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Title: The Bunsby papers - Irish Echoes
Author: Brougham, John
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Bunsby papers - Irish Echoes" ***

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[Illustration: TERRY MAGRA AND THE LEPRECHAUNS.]

[Illustration: IRISH ECHOES

BY John Brougham

  _Paddy._ How do ye do, Misther Aicho?

  _Echo._ Mighty well thank you, Paddy.]



THE BUNSBY PAPERS.

(SECOND SERIES.)


IRISH ECHOES.


BY JOHN BROUGHAM,
AUTHOR OF "A BASKET OF CHIPS."

With Designs by McLenan.


NEW YORK:
DERBY & JACKSON, 119 NASSAU STREET,
CINCINNATI:--H. W. DERBY & CO.
1856.


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1856, by
DERBY & JACKSON,

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the
United States for the Southern District of New York.

  W. H. TINSON, Stereotyper.
  GEO. RUSSELL, Printer.
  G. W. ALEXANDER, Binder.



    TO SAMUEL LOVER,

    The Irish Crichton,

    THESE FAINT ECHOES OF A THEME WHICH HE HAS CAUGHT
    IN ITS ORIGINAL PURITY AND STRENGTH ARE

    Affectionately Inscribed.



Transcriber's Note: Minor spelling and typographical errors have
been corrected without note. Dialect spellings, contractions and
inconsistencies have been retained as printed.

The Table of Contents was not present in the original text and has


CONTENTS


  PREFACE

  DAN DUFF'S WISH, AND WHAT CAME OF IT.

  THE BLARNEY STONE.

  THE GOSPEL CHARM.

  THE TEST OF BLOOD.

  THE MORNING DREAM.

  THE FORTUNE-TELLER.

  THE FAIRY CIRCLE.

  O'BRYAN'S LUCK. A TALE OF NEW YORK.

  THE TIPPERARY VENUS.



PREFACE.


Perhaps the most interesting, if not the most instructive, records of
any nation, are its traditions, and legendary tales, and in no part of
the world can there be found so varied and whimsical a store, as in
Ireland. Every portion of the country; every city, town, and village;
nay, almost every family of the "real ould stock" has its representative
share in the general fund.

It is a very curious study to trace the analogy between the early
mythic stories of all countries, their similarity being strikingly
obvious. The great landmarks of actual history are by them vividly
defined, and their integrity sustained. As an instance--the universal
nature of the mighty deluge which swept the youthful world, finds its
record not alone in the annals of that wondrous people, in whose line
has descended all we know of learning and religion; but also in the
oral traditions and semi-historic accounts of many other nations which
have since merged into the stream of chronology.

I mention this particular instance for the purpose of fixing the
originality of an early anecdote, very often reproduced and claimed by
sundry joke chroniclers, as well as to give the Irish tradition upon
the same subject. Here are the words of the veracious historian Leland:

"When Noah was building the ark to preserve himself and his family, one
Bith, a man of note and substance--an antideluvian millionaire, no
doubt--with his daughter Sesar, applied to the Patriarch for admission,
thinking, of course, that all he had to do was to step up to the
captain's office, and settle. But Noah denied their request--probably
from want of accommodation. On receiving this repulse, Bith collected
his family together, and, as the result of their deliberations, they
resolved to build a similar vessel for their own private use--a very
sensible determination it must be conceded. When the ship was finished,
Bith together with his wife, Beatha, his two daughters, Sesar and
Barran, with their respective husbands, Ladhra and Fionton, and
_fifty_ of the most beautiful women--inordinate rascals--that
could be induced to venture along with them, took passage therein; but
unfortunately, not knowing the exact period when the rain would begin
to descend--a diluvian 'Merriam' would have been of great value--they
put to sea forty days too soon, and these raw sailors, for want of
skill in navigation, were tossed and driven from sea to sea for the
space of seven years and a quarter--how they victualled their
independent ark the historian deems a matter of no import--at last,
however, they landed upon the western coast of Ireland at a place
called Dunnamberk, in the barony of Corchadie Ibhne, near about
sundown. When they found themselves safely ashore, the three men agreed
to divide the fifty women between them. Bith, besides his wife, had
seventeen for his share, Fionton had his wife and seventeen more, and
Ladhra was satisfied with the sixteen that remained--good easy man."

In justice to our historian it must be admitted that he expresses
strong doubts as to the truth of the legend. "It is thought," says he,
"to be an unaccountable relation, for, from whence intelligence could
be had of what passed in this island before the flood, is out of my
power to conceive. We have, indeed, some ancient manuscripts that give
a legendary account of four persons who, they say, lived before and
after the deluge, and afterwards divided and possessed themselves of
the four parts of the world; but our antiquaries that are best
acquainted with the history of Ireland, reject such fables with just
indignation. As for such of them who say that Fionton was drowned in
the flood, and afterwards came to life and lived long enough to publish
the antediluvian history of the island--probably with some enterprising
patriarchal "Bunce Brothers"--what can they mean, except to corrupt and
perplex the original annals of the country?"--What, indeed, Mr. Leland?

But this, you'll say, has nothing to do with _Irish Echoes_. Well, to
be candid, I don't think it has. The fact is, my thoughts took an
erratic flight in that direction, and this obedient servant between my
thumb and fingers had to accompany them, _nolens volens_.

With regard to the pages which follow, I have endeavored to imbue them
more with a Hibernian spirit, than with any attempt at orthographic
peculiarity, inasmuch as I consider it but a factitious species of wit
which hinges upon an amount of bad spelling. I have, therefore,
abstained in a great measure from perverting the language, only doing
so where it is absolutely necessary to give individual character.

Some of the sketches are now for the first time presented; others have
before appeared, but such as they are, here they are; all I can say in
their favor is, that they were drawn from no source but my own
invention; could I have done better, be assured I would; and yet,
although they are not as perfect as I might wish them to be, still, I
am not without hope, that some amusement, and also--or my arrows have
indeed been shot awry--some incentives to a deeper reflection than
accompanies the mere story-telling, may be found scattered here and
there amongst them.



DAN DUFF'S WISH,

AND WHAT CAME OF IT.



CHAPTER I.

    The burthen wearies him who bears it;
    And the shoe pinches him who wears it.


A very snug, comfort-suggesting apartment is the parlor of Squire
Bulworthy, the rich grazier, upon which you and I, friend reader, are
about so unceremoniously to intrude ourselves.

If you will but look around you, you will see that all the appliances
of home delectation, procurable in so insignificant a town as
Ballinasquash, are here gathered together; that looking-glass is the
pride of the domestic circle and the envy of the neighborhood; those
easy-chairs look as though tired humanity might find instant relief
from their ample plumpness; the side-board, with its brilliant array
of flashing decanters and hospitable-looking glasses, not mean,
tailor-souled, thimble-measure aggravators, but huge whisky-punch
goblets and wines of capacious magnitude; then the carpet,
kidderminster to a certainty, dazzling in the variety of its crimson
and blue, and yellow, displaying apochryphal flowers and inexplicable
flourishes, such as put to the blush the most profound efforts of
unartistic nature.

You must agree with me, taken altogether, that there is an air of
supreme content and well-to-do-ableness about the entire surroundings,
rendered absolutely certain by the smirking countenance of the
Squire himself, as it smiles complacently upon you from that
prodigiously-ornamented frame--that jolly red nose is unmistakably
indicative of good living--those twinkling eyes display the very fire
of self-satisfaction; the town counsellor evidences itself in
the-going-to-address-the-meeting attitude, and the man of means flashes
from every link of that ponderous watch-chain and coquets amongst those
massive seals.

Bulworthy is evidently well off.

"Hallo, what noise is that proceeding from yonder room?"

"Get out, you scoundrel."

It is a fat, gurgling, wheezy kind of voice, Bulworthy's, and speaking
sets him coughing an uncomfortable, apoplectic sort of cough, like the
sough of wind escaping from a cracked bellows.

"Get out, you vagabone; ugh! ouf!"

A singular-looking man-servant makes a sudden exit from the room, very
evidently hurt, physically, just as an equally singular female domestic
enters at the door, having a substantial matutinal repast upon a
large-sized tray.

"Keep us from harum," said she, in a delicious Tipperary brogue, soft
as honey; "and what's that?"

"Troth, an it's me, Moll, I b'leeve," replied the ejected, lustily
rubbing the part affected.

"What's happened, Barney?"

"Oh! it's ould Bulworthy, bad cess to him," said Barney, in an
undertone, wincing and twisting from pain; "he's what he calls
astonishin' me."

"What for?" inquired Mary, forgetting that she was running considerable
risk, from the circumstance of delaying the Squire's breakfast.

"The devil a one ov me knows; whiniver he's crass, he thinks that
hittin' me a lick will bring him straight; bedad, if such showers of
good luck as he's had all his life drownds a good timper as his is
drownded, I hope I may niver be worth a _scurrig_ as long as I
breathe."

"Indeed, an' I have the same sort of comfort wid the mistress," said
Mary. "Haven't I had the heart's blood of an illigant scowldin' jest
now, for sugarin' her ladyship's tay wid brown?"

"Why, murther alive, Mollshee, you don't tell me that it's the
_lump_ she uses?"

"Not a word of a lie in it, nigh hand an ounce of tay in the taypot,
too," replied Mary, with a what-do-you-think-of-that expression.

"Faix, I mind the time," said Barney, "when she thought the smell of
that same wonst a week was a nosegay.

"Thrue for you, indade, an' not long ago, aither."

Here a sudden thought occurred to the gossipping Hebe.

"Murther alive!" said she, with a start that made the cups rattle; "if
I ain't forgettin' ould Bluebeard's breakfast; there'll be wigs on the
green, if the could's come at the eggs, for he's mighty perticular
entirely."

So saying, she knocked a timid knock at the door of the dreaded
Squire's room; a fierce "Come in," followed by the inevitable cough,
hurried her into the apartment, from whence she emerged again very
shortly, and, with stealthy step and a look more eloquent than words,
indicated the state of Bulworthy's temperament.

Just then, there was a quiet little ring at the hall bell. "Run, you
divil, run," says Barney. "It kills him intirely to hear that bell
goin'; who is it? if you let 'em ring twice, he'll massacree me; oh!
it's you, is it?" he continued, as a neat, clean, tidy woman entered
the room, holding in her hand a capacious pair of top boots.

It was Mrs. Peggy Duff, the comfortable little wife of Dan Duff, the
cobbler. "Save all here," said she, as she came in.

"Amen to that same, includin' yer own purty self, Mrs. Duff," replied
Barney, with a touch of comic gallantry.

"Sure, an it's the hoighth of polite you are, Mr. Palthogue," replied
Peggy.

"I wish you wouldn't hurt your purty little mouth by thryin' to squeeze
such a big name out of it," said Barney, giving her a knowing squint.
"Sure, Barney used to be enough to fill it wonst."

"Ah! but the times is althered now, Mr. Barney," she rejoined; "ould
Pether Bulworthy--the saints be good to us, I mean the Squire's mounted
sky-high, like a kite, an ov coorse you've gone up with him like the
tail."

"But it ain't my nater to forget ould friends for all that, Peg
_machree_."

"Sure, an I'm glad to hear that, anyway, for it's mighty few heads that
doesn't get dizzy whin they're hoisted up upon a hill of fortune,
especially on a suddent like."

Their further conversation was unceremoniously cut short by a roar from
Bulworthy's room; now, the Squire's style of using the English language
was highly original and somewhat peculiar; with him, the greater the
number of syllables, and the more imposing the sound of the sentences,
the better were they qualified to make a proper impression upon the
_ignobile vulgus_, amongst whom it was his ambition to pass for a "Sir
Oracle;" but let him speak for himself. You must imagine each word to
be accompanied by that ear-wounding, wheezing cough.

"What horribly atrocious and propinquitous oration is that goin' on out
there, eh!"

Barney trembled to the heels of his brogues. "Talk to him, Peg," said
he, in an agitated whisper, "while I make meself scarce; don't be
afeared," he added, as he stole quietly off. "A woman's voice softens
him down like a sun-ray on a snowball."

"Hallo there," shouted the Squire. "Am I obligated to keep
continuitously requestin' an elucidation of that rumbunctiousness
outside; who's there?"

"If ye plaze sir, it's only me," replied Peggy, "wid ye honor's
honorable 'tops' that wanted heel-piecin'."

"Oh! Ah!" wheezed Bulworthy. "Wait, my good woman; I'll finish dressin'
with all convaynient circumlocution, and come to you."

"Good woman, indeed," thought Peggy, with a toss of her head and a
chirp. "Sure an' there's oil on his tongue sense he's turned Squire,"
and then, with something akin to envy, she began to scan the various
articles of home-ornament scattered about the, to her, magnificent
parlor, soliloquizing at the same time. "Look at the chairs, stuffed
seats, as I'm a sinner, wid hair, too, I'll be bound. Mahogany tables,
if you plaze, all covered over wid useless curiosities an' books that
nobody sees the inside ov; did anybody ever see the likes; what's
this?" as her eye caught sight of a handsome cologne-bottle. "Madame
must have her scints an her sweet wathers, to wash away the smell of
the shop, may-be; I remimber the time when they kep' a little bit of a
huxtherin' place, and all the parfume they could musther proceeded from
the soap and candles, and, may-be, a red herrin' or two to give the
rest a flavior."

At this moment the Squire lumbered into the room in all the majesty of
a brilliant calico dressing-gown; seating himself grandly in a large
arm-chair, and patronizingly waving his hand towards Peggy, in a bland
and condescending tone of voice, he moderated his impatience down to
the true keep-your-distance point.

"Well, ma'm," said he, "so you've brought the tops at last, after me
waitin' for them a tremenjus course of time; tell that waxy
conglomeration of cobblin' connubiality, Mr. Duff, your husband, that,
in consequence of his haynious neglect, I have been obligated to
annihilate my usual run wid the Ballinasquash hounds. What's the
remuneration?"

"If you mane the pay, sir," replied Peg, with a reverence, "it's on'y a
shillin'."

"I have no small pecuniation in the way of silver," said Bulworthy,
plunging his great fist into his enormous pocket, and rattling several
gold pieces about in a most tantalizing manner, a general practice with
purse-proud ignorance, adding, with characteristic meanness, "can you
change me a sovreign?"

Poor Peggy's face flushed up to the roots of her hair; he knew she
couldn't, and she knew he knew so.

"Indeed, sir," said she, "It wouldn't be convaynent just now;" and it
was with difficulty she restrained herself from hinting that it was
only recently that he himself had the power to put the insolent
question.

"Well, then, ma'm," said he, pompously; "all I can say is, that you
must pedestrianize in this vicinity on some anterior opportunity; for
the present, you can perambulate--to make myself understandable to your
limited capacities--walk!"

"Yes sir, thank you, sir," replied Peggy, humbly courtesying to the
domestic sultan, and only wondering how he _could_ keep any teeth in
his head, using such hard words.

"Good mornin' to you, Squire," she said, as she retired, "Here's
wishin' you safe through the dictionary."

"What does the oleaginous faymale mane; oh! these abominaceous
phlebians laugh at me, in spite of all I can do to impress them with
the importance of my station; with all the pride of my brick building,
I can't altogether root out the recollection of the little grocery;
and, indeed, if it comes to that," he continued, with a real sigh, "I
used to be a great deal happier when I was scrapin' up money, by
weighin' out hay-porths of sustainance to the surroundin' population
than I am now, and the advantitious title of Squire tacked on to my
cognomination."

His nerves gave a sudden thrill as a shrewish voice from an adjacent
room, squealed out, "Are you there, Pether?"

"Yes, my love," he replied, quickly, while, in an undertone, he
murmured to himself, "ah! there's a melancholy laceration to my
gentility, my _cary spowsy_, I can't instill aristocratical idayas
into her deleterious temperature, anyway."

Now, Mrs. Peter Bulworthy deserves a distinctive paragraph, and she
shall have it.

Although morally she was Peter's much better half, yet bodily she could
aspire to no such appellation. In regard of personal weight, they bore
about the same relative affinity as a fine, fat, substantial round of
beef would to the carving-fork beside it. The physical difference,
however, she amply made up for, by keeping her prongs ever actively
employed pricking the unfortunate Peter at every assailable point.
Peter was pinguid, plump, and plethoric--she was thin to attenuation.
Peter's voice, though husky, was rich and oily--hers was like the
attrition of ungreased cart-wheels. Peter affected dignity and social
status--she gloried in her unmitigated vulgarity; he, poor man, had
long ago given up every idea of resisting her domestic tyranny.
"Anything for a quiet life," was his motto, and, with something akin to
proper retribution, the indignities and annoyances, which he, in the
plenitude of his pocket-power, inflicted upon his poorer neighbors, was
repaid tenfold on his devoted head, when he came within the circle of
Mrs. Bulworthy's operations.

"I wonder how her temper is this morning," thought Peter, as he cast a
furtive glance towards her eyes as she sailed into the room, dressed
in--I wish I could describe that walking-dress; all I can say, is, that
it looked as if she had laid a wager that she could display in her
attire every color in existence, and, won it.

"Well, Pether dear, and how is my ould man to-day?" said she. The
Squire released an imprisoned sigh, in gratitude for this manifestation
of so unusual a mildness of temper; emboldened thereby to remonstrance,
he also ventured to remark:

"I wish, my love, you wouldn't address me by the antiquitous
appellation of 'ould man.' It was all very well when we kept a bit of a
shop"----

"Oh, now, Pether, you're comin' over me wid your larning," she replied,
with a dash of vinegar. "You know that I never cared a _thranieen_ for
the likes, nor never wants to make myself out anything but what I am.
Not all as one, as some folks I know, that's never happy except they're
spittin' out mouthfuls of words big an' hard enough to crack filberts
wid. You see I can talliate if I like, Mr. Pether."

"Re-taliate, obscurest of feminines."

"Well, it's all the same, bless my soul, if one only understands what's
meant, what does it si'nafy what's said?"

"'Si'nafy,' madame," replied Bulworthy, settling himself into a
magisterial position, "do you think that us octo-grammarians take no
pride in the purity of our entomology, skintax, and progeny. Go an'
busy yourself about the futilities of domestic exuberance and leave
polite literature to the intellectual sect."

"Meanin' you, I suppose, you concated _omathaun_," said the lady, with
a shrug of her pointed shoulders, adding, in a more decided tone, whose
effect was instantaneously visible on the countenance, and in the
courage of her spouse, "Come, we've had enough of this; put on your
boots, an' take me out for a walk."

Just snugly ensconced in his favorite arm-chair, his slippered feet on
the cozy fender, and the county paper on his knee as yet unfolded,
Peter would have given a great deal to be left in his undisturbed
quiet, but one glance at those determined eyes convinced him of the
futility of resistance. With a profound groan, he laid down the coveted
newspaper, took up his boots, and, without attempting a remonstrance,
walked into his bed-room, saying:

"Certainly, dear. I shall prepare my perambulating habiliments
directly."

"Pooh, I wish these long words would stick in your throat and choke you
some day," screamed his amiable helpmate; but, when he was out of
earshot, her face relaxed into a more gentle expression. "Poor Pether,"
said she, "he wants to stick himself up for a gentleman; now that we've
got away from the grocer's shop, he can't bear to hear the sound of the
place mentioned, which, as in duty bound I do, twenty times a day; if I
didn't keep him in wholesome subjection, he'd get the upper hand of me,
as he does with all the rest. Now Pether," she cried, elevating her
shrillness into a whistle, "am I goin' to be kept danglin' here all the
blessed mornin'?"

"I'm coming, I'm coming, impatient individuality," said Peter, from his
room, where, to do him credit, he was hurrying through the unwelcome
process with considerable alacrity; "arrah, how do you suppose a
gentleman can beatify his external appearance in such a momentous space
of time? but, here I am, at your service, ma'am," he continued, as, in
all the dignity of snowy shirt-frill, bright blue body-coat, and big
brass buttons, white cord breeches, and shiny top-boots, his great
bunch of watch-seals bobbing about like the pendulum of a clock, a
black thorn stick under his arm, and a wonderfully-furry white hat
covering his moon-looking face, he fancied himself the very
impersonation of moneyed importance.

"And maybe you'll tell me, ma'am," said he, as he pulled on a pair of
big buckskin gloves, "what you want to be gallivantin' about the
streets for at this transitory moment?"

"I choose it," replied the obedient wife. "It's for the benefit of my
health, so howld your gab."

"Ah! what unnatural vulgarity."

"If you don't let me be, I'll talk about the shop in the street, loud,
so that everybody can hear me."

"I wish to my gracious I had never left it," said he, with a sigh so
heavy that it must have carried truth with it.

"Give me your arm, do, and make haste," cried Mrs. Pether, giving a
precautionary shake to her numerous, but insufficient flounces. "I'm
dyin' to dazzle ould Mrs. Magillicuddy with this bran new shawl."

"Yes," replied Pether, with a glance of resigned conviction, "that's
what I thought the benefit to your health would amount to."

So the Squire and his lady--no, I mean Mrs. Peter Bulworthy and her
husband--sallied forth, to astonish a few of their neighbors, and amuse
a great many more; both Barney, the anomalous man-servant, and Mary,
the "maid," pulling up their respective corners of the window-blind to
see them, and watch the effect they produced.

"There they go," grunted Barney, with a contemptuous toss of his
already scornfully-elevated nose, "the laughin'-stocks of the whole
town; dressin' me up this way,"--and he gave his nether extremities a
glance of derision--"like an overgrown parrot--me, that niver had
anything on me back, but an ould canvas apron, an' a dirty face, now I
can't stir out o' the house, that I'm not fairly ashamed o' meself;
there isn't a gossoon in the barony that doesn't know me as well as av
I was the town pump, an' I can't show meself in the place, that they
don't hunt me about as av I was a wild nagur. Look at them stockin's,
Mary, _acush_, there's flimsy, skimpin things, for a cowld Christian to
wear on his _gams_; I'll be ketchin' me death wid them, I know I will.
Mary, I'll be on me oath av I don't think them legs'll carry me off
yit."



CHAPTER II.

    A true home-angel, in this world of strife,
    Is, man's best friend, a faithful, loving wife.


Now turn we, courteous reader, to the contemplation of a totally
different scene.

Not far from the imposing, bright, red brick edifice of Squire
Bulworthy--indeed, you can see it on the other side of the street, with
its flaring green door and great brazen knocker, its crimson parlor
curtains and every-color-in-the-world window-shades--stands the
miserable looking tenement inhabited by our cobbling friend, Dan Duff.
The walls are fashioned out of that natural, but by no means elegant,
or expensive compound, known generally as "mud." The roof is thatched
with straw, but so old and weather-worn that the rain soaks through it
as though it were sponge; while the accidental vegetable productions
which attach themselves to such decaying matter, vainly struggled to
give it a semblance of life and verdure. A dilapidated half door, and
a poor apology for a window, many of the small panes patched with
articles of used up domestic material, were the only means of ingress,
ventilation, and light. Notwithstanding the hopeless-looking poverty of
the whole, there were one or two indications which, to an observing
mind, would tend to lessen, in a remote degree, its general
wretchedness. In the first place, a few small, cracked flower-pots
decked the little window-sill, from whence crept upward
"morning-glories," and bright "scarlet-runners," the delight of
industrious poverty. Then there was that invariable sharer of the poor
man's crust and companionship, a useless, and not by any means
ornamental, cur, shrewd, snappish, and curiously faithful, in friendly
contiguity to a well-conditioned cat. You may take your oath that
there's harmony beneath the roof where a cat and dog are amicably
domiciliated.

With the above exception, the cabin's sole occupant, at the present
moment, is a woman; but such a woman--it's the cobbler's wife,
before-mentioned; here, however, she is in her peculiar sphere. "Home
is home, be it ever so homely," is a trite and true aphorism, and poor
Peggy, it is evident, does her best to make this unpromising one as
full of comfort as she can. Everything is scrupulously clean and in its
place. The little wooden dresser is as white as soap and sand can make
it. So is the floor, and so are the scanty household goods.

There is, though, a shade of discomfort on Peggy's pretty face just
now, as she laboriously plies her knitting needles, and the small
thundercloud breaks out into little flashes of impatience, as she
soliloquizes:

"Did anybody ever see the likes of that Dan of mine? He couldn't take
the "tops" over to ould Bulworthy himself--not he!--of course not--he
wasn't well enough to go out _then_, but the minute my back was turned,
away he cuts to the '_shebeen_' house to get his 'mornin''--ugh! I do
believe if he was before me now, I'd--but no--my poor Dan, it ain't
much comfort he's got in the world; so I won't say a blessed word to
worry him."

As if to recompense the considerate thought, Dan's jolly voice was
heard, singing one of his consoling ditties.

"Here he comes, bless him," cried Peg, joyfully, "as lively as a lark."

There was wonderful commotion amongst the animals as Dan entered.
"Pincher," the apocryphal, shook his apology for a tail as vigorously
as that diminished appendage was capable of accomplishing; while
"Pussy" urged her claims upon his attention by rubbing herself against
his legs. Peg said nothing.

Now, Dan perfectly well knew his delinquency. Indeed, the song he had
just executed, in a good, bold voice, had more of "brag" in it than
real enthusiasm. He saw how the land lay instantly.

"Peg, _alanna machree_, here I am," said he. "Whisht! I know what
you're goin' to say. Keep yer mouth shut, you hateful blaggard, or
I'll stop it up wid kisses, as close as cobbler's wax. There, Peg,"
he continued, after having suited the action to the word, with a
smack like a carter's whip, "I couldn't help it--I couldn't, upon
my word. You were a long time away--and the breakfast was mighty
small--and--and--a sort of oneasiness kem over me inside, I was
lonesome, and thinkin' of things as wasn't wholesome, so I thought
I'd just stick another chalk up at Phil Mooney's, so don't say another
word."

"Not a word Dan," replied Peg. "Sure, don't I mind poor Mary Maguire's
case, how she never let Mike rest when he had 'the drop' in him, until
at long last he stayed out, for the fear of comin' home; the whisky is
too strong for a woman to fight agin, Dan, so, if you like it better
than me"----

That was a skillful side-blow, and it made its mark.

"Peg, you know better, you thief of the world, you do; you know, in
your pure little heart, that's too good for me, or the likes of me;
that the summer flowers doesn't love the sunshine of heaven better than
I love you; oh! no, it isn't that, not that, Peg _aroon_."

"What is it, then?"

"Well, Peg," he continued, "its the _thinks_ that comes over a poor
fella when he hasn't a _scurrig_ to bless himself wid; the _thinks_
that lays a howld of him when there's nobody by but himself and the
devil that sends them, thems the times that worries a _poor_ man, Peg."

"Ah! Dan," replied the other, seriously, "but those times worry a
_wicked_ man worse."

"Well, may-be they do," said the cobbler, doggedly, "if a body knew the
truth, but it's bad enough either way. Did the Squire pay for the
'tops?'"

"Not yet, Dan, he hadn't the change!"

"Hadn't he, really," replied the other, bitterly. "Poor fella, what a
pity; there's a mighty great likeness betune us in that, anyway. The
upstart pup, why the divil didn't he get change. There's the differ,
Peg, darlin', betune the rale gintleman and the 'musharoon;' a
gintleman as feels and knows he's one, and consequentially acts
accordin', will always think of the _great_ inconvanience the want of
the little bit o' money is to the poor man, and not the small ditto to
himself, in the respect of gettin' the change; bad luck attend you,
ould Bulworthy, the want of that shillin' has made me break my word in
a quarther where I'm mighty loath for to do that same."

"Where is that, Dan?"

"I'll tell you, Peg; on the strength of that shillin' I towld my inside
that I'd give it a threat, may I never sin, acush, if I didn't promise
it a 'sassidge;' now, you know if you tell your hungryness to come at a
certain time, it's generally apt to be purty smart at keepin' the
appintmint, and, bedad, mine is waitin' for that sassidge; moreover, it
ain't threatin' a man's intayrior relations anyway raysonable to go
back of yer word. Murdher, there's a twinge--if it isn't hittin' me a
punch in the stomach just to put me in mind, I'm a grasshopper. It's no
use," he continued, addressing his unsatisfied digestibles, "you may's
well give over grumblin' and touchin' me up that way; it's no fault of
mine, it's ould Bulworthy's, bad cess to him; he hadn't any change, the
dirty _spalpeen_, you won't take an excuse won't you? then I'll have to
fire a pipe at you. Peg, jewil, fill us a _dhudeen_, won't you; this
thievin' hunger won't stir a toe unless I hunt it out wid tibaccy."

Peggy soon filled the inevitable pipe, and Dan brought his artillery to
bear upon the foe, after a severe round of tremendous puffs, during
which the combatants were enveloped in the hot smoke of battle; the
enemy showed evident signs of beating a temporary retreat. Dan threw
himself back in his chair, and prepared, leisurely, to enjoy the fruits
of his victory.

"I wondher," said he, after a few moments of great satisfaction, "I
wondher how ould Bulworthy would like to lunch upon smoke? Be jabers,
if I had my will, I'd make him eat three males a day of it, until his
hard-hearted bowels got tenderer towards the poor."

"Talk of the what's-his-name," said Peggy. "Here he comes, both him and
his fine madame, as proud as ten paycocks; look at the airs of them; I
wonder they don't have the street widened when they condescend to walk
out."

"Peggy, darlin'," said Dan, "divil take me if I havn't a great mind to
let out at him for my shillin'."

"Sure you wouldn't; what, in the open street? he'd hang you, Dan,
without judge or jury."

"It ain't quite so easy to hang a man as it used to be in the fine ould
times, Peg _alanna_," said Dan. "It's my shillin', he has no right to
keep it jinglin' in his pocket, and he shan't, neither, if I can help
it," he continued, going towards the door. "Hit or miss, here goes:
Hollo, Squire!" adding, _sotto voce_, "you murdherin' Turk in top
boots; long life to you--you concated ould vagabone."

These expressions, of which the most polite alone reached his ear, as
it may be imagined, grated harshly upon the aristocratic nerves of the
prodigious Bulworthy; "What's that fellow making such a magniloquent
hulla-balloo about," said he, grandly.

"Athin, may-be you'd do my drawin'-room the honor of a sit down,
yourself, and her ladyship," said Dan, to the dismay of poor Peggy, who
exclaimed: "Don't, Dan, don't; I'm ashamed of you, indeed, I am;"
adding, apologetically, "oh, he never would a done it, only for the
drink; we're ruined entirely."

"Bad 'cess to me if they're not coming, sure enough," said Dan,
somewhat tremulously, but determined to put a good bold face on it, he
continued, as they entered, "come, Peg, dust the chair for the lady."

Peg's face was crimson as she complied, she scarcely knew how;
Bulworthy's countenance indicated the state of temper with which he
accepted the proffered hospitality, while the Squiress gazed coolly and
patronizingly around.

"I'm in a tremendious rage," said he, as he shook his fist at Dan. "How
dare you have the premeditated insurance to arrogate us into your
pig-sty, you ragamuffin."

"Don't worrit, my dear," interposed Mrs. Bulworthy, in an authoritative
tone. "It's our dooty, now, as ladies and gentlemen, to inquire into
the condition of the poor, and give them wholesome advice. Here, my
dear," she continued, taking sundry tracts from her capacious pocket,
"read these comfortable pages, and see what a state of awful
responsibility you are in."

"Bedad, that's all the poor people is likely to get from such visitors
as you," said Dan.

"And now, sir," said Bulworthy, with an imposing frown, "what
interrogational imperence do you want to address to me, that you have
the owdaciousness to drag me here?"

Dan simply took down a broken piece of slate, and holding it up before
the Squire's eyes, "a thriflin' account, sir," said he; "for
heel-piecin' your honor's honorable tops, and maybe they don't show off
an iligant lump of a leg, this fine spring mornin'," vainly hoping that
the unmitigated flattery would mitigate the wrath of the potent Squire.

"And was it for this, you--you illiterate colossus of brass, that you
detained me in my preambulations."

"Indeed, sir," timidly interposed Peggy, "I hope that you'll forgive
him. It isn't his fault entirely, your honor. It's all on account of a
gintleman that he axed for to take a bit of dinner wid him."

"What!" screamed Mrs. Bulworthy, with her sanctimonious eyes elevated
to the true Pharisaic standard; "I never heard of such wretched
depravity. Dinner! do such wretched creatures deal in so miserable an
extravagance? I tremble for your lost condition. Read this;" and she
fumbled in her pocket for another comforting document, which Peggy
courtesied humbly as she received; "read this, and learn to conquer
your unworthy appetites for earthly things." The Squiress was a fine
example of those theoretic Lady Bountifuls, whose province it is to
feed poverty with such like unsatisfactory viands.

"I'll make you wait for your shillin', you scoundrel," said the irate
Squire.

"And serve him right, too," echoed his worthy spouse.

"Then we'll have to wait for our dinner," suggested Dan.

"And what's that to us, you reprobate?"

"Oh, nothin'," said Dan. "Full stomachs thinks there's no empty ones in
the world; but may bad fortune stuff them top-boots chock full of
corns, for your hard-heartedness, and may you never pull them on
without gettin' a fresh stock."

"Dear me, dear me," said the squeaking tract-distributer, "read this,
and see what comes of such irreligious observations."

"Read it yourself, ma'am," replied Dan, tossing back the proffered
antidote, "maybe you may want it as bad as any of us."

"You have been iniquitously indulging in intoxicating beverages, sir,"
said Bulworthy.

"A drunkard!" exclaimed his helpmate. "I have a blessed tract or two
peculiarly adapted to that abominable crime."

"Oh! no, no, not a drunkard," cried Peggy, snatching the tract from the
hand of her visitor; "not a drunkard. The cares of poverty force him to
try and forget them, and himself now and then, but that's all."

"All! that all! Oh, for the sinfulness that surrounds us," replied the
other.

"Have you been drinking, sir?" demanded the Squire, in a
justice-of-peace tone.

"What right have you to ax?" said Dan, boldly. "You owe me a shillin';
that's all I want."

"He has a right, depraved creature that you are," interposed the meek
and Christian-like disseminator; "rich people always have a right to
ask such questions of their poorer neighbors; but you don't deserve the
care we take of your unhappy souls."

"Well, then, since it comes to that," said Dan, "I _do_ taste a
thrifle whin I can convayniently lay a hould of it; and, more betoken,
it's a mighty bad rule that doesn't work both ways. I saw a lot of
barrels and bottles goin' into the fine house over the way. I wonder if
they wor intended for chimbly ornaments?"

"Come, my dear," said Bulworthy, now supremely indignant, "let us leave
these degeneratious individuals to their incoherent reflections."

"I want my shillin'," shouted Dan.

"You shan't have it."

"But I'm hungry, and so is Peggy, and Pincher, and Pussy."

"Read this, you poor, infatuated sinner," said Mrs. B., handing him
another elegant extract, "and it will teach you to be contented under
all circumstances."

"Will it turn into a piece of bacon?" inquired Dan; "for if it won't
yez may curl yur hair wid it. It's all very well for you barn-fed
gentry to be crammin' the poor wid bits of paper--gim me me shillin'."

The Squire said not a word, but buttoned his pockets up tightly, while,
with an expression of the most intense pity for such unparalleled
ignorance, his better half followed him out of the cabin.

"May bitther bad luck attend yez both," said Dan, as they quitted the
place. "The dirty dhrop's in yez, and it _will_ show itself in spite of
all yer money; hollo! ain't that the babby?" he continued, as the tiny
voice of a child was heard proceeding from a little bit of a room,
their only other apartment.

"Yes, bless his bright eyes," replied Peggy, oblivious now to all the
world beside. "He's awake; look at his darlin' little face, wid the
laugh comin' all over it like a mealy potato." So saying, she rushed
into the room, and commenced hugging and kissing their sole treasure in
a most alarming manner.

"Kiss him for me, Peg," cried Dan. "Smother the villain of the world;
ah, ha!" he went on, "there's a blessin' ould top-boots hasn't got any
way; a fine lump of a fella, wid the health fairly burstin' out of his
murdherin' cheeks; as fat as butther, and as lively as a tickled
kitten. The Squire's is a poor, wizen-faced _leprechaun_ of a creather,
that looks as if he was born forty years ould, and grew backwards ever
sence. Ha, ha! the thoughts of that bright-eyed schamer puts the song
into my heart, like the risin' sun to the lark."

But soon his thoughts took a more desponding turn. "Poor little
gossoon," said he, "when I think that there's nothin' before him but
his father's luck in the world, to work, and pine, and toil, until his
back is bent before the ould age touches it; it drives away the joy as
quick as it came; murdher alive, ain't it too bad to think that
ill-lookin' _Kippogue_ over the way, might ate goold if he could only
disgist it, and when he grows up, my fine, noble, blessed boy will have
to bow, and cringe, and touch his hat to a chap wid no more sowl than a
worn-out shoe; that's what puts evil thoughts in my head; the boy that
I love, aye! almost as hard as if I was the mother of it instead of
bein' only its father; when I think of him and what may be before him,
oh! how I wish that I stood in ould Bulworthy's shoes, or his 'tops,'
if it was only for his sake. Murdher! how sleepy I am all of a suddent;
is it the drink, or the imptyness? a little of both, may-be; it ain't
often I have a chance of forgettin' the dirty world for a thrifle o'
time, so here goes to have a snooze."

So saying, Dan settled himself to take a mid-day nap, for the lack of
better employment; but he had scarcely dropped his head on his breast
for that purpose when he became aware of a singular ringing sensation
in his ears, which increased until he fancied he heard a sound, loud
and sonorous as the tolling of the church-clock; at last there came one
bang, so startling that he jumped up suddenly from his chair: "The
Saints between us and all harum: who's that?" he cried, in a terrible
fright; but he could see nothing; the sounds were also gone; a dead
silence was around him, and he must have slept for some time, it
appeared, for the shadows of evening were darkening the small window.
Moodily he leant his head upon his hands and gazed into the small
fire-place; a few sods of turf were burning on the hearth; as he looked
fixedly upon the waning embers, he perceived that from either end of
one of the sods, a thin, white smoke lazily curled up the chimney,
gradually increasing in volume and density; while he was vainly
wondering how so small a piece of turf could send out so great an
amount of vapor, to his still greater surprise, he saw the spiral
columns advance towards him, and gather upon each side--slowly they
gathered--and mounted in eddying clouds, until they reached to a level
with his head; there they ceased, as though imprisoned in an invisible
medium, and commenced wreathing and interwreathing, up and down, in
beautiful vapory combinations; silently he contemplated the
extraordinary phenomenon, in a state of extreme bewilderment, but yet
without the slightest sensation of the dread which should accompany so
singular a spectacle, and it was with more admiration than awe he
became aware that the smoky pillars beside him were gradually moulding
themselves into the most exquisite human forms; at length they stood
before him defined and perfect--two female appearances of transcendent
loveliness; one fair as a sun-beam, the other dark, but each supreme in
its individual type of beauty. Gentleness and heavenly love beamed in
the mild, blue eyes of the one, glittering boldness flashed from the
coal-black orbs of the other: a shower of delicate golden hair, soft
and yielding as silken fibres, shed a bright radiance like a halo
around the saintly lineaments of the fairer spirit, while massy
clusters of raven hue, through which a warm, purple tint was
interwoven, glancing, in the light, like threads of fire, enriched the
ample brow, and swept down the full form of the darker one. "I wonder
if it's alive they are," thought Dan, as he gazed alternately at each.
"I'll be upon me oath I dunno which is the purtiest of the two; the
yalla-headed one looks as if she could coax the very heart out through
me ribs; but, oh! murdher alive! the lightnin' that darts from them
black eyes is enough to strike a fella foolish at onst; bad luck to me
if I don't spake to them;" so saying, our friend made one of his best
bows, tugging the conventional lock left for that purpose. "Your
sarvant, ladies," said he, "and what might it be that brings yez out so
airly this cowld mornin'."

The fairer apparition, in a voice like spoken melody, answered: "I am
the spirit of your better thoughts."

"You don't tell me that, Miss, then it's glad that I am to see you to
the fore, and mighty sorry that I haven't got a sate dacent enough to
offer to the likes of such an iligant creather," said Dan, "and who's
your frind, may I ax?" he went on, turning to the darker beauty.

"I am the spirit of your evil thoughts," replied the other, in a rich,
full tone, bending her lustrous eyes upon the questioner in a way that
made his heart bound.

"Oh! you are, are you," he gasped out; "faix, and I don't know, if it's
welcome you ought to be, or not; but, for the sake of good manners, I'd
ax you to sit too, av I had the convaynience."

"You called upon us both, just now," said the good spirit.

"And we are here," continued the other; "so choose between us, which
you will entertain."

"Couldn't I be on the safe side, and entertain the both of yez?"
suggested Dan, with a propitiatory wink to each.

"That is impossible," replied the good spirit. "We only meet when
there's contention in a mortal mind whether he shall the right or wrong
pursue. Did you not wish but now that you could change conditions with
the rich man opposite?"

"Well, then, I may's well let the whole truth out, seein' that you're
likely to know all about it; I _did_ wish somethin' of the
sort."

"And a very reasonable wish it was," said the dark spirit, on his left.

"A very foolish wish," firmly observed the fair one.

"I don't agree with you," replied the other.

"You never do," said the good spirit.

"Nor ever will!"

"I don't lose much by that"----

"Ladies, darlin'," interposed Dan, "I'd rayther you wouldn't disthress
yerselves on my account."

"Don't be alarmed, my good friend," said the fair spirit. "We never can
agree; but, how do you resolve? Is it still your wish to stand in the
Squire's shoes?"

"Top-boots?" suggested Dan.

"Of course it is," replied the evil spirit for him. "Who would not have
such wish, to pass his days in luxury and ease, not labor--pinched, in
care and penury?"

"Thrue for you," observed Dan, approvingly.

"But who would give up even a small share of joy, contentment, and
domestic love, to seek, perchance, for more, perchance, for less?"
replied the other.

"There's rayson in that," said Dan.

"Aye, but the boy," said his left-hand companion; "see what a glorious
life the heir to such a wealthy man would lead."

"That sets me heart bubblin' like a bilin' pot," cried Dan, joyously.

"You are resolved, then, to be ruled by me?" demanded the suggester of
evil thoughts.

"Indeed, and I am, that I am, just for the sake of the babby," said
Dan.

"Follow, and I will point out a way," said the dark spirit, gliding
towards the door. Dan made a movement to follow, when his footsteps
were arrested by a chorus of invisible voices, small, but distinct, and
musical as a choir of singing birds, that appeared to sound within his
very brain, so that he heard every word as clearly as though he had
uttered it himself.

    Every mortal has his grief:
    Each one thinks that his is chief.
    Better keep your present lot,
    Than to tempt--you don't know what.

Irresolution made him falter on the threshold through which the spirit
of evil thoughts had just passed; it was but for an instant, however,
for the same tiny voices sang within his heart the blessings and the
joys of wealth, and, above all, the image of his darling child, made
happy in its possession.

"Here goes," said he. "The divil a pin's point does it matther what
comes of me, so that luck lays a howld of the little gossoon." So
saying, he followed the dark spirit, while the other bowed its lovely
head upon its breast, and shedding tears of anguish for the tempted
one, whose weakness she had not the power to strengthen, slowly and
pensively came after, resolved not to abandon her charge while there
was yet a hope to save.



CHAPTER III.

    Our selfish pleasures multiply amain,
    But then their countless progeny is pain.


We left the great Squire Bulworthy, preparing to astonish the
neighborhood, which he assuredly succeeded in doing, but not in a style
at all creditable or satisfactory to himself.

It would appear, indeed, as though the hearty, but uncharitable wish of
the irritated cobbler, was curiously prophetic, for, before the
purse-proud couple had achieved the half of their accustomed promenade,
Mr. Bulworthy's extremities were suddenly and unceremoniously fastened
upon by an unusually severe gripe of that enemy to active exercise--the
gout. So sharp was the pain, that the Squire roared out right lustily,
and executed such a variety of absurd contortions that he became an
object of intense amusement, rather than sympathy, to the vagabond
portion of the neighborhood.

There being no such extemporaneous means of transit as hacks, or
"hansoms," attainable, there was nothing for it but to suffer; so,
leaning heavily upon a couple of stray Samaritans, whose commiseration
was warmly stimulated by the promised shilling, he managed, by slow and
agonizing efforts, to shuffle home, attended by his silent and
unsympathizing spouse.

After having undergone the excruciating process of unbooting--an
operation whose exquisite sensations are known only to the
initiated--he screamed for his universal panacea, whisky-punch. The
materials were brought in an incredibly short space of time, for
Bulworthy was murderous in his gouty spells. Half a dozen stiff
tumblers were disposed of with Hibernian celerity, and the hurried
household began to congratulate itself upon a prospect of quiet. Vain
hope! "dingle, dingle, ding!" went the big bell at the Squire's elbow.
Up started, simultaneously, Barney and Mary from the dish of comfort
they were laying themselves out to indulge in down stairs--in their
eagerness, tumbling into each other's arms. Barney rushed up the
stairway, while Mary listened--as Marys always do, when there's
anything interesting going on--receiving, however, in this instance,
ample reward for such a breach of good manners, being nearly prostrated
by a book flung at Barney's head, to hasten his exit, by the suffering
Squire. What the missile had only half done, Barney finished; for,
taking the kitchen-stairs at a slide, he came plump against the
partially-stunned listener, and down they both rolled comfortably to
the bottom. However, as there were no bones broken, the only damage
being what Mary called, "a dent in her head," they soon picked
themselves up again.

"Well," says Mary, "how is he now?"

"Oh, murdher alive, don't ax me," replied Barney, rubbing his bruises,
"it's my belief that there never was sich a cantankerous ould chicken
sence the world was hatched. It's a composin' draft that he's
schreechin' for now, as av a gallion of punch, strong enough to slide
on, wasn't composin'."

In due time, he had his "composin' draft," which, as it contained a
pretty considerable dose of laudanum, sufficed, together with his other
potations, to lull the pain somewhat, and give him comparative quiet;
this was a famous opportunity for Mrs. Bulworthy, who immediately
proceeded to "improve" it.

"Now, Pether, dear," said she, with an attempt to modulate her
saw-cutting voice into something approaching to tenderness, which was a
failure. "Oh! think upon the situation of your soul, and look over one
of these comforting works."

Peter groaned inwardly, but said nothing.

"Grace," she went on, "is never denied, even to the most hardenedest
sinner."

Peter threw his head back and closed his eyes, in the forlorn hope that
she would respect his simulated slumber; but she was not a woman to
respect anything, when her "vocation" was strong on her.

