Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: All-Hallow Eve; or, The Test of Futurity.
Author: Curtis, Robert
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "All-Hallow Eve; or, The Test of Futurity." ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



[Transcriber's notes]
  This text is derived from THE CATHOLIC WORLD,
  http://www.archive.org/details/catholicworld01pauluoft
  and
  http://www.archive.org/details/catholicworld02pauluoft
  and
  http://www.archive.org/details/catholicworld03pauluoft

  It is the collection of serialized chapters for the convenience
  of the reader who wishes to read the whole work.
[End Transcriber's notes]



From The Lamp.

ALL-HALLOW EVE; OR, THE TEST OF FUTURITY.

BY ROBERT CURTIS.



CHAPTER I.


I could have wished that the incidents which I am about to describe in
the following tale had taken place in some locality with a less
Celtic, and to English tongues a more pronounceable, name than
_Boher-na-Milthiogue._ I had at first commenced the tale with the word
itself, thus: "Boher-na-Milthiogue, though in a wild and remote part
of Ireland," etc. But I was afraid that, should an English reader take
up and open the book, he would at the very first word slap it together
again between the palms of his hands, saying, "Oh, that is quite
enough for me!" Now, as my English readers have done me vastly good
service on former occasions, I should be sorry to frighten them at the
outset of this new tale; and I have therefore endeavored to lead them
quietly into it. With my Irish friends no such circumlocution would
have been necessary. Perhaps, if I dissever and explain the word, it
may enable even my English readers in some degree to approach a
successful attempt at its pronunciation. I am aware, however, of the
difficulty they experience in this respect, and that their attempts at
some of our easiest names of Irish places are really
laughable--laughable, at least, to our Celtic familiarity with the
correct sound.

_Boher_ is the Irish for "bridge," and _milthiogue_ for a "midge;"
Boher-na-Milthiogue, "the midge's bridge."

There now, if my English friends cannot yet pronounce the word
properly, which I still doubt, they can at least understand what it
means. It were idle, I fear to hope, that they can see any _beauty_ in
it; and yet that it is beautiful there can be no Celtic doubt
whatever.

Perhaps it might have been well to have written thus far in the shape
of a preface; but as nobody nowadays reads prefaces, the matter would
have been as bad as ever. I shall therefore continue now as I had
intended to have commenced at first.

Boher-na-Milthiogue, though in a wild and remote part of Ireland, is
not without a certain degree of natural and romantic beauty, suiting
well the features of the scene in which it lies.

Towering above a fertile and well-cultivated plain frown and smile the
brother and sister mountains of Slieve-dhu and Slieve-bawn, the solid
masonry of whose massive and perpendicular precipices was built by no
human architect. The ponderous and scowling rocks of Slieve-dhu, the
brother, are dark and indistinct; while, separated from it by a narrow
and abrupt ravine, those of Slieve-bawn, the sister, are of a whitish
spotted gray, contrasting cheerfully with those of her gloomy brother.



There is generally a story in Ireland about mountains or rivers or old
ruins which present any peculiarity of shape or feature. Now it is an
undoubted fact, which any tourist can satisfy himself of, that
although from sixty to a hundred yards asunder, there are huge bumps
upon the side of Slieve-bawn, corresponding to which in every respect
as to size and shape are cavities precisely opposite them in the side
of Slieve-dhu. The story in this case is, that although formerly the
mountains were, like a loving brother and sister, clasped in each
other's arms, they quarrelled one dark night (I believe about the
cause of thunder), when Slieve-dhu in a passion struck his sister a
blow in the face, and staggered her back to where she now stands, too
far for the possibility of reconciliation; and that she, knowing the
superiority of her personal appearance, stands her ground, as a proud
contrast to her savage and unfeeling relative.

Deep straight gullies, worn by the winter floods, mark the sides of
both mountains into compartments, the proportion and regularity of
which might almost be a matter of surprise, looking like huge stripes
down the white dress of Slieve-bawn, while down that of Slieve-dhu
they might be compared to black and purple plaid.

"Far to the north," in the bosom of the minor hills, lies a glittering
lake--glittering when the sun shines; dark, sombre, and almost
imperceptible when the clouds prevail.

The origin of the beautiful name in which the spot itself rejoices I
believe to be this; but why do I say "believe?" It is a self-evident
and well-known fact.

Along the base of Slieve-bawn there runs a narrow _roadeen_, turning
almost at right angles through the ravine already mentioned, and
leading to the flat and populous portion of the country on the other
side of the mountains, and cutting the journey, for any person
requiring to go there, into the sixteenth of the distance by the main
road. In this instance the proverb would not be fulfilled, that "the
longest way round was the shortest way home." Across one of the
winter-torrent beds which runs down the mountain side, almost at the
entrance of the ravine, is a rough-built rustic bridge, at a
considerable elevation from the road below. To those approaching it
from the lower level, it forms a conspicuous and exceedingly
picturesque object, looking not unlike a sort of castellated defence
to the mouth of the narrow pass between the mountains.

This bridge, toward sunset upon a summer's evening, presents a very
curious and (except in that spot) an unusual sight. Whether it arises
from any peculiarity of the herbage in the vicinity, or the fissures
in the mountains, or the crevices in the bridge itself, as calculated
to engender them, it would be hard to say; but it would be impossible
for any arithmetician to compute at the roughest guess the millions,
the billions of small midges which dance in the sunbeams immediately
above and around the bridge, but in no other spot for miles within
view. The singularity of their movements, and the peculiarity of their
distribution in the air, cannot fail to attract the observation of the
most careless beholder. In separate and distinct batches of some
hundreds of millions each, they rise in almost solid masses until they
are lost sight of, as they attain the level of the heathered brow of
the mountain behind them, becoming visible again as they descend into
the bright sunshine that lies upon the white rocks of Slieve-bawn. In
no instance can you perceive individual or scattered midges; each
batch is connected and distinct in itself, sometimes oval, sometimes
almost square, but most frequently in a perfectly round ball. No two
of these batches rise or fall at the same moment. I was fortunate
enough to see them myself upon more than one occasion in high
perfection. They reminded me of large balls thrown up and caught
successively by some distinguished acrobat. During the
performance, a tiny little sharp whir of music fills the atmosphere,
which would almost set you to sleep as you sit on the battlement of
the bridge watching and wondering.

By what law of creation, or what instinct of nature, or, if by
neither, by what union of sympathy the movements of these milthiogues
are governed--for I am certain there are millions of them at the same
work in the same spot this fine summer's evening--would be a curious
and proper study for an entomologist; but I have no time here to do
more than describe the facts, were I even competent to enter into the
inquiry. Fancy say fifty millions of midges in a round ball, so
arranged that, under no suddenness or intricacy of movement, any one
touches another. There is no saying amongst them, "Keep out of my way,
and don't be _pushin'_ me," as Larry Doolan says.

So far, the thing in itself appears miraculous; but when we come to
consider that their motions, upward to a certain point, and downward
to another, are simultaneous, that the slightest turn of their wings
is collectively instantaneous, rendering them at one moment like a
black target, and another turn rendering them almost invisible, all
their movements being as if guided by a single will--we are not only
lost in wonder, but we are perfectly unable to account for or
comprehend it. I have often been surprised, and so, no doubt, may many
of my readers have been, at the regularity of the evolutions of a
flock of stares in the air, where every twist and turn of a few
thousand pairs of wings seemed as if moved by some connecting wire;
but even this fact, surprising as it is, sinks into insignificance
when compared with the movements of these milthiogues.

But putting all these inquiries and considerations aside, the simple
facts recorded have been the origin of the name with which this tale
commences.



CHAPTER II.


Winifred Cavana was an only daughter, indeed an only child. Her
father, old Ned Cavana of Rathcash, had been always a thrifty and
industrious man. During the many years he had been able to attend to
business--and he was an experienced farmer--he had realized a sum of
money, which, in his rank of life and by his less prosperous
neighbors, would be called "unbounded wealth," but which, divested of
that envious exaggeration, was really a comfortable independence for
his declining years, and would one of those days be a handsome
inheritance for his handsome daughter. Not that Ned Cavana intended to
huxter the whole of it up, so that she should not enjoy any of it
until its possession might serve to lighten her grief for his
death--no; should Winny marry some "likely boy," of whom her father
could in every respect approve, she should have six hundred pounds,
R.M.D.; and at his death by which time Ned hoped some of his
grandchildren would make the residue more necessary--she should have
all that he was able to demise, which was no paltry matter. In the
meantime they would live happily and comfortable, not niggardly.

With this view--a distant one, he still hoped--before him, and knowing
that he had already sown a good crop, and reaped a sufficient harvest
to live liberally, die peacefully, and be _berrid dacently_, he had
set a great portion of his land upon a lease during his own life, at
the termination of which it was to revert to his son-in-law, of whose
existence, long before that time, he could have no doubt, and for
whose name a blank had been left in his will, to be filled up in due
time before he died, or, failing that event--not his death, but a
son-in-law--it was left solely to his daughter Winifred.

Winny Cavana was, beyond doubt or question, a very handsome girl--and
she knew it. She knew, too, that she was "a catch;" the only one
in that side of the country; and no person wondered at the many
admirers she could boast of, though it was a thing she was never known
to do; nor did she wonder at it herself. Without her six hundred
pounds, Winny could have had scores of "bachelors;" and it was not
very surprising if she was hard to be pleased. Indeed, had Winny
Cavana been penniless, it is possible she would have had a greater
number of open admirers, for her reputed wealth kept many a faint
heart at a distance. It was not to be wondered at either, if a wealthy
country beauty had the name of a coquette, whether she deserved it or
not; nor was it to be expected that she could give unmixed
satisfaction to each of her admirers; and we all know what
censoriousness unsuccessful admiration is likely to cause in a
disappointed heart.

Amongst all those who were said to have entered for the prize of
Winny's heart, Thomas Murdock was the favorite--not with herself, but
the neighbors. At all events he was the "likely boy" whom Winny's
father had in his eye as a husband for his daughter; and in writing
his will, he had lifted his pen from the paper at the blank already
mentioned, and written the name Thomas Murdock in the air, so that, in
case matters turned out as he wished and anticipated, it would fit in
to a nicety.

The townlands of Rathcash and Rathcashmore, upon which the Cavanas and
Murdocks lived, was rather a thickly populated district, and they had
some well-to-do neighbors, beside many who were not quite so
well-to-do, but were yet decent and respectable. There were the Boyds,
the Beattys, and the Brennans, with the Cahils, the Cartys, and the
Clearys beyond them; the Doyles, the Dempseys, and the Dolans not far
off; with the Mulveys, the Mooneys, and the Morans quite close. The
people seemed to live in alphabetical batches in that district, as if
for the convenience of the county cess-collector and his book. Many
others lived still further off, but not so far (in Ireland) as not to
be called neighbors.

Kate Mulvey, one of the nearest neighbors, was a great friend and
companion of Winny's. If Kate had six hundred pounds she could easily
have rivalled Winny's good looks, but she had not six hundred pence;
and notwithstanding her magnificent eyes, her white teeth, and her
glossy brown hair, she could not look within miles as high into the
clouds as Winny could. Still Kate had her admirers, some of whom even
Winny's fondest glance, with all her money, could not betray into
treachery. But it so happened that the person at whom she had thrown
her cap had not (as yet, at least) picked it up.



CHAPTER III.


It was toward the end of October, 1826. There had been an early
spring, and the crops had been got in favorably, and in good time.
There had been "a wet and a windy May;" a warm, bright summer had
succeeded it; and the harvest had been now all gathered in, except the
potatoes, which were in rapid progress of being dug and pitted. It was
a great day for Ireland, let the advocates for "breadstuffs" say what
they will, before the blight and yellow meal had either of them become
familiar with the poor. There were the Cork reds and the cups, the
benefits and the Brown's fancies, for half nothing in every direction,
beside many other sorts of potatoes, bulging up the surface of the
ridges--there were no drills in those days; _mehils_ in almost every
field, with their coats off at the digging-in.

"Bill, don't lane on that boy on the ridge wid you; he's not much more
nor a _gossoon_; give him a start of you."

"_Gossoon aniow_; be gorra, he's as smart a chap on the face of a
ridge as the best of us, Tom."

"Ay; but don't take it out of him too soon, Bill."

"Work away, boys," said the _gossoon_ in question; "I'll engage I'll
shoulder my loy at the end of the ridge as soon as some of ye that's
spaking."

"It was wan word for the _gossoon_, as he calls him, an' two for
himself, Bill," chimed in the man on the next ridge. "Don't hurry Tom
Nolan; his feet's sore afther all he danced with Nelly Gaffeny last
night."

Here there was a loud and general laugh at poor Tom Nolan's expense,
and the _pickers_--women and girls, with handkerchiefs tied over their
heads looked up with one accord, annoyed that they were too far off to
hear the joke. It was well for one of them that they had not heard it,
for Nelly Gaffeny was amongst them.

"It's many a day, Pat, since you seen the likes of them turned out of
a ridge."

"They bate the world."

"They bang Banagher; and Banagher, they say--"

"Whist, Larry; don't be dhrawing that chap down at all."

"I seen but wan betther the year," said Tim Meaney.

"I say you didn't, nor the sorra take the betther, nor so good."

"Arra, didn't I? I say I did though."

"Where, _avic ma cree?_"

"Beyant at Tony Kilroy's."

"Ay, ay; Tony always had a pet acre on the side of the hill toward the
sun. He has the best bit of land in the parish."

"You may say that, Micky, with your own purty mouth. I led his
_mehil_, come this hollintide will be three years; an' there wasn't a
man of forty of us but turned out eight stone of cup off every ten
yards a a' four-split ridge. Devil a the like of them I ever seen
afore or since."

"Lumpers you mane, Andy; wasn't I there?"

"Is it you, Darby? no, nor the sorra take the foot; we all know where
you were that same year."

"Down in the lower part of Cavan, Phil. In throth, it wasn't cup
potatoes was throublin' him that time; but cups and saucers. He dhrank
a power of tay that harvest, boys."

Here there was another loud laugh, and the women with the
handkerchiefs upon their heads looked up again.

"Well, I brought her home dacent, boys; an' what can ye say to her?"

"Be gor, nothing, Darby avic, but that she's an iligant purty crathur,
and a credit to them that owns her, an' them that reared her."

"The sorra word of lie in that," echoed every man in the _mehil_.

Thus the merry chat and laugh went on in every potato-field. The
women, finding that they had too much to do to enable them to keep
close to the men, and that they were losing the fun, of course got up
a chat for themselves, and took good care to have some loud and hearty
laughs, which made the men in their turn look up, and lean upon their
loys.

Everything about Rathcash and Rathcashmore was prosperous and happy,
and the farmers were cheerful and open-hearted.

"That's grand weather, glory be to God, Ned, for the time of year,"
said Mick Murdock to his neighbor Cavana, who was leaning, with his
arms folded, on a field-gate near the mearing of their two farms. The
farms lay alongside of each other--one in the town-land of Rathcash,
and the other in Rathcashmore.

"Couldn't be bet, Mick. I'm upward of forty years stannin' in this
spot, an' I never seen the batin' of it."

"Be gorra, you have a right to be tired, Ned; that's a long stannin'."

"The sorra tired, Mick a _wochal_. You know very well what I mane, an'
you needn't be so sharp. I'd never be tired of the same spot."

"Them's a good score of calves, Ned; God bless you an' them!" said
Mick, making up for his sharpness.

"An' you too, Mick. They are a fine lot of calves, an' all reared
since Candlemas."

"There's no denying, Ned, but you med the most of that bit of land of
yours."

"'Tis about the same as your own, Mick; an' I think you med as good a
fist of yours."

"Well, maybe so, indeed; but I doubt it is going into worse hands than
what yours will, Ned."

"Why that, Mick?"

"Ah, that Tom of mine is a wild extravagant hero. He doesn't know much
about the value of money, and never paid any attention to farming
business, only what he was obliged to pick up from being with me. He
thinks he'll be rich enough when I'm in my clay, without much work.
An' so he will, Ned, so far as that goes; but it's only of
book-larnin' an' horse-racin' an' coorsin' he's thinkin', by way of
being a sort of gentleman one of those days; but he'll find to his
cost, in the lather end, that there's more wantin' to grow good crops
than 'The Farmer's Calendar of Operations.'"

"He's young, Mick, an' no doubt he'll mend. I hope you don't
discourage him."

"Not at all, Ned. The book-larnin 's all well enough, as far as it
goes, if he'd put the practice along with it, an' be studdy."

"So he will, Mick. His wild-oats will soon be all sown, an' then
you'll see what a chap he'll be."

"Faix, I'd rather see him sowing a crop of yallow Aberdeens, Ned, next
June; an' maybe it's what it's at the Curragh of Kildare he'll be, as
I can hear. My advice to him is to get married to some dacent nice
girl, that id take the wildness out of him, and lay himself down to
business. You know, Ned, he'll have every penny and stick I have in
the world; and the lease of my houlding in Rathcashmore is as good as
an estate at the rent I pay. If he'd give up his meandherin', and take
a dacent liking to them that's fit for him, I'd set him up all at
wanst, an' not be keeping him out of it until I was dead an' berrid."

The above was not a bad feeler, nor was it badly put by old Mick
Murdock to his neighbor. "Them that's fit for him" could hardly be
mistaken; yet there was a certain degree of disparagement of his own
son calculated to conceal his object. It elicited nothing, however,
but a long thoughtful silence upon old Ned Cavana's part, which Mick
was not slow to interpret, and did not wish to interrupt. At last Ned
stood up from the gate, and smoothing down the sleeves of his coat, as
if he supposed they had contracted some dust, he observed, "I'm
afear'd, Mick, you're puttin' the cart before the horse; come until I
show you a few ridges of red apples I'm diggin' out to-day. You'd
think I actially got them carted in, an' threune them upon the ridges:
the like of them I never seen."

And the two old men walked down the lane together.

But Mick Murdock's feeler was not forgotten by either of them. Mick
was as well pleased--perhaps better--that no further discussion took
place upon the subject at the time. He knew Ned Cavana was not a man
to commit himself to a hasty opinion upon any matter, much less upon
one of such importance as was so plainly suggested by his
observations.

Ned Cavana, too, brooded over the conversation in silence, determined
to throw out a feeler of his own to his daughter.

Ned had himself more than once contemplated the possibility as well as
the prudence of a match between Tom Murdock and his daughter. The
union, not of themselves alone, but of the two farms, would almost
make a gentleman of the person holding them. Both farms were held upon
unusually long leases, and at less than one-third of their value. If
joined, there could be no doubt but, with the careful and industrious
management of an experienced man, they would turn in a clear income of
between five and six hundred a year; quite sufficient in that part of
the world to entitle a person of even tolerably good education
to look up to the grand-jury list and a "justice of the pace."

The only question with Ned Cavana was, Did Tom Murdock possess the
attributes required for success in all or any of the above respects?
Ned, although he had taken his part with his father, feared _not_. Ay,
there was another question, Was Winny inclined for him? He feared not
also.

The other old man had not forgotten the feeler he had thrown out
either, nor the thoughtful silence with which it had been received;
for Mick Murdock could not believe that a man of Ned Cavana's
penetration had misunderstood him. Indeed, he was inclined to think
that the same matter might have originated in Ned's own mind, from
some words he had once or twice dropped about poor Winny's prospects
when he was gone, and the suspense it would be to him if she were not
settled in life before that day; "snaffled perhaps by some
good-for-nothing, extravagant fortune-hunter, with a handsome face,
when she had no one to look after her."

There was but one word in the above which Mick thought could be justly
applied to Tom; "extravagant" he undoubtedly was, but he was neither
handsome--at least not handsome enough to be called so as a matter of
course--nor was he good-for-nothing. He was a well-educated sharp
fellow, if he would only lay himself down to business. He was not a
fortune-hunter, for he did not require it; but idleness and
extravagance might make him one in the end. Yet old Mick was by no
means certain that the propriety of a match between these only and
rich children had not suggested itself to his neighbor Ned as well as
to himself. He hoped that if Tom had a "dacent hankerrin' afther" any
one, it was for Winny Cavana; but, like her father, he doubted if the
girl herself was inclined for him. He knew that she was proud and
self-willed. He was determined, however, to follow the matter up, and
throw out another feeler upon the subject to his son.



CHAPTER IV.


It was now the 25th of October, just six days from All-Hallow Eve.
Mick would ask a few of the neighbors to burn nuts and eat apples, and
then, perhaps, he might find out how the wind blew.

"Tom," said he to his son, "I believe this is a good year for nuts."

"Well, father, I met a couple of chaps ere yesterday with their
pockets full of fine brown shellers, coming from Clonard Wood."

"I dare say they are not all gone yet, Tom; an' I wish you would set
them to get us a few pockets full, and we would ask a few of the
neighbors here to burn them on All-Hallow Eve."

"That's easy done, father; I can get three or four quarts by to-morrow
night. Those two very chaps would be glad to earn a few pence for
them; they wanted me to buy what they had; and if I knew your
intentions at the time, I should have done so; but it's not too late.
Who do you intend to ask, father?"

"Why, old Cavana and his daughter, of course, and the Mulveys; in
short, you know, all the neighbors. I won't leave any of them out,
Tom. The Cavanas, you know, are all as wan as ourselves, livin' at the
doore with us; and they're much like us too, Tom, in many respects.
Old Ned is rich, an' has but one child--a very fine girl. I'm old, an'
as rich as what Ned is, and I have but one child; I'll say though
you're to the fore, Tom--a very fine young man."

Old Mick paused. He wanted to see if his son's intelligence was on the
alert. It must have been very dull indeed had it failed to perceive
what his father was driving at; but he was silent.

"That Winny Cavana is a very fine girl, Tom," he continued; "and I
often wonder that a handsome young fellow like you doesn't make more
of her. She'll have six hundred pounds fortune, as round as a hoop;
beside, whoever gets her will fall in for that farm at her
father's death. There's ninety-nine years of it, Tom, just like our
own."

"She's a conceited proud piece of goods, father; and I suspect she
would rather give her six hundred pounds to some _skauhawn_ than to a
man of substance like me."

"Maybe not now. Did you ever thry?"

"No, father, I never did. People don't often hold their face up to the
hail."

"_Na-bockleish_, Tom, she'd do a grate dale for her father, for you
know she must owe everything to him; an' if she vexes him he can cut
her out of her six hundred pounds, and lave the interest in his farm
to any one he likes; and I know what he thinks about you, Tom."

"Ay, and he's so fond of that one that she can twist him round her
finger. Wait now, father, until you see if I'm not up to every twist
and turn of the pair of them."

"But you never seem to spake to her or mind her at all, Tom; and I
know, when I was your age, I always found that the girls liked the man
best that looked afther them most. I'm purty sure too, Tom, that
there's no one afore you there."

"I'm not so sure of that, father. But I'll tell you what it is: I have
not been either blind or idle on what you are talking about; but up to
this moment she seems to scorn me, father; there's the truth for you.
And as for there being no one before me, all I can say is that she
manages, somehow or other, to come out of the chapel-door every Sunday
at the same moment with that whelp, Edward Lennon, from the mountain;
_Emon-a-knock_, as they call him, and as I have heard her call him
herself. Rathcash chapel is not in his parish at all, and I don't know
what brings him there."

"Is it that poor penniless pauper, depending on his day's labor? Ah,
Tom, she's too proud for that."

"Yes, that very fellow; and there's no getting a word with her where
he is."

"Well, Tom, all I can say is this, an' it's to my own son I'm sayin'
it--that if you let that fellow pick up that fine girl with her six
hundred pounds and fall into that rich farm, an' you livin' at the
doore with her, you're not worth staggering-bob broth, with all your
book-larnin' an' good looks, to say nothin' of your manners, Tom
avic." And he left him, saying to himself, "He may put that in his
pocket to balance his knife."

Thus ended what old Murdock commenced as a feeler, but which became
very plain speaking in the end. But the All-Hallow Eve party was to
come off all the same.

A word or two now of comparison, or perhaps, more properly speaking,
of contrast, between these two aspirants to Winny Cavana's favor,
though young Lennon was still more hopeless than the other, from his
position.

Thomas Murdock was more conspicuous for the manliness of his person
than for the beauties of his mind or the amiability of his
disposition. Although manifestly well-looking in a group, take him
singly, and he could not be called very handsome. There was a
suspicious fidgetiness about his green-spotted eyes, as if he feared
you could read his thoughts; and at times, if vexed or opposed, a dark
scowl upon his heavy brow indicated that these thoughts were not
always amiable. This unpleasing peculiarity of expression marred the
good looks which the shape of his face and the fit of his curly black
whiskers unquestionably gave him. In form he was fully six feet high,
and beautifully made. At nineteen years of age he had mastered not
only all the learning which could be attained at a neighboring
national school, but had actually mastered the master himself in more
ways than one, and was considered by the eighty-four youngsters whom
he had outstripped as a prodigy of valor as well as learning. But Tom
turned his schooling to a bad account; it was too superficial, and
served more to set his head astray than to correct his heart; and
there were some respectable persons in the neighborhood who were
not free from doubts that he had already become a parish-patriot, and
joined the Ribbon Society. He was high and overbearing toward his
equals, harsh and unkind to his inferiors, while he was cringing and
sycophantic toward his superiors. There was nothing manly or
straightforward, nothing ingenuous or affectionate, about him. In
fact, if ever a man's temper and disposition justified the opinion
that he had "the two ways" in him, they were those of Thomas Murdock.
His father was a rich farmer, whose land joined that of old Ned
Cavana, of whom he was a contemporary in years, and with whom he had
kept pace in industry and wealth.

Thomas Murdock was an only son, as Winny Cavana was an only daughter,
and the two old men were of the same mind now as regarded the future
lot of their children.

A few words now of Edward Lennon, and we can get on.

He was the eldest of five in the family. They lived upon the
mountain-side in the parish of Shanvilla, about two "_short_ miles" from
the Cavanas and Murdocks. His father and mother were both alive. They
were respectable so far as character and conduct can make people
respectable who are unquestionably poor. Their marriage was what has
been sarcastically, but perhaps not inaptly, called by an English
newspaper a "_potato marriage;_" that is--but no, it will not bear
explanation. The result, however, after many years' struggling, may be
stated. The Lennons had lived, and were still living, in a small
thatched house upon the side of a mountain, with about four acres of
reclaimed ground. It had been reclaimed gradually by the father and
his two sons--for Emon had a younger brother--and they paid little or
no rent for it. The second son and eldest daughter were now at
service, "doin' for theirselves;" and those at home consisted of the
father, the mother, the eldest son, and two younger daughters, mere
children. For the house and garden they paid a small rent, which "a
slip of a pig" was always ready to realize in sufficient time; while a
couple of goats, staggering through the furze, yoked together by the
necks, gave milk to the family.

Edward, though not so well-looking as to the actual cut of his
features, nor so tall by an inch and a half, as our friend Murdock,
was far more agreeable to look upon. There was a confident good-nature
in his countenance which assured you of its reality, and the honesty
of his heart. His figure, from his well-shaped head, which was
beautifully set upon his shoulders, to his small, well-turned feet,
was faultless. In disposition and character young Lennon was a full
distance before the man to whom he was a secret rival, while in talent
and learning he had nothing to fear by a comparison. He had commenced
his education when a mere gossoon at a poor-school with "his turf an'
his read-a-ma-daisy," and as he progressed from A-b-e-l, bel, a man's
name; A-b-l-e, ble, Able, powerful, strong, until finally he could
spell Antitrinitarian pat, he then cut the concern, and was promoted
by his parish-priest--"of whom more anon," as they say--to Rathcash
national school, where he soon stood in the class beside Tom Murdock,
and ere a week had passed he "took him down a peg." This, added to his
supposed presumptuous thoughts in the quarter which Tom had considered
almost his exclusive right, sowed the seed of hatred in Murdock's
heart against Lennon, which one day might bear a heavy crop.

That young Lennon was devotedly but secretly attached to Winny Cavana
there was no doubt whatever in his own mind, and there were few who
did not agree with him, although he had "never told his love;" and as
we Irish have leave to say, there was still less that his love was
more disinterested than that of his richer rival. There was another
point upon which there was still less doubt than either, and that was
that Winny Cavana's heart secretly leaned to _"Emon-a-knock,"_ as
young Lennon was familiarly called by all those who knew and
loved him. One exception existed to this cordial recognition of Emon's
good qualities, and that was, as may be anticipated, by Thomas
Murdock, who always called him "_that_ Lennon," and on one occasion,
as we have seen, substituted the word "whelp."

Winny, however, kept her secret in this matter to herself. She knew
her father would go "tanterin' tearin' mad, if he suspected such a
thing." She conscientiously endeavored to hide her preference from
young Lennon himself, knowing that it would only get them both into
trouble. Beside, he had never (yet) shown a decided preference for her
above Kate Mulvey. Whether she succeeded in her endeavors is another
question; women seldom fail where they are in earnest.

It is not considered amongst the class of Irish to which our _dramatis
persona_ belong as any undue familiarity, upon even a very short
acquaintance, for the young persons of both the sexes to call each
other by their Christian names. It is the admitted custom of the
country, and Winny Cavana, rich and proud as she was, made no
exception to the general rule. She even went further, and sometimes
called young Lennon by his pet name. As regarded Tom Murdock, although
she could have wished it otherwise, she would not make herself
particular by acting differently. The first three letters of his name,
coupled with the scowl she had more than once detected on his
countenance, sounded unpleasantly upon her ear, Mur-dock. She always
thought people were going to say murder before the "dock" was out. She
never could think well of him; and although she called him Tom, it was
more to be in keeping with the habit of the country, and as a refuge
from the other name, than from a friendly feeling.

These were the materials upon which the two old men had to work, to
bring about a union of their landed interests and their only children.



CHAPTER V.


The invitations for All-Hallow Eve were forthwith issued in person by
old Murdock, who went from house to house in his Sunday clothes, and
asked all the respectable neighbors in the politest manner. Edward
Lennon, although he could scarcely be called a neighbor, and moreover
was not considered as "belonging to their set," was nevertheless asked
to be of the party. Old Murdock had his reasons for asking him;
although, to tell the truth, he and his son had a difference of
opinion upon the subject. Tom thought to "put a spoke in his wheel,"
but was overruled by the old man, who said it would look as if they
were afraid to bring him and Winny Cavana together; that it was much
better to let the young fellow see at once that he had no chance,
which would no doubt be an easy matter on that night: "it was betther
to _humiliate_ him at wanst."

Tom was ashamed not to acquiesce, but wished nevertheless that he
might have had his own way. Edward Lennon lived too far from the
Murdocks for the old man to go there specifically upon the mission of
invitation; and the moment this difficulty was hinted by his father,
Tom, who was not in the habit of making such offers, was ready at once
to "go over to Shanvilla, and save his father the walk: he would
deliver the message."

There was an anxiety in Tom's manner which betrayed itself; and old
Mick was not the man to _miss_ a thing of the kind.

"No, Tom _a wochal_" he observed, "I won't put such a thramp upon you.
Sure I'll see him a Sunda'; he always comes to our chapel."

"Fitter for him stick to his own," said Tom.

"It answers well this turn, at all events," replied the old man.

Upon the following Sunday he was as good as his word. He watched young
Lennon coming out of the chapel, and asked him, with more cordiality
than Tom, who happened to be by, approved of.

Had nothing else been necessary to secure an acceptance, the fact of
Tom Murdock being present would have been sufficient. The look which
he caught from under the rim of Tom's hat roused Lennon's pride, and
he accepted the old man's invitation with unhesitating civility.
Lennon on this, as on all Sunday occasions, "was dressed in all his
best;" and that look seemed to say, "I wonder where that fellow got
them clothes, and if they're paid for:" he understood the look very
well. But the clothed were paid for,--perhaps, too, more promptly
than Tom's own; and a better fitting suit, from top to toe, was not to
be met with in the whole parish. A "Caroline hat," smooth and new, set
a wee taste jauntily upon his well-shaped head; a shirt like the
drifted snow, loose at the throat, but buttoned down the breast with
tiny blue buttons round as sweet-pea seeds; a bright plaid waistcoat,
with ditto buttons to match, but a size larger; a pair of
"spic-an'-span" knee-breeches of fine kersey-mere, with
unexceptionable steel buttons and blue silk-ribbon strings, tied to
perfection at the knee; while closely-fitting lamb's-wool long
stockings showed off the shape of a pair of legs which, for symmetry,
looked as if they had been turned in a lathe. Of his feet I have
already spoken; and on this occasion they did not belie what I said.

Old Mick desired Edward Lennon "to bring Phil M'Dermot the smith's son
with him. He was a fine young man, a good dancer, and had mended a
couple of ploughs for him in first-rate style, an' very raisonable,
for the winther plowing."

Tom Murdock did not want for fine clothes, of course. Two or three
suits were at his command; and as this was Sunday, he had one of his
best on. It was "given up to him" by most of the girls that he was the
handsomest and best-dressed man in the parish of Rathcash, and some
would have added Shanvilla; yet he now felt, as he stole envious
glances at young Lennon, that his case with Winny Cavana might not be
altogether a "walk over." All Tom's comparisons and metaphors had
reference to horse-racing.

This little incident, however, cut young Lennon out of his usual few
words with Winny; for, as a girl with a well-regulated mind, she could
not venture to dawdle on the road until old Murdock had done speaking
to Emon: she knew that would be remarked. She had never happened to
see old Murdock speaking to Emon before, and her secret wonder now was--
"Could it be possible that he was asking Edward Lennon for All-Hallow
Eve?"

Quite possible, Winny; but you scarcely have time to find out before
you meet him there, for another Sunday will not intervene before the
party.



CHAPTER VI.


The last day of October came round apace, and about six o'clock in the
evening the company began to arrive at old Mick Murdock's. Winny
Cavana and her father took their time. They were near enough to make
their entree at any moment; and Winny had some idea, like her betters,
that it was not genteel to be the first. She now delayed, however, to
the other extreme, and kept her father waiting, under the pretence
that she was finishing her toilet, until, on their arrival, they found
all the guests assembled. Winny flaunted in, leaning upon her father's
arm, "the admired of all admirers." Not being very learned in the
mysteries of the toilet, I shall not attempt to describe the dresses
of the girls upon this occasion, nor the elaborate manner in which
their heads were set out, oiled, and bedizened to an amazing extent,
while the roses above their left ears seemed to have been all culled
from the same tree.

Altogether there were about sixteen young persons, pretty equally
divided as to boys and girls, beside some--and some only--of their
fathers and mothers. Soon after the arrival of Ned Cavana and his
daughter, who were the guests of the evening, supper was announced,
and there was a general move into the "large parlor," where a long
table was set out with a snow-white cloth, where plates (if not
covers) were laid for at least twenty-four. In the middle of the table
stood a smoking dish of _calcannon_, which appeared to defy them, and
as many more; while at either end was a _raking_ pot of tea, surrounded
with cups and saucers innumerable, with pyramids of cut
bread-and-butter nearly an inch thick.

The company having taken their seats, it was announced by the host
that there were "two goold weddin'-rings in the _calcannon;_" but
whereabouts, of course, no one could tell. He had borrowed them from
two of the married women present, and was bound to restore them; so he
begged of his young friends, for his sake as well as their own, to be
careful not to swallow them. It was too well known what was to be the
lot of the happy finders before that day twelvemonth for him to say
anything upon that part of the subject. He would request of Mrs.
Moran, who had seen more All-Hallow Eves than any woman there
present--he meant no offence--to help the calcannon.

After this little introduction, Mrs. Moran, who by previous
arrangement was sitting opposite the savory volcano, distributed it
with unquestionable impartiality. It was a well-known rule on all such
occasions that no one commenced until all were helped, when a signal
was given, and a simultaneous plunge of spoons took place.

Another rule was that all the married persons should content
themselves with tea and bread-and-butter, in order that none of them
might possibly rob the youngsters of their chance of the ring. Upon
this occasion, however, this restriction had been neatly obviated by
Mrs. Moran's experience in such matters; and there was a _knock-oge_
of the same delicious food without any ring, which she called "the
married dish." The tea was handed up and down from each end of the
table until it met in the middle, and for some time there was a silent
onslaught on the calcannon, washed down now and then by a copious
draught of tea.

"I have it! I have it!" shouted Phil M'Dermott, taking it from between
his teeth and holding it up, while his cheeks deepened three shades
nearer to the color of the rose in Kate Mulvey's hair, nearly
opposite.

"A lucky man," observed Mrs. Moran, methodically, who seemed to be
mistress of the mysteries. "Now for the lucky girl; and lucky
everybody will say she must be."

The words were scarcely finished when Kate Mulvey coughed as if she
were choking; but pulling the other ring from her mouth, she soon
recovered herself, declaring that she had nearly swallowed it.

Matters, as Mrs. Moran thought, had so far gone quite right, and a
hearty quizzing the young couple got; but, to tell the truth, one of
them did not seem to be particularly satisfied with the result. The
attack upon the calcannon from this point waxed very weak, for the
charm was broken, and the tea and bread-and-butter came into play.
Apples and nuts were now laid down in abundance, and the young girls
might be seen picking a couple of pairs of nice nuts out of those on
the plate, as nearly as fancy might suggest, to match the figures of
those whom they were intended to represent upon the bar of the grate.
Almost as if by magic a regiment of nuts in pairs were seen smoking,
and some of them stirring and purring on the flat bar at the bottom of
the grate, which had been swept, and the fire brightened up, for the
purpose. Of course Mrs. Moran insisted upon openly putting down Phil
M'Dermott and Kate Mulvey of the rings; for in general there is a
secrecy observed as to _who_ the _nuts_ are, in order to save the
constant girl from a laugh at the fickleness of her bachelor, should
he go off in a shot from her side, and _vice versâ_. And here the
mistress of the mysteries was not at fault. Kate Mulvey, without
either smoking or getting red at one end (which was a good sign), went
off like the report of a pistol, and was actually heard striking
against the door as if to get out. There was a general laugh at Mrs.
Moran's expense, who was told that it was a strong proof in favor of
putting the pairs down secretly.

But Mrs. Moran was too experienced a mistress of her position to be
taken aback, and quietly said, "Not at all, my dears. I have three
times to burn them, if he does not follow her; but he has three
minutes to do so."

As she spoke there was another shot. Phil M'Dermott could not stand
the heat by himself, and was off to the door after Kate Mulvey.

This was a crowning triumph to Mrs. Moran, who quietly put back the
second pair of nuts which she had just selected for another test of
the same couple, and remarked that "it was all right now."

The couples, generally speaking, seemed to answer the expectations of
their respective match-makers better than perhaps the results in real
life might subsequently justify. It is not to be supposed that on this
occasion Tom Murdock and Winny Cavana did not find a place upon the
bar of the grate. But as Winny had given no encouragement to any one
to put her down with him, and as the mistress of the mysteries alone
could claim a right to do so openly, as in the case of the rings,
their place, with the result, could be known only to those who put
them down, and perhaps a confidant.

There were a few pops occasionally, calling forth exclamations of "The
good-for-nothing fellow!" or "The fickle lass!" while some burned into
bright balls--the admiration of all the true and constant lovers
present.

The next portion of the mysteries were three plates, placed in a row
upon the table; one contained earth, another water, and the third a
gold ring. This was, by some, considered rather a nervous test of
futurity, and some objections were whispered by the timid amongst
them. The fearless and enthusiastic, however, clamored that nothing
should be left out, and a handkerchief to blind the adventurers was
produced. The mystery was this: a young person was taken outside the
door, and there blindfolded; he, or she, was then led in again, and
placed opposite to the plates, sufficiently near to touch them; when
told that "all was right," he, with his fore-finger pointed, placed it
upon one of the plates. That with the earth symbolled forth sudden, or
perhaps violent, death; that with the water, emigration or ship-wreck;
while that with the ring, of course a wedding and domestic happiness.

Young people were not generally averse to subject themselves to this
ordeal, as in nine cases out of ten they managed either to be
previously acquainted with the position of the plates, or, having been
blindfolded by their own bachelor, to have a peep-hole down by the
corner of their nose, which enabled them to secure the most gratifying
result of the three.

With this usual course before his mind, Tom Murdock, as junior host,
presented himself for the test, hoping that Winny Cavana, whom he had
asked to do so, would blindfold him. But in this instance he had
presumed too far; and while she hesitated to comply, the mistress of
the mysteries came to her relief.

"No, no, Tom," she said, folding the handkerchief; "that is my
business, and I'll transfer it to no one; come outside with me."

Tom was ashamed to draw back, and retired with Mrs. Moran to the hall.
He soon returned, led in by her, with a handkerchief tied tightly over
his eyes; there was no peep-hole by the side of his nose, let him hold
back his head as he might, Mrs. Moran took care of that. Having
been placed near the table, he was told that he was exactly opposite
the plates. He pointed out his fore-finger, and threw back his head as
much as possible, as if considering, but in fact to try if he could
get a peep at the plates; but it was no use. Mrs. Moran had rendered
his temporary blindness cruelly secure. At length his hand descended,
and he placed his finger into the middle of the earth.

"Pshaw," said he, pulling the handkerchief off his eyes, "it is all
humbug! Let Lennon try it."

"Certainly, certainly," ran from one to the other. It might have been
remarked, however, if any one had been observing, that Winny Cavana
had not spoken.

Young Lennon then retired to the hall with Mrs. Moran, and was soon
led in tightly blindfolded, for the young man was no more to her than
the other; beside, she was strictly honorable. The plates had been
re-arranged by Tom Murdock himself, which most people remarked, as it
was some time before he was satisfied with their position. Lennon was
then placed, as Tom had been, and told that "all was right." There was
some nervousness in more hearts than one as he pointed his finger and
brought down his hand. He also placed his finger in the centre of the
plate with the earth, and pulled the handkerchief from his eyes.

"Now, you see," said Tom, "others can fail as well as me;" and he
seemed greatly pleased that young Lennon had been as unsuccessful as
himself.

A murmur of dissatisfaction now ran through the girls. The two
favorites had been unfortunate in their attempts at divination, and
there was one young girl there who, when she saw Emon-a-knock's finger
fall on the plate with the earth, felt as if a weight had been tied
round her heart. It was unanimously agreed by the elderly women
present, Mrs. Moran amongst the number, that these tests had turned
out directly contrary to what the circumstances of the locality, and
the characters of the individuals, would indicate as probable, and the
whole process was ridiculed as false and unprophetic. "Time will tell,
jewel," said one old croaking crone.

A loud burst of laughter from the kitchen at this moment told that the
servant-boys and girls, who had also been invited, were not idle. The
matches having been all either clenched or broken off in the parlor,
and the test of the plates, as if by mutual consent, having been
declared unsatisfactory, old Murdock thought it a good opportunity to
move an adjournment of the whole party, to see the fun in the kitchen,
which was seconded by Mrs. Moran, and carried _nem. con._



CHAPTER VII.


Here it was that the real fun was going on! From the centre of the
veiling hung a strong piece of cord, with cross sticks, about eighteen
inches long, at the end. On each end of one of these sticks was stuck
a short piece of lighted candle, while on the ends of the other were
stuck small apples of a peculiarly good kind. The cross was then set
turning, when some plucky hero snapped at the apples as they went
round, but as often caught the lighted candle in his mouth, when a
hearty laugh from the circle of spectators proclaimed his
discomfiture. On the other hand, if fortunate enough to secure one of
the apples, a clapping of hands, and shouts of "Well done!" proclaimed
his victory.

A little to one side of this "merry-go-round" was a huge tub of
spring-water, fresh from the pump, and as clear as crystal. It was
intended that the performers at this portion of the fun should,
stripped to the waist, dive for pence or whatever silver the
by-standers chose to throw in. Up to this it had not come into play,
for until their "betthers came down from the parlor" no silver was
thrown in; and the youngsters were "loth to wet theirsel's for
nothin'." Now, however, a _tenpenny-bit_ from Tom Murdock soon
glittered on the bottom of the tub, a full foot and a half under
water. Forthwith two or three young fellows "peeled off," to prove
their abilities as divers. The first, a black-haired fellow, with a
head as round as a cannon-ball, after struggling and bubbling until
the people began to think he was smothering, came up without the
prize. He was handed a kitchen towel to rub himself with; while one of
the other young gladiators adjusted the tenpenny-bit in the middle of
the tub, drew in a long breath, and down he went like a duck. He
was not nearly so long down as the other had been; he neither
struggled nor bubbled, and came up with the money between his teeth.

"It wasn't your first time, Jamesy, anyhow," said one.

"How did you get a hoult of it, Jamesy avic?" said another.

But he kept drying his head, and never minding them.

Another tenpenny was then thrown in by old Ned Cavana; it withstood
repeated efforts, but was at last fairly brought up. Jamesy seemed to
be the most expert, for having lifted this second tenpenny, his
abilities were finally tested with a _fippenny-bit_, which after one
or two failures he brought up triumphantly in his teeth; all the other
divers having declined to try their powers upon it.

By this time the kitchen floor was very wet, and it was thought,
particularly by the contributors to the tub, that there had been
enough of that sort of fun. The girls, who were standing in whatever
dry spots of the flags they could find, thought so too; they, did not
wish to wet their shoes before the dance, and there was another move
back to the parlor.

Here the scene was completely changed, as if indeed by magic, as
nobody had been missed for the performance. The long table was no
where to be seen, while the chairs and forms were ranged along the
walls, and old Murrin the piper greeted their entrance with an
enlivening jig.

Partners were of course selected at once, and as young Lennon _happened_
to be coming in from the kitchen with Winny Cavana at the moment, they
were soon with arms akimbo footing it to admiration opposite each
other. Not far from them another couple were exhibiting in like
manner. They were Tom Murdock and Kate Mulvey; while several other
pairs were "footing it" through the room. To judge from the
self-satisfied smile upon Kate Mulvey's handsome lips, she was not a
little proud or well pleased at having taken Tom Murdock from the
belle of the party; for she had too much self-esteem to think that it
was the belle of the party had been taken from Tom Murdock.

I need not pursue the several sets which were danced, nor
particularize the pairs who were partners on the occasion. Of course
Tom Murdock took the first opportunity possible to claim the hand of
Winifred Cavana for a dance. Indeed, he was ill-pleased that in his
own house he had permitted any chance circumstance to prevent his
having opened the dance with her, and apologized for it--"but it
happened in a manner over which he had no control." He had picked up
that expression at a race-course.

With all his bitterness he had the good sense not to make a scene by
endeavoring to frustrate that which he had not the tact to obviate by
pre-arrangement. Winny had made no reply to his apology, and he
continued, "I did not ask Kate Mulvey to dance until I saw you led out
by young Lennon."

"That is a bad compliment to Kate," she observed.

"I can't help that," said he gruffly; "some people take time d-mn-bly
by the forelock."

"That cannot apply to either him or me in this case; there were two
pairs dancing before he asked me."

Now although this was certainly not said by way of reproach to Tom for
not himself being sooner, it was unanswerable, and he did not try to
answer it. He was not however in such good humor as to forward himself
much in Winny's good opinion, and Emon-a-knock, who watched him
closely, was content that he should be her sole beau for the rest of
the evening.

Refreshments were now brought in; cold punch for the boys and "nagus"
for the girls; for old Murdock could afford to make a splash, and this
he thought "was his time to do it. If any one was hungry, there was
plenty of cold mate and bread on the kitchen dresser." But after
the calcannon and tea, nobody seemed to hear him.

After the liquor on the first tray was disposed of, and the glasses
collected for a replenish, a solo jig was universally called for. The
two best dancers in the province were present--Tom Murdock and Edward
Lennon, so there could be no failure.

Old Murdock had never seen young Lennon dance until that night, and so
far as he could judge, "he was not the man that Tom need be afraid
of." He had often seen Tom's best dancing, and certainly nothing which
young Lennon had exhibited there up to that time could at all touch
it.

"Come, Tom," said he, "give the girls a specimen of what you can do,
your lone," and he laid the poker and tongs across each other in the
middle of the floor.

Paddy Murrin struck up a spirit-stirring jig, which no one could
resist. The girls were all dancing it "to themselves," and young
Lennon's feet were dying to be at it, but of course he must wait.

Indeed he was not anxious to exhibit in opposition to his host's son,
but feared his reputation as a dancer would put him in for it.

Tom Murdock having been thus called on, was tightening the fung of one
of his pumps, to begin. Turning then to Murrin, he called for "the
fox-hunter's jig."

He now commenced, and like a knowing professor of his art "took it
easy" at the commencement, determined however to astonish them ere he
had done. He felt that he was dancing well, but knew that he could
dance much better, and would presently do so. He had often tried the
"poker and tongs jig," but hitherto never quite to his satisfaction.
He had sometimes come off perfectly victorious, without touching them,
but as often managed to kick them about the floor. He was now on his
mettle, not only on account of Winny Cavana, but also because "that
whelp, Lennon, was looking on, which he had no right to be." For a
while he succeeded admirably. He had tipped each division of the cross
with both heel and toe, several times with rapid and successful
precision; but becoming enthusiastic, as the plaudits passed round, he
called to Murrin "to play faster," when after a few moments of
increased speed, he tripped in the tongs, and came flat on his back
upon the floor. He was soon up again, and a few touches of the
clothes-brush set all to rights, except the irrepressible titter that
ran round the room.

Of course there was an excuse one of the fungs of his pump had again
loosened and caught in the tongs. This was not merely an excuse, but a
fact, upon which Tom Murdock built much consolation for his "partial
failure," as he himself jocosely called it; but he was savage at
heart.

There was a general call now from the girls for young Lennon, and
"Emon-a-knock, Emon-a-knock," resounded on all sides. He would not
rise, however; he was now more unwilling than ever to "dance a match,"
as he called it to himself, with his host's son.

The "partial failure" of his rival--and he was honest enough to admit
that it was but partial, and could not have been avoided--gave him
well-founded hopes of a triumph. He too had tried his powers of
agility by the poker and tongs test, and oftener with success than
otherwise. It was some time now since he had tried it, as latterly he
had not much time to spare for such amusements. He was unwilling, but
not from fear of failure, to get up; but no excuse would be taken; he
was caught by the collar of his coat by two sturdy handsome girls, and
dragged into the middle of the room. Thus placed before the
spectators, he could not refuse the ordeal, as it might be called.

He had his wits about him, however. He had seen Tom Murdock whisper
something to the piper when he was first called on to stand up, and it
proved that he was not astray as to its purport.

Recollecting the jig he was in the habit of dancing the poker and
tongs to, he asked the piper to play it. Murrin hesitated, and at last
came out with a stammer that "he hadn't it, but he'd give him one as
good," striking up the most difficult jig in the Irish catalogue to
dance to.

