in the romantic sense of the term, yet I
had no doubt but that, all things considered, I might be more happy with
him than I could hope to be at home.

When next I met him it was with no small embarrassment, his tact and
good breeding, however, soon reassured me, and effectually prevented my
awkwardness being remarked upon. And I had the satisfaction of leaving
Dublin for the country with the full conviction that nobody, not
even those most intimate with me, even suspected the fact of Lord
Glenfallen's having made me a formal proposal.

This was to me a very serious subject of self-gratulation, for, besides
my instinctive dread of becoming the topic of the speculations of
gossip, I felt that if the situation which I occupied in relation to
him were made publicly known, I should stand committed in a manner which
would scarcely leave me the power of retraction.

The period at which Lord Glenfallen had arranged to visit Ashtown House
was now fast approaching, and it became my mother's wish to form
me thoroughly to her will, and to obtain my consent to the proposed
marriage before his arrival, so that all things might proceed smoothly,
without apparent opposition or objection upon my part. Whatever
objections, therefore, I had entertained were to be subdued; whatever
disposition to resistance I had exhibited or had been supposed to feel,
were to be completely eradicated before he made his appearance; and my
mother addressed herself to the task with a decision and energy against
which even the barriers, which her imagination had created, could hardly
have stood.

If she had, however, expected any determined opposition from me, she was
agreeably disappointed. My heart was perfectly free, and all my feelings
of liking and preference were in favour of Lord Glenfallen; and I well
knew that in case I refused to dispose of myself as I was desired,
my mother had alike the power and the will to render my existence as
utterly miserable as even the most ill-assorted marriage could possibly
have done.

You will remember, my good friend, that I was very young and very
completely under the control of my parents, both of whom, my mother
particularly, were unscrupulously determined in matters of this kind,
and willing, when voluntary obedience on the part of those within their
power was withheld, to compel a forced acquiescence by an unsparing use
of all the engines of the most stern and rigorous domestic discipline.

All these combined, not unnaturally, induced me to resolve upon yielding
at once, and without useless opposition, to what appeared almost to be
my fate.

The appointed time was come, and my now accepted suitor arrived; he was
in high spirits, and, if possible, more entertaining than ever.

I was not, however, quite in the mood to enjoy his sprightliness; but
whatever I wanted in gaiety was amply made up in the triumphant and
gracious good-humour of my mother, whose smiles of benevolence and
exultation were showered around as bountifully as the summer sunshine.

I will not weary you with unnecessary prolixity. Let it suffice to say,
that I was married to Lord Glenfallen with all the attendant pomp and
circumstance of wealth, rank, and grandeur. According to the usage of
the times, now humanely reformed, the ceremony was made, until long past
midnight, the season of wild, uproarious, and promiscuous feasting and
revelry.

Of all this I have a painfully vivid recollection, and particularly of
the little annoyances inflicted upon me by the dull and coarse jokes
of the wits and wags who abound in all such places, and upon all such
occasions.

I was not sorry when, after a few days, Lord Glenfallen's carriage
appeared at the door to convey us both from Ashtown; for any change
would have been a relief from the irksomeness of ceremonial and
formality which the visits received in honour of my newly-acquired
titles hourly entailed upon me.

It was arranged that we were to proceed to Cahergillagh, one of the
Glenfallen estates, lying, however, in a southern county, so that, owing
to the difficulty of the roads at the time, a tedious journey of three
days intervened.

I set forth with my noble companion, followed by the regrets of some,
and by the envy of many; though God knows I little deserved the latter.
The three days of travel were now almost spent, when, passing the brow
of a wild heathy hill, the domain of Cahergillagh opened suddenly upon
our view.

It formed a striking and a beautiful scene. A lake of considerable
extent stretching away towards the west, and reflecting from its broad,
smooth waters, the rich glow of the setting sun, was overhung by steep
hills, covered by a rich mantle of velvet sward, broken here and there
by the grey front of some old rock, and exhibiting on their shelving
sides, their slopes and hollows, every variety of light and shade;
a thick wood of dwarf oak, birch, and hazel skirted these hills, and
clothed the shores of the lake, running out in rich luxuriance upon
every promontory, and spreading upward considerably upon the side of the
hills.

'There lies the enchanted castle,' said Lord Glenfallen, pointing
towards a considerable level space intervening between two of the
picturesque hills, which rose dimly around the lake.

This little plain was chiefly occupied by the same low, wild wood which
covered the other parts of the domain; but towards the centre a mass
of taller and statelier forest trees stood darkly grouped together,
and among them stood an ancient square tower, with many buildings of a
humbler character, forming together the manorhouse, or, as it was more
usually called, the Court of Cahergillagh.

As we approached the level upon which the mansion stood, the winding
road gave us many glimpses of the time-worn castle and its surrounding
buildings; and seen as it was through the long vistas of the fine old
trees, and with the rich glow of evening upon it, I have seldom beheld
an object more picturesquely striking.

I was glad to perceive, too, that here and there the blue curling smoke
ascended from stacks of chimneys now hidden by the rich, dark ivy which,
in a great measure, covered the building. Other indications of comfort
made themselves manifest as we approached; and indeed, though the place
was evidently one of considerable antiquity, it had nothing whatever of
the gloom of decay about it.

'You must not, my love,' said Lord Glenfallen, 'imagine this place worse
than it is. I have no taste for antiquity--at least I should not choose
a house to reside in because it is old. Indeed I do not recollect that I
was even so romantic as to overcome my aversion to rats and rheumatism,
those faithful attendants upon your noble relics of feudalism; and
I much prefer a snug, modern, unmysterious bedroom, with well-aired
sheets, to the waving tapestry, mildewed cushions, and all the other
interesting appliances of romance. However, though I cannot promise you
all the discomfort generally belonging to an old castle, you will find
legends and ghostly lore enough to claim your respect; and if old
Martha be still to the fore, as I trust she is, you will soon have a
supernatural and appropriate anecdote for every closet and corner of
the mansion; but here we are--so, without more ado, welcome to
Cahergillagh!'

We now entered the hall of the castle, and while the domestics were
employed in conveying our trunks and other luggage which we had brought
with us for immediate use to the apartments which Lord Glenfallen
had selected for himself and me, I went with him into a spacious
sitting-room, wainscoted with finely polished black oak, and hung round
with the portraits of various worthies of the Glenfallen family.

This room looked out upon an extensive level covered with the softest
green sward, and irregularly bounded by the wild wood I have before
mentioned, through the leafy arcade formed by whose boughs and trunks
the level beams of the setting sun were pouring. In the distance a group
of dairymaids were plying their task, which they accompanied throughout
with snatches of Irish songs which, mellowed by the distance, floated
not unpleasingly to the ear; and beside them sat or lay, with all the
grave importance of conscious protection, six or seven large dogs of
various kinds. Farther in the distance, and through the cloisters of the
arching wood, two or three ragged urchins were employed in driving such
stray kine as had wandered farther than the rest to join their fellows.

As I looked upon this scene which I have described, a feeling of
tranquillity and happiness came upon me, which I have never experienced
in so strong a degree; and so strange to me was the sensation that my
eyes filled with tears.

Lord Glenfallen mistook the cause of my emotion, and taking me kindly
and tenderly by the hand, he said:

'Do not suppose, my love, that it is my intention to SETTLE here.
Whenever you desire to leave this, you have only to let me know your
wish, and it shall be complied with; so I must entreat of you not to
suffer any circumstances which I can control to give you one moment's
uneasiness. But here is old Martha; you must be introduced to her, one
of the heirlooms of our family.'

A hale, good-humoured, erect old woman was Martha, and an agreeable
contrast to the grim, decrepid hag which my fancy had conjured up, as
the depository of all the horrible tales in which I doubted not this old
place was most fruitful.

She welcomed me and her master with a profusion of gratulations,
alternately kissing our hands and apologising for the liberty, until at
length Lord Glenfallen put an end to this somewhat fatiguing ceremonial
by requesting her to conduct me to my chamber if it were prepared for my
reception.

I followed Martha up an old-fashioned oak staircase into a long, dim
passage, at the end of which lay the door which communicated with the
apartments which had been selected for our use; here the old woman
stopped, and respectfully requested me to proceed.

I accordingly opened the door, and was about to enter, when something
like a mass of black tapestry, as it appeared, disturbed by my sudden
approach, fell from above the door, so as completely to screen the
aperture; the startling unexpectedness of the occurrence, and the
rustling noise which the drapery made in its descent, caused me
involuntarily to step two or three paces backwards. I turned, smiling
and half-ashamed, to the old servant, and said:

'You see what a coward I am.'

The woman looked puzzled, and, without saying any more, I was about to
draw aside the curtain and enter the room, when, upon turning to do so,
I was surprised to find that nothing whatever interposed to obstruct the
passage.

I went into the room, followed by the servant-woman, and was amazed to
find that it, like the one below, was wainscoted, and that nothing like
drapery was to be found near the door.

'Where is it?' said I; 'what has become of it?'

'What does your ladyship wish to know?' said the old woman.

'Where is the black curtain that fell across the door, when I attempted
first to come to my chamber?' answered I.

'The cross of Christ about us!' said the old woman, turning suddenly
pale.

'What is the matter, my good friend?' said I; 'you seem frightened.'

'Oh no, no, your ladyship,' said the old woman, endeavouring to conceal
her agitation; but in vain, for tottering towards a chair, she sank into
it, looking so deadly pale and horror-struck that I thought every moment
she would faint.

'Merciful God, keep us from harm and danger!' muttered she at length.

'What can have terrified you so?' said I, beginning to fear that she
had seen something more than had met my eye. 'You appear ill, my poor
woman!'

'Nothing, nothing, my lady,' said she, rising. 'I beg your ladyship's
pardon for making so bold. May the great God defend us from misfortune!'

'Martha,' said I, 'something HAS frightened you very much, and I insist
on knowing what it is; your keeping me in the dark upon the subject will
make me much more uneasy than anything you could tell me. I desire you,
therefore, to let me know what agitates you; I command you to tell me.'

'Your ladyship said you saw a black curtain falling across the door when
you were coming into the room,' said the old woman.

'I did,' said I; 'but though the whole thing appears somewhat strange, I
cannot see anything in the matter to agitate you so excessively.'

'It's for no good you saw that, my lady,' said the crone; 'something
terrible is coming. It's a sign, my lady--a sign that never fails.'

'Explain, explain what you mean, my good woman,' said I, in spite of
myself, catching more than I could account for, of her superstitious
terror.

'Whenever something--something BAD is going to happen to the Glenfallen
family, some one that belongs to them sees a black handkerchief or
curtain just waved or falling before their faces. I saw it myself,'
continued she, lowering her voice, 'when I was only a little girl, and
I'll never forget it. I often heard of it before, though I never saw it
till then, nor since, praised be God. But I was going into Lady Jane's
room to waken her in the morning; and sure enough when I got first to
the bed and began to draw the curtain, something dark was waved across
the division, but only for a moment; and when I saw rightly into the
bed, there was she lying cold and dead, God be merciful to me! So,
my lady, there is small blame to me to be daunted when any one of the
family sees it; for it's many's the story I heard of it, though I saw it
but once.'

I was not of a superstitious turn of mind, yet I could not resist a
feeling of awe very nearly allied to the fear which my companion had
so unreservedly expressed; and when you consider my situation, the
loneliness, antiquity, and gloom of the place, you will allow that the
weakness was not without excuse.

In spite of old Martha's boding predictions, however, time flowed on
in an unruffled course. One little incident however, though trifling
in itself, I must relate, as it serves to make what follows more
intelligible.

Upon the day after my arrival, Lord Glenfallen of course desired to make
me acquainted with the house and domain; and accordingly we set forth
upon our ramble. When returning, he became for some time silent
and moody, a state so unusual with him as considerably to excite my
surprise.

I endeavoured by observations and questions to arouse him--but in
vain. At length, as we approached the house, he said, as if speaking to
himself:

''Twere madness--madness--madness,' repeating the words bitterly--'sure
and speedy ruin.'

There was here a long pause; and at length, turning sharply towards me,
in a tone very unlike that in which he had hitherto addressed me, he
said:

'Do you think it possible that a woman can keep a secret?'

'I am sure,' said I, 'that women are very much belied upon the score
of talkativeness, and that I may answer your question with the same
directness with which you put it--I reply that I DO think a woman can
keep a secret.'

'But I do not,' said he, drily.

We walked on in silence for a time. I was much astonished at his
unwonted abruptness--I had almost said rudeness.

After a considerable pause he seemed to recollect himself, and with an
effort resuming his sprightly manner, he said:

'Well, well, the next thing to keeping a secret well is, not to desire
to possess one--talkativeness and curiosity generally go together. Now
I shall make test of you, in the first place, respecting the latter of
these qualities. I shall be your BLUEBEARD--tush, why do I trifle thus?
Listen to me, my dear Fanny; I speak now in solemn earnest. What I
desire is intimately, inseparably, connected with your happiness and
honour as well as my own; and your compliance with my request will not
be difficult. It will impose upon you a very trifling restraint during
your sojourn here, which certain events which have occurred since our
arrival have determined me shall not be a long one. You must promise
me, upon your sacred honour, that you will visit ONLY that part of the
castle which can be reached from the front entrance, leaving the back
entrance and the part of the building commanded immediately by it to the
menials, as also the small garden whose high wall you see yonder; and
never at any time seek to pry or peep into them, nor to open the door
which communicates from the front part of the house through the corridor
with the back. I do not urge this in jest or in caprice, but from
a solemn conviction that danger and misery will be the certain
consequences of your not observing what I prescribe. I cannot explain
myself further at present. Promise me, then, these things, as you hope
for peace here, and for mercy hereafter.'

I did make the promise as desired, and he appeared relieved; his manner
recovered all its gaiety and elasticity: but the recollection of the
strange scene which I have just described dwelt painfully upon my mind.

More than a month passed away without any occurrence worth recording;
but I was not destined to leave Cahergillagh without further adventure.
One day, intending to enjoy the pleasant sunshine in a ramble through
the woods, I ran up to my room to procure my bonnet and shawl. Upon
entering the chamber, I was surprised and somewhat startled to find it
occupied. Beside the fireplace, and nearly opposite the door, seated in
a large, old-fashioned elbow-chair, was placed the figure of a lady. She
appeared to be nearer fifty than forty, and was dressed suitably to
her age, in a handsome suit of flowered silk; she had a profusion
of trinkets and jewellery about her person, and many rings upon her
fingers. But although very rich, her dress was not gaudy or in ill
taste. But what was remarkable in the lady was, that although her
features were handsome, and upon the whole pleasing, the pupil of each
eye was dimmed with the whiteness of cataract, and she was evidently
stone-blind. I was for some seconds so surprised at this unaccountable
apparition, that I could not find words to address her.

'Madam,' said I, 'there must be some mistake here--this is my
bed-chamber.'

'Marry come up,' said the lady, sharply; 'YOUR chamber! Where is Lord
Glenfallen?'

'He is below, madam,' replied I; 'and I am convinced he will be not a
little surprised to find you here.'

'I do not think he will,' said she; 'with your good leave, talk of
what you know something about. Tell him I want him. Why does the minx
dilly-dally so?'

In spite of the awe which this grim lady inspired, there was something
in her air of confident superiority which, when I considered our
relative situations, was not a little irritating.

'Do you know, madam, to whom you speak?' said I.

'I neither know nor care,' said she; 'but I presume that you are some
one about the house, so again I desire you, if you wish to continue
here, to bring your master hither forthwith.'

'I must tell you, madam,' said I, 'that I am Lady Glenfallen.'

'What's that?' said the stranger, rapidly.

'I say, madam,' I repeated, approaching her that I might be more
distinctly heard, 'that I am Lady Glenfallen.'

'It's a lie, you trull!' cried she, in an accent which made me start,
and at the same time, springing forward, she seized me in her grasp, and
shook me violently, repeating, 'It's a lie--it's a lie!' with a rapidity
and vehemence which swelled every vein of her face. The violence of her
action, and the fury which convulsed her face, effectually terrified me,
and disengaging myself from her grasp, I screamed as loud as I could for
help. The blind woman continued to pour out a torrent of abuse upon
me, foaming at the mouth with rage, and impotently shaking her clenched
fists towards me.

I heard Lord Glenfallen's step upon the stairs, and I instantly ran out;
as I passed him I perceived that he was deadly pale, and just caught the
words: 'I hope that demon has not hurt you?'

I made some answer, I forget what, and he entered the chamber, the door
of which he locked upon the inside. What passed within I know not; but
I heard the voices of the two speakers raised in loud and angry
altercation.

I thought I heard the shrill accents of the woman repeat the words,
'Let her look to herself;' but I could not be quite sure. This short
sentence, however, was, to my alarmed imagination, pregnant with fearful
meaning.

The storm at length subsided, though not until after a conference
of more than two long hours. Lord Glenfallen then returned, pale and
agitated.

'That unfortunate woman,' said he, 'is out of her mind. I daresay she
treated you to some of her ravings; but you need not dread any further
interruption from her: I have brought her so far to reason. She did not
hurt you, I trust.'

'No, no,' said I; 'but she terrified me beyond measure.'

'Well,' said he, 'she is likely to behave better for the future; and I
dare swear that neither you nor she would desire, after what has passed,
to meet again.'

This occurrence, so startling and unpleasant, so involved in mystery,
and giving rise to so many painful surmises, afforded me no very
agreeable food for rumination.

All attempts on my part to arrive at the truth were baffled; Lord
Glenfallen evaded all my inquiries, and at length peremptorily forbid
any further allusion to the matter. I was thus obliged to rest satisfied
with what I had actually seen, and to trust to time to resolve the
perplexities in which the whole transaction had involved me.

Lord Glenfallen's temper and spirits gradually underwent a complete and
most painful change; he became silent and abstracted, his manner to me
was abrupt and often harsh, some grievous anxiety seemed ever present to
his mind; and under its influence his spirits sunk and his temper became
soured.

I soon perceived that his gaiety was rather that which the stir and
excitement of society produce, than the result of a healthy habit
of mind; every day confirmed me in the opinion, that the considerate
good-nature which I had so much admired in him was little more than
a mere manner; and to my infinite grief and surprise, the gay, kind,
open-hearted nobleman who had for months followed and flattered me, was
rapidly assuming the form of a gloomy, morose, and singularly selfish
man. This was a bitter discovery, and I strove to conceal it from myself
as long as I could; but the truth was not to be denied, and I was forced
to believe that Lord Glenfallen no longer loved me, and that he was at
little pains to conceal the alteration in his sentiments.