"It's criminal in you, Peter," she shouted, "to neglect your spiritual
state; suppose you were to die, and it's my belief you will, for you're
looking dreadful, what a misery it would be to me; I'd never forgive
myself; oh! Pether, Pether, do read this true and beautiful description
of the place of torment you're a blindly plunging your sowl into."

This was too much for the already tortured sinner. "Get out!" he
roared. "Don't bother; there's a time for all things, you indiscreet
and unnatural apostle of discomfortableness, what do you worry me for
now, when you see me enjoyin' such a multiplication of bodily
sufferings?"

"Because," said she, coolly; "it's the only time that I can hope to
make an impression upon your hardened heart; it's my duty, not only as
your wife, but as a member of the society for the evangelizing the home
heathen; of which heathen, my dear, I have the word of my pious
associates, you are an outrageous example; therefore, it is my mission
to do all I can to bring about your regeneration."

"Murdher, murdher! if I could only use my feet," groaned Bulworthy,
with the suppressed anger boiling in his face.

"Ah? but you can't," replied the home comfort, as she quietly removed
everything portable from within the reach of the sufferer's arm, and
settling herself in rigid implacability, prepared to do battle with the
evil one.

"Since you won't use your bodily senses for your soul's advantage,"
said she, solemnly, "I will, myself, peruse these pages of admonition."

Now, there cannot be a doubt but that the work Mrs. Bulworthy prepared
to read, was an excellent one, written by an excellent person, and
distributed for a most excellent purpose; but, to say the least, it was
very injudicious in the absorbingly-pious lady to exhibit so much
concern for the immortal part of poor Bulworthy, altogether overlooking
the mortal anguish he was at the present moment enduring.

At all events, _he_ thought so, for, what with the pain and the rage,
he commenced a series of bellowings, in the expectation that his other
tormentor would be recalled to the necessity of directing her mind from
the future, to the suffering before her; but, no, not a bit of it; the
louder he roared, the shriller she read, being a contest, as she
imagined, between the fierce obstinacy of the demon within him, and the
efficacy of her ministration; on she went, inflexibly, in the prolonged
cadence of the conventicle, never ceasing or averting her strong eye
from the tract, until she had finished its perusal. Not a word of it
did he, _would_ he hear, for, with yelling occasionally, and stopping
his ears at intervals, the blessed communication might have been
written in its original Sanscrit, for all the good it did him.

However, she had done her duty, and was satisfied. "Temper, temper,
Pether," she ejaculated, as he heaved a groan of impatience from one of
the twinges. "Suffer patiently; it is good for the flesh to be
mortified; think of the worse that is to come."

"Oh! you're a comforter if ever there was one," sighed the Squire. "How
the mischief can I be patient with a coal of fire on every toe of me?
It's mighty aisy for thim that doesn't feel it to keep gabblin' about
patience. I'll roar if I like; it does me good to swear at the
murdherin' thing, and I will, too."

Whereupon, he let fly a volley of epithets, not the very choicest in
the vernacular, which had at least one good effect, for it sent the
domestic missionary flying out of the room, tracts and all, utterly
horrified at the outburst of impiety; he firing a parting shot or two
after her, loaded with purely personal charges of not over
complimentary character.

It was just at this moment that his opposite neighbor, the poor
cobbler, having arrived at the most comforting part of his reflections,
was indulging in one of his jolliest songs, the merry sound of which
penetrated to the apartment of the suffering rich man, filling his
heart with envy.

"Listen to that," he grunted, swaying backward and forward from the
intensity of the pain. "What's the use av all my money; there's that
blaggard cobbler, without a rap to bless himself with, and the song's
never out of his vagabone throat; oh, murdher! if I wouldn't give every
shillin' that I'm worth in the world to change conditions with the
chirpin' schemer."

In a short time, however, the composing drafts, spirituous and
otherwise, began to do their work; a drowsy sensation crept over him,
and he dropped into an unquiet slumber.

When he awoke again, which was instantly, as he thought, what was his
surprise to behold an extraordinary-looking sprite riding upon his
worst foot. The thing was dressed like a jockey, cap, jacket, breeches,
and boots, the latter being furnished with a pair of needles instead of
spurs; but with such a comical face that Bulworthy would have laughed
heartily at its funny expression, except that the sight of those
ominous goads effectually checked all thoughts of risibility.

"Who the devil are you? Get off o' my toe, you impudent little
scoundrel," said the Squire, "or I'll fling a pill-box at you."

"Bless you, that would be no use," piped the diminutive jock, settling
himself in his saddle.

"Move, I say, or bang goes this bottle of doctor's stuff right in yer
eye."

"Fire away," says the imp, with a little bit of a laugh, like the
squeak of a mouse, "I don't fear any of your doctor's bedevilment."

"What brings you here, anyway?" demanded Bulworthy. He was now out of
pain, and consequently waxing arrogant.

"You," squeaked the little rider.

"It's a lie. I never invited you."

"Oh, yes, you did, and moreover, I must say, treated me like a prince;
boarded and lodged me gloriously."

"Pooh! you're a fool. Where did I lodge you?"

"Here, in your foot," said the little devil, with a grin, accompanying
the observation with the slightest touch of the needle; enough,
however, to extort a yell from the Squire. "What do you think of that,
my hero?" the jockey continued. "It will be better for you to keep a
civil tongue in that foolish head of yours."

"Oh, I will! I will!" groaned Bulworthy. "If you'll only obleege me by
dismountin', I'll promise anything."

"Oh, yes, that's mighty likely," said the imp, "after being asked here
to amuse myself. A pretty sort of a host you are."

"If you'll believe me, there's some mistake, sir, indeed there is,"
said Bulworthy, apologetically, "I don't remember ever havin' had the
honor of your acquaintance."

"You don't, don't you; then, here goes, to put you in mind, you
forgetful old savage;" with that, he commenced a series of equestrian
manoeuvres with the Squire's intractable toe, now sawing with the
diminutive chifney bit, now tickling the sides with a slender, but very
cutting kind of a whip, finishing up his exercises by plunging both
spurs into the flesh, making the tortured limb jump like a Galway
hunter over a stone wall.

"Stop! stop!" roared the sufferer, while the perspiration rained from
his forehead like a shower-bath.

"You know me now, do you, eh?"

"Yes, yes," gasped the Squire. "I'll never forget you again--never,
never!"

"Will you be civil?"--a slight touch of the needle.

"Oh, murdher! yes."

"And temperate?"--another small puncture.

"I will, I will."

"Very well, then. I'll not only dismount, as I'm a little tired, but
I'll give you a word or two of good advice." So saying, the little
jockey got out of his seat, put his saddle on his shoulders, and having
with great difficulty clambered up the flannel precipice of Bulworthy's
leg, managed, with the assistance of his waistcoat buttons, to mount
upon the table, where, sitting down upon a pill-box, he crossed his
legs, and leisurely switching his top-boots, regarded the Squire with a
look of intense cunning.

"Well, only to think," said Bulworthy to himself, "that such a weeny
thing as that could give a man such a heap of oneasiness; a fella that
I could smash with my fist as I would a fly: may I never get up from
this if I don't do it, and then may-be I'll get rid of the murdherin'
torment altogether."

With that, he suddenly brought his great hand down on the table with a
bang that, as he supposed, exterminated jockey, pill-box, and all.

"Ha, ha!" he roared, "there's an end to you, my fine fella."

"Not a bit of it," squealed the little ruffian; "what do you say to
this?" he continued, as he flourished one of the top-boots over his
head, and buried the spur through the Squire's finger, fastening it
firmly to the table. "See what you got for your wicked intentions, and
that ain't the worst of it neither, for I'm going to serve that elegant
big thumb of yours the same way. But I'll take my time about it, for
there's no fear of your hands ever stirring from that spot until I
like." So saying, the tantalizing fiend made several fierce attempts to
transfix the doomed member, each time just grazing the skin with the
sharp needle. At last he drove it right up to the heel, and there the
two boots stuck, while the little blackguard danced the "Foxhunter's
jig," in his stocking-feet, cutting pigeon-wings among the pill-boxes,
like a professor.

Bulworthy now roared louder than ever, vainly endeavoring to free his
tortured hand from its strange imprisonment, and the more he roared,
the more his tormentor grinned, and cut capers about the table.

"Oh, pull out them thunderin' spurs," cried he, in agony. "This is
worse than all; mercy, mercy! Misther jockey, I beg your pardon for
what I did; it was the drink; there's whisky in me."

"I know that well enough," chirped the grinning imp. "If there wasn't,
I couldn't have the power over you that you see."

"Oh, won't you look over it this oncet? I'll be on me Bible oath I
won't offend you again."

"Are you in earnest this time?"

"Bad luck attend me if I'm not."

"Well, then, I'll trust you, though you don't deserve it," replied the
little schemer, and, after two or three tugs, he succeeded in pulling
out one of the spurs. "Do you feel easier?" inquired he, with a grin.

"It's like getting half-way out of purgatory," said the Squire, with a
sigh of relief. "There's a fine fella, lug out the other, won't you?"

"I must make some conditions first."

"Let them be short, for gracious sake!"

"First and foremost, are you going to be quiet and reasonable?"

"I am, I am!"

"Secondly, are you going to pay me for the trouble I've had?"

"Whatever you ask, only be quick about it."

"It won't tax you much, you have only to make over to me all the
bottles and jars you have in the house."

"Take them, and welcome."

"If you'll promise me not to meddle with them, I'll leave them in your
keeping, only they're mine, remember."

"Every drop," cried the Squire, eagerly. "I won't touch another
mouthful."

"That's all right; you keep your word and I'll keep mine; there, you
may have the use of your fist once more," he continued, as he plucked
out the other spur, giving the released hand a parting kick that
thrilled through every joint.

"And now," said he, as he pulled on his tiny boots, "I have a word or
two more to say to you; you made a foolish wish just now; that you'd
like to change places with that miserable cobbler over the way; are you
still of the same way of thinking?"

"Should I have your companionship there," inquired Bulworthy.

"Certainly not; he couldn't afford to keep me," replied the gout-fiend,
contemptuously.

"Then, without meanin' the slightest offence to you, my little friend,"
said the other, "it wouldn't grieve me much to get rid of your
acquaintance at any sacrifice, even to the disgust of walking into that
rascally cobbler's shoes. I'm only afraid that, clever as you are, you
can't manage that for me."

"Don't be quite so sure," replied the little jockey, with a knowing
wink, amusing himself by every now and then tickling up Bulworthy's
fingers with his sharp whip, every stroke of which seemed to cut him to
the marrow. "Who can tell but that the poor, ignorant devil would like
to change places with _you_; if so, I can do the job for ye both in a
jiffey: more, betoken, here he comes, so that we can settle the affair
at once."

At that instant, the door of Bulworthy's apartment flew open, as from
the effect of a sudden and strong gust of wind, while he, although
seeing nothing, distinctly heard a slight rustling, and felt that
peculiar sensation one receives at the entrance of persons into a room
while not looking in their direction.

"I see no one," said the Squire; "'twas but a blast of wind."

"_I_ do," curtly replied the little jockey, and then proceeded to hold
an interesting confidential chat with the invisibilities; in a few
moments, Bulworthy distinguished the jolly voice of Dan, the cobbler, a
little jollier than usual; indicating the high state of his spiritual
temperament also, by swaying to and fro against the balusters, making
them creak loudly in his uncertain progress; at last, with a tipsy "God
save all here," he lumbered into the room, tried to clutch at a chair,
but, optically miscalculating his distance, overshot the mark, and
tumbled head-long upon the floor.

"You dirty, drunken rapscallion," cried Bulworthy, getting into a
towering rage, from which, however, he was quickly recalled by a wicked
look from the imp, and a threatening movement towards the dreaded
top-boots and spurs.

"Listen, and say nothing until you are spoken to," said the little
chap, as grand as you please.

"Not a word," replied the cowed Squire.

"Now, Daniel, my friend, I want to have a talk with you." The Squire
started with astonishment; he could have sworn that he heard his own
voice; but the big sounds proceeded from the lips of the little chap on
the table beside him.

"Wid all the veins of my heart, Squire, jewel," replied Dan's voice,
though Dan's mouth never opened at all, and Bulworthy was looking him
straight in the face.

"You are not satisfied with your condition in life," continued the
voice.

"You never spoke a truer word nor that," replied Dan's invisible proxy.

"Neither am I."

"More fool you."

"Would you change places with me?"

"Indeed, an' I would if I had the chance; how would you like to be in
mine?"

"It's just what I long for."

Thus far, the conversation was carried on in the voices of the Squire
and the cobbler; but now they were both amazed at hearing bellowed out,
in sounds like the roar of a cataract when you stop your ears
occasionally:

"Blind and dissatisfied mortals, have your desire; let each take the
shape and fill the station of the other, never to obtain your original
form and condition until both are as united in the wish to return
thereto as you are now to quit them."

A terrific thunderclap burst overhead, stunning them both for a few
minutes, and, when its last reverberation died away in the distance,
the little jockey had disappeared, all supernatural sounds had ceased.
The sentient part of the discontented Squire found itself inhabiting
the mortal form of the cobbler, prone on the floor, hopelessly and
helplessly drunk, while the unhappy Dan appeared in the portly form,
and suffered the gouty pangs of the rich Mr. Bulworthy.



CHAPTER IV.

    "Oft do we envy those whose lot, if known,
    Would prove to be less kindly than our own."


The change accomplished by the embodied wishes of the two discontented
mortals was, to all appearance, perfect. They bore, indeed, the outward
semblance each of the other, but yet retained their own individual
thoughts, feelings, and inclinations; and manifold, as may be imagined,
were the embarrassments and annoyances consequent upon this strange
duality, to the great mystification of their respective households.

The morning after the singular compact was made, the more than usually
outrageous conduct of the supposed Bulworthy placed the establishment
in the greatest possible uproar, for the nerves and sinews of the
imprisoned Dan, wholly unacquainted, ere this, with any ailment other
than the emptiness of hunger, or the occasional headache whisky
purchased, now twisted and stretched with the sharper agonies laid up
by his predecessor, lashed him into an absolute hurricane of fury.
Unable to move his nether extremities, he gnashed his teeth, venting
his rage by smashing everything that he could reach.

This terrible turmoil reached the ears of the domestics, filling them
with apprehension.

"Be good to us," said Mary. "What is it now?"

"Ora, don't ax me," replied Barney, who had just come down from the
caged lion. "It's fairly bewildhered I am, out an' out; I wouldn't
wondher av it was burn the house about our ears he would, in one of his
tanthrums."

"What's worryin' him now?"

"Faix, the misthress is at the head ov it, an' the gout's at the feet,
an', between the two, I wouldn't be surprised av his thrunk was imptied
afore long."

Up stairs the tempest raged with undiminished fury.

"I tell you I won't, I won't," roared the impatient patient. "I never
could taste a dhrop of physic in my life."

"Oh, my! what a fib," said his consoler, the sweet-voiced Mrs.
Bulworthy. "Why, you've swallowed enough to kill a regiment of decent
people. Indeed, I don't know what's come over you to day, at all;
you're not a bit like yourself."

"The devil I'm not," said the other, somewhat alarmed; but a glance at
his swathed extremities, accompanied by a spasm of pain, gave him
uncomfortable assurance that he was still in the Squire's skin. "Bedad,
ma'm," he went on, "if you and the gout ain't enough to drive a man out
of himself, I don't know what would; get out, I tell you, and leave me
alone; one at a time's enough."

"Will you promise to read this tract, then?"

"It's a mighty fine time to talk about readin'. How much money am I
worth?"

"You surely don't forget that, Pether?"

"Well, indeed, what with the pain and other little matters, it has
slipped my memory."

"Just eight thousand six hundred pounds."

"As much as that? murdher alive! you don't say so; then let us pack up
and be off," cried he, with an injudicious bound of pleasure that
brought the corkscrew into his joints with redoubled acuteness.

"Go, where?" inquired Mrs. Bulworthy, as coolly as though she were
enjoying the agony which revelled through his racked frame.

"Anywhere," screamed he. "Anywhere out of this vagabone neighborhood.
Ah! tear an aiges av I thought I was going to be massacreed in this
way, I'd a stayed as I was; it's to the very marrow of my bones that
I'm sorry for it now."

"Sorry for what, Pether?" said Mrs. Bulworthy; "what in the name of
gracious are you raving about?"

"Nothing," replied he, "only it's ravin' with the hunger I am; I feel
as if I hadn't had anything to eat for six weeks or more."

"Sure, won't you have something in a few minutes," said she. "There's
the turtle soup and curried lobster you ordered for lunch getting ready
as fast as it can."

"You don't tell me that; may-be I won't astonish it then," said he,
smacking his lips at the delicious anticipation of devouring dishes
that, to him, were hitherto apocryphal things.

"Is there anything else you want before I go?"

"Nothing in the world, except, may-be, you might just run over the way
and see how Mrs. Duff and the babby is."

"Heigh-day!" screamed Mrs. Bulworthy, bestowing upon him one of her
most indignant glances. "I'd like to know what business you have to be
thinking of Mrs. Duff and her babby!"

"Would you, really, ma'm? then, if your curiosity is anyway tickled,
I'll have you to understand that it's a mighty high regard I entertain
for them two people," replied he.

"You do, do you? why, then, it's a face you have to say that same to
me, you dirty, miserable, money-scrapin' ignoramus; me, that took such
care of your body and sowl for so many years."

"Read one of your papers, ma'm; practice what you preach," suggested
the fictitious Bulworthy.

"How would you look if I was to say that I had a regard for the cobbler
himself, since you're so mightily interested in his wife?" said she,
with an injured-woman air and look.

"Say, ma'm! Bedad, I'd say that the cobbler isn't such a fool as to
return the compliment," replied the other, in a provoking tone, that
made the eyes of Mrs. Bulworthy flash green like those of a cat in the
dark.

"I'm not so sure of that," she retorted, with a meaning toss of her
fallacious curls, that implied unspeakable things.

"But I _am_, you see, strange as it may appear, ma'm," he went on, with
a jolly laugh, strangled suddenly by a gouty pang that made him roar
again.

"Serve you right, you ungrateful reprobate; I saw you this morning
flinging your good-for-nothing eyes at the jade; but I'll serve you out
for it, see if I don't; you shall have a blessed time, if ever a man
had in the world, you vile, deceitful, double-faced old porcupine;
after the years we've been together, too, slavin' and working to scrape
up the bit of money to be the comfort of our old age," she continued,
diverging into the sentimental, and dropping a few hard tears, that
fell from her cold eyes like pellets of hail. "You want to break my
heart, you do, you murderer, that you may follow your wicked coorses
without hendrance. Mrs. Duff and her babby; indeed, _her_ babby! how do
I know who's babby it is?" and she looked green-eyed monsters at the
supposititious Squire, who heightened her fiery temper up to
explosion-point, by replying, with a chuckle.

"Faix, the babby's mine, I b'leeve."

Now be it understood that, for the instant, his disputable identity was
forgotten, and it was all _Dan_ that spoke:

"Yours," shrieked the now infuriated female, making a threatening
demonstration towards him.

"Yes--no--I mean--oh, murdher, I forgot I was ould Bulworthy for a
minnit. It's a rise I was takin' out of you, that's all," he went on,
"just for the fun of the thing."

The further discussion of this delicate subject was put a stop to by
the entrance of Barney and Mary with the Squire's lunch; a very
gratifying and timely interruption to the stormy _tête-à-tête_, in the
opinion of one of the party, at all events.

The delicious condiments being duly served, from which arose an
appetizing odor, stimulating Dan's appetite into ravenous hunger,
"Won't you sit down, ma'm," said he, "and take a mouthful?"

"Indeed, and it's polite you are, all of a sudden. You never asked the
like before, but was always glad enough to get me out of sight that you
might gormandize to your heart's content," replied she, acrimoniously.
"But it's a sure sign that you are guilty of something wrong somewhere,
with somebody, or you wouldn't be so extra accommodating."

"Sit down, and howld yer prate," cried the other, anxious to attack the
tempting viands.

"I won't, you ould sinner. I know you don't want me, it's only your
conscience that's giving you no rest. I'll leave you to stuff and cram,
and I only wish it was pison, that I do." With this pleasant
observation, hissed viperously through her closed teeth, she flounced
out of the room, giving the door a parting bang that sent an electric
shock of pain through poor Dan's nervous system.

"Oh! milliah murdher," groaned he, "an' this is the agreeable speciment
of a walkin' vinegar-cruet, that I left my scanty but comfortable home,
and the angel that made a heaven of it, for. Well, the fools ain't all
gone yet--but, never mind, isn't there the money and the eatin'; so,
here goes to have a feed that 'ud take the concate out of a hungry
elephant."

So saying, he lifted off the cover, and plunged the ladle into the
steaming tureen, when, to his enormous surprise, instead of the savory
mess he anticipated, he fished up and deposited upon his plate, the
identical little jockey before described, spurs and all.

"How are you, Mr. Duff?" said he, touching his cap in true stable
style, as he seated himself upon the raised edge of the soup-plate.

"You have the advantage of me, sir," replied Dan, reverentially, for he
was a firm believer in "the good people," that is to say, the fairies,
and dreaded the immensity of their power.

"We haven't met before, to be sure," said the little fellow, "but you
see I know who you are, in spite of that fleshy stuffing you have got
into."

"Bedad, there's no mistake about that, sir," replied Dan. "Would it be
too great a liberty to ax what it is I'm indebted to for the honor of
your company at this particular time?"

"Certainly not, Dan. The fact is, between you and me, I'm always
present where there's such good cheer to be found as I see before me."

"Indeed, sir, an' would it inconvenience you much to sit somewhere
else, for I'm mortial hungry at this present minit, an' I'm afeard I'd
be splashin' your boots with the gravy."

"Anything to oblige," said the other, jumping over the edge of the
plate, like a four-year old.

"Thank you, sir. I'll do as much for you, provided it's in my power,"
observed the hungry cobbler, drawing nearer a huge dish of curried
lobster, the spice-laden steam from which would create a new appetite
in repletion's self. Heaping up his plate, while his mouth filled with
water at the glorious sight, he was just about to shovel a vast
quantity into his capacious mouth, when a sharp

"Stop, Dan!" from the little jockey, arrested his hand mid-way.

"Do you know the result of your eating that mouthful?"

"Never a bit of me, sir," said Dan, making another movement towards his
head.

"Ha! wait till I tell you," cried the other.

Dan stopped again. "This is wonderful tantalizin' to an impty
Christian," said he.

"Listen, Dan. I have a sort of regard for you, and so I'll give you
this warning: If you swallow that stuff that's overloading your
knife"--Dan wasn't genteel in his eating--"I'll have to ride a hurdle
race upon your big toe, and I'll be bail that I'll make it beat all the
rest of your anatomy in the way of jumping."

"You don't mean that?" cried Dan, dropping knife and all into the plate
before him.

"Every word of it," said the little fellow.

"Oh, get out! you're not in airnest?"

"May-be you'd like to try?"

"Be the mortial o' war, I don't b'leeve you, anyway the hungriness is
drivin' all consequences out of me reckonin', so, here goes, jump or no
jump." So, with a desperate recklessness, Dan rushed greedily at the
eatables, and never in his life did he eat the tithe part of what he
demolished upon this occasion. Everything on the table disappeared
before his all-devouring appetite, like smoke, and as the materials
were handy, he topped all up with a "screechin' hot" tumbler of
whisky-punch, stiff enough to poke courage into any man's heart.

In the meantime, wholly absorbed in his prodigious banquet, he had
quite lost sight of his friend, the jockey; but now, as with a sigh of
intense satisfaction, he reclined back in the cushioned chair, he
became sensible of a sort of fidgetiness about his foot, and on looking
down, what should he see but the little chap, very busy indeed, with
his whip in his mouth, saddling up his big toe, as gingerly as you
please. He was just giving the girth a last pull, which he accompanied
with the usual jerking expression, making Dan wince a little, from a
sense of tightness in the nag.

The business-like manner of the chap, however, soon banished the
uncomfortable feeling, and so excited Dan's risibilities, that the
tears rolled down his cheeks with uncontrollable laughter. It is
astonishing how very near the surface the leverage of a good dinner and
a warm "tod," lifts up one's jolly feelings.

Dan was now in a condition to sign a treaty of perpetual amity with all
mankind.

Delusive tranquillity!

"Mount," cried the little rider, jumping into his saddle. "Hurrah! off
we go! heigh!"

The first slash of the whip and dig of the spur changed the nature of
Dan's emotions most effectually. He roared, he raged, he twisted about
like an eel on a spear. Still fiercely and unmercifully the little
jockey plied the lash and the goad. Still he shouted, "Hurrah! jump,
you devil, jump!"

Now, Dan swore like a rapparee; now, he called upon every saint in the
calendar; but there was no cessation to his torture. In the extremity
of his fury, he flung the whisky-bottle at the little rider's head; but
as it struck his own foot, it only augmented the terrible agony.

From praying and swearing he fell to weeping, but the stony-hearted
little tyrant was not assailable by tears or entreaties. Promises of
amendment were equally useless; until, at last, happening to recollect
what a horror all supernaturals have of the pure element, he seized a
tumbler of water, and nearly drowned his tormentor with its contents.
This had the desired effect. The little vagabond dismounted with a
shrill cry of annoyance, and rushed over towards the fire-place, to dry
his soaked garments.

"Ha, ha! you thief of the world, I know what'll settle your hash
now--wather!" said Dan, instantly relieved from pain; "and, wid a
blessin', you shall have enough of that same, if ever you venture to
come hurdle-racin' on any toes o' mine.

"Stick to that Dan, my hero," said the little fellow, as he shook the
drops off his drenched jacket; "stick to that, and you may depend upon
it that I'll never trouble you any more."

And so, having got rid of his enemy, Dan snuggled himself back into the
comfortable easy-chair, and very soon forgot himself and all the real
world, in the perplexities and comic horrors of a dyspeptic dream.



CHAPTER V.

    Within the home where jealousy is found,
    A Upas grows that poisons all around.


It would be as unprofitable as impossible to follow the ever-varying
images of a dream, which, apparently consumed the best part of a
century; every half hour of which had its separate distress, although
the actual period of time passed did not reach ten minutes, to such
singular and enormous expansion was the imagination swollen. The few
placid moments distorted into numberless years of terror, like the drop
of seemingly pure water, resolved, by microscopic power, into an ocean
of repulsive monsters.

Dan had just been very properly condemned to death for the five and
twentieth time, and had waited in gasping dread for the infliction of
some inconceivable--except under such circumstances--mode of bodily
torture, when he heard a tremendous noise, like the explosion of an
immense piece of ordnance, close by his side. With a nervous start,
that benumbed his frame like a powerful shock, he awoke, bathed in
perspiration and half dead with fright. The sound was repeated. It was
a simple, single, hesitating little knock at the chamber-door.

"Who's there?" he stammered, scarcely yet aroused to the consciousness
of his identity.

"It's me, sir," replied a gentle voice, that thrilled through him with
different sensations, for delight and joy stole over him like a
sun-ray. It was his wife's.

"Come in, Peg," said he, "for an angel that you are. If it wasn't for
this blessed interruption I'd have died in my bed with the wear an'
tear of murdherin' bad dreams." He would fain have rushed into Peggy's
arms as she entered, but the first attempt at making use of his
continuations painfully reminded him that they belonged to somebody
else. It also admonished him that it was necessary for him to support
his new character with dignity.

"Well, ma'm," said he, "what do you mean by disturbin' me in this
unprincipled way?"

"Indeed, sir," replied Peggy, timidly, "an' I'm a'most ashamed to tell
you; it's that man o' mine over the way, sir; sure, I don't know what's
come to him, at all, at all, within the last few hours."

"Ho! ho!" thought Dan, he's had a quare time of it as well as myself.
"What's the matter with him, Mrs. Duffy?"

"That's what I want to know, sir, av anybody'd only tell me; I never
knew him to kick up such tanthrums ever since we come together; musha!
sure, an' the devil's in him if ever he enthered a mortal body, this
blessed day--an' _dhrink!_ murdher alive, sir, av he wouldn't dhrink
the _say_ dhry av he only had the swally, I'm not here."

"That's bad, very bad, indeed," said the other, oracularly. "People
should never indulge in such terrible propensities," he went on, with a
bold attempt at Bulworthy's phraseology.

"Sure, sir, doesn't it depend upon what dhrives them to it?" replied
Peggy. "Throuble's mighty dhrouthy, sir, intirely; it dhrys up a poor
man's throat as if there was a fire in his mouth, and, indeed, me poor
Dan's poorer nor the poorest this holy day."

"That's no rayson, ma'm," said the other, with mock sternness, although
his frame was in a glow of joy at hearing how Peggy managed to find
excuses for his favorite failing. "That's no rayson, ma'm; the more
fool him for addin' flame to the fire."

"Thrue for you, sir, but then doesn't it dhrownd the blaze for the
time?"

"I'll answer ye that, Mrs. Duff, if you please, allygorically; did ye
ever see a few dhrops of sperrets flung into a blazin' fire? a
murdherin' lot of dhrowndin' there is about it; bedad, the fire only
burns with greater strength."

"Then, of coorse, your honor, it stands to good sense that it's foolish
to take _only_ a few dhrops," she replied, with a sly look at the
Squire, that made the laugh bubble all over his ruddy face.

"One would a'most suppose that you loved this Dan of yours," said he.

"Love him, sir! do the spring flowers love the sun? does the young
mother love her new-born babby?"

"Oh! murdher, murdher! listen to this," cried Dan; "an' me shut up
inside of this prison of a carcass; it was a mortial sin to leave her,
an' I'm sufferin' for it as I ought, an' it sarves me right." The
thought made him savage, so turning to poor Peggy with a look of anger,
he continued, fiercely:

"What brought you here, ma'm? may-be you'll condescind to inform me at
oncet."

"Oh! sir, don't be angry wid him, but its outrageous intirely that he
is; sure, he wants somethin' that I'm afeared to ax."

"What is it? don't keep me waitin' all day."

"I hope yer honor will take into considheration the way he's in just
now, for he sthole out onbeknown to me, an' how he got the sup, I can't
tell; but it's on him dhreadful, or he'd never think of the likes."

"The likes of what? what's throublin' him now? speak out, woman, or
you'll drive the little bit of patience that I have clean out of me."

"Then, sir, the long an' the short of it is, an' I dunno what put such
foolishness in his head, he towld me to ax yer honor, if yer honor had
a thrifle of that soup left; he'd take it as a mighty great favor if
yer honor would let him have the least taste in life of it," said
Peggy, with an extreme misgiving as to how so presumptuous a request
would be received.

"Is that all?" said Dan, calmly, to her intense relief. "Take it, an'
welcome, Mrs. Duff, an' if it does him as much good as it did me you
won't be throubled wid such a message again, I'll be bound; there's the
vagabone stuff in that big bowl over on the sideboard fornenst you; an'
tell him, by the same token, from me, that av he feels at all
uncomfortable in his present quarthers, it wouldn't kill me right out
to swap again."

"Swap what, sir?" inquired Peggy, rather mystified.

"Oh! he'll know what I mean."

"And so do I," screamed the irate Mrs. Bulworthy rushing into the room,
at the door of which, she had been listening during the entire
conversation, the spirit of which had inflamed her jealous temperament
up to fever heat.

"I know what you want to swap, you ill-conditioned profligate," she
went on, in true Zantippe style. "You want to swap wives, don't you?"

"Faix, an' you never said a thruer word," coolly replied Dan.

This was too much for the excited dame; with a yell of fury she rushed
at Peggy, and would assuredly have indented the marks of all her
finger-nails in her comely countenance, but that the other, finding the
door conveniently open, snatched up the tureen of soup and fled down
stairs like a phantom.

Her prey thus escaping, the shock of her terrible rage was concentrated
upon the head of the devoted Dan; to what grievous extremity it would
carry her he had not an idea, but he felt that something awful was
about to take place.

"Considher my misfortunes," he cried, "and be merciful, Mrs.
Bulworthy."

Implacable as the embodied Parcæ, she advanced towards him.

"You're not goin' to murdher me, woman," he roared.

Silently, she approached still nearer, desperation was in her aspect.

"Help, murdher, help!" cried Dan, inevitable fate seeming to be on the
point of overwhelming him in some way or another.

"What the divil is the ould monsther goin' to do?" thought he, as a
frightful suspicion raised his flesh into little hillocks, and made his
hair sting his head like needle-points, when he saw her deliberately
take a singular-looking phial and pour out a few drops of a fiery red
liquor, filling the rest of the glass with water, through which the
former hissed and eddied for a few moments, and then subsided into a
horrible blackness.

"Drink this," she ejaculated, solemnly, "and pay the penalty of your
infamous conduct."

"What is it?" he inquired, in a voice of alarm.

"Poison! you profligate," replied the other, regarding him with a
Borgian expression.

"Holy Vargin! an' me screwed into the floor wid this _threfalian_
gout," gasped Dan, his face bedewed with the effect of his mental
agony. "Stop! you murdherin' ould witch! Stop! you have no right to
sarve me this way. I don't belong to you at all," cried Dan, as a last
resource.

"What do you mean by that, you miserable sinner?"

"I mean that you're no wife o' mine, the Lord be praised for it."

"Would you deny your honest wife, you cannibal?"

"I would--I do," cried he, desperately.

"You're not my husband?"

"I'll be upon my Bible oath I'm not."

"What--not Bulworthy?"

"The divil a toe, ma'm, savin' yer presence. I'm Dan Duff, the cobbler,
from over the way."

"Oh, the man's mad--mad as a coot," said Mrs. Bulworthy, with appalling
calmness, "and it would only be a mercy to put him out of his misery,
soon an' suddent."

"_Tear an aigers_, av I only had the use of these blaggard legs of
mine, wouldn't I make an example of ye, you ould witch of Endher,"
muttered Dan. "I won't be slaughtered without an offer to save myself,
any way." With that, he started to his feet, and to his great surprise
and delight discovered that his powers of locomotion were unimpeded.
With a wild hurroo! he jumped, as only a Munster man can jump, and
dancing over to the now thoroughly alarmed Squiress, who could see
nothing in such extravagance but a confirmation of his utter insanity,
he lifted her in his arms as though she were a rag doll.

"Now, ma'm," said he, "I'll see if I can't cure your propensity for
pison. Into that closet you'll go, and out of it you sha'n't budge
until you come to your senses, or I come to myself; and I'm afeard that
one's as far off as the other--worse luck for both of us;" and so,
without the slightest attempt at resistance on her part, not knowing to
what extremity this outburst of madness would lead him, he snugly
deposited her ladyship in a corner cupboard, which he locked, and put
the key in his pocket, accompanying the whole movement with a paroxysm
of laughter, so long and loud that she congratulated herself upon the
slight shelter thus afforded her, and only feared that the next phase
in his malady would be of more sanguinary a nature.

This great feat accomplished, Dan threw himself back in the easy-chair,
and began seriously to ruminate upon his present condition and his
future prospects.

"This, then, is what I left my blessed Peg and the blesseder babby for;
to live a life of gout and conthrariness, never to have any confidence
in my muscles, but always thremblin' for feard that sharp-spurred
jockey would take a fancy for a canther, or, what's worse even than
that, to be in dhread of the penethratin' tongue of ould mother Gab,
yondher, whinever I'm laid by the leg; oh! if iver there was a poor
sinner that repinted, it's myself that's last on the list, an'
greatest; could I only see the darlin' of a sperret that gev me the
good advice I so foolishly kicked at, it's beg her pardon on my bended
knees--that I would, if it was hot cendhers that was undher them."

At that instant, he was aware of the gentlest of all gentle touches on
his shoulder, and on turning his head in the direction, sure enough,
there she was.

Dan was prostrate before her, in a moment. "Ora good luck and long life
to you, miss, for comin' to me in my disthress; I don't deserve it, I
know I don't."

"Get up, Mr. Duff," said the spirit. "I am but the reflection of your
better thoughts; therefore, you must proffer your repentance, through
me, to the throne of One who rules us both."

"I will, I will," cried the other; "truly and wholly," covering his
face with his hands, through which the tears now streamed copiously.

"What is your wish?" inquired the good spirit.

"You know, you _must_ know, for it's fairly breakin' my heart I am
here; I want to get back to myself, and Peggy, an' the boy."

"Ah! you have begun to think of _them_ at last."

"I own I have been selfish, sinfully, wretchedly selfish, but I'm
cured," replied Dan, in a tone of contrition.

"But you remember the conditions of the compact," said the other,
"neither of you can regain your original form and station unless both
consent."

"Oh! _wirrasthrue_, then I'll never be my own man again," sobbed Dan.
"Ould Bulworthy, bad 'cess to him, has the best of the bargain, an'
he'll stick to it like wax; small blame to him for it, seein' that I
sould my comfort entirely for a pair of murdherin' top-boots; he ain't
such an omathaun as to come back here to his gout an' his scowldin'
madame, when its a thrifle of hunger is all he'll have to put up wid,
over the way, an' there's happiness enough in one glance of Peggy's
bright eye, to swally that up if it was ten times as throublesome; and
there's the boy, too, that's like a growin' angel about the house,
fillin' up every spot of it wid heavenly joy; oh! _wirra, wirra!_ sure,
I didn't know the luck I was in until I lost it out an' out."

"The perversity of mankind is strange," said the spirit. "Are you
certain that Bulworthy is content in his present condition?"

"How the divil can he be otherwise?" replied the other, savagely.

"_You_ were not, you remember."

"Because I didn't know there was a _worse_: like an ignorant fool, I
thought that a scanty meal now and then was the greatest calamity in
the world; be me sowl, I've had the knowledge rubbed into my bones,
that too much is sometimes apt to sting a fellow afterwards more than
too little."

"Perhaps the sensation of hunger may be to him as disagreeable as the
sense of satiety is to you," suggested the spirit.

"Oh! if there was only a chance of that," cried Dan, brightening up at
the idea. "An' be the same token, now that I think of it, he did send
over for some of that vagabone soup; long life to you, you've put the
hope into me heart once more; but how the mischief am I to find out the
state of the ould blaggard's feelin's?"

"There's nothing like going to work in a straightforward way," said the
spirit; "just put on your hat and go over and ask him."

"Faix, an' I will, an' thank you kindly, too, for puttin' it into me
head," replied Dan.

"I wish you good morning, then," said the other, and even while Dan was
looking at her straight in her face, she gradually resumed her vapory
appearance, growing thinner and thinner, until she finally went out
like a puff of tobacco.



CHAPTER VI.

    "Within the circle of your own estate,
    Confine yourself, nor yearn for brighter fate."


And now let us return to the cobbler's cabin, and see how matters are
progressing there. Peggy has just brought over the tureen of soup so
fervently longed for by the changed Squire; with a cry of joy, for he
is very hard set, indeed, he seized the welcome gift, and placing it
between his knees as he sat on the low workstall, prepared to dive into
its savory contents, but a groan of horror and disappointment broke
from his lips when, on taking off the cover, he found the tureen was
empty.

"The pippin-squeezing ruffian," cried he, "he's sent it over without as
much as a smell, and I so mortial hungry that I could bite a tenpenny
nail in two; if he was here, bad 'cess to me if I wouldn't smash this
upon his head."

"That's mighty strange, entirely," said Peggy, "for I'll be on me oath
there was plenty in it when I took it off the Squire's sideboard."

"If there was, you must have gobbled it up yourself, or spilt it on the
street, you unconsiderate faymale," said Bulworthy.

"Is it me, indeed, Dan, jewel? it's well you know that if it was goold,
an' you could ate it, I wouldn't put a tooth into it, when I knew you
wanted it so dhreadful," replied Peggy, reproachfully.

"Well, may-be you wouldn't," doggedly observed Bulworthy; "but do, for
Heaven's sake, get me somethin' to put an end to the wobblin' that's
goin' on in the inside of me; may I never leave this place alive if I
think I've had a male's vitells for a month."

"How outrageous you are, Dan," sorrowfully replied the other. "Where am
I to get it?"

"Go out an' buy it, ov coorse."

"Arrah what with? I'd like to know; sure, an' won't we have to wait
until that purse-proud ould rap over the way pays us the shillin' that
he owes us."

A reproachful pang shot through the heart of Bulworthy at that
observation. "The ould skinflint," said he, "if I ever get near him
again, may-be I won't touch him up for not doin' that same."

"Indeed, an' it would sarve him right," Peggy went on. "Swimmin' in
plenty as he is, it's little that he thinks of the pinchin' hunger we
feel."

"Don't don't," cried Bulworthy, pressing his hands against his
gastronomic regions. "I feel it now, fairly sthranglin' me; it's just
as if some wild savage beast was runnin' up and down here, sarchin' for
somethin' to devour, and not bein' able to find it, is takin' mouthfuls
out of my intayrior by the way of a relish; oh! murdher, I never knew
what hunger was before."

"Didn't you, raylly?" Peggy replied, with a queer expression. "Faith,
then, it wasn't for the want of chances enough."

"I mean--don't bother--it's famished I am, and crazy a'most; is there a
dhrop of dhrink in the house?"

"Not as much as would make a tear for a fly's eye," said Peg.

"No! then what the Puck are we to do?"

"Bear it, I suppose, as well as we can; we've often done it afore, an'
what's worse, will have to do it agin, unless the hearts of the rich
changes towards us."

"Oh! if ever I get back to myself again," muttered the hungry Squire.
"Peg, darlin', go over to the old schamer, an' tell him that av he
doesn't send me the shillin' I'll expose him, I know more about him
than he thinks for; if he's black conthrary, you might just whisper in
his lug that I'm up to his thricks when he was in the grocery line; ax
him for me, who shoved the pennies into the butther, wathered the
whisky, and sanded the shugar, who"----

"Why, for gracious sake, Dan, where did you pick up all that
knowledgeableness?" interrupted Peggy.

"Hem! no matther--never you mind--may-be I only dhreamt it," replied
Bulworthy, with some hesitation. "I don't know exactly what I was
talkin' about; it's the imptyness that's speakin', so I wouldn't
mention it; only go and get somethin' somewhere, av it was only a
brick."

"I'll be at him again, Dan, sence you wish it; but it's little blood
I'm thinking, we'll be able to squeeze out of his turnip of a heart,"
said Peggy, putting on her shawl and bonnet, to make the thankless
attempt. As she was going out of the door, however, she saw the Squire
hobbling across the street.

"Talk of the--what's his name--May I never, but here the ould reprobate
comes, hoppin' gingerly over the stones, like a hen walkin' on a hot
griddle. May the saints soften him all over, an' make his heart as
tendher as his toes this blessed day. I'll lave you wid him, Dan,
darlin', for I'm not over partial to his company. So I'll take the
babby out for a blast o' fresh air while yez are convarsin'."

Peggy's preparations for her promenade were quickly made, which
resulted in her leaving the place before the gouty visitor had
accomplished his short but painful transit from house to house.

"A pretty thing _I've_ done for myself," groaned Bulworthy, suffering
alike from thirst, hunger, and cold, as he vainly strove, by slapping
his hands against his chest, to make the blood circulate warmly through
his finger-ends. "Ov coorse that cobblin' scoundrel will never consent
to come back to his starvation and poverty--he'd be a greater fool even
than I was if he did. Ah! if I ever do get back to a good dinner again,
there shan't be a poor devil within a mile of me that'll ever want one
while I live. Here comes the cripple; the only chance I have is to
pretend that I'm in a sort of second-hand paradise here." So saying, he
commenced to sing, in a voice of exaggerated jollity, a verse of

    "The jug o' punch,"

accompanying the tune by vigorous whacks of his hammer upon the piece
of sole-leather he was beating into the requisite toughness.

The united sounds of merriment and industry smote upon Dan's heart like
a knell.

"Listen at the happy ragamuffin, working away like a whole hive o'
bees, and chirpin' like a pet canary-bird," said he to himself. "Oh,
it's aisy seen he won't want to renew his acquaintance wid this
murdherin' gout an' the useless money--but, hit or miss, it won't do to
let him see me down in the mouth."

So, putting on a careless swagger, and forcing a tone of joyousness
into his voice:

"Hallo, cobbler," he cried, "there you are, bellusin' away like a
bagpiper. What an iligant thing it is to see such poor wretches
whistlin' themselves into an imitation of comfort."

"How do you know but I'm crammed full of real comfort, bad luck to yer
mockin' tongue?" said Bulworthy, disgusted at the other's satisfied
demeanor.

"It's pleased I am to see your foggy moon of a face, anyway," he went
on. "Where's me shillin'?"

"Why, you poor, miserable attenuation of humanity, how dare you address
yourself to me in that orthodox manner?" observed Dan, with an
ambitious attempt at Bulworthy's magniloquence.

"Miserable, eh?" replied the other, with a chirp. "Is it me miserable,
wid such a home as this?"

"It's all over," thought Dan, "the ould brute's as happy as a bird. Bad
luck to the minute that my own pelt made a cage for him."

"Go home," Bulworthy continued, with a grin. "Home to yer wretched
hospital of a gazebo."

"Wretched!" retorted Dan, "you wouldn't call it wretched if you saw the
dinner I had to-day; enough, yer sowl to glory, to satisfy half a dozen
families."

"That were starvin' around you," cried Bulworthy, with a severe
internal spasm, induced by the mention of the dinner.

"Aha! you're beginnin' to think of that now, are you?" said Dan,
tauntingly. "How do you like dinin' on spoonfuls of air, and rich men's
promises to pay? Bedad, I'm thinkin I have the best of you there."

"Hould yer prate, you ould Turk, an' give me me shillin'," roared
Bulworthy, getting impatient.

"The divil a shillin' you get out o' me, that I can tell you. I've got
the upper hand of ye this time, an' I'll keep it. It's hungry enough
that you've seen me before now, an' tit for tat's fair play all the
world over."

"He's content and comfortable, there's no mistake about that," thought
Bulworthy, "and I'm booked for starvation all the rest of my miserable
days."

"Gout's my lot; I can see that with half an eye," said Dan to himself.
"The ould blaggard will never consent to get into these legs again."

"Squire!" cried the cobbler, suddenly, "do you know that the hunger
sometimes puts desperate thoughts into a man's head? You owe me a
shillin'. I want something to ate. Are you goin' to give it to me?"

"Supposin' I didn't?" said Dan, coolly.

"Bad luck attind me if I don't shake it out o' you, you iron-hearted
ould Craysus," replied the other, doggedly.