"No," said Lennon stoutly, "I heard you play the jig I called for a
hundred times, and no later than last night, Pat, at Jemmy Mullarky's,
as I passed home from work, and I'll have no other."

"I took whatever jig he happened to strike up," said Tom with a sneer.

"You might have had your choice, for that matter, and I daresay you
had," replied Lennon, "and I'll have mine! It is my right."

"If a man can dance," continued Tom, "he ought to be able to dance to
any jig that's given him; it's like a man that can only say his
prayers out of his own book." And there was a suppressed smile at
Lennon's expense.

He saw it, and his blood was up in a moment.

"He may play any jig he chooses now," exclaimed Lennon, "except one,
and that is the one _you_ told him to play," taking his chance that his
suspicions were correct as to the purport of the whisper.

"I'll play the one I pled for the young masther himself; an' if that
doesn't shoot you, you needn't dance at all," said Murrin, apparently
prompted again by Tom Murdock.

This was a decision from which no impartial person could dissent, and
Lennon seemed perfectly satisfied, but after all this jaw and
interruption he felt in no great humor to dance, and almost feared the
result.

As he stood up he caught a glance from Winny's eye which banished
every thought save that of complying with that look. If ever a look
planted an undying resolve in a man's heart it was that. It called him
"Emon" as plain as if she had spoken it, and said, "Don't let _that
fellow_ put you down," and quick as the glance was it added, "he's a
nasty fellow."

To it now Emon went with his whole heart. He cared not what jig Pat
Murrin played, "or any other piper," he was able for them.

At first the quiet tipping of his heel and toe upon the floor, with
now and then a flat stamp which threw up the dust, was inimitable. As
he got into the "merits of the thing," the music was obliged to vie
with him in activity. It seemed as much as if he was dancing for the
piper to play to, as that the piper was playing for him to dance.
Those who were up to the merits of an Irish jig, could have told the
one he was dancing to if there had been no music at all. There was a
tip, a curl, or a stamp for every note in the tune. In fact he played
the jig upon the floor with his feet. He now closed the poker and
tongs with confidence, while Tom Murdock looked on with a malicious
hope that he too would bungle the business; and Winny Cavana looked on
with a timid fear of the same result. But he danced through and
amongst them as if by magic--a toe here, and a heel there, in each
compartment of the crossed irons with the rapidity of lightning, but
he never touched one of them.

"Quicker! quicker," cried Murdock to the piper, seeing that Lennon was
perfect master of his position.

"Aye, as quick as you like," stammered Lennon, almost out of breath;
and the increased speed of the music brought forth more striking
performance, testified to by the applause which greeted his finishing
bow.

He caught a short glance again from Winny's eye, as he passed to a
vacant seat. "Thank you, Emon, from my heart," it said, as plainly as
the other had spoken when he stood up.

It was now well on in the small hours, and as old Murdock and his son
had both ceased in a manner to do any more honors, their silence was
accepted as a sort of "notice to quit," and there was a general
move in search of bonnets and cloaks. Tom Murdock knew that he was in
the dumps, and wisely left Winny to her father's escort. Lennon's way
lay by the Mulveys, and he was "that far" with Kate and some others.
Indeed, all the branch roads and pathways were echoing to the noisy
chat and opinions of the scattered party on their several ways home.



CHAPTER VIII.


The after-reflections of those most interested in the above gathering
were various, and it must be admitted to some extent unsatisfactory.
First of all, old Murdock was keen enough to perceive that he had not
furthered his object in the least by having given the party at all.
From what Tom had told him he had kept a close watch upon young
Lennon, of whose aspirations toward Winny Cavana he had now no doubt,
and if he was not sure of a preference upon her part toward him, he
was quite certain that she had none toward Tom. This was the natural
result of old Murdock's observations of Winny's conduct during the
evening,--who, while she could and did hide the one, could not, and
did not, hide the other.

Tom Murdock was the least satisfied of them all with the whole
business, and sullenly told his father, who had done it all to serve
him, that "he had done more harm than good, and that he knew he would,
by asking that whelp Lennon; and he hoped he might never die till he
broke every bone in his body. By hook or by crook, by fair means or
foul, he must put a stop to his hopes in that quarter."

His father was silent. He felt that he had not advanced matters by his
party. Old Cavana was not the sharp old man in these matters, either
to mind or divine from how many points the wind blew, and quietly
supposed all had gone on smoothly, as he and old Murdock wished.

Winifred had been more than confirmed in her dislike to Tom Murdock,
while her secret preference for Emon-a-knock had been in no respect
diminished. She had depth enough also to perceive that Kate Mulvey was
anxious enough to propitiate the good opinion, to which she had taken
no pains to hide her indifference. She was aware that Kate Mulvey's
name had been associated with young Lennon's by the village gossips,
but she had seen nothing on that night to justify any apprehension, if
she chose to set herself to work. She would take an opportunity of
sounding her friend upon this momentous subject, and finding out how
the land really lay. If that was the side of her head Kate's cap was
inclined to lean to, might they not strike a quiet and confidential
little bargain between them, as regarded these two young men?

Kate Mulvey's thoughts were not very much at variance with those of
her friend Winny. She, not having the same penetration into the
probable results of sinister looks and scowling brows; or not,
perhaps, having ever perceived them, had thrown one of the nicest caps
that ever came from a smoothing-iron at Tom Murdock, but she feared he
had not yet picked it up. She was afraid, until the night of the
party, that her friend and rival--yes, it is only in the higher ranks
of society that the two cannot be united--had thrown a still more
richly trimmed one at him; but on that night, and she had watched
closely, she had formed a reasonable belief that her fear was totally
unfounded. She was not quite sure that it had not been let drop in
Emon-a-knock's way, if not actually thrown at him. These girls, in
such cases, are so sharp!

The very same thought had struck her. She also had determined upon
sounding her friend Winny, and would take the first favorable
opportunity of having a confidential chat with her upon the subject.
The girls were very intimate, and were not rivals, only they did not
know it. We shall see by-and-by how they "sounded" each other.

Young Lennon's after-thoughts, upon the whole, were more satisfactory
than perhaps those of any of the other principal persons concerned. If
Winny Cavana had not shown him a decided preference over the general
set of young men there, she had certainly been still less particular
in her conduct and manner toward Tom Murdock. These matters, no doubt,
are managed pretty much the same in all ranks of society, though, of
course, not with the same refinement; and to young Lennon, whose heart
was on the watch, as well as his eyes, one or two little incidents
during the night gave him some faint hopes that, as yet at least, his
rich rival had not made much way against him. Hitherto, young Lennon
had looked upon the rich heiress of Rathcash as a fruit too high for
him to reach from the low ground upon which he stood, and had given
more of his attention to her poorer neighbor Kate Mulvey. He, however,
met with decided reluctance in that quarter, and being neither
cowardly, ignorant, nor shy, he had improved one or two favorable
occasions with Winny Cavana at the party, whom he now had some,
perhaps delusive, notion was not so far above his reach after all.

These are the only persons with whose after-thoughts we are concerned.
There may have been some other by-play on the part of two or three
fine young men and handsome girls, who burned themselves upon the bar,
and danced together after they became cinders, but as they are in no
respect mixed up with our story, we may pass them by without
investigating their thoughts, further than to declare that they were
all well pleased, and that the praises of old Murdock's munificence
rang from one end of the parish to the other.



CHAPTER IX.


I must now describe a portion of the garden which stretched out from
the back of old Ned Cavana's premises. A large well-enclosed farmyard,
almost immediately at the rear of the house, gave evidence of the
comfort and plenty belonging not only to the old man himself, but to
everything living and dead about the place; and as we shall be obliged
to pass through this farm-yard to get into the garden, we may as well
describe it first. Stacks of corn, wheat, oats, and barley, in great
variety of size, pointed the pinnacles of their finishing touch to the
sky. Sticking up from some of these were sham weather-cocks, made of
straw, in the shape of fish, fowl, dogs, and cats, the handiwork of
Jamesy Doyle, the servant boy,--the same black-headed urchin who lifted
the tenpenny-bit out of the tub at old Murdock's party. They were
fastened upon sticks, which did not turn round, and were therefore put
up more to frighten away the sparrows than for the purpose of
indicating which way the wind blew, or, more likely still, as mere
specimens of Jamesy Doyle's ingenuity. The whole yard was covered a
foot deep with loose straw, for the double purpose of giving comfort
to two or three litters of young pigs, and that of being used up, by
the constant tramping, into manure for the farm; for cows, heifers,
and calves strayed about it without interruption. A grand flock of
geese, as white as snow and as large nearly as swans, marched in from
the fields, headed by their gander, every evening about the same hour,
to spend their night gaggling and watching and sleeping by turns under
the stacks of corn, which were raised upon stone pillars with mushroom
metal-caps, to keep out the rats and mice. A big black cock, with a
hanging red comb and white jowls, and innumerable hens belonging to
him, something on the Brigham Young system, marched triumphantly
about, calling his favorites every now and then with a quick
melancholy little chuckle as often as he found a tit-bit amongst the
straw. Ducks, half as large as the geese, coming home without a
feather raffled, in a mottled string of all colors, from the stream
below the hill, diving, for variety, into the clean straw, emerging
now and then, and smattering with their flat bills in any little
puddle of water that lay between the pavement in the bare part of the
yard. "Bullydhu," the watch-dog, as evening closed, taking possession
of a small wooden house upon wheels,--Jamesy Doyle's handiwork
too,--that it might be turned to the shelter, whichever way the wind
blew. It was a miracle to see Bully getting into it, the door was so
low; another piece of consideration of Jamesy's for the dog's comfort.
You could only know when he was in it by seeing his large soft paws
under the arch of the low door.

Beyond this farm-yard--farm in all its appearance and realities--was
the garden. A thick, high, furze hedge, about sixty yards long, ran
down one side of it, from the corner of the farmyard wall; and at the
further end of this hedge, which was the square of the garden, and
facing the sun, was certainly the most complete and beautiful
summer-house in the parish of Rathcash, or Jamesy Doyle was very much
mistaken. It also was his handiwork. In fact, there was nothing Jamesy
could not turn his hands to, and his heart was as ready as his hands,
so that he was always successful, but here he had outstripped all his
former ingenuity. The bower was now of four years' standing, and every
summer Jamesy was proud to see that nature had approved of his plan by
endorsing it with a hundred different signatures. With the other
portions of the garden or its several crops, we have nothing to do; we
will therefore linger for a while about the furze hedge and in
"Jamesy's bower" to see what may turn up. But I must describe another
item in the locality.

Immediately outside the hedge there was a lane, common to a certain
extent to both farms. It might be said to divide them. It lay quite
close to the furze hedge, which ran in a straight line a long distance
beyond where "Jamesy's bower" formed one of the angles of the garden.
There was a gate across the lane precisely outside the corner where
the bower had been made, and this was the extent of Murdock's right or
title to the commonalty of the lane. Passing through this gate,
Murdock branched off to the left with the produce of his farm. It is a
long lane, they say, that has no turning, and although the portion of
this one with which we are concerned was only sixty yards long, I have
not, perhaps, brought the reader to the spot so quickly as I might. I
certainly could have brought him through the yard without putting even
the word "farm" before it, or without saying a word about the stacks
of corn and the weather-cocks, the pigs, cows, heifers, and calves,
the geese, ducks, cock, and hens, "Bullydhu" and his house, etc., and
with a hop, step, and a leap I might have placed him in "Jamesy's
bower" if he had been the person to occupy it--but he was not. With
every twig, however, of the hedge and the bower it is necessary that
my readers should be well acquainted; and I hope I have succeeded in
making them so.

Winny Cavana was a thoughtful, thrifty girl, an experienced
housekeeper, never allowing one job to overtake another where it could
be avoided. Of course incidental difficulties would sometimes arise;
but in general she managed everything so nicely and systematically
that matters fell into their own time and place as regularly as
possible.

When Winny got the invitation for Mick Murdock's party, which was only
in the forenoon of the day before it came off, her first thought was,
that she would be very tired and ill-fitted for business the day after
it was over. She therefore called Jamesy Doyle to her assistance, and
on that day and the next, she got through whatever household
jobs would bear performance in advance, and instructed Jamesy as to
some little matters which she used to oversee herself, but which on
this occasion she would entrust solely to his own intelligence and
judgment for the day after the party. She could not have committed
them to a more competent or conscientious lad. Anything Jamesy
undertook to do, he did it well, as we have already seen both in the
haggard, the garden, and the tub--for it was he who brought up the
fippenny-bit at Murdock's, and he would lay down his life to serve or
even to oblige Winny Cavana.

Having thus purchased an idle day after the party, Winny was
determined to enjoy it, and after a very late breakfast, for her
father, poor soul, was dead tired, she called Jamesy, and examined him
as to what he had done or left undone. Finding that, notwithstanding
he had been up as late as she had been herself the night before, he
had been faithful to the trust reposed in him, and that everything was
in trim order, she then complimented him upon his snapping and diving
abilities.

"How much did you take up out of the tub, Jamesy?" she asked.

"Be gorra, Miss Winny, I took up two tenpenny-bits an' a fippenny."

"And what will you do with all that money, Jamesy? it is nearly a
month's wages."

"Be gorra, my mother has it afore this, Miss Winny."

"That is a good boy, Jamesy, but you shouldn't curse."

"Be gorra, I won't, miss; but I didn't think that was cursing, at all,
at all."

"Well, it is swearing, Jamesy, and that is just as bad."

"Well, Miss Winny, you'll never hear me say it agen."

"That's right, James. Is the garden open?

"It is, miss; I'm afther bringing out an armful of leaves to bile for
the pigs."

Winny passed on through the yard into the garden. It was a fine, mild
day for the time of year, and she was soon sitting in the bower with
an unopened story-book in her lap. It was a piece of idle folly her
bringing the book there at all. In the first place, she had it by
heart--for books were scarce in that locality, and were often
read--and in the next, she was more in a humor to think than to read.
It was no strange thing, under the circumstances, if, like some
heroines of a higher stamp, "she fell into a reverie." "How long she
remained thus," to use the patent phrase in such a case, must be a
mere matter of surmise; but a step at the gate outside the hedge, and
her own name distinctly pronounced, caused her to start.
Eaves-dropping has been universally condemned, and "listeners," they
say, "never hear good of themselves." But where is the young girl, or
indeed any person, hearing their own name pronounced, and being in a
position to listen unobserved, who would not do so? Our heroine, at
all events, was not "above that sort of thing," and instead of
hemming, or coughing, or shuffling her feet in the gravel, she cocked
her ears and held her breath. We would be a little indulgent to a
person so sorely tempted, whatever our readers may think.

"If Winny Cavana," she heard, "was twice as proud, an' twice as great
a lady, you may believe me, Tom, she wouldn't refuse you. She'll have
six hundred pounds as round as the crown of your hat; an' that fine
farm we're afther walkin' over; like her, or not like her, take my
advice an' don't lose the fortune an' the farm."

"Not if I can help it, father. There's more reason than you know of
why I should secure the ready money of her fortune at any rate; as to
herself, if it wasn't for that, she might marry Tom Naddy _th'
aumadhawn_ if she had a mind."

"Had you any chat with her last night, Tom? Oh then, wasn't she
lookin' elegant!"

"As elegant as you please, father, but as proud as a peacock. No, I
had no chat with her, except what the whole room could hear; she was
determined on that, and I'm still of opinion that you did more harm
than good."

"Not if you were worth a _thrawncen_, Tom. Arrah avic machree, you
don't undherstand her; that was all put on, man alive. I'm afeerd
she'll think you haven't the pluck in you; she's a sperited girl
herself, and depend upon it she expects you to spake, an' its what
she's vexed at, your dilly-dallyin'. Why did you let that fellow take
her out for the first dance? I heerd Mrs. Moran remark it to Kitty
Mulvey's mother."

"That was a mistake, father; he had her out before I got in from the
kitchen."

"They don't like them mistakes, Tom, an' that's the very thing I blame
you for; you should have stuck to her like a leech the whole night;
they like a man that's in earnest. Take my advice, Tom avic, an put
the question plump to her at wanst fore Shraftide. Tell her I'll lay
down a pound for you for every pound her father gives her, and I'll
make over this place to you out an out. Old Ned an I will live
together while we last, an that can't be long, Tom avic. I know he'll
settle Rathcash upon Winny, and he'll have the interest of her fortune
beside--"

"Interest be d--d!" interrupted Tom; "won't he pay the money down?"

"He might do that same, but I think not; he's afeerd it might be
dribbled away, but with Rathcash, an Rathcashmore joined, the devil's
in it and she can't live like a lady; at all events, Tom, you can live
like a gentleman; ould Ned's for you entirely, Tom, I can tell you
that."

"That is all very well, father, and I wish that you could make me
think that your words would come true, but I'm not come to
four-and-twenty years of age without knowing something of the way
girls get on; and if that one is not set on young Lennon, my name is
not Tom Murdock; and I'll tell you what's more, that if it wasn't for
her fortune and that farm, he might have her and welcome. There are
many girls in the parish as handsome, and handsomer for that matter,
than what she is, that would just jump at me."

"I know that, Tom agra, but maybe it's what you'll only fix her on
that whelp, as you call him, the stronger, if you be houldin' back the
way you do. They like pluck, Tom; they like pluck, I tell you, and in
my opinion she's only makin' b'lief, to dhraw you out. Try her, Tom,
try her."

"I will, father, and if I fail, and I find that that spalpeen Lennon
is at the bottom of it, let them both look out, that's all. For his
part, I have a way of dealing with him that he knows nothing about,
and as for her--"

Here Jamesy Doyle came out into the lane from the farm-yard, and
father and son immediately branched off in the direction of their own
house, leaving Tom Murdock's second part of the threat unfinished.

But Winny had heard enough. Her heart, which had been beating with
indignation the whole time, had nearly betrayed itself when she heard
Emon-a-knock called a spalpeen.

One thing she was now certain of, and the certainty gave her whole
soul relief,--that if ever Tom Murdock could have had any chance of
success through her father's influence, and her love for him, it was
now entirely at an end for ever. Should her father urge the match upon
her, she had, as a last remedy, but to reveal this conversation, to
gain him over indignantly to her side.

Winny was seldom very wrong in her likings or dislikings, although
perhaps both were formed in some instances rather hastily, and she
often knew not why. In Tom Murdock's case, she was glad, and now
rather "proud out of herself," that she had never liked him.

"I knew the dirt was in him," she said to herself as she returned to
the house. "I wish he did not live so near us, for I foresee nothing
but trouble and vexation before me on his account. I'm sorry Jamesy
Doyle came out so soon. I'd like to have heard what he was going to
say of myself, but sure he said enough. Em-on-a-knock may despise
himself and his threat." And she went into the house to prepare the
dinner.

Tom Murdock, notwithstanding his shortcomings, and they were neither
few nor far between, was a shrewd, clever fellow in most matters. It
was owing to this shrewdness that he resolved to watch for some
favorable opportunity, rather than seek a formal meeting with Winny
Cavana "_at wanst_" as had been 'advised by his father.



CHAPTER X.


It is not to be wondered at that two persons, equally clever in all
respects, and having a similar though not identical object in view,
should have pretty much the same thoughts respecting the manner of
carrying it out, and finally pursue the same course to effect their
purpose. But the matter involves some nicety, if not difficulty, when
it so happens that those two persons have to work upon each other in a
double case. It is then a matter of diamond cut diamond; and if, as I
have suggested, both are equally clever, the discussion of the subject
between them would make no bad scene in a play. Winny wanted to find
out something from Kate Mulvey, and at the same time to hide something
from her. Kate Mulvey was on precisely the same intent with Winny
Cavana in both ways; so that some such tournament must come off
between them the first time they met, with sufficient opportunity to
"have it out" without interruption.

You have seen that Winny had determined to sound her friend Kate, as
to how her land lay between these two young men. If Kate had not made
a like determination as to sounding Winny, she was, at all events,
ready for the encounter at any moment, and had discussed the matter
over and over in her own mind. Their mutual object, then, was to find
out which of the young men was the real object of the other's
affections; and up to the present moment each believed the other to be
a formidable rival to her own hopes.

Winny was not one who hesitated about any matter which she felt to
require immediate performance; and as she knew that some indefinite
time might elapse before an opportunity could occur to have her chat
out with Kate Mulvey, she was resolved to make one.

Her father's house, as the reader has seen in the commencement, was
not on the roadside. There was no general pass that way; and except
persons had business to old Cavana's or Mick Murdock's, they never
went up the lane, which was common to both the houses of these rich
farmers. It was not so with the house where Kate Mulvey resided. Its
full front was to the high-road, with a space not more than three
perches between. This space had been originally what is termed in that
rank of life "a bawn," but was now wisely converted into a
cabbage-garden, with a broad clean gravel-walk running through the
centre of the plot, from the road to the door. It was about half a
mile from Cavana's, and there was a full view of the road, for a long
stretch, from the door or window of the house--that is, of Mulvey's.

It was now a fine mild day toward the end of November. Old Mick
Murdock's party had ceased to be spoken of, and perhaps forgotten,
except by the few with whom we have to do. Winny Cavana put on her
everyday bonnet and her everyday cloak, and started for a walk.
Bully-dhu capered round her in an awkward playful manner, with a
deep-toned howl of joy when he saw these preparations, and trotted
down the lane before her. As may be anticipated, she bent her steps
down the road toward Mulvey's house. She knew she could be seen coming
for some distance, and hoped that Kate might greet her from the door
as she passed. She was not mistaken; Kate had seen her from the
first turn in the road toward the house, and was all alive on her own
account. She had tact and vanity enough, however,--for she had plenty
of time before Winny came alongside of the house,--to slip in and put
on a decent gown, and brush her beautiful and abundant hair; and she
came to the door, as if by mere accident, but looking her very best,
as Winny approached. Kate knew that she was looking very handsome, and
Winny Cavana, at the very first glance, felt the same fact.

"Good morrow, Kate," said Winny; "that's a fine day."

"Good morrow kindly, Winny; won't you come in and sit down awhile?"

"No, thank you; the day is so fine, I'm out for a walk. You may as
well put on your bonnet, and come along with me; it will do you good,
Kitty."

"With all my heart; step up to the house, and I'll be ready in two
twos." But she was not so sure that it would do her good.

The girls then turned up to the house, for Kate had run down in her
hair to shake hands with her friend. Winny would not go in, but stood
at the door, ordering Bully-dhu not to growl at Captain, and begging
of Captain not to growl at Bully-dhu. Kate was scarcely the "two twos"
she gave herself until she came out ready for the road; and the two
friends, and the two dogs, having at once entered into most amicable
relations with each other, went off together.

Winny was resolved that no "awkward pause" on her part should give
Kate reason to suppose there was anything unusual upon her mind, and
went on at once, as if from where she had left off.

"The day was so fine, Kate," she continued, "that I was anxious to get
some fresh air. I have been churning, and packing butter, every day
since Monday, and could not get out. Biddy Murtagh is very clean and
honest, but she is very slow, and I could not leave her."

"It is well for you, Winny, that has the butter to pack."

"Yes, Kate, I suppose it will be well for me some day or other; but as
long as my poor father lives--God between him and harm!--I don't feel
the want of anything."

"God spare him to you, Winny _mavourneen!_ He's a fine hale old man,
and I hope he'll live to be at the christening of many a grandchild.
If report speaks thrue, Winny dear, that same is not unlikely to come
round."

"Report does not always speak the truth, Kate; don't you know that?"

"I do; but I also know that there's seldom smoke without fire, and
that it sometimes makes a good hit. And sure, nothin's more reasonable
than that it's right this time. Tom's a fine young fellow; an' like
yourself, sure, he's an only child. There wasn't such a weddin' this
hundred years--no, nor never--in the parish of Rathcash, as it will
be--come now!"

"Tom is a fine young man, Kate; I don't deny it--"

"You couldn't--you couldn't, Winny Cavana! you'd belie yoursel' if you
did," said Kate, with a little more warmth of manner than was quite
politic under the circumstances.

"But I don't, Kate; and I can't see why _you_ need fly at me in that
way."

"I beg your pardon, Winny dear; but sure everybody sees an' knows that
you're on for one another; an' why not?--wasn't he as cross as a bag of
cats at his father's party because he let 'that whelp' (as he called
him) Edward Lennon take you out for the first dance?"

"Emon-a-knock is no whelp; he couldn't call him a whelp. Did he call
him one?"

"Didn't you hear him? for if you didn't you might; it wasn't but he
spoke loud enough."

"It is well for him, Kate, that Emon did not hear him. He's as good a
man as Tom Murdock at any rate. He didn't fall over the poker
and tongs as Tom did."

"That was a mere accident, Winny. I seen the fung of his pump loose
myself; didn't I help to shut it for him, afther he fell?"

"You were well employed indeed, Kate," said Winny sneeringly.

"You would have done it yourself if he axed you as he did me," replied
Kate.

"Certainly not," said Winny.

So far they seemed both to have the worst of it, in spite of all their
caution. What they wanted was to find out how the other's heart stood
between these two young men, without betraying their own--which latter
they had both nearly done.

There was a pause, and Kate was the next to speak.

"Not but I must admit that Emon-a-knock is a milder, better boy in
some respects than Tom. He has a nicer way with him, Winny, and I
think it is easier somehow to like him than to like Tom."

"Report says you do, Kate dear."

"But you know, Winny, report does not always spake thrue, as you say
yourself."

"Ay, but as you said just now, Kate, it sometimes makes a good hit."

"Well, Winny, I wish you joy at all events, with all my heart. Both
your fathers is anxious for your match; an' sure, when the two farms
is joined in one, with you an' Tom, you can live like a lady. I
suppose you'll hould your head too high for poor Kate an' Emon-a-knock
then."

There was a sadness in Kate's tone as she said this, which, from
ignorance of how matters really stood, was partly genuine, and, from
anxiety to find it out, was partly assumed.

But she had turned the key and the door flew open. Winny could fence
with her feelings no longer.

"Kate Mulvey," she exclaimed, "do not believe the reports you hear
about me and Tom Murdock. I'm aware of what you say about his father
and mine being anxious to unite the farms by our marriage. I don't
want to say anything against Tom Murdock; but he'll never call me
wife. There now, Kate jewel, you have the truth. I'll be well enough
off, Kitty, without Tom Murdock's money or land; and when I really
don't care for him, don't you think it would be much better and
handsomer of him to bestow himself and it upon some nice girl without
a penny" (and she glanced slyly at Kate, whose cheeks got rosy red),
"than to be striving to force it upon one that doesn't want it--nor
wish for it? And don't you think it would be much better and handsomer
for me, who has a nice little fodeen, and must come in for my father's
land,--God between him and harm!--to do the same, if I could meet with
a nice boy that really cared for myself, and not for my money? Answer
me them questions, Kate."

Kate was silent; but her eyes had assumed quite a different
expression, if they had not altogether turned almost a different
color. The weight of Winny's rich rivalry had been lifted from her
heart, and so far as that obstacle had been dreaded, the coast was now
clear. Of course she secretly agreed in the propriety of Winny's
views, and it was only necessary that she should now do so openly.

"You didn't answer me them questions yet, Kate."

"Well I could, Winny, if I liked it; but I don't wish to have act,
hand, or part in setting you against your father's wishes."

"You need not fear that, Kitty; my father won't force me to do what I
really do not wish to do. He never put the matter to me plainly yet,
but I expect it every day. He's always praising Tom Murdock, and
hinting at the business, by saying he wishes he could see me
comfortably settled; that he is growing old and is not the man he used
to be; and all that. I know very well, Kate, what he means, both ways;
and, God between him and harm! I say again; but he'll never see me Tom
Murdock's wife. I have my answer ready for them both."

"Well, Winny, as you seem determined, I suppose I may spake; and, to
tell you the truth, I always thought it would be a pity to put them
two farms into one, and so spoil two good establishments; for sure any
one of them is lashings, Winny, for any decent boy and girl in the
parish; an' what's more, if they were joined together tomorrow, there
is not a gentleman in the county would think a bit the better of them
that had them."

"Never, Kitty, except it was some poor broken-down fellow that wanted
to borrow a couple of hundred pounds, and rob them in the end. And
now, Kitty, let us be plain and free with one another. My opinion is
that Tom could raise you--I won't say out of poverty, Kate; for,
thanks be to God, it is not come to that with you, and that it never
may--but into comfort and plenty; and that I could, some day, do the
same, if I could meet with a nice boy that, as I said, would care for
myself and not for my money. If Tom took a liking to you, Kitty, you
might know he was in earnest for yourself; I _know_ he's only put up
to his make-belief liking for me by his own father and mine. But,
Kitty dear, I'm afraid, like myself, you have no fancy for him."

"Well, Winny, to tell you the truth, I always believed what the
neighbors said about you an' him; an' I tried not to think of him for
that same reason. There's no doubt, Winny dear, but it would be a fine
match for me; but I know he's out an' out for you: only for that,
Winny, I could love every bone in his body--there now! you have it
out."

"He'll soon find his mistake, Kate dear, about me. I'm sure the thing
will be brought to a point before long between us, and between my
father and me too. When Tom finds I'm positive, he can't be blind to
your merits and beauty, Kitty--yes, I will say it out, your
beauty!--you needn't be putting your hand to my mouth that way;
there's no mistake about it."

"Ah, Winny, Winny dear, you're too lenient to me entirely; sure I
couldn't sit or stand beside you in that respect at all, an' with your
money; sure they'll settle it all between themselves."

"They may settle what they like, Kitty; but they can't make me do what
I am determined not to do; so as far as that goes, you have nothing to
fear."

"Well, Winny dear, I'm glad I know the truth; for now I won't be
afeard of crossing you, at any rate; and I know another that wouldn't
be sorry to know as much as I do."

"Who, Kitty? tell us."

"Ah, then now, Winny, can't you guess? or maybe it's what you know
better than I do myself."

"Well, I suppose you mean Emon-a-knock; for indeed, Kitty, he's always
on the top of your tongue, and the parish has it that you and he are
promised. Come now, Kitty, tell us the truth. I told you how there was
no truth in the report about me and Tom Murdock, and how there never
could be."

If this was not leading Kate Mulvey to the answer most devoutly wished
for, I do not know what the meaning of the latter part of the sentence
could be. It was what the lawyers would call a "leading question." The
excitement too of Winny, during the pause which ensued, showed very
plainly the object with which she spoke, and the anxiety she felt for
the result.

Kate did not in the least misunderstand her. Perhaps she knew more of
her thoughts than Winny was aware of, and that it was not then she
found them out for the first time; for Kate was a shrewd observer. She
had gained her own object, and it was only fair she should now permit
Winny to gain hers.

"Ah, Winny dear," she said, after a contemplative pause, "there never
was a word of the kind between us. You know, Winny, in the first
place, it wouldn't do at all--two empty sacks could never stand; and
in the next place, neither his heart was on me, nor mine on him. It
was all idle talk of the neighbors. Not but Emon is a nice boy as
there is to be found in this or any other parish, and you know that,
Winny; don't you, now?"

"Kitty dear, there's nobody can deny what you say, and for that
self-same reason I believed what the neighbors said regarding you and
him."

"Tell me this now, Winny,--you know we were reared, I may say, at the
door with one another, and have been fast friends since we were that
height" (and she held her hand within about two feet of the ground, at
the same time looking fully and very kindly into her friend's face),--
"tell me now, Winny dear, did it fret you to believe what you heard?
Come now."

"For your sake, and for his, Kitty, it could not fret me; but for my
own sake--there now, don't ask me."

"No, _avourneen_, I won't; what need have I, Winny, when I see them
cheeks of yours,--or is it the sun that cum suddenly out upon you,
Winny _asthore?_"

"Kate Mulvey, I'll tell you the truth, as I believe you have told it
to me. For many a long day I'm striving to keep myself from liking
that boy on your account. I think, Kate, if I hadn't a penny-piece in
the world no more than yourself, I would have done my very best to
take him from you; it would have been a fair fight then, Kitty; but I
didn't like to use any odds against you, Kitty dear; and I never gave
him so much as one word to go upon."

"I'm very thankful to you, Winny dear; an' signs on the boy, he
thought you were for a high match with rich Tom Murdock; an' any
private chat Emon an' I ever had was about that same thing."

"Then he has spoken to you about me! O Kitty, dear Kitty, what used he
to be saying of me? do tell me."

"The never a word I'll tell you, Winny dear. Let him spake to
yourself; which maybe he'll do when he finds you give Tom the go-by;
but I'm book-sworn; so don't ask me."

"Well, Kitty, I'm glad I happened to come across you this morning; for
now we understand each other, and there's no fear of our interrupting
one another in our thoughts any more."

"None, thank God," said Kitty.

By this time the girls had wandered along the road to nearly a mile
from home. They had both gained their object, though not in the
roundabout _sounding_ manner which we had anticipated, and they were
now both happy. They were no longer even the imaginary rivals which it
appears was all they had ever been; and as this light broke upon them
the endearing epithets of "dear" and "jewel" became more frequent and
emphatic than was usual in a conversation of the same length.

Their mutual confidences, as they retraced their steps, were imparted
to the fullest extent. They now perfectly "understood each other," as
Winny had said; and to their cordial shake-hands at the turn up to
Kate Mulvey's house was added an affectionate kiss, as good as if they
swore never to interfere with each other in love-affairs.



CHAPTER XI.


Winny Cavana, as far as her own feelings and belief were concerned,
had not made a bad morning's work of it. Hitherto she had supposed
that Kate Mulvey had forestalled her in the affections of
Emon-a-knock. The neighbors had given them to each other, and she
feared that Emon was not free from the power of her charms. With these
doubts, or almost with this belief, upon her mind, she could not have
met her father's importunities about Tom Murdock with the same
careless and happy determination which matters, as they now stood,
would enable her to do. Being assured, from her conversation with
Kate, that there was nothing between her and Emon, she could "riddle"
more easily some circumstances and expressions which, to say the least
of it, were puzzling, with a belief that these two persons were
mutually attached. Winny knew now how to reconcile them; and the view
she took of them was anything but favorable to her father's wishes or
Tom Murdock's hopes.

She could not hope, however,--perhaps she did not wish,--for any
interview with Emon just then, when her change of manner, emanating
from her knowledge of facts, might draw him out, for her heart now
told her that this would surely come. She had some fears that her
father might sound her about Emon, and she wished to be able to say
with a clear conscience that he had never spoken, or even hinted at
the subject, to her; but she was determined, nevertheless, to act
toward her father, and subsequently toward Tom Murdock, as if her
troth and Emon's had been already irrevocably plighted. She was in
hopes that if she had an interview with her father upon the subject of
Tom Murdock in the first instance, the unalterable dislike which she
would exhibit to the match might save her the horrible necessity of
going through the business with the man himself. But poor Winny had
settled matters in her own mind in an order in which they did not
occur; and it so happened that, although she thought her heart had
gone through enough excitement for one day, and that she would, for
the rest of that evening, hide beneath the happiness which was
creeping over her, yet she was mistaken.

Tom Murdock had seen her pass down the road; and hastily putting on
one of his best coats and his very best hat, he followed her,
determined to have good news in return for his father's advice; but he
was disappointed. Before he could overtake her, he perceived that she
had been joined by Kate Mulvey, and that they went coshering away
together. Of course he saw that it was "no go," as he said, for that
time; but he would watch her returning, when he could not fail to meet
her alone.

"Hang me," said he, as he saw them walking away, "if I don't think
Kate Mulvey is the finest girl of the two, and very nearly as handsome
as ever she was--some people say handsomer. If it was not for her
money, and that grand farm she'll have, I'd let her see how soon I
could get a girl in every other respect as good, if not better, than
she is. Look at the two of them: upon my faith, I think Kate is the
lightest stepper of the two."

Tom paused for a few moments, if not in his thoughts, at least in the
expression of them; for all the above had been uttered aloud. Then, as
if they had received a sudden spur which made him start, he muttered
with his usual scowl, "No, no; I'll follow it up to the death if
necessary. That whelp shall never have it to say that Tom Murdock
failed, and perhaps add, where he did not. I'll have her, by fair
means if I can; but if not, by them five crosses," and he clasped his
hands together, "she shall be mine by foul. Sure it is not possible
they are going to meet that whelp this blessed moment!" And he dogged
them at so long a distance behind that, even if their conversation had
been less interesting, they would not have been aware of his stealthy
espionage.

When they turned to return, he turned also, and was then so far before
them that, with the bushes and the bends in the road, he could not be
perceived. Thus he watched and watched, until, to his great
satisfaction, he saw them part company at Kate's house. Winny Cavana,
as we have seen, had still some distance to walk ere she reached the
lane turning up to her father's; and Kate having gone in and shut the
door, Tom strolled on, as if by mere accident, until he met
Winny on the road.

Tom was determined to be as mild and as bland, as cordial and
good-natured, as possible. He felt there had always been a sort of
undefined snappish battle between him and Winny; and he had the
honesty of mind, as well as the vanity, to blame his own harsh and
abrupt manner for this. Perhaps it arose no less from a consciousness
of his personal advantages than from a belief that in his position as
an only son, and heir to his father's interest in a rich and
profitable farm, he had no great need of those blandishments of
expression so generally requisite in making way to a young and
unhackneyed heart. He resolved, therefore, upon this occasion to give
Winny no cause to accuse him of uncouthness of manner; neither was he
inclined to be uncouth when he beheld the glowing beauty of her face,
heightened, as he thought, solely by the exercise of her walk; but not
a little increased, without his knowledge of the fact, by the new
light which had just dawned upon the horizon of her hopes.

Her heart bounced in her bosom as she saw him approach.

"Good morning, Winny," he said, holding out his hand.

"Good morrow kindly, Tom," she replied, wishing to be civil, and
taking it. She knew she was "in for it," as she expressed it to
herself; but encouraged "by the hope within her springing," and
softened by the anticipation of its fulfilment, she was determined to
be kind but firm.

"Have you been walking far, Winny? Upon my life, it seems to agree
with you. It has improved your beauty, Winny, if that was possible."

"Tom, don't flatter me; you're always paying me compliments, and I
often told you that I did not like it. Beside, you did not let me
answer your question until you begin at your old work. I walked about
a mile of the road with Kate Mulvey."

"Kate Mulvey is a complete nice girl. You are not tired, Winny, are
you?"

"Ah, then, what would tire me? is it a mile of a walk, and the road
under my feet? I could walk to _Boher-na-Milthiogue_ and back this
minute."

By this time they had come to the end of the lane turning up to
Rathcash House.

"I'm glad to find you are not tired, Winny. You may as well come on
toward the cross; I have something to say to you."

"And welcome, Tom; what is it?"

Winny felt that the thing was coming, and she wished to appear as
careless and unconscious as possible. When she recollected all Kate
Mulvey had said to her, she was just in the humor to have it over.
Upon reflection, too, she was not sorry that it should so happen
before the grand passage between her and her father upon the same
subject. She could the more easily dispose of the case with him,
having already disposed of it with Tom himself. She therefore went on,
past the end of her own lane; and Tom, taking this for an unequivocal
token in his favor, was beginning to get really fond of her--at least
he thought so.

"Well, Winny, I'm very glad I happened to meet you, and that you seem
inclined to take a walk with me; for to tell you the truth, Winny, I
can't help thinking of you."

"Perhaps you don't try, Tom."

"True for you, Winny dear; I wouldn't help thinking of you if I could,
and I couldn't if I would."

"Is that the way with you, Tom?"

But Winny did not smile or look at him, as he had hoped she would have
done.

"You know it is, Winny dear; but I can keep the truth, in plain
English, from you no longer."

"See that now! Ah, then, Tom, I pity you."

And Tom could not tell from her manner, or from the tone of her voice,
whether she was in earnest or only joking. He preferred the
former.

"Well, Winny Cavana, if you knew how much I love you, you would surely
take pity on me, my own _colleen dhass_."

"Faith, Tom, I believe it's in earnest you are, sure enough."

"In earnest! Yes, Winny, by the bright sky over me--and it is not
brighter than your own eyes--I am in earnest! It is a long day now
since I first took to loving you, though it was only of late you might
have picked it out of my looks. Ah, Winny dear, if you hadn't a
penny-piece but yourself, I would have spoken to you long ago. But
there was a great deal of talk among the neighbors about the joining
of them two farms together, and I was afraid you might think--"

"I understand. You were afraid I might think it was my money and the
farm you were after, and not myself. Was not that it, Tom?"

"Just so, Winny. But I am indeed in earnest, and for yourself alone,
Winny dear; and I'm willing to prove my words by making you my wife,
and mistress of all I have coming Shraftide, God willing." And he took
her by the hand.

She withdrew it at once, after a slight struggle, and replied, "Tom
Murdock, put such a thing totally out of your head, for it can never
be--never, by the same oath you swore just now, and that is the blue
heaven above me!" And she turned back toward the lane.

"I cross, Winny. Don't say that. I know that your father and mine
would both be willing for the match. As to what your father would do
for you, Winny _mavourneen_, I don't care a _boughalawn lui_; for I'm
rich enough without a cross of his money or his land. My own father
will make over to me by lawful deed, the day you become my wife, his
house and furniture, together with the whole of his land and cattle.
Your father, I know, Winny, would do the same for you, for he has but
yourself belonging to him; and although your fortune or your land has
nothing to say to my love, yet, Winny, dear, between us, if you will
consent to my prayer, for it is nothing less, there's few grandees in
the country could compare to you,--I'll say nothing for myself, Winny
dear, only say the word."

"No, Tom, I'll say no word but what I'm after saying; and you are only
making matters worse, talking of grandeur and riches that way. You
would only be striving at what you would not be able for, nor allowed
to keep up, Tom, and as for myself, I'd look well, wouldn't I? stuck
up on a new sidecar, and a drawn bonnet and feathers, coming down the
lane of a Sunday, and the neighbors thronging to mass,--aping my
betters, and getting myself and yourself laughed at. Devil a one, Tom,
but they'd call you Lord _Boher-na-Milthiogue_. No, Tom; put it out of
your head; that is my first and last word to you." And she hastened
her step.

"No, Winny, you won't leave me that way, will you? By all the books
that were ever shut and opened, you may make what you please of me.
I'll never ask to put yourself or myself a pin's-point beyond what we
always were, either in grandeur or anything else. But wouldn't it be a
fine thing, Winny dear, to have our children able to hold up their
heads with the best in the county, in a manner?"

"Ay, in a manner, indeed. No, Tom; they would never be anything but
the Murdocks of Rathcashmore--grandchildren of ould Mick Murdock and
ould Ned Cavana, the common farmers."

"And what have you to say against old Mick Murdock?" exclaimed Tom,
beginning to feel that his suit was hopeless, and flaming up inwardly
in the spirit which was most natural to him.

"Nothing indeed, Tom; you need not be so angry, I meant no offence; I
said as much against my own father as against yours, if there was
anything against either. But we must soon part now, Tom, and let
us part friends at all events, living as we do within a stone's-throw
of each other." She held out her hand, but he took it coldly and
loosely. He felt that his game was up.

"Take my advice, Tom Murdock"--this was the second time she had found
it necessary to overcome her antipathy to pronounce the name--"take
my advice, and never speak to me again upon the subject. Sure, there's
many a fine handsome girl would be glad to listen to you; and I'll now
ask you one question before we part. Wouldn't it be better and fitter
for you to bestow yourself and your land upon some handsome young girl
who has nothing of her own, and was, maybe, well inclined for you, and
to rise her up to be independent, than to be striving to force
yourself and it upon them that doesn't want your land, and cannot care
for yourself? Why don't you look about you? There's many a girl in the
parish as handsome, and handsomer, than I am, that would just jump at
you."

Winny had no sooner uttered these latter words than she regretted
them. She did not wish Tom Murdock to know that she had overheard him.
She was glad however to perceive that, in his anger, he had not
recognized them as a quotation from his conversation with his father
at the gate.

There was a silence now for a minute or two. Tom's blood was 'up; his
hopes of success were over, and he was determined to speak his mind in
an opposite direction.

"Have I set you thinking, Tom?" said Winny, half timidly.

"I'm d--d but you have, Winny Cavana; and I'll answer your question
with one much like it. And would not it be better and fitter for
_you_--of course it would--to bestow yourself and your fortune and your
land upon some handsome young fellow that has nothing but his day's
wages, and was well inclined for you, and to rise him up out of
poverty, than to spoil a good chance for a friend by joining yours to
them that has enough without it? Why didn't you follow up your first
question with that, Winny Cavana?" And he stopped short, enjoying the
evident confusion he had caused.

Winny thought, too, for a few moments in silence. She was considering
the probability of Tom Murdock's having overheard her conversation
with Kate Mulvey from behind some hedge. But the result of her
calculations was that it was impossible.

She was right. It was a mere paraphrase of her own question to him,
and only shows how two clever people may hit upon the same idea, and
express it in nearly the same language. And the question was prompted
by his suspicions in the quarter already intimated.

"Yes, I see how it is," he exclaimed, breaking the silence, and giving
way to his ungovernable temper. "But, by the hatred I bear to that
whelp, that shall never be, at all events. I'll go to your father this
moment, and let him know what's going on--"

"And who do you dare to call 'a whelp,' Tom Murdock? If it be Edward
Lennon, let me tell you that his little finger is worth your whole
head and heart--body and bones together."

"There, there--she acknowledges it. But I'll put a spoke in that
whelp's wheel,--for it was him I called a whelp, since you must
know,--see if I don't; so let him look out, that's all."

"I have acknowledged nothing, Tom Murdock. A word beyond common
civility never passed between Edward Lennon and myself; and take care
how you venture to interfere between my father and me. You have got
your answer, and I have sworn to it. You have no right to interfere
further."

By this time they had reached the end of the lane again; and Winny,
with her heart on fire, and her face in a flame, hurried to the house.
Fortunately, her father had not returned from the fields, and
rushing to her own room, she locked the door, took off her bonnet and
cloak, and "threw herself" (I believe that is the proper expression)
upon the bed. Perhaps a sensation novelist would add that she "burst
into an agony of tears."



CHAPTER XII.


Winny lay for nearly an hour meditating upon the past, the present,
and the future. Upon the whole she did not regret what had occurred,
either before or after she had met Tom Murdock, and she cooled down
into her accustomed self-possession sooner than she had supposed
possible.

One grand object had been attained. Tom Murdock had come to the point,
and she had given him his final and irrevocable answer, if she had
twenty fathers thundering parental authority in her ears. A spot of
blue sky had appeared too in the east, above the outline of Shanvilla
mountain, in which the morning-star of her young life might soon
arise, and shine brightly through the flimsy clouds--or she could call
them nothing but flimsy now--which had hitherto darkened her hopes.
What if Tom Murdock was a villain?--and she believed he was: what
dared he--what could he do? Pshaw, nothing! But, oh that the
passage-of-arms between herself and her father was over! "Then,"
thought she, "all might be plain sailing before me."

But, Winny, supposing all these matters fairly over,--and the battle
with your father is likely to be as cranky and tough upon his part as
it is certain to be straightforward and determined upon yours,--there
will still be a doubtful blank upon your mind and in your heart, and
one the solution of which you cannot, even with Kate Mulvey's
assistance, seek an occasion to fill up. Ah, no, you must trust to
chance for time and opportunity for that most important of all your
interviews. And what if you be mistaken after all, and, if mistaken,
crushed for ever by the result?

Let Winny alone for that. Women seldom make a bad guess in such a
case.

Winny's mental and nervous system having both regained their ordinary
degree of composure, she left her room, and proceeded through the
house upon her usual occupations. She was not, however, quite free
from a certain degree of anxiety at the anticipated interview with her
father. He had not in any way intimated his intention to ask certain
questions touching any communication she might have received from Tom
Murdock, together with her answers thereto; and yet she felt certain
that on the first favorable occasion he would ask the questions,
without any notice whatever. She had subsided for the day, after a
very exciting morning upon two very different subjects. Yes; she
called them different, though they were pretty much akin; and she
would now prefer a cessation of her anxiety for the remainder of that
afternoon at least.

So far she was fortunate. Her father did not come in until it was very
late; and being much fatigued by his stewardship of the day, he did
not appear inclined to enter upon any important subject, but fell
asleep in his arm-chair after a hasty and (Winny observed)
scarcely-touched dinner.

Winny was an affectionate good child. She was devotedly fond of her
father, with whose image were associated all her thoughts of happiness
and love since she was able to clasp his knees and clamber to his lap.
Even yet no absolute allegiance of a decided nature claimed the
disloyalty of her heart; but she felt that the time was not far
distant when either he must abdicate his royalty, or she must rebel.

"It is clearly my duty now," she said to herself, "not to delay this
business about Tom, upon the chance of his being the first to speak of
it: to-morrow, before the cares and labors of the day occupy his mind,
and perhaps make him ever so little a bit cross, I will tell him what
has happened. I am afraid he will be very angry with me for refusing
that man; but it cannot be helped: not for all the gold they both
possess would I marry Tom Murdock. I shall not betray his sordid
villany, however, until all other resources fail; but I know my father
will scorn the fellow as I do when he knows the whole truth--but ah, I
have no witness," thought she, "and they will make a liar of me."

If the old man could have ever perceived any difference in the kind
and affectionate attention so uniformly bestowed upon him by his fond
daughter, perhaps it might have been upon that night after he awoke
from a rather lengthened nap in his easy chair.

Winny had sat during the whole time gazing upon the loved features of
the sleeping old man. She could not call to mind, from the day upon
which her memory first became conscious, a single unkind or even a
harsh word which he had uttered to her. That he could be more than
harsh to others she knew, and she was now in her nineteenth year;
fifteen clear years, she might say, of unbroken memory. She could
remember her fifth birthday quite well, and so much as a snappish word
or a commanding look she had never received from him; not, God knows,
but he had good reason, many's the time, for more than either. And
there he lay now, calm, and fast asleep, the only one belonging to her
on the wide earth, and she meditating an opposition in her heart to
his plans respecting her--all, she knew, arising from the great love
he had for her, and the frustration of which, she was aware, would vex
him sore. "Oh, Tom Murdock, Tom Murdock, why are you Tom Murdock? or
Emon-a-knock, why did I ever see you?" was the conclusion to this
train of thought, as she sat still, gazing on her sleeping father.

Then a happier train succeeded, and a fond smile lit up her handsome
face. "Ah no, no! I am the only being belonging to him, the only one
he loves. The father who for nearly twenty years never spoke an unkind
word--and if he had reason to reprove me did so by example and
request, and not the rod--has only to know that a marriage with Tom
Murdock would make me miserable to make him spurn him, as I did
myself. As to the other boy, I know nothing for certain myself about
him, and I can fairly deny any accusation he may make; and I am
certain he has been put up to it by old Murdock through his son. Yet
even on this score I'll deny as little as I can."