One morning after breakfast, Lord Glenfallen had been for some time
walking silently up and down the room, buried in his moody reflections,
when pausing suddenly, and turning towards me, he exclaimed:

'I have it--I have it! We must go abroad, and stay there too; and
if that does not answer, why--why, we must try some more effectual
expedient. Lady Glenfallen, I have become involved in heavy
embarrassments. A wife, you know, must share the fortunes of her
husband, for better for worse; but I will waive my right if you prefer
remaining here--here at Cahergillagh. For I would not have you seen
elsewhere without the state to which your rank entitles you; besides, it
would break your poor mother's heart,' he added, with sneering gravity.
'So make up your mind--Cahergillagh or France. I will start if possible
in a week, so determine between this and then.'

He left the room, and in a few moments I saw him ride past the window,
followed by a mounted servant. He had directed a domestic to inform me
that he should not be back until the next day.

I was in very great doubt as to what course of conduct I should pursue,
as to accompanying him in the continental tour so suddenly determined
upon. I felt that it would be a hazard too great to encounter; for at
Cahergillagh I had always the consciousness to sustain me, that if his
temper at any time led him into violent or unwarrantable treatment of
me, I had a remedy within reach, in the protection and support of my own
family, from all useful and effective communication with whom, if once
in France, I should be entirely debarred.

As to remaining at Cahergillagh in solitude, and, for aught I knew,
exposed to hidden dangers, it appeared to me scarcely less objectionable
than the former proposition; and yet I feared that with one or other I
must comply, unless I was prepared to come to an actual breach with Lord
Glenfallen. Full of these unpleasing doubts and perplexities, I retired
to rest.

I was wakened, after having slept uneasily for some hours, by some
person shaking me rudely by the shoulder; a small lamp burned in my
room, and by its light, to my horror and amazement, I discovered that my
visitant was the self-same blind old lady who had so terrified me a few
weeks before.

I started up in the bed, with a view to ring the bell, and alarm the
domestics; but she instantly anticipated me by saying:

'Do not be frightened, silly girl! If I had wished to harm you I could
have done it while you were sleeping; I need not have wakened you.
Listen to me, now, attentively and fearlessly, for what I have to say
interests you to the full as much as it does me. Tell me here, in the
presence of God, did Lord Glenfallen marry you--ACTUALLY MARRY you?
Speak the truth, woman.'

'As surely as I live and speak,' I replied, 'did Lord Glenfallen marry
me, in presence of more than a hundred witnesses.'

'Well,' continued she, 'he should have told you THEN, before you
married him, that he had a wife living, which wife I am. I feel you
tremble--tush! do not be frightened. I do not mean to harm you. Mark
me now--you are NOT his wife. When I make my story known you will be
so neither in the eye of God nor of man. You must leave this house upon
to-morrow. Let the world know that your husband has another wife living;
go you into retirement, and leave him to justice, which will surely
overtake him. If you remain in this house after to-morrow you will reap
the bitter fruits of your sin.'

So saying, she quitted the room, leaving me very little disposed to
sleep.

Here was food for my very worst and most terrible suspicions; still
there was not enough to remove all doubt. I had no proof of the truth of
this woman's statement.

Taken by itself, there was nothing to induce me to attach weight to it;
but when I viewed it in connection with the extraordinary mystery of
some of Lord Glenfallen's proceedings, his strange anxiety to exclude me
from certain portions of the mansion, doubtless lest I should encounter
this person--the strong influence, nay, command which she possessed over
him, a circumstance clearly established by the very fact of her residing
in the very place where, of all others, he should least have desired to
find her--her thus acting, and continuing to act in direct contradiction
to his wishes; when, I say, I viewed her disclosure in connection with
all these circumstances, I could not help feeling that there was at
least a fearful verisimilitude in the allegations which she had made.

Still I was not satisfied, nor nearly so. Young minds have a
reluctance almost insurmountable to believing, upon anything short of
unquestionable proof, the existence of premeditated guilt in anyone whom
they have ever trusted; and in support of this feeling I was assured
that if the assertion of Lord Glenfallen, which nothing in this woman's
manner had led me to disbelieve, were true, namely that her mind was
unsound, the whole fabric of my doubts and fears must fall to the
ground.

I determined to state to Lord Glenfallen freely and accurately the
substance of the communication which I had just heard, and in his words
and looks to seek for its proof or refutation. Full of these thoughts,
I remained wakeful and excited all night, every moment fancying that I
heard the step or saw the figure of my recent visitor, towards whom I
felt a species of horror and dread which I can hardly describe.

There was something in her face, though her features had evidently been
handsome, and were not, at first sight, unpleasing, which, upon a nearer
inspection, seemed to indicate the habitual prevalence and indulgence
of evil passions, and a power of expressing mere animal anger, with an
intenseness that I have seldom seen equalled, and to which an almost
unearthly effect was given by the convulsive quivering of the sightless
eyes.

You may easily suppose that it was no very pleasing reflection to me to
consider that, whenever caprice might induce her to return, I was within
the reach of this violent and, for aught I knew, insane woman, who had,
upon that very night, spoken to me in a tone of menace, of which her
mere words, divested of the manner and look with which she uttered them,
can convey but a faint idea.

Will you believe me when I tell you that I was actually afraid to leave
my bed in order to secure the door, lest I should again encounter
the dreadful object lurking in some corner or peeping from behind the
window-curtains, so very a child was I in my fears.

The morning came, and with it Lord Glenfallen. I knew not, and indeed I
cared not, where he might have been; my thoughts were wholly engrossed
by the terrible fears and suspicions which my last night's conference
had suggested to me. He was, as usual, gloomy and abstracted, and I
feared in no very fitting mood to hear what I had to say with patience,
whether the charges were true or false.

I was, however, determined not to suffer the opportunity to pass,
or Lord Glenfallen to leave the room, until, at all hazards, I had
unburdened my mind.

'My lord,' said I, after a long silence, summoning up all my
firmness--'my lord, I wish to say a few words to you upon a matter of
very great importance, of very deep concernment to you and to me.'

I fixed my eyes upon him to discern, if possible, whether the
announcement caused him any uneasiness; but no symptom of any such
feeling was perceptible.

'Well, my dear,' said he, 'this is no doubt a very grave preface, and
portends, I have no doubt, something extraordinary. Pray let us have it
without more ado.'

He took a chair, and seated himself nearly opposite to me.

'My lord,' said I, 'I have seen the person who alarmed me so much a
short time since, the blind lady, again, upon last night.' His face,
upon which my eyes were fixed, turned pale; he hesitated for a moment,
and then said:

'And did you, pray, madam, so totally forget or spurn my express
command, as to enter that portion of the house from which your promise,
I might say your oath, excluded you?--answer me that!' he added
fiercely.

'My lord,' said I, 'I have neither forgotten your COMMANDS, since such
they were, nor disobeyed them. I was, last night, wakened from my sleep,
as I lay in my own chamber, and accosted by the person whom I have
mentioned. How she found access to the room I cannot pretend to say.'

'Ha! this must be looked to,' said he, half reflectively; 'and pray,'
added he, quickly, while in turn he fixed his eyes upon me, 'what did
this person say? since some comment upon her communication forms, no
doubt, the sequel to your preface.'

'Your lordship is not mistaken,' said I; 'her statement was so
extraordinary that I could not think of withholding it from you. She
told me, my lord, that you had a wife living at the time you married me,
and that she was that wife.'

Lord Glenfallen became ashy pale, almost livid; he made two or three
efforts to clear his voice to speak, but in vain, and turning suddenly
from me, he walked to the window. The horror and dismay which, in the
olden time, overwhelmed the woman of Endor when her spells unexpectedly
conjured the dead into her presence, were but types of what I felt when
thus presented with what appeared to be almost unequivocal evidence of
the guilt whose existence I had before so strongly doubted.

There was a silence of some moments, during which it were hard to
conjecture whether I or my companion suffered most.

Lord Glenfallen soon recovered his self-command; he returned to the
table, again sat down and said:

'What you have told me has so astonished me, has unfolded such a tissue
of motiveless guilt, and in a quarter from which I had so little reason
to look for ingratitude or treachery, that your announcement almost
deprived me of speech; the person in question, however, has one excuse,
her mind is, as I told you before, unsettled. You should have remembered
that, and hesitated to receive as unexceptionable evidence against the
honour of your husband, the ravings of a lunatic. I now tell you that
this is the last time I shall speak to you upon this subject, and, in
the presence of the God who is to judge me, and as I hope for mercy in
the day of judgment, I swear that the charge thus brought against me is
utterly false, unfounded, and ridiculous; I defy the world in any point
to taint my honour; and, as I have never taken the opinion of madmen
touching your character or morals, I think it but fair to require that
you will evince a like tenderness for me; and now, once for all, never
again dare to repeat to me your insulting suspicions, or the clumsy and
infamous calumnies of fools. I shall instantly let the worthy lady who
contrived this somewhat original device, understand fully my opinion
upon the matter. Good morning;' and with these words he left me again in
doubt, and involved in all horrors of the most agonising suspense.

I had reason to think that Lord Glenfallen wreaked his vengeance upon
the author of the strange story which I had heard, with a violence which
was not satisfied with mere words, for old Martha, with whom I was a
great favourite, while attending me in my room, told me that she feared
her master had ill-used the poor blind Dutch woman, for that she had
heard her scream as if the very life were leaving her, but added a
request that I should not speak of what she had told me to any one,
particularly to the master.

'How do you know that she is a Dutch woman?' inquired I, anxious to
learn anything whatever that might throw a light upon the history
of this person, who seemed to have resolved to mix herself up in my
fortunes.

'Why, my lady,' answered Martha, 'the master often calls her the Dutch
hag, and other names you would not like to hear, and I am sure she is
neither English nor Irish; for, whenever they talk together, they speak
some queer foreign lingo, and fast enough, I'll be bound. But I ought
not to talk about her at all; it might be as much as my place is worth
to mention her--only you saw her first yourself, so there can be no
great harm in speaking of her now.'

'How long has this lady been here?' continued I.

'She came early on the morning after your ladyship's arrival,' answered
she; 'but do not ask me any more, for the master would think nothing of
turning me out of doors for daring to speak of her at all, much less to
you, my lady.'

I did not like to press the poor woman further, for her reluctance to
speak on this topic was evident and strong.

You will readily believe that upon the very slight grounds which my
information afforded, contradicted as it was by the solemn oath of my
husband, and derived from what was, at best, a very questionable source,
I could not take any very decisive measure whatever; and as to the
menace of the strange woman who had thus unaccountably twice intruded
herself into my chamber, although, at the moment, it occasioned me some
uneasiness, it was not, even in my eyes, sufficiently formidable to
induce my departure from Cahergillagh.

A few nights after the scene which I have just mentioned, Lord
Glenfallen having, as usual, early retired to his study, I was left
alone in the parlour to amuse myself as best I might.

It was not strange that my thoughts should often recur to the agitating
scenes in which I had recently taken a part.

The subject of my reflections, the solitude, the silence, and the
lateness of the hour, as also the depression of spirits to which I had
of late been a constant prey, tended to produce that nervous excitement
which places us wholly at the mercy of the imagination.

In order to calm my spirits I was endeavouring to direct my thoughts
into some more pleasing channel, when I heard, or thought I heard,
uttered, within a few yards of me, in an odd, half-sneering tone, the
words,

'There is blood upon your ladyship's throat.'

So vivid was the impression that I started to my feet, and involuntarily
placed my hand upon my neck.

I looked around the room for the speaker, but in vain.

I went then to the room-door, which I opened, and peered into the
passage, nearly faint with horror lest some leering, shapeless thing
should greet me upon the threshold.

When I had gazed long enough to assure myself that no strange object was
within sight, 'I have been too much of a rake lately; I am racking out
my nerves,' said I, speaking aloud, with a view to reassure myself.

I rang the bell, and, attended by old Martha, I retired to settle for
the night.

While the servant was--as was her custom--arranging the lamp which I
have already stated always burned during the night in my chamber, I
was employed in undressing, and, in doing so, I had recourse to a large
looking-glass which occupied a considerable portion of the wall in which
it was fixed, rising from the ground to a height of about six feet--this
mirror filled the space of a large panel in the wainscoting opposite the
foot of the bed.

I had hardly been before it for the lapse of a minute when something
like a black pall was slowly waved between me and it.

'Oh, God! there it is,' I exclaimed, wildly. 'I have seen it again,
Martha--the black cloth.'

'God be merciful to us, then!' answered she, tremulously crossing
herself. 'Some misfortune is over us.'

'No, no, Martha,' said I, almost instantly recovering my collectedness;
for, although of a nervous temperament, I had never been superstitious.
'I do not believe in omens. You know I saw, or fancied I saw, this thing
before, and nothing followed.'

'The Dutch lady came the next morning,' replied she.

'But surely her coming scarcely deserved such a dreadful warning,' I
replied.

'She is a strange woman, my lady,' said Martha; 'and she is not GONE
yet--mark my words.'

'Well, well, Martha,' said I, 'I have not wit enough to change your
opinions, nor inclination to alter mine; so I will talk no more of the
matter. Good-night,' and so I was left to my reflections.

After lying for about an hour awake, I at length fell into a kind of
doze; but my imagination was still busy, for I was startled from this
unrefreshing sleep by fancying that I heard a voice close to my face
exclaim as before:

'There is blood upon your ladyship's throat.'

The words were instantly followed by a loud burst of laughter.

Quaking with horror, I awakened, and heard my husband enter the room.
Even this was it relief.

Scared as I was, however, by the tricks which my imagination had played
me, I preferred remaining silent, and pretending to sleep, to attempting
to engage my husband in conversation, for I well knew that his mood was
such, that his words would not, in all probability, convey anything that
had not better be unsaid and unheard.

Lord Glenfallen went into his dressing-room, which lay upon the
right-hand side of the bed. The door lying open, I could see him by
himself, at full length upon a sofa, and, in about half an hour, I
became aware, by his deep and regularly drawn respiration, that he was
fast asleep.

When slumber refuses to visit one, there is something peculiarly
irritating, not to the temper, but to the nerves, in the consciousness
that some one is in your immediate presence, actually enjoying the boon
which you are seeking in vain; at least, I have always found it so, and
never more than upon the present occasion.

A thousand annoying imaginations harassed and excited me; every object
which I looked upon, though ever so familiar, seemed to have acquired
a strange phantom-like character, the varying shadows thrown by the
flickering of the lamplight, seemed shaping themselves into grotesque
and unearthly forms, and whenever my eyes wandered to the sleeping
figure of my husband, his features appeared to undergo the strangest and
most demoniacal contortions.

Hour after hour was told by the old clock, and each succeeding one found
me, if possible, less inclined to sleep than its predecessor.

It was now considerably past three; my eyes, in their involuntary
wanderings, happened to alight upon the large mirror which was, as I
have said, fixed in the wall opposite the foot of the bed. A view of it
was commanded from where I lay, through the curtains. As I gazed fixedly
upon it, I thought I perceived the broad sheet of glass shifting its
position in relation to the bed; I riveted my eyes upon it with intense
scrutiny; it was no deception, the mirror, as if acting of its own
impulse, moved slowly aside, and disclosed a dark aperture in the wall,
nearly as large as an ordinary door; a figure evidently stood in this,
but the light was too dim to define it accurately.

It stepped cautiously into the chamber, and with so little noise, that
had I not actually seen it, I do not think I should have been aware of
its presence. It was arrayed in a kind of woollen night-dress, and a
white handkerchief or cloth was bound tightly about the head; I had no
difficulty, spite of the strangeness of the attire, in recognising the
blind woman whom I so much dreaded.

She stooped down, bringing her head nearly to the ground, and in that
attitude she remained motionless for some moments, no doubt in order to
ascertain if any suspicious sound were stirring.

She was apparently satisfied by her observations, for she immediately
recommenced her silent progress towards a ponderous mahogany
dressing-table of my husband's. When she had reached it, she paused
again, and appeared to listen attentively for some minutes; she then
noiselessly opened one of the drawers, from which, having groped for
some time, she took something, which I soon perceived to be a case of
razors. She opened it, and tried the edge of each of the two instruments
upon the skin of her hand; she quickly selected one, which she fixed
firmly in her grasp. She now stooped down as before, and having listened
for a time, she, with the hand that was disengaged, groped her way into
the dressing-room where Lord Glenfallen lay fast asleep.

I was fixed as if in the tremendous spell of a nightmare. I could not
stir even a finger; I could not lift my voice; I could not even breathe;
and though I expected every moment to see the sleeping man murdered, I
could not even close my eyes to shut out the horrible spectacle, which I
had not the power to avert.

I saw the woman approach the sleeping figure, she laid the unoccupied
hand lightly along his clothes, and having thus ascertained his
identity, she, after a brief interval, turned back and again entered my
chamber; here she bent down again to listen.

I had now not a doubt but that the razor was intended for my throat; yet
the terrific fascination which had locked all my powers so long, still
continued to bind me fast.

I felt that my life depended upon the slightest ordinary exertion, and
yet I could not stir one joint from the position in which I lay, nor
even make noise enough to waken Lord Glenfallen.

The murderous woman now, with long, silent steps, approached the bed;
my very heart seemed turning to ice; her left hand, that which was
disengaged, was upon the pillow; she gradually slid it forward towards
my head, and in an instant, with the speed of lightning, it was clutched
in my hair, while, with the other hand, she dashed the razor at my
throat.

A slight inaccuracy saved me from instant death; the blow fell short,
the point of the razor grazing my throat. In a moment, I know not how, I
found myself at the other side of the bed, uttering shriek after shriek;
the wretch was, however, determined if possible to murder me.

Scrambling along by the curtains, she rushed round the bed towards me;
I seized the handle of the door to make my escape. It was, however,
fastened. At all events, I could not open it. From the mere instinct of
recoiling terror, I shrunk back into a corner. She was now within a yard
of me. Her hand was upon my face.

I closed my eyes fast, expecting never to open them again, when a blow,
inflicted from behind by a strong arm, stretched the monster senseless
at my feet. At the same moment the door opened, and several domestics,
alarmed by my cries, entered the apartment.

I do not recollect what followed, for I fainted. One swoon succeeded
another, so long and death-like, that my life was considered very
doubtful.

At about ten o'clock, however, I sunk into a deep and refreshing sleep,
from which I was awakened at about two, that I might swear my deposition
before a magistrate, who attended for that purpose.

I accordingly did so, as did also Lord Glenfallen, and the woman was
fully committed to stand her trial at the ensuing assizes.

I shall never forget the scene which the examination of the blind woman
and of the other parties afforded.