"I'd like to see you thryin' that," said Dan, flourishing a huge
blackthorn stick dangerously. "You're wake wid the want, an' I'm
sthrong wid vittles an' wine. It's aisy to foretell whose head would be
cracked first."

"Oh, murdher, Squire, jewel, it's right that you are, for I _am_
just as wake as wather itself, an' the jaws of me is fairly rustin' in
their sockets for the want of dacent exercise," cried the now subdued
Bulworthy. "For the tindher mercy of goodness, then, av you've got the
laste taste ov compassion in yer throat, give us a thrifle, av it was
only the price ov a salt herrin' or a rasher o' bakin'."

"Oh, ho! it's there you are," thought Dan, as, rendered more hopeful by
this injudicious outburst, he assumed a still more severe aspect.

"It's good for you to feel that way," said he, "an' it's mighty little
else you can ever expect while you're throublin' the earth, you
impidint cobbler. Look at me, you ungrateful thief o' the world--what's
all your hungry nibblin's compared wid the sharp tooth that's
perpetually gnawin' at my exthremities? To be sure, the jingle of the
goold here in my pockets, keeps the pain undher considherably."

"I know it, I know it," groaned Bulworthy. "Oh, av there was only a
market for fools, wouldn't I fetch a high price?"

"Purvided that it wasn't overstocked," said Dan, with a mental
addition, which he wisely kept to himself, as, suppressing the violent
pain he was suffering, he burst into a merry laugh at the doleful
appearance of his companion in distress. "Cheer up, man alive," cried
he, through his enforced joyousness; "take example by your neighbors,
and content yourself wid your condition. I'm sure it's a mighty
agreeable one. See how comfortable I am, an' there's no knowin' what a
numberless conglomeration of annoyances men in my responsible station
have to put up wid."

"Why, then it's aisy for you to chat," replied Bulworthy, bitterly,
"wid your belly full of prog, rattlin' yer money in yer pockets, and
greggin' a poor empty Christian wid the chink; but av you had only
dined wid me to-day, you wouldn't be so bumptious, I'll be bound."

"Me dine wid you, is it? bedad, an' that's a good joke," said Dan, with
another explosion of laughter. "Ho, ho! my fine fella, av jokes was
only nourishin', what a fine feed of fun you might have, to be sure."

"Oh, then, by the king of Agypt's baker, that was hanged for makin' his
majesty's loaf short weight--the divil's cure to him--it's starved I'd
be that way too, for the fun's pinched right out o' me," replied the
Squire, in a melancholy tone.

"Why, you don't mane to be tellin' me that you're unhappy in yer
present lot?" Dan asked, in the hope of coming to the point at once.

"Where would be the use in sayin' I'm not?" replied the other,
cautiously.

"Only just for the pleasure of gettin' at the thruth."

"Bedad, he'd be a wise man that could crack that egg. If it comes to
that, how do you like them legs o' yours? It isn't much dancin' you do
now, I'm thinkin'."

"Well, not a great dale, seein' that it's a foolish sort of exercise
for a man of my consequence," said Dan, shaking the guineas about in
his pockets with increased vigor.

"An' how do you find the Misthress's timper now, might I ax?" inquired
Bulworthy, with a meaning look.

"Aisy as an ould glove, I'm obliged to you," Dan replied, with wondrous
placidity of countenance.

"Peg, my Peg's a real blessin' in a house; an' as for that jewel of a
babby"----

"Howld yer decateful tongue, you circumventin' ould tory," cried Dan,
shaking his fist in the other's face, rendered almost beside himself by
the allusion to his lost treasures; "do you mind this, you chatin'
disciple, av you dare to brag ov havin' any property in them two people
I'll give your dirty sowl notice to quit the tinimint that it's
insultin' every second o' time you dhraw a breath."

"How can you help yerself, I'd like to know?" demanded Bulworthy, in an
insolent tone. "Doesn't Peg belong to me now, an' the child?"

"Be the mortial o' war, av ye don't stop your tongue from waggin' in
that way, bad luck to me av I don't take ye be the scruff o' the neck,
an shake ye out o' me skin, you robber," shouted Dan, still more
furiously--unfortunately losing sight of his discretion in the
blindness of his rage, for Bulworthy, thinking he saw a gleaming of
hope, determined to pursue his advantage; so he continued:

"The devil a toe will you ever come near them again, my fine fella.
Possession's nine points of the law; an' as it's your own countenance
that I'm carryin', you can't swear me out o' my position. More betoken,
there's no use in yer gettin' obsthropulous, for I've only to dhrop the
lapstone gingerly upon yer toes, to make you yell out like a stuck
pig."

At hearing these conclusive words, Dan's policy and his philosophy fled
together, and he poured forth the feelings of his heart without
concealment or restraint.

"You murdherin' ould vagabone," he cried; "you've got the upper hand of
me, an' full well you know it; the divil take yer dirty money, that's
weighin' down my pockets; but weighin' my heart down more nor that, av
it wasn't that I don't know exactly what harum I'd be doin' to meself;
may I never sin av I wouldn't pelt the life out o' you wid fistfulls of
it; but it sarves me right, it sarves me right," he went on, swaying
his body to and fro, as he sat on the little stool. "Oh! wirra, wirra!
what a born natheral I was to swap away my darlin' Peg, that's made out
of the best parts of half a dozen angels, for that wizen-faced daughter
of ould Nick beyont; an' the blessed babby, too, that's so fresh from
the skies that the smell o' Heaven sticks about him yet; to get nothin'
for him but a pair of legs that can't lift me over a _thranieen_; oh!
it's mad that it's dhrivin' me, intirely."

"Don't take it so much to heart; gruntin', and growlin', an twistin'
yerself into a thrue lover's knot, won't do any good now, you know,"
said Bulworthy, with a quiet smile.

"I know it won't, and that's what makes me desperate," replied Dan,
starting up, with clenched teeth, and a dangerous glance in his eye.

"One word for all," he continued, "are you going to give me back
meself?"

"I'd be a purty fool to do that, accordin' to your own story," said the
other, calmly, now tolerably sure of his ground.

"Then Heaven forgive me, but here goes," cried Dan, resolutely. "Peg,
jewel, it's for your sake an' the child; I can't live widout yez,
anyhow, an' so I may's well thravel the dark road at oncet."

"What do you mane, you wild-lookin' savage?" shouted Bulworthy, as he
saw the other advance threateningly towards him.

"I mane to thry and squeeze the breath out ov you, or get meself
throttled in the attempt," said Dan, sternly; "I know that I'm no match
for you now, bad 'cess to your podgey carcass that I'm obleeged to
carry, whether I will or no; come on, you thief o' the world, come on;
it doesn't matther a sthraw which of us is sint into kingdom come, only
it's mighty hard for me to have the since knocked out o' me by me own
muscles."

So saying, he put forth all the strength he could muster, and clenched
Bulworthy manfully; short, but decisive was the struggle, for the
superior vigor of the latter, enabled him to shake off Dan like a
feather, and when he rushed again to the attack, Bulworthy seized the
ponderous lapstone, and raising it at arm's length, let its whole force
descend upon Dan's unprotected head, crushing him down prone and
senseless as though he had been stricken by a thunderbolt.

It was some time before Dan returned to full consciousness; but when he
did, what was his intense delight to find Peggy bending over him,
tenderly bathing a trifling wound in his head.

"Hurrah, Peg! it is back I am to myself in airnest," he cried. "Give us
a bit of the lookin'-glass, darlin'; oh! the butcherin' ruffian, what a
crack he gev me on me skull."

"Whisht, don't talk, Dan, acush," said Peggy, in a low, musical voice;
"shure, its ravin' you've been, terrible; oh! that whisky, that
whisky!"

A sudden thought flashed across Dan's mind, which he judiciously kept
to himself; and, inasmuch, as the reader may, without much exercise of
ingenuity imagine what that thought was, the narrator will be silent,
also.

It will be no abuse of confidence, however, to say that the lesson Dan
received, did him good, for he never was known to repine at his lot,
but, redoubling his exertions, was enabled, after a few years had
elapsed, to sport his top-boots on Sundays, and Peggy to exhibit her
silk "gound," as well as the purse-proud Squire and his gay madame,
over the way.



THE BLARNEY STONE.

    Oh, did you ne'er hear of the Blarney,
    'Tis found near the banks of Killarney,
    Believe it from me, no girl's heart is free,
    Once she hears the sweet sound of the Blarney.

    LOVER.


"I tell you, Mike, agra! it's no manner o' use, for do it I can't, an'
that's the long an' the short of it."

"Listen at him, why it isn't bashful that you are, eh, Ned, avic?"

"Faix, an' I'm afeard it is."

"_Gog's bleakey!_ why, they'll put you in the musayum along wid
the marmaids an' the rattlin' sneaks; a bashful Irishman! why, a
four-leaved shamrogue 'ud be a mutton-chop to that, man alive."

"So they say; but I've cotch the complaint anyway."

"Well, _tear an aigers_, I never heerd the likes; it makes me mighty
unhappy, for if modesty gets a footin' among us it'll be the ruin of us
altogether. I shouldn't wonder but some of them retirin' cockneys has
inoculated us with the affection, as they thravelled through the
country. Well, an' tell us, how d'you feel whin you're blushin' Ned?"

"Arrah! now don't be laughin' at me, Mike; sure we can't help our
wakeness--it's only before her that the heart of me melts away
intirely."

"Never mind, avic; shure it's a good man's case anyway; an' so purty
Nelly has put the _comether_ over your sinsibilities?"

"You may say that, Mike, _aroon_. The niver a bit of sinse have I left,
if it's a thing that I iver happened to have any; an' now, Mike,
without jokin', isn't it mighty quare that I can't get the cowardly
tongue to wag a word out o' my head when her eye is upon me--did you
iver see Nelly's eye, Mike?"

"Scores o' times."

"May-be that isn't an eye?"

"May-be there isn't a pair of thim, since you come to that?"

"The divil such wicked-lookin' innocince iver peeped out of the head of
a Christian afore, to my thinkin'."

"It's nothin' but right that you should think so, Ned."

"Oh, Mike! to me, the laugh that bames out of thim, whin she's happy,
is as good to a boy's feelin's as the softest sun-ray that iver made
the world smile; but whin she's sad--oh, murdher, murdher! Mike--whin
them wathery dimonds flutthers about her silky eye-lashes, or hangs
upon her downy cheek, like jew upon a rose-lafe, who the divil could
endure it? Bedad, it's as much as I can do to stand up agin them merry
glances; but when her eye takes to the wather, be the powers of war, it
bothers the navigation of my heart out an' out."

"Thrue for you, Ned."

"An' thin her mouth! Did you iver obsarve Nelly's mouth, Mike?"

"At a distance, Ned."

"Now, that's what I call a rale mouth, Mike; it doesn't look like some,
only a place to ate with, but a soft-talkin', sweet-lovin' mouth, wid
the kisses growin in clusthers about it that nobody dare have the
impudence to pluck off, eh! Mike?"

"Howld your tongue, Ned."

"If Nelly's heart isn't the very bed of love, why thin Cupid's a
jackass, that's all. An' thin her teeth; did you notice thim teeth? why
pearls is pavin'-stones to them; how they do flash about, as her
beautiful round red lips open to let out a voice that's just for all
the world like talkin' honey, every word she says slippin' into a
fellow's soul, whether he likes it or not. Oh! Mike, Mike, there's no
use in talkin', if she isn't an angel, why she ought to be, that's
all."

"You're mighty far gone, Ned, an' that's a fact. It's wonderful what a
janius a boy has for talkin' nonsense when the soft emotions is
stirrin' up his brains. Did you ever spake to her?"

"How the divil could I? I was too busy listenin'; an' more betoken,
between you an' me, the rale truth of the matter is, I couldn't do it.
Whether it was bewitched I was, or that my sinses got dhrounded wid
drinkin' in her charms, makin' a sort of a mouth of my eye, I don't
know, but ev'ry time I attempted to say somethin', my tongue, bad luck
to it, staggered about as if it was corned, an' the divil a word would
it say for itself, bad or good."

"Well, now, only to think. Let me give you a word of advice, Ned; the
next time you see her, take it aisy, put a big stone upon your feelin's
an' ax about the weather; you see you want to bowlt out all you have to
say at once, an' your throat is too little to let it through."

"_Be the mortial_, an' that's a good advice, Mike, if I can but folly
it. This love is a mighty quare affection, ain't it?"

"Thremendious. I had it oncet myself."

"How did you ketch it?"

"I didn't ketch it at all. I took it natural."

"And did you ever get cured, Mike? Tell us."

"Complately."

"How?"

"I got married."

"Oh! let us go to work."

                 *       *       *       *       *

From the foregoing characteristic conversation between Mike Riley and
his friend, Ned Flynn, it would appear pretty evident that the blind
boy's shaft,

    "Feathered with pleasure and tipped with pain,"

was fast embedded in the heart of the latter, or in plainer and not
less expressive phrase, he was bothered entirely by Miss Nelly Malone.

During an interval of rest from mowing, the dialogue took place; that
over, they resumed their labor; the convalescent "married man" humming
a sprightly air, which kept time to the stroke of his scythe, while the
poor wounded deer, Ned, came in now and then with an accompaniment of
strictly orthodox sighs.

It certainly was a most extensive smite on the part of pretty Nell; and
a nobler heart never beat under crimson and gold, than the honest,
manly one which now throbbed with the first ardor of a passion pure and
unselfish. A short time longer, and they rested again. Ned was sad and
silent; and the never-forgotten respect, which makes suffering sacred
in the eyes of an Irish peasant, kept Mike mute also; at last, Ned,
with a half downcast, whole sheepish expression, said, the ghost of a
smile creeping over his features:

"Mike, do you know what?"

"What?" said Mike.

"I've writ a song about Nelly."

"No," rejoined his friend, with that ambiguous emphasis which might as
well mean yes. Adding, with dexterous tact, "Is it a song? An' why the
mischief shouldn't you; sure an' haven't you as illigant a heart to
fish songs up out as anybody else? Sing us it."

"I'm afeard that you'll laugh if I do, Mike."

"Is it me?" replied Mike, so reproachfully that Ned was completely
softened. After the making-your-mind-up minute or two, with a fine,
clear voice, he sung.


    THE ROSE OF TRALEE.

    All ye sportin' young heroes, wid hearts light an' free,
    Take care how you come near the town of Tralee;
    For the witch of all witches that iver wove spell
    In the town of Tralee, at this moment does dwell.
    Oh, then, don't venture near her, be warned by me,
    For the divil all out is the Rose of Tralee.

    She's as soft an' as bright as a young summer morn,
    Her breath's like the breeze from the fresh blossom'd thorn,
    Her cheek has the sea shell's pale delicate hue,
    And her lips are like rose leaves just bathed in the dew;
    So, then, don't venture near her, be warned by me,
    For she's mighty desthructive, this Rose of Tralee.

    Oh! her eyes of dark blue, they so heavenly are
    Like the night sky of summer, an' each holds a star;
    Were her tongue mute as silence, man's _life_ they'd control;
    But eyes an' tongue both are too much for one's _soul_.
    Young men, stay at home, then, and leave her to me,
    For I'd die with delight for the Rose of Tralee.

And now, after this toploftical illustration of the state of Ned's
feelings, and inasmuch as they are about to resume their labor, let us
leave them to their mowing, and see after Miss Nelly Malone, for love
of whom poor Ned had _tasted_ of the Pierian spring.

In a neat little chamber, bearing about it the unmistakable evidence of
a tidy woman's care, sits the individual herself, her little fingers
busily employed in knitting a very small stocking--her own; no trace of
wealth is to be seen in this humble abode, but of its more than
equivalent, comfort, it is redolent. At the open casement there peep in
the blossoms of the honey-suckle and the sweet-pea, filling the air
with a perfume, more grateful than art could ever obtain; sundry
_artless_ prints, and here and there a ballad on some heart-breaking
subject, probably amongst them the highwayman's autoballadography,
wherein he heroically observes,

    "I robbed Lord Mansfield, I do declare,
    And Lady Somebody in Grosvenor Square,"

are fastened to the walls, decorated with festoons of cut paper of most
dazzling variety of color; a fine, plump, contented lark, in an open
cage, which he scorns to leave, returns his mistress's caress with a
wild, grateful song, whilst, tutored into friendliness, a beautiful
sleek puss, whose furry coat glances like satin in the sun-ray, dozes
quietly upon the window-sill, indulging in that low purr, which is the
sure indication of a happy cat. It is the home of innocence and beauty,
fitly tenanted.

And what are pretty Nelly's thoughts, I wonder; a shade of something,
which may be anxiety or doubt, but scarcely sorrow, softens the
brightness of her lovely face. She speaks, 'twill be no treason to
listen. You will perceive that the cat is her _confidante_--a discreet
one it must be confessed.

"It's foolishness, so it is; isn't it puss?"

Puss doesn't condescend to notice the remark.

"Now, Minny, isn't it, I ask you, isn't it folly, the worst of folly to
be thinkin' of one who doesn't think of me? I won't do it any more,
that I won't. Heigh 'ho! I wonder if he loves me. I somehow fancy he
does, and yet again if he did, why couldn't he say so; there's one
thing certain, and that is, I don't love _him_, that is to say, I
_won't_ love him; a pretty thing, indeed, to give my heart to one who
wouldn't give me his in return. That _would_ be a bad bargain, wouldn't
it, puss?"

Pussy acquiesced, for silence, they say, is synonymous.

"But, oh!" resumed Nelly, "if I thought he _did_ love me--there, now,
I've dropped a stitch--what _am_ I thinkin' of?--I mustn't give way to
such foolishness. Why, the bird is done singin', and Minny is looking
angry at me out of her big eyes--don't be jealous, puss, you shall
always have your saucer of milk, whatever happens, and--hark! that's
his step, it is! he's comin'! I wonder how I look," and running to her
little glass, Nelly, with very pardonable vanity, thought those
features could not well be improved, and--the most curious part of the
matter--she was right.

"He's a long time coming," thought she, as, stealing a glance through
the white window-curtain she saw Ned slowly approach the garden gate;
gladly would she have flown to meet him, but maidenly modesty
restrained her; now he hesitates a moment, takes a full gulp of breath,
and nears the house; at every approaching step, Nelly's pulse beat
higher; at last she bethought herself it would be more prudent to be
employed; so, hastily taking up her work, which was twisted and
ravelled into inextricable confusion, with a seeming calm face she
mechanically plied her needles, her heart giving one little shiver as
Ned rapped a small, chicken-livered rap at the door. Nelly opened it
with a most disingenuous, "Ah! Ned, is that you? who _would_ have
thought it! Come in, do."

The thermometer of Nelly's feelings was about fever heat, yet she
forced the index to remain at freezing point. "Take a chair, won't
you?"

And there sat those two beings, whose hearts yearned for each other,
looking as frigid as a pair of icicles, gazing on the wall, the floor,
pussy, or the lark. Ned suddenly discovered something that wanted a
deal of attending to in the band of his hat; whilst Nelly, at the same
time, evinced an extraordinary degree of affection for the cat. To say
the truth, they were both very far from comfortable. Ned had thoroughly
made up his mind to speak this time if ruin followed, and had even gone
so far as to have settled upon his opening speech, but Nelly's cold and
indifferent "take a chair," frightened every word out of his head; it
was essentially necessary that he should try to recover himself, and he
seemed to think that twisting his hat into every possible form and
tugging at the band were the only possible means by which it could be
accomplished. Once more all was arranged, and he had just cleared his
throat to begin, when the rascally cat turned sharply round and stared
him straight in the face, and in all his life he thought he never saw
the countenance of a dumb creature express such thorough contempt.

"It well becomes me," thought he, "to be demeanin' myself before the
cat," and away flew his thoughts again.

Of course, all this was very perplexing to Nelly, who, in the
expectation of hearing something interesting, remained patiently
silent. There was another considerable pause; at last, remembering his
friend Mike's advice, and, moreover, cheered by a most encouraging
smile from the rapidly-thawing Nell, Ned wound up his feelings for one
desperate effort, and bolted out--

"Isn't it fine to day, Miss Malone?"

Breaking the silence so suddenly that Nelly started from her chair, the
lark fluttered in the cage, and puss made one jump bang into the
garden.

Amazed and terrified by the results of his first essay, fast to the
roof of his mouth Ned's tongue stuck once more, and finding it of no
earthly use trying to overcome his embarrassment--that the more he
floundered about the deeper he got into the mud, he gathered himself
up, made one dash through the door, and was off like lightning. Nelly
sighed as she resumed her knitting, and this time she was sad in
earnest.

"Well, what luck?" said Mike, as, nearly out of breath from running,
Ned rejoined him in the meadow. "Have you broke the ice?"

"Bedad, I have," said Ned, "and more betoken, fell into the wather
through the hole."

"Why, wouldn't she listen to you?"

"Yes, fast enough, but I didn't give her a chance; my ould complaint
came strong upon me. Ora! what's the use in havin' a tongue at all, if
it won't wag the words out of a fellow's head. I'm a purty speciment of
an omad-haun; there she sot, Mike, lookin' out of the corners of her
eyes at me, as much as to say, spake out like a man, with a soft smile
runnin' about all over her face, and playing among her beautiful
dimples, like the merry moonbame dancin' on the lake. Oh, murther!
Mike, what the mischief am I to do? I can't live without her, an' I
haven't the heart to tell her so."

"Well, it is disgraceful," replied Mike, "to see a good-lookin' man
disparage his country by flinchin from a purty girl; may-be it might do
you good to go an' kiss the BLARNEY STONE."

"That's it," exclaimed Ned, joyously clapping his hands together, and
cutting an instinctive caper, "that's it. I wonder I niver thought of
it before; I'll walk every stitch of the way, though my legs should
drop off before I got half there. Do you think it 'ud do me good to
kiss it?"

"Divil a doubt of it--sure it never was known to fail yet," said Mike,
oracularly.

"Why, then, may I niver ate a male's vittles, if there's any vartue in
the stone, if I don't have it out of it." And that very night, so eager
was Ned to get cured of his bashfulness, off he started for Killarney.
It was a long and tedious journey, but the thought of being able to
speak to Nelly when he returned, was sufficient to drive away fatigue;
in due time he reached the far-famed castle,

    "On the top of whose wall,
    But take care you don't fall,
    There's a stone that contains all the Blarney!"

Mike climbed with caution, discovered the identical spot, and believing
implicitly that his troubles were now at an end, knelt, and with a
heart-whole prayer for his absent Nelly, reverently kissed _The
Blarney Stone_.

True, devoted love had lent him strength to overcome the difficulties
of access, and imagination, that powerful director of circumstance, did
the rest. It was with humility and diffidence he had approached the
object of his pilgrimage, but he descended from it with head erect and
countenance elated; he could now tell his burning thoughts in _her_
ear; he was a changed man; a very pretty girl, who officiated as guide,
and upon whose pouting lips, report says, the efficacy of the charm
has been frequently put to the test, met him at the archway of the
castle--for no other reason in the world than merely to try if he were
sufficiently imbued with the attractive principle--Ned watched an
opportunity, and, much more to his own astonishment than to hers, gave
her a hearty kiss, starting back to watch the effect. She frowned not,
she did not even blush. Ned was delighted; his end was obtained.

"He could kiss who he plazed with his Blarney;" consequently, feeling
supremely happy, without losing another moment, he retraced his steps
homeward.

Meantime, Nelly missed her silent swain, whose absence tended
materially to strengthen the feeling of affection which she entertained
for him; day after day crept on, yet he came not; and each long hour of
watching riveted still more closely her heart's fetters. Now, for the
first time, she acknowledged to herself how essential he was to her
happiness, and with a fervent prayer that the coming morning might
bring him to her side, she closed each day. Her wonder at last at his
continued absence quickened into anxiety, and from anxiety into alarm.
Jealousy, without which there cannot be a perfect love, spread its dark
shadow o'er her soul, and she was wretched. In vain she reasoned with
herself; the sun of her existence seemed suddenly to be withdrawn, and
all was gloom; even the very bird, appearing to share his mistress's
mood, drooped his wing and was silent; so much are externals influenced
by the spirit of the hour, that her homey chamber felt comfortless and
solitary. Nelly loved with a woman's love, devotedly, intensely,
wholly; to lose him would be to her the loss of all that rendered life
worth living for; hers was an affection deserving that which was given
in lieu, although as yet she knew it not.

Gazing out one day in the faint hope of seeing something of her
beloved, her heart gave one sudden and tremendous bound. She saw
him--he had returned at last. But how changed in demeanor. Can her eyes
deceive her? No. Her heart tells her it is he, and it could not err.

Instead of the downcast look and hesitating step, joy laughed forth
from his face, and his tread was easy, rollicking, and careless; as he
came nearer, she thought she heard him sing; he did sing! what could it
portend? Had he found one who knew how to break the shell of reserve?
'Twas torture to think so, and yet it was the first image that
presented itself to her anxious heart. It was now her turn to be
tongue-tied, dumb from agitation; she could not utter a syllable, but
trembling to the very core, sat silently awaiting what she feared was
to prove the funeral knell of her departed happiness.

With a merry song upon his lips, Ned lightly bounded over the little
paling, and in a minute more was in her presence. Speak or move she
could not, nor did his first salutation place her more at ease.

"Nelly," said he, "you drove me to it, but it's done! it's done!"

"What's done--what can he mean?" thought Nelly, more agitated than
ever.

"It's all over now," he continued, "for I've kissed it. Don't you hear
me, Nelly? I say I've kissed it."

"In heaven's name," cried the pale, trembling girl, "what do you
mean--kissed who?"

"No _who_ at all," said Ned, laughingly, "but _it_, I've kissed _it_."

"Kissed what?"

"Why, the Blarney Stone, to be sure," screamed out Ned, flinging his
hat at pussy, and executing an extremely complicated double-shuffle in
the delight of the moment; indeed, conducting himself altogether in a
manner which would have jeopardized the sanity of any one but a
love-stricken Irishman.

"Sure it was all for you, Nelly, mavourneen, that I did it; it has
loosened the strings of my tongue, and now I can tell you how deeply
your image is burnin' within my very heart of hearts, you bright-eyed,
beautiful darling!"

What more he said or did, it will be unnecessary for me to relate;
suffice it to say that the world-renowned talisman lost none of its
efficacy on this particular occasion. One observation of pretty Nell's,
I think is worthy of record. At the close of a most uninteresting
conversation, to anybody but themselves, the affectionate girl
whispered to him:

"_Dear Ned, you needn't have gone so far!_"

The course of true love sometimes _does_ run smooth, a great authority
to the contrary, nevertheless, for in about three weeks' time, the
chapel bells rang merrily for the wedding of Edward and Nelly. Aye, and
what's more, neither of them had ever cause to regret Ned's visit to
THE BLARNEY STONE.



THE GOSPEL CHARM.


A finer looking fellow could not be met with in a day's walk than
Gerald Desmond, the only son of the wealthy widow Desmond, her pride
and sole comfort; tall and strikingly handsome, he had that buoyant,
reckless air and continuous flow of spirits which would indicate the
possessor of a heart, over whose welfare the gales of adversity had but
lightly swept.

At the period which commences my narrative, he is holding an animated
conversation with his foster-brother and fast friend, Frank Carolan.
Frank is also a fine, manly specimen of humanity, much more humbly
dressed than his companion, yet still with a something of superiority
about him, which would prevent a stranger from passing by without a
second look. The substance of their conversation may afford a key to
their pursuits and feelings.

"Don't talk to me about Biddy Magra. I tell you she's not to be
compared to Judy Murphy," said Gerald.

"May-be she isn't, and then again, may-be she is," very logically
replied Frank, with the manner of one who did not exactly like to
contradict his superior, or altogether give up his own opinion.

"Did you ever see a prettier girl than Judy?" inquired Gerald.

"Hum! It strikes me that I have, once or twice," said Frank, which was
very probable, seeing that he had the prettiest girl in the county for
a sister, a fact which Gerald well knew, although, as yet, he hardly
dared to acknowledge it to himself.

"No you haven't--you couldn't, there isn't, there shan't be anything to
equal her within a hundred miles," continued Gerald, partly for the
sake of argument, and partly because he really did think so at the
moment. "And if I could only bring myself to abandon the delicious
society of the charming sex, and concentrate the affections of Gerald
Desmond upon one individual, she would be the enviable person."

"So you've said to every decent-lookin' colleen that came near you ever
since you've had a heart to feel. You're as changeable as the moon."

"I was, I was; but now I'm fixed, settled, constant as the sun."

"Mighty like the sun, that has a warm beam for every planet, or may-be
more like a parlor stove, that burns up any sort of coal. You'll never
be steady to one, Gerald."

"Well, we'll see. I've loved Judy three weeks without stopping, and
that's a good sign; but I'm going to have a game at loo, and top up
with a jollification; you must come along, Frank."

"No, no, master Gerald; it's well enough for you golden-spoon folks to
waste time, but I am one of the unfortunate wooden-ladle people. I must
go to work."

"Work! Hang work," cried Gerald, who never suffered an obstacle to
remain which opposed his will or pleasure. "You needn't want money
while I'm with you, Frank. Come, only this once; deuce take it, let us
enjoy the present, and let to-morrow look out for itself. I shan't ask
you again--_only this once_."

"Well, then," said Frank, irresolutely, "I'll go, but remember, 'tis
_only for this once_."

"ONLY FOR THIS ONCE." How often, without thinking of its awful import,
has this _lie_ been uttered! Let the soul but _for once_ diverge from
the appointed path, how difficult to return! But when to each seductive
voice which beckons from the way-side, the victim cries, I shall enjoy
thee _but for once_, 'tis led so far astray, through such deep windings
and such adverse mazes, that when it would retrace its steps, the
consequences of each evil deed have so obscured, planted with thorns,
or destroyed the road, 'tis the finger of infinite mercy alone which
can conduct it safely back.

Gerald Desmond and his foster-brother passed that night, as too many
had been passed before, in drunkenness and riot.

Now, although engaged in the same vicious employment, there was great
difference in the actuating principles of these two young men. Gerald,
as yet unchecked by reason, was at this time an uncompromising _roué_,
plunging in every degree of dissipation, with a heart resolved to drain
the cup of enjoyment to the very dregs, and have it filled and filled
again. Whereas, Frank's easy, yielding disposition, acted upon by the
charm of companionship and the circumstances of the moment, caused him
to be placed in such situations, actually against his better judgment;
association only leading him into vicious scenes, which a lack of
prudential resolution prevented him from being able to avoid. In fact,
Gerald invariably said, _yes!_ and Frank, had not sufficient
self-command to say, _no!_

The strong friendship which frequently attends the adventitious
relationship of foster-brotherhood, brought them almost always
together, and as Gerald, from his position, was naturally the leader,
their lives were passed in a continual round of miscalled amusement.

However, as we often find that when very dear friends quarrel, it is
with a bitterness more than equal to their former kindliness of
feeling, so it was with Gerald and Frank. They fell out, during one of
their drinking encounters; something trivial commenced it, but one word
brought on another, until the little spark swelled to a flame, and the
poor remains of reason, left uninjured by the liquor, were scorched to
fury in the fire of anger. The difference in their dispositions evinced
itself powerfully. Gerald, foaming with rage, was violent and
ungovernable, while Frank, whose mind was infinitely superior, was cool
and calm, though inly suffering from suppressed choler.

"Where," exclaimed the former, dashing his hand on the table, "where
would you have been now, were it not for me?"

"Where?" replied Frank, with a smile which _looked_ real; "why, in
my bed, dreaming quiet dreams; a thing I shall never do again."

"Whose fault is that?"

"Yours," said Frank, sternly regarding him, "yours. Is this my place?
Would I have been here of my own will? No--you led me step by step from
content into this brutal degradation."

"But you had your wits about you," fiercely retorted Gerald; "this is
my thanks for condescending to make you my companion; the base blood is
in you; ingratitude is the sure sign of the low-born."

Frank's cheeks flushed crimson, his teeth ground together, and the
blood rushed to his head with a bound; after a moment's pause, he
replied, with a terrible effort to be calm, "Gerald Desmond, I am, as
you say, low-born, but not base; a son of toil, but no slave; a poor,
but still an independent man; nursed in poverty, I own that I am no fit
company for you. My hand would bear no comparison with yours; 'tis
labor-hardened, while yours is lady-soft, and yet, if our hearts were
put into the scale, I mistake much if the overweight would not make up
the difference."

Annoyed by the quiet coolness of his manner, Gerald lost all control.

"You poor, miserable child of beggary," he cried, "avoid my sight.
Leave me. Dare to cross my path again, and I shall strike you to my
feet."

At these words Frank smiled; it was a small but most expressive smile;
Gerald felt its influence in his very brain.

"I'll do it now," he screamed, foaming with rage, and springing full at
Frank's throat; but he calmly disengaged himself, and with one effort
of his tremendous strength, took Gerald up in his powerful arms, and
could have dashed him to the ground, but contented himself with quietly
replacing him in the chair, exclaiming--

"Learn to forgive, Gerald Desmond, and condescend to accept a lesson
from your inferior. Farewell," and ere the other could reply, maddened
as he was by rage and mortification, he was gone.

"The ruffian!" savagely exclaimed Gerald. "If I don't wring his heart
for this may I inherit everlasting torture."

How he fulfilled his oath we shall see in time.

                 *       *       *       *       *

In no very enviable mood, Frank Carolan sought his humble home;
bitterly he repented ever having known Desmond, and firmly he resolved
to give up all acquaintance which had grown out of this association,
and depend for the future upon his own honest exertions. Brave resolve,
seriously and sacredly intended at the time, as all good resolutions
usually are.

The only being that Frank cared for in the world was his sister Mary--a
bright and beautiful young creature, just bursting into womanhood,
graceful as a wild fawn, and as timid; unselfishly and wholly, with a
most absorbing love, he loved _her_. Upon reaching home, he found her
in tears, grieving for his prolonged absence, for it was early morning;
but the moment he appeared, the rain-drops of sorrow fled, and joy's
own bright ray sparkled in her face once more.

"Where have you been so late, dear Frank?" she murmured, as he kissed
her dewy eyes.

"Where, I solemnly promise, my own Mary, never to go again."

"You were with Gerald Desmond, were you not?"

"I was! But he and I are brothers, friends, no longer."

"The saints be praised for it," fervently cried his sister. "There is
something about Desmond's eyes that frightens me. 'Tis good for neither
of us that he should be too near."

"Has he been here, Mary?"

"Oh! yes, several times, but only to inquire for you," she added,
hastily.

"You must avoid him, Mary, for he is a serpent; there's a fascination
about that man that even I cannot resist. He has destroyed me; lured me
from my contented humbleness to taste of luxury; and now, like the
beast which has once drunk of blood, 'twill be hard for me to avoid the
seductive banquet. Shun him, Mary, for your brother's sake."

"Dear Frank, doubt me not," firmly replied Mary. "If you do fear my
womanly weakness, I here swear, by this blessed _Gospel Charm_ my
mother placed around my neck, before she died, never to do the deed
which shall cause her spirit to frown, or my brother's cheek to glow
with shame."

"My bright-eyed, beautiful Mary, I believe you. God bless you, core of
my heart; 'tis for your well-doing only I exist," fervently exclaimed
Frank. "Go to your rest, darling; 'tis the last time it shall be broken
by me; to-morrow shall find me a new man. Good night."

Mary retired, and her brother felt relieved at heart, for a more solemn
oath could not be imagined than that which she had sworn. The Gospel
Charm, which consists of a text from Scripture, selected and
consecrated by the priest, is held to be of peculiar efficacy, and a
promise made by it is scarcely ever known to be broken.

No man ever went to bed with a more fixed determination to begin a new
and better life on the morrow than did Frank, and yet that very morrow
saw his resolution shaken, nay, altogether abandoned. During the night
a plan of terrible revenge had been conceived by Gerald Desmond, and to
carry out his design, it was necessary that the breach between him and
Frank should be apparently healed up.

Frank began the day well, cultivating his little farm, inly rejoicing
in his emancipation from evil society, and glowing with that proud self
gratification which the exercise of industrious habits ever produces.
In the midst of this happy feeling, who should he perceive but Gerald
Desmond rapidly approaching? His first impulse was, as usual, right. "I
will not listen to him," he thought, retiring in an opposite direction,
when he was arrested by the hilarious voice of Gerald calling to him:

"Frank, my friend! my brother, will you not forgive?"

The tones reached into his inmost heart; he paused for an instant, but
'twas enough--Gerald reached him, and, looking cordially in his face,
held forth his hand. Frank grasped it earnestly, and ere many moments
had elapsed their friendship was renewed, with full sincerity by one,
and crafty dissimulation by the other. Alas for good intentions, when
unassisted by Heaven's pardoning grace! The vitiating practices of
former days were again indulged in, and all Frank's so seemingly
virtuous resolutions were drowned in the accursed, soul-enslaving
drink.

Some few days after this reconciliation, Gerald took Frank aside, and
having first bound him to secrecy, thus began to unfold his design.

"Frank, my boy," said he, "I am in great need of your assistance; will
you give it to me?"

"That will I, Gerald," uttered Frank, "with all my heart."

"Nay, but you must promise to do so, even though against your
inclination; it is a matter of the most vital moment to me?"

"If I _can_ help you, I will."

"Say that you will, for I know you can."

"Well, then, I will, whatever it is."

"Enough. Then you must know that I have a little affair of the heart."

"Another?"

"The last, as I am a true lover; all I want you to do is to write a
note for me. I am fearful that my own hand-writing would be known,
added to which, I have disabled my fingers by an accident."

"Yes, but may I not know who the object is?" inquired Frank.

"Come, come, you wouldn't ask that. It would be dishonorable in me to
tell you; suffice it to say that she is a lovely creature, young,
innocent, and confiding. I have everything arranged to carry her off
this very night."

"You mean to marry her, of course?" said Frank, seriously.

"Marry?" laughingly replied Gerald; "come, that's a devilish good joke;
do you see any symptoms of insanity about me? No, no, I mean to honor
her with my society for a few months, and then"----

"Then cast her off, to the scorn of an uncharitable world. Gerald,
friend, pause a moment, think! I know your heart is not entirely
rotten."

"My dear fellow, I have thought, reasoned with myself, but all to no
avail; one word for all. 'Tis necessary to my happiness that I should
possess this girl. You pretend to be my friend; will you prove it by
doing this small service for me?"

Good intent said no, but irresolution stepped in as usual, and all was
lost.

"Dictate," said Frank, sadly; "'tis sorely against my inclination, but
rather than you should doubt my friendship, I _will_ do it."

"Good fellow," delightedly exclaimed Gerald; "now, let me see; we must
use stratagem. Begin--

"'Dear Mary.'"

At the mention of that name, Frank gave an involuntary shudder. He
looked straight into the eyes of Gerald, but they returned his gaze
without a change of expression, and the monstrous thought was smothered
in its birth.

"Have you written 'Dear Mary?'" said Gerald, calmly.

"I have! go on."

"'Business of a sudden and imperative nature calls me away. I shall
need your presence and advice; trust yourself unhesitatingly to the man
who delivers this; he is my dearest friend.'"

"Whom is this supposed to come from?" inquired Frank.

"Oh," said Gerald, carelessly, "from her brother."

"Her brother! has she then a brother? God in heaven help _him_! Ah!
Gerald, this is frightful; let me entreat of you to abandon your
intent; think of the load of misery the indulgence of one evanescent,
selfish gratification will entail on all this poor girl's friends;" and
Frank knelt and took Gerald's hand in his. For an instant, all the good
in the heart of the latter floated to the surface, but he thought of
the degradation he had endured, and revenge sank it down again.

"Come, come," he cried, "no more sermons if you please; you have
obliged me so much that I can scarcely tell you, and now remain here
until I return. I shall not be long; there's a bottle of Inishowen,
sugar, lemons, and hot water; make yourself quite at home. Depend upon
it, you shall soon be amply repaid for all you have done for me." So
saying, he went out, and Frank was left alone.

Half an hour, an hour, passed away, and Gerald did not return. In spite
of himself, sad, fearfully sad thoughts brooded over Frank's spirits.
In vain he resorted to the stimulant so lavishly provided for him; the
more he drank, the more terrible were the imaginings which crowded into
his very heart and brain; at last, unable longer to endure the
suspense, and actuated by an impulse for which he could not account, he
suddenly started up to return home--what was his surprise to find the
door locked? He rushed to the window--it was strongly secured. A vague,
indefinite sensation of terror crept through his frame--he was a
prisoner, for what purpose--great heaven! if it should be that to which
his imagination sometimes pointed, only to be abandoned again from its
very intensity of horror. He screamed aloud--echo only answered him.
Lost, bewildered, almost bereft of reason, now would he pace rapidly to
and fro; now stand stone still. The live-long night he remained in that
lonely chamber, a prey to every torture that could reach the soul of
man--minutes swelled into days, a long year of common-place existence
was compressed into those few hours. He prayed, cursed, raved
alternately, nor could the fearful quantity he drank drown reason in
forgetfulness. Slowly the dim grey of morning began to break--anon, the
gleesome lark flew upward to greet the sun with his matin song, and yet
no sign of Gerald. The door was at last unlocked--Frank rushed through,
and with instinctive dread sought his home. Scarcely pausing to draw
breath, in a state of utter exhaustion he reached the cottage, burst
open the door, and flew into the room--it was empty!

"Mary, Mary!" he cried, in choking accents, but her soft voice did not
reply; looking round, his eye suddenly rested on an open letter; it was
his--most completely had the fiend triumphed. At his own suggestion,
the being to whom his very soul was linked had given herself up to the
power of the seducer. The following words were written in pencil on the
outside:--

    'She's mine, willingly mine, thanks to thy kindly help.
    Physician, cure thyself--now '_Learn to forgive_.'

    "GERALD."

It having been shown that Gerald's diabolical scheme, so far as the
abduction went, was carried out with entire success, pass we now a
month. Gerald has established himself in the capital, having provided
Mary with an elegant suite of apartments, under the same roof with
himself, although not immediately adjoining. His behavior to her was
studiously kind, tempered with thorough respect; hoping by such means
slowly and insidiously to reach his aim through the medium of her own
affection.

Poor Mary herself hardly dared to think; for her temperament was of
that soft and womanly nature, which rendered it impossible for her to
contend energetically against the assaults of the world--that most
beautiful of all female characteristics, which is content to look up to
and to reverence, yearning for some natural support and protection, and
clinging to it when discovered with an enduring tenacity, only to be
found in such a woman's love.

To all her inquiries concerning Frank, Gerald answered evasively, but
to her satisfaction; still treating her with the greatest possible show
of reserve and kindness, his manner imperceptibly increasing in fervor
day by day--letting it be inferred more by his looks than words that
she was dearer to him than he dared to acknowledge. The consequence of
this specious manoeuvering began gradually to make itself evident in
the state of Mary's feelings. Now she involuntary hoped for his
coming--seriously deploring his departure; his fiend-like intent was in
a fair way to be completed, when his own impetuosity destroyed the vile
fabric. Encouraged by her quiet, passive manner, he ventured
prematurely to unfold his guilty purpose. Who can describe the terrible
revulsion of feeling which took place in Mary's soul when the full
certainty of his guilty design was made apparent? With a mighty effort
she checked the burning flood of passion which swelled up from her
heart, and subduing herself into perfect calmness, listened to his
infamous proposal. A deep hectic glow on each cheek, and a slight
difficulty in respiration only evidencing her intense emotion. What
more he said she knew not--heard not--for while he was pouring forth
some wild rhapsody she was in deep communion with her soul. Construing
her submissive silence advantageously to himself, he quitted the
apartment. The instant he left her presence, the pent up current of her
feelings burst all bounds. She flung herself upon her knees and wept a
prayer of agony--the helpless, almost hopeless appeal of innocence
within the very grasp of vice; kissing her mother's gift, the Gospel
Charm, she bathed it in tears, imploring it to save her from this
dreadful crisis. This outpouring of her spirit calmed and soothed her,
for in her extremity there came a thought of safety. To think was to
resolve, and ere many moments had elapsed, with a firm reliance on the
help of a merciful Providence, Mary quitted the house. It was nearly
midnight--dark and bitterly cold--yet she cared not for the
darkness--felt not the chilling blast; unknown and friendless, she knew
not where to go, but wandered street after street, satisfied that she
was away from him who had so cruelly insulted her. Hurrying on, she
knew not whither, she suddenly came in contact with a well-known form;
recoiling a step or two, they gazed on each other for an instant. 'Twas
thus met the brother and his sister. That chance which he had hungered
for, week after week, had occurred at last; seizing her in a nervous
gripe, Frank dragged her to the nearest lamp. "Mary," he exclaimed, in
a voice trembling from suppressed passion, a wild fire flashing from
his eyes, "are you still worthy to be called my sister?"

"Brother, I am," meekly replied Mary.

"You are not _his_ cast-away?"

"No! by my mother's dying gift."

"To a merciful God be all the praise," fervently cried Frank, as he
folded her to his heart with a thrill of rapture.

"My own blessed, sorely-tempted lamb! But where is he? Come, show me
where to find him. He shall not escape. 'Tis no fault of his, curse
him, that you are not foul as sin; lead me to the place."

"Not now, dear Frank," touchingly exclaimed Mary. "Perhaps I may have
feared more wrong than was intended. Who is there amongst us that can
say, I have never harbored an evil design? Let us be thankful that the
wicked hour is passed, and leave the punishment in _His_ power whose
province it is to judge the hearts of men."

"Do you forgive him?"

"From my inmost soul, and more for his sake than my own, rejoice that
his bad design is unaccomplished."

"You love him, then?" fiercely inquired Frank.

Mary was silent.

"The snake--the fiend--had you not been all angel, the specious villain
would have succeeded. Mary, I will, I must see him; if I do not give my
burning thoughts an utterance, they will consume my very heart."

"Let it be to-morrow, then, dear Frank."

"Be it so. Come, dear one, I have still a home for you; a pure, though
lowly one. Had you been guilty, tempted as you were, your brother's
arms would never have closed against you; but now your triumphant
innocence will bless with happiness our frugal meal, and make your
humble couch a bed of flowers."

Upon the morrow Frank redeemed his word. With a heart thirsting for
revenge he sought Gerald's apartment, but did not meet there the bold,
reckless libertine that he expected. Throwing himself at Frank's very
feet, in wild but heart-uttered tones, Gerald cried:

"I know why you have come, but she has left me; know you anything of
her? Oh! for heaven's sake relieve my anxiety--you have not harmed
her--upon me, wreak all your vengeance, for I deserve it, but she is
pure, pure as the spotless snow. My base, black-hearted villainy has
recoiled upon myself. I would have destroyed her, and am myself
destroyed if she is lost to me. Say but that she is safe, and I'll coin
my very heart for her and you."