Here it was her father awakened; and Winny had only time to conclude
her thoughts by wondering how that fellow dare call Emon "a whelp."

"Well, father dear," she said, "you have had a nice nap; you must have
been very tired. I wish I was a man, that I might help you on the
farm."

"Winny darlin', I wouldn't have you anything but what you are for the
world. I have not much to do at all on the farm but to poke about, and
see that the men I have at work don't rob me by idling; and I must say
I never saw honester work than what they leave after them. But, Winny,
I came across old Murdock shortly after I went out, and he came over
my land with me, and I went over his with him, so that we had rather a
long walk. I'll engage he's as tired as what I am. I did not think his
farm was so extensive as it is, or that the land was so good, or in
such to-au-op caun-di-shon." And poor old Ned yawned and stretched
himself.

Winny saw through the whole thing at once. The matter of a marriage
between herself and Tom Murdock, and a union of the farms, had
doubtless been discussed between her father and old Mick Murdock, and
a final arrangement, so far as they were concerned, had been arrived
at. A hitch upon her part she was certain neither of them had
ever dreamt of; and yet "hitch" was a slight word to express the
opposition she was determined to give to their wishes.

She knew that if her father had got so far as where he had been
interrupted by the yawn when he was fresh after breakfast, the whole
thing would have come out. She was, however, a considerate girl; and
although she knew there was at that moment a good opening, where a
word would have brought the matter on, she knew that the result would
have completely driven rest and sleep from the poor old man's pillow
for the night, tired and fatigued as he was. She therefore adroitly
changed the conversation to his own comforts in a cup of tea before he
went to bed.

"Yes, _mavourneen_" he said, "I fell asleep before I mixed a tumbler
of punch, and I'll take the tea now instead; for, Winny, my love, you
can join me at that. Do you know, Winny, I'm very thirsty?"

"Well, father dear, I'll soon give you what will refresh you."

While Winny was busying herself for the tea, putting down a huge
kettle of water in the kitchen, and rattling the cups and saucers
until you'd think she was trying to break them, the old man wakened up
into a train of thought not altogether dissimilar to that which Winny
herself had indulged in over his sleeping form.

Winny was quite right. The whole matter had been discussed on that day
between the old men during their perambulations round the two farms;
the respective value and condition of the land forming a minute
calculation not unconnected with the other portion of their
discourse--settlements, deeds of conveyance, etc., etc., had all been
touched upon.

Winny was right in another of her surmises, although at the time she
scarcely believed so herself. Old Murdock, taking his cue from Tom,
told old Ned that if he found Winny at all averse to marrying Tom, he
was certain young Lennon would be at the bottom of it--at least Tom
had more than hinted such to him.

Old Ned was furious at this, declaring that if Tom Murdock was never
to the fore, his daughter should never bestow his long and hard
earnings upon a pauper like that, looking for a day's wages here and
there, and as often without it as with it; how dare the likes of him
lift his eyes to his little girl! But he'd soon put a stop to that, if
there was anything in it, let what would turn up. Every penny-piece he
was worth in the world was in his own power, and there was a very easy
way of bringing Miss Winny to her senses, if she had that wild notion
in her head.

Poor old Ned, in his indignation for what he thought Winny's welfare,
forgot that she was the only being belonging to him in the world, and
that when it came to the point he would find it impossible to put this
threat of "cutting her off" into execution.

Old Murdock was delighted with this tirade against young Lennon, whom
he looked upon as the only real obstacle to Tom's acquisition of land
and money, to say nothing of a handsome wife.

"Be studdy with her, Ned," said he, "she has a very floostherin' way
wid her where you're concerned; I often remarked it. Don't let her
come round you, Ned, wid her pillaverin' about that 'whelp,' as Tom
calls him."

"An' he calls him quite right. If he daars to look up to my little
girl, he'll soon find out his mistake, I can tell him."

"Nothin' would show him his mistake so much as to have Tom's business
an' hers settled at Shraft, Ned."

"I know that, Mick; an' with the blessing I'll spake to her in the
mornin' upon the subjict. I dunna did Tom ever spake to herself,
Mick?"

"If he didn't he will afore to-morrow night; he's on the watch to meet
with her by accident; he says it's betther nor to go straight up to
her, an' maybe frighten her."

"Very well, Mick; I'll have an eye to them; maybe it would be betther
let Tom himself spake first. These girls are so dam' proud; an'
I can tell you it is betther not vex Winny."

Of course these two old men said a great deal more; but the above is
the pith of what set old Ned Cavana thinking the greater part of the
night; for the tea Winny made was very strong, and, as he said, he was
thirsty, having missed his tumbler of punch after dinner. He fell
asleep, however, much sooner than he would have done had the sequel to
his plans become known to him before he went to bed.



CHAPTER XIII.


The next morning Winny presented herself at the breakfast-table,
looking more attractive and more tidily dressed, her rich glossy hair
better brushed and smoothed down more carefully than was usual at that
hour of the day. Her daily custom, like all other country girls who
had household concerns to look after, was not to "tidy herself up"
until they had been completed. She was not ignorant, however, of the
great advantage which personal neatness added to beauty gave a young
girl who had a cause to plead. And although the man upon whom she
might have to throw herself for mercy was her father, she was not slow
on this occasion to claim their advocacy for what they might be worth.
But she had also prayed to God to guide her in all her replies to the
parent whom she was bound to honor and obey, as well as to Love. She
had not contented herself with having set out her own appearance to
the best advantage, but she had also set out the breakfast-table in
the same way. The old blue-and-white teapot had been left on the
dresser, and a dark-brown one, with a figured plated lid, taken out of
the cupboard of Sunday china. Two cups and saucers, and plates "to
match," with two real ivory-hafted knives laid beside them. There was
also some white _broken_ sugar in a glass bowl, which Winny had won in
a lottery at Carrick-on-Shannon from a "bazaar-man." There was nothing
extraordinary in all this for persons of their means, though, to tell
the truth, it was not the every-day paraphernalia of their
breakfast-table. Winny had not been idle either in furnishing the
plates with a piping hot potato-cake, a thing of which her father was
particularly fond, and which she often gave him; but this one had a
few carraway-seeds through it, and was supposed to be better than
usual. Then she had a couple of slices of nice thin bacon fried with
an egg, which she knew he liked too. All this was prepared, and
waiting for her father, whose fatigue of the day before had caused him
to sleep over-long.

While waiting for him, it struck Winny that he must think such
preparations out of the common, and perhaps done for a purpose. Upon
reflection she was almost sorry she had not confined her
embellishments to her own personal appearance, and even that, she
began to feel, might have been as well let alone also. But she had
little time now for reflection, for she heard her father's step, as he
came down stairs.

She met him at the door, opening it for him.

"Good morrow, father," she said; "how do you find yourself to-day? I
hope you rested well after your long walk yesterday."

"After a while I did, Winny; but the tea you made was very strong, an'
I didn't sleep for a long time after I went to bed."

"Well, 'a hair of the hound,' you know, father dear. I have a good cup
for you now, too; it will not do you any harm in the morning when you
have the whole day before you. And I have a nice potato-cake for you,
for I know you like it."

"Troth I b'lieve you have, Winny; an' I smell the carraways that I
like. But, Winny, sure the ould blue teapot's not broken, is it?"

"No, father; but I was busy with the potato-cake this morning, and had
not time to wash it out last night, so I took out number one to give
it an airing; and I put down the other things to match."

The portion of this excuse which was true was far greater than that
which was not; and Winny, who as a general rule was truthful, was
satisfied with it--and, reader, so must you be.

"Never mind, Winny, you are mistress here, an' I don't want any
explanation; it wasn't that made me spake; but I'd be sorry th' ould
blue teapot was bruck, for we have it since afore you were well in
your teens. You're lookin' very well this mornin', Winny agra."

"Hush, father; eat your cake, and don't talk nonsense. There's an egg
that black Poll laid this morning, and here's some butter I finished
not five minutes before you came in yesterday evening. Shall I give
you some tea?"

"If you please, Winny dear." And the old man looked at his daughter
with undeniable admiration.

They then enjoyed a neat and comfortable breakfast, which indeed
neither of them seemed in a hurry to bring to an end. The old man was
constrained and silent, and left all the talk to Winny, who, it must
be admitted, never felt it more difficult to furnish conversation. Old
Ned looked at her once or twice intently, as if wondering at her being
much finer than usual; and then he looked at the breakfast gear; and
the expression of his face was as if he suspected something. These
looks, both at herself and the table, did not escape Winny's notice,
but she never met them, always interrupting any exclamation which was
likely to follow them with some question or remark of her own, such
as, "Do you like that cake, father?" "That is the muil cow's butter; I
always keep her milk by itself, and churn it in the small chum for
you, father; you said you liked it." "Here, Bully-dhu, is a piece of
cake for you."

With some such heterogeneous questions or remarks as these, she
managed to parry his looks, or at all events the observations which
were likely to follow them, and direct for the moment--ah, Winny, it
was only for the moment!--his thoughts from whatever was upon them,
and which Winny believed she knew right well.

But this suspense on both sides must come to an end. Old Ned, from his
conversation with Mick Murdock, had determined not to speak to his
daughter until he knew Tom had done so. But Winny did not know this,
and dreaded every moment a thunder-clap would come which she was
herself preparing for her father, and she was anxious, if it was only
for the sake of propriety, to tell her story unprovoked.

The old man now stood up from the table, saying he would be likely to
be out all day, as he was preparing to get down some wheat. But Winny,
when it came to the point, could only stammer out in a feeble voice,
that she wanted to speak to him before he went.

"Now's your time, Winny dear, for I have a great dale to do before
dinner-time; an' I must be off to the men."

"Father dear, I may as well tell you at once--I'm in trouble--about
--about--about--Tom--Murdock." And she threw her arms round his neck,
and laid her cheek upon his shoulder.

"An' is that all, mavourneen? Ah, Winny, Winny, I knew it would come
to this!--mavourneen macree, I knew it would. But there, Winny jewel,
don't be crying--don't be crying; sure you know I'm not the man to
cross your wishes; no--no, my own girl, I'd neither oppose you nor
force you for 'the world; aren't you the only one I have on airth? an'
sure isn't your happiness mine, Winny dear? There, Winny, don't cry;
sure you may do as you like, mavourneen macree, you may."

Winny knew that all this was uttered under a misconception, and it
gave her but little comfort. There was _one_ part of it, however,
she would not forget.

"Oh, father," she sobbed out upon his breast, "Tom Murdock has asked
me to marry him." And the tears rolled down her cheeks.

"Why then, Winny dear, dhry up them tears; sure I know they're on my
account, at the thoughts of partin' me; but won't you be livin' at the
doore with me while I last? Isn't it what I always hoped an' prayed
for?--och, Winny, Winny, but you're the lucky girl this day, an' I'm
the lucky man, for it will add ten years to my life."

And he kissed her yielding lips over and over again. But she did not
speak; while the big tears continued to course themselves down her
pale but beautiful cheeks.

"Don't--don't, Winny asthore; don't be crying on my account; sure I
may say we'll not have to part at all. Mick an' I have it all settled,
mavourneen; he's to build you a grand new house where th' ould one
stan's, an' I'm to furnish it from top to toe; and Mick an' I will
live here, not three hundred yards from the pair of you. Oh, Winny,
Winny, but it's I is the happy man this day! There, don't be cryin', I
tell you; sure I would not gainsay you for the world;" and he kissed
her again. But still she did not speak.

"There, Winny, there; don't be sobbin' an' cryin', I tell you. Why,
what's the matther with you, Winny mavrone?"

"Oh, father, father, it never can be!" she exclaimed in broken sobs,
and clinging to his neck closer than ever.

"Nonsense, Winny! what's the matther, I say? why can't it be? Of
course you did not refuse Tom's offer?"

"I'd, father--indeed I did. I never can care for Tom Murdock; father,
I could never be happy with that man. Don't ask me to marry him."

"Is the girl mad? To be sure I will, Winny. There's but the two of you
in it an' with Mick's farm an' mine joined,--the leases are all as one
as 'free simple,'--you'd be as grand as many ladies an' gentlemen in
the county;" and he disengaged himself from her arms, and strode
toward the door.

Winny thought he was going; but he had no notion of it at so unsettled
a point. She rushed between him and the door.

"Father, don't go!" she cried; "for God's sake don't leave me that
way!"

"Winny, it's what I'm greatly surprised at you, so I am. My whole life
has been spent in puttin' together a dacent little fortun' for you; I
never had one on airth I loved but yourself an' your poor mother--God
rest her sowl! I never spoke a cross word to you, Winny jewel, since I
followed her to the grave, four days after you were born; an' now, in
my old days, when I haven't long to last, you're goin' to break my
heart, an' shorten them same. Oh, Winny, Winny, say it's only jokin'
you are, an' I'll forgive you, cruel as it was."

"No, father, I'm telling you the real truth; people seldom joke with
the tears running down their cheeks; look at them, father. I know all
you say is true; and indeed it will break my own heart to oppose you,
if you do not yield. But listen here, father dear; sure after all your
love and kindness to me for the last eighteen or twenty years, I may
say, you won't go now and spoil it all by crossing my happiness
without any necessity for it. Tom put all the grandeur and wealth
before me himself, that the joining of the two farms and marrying him
would bring to me. But it is no use, father; I never liked that man,
and I never can. Oh, don't ask me, father asthore; I'm contented and
happy as I am."

"Winny, I never found you out in a lie since you could first spake,
an' I'm sure you won't tell me one now. Listen to me, Winny. Tom
Murdock is a fine, handsome young fellow, an' well to do in the
world, with a grand education, an' fit to hould his own anywhere; and
I say he's any young girl's fancy, or ought to be, at any rate. You
an' he have been reared at the doore with each other. What you are
yourself, Winny asthore, I need not say, for every one that sees you
knows it; and well they may, for sure you spake for yourself. It
seldom happens--indeed, Winny, I never knew it--that a boy an' girl
like you an' Tom, reared at the doore that way, fail but what they
take a likin' to each other. It seems Tom done his part, both as to
the likin' an' spakin', as he ought to do in both; but you, Winny,
have done neither. Now, Winny, I can't but think that's very strange,
an' I have but the one way to riddle it. Tell me now, honestly and
plainly, is there any one that cum afore Tom in his request? Answer me
that, Winny?"

"I win, father, honestly and truly. It is not that any one has come
between me and Tom that made me refuse him. The very thing that you
say, of our being reared at the door with one another, has made me
dislike him. I have seen too much of his ways, and heard too many of
his words, ever to like him, father; there is no use in trying to make
me, for I never can."

"But, Winny jewel, you have hardly answered my question yet. Are you
secretly promised, Winny, to any other young man that you're afeard I
wouldn't like? that's the plain question. The truth now, Winny,--the
truth, Winny!"

"No, father, certainly not. Tom Murdock is the only man that ever
asked me."

"Was there ever anything betune you an' young Lennon, Emon-a-knock, as
I have heard you call him myself?"

"Never, father; Emon never spoke to me upon such a subject, and
further than that, he has paid me less compliments and spoken less to
me upon any subject than fifty young men in the parish."

It so happened, however, that the name had hightened Winny's color,
and her father, looking at her with an admiring and affectionate
smile, said:

"Fifty, Winny! well, in throth, I don't wonder at it, or a hundred an'
fifty, if they were in the parish."

Winny took advantage of his smile.

"There, father dear, don't be angry with your poor colleen; she'll do
better than to marry riches with misery. Thank God, and you, father,
she will have more than enough without coveting Tom Murdock's share."
And she held up her beautiful lips, and looked in the old man's face
with eyes swimming in tears.

Old Ned had fought the battle badly, and lost it. He bent down his
head to meet his daughter's caress, and pressed her to his heart.

"There, Winny mavourneen," he exclaimed; "I have not loved you as the
apple of my eye, since your poor mother died, for me to thwart you
now. You shall never marry Tom Murdock except with your own free will
and consent, asthore. As you say, Winny dear, we neither want nor
covet his share. But sure, Winny dear, I thought you were for him all
along."

"Oh, thank you, thank you a thousand times, father dear; that is so
like you. I knew you would not break your Winny's heart."

But Winny Cavana was too honorable, even toward the man she hated, to
tell her father of the conversation she had overheard between old
Murdock and his son at the gate. She had gained her cause without
that.



CHAPTER XIV.


Tom Murdock had no fixed purpose in anywhere he went after Winny
Cavana left him discomfited upon the road. He wandered on past Kate
Mulvey's, on toward Shanvilla, but not with any hope or wish to come
across Edward Lennon. His intentions of "dealing with him" were
yet distant and undefined. What naturally occupied his thoughts was
the humiliation he felt at Winny Cavana having refused him. Although
he had complained to his father "that he did not think she was for
him," yet upon a due consideration of his personal appearance, and his
position in the country, he felt persuaded in his own mind that his
father was right, and that nothing was required to secure success but
to go boldly and straightforward to work. Tom had hinted to his
father, although the old man had not observed it, or if so, had taken
no notice of it, that there were more reasons than he was aware of for
his wishing to secure Winny Cavana's ready money at all events; and
his exclamation when his father spoke of only the interest, might have
awakened him to the dread, at least, that there really was some cause,
with which he was unacquainted, why he dwelt so much more on the
subject of her fortune than the land. The fact was so. Tom Murdock was
a worse young man than any one--except his immediate associates--was
aware of. In addition to his other accomplishments, perhaps I should
rather say his attributes, he possessed a degree of worldly cunning
which would have sufficed to keep any four ordinary young men out of
trouble. But he required it all, for he had four times more
villany--not to answer for, for it was unknown, but on his
conscience--than any young man of like age in the parish.

One great keeper of a secret--for the time being, at least--is plenty
of money. With plenty of money you can keep people in the dark, or
blind them with the brightness of the glare. You can keep them in the
country, or you can send them out of it, as circumstances require. You
can bribe people to be silent, or to tell lies, as you like. But a
villain who has not plenty of money cannot thrive long in his villany.
When his money fails, his character oozes out, until he becomes
finally exposed.

Tom Murdock had practically learned some of the above truths by his
experience in life, short as it was, better than anything he had
learned at Rathcash national school. The later part of it was what he
now feared, but did not wish to learn.

Tom could not have been in the habit of going to Dublin, to Armagh,
and Sligo (no one knew in what capacity), three or four times a year,
where he played cards and bet high, without money of his own;
supposing even that his expenses of the road (which was shrewdly
suspected) had been paid. He could not have sent half-a-dozen young
_friends_ to America, and compromised scores of actions ere they came
before a court of law, without money. He could not have kept a brace
of greyhounds, and a race-mare, at Church's hotel in
Carrick-on-Shannon, as "Mr. Marsden's," without money; and more money
in all these cases, from the secrecy which was required, than almost
the actual cost might involve. There were other smaller matters, too,
which increased the necessity for Tom Murdock to be always in
possession of some ready cash. This, from his position as heir to
Rathcashmore, and heir presumptive, if not apparent, to Rathcash
alongside of it, he had as yet found no difficulty in procuring upon
his own personal security; and to do him justice, he had hitherto
avoided mixing up his father's name or responsibility in any of his
borrowing transactions. Then there was the usurious interest which
these money-lenders, be they private or public, charge upon loans, to
be added to Tom's liabilities. If he was pressed by Paul, he robbed
Peter to pay him; and when (after long forbearance) he was pressed by
Peter, he robbed Paul back again. Upon all these and such-like
occasions, Winny Cavana's fortune, which he said would be paid down,
was the promptest guarantee he could hold out for payment; for
ultimately, he said, they could not lose, as he must some day or other
"pop into the old chap's shoes," and in the meantime he was paying the
interest regularly.

Winny Cavana's instinct had not deceived her; but had she known
one-half as much as some of Tom Murdock's bosom friends could tell
her, she would have openly spurned him, and not have treated his
advances with even the forced consideration she had done.

He wandered on now toward Shanvilla, without, as we have seen, any
fixed purpose. Personally humiliated as he had been by Winny's refusal
of him, his thoughts dwelt more upon the fact that he could no longer
reckon upon her fortune to pay off the tormenting debts which were
every day pressing more heavily upon him; for he could not but believe
that her refusal of him would get abroad. The Peters had been robbed
often enough, and they would now let the Pauls fight their battle the
best way they could with Tom Murdock himself; they were safe now, and
they would keep themselves so. They had told Tom this,--"not that they
doubted him, but their money was now otherwise employed." Tom began to
fear, therefore, that an exposure must soon break out.

How could he face his father, too? He would undoubtedly lay his
failure to the score of his own impetuous and uncouth manner of
seeking her favor; for he had often charged him with both,
particularly toward Winny Cavana. One or two of his creditors had
given up even the pretence of being civil, and had sworn "they would
go to his father for payment, if not promptly settled with."

It was no great wonder if Tom wandered through the country with no
fixed purpose, and finally arrived, tired and ill-humored, at his
father's house.

The old man had missed him "from about the place" all the forenoon,
and had naturally set down his absence to the right cause. He had been
candid in his advice to his son, "to spake up bowldly, and at wanst,
to Winny;" and he was sincere in his belief that she would "take him
hoppin." This day, suspecting he was on the mission, he had "kep'
himself starvin'," and delayed the dinner for his return. He had
ordered Nancy Feehily to have "a young roast goose, an' a square of
bacon, an' greens, for dinner agen misther Tom cem home." He
anticipated "grand chuckling" over Tom's success, of which he made no
more doubt than he did of his own existence.

"At last, Tom a wochal, you're cum," he said, as his son entered the
door. "But where the sorra have you been? I think Winny's at home this
betther nor two hours, for I seen her going in. Well, Tom, you devil!
didn't I tell you how it id be?--_dhitidtch!_" he added, making an
extraordinary noise with his tongue against the roof of his mouth, and
giving his son a poke in the ribs with his forefinger.

"No, but did not I tell you how it would be? There, father! that
bubble's burst, and I'm sorry I ever made an _onshiough_ of myself."

"Faix, an', Tom, you must be an _onshiough_ if that bubble burst,
unless it's what you blew it out yourself. Di ye mane to say you spoke
to her plain, as I tould you to do, Tom avic?"

"As plain as the palm of my hand, father. I put the whole thing before
her in the kindest and fondest manner ever a man spoke. I told her how
my whole heart and soul was waiting for her this three or four years
past--God forgive me for the lie."

"Amen, Tom, if it was one; but maybe it wasn't, man. You're vexed now,
Tom agra; but it won't be so. I tell you she only wants to see if
you'll folly her up afther she giving you one refusal. What did she
say, agra?"

Here Nancy Feehily brought in the roast goose and square of bacon,
with a dish of smoking "Brown's fancies" in their jackets, and a
check was given to the conversation. The old man, as he had said, had
"kep' himself starvin'," and Tom could not keep himself from a like
infirmity in his ramble through the country. He was not one of those
who permitted a mental annoyance to produce a physical _spite_ in
return; he did not, as they say, cut his nose to vex his face, nor
quarrel with his bread and butter; so, between them, they did ample
justice to Nancy Feehily's abilities as a cook.

"You don't mane to say she refused you, Tom?" said the old man, after
the girl had left, and while he was waiting for his son to cut him
another slice of bacon.

"She did, father; but let me alone about her now: I'll tell you no
more until I make myself a rousing tumbler of punch after dinner. She
shall not take away my appetite, at all events."

Nor did she. Tom never ate a better dinner in his life, and his father
followed his example. Old Mick had taken the hint, and said no more
upon the subject. There was nothing but helping of goose, and slices
of bacon, and cutting large smiling potatoes through the middle, with
a dangerous sound of the knife upon the cloth, until the meal was
ended.

Then, when the things had been removed, and Tom had made his rouser to
his satisfaction, and his father had done the same, Tom told him
precisely what had taken place between him and Winny Cavana.

Old Murdock listened with an attentive stare until his son had told
him all. He then put out his tongue and made another extraordinary
sound, but very different from the one already alluded to; and
exclaimed, "Bad luck to her impidence, say I!"

"And I say amen, father."

"Tell me, Tom, do you think that fellow Lennon is at the bottom of all
this? Did you put that to her?"

"I did, father, and she was not a bit puzzled or flustrificated about
him. She spoke of him free and easy; but she denied that there was
ever a word between them but common civility."

"An' maybe it's the thruth, Tom avic. You'll find anyhow that she'll
change her tune afther her father gets spakin' to her on the subject.
He'll be as stout as a bull, Tom; I know he will. He tould me he'd
never give in, and that he'd threaten to cut her fortun' off, and make
over his interest in the land to the church for charitable purposes,
if she tuck up the smallest notion of that pauper,--that scullion, he
called him. Don't be down about it, Tom. They say that wan swallow
makes no summer; an' I say, wan wild goose makes no winter. My advice
to you now, Tom, is, to wait a while; don't be goin' out at all,
neither here nor there for some time. I'll let on I don't know what
can be the matther with you; an' you'll see she'll come an' be hoppin'
round you like a pet robin."

"I hope you are right, father, but I don't think so; I never saw a
woman more determined in my life--she took her oath."

"Pshaw, Tom, that's nothin'. Don't torment yourself about it now; mark
my words, her father will soon bring her to her senses."

"I do not much care whether he does or does not as to herself; only
for that six hundred pounds, the most of which I want badly. I would
not envy any man that was tied to the like of her."

"Arra, Tom jewel, what would you want wid the most of six hundred
pounds; sure if you got it itself, you oughtn't to touch a penny of
it."

Tom had not intended to say what he had said; it slipped out in his
vexation. But here his worldly cunning and self-possession came to his
aid, and he replied.

"Perhaps not, indeed, father; but there is a spot of land not far off
which will soon be in the market, I hear, and it would be no bad
speculation to buy it. I think it would pay six or seven per cent
interest." Tom knew his father's weakness for a bit of land, and
was ready enough.

"Oh, that's a horse of another color, Tom. Arra, where is it? I didn't
hear of it."

"No matter now, father. I cannot get the money, so let me alone about
it. I wish the d--l had the pair of them."

"Whist, whist, Tom avic; don't be talking in that way. Sure af it's a
safe purchase for six per cent., the money might be to be had. Thanks
be to God, we're not behouldin' to that hussey's dirty drib for
money."

Here a new light dawned upon Tom. Might he not work a few hundreds out
of his father in some way or other for this pretended purchase, and
then say that it would not be sold after all; and that he had relodged
the money, or lost it, or was robbed--or--or--something? The thought
was too vague as yet to take any satisfactory shape; but the result
upon his mind at the moment was, that his father was too wide awake to
be dealt with in that way.

"Well, father," he said, "I shall be guided by your advice in this
business still, although I have done no good by taking it to-day; but
listen to me now, father."

"An' welcome, Tom. I like a young man to have a mind of his own, an'
to be able to strike out a good plan; an' then, if my experience isn't
able to back it up, why I spake plainly an' tell him what I think."

"My opinion is, father, that I ought to go away out of this place
altogether for a while. You know I am not one that moping about the
house and garden would answer at all. I must be out and going about,
father, or I'd lose my senses."

This was well put, both in matter and manner, and the closing words
told with crowning effect. Tom had said nothing but the fact; such
were his disposition and habits that he had scarcely exaggerated the
effects of a close confinement to the premises, while of sound bodily
health.

"Begorra, Tom, what you say is the rale thruth; What would you think
of going down to your aunt in Armagh for a start?"

"No use, father,--no use; I could be no better there than where I am.
Dublin, father, or the continent, for a month or six weeks, might do
me some good."

"Bedads, Tom, that id take a power of money, wouldn't it?"

"Whether you might think so or not, father, would depend upon what you
thought my health and happiness would be worth; here I cannot and will
not stay, that is one sure thing."

"Well, Tom, af she doesn't cum round in short, afther her father opens
out upon her, we'll talk it over, and see what you would want; but my
opinion is, you won't have to make yourself scarce at all--mind my
words."

Here Tom fell into such a silent train of thought, that all further
conversation was brought to an end. Old Mick believed his son to be
really unhappy "about that impideut hussey;" and having made one or
two ineffectual efforts "to rouse him," he left him to his
meditations.

At the moment they were fixed upon a few of his father's closing
words, "see what you'll want." "Want--want!" he repeated to himself.
"A dam' sight more than you'll fork out, old cock."

Old Mick busied himself about the house, fidgeting in and out of the
room--upstairs and downstairs; while Tom was silently arranging more
than one programme of matters which must come off if he would save
himself from ruin and disgrace.

His father had ceased to come into the room; indeed his step had not
been heard through the house or on the stairs for some time, and it
was evident he had gone to bed. But Tom sat for a full hour longer,
with scarcely a change of position of even hand or foot. At length,
with a sudden sort of snorting sigh, he stood up, stretched himself,
with a loud and weary moan, and went to his room.



CHAPTER XV.


Any help which old Murdock was in the habit of getting from his son
upon the farm, and it was at no time of much value, either in labor or
advice, had latterly dwindled down to a mere careless questioning as
to how matters were going on, and his father began to fear that he was
"beginning to go to the bad." Poor old man, how little of the truth he
knew!

There was now always something cranky and unpleasant in Tom's manner.
He was often from home for days together, and, when at home, often out
at night until very late; and if questioned in the kindest manner by
his father upon the subject, his answers were snappish and
unsatisfactory. Poor old Mick--deluded Mick--laid down both his
wanderings and his crankiness to the score of his love for Winny
Cavana, and the uncertainty of his suit.

From one or two encouraging and cheery expressions his father had
addressed to him, Tom knew this to be the view his father had taken of
his case, and he was quite willing to indulge the delusion. Now that
matters had come to an open rupture between him and Winny--for
notwithstanding his father's hopes, he had none--it was convenient for
him that his father should continue of the same mind--nay, more, his
father himself had suggested a step, which, if he could manage with
his usual ability, might turn to his profit, and relieve to a certain
extent some of the perplexities by which he was beset.

Old Mick had spent a long and fatiguing day, not merely in his
peregrinations through the farm, but from anxiety and watching, having
observed Winny go out earlier than usual, and seeing that Tom soon
after had followed her down the road. He was rather surprised in about
an hour afterward to see Winny return alone, and at not having seen
Tom for nearly two hours later in the day, when he returned cross and
disappointed, as we have seen. The "untoward circumstances," detailed
in the conversation after dinner with his son, had not the same
depressing effects upon the old man as upon Tom; for he really
believed that they were not only not past cure, but according to his
notions of how such matters generally went on, that they were on a
fair road to success. He therefore enjoyed a night's sound sleep,
while Tom lay tossing and tumbling, and planning and scheming,--and
occasionally cursing Edward Lennon, whom he could not persuade himself
was not, as his father said, at the bottom of all this. It was near
morning, therefore, before he had fretted himself to sleep.

Early the next day old Mick determined to ascertain the actual state
of facts. He was up betimes, and having seen what was necessary to be
done for the day upon the farm, he set the operations going, and
returned to breakfast. Tom had not yet stirred; and as Nancy had told
the old masther that she "heered him struggling with the bed-clothes,
an' talkin' to himself until nearly morning," he would not allow her
to call him, but went to breakfast by himself, telling her to have a
fresh pot of tay, an' a dacent breakfast for him when he got up. "Poor
fellow," he said to himself, "I did not think that girl had so firm a
hoult of him."

Old Mick's anticipations of how matters really stood, and his
confidence in Ned Cavana's firmness, were doomed to be shaken, if not
altogether disappointed. Old Ned saw him hanging "about the borders"
with a watchful look directed toward his house. He took it for granted
that Tom had mentioned something of what had occurred to him, and he
knew at once what he was lingering about for.

Ned had undoubtedly led old Murdock to suppose that he would be "as
stout as a bull" with Winny about marrying his son; but when Ned had
spoken thus sternly upon the subject, he had not anticipated any
opposition upon Winny's part to the match. He did not see how she
could object, nor did he see why. Mick had imbibed some slight idea of
the kind from what Tom had told him; but Ned had combated this idea
with great decision, and some sternness; more by way of showing his
neighbor how he could exercise his parental authority, than from any
great dread that he would ever be called on to assert it.

But Ned Cavana knew not the nature Class his own heart. He had
miscalculated the extent of his love for Winny, or the influence her
affectionate and devoted life could exercise over that love, in a case
where such a dispute might come between them. Thus we have seen him
yield to that influence almost without argument, and certainly without
a harsh or angry word. When it came to the point that he had to
confront her tears, where was the fury with which he met old Murdock's
insinuations and suggestions?--where the threats of cutting her off,
not _with_ but _without_ a shilling, and leaving it all to the
Church?--where the steady determination with which he had resolved to
"bring her to her senses?"--all, all lost in the affectionate smile
which beamed upon her pleading love.

Ned Cavana knew now that old Murdock was on the watch for him. He
believed that Tom had told him what had taken place between him and
Winny; and although he did not dread any alteration in his promise to
his daughter, he felt that he could deal more stoutly with old Murdock
with the recollection of Winny's tears fresh on her cheeks, than if
the matter were to lie over for any time. He therefore strolled
through the farmyard, and out on the lane we have already spoken of,
and turned down toward the fields at the back of his garden. This
movement was not, of course, unnoticed by the man who was on the watch
for some such, and accordingly he sloped down toward the gate, at
which he and his son had held the conversation--a conversation which
had confirmed Winny in her preconceived opinion of Tom Murdock's
character and motives.

The two old men thus met once again at the same spot at which the
reader first saw them together.

"I'm glad you cum out, Ned," said Murdock, "for I was watin to see
you, to tell you about Tom. He done his part yesterda' illegant, an'
you may spake to the little girl now as soon as you plaise."

"I have spoken to her, Mick. She tould me all about it herself, last
night."

"Well, she didn't resave Tom at all the way he thought she would, nor
the way she led him to think she would, aidher. I hope she tould the
thruth to you, Ned, and didn't make b'lief to be shy an' resarved, as
she did to Tom. Poor boy, he's greatly down about it."

"She did; she tould me the whole thruth, Mick avic, and it's all no
use; she won't marry Tom--that's the long an' the short of it."

"Why, then, she mightn't be cosherin wid him the way she was, Ned, and
ladin the poor young boy asthray as to her intintions when she brought
him to the point."

"My little girl never done anything of the kind, Mick; she'd scorn to
do it."

"Well, no matther; she done it now, Ned; and as for Tom, he's the
very boy that i'd nather humbug a little girl, nor allow her to
humbug him. Did you spake stout to her, Ned?"

"I said all that was necessary, Mick awochal: but I seen it was no
use, an' I wouldn't disthress the crathur."

"Disthress the crathur, _aniow!_ Athen may be it's what you don't much
care how that poor boy 'ithin there is disthressed through her mains."

"As for that, Mick, it needn't, nor it won't, disthress Tom a bit.
There's many a fine girl in the parish that i'd answer Tom betther nor
my little girl; and when I find that she's not for him, Mick awochal,
I tell you I won't disthress the colleen by harsh mains, so say no
more about it."

"Athen, Ned, I think you tuck it aisy enugh afther all you tould me
d'other day; you'd do this, an' you'd do that, an' you'd cut her off
wid a shillin', an' you'd bring her to her senses, an' what wouldn't
you do, Ned? I tould you to be studdy, or she'd cum over you wid her
pillaver; and I tell you now what I tould you then, that it is all
through the mains of that pauper Lennon she has done this--a purty
_scauhawn_ for her to be wastin' your mains an' your hard earnin's
upon. Arrah, Ned, I wondher you haven't more sense than to be
deludhered by that beggarman out of your little girl an' your money."

"No, Mick, young Lennon has nothing to say to it; if he never was
born, Winny wouldn't marry Tom. I would not misbelieve Winny on her
word, let alone her oath; an' she tould me she tuck her oath to Tom
that she'd never marry him. He taxed her wid young Lennon, an' so did
I; an' she declared, an' I believe her there too, Mick, that there
never was a word between them on such a subject; an' let there be no
more now between us. It can't be helped. But I will not disthress my
little girl by spakin' to her any more about Tom."

"Oh, very well, Ned; that'll do. But, be the book, Tom's not the boy
that'll let himself be med a fool of by any one; an' I'm the very
fellow that is able an' willin' to back him up in it."

"Athen what do you mane, Mick?--for the devil a wan of me can
undherstan' that threat, af it beant the law you mane, an' sure the
gandher in the yard beyant id have more sense than to think iv that.
My little girl never held out the smallest cumhither upon Tom; but,
instead iv that, she tells me that she always med scarse iv herself
wheen he was to the fore. So af it be law you mane, Mick, you may do
your worst."

"No, it isn't the law I mane, Ned. Law is dear at best, an' twiste as
dear at worst; but I mane to say that I'll back up poor Tom 'ithin
there, that's brakin' his heart about Winny; an' if you have any
regard for her, you'll do the same thing; an' you'll see we'll bring
the thing round, as we ought; that's what I mane. The girl can't deny
but what she med much iv Tom, until that other spalpeen cum across
her. Tom's no fool, an' knows what a girl mains very well."

"She does deny it, Mick, an' so she can. But there's no use, I tell
you, in sayin' any more about it. I can see plane an' aisy enough that
Winny isn't for him. I tould her I wouldn't strive to force her likin'
or dislikin', an' I won't; so just tell Tom that the girl is in
earnest. She tould him so herself, an' you may tell him the same
thing. He can't think so much about her, Mick, as you let on, for
there never was any courting betune them from first to last. I'll
spake to you no more about it, Mick, an' you needn't spake to me."

With this final resolve, Ned turned his back completely round upon his
neighbor, and walked with a hasty but firm step into the house.

Old Mick stood for some moments looking after him in a state of
perplexed surprise. He had some fears, though they were not very
great, that Winny's influence over her father was sufficiently strong
to determine him according to her wishes, if she was really averse to
a match with his son; but this latter was a point upon which he had
scarcely any fears at all; except such as were suggested by the hints
his son himself had thrown out about young Lennon. Upon this part of
the case he had spoken to Ned in such a way as to make him determined
to be very strict and decided in his opposition to any leaning on his
daughter's part in that quarter.

Old Mick, as he stood and looked, was perplexed on both these parts of
the case. If he believed that Winny Cavana had really and decidedly
refused to marry his son, he could only do so upon the supposition
that young Lennon was the mainspring of the whole movement. And,
again, to suppose she had preferred a "secret colloguing with that
pauper," behind her father's back, to an open and straight-forward
match with a rich young man, and what he called a handsomer man than
ever Lennon was, or ever would be, and with her father's full consent,
was what he could not bring himself to believe of any sensible girl.
But this he did believe, that if "that young whelp" was really not at
the bottom of Winny's refusal, a marriage with his son, be it brought
about _by what means it could_, would end in a reconciliation, not
only of Winny to so great a match, but of old Ned, as a necessary
consequence, to his daughter's acquiescence.

With these thoughts, and counter-thoughts, he too turned toward his
house, where he found Tom just going to his breakfast, in no very good
humor with the past, the present, or the future.

His father "bid him the time of day," and said "he had to look after a
cow that was on for cavin'," an' that he'd be back by the time he had
done his breakfast. This was a mere piece of consideration upon old
Mick's part.

Loss of appetite and uneasiness of manner in a handsome young man of
two-and-twenty is unhesitatingly set down by the old crones of a
parish to his being "in love," and they are seldom at a loss to supply
the _colleen dhass_ to whom these symptoms are attributable. In Tom's
case, however, there were other matters than love which were
accountable for the miserable attempt at breakfast he had made,
notwithstanding the elaborate preparations Nancy Feehily had made to
tempt him. His father was surprised to find him so soon following him
to the fields. But Tom, knowing his father's energy of action when a
matter was on his mind, suspected he had not been to that hour of the
day without managing an interview with old Cavana, and was on the
fidgets to know what passed. But love--as love--had nothing whatever
to say to his want of relish for so good a breakfast as had been set
before him.

He met his father returning toward the house, not far from the
celebrated gate already so often mentioned in this story. The spot
where they now met was a little more favorable for a conference than
the gate in question, for, unlike it, there was no private bower for
eavesdroppers to secrete themselves in.

"Well, father," said Tom, breaking into the subject at once, "have you
seen the old fogie about Winny?"

"I have, Tom, an' matthers is worse nor I thought. She has cum round
him most complately; for the present anyhow."

"I told you how it would be, father, and be d--!"

"Whist, Tom, don't be talking that way; there's wan thing I'm afther
being purty sure of, an' that is, that that spalpeen has nothin' to
say to it. It's all perverseness just for a while, an' she'll cum
round afther a bit."

"Well, father. I'll cut my stick for that bit, be it long or short; so
tell me, what can you do for me about money? You know if she was never
in the place, it's nothing to keep me here stravaging about the road."

"Thrue for you, Tom avic. It isn't easy, however, layin' a man's
hand upon what you'd want wid you for a start; but sure my credit is
good in the bank, an' sure I'll put my name upon a bill-stamp for you
for twenty or thirty pounds. Take my advice an' don't go past your
aunt's in Armagh. Tom, she's an illigant fine woman, an' will resave
you wid a _ceade mille a faltha_, an' revive you out an' out afore you
put a month over you. There's not a man in Armagh has a betther thrade
than her husband, Bill Wilson the carpenter--cabinet-maker, I b'lieve
they call him--an' b'lieve my words, she'll make the most of her
brother's son. Who knows, Tom avic? Arrah, maybe you'd do betther down
there nor at home. Any way Winny won't be gone afore you come back,
an' if we can't manage wan thing maybe we would another--_thig um,
thee?_"

"Well, I hope so; but, father, I'll be off before Sunday, and this is
Wednesday."

"You'll have lashins of time, Tom; but the sorra wan but I'll be very
lonely; for although, Tom, you do be wandhering from home by day, and
stopping out late sometimes by night, sure I know you're not far off,
an' I always hear you lettin' yourself in betune night an' mornin'.
Though Caesar doesn't bark at you, I hear him whinin' an' shufflin'
when you're coming to the back doore?"

"No matter about that now, father; I suppose I can get the money
tomorrow or after, and start for my aunt's?"

"Any minute, Tom. I'm never without a bill-stamp in the house in
regard of the fairs. Come in, and I'll dhraw it out at wanst, an' I'll
engage they'll give you the money on it at the bank; don't be the
laste taste aleared of that, Tom."

Whether Tom then intended to be guided by his father's advice, and not
go past his aunt's in Armagh, it is not easy to say; but at all events
he "let on" that he would not do so. When he got his heels loose, with
a trifle of cash in his pocket, he could turn his steps in any
direction he wished.

They then returned to the house, and old Mick, putting on his
spectacles, opened a table-drawer in the parlor, where he kept his
writing materials, accounts, receipts, etc. After some discussion,
which had well-nigh ended in an argument, as to whether the amount
should be twenty or thirty pounds, a bill was ultimately drawn by the
son upon the father for the former sum, at three months. Tom had,
other reasons than the mere increase of ten pounds in the amount, for
wishing to have the word thirty instead of twenty written in the bill;
however, he could not screw more than the latter sum out of the old
man, which he said was ample to take him to his aunt's in Armagh,
where he'd get lashins an' lavins of the best of everything. Tom knew
that for this purpose it would be ample, and therefore failed to bring
forward any arguments to sustain his view as to the necessity of
making it thirty; but as it was he himself who wrote it out, he patted
the blotting-paper over it in great haste--a matter which was not, of
course, observed by the old man, nor if it had been would he have
supposed there was anything unusual, much less for a purpose, in the
act. The father having read it carefully over, and seeing that it was
all correct, wrote his name with some dignity of manner across the
bill. This portion of the writing Tom took care to let dry without any
blotting at all, for he held it to the fire instead. Neither did the
old man observe this unusual course, the manifest mode being to have
used the blotting-paper, as in the first instance.

The matter being now thus far perfected, Tom asked his father if he
could have Blackberry--one of the farm horses--to go into C. O. S.
early next morning.

"An' welcome, Tom, if he was worth a hundred pounds," said the old
man, locking the drawer.



CHAPTER XVI.


Tom spent the remainder of that day very quietly, most of it in his
own room. His first employment, whatever it may have been, was over an
old portfolio, where he kept his own writing materials. What were the
chief subjects of his caligraphy is not known. Perhaps love-letters to
such of his numerous _enamoratas_ as could read may have formed a
portion, nor is it impossible but the police might have given a trifle
to have laid their hands upon some others. Neither were likely to see
the light, however, as Tom Murdock kept that old portfolio carefully
locked up in his box.

The next morning at an unusually early hour for him Tom proceeded upon
Blackberry, fully caparisoned with the best saddle and bridle in the
place, to C. O. S.; where, after ten o'clock, he found no difficulty
in procuring cash upon his father's acceptance.

Now, although in the first instance Tom had no notion of stopping at
his aunt's in Armagh, or perhaps of going there at all, upon
reflection he changed his mind altogether upon the subject. He had
some congenial spirits there beside his aunt--spirits with whom he
occasionally had had personal communication as well as more frequent
epistolary correspondence. Beyond Armagh, therefore, upon second
thoughts, he resolved not to go upon this occasion. As to any
depression of spirits on account of Winny Cavana, he had none, except
the loss of her fortune, which would have stood to him so well in his
present circumstances. And here he remembered that his father had told
him the interest of "that same" was all he could have touched, and
even that at only three per cent.; so that for the mere present he had
done as well, if not better. What he had drawn out of the bank upon
his father's credit, would settle the two harassing and intricate
cases, which two different attorneys, on the part of those whom he had
most grievously wronged, had threatened to expose in a court of law.
He would have some over--he took care of that--to take him to Armagh
and back, where he could not manage _this time_ to go at the expense
of "the fund." He did not purpose, however, to stop very long at his
aunt's. He would tell Winny when he came back that her refusal of him
had driven him away--he knew nor cared not whither; but that he found
it impossible to live without sometimes seeing her, if it was only
from his own door to hers: yes, he would follow that business up the
moment he returned. In the meantime it might not be without some good
effect his being absent for a short time.

Such were the thoughts and plans with which Tom, after he had settled
with the attorneys, left his poor old father, we may say completely
alone; for after the rather sharp words which had taken place between
the two old men, he could hardly continue his customary visits, or
half-casual, half-projected meetings with Ned Cavana, by their
respective mearings. Hitherto in this respect, more than in actual
visits, the intercourse between these two old men had been habitual,
indeed it may be said of daily occurrence, mutually watched for. If
one saw the other overlooking his men, either sowing or reaping, or
planting or digging, according to the time of the year, the habit
almost amounted to a rule, that, whichever saw the other first, quit
his own men, and sloped over toward his neighbor to have a look at
what was going on, and having there exhausted the pros and cons of
whatever the work might be, a general chat was kept up and the visit
returned on the spot.

Now, however, matters were to a great extent changed. This "untoward
circumstance" between Tom Murdock and Winny Cavana, together with the
subsequent conversation upon the subject between the fathers, rendered
this friendly intercourse impossible. From all his son had told
him, old Mick thought Winny Cavana had treated him badly, and he
considered that old Ned had "gone back of his word" to himself. He was
a plucky, proud old cock, and his advice to Tom would be "to see it
out with the pair of them, without any _pillaver_."

What he meant by "seeing it out" he hardly knew himself, for he had
repudiated the law in a most decided manner when taxed with it by Ned.
What, then, could he mean by "seeing it out?" Perhaps Tom would not
require his advice upon the subject.

From this day forth, however, old Mick was not the man he used to be.
A man at his age, however well he may have worn--ay, even to have
obtained the name of an evergreen--generally does so having his mind
at ease as well as his body in health--the one begets the other; and
so an old man thrives, and often looks as well at seventy as he did at
sixty. But these old evergreens sometimes begin to fail suddenly if
the cold wind of disappointment blows roughly upon their hitherto
happy hearts; and Tom Murdock was not three weeks away, when the
remarks of the people returning from the chapel, respecting old Mick,
were that "they never saw a man so gone in the time." And the fact was
so.

Old Mick Murdock had been all his life a cheerful, chatty man, one
with whom it was a comfort to "be a piece of the road home." Moreover,
he had always been erect in person, with a pair of cheeks like a
scarlet Crofton apple--not the occasional smooth flush of delicacy,
but the constant hard rough tint of health. There were many young men
in the parish whom a walk alongside of old Mick Murdock for a couple
of miles would put out of breath, while you would not see a heave,
however slight, out of old Mick's chest.

Look on him now: "he has not a word to throw to a dog," as the saying
has it; he is beginning to stoop in his gait, and more than once
already he has struck his heel against the ground in walking. As yet
it is not a drag, and those indications of a break-up in his
constitution are comparatively slight. Ere long, however, you will see
him with a stick, and you will be hardly able to recognize him as the
Mick Murdock of a few months before.

Tom, as we have seen, having settled with the attorneys, started for
his aunt's; where, as his father had predicted, he was received with
open arms, and a joyful clapping of hands and a _ceade mille a
faltha_. "Oh, then, Tom, avic macree, but it's you that's welcome; an'
shure I needn't ax you how you are. Oh, but it's you that's grown the
fine young man since I seen you last. An' let me see--how long ago is
that now, Tom agra? It'll be four years coming Easthre Sunda' next
since I was down in Rathcashmore. An' how is Mick a wochal? an' how's
_herself_, Tom, the 'colleen dhass' you know?" And she gave him a poke
with her finger between the ribs. "Ah, Tom avic, yon needn't look so
shy; shure I know all about it, an' why wouldn't I? It'll be an
illigant match for the pair iv ye; as good for the wan as for the
other--coming Shraft, Tom, eh? In troth Winny will be a comfort to
you, as well as a creedit; that's what she will, won't she, Tom?"

"Let me alone now, aunt; I'm tired after the journey; and it's not of
her I'm thinking."

"See that now--arra _na bocklish_, Tom, don't be afther telling me
that; shure didn't Mick himself write to me two or three times to let
me know how matthers was going on, and the grand party he gev on
Hallow-Eve, and the fun ye all had, and how you danced wid her a'most
the whole night."

"Nonsense, aunt! Did he tell you how anybody else danced?"

"No, the sorra word he said about any wan that was there, barrin'
yourself an' herself."

"Well, never heed her now. I'll tell you more about her
to-morrow or next day, and maybe ask your advice upon the subject at
the same time."