She was brought into the room in the custody of two servants. She wore
a kind of flannel wrapper which had not been changed since the night
before. It was torn and soiled, and here and there smeared with blood,
which had flowed in large quantities from a wound in her head. The white
handkerchief had fallen off in the scuffle, and her grizzled hair fell
in masses about her wild and deadly pale countenance.

She appeared perfectly composed, however, and the only regret she
expressed throughout, was at not having succeeded in her attempt, the
object of which she did not pretend to conceal.

On being asked her name, she called herself the Countess Glenfallen, and
refused to give any other title.

'The woman's name is Flora Van-Kemp,' said Lord Glenfallen.

'It WAS, it WAS, you perjured traitor and cheat!' screamed the woman;
and then there followed a volley of words in some foreign language.
'Is there a magistrate here?' she resumed; 'I am Lord Glenfallen's
wife--I'll prove it--write down my words. I am willing to be hanged or
burned, so HE meets his deserts. I did try to kill that doll of his; but
it was he who put it into my head to do it--two wives were too many; I
was to murder her, or she was to hang me; listen to all I have to say.'

Here Lord Glenfallen interrupted.

'I think, sir,' said he, addressing the magistrate, 'that we had better
proceed to business; this unhappy woman's furious recriminations but
waste our time. If she refuses to answer your questions, you had better,
I presume, take my depositions.'

'And are you going to swear away my life, you black-perjured murderer?'
shrieked the woman. 'Sir, sir, sir, you must hear me,' she continued,
addressing the magistrate; 'I can convict him--he bid me murder that
girl, and then, when I failed, he came behind me, and struck me down,
and now he wants to swear away my life. Take down all I say.'

'If it is your intention,' said the magistrate, 'to confess the crime
with which you stand charged, you may, upon producing sufficient
evidence, criminate whom you please.'

'Evidence!--I have no evidence but myself,' said the woman. 'I will
swear it all--write down my testimony--write it down, I say--we shall
hang side by side, my brave lord--all your own handy-work, my gentle
husband.'

This was followed by a low, insolent, and sneering laugh, which, from
one in her situation, was sufficiently horrible.

'I will not at present hear anything,' replied he, 'but distinct answers
to the questions which I shall put to you upon this matter.'

'Then you shall hear nothing,' replied she sullenly, and no inducement
or intimidation could bring her to speak again.

Lord Glenfallen's deposition and mine were then given, as also those of
the servants who had entered the room at the moment of my rescue.

The magistrate then intimated that she was committed, and must proceed
directly to gaol, whither she was brought in a carriage; of Lord
Glenfallen's, for his lordship was naturally by no means indifferent to
the effect which her vehement accusations against himself might produce,
if uttered before every chance hearer whom she might meet with between
Cahergillagh and the place of confinement whither she was despatched.

During the time which intervened between the committal and the trial
of the prisoner, Lord Glenfallen seemed to suffer agonies of mind which
baffle all description; he hardly ever slept, and when he did, his
slumbers seemed but the instruments of new tortures, and his waking
hours were, if possible, exceeded in intensity of terrors by the dreams
which disturbed his sleep.

Lord Glenfallen rested, if to lie in the mere attitude of repose were
to do so, in his dressing-room, and thus I had an opportunity of
witnessing, far oftener than I wished it, the fearful workings of
his mind. His agony often broke out into such fearful paroxysms
that delirium and total loss of reason appeared to be impending. He
frequently spoke of flying from the country, and bringing with him all
the witnesses of the appalling scene upon which the prosecution was
founded; then, again, he would fiercely lament that the blow which he
had inflicted had not ended all.

The assizes arrived, however, and upon the day appointed Lord Glenfallen
and I attended in order to give our evidence.

The cause was called on, and the prisoner appeared at the bar.

Great curiosity and interest were felt respecting the trial, so that the
court was crowded to excess.

The prisoner, however, without appearing to take the trouble of
listening to the indictment, pleaded guilty, and no representations on
the part of the court availed to induce her to retract her plea.

After much time had been wasted in a fruitless attempt to prevail upon
her to reconsider her words, the court proceeded, according to the usual
form, to pass sentence.

This having been done, the prisoner was about to be removed, when she
said, in a low, distinct voice:

'A word--a word, my lord!--Is Lord Glenfallen here in the court?'

On being told that he was, she raised her voice to a tone of loud
menace, and continued:

'Hardress, Earl of Glenfallen, I accuse you here in this court of
justice of two crimes,--first, that you married a second wife, while
the first was living; and again, that you prompted me to the murder, for
attempting which I am to die. Secure him--chain him--bring him here.'

There was a laugh through the court at these words, which were naturally
treated by the judge as a violent extemporary recrimination, and the
woman was desired to be silent.

'You won't take him, then?' she said; 'you won't try him? You'll let him
go free?'

It was intimated by the court that he would certainly be allowed 'to go
free,' and she was ordered again to be removed.

Before, however, the mandate was executed, she threw her arms wildly
into the air, and uttered one piercing shriek so full of preternatural
rage and despair, that it might fitly have ushered a soul into those
realms where hope can come no more.

The sound still rang in my ears, months after the voice that had uttered
it was for ever silent.

The wretched woman was executed in accordance with the sentence which
had been pronounced.

For some time after this event, Lord Glenfallen appeared, if possible,
to suffer more than he had done before, and altogether his language,
which often amounted to half confessions of the guilt imputed to him,
and all the circumstances connected with the late occurrences, formed a
mass of evidence so convincing that I wrote to my father, detailing the
grounds of my fears, and imploring him to come to Cahergillagh without
delay, in order to remove me from my husband's control, previously to
taking legal steps for a final separation.

Circumstanced as I was, my existence was little short of intolerable,
for, besides the fearful suspicions which attached to my husband, I
plainly perceived that if Lord Glenfallen were not relieved, and that
speedily, insanity must supervene. I therefore expected my father's
arrival, or at least a letter to announce it, with indescribable
impatience.

About a week after the execution had taken place, Lord Glenfallen one
morning met me with an unusually sprightly air.

'Fanny,' said he, 'I have it now for the first time in my power to
explain to your satisfaction everything which has hitherto appeared
suspicious or mysterious in my conduct. After breakfast come with me to
my study, and I shall, I hope, make all things clear.'

This invitation afforded me more real pleasure than I had experienced
for months. Something had certainly occurred to tranquillize my
husband's mind in no ordinary degree, and I thought it by no means
impossible that he would, in the proposed interview, prove himself the
most injured and innocent of men.

Full of this hope, I repaired to his study at the appointed hour. He was
writing busily when I entered the room, and just raising his eyes, he
requested me to be seated.

I took a chair as he desired, and remained silently awaiting his
leisure, while he finished, folded, directed, and sealed his letter.
Laying it then upon the table with the address downward, he said,

'My dearest Fanny, I know I must have appeared very strange to you and
very unkind--often even cruel. Before the end of this week I will show
you the necessity of my conduct--how impossible it was that I should
have seemed otherwise. I am conscious that many acts of mine must have
inevitably given rise to painful suspicions--suspicions which, indeed,
upon one occasion, you very properly communicated to me. I have got two
letters from a quarter which commands respect, containing information as
to the course by which I may be enabled to prove the negative of all the
crimes which even the most credulous suspicion could lay to my charge. I
expected a third by this morning's post, containing documents which will
set the matter for ever at rest, but owing, no doubt, to some neglect,
or, perhaps, to some difficulty in collecting the papers, some
inevitable delay, it has not come to hand this morning, according to my
expectation. I was finishing one to the very same quarter when you came
in, and if a sound rousing be worth anything, I think I shall have a
special messenger before two days have passed. I have been anxiously
considering with myself, as to whether I had better imperfectly clear
up your doubts by submitting to your inspection the two letters which I
have already received, or wait till I can triumphantly vindicate myself
by the production of the documents which I have already mentioned, and I
have, I think, not unnaturally decided upon the latter course. However,
there is a person in the next room whose testimony is not without its
value excuse me for one moment.'

So saying, he arose and went to the door of a closet which opened from
the study; this he unlocked, and half opening the door, he said, 'It is
only I,' and then slipped into the room and carefully closed and locked
the door behind him.

I immediately heard his voice in animated conversation. My curiosity
upon the subject of the letter was naturally great, so, smothering
any little scruples which I might have felt, I resolved to look at the
address of the letter which lay, as my husband had left it, with its
face upon the table. I accordingly drew it over to me and turned up the
direction.

For two or three moments I could scarce believe my eyes, but there
could be no mistake--in large characters were traced the words, 'To the
Archangel Gabriel in Heaven.'

I had scarcely returned the letter to its original position, and in
some degree recovered the shock which this unequivocal proof of insanity
produced, when the closet door was unlocked, and Lord Glenfallen
re-entered the study, carefully closing and locking the door again upon
the outside.

'Whom have you there?' inquired I, making a strong effort to appear
calm.

'Perhaps,' said he, musingly, 'you might have some objection to seeing
her, at least for a time.'

'Who is it?' repeated I.

'Why,' said he, 'I see no use in hiding it--the blind Dutchwoman. I have
been with her the whole morning. She is very anxious to get out of that
closet; but you know she is odd, she is scarcely to be trusted.'

A heavy gust of wind shook the door at this moment with a sound as if
something more substantial were pushing against it.

'Ha, ha, ha!--do you hear her?' said he, with an obstreperous burst of
laughter.

The wind died away in a long howl, and Lord Glenfallen, suddenly
checking his merriment, shrugged his shoulders, and muttered:

'Poor devil, she has been hardly used.'

'We had better not tease her at present with questions,' said I, in as
unconcerned a tone as I could assume, although I felt every moment as if
I should faint.

'Humph! may be so,' said he. 'Well, come back in an hour or two, or when
you please, and you will find us here.'

He again unlocked the door, and entered with the same precautions
which he had adopted before, locking the door upon the inside; and as
I hurried from the room, I heard his voice again exerted as if in eager
parley.

I can hardly describe my emotions; my hopes had been raised to the
highest, and now, in an instant, all was gone--the dreadful consummation
was accomplished--the fearful retribution had fallen upon the guilty
man--the mind was destroyed--the power to repent was gone.

The agony of the hours which followed what I would still call my AWFUL
interview with Lord Glenfallen, I cannot describe; my solitude was,
however, broken in upon by Martha, who came to inform me of the arrival
of a gentleman, who expected me in the parlour.

I accordingly descended, and, to my great joy, found my father seated by
the fire.

This expedition upon his part was easily accounted for: my
communications had touched the honour of the family. I speedily informed
him of the dreadful malady which had fallen upon the wretched man.

My father suggested the necessity of placing some person to watch him,
to prevent his injuring himself or others.

I rang the bell, and desired that one Edward Cooke, an attached servant
of the family, should be sent to me.

I told him distinctly and briefly the nature of the service required
of him, and, attended by him, my father and I proceeded at once to the
study. The door of the inner room was still closed, and everything in
the outer chamber remained in the same order in which I had left it.

We then advanced to the closet-door, at which we knocked, but without
receiving any answer.

We next tried to open the door, but in vain--it was locked upon the
inside. We knocked more loudly, but in vain.

Seriously alarmed, I desired the servant to force the door, which was,
after several violent efforts, accomplished, and we entered the closet.

Lord Glenfallen was lying on his face upon a sofa.

'Hush!' said I, 'he is asleep.' We paused for a moment.

'He is too still for that,' said my father.

We all of us felt a strong reluctance to approach the figure.

'Edward,' said I, 'try whether your master sleeps.'

The servant approached the sofa where Lord Glenfallen lay. He leant his
ear towards the head of the recumbent figure, to ascertain whether the
sound of breathing was audible. He turned towards us, and said:

'My lady, you had better not wait here; I am sure he is dead!'

'Let me see the face,' said I, terribly agitated; 'you MAY be mistaken.'

The man then, in obedience to my command, turned the body round, and,
gracious God! what a sight met my view. He was, indeed, perfectly dead.

The whole breast of the shirt, with its lace frill, was drenched with
gore, as was the couch underneath the spot where he lay.

The head hung back, as it seemed, almost severed from the body by a
frightful gash, which yawned across the throat. The instrument which had
inflicted it was found under his body.

All, then, was over; I was never to learn the history in whose
termination I had been so deeply and so tragically involved.

The severe discipline which my mind had undergone was not bestowed in
vain. I directed my thoughts and my hopes to that place where there is
no more sin, nor danger, nor sorrow.

Thus ends a brief tale whose prominent incidents many will recognise
as having marked the history of a distinguished family; and though it
refers to a somewhat distant date, we shall be found not to have taken,
upon that account, any liberties with the facts, but in our statement
of all the incidents to have rigorously and faithfully adhered to the
truth.



AN ADVENTURE OF HARDRESS FITZGERALD, A ROYALIST CAPTAIN.

     Being an Eleventh Extract from the Legacy of the late
     Francis Purcell, P.P. of Drumcoolagh.

The following brief narrative contains a faithful account of one of
the many strange incidents which chequered the life of Hardress
Fitzgerald--one of the now-forgotten heroes who flourished during the
most stirring and, though the most disastrous, by no means the least
glorious period of our eventful history.

He was a captain of horse in the army of James, and shared the fortunes
of his master, enduring privations, encountering dangers, and submitting
to vicissitudes the most galling and ruinous, with a fortitude and a
heroism which would, if coupled with his other virtues have rendered the
unhappy monarch whom he served, the most illustrious among unfortunate
princes.

I have always preferred, where I could do so with any approach to
accuracy, to give such relations as the one which I am about to submit
to you, in the first person, and in the words of the original narrator,
believing that such a form of recitation not only gives freshness to
the tale, but in this particular instance, by bringing before me and
steadily fixing in my mind's eye the veteran royalist who himself
related the occurrence which I am about to record, furnishes an
additional stimulant to my memory, and a proportionate check upon my
imagination.

As nearly as I can recollect then, his statement was as follows:


After the fatal battle of the Boyne, I came up in disguise to Dublin,
as did many in a like situation, regarding the capital as furnishing
at once a good central position of observation, and as secure a
lurking-place as I cared to find.

I would not suffer myself to believe that the cause of my royal master
was so desperate as it really was; and while I lay in my lodgings, which
consisted of the garret of a small dark house, standing in the lane
which runs close by Audoen's Arch, I busied myself with continual
projects for the raising of the country, and the re-collecting of the
fragments of the defeated army--plans, you will allow, sufficiently
magnificent for a poor devil who dared scarce show his face abroad in
the daylight.

I believe, however, that I had not much reason to fear for my personal
safety, for men's minds in the city were greatly occupied with public
events, and private amusements and debaucheries, which were, about
that time, carried to an excess which our country never knew before,
by reason of the raking together from all quarters of the empire, and
indeed from most parts of Holland, the most dissolute and desperate
adventurers who cared to play at hazard for their lives; and thus there
seemed to be but little scrutiny into the characters of those who sought
concealment.

I heard much at different times of the intentions of King James and his
party, but nothing with certainty.

Some said that the king still lay in Ireland; others, that he had
crossed over to Scotland, to encourage the Highlanders, who, with Dundee
at their head, had been stirring in his behoof; others, again, said
that he had taken ship for France, leaving his followers to shift for
themselves, and regarding his kingdom as wholly lost, which last was the
true version, as I afterwards learned.

Although I had been very active in the wars in Ireland, and had done
many deeds of necessary but dire severity, which have often since
troubled me much to think upon, yet I doubted not but that I might
easily obtain protection for my person and property from the Prince of
Orange, if I sought it by the ordinary submissions; but besides that my
conscience and my affections resisted such time-serving concessions, I
was resolved in my own mind that the cause of the royalist party was by
no means desperate, and I looked to keep myself unimpeded by any pledge
or promise given to the usurping Dutchman, that I might freely and
honourably take a share in any struggle which might yet remain to be
made for the right.

I therefore lay quiet, going forth from my lodgings but little, and that
chiefly under cover of the dusk, and conversing hardly at all, except
with those whom I well knew.

I had like once to have paid dearly for relaxing this caution; for going
into a tavern one evening near the Tholsel, I had the confidence to
throw off my hat, and sit there with my face quite exposed, when a
fellow coming in with some troopers, they fell a-boozing, and being
somewhat warmed, they began to drink 'Confusion to popery,' and the
like, and to compel the peaceable persons who happened to sit there, to
join them in so doing.

Though I was rather hot-blooded, I was resolved to say nothing to
attract notice; but, at the same time, if urged to pledge the toasts
which they were compelling others to drink, to resist doing so.

With the intent to withdraw myself quietly from the place, I paid my
reckoning, and putting on my hat, was going into the street, when the
countryman who had come in with the soldiers called out:

'Stop that popish tom-cat!'

And running across the room, he got to the door before me, and, shutting
it, placed his back against it, to prevent my going out.

Though with much difficulty, I kept an appearance of quietness, and
turning to the fellow, who, from his accent, I judged to be northern,
and whose face I knew--though, to this day, I cannot say where I had
seen him before--I observed very calmly:

'Sir, I came in here with no other design than to refresh myself,
without offending any man. I have paid my reckoning, and now desire to
go forth. If there is anything within reason that I can do to satisfy
you, and to prevent trouble and delay to myself, name your terms, and if
they be but fair, I will frankly comply with them.'

He quickly replied:

'You are Hardress Fitzgerald, the bloody popish captain, that hanged the
twelve men at Derry.'

I felt that I was in some danger, but being a strong man, and used to
perils of all kinds, it was not easy to disconcert me.

I looked then steadily at the fellow, and, in a voice of much
confidence, I said:

'I am neither a Papist, a Royalist, nor a Fitzgerald, but an honester
Protestant, mayhap, than many who make louder professions.'

'Then drink the honest man's toast,' said he. 'Damnation to the pope,
and confusion to skulking Jimmy and his runaway crew.'

'Yourself shall hear me,' said I, taking the largest pewter pot that
lay within my reach. 'Tapster, fill this with ale; I grieve to say I can
afford nothing better.'

I took the vessel of liquor in my hand, and walking up to him, I first
made a bow to the troopers who sat laughing at the sprightliness of
their facetious friend, and then another to himself, when saying, 'G----
damn yourself and your cause!' I flung the ale straight into his face;
and before he had time to recover himself, I struck him with my whole
force and weight with the pewter pot upon the head, so strong a blow,
that he fell, for aught I know, dead upon the floor, and nothing but the
handle of the vessel remained in my hand.

I opened the door, but one of the dragoons drew his sabre, and ran at
me to avenge his companion. With my hand I put aside the blade of the
sword, narrowly escaping what he had intended for me, the point actually
tearing open my vest. Without allowing him time to repeat his thrust,
I struck him in the face with my clenched fist so sound a blow that he
rolled back into the room with the force of a tennis ball.