Softened, subdued by the now evident sincerity of Gerald's manner,
Frank assured him of her safety.

"I thank thee, merciful heaven," fervently cried Gerald, "that one sin
more damning than the rest is spared my guilty soul. Mary, beloved
Mary, 'tis thy angelic virtue which has crushed the fiend-spirit that
has hitherto controlled my sense. 'Tis she, and she only can protect
and guide the heart which her innocence has reclaimed."

"What do you mean, Gerald?"

"That if she will receive in marriage this guilty but repentant wretch,
it may be that the destroyer shall have one victim the less. Frank,
dare I to call you once more brother? Intercede for me, will you not?
The happiness of my life, nay, the sole hope of my eternal soul rests
now with her."

Gerald's repentance having been proved sincere, it was not long ere
Mary yielded a heartful assent to his proposition, and as Frank at the
holy altar delivered her over to the sweet custody of a husband, his
heart whispered to him that he was now tasting most exquisite revenge.
The sacred influence of a virtuous love haloed the after lives of
Gerald and Mary with content most ample, and, although her state was
changed from humility to comparative affluence, she never laid aside
her mother's parting gift, but regarding it as her protection in the
hour of danger, still cherished near her heart THE GOSPEL CHARM.



THE TEST OF BLOOD.

"Thou shalt do no murder."


"You won't dance with me, Kathleen?"

"No, Luke, I will not."

"For what reason?"

"I don't choose it. Besides, I'm engaged to Mark Dermot."

The above, very slight conversation in itself, was to the individuals,
full of the greatest import. To explain it, it will be necessary to
take a Parthian glance at our subject. Kathleen Dwyer was the pretty,
spoiled, village pet, with quite sufficient vanity to know that the
preference was deserved. Every young man in the place was anxious to
pay court to her, and sooth to say, she impartially dispensed her
smiles to all, reserving, it must be admitted, her more serious
thoughts for one alone. That one was Luke Bryant, and as he really
loved her, the flightiness of her conduct, and her interminable
flirtations gave him very great uneasiness. Often and often would he
reason with her, imploring her to dismiss the crowd of purposeless
suitors that ever fluttered round, and select one, even though that
selection would doom him to misery.

"No, no!" the little madcap would say, with a bright smile, "I cannot
give up altogether the delight of having so many male slaves in my
train; they are useful, and if you don't like it you know your remedy."

"But do you think it is right?" he would say; "suppose there may be
some, even one who loves you truly, to lead him on by the false light
of your encouraging smile, to perish at last?"

"Pshaw!" would she answer, "men are not made of such perishable stuff."

"Well, well, Kathleen, have a care; if any one of your numerous
admirers feels towards you as I do, to lose you would be the loss of
everything."

As may be reasonably supposed, these conversations usually ended in a
little tiff, when the wild, good-hearted, but giddy-headed girl would
select some one from her surrounding beaux, to play off against Luke;
generally pitching upon the person most likely to touch his feelings to
the very quick; herself, the while, I must do her the justice to say,
quite as miserable if not more so, than her victim.

And now to return, let me describe the individual whom she has this
time chosen to inflict torture upon her lover, and I think you will
agree with me that he has cause for more than discontent.

Mark Dermot, or, as he was most generally denominated, Black Mark, was
one of those persons we sometimes meet with in the world, on whom
prepossessing appearance and great natural ability are bestowed, only
to be put to the basest possible uses. Character he had none, except of
the very worst kind; his ostensible pursuit was smuggling, but crimes
of the darkest nature were freely whispered about him, and yet, in
spite of all this, his dashing dare-devil nature and indomitable
impudence, enabled him to show himself in places where, although his
evil reputation was well known, he was tolerated either from
supineness, or more likely from the fear of his enmity.

It is not to be wondered at then, that as Luke stood by and saw this
ruffian carry off his soul's beloved, his very heart should quake from
apprehension. He was unaware until this moment that she ever knew him,
and his feelings, as ever and anon Mark would seem to whisper something
in Kathleen's ear, to which she would seem to smile an approval, can
only be imagined by such of my readers, if any there be, who have seen
another feeding upon smiles which they would fain monopolize.

Jealousy of the most painful nature took possession of Luke; he had
often experienced sensations of annoyance before, but never to this
extent. Her fame--her character--were compromised; for he knew Black
Mark to be the very worst description of man for a woman to come in
contact with at all, caring nothing for the ties of morality, or for
the world's opinion--reckless, bad-hearted, and moreover uncomfortably
handsome in the eyes of a lover.

The dance now over, Luke imagined that she would give up her partner
and join him; but no, the silly girl seemed proud of her conquest, and
to take a sort of mad delight in wounding Luke's feelings to the
uttermost. She approached the spot where Luke with folded arms was
standing, and leaning familiarly upon the arm of Mark, said laughingly:

"Why don't you dance, Luke? Come, I'll find a partner for you."

Galled to the very quick, Luke answered with asperity--"Thank you, Miss
Dwyer, you have found one for yourself, and"--looking at Black Mark, as
a jealous lover only can look--"you'll pardon me, but I don't like the
sample."

Mark regarded him with a scowl of the deepest malignity, while
Kathleen, the real feelings of her heart kept down by coquetry,
exclaimed with a laugh:--

"Don't mind him, Mark, he's only jealous, poor fellow. Come, will you
not dance again?"

"Aye, and again, and for ever," impetuously replied Mark; "Come."

And as they went to rejoin the dancers, Kathleen caught the expression
of Luke's features, and there saw so much misery depicted, that she
would have given worlds to have recalled her words. She yearned to
implore his forgiveness, but her insatiable appetite for admiration
restrained her. "Never mind," thought she, "when the dance is over, I
can easily make it up with him," and away she went, thinking no more
about it.

At the conclusion of the dance, her better feelings all predominating,
she quitted Mark and rushed over to the place where Luke had been
standing, but he was gone; with that unfeeling speech rankling in his
heart, he had left. It was now her turn to be miserable; not all the
soft speeches that were poured into her ear had power to console her,
but her annoyance was at its height when Black Mark, presuming upon the
encouragement which she had given him, seated himself beside her, and
in ardent language declared himself her passionate lover. Poor,
unthinking Kathleen, she had evoked a spirit which she had not power to
quell.

It was more than a week after, before Luke could bring himself to
venture near Kathleen; but finding that each succeeding day only made
him still more wretched, he determined to know his fate at once, and
with a sorely palpitating heart he neared her abode, lifted the latch,
and entered; the first sight that met his eyes was Mark and Kathleen,
sitting near to each other, the deep blush that crimsoned her to the
very throat, evinced to Luke the interesting nature of their
conversation. She could not speak, neither could he, but giving her one
look which sank into her very brain, he left the place; in vain she
called after him, he turned but once--a deep curse was on his lips but
his noble heart refused to sanction it. "Farewell, beloved Kathleen,"
he cried, while bitter tears flowed fast as he spoke, "May the good God
protect you now, for you will need it." And Luke rapidly strode towards
the village, inly determining to go to sea on the morrow, and never
look upon her or his loved home again.

Meanwhile, Kathleen, apprehensive that he would do something desperate,
implored Mark to follow and bring him back. With a contemptuous sneer,
he answered, "Do you think I'm a fool? No, no! Kathleen, you've gone
too far with me to retract now. The world sees and knows our intimacy;
the only barrier to our happiness was your foolish lover, Luke--he has
taken the sulks, and gone away--our road is now clear. I love you
better than a hundred such milk-sops as he could, so come--say the
word!"

"That word," replied Kathleen, firmly, "shall never be said by me."

"Have a care, girl!" fiercely retorted Mark, "I'm not a man to be
trifled with; you have led me to believe that you liked me, and you
_shall_ redeem the pledge your eyes at least have given."

"Never! Mark Dermot, never!" exclaimed Kathleen, rising from her seat;
but with a fierce gesture, and a determined fire in his eye, Mark
forced her down again, saying, in a clear, but terribly earnest manner:
"Kathleen, from my youth up, I never allowed the slightest wish of my
soul to be thwarted; think you that I shall submit to be led or driven,
coaxed near, or sent adrift, at the caprice of any living thing?--no!
if you can't be mine from love, you shall from fear; for," ratifying
his threat by a fearful oath, "no obstacle shall exist between me and
my desire."

"What mean you, Mark Dermot?" cried the terrified girl.

"No matter," he replied, "the choice rests with you. You cannot deny
that your manner warranted me in soliciting your hand. Remember, love
and hate dwell very near each other--the same heart contains them both.
Be mine, and every wish of your soul shall be anticipated--refuse me,
and tremble at the consequences."

"Heaven forgive, and help me," inly prayed Kathleen, as the result of
her weak conduct now made itself so awfully apparent. Thinking to
enlist some good feeling from Mark's generosity, she frankly
acknowledged to him that her affections were entirely bestowed upon the
absent Luke.

She knew not the demon-heart in which she had trusted; instead of
inclining him to mercy, her words only inflamed him into tenfold rage.

"Vile woman!" he exclaimed, starting to his feet. "Have you then been
making a scoff and jest--a play-thing and a tool of me? Better for you
had you raised a fiend than tampered with me thus. How know I that you
do not lie, even now, woman-devil? One word for all!--by your eternal
hope, who is it that you do love?"

"On my knees--Luke Bryant," fervently said Kathleen.

"Then wo to ye both!" cried Mark, casting her rudely from him, and,
with a look of intense hate, rushing from the cottage.

There was a perfect tempest of rage in Mark's breast, as he quitted
Kathleen; plans of revenge, deadly and horrible, suggested themselves
to him, and he nursed the devilish feeling within his heart until every
humanizing thought was swallowed up in the anticipation of a sweeping
revenge. On reaching the village, his first care was to find Luke; upon
seeing him, he started as though a serpent stood in his path.

"Keep away from me, Mark Dermot," he sternly exclaimed. "If you are
come to triumph in your success, be careful, for there may be danger in
it."

"Luke," replied the other, in a sad tone, "we are rivals no longer.
Nay, listen, I bring you good news, there are not many who would have
done this; but what care I now--the fact is, like a sensible man, I am
come to proclaim my own failure. Kathleen has refused me."

"She has?"

"As true as I'm alive--rejected me for you, Luke. Nay, as good as told
me that she merely flirted with me to fix your chains the tighter.
Cunning little devil--eh, Luke? Come, you'll shake hands with me now, I
know."

"If I could believe you, Mark," said Luke, the joy dancing in his very
eyes.

"I tell you she acknowledged to me that she never could love any one
but you. Now am I not a generous rival, to carry his mistress's love to
another? She requested me to ask you to call in this morning, if you
would have conclusive proof of her sincerity, and you would then find
that _she could never use you so again_. But now 'tis getting late, and
as I have delivered my message, I shall leave you to dream of Kathleen
and happiness. Good night--be sure and see her in the morning;" and
they parted.

Soon afterwards, Luke missed his clasp-knife with which he had been
eating his supper, but, after a slight search, thought no more of the
matter, his very soul glowing with renewed delight at the thought of
seeing his loved one on the morrow--that their differences should be
made up, and all again be sunshine.

About an hour after, as he was preparing to retire for the night, it
suddenly occurred to him that he would like to take a walk towards
Kathleen's cottage--perchance he should see her shadow on the
curtain--he might hear her sweet voice--no matter, to gaze upon the
home that contained her would at least be something; so off he started
in that direction, a happy feeling pervading his every sense. Arrived
within sight of her abode, he fancied he heard a stifled groan, but his
thoughts, steeped in joy, dwelt not on it. In a moment after, a
distinct and fearful scream, as of one in agony, burst on the stillness
of the night. It came from the direction of Kathleen's cottage.
Inspired with a horrible fear, he ran wildly forward--another, and
another terrible scream followed; there was no longer doubt--it was the
voice of his Kathleen. With mad desperation, he reached the place just
in time to see the figure of a man, who, in the doubtful light, he
could not recognize, rush from the door and disappear in darkness. In
breathless horror Luke entered. Great Heaven! what a sight met his
eyes. His beloved Kathleen lay on the blood-dabbled floor, in the last
agony of departing nature, her beating heart pierced with many wounds;
she saw and evidently recognized Luke, for 'mid the desperate throes of
ebbing life, she clutched his hand in hers, essaying, but in vain, to
articulate--she could but smile; her eye glazed over--her hand relaxed
its grasp--and with her gentle head resting on his breast, her spirit
passed away.

All this was so sudden and fearfully unexpected to Luke, that he
scarcely knew 'twas reality, until several of the surrounding
neighbors, who had been alarmed by the out-cry, came hastily in.

"See!" cried one, "'Tis as I thought; murder has been done."

"And here is the fatal instrument with which it has been effected,"
said another, as he picked up a gory knife from the floor. It caught
the eye of Luke. "That knife is mine," said he, in the measured tone of
one stricken down by terrible calamity.

"Yours?" they all exclaimed at once. "Then you have murdered her?"

Luke only smiled--a ghastly, soul-crushed smile, most awful to look
upon at such a time; his heart was too full for words. Reason, which
had been dethroned by this unexpected blow, had scarcely yet returned
to its seat, for all unconsciously he still held the lifeless form
tightly clasped in his arms, gazing, with a sort of stony expression,
upon the face of her who had been to him the world.

It was not until they approached to seize him for killing _her_, that
he seemed to be thoroughly aware of his position.

"What would you do, friends?" said he, mournfully, as they endeavored
to force him away. "Would you deny me the sad comfort of dying in her
presence?"

"Have you not murdered her, wretch?" cried one of the by-standers.

"What!--murder _her_--God in heaven forbid," he exclaimed.

"Is not this your knife?"

"It is!"

"And how came it here--if not used by you--in this unknown manner?"

"It was stolen from me by that arch-demon, Mark Dermot," said Luke,
shuddering to the very heart, as he mentioned that name.

"That has got to be proved," cried one of the crowd, who happened to be
a friend of Mark's, "we can't take your bare word for it. Let him be
secured."

But Luke needed no securing. Listlessly he suffered them to pinion his
arms; and in the same room with the precious casket which once
contained his heart's treasure, he abided the remainder of the night,
in a state of mental torture utterly incapable of being rendered into
words.

The morning after this awful occurrence, a coroner's jury was summoned,
and the identity of the knife having been proved, added to his own
admission, and the fact of his having had a quarrel with her the day
before being testified to, every circumstance tended to fix the guilt
upon him; a verdict was delivered accordingly, and Luke Bryant stood
charged with the murder of one for whom he would willingly have shed
his last drop of blood.

With a degree of effrontery consonant with his general character, Black
Mark made his appearance amongst the spectators who attended the
inquiry, and was loudest in denunciation against the supposed criminal.
It only remained now for the accused, who had been removed during the
inquest, to be brought into the chamber of death, previously to the
warrant being drawn out for his final committal, to be tried at the
ensuing quarter sessions. He was conducted into the room; with a
listless, apathetic gaze he looked around him mechanically, for he
cared not now what fate might do to him, when suddenly his eyes rested
on Mark Dermot. The consciousness of everything that had taken place
seemed all to flash through his brain at once.

"Murderer!" he cried. "Can it be that Heaven's lightning slumbers!
Friends!--behold that fiend; who, not content with the life's blood of
one victim, now comes to triumph in a double murder!"

"What means the fool?" contemptuously exclaimed Mark. "Does he suppose
that reasoning men will credit his ravings, or help him to shift his
load of crime upon another's shoulders?"

"As I am a living man--as there is a just God who knows the secrets of
all hearts, there stands the murderer, Mark Dermot!" solemnly replied
Luke. "It is not for myself I care, for Heaven knows that I would
rather die than bear about this load of misery; but that he should
brave the angels with a shameless brow, he whose hands are crimsoned
with her precious blood--it is too much!--too much!"

"Then, Luke Bryant," said the coroner, "you deny having committed this
crime?"

"On my knees--before the throne of mercy--I do!"

"I trust, then, that you may cause a jury of your countrymen to believe
so; but for me, I have only one duty to perform, and circumstances
clearly bear me out in my assumption. I must send you to trial!"

At this juncture, one of the jurymen, who thought he could perceive a
meaning in Mark's peculiar, ill-concealed glance of savage delight,
begged to be heard: keeping his eye steadily fixed on Mark's face, he
said, with solemnity:

"When the judgment of man is in perplexity as to the author of crimes
like these, the aid of Heaven may well be solicited, that it might be
mercifully pleased to give some indication by which the innocent might
be prevented from suffering for the guilty. We have an old tradition
here, that if the accused lays his right hand upon the breast of the
corpse, swearing upon the Holy Gospel that he had no act or part in the
deed, speaking truly, no results will follow; but if he swears falsely,
the dead itself will testify against him; for the closed wounds will
re-open their bloody mouths, and to the confusion of the guilty one,
the stream of life will flow once more for a short space! It seems to
me that this is a case in which _The Test of Blood_ might be applied
not vainly."

"Willingly!--most willingly will I abide the test," exclaimed Luke.

"And you?" said the juror, with a penetrating glance at Mark.

"I!" said the latter, with an attempt at recklessness, "What is it to
me?--why should I be subject to such mummery--who accuses me?"

"I do!" thundered Luke, "and I now insist upon his going through the
trial--myself will point out the way." So saying, he approached the
lifeless body, and sinking on his knees, laid his right hand reverently
on the heart, saying--

"My blessed angel! if thy spirit lingers near, thou knowest that this
hand would rather let my life-blood forth, than offer thee the shadow
of an injury!"

They waited an instant--all was quiet; meantime, Mark, persuading
himself that it was but a form, and yet trembling to the very core,
advanced. All eyes were upon him; he paused--cast a glance around, and
grinding his teeth savagely, cried out:

"Why do you all fix your gaze on me? I'm not afraid to do this piece of
folly." He advanced another step--again he hesitated;
heartless--brutal--though he was, the spell of a mighty dread was on
his soul. His face grew livid; the blood started from his lips; large
round drops burst from his forehead and rolled down his ashy cheeks. At
last, with a tremendous effort, he knelt, and attempted to stretch
forth his hand--it seemed glued to his side. Starting to his feet
again, he cried fiercely:

"I will not do it--why should I?"

"You cannot!--you dare not!" solemnly ejaculated Luke. "If you are
guiltless, why should you fear?"

"Fear!" screamed the other, "I fear neither man nor devil--dead nor
living," suddenly placing his hand upon the breast of the dead!

"See--see!" cried Luke, wildly, "the blood mounts up--it overflows!"

"It's a lie!" madly exclaimed Mark.

But it was no lie; the ruddy stream welled upward through those gaping
wounds, and flowed once more adown her snowy breast, a murmur of awe
and surprise breaking from the assembled group; whilst shivering to the
very heart, the terrors of discovered guilt and despair seized upon
Mark.

"Curse ye all!" he roared. "You would juggle my life away; but you
shall find I will not part with it so readily." Hastily drawing a
pistol, it was instantly wrested from him. Several of the bystanders
flung themselves upon him; but the desperate resistance which he made,
added to the frightful internal agony which he had just endured, caused
him to break a blood-vessel; and in raving delirium, the hardened
sinner's soul wended to its last account in the presence of those whom,
in his reckless villainy, he had expected to destroy.

Wonder succeeded wonder; and the mystery was soon discovered to be no
mystery at all, but the natural instrument in the hands of Providence
to confound the guilty. As relapsing into his former listlessness, Luke
was intently gazing on the body of his beloved, suddenly his heart gave
one tremendous throb.

"Hush!" he exclaimed, with anxious, trembling voice; "For Heaven's
love, be silent for an instant! I thought I heard a sound like--Ha!
there it is again--a gasp--a gentle sob, and scarcely audible, but
distinct as thunder within my soul--there's warmth about her
breast--her eyelids tremble. The God of Mercy be thanked!--she
lives--she lives!" and Luke sunk upon his knees; a copious flood of
tears, the first he had ever shed, relieved his overcharged feelings.

It was true--she did live; from loss of blood only had she fainted, and
the excessive weakness had thus far prolonged the insensibility; none
of the stabs had reached a vital part, and it was the first effort of
nature to resume its suspended functions which had caused the blood
once more to circulate, just at the instant which so signally
established the guilt of the intended murderer.

It only remains for me to say that Mark Dermot's previous bad character
prevented much sympathy being felt for a fate so well deserved. In
process of time Luke's devoted love was well rewarded. Kathleen
recovered from the effects of her wounds--gave him her hand, and
profiting by the terrible lesson which she had received, made an
estimable, virtuous, and affectionate wife.



THE MORNING DREAM.

    The dream of the night, there's no reason to rue,
    But the dream of the morning is sure to come true.

    OLD SAYING.


Pretty Peggy May; a bright-eyed, merry-hearted, little darling you are,
Peggy! there's no gainsaying that fact; a cunning little gipsy, and
most destructive too, as many an aching heart can testify. But who can
blame _thee_ for that? as well might the summer's sun be blamed for
warming the sweet flowers into life. It is a natural ordination that
all who see you should love you.

Pretty Peg has just completed her eighteenth year; in the heedless
gaiety of youth, she has hitherto gambolled through the road of life,
without a grief, almost without a thought. Oh! for the sunny days of
childhood, ere, wedded to experience, the soul brings forth its progeny
of cares. Why can we not add the knowledge of our wiser years, and
linger over that most blessed, least prized period of our existence,
when every impulse is at once obeyed, and the ingenuous soul beams
forth in smiles, its every working indexed in the face--ere Prudence
starts up like a spectre, and cries out: "Beware! there is a prying
world that watches every turn, and does not always make a true report."
Prudence! how I hate the cold, calculating, heartless phrase. Be loyal
in word, be just in act, be honest in all; but Prudence! 'tis
twin-brother to Selfishness, spouse of Mistrust, and parent of
Hypocrisy! But, me-thinks I hear some one say, "This is a most
cavalierly way of treating one of the cardinal virtues"--to which I
reply, "It certainly has, by some means or another, sneaked in amongst
the virtues, and thereby established a right to the position; but it is
the companionship only which makes it respectable, and it must be
accompanied by _all the rest_ to neutralize its mischievous tendency."

But what has all this to do with Peggy and her dreams? Pshaw! don't be
impatient--we are coming to that. If you have taken the slightest
interest in little Peg, prepare to sympathize in her first heart-deep
sorrow. She is in love! Now, if she herself were questioned about the
matter, I'm pretty sure she would say it's no such thing; but I take
upon myself to declare it to be true, and for fear you should think
that I make an assertion which I cannot substantiate, permit me to
relate the substance of a conversation which took place between Peg and
her scarcely less pretty, but infinitely more mischievous cousin,
Bridget O'Conner. They had just returned from one of those gregarious
merry-meetings, where some spacious granary, just emptied of its
contents, gives glorious opportunity for the gladsome hearts of the
village, and "all the country round" to meet and astonish the
rats--sleek, well-fed rascals, dozing in their holes--with uproarious
fun and revelry.

A sudden, and indeed, under the circumstances, extremely significant
sigh from Peg, startled Bridget from the little glass where she was
speculating as to how she looked, for the last hour or two. I may as
well say the scrutiny was perfectly satisfactory--she had not danced
all her curls out.

"Gracious me!" she exclaimed, "Peg, how you do sigh!"

"And no wonder," rejoined Peggy, with a slight squeeze of acid, "after
having danced down twenty couple twenty times, I should like to know
who wouldn't?"

"Ah! but that wasn't a tired sigh, Peg. I know the difference; one
needn't dive as low as the _heart_ for them; a tired sigh comes
flying out upon a breath of joy, and turns into a laugh before it
leaves the lips; you are sad, Peg!"

"How you talk; why, what on earth should make me sad?"

"That's exactly what I want to know; now there's no use in your trying
to laugh, for you can't do it. Do you think I don't know the
_difference_ between a laugh and that nasty deceitful croak?"

"Bridget!" exclaimed Peg, with a look which she intended should be very
severe and very reproachful, "I'm sleepy."

"Well, then, kiss me, and go to bed," replied Bridget. "Ho! ho!"
thought she, "there's something curious about Peg to-night. I think
what I think, and if I think right, I'm no woman if I don't find out
before I sleep." Craftily she changed the conversation, abused the
women's dresses, and criticised their complexions, especially the
pretty ones. At last, when she had completely lulled the commotion of
Peg's thoughts into a calm, she suddenly cried out: "Oh! Peg, I forgot
to tell you, that one of the boys we danced with had his leg broke
coming home to-night!"

Peggy, surprised into an emotion she found it impossible to conceal,
started up, pale as snow, and gasped out:

"Who was it--who?"

Ha! ha! thought the other, the fox is somewhere about--now to beat the
cover.

"Did you hear me ask you who?" said Peg, anxiously.

"I did, dear," replied Bridget, "but I'm trying to recollect. I think,"
and she looked steadily into Peggy's eyes, "I think it was Ned Riley."
Peg didn't even wink.

She doesn't care about him, and I'm not sorry for that, thought
Bridget, thereby making an acknowledgment to herself, which the
sagacious reader will no doubt interpret truly.

"No, it wasn't Ned," she continued, "now I think of it, it was--it
was--a"----

"Who? who?" cried Peg, now sensibly agitated, "do tell me, there's a
dear."

Not she, not a bit of it, but lingered with feminine ingenuity, now
making as though she recollected the name, and then with a shake of her
head, pretending to dive back into memory, just as the inquisitors of
old used to slacken the torture, to enable the recipient to enjoy
another dose.

"Now I have it," said she, "no, I haven't; I do believe I've forgotten
who it was, but this I know, it was the pleasantest-mannered and nicest
young fellow in the whole heap."

"Then it _must_ have been Mark!" exclaimed Peg, throwing prudence
overboard, and fixing her large, eloquent eyes full on Bridget's mouth,
as if her everlasting fate depended upon the little monosyllable about
to issue from it.

"It _was_ Mark! that _was_ the name!"

Peggy gave a gasp, while Bridget went on, with a triumphant twinkle in
her wicked little eye which did not show over-favorably for her
humanity.

"_Mark Brady!_" dwelling on the name with slow, distinct emphasis,
which made Peggy's heart jump at each word as though she had received
an electric shock.

She knew the tenderest part of the sentient anatomy, Bridget did, and
took intense delight in stabbing exactly there; not mortal stabs,
_that_ would be mercy, but just a little too far for tickling. That
sort of a woman was Bridget, who, if possessed of an incumbrance in
husband shape, would take infinite pains to discover the weakest points
in his temper, and industriously attack those quarters, piling up petty
provocations, one upon another; none in themselves of sufficient
importance to induce a sally, but making altogether a breastwork of
aggravation, that must at last o'ertop the wall of temper. And if the
unfortunate besieged don't take his hat, and make a not very honorable
retreat, philosophy will be obliged to strike its flag, the signal for
a civil war, which, like all such unnatural conflicts, strikes at the
root of all domestic comfort, and whichever side may remain the
victors, the trophy is a home destroyed.

But to return to Peg, for whose benefit I have indulged in the
foregoing rather spiteful digression, in order that she might have time
to recover herself; or rather, I should say, to be thoroughly conscious
of the extent of her unhappiness. Remember, 'tis her first grief, so
pardon its intensity. Phantoms of crutches and of wooden legs came
crowding on her imagination, contrasting themselves with the curious
agility with which poor Mark had "_beat the floor_" in the merry
jig, until he made it echo to every note of the pipes. Then rose up
vague spectres of sanguinary-minded surgeons, with strange butcherly
instruments; then she saw nothing but fragmentary Marks, unattached
legs, a whole room-full dancing by themselves; there they were,
twisting and twirling about, in the various difficult complications of
the "toe and heel," "double shuffle," "ladies' delight," and "cover the
buckle;" she shut her eyes in horror, and was sensible of nothing but a
gloomy blood-red. There's no knowing to what lengths her terrible
fancies might have gone, had they not been dispersed like wreaths of
vapor by a hearty laugh from the mischievous Bridget. Peggy opened her
eyes in astonishment. Was she awake? Yes, there was her cousin enjoying
one of the broadest, merriest, wickedest laughs that ever mantled over
the face of an arch little female.

"Poor Mark!" she cried, and then burst forth again into ringing
laughter, which dimpled her crimson cheeks like--what shall I
say?--like a fine healthy-looking cork-red potatoe, an Irish simile, I
must say; but had we seen Bridget, and were acquainted with the
features of the aforesaid esculent, I'm pretty certain you would
acknowledge its aptness.

"What in the name of gracious are you laughing at?" exclaimed Peggy, a
gleam of hope breaking on the darkness of her thought.

"Why, that you should take on so, when I told you Mark had broken his
leg," gaily replied Bridget.

"Hasn't he?"

"Not half as much as your poor little heart would have been broken if
he had," said the tormentor.

"Bridget! Cousin!" said poor Peg, now enduring much more pain from the
sudden revulsion of feeling, "you should not have done this; you have
crowded a whole life-time of agony in those few moments past."

"Well, forgive me, dear Peggy. I declare I didn't know that you had the
affection so strong on you, or I wouldn't have joked for the world. But
now, confess, doesn't it serve you right, for not confiding in me, your
natural born cousin? Did I ever keep a secret from you? Didn't I tell
you all about Pat Finch, and Johnny Magee, and Jack, the hurler, eh?"

"But not one word about Edward Riley, with whom you danced so often
to-night," observed Peg, with a very pardonable dash of malice.

It was now Bridget's turn to change color, as she stammered out, "I--I
was going to, not that I care much about _him_; no, no, Mark is the
flower of the flock, and I've a mighty great mind to set my cap at him
myself."

Peggy smiled, a very small, but a peculiar, and it might have been,
perfectly self-satisfied smile, as she replied: "Try, Miss Bridget, and
I wish you success."

"Truth is scarce when liars are near," said Bridget. "But I say, Peg,
does Mark know you love him so hard?"

"Don't be foolish; how should he?"

"Did you never tell him?"

"What do you take me for?"

"Did he never tell _you_?"

"What do you take _him_ for?"

"For a man, and moreover a conceited one; don't you mean to let him
know his good fortune?"

"It isn't leap year, and if it was, I'd rather die than do such a
thing," said Peggy!

"Come, I'll bet you a new cap, that I mean to wear at your wedding, you
_will_ let him know the state of your feelings, and that, before a week
is over your head," provokingly replied Bridget.

Peggy, said nothing. Prudent Peg.

"Is it a bet?"

"Yes, yes, anything, but go to sleep, or we shan't get a wink
to-night."

"True for you, cousin, for it's _to-morrow_ already! Look at the
daybreak, how it has frightened our candle, until it's almost as pale
as your cheek."

"Good night, Bridget."

"Good night, dear Peg, don't forget to remember your dreams. Recollect
it's morning, now, and whatever we dream, _is sure to come true_."

Before she slept, Bridget formed a project in her mind to ensure the
winning of her bet. What it was, it will be time enough to find out
by-and-by.

Very early in the day, Mark Brady and Ned called to inquire after the
health of their respective partner. It so happened that Bridget
received them; and very quickly, for she was one of those tyrants in
love who make their captives feel their chains, on some frivolous
pretence or another, dismissed her swain and began to develop her plot
with Mark.

Now, Mark, I may as well tell you now as at any other time, was a very
favorable specimen of a class I regret to say, not over numerous in
Ireland; a well to-do farmer, his rent always ready, his crops
carefully gathered, and a trifle put by yearly, so that he enjoyed that
most enviable condition in life, "a modest competence." As to his
personal appearance, there's scarcely any occasion to describe that,
for, with the exception of one individual, I don't suppose he has a
feature or characteristic which would be considered by any one at all
uncommon or interesting. Suffice it to say, Mark was a _man_! A volume
of eulogy could not say more.

And, moreover, Mark _did_ love pretty Peggy May; with a whole-hearted,
manly, and unselfish love, he loved her. I tell you this, dear reader,
in order that you may not waste time in speculating on the subject of
Mark's thoughts, as he sat silent and fidgety, a passive victim to the
mischievous Bridget, who, shrewd little puss, knew every turn of his
mind as though imprinted on his face; and for the matter of that, so
they were, in nature's own characters, type most readable.

Mark was apparently very busy, sketching imaginary somethings on the
floor with his blackthorn stick, and seemingly unconscious of Bridget's
presence, when she suddenly interrupted his revery by saying:

"A penny for your thoughts, Mr. Brady!"

"Eh! what!" he replied, blushing 'till it fairly stung his cheek like a
million of needles. "A penny, is it, Miss? faith, an' it's _dear_
they'd be at that same."

"And what might you be thinking of, may I ask, Mr. Mark?" said Bridget,
accompanying the question with one of her very sweetest smiles.

"Just nothing at all, Miss," replied Mark.

"'Nothing!' then they _would_ be '_dear_,' and that's true Mark; but
supposing, now," she continued, archly; "I only say, supposing it
happened to be your sweetheart you were thinking of, you might find
another meaning for that same little word!"

Mark felt as though he had been detected in some fault, as he replied,
sketching away on the floor faster than ever, "But what if I hadn't a
sweetheart to think of, Miss O'Conner." It was a miserable attempt at
prevarication, and he felt that it was.

"Why, then, I should say, as you're not blind, it's mighty lucky that
you don't carry such a thing as a heart about you. I'd be ashamed if I
were you, rising twenty years old, and neither crooked nor ugly; it's
disgraceful to hear you say so--a pretty example to set to the boys!"

"True for you, and so it is," said Mark, "and more betoken, it's a much
greater shame for me to tell any lies about the matter; I _have_ a
sweetheart, though she doesn't know it; ay, and have had one for this
nigh hand a twelve-month."

"Only to think," replied Bridget, casting down her eyes, and affecting
to conceal some sudden emotion, "and for a twelve-month nigh hand! Oh,
dear! I don't feel well!"

Mark was puzzled, in point of fact, embarrassed. There was something in
Bridget's manner which he couldn't understand; he had a vague
presentiment that there was a mistake somewhere, but when she,
pretending to be overcome, flung herself into his arms, the truth burst
upon him at once. He was in a precious dilemma; Bridget was in love
with him, and he felt downright ashamed of himself for being so
fascinating. What he was to do, or how to extricate himself, he
couldn't tell, as she, casting a fascinating glance right at him, said,
softly:

"Dear Mark, those good-looking eyes of yours told me of your love,
long, long before your lazy tongue."

"Love," interrupted Mark, endeavoring to put in a demurrer.

"To be sure," said she, "I saw it, I knew it and well;" she continued,
seeing he was about to speak. "When do you mean to talk to Aunty? You
know my fifty pounds are in her hands." She was an heiress, was
Bridget.

"Pounds! Aunty! yes, to be sure," replied Mark, perfectly bewildered,
"but I thought Ned Riley was"----

"Peggy's sweetheart--well, we all know that," interrupted Bridget, inly
enjoying the consternation that painted Mark's cheek a livid white.
"And you to be so jealous of Riley," she went on, "not to dance with me
last night; I knew the reason, but the jealousy that springs from love
is soon forgot, so I forgot yours."

"Peggy! _his_ sweetheart? Riley's?"

"To be sure, don't you know they are going to be married?"

"No!" vacantly replied the sorely bewildered Mark.

"Oh, yes! and now I want to tell you a pet plan of mine, if you don't
think me too bold, Mark, and that is, how nice and cozy it would be, if
we could only all be married on the same day."

This was too much for Mark; he couldn't endure it any longer; he
started up, pushed his hat very far on his head, saying, in what he
intended to be a most severe tone:

"Miss O'Conner, I don't know what could have put such an idea into your
head. Marry, indeed! I've enough to do to take care of myself. No, I'm
sorry to wound _your_ feelings, but I shall never marry!"

"Oh! yes, you will," said Bridget, placing her arm in his, which he
disengaged, saying bitterly:

"Never! never!"

"Nonsense, I'll bet you will, and, if it was only to humor me, Mark, on
the very same day that Peggy is!"

"Bridget, I didn't think I could hate a woman as I'm beginning to hate
you."

"Better before marriage than after, Mr. Mark. Come, I'll bet you a new
Sunday coat, against a calico gown, and that's long odds in your favor,
that what I've said will come true."

"Nonsense!"

"Is it a bet?"

"Pooh! I'll bet my life, against"----

"What it's worth, Mr. Mark--just nothing at all."

"True for you, now, Bridget; true for you," and Mark suddenly quitted
the house in such real sorrow that it touched for a moment even
Bridget's heart; but only for a moment. Pshaw! thought she, let him
fret; it will do him good, and make the joy greater when he comes to
know the truth. A hunt would be nothing without hedges and ditches.
Proceeding to the window, she uttered an exclamation of surprise.

"Ha! as I live, here comes Peg herself. She must meet Mark; what fun!
He sees her and stops short; what a quandary he's in. She sees _him_!
How the little fool blushes; now they meet. Mark doesn't take her hand.
I wonder what he's saying. 'It's a fine day,' I suppose, or something
equally interesting; he passes on, and Peg looks as scared as if she
had seen a ghost."

A sudden thought at this moment seemed to strike Bridget; she clapped
her hands together and laughed a little, sharp laugh, saying, "I'll do
it, I will; I'll have a bit of fun with Peg, too," so she pretended to
be very busy at her spinning-wheel as Peggy entered, and hanging up
her, cloak and bonnet, sat down without saying a word.

"Ah! Peg," Bridget began, "is that you? Mark has just been here."

"Indeed?" replied Peggy, twisting up one pretty curl so tightly as to
hurt her head.

"The blessed truth," continued the wicked little tormentor. "Did you
meet him?"

A very desponding "yes," was the response.

"Well," demanded Bridget, anxiously, "did he say anything--I mean,
anything _particular_?"

"He only said the weather was pleasant, and then passed on, without
ever even shaking hands with me," sadly replied Peggy.

"Mark needn't have done that; whatever happens, he ought to be civil to
_you_," said Bridget, with a peculiar expression that made Peggy's
heart flutter within her like a pigeon.

"Civil to me! what _do_ you mean, Bridget?"

Bridget hummed an air, and, as if suddenly wishing to change the
conversation, said, gaily:

"Oh! I forgot, we were to tell each other's dreams this morning. Peg,
you begin, what did _you_ dream about?"

"Nothing, Bridget, I didn't sleep."

"Then you couldn't have dreamed," sagely responded the other, "but I
did."

"What?"

"I dreamed that I had a beautiful new gown given to me, and by whom do
you think?"

"I don't know; Ned Riley, may-be."

"Ned Riley, indeed," replied Bridget with a sneer; "not a bit of it. By
a finer man than ever stood in _his_ shoes. Who but Mark Brady?"

Peg's heart sank within her.

"That wasn't all I dreamed," and she fixed her wild eyes full on Peg,
in a way that made hers fall instantly, "I dreamed that I was married
to him."

"To Mark?" whispered Peggy.

"_To Mark!_"

Peggy didn't utter another syllable; didn't even look up, but sat
motionless and pale, very pale. Bridget couldn't understand her seeming
apathy; a more acute observer would have but contrasted it with the
intense emotion which she felt within--an emotion not a whit lessened
as Bridget continued, with marked expression:

"I dreamed all that this blessed morning, and morning dreams, you know,
_always come true_."

Peggy, still silent, seemed to be wholly occupied in demolishing, piece
by piece, the remnant of a faded flower which she had taken from her
bosom, lingering over its destruction as though a portion of her heart
went with each fragment--when Bridget suddenly started up, exclaiming,
"Here comes Mark, I declare."

A painful spasm shot through Peggy's frame, yet she did not stir from
her seat; the only evidence that she heard Bridget's exclamation was
that her lips grew as pallid as her cheek.

"But, law, what am I thinking about? I must go and tidy my hair."

And away flew Bridget up to her room, from whence she crept stealthily
down, and snugly ensconced herself behind the door. Naughty girl! to
listen to what transpired.

Mark, who, since his conversation with Bridget, had seriously
contemplated suicide, but was puzzled about the best mode of making
away with himself, had come to the conclusion that to enter the army as
a common soldier would be the least criminal, although certainly the
most lingering process, and it was to lacerate his feelings by a
parting interview with his dearly-loved Peg, before he consummated the
act of enlistment, that he now came.

Arrived at the door, he hesitated a moment, then giving one big gulp,
he lifted the latch and entered. There he saw Peggy herself, looking
straight into the fire, never once turning aside or raising her eyes,
proof positive to Mark, if he wanted it, that she cared nothing for
him. He sat down, and for several minutes there was a dead silence.
Mark had fully intended to say something frightfully cutting to his
sweetheart, but as he gazed upon her white, sad face, his resentment
vanished, and he felt more inclined to implore than to condemn. He
wanted to speak, but what to say he had not the remotest idea. At last
Peg broke the silence, by murmuring softly, as though it were but a
thought, to which she had given involuntary expression--

"May you be happy, Mark! May you be happy!"

"Happy!" echoed Mark, with a sharp emphasis, that thrilled painfully
through Peggy, "Faith, it's well for _you_ to be wishing me happiness."

"Indeed, indeed I do, Mark--I mean Mr. Brady," meekly replied the poor
girl.

"Oh, that's right!" said Mark, bitterly. "Mr. Brady! It used to be
Mark."

"But never can again."

"You're right! never!"

"Never!" and poor Peggy sighed deeply.

After another embarrassing pause, broken only by a sort of smothered
sound, which _might_ have been the wind, but wasn't, Mark started
up, exclaiming:

"I see my company is displeasing to you, but I shan't trouble you long.
That will be done to-morrow which will separate us for ever."

"To-morrow! so soon?" replied Peggy, with a stifled sob.

"Yes! the sooner the better. What is it _now_ to you?"

"Oh, nothing, nothing! But I thought--that is--I'm very, very foolish."

Poor Peggy's heart overflowed its bounds; burying her face in her
hands, she burst into tears.

Mark didn't know what to make of it. She must have liked me a little,
thought he, or why this grief? Well, it's all my own fault. Why didn't
I tell her of my love, like a man? and not sneak about, afraid of the
sound of my own voice. I've lost her, lost the only thing that made
life to me worth enduring, and the sooner I relieve her of my presence
the better.

"Miss May! Peggy!" he said, with an effort at calmness, "this is the
last time we may meet on earth; won't you give me your hand at
parting?"

Peggy stretched out both hands, exclaiming through her tears--"Mark!
Mark! this is, indeed, cruel!"

"It is, I know it is!" said Mark, brushing away an obtrusive tear. "So,
God bless you, and good angels watch over you; and if you ever cared
for me"----

"If I ever cared for you! oh, Mark!"

"Why! did you?" inquired Mark.

"You were my only thought, my life, my happiness!" There was the same
curious sound from the chamber door, but the innocent wind had again to
bear the blame. Peggy continued--"Mark, would that you had the same
feeling for me!"

"I had! I had!" frantically he replied. "And more, oh! much more than I
have words to speak. Why didn't we know this sooner?"

"Ah! why, indeed?" sadly replied Peggy, "but it is too late."

"_double_" replied Mark, "_too late!_"

"Not a bit of it!" exclaimed Bridget, bursting into the room, streaming
with tears of suppressed laughter, "Don't look so frightened, good
people; I'm not a ghost. Who lost a new cap? eh, Peg. And more,
betoken, who is likely to lose a new gown? I'll have my bets, if I die
for it. So, you've spoke out at last, have you? You're a pretty pair of
lovers. You'd have gone on everlastingly, sighing and fretting
yourselves, until there wouldn't have been enough between you to make a
decent fiddlestring, if I hadn't interfered."

"You?" cried Peggy and Mark, simultaneously.

"Yes, indeed, it made me perfectly crazy to see the two of you groaning
and fussing, without the courage to say what your hearts dictated.
There, go and kiss each other, you pair of noodles."

It is hardly necessary to say that Bridget's explanation brought about
a pleasant understanding between all parties, and it will be only
needful to add that a few weeks afterwards there was a _double_
wedding at the little parish chapel. One of the brides wore a bran new
calico gown of such wonderful variety of color, and moreover a new cap
of so elaborate a style of decoration, that she was the admiration and,
of necessity, the envy of the entire female population.

Bridget had won both her wagers, thereby establishing, just as
infallibly as all such matters _can_ be established, the truth of
the old saying:

_The dream of the morning is sure to come true._



THE FORTUNE-TELLER.

    "Show his eyes, and grieve his heart,
    Come like shadows so depart."

    SHAKSPEARE.


The insatiable desire to penetrate the dark veil of futurity, which
pervades all classes, from the highest to the lowest, renders the
occupation of the _Fortune-Teller_ one of considerable profit. In no
part of the world are there so many professors of the _art_, as in
Ireland. The most insignificant village has its cunning person, of one
sex or the other, whose province generally is to cure bewitched cattle,
be well acquainted with all the scandalous gossip of the vicinity, and
give advice and assistance in all delicate and difficult affairs of the
heart; added to which, in some instances, a "_trifle of smugglin'_,"
and in all, the vending of interdicted drink: _Potieen_, that had never
seen the ill-looking face of a gauger; a kind of liquid fire you might
weaken with aquafortis, that would scrape the throat of an unaccustomed
drinker as if he had swallowed a coarse file, but which our seasoned
tipplers "_toss off_," glass after glass, without a grin, their
indurated palates receiving it like so much water.

The class of individuals who take up, or are instructed in the
mysteries of Fortune-telling, combine rather antagonistic elements.
They are generally the shrewdest, cunningest, cleverest, laziest people
you can find. Studying, and understanding to a charm, the most
assailable points of human nature, they obtain from their applicants,
by circuitous questioning, the precise nature of their expectations;
then dexterously "_crossing the scent_," with an entirely different
subject, astonish them at last by expounding their very thoughts. Nor
are the old-established mysteries, the appliances and incantations
omitted, although they necessarily must be of a simple and curious
nature; the great oracle, the cards, is brought into requisition on all
occasions, varied by a mystic examination of tea-grounds, melted lead,
and indeed, sometimes in imitation of the ancient soothsayer, _facilis
descensus_, by the sacrifice of some poor old cat.

Bridget Fallow, or _Biddy na Dhioul_, as she was most commonly
designated, was an extraordinary specimen of the genus. Many a
heart-breaking was averted through her agency, and numberless the
strange doings ascribed to her powers of witchcraft. The love-stricken
_"from all parts of the country round,"_ a comprehensive Irish phrase,
signifying a circuit of some twelve or fourteen miles, consulted ould
Biddy, daily. Immense was her mystic reputation, and very many the
_"fippenny bits,"_ the smallest piece of coin that could be obtained to
_"cross her hand,"_ did she sweep into her greasy pocket, from the
credulous of either sex.