Their conversation was here interrupted, as Tom thought very
opportunely, by the entrance of Bill Wilson, whose welcome for his
wife's nephew was as hearty, in a manner, as that which he had
received from herself. The conversation, of course, now "became
general;" and Bill Wilron, although he had never been out of Armagh,
seemed to have everybody down about Tom's country pat by heart, for he
asked for them all by name, not forgetting, although he left her to
the last, to ask for Winny Cavana. It was evident to Tom, from his
manner, that he was up to the project in that quarter; and as evident
that, like his aunt, he knew nothing of how matters up to this had
turned out, or how they were likely to end. He answered his uncle's
questions, however, with reasonable self-possession; and his aunt,
having perceived from his last observation to herself that there was
"a screw loose," turned the conversation very naturally to the subject
of Tom's physical probabilities, saying,

"Athen, Tom jewel, maybe it's what you're hungry, an' would like to
take something to eat afore dinner; shure an' shure it's the first
question I ought to have asked you."

"No, aunt, I thank you kindly, I'll take nothing until your dinner;
there's a friend of mine lives in the skirts of the town; I want to
see him, and I'll be back in less than an hour."

"A friend of yours, Tom? athen shure if he is, he ought to be a friend
of ours; who is he, Tom a wochal?"

"Oh, no, aunt, you never heard of him. He's a boy I have a message to
from, a friend in the country."

"Why, then, Tom, you'll be wanting to know the way in this strange
place, an' shure I'll send the girl wid you to show you. Shure how
could you know, an' you never in Armagh afore?"

"No, aunt, I say, I have a tongue in my head, and I'm not an
_onshiough_. I'll find him out without taking your girl from her
business."

"Athen, Tom jewel, whoever bought you for an _onshiough_ would lay out
his money badly, I'm thinking; an' although you were never in this big
city afore, the devil a bit afeared I am but you'll find your way, an'
well have lashins iv everything that's good for you, and a _ceade
mille a faltha_ when you come back."

Tom then left them, bidding them a temporary good-bye. He he did not
think it at all necessary to enlighten his aunt to the fact that he
had paid periodical visits to Armagh from time to time, and had on
these occasions passed her very door. But these visits were of short
duration, and have been only hinted at. They were sufficient, however,
to familiarize him with the portions of the city to which he now
directed his steps. But as we are not aware of the precise spot to
which he went, nor acquainted with those whose society he sought, we
shall not follow him.

His aunt, after he had left, was in no degree sparing in her praise of
him to her husband, who had never seen him before, but who indorsed
every word she said with the greatest promptitude and good-humor, "as
far as he could see."

Bill Wilson was no fool. He gave his wife's nephew a hearty and a
sincere welcome, and he knew it would be an ungracious thing not to
acquiesce in all that she said to his advantage; but it was an
indiscreet slip to add the words "as far as he could see." It implied
a caution on his part which did not say much for the confidence he
ought to have felt in his wife's opinion, and went merely to
corroborate her praises of his personal appearance.

"As far as you can see,' Bill! Well, indeed, that far you can find no
fault at all, at all; that's shure an' sartin. Where would you find
the likes iv him, as far as that same goes, William Wilson?--not in
Armagh, let me tell you. I ax you did you ever see a finer head
iv hair, or a finer pair iv ejes in a man's head, or a handsomer nose,
or a purtier mouth? An' the whiskers, Bill!--ah, them's the dark
whiskers from Slieve-dhu; none of your moss-colored whiskers that you
see about here, Bill. Look at the hoith iv him! He's no leprahaun,
Bill Wilson; an' I say if you go out an' walk the town for three
hours, you'll not meet the likes iv him till you come back again to
where he is himself'."

"Faix, an' I won't try that, Mary, for I believe every word you're
afther sayin'. But, shure, I didn't mane to make Little of the young
man at all."

"You said 'as far as you could see,' Bill; an' shure we all know how
far that is. But amn't I tellin' you what is beyant your sight,--what
he is to the backbone, for larnin', an' everythin' that's good, manly,
an' honest? There now, Bill, I hope you don't misdoubt me,--'as far as
you can see,' indeed!"

"Well, Mary, I meant nothing against him by that; indeed I believe,
and I am shure, he's as good as he's handsome. But I must go out now
to the workshop to look after the men. Let me know when he comes
back."

Tom was not so long away as he had intended. The person whom he went
to look for was not at home, and he returned to his aunt at once. He
had not many acquaintances in Armagh, and they were such as might be
better pleased with a visit _after dark_ than so early in the day.

Before "the dinner" was prepared, Tom had another chat with his aunt,
and, as a matter of course, she could not altogether avoid the subject
of Winny Cavana. She had been given to understand by her brother that
a successful courtship was carrying on between Tom and her. But the
humor in which Tom had received her first quizzing upon the subject at
once told that intelligent lady of the "loose screw" on some side of
the question. Upon so important a matter, a married woman, and own
aunt to such a fine young man, one of the parties concerned, Mrs.
Wilson could not permit herself to remain ignorant. Her direct
questions in the first instance, and her dexterous cross-examination
afterward, showed Tom the folly of hoping to evade a full confession
of his having been refused; and it may be believed that he set forth
in no small degree how ill-treated he had been by the said Winny
Cavana _and_ her father.

His aunt consoled him, so far as she could, with hopes that matters
might not be so bad as he apprehended; reminding him at the same time
of the extent of the sea, and the number of good fishes which must
still be in it uncaught. That shrewd woman could also perceive, from
Tom's manner, under his confession, as well as his first ill-humor,
that the loss of Winny Cavana's fortune, and the reversion of her fat
farm, were more matters of regret to him than the loss of herself.

"And why not?" she thought, under the impression of Winny's
ill-treatment of such a fine han'som' young fellow as her nephew.
"Shure, couldn't he have his pick an' choice of any girl in that, or
in any other parish; ay, or among her acquaintances in Armagh, for
that matter? But as for young Lennon! she was sartin shure Winny
couldn't be such a born idgiot as to make much of the likes of him
where Tom was to the fore."

She thus encouraged her nephew, taking much the same view of his case
as old Mick had done, and giving him pretty much the same advice--
"not to dhraw back at all, but to persavare an' get a hoult in her by
hook or by crook, an' thrust to a reconciliation aftherwards. He might
take her word for it, it was more make b'lief than anything else.
Don't give it up, Tom; them sort of girls like persavarince; I know I
did, a wochal, in my time. What's on her mind is, that it's
afther her money you are, an' Not hersel'."

"The devil a much she's out there, aunt; but I wish I could make her
think otherwise."

"Lissen here, Tom; 'a council's no command,' they say, an' my advice
is this. Let on when you go back that you could get an illigant fine
girl in Armagh wid twiste her fortune; but that nothing would tempt
you to forsake your own little girl at home, that was a piece iv your
heart since ye were both the hoith of a creepeen; do you see? an' I'll
back you up in it. Tell her she may bestow her fortune upon Kate
Mulvey or any one she likes; that herself is all you want. You know
she won't do that when it comes to the point."

"Not a bad plan, aunt. But sure I should let on to my father, and to
every one in the neighborhood; and they'll be asking me who she is,
and about her father and her mother, and all about her; and I should
have answers ready, if I mean the thing to look like the truth."

"An' won't I give you all that as pat as A, B, C? Don't I know the
very girl that'll answer to a T, Tom?"

"Why then, aunt dear, mightn't you bring me across her in earnest?"

"Faix, an' I could not, Tom, for a very good reason--that I'm not
acquainted wid her, except to see her sometimes; an' I know her name,
an' who she is, an' her father's name, an' how he med his money.
They're as proud as paycocks, I can tell you; an nayther the wan nor
the other would look the same side iv the street wid the likes iv us,
Tom; but they don't know that at Rathcash; an' shure, if Winny thries
to find out about them, she'll find that you're tellin' the truth as
far as the names an' money goes, an I'll let on to be as thick as two
pickpockets wid them."

Tom was silent. The closing words of his aunt's speech made him wish
that he could pick some of their pockets of about a hundred pounds.

The plan, however, seemed a good one, and had the effect of putting
Tom Murdock into good humor; and when Bill Wilson joined them at
dinner Tom was so agreeable and chatty, that Bill thought his wife,
although she was Tom's aunt, had not said a word too much for him; and
he regretted more than ever that he had used the words "so far as he
could see." He anticipated--nay, he dreaded--that they would be
brought up to him again that night with greater force than ever.



CHAPTER XVII.


The most part of ready cash, whatever the sum may have been, which Tom
had received at the bank, having been, as he called it, "swallowed up
by them cormorants, the attorneys," he had, after all, but a trifling
balance in his pocket. He was determined, therefore, to live quietly
for some time at his aunt's upon "the lashins and lavins," taking her
advice, and arranging with her his plan of operations upon his return
to Rathcashmore. And his aunt's advice, in a prudent and worldly point
of view, was not to be controverted, if anything could tend toward the
attainment of his object; that was the question.

It was impossible, however, that Tom could rest altogether satisfied
with the company of his aunt and her husband, and three or four
children between ten and seventeen years of age; particularly as the
eldest of his cousins was a long-necked boy with big, stuck-out ears,
who worked in his father's shop, instead of a graceful girl with dark
hair and fine eyes, whose domestic duties must keep her in the house
as her mother's assistant, or perhaps enable her, when she could be
spared, to guide him through the principal parts of the town, of which
he would have feigned the most profound ignorance. But the eldest
child just past seventeen, as we have seen, happened to be a
boy, not a girl, and Tom did not consider this the best arrangement
that could be wished. In consequence, he sometimes spent an evening
from home, with one or other, or perhaps with all the congenial
spirits with whom, as a _delegate_--for the truth may be
confessed--from another county, he could claim brotherhood. On this
occasion, however, he was not on official business in Armagh; and
whatever intercourse took place between them was of a purely social
nature.

Tom was not altogether such a _mauvais sujet_ as perhaps the reader
has set him down in his own mind to be, from the inuendos which have
been thrown out respecting him, as well as the actual portions of his
character which have made themselves manifest. It must be
confessed--nay, I believe it has been admitted not many lines
above--that he was a Ribbonman; and although that includes all that is
murderous and wicked, when a necessity arises, yet in the absence of
such necessity a Ribbonman may not be altogether void of certain good
points in his character. It is the frightful _obligation_ which he
_labors_ under that makes a villain of him, should circumstances
require the aid of his iniquity. Apart from this, and from what is
termed an agrarian grievance, a Ribbonman may not be a bad family-man,
although the training he undergoes in "The Lodge" is ill calculated to
nourish his domestic sympathies.

Tom had now been upward of a month enjoying the hospitality of his
aunt; and notwithstanding that she had done all in her power to
entertain him, and "make much" of him, he was beginning to tire of the
eternal smoke and flags, and stacks of chimneys, which were always the
same to the eye: no bright "blast of sun," no sudden dark cloud, made
any difference in them; there they were, always the same dark color,
no matter what light shone upon them. No wonder, then, Tom Murdock
began once more to long for the fresh breeze that blew about the wild
hills of Rathcashmore, the green fields of his father's farm, and the
purple heather of Slieve-dhu, with the white rocks of Slieve-bawn by
her side.

Absence too had done more really to touch Tom's heart with respect to
Winny Cavana than to wean him from the "saucy slut," as he had called
her in pique on his departure. He had "come across,"--this is the
Irish mode of expressing, "had been introduced,"--through his aunt's
assistance, several of what she called illigant fine girls, nieces of
her husband's and others, and his heart confessed that none of them
"were a patch" upon Winny Cavana, after all. He thus became fidgety,
and began to speak of returning home. Of course the aunt opposed her
hospitality to such a step, for the present at least: "Just as we were
beginning to enjoy you, Tom avic," said she; and of course her husband
made a show of joining her, although he knew there had been more beer
drunk in the house in the last month than in the six preceding ones;
neither did the cold meat turn out to half the account. He knew this
by his pocket, not by his knowledge of the cookery. Tom, however, made
no promise of further sojourn than "to put the following Sunday over
him," and it was now Thursday. But the next morning's post hurried
matters. It brought him a letter from his father, which prevented his
aunt from pressing his stay beyond the following day, when it was
finally settled by Tom that he would start for home. "It ran thus," as
is the common mode of introducing a letter in a novel or story:

"DEAR TOM,--This comes to you hoppin' to find you in good health,
which I am sorry to say it does not lave me at present; but thank God
for all his mercies. I was very lonesum entirely afther you left me;
an the more, dear Tom, as I had not my ould neighbor Ned Cavana to
spake to, as used to be the case afore that young chisel of a
daughter of his cam round him to brake wid us. She's there still,
seemingly as proud as ever; but she'll be taken down a peg wan of
these days, mark my words. I have wan piece of good news for you, Tom
avic; an' that is, that young Lennon never darkened their doore since
you went; and more be token, she never spoke a word to him on Sunda's
after mass, but went straight home with her father from the chapel.
This I seen myself; for although I have been very daunny since you
left me, I med bowld wid myself not to lose prayers any Sunda' wet or
dhry, for no other purpose but to watch herself an' that chap. So,
dear Tom, you needn't be afeared of him. I think, indeed; I seen him
going down the road the three Sunda's wid Kate Mulvey; so I think
Winny tould the truth to her father about him. Dear Tom, I have not
been well at all at all for the last three weeks, an' I am not able to
be out all day as I used to be, an' I hardly know how matthers are
goin' on upon the farm. I see old Ned a'most every day from the doore
or the garden, where I sometimes go out when it's fine; I see him
wandherin' about his farm as brisk an' as hard as ever. I think
nothin' would give that man a brash. Dear Tom, I did not like writin'
to you to say I was lonesum or unwell until you had taken a turn out
of yourself at your aunt's; but I am not gettin' betther, an' I think
the sight iv you would do me good. Tell your aunt to let you cum home
to me now. Indeed, dear Tom, I'm too long alone; an' havin' no wan to
spake to makes me fret, though I wouldn't interfere wid you for a
while afther you went. If ould Ned Cavana was the man I tuck him to
be, he wouldn't let the few words that cum betune us keep him away
from me all this time, an' I not well; but he never put to me, nor
from me, since you left, nor I to him. Dear Tom, cum back to me as
soon as you can, an' maybe we'll get the betther of him an' Winny,
afther all. Hopin' your aunt, an' the childer, an' Bill himself, is
all in good health, I remain your father till death,

   "Michael Murdock."

Tom, as I have hinted, was not without his good points, and, as he
read over the above letter from his poor lonely father, his heart
smote him for having been so long away, and where, to tell the truth
to himself, he had no great fun or pleasure. His conscience, moreover,
accused him of one glaring act of ingratitude and villany, he might
call it, toward the poor old man. There was something tender and
self-sacrificing in the letter, yet it was not without a complaining
tone all through, that brought all Tom's better feelings uppermost in
his heart; and he resolved to start for home early the next morning.
He now felt that he had business at home, which at one time he had
never contemplated taking the smallest trouble about, beside keeping
his poor old father better company than he had hitherto done. Yet,
with all this softening of his disposition, he was never more
determined to carry out his object with respect to Winny Cavana, by
fair means--or by _foul!_

What his father had said about young Lennon gave him hopes that, in
the end, a scheme which he had planned for the latter might not be
_necessary_.

Tom knew there could be no use in writing to his father to say he
would so soon be home with him. The nearest post-town was seven miles
from Rathcashmore; and although any person "going in had orders" to
call at the post-office, and bring out all letters for the neighbors
of both the Rathcashes, yet were he to write now, his letter was sure
to lie there for some days, and he would undoubtedly be home before
its receipt. Thus he argued, and therefore endeavored to content
himself with the resolution he had formed to make no delay; and
whatever "his traps" may have been, they were got together and locked
in his box at once.

He had engaged to meet a _particular friend_ on the following evening,
Friday, partly on _business_ previous to returning to _his own part_
the country. But he would now anticipate this visit by going there at
once, so as to enable him to leave for home early next morning. He
hoped to find his father better than his letter might lead him to
suppose; and he had no doubt his presence and society, which he was
determined should be more constant and sympathizing than heretofore,
would serve to cheer him.

Nothing, then, which his aunt could say, and certainly nothing which
her husband had added to what she did say, had any effect toward
altering Tom's resolution to start for home on the following morning.
By this means he hoped to reach his father on the evening of the
second day,--railways had not been then established in any part of
Ireland, not even the Dublin and Kingstown line,--and he would save
the poor old man from the lonesome necessity of going to church on
Sunday, "be it wet or dry."

He carried out his determination without check or hindrance, and
arrived at the end of the lane leading up to Rathcashmore house soon
after dusk in the evening of Saturday. He travelled by car from C--k;
and the horse being neither too spirited, nor too _fresh_, after his
journey, stood quietly on the road, with his head down, and his off
fore-leg in the "first position," until the driver returned, having
left Tom Murdock's box above at the house.

The meeting between old Mick and his son was as tender and
affectionate on the old man's part as could well be, and as much so on
Tom's as could well be expected. Old Mick had some secret
anticipations--presentiment, perhaps, I should have called it--that
they would never part again in this world, until they parted for the
last time. Daily he felt an increasing weakness of limb, weariness of
mind, which whispered to his heart that that parting was not far
distant. His son's arrival, however, had the effect which he had
promised to himself. He seemed to improve both in spirits and in
health. If he had not thrown away the stick,--which the reader was
forewarned he would adopt,--he made more use of it cutting at the
_kippeens_, and whatever else came in his way, than as a help to his
progress.



CHAPTER XVIII.


New Year's Day is always a holiday. And well it is for the girls and
boys of a parish, of a district, of a county, ay, of all Ireland, if
it should rise upon them in the glowing beauty of a cloudless sun.
Then, indeed, the girls "are drest in all their best." Many a new
bright ribbon has been purchased on the previous market-day, and many
a twist and turn the congregation side of their bonnets has had. A bow
of new ribbon, blue or red, according to their complexion--for these
country girls are no more fools in such a matter than their
betters--has been held first to this side of their bonnet, then to
that; then the long ends have been brought across the top this way,
then that way, temporarily fastened with pins in the first instance,
until it is held at arm's-length, with the head a little to one side,
to test the final position. Their petticoats have been swelled out by
numbers, not by crinoline, which as yet was unknown, even to the
higher orders. But "be this as it may," the girls of the townlands of
Rathcash, Rathcashmore, and Shanvilla made no contemptible turn-out
upon the New Year's day after Tom Murdock had returned from Armagh.
The boys, too, were equally grand, according to their style of dress.
Some lanky, thin-shanked fellows in loose trousers and high-low boots;
while the well-formed fellows, with plump calves and fine ankles,
turned out in their new _corderoy_ breeches, woolen stockings, and
_pumps_. I have confined myself to their lower proportions, as in most
cases the coats and rests were much of the same make, though perhaps
different in color and material, while the well-brushed "_Caroline_"
hat was common to all.

Conspicuous amongst the girls in the district in which our story
sojourns, were, as a matter of course, Winny Cavana and Kate Mulvey,
with some others of their neighbors who have not been mentioned, and
who need not be.

Winny, since the little episode respecting her refusal of Tom Murdock,
and his subsequent departure, had led a very quiet, meditative life.
She could not help remarking to herself, however, that she had somehow
or other become still more intimate with Kate Mulvey than she had used
to be; but for this she could not account--though, perhaps, the
reader can. She had always been upon terms of intimacy with Kate; had
frequently called there, when time would permit, and sat for half an
hour, or sometimes an hour, chatting, which was always reciprocated by
Kate, whose time was more on her own hands. In what then consisted the
increase of intimacy can hardly be said. Perhaps it merely existed in
Winny's own wish that it should be so, and the fact that one and the
other, on such occasions, now always threw a cloak round her shoulders
and accompanied her friend a piece of the way home. Sometimes, when
the day was tempting, a decided walk would be proposed, and then the
bonnet was added to the cloak. What formed the burden of their
conversation in these chats, which to a close observer might be said
latterly to have assumed a confidential appearance, must be so evident
to the reader's capacity, that no mystery need be observed on the
subject. To say the least, Emon-a-knock came in for a share of
it, and, as a matter of almost necessity, Tom Murdock was not
altogether left out.

Kate Mulvey, after the _éclaircissement_ with Winny, believed she
could do her friend some good without doing herself any harm, a
principle on which alone most people will act. With this view she took
an early opportunity to hint something to Emon of the result of the
interview between herself and Winny, and although she did it in a very
casual, and at the same time a clever, manner, she began to fear that
so far as her friend's case was concerned, she had done more harm than
good. The fact of Tom Murdock's proposal and rejection subsequent to
the interview adverted to, had not become public amongst the
neighbors; and before Winny had an opportunity of telling it to Kate,
Emon had left his father's house, to seek employment in the north. It
is not unlikely that he was tempted to this step by something which
had fallen from Kate Mulvey respecting Winny and Tom Murdock, although
the whole cat had not yet got out of the bag.

Hitherto poor Emon's heart had been kept pretty whole, through what he
considered a well-founded belief that Winny Cavana, almost as a matter
of course, must prefer her handsome, rich neighbor to a struggling
laboring man like him. Tom, he knew, she saw almost every day, while
at best she only saw him for a few minutes on Sundays after chapel.
Emon knew the meaning of the word propinquity very well, and he knew
as well the danger of it. He knew, too, that if there were no such
odds against him, he could scarcely dare aspire to the hand of the
rich heiress of Rathcash. He knew the disposition of old Ned Cavana
too well to believe that he would ever consent to a "poor devil" like
him "coming to coort his daughter." He believed so thoroughly that all
these things were against him, that he had hitherto successfully
crushed every rising hope within his breast. He had schooled himself
to look upon a match between Tom Murdock and Winny Cavana as a matter
so natural, that it would be nothing less than an act of madness to
endeavor to counteract it. What Kate Mulvey, however, had "let slip"
had aroused a slumbering angel in his soul. He was not wrong, then,
after all, in a secret belief that this girl did not like Tom Murdock
over-much. Upon what he had founded that belief he could no more have
explained--even to himself--than he could have dragged the moon down
from heaven; but he did believe it; he even combatted it as a fatal
delusion, and yet it was true. But how did this mend the matter as
regarded himself? Not in the slightest degree, except so far as that
the man he most dreaded, and had most reason to dread, was no longer
an acknowledged rival to his heart. Hopes he still had none.

But Emon-a-knock was now in commotion. The angel was awake, and his
heart trembled at a possibility which despair had hitherto hidden from
his thoughts.

For some time past he had not only not avoided a casual meeting with
Winny, but delighted in them with a safe, if not altogether a happy,
indifference. He looked upon her as almost betrothed to Tom Murdock;
circumstances and reports were so dovetailed into one another, and so
like the truth.

Although there was really no difference in rank between him and Winny,
except what her father's well-earned wealth justified the assumption
of, his position as a daily laborer kept him aloof from an intimacy of
which those in circumstances more like her own could boast; and poor
Emon felt that it was a matter for boast. Thus had he hitherto
refrained from attempting to "woo that bright particular star," and
his heart was comparatively safe. But now--ay, _now_--what was he to
do? "Fly, Fly" said he; "I'll go seek for employment in the north.
To America, India, Australia--anywhere! Kate Mulvey may have
meant it as kindness; but it would have been more kind to have let me
alone. This horrible knowledge of that one fact will break my heart."

And Emon-a-knock did fly. But it was no use. There were many reasons
quite unconnected with Winny Cavana which rendered a more speedy
return than he had intended unavoidable. A stranger beyond the
precincts of his own pariah, he found it impossible to procure
permanent employment amongst those who were better known, and who
"belonged to the place"--a great consideration in the minds of the
Irish, high and low. The bare necessaries of life, too, were more
expensive in the north than about his own home; and for the few days'
employment which he got, he could scarcely support himself, while his
father and family would feel the loss of his share of the earnings at
home. No; these two separate establishments would never do. He could
gain nothing by it but the gnawing certainty of never seeing, even at
a distance, her in whom he now began to feel that his heart delighted.
Besides, he could manage to avoid her altogether by going to his own
chapel; yes, he felt it a duty he owed to his father not to let him
fight life's battle alone, and--he returned. We question whether this
_duty_ to his _father_ was his sole motive; and we shall see whether
he did not subsequently consider it a _duty_ to prefer the good
preaching of Father Roche, of Rathcash, to the somewhat indifferent
discourses of good Father Farrell in _his own_ chapel.

Emon had not been more than ten days or a fortnight away, and he was
now following the usual routine, of a day idle and a day working,
which had marked his life before he went.

But we were talking of a New Year's day, and it will be far spent if
we do not return to it at once, and so we shall lose the thread of our
story.

The day, as we had wished a few pages back, had risen in all the
beauty of a cloudless sun. There had been a slight frost the night
before, but as these slight frosts seldom bring rain until the third
morning, the country people were quite satisfied that the promise of a
fine day on this occasion would not be broken. The chapel-bells of
Rathcash and Shanvilla might be heard sounding their dear and cheerful
call to their respective parishioners that the hour of worship had
drawn near, and the well-dressed, happy congregation might be seen in
strings along the road and across the pathways through the fields, in
their gayest costume, laughing and chatting with an unbounded
confidence in the faithfulness of the sky.

Tom Murdock, the reader knows, had returned, but he had not as yet
seen Winny Cavana. One Sunday had intervened; but upon his father's
advice he had refrained from going "for that wan Sunda' to chapel."
Neither, on the same advice, had he gone near old Ned's house. The old
man--that is, old Murdock--had endeavored to spread a report that his
son Tom was engaged to be married to a very rich girl in Armagh. He
took his own views of all matters, whether critical or simple, and had
his own way of what he called managing them. He was not very wrong in
some of his ideas, but he sometimes endeavored to carry them out too
persistently, after anybody else would have seen their inutility.

On this New Year's day, too, he had hinted something about his son's
not going to mass, but Tom would not be controlled, and quickly "shut
up'" that is the _fashionable_ phrase now-a-days--the old man upon the
subject. His opinion, and he did not care to hide it, was, "that he
did not see why he should be made a mope of by Winny Cavana, or any
other conceited piece of goods like her." His father's pride came to
his aid in this instance, and he gave way.

Rathcash chapel was a crowded place of worship that day. Amongst
the congregation, as a matter of coarse, were Winny Cavana and Kate
Mulvey, both conspicuous by their beauty and solemnity. Tom Murdock,
too, was there; doubtless he was handsome, and he was solemn also, but
his solemnity was of a different description. It was that generated by
disappointment, with a dream of villany in perspective.

Tom was not a coward, even under the nervous influence of rejected
love. Physically, he was not one in the matters of everyday life; and
morally, he wanted rectitude to be one when he ought. He therefore
resolved to meet Winny Cavana, as she came out of chapel, as much as
possible as if nothing had happened, and to endeavor to improve the
acquaintance as opportunity might permit. He purposed to himself to
walk home with her, and determined, if possible, that at least a
friendly intercourse should not be interrupted between them.

Emon-a-knock had steadily kept his resolution, notwithstanding our
doubts, and had not gone to Rathcash chapel for the last four or five
Sundays; he was even beginning to think that Father Farrell, after
all, was not quite so much below Father Roche as a preacher.

At length there was a rustling of dresses and a shuffling of feet upon
the floor, which proclaimed that divine worship had ended; and the
congregation began to pour out of Rathcash chapel--men in their dark
coats and Caroline hats, and women in their best bonnets and cloaks.
Tom Murdock was out almost one of the first, and sauntered about,
greeting some of the more distant neighbors whom he had not seen since
his return. At length Winny and Kate made their appearance. Winny
would have hurried on, but Kate "stepped short," until Tom had time to
observe their approach. He came forward with more cowardice in his
heart than he had ever felt before, and Winny's reception of him was
not calculated to reassure him. Kate was next him, and held out her
hand promptly and warmly. Winny could scarcely refuse to hold out
hers; but there was neither promptness nor warmth in her manner. An
awkward silence ensued on both sides, until Kate, with more anxiety on
her own behalf than tact or consideration on her friend's, broke in
with half a score of inquiries, very kindly put, as to his health--the
_very long_ time he was away--how the neighbors _all_ missed him so
much--what he had been doing--how he left his aunt--how he liked
Armagh, etc, ending with a _hope_ that he had come home to _remain_.

Winny was glad she had so good a spokeswoman with her, and did not
offer a single observation in her aid. To say the truth, there was
neither need nor opportunity; for Kate seemed perfectly able, and not
unwilling, to monopolize the conversation. Tom endeavored to be
sprightly and at his ease, but made some observations far from
applicable to the subjects upon which his loquacious companion had
addressed him. He had hoped that when they came to the end of the lane
turning up to their houses, that Kate Mulvey would have gone toward
her own home, and that he must then have had a word with Winny alone;
but the manner in which she hastened her step past the turn, saying,
"Kate; you know we are engaged to have a walk 'our lone' today,"
showed him that no amelioration of her feelings had taken place toward
him; and without saying more than "Well, this is my way," he turned
and left them.

Bully-dhu was standing near the end of Winny's house, looking from
him; and as he recognized his mistress on the road, commenced to wag
his huge tail, as if asking permission to accompany them. "Call him,
Winny," said Kate; "he may be of use to us; and, at all events, he
will be _company_," and she laid a strong emphasis upon the last word.
Winny complied, and called the dog as loud as she could. Poor
Bully wanted but the wind of the word, and tore down the lane with his
mouth wide open, and his tail describing large circles in the air. He
had well-nigh knocked down Tom Murdock as he passed, but he did not
mind that; and bounding out upon the road, cut such capers round Winny
as were seldom seen, keeping up at the same time a sort of growling
bark, until the enthusiasm of his joy at the permission had subsided.



CHAPTER XIX.


Winny and Kate had agreed to take a long walk after mass on the day in
question. This was not a mere trick of Winny's to get rid of Tom
Murdock. Certainly they had not agreed that it should be "their lone;"
this was as chance might have it; and it was a gratuitous addition of
Winny's, as calculated to attain her object; and we have seen how
promptly she succeeded.

The day was fine, and they now wandered along the road, so engaged in
chat that they scarcely knew how far they were from home. They had
turned down a cross-road before they came to Shanvilla, the little
village where Emon-a-knock lived. Kate would have gone on straight,
but Winny could not be induced to do so. Kate had her own reasons for
wishing to go on, while Winny had hers for being determined not; so
they turned down the road to their left, intending, as they had
Bully-dhu with them, to come home through the mountain-pass by
Boher-na-milthiogue. They had chat enough for the whole road. Prayers
had been over early, although it was second mass; and the country
people generally dine later on a holiday than usual. It gives the boys
and girls more time to meet and chat and part, and in some instances
to make new acquaintances. But whether it had been agreed upon or not,
Winny and Kate appeared likely to have their walk alone upon this
occasion; and as neither of them could choose their company, they were
not sorry to find the road they had chosen less frequented than the
one they had left. Bully-dhu scampered through the fields at each side
of them, and sometimes on a long distance in front, occasionally
running back to a turn to see if they were coming.

They were now beyond two miles from home, and two-and-a-half more
would have completed the circle they had intended to take; but they
were destined to return by the same way they came, and in no
comfortable or happy plight.

They were descending a gentle hill when, at some distance below them,
they perceived a number of young men engaged playing at what they call
"long bullets." They would instinctively have turned back, not
wishing, unattended as they were except by Bully-dhu, to run the
gauntlet of so many young men upon the roadside, most of whom must be
strangers; but the said Bully-dhu had been enjoying himself
considerably in advance, and they called and called to no purpose.
They could not whistle; and if Bully heard them call, he did not heed
them. He had seen a large brindled mastiff coming toward him from the
crowd with his back up, and a growl of defiance which he could not
mistake. Bully was no coward at any time; but on this occasion his
courage was more than manifest, being, as he considered, in sole
charge of his mistress and her friend. He was not certain but his
antagonist's attack might be directed as much against them as against
himself; and he stood upon the defensive, with his back up also, the
hairs of which, from behind his ears to the butt of his tail, bristled
"like quills upon the fretful porcupine." An encounter was now
inevitable. The mastiff had shown a determination that nothing but a
death-struggle should be the result, and rushed with open mouth and a
roar of confident superiority upon his weaker rival. It was no
even match; nothing but poor Bully-dhu's indomitable courage and
activity could enable him to stand a single combat with his antagonist
for five minutes. The first snarling and growling on both sides had
now subsided, and they were "locked in each other's arms" in a silent
rolling struggle for life or death. A dog-fight of even the most minor
description has charms for a crowd of youngsters; and of course the
"long bullets" were left to take care of themselves, and all the
players, as well as the spectators, now ran up the road to witness
this contest, which was, indeed, far from a minor concern. Poor Winny
had screamed when she saw her dog first rolled by so furious and, as
she saw at once, so superior a foe. She would have rushed forward but
that Kate restrained her, as both dangerous and useless. She therefore
threw herself against the bank of the ditch by the roadside,
continuing to call out "for God's sake for somebody to save her poor
dog. Was there no person there who knew her, and would save him?"

The crowd had by this time formed a ring round the infuriated animals.
Some there were who would have been obedient to Winny's call for help;
but the case at present admitted of no relief. Notwithstanding poor
Bully-dhu's pluck and courage, he had still the worst of it; in fact,
his was altogether a battle of defence, while that of the mastiff was
one of ferocious attack. He had seized Bully in the first instance at
an advantage by the side of the neck under the ear, meeting his teeth
through the skin, while the blood flowed freely from the wound,
coloring the mud of the road a dark crimson round where they fought,
and nearly choking the mastiff himself, as he was occasionally rolled
under in the strife. Now they were upon their hind-legs again,
wrestling like two stout boys for a fall; now Bully was down, and the
mastiff rolled his head from side to side, tightening his grip, while
the bloody froth besmeared himself and his victim, as he might now
almost be called.

Some men at this point, more humane than the rest, took hold of the
mastiff by the tail, while others struck him on the nose with a stick.
They might as well have struck the rocks love Slieve-dhu or
Slieve-bawn. The mastiff was determined upon death, and death he
seemed likely to have. His master was there, and seemed anxious to
separate them. He even permitted him to be struck on the nose,
claiming the privilege only of choosing the thickness of the stick.

"He's loosening, boys!" said one fellow; "he's tired of that hoult,
an' can do no more with it; stan' back, boys, an' give the black dog
fair play, he's not bet yet; he never got a grip iv th' other dog yet;
give him fair play, boys, an' he'll do good business yet. There!
Tiger's out iv him now, and the black dog has him; be gorra, he's a
game dog any way, boys! I dunna who owns him." This man seemed to be
an "expert" in dog-fighting. Tiger had got tired of the hold he had
had, and, considering a fresh grip would be better, not by any means
influenced by the blows he had received on the nose, had given way;
believing, I do suppose, that he had already so mastered his
antagonist, that he could seize him again at pleasure. But he had
reckoned without his host. Bully-dhu took advantage of the relief to
turn on him, and seized him pretty much in the same way he had been
seized himself, and with quite as much ferocity and determination. Hie
fight did not now seem so unequal; they had grip for grip, and there
was a general cry amongst the crowd to let them see it out. Indeed,
there appeared to be no alternative, for they had both resisted every
exertion to separate them.

"It's no use, boys," said the expert; "you might cut them in pieces,
an' they wouldn't quit, except to get a better hoult; if you want to
part them, hold them by the tails, an' watch for the loosening
of wan or th' other, an' then drag them away."

"Stan' back, boys," said another. "The black dog's not bet yet; stan'
back, I say!"

Bully-dhu had made a great rally of it. It was now evident that he
would have made a much better fight from the first, if he had not been
seized at an advantage which prevented him from turning his head to
seize his foe in return. They had been by this time nearly twenty
minutes in deadly conflict; and the mastiff's superior strength and
size began now to tell fearfully against poor Bully-dhu. He had shaken
himself completely out of Bully, and made a fresh grip, not far from
the first, but still nearer the throat. The matter seemed now coming
to a close, and the result no longer doubtful. Every one saw that if
something could not be done to disengage Tiger from that last grip,
the black dog must speedily be killed.

Here Winny, who heard the verdict from the crowd, could be restrained
no longer, and rushed forward praying for some one, for them all, to
try and save her dog. They all declared it was a pity; that he was a
grand dog, but no match for the mastiff. Some recommended one thing,
some another. Tiger was squeezed, and struck on the nose; a stick was
forced into his mouth, with a hope of opening his teeth and loosening
his hold; but it was all useless, and poor Winny gave up all for lost,
in a fit of sobbing and despair.

Here a man, who had not originally been of the party, was seen running
at full speed down the hill. It was Emon-a-knock, who at this juncture
had come accidentally upon the top of the hill immediately above them,
and at once recognizing _some_ of the party on the road, rushed
forward to the rescue. He cast but a glance at the dogs. He knew them
_both_, and how utterly hopeless a contest it must be for Bully-dhu.
Like an arrow from a bow, he flew to a cabin hard by, and seizing a
half-lighted sod of turf from the fire, he returned to the scene.
"Now, boys," he cried, "hold them fast by the tails and hind-legs, and
I'll soon separate them." Two men seized them--Tiger's own master was
one. Although there were many young men there who would have looked on
with savage pleasure at an even fight between two well-matched dogs,
even to the death, there was not one who could wish to stand by and
see a noble dog killed without a chance by a superior foe, and they
all hailed Emon-a-knock, from his confident and decisive manner, as a
timely deliverer. The dogs having been drawn by two strong men to
their full length, but still fastened by the deadly grip of the
mastiff on Bully-dhu's throat, Emon blew the coal, and applied it to
Tiger's jaw. This was too much for him. He could understand squeezes,
and even blows on the nose and head, or perhaps in the excitement he
never felt them; but the lighted coal he could not stand, and yielding
at once to the pain, he let go his hold. The dogs were then dragged
away to a distance; Emon-a-knock carrying poor Bully-dhu in his arms,
more dead than alive, to where Winny sat distracted on the roadside.

"O Emon! he's dead or dying!' she cried, as the exhausted animal lay
gasping by her side.

"He's neither!" almost roared Emon; "have you a fippenny-bit, Winny,
or Kate? if I had one myself, I wouldn't ask you."

"Yes, yes," exclaimed Winny, taking an old bead-purse from her pocket,
and giving him one. She knew not what it was for, but her confidence
in Emon's judgment was unbounded, and her heart felt some relief when
it was not a needle and thread he asked for.

"Here," said Emon to a gossoon, who stood looking at the dog, "be off
like a hare to Biddy Muldoon's for a naggin of whiskey, and you may
have the change for yourself, if you're back in less than no time;
make her put it in a bottle, not a cup, that you may run the
whole way without spilling it."

The boy started off, not very unlike--either in pace or
appearance--to the animal he was desired to resemble, for he had a cap
made of one of their skins.

Emon-a-knock, although a very steady, temperate young man, was not
altogether so much above his compeers in the district as not to know
"where a dhrop was kept," which, to the uninitiated (English, of
course), means a sheebeen house. Perhaps, _to them_, I am only
explaining one thing by another which equally requires explanation.

During the interval of the boy's absence, Emon-a-knock was examining
the wounds in poor Bully-dhu's neck and throat. The dog still lay
gasping, and occasionally scrubbling with his fore-legs, and kicking
with his hind, while Winny reiterated her belief that he was dying.
Emon now contradicted her rather flatly. He knew she would excuse the
rudeness from the hope which it held forth.

"There will be nothing on him to signify indeed, Winny, after a
little," he said kindly, feeling that he had been harsh but a moment
before; "see, he is not even torn; only cut in four places."

"In four places! O Emon, in four?"

"Yes; but they are only where the other dog's teeth entered, and came
through; see, they are only holes; the dog is quite exhausted, but
will soon come round. Come here, Winny, and feel him yourself."

Winny stretched over, and Emon took her hand to guide it to the spots
where her poor dog had been wounded. Poor Bully looked up at her, and
feebly endeavored to wag his tail, and Winny smiled and wept together.
Emon was a very long time explaining to her precisely where the wounds
were, and how they must have been inflicted; and he found it necessary
to hold her hand the whole time. Whether Winny, in the confusion of
her grief, knew that he did so, nobody but herself can tell. Three or
four persons who knew Winny had kindly come up to see how the dog was,
and the expert amongst them, with so much confidence that he was going
to set him on his legs at once. But Emon had taken special charge of
him, and would not suffer so premature an experiment, nor the
interference of any other doctor.

But here comes the gossoon with the whiskey, like a hare indeed,
across the fields, and his middle finger stuck in the neck of the
bottle by way of a cork.

Emon took it from him, and claiming the assistance of the expert, whom
he had just now repudiated, for a few moments to hold his head, he
placed the neck of the bottle in Bully-dhu's mouth. He poured "the
least taste in life" down his throat, and with his hand washed his
jaws and tongue copiously with the spirits.

With a sort of yelp poor Bully made a struggle and a plunge, and rose
to his feet. Winny held out her hand to him, and he staggered over
toward her, looking up in her face, and wagging his tail.

"I told you so," said Emon; "get me a handful of salt."

The same cabin which had supplied the "live coal" was applied to by
the gossoon (who kept the change), and it was quickly brought.

Emon then rubbed some into the wounds, in spite of Winny's
remonstrances as to the pain, and the dog's own unequivocal objections
to the process.

Matters were now really on the mend. Bully-dhu shook himself, looking
after the crowd with a growl; and even Winny had no doubt that Emon's
prescriptions had been necessary and successful.

"The sooner you get home now with him, Winny, the better," said Emon.

"You are not going to leave us, Emon?" said Winny, doubtingly.

"Certainly not," he replied; "the poor dog is still very weak, and may
require rest, if not help, by the way." He then took a red cotton
handkerchief from his pocket, and tying it loosely round the dog's
neck, he held the other end of it in his hand, and they all set out
together for Rathcash.

The handkerchief, Emon said, would both keep the air from the wounds,
and help to sustain the dog on his legs. But he may have had some idea
in his mind that it would also serve as an excuse for his accompanying
them to the very furthest point possible on their road home.



CHAPTER XX.


For many hundred yards total silence prevailed among our pedestrians.
Even Kate Mulvey seemed at a loss what first to say, or whether she
ought to be the first to say anything.

Winny, seeing that her poor dog was getting on famously, was rather
pleased, "since the thing did happen," that it had been brought to so
satisfactory an end after all; and by whom? Her poor dog might have
been killed, and would, undoubtedly, but for Emon-a-knock's fortunate
arrival at the last moment, and his prompt and successful assistance.
There was poor Bully-dhu now, walking to all appearances almost as
well as ever, and tied up in _his_ handkerchief. She was glad that the
road had become by this time comparatively deserted, for she was timid
and frightened, she knew not why. Perhaps she was afraid she might
meet her father. She was thinking with herself, too, how far Emon
would come with them, and who they might meet who knew them, before he
turned back. Emon-a-knock's heart was wishing Kate Mulvey at "_Altha
Brashia_," but his head was not sorry that she was one of the party,
for common-sense still kept his heart in subjection.

Thus it was that silence prevailed for some time. Bully-dhu was the
first to break it. Whether it was that the whiskey had got into his
head, or, as the present fashion would say, that he was "screwed," I
know not; but he felt so much better, and had so far recovered his
strength and spirits, that he had almost pulled the handkerchief from
Emon's hand, and cut an awkward sort of a rigadoon round Winny,
barking, and looking up _triumphantly_ in her face. Could it have been
that while the others had been thinking of these other things, he had
been deluding himself with the notion that he had been the victor in
the battle?

"Poor fellow," said Winny, patting him on the head, "I do think
there's nothing very bad the matter with you after all. Emon, I
am beginning to believe you."

"I hope you will always believe me, Winny Cavana," was his reply, and
he again sunk into silence.

She could not think why he called her Cavana, and "yet her color
rose;" I believe that is the way your experienced novelists would
express it in such a case.

A longer silence now ensued. None of the three appeared inclined to
talk--Emon less than either. Kate Mulvey, who had always plenty to
say for herself, seemed completely dumb--foundered, I was going to
add, but I find the word will do as well, perhaps better, in its
purity. But, notwithstanding their silence, they were shortening the
road to Rathcash. Winny was framing some pretty little speech of
thanks to Emon for the _trouble_ he had taken, and for his _kindness_;
but she had so often _botched_ it to her own mind, that she determined
to leave it to chance at the moment of parting. Kate had no such
excuse for her silence, and yet she was not without one, which to
herself quite justified it.

Some few desultory remarks, however, were made from time to time,
followed by the still "awkward pause," until they had now arrived at
the turn in sight of Kate Mulvey's house.

Emon was determined to go the whole way to the end of the lane turning
up to Winny Cavana's. He had not sought this day's happiness; he had
studiously avoided such a chance; but circumstances had so far
controlled him, that he could not accuse himself of wilful imprudence.
Emon knew very well that if a fair opportunity occurred, he would in
all probability betray himself in an unequivocal manner to Winny, and
he dreaded the result. Up to the present he was on friendly and
familiar terms with her; but once the word was spoken, he feared a
barrier would be placed between them, which might put an end to even
this calm source of happiness. That he loved Winny with a
disinterested but devoted love, he knew too well. How far he might
hope that she would ever look upon his love with favor, he had never
yet ventured to feel his way; and yet his heart told him there was
something about herself, which, if unbiassed by circumstances, might
bid him not despair. But her rich old father, who had set his heart
upon a marriage for his daughter with Tom Murdock, and a union of the
farms, he knew would never consent. Neither did he believe that Winny
herself would decline so grand a match when it came to the point.

Emon had argued all these matters over and over again in his mind; and
the fatal certainty of disappointment, added to a prudent
determination to avoid her society as much as possible, had enabled
him hitherto to keep his heart under some control.

Kate Mulvey, though "book-sworn" by Winny, if she did not exactly
repeat any of the confidential chat she had with her friend about Tom
Murdock and himself, felt no hesitation in "letting slip" to Emon, for
whom she had a very great regard, a hint or two just casually, as if
by accident, that Tom Murdock "was no great favorite" of Winny
Cavana's--that the neighbors "were all astray" in "giving them to one
another"--that if she knew what two and two made, it would all "end in
smoke;" and such little gossiping observations. Not by way of
_telling_ Emon, but just as if in the mere exuberance of her own love
of chat. But they had the desired effect, now that Emon was likely to
have an opportunity of a few words with Winny alone, for Kate was
evidently preparing to turn up to her own house when they came to the
little gate.

Emon had heard, even in his rank of life, the aristocratic expression
that "faint heart never won fair lady;" and a secret sort of
self-esteem prompted him to make the most of the fortuitous
circumstances which he had not sought for, and which he therefore
argued Providence might have thrown in his way, "What can she
do," thought he, "but reject my love? I shall know the worst then; and
I can make a start of it. I'm too long hanging about here like a fool;
a dumb priest never got a parish; and barring his acres and his
cash--if he has any--I'm a better man than ever he was, or ever will
be."

These were his thoughts as they approached the gate, and his heart
began to tremble as Kate Mulvey said:

"Winny, dear, I must part with you here. I saw my father at the door.
He came to it two or three times while we were coming up the road; and
he made a sign to me to go in. I'm sure and certain he's half-starved
for his dinner, waiting for me!"

"Well, Kitty, I suppose I can't expect you to starve him out-and-out,
and I'll bid you good-bye. I'm all as one as at home now, I may say.
Emon--I--won't bring you any further."

"You're not bringing me, Winny; I'm going of my own free will."

"Indeed, Emon, you have been very kind, and I'm entirely obliged to
you for all your trouble; but I won't ask you to come any further
now."

Kate's father just then came to the door again; and she, thinking that
matters had gone far enough between Emon and her friend in her
presence, bid them a final good-bye, and turned up to her father, who
still stood at the door, and who really did appear to be starving, if
one could judge by the position of his hands and the face he made.

The moment had now arrived when Emon must meet his fate, or call
himself a coward and a poltroon for the remainder of his natural life,
be it long or short.

He chose the least degrading and the most hopeful alternative--to meet
his fate.

As Winny held out her hand to him, and asked him to let out the dog,
he said:

"No, Winny; I'll give him up to you at the end of the lane; but not
sooner."

Winny saw that remonstrance would be no use. She did not wish to
quarrel with Emon, and she knew that at all events that was no time or
place to do so.

They had not advanced many yards alone, when Winny stopped again, as
if irresolute between her wishes and her fears. She had not yet spoken
unkindly to Emon, and she had tact enough to know that the first
unkind word would bring out the whole matter, which she dreaded, in a
flood from his heart, and which she doubted her own power to
withstand.

"Emon," she said, "indeed I will not let you come any further--don't
be angry."

"Winny, you said first you would not ask me, and now you say you will
not let me. Winny Cavana, are you ashamed of _any_ one about Rathcash,
or Rathcash_more_, seeing you walking with Emon-a-knock?"

"You are very unjust and very unkind, Emon, to say any such thing. I
never was ashamed to be seen walking with you; and I'm certain sure
the day will never come when you will give me reason to be ashamed of
you, Emon-a-knock;--there now, I seldom put the two last words to your
name, except when I wish to be kind. But there is a difference between
shame and fear, Emon."

"Then you are afraid, Winny?"

"Yes, Emon, but it is only of my father--take that with you now, and
be satisfied, but don't fret me by persevering further. Let the dog
go--and good-bye."

All this time she was counting the pebbles on the road with her eyes.

"No, Winny, I'll not fret you willingly; but here or there it is all
the same, and the truth must come out. Winny, you have been the
woodbine that has twined itself and blossomed round my heart for many
a long day. Don't wither it, Winny dear, but say I may water and
nourish it with the dew of your love;" and he would have taken
her hand.

"Not here, Emon," she said, releasing it; "are you mad? Don't you see
we're in sight of the houses? and gracious only knows who may be
watching us! Untie your handkerchief and give be the dog. For goodness
sake, Emon dear, don't come any further."

"No, Winny, I'd die before I'd fret you. Here's the dog, handkerchief
and all: keep it as a token that I may hope."

"Indeed, Emon, I cannot--don't ask me."

Emon's heart fell, and he stooped to untie the handkerchief in
despair, if not in chagrin, at Winny's last words.

But Bully-dhu appeared to know what his mistress ought to have done
better than she did herself. It was either that, or Emon's hand shook
so, that when endeavoring to untie the knot, the dog got loose,
"handkerchief and all," and, turning to his mistress, began to bark
and jump up on her, with joy that he had gained his liberty, and was
so near home. Winny became frightened lest Bully-dhu's barks might
bring notice upon them, and she endeavored to moderate his ecstacy,
yet she felt a sort of secret delight that she was in for the
handkerchief in spite of herself. She was determined, therefore, not
to send poor Emon-a-knock away totally dejected.

"There, Emon dear; for God's sake, I say again, be off home. I'll keep
it in memory of the day that you saved my poor dog from
destruction--there now, will that do?" and she held out her hand.

"It is enough, Winny dear. This has been the happiest day of my life.
May I hope it has only been the first of a long life like it?"

"Now, Emon, don't talk nonsense, but be off home, if you have any wit
--good-bye;" and this time she gave him her hand and let it lie in
his.