It was well for me that the rest were half drunk, and the evening dark;
for otherwise my folly would infallibly have cost me my life. As it was,
I reached my garret in safety, with a resolution to frequent taverns no
more until better times.

My little patience and money were wellnigh exhausted, when, after much
doubt and uncertainty, and many conflicting reports, I was assured that
the flower of the Royalist army, under the Duke of Berwick and General
Boisleau, occupied the city of Limerick, with a determination to hold
that fortress against the prince's forces; and that a French fleet of
great power, and well freighted with arms, ammunition, and men, was
riding in the Shannon, under the walls of the town. But this last report
was, like many others then circulated, untrue; there being, indeed, a
promise and expectation of such assistance, but no arrival of it till
too late.

The army of the Prince of Orange was said to be rapidly approaching the
town, in order to commence the siege.

On hearing this, and being made as certain as the vagueness and
unsatisfactory nature of my information, which came not from any
authentic source, would permit; at least, being sure of the main point,
which all allowed--namely, that Limerick was held for the king--and
being also naturally fond of enterprise, and impatient of idleness, I
took the resolution to travel thither, and, if possible, to throw myself
into the city, in order to lend what assistance I might to my former
companions in arms, well knowing that any man of strong constitution
and of some experience might easily make himself useful to a garrison in
their straitened situation.

When I had taken this resolution, I was not long in putting it into
execution; and, as the first step in the matter, I turned half of the
money which remained with me, in all about seventeen pounds, into small
wares and merchandise such as travelling traders used to deal in; and
the rest, excepting some shillings which I carried home for my immediate
expenses, I sewed carefully in the lining of my breeches waistband,
hoping that the sale of my commodities might easily supply me with
subsistence upon the road.

I left Dublin upon a Friday morning in the month of September, with a
tolerably heavy pack upon my back.

I was a strong man and a good walker, and one day with another travelled
easily at the rate of twenty miles in each day, much time being lost
in the towns of any note on the way, where, to avoid suspicion, I was
obliged to make some stay, as if to sell my wares.

I did not travel directly to Limerick, but turned far into Tipperary,
going near to the borders of Cork.

Upon the sixth day after my departure from Dublin I learned, CERTAINLY,
from some fellows who were returning from trafficking with the soldiers,
that the army of the prince was actually encamped before Limerick, upon
the south side of the Shannon.

In order, then, to enter the city without interruption, I must needs
cross the river, and I was much in doubt whether to do so by boat from
Kerry, which I might have easily done, into the Earl of Clare's land,
and thus into the beleaguered city, or to take what seemed the easier
way, one, however, about which I had certain misgivings--which, by the
way, afterwards turned out to be just enough. This way was to cross the
Shannon at O'Brien's Bridge, or at Killaloe, into the county of Clare.

I feared, however, that both these passes were guarded by the prince's
forces, and resolved, if such were the case, not to essay to cross, for
I was not fitted to sustain a scrutiny, having about me, though pretty
safely secured, my commission from King James--which, though a dangerous
companion, I would not have parted from but with my life.

I settled, then, in my own mind, that if the bridges were guarded
I would walk as far as Portumna, where I might cross, though at a
considerable sacrifice of time; and, having determined upon this course,
I turned directly towards Killaloe.

I reached the foot of the mountain, or rather high hill, called
Keeper--which had been pointed out to me as a landmark--lying directly
between me and Killaloe, in the evening, and, having ascended some way,
the darkness and fog overtook me.

The evening was very chilly, and myself weary, hungry, and much in need
of sleep, so that I preferred seeking to cross the hill, though at some
risk, to remaining upon it throughout the night. Stumbling over rocks
and sinking into bog-mire, as the nature of the ground varied, I slowly
and laboriously plodded on, making very little way in proportion to the
toil it cost me.

After half an hour's slow walking, or rather rambling, for, owing to
the dark, I very soon lost my direction, I at last heard the sound of
running water, and with some little trouble reached the edge of a brook,
which ran in the bottom of a deep gully. This I knew would furnish
a sure guide to the low grounds, where I might promise myself that I
should speedily meet with some house or cabin where I might find shelter
for the night.

The stream which I followed flowed at the bottom of a rough and swampy
glen, very steep and making many abrupt turns, and so dark, owing more
to the fog than to the want of the moon (for, though not high, I believe
it had risen at the time), that I continually fell over fragments of
rock and stumbled up to my middle into the rivulet, which I sought to
follow.

In this way, drenched, weary, and with my patience almost exhausted, I
was toiling onward, when, turning a sharp angle in the winding glen, I
found myself within some twenty yards of a group of wild-looking men,
gathered in various attitudes round a glowing turf fire.

I was so surprised at this rencontre that I stopped short, and for a
time was in doubt whether to turn back or to accost them.

A minute's thought satisfied me that I ought to make up to the fellows,
and trust to their good faith for whatever assistance they could give
me.

I determined, then, to do this, having great faith in the impulses of
my mind, which, whenever I have been in jeopardy, as in my life I often
have, always prompted me aright.

The strong red light of the fire showed me plainly enough that the group
consisted, not of soldiers, but of Irish kernes, or countrymen, most
of them wrapped in heavy mantles, and with no other covering for their
heads than that afforded by their long, rough hair.

There was nothing about them which I could see to intimate whether their
object were peaceful or warlike; but I afterwards found that they had
weapons enough, though of their own rude fashion.

There were in all about twenty persons assembled around the fire, some
sitting upon such blocks of stone as happened to lie in the way; others
stretched at their length upon the ground.

'God save you, boys!' said I, advancing towards the party.

The men who had been talking and laughing together instantly paused,
and two of them--tall and powerful fellows--snatched up each a weapon,
something like a short halberd with a massive iron head, an instrument
which they called among themselves a rapp, and with two or three long
strides they came up with me, and laying hold upon my arms, drew me,
not, you may easily believe, making much resistance, towards the fire.

When I reached the place where the figures were seated, the two men
still held me firmly, and some others threw some handfuls of dry fuel
upon the red embers, which, blazing up, cast a strong light upon me.

When they had satisfied themselves as to my appearance, they began to
question me very closely as to my purpose in being upon the hill at
such an unseasonable hour, asking me what was my occupation, where I had
been, and whither I was going.

These questions were put to me in English by an old half-military
looking man, who translated into that language the suggestions which his
companions for the most part threw out in Irish.

I did not choose to commit myself to these fellows by telling them my
real character and purpose, and therefore I represented myself as a
poor travelling chapman who had been at Cork, and was seeking his way
to Killaloe, in order to cross over into Clare and thence to the city of
Galway.

My account did not seem fully to satisfy the men.

I heard one fellow say in Irish, which language I understood, 'Maybe he
is a spy.'

They then whispered together for a time, and the little man who was
their spokesman came over to me and said:

'Do you know what we do with spies? we knock their brains out, my
friend.'

He then turned back to them with whom he had been whispering, and talked
in a low tone again with them for a considerable time.

I now felt very uncomfortable, not knowing what these savages--for they
appeared nothing better--might design against me.

Twice or thrice I had serious thoughts of breaking from them, but the
two guards who were placed upon me held me fast by the arms; and even
had I succeeded in shaking them off, I should soon have been overtaken,
encumbered as I was with a heavy pack, and wholly ignorant of the lie of
the ground; or else, if I were so exceedingly lucky as to escape out of
their hands, I still had the chance of falling into those of some other
party of the same kind.

I therefore patiently awaited the issue of their deliberations, which I
made no doubt affected me nearly.

I turned to the men who held me, and one after the other asked them, in
their own language, 'Why they held me?' adding, 'I am but a poor pedlar,
as you see. I have neither money nor money's worth, for the sake of
which you should do me hurt. You may have my pack and all that it
contains, if you desire it--but do not injure me.'

To all this they gave no answer, but savagely desired me to hold my
tongue.

I accordingly remained silent, determined, if the worst came, to declare
to the whole party, who, I doubted not, were friendly, as were all the
Irish peasantry in the south, to the Royal cause, my real character and
design; and if this avowal failed me, I was resolved to make a desperate
effort to escape, or at least to give my life at the dearest price I
could.

I was not kept long in suspense, for the little veteran who had spoken
to me at first came over, and desiring the two men to bring me after
him, led the way along a broken path, which wound by the side of the
steep glen.

I was obliged willy nilly to go with them, and, half-dragging and
half-carrying me, they brought me by the path, which now became very
steep, for some hundred yards without stopping, when suddenly coming to
a stand, I found myself close before the door of some house or hut,
I could not see which, through the planks of which a strong light was
streaming.

At this door my conductor stopped, and tapping gently at it, it was
opened by a stout fellow, with buff-coat and jack-boots, and pistols
stuck in his belt, as also a long cavalry sword by his side.

He spoke with my guide, and to my no small satisfaction, in French,
which convinced me that he was one of the soldiers whom Louis had sent
to support our king, and who were said to have arrived in Limerick,
though, as I observed above, not with truth.

I was much assured by this circumstance, and made no doubt but that I
had fallen in with one of those marauding parties of native Irish, who,
placing themselves under the guidance of men of courage and experience,
had done much brave and essential service to the cause of the king.

The soldier entered an inner door in the apartment, which opening
disclosed a rude, dreary, and dilapidated room, with a low plank
ceiling, much discoloured by the smoke which hung suspended in heavy
masses, descending within a few feet of the ground, and completely
obscuring the upper regions of the chamber.

A large fire of turf and heath was burning under a kind of rude chimney,
shaped like a large funnel, but by no means discharging the functions
for which it was intended. Into this inauspicious apartment was I
conducted by my strange companions. In the next room I heard voices
employed, as it seemed, in brief questioning and answer; and in a minute
the soldier reentered the room, and having said, 'Votre prisonnier--le
general veut le voir,' he led the way into the inner room, which in
point of comfort and cleanliness was not a whit better than the first.

Seated at a clumsy plank table, placed about the middle of the floor,
was a powerfully built man, of almost colossal stature--his military
accoutrements, cuirass and rich regimental clothes, soiled, deranged,
and spattered with recent hard travel; the flowing wig, surmounted by
the cocked hat and plume, still rested upon his head. On the table lay
his sword-belt with its appendage, and a pair of long holster pistols,
some papers, and pen and ink; also a stone jug, and the fragments of a
hasty meal. His attitude betokened the languor of fatigue. His left hand
was buried beyond the lace ruffle in the breast of his cassock, and the
elbow of his right rested upon the table, so as to support his head.
From his mouth protruded a tobacco-pipe, which as I entered he slowly
withdrew.

A single glance at the honest, good-humoured, comely face of the soldier
satisfied me of his identity, and removing my hat from my head I said,
'God save General Sarsfield!'

The general nodded

'I am a prisoner here under strange circumstances,' I continued 'I
appear before you in a strange disguise. You do not recognise Captain
Hardress Fitzgerald!'

'Eh, how's this?' said he, approaching me with the light.

'I am that Hardress Fitzgerald,' I repeated, 'who served under you at
the Boyne, and upon the day of the action had the honour to protect your
person at the expense of his own.' At the same time I turned aside the
hair which covered the scar which you well know upon my forehead, and
which was then much more remarkable than it is now.

The general on seeing this at once recognised me, and embracing me
cordially, made me sit down, and while I unstrapped my pack, a tedious
job, my fingers being nearly numbed with cold, sent the men forth to
procure me some provision.

The general's horse was stabled in a corner of the chamber where we sat,
and his war-saddle lay upon the floor. At the far end of the room was
a second door, which stood half open; a bogwood fire burned on a hearth
somewhat less rude than the one which I had first seen, but still very
little better appointed with a chimney, for thick wreaths of smoke were
eddying, with every fitful gust, about the room. Close by the fire was
strewed a bed of heath, intended, I supposed, for the stalwart limbs of
the general.

'Hardress Fitzgerald,' said he, fixing his eyes gravely upon me, while
he slowly removed the tobacco-pipe from his mouth, 'I remember you,
strong, bold and cunning in your warlike trade; the more desperate an
enterprise, the more ready for it, you. I would gladly engage you, for
I know you trustworthy, to perform a piece of duty requiring, it may be,
no extraordinary quality to fulfil; and yet perhaps, as accidents may
happen, demanding every attribute of daring and dexterity which belongs
to you.'

Here he paused for some moments.

I own I felt somewhat flattered by the terms in which he spoke of me,
knowing him to be but little given to compliments; and not having any
plan in my head, farther than the rendering what service I might to the
cause of the king, caring very little as to the road in which my duty
might lie, I frankly replied:

'Sir, I hope, if opportunity offers, I shall prove to deserve the
honourable terms in which you are pleased to speak of me. In a righteous
cause I fear not wounds or death; and in discharging my duty to my God
and my king, I am ready for any hazard or any fate. Name the service you
require, and if it lies within the compass of my wit or power, I will
fully and faithfully perform it. Have I said enough?'

'That is well, very well, my friend; you speak well, and manfully,'
replied the general. 'I want you to convey to the hands of General
Boisleau, now in the city of Limerick, a small written packet; there is
some danger, mark me, of your falling in with some outpost or straggling
party of the prince's army. If you are taken unawares by any of the
enemy you must dispose of the packet inside your person, rather than let
it fall into their hands--that is, you must eat it. And if they go to
question you with thumbscrews, or the like, answer nothing; let them
knock your brains out first.' In illustration, I suppose, of the latter
alternative, he knocked the ashes out of his pipe upon the table as he
uttered it.

'The packet,' he continued, 'you shall have to-morrow morning. Meantime
comfort yourself with food, and afterwards with sleep; you will want,
mayhap, all your strength and wits on the morrow.'

I applied myself forthwith to the homely fare which they had provided,
and I confess that I never made a meal so heartily to my satisfaction.

It was a beautiful, clear, autumn morning, and the bright beams of the
early sun were slanting over the brown heath which clothed the sides
of the mountain, and glittering in the thousand bright drops which the
melting hoar-frost had left behind it, and the white mists were lying
like broad lakes in the valleys, when, with my pedlar's pack upon my
back, and General Sarsfield's precious despatch in my bosom, I set
forth, refreshed and courageous.

As I descended the hill, my heart expanded and my spirits rose under
the influences which surrounded me. The keen, clear, bracing air of the
morning, the bright, slanting sunshine, the merry songs of the small
birds, and the distant sounds of awakening labour that floated up from
the plains, all conspired to stir my heart within me, and more like a
mad-cap boy, broken loose from school, than a man of sober years upon
a mission of doubt and danger, I trod lightly on, whistling and singing
alternately for very joy.

As I approached the object of my early march, I fell in with a
countryman, eager, as are most of his kind, for news.

I gave him what little I had collected, and professing great zeal for
the king, which, indeed, I always cherished, I won upon his confidence
so far, that he became much more communicative than the peasantry in
those quarters are generally wont to be to strangers.

From him I learned that there was a company of dragoons in William's
service, quartered at Willaloe; but he could not tell whether the
passage of the bridge was stopped by them or not. With a resolution, at
all events, to make the attempt to cross, I approached the town. When
I came within sight of the river, I quickly perceived that it was so
swollen with the recent rains, as, indeed, the countryman had told me,
that the fords were wholly impassable.

I stopped then, upon a slight eminence overlooking the village, with
a view to reconnoitre and to arrange my plans in case of interruption.
While thus engaged, the wind blowing gently from the west, in which
quarter Limerick lay, I distinctly heard the explosion of the cannon,
which played from and against the city, though at a distance of eleven
miles at the least.

I never yet heard the music that had for me half the attractions of that
sullen sound, and as I noted again and again the distant thunder that
proclaimed the perils, and the valour, and the faithfulness of my
brethren, my heart swelled with pride, and the tears rose to my eyes;
and lifting up my hands to heaven, I prayed to God that I might be
spared to take a part in the righteous quarrel that was there so bravely
maintained.

I felt, indeed, at this moment a longing, more intense than I have the
power to describe, to be at once with my brave companions in arms, and
so inwardly excited and stirred up as if I had been actually within five
minutes' march of the field of battle.

It was now almost noon, and I had walked hard since morning across a
difficult and broken country, so that I was a little fatigued, and in
no small degree hungry. As I approached the hamlet, I was glad to see in
the window of a poor hovel several large cakes of meal displayed, as if
to induce purchasers to enter.

I was right in regarding this exhibition as an intimation that
entertainment might be procured within, for upon entering and inquiring,
I was speedily invited by the poor woman, who, it appeared, kept this
humble house of refreshment, to lay down my pack and seat myself by a
ponderous table, upon which she promised to serve me with a dinner fit
for a king; and indeed, to my mind, she amply fulfilled her engagement,
supplying me abundantly with eggs, bacon, and wheaten cakes, which I
discussed with a zeal which almost surprised myself.

Having disposed of the solid part of my entertainment, I was proceeding
to regale myself with a brimming measure of strong waters, when my
attention was arrested by the sound of horses' hoofs in brisk motion
upon the broken road, and evidently approaching the hovel in which I was
at that moment seated.

The ominous clank of sword scabbards and the jingle of brass
accoutrements announced, unequivocally, that the horsemen were of the
military profession.

'The red-coats will stop here undoubtedly,' said the old woman,
observing, I suppose, the anxiety of my countenance; 'they never pass us
without coming in for half an hour to drink or smoke. If you desire to
avoid them, I can hide you safely; but don't lose a moment. They will be
here before you can count a hundred.'

I thanked the good woman for her hospitable zeal; but I felt a
repugnance to concealing myself as she suggested, which was enhanced by
the consciousness that if by any accident I were detected while lurking
in the room, my situation would of itself inevitably lead to suspicions,
and probably to discovery.

I therefore declined her offer, and awaited in suspense the entrance of
the soldiers.

I had time before they made their appearance to move my seat hurriedly
from the table to the hearth, where, under the shade of the large
chimney, I might observe the coming visitors with less chance of being
myself remarked upon.

As my hostess had anticipated, the horsemen drew up at the door of the
hut, and five dragoons entered the dark chamber where I awaited them.

Leaving their horses at the entrance, with much noise and clatter they
proceeded to seat themselves and call for liquor.

Three of these fellows were Dutchmen, and, indeed, all belonged, as I
afterwards found, to a Dutch regiment, which had been recruited with
Irish and English, as also partly officered from the same nations.

Being supplied with pipes and drink they soon became merry; and not
suffering their smoking to interfere with their conversation, they
talked loud and quickly, for the most part in a sort of barbarous
language, neither Dutch nor English, but compounded of both.