It would be difficult to describe accurately the temple of this
particular dispenser of fortune. Bent nearly double, partly from age,
and partly to give greater effect to her divinations (for the older a
witch appears, the more credit is given to her skill), she sat, or
rather crouched in a small, dimly-lighted room, surrounded by some
dozen cats, of all ages and complexions, from playful kittendom to
grave and reverend cat-hood; black, white, pie-ball'd, skew-ball'd,
foxy, tortoise-shell, and tab. Now, those companions of Biddy's were
held in especial horror by her visitors, who firmly believed them to be
familiar demons, attendant on her will. But never were animals so
libelled, for they were in truth, as frolicsome and mundane specimens
of the feline, as ever ran after a ball of worsted. Biddy was fond of
her cats, and though naturalists doubt the sincerity of cat-love, they
certainly appeared to be greatly attached to her; night and day did
those three generations of puss gambol about her; perhaps, indicating
their preference for still life, they looked upon Biddy, as, in rigid
mobility, she sat motionless and silent, inly enjoying their pranks, as
merely a portion of the furniture, and so had as much right to jump on
her shoulder, and hunt each other's tail, over and about her as upon
anything else in the room. Certain it is they did not respect her a
whit more than an old table, and Biddy, delighted with such
familiarity, put no restraint on their impertinence. A dingy curtain,
reaching half-way across the room, concealed a large, rudely-finished
mirror-frame, which Biddy found extremely useful on several occasions.
There were none of the awe-compelling accessories of the magic art, no
alligator stuffed, no hissing cauldron, no expensive globes; nothing,
save an old black-letter folio, Biddy's universal book of reference,
and a terribly dirty pack of cards, the marks nearly effaced from
constant use, being the second, which, in a long life of
fortune-telling, she had ever consulted. Adapting her mode of
operations to the wish of her applicant, Biddy had various ways of
penetrating the clouds of futurity, enumerating them to the curious
visitor as follows: "Wirra, thin, it's welcome that yez are to ould
Biddy na Dhioul; may you niver know sickness, sorrow, poverty, or
disthress. It's myself that can tell yer fortune, whativer it is. I can
tell it be the stars, or the cards, be the tay-grounds, coffee-grounds,
meltid lead, or baccy-ashes; be signs, an' moles, an' dhrames; be the
witch's glass, or be yer own good-lookin' hand."

The great secret of Biddy's success was, that all her auguries presaged
_some_ amount of good, and it was observed that the larger the piece of
silver with which her hand was crossed, the more extensive was the
fortune predicted. A "_fippenny-bit_," might produce a "_smart boy for
a husband_," but "_half a crown_" would insure a "_jaunting car_," or,
hint obliquely at "_the young masther_," give mysterious foreshadowings
of "_silken gounds_," and an "_iligant family of childher_." A cute old
soul was Biddy, and extensive the knowledge experience had given her of
the pregnable points of general character. Why should we not give her a
call?

I'll just tell you a few secrets, known only to two or three
individuals besides myself, and as some of them will be very likely to
need Biddy's assistance, we shall unceremoniously accompany them on
their visit.

It is Sunday; mass is just over; the sober gravity of the morning (for
no people are more earnest in the performance of their religious duties
during the time so allotted, than are the Irish peasantry), is
beginning to change to a general aspect of enjoyment. The girls in
their neat, clean dresses, are tripping along homeward; and many a
bonnet and shawl, or calico dress, is descanted upon, praised or
censured according to the opinion of the speaker, for the universal
duty of the feminine chapel or church-goer, is to criticise at
intervals the dresses of her neighbors.

"Athin, Mary," says one, "_did_ you ever see such a pattern of a gound
as _Miss_ Machree had on her back this blessed day; if it hadn't as
many colors in it as would make nigh hand half a dozen rainbows, I hope
I may turn into a _nagur_. I declare to my goodness, I wouldn't give my
ould washed-out gound for two of the likes of it."

Wouldn't she?

"True for you, Nell," replies another, "an' did you remark _purty_
Norah, as the boys call her? Purty, indeed! it wouldn't take blind
Barty, the piper, a month of Sundays to see all the purty there is
about her. _I_ wouldn't be seen with such a nose on _my_ face; an'
she comin' over us wid the pride of a sthraw bonnet, this beautiful
summer's day; the hood of an ould grey cloak was good enough for the
mother before her, to wear. It isn't disgracin' my mother's memory I'd
be, by puttin' sthraw bonnets on my head."

"Well, it is a shame; do you know what I've heerd?"

"What?"

"Why, neither more nor less than that _purty_ Miss Norah is setting her
sthraw bonnet at Pat Kinchela."

"No!"

"It's the heaven's truth; didn't I see her to day, lookin' at him
dhreadful? _I_ wouldn't look at a man the way she did, no, not if
he was made of goold."

"Whist! Nelly; look yondher! if there isn't Pat, see and that consated
minx walkin' _arm-in-arm_; bless your sowl, there's quality manners for
ye. I wonder, for my part, the road doesn't open and swally such
impidence right up; now just obsarve them, sthruttin' along as if
everybody else was the dirt undher their feet. Well, if that isn't
owdaciousness, I wish somebody would tell me what is."

But, inasmuch as our story has more to do with Pat and Norah than with
those chattering specimens of a rather numerous class, we'll attend to
_them_, and let the others go about their business--of detraction.

Pat has just hazarded an important question, as would appear from the
sudden and more brilliant flush that spread over pretty Norah's cheek,
than from any significancy in her reply, which was simply:

"You're mighty impident to-day, Mr. Kinchela."

"Athin, Norieen, jewel," answered Pat, "if it comes to the rights of
the thing, how the divil can I help it? Sure an' haven't you kept me
danglin' afther you for nigh hand a twel'month, an' it's neither yis
nor no, that I can squeeze out of your purty little mouth."

"Ah, indeed!" said Norah, with the shadow of a pout that might have
been simulated, "then I suppose you'd be satisfied whichever it was."

"Faix, yis would be satisfactory enough," replied Pat, who did his
wooing in rather a careless manner, philosophically.

"And if it happened to be no?"

"Why, thin, I suppose I'd have to put up wid that for the want of a
betther."

"An' try your luck somewhere else, may-be?" continued Norah, with a
dash of lemon.

"An' why not?" answered Pat, with apparent carelessness. "If you
couldn't ketch a throut in one place, you wouldn't come back wid an
empty basket, would you? unless, may-be, you had no particular appetite
for fish."

"Then, sir, you have my permission to bait your hook as soon as you
like, for I have no idea of nibblin'," said Norah, letting go Pat's
arm, and walking _very_ fast--not so fast, though, but that our
cavalier friend could keep up with her, flinging in occasional morsels
of aggravation.

"Now, don't be foolish, Norah; you're only tellin' on yourself. The
boys will see that we've had a tiff, and the girls will be sure to say
you're _jealous_."

"Jealous, indeed! I must _love_ you first, Mr. Impidence."

"So you do."

"I ain't such a fool, _sir_."

"Yes, you are, _ma'am_; an' what's more nor that, you can't help it,
_ma'am_."

"Can't I?"

"Not a bit of it. You've caught the sickness, an' it's the goolden ring
that'll cure you, an' nothin' besides."

"It isn't you that'll be docthor, anyway."

"The divil a one else."

"High hangin' to all liars."

"I'd say that, too, only I wouldn't like to lose you, Norah, afther
all. Come now, darlin'," he went on, varying his tactics, "don't let us
quarrel on this blessed day; let us make it up _acush_; take a howld of
my arm, this right arm, that would work itself up to the elbow to do
you any sarvice, or smash into small pitatys the blaggard that offered
you the ghost of an offince."

This blarney-flavored speech had some effect upon Norah, yet she
concealed it like--a woman, sinking it down into her heart, and calling
up a vast amount of anger to overwhelm it. Is it at all astonishing
that the latter flew away in words, while the former nestled there for
ever? Poor, foolish little Norah, her real feeling concealed by the
cloud of temper she had raised, thought at that moment there was not a
more unlovable being in existence than Pat, and what's more, she said
so.

"Mr. Kinchela," said she, in her iciest manner, "I'm obleeged to you
for your company, such as it is, but here is Cousin Pether, an' you
needn't throuble yerself, or be wearin out shoe-leather any more comin'
afther me."

"Norah!" said Pat, suddenly stricken into gravity, "are you in
airnest?"

"I wish you the best of good mornin's, sir;" and taking Cousin Peter's
arm, with a provoking smile on her lip, and triumph in her eye, off
went Norah, leaving Pat gazing after her, looking rather the reverse of
wise--once only did she turn as she passed the corner of the street,
but that simple circumstance rekindled hope within Pat's soul.

As he was thus standing, utterly unconscious of the observation he
attracted, he was suddenly accosted by his best friend, Jim Dermot.

"Why, tear an' nounthers," said Jim, "is it ketchin' flies, or
fairy-sthruck, or dead all out you are, Pat, avic? why, you look the
picther of misfortune, hung in a black frame."

"Hollo, Jim, is that you?" cried Pat, waking out of his reverie,
"wasn't that too bad intirely?"

"So it was--what was it?" replied Jim.

"Why, to lave me stuck here like a post, and to go off wid that
_omadhaun_ Pether."

"Well, it was quare, sure enough," replied Jim, without the slightest
idea what Pat was driving at, yet hoping to arrive at it better from an
apparent knowledge than by downright questioning. "To run off," he
continued, "an' wid Pether, of all fellows in the world;" adding to
himself, "I wondher who the divil Pether is, and where he's run to?"

"I didn't think she could sarve me so," said Pat.

"Oh! it's a she that's in it, is it?" thought Jim, saying, with a sage
shake of the head, "I nivir would have b'lieved it of her myself; but
wimin _is_ conthrary divils, an' that's the truth. When did she go,
Pat?"

"Why, now, this very minute."

"You don't say? well, an' what do you mane to do?"

"Do? why, nothing; what would you do?"

"Well, I believe I'd do _that same_, Pat, an' nothin' else."

"It isn't very likely that I'll let her know how much her conduct has
hurt me."

"It might make her consated."

"She's a shameless jilt."

"That she is, as sure as her name is----what it is," said Jim, hoping
Pat would fill up the pause.

"What would you advise me to do, Jim?" inquired Pat.

"Well, I don't know," replied the other, "it's a mighty delicate point
to give a man advice upon; but if you'd be ruled by me you'd go an' ax
ould Biddy na Dhioul."

"By gorra, but you're right there," said Pat, "I wondher I didn't think
of that afore."

"It isn't too late."

"True for you; an' it's there I'll go this blessed minute. I'd rather
know my fate at onst, than be kep' like a mouse in a thrap, wondhering
whether the cat'll play wid me, or ate me in the mornin'."

"So, it is thrapped you are, Pat, is it? arrah, how did you manage
that?"

"Faix, an' I walked into it wid my eyes open, like any other omadhoun
of a mouse."

"Bedad, it takes a sinsible mouse to walk away from the smell of
cheese, anyway, Pat."

"That's a fact, Jim, but I must be off to ould Biddy's: I'll get my
mind _aised_ one way or the other, wid a blessin' afore I sleep."

"Good luck attend you," said Jim, sorely mortified that with all his
cunning, he couldn't get at the rights of the matter.

Pat made the best of his way to Biddy's cabin, truly in a miserable
state of mind: this, the first obstacle to his love, had so increased
its strength and intensity. After he had knocked once or twice the door
opened, and he found Biddy in her usual position, surrounded by her
usual play-mates.

"God save you, Biddy," said he, taking a seat, and brushing the
perspiration from his brow, "you're a knowledgeable woman, an' can tell
me what I want to know."

"In coorse, I can, Mr. Pat Kinchela, whativer it is; not that I pretind
to tell anything but what the iligant stars prognostify," replied
Biddy, gravely referring to her miraculous volume, not that she had the
slightest occasion to employ her shrewd plan of pumping this time; she
knew all about it.

"The saints be good to us, Pat, darlin'," she suddenly exclaimed, "but
here's a bitther disappointment for some one."

"Not for me, Biddy; don't say for me," cried Pat, "here, take this, an'
this, pouring out all the copper, very thinly intersected with silver,
which he had about him, into her apron; now, give us a good fortune if
you can; long life to you."

"I didn't say it was for you, did I? just howld your whist, an' let the
stars work without bein' hindhered, for they're mighty fractious now
and thin," said Biddy, mumbling some unintelligible expressions and
slily counting the while the extent of Pat's donation. The result was
satisfactory.

"Pat, jewel," she said, "howld up your head, for there's money bid for
you--you'll be a thremendious rich man yet."

"Oh! I don't care for that," he interrupted, "tell me of"----

"Norah Malone," quietly interrupted Biddy.

Pat was wonder-stricken, he gasped for breath.

"It's thrue, then, that you do know everything, Biddy."

"A'most everything," replied the old crone.

"Then, it's no use in my telling you," continued Pat, "how every
life-dhrop of my heart was devoted to that same girl, how every wakin'
thought, an' every sleepin' dhrame was filled up with her; now I've
lost her, and the sunshine of my life is gone with her for ever."

"I know it all."

"But what--what am I to do? tell me, or I shall go mad."

"Thry your luck somewhere else."

"Pshaw! I might as well thry to stop the tide with a pitchfork."

"You do really love her, then?"

"Love her! Why do you ask? Do you doubt it?"

"I do."

"That shows how much you know, and now I doubt your power to tell any
one's thoughts, since you can't tell mine."

"Oh, yes, but I can, if you want me to prove it, I'll tell you who
you're thinking of at this moment."

"Do, and I'll believe anything."

"_Cousin Pether!_"

Pat fairly started from his seat; large drops suddenly gathered on his
brow; he was frightened.

Biddy, seeing her advantage, went on: "You're a purty fellow, to call
my power in question. I've a great mind to make you feel it in airnest.
Will I go on or not?"

"Go on; anything," said Pat; "I'll say no more."

Biddy then shuffled the dirty pack of cards, cut and set them out in
her lap, saying, as she proceeded: "Bad--nothing but bad luck. There,
that queen of clubs is your sweetheart, and that knave of hearts must
be Cousin Pether; he's rather carroty-headed."

Pat groaned.

"Here's a wedding," Biddy went on, "and lots of money, to who? Let me
see: if it isn't to that knave of hearts again."

"Curse the knave of hearts," cried Pat, starting up, "I have had enough
of this. I do believe you've been playin' wid me all this time.
Good-bye"----

"Stay one minute; you think I've been playing with you, eh?" said the
old witch, rising, and speaking in a mysteriously solemn tone of voice,
"Young man, have you strength of mind enough to look upon the magic
glass, and have your _eyes_ convinced?"

"What mean you?" exclaimed Pat.

"To show you what you least wish to see--Norah and her cousin in each
other's arms."

"Impossible; you're juggling with me now; you cannot show me that."

"_Look!_" screamed old Biddy, tearing back the dingy curtain--and
there, sure enough, within the frame of the mirror, locked in each
other's embrace, were _Norah_ and _Peter_.

The suddenness of the disclosure, combined with the terror of the
moment, acting upon a frame rendered weak from apprehension, made the
blood rush into the brain of the unfortunate lover, and without
uttering a sound, he fell heavily to the floor in a faint.

It was some time before he was restored to consciousness, when the
first form that fell upon his sight was that of the detested Peter. He
shut his eyes in the misery of unavailing rage, but opened them again
in astonishment, as a well-known voice whispered in his ear:

"Dear Pat, it's your own Norah that's beside you."

Pat's delight was perfectly indescribable, and I shrink from the
responsibility of attempting it; suffice it to say, for the elucidation
of our mystery, that Norah and Peter were beforehand with him at old
Biddy's, when, seeing him approach, they hid themselves behind the
curtain. Norah had such a convincing proof of Pat's truthful love, that
she never quarrelled with him again--at least before they were married:
of their further proceedings I frankly confess my ignorance.



THE FAIRY CIRCLE.

    "Don't be conthrairy
    With an Irish fairy,
    Or, I declare, he
      Won't regard you much;
    But be complaisant,
    When that he's adjacent,
    And he'll use you dacent,
      If you merit such."


"Corney; avic?"

"Ma'm to you."

"What the mischief are you thinking so _thremendious_ hard about?"

"Me thoughts is me own, anyway, Missis O'Carrol."

"Unless, may-be, you borrowed them from some one else; an' that's most
likely, Mr. O'Carrol; for the niver an original idaya did I obsarve
iminatin' from your own sinsabilities, sence here I've been."

"Exceptin' once."

"An' whin was that, may I ax?"

"Whin I tuk it into me foolish head to marry you."

"An' have you the owdashious vanity to suppose that nobody thought that
before you?"

"Not to me knowledge, Mrs. O'C."

"The saints be good to us! There's a _dale_ of ignorance in the world;
but come now, tell me, what is it that makes you lave off your work,
evry now an' thin, lookin', for all the world, as cute as a concaited
_gandher_."

"Why, thin, Moll _machree_, I'll tell you; but you must promise not to
make fun o' me, for it's your good that's iver foremost in me heart."

"The blessin's on your lovin' sowl! I know it is."

"Well, then, Moll, come an' sit near me, an' lave off polishin' up that
owld copper kittle; for I want to spake mighty sarious to you. Haven't
you noticed that big, slated house that's just builded up, fornenst our
very nose?"

"Of coorse I have."

"Yes, but do you know who's livin' in it? Who, but young Phil Blake,
that was as poor as a _thranieen_, an' as ragged as a mountain goat, in
his ivry-day clothes, not more nor six months ago?"

"You don't say!"

"It's the mortial truth; didn't I see him awhile ago, struttin' up an'
down the place, as proud as any other paycock, wid a _blew_ coat on his
back, covered over wid brass buttons, a'most as big as fryin' pans,
enough to dazzle the eyes out of a Christian's head; an' he ordherin'
the min about, as importint as you plaze. Phil Blake, of all fellows in
the _worrild_, that niver had the ghost of a fippenny-bit to bless
himself wid, to see him now, crammin' his fists into his breeches
pockets, an jinkin' the goold an' the silver about, in the most
aggravatin' way."

"But where did he get it all?"

"That's the chat--where? Guess, won't you?"

"I don't know, may-be some rich ould lady fell in love wid him."

"Is it wid Phil? Small chance of that, I'm thinkin'. Guess agin."

"May-be he had a lawshuit!"

"Be my _sowkins_, you're further in the mud than iver, Moll-shee.
Lawshuits isn't the stuff goold mines is made of; if so, it's only the
lawyers that's licensed to dig. I'll tell you. Last night, meself an' a
few boys was takin' a jug of punch, at the "Cross Kays," whin one of
them up and towld us all about it. Moll, as thrue as you're here, it
was neither more nor less than a _fairy-gift_."

"No!"

"Gospel! He cotch one of the little schamers (saving their prisince,
for I suppose there's a lot of thim listenin', if we knew where they
were perched), an' so, he wouldn't let him go until he gave him hapes
of money. Why, they say Phil's as rich as an archbishop!"

"But, Corney, darlin', don't you know that fairy money niver thrives?
let us wish Blake good luck, and think no more about it."

"Pooh! Nonsense! He has luck enough; we had better wish ourselves a
slice. Money's money, Moll; a fairy groat would pay for a pot of
porther just as aisily as Father Fogarty's. It isn't that I'm over
covetious, but I can't help envyin' Phil."

"An' you see what harm even the first beginnin' of such a feelin' does.
All this blessed day, you've hardly done a stitch of work; instead of
makin' the lapstone echo with the sound of your merry voice, you've
been lookin' as disthracted as a sthray pig; why, you haven't even
kissed the babby sence dinner. Go to work, Corney, while I get a cup of
tay ready. Thank God, we've never wanted for a male's vittles yet, and
have always a plinty in the house, agin we do."

"Yes, I know that; but haven't I to work for it, day afther day! No
rest; nothing but slave, slave, slave, from year's end to year's end,
while gintlefolks, like Phil, bad 'cess to him, can sthroll up an' down
the sunny-side of the street, smoke as many pipes of tibbacky as they
plaze; have roast beef ev'ry Sunday, an' wear top-boots. Murdher alive!
It's a great thing to be one of the _quality_."

"Well, the mischief has got into you, I b'lieve. Corney, you niver tuk
such a fit as this, afore."

"Niver mind, Moll, I know what I know; luck's like a fox; you have to
hunt it hard before you ketch it; the divil a toe will it come to you.
There's plinty of fairies about, an' who knows but there may be as
lucky chaps as Phil Blake in the _worrild_."

At the conclusion of the above conversation, Corney silently resumed
his work, endeavoring to add another piece to a wonderfully patched
brogue, while Mary busied herself at the little bright turf-fire,
boiling the water for _tea_--a few scanty grains of some apochryphal
herb, representing that indispensable delicacy. She holds a rasher of
exceedingly fat bacon on the end of a fork, which screws and twists
itself about like some living thing enduring fierce agony, while a
sleepy-looking puss, with her tail twisted comfortably around her paws
like a muff, sits intently watching the operation, evidently wondering
in her own mind what it can possibly be that spits so cat-like and so
spitefully into the fire. The walls of the little room are comfortably
whitewashed; only one broken pane of glass in the window, and that
neatly mended with a piece of old newspaper; the dresser is as white as
soap and sand applied by tidy hands can make it, while the few
household utensils that adorn it, shine to the utmost extent of their
capability. It's hardly necessary to say, that a good, cleanly, homely
and sensible wife, was Mary O'Carrol; and our friend Corney was an
ungrateful rascal to be dissatisfied with his condition. The mistake he
made was this (and it is by no means confined to Corney), he contrasted
his situation in life with the _few_ who were better off than himself,
instead of the _many_ who were infinitely worse.

And now, dear, domestic, tidy Mary spreads her little cloth, coarse
'tis true, but scrupulously clean and ironed, every fold showing like a
printed line; she opens a little cupboard and produces an enormous
home-baked loaf, so close and dense that a dyspeptic individual would
feel an oppression by merely looking at it, but which our toil-hungered
friends can dispose of by the pound, without the assistance of tonics;
then, the small, black teapot, having _stood_ the conventional time,
is carefully wiped, and placed on the table, and the whole frugal but
comfortable meal arrayed with that appetizing neatness without which it
becomes a mere matter of feeding and not of enjoyment.

"Now, Corney, dear," said Mary, "tay's ready."

"Faix, an' there's a pair of us," replied Corney, "I'm just about as
hungry as a dragin."

And no gourmet, even after he had lashed his appetite with stimulants,
which would otherwise have sneaked away from the laborious work it had
to undergo, ever sat down with so keen a palate, or rose from table
with so capital a sense of satisfaction as did Corney on this
particular occasion.

"Well, Molly machree," he cried, "I don't know that I iver had a
greater thrate nor that same rasher; if the fat of it wasn't, for all
the _worrild_, like double-distilled _marra_, may I niver use another
tooth; an' that _tay_! _Gogs bleakey_, Moll, if you haven't a recait
for squeezin' the parliaminthary flaviour out of the _herrib_! regard
the color of it!"

"An' afther three wathers," replied Mary, with pardonable vanity.

"Thrue for you, darlin'; why, the bread seems lighter, an' the butther
sweeter, an' the crame thicker. I'll be judged by the cat--look at the
baste; if she hasn't been thryin' to lick the last dhrop off of her
_hushkers_, for as good as a quarther of an hour, an' it's stickin'
there still, as tight as a carbuncle to a Christian's nose; an' may-be
I ain't goin' to enjoy this," he continued, as drawing his chair close
to the fire, out came his use-blackened pipe. He took just as much time
in preparation, cutting his tobacco and rolling it about in his hand,
as Mary did to clear away the tea-things, in order that nothing should
interfere with that great source of comfort--his smoke. Having placed a
small piece of lighted turf on top of his pipe he threw himself back in
his chair. With eyes half closed, and an expression of the most
profound gratification creeping over his features, he sent forth
several voluminous whiffs--what he called "saysonin' his mouth;" but
very soon, as though the sensation was too delicious to be hurried
over, he subsided into a slow, dignified, and lazy smoke, saying,
between puffs:

"Blessin's on the fellow that first invented 'baccy; it's mate an'
dhrink to the poor man; I'd be on me oath, if I wouldn't rather lose me
dinner nor me pipe, any day in the week."

"Where did 'baccy come from, Corney?" inquired Mary.

"Why, from 'Meriky; where else?" he replied, "that sint us the first
pitaty. Long life to it, for both, say I!"

"What sort of a place is that, I wonder?"

"'Meriky, is it? They tell me it's mighty sizable, Moll, darlin'. I'm
towld that you might rowl England through it, an' it would hardly make
a dent in the ground; there's fresh water oceans inside of it that you
might dround Ireland in, and save Father Matthew a wonderful sight of
throuble; an' as for Scotchland, you might stick it in a corner of one
of their forests, an' you'd niver be able to find it out, except,
may-be, it might be by the smell of the whisky. If I had only a thrifle
of money, I'd go an' seek me fortune there."

"Arrah, thin, what for Corney?"

"Oh! I don't know; I'm not aisy in me mind. If we were only as rich now
as Phil Blake, how happy we might be!"

There was the cloud that shut out content from Corney's heart--far-sighted
envy, that looks with longing eyes on distant objects, regardless of
the comfort near. Most stupid _envy_, which relinquishes the good
within its grasp to reach at something better unattainable, and only
becomes conscious of its folly when time has swept away the substance
and the shadow.

"It was the fairies that gave it to him," resumed Corney, as though
communing with himself, while poor Mary, with a fond wife's prescience,
mourned, as she foresaw that the indulgence of this new feeling would,
most probably, change her hitherto industrious mate into an idle
visionary.

"_The Fairies!_--An' why the divil shouldn't they give one man a taste
of good luck, as well as another? I'll do it--I will--this very blessed
night--_I'll do_ it!"

"Do what?" interrupted Mary, in alarm.

"Oh, nothing, nothing!--an' yet, I've niver kept anything from you,
Molly, an' I don't know why I should now! Sure, it's you that'll have
the binifit of it, if it comes to good."

"Dear Corney," replied Mary, "I'm happy enough as it is, so long as
Heaven gives us strength to provide for each other's wants, an' you
continue to be, what you always have been, a good husband to me. I'd
rather not be throubled with any more."

"It's nothin' but right for you to say so, Mary, darlin'," returned
Corney; "but now, supposin' that I could make a lady of you--eh? Think
of bein' able to wear a fine silken gound, an' a beautiful sthraw
bonnet, wid a real feather stuck in it; wouldn't you jerk your
showlders to show off the silk, an' toss your purty head for to humor
the feather?"

I must confess Mary's heart did flutter a little, at the mention of the
silk gown and the feather. Corney saw his advantage, and continued,

"You know how it was Phil got his money; it was by sleepin in a _fairy
circle_. I know where there's one, an' wid a blessin', I'll thry it
meself."

"You won't be so foolish, Corney?"

"May I niver taste glory, if I don't do it!"

Of course, after that solemn, though doubtful obligation, Mary dared
not endeavor to dissuade him from following out his intention,
notwithstanding the most melancholy forebodings of kidnapping,
fairy-blighting, and all the terrors associated with supernatural
agency, filled her imagination.

The evening was now far advanced, and Corney, having finished his pipe,
rose to go.

"Come, Molly," he exclaimed, gaily, "kiss me before I start, an' wish
me iligant luck."

Mary, with tearful eyes, replied, "Dear Corney, if you had all the luck
I wish you, you wouldn't have to go out into the cowld to hunt for it."

"Well, God bless you, darlin', if I don't come back to you Cornalius
O'Carrol, Esquire."

"You'll come home my own dear, contented husband."

"We'll see," said Corney, and away he went.

It was nothing but reasonable that he should pay a visit to the "Cross
Kays" before he went on his fairy hunt, and it was nothing but natural
upon his arrival there, to find his resolution had receded so far that
it took sundry pots of beer to float it up again. At last, brimful of
that unthinking recklessness, which the intoxicated generally mistake
for courage, off he started on his expedition, singing remarkably loud,
in order to persuade any lurking feeling of cowardice that might be
within him, that he wouldn't be influenced by it a morsel. As he neared
the village church, however, his voice unconsciously subsided into
utter silence; there was a short cut through the churchyard to the
place of his destination, but he made a full stop at the little stile;
many and many a time had he crossed it night and morning, without a
thought, and now it seemed to call up ghostly images; the wind as it
moaned through the trees, appeared to address itself particularly to
him; it wasn't more than a stone's throw to the other side, and he
wanted to clear it with a bound. At this moment the rusty old clock
suddenly squeaked and boomed out upon the startled air. The first
stroke, so sharp and unexpected, shattered Corney's nerves like a
stroke of paralysis; recovering from his fright, he laughed at his
folly, but the sound of his own voice terrified him still more. It was
not familiar to him--he didn't know it! A fancy came into his head that
somebody was laughing for him, and he fairly shivered!

A sudden thought relieved him: there was no occasion to go through the
churchyard at all!

"What a fool I am," thought he, "it isn't so far round, and there's
plenty of time. Divil take me if I wouldn't go home agin, only Mary
would think me such a coward, besides, didn't Phil do it? That's
enough; faint heart never won anything worth spakin' of--so here goes."

About half an hour's walk brought him to the meadow in which lay the
object of his search--a fairy-circle. Now this same fairy-circle, is
nothing more nor less than a ring of grass, which, from some cause or
another, probably known to botanists, but certainly a mystery to most
people, is of a different shade of color to that which surrounds it.
Tradition celebrates such places as the favorite resort of fairies, by
whom they were formed, that they might pursue their midnight revelry
without fear of danger from inimical powers. The Irish peasantry
carefully avoid trespassing on those sacred precincts, and indeed
scarcely ever pass them without making a reverential bow.

Our ambitious friend, Corney, hesitated for some time, before he
entered the magic enclosure, exceedingly doubtful as to the treatment
he should receive; at last, swallowing his trepidation with a spasmodic
gulp, he placed one foot within the circle, taking care to propitiate
the invisibles on whose exclusive property he was so unceremoniously
intruding.

"The blessin's on all here," said he, "an' I hope I'm not disturbin'
any frolic or business that yez may be indulgin' in. It's mighty sleepy
that I am, an' if yer honors would give me lave to recline meself atop
of the grass, an' make it convanient not to stick any rheumaticks into
me for takin' such a liberty, I'd recaive it as a compliment. If it's a
thing that I happen promiscuously to thread on anybody's toes, I have
no manin' whativer in it. By your laves, I'm goin' to lie down, an'
I'll drop aisy, in order that I mayn't hurt anything."

So saying, Corney let himself down very gingerly, and lay full length
within the fairy circle; he was one of those weather-proof individuals
to whom the meadow-grass was as good as a feather-bed. Consequently
what with the walk and the beer, it wasn't many minutes before he was
snoring fast.

He hadn't been asleep, as he thought, an instant, before he felt an
innumerable quantity of tiny feet traversing him all over; with regular
step they marched up his throat, and scaled his chin; making two
divisions up his cheeks, they arrived at his eyes, where they commenced
tugging at the lids until they were forced open; the sight that met his
view filled him with dreadful wonder. The circle of meadow, in which he
had barely room to stretch himself out, formed all he could see of
earth. Church, village, country, all had vanished; he rubbed his eyes
and looked again, but there was nothing; with an inexpressible
sensation of awe, he turned round, and creeping cautiously to the edge
of the circle, gazed downward, and could just discover the village he
had quitted about a mile below; with still increasing dread, he was now
aware that he was gradually mounting higher and higher. One more look,
villages, cities, countries, were blended into an undistinguishable
mass, and soon the globular form of the earth appeared, thoroughly
defined, swinging in the air.

He then became sensible of a tremendous heat, which increased in
intensity, until he found to his dismay that he was rapidly shrinking
in size; his flesh dried up, shrivelled, cracked, and clasped his
diminishing bones tighter, until at last he was not bigger than a
respectable fly. "This is mighty quare," thought Corney, "there's a
great lot of things like me frolicin' about. I feel as light as a
feather. I wonder if I couldn't make one among them." So saying, he
bounded up, and to his great amazement found that he had literally
jumped out of his skin. He perched upon his own head, which had resumed
its natural size and flying off, found himself floating securely in the
air, while the carcass which he had just deserted fell, fairy-circle
and all, rapidly towards the earth, and finally, also disappeared. Oh!
the pranks that Corney played in the first delight of being able to
fly; he dived down, he careered up, he threw mad summersets like a
tumbler-pigeon--so light and buoyant had he become, that the passing
vapors served him for a resting-place; he was happy, intoxicated with
glee, thousands upon thousands of atomies gambolled around him like
gnats in a sunbeam, the whole surrounding expanse was instinct with
joyous life.

And they knew Corney, and saluted him as he passed by, with a
compliment.

"Hallo!" said they, "here's Corney O'Carrol; how are you, Corney? It's
well you're looking;" and Corney was astonished at the extensive nature
of his atmospheric acquaintance.

"How do you like a fairy's life, Corney?" said one slim, midge-waisted
chap.

"Iligant, your fairyship, iligant," said Corney.

"Then, I'd advise you to make the most of it, while it lasts. You'll
soon have to appear before our king, and if you don't give a
satisfactory reason for seeking him, woe betide you."

"Don't be frightened, sir," said Corney; "I've rayzon enough for
comin', to satisfy any dacint-disposed fairy."

"Doubtful," said the good-natured elf, and off he flew.

"Stupid sperrit," thought Corney, and over he tumbled in mad
recklessness, enjoying actually, that delicious sensation which
sometimes occurs to people in dreams--the ability to skim through the
air with the speed and safety of a bird. What struck Corney most
particularly was the universal expression of glee which prevailed;
nothing could he hear but a universal hum, which rose and fell on the
ear with a purr-like undulation, such as one might imagine would
proceed from a paradise of remarkably happy cats.

While Corney was thus revelling in his new-found element, he was
suddenly accosted by two very genteel fairies. "Mr. Cornelius O'Carrol,
we presume?" said they.

"There's not a doubt of it, gintlemen," replied Corney.

"We have come to have the honor of conducting you into the presence of
our king," they continued.

"With a heart and a half," said Corney; "where might his majesty
domesticate?"

"In yonder goold-tinted cloud, a few seconds' fly from this; follow
us."

Upon nearing the regal abode, Corney observed sundry small substances,
like duck-shot, dropping downward. "What's thim?" inquired he of his
conductors.

"Oh!" answered one, "only a few discontented souls, who, like you, have
sought our king, and haven't given sufficient reason for troubling him
with their complaints."

Corney began to feel nervous, but coming to the conclusion that he had
as good a right to be enriched through fairy agency as ever Phil Blake
had, he put on a bold front, and was ushered into the presence of the
fairy potentate. There, a sight of such dazzling splendor presented
itself to his view, that, as he said himself, "You might as well try to
count the stars of a frosty night, or look right into the sun's heart
of a summer's day, as to give the slightest notion of the grandeur that
surrounded me." All he could compare it to, was, a multitude of
_living jewels_ of every variety of hue, sparkling and flashing in
perpetual light.

As soon as he could collect his scattered senses, he heard a voice
exclaim, "What, ho! soul of O'Carrol, approach!"

"So I'm thravelin' without my trunk this time, any way," thought
Corney, as he advanced toward the voice.

It continued, "Soul of a mortal, why hast thou sought our presence?"

"May it plaze yer majesty," Corney began to stammer out, "bekase I was
a trifle unaisy in me mind."

"What about?"

"In regard of the scarcity of money, plaze your reverence."

"What is your trade?"

"A shoemaker, sir."

"Cobbler, you mean," said the voice, severely. "No lying here;
recollect your poor, miserable, naked soul stands before us."

Corney thought of the height he'd have to fall, and trembled.

"You can't get work, I suppose," the voice returned.

"Too much of it, if it plaze yer honor. I niver have a minute to
spare."

"For what?"

"Why, yer honor, to--to----"

"Remember the punishment of prevarication. To what?"

"To take a drink."

"Then you have no home?"

"Oh, yes, but I have, sir."

"But 'tis pleasanter to lounge in a tap-room?"

"A trifle, may-be, your honor."

"Perhaps you have no wife to make your home comfortable?"

"Have't I though; the best that ever drew the breath of life," cried
Corney, with a loving remembrance of Mary.

"Poor fellow," continued the voice; "your situation is deplorable, it
appears. You have a good trade, an excellent wife, a comfortable home,
and yet you are discontented."

Corney felt himself resolving into a leaden pellet.

"One question more," said the voice; "when did you first feel
dissatisfied?"

"Why, to tell the truth, yer honor, as soon as that fellow, Phil Blake,
began to build his big brick house opposite to my little mud cabin.
Before that, I was as gay as a lark, but it stood like a great cloud
between me and the sun."

"Envy was the cloud, envy, that gloomiest of all earthly passions. Why
do you covet this man's fortune?"

"Because, sir, he always looks so smilin', and jinks his money about,
an' dispises the poor boys he used to be friendly with."

"Foolish, foolish soul!" said the voice, in accents of commiseration,
"but not yet wholly tainted. Thy love of home hath partially redeemed
thee. Listen to me. Dost thou see yonder piled up mass of
rainbow-tinted clouds. Do they not look gloriously, as the rising sun
flings his beams through them, as though revelling in their embrace?
Wouldst thou not like to behold such magnificence closer?"

"Nothing in life betther, yer majesty," said Corney.

"Then away; a wish will place you in their midst--a thought return you
here."

So with the wish and thought Corney went and came back.

"Well, what didst thou see?" inquired the Fairy King.

"The divil a haperth," replied Corney, "but a mighty black and most
unwholesomely damp cloud."

"What should that teach you?"

"Never to thravel without an umbrella, yer honor, I suppose," answered
Corney, who to say the truth, _was_ a little obtuse.

"Fool," said the fairy, "since I cannot lesson thee, go to thy kindred
earth, and learn experience from realities. Proceed to the chamber of
the man whose good fortune thou enviest; then to thine own, and if thou
art not satisfied with thy condition, seek me again, and meet with thy
reward. Away!"

As if by magic, the brilliant assembly dispersed like clouds of
gold-dust floating on the wind, and Corney was left alone.

"That's a mighty high sort o' chap," said Corney, "but I suppose I'd
betther do what he towld me for fear'd he'd turn spiteful."

So Corney wished himself within the chamber of Blake, and there he saw
the most piteous sight earth can produce: a young mother weeping tears
of agony over the body of her first-born. A man stood beside her with
features set and hard, as though turned to stone by hopeless grief.

"My God," thought Corney, "and these are the people whose lot I have
envied, and my own blue-eyed darling, is _he_ safe? Home, home," cried
he, and with the wish was there. In his little cradle lay the beautiful
boy steeped in the angel-watched, the holy sleep of infant innocence,
while Mary, on her knees, mingled her prayer for her absent husband.
Corney was rushing towards her, but suddenly remembering himself: "What
a fool I am," thought he, "I forgot I was a sperrit, at all events, I
can kiss the babby." With that, he bounded into the cradle, and nestled
on the boy's lip. Mary, seeing the child smile in his sleep, exclaimed:
"Good angels are putting sweet thoughts into your head, my blessed
babe," and she softly kissed him too.

"Oh! murdher," thought Corney, "this will never do; I must go and look
afther my body and bring it home. Thanks to the good fairies, I've
larned a lesson that shall last _my_ life and my boy's, too, if I
have any influence over him."

So saying, Corney wished himself in the meadow where his tangible
proportions were extended, and having kicked and got in, shook himself
carefully to see if he had obtained absolute possession.

"It's all right," said he, "I've come back." Looking up and around him,
he was surprised to see the bright sunlight of morning, and still more
so to observe Mary trudging through the churchyard to meet him.

"Oh, well," said Mary, anxiously, when they encountered, "what luck?"

"A power of knowledge, but no money," said Corney, sententiously.

"Did you see the fairies?"

"Did I _see_ them! bedad, I was one myself."

"Oh! be aisy!"

"The divil a doubt of it; wasn't I at home a bit ago, unbeknownt to
you? Answer me this, didn't you kiss the babby just before you came
out?"

"As thrue as life, I did," said Mary, slightly awe-struck.

"I was there and saw you do it."

"Where were you, Corney?"

"Sittin' on the end of his nose."

Of course that was proof positive, but inasmuch as Mary always _did_
kiss the boy before she left the house, the coincidence becomes less
remarkable.

It only remains for me to say, that the circumstance made a very
favorable change in Corney's disposition, or rather dissipated the cloud
which obscured his real character. Mary found her account in it, by an
increase of industry on his part, and he was rewarded by a corresponding
anxiety in her, to make his home happy. Many and many a time would he
give an account of his aerial journey, religiously convinced of its
reality; once only Mary just ventured to insinuate that it might
possibly have been a dream, but the _I-pity-your-ignorance-look_ which
Corney gave her, made her heartily ashamed of having hazarded so stupid
an opinion, and, as a matter of course, she soon believed as implicitly
as her husband, the wonderful adventure of _The Fairy Circle_.



O'BRYAN'S LUCK.

A TALE OF NEW YORK.



CHAPTER I.

THE MERCHANT-PRINCE.


In the private office of a first-class store sat two individuals, each
thoroughly absorbed in his present employment, but with very different
feelings for the work. One--it was the head of the establishment, the
great Mr. Granite, the millionaire merchant--was simply amusing
himself, as was his usual custom at least once a day, figuring up, by
rough calculation, the probable amount of his worldly possessions, they
having arrived at that point when the fructifying power of wealth made
hourly addition to the grand total; while the other, his old and
confidential clerk, Sterling, bent assiduously over a great ledger,
mechanically adding up its long columns, which constant use had enabled
him to do without the possibility of mistake. With a profound sigh of
relief, he laid down his pen, and rubbing his cramped fingers, quietly
remarked:

"Accounts made up, sir."

"Ah, very good, Sterling," replied the stately principal, with a smile,
for his arithmetical amusement was very satisfactory, "how do we
stand?"

"Balance in our favor, two hundred and fifty-seven thousand eight
hundred and forty-seven dollars, and twenty-three cents," slowly
responded the old clerk, reading from his abstract.

"You're certain that is correct, Mr. Sterling?" inquired the
merchant-prince, in a clear, loud voice, which indicated that the old,
time-worn machine was wearing out. He was so deaf that it was only by
using his hand as a conductor of the sound, that he could hear
sufficiently to carry on a conversation.

"Correct to a cypher, sir," he replied. "I have been up and down the
columns a dozen times."

"Good."

"Did you speak, sir?"

"No."

"Ah! my poor old ears," the old clerk whispered, half aside. "Five and
forty years in this quiet office has put them to sleep. They'll never
wake up again, never, never."

"You have been a careful and useful assistant and friend, Sterling,"
said the merchant, in a kindly tone, touching him on the shoulder with
unaccustomed familiarity, "and I thank you for the great good your
services have done the house."

"Bless you, sir, bless you--you are too good. I don't deserve it,"
replied Sterling, unable to restrain the tears which this unusual
display of good feeling, had forced up from the poor old man's heart.

"I shall have no further need of you to-day, Sterling, if you have any
business of your own to transact."

"I have, I have, my good, kind friend, and thank you for granting me
the opportunity," said Sterling, descending with difficulty from his
place of torture.--Why will they not abolish those inflexible horrors,
those relics of barbarism, those inquisitorial chattels--office-stools?
"I'll go now, and mingle my happiness with the sweet breath of
Heaven--and yet, if I dared to say what I want--I"----

"Well, speak out, old friend." The merchant went on, with an
encouraging look: "If your salary be insufficient"----

"Oh! no, no!" interposed the other, suddenly, "I am profusely paid--too
much, indeed--but"--and he cast down his eyes hesitatingly.

"This reserve with me is foolish, Sterling. What have you to say?"

"Nothing much, sir; indeed, I hardly know how to bring it out, knowing,
as I well do, your strange antipathy"---- Granite turned abruptly away.
He now knew what was coming, and it was with a dark frown upon his brow
he paced the office, as Sterling continued:

"I saw _him_ to-day."

"Travers?"

"Yes," replied the other, "Travers. But don't speak his name as though
it stung you. I was his father's clerk before I was yours."

"You know what I have already done for him," moodily rejoined the
merchant.

"Yes, yes--I know it was kind, very kind of you--you helped him once;
but he was unsuccessful. He is young--pray, pray, spare him some
assistance. You won't miss it--indeed you won't," pleaded the clerk.

"Sterling, you are a fool," Granite replied, sternly. "Every dollar
lent or lost is a backward step that must be crawled up to again by
inches. But I am inclined to liberality to-day. What amount do you
think will satisfy this spendthrift?"

"Well, since your kindness emboldens me to speak--it's no use patching
up a worn coat, so even let him have a new one--give him another
chance--a few hundred dollars, more or less, can't injure you, and may
be his salvation. About five thousand dollars will suffice."

"Five thousand dollars! are you mad, Sterling?" cried the merchant,
starting to his feet in a paroxysm of anger.

"Your son will have his half a million to begin with," quietly
suggested Sterling.

"He will, he will!" cried the other, with a strange, proud light in his
eye, for upon that son all his earthly hopes, and haply those beyond
the earth, were centered. "Wealth is power, and he will have
sufficient; he can lift his head amongst the best and proudest; he can
wag his tongue amongst the highest in the land--eh, my old friend?"

"That can he, indeed, sir, and be ashamed of neither head nor tongue,
for he's a noble youth," replied the clerk.

"Here, take this check, Sterling. I'll do as you wish this time; but
mind it is the last. I have no right to injure, even in the remotest
degree, my son's interests, of which I am simply the guardian. You can
give it to--to--_him_, and with this positive assurance."

"Bless you--this is like you--this is noble, princely," murmured the
old clerk, through his tears, which now were flowing unrestrainedly;
"when I tell"----

"Hold! repeat his name again, and I recall the loan. I repent already
of having been entrapped into this act of folly."

"You wrong your own liberal nature," said Sterling, mildly. "You are
goodness itself, and fear not but you will receive your reward
four-fold for all you have done for"----

"Away, you prating fool," cried Granite, in a tone that hurried the old
clerk out of the office, full of gratitude for the service done, and of
unaffected joy, that Providence had selected him to be the bearer of
such happy intelligence to the son of his old employer.

Meantime, the merchant-prince flung himself into his comfortable
easy-chair, a spasm of agony passing across his harsh features. "Oh!
Travers, Travers!" he inly ejaculated, "must that black thought ever
thrust itself like a grim shadow across the golden sun-ray of my
prosperity?"