"God bless you, Winny dearest, I oughtn't to be too hard on you. Sure
you have raised my heart up into heaven already, and there is
something now worth living for." And he turned away with a quick and
steady step.

"She called me 'dear' twice," he soliloquized, after he thought she
had fairly turned round. But Winny had heard him, and as she took the
handkerchief from Bully-dhu's neck, she patted him upon the head,
saying, "And you _are_ a dear good fellow, and I'm very fond of you."

Emon heard every part of this little speech except the first word, and
Winny managed it to perfection; for though she had used the word "and"
in connection with what she had heard Emon say, she was too cunning to
let him hear that one small word, which would have calmed his beating
heart; and the rest she would fain have it appear had been said to the
dog, for which purpose she accompanied the words with those pats upon
his head. She spoke somewhat louder, however, than was necessary, if
Bully-dhu was alone intended to hear her.

Emon saw the transaction, and heard some of the words--only some. But
they were sufficient to make him envy the dog, as he watched them
going up the lane, and into the house.

It might be a nice point, in the higher ranks of life, to determine
whether, in a "breach of promise" case, the above passages could be
relied on as unequivocal evidence on either side of a promise; or
whether a young lover would be justified in believing that his suit
had been successful upon no other foundation than what had then taken
place. But in the rank of life in which Winny Cavana and Edward Lennon
moved, it was as good between them as if they had been
"book-sworn"--and they both knew it.

Before Winny went to her bed that night she had washed and ironed the
handkerchief, and she kept it ever after in her pocket, folded up in a
piece of newspaper. It had no mark upon it when she got it, but
she was not afraid, after some time, to work the letters E. A. K. in
the comer, as no one was ever to see it but herself, not even Kate
Mulvey.

Old Ned Cavana, after returning from prayers, determined to rest
himself for some time before taking a tour of the farm, and lay down
upon an old black sofa in the parlor. There is no shame in the truth
that an old man of his age soon fell fast asleep. The servant-girl
looked in once or twice to tell him that the spotted heifer had cut
her leg jumping over a wall, as Jamesy Doyle was turning her out of
the wheat; but she knew it would not signify; and not wishing, or
perhaps not venturing, to disturb him, she quietly shut the door
again. He slept so long, that he was only just getting the spotted
heifer's leg stuped in the farm-yard while the scene already described
was passing between Winny and young Lennon upon the road. Were it not
for that same heifer's leg he would doubtless have been standing at
the window watching his daughter's return. Upon such fortuitous
accidents do lovers' chances sometimes hang! This was what Winny in
her ignorance of her father's employment had dreaded; and hence alone
her anxiety that Emon should "be off home, if he had any wit."

On this point she found, however, that all was right when she entered.
Her father was just coming in from the farm-yard, "very thankful that
it was no worse;" a frame of mind which we would recommend all persons
to cultivate under untoward circumstances of any kind.

Of course Winny told her father of the mishap about poor Bully-dhu's
battle; she "nothing extenuated, nor set down aught in malice," but
told the thing accurately as it had occurred; and did not even hide
that young Lennon--she did not call him Emon-a-knock--had ultimately
rescued the poor dog from destruction. She did not think it necessary
to say how far he had accompanied them on their way home.

"He's a smart young fellow, that Lennon is, an' I'm for ever obliged
to him, Winny, for that same turn. There would be no livin' here but
for Bully-dhu. I believe it was Emon himself gev him to us, when he
was a pup."

"It was, father; and a very fine dog he turned out."

"The sorra-betther, Winny. If it wasn't for him, as I say, betune the
fox an' the rogues, we wouldn't have a goose or a turkey, or a duck,
or a cock, or a hen, or so much as a chikin, in the place, nor so
much, iv coorse, as a fresh egg for our breakfast. Poor Bully, I hope
he's not hurt, Winny;" and he stooped down to examine him. "No, no,"
he cried, "not much; but I'm sure he's thirsty. Here, Biddy, get Bully
a dish of _bonnia-rommer_, and be sure you make him up a good mess
afther dinner. That Emon-a-knock, as they call him, is a thundering
fine young man; it's a pity the poor fellow is a pauper, I may say."

"No, father, he's _not_ a pauper, and never will be; he's well able to
earn his living."

"I know that, Winny, for he often worked here; an' there's not a man
in the three parishes laves an honester day's work behind him."

"And does not spend it foolishly, father. If you were to see how
nicely he was dressed to-day; and--beside all the help he gives his
father and mother."

She was about to add a remark that work was just then very slack, as
it was the dead time of the year, but that there was always something
to be done about the farm; but second thoughts checked the words as
they were rising to her lips; and second thoughts, they say, are best.

Old Ned here turned the conversation by "wondering was the dinner near
ready."

Winny was not a little surprised, and a good deal delighted, to hear
her father talk so familiarly and so kindly of Emon. There never
was a time when her father's kind word of him was of more value to her
heart. Perhaps it would be an unjust implication of hypocrisy on the
old man's part to suggest that he might have only been "pumping" Winny
on the subject. She felt, however, that she had gone far enough for
the present in the expression of her opinion, and was not sorry when a
touch of the _faire gurtha_ put her father in mind of "the dinner."

We, who, of course, can see much further than any of our _dramatis
personae,_ and who are privileged to be behind the scenes, could tell
Winny Cavana--but that we would not wish to fret her--that Tom Murdock
was looking on from his own window at the whole scene between her and
young Lennon on the road; and that from that moment, although he could
not hear a word that was said, he understood the whole thing, and was
generating plans of vengeance and destruction against _one_ or both.



CHAPTER XXI.


Matters were now lying quiet. They were like a line ball at billiards
which cannot be played at, and there was nothing "to go out for" by
any of the players in this double match. But occasionally something
"comes off," in even the most remote locality, which creates some
previous excitement, and forms the subject of conversation in all
ranks. Sometimes a steeple-chase, "five-sovereigns stakes, with fifty
or a hundred added," forms a speculation for the rich; with a farmer's
class-race for twenty pounds, without any stakes, for horses _bona
fide_ the property, etc.

A great cricket-match once "came off" not very far from the locality
of our story, when Major W--n lived at Mount Campbell, between the
officers of the garrison at Boyle and a local club. We belonged to the
major's province of constabulary at the time, and, as members, were
privileged to take part therein. The thing was rather new in that part
of the world at the time, but had been well advertised in the
newspapers for the rich, and through the police for the poor; and the
consequence was--the weather being very fine--that a concourse of not
less than a thousand persons were assembled to witness the game. There
can be little doubt that some of the younger portion, at least, of our
_dramatis personae_ in this tale were spectators upon the occasion. It
was within their county, and not an unreasonable distance from the
homes we are now writing of.

January and February had now passed by in the calm monotony of nothing
to excite the inhabitants of the Rathcashes. Valentine's Day, indeed,
had created a slight stir amongst some of the girls who had bachelors,
or thought they had; and many a message was given to those going into
C.O.S., to "be sure and ask at the post-office for a letter for me,"
"and for me," "and for me." A few, very few indeed, got valentines,
and many, very many, did not.

It was now March, and even this little anxiety of heart had subsided
on the part of the girls; some from self-satisfaction at what they
got, and others from disappointment at what they did not.

During this time Tom Murdock had seen Winny Cavana occasionally. It
would be quite impossible, with one common lane to both houses, and
those houses not more than three hundred yards apart, that any plan of
Winny's, less than total seclusion, could have prevented their
sometimes "coming across" one another; and total seclusion was a thing
that Winny Cavana would not subject herself to on account of any man
"that ever stepped in shoe-leather." "What had she to him, or to be
afraid of him for? Let him mind his own business and she'd mind hers.
But for one half hour she'd never shut herself up on his
account. Let him let her alone."

Tom Murdock was not without a certain degree of knowledge of the
female heart, nor of a certain amount of tact to come round one, in
the least objectionable way; at all events, so as not to foster any
difference which might have taken place. He did not appear to seek her
society, nor did he seek to avoid it. When they met, which was really
always by accident, he was civil, and sufficiently attentive to show
that he harbored no ill-will against her, and respected her enough to
make it worth his while not to break with her. He was now certain of a
walk home with her on Sundays from mass. On these occasions her father
was generally with her, but this Tom considered rather to be wished
for than otherwise, as he could not venture, even if alone, to renew
the forbidden subject. But he knew the father had approved of his
suit, and his wish was now to establish a constant civility and
kindness of manner, which would keep him at least on his side, if it
did not help by its quietness to make Winny herself think better of
him.

What had passed between Winny and Emon was not likely in a human heart
to keep up the constrained indifference which that young man had
burdened himself with toward her. He had, therefore, upon two or three
Sundays ventured again to go to the chapel of Rathcash.

It is not very easy to account for, or to explain how such minor
matters fall out, or whether they are instinctively arranged
impromptu; but upon each occasion of Emon having re-appeared at
Rathcash chapel, Tom Murdock's walk home with Winny was spoiled; more
particularly if it so happened that her father did not go to prayers.

Emon-a-knock was never devoid of a considerable portion of self-esteem
and respect. Though but a daily laborer, his conduct and character
were such as to have gained for him the favorable opinion and the good
word of every one who knew him; and apart from the innate goodness of
his disposition, he would not lose the high position he had attained
in the hearts of his neighbors for the consideration of any of those
equivocal pleasures generally enjoyed by young men of his class. He
felt that he could look old Ned Cavana or old Mick Murdock straight in
the face, rich as they were. He felt quite Tom Murdock's equal in
everything, mentally and physically. In riches alone he could not
compare with him, but these, he thanked God, belonged to neither mind
nor body.

Thus far satisfied with himself, he always stopped to have a few words
with Winny, when chance--which he sometimes coaxed to be propitious--
threw him in her way. Even from Rathcash on Sundays he felt entitled
now, perhaps more than ever, to join her as far as his own way home
lay along with hers, and this although her father was along with her.
If Tom Murdock had joined them, which was only natural, living where
he did, Emon was more determined than ever to be of the party,
chatting to them all, Tom included; thus showing that he was neither
afraid of them nor ashamed of himself.

The first Sunday after the dog-fight was the first that Emon had gone
to the chapel of Rathcash for a pretty long time. But, as a matter of
course, he must go there on that day to inquire for poor Bully-dhu,
and to ascertain if Winny Cavana had recovered her fright and fatigue.
We have seen that Winny had told her father sufficient of the
transaction of poor Bully's mishap to make it almost a matter of
necessity that he should allude to it to Emon, if it were merely to
thank him for "the trouble he had taken" in saving the dog. When Winny
heard the words her father had used, she thought them cold--"the
trouble he had taken!" her heart suggested that he might have said,
and said truly, "the risk he had run."

But, Winny, there had really been no risk; and recollect that you had
used the very same word "trouble" to Emon yourself, when you
knew no more of his mind than your father does now.

Tom had walked with them on this occasion, and old Ned's civility to
"that whelp"--a name he had not forgotten--helped to sour his temper
more than anything which had passed between Winny Cavana and him. But
all these things he was obliged to bear, and he bore them well, upon
"the-long-lane-that-has-no-turning" system.

But now a cause of anticipated excitement began to be spoken of in the
neighborhood; how, or why, or by whom the matter had been set on foot,
was a thing not known, and of no consequence at the time. Yet Tom
Murdock was at the bottom of it--and for a purpose.

There existed not far from about the centre of the locality of our
story a large flat common, where flocks of geese picked the short
grass in winter, and over which the peewit curled with a short
circular flap, and a timid little hoarse scream, in the month of May.
It consisted of about sixty acres of hard, level, whitish sod,
admirably adapted for short races, athletic sports, and manly
exercises of every kind. It formed a sort of amphitheatre, surrounded
by low green hills, affording ample space and opportunity for
hundreds, ay thousands, of spectators to witness any sport which might
be inaugurated upon the level space below.

Upon one or two occasions, but not latterly, hurling-matches had come
off upon Glanveigh Common. At one time these hurling-matches were very
common in Ireland, and were considered a fair test of the prowess of
the young men of different parishes. Many minor matches had come off
from time to time, but they were of a mixed nature, got up for the
most part upon the spot, and had not been spoken of beforehand--they
were mere impromptus amongst the younger lads of the neighborhood. The
love of the game, however, had not died out even amongst those of
riper years; and there were very many men, young and old, whose hurls
were laid up upon lofts, and who could still handle them in a manner
with which few parts of Ireland could compare. Amongst those Tom
Murdock was pre-eminent. He had successfully led the last great match,
when not more than twenty years of age, between the parishes of
Rathcash and Shanvilla, against a champion called "Big M'Dermott," who
led for the latter parish. He was considered the best man in the
province to handle a hurl, and his men were good; but Tom Murdock and
the boys of Rathcash had beaten them back three times from the very
jaws of the goal, and finally conquered. But Shanvilla formally
announced that they would seek an early opportunity to retrieve their
character. The following Patrick's Day would be three years since they
had lost it.

Tom Murdock thought this a good opportunity to forward a portion of
his plans. A committee was formed of the best men in Rathcash parish
to send a challenge to the men of Shanvilla to hurl another match on
Glanveigh Common upon Patrick's Day. Tom Murdock himself was not on
the committee; he had too much tact for that. "Big M'Dermott" had
emigrated, leaving a younger brother behind him--a good man, no doubt;
but as the Shanvilla boys had been latterly bragging of Emon-a-knock
as their best man, Tom had no doubt that the challenge would be
accepted, and that young Lennon, as a matter of course, would be
chosen as their champion. Had he doubted this last circumstance, he
might not have cared to originate the match at all. He had not
forgotten the poker-and-tongs jig about four months before. His
humiliation on that occasion had sunk deeper into his heart than any
person who witnessed it was aware of; and although never afterward
adverted to, had still to be avenged. If, then, at the head of his
hundred men, he could beat back young Lennon with an equal number
twice out of thrice before the assembled parishes, it would in
some degree wash out the humiliation of his defeat in the dance.

Upon the acceptance of this challenge not only the character of the
Shanvilla boys depended, but their pride and confidence in
Emon-a-knock as their best man.

At once, upon the posting of the challenge, with the names of the
committee, upon the chapel-gate of Rathcash, a counter-committee was
formed for Shanvilla, and, taking a leaf from their opponents' book,
their best man's name was left out. But he at the same time accepted
the leadership of the party, which was unanimously placed upon him.

Thus far matters had tended to the private exultation of Tom Murdock,
who was determined to make Patrick's Day a day of disgrace to his
rival, for since the scene he had witnessed with the dog and the
handkerchief he could no longer doubt the fact.

The whole population of the parishes were sure to be assembled, and
Winny Cavana, of course, amongst the rest. What a triumph to degrade
him in her eyes before his friends and hers! Surely he would put forth
all his energies to attain so glorious a result. He would show before
the assembled multitude that, physically at least, "that whelp" was no
match for Tom Murdock--his defeat Pat the poker-and-tongs jig was a
mere mischance.

The preliminaries were now finally settled for this, the greatest
hurling-match which for many years had come off, or was likely to come
off, in the province. Rathcash had been victorious on the last great
occasion of the kind, just three years before, when Tom Murdock had
led the parish, as a mere stripling, against "Big M'Dermott" and his
men. The additional three years had now given more manliness to Tom's
heart, in one sense at least, and a greater development to the muscle
and sinew of his frame than he could boast of on that occasion. He was
an inch, or an inch and a half, over Emon-a-knock in height, upwards
of a stone-weight heavier, and nearly two years his senior in age. His
men were on an average as good men, and as well accustomed to the use
of the hurl, as those of Shanvilla--their hurls were as well seasoned
and as sound, and their pluck was proverbially high. What wonder,
then, if Tom Murdock anticipated a certain, if not an easy, victory?

As hurling, however, has gone very much out of fashion since those
days, and is now seldom seen--never, indeed, in the glorious strength
of two populous parishes pitted against each other--it may be well for
those who have never seen or perhaps heard of it, to close this
chapter with a short description of it.

A large flat field or common, the larger the better, is selected for
the performance. Two large blocks of stone are placed about fifteen or
twenty feet apart toward either end of the field. One pair of these
stones forms the goal of one party, and the other pair that of their
opponents. They are about four hundred yards distant from each other,
and are generally whitewashed, that they may the more easily catch the
attention of the players. A ball, somewhat larger than a cricket-ball,
but pretty much of the same nature, is produced by each party, which
will be more fully explained by-and-bye. The hurlers assemble, ranged
in two opposing parties in the centre between the goals. The hurls are
admirably calculated for the kind of work they are intended to
perform--viz., to _puck_ the ball toward the respective goals. But
they would be very formidable weapons should a fight arise between the
contending parties. This, ere now, we regret to say, has not
unfrequently been the case--leading sometimes to bloodshed, and on, a
few occasions to manslaughter, if not to murder. The hurl is
invariably made of a piece of well-seasoned ash. It is between three
and four feet long, having a flat surface of about four inches broad
and an inch thick, turned at the lower end. Many and close searches in
those days have been made through the woods, and in cartmaker's
shops, for pieces of ash with the necessary turn, grown by nature in
the wood; but failing this fortunate chance, the object was pretty
well effected by a process of steaming, and the application of cramps,
until the desired shape was attained. But these were never considered
as good as those grown _designedly_ by nature _for the purpose_.

The contending parties being drawn up, as we have said, in the centre
of the ground, the respective leaders step forward and shake hands,
like two pugilists, to show that there is no malice. Although this act
of the leaders is supposed to guarantee the good feeling of the men as
well, yet the example is generally followed by such of the opposing
players as are near each other.

"A toss" then takes place, as to which side shall "sky" their ball.
These balls are closely inspected by the leaders of the opposite
parties, and pronounced upon before the game begins. There is no
choice of goals, as the parties generally set them up at the end of
the field next the parish they belong to. Whichever side wins "the
toss" then "skies" their ball, the leader throwing it from his hand to
the full height of his power, and "the game is on." But after this no
hand, under any circumstances, is permitted to touch the ball; an
apparently unnecessary rule, for it would be a mad act to attempt it,
as in all probability the hand would be smashed to pieces. The game
then is, to puck the ball through the opponents' goal. Two
goal-masters are stationed at either goal, belonging one to each
party, and they must be men of well-known experience as such. Their
principal business is to see that the ball is put fairly between the
stones; but they are not prohibited from using their hurls in the
final struggle at the spot, the one to assist, the other to obstruct,
as the state of their party may required.

Sometimes a game is nearly won, when a fortunate young fellow on the
losing side slips the ball from the crowd to the open, where one of
his party curls it into the air with the flat of his hurl, and the
whole assembly--for there is always one--hears the puck it gets,
sending it half-way toward the other goal. The rush to it then is
tremendous by both sides, and another crowded clashing of hurls takes
place.

When the ball is fairly put through the goal of one party by the
other, the game is won, and the shouts of the victors and their
friends are deafening.



CHAPTER XXII.


A hurling match in those days was no light matter, particularly when
it was on so extensive a scale as that which we are about to
describe--between two large parishes. They were supposed, and intended
to be, amicable tests of the prowess and activity of the young men at
a healthy game of recreation, as the cricket-matches of the present
day are that of the athletic aristocracy of the land. In all these
great matches, numbers of men, women, and children used to collect to
look on, and cheer as the success of the game swayed one way or the
other; and as most of the players were unmarried men, it is not to be
wondered at if there were many young women amongst the crowd, with
their hearts swaying accordingly.

It had been decided by the committees upon the occasion of this great
match, that a sort of distinguishing dress--they would not, of course,
call it uniform--should be worn by the men. To hurl in coats of any
kind had never in this or any other parish match been thought of. The
committee left the choice of the distinguishing colors to the
respective leaders, recommending, however, that the same manner should
be adopted of exhibiting it. It was agreed that sleeves of different
colors should be worn over the shirt sleeves, with a broad piece of
ribbon tied at the throat to match.

Tom Murdock had chosen green for his party, and not only that, but
with a determination to make himself popular, and to throw his
rival as far as possible into the background, had purchased a
sufficient quantity of calico and ribbon to supply his men gratis with
sleeves and neck-ties.

Poor Emon-a-knock could not afford this liberality, and he felt the
object with which it had been puffed and paraded on the other side for
a whole week previous. He was not afraid, however, that his men would
think the less of him on that account. They knew he was only a
laboring man, depending upon his day's wages; and many of those who
would wield the hurl by his side upon the 17th of March were
well-to-do sons of comfortable farmers. Many, no doubt, were laboring
boys like himself, and many servant-boys to the farming class.

A deputation of Shanvillas had waited on Emon-a-knock to ascertain his
choice of a color for their sleeves and ribbon.

He thought for a few moments, and then taking a red
pocket-handkerchief from his box he said, "Boys, this is the only
color I can think of. It is as good as any."

"I don't like it, Emon," said M'Dermott, the next best man in the
parish.

"Why so, Phil?" said another.

"Well, I hardly know why. It is too much the color of blood. I'd
rather have white."

"Don't be superstitious, Phil _a-wochal_," said Emon; "white is a
cowardly color all over the world, and red is the best contrast we can
have to their color."

"So be it," said Phil.

"So be it," re-echoed the rest of the deputation; "sure, Emon has a
right to the choice. Lend us the handkerchief, that we may match it as
near as possible."

"And welcome, boys; here it is; but take good care of it for me, as it
is the only one I have _now_."

The deputation did not know, but the readers do, that he had given the
fellow to it--off the same piece--to Winny Cavana with the dog. Hence
his emphasis upon the last word.

No time was lost by the deputation when they left Emon. They had
scarcely got out of hearing, when Phil M'Dermott said, "Boys, you all
know that Tom Murdock has bestowed his men with a pair of sleeves, and
half a yard of ribbon each. Now if he was as well liked as he lets on,
he needn't have done that; and in my opinion he done it by way of
casting a slur upon our man's poverty. Tom Murdock can afford a
hundred yards of green calico and fifty yards of tuppenny ribbon very
well;--at least he ought to be able to do so. Now I vote that amongst
the best of us we bestow our man with a pair of silk sleeves, and a
silk cap and ribbon, for the battle. There's my tenpenny-bit toward
it."

"An' I second that vote, boys; there's mine," said another.

"Aisy, boys, an' listen to me," broke in a young Solon, who formed one
of the deputation. "There's none of us that wouldn't give a tenpenny
bit, if it was the last he had, to do what you say, Phil; but the
whole thing--sleeves, ribbon, and cap--won't cost more than a couple
of crowns; an' many's the one of the Shanvilla boys would like to have
part in it. I vote all them that can afford it may give a fippenny-bit
apiece, an' say nothing about it to the boys that can't afford it. If
we do, there isn't a man of them but what id want to put in his penny;
and I know Emon would not like that. It wouldn't sound well, an' might
be laughed at by that rich chap, Murdock. Here's my fippenny, Phil."

There was much good sense in this. It met not only the approbation of
the whole deputation, but the pockets of some, and was unanimously
adopted. The necessary amount of money was made up before an hour's
time; and a smart fellow--the very Solon who had spoken, and who was
as smart of limb as he was of mind--was despatched forthwith to C.O.S.
for three yards of silk and two yards of ribbon, to match as nearly as
possible Emon-a-knock's handkerchief, which was secured in the
crown of his cap.

The very next afternoon--for Shanvilla did not sleep on its resolve--
there was no lion in the street for them;--the same deputation walked
up to Emon's house at dinner-hour, when they knew he would be at home.
He had just finished, and was on his way out, to continue a job of
planting "a few gets" of early potatoes on the hill behind the house,
when he met them near the door.

M'Dermott carried a paper parcel in his hand.

"Well, boys," said Emon, "what's the matter now? I thought we settled
everything yesterday morning."

"You did, Emon _a-wochal_; but we had a trifle to do after we left
you. I hope you done nothing about your own sleeves as yet."

"No, Phil, I did not; but never fear, I'll be up to time. But I don't
wish to change the color, if that's what brought you."

"The sorra change Emon; it is almost too late for that now. But some
of the boys heerd that Tom Murdock is givin' his men, every man of
'em, sleeves an' ribbon for this match. We don't expect the likes from
you, Emon; and we don't mind that fellow's puffery and pride. We think
it better that the Shanvilla boys should present their leader with one
pair of sleeves than that he should give a hundred pairs to them. We
have them here, Emon _a-wochal_; an' there isn't a boy in the parish
of Shanvilla, or a man, woman, or child, that won't cheer to see you
win in them."

"An' maybe some one in the parish of Rathcash," whispered Solon to
Phil.

Here Phil M'Dermott untied his parcel and exhibited the sleeves,
finished off in the best style by his sister Peggy. What would fit
Phil would fit Emon; and she was at no loss upon that point.

"Here they are, made and all, Emon. Peggy made them on my fit; and we
wish you luck to win in them. Faix, if you don't, it won't be your
fault nor ours. Here's your hankicher; you see there isn't the differ
of a _milthiogue's_ wing in the two colors."

Perhaps it was the proximity to Boher-na-milthiogue that had suggested
the comparison.

"Indeed, boys, I'm entirely obliged to you, and I don't think we can
fail of success. It shall not be my fault if we do, and I'm certain it
won't be yours. But I'm sorry--"

"_Bidh a hurst_, Emon; don't say wan word, or I'll choke you. But thry
them on."

Emon's coat was forthwith slipped off his back and thrown upon the end
of a turf-stack hard by, and Phil M'Dermott drew the sleeves upon his
arms, and tied them artistically over his shoulders.

"Dam' the wan, Emon, but they were med for you!" said Phil, smoothing
them down toward the wrists.

"Divil a word of lie in _that_, any way, Phil," said Solon. "Tell us
something we don't know."

"Well, I may tell them that you have too much wit in your head to have
any room for sense," replied M'Dermott, seemingly a little annoyed at
the remark.

Solon grinned and drew in his horns.

"They are, indeed, the very thing," said Emon, turning his head from
one to the other and admiring them. He could have wished, however,
that it had been a Rathcash girl who had made them instead of Peggy
M'Dermott. "But I cannot have everything my own way," sighed he to
himself.

M'Dermott then quietly removed Emon's hat with one hand, while with
the other he slily placed die silk cap jauntily upon his head. There
was a general murmur of approbation at the effect, in which Emon
himself could not choose but join. He felt that he was looking the
thing.

After a sufficient time had been allowed for the admiration and
verdict of the committee as to their fit and appearance, Phil
M'Dermott took them off again, and, folding them up carefully in
the paper, handed it to Emon, wishing him on his own part, and that of
the whole parish, health to wear and win in them on Patrick's Day--
"Every man of as will have our own colors ready the day before," he
added.

Emon then thanked them heartily, and turned into the house, to show
them to his father, and the deputation returned to their homes.



CHAPTER XXIII.


The long-wished-for day appointed for this great match had now
arrived, and there was not a man of a hundred in each parish beside
the two leading men who had not on that morning taken his hurl from
the rack before he went to prayers, inspected it, weighed it in his
hand, to ascertain if the _set_ lay fair to the _swipe_, as he placed
it on the ground.

Two o'clock in the afternoon had been appointed for the men to be on
the ground, and punctual to the moment they were seen in two compact
masses beyond opposite ends of the common. They had assembled outside,
and were not permitted to straggle in, in order that their approach
toward each other, in two distinct bodies, amidst the inspiring cheers
of their respective parties, might have the better effect. This great
occasion had been talked of for weeks, and was looked upon, not only
by the players themselves, and the two great men at their heads, but
it might be said by the "public at large," as the most important
hurling-match which had been projected for years in that or perhaps
any other district. The friends of each party, beside hundreds of
neutral spectators, had already occupied the hills round what might be
called the arena.

Conspicuous at the head of the Rathcash men as they advanced with
their green sleeves amidst the cheers of their friends, Tom Murdock
could be seen walking with his head erect, and his hurl sloping over
his shoulder. He kept his right hand disengaged that he might fulfil
the usual custom of giving it to his opponent, in token of goodwill,
ere the game began.

He was undoubtedly a splendid handsome-looking fellow "that day."
Upwards of six feet high, made in full proportion. His shirt tied at
the throat with a broad green ribbon, having the collar turned down
nearly to the shoulders, showed a neck of unsullied whiteness, which
contrasted remarkably with the dark curled whiskers above it. His men,
too, were a splendid set of fellows. Most of them were as tall and as
well made as himself, and none were under five feet ten; there was not
a small man among them--the picked unmarried men of the parish. Their
green sleeves and bare necks, with their hurls across their left
shoulders, as in the case of their leader, elicited thunders of
applause from the whole population of Rathcash upon the hill to their
right.

A deep ditch with a high grass bank lay between the common and the
spot where Emon-a-knock and his men had assembled.

Phil M'Dermott was silent. He was not yet reconciled to the color
which their leader had chosen. Of course he could not account for it,
but he did not half like it. To him it looked sombre, melancholy, and
prophetic. But Phil had sense enough to assume a cheerfulness, if he
did not feel it.

Emon himself, though five feet ten and a half inches high, was about
the smallest man of his party. In every respect they equalled, if they
did not exceed, the Rathcash men.

"Come, boys," said Emon; "Tom Murdock is bringing on his men; we'll
have to jump the bank. Shall I lead the way?"

"Of course, Emon; an' bad luck to the man of the hundred will lave a
toe on it."

"No, nor a heel, Phil," said the wit.

"Stand back, boys, about fifteen yards," said Emon. "Let me at it
first; and when I am clean over, go at it as much in a line as you
can. Give yourselves plenty of room and don't crowd."

"Take your time, boys," whispered the prophet, "an' let none of us
trip or fall."

"Never fear, Phil," ran through them all in reply.

Emon then drew back a few yards; and with a light quick run he cleared
the bank, giving a slight little steadying-jump on the other side,
like a man who had made a somersault from a spring-board.

The Shanvilla population--the whole of which, I may say, was on the
surrounding hills--rent the air with their cheers, amidst which the
red sleeves were seen clearing the bank like so many young deer. Not a
mistake was made; not a man jumped low or short; not a toe was left
upon it, as the prophet had said--nor a heel, as the wit had added. It
was an enlivening sight to see the red sleeves rising by turns about
eight feet into the air, and landing steadily on the level sward
beyond the bank.

The cheers from Shanvilla were redoubled, and even some of the
Rathcash men joined.

The two parties were now closing each other in friendly approach
toward the centre of the field, where they halted within about six
yards of each other; Tom Murdock and Emon-a-knock a tittle in advance.
They stepped forward, with their right hands a little extended.

"Hallo, Lennon!" said Murdock; "why, you are dressed in silk, man, and
have a cap to match; I heard nothing of that. I could not afford silk,
and our sleeves are plain calico."

"So are ours, and I could afford silk still less than you could; but
my men presented me with these sleeves and this cap, and I shall wear
them."

"Of course, of course, Lennon. But I cannot say much for the color;
blue would have looked much better; and, perhaps, have been more
appropriate."

"I left that for the girls to wear in their bonnets," replied Lennon,
sarcastically. He knew that Winny Cavana's holiday bonnet was trimmed
with blue, and thought it not unlikely that Murdock knew it also.

They then shook hands, but it was more formal than cordial; and
Murdock took a half-crown from his pocket. He was determined to be
down on Emon-a-knock's poverty, for a penny would have done as well;
and he said, "Shall I call, or will you?"

"The challenger generally 'skies,' and the other calls," he replied.

"Here then!" said Murdock, standing out into a clear spot, and curling
the half-crown into the air, eighteen or twenty feet above their
heads.

"Head," cried Lennon; and head it was.

It was the usual method on such occasions for the leader who won the
toss to throw the ball with all his force as high into the air as
possible, and, as a matter of course, as far toward his opponent's
goal as he could. The height into the air was as a token to his
friends to cheer, and the direction toward his opponent's goal was
considered the great advantage of having won the toss.

This was, however, the first occasion in the annals of hurling where
this latter point had been questioned. Emon-a-knock and Phil M'Dermott
were both experienced hurlers; and previous to their having taken the
high bank in such style, from the field outside the common, they had
stepped aside from their men, and discussed the matter thus:

"Phil, I hope we'll win the toss," said Emon.

"That we may, I pray. You'll put the ball a trifle on its way if we
do, Emon."

"No, Phil, that is the very point I want to settle with you. I have
always remarked that when the winner of the toss throws the ball
toward the other goal, it is always met by some good man who is on the
watch for it; and as none of the opposite party are allowed into their
ground until 'the game is on,' he has it all to himself, and generally
deals it such a swipe as puts it half-way back over the others' heads.
Now my plan is this. If I win 'the toss,' I'll throw the ball more
toward our own goal than toward theirs. Let you be there, Phil, to
meet it; and I have little fear that the first puck you give it will
send it double as far into our opponent's ground as I could throw it
with my hand. Beside, the moment the ball is up, our men can advance
all over the ground, and another good man of ours may help it on. What
say you, Phil?"

"Well, Emon, there's a grate dale of raison in what you say, now that
I think of it; but I never seen it done that way afore."

It had been thus settled between these two best men of Shanvilla; and
Emon, having won the toss, cast his eye over his shoulder and caught a
side glance of Phil M'Dermott in position, with his hurl poised for
action.

Contrary to all experience and all expectation, Emon-a-knock, instead
of casting the ball from him, toward the other goal, threw it as high
as possible, but unmistakably inclining toward his own. Here there was
a murmur of disappointed surprise from Shanvilla on the hill. But it
was soon explained. Phil M'Dermott had it all his own way for the
first puck, which was considered a great object. Never had such an
expedient (_nunc_ dodge) to secure it been thought of before.
M'Dermott had full room to deal with it. There was no one near him but
his own men, who stood exulting at what they knew was about to come.
M'Dermott with the under side of his hurl rolled the ball toward him,
and curling it up into the air about a foot above his head, met it as
it came down with a puck that was heard all over the hills, and drove
it three distances beyond where Emon could have thrown it from his
hand. The object of the backward cast by the leader had now been
explained to the satisfaction of Shanvilla, whose cheers of
approbation loudly succeeded to their previous murmurs of surprise.

"Be gorra, they're a knowing pair," said one of the spectators on the
hill.

But I cannot attend to the game, which is now well "on,"' and tell you
what each party said during the struggle.

Of course the ball was met by Rathcash, and put back; but every man
was now at work as best he might, where and when he could, but not
altogether from under a certain sort of discipline and eye to their
leaders. Now some fortunate young fellow got an open at the ball, and
gave it a puck which sent it spinning through the crowd until stopped
by the other party. Then a close struggle and clashing of hurls, as if
life and death depended on the result. Now, again, some fellow gets an
open swipe at it, and puck it goes over their heads, while a rush of
both parties takes place toward the probable spot it must arrive at;
then another crowded struggle, and ultimately another puck, and it is
seen like a cannon-ball on the strand at Sandymount. Another rush,
another close struggle and clashing of hurls, and puck, puck; now at
the jaws of this goal, now at the jaws of that, while the cheers and
counter-cheers re-echo through the surrounding hills.

It is needless to say that Tom Murdock and Emon-a-knock were
conspicuous in all these vicissitudes of the game. No man took the
ball from either of them if he was likely to get a puck at it _in
time_; but no risk of a counter-puck would be run if an opponent was
at hand to give it. This was the use of the distinguishing colors, and
right curious it was to see the green and red sleeves twisting through
each other and rushing in groups to one spot.

After all, Emon's color "did not look so bad;" and Shanvilla held
their own so gallantly as the game went on, that betting--for it was a
sort of Derby-day with the parish gamblers--which was six, and even
seven, to four on Rathcash at the commencement, was now even for
choice. Ay, there is one red-haired fellow, with a small eye and a big
one, who shoves three thimbles upon a board at races, has offered five
fippenny-bits to four upon Shanvilla; and well he may, for Emon and
his men had got the ball amongst them, and Emon's orders were to keep
it close--not to puck it at all, now that they had it, but to tip it
along and keep round it in a body. This was quite fair, and would have
been adopted by the other party had they got the chance.

They were thus advancing steadily but slowly. The Rathcash men were on
the outside, but found it difficult, if not impossible, to enter the
solid body of Shanvilla men, who were advancing with the ball in the
middle of them toward Rathcash goal.

"To the front, to the front, boys, or the game is lost!" roared Tom
Murdock, who was himself then watching for an open to get in at the
ball.

Forthwith there was a body of the green-sleeves right before
Shanvilla, who came on with their ball, tip by tip, undaunted.

Still Rathcash was on the outside, and could not put a hurl on the
ball. It was a piece of generalship upon the part of the Shanvilla
leader not often before thought of, and likely to be crowned with
success. The cheers from Shanvilla on the hills were now
deafening--the final struggle was evidently at hand. Rathcash on the
hills was silent, except a few murmurs of apprehension.

"This will never do, boys!" said Tom Murdock, rushing into the center
of Shanvilla and endeavoring to hook the ball from amongst them; but
they were too solid for that, although he had now made his way within
a hurl's length of Emon.

Emon called to his men to stoop in front that he might see the goal
and judge his distance.

"A few yards further, boys," he cried, "and then open out for me to
swipe: I will not miss either the ball or the goal."

"Steady, Emon, steady a bit!" said Phil M'Dermott; "don't you see who
is, I may say, alongside of you? Keep it close another bit."

"In with you, men! what are you about?" roared Tom Murdock; and half
a score of the green-sleeves rushed in amongst the red. Here the
clashing of hurls was at its height, and the shouts from both sides on
the hill were tremendous. Shanvilla kept and defended their ball in
spite of every attempt of Rathcash to pick it from amongst them; but
nothing like violence was thought of by either side.

Shanvilla seemed assured of victory, and such of them as were on the
outside, and could not get a tip at the ball, kept brandishing their
hurls in the air, roaring at the top of their voices, "Good boys,
Shanvilla, good boys!" "Through with it--through with it!" "Good
boys!"

Emon looked out. Though he did not see the stones, he saw the
goal-masters--one red, the other green--ready expecting the final
puck, and he knew the spot.

"Give me room now, Phil," he whispered, and his men drew back.

Emon curled the ball into the air about the height of his head, and
struck it sure and home. As if from a cannon's mouth it went over the
heads of Rathcash, Shanvilla, and all, and sped right through the
center of the stones--hop--hop--hop--until it was finally lost sight
of in some rushes. But another blow had been struck at the same
moment, and Emon-a-knock lay senseless on the ground, his face and
neck, shirt and sleeves, all the same color, and that color
was--blood.

Tom Murdock's hurl had been poised ready to strike the all the moment
Lennon had curled it into the air. Upon this one blow the whole
game depended. Emon was rather sideways to Tom, who was on his left.
Both their blows were aimed almost simultaneously at the ball, but
Tom's being a second or two late, had no ball to hit; and not being
able to restrain the impetus of the blow, his hurl passed on and took
Emon's head above the top of the left ear, raising a scalp of flesh to
the skull-bone, about three inches in length, and more than half that
breadth.

The cheers of Shanvilla were speedily quashed, and there was a rush of
the red-sleeves round their leader. Phil M'Dermott had taken him in
his arms, and replaced the loose piece of flesh upon Emon's skull in
the most artistic manner, and bound it down with a handkerchief tied
under the chin. He could see that no injury had been done to the bone.
It was a mere sloping stroke, which had lifted the piece of flesh
clean from the skull. But poor Emon still lay insensible, his whole
face, neck, and breast covered with blood.

There was some growling amongst the Shanvilla boys, and those from the
hill ran down with their sticks to join their comrades with their
hurls; while the Rathcash men closed into a compact body, beckoning to
their friends on the hill, who also ran down to defend them in case of
need.

This was indeed a critical moment, and one that, if not properly
managed, might have led to bloodshed of a more extended kind. But Tom
Murdock was equal to the occasion. He gave his hurl to one of his men
the moment he had struck the blow, and went forward.

"Good heaven, boys, I hope he is not much hurt!" he exclaimed.
"Rathcash should lose a hundred games before Shanvilla should be
hurt."

As he spoke he perceived a scowl of doubt and rising anger in the
faces of many of the Shanvilla men, some of whom ground their teeth,
and grasped their hurls tighter in their hands. Tom did not lose his
presence of mind at even this, although he almost feared the result.
He took Emon by the hand and bid him speak to him. Phil M'Dermott had
ordered his men to keep back the crowd to give the sufferer air. Poor
Emon's own remedy in another cause had been resorted to. Phil had
rubbed his lips and gums with whiskey--on this occasion it was near at
hand--and poured a few thimblefuls down his throat. He soon opened his
eyes, and looked round him.

"Thank God!" cried Tom Murdock. "Are you much hurt, Lennon?"

The very return to life had already quashed any cordiality toward Emon
in Tom's heart.

"Not much, I hope, Tom. I was stunned; that was all. But what about
the game? I thought my ear caught the cheers of victory as I fell."

"So they did, Emon," said M'Dermott; "but stop talking, I tell you.
The game is ours, and it was you who won it with that last puck."

"Ay, and it was that last puck that nearly lost him his life,"
continued Tom, knowingly enough. "We both struck at the ball nearly at
the same moment; he took it first, and my hurl had nothing to hit
until it met the top of his head. I protest before heaven, Lennon, it
was entirely accidental."

"I have not accused you of it's being anything else, Murdock; don't
seem to doubt yourself," said Emon in a very low weak voice. But it
was evident he was "coming-to."

Still the Shanvilla men were grumbling and whispering. One of them, a
big black-haired fellow named Ned Murrican, burst out at last, and
brandishing his hurl over his head, cried out:

"Arrah, now, what are we about; boys? Are we going to see our best man
murdered before our eyes, an' be satisfied wid a piper an' a dance? I
say we must have blood for blood!"

"An' why not?" said another. "It was no accident; I'm sure of that."

"What baldherdash!" cried a third; "didn't I see him aim the
blow?" And the whole of Shanvilla flourished their hurls and their
sticks in the air, clashing them together with a terrific noise of an
onslaught.

Tom Murdock's cheeks blanched. He feared that he had opened a
floodgate which he could not stop, and that if there had not been,
there would soon be, murder. His men stood firm in a close body, and
not a word was heard to pass amongst them.

"Don't strike a blow, for the life of you, boys!" he cried, at the
same time he took back his hurl from the man to whom he had given it
to hold, who handed it to him, saying, "Here, Tom, you'll be apt to
want this."

The Shanvilla men saw him take the hurl, and thought it an acceptance
of a challenge to fight. They now began to jump off the ground,
crying, "Whoop, whoop!" a sure sign of prompt action in an Irish row.

At this still more critical moment, Father Farrell, the parish priest
of Shanvilla, who had been sent for in all haste "for the man who was
killed," was seen cantering across the common toward the crowd; and
more fortunately still he was accompanied by Father Roche, the
parish-priest of Rathcash. They were both known at a glance; Shanvilla
on his "strawberry cob," and Rathcash on his "tight little black
mare."

It is needless to say that the approach of these two good men calmed
to all appearance, if not in reality, the exhibition of angry feeling
amongst the two parties.

"Here, your reverence," said one of the Shanvilla men to Father
Farrell,--"here's where the man that was hurt is lying; poor
Emon-a-knock, your reverence."

Father Farrell turned for a moment and whispered to his companion,
"I'll see about the hurt man, and do you try and keep the boys quiet.
I can see that Shanvilla is ready for a fight. Tell them that I'll be
with them in a very few minutes, if the man is not badly hurt. If he
is, my friend, I'm afraid we shall have a hard task to keep Shanvilla
quiet. Could you not send your men home at once?"

"I'll do what I can; but you can do more with your own men than I can.
Rathcash will not strike a blow, I know, until the very last moment."

They then separated, Father Farrell dismounting and going over to
where Emon-a-knock still lay in M'Dermott's arms; and Father Roche up
toward the Rathcash men.

"Boys," said he, addressing them, "this is a sad ending to the day's
sport; but, thank God, from what I hear, the man is not much hurt. Be
steady, at all events. Indeed, you had better go home at once, every
man of you. Won't you take your priest's advice?"

"An' why not, your reverence? to be sure we will, if it comes to that;
but, plaise God, it won't. At worst it was only an accident, an' we're
tould it won't signify. We'll stan' our ground another while, your
reverence, until we hear how the boy is. Sure, there's two barrels of
beer an' a dance to the fore, by-an'-by."

"Well, lads, be very steady, and keep yourselves quiet. I'll visit the
first man of you that strikes a blow with condign--"

"We'll strike no blow, your reverence, if we bant struck first. Let
Father Farrell look to that."

"And so he will, you may depend upon it," said Father Roche.

The Shanvilla men had great confidence in Father Farrell in every
respect, and there was not a man in the parish who would not almost
die at his bidding from pure love of the man, apart from his religious
influence. They knew him to be a good physician in a literal, as well
as a moral, point of view; and he had been proving himself the good
Samaritan for the last seventeen years to every one in the parish,
whether they fell among thieves or not. He had commenced life as a
medical student, but had (prudently, perhaps) preferred the Church.
In memory, however, of his early predilections, he kept a sort
of little private dispensary behind his kitchen; and so numerous were
the cures which nature had effected under his mild advice and harmless
prescriptions, that he had established a reputation for infallibility
almost equal to that subsequently attained by Holloway or Morrison.
Never, however, was his medical knowledge of more use as well as value
than on the present occasion.

Shanvilla grounded their weapons at his approach, and waited for his
report. Father Farrell of course first felt the young man's pulse. He
was not pedantic or affected enough to hold his watch in his other
hand while he did so; but, like all good physicians, he held his
tongue. He then untied the handkerchief, and gently examined the wound
so far as possible without disturbing the work which Phil M'Dermott
had so promptly and judiciously performed. His last test of the state
of his patient was his voice; and upon this, in his own mind, he laid
no inconsiderable stress. In reply to his questions as to whether he
felt sick or giddy, Emon replied, much more stoutly than was expected,
that he felt neither the one nor the other. Father Farrell was now
fully satisfied that there was nothing seriously wrong with him, and
that giving him the rites of the Church, or even remaining longer with
him then, might have an unfavorable effect upon the already excited
minds of the Shanvilla men. He therefore said, smiling, "Thank God,
Emon, you want no further doctoring just now; and I'll leave you for a
few minutes while I tell Shanvilla that nothing serious has befallen
you."

He then left him, and hastened over toward his parishoners, who
eagerly met him half-way as he approached.

"Well, your reverence?" "Well, your reverence?" ran through the
foremost of them.

"It is well, and very well, boys," he replied; "I bless God it is
nothing but a scalp wound, which will not signify. Put by your hurls,
and go and ask the Rathcash girls to dance."

"Three cheers for Father Farrell!" shouted Ned Murrican of the black
curly head. They were given heartily, and peace was restored.

Father Farrell then remounted his strawberry cob, and rode over toward
where Father Roche was with the Rathcash men. They were, "in a
manner," as anxious to hear his opinion of Emon-a-knock as his own men
had been. They knew nothing, or, if they did, they cared nothing, for
any private cause of ill-will on their leader's part toward
Emon-a-knock. They were not about to espouse his quarrel, if he had
one; and, as they had said, they would not have struck a blow unless
in self-defence.

Father Farrell now assured them there was nothing of any consequence
"upon" Emon; it was a mere tip of the flesh, and would be quite well
in a few days. "But, Tom _a-wochal_," he added, laughing, "you don't
often aim at a crow and hit a pigeon."

"I was awkward and unfortunate enough to do so this time, Father
Farrell," he replied. And he then entered into a full, and apparently
a candid, detail of how it had happened.

Father Farrell listened with much attention, bowing at him now and
then, like the foreman of a jury to a judge's charge, to show that he
understood him. When he had ended. Father Farrell placed his hand upon
his shoulder, and, bending down toward him, whispered in his ear, "Oh,
Tom Murdock, but you are the fortunate man this day! for if the blow
had been one inch and a half lower, all the priests and doctors in
Connaught would not save you from being tried for manslaughter."

"Or murder," whispered Tom's heart to himself.

By this time Emon-a-knock, with M'Dermott's help, had risen to his
feet; and leaning on him and big Ned Murrican, crept feebly along
toward the boreen which formed the entrance to the common.

Father Farrell, perceiving the move, rode after him, and said, as he
passed, that he would trot on and send for a horse and cart to fetch
him home, as he would not allow him to walk any further than the end
of the lane. Indeed, it was not his intention to do so; for he was
still scarcely able to stand, and that not without help.

Before he and his assistants, however, had reached the end of the
lane, Father Farrell came entering back, saying, "All right, my good
lads; there is a jennet and cart coming up the lane for him."

Emon cocked his ear at the word jennet; he knew who owned the only one
for miles around. And there indeed it was; and the sight of it went
well-nigh to cure Emon, better than any doctoring he could get.



CHAPTER XXIV.


The moment it had been ascertained that Emon-a-knock had been so
seriously hurt, _somebody_ thought--oh, the thoughtfulness of some
people!--that some conveyance would be required, and she was
determined to take time by the forelock. Jamesy Doyle it was who had
been despatched for the jennet and cart, with a token to the only
servant-woman in the house to put a hair-mattress--she knew _where_ to
get it--over plenty of straw in the cart, and to make no delay.

Jamesy Doyle was the very fellow to make no mistake, and to do as he
was bid; and sure enough there he was now, coming up the boreen with
everything as correct as possible. Phil M'Dermott and Ned Murrican led
poor Emon to the end of the lane just as Jamesy Doyle came up.

"This is for you, my poor fellow," said he, addressing Emon. "An' I'm
to lave you every foot at your own doore--them's my ordhers from th'
ould masther himsel'."

Emon was about to speak, or to endeavor to do so; but M'Dermott
stopped him.

"Don't be desthroyin' yourself, Emon, strivin' to spake; but let us
lift you into the cart--an' hould your tongue."

Emon-a-knock smiled; but it was a happy smile.

Of course there was a crowd round him; and many a whispered
observation passed through them as poor Emon was lifted in, fixed in a
reclining position, and Jamesy Doyle desired "to go on," while Phil
M'Dermott and big Ned Murrican gave him an escort, walking one on each
side.

"It was herself sent Jamesy Doyle for the jennit, Judy; I heerd her
tellin' him to put plenty of straw into the cart."

"Ay, Peggy, an' I heerd her tellin' him to get a hair-matt_ress_, an'
pat it atop of it. Isn't it well for the likes of her that has
hair-matt_resses_ to spare?"

"Ay, Nelly Gaffeny, an' didn't I hear her tellin' him to dhrive fur
his life!"

"In troth an' you didn't, Nancy; what she said was, 'to make no
delay;' wasn't I as near her as I am to you this minute?"

"Whist, girls!" broke in (as Lever would say) a sensible old woman--
"it was ould Ned Cavana himself sent Jamesy off; wasn't I
lookin' at him givin' him the kay of the barn to get the sthraw? Dear
me, how pleasant ye all are!"