They were so occupied with their own jocularity that I had very great
hopes of escaping observation altogether, and remained quietly seated in
a corner of the chimney, leaning back upon my seat as if asleep.

My taciturnity and quiescence, however, did not avail me, for one of
these fellows coming over to the hearth to light his pipe, perceived me,
and looking me very hard in the face, he said:

'What countryman are you, brother, that you sit with a covered head in
the room with the prince's soldiers?'

At the same time he tossed my hat off my head into the fire. I was not
fool enough, though somewhat hot-blooded, to suffer the insolence of
this fellow to involve me in a broil so dangerous to my person and
ruinous to my schemes as a riot with these soldiers must prove. I
therefore, quietly taking up my hat and shaking the ashes out of it,
observed:

'Sir, I crave your pardon if I have offended you. I am a stranger in
these quarters, and a poor, ignorant, humble man, desiring only to drive
my little trade in peace, so far as that may be done in these troublous
times.'

'And what may your trade be?' said the same fellow.

'I am a travelling merchant,' I replied; 'and sell my wares as cheap as
any trader in the country.'

'Let us see them forthwith,' said he; 'mayhap I or my comrades may want
something which you can supply. Where is thy chest, friend? Thou shalt
have ready money' (winking at his companions), 'ready money, and good
weight, and sound metal; none of your rascally pinchbeck. Eh, my lads?
Bring forth the goods, and let us see.'

Thus urged, I should have betrayed myself had I hesitated to do as
required; and anxious, upon any terms, to quiet these turbulent men
of war, I unbuckled my pack and exhibited its contents upon the table
before them.

'A pair of lace ruffles, by the Lord!' said one, unceremoniously seizing
upon the articles he named.

'A phial of perfume,' continued another, tumbling over the farrago which
I had submitted to them, 'wash-balls, combs, stationery, slippers, small
knives, tobacco; by ----, this merchant is a prize! Mark me, honest
fellow, the man who wrongs thee shall suffer--'fore Gad he shall; thou
shalt be fairly dealt with' (this he said while in the act of pocketing
a small silver tobacco-box, the most valuable article in the lot). 'You
shall come with me to head-quarters; the captain will deal with you,
and never haggle about the price. I promise thee his good will, and thou
wilt consider me accordingly. You'll find him a profitable customer--he
has money without end, and throws it about like a gentleman. If so be as
I tell thee, I shall expect, and my comrades here, a piece or two in the
way of a compliment--but of this anon. Come, then, with us; buckle on
thy pack quickly, friend.'

There was no use in my declaring my willingness to deal with themselves
in preference to their master; it was clear that they had resolved that
I should, in the most expeditious and advantageous way, turn my goods
into money, that they might excise upon me to the amount of their
wishes.

The worthy who had taken a lead in these arrangements, and who by his
stripes I perceived to be a corporal, having insisted on my taking a
dram with him to cement our newly-formed friendship, for which, however,
he requested me to pay, made me mount behind one of his comrades; and
the party, of which I thus formed an unwilling member, moved at a slow
trot towards the quarters of the troop.

They reined up their horses at the head of the long bridge, which
at this village spans the broad waters of the Shannon connecting the
opposite counties of Tipperary and Clare.

A small tower, built originally, no doubt, to protect and to defend this
pass, occupied the near extremity of the bridge, and in its rear,
but connected with it, stood several straggling buildings rather
dilapidated.

A dismounted trooper kept guard at the door, and my conductor having,
dismounted, as also the corporal, the latter inquired:

'Is the captain in his quarters?'

'He is,' replied the sentinel.

And without more ado my companion shoved me into the entrance of the
small dark tower, and opening a door at the extremity of the narrow
chamber into which we had passed from the street, we entered a second
room in which were seated some half-dozen officers of various ranks and
ages, engaged in drinking, and smoking, and play.

I glanced rapidly from man to man, and was nearly satisfied by my
inspection, when one of the gentlemen whose back had been turned towards
the place where I stood, suddenly changed his position and looked
towards me.

As soon as I saw his face my heart sank within me, and I knew that my
life or death was balanced, as it were, upon a razor's edge.

The name of this man whose unexpected appearance thus affected me was
Hugh Oliver, and good and strong reason had I to dread him, for so
bitterly did he hate me, that to this moment I do verily believe he
would have compassed my death if it lay in his power to do so, even at
the hazard of his own life and soul, for I had been--though God knows
with many sore strugglings and at the stern call of public duty--the
judge and condemner of his brother; and though the military law, which I
was called upon to administer, would permit no other course or sentence
than the bloody one which I was compelled to pursue, yet even to this
hour the recollection of that deed is heavy at my breast.

As soon as I saw this man I felt that my safety depended upon the
accident of his not recognising me through the disguise which I had
assumed, an accident against which were many chances, for he well knew
my person and appearance.

It was too late now to destroy General Sarsfield's instructions; any
attempt to do so would ensure detection. All then depended upon a cast
of the die.

When the first moment of dismay and heart-sickening agitation had
passed, it seemed to me as if my mind acquired a collectedness and
clearness more complete and intense than I had ever experienced before.

I instantly perceived that he did not know me, for turning from me to
the soldier with all air of indifference, he said,

'Is this a prisoner or a deserter? What have you brought him here for,
sirra?'

'Your wisdom will regard him as you see fit, may it please you,' said
the corporal. 'The man is a travelling merchant, and, overtaking him
upon the road, close by old Dame MacDonagh's cot, I thought I might as
well make a sort of prisoner of him that your honour might use him as
it might appear most convenient; he has many commododies which are not
unworthy of price in this wilderness, and some which you may condescend
to make use of yourself. May he exhibit the goods he has for sale, an't
please you?'

'Ay, let us see them,' said he.

'Unbuckle your pack,' exclaimed the corporal, with the same tone
of command with which, at the head of his guard, he would have said
'Recover your arms.' 'Unbuckle your pack, fellow, and show your goods to
the captain--here, where you are.'

The conclusion of his directions was suggested by my endeavouring to
move round in order to get my back towards the windows, hoping, by
keeping my face in the shade, to escape detection.

In this manoeuvre, however, I was foiled by the imperiousness of the
soldier; and inwardly cursing his ill-timed interference, I proceeded to
present my merchandise to the loving contemplation of the officers who
thronged around me, with a strong light from an opposite window full
upon my face.

As I continued to traffic with these gentlemen, I observed with no small
anxiety the eyes of Captain Oliver frequently fixed upon me with a kind
of dubious inquiring gaze.

'I think, my honest fellow,' he said at last, 'that I have seen you
somewhere before this. Have you often dealt with the military?'

'I have traded, sir,' said I, 'with the soldiery many a time, and always
been honourably treated. Will your worship please to buy a pair of lace
ruffles?--very cheap, your worship.'

'Why do you wear your hair so much over your face, sir?' said Oliver,
without noticing my suggestion. 'I promise you, I think no good of thee;
throw back your hair, and let me see thee plainly. Hold up your face,
and look straight at me; throw back your hair, sir.'

I felt that all chance of escape was at an end; and stepping forward as
near as the table would allow me to him, I raised my head, threw back my
hair, and fixed my eyes sternly and boldly upon his face.

I saw that he knew me instantly, for his countenance turned as pale
as ashes with surprise and hatred. He started up, placing his hand
instinctively upon his sword-hilt, and glaring at me with a look so
deadly, that I thought every moment he would strike his sword into my
heart. He said in a kind of whisper: 'Hardress Fitzgerald?'

'Yes;' said I, boldly, for the excitement of the scene had effectually
stirred my blood, 'Hardress Fitzgerald is before you. I know you well,
Captain Oliver. I know how you hate me. I know how you thirst for my
blood; but in a good cause, and in the hands of God, I defy you.'

'You are a desperate villain, sir,' said Captain Oliver; 'a rebel and a
murderer! Holloa, there! guard, seize him!'

As the soldiers entered, I threw my eyes hastily round the room, and
observing a glowing fire upon the hearth, I suddenly drew General
Sarsfield's packet from my bosom, and casting it upon the embers,
planted my foot upon it.

'Secure the papers!' shouted the captain; and almost instantly I was
laid prostrate and senseless upon the floor, by a blow from the butt of
a carbine.

I cannot say how long I continued in a state of torpor; but at
length, having slowly recovered my senses, I found myself lying firmly
handcuffed upon the floor of a small chamber, through a narrow loophole
in one of whose walls the evening sun was shining. I was chilled
with cold and damp, and drenched in blood, which had flowed in large
quantities from the wound on my head. By a strong effort I shook off the
sick drowsiness which still hung upon me, and, weak and giddy, I rose
with pain and difficulty to my feet.

The chamber, or rather cell, in which I stood was about eight feet
square, and of a height very disproportioned to its other dimensions;
its altitude from the floor to the ceiling being not less than twelve or
fourteen feet. A narrow slit placed high in the wall admitted a scanty
light, but sufficient to assure me that my prison contained nothing to
render the sojourn of its tenant a whit less comfortless than my worst
enemy could have wished.

My first impulse was naturally to examine the security of the door, the
loop-hole which I have mentioned being too high and too narrow to afford
a chance of escape. I listened attentively to ascertain if possible
whether or not a guard had been placed upon the outside.

Not a sound was to be heard. I now placed my shoulder to the door, and
sought with all my combined strength and weight to force it open. It,
however, resisted all my efforts, and thus baffled in my appeal to mere
animal power, exhausted and disheartened, I threw myself on the ground.

It was not in my nature, however, long to submit to the apathy of
despair, and in a few minutes I was on my feet again.

With patient scrutiny I endeavoured to ascertain the nature of the
fastenings which secured the door.

The planks, fortunately, having been nailed together fresh, had shrunk
considerably, so as to leave wide chinks between each and its neighbour.

By means of these apertures I saw that my dungeon was secured, not by a
lock, as I had feared, but by a strong wooden bar, running horizontally
across the door, about midway upon the outside.

'Now,' thought I, 'if I can but slip my fingers through the opening of
the planks, I can easily remove the bar, and then----'

My attempts, however, were all frustrated by the manner in which my
hands were fastened together, each embarrassing the other, and rendering
my efforts so hopelessly clumsy, that I was obliged to give them over in
despair.

I turned with a sigh from my last hope, and began to pace my narrow
prison floor, when my eye suddenly encountered an old rusty nail or
holdfast sticking in the wall.

All the gold of Plutus would not have been so welcome as that rusty
piece of iron.

I instantly wrung it from the wall, and inserting the point between the
planks of the door into the bolt, and working it backwards and forwards,
I had at length the unspeakable satisfaction to perceive that the beam
was actually yielding to my efforts, and gradually sliding into its
berth in the wall.

I have often been engaged in struggles where great bodily strength was
required, and every thew and sinew in the system taxed to the uttermost;
but, strange as it may appear, I never was so completely exhausted and
overcome by any labour as by this comparatively trifling task.

Again and again was I obliged to desist, until my cramped finger-joints
recovered their power; but at length my perseverance was rewarded, for,
little by little, I succeeded in removing the bolt so far as to allow
the door to open sufficiently to permit me to pass.

With some squeezing I succeeded in forcing my way into a small passage,
upon which my prison-door opened.

This led into a chamber somewhat more spacious than my cell, but still
containing no furniture, and affording no means of escape to one so
crippled with bonds as I was.

At the far extremity of this room was a door which stood ajar, and,
stealthily passing through it, I found myself in a room containing
nothing but a few raw hides, which rendered the atmosphere nearly
intolerable.

Here I checked myself, for I heard voices in busy conversation in the
next room.

I stole softly to the door which separated the chamber in which I stood
from that from which the voices proceeded.

A moment served to convince me that any attempt upon it would be worse
than fruitless, for it was secured upon the outside by a strong lock,
besides two bars, all which I was enabled to ascertain by means of
the same defect in the joining of the planks which I have mentioned as
belonging to the inner door.

I had approached this door very softly, so that, my proximity being
wholly unsuspected by the speakers within, the conversation continued
without interruption.

Planting myself close to the door, I applied my eye to one of the chinks
which separated the boards, and thus obtained a full view of the chamber
and its occupants.

It was the very apartment into which I had been first conducted. The
outer door, which faced the one at which I stood, was closed, and at a
small table were seated the only tenants of the room--two officers, one
of whom was Captain Oliver. The latter was reading a paper, which I made
no doubt was the document with which I had been entrusted.

'The fellow deserves it, no doubt' said the junior officer. 'But,
methinks, considering our orders from head-quarters, you deal somewhat
too hastily.'

'Nephew, nephew,' said Captain Oliver, 'you mistake the tenor of our
orders. We were directed to conciliate the peasantry by fair and gentle
treatment, but not to suffer spies and traitors to escape. This packet
is of some value, though not, in all its parts, intelligible to me. The
bearer has made his way hither under a disguise, which, along with the
other circumstances of his appearance here, is sufficient to convict him
as a spy.'

There was a pause here, and after a few minutes the younger officer
said:

'Spy is a hard term, no doubt, uncle; but it is possible--nay, likely,
that this poor devil sought merely to carry the parcel with which he was
charged in safety to its destination. Pshaw! he is sufficiently punished
if you duck him, for ten minutes or so, between the bridge and the
mill-dam.'

'Young man,' said Oliver, somewhat sternly, 'do not obtrude your advice
where it is not called for; this man, for whom you plead, murdered your
own father!'

I could not see how this announcement affected the person to whom it was
addressed, for his back was towards me; but I conjectured, easily, that
my last poor chance was gone, for a long silence ensued. Captain Oliver
at length resumed:

'I know the villain well. I know him capable of any crime; but, by ----,
his last card is played, and the game is up. He shall not see the moon
rise to-night.'

There was here another pause.

Oliver rose, and going to the outer door, called:

'Hewson! Hewson!'

A grim-looking corporal entered.

'Hewson, have your guard ready at eight o'clock, with their carbines
clean, and a round of ball-cartridge each. Keep them sober; and,
further, plant two upright posts at the near end of the bridge, with
a cross one at top, in the manner of a gibbet. See to these matters,
Hewson: I shall be with you speedily.'

The corporal made his salutations, and retired.

Oliver deliberately folded up the papers with which I had been
commissioned, and placing them in the pocket of his vest, he said:

'Cunning, cunning Master Hardress Fitzgerald hath made a false step;
the old fox is in the toils. Hardress Fitzgerald, Hardress Fitzgerald, I
will blot you out.'

He repeated these words several times, at the same time rubbing his
finger strongly upon the table, as if he sought to erase a stain:

'I WILL BLOT YOU OUT!'

There was a kind of glee in his manner and expression which chilled my
very heart.

'You shall be first shot like a dog, and then hanged like a dog: shot
to-night, and hung to-morrow; hung at the bridgehead--hung, until your
bones drop asunder!'

It is impossible to describe the exultation with which he seemed to
dwell upon, and to particularise the fate which he intended for me.

I observed, however, that his face was deadly pale, and felt assured
that his conscience and inward convictions were struggling against his
cruel resolve. Without further comment the two officers left the room,
I suppose to oversee the preparations which were being made for the deed
of which I was to be the victim.

A chill, sick horror crept over me as they retired, and I felt, for the
moment, upon the brink of swooning. This feeling, however, speedily
gave place to a sensation still more terrible. A state of excitement so
intense and tremendous as to border upon literal madness, supervened; my
brain reeled and throbbed as if it would burst; thoughts the wildest
and the most hideous flashed through my mind with a spontaneous rapidity
that scared my very soul; while, all the time, I felt a strange and
frightful impulse to burst into uncontrolled laughter.

Gradually this fearful paroxysm passed away. I kneeled and prayed
fervently, and felt comforted and assured; but still I could not view
the slow approaches of certain death without an agitation little short
of agony.

I have stood in battle many a time when the chances of escape were
fearfully small. I have confronted foemen in the deadly breach. I have
marched, with a constant heart, against the cannon's mouth. Again and
again has the beast which I bestrode been shot under me; again and again
have I seen the comrades who walked beside me in an instant laid for
ever in the dust; again and again have I been in the thick of battle,
and of its mortal dangers, and never felt my heart shake, or a single
nerve tremble: but now, helpless, manacled, imprisoned, doomed, forced
to watch the approaches of an inevitable fate--to wait, silent and
moveless, while death as it were crept towards me, human nature was
taxed to the uttermost to bear the horrible situation.

I returned again to the closet in which I had found myself upon
recovering from the swoon.

The evening sunshine and twilight was fast melting into darkness, when
I heard the outer door, that which communicated with the guard-room in
which the officers had been amusing themselves, opened and locked again
upon the inside.

A measured step then approached, and the door of the wretched cell in
which I lay being rudely pushed open, a soldier entered, who carried
something in his hand; but, owing to the obscurity of the place, I could
not see what.

'Art thou awake, fellow?' said he, in a gruff voice. 'Stir thyself; get
upon thy legs.'

His orders were enforced by no very gentle application of his military
boot.

'Friend,' said I, rising with difficulty, 'you need not insult a dying
man. You have been sent hither to conduct me to death. Lead on! My
trust is in God, that He will forgive me my sins, and receive my soul,
redeemed by the blood of His Son.'

There here intervened a pause of some length, at the end of which the
soldier said, in the same gruff voice, but in a lower key:

'Look ye, comrade, it will be your own fault if you die this night. On
one condition I promise to get you out of this hobble with a whole skin;
but if you go to any of your d----d gammon, by G--, before two hours are
passed, you will have as many holes in your carcase as a target.'

'Name your conditions,' said I, 'and if they consist with honour, I will
never balk at the offer.'

'Here they are: you are to be shot to-night, by Captain Oliver's orders.
The carbines are cleaned for the job, and the cartridges served out to
the men. By G--, I tell you the truth!'

Of this I needed not much persuasion, and intimated to the man my
conviction that he spoke the truth.

'Well, then,' he continued, 'now for the means of avoiding this ugly
business. Captain Oliver rides this night to head-quarters, with the
papers which you carried. Before he starts he will pay you a visit,
to fish what he can out of you with all the fine promises he can make.
Humour him a little, and when you find an opportunity, stab him in the
throat above the cuirass.'

'A feasible plan, surely,' said I, raising my shackled hands, 'for a man
thus completely crippled and without a weapon.'

'I will manage all that presently for you,' said the soldier. 'When you
have thus dealt with him, take his cloak and hat, and so forth, and put
them on; the papers you will find in the pocket of his vest, in a red
leather case. Walk boldly out. I am appointed to ride with Captain
Oliver, and you will find me holding his horse and my own by the door.
Mount quickly, and I will do the same, and then we will ride for our
lives across the bridge. You will find the holster-pistols loaded in
case of pursuit; and, with the devil's help, we shall reach Limerick
without a hair hurt. My only condition is, that when you strike Oliver,
you strike home, and again and again, until he is FINISHED; and I trust
to your honour to remember me when we reach the town.'

