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Title: My Lords of Strogue, Vol. I (of III) - A Chronicle of Ireland, from the Convention  to the Union
Author: Wingfield, Lewis
Language: 
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                         MY LORDS OF STROGUE.



                         MY LORDS OF STROGUE.


             _A CHRONICLE OF IRELAND, FROM THE CONVENTION
                            TO THE UNION_.



                                  BY

                        HON. LEWIS WINGFIELD,

                    AUTHOR OF 'LADY GRIZEL,' ETC.



                          IN THREE VOLUMES.

                               VOL. I.



                               LONDON:

                       RICHARD BENTLEY AND SON,

           Publishers in Ordinary to Her Majesty the Queen.

                                1879.

                       [_All Rights Reserved_.]



           'God of Peace! before Thee
              Peaceful here we kneel,
            Humbly to implore Thee
              For a nation's weal.
            Calm her sons' dissensions,
              Bid their discord cease,
            End their mad contentions--
              Hear us, God of Peace!'
                  (_Spirit of the Nation_.)



                                  TO

                               E. W. B.

                        I inscribe this Book

                             IN MEMORY OF

                         A CLOSE FRIENDSHIP.



                        CONTENTS OF VOL. I.


   CHAPTER

         I. MIRAGE.

        II. RETROSPECT.

       III. SHADOWS.

        IV. BANISHMENT.

         V. STROGUE ABBEY.

        VI. MY LADY'S PROJECT.

       VII. TRINITY.

      VIII. CAIN AND ABEL.

        IX. THE PRIORY.

         X. LOVES AND DOVES?

        XI. STORMY WEATHER.

       XII. A MOTHER'S WILES.



                         MY LORDS OF STROGUE.



                              CHAPTER I.

                               MIRAGE.

   'Hurrah! 'tis done--our freedom's won--hurrah for the Volunteers!

   By arms we've got the rights we sought through long and wretched
        years.

   Remember still through good and ill how vain were prayers and
        tears--

   How vain were words till flashed the swords of the Irish
        Volunteers.'


So sang all Dublin in a delirium of triumph on the 9th of November,
1783. From the dawn of day joy-bells had rung jocund peals; rich
tapestries and silken folds of green and orange had swayed from every
balcony; citizens in military garb, with green cockades, had silently
clasped one another's hands as they met in the street. There was no
need for speech. One thought engrossed every mind; one common
sacrifice of thanksgiving rolled up to heaven. For Ireland had fought
her bloodless fight, had shaken off the yoke of England, and was
free--at last!

The capital was crowded with armed men and bravely-bedizened dames.
Carriages, gay with emblazoned panels, blocked up the narrow
thoroughfares, darkened to twilight-pitch by the boughs and garlands
that festooned the overhanging eaves. Noddies and whiskies and sedans,
bedecked with wreaths and ribbons, jostled one another into the
gutter. Troops of horse, splendidly accoutred--officers mounted upon
noble hunters--clattered hither and thither, crushing country folk
against mire-stained walls and tattered booths, where victuals were
dispensed, without so much as a 'By your leave.' Strangers, arrived
but now from across Channel, marvelled at the spectacle, as they
marked the signs of widespread luxury--the strange mingling of
the pomp and circumstance of war with the panoply of peace--the
palaces--the gorgeously-attired ladies in semi-martial garb, swinging
up and down Dame Street in gilded chairs between the Castle and the
Senate House, and back again--dressed, some of them, in broidered
uniforms, some in rich satin and brocade. Sure the homely court of
Farmer George in London could not compare in splendour, or in female
beauty either, with that of his Viceroy here.

A stranger could perceive at once that some important ceremony was
afoot, for all along the leading streets long galleries had been
erected, decorated each with sumptuous hangings, crowded since
daybreak with a living burthen; while every window showed its freight
of faces, every row of housetops its sea of heads. From the Castle to
Trinity College (where a huge green banner waved) the road was lined
with troops in brand-new uniforms of every cut and colour--scarlet
edged with black, blue lined with buff, white turned up with red,
black piped with grey; while the stately colonnades of the Parliament
House over against the College were guarded by the Barristers'
Grenadiers, a picked body of stalwart fellows who looked in their tall
caps like giants, with muskets slung and bright battle-axes on their
shoulders. King William's effigy, emblem of bitter feuds, was in gala
attire to-day, as if to suggest that rival creeds were met for once in
amity. Newly painted white, the Protestant joss towered above the
crowd, draped in an orange cloak, crowned with orange lilies; while
his horse was muffled thick with orange scarves and streamers, and
wore a huge collar of white ribbons tied about his neck. Placards
inscribed with legends in large characters were suspended from the
pedestal to remind the cits for what they were rejoicing. 'A Glorious
Revolution!' 'A Free Country!' One bigger than the rest swung in the
breeze, announcing to the few who as yet knew it not, that 'The
Volunteers, having overturned a cadaverous Repeal, will now effectuate
a Real Representation of the People!' Yes. That was why Dublin was
come out into the streets. The victorious Volunteers had untied the
Irish Ixion from a torture-wheel of centuries, and, encouraged by
their first success, were preparing now to pass a stern judgment on a
venal parliament.

From the period of her annexation to England in the twelfth century,
down to the close of the seventeenth, Ireland had been barbarous and
restless; too feeble and disunited to shake off her shackles, too
proud and too exasperated to despair, alternating in dreary sequence
between wild exertions of delirious strength and the troubled sleep of
exhausted fury. But that was over now. The chain was snapped; and the
first vengeance of the sons who had freed her was to be poured on the
senate who were pensioners of Britain; who had sold their conscience
for a price, their honour for a wage. A grand Convention was to be
opened this day at the Rotunda, from which special delegates would be
despatched to Lords and Commons, demanding in the name of Ireland an
account of a neglected stewardship. No wonder that the populace,
dazzled by an unexpected triumph, were come out with joy to see the
sight. Light-hearted, despite their sorrows, the Irish are only too
ready to be jubilant. But there were some looking down from out the
windows who shook their heads in doubt. The scene was bright, though
the November day was overcast--pretty and picturesque, vastly engaging
to the eye. So also is a skull wreathed with flowers, provided that
the blossoms are strewn with lavish hand. These croakers were fain to
admit that the Volunteers had done wonders. The prestige of victory
was theirs. Yet is it a task hedged round with peril--the wholesale
upsetting of powers that be. It was not likely that England would
tamely give up her prey. She was ready to take advantage of a slip.
Ireland had cause to be aware of this; but Ireland thought fit to
forget it. A fig for England! she was a turnip-spectre illumined by a
rushlight. A new era was dawning. Even the schisms of party-bigotry
had yielded for a moment to the common weal. Catholics and Protestants
had exchanged the kiss of Judas; and Dublin resigned herself to
sottish conviviality.

Hark! The thunder of artillery. The first procession is on its way. It
is that of the Viceroy, who, attended by as many peers as he can
muster, will solemnly protest against the new-fledged insolence of a
domineering soldiery who dare to set their house in order and sweep
away the cobwebs. He will make a pompous progress round the promenade
of Stephen's Green; thence by the chief streets and quays to King
William's statue, where he will gravely descend from his equipage and
bow to the Protestant Juggernaut. This awful ceremony over, he will
walk on foot to the House of Lords hard-by, and the holiday-makers
will be stricken with repentant terror. He has his private suspicions
upon this subject though--a secret dread of the mob and of the College
lads of Trinity; for rumour whispers that the wild youths will make a
raid on him, and they have an ugly way of running-a-muck with
bludgeons and heavy stones sewn in their hanging sleeves. So he has
taken his precautions by establishing about the statue a bodyguard--a
cordon of trusty troops--whose aggressive band has been braying since
daybreak 'Protestant Boys,' 'God save the King,' and 'King William
over the water.'

But the undergraduates are too much occupied at present in struggling
for seats within the Commons to trouble about the English Viceroy. For
the heads of the Convention are to arrive in state, and Colonel
Grattan, it is said, will appear in person to impeach the Assembly of
which he is a member. Their gallery is crammed to suffocation. Peers'
sons with gold-braided gowns occupy the bench in front, silver-braided
baronets crowd in behind. Peeresses too there are in their own place
opposite, like a bevy of macaws. A sprinkling only; for most of the
ladies, caring more for show than politics, prefer a window at Daly's
club-house next door, where members drop in from time to time by their
private passage to gossip a little and taste a dish of tea, while
their wives enjoy the humours of the crowd and ogle the patriot
soldiers.

What is that? A crack of musketry; a _feu de joie_, which tells that
the second procession has started; that my lord of Derry is on his way
to the Rotunda. And what a grand Bashaw he is, this Earl of Bristol
and Bishop of Derry, who, more Irish than the Irish, has thrown
himself heart and soul into their cause! There is little doubt of his
popularity, for yells rend the air as he goes by, and hats are tossed
up, and men clamber on his carriage. It is as much as his outriders
can do to force aside the throng. A magnificent Bashaw entirely, with
a right royal following. A prince of the Church as well as a grandee;
handsome and _débonaire_; robed from top to toe in purple silk, with
diamond buttons and gold fringe about the sleeves, and monster tassels
depending from each wrist. A troop of light cavalry goes before,
followed by a bodyguard of parsons--dashing young sparks in
cauliflower wigs. Then some five or six coaches wheeze along. Then
comes my lord himself in an open landau, bowing to left and right,
kissing his finger-tips to the peeresses at Daly's; and after him more
Volunteers on magnificent horses and a complete rookery of clergy. He
turns the corner of the House of Lords, and in front of its portico in
Westmoreland Street cries a halt, to gaze with satisfaction for a
moment on the broad straight vista of what now is Sackville Street,
which has opened suddenly before him. As far as eye may reach--away to
the Rotunda--are two long lines of gallant horsemen in all the nodding
bravery of plumes and pennons--a selected squadron of Volunteers which
consists wholly of private gentlemen--the pride and flower of the
National Army.

When the cavalcade stops there is a stir among the peeresses, for they
cannot see round the corner, and are much disgusted by the fact. A
clangour of trumpets wakes the echoes of the corridors. My lords have
just finished prayers, and, marvelling at the strange flourish, run in
a body to the entrance. The Volunteers present arms, the bishop bows
his powdered head, while a smile of triumphant vanity curls the corner
of his lip, and he gives the order to proceed. The lords stand
shamefaced and uneasy while the people hoot at them, and the bishop's
procession--with new shouts and acclamations--crawls slowly on its
way.

One of the attendant carriages has detached itself from the line and
comes to a stand at Daly's. Its suite divide the mob with blows from
their long canes. Two running footmen in amber silk, two pages in
hunting-caps and scarlet tunics, twelve mounted liverymen with
coronets upon their backs. The coach-door is flung open, and a
dissipated person, looking older than his years, emerges thence, and
throwing largesse to the crowd, goes languidly upstairs to join the
ladies.

It is my Lord Glandore of Strogue and Ennishowen, and the party up at
the window to which he nods is his family. That tall refined lady of
forty or thereabouts who acknowledges by a cold bow his lordship's
careless salute is the Countess of Glandore (mark her well; for we
shall see much of her). She has a high nose, thin lips, a querulous
expression, and a quantity of built-up hair which shows tawny through
its powder. She will remind you of Zucchero's portrait of Queen Bess.
There is the same uncompromising mouth and pinched nostril, colourless
face and haughty brow. You will wonder whether she is a bad woman or
one who has suffered much; whether the wealth amid which she lives has
hardened her, or whether troubles kept at bay by pride have darkened
the daylight in her eyes. Stay! as your attention is turned to them
you will be struck by their haggard weariness. If she is addressed
suddenly their pupils dilate with a movement of fear. She sighs too at
times--a tired sigh like Lady Macbeth's, as though a weight were laid
on her too heavy for those aristocratic shoulders to endure. What is
it that frets my lady's spirit? It cannot be my lord's unfaithfulness
(though truly he's a sad rake), for this happy pair settled long since
to pursue each a solitary road. Neither can it be the carking care of
money troubles, such as afflict so many Irish nobles, for all the
world knows that my Lord Glandore--the Pirate Earl, as he is
called--is immensely wealthy, possessing a hoary old abbey which has
dipped its feet in Dublin Bay for ages, and vast estates in Derry and
Donegal, away in the far north.

Why the Pirate Earl? Because both his houses are on the sea; because
his claret, which is of the best and poured forth like water, is
brought in his own yacht from the Isle of Man, without troubling the
excise; because the founder of the family--Sir Amorey Crosbie, who
dislodged the Danes in 1177--was a pirate by calling; and because the
Crosbies of Glandore have dutifully exhibited piratical proclivities
ever since. Not that the present earl looks like a sea-faring
evil-doer, with his sallow effeminate countenance and coquettish
uniform. He is a high-bred, highly-polished, devil-may-care, reckless
Irish peer, who, at a moment's notice, would pink his enemy in the
street, or beat the watch, or bait a bull, or set a main of cocks
a-spurring, or wrong a wench, or break his neck over a stone wall from
sheer bravado--after the lively fashion of his order at the period.
Before he came into the title he was known as fighting Crosbie. The
tales told of his vagaries would set your humdrum modern hair on
end--of how he pistolled his whipper-in because he lost a fox, and
then set about preparing an islet of his on the Atlantic for a siege;
of how he sent my Lord North a douceur of five thousand pounds as the
price of pardon, and reappeared in Dublin as a hero; of how, when the
earldom fell to him, he settled down by eloping with Miss Wolfe, or
rather by carrying her off _vi et armis_, as was the amiable habit of
young bloods. It was a singular Irish custom, since happily exploded,
that of winning a bride by force, as the Sabine maidens were won. Yet
it obtained in many parts of Ireland by general consent till the
middle of the eighteenth century. Abduction clubs existed whose object
was the counteracting of unjust freaks of fortune by tying up
heiresses to penniless sparks. Some of the young ladies (notably the
two celebrated Misses Kennedy) objected to the process, while most of
them found in the prospect of it a pleasing excitement. Irish girls
have always had a spice of the devil in them. It is not surprising
that they should have looked kindly upon men who risked life and
liberty for their sweet sakes.

Lord Glandore followed the prevailing fashion, carried off Miss Wolfe
to his wild isle in Donegal, and society said it was well done. She
was no heiress, but that too was well, for my lord was rich enough for
both. The parson of Letterkenny was summoned to the islet to tie the
knot (it was unmodish for persons of quality to be married in a
church), and a year later the twain returned to the metropolis, with a
baby heir and every prospect of future happiness. But somehow there
was a gulf between them. Young, rich, worshipped, they were not happy.
My lord went back to his old ways--drinking, hunting, fighting,
wenching--my lady moped. Six years later another son was born to them,
whose advent, strange to say, instead of being a blessing, was a
curse, and divided the ill-assorted pair still further. Each shrined a
son as special favourite, my lord taking to his bosom the younger,
Terence--whilst my lady doted with a hungry love upon the elder,
Shane. My lord, out of perversity maybe, swore that Shane was stupid
and viciously inclined, unworthy to inherit the honours of Sir Amorey.
My lady, spiteful perchance through heartache, devoured her darling
with embraces, adored the ground he trod on, kissed in private the
baby stockings he had outgrown, the toys he had thrown aside; and
seemed to grudge the younger one the very meat which nourished him.
This hint given, you can mark how the case stands as my lord enters
the upper room at Daly's. Shane, a handsome, delicate youth, far up in
his teens, retires nervously behind his mother, whilst Terence, a
chubby child of twelve, runs forward with a shout to search his
father's pocket for good things. What a pity, you think no doubt, for
a family to whom fortune has been so generous to be divided in so
singular a manner.

'What!' cries my lord, as, laughing, he tosses the lad into the air.
'More comfits? No, no. They'd ruin thy pretty teeth, to say nothing of
thy stomach. Go play with mammy's bayonet. By-and-by thou shalt have
sword and pistol of thine own--aye, and a horse to ride--a dozen of
them!' And the boy, without fear, obeys the odd behest, for he knows
that in his father's presence my lady dares not chide him, albeit she
makes no pretence of love. He takes the dainty weapon from its sheath
and makes passes at his big brother with it; for my Lady Glandore,
like many another patriotic peeress, wears a toy-bayonet at her side,
just as she wears the scarlet jacket piped with black of her husband's
regiment, the high black stock, and a headdress resembling its helmet.

Let us survey the remaining members of the family. The little girl,
who looks unmoved out of great brown eyes at the glancing weapon's
sheen, is first cousin to the boys; daughter of my lady's brother,
honest Arthur Wolfe, who, leaning against the casement, smiles down
upon the crowd. He is, folks say, a lawyer of promise, though not
gifted. Rumour even whispers that if Fitzgibbon should become lord
chancellor, Mr. Wolfe would succeed to the post of attorney-general.
Not by reason of his talents, for Arthur, though plodding and upright,
can never hope to hold his own at the Irish Bar by his wits. There are
too many resin torches about for his horn lantern to make much show.
But then you see he is of gentle blood, and influence is of more
practical worth than talent. His sister, who loves him fondly, is
Countess of Glandore, which fact may be counted unto him as equivalent
to much cleverness. He knows that he is not bright, and is honest
enough to revere in others the genius which is denied to himself. That
is the reason why, not heeding my lord's entrance, he bows eagerly to
somebody in the street, and bids his little daughter kiss her hand and
nod.

My lady, to avoid looking at her husband, follows his eyes and
exclaims, with a contraction of her brows:

'Good heavens, Arthur! who in the world's your friend? He looks like a
grimy monkey in beggar's rags! Sure you can't know the scarecrow?'

'That is one of the cleverest men in Dublin,' returns her brother.
'He'll make a show some day. Even the arrogant Fitzgibbon, before
whose eye the Viceroy quails, is afraid of that dirty little man. That
is John Philpot Curran, M.P. for Kilbeggan, who has just taken silk.
The staunchest, worthiest, wittiest, ugliest lawyer in all Ireland.'

'Curran!' echoed my lord with curiosity; 'I've heard of him. He dared
t'other day to flout Fitzgibbon himself in parliament, and the ceiling
didn't crumble. Let's have him up; he may divert us.'

But Curran took no heed of Arthur's beckoning. He knew that his
exterior was homely, and moreover liked not the society of lords and
ladies. Born of the lower class, he loved them for their sufferings,
identified himself with their wrongs, and was wont frequently to say
that 'twixt the nobles and the people there was an impassable abyss.
Besides, though brave as a lion, he respected his skin somewhat, and
knew that my lord was as likely as not to prod him with a rapier-point
if he ventured on a sally which was beyond his aristocratic
comprehension. Turning, therefore, to a young man who was his
companion, he whispered:

'Let us be off, Theobald. The likes of us are too humble for such
company,' and was making good his retreat, when he heard the imperious
voice shout out:

'Bring him here, I say--some of you--shoeblacks, chairmen,
somebody--or by the Hokey ye'll taste of my rascal-thrasher.'

Then, amused at the conceit of being summoned like a lackey, he
shrugged his round shoulders, and saying, 'Isn't it wondrous,
Theobald, how these spoilt pets of fortune rule us!' turned into
Daly's with his comrade, and was ushered up the stairs.

Mr. Wolfe gave a hand to each of the new-comers, and presented them to
his sister. 'Mr. Curran's name is sufficient passport to your favour,'
he said, in his gentle way. 'This young man is my godson and
_protégé_, also at the bar--Theobald Wolfe Tone;' then added in a
whisper, 'son of the coach-maker of whom you have heard me speak. A
stout-souled young fellow, if a trifle hotheaded and romantic.'

All the peeresses turned from the windows to look at Mr. Curran, whose
boldness in asserting popular views was bringing him steadily to the
front, while his intimacy with Grattan (the popular hero) caused him
to be treated with a respect which his mean aspect hardly warranted.
In person he was short, thin, ungraceful. His complexion had the same
muddy tinge which distinguished Dean Swift's, and his hair lay in
ragged masses of jet black about his square brows, unrestrained by bow
or ribbon. His features were coarse and heavy in repose, but when
thought illumined his humorous eye there was a sudden gush of mind
into his countenance which dilated every fibre with the glow of sacred
fire. As a companion he was unrivalled both as wit and _raconteur_,
which may account for my lord's sudden whim of civility to the
low-born advocate; but there was also a profound undercurrent of
melancholy (deeper than that which is common to all Irishmen) which
seemed to tell prophetically of those terrible nights and days, as yet
on the dim horizon of coming years, when he should wrestle hand to
hand with Moloch for the blood of his victims till sweat would pour
down his forehead and his soul would faint with despair. By God's
mercy the future is a closed book to us; and Curran knew not the agony
which lay in wait for him, though even now he was suspicious of the
joy that intoxicated Dublin.

'Well, gentlemen,' remarked his lordship, amiably; 'this is a glorious
day for Ireland, is it not? Her sons have united. She stands redeemed
and disenthralled. The work is nearly finished. Thanks to Mr. Grattan
and the Bishop of Derry, we are once more a nation. I vow it is a
pretty sight.'

'How long will it last?' asked Curran, with a dubious headshake. 'That
gorgeous bishop is a charlatan, I fear. We're only a ladder in his
hand, to be kicked over by-and-by. All this is hollow, for in the
hubbub the real danger is forgotten.'

'To unwind a wrong knit up through many centuries is no easy matter,'
assented Arthur Wolfe.

'It's done with, and there's an end of it,' decided his lordship, who
was not good at argument. 'If the parliament submits with grace to the
new _régime_, then we shall have all we want.'

'There's the Penal Code still,' returned Curran, shaking his head,
while Theobald, his young companion, sighed. 'Four-fifths of the
nation remains in slavery. The accursed Penal Code stands yet, with
menace at the cradle of the Catholic, with threats at his bridal bed,
with triumph beside his coffin. I can hardly expect your lordship to
join in my indignation, for you are a member of the Protestant
Englishry, and as such look with contempt on such as we. The relation
of the victorious minority to the vanquished majority remains as
disgracefully the same as ever. It is that of the first William's
followers to the Saxon churls, of the cohorts of Cortès to the Indians
of Peru. Depend upon it, that till the Catholics are emancipated from
their serfdom there can be no real peace for Ireland.'

Theobald, whom his godfather had charged with a tendency to romance,
here blurted out with the self-sufficiency of youth, 'United! of
course not. How can a work stand which will benefit the few and; not
the many? This movement is for a faction, not for a people. Look at
that statue there, with the idiots marching round it! It is the
accepted symbol of a persecution as vile as any that disgraced the
Inquisition! I'd like to drag it down. It's a Juggernaut that has
crushed our spirit out. The Volunteers have set us free, have they?
Yet no Catholic may carry arms, no Catholic may hold a post more
important than that of village rat-catcher; no Catholic may publicly
receive the first rudiments of education. If he knows how to read he
has picked up his learning under a hedge, in fear and trembling; he's
on the level of the beast; yet has he a soul as we have, and is,
besides, the original possessor of the soil!'

The young man (pale-faced he was, and slight of build) stopped
abruptly and turned red, for my lady's look was fixed on him with
undisguised displeasure.

'I beg pardon,' he stammered, 'but I feel strongly----'

'Are you a Roman Catholic?' she asked.

'No,' replied her brother for him, as he patted the scapegrace on the
shoulder. 'But he is bitten with a mania to become a champion of the
oppressed. He has written burning pamphlets, which, though I cannot
quite approve of them, I am bound to confess have merit.'

'That have they!' said Curran, warmly. 'The enthusiasm's there, and
the cause is good. But if a man would sleep on roses he had best leave
it alone, for anguish will be the certain portion of him who'd fight
the Penal Code. Modern patriotism consists too much of eating and
drinking and fine clothes to be of real worth.'

'I believe you are too convivially disposed to object to a good
dinner!' laughed Lord Glandore. 'There's a power of cant in these
patriotic views. As regards us Englishry, the inferiority of our
numbers is more than compensated by commanding vigour and
organisation. It's a law of nature that a weak vessel should give way
before a strong one. History tells us that our ancestors, the English
colonists, sturdy to begin with, were compelled by their position to
cultivate energy and perseverance, while the aborigines never worked
till they felt the pangs of hunger, and were content to lie down in
the straw beside their cattle. The Catholics are the helot class. Let
them prove themselves worthy of consideration if they can.'

'The Irish Catholics of ability,' returned the neophyte, 'are at
Versailles or Ildefonso, driven from here long since.'

'False reasoning, my lord,' said doughty Curran. 'The "Englishry," as
you call them, are the servants of England. Their interests are the
same, because England pays them well. How can a nation's limbs obey
her will if it is weighed to the earth by gyves? First knock off the
irons, then bid her stand upon her feet. As the boy says, folks are
too fond of prancing round that statue. I don't myself see a way out
of the darkness. Why should it not be given to him, and such as he, to
lead us from the labyrinth?'

My lord wished he had not summoned these low persons. Before he could
reply the young man said sadly:

'What can a lawyer do but prose?'

And Arthur Wolfe, perceiving a storm brewing, cried out with nervous
merriment:

'What! harping on the old string, Theobald? Still pining for a
military frock and helmet? Boy, boy! Look at the pageant that is
spread before our eyes. The triumph of this day is due to its
bloodlessness. This grand array would not disgrace its cloth, I'm
sure, in the battle; but happily success has been achieved by moral
force alone. Right is might with the Volunteers. May their swords
never leave their scabbards!'

'You cannot deny,' persisted the froward youth, 'that yonder
battalions would be a grander sight if they really represented the
nation without regard to creed--if, for example, every other man among
them was a Catholic!'

My lord looked cross, my lady black as thunder, so Wolfe, the
peacemaker, struck in again as he twisted his fingers in his little
daughter's curls.

'I agree that it is monstrous,' he said, with hesitation, 'that three
million men with souls should be plough-horses for conscience' sake.
In these days it's a scandal. Sister, you must admit that. Perhaps we
are entering on a better time. A reformed parliament, if you can get
it, will no doubt emancipate the Catholics. You are a hare-brained
lad, my godson; but here is a Catholic little girl who shall thank
you. Doreen, my treasure, you may shake hands with Theobald.'

My lord waxed peevish, and drummed his fingers on the shutters and
yawned in the face of Curran, for he sniffed in the wind a quarrel
which would bore him. If folks would only refrain, he thought, from
gabbling about these Catholics, what a comfort it would be. My lady,
usually disagreeable, was threatening a scene; for they had got on the
one subject which set all the family agog. Her spouse wished heartily
that she would retire to the family vault, or be less ill-tempered;
for what can be more odious than a snappish better-half?

Religious differences had set the country by the ears ever since the
Reformation, turning father against son, kinsman against kinsman; and
this especial family was no exception to the rule. Lady Glandore hated
the Papists with all the energy of one whose soul is filled with gall,
and who lacks a fitting outlet for its bitterness. What must then have
been her feelings when, ten years before the opening of this
chronicle, her only brother, whom she loved, thought fit to wed a
Catholic? It was a weak, faded chit of a thing who lived for a year
after her marriage in terror of my lady, gave birth to a daughter and
then died. The countess, who had endured her existence under protest,
was glad at least that she was well behaved enough to die; some people
said indeed that she had frightened Arthur's submissive wife into her
untimely grave. Be this as it may, the incubus removed, my lady girded
up her loins for the effacing of the blot on the escutcheon. The
puling slut was gone--that was a mercy. Why had she not proved barren?
There was still a way of setting matters straight. Little Doreen must
be washed clean from Papist mummeries, and received into the bosom of
THE Church, and the world would forget in course of time how the young
lawyer, usually as soft as wax, had flown in the face of his
belongings. To her horror and amazement Arthur for once proved
adamant--he who had always given way rather than break a lance in the
lists--sternly commanding his sister to hold her tongue. His Papist
wife, whom he regretted sorely, had exacted a promise on her deathbed
that Doreen should be brought up in her mother's faith, and a Papist
Doreen should be, he swore, at least till she arrived at an age to
settle the question for herself. He would be glad though, he
continued, seeing with pain how shocked my lady looked, if in her
sisterly affection she would lay prejudice aside and help to rear the
child; for the sharpest of men, as all the world knows, is no better
than a fool in dealing with babies. And so it befell that the Countess
of Glandore, the haughty chatelaine who scoffed at 'mummeries' and
worshipped King William as champion of the Faith, nourished a scorpion
in her bosom for Arthur's sake, and permitted the little scarlet lady
to consort with her own lads. My lady's hatred of the national creed
had a more bitter cause even than class prejudice. She had a private
and absorbing reason for it, more feminine than theological. That
reason was--a woman, and a rival--a certain Madam Gillin, widow of a
small shopkeeper, with whom the rakish earl chose to be too familiar.
Vainly she had swallowed her pride to the extent of begging him to
respect his wife in public. He had called her names, bidding her mind
her distaff; then had carried in mischief the story to his love, who
set herself straightway to be revenged upon my lady.

'The stuck-up bit of buckram's a half-caste at the best!' she had
exclaimed. 'She forgets that a Cromwellian trooper was her ancestor,
whilst I can trace my lineage from a race of kings. The blood of Ollam
Fodlah's in my veins. My forefathers were reigning princes before Anno
Domini was thought of, and received baptism at the hands of St.
Columba before Erin was a land of bondage. It is seldom that one of my
faith can bring sorrow on one of hers; and, please the pigs, I'll not
miss my opportunity.'

And indeed Madam Gillin showed all a woman's ingenuity in torturing
another. She dragged my lord, who was nothing loth, at her kirtle
strings, all through Dublin; paraded him everywhere as her own
chattel; kept him dangling by her side at ridottos and masquerades,
till my lady, whose mainspring was pride, dared not to show her face
at Smock Alley or Fishamble Street, or even on the public drive of
Stephen's Green, for fear of being insulted by this Popish hussy. She
strove to find comfort in her family, as many an outraged woman does,
but that was worse than all; for she looked with groaning on her
eldest born, whom his father could not endure, then at that rosy,
chubby younger one, and loathed him. Truly the life of the Countess of
Glandore was as bran in the mouth to her, despite the wealth of my
lord, his great position, and his influence. No wonder if there was an
expression of settled weariness about those handsome eyes and peevish
lines about her jaded mouth.

My lord drummed his white fingers impatiently--the dry-skinned
fingers that mark the libertine--because of all things he hated being
bored, and knew that religious discussions would bring reproaches
anent Gillin. It was with relief that he beheld a gay coach
half-filled with flowers, swaying in the crowd below, which contained
the graces _en titre_ of Dublin, Darkey Kelly, Peg Plunkett, and Maria
Llewellyn--over-painted, over-feathered, over-dressed, like a
_parterre_ of full-blown peonies. Their apparition caused a diversion
at the windows. All the peeresses stared stonily through gold-rimmed
glasses as the trio passed with the calm impertinence of high-born
fine ladies, for it stirreth the curiosity of the most _blasée_
Ariadne to mark what manner of female it is who hath robbed her of her
Theseus. My lord roared with laughter to see the sorry fashion in
which the houris bore the ordeal, vowing 'fore Gad that he must go
help them with his countenance; for there is naught so discomfiting to
a fair one who is frail as a public display of contempt from one who
is not. Out he sallied, therefore, drawing his sword as a hint for the
scum to clear a passage; but, ere he could reach the Graces, they were
borne away by the stream, and their coach had made way for a noddy, in
which sat a comely woman, with bright mouse-like eyes, and a
complexion of milk and roses. When the newcomer observed my lord
buffeting in her direction, her lips parted in a gratified smile, and
she cast a glance of triumph at the club-house; for she knew that at a
window there a certain high nose might be discerned, which set her
teeth on edge--set in a white scornful face, whose aspect made her
blood to boil.

'That woman again!' my lady was heard to murmur, as she abruptly
quitted her place. 'The globe's not large enough for her and me. I
hate the baggage!'

Mr. Curran, who, if untidy and unkempt, was a man of the world and
shrewd withal, tried a little joke by way of clearing the sulphur from
the atmosphere; but it fell quite flat, and he looked round with a
wistful air of apology as a dog does that has wagged his tail
inopportunely.

'Let's be off, Theobald, 'he suggested. 'Whatever can the Volunteers
be doing? Why does their return procession tarry? They should be here
by this, for 'tis past three. Ah, here's Fitzgibbon, the high and
mighty Lucifer, who'd wipe his shoes upon us if he dared. Maybe he
brings us news.'

Instinctively everybody made way for Fitzgibbon, the brilliant
statesman who already swept all before him. Even his enemies admitted
his ability, whilst deploring his flagrant errors. In his fitful
nature good and evil were ever struggling for the mastery. Was he
destined to achieve perennial fame, or doomed to eternal obloquy?
Liberal, hospitable, munificent, he was; but unscrupulous to boot, and
arrogant and domineering. A man who must become a prodigious success,
or an awful ruin. For him was no middle path. Which was it to be?
Opinion was divided; but as at present his star was in the ascendant,
his foes were outnumbered by his friends.

This man who aspired to be chancellor, and as such to direct the Privy
Council, was dark, of middle height, with a sharp hatchet face and
oblique cast of eye. No one could be pleasanter or more flashy than
Fitzgibbon if he chose, for he united the manners of a grand seigneur
with some culture, and could keep his temper under admirable control.
But he preferred always to browbeat rather than conciliate, though he
was a master of diplomacy, if such became worth his while. On the
present occasion he strode hastily into the room as though Daly's was
his private property, and, with a polished obeisance to the peeresses,
flourished a perfumed kerchief.

'It's all over for the present,' he cried, with a harsh chuckle. 'The
fatuous fools have postponed their grand coup till to-morrow, not
perceiving that dissension is already at work among them. Oh, these
Irish! They are only fit to burrow in holes and dig roots out of the
earth. There is no keeping them in unison for two consecutive minutes.
The sooner England swallows them the better, the silly donkeys!'

'I believe your honour is an Irishman?' asked Curran, dryly.

'Bedlamites, one and all, who crave for the impossible. I've no
patience with them.' Here Mr. Fitzgibbon helped himself to a pinch
from my lady's snuffbox.

'Bedad, ye're right,' sneered Curran. 'We're absurd to pretend to a
heart and ventricles all to ourselves. We should be grateful--mere
Irish--to be by favour the Great Toe of an empire!'

'England has always betrayed us!' cried out young Tone, the neophyte.
'Knowing we're hungry, she throws poisoned bones to us. The only way
to set right our parliament will be to break with England altogether!'

The bold sentiment set all the peeresses tittering. They cackled of
freedom, and were bedizened in smart uniforms; yet were there few of
these noble ladies whose hearts were really with the new crusade. It
was vastly diverting to hear this David attacking the great Goliath.
They settled their skirts to see fair play; but Fitzgibbon for once
was ungallant.

'Your godson, isn't it, Wolfe?' he remarked carelessly. 'Send for the
child's nurse that he may be put to bed.'

He could not sweep Curran aside in this magnificent fashion, so he
elected to be unaware of his presence. He disliked the little advocate
because he feared him. Yes, the would-be aristocrat was mortally
afraid of the plebeian--a privilege which he accorded to few men on
earth. The two had risen at the Bar side by side, till the influence
which Fitzgibbon could command gave him an advantage which his
undoubted talent enabled him to keep. With sure and steady progress he
forced himself above his fellows, and won the adulation which
accompanies success. It was his crumpled roseleaf that Curran should
be keen enough to gauge his real value; that he should despise him as
a mountebank, that he should read within his heart that personal
ambition was his motive-spring, not love of country. As it happened,
Curran was a master of invective, and no niggard of his shafts; so
Fitzgibbon tried flattery, and got jeered at for his pains, which
produced a hurricane of sarcasm. It was with rage that he accepted at
last a fact. If there was one person who could stop his soaring
Pegasus in full career, that man was common-looking Curran. So the
arrogant candidate for honours marked out his enemy as one who must be
watched, and if possible circumvented; and the more he watched the
more he detested that odious little creature.

He did not choose therefore to take umbrage at his taunts; but,
mindful of the adage that to be anhungered is to be cross, announced
that a collation awaited the pleasure of their ladyships. Now
patriotism is one thing, and fine clothes another; but there are times
when cold beef will bear the palm from either. So was it on this
occasion. The peeresses rose up with unromantic unanimity at the mere
mention of cold beef, seizing each the arm of the nearest gentleman;
and so Curran and his young friend, being unable to escape, found
themselves standing presently before a well-furnished board, hemmed in
on either side by a lady of high rank.

The showy Fitzgibbon was master of the situation, for Curran was not a
lady's man, and the neophyte in such noble company was sheepish. His
harsh voice rose unchallenged in polished periods as he explained
between two mouthfuls the mess the Volunteers were making. Curran
smiled at his imprudence; for was he not flinging dirt at the popular
idol--that glittering national army which had worked such miracles;
whose many-coloured uniforms sparkled in every street, on the very
backs of the dainty dames who looked up at him surprised?

'No good will come of it,' cried the contemptuous great man, as he
waved a silver tankard. 'They are acting illegally; are pausing before
they dare to overthrow constitutional authority, as the regicides did
before they chopped off Charles's head. A little ham, my lady? No? Do,
to please me. Will you, my dear Curran? Just a little skelp? Pray do,
for you look as if you'd eat me raw; and that young man too. I vow he
is a cannibal. What was I saying? He who vilifies those who are in
power is sure of an audience, you know. Positively, this regeneration
scheme is laughable, quite laughable!'

'Stop your friend,' said some one to Curran, 'or there'll be swords
drawn before the ladies;' to which the other answered, 'Friend! No
friend of mine, or indeed of any one except himself, the maniac
incendiary! Ask Arthur Wolfe. Perhaps he will interfere.'

But Fitzgibbon was not acting without a purpose. He ate his ham with
studied nonchalance, shaking back his ruffles with unrivalled grace;
and he at least was sorry when an unexpected circumstance occurred
which withdrew the attention of his audience from himself and his
insidious talk.

There was a mighty noise without which shook the windows. The
undergraduates, hearing that the battle was postponed, poured forth
from their gallery in the Commons with the fury of a pent-up river
suddenly let loose. They had wasted their time and energies. Their
lithe young limbs were cramped. Something must be done to set the
blood dancing through their veins again. What did they behold as they
dashed out into the street? Peg Plunkett and her companions flirting
with soldiers--not Volunteers, but actually English soldiers, members
of the Viceroy's bodyguard. It must never be said that Irish Phrynes
gave their favours to English soldiers--at such a time too! Fie on
them for graceless harlots! Their feathers should be plucked out--they
should be ducked--the English Lotharios should be well drubbed--driven
back to the Castle with contumely and bloody noses. Hurrah! Pack a
stone in the sleeve and have at them, the spalpeens! It was well for
the Viceroy that he went home when he did, without strutting, as he
proposed to do, once more round Juggernaut; or he would certainly have
been assaulted by the mischievous collegians, and a serious riot would
have been the consequence. But Darkey Kelly and Maria Llewellyn! Pooh!
it served them right, and no one pitied them. At all events, the
peeresses (mothers of the lads) said so, as they leisurely returned to
the discussion of cold beef and politics. They were too well broken to
street brawls to care much about a stampede of college youths. But
that Fitzgibbon should presume to attack the national army was too
bad, and touched them home. None of them dared admit that English gold
was more precious than national freedom. There are secrets that for
very shame we would go any lengths rather than divulge. These ladies
made believe to be terribly shocked--threatened to assail the
adventurous wight like bewitching Amazons; but he knew them too well
to be alarmed. If Curran could read him, he could read the peeresses;
and neither subject was an edifying one for investigation.



                              CHAPTER II.

                              RETROSPECT


The brief career of the Volunteer army stands as a unique example for
students of history to marvel at. Urged by a strange series of events,
Ireland, like Cinderella, rose up from her dustheap, and was clad by a
fairy in gorgeous garments. All at once she flung aside her mop, and
demanded to be raised from the three-legged stool in the scullery to
the daïs whereon her wicked sister sat. And the wicked sister, being
at the time sorely put about through her own misconduct, embraced her
drudge with effusion on each cheek, instead of belabouring her with a
broom, as had been her pleasant way, vowing that the straw pallet and
short commons of a lifetime were all a mistake, and that nought but
samite and diamonds of the first water were good enough for the sweet
girl. She killed the fatted calf, and drew a fine robe out of
lavender, and grinned as many a spiteful woman will whom rage is
consuming inwardly, registering at the same time a secret oath to drub
the saucy minx when occasion should serve--a not uncommon practice
among ladies.

Events followed one another in this wise. France, natural enemy of
England, had suffered sore tribulation at the hands of my Lord
Chatham, who routed her armies and sunk her ships, and filled his
prisons with the flower of her youth. But my Lord Chatham's mighty
spirit succumbed to chronic gout; an incompetent minister took his
place, whose folly lashed the young colonies of America to rebellion,
and France saw with joy such a blow struck across the face of her too
prosperous rival as brought her reeling to her knees. This was the
moment for reprisals. France breathed again. Quick! she said, a deft
scheme of revenge! How shall we find out the weakest point? We will
invade Ireland which is defenceless, and so establish a raw in the
very flank of our enemy. But Ireland had no idea of tamely submitting
to a hostile French occupation. Unhappily for her, she was never
completely conquered, and was ever over-fond of nourishing wild hopes
of independence--of formal recognition as a nation among nations. To
become a slave to France would be no improvement upon her present
slavery, and she had already been a subject of conflict for centuries.
She cried out therefore to the wicked sister, 'Save me from invasion.
Send me men to garrison my fortresses; ships to protect my harbours.'
But England turned a deaf ear, being herself in a dire strait;
bandaging her own limbs, nursing her own wounds. 'Then,' said
Cinderella, 'give me arms at least. I come of a good fighting stock,
and will even make shift in the emergency to defend myself.' Here were
the horns of a dilemma. Unarmed and undefended, Ireland would of a
surety fall an easy prey to France, which would be a serious mishap
indeed. On the other hand, deliberately to place a weapon in the grasp
of a young sister whom we have wronged and hectored all her life, and
who ominously reminds us that though slavery has curbed her spirit she
comes of a good fighting stock, is surely rash. Forgiveness of
injuries savours too much of heaven for mere daughters of earth, and
it is more than probable that, having repulsed the invader, this child
of warlike sires will seize the opportunity to smite us under our own
fifth rib. However, there was nothing for it but to risk that danger;
so England sent over with a good grace a quantity of arms, and
secretly vowed to whip the naughty jade on a later day for having been
the innocent cause of the difficulty.

That which Britain feared took place. For six hundred years she had
persistently been sowing dragons' teeth in the Isle of Saints, and
perseveringly watering them with blood; and lo, in a night, they rose
up armed men--a threatening host of warriors, who with one voice
demanded their just rights, unjustly withheld so long. England bit her
lips, and parleyed. She felt herself the laughingstock of Europe, and
her humiliation was rendered doubly acute by the dignified bearing of
the new-born battalions. They did not bully; they did not revile.
They calmly claimed their own, with the least little click of a
well-polished firelock, the slightest flutter of a green silk banner.
'To suit your own selfish ends,' they declared, 'you have robbed us of
our trade and suborned our legislature. Give us back our trade; permit
us to reform our senate. You have stripped us of our commerce
piecemeal. Return it, to the last shred. In the days of the first
Tudor, when you were strong and we were weak, a decree of Sir E.
Poyning's became law, whereby we were to be ruled henceforth from
distant London. The operation of all English statutes was to extend to
Ireland; the previous consent of an English Council was necessary to
render legal acts passed at home. By the 6th of George III. this was
made absolute; the Irish senate was decreed to be a chapel of ease to
that of Westminster. When we were weak our gyves were riveted tightly
upon our legs. Now our conditions are reversed; yet claim we nothing
but our own. Bring forth the anvil and the hammer. Strike off with
your own hand these fetters, for we will wear no bonds but those of
equal fellowship. Give us a free constitution and free trade, and let
bygones be bygones.'