"Thrue for you, Katty avrone; but wasn't it Winny that put him up to
it, an' the tears coming up in her eyes as she axed him? an' be the
same token, the hankicher she had in her hand was for all the world
the very color of Emon-a-knock's cap an' sleeves."

There was a good deal of truth, but some exaggeration, in the above
gossip.

It was old Ned Cavana himself who had despatched Jamesy Doyle for the
jennet and cart, and he had also given him the key of the barn--old
Katty was quite right so far.

Now let it be known that there was not a man in the parish of
Rathcash, who was the owner of a horse and cart, who would not have
cheerfully sent for it to bring Emon-a-knock home, when the proper
time arrived to do so--and Winny Cavana knew that; she knew that her
father would be all life for the purpose, the moment it was mentioned
to him; and she was determined that her father should be "first in the
field." There was nothing extraordinary in the fact itself; it was the
relative positions of the parties that rendered it food for the gossip
which we have been listening to. But old Ned never thought of the
gossip in his willingness to serve a neighbor. Winny had thought of
it, but braved it, rather than lose the chance. It was she who had
suggested to her father to send Jamesy for the jennet, and to give him
the key of the barn where the _dry_ straw was. If the gossips had
known this little turn of the transaction, doubtless it would not have
escaped their comments.

But we must return to the common, and see how matters are going on
there.

Tom Murdock had witnessed from no great distance the arrival of the
jennet and cart; and of course he knew them. He did not know, however,
that it was Winny Cavana who had sent for them--he only guessed that.
He saw "that----whelp"----he put this shameful addition to it in his
anger--lifted into it; and if he had a regret as to the accident, it
was that the blow had not been the inch-and-a-half lower which Father
Farrell had blessed his stars had not been the case. This was the
second time his eyes had seen the preference he always dreaded. He had
not forgotten the scene with the dog on the road. He had not been so
far that he could not see, nor so careless that he did not remark, the
handkerchief; nor was he so stupid as not to divine the purport of the
amicable little battle which apparently took place between them about
it. The color of Lennon's cap and sleeves now also recurred to his
mind, and jealousy suggested that it was _she_ who made them.

But his business was by no means finished on the common. He could not,
as it were, abscond, deserting his friends; and ill as his humor was
for what was before him, he must go through with it. It would help to
keep him from thinking for a while, at all events. Beside, the sooner
he saw Winny Cavana now the better. He would explain the accident to
her as if it had happened to any other person, not as to one in whom
he believed there was a particular interest on her part. To be silent
on the subject altogether, he felt would betray the very thing he
wished to avoid.

The hurling match over, it had been arranged that the evening should
conclude with a dance, to crown the amicable feelings with which the
two contending parishes had met in the strife of hurls. The boys and
girls of Rathcash and Shanvilla, whichever side won, were to mingle in
the mazy dance, to the enlivening lilts of blind Murrin the piper,
who, as he could not see the game, had been the whole afternoon
squealing, and droning, and hopping the brass end of his pipes
upon a square polished-leather patch, stitched upon the knee of his
breeches.

There now appeared to be some sort of a hitch as to the dance coming
off at all, in consequence of the "untoward event" which had already
considerably marred the harmony of the meeting; for it would be idle
to deny that dissatisfaction and doubt still lingered in the hearts of
Shanvilla. Both sides had brought a barrel of beer for the occasion,
which by this time it was almost necessary to put upon "the stoop;"
Tom Murdock superintending the distribution of that from Rathcash, and
a brother of big Ned Murrican's that from Shanvilla.

Blind Murrin heard some of the talk which was passing round him about
the postponement of the dance. Like all blind pipers he was sharp of
hearing, and somewhat cranky if put at all out of tune.

"Arra, what would they put it off for?" said he, _looking_ up, and
closing his elbow on the bellows to silence the pipes. "Is it because
wan man got a cut on the head? I heerd Father Farrell say there
wouldn't be a haporth on him agen Sunda' eight days; an' I heerd him,
more be token, tellin' the boys to go an' ask the Rathcash girls to
dance. Arra, what do ye mane? Isn't the counthry gotthered now; an'
the day as fine as summer, an' the grass brave an' dhry, an' lashin's
of beer at both sides, an' didn't I come eleven miles this mornin' a
purpose, an' what the diowl would they go an' put off the dance for?
Do you mane to say they're _onshioughs_ or _aumadhawns_, or--what?"

"No, Billy," said a Shanvilla girl, with good legs, neat feet, black
boots, and stockings as white as snow,--"no, Billy; but neither the
Shanvilla boys nor girls have any heart to dance, after Emon-a-knock
bein' kilt an' sent home."

"There won't be a haporth on him, I tell you, agen Sunda'. Didn't I
hear Father Farrell say so, over an' over again? arra _badhershin_,
Kitty, to be sure they'll dance!"

While blind Murrin was "letting off" thus, Phil M'Dermott was seen
returning by a short cut across the fields toward them.

"Here's news of Emon, anyway; he's aither better or worse," continued
Kitty Reilly; and some dread that it was unfavorable crept through the
Shanvillas.

"Well, Phil, how is he? well, Phil, how is he?" greeted M'Dermott from
several quarters as he came up.

"All right, girls. He's much better, and he sent me back for fear I'd
lose the first dance--for he knew I was engaged;" and he winked at a
very pretty Rathcash girl with soft blue eyes and bright auburn hair,
who was not far off.

"Arra, didn't I know they'd dance?" said Murrin, giving two or three
dumb squeezes with his elbow before the music came, like the three or
four first pulls at a pump before the water flows.

It then ran like lightning through the crowd that the dance was going
to begin, and old Murrin blew up in earnest at the top of his power.
He had, with the help of some of the best dancers amongst the girls on
both sides, selected that spot for the purpose, before the game had
commenced; and he had kept his ground patiently all through, playing
all the planxties in Carolan's catalogue. But not without wetting his
whistle; for as he belonged to neither party, he had been supplied
with beer alternately by both.

Phil M'Dermott whispered a few words to the pretty Rathcash girl, and
left her apparently in haste. But she was "heerd" by one of our
gossips to say, "Of course, Phil; but I will not say 'with all my
heart;' sure, it is only a pleasure postponed for a little,--now
mind, Phil."

"Never fear, Sally." And he was off through the crowd, with his head
up.

Phil's expedition was to look for Winny Cavana, to whom Emon-a-knock
had been engaged for the first dance; and as he knew where the
bonnet trimmed with broad blue ribbon could be seen all day, he made
for the spot. As he came within a few perches of it, he saw Tom
Murdock in seemingly earnest conversation with the object of his
search, and he hung back for a few minutes unperceived.

Tom Murdock, we have seen, was not a man to be easily taken aback by
circumstances, or to stand self-accused by any apparent consciousness
of guilt. Guilty or not, he always braved the matter out, whatever it
might be, as an innocent man would, and ought. As the dance was now
about to begin, and old Murrin's pipes were getting loud and
impatient, Tom made up to Winny. He had watched an opportunity when
she was partly disengaged from those around her; and indeed, to do
them justice, they "made themselves scarce" as he approached.

"They are going to dance, Winny; will you allow me to lead you out?"
he said.

Winny had been pondering in her own mind the possibility of what had
now taken place; and after turning and twisting her answer into twenty
different shapes, had selected one as the safest and best she could
give, with a decided refusal. Now, when the anticipated moment had
arrived, and she was obliged to speak, she was almost dumb. Not a
single word of any one of the replies she had shaped out--and least of
all the one she had rehearsed so often as the best--came to her aid.

"Will you not even answer me, Winny?" he added, after an unusually
long pause.

"I heard," she said hesitatingly, "that, as a proof of the good-will
which was supposed to exist between the parishes, the Rathcash men
were to ask the Shanvilla girls, and Shanvilla the Rathcash."

"That may be carried out too; but surely such an arrangement is not to
prohibit a person from the privilege of asking a near neighbor."

"No; but you had better begin, as leader, by setting the example
yourself. You were head of the Rathcash men all day, and they will be
likely to take pattern by you."

"Well, I shall _begin_ so, Winny; but say that you will dance with me
by-and-by."

"No, Tom, I shall not say any such thing, for I do not intend to do
so. I don't think I shall dance at all; but if I do, it shall be but
once--and that with a Shanvilla man."

"Do you mean to say, Winny, that you came here to-day intending to
dance but once?"

"I mean to say," she replied rather haughtily, "that you have no right
to do more than ask me to dance. That is a right I can no more deny
you than you can deny me the right to refuse. But you have no right to
cross-question me."

"If," he continued, "it is in consequence of that unfortunate
accident, I protest--"

"Here, father," said Winny, interrupting him and turning from him;
"shall we go up toward the piper? I see they are at it."

Tom stood disconcerted, as if riveted to the spot; and as old Ned and
his daughter walked away, he saw Phil M'Dermott come toward them. He
watched and saw them enter into conversation.

The first question old Ned asked, knowing that Phil had gone a piece
of the way home with him, was of course to know how Emon was.

"So much better," said Phil, "that he had a mind to come back in the
cart an' look on at the dancin'; but of course we would not let him do
so foolish a turn. He then sent me back, afeerd Miss Winny here would
be engaged afore I got as far as her. He tould me, Miss Winny, that he
was to take you out for the first dance yourself; an' although Phil
M'Dermott is a poor excuse for Emon-a-knock in a dance, or anywhere
else, for that matther, I hope, Miss Winny, you will dance with me."

"_Ceade mille a faltha_, Phil, for your own sake as well as for his,"
said Winny, putting her arm through his, and walking up to where they
were "at it," as she had said.

Tom Murdock had kept his eye upon her, and had seen this transaction.
Winny, although she did not know it, felt conscious that he was
watching her; and it was with a sort of savage triumph she had thrust
her arm through Phil M'Dermott's and walked off with him.

"Surely," said Tom to himself, "it is not possible that she's going to
dance with Phil M'Dermott, the greatest clout of a fellow in all
Shanvilla--and that's a bold word. Nothing but a bellows-blower to
his father--a common nailor at the cross-roads. Thank God, I put Emon,
as she calls him, from dancing with her, any way. He would be bad
enough; but he is always clean at all events, that's one thing--_neen
han an shin_. See! by the devil, there she's out with him, sure
enough. I think the girl is mad."

Now Tom Murdock's ill-humor and vexation had led him, though only to
himself, to give an under-estimate of Phil M'Dermott in more respects
than one. In the first place, Phil's father, so far from being a
common nailor, was a most excellent smith-of-all-work. He made
ploughs, harrows, and all sorts of machinery, and was unequivocally
the best horse-shoer in the whole country. People were in the habit of
sending their horses five, ay ten, miles to Bryan M'Dermott's
forge--"establishment" it might almost be called--and Tom Murdock
himself, when he kept the race-mare, had sent her past half-a-dozen
forges to get her "properly fitted" at Phil M'Dermott's.

Phil himself had served his time to his father, and was no less an
adept in all matters belonging to his trade; and as to "driving a
nail," there never was a man wore an apron could put on a shoe so
safely. A nail, too, except for the above purpose, was never made in
their forge. If sometimes Phil threw up his bare hairy arm to pull
down the handle of the bellows, it was only what his father himself
would do, if the regular blower was out of the way.

In fact, "Bryan M'Dermott and Son, Smiths," might have very justly
figured over their forge-door; but they were so well known that a
sign-board of any kind was superfluous.

Then as to being a _clout_, Phil was the very furthest from it in the
world, if it can have any meaning with reference to a man at all.
There are _nails_ called _clouts_; and perhaps as a nailor was
uppermost in Tom's cantankerous mind, it had suggested the epithet.

We have now only to deal with the dirt--the _neen han an shin_ of his
spite.

That Phil M'Dermott was very often dirty was the necessary result of
his calling, at which the excellence of his knowledge kept him
constantly employed. But on this occasion, as on all Sundays and
holidays, Phil M'Dermott's person could vie with even Tom Murdock's,
"or any other man's," in scrupulous cleanliness. Now indeed, if there
were some streaks and blotches of blood upon the breast of his shirt,
he might thank Tom Murdock's handiwork for that same.

Such as he was, however, bloody shirt and all, Winny Cavana went out
to dance with him before the whole assembly of Rathcash boys,
speckless as they were.

Kate Mulvey had been endeavoring to carry on her own tactics privately
all the morning, and had refused two or three Shanvilla boys, saying
that she heard there would be no dance, but that if there was, she
would dance with them before it was over. She now _accidentally_ stood
not very far from where Tom had been snubbed and turned away from by
her bosom friend, Winny Cavana. Tom Murdock saw her, and saw that she
was alone as far as a partner was concerned.

Determined to let Winny see that there were "as good fish in the sea
as ever were caught," and that she had not the power to upset
his enjoyment, Tom made up to Kate, and, assuming the most amiable
smile which the wicked confusion of his mind permitted, he asked her
to dance.

"How is it that you are not dancing, Kate? Will you allow me to lead
you out?"

"I would, Tom, with the greatest possible pleasure; but I heard the
Rathcash boys were to dance with the Shanvilla girls, and so by the
others with the Rathcash girls."

"That's the old story, Kate. It was thrown up to me just now; but
there is no such restriction upon any of us at either side. And I'll
tell you what it is, Kate Mulvey--not a Shanvilla girl I'll dance with
this day, if I never struck a foot under me!"

Kate was not sorry to find him in this humor. If she could soothe
round his feelings on her own account now, all would be right. Under
any phase of beauty, Kate's expression of countenance was more amiable
than Winny Cavana's, although perhaps not so regularly handsome, and
she felt that she was now looking her best.

"Fie, fie, Tom; you should not let that little accident put you
through other like that, to be making you angry. I heard that was the
rule, and I refused a couple of the Rathcash boys. But if you tell me
there is no such rule, sure I'll go out with you, Tom, afore any man
in the parish."

"Thank you, Kate; and if you wish to know the truth, there's not a
girl in Rathcash, or Shanvilla either, that I'd so soon dance with."

"Ah,_na bocklish_, Tom; you'll hardly make me b'lieve that."

"Time will tell, Kate dear," said he, and he led her to the ring.

Kate made herself as agreeable as possible; amiable she always was.
She rallied her partner upon his ill-humor. "It is a great shame for
you, Tom," she said, "to let trifles annoy you--"

"They are not trifles, Kate."

"The way you do, where you have so much to make you happy; plenty of
money and property, and everybody fond of you."

"No, not everybody."

"And you can do just as you like."

"No, I can't."

"And there won't be a pin's-worth the matter with young Lennon in a
few days; and sure, Tom, every one knows it was an accident."

"No, not _every_ one," thought Tom to himself. The other interruptions
were aloud to Kate; but she kept never minding him, and finished what
she had to say.

"It is not that all but, Kate," said Tom.

"Oh, I see! I suppose Winny has vexed you; I saw her laying down the
law."

"She'd vex a saint, Kate."

"Faix, an' you're not one, Tom, I'm afeerd."

"Nor never will, _I'm afeerd_," said he, forgetting his manners, and
pronouncing the last word as she had done, although he knew better.

She saw he was greatly vexed, but she did not mind it.

"If I were you, Tom," she continued, "I would not be losing my time
and my thoughts on the likes of her."

This last expression was not very complimentary to her friend; but
Kate knew she would excuse it (for she intended to tell her), as it
was only helping her out.

"You are her bosom friend, Kate," he went on, "and could tell me a
great deal about her, if you liked."

"I don't like, then; and the sorra word I'll tell you, Tom. If you're
not able to find out all you want yourself, what good's in you?"

"Well, keep it to yourself, Kate; I think I know enough about her
already."

"See that, now; an' you strivin' to pick more out of me! This much
I'll tell you, any way, for you're apt to find it out yourself--that
she's as stubborn a lass as any in the province of Connaught What she
says she won't do, she _won't_."

"And what I say I will do, I _will_; and I'll take that one's pride
down a peg or two, as sure as my name is Tom Murdock, and that before
Easter Monday."

"Whist, Tom agra; she's not worth putting yourself in a passion about:
and she's likely enough to bring her own pride low enough. But betune
you an' me, I don't think she has very much. Whisper me this, Tom; did
she ever let on to you?"

"Never, Kate; I won't belie her."

"Answer me another question now, Tom; did she ever do th' other
thing?'

"You are sifting me very close, Kate. Do you mean did she ever refuse
me?"

"I do, just; and what I'm saying to you, Tom, is for your good. I'm
afeerd it's for her money you care, and not much for herself. Now,
Thomas Murdock, I always thought, an' more than myself thought the
same thing, that the joining of them two farms in holy wedlock was a
bad plan, and that _one_ of you would find it a dear bargain in the
end."

"Which of us, Kate?"

"Not a word you'll tell, Tom avic. There's the floore idle; come out
for another dance;" and she gave him one of her most beautiful looks.
He was glad, however, that her volubility prevented her from observing
that he had not answered her _other_ question.

Kate succeeded during this second dance in putting Tom into somewhat
better humor with himself. He had never thought her so handsome
before, nor had he until now ever drawn a comparison between herself
and Winny Cavana as to beauty of either face or figure, neither of
which it now struck him were much, if at all, inferior to that
celebrated beauty; and he certainly never found her so agreeable. He
listened with a new pleasure to her full rich voice, and looked
occasionally, unperceived (as he thought) into her soft swimming eyes,
and were it not for pure spite toward "that whelp Lennon," and indeed
toward that "proud hussy" Winny Cavana herself he would, after that
second dance, have transferred his whole mind and body to the said
Kate Mulvey on the spot. He considered, at all events, that he had
Kate Mulvey hooked, however slightly it might be. But he would play
her gently, not handle her too roughly, and thus keep her on his line
in case he might find it desirable to put the landing-net under her at
any time. He never thought she was so fine a girl.

But then he thought again: to be cut out, and hunted out of the field,
with all his money, by such a fellow as that, a common day-laborer,
was what he could not reconcile himself to. As for any real love for
Winny Cavana, if it had ever existed in his heart toward her, it had
that day been crushed, and for ever; yet notwithstanding the favorably
circumstances for its growth, it had not yet quite sprung up for
another. A firm resolve, then, to see his spite out, at any cost to
himself, to her, and to "that whelp," was the final determination of
his heart after the day closed.

Winny Cavana, having danced with Phil M'Dermott until they were both
tired, sat down beside her father on a _furrum_. Several of the
Shanvilla, and some of the Rathcash, boys "made up" to her, but she
refused to dance any more, pleading fatigue, which by-the-bye none of
them believed, for it was not easy to tire the same Winny Cavana
dancing. After sitting some time to cool, and look on at the neighbors
"footing it," she proposed to her father to go home; and he, poor old
man, thought "it was an angel spoke." He would have proposed it to
Winny himself long before, but that he did not wish to interfere with
her enjoyment. He thought she would have danced more, but was now glad
of the reprieve; for to say the truth it was one to him. He, and
Winny, and Bully-dhu, who had been curled up at his feet all day, then
stood up, and went down the boreen together; Bully careering and
barking round them with his usual activity.

We need not remain much longer at the dance ourselves. In another half
hour it was "getting late," the beer was all out, Murrin's pipes were
getting confused, and Rathcash and Shanvilla were seen straggling over
the hills in twos and threes and small parties toward their respective
homes.

We cannot do better than end this chapter with a hearty Irish
wish--"God send them safe!"



CHAPTER XXV.


This great hurling match, although much spoken of before it came off,
was so universally believed to be a mere amicable, a _bona-fide_ piece
of holiday recreation, and not an ostensible excuse for the ulterior
purposes of Ribbonism, or a fight, that no precautions had been deemed
necessary by the police to detect the one or to prevent the other. The
sub-inspector (then called chief constables) had merely reported the
fact that it would take place to the _resident_ magistrate--_lucus à
non_. But "in the absence of sworn informations" of an intended row,
he would neither attend himself, nor give orders for the police to do
so, leaving the responsibility, if such existed, entirely to the
judgment and discretion of the chief in question; who, wishing to
enjoy the day otherwise himself, was satisfied with the report he had
made, and did not interfere by his own presence or that of his men
with the game. Thus, as "in the absence of sworn informations" the
resident magistrate would not attend, and in the absence of the
resident magistrate the chief would not attend, Rathcash and Shanvilla
had it all to themselves. Perhaps it was so best for the _denouement_
of this story; for had the police been present, the whole thing from
that point might have ended very differently.

But although it had not been thought necessary that a police-party
should put a stop to the day's sport on the common, it is not to be
supposed that they could hear of a man "having been murdered" on the
occasion without being instantly all zeal and activity. Like the three
black crows, the real fact had been exaggerated, and so distorted as
to frighten both the chief and the resident magistrate, but
principally the latter, as the intended assembly had been reported to
him. However, "better late than never." They heard that the man was
not yet dead, and away they started on the same jarvey, to visit him,
on the morning after the occurrence.

Their whole discussion during the drive--if an explanation by the
magistrate could be called a discussion--was on the safest and the
most legal method of taking a dying man's depositions, and wondering
if he knew who struck the fatal blow in this instance, and if the
police had him in custody, etc.

They soon arrived at the house, but saw no sign of a crowd, or of
police, whom the chief would have backed at any odds to have met on
the road with a prisoner.

"Is he still alive?" whispered the resident magistrate to the father,
who came to the door.

"Oh yes, your honor, blessed be God! an' will soon be as well as
ever," he replied. "It was a mere scratch, an' there won't be a
haporth on him in a day or two. He wanted to go back to look at them
dancin', but I kep' him lying on the bed."

"Does he know you?" said the magistrate, believing that the man wanted
to make light of it, as is generally the case.

"Does he know me, is it? athen why wouldn't he know his own father?"

"Oh, he is sensible, then?"

"Arrah, why wouldn't he be sensible? the boy was never anything else."

"That's right. Does he know who struck the blow?"

"Ochone, doesn't every one know that, your honor? Sure, wasn't it Tom
Murdock? an' isn't his heart bruck about it?"

Here the constable and two men of the nearest police station came up
at the "double" wiping their faces, to make inquiries for report; so
that they were not so remiss after all, for it was still early in the
morning.

Old Lennon was annoyed at all this parade and show about the place,
and continued, "Athen, your honor, what do ye's all want here, an'
these gentlemen?" inclining his head toward the police; "sure there's
nothing the matther."

"We heard the man was killed," said the chief.

"And we heard the same thing not an hour ago," said the constable.

"Arrah, God give ye sinse, gentlemen! Go home, an' don't be making a
show of our little place. I tell you there's not a pin's-worth upon
the boy, and the tip he did get was all accidents."

"I must see him nevertheless, my good man; and you need not be
uncivil, at all events."

"I ax your honor's pardon; I didn't mane it. To be sure you can see
him; but there's no harm done, and what harm was done was an accident.
Sure Emon will tell you the whole thing how it was himself."

"That is the very thing I want Let me see him."

Lennon then led the way into the room where Emon was sitting up in the
bed; for he had heard the buzz of the discussion outside, and caught
some of its meaning.

Lennon took care "to draw" the police into the kitchen; for there was
nothing annoyed him more--and that, he knew, would annoy his son--than
that they should be seen about the place. He had taken his cue from
Emon, who did not wish the matter to be made a blowing-horn of.

A very few words with the young man sufficed to show the magistrate
and the chief that their discussion upon the subject of taking a dying
man's deposition had been unnecessary in this instance, however
profitable it might prove on some future occasion. Emon, except that
his bead was still tied with a handkerchief, showed no symptom
whatever of having received an injury. He cheerfully explained how the
matter had happened, untied the handkerchief promptly at the request
of the magistrate, and showed him "the tip," as he called it, he had
received from Tom Murdock's hurl. There was no mystery or hesitation
in Emon's manner of describing the matter. Murdock himself had been
the very first to admit and to apologize for the accident; and they
did not wish that any fuss should be made about it As to prosecuting
him for the blow, which had been casually asked, he might as well
think of prosecuting a man who had accidentally jostled him in the
street.

All this was a great relief to the magistrate, who at once took the
sensible view of the case, and said he was delighted to find that the
whole matter had been exaggerated both as to facts and extent, and
congratulated both himself and the police upon this happy termination
to their zeal.

The magistrate then spoke of the propriety of "the doctor" seeing
young Lennon, saying that these sort of "tips" sometimes, required
medical care, and occasionally turned out more serious than might at
first be anticipated. But Emon told him that Father Farrell, who was
an experienced doctor himself, had examined the wound, and declared
that it would not signify.

The fact was that the magistrate, in his justifiable fright, had on
the first report of the "murder" sent off four miles for the
dispensary doctor, in case "the man might not be yet dead," and he
expected his arrival every moment, as the point at which his valuable
aid would be required was plainly to be explained to him by the
messenger.

Finding that matters were much less serious than rumor had made them,
and perceiving that the Lennons were far from gratified at the
exhibition already made, he was not anxious that it should appear he
had sent for the doctor to raise, as it were, young Lennon from the
dead. He was therefore determined to watch his approach, and to
pretend he was passing by on other business, and that it was as well
to bring him in. But the doctor had not been at home when the
messenger called; he had been at a _real_ case--not of murder, but of
birth; and the magistrate and chief could not now await his arrival
without awkwardness for the delay.

The magistrate was annoyed; but the chief soon set him to rights by
telling him that the doctor could not come there except by the road by
which they should go home, and that if on his way they must meet him,
and so they did--_powdhering_ on his pony, truly as if for life or
death.

"I suppose it is all over, and that I am late," he said, pulling up.

"No, you are time enough," said the chief. "It is nothing but a
scratch, and was a mere accident."

"And there is nothing then for me to do," said the doctor.

"Nothing but to go _'bock again'_ like the Scotchman."

"No trepanning, nor 'post-mortem,' doctor," added the R.M. He was a
droll fellow, was the R.M.

It was a great satisfaction to each of these officials, as they
secretly considered their positions in this affair, that no person had
been seriously hurt, and that the slight injury which had really taken
place was entirely accidental. The R.M. felt relieved upon the grounds
that the intended assembly had been officially reported to him and
that he had declined to attend, or to give any directions to the chief
to use any precautions to preserve the peace. But then he reconciled
himself with the burthen of his excuse upon all such occasions, that,
"in the absence of sworn informations," he would have been safe under
any circumstances. Still he was better pleased as it was.

The chief was relieved, because he had some idea that having reported
the intended assembly to the resident magistrate might have been
deemed insufficient, had a real homicide taken place, and that he
should upon his own responsibility have had a party of police in
attendance. These officials were therefore both ready to accept,
without much suspicion, the statement of young Lennon, that the blow
was purely accidental, and that the consequence would be of a trifling
nature. But they were "dark" to each other as to the grounds upon
which their satisfaction rested.

The doctor finding that there was no chance of earning a fee from the
coroner, turned his horse's head round and followed the car at a much
easier pace than he had met it. He of all the officials--for he was
constab. doc.--was least gratified with the favorable position of
affairs. He had not only started without his own breakfast, but had
brought his horse out without a feed; and they had galloped four miles
upon two empty stomachs. No wonder that he was dissatisfied as
compared with the magistrate and the chief. But we must recollect that
there was no responsibility upon him, beyond his skill involved in the
affair; with its origin, or the fact of its having been permitted to
occur at all, he had nothing to do. There were, therefore, no points
of congratulation for him to muse upon, and he was vexed accordingly.
From his experience of himself in the treatment of broken heads in the
district, he had no doubt that his attendance would have "ended in
recovery," and that at least three pounds would have come down,
"approved" by the government upon the chiefs report, which would be
much better than the coroner's one-pound note. The disappointment had
completely taken away his own hunger, but he forgot that his horse did
not understand these things, so he grumbled slowly home.

A contemplative silence of some minutes ensued between the two
executives on the car, which was ultimately broken by the magistrate.
He, like the doctor, had had no breakfast, so certain was he of a
murder; but the whole thing being a bottle of smoke, he was now both
hungry and cross. It was the chiefs car they were on, and he was
driving--the R.M. "knocked that much out of him, at all events"--so
there was no driver to damp the familiarity of conversation.

"It was fortunate for you, my young friend, that nothing more serious
occurred at this same hurling match," said the magistrate.

(Certainly he was no prig in his choice of language. He was of course
much older than the chief and considered that he could carry a high
hand with "a mere boy" without any experience.)

"I am extremely glad," replied the chief, "for _both_ our sakes, that
it was a mere trifle and an accident."

"For both our sakes! Oh, you know, my dear young friend, that, in the
absence of sworn informations, I was not concerned in the matter at
all. I conceive that the whole responsibility--if there be any--in a
mere casual meeting of the kind, where there is admittedly no
apprehension of a breach of the peace, rests entirely upon your own
judgment and discretion. To be plain with you, except where a breach
of the peace may be fairly anticipated, and sworn informations lodged
to that effect, I do not think the magistrate's time should be
interfered with. I might have lost a petty-sessions to-day, inquiring
into a mere accident."

"But it might not have been one; and we could not have known until we
saw the injured man and made inquiries. But the absence of sworn
informations, and the fact that there was no apprehension of a row,
would have exonerated me from all blame as well as you. Beside, I so
far took the precaution of reporting the intended assembly to you,
with its professed object, and I took your instructions upon the
subject."

"No, you didn't; for I did not give you any."

"Well, I reported the meeting to you, and asked for instructions."

"That is the very thing which I object to--making reports without
sufficient grounds. I should decline to act again under similar
circumstances."

"That you would do so, I have no doubt; but that you _should_ do so, I
have some."

"I am right, young sir, as well in my grammar as in my view of the
case; _ought_ is the word you _should_ have used, to have properly
expressed what you intended."

The chief was nettled. He was not quite certain that the R.M. was not
right, and merely replied:

"Perhaps so, sir; but it really was not of _Lindley Murray_ I was
thinking at the time."

The magistrate was softened. He felt that he had been sparring rather
sharply with a lad not much more than one-third of his age.

"Well, I really beg your pardon," he said; "I did not intend to be so
sharp."

"Granted," said the chief, laughing; for he was not an ill-tempered
fellow. "But here we are at my box; come in and have some breakfast,
and I'll drive you to petty-sessions after."

"Thank you very much, I'll take breakfast; for I came away in a horrid
fuss without saying a word as to when I should be back again. I will
not trespass upon you, however, to do more than you have already done
in the driving way. I had some fears when we started that we should
have breakfasted at dinner, some time this evening, after a coroner's
inquest. But this is better."

They then gave "the trap" to the "private orderly," and proceeded to
punish the tea, toast, eggs, and cold ham in a most exemplary manner.



CHAPTER XXVI.


The chief was well aware of the reputation which the priest had
obtained through the parish for medical skill, and was himself
convinced of how well he deserved it. Indeed, had the alternative
rested in any case between Father Farrell and the dispensary doctor,
there was not a parishioner who would not have preferred his pastor's
medical as well as spiritual aid.

The chief, instead of ordering off the dispensary doctor to see young
Lennon upon a rumor that he was worse, went quietly to Father Farrell,
who must know the truth, and be able to give good advice as to what
steps, if any, were necessary to adopt.

The matter turned out to be another black-crow story. Father Farrell
had also heard it in its exaggerated form, and had not lost a moment
in proceeding to the spot. Young Lennon had gone out to assist his
father in planting some potatoes--so far the rumor was correct. But he
had been premature in his own opinion of his convalescence. The very
first stoop he made he felt quite giddy; and although he did not fall
forward on his face, he was obliged to lean upon his father for
support for a few moments. This little experiment served to keep him
quiet for a while longer; but Father Farrell assured the chief that
matters were no worse than they had been--he might make his mind easy;
there was no injury beyond the flesh, which, of course, had become
much sorer, and must do so for a few days still.

The chief, however, suggested the prudence, if not the necessity, of
having a medical man to see him. "Not," said he, "but that I have as
much, if not more, confidence in your own skill and experience than in
any which is available in this wild district."

"That is rather an equivocal compliment; but perhaps it is fully as
much as I deserve," said the priest.

"Well, I don't mean it as such, Father Farrell; but you know a great
responsibility would rest upon me, should anything unfortunate occur."

"I see. It would not do in a court of justice to put a priest upon the
table in a medical position. I certainly could not produce a diploma.
You are quite right, my dear sir; you would be held responsible.
However, I can go the length to assure you that at present there is
not the slightest necessity for medical aid, particularly--between you
and me--under existing circumstances, which I understand very well.
The matter was a mere accident I am fully persuaded. Bat, supposing
for a moment that it was not, I know young Lennon since he was a child
running to school in his bare feet, with 'his turf and his
read-a-ma-daisy;' and I am convinced that no power on earth would
induce him to prosecute Tom Murdock."

"Why? are they such friends?"

"No; quite the reverse, and that is the very reason. But ask me no
more about it. Another objection I see to calling in the dispensary
doctor is this--that I am aware of an ill-feeling existing between him
and Tom Murdock about a prize at a coursing-match, which the
doctor thinks was unfairly given to Tom Murdock through his influence
with the judge; and the doctor was heard to say in reference to it,
'that it was a long lane that had no turning.' Now here would be an
open for the doctor to put a turn on the lane, however straight it
might be in fact. He would not certify that Lennon's life was out of
danger--you would have to arrest Tom Murdock; young Lennon would go
distracted, and the two parishes would be in an uproar. Ill-will would
be engendered between all the young men of opposite sides, and all for
nothing; for young Lennon will be as well as ever he was in ten days.
These are my views of the case. But if your official responsibility
obliges you to differ with me, I am ready to hear you further."

This was a great oration of Father Farrell's, but it was both sensible
and true from beginning to end, and it convinced the chief of the
propriety of "resting on his oars" for a few days longer at all
events.

The result proved at least that there was more luck in leisure than
danger in delay. Emon-a-knock grew better; but it was by degrees. He
could not yet venture to attend to his usual daily labor, by which he
so materially contributed to the support of the family. The weather
was fine, and "the spring business" was going forward rapidly in all
directions. Poor Emon fretted that he was not able to add his
accustomed portion to the weekly earnings; but Father Farrell watched
him too closely. Once or twice he stole out to do some of their own
work, and let his father earn some of the high wages which was just
then to be had; but his own good sense told him that he was still
unable for the effort. At the end of an hour's work the old idea
haunted him that an attempt had been made to murder him, and if he had
been made a merchant-prince for it, he could not recollect how it had
happened. The only thing he did recollect distinctly about it was,
that Shanvilla won the day, and that he had been sent home in Winny
Cavana's cart and jennet--_that_, if he were in a raging fever, he
could never forget.

But it was a sad loss to the family, Emon's incapacity to work. He had
been now three weeks ill; and although the wound in his head was in a
fair way of being healed, there was still a confused idea in his mind
about the whole affair which he could not get rid of. At times, as he
endeavored to review the matter as it had actually occurred, he could
not persuade himself but that it was really an accident; and while
under this impression he felt quite well, and able for his ordinary
labor. But there were moments when a sudden thought would cross his
mind that it had been a secret and premeditated attempt upon his life;
and then it was that the confusion ensued which rendered him unable to
recollect. What if it were really this attempt--supposing that
positive proof could be adduced of the fact--what then? Would he
prosecute Tom Murdock? Oh, no. Father Farrell was right; but he had
not formed his opinion upon the true foundation. Emon-a-knock would
not prosecute, even if he could do so to conviction. He would deal
with Tom Murdock himself if ever a fair opportunity should arise; and
if not, he might yet be in a position more thoroughly to despise him.

In the meantime Lennon's family had not been improving in
circumstances. Emon was losing all the high wages of the spring's
work. Upon one or two occasions, when he stealthily endeavored to do a
little on his own land, while his father was catching the ready penny
abroad, he found, before he was two hours at work, the haunting idea
press upon his brain; and he returned to the house and threw himself
upon the bed confused and sad. In spite of this, however, the wound in
his head was now progressing more favorably, and returning
strength renewed a more cheerful spirit within him. He fought hard
against the idea which at times forced itself upon him. The priest,
who was a constant visitor, saw that all was not yet right. He took
Emon kindly by the hand and said: "My dear young friend, do you not
feel as well as your outward condition would indicate that you ought
to be?"

"Yes, Father Farrell, I thank God I feel my strength almost perfectly
restored. I shall be able, I hope, to give my poor father the usual
help in a few days. The worst of it is that the throng of the spring
work is over, and wages are now down a third from what they were a
month or three weeks ago."

"If _that_ be all that is fretting you, Emon, cheer up, for there is
plenty of work still to be had; and if the wages are not quite so high
as they were a while back, you shall have constant work for some time,
which will be better than high wages for a start. I can myself afford
to make up for some of the loss this unfortunate blow has caused you.
You must accept of this." And he pulled a pound-note from his breeches
pocket.

If occasionally there were moments when Emon's ideas were somewhat
confused, they were never clearer or sharper than as Father Farrell
said this. It so happened that he was thinking of Winny Cavana at the
moment; indeed, it would be hard to hit upon the moment when he was
not. Shanvilla was proverbially a poor parish; and Father Farrell's
continual and expressed regret was, that he was not able personally to
do more for the poor of his flock. Emon was sharp enough, and stout
enough, to speak his mind even to his priest, when he found it
necessary.

He looked inquiringly into Father Farrell's face. "No, Father Farrell,
you _cannot_ afford it," he said. "It is your kindness leads you to
say so; and if you could afford it there are--and no man knows it
better than you do--many still poorer families than ours in the parish
requiring your aid. But under no circumstances shall I touch _that_
pound."

The priest was found out, and became disconcerted; but the matter was
coming to a point, and he might as well have it out.

"Why do you lay such an emphasis upon the word _that_?" said he. "It
is a very good one," he added, laughing.

"Well, Father Farrell, I am always ready and willing to answer you any
questions you may choose to ask me, for you are always discreet and
considerate. Of course I must always answer any questions you have a
right to ask; but you have no right to probe me now."

"Certainly not, Emon, but you know a counsel's no command."

"Your counsel, Father Farrell, is always good, and almost amounts to a
command. I beg your pardon, if I have spoken hastily."

"Emon, my good young friend, and I will add, my dear young friend, I
do not wish to probe you upon any subject you are not bound to give me
your confidence upon; but why did you lay such an emphasis just now on
the word _that_? If you do not wish to answer me, you need not do so.
But you must take _this_ pound-note. You see I can lay an emphasis as
well as you when I think it is required."

"No, Father Farrell. If the note was your own, I might take the loan
of it, and work it in with you, or pay you when I earned it. But I do
not think it is: there is the truth for you, Father Farrell."

"I see how it is, Emon, and you are very proud. However, the truth is,
the pound was sent to me anonymously for you from a friend."

"She might as well have signed her name in full," said Emon, sadly,
"for any loss that I can be at upon the subject--or perhaps you
yourself, Father Farrell."

"Well, I was at no loss, I confess. But you were to know nothing about
it, Emon; only you were so sharp. There is no fear that your
intellects have been injured by the blow, at all events. It was meant
kindly, Emon, and I think you ought to take it--here."

"You think so, Father Farrell?"

"I do; indeed I do, Emon."

"Give it me, then," he said, taking it; and before Father Farrell's
face he pressed it to his lips. He then got a pen and ink, and wrote
something upon it. It was nothing but the date; he wanted no
memorandum of anything else respecting it. But he would hardly have
written even that, had he intended to make use of it.

The priest stood up to leave. He knew more than he chose to tell
Emon-a-knock. But there was an amicable smile upon his lips as he held
out his hand to bid him goodby.

Oh, the suspicion of a heart that loves!

"Father Farrell," he said, still holding the priest's hand, "is this
the note, the very note, the identical note, she sent me?"

"Yes, Emon; I would not deceive you about it. It is the very note;
which, I fear," he added, "is not likely to be of much use to you."

"Why do you say that, Father Farrell? You shall one day see the
contrary."

"Because you seem to me rather inclined to 'huxter it up,' as we say,
than to make use of it. Believe me, that was not the intention it was
sent with; oh, no, Emon; it was sent with the hope that it might be of
some use, and not to be hoarded up through any morbid sentimentality."

"Give me one instead of it. Father Farrell, and keep this one until I
can redeem it."

"I have not got another, Emon; pounds are not so plenty with me."

"And yet you would have persuaded me just now that it was your own and
that you could afford to bestow it upon me!"

"Pardon me, Emon, I would not have persuaded you; I was merely silent
upon the subject until your suspicions made you cross-examine me. I
was then plain enough with you. I used no deceit; and I now tell you
plainly that if you take this pound-note, you ought to use it;
otherwise you will give her who sent it very just cause for
annoyance."

"Then it shall be as she wishes and as you advise, Father Farrell. I
cannot err under your guidance. I shall use it freely and with
gratitude; but you need not tell her that I know who sent it."

"Do you think that I am an _aumadhawn_, Emon? The very thing she was
anxious to avoid herself. I shall never speak to her, perhaps, upon
the subject."

The priest then left him with a genuine and hearty blessing, which
could not fail of a beneficial influence.



CHAPTER XXVII.


The priest had been a true prophet and a good doctor, and perhaps it
was well for all parties concerned that the dispensary M.D. had been
dispensed with. Emon now recovered his strength every day more and
more. The wound in his head had completely healed. There was scarcely
a mark left of where it had been, unless you blew his beautiful soft
hair aside, when a slight hard ridge was just perceptible. Father
Farrell had procured him a permanent job of some weeks, at rather an
increase of wages from what was "going" at the time, for the spring
business was now over and work was slack. But a gentleman who had
recently purchased a small property in that part of the country, and
intended to reside, had commenced alterations in the laying-out of the
grounds about his "mansion;" and meeting Father Farrell one day, asked
him if he could recommend a smart, handy man for a tolerably long job.
There would be a good deal of "skinning" and cutting of sods,
levelling hillocks, and filling up hollows, and wheeling of clay. For
the latter portion of the work, the man should have help. What he
wanted was a tasty, handy fellow, who would understand quickly what
was required as it was explained to him.

Father Farrell, as the gentleman said all this, thought that he must
have actually had Emon-a-knock in his mind's eye. He was the very man
on every account, and the priest at once recommended him. This job
would soon make up for all the time poor Emon had lost with his broken
head. And for his intelligence and taste Father Farrell had gone bail.
Thus it was that Emon after all had not broken the pound-note, but, in
spite of the priest, had hoarded it as a trophy of Winny's love.

Emon would have had a rather long walk every morning to his work, and
the same in the evening after it was over. But Mr. D---- on the very
first interview with young Lennon, was sharp enough to find out his
value as a rural engineer, and, for his own sake as well as Lennon's,
he made arrangements that he should stop at a tenant's house, not far
from the scene of his landscape-gardening, which was likely to last
for some time. Mr. D---- was not a man who measured a day's work by
its external extent. He looked rather to the manner of its
accomplishment, and would not allow the thing to be "run over." He did
not care for the expense; what he wanted was to have the thing well
done; and he gave Father Farrell great credit for his choice in a
workman. If he liked the job when it was finished, he did not say but
that he would give Lennon a permanent situation, as overseer, at a
fixed salary. But up to this time he had not seen, nor even heard of,
Winny Cavana, except what had been implied to his heart by the
priest's pound-note. He was further now from Rathcash chapel than
ever; nevertheless he would show himself there, "God willing," next
Sunday. What was Tom Murdock's surprise and chagrin on the following
Sunday to observe "that confounded whelp" on the road before him, as
he went to prayers--looking, too, better dressed, and as well and
handsome as ever! He thought he had "put a spoke in his wheel" for the
whole summer at the least; and before that was over, he had determined
to have matters irrevocably _clinched_ if not _settled_ with Miss
Winifred Cavana.

After what manner this was to be accomplished was only known to
himself and three others, associates in his villany.

The matter had been already discussed in all its bearings. All the
arguments in favor of, and opposed to, its success had been exhausted,
and the final result was, that the thing should be done, and was only
waiting a favorable opportunity to be put in practice. Some matters of
detail, however, had to be arranged, which would take some time; but
as the business was kept "dark" there was no hurry. Tom Murdock's
secret was safe in the keeping of his coadjutors, whose "oath of
brotherhood" bound them not only to inviolable silence, but to their
assistance in carrying out his nefarious designs.

The sight of young Lennon once more upon the scene gave a spur to
Tom's plans and determination. He had hoped that that "accidental tip"
which he had given him would at least have had the effect of reducing
him in circumstances and appearance, and have kept him in his own
parish. He knew that Lennon was depending upon his day's wages for
even the sustenance of life; that there was a family of at least four
beside himself to support; and he gloated himself over the idea that a
month or six weeks' sick idleness, recovering at best when there was
no work to be had, would have left "that whelp" in a condition almost
unpresentable even at his own parish chapel. What was his
mortification, therefore, when he now beheld young Lennon before him
on the road!

"By the table of war," he said in his heart, "this must hasten my
plans! I cannot permit an intimacy to be renewed in that quarter. I
must see my friends at once."

Winny Cavana, although she had not seen Emon-a-knock since the
accident, had taken care to learn through her peculiar resources how
"the poor fellow was getting on." Her friend Kate Mulvey was one of
these resources.

Although it has not yet oozed out in this story, it is necessary that
it should now do so: Phil M'Dermott, then, was a great admirer of Kate
Mulvey. He was one of those who advocated an interchange of
parishioners in the courting line. He did not think it fair that
"exclusive dealing" should be observed in such cases.

Now, useless as it was, and forlorn as had been hitherto the hope,
Phil M'Dermott, like all true lovers, could not keep away from his
cold-hearted Kate. It was a satisfaction to him at all events "to be
looking at her;" and somehow since Emon's accident she seemed more
friendly and condescending in her manner to poor Phil. It will be
remembered that Phil M'Dermott was a great friend of Emon-a-knock's,
and it may now be said that he was a near neighbor. It was natural,
then, that Kate Mulvey should find out all about Emon from him, and
"have word" for Winny when they met. This was one resource, and Father
Farrell, as he sometimes passed Kate's door, was another. Father
Farrell could guess very well, notwithstanding Kate's careless manner
of asking, that his information would not rest in her own breast, and
gave it as fully and satisfactorily as he could.

Kate Mulvey, however, "would not for the world" say a word to either
Phil M'Dermott or Father Farrell which could be construed as coming
from Winny Cavana to Emon-a-knock; she had Winny's strict orders to
that effect. But Kate felt quite at liberty to make any remarks she
chose, as coming from herself.

Poor Emon, upon this his first occasion of, it may be said, appearing
in public after his accident, was greeted, after prayers were over,
with a genuine cordiality by the Rathcash boys, and several times
interfered with in his object of "getting speech" of Winny Cavana, who
was some distance in advance, in consequence of these delays.

But Winny was not the girl to be frustrated by any unnecessary prudery
on such an occasion.

"Father," she said, "there's Emon at our chapel to-day for the first
time since he was hurt. Let us not be behindhand with the neighbors to
congratulate him on his recovery. I see all the Rathcash people are
glad to see him."

"And so they ought, Winny; I'm glad you told me he was here, for I did
not happen to see him. Stand where you are until he comes up." And the
old man stood patiently for some minutes while Emon's friends were
expressing their pleasure at his reappearance.

Winny had kept as clear as possible of Tom Murdock since the accident
at the hurling match; so much so that he could not but know it was
intentional.

Tom had remarked during prayers that Winny's countenance had
brightened up wonderfully when young Lennon came into the chapel, and
took a quiet place not far inside the door; for he had been kept
outside by the kind inquiries of his friends until the congregation
had become pretty throng. He had observed too, for he was on the
watch, that Winny's eyes had often wandered in the direction of the
door up to the time when "that whelp" had entered; but from that
moment, when he had observed the bright smile light up her face, she
had never turned them from the officiating priest and the altar.

Tom had not ventured to walk home with Winny from the chapel for some
Sundays past, nor would he to-day. What puzzled him not a little was
what his line of conduct ought to be with respect to Lennon, whom he
had not seen since the accident. His course was, however, taken
after a few moments' reflection. He did not forget that on the
occasion of the blow he had exhibited much sympathy with the sufferer,
and had declared it to have been purely accidental. He should keep up
that character of the affair now, or make a liar of himself, both as
to the past and his feelings.

"Beside," thought he, "I may so delay him that Miss Winifred cannot
have the face to delay for him so long."

Just then, as Emon had emancipated himself from the cordiality of
three or four young men, and was about to step out quickly to where he
saw Winny and her father standing on the road, Tom came up.

"Ah, Lennon!" he said, stretching out his hand, "I am glad to see you
in this part of the country again. I hope you are quite recovered."

"Quite, thank God," said Emon, pushing by without taking his hand.
"But I see Winny and her father waiting on the road, and I cannot stop
to talk to you;" and he strode on. Emon left out the "Cavana" in the
above sentence on purpose, because he knew the familiarity its
omission created would vex Tom Murdock.

"Bad luck to your impudence, you conceited cub, you!" was Murdock's
mental ejaculation as he watched the cordial greeting between him and
Winny Cavana, to say nothing of her father, who appeared equally glad
to see him.

Phil M'Dermott had come for company that day with Emon, and had
managed to join Kate Mulvey as they came out of chapel. She had her
eyes about her, and saw very well how matters had gone so far. For the
first time in her life she noticed the scowl on Tom Murdock's brow as
she came toward him.

"God between us and harm, but he looks wicked this morning!" thought
she; and she was almost not sorry when he turned suddenly round and
walked off without waiting for her so much as to "bid him the time of
day."

"That's more of it," said Tom to himself. "There is that one now
taking up with that tinker."

He felt something like the little boy who said, "What! will nobody
come and play with me?" But Tom did not, like him, become a good boy
after that.

He watched the Cavanas and Lennon, who had not left the spot where
Lennon came up with them until they were joined by Kate And Phil
M'Dermott, when they all walked on together, chatting and laughing as
if nobody in the world was wicked or unhappy.

He dodged them at some distance, and was not a little surprised to see
the whole party-"the whelp," "the tinker," and all--turn up the lane
and go into Cavana's house.

"_That will do_," said he; "I must see my friends this very night, and
before this day fortnight we'll see who will win the trick."

Emon-a-knock and Phil M'Dermott actually paid a visit to old Ned
Cavana's that Sunday. Tom Murdock had seen them going in, and he
minuted them by his silver hunting-watch--for he had one. His eye
wandered from the door to his watch, and from his watch to the door,
as if he were feeling the pulse of their visit. He thought he had
never seen Kate Mulvey looking so handsome, or Phil M'Dermott so clean
or so well-dressed.

But it mattered not. If Kate was a Venus, Tom will carry out his plans
with respect to Winny, and let Phil M'Dermott work his own point in
that other quarter. Not that he cared much for Winny herself, but he
wanted her farm, and he _hated "that whelp Lennon."_

They remained just twenty-five minutes in old Cavana's; this for Kate
Mulvey was nothing very wonderful, but for two young men--neither of
whom had ever darkened his doors before--Tom thought it rather a long
visit.