CHAPTER II.

THE MAN OF LABOR.


The accommodating reader will now be kind enough to accompany me to a
far different place from that in which the foregoing dialogue was held.
With an effort of the will--rapid as a spiritual manifestation--we are
there. You see, it is an exceedingly small habitation, built entirely
of wood, and, excepting that beautiful geranium-plant on one window,
and a fine, sleek, contented-looking puss winking lazily on the
other--both, let me tell you, convincing evidence that the household
deities are worshipped on the hearth within--for wheresoever you see
flowers cultivated outside of an humble house, look for cleanliness,
and domestic comfort on the inside--excepting those two things, but
little of ornament is visible. Kind people dwell within, you may know;
for, see, the placid puss don't condescend to change her position as we
near her; her experience hasn't taught her to dread an enemy in our
species.

"Lift the latch; 'tis but a primitive fastening--nay! don't hesitate;
you know we are invisible. There! you are now in the principal
apartment. See how neat and tidy everything is. The floor, to be sure,
is uncarpeted; but then it is sedulously clean. Look at those white
window-curtains; at that well-patched table-cloth, with every fold as
crisp as though it had been just pressed; the dresser over there, each
article upon it bright as industry and the genius of happy home can
make it.--What an appetizing odor steams in from yonder kitchen! and
listen to those dear little birds, one in each window, carrying on a
quiet, demure conversation, in their own sweet way! Do they not say,
and does not every quiet nook echo:

"Though poor and lowly, there is all of Heaven that Heaven vouchsafes
to man, beneath this humble roof; for it is the sphere of her who is
God's choicest blessing--that world angel--a good, pure-hearted, loving
WIFE."

But hark! who is that singing? You can hear him, although he is yet a
street off; and so can she who is busy within there, you can tell by
that little scream of joy.

That is Tom Bobalink, the honest truckman, and the owner of this little
nest of contentment.

But, if you please, I will resume my narrative my own way, for you are
a very uncommunicative companion, friend reader, and it is impossible
for me to discover whether you like the scene we have been looking at,
or do not.

In a few moments, Tom rushed into the little room, his face all a-glow
with healthy exercise, and a joyous song at his lips.

"Hello! pet, where are you?" he cried, putting down his hat and whip.

"Here am I, Tom!" answered as cheerful a voice as ever bubbled up from
a heart, full of innocence and love.

"_Din_ in a _sec_," meaning dinner in a second; for "Tom and Pol," in
their confidential chats, abbreviated long words occasionally; and I
give this explanation as a sort of guide to their pet peculiarity.

"Hurry up, Polly!" cried Tom, with a good-humored laugh, "for I'm jolly
hungry, I tell you. Good gracious! I've heard of people's taking all
sorts of thing to get up an appetite; if they'd only have the sense to
take _nothing_, and keep on at it, it's wonderful what an effect it
would have on a lazy digestion."

Polly now entered with two or three smoking dishes, which it did not
take long to place in order. Now, I should dearly like to give you a
description of my heroine--aye! heroine--for it is in her station that
such are to be found--noble spirits, who battle with privation and
untoward fate--smoothing the rugged pathway of life, and infusing fresh
energy into the world-exhausted heart. Oh! what a crown of glory do
they deserve, who wear a smile of content upon their lips, while the
iron hand of adversity is pressing on their hearts, concealing a life
of martyrdom beneath the heroism of courageous love.

I say I should like to give you some slight description of Polly's
external appearance, but that I choose rather that my readers should
take their own individual ideas of perfect loveliness, and clothe her
therein; for, inasmuch as she is the type of universal excellence, in
mind and character, I wish her to be so in form and beauty.

"What have you got for me, Polly?" says Tom.

"It ain't much," she replied; "cos you know we can't afford _lux'es_;
but it's such a sweet little neck of _mut_, and lots of _wedges_."

"Gollopshus!" says Tom; "out with it! I'm as hungry as an unsuccessful
office-seeker."

"Office-seekers! what are they, Tom?"

"Why, Polly, they are--faith, I don't know what to compare them to;
you've heard of those downy birds, that when some other has got hisself
a comfortable nest, never rests until he pops into it. But them's
politics, Polly, and ain't _prop_ for _wom_ to meddle with."

"I agree with you there, Tom, dear; there's enough to occupy a woman's
time and attention inside of her house, without bothering her heart
with what's going on outside."

"Bless your homey little heart!" cried Tom, heartily. "Oh! Polly,
darling, if there were a few more good wives, there would be a great
many less bad husbands. This is glorious! If we could only be sure that
we had as good a dinner as this all our lives, Pol, how happy I should
be; but I often think, my girl, that if any accident should befall me,
what would become of you."

"Now, don't talk that way, Thomas; nor don't repine at your condition;
it might be much worse."

"I can't help it. I try not; but it's impossible, when I see people
dressed up and tittevated out, as I go jogging along with my poor old
horse and truck--I envy them in my heart, Pol--I know it's wrong; but
it's there, and it would be worse to deny it."

"Could any of those fine folks enjoy their dinner better than you did,
Tom?" said Polly, with a cheering smile.

"No, my girl!" shouted he, and the joy spread over his face again--"not
if they had forty courses. But eating isn't all, Pol," he continued,
growing suddenly serious once more. "This living from hand to
mouth--earning with hard labor every crust we put into it--never seeing
the blessed face of a dollar, that isn't wanted a hundred ways by our
necessities--is rather hard."

"Ah! Tom, and thankful ought we to be that we have health to earn that
dollar. Think of the thousands of poor souls that are worse off than
ourselves! Never look above your own station with envy, Thomas; but
below it with gratitude."

It was at this moment that there appeared at the open door, a poor,
wretched-looking individual, evidently an Irishman, and, from the
singularity of his dress, only just arrived. He said not a word, but
upon his pale cheek was visibly printed a very volume of misery.

"Hello! friend, what the devil do you want?" asked Tom.

"Don't speak so, Thomas. He's sick and in distress," said Polly, laying
her finger on his mouth. "There! suppose you were like that?"

"What? a Paddy!" replied the other, with a jolly laugh; "don't mention
it!" then calling to the poor stranger, who was resignedly walking
away; "Come on Irish!" he cried. "Do you want anything?"

"Av you plaze, sir," answered the Irishman, "I'd like to rest meself."

"Sit down, poor fellow!" said Polly, dusting a chair, and handing it
towards him.

"I don't mane that, ma'm; a lean o' the wall, an' an air o' the fire'll
do. The blessin's on ye for lettin' me have it!" so saying, he placed
himself near the cheerful fire-place, and warmed his chilled frame.

"A big lump of a fellow like you, wouldn't it be better for you to be
at work than lounging about in idleness?" said Tom.

"Indeed, an' its thrue for ye, sir, it would so; but where is a poor
boy to find it?"

"Oh! anywhere--everywhere."

"Bedad, sir, them's exactly the places I've been lookin' for it, for
the last three weeks; but there was nobody at home. I hunted the work
while I had the stringth to crawl afther it, an' now, av it was to
come, I'm afear'd that I haven't the stringth to lay howld ov it."

"Are you hungry?" inquired Polly.

"I'm a trifle that way inclined, ma'm," he replied, with a semi-comic
expression.

"Poor fellow, here, sit down and eat," said Polly, hurriedly diving
into the savory stew, and forking up a fine chop, which she handed to
the hungry stranger.

"I'd relish it betther standin', if you plaze, ma'm," said he, pulling
out a jack-knife and attacking the viands with vigorous appetite,
exclaiming, "May the Heavens bless you for this good act; sure it's the
poor man that's the poor man's friend, afther all. You've saved me,
sowl and body this blessed day. I haven't begged yet, but it was comin'
on me strong. I looked into the eyes of the quality folks, but they
carried their noses so high they couldn't see the starvation that was
in my face, and I wouldn't ax the poor people for fear they were worse
off than meself."

"Ain't you sorry, Thomas, for what you said just now?" inquired Polly
of her husband.

"No," he replied, striking his fist on the table. "I'm more
discontented than ever, to think that a few hundred scoundrel schemers,
or fortunate fools, should monopolize the rights of millions; isn't it
devilish hard that I can't put my hand in my pocket and make this poor
fellow's heart jump for joy."

"Point out to him where he can get some employment, Thomas, and his
heart will be continually jumping," replied Polly.

By this time the poor stranger had finished his extempore meal, and
shut up his pocket-knife, which he first carefully wiped on the tail of
his coat. "May God bless you for this," said he. "I'm stronger now.
I'll go an' hunt for a job; may-be luck won't be a stepfather to me all
my days."

"Stop," cried Tom, "suppose I were to give you something to do, what
would you say?"

"Faix, I wouldn't say much, sir," said the Irishman, "but I'd do it."

"Come along with me, then, and if I get any job, I'll get you to help
me."

"Oh, then, may long life attend you for puttin' fresh blood in my
veins," responded the excited Milesian, giving his already curiously
bad hat a deliberate punch in the crown, to show his gratitude and
delight.

"Bless his noble, honest, loving heart," cried Polly, as Tom, having
impressed his usual kiss upon her lips, started to his labor again. "If
it were not for those little fits of discontent every now and then,
what a man he'd be; but we can't be all perfect; don't I catch myself
thinking silks and satins sometimes, instead of cottons and calicoes?
and I'll be bound, if the truth was known, the great folks that wear
nothing else but grand things, don't behave a bit better, but keep
longing for something a little grander still, so _he_ mustn't be
blamed, nor he shan't, neither, in my hearing."



CHAPTER III.

THE BOARDING-HOUSE.


Turn we now to the _highly-genteel_ establishment where Henry Travers
and his young wife are now domiciliated, presided over by a little
more than middle-aged, severe-looking personage, who rejoiced in the
euphonious name of GRIMGRISKIN; her temper, phraseology, and general
disposition may be better illustrated by the conversation which is now
going on between her and her two unfortunate inmates. The mid-day
accumulation of scraps, which was dignified by the name of dinner, but
just over, Henry Travers, in his small, uncomfortable bed-room, was
ruminating upon the darkness of his present destiny, when a sharp knock
at his door admonished him that he was about to receive his usual
dunning visit from his amiable landlady.

"Come in," he gasped, with the articulation of a person about to
undergo a mild species of torture.

"You'll excuse me, good people," said Grimgriskin, "for the intrusion;
but business is business, and if one don't attend _to_ one's business,
it's highly probable one's business will make unto itself wings, and,
in a manner of speaking, fly away: not that I want to make you feel
uncomfortable. I flatter myself, in this establishment, nobody need
be under such a disagreeable apprehension; but houses won't keep
themselves, at least _I_ never knew any so to do. Lodgings is
lodgings, and board is board; moreover, markets--specially at this
season of the year--may reasonably be said to be _markets_; beef
and mutton don't jump spontaneously into one's hands; promiscuous-like,
neither do the hydrants run tea and coffee--at least as far as my
knowledge of hydrants goes."

"The plain sense of all this is"----

"Exactly what I am coming to," interrupted the voluble hostess. "I'm a
woman of few words; but those few, such as they are, I'm proud to say,
are generally to the purpose. I make it a point to send in my bills
regularly every month, and I presume that it's not an unreasonable
stretch of imagination to expect them to be paid. Now, for the last
three months they have come up to you receipted, and down to me with
what one might call the autographical corner torn off. Now, as it is
not in my nature to make any one feel uncomfortable, and being a woman
of very few words, I would merely intimate to you that rents is
rents--and, moreover, must be paid--and mine, I am sorry to observe, is
not a singular exception in such respect."

"My dear Mrs. Grim"----

"One moment!" interposed the woman of few words. "Perhaps you may not
be aware of the circumstance, but I have my eyes open--and, moreover,
my ears--whispers is whispers, and I _have_ heard something that
_might_ make you uncomfortable; but as that is not my principle, I
won't repeat it; but talkers, you know, will be talkers, and boarders
can never be anything else in the world but boarders."

"What have they dared to say of us?" inquired Henry.

"Nothing--oh! nothing to be repeated--dear, no! I'm proud to observe
that my boarders pay regularly every month, and are therefore highly
respectable; and respectable boarders make a respectable house, and I
wouldn't keep anything else. Thank Heaven, I have that much
consideration for my own respectability!"

"May I be permitted to ask what all this amounts to?" asked Henry, with
commendable resignation.

"Just two hundred dollars," sharply replied Mrs. Grimgriskin; "being
eighty for board, and one hundred and twenty for extras. I'm a woman of
few words"----

"And I'm a man of less," said Henry, "I can't pay it."

"I had my misgivings," cried the landlady, tartly, "notwithstanding
your boast of being connected with the rich Mr. Granite. Allow me to
say, sir," she continued, seating herself upon a chair, "I've just sent
for a hackman to take your trunks away, and I mean to retain the
furniture until some arrangement is made."

"May I come in?" murmured a small, but apparently well-known voice at
the door, from the alacrity with which Henry's poor, young wife rushed
to open it, admitting old Sterling, the clerk.

"Let me look in your eyes," cried she; "is there any hope?"

Sterling shook his head.

"No--no more!"

"Heaven help us!" she exclaimed, as she tottered back to her seat.

"Heaven has helped you, my bright bird," said Sterling. "I only shook
my head to make your joy the greater."

"What say you?" exclaimed Travers; "has that stony heart relented?"

"It is not a stony heart," replied Sterling; "I am ashamed of you for
saying so. It's a good, generous heart. It has made mine glow with
long-forgotten joy this day."

"Does he give us relief?" inquired Henry.

"He does," said the old man, the enthusiasm of generous happiness
lighting up his features; "great, enduring relief. What do you think of
five thousand dollars?"

"You dream, I dream!" cried Travers, starting up in astonishment; while
Mrs. Grimgriskin, smoothing her unamiable wrinkles, and her apron at
the same time, at the mention of so _respectable_ a sum, came forward,
saying, in her newest-lodger voice--

"You'll excuse me; but I'm a woman of few words. I hope you won't take
anything I've said as at all personal to you, but only an endeavor, as
far as in me lies, to keep up the credit of my own establishment; as
for that little trifle between us, of course you can take your own time
about that." So saying, and with a profusion of unnoticed courtesies,
she quitted the room.

She had scarcely done so, when, with a deep groan of agony, Sterling
pressed his hand against his head, and staggered to a chair. In an
instant, Henry and his wife were by his side.

"What is the matter, my dear Sterling?" cried Henry.

"Don't come near me," replied the old clerk, the very picture of
despair and wretchedness; "I am the destroyer of your peace, and of my
own, for ever. Oh! why was I allowed to see this dreadful day? Curse
me, Travers! Bellow in my blunted ear, that my vile sense may drink it
in. I've lost it--lost it!"

"Not the money?" exclaimed Henry and his wife at a breath.

"That's right! kill me--kill me! I deserve it!" continued Sterling, in
an agony of grief. "Oh! careless, guilty, unhappy old man, that in your
own fall must drag down all you love, to share your ruin!
lost--lost--lost, for ever!"

"Forgive even the appearance of injustice, my good, kind old friend,"
soothingly observed Travers. "It is I who am the doomed one. There is
no use in striving against destiny."

"Don't, Henry, don't!" gasped the old clerk, through his fast-falling
tears. "This kindness is worse than your reproof. Let me die--let me
die! I am not fit to live!" Suddenly starting to his feet, he cried:
"I'll run back--perhaps I may find it. Oh! no--no! I cannot; my old
limbs, braced up by the thought of bringing you happiness, are weakened
by the effect of this terrible reaction!"

"Come--come, old friend, take it not so much to heart!" said Travers,
cheering him as well as he could. "There, lean upon me; we'll go and
search for it together, and even if it be not found, the loss is not a
fatal one, so long as life and health remain."

"You say this but to comfort me, and in your great kindness of heart,
dear, dear boy!" cried Sterling, as he rose from the chair, and
staggered out to retrace his steps, in the hope of regaining that which
had been lost.



CHAPTER IV.

THE PIECE OF LUCK.


It so happened that the very truckman who was sent to take Henry's
trunks, was our friend Bobolink, who was plying in the vicinity, and as
it was his first job, he was anxious enough to get it accomplished;
therefore, a few minutes before Sterling came out, he and his protégé,
Bryan, the Irishman, trotted up to the door.

"There! away with you up, and get the trunks," said Bobolink; "I'll
wait for you here."

Bryan timidly rung at the bell, and entered. In the meantime, Tom stood
at his horse's head, pulling his ears, and having a little confidential
chat. Taking out his wallet, he investigated its contents.

"Only fifty cents," he exclaimed, shrugging his shoulders, "and this
job will make a dollar--that's all the money in the world."

In putting back his greasy, well-worn wallet, his eye happened to fall
upon an object, which made the blood rush with a tremendous bound
through his frame. Lying close to the curb, just below his feet, was a
large pocket-book.

"Good gracious!" he exclaimed, "what's that? It looks very
like"--(picking it up hurriedly, and taking a hasty survey of its
contents)--"it is--money--heaps of money--real, good money, and such a
lot--all fifties and twenties!" And now a crowd of contending thoughts
pressed upon his brow. First, he blessed his good luck; then, he cursed
the heaviness of the temptation--he thrust it deep into his bosom;
again, he thought he would place it where he found it; at one moment he
would whistle, and endeavor to look unconcerned; at another, he would
tremble with apprehension. What to do with it, he did not know; but the
tempter was too strong; he at last determined to retain it. "It's a
windfall," said he to himself; "nobody has seen me take it. Such a
large sum of money could not have been lost by a poor person, and
nobody wants it more than I do myself. I'll be hanged if I don't keep
it!"

Just then Bryan emerged from the door, with a most lachrymose
expression of countenance, and was very much astonished to find that
his stay did not produce an equally woe-begone effect upon Tom.

"There's no thrunks goin'," said Bryan. "The fellow as was leavin',
ain't leavin' yet; because somebody's after leavin' him a lot o' money.

"Come, jump up, then," cried Bobolink, "and don't be wasting time
there."

At that moment his eye caught that of Sterling, who, with Travers, had
commenced a search for the lost pocket-book. Instinct told him in an
instant what their occupation was, and yet he determined to keep the
money.

"My man," said Travers to Bryan, "did you see anything of a pocket-book
near this door?"

"Is it me?" replied Bryan. "Do I look as if I'd seen it? I wish I had!"

"What for? you'd keep it, I suppose?" observed Travers.

"Bad luck to the keep," replied Bryan; "and to you for thinkin' it! but
it's the way of the world--a ragged waistcoat's seldom suspected of
hidin' an honest heart."

"Come, old friend," said Henry to Sterling, "these men have not seen
it, evidently;" and off they went on their fruitless errand, while a
feeling of great relief spread itself over Bobolink's heart at their
departure.

"How wild that ould fellow looked," said Bryan.

"Humbug!" replied Bobolink; "it was only put on to make us give up the
pocket-book."

"Make us give it up?"

"Yes; that is to say, if we had it. There, don't talk. I'm sick. I've
got an oppression on my chest, and if I don't get relief, I'll drop in
the street."

"Indeed, an' somethin's come over ye since mornin', sure enough," said
Bryan; "but you've been kind, an' good, an' generous to me, an' may I
never taste glory, but if I could do you any good by takin' half yer
complaint, I'd do it."

"I dare say you would," replied Tom; "but my constitution's strong
enough to carry it all. There, you run home, and tell Polly I'll be
back early. I don't want you any more."

As soon as Bryan was off, Bobolink sat down on his truck, and began to
ruminate. His first thought was about his wife. "Shall I tell Polly?"
thought he. "I've never kept a secret from her yet. But, suppose she
wouldn't let me keep it? I shan't say a word about it. I'll hide it for
a short time, and then swear I got a prize in the lottery." It suddenly
occurred to him that he was still on the spot where he had found the
money. "Good Heaven," said he, "why do I linger about here? I must be
away--away anywhere! and yet I feel as though I was leaving my life's
happiness here. Pooh! lots of money will make any one happy." So
saying, and singing--but with most constrained jollity--one of the
songs which deep bitterness had called up spontaneously from his heart,
he drove to the nearest groggery, feeling assured that he should
require an unusual stimulant of liquor, to enable him to fitly bear
this accumulation of good luck, which did not justly belong to him.



CHAPTER V.

HOME.


"What a dear, considerate, good-natured husband I have, to be sure! The
proudest lady in the land can't be happier than I am in my humble
house," said Polly, as she bustled about to prepare for Tom's coming
home, having been informed by Bryan that she was to expect him. "Poor
fellow! he may well be tired and weary. I must get his bit of supper
ready. Hush! that's his footstep," she continued. But something smote
her as she noticed the fact, that he was silent. There was no cheering
song bursting from his throat--no glad word of greeting; but he entered
the door, moody and noiseless. Another glance. Did not her eye deceive
her? No! The fatal demon of Liquor had imprinted his awful mark upon
his brow. She went up to him, and, in a voice of affection, asked what
was the matter.

"Matter? What should be the matter?" he answered, peevishly.

"Don't speak so crossly, Thomas," said she, in a subdued voice; "you
know I did not mean any harm."

"Bless your little soul! I know you didn't," he exclaimed, giving her a
hearty embrace. "It's me that's the brute."

"Indeed, Thomas, you are nothing of the kind," she went on, the
cheerful smile once more on her lip.

"I am, Polly; I insist upon being a brute. Ah! you don't know all."

"All what? you alarm me!"

"I wish I dared tell her," thought Bobolink; "I will! I've found a
jolly lot of money to-day, Polly."

"How much, Thomas?"

"Shall I tell her? I've a great mind to astonish her weak nerves. How
much do you think?" cried he, with a singular expression, which Polly
attributed but to one terrible cause, and she turned sadly away. That
angered him--for men in such moods are captious about trifles. "I won't
tell her," said he; "she doesn't deserve it. Well, then, I've earned a
_dollar_."

"Only a dollar?" replied Polly. "Well, never mind, dear Thomas, we must
make it do; and better a dollar earnt, as you have earnt yours, by your
own honest industry, than thousands got in any other way."

Somehow Tom fancied that everything she said was meant as so many digs
at him, forgetting, in his insane drunkenness, that she must have been
ignorant of what had passed. The consequence was, that he became
crosser than ever.

"Why do you keep saying savage things, that you know must aggravate
me?" he cried. "I can't eat. Have you any brandy in the house? I have a
pain here!" and he clasped his hands upon his breast, where the
pocket-book lay concealed. "I think the brandy would relieve me."

"My poor Thomas," replied his wife, affectionately; "something must
have happened to annoy you! I never saw you thus before; but you are so
seldom the worse for drink, that I will not upbraid you. The best of
men are subject to temptation."

At that word Bobolink started from his seat, and gazing intently in her
face, exclaimed--

"What do you mean by that?"

"Why, even you, Thomas, have been tempted to forget yourself," she
replied.

"How do you know?" he thundered, his face now sickly pale.

"I can see it in every feature, my poor husband!" said she,
sorrowfully, as she quitted the room to get the brandy he required.

"I suppose you can," muttered Bobolink to himself, as he fell into the
chair, utterly distracted and unhappy; "everybody can. I'm a marked,
miserable man! and for what? I'll take it back; no, no! I can't now,
for I've denied it!"

"Something has happened to vex you terribly, my dear husband!" cried
Polly, as she returned with a small bottle of brandy.

"Well, suppose there has," replied he, in a loud and angry tone, "is a
man accountable to his wife for every moment of his life? Go to bed!
Where's the use in whimpering about it? You've had such a smooth road
all your life, that the first rut breaks your axle. Come, don't mind
me, Polly!" he went on, suddenly changing to a joyous laugh, and yet
somewhat subdued by the tears that now flowed down his wife's pale
cheeks; "I don't mean to worry you, but--but you see that I'm a little
sprung. Leave me to myself, there's a good girl! Come, kiss me before
you go. Ha! ha! I'll make a lady of you yet, Pol! see if I don't.
Didn't you hear me tell you to go to bed?"

"Yes, Thomas, but"----

"But what?"

"Pray, drink no more."

"I'll drink just as much as I please; and, moreover, I won't be
dictated to by you, when I can buy your whole stock out, root and
branch. I've stood your nonsense long enough, so take my advice and
start."

"Oh! Thomas--Thomas!" cried his weeping wife, as she hurried to her
little bedroom; "never did I expect this, and you'll be sorry for it in
the morning."

"Damn it! I am an unfeeling savage. Don't cry, Pol!" he shouted after
her, as she quitted the room; "I didn't intend to hurt your feelings,
and I won't drink any more, there. Say God bless you before you go in,
won't you?"

"God bless you, dear husband!" said the loving wife.

"That's right, Pol!"

As soon as Tom found himself quite alone, he looked carefully at the
fastenings of the doors and windows, and having cleared the little
table of its contents, proceeded to examine the interior of the
pocket-book. With a tremulous hand and a quick-beating heart, he drew
it forth, starting at the slightest sound; tearing it open, he spread
the thick bundle of notes before him; the sight seemed to dazzle his
eye-sight; his breath became heavy and suffocating; there was more,
vastly more, than he had ever dreamed of.

"What do I see?" he cried, while his eyes sparkled with the fire of
suddenly-awakened avarice, "tens--fifties-hundreds--I do
believe--thousands! I never saw such a sight before. What sound was
that? I could have sworn I heard a small voice call out my name. For
the first time in my life, I feel like a coward. I never yet feared to
stand before a giant! now, a boy might cow me down. Pshaw! it's because
I'm not used to handling money."

Again and again, he tried to count up how much the amount was, but grew
confused, and had to give it up.

"Never mind how much there is," he cried, at last; "it's mine--all
mine! nobody saw me; nobody knows it: nobody--but one--but one!" he
continued, looking upward for an instant, and then, clasping his hands
together, and leaning his head over the money, he wept bitter tears
over his great _Piece of Luck_.



CHAPTER VI.

THE WILL.


At a splendid escritoir Mr. Granite sat, in his own room, surrounded by
the luxurious appliances which wait upon wealth, however acquired. The
face of the sitter is deadly pale, for he is alone, and amongst his
most private papers. He has missed one, upon which the permanence of
his worldly happiness hung. Diligently has he been searching for that
small scrap of paper, which contained the sentence of death to his
repute. Oh! the agony of that suspense! It could not have been
abstracted, for it was in a secret part of his writing-desk; although
by the simplest accident in the world it had now got mislaid; yet was
he destined not to recover it. In hastily taking out some papers, it
had dropped through the opening of the desk, which was a large one,
upon the carpet, where it remained, unperceived. In the midst of his
anxious and agonized search, there was a knock at the door, and even
paler and more heart-broken than the merchant himself, Sterling
tottered into the room.

"Well, my good Sterling," said the merchant, with a great effort
stifling his own apprehension, "I am to be troubled no more by that
fellow's pitiful whinings. I was a fool to be over-persuaded; but
benevolence is my failing--a commendable one, I own--but still a
failing."

"I am glad to hear you say that, sir, for you now have a great
opportunity to exercise it."

"Ask me for nothing more, for I have done"--interrupted Granite;
fancying for an instant that he might have placed the missing document
in a secret place, where he was sometimes in the habit of depositing
matters of the first importance, he quitted the room hurriedly.

"Lost! lost, for ever! I have killed the son of my old benefactor!"
cried Sterling. "He can't recover from the shock--nor I--nor I! my
heart is breaking--to fall from such a height of joy into such a gulf
of despair--I, who could have sold my very life to bring him
happiness." At that moment his eye caught a paper which lay on the
carpet, and with the instinct of a clerk's neatness solely, he picked
it up and put it on the table before him. "The crime of
self-destruction is great," he continued, "but I am sorely tempted.
With chilling selfishness on one side, and dreadful misery on the
other, life is but a weary burden." Carelessly glancing at the paper
which he had taken from the floor, he read the name of Travers; he
looked closely at it, and discovered that it was an abstract of a will.
Curiosity prompted him to examine it, and his heart gave one tremendous
throb, when he discovered it to bear date after the one by which Henry,
in a fit of anger, was disinherited by his father.

The old man fell upon his knees, and if ever a fervent, heartfelt
prayer issued from the lips of mortal, he then prayed that he might but
live to see that great wrong righted.

He had but just time to conceal the paper within his breast, when
Granite returned.

"You here yet?" he cried. "Have I not done enough to-day? What other
beggarly brat do you come suing for?"

"For none, dear sir," said Sterling. "I would simply test that
benevolence, of which you spoke but now--the money which you sent to
Travers"----

"Well, what of it?"

"I have lost!"

"Pooh! old man," continued the other, contemptuously, "don't think to
deceive me by such a stale device; that's a very old trick."

"You don't believe me?"

"No."

"After so many years!" cried the old man, with tear-choked utterance.

"The temptation was too much for you," bitterly replied the merchant.
The old leaven exhibited itself once more. "You remember"----

"Silence, sir!" cried the old man, drawing up his aged form into sudden
erectness, while the fire of indignation illumined his lustreless eye.
"The majesty of my integrity emboldens me to say that, even to
you--your cruel taunt has wiped out all of feeling that I had for
you--fellow-sinner, hast thou not committed an error also?"

"Insolent! how dare you insinuate?"

"I don't insinuate; I speak out; nay, not an error, but a _crime_. I
_know_ you have, and can prove it."

"Away, fool! you are in your dotage."

"A dotage that shall wither you in your strength, and strip you of your
ill-bought possessions," exclaimed the old man, with nearly the vigor
of youth; "since Humanity will not prompt you to yield up a portion of
your _stolen_ wealth, Justice shall force you to deliver it all--aye,
all!"

"Villain! what riddle is this?" cried Granite, with a vague
presentiment that the missing paper was in some way connected with this
contretemps.

"A riddle easily solved," answered Sterling. "Behold its solution, if
your eyes dare look at it! A will, devising all the property you hold
to Henry Travers! There are dozens who can swear to my old employer's
signature. Stern, proper justice should prompt me to vindicate his
son's cause; yet, I know that he would not purchase wealth at the cost
of your degradation. Divide equally with him, and let the past be
forgotten."

There was but one way that Granite could regain his vantage-ground, and
he was not the man to shrink from it.

With a sudden bound, he threw himself upon the weak old clerk, and
snatching the paper from him, exclaimed--

"You shallow-pated fool! think you that you have a child to deal with?
The only evidence that could fling a shadow across my good name would
be your fragment of miserable breath, which I could take, and would, as
easily as brush away a noxious wasp, but that I despise you too
entirely to feel your sting. Go, both of you, and babble forth your
injuries to the world! go, and experience how poor a conflict
starveling honesty in rags can wage against iniquity when clad in
golden armor! I defy ye all! Behold how easily I can destroy all danger
to myself, and hope to him at once." So saying, he held the paper to
the lamp, and, notwithstanding the ineffectual efforts of Sterling to
prevent it, continued so to hold it until a few transitory sparks were
all that remained of Henry Travers's inheritance.

Sterling said not a syllable, but, with a glance at the other, which
had in it somewhat of inspiration, pointed upward, and slowly staggered
from the room.



CHAPTER VII.

MORNING THOUGHTS.


The early grey of dawn peeped furtively through the shutters of Tom
Bobolink's home, and as they strengthened and strengthened, fell upon a
figure which could scarcely be recognized as the same joyous-hearted
individual of the day before. On the floor lay Tom; the candle, which
had completely burned out in its socket, close to his head; one hand
grasped the empty bottle, and the other was tightly clutched within his
breast.

And now another scarcely less sorrowful-looking figure is added. Polly
gazes, with tearful eyes, upon the prostrate form. He is evidently in
the maze of some terrible dream, for his head rolls fearfully about,
his limbs are convulsed, and his breathing is thick and heavy.

Polly stooped down to awake him gently, when, at the slightest touch,
he started at one bound to his feet, muttering incoherent words of
terror and apprehension; his eyes rolled about wildly. He seized Polly,
and held her at arms' length for an instant, until he fairly realized
his actual situation, when he burst into a loud laugh, that chilled his
poor wife's very blood.

"Ha! ha! Pol, is that you?" he cried, wildly. "I've been a bad boy, I
know; but I'll make up for it gloriously, my girl. Ugh! what a dream
I've had. Ah! the darkness is a terrible time to get over when one's
conscience is filling the black night with fiery eyes." Then, turning
to his wife, he said, loudly: "Polly, darling, I'm ashamed of myself;
but it will be all right by and by. You were cut out for a rich woman,
Pol."

"Dear Thomas, let me be rich in the happiness of our humble home; 'tis
all I ask."

"Oh, nonsense! Suppose now you got a heap of money a prize in the
lottery, wouldn't you like to elevate your little nose, and jostle
against the big bugs in Broadway?"

"Not at the price of our comfort, Thomas," she answered, solemnly.

"You're a fool! Money can buy all sorts of comfort."

"What do you mean, Thomas, by those hints about money? has anything
happened?"

"Oh! no--no!" he replied, quickly, turning his eyes away; "but there's
no knowing when something might. Now I'll try her," thought he. "It's
my dream, Pol. Shall I tell it to you?"

"Do, my dear Tom. Oh! I'm so glad to see you yourself once more."

"Well, dear," he continued, sitting close to her, and placing his arm
around her waist, "I dreamed that as I was returning from a job, what
should I see in the street, under my very nose, but a pocket-book,
stuffed full of money. Presently the owner came along. He asked me if I
had found it. I said no, and came home a rich man--oh! so rich!"

"I know your heart too well, Tom, to believe that such a thing could
happen except in a dream," said his wife, to his great annoyance. He
started up, and after one or two turns about the little, now untidy,
room, exclaimed, angrily:

"Why not? I should like to know if fortune did--I mean--was, to fling
luck in my way, do you think I'd be such a cursed fool as not to grab
at it?"

"Thomas, you have been drinking too much," said she, sadly.

"No, no," he interrupted, "not enough; give me some more."

"Not a drop, husband," she replied, seriously, and with determination.
"If you will poison yourself it shall not be through my hand."

"Don't be a fool," he cried, savagely, "or it may be the worse for you.
I'm master of my own house, I think."

"Home! ah, Thomas, some evil spirit has stolen away our once happy home
for ever," said Polly, as she slowly and sorrowfully returned again to
weep in the silence of her own room.

"There has, there has," cried Tom, as she quitted him. "And this is
it"--pulling out the pocket-book, which he had not left hold of for an
instant, and frowning desperately at it--"Confound your skin, it's you
that has stolen away our comfort. I'll take the cursed thing back; I
wouldn't have Polly's eyes wet with sorrow to be made of money--I'll
take it back this very blessed morning; and somehow that thought brings
a ray of sunlight back to my heart." So saying, he thrust the
pocket-book, as he thought, safely within his vest, but in his
eagerness to take extra care of it, it slipped through, and dropped
upon the floor; his mind being taken off for a moment by the entrance
of Bryan, to tell him that the horse and truck were ready.

"Very well, I'm glad of it," cried Tom. "Now I'll see what the fine,
bracing, morning air will do for this cracked head of mine; now then,
to take this back," and he slapped his chest, under the full impression
that the pocket-book was there. "Bryan, I don't want you for half an
hour; just wait till I come back, will you?"

"That I will, sir, and welcome," said Bryan, and with a merry song once
more at his lip, and a cheerful good-bye to Polly, to whose heart both
brought comfort in her great sadness, Bobolink mounted his truck, and
trotted off.

Meantime Bryan, now left alone in the room, dived into the recesses of
his capacious coat-pocket, and producing from thence a piece of bread
and cheese, moralized the while upon the pleasant change in his
prospects.

"Long life to this tindher-hearted couple," said he. "Shure an' I'm on
the high road to good luck at last; plenty of the best in the way of
atin', and an elegant stable to sleep in, with a Christian-like
quadruped for company; av I had only now a trifle o' money to get
myself some clothes--these things doesn't look well in this part of the
world," casting his eyes down in not over-delighted contemplation of
his nether integuments. "A little bit o' money now would make me so
happy an' industrious, I could take the buzz out of a hive o' bees. The
saints between us and all mischief, what's that?" he continued,
starting to his feet, as his glance fell upon the pocket-book which Tom
had dropped. "It serves me right," he went on, his face suddenly
becoming pale as paper, "to wish for any such thing. I don't want
it--it was all a mistake," cried he, apologetically. "This is the
devil's work; no sooner do I let a word out o' me mouth, that I didn't
mane at all at all, but the evil blaggard sticks a swadge of temptation
right before me. I won't have it--take it away."

At that instant Polly returned into the room. "Take care how you
come--don't walk this way," said Bryan. "Look!"

"What is it?" cried Polly, in alarm.

"Timptation!" shouted Bryan. "I was foolish enough just now to wish for
a trifle of money, and may I niver see glory if that lump of a
pocket-book didn't sprout up before me very eyes."

"Pocket-book, eh?" cried Polly, seizing it in her hands, despite of the
comic apprehension of Bryan, who insisted that it would burn her
fingers. The whole truth flashed across her mind at once. Tom's dream
was no dream, but a reality, and the struggle in his mind whether to
keep or return it, had caused that sleepless and uncomfortable night.
"Bryan," said she, quickly, "did you hear any one say that they had
lost any money yesterday?"

"Let me see," replied the other. "Yes, to be sure, 44 came out of the
hall-door, and axed me if I saw a pocket-book."

"It must be his. Thank God for this merciful dispensation," cried the
agitated wife. "Quick, quick, my bonnet and shawl, and come you, Bryan,
you know the place; this money must be that which was lost."

"I'm wid you, ma'am," answered Bryan. "Who knows but that may be the
identical pocket-book; at any rate it'll do as well if there's as much
money in it, and if there isn't, there'll be another crop before we
come back."



CHAPTER VIII.

RETRIBUTION.


Snugly ensconced in his own particular apartment, Mr. Granite had flung
himself in post-prandial _abandon_ into his easiest of easy-chairs.
Leisurely, and with the smack of a true connoisseur, he dallied with a
glass of exquisite Madeira. The consciousness of the enviable nature of
his worldly position never imbued him so thoroughly as at such a
moment. Business was flourishing, his health was excellent, and his
son, on whom he concentrated all the affection of which his heart was
capable, had recently distinguished himself at a college examination.
Everything, in fact, seemed to him _couleur de rose_.

It can readily be imagined that to be disturbed at such a period of
enjoyment was positive high treason against the home majesty of the
mercantile monarch.

Fancy, therefore, what a rude shock it was to his quiet, when he was
informed that Mr. Sterling wished to see him on a matter of the
greatest importance. "I cannot, I will not see him, or anybody," said
the enraged potentate; "you know, he knows, my invariable rule. It must
not be infringed, for any one whatever, much less for such a person,"
and, closing his eyes in a spasm of self-sufficiency, he again subsided
into calmness, slightly ruffled, however, by the outrageous attack upon
his privacy.

He had just succeeded in restoring his disturbed equanimity, when he
was once more startled into ill-humor by the sound of voices as if in
altercation, and a sharp knock at the chamber-door.

The next instant, to his still greater surprise and anger, the old
clerk, Sterling, who had been ignominiously dismissed since the last
interview between him and Granite, stood before him. Every particle of
his hitherto meekness and humility had apparently vanished, as for a
few moments he regarded the merchant with a fixed and penetrating look.

"What villainous intrusion is this? Where are my servants? How dare
they permit my home to be thus invaded?" cried Granite, with flashing
eyes and lowering brow.

"I am here, not for myself," replied Sterling, calmly, "but for the
victim of your rapacity--of your terrible guilt. I have intruded upon
you at this unusual time to inform you of the extremity in which
Travers is placed, and from my carelessness--my criminal carelessness.
Will you not at least remedy that?"

"No!" thundered the exasperated merchant. "Your indiscreet zeal has
ruined both you and those for whom you plead. I'll have nothing to do
with any of ye--begone!"

"Not before I have cautioned you that my lips, hitherto sealed for fear
of injury to him, shall henceforward be opened. Why should I hesitate
to denounce one who is so devoid of common charity?"

"Because no one will believe you," responded the other, with a bitter
sneer. "The denunciations of a discharged servant are seldom much
heeded; empty sounds will be of no avail. Proof will be needed in
confirmation, and where are you to find that?"

"Ah! where, indeed! you have taken care of that; but have you reflected
that there _is_ a power to whom your machinations, your schemes of
aggrandizement, are as flimsy as the veriest gossamer web?" solemnly
ejaculated Sterling.

"Canting sways me as little as your hurtless threats. What I have, I
shall keep in spite of"----

"Heaven's justice?" interposed the old clerk.

"In spite of anything or everything," savagely replied the irritated
merchant. "You have your final answer, nor is it in the power of angel
or devil to alter it; and so, the sooner you relieve me from your
presence the better I will like it, and the better it may be for your
future prospects."

"Of _my_ future, God knows, I take no care; but for the sake of those
poor young things, so cruelly left to struggle with a hard, hard world,
I feel that I have strength even to oppose the stern rock of your
obstinacy, almost hopeless though the effort may be. I am going," he
went on, seeing the feverish impatience working in Granite's face,
"but, as a parting word, remember that my dependence is not in my own
ability to unmask your speciousness, or contend against the harshness
of your determination. No, I surrender my case and that of my clients
into _His_ hands who never suffers the guilty to triumph to the end.
The avalanche falls sometimes on the fruitfullest vineyards, as well as
on the most sterile waste."

"By Heaven! you exhaust my patience," roared the other, as he rung the
servants' bell impetuously; "since you will not go of your own accord,
I must indignantly thrust you forth into the street like a cur."

"There shall be no need of that," meekly replied the clerk, turning to
leave the apartment, just as the servant entered, bringing a letter for
Mr. Granite on a silver waiter.

The latter was about to address an angry sentence to the servant, when
he perceived that the letter he carried was enclosed in an envelope
deeply bordered with black.

His heart gave one mighty throb as he snatched it--tearing it open, and
gasping with some terrible presentiment of evil, he but glanced at the
contents, and with a fearful shriek fell prostrate.

Sterling rushed to his side, and with the aid of the servant, loosed
his neckcloth, and placed him in a chair, using what immediate remedies
he could command in the hope of restoring animation. It was some
minutes before the stricken man, clutched from his pride of place in
the winking of an eyelid, gave signs of returning vitality. During his
unconsciousness, Sterling ascertained from the open letter lying at his
feet, that the merchant's son, the sole hope of his existence, for whom
he had slaved and toiled, set at naught all principle, and violated
even the ties of kindred and of honesty, had died suddenly at college.
No previous illness had given the slightest shadow of an apprehension.
He had quietly retired to his bed at his usual hour on the previous
night, and in the morning was found stark and cold. None knew the agony
which might have preceded dissolution. No friendly tongue was nigh to
speak of consolation; no hand to do the kindly offices of nature.

Slowly, slowly and painfully the wretched parent returned to
consciousness, and with it, the terrible reality of his bereavement.
Glaring around him fiercely: "Where am I?--what is this?--why do you
hold me?" he cried, madly. At this instant his glance fell upon the
fatal letter; "Oh, God! I know it all--all! my son! my son!" Turning
upon Sterling, fiercely, he grasped him by the throat. "Old man," he
cried, "you have murdered him! you, and that villain Travers!" Then he
relaxed his gripe, and in an agony of tears, fell to supplication. "It
cannot be--it shall not be--oh! take me to him--what am I to do?
Sterling, my old friend, oh, forgive me--pity me--let us away." He
tried to stand, but his limbs were paralyzed. "The judgment has
fallen--I feared it--I expected it, but not so suddenly--it may be that
there is still hope--hope, though ever so distant. Perhaps a quick
atonement may avert the final blow. Quick, Sterling--give me paper, and
pen." They were brought. "Now write," he continued, his voice growing
fainter and fainter: "I give Travers all--all--if this late repentance
may be heard, and my son should live. I know I can rely on his
benevolence--quick, let me sign it, for my strength is failing fast."

With extreme difficulty, he appended his signature to the document
Sterling had drawn up at his desire. When it was done, the pen dropped
from his nerveless grasp, his lips moved for an instant as though in
prayer--the next--he was--nothing!



CHAPTER IX.

SUNLIGHT.


Our scene shifts back to Mrs. Grimgriskin's elegant establishment,
where poor Travers' affairs are once more in a very dilapidated state,
as may be inferred from the conversation now progressing.

"People as can't pay," said the now curt landlady, smoothing down an
already very smooth apron, "needn't to have no objections, I think, to
turn out in favor of them as can. I'm a woman of few words--very few
indeed. I don't want to make myself at all disagreeable; but
impossibles is impossibles, and I can't provide without I have the
means to do so with."

"My good lady," interposed Travers, "do pray give me a little time; my
friend Sterling has again applied to Mr. Granite"----

"Pooh! I'm sick of all such excuses; one word for all--get your trunks
ready. I'd rather lose what you owe me than let it get any bigger, when
there's not the remotest chance, as I can see, for its liquidation;
and, dear me, how lucky--I declare there's the very truckman who came
the other day. I'll tell him to stop, for I don't mind giving you all
the assistance I can, conveniently with my own interest."

So saying, she hailed Tom Bobolink, who was indeed looking somewhat
wistfully towards the house. He was just cogitating within his mind
what excuse he could make to get into the place, and so rid himself of
his unfortunate good fortune at once.

"Yon trunks, I presume from appearance, won't take a long time to get
ready," said the delicate Grimgriskin. "Here, my man; just come in
here," she continued, as Tom, in a state of considerable trepidation,
entered the room; "this young man will have a job for you." The poor
wife now joined Travers, and on inquiring the cause of the slight
tumult, was told by Henry that she must prepare to seek an asylum away
from the hospitable mansion which had recently afforded them a shelter.

"Come, my love," said he, with a tolerable effort at cheerfulness, "let
us at once leave this mercenary woman's roof."

"Mercenary, indeed!" the landlady shrieked after them, as they entered
their own room. "Because a person won't suffer themselves to be robbed
with their eyes open, they're mercenary. The sooner my house is cleared
of such rubbish, the better. Mercenary, indeed!" and with an indignant
toss of her false curls, she flounced out of the room.

"Now for it!" cried Tom; "the coast is clear; what the deuce shall I do
with it? I dare not give it openly; suppose I say I found it under the
sophia. Egad, that will do famously; here goes." So saying, he plunged
his hand into his bosom, and to his horror and consternation it was not
there; his blood froze in his veins for an instant, then deluged him
with a perfect thaw of perspiration. "Oh, miserable, miserable wretch,
I've lost it, I've lost it; what is to become of me!" In vain he
searched and searched; it was clean gone. "Oh, how can I face Polly
again?" he groaned. "My life is made unhappy for ever; cursed, cursed
luck. That ever my eyes fell upon the thing at all: ha!" a shadowy hope
flitted across him, that he might have left it at home. "Could I have
been so drunken a fool as to leave it behind me? if so, where is it
now? At all events, I must go back as fast as I can, for if I cannot
recover it, my God! I shall go mad." With a few big jumps he reached
the street, and hastily mounting his truck, drove rapidly home,
unmindful of the public observation his demented look and unusual haste
produced.