Attentive Europe admired the position of Ireland at this moment. A
change was creeping across the world of which this situation was a
natural result. A cloud, like a man's hand, had arisen on the horizon
of America, which in time was to overshadow the globe. A warlike fever
possessed the Irish people. They became imbued with an all-engrossing
fervour, an epidemic of patriotism. The important question was, could
they keep it up? Irish veterans, who had fought under Washington,
returned home invalided, to thrill their audience by the peat fire
with tales that sounded like fairy lore of Liberty and Fraternity and
Freedom of Conscience; to whisper that their country was a nation, not
a shire; that an end must be put to bigotry, that accursed twin-sister
of religion; that if the King of England wished to rule the Isle of
Saints, he must do so henceforth by right of his Irish, not his
English, crown, governing each kingdom by distinct laws according to
its case.

High and low were stricken with the new enthusiasm; some generously,
some driven by shame to assume a virtue which they had not. Laird,
squire, and shopkeeper--all donned the Volunteer uniform. All looked,
or affected to look, to the eagle of America as a symbol of a new
hope. A race of serfs were transformed into a nation of soldiers. Many
really thought themselves sincere who fell away when their own
interests became involved.

And this sudden upheaving was at first without danger to the body
politic. The French Revolution, with its overturning of social grades,
had yet to come. Classes found themselves for a brief space thrown
together, between whom usually a great gulf was fixed, and the
temporary commingling was, by giving a new direction to the mind, for
the mutual benefit of both. The very singularity of such a state of
things (in an age before democratic principles began to obtain) showed
a seriousness of purpose which caused the ruling spirits of the new
military association to carry all before them by the impetus of
self-respect. Their mother had suffered bitterly and long; no one
denied that. The time was come for her rescue. The task was arduous,
but the cause was excellent. It behoved her sons then to raise their
minds above the trammels of the earth--to become Sir Galahads--for was
not their task to the full as pious as the mystic quest after the
Grail? It behoved them, while the holy fervour lasted (alas! man is
unstable at the best, and the Irishman more so than most), to set
their house thoroughly in order, and the powerless English Cabinet
from across the Channel watched the operation with anxiety.

When a wedge is inserted in so unnatural a bundle as this was, it will
speedily fall asunder, and that which was a formidable coalition will
be reduced to a ridiculous wreck. Who was to insert the wedge? Would
time alone do it, or would perfidious aid from London be required?
That it should be inserted somehow, was decided _nem. con_. in London.

Alas! in the moment of supreme triumph, whilst the Volunteers caracole
so bravely down Sackville Street, we may detect grave symptoms of
danger, which argus-eyed England scans with hope, while the Viceroy is
laughing in the Castle.

Ireland had during ages been the butt of fortune. A train of English
kings had entreated her evilly, and the native bards reviewed the sad
story with untiring zeal.

First they sang of Norman thieves--turbulent barons who, troublesome
at home, were despatched to get rid of superfluous energy at the
expense of Keltic princes. They slurred over the reign of the first
Edward, for with him came a deceptive ray of hope. He threatened to
visit the island in person. Had he done so, he would have quelled the
Irish thoroughly, as he did the Welsh, and so have nipped their
delusive dream of freedom in the bud. The most aristocratic race in
the world would have become loyal, for they would have seen the face
of their lord, and the face of royalty is as a sun unto them. But they
did not become loyal, for they saw their lord's face as little then as
they see that of their lady now. Nor he, nor any of the brave
Plantagenets ever came to Ireland, for they were pursuing an _ignis
fatuus_ in France, instead of attending to their own business at home.
Henry V. and Edward III. sought fame, which might not be obtained,
they thought, by obscure squabbling with saffron-mantled savages in a
barbarous dependency.

Events shuffled along in slipshod, careless fashion, till the period
when crook-backed Richard met his end at Bosworth. By that time a
mixed population held undisputed possession of the island--a bastard
race, half Keltic, half Norman. The 'English of the Pale,' or early
settlers, had found Irish brides. They wore the saffron mantle and
spoke the Keltish tongue. But the first Tudor, who had no sympathy
with savages, declared 'this might not be.' He had a spite against
them which he was but too glad to gratify, for in the absence of a
king they had crowned an ape--or rather an impostor, Simnel. In
virtuous indignation, he vowed that it was revolting to see noble
knights reduced to the serfs' level; to which the chiefs replied with
one accord:

'We are no serfs, but freemen, as ye are yourselves; for Ireland was
never conquered, though she did lip-homage.'

The Tudor did not choose to be so bearded. 'Indeed! You were not
conquered?' he said, surprised. 'I will send commissioners who shall
straightway solve for me this riddle.' And he sent Sir Edward
Poynings, who arrived in state, with special instructions to set the
chiefs a-quarrelling.

The guileless princes received the commissioner cordially, who
diligently sowed dissensions, setting race against race, by declaring
(in 1494) that none of English blood might wed a Keltic wife, or hold
communion with the Irishry, or even learn their tongue. O'Neil was
pitted against Geraldine, Desmond against Tyrone, with double-faced
advice; and, his dastardly commission done, Sir Edward bowed himself
away with smiles, leaving behind the celebrated act which bears his
name, and which was as a red rag between the nations ever after, till
it was taken in hand by the Volunteers.

Up to this moment the frequent bickerings which disturbed the
fellowship of the two islands were concerning land or race; but with
the reign of the eighth Henry, the true demon of discord woke to wave
the sword of persecution over the distracted country. The Reformation,
which brought so much trouble on the world, was no kinder to the Irish
than to other nations. Henry, angry with a people who would not do as
they were bid, drove the natives from the holdings which their septs
had held for centuries, away to the wild fastness beyond the Shannon.
(A sinful scheme, which is often fathered upon Cromwell, who has much
besides to answer for.) He ravaged the land with fire and sword,
resolved at least that it should have the peace of death if none other
was attainable; and these tactics his dutiful child Elizabeth pursued,
till her dependency was a waste of blood and ashes. Like her
grandfather, she had a private cause for spite. As a nation, the Irish
declined to be anything but Catholics; and so, refusing to acknowledge
Queen Katherine's divorce, they looked on Anne Boleyn's daughter as a
bastard and a usurper. This prompted her to filial piety. Hardly was
she seated on the throne at Westminster, than she summoned a
parliament in Dublin, and shook her pet prayer-book at the Catholics.
The religion of Christ, the meek and lowly, she preached to them in
this wise. Every layman who should use any prayer-book but her pet one
was to be imprisoned for a year. On each recurring Sunday, every adult
of every persuasion was to attend Protestant service, or be heavily
mulcted for the benefit of her treasury. Not content with crushing
their faith, she let loose a horde of adventurers upon the unhappy
Irish. They fought for their fields as well as their religion. One of
the characteristics of her reign was a spirit of adventure, which
descended in regular gamut from the loftiest heroism to the vilest
cupidity. The eagles sought doubloons on the Spanish main; the
vultures swept down on Ireland with ravenous beaks. Elizabeth's own
deputy wrote thus to her in horror:

'From every corner of the woods did the people come, creeping on their
hands, for their legs would not bear them. They looked like anatomies
of death; they spake like ghosts; they did eat carrion, happy when
they could find them, yea, and one another; in so much that the very
carcases they spared not to scrape out of their graves.'

Indeed, Queen Bess left her dependency a reeking slaughter-house, in
so abject a misery, that when her successor cleared a whole province
to plant it with Scotchmen, the natives made no resistance, but
plodded listlessly away. Is it surprising that their descendants
should have hated England, and its truckling Anglo-Irish Senate?

In due course followed Charles I., who, with the ingrained perfidy of
all the Stuarts, fleeced his Irish subjects, and then cheated them by
evading the graces for which they paid their gold. His creature
Strafford went too far, and they turned as worms will. There was a
grand Protestant massacre in Ulster, an appalling picture of a
vengeance such as a brutalised people will wreak on its oppressor; and
Cromwell took advantage of this as an excuse for still further
grinding down the Catholics. It was a fine opportunity to avenge the
sufferings of Protestants in other lands--the affair of Nantes,
Bartholomew, and so forth. He made a finished job of it, as he did of
most things to which he set his shoulder. It was no felony now to slay
an Irishman, whose very name was a reproach. He was well-nigh swept
from off the earth. Famine and pestilence reigned together alone.
Wolves roamed at will in the dismantled towns. Newly-appointed
colonists refused to build the walls of shattered cities, for the
stench of the rotting bodies poisoned the breeze.

It remained for Orange William and good Queen Anne (neither of whom
could be expected to feel interest in Ireland) to add a finishing
touch, and the Penal Code was a _chef d'[oe]uvre_. Under its sweet
influence no Catholic could dwell in Ireland save under such
conditions as no man who stood erect might bear, and so there
commenced an exodus of independent spirits, who flocked into the
service of France and Germany, and filled the navies of Holland and of
Spain. Thus did British rulers educate their dependency to loving
obedience, by teaching its children to revile the name of law. Verily
it is no wonder that they loathed the English; that they distrusted
British amenities, and looked askance at the half-English upper class.

When the Volunteers determined to regenerate their motherland,
there were two great evils with which they had to cope. Two deep
plague-spots. It remained to be seen whether they were wise enough and
steadfast enough to eradicate the virus. A rotten legislature, an
impossible Penal Code. Could Sir Galahad reform so base a parliament?
Would the champion dare to free the serfs from thraldom? The first was
a Herculean labour, because both Lords and Commons drew much of their
revenue from British ministers; the second was even a more Titanic
task. Possession is nine points of the law, and the soil was in
possession of the small knot of Protestants, who knew that their
existence depended on keeping the majority in chains. Like the
emigrants of the _Mayflower_, they said: 'Resolved, that the earth is
the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; that the Lord hath given the
earth as an heritage unto His saints; and that we are His saints.
_Ergo_: the earth is ours, to have and to hold by pillage and
persecution, and murder, if need be, just as the chosen people of old
seized and held Canaan, the land of promise, flowing with milk and
honey.'

Truly the parliament was a plague-spot fit to gangrene a whole body;
for it in nowise represented the nation, consisting as it did of three
hundred members, seventy-two only of whom were elected by the people.
The rest were nominees of large Protestant proprietors who returned
members for every squalid hamlet on their estates, and kept their
voters in the condition of tame dogs through a constant terror of
ejectment. Of three million Catholics not one had a voice in the
elections; for by law they existed not at all. Like Milton's devils
they occupied no space, while the Protestant angels filled the air
with their proportions.

It was said of the Irish gentry of the last century that they
possessed the materials of distinguished men with the propensities of
obscure ones, which is a picturesque way of admitting that they were
incorrigibly idle. To indolence add poverty and a propensity for
drink, and you have a promising hotbed for the growth of every ill.
The aristocratic pensioners were, as a rule, lapped in excessive
luxury, which could not be kept up without extraneous help; half
English by education as well as origin, they naturally leaned for
protection towards the English Government.

The gentry, ignorant and sensual, were given to profuse hospitality,
regardless of mortgaged acres and embarrassed lands. Dog-boys and
horse-boys hung about their gates; keepers and retainers lolled
upon their doorsteps, together with a posse of half-mounted poor
relations--all of them too genteel to do anything useful--fishing for
the speckled trout by day, drinking huge beakers of claret and
quarrelling among themselves by night, till in many cases there was
little left, after a few years, for the filling of a hundred mouths
beyond a nominal rent-roll and the hereditary curse of idleness. Not a
squire but was more or less floundering in debt, and (his sense of
honour blunted by necessity) only too anxious for a little cash at any
price. Government agents were always conveniently turning up ready and
willing to purchase mortgages and notes of hand, which were duly
stored in the coffers of the Castle as a means of prospective coercion
by-and-by.

With such materials for a national 'Lords and Commons,' it is little
wonder if a sudden revulsion in favour of patriotism on the part of a
body of enthusiasts should threaten to set the country agog. How was
the parliament to be purified? That was the rub. Was it to be exhorted
to virtue gently, or flogged into improvement? The leaders of the
Volunteers had carried their first point with a rush. The parliament
was with them, or feigned to be so. But what if the existence of the
Parliament should come to be threatened? The sincerity of its
professions would be put to a crucial test. Careless lords and
impecunious squires babbled of freedom and cackled of free trade,
because it was become the fashion and pleased the Volunteers. What
cared they for free trade? That was a question which affected the men
of Ulster, to whom commerce was as lifeblood, and who indeed were the
prime workers in this movement. The dissenting traders of Belfast had
demanded a free trade, and British ministers had given way. Therefore
Lords and Commons joined in the popular cry, and pretended that it
interested them. The position was a paradox. Here was all at once a
military supremacy independent of the crown, and ministers in London
were compelled to countenance it. It was humiliating; but their
comfort lay in this. Would the Volunteer leaders allow zeal to
overstep prudence? Probably they would. They might be coaxed by crafty
submission to do so. If a collision could only be brought about
between a self-elected military despotism and an effete but
constitutional senate, there were the materials for such a pretty
quarrel as might produce a repetition of the fate of the Kilkenny
cats. One would devour the other, and England would gloat over the
tails. The British premier made a parade of 'doing something for
Ireland' to oblige the Volunteers.

With a flourish of alarums he repealed some obnoxious laws, which
graceful conduct was received in Dublin with gratitude, till somebody
pointed out that Albion was at her tricks again: whilst seeming
gracefully to give way, she was really strengthening her own position
by establishing a new precedent on the basis of the Poynings statute,
to the effect that such favours were in the gift of England's
Parliament--not Ireland's--and might accordingly be withdrawn at any
time. The Volunteers were furious, Albion was perfidious; the Irish
senate was playing a double game, there was no use in mincing matters
in the way of compromise. England must distinctly abdicate all
parliamentary dominion; parliament must be remodelled on new lines. In
the future the senate must be upright, zealous, independent,
incorruptible; English gold must be as dross; an English coronet hold
no allurement.

As might be expected, the new cry created a commotion. Patriots there
were both in Lords and Commons, who were prepared to sacrifice part of
their income for the general good, but they were few. If pensions were
withdrawn and mortgages foreclosed and proprietors in prison, what
mattered to these last a national liberty? The notion was an insult,
and parliament stood at bay. But the ardour of the Volunteers would
brook no dallying. Ulster, as usual, took the lead. Sharpwitted,
frugal, Scotch, the battalions of the North convened a general
assembly. On Feb. 15, 1782, one of the most impressive scenes which
Ireland ever witnessed took place at Duncannon, where two hundred
delegated volunteers marched two and two, calm, steadfast, virtuous,
determined to pledge themselves before the altar of that sacred place
to measures which might save their motherland or kill her. After
earnest thought, a manifesto was framed--a dignified declaration of
rights and grievances, a solemn statement of the people's will, a
protest against English craft and Irish corruption--inviting the armed
bodies of other provinces to aid in the process of regeneration.

Can you conceive anything more glorious and touching than the quiet
gathering on the promontory of Duncannon? A towering fort frowns down
upon the harbour, commanding a spacious basin formed by the waters of
three rivers. Imagine the simple country gentlemen, the homely
squires, the traders of Belfast, abandoning for a while their vices
and their quarrels, to deliberate sword in hand over the grievous
shortcomings of their brethren. I see them in the gloaming, with
high-collared coats and anxious faces, puzzling their poor brains over
a way out of the labyrinth. The lovely land, stretched out on either
side in a jagged line of coast, whose slopes had been watered to
greenness with blood and tears, must haply be soaked again in the
stream of war. For the last time. Once more--only once--a final
sanctifying baptism which should leave it clean and sweet for
evermore. They penned a temperate document--a dignified manifesto.
Could they be single-minded to the end, or would discord fling her
apple among them?

So soon as the delegates of the North received the concurrence of the
provinces, the senate in Dublin changed its tone, for no immediate
succour could be hoped from England. It affected a complete
patriotism, and made believe to go all lengths with the Volunteers.
Patriots--real and sham--thundered in the House, and were applauded to
the echo. It was impossible to tell who was in earnest and who was
not. First, said the wily senators, make it clear that we are free,
and then by remodelling the Senate we will prove ourselves worthy of
the gift you have bestowed. Grattan towered above all others. He spoke
as one inspired, and the meshes of the web seemed to shrivel before
his breath.

The army patrolled the streets, and review succeeded review in the
Ph[oe]nix Park; the national artillery lined the quays. Loyalty,
Dignity, Forbearance, were grouped round the god of war. All the
virtues, posing around Mars, hovered in ether over Dublin. Never was a
city so happy or so proud. But the English Viceroy, though outwardly
perturbed, was laughing in the Castle while the ignorant people
jigged.

'Fools!' he scoffed. 'The meeting at Duncannon, of which you are so
vain, was but the thin end of the wedge which we were looking for. You
shall be played one against the other--people against parliament and
parliament against people--till you break your silly pates. We stoop
to conquer, as your own Goldy hath it. A little more and you will be
undone. A little, little more!'--and he was right. The Commons, with
mortgages before their eyes, wavered and prevaricated. The Volunteers,
exasperated, openly denounced the senate. The people, taking fire,
vowed they would obey no laws, whether good or bad, which were
dictated under the rose by the perfidious one. The statute-book was
rent in pieces; anarchy threatened to supervene; England prepared to
take possession again. But the Volunteers, sublime at this moment,
came once more to the rescue. They chid the weak and reproved the
strong; even formed themselves into a night-police for the security of
the capital. This hour was that of pride before a fall.

In prosperity they gave way to indiscretion. Enjoying as they did an
unnatural existence, for which the only excuse was transcendent
virtue, it was the more needful for them to be of one mind as to a
chief. But they split on this important point. One party declared for
the Earl of Charlemont, an amiable nobleman of whose mediocrity it was
said that his mind was without a flower or a weed; another was for my
lord of Deny, a bold, unsteady prelate, who, sincere or not, was but
too likely to lead his flock into a quagmire.

They wavered, when to hesitate was to be lost. They did worse; they
dirtied their own nest in a public place. Each rival chief, in his
struggle for supremacy, lost more than half his influence. Tongues
wagged to the discredit of all parties. Sir Galahad, feeling that he
was in the toils of sirens, made a prodigious effort to escape with
dignity. If parliament were not remodelled the fire would end in
smoke. _Coûte qui coûte_, this must be done at once, or England would
step in triumphant, and dire would be the vengeance. All hands were
quarrelling. Was it already too late? A wild and desperate effort must
be made to regain ground, lost by infirmity of purpose. The
Volunteers, all prudence cast aside, determined to strike a blow in
sledge-hammer fashion. They deliberately decided to send three hundred
of their number in open and official manner to Lords and Commons,
bidding them reform themselves at once; offering even to teach them
how to do it. And so the extraordinary spectacle came to be seen in
Dublin, of two governments--one civil, one military--sitting at the
same moment in the same city--within sight of each other--each equally
resolved to strain every nerve in order that the other might not live.

Sir Galahad blundered woefully! He had concentrated his attention with
all his muddled might and main on the lesser instead of the greater
plague-spot. 'Free Trade' had been his shibboleth, then a 'Reformed
Parliament,' though how it was to be reformed he did not know. It
escaped the shortness of his vision that 'Freedom of Conscience' would
have been the nobler cry. Had he first freed the three million slaves
from the bondage of the half million, the air would have been cleared
for the disinfecting of his senate. But no. He was blind and tripped,
and England saw the stumble. Well might the Viceroy laugh, while he
made believe to tremble, as he thought of the Kilkenny cats.



                             CHAPTER III.

                               SHADOWS.


As day waned, the Volunteers perceived that they must pass the night
as watchmen if they wished the capital to be sufficiently peaceful on
the morrow to attend to the parliamentary tournament. What the
gownsmen intended for a frolic developed into a riot, thanks to the
national love of a row and the complicated feuds which were
continually breaking forth. No sooner had the undergraduates pumped
upon the Graces and driven the English detachment into Castle Yard
than they found themselves hemmed in by their natural enemies, the
butchers of Ormond Quay, who owed the college gentlemen a grudge
because they invariably took up the cudgels of the Liberty-lads when
these sworn foes thought fit to have a brush.

The weavers were every bit as pugnacious as the butchers. Dulness of
trade, hot weather, a passing thunder-shower, were excuse sufficient
for a breaking of the peace; and then shops were closed and business
suspended along the Liffey banks, as bridges were taken and retaken
amid showers of stones, till one or other of the belligerents was
driven from the field. It was one of the singular contradictions of
the time that youths of high degree should always be ready to join the
dregs of the city in these outrages; that members of an intensely
exclusive class should unite with coal-porters or weavers against
butchers, to the risk of life and limb. But so it was, and frightful
casualties were the result sometimes; for the butchers were playful
with their knives, using them, not to stab their opponents, which they
would have considered cowardly, but to hough or cut the tendon of the
leg, thus rendering their adversaries lame for life. Sometimes they
dragged their captives to the market, and hung them to the meat-hooks
by the jaws until their party came to rescue them. Not but what the
aristocratic gownsmen were quite capable of holding their own, as had
been proved, a few weeks before the commencement of this history, by
the result of a conflict on Bloody Bridge, on which occasion a rash
detachment of the Ormond Boys was driven straight into the river,
where many perished by drowning before they could be extricated. The
butchers vowed vengeance for this feat, yet were kept quiet for a
while by the attitude of the Volunteers; but now they sprang blithely
to arms with marrow-bone and cleaver upon hearing that their foes were
on the war-path.

At a moment so big with fate as this was, the Volunteers could permit
of no such kicking up of heels. The dignity of the situation would be
compromised by vulgar brawling. Peg Plunket and Darkey Kelly were
clapped into the Black Dog, dripping wet, to repent on bread and water
their having flaunted forth this day. Lord Glandore's regiment was
detached to sweep the riff-raff to the Liberties at once, then to coax
back in less violent fashion the gownsmen to Alma Mater. A charge of
the splendid hunters which the men rode soon sent the factions
swirling like dead leaves, after which the armed patriots quietly
jog-trotted towards College Green, driving their scapegrace brothers
and sons before them with flat of sword and many a merry jest. The
affair was so good-humoured that the lads did not look on it as
serious. They had been commanded to drop stones and fling shillalaghs
into the water, and had been compelled to obey the mandate; but their
door-keys remained to them--heavy keys which, slung in kerchiefs, were
formidable weapons--and they valiantly decided upon just another sally
before being shut up, if only to show how game they were. Upon turning
into Dame Street from the quay, behold! another woman, of churlish
breeding, showy and pink and plump, sitting in a noddy, conversing
with a friend. It was clearly not fair to drench Peg and Darkey and
Maria and leave this one to go scot-free! So, with the college
war-cry, they made a swoop at her. Half a dozen youth clambered into
the carriage, while one leaped on horseback and another seized the
reins, and then the cavalcade started at a gallop with a pack of
madcaps bellowing after, all vowing she should have a muddy bath.
Vainly she shrieked and wrung her pretty hands for mercy. She was no
Phryne, she bawled. A respectable married lady, a descendant of Brian
Borohme and Ollam Fodlah and ever so many mighty princes. Ah now!
would the darlints let her go! They wouldn't? Then they were wretches
who should repent their act, for she had friends--powerful friends
among the Englishry--who would avenge the outrage. Her cries only
amused her tormentors. The more she bawled the more they yelled and
whooped and danced about like demons; the faster on they galloped. So
recklessly, that in skirting William's effigy a wheel caught against
the pedestal and the noddy was overturned--a wreck. This was great
fun. The mischief-makers formed a circle, and whirled singing round
their prey. She was in piteous plight from mire and scratches. What
rarer sport than this? The wench was sleek and well-to-do; it would be
grand to set her floundering in the filthy stream before returning
home to college. But she was right. She had a powerful friend--close
by too--one whose temper was short, whose sword was sharp; no less a
person than the colonel of the regiment that, with quip and quirk, was
coaxing them homewards. At the sound of Mrs. Gillin's lamentations,
Lord Glandore waved his sword and thundered out 'Desist!' He might as
well have argued with the winds. The phosphorescent light of menace
which folks dreaded in the eye of a Glandore glimmered forth from his.
With a fierce oath he spurred his horse, and, beside himself with
passion, plunged blindly with his weapon into the heap of sable gowns.

A luckless youth with gold braid upon his vesture, who was bending
down to extricate the lady, received the sword-point in his back, and,
screaming, swooned away. A cry of enraged horror burst from all, and,
like a swarm of angry bees, the boys fixed, without thought of
consequences, on the aggressor. They were of his own class; their
blood as hot and blue as his, although so young. What! murder a
gownsman for a bit of folly? 'Twas but a frolic, which he had turned
to tragedy. A peasant would not have mattered--but one of noble
lineage! Vengeance should fall swift and terrible. They dared the
soldiery to interfere. A hundred hands dragged the colonel from his
horse, which, with a blow, was sent riderless down Sackville Street.
His clothes were in tatters in a twinkling. A dozen heavy keys flew
through the air with so sure an aim that he staggered and fell prone.
One youth picked up the weapon, which yet reeked with his comrade's
blood, and broke it on the backbone of his destroyer. In a trice the
tragedy was complete. Ere his men could reach him, Lord Glandore lay
motionless; and Gillin was rending the air with shrieks which were
re-echoed from the club-house.

And now the _mêlée_ became general, for some weavers who had lingered
in the rear gave the alarm; the Liberty-boys sallied forth again, and
the chairmen, hewing their staves in twain, belaboured all
impartially, adding to the general disturbance. This was no vulgar
riot now, for blood had been twice drawn--that of the privileged
class--and gentlemen, fearing for their sons who were only armed with
keys, rushed out from club and tavern to form a bulwark round the
gownsmen against the rage of the infuriated soldiery. Thus sons and
fathers were smiting right and left below, whilst mothers were
screaming from the windows; and the peeresses saw more than they came
out to see ere swords were sheathed and peace could be restored. They
had lingered, many of them, at Daly's till past the tea-hour, to
inspect the illuminations before adjourning to the Fishamble Street
Masquerade; and crowded in a bevy round the club-house door as the
dying earl and his distracted love were borne into the coffee-room;
while the collegians retired backwards in compact order, silent but
menacing, till the gates of Alma Mater opened and clanged to on them.

The peeresses had bawled as loud as Madam Gillin, and now cried with
one voice for pouncet-boxes. The one of their order whom the tragedy
chiefly concerned uttered never a word. With dry eye and distended
nostril my lady looked on the prostrate figures--the still one of her
lord--the picturesquely hysterical form of the hated Gillin--and bit
her white lip as the frown, which was become habitual, deepened on her
face. Little Doreen looked on in unblinking wonder, till her father
clasped his fingers on her eyes to shut out the horrid sight from
them. Members entered hurriedly by the private way from the Parliament
Houses, and smirked and looked demure, and, feeling that they had no
business there, retired on tiptoe. The peeresses felt that a
prospective widow is best left alone, and one by one retreated,
skimming away like seamews to gabble of the dread event to
scandalmongers less blest than they, leaving the two women to face
their bereavement and speak to each other for the first time. Strange
to say, these rivals had never had speech together in their lives.
Madam Gillin choked her sobs after a while and revived, sitting up
stupidly and staring half-stunned, as she picked with mechanical
fretfulness at the feathers of her fan. The shock of so sudden a
misfortune took her breath away; but, perceiving the haughty eyes of
her enemy fixed gloomily upon her, she rallied and strung up her
nerves to face the mongrel daughter of the Sassanagh.

My lady--erect and towering in martial frock and helm--pointed with
stern finger at the door. Of her own will the real wife would never
soil her lips by speaking to this woman; but she, assuming a dogged
smile as she rearrayed her garments, tossed her head unheeding, till
Arthur Wolfe took her hand and strove to lead her thence. She pushed
him back and leaned over the impromptu bed which lacqueys had built up
of chairs and tables; for at this moment my lord moved, opened his
eyes which sought those of his mistress, and, struggling in the grip
of Death, essayed to speak. His wife moved a step nearer to catch his
words, but, consistent to the end, he motioned her impatiently away.
The face of the countess burned with shame and wrath as she turned to
the window, and, clasping her eldest-born to her bosom, pressed a hot
cheek against the panes. He could not forbear to humiliate her, even
before the club-servants--before vulgar little Curran and the foolish
neophyte--before the horrible woman who had usurped her place in his
affections. Was it the hussy's mission to insult her always--to cover
her with unending mortification? No! Thank goodness. That ordeal was
nearly overpast, but she would forget its corroding bitterness never!
My lord's sand was ebbing visibly. In an hour at most he must pass the
Rubicon. Then the minx should be stripped of borrowed plumes and
turned out upon the world, even as Jane Shore was centuries ago.
Ignominy should be piled back upon the papist a hundredfold. She knew,
or thought she knew, that my lord was too careless to have thought of
a last testament. At all events, a legacy from a Protestant to a
Catholic was fraught with legal pitfalls. But she started from false
premises, as her astonished ears soon told her.

My lord, raising himself upon his elbows, spoke--slowly, with
labouring breath; for his life was oozing in scarlet throbs through
the sword-gash, and grave-damps were gathering upon his skin.

'Gillin dear!' he gasped, with a diabolical emphasis to disgust his
wife. 'I have loved you, for you were always gay and cheerful and
forgiving, not glaring and reproachful like that stony figure there! I
leave you well provided for. The Little House is yours, with the farm
and the land about it; in return for which I lay a duty on you. My
lady will not be pleased,' he continued, with a look of hate; 'for she
will never be able to drive out of Strogue without passing before your
doors. And she must live there--there or at Ennishowen, or by my will
she will forfeit certain rights. Lift me up. I can hardly breathe.'

Both Wolfe and Curran made a movement of indignation as the departing
sinner exposed his plans. What a fiendish thing, so to shame a wife
whose only apparent crime was a coldness of demeanour! Well, well! The
Glandores were always mad, and this one more crazy than his
forefathers.

My lord marked the movement, and, turning his glazing eyes towards his
second son, smiled faintly. 'Not so bad as you think,' he panted. 'I
have bequeathed the Little House to your daughter, Gillin, to be held
in trust for you, then to be hers absolutely--to pretty Norah, who, at
my wish you know, was baptised a Protestant. I will that the two
families should live side by side, in order that his mother may do no
harm to my second child, whom she abhors. I do not think she would do
him active wrong. But we can never tell what a woman will do if
goaded. Swear to watch over the boy, Gillin; and if evil befall, point
the finger of public opinion at his mother. She will always bow to
that, I know. Bring lights. Hold up my little Terence that I may look
at him. Lights! It is very dark.'

A candle was brought in a great silver sconce, but my lord had looked
his last on earth. Vainly he peered through a gathering film. The
child's blonde locks were hidden from his sight; and then, feeling
that the portals of one world were shut ere those of the other were
ajar, he was seized with a quaking dread like ague. The devil-may-care
swagger of the Glandores was gone. He strove with groans to recall a
long-forgotten prayer, and the spectators of his death-bed were
stricken with awe.

'Gillin,' he murmured, in so strange and hoarse a voice as to make her
shudder. 'It is an awful wrong we've done. Why did you let me? Too
late now. I cannot set it right, but she--call my lady--why is she not
here?'

The tall countess was standing sternly over him, close by, with
crossed arms, but he could not see her.

'I am here. What would you?' she said; as white as he, with a growing
look of dread.

'That wrong!' he gurgled. 'That dreadful thing. Oh, set it right while
you have time; for my sake; for your own, that you may escape this
torment. If I might live an hour--O God! but one! We three only know.
If I could----'

The wretched man made an effort to rise--a last supreme effort. A
spasm seized his throat. He flung his arms into the air and fell
back--dead.

Doreen, the brown-eyed girl, cowered against her father and began to
cry. The boys, who looked on the work of the White Pilgrim for the
first time, clung trembling in an embrace with twitching lips. The two
women--so dissimilar in birth and breeding--bound by a strange secret
link--scrutinised each other long and steadily across the corpse, as
skilful swordsmen do who would gauge a rival's skill. They were about
to skirmish now. In the future might one be called upon to run the
other through? Who can tell what lurks behind the veil?

The countess winced under the insolent gaze with which Madam Gillin
looked her up and down. With a tinge of half-alarmed contempt she
broke the silence.

'Arthur,' she said, 'take that chit away. With her mother's craven
soul in her, she's like to have a fit. At any rate, save my conscience
that. Fear not for me, though they _have_ all run off as if I were
plague-stricken. Mr. Curran I dare say, or some one, will see me taken
care of. You will have details to look to for me. Take the girl hence.
No. Leave the boys.'

Arthur Wolfe departed, taking with him Doreen and his godson Tone; and
Mr. Curran, nodding to them, withdrew to the antechamber.

The women were alone with their dead. My lady stood frowning at the
usurper, who, no whit abashed, laid a hand upon the corpse and said,
in solemn accents: 'So help me God--I'll do his bidding. Do not glare
at me, woman, or you may drive me to use my nails. I know your secret,
for your husband babbled of it as he slept. It is a fearful wrong.
Many a time I've urged him to see justice done, no matter at what cost
to you and to himself. But he was weak and wicked too. I suppose it is
now too late, for you are as bad as he, and vain as well of your murky
half-caste blood!'

Madam Gillin drew back a step; for, stung to the quick by the
beginning of her speech, my lady made as if to strike her foe with the
toy-bayonet; but, reason coming to the rescue, she tossed it on the
ground. This last insult was too much. To speak plainly of such
shameful things to her very face! The brazen hardened papist hussy!
But vulgar Gillin laughed at the fierce impulse with such a jeering
crow as startled Mr. Curran in the antechamber.

'Do you want fisticuffs?' she gibed, with a plump white fist on either
hip. 'I warrant ye'd get the worst of such a tussle, my fine madam,
for all your haughty airs--_you_--who should act as serving-wench to
such as I. Nay! Calm yourself. I'm off. This is the first time we've
ever spoken--I hope it may be the last, for that will mean that you
have behaved properly to your second son. I've no desire to cross your
path; you cruel, wicked, heartless woman!'

Lady Glandore, her thin lips curling, took Terence by the hand for all
reply, and bade him kneel.

'Swear,' she said in low clear tones, drawing forward the astonished
Shane, 'that you will be faithful to your elder brother as a vassal to
a suzerain, that you will do him no treason, but act as a junior
should with submission to the head of his house.'

The little boy had been crying with all his might ever since they
brought in that ghastly heap. Confused and awed by his mother's hard
manner he repeated her words, then broke into fresh sobs, whilst Madam
Gillin stared and clasped her hands together as she turned to go.

'Sure the woman's cracked,' she muttered. 'What does she mean? The
feudal system's passed. No oath can be binding on a child of twelve.
Maybe she's not wicked--only mad--as mad as my lord was. Well, God
help the child! What's bred in the bone will out! Deary me! There's
something quare about all these half-English nobles.'

Mr. Curran waited, according to agreement, lest anything should be
required by my lady; and though by no means a lady's man, was not
sorry so to do, for the conduct of the countess in her sudden
bereavement had been, to say the least of it, extraordinary, and he
was curious to observe what would happen next. There was something
beneath that haughty calmness which roused his curiosity. Was she
regretting the past, conscious only of the sunshine, forgetful now of
storms; or was she rejoicing at a release? Holding no clue, conjecture
was waste of brain-power.

So Mr. Curran resolved to reserve his judgment, and turned his
attention to what was going on without, while the servants stole
backwards and forwards, improvising the preparations for a wake.

The proceedings outside were well-nigh as lugubrious as those within.
A thick mist and drizzling rain were descending on the town, turning
the roads to quagmires, the ornamental draperies to dish-clouts, the
wreaths to funereal garlands. The illuminations, concerning which
expectation had been so exercised, flickered and guttered dismally.
Groups of men in scarlet, their powder in wet mud upon their coats,
reeled down the greasy pavement, waking the echoes with a drunken
view-halloo or a fragment of the Volunteer hymn. Some were making an
exhaustive tour of the boozing-kens; some staggered towards the
lottery-rooms in Capel Street, or the Hells of Skinner's Row; some
were running-a-muck with unsteady gait, and sword-tip protruded
through the scabbard for the behoof of chairmen's calves; while some
again, in a glimmer of sobriety, were examining the smirched stockings
and spattered breeches which precluded their appearance at Smock
Alley. Chairs and coaches flitted by, making for Moira House or the
Palace of his Grace of Leinster, for all kept open-house to-night, and
Mr. Curran's crab-apple features puckered into a grin as he marked how
fearfully faces were upturned to Daly's, where one of the elect was
lying stiff and stark. But the grin soon faded into a look of sadness,
as, like some seer, he apostrophised his countrymen.

'O people!' he reflected, 'easily gulled and hoodwinked, how long will
your triumph last? This is but a grazing of the ark on Ararat--a
delusive omen of the subsiding of the waters. Our bark is yet to be
tossed, not on a sinking, but on a more angry flood than heretofore.
Eat and drink, for to-morrow you die. What was your ancestors' sin
that ye should be saddled with a curse for ever? Your land was the
Isle of Saints, yet were ye pre-doomed from the beginning; for when
the broth of your character was brewed, prudence was left out and
discord tossed in instead. And the taskmaster, knowing that in discord
lies his strength, plays on your foibles for your undoing. How long
may the prodigy of your co-operation last? Alas! It pales already.
To-morrow is your supreme trial of strength, and your chiefs are at
daggers-drawn. What will be the end? What will be the end?'

He shook himself free from the dismal prospect of his thoughts, for
since Madam Gillin bustled out my lady had been very quiet. He peeped
through the doorway. No! She had not moved since he looked in an hour
ago; but was sitting still with her chin on her two hands--gazing with
knitted brows at the body as it lay, its form defined dimly through
the sheet that covered it.

Terence, lulled by tears, had fallen asleep long since upon the floor.
Shane walked hither and thither, biting his nails furtively; for he
was a brave boy who feared not his father dead, though he trembled in
his presence whilst alive. Had he dared he would have gone forth into
the street to see the gay folks, the lights, and junketing, for he was
high up in his teens and longed to be a man. But it would not do to
leave the mother whom he loved and dreaded to the protection of
Curran--the low lawyer. He was my lord now, and the head of his house,
and must protect her who had hitherto protected him. He marvelled,
though, in his slow brain, as it wandered round the knotty subject,
over the passage of arms betwixt the ladies; their covert menace; the
oath the little lad was made to swear. It was all strange--his mother
of all the strangest. Protect her, forsooth! The uncompromising mouth
and square chin of her ladyship--the steely glitter of her light grey
eye--showed independent will enough for two. Clearly she was intended
to protect others, rather than herself to need protection. But her
manner was odd, her frown of evil augury. At a moment of soul-stirring
woe, such calmness as this of hers could bode no good.

All through the night she sat reviewing her life, while Shane walked
in a fidget, and patient Curran waited. She brooded over the past,
examined the threatening future, without moving once or uttering a
sound. She was deciding in her mind on a future plan of action which
should lead her safely through a sea of dangers. Was she as relentless
as she looked? Was this an innately wicked nature, set free at last
from duress, revolving how best to abuse its liberty; or was it one at
bottom good, but prejudiced and narrow, chained down and warped awry,
and dulled by circumstance?



                             CHAPTER IV.

                             BANISHMENT.


Years went by. The volcano burned blithely, and the upper orders
danced on it. No court was more like that of a stage potentate than
the court of the Irish Viceroy. No ridottos were so gorgeous as those
of Dublin; no equipages so sumptuous; no nobles so magnificently
reckless. Mr. Handel averred in broken German that he adored the
Hibernian capital, and gave birth to his sublime creations for the
edification of Dublin belles. The absentees returned home in troops,
finding that in their mother's mansion were many fatted calves; and
vied with one another, in the matter of Italian stuccoists and
Parisian painters, for the display of a genteel taste. But, as the
poet hath it, 'things are not always as they seem.' The crust of the
volcano grew daily thinner. What a gnashing of teeth would result from
its collapse!

The Grand Convention fell a victim to its leaders, and from a mighty
engine of the national will shrivelled into an antic posturing. Mr.
Grattan (the man of eighty-two _par excellence_) perceived that he was
overreached; that perfidious Albion shuffled one by one out of her
engagements, that the independence, over which he had crowed like a
revolutionary cock, was no more than an illusory phantom. The
Renunciation Act was repealable at pleasure, he found, and no
renunciation save in name. The horrid Poyning, the objectionable 6th
of George III., tossed into limbo with such pomp, might become law
again by a mere pen-scratch. Ireland was decked in the frippery of
freedom, which, torn off piecemeal, would leave her naked and ashamed.
The Volunteers, perceiving that their blaring and strutting had
produced nothing real, looked sheepishly at one another and returned
to their plain clothes. After all, they were asses in lions' skins;
their association a theatrical pageant of national chivalry, which
dazzled Europe for an instant till men smelt the sawdust and the
orange-peel and recognised in the helmet a dishcover. During all
this vapouring and trumpeting, England had held her own, by means of
the subservient Lords and the heavily mortgaged Commons. The
parliament, too base for shame, smiled unabashed; the Volunteers,
conscience-smitten and in despair, broke up and fell to pieces. The
Catholics were as much serfs as ever. Derry, whose conscience was
troubled with compunctious visitings, went so far as to propose that
the Catholics (burning source of trouble in all altercations) should
emigrate _en masse_ to Rome as a bodyguard for his Holiness; but the
latter, dreading an incursion of three million savages, which would
have been like an invasion of the Huns, declined with thanks the
present, and the laudable scheme was given up.

Far-sighted folks became aware that the pretty tricks of the puppets
were due to an English punchinello. The fantoccini did credit to their
machinist, who was skilful at pulling of wires. Who was he? Why, Mr.
Pitt the younger, who would have his dolls jump as he listed, though
they should come to be shattered in the jumping. Mr. Pitt, the British
premier, set his wits to work to keep all grades and classes
squabbling. At one time, to exasperate the Papists, he gave an extra
twist to the penal screw; at another, he untwisted it suddenly to
anger the Orangemen. Coercion and relief were two reins in his skilled
hands wherewith he sawed the mouth of poor rawboned Rosinante, till
the harried animal came down upon its haunches. He established a
forty-shilling franchise which gave votes to the poorest, most
ignorant, and most dependent peasantry in Europe. This he declared was
the divine gift of liberty. Nothing of the sort. It merely placed a
fresh tool in the hands of large proprietors who were dying to be
bribed and charmed to have something new to sell.

Though the Volunteers ceased to be a cause of uneasiness, it was plain
to Mr. Pitt that a repetition of their military fandango must be made
impossible. How was this to be accomplished? As it was, they had left
behind them, when they vanished, the nucleus of a disease--a small
but sturdy band of patriots, who were not to be bought or cajoled.
Unless treated in time, this spot might inflame and grow contagious.
How was it to be treated? That was the grave question whereon hung the
peace of Erin. The honest handful saw the rock on which the Convention
had split, and were humble enough to try and remedy the error.
Theobald--romantic young _protégé_ of Arthur Wolfe--was the first to
show them the true case, to demonstrate that Ireland's harmony was
England's disappointment; that the only hope for motherland lay, not
in a commingling of a few red uniforms, or a picturesque mixing of
social grades, but in a compact welding together for the common weal
of the different religious creeds which had distracted the land with
its dissensions since the Reformation. 'Till this is done,' he said,
'the Sassanagh will toss us as a battledore a shuttlecock. Establish
the grand principle of liberty of conscience, bridge the abyss of
mutual intolerance, stay the carnage of the first emotions of the
heart! If the rights of men be duties to God, then are we of the same
religion. Our creed of civil faith is the same. Let us agree then to
exclude from our thoughts all things in which we differ, and be
brethren in heart and mind for our mother's sake.' The words of the
romantic young apostle touched his hearers on their tenderest chord,
and they swore to learn wisdom by the past, and live in amity for
ever. The quick revulsion from bigotry to tolerance was not so amazing
as it seems, for Theobald Wolfe Tone was but the visible expression of
the spirit of his age--the abuse-abhorring spirit which distinguished
the eighteenth century, and culminated in the French upheaving of '89.