There they were now, going down the lane together, laughing and
chatting, all three seemingly in good humor.

Cranky and out of temper as he was, Tom's observation was correct in
more matters than one, Phil M'Dermott was particularly well-dressed on
this occasion, his first visit to Rathcash chapel. Perhaps after
to-day he may be oftener there than at his own.



CHAPTER XXVIII.


Perhaps there was nothing extraordinary, after the encouragement which
Emon had met with upon his first appearance at Rathcash chapel after
"the accident," if he found it pleasanter to "overtake mass" there
than to come in quietly at Shanvilla. The walk did him good. Be this
as it may, he was now a regular attendant at a chapel which was a mile
and a half further from his home than his own.

Two Sundays had now come round since Tom Murdock had seen the
reception which "that whelp" had met with from the Cavanas, not only
as he came out of the chapel, but in asking him up to the house, and,
he supposed, giving him luncheon; for the visits had been repeated
each successive Sunday. Then that fellow M'Dermott had also come to
their chapel, and he and Kate Mulvey had also gone up with the
Cavanas. This was now the third Sunday on which this had taken place;
and not only Winny herself, but her father seemed to acquiesce in
bringing it about.

Tom's fortnight had passed by, and he had not "won the trick," as he
had threatened to do. "Well," thought he, "it cannot be done in a
minute. I have been dealing the cards, and, contrary to custom, the
dealer shall lead beside; and that soon."

Winny's happy smile was now so continuous and so gratifying to her
father's heart, that if he had not become altogether reconciled to an
increased intimacy with Edward Lennon, he had at all events become a
convert to her dislike to Tom Murdock, and no mistake.

In spite of all his caution, one or two matters had crept out as to
his doings, and had come to old Ned's ears in such a way that no doubt
could remain on his mind of their veracity. He began to give Winny
credit for more sharpness than he had been inclined to do; and it
crossed his mind once that, if Winny was not mistaken about Tom
Murdock's villany, she might not be mistaken either about _anybody
else's worth_. The thought had not individualized itself as yet. In
the meantime young Lennon's quiet and natural manner, his unvarying
attention and respect for the old man himself, and his apparent
carelessness for Winny's private company, grew upon old Ned
insensibly; and it was now almost as a fixed rule that he paid a
Sunday visit after mass at Rathcash, the old man putting his hand upon
his shoulder, and facing him toward the house at the end of the lane,
saying, "Come, Edward Lennon, the murphys will be teemed by the time
we get up, and no one can fault our bacon or our butter."

"_My_ butter, Emon," said Winny on one occasion, at a venture.

Her father looked at her. But there was never another word about it.

All this was anything but pleasing to Tom Murdock, who always sulkily
dogged them at some distance behind.

Now we shall not believe that Emon-a-knock was such a muff, or Winny
Cavana such a prude, as to suppose that no little opportunity was
seized upon for a kind soft word between them _unknownt_. Nor shall we
suppose that Kate Mulvey, who was always of the party, was such a
marplot as to obstruct such a happy casualty, should it occur,
particularly if Phil was to the fore.

Emon's careless, loud laugh along the road, as he escorted Kate to her
own door, gave evidence that his heart was light and that (as Kate
thought, though she did not question him) matters were on the
right road for him. Winny, too, when they met, was so happy, and so
different from what for a while she had been, that Kate, although she
did not question her either, guessed that all was right with her too.

Matters, as they now seemed to progress, and he watched them close,
were daggers to Tom Murdock's heart. He had seen Winny Cavana, on more
than one evening, leave the house and take the turn toward Kate
Mulvey's. On these occasions he had the meanness and want of spirit to
watch her movements; and although he could not satisfy himself that
young Lennon came to meet her, he was not quite satisfied that he did
not.

Winny invariably turned into Kate Mulvey's, and remained for a long
visit. Might not "that hound" be there?--Tom sometimes varied his
epithets--might it not be a place of assignation? This was but the
suspicion of a low, mean mind like Tom Murdock's.

The fact is, since Tom's threat about "winning the trick" he had been
rather idle. His game was not one which could be played out by
correspondence--he was too cunning for that--and the means which he
would be obliged to adopt were not exactly ready at his hand. He saw
that matters were not pressing in another quarter yet, if ever they
should press, and he would "ride a waiting race," and win
unexpectedly. Thus the simile of Tom's thoughts still took their tone
from the race-course, and he would "hold hard" for another bit.
Circumstances, however, soon occurred which made him "push forward
toward the front" if he had any hope "to come in first."

Edward Lennon having finished his "landscape gardening" at Mr. D----s,
and the overseership being held over for the present, had got another
rather long job, on the far part of Ned Cavana's farm, in laying out
and cutting drains, where the land required reclaiming. He had shown
so much taste and intelligence, in both planning and performing, that
old Ned was quite delighted with him, and began to regret "that he had
not known his value as an agricultural laborer long before." There was
one other at least--if not two--who sympathized in that regret. At all
events, there he was now every day up to his hips in dirty red clay,
scooping it up from the bottom of little drains more than three feet
deep, in a long iron scoop with a crooked handle. This job was at the
far end of Ned's farm, and, in coming to his work, Lennon need hardly
come within sight of the house, for the work lay in the direction of
Shanvilla. Emon did not "quit work" until it was late; he was then in
anything but visiting trim, if such a thing were even possible. He,
therefore, saw no more of Winny on account of the job than if he had
been at work on the Giant's Causeway. But a grand object had been
attained, nevertheless--he was working for Ned Cavana, and had given
him more than satisfaction in the performance of the job, and on one
occasion old Ned had called him "Emon-a-wochal," a term of great
familiarity. This was a great change for the better. If young Lennon
had been as well acquainted with racing phraseology as Tom Murdock, he
also would have thought that he would "make a waiting race of it." But
the expression of _his_ thoughts was that he "would bide his time."

The Sundays, however, were still available, and Emon did not lose the
chance. He now because so regular an attendant at Rathcash chapel, and
went up so regularly with old Ned and his daughter after prayers, that
it was no wonder if people began to talk.

"I donna what Tom Murdock says to all this, Bill," said Tim Fahy to a
neighbor, on the road from the chapel.

"The sorra wan of me knows, Tim, but I hear he isn't over-well
plaised."

"Arrah, what id he be plaised at? Is it to see a Shanvilla boy,
without a cross, intherlopin' betune him an' his bachelor?"

"Well, they say he needn't be a bit afeared, Lennon is a very good
workman, and undherstan's dhrainin', an' ould Ned's cute enough
to get a job well done; but he'd no more give his daughter with her
fine fortin' to that chap, than he'd throw her an' it into the
say--b'lieve you me."

"There's some very heavy cloud upon Tom this while back, any way; and
though he keeps it very close, there's people thinks it's what she
refused him."

"The sorra fear iv her, Tim; she has more sinse nor that."

"Well, riddle me this, Bill. What brings that chap here Sunda' afther
Sunda', and what takes him up to ould Ned Cavana's every Sunda' afther
mass? He is a very good-lookin' young fellow, an' knows a sheep's head
from a sow's ear, or Tim Fahy's a fool."

"_Och badhershin_, doesn't he go up to walk home wid Kate Mulvey, for
she's always iv the party?"

"And _badhershin_ yourself, Bill, isn't Phil M'Dermott always to the
fore for Kate?--another intherloper from Shanvilla. I donna what the
sorra the Rathcash boys are about."

Other confabs of a similar nature were carried on by different sets as
they returned from prayers, and saw the Cavanas with their company
turn up the lane toward the house. The young girls of the district,
too, had their chats upon the subject; but they were so voluble, and
some of them so ill-natured, that I forbear to give the reader any
specimen of their remarks. One or two intimate associates of Tom
ventured to quiz him upon the state of affairs. Now none but an
intimate friend, indeed, of Tom's should have ventured, under the
circumstances, to have touched upon so sore a subject, and those who
did, intimate as they were, did not venture to repeat the joke. No, it
was no joke; and that they soon found out. To one friend who had
quizzed him privately he said, "Suspend your judgment, Denis; and if I
don't prove myself more than a match for that half-bred _kiout_, then
condemn me."

But to another, who had quizzed him before some bystanders in rather a
ridiculous point of view, he turned like a bull-terrier, while his
face assumed a scowl of a peculiarly unpleasant character.

"It is no business of yours," he said, "and I advise you to mind your
own affairs, or perhaps I'll make you."

The man drew in his horns, and sneaked off, of course; and from that
moment they all guessed that the business had gone against Tom, and
they left off quizzing.

Tom felt that he had been wrong, and had only helped to betray
himself. His game now was to prevent, if possible, any talk about the
matter, one way or the other, until his plans should be matured, when
he doubted not that success would gain him the approbation of every
one, no matter what the means.

The preface to his plans was, to spread a report that he had gone back
to Armagh to get married to a girl with an immense fortune, and he
endorsed the report by the fact of his leaving home; but whether to
Armagh or not, was never clearly known.

Young Lennon went on with his job, at which old Ned told him "to take
his time, an' do it well. It was not," he said, "like digging a plot,
which had to be dug every year, or maybe twice. When it was wance
finished and covered up, there it was; worse nor the first day, if it
was not done right; so don't hurry it over, Emon-a-wochal. I don't
mind the expense; ground can't be dhrained for nothin', an' it id be a
bad job if we were obliged to be openin' any of the dhrains a second
time, an' maybe not know where the stoppage lay; so take your time,
and don't blame me if you botch it."

"You need not fear, sir," said Lennon. (He always said "sir" as yet.)
"You need not fear; if every drain of them does not run like the
stream from Tubbernaltha, never give me a day's work again."

"As far as you have gone, Emon, I think they are complate; we'll have
forty carts of stones in afore Saturda' night. I hope you have help
enough, boy."

"Plenty, sir, until we begin to cover in."

"Wouldn't you be able for that yourself? or couldn't you bring your
father with you? I'd wish to put whatever I could in your way."

"Thank you, sir, very much. I will do so if I want more help; but for
the lucre of keeping up his wages and mine, I would not recommend you
to lose this fine weather in covering in the drains."

"You are an honest boy, Emon, and I like your way of talkin', as well
as workin'; plaise God we won't see you or your father idle."

Up to this it will be seen that Emon was not idle in any sense of the
word. He was ingratiating himself, but honestly, into the good graces
of old Ned; "if he was not fishing, he was mending his nets;" and the
above conversation will show that he was not a dance at that same.

It happened, upon one or two occasions, that old Ned was with Emon at
leaving off work in the evening, and he asked him to "cum' up to the
house and have a dhrink of beer, or whiskey-and-wather, his choice."

But Emon excused himself, saying he was no fit figure to go into any
decent man's parlor in that trim, and indeed his appearance did not
belie his words; for he was spotted and striped with yellow clay, from
his head and face to his feet, and the clothes he brought to the work
were worth nothing.

"Well, you'll not be always so, Emon, when you're done wid the
scoopin'," said old Ned; and he added, laughing, "The divil a wan o'
me'd know you to be the same boy I seen cumin' out o' mass a Sunda'."

Emon had heard, as everybody else had heard, that Tom Murdock had left
home, and he felt as if an incubus had been lifted off his heart. Not
that he feared Tom in any one way; but he knew that his absence would
be a relief to Winny, and, as such, a relief to himself.

Emon was now as happy as his position and his hopes permitted him to
be; and there can be little doubt but this happiness arose from an
understanding between himself and Winny; but how, when, or where that
understanding had been confirmed, it would be hard to say.

Old Ned's remarks to his daughter respecting young Lennon were nuts
and apples to her. She knew the day would come, and perhaps at no far
distant time, when she must openly avow, not only a preference for
Emon, but declare an absolute determination to cast her lot with his,
and ask her father's blessing upon them. She was aware that this could
not, that it ought not to, be hurried. She hoped--oh, how fervently
she hoped!--that the report of Tom Murdock's marriage might be true:
that of his absence from home she knew to be so. In the meantime it
kept the happy smile for ever on her lips to know that Emon was daily
creeping into the good opinion of her father. Oh! how could Emon, her
own Emon, fail, not only to creep but to rush into the good opinion,
the very heart, of all who knew him? Poor enthusiastic Winny! But she
was right. With the solitary exception of Tom Murdock, there was not a
human being who knew him who did not love Edward Lennon. But where is
the man with Tom Murdock's heart, and in Tom Murdock's place, who
would not have hated him as he did?



CHAPTER XXIX.


Tom Murdock, seeing that his hopes by fair means were completely at an
end, and that matters were likely to progress in another quarter at a
rate which made it advisable not to let the leading horse get too far
ahead, determined to make a rush to the front, no matter whether
he went the wrong side of a post or not--let that be settled after.

He had left home, and left a report behind him, which he took care to
have industriously circulated, that he had gone to Armagh, and was
about to be married to "a young lady" with a large fortune, and that
he would visit the metropolis, Fermanagh, and perhaps Sligo, before he
returned. But he did not go further than an obscure public-house in a
small village in the lower part of the county of Cavan. There he met
the materials for carrying out his plan. The object of it was shortly
this--to carry away Winny Cavana by force, and bring her to a
_friend's_ house in the mountains behind the village adverted to. Here
he was to have an old buckle-beggar at hand to marry them the moment
Winny's spirit was broken to consent. This man, a degraded clergyman,
as the report went, wandered about the country in green spectacles and
a short, black cloak, always ready and willing to perform such a job;
doubly willing and ready for this particular one from the reward which
Tom had promised him. If even the marriage ceremony should fail,
either through Winny's obstinacy or the clergyman's want of spirit to
go through with it in the face of opposition, still he would keep her
for ten days or a fortnight at this _friend's_ house, stopping there
himself too; and at the end of that time, should he fail in obtaining
her consent, he would quit the country for a while, and allow her to
return home "so blasted in character" that even "that whelp" would
disown her. There was a pretty specimen of a lover--a husband!

It was now the end of June. The weather had been dry for some time,
and the nights were clear and mild; the stars shone brightly, and the
early dawn would soon present a heavy dew hanging on the bushes and
the grass. The moon was on the wane; but at a late hour of the night
it was conspicuous in the heavens, adding a stronger light to that
given by the clearness of the sky and the brilliancy of the stars.

Rathcash and Rathcashmore were sunk in still repose; and if silence
could be echoed, it was echoed by the stillness of the mountains
behind Shanvilla and beyond them. The inhabitants of the whole
district had long since retired to rest, and now lay buried in sleep,
some of them in confused dreams of pleasure and delight.

The angel of the dawn was scarcely yet awake, or he might have heard
the sound of muffled horses' feet and muffled wheels creeping along
the road toward the lane turning up to Rathcash house, about two hours
before day; and he must have seen a man with a dark mask mounted on
another muffled horse at a little distance from the cart.

Presently Tom Murdock--there is no use in simulating mystery where
none exists--took charge of the horse and cart to prevent them from
moving, while three men stole up toward the house. Ay, there is
Bully-dhu's deep bark, and they are already at the door.

"That dog! he'll betray us, boys," said one of the men.

"I'd blow his brains out if this pistol was loaded," said another;
"and I wanted Tom to give me a cartridge."

"He wouldn't let any one load but himself, and he was right; a shot
would be twiste as bad as the dog; beside, he's in the back yard, and
cannot get out. Never heed him, but to work as fast as possible."

Old Ned Cavana and Winny heard not only the dog, but the voices.
Winny's heart foretold the whole thing in a moment, and she braced her
nerves for the scene.

The door was now smashed in, and the three men entered. By this time
old Ned had drawn on his trousers; and as he was throwing his coat
over his head to got his arms into the sleeves he was seized, and ere
you could count ten he was pinioned, with his arms behind him and his
legs tied at the ankles, and a handkerchief tied across his
mouth. Thus rendered perfectly powerless, he was thrown back upon the
bed, and the room-door locked. Jamesy Doyle, who slept in the barn,
had heard the crash of the door, and dressed himself in "less than no
time," let Bully-dhu out of the yard, and brought him to the front
door, in at which he rushed like a tiger. But Jamesy Doyle did not go
in. That was not his game; but he peeped in at the window. No light
had been struck, so he could make nothing of the state of affairs
inside, except from the voices; and from what he heard he could make
no mistake as to the object of this attack. He could not tell whether
Tom Murdock was in the house or not, but he did not hear his voice.
One man said, "Come, now, be quick, Larry; the sooner we're off with
her the better."

Jamesy waited for no more; he turned to the lane as the shortest way,
but at a glance he saw the horse and cart and the man on horseback on
the road outside; and turning again he darted off across the fields as
fast as his legs could carry him.

Bully-dhu, having gained access to the house, showed no disposition to
compromise the matter. "No quarter!" was his cry, as he flew at the
nearest man to him, and seizing him by the throat, brought him to the
ground with a _sough_, where in spite of his struggles, he held him
fast with a silent, deadly grip. He had learned this much, at least,
by his encounter with the mastiff on New Year's day.

Careless of their companion's strait, who they thought ought to be
able to defend himself, the other two fellows--and powerful fellows
they were--proceeded to the bed-room to their left; they had locked
the door to their right, leaving poor old Ned tied and insensible on
the bed. Winny was now dressed and met them at the door.

"Are you come to commit murder?" she cried, as they stopped her in the
doorway; "or have you done it already? Let me to my father's room."

"The sorra harm on him, miss, nor the sorra take the hair of his head
well hurt no more nor your own. Come, put on your bonnet an' cloak,
an' come along wid us; them's our ordhers."

"You have a master, then. Where is he? where is Tom Murdock?--I knew
Tom _Murder_ should have been his name. Where is he, I say?"

"Come, come, no talk; but on wid your bonnet and cloak at wanst."

"Never; nor shall I ever leave this house except torn from it by the
most brutal force. Where is your master, I say? Is he afraid of the
rope himself which he would thus put round your necks?"

"Come, come, on wid your bonnet an' cloak, or, be the powers, we'll
take you away as you are."

"Never; where is your master, I say?"

"Come, Larry, we won't put up wid any more of her pillaver; out wid
the worsted."

Here Biddy Murtagh rushed in to her mistress's aid; but she was soon
overpowered and tied "neck and heels," as they called it, and thrown
upon Winny's bed. They had the precaution to gag her also with a
handkerchief, that she might not give the alarm, and they locked the
door like that at the other end of the house.

Larry, whoever he was, then pulled a couple of skeins of coarse
worsted from his pocket, while his companion seized Winny round the
waist, outside her arms; and the other fellow, who seemed expert, soon
tied her feet together, and then her hands. A thick handkerchief was
then tied across her mouth.

"Take care to lave plenty of braithin' room out iv her nose, Larry,"
said the other ruffian; and, thus rendered unable to move or scream,
they carried her to the road and laid her on the car. The horseman in
the mask asked them where the third man was, and they replied that he
must have "made off" from the dog, for that they neither saw nor
heard him after the dog flew at him.

This was likely enough. He was the only man of the party in whom Tom
Murdock could not place the most unbounded confidence.

"The cowardly rascal," he said. "We must do without him."

But he had _not_ made off from the dog.

The cart was well provided--_to do Tom Murdock justice_--with a
feather-bed over plenty of straw, and plenty of good covering to keep
out the night air. They started at a brisk trot, still keeping the
horses' feet and the wheels muffled; and they passed down the road
where the reader was once caught at a dog-fight.

But to return, for a few minutes, to Rathcash house. Bully-dhu was
worth a score of old Ned Cavana, even supposing him to have been at
liberty, and free of the cords by which he was bound. The poor old man
had worked the handkerchief by which he had been gagged off his mouth,
by rubbing it against the bed-post. He had then rolled himself to the
door; but further than that he was powerless, except to ascertain, by
placing his chin to the thumb-latch, for he had got upon his feet,
that it was fastened outside. He then set up a lamentable demand for
help--upon Winny, upon Biddy Murtagh, and upon Bully-dhu. The dog was
the only one who answered him, with a smothered growl, for he still
held fast by the grip he had taken of the man's throat. Poor Bully!
you need not have been so pertinacious of that grip--the man has been
_dead_ for the last ten minutes! Finding that it was indeed so, from
the perfect stillness of the man, Bully-dhu released his hold, and lay
licking his paws and keeping up an angry growl, in answer to the old
man's cries.

We must leave them and follow Jamesy Doyle across the fields, and see
if it was cowardice that made him run so fast from the scene of
danger. Ah, no! Jamesy was not that sort of a chap at all. He was
plucky as well as true to the heart's core. Nor was his intelligence
and judgment at fault for a moment as to the best course for him to
adopt. Seeing the fearful odds of three stout men against him, he knew
that he could do better than to remain there, to be tied "neck and
crop" like the poor old man and Biddy. So, having brought Bully-dhu
round and given him 'his cue, he started off, and never drew breath
until he found himself outside Emon-a-knock's window at Shanvilla, on
his way to the nearest police station.

"Are you there, Emon?" said he, tapping at it.

"Yes," Emon replied from his bed; "who are you, or what do you want?"

"Jamesy Doyle from Rathcash house. Get up at wanst! They have taken
away Miss Winny."

"Great heaven I do you say so? Here, father, get up in a jiffy and
dress yourself. They have taken away Winny Cavana, and we must be off
to the rescue like a shot. Come in, Jamesy, my boy." And while they
were "drawing on" their clothes, they questioned him as to the
particulars.

But Jamesy had few such to give them, as the reader knows; for, like a
sensible boy, he was off for help without waiting for particulars.

The principal point, however, was to know what road they had taken.
Upon this Jamesy was able to answer with some certainty, for ere he
had started finally off, he had watched them, and he had seen the cart
move on under the smothered cries of Winny; and he heard the horseman
say, "Now, boys, through the pass between 'the sisters.'"

"They took the road to the left from the end of the lane, that's all I
know; so let you cut across the country as fast as you can, an' you'll
be at Boher before them. Don't delay me now, for I must go on to the
police station an' hurry out the sargent and his men; if you can
clog them at the bridge till I cam' up with the police, all will be
rights an' we'll have her back wid us. I know very well if I had a
word wid Miss Winny unknown to the men, she would have sent me for the
police; but I took you in my way--it wasn't twenty perch of a round."

"Thank you, Jamesy, a thousand times! There, be off to the sergeant as
fast as you can; tell him you called here, and that I have calculated
everything in my mind, and for him and his men to make for
Boher-na-Milthiogue bridge as fast as possible. There, be off, Jamesy,
and I'll give you a pound-note if the police are at the bridge before
Tom Murdock comes through the pass with the cart."

"You may keep your pound, man! I'd do more nor that for Miss Winny."
And he was out of sight in a moment.

The father and son were now dressed, and, arming themselves with two
stout sticks, they did not "let the grass grow under their feet." They
hurried on until they came to the road turning down to where we have
indicated that our readers were once caught at a dog-fight. Here Emon
examined the road as well as he could by the dim light which
prevailed, and found the fresh marks of wheels. He could scarcely
understand them. They were not like the tracks of any wheels he had
ever seen before, and there were no tracks of horses' feet at all,
although Jamesy had said there was a horseman beside the horse and
cart.

Emon soon put down these unusual appearances--and he could not well
define them for want of light--to some cunning device of Tom Murdock;
and how right he was!

"Come on, father," said he. "I am quite certain they have gone down
here. I know Tom Murdock has plenty of associates in the county Cavan,
and the pass between 'the sisters' is the shortest way he can take.
Beside, Jamesy heard him say the words. Our plan must be to cut across
the country and get to Milthiogue bridge before they get through the
pass and so escape us. What say you, father--are you able and willing
to push on, and to stand by me? Recollect the odds that are against
us, and count the cost."

"Emon, I'll count nothing; but I'll--

"Here, father, in here at this gap, and across by the point of Mullagh
hill beyond; we must get to Boher before them."

"I'll count no cost, Emon, I was going to tell you. I'm both able and
willing, thank God, to stand by you. You deserve it well of me, and so
do the Cavanas. God forbid I should renuage my duty to you and them!
Aren't ye all as wan as the same thing to me now?"

Emon now knew that his father knew all about Winny and him.

"Father," said he, "that is a desperate man, and he'll stop at
nothing."

"Is it sthrivin' to cow me you are, Emon?"

"No, father; but you saw the state my mother was in as we left."

"Yes, I did, and why wouldn't she? But shure that should not stop us
when we have right on our side; an' God knows what hoult, or distress,
that poor girl is in, or what that villain may do to her; an' what
state would your mother be in if you were left a desolate madman all
your life through that man's wickedness?"

These were stout words of his father, and almost assured Emon that all
would be well.

"Father," he continued, "if we get to the bridge before them, and can
hold it for half an hour, or less, the police will be up with Jamesy
Doyle, and we shall be all right."

The conversation was now so frequently interrupted in getting over
ditches and through hedges, and they had said so much of what they had
to say, that they were nearly quite silent for the rest of the way,
except where Emon pointed out to his father the easiest place to get
over a ditch, or through a hedge, or up the face of a hill. Both
their hearts were evidently in their journey. No less the father's
than the son's: the will made the way.

The dappled specks of red had still an hour to slumber ere the dawn
awoke, and they had reached the spot; there was the bridge, the
Boher-na-Milthiogue of our first chapter, within a stone's throw of
them. They crept to the battlement and peered into the pass. As yet no
sound of horse or cart, or whispered word, reached their ears.

"They must be some distance off yet, father," said Emon; "thank God!
The police will have the more time to be up."

"Should we not hide, Emon?"

"Certainly; and if the police come up before they do, they should hide
also. That villain is mounted; and if a strong defence of the pass was
shown too soon, he would turn and put spurs to his horse."

As he spoke a distant noise was heard of horses' feet and unmuffled
wheels. The muffling had all been taken off as soon as they had
reached the far end of the pass between the mountains, and they were
now hastening their speed.

"The odds will be fearfully against us, father," said Emon, who now
felt more than ever the dangerous position he had placed his father
in, and the fearful desolation his loss would cause in his mother's
heart and in his home. He felt no fear for himself. "You had better
leave Tom himself to me, father. I know he will be the man on
horseback. Let you lay hold of the horse's head under the cart, and
knock one of the men, or both, down like lightning, if you can. You
have your knife ready to cut the cords that tie her?"

"I have, Emon; and don't you fear me; one of them shall tumble at all
events, almost before they know that we are on them. I hope I may kill
him out an' out; we might then be able for the other two. Do you think
Tom is armed?" he added, turning pale. But it was so dark Emon did not
see it.

"I am not sure, but I think not He cannot have expected any
opposition."

"God grant it, Emon! I don't want to hould you back, but don't be
'fool-hardy,' dear boy."

"Do you want to cow me, father, as you said yourself, just now?"

"No, Emon. But stoop, stoop, here they are."

Crouching behind the battlements of the bridge, these two resolute men
waited the approach of the cavalcade. As they came to the mouth of the
pass the elder Lennon sprang to the head of the horse under the cart,
and, seizing him with his left hand, struck the man who drove such a
blow as felled him from the shaft upon which he sat. Emon had already
seized the bridle of the horseman who still wore the mask, and pushing
the horse backward on his haunches, he made a fierce blow at the
rider's head with his stick. But he had darted his heels--spurs he
had none--into his horse's sides, which made him plunge forward,
rolling Emon on the ground. Forward to the cart the rider then rushed,
crying out, "On, on with the cart!" But Lennon's father was still
fastened on the horse's head with his left hand, while with his right
he was alternately defending himself against the two men, for the
first had somewhat recovered, who were in charge of it.

Tom Murdock would have ridden him down also, and turned the battle in
favor of a passage through; but Emon had regained his feet, and was
again fastened in the horse's bridle, pushing him back on his
haunches, hoping to get at the rider's head, for hitherto his blows
had only fallen upon his arms and chest. Here Tom Murdock felt the
want of the spurs, for his horse did not spring forward with life and
force enough upon his assailant.

A fearful struggle now ensued between them. The men at the cart had
not yet cleared their way from the desperate opposition given
them by old Lennon, who defendant himself ably, and at the same time
attacked them furiously. He had not time, however, to cut the cords by
which Winny was bound. A single pause in the use of his stick for that
purpose would have been fatal. Neither had he been successful in
getting beyond his first position at the horse's head. During the
whole of this confused attack and defence, poor Winny Cavana, who had
managed to shove herself up into a sitting posture in the cart,
continued to cry out, "Oh, Tom Murdock, Tom Murdock! even now give me
up to these friends and be gone, and I swear there shall never be a
word more about it."

But Tom Murdock was not the man either to yield to entreaties, or to
be baffled in his purpose. He had waled Edward Lennon with the butt
end of his whip about the head and shoulders as well as he could
across his horse's head, which Lennon had judiciously kept between
them, at times making a jump up and striking at Tom with his stick.

Matters had now been interrupted too long to please Tom Murdock, and
darting his heels once more into his horse's sides, he sprang forward,
rolling young Lennon on the road again.

"All right now, lads!" he cried; "on, on with the cart!" and he rode
at old Lennon, who still held his ground against both his antagonists
manfully.

But all was not right. A cry of "The police, the police!" issued from
one of the men at the cart, and Jamesy Doyle with four policemen were
seen hurrying up the boreen from the lower road.

Perhaps it would be unjust to accuse Tom Murdock of cowardice even
then--it was not one of his faults--if upon seeing an accession of
four armed policemen he turned to fly, leaving his companions in for
it. One of them fled too; but Pat Lennon held the other fast.

As Tom turned to traverse the mountain pass back again at full speed,
Lennon, who had recovered himself, sprang like a tiger once more at
the horse's head. Now or never he must stay his progress.

Tom Murdock tore the mask from his face, and, pulling a loaded pistol
from his breast, he said: "Lennon, it was not my intention to injure
you when I saw you first spring up from the bridge to-night; nor will
I do so now, if your own obstinacy and foolhardy madness does not
bring your doom upon yourself. Let go my horse, or by hell I'll blow
your brains out! this shall be no mere tip of the hurl, mind you." And
he levelled the pistol at his head, not more than a foot from his
face.

"Never, with life!" cried Lennon; and he aimed a blow at Tom's
pistol-arm. Ah, fatal and unhappy chance! His stick had been raised to
strike Tom Murdock down, and he had not time to alter its direction.
Had he struck the pistol-arm upward, it might have been otherwise; but
the blow of necessity descended. Tom Murdock fired at the same moment,
and the only difference it made was, that instead of his brains having
been blown out, the ball entered a little to one side of his left
breast.

Lennon jumped three feet from the ground, with a short, sudden shout,
and rolled convulsively upon the road, where soon a pool of bloody mud
attested the murderous work which had been done.

The angel of the dawn now awoke, as he heard the report of the pistol
echoing and reverberating through every recess in the many hearts of
Slieve-dhu and Slieve-bawn. Tom Murdock fled at full gallop; and the
hearts of the policemen fell as they heard the clattering of his
horse's feet dying away in quadruple regularity through the mountain
pass.

Jamesy Doyle, who was light of foot and without shoe or stocking,
rushed forward, saying, "Sergeant, I'll follow him to the end of the
pass, an' see what road he'll take." And he sped onward like a
deer.

"Come, Maher," said the sergeant, "we'll pursue, however hopeless.
Cotter, let you stop with the prisoner we have and the Young woman;
and let Donovan stop with the wounded man, and stop the blood if he
can."

Sergeant Driscol and Maher then started at the top of their speed, in
the track of Jamesy Doyle, in full pursuit.

There were many turns and twists in the pass between the mountains. It
was like a dozen large letter S's strung together.

Driscol stopped for a moment to listen. Jamesy was beyond their ken,
round one or two of the turns, and they could not hear the horse
galloping now.

"All's lost," said the sergeant; "he's clean gone. Let us hasten on
until we meet the boy; perhaps he knows which road he took."

Jamesy had been stooping now and then, and peering into the coming
lights to keep well in view the man whom he pursued. Ay, there he was,
sure enough; he saw him, almost plainly, galloping at the top of his
speed. Suddenly he' heard a crash, and horse and rider rolled upon
the ground.

"He's down, thank God!" cried Jamesy, still rushing forward with some
hope, and peering into the distance. Presently he saw the horse trot
on with his head and tail in the air, without his rider, while a dark
mass lay in the centre of the road.

"You couldn't have betther luck, you bloodthirsty ruffian, you!" said
Jamesy, who thought that it was heaven's lightning that, in justice,
had struck down Tom Murdock; and he maintained the same opinion ever
afterward. At present, however, he had not time to philosophize upon
the thought, but rushed on.

Soon he came to the dark mass upon the road. It was Tom Murdock who
lay there stunned and insensible, but not seriously hurt by the fall.
There was nothing of heaven's lightning in the matter at all. It was
the common come-down of a stumbling horse upon a bad mountain road;
but the result was the same.

Jamesy was proceeding to thank God again, and to tie his legs, when
Tom came to.

Jamesy was sorry the man's _thrance_ did not last a little longer,
that he might have tied him, legs and arms. With his own handkerchief
and suspenders. But he was late now, and not quite sure that Tom
Murdock would not murder him also, and "make off afoot."

Here Jamesy thought he heard the hurried step of the police coming
round the last turn toward him, and as Tom was struggling to his feet,
a bright thought struck him. He "whipt" out a penknife he had in his
pocket, and, before Tom had sufficiently recovered to know what he was
about, he had cut his suspenders, and given the waist-band of his
trousers a _slip_ of the knife, opening it more than a foot down the
back.

Tom had now sufficiently recovered to understand what had happened,
and to know the strait he was in. He had a short time before seen a
man named Wolff play Richard III. in a barn in C.O.S.; and if he did
not roar lustily, "A horse, a horse! my kingdom for a horse!" he
thought it. But his horse was nearly half a mile away, where a green
spot upon the roadside tempted him to delay a little his journey home.

Tom was not yet aware of the approach of the police. He made a
desperate swipe of his whip, which he still held in his hand, at the
boy, and sprung to his feet. But Jamesy avoided the blow by a side
jump, and kept roaring, "Police, police!" at the top of his voice. Tom
now found that he had been outwitted by this young boy. He was so
hampered by his loose trousers about his heels that he could make no
run for it, and soon became the prisoner of Sergeant Driscol and his
companion. Well done, Jamesy!



CHAPTER XXX.


While the above exploits were being performed by Jamesy Doyle and the
police, a sad scene indeed was being enacted at the bridge. Winny
Cavana, whose bonds had been loosed, had rushed to where Emon lay with
his head in his father's lap, while the two policemen, Cotter and
Donovan, moved up with their prisoner. They not only handcuffed him,
but had tied his legs together, and threw him on the side of the road,
"to wait their convenience," while they rendered any assistance they
could to the wounded man.

The father had succeeded in stanching the blood, which at first had
poured freely from the wound. With the assistance of one of the
police, while the other was tying the prisoner, he had drawn his son
up into a sitting posture and leaned him against the bank at the side
of the road, and got his arm round him to sustain him. He was not shot
dead; but was evidently very badly wounded. He was now, however,
recovering strength and consciousness, as the blood ceased to flow.

"Open your eyes, Emon dear, if you are not dead, and look at your own
Winny," she said; "your mad Winny Cavana, who brought you here to be
murdered! Open your eyes, Emon, if you are not dead! I don't ask you
to speak."

Emon not only opened his eyes, but turned his face and looked upon
her. Oh, the ghastly smile he tried to hide!

"Don't speak, Emon; but tell me with your eyes that you are not dying.
No, no, Emon--Emon-a-knock! demon as he is, he could not murder you.
Heaven would not permit so much wickedness!"

Emon looked at her again. A faint but beautiful smile--beautiful now,
for the color had returned to his cheeks--beamed upon his lips as he
shook his head.

"Yes, yes, he has murdered him," sobbed the distracted father; "and I
pity you, Winny Cavana, as I hope you will pity his poor mother; to
say nothing of myself."

"No, no, do not say so! He will not die, he _shall_ not die!" And she
pressed her burning that's to his marble forehead. It was smooth as
alabaster, cold as ice.

"Win--ny Ca--va-na, good-by," he faintly breathed in her ear. "My
days, my hours, my very moments are numbered. I feel death trembling
in every vein, in every nerve. I could--could--have--lived for
you--Winny; but even--to--die for you--is--a blessing,
because--successful. One last request--Winny, my best beloved, is
--all--I have--to ask; spare me--a spot in Rathcash--chapel-yard, in
the space allotted to--the--Cavanas. I feel some wonderful strength
given me just now. It is a special mercy that I may speak with you
before I go. But, Winny, my own precious, dearest love, do not deceive
yourself. If I reach home to receive my mother's blessing before I
die, it is the most--" and he leaned his head against his father's
breast.

"No more delay!" cried Winny energetically, "Time is too precious to
be lost; bring the cart here, and let us take him home at once, and
send for the doctor. Oh, policeman, one of you is enough to
remain with the prisoner here; do, like a good man, leave your gun and
belts here, and run off across the fields as fast as you can, and
bring Dr. Sweeney to Rathcash house."

"To Shanvilla," faintly murmured the wounded man; "and bring Father
Farrell."

"Yes, yes, to Shanvilla, to be sure," repeated Winny; "my selfish
heart had forgotten his poor mother."

Emon opened his eyes at the word mother, and smiled. It was a smile of
thanks; and he closed them again.

The policeman had obeyed her request in a moment; and, stripped of ail
incumbrances, he was clearing the hedges, ditches, and drains toward
Dr. Sweeney's.

They then placed Lennon, as gently as if he were made of wax, into the
cart, his head lying in Winny's lap, and his hand clasped in hers,
while the distracted father led the horse more like an automaton than
a human being. They proceeded at a very gentle pace, for the cart had
no springs, and Winny knew that a jolt might be fatal if the blood
burst forth afresh. The policeman followed with his prisoner at some
distance; and ere long, for the dawn had become clear, he saw his
comrades coming on behind him, a long way off. But there was evidently
a man beside themselves and Jamesy Doyle. He sat down by the side of
the road until they came up.

How matters stood was then explained to Sergeant Driscoll aside.
Cotter told him he had no hopes that ever Lennon would reach home
alive; that Donovan had gone off across the country for the doctor and
the priest, and his _carabine_ and belts were on the cart.

"We will take that prisoner from you, Cotter," said Driscoll, "and do
you get on to the cart as fast as you can; you may be of use. I don't
like to bring this villain Murdock in sight of them; you need not say
we have got him at all. We will go on straight to the barrack by the
lower road, and let you go up to Lennon's with the cart. But see here,
Cotter--do not speak to the wounded man at all, and don't let anybody
else speak to him either. We don't want a word from him; sure we all
saw it as plain as possible."

Cotter then hastened on, and soon overtook the cart. He merely said,
in explanation of being by himself, that his comrades had come up, and
that he had given his prisoner to them and hastened on to see if he
could be of any use.

Winny soon suggested a use for the kind-hearted man--to help poor Pat
Lennon into the cart, and to lead the horse. This was done without
stirring hand or foot of the poor sufferer; and the father lay at
Emon's other side scarcely less like death than he was himself.

When they came to the end of the road which turned to Rathcash and
Shanvilla, Winny, as was natural, could have wished to go to Rathcash.
She knew not how her poor father had been left, or what might be his
fate. She could not put any confidence in the assurance of such
ruffians, that a hair of his head should not be hurt; and did not one
of the villains remain in the house? Yes, Winny, one of them _did
remain_ in the house, but he _did no harm to your father_.

With all her affection and anxiety on her father's account, Winny
could not choose but to go on to Shanvilla. The less moving poor Emon
got the better, and to get from under his head now and settle him
afresh would be cruel, and might be fatal. Winny, therefore, sat
silent as Cotter turned the horse's head toward Shanvilla, where, ere
another half-hour had added to the increasing light, they had arrived.

Winny Cavana, who knew what a scene must ensue when they came to the
door, had sent on Cotter to the house; the father again taking his
place at the horse's head. He was to tell Mrs. Lennon that an accident
had happened--no, no, not _that_; but that Emon had been hurt;
and that they were bringing him home quietly for fear of exciting him.

These precautions were of no use. Mrs. Lennon had waited but for the
word "hurt," which she understood at once as importing something
serious. She rushed from the house like a mad woman, and stood upon
the road gazing up and down. Fortunately Winny had the forethought to
stop the cart out of sight of the house to give Cotter time to execute
his mission, and calm Mrs. Lennon as much as possible. It was a lucky
thought, and Cotter, who was a very intelligent man, was equal to the
emergency.

As Mrs. Lennon looked round her in doubt, Cotter cried out, "Oh, don't
go that road, Mrs. Lennon, for God's sake!" and he pointed in the
direction in which the cart was not. It was enough; the ruse had
succeeded; and Mrs. Lennon started off at full speed, clapping her
hands and crying out: "Oh! Emon, Emon, have they killed you at last?
have they killed you? Oh! Emon, Emon, my boy, my boy!" And she clapped
her hands, and ran the faster. She was soon out of sight and hearing.

"Now is your time," said Cotter, running back to the cart; "she is
gone off in another direction, and we'll have him on his bed before
she comes back."

They then brought the cart to the door, and in the most gentle and
scientific manner lifted poor Emon into the house and laid him on his
bed.

"God bless you, Winny!" he said, stretching out his hand. "Don't, like
a good girl, stop here now. Return to your poor father, who must be
distracted about you. I'm better and stronger, thank God, and will be
able to see you again before I--"

"Whist, whist, Emon mavourneen, don't talk that way; you are better,
blessed be God! I must, indeed, go home, Emon, as you say, for my
heart is torn about my poor father. God bless you, Emon, my own Emon!"
And she stooped down and kissed his pale lips.

Cotter and she then left the house and made all the speed they could
toward Rathcash. They had not gone very far when Cotter heard Mrs.
Lennon coming back along the road, and they saw her turn in toward her
own house.

Bully-dhu having satisfied himself that nothing further was to be
apprehended from the senseless form of a man upon the kitchen floor,
and finding it impossible to burst open the door where his master was
confined, thought the next best thing that he could do was to bemoan
the state of affairs outside the house, in hope of drawing some help
to the spot. Accordingly he took his post immediately at the
house-door, still determined to be on the safe side, for fear the man
was scheming. Here he set up a long dismal and melancholy howl.

"My father is dead," said Winny; "there is the Banshee."

"Not at all, Miss Winny; that is a dog."

"It is all the same; Bully-dhu would not cry that way for nothing;
there is somebody dead, I'm sure."

"It is because he knew you were gone, Miss Winny, and he did not know
where to look for you; that's all, you may depend."

"Thank you, Cotter; the dog might indeed do that same. God grant it is
nothing worse!"

By this time they were at the door, and Cotter followed Bully-dhu into
the house. Winny, without looking right or left, rushed to her
father's room. She found it locked, but, quickly turning the key, she
burst in. It was now broad daylight, and she saw at a glance her
father stretched upon the bed, still bound hand and foot. She flew to
the table, and taking his razor cut the cords. The poor old man was
quite exhausted from suspense, excitement, and the fruitless physical
efforts he had been making to free himself.

"Thank God, father!" she exclaimed; "I hope you are not hurt."

"No, dear. Give me a sup of milk, or I will choke."

Poor Winny, in the ignorance of her past habits, called out to Biddy
to bring her some.

Biddy answered with a smothered cry from the inner room. Cotter flew
to the door and unlocked it. In another moment he had set her free
from her cords, and she darted across the kitchen to minister to the
old man's wants at Winny's direction.

Poor Bully-dhu then pointed out to Cotter the share he had taken in
the night's work, and it might almost be said quietly "gave himself
up." At least he showed no disposition to escape. He lay down at the
dead man's head, sweeping the floor with an odd wag of his bushy tail,
rather proud than frightened at what he had done. That it was his
work, Cotter could not for a moment doubt. The man's throat had by
this time turned almost black, and there were the marks of the dog's
teeth sunk deep at each side of the windpipe, where the choking grip
of death had prevailed.

Cotter then brought a quilt from the room where he had released Biddy
Murtagh, and spread it over the corpse, and was bringing Bully-dhu out
to the yard, when he met Jamesy Doyle at the door. Jamesy took charge
of him at once, and brought him round to the yard, where for the
present he shut him up in his wooden house; but he did not intend to
neglect him.

Jamesy told Cotter that Sergeant Driscoll and his men had taken their
prisoners safe to the barracks, and desired him to tell Cotter to join
them as soon as soon as possible.

"I cannot join them yet awhile, Jamesy; we have a corpse in the
house."

"God's mercy! an' shure it's not the poor ould masther?" said Jamesy.

"No; I don't know who he is. He must have been one of the
depredators."

"An' th' ould masther done for him!--God be praised? More power to his
elbow!"

"No, Jamesy, it was not the old master. It was Bully-dhu that choked
him--see here;" and he turned down the quilt.

"The divil a word of lie you're tellin', sir; dear me, but he gev' him
the tusks in style. Begorra, Bully, I'll give you my own dinner
to-day, an' tomorrow, an' next day for that. See, Mr. Cotter, how the
Lord overtakes the guilty at wanst, sometimes. Didn't he strike down
Tom Murdock wid lightning, an' he batin' me out a horseback? an I'd
never have cum up wid him only for that."

Cotter could not help smiling at Jamesy's enthusiasm.

"What are you laughin' at, Mr. Cotter? Maybe it's what you don't give
in to me; but I tell you I seen the flash of lightning take him down
ov the horse, as plain as the daylight. Where's Miss Winny?"

"Whist, whist, boy, don't be talking that way. Never heed Miss Winny;
she's with her father. I would not like her to see this dead man here;
don't be talking so loud. Is there any place we could draw him into,
until we find out who he is?"

"An' _I'd_ like to show him to Miss Winny, for Bully-dhu's sake. Will
I call her?"

"If you do, I'll stick you with this, Jamesy," said Cotter, getting
angry, and tapping his bayonet with his finger.

"Begorra, an' that's not the way to get me to do anything, I can tell
you; for I--"

"Well, there's a good boy, James; you have proved your cell one
tonight; and now for God's sake don't fret poor Miss Winny worse than
what she is already, and it would nearly kill her to see this dead man
here now--it would make her think of some one else dead,
Jamesy--_thigum thu_?

"_Thau_, begorra--you're right enough."

"Where can we bring him to? is there any outhouse or place?"

"To be sure there is; there's the barn where I sleep; cum out wid him
at wanst. I'll take him by the heels, an' let you dhraw him along the
floore by his shoulders."

There was a coolness and intrepidity about all Jamesy's acts and
expressions which surprised Cotter. With all his experience he had
never seen the same in so young a boy--except in a hardened villain;
and he had known Jamesy for the last four years to be the very
contrary. Cotter, however, was not philosopher enough to know that an
excess of principle, and a total want of it, might produce the same
intrepidity of character.

Cotter took the dead man under the shoulders and drew him along, while
Jamesy took him by the feet and pushed him.

Neither Winny, nor Biddy, nor the old man knew a word about this part
of the performance. Jamesy saw the propriety of keeping it to himself
for the present. Cotter locked the barn-door and took away the key
with him. He told Jamesy that he would find out from the other
prisoner "who the corpse was," and that he would call again with
instructions in the course of the day. He then hastened to the
barrack, and Jamesy went in to see Miss Winny and the ould masther.
The message which Cotter had sent her by Jamesy was this--"To keep up
her heart, and to hold herself in readiness for a visit from the
resident magistrate before the day was over."



CHAPTER XXXI.


It was still very early. The generality of the inhabitants were not
yet up, and Winny sighed at the long sad day which was before her. She
had first made her father tell her how the ruffians had served him,
and after hearing the particulars she detailed everything which had
befallen herself. She described the battle at the bridge, as well as
her sobs would permit her, from the moment that Lennon sprang up from
behind the battlement to their rescue until the fatal arrival of the
police, as she called it, upon the approach of whom "that demon fired
his pistol at my poor Emon as close as I am to you, father."

"Well, well; Winny, don't lave the blame upon the police; he would
have fired at Lennon whether they cum up or not, for Emon never would
have let go his holt."

"True enough, father. I do not lay it upon them at all. Emon would
have clung to his horse for miles if he had not shot him down."

"Beside, Jamesy says the police has him fast enough. Isn't that a
mercy at all events, Winny?"

"It is only the mercy of revenge, father, God forgive me for the
thought. The law will call it justice."

"And a just revenge is all fair an' right, Winny. He had no pity on an
innocent boy, an' why should you have pity on a guilty villain?"

"Pity! No, father, I have no pity for him. But I wish I did not feel
so vengeful."

"But how did the police hear of it, Winny, or find out which way they
went; an' what brought Jamesy Doyle up with them?"

"We must ask Jamesy himself about that, father," she said; and she
desired Biddy to call him in, for he was with Bully-dhu.

Jamesy was soon in attendance again, and they made him sit down, for
with all his pluck he looked weary and fatigued. They then asked him
to tell everything, from the moment he first heard the men smashing
the door.

Jamesy Doyle's description of the whole thing was short and decisive,
told in his own graphic style, with many "begorras," in spite of
Winny's remonstrances.

"Begorra, Miss Winny, I tould Bully-dhu what they were up to, an' I
let him in at the hall doore, an' when I seen him tumble the
fust man he met, and stick in his windpipe without so much as a growl,
I knew there was one man wouldn't lave that easy, any way; an' I med
off for the polis as fast as my legs and feet could carry me."

"And how did--how--did--poor Emon hear of it?" sighed Winny.

"Arra blur-an-ages, Miss Winny, didn't I cut across by Shanvilla, an'
tould him every haporth? Why, miss, he'd murdher me af I let him lie
there dhramin', an' they carrin' you off, Miss Winny."

"Oh, Jamesy, why did you not go straight for the police, and never
mind Emon-a-knock?" she said.

"Ah! Winny dear," said her father, "remember that there was nearly
half-an-hour's battle at the bridge before the police came up; and had
your persecutor that half-hour's law, where and what would you be
now?"

"I did not care. I would have fought my battle alone against twenty
Tom Murdocks. They might have ill-used me, and then murdered me, but
what of that? Emon-a-knock would live, perhaps to avenge me; but
now--now--oh, father, father! I wish he had murdered me along with
Emon. But, God forgive me, indeed I am very sinful; I forgot you,
father dear. Here, Biddy, get the kettle boiling; we all want a cup of
tea;" and she put her handkerchief to her swimming eyes.

Jamesy had thrown himself in his clothes on some empty sacks in a
corner of the kitchen, saying, "Miss Winny, I'm tired enough to sleep
anywhere, an' I'll lie down here."

"Hadn't you better go to your own bed in the barn, Jamesy, where you
can take off your clothes? I am sure you would be more comfortable."

"No, Miss Winny, I'm sure I would not. Beside, the policeman tuck--"
Jamesy stopped himself. "What the mischief have I been saying?"
thought he.