I cannot say whether I resolved right or wrong, but I thought my
situation, and the conduct of Captain Oliver, warranted me in acceding
to the conditions propounded by my visitant, and with alacrity I told
him so, and desired him to give me the power, as he had promised to do,
of executing them.

With speed and promptitude he drew a small key from his pocket, and in
an instant the manacles were removed from my hands.

How my heart bounded within me as my wrists were released from the
iron gripe of the shackles! The first step toward freedom was made--my
self-reliance returned, and I felt assured of success.

'Now for the weapon,' said I.

'I fear me, you will find it rather clumsy,' said he; 'but if well
handled, it will do as well as the best Toledo. It is the only thing I
could get, but I sharpened it myself; it has an edge like a skean.'

He placed in my hand the steel head of a halberd. Grasping it firmly, I
found that it made by no means a bad weapon in point of convenience; for
it felt in the hand like a heavy dagger, the portion which formed the
blade or point being crossed nearly at the lower extremity by a small
bar of metal, at one side shaped into the form of an axe, and at the
other into that of a hook. These two transverse appendages being muffled
by the folds of my cravat, which I removed for the purpose, formed a
perfect guard or hilt, and the lower extremity formed like a tube, in
which the pike-handle had been inserted, afforded ample space for the
grasp of my hand; the point had been made as sharp as a needle, and the
metal he assured me was good.

Thus equipped he left me, having observed, 'The captain sent me to
bring you to your senses, and give you some water that he might find you
proper for his visit. Here is the pitcher; I think I have revived you
sufficiently for the captain's purpose.'

With a low savage laugh he left me to my reflections.

Having examined and adjusted the weapon, I carefully bound the ends of
the cravat, with which I had secured the cross part of the spear-head,
firmly round my wrist, so that in case of a struggle it might not
easily be forced from my hand; and having made these precautionary
dispositions, I sat down upon the ground with my back against the wall,
and my hands together under my coat, awaiting my visitor.

The time wore slowly on; the dusk became dimmer and dimmer, until it
nearly bordered on total darkness.

'How's this?' said I, inwardly; 'Captain Oliver, you said I should
not see the moon rise to-night. Methinks you are somewhat tardy in
fulfilling your prophecy.'

As I made this reflection, a noise at the outer door announced the
entrance of a visitant. I knew that the decisive moment was come, and
letting my head sink upon my breast, and assuring myself that my
hands were concealed, I waited, in the attitude of deep dejection, the
approach of my foe and betrayer.

As I had expected, Captain Oliver entered the room where I lay. He was
equipped for instant duty, as far as the imperfect twilight would allow
me to see; the long sword clanked upon the floor as he made his way
through the lobbies which led to my place of confinement; his ample
military cloak hung upon his arm; his cocked hat was upon his head, and
in all points he was prepared for the road.

This tallied exactly with what my strange informant had told me.

I felt my heart swell and my breath come thick as the awful moment which
was to witness the death-struggle of one or other of us approached.

Captain Oliver stood within a yard or two of the place where I sat, or
rather lay; and folding his arms, he remained silent for a minute or
two, as if arranging in his mind how he should address me.

'Hardress Fitzgerald,' he began at length, 'are you awake? Stand up, if
you desire to hear of matters nearly touching your life or death. Get
up, I say.'

I arose doggedly, and affecting the awkward movements of one whose hands
were bound,

'Well,' said I, 'what would you of me? Is it not enough that I am thus
imprisoned without a cause, and about, as I suspect, to suffer a most
unjust and violent sentence, but must I also be disturbed during the
few moments left me for reflection and repentance by the presence of my
persecutor? What do you want of me?'

'As to your punishment, sir,' said he, 'your own deserts have no doubt
suggested the likelihood of it to your mind; but I now am with you to
let you know that whatever mitigation of your sentence you may look for,
must be earned by your compliance with my orders. You must frankly and
fully explain the contents of the packet which you endeavoured this day
to destroy; and further, you must tell all that you know of the designs
of the popish rebels.'

'And if I do this I am to expect a mitigation of my punishment--is it
not so?'

Oliver bowed.

'And what IS this mitigation to be? On the honour of a soldier, what is
it to be?' inquired I.

'When you have made the disclosure required,' he replied, 'you shall
hear. 'Tis then time to talk of indulgences.'

'Methinks it would then be too late,' answered I. 'But a chance is a
chance, and a drowning man will catch at a straw. You are an honourable
man, Captain Oliver. I must depend, I suppose, on your good faith. Well,
sir, before I make the desired communication I have one question more
to put. What is to befall me in case that I, remembering the honour of
a soldier and a gentleman, reject your infamous terms, scorn your
mitigations, and defy your utmost power?'

'In that case,' replied he, coolly, 'before half an hour you shall be a
corpse.'

'Then God have mercy on your soul!' said I; and springing forward, I
dashed the weapon which I held at his throat.

I missed my aim, but struck him full in the mouth with such force that
most of his front teeth were dislodged, and the point of the spear-head
passed out under his jaw, at the ear.

My onset was so sudden and unexpected that he reeled back to the wall,
and did not recover his equilibrium in time to prevent my dealing a
second blow, which I did with my whole force. The point unfortunately
struck the cuirass, near the neck, and glancing aside it inflicted but a
flesh wound, tearing the skin and tendons along the throat.

He now grappled with me, strange to say, without uttering any cry of
alarm; being a very powerful man, and if anything rather heavier and
more strongly built than I, he succeeded in drawing me with him to the
ground. We fell together with a heavy crash, tugging and straining in
what we were both conscious was a mortal struggle. At length I succeeded
in getting over him, and struck him twice more in the face; still he
struggled with an energy which nothing but the tremendous stake at issue
could have sustained.

I succeeded again in inflicting several more wounds upon him, any one
of which might have been mortal. While thus contending he clutched his
hands about my throat, so firmly that I felt the blood swelling the
veins of my temples and face almost to bursting. Again and again I
struck the weapon deep into his face and throat, but life seemed to
adhere in him with an almost INSECT tenacity.

My sight now nearly failed, my senses almost forsook me; I felt upon
the point of suffocation when, with one desperate effort, I struck him
another and a last blow in the face. The weapon which I wielded had
lighted upon the eye, and the point penetrated the brain; the body
quivered under me, the deadly grasp relaxed, and Oliver lay upon the
ground a corpse!

As I arose and shook the weapon and the bloody cloth from my hand, the
moon which he had foretold I should never see rise, shone bright and
broad into the room, and disclosed, with ghastly distinctness, the
mangled features of the dead soldier; the mouth, full of clotting blood
and broken teeth, lay open; the eye, close by whose lid the fatal wound
had been inflicted, was not, as might have been expected, bathed in
blood, but had started forth nearly from the socket, and gave to the
face, by its fearful unlikeness to the other glazing orb, a leer more
hideous and unearthly than fancy ever saw. The wig, with all its rich
curls, had fallen with the hat to the floor, leaving the shorn head
exposed, and in many places marked by the recent struggle; the rich lace
cravat was drenched in blood, and the gay uniform in many places soiled
with the same.

It is hard to say, with what feelings I looked upon the unsightly and
revolting mass which had so lately been a living and a comely man. I had
not any time, however, to spare for reflection; the deed was done--the
responsibility was upon me, and all was registered in the book of that
God who judges rightly.

With eager haste I removed from the body such of the military
accoutrements as were necessary for the purpose of my disguise. I
buckled on the sword, drew off the military boots, and donned them
myself, placed the brigadier wig and cocked hat upon my head, threw
on the cloak, drew it up about my face, and proceeded, with the papers
which I found as the soldier had foretold me, and the key of the outer
lobby, to the door of the guard-room; this I opened, and with a firm
and rapid tread walked through the officers, who rose as I entered, and
passed without question or interruption to the street-door. Here I was
met by the grimlooking corporal, Hewson, who, saluting me, said:

'How soon, captain, shall the file be drawn out and the prisoner
despatched?'

'In half an hour,' I replied, without raising my voice.

The man again saluted, and in two steps I reached the soldier who held
the two horses, as he had intimated.

'Is all right?' said he, eagerly.

'Ay,' said I, 'which horse am I to mount?'

He satisfied me upon this point, and I threw myself into the saddle; the
soldier mounted his horse, and dashing the spurs into the flanks of the
animal which I bestrode, we thundered along the narrow bridge. At the
far extremity a sentinel, as we approached, called out, 'Who goes there?
stand, and give the word!' Heedless of the interruption, with my heart
bounding with excitement, I dashed on, as did also the soldier who
accompanied me.

'Stand, or I fire! give the word!' cried the sentry.

'God save the king, and to hell with the prince!' shouted I, flinging
the cocked hat in his face as I galloped by.

The response was the sharp report of a carbine, accompanied by the whiz
of a bullet, which passed directly between me and my comrade, now riding
beside me.

'Hurrah!' I shouted; 'try it again, my boy.'

And away we went at a gallop, which bid fair to distance anything like
pursuit.

Never was spur more needed, however, for soon the clatter of horses'
hoofs, in full speed, crossing the bridge, came sharp and clear through
the stillness of the night.

Away we went, with our pursuers close behind; one mile was passed,
another nearly completed. The moon now shone forth, and, turning in the
saddle, I looked back upon the road we had passed.

One trooper had headed the rest, and was within a hundred yards of us.

I saw the fellow throw himself from his horse upon the ground.

I knew his object, and said to my comrade:

'Lower your body--lie flat over the saddle; the fellow is going to
fire.'

I had hardly spoken when the report of a carbine startled the echoes,
and the ball, striking the hind leg of my companion's horse, the poor
animal fell headlong upon the road, throwing his rider head-foremost
over the saddle.

My first impulse was to stop and share whatever fate might await my
comrade; but my second and wiser one was to spur on, and save myself and
my despatch.

I rode on at a gallop, turning to observe my comrade's fate. I saw his
pursuer, having remounted, ride rapidly up to him, and, on reaching the
spot where the man and horse lay, rein in and dismount.

He was hardly upon the ground, when my companion shot him dead with one
of the holster-pistols which he had drawn from the pipe; and, leaping
nimbly over a ditch at the side of the road, he was soon lost among the
ditches and thornbushes which covered that part of the country.

Another mile being passed, I had the satisfaction to perceive that the
pursuit was given over, and in an hour more I crossed Thomond Bridge,
and slept that night in the fortress of Limerick, having delivered
the packet, the result of whose safe arrival was the destruction of
William's great train of artillery, then upon its way to the besiegers.

Years after this adventure, I met in France a young officer, who I found
had served in Captain Oliver's regiment; and he explained what I had
never before understood--the motives of the man who had wrought my
deliverance. Strange to say, he was the foster-brother of Oliver, whom
he thus devoted to death, but in revenge for the most grievous wrong
which one man can inflict upon another!



'THE QUARE GANDER.'

     Being a Twelfth Extract from the Legacy of the late Francis
     Purcell, P.P. of Drumcoolagh.

As I rode at a slow walk, one soft autumn evening, from the once noted
and noticeable town of Emly, now a squalid village, towards the no less
remarkable town of Tipperary, I fell into a meditative mood.

My eye wandered over a glorious landscape; a broad sea of corn-fields,
that might have gladdened even a golden age, was waving before me;
groups of little cabins, with their poplars, osiers, and light mountain
ashes, clustered shelteringly around them, were scattered over the
plain; the thin blue smoke arose floating through their boughs in the
still evening air. And far away with all their broad lights and shades,
softened with the haze of approaching twilight, stood the bold wild
Galties.

As I gazed on this scene, whose richness was deepened by the melancholy
glow of the setting sun, the tears rose to my eyes, and I said:

'Alas, my country! what a mournful beauty is thine. Dressed in
loveliness and laughter, there is mortal decay at thy heart: sorrow,
sin, and shame have mingled thy cup of misery. Strange rulers have
bruised thee, and laughed thee to scorn, and they have made all thy
sweetness bitter. Thy shames and sins are the austere fruits of thy
miseries, and thy miseries have been poured out upon thee by foreign
hands. Alas, my stricken country! clothed with this most pity-moving
smile, with this most unutterably mournful loveliness, thou
sore-grieved, thou desperately-beloved! Is there for thee, my country, a
resurrection?'

I know not how long I might have continued to rhapsodize in this strain,
had not my wandering thoughts been suddenly recalled to my own immediate
neighbourhood by the monotonous clatter of a horse's hoofs upon the
road, evidently moving, at that peculiar pace which is neither a
walk nor a trot, and yet partakes of both, so much in vogue among the
southern farmers.

In a moment my pursuer was up with me, and checking his steed into a
walk he saluted me with much respect. The cavalier was a light-built
fellow, with good-humoured sun-burnt features, a shrewd and lively
black eye, and a head covered with a crop of close curly black hair, and
surmounted with a turf-coloured caubeen, in the packthread band of which
was stuck a short pipe, which had evidently seen much service.

My companion was a dealer in all kinds of local lore, and soon took
occasion to let me see that he was so.

After two or three short stories, in which the scandalous and
supernatural were happily blended, we happened to arrive at a narrow
road or bohreen leading to a snug-looking farm-house.

'That's a comfortable bit iv a farm,' observed my comrade, pointing
towards the dwelling with his thumb; 'a shnug spot, and belongs to the
Mooneys this long time. 'Tis a noted place for what happened wid the
famous gandher there in former times.'

'And what was that?' inquired I.

'What was it happened wid the gandher!' ejaculated my companion in a
tone of indignant surprise; 'the gandher iv Ballymacrucker, the gandher!
Your raverance must be a stranger in these parts. Sure every fool knows
all about the gandher, and Terence Mooney, that was, rest his sowl.
Begorra, 'tis surprisin' to me how in the world you didn't hear iv the
gandher; and may be it's funnin me ye are, your raverance.'

I assured him to the contrary, and conjured him to narrate to me the
facts, an unacquaintance with which was sufficient it appeared to stamp
me as an ignoramus of the first magnitude.

It did not require much entreaty to induce my communicative friend to
relate the circumstance, in nearly the following words:

'Terence Mooney was an honest boy and well to do; an' he rinted the
biggest farm on this side iv the Galties; an' bein' mighty cute an' a
sevare worker, it was small wonder he turned a good penny every harvest.
But unluckily he was blessed with an ilegant large family iv daughters,
an' iv coorse his heart was allamost bruck, striving to make up fortunes
for the whole of them. An' there wasn't a conthrivance iv any soart or
description for makin' money out iv the farm, but he was up to.

'Well, among the other ways he had iv gettin' up in the world, he always
kep a power iv turkeys, and all soarts iv poultrey; an' he was out iv
all rason partial to geese--an' small blame to him for that same--for
twice't a year you can pluck them as bare as my hand--an' get a fine
price for the feathers, an' plenty of rale sizable eggs--an' when they
are too ould to lay any more, you can kill them, an' sell them to the
gintlemen for goslings, d'ye see, let alone that a goose is the most
manly bird that is out.

'Well, it happened in the coorse iv time that one ould gandher tuck a
wondherful likin' to Terence, an' divil a place he could go serenadin'
about the farm, or lookin' afther the men, but the gandher id be at his
heels, an' rubbin' himself agin his legs, an' lookin' up in his face
jist like any other Christian id do; an' begorra, the likes iv it was
never seen--Terence Mooney an' the gandher wor so great.

'An' at last the bird was so engagin' that Terence would not allow it
to be plucked any more, an' kep it from that time out for love an'
affection--just all as one like one iv his childer.

'But happiness in perfection never lasts long, an' the neighbours
begin'd to suspect the nathur an' intentions iv the gandher, an' some iv
them said it was the divil, an' more iv them that it was a fairy.

'Well, Terence could not but hear something of what was sayin', an' you
may be sure he was not altogether asy in his mind about it, an' from one
day to another he was gettin' more ancomfortable in himself, until he
detarmined to sind for Jer Garvan, the fairy docthor in Garryowen, an'
it's he was the ilegant hand at the business, an' divil a sperit id
say a crass word to him, no more nor a priest. An' moreover he was very
great wid ould Terence Mooney--this man's father that' was.

'So without more about it he was sint for, an' sure enough the divil a
long he was about it, for he kem back that very evenin' along wid the
boy that was sint for him, an' as soon as he was there, an' tuck his
supper, an' was done talkin' for a while, he begined of coorse to look
into the gandher.

'Well, he turned it this away an' that away, to the right an' to the
left, an' straight-ways an' upside-down, an' when he was tired handlin'
it, says he to Terence Mooney:

'"Terence," says he, "you must remove the bird into the next room," says
he, "an' put a petticoat," says he, "or anny other convaynience round
his head," says he.

'"An' why so?" says Terence.

'"Becase," says Jer, says he.

'"Becase what?" says Terence.

'"Becase," says Jer, "if it isn't done you'll never be asy again," says
he, "or pusilanimous in your mind," says he; "so ax no more questions,
but do my biddin'," says he.

'"Well," says Terence, "have your own way," says he.

'An' wid that he tuck the ould gandher, an' giv' it to one iv the
gossoons.

'"An' take care," says he, "don't smother the crathur," says he.

'Well, as soon as the bird was gone, says Jer Garvan says he:

'"Do you know what that ould gandher IS, Terence Mooney?"

'"Divil a taste," says Terence.

'"Well then," says Jer, "the gandher is your own father," says he.

'"It's jokin' you are," says Terence, turnin' mighty pale; "how can an
ould gandher be my father?" says he.

'"I'm not funnin' you at all," says Jer; "it's thrue what I tell you,
it's your father's wandhrin' sowl," says he, "that's naturally tuck
pissession iv the ould gandher's body," says he. "I know him many ways,
and I wondher," says he, "you do not know the cock iv his eye yourself,"
says he.

'"Oh blur an' ages!" says Terence, "what the divil will I ever do at all
at all," says he; "it's all over wid me, for I plucked him twelve times
at the laste," says he.

'"That can't be helped now," says Jer; "it was a sevare act surely,"
says he, "but it's too late to lamint for it now," says he; "the only
way to prevint what's past," says he, "is to put a stop to it before it
happens," says he.

'"Thrue for you," says Terence, "but how the divil did you come to the
knowledge iv my father's sowl," says he, "bein' in the owld gandher,"
says he.