That sanguinary outburst, which blew into the elements a long-rooted
despotism, and which clenched the new-fangled faith enunciated in the
War of Independence, had an enormous effect on Ireland--an effect of
which Mr. Pitt availed himself for his own purposes with his usual
tact. The principle of '89 made its way to England, where the genius
of the Constitution prevailed against its allurements; then passed
across the Channel, where it was eagerly received by men who were
being hounded on to recklessness. The adverse religious sects which
had just vowed eternal amity, seeing what passed in Paris, looked on
one another with alarm. The Catholic clergy grew suspicious of the
reformers who extolled the conduct of France, because the new _régime_
had produced Free Thought, or rather had endowed the bantling with
strength which the great Voltaire had nourished. People were startled
by bold views which were new to them. The timid looked down a chasm to
which they could perceive no bottom, and shrank back. A fanatical few
were for going all lengths at once, and demanding the help of France
to produce an Irish upheaval. At this juncture a friendly English
policy--a judicious combination of discipline and conciliation--would
have allayed the brewing storm. But it was not the intention of
British ministers that the country should be tranquillised just yet.
Quite the contrary. They resolved to stir up such a tempest as should
frighten Erin out of her poor wits, and drive her to distrust her own
strength and her own wisdom for the rest of her natural existence.

Theobald Wolfe Tone--ardent, patriotic, fired by the golden thoughts
of youth, and bursting with Utopian schemes--was just such a catspaw
as was wanted. His bright earnest face beamed with the rays of truth;
his pure life compelled respect; his rapt eloquence lured many to his
side, despite the warnings of their judgment. Though a Protestant, he
was scandalised by the Penal Code. He wandered like a discontented
young Moses among his enslaved countrymen. From pamphleteering he took
to declamation, and, like many another, became convinced by his own
discourse. He started a society among the Presbyterians of Ulster for
the encouragement of universal love, and dubbed it the Society of
United Irishmen. It grew and flourished at Belfast, for all Irish
projects which were bold and enterprising came into being in the
north. In spite of Mr. Wolfe, of Curran, of Lady Glandore (who took up
her brother's _protégé_), young Tone abandoned the Bar, and
deliberately developed into an incendiary. He travelled over the
country haranguing crowds, addressing meetings, demonstrating home
truths, exhorting all to join the cause which should promote concord
amongst Irishmen of all persuasions. A bloodless revolution was to be
organised like that of '82, but on a surer basis. Instead of five
hundred thousand, five millions of men were to stand up as one to
demand a clear ratification of their rights, and, really united at
last, would be certain of the crown of victory. Vainly his friends
warned him off the precipice, declaring that the world was not ripe
for a millennium, that the heart of man is desperately wicked, that
five millions of men never were yet of one mind, that even a dozen
Irishmen never yet agreed upon any given subject whatsoever. Tone was
infatuated with his Utopian scheme, prepared like the pure-souled
enthusiast that he was to give up his all to bring about its
furtherance. What better catspaw could be selected by Mr. Pitt than
this artless apostle in whom was no taint of guile?

If Tone's society had been left alone, it would have dwindled as
over-virtuous for this world. It must be persecuted (so Mr. Pitt
determined) till it flourished like a bay-tree. Then Tone and the
United Irishmen must be stamped beneath the heel, and it would be odd
indeed if they did not drag their tottering country in their downfall.
So Mr. Pitt sat down to play a game of chess with unconscious
Theobald, permitting him to frisk his pieces about the board till he
chose to take them one by one. The game was heartless, for the players
were deplorably ill-matched. What could a knot of earnest youths do
against the forces of established government--a government which was
not squeamish as to the weapons it employed? Master Tone was agitating
for the Catholics, was he? Out with a relief bill, which, by bestowing
illusory concessions, should exasperate the ultra-Protestants. Then
with lightning-speed, in dazzling sequence, a host of contradictory
enactments, such as should keep the ball a-rolling. Towns were
garrisoned with English troops, armed assemblies suppressed, public
discussions forbidden, the sale of ammunition prohibited, conventions
of delegates rendered penal. A deft touch of personal persecution
besides, and the United Irishmen would become martyrs.

Before they could fully understand this complex phalanx of decrees,
Tone and his lieutenants--driven by events as by a remorseless
broom--found themselves transformed from a harmless debating club into
a secret society, proscribed and outlawed. They discovered, too, that
an illegal Star Chamber--a threatening Wehmgericht--had been created
somehow to spy out their ways; that a secret council was established
in the Castle, which was garnished with bristling bayonets, and
supplied with paid informers.

They buffeted like beasts in a net. The more they struggled, the more
entangled they became. Then, hot-headed to begin with, they grew
frantic. Must it be war? they howled. War be it then, though you have
arms and we have none. With the sacred cause we will win or perish.
Tear your colours from the staff, O people; muffle your drums and beat
your funeral march if ye are not prepared to stand in the breach with
us, to fall or conquer, for God and motherland!

Fate gave Mr. Pitt a cruel game to play, but he was not one to blench
at phantoms. It was a game beset with difficulties--tortuous, dirty,
dark. So he turned up his cuffs and played it like the bold man he
was, without flinching; in an age, too, when the end was acknowledged
to justify the means. The crime which he had to commit was of his
master's ordering, and must lie at his door--at the door of good King
George, that well-meaning stupid boor. On his shoulders and no others
must be laid the horrors of '98--of that hideous carnival which,
though it took place but eighty years ago, stands without rival in the
annals of human wickedness. Some, maybe, will hope that this chronicle
is overdrawn. Unhappily it is not so. There is no historical fact
recorded in these pages in connection with that bitter time for which
there exists not ample evidence. The cruelty of devils lies dormant in
each one of us. From 1796 to 1800, it had full play in Ireland. There
is no doubt that if Mr. Pitt had been allowed his way, he would have
dealt fairly by the sister island; that he intended a broad
emancipation of the serfs, an honourable course which would have
landed him on his father's pinnacle. But his hands were tied in two
ways. First by the bigotry of George, who loathed with a lunatic
abhorrence all opinions which differed from his own; secondly, by the
upheaval of '89, which, by overturning established dogmas, opened out
awful vistas of new danger to the body politic. The position being
what it was, he cut his coat according to his cloth, accepted what he
could not help, and arranged that a religious feud must be fomented to
boiling-point, in order to make its suppression an excuse for
political slavery.

To carry out this project he needed a trusty coadjutor; one who was
crafty, ambitious, selfish, clever, unprincipled, and, above all,
Irish; and this _rara avis_ he found in the Irish chancellor, Lord
Clare (whose acquaintance we made in 1783, when he was Fitzgibbon,
attorney-general). This man he reckoned up at once at his true worth,
and set him accordingly to fight the battle with the patriots. A
better tool it was not possible to find, for he despised his
countrymen for their unpractical romance, looking on them as
stepping-stones for his own personal aggrandisement. His domineering
airs had in the intervening time coerced to his own way of thinking a
host of weathercock viceroys, had raised him to the woolsack, rendered
him supreme in the law courts. Mr. Pitt begged this glorious creature
to make a trip to London, and proceeded to open his mind to him, or
rather that murky cupboard which he exposed as such to the admiration
of his dolls, when he chose to cajole them into the belief that they
were colleagues.

'We have an ensanguined path to tread, my dear Lord Clare,' he said,
with raised eyebrows; 'but it is the shortest and the safest. We must
coax on these boys to displays of rashness till they shall drive the
most respectable to take refuge in our bosom. A prison shall cool the
ardour of the fanatics. Gold shall be the portion of those who waver.
Bloody, say you? Is not Ireland already traceable in the statute-book
as a wounded man in a crowd is tracked by his wounds? A few transitory
troubles--mere spasms, nothing more--and our patient will be calm. Let
the jade be tied hand and foot, and we'll mop up the blood and she
will come to hug her chains. As for you, my dear lord,' he went on
with a familiar smirk, which warmed Lord Clare with pleasure, 'you
will be a gainer in several ways. Your talents are wasted in that poky
little house on College Green. We want men of your kidney at St.
Stephen's, 'fore Gad we do!' and Lord Clare took the bait, and the
English premier rubbed his hands behind his back. It was but a new
phase of a time-honoured policy. Chancellor and patriots should be
made to plunge their paws into the fire; then Mr. Pitt in his ambush
would quietly eat the nut.

So the new society of United Irishmen pursued its desperate way,
upheld in fainting moments by the ardour of its young apostle; and the
chancellor returned home to set traps to catch his feet; and in order
to facilitate his movements a new viceroy was sent over--a gabbling
weak man, who would do as he was bid; whose private life was
irreproachable; who in public was an idiot; who would obey the
chancellor in all things; whose name was my Lord Camden.

As might have been expected, Theobald fell into the snare. His
lieutenants were locked up. Undismayed, he prated, with increased
vehemence, of a bondage worse than that of Egypt, called on the men of
Ulster to break down the Penal Code; pointed out that the oppressor
was as vicious as an Eastern despot, that the oppressed was disfigured
into the semblance of a beast. The awakened Presbyterians answered to
his call; and, when they had sufficiently committed themselves, the
watchful chancellor put down his claw on them. Tone's career was
short. Very soon he too was cast into gaol, while small fry were
allowed to flap their wings till their mission, too, should be
accomplished. But Mr. Pitt, if a strong, was not an ungenerous foe. He
respected the young man, who was made of the stuff which makes heroes.
By his command Theobald was incarcerated in Newgate for a brief space,
to chew the cud of his vain imaginings, and then was given back his
liberty on condition of departing from the country which he loved.
Sadly he accepted the boon which was tossed to him--for choice lay
'twixt exile and the Kilmainham minuet; despatched his faithful wife
before him to America; and (Mr. Pitt and the chancellor permitting)
called his closest friends around him once again ere he shook their
hands for the last time. He stands in the gloaming now, bareheaded, to
pour out a last burning exhortation to his disciples as we take up the
clue of this our chronicle, whose thread shall no more be broken.

It is the lovely evening of the 12th of July, 1795. The scene a
triangular field known as 'The Garden' on the shore of Dublin Bay,
from whence may be duskily distinguished on the one side the cupolas
and spires of the city; on the other, at the end of a promontory
jutting out into the sea, the ivy-clad walls of Strogue Abbey, bowered
in umbrageous woods. Joy-chimes are wafted on the breeze, and now and
again a puff of smoke shows as a white spot across the bay, and a
second later the boom of a royal salute shakes the hollyhocks and
causes the little group to shiver. It is the anniversary of William,
who saved us from wooden shoes. Mr. Curran--apart from the rest--beats
his cane testily upon the ground, and murmurs: 'Lord Clare is
justified in despising them. The pack of fools! Jigging round
Juggernaut at this minute with orange lilies and foolish banners! Even
so Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Will my countrymen learn wisdom? Of
course not. Never.'

The evening light shines full on the face of the young enthusiast,
marking in relief the deep cuts chiselled by premature sorrow on his
cheek. He is effeminate-looking but genteel, with long lank hair
simply caught back behind. His thin figure appears more slight than
usual, his pale face more wan, in the anxious eyes of his companions;
his hands more thin and feverish as one by one he clasps with a
lingering pressure those that are held out to him.

'Thanks, friends!' he says, with a weary smile. 'It was idle in me to
bid you take the oath once more; for having once sworn I know you will
be faithful. Yet will it be as music to mine ears, as I roam in a
foreign land, to recall the solemn cadence of your beloved voices.
Nay--weep not! Be of good cheer. See these flowers around, and take
courage with the omen. Mark how they droop and sink--grieving together
for the dying-day. A few hours of sleep and they will wake refreshed
again, and lift up their loving heads unto the sun, with dew-tears of
gladness glistening upon their eyelids.'

'Oh, Theobald, what will become of us when you are gone?' cries out
Robert Emmett, a boy of seventeen. 'You carry hope with you in the
folds of your mantle. Once gone, we shall be left in darkness,
groping.'

Tone shuddered, and fought with himself against presentiment.

'I have watched over the cradle of Liberty,' he whispered, dreamily.
'God forbid that I should ever see its hearse.' Then passing his palm
across his eyes as if to shut out a nightmare, he said, laying a hand
on the broad shoulder of a young man beside him, 'Courage, boy Robert!
True, I go from you. But here is the Elisha who shall take up the
mantle which I leave a legacy with Hope wrapped in it. Look up to your
brother Thomas, Robert--the wise and prudent, the sage man in counsel.
Follow him as you have followed me; faithfully, truly, till I return.
For I shall return, if God so wills it, I promise you. This night I
sail for America, but am under no promise to stay there. I shall make
my way to France, and lay our grievances at the feet of the Directory.
There is nothing for it but to amputate the right hand of England. Oh,
how I hate the name of the thrice accursed! France is the surgeon who
shall do the job. I would fain give a toast before I go, if Doreen
will lend the flask she hugs so carefully.'

'It is for your journey, Theobald,' was Doreen's soft answer.

'Never mind me,' he returned, with assumed gaiety. 'Let us pour a last
libation to our common mother.'

A man who had been spreading his great length upon the grass, now
jumped up with an oath. A giant he was; evidently, from his dress,
belonging to the half-mounted class. His big kindly flat face was
shaded by a Beresford bobwig, under which twinkled a pair of roguish
eyes set in a sallow skin. His buckskin breeches were worn and greasy;
his half-jack-boots were adorned with huge silver spurs; while a faded
scarlet vest (fur-trimmed, though it was summer) closed over his broad
chest; and a square-cut snuff-coloured coat, with all the cloth in it,
hung from his brawny shoulders.

'Theobald!' he shouted, in a voice which sent the owls whirling
seaward, 'you shall not go from us. Why not lie hidden somewhere, and
direct us still? Can we not be trusted to keep the secret? You look at
things too blackly. We need no French help, but can win our way as the
Volunteers did--by moral force; or if we must fight, can quite look
after ourselves. Don't tell me. These English are not ogres.'

'Oh, stay with us, dear Theobald!' cried eagerly Robert Emmett,
the boy of seventeen. 'Cassidy is right. We will have no help from
France--for that would imply bloodshed--the blood of our own
brethren--and the curse of God is upon fratricide.'

Tone shook his head, and answered bluntly:

'No! That was all very well twelve years since; but the day for a
peaceful revolution's past. On the heads of those who forced us to
seek foreign aid shall the blood-curse be. Our omelette can't be made
without a breaking of eggs. For three years we've dribbled in and out
of Newgate and Kilmainham, and know all their holes and corners, and
dread neither prison any more. We must strike, and that sharply, but
are not strong enough alone.'

'Theobald!' observed Mr. Curran, from his grass-knoll, 'it's a
Upas-tree you've planted. Take heed lest it blight the land.'

'We must not be led away by a morbid anxiety about a little life,'
rejoined the apostle. 'I go a solitary wanderer, but shall return with
an army at my back--and then!' He paused, as though delving into
futurity, and the prospect which he saw upon its mirror was
reassuring; for with new courage he turned to his band and said: 'Keep
together, Protestant and Catholic, for _L'Union fait la Force_, and
Britain will try to divide you. Come what may, hold on by one another.
Thomas Emmet, old friend! as a literary man and editor of the "Press,"
it is your duty to keep this before the public. Study the tactics of
the foe, that one by one they may be exposed in time. And you,
Cassidy,' he continued, laying a hand tenderly on the giant's arm,
'keep watch over your too ingenuous nature, lest you find yourself
betrayed. In your way you are a clever fellow, but, like most people
of your bulk, unduly innocent. I speak with loving authority to you,
for is not your sister my dear wife, who, next to Erin, holds all my
heart? You are too servile to Lord Clare, Cassidy, who, himself an
Irishman, is the bitterest enemy that Ireland ever had. Beware lest he
twist you to his purpose, for the undoing of us all. You are also on
too intimate terms with Sirr--the town-major--that shameful jackal of
my Lord Clare's.'

'You would not suspect me, Theobald!' cried the giant, ruefully. 'I'm
not more wise than others, but I mean well.'

'No, indeed!' returned his brother-in-law. 'Would to God that we had
more such hearts as yours amongst us! But keep watch and ward, lest
you be overreached, for you are simple.'

'My Lord Clare is partial to me, and tells me many things,' apologised
the giant, with a twinkle in his eye. 'Maybe I'm not so stupid as I
look, and can unravel a fact from a careless hint. As for Sirr, I
don't care two pins for him; yet who knows how useful he may prove to
us? He has apartments in the Castle--is hand and glove with Secretary
Cooke; through him we may be able to tamper with the soldiery, turning
the arms of Government against itself, for the town-major is no man of
straw.'

But Tone shook his head.

'It is ill dealing with traitors' weapons,' he retorted. 'In a passage
of wits, you will certainly be worsted, for you are too open, too
blundering.'

Cassidy looked demurely at the rest, with his whimsical half-smile, as
though to ask whether this verdict on his character were a compliment
or not; and handsome Doreen smiled back on him in her grave way as she
handed the flask and cup to Tone, and twined her arm round Sara
Curran's waist.

A pretty picture were these two girls--who loitered a little amongst
the darkling flowers, while Tone was speaking his farewell. Doreen had
fulfilled the promise of her childhood, and was now a statuesque woman
of two-and-twenty, with rich warm blood mantling under an olive
skin--soft eyes of the brown colour of a mountain stream, shaded by
long silken lashes--and an aquiline nose whose nostrils were as finely
cut and sensitive as were her aunt's. People wondered where she got
her scornful look, for Mr. Arthur Wolfe (attorney-general now) was the
most peaceable and quiet of men, while all the world knew that her
retiring mother had faded from excess of meekness. Her aunt, Lady
Glandore, had watched her growth approvingly, for the tall supple form
was what her own had been--as was the swan-like neck and head-toss.
She approved and seemed quite to like her niece till she remembered
that she was a Papist and a blot on the escutcheon; then she despised
her, yet never dared to touch forbidden ground save in a covert way;
for Doreen had a temper, when roused, as self-asserting as her own,
and her aunt was grown old before her time; too old to rise without an
effort at the sound of the war-trumpet.

Doreen was dutiful to her aunt in most things; but on the subject of
her oppressed religion was a very tigress. If Lady Glandore permitted
herself too broad a sally, those eyes with the strongly-marked black
pupils would shoot forth a cairngorm flame--that mass of dark brown
hair which hung in natural curls after the Irish fashion down her
back, would shake like a lion's crest, and my lady would retire from
the field discomfited. Yet this occurred but seldom, and folks could
only guess how the Penal Code burned into her flesh by a certain
unnatural quietude and an artificial repose of manner beyond her
years.

Of course she adored Tone, the champion who had wrecked his life on
behalf of three million serfs who were her brethren, and under his
guidance became quite a little conspirator, niece though she was of an
ultra-Protestant grandee, daughter of the attorney-general, who, as
such, was crown prosecutor of her allies. It may be asked, how came
her aunt to permit the girl to form such dangerous ties? The damsel
was wayward, and the aunt a victim of some secret canker, over which
she brooded more and more as her hair blanched. A hard tussle or two,
and practically she lowered her standard. The girl went whither she
listed, and chose as bosom friend Sara Curran, daughter of the member
of parliament, to whom her father was deeply attached; and who had on
the occasion of her uncle's tragic end struck up a queer friendship
with her aunt, which flourished by reason of its incongruity.

Doreen, from the time she could first toddle, had been accustomed
to scour the country on ponyback in company with her cousins,
and these rides--more frequently than not--had for object the
Priory--a comfortable nest which Curran had taken to himself near
Rathfarnham--where they were regaled on tea and cakes by little Sara,
the lawyer's baby child. Sara and Doreen became fast friends as they
grew up--the faster probably because Doreen, who was the elder by
several years, was strong as the sapling oak, while Sara was clinging
like the honeysuckle.

Of course Curran, whose business kept him for many hours daily in the
courts of law and House of Commons, could desire no better companion
for his pet than the niece of the Countess of Glandore--the daughter
of his friend and superior, Arthur Wolfe; and so as her cousins grew
into men and left her more and more alone, she frequented more and
more the Priory, where no one mocked her faith, and where she
frequently met Theobald.

Wolfe-Tone and the Emmetts met frequently at Curran's, and their
large-minded talk and broad generous views seemed to her like the wind
which has passed over seaweed, compared with her aunt's narrow drone,
the vain self-vaunting of my Lord Clare, the drunken ribaldry and
coarse jests of her cousin Lord Glandore. So she, in her goldlaced
riding-habit, had come too to the tryst that she might look on her
hero once again; and for propriety's sake had brought as escort Papa
Curran and gentle Sara, who, though only sixteen, was already casting
timid sheep's-eyes at the younger of the two Emmetts--a gownsman at
this time in the University.

Bashful Sara had relapsed into tears several times during Tone's
discourse--a pale, fair, pretty creature she was, with a dazzling skin
and light-blue eyes--and showed symptoms of hysteria when the patriot
proposed a final libation. Not that she had any reason for emotion
(such as Doreen might with more reason have displayed), being the
eye-apple of a prosperous barrister who professed the dominant faith;
but she knew that young Robert, whose shoes she would have knelt and
kissed, was deeply bitten with the prevailing mania, and maybe she had
besides a dim presentiment of the trouble which was to pour later upon
her head and his. Be that as it may, she sank upon the ground now and
sobbed, while Tone held forth the cup which Doreen had filled with a
steady hand.

'A toast, dear friends--the last we may drink together!' he said; and
gazed on the plashing waters, which glowed with the last gleam of the
sun that was no more. 'I give you Mother Erin! May she soon be decked
in green ribbons by a French milliner!'

Again and again did Doreen, a calm Hebe, fill the goblet, which was
drained by each man present with a murmured 'Amen!'

The sun had died behind the Wicklow hills; still the Protestant chimes
brayed fitfully across the sea, though the cannon at dusk were silent.
Far off from the direction of Strogue Abbey came a noise of galloping
hoofs, which grew gradually louder and louder, while every man looked
at his neighbour as though expecting some new misfortune. No wonder
they were uneasy, for their proceedings were watched, and a new
disaster happened daily. Presently Mr. Curran, established as vidette,
descried a well-known horseman, who pulled up sharply in the road, and
dismounting, vaulted lightly over the wall.

'Terence!' he exclaimed with mixed feelings, as he beheld a
finely-grown young man, whose round face was remarkable for mobile
eyebrows, a fearless eye, and puckers of fun about a sensitive mouth,
'what are you doing here? Be off!'

'Yes, Terence,' returned a cheery voice, 'or Councillor Crosbie, if
you please, since I have the honour now to act as your worship's
junior. Where's Tone? Not gone. Thank goodness! I must clasp the dear
lad's hand before he goes.'

Mr. Curran shook his mane back like a retriever that has bathed, which
was a trick he had when worried.

'Donkey! what do you here?' he grumbled. 'Are we not fools enough
without you? You belong to another race, which has nought in common
with our troubles. Take my advice, and just trot home again. If you
want to be silly, join the Cherokees as your brother has, or the
Blasters, or the Hellfires. Leave plotting to the children of the
soil.'

The young man, who was good-looking, with the comeliness which a fresh
complexion gives, showed his white teeth, and broke into a merry
laugh.

'In an evil temper,' he remarked. 'Gone without dinner, eh? If I am
not a drunkard and a gambler, whose fault is it, sir, but yours? Who
taught me that as a younger son I have my way to carve through life?
Who made me choose the Bar? Who superintended my studies, and gave a
helping hand? _You_--you cross Curran! and, believe me, I'm not
ungrateful, though a bit more idle than you like.'

'Then get you gone, and leave us to our folly,' was the testy
rejoinder. 'I won't have your mother saying some day that I brought
her boy to danger, and instilled ideas into his vacant mind which put
his neck in danger.'

'Fiddlededee!' laughed the good-humoured scapegrace. 'You are no more
a conspirator than I. Why are you here, and why have you brought my
cousin if awful rites are going forward?'

'Because I'm an ass!' growled the other. 'Conspirator--why not, pray?
My heart is sick when I look round me. Why should I not be maddened as
others are? Do I love Erin less? Doreen belongs through her religion
to the people, and it is fitting she should sorrow with them. Yes, it
is maddening?' he pursued, kindling suddenly, and breaking through the
crust in which for prudence' sake he cased himself, as the thoughts
over which he had been brooding took form. 'What is to become of us?
It would have been merciful if Spencer's desire had been gratified,
and the land turned into a seapool. Our travail is long, and endeth
not. Our master gives us a hangman and a taxgatherer; what more should
such as we require? His laws are like shoes sent forth for
exportation. 'Twere idle to take our measures, for if they pinch us,
what matters it? We stand between a social Scylla and Charybdis. Poets
and visionaries, like this poor fool here, work on the hare-brained
people, whose craving for freedom is whetted to voracity; and, led by
the blind, they tumble into traps, at which a less ardent nation would
be moved to laughter. Temerity, despair, annihilation--that is the
_mot d'ordre_. See if I am not a true prophet. And the luxurious
nobles--do they help with their counsel? Not they! Their twin-gods are
their belly and their lust. They have nothing in common with the
people.'

'The French shall drive them into the sea,' remarked Tone, placidly.

'The French, the French!' retorted Curran. 'Much good may they do us!
A revolution achieved by such means would merely mean a change of
masters. You live in a fool's paradise, Theobald. I can see farther
into futurity than you, for I'm older, worse luck. I see a time
coming--nay, it's close at hand--when a spectre will be set up and
nicknamed Justice; which, if God wills, it shall be my mission to tear
down. Yet what may I do with my little weight? A mean weak man with
feeble health. May I be the log to stop the wheels of the triumphal
car? Verily, the ways of Heaven are inscrutable!'

It was rarely that the little advocate spoke out so plainly. His
friends knew that he ever regarded his country with the idolatry of a
lover, that to her he gave freely all he had to give; through the
stages of her pride, her hope, her struggles and despondency, his
heart was hers for better and for worse; and therefore many marvelled
that, actively, he should have held aloof from the patriot band.
Nobody could charge him with cowardice. Terence himself had never
solved this mystery, although as his junior he saw more than most of
the workings of Curran's mind. He had wondered at his chief's coldness
in a careless way, till now, when it became patent to him, as to the
rest, that Curran's second sight beheld the possibility of state
trials in the future, where one would be needed to stand up for the
accused whose heart was steadfast, whose courage was indomitable.
Terence felt sure his chief was wrong--the beardless are always wisest
in their own esteem--for to the honest boy it seemed impossible that
Albion could be so base.

Yet the notion was grand that, despising dignities, the little lawyer
should be keeping himself in reserve for a Herculean labour, that he
should be deliberately laying himself out to stand by those whom
others would desert; and so, to the knot of bystanders in the
gloaming, the ugly pigmy of a man appeared sublime, as he sat in an
attitude of profound dejection, with the sweat of strong emotion in
beads upon his forehead and on the black elflocks of his untidy hair.

The jolly giant Cassidy rapped out a huge oath, and vowed with a
string of expletives that he should be 'shillooed' forthwith. The
Emmett brothers fairly wept; tears stood in the eyes of the statuesque
Doreen; Theobald knelt down before him on the dewy grass, and
entreated a farewell blessing ere he went.

'The Lord bless and keep you, my poor friend!' Curran whispered in a
broken voice. 'Whether He wills that you should die an exile, or that
you should return to us with glory, God be with you! May it never be
my lot to stand up in court for you! or if it must be so, may inspired
words be given me to save you from your danger! Now we must be
separating, or we'll have the Castle spies on us.'

Followed by many a God-speed Tone vanished in the darkness. All
listened to his retreating steps, wondering when and how they might
ever meet again. Curran heaved a sigh, and was the cynical man of the
world once more, with the dancing eye and whimsical half-melancholy
smile, who threw all the judges on circuit into convulsions with his
wit, and stirred the jury to unseemly laughter.

'Terence,' he said, linking his arm in that of his junior, while the
young ladies, helped by the Emmetts, mounted their horses, 'you were
wrong to come here. My lady will be angry if you mix with the common
riffraff. What would you say if she pulled her purse-strings tight,
you extravagant young dog? The idea of one of your birth worrying
himself about the people's wrongs is of course preposterous;
therefore, to please your mother, you had best give them a wide berth.
My Lord Clare shall get you a snug post with nothing to do, and vast
emoluments such as becomes a lord's brother, and then you'll be rich
and independent in no time, while I am still prosing over briefs.'

Terence, in whose face the wicked Glandore expression was tempered by
good-nature, was not pleased with the banter of his chief, for his
cousin was at his elbow, who always persisted in looking on him as a
boy, though he was a great fellow of four-and-twenty who was
constantly arraying himself in gorgeous clothes to please her. A
tantalising cousin was Miss Doreen to him; suggesting broidered capes
and becoming ruffles when amiably disposed, which, when with pain and
grief he got them made, received no notice from her whatsoever. He
chose to imagine that he was desperately in love with the beautiful
Miss Wolfe, and was proud of his passion, though she laughed at him.
Vainly he sighed; yet no worm fed upon his damask cheek. Albeit he
pretended to be very wretched, he was not; for his life was before him
and he enjoyed it thoroughly, and was the victim of an amazing
appetite, and would probably have forgotten all about Miss Wolfe in a
week (though he would have smitten you with a big stick if you dared
to hint as much) if her lithe figure had been removed from his sight
for that brief period. Sometimes he took it into his head that she
fancied Shane, and then he was pierced through and through with
jealousy, for the brothers never could get on, and the younger one
knew my lord to be not only thick of skull, but drunken and dissolute
too, even beyond the average of his compeers; a fire-eater, whose hand
was never off his sword, who cared more for dogs than women, more for
himself than either, and who as a husband would be certain to bring
misery upon the girl. Then again he would be consoled for an instant
by the reflection that it does not answer at all for first cousins to
marry; and then his longings would get the better of him, as he marked
the wealth of the brown hair which had a golden ripple through it, the
finely developed bust, the eyes like peatwater. She was interesting,
and his heart was soft. He watched her furtively sometimes in her fits
of sadness; when she sat behind a tambour at the Strogue hall-window,
gazing, with eyes that saw nothing, at the fishing-boats upon the bay,
as they splashed along with yellow sails and clumsy oars upon their
mirrored doubles, till tears fell one by one upon her work, like
thunderdrops upon a window-pane; and he could tell that she was
dreaming of her people. Then his heart yearned towards Doreen. He
longed to seize her in his lusty arms, crying:

'My beloved! I am poor, and you are rich' (for Mr. Wolfe had put by a
cosy nest-egg). 'Our tastes are simple. I will try to live upon love
and my allowance. You shall keep all your fortune to yourself--only be
mine, my very own!' But somehow he never said the words, for something
told him that she would only smile, and on second thoughts he was glad
he had not spoken.

It would have been wrong in her to scoff, for the proposal would have
been as unusual as disinterested; but girls will laugh at improper
moments. Miss Wolfe was an heiress as times went, and likely to be
richer; impecunious squires and squireens were legion; and the
abduction clubs not yet quite stamped out. This, indeed, was one
reason why she spent most of her time at Strogue instead of with her
father in Dublin; for he, easygoing in most things, was painfully
alive to the possibility of finding his daughter stolen one day when
he was in court, to be bucketed about the country without a change
of linen till his reluctant consent was wrung to a match with some
ne'er-do-well.

At Strogue such a thing could hardly happen, for the prestige of the
Glandores was hedged about with terror, and every ne'er-do-well knew
that to play Paris to the Helen of the fair Doreen--to carry her off
from the sanctuary of Strogue Abbey--would be to call down dolorous
reprisals from her two stalwart cousins.

So, having her constantly before his vision, Terence adored the damsel
wildly by fits and starts, hating her when she snubbed him, taking a
loyal interest, for her sake, in the Penal Code and the United
Irishmen; and was not aware that he stood on the verge of the
political maelstrom, in whoso eddies so many good Irishmen had come to
drowning.

Terence professed in nowise to be a patriot. He said openly that the
United Irishmen deceived themselves, that they were fond of inventing
imaginary terrors, that Lord Clare, though personally he disliked him,
was an estimable statesman, the right man in the right place. Doreen
was angry with him at times for this. Then he had an excuse for
kissing her to make it up, for the flash from her grave eyes was only
summer lightning. But to be accused of mercenary motives, even in
banter, was quite another thing, because all the world knew that the
Irish aristocracy, as a body, did not shine in the way of
unselfishness, and Terence's nature was too open and honest, his
carelessness as to money too deep-seated, for him to feel aught but
disgust at being coupled with the pensioners. It was not true that he
was mercenary, but it might easily have been so. Who knows what might
have been if my lady had not proved liberal--a kind mother? Many are
virtuous so long as they are not tempted. Yes. You will doubtless be
surprised to hear that my lady had worked no evil to her second son.
Madam Gillin's singular office had for the space of twelve years been
a sinecure. The Countess never refused him money when he asked for it,
and was apparently a model mother to the youth, though she certainly
showed a strong partiality for Shane, which may be accounted for by
the fact that mothers invariably doat upon their prodigals, and milord
resembled his father not a little.

Now Curran, being quite at home at the Abbey, knew all these ins and
outs and petty details. Terence's indignation, therefore, amused him.
He burst into a peal of merriment when the young man asked, tartly,
what he meant by his insinuations.

'I know Lord Clare offered me a place,' he said, with a side-glance of
apology at his cousin; 'but I refused it with disdain. Though he's a
worthy man I don't like him, because he orders us about, and I would
not be under any obligation to him for the world. My mother's too fond
of the chancellor----'

'What if you were assured that he's a traitor?' Curran asked, with
mock gravity.

'I'd become a United Irishman to upset him!' returned the prompt
scapegrace.

'Nonsense!' replied his friend, growing serious. 'No, no. It's an ill
subject for jesting. Treason is a dangerous pastime, which it behoves
you to keep clear of for the sake of your noble name. Don't forget
that, being half an Englishman, half of your allegiance is due to the
British Crown--at least so the Lords think. With us it's different. To
try the bird, the spur must touch his blood. Come, let's be off.
Good-night, boys!'

And so the conference terminated.

The elder Emmett rode moodily to Dublin, concocting inflammatory
articles for the benefit of the newspaper which he edited, reflecting
too, not without misgivings, upon the mantle which had fallen,
unbidden, on his shoulders. Robert, his excitable brother, walked home
to Trinity College with elastic step, his brain still whirling with
the outlaw's parting words. The rest were bound for Strogue, where my
lady sat wondering, no doubt, what could keep them out so late.
Cassidy, who was a good singer, and amusing in other ways, had been
invited to the Abbey by Terence. As for Curran and his daughter, they
often sojourned there, and were certain of a hearty welcome, for their
own sake now, as well as Arthur Wolfe's.

None of the party spoke as they cantered briskly by the shore. Curran
was upbraiding himself for want of caution in betraying his true
sentiments even to close friends. Few saw as far as he, and the very
air of Innisfail breathed treachery. His daughter, gentle Sara, whose
fair locks clustered like silk cocoons about her baby-face, was in an
ecstatic trance as she bumped up and down on her rough pony.

What signified bumps, when the subject of her thoughts was Robert, the
dear, delightful undergraduate? She would have bumped all the world
over for him, though she was modesty itself, and he oblivious that she
existed. It was pleasant to think that he, at least, was bound by no
rash oath. It would be a sweet task, if possible, to keep him from the
toils.

Doreen rode ahead, plunged in one of her sad moods, as she thought of
the future of the wanderer, who had given up all he possessed in the
world to bring about the freeing of her people. Might any woman's
platonic worship make good that loss to him? Would she ever see him
again, and under what circumstances?

Terence read her thoughts, and was cross at her devotion to this
outlaw, a condition of mind which even he perceived was not proper in
a well-brought-up young lady. Of course everybody respected Tone, and
liked him, too, for his excellent qualities. She could not marry him,
that was one comfort, for he was already married to the sister of this
great hulking giant, Cassidy, who chirruped out scraps of song as
though Erin was the most prosperous of motherlands. But it certainly
seemed wrong, to the sage youth, that a handsome young woman should be
on confidential terms with so many strange young men. Her aunt, he
knew, objected to it strongly, but unaccountably held her peace. Then
he laughed, in spite of his displeasure, at the conceit of any one
interfering with Doreen--the demure damsel who pursued her calm way,
enslaving all and taking note of none, as though she had taken vows of
perpetual maidenhood--had cut herself adrift for the role of a Jeanne
d'Arc.



                              CHAPTER V.

                            STROGUE ABBEY.


The home of the Glandores on Dublin Bay is a unique place, perched on
rising ground, shaded by fine old timber. Originally an ecclesiastical
establishment, it was turned into a fortress by Sir Amorey Crosbie in
1177, and has been altered and gutted, and rebuilt, with here a wing
and here a bay, and there a winding staircase, or mysterious recess,
to suit the whim of each succeeding owner, till it has swelled into a
stunted honeycomb of meandering suites of rooms, whose geography
puzzles a stranger on his first visit there. The only portions of it
which remain intact, are (as may be seen by the great thickness of the
walls) the hall, a long, low, narrow space, panelled in black oak and
ceiled in squares; the huge kitchen, where meat might be roasted for
an army; and the dungeons below ground. The remaining rooms (many of
them like monkish cells) are of every shape and pattern, alike only in
having heavy casement frames set with diamond panes, enormous
obstinate doors, which creak and moan, declining to close or open
unless violently coerced, and worm-eaten floors that slope in every
freak of crooked line except the normal horizontal one. Indeed, the
varied levels of the bedroom floor (there is but one storey) are so
wildly erratic, that a visitor, who wakes for the first time in one of
the pigeonholes that open one on the other, like the alleys of a
rabbit warren, clings instinctively to his bedclothes as people do at
sea, and, on second thoughts, is seized with a new panic lest the
house be about to fall--an idle fear, as my lady is fond of showing;
for the cyclopean rafters, that were laid in their places by the
crumbled monks, are hard and black as iron, so seasoned by sea-air
that they will possibly stand good so long as Ireland remains above
the water. A gloomier abode than this it is scarce possible to
picture; for the window-sashes are of exceeding clumsiness, the
ornamentation of a ponderous flamboyancy in which all styles are
twisted, without regard for canons, into curls and scrolls; and yet
there is a blunt cosiness about the ensemble which seems to say, 'Here
at least you are safe. If Dublin Bay were full of hostile ships, the
adjacent land teeming with the enemy in arms, they might batter on for
ever. They might beat at our portals till the last trump should summon
them to more important business, but our panels would never budge.

On approaching the Abbey by the avenue, you are not aware of it--so
masked is it by trees and ivy--till a sharp turn brings you upon a
gravelled quadrangle, three sides of which are closed in by walls,
while the fourth is marked out by a row of statues (white nymphs with
pitchers), whose background is the chameleon sea. Directly facing
these figures--at the opposite end of the square, that is--a short
wide flight of steps, and a low terrace paved with coloured marbles,
lead to the front entrance. The left side of the quadrangle is the
'Young Men's Wing,' sacred to whips and fishing-tackle, pierced by
separate little doors for convenience on hunting mornings--two sets of
separate chambers, in fact, which may be entered without passing
through the hall; and above them is the armoury, a neglected museum of
rusty swords and matchlocks, an eyrie of ghosts and goblins, which is
never disturbed by household broom. The right side is bounded by a
close-clipped ivied wall, pierced by an archway which gives access to
the stables and the kennels, ended by a mouldering turret, converted
long since into a water-tower.

The grand hall, low and dark as it is with sable oak and stiff
limnings of dead Crosbies, occupies the whole length and width of the
central portion of the house, or rather of the narrow band which
joins the two side blocks together. You may learn, by looking at the
time-discoloured map which hangs over its sculptured mantelpiece, that
the ground-plan of the Abbey is shaped like the letter H, whose left
limb forms the young men's wing, the offices, and dining-room; whose
right limb is made up of my lady's bedroom, the staircase vestibule,
and the reception saloons; while the grand hall, or portrait gallery,
reproduces the connecting bar. Five steps, with a curiously-carved
banister, lead out of the grand hall at either end; that to the left
opening into the dining-room--a finely-proportioned chamber, panelled
from floor to ceiling with trophies of rusty armour breaking its
sombre richness; that to the right communicating with my lady's
bedroom, painted apple-green with arabesques of gold, which is chiefly
remarkable for luxuriously-cushioned window-seats, from whence a fine
view may be obtained of the operations in the stable-yard. The late
lord used to sip his chocolate here in brocaded morning-gown and
nightcap, haranguing his whipper-in and bullying the horse-boys, or
tossing scraps to favourite hounds as they were trotted by for his
inspection; and my lady has continued the practice through her
widowhood, for it gratifies her vanity, as chatelaine, to watch the
numberless grooms and lacqueys, the feudal array of servants and
retainers. An odd nest for a lady, no doubt; but the countess chooses
to inhabit it, she says, till her son brings home a bride, for the
late lord sent for Italian workmen to decorate it according to her
taste, and in it she will remain till the hour for abdication shall
arrive.

A second door, at right angles to my lady's, opens from the hall on to
the staircase with its heraldic flight of beasts; beyond this is the
chintz drawing-room, a cheery pale-tinted chamber which Doreen has
taken to herself as a boudoir, although it is practically no better
than a passage-room leading to the tapestried saloons. She likes it
for its brightness, and because it looks out on the garden front,
known as 'Miss Wolfe's Plot,' a little square fenced in at one end by
the hall, on the further side by the dining-room, while at the other
end there is a tall gilt grille of florid design, through which you
may wander, if it pleases you, into the pleasaunce. This small quaint
enclosure is Doreen's favourite haunt. She has laid it out with her
own hands in strange devices of pebbles and clipped box, with a crazy
sun-dial for a centre, and sits there for hours with needlework that
advances not, dreaming sombrely, and sighing now and then, as her eyes
travel along the cut beech hedges, smooth leafy walls, which spread
inland in vistas beyond the golden gate, like the arms of some giant
starfish. These hedges are the most remarkable things about a very
remarkable abode. They are each of them half a mile long, thirty-six
feet high, and twelve feet thick, perforated at intervals by arches;
and they form together a series of triangular spaces sheltered from
sea-blasts, in which flourish such a wealth of roses as is a marvel to
all comers.

Obese, old-fashioned roses, as big as your fist, hang in cataracts
from tottering posts which once were orchard trees; large pink
blossoms or bunches of small white ones, whose perfume weighs down the
air; balls of glorious colour, which, when a rare breeze shakes them,
shower their sweet petals in a lazy swirl upon the grass, whence
Doreen gleans and harvests them for winter, with cunning condiments,
in jars. From time to time the perfume varies, as the wind sets E. or
W., from that of Araby the blest to one of the salt sea--a tarry,
seaweedy, nautico-piratical odour, with a strong dash of brine in it,
which seems wafted upward from below to remind the dwellers in the
Abbey of their long line of corsair ancestors.

The most sumptuous of all the apartments is undoubtedly the tapestried
saloon, nicknamed by wags my lady's presence-chamber; for there,
looking out upon the roses, she loves to sit erect surrounded by
ghostly Crosbies whose mighty deeds are recorded on the walls,
portrayed by the most skilful hands upon miracles of Gobelin
manufacture. Mr. Curran often wondered, as he played cribbage with the
chatelaine, whether those deeds were fabulous; for if not, he
reflected, judging the present by the past--then were the mighty
grievously come down. Here was Sir Amorey alone on a spotty horse
trouncing a whole army with his doughty sword. There was Sir Teague at
the head of his Kernes, making short work of the French at Agincourt.
Further on the first earl--prince of salt-water thieves, with a
vanquished Desmond grimacing underneath his heel. How different were
these from the present and last Glandores, whose lives were filled up
to overflowing with wine and with debauchery; whose sins lacked the
picturesque wickedness of these defunct seafaring murderers. Then,
perceiving the countess's eye fixed on him, her crony would feel
guilty for his unflattering reflections, and rapidly pursue the game;
for my lady as she aged grew just the least bit garrulous, and as he
loved not the aristocracy as such, it was afflicting to listen to
long-winded dissertations upon the family magnificence, which he
declared she invented as she went along. He was never tired though,
when he could snatch a rare holiday from his professional labours, of
exploring the dungeons and chimney recesses and awful holes and
crannies. He it was who ferreted out the long-lost secret way beneath
the sea from the water-tower to Ireland's Eye; and bitterly he
repented later that he had not kept that discovery to himself; for by
means of it he might have brought about the vanishing of many of the
proscribed, instead of--but we travel on too fast.