"The policeman took what, Jamesy?" said Winny.

"He tuck the key, miss. He said no one should g'win there till he cum
back."

"Oh, very well, Jamesy; lie down, and let me throw this quilt over
you. But, God's mercy, if here is not a pool of blood! I wonder what
brought it here? Oh, am I doomed to sec nothing but blood--blood? What
is this, Jamesy, do you know?"

"I do, miss. It was Bully-dhu that cut one of the men when they cum
in; and no cure for him, Miss Winny!"

"Why, he must have cut him severely, James; the whole floor is covered
with blood."

"Cut him, is it? Begorra, Miss Winny, he kilt him out-an-out. I may as
well tell you the thruth at wanst."

"For heaven's sake, you do not mean to say that he actually killed
him, Jamesy?"

"That's just what I do mane. Miss Winny, an' I may as well tell you,
for Mr. Cotter will be here by-an-bye with the coroner and a jury to
hould an inquest. Isn't he lyin' there abroad in the barn as stiff as
a crowbar, an' as ugly as if he was bespoke, miss? Didn't I help Mr.
Cotter to carry him out, or rather to dhrag him? for begorra he was as
heavy as if he was made of lead!"

"Fie, fie, James, you should not talk that way of any poor
fellow-being--for shame!"

"An' a bad fellow-bein' he was, to cum here to carry you away. Miss
Winny, an' maybe to murdher you in the mountain, or maybe worse. My
blessin' on you, Bully-dhu!"

Winny was shocked at the cool manner in which Jamesy spoke of such a
frightful occurrence. She was afraid she would never make a Christian
of him.

Cotter and a comrade soon returned and took charge of the body until
the coroner should arrive. They had served summonses upon twelve or
fourteen of the most respectable neighbors--good men and true. They
had ascertained that the deceased was a man named John Fahy, from the
county of Cavan, a reputed Ribbonman. The cart had belonged to
him, but of course there was no name upon it. The news of the whole
affair had already spread like fire the moment the people began to get
about; and two brothers of Fahy's arrived to claim the body before the
inquest was over.

Jamesy Doyle was the principal witness "before the fact." His evidence
was like himself all over. Having been sworn by the coroner, he did
not think that sufficient, but began his statement with another oath
of his own--the reader knows by this time what it was. The coroner
checked him, and reminded him that he was already on his solemn oath,
and that light swearing of that kind was very unseemly, and could not
be permitted. He advised him to be cautions.

Jamesy had sense enough to take his advice, although he seldom took
Winny's upon the same subject.

"When first I heerd the _rookawn_ I got up, an' dhrew on my clothes,
an' cum round the corner of the house. I seen three men stannin' at
the doore, an' I heerd wan of 'em ordher it to be bruck in. I knew
there was but two women an' wan ould man, the masther, in the house,
an' I knew there was no use in goin' in to be murdhered, an' that I
could be of more use a great dale outside. Bully-dhu was roarin' like
a lion in the back yard, an' couldn't get out. I knew Bully was well
able for wan of 'em, any way, if not for two, an' I let him out an'
brought him to the hall-doore. The minit ever I let him out iv the
yard he was as silent as the grave, an' I knew what that meant. Well,
I brought him to the doore, an' pointed to the deceased, for he was
the first man I seen in from me. Well, without with your lave or by
your lave, Bully had him tumbled on the floore, an' his four big teeth
stuck in his windpipe. 'That'll do,' says I, 'as far as wan of ye
goes, any way;' an' I med off for the police. I wasn' much out about
Bully, your worship, for the man never left that antil Mr. Cotter an'
I helped him out into the barn."

Cotter was then examined. His evidence was "that he had found the
deceased lying dead on the kitchen floor; that the dog on entering lay
down at his head and put his paw upon his breast, as if pointing out
what he had done." That was all he knew about it.

The doctor was then examined--surgeon, perhaps, we should call him on
this occasion--and swore "that he had carefully examined the deceased;
that he had been choked; and that the wounds in the throat indicated
that they had been inflicted by the teeth of a large, powerful dog; no
cat nor other animal known in this country could have done it."

This closed the evidence. The coroner made a short charge to the jury,
and the verdict was "that the deceased, John Fahy, as they believed
him to be, had come by his death by being suffocated _and choked_ by a
large black dog called Bully-dhu, belonging to one Edward Cavana, of
Rathcash, in the parish, etc., etc.; but that inasmuch as he, the said
deceased, was in the act of committing a felony at the time, for
which, if convicted in a court of law, he would have forfeited his
life, they would not recommend the dog to be destroyed."

The coroner said "he thought this was a very elaborate verdict upon so
simple a case; and disagreed with the jury upon the latter part of the
verdict. The dog could not have known that, and it was evident he was
a ferocious animal, and he thought he ought to be destroyed."

"He did know it, your honor," vociferated Jamesy Doyle. "Didn't I tell
him, and wasn't it I pointed out the deceased to him, and tould him to
hould him? If it was th' ould masther or myself kilt him, you couldn't
say a haporth to aidher of us, let alone the dog."

If this was not logic for the coroner, it was for the jury, who
refused to change their verdict. But the tack to the verdict,
exonerating poor Bully-dhu, was almost unnecessary, where he had such
a friend in court as Jamesy Doyle; for he, anticipating some such
attempt, had provided for poor Bully's safety. His first act after
Cotter had left in the morning was to get a chum of his, who lived not
for off, to take the dog in his collar and strap to an uncle's son, a
first cousin of his, about seven miles away, to tell him what had
happened, and to take care of the dog until the thing "blew over," and
that "Miss Winny would never forget it to him."

Billy Brennan delivered the dog and the message safely; "he'd do more
nor that for Miss Winny;" or for that matter for the dog himself, for
they were great play-fellows in the dry grass of a summer's day. Now
it was a strange fact, and deserves to be recorded for the curious in
such things, that although Bully-dhu had never seen Jamesy's cousin in
his life, and that although he was a surly, distant dog to strangers,
he took up with young Barny Foley the moment he saw him. He never
stirred from his side, and did not appear inclined to leave the place.

Before the inquest had closed its proceedings the two brothers of the
deceased man adverted to had arrived to take away the dead body. It
was well for poor Bully-dhu, after all, that Jamesy had been so
thoughtful, although it was quite another source of danger he had
apprehended. The two Fahys searched high and low for the dog, one of
them armed secretly with a loaded pistol, but both openly with huge
crab-tree sticks to beat his brains out, in spite of coroner,
magistrate, police, or jury. But they searched in vain. They offered
Jamesy, not knowing the stuff he was made of, a pound-note "to show
them where the big black dog was." His answer, though mute, was just
like him. He put his left thumb to the tip of his nose, his right
thumb to the little finger of the left hand, and began to play the
bagpipes in the air with his fingers.

They pressed it upon him and he got vexed.

"Begorra," said be, "af ye cum here to-night after midnight to take
Miss Winny away, I'll show him to you, an' maybe it wouldn't be worth
the coroner's while to go home."

"He may stay where he is, for that matther," said one of the brothers.
"He'll have work enough tomorrow or next day at Shanvilla;" and they
turned away.

"Ay, and the hangman from the county of _Cavan_ will have something to
do soon afther," shouted Jamesy after them, who was never at a loss
for an answer. He had the last word here, and it was a sore one.

As the brothers Fahy failed in their search for Bully, they had
nothing further that they dare vent their grief and indignation upon.
It was no use in bemoaning the matter there amongst unsympathizing
strangers; so they fetched the cart to the barn-door and laid the
corpse into it, covering it with a white sheet which they had brought
for the purpose.

"Will I lind you a hand, boys?" said Jamesy, as they were struggling
with the weight of the dead man at the barn-door.

The scowl he got from one of the brothers would have discomfited a boy
less plucky or self-possessed than Jamesy Doyle; but he had not said
it in irony. No one there appeared inclined to give any help, and
Jamesy actually did get under the corpse, and "_helped_ him into the
cart," as he said himself.

The unfortunate men then left, walking one at each side of their dead
brother. And who is there, except perhaps Jamesy Doyle, who would not
pity them as they rumbled their melancholy way down the boreen to the
road?



CHAPTER XXXII.


About two hours later in the day "the chief" arrived to "visit the
scene," as he was bound to do before he made his report.

He was received courteously and with respect by Winny Cavana, who
showed him into the parlor. He considerately began by regretting the
unfortunate and melancholy occurrence which had taken place; but of
course added, the satisfaction it was to him, indeed that it must be
to every one, that the perpetrators had been secured, particularly the
principal mover in the sad event.

Winny made no remark, and "the chief" then requested her to state in
detail what had occurred from the time the men broke into the house
until the shot was fired which wounded the man. She seemed at first
disinclined to do so; but upon that gentleman explaining that she
would be required to do so on her oath, when the magistrate called to
take her information, she merely sighed, and said:

"I suppose so; indeed I do not see why I should not."

She then gave him a plain and succinct account as far as their conduct
to herself was concerned, and referred him to her father and the
servants for the share they had taken toward them.

He then obtained from old Cavana, Biddy Murtagh, and Jamesy Doyle what
they knew of the transaction; and thus fully primed and loaded for his
report, he left, telling Winny Cavana "the stipendiary magistrate had
left home the day before, but that he would be back the next day; and
she might expect an official visit from him, as he would make
arrangements with him that she should not be brought from her home,
when no doubt the prisoners would be remanded for the doctor's report
of the wounded man."

The morning after "the chief" had been at Rathcash house, Winny
Cavana, almost immediately after breakfast, told Jamesy Doyle to get
ready and come with her to Shanvilla. She was anxious to ascertain
from personal knowledge how poor Emon was going on. She was distracted
with the contradictory reports which Biddy Murtagh brought in from
time to time from the passers-by upon the road. Winny had little, if
any, hope at all that Edward Lennon would survive. She had been
assured by Father Farrell, in whose truth and experience she placed
the greatest confidence, that it was _impossible_, although he might
linger for a few days. The doctor, too, had pronounced the same solemn
doom. Her thoughts as she hastened toward Shanvilla were full of awe
and _determination_. She had spent the night, the entire night, for
she had never closed an eye, in laying down a broad short map of her
future life, and it was already engraven on her mind. She had been
clever in drawing such things at the school where she had him been
educated, and her thoughts now took that form.

Her poor father while he lived; herself before and after his death;
the Lennons one and all; Kate Mulvey, Phil M'Dermott, Jamesy Doyle,
Biddy Murtagh, and Bully-dhu were the only spots marked upon the map;
but they were conspicuous, like the capital towns of counties. There
was but one river on the map, and it could be traced by Winny's tears.
It was the great river of "the Past," and rose in the distant
mountains of her memory which hemmed in this map of her fancy. It
flowed first round old Ned and the Lennons, who were bounded by Winny
on the north, south, east, and west. It passed by Kate Mulvey and Phil
M'Dermott, and thence passing by Jamesy Doyle, Biddy Murtagh, and
Bully-dhu, it emptied itself into the Irish ocean of Winny's
affectionate heart.

Winny knew that she would meet Father Farrell at Emon's bedside; he
scarcely ever left it; and she knew that he would not deceive
her as to his real state. She knew, too, that he would not refuse her
a sincere Christian advice and counsel upon the sudden resolve which
had taken possession of her heart.

Father Farrell saw her coming from Emon's window, and went to meet her
at the door. They stood in the kitchen alone. The poor father and
mother had been kept out of Emon's room by the priest, and were
bewailing their fate in their own room.

"I am glad you are come, Winny, dear," said he. "The poor fellow has
not ceased to speak of you and pray for you from the first, when he
does transgress his orders not to speak at all."

"How is he, oh, how is he, Father Farrell?"

"Stronger just now, but dying, Winny Cavana. Let nothing tempt you to
deceive yourself. He has been so much stronger for the last hour or so
that I was just going to send my gig for yon. He said it would soothe
his death-bed, which he knows he is on, Winny, to see you and have
your blessing."

"He shall have my blessing, and I shall claim every right to give it
to him. Father Farrell," she added, solemnly, but with a full,
untrembling tone, "will you marry me to Edward Lennon?"

The priest almost staggered back from her for a moment.

"Yes, Father Farrell, you have heard aright, and I solemnly and
sincerely repeat the question. Listen: You must know that never on
this earth will I wed any other. I shall devote myself and the greater
portion of any wealth I may possess to the church for charitable
purposes after Edward Lennon, my future husband--future here and
hereafter--is dead. I wish to call him husband by that precious right
which death will so soon rob me of. Even so, Father Farrell; give me
that right, short though it be. It will enable me legally to provide
for his honest, stout-hearted father and his broken-hearted mother,
without the lying lips of slander doubting the motive. Oh, Father
Farrell, it is the only consolation left me now to hope for, or in
your power to bestow."

The priest was struck dumb. Her eyes, her breath, pleaded almost more
than her words.

Father Farrell sat down upon a form.

"Winny Cavana," he said, "do not press me--that is, I mean, do not
hurry me. The matter admits of serious consideration, and may not be
altogether so unreasonable or extraordinary as it might at first
appear. But I say that it requires consideration. Walk abroad for a
few minutes and let me think."

"No, father. You may remain here for a few minutes and think. Let me
go in and see my poor Emon."

"Yes, yes, you shall; but I must go in along with you, Winny. I can
come out again if I find that more consideration is necessary."

Winny saw that she had gained her point. They then entered the room,
and Emon cast such a look of gratitude and love upon Winny as calmed
every doubt upon the priest's mind, for he was afraid that Emon
himself would object, and that the scene would injure him.

Winny was soon at Emon's side, with his hand clasped in hers.

"You are come, Winny dear, to bid me a final good-by--in this world,"
he murmured. "God bless you for your goodness and your love for me!"

"I am come, Emon dear, to fulfil that love in the presence of heaven,
and with Father Farrell's sanction--am I not, Father Farrell?"

"I never doubted it, Winny dear."

"And you shall not doubt it now. You shall die declaring it. Emon--
Emon, my own Emon-a-knock, I am come to claim the promise you gave me
to make me your wife."

"Great God, Winny I are you mad?--she not mad. Father Farrell?"

"No, Emon dear, she really is not mad. She will devote herself and her
whole future life to charity and the love of a better world than this.
She can do that not only as well, but better, in some respects, as
your widow than otherwise. I have considered the matter, and I cannot
see that there are any just reasons to deny her request."

"Then I shall die happy, though it be this very night. But oh, Winny,
Winny, think of what you are about; time will soften your grief, and
you may yet be happy with ano--"

"Stop, Emon dear--not another word; for here, before heaven and Father
Farrell, I swear never shall I marry any one in this world but you.
Here, Father Farrell, begin; here is a ring you gave me yourself,
Emon, and although not a wedding-ring it will do very well--we will
make one of it."

Father Farrell then brought in Emon's father and mother, and married
Winny Cavana to the dying man.

She stooped down and kissed his pallid lips. Big drops of sweat burst
out upon his forehead, and Father Farrell saw that the last moment was
at hand. Winny held his hand between both hers, and said, "Emon, you
are now mine--mine by divine right, and I resign you to the Lord." And
she looked up to heaven through the roof, while the big tears rolled
down her pale cheeks.

"Winny," said Emon, in a solemn but distinct voice, "I now die happy.
For this I have lived, and for this I die. I cannot count on even
hours now; my moments are numbered. I feel death trembling round my
heart. But you have calmed its approach, Winny dear. Your love and
devotion at a moment like this is the happiest pang that softens my
passage to the grave. I can now claim a right to what you promised me
as a favor--my portion of your space in Rathcash chapel-yard. God
bless you, Winny dear!--Good-by--my--wife!"

Yes, Emon had lived and had died for the love of her who was _now his
widow_.

As Emon had ceased to speak, a bright smile broke over his whole
countenance, and he rendered his last sigh into the safe-keeping of
his guardian angel, until the last great day.

Winny knew that he was dead, though his breath had passed so gently
forth that he might have been only falling asleep. She continued to
hold his hand, and to gaze upon his still features, while Father
Farrell's lips moved in silent prayer, more for the living than the
dead.

"Come, Winny," he at last said, "you cannot remain here just at
present. Come along with me, and I will bring you in my gig to your
father's house, where I will tell him all myself."

"Oh, thank you, thank you, Father Farrell," she said, turning
resignedly with him. "Tell poor Pat Lennon what has happened; their
pity for me as a companion in their grief may help to soften their
own. Tell him, of course, Father Farrell, that I shall take all the
arrangements of the funeral upon myself--God help them and me!"

As they came from the dead man's room they met Pat Lennon in the
kitchen, and Winny, throwing her arms round his neck, caught the big
salt tears which were rolling down his face upon her quivering lips.

"I have a right to call you father now," she exclaimed. "You have lost
a son, but I will be your daughter," and she kissed him again and
again.



CHAPTER XXXIII.


On their way to Rathcash, Winny in the first instance told the priest
that "of course her poor husband should be buried in Rathcash
chapel-yard, and, as a matter in which she could not interfere, by
Father Roche." Here she stopped, but the kind-hearted priest took her
up at once.

"Of course, my dear child," he said, "that will be quite right.
Indeed, Winny, I should not wish to be the person so soon to add that
sad ceremony to the still sadder one I was engaged in to-day."

"Before God or man, Father Farrell, you will never have cause to
regret that act. It was my own choosing after deliberate
consideration, and I was best judge of my own feelings. I _can_ be
happy now. I never _could_ be happy if it were otherwise."

"God grant it, my love," said the priest.

"But still, Father Farrell," she continued, "I have something more for
you to do for me. Will you not, like a good man, take all the
arrangement of the funeral upon yourself? I will pay every penny of
the expenses, and let them not be niggardly. Thank God, Father
Farrell, I can do so now without reproach."

The kind, sympathizing priest engaged to do everything which was
requisite in the most approved of manner. The more he reflected upon
what he had done, the less fault he had to find with himself. There
was a calm, resigned tone about all that Winny now said very different
from what he might have anticipated from his knowledge of her temper
and disposition, had the fatal moment taken place when the shot was
fired, or even subsequently before she became Edward Lennon's wife.
Bitter revenge, he thought, would have seized her soul toward the man
who had deprived her of all hope or source of happiness in this world.
Now the only time she trusted her tongue to speak of him was an
exclamation--"May God forgive him!"

They soon arrived at Rathcash house, where Father Farrell paid a long
visit to old Ned Cavana. His kindness quite gained upon the old man,
and, before he left, he acquainted him with the facts of his
daughter's position and the death of her husband.

The old man sat silent for some time after the truth had been made
known to him. Winny stood hoping for a look of encouragement and
forgiveness; but the old man gave it not. At length, with that
impatience habitual to her disposition, she rushed into his arms and
wept upon his breast.

"Oh, father!" she exclaimed, "I could never be the wife of any man
living after poor Emon's death in defence of my life; ay, more than my
life, of my honor."

"But oh, Winny, Winny! to sacrifice yourself for a man so near the
grave! There was no hope for him, I heerd."

"None, father. I was aware of that. Had there been, I should have
waited patiently. I told Father Farrell here my plans, and the same
thing as swore that I would not alter them. He will now tell them to
you, father dear; and I shall lie down for a couple of hours, for
indeed I want rest of both body and mind."

She then kissed her father again and again, and blessed him, or rather
she prayed God to do so, and went to her room.

Father Farrell then explained all Winny's views to her distracted
father, observing, as he had been enjoined to do, the tenderest love
and respect for the old man; taking nothing "for granted;" but at the
same time showing the utmost confidence that all matters would still
be arranged for his daughter in the same manner he had often explained
to her to be his intention. "One step she was determined on," Father
Farrell said; "and that was to join a religious sisterhood of charity
in the north. Nothing should ever tempt her to marry."

"I'll sell this place at wance," said old Ned. "It's not a month since
I had a rattlin' bid for it; but my landlord--and he's member for the
county, you know--tould me with his own lips, that if ever I had a
mind to part with it, he'd give me a hundred pounds more for it than
any one else."

"That was Winny's wish, Ned; and that you should remove with her to
the north, where she would settle you comfortably, and where she could
see you almost every day in the week."

"Almost," repeated old Ned, sorrowfully.

"Well, perhaps every day, Ned, for that matter."

"Well, Father Farrell, I would not wish to stay here any longer afther
what has happened. I'll sell the place out an' out at wance. I have
nothing to do but to write to my landlord. I could not bear to be
lookin' across at Mick Murdock's afther what tuck place. I think my
poor Winny is right; an' that it was the Lord put it all into her
head. Athen, Father Farrell, maybe it was yourself laid it down for
the little girl?"

"No, Ned; she laid it all down for me. I was going to reason with her
at first, but she put her hand upon my mouth, and told me to stop;
that nothing should alter her plans. I considered her words, Ned, for
a while, and I gave in; not on account of her determination, but
because I thought she was right. And I think so still; even to the
marrying of Emon on his death-bed."

"Indeed, Father Farrell, you have aised my mind. Glory be to God that
guided her!"

"Amen," said the priest.

Father Farrell had now in the kindest manner dealt with old Ned
Cavana, according to Winny's wishes and instructions; so that it was
an easy matter for Winny herself on that evening, when she had joined
her father after a refreshing sleep, to explain more in detail her
intentions as regarded herself, and her wishes as regarded her
friends--those capitals of counties which were marked on the map of
her imagination.

Old Ned was like a child in her hands; and no mother ever handled her
first-born babe more fondly than Winny dealt with her poor old father.

"Ducks an' dhrakes iv it, Winny asthore; ducks an' dhrakes iv it,
Winny dear! Isn't it all your own; what do I want with it, mavrone,
but to see you happy? an' haven't you laid out a plan for both
yourself an' myself that can't be bet, Winny mavoureen?"

The old man was perfectly satisfied with the map, and studied it so
well that he had it by heart before he went to bed, and could have
told you the boundaries of all Winny's wishes to the breadth of a
hair, as he kissed her for the last time that night.

I will spare the reader a detail of the melancholy _cortège_ of poor
Emon-a-knock's funeral, which proceeded from Shanvilla to Rathcash
chapel-yard the day but one after.

Winny had expressed a wish to attend it, but had yielded to the joint
advice of Father Farrell and Father Roche to resist the impulse.

Emon-a-knock had been well and truly loved in life, and was now
sincerely regretted in death. Father Farrell, at the head of the
procession, was met by Father Roche bare-headed at the chapel-gate of
Rathcash, and the melancholy ceremony was performed amidst the silent
grief of the immense crowd around. Poor Emon's last wish was complied
with, and he now occupied his last resting-place with the Cavanas of
Rathcash.



CHAPTER XXXIV.


It was still about an hour after noon when Winny beheld from the
parlor window at which she stood a very exciting cavalcade upon the
road, slowly approaching the house. At once she became acquainted with
the whole concern. "The chief" had fore-warned her that she might
expect a visit from the magistrate the moment he returned; and her
intelligence at once recognized the addition of the police and
prisoners some distance in rear of the car.

Winny's heart beat quick and high as she saw them draw nigh and turn
up the lane. It would be mock heroism to say that it did not. She knew
that Tom Murdock, the murderer of her husband, must be one of
the prisoners, but she did not know why they were bringing him
there--for the police had now made the turn. She thought the
magistrate might have spared her that fresh excitement--that renewal
of her hate. But the magistrate was one of those who had anticipated
the law by his sense of justice and his practice. He was one who gave
every one of his majesty's subjects fair play, and it was therefore
his habit to have the accused face to face with the accuser when
informations were taken and read.

Poor Winny was rather fluttered and disturbed when they entered,
notwithstanding "the chief" had considerately prepared her for the
visit. She did not lose her self-possession, however, so much as to
forget the respect and courtesy due to gentlemen, beside being
officers of the law. She asked them down into the parlor, and
requested of them to be seated. They accepted her civility in silence,
seeing enough in her manner to show them that she was greatly
distressed, and required a little time to compose herself'. She was,
however, the first to speak.

"I suppose, gentlemen, you are come respecting this sad affair. I told
this gentleman here all I knew about it yesterday."

"Yes, but matters are still worse today, although there was no hope
even then that they would be better. Of course it will relieve you so
far at once to tell you that we are aware of the position in which you
now stand toward the deceased."

"Yes, sir. It was with a wish that the world might know it I took the
step I did. I had Father Farrell's approval of it, and my own
parish-priest's as well; but subsequently--"

"My good girl, we did not come here to question the propriety or
otherwise of either your actions or your motives. Nor do I for one
hesitate to say that I believe both to have been unexceptionable. But
it will be necessary that you should make an information upon oath as
to what took place from the first moment the men came to the door,
until the shot was fired by which Edward Lennon came by his death."

"I suppose, sir, you must have much better evidence than mine as to
the firing of the shot. I can only swear to the fact of two men having
tied me up and carried me away on a cart, and that there was a third
man on horseback with a mask upon his face; that when we came to Boher
bridge, the deceased Edward Lennon and his father came to our rescue;
that there was a long and distracting struggle at the bridge, which
lasted with very doubtful hopes of success for my deliverance until
Jamesy Doyle, our servant-boy, came up with the police; that the man
on horseback with the mask, whom I verily believe to have been Thomas
Murdock, turned to fly; that the deceased Edward Lennon fastened in
his horse's bridle to prevent him; that a deadly struggle ensued
between them, and that the man on horseback fired at the deceased, who
fell, I may say, dead on the road. The sight left my eyes, sir, and
except that we brought the dying man home on the cart, I know no more
about it of my own knowledge, sir."

"A very plain, straightforward, honest story as I ever heard," said
the magistrate. "But it will be necessary for you, when upon your
oath, to state whether you know, that is, whether you recognized, the
man on horseback at time."

"I could not recognize his features, sir, on account of the mask he
wore; but I did recognize his voice as that of Tom Murdock, and I know
his figure and general appearance."

"That will do now, Mrs. Lennon. I shall only trouble you to repeat
slowly and distinctly what you have already said, so that I can write
it down."

The magistrate then unlocked his leather writing-case, took out the
necessary forms for informations, and was not long embodying
what Winny had to say in premier shape.

He then went through the same form with old Ned, with Biddy Murtagh,
and with Jamesy Doyle.

When the magistrate had all the informations taken and arranged, he
directed Sergeant Driscoll to bring in the prisoners, that he might
read them over and swear the several informants in their presence.
Winny became very nervous and fidgety, and would have left the room,
but the magistrate assured her that it was absolutely necessary that
she should remain, at least while her own informations were being
read. He would read them first, and she might then retire. He
regretted very much that it was necessary, but he would not detain her
more than a couple of minutes at most.

Tom Murdock and the other prisoner were then brought in; and Winny
having identified the other man, her informations were read in a loud,
distinct voice by the magistrate, and she acknowledged herself bound,
etc, etc.

"You may now retire, Mrs. Lennon," said the magistrate; and she
hastened to leave the room.

Tom Murdock stood near the door out of which she must pass, his hands
crossed below his breast in consequence of the handcuffs. He knew that
there was no chance of escape, no hope of an alteration or mitigation
of his doom in this world. Everything was too plain against him. There
were several witnesses to his deed of death, and the damning words by
which it was accompanied, and he knew that the rope must be his end.
Well, he had purchased his revenge, and he was willing to pay for it.
He determined, therefore, to put on the bravado, and glut that revenge
upon his still surviving victim.

"Emon-a-knock is dead. Miss Cavana," said he, as Winny would have
passed him to the door, her eyes fastened on the ground; "but not
buried yet", he added, with a sardonic smile. "I wish I were free of
these manacles, that I might follow his _remains_ to Shanvilla
chapel-yard."

"You would go wrong," she calmly reply. "He is indeed dead, but not
buried yet. But he is my dead husband, and will lie with the Cavanas
in the chapel-yard of Rathcash, and rise again with them; and I would
rather be possessed of the inheritance of the six feet of grass upon
his grave than be mistress of Rathcash, and Rathcashmore to boot.
Where will you be buried, Tom Murdock? Within the precincts of--the
jail? To rise with--but no! I shall not condemn beyond the grave; may
God forgive you! I cannot."

Even Tom Murdock's stony heart was moved. "Winny Cavana, do you think
God can?" he said, turning toward her; but she had passed out of the
door.

The magistrate then read the informations of the other witnesses,
while Tom Murdock and the other prisoner, stood apparently listening,
though they heard not a word.

Jamesy Doyle's informations were word for word characteristic of
himself. He insisted upon having the flash of lightning inserted
therein, as an undoubted fact, "if ever he saw one knock a man down in
his life."

The magistrate and "the chief" had then some conversation with old Ned
and Winny, who had returned at their request to the parlor. It was of
a general character, but still respecting the melancholy occurrence,
or indeed occurrences, the magistrate said, for he had heard of the
death of the man who had been killed by the "watch-dog." Ere they left
they took Jamesy aside upon this subject, as the only person who knew
anything of this part of the business, and the magistrate requested
him to state distinctly what he knew of the transaction.

Jamesy was _distinct_ enough, as the reader will believe, from the
specimens he has already had of his style of communicating facts.

"Tell me, my good boy," said the magistrate, "did you _set_ the dog at
the deceased?" laying a strong emphasis on the word.

"Beghorra, your honor, Bully-dhu didn't want any settin' at all. The
minnit he seen the man inside in the kitchen, he stuck in his thrapple
at wanst. I knew he'd hould him till I come back, an' I med off for
the police."

"Are you aware, my young champion, that if you set the dog at the
deceased you would be guilty of manslaughter at least, if not murder?"

"Of murdher, is id? Oh, tare anages, what's this for? Begorra, af that
be law it isn't justice. Didn't they tie th' ould masther neck an'
heels? Didn't they tie Miss Winny and carry her off to murdher her, or
maybe worse? Didn't they tie Biddy Murtagh? and wouldn't they ha' tied
me af they could get hoult of me? an' would you want Bully-dhu to sit
on his boss, lookin' on at all that, your honor?"

"That may be all true, Jamesy, but I do not think the law would
exonerate you, for all that, if you set the dog at the deceased man."

"Well, begorra, I pointed at the man, your honor; but I tell you
Bully-dhu wanted no settin' at him at all; af he did I'd have given it
to him; and I think the law would onerate me for that same. See here
now, your honor. Af th' ould masther had a double-barrel gun, an' shot
the two men as dead as mutton that was goin' to tie him up, wouldn't
the law be well plaised wid him? and if I had a pistol, an' shot every
man iv 'em, wouldn't your honor make a chief iv me at least, instead
of sending me to jail? and why wouldn't Bully-dhu, who had on'y a pair
of double-barrel tusks, do his part an' help us? I'm feedin' an'
taichin' that dog, your honor, since he was a whelp, an' he never
disappointed me yet--there now!"

There was certainly natural logic in all this, which the magistrate,
with all his experience of the law, found it difficult to contradict.
A notion had come into his head at one time that if Jamesy Doyle had
set the dog at John Fahy, he might be guilty of his death,
notwithstanding the said John Fahy had been committing a felony at the
time. But there was no proof that he had set the dog at the man beyond
his own admission, and the question had not been raised. Jamesy was
willing to avow his responsibility, as far as it went, in the most
open and candid manner, and not only that, but to _justify_ it, which
he had indeed done in a most extraordinary, clever manner. Then what
had been his conduct all through? Had it not been that of a
courageous, faithful boy, who had risked his own life in obstructing
the escape of the murderer? and was he not the most material witness
they had--the only one who had never lost sight of the man who had
shot Edward Lennon, until he himself had secured him for the police?
"No, no," reflected the magistrate; "it would be absurd to hold Jamesy
Doyle liable for anything, but the most qualified approbation of his
conduct from first to last."

"Well, Jamesy," said he, out of these thoughts, "we will take your own
opinion in favor of yourself for the present. There is no doubt of
your being forthcoming at the next assizes?"

"Begorra, your honor, I'll stick to the ould masther and Miss Winny,
an' I don't think they're likely to lave this."

"That will do, Jamesy. Come, Mr.----, I think we have taken up almost
enough of these poor people's time. We may be going."

A word or two about old Mick Murdock ere we close this chapter, as the
reader, not having seen or heard of him for some days, will no doubt
be curious to know what he had been doing, and how he comported
himself during so trying and exciting a scene.

During the period which Tom had spent in the obscure little
public-house upon the mountain road in the county Cavan, his own
report that, he had gone to the north had done him no service; for the
addition which he had tacked to it, about "going to get married to a
rich young lady," was not believed by a single person for whose
deception it had been spread abroad. That sort of thing had been so
often repeated without fulfilment that people reversed the cry of the
wolf upon the subject.

There was nothing now for it with those to whom Tom was indebted but
to go to his father, in hopes of some arrangement being made to even
secure them in their money. Several bills of exchange--some overdue,
and some not yet at maturity--with his name across them, were brought
to old Mick for sums varying from ten to fifteen and twenty pounds.
Old Mick quietly pronounced them one and all to be _forgeries_. Tom
and he had had some very sharp words before he went away. He had
called the poor old man a "----old niggard" to his face, and he heard
the words "cannot lost very long," as Tom slapped the door behind him.

Old Mick would have only fretted at all this had his son returned in a
reasonable time to his home, and, as usual, made promises of
amendment, or had even written to him. It was the first time that ever
a forged acceptance had been presented to him for payment, and Tom's
prolonged absence without any preconcerted object to account for it
weighed heavily upon the old man's heart as to his son's real
character. Tom was all this time, as the reader is aware, planning a
bold stroke to secure Winny Cavana's fortune to pay off these
forgeries. But we have seen with what a miserable result.

It was impossible to hide the glaring fact of Tom Murdock's
apprehension and committal to jail upon the dreadful charge of murder
from his father. It rang from one end of the parish to the other. But
instead of rushing to meet his son, clapping his hands, and
exclaiming, "Oh! wiristhrue, wiristhrue! what's this for?" poor old
Mick was completely prostrated by the news; and there he lay in his
bed, unable to move hand or foot from the poignancy of his grief and
disgrace.

If Tom Murdock has broken his poor old father's heart, and he never
rises from that bed, it is only another item in his great account.



CHAPTER XXXV.


The reader will recollect that the incidents recorded in the two last
chapters took place toward the latter end of June. We will, therefore,
have time, before the assizes come on, to let him know how far Winny's
fancy map was perfected.

For herself, then, first. She had determined to become a member of a
convent in the north of Ireland, giving up the world with all its
vanities--she knew nothing of its pomps--and devoting her time, her
talents, and whatever money she might finally possess, to religious
and charitable purposes. She had not delayed long after the magistrate
and "the chief" had left, and she had experienced a refreshing sleep,
in taking her father into her confidence to the fullest extent of her
intuitions, not only as regarded herself, but with respect to those
friends whom she had set down upon the map to be provided for.

"Father," she said, continuing a conversation, "there is no use in
your moving such a thing to me. It is no matter at what time you
project it for me; my mind is made up beyond even the consideration of
the question. I will never marry. Do not, like a dear good father that
you have ever been, move it to me any more."

"Indeed, Winny, I could not add a word more than I have already sed;
an' if that fails to bring you round, share I'm dumb, Winny
asthore. God's will be done! I'm dumb."

"It is his will I am seeking, father. What matter if we are the last
of the Cavanas, as you say? Beside, my children would not be Cavanas;
recollect that, father."

"I know that, Winny jewel; but they'd be of th' ould stock all the
same. Their grandfather would be a Cavana, if he lived to see them."

"Be thankful for what you have, father dear. There never was a large
clan of a name but some one of them brought grief to it."

"Ay, Winny asthore; but there is always wan that makes up for it by
their superior goodness. Look at me that never had but the wan, an'
wasn't she, an' isn't she, a threasure to me all the days of my life?
Look at that, Winny."

"And there is your next-door neighbor, father, never had but the one,
and instead of a treasure, has he not been a curse? Look you at that,
father."

Old Ned was silent for some moments, and Winny did not wish to
interrupt his thoughts. She hoped he was coming quite round to her way
of thinking with respect to her never "getting married;" and she was
right.

"Well, Winny asthore," he said, after a pause, "shure you're doin' a
good turn for your sowl hereafther at any rate; an' I'll be led an'
sed by your own sinse of goodness in the matther. For myself, Winny,
wheresomever you go I'll go, where I'll see you sometimes--as often as
you can, Winny. Be my time long or short, I know that you will never
see me worse, if not betther nor what I always was. But it isn't aisy
to lave this place, Winny asthore, where I'm livin' since I was the
hoith of your knee with your grandfather an' your grandmother--God
rest their sowls! There isn't a pebble in the long walk in the garden,
nor a pavin'-stone in the yard, that I couldn't place upon paper
forenent you there this minnit, and tell you the color of them every
wan. There's scarcely a blade of grass in the pasthure-fields that I
couldn't remember where it grows in my dhrames. There isn't a
furze-blossom in the big ditch but what I'd know it out iv the bud it
cum from. There isn't a thrush nor a blackbird about the place but
what I know themselves an' their whistles as well as I know your own
song from Biddy Murtagh's or Jamesy Doyle's. Not a robin-redbreast in
the garden, Winny, that doesn't know me as well as I know you; an' I
could tell you the difference between the very chaffinches--I could,
Winny, I could."

"I know all that, father dear, and I know it will not be easy to break
up all them happy thoughts in your mind. But then you know, father
dear, I could not stop here looking across at the house where that man
lived. God help me, father, I do not know what to do!"

Poor old Ned saw that she was distressed, and was sorry he had drawn
such a picture of his former happiness at Rathcash. The recollection
of these little matters had run upon his tongue, but it was not with
any intention of using them as an argument to change Winny's plans.

"Winny," he said, "I didn't mane to fret you; shure I know what you
say is all thrue. I could not stop here myself no more nor what you
could, Winny, afther what has happened. Dear me, Winny jewel, how soon
you seen through that fellow, an' how glad I am that you didn't give
in to me! But now, Winny asthore, let us quit talking of him, and
listen to what I have to say to you. 'Tis just this. My landlord, who
you know is member for the county, tould me any time I had a mind to
sell my intherest in Rathcash, that he'd give me a hundred pounds more
for it than any one else. I'll write to him tomorrow, plaise God,
about it. You know Jerry Carty? Well, he is afther offerin' me seven
hundred pounds into my fist for my good-will of the place. As
good luck would have it, I did not put any price upon it when my
landlord spoke to me about sellin' it. I can tell him now that I have
a mind to sell it, an' I won't hide the raison aidher. I can let him
know what Carty is willin' to give me for it, an' he's sure to give me
eight hundred pounds. You know, Winny, that your six hundred pounds is
in the bank b'arin' intherest for you, an' what you don't dhraw is
added to it every half year. But that's naidher here nor there, Winny,
for it will be all your own the very moment this place is sould, an',
as I sed before, you may make ducks and dhrakes iv it. Shure I know,
Winny, that'll you never see me want for a haporth while I last, be it
long or short. But, Winny dear, let us live in the wan house; that's
all I ax, mavourneen macree."

"That will be about fourteen hundred pounds in all, father."

"A thrifle more nor that, I think, Winny. Maybe you did not know how
much or how little it was, when you laid it out the way you tould me."

"No, not exactly, father; but I knew I must have been very much within
the mark; I took care of that."

"Go over it again for me, Winny dear, af it wouldn't be too much
throuble."

"Not in the least, father. You know I took Kate Mulvey first, and
determined to settle three hundred pounds upon her for a fortune
against 'she meets with some young man,' as the song says. And I
believe, father, Phil M'Dermott, the whitesmith, will be about the
man. He is very fond of Kate, but he would not marry any woman until
he had saved enough of money to set up a house comfortly and decently
upon. Three hundred pounds fortune with Kate will set them up in good
style, and I shall see the best friend I ever had happy. Then, father,
there are the Lennons, my poor dear husband's parents, whom I shall
next consider. Pat Lennon, poor Emon's father, risked his life most
manfully in my defence. Were it not for his resolute attack upon the
two men with the cart, and the obstruction he gave them, they would
have carried me through the pass long before the police and Jamesy
Doyle came up; and the probability is that you would never have seen
your poor Winny again. I purpose purchasing the good-will of that
little farm and house from which the Murphys are about to emigrate,
and settle a small gratuity upon them during their lives."

"Annuity, I suppose you mane, Winny; but it's no matther. How much
will that take, Winny?"

"About two hundred pounds, father, including the--what is it you call
it, father?'

"Annuity, Winny, annuity; I didn't think you were so--"

"Annuity," she repeated before he had got the other word out, and he
was glad afterward.

"Well, Winny, that's only five hundred out of somethin' over six."

"Then I'll give Biddy Murtagh a hundred pounds, and she must live as
cook and house-maid with Kate; and I'll lodge twenty pounds in the
savings-bank for Jamesy Doyle. Perhaps I owe him more than the whole
of them put together."

"That will be the first duck, Winny."

"How is that, father?'

"Why, it's well beyant the six hundred, Winny, which was all you were
goin' upon at first; but you may now begin with whatever we get by the
sale of Rathcash."

"Well, father, I would only wish to suggest the distribution of that,
for you know I have no call to it, and God grant that it may be a long
day until I have."

"Faix, an' Winny, af that be so, you've left yourself bare enough. But
don't be talkin' nonsense, child. What would I want with it? Won't
you take care iv me, Winny asthore? an' won't you want the most
iv it where you are agoin? an' didn't you tell me already that you'd
like me to let you give it to the charities of that religious
establishment? Shure, there's no use in my askin' you any more not to
go into it."

"None indeed, father, for I am resolved upon it. But you shall live in
the town with me, and I can take care of you the same as if I was in
the house with you. There shall be nothing that you can want or wish
for that you shall not have, and no day that it is possible that I
will not see you."

"What more had I here, Winny, except the crops coming round from the
seed to the harvest, an' the cattle, an' the grass, an' the birds in
the bushes? Dear, oh dear, yes! Hadn't I yourself, Winny asthore,
forenent me at breakust, dinner, an' supper; an' warn't you for ever
talkin' to me of an evenin', with your stitchin' or your knittin'
across your lap; an', Winny jewel, wasn't your light song curling
through the yard, an' the house, afore I was up in the mornin'? But
now--now--Winny--oh, Winny asthore, mavourneen macree! but your poor
old father will miss yourself, no matther how kind your plans may be
for his comfort. Shure, the very knowledge that you were asleep in the
house with me was a blessin'."

"Father," she said, "God bless you! I will be back with you in a few
minutes--do not fret;" and she left him, and shut herself up in her
room.

But he did fret; and he was no sooner alone than the big tears burst
uncontrollably forth into a pocket-handkerchief, which he continued to
sop against his face.

Winny had thrown herself upon her knees at the bedside, and prayed to
God to guide her. Her thoughts and prayers were too dignified and holy
for tears. But they had made a free course to the pinnacle of the
mercy-seat, and she rose with her soul refreshed by the glory which
had responded to her cry for guidance.

She returned to her father, a radiant smile of anticipated pleasure
playing round her beautiful lips. There was no sign of grief, or even
of emotion, on her cheeks.

"Father," she said, "I have been seeking guidance from the Almighty in
this matter; and the old saying that 'charity begins at home'--that is
moral charity in this instance--has been suggested to my heart. We
shall not part, father, even temporarily. Where you live, I shall
live. I have been told, father, just now, while upon my knees, that to
do all the good I have projected need not oblige me to join as an
actual member of any charitable or religious society. No, father, I
can carry out all my plans without the necessity of living apart from
you; we will therefore, father dear, still live together. But let us
remove when this place is sold to B----, where the establishment I
have spoken of is situated, and there, with my knitting or my
stitching on my lap before you in the evenings, I can carry on all my
plans in connection with the institution without being an actual
member, which might involve the necessity of my living in the house.
But, father dear, I hope you do not disapprove of any of them, or of
the distribution of the money, so far as I have laid it out."

It was then quietly and finally arranged between them that as soon as
Rathcash was sold, and the stock and furniture disposed of, they would
remove to B----, in a northern county. They there intended to take a
small house, either in the town or precincts--the latter old Ned
preferred--where Winny could join the Sisters of Charity, at least in
her acts, if not as a resident member. The money was to be disposed of
as Winny had laid out, and legal deeds were to be prepared and
perfected; and poor Winny, notwithstanding the sudden cloud which had
darkened the blue heaven of her life, was to be as happy as the
day was long.



CHAPTER XXXVI.


Within a month from the scene between Winny and her father described
above, Rathcash bad been purchased and paid for. There had been "a
great auction" of the stock, crops, and furniture. The house was shut
up, the door locked, and the windows bolted. No smoke curled from the
brick chimneys through the poplars. No sleek dark-red cows stood
swinging their tails and licking their noses, while a fragrant smell
of luscious milk rose through the air. No cock crew, no duck quacked,
no Turkey gobbled, and no goose gabbled. No dog bayed the moon by
night. Bully-dhu was at the flitting. The corn-stands and haggard were
naked and cold, and the grass was beginning to grow before the door.
The whole place seemed solitary and forlorn, awaiting a new tenant, or
whatever plans the proprietor might lay out for its future occupation.
Winny and her father had torn themselves from the spot hallowed to the
old man by years of uninterrupted happiness, and to the young girl by
the memory of a blissful childhood and the first sunshine of the
bright hope which is nearest to a woman's heart, until that fatal
night when vengeful crime broke in and snapt both spells asunder.
Rathcash and Rathcashmore had been a byword in the mouths of young and
old for the nine days limited for the wonder of such things.

If the goodness of his only child had broken the heart of one old man
from the reflection that her earthly happiness had been hopelessly
blighted, and his fond plans and prospects for her crushed for ever,
the villany and wickedness of another had not been less certain in a
similar result. Old Mick Murdock--ere his son stood before an earthly
tribunal to answer for his crimes--had been summoned before the court
of heaven.

The assizes came round, "the charge was prepared, the judge was
arrayed--a most _ter_rible show." Old Cavana and his daughter were, as
a matter of course, summoned by the crown for the prosecution, as were
also Pat Lennon, Jamesy Doyle, Biddy Murtagh, and the policemen who
had come to the rescue.

Old Ned was the first witness, Winny the second, Jamesy Doyle the
third. Then Biddy Murtagh and Pat Lennon, and finally, before the
doctor's medical evidence was given, the policemen who came to the
rescue, particularly he who had seen the shot fired and the man fall.

This closed the evidence for the Crown. There was no case, there could
be no case, for the prisoner, beyond the futile cross-examination of
the witnesses, by an able and tormenting counsellor, old Bob B----y,
whose experience in this instance was worse than useless.

The reader need hardly follow on to the result. Tom Murdock was
convicted and sentenced to death; and ere three weeks had elapsed he
had paid the penalty of an ungovernable temper and a revengeful
disposition upon the scaffold.

Poor Winny had pleaded hard with the counsel for the crown, and even
with the attorney-general himself--who prosecuted in person--that Tom
Murdock might be permitted to plead guilty to the abduction, and be
sentenced to transportation for life. But the attorney-general, who
had all the informations by heart, said that the animus had been
manifest all through, from even prior to the hurling-match, which was
alluded to by the prisoner himself as he fired the shot, and that he
would most certainly arraign the prisoner for the murder. And so he
was found guilty; and Winny, with her heart full of plans of peace and
charity, was obliged to forge the first link in a chain the
succeeding ones of which dragged Tom Murdock to an ignominious grave.

Old Ned and Winny, accompanied by faithful Bully-dhu, had returned to
B----, where the old man read and loitered about, watching every
figure which approached, hoping to see his angel girl pass on some
mission of holy charity, dressed in her black hood and cape.

Accompanied by Bully-dhu, he picked up every occurrence in the street,
and compiled them in his memory, to amuse Winny in the evenings, in
return for her descriptions of this or that case of distress which she
had relieved. Thus they told story about, not very unlike tragedy and
farce!

A sufficient time had now elapsed, not only for the deeds to have been
perfected, but for the provisions which they set forth to have been
carried out. Pat Lennon had already removed to the comfortable cottage
upon the snug little farm which had been purchased for him by Winny,
and the "annuity" she had settled upon him was bearing interest in the
savings-bank at C. O. S.

Phil M'Dermott was one of the best to do men in that side of the
country, and his wife (if you can guess who she was) was the nicest
and the handsomest he (now that Winny was gone) that you'd meet with
in the congregation of the three chapels within four miles of where
she lived. Jamesy Doyle had been transferred--head, body, and
bones--to the establishment, where he excelled himself in everything
which was good and useful and--_handy_. Many a figary was got from
time to time after him in the forge, filed up bright and nice, and if
he does not "sorely belie" his abilities and aptitude, he will one day
become a "whitesmith" of no mean reputation.

Biddy Murtagh was to have gone as cook and thorough servant to _Mrs.
M'Dermott;_ but the hundred pounds which had been lodged to her credit
in the bank soon smoothed the way between her and Denis Murrican--a
Shanvilla boy, you will guess--who induced her to become cook, but not
thorough servant, I hope, to himself; so Kate M'Dermott--how strange
it seems not to write 'Kate Mulvey'!--was obliged to get somebody
else.

Poor Winny, blighted in her own hopes of this world's happiness, had
turned her thoughts to a surer and more abiding source. She had seen
her plans for the happiness of those she loved carried out to a
success almost beyond her hopes. Her poor old father, getting whiter
and whiter as the years rolled on, attained a ripe and good old age,
blessed in the fond society of the only being whom he loved on earth.
Winny herself found too large a field for individual charity and good
to think of joining any society, however estimable, during her
father's lifetime, and was emphatically _the_ Sister of Charity in the
singular number.

But poor old Ned has long since passed away from this scene of earthly
cares, and sleeps in peace in his own chapel-yard, between _two
tombs_. Long as the journey was, Winny had the courage and
self-control to come with her father's bier, and see his coffin laid
beside that of him who had been so rudely snatched away, and whom she
had so devotedly loved. Poor Bully-dhu was at the funeral, and gazed
into the fresh-made grave in silent, dying grief. When all was over,
and the last green sod slapped down upon the mound, he could nowhere
be found. He had suddenly eluded all observation. But ere a week had
passed by, he was found dead upon his master's grave, after the whole
neighborhood had been terrified by a night of the most dismal howling
which was ever heard.

Winny returned to the sphere of her usefulness and hope, where for
many years she continued to exercise a course of unselfish charity,
which made many a heart sing for joy.

But she, too, passed away, and was brought home to her last
resting-place in Rathcash chapel-yard, where the three tombs are still
to be seen. Were she now alive she would yet be a comparatively young
woman, not much past sixty-four or sixty-five years of age. But it
pleased God, in his inscrutable ways, to remove her from the circle of
all her bounty and her love. Had it not been so, this tale would not
have yet been written.



[THE END]





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "All-Hallow Eve; or, The Test of Futurity." ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home