'"If I tould you," says Jer, "you would not undherstand me," says
he, "without book-larnin' an' gasthronomy," says he; "so ax me no
questions," says he, "an' I'll tell you no lies. But blieve me in this
much," says he, "it's your father that's in it," says he; "an' if I
don't make him spake to-morrow mornin'," says he, "I'll give you lave to
call me a fool," says he.

'"Say no more," says Terence, "that settles the business," says he;
"an' oh! blur and ages is it not a quare thing," says he, "for a dacent
respictable man," says he, "to be walkin' about the counthry in the
shape iv an ould gandher," says he; "and oh, murdher, murdher! is not
it often I plucked him," says he, "an' tundher and ouns might not I
have ate him," says he; and wid that he fell into a could parspiration,
savin' your prisince, an was on the pint iv faintin' wid the bare
notions iv it.

'Well, whin he was come to himself agin, says Jerry to him quite an'
asy:

'"Terence," says he, "don't be aggravatin' yourself," says he; "for I
have a plan composed that 'ill make him spake out," says he, "an' tell
what it is in the world he's wantin'," says he; "an' mind an' don't be
comin' in wid your gosther, an' to say agin anything I tell you," says
he, "but jist purtind, as soon as the bird is brought back," says he,
"how that we're goin' to sind him to-morrow mornin' to market," says he.
"An' if he don't spake to-night," says he, "or gother himself out iv
the place," says he, "put him into the hamper airly, and sind him in the
cart," says he, "straight to Tipperary, to be sould for ating," says he,
"along wid the two gossoons," says he, "an' my name isn't Jer Garvan,"
says he, "if he doesn't spake out before he's half-way," says he. "An'
mind," says he, "as soon as iver he says the first word," says he,
"that very minute bring him aff to Father Crotty," says he; "an' if
his raverince doesn't make him ratire," says he, "like the rest iv his
parishioners, glory be to God," says he, "into the siclusion iv the
flames iv purgathory," says he, "there's no vartue in my charums," says
he.

'Well, wid that the ould gandher was let into the room agin, an' they
all bigined to talk iv sindin' him the nixt mornin' to be sould for
roastin' in Tipperary, jist as if it was a thing andoubtingly settled.
But divil a notice the gandher tuck, no more nor if they wor spaking iv
the Lord-Liftinant; an' Terence desired the boys to get ready the kish
for the poulthry, an' to "settle it out wid hay soft an' shnug," says
he, "for it's the last jauntin' the poor ould gandher 'ill get in this
world," says he.

'Well, as the night was gettin' late, Terence was growin' mighty
sorrowful an' down-hearted in himself entirely wid the notions iv what
was goin' to happen. An' as soon as the wife an' the crathurs war fairly
in bed, he brought out some illigint potteen, an' himself an' Jer Garvan
sot down to it; an' begorra, the more anasy Terence got, the more he
dhrank, and himself and Jer Garvan finished a quart betune them. It
wasn't an imparial though, an' more's the pity, for them wasn't anvinted
antil short since; but divil a much matther it signifies any longer if
a pint could hould two quarts, let alone what it does, sinst Father
Mathew--the Lord purloin his raverence--begin'd to give the pledge, an'
wid the blessin' iv timperance to deginerate Ireland.

'An' begorra, I have the medle myself; an' it's proud I am iv that same,
for abstamiousness is a fine thing, although it's mighty dhry.

'Well, whin Terence finished his pint, he thought he might as well stop;
"for enough is as good as a faste," says he; "an' I pity the vagabond,"
says he, "that is not able to conthroul his licquor," says he, "an'
to keep constantly inside iv a pint measure," said he; an' wid that he
wished Jer Garvan a good-night, an' walked out iv the room.

'But he wint out the wrong door, bein' a thrifle hearty in himself, an'
not rightly knowin' whether he was standin' on his head or his heels, or
both iv them at the same time, an' in place iv gettin' into bed, where
did he thrun himself but into the poulthry hamper, that the boys had
settled out ready for the gandher in the mornin'. An' sure enough he
sunk down soft an' complate through the hay to the bottom; an' wid the
turnin' and roulin' about in the night, the divil a bit iv him but was
covered up as shnug as a lumper in a pittaty furrow before mornin'.

'So wid the first light, up gets the two boys, that war to take the
sperit, as they consaved, to Tipperary; an' they cotched the ould
gandher, an' put him in the hamper, and clapped a good wisp iv hay an'
the top iv him, and tied it down sthrong wid a bit iv a coard, and med
the sign iv the crass over him, in dhread iv any harum, an' put the
hamper up an the car, wontherin' all the while what in the world was
makin' the ould burd so surprisin' heavy.

'Well, they wint along quite anasy towards Tipperary, wishin' every
minute that some iv the neighbours bound the same way id happen to fall
in with them, for they didn't half like the notions iv havin' no company
but the bewitched gandher, an' small blame to them for that same.

'But although they wor shaking in their skhins in dhread iv the ould
bird beginnin' to convarse them every minute, they did not let an' to
one another, bud kep singin' an' whistlin' like mad, to keep the dread
out iv their hearts.

'Well, afther they war on the road betther nor half an hour, they kem to
the bad bit close by Father Crotty's, an' there was one divil of a rut
three feet deep at the laste; an' the car got sich a wondherful chuck
goin' through it, that it wakened Terence widin in the basket.

'"Bad luck to ye," says he, "my bones is bruck wid yer thricks; what the
divil are ye doin' wid me?"

'"Did ye hear anything quare, Thady?" says the boy that was next to the
car, turnin' as white as the top iv a musharoon; "did ye hear anything
quare soundin' out iv the hamper?" says he.

'"No, nor you," says Thady, turnin' as pale as himself, "it's the ould
gandher that's gruntin' wid the shakin' he's gettin'," says he.

'"Where the divil have ye put me into," says Terence inside, "bad luck
to your sowls," says he, "let me out, or I'll be smothered this minute,"
says he.

'"There's no use in purtending," says the boy, "the gandher's spakin',
glory be to God," says he.

'"Let me out, you murdherers," says Terence.

'"In the name iv the blessed Vargin," says Thady, "an' iv all the holy
saints, hould yer tongue, you unnatheral gandher," says he.

'"Who's that, that dar to call me nicknames?" says Terence inside,
roaring wid the fair passion, "let me out, you blasphamious infiddles,"
says he, "or by this crass I'll stretch ye," says he.

'"In the name iv all the blessed saints in heaven," says Thady, "who the
divil are ye?"

'"Who the divil would I be, but Terence Mooney," says he. "It's myself
that's in it, you unmerciful bliggards," says he, "let me out, or by
the holy, I'll get out in spite iv yes," says he, "an' by jaburs, I'll
wallop yes in arnest," says he.

'"It's ould Terence, sure enough," says Thady, "isn't it cute the fairy
docthor found him out," says he.

'"I'm an the pint iv snuffication," says Terence, "let me out, I tell
you, an' wait till I get at ye," says he, "for begorra, the divil a bone
in your body but I'll powdher," says he.

'An' wid that, he biginned kickin' and flingin' inside in the hamper,
and dhrivin his legs agin the sides iv it, that it was a wonder he did
not knock it to pieces.

'Well, as soon as the boys seen that, they skelped the ould horse into
a gallop as hard as he could peg towards the priest's house, through the
ruts, an' over the stones; an' you'd see the hamper fairly flyin' three
feet up in the air with the joultin'; glory be to God.

'So it was small wondher, by the time they got to his Raverince's door,
the breath was fairly knocked out of poor Terence, so that he was lyin'
speechless in the bottom iv the hamper.

'Well, whin his Raverince kem down, they up an' they tould him all
that happened, an' how they put the gandher into the hamper, an' how he
beginned to spake, an' how he confissed that he was ould Terence Mooney;
an' they axed his honour to advise them how to get rid iv the spirit for
good an' all.

'So says his Raverince, says he:

'"I'll take my booke," says he, "an' I'll read some rale sthrong holy
bits out iv it," says he, "an' do you get a rope and put it round the
hamper," says he, "an' let it swing over the runnin' wather at the
bridge," says he, "an' it's no matther if I don't make the spirit come
out iv it," says he.

'Well, wid that, the priest got his horse, and tuck his booke in undher
his arum, an' the boys follied his Raverince, ladin' the horse down to
the bridge, an' divil a word out iv Terence all the way, for he seen
it was no use spakin', an' he was afeard if he med any noise they might
thrait him to another gallop an finish him intirely.

'Well, as soon as they war all come to the bridge, the boys tuck the
rope they had with them, an' med it fast to the top iv the hamper an'
swung it fairly over the bridge, lettin' it hang in the air about twelve
feet out iv the wather.

'An' his Raverince rode down to the bank of the river, close by, an'
beginned to read mighty loud and bould intirely.

'An' when he was goin' on about five minutes, all at onst the bottom iv
the hamper kem out, an' down wint Terence, falling splash dash into the
water, an' the ould gandher a-top iv him. Down they both went to the
bottom, wid a souse you'd hear half a mile off.

'An' before they had time to rise agin, his Raverince, wid the fair
astonishment, giv his horse one dig iv the spurs, an' before he knew
where he was, in he went, horse an' all, a-top iv them, an' down to the
bottom.

'Up they all kem agin together, gaspin' and puffin', an' off down wid
the current wid them, like shot in under the arch iv the bridge till
they kem to the shallow wather.

'The ould gandher was the first out, and the priest and Terence
kem next, pantin' an' blowin' an' more than half dhrounded, an' his
Raverince was so freckened wid the droundin' he got, and wid the sight
iv the sperit, as he consaved, that he wasn't the better of it for a
month.

'An' as soon as Terence could spake, he swore he'd have the life of the
two gossoons; but Father Crotty would not give him his will. An' as soon
as he was got quiter, they all endivoured to explain it; but Terence
consaved he went raly to bed the night before, and his wife said the
same to shilter him from the suspicion for havin' th' dthrop taken. An'
his Raverince said it was a mysthery, an' swore if he cotched
anyone laughin' at the accident, he'd lay the horsewhip across their
shouldhers.

'An' Terence grew fonder an' fonder iv the gandher every day, until at
last he died in a wondherful old age, lavin' the gandher afther him an'
a large family iv childher.

'An' to this day the farm is rinted by one iv Terence Mooney's lenial
and legitimate postariors.'



BILLY MALOWNEY'S TASTE OF LOVE AND GLORY.

Let the reader fancy a soft summer evening, the fresh dews falling on
bush and flower. The sun has just gone down, and the thrilling vespers
of thrushes and blackbirds ring with a wild joy through the saddened
air; the west is piled with fantastic clouds, and clothed in tints of
crimson and amber, melting away into a wan green, and so eastward into
the deepest blue, through which soon the stars will begin to peep.

Let him fancy himself seated upon the low mossy wall of an ancient
churchyard, where hundreds of grey stones rise above the sward,
under the fantastic branches of two or three half-withered ash-trees,
spreading their arms in everlasting love and sorrow over the dead.

The narrow road upon which I and my companion await the tax-cart that
is to carry me and my basket, with its rich fruitage of speckled trout,
away, lies at his feet, and far below spreads an undulating plain,
rising westward again into soft hills, and traversed (every here and
there visibly) by a winding stream which, even through the mists of
evening, catches and returns the funereal glories of the skies.

As the eye traces its wayward wanderings, it loses them for a moment
in the heaving verdure of white-thorns and ash, from among which floats
from some dozen rude chimneys, mostly unseen, the transparent blue film
of turf smoke. There we know, although we cannot see it, the steep old
bridge of Carrickadrum spans the river; and stretching away far to the
right the valley of Lisnamoe: its steeps and hollows, its straggling
hedges, its fair-green, its tall scattered trees, and old grey tower,
are disappearing fast among the discoloured tints and haze of evening.

Those landmarks, as we sit listlessly expecting the arrival of our
modest conveyance, suggest to our companion--a bare-legged Celtic
brother of the gentle craft, somewhat at the wrong side of forty, with
a turf-coloured caubeen, patched frieze, a clear brown complexion,
dark-grey eyes, and a right pleasant dash of roguery in his
features--the tale, which, if the reader pleases, he is welcome to hear
along with me just as it falls from the lips of our humble comrade.

His words I can give, but your own fancy must supply the advantages
of an intelligent, expressive countenance, and, what is perhaps harder
still, the harmony of his glorious brogue, that, like the melodies of
our own dear country, will leave a burden of mirth or of sorrow with
nearly equal propriety, tickling the diaphragm as easily as it plays
with the heart-strings, and is in itself a national music that, I trust,
may never, never--scouted and despised though it be--never cease, like
the lost tones of our harp, to be heard in the fields of my country, in
welcome or endearment, in fun or in sorrow, stirring the hearts of Irish
men and Irish women.

My friend of the caubeen and naked shanks, then, commenced, and
continued his relation, as nearly as possible, in the following words:


Av coorse ye often heerd talk of Billy Malowney, that lived by the
bridge of Carrickadrum. 'Leum-a-rinka' was the name they put on him,
he was sich a beautiful dancer. An' faix, it's he was the rale sportin'
boy, every way--killing the hares, and gaffing the salmons, an' fightin'
the men, an' funnin' the women, and coortin' the girls; an' be the
same token, there was not a colleen inside iv his jurisdiction but was
breakin' her heart wid the fair love iv him.

Well, this was all pleasant enough, to be sure, while it lasted; but
inhuman beings is born to misfortune, an' Bill's divarshin was not to
last always. A young boy can't be continially coortin' and kissin' the
girls (an' more's the pity) without exposin' himself to the most eminent
parril; an' so signs all' what should happen Billy Malowney himself, but
to fall in love at last wid little Molly Donovan, in Coolnamoe.

I never could ondherstand why in the world it was Bill fell in love wid
HER, above all the girls in the country. She was not within four stone
weight iv being as fat as Peg Brallaghan; and as for redness in the
face, she could not hould a candle to Judy Flaherty. (Poor Judy! she
was my sweetheart, the darlin', an' coorted me constant, ever antil she
married a boy of the Butlers; an' it's twenty years now since she was
buried under the ould white-thorn in Garbally. But that's no matther!)

Well, at any rate, Molly Donovan tuck his fancy, an' that's everything!
She had smooth brown hair--as smooth as silk-an' a pair iv soft coaxin'
eyes--an' the whitest little teeth you ever seen; an', bedad, she was
every taste as much in love wid himself as he was.

Well, now, he was raly stupid wid love: there was not a bit of fun
left in him. He was good for nothin' an airth bud sittin' under bushes,
smokin' tobacky, and sighin' till you'd wonder how in the world he got
wind for it all.

An', bedad, he was an illigant scholar, moreover; an', so signs, it's
many's the song he made about her; an' if you'd be walkin' in the
evening, a mile away from Carrickadrum, begorra you'd hear him singing
out like a bull, all across the country, in her praises.

Well, ye may be sure, ould Tim Donovan and the wife was not a bit too
well plased to see Bill Malowney coortin' their daughter Molly; for,
do ye mind, she was the only child they had, and her fortune was
thirty-five pounds, two cows, and five illigant pigs, three iron pots
and a skillet, an' a trifle iv poultry in hand; and no one knew how much
besides, whenever the Lord id be plased to call the ould people out of
the way into glory!

So, it was not likely ould Tim Donovan id be fallin' in love wid poor
Bill Malowney as aisy as the girls did; for, barrin' his beauty, an' his
gun, an' his dhudheen, an' his janius, the divil a taste of property iv
any sort or description he had in the wide world!

Well, as bad as that was, Billy would not give in that her father and
mother had the smallest taste iv a right to intherfare, good or bad.

'An' you're welcome to rayfuse me,' says he, 'whin I ax your lave,'
says he; 'an' I'll ax your lave,' says he, 'whenever I want to coort
yourselves,' says he; 'but it's your daughter I'm coortin' at the
present,' says he, 'an that's all I'll say,' says he; 'for I'd as soon
take a doase of salts as be discoursin' ye,' says he.

So it was a rale blazin' battle betune himself and the ould people;
an', begorra, there was no soart iv blaguardin' that did not pass betune
them; an' they put a solemn injection on Molly again seein' him or
meetin' him for the future.

But it was all iv no use. You might as well be pursuadin' the birds agin
flying, or sthrivin' to coax the stars out iv the sky into your hat, as
be talking common sinse to them that's fairly bothered and burstin'
wid love. There's nothin' like it. The toothache an' cholic together id
compose you betther for an argyment than itself. It leaves you fit for
nothin' bud nansinse.

It's stronger than whisky, for one good drop iv it will make you drunk
for one year, and sick, begorra, for a dozen.

It's stronger than the say, for it'll carry you round the world an'
never let you sink, in sunshine or storm; an', begorra, it's stronger
than Death himself, for it is not afeard iv him, bedad, but dares him in
every shape.

But lovers has quarrels sometimes, and, begorra, when they do, you'd
a'most imagine they hated one another like man and wife. An' so, signs
an', Billy Malowney and Molly Donovan fell out one evening at ould Tom
Dundon's wake; an' whatever came betune them, she made no more about
it but just draws her cloak round her, and away wid herself and the
sarvant-girl home again, as if there was not a corpse, or a fiddle, or a
taste of divarsion in it.

Well, Bill Malowney follied her down the boreen, to try could he
deludher her back again; but, if she was bitther before, she gave it
to him in airnest when she got him alone to herself, and to that degree
that he wished her safe home, short and sulky enough, an' walked back
again, as mad as the devil himself, to the wake, to pay a respect to
poor Tom Dundon.

Well, my dear, it was aisy seen there was something wrong avid Billy
Malowney, for he paid no attintion the rest of the evening to any soart
of divarsion but the whisky alone; an' every glass he'd drink it's what
he'd be wishing the divil had the women, an' the worst iv bad luck to
all soarts iv courting, until, at last, wid the goodness iv the sperits,
an' the badness iv his temper, an' the constant flusthration iv cursin',
he grew all as one as you might say almost, saving your presince,
bastely drunk!

Well, who should he fall in wid, in that childish condition, as he was
deploying along the road almost as straight as the letter S, an' cursin'
the girls, an' roarin' for more whisky, but the recruiting-sargent iv
the Welsh Confusileers.

So, cute enough, the sargent begins to convarse him, an' it was not long
until he had him sitting in Murphy's public-house, wid an elegant dandy
iv punch before him, an' the king's money safe an' snug in the lowest
wrinkle of his breeches-pocket.

So away wid him, and the dhrums and fifes playing, an' a dozen more
unforthunate bliggards just listed along with him, an' he shakin' hands
wid the sargent, and swearin' agin the women every minute, until, be the
time he kem to himself, begorra, he was a good ten miles on the road to
Dublin, an' Molly and all behind him.