My lady sat upright in the tapestried saloon, marvelling that no one
filled the teapot. It was with a distressed amazement, like that of
Louis XIV. when he waited, that she stared at the silver equipage, at
the pathetically hissing urn. Where was Doreen the tea-maker? It was
quite dark, and the incorrigible damsel was still galloping about the
country, who might tell whither? It really was shocking; no wonder if
milady's quills of propriety stood out, after the manner of the
fretful one. It's that drop of Papist blood, she muttered; then turned
to admonish her brother as to his heiress. But Arthur Wolfe listened
without a word, for he was accustomed to his sister's querulous
complaining, and built a bulwark of silence against her jeremiads.
People said all his time was spent in negative apologies for the one
error of his youth; and it did look like it; for he was marvellously
patient in the face of her most tyrannical whims, listening without a
struggle to endless sermons which prated of the woe to come,
reflecting that, poor soul, she had much to put up with. Although she
was reticent and mysterious to an extreme degree, Arthur Wolfe knew
that her lines were not cast in pleasant places; for did not flaunting
Gillen abide at the very gates, whose odious vicinity caused her to
shrink as much as might be from passing beyond her own domains?

Time and this bitter pill had made of her ladyship a 'swaddler.' Like
many of the oldsters of the patrician order, she grew sorely repentant
for youthful peccadilloes, took to psalm-singing, displayed strong
ultra-Protestant proclivities. The prejudices of a less enlightened
age curtained her brain with cobwebs which excluded the daylight from
the vermin they engendered. On this 12th of July she set aside,
according to custom, the pearly grey which becomes her age so well, to
don weird orange vestments which make her look like a macaw--she who
is usually dressed in such perfect taste in a robe of silvered satin,
with snowy hair in rolls unpowdered. Although she is but fifty-two, my
lady is a white-haired queen Bess; and handsome in an imposing way,
which she never was in youth. The thin nose looks higher than it used
to be, and pinched. The cheek is pale and marked with anxious
wrinkles; but the straight line of imperious brow remains the same,
and the eyes--netted with crowsfeet--assume a more vigorous life by
reason of the fading of their surroundings. The Countess of Glandore
has in twelve years become an awful dowager, before whom the cottagers
shake in their shoes; for to a misleading appearance of patriarchal
majesty she adds a quick incisive way of speech, and the bodily
activity of a middle-aged woman who enjoys a perfect constitution.
Those startled eyes tell tales, though, of a diseased mind, and
sleepless nights of tossing. And she does pass sleepless nights,
despite the Consoler's fanning, when the secret chord is struck. Then
as she lies on her laced pillows she sees once more the sheeted body
at the clubhouse, hears the last warning wail, 'For my sake, for your
own--that you may be spared this torment!' and then she lights a lamp
and reads angrily till daylight--loathing herself for what her sound
sense condemns as morbidness--lest peradventure her thoughts should
drive her mad. Then rising with a headache and haggard looks, she sits
in the window-seat and feeds the hounds, and reflects with stern
satisfaction that the odious baggage who lives in the Little House
has never found joints in her armour--has never caught her tripping
with regard to her younger son. Since my lord's death no spiteful
unduly-elected guardian could complain of the boy's treatment. Her
purse had always been open to him; from childhood he was rich in guns
and ponies. But she failed sufficiently to consider that there was one
thing for which the warm-hearted lad had pined and which she had
consistently denied him--love. It is evident that we cannot bestow
that which we have not to give. This reproach therefore sat lightly on
her mind. The deficit in affection was made up with bank-notes, and
she bred unconsciously in her second-born a recklessness in spending
which his after-income would by no means justify. Her influence over
him was small. Not that this mattered much, for he was a bright
good-natured lad, such as give little serious trouble to their elders.
He had a way of quarrelling with Shane though, which opened dread
visions of possible complications in the future. Sometimes the
brothers were so near the point of open rupture, that milady had to
interfere, and then with undutiful fierceness my lord would remind her
of the oath she had herself extorted, and she would be stricken dumb,
cursing herself for the idle folly of the act. If my lady nourished
old-fashioned feudal views about the conduct of one brother to
another, she was clumsy in her method of realising them. Terence
ignored the whole proceeding, and to prove his freedom kept the
household in a constant state of simmering breeziness, which was more
lively than comfortable. Shane, on the other hand, was disposed to be
benignant if Terence would abstain from being rude. There was little
in common between the two, and it would have been odd if Shane had
kept his temper when Terence flogged his horse-boy, though he had a
private young henchman of his own. My lady looked with uneasiness at
the constant trivial squabblings, and was not altogether sorry, as the
twain grew up, to see that their tastes divided them, that they met
less and less; for Shane became engrossed with the pleasures of the
capital, while Curran, taking a fancy for the second son, turned his
attention to the Bar.

The young lord emancipated himself from leading-strings, and became a
pattern Dublin buck. He wore gorgeous raiment, carried wonderful
walking-sticks with jewelled tops and incrusted mottoes; was elected
President of the Blaster and Cherokee clubs, which honourable post
made it his duty to fight at least one duel a week, and to force
quarrels upon people whom he had never seen before. There were several
established ways (as all the world knows) of bringing this about.
Sometimes he sat in a window and spat on the hats of passers-by, or
stood over a crossing pushing folks into the mire, or kissed a pretty
girl in the presence of her male protector, or flung chicken bones
from a balcony at a passing horseman in full fig. His mother took no
heed of these vagaries; the ways of the Glandores had been imperious
for generations. But in course of time an event happened which sent
the blood rushing in a tumult to her heart. At a masquerade one night
my lord met a maid who smote his fancy. She was cheerful, and not too
modest (his one terror was a lady of quality), with eyes like a mouse
and a good set of teeth. Her mamma, a homely, buxom dame of forty,
invited him home to supper, and he was as surprised as charmed to
discover that the sprightly pair were his neighbours, who on account
of some crotchet or other his mother declined to visit. He was
received with open arms; nothing could be more jolly than his welcome.

''Deed the space is limited,' mamma observed, with a guffaw. 'If ye
put your arm down the chimbly ye could raise the door-latch; but,
sure, a snug mouthful's better than a feast any day.'

He remained toasting his hostesses till daylight; called in a week;
stopped to dinner; was treated as an honoured guest. Madam was a
Papist, he found out, which would account for my lady's prejudice, but
my lord had no such prejudices. If a young lady touch your fancy, do
you ask her to say her Catechism?

When the terrible fact broke upon my lady, she groaned in spirit and
was stunned. The spiteful baggage, baffled by her rival's exemplary
conduct as a mother, had hit on a new way to torture her. The damsel
in question was Madam Gillin's daughter, who had been brought up a
Protestant, at the late lord's special wish. The reason for this
singular proceeding was only too clear. That low hateful wretch, who
had remained quiescent till the countess was almost at ease, was still
pursuing her. Of course she could not be so truly wicked as to mean
anything serious--for her own child's sake. It was a sword tied over
her head to force her to grovel down upon her knees. But boys
(specially heads of houses) always begin by falling in love with the
wrong people. This was a transitory flirtation. Shane would grow tired
of the vulgar chit. Vainly my lady hoped. Then with beatings of the
breast it occurred to her, that as Gillin was a Catholic she must of
course be capable of any crime. Before things attained a hopeless
pitch, would it be needful for my lady to bow her haughty neck under
Gillin's caudine forks? Oh! the agony of a stubborn pride which must
publicly do penance! Would the ruthless tormentor exact such abasement
as an exposure to her own children of the insulting behaviour of their
father? Would it be requisite to crave a boon of the too jolly tyrant?
Never! my lady decided that such humiliation might never be--death
would be preferable. She would bide awhile and take refuge in
religion, and pray that the cup might in mercy be removed.

The petty annoyances which made up the sum of my lady's bitterness
were endless. She was in the habit of bestowing broken meats upon the
cottagers with stately condescension, accompanied sometimes with
drugs. Mrs. Gillin followed suit. There were two ladies bountiful in
the field, and the dowager sometimes came off second best; for, as
amateur doctors will, she made mistakes, and killed people with fresh
patent medicines, whilst her rival escaped active harm, because her
boluses were innocent through lengthened sleep in the village
apothecary's phials. So the cottagers only trembled and curtsied when
the chatelaine called to see them, and emptied her bottles on the sly,
whilst they eagerly consulted Madam Gillin as to their ailments, a
preference of which madam made the most, when the ladies met over an
invalid. Faithful to her _rôle_, she never spoke to the scowling
dowager, but addressed scathing remarks to a third person who was
always the companion of her wanderings--one Jug Coyle, her ancient
nurse, who passed with many for a witch, whilst all admitted that she
was a 'wise-woman.' This old harridan, who was learned in the use of
simples, was established by her mistress in a one-eyed alehouse on the
verge of her little property--on the outside edge of it which looked
towards the Abbey. The noise of roysterous shouting there penetrated
sometimes as far as my lady's chamber, yet she did not complain. It
was one of her rival's thorns--one of the petty persecutions which the
chatelaine was doomed to bear.

Sure the late lord would have spared his widow had he realised the
worries which would come on her by reason of the proximity of Gillin.
The mistress of the Little House gave excellent rowdy suppers, and
entertained the _élite_ of Dublin. The judges bibbed her claret, and
shook the night air with choruses, whereas they only paid state visits
to the abbey once or twice a year. Her nurse's shebeen--a tumble-down
festering hostelry thatched with decaying straw--was no better than a
dog-boy's boozing ken, a disgraceful trysting-place for drunken
soldiers, who were enticed thither by its excellent poteen. Jug
Coyle's shock-pated daughter Biddy was a scandal to the neighbourhood,
so recklessly did she profess to adore sodgers; while as for mischief,
there was none perpetrated within ten miles round but that red-poled
slattern was at the bottom of it. By-and-by Old Jug hung out a sign, a
rude picture of a chained man, with 'The Irish Slave' as cognizance;
and after that mysterious persons were seen to arrive at unseasonable
hours who might or might not be United Irishmen. My lady knew all
these doings, and hoped fervently that the new clients would turn out
conspirators, for in that case there seemed a chance that she might
sweep away the nuisance which vexed her day by day. I say _she_
advisedly, because Shane was too busily engaged as King of Cherokees,
to look after his property, and was only too thankful to his mother
for undertaking the management of the estates.

In intervals of complaining about the still absent tea-maker, the
countess exposed her views for the hundredth time, as to the enormity
of the obnoxious Gillin, to her ally Lord Clare, who smiled and
nodded. The chancellor was a constant visitor at the Abbey, riding
over frequently to dinner for a gossip or a game of cards with his old
friend. He told her the last scandal, discussed the political
situation, dropped hints about the movements of the patriots, lamented
the mad folly of her brother Arthur's _protégé_; and unconsciously she
came to see things through his spectacles, living herself a retired
life. Not but what she heard something of the other side from Mr.
Curran; but then he seemed to avoid these subjects, while Lord Clare
delighted in gloating on them. The two mortal foes met frequently at
the Abbey as on neutral ground, and snarled and showed their teeth,
and thereby exemplified in their own persons one of the most singular
features of a society now happily died away. During the last
tempestuous years which preceded the Union, members of all parties
were accustomed to meet in social intercourse, dining to-day with men
they would hang tomorrow, even in some cases advancing funds out of
their own pockets to secure the escape of those whom it was their duty
to convict. The cause of the anomaly is not far to seek. Dublin
society, though magnificent, was limited to a tiny circle. Absenteeism
being voted low, the great families became interwoven by a series of
intermarriages, while they were torn at the same time by religious or
political dissensions. If your wife's brother holds precisely opposite
views to your own, and is in danger of losing his head, still he is
your near relative, and as such you will save him from the gallows if
you may. It was not surprising then that Mr. Curran, when at length he
arrived with the rest, should have courteously taken Lord Clare's
jewelled fingers in his own with a hope that his health was good,
though he loved him as dogs love cats. Was he not obliged to meet him
several times a day in the four courts, or at Daly's? The city would
have been too small to hold them if they had come to open strife.

My lady dropped her jeremiad when the young people entered, for
the Little House and its belongings formed a mystery which they might
not fathom. If Shane chose to distress his mother by flirting with
Norah Gillin, it behoved the rest to ignore his sin. Even independent
Doreen, who would have liked to scrape acquaintance with a
co-religionist, abstained from so doing lest she should offend her
aunt. Once, when in a passion, she threatened to call at the Little
House, but my lady appeared so pained that she repented the idle
threat.

My lady looked at Lord Clare as if to bid him start a subject, then
shook her head at Curran for keeping the girls out so late.

Lord Clare was in excellent spirits as he crossed one natty stocking
over the other, and, fingertip to fingertip, began to purr over the
virtues of the new Viceroy. 'Lord Camden,' he averred, 'was an angel.
He was open to advice. Things would have to take place sooner or later
which would make it essential that those who governed should be of one
mind. The silly geese who dubbed themselves patriots had received a
check by the discomfiture of young Tone, but the snake was scotched,
not killed. They would doubtless find leaders, and again leaders, who
would have to be crushed in turn, and Government had hit on a bright
idea for the simplifying of the process of suppression. By virtue of
an English law there was a foolish rule which forbade conviction for
treason save on the testimony of two witnesses. How ponderous a piece
of mechanism! The wheels of the Irish car of justice wanted greasing.
Why not one witness? One dear, delightful, useful creature, who would
come forward and say his say and finish off the matter in a trice.
What did Mr. Curran think of it, that clever advocate?'

Mr. Curran sipped his tea in silence, while his dusky cheek turned
dun. They would not dare pass so outrageous an enactment, he
reflected. They would dare much, but, with the eyes of Europe on them,
not so much as that. The chancellor was drawing him out. So he smiled
sweetly, and, handing his cup to be refilled, observed that as Justice
did not live in Ireland, it would be folly to provide a car for her.
The spectacle of an English Viceroy making believe to dally with the
stranger would be as astounding to Irishmen as the spectacle of a
horse-racing Venetian.

'Lord Clare likes his joke,' chorused the giant Cassidy, 'but Curran
won't be hoodwinked.'

'I assure you I am in earnest,' declared the chancellor, eyeing his
foe from under alligator lids. 'I protest the idea is splendid. If
they are bent on hanging themselves, why not give them rope? One
witness, my dear Curran, would surely be enough.'

'Your joke is a bad one, my lord,' returned the other, sulkily. 'There
are hundreds of idle wretches, hanging round Castle-yard, who for a
pittance would swear anything. Is it so much trouble to suborn two?
Major Sirr, your lordship's jackal, would see to it, I'm sure.'

'An admirable person!' murmured the chancellor.

'If he's not a villain,' retorted his enemy, 'give me as offal to the
curs of Ormond Quay. Cassidy here was reproved only an hour ago by one
whom we all respect for being too intimate with the rascal.'

'I can only repeat,' said Cassidy, with the crumpling of skin which
made his flat face so droll, 'that I care nought for him, though I
should be sorry if he came to be put away as his paid informers often
are--_consigned to Moiley_, as the common people say. It is important
for a poor man like me to have a friend at court. I might be taken any
day on false information, and lie perdu in Newgate till my bones
rotted. My Lord Clare is a kind patron, but too much engaged to heed
the fate of such humble squireens as I. I have no genius like Mr.
Curran. My disappearance would cause no hue-and-cry. We must look
after our own bodies, and Sirr is my sheet-anchor.'

The chancellor glanced at Cassidy with a whimsical expression on his
face, half curiosity, half contempt, while Curran said:

'That town-major is too much considered. Beware, my lord, of
Jacks-in-office, who, in the intoxication of gratified vanity, mistake
the dictates of passion for the suggestions of duty, and consider that
power unemployed is so much wasted. But I'm a fool. Your lordship is
laughing at me.'

Doreen, having presided over the tea-table, retired to the open
window, for her heart was full of Theobald, and this chatter grated on
her nerves. My lady seized the opportunity to discourse of the
proceedings of the day, of how Lord Camden had marched round William's
statue with all his peers, and of how the scum had looked stupidly at
the pageant with angry scowls. 'I was glad to see it,' she went on
complacently, 'for tribulation is good for their sins, and bears
fruit. There have been a blessed number of conversions of late.'

'Some are too weak to endure oppression,' remarked Arthur, gently,
'and turn Protestant to escape from misery.'

'Then it is good that the oppression, as you call it, should
continue,' returned his sister, with decision. 'The scarlet woman and
her progeny of vices shall be extinguished. When people are so
ignorant and brutish, they must be snatched from the fire by any
means.'

'My lady, my lady!' laughed Curran. 'Your speech and your deeds are
ever at variance. Your words breathe fire and sword, yet none are more
kindly to the poor. Extremes meet, you know. I believe that you will
die a Catholic.'

My lady glanced at Doreen, pursed up her lips, and said nothing.

'Did we not agree t'other day about true religion? It lies not in
abusing our neighbours, but in cultivating a heart void of offence to
God and man. Remember that definition, Terence, and act on it, my boy.
It was a saying of the great Lord Chatham.'

'If only Luther had never been born!' groaned Arthur Wolfe.
'Christianity was good enough for Christendom in old days.'

This was an awkward subject. Lord Clare changed it with accustomed
tact.

'Do you know, Curran,' he said, 'that Tone has left a sting behind him
which till yesterday we did not suspect? We have reason to believe
that the University, of which we are all so justly proud, has been
tampered with. That's bad, you know. I am informed that there are no
less than four branches of the secret society within its walls.
Severest measures may be necessary. As chancellor of Trinity I will
see to it.'

Doreen turned round and listened. So did Terence, for he had many
friends in Trinity.

'Have you any basis to work upon?' asked my lady.

'Certainly! A man whom I can trust in every way is hand and glove with
them. The unhappy wretches have a traitor in their midst. Young
McLaughlin is bitten with the mania, a sad scatterbrain and Bond, and
Ford, who's half an idiot. The only one I'm sorry for is young Emmett,
who should know better, being son of a State-physician. But then his
brother, who dabbles in journalism, is a bad example. I should not be
surprised if he were hanged some day.'

Poor Sara, who had gone to where Doreen was sitting, glanced from one
at another, her pupils expanded by terror. She knew that the dear
undergraduate had not taken the oath. But to be suspected at such
times as were looming was a matter of grave jeopardy. Her father
looked serious, and so did Terence. Both liked the Emmetts, and were
sorry to hear about this traitor. My Lord Clare's flippant discourse
was distasteful to all. Was he making himself disagreeable on purpose?
Curran was shaking his hair ominously. Terence burst out in defence of
the young men who were, he swore, as good as gold, and his personal
friends--more worthy than others who should be nameless. My lady, in
her orange robe, looked like a thunder-cloud. Cassidy, to pour oil on
the troubled waters, proposed that Miss Wolfe should sing, and Arthur,
relieved at the diversion, drew out his girl's harp into the room.

Doreen would have refused if she had dared, for these covert
bickerings constantly renewed upon topics which moved her so strongly,
were wearing to the nerves. But everybody suddenly desired music.

'Something Irish, set to one of your own melodies,' suggested Cassidy.
'Sure, Curran will play a second on his violoncello; and I'll give you
a new song afterwards.'

Well, anything was better than the grating of Lord Clare's harsh
voice. Listlessly sitting down to the harp, Doreen permitted her
shapely arms to wander over its strings. Then, fired by a kind of
desperation, she lifted her proud head and began in a rich contralto,
while Mr. Curran, on a low stool beside her, scraped out an impromptu
bass:


     '"Brothers, arise! The hour has come to strike a blow for Truth
           and God.
       Why sit ye folded up and dumb? why, bending, kiss a tyrant's
           rod?
       For what is death to him who dies, the martyr's crown upon his
           head?
       A charter--not a sacrifice--a life immortal for the dead.
   And life itself is only great when man devotes himself to be
   By virtue, thought, and deed the mate of God's true children and
           the free!"'


Her voice trembled and gave way, and bowing her neck over the
instrument, the girl wept. Sara stole up and kissed away the tears.
Her own heart was exceeding heavy, she knew not why, except that she
saw visions of Robert in peril, such as she was thankful to think were
only visions. If aught befell him, she would lie down and die--of that
she was quite sure--foolish virgin! She had bestowed her pure heart
unasked. Would he who held it value the priceless gift?

My lady and Lord Clare looked at Arthur Wolfe in consternation. Where
did the naughty damsel learn such a song? Of what dangerous stuff was
she made to presume to chant it before the chancellor himself? 'It is
the cloven foot,' her aunt thought with fury. That terrible blot!
Anxieties were thickening. Something must be done, or the girl would
go to perdition even faster than she galloped across country.

Arthur looked wistfully at his sister, then at his child, who, the
paroxysm past, was a cold statue again--haughty, unabashed. To look at
her, you would feel assured that she had done right, while all the
rest were wrong. Some people are incorrigible, and Miss Wolfe was
evidently one of them. Her father suspected shrewdly that she had
learnt the song at Curran's. He knew that she worshipped Tone, and
that she had been in the habit of meeting him at the Priory. But he
never had the courage to stand between the Catholic and the Protestant
champion of her faith. As usual, he temporised, striving to serve two
masters, and, as usual, suffered for his weakness.

Lord Clare read him like a book, and was disgusted with his friend.
Wolfe's sensitive conscience was constantly racked by doubts which a
natural diffidence magnified into bugbears. Clare's inflexibly
ambitious mind despised the hysterics of the country which he
governed; brazen and hard, he was a fit tool for Mr. Pitt. As he
looked at Arthur, who hung his head over his daughter's escapade,
he decided that this was a square peg in a round hole. As
attorney-general, acts might be demanded of him by-and-by, from which
he would shrink with lamentable want of character. What if he were to
shillyshally when prompt action was urgent! He might upset the deftest
schemes, overturn the most skilful combinations, by his bungling. Only
a few minutes ago, his tell-tale face had shown how he disapproved of
the one witness project. What a pity it was that the inoffensive
fellow had ever been promoted, for as a simple lawyer he would have
been pushed by events into the background. Well, well! He must be
tried, and trotted forth to test his mettle. If he were proved
wanting, there would be nothing for it but to pass him on again--to
shelve him somewhere in the Lords, where he might drone harmlessly.

But this outrageous bit of scorn--his daughter! My lady must have a
hard time with her. She was going awry, as hysterical girls will; yet
surely the dowager was more than capable of coping with this febrile
phase of a strong nature half developed? Then the astute idea passed
through the schemer's brain of how convenient it would be if the
budding Joan of Arc could be used as an unconscious spy upon her
party. An ingenious notion, but one difficult to carry out--a delicate
game, which would have to be worked through the countess, who was a
crotchety soured woman, with a nice sense of honour, who would slave
night and day for a cause which she esteemed a rightful one, but who
would rather cut off her hand than stoop to what she knew was a
meanness--provided that it did not affect her interests.

My Lord Clare could not forbear smiling when, glancing round the
party, he noted the effect of the song. My lady dumbly furious; Arthur
apologetic; Doreen herself indifferent; Terence uneasy and taken
aback. One savage breast alone had music soothed; and Terence, who
revered his chief, thanked Cassidy with a nod for having withdrawn him
from further contest. Once with his huge machine between his feet, he
was invulnerable even to Erin's wrongs, scraping himself into a
condition of ecstatic beatitude, from which there was no fretting him.
any more. There he sat, crouching like a black-beetle on a kitchen
boiler, his underlip protruded, his face lighted with satisfaction,
his head nodding to the time, and his frenzied eye fixed on the
coat-of-arms upon the ceiling, as though to invoke its supporting
monsters to turn and cock their ears. My Lord Clare's smile faded
presently; he hated music nearly as much as he hated Curran.

'Turn out the lights!' he cried. 'I wonder your ladyship has patience
with the fellow's grimaces. And you, my lad,' he continued seriously,
addressing Terence, 'accept the lesson of the times and avoid
enthusiasm. In this country it leads to the halter. Steer your course
wisely. Take a safer pilot to guide your inexperience than yonder
hurdy-gurdyman, so that you may find yourself on the winning side at
last. There is no doubt which that will be.'

'I will use my own judgment,' replied Terence, simply, with a dignity
which would have won approval from his cousin, had she not just
descended into the pleasaunce to recover, amid the influences of
night, her natural calmness of demeanour.

'That beast's din addles my brains,' went on the chancellor, rising to
depart. 'Drive back with me, Arthur. I have a special subject to talk
to you about. You must take a bolder course in politics. The ball is
at your feet. We must teach you to find pluck enough to strike it.'

Wolfe smiled gently as he answered:

'I'll take a drive with pleasure, but you'll find me terribly
deceitful; for I must grub up money for my daughter's sake; and yet,
in certain ways, I'm an impracticable person--a mule with his feet
together. Vacillating you think me. In some things you'll find I'm
adamant.'

All were glad when at last the chancellor departed. Even my lady
admitted that he could be crabbed at times. He was gone, but, like the
gentleman in black, he left an evil savour in his wake.

Startled from reverie by the clang of the hall-door, Curran threw
aside his bow and scratched his elf-locks pensively.

'No!' he said. 'These laws which they are continually framing are too
dreadful. If the testimony of one witness is to be sufficient to
convict us, then, are we foredoomed; for any one may be summoned to
join in the Kilmainham minuet by the malice of a discharged groom, or
the greed of the meanest cowboy. Trial and evidence are not children's
baubles; they were not even established for the sole purpose of
punishing the guilty; their most precious use is for the security of
innocence.'

The little lawyer looked so horror-stricken, that both my lady and the
giant burst out a-laughing.

'Come,' said the former, wresting the violoncello from his grasp,
'your music carries you too far. Lord Clare was out of sorts, and
played upon your fears. Thank heaven he is no Blunderbore, or he would
not be my welcome guest. Now to bed. Sara looks worn out.'

'He has no sense of right and wrong,' grumbled Curran.

'For shame! You are both good men. What a pity you can only agree in
looking at each other through distorted glasses!'

'Faix, her ladyship's right,' acquiesced Cassidy, with a grin. 'You
magnify the number of the informers. I should be sorry to believe
there are half as many as you think.'

'Did not Tone say you were simple?' asked Curran, sadly. 'So there's
some one watching the Emmetts? Can you guess? No! Nor I; but they must
be warned. Clare is brewing some new devil's haricot, and will dip
Arthur's ladle in it, if he may. What a net it is that they are
winding about Erin! Pray God that we and ours may escape
entanglement!'



                             CHAPTER VI.

                          MY LADY'S PROJECT.


Doreen stood by the crazy sun-dial, looking at the milky way, and
reflecting upon the chatter which had assailed her ears. Consigned to
Moiley! The dragon of the new _régime_ was beginning to show that his
hunger was insatiable. The prisons were filling apace. Lord Clare had
hinted that worse was yet to come, that the shadow of the gibbet was
to stretch across the earth, that hemp would soon be at a premium. But
there were two Moileys--two goddesses of vengeance and retaliation,
ready to strike, one for the oppressor, one for the oppressed. If
their blood was roused, who might foretell what havoc they would make
ere they sheathed their swords again!

The rustle of my lady's skirts recalled the maiden to herself, and she
perceived her aunt descending into the garden. It was seldom that my
lady changed her routine in the smallest particular. What could be the
cause of this sudden fancy for star-gazing?

'A lovely night,' exclaimed her ladyship. 'How sweet the roses smell!
I vow it is a sin to go to bed.'

'Shane seems to think so,' returned Doreen. 'He never comes in till
the small hours.'

My lady looked sharply in her niece's face, but was nothing there save
a settled sadness.

'Come,' she said, 'Curran and his child are gone to rest. We'll take a
turn in the pleasaunce.'

They sauntered through the golden gate and down a leafy avenue, in
silence, while owls and bats flitted past their heads and circled away
among the foliage. My lady had something to say, and did not know how
to say it. Doreen was thinking of the dear wanderer, who was tossing
on the sea by this time. Presently my lady said abruptly:

'Doreen, you must change your ways.'

The damsel's nostrils dilated a little; but, biting her lip, she
answered nothing.

'You are twenty-two,' pursued her aunt. 'It is time that you gave up
playing Miss Hoyden, and settled down into a respectable married
woman.'

The girl walked on without a word, wondering what was coming next,
while her aunt, growing exasperated at what she was pleased to
consider stubbornness, bent down to sniff a rose which wept gems upon
her dress.

'Does it trouble you,' she said, wiping the dew from her skirts
carefully with a handkerchief, 'that Shane should stop out so late?
The Glandores were always rakes, but were none the worse for that. For
my part I hate a milksop.'

Poor lady! The late lord had given her little experience of the
milksop!

'What can it signify to me what he does?' asked Doreen, with a tinge
of bitterness. 'He is drinking to King William now, no doubt, if not
insensible beneath the table.'

This was awkward, for my lady desired to make the best of Shane, and
the fact of his doing homage to the Immortal memory was not likely to
be pleasing to a Roman Catholic. So she turned her batteries.

'You are wild, and will come to shipwreck,' she declared, 'if we do
not set some one to look after you. The way you behaved just now was
most deplorable. Your poor father looked wretched; but the dear soul
is a goose. Unless you mend your ways you will find no one to marry
you at all, which will be dreadful, and a disgrace to all of us. Your
behaviour to Terence is not quite seemly, for you forget that he is
grown up, and that you should not trifle with an inflammable youth.'

This shot went home. Thoroughly taken aback, Doreen cried:

'Terence! You must be jesting, aunt! He is my first cousin, almost my
brother. You will accuse me of flirting with Shane next.'

'That is quite another matter,' replied my lady, coldly, for she was
nettled at the contemptuous manner in which the girl spoke of her
favourite son. 'I say you must be married before you disgrace us all,
which you certainly will do unless curbed, being half a plebeian
born.'

The blood flooded the girl's face, and she clasped her bosom with both
hands to still the indignation rising there. For my lady, when annoyed
beyond a given point, was apt to make sneering remarks about the late
Mrs. Wolfe which filled her child with rage.

'What do you mean?' she exclaimed haughtily. 'There is no _must_ about
the matter. You should have learned by this time that I will not be
driven by any one on earth; certainly not by you.' Then recovering
herself, she went on more softly: 'What a puzzle you are! Sometimes so
kind, sometimes so cruel! I think you really care for me; you were so
good to the motherless little one. If my mother had lived I might have
been different. A Miss Hoyden, am I? I have never had any one in whom
to put my trust, to whom I might tell my troubles; and a heart closed
up, without sympathy, is a sore thing for one of my age!'

The girl's voice died away, and her aunt felt uncomfortable.

'To-day,' Doreen resumed, 'I went to see Ally Brady, who is dying, and
nearly threw myself upon the neck of the lady who is nursing her. She
looked so kind and hearty as her tears fell for the peasant-woman, and
she clings to the prescribed creed as I do. It was Mrs. Gillin, of the
Little House.'

My lady looked up sharply.

'You dared to speak to her?'

'No; I retired. But she looked after me with such a strange pity.
Aunt, why do you object to my knowing this lady, though all the world
speaks well of her? Shane goes to the Little House, and Norah makes
him welcome. He told me so. I have seen Norah often, and she is very
pretty. What does it all mean? Is Shane going to marry her? May I
speak to her when she's Shane's wife? If he knows and likes the
Gillins, why should not I, who, as a Catholic, have a sort of right to
cherish them?'

My lady started and stood still, as if she had seen an adder in her
path, and said in an altered voice:

'Have I not commanded you never to mention that woman's name before
me? Shane is more wild than I could wish. He does what he chooses;
and, besides, a man may do what a woman may not. If he were well
married, he would grow quieter, no doubt. Your father's wish is the
same as mine. You know it, and are obstinate.'

Doreen was astonished, for Lady Glandore was not given to displays of
emotion; and now she was much agitated, while her features worked as
if in physical pain. Kissing her niece on the forehead, she gathered
up her skirts and walked rapidly back towards the house.

For an hour and more the girl wandered in the pleasaunce, taking no
heed of dew, though her high-waisted dress was of the thinnest muslin.
She was weighing her aunt's hints, and the strange complications of
her own position.

There could be no further doubt that my lady desired to unite her
niece to Shane. Doreen had suspected it before, but the idea seemed
too preposterous. What motive could be strong enough to bring about so
amazing a desire on the part of the proud chatelaine, as a union
between one of the hated faith, whose mother was of doubtful origin,
and the dearly-loved head of the Glandores, who was young, rich,
Protestant, good-looking? That she should ever come to permit a match
even with the poor younger son, whom she did not love, would be
surprising enough; but a motive might be found for that in his poverty
and extravagance, and her trifling nest-egg. The blot on the
escutcheon would not have mattered so much in his case, for he was
unlikely ever to wear the coronet, and the attorney-general's
scrapings would have gilded a more unpleasant bolus than his handsome
daughter.

But Shane, who by reason of his wealth and position was a great catch,
who might throw his handkerchief to whom he pleased! What could be the
reason? Was it that his mother dreaded his being caught by some low
and penniless adventuress--he who was so self-willed and given to low
company? It could hardly be that; for in the eyes of the chatelaine,
Doreen herself was little better, save in the way of money; and where
the young earl was himself so wealthy, her little fortune could not be
taken into consideration. If he would only go into good society, Shane
might aspire to the most brilliant match.

It was a riddle to which the damsel could find no solution, so she
began calmly to consider how she should act herself. Should she yield
to her aunt's wishes, and assume the high position of the young earl's
bride? If she said 'Yes,' would Shane indeed take her to his bosom, or
would he be disobedient in this as other things? If he came and asked
her, would she say 'Yes,' or 'No?' She was amazed to find that she was
by no means sure. He was an ignoble sot, a drunkard, and a debauchee;
but, in the eyes of most young ladies, such qualities were rather
admired than not. It was thought fine for a spark's eye to have a
noble fierceness which softened to the mildness of the dove when
contemplating 'the sex.' But then Doreen's education had been
peculiar--different in many ways to that of other young ladies--partly
on account of her motherlessness, partly because of the faith she
professed. The Penal Code had eaten into her soul--she was more
thoughtful and sober than girls of her age usually are; was given to
day-dreams and impracticable heroic longings, tinged, all of them, by
a romance due to her Irish nature and the romantic conditions of her
time.

She had never thought much of marrying or giving in marriage, and it
came upon her now as a new light, that by a marriage she might benefit
the 'cause.' As she sauntered up and down, she reflected that, by
espousing Shane, she might make of herself a Judith for her people's
sake. Shane was already sodden and sottish, given to excessive
tippling. She, Doreen, was of a masculine strength of character, and
knew it. Once established at the Abbey as its mistress, why should she
not take on herself the control of the estates, as the present
countess did, and manage them according to her liking? The United
Irishmen were sadly in need of funds. Tone had said that a bloodless
revolution was impossible. Arms and powder would be required when the
struggle came. Why should not she provide a portion of it out of the
wealth of the lord of Strogue? It seemed an ignoble thing to do; yet,
for the cause's sake, was not anything justifiable? Did not Judith,
the noblest of women, the purest of patriots, lower herself to the
disguise of a harlot for the saving of her people? Doreen felt the
holy flame burning within her, which goes to the making of Judiths.

Her father, though she loved him fondly, could never be of real
service to her. What would he think of such a wedding? It mattered
not, situated as she was. Her battle of life must be fought alone,
without help from any one. She was fully aware of that, and was
prepared to fight it--to the end--after her own fashion.

She was startled from her reverie by the banging of doors and shouts
of discordant laughter. Cassidy had been singing some time since in
the young men's wing, trolling out pathetic ballads for the
edification of Terence and his chief--but these had retired to rest
long since. This must be the young lord and his boon companions--come
to finish the night in wine and play as joyous gallants should. It
would be awkward to meet them in their cups; so she stole as
noiselessly as might be through the golden gate, past the sun-dial
among the flowers, and reached her chamber, which was over the chintz
drawing-room (her own boudoir), just as there came a crash and awful
din in the hall. Then followed a babel of angry voices. Lights
appeared in the dining-hall opposite, the blinds of which were not
drawn down, and a posse of young nobles--their clothes muddy
and disarranged; their hair dishevelled; their action wild and
excited--crowded in around their host. She could distinguish my lord
by the glistening of his diamond coat-buttons as he was held back by
four companions, from whose grasp he strove to free himself. One of
them, whose brain was less heated than the rest, had removed his
_couteau de chasse_ from its sheath, and was expostulating with him;
but he was evidently not to be appeased without a scapegoat, for he
kept pointing angrily at a broken bust of William III. which my lady
had crowned with laurel that very day.

She could see that somebody had upset the bust, and that my lord
wished to wipe out the insult to the Protestant champion with the
blood of the offender. My lady did not appear. She had been well
broken to orgies of the kind by the late lord, and took no heed of the
uproar; but the aged butler, who, as a matter of course, had produced
magnums of claret in tin frames upon the appearance of the party,
seemed to be coaxing his young master into good temper, and with some
success apparently, for by-and-by the _couteau de chasse_ was given
back and the party settled down amicably, having first tossed the
offender out of window, who lay snoring upon the flower-beds till
morning, wrapped in the sound sleep of drunkards.

Doreen sat at the open window, her chin buried in her hand, watching
the proceedings of her cousin. His cravat was gone; his fair young
chest exposed; his velvet surtout torn and stained; his striped silk
stockings in tatters; the bunches of ribbon wrenched from off his
half-boots. His face was blotched and bloated; his forehead disfigured
by an ugly cicatrice which turned of a bright red when he was far gone
in liquor or in passion. She saw him rise on his unsteady legs and
wave a goblet at the fractured bust, while he clung with the other arm
round the neck of the youth next to him. Then all the rest rose and
bowed as well as they were able; some falling on the floor in the
attempt and remaining there, while the others sat down to their drink
again and clamoured for cards, shouting the while a chorus, which came
muffled to her through the window-glass.


      'And it's ho! ro! the sup of good drink--
       And ho! ro! the heart would not think;
       Oh, had I a shilling lapped up in a clout,
       It's a sup of good drink that would wheedle it out!'


Doreen sat staring till the chill of morning penetrated to her bones
through the light robe of muslin. Then she crept stiff and weary into
bed, while her teeth chattered and alternate douches of hot and cold
water seemed pouring down her back. She had been studying Shane with a
new interest, and trembled for her future peace, for, as she watched
with senses sharpened, she was dismayed at the hideous preponderance
of the animal in her cousin's nature. Never had she looked at him so
earnestly before. It was like binding one's self to a hog for life.
Sure Holofernes was not so degraded, or the fortitude of Judith would
have given way. He was a warrior, mighty in battle, who, though an
enemy, commanded respect. A glorious athlete such as 'tis woman's
prerogative to outwit--as Delilah outwitted Samson, as Omphale
conquered Hercules. Her ordeal too was of short duration. How
differently severe would be the self-appointed task of this modern
Judith, who contemplated tying herself deliberately for the whole of
her life to a man who disgusted her in spite of his good looks; who,
when shorn of the vulgar halo of animal courage, was no better than a
brawler and a bravo. She might not strive to reform him, for with his
reformation he would of course take the reins of his affairs, and the
power of his wife would end, for which alone she married him. It would
be her duty rather to encourage him in evil ways, and coax him down
the ladder. Was she capable, she kept asking herself, as shuddering
she drew the sheets around her, of so tremendous a sacrifice as this?
Tone's, sublime as she considered it, was nothing to what hers would
be. He had thrown away earthly pelf, was a fugitive and an outlaw; but
he retained his self-respect. Could she retain hers if Shane became
her husband? No. Doreen confessed to herself that the position would
be impossible. If it had been Terence, now! He was foolish and gay and
distressingly healthy; under no pressure whatever could he bud into a
hero. He was humdrum, and her native romance revolted from the
humdrum. A fine grown man with a good temper and a prosaic appetite.
Why, if he were to occupy Shane's shoes, all Dublin would be envying
her luck and remarking how brazenly she had set her cap at him. Horror
of horrors! How terribly commonplace! Then the girl upbraided herself
for such foolish thoughts. Terence would never become Lord Glandore,
and as a simple fisherman and sportsman could never win his cousin.
Perhaps my lady was right in warning her to remember that he was grown
up. He was a dear good boy, but wofully prosaic. But what had such as
she to do with unmaidenly meditations anent marrying and giving in
marriage? Sackcloth and ashes were the portion of the Catholics, who
were treated as the Jews had been by the Crusaders. The sooner they
died out the better. What a wonderful idea that was of Aunt
Glandore's! If she were seriously bent on anything, she was not easy
to baffle. Would it be best to speak out at once and brave a certain
storm, or to let things be, hoping to be delivered by some unexpected
means? While she was debating this knotty question, her thoughts
became gradually confused, and she sank into troubled slumber.



                             CHAPTER VII.

                               TRINITY.


Mr. Curran took the bait tendered to him by the chancellor. He made
inquiries, sorted the fragments of his puzzle after his own fashion,
and, filled with suspicions, became anxious to unveil without delay
the fresh dangers which menaced his friends. And dangers so easy to
unveil! The fowler cared not, it seemed, to mask his engines of
destruction. Mr. Curran, from his place in the senate, publicly warned
ministers of the iniquity of their proceedings, but nobody troubled to
listen. The friends of government gaped, vowing that the orator was a
maniac, that he had the secret society on the brain, and ought to be
carted to the madhouse; the few who were on the other side laughed,
declaring that Mr. Curran was misinformed. What could he do then but
sigh and hold his peace? At least he would speak to the Emmetts and
adjure them to be cautious, for the sake of all concerned.

When Tone's society for the promotion of universal concord was
driven by artful goading to become a secret one, the conspirators met
to discuss their grievances in a cellar in Backlane, near the
corn-market; but when the time came for extinguishing Tone and others,
Sirr, the captain of Lord Clare's sbirri, swept them thence, and they
were forced to find another trysting-place. Pending final decision on
this point, it was arranged as a miracle of cleverness that the
younger Emmett should suddenly become hospitable. Trinity was always
celebrated for its rollicking wine-parties. What more natural than
that young Robert should do as others did; that he, hitherto so
studious, should be led astray a little by the contagious force of bad
example? A good cellaret of claret was provided at the common expense;
songs were sung with open windows, at all hours of the day and night,
of a convivial and bacchanalian character. There was no end to the
shifts to which the patriots resorted, under the belief that they were
hoodwinking Major Sirr. There arose a mania for ball-playing. Clerks,
shopkeepers, attorneys, would meet of an afternoon at a hall taken for
the purpose, and emerge thence in an hour or two singularly cool and
fresh for men who had been practising athletics. There was also a rage
for fencing--a plausible excuse enough for meeting in numbers,
considering that the fire-eaters of the south had just revised the
laws of the duello. The youthful aristocracy, in accordance with one
of the new rules, had already formed themselves into a club, called
the Knights of Tara, whose members met three times a week in the
theatre at Capel Street to display their prowess with the rapier
before an audience of Dublin belles. What then should there be
suspicious if the middle class followed their example?

The case was not quite the same, though; for while the Knights of Tara
courted observation and loved to be seen lounging in cambric shirts
and broidered slippers, with their hair in curl-papers, the members of
the other fencing club kept rigorously closed doors, through which no
one ever heard the familiar cry, sharp as a pistol-crack, of 'Ha! a
hit!'