A short time after Tom's sudden departure, which was a perfect mystery
to Mrs. Grimgriskin, and also to Henry and his wife, a timid ring was
heard at the hall-door, and soon Travers, to whom every sound brought
increase of apprehension, trembled as he became aware of an altercation
between his irate landlady and the new comers, whoever they were.

"I tell you I must see 44, the man that had the thrunks, goin' away a
few days agone," said an unmistakably Irish voice, rich and round.

"Oh, if you please, ma'am," placidly continued a small, silvery one.

The dispute, however, was very suddenly cut short by the owner of the
loud voice exclaiming, "Arrah, get out o' the road, you cantankerus
witch of Endher," and O'Bryan and Polly rushed up the stairs without
further ceremony. The door of Travers' room was flung open. "Ha! ha!"
cried O'Bryan, "there he is, every inch of him; that's 44; long life to
you; and it's glad I am I've found you, and glad you'll be yourself,
I'm thinkin', if a trifle o' money will do yez any good."

"What's the matter with you, my friend, what do you seek from me?"
demanded Travers.

"Oh, sir, I beg your pardon for breaking in upon you so suddenly," said
Polly, "but have you lost any money!"

"I have, indeed," replied Henry, "a large sum; do you know anything
about it?"

"Yes, sir," cried Polly, with a radiant flash of her eye. "Here it is;"
handing over the wallet, with its contents, with a sigh of the greatest
possible relief. "Tell me one thing, sir," she hesitatingly went on,
"was it--was it--taken from you?"

"No, my good woman, it was lost by an old friend of mine, dropped, he
believes, in the street."

"It was, sir, just as you say, thank Heaven for it. Yes, sir; my
husband found it. Is it all there, sir? oh, pray relieve me by saying
it is."

"Yes, every penny."

"Then, sir, whatever joy you may feel at its restoration cannot equal
what I feel at this moment," said Polly, while the tears gushed forth
unrestrainedly from her eyes.

"Here, my good woman, you must take a portion and give it to your
honest husband," said Henry, handing to her a liberal amount of the
sum.

"Not a shilling, sir, not a shilling," Polly firmly repeated. "I hate
to look at it."

"Then would you, my friend, take some reward," continued he, addressing
O'Bryan.

"Is it me? not av you were me father, I wouldn't," said the Irishman,
with a look of horror. "I know where it came from; bedad I know the
very soil it sprouted out of. I'll tell you how it was, sir. You see I
was sittin' by myself, and, like an ungrateful blaggard as I am,
instead of thankin' the blessed Heavens for the good luck that had fell
a-top o' me, what should I do but wish I had a bit o' money, for to
dress up my ugly anatomy, when all at once that swadge of temptation
dropped on the floor before my very face."

"Don't heed him, sir, he knows not what he talks about," said Polly.
"It is all as I told you, sir. My husband"----

She was interrupted by O'Bryan, who cried, "Here he comes. May I niver
stir if he doesn't, skelpin' along the street in a state of
disthractitude; by me sowl it's here he's coming, too."

"Yes, I know," said Henry, "he is employed, I believe, by our worthy
landlady, to remove our things."

At this moment Tom burst into the room, but on seeing Polly and O'Bryan
he stopped short, as if arrested by a lightning stroke. "You here,
Polly? have you heard of my crime," he said, wildly: but she restrained
him by gently laying her hand upon his arm.

"Yes, Tom," she said, quietly, "I know all about it, and so does this
gentleman. I have restored the money."

"What?" exclaimed Bobolink, while a thrill of joy went through his
frame; "is this true?"

"Hush! husband, dear, hush!" she continued; "I did as you told me, you
know. I have brought and given back the lost money to its owner. You
know you left it at home for me to take."

"Ah, Polly, I wish I could tell this fellow that," said Tom, laying his
hand upon his heart; "but I did intend to give it back. I did, by all
my hopes of happiness."

"I know you did, my dear Tom," replied Polly, earnestly. "Your true
heart could not harbor a bad thought long."

"My good friend," said Travers, approaching the truckman. "Your wife
has refused any reward for this honest act."

"She's right, sir, she's right," interrupted the other.

"At least you'll let me shake you by the hand, and proffer you my
friendship?"

"I can't, Poll, I can't," said Tom, aside, to his wife. "I'm
afraid--I'm half a scoundrel yet--I know I am; but I've learned a
wholesome lesson, and while I have life I'll strive to profit by it."

Urged to it by Polly, he did, however, shake hands with Travers and his
wife, just as old Sterling, his face shrouded in gloom, and Mrs.
Grimgriskin, stiff and tigerish, entered the room.

"Ah, Sterling, my good old friend, rejoice with us--this honest fellow
has found, and restored the money lost," said Travers, gaily; "but, how
is this? you don't join in our gladness. Has that old rascal"----

"Hold!" interrupted the old clerk, in an earnest voice, and impressive
manner; "Heaven has avenged your wrongs in a sudden and fearful manner.
Mr. Granite is dead."

"Dead!" exclaimed Henry, in a subdued tone; "with him let his misdeeds
be buried. His son will perhaps be more merciful; he will inherit"----

"He has inherited--his father's fate," solemnly replied the old clerk.
"Justice may slumber for a while, but retribution must come at last.
You are now, by the merchant's will, his sole heir."

"Ho, ho!" thought Mrs. Grimgriskin, who had been an attentive listener,
"I'm a woman of few words, but if I had been a woman of less, perhaps
it would be more to my interest; but sudden millionaires are usually
generous;" and so, smoothing her feline demeanor into quietude, she
approached Travers.

"Allow me most sincerely to congratulate you upon your good fortune,"
she simpered. "Apropos, the first floor is somewhat in arrear; lovely
apartments, new carpet, bath, hot water."

"Plenty of that, I'll be bail," remarked O'Bryan; "arrah, howld yer
prate, Mrs. Woman-of-few-words--don't you see there's one too many
here?"

"Then why don't you go, you ignorant animal," sharply suggested the
other.

"Because I'm not the _one_."

Suffice it to say, Henry, with his young wife, and dear old Sterling,
were soon installed in a house of their own, and, to their credit,
never lost sight of the interest of Tom Bobolink and Polly, who from
that day increased in content and prosperity.

As for O'Bryan, the last intimation we had of his well-doing, was the
appearance of sundry gigantic street-bills, which contained the
following announcement:

    +------------------------+
    |       VOTE FOR         |
    |  THE PEOPLES' FRIEND.  |
    |       O'BRYAN,         |
    |    FOR ALDERMAN.       |
    +------------------------+



THE TIPPERARY VENUS.


Amongst a people so simple-hearted and enthusiastic as the Irish, it is
not at all surprising that a firm and implicit belief in supernal
agency should be almost universal. To vivid imaginations, ever on the
stretch for the romantic, yearning ever for something beyond the dull
realities of commonplace existence, there is something extremely
fascinating in the brain revellings of Fairy Land.

Now the Irish fairies are very numerous, and all as well classified,
and their varied occupations defined and described by supernaturalists,
as though they really were amongst the things that be. The "learned
pundits" in such matters declare that the economy of human nature is
entirely carried on through their agency. Philosophers have
demonstrated the atomic vitality of the universe, and the believer in
fairies simply allots them their respective places and duties in the
general distribution. They tell you that every breath of air, every
drop of water, every leaf and flower, teems with actual life. Myriads
of tiny atomies, they say, are employed carrying on the business of
existence, animal, vegetable, and atmospheric. Here are crowds of
industrious little chemists, extracting dew from moonbeams, which they
deliver over to relays of fairy laborers, by them to be applied to the
languishing grass. The noxious exhalations of the earth are, by a
similar process, gathered from decaying vegetation, and dispersed or
condensed into refreshing rain. The warm sunbeams are by them brought
down and scattered through the fields; it is the beautiful ministry of
one class to breathe upon, and gently force open, the budding blossoms,
while, another seduously warms and nurtures the ripening corn, and
tends the luscious fruits. Mischievous fellows there also are, whose
delight it is to try and frustrate the exertions of the workers. They
travel from place to place, loaded with malign influences; blight and
mildew, and all the destructive agents that blast the hopes of the
agriculturist are under their control; and, with an industry nearly
equal to their opponents, they employ their time in training
caterpillars and other devouring insects to assist them in the work of
desolation.

Many are the battles, we are informed, that occur between the two
opposing classes, and it depends upon which side has the best of the
contest what the result may be to the defeated object; whether they
contend for the life of some delicate flower, or whether the poor
farmer's toils were to be rewarded or rendered hopeless by the safety
or the destruction of his entire crops.

But to leave this fanciful, and, it must be admitted, poetical theory,
our business now is with an individual of a highly responsible class in
the world of Fairydom--_The Leprechaun_. A most important personage he
is; being the custodian of all hidden treasure, it is he who fabricates
the gold within the rock-encircled laboratory. The precious gems, the
diamond, sapphire, ruby, amethyst, emerald, and all the world-coveted
jewels, are in the safe guardianship of the Leprechaun; and fatal it is
to him when aught is discovered and torn from his grasp--for his fairy
existence, his immortal essence, is lost with it; he can no longer
sport through the air, invisible to mortal ken, but is compelled to
take a tangible form, and to work at a degrading occupation--that of
making and mending the shoes of his former fairy companions.

The experiences of the writer of this sketch in fairy lore and
anecdote, were mostly gathered from a wild, Tipperary sort of cousin,
some dozens of times removed, one Roderick O'Callaghan--familiarly
Rory--or as, by an easy corruption, he was known "the country round,"
Roarin' O'Callaghan, who, in his time, had gathered them from the
wilder henchmen and followers by whom he was surrounded, when, a
devil-may-care gossoon, he wandered among the _Galtie mountains_,
the especial pet and persecutor of the entire neighborhood.

Many and many were the mischievous pranks recorded of young Rory. I
almost wish that I had begun with the determination of recounting a few
of them; but, as I have set myself another task, I must defer that
intention until a future opportunity. I am not at all certain still,
but that my erratic nib--for I write "_currente calamo_," and without
much especial method--may diverge from the grand current of narrative,
and, in spite of myself, imperceptibly stray into the now interdicted
by-way.

It was from Rory that I heard the strange tale I am now about to
relate. Desperate boy-rivals were we, at that time, I must tell you,
for the affectionate regards of a young beauty who played old Harry
with the juvenile susceptibilities of the whole vicinage. Ah! now that
my memory has reverted to that epoch, digression is inevitable. Lovely
Polly O'Connor!--bless my soul; a sigh, even at this distant period;
how very tenacious these boy-attachments are. I see her as plainly now,
mentally pictured, as though in very deed she stood before me.

Both Rory and I endeavored, in the ardent enthusiasm of our fledgling
passion, to give vent to the burning thoughts that flamed within us,
through the lover's peculiar channel--poetry. My own extraordinary
effusion I remember--his I have preserved, and although, at the time, I
knew well which was best entitled to the world's consideration, I
submit both productions now without a remark. They will at least serve
for a description, however insufficient, of our inspiratress.

I had an immense advantage over my competitor in one instance; for,
having an acquaintance in the editorial department of the local
newspaper, my lucubration lent a lustre to the poets' corner, while, I
am ashamed to confess, I exerted, successfully, the same influence to
keep Rory's out; it was ungenerous, I own, unpardonable; but what won't
a boy-rival do to clear the onward path before the impetuosity of a
first love.

But here is the affair, just as it appeared in the Tipperary Gazette,
headed, as I thought, with becoming modesty:


LINES TO A YOUNG LADY.

    I will not venture to compare
        Those flashing eyes
        To sunny skies;
    To threads of gold thy wealth of hair;
      Thy cheek unto the rose's glow;
        Thy polished brow,
    To lilies glancing in the light,
        Or Parian white;
      Thy bosom to the virgin snow--
            For these
    Are weak and well-worn similes.

    Thine eyes are like--like--let me see;
        The violet's hue,
        Reflected through
        A drop of dew;
        No, that won't do.
        No semblance true
    In ample nature can there be
    To equal their intensity--
        Their heavenly blue.
    T'were just as vain to seek,
    Through every flower to match thy glowing cheek.
        No gold could shed
    Such radiant glory as ensaints thy head.
      Besides, I now remember,
    Your golden tresses are but flattered red,
      And thine are living amber,
    As, when 'tis ripest through the waving corn,
    The sunbeams glance upon a harvest morn.

    To the pale lustre of thy brow,
    The lily's self perforce must bow--
        The marbles cold,
        And very old;
    Thy bosom as the new-fallen snow
            Is quite
            As white,
    And melts as soon with Love's warm glow.
            But then,
    While that receives an early stain,
    Thy purer bosom doth still pure remain.

        Since, to my mind,
        I cannot find
      A simile of any kind,
        I argue hence
        Thou art the sense
      And spirit of all excellence;
    The charm-bestowing fount, from whence
        Fate doth dispense
    Its varied bounties to the fair,
    The loveliest of whom but share
    A portion of the gifts thou well canst spare.

It will scarcely be credited, that after that brilliant compliment to
Polly's charms, the little jilt, her well-fortified heart not being
assailable by Parnassian pellets, looked still colder upon the
suffering perpetrator. However, the persevering nature of my
passion--and, indeed, it was then a real one--was not to be set aside
by rebuffs. Again and again I returned to the attack, and, pen in hand,
racked my unfortunate brains through all the strategy of acrostics,
birth-day odes, and sonnets. It was not until some time afterwards that
I discovered the real reason of my ill-success. The writing of the
"Lines" was, perhaps, a pardonable liberty, but printing them was
atrocious; so that, in fact, my unworthy suppression of Rory's
concoctions brought its own punishment--not that he was a bit more
successful than I, for, as we soon became sensibly aware, the charming,
but conscienceless little coquette had even more strings to her bow
than she could conveniently fiddle with; indeed, that there wasn't a
decent-looking boy in the academy that she didn't encourage, or seem to
encourage, so generalizing was her flirtation system.

And, after all, to _decline_ upon foxy Tom Gallagher, the more than
middle-aged Dispensary doctor, a long, straggling, splay-footed
disciple of Æsculapius, with a head of hair like a door-mat--that she
has time and again watched and laughed her little ribs sore at, as he
shuffled along the street. Ah! Polly O'Connor!

But, allow me to present to your notice Rory's poetical offering at her
inexorable feet. It is, as you may perceive, ambitious, and, however I
might have underrated its merits at one time, I _now_ think it smacks
somewhat of the old Elizabethan relish.

Judge for yourself:

    Upon some sly affair
      Connubially dishonest--
    Vide Lempriere--
      Jupiter was _non est_.
    And dame Juno thought
      Scandal and écarté
    Consolation brought,
      So gave a little party.

    Soon the Graces three
      Came, in evening dresses,
    Very fond of tea
      They were, with water-cresses.
    Venus came, and son,
      Who richly did deserve a
    Birching for the fun
      He made of Miss Minerva.

    Soon an earthly guest
      Came by invitation,
    And, among the rest,
      Created a sensation.
    My Polly 'twas, and she
      Perfection so resembled,
    For her sov'reignty
      The Queen of Beauty trembled.

    After tea there came
      A gambling speculation,
    Bringing with the game,
      Celestial perturbation.
    For my Polly, then,
      Playing with discretion,
    From each goddess won
      All her rich possession.

    Pallas lost her mind,
      With wit and wisdom glowing;
    Aphrodite pined
      To see her beauty going.
    Juno speedily
      Lost her regal presence;
    And the Graces three,
      Lost their very essence.

    On this earthly ball
      My Polly thus alighted,
    With the gifts of all
      The goddesses united.
    Is it strange that she,
      Without much endeavor,
    Quickly won from me
      Heart and soul for ever?

These fiery manifestations, however, had not the slightest effect upon
the arctic nature of the frigid Polly. To be sure, her smile was still
"kindly, but frosty," to reverse the Shakespearean aphorism, and as it
was dispensed with due impartiality amongst the entire school of her
admirers, none were driven to immediate despair, but each flattered
himself at the time being that he was the favored one. Our limited
supply of pocket-money was transmuted into rings and brooches, for
Polly had an inordinate, or rather, the usual predilection of her sex,
for _bijouterie_, and as the rings on trees denote the number of
years that have rolled over their leafy heads, so the corresponding
trophies upon Polly's taper fingers, denoted the amount of her victims.

The majority of her swains began, however, to slacken in their
attentions, finally dropping off one by one, until the course was left
to Rory and me--praiseworthy examples of a constancy of many months,
although as yet not fully known to each other. It was about this time
that rumors began to reach us that old Tom Gallagher, the red-headed,
rusty-jointed medico, was a constant, and it was hinted, not unwelcome
visitor at Polly's father's house--by the way, I forgot to mention that
the O'Connor, _père_, was the master of a Charter-house school in the
town, and as very a character as such individuals almost invariably
are. He had originally been a soldier, so rough, unpolished, and
uncouth, that it was a serious question in the neighborhood, if pretty
Polly could by any possibility be an offshoot from such a crabbed
stock.

At the time of which I write, availability for the particular post
assigned to favorites at court, was the last thing thought of, and the
O'Connor having rendered some questionable service to the then
government, either in making rebels or ensnaring them, he was rewarded
with the position he occupied, although he did not possess a single
requisite for that responsible situation.

Ignorant of the first principles of education, he delegated his task to
subordinates, whose capacity he was incompetent to judge of. His
military antecedents made him a harsh, unbending disciplinarian, and as
it was in a routine of which he knew nothing whatever, he felt it
incumbent upon him to make up in severity and bluster for his lack of
knowledge.

But to return to Polly. When the certainty of her prodigious perfidy
reached me, I imagined myself a kind of master of Ravenswood, and took
to melancholy and light food for some days. Reflection and strong
physic, however, soon restored me to something like equanimity, and,
becoming a little better reconciled to the annoyance of life, I rushed
for consolation and revenge to the poet's corner of the Tipperary
Gazette. It was then and there that I produced the following solemn
warning to Polly O'Connor, and all others of her sex, who, when love
and a full purse are weighed together, get into the scale on the lucre
side, making poor, shivering Cupid "kick the beam." It was near the
14th of February, so, in the savage expectation of crushing her heart
beneath the satirical avalanche, I designated my contribution--

    A VALENTINE

    FOR HER WHO WILL UNDERSTAND IT.

    As Plutus one day, in his chariot of gold,
      Was languidly taking the air,
    Looking, spite of his riches, distressingly old,
      Although dressed with remarkable care;
    He met with young Cupid, who, stayed in his flight
      By the wealthy god's dazzling array,
    Hovered joyously round on his pinions of light,
      Highly pleased with the tempting display.
    "Ride with me," said Plutus, "all this you may share;
      Ride with me, and garments of gold you may wear."

    Quite delighted, the urchin stepped into the car,
      Little deeming the roads were so rough;
    But, repenting his rashness, before he went far
      He cried, "Stop! I've been jolted enough.
    Pray excuse me, friend Plutus, though rich be the prize
      You obligingly offer to me,
    Your realm is the gloomy earth, mine the bright skies,
      'Tis not likely that we should agree.
    Farewell," said the boy, as he mounted in air,
      "The heart that Gold worships, Love never can share."

Having boldly appended my own initials to this scarifying outburst, I
waited patiently to watch its effect upon the false one. In a few days
I saw her--she looked sad. Ha! she is touched, thought I; and, alas for
the ferocity of human nature, I rejoiced in her apparent affliction. In
a few moments, the sadness deepened on her brow; her lovely lashes
became burdened with her pearly tears; resolution, revenge, injured
feelings, all dissolved into nothing before the cruel shower. I'm not
quite certain what immediately followed. I believe I flung myself
enthusiastically on the carpet, before the Tipperary Niobe--beseeching
her to repose her sorrows in my sympathizing bosom. At all events, I
succeeded in calming her agitation, and after a delicious interview,
wherein she thrilled my soul to its centre by the avowal that, however
appearances might convict her of vacillation, I was, ever had been, and
ever should be, the sole lord of her affections.

In that moment of blinding delirium, of course, all that had hitherto
occurred was blotted from my memory as thoroughly as a damp sponge
obliterates the records on a tablet of ass-skin. With the unreserved
confidence of a relieved heart, she rested her cheek in dangerous
proximity to my eager lips, but I had not sufficient courage to take
advantage of the position. Her wonderful eyes looked sincerity and love
even into the very depths of my soul. I was
fascinated--bewildered--doubled up and done for, most effectually. "The
evenings were now beautiful," she hinted, together with remote
allusions to "soft twilight's balmy hour," setting suns, and such like
delectations, until I actually summoned up courage sufficient to make
an appointment to meet her

    "By moonlight alone."

Nor had she any reserve while naming the particular grove where our
trysting was to take place.

It was with the proud port of a conqueror that I deigned to tread the
vulgar pavement after my never-to-be-forgotten interview with the
Circean Polly; victory swelled within my expanding chest, like too much
soup. Polly was mine; what a triumph I had achieved. I do verily
believe, if, at this juncture, it were at all essential, or even could
be remotely conducive to Polly's tranquillity, that I should go through
the then popular amusement of hanging, I would have gone to the halter
with nearly as much cheerfulness as though it were the altar; but,
fortunately, I was not called upon to testify the loyalty of my
devotion by asphyxiation.

Rory and I met as usual that afternoon, and I remarked that a sort of
ill-concealed joy was working like an undercurrent through his
features--now he would sing vociferously; anon, suddenly subside into
quiet--it was very curious--I determined, however, to discover, if
possible, the cause of his self-satisfaction.

"Rory," said I.

"Hallo!"

"What makes you so silent?"

"Am I silent?" he replied, bursting instantly into a merry song.

"There's something on your mind, at all events; that I know."

"May-be there is; but do you know that's exactly what I was going to
say to you?"

"Is it possible?" I rejoined, as demurely as I could, but my stinging
cheek betrayed me.

"Why, how you blush," he went on. "Ha! have I found you out?"

"What do you mean?" said I, in an instant changed from convict to
criminal.

"You have a sweetheart."

"And so have you," I retorted, as severely as I could.

"I don't deny it," said he, laughing like mad.

"Neither do I, if it comes to that."

Now, be it understood, we had neither of us, as yet, confessed to the
other the reality of the attachment we had each conceived for the
divine Polly.

"You are really in love, then, Rory?"

"Oh! don't mention it," replied he. "Ocean deep, my boy; fathomless;
out of soundings one instant; the next, floating nautilus-like upon the
warm, tranquil bosom of an oriental lake; now, lifted upon the very top
wave of lunacy, to clutch at stars; and sunk in the hollow depths of
dark despair." Rory was curiously ornate in his amatory outbreaks.
"What do you think?" he went on, with a dash of his hitherto
confidence. "I have been at the Heliconian again."

"No!"

"Upon my life! deep draughts! inspiration. Her eyes--oh! such eyes.
You've seen them; small heavens, with a sun in each; saw her
to-day--all fixed, my boy; she loves me--said so, and yet my pulse
didn't overflow and choke me; heart in my mouth, to be sure--but gulped
it down again with a ponderous effort; going to meet her to-night, by
appointment; what do you think of that, my boy? what do you think of
that?"

Curious coincidence, thought I, but said nothing.

"Shall I read you what I have been doing?" said Rory, with a slightly
apologetic gesture.

"Only too happy, of course," said I, mentally anathematizing him for an
injudicious bore, thus to parade his flaming productions before--ahem!
a writer for the press; but here is Rory's effusion; he gave me a copy.

"You must know," he premised, "that I had some misgivings about a
certain elderly codger, whom I frequently discovered in tantalizing
companionship with my beloved; hence my Valentine is a little
suggestive."

More curious coincidences, said something within me, striking upon the
ear of my heart rather alarmingly; but the great pacificator, conceit,
soon quelled the emotion, and I was all absorbed in self love and
delicious anticipations, when Rory cleared his throat, and read

    AN ALLEGORY.

    As Cupid one day, with his quiver well stored,
      Fluttered round, upon wickedness bent,
    Right and left, his insidious love-messengers poured,
    And hearts by the hundred were shamefully scored,
      To the mischievous archer's content.
    'Till at last he encountered King Death on his way,
      Whose arrows more fatally flew.
    In vain did the emulous urchin display
    All his arts, his companion still carried the day,
      For his shafts were, as destiny, true.

    Boy Cupid, annoyed at the other's success,
      Invoked cousin Mercury's aid,
    Who, having for mischief a talent no less,
    Changed their quivers, so featly that neither could guess,
      Such complete transposition were made.
    The result, up to this very hour you may see,
      For when very old folk feel love's smart,
    Cupid's arrow by Death surely missioned must be;
    But when youth in its loveliness sinks to decay,
      Death's quiver doth furnish the dart.

Here was a startling resemblance, with a vengeance; in spite of my
new-fledged confidence, and the unmistakably excellent opinion I
entertained of number one, I began to feel somewhat nervous.

"How do you like it?" said Rory, evidently nettled at my inattention.

"I don't like it all."

"Eh!"

"I don't mean that; I mean--the poetry is superb--lovely--but"----

"But what? you are laboring to give vent to something, evidently--out
with it, man," Rory continued, moodily.

"Well, then, since you press me," said I, "I certainly have my
misgivings."

"And what about, pray?"

"May I venture to ask who the elderly person is, at whom your allegory
is directed?"

"I have no objection at all," Rory replied, "if you give me your word
you won't mention it again."

"Honor bright."

"Well, then, it's old Tom Gallagher, the saw-bones."

Oh! my internal machinery ceased working, for an instant; had I a
girl's privilege, I should have fainted outright; it was a shock; a
stunning one, and no mistake.

"What's the matter with you?" inquired Rory, seeing me gasp like a
fresh-caught perch.

"Oh! Rory," I cried, grasping his hand with the sudden affection that
similarity of misfortune always instigates. "Rory, my friend, did you
see my Valentine in the _Tipperary Gazette_?"

"Yes, and liked it," said he, in a tone of sincerity; "but who was
Plutus?"

"By all that's excruciating, old Tom Gallagher."

Rory turned as pale as a turnip.

"And the confounded little coquette who bamboozled you to day," I
continued, courageously, despite of Rory's dark frown, "and who
conglomerated my reasoning faculties in the same way, was Miss Polly
O'Connor."

It was now Rory's turn to have his mechanism bothered.

"What do you mean?" he whispered, tremblingly.

"I mean," said I, "that this very morning, Miss Polly O'Conner swore as
binding an oath as ever flashed out of a pair of eyes, or was sealed
upon a pair of lips, that I was to have the fee simple of her heart for
life, and to settle the affair, we are to meet this evening, at eight
o'clock, in Duffy's borieen, at the little stile leading into Murphy's
lane."

"Just the spot, and just the time, by Jove, that I was to be there for
the same purpose," cried Rory, gnashing his teeth in a biting rage.

For a few moments, we stood silently regarding each other, and at last,
broke into a violent fit of laughter; it was what old Tom himself,
confound his coppery heart, would call "the crisis;" we were cured--not
immediately, however--the dangerous point was passed--time and low diet
did the rest.

The inhuman little savage confessed, shortly after, that she had
adopted that nefarious plan, in order that, by meeting together, we
might--how, she didn't care--come to some explanation with regard to
the duality of our attachment, and the double duplicity of our
Tipperary Venus.

And now to return--it's a long way back, but never mind. I'm riding an
old hack; few that's used to such journeys. To my first intention; that
is, to illustrate the position in Fairydom of the _Leprechaun_.

It is one Rory's wild tales, and, as it mightily interested me--to be
sure, I was young at the time--I trust, gentle reader, it may not prove
entirely devoid of attraction for you.

In the little village of Templeneiry, situated at the base of one of
the Galtee mountains, whose summit looks down upon the diminutive
hamlet from the altitude of two thousand feet, there dwelt a very
celebrated and greatly-sought-after individual, one Terry Magra, the
Piper; there wasn't a _pathern_, fair, wake, wedding, or merriment
of any description, for miles round, in which he and his dhrones were
not called into requisition: there wasn't a performer on that noisy,
but much-loved instrument, that could at all compare with Terry; it was
solemnly asserted, indeed, that his superiority was the result of fairy
agency; a belief which he was not unwilling to foster and encourage,
inasmuch, as it gave him a wonderful importance among the superstitious
peasantry.

Now, with grief it must be recorded, Terry was too much addicted to the
almost national failing, that of intoxication. Whisky was to him the
universal panacea; did his sweetheart, and he had plenty of them, frown
upon his tender suit, whisky banished the mortification; was his rent
in arrear, and no sign of anything turning up, whisky wiped off the
account, instanter; did all the ill-omened birds that flock around the
head of poverty, assail him, he fired a stiff tumbler of whisky punch
at them, and they dispersed.

On the whole, it was a jolly vagabond, reckless, and variegated life,
that of Terry Magra; his supernatural reputation, together with the
general belief in the positive existence of fairies, entertained by the
community in which he exercised his pleasant vocation, rendering him a
fit subject to receive any spiritual impression, howsoever removed from
the common course of events.

It was one moonlight night that Terry, after having attended a grand
festival in the neighborhood, brought up, as was his usual custom, at a
Sheebieen house, where a few seasoned old casks, like himself,
invariably "topped off" with a round of throat-raspers; here he was the
Sir Oracle; the lord of the soil himself--did they ever see him, which
was not at all probable, for, upon the means wrung by his agents from
the poor wretches, by Providence delegated to his care--those same
agents, by the way, managing to squeeze out a comfortable per-centage
for themselves--he lives in London. The lord of the soil, as I said,
could not be served with readier obedience, or listened to with more
profound attention.

The roaring song, and joke, and fun abounded upon this occasion, and
Terry improvised so wild and inspiriting a strain upon his famous
pipes, that it was generally conceded, with enthusiasm tinctured with
awe, that no mortal hand could have produced such astounding music.

At length, the sleepy proprietor of the place put a sudden end to the
jollification, by stopping the supplies, the only way in which the
Widow Brady--for I'm sorry to say it was a woman, and a decent-looking
one too, who presided over this Pandora's box, where Hope forever lies
imprisoned--could break up the party.

Terry, after vainly endeavoring to mollify the widow, gathered up his
magic pipes, and sallied forth. Adieus were exchanged; friendly hugs,
and protestations of eternal friendship passed between the stammering,
roaring crowd, to be ratified hereafter, it might be, by a crack on the
skull from a tough _alpieen_. At last they separated, each to find, as
he could, his way home by the devious light of a clouded moon.

Now, Terry lived a smart way up the mountain, and so, with, as he said,
"the sense fairly bilin' in him everywhere but his murdherin' legs,"
that persisted in carrying him in the opposite direction to that which
his intention pointed, the contest between his will and his locomotive
powers making his course somewhat irregular--our bold piper proceeded
on his way, humming snatches of songs, and every now and then, by way
of diversion, waking the echoes by a fierce blast from his "chanter."

Whether Terry resorted to these means for the purpose of keeping his
courage from slumbering within his breast, I know not; but, inasmuch as
the ground he was traversing had a general fairy repute, I think it
more than likely that, notwithstanding the whisky-valor with which he
had armed himself, it was not without considerable trepidation he
endeavored to make his way through the enchanted precincts.

There was one isolated mound, which tradition had positively marked as
a favorite resort of the "good people," and as Terry neared it,
apprehension smote against his heart lustily. For the first time, he
faltered. The moon, which had hitherto seemed to light him famously,
shot suddenly behind a dense, black cloud, and Terry thought that
blindness had fallen upon him, so black did everything appear. At the
same moment, a gust of wind shook the crisp leaves of the aspen trees,
with a noise like the rattling of dry bones, that sunk into his very
soul. He was frightened--he couldn't go a step further. Down on his
knees he fell, in the middle of the road, and, as a last resource,
tried to collect himself sufficiently to mutter through the form of
exorcisement used by the peasantry in similar emergencies. To his
horror he discovered that he couldn't remember a syllable of the
matter. He resorted to his prayers, but his traitor-memory deserted him
there also.

Now his perturbation and dismay increased, for he knew by those signs
that he was "fairy-struck." There was nothing left him but to run for
it; but, to his yet greater terror, on endeavoring to rise from his
knees, he found himself rooted to the ground like a tree; not a muscle
could he move. Then--as he described it--

"The fairy bells rung like mad inside of me skull. The very brains of
me was twisted about, as a washerwoman twists a wet rag; somethin' hit
me a bat on the head, an' down I dropped, as dead as a herrin'."

When Terry came to himself again, the darkness had vanished, and the
whole scene was glowing with the mellow softness of an eastern morning.
The atmosphere was imbued with a delicious warmth, while a subdued
crimson haze hung between earth and sky. The common road-stones looked
like lumps of heated amber. The very dew-drops on the grass glittered
like rubies, while the noisy little mountain-fall, where it broke white
against the rocks, flashed and sparkled in the rosy light, like jets of
liquid gold, filling the air with living gems.

"Be jabers, an' this is Fairy-land, sure enough," said Terry; "an' if
the little blaggards has got anything agin' me, it's in a murdherin'
bad box I am, the divil a doubt of it. I've nothin' for it, anyway, but
to take it aisy." So he sat upon a large stone on the wayside, and
gazed with intense admiration on the lovely scene before him, inly
wondering what kind of demonstration the inhabitants of this enchanted
spot would make when they discerned his audacious intrusion.

Several minutes had elapsed, and Terry heard nothing but a small,
musical hum, barely discernible by the sense, which every warm current
of air caused to rise and fall upon his charmed ear, in undulations of
dreamy melody. Suddenly, however, his attention was directed towards a
fallen leaf, which some vagrant breeze appeared to toss to and fro in
merry play. For a long time he watched its eccentric movements, until
at last a gust of wind lifted it up, and whirling it round and round in
circling eddies, dropped it on the piece of rock where he was sitting.

Now Terry perceived a multitude of tiny creatures, ant-like, busied
around the still fluttering leaf, and on stooping to examine them
closely, his heart leaped like a living thing within his bosom, his
breath came short and gasping, and his tongue clove to his palate.

"There they are, an' no mistake," thought he; "an' my time is come. May
the blessed saints stand betune me an harm."

The crowds of atomies which he had supposed to be ants, were beings of
the most exquisite human form; anon, the air grew thick with them.
Some, winged like butterflies, disported around his head, and alighted
upon his garments, pluming their bejewelled pinions and then darting
off again.

"It's mighty quare that they don't give me a hint that I'm out of me
element," thought Terry, as, emboldened by their passiveness, he gently
took the leaf up in his hand, on which were dozens of them yet
clustered; he held the fairy-laden leaf up to his eyes; still they kept
gambolling about it; they overrun his fingers, and clambered up his
sleeve, but no intimation did they give that Terry was of other
material than one of the rocks by which they were surrounded; they
invaded his face, examined his mouth, and peered into his eyes, yet
there was no indication that his presence was acknowledged.

Resolving to test the matter at once, with an effort of courage, he
rose up gradually, and looked around him; all was quiet.

"If any thing will make them spake, the pipes will," said he, bravely,
and so, filling his chanter, he gave one preliminary blast, and finding
that it met with no response, save from the distant echoes, that sent
it sweeping back in multiplied reverberations, he commenced to play one
of his most lauded planxtys; never had he satisfied himself better, but
never had he exerted himself before a more unappreciative assembly; the
universal fun and frolic went on as before.

His artistic self-love was sadly wounded. "The divil such a lot of
stupid fairies did I ever hear tell of," said he, throwing down his
pipes in disgust. "An' bad luck attend the grunt more yez'll get out o'
me; such elegant music as I've been threaten yez wid, an' the never an
ear cocked among the lot of yez."

"A thin, Misther Terry Magra," said the smallest possible kind of a
voice, but which thrilled through the piper as though it were
thunder-loud. "Shure, an' you're not goin' to concate that it's music
you've been tearin' out ov them tree-stumps of yours; be the powers of
war, it's a tom-cat I thought you wor squeezin' undher yer arms."

"Thank you, kindly, yer honor, for the compliment, whoever you are,"
replied Terry, when, on turning round to the quarter from whence the
voice proceeded, he saw, sitting on the branch of a tree beside him, a
diminutive piper, in all respects a perfect resemblance to himself;
dressed in similar garments, even to the dilapidated _caubieen_,
with an atom of a _dhudieen_ stuck in it; but what elicited his
admiration most of all, was the weeny set of pipes the swaggering
little ruffian carried on his arm.

"Your soul to glory," cried Terry, his excitement completely mastering
his apprehension. "An' if you can blow any music out of them, I'll give
in soon an' suddent."

"Howld yer prate, you ugly man, an' bad Christian," cried the little
fellow; "sure, an' it's plinty of help I'll have;" with that, he put
the bellows under his arm, and blew a blast that sounded like the
whistle of a tom-tit in distress; a signal which was quickly answered
by similar sounds, issuing from all directions; and very soon Terry saw
groups of little pipers climbing up the tree until the branch was
fairly alive with them, each one an exact counterpart of the first.

"May I never sin if the sowls of all the Terry Magras, past, present,
an' to come, ain't to the fore, it's my belief, this minnit," said the
piper, in an ecstasy of amazement.

"We must graize our elbows before we begin, boys," said Terry's friend,
producing a fairy bottle.

"Here's your health, Misther Terry Magra," says the little vagabond,
with a ghost of a laugh; and up went the bottle to his head.

"Here's your health, Misther Terry Magra," they all repeated, as the
real mountain dew went merrily round.

"Faix, an' it's glad enough I'd be to return thanks for the favor,"
said Terry, "if it's a thing that I had a toothful of sperrits to join
yez in; more, betoken, I'm as drouthy as a sand-bag this blessed hour."

"Never be it said that a dhry Christian should keep cotton in his
mouth, while we can give him a dhrop to wash it out," said the little
piper, throwing his bottle at Terry.

"Bedad, it's a _dhrop_, sure enough, that I'll be suckin' out of this,"
said Terry, as he regarded the tiny atom that rested in the palm of his
hand. "Bad 'cess to me, if a scooped-out duck-shot wouldn't howld more
nourishment. I'm obleeged to you for your good intentions, any way, but
I b'leeve I won't be robbin' you this time."

"Don't be refusin' your liquor, you fool," said the piping little chap,
with a wicked look out of his mites of eyes. "I'll be bound that such
liquor never tickled your throat before."

"Well, rather than appear onfriendly, I'll just go through the motions;
so here's jolly good luck to yez all," said Terry, raising the
pellet-like material to his lips, when, to his intense satisfaction and
wonder, his mouth instantly filled up, and run over, with a perfect
flood of such whisky as he owned never yet had blessed his palate;
again and again he repeated the experiment, and with the like delicious
result.

"Hollo! there, give me back my bottle, you thief of the world; would
you ruin us, entirely?" cried the little piper. "If the blaggard
wouldn't drink the say dhry, I'm not here."

"By the sowl of me mother," said Terry, with a loud smack of enjoyment,
"if the say was made of such stuff as that, may I never, if I wouldn't
change places wid a mermaid's husband, and flourish a fish's tail all
the days of my life."

"But this has nothin' to do concarnin' the music," says the fairy, "so,
here goes to show you how much you know about humorin' the pipes." So
saying, the whole army of pipers set up a chant, so small, and yet so
exquisitely sweet and harmonious, that Terry scarcely dared to breathe,
for fear of losing the slightest echo of such bewitching strains.

"What do you say to that?" inquired the little fellow, when they had
finished.

"Say to it," cried Terry, flinging his hat upon the ground in an
ecstasy of delight; "what the mischief can I say? Bedad, there never
was a mortial had the concate so complately licked out o' him as it's
been deludhed out o' me at this present writin, an' to make my words
good, av there was a bit of fire near, if I wouldn't make cindhers of
that murdherin' ould catherwauler ov mine, I'm a grasshopper."

"It does you credit to own up to it so readily, Terry Magra," said the
head fairy, pleased enough at the compliment. "An', by the way of
rewardin' you for that same, we'll give you a blast of another sort."
With that they turned to and executed a jig-tune, so swiftly-fingered,
so lively and irresistibly _sole_-inspiring, that, with a wild scream
of delight, Terry whipped off his great coat, and jumping on the level
rock, went through the varied complications of the most intricate
description of Irish dance.

"Murdher alive, av I only had a partner now," he cried. "Such elegant
music, an' only one to be enjoyin' it." Faster and faster played the
fairy pipers, and yet more madly Terry beat time upon the stone, making
the mountains resound to his vociferous shouts, until exhausted at
last, he jumped off, and sunk panting on the ground.

"Oh! _tear an' aigers_!" he cried, "an' av yez have a grain of
compassion in thim insignificant tiniments of yours, fairies, darlin',
won't yez lend us the loan of a pull out of that same bit of a bottle,
for it's the seven senses that you've fairly batthered out o' me wid
that rattlin' leg-teazer of a chune."

"Wid a heart an' a half, my hayro!" said the little piper, flinging
Terry the fairy-bottle; "it's you that has the parliaminthary unction
for the creather, if ever a sowl had. Don't be afeard of it, it won't
hurt a feather of you, no more nor wather on a duck's back."

Thus encouraged, Terry lifted his elbow considerably, before he thought
it prudent to desist, the fairy liquor appearing more delicious with
each gulp, when, all at once--for Terry had a tolerable share of
acuteness for a piper--the thought struck him that the little schemers
might have a motive in thus plying him with such potential stuff.

"If you're at all inclined for a nap, Terry, my boy," said the fairy,
blandly, "there's a lovely bank of moss fornent you, that'll beat the
best feather-bed at the Globe Inn, in the town of Clonmel. Stretch
yourself on it, _aroon_, an' we'll keep watch over you as tindherly
as av your own mother was hangin' over yer cradle."

"Ho! ho! is it there yez are, you sootherin' vagabonds," said Terry to
himself. "It's off o' my guard you want to ketch me, eh?" He was
determined, however, to diplomatize, so he replied, with equal
politeness, "It's thankful that I am to yer honors for the invite, but
I wouldn't be makin' such a hole in my manners as to let a wink come on
me in such iligant company."

"Oh, well, just as you like, Terry Magra," observed the fairy, with
just enough of lemon in his tone to convince Terry that his surmise was
correct. "At all events, if you're not sleepy now, you soon will be,"
the little fellow continued, "so, when you are, you will lie down
without fear. In the meantime, we must go and inform our king how
famously we've amused you, and what a fine fellow you are." So saying,
with a sharp little squeal of a laugh, that Terry thought carried with
it a sufficiency of sarcasm, the little piper and his companions
rapidly descended from their perch, and vanished from his sight.

No sooner had they departed when Terry's ears were saluted by a
singularly delightful buzzing noise, that, in spite of his endeavor to
resist it, caused a growing drowsiness to steal over him. The declining
daylight deepened into a still more roseate hue. Once or twice his
eyelids drooped, but he recovered himself with a vigorous effort.

"By the ghost of Moll Kelly," he cried, "I'm a lost mutton, as sure as
eggs is chickens, if the sleep masthers me; the pipes is my only
chance." So saying, he shook off the slumberous sensation, and, seizing
the instrument, blazed out into a stormy attack upon "Garryowen," and,
sure enough, something like a distant groan, as of disappointment,
reached him at the very first snore of the chanter.

"Ha! ha!" he exclaimed, "it isn't an omadhaun all out yez has to dale
wid this time, you little rascals, as cunnin' as ye think yerselves.
Bedad, it won't do me any harm to make use of my eyes hereabouts; who
knows but I may light atop of a fairy threasure, and drive the
imptiness out of my pocket for ever and ever."

With this determination, the bold piper proceeded to investigate the
character of the ground in his immediate neighborhood. For a short time
he saw nothing remarkable except the circumstance of the whole
surroundings being alive with fairies, to whose presence he was
becoming more and more habituated; occasionally he would pause in his
search to view with admiration the energetic way in which a group of
workers attended to their specific duties. Observing at one time a more
than usual commotion, he was led to give the affair particular
scrutiny, when he discovered that it was the scene of a most animated
contest between two distinct bodies of supernaturals.

An infant lily-of-the-valley was just raising its head above the
yielding earth, softened and broken to assist its upward progress, by
scores of busy atomies. Numbers showered its tender leaf with
refreshing dew--procured, as Terry observed, by plunging into the
hollow cup of some sturdy neighboring flower, then flying back to their
charge, and shaking the nutritious drops from their wings--others, with
mechanical ingenuity, held glasses by which they could concentrate the
passing sunbeams upon the spot, when necessary; while others drove
there with their united pinions the stray breezes, whose invigorating
breath was needed.

While Terry was rapt in the delightful contemplation of this curious
scene, all at once he saw that there was something of uncommon interest
going on amongst the crowd. He observed, in the first instance, that
although the labor was not for a moment suspended, yet a solid phalanx
of armed fairies had formed about the immediate workers. The reason was
soon obvious, for, careering round and round, or darting to and fro in
zigzag courses almost as swiftly as the lightning itself, was an
enormous dragon-fly, carrying on its glistening back a diminutive form
of a brilliant green color, that flashed in the glancing light like
living emerald. Wherever there was a tender young plant there its
fierce attack was directed, and in all cases repelled by the brave
little guardians.

This terrible monster--as it appeared even in Terry's eyes, when
compared with the tiny creatures that surrounded him--seemed to have
singled out the fragile lily-of-the-valley for its especial ferocity,
for again and again it darted furiously against the unyielding
defenders, only, however, to be repulsed at each charge, writhing and
twisting its snaky body, punctured by the thorn-bayonets of the
fairy-guard.

The indomitable courage and resolution of the defence at length
prevailed, and after a last ineffectual effort to break through the
chevaux-de-frise that protected the beleaguered flower, the dreadful
enemy wheeled angrily two or three times around the spot, and at length
darted upwards rapidly, and disappeared, to the manifest delight of the
fairies. Soon, however, a yet more formidable danger threatened, for in
the distance there approached a gigantic snail, dragging its noxious
slime over every thing in its destructive path. Terry now observed
evidences of the most intense solicitude and perturbation. The guard
around the flower was trebled, scouts seemed to be called in from all
quarters, hastening to a common rendezvous. Meantime the snail moved on
in a direct line with the object of their care and anxiety.