It id be no good tellin' you iv the letters he wrote to her from the
barracks there, nor how she was breaking her heart to go and see him
just wanst before he'd go; but the father an' mother would not allow iv
it be no manes.

An' so in less time than you'd be thinkin' about it, the colonel had him
polished off into it rale elegant soger, wid his gun exercise, and his
bagnet exercise, and his small sword, and broad sword, and pistol and
dagger, an' all the rest, an' then away wid him on boord a man-a-war to
furrin parts, to fight for King George agin Bonyparty, that was great in
them times.

Well, it was very soon in everyone's mouth how Billy Malowney was batin'
all before him, astonishin' the ginerals, an frightenin' the inimy to
that degree, there was not a Frinchman dare say parley voo outside of
the rounds iv his camp.

You may be sure Molly was proud iv that same, though she never spoke a
word about it; until at last the news kem home that Billy Malowney was
surrounded an' murdered by the Frinch army, under Napoleon Bonyparty
himself. The news was brought by Jack Brynn Dhas, the peddlar, that said
he met the corporal iv the regiment on the quay iv Limerick, an' how he
brought him into a public-house and thrated him to a naggin, and got all
the news about poor Billy Malowney out iv him while they war dhrinkin'
it; an' a sorrowful story it was.

The way it happened, accordin' as the corporal tould him, was jist how
the Jook iv Wellington detarmined to fight a rale tarin' battle wid the
Frinch, and Bonyparty at the same time was aiqually detarmined to fight
the divil's own scrimmidge wid the British foorces.

Well, as soon as the business was pretty near ready at both sides,
Bonyparty and the general next undher himself gets up behind a bush, to
look at their inimies through spyglasses, and thry would they know any
iv them at the distance.

'Bedadad!' says the gineral, afther a divil iv a long spy, 'I'd bet half
a pint,' says he, 'that's Bill Malowney himself,' says he, 'down there,'
says he.

'Och!' says Bonypart, 'do you tell me so?' says he--'I'm fairly
heart-scalded with that same Billy Malowney,' says he; 'an' I think if I
was wanst shut iv him I'd bate the rest iv them aisy,' says he.

'I'm thinking so myself,' says the gineral, says he; 'but he's a tough
bye,' says he.

'Tough!' says Bonypart, 'he's the divil,' says he.

'Begorra, I'd be better plased.' says the gineral, says he, 'to take
himself than the Duke iv Willinton,' says he, 'an' Sir Edward Blakeney
into the bargain,' says he.

'The Duke of Wellinton and Gineral Blakeney,' says Bonypart, 'is great
for planning, no doubt,' says he; 'but Billy Malowney's the boy for
ACTION,' says he--'an' action's everything, just now,' says he.

So wid that Bonypart pushes up his cocked hat, and begins scratching his
head, and thinning and considherin' for the bare life, and at last says
he to the gineral:

'Gineral Commandher iv all the Foorces,' says he, 'I've hot it,' says
he: 'ordher out the forlorn hope,' says he, 'an' give them as much
powdher, both glazed and blasting,' says he, 'an' as much bullets do
ye mind, an' swan-dhrops an' chain-shot,' says he, 'an' all soorts iv
waipons an' combustables as they can carry; an' let them surround Bill
Malowney,' says he, 'an' if they can get any soort iv an advantage,'
says he, 'let them knock him to smithereens,' says he, 'an' then take
him presner,' says he; 'an' tell all the bandmen iv the Frinch army,'
says he, 'to play up "Garryowen," to keep up their sperits,' says he,
'all the time they're advancin'. An' you may promise them anything you
like in my name,' says he; for, by my sowl, I don't think its many iv
them 'ill come back to throuble us,' says he, winkin' at him.

So away with the gineral, an' he ordhers out the forlorn hope, all'
tells the band to play, an' everything else, just as Bonypart desired
him. An' sure enough, whin Billy Malowney heerd the music where he
was standin' taking a blast of the dhudheen to compose his mind for
murdherin' the Frinchmen as usual, being mighty partial to that tune
intirely, he cocks his ear a one side, an' down he stoops to listen to
the music; but, begorra, who should be in his rare all the time but a
Frinch grannideer behind a bush, and seeing him stooped in a convanient
forum, bedad he let flies at him sthraight, and fired him right forward
between the legs an' the small iv the back, glory be to God! with what
they call (saving your presence) a bum-shell.

Well, Bill Malowney let one roar out iv him, an' away he rowled over the
field iv battle like a slitther (as Bonypart and the Duke iv Wellington,
that was watching the manoeuvres from a distance, both consayved) into
glory.

An' sure enough the Frinch was overjoyed beyant all bounds, an' small
blame to them--an' the Duke of Wellington, I'm toult, was never all out
the same man sinst.

At any rate, the news kem home how Billy Malowney was murdhered by the
Frinch in furrin parts.

Well, all this time, you may be sure, there was no want iv boys comin'
to coort purty Molly Donovan; but one way ar another, she always
kept puttin' them off constant. An' though her father and mother was
nathurally anxious to get rid of her respickably, they did not like to
marry her off in spite iv her teeth.

An' this way, promising one while and puttin' it off another, she
conthrived to get on from one Shrove to another, until near seven years
was over and gone from the time when Billy Malowney listed for furrin
sarvice.

It was nigh hand a year from the time whin the news iv Leum-a-rinka
bein' killed by the Frinch came home, an' in place iv forgettin' him,
as the saisins wint over, it's what Molly was growin' paler and more
lonesome every day, antil the neighbours thought she was fallin' into a
decline; and this is the way it was with her whin the fair of Lisnamoe
kem round.

It was a beautiful evenin', just at the time iv the reapin' iv the oats,
and the sun was shinin' through the red clouds far away over the hills
iv Cahirmore.

Her father an' mother, an' the boys an' girls, was all away down in the
fair, and Molly Sittin' all alone on the step of the stile, listening
to the foolish little birds whistlin' among the leaves--and the sound of
the mountain-river flowin' through the stones an' bushes--an' the crows
flyin' home high overhead to the woods iv Glinvarlogh--an' down in the
glen, far away, she could see the fair-green iv Lisnamoe in the mist,
an' sunshine among the grey rocks and threes--an' the cows an' the
horses, an' the blue frieze, an' the red cloaks, an' the tents, an'
the smoke, an' the ould round tower--all as soft an' as sorrowful as a
dhrame iv ould times.

An' while she was looking this way, an' thinking iv Leum-a-rinka--poor
Bill iv the dance, that was sleepin' in his lonesome glory in the fields
iv Spain--she began to sing the song he used to like so well in the ould
times--

          'Shule, shule, shale a-roon;'

an' when she ended the verse, what do you think but she heard a manly
voice just at the other side iv the hedge, singing the last words over
again!

Well she knew it; her heart flutthered up like a little bird that id
be wounded, and then dhropped still in her breast. It was himself. In a
minute he was through the hedge and standing before her.

'Leum!' says she.

'Mavourneen cuishla machree!' says he; and without another word they
were locked in one another's arms.

Well, it id only be nansinse for me thryin' an' tell ye all the foolish
things they said, and how they looked in one another's faces, an'
laughed, an' cried, an' laughed again; and how, when they came to
themselves, and she was able at last to believe it was raly Billy
himself that was there, actially holdin' her hand, and lookin' in her
eyes the same way as ever, barrin' he was browner and boulder, an' did
not, maybe, look quite as merry in himself as he used to do in former
times--an' fondher for all, an' more lovin' than ever--how he tould her
all about the wars wid the Frinchmen--an' how he was wounded, and left
for dead in the field iv battle, bein' shot through the breast, and how
he was discharged, an' got a pinsion iv a full shillin' a day--and
how he was come back to liv the rest iv his days in the sweet glen iv
Lisnamoe, an' (if only SHE'D consint) to marry herself in spite iv them
all.

Well, ye may aisily think they had plinty to talk about, afther seven
years without once seein' one another; and so signs on, the time flew by
as swift an' as pleasant as a bird on the wing, an' the sun wint down,
an' the moon shone sweet an' soft instead, an' they two never knew a
ha'porth about it, but kept talkin' an' whisperin', an' whisperin' an'
talkin'; for it's wondherful how often a tinder-hearted girl will bear
to hear a purty boy tellin' her the same story constant over an' over;
ontil at last, sure enough, they heerd the ould man himself comin' up
the boreen, singin' the 'Colleen Rue'--a thing he never done barrin'
whin he had a dhrop in; an' the misthress walkin' in front iv him, an'
two illigant Kerry cows he just bought in the fair, an' the sarvint boys
dhriving them behind.

'Oh, blessed hour!' says Molly, 'here's my father.'

'I'll spake to him this minute,' says Bill.

'Oh, not for the world,' says she; 'he's singin' the "Colleen Rue,"'
says she, 'and no one dar raison with him,' says she.

'An' where 'll I go, thin?' says he, 'for they're into the haggard an
top iv us,' says he, 'an' they'll see me iv I lep through the hedge,'
says he.

'Thry the pig-sty,' says she, 'mavourneen,' says she, 'in the name iv
God,' says she.

'Well, darlint,' says he, 'for your sake,' says he, 'I'll condescend to
them animals,' says he.

An' wid that he makes a dart to get in; bud, begorra, it was too
late--the pigs was all gone home, and the pig-sty was as full as the
Burr coach wid six inside.

'Och! blur-an'-agers,' says he, 'there is not room for a suckin'-pig,'
says he, 'let alone a Christian,' says he.

'Well, run into the house, Billy,' says she, 'this minute,' says she,
'an' hide yourself antil they're quiet,' says she, 'an' thin you can
steal out,' says she, 'anknownst to them all,' says she.

'I'll do your biddin', says he, 'Molly asthore,' says he.

'Run in thin,' says she, 'an' I'll go an' meet them,' says she.

So wid that away wid her, and in wint Billy, an' where 'id he hide
himself bud in a little closet that was off iv the room where the ould
man and woman slep'. So he closed the doore, and sot down in an ould
chair he found there convanient.

Well, he was not well in it when all the rest iv them comes into the
kitchen, an' ould Tim Donovan singin' the 'Colleen Rue' for the bare
life, an' the rest iv them sthrivin' to humour him, and doin' exactly
everything he bid them, because they seen he was foolish be the manes iv
the liquor.

Well, to be sure all this kep' them long enough, you may be sure, from
goin' to bed, so that Billy could get no manner iv an advantage to get
out iv the house, and so he sted sittin' in the dark closet in state,
cursin' the 'Colleen Rue,' and wondherin' to the divil whin they'd get
the ould man into his bed. An', as if that was not delay enough,
who should come in to stop for the night but Father O'Flaherty, of
Cahirmore, that was buyin' a horse at the fair! An' av course, there was
a bed to be med down for his raverence, an' some other attintions; an' a
long discoorse himself an' ould Mrs. Donovan had about the slaughter iv
Billy Malowney, an' how he was buried on the field iv battle; an' his
raverence hoped he got a dacent funeral, an' all the other convaniences
iv religion. An' so you may suppose it was pretty late in the night
before all iv them got to their beds.

Well, Tim Donovan could not settle to sleep at all at all, an' so
he kep' discoorsin' the wife about the new cows he bought, an' the
stripphers he sould, an' so an for better than an hour, ontil from one
thing to another he kem to talk about the pigs, an' the poulthry; and
at last, having nothing betther to discoorse about, he begun at his
daughter Molly, an' all the heartscald she was to him be raison iv
refusin' the men. An' at last says he:

'I onderstand,' says he, 'very well how it is,' says he. 'It's how she
was in love,' says he, 'wid that bliggard, Billy Malowney,' says he,
'bad luck to him!' says he; for by this time he was coming to his
raison.

'Ah!' says the wife, says she, 'Tim darlint, don't be cursin' them
that's dead an' buried,' says she.

'An' why would not I,' says he, 'if they desarve it?' says he.

'Whisht,' says she, 'an' listen to that,' says she. 'In the name of the
Blessed Vargin,' says she, 'what IS it?' says she.

An' sure enough what was it but Bill Malowney that was dhroppin' asleep
in the closet, an' snorin' like a church organ.

'Is it a pig,' says he, 'or is it a Christian?'

'Arra! listen to the tune iv it,' says she; 'sure a pig never done the
like is that,' says she.

'Whatever it is,' says he, 'it's in the room wid us,' says he. 'The Lord
be marciful to us!' says he.

'I tould you not to be cursin',' says she; 'bad luck to you,' says she,
'for an ommadhaun!' for she was a very religious woman in herself.

'Sure, he's buried in Spain,' says he; 'an' it is not for one little
innocent expression,' says he, 'he'd be comin' all that a way to annoy
the house,' says he.

Well, while they war talkin', Bill turns in the way he was sleepin'
into an aisier imposture; and as soon as he stopped snorin' ould Tim
Donovan's courage riz agin, and says he:

'I'll go to the kitchen,' says he, 'an' light a rish,' says he.

An' with that away wid him, an' the wife kep' workin' the beads all the
time, an' before he kem back Bill was snorin' as loud as ever.

'Oh! bloody wars--I mane the blessed saints about us!--that deadly
sound,' says he; 'it's going on as lively as ever,' says he.

'I'm as wake as a rag,' says his wife, says she, 'wid the fair
anasiness,' says she. 'It's out iv the little closet it's comin,' says
she.

'Say your prayers,' says he, 'an' hould your tongue,' says he, 'while
I discoorse it,' says he. 'An' who are ye,' says he, 'in the name iv of
all the holy saints?' says he, givin' the door a dab iv a crusheen that
wakened Bill inside. 'I ax,' says he, 'who are you?' says he.

Well, Bill did not rightly remember where in the world he was, but he
pushed open the door, an' says he:

'Billy Malowney's my name,' says he, 'an' I'll thank ye to tell me a
betther,' says he.

Well, whin Tim Donovan heard that, an' actially seen that it was Bill
himself that was in it, he had not strength enough to let a bawl out iv
him, but he dhropt the candle out iv his hand, an' down wid himself on
his back in the dark.

Well, the wife let a screech you'd hear at the mill iv Killraghlin,
an'--

'Oh,' says she, 'the spirit has him, body an' bones!' says she. 'Oh,
holy St. Bridget--oh, Mother iv Marcy--oh, Father O'Flaherty!' says she,
screechin' murdher from out iv her bed.

Well, Bill Malowney was not a minute remimberin' himself, an' so out wid
him quite an' aisy, an' through the kitchen; bud in place iv the door
iv the house, it's what he kem to the door iv Father O'Flaherty's little
room, where he was jist wakenin' wid the noise iv the screechin' an'
battherin'; an' bedad, Bill makes no more about it, but he jumps, wid
one boult, clever an' clane into his raverance's bed.

'What do ye mane, you uncivilised bliggard?' says his raverance. 'Is
that a venerable way,' says he, 'to approach your clargy?' says he.

'Hould your tongue,' says Bill, 'an' I'll do ye no harum,' says he.

'Who are you, ye scoundhrel iv the world?' says his raverance.

'Whisht!' says he? 'I'm Billy Malowney,' says he.

'You lie!' says his raverance for he was frightened beyont all
bearin'--an' he makes but one jump out iv the bed at the wrong side,
where there was only jist a little place in the wall for a press,
an' his raverance could not as much as turn in it for the wealth iv
kingdoms. 'You lie,' says he; 'but for feared it's the truth you're
tellin',' says he, 'here's at ye in the name iv all the blessed saints
together!' says he.

An' wid that, my dear, he blazes away at him wid a Latin prayer iv the
strongest description, an', as he said himself afterwards, that was iv
a nature that id dhrive the divil himself up the chimley like a puff iv
tobacky smoke, wid his tail betune his legs.

'Arra, what are ye sthrivin' to say,' says Bill; says he, 'if ye don't
hould your tongue,' says he, 'wid your parly voo;' says he, 'it's what
I'll put my thumb on your windpipe,' says he, 'an' Billy Malowney never
wint back iv his word yet,' says he.

'Thundher-an-owns,' says his raverance, says he--seein' the Latin took
no infect on him, at all at all an' screechin' that you'd think he'd
rise the thatch up iv the house wid the fair fright--'and thundher and
blazes, boys, will none iv yes come here wid a candle, but lave your
clargy to be choked by a spirit in the dark?' says he.

Well, be this time the sarvint boys and the rest iv them wor up an' half
dressed, an' in they all run, one on top iv another, wid pitchforks and
spades, thinkin' it was only what his raverence slep' a dhrame iv the
like, by means of the punch he was afther takin' just before he rowl'd
himself into the bed. But, begorra, whin they seen it was raly Bill
Malowney himself that was in it, it was only who'd be foremost out
agin, tumblin' backways, one over another, and his raverence roarin' an'
cursin' them like mad for not waitin' for him.

Well, my dear, it was betther than half an hour before Billy Malowney
could explain to them all how it raly was himself, for begorra they were
all iv them persuadin' him that he was a spirit to that degree it's a
wondher he did not give in to it, if it was only to put a stop to the
argiment.

Well, his raverence tould the ould people then, there was no use in
sthrivin' agin the will iv Providence an' the vagaries iv love united;
an' whin they kem to undherstand to a sartinty how Billy had a shillin'
a day for the rest iv his days, begorra they took rather a likin'
to him, and considhered at wanst how he must have riz out of all his
nansinse entirely, or his gracious Majesty id never have condescinded
to show him his countenance that way every day of his life, on a silver
shillin'.

An' so, begorra, they never stopt till it was all settled--an' there was
not sich a weddin' as that in the counthry sinst. It's more than forty
years ago, an' though I was no more nor a gossoon myself, I remimber it
like yestherday. Molly never looked so purty before, an' Billy Malowney
was plisant beyont all hearin,' to that degree that half the girls in it
was fairly tarin' mad--only they would not let on--they had not him
to themselves in place iv her. An' begorra I'd be afeared to tell ye,
because you would not believe me, since that blessid man Father Mathew
put an end to all soorts of sociality, the Lord reward him, how many
gallons iv pottieen whisky was dhrank upon that most solemn and tindher
occasion.

Pat Hanlon, the piper, had a faver out iv it; an' Neddy Shawn Heigue,
mountin' his horse the wrong way, broke his collarbone, by the manes
iv fallin' over his tail while he was feelin' for his head; an' Payther
Brian, the horse-docther, I am tould, was never quite right in the head
ever afther; an' ould Tim Donovan was singin' the 'Colleen Rue' night
and day for a full week; an' begorra the weddin' was only the foundation
iv fun, and the beginning iv divarsion, for there was not a year for ten
years afther, an' more, but brought round a christenin' as regular as
the sasins revarted.





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