One evening, shortly after Tone's departure, there was a full
gathering in the chambers on the second floor which looked on the
grand quadrangle. It was necessary to instal with solemn rites a new
chief in place of the wanderer, and to fix on a distinct plan of
operations for enlarging the limits of the society. Tone had left his
mantle to Thomas Addis Emmett as the oldest and wisest of the band--he
was thirty-five--and so, in obedience to his last wishes, the editor
of the _Press_ was duly elected to the dangerous pre-eminence.
Submitting to his brother's entreaties, he commenced his reign by
administering the oath to young Robert, the dreamy lad of seventeen,
which was done with awful ceremonies, as became the doings of
conspirators. Blinds were drawn for a few minutes that no prying gaze
might penetrate the Holy of Holies; then all sat down, with the
neophyte standing in their midst, while their president read through
the constitution. Then the oath was administered upon the Scriptures,
which, together with the constitution, were clasped on the bared
breast, and after that a lock of hair was cut away under the queue
behind, and a formula learnt by heart, by means of which one member
could recognise another. It was touching to look on these brothers
standing side by side, the elder receiving the younger into a
fraternity, each unit of which, before many months were out, might
possibly be called upon to meet an ignominious death. Thomas was big
and burly, with a sedate cast of countenance which betokened thought,
whilst Robert was slight of build, and looked almost like a girl, as
with eyes fixed on space he repeated the strange sentences, his face
aglow with enthusiasm, his body trembling like a leaf.

'Are you straight?'

'I am.'

'How straight?'

'As straight as a rush.'

'Go on then?'

'In truth and trust; in unity and liberty.'

'What have you in your hand?'

'A green bough.'

'Where did it grow?'

'In America.'

'Where did it bud?'

'In France.'

'Where will you plant it?'

'In the Crown of Great Britain.'

'God be with you then, and with us all,' Thomas concluded; 'and now a
glass all round to the health of the new member.'

The pledge was gravely accepted, each one raising his beaker and
saying: 'To the diffusion of light!' ere he drained its contents and
replaced it on the table bottom upwards.

'Now, gentlemen,' pursued Thomas. 'We have serious business before us.
Theobald will be away a year at least before help can come, and it is
his wish that we should without delay prepare to graft the military
upon our civil functions. With arms and ammunition Tone will provide
us if he can, but they will be of little service unless we know how to
use them. In the halcyon days of the Volunteers every Irishman was a
soldier. Let us show that the martial spirit of our ancient kings,
which then for awhile revived, is not quite dead in us.'

'I will never consent to bloodshed,' shuddered young Robert.
'Internecine strife is too horrible!'

'You have been sworn in by your own desire,' returned his brother,
sternly, 'and your first duty is blind obedience. It is Tone's
conviction that we must fight, and fight we will when the time
comes--to the death! In revolutions there is nothing certain but
blood. The march of the captives is through a Red Sea. After forty
years of seeking new abodes, which of those who lead them shall touch
the Promised Land? Lord Clare shows us his cards, and a pretty hand it
is. Sirr is organising his paid spies into a battalion who are to
dwell at the Castle like pampered pets. It is hard to believe that
Irishmen will be so base. These informers are to lie _perdu_ until
wanted--are to worm themselves into the confidence of suspected
persons, to eat of their bread and salt, to nurse their little ones
upon their knees, and then, upon a signal, to give them over to the
hangman.'

'But the Viceroy!' cried Cassidy in indignation. 'Lord Camden is a man
of honour who would never consent to such a plan!'

Thomas Emmett shook his head mournfully.

'We all know,' he said, 'that the cabinet rules the Viceroy, and that
Lord Clare is master of the cabinet.'

'Seeing's believing,' retorted the giant doggedly, as he stretched out
his great hand for the claret bottle. 'Of course we must watch that no
such villain shall creep among us. I won't believe that the English
are without mercy.'

'At the battle of Aughrim,' replied Thomas, 'the blood sank into the
soil of seven thousand Irishmen who were only defending their rights.'

'As for drilling and such like,' said Cassidy, 'I'm with you, and the
sooner we start the business the better. I've learnt a new song that
we'll sing as we march to battle----'

'Oh, you simpleton!' laughed Terence Crosbie, who, slightly touched
with wine, had followed the proceedings of the two Emmetts with
amusement. 'Romancing as usual--giving credence to every scandalous
tale you hear. Even if there were truth in them, your grievances would
not give birth to generals. You will never make colonels out of
linendrapers.'

'No more than purses out of sows' ears,' returned Cassidy, with a
merry twinkle. 'No, councillor, that we never will. But we'll wheedle
a few aristocrats like your honour, whose blue blood shall mingle with
our muddy stuff. When the day dawns, you and a few like yourself shall
lead the boys to victory.'

Terence looked annoyed, but said nothing; while Cassidy and the others
scanned his face narrowly. He was not affiliated to the society, nor
had the remotest ambition of becoming so; for he knew that it behoved
not one of his order to join in such movements as this. Yet there was
a fascination for him in its doings, which kept him dangling upon its
outskirts. Some of his most valued friends were enrolled on the list
of United Irishmen, and he knew well how Doreen was praying for their
success. So he attended the supper-parties sometimes in his
purposeless way, and they permitted him to do so freely, despite the
maxim that in troublous times half-friends are no friends. They knew,
or thought they knew, that he was the soul of honour, who would never
betray a confidence; and hoped, encouraged by Cassidy, that some day
he might be cajoled or stung into their ranks, which would be a
feather in their cap indeed; for to be led by a Crosbie of Ennishowen
would give them a prestige at once such as in these democratic days we
can hardly realise. And Terence, seeing through the simple scheme (for
he was sharp enough, though lazy), was flattered by their confidence.
Yet for all that he promised himself to hold aloof from active
co-operation with hot-pated friends who made mountains out of
mole-hills. He had no intention of heading the forlorn hope of a
misguided rabblement who would fly helter-skelter before the first
puff of cannon smoke. So he prudently refrained from picking up the
gauntlet, and listened to the giant, who was delivered of an idea.

'I've a notion!' cried Cassidy, thumping the table till the glasses
rang again.

'Be cool now!' cautioned Tom Emmett. 'You are as dangerous as a
powder-magazine.'

'Is it dangerous I am?' grumbled the other. 'Sure something must be
risked, or we'll niver get along. I've an idaya, gintlemen, which I'm
willing to see to at my own expense, though a poor man. I've reason to
know that the militia may be tampered with. Their hearts are with the
cause, and they're as poor as rats or your humble servant. Money and
drink will do much, and women will settle the matter. Here's a letter
from Belfast which says that two hundred and fifty of the men in camp
there have secretly declared for us, and that it only needs the
personal presence of a delegate to bring over half the rest. When the
French land they'll rise and kill their officers. Think of the fine
fright that'll give the royalists! Sure and isn't that the way to
out-plot England? Shall I go to Belfast and reconnoitre? Of coorse ye
must give me credentials. A little note, signed, will do the trick,
and show I'm honest. As for the town-major of whom ye're all so
frightened, his bark's worse nor his bite. The Irish Jonathan Wild can
be bribed. I'll answer for him; but there's time galore for that.
Dangerous, am I? I'm the only one, I think, with a drain of sperit.
There's a great speech. Phew, I'm dhry! Hand round the clart, boys,
and we'll have a stave.'

The simple giant's harangue was favourably received, the paper was
penned and signed, and he was wetting his whistle for a song when Tom
Emmett raised his hand.

'Hark! who comes?'

There was a footstep on the creaking stair; then a knock; and a
familiar voice said: 'It is I. Curran.'

'Nurse Curran!' sneered Cassidy, annoyed. 'Come to look after his
foster-babby.'

The little advocate entered, and leaned against the door with his arms
folded.

'Terence, my lad,' he said. 'You must come away with me. What would my
lady say, if you came to be arrested?'

'Arrested!' echoed a dozen voices. 'Within Trinity? Impossible!'

'I fail to see that it's impossible,' snarled Curran. 'Hide those
foolish papers there, or burn them--children, too easily beguiled with
toys! And you, Terence, come away with me at once. Why? Are not
convenient edicts being passed each day to simplify the work of
government? Laws for the suppression of gaming, profane swearing,
atheistical assemblies, which places every man's home under
surveillance of the town-major?'

'You have explicit information?' inquired Tom Emmett, anxiously.

'I don't say that!' stammered Curran, somewhat confused. 'I only say
that your threshold might be invaded at any moment, and that ye've
yourselves to thank if ye get into a hopeless scrape. A few hours
since, a carpenter who is under obligation to me was at work in Ely
Place. While repairing the floor between two double doors he
distinctly heard Lord Clare in conversation with the town-major, in
which Sirr told his chief that there would be a strong muster to-night
in this boy's chambers. Am I making too free in asking you to lock
away those documents, or would ye prefer hanging at once to save
trouble? The carpenter wrenched off a hinge and begged to be allowed
to fetch a new one; but instead of going straight to the ironmonger's
he ran to me with commendable speed, gave the office, and returned to
his work. What it all means I am not in a position to say; but mark my
words, you have a traitor in your midst, who reports to the enemy
every word you utter. Your necks are your own, to do with as you like;
but I'm responsible for you, Terence, to your mother, and I summon you
to go away with me.'

Tom Emmett flushed scarlet, and involuntarily placed a hand upon the
pistol in his breast. A low murmur went round the room as Cassidy
sprang to his feet.

'Take care!' he shouted, 'how ye bring vague charges. Many a
disfigured corpse has Moiley eaten--many an informer has floated out
to sea. Give a name--only a name--and I'll scrunch the spalpeen so
flat that ye'll not know him from a sheet of paper, save for the coat
on him!'

Curran shrugged his shoulders.

'Do you think if I knew the scoundrel I'd not have pointed at him long
ago? It's for you to find him out. Don't glare at me, man--I'm not a
youngster who has never blazed. Mind, I've warned you to be
circumspect. The Irish nature is too open. It can't keep a secret
without telling a lie, and lies lead to awful tangles. It's no affair
of mine. Terence, come along.'

The junior rose and stretched himself, and prepared to follow his
chief.

A betrayer in their midst! The case did seem hopeless to the young
councillor; so hopeless as to be almost contemptible. Possibly Lord
Clare was a trifle over-strict with them, but he certainly appeared
justified to a certain extent in assuming with the children the manner
of a severe pedagogue. What a pity that they persisted in fathering
every enormity upon him!

'It's a bad job, my friends,' he said. 'Curran's right about the
papers. Good-night.'

As they crossed the quadrangle his mentor became wondrous voluble. He
was garrulous as to my lady, and her unfortunate penchant for the
chancellor; talked of Glandore, and all the titled in the land, till
his companion eyed him in indolent surprise. To occupy his attention
was the design of his mentor, for lurking in the shadow of doorways
were certain darkling figures who were not gownsmen; and the little
king's counsel feared lest Terence, if he perceived danger to be
imminent, should be ill-judged enough to retrace his steps and get
mixed up in the misfortunes of his friends.

The spectres allowed the pair to pass, and then, gliding to the door
from which they had issued, left half their number there, whilst the
rest stole through the gateway to the inner court--so as to command
two special windows which were pointed out to them.

Meanwhile the party above, having completed the business of the
evening, prepared itself to be jolly. The story of the proposed
arrest, the vague charge about an informer, were evidently Bugaboos
invented by nurse Curran for the luring away of his junior.

Cassidy, who was in great spirits to-night, and had drank deeply,
demonstrated with the utmost clearness that the fabrication was
absurd. By an old law of Queen Elizabeth (the only pleasant law she
ever made for Ireland), no bumbailiff or importunate creditor might set
his foot within the College-gates. Alma Mater was a sanctuary from
which none might be taken an any account without an order from the
authorities of Trinity, who were too jealous of their rights ever to
grant such order. Moreover, the watch (harmless old women!) were
always friends with the gownsmen--ready to lend a staff or lanthorn,
or feign sleep or assume deafness, just as the frolicsome young
gentlemen should decree. It was quite unlikely that they would witness
any threatening demonstration without instantly giving an alarm, and
even Sirr would think twice before daring an assault upon the inmates
of Trinity without the assistance of the junior dean. Not that the
undergraduates were as bold a body now as when they slew my Lord
Glandore, or so unanimous either, as none knew better than Lord Clare.
Yet they were no cowards, and always ready for a 'blaze.'

The younger Emmett, alarmed at first by Curran's dismal prophecies,
was convinced by Cassidy's gibes that his terrors were ill-placed, and
set about producing from mysterious lurking-places the elements of a
good supper--ham, chickens, bread--furtively glancing in the mirror
now and then at the tiny tonsure which marked him for a patriot. The
giant arranged knives and forks, and filled the round-bottomed claret
decanters, trimming the table with a tasty eye as a patriotic table
should be laid. In the centre he placed the constitution--bulwark of
the society--throned on a loaf of bread. Close to it the president's
badge, whilom Tone's--Tom Emmett's bauble now which consisted of a
shamrock in green silk bearing a harp without a crown. Near this the
copy of the Scriptures; and by his own place a list of toasts such as
should help to pass the time till chapel-hour. When all was ready he
called on his companions to fall to; and discussed with the president,
while the viands disappeared, the details of his journey to Belfast.

As they talked the claret waned, and the views of the company grew
rosier. Thomas agreed that it would be a wise system to spread
disaffection among the soldiery. The patriotism of the militia might
surely be counted on, he thought. With the yeomanry it might be
otherwise, as it was officered by the upper class. Deliberation and
prudence must be the watchwords of the giant at Belfast, for months
must pass before Tone could hope to accomplish anything; and all were
of one mind as to the necessity of French assistance. At the earliest,
no French fleet could be expected till the summer of '96, therefore it
behoved the leaders of the cause to keep the broth gently simmering
till the moment of the crisis--organising battalions, drilling
companies during the night, establishing a vast military system which
should enable the four provinces to effect a simultaneous rising. That
was the important point, spontaneity of movement; and he, Emmett,
would make it his business to see that the unity of action should be
complete.

The danger was (he impressed on Cassidy) lest the wickedness of
England should exasperate the people too soon. A given degree of
cruelty will drive the wisest mad. Patience is among the greatest of
virtues. Here was another thing, which it was all-important to
consider. Terence Crosbie had put his finger on one of their weakest
points--their lack of military genius. The best army in Christendom is
powerless without a general. What a pity that Tone should be gone
away, for the germ was visible in him which would have blossomed forth
into glorious fruition under the sun of opportunity!

'Now!' Cassidy cried, after a while, remarking that some of the
delegates were beginning to snore, 'fill your glasses, and I'll sing
ye the new song which shall sound the knell of the Sassanagh. 'Tis
written by Barry, a mere gossoon, who's in Kilmainham at this minute.
Bad cess to the ruffians as put him there!' Then, draining off a
bumper, he loosened the voluminous folds of his cravat, and commenced
in his mellow voice, while those who were sober enough yelled the
refrain:


           '"What rights the brave? The sword!
             What frees the slave? The sword!
    What cleaves in twain the despot's chain, and makes his gyves
       and dungeons vain? The sword!
    Then cease the proud task never! while rests a link to sever.
    Guard of the free, well cherish thee, and keep thee bright for
       ever!"'


So loudly was 'The Sword' trolled forth, that more peaceful
neighbours, worn out with study, turned uneasily in bed, cursing the
rackety crew ere they slept again; so loudly was the final chorus
shrieked, that none heard the tramp of footsteps on the stairs, none
heeded the groping of unaccustomed fingers upon the handle, till the
door was flung open, displaying a body of men upon the landing whose
crossbelts showed white through a disguise. The young men stared
bewildered as on some horrid vision, and strove to get up on their
feet. Thomas, more sober than the rest, laid his hand upon his pistol,
but withdrew it again, seeing how numerous were those who stood
without.

'What do you want?' he asked.

A short man stepped from behind the rest. He was remarkable for a
hooked beak, eyes too close together, shaded by heavy brows which met
in a tuft over his nose. He wore a tight stock with a large silver
buckle, hair plainly clubbed, and a silver whistle like a boatswain's
attached to a buttonhole by a thong.

'I am Major Sirr,' he snapped, 'and arrest all present in the King's
name. Seize those documents!'

Cassidy took a paper from his flapped pocket and tried to swallow it,
but the major's men, marking his clumsy movement, pressed his
bull-throat till he gave it forth again. How arbitrary is the effect
of drink! Some men it renders furious, endowing them with double
strength; others it makes dull and stupid, robbing them of the power
that they had. Cassidy's giant bulk and tremendous muscles should have
stood him in good stead now or never; but he certainly had imbibed a
portentous quantity of claret, and the shaking he was getting seemed
quite to muddle him.

'Ah now, major dear,' he whimpered, smiling a sickly smile, 'you'd not
take it from me and shame a poor colleen? Don't look at her name now!
Bad luck to ye! Don't, now!'

''Tis an order signed by the committee of the United Irishmen--no
lady's billet,' Major Sirr replied coldly, holding the paper to the
candle. 'My friend, I regret to see you in this plight--but I must do
my duty.'

Robert, on the first entrance of Sirr's lambs--for such he knew them
at once to be, though robed in long gowns--made a rush to the window
of the inner room in order to alarm the college, but speedily drew in
his head again, for a row of muskets was pointed at him which glinted,
pallid, in the light of early dawn.

'Trapped!' he exclaimed, wringing his hands in despair. 'No, not yet!'
Then, perceiving that Sirr and his band, expecting no resistance, were
busily engaged gleaning together badge, constitution, and list of
treasonable toasts, he stole to the discomfited giant--a hero but a
moment since--and whispered rapidly, 'Come! A dash at the door, and we
can get downstairs. I'll lead you to the campanile. One ring at the
bell, and the college will awake!'

Cassidy shook himself and appeared to understand. Flinging aside the
two men who loosely held him, he butted forward, upsetting table and
lights, and in the confusion and darkness all who barred the passage.
Swiftly he rolled, rather than ran, down the steep staircase, closely
followed by Robert, and sent sprawling in the doorway a fat old
person, who yelped piteously for mercy.

'The junior dean!' ejaculated Robert. 'The dastard! Himself to betray
our ancient rights! But come--we'll attend to him later--to the
campanile, to rouse the college!'

Sirr's lambs, recovering from their surprise, pursued the fugitives;
but a little time was gained by their all tumbling in a heap over the
unhappy dean, before he had time to scramble out of the way.

'O Lord! O Lord! I'm kilt! Follow them!' he panted; 'the campanile's
at the corner of the inner yard. If they ring the bell for a rescue,
I'm a dead man, for they'll surely murder me! Oh that I had never
mixed in this hellish business!'

His lamentations died away in a groan, for Sirr held a pistol to his
head, calling the skies to witness that he would shoot him unless he
instantly led the way. Never since he was a child did the pursy old
gentleman run as fast as he did now. Terror gave wings to his gouty
feet, and the invading party reached the campanile to see Cassidy's
burly shoulder force in the door, and Robert Emmett precipitate
himself within. It was a race who should first reach the platform.

'Is it the dean that's rooned us?' Cassidy had been exclaiming. 'By
Jabers, then, I'll wring his neck for him before he's much older! Run,
jewel, for you know the place, which I don't, while I attend to him.
Here's a string that'll do the job.'

And in a trice he had cut the rope which swung before him as high up
as his long arms reached, and was fastening at one end a noose.

'What are you doing?' cried Robert, in dismay, 'the ringing-rope of
the great bell!'

'Oh, tear and 'ounds! is it?' murmured the giant, with a blank look,
as he dropped it. 'Sure, I tuk it to hang the dean with!'

It was a fatal piece of stupidity, but the mischief was irretrievable.
The rope-end dangled just out of Robert's reach. The men who had been
watching in the inner yard closed in, and levelling their muskets,
summoned them to surrender quietly. By the time Sirr's party came up
with the panting dean the giant was pinioned with the unlucky rope,
while Robert was in the grip of two sturdy soldiers.

So much rowdiness was habitually perpetrated within Trinity--such a
succession of practical jokes and madcap tricks--that none were likely
to heed the hubbub of this chase. Thomas, who had so sagely
recommended prudence half an hour since, stood in bitter reverie among
his fellow-prisoners, reproaching himself mournfully for his
blindness; wondering in self-abasement whether it was not better after
all that one who had at starting shown himself so bad a chief, should
be thus summarily deposed from office. For he saw at once that his
fate would be the same as that of those already sacrificed--either
exile beyond seas, or dreary rotting in Newgate or Kilmainham--for was
not his signature appended, in the capacity of newly-elected
president, to the paper which loyal Cassidy had tried to swallow? And
what a covey had been captured beside himself! what gaps there would
be now in the already thinned ranks of those who were prepared to
win or perish! Curran's words had come true with regard to the
capture--was his other assertion equally correct? Was there a Judas in
their midst who was handing them over to the avenger, the while he
gave the kiss of fellowship? The thought was too horrible. Whom was he
to suspect? Not Cassidy, or Bond, or McLaughlin, or his fervent
brother Robert--or Curran himself. None of these--who then? It must be
Terence Crosbie, whom they had weakly admitted behind the veil,
trusting to his honour as a gentleman. His honour! One of the
semi-English aristocrats, whose brother was a Blaster--whose mother
was Clare's dearest friend. Scales seemed to fall from his eyes, and
he stood staring at his own folly. It was evident that Terence had
coquetted with them merely to study their plans. That frank air of
_bonhomie_ was assumed. He was like his brother Glandore--only more
crafty and astute instead of imbecile; that was all. He was deceiving
Curran now as he had deceived them, and Curran was watching over him
with the solicitude of a father. It was all too horrible--the world a
place of blackest infamy--Ireland the darkest spot upon its face. Yet
no. His better judgment revolted against such a belief. The fresh air
was balmy; the yellowing sky of surpassing loveliness. Man, if made of
stuff so innately vile, would never have been placed in so fair a
casket. Facts are stubborn things, though. The meeting had been
betrayed by somebody. Who was the wretch?

It was by this time quite light, and the town-major deemed it wise to
remove his prey before early-rising undergraduates should be stirring.
He gave his orders therefore--softly, but with martinet decision--and
the party marched away, leaving Robert sitting on the platform.

'I am ready,' he said, leaping up. 'I am one with them, and will go
quietly;' but Major Sirr held up his hand and grinned.

'You are fine devil's spawn, no doubt,' he said, while his nose
wrinkled, 'but we don't want you just yet. You're but a baby
blustering like a man. Look at his smooth chin--or is it a girl?
Newgate's a brave residence for summer, if your purse is well lined;
if not, best hang yourself before going thither. No, no! I've no
warrant to arrest your ladyship--but your time will come, I doubt
not.'

'Let him be!' cried his brother Thomas. 'Whither do you take us?'

'First to Kilmainham with you,' Sirr replied sharply. 'Then with the
rest to Newgate; then to your offices to seize your precious
newspaper, demolish your press, and scatter your type. Have you any
objection?'

'That is illegal,' Thomas affirmed, 'till the paper is condemned for
sedition.'

The town-major gave vent to a grumbling cachinnation like the rattling
of a skeleton in a cupboard, but no smile lit up his sinister
countenance. Then he echoed:

'Illegal, ha, ha! That can be set right. Forward--march!'

The cortége moved across the quadrangle, and the massive gates of Alma
Mater closed behind it. Robert Emmett sat dazed, while the yellow in
the sky above the roofs changed to pink and then to blue; for they
were gone--away from the sanctuary into the wicked world without; no
hue and cry could save them now. The junior dean, his nerves calmed by
whisky-punch, lay cosily between the blankets, dreaming of the
bishopric he had won that night. An early gownsman, flinging wide his
shutters before settling to his morning's work, smiled down on the
wild rake who must have come in too drunk to find his way to bed. Boys
will be boys, though their mammas wish that they would act as sages;
and they must season their heads while they are young.

But the studious undergraduate was wrong in his surmise. Excitable by
temperament, delicate in body, and overwrought in mind, Robert Emmett
had swooned away.



                            CHAPTER VIII.

                            CAIN AND ABEL.


Next morning Mr. Curran rode early to the Abbey, with news of the
arrests which he had been powerless to prevent. He looked with an eye
less jaundiced than usual upon the world, for the sea-breeze instilled
fresh life into him, weary and jaded as he was from many causes, and
he felt that he deserved well of her ladyship for saving her son from
a scandal. Though he laughed and joked in company, in private he was
nearly always sad, partly by constitution, partly by reason of the
sights he saw around him; and as he rode along this morning and
meditated concerning his foe Lord Clare, the flecks of sunlight that
chequered his mind vanished, leaving only darkness and despondency
behind. Oh, that chancellor! Would no one free Ireland from a tutelage
which became hourly more oppressive and capricious? Why could not the
innocent conspirators be left alone? Theobald, the whale, was gone.
Sure, naught but stirring up of dirty water could be gained by
harrying the minnows. It was unwise to have locked up the lads with
such a rattling of locks and muskets. The raid upon Tom Emmett's
office, too, was a deplorable proceeding. No new or special charge of
iniquity had been brought against his paper. Yet the place was
ransacked in his absence, his property destroyed, his chairs and
tables tossed out of window as though they carried treason in their
varnish. Lord Clare must be mad, or desperately wicked. If he brought
the country to ruin, it should not be for want of warning. To protest
in parliament is one thing, to argue and implore in private is
another. The little lawyer decided to speak openly to Lord Clare at
their very next meeting, and clinched the matter in his mind with such
a thump of his hunting-crop as caused his pony to leap forward and
nearly throw his master from the saddle.

Madam Gillin and her daughter Norah were gardening as he rode past
their hedge, and the former hallooed to him to stop. Mr. Curran could
scarce forbear laughing at her appearance, so grotesquely serious did
she look in a frayed turban soiled with pomade, and a crumpled frock
of extravagant fashion, from under which peeped a pair of satin
slippers down at heel. It was a thrifty habit with Madam Gillin to
wear out her old quality-clothes at home, for she said that Norah must
have a fine dowry somehow, and that for that purpose it would be
needful to economise. Now her garments and her child's were always of
the flimsiest and most tawdry mode, profusely adorned with feathers
and spangles, trimmed with outrageous frills and furbelows; and the
twain, who did not trouble soap and water unless about to receive
company, might be seen any day over the hedge which divided their
property from the main-road, strutting up and down among the
flower-beds like moulting peacocks or birds of paradise in a decline.
Madam Gillin was lying nervously in wait for news this morning, and
hailed Curran's appearance with relief, for her nurse, Jug Coyle, had
heard of the arrests from frequenters of her shebeen, and vague
rumours were afloat that Terence was among the captured. Oddly enough,
although she had appointed herself guardian in ambush to the younger
son, she had never spoken to him: yet was she well posted in all that
concerned her _protégé_ down to minutest details; for were not all the
array of grooms, farriers, dog-boys, foot-boys, tay-boys--what
not?--in the habit of frequenting that too-convenient boozing-ken
whose insidious hospitality was so offensive to their mistress at the
Abbey? This was Madam Gillin's real reason for having established Jug
at the Irish Slave. Through her she commanded an army of spies who,
for a drop of the crather, studied my lady's face, translated her
thoughts, imagined motives, as servants will who are argus-eyed,
imaginative, inquisitive, endowed with a hundred ears. She was true to
her trust of watching over Terence, though she seemed to know nothing
at all about him, resolved, if need were, to do battle on his behalf,
to point the finger of public-opinion at my lady if she behaved badly;
and now she was sore perplexed concerning him, albeit he wist not of a
guardian angel in a dirty old turban and crushed ostrich feathers.

Mr. Curran set her mind at rest, and turned up the avenue which led to
the Abbey. The youth had certainly been present at the meeting,
because the Emmetts were among his closest friends; but he was not
affiliated, he assured her; and both agreed that his imagination must
not be permitted to take fire; that he must never be allowed to become
a member of the society.

When his nag turned the corner of the shrubbery, the little lawyer
found those he sought grouped in front of the hall-door. My lady, in
grey brocade, with a twist of lace through her white hair, was
standing erect with crossed arms, looking with satisfaction at Doreen
and Shane. The girl, though self-willed, had evidently taken her hint,
and was preparing to lay siege to Shane; at least his fond mother
chose to think so, and was deceived, as mothers often are. Just as
grave people, for an idle whim, will turn for a moment from lofty
contemplations to consider a pebble by the wayside, so calm Doreen had
been bitten by a conceit. In her self-examination she had become
convinced, with sorrow, that the part of Judith was beyond her
strength, if Shane was to play Holofernes; and, disgusted with her own
weakness, had permitted her mind to settle on my lady's nickname of
Miss Hoyden. Being proved incapable of supreme sacrifice, she felt a
wrathful desire for self-abasement, and resolved that, if she could
not please her aunt in great things, she would do so at least in
little ones, at the expense of private tastes.

So, to Lady Glandore's surprise, she appeared on this very morning in
fashionable attire, which a week ago she had haughtily declined to
wear; a sumptuous high-waisted percale, broidered in forget-me-nots,
with great puffed sleeves and tight short skirt; low shoes of blue
satin with wide strings; her beautiful hair in a straight sheet down
her back, plaited together with straw, as the prevailing fashion was.
Perched on the top of her head was a dainty straw bonnet, fit only for
a fairy, and she looked under it, with her thoughtful brown face and
solemn eyes, like some lovely victim tricked out in incongruous
frippery, who was destined to figure in some Hibernian _auto-da-fé_.

'Young ladies of a strong-minded and serious turn do evidently not
array themselves in wonderful garments without a reason,' so my lady
argued. 'Neither do they descend to coquetry, save for the snaring of
young men. Whom could Miss Wolfe desire to snare, if not her cousin
Shane?'

This was well--extremely well. Unhappily, the young lord was not
struck with the bonnet, or with the forget-me-nots. His mother saw
that she would have to guide his attention to his cousin's
blandishments.

Alack! he was in no mood to play the lover, being prosaically
engrossed with a throbbing brow and swollen tongue. Shane, although he
had 'made his head,' and could drink claret against most people, was
apt to feel faded of a morning, and to retaliate for physical ills
upon the first person who came within his reach. Last night he had
presided over the Blasters, had shattered a decanter on the pate of a
gentleman who presumed to breathe hard in his presence, and who, of
course, had challenged him to fight. So far so good; but the stranger
had shown himself so ill-bred as absolutely to decline to draw his
sword till certain business matters could be arranged, and so the
meeting was perforce postponed for a few hours--a most rude and
inconsiderate proceeding! For might not the champion Blaster, the
admirable Hellfire, the Prince of Cherokees, have other work upon his
hands before dinner-time? And besides, though money-debts may wait for
months without a smirching of the niceties of honour, it is a bad
example for the multitude to allow duels to accumulate. Moreover,
Shane had promised, as it happened, to promenade with the Gillins, in
the Beaux Walk, on this particular afternoon. Even an Irish earl
cannot, like Roche's bird, be in two places at a time; and so the
youthful fire-eater fretted and fumed, cross with himself and
everybody else, heedless of his cousin's bonnet, and longed to force a
quarrel upon some one.

Terence was seated a few yards off, on the steps of the young men's
wing, which led to his own apartment, giving some directions to his
private henchman with regard to the manufacture of flies. Now and then
he threw a displeased glance at his pretty cousin, marvelling for
whose behoof she had made herself so bewitching, and then, gnawed by
carking jealousy, turned to vent his spleen upon his servant.

But honest Phil only grinned as he twined the bright feathers with a
skilful hand, nor heeded his master's ill-humour; for was he not his
foster-brother, who loved the ground he trod on with the blind
devotion of a clansman? He had been brought up with Terence at a
respectful distance, had learnt Bible-stories with him from the tiles
about the hearth, and made himself generally useful as he increased in
years. Nothing came amiss to him. He could farry, cure a cow of the
murrain, tin a saucepan, dance a jig, knit a stocking, sing a cronane
against any young fellow in the county. There was nothing he would not
do for Master Terence. He followed at his heels like a dog, looking
into his eyes for orders as dogs do, bearing his whims and caprices
with stoical endurance, as we bear the wind that blows on us. He was a
type, was Phil, of a creature who vanished with the century; who,
sharp and clever enough, professed to no intellect of his own, and was
content to be led in all things by another. His attire under all
circumstances was the same. A green plush coat, a scarlet vest, and
buckskin breeches. A black leather hunting-cap was always, in or out
of doors, cocked on one side of his shock head. Some people said he
went to bed in it. In his capacity of farrier, he invariably carried a
firing-iron as a walking-stick; so that what with the angel in ambush
in the dirty finery, and the athletic follower with the firing-iron,
Terence Crosbie may be said to have been well protected, even in days
when none were out of danger.

The Abbey party had also heard of the arrests, and were all equally
pleased when Curran's figure turned the corner of the drive--the queer
squat figure which all Dublin looked on with respect, with its
tightly-buttoned high-collared coat, snuffy wave of loose necktie,
white kerseymere breeches, and top-boots.

'Yes,' he said, in answer to a chorus of inquiries, 'the evil rumour
was too true. He had ridden over early to beg my lady to interfere on
behalf of the young people. Her influence over the chancellor was
great. The father of the Emmetts had been state-physician, and, as
such, had often prescribed draughts for the countess's household.
Would she try to save his sons from peril?'

'No, she would not. Lord Clare doubtless had the best motives for what
he did, and it would be unseemly in the associate of his leisure-hours
to meddle in state affairs. It was plain that the scum must be kept in
their place, or what would become of the nobles? The abrogation of the
Penal Code was the wild fantasy of optimists; for you might as well
give power to monkeys as to Catholics. It could not, should not, be
altered or lightened, for the safety of the dominant minority depended
on the Penal Code. The French disgrace of '89 would never have
appalled Europe, if the King had been less soft-hearted.'

So spake my lady, in her most majestic way, and Curran, as he smiled
at the kindly, narrow-minded woman, thought she looked more like Queen
Bess than ever. There was no help to be expected from this quarter for
the poor fellows; Doreen's stern face convinced him of that much. He
must even buckle on his armour and have at Lord Clare in person, when
the first opportunity offered.

Terence's brow darkened as his chief talked of the arrests, and of the
outrage at Tone's offices. If the chancellor was personally
responsible for the ill-judged performance, then was he distinctly in
the wrong. Might there be some truth in the pile of accusations which
were being heaped upon the minister in power?

My lady's high-flown babble jarred on his nerves. Is there anything
more painful than hearing one you love and respect talking nonsense?
But no! It was not possible that the chancellor should be acting as he
did without good reason. We are all apt to jump at conclusions and to
blame people, without seeking first for motives which may not happen
to lie upon the surface. Terence tried to shake off his suspicions,
and succeeded to a certain extent, moved thereto, possibly, by feeling
Doreen's scrutiny fixed on him. When she appeared on the terrace in
her strange costume, she found the brothers at high words, and
reproved them straightway. Shane had used bad language in an
undertone; Terence had blushed, and hung his head. There was thunder
in the air, which the damsel had striven to dissipate. She was looking
anxiously on now, fearful of a collision of antagonistic elements, and
bit her lips and stamped her little foot as Shane turned crossly to
the visitor.

'Is it true, Curran,' he asked, with dyspeptic peevishness, 'that my
brother was with those rascals? I've asked him more than once, but it
seems he's afraid to confess.'

'Afraid!' Terence cried, as white as ashes; then, catching his
cousin's eye, he went back, with set teeth, to his fly-making.

'I ought to have said _ashamed_,' apologised his languid lordship. 'I
presume that, being a Crosbie, you are capable of feeling shame? Or
not? You are so queer, I think you were changed at birth.'

'To please _me_, be quiet,' implored Miss Wolfe, with an earnestness
which charmed my lady. 'You two are perpetually squabbling!'

'It is not my fault,' Terence grumbled, crushing his fingers together
to keep down his ire. 'Never think, please, that I am afraid of you,
Shane. We cannot be afraid of that which we despise. If I am queer,
you are more so. I did not answer, because I don't choose that you
should interfere with me; but there is no reason why I should not. I
was at Robert's chambers last night. What then? The purity of that
handful of fellows shines out through the general darkness in a way
that enforces one's respect. I do not say that they may not be carried
too far, but sometimes they make me loathe myself and you and all my
belongings; for in the abstract we are bad, and deserve any
retribution which may fall on us.'

'Better join them,' sneered Shane, with a feverish hand upon his
throbbing temples. 'When they confiscate this property, maybe they'll
make you a present of it with the title. Oh, my head!'

'Yes, I was there,' continued Terence, doggedly; 'and they spoke
wisdom mixed with folly--with more of the one and less of the other
than you are accustomed to bestow on us. I do not mind admitting that
I wish I'd stopped. Maybe they'll think that, knowing what was going
to happen, I sneaked away, and then I shall lose their esteem.'

'Oho! What a delectable conspirator!' laughed my lord, cooling his
aching head against the wall, while the cicatrice on his forehead grew
red, and an evil glitter shone in his eyes. 'Love and esteem, eh? And
how about mine? Will ye take a corner of that?'

With a spiteful movement he flicked a square of cambric at his
brother, who placed his hands behind him and drew back; for the
insulting action, innocent in itself, was one much in vogue for egging
on a quarrel.

My lady turned as white as Terence, while she cried out hastily:

'Shane! what are you doing?'

Doreen looked on distressed, and Curran sighed, while honest Phil was
too discreetly busy with his hackles to note anything that passed.

'Shane, how dare you, before my face!' said his mother; then, her
anger kindling, she turned sharply on her younger son. 'It is your
fault. You know how easily provoked he is. I cannot wonder at his
being shocked by your behaviour.'

'I too, mother, am easily provoked,' Terence answered, his brow black
with frowns.

'As I have said before, more than once, though you take no heed, you
disgrace yourself by the society you keep. The Emmetts are well
enough--I say nothing to the contrary, for indeed their father was a
worthy man. But I am told that some of these people are linen-drapers.
Is it fitting that a Crosbie should associate with tradesmen? They act
blindly because they are low and do not know better, but the same
cannot be said of you.'

My lady's lecture broke down, for whilst speaking of low people she
remembered that her favourite Shane also was addicted to low company.
Alas! she knew too well that he was the beloved of tavern-roysterers
and petticoat-pensioners, who wept oily drops of maudlin affection
over his drunken generosity, and that that smart zebra-suit of
his--yellow and crimson striped--had not been donned to captivate his
family.

If Shane was easily provoked, which was very true, he was also as
easily bored as his father. Rising with a gesture of impatience to
retire from the field, he cried out:

'There, there! what a pother, to be sure! I was only in joke. To hear
your clatter, mother, one would think the house was burning. If
Terence likes linen-drapers, I have no objection, but I can't admire
his taste. Faugh! He's no better than a _half-mounted!_'

'Mother,' whispered Terence, trembling, 'do you stand by and hear
him?'

But my lady made as though she was unaware of this fresh taunt, though
it was a dreadful one. What a fearful thing for the head of a noble
house to brand his heir-presumptive with being a 'half-mounted!' Now
the half-mounted were a distinct class--a reckless feckless crew, each
of whom possessed little beyond his horse and suit of clothes; who had
no principles or education; who existed by pandering to the vices of
their betters. They kept the ground at horse-races, helped a lord to
steal a wench, knocked down her male relations, and made themselves
generally agreeable; in return for which they were tolerated, supplied
with bed and board, and treated to as much claret as they could carry.
They swarmed, not to be industrious like the working bee, but to
consume like the drone, and to do mischief like the wasp. This class
it was which in '97 and '98 developed into the royalist yeomanry--the
bully band of licentious executioners who did the filthy work which
was disdained by English soldiers. A noble was described by the
peasantry at this time as 'a gentleman to the backbone;' a landed
squire as 'a gentleman every inch of him.' The younger sons of one of
these, restrained as they were by gentility from any but three
professions, sank more often than not into the habits of dissolute
idleness to which young Ireland was constitutionally prone, and
dwindled into the condition of the 'half-mounted,' whose career was
usually closed by a tap from a shillalagh in a brawl, or an attack of
delirium tremens. Therefore, that Terence should be accused of being
one of the swashbucklers by his overbearing brother cut him to the
quick, while it roused as well the anger of the man who was as a
second father to him. Mr. Curran might possibly have given the earl a
bit of his mind, and so have hammered such a breach 'twixt the two
families as both would have deplored in equal measure, had not happily
a huge golden coach come rumbling round the corner at this moment,
whose gorgeousness attracted general attention, and diverted the
thoughts of the group into another channel.

Its body glistened in the sun like brass. Each door-panel was adorned
by an allegorical picture by Mr. Hamilton, R.A. A posse of sculptured
cupids on the roof groaned under an enormous coronet; Wisdom and
Justice, carved and gilded, supported the coachman on either side;
while Commerce and Industry stretched forth their cornucopiæ behind
and clasped their hands together around the footmen's legs. A
triumphal car it was, blazing with gold and colour, enriched with
velvet and embroidery, weighed down with gilded figures, dragged along
by six black horses sumptuously caparisoned. This was my Lord Clare's
new coach, which had cost him no less than four thousand guineas--the
outward and visible sign of his amazing arrogance and splendour. The
party on the steps stood wonder-stricken; but what surprised Curran
even more than the magnificent carriage, was the presence of the
person within it, who sat beside the chancellor. It was Cassidy, the
jolly giant, whom report said to be in durance vile. He was released
then. So were, of course, the others, and Lord Clare had remedied his
blunder before its effects could be seriously felt. So much the
better. Such gladness of heart was the little lawyer's that he forgot
all about the half-mounted, and proceeded to congratulate his enemy.

'I don't understand,' the latter drawled, looking down from under
half-closed lids. 'Mr. Cassidy is out because there was really nothing
against him, and his excellency talks of freeing the others by-and-by,
except Emmett, who is a ringleader--a beast who must be caged.'

Curran felt a twinge of disappointment. 'A man who must be made a
martyr!' he retorted. 'If you leave him languishing, and free the
rest, the injustice of the proceeding will set them plotting more than
ever. That which is now but a heat-spot may be irritated into a
prevailing gangrene. Mind, I have warned you. Yet how idle is it! Such
tricks as yours may be expected from a renegade!'

The last words were muttered to himself, yet Lord Clare heard them,
but pretended not to do so, as it was always his policy to excite his
adversary whilst keeping his own temper.

'I assure you I am powerless,' he remarked blandly. 'The Privy
Council----'

'Potent, grave, and reverend seniors!' scoffed the other;
'scene-shifters and candle-snuffers from Smock Ally, robed in old
curtains!'

'These turbulent fellows would destroy the Constitution, my good
Curran.'

'Turbulent! A pack of boys! What does not exist cannot be destroyed. A
Commons chosen by the people who hold thereby the strings of the
public purse--that is the first principle of a constitution. The sham
you prate about is, as you know right well, deluged with corruption,
flooded with iniquity, a mere puppet in your hands, Lord Clare. How
sad it is that the vital interests of millions should be sacrificed to
the vices of an individual! You, and such as you, who have risen from
small things to a place in the Upper House, should unite the nobles
and the people instead of trying to estrange them. But no, you think
of none except yourself. Erin is divided between the slaves of your
dominion, the servants of your patronage, the enemies of your tyranny.
Your ambition will wreck us all. Your monument shall be the execration
of your motherland--the curse of a ruined race your requiem!'

Lord Clare's impudent leer was doing its work, for Curran, with every
moment, grew more chafed.

'Really, our friend is quite amusing!' exclaimed the chancellor,
pleasantly. 'Your ladyship's jester assumes all the license which
custom accords to such persons. I confess that his exuberance bears me
down, for the art of managing foolish people is as distinct and
arduous as that of governing lunatics.'

'Whenever I see a man treat the world as if it were made of fools,'
sneered Curran, 'I suspect him instantly to be a knave.'

'Very pretty!' laughed the other. 'Parliament, my good fellow----'

'Parliament!' echoed his foe. 'You are always ringing the changes on
parliament and constitution in a jangle that means nothing. Your
parliament has as much to do with the country as a corpse with a
crowner's quest. The rulers of this unhappy land have played bowls
with the constitution. Our experience of government is through the
vices of its shifting plunderers, instead of the paternal protection
of its sovereign--harpies who encamp awhile, then retire laden with
spoil--all save one, who, to our grief, is bone of our bone, flesh of
our flesh. That one, my lord, is splendid indeed--by the grandeur of
his infamy--for he never knew shame or decency or conscience! He is
double-faced; a traitor to that which he should love most in all the
world. He degrades his talent to the vilest uses, and invents sham
dangers to hide real ones. Like the sailor who, to possess himself of
a bag of money, tossed a burning brand into the hold, he cries "Fire,
fire!" to divert attention from himself.'

'Really, really, my lady!' laughed the chancellor, with constraint,
'your jester improves daily. He wallows in imagery as the swine in
mire. My good fellow, I fail to follow your meanderings, though I seem
to apprehend that you are cross about these arrests? I have naught to
do with them--will you be more comfortable if I swear it?--but I must
admit, while doing so, that I am no advocate for ill-judged leniency.'

'If a man is so poor a rider as to cling to his nag by the spurs, he
must needs apply a strong curb to control the madness he provokes.'

'And I am that rider? Thank you. Your ladyship's palace resembles the
home of the tranced Beauty. It is grievously begirt with thorns and
stinging-nettles. I vow I know not why our dear Curran nourishes such
asperity against me, for I never did him a favour. But there, there!
He's politically insane. A mountebank with one half his talent for
rant would make his fortune!'

'Were I one, my lord,' returned Curran, with a bow, 'so presumptuous
as to set my little head against the opinions of a nation, I should be
glad if folks said I were insane!'

Lord Clare's cheeks were beginning to be unusually rosy, for Doreen
gazed at him with undisguised contempt, and my lady was evidently
amused in a half-malicious way at the encounter.

'If you think,' he said loftily, 'that it will help you into
consequence, you are welcome to bespatter me; but be assured that I
value you so little, either as a lawyer or a man, that I must decline
to address you further till you learn manners.'

Lord Glandore was enchanted, and almost forgot his headache, for he
sniffed a good duel in the wind, and was an artist in such matters.

'I desired to plead with you against yourself,' the little man said
stiffly, 'wherein I was a fool, because your heart, as we know, is
ice. Nay, I have done; for I may not carry on a conflict wherein
victory can bring no honour!'

The countess smiled with thin lips, as Bess may have smiled when
Leicester and Essex were bickering. The fact of these sworn foes being
constantly here together, was in itself an indirect compliment to her
fascinations. Bowing low to her ladyship, Curran trudged across to the
stable-yard, whither his pony had trotted before; and Terence, from
whose face the devil had been peeping ever since the speech about the
half-mounted, followed him in silence thither.

Lord Clare flicked the dust from his pink silk stockings, and plumed
himself complacently, as a hawk does after a tussle with some
formidable fowl.

'Fore Gad, my lady,' he said, 'you are too indulgent. That animal must
be banished from your menagerie, for he is too rough a bear!'

'A good man and true!' returned my lady, with decision; 'despite his
sharp tongue and unprepossessing shell. He was hard on you, touching
you on the raw, and you got the worst of it, and flew in a passion,
and were rude, though you pride yourself upon your temper. You must
make it up before you sit down to breakfast.'

Terence found his chief standing over his pony, a prey to violent
agitation.

'My boy,' he cried out at once, 'I must have a blaze at that rascal!'

'What rascal?' asked the other, who, wounded by his mother's
indifference, was brooding on his own trouble.

'There's but one rascal in the world, and his name's Clare! I'll make
a window through him, I will, with sword or pistol, as suits him best.
Go and tell him so.'

'Most obliging, no doubt,' said Terence, with a half-smile; 'but you
must refrain this time, for my sake. Indeed, you employed language
such as sure never before was used to a lord chancellor. If he
survives your words, no bullet can affect him.'

'It's no use!' persisted the little man, shivering like an aspen; 'I
shan't sleep until I shoot that rascal.'

But Terence passed his arm affectionately within his, and Curran
perceived that there was something amiss with him.

'You have other duties, my old friend,' the young man sighed. 'Come,
come--you must be dignified.'

'Is it I?' returned the other, rubbing his nose ruefully. 'I fear
dignity is a robe which he who would box must lay aside during the
sparring. Maybe, when the fight's done, he'll find that it has been
stolen during the battle! A fig for dignity! I'd rather have a blaze.'

'No!' pursued the young man, mournfully. 'For my sake, you will
abandon this quarrel. I must leave this house, and to whose should I
fly if not to yours? I must go away, for this can be borne no longer.
There is a limit to human patience, and mine is a small allowance.'

'Do nothing rashly,' Curran urged.

'I tell you I cannot bear it,' the young man retorted with vehemence.
'Who knows to what I might be tempted if Shane should go too far? I
tell you I dare not trust myself. And my mother has no sympathy for
me, as you saw; for she was superbly indifferent when he threw that
insult in my teeth. What cares she if I am insulted or not? Such words
from another man, and I would have sprung at his throat at once. When
we fear temptation, it is best to run away from it.'

Curran reflected for a moment, and then grunted:

'Boy! Coriolanus replied to his pleading parent, "Mother, you have
conquered." To oblige you, I will not shoot Lord Clare.'

'I thank you for making an old woman of me!' Terence replied, with a
tinge of humour. 'My conduct was somewhat like a woman's, I confess,
for sure no man should bear so great an insult, even from a brother!'

'You know best,' the little man said, patting his companion's shoulder
fondly. 'But it seems sad thus to shake off the dust of your ancestral
home. Maybe, if he sees you won't be put upon, my lord may grow more
civil. Shane no doubt is trying, and you are a warm-complexioned young
gentleman. Having no son, I would gladly take you to fill the vacant
place, as no one knows better than yourself. You shall stay with me
for a few months, and I'll speak to her ladyship about my lord, who
must be taught to cultivate a civil tongue and apologise; for there
must be no open rupture between you. We'll say it's for convenience'
sake, as I want to make a great lawyer of you. There are briefs you
must study for me, and they pour in, you know. How'll I get through
the papers at all at all, unless I have my junior near me?'

And thus the matter was settled between them, while the elder wondered
what Mrs. Gillin would think of the arrangement. She must be
hoodwinked without delay to prevent mischief, or she would come
clamouring up to the Abbey in her quality-clothes, and all the fat
would be in the fire at once.

Hearing a light footstep on the gravel, Terence turned, and a pang
shot through his heart as he beheld his cousin. It was dreadful to
leave her behind, in the maw as it were of Shane. Yet what difference
could his absence make to one who treated him so scurvily? And those
smart garments, too--that aggravatingly bewitching bonnet--for whose
behoof were they intended? Not for his, certainly. All things
considered, it was best that he should go.

Meanwhile my lady calmly discussed a late breakfast in the oak parlour
with Lord Clare, unconscious that the behaviour of her sons had been
more indecorous than usual, while the originator of the quarrel
trifled languidly with an egg, speculating about time and place,
whether the duel between Curran and the chancellor was to be with
sword or pistol. Why not directly after breakfast in the rosary? a
capital spot, sheltered from wind and observation. Terence would of
course be Curran's second; Cassidy here, who had been hanging about in
a deprecatory manner, first on one leg, then on the other, would be
the chancellor's; while he, my lord, would see fair play. An excellent
arrangement. Then the combatants might amicably return together to
Dublin in the golden coach to set about the business of the day.

Having settled the party of pleasure to his liking and reviewed its
details, the King of the Cherokees was no little disgusted to see Mr.
Curran enter presently and take his seat as if nothing had happened.
My lady, on the other hand, was mightily relieved, for she liked the
two almost equally well, leaning a little perhaps to the side of the
chancellor, on account of his polish and fine manners. She was not
blind to the faults of either of her friends. Clare, she knew,
despised literature, in which Curran delighted. He disdained the arts
of winning; was sullen sometimes, and always overbearing; and when he
condescended to be jocular was usually offensive. But then he was a
dazzling light. Curran was particularly interesting to the stately
countess by reason of his marvellous energy and originality. He was
quicksilver--surcharged with life--restless, sparkling, bewildering;
and it amused her to try to control his erratic movements. Many a time
she lectured, in private, Curran with reference to Clare--Clare with
regard to Curran.

The latter was in the habit of deploring that the former was a patriot
lost, seduced by England, because of his aristocratic proclivities. A
patriot cannot be a courtier, he constantly declared. The ways of the
aristocracy grow more brutal and more reckless with impunity; the
coarseness of their debauchery would have disgusted the crew of Comus;
their drunkenness, their blasphemy, their ferocity, have left the
ignorant English squires far behind. To this the countess would reply
(who knew little of the Dublin _monde_, living as she did a retired
life) that he was biassed by the prejudice of his Irish slovenliness,
in that he could not look upon a man as honest who wore clean linen
and velvet small-clothes. And so the friendly conflict would go on,
one scoring a point and then the other, one breaking into rage and the
other apologising; and so the incongruous cronies wrangled along the
road of life, battling with the breezes which blew round them, whether
from east or west.

Mr. Curran sat down to his breakfast as if nothing had happened,
tucking a napkin into his vest, and handing my Lord Clare, with biting
amiability, the salt or the butter or the bread, while my lady marked
with satisfaction that this tempest was but a squall. That the chairs
of Terence and her niece should remain unoccupied was a matter of no
moment, for the former was probably sulky after his snubbing; while as
for Doreen, her conduct was always more or less improper. Perhaps her
serene ladyship would have been ruffled if she could have looked on
them in the stable-yard, for they were standing very close together,
the one subdued by the prospect of leaving his home for the first
time, the other saddened with thinking of the arrests.

They stood very close together, oblivious of the morning meal; and
Terence caressed the moist muzzles of the hounds with lingering
fingers, while his cousin observed that an interesting air of sadness
suited him. A too healthy look, a too ruddy cheek, are to be
deprecated as unfavourable to romance; yet is there a peculiar and
specially captivating interest about a humdrum exterior with a blight
on it. Terence was too fat and sleek; unheroic, prosaic to an absurd
degree. At least his cousin chose to think so as she looked at him.
Then she glanced down at her own fine raiment with disgust, and hated
prosperity. What right had she to flaunt in delicate muslins while her
people were in bondage? Sackcloth and ashes would become her better,
now that the last champions of her faith were pining in duress. As for
the youth here, it was only fitting that he should be fat and sleek;
for was he not a Protestant, one of the oppressors? What was his
trouble to her trouble--sorrow for a race ground down? True, his
mother loved him not, and his brother was inconsiderate. He should
have spoken boldly, putting his foot down as Doreen would have done,
though his was big and hers was tiny--demanding at least some sort of
respectful consideration, instead of wrapping himself in injured airs
as he proposed to do. And as the thought passed through her mind it
was touched by a tinge of self; for if Terence were to go away, one of
the safeguards of his cousin's peace would slip from her. With the
instinct of intrigue, which is planted in the staidest of female
bosoms, she had determined that the best way, perhaps, of
counteracting her aunt's eccentric marriage scheme would be to play
one brother off against the other. As to a match with Shane, that was
out of the question; to marry Terence would be equally undesirable.
Even now, the wistful humility with which he surveyed her fairy bonnet
was conducive only to laughter. He did not care for her any more than
she cared for him--of course not. But is it not _de rigueur_ for
youths to sigh intermittently after domesticated cousins till the
moment for the _grande passion_ arrives, when they breathe like
furnaces and threaten to fling themselves out of windows? His was
clearly a case of primary intermittent fever, which was not a serious
cause for alarm; and the damsel was quite justified in employing its
vagaries for the protection of her own peace. My lady's project, she
considered, would tumble to pieces in time through inherent weakness.
Till that auspicious moment arrived it would be necessary to stave off
a crisis. It was merely a matter of time--a brief struggle between two
strong wills, in which my lady would succumb, as she invariably did
when pitted against her stubborn niece. For this reason it was
annoying that Terence should go away, and Doreen felt tempted to
employ such arts as she might, without being unmaidenly, for the
prevention of a family split. She said therefore, with a distracting
glance of her brown eyes, while eager muzzles wormed into her hand:

'Is this quite irrevocable? The house will be so dull without you.'

'I would stay if you really wished it,' blurted out the inflammable
youth, pinching a cold nose till the dog--its owner--broke away
howling. 'You know there is nothing I would not do to please you,
Doreen!'

'Is there not?' she returned, with a ring of bitterness, for she was
too straightforward to feel aught but impatience for idle
protestations. 'To please me, would you give up all for Erin, as
Theobald has done? No--you would not. A fine-weather sailor, Terence!
_You_ give up anything, who have all your life been lapped in
luxury--and why should you? Thanks to Mr. Curran, the legal ball is at
your foot, and you only need to work to become rich and happy. But I
shall be sorry to miss your bright face, for all that.'

A second flash, as of a burn in sunlight, carried the lad beyond his
usual prudence. With disconcerting suddenness he seized her hand and
brought his flushed cheek close to hers.

'Doreen!' he gasped. 'If you will love me and be my wife, I will do
anything and bear anything. You've only to direct. I'm poor I know,
but I will work, for I am capable of better things if I have an
object.'

But Miss Wolfe, though far from a coquette, was gifted with presence
of mind. Her intention had been not to provoke an untoward declaration
such as would exasperate her aunt, and, possibly, Lord Glandore; but
to use this impulsive swain as a bulwark of protection against the
assaults of my lady. Perchance, under the circumstances, it was better
that he should depart for a few months to cool his too explosive
ardour. It would not do to encourage, nor yet to quarrel with him. She
escaped from him therefore, holding up her pretty hands, and said
demurely:

'Of course, if Mr. Curran really wishes it, you had better obey. It is
a long ride for you every morning from the Abbey to the Four-courts.'

The Priory, on the other side of Dublin, was about the same distance
from the Four-courts, Terence thought with anger. The girl was playing
with him, as she always did.

'I hope Sara will make you comfortable,' she went on. 'No doubt she
will, she is so sweet a girl. Then we shall meet at Castle balls, and
you shall lead me out for a rigadoon like a mere stranger. That will
be funny, will it not? You don't mean what you say one bit, and it is
a relief to me to know that it is all flummery--you silly, hot-pated,
blarneying Pat! Come along. We will go and eat our breakfast and be
thankful that we have one to eat, instead of talking nonsense. That is
all that you or I are fit for, I am afraid! For it is not such as you
nor I who are destined to save poor Ireland!'



                             CHAPTER IX.

                             THE PRIORY.


A year went by, and Terence was still away from home, an inmate of the
Priory; settled down, much against his will, as a sober councillor,
principal assistant to Mr. Curran, the continually rising advocate.
Sober is scarcely the fitting epithet, for conviviality was the
besetting sin of all classes of Irish in the eighteenth century, and
it was notorious that legal gentlemen, from Judge Clonmel to the
meanest attorney, were constantly in the habit of going drunk to
roost. Where lawyers led, Dublin was fain to follow, for the Bar
took the lead in the society of the metropolis, occupying a strong
middle position of its own between 'gentlemen to the backbone' and
'half-mounted' ditto, from, which it dictated to both. As the policy
of ministers grew more and more unpopular, it became more and more
urgent that Government patronage should be expended in purchasing
support for the measures under which the country groaned; and where
could support be more easily found than among the exponents of
forensic wisdom?

Successfully to do battle with Flood and Grattan it was necessary to
scrape together as much intellect as was available, and so every
promising barrister became certain of a seat in parliament if he would
furbish up his brains for the Viceroy's benefit. This gave to the
lawyers a prestige which drew sons of peers within their ranks, and
they assumed superior airs, which no man challenged, in that their
profession was a nursery to the senate--a step-ladder to the highest
honours. Younger sons of noble houses invariably lean towards the
middle class, because a wide difference of income divides them in
feeling and ways of thought from their elder brothers. Such lordlings
as possessed a competence chose to while away their hours elegantly in
gowns and bands. And so the Bar became the fashion, the lawyers being
credited with such attributes as they thought proper to adopt, and
being permitted to wield an arbitrary sway which was beneficial and
mirth-inspiring. They assumed the right of mind over matter, and
people bowed the knee without inquiry, for they were pre-eminently
jolly dogs who made life the merrier, whose scraps of legal lore
sounded mightily sonorous to ignorant ears, and who, if one was rash
enough to presume to dispute their law, were always ready to take
refuge behind the inevitable pistol. But human nature at its best is
frail, and even lawyers are not always pure. When came the tug of
war--when the Four-courts were closed and courts-martial juggled away
men's lives--the councillors prated no more of their incorruptible
virtue, but donned the uniform as others did, and truckled, with a few
bright exceptions, as meanly as the rest.

But we are now in 1796, when King Claret ruled the roast; when all
were besotted with drink, from Clonmel who gave sentence with a drop
in his eye, to the beggar in the dock who starved his stomach to buy a
drain of spirits; when out of the six thousand houses which formed
Dublin, thirteen hundred were occupied as boozing-kens; when guests
were deprived of their shoes by a host who understood hospitality, and
broken glass was sprinkled in the passages to prevent a man from
jibbing at his liquor.

Mr. Curran's fears were being realised in this year of '96, for the
criminal business to which he had turned his attention was increasing
on his hands through the swelling torrent of treasonable charges. My
Lord Clare's policy was bearing its full crop of evils, for he had
succeeded in moulding the too plastic Viceroy into the shape that
suited him, according to the plan laid down by Mr. Pitt. Lord Camden,
whilst meaning to do well, was repeatedly led astray, as many a better
man has been before him. To Clare he was a docile cat. He submitted to
the secret council of Lords--that mysterious wehmgericht--who were
urged by the chancellor to the most violent proceedings, and became
unconsciously a scapegoat for the bearing of the sins of others.

Under skilful manipulation the Society of United Irishmen flourished
prodigiously. Tom Emmett and Neilson were kept in prison, where they
languished without trial. Others were let out and caged again as
occasion required, that they might inflame their fellows with a
catalogue of dread experiences. Midnight meetings resulted, wherein
orators declaimed of the wickedness of the perfidious one, and
summoned all true patriots to take the fatal oath. The decision which
had been come to on the disastrous night in Trinity was carried out to
the letter, and was much assisted in its fulfilmeut by the harsh
treatment of the chiefs. The military system was engrafted on the
civil.

Faithful to his promise, Cassidy rode to Belfast, delivered Emmett's
order to the delegates there, and then with commendable prudence
subsided into the background. The provincial committee spread out its
arms, from which new ones were speedily engendered, and passed
resolutions of grave import, while England stifled her merriment.
Civil officers were to wear military titles. A secretary over twelve
was to become a petty officer with gewgaws on his coat; a delegate
over five of these, a captain, with more gewgaws; a superior over five
captains, a colonel with a plume; mighty fine! The colonels of each
county were to send three names to the central directory, from which
one was to be chosen adjutant-general of his county to deal directly
with the capital. And thus a national army was forming in the dark,
just as the Volunteer army had sprung up in the daylight, with the
important difference that by this time England had cured her wounds
and regained her pristine strength.

I protest that this linen-draper-medley masquerading in galoon would
be laughable, were it not so sad a spectacle. But who shall dare to
laugh at honest men, whose delusions are nursed and played upon
instead of being tenderly swept away? Curran's sympathies were with
the reformers, but not his judgment; and he became a sort of link
between two parties. His position as a lawyer gave him the _entrée_ to
the best houses, whilst his homely habits and untidy dress caused the
lower orders to look on him as one of themselves. Between the rival
parties he shillyshallied with a weakness which his character belied,
grumbling at the patriots for their imprudence, growling at the sins
of Government, very uncomfortable in his mind, and of no use so far to
either of the opposing factions.

As the members of the society committed themselves more deeply, Lord
Clare became more gay. He hinted to the half-mounted gentry that if
they liked it they might volunteer as active agents against the
misguided youths who were preparing to turn Ireland topsy-turvy.
Nothing could please the squireens better than this tacit permission
to give vent to their worst passions. Brutal, cruel, sycophantic (as
ignorant and depraved natures are), they began to band themselves in
regiments, with nobles for superior officers, and to commit outrages
on those below them, pretty certain that they would be indemnified for
any atrocity they might commit. _L'appétit vient en mangeant_. The
peasant, ground down and wretched to the level of the serf of
Elizabeth, howled out that Justice was indeed fled, and hearkened with
ravenous avidity to the voice of the charmer who sang of French ships
in the offing, and a proximate term to misery. Drilling went on under
cover of night, and the practice of the pike, since gunpowder could
not be purchased; and the shibboleth anent the bough which was to be
planted in England's crown might be heard a hundred times in whispers
on every market-day.

But, misery or no misery, folks must eat and drink, and the
Hibernian nature--as quick to resent as to forgive, as vehement as
indiscreet--is given to extremes, from sadness to mirth and back
again.

Mr. Curran, though his heart was sore, was fond of dainty viands, and
beguiled himself, as others did, with the pleasures of the table;
striving to drown, with a clatter of knives and forks, the din of
approaching tempest. His board was ever sumptuously garnished, his
claret of the best, his welcome of the warmest, and few who were
bidden to partake of it ever declined his hospitality.

Timid Arthur Wolfe, who was growing more cautious every day, and doing
his best to serve two masters for his daughter's sake, implored his
friend to take example by himself, demonstrating in the clearest way
that the history of my Lord Clare was becoming the history of all
Ireland, and that a man with a child's future in his hands has no
right to run a-muck. He had found out that the chancellor had
endeavoured to buy Curran, and failing ignominiously in that attempt,
was trying to undermine his business. Why be for ever snarling at Lord
Clare? It would be the old story of the pipkin and the iron pot. To
which arguments Curran answered, laughing:

'Is it I that's the frog, and he the bull? Maybe it'll turn out
t'other way. I'm mad, no doubt, to set my small pebble to stop his
chariot, but many a trivial thing has proved the factor in a great
catastrophe, and I'll even insert my pebble. Fudge, Arthur! I'm too
popular, and my life's too open for even Lord Clare to wreak his
vengeance on me.'

Then Arthur Wolfe persisted, entreating that at least he would avoid
the charge of holding seditious meetings at his house. The weekly
dinners at the Priory were jovial, he admitted, beyond compare. The
cup went round as merrily as if Erin were a buxom wench, dimpled, and
well-to-do--but there could be no denying that those who drank of it
were marked men mostly, who knew the inside of Newgate as well as the
Priory parlour, and these were ticklish times for political
flirtation. What would befall Sara, honest Arthur pleaded, if an
accident were to befall the councillor? So delicate a blossom would
shrivel under the first frostnipping. On her father's head must rest
the consequence if misfortune crushed his child.

At mention of Sara Mr. Curran would become exceedingly perplexed, torn
by two apparently incompatible duties, as he reflected on his pale
primrose. How wonderful are the decrees of Fate! Why are beings,
abnormally sensitive and delicate--whose fibres are liable to injury
by the most careful handling--pitchforked into a world of stones for
the express purpose of being bruised? Sara's nature was one which
needed sun and flowers, hourly solicitude and broidered blanketing,
yet here was she cast upon a rocky coast, battered by cold winds,
which threatened to become each day more easterly! Was she sent to
earth merely to bear pain, to linger for a space in more or less
protracted agony, and then to die? Possibly. It is a cruel creed to
accept, but the experience of the world we live in forces it upon us.
Perchance we shall learn to see a reason for it later on.

The crash was coming, as none perceived more clearly than Mr. Curran.
Might anything avert it? Nothing. What would happen to cherished
ones in the throes of the hurricane? But how bootless was such
self-communing! _Fais ce que devra!_ Mr. Curran was determined not to
shrink from duty to the soil which gave him birth. Though the days of
Roman virtue were overpast, he would sacrifice his heart's treasure on
the altar if need were, trusting to God's mercy for the rest; and it
was the kernel of his project to keep watch over the society--with it
in the spirit, but not of it in the body. He was wont to say with
pride that he had never wittingly snubbed any man who was in earnest.
Self-willed himself, he respected those who strove to make themselves,
and respected men doubly if their aspirations were unselfish. He said
to himself that the motives of this small self-sacrificing band were
pure where all else was foul; that though for their own sakes he dared
not espouse their tenets openly, yet it would be a coward's act to
deprive them of his countenance and advice because they walked in
danger. So he shook his head at time-serving Arthur Wolfe, and went
his independent way, and waited for his chosen guests each Wednesday
afternoon, caring no fig for Lord Clare's menaces, sorry only that he
continued to exist.

He stood straddle-legged at the hour of five on a reception-day, among
the dishevelled laurestinus bushes, which he was pleased to call his
avenue, swinging his portly watch by its ribbon--as his way was when
guests were late. The Priory was a snug abode, if not endowed with
beauty; but then the works of man in Ireland are seldom in beautiful
accordance with the handiwork of God. It was a frightful ungainly
villa erected in the hideous style of Irish suburban architecture,
with attenuated slits of windows and tall consumptive doors set
half-way up in a bald waste of rough whitewashed wall. The usual
alpine stair led to the entrance; arranged, as it appeared, for the
purpose of setting an honoured guest on a glorious pinnacle of
observation, till slipshod Kathy could hitch up her draggled skirts to
let him in.

From the parlour window might be admired a prospect of barn, dunghill,
dovecote, horsepond, piggery, which offered to the nose in summer a
bouquet of varied sweets; while the usual yard or two of road swept
round the usual dark circular grassplot with a mouldy rhododendron in
the centre of it. The orchard behind was christened by its owner his
pistol-gallery, but it was at the same time a forum; for there might
Mr. Curran frequently be seen of a morning, declaiming with
Demosthenic energy, whilst he lodged bullets at intervals in the bark
of special trees.

The odour of savoury viands assailed his nostrils as he stood
statue-like on the pinnacle and whirled his watch, for he hated
unpunctuality above all things. His beetle-brows were knit, his lower
lip protruded, and he wondered whether any of his guests had been
arrested. That was naturally his first fear, and he wagged his head
with gloom at some ducks that quacked in a neighbouring puddle as he
surveyed the lugubrious possibility.

'Idiots!' he moralised. 'Pictures of ourselves, who dream of dinner as
though sorrow could not wake. Alas! Fate is common and the future is
unseen, as the Arab proverb has it. You rejoice in the balmy showers,
do you?--not knowing, in your crass ignorance, that they will make the
peas grow! And here are we, as foolish as you, going in for a
jollification, as though a few months might not bring grief to all of
us! Ahem! It is well that we are a careless nation, or every Irishman
would cut his throat before he grew to manhood.'

Terence, who was drawing corks as if catering for an army, laughed
aloud, for he at least showed no signs of brooding melancholy; being
prepared rather to take life as he found it, and enjoy it too, for his
bright brave nature endeared him to all, and he was himself too frank
to believe in the pervading blackness of the human heart. As Doreen
pictured, he had attended the Castle balls during the winter, and had
led out his cousin for a turn of passepied or rigadoon without much
sighing; had dutifully called on his mother when Shane was safe away,
and had spent the rest of his time yawning over briefs for the behoof
of Mr. Curran.

These briefs caused little disputes sometimes between the two, which
it became Sara's duty to smooth away--for Terence was wofully idle and
abhorred his work, being wont to declare that intellectual labour was
one thing, and unintellectual drudgery another, till his chief waxed
exceeding wroth, and asserted that idleness led to mischief. Sometimes
there appeared a flickering flame of ambition in him, which Curran
tried hard to foster; but before he had time to fan it, Terence would
cry, 'Oh, bother?' and, flinging the brief into the garden, go forth
to fish with Phil. No one could be angry with him long. Idleness seems
to suit some natures, which appear moulded for the enjoyment of other
people's labour.

In the ways of the world Terence was an infant; in the balance of
right and wrong inclined to be unsteady from sheer indolence of brain.
His bubbling, brawling flow of spirits deceived casual observers, who
set him down as frivolous, impelled by the lightest breeze. Doreen,
whose experience was limited, thought him so with a feeling of
affection, in which contempt was mingled; but Curran knew better. He
knew that many a sensitive man wilfully assumes a disparaging exterior
to mask his holy of holies even from himself. He knew that few among
us ever quite know ourselves; but wake up sometimes in the decline of
life to discover new virtues or new vices, of whose existence we were
quite unconscious; that we come to know our own characters by flashes,
just as we learn those of our nearest and dearest friends.

Terence was a general favourite; a hearty devil-may-care young fellow,
with a good digestion and few individual troubles, and was looked upon
with awe by gentle little Sara, as he helped in her household cares.
Indeed, Mr. Curran was justified in being cross this day, for the
repast was ready, if the guests were not. Veal, turkey, ham--all
piping hot--smoked in their respective dishes. Powldoody oysters
smiled as a centre-piece, flanked by speckled trout, caught but an
hour ago by Terence's servant Phil. Rows of wine-bottles garnished the
parlour wainscoting; the trim little hostess was squeezing lemons into
a jug on the hearthstone, with a view to prospective punch. He spun
his watch faster and faster as moments waned, more and more certain
that something untoward must have happened, and was no little relieved
by the sound of horses' feet, and the sight of his party approaching.

'Hooroo, boys!' he cried cheerily, shaking off his gloom. 'Ye're late,
but no mather; ye're welcome, and shall carry home what ye like with
ye, rather than an appetite.'

Sara had a becoming blush ready for her undergraduate, as he
approached to kiss her hand. She looked shyly in his eyes, and marked
with uneasiness that they were growing very dreamy, while an habitual
contraction fretted his forehead, which she knew came from distress
about his brother. She knew--for sometimes she took entrancing walks
with him--that his temper was becoming soured and his spirit chafed,
in that Tom languished on in prison without trial. Was not such
injustice outrageous? The charges against him were grave, no doubt;
that bit of paper which blundering Cassidy had failed to swallow was
compromising in a high degree; but then others quite as much
compromised were let off long since with a fine, whilst Tom remained
untried. Any trial--before a jury however packed--would be better than
such lingering suspense. If the worst came to the worst, the crown of
martyrdom, which would go with conviction, would be some small
comfort; but to have lain rotting in a gaol for a year, to be immured
without a term till well-nigh forgotten, was like the death of a rat
in a hole; and as ardent young Robert thought of it, his
constitutional dread of bloodshed almost went from him. Seeing what he
was forced to see, he regretted his oath in nowise.

Among many enthusiasts few were so enthusiastic as this boy--few
looked so hopefully for news of Tone and of his doings in France. The
newspaper of his imprisoned brother had somehow revived, though the
guiding hand was shackled, and wonderful articles appeared in its
pages which might well have brought down, for the second time, the
chancellor's vengeful claw on it. But such rash ebullitions of an
imprudent ardour were just what Lord Clare required. Nobody knew who
edited Tom's journal now (possibly many had a finger in it). It
certainly was not Robert, for he was but eighteen and a student still
of Trinity; but that he helped and gambolled on the chasm's verge, his
friends did know, and remonstrated with him more than once.

Curran was constantly lecturing him, but without effect, for the
froward boy only bade him attend to his own affairs; suggested that if
he wanted to save somebody from the vortex he had better look after
his own future son-in-law, and this made Curran angry. Yes; this was
one of the things which had resulted from Terence's leaving home.
Busybodies had winked and nodded, declaring that the little lawyer was
wise in his generation; that, having feathered his nest, he might do
worse for Sara than introduce her into the peerage with a plump dowry.
If a trifle reckless he was shrewd, they said; for whilst dallying
with the United Irishmen he had taken care to drag along with him the
brother of a great lord, who could not well interfere on behalf of a
near kinsman without also throwing the ægis of his rank over another
who ran in couples with him. The busybodies talked nonsense, as they
generally do. Mr. Curran had no views as yet with regard to Sara, and
required the protection of no aristocratic ægis. His reputation had
risen so high during the last twelve months by reason of the splendid
bravery with which he had defended the foes of established government,
that neither Pitt nor Clare dared at this moment to touch the
champion. His place at the Bar was so unique that there was no man,
not merely next, but near him. Other advocates were to him as the
stars to the sunbeam. In court he was at once persuasive, eloquent,
acute, argumentative; striking with cunning hand the chord of pity,
then (for he knew his audience) checking the rising tear with
laughter. As a cross-examiner he was unrivalled. Let truth and
falsehood be ever so intricately dovetailed, he could part them with a
touch. Swiftly he would place his finger on a vital point, untwist a
tangle and involve perjury in the confusion of its contradictions. So
long as he retained his purity, it would never do to assail this
Galahad. All were aware of that, and so he needed no help from a great
lord.

Yet many wondered whether he might be secretly afraid of being
ensnared; whether, foreseeing the struggle that was imminent, he might
not deem it prudent to prepare a sure method of escape. The children
of darkness have more ways of circumventing the children of light than
it is at all pleasant for you and me (who of course belong to the
latter category) to reflect upon. He was ill-judged, possibly, in
throwing a young man like Terence into too close contact with the
would-be reformers. But then was not that youth already a friend of
the Emmetts and of Tone? Was not his innate laziness a bulwark of
defence? Was he not in the habit of defending Lord Clare, and of
pointing out that party-spirit embitters people to the point of
shameful slander? As yet he declined to admit that the chancellor had
horns and hoofs.

Although he scorned the worldly-wise advice of Arthur Wolfe, Mr.
Curran was careful, when he could, to check open expressions of
sedition at his table. On this very day he found it necessary several
times to change the current of talk before the cloth was removed, when
Sara, nodding pleasantly to Terence and to her undergraduate, rose and
withdrew to her chamber.

But there was a special reason on this particular day for an extra
amount of wrath on the part of the young men, his guests, which did
not fail to produce its answering growl from their host. That fresh
arbitrary arrests should have taken place surprised him not at
all--such proceedings were of daily occurrence. That Sirr, the
town-major, should be enlarging his paid army of false-witnesses, who
were becoming notorious as 'the band of testimony,' was also, alas, no
new thing. That a man's life could be sworn away by one witness who
had never seen him before was an awful fact; but then he, Mr. Curran,
was at hand to protest, and the recognised forms of law still
permitted an accused sometimes to baffle the paid malice of the
informer.

It was an open question, all admitted, how far a government might go
in espionage. In moments of peril to the public weal it is certain
that ministers must draw their information from any quarter, however
foul; but to offer a premium to rascality is surely criminal. To
gain information of facts from detectives is quite a different matter
from the employment of secret agents to tempt people into sin and
then hound them down. Robert Emmett brought news with him this day
that seemed to foreshadow a change of tactics on the part of the
executive--ominous news the discussion of which had made the party
late upon the road, and which caused the young men, so soon as their
hostess had retired, to abandon social gossip for more grave
communion.

'Friends,' Robert said, 'they intend to exasperate us. There can be no
more doubt about it, though I am in the dark as to their motives.
Please God, Theobald's mission will be accomplished ere 'tis too late;
the French will come to our succour before we are goaded to despair.'

Cassidy, who had such a blundering tendency to do the wrong thing in
the wrong place, here broke out into a new ditty which was beginning
to be popular, trolling forth in his mellow voice:


   'The French are on the say, says the Shan van Vocht;
    And will be here without delay, says the Shan van Vocht;'


but he was sternly bidden to fill his glass and pass the
round-bottomed bottle without making himself noisily objectionable;
and, whatever other peccadillo he might think proper to commit, above
all things to drink fair.

'Major Sirr's banditti,' the undergraduate went on, so soon as the
bottle, being empty, could be laid down, 'have taken on them a new
function. They arrogate to themselves now a right of paying
domiciliary visits without search-warrants, of forcing open a person's
door whensoever the outrage may suit their whim. A year ago they
wormed their way into Trinity, and by an accident we were unable to
rouse the college.'

'Arrah, thin,' grumbled Cassidy, 'will ye always be pitching my big
shoulder sand empty head in my teeth? I was sorry for my awkwardness,
and that's enough.'

'But at that time they were right to take us, if they could; for in
truth we were conspiring--a red-letter day in my memory, the day I
took the oath! Hearken to this, all of you! You know Tim Flanagan, of
Ormond's Quay, whose lady--God rest her soul!--was brought to bed a
week ago? She died, so did the child, last night; and Tim, gone wild
with sorrow, threw himself on the floor beside the corpse, refusing to
be comforted. There came a knocking at his warehouse entry; it was
barred, and the men away. His sister, from a window, desired to
know what was wanted. Sirr answered that he was come to search the
house--for what, in the Lord's name? Gunpowder cannot be bought. The
sister offered money if they would respect their grief, but not
enough. In the warehouses nothing compromising was found, of course.
The room where the corpse lay was to be searched also. They battered
in the door of the guarded chamber, but recoiled in a fright, for Tim
stood with a threatening glare of madness beside his young wife, a
knife clutched in his right hand. They fled, these myrmidons who
disregarded an agony of soul which a savage would respect; and Tim
knelt down there and then, with his appalled sister, swearing, on the
blue lips of her who was gone before, an eternal enmity against the
Castle tyrants.'

There was a long silence, during which Curran hung his head, while the
brow of his junior darkened, and honest Phil, his goggle-eyed
henchman, poured claret in his master's lap instead of into his glass.

'It is horrible!' sighed Cassidy, and swore a string of oaths. 'Tim
Flanagan had fought shy of the society,' he shouted, 'but now would
surely join it. His was but one case out of many. The wickedness of
those in power would surely drive all Ireland to take the oath, and
then the sons of the soil would rise as one man and hunt the tyrants
into the Channel.'

Mr. Curran shook his rough head.

'They are working for a purpose, as Robert says,' he remarked; 'a
wicked purpose, which aims at our eternal slavery. Instead of
sowing seeds of wholesome trees, beneath which our children may seek
shelter, they cherish poisonous roots, with the intent to squat like
witches in a plantation of nightshade. You will never hunt them into
the Channel. Do you know that they are flooding the island with
troops--_disciplined troops_, who will part your ill-trained myriads
like water? I see their aim, though they would fain hide it till the
fruit is ripe. They will goad us by insidious outrage to despair, then
stamp on us with an overwhelming force, and, when we are faint and
bleeding, will tie us, gagged and chained, to the car of England for
evermore.'

'What do you mean?' Terence inquired sternly.

'I mean,' responded his chief, 'that when we are ground into the dust,
they will sweep us from the list of nations. Cobwebs will gather round
the locks of our senate-house; our exchange will be silent as the
tomb, our docks empty, our quays deserted. England will swallow us
body and soul; will devour our liberty, and with it our existence.'

'Never!' bawled impetuous Cassidy. 'We will die first, if it's thrue
what he says, and he's more wise than I. We are men, aren't we, who
can die but once? Shall we lie down to be whipped, like dancing-dogs?
There's no going back, except for cowards, boys! All must fall in, or
be disgraced. What say you, Master Crosbie, will you sit by and see
Ould Erin sold?'

The excitement of this bellowing athlete was contagious.

'If I believed that there was one tittle of truth in the suspicions of
my old friend, I'd take the oath to-morrow,' cried Terence, with a
slap upon the table. 'But he exaggerates.'

'Do I?' growled Curran. 'I say that they mean to unite Ireland to
England, and that their present operations are tending to that end;
and I also affirm that, whether you take the oath or whether you do
not, that important ceremony will have no effect whatever on the
end--you coxcomb!'

'Be their intentions what they may, there is no going back now,'
echoed young Robert, sipping his claret dreamily. 'All who have a real
stake in the country must see that. Is not our first stake our
national honour? and how may we bow our necks beneath the Saxon's heel
without eternal shame? The truculent, bloody Saxon! who has left his
track like a livid welt across our land, in altars polluted and laid
low, pledges made and broken, a long trail of lust and rapine and
crime.'

A faint smile flitted over Cassidy's features, for this was the turgid
eloquence of the mysterious newspaper whose editor was in Newgate.

'Boy, you chatter balderdash,' Curran snapped shortly; 'such
balderdash as the ignorant drink too eagerly for truth. Oh for a
little ballast to keep us steady! An Irishman, when not stranded on
the Scylla of indolence, is certain to flounder headforemost on the
Charybdis of enthusiasm; and, of the two dangers, the latter is
generally the worst.'

'Deed, it's thrue what ye say, councillor dear,' Cassidy murmured, in
a coaxing tone. 'But sure, though you rail at us, you would not stand
by neither, any more nor this young gintleman? We know well enough
your heart is with us.'

'You are no better than baaing sheep following one another into the
shambles,' answered the host testily, for he was taken aback by this
open assault upon himself and Terence. 'Your ill-digested plans must
fail.'

'Fail!' echoed Robert and Cassidy together. 'Why,' continued the
former, forgetting his horror of bloodshed, 'when the time comes we
shall count upon a hundred thousand men. I know it by the returns sent
in to the Directory.'

'On paper.'

'And the French will be here in force--the veterans of the Republic.'

'The French, the French!' growled Curran. 'Say that they land and beat
the armies of King George, which I much doubt; will they not soon
weary of a precarious possession, and, carrying you to market in some
treaty of peace, barter you away to be well scourged? I vow I have no
patience with you, grieved though I be for the humble order of the
people, who from lack of education are easily deluded. Depend upon it,
your acts are all known in London. By the time you are ready, the
towns will seethe with British troops. I tremble to think of the
result.'

'Would ye have us turn the cheek like good Christians, then?' jeered
the giant, who, under influence of wine, was becoming warm. 'Are the
sons of the ancient kings meekly to become galley-slaves?'

'What would I have ye do?' retorted the host, who perceived with wrath
that he was being driven into a corner. 'I'd have ye keep a civil
tongue, and talk no treason till ye're outside my privet-hedge. If ye
do not, I'll report what's been said to Clare; I will, upon my honour,
to save ye from worse folly.'

The sturdy little man looked as if he were quite capable of carrying
out his threat. If he were to disclose all he knew of them, it would
be terrible indeed.

Cassidy, the claret mounting to his muddled brain, seized a decanter
with the laudable intention of belabouring his host with it.

'A traitor!' he muttered fiercely. 'That's the lowest beast that
crawls. If ye spake ere a word of us, I'll pistol ye in the street!'

The lawyer looked calmly up at the menacing giant and laughed. 'Put it
down, big baby,' he said. 'You dare to think me half-hearted because I
won't take a pike and try to knock down St. Patrick's. Does any man in
Ireland love Erin more than I? Learn, fool, that men have different
functions assigned to them. Do your best, if God wills it so. When the
battle's lost ye'll want me to bind your gashes. I've listened to much
rubbish this afternoon. Now you, in your turn, listen to the truth,
which is bad enough--ochone! I _know_ that all your martial goings-out
and comings-in are reported one by one; I _know_ that they are
broidured and embellished before they cross the sea. I have reason to
suspect--I admit I cannot prove it yet--that such cooked accounts are
given of your doings as actually to alarm the British cabinet. You are
playing into Pitt's hands. I have heard that they even talk of
"martial-law" as possible. If they come to that, the Lord be merciful
to our poor Erin!'

Mr. Curran's head sank on his breast, and tears ran down his rugged
cheeks; while the conspirators glanced one at the other with pallid
faces. Martial law! rough and ready tribunals presided over by the
tools of England! Sure their host's terrors must carry him away. And
yet he might be right, judging from the past. It was quite possible
that they were being deliberately driven to the shambles in cold
blood--like victims marked out for slaughter by some savage despot.
Cassidy laid down the decanter, and began to stammer apologies for his
petulance.

The noise of voices at high words brought Sara into the room, who,
frightened at the sudden dread which seemed to have invaded the party,
clung to her father, while she turned an inquiring glance to the
undergraduate.

'What is it, father?' she murmured with dim fear, for the adored face
of Robert was distorted with passion, while his hands shook like
leaves.

'A Union is it that they want?' the boy muttered 'twixt chattering
teeth. 'I will resist it to the last gasp of my existence--to the last
drop of my blood--and when death comes, I will call down the eternal
curse of Heaven upon the destroyers of our freedom!'

Sara felt dizzy, and would have fallen but for her father's encircling
arm. Dark shadows of foreboding were flitting across her mind. Was he
whom she elected to worship to be drawn into the whirlpool after all?
Was Robert to share Theobald's fate--to be banished from friends and
motherland? In her gentle loving heart she registered a vow that if
that fate should come on him, the sorrow of his exile should be
soothed by no hand but hers.

Mr. Curran set himself to calm his darling. 'Silly child!' he said,
patting her yellow curls. 'There, there, why not in bed? Fie! young
ladies mustn't rush in where gintlemen are toping. Well, as ye are
here, pick up the matarials from the hearth, my love, and squeeze in
another lemon. This won't do. I shall lose my reputation as a _bon
viveur_. A sentiment? Bravo! Here 'tis. Come, bumpers! "If a man fills
the bottom of his glass, more shame to him if he doesn't fill the top;
and if he empties the top, sure he'd not be so base as to deny the
bottom the same compliment!" Now we'll lock the doors, and my big
friend shall expend his exuberance in song. A toast first. You too
shall sip of it, my blossom, for there's ne'er a bit of treason in
it.' Then, clasping Sara's slender waist, he raised his haggard eyes,
and said solemnly: 'As God in these latter days is unfolding in His
creatures strange new powers, so may they all tend to Freedom, Peace,
and Harmony. May those who are free never be enslaved--may those who
are slaves be speedily set free. Amen!'

Cassidy, quite good-humoured and repentant now--for his bark was
always more awful than his bite--tuned up and sang his choicest
ditties; yet somehow there was a pall over the party which music could
not dissipate. Truths had slipped out in the desultory talk which
weighed down the souls of all. Mr. Curran, usually a pearl among
hosts, was worried and absent, for, look at the situation as he would,
there was nothing to be seen but impending disaster, and he thought
that perhaps he had spoken out too openly. Terence, too, seemed much
disturbed in mind; more moved at Robert's story and his own hints than
he liked to see. Perchance it would be safest to pack him home without
delay. Yet no--his was not the soul-harrowing indignation which
exercised the patriots. He was shocked, but there was no real danger
of his being trapped. It would lie heavy on his conscience, though, if
this artless joyous creature should be dragged into the vortex. Much
better that he should shoot, and hunt, and fish, and make the most of
the happy accident of his social standing. Certainly he would show
little affection for his _protégé_ if he permitted him to be trapped,
and Cassidy showed wondrous anxiety to trap him. An odd person,
Cassidy; a whimsical combination of opposing essences; one of those
dangerous hot natures whose ill-balanced zeal is more fatal to a cause
than enmity. No one could on occasion be more oafishly stupid than he,
or more rashly brave; and yet the way he kept up a show of intercourse
with Major Sirr and my Lord Clare, after the fashion of a safety-rope
to which to cling in peril, was worthy of quite a subtle plotter. That
the giant meant well there could be no doubt. But if he, Curran, had
had aught to do with the society, he would have stipulated that this
firebrand should be kept as much as might be in the background.

While he meditated thus the punch-bowl was emptied, and, as he made a
move to refill it, the party broke into knots and resumed the topic
which engrossed them.

Terence listened to young Robert's views, which, under the auspices of
liquor, grew more rosy and more loud.

'I don't mind telling you about it,' the boy was saying, 'for I know
that your honour is too fine to allow the smallest hint to be dropped
of what I say. The French will come with 15,000 men, and gunpowder,
and muskets. Pikeheads are being hammered out of hours on hundreds of
village anvils.'

'They will never send 15,000 men,' Terence objected, with a doggedness
induced by drink. 'Their coffers are empty. Holland, Switzerland, the
Rhine, claim the attention of their arms.'

'If they send but 5,000 the work can be done. You don't believe it?
With three hundred as officers to head our own people, we could make
an effort.'

'What can a rabble hope to do against a disciplined force?' exclaimed
Terence, with animation. 'The French could not spare three hundred
officers to this outlying island. Who have you amongst you who could
teach a single military man[oe]uvre? Who could save an army from rout
if attacked in rear, or judiciously decide upon a line of
entrenchment? What a reckless waste of life--a march into the grave!'

'There are cultivated gintlemen who will come forward when they see
that we are in earnest,' put in Cassidy slyly; 'lots of them. There is
no telling what mines of military genius may be found amongst the
high-born. I confess I'd like to know what we really may expect from
France. Theobald has been ten months in Paris, is hand and glove they
say with General Hoche, and Carnot, the "Organiser of Victory."
Strange he should never write.'

'My cousin Doreen has letters from him,' Terence said, in thick
accents. 'Maybe she'd tell us if we coaxed her.' Then, rising, he
flung wide the shutters and opened the window, through which streamed
such a flood of morning light and perfumed air as caused his wits to
reel. Cassidy grinned, as he marked the 'us,' and, encouraged by so
good a sign, made bold to clap the young patrician upon the shoulder.

'Sure she'd tell you, councillor darlint,' he whispered; 'for she
likes you, and I can get nothing serious out of her. Faix! it's the
dainty colleen she is!'

'I dare say she would,' returned Terence, while lines of latent humour
puckered up the giant's face. Councillor Crosbie's lofty patronage
amused him, for, of the two, Mr. Cassidy had seen most of the Abbey
during the past year. 'The day is come,' he urged; 'the very hour for
a ride. Will ye go and find out something to make our minds aisy, or
do ye think Misthress Doreen would be cross wid ye?'

Cassidy was taking liberties. Of that Terence felt hazily assured.

'Yes,' he replied, 'I will canter over to Strogue to see what I can
gather; a gallop by the beach will steady my nerves for the business
of the infernal Four-courts. Tell Phil, Cassidy, to saddle the horses
at once.'

Cassidy humbly obeyed orders, while Curran, who was watching, laughed,
despite his dreary thoughts. How translucent is the strategy of youth!
The squireen's familiar manner of mentioning Doreen had stung her
cousin, and filled him with a desire to warn her of the oaf's
presumption. It was a fine excuse for stealing a delicious hour with a
girl who loved not flirtation; who crumpled up her admirers with
scorn; who might, without some such excuse, resent even a cousin's
interference with the stern duties of matutinal chicken-feeding.

'Go!' Mr. Curran laughed, his conscience relieved, as he placed his
hand on the broad straight back of his favourite. 'Go, lad, and learn
what you can from that lovely conspiring siren. I think my Sally must
go too, to protect you. Stop a minute while I write a line to my lady.
I'm sorry we've not had so gay a time as usual--but sure gaiety is
being squeezed quite out of us. One Doughan Dourish before we
separate. Here's to Innisfail, and may God have mercy on her! And now
good-night, or rather good-morning. I've a heavy day before me, and
must e'en steal forty winks.'

The party mounted their horses and rode away, and Mr. Curran went to
bed and slept, quite persuaded now that Terence must go home and stop
there.



                              CHAPTER X.

                           LOVES AND DOVES?


Honest Phil saddled the horses and brought them round in a
twinkling, delighted always with a journey to the Abbey; for did not
red-haired Biddy, who held his large heart in keeping, abide at the
shebeen foreninst the Little House with her mamma, Jug Coyle? Jug
Coyle--the Collough--or wise woman, mistress of hidden arts, whose
little public-house, on Madam Gillin's land, had grown more orderly
than heretofore during the last few months. It was not that grooms and
soldiers frequented it the less, but that, instead of sitting on the
bench without, roaring ribald staves into the small hours, as had been
the objectionable custom, they now preferred the innermost room with a
well-closed door. Yet, roistering or silent, there was the shebeen
with its mouldering thatched roof and discoloured whitewash walls, and
one of its tiny windows roughly boarded up, at the very gate of the
lordly Abbey--an undiminished eyesore to the chatelaine.

Sara, whose gentle nature was perturbed by the scene at the
supper-table--the pale faces and haggard looks--slept not a wink all
night, and was most glad to join Terence in a canter by the seashore.
She daily grew fonder of Doreen, whose quiet manner seemed to instil
calmness into her own soul; who allowed the child in a gracious way to
cling to her, to prattle of her little troubles, her suspicions and
her fears, and her adoration of the undergraduate. Her father was too
busy to listen to her babbling; the dear young undergraduate too much
absorbed in what he called the cycle of injustice. All those with whom
she had to do--except Doreen--were for ever prating of the Saxon's
iron heel, shaking their fists at Heaven, venting dark anathemas and
muttering such threats as terrified her. Something dreadfully
mysterious was to take place soon--of that she felt assured--though
when she asked questions, Mr. Curran pinched her chin, calling her a
little silly kitten; then mused with eyes averted. Yes, there was a
heavy intangible cloud o'ershadowing those she loved; all the little
maid could do was to pour out her innocent soul to God, imploring His
mercy for her father and her friends.

Wiser eyes than Sara's saw the cloud--observed that it grew blacker
and more thunderous as it lowered nearer earth--that its lining,
instead of being silvern, was lurid red. Some, like wreckers on a
craggy beach, rejoiced in the approach of a storm which would bring
them pelf; others watched it wistfully, as it darkened the sun, with a
sickening sense of powerlessness to avert its coming. Among these was
Doreen, who, surveying the gloomy prospect as from a watch-tower, grew
hourly more grave and self-contained. Her position at the Abbey had
changed but little during the interval. The dowager had never directly
referred to the conversation in the rosary, but the damsel was not
slow in perceiving that Shane and herself were thrown together as
often as was practicable. Then this wild scheme was not to be
abandoned idly? What could be the reason for it? Once, in her desire
to escape from a false position, she begged her easy-going parent to
take her to live with him in Dublin, telling him plainly that she
could never marry Shane, imploring him to spare her a distressing
ordeal. He only patted her hands, however, and nodded perplexedly,
with an assurance that she should never be forced into anything she
did not like. It was clear that Mr. Wolfe was growing more and more
afraid of his sister, also that public affairs distressed him; for he
plunged daily more deeply into routine business, attempting in a weak
way now and then to pour oil upon the waters between Curran and Clare,
carefully keeping his daughter out of the capital as much as he was
able. Not but what he would stand up for his girl upon occasion, when
my lady was too hard upon her. The dowager never grew weary of lifting
up her voice against Doreen's unseemly proclivities, her free and easy
ways, her ridings hither and thither, her expeditions none knew
whither. It was a disgrace to the family, she averred--for in her own
girlhood Irish ladies were content to sit by the fireside, or look
after the pastry, study the art of dumpling-making, concoct cunning
gooseberry-wine and raspberry-vinegar, prepare delicious minglings of
roseleaves and lavender for the sweetening of the family linen. To all
of which Mr. Wolfe was wont to reply mildly:

'The maiden is of a masculine turn, who delights not in
sampler-stitching or pie-baking. She is three-and-twenty, of unusually
staid manners. I'd like to see the man who dared insult her! Let be,
let be. None would be more glad than I if she would think less of
politics and the dreadful Penal Code. Guide her inexperience gently,
if you will; but do not attempt coercion, or you'll get the worst of
it.'

Despite this prudent counsel, there were several tussles 'twixt the
maiden and her aunt; in one of which the elder dropped some incautious
words, which were a revelation to Doreen.

'You play with edged tools, girl!' she had said. 'You form friendships
with the enemies of the executive and urge them to deeds of rashness,
knowing that, come what may, you, as a woman, will escape scot-free.
Your unwarrantable proceedings fill your father with such anxiety that
he dares not have you home, lest in Dublin you should set up for a
heroine and disgrace us. You are the most stubborn stiff-necked piece
of goods the world ever saw! Yet what can be expected of a Papist?
This is Nemesis upon him for having married one.'

Then this was the cause of her being left at the Abbey--of Mr. Wolfe's
evident anxiety? He dreaded lest--in her sorrow for her people--she
should do something which would involve him in difficulties with
Government. Poor, weak, loving father! No. That she clearly had no
right to do. Yet she could surely not be expected to approve the acts
of the executive; she, a Catholic, whose heart was rendered so
sensitive by the iron which had worn into it from childhood. Was it
her fault if her mind turned itself towards passing events instead of
being absorbed by the manufacture of tarts? Surely not! Hers was a
sturdier, braver nature than her father's. Loving him as she did, she
strove not to perceive his truckling ways. Had she been a man she
would have done as Tone had done--have seized a buckler and girded by
her side a sword--to have at the oppressor, whose tricks were so
crafty and so base. So both her father and her aunt suspected her, did
they, of urging men on to conspire against the state? My lady would
doubtless have placed her under lock and key if her brother had
permitted of such a measure. And knowing or suspecting what she did,
she was still anxious to bring about a union between the young
people--her favourite son, the wealthy Earl of Glandore, and the
Papist heiress who was so unmanageable. It was most amazing. Doreen
failed to track out the slightest clue to the mystery.

Finding it so knotty she gave it up, choosing rather to ponder on the
turn affairs were taking. She hated Lord Clare now with an indignant
hatred, for he had raised his mask a little, and she had seen the
devil's lineaments looking out from under it. He made no secret of his
dislike of the Catholics, telling her to her face one day, with an
arrogant hauteur which made her blood tingle, that he was going to
make it his especial business to pull down the altars of Baal. Oh, if
this Sisera would only lie down to sleep before her--with what
satisfaction would she drive a great nail into his temple!

The lord chancellor was aware that the beautiful Miss Wolfe loved him
not, and was wont to jest thereat when taking a dish of tea with his
old flame the dowager. My lady smiled at his tirades, making merry
over the appalling catalogue of things which he intended to do; for,
being a brilliant Irishman, he of course had the national tendency to
romancing, and it never entered into her mind to conceive that he
actually could mean what he said. Though shrewd enough, my lady was
quite taken in by my Lord Clare, who seeing in her a swaddler--one of
those bigots who mistake rancour for virtue--was minded to make his
ancient ally useful to his ends.

He failed to realise that my lady's bigotry was only skin-deep--that
it was her way of protesting against the many disagreeable things
which she had been forced to endure, and, thanks to Gillin, was still
enduring. He therefore feared not to propose to her a something, at
which her pride should have recoiled with horror, but which--thanks to
his persuasive arts and her belief in his talent and integrity, she
agreed at least to consider before repudiating. First he commiserated
her position in being burthened with the responsible care of a damsel
who was like to bring disgrace upon them all.

Behind the scenes as he was, he could see farther among the machinery
than most people, and deeply deplored what seemed inevitable--namely,
that the rash young lady would certainly commit herself with regard to
the members of the Secret Society--be drawn into their schemes--and
work grave mischief, such as should bring shame on the names both of
Wolfe and Crosbie, unless something were done to circumvent her.
Violent means were of course vulgar, and dangerous to boot, by reason
of Miss Wolfe's character. My lady wished to unite her to her eldest
son, did she? Well, it was an odd fancy, at which it was not his place
to cavil. All the more reason then to render the folly of the girl of
no effect by artifice. Once settled down as a wife and mother, she
would forget the errors of her girlhood, and even thank her friends
for having saved her from herself.

Now my Lord Clare knew through Mr. Pitt, whose spies in Paris told him
everything, that Tone kept up a correspondence with Miss Wolfe under
the name of Smith--that she fetched her letters from Jug Coyle's
shebeen, where they were left for her under a prearranged name. His
own spies told him that she talked sometimes with mysterious men, who
came and went in a suspicious manner, between the environs of Dublin
and the outlying districts. Yes, it was too true; my lady might well
look shocked. The conspirators were making a catspaw of her niece, who
hovered between two duties--the one to her Protestant father, the
other to her crushed co-religionists.

Did my lady's eyes ask what was to be done? This, and only this. For
it was clear, was it not, that her mines must be countermined for her
own sake and that of her belongings? It would not do to seize the
letters, because the villain in Paris would then invent some new
method of communication, which it might take the spies some time to
discover, and time was important just now. The young lady, being
enthusiastic and inexperienced, was most shamefully _exploitée_--the
executive saw that, and were prepared to make allowances, provided her
family would play a little into their hands. Did she see what he
meant? No! Then my lady was duller than usual, and he must dot his
i's. The executive knew that Miss Wolfe was artfully used as a
spreader of secrets, because no one else in all Ireland occupied a
position of similar complexity. Her heart was with the malcontents, to
begin with. She, as daughter of the attorney-general--most cautious of
time-servers--was not likely to be suspected of overt acts of treason.
She was clearheaded, too, and resolute, useful in council. Ill-judged
in other things, the conspirators had done wisely to employ Miss Wolfe
as a means of intercommunication.

It would never do for Mr. Wolfe to be told of his child's
transgressions, as he would only whimper and cry out; the stronger
hand of his sister therefore must take the tiller, and steer the
family through this difficulty. Did my lady see now? No! Well, the
spies of the executive were cunning, no doubt; but their eyes could
not pierce stone walls or sheets of paper tied tight with ribbon. My
Lord Camden and the Privy Council wanted to know what the letters
contained which were dropped at the 'Irish Slave' for Miss Doreen.
Would my lady undertake the little service of finding out, and then
tell her dear friend Lord Clare what plans were suggested, what names
mentioned? He, on his side, would of course promise to be prudence
personified, and swear never to divulge by what means the information
had been obtained.

The countess winced at the suggestion, and her face crimsoned. If
Government chose to establish a bureau of paid informers, who were
dubbed the Battalion of Testimony, it was no affair of hers, though
she could not approve the principle; but as to becoming one herself,
the bare idea was an audacious insult. The chancellor laughed airily
as she turned on him, for he expected some such ebullition of feeling,
and waited a little while ere he proceeded. Then, like the serpent
luring Eve, he strove to decide her with specious arguments. He showed
that, by helping to circumvent their plans, she might do signal
service against the Catholics; that both her brother and eldest son
might be made to benefit indirectly by her acts, and that nobody would
know anything of what she had done. In love and war all means are
fair. The girl had no excuse for the line she chose to take. It was
right and fitting that the lower orders should be cowed; that the
Papists should be stamped down into the serfdom from which in their
insolence they struggled to escape; that this Tone, whom people had
liked till he took up the cudgels of Antichrist, should be brought to
punishment.

These were good reasons--strong enough surely to decide my lady. If
she wanted another, let her think of Gillin and her 'Irish Slave.' It
would be strange if that hateful enemy could not be mixed in the
coming struggle, and crushed in the downfall of the conspirators. This
last stroke almost settled the resolve of the wavering countess, whose
mental mirror had been blurred by long dabbling in questionable
waters, which, rising in her husband's throat to choking, had wrung
that last cry from him before he died. It would be delightful to
discomfit Gillin. It would be odd, too, if Doreen, in the contrition
which follows upon being found out, did not throw herself on her
aunt's mercy, and joyfully do as she was told, on condition of being
saved. After meditating awhile, my lady said she would think about it;
and Lord Clare, having planted his arrow, rode back to town, satisfied
that he had gained his end.

Doreen was not chicken-feeding, as Terence had thought probable, on
the morning when the riders started from the Priory. Yet was she up
and about, for there is naught so invigorating as fresh sea-air with a
whiff of tar in it, and the evenings at the Abbey were dreary enough
to induce the most wakeful to take refuge betimes in bed. She tended
the flowers in the tiny square called Miss Wolfe's plot, spent a few
moments in affectionate communion with some eager wet muzzles and
wagging tails in the kennels, then tripped away to the rosary, to
study a letter received the night before--a letter signed 'Smith,' in
a cramped hand. When such reached her, she invariably retired thither
to decipher them; for in the seclusion formed by the high clipped
hedges, she was sure of privacy, none being able to wander among the
shady avenues of beech without giving notice of their intention by the
clang of the golden grille, or the creaking of a lesser gate situated
at the other end of the pleasaunce.

It was a letter which gave food for concern. Impetuous, hot, Keltic;
dealing, too, with details which told of action imminent.


'I will have no priests in the business,' it said. 'Most of them are
enemies to the French revolution. They will only do mischief. The
republic is on the move; will give us five thousand men. I would
attempt it with one hundred. My own life is of little consequence.
Please God, though, the dogs shall not have my poor blood to lick. I
am willing to encounter any danger as a soldier, but have a violent
objection to being hanged as a traitor, consequently I have claimed a
commission in the French army. This to ensure being treated as a
soldier in case of the fortune of war throwing me into the hands of
England.'


'His life--noble young hero!' Doreen reflected. 'Suppose that he were
to lose his life in the coming struggle! If Moiley needed such a
sacrifice, better that he should fall fighting than die a dog's death
by the noose!'

As she thought what a blow his death would be, her bosom swelled with
anxiety; for every earnest woman sets up an idol in her heart, to be
clothed in the trappings of her own belief, which she takes for its
native adornments. She sits and keeps pious vigil over it, and weaves
ennobling legends concerning it, seeming to become purified by contact
with a nobler power, which, after all, is but the reflection of her
own better self. That her influence over Theobald was great, Doreen
knew, but not so great as his was over her. There seemed to her mind,
twisted as it was by circumstance into a sombre shape, something
sublime even in the light way in which he wrote of gravest things. His
letters were schoolboy documents, full of homely jests, quaint
sayings, quotations from bad plays. Yet what a marvellous work was he
achieving. A year ago he had gone forth a wanderer, armed with a few
pounds and a large stock of hope. He had sailed to New York, narrowly
escaping seizure by the crimpers on the sea; had then made for Paris,
whither he arrived almost without a penny. He knew scarce a word of
French, yet went he straight to Carnot, who, in a satin dressing-gown,
was holding _levées_ at the Luxembourg. Partly in broken words, much
more by signs, he made known his wishes to the Organiser of Victory,
and, through him, to the Directory. They saw in his project for an
invasion of Ireland a tempting way of harassing perfidious Albion, but
unfortunately their treasury was empty, their armies disorganised, and
so they gave to their suppliant a cool reception. But Tone was not to
be easily put off. He haunted the antechambers of the ministers,
learned their language, prepared statements, suggested plans;
importuned all and each in broken jargon, till, amazed at his energy,
filled with respect for his pure motives and simple life, they gave
him a high place amongst their own officers, and promised that his
desires should be gratified.

Doreen followed the rapidity of his proceedings with astonished
admiration, marvelling that he should work as he worked from sheer
love of humankind; was quite persuaded that all he did was right;
compared him daily to the men she saw around her--arrogant Clare,
swinish Shane, idle, prosaic Terence--and felt almost prepared
sometimes, if need were, to cast in her lot (as the chancellor
surmised) with her mother's oppressed people, rather than with those
of her highly-connected father. Gusts of loathing swept over her soul
for the feudal magnificence of the Abbey; she seemed thrown on a bed
of roses whose perfume sickened her. The idea of wedding all this
splendour while her people groaned, was in itself revolting; to
espouse Shane with it, filled the measure of her horror. Rather than
submit to my lady's eccentric wish, she was prepared to run away--to
hide herself in Connaught, anywhere; and this being comfortably
settled, she went on with Theobald's last letter.


'Independence at all hazards. If the men of property won't help us,
they must fall, and we must support ourselves by the aid of that
numerous community, _the men of no property_. Alas for poor Pat! He is
fallible; but a lame dog has been helped over a stile before now. The
_arme blanche_ is the system of the French, and, I believe, for the
Irish too. At least I shall recommend it, as Pat, being very savage
and furious, takes more naturally to the pike than the musket, and the
tactics of every nation should be adapted to its character. As for
Dublin, one of two things must happen. Its garrison is at least five
thousand strong. If a landing were effected. Government would either
retain the garrison for their own security (in which case there would
be five thousand men idle on the part of the enemy), or they would
march them to oppose us, and then the people would seize the capital.
Any way, we could starve Dublin in a week, without striking a blow.'


'Starve Dublin in a week!' Doreen pondered. 'What would happen to
outlying places like the Abbey?' Then an idea struck her, whereby her
own annoyances might be considerably lightened. 'Why not,' she
thought, 'work on my aunt's prudential fears, and induce her to
transfer the establishment to Ennishowen, in the north? Thus may
Shane and his mother be removed from danger, whilst I am free of a
dilemma--for, of course, when the moment of peril comes, my place will
be beside my father.'

The golden grille clanged. A slight female figure, in a blue velvet
habit and peaked hat, after the new mode, made its way among the
roses, and Doreen advanced to welcome Sara.

Mr. Curran's pet was always a favourite of Miss Wolfe's, to whom her
prattle was a rest in the midst of many perplexities. She rallied her
archly about the undergraduate, marking, with a grave smile, the
confusion in the young maid's face; listening absently to ecstatic
descriptions of his numerous perfections, with a tender indulgence
mixed with sadness; for it undoubtedly was sad to observe how blindly
and artlessly the gay kitten gambolled, in spite of that threatening
cloud; wondering, wide-eyed, whether he really and positively ever
could come to care a tiny bit for a silly little thing like her.

Doreen knew quite well that Robert Emmett's was a lovable nature, that
he was free from the ordinary frailties of youth, sensitive to a
fault, just such a visionary as would suffer terribly in a great
crisis such as was at hand. Just as Tone was a chivalrous man of
action, so the younger Emmett was a dreamer of the most unpractical
kind--one who, staring at the stars, and striving to pierce their
mysteries, would plunge head-foremost into the first pitfall that was
made ready for his feet. His admiration for Theobald was as great as
Doreen's. When that cloud should burst, he would surely be found
by his side--might possibly stumble where the other could stand
erect--and, if aught befell him, what then would happen to the
Primrose? But what is the use of courting melancholy? Doreen this
morning, as at other times, shook off the dismal effects of her gay
friend's castle-building, made efforts to meet her half-way, spoke
hopefully of days to come, when Ireland should be content, when Sara
should have become a wrinkled matron with a parterre of yellow
blossoms round her, and beloved Robert a happy old paterfamilias with
a treble chin.

Sara's peachy cheeks broke into dimples of pleasure at the
description, as she looked up sideways like a bird.

'You are wasting your holiest affections, my child!' Doreen observed
demurely; 'for men are dreadful, dreadful creatures who deceive and
ride away. They don't care about our love one bit, unless we pretend
to withhold it.'

'I love him so very much,' returned Sara, with a rapt gaze and
trembling accents, 'that I could be content to worship him from a long
way off if he would let me--he is so good and kind and noble!'

'He has never spoken to you of love?'

'Never.'

The child's eyes filled with tears, and Doreen's heart tightened for
her. Poor fragile blossom. What might the nipping blast have in store
for it?

'If any mischance were to befall him----' began the elder girl.

'I should die,' Sara answered simply, as though such a result was the
only one which could be possible.

Doreen walked on in silence. She was twenty-three, her companion five
years younger. Yet she could not comprehend this innocent pure heart
which at eighteen gave itself unconditionally away to be trampled upon
or treasured as its recipient should elect. She was sure that she had
herself never loved any one, except Tone, and her father, and her
mother's memory. The iron of the Penal Code had seared the germ of
such a love within her if it ever had existed. She recalled the cold
way in which she had calculated her capacity for playing Judith, and
felt ashamed. But why should she, after all? The practical and the
romantic were singularly blended in her character. What had a Catholic
to do with love and the exchanging of young hearts? Fretfully she
turned away from the enchantments of conservatories and hen-houses
which she was displaying to her friend, and remarked as she led the
way to the kennels:

'You said you had brought Terence with you. Can he be closeted all
this while with his mother? That would be unusual. He does not favour
us with much of his society. As I live, here's another visitor. It is
such a lovely morning that I shall lay violent hands upon you all. Mr.
Cassidy here is one of the best yachtsmen on the bay. We might go for
a sail round Ireland's Eye if Terence would only condescend to show
himself.'

'Oh yes!' cried ecstatic Sara, 'it would be entrancingly delicious.'
She would run and tell my lady, who was probably breakfasting, that
she must give us her son for the general good.

It was the jolly giant, who on his big bay hunter clattered into the
courtyard; come, probably, in search of news on his own account, in
spite of what he had said to Terence a few hours before. He had
watered his horse at the shebeen, had taken a plunge into the sea to
dissipate the fumes of last night's revel, had given red-haired Biddy
such a smacking kiss as would have roused the ire of Terence's devoted
henchman if he had been within fifty yards, and was now come to pay
his respects to the inmates of the Abbey.

He praised the dogs in a flurried sort of way, stood on one great foot
and then the other, rapping the dust from his full-skirted riding-coat
with his hunting-crop, whilst his eyes devoured the fine lines of Miss
Wolfe's figure, which indeed compelled admiration through its
tight-fitting, high-waisted frock. During the last year he had made
considerable advance in the good graces of the chatelaine, and of her
first-born. She, as chatelaines ought to be, was delighted to have a
host of philanderers hanging about the Abbey, swilling its liquor,
devouring its beef, while my lord deigned to make the squireen useful
in a multitude of ways. Belonging as he did to the half-mounted class,
such homage as he could pay was due to a great lord, who was kind
enough to smile upon him. That he might be hand and glove with the
United Irishmen was neither here nor there; was he not also an ally of
Major Sirr's as well as a _protégé_ of the chancellor's--tolerated too
by Curran, Lord Clare's arch-enemy? He was all things to all men, a
typical 'tame cat:' it remained to be seen which side he would take
when the crisis should come--at least so people remarked who did not
know, as we do, that he had taken the oath and was given to mystical
questions anent the placing of a bough in the crown of England. A man
who can turn his hand to anything, rides well to hounds, sings jovial
ditties, makes genteel play with a rapier, can sigh like a furnace,
and look languishingly at a pretty girl, is sure of being a general
favourite. Doreen liked Mr. Cassidy as much as Shane did, an unusual
circumstance, for his likes and dislikes were generally in direct
opposition to hers. She was wont to jest at his many blunders, lecture
him for his stupidity, allow him greater liberties than were usual
between an heiress and a 'half-mounted.' For there was no harm in him.
He would not be likely to try to run off with this prize, for Shane's
sword--champion-spit of the Cherokees and Blasters--was a universally
dreaded weapon, and Mr. Cassidy was too fond of the good things of
this life to think of suddenly quitting it with daylight through his
vitals. Sometimes he made love to her. Then she held out a warning
finger while smiles wreathed her ruddy lips, as she would have done to
any inmate of the kennels that should dare leap with dirty paws upon
her flowered muslin.

This morning his behaviour was not what it should have been. Sure that
dip in Dublin Bay had not washed away the impudence begot of claret.
She looked so ravishingly fresh and neat in the chip hat which, with a
plain white ribbon knotted beneath the chin, gave a yet fuller glow to
her rich complexion, the close-clinging robe spangled here and there
with a bunch of poppies, that there was little wonder if prudence was
for once outrun by passion. She was not Miss Hoyden any more. Her
clothes were of the most fashionable cut; nimblest-fingered of Dublin
tailoresses made her frock; long mitts of daintiest Carrick lace
masked only to accentuate the golden ripeness of her finely modelled
arms; a pair of stout pointed brogues, silver buckled, drew down the
eye to the clean ankle and high instep, which told of healthful
exercise by a series of suave contours and voluptuous curves.

Now the mind of Cassidy was gross in its essence; jaded too by
appetites in riot. What would be more likely to stimulate a coarse
illiterate squireen than the aspect of such a living paradox as this?
His political intentions were admirable, doubtless; possibly when the
time came he, like a few others, would rise to the occasion, cast
aside low vices, and, passing like gold through the fire, achieve
deeds which would endear him to his countrymen. That was possibly in
the future. The present only whispered, as his eyes wandered over the
figure of the girl before him, that such a morsel could not be too
dearly bought. With unwonted courage, he blurted out the original
remark:

'Mistress Doreen, you're monsthrous beautiful!'

'Am I?' she replied, raising her eyebrows. 'Alas! it's of little
consequence.'

'Is it now?' returned Cassidy, endeavouring in his murky brain to plod
out a reason for the statement. 'Oh!' he said at length, 'becase
you're booked, and you don't care whether my lord is pleased or not.'

'My lord?' inquired the girl, her brows arching yet higher.

'Aren't you to be the future lady of Ennishowen? I can put two and two
together.'

So this hateful match was being freely canvassed. Even muddlepated
Cassidy had penetrated my lady's plans. He was peering straight into
her eyes, trying to find what he could at the bottom of their brown
depths. The heat of angry humiliation sent the blood bubbling to her
face. Cassidy observed it, and leered pleasantly.

'He's not good enough for you--I don't like your marrying him,' he
observed with decision.

'No more do I,' returned calm Miss Wolfe.

Cassidy's looks sought the ground--his big hand fondled the muzzles of
the dogs. After a long pause, he said in a low voice:

'If you don't care about him it's small blame to you.'

'Neither for him, nor anybody else.' (The slightest contraction of a
fine nostril.)

'Don't say that, Miss Doreen, darlint,' said the giant, quickly.
'There's many a stout fellow about, whose heart it would plase if ye'd
rub your pretty brogues on it, who'd like to set fire to the tobaccy
in his pipe every blessed day by the light of your lovely eyes.'

Doreen glanced up at the giant with an amused smile.

'Fie! Mr. Cassidy. If I didn't think you too sensible a man, I should
believe you were trying to propose to me.' Then it struck her that it
was on this very spot that Terence had asked if he might hope.

'What possesses the men? How odd it is,' she said, thinking aloud.
'Fate settled long since that I was to die an old maid; and everybody
seems to want to marry me. Why? I am surely not so irresistible? There
are scores of girls who would be delighted to marry any one, but
somehow nobody cares to ask them! Why not try Norah Gillin--Shane at
least thinks her a paragon--and she has the advantage of being a
Protestant.'

'Miss Doreen,' Cassidy whispered, 'if I undertook to work heart and
soul for the cause you care so much for; if I made use of my
opportunities--went about for you--as your agents do (you see I know
all about it); if, when the hour comes, I promised to risk my life and
all I have for you--'tisn't much--would you change your mind then?'

Miss Wolfe felt his hot breath upon her hair, and began to feel
uncomfortable. It was her own fault. She should have cried 'Down!' to
this importunate dog before.

'Mr. Cassidy,' she said, with the quiet dignity which was her best
protection, 'you show yourself in a false light. You belong to the
society--I fully believe--from conviction of the holiness of its aims.
Although a Protestant, you are an Irishman, as I am an Irishwoman. Our
wrongs are common. Don't let me suppose you to be suggesting a
bargain.'

'It is that good-for-nothing young councillor!' the giant muttered,
grinding his teeth fiercely. 'If I was sure of it, I'd run him
through! Have a care, young lady; don't trifle with honest men--or
wigs will be on the green, and you may be sorry!'

The interview was becoming extremely painful. Cassidy, when tried, was
showing the cloven foot, as under-bred persons will. Miss Wolfe drew
herself up to her full height, knitted her dark brows, and said
coldly:

'You forget yourself strangely, sir! My aunt and my cousin have been
over-kind to you; I have tried, for my poor part, to make your visits
pleasant, believing you, as I still believe, to be honest, if bearish
and uncouth. If you dare to persecute me any further I will speak to
my aunt, and the doors of the Abbey will be closed to you for ever.
Then seeing how rueful, how dismayed the hapless giant looked, she
took compassion and held out a frank little brown hand. 'Come, come!
This is childish nonsense. I must not be hard on you. We must not
quarrel, you know, but cling together closely for the good cause's
sake. If petty private feuds begin to divide us, the enemy will dance
for joy. I want a friend in whom to trust. You shall be that friend.
Will you? Come! Be good, and I will pardon you.'

She placed her hand in his, where it lay like a small leaf, and her
companion said sulkily, as he stroked it with a great finger:

'You evaded the question about Mr. Crosbie.'

'Well then,' she answered, 'I care no more for him than for Shane or
you. I will never marry till Erin is righted. Ah me! doesn't that look
like perpetual maidenhood? My husband, too, must have won his spurs as
a hero, and heroes are scarce. There. Shake hands, and let there be an
end of it. Your heart is in the cause, as mine is. Your acts speak for
you, and Theobald shall thank you some day. Depend on it, the best
tenure of earthly attachment is tenancy at will. You have the use of
the soil, and nothing you plant in it shoots so deeply but it may be
removed with ease. Let us be friends--trusty friends, Mr. Cassidy--no
more.'

At this juncture, Terence came briskly round the corner, and started
to see the attitude of the twain. His sudden suspicion cooled,
however, upon perceiving that his cousin was no whit confused. Her
hand still remained in that of Cassidy, and she said, laughing, as she
swung it to and fro:

'Here is a big creature who threatens by-and-by to bud into a hero of
romance. When he kneels victorious in the lists, I, as queen of
beauty, am to bestow the laurel crown. What a delectable picture,
isn't it? Glad to see you, Terence. You are determined we shall value
your society. You give us so very little of it.'

'You look like having quite enough of it by-and-by,' Terence answered
moodily. 'I brought with me a note from Mr. Curran to my mother, in
which he says that he won't have me at the Priory any more; that I
must come home like an obedient child, and wash my face and brush my
hair and say I'm sorry. If I had known what was in the letter I should
have stayed away.'

'But you'll stop,' Doreen said, so earnestly as to cause the giant to
look askance at her. 'It is sad for members of a family to be at
daggers-drawn. Come--to please me--let me be peacemaker. Shane shall
say you are welcome, and we'll all be in harmony together again.
Promise me--and I'll tell you some rare news that has been burning my
tongue this month past. You are both to be trusted, I know.'

'I would every one was as thrue as the councillor here and I!'
ejaculated the giant, his frown breaking into sunshine, as if suddenly
convinced, by some queer reasoning, that there was nothing between
Terence and Miss Wolfe. 'It's mighty careful we'll have to be
by-and-by with them rapscallions of ould Sirr's. Wisht! now, and I'll
tell ye what he told me,' he pursued, lowering his voice and glancing
round as though the dogs could speak. 'There's a place called the
Staghouse, over foreninst Kilmainham gaol, bad cess to it, where the
Battalion of Testimony are housed and fed, as these hounds are. They
have their rations and potteen and a penny or two for toh-baccy--for
all the world like gentlemen born. I'll make it my business to stroll
in there some day, just to draw their pictures on my mind's eye. Maybe
it'll be useful to know the spalpeens' faces.'

'This system of spies is terribly base,' Terence said, sighing.
'Enough to bring down chastisement upon any cause. I don't believe
Lord Camden knows of it. The gentry are arming right and left, my
mother says, in case the people should be ill-advised enough to rise.
Yeomanry corps are being formed in every county. Shane has been this
morning applied to, to take the lead in this district.'

'Shane raise a regiment? With what result?' Doreen inquired quickly.

'With none as yet,' answered Terence, laughing; 'because my lord is
sleeping off the effects of a terrible bout last night, which ended in
two duels and the killing of a baker, and probably will allow my
mother and Lord Clare to settle such a thing as that, as they may deem
most wise.'

'It is too late for such organisation to be dangerous,' Doreen
affirmed gaily. 'Now I'll tell you the great secret, for it is only
fair you, Mr. Cassidy, should know, and Terence will not divulge. Now,
lend me your ears. The French fleet is almost ready to sail. Our
friends will start in two parties before the summer's over, from a
northern port; making the one for Cork, the other for some point on
the west coast. Hoche himself has promised to lead the expedition. The
delegates of our own provincial centres have secret orders. We may
expect to look on the ships which shall bring us deliverance by the
commencement of the autumn at the latest. Here's Theobald's last
letter; you may read it.'

The giant looked eagerly to seaward, sniffing like a war-horse, as
though already he could discern the vessels in the offing; and
whistled a subdued whistle, as if saying to himself, 'This is news
worth taking that early ride for.' With each great fist deep in a
breeches-pocket, he listened to the letter, and then said: '_Arme
blanche_. Eh! He agrees with us then, and is right. The pike's the
thing for Paddy. The difficulty of landing powder enough to be of
service would be enormous. Moreover, since the Gunpowder Act, Pat
knows nothing of its use, and would do more harm to himself in the
long-run than to the enemy.'

Doreen declared that of such details she could of course know nothing,
to which the giant retorted that there were hosts of reasons in favour
of the pike. The Hessian and Hanoverian mercenaries who were being
slowly drafted into Ireland were experienced only in the orthodox mode
of warfare. The courage of armies is so uncertain that they are often
disconcerted and panic-stricken by a style of fighting to which they
are unaccustomed.

'See here!' the giant said, drawing a paper from his pocket and
presenting it to Terence. 'This is a model by which thousands are
being made all over the country. Long, flat, ugly no doubt--but easily
forged. Could ye improve on that?'

Now Terence, had he been wise, would have refused the challenge,
sapiently declining to know anything of the model pike, for the giant
was bent somehow on securing him--but, intoxicated by the enthusiasm
of his pretty cousin, whose cairngorm eyes, under their long lashes,
were as usual making sad havoc of his judgment, he took the design and
thought he could improve upon it. Cassidy's muddle-headedness stood in
the way of his understanding, and the young councillor was forced to
sketch out a new design, with elaborate instructions as to how it
might be hammered out with a maximum of wounding power and a minimum
of labour. Of course 'it was just the thing,' Cassidy declared,
delighted, and brought down his sledge-hammer palm upon the other's
shoulder.

'We'll have to crimp you?' he vowed, with a peal of merriment in which
Doreen softly joined, 'and so gain a gineral, as the Sassanagh gains
sailors. Ye'll be with us some day, Masther Terence, see if you
aren't!'

And now, too, he declared that he must have more advice about these
said pikes--there was terrible difficulty in storing them as they were
made. He had an audacious idea. What did Master Terence think of it?
Some of the gentry from the Staghouse were, he was informed,
constantly on the prowl in search of such information as might be
bartered against good living; for Major Sirr laid it down as an
initial axiom, that a member of his battalion who remained silent
beyond a certain limit of time was to be cashiered as incompetent. It
was literally a case of 'singing for supper,' and one of the simplest
methods of obtaining credit with the town-major was to discover and
denounce a depot of concealed weapons.

Now Jug Coyle (mistress of the shebeen hard-by)--this was a tremendous
secret--was deeply involved in the affairs of the society. Her back
garden contained many more pike-heads than praties. It stood to reason
that she should be so involved, for was she not a collough, a
trafficker in charms and simples, who was called in by the peasantry
around for the curing of their bodily ills; and was it possible for
one who was bone of their bone to refrain from meddling with their
wrongs also? Well, she could store no more without awaking the
suspicions of the Staghouse gentry, who seemed already to suspect that
seditious meetings were held under her thatch; and yet it was very
necessary that many more weapons should be stored somewhere in the
immediate neighbourhood of the city. The question was, where could a
spot be found for them to lie snugly--a place where folks would least
suspect their existence?

The giant was becoming so earnest, and so lucid in his earnestness,
that Doreen quite marvelled at him. She knew more of Jug Coyle's
manage than he was aware of, and listened with growing interest, for
red-polled Biddy, whilst acting as Theobald's post-office, was
constantly declaring that she felt like living on a powder-magazine.

'It has been suggested,' the giant went on, 'that Mrs. Gillin of the
Little House should take some; but that would not be wise, for she is
a Catholic whose opinions are well known, though latterly she has
cultivated a discreet tongue. It might enter the head of the
town-major to search her place.'

'It would certainly be unwise!' Terence said. 'Remember her daughter's
connection with my brother. May she be trusted? There are female spies
as well as male, I suppose. You people are dreadfully rash, Cassidy.'

'Never fear, Master Terence,' returned the giant, with a twinkle in
his eye. 'Both she and her daughter are children of the people, who
would sacrifice this lord and many another to boot for the good cause,
if need were. Her heart is with us, like many another; but in this
case at least it's best she should play blind.'

'But what is your suggestion?' Doreen inquired, for the giant was
beating about the bush in an exasperating manner.

'This is it. Don't cry out now when ye hear it.' He glanced round with
caution, and lowered his voice. 'The ould armoury above in the young
men's wing there.'

'What! Here at the Abbey!' Terence exclaimed. 'You are mad.'

Cassidy was watching him in sidelong fashion as he felt his way.

'Sure there's a power of blackguard knives there already, which no one
touches from year's end to year's end, as the cobwebs show. I'd stake
my life ye've not been in there yourself this year or two. Nobody
would search there, would they? They might be passed up from the
shebeen at night-time--Biddy and your man Phil would see to it--over
the old ivy wall, and exchange a kiss or two into the bargain.'

'Phil is not affiliated,' objected Terence.

'Is he not?' grunted the giant, shortly. 'It's surprised I'd be if he
could not tell us as much about a green bough in England's crown as is
known to you or I.'

Doreen's eyes were on her cousin. Her face wore its usual serene look.
The enormity of the proceeding did not seem so great to her as it did
to him. He did not take into consideration the sublime manner in which
women look straight to a goal, without marking the mud which may have
to be crossed to reach it. A thought shot through his brain, flooding
it with joy. If she could contemplate such a trick being played upon
the earl, she could not care about him. That was a rare thing to know.
And why should it not be played on him? The brothers were so
estranged, that the younger one felt no call to interfere in such a
matter on behalf of the elder. It was impossible that he should have
lived so long on terms of familiarity with the disaffected without
being unconsciously tainted to at least a small extent with their
oft-repeated complaints. Not that he was prepared to admit that these
modern grievances were well-founded. No doubt it had been very
improper--all those years ago--for a Protestant invader to seize, _vi
et armis_, the territory of a Catholic nation--to eject the sons of
the soil by force, in favour of themselves and their heirs. But really
it was too late now to remedy that misfortune.

The English were to all seeming a happy and contented people, who had
long since given up groaning over the Norman invasion and the
freebooting proceedings of William the Conqueror. It was merely
a matter of time. Ireland must accept the past, and pick out the
thorns from the bed on which she lay as well as she could. Thus was
Terence, in his idle good-humoured way, accustomed to argue when his
personal friends gnashed their teeth at the Sassanagh. But these new
theories that were beginning to be broached--even by Mr. Curran
himself--charging the executive with motives which, if they in
truth existed, were _lèse-patrie_ of the most heinous kind, caused
even his careless junior to pause and think. And then he consoled
himself with considering that high-principled King George could not be
Blunderbore--that my Lord Clare was not a Feefofum. Yet there was no
doubt that my Lord Clare was unduly harsh--that the low-bred squireens
were apt to treat the common folk cruelly to curry favour with the
Castle. He did not pause to ask himself why cruelty to common folk
should be pleasing in the Castle's eye. These yeomanry corps were
likely to be productive of much evil. Terence had said as much to his
mother but now. It was possible that Shane, in his overbearing pride
of birth and fierce tendency to fire-eating, might become a terrible
flail if he accepted the task of organising a regiment--indeed from
his nature he was sure to do so. It would be a whimsical revenge for
the people that he should be unconsciously guarding their weapons for
them.

Councillor Crosbie laughed loud at the conceit, declaring that he saw
no reason why pikeheads should not be added to the 'blackguard knives'
in the armoury, and his cousin gave him such a distracting look of
thanks that he chid himself for considering the matter at all; while
Cassidy, who also caught the look, glared out to seaward, clenching
his fists in his deep pockets.

'That eccentric person, Mrs. Gillin!' Terence cried gaily. 'So she's
mixed up with all this plotting, is she? Has she taken the oath,
or is she but a privileged outsider like myself? And my man Phil,
too--that's to please red-polled Biddy, doubtless. Let's take the
oath, Doreen, while we can make a favour of it, for all Ireland will,
it seems, be in it soon. The good lady was in her garden as I passed
this morning, strutting about with leather gloves and garden-shears,
and bowed solemnly to me as I passed. What a queer woman! At the
Rotunda the other day she came and stood before me, though we have
never been introduced, and said, "Are you sure, young man, that you
left your home of your free will?" When I said "Certainly," she
gave a satisfied nod and disappeared in the crowd. If her daughter is
pining for Shane, her mother evidently sets her cap at me. I trust you
will all be civil to the future Madam Crosbie. This is the way she
walks----' and the irreverent scapegrace proceeded to waddle up and
down with so exact an imitation of Mrs. Gillin's peculiarities that
Cassidy fairly shouted. That lady and her doings being a tabooed
subject at the Abbey, there was special delight in talking of her on
the sly.

All three were guiltily startled by the opening of my lady's bedroom
window (which looked upon the courtyard), and the apparition of Queen
Bess in a bad temper, summoning Miss Wolfe to her presence.



                             CHAPTER XI.

                           STORMY WEATHER.


My lady was walking up and down the tapestry-saloon with hands clasped
behind her back, when her niece joined her--a prey evidently to
considerable agitation. Doreen marked the deepened wrinkles on her
forehead, the tightening of the thin lips, the contraction of the
nostrils, and waited with accustomed self-possession to hear her
elder's pleasure. The countess was displeased about something. Her
fine face was pale, her eyes tinged with red. Her majestic draperies
seemed to whisper in their soft rustle that something was seriously
disturbing the spirit of the chatelaine. Wheeling round presently, she
faced her niece, and, scrutinising her narrowly, spoke.

'Terence has come home to live,' she remarked. 'Mr. Curran cannot bear
him any more, and I am not surprised. We must put up with him; he's
enough to vex a saint!'

Doreen's cheek flushed with swift anger at his mother's unwarrantable
speech.

'Oh, aunt!' she said, 'dare you speak thus of your own child!'

'Ah!' ejaculated the countess, still frowning at Miss Wolfe, 'let us
understand each other at once. I will never allow of any nonsense
between you and that boy--do you hear?--NEVER. I presume that he would
not dare to marry without my consent. You are capable of anything, I
know. I sincerely believe that he, as yet, is one shade less
undutiful. He has been showing much independence lately, though.
There's no knowing,' she went on in a low absent manner, 'what he
might not do if he knew----'

'Knew what?' asked Doreen.

My lady started and pushed her fingers through her white hair.
'Nothing, nothing! Mind this--_I will never give my consent to a union
between you and my second son_. Understand this, once and for all.'

'You need not distress yourself, aunt,' Doreen replied.

'Doreen!' my lady said abruptly, after a pause, 'you were talking
about _that woman_ at the kennel gate just now. I could see you were,
by Terence's mimicry. What was it about?'

This was the real cause of her aunt's ill-humour: the red rag, Mrs.
Gillin. That foolish idea about Terence was of course only a cloak to
conceal unreasonable wrath. It was quite too tyrannical of her,
though. They were speaking no ill of their neighbour.

'We were talking of Norah and Shane,' the girl replied, with a touch
of hauteur. 'Nothing wonderful in that, for all the world talks about
them. I suppose I may be bridesmaid, aunt?'

To her surprise the blood faded slowly from my lady's face, leaving
her lips white, while her breast heaved and her fingers tightened. The
girl regretted her pert remark, though her aunt speedily recovered
herself.

'You could stop this disgrace if you would,' she said in husky tones.
'Last year I thought that you encouraged Shane; then you turned round
again. For shame! That Arthur Wolfe's daughter should be a flirt! But
it's the other blood that's working in you. Your father was always too
weak and too indulgent. You are a sly, artful girl! Yes, it is right
that you should hear the truth. You do no credit to your bringing-up.
Is it maidenly to receive letters from a man in secret--to retire, as
I have ofttimes seen you do, to a secluded spot in the rosary, there
to gloat over them--and that man married, and an outlaw! Fie upon you!
Your father is not aware of this, or it would break his heart; for,
God help him! he loves you beyond your deserts. But there, there! I
will not waste my breath in railing; for what else could be expected
of your blood and your religion?'

Doreen's cheek, too, had paled. She trembled violently, and was forced
to cling to a table ere she could still her anger sufficiently to
answer. At length she mastered her voice, which rang out low but
clear.

'Lady Glandore,' she said, with flashing eyes, 'it ill becomes one of
your years to say cruel things to one of mine, for if you crush out my
respect for you as a woman, I choose to remember your white hairs.
However bitter you may allow your tongue to be, I will not lower
myself to a retort; but let me beg you to remember that some
things spoken intemperately will rankle in the heart for ever. No
after-apologies will quite wash them out.'

Oh, naughty damsel, to prate of white hair, and suggest that my lady
was an octogenarian! She was no more than five-and-fifty, as her niece
knew right well--but, bless my heart! we must not survey feminine
weapons too closely.

'I am a disgrace to my bringing-up!' pursued Doreen, warming to the
fray. 'Yet she who brought me up condescends to act the spy on me! A
flirt, am I? I never, upon my honour, gave the least encouragement to
either of your sons. They are not such Admirable Crichtons! Seeing
that you are beset by some hallucination on this subject, I have again
and again implored my father to take me hence in vain. I hereby swear
to you by the Holy Mother and my hopes of salvation, that I will never
be Shane's wife--never, never, never! Perhaps now you will leave me at
peace. Though I am a Catholic, madam, I decline to brook insult. Here
are my cards--face upwards on the table. Show me yours.'

The girl, who was usually so quiet and grave, had lashed her wrath to
foam, and was grievously exercised to restrain fast-gathering tears.
She would rather have died, however, than have lowered her standard to
my lady. With a violent effort, then, she kept them back, and faced
the chatelaine with a front as proud as hers.

This was all very shocking: the ill-mannered allusion to hoary locks,
the rash oath never to marry Shane, the truculent bearing. Mild
Arthur's counsel was wise. My lady generally got the worst of it in
conflicts with this girl. It would have been best to have vented her
ill-humour upon Terence: who was forbearing towards his mother. But
then her victories over him were too easily gained to be worth
anything, for he was good-tempered, and respected his mother greatly;
and besides, every well-ordered man will always gladly resign to a
female antagonist the glory of winning a battle of words.

My lady stalked in silence up and down, retiring behind the
entrenchments of her outraged dignity. But Doreen perceived that to
make her triumph good she must dare another sortie, and disarm her
antagonist; so, after a pause for breath, she repeated:

'I have shown you my cards, Lady Glandore--show me yours. You are bent
upon my marrying Shane--the compliment is great--far greater than my
poor worth deserves. Though you constantly fling insults at me about
my manners, my blood, and my religion, yet you are willing--nay,
anxious--condoning these crimes, to accept me as a daughter! Why? The
lady of the Little House, who is good and charitable, if innocently
vulgar, is a standing bugbear to you. Why? Yet, by a singular
contradiction, you allow your paragon to make himself at home with
her, and make much of her child, who, to be sure, is a Protestant, but
low-born. She is penniless--I am an heiress: hence, of the two,
I should be the better prize for him. I see that; but what, in
Heaven's name! is to prevent his sallying forth in Dublin, and
finding there a fitting partner? Sure there's not a noble Protestant
family in Ireland that wouldn't jump at him! A drunkard, no doubt,
and a fire-eater--which some folks are rude enough to translate
murderer--what of that? It is the custom of his cloth. A coronet well
filled with gold covers a multitude of sins! No doubt Mrs. Gillin
would dearly like such a son-in-law--it's the way of the world, and I
do not blame her--but you, I know, would not care for such a daughter
as Norah. Are you not afraid that some fine morning holy Church will
join them, and that you will come down to breakfast to find them in an
edifying position on their knees, claiming mamma's blessing?'

My lady had sunk into a chair, her pale face paler.

'No, no,' she murmured; 'that could not be. He toys with a pretty
wench as a young spark will. Why would I gladly have him marry you?
Because I know he has faults--the faults of youth, which time will
remedy--and I feel, dear Doreen, that your strong common-sense will be
a stay to his weakness. Once united to you, he will change, and you
will be very happy together.'

There was something so pitiable in this abject discomfiture--in this
refusal to be insulted--that Miss Wolfe's resolution failed her. Yet
her curiosity was too thoroughly roused to permit of dropping the
subject.

'Then I'm to be the scapegoat?' she said, with a tinge of scorn. 'I'm
to lick the whelp into shape--no matter if my heart is broken in the
process. Thank you! A vow once sworn need never be repeated. Yet do
not forget, aunt, if you please, that it is registered. He refuses to
go into highborn society where noble ladies are, preferring play and
duelling-clubs, and you dread his making a _mésalliance_, rather than
which you would accept poor me as a _pis-aller_.' (Here the young lady
made a curtsey.) 'Many thanks. Is this at all like the truth? Pardon
my speaking plainly. It's best to be aboveboard. After this time we
will, with your good leave, never return to the hateful subject. That
I shall not be poor can surely claim no part in your calculations, for
he is thirty times wealthier than I can ever be. Rich!' she repeated,
with a harsh laugh. 'A rich Catholic will be a curiosity, _n'est ce
pas?_ If this is at all your course of thought, why not prevent his
going to the Little House? Speak to Mrs. Gillin as harshly as you
began to speak to me to-day, and there will surely be an end of the
matter. Or,' pursued the crafty maiden, remembering Tone's last
epistle, 'brush Norah from his mind by change of scene. Why not remove
for a few months to Ennishowen? It is long since you were there. Your
presence would do much to keep disloyal tenants quiet in these
disloyal times. Would not that be a capital example? The boys used to
love Ennishowen. Shane will forget the objectionable Norah whilst
pursuing the shy seal or shooting wild birds round Malin Head. Do you
remember the delirious delight of him and Terence when they dragged
their first seal into the boat under Glas-aitch-é Cliff, and how you
told me not to be afraid of looking over the garden parapet into the
green water dashing so far below? Ah, those were days!' the girl
pursued, kindling. 'Our only care whether the fish would bite or the
shot carry----' then she was stopped by a lump rising in her throat,
stirred by the thought of how different those days were from these,
when the thunderous cloud was drawing lower, lower--and she--a
reserved young lady--was becoming alarmingly familiarised with secret
despatches; a political phantasmagoria; a threatened collision between
two classes, whose hate was bubbling over.

The rebellious tears well-nigh burst their bonds; but a strong will
was throned within that shapely head. My lady turned angrily upon her
niece; for though discomfited and prepared to run up a flag of truce,
it was not to be expected that she should endure this last speech
without resenting it. Miss Wolfe's pertness harrowed her proud soul.
She had pretended to look on her aunt as in her dotage--a toothless
harridan, with no distinguishing attribute except white hair, and had
presumed to charge her with ridiculous motives; had torn the dazzling
glamour of his rank from Shane, exposing to view a skin as shaggy as
the ass's; even going so far as to stigmatise him to his doting mother
as a drunkard and a murderer; and, to cap all, had wound up with
patronising advice. An ordinary lady of middle age would resent such
treatment; how much more then the stern Countess of Glandore, whose
nature was toughened by contact with the fire, who was always regarded
with awe-stricken terror when she deigned to honour any of the Castle
festivities, and who was quite a terrifying personage even to the
wives and daughters of contemporary grandees.

Would the stubborn girl be true to her hasty vow? My lady feared she
would, though for the moment she was too angry to consider calmly of
it. Fierce wrath darted from under her squared brows; her high nose
grew thinner; a network of small meshes twitched about her mouth; her
long fingers tightly clutched the gold snuffbox which usually lay
within them. Yet Miss Wolfe, having recovered her self-possession,
looked sombrely at the frost-crowned volcano without a tremor.

'Doreen,' my lady said, 'if your father knew of you what I know, it
would kill him; but I elect to hold my tongue, because I love my
brother more than you your father. That you should be insolent to me
is what I might expect; so I bear that with equanimity. Thank you for
showing me how wrong I was in forming a Utopian scheme for joining my
brother's child to Shane. We will say no more about that.' (Doreen
heaved a sigh of relief.) 'The indelicacy of your proceedings has
shown me that such a thing would be an insult to our name. What! a
girl who corresponds clandestinely with a married man; who gallops
like a trull about the country, regardless, not only of her own fair
fame, but of her family's; who is on terms of familiar intercourse
with a parcel of scatter-brained youths who make the capital of
notoriety out of the jingle of sedition. Is this a girl to be received
in respectable society? You spoke plainly; so do I. If I were to
publish what I chance to know of you, no decent family would receive
you within their doors. But I must bear with you for many reasons;
your base mother's blood among the rest. You must be the skeleton in
our cupboard. All I beg is, that you will rattle your bones less
publicly.'

Doreen's dark skin was mottled with pallor; her breath laboured; her
lips formed words, yet no sound issued thence. At last she panted out:

'Aunt! you do not believe this of me! You must know me better!'

Then she stopped, perceiving Miss Curran's startled visage in the
doorway, which my lady could not, having her back turned to it.

'Believe it? Yes, I do,' cried the exasperated countess; 'I believe
that you----'

'No! Hold your tongue! If you have no respect for yourself or me, have
some for Sara!' Doreen exclaimed, as she hurried to the door.

My lady was filled with remorse, and bit her lips. Her temper had got
the better of her prudence; and regret followed swiftly upon angry
words.

'Doreen!' she cried, in a sudden desire to make good in some sort the
mischief which was done; 'Doreen, at least be careful with your
correspondence; see that no one intercepts it; that no one tampers
with your letters!'

'My letters are my own,' Doreen retorted over her shoulder, haughtily.
'Don't you ever dare to touch them.' Then passing her arm round the
waist of trembling Sara, she led her away to enjoy a delightful duet
of tears in private.

My lady remained for a long while looking straight before her,
bewailing much the unexpected turn which things had taken. It was
unwise, considering what lay at the bottom of her heart, to have
goaded the damsel as she had done. A high mettled steed resents the
curb. Now all that had been said about clandestine correspondence, and
so on, was strictly true; was only what it behoved a judicious
relative to place in its true light before an impulsive girl, who
might come to find her reputation gone before she was aware there was
a stain on it. Yet her heart smote the countess when she marked the
look of horrified dismay which dawned in her niece's face during the
last harangue. It is an ill thing to corrupt a mind which is innocent.
Unhappily this is a wicked world, in which it is necessary for us to
note certain sinful details for our own safety's sake. Yet it is not a
pleasing job to impart such intelligence for the first time,
especially when ill-temper bids us make the worst of it. Lady Glandore
knew perfectly well that there could be nothing in the letters from
the married man, except treason; and that she had done wrong in
suggesting something else. Doreen, she thought, was not a girl to
break off the correspondence in consequence of this new light.
Indignant, strong in the purity of her motives, she would only hate
her aunt and cling the more persistently to the married man and all
the other scatter-brained young persons, and plunge more deeply into
danger, through bravado.

As she meditated, examining each thrust that had been made on either
side, she regretted bitterly her foolish speeches; and then her heart
grew sick within her as she came upon a barb, which, flung without
aim, hung from a smarting wound. As the maiden had suggested, what
should prevent reckless Shane from marching off to church some day
with pretty Norah, and returning to crave a blessing? The very thought
of such a fatal proceeding caused my lady to rise from her seat with a
bound, and wring her hands in anguish.

'What have I done--what have I done?' she groaned, 'that an earthly
purgatory should be my lot? Did I fail in my duty to my lord? Was I
not too indulgent a wife, screening his unfaithfulness, enduring
insult without end from that dreadful woman?'

Then she reflected how his death had not brought peace to her; how
relentless Time had administered secret scourgings, whilst she
appeared to be sitting--a noble, envied widow--between two growing
sons. Was her torment to go on increasing, instead of wearing itself
out with its own rigour? What would be the end? That early sin which
took place so long ago--could any one declare that she was aught but
an unwilling agent in it? Might the trace of it never be washed clean?
Was suicide the only means of escape from an agony to which on earth
there seemed no term? If, driven by despair, she were to hurry
unbidden into the presence of her Maker, might she not hope to be
forgiven? If your cross is too heavy for your strength, sure you may
be pardoned for casting it aside!

As she writhed, a prey to phantoms of retrospect, she felt that her
sin was not a faded one of long ago; that it continued still, and that
while she permitted it to roll on unchecked, numbers at compound
interest were being chalked to her account. That dreadful secret which
had blanched her hair! Years had woven such confusing complications
round it, that were she, taking her courage in both hands, to speak
out now, it would be only to transfer a burthen, not destroy it. No,
no! Ten times no! The time for setting right the wrong was past--past,
irretrievably. Instead of moaning over it, it were better to
concentrate all attention upon this matter of Shane and Norah. At all
hazards, the billing and cooing of that couple must be stopped while
there was time. Shane was the late earl's eldest son, and Mrs.
Gillin----! And Norah was sixteen years old, bred a Protestant by my
lord's special desire. Could his wife be misled in her suspicions? The
conduct of Mrs. Gillin in the matter was most amazing. My lady
surveyed it from all points of view. Truly she was racked by many
torments. Até was at work. The orders of the dread goddess were being
carried out by the Eumenides.



                             CHAPTER XII.

                          A MOTHER'S WILES.


Having indulged in a soothing torrent of tears, Doreen departed with
lightened heart with the other young people for an excursion on the
bay. She felt all the better for the passage of arms, for her breezy
common-sense told her that my lady's charges resulted from momentary
pique, and had no foundation in conviction. But, resulting from the
quarrel, a vista had risen in her mind for the first time of what she
might be sacrificing for her people's sake. Evil tongues will wag.
Women who brave public opinion have always gone to the wall, time out
of mind. No. Not always. Scandal had nothing to say against the maid
of Domrémy; Judith's fair fame was smirched in nowise by that little
supper _en tête-à-tête_ with Holofernes. Miss Wolfe failed to consider
that the rapid action of that Jewish tragedy, with its pitiless
termination in the murder of a helpless sleeper, did much to keep the
tongue of scandal quiet. Had she held clandestine interviews with the
doughty general, walked with him by moonlight and so forth, it is
highly probable that all the geese in Jewry would have cackled, and
that the heroine would have been tabooed for a brazen slut. Now the
young lady whose peculiar position interests us so much at present,
while perfectly innocent of wrong-doing, could not but see that her
motives might possibly be misinterpreted; that spiteful remarks,
similar to her aunt's, would probably go the round of Dublin. Was she
prepared to endure opprobrium? was the game worth the candle she was
burning for it? was the good she was likely to achieve at all in
proportion to the social ruin which would fall upon herself? Like the
generous young person that she was, her first romantic feeling was an
exultant glow at the distant prospect of martyrdom; her second--due to
the practical firmness of her character--a doubt whether she might not
be self-deceived by inexperience. Then her father too--the good weak
father who cared very much for sublunary fleshpots--what would he say
when he came to know how deeply circumstances were involving his child
in matters which he would surely disapprove? She could not help the
stirring of an idea (which she strove hard to lull to rest) to the
effect that it is not very heroic to drag innocent people into a mess;
and a second one moved at the stirring of the first, which whispered
that if her own name were to be publicly bandied, her father would
certainly get into trouble for not keeping her in check. Her aunt's
was the wisdom of the world; there was no doubt about it.

It is all very well to sacrifice yourself, vow that you will never
marry, that no woodbine-bonds of family affection shall be permitted
to spring up around you--provided that you stand quite alone. If you
have a parent who delights in fleshpots, who holds an honourable
situation of which your own heroics may deprive him, it is surely a
matter of doubt whether your better part would not be the dusting of
household furniture, the warming of slippers, the mending of old
stockings, instead of the more picturesque operation of donning
plume and helm. What, I wonder, did the parents of Joan of Arc
think of their daughter when she abandoned the care of sheep to go
a-soldiering? Doreen recognised the objections to her proposed course
with a pang, but wavered, searching for an excuse such as should
render her desires commendable. She would have liked to go down to
posterity as a female Moses. The position of the budding lawgiver at
Pharaoh's court was somewhat like her own, save in the important point
that he had no father who loved fleshpots. If it might only be
permitted for Arthur Wolfe's daughter to wean him from them to better
things! But that seemed too good a prospect to be hoped for, so with a
sigh she put it from her.

As, after the recent skirmish, she reviewed the situation, I grieve to
relate she was not sorry for her pertness. My lady had no business to
say what she had said, to make rude speeches, and to worry about
Shane. The young lady conceived herself bound to speak up boldly in
self-defence, to put my lady down on the subject of private liberty,
as she often did in the matter of King William. The two ladies started
in all things from two opposite poles. That they should clash was
inevitable. But she did promise herself to be more prudent in the
future for her father's sake; to do what was feasible for the good
cause in private, strictly remaining in the background herself, come
what might. And this resolution being firmly graven on her mind, she
busied herself about fishing-tackle with the placid calm which passed
with her for cheerfulness.

Meanwhile my lady sat alone in the tapestry-saloon among the faded
effigies of departed Crosbies, looking appealingly at them as though
they could help her in an extremity. The guiding spring of her life
had been pride, which became firmly grafted by marriage in the glory
of her husband's lineage. Pride it was which had supported her
fainting heart in many a bitter struggle. Black care had thinned her
cheek, had pressed crow's-feet about her restless eyes; yet, save for
a querulous manner and the peculiar sudden dilation of the pupil which
struck us when first we were introduced to the stately countess in
'83, there was but little that was unusual on the surface to tell a
new acquaintance that the battle which she fought was never-ceasing.

In the late lord's lifetime she was wretched enough--but with a
numbing dulness which is its own anodyne. Moreover, as we discovered
on his deathbed, the important secret, if important it were, had
been shared between the two. A secret known to even one other person,
whose feelings in the matter are similar to our own, is lightened by
more than half its weight. He died. His widow was condemned to drag
the chain alone--worse than alone, for yet one other person knew
of it whose feelings were remote from friendly. The late lord's
devil-may-care visage glanced sideways down with an eternal smirk from
its frame upon the wall. He was dead. His breast was unburthened. He
slept in peace, and there was his smiling counterfeit grinning at his
unhappy partner. Did he sleep in peace? Oh! If she could have been
sure of that! But no. Possibly he was enduring torments even worse
than hers. As he lay choking between the confines of two worlds,
perchance he had been allowed to see what was still concealed from her
human ken--and then had cried out the warning--'Set right that wrong
while you have the opportunity.' How horribly unjust seemed the
retribution which pursued her! Her sin had been the negative one of
living a long lie. If she had had courage to confess--to abase her
stiff-necked pride--the wrong might have been set right with but
little serious injury to any but herself. But my lord--the prime
sinner--had encouraged this pride, declaring that there was no call
for a great sacrifice--until the last moment when his eyes were
opened, and he called out in his agony, 'Beware!' By that time the
pride so long nurtured was become a second nature.

She could not all of a sudden break through the ramparts of long
usage. It was very well for him to cry 'Stand on the pillory,' when he
was himself flitting beyond the reach of stone-throwing. It was very
well for his odious concubine to cry 'Confess!' who would be no
sufferer by the confession. By that improvised death-couch the widow
had turned the matter over in all its phases. Then she had not
perceived that, with every rising sun, the confession would become
more difficult--that (despite the lying proverb) the rolling stone
would gather moss till it should move slowly and more slowly, pressing
her breath out by degrees ere it ground her to powder under its
weight.

Sometimes she tried to forget, and almost fancied that she succeeded,
almost believed that her conscience was quite hardened. Then something
would take place--a trivial circumstance--one of Doreen's idle shafts,
which set her nerves jarring, and the painful truth forced itself upon
her that there are tender spots on the most seared of consciences. She
had wild accesses of rage within the secrecy of her own chamber, in
that my lord who simpered on the wall should have wrecked her life so
utterly. She took refuge in religion, loathing the faith of the
surviving participator in her secret as an outlet for surging hate and
bitterness. She tried to take refuge from her own trouble by smoothing
that of others, but even in this--the last resource of those who see
life through jaundiced spectacles--she found little consolation, for
the trouble which she soothed was at least open and laid bare. And so
the distinct working of a double consciousness--one for good and one
for evil at the same time--(which we all feel within us) became
unusually evident in Lady Glandore, urging her at one moment to a rash
act for which she was gnawed by deep remorse the next. May this
account for the growing dislike which she nourished for her second
son, while she fed the poor with soup and wrapped their limbs in
flannel? Perhaps it was the singular contradictions of her character
which induced Lord Clare to like and to respect her so much, and which
permitted him at the same time to make that disgraceful suggestion
without fear of exclusion from the Abbey, anent Tone's letter.

For the thousandth time, as she twisted in the great chair, my lady
wondered whether it was really too late to humble herself, to grovel
in the dust, and make confession. There was an obstacle which rendered
a tardy repentance impossible, at least until it was removed. That
long-cherished match between Shane and Doreen must be accomplished
first; then, perhaps--but surely it could not be so absolutely urgent!
Time, so far, had brought with him only a complication of troubles,
more tangled than his usual fardel. Where was his all-comforting
finger, about which the poets have raved? Sure he would relent, and
spare the countess the supreme sacrifice. Not that so far he showed
much sign of relenting. This idea of Doreen's about a secret marriage,
which had sent the blood tearing back to her aunt's heart, was an
extra knot in the web that was smothering her. Norah must be put away;
Shane must be seriously exhorted to observe his cousin's charms. Of
course she would never marry Terence; nobody wished her to do so. This
my lady decided comfortably, on the principle that we easily believe
that which we desire. How could Arthur Wolfe be bolstered into showing
greater strength of character, and induced to obey his sister? If she
were to tell him what she knew of Doreen, to impress on him by this
means that a speedy marriage was necessary for her.--No! That would
not do. He would be capable of carrying her off in a fright to London,
Paris, Rome--anywhere out of temptation's reach.

Then, again, the dowager reflected on the chances of who Norah's
father was; and again her agony ascended to a paroxysm. At all hazards
so awful a shadow as this hideous new one that loomed must be
exorcised. How? Mrs. Gillin was brutish and pitiless, of course. Why
did she encourage this terrible flirtation? She could not realise,
surely, the sharpness of the tools with which she played. Come what
might of it, it was plainly her duty, for everybody's sake (so the
chatelaine pondered), to take Madam Gillin to task as to her present
conduct.

It is all very well to stick pins in your rival's seat (so she must
explain to her), but it is your distinct interest to be quite certain
that you yourself may not be called upon to sit on them. Gillin's
spite against my lady was doubtless great. She would do much to injure
her, but not to the extent of ruining her own daughter, surely? For,
somehow or other--probably on the principle that life not being hard
enough, we must practise self-torture--my lady had quite made up her
mind as to Norah's parentage. Now Gillin must be bidden forthwith to
stop this scandal--and my lady was the one person who could venture to
broach the subject. Then qualms of pride arose within the latter's
breast. The twain had never spoken but once--on the dreadful evening
at Daly's club-house. At Castle-balls they had looked with Medusan
gaze right through each other; for the compact was there--no less
binding that it was unwritten--that the mistress and the wife should
never speak, save on the subject of that secret. Had things not gone
crooked, nothing could have been more satisfactory than such a
compact. As things were, was not Mrs. Gillin--inflamed to vulgar wrath
through her sinful designs being exposed--certain to set her foul
tongue clacking, to delve into old sores whose cicatrices were yet
soft, to plunge into long-buried matters within hearing, perhaps, of
other vulgar wretches, who, in surprised horror, would blab to all the
world. Thus did my lady attempt to gloss over her own dread, to veneer
the promptings of her pride with plausible reasons for avoiding that
which conscience--speaking through unconscious Doreen--had specially
declared must be done without delay.

But it was more than a merely human woman might be called upon to do.
In my lord's time people, more sensitive than the herd, marvelled that
the countess could bear the insulting presence of her flaunting rival
with such stoical equanimity. That much she had bravely borne. But of
her own free will to descend from a pedestal occupied with dignity
during half a lifetime; to lower herself to an interview with the
concubine, who would surely jump upon the rival, voluntarily abased,
was more, much more, than might be demanded of a mortal. It was not
possible to call upon Mrs. Gillin. The only remaining plan was to take
Shane away; to follow Doreen's counsel, and move the household to
Ennishowen.

At this point in her self-communing, the limbs of the countess shook
with palsy, and her haggard face looked really aged. Since the
commencement of her married life, she had carefully eschewed
Glas-aitch-é, the wild islet on Lough Swilly, where the decayed castle
of Ennishowen stood, and where _that_ had taken place which was the
beginning of her troubles. It would be dreadful to have to revisit
that spot; yet to that sacrifice at least she was able to resign
herself, hoping that it might be counted as half a penance. But Shane,
would he consent to be carried thither? to forego the society of
Norah, the allurements of Dublin taverns? And if he did in this much
obey his mother, could the match with his cousin be in anywise
promoted? My lady's brain grew weary and bewildered as she tried to
fit into harmony the pieces of her puzzle.

There was beloved Shane, galloping in, unkempt, from last night's
debauch. So soon as he had had time to bathe and dress himself, his
mother resolved to summon the dear prodigal to her presence-chamber,
and try what her influence could accomplish.

When her favourite son appeared before her, with two pointers
gambolling about him, the countess's stern face softened; and well it
might, for he was a comely spectacle. Rather low in stature, but
elegantly made, with hair brushed backwards and fastened by a diamond
clasp, he looked, with his delicate wan face, and eyes rendered the
more lustrous for the dark circles round them, a fit guardian of the
honour of Glandore. His air and manner when in his mother's presence
(as, indeed, in that of Doll Tearsheet, or any other woman) assumed an
exquisite blandness, such as gave a false first impression of
effeminacy, which was corroborated by the tiny dimensions of his hand.
But are not first impressions snares, my brethren, for the deceiving
of the unwary? That gazelle-like eye could, on occasion, shoot forth a
light of cold ferocity; that finely-modelled little forefinger had
many a time sent a hapless boon companion to his last account for an
idle jest, with a cool precision and nonchalance which compelled an
unwilling sort of admiration, despite its ruffianism. But this morning
he was in the best of humours, as Eblana and Aileach danced about him,
wagging their tails and tumbling over and over, in their delight at
his friendly notice; for his head did not burn, neither was his tongue
parched, and he registered a mental resolution to send a yacht
forthwith to Douglas for another hogshead or two of that especially
pure claret.

Drawing around him the ample folds of his morning-gown (that
becoming one of rose-coloured brocade, thickly frogged and tasselled
in gold), he kissed his mother lightly, and played with the jewelled
watch-chains which dangled from either fob. As her eyes wandered over
his neat limbs, which looked their best in tight blue-striped
pantaloons that ended midway down the calf in a great bunch of
ribbons, her spirits rose, for sure no damsel in her senses could long
resist so refined a combination of elegant graces, leaving the lustre
of the coronet quite out of the question. But the female heart--as my
lady might be expected to remember--is prone to erratic courses; to
start off down crooked byways, instead of keeping the straight road;
to take distracting and inconvenient fancies, and generally to
distress its friends.

But Shane was a _parti comme il y en a peu_. If he could only be
induced to abandon the Doll Tearsheets, and direct amorous glances at
the high-born young ladies of the metropolis, Doreen might be
permitted to run her foolish race unchecked, for Shane could be well
married without her. Unluckily the male heart is not too justly
balanced neither. Shane liked something more highly spiced than an
innocent miss, who, he declared, always made him qualmish with a smell
of bread and butter. Nobody could accuse Doreen of anything so vapid,
and Shane certainly liked Doreen after a careless fashion, though he
never in his life had made love to her. My lady now proposed to rate
him on this subject, for the possibility of choosing another bride for
him in due time was finally put out of the question by the imminent
danger of some catastrophe with Norah. It was clear, all things
considered, that there was nothing for it but to remove my lord
forthwith to his fastness in the north, and keep him there for a time;
and it was quite certain that no high-born damsels with suitable
attributes were to be found in the wilds of Donegal, straying about in
search of husbands.

'Mother!' Shane said gaily, 'we had such a whimsical accident last
night. George Fitzgerald wagered to keep three of the best of us at
bay with his single rapier-point, for a whole hour. I saw he was too
drunk to stand, so I took the bet at once, and off we marched,
borrowing their lanterns from the watchmen as we passed, to the ring
in Stephen's Green. George steadied himself against the statue, and
really made superb play--I could not have done better myself--till
somebody in the crowd shouted, "For God's sake part them!" to which
another blackguard hallooed, "Let them have it out, for one will be
killed, and the rest hanged for murder, and so we shall be rid of a
bunch of pests." Of course this roused us, so we all turned on him,
just to show he was wrong; and faix he was wrong, sure enough, for
'twas he that got killed, and none of us are ripe for hanging.'

'But, Shane!' my lady exclaimed, 'who was the man? You are so
imprudent.'

'No one of any importance,' responded her son, carelessly. 'An old
busybody--a shoemaker, I think, or a baker. Sure it was an accident,
for George meant only to pink the spalpeen, and his sword went in too
far--a miscalculation. Do you know, mother, that there'll soon be no
end to the insolence of these ruffians? There's a report at the Castle
that that crazy idiot Tone, to whom you were always much too kind, has
succeeded in persuading the French to take up his cudgels. He'll dance
the Kilmainham minuet, as the saying is, take my word for it, and
serve him right; but Lord Camden really thinks it's serious. He talked
with such mystery of plots last evening, of some scheme for attacking
Dublin, that I thought his excellency was having a joke with us, till
he said if things go on as they are going, there'll be nothing for it
but to proclaim martial law.'

My lady meditated for a time, reviewing this intelligence. 'Then these
United Irish did not intend to be mere wind-bags?' she thought, and my
Lord Camden was beginning to be afraid of them. Her common-sense told
her that if, in a tussle, they got even for a moment the upper hand,
their vengeance would fall heavily upon the perpetrators of such
reckless escapades as that which Shane had just narrated. At any rate,
it was not good to give them such food for complaint. My lady's caste
prejudices blinded her to the fact that when half-a-dozen youths (even
blue-blood ones) set on a single man and slay him, the act is no
better than murder, though they are content to deplore it for a minute
as an accident. There was no doubt left in her mind that Doreen's
advice had been of the very best. She must even go to Ennishowen,
however great the pain might be to herself in the revival of
unpleasant memories. So, shaking her head, she remarked: 'Dear Shane!
in '45 the Scotch rebels advanced within a hundred miles of London. If
5,000 ragged Highlanders are capable of that, why should not the
French army march on Dublin? Lord Clare spoke to me yesterday on the
subject of the yeomanry. It seems that the Privy Council expect you to
undertake this district.'

'I should like that!' Shane said.

'It would not be wise, though,' returned his mother, quietly. 'The
aristocracy will have a difficult game to play if these silly people
really aim at violence. The executive will have brought it on
themselves, and it's only fair that they should get out of their own
difficulties in their own way. In '82, when your father and I both
wore the uniform, the case was different. Landlord and tenant were
united, as lord and servant of the soil, against a foreigner who had
maltreated both. Things have changed since then. The position of the
nobles is different. They have become Anglicised. Much of their
interest is English. Yet it would be best for them not too openly to
join the foreigner in coercing their own tenants--at least, not just
now.'

The cunning old lady was saying what she did not quite believe, having
in view an object, and Shane looked at her in surprise.

'If riots take place,' the countess proceeded, 'the commander-in-chief
will put them down, if he thinks proper, with the English troops who
have come over lately; and he and they will bear the odium. The Irish
nobles would be placing themselves in a false position by interfering
against their own people with too great alacrity. At all events, they
will gain a point by waiting.'

'But, mother, the other lords are heading the squireens. If I hold
back they will say I am a coward!'

'Not so, my son. Your proceedings every day would give the lie to
that. I grant that if you sat here, or roystered on in Dublin, you
might be accused of shuffling, which would not do. But if you went
away? Not to England, no! That would not do either. Why not go to
Ennishowen, under the pretext that here everything is safe under the
paternal rule of the executive, whilst in the vast wild northern
district, over which you hold sway, it would be politic for the lord
to be amongst his tenants? You would be of local service, and at that
distance no one could be sure whether or no your future actions were
guided by events.'

'You do not believe that this pack of fools will do any harm?'

'Certainly not, or I would not counsel you to go away. Cannot you see
that in ignoble squabbles with the scum it is best to keep clean hands
by remaining neutral? They will be put down--of course they will be
put down; but, you stupid fellow, we must so manage that you have no
hand in it. We will go to Glas-aitch-é. 'Tis long since we were
there.'

Shane twirled the satin ear of Eblana round his finger absently. This
move of his mother's puzzled him. What would his life be away at wild
Glas-aitch-é without his boon companions, among boors who had probably
never heard of a Hellfire Club? In earlier days he used to be madly
fond of field-sports, was still devoted to certain branches of the
chase. But suddenly to leave the joys of a gay metropolis to bury
himself in a hut on practically a desert island, was no pleasant
prospect. And dear Norah, too, must she be left behind? Accustomed as
he was to bow to his mother's ascendency in political questions as in
the management of the estates, the vision of Norah deploring in
dishevelled loneliness the absence of his fascinating self was too
much for him.

'I cannot go, mother! It would look like flight,' he said with a show
of firmness.

My lady was too acute not to read his thoughts; too wise to expect her
son to yield without a flutter. She moved with stately sweep to where
he sat, and, pressing his face with her two hands, whispered fondly as
she knelt down beside him. 'My darling, do you not know that I would
cut my heart out for you, that I would walk to the stake to save you
one needless pang? Men can never realise the fulness of a mother's
love--the sublimity of its unselfishness--the majesty of its devotion.
It is the one ray of the Divine which has been allowed to glimmer
forth on our dull earth. Do you suppose I would counsel you to aught
that could bring you injury? that I have not anxiously weighed each
side of the question before deciding what is best? You know that I
love you much better than myself. You know that Heaven has denied you
cleverness. You are not clever, my poor child; but we can't help that,
can we? And you are not good, I am sorely afraid. Yet as your mother I
love you no whit the less. Try to comprehend what a mother's love is
like--how large--how grandly blind in that it might see but will not!'

As she spoke, the poor lady who had been so buffeted by worldly
troubles was transfigured by the strength of her affection for this
one being. The fact of her loving nothing else served but to increase
her love. As one, some of whose senses have decayed whilst others are
proportionately sensitised, she felt with intensity all which affected
her firstborn. It was strange that she could not remember that Terence
also was her son--that he had pined for such a display as this all his
life in vain--that even now (yawning in the Four-courts) he would have
upset the presiding judge and sent all the attorneys to a man into
the Liffey, and galloped at breakneck speed to Strogue if his mother
would only have given him one of the looks which she was lavishing on
Shane--one of those hand-touches that are in nowise akin to
'paddling,' but which send stronger thrills through us than the most
languishing of eyes.

'Ireland is being involved in complicated difficulties,' she pursued.
'You must be obedient, and allow me to lead you through them safely.
It will only be for a month or two. Then all will be over, and we can
come back here again. Say you will do as I wish?'

Shane never could long withstand his mother's coaxing, when she
condescended to implore. Is it not always thus? Is it not worth while
to be haughty, arrogant, ill-tempered--as the case may be--if only for
the fuller appreciation of our benignity when we elect to be benign?
Shane clung to the dowager's last straw, which with artful artlessness
she had held out to him. It would only be for a month or two. It would
do Norah all the good in life to miss her beloved for a space; while
he was away, she would measure his merits, and fly with rapture to his
bosom on his return. It would be rather fun, too, again to visit for a
few weeks the haunts he used so to doat upon. But it ill became him as
one of the sterner sex to be over-easily persuaded.

'It will be very dull up there, mother,' he objected.

'How civil of you,' the countess said, kissing him, for she saw the
point was gained. 'If you are a good boy, I will ask your uncle to let
Doreen come too. Her eccentricities will enliven us.'

'You are always talking of Doreen?' complained my lord. 'I can't see
why you make so much fuss about her.'

'Then we won't take her,' responded my lady, with prompt and
Machiavellian wisdom.

'I care not,' he returned 'Perhaps we had better take her, and I'll
teach her to shoot seals.'

And so the matter was decided, whilst my lady made up her mind that,
once in Donegal, her son should stop there under one pretext or
another until all danger from Miss Gillin should be averted.



                            END Of VOL. I.



                          *   *   *   *   *
            BILLING AND SONS, PRINTERS, GUILDFORD, SURREY.
                                                      _S. & H_.





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