"Now my fine fellows," said Terry, completely absorbed in the
interesting scene, "how the mischief are yez goin' to manage that
customer?"

Nearer and nearer crawled the snail, and at every onward movement the
little crowd grew more agitated, scampering here and there, and
overrunning each other in a perfect agony of apprehension and
excitement, like a disturbed colony of ants. Multitudes of them cleared
the small stumps of decayed grass, and rolled off the pebbles from a
side path, in the hope of diverting Mr. Snail's course; but their
engineering skill was fruitless--still on he came, crushing every
delicate germ in his progress. He was now only about six inches away
from the lily, and the trepidation of the fairies became so excessive,
that it smote upon Terry's heart. He forgot for a moment or two that he
himself was the arbiter of their fate.

"Mother o' Moses," said he; "it's afeared I am that yez goin' to get
the worst of the fight, this time; heigh! at him agin, yer sowls," he
shouted, clapping his hands by way of encouragement, as a crowd would
try to push the snail from the direct path.

"Where's yer sinse, you little blaggards? why don't yez all get
together, and you'd soon tumble the murdherin' Turk over."

Despair seemed to be spreading through the fairy ranks, when it
suddenly occurred to Terry that it was in his own power to put an end
to their fears at once, by removing the cause; another, and more
personal idea flashing across his mind at the same time.

"Why, then, bad 'cess to this thick skull o' mine," said he, as he
picked up the snail and hurled it to a distance. "It well becomes me to
be stickin' here, watchin' the antics of these little ragamuffins,
instead of mindin' my own business of threasure-huntin';" so, without
waiting to see what effect his timely interference had upon the
supernals, he commenced vigorously to prosecute his search.

For some time he diligently explored the crevices and deep hollows on
the mountain's side, without finding the slightest indication to
stimulate his exertions; one particular opening, however, he was loathe
to penetrate; the insects were so numerous therein, and flew so
spitefully against his face, that, although it evidently extended to
some distance into the heart of the mountain, again and again he was
driven from his purpose of ascertaining that fact by the pertinacity of
the annoying creatures; now, a prodigious horned beetle would bang
sharply against his cheek; anon, he would be entirely surrounded by a
cloud of wasps, through which he had to fight his way lustily.

Thrice had he entered the cavity, and having been ignominiously driven
back each time, had determined to give up the effort to penetrate
further. "Faix, an' it's mighty quare, entirely," said he, "that this
is the only spot in the place that's so throubled with the varmint:
it's my belief there's somethin' in that, too," he continued, a new
light seeming to break upon him; "what should they be here for, more
nor at any other openin', unless it was to keep strangers from
inthrudin'? May I never, if I don't think that same hole in the rock is
the turnpike-gate to somethin' surprizin' in the way of a fairy road;
here goes to thry, anyway, in spite of the singin' and stingin'."

Once more, therefore, my bold Terry attempted to enter the cavern, and
was attacked as before, but with tenfold fury; legions of stinging
flies, wasps, and hornets, raised a horrible din about his ears; but,
setting his resolution up to the fearless point, on he went, without
regarding their unpleasant music; expecting, of course, to be stung
desperately; what was his astonishment and relief to discover that the
noise was the only thing by which he was at all distressed; not one of
his myriad of assailants even as much as touched him, and before he had
proceeded many steps further into the cavity, every sound had ceased.

He now found his onward progress most uncomfortably impeded by a
stubborn species of wild hedge-briar, whose sharp, thorny branches
interlaced through each other, forming a barrier, whose dangerous
appearance was sufficient to deter the boldest from risking a
laceration. Not an opening large enough to admit his head, could Terry
see, and he was about again to give the attempt up as unattainable,
when, by the merest accident, on turning round, his foot slipped, and
with that inward shudder with which one prepares for an inevitable
hurt, he fell against the prickly wall; when, to his utter amazement,
it divided on each side as though it were fashioned of smoke, and he
tumbled through, somewhat roughly, to be sure, but altogether unharmed
by the formidable-looking interposition.

"By the mortial of war," he cried, rubbing his dilapidated elbow, and
looking round to examine his position, "I'm on the right side of that
hedge, any way."

Now, Terry perceived that the barrier he had just so successfully
passed was slowly regaining its original appearance, and, to his
mortification, as it gradually closed up the aperture of the cavern,
the light, hitherto quite sufficient for him distinctly to see every
object, faded away slowly, and finally left him in utter darkness.

"Bedad, an' a tindher-box an' a sulphur match would be about the
greatest threasure I could light on at this present," said Terry, as he
groped about cautiously, to find some kind of an elevation whereupon he
might sit and wait for luck.

He had not been many minutes, however, in the blackness, when his
quickened sense became aware of a light, reddish spot, which faintly
glowed at some distance. This was the first sign of an encouraging
nature he had experienced, and with a beating heart he proceeded to
feel his way towards the bright indication.

Getting gradually accustomed to the dimness that surrounded him he
suddenly discovered that he was opposed by a solid wall of rock, in the
very centre of which the pale red glimmer still shone, like a star seen
through a summer mist.

"The divil a use in my thravellin' any longer in that direction," said
Terry, turning sharply round to retrace his steps, when to his
amazement and consternation he encountered the same rocky barrier.
Whichever way he looked all was alike, stern and impassable. He was
enclosed within a stony wall, whose circumference was but little more
than an arm's length, but whose height was lost in the unsearchable
darkness.

"Musha, then, how the divil did I stumble into this man-thrap?" cried
Terry, in consternation. "There's no way out that I can see, an' where
the mischief the top of it is, is beyant my comprehendin'. Bedad,
there's nothing for it but to thry an' climb up." So saying, Terry
placed his foot upon what he supposed, in the uncertain light, was a
bold projection of the rock, when down he stepped through it, and
before he could recover his perpendicular, his body was half buried in
the apparent wall.

"Be jabers, if it ain't more of their thricks--the never a rock's
there, no more nor the briars was; they may make fools of my eyes, but
they can't of my fingers, an' its thim I'll thrust to in future," said
he; and so, keeping the light in view, he boldly dashed through all the
seeming obstacles, and soon found himself once more in an open space.
It was a kind of vaulted tunnel that he was now traversing, his onward
path still in profound darkness, with the sole exception of the red
light, which Terry imagined grew larger and more distinct, each step he
took. A rush of warm air every now and then swept by him, and his tread
echoed in the far distance, giving an idea of immense length.

Somewhat assured by the impunity with which he had already explored the
enchanted districts, he was beginning to pick his way with freer
breath, when his ears were smitten by a sound which sank his heart
still deeper. It was the loud and furious barking of a pack of
evidently most ferocious dogs, which approached rapidly, right in his
path. On came the savage animals, louder and louder grew their terrible
bark, and Terry gave himself up for lost in good earnest. It was no use
to turn about and run, although that was his first impulse; so,
flinging himself down on the ground, he awaited the attack of his
unseen foes. He could now hear the clatter of their enormous paws,
while their growlings echoed through the cavern like thunder.

"Murdher an' nouns, there's a half a hundred of them, I know there is;
an' it's mince-meat they'll make of me in less than no time," cried
Terry, mumbling all the prayers he could remember, and in another
instant, with a tremendous roar, they were upon him, and, with stunning
yells, swept over him as he lay; but not an atom did he feel, no more
than if a cloud had passed across.

"If they're not at it again, the blaggards," said he, getting up, and
shaking himself; "the divil a dog was there in the place at
all--nothin' but mouth--but, by dad, there's enough of that to frighten
the sowl out of a narvous Christian;" and once more the bold Piper
started in pursuit of the coveted light. He had not proceeded very far,
before he heard the distant bellowing of a bull; but, warned by his
past experience, he shut his ears against the sound, and although it
increased fearfully, as though some mad herd were tearing down upon
him, he courageously kept on. To be sure, his breath stopped for a
moment, and his pulse ceased to beat, when the thing seemed to approach
his vicinity, but, as he anticipated, the terror fled by him as he
stood up erect, with the sensation, only, of a passing breeze.

Terry received no further molestation, but plodded along quietly until
he came right up to the place from whence the light proceeded which had
hitherto guided him, and here a most gorgeous sight presented itself to
his enraptured gaze.

Within a luminous opening of the cave he saw groups of living atomies,
all busied in the formation of the various gems for which the rich ones
of the world hunger. In one compartment were the diamond-makers; in
another, those who, when finished, coated them over with the rough
exterior which they hoped would prevent them from being distinguished
from common pebbles. Here was a tiny multitude, fashioning emeralds of
astonishing magnitude; there, a crowd of industrious elves, putting the
last sparkle into some magnificent rubies.

With staring eyes, and mouth all agape with wonder and delight, Terry
watched the curious process for a few moments, scarcely breathing
audibly for fear of breaking the brilliant spell. What to do he did not
know. Heaps of the coveted jewels lay around within his very grasp, yet
how to possess himself, without danger, of a few handfuls, he couldn't
imagine.

At last, resolving to make one final effort to enrich himself, he
suddenly plunged his hand into the glittering mass of diamonds,
presuming they were the most valuable, and, clutching a quantity,
thrust them into his pocket, intending to repeat the operation until he
had sufficient; but the instant that he did so, the entire cavern was
rent asunder as with the force of an earthquake, the solid rock opened
beneath him with a deafening explosion, and he was shot upwards as from
the mouth of a cannon--up--up through the rifted cave, and miles high
into the air. Not a whit injured did he feel from the concussion,
saving a sense of lightness, as though he was as empty as a blown
bladder. So high did he go in his aerial flight, that he plainly saw
to-morrow's sun lighting up the lakes and fields of other latitudes. As
soon as he had reached an altitude commensurate with the power of the
explosive agency, he turned over and commenced his downward progress,
and, to his great relief, found that his fall was by no means as rapid
as he had anticipated--for his consciousness had not for a moment left
him; on the contrary, the buoyant air supported him without difficulty,
and each random gust of wind tossed him about like a feather. Well, day
came, and shone, and vanished; so did the evening, and the starry
night, and early morning, before Terry had completed his easy descent;
when at length he touched the earth, gently as a falling leaf, and
found himself lying beside the very stone from whence he had departed
on his late exploration. The marks of the recent terrible convulsion
were visible, however, for the vast mountain was gone, and in its place
a deep, round chasm, filled to over-flowing with a dark yellow liquid,
that hissed and bubbled into flame like a Tartarian lake. The rocks
around him, that before had shone so resplendently, were now blackened
and calcined--the lovely vegetation blasted--the paradise a desert.

"Athin, may-be, I haven't been kickin' up the divil's delights
hereabouts," said Terry, as he looked round at the desolation. "But
never a hair I care; haven't I got a pocket-full of big di'minds, an'
won't they set me up anyway?" he continued, drawing forth the precious
contents of his pocket, and placing them on the rock by his side; when,
to his infinite mortification, the entire collection turned out to be
nothing but worthless pebbles.

"Musha! thin, may bad luck attend yez for a set of schemin' vagabones;
an' afther all my throuble it's done again I am," he cried, in a rage,
emptying his pocket, and flinging away its contents in thorough
disgust. "Hollo! what's this?" he cried, with a start, as he drew forth
the last handful; "may I never ate bread if I haven't tuk one of the
chaps prisoner, an' if it isn't a Leprechaun I'm not alive;" and sure
enough there, lying in the palm of his hand, was as queer a looking
specimen of fairyhood as ever the eye looked upon.

The little bit of a creature had the appearance of an old man, with
wrinkled skin and withered features. It was dressed, too, in the
costume of a by-gone age. A mite of a velvet coat covered its morsel of
a back; a pair of velvet breeches, together with white silk stockings,
and little red-heeled shoes, adorned its diminutive legs, which looked
as if they might have belonged to a rather fat spider, and a stiff
white wig, duly pomatumed and powdered, surmounted by a three-cornered
hat, bedecked its head.

The leprechaun seemed to be in a state of insensibility, as Terry
examined minutely its old-fashioned appearance. "It's just as I've
heard tell of 'em," he cried, in glee; "cocked hat, an' breeches, an'
buckles, an' all. Hurroo! I'm a made man if he ever comes to." With
that, Terry breathed gently on the little fellow as he lay in his hand,
as one would to resuscitate a drowned fly.

"I wondher if he'd have any relish for wather--here goes to thry," said
Terry, plucking a buttercup flower, in whose cavity a drop of dew had
rested, and holding it to the lips of the leprechaun, "Oh, murdher! if
I only had a taste of whisky to qualify it; if that wouldn't bring the
life into an Irish fairy, nothing would. Ha! he's openin' his bit of an
eye, by dad; here, suck this, yer sowl to glory," Terry continued, and
was soon gratified by seeing the leprechaun begin to imbibe the
contents of the buttercup with intense avidity.

"I hope you're betther, sir," said Terry, politely.

"Not the betther for you, Mr. Terry Magra," replied the fairy, "though
I'm obleeged to you for the drop o' drink."

"Indeed, an' yer welcome, sir," Terry went on, "an' more betoken, it's
mighty sorry I am to have gev you any oneasiness."

"That's the last lie you towld, Mr. Terry, and you know it," the
leprechaun answered, tartly, "when your heart is fairly leapin' in your
body because you've had the luck to lay a howld of me."

"Well, an' can't a fella be glad at his own luck, an' yet sorry if
anybody else is hurted by it," said Terry, apologetically.

"You can't humbug me, you covetious blaggard," the fairy went on. "But
I'll thry you, anyway--now listen to me. The fairies that you have just
been so wicked as to inthrude your unwelcome presence upon, were all
leprechauns like myself--immortal essences, whose duty it was to make
and guard the treasures, that you saw in spite of all the terrors that
we employed to frighten you away. So long as they were unobserved by
mortal eyes, our existence was a bright and glorious one; but, once
seen, we are obliged to abandon our fairy life and shape, take this
degrading form, and work at a degrading occupation, subject to the
ailments and mishaps of frail humanity, and forced to live in constant
fear of your insatiate species. Now, the only chance I have to regain
the blissful immortality I have lost, is for you to be magnanimous
enough to relinquish the good fortune you anticipate from my capture.
Set me unconditionally free, and I can revel once more in my forfeited
fairy existence--persevere in your ungenerous advantage, and I am
condemned to wander a wretched out-cast through the world--now, what is
your determination?"

Terry's better feelings prompted him at first to let the little
creature go, but love of lucre got the upper hand, and after a slight
pause of irresolution, he replied:

"Indeed, an' it's heart sick that I am to act so conthrary, but I'll
leave it to yerself if it ain't agin nature for a man to fling away his
luck. Shoemakin' is an iligant amusement, an' profitable; you'll soon
get mighty fond of it; so, I'm afeard I'll have to throuble you to do
somethin' for me."

"I thought how it would be; you're all alike," said the fairy, sadly;
"selfish to the heart's core. Well, what do you want? I'm in your
power, and must fulfill your desire."

"Long life to you; now ye talk sense," cried Terry, elated. "Sure I
won't be hard on you--a thrifle of money is all I wish for in the
world, for everything else will follow that."

"More, perhaps, than you imagine--cares and anxieties," said the
leprechaun.

"I'll risk all them," replied Terry; "come, now, I'll tell you what you
may do for me. Let me find a shillin' in my pocket every time I put my
fist into it, an' I'll be satisfied."

"Enough! it's a bargain; and now that you have made your wish, all your
power over me is gone," said the leprechaun, springing out of his hand
like a grasshopper, and lighting on the branch beside him; "it's a
purty sort of a fool you are," it continued, with a chuckle, "when the
threasures of the universe were yours for the desire, to be contented
with a pitiful pocket-full of shillin's! ho! ho!" and the little thing
laughed like a cornkrake at the discomfited Terry.

"Musha! then, may bad cess to me if I don't crush the fun out of your
cattherpillar of a carcass if I ketch a howlt of you," said Terry,
savagely griping at the fairy; but, with another spring, it jumped into
the brushwood, and disappeared.

Terry's first impulse was to dive his hand into his pocket to see if
the leprechaun had kept his word, and to his great delight, there he
found, sure enough, a fine bright new shilling. At this discovery his
joy knew no bounds. He jumped and hallooed aloud, amusing himself
flinging away shilling after shilling, merely on purpose to test the
continuance of the supply. He was satisfied. It was inexhaustible, and
bright dreams of a splendid future flitted before his excited
imagination.

With a heart full of happiness, Terry now wended his way homeward,
busying himself, as he went along, in conveying shilling after shilling
from one pocket into the other, until he filled it up to the
button-hole. On arriving at the village, he met a few of his old
companions, but so altered that he could scarcely recognize them, while
they stared at him as though he were a spectre.

"Keep us from harm," said one, "if here ain't Terry Magra come back."

"Back," cried Terry, with a merry laugh, "why, man alive, I've never
been away."

"Never away, indeed, and the hair of you as white as the dhriven snow,
that was as brown as a beetle's back, whin you left," said the other.

It then struck Terry that his friends in their turn had aged
considerably. The youngest that he remembered had become bent and
wrinkled. "The saints be good to us," he cried, "but this is mighty
quare entirely. How long is it sence I've seen yez, boys?" he inquired
eagerly.

"How long is it? why, a matther of twenty years or so," said one of the
bystanders; "don't you know it is?"

"Faith, an' I didn't until this blessed minute," said Terry. "Have I
grown ould onbeknownst to myself, I wondher?"

"Bedad, an' it's an easy time you must have had sence you've been
away," said another; "not all as one as some of us."

"Well, won't you come an' taste a sup, for gra' we met?" said Terry,
beginning to feel rather uneasy at the singular turn things had taken;
but they shook their heads, and, without any other observation, passed
on, leaving him standing alone.

"Stop!" he cried, "wait a bit; it's lashin's of money that I
have--here--look;" and he drew forth a handful of the silver. It was no
use, however. All their old cordiality and love of fun were gone; off
they went, without even a glance behind them.

"Twenty years," said Terry to himself. "Oh, they're makin' fun of me. I
don't feel a bit oulder nor I was yestherday. I'll soon be easy on that
point, anyway." So he proceeded towards the old drinking-place, that he
had so often spent the night in, but not an atom of it could he find.
In the place where he expected to see it, there was a bran new house.
He entered it, however, and going straight up to a looking-glass which
stood in the room, was amazed on seeing reflected therein an apparition
he could not recognize, so withered and wrinkled did it appear, and so
altogether unlike what he anticipated, that he turned sharply around in
the hope of finding some aged individual looking over his shoulder; but
he was entirely alone--it was his own reflection, and no mistake at all
about it.

"By the powers of war, but my journey into the mountains hasn't
improved my personal appearance," said he. "It's easy to see that; but,
never mind, I've got the money, an' that'll comfort me;" and he jingled
the shillings in his pocket as if he could never weary of the sound.

In a short time the fame of Terry's wealth spread abroad, and as it may
readily be imagined, he didn't long want companions. The gay and the
dissolute flocked round him, and as he had a welcome smile and a
liberal hand for everybody, the hours flew by, carrying uproarious
jollity on their wings, and notwithstanding his infirmities of body,
Terry was as happy as the days were long.

Now, while he had only to provide for his own immediate wants, and
settle the whisky scores of his riotous friends, he had easy work of
it. It was only to keep putting his hand into his pocket two or three
dozen times a day, and there was more than sufficient. But this kind of
existence soon began to grow monotonous, and Terry sighed for the more
enviable pleasures of a domestic life, and inasmuch as it was now well
understood that Terry was an "eligible party," he had no great
difficulty in making a selection. Many of the "down hill" spinsters
gave evident indications that they would be nothing loth to take him
for better or for worse; and--I'm sorry to have to record the fact--not
a few even of the more youthful maidens set their curls at the quondam
piper. Neither his age, nor the doubtful source of his revenue,
rendering him an unmarketable commodity in the shambles of Hymen.

In process of time, Terry wooed and won a demure-looking little
_collieen_, and after having shut himself up for two or three
days, accumulating money enough for the interesting and expensive
ceremony, was duly bound to her for life. Now, it was that his
inexhaustible pocket began to be overhauled continuously, and Terry
cursed his imprudence in not asking for guineas instead of shillings.
Mrs. Terry Magra possessed a somewhat ambitious desire to outvie her
neighbors. Silk dresses were in demand and shawls and bonnets by the
cart-load. The constant employment gave Terry the rheumatism in his
muscles, until at last it was with the greatest difficulty he could
force his hand into his pocket.

Before many months had elapsed, Terry was prostrated upon a sick bed,
his side--the pocket-side--completely paralyzed, and as he was not one
of those who lay by for a rainy day, his inability to apply to his
fairy exchequer caused him to suffer the greatest privation--and where
were the boon companions of his joyous hours, now? Vanished--not one of
them to be seen--but haply fluttering around some new favorite of
fortune, to be in his turn fooled, flattered, and when the dark day
came--deserted.

When Terry grew better in health, which he did very slowly, there was a
considerable back-way to make up, and the best part of his time was
occupied in the mere mechanical labor of bringing out his shillings.
Mrs. Magra also became more and more exacting, and the care-worn piper
began to acknowledge to himself that, his good fortune was not at all
comparable with the anxiety and annoyance it had produced. Again and
again he deplored the chance which had placed the temptation in his
way, and most especially blamed his own selfish greed, which prevented
him from behaving with proper generosity toward the captured
leprechaun.

"He towld me plain enough what would come of it," cried he, one day,
as, utterly exhausted, he threw himself on the floor, after many hours
application to the indispensable pocket; "he towld me that it would
bring care and misery, an' yet I wasn't satisfied to profit by the
warning. Here am I, without a single hour of comfort, everybody
dhraggin' at me for money, money! an' the very sinews of me fairly wore
out wid divin' for it. This sort of life ain't worth livin' for."

Before long, Terry's necessities increased to such a degree, that out
of the twenty-four hours of the day and night, more than two-thirds
were taken up with the now terrible drudgery by which they were to be
supplied. No time had he left for relaxation--hardly for sleep. The
thought of to-morrow's toil weighed on his heart, and kept him from
rest. He was thoroughly miserable. It was in vain that he called upon
death to put an end to him and his wretchedness together; there was no
escape for him, even, by that dark road; the fear of a worse hereafter,
made imminent by the consciousness of an ill-spent life, kept him from
opening the eternal gate himself, to which he was often sorely tempted.

To this great despondency succeeded a course of reckless dissipation
and drunkenness. Homeless at last, he wandered from one drinking-shop
to another, caring nothing for the lamentable destitution in which his
family was steeped; for, as is usually the case, the poorer he became
the more his family increased. His deserted wife and starving little
ones were forced to obtain a scanty subsistence through the degrading
means of beggary. He himself never applied to his fairy resource unless
to furnish sufficient of the scorching liquor as would completely drown
all sense of circumstance. The slightest approach to sobriety only
brought with it reflection, and reflection was madness. So, the very
worst amongst the worst, in rags and filth, he staggered about the
village, a mark of scorn and contempt to every passer-by, or else prone
upon some congenial heap of garbage, slept off the fierceness of his
intoxication, to be again renewed the instant consciousness returned.

With that extraordinary tenacity of life indicative of an originally
fine constitution, which, added to a naturally powerful frame of body,
might have prolonged his years even beyond the allotted space, Terry
crept on in this worse than brutal state of existence for many months,
until at last, one morning, after a drinking bout of more than usual
excess, he was found lying in a stable to which he had crawled for
shelter, insensible, and seemingly dead. Perceiving, however, some
slight signs of animation yet remaining, his discoverers carried him to
the public hospital, for home he had none, and his own misdeeds had
estranged the affections, and closed the heart against him of her whose
inclination as well as duty would have brought her quickly to his side,
had he but regarded and cherished the great God-gift to man--a woman's
love, and not cast it aside as a worthless thing.

Tended and cared for, however, although by stranger hands, Terry
hovered a long time betwixt life and death, until at length skill and
attention triumphed over the assailant, and he was restored to
comparative health.

It was then, during the long solitary hours of his convalescence, when
the mind was restored to thorough consciousness, but the frame yet too
weak for him to quit his bed, that the recollection of his wasted
existence stood spectre-like before his mental vision. Home destroyed,
wife and children abandoned, friendships sundered, and himself brought
to the brink of a dreaded eternity, and all through the means he had so
eagerly coveted, and by which he had expected to revel in all the
world's joys.

He prayed, in the earnest sincerity of awakened repentance; he prayed
for Heaven's assistance to enable him to return to the straight path.

"Oh! if I once get out of this," he cried, while drops of agony bedewed
his face, "I'll make amends during the brief time yet left me--I will,
I will. Come what may, never again will I be beholdin' to that fearful
gift. I now find to my great cost that wealth, not properly come by, is
a curse and not a blessing. I'll work, with the help of the good God
and his bright angels, an' may-be peace will once more visit my
tortured heart."

It was some time before he was able to leave his bed, but when at last
he was pronounced convalescent, he quitted the hospital, with the firm
determination never again, under any circumstance whatsoever, even to
place his hand within the pocket from whence he had hitherto drawn his
resources. As a further security against the probability of temptation,
he took a strong needle and thread, and sewed up the opening tightly.

"There," he cried, with an accent of relief, "bad luck to the toe of me
can get in there now. Oh! how I wish to gracious it had always been so,
and I wouldn't be the miserable, homeless, houseless, wife and
childless vagabone that I am at this minnit."

As he was debating in his own mind what he should turn to in order to
obtain a living--for so great a disgust had he taken to the pipes, to
which he attributed all his wretchedness, that he had determined to
give up his productive but precarious profession of piper, and
abandoning the dissolute crowd who rejoiced in his performances, betake
himself to some more useful and reputable employment--it suddenly
occurred to him to visit the scene of his fairy adventure, in the hope
that he might get rid of the dangerous gift his cupidity had obtained
for him.

No sooner had he conceived the idea than he instantly set forward to
put it in execution. The night was favorable for his purpose, and he
arrived at the identical place in the mountain, without the slightest
interruption or accident. He found it just as he had left it, a scene
of the wildest desolation. No sound fell on his ear save the mournful
shrieking of the wind as it tore itself against the harsh branches of
the dead pine trees. He climbed the rugged side of the hill and looked
into the black lake that filled the dark chasm at its summit. It seemed
to be as solid as a sheet of lead. He flung a pebble into the gulf; it
was eagerly sucked up, and sunk without a ripple, as though dropped
into a mass of burning pitch. One heavy bubble swelled to the surface,
broke into a sullen flame that flashed lazily for an instant, and then
went out. A small, but intensely black puff of smoke rose above the
spot; so dense was the diminutive cloud that it was rejected by the
shadowy atmosphere, which refused to receive it within its bosom.
Reluctantly it seemed to hang upon the surface of the lake, then slowly
mounted, careering backwards and forwards with each passing breeze.

The singular phenomenon attracted Terry's attention, and he watched,
with increasing interest, the gyrations of the cloud, until at length
it took a steady direction towards the spot where he stood. It was not
long before it floated up to him, and he stepped aside to let it pass
by, but as he moved, so did the ball of smoke. He stooped, and it
followed his movement; he turned and ran--just as swiftly it sped with
him. He now saw there was something supernatural in it, and his heart
beat with apprehension.

"There's no use in kickin' agin fate," he said, "so, with a blessin',
I'll just stop where I am, an' see what will come of it; worse off I
can't be, an' that's a comfort any way."

So saying, Terry stood still, and patiently waited the result. To his
great surprise the cloud of smoke, after making the circuit of his head
two or three times, settled on his right shoulder, and on casting his
eye round, he perceived that it had changed into a living form, but
still as black as a coal.

"Bedad I'm among them agin, sure enough," said Terry, now much more
easy in his mind; "I wondher who this little divil is that's roostin'
so comfortably on my showldher."

"Wondher no longer, Misther Terry Magra," grunted a frog-like voice
into his ear; "by what magic means, oh! presumptuous mortal, did you
discover the charmed stone which compelled the spirit of yonder
sulphurous lake to quit his warm quarters, thus to shiver in the
uncongenial air? Of all the myriad pebbles that are scattered around,
that was the only one which possessed the power to call me forth."

"Faix, an' it was a lucky chance that made me stumble on it, sir," said
Terry.

"That's as it may turn out," replied the spirit. "Do you know who and
what I am? but why should you, ignorant creature as you are? Listen,
and be enlightened. I am the chief guardian of yon bituminous prison,
within whose murky depths lie groaning all of fairy kind, who have by
their imprudence forfeited their brilliant station.

"You don't tell me that, sir? By goxty, an' I wouldn't like to change
places with them," said Terry, with a great effort at familiarity.

"There's no knowing when you may share their fate," replied the spirit.
"The soul of many an unhappy mortal, who has abused a fairy-gift, lies
there, as well."

Terry shivered to his very marrow as he heard those words, for full
well he knew, that amongst all such, none deserved punishment more than
he; he was only wondering how his immortal part could be extracted from
its living tenement, when, as though the spirit knew his very thoughts,
it uttered:

"I have but to breathe within your ear a word of power, and with that
word the current of your life would cease."

Terry instinctively stretched his neck to its fullest extent, as he
said to himself, "I'll keep my lug out of your reach if I can, my boy."
But the spirit either knew his thought or guessed it from the movement.

"Foolish piper," it said, "I could reach it did I so incline, were it
as high as Cashel Tower." And to prove that the assertion was not a
mere boast, the little fellow made a jump, and perched upon the bridge
of Terry's nose, and sat there astride; and as it was of the
_retroussé_ order, a very comfortable seat it had; light as a
feather, it rested there, peering alternately into each of Terry's
eyes, who squinted at the intruder, brimful of awe and amazement.

"I give in," said he. "It's less nor nothin' that I am in your hands;
but if it's just as convainient for you, I'd be much obliged to you if
you'd lave that, for its fairly tearin' the eyes out of me head that
you are, while I'm thryin' to look straight at you."

"It's all the same to me entirely," replied the spirit; "and now that
you have come to a full sense of my power, I'll take up my position at
a more agreeable distance."

So saying, the spirit bounded off of Terry's nose, and alighted on a
branch of the same tree on which the legion of little pipers had before
assembled, while Terry wiped his relieved eyes with the sleeve of his
coat, and sat upon the piece of rock that stood beside.

"And now, Masther Magra," said the spirit, "we'll proceed to business.
Had you picked up any other stone but the one you did, or had you
refrained from obstructing the lake in any way, your soul would have
been mine for ever. You see what a small chance you had. But inasmuch
as your good luck pointed out the talismanic pebble, you have yet the
privilege of making another wish which I must gratify whatsoever it may
be; think well, however, ere you ask it; let no scruples bound your
desires. The wealth of the world is in my distribution."

Terry's nerves thrilled again, as his mind conjured up images of
purchased delights. But for an instant only did he hesitate what course
he should pursue.

"The temptation is wonderful," said he. "But no: I've endured enough of
misery from what I've had already."

"What can I do for you?" said the spirit, sharply. "Don't keep a poor
devil all night in the cold."

"Well, then, sir, I'll tell you," replied the other. "I suppose you
know already--for you seem to be mighty knowledgeable--that some years
back I kotch a leprechaun on this very spot; and though he towld me
that it would be the desthroyin' of him out an' out, I meanly chose to
make myself rich, as I thought, by taking a fairy-gift from him, rather
than lettin' him go free an' unharmed. It was a dirty an' selfish
thransaction on my part, an' it's with salt tears that I've repinted of
that same. Now, if that leprechaun is sufferin' on my account, and you
can give the creather any comfort, it's my wish that you'll manage it
for me--ay, even though I was to bear his punishment myself."

"You have spoken well and wisely," said the spirit; "and your reward
will be beyond your hope."

Simultaneously with those words, Terry was still more astonished at
beholding a gradual but complete change taking place in the
neighborhood: the blasted trees shot forth fresh branches, the
branches, in their turn, pushed out new leaves, thick verdure
overspread the rugged sides of the mountain; while gushing joyously
from an adjacent hollow, a little rill danced merrily through the
shining pebbles, singing its song of gratitude, as though exulting in
the new-found liberty; unnumbered birds began to fill the air with
their delicious melody, the rifted and calcined rocks concealed their
charred fronts beneath festoons of flowering parasites, the murky lake
sank slowly into the abyss, while in its place a tufted, daisy-spangled
field appeared, to which the meadow-lark descended lovingly, and
fluttering a short space amidst the dewy grass, sprang up again, with
loud, reverberating note.

The primeval change, when the beautiful new world emerged from chaos,
was not more glorious than was the aspect now presented to the rapt
beholder. He felt within himself the exhilarating effect of all this
vast and unexpected wonder, the free, fresh blood cast off its
sluggishness, and once more bounded through his veins, the flush of
vigor and excitement bedewed his brow, the flaccid muscles hardened
into renewed strength, elasticity and suppleness pervaded every limb,
stiffened and racked ere-while with keen rheumatic pains; it was not,
however, until attracted by the pure limpid stream that filtered into a
sandy hollow near him, he stooped down to carry the refreshing draught
up to his lips, that he was aware of the greatest change of all; for,
instead of the sunken cheeks and wrinkled brow, the bloodshot eyes and
thin, grey hairs that he had brought with him, the ruddy,
health-embrowned and joy-lit features of years long gone, laughed up at
him from the glassy surface.

And now a merry little chuckle tinkled in his ear, and on looking
around, he discovered that the black spirit had vanished, and in its
place sat the identical leprechaun, about whose melancholy fate he was
so concerned.

"By the piper that played before Moses, but it's glad I am to see you
once more, my haro; have they let you out?" inquired Terry, with
considerable anxiety.

"I have never been imprisoned," replied the little fellow, gaily.

"Why, then, _tear an nounthers_," said Terry. "You haven't been
gostherin' me all the time, an' the heart of me fairly burstin' wid the
thought of them weeshee gams of yours strikin' out among the pitch that
was beyant."

"It was that very feeling of humanity, which I knew yet lingered in
your heart, that saved you," replied the leprechaun.

"As how, sir, might I ax?"

"How long is it since you saw me before?"

"Don't mention it," cried Terry, with an abashed look, "a weary
life-time a'most has passed since then."

"And _what_ a life-time," observed the leprechaun, reproachfully.

"Indeed, an' you may say that," replied the other. "There's no one
knows betther nor I do how sinfully that life was wasted, how useless
it has been to me an' to every one else, how foolishly I flung away the
means that might have comforted those who looked up to me, among
heartless, conscienceless vagabones, who laughed at me while I fed
their brutish appetites, and fled from me as though I were infectious
when ill-health and poverty fell upon my head."

"Then the fairy gift did not bring you happiness?"

"Happiness!" replied Terry, with a groan, "it changed me from a man
into a beast, it brought distress and misery upon those nearest and
dearest to me, it made my whole worldly existence one continued
reproach, and God help me, I'm afeared it has shut the gates of heaven
against my sowl hereafter."

"Then I suppose you have the grace to be sorry this time that you
didn't behave more generously in my case," said the fairy.

"True darlin'; if I wasn't, I wouldn't be here now," replied Terry. "It
was to thry and find you out that I took this journey, an' a sore one
it is to a man wid the weight of years that's on my back."

"Oh, I forgot that you were such an ould creather intirely," said the
little fellow, with a merry whistle, "but what the mischief makes you
bend your back into an _apperciand_, and hide your ears on your
showlders, as if the cowld was bitin' them."

"Faix, an' it's just because I'm afeered to sthraighten myself out,
that murdherin thief rheumatism has screwed the muscles of my back so
tight."

"You can't stand up then, eh Terry?"

"Not for this many a long day, sir, more is the pity," replied the
other, with a heavy sigh.

"You don't tell me that," said the leprechaun, with a queer expression
of sympathy. "There could be no harm thryin', any way."

"If I thought there would be any use in it, it's only too glad that I'd
be," said Terry.

"There's no knowin' what a man can do, until he makes the effort."

Encouraged by these words, Terry commenced very gingerly to lift his
head from its long sunken position; to his infinite delight he found
the movement unaccompanied by the slightest twinge, and so, with a
heart brim full of overflowing joy, he drew himself up to his full
height without an ache or a pain; tall, muscular, and as straight as a
tailor's yard.

The hurroo! that Terry sent forth from his invigorated lungs, when he
felt the entire consciousness of his return to youth and its attendant
freshness and strength, startled the echoes of the mountain, like the
scream of a grey eagle.

"And now, Misther Terry Magra," said the leprechaun, "I may as well
tell you the exact period of time that has transpired since I first had
the pleasure of a conversation with you; it is now exactly, by my
watch," and he pulled out a mite of a time-keeper from his
fob--"there's nothing like being particular in matters of
chronology--jist fourteen minutes and fifty-nine seconds, or to be more
explicit, in another minute it will be precisely a quarter of an hour."

"Oh, murdher alive, only to think!" cried Terry, gasping for breath.
"An' the wife an' childher, and the drunkenness and misery I scattered
around me."

"Served but to show you, as in a vision, the sure consequences which
would have resulted had you really been in possession of the coveted
gift you merely dreamed that you had obtained; the life of wretchedness
which you passed through, in so short a space of time, is but one of
many equally unfortunate, some leading even to a more terrible close.
There are a few, however, I am bound to say, on whom earthly joys
_appear_ to shed a constant ray; but we, to whom their inmost thoughts
are open as the gates of morning to the sun, know that those very
thoughts are black as everlasting night."

"What say you now, Terry? Will you generously give up your power over
me, and by leading a life of industry and temperance, insure for you
and yours contentment, happiness, and comfort, or will you, to the
quelling of my fairy existence and its boundless joys, risk the
possession of so dangerous though dazzling a gift as I am compelled to
bestow upon you, should you insist on my compliance with such a wish?"

It must be confessed that Terry's heart swelled again at the renewed
prospect of sudden wealth, and inasmuch as he exhibited, by the puzzled
expression of his countenance, the hidden thoughts that swayed,
alternately, his good and evil impulses, the leprechaun continued--

"Take time to consider--do nothing rashly; but weigh well the
consequences of each line of conduct, before you decide irrevocably and
for ever."

"More power to you for givin' me that chance, any way," said Terry. "It
wouldn't take me long to make my mind up, if it wasn't for what I've
gone through; but, 'the burnt child,' you know, 'keeps away from the
fire.' Might I ax, sir, how far you could go in the way of money? for,
av I incline that way at all, bedad it won't be a peddlin' shillin'
that I'll be satisfied with."

"Do you know Squire Moriarty?" said the fairy.

"Is it Black Pether? who doesn't know the dirty thief of the world?
Why, ould Bluebeard was a suckin' babby compared to him, in the regard
of cruelty."

"How rich is he?"

"Be gorra, an' they say there's no countin' it, it's so thremendous.
Isn't he the gripinest an' most stony-hearted landlord in the barony,
as many a poor farmer knows, when rent day's to the fore?" said Terry.

"And how did he get his money?" inquired the leprechaun.

"Indeed, an' I b'lieve there's no tellin' exactly. Some says this way,
an' others that. I've heard say that he was a slave marchint early in
life, or a pirate, or something aiqually ginteel an' profitable,"
replied Terry.

"They lie, all of them," the little fellow went on. "He got it as you
did yours, by a fairy gift, and see what it has made of him. In his
early days, there was not a finer-hearted fellow to be found anywhere;
everybody liked, courted, and loved him."

"That's thrue enough," said Terry, "and now there ain't a dog on his
estates will wag a tail at him."

"Well, you may be as rich as he is, if you like, Terry," said the
fairy.

"May I?" cried Terry, his eyes flashing fire at the idea.

"He turned his poor old mother out of doors, the other day," observed
the leprechaun, quietly.

Terry's bright thoughts vanished in an instant, and indignation took
their place; for filial reverence is the first of Irish virtues. "The
murdherin' Turk!" he exclaimed, angrily, "if I had a howld of him now,
I'd squeeze the sowl out of his vagabone carcass, for disgracin' the
counthry that's cursed with such an unnatural reprobate."

"It was the money that made him do it," said the fairy.

"You don't tell me that, sir!"

"Indeed but I do, Terry. When the love of _that_ takes possession
of a man's heart, there's no room there for any other thought. The
nearest and dearest ties of blood, of friendship, and of kin, are
loosed and cast away as worthless things. You have a mother, Terry?"

"I have, I have; may all good angels guard and keep her out of harm's
way," cried Terry, earnestly, while the large tears gushed forth from
his eyes. "Don't say another word," he went on, rapidly; "if it was
goold mines that you could plant under every step I took, or that you
could rain dimonds into my hat, an' there was the smallest chance of my
heart's love sthrayin' from her, even the length of a fly's shadow,
it's to the divil I'd pitch the whole bilin', soon an' suddent. So you
can keep your grand gifts, an' yer fairy liberty, an' take my blessin'
into the bargain, for showin' me the right road."

"You're right, Terry," said the leprechaun, joyously, "an' I'd be proud
to shake hands with you if my fist was big enough. You have withstood
temptation manfully, and sufficiently proved the kindliness of your
disposition. I know that this night's experience will not be lost on
you, but that you will henceforth abandon the wild companionship in the
midst of which you have hitherto wasted time and energy, forgetful of
the great record yet to come, when each misused moment will stand
registered against you."

"And now, Terry," he continued, "I'll leave you to take a little rest;
after all you have gone through you must sorely need it." So saying,
the leprechaun waved a slip of osier across Terry's eyelids, when they
instantly closed with a snap, down he dropped all of a heap upon the
springy moss, and slept as solid as a toad in a rock.

When Terry awoke, the morning was far advanced, and the sun was shining
full in his face, so that the first impression that filled his mind
was, that he was gazing upon a world of fire. He soon mastered that
thought, however, and then, sitting down upon the famous stone, began
to collect his somewhat entangled faculties into an intelligible focus.
Slowly the events of the night passed before him; the locality of each
phase in his adventures was plainly distinguishable from where he sat.
There, close to him, was the identical branch on which had perched the
legion of little pipers; a short distance from him was the mazy hollow
through which he had so singularly forced his way; half hoping to find
some evidence of the apparently vivid facts that he had witnessed, he
put his hand into his breeches pocket, but only fished out a piece of
pig-tail tobacco.

As he ran over every well-remembered circumstance, he became still more
puzzled. It was clear enough that he had been asleep, as he had but
just woke up; but then he was equally certain that he was wide awake
when the leprechaun touched his eyelids with the osier. Indeed, he
looked round in the expectation of seeing it lying somewhere about; but
there was no trace of such a thing.

The conclusion he came to was a characteristic one. "By the mortial,"
said he, as, taking up his pipes, he sauntered down the mountain-road,
"there's somethin' quare in it, sure enough; but it's beyant my
comprehendin'. The divil a use is there in botherin' my brains about
it; all I know is, that there's a mighty extensive hive o' bees singin'
songs inside of my hat this blessed mornin'. I must put some whisky in
an' drownd out the noisy varmints."

The chronicler of this veracious history regrets exceedingly that he
cannot, with any regard to the strict truth, bring it to a conclusion
in the usual moral-pointing style, except in its general tendency,
which he humbly considers to be wholesome and suggestive; but the hero
of the tale--the good-for-nothing, wild roysterer, Terry, who ought, of
course, to have profited by the lesson he had received and to have
become a sober, steady, useful, somewhat bilious, but in every way
respectable, member of society, dressed in solemn black, and petted
religiously by extatical elderly ladies, did not assist the
conventional denouement in the remotest degree. With grief I am
compelled to record the humiliating fact, that Terry waxed wilder than
ever, drank deeper, frolicked longer, and kicked up more promiscuous
shindies than before, and invariably wound up the account of his fairy
adventures, which in process of time he believed in most implicitly, by
exclaiming:

"What a murdherin' fool I was not to take the money."


THE END.



_RACY!!_

A Basket of Chips.

BY JOHN BROUGHAM.

ILLUSTRATED FROM ORIGINAL DESIGNS BY McLENAN.

_One 12mo. volume, 408 pages. Price $1 25._

A collection of Mr. Brougham's brilliant and characteristic
productions. It is admitted to be one of the most delightful books
of the year. It is marked by Mr. Brougham's boundless humor, happy
fancy, and the peculiar freshness of his style.


CONTENTS.

    Some Passages in the Life of a Dog.

    The Opera of "La Fille du Regiment,"--done into English.

    Love and Loyalty--an Episode in English History.

    Pauline.

    O'Dearmid's Ride.

    The Coming of Kossuth.

    The Fairies' Warning.

    The Killing of the Shark.

    Every-day Drama.--The Pigeon and the Hawks.

    Kitt Cobb, the Cabman.--A Story of London Life.

    The Phantom Light.--A Tale of Boston.

    Revolt of the Harem.--Simplified.

    Fatality.--A Condensed Novel.

    Dramas of the Day.--Revenge; or, the Medium.

    Ned Geraghty's Luck.

    The Eagle and her Talons.--An Eastern Apologue.

    Peace and War.

    Summer Friends.

    Love's Mission.

    Evenings at our Club.

    Romance and Reality.

    Jasper Leech.--The Man who never had Enough.

    Nightmares:--I. The Lamp Fiend.
                II. Political Ambition.
               III. Murder.

    THE BUNSBY PAPERS.--The Opinions and Observations of Jack Bunsby,
    Skipper, and of Ed'ard Cuttle, Mariner.

  BUNCE & BROTHER, PUBLISHERS.
  126 NASSAU STREET, NEW YORK.



"The best new novel before the public."--_New York Express_.

Blanche Dearwood:

A NEW ROMANCE OF AMERICAN LIFE.

_One Vol. 12mo., Cloth, $1; Paper, 75 Cents._


"BLANCHE DEARWOOD is a work of genuine Vigor, full of Passion, of Life
and Character, and especially a reflection of these, as developed in
our midst. It possesses a distinction from our other local novels--that
of a sustained and dignified tone, which if it does not aim at a
uniform ideality, reaches an elegance and beauty in its materials and
finish quite equal to the best English novels. From the first page to
the end, the interest is graduated with accelerating intensity, and as
a delicious Love Story, or as a well-knit Intrigue, skillfully managed
with an intensity of interest, happy conclusion, pleasant description
and incident, we are prepared to accord it our vote and sanction, _as
the best new novel before the public_."--_New York Express._

"The best American novel of the season as far as we have yet seen.
The story is full of interest, and the characters are marked with
individuality."--_New York Daily Times._

"It has the gentleness and delicacy of perception peculiar to the
female mind, and yet the masculine strength of expression, and vigor of
imagination peculiar to men."--_Sunday Courier._

"There are few modern tales the perusal of which has given us more
pleasure."--_New York Herald._

  BUNCE & BROTHER, PUBLISHERS,
  196 NASSAU STREET, NEW YORK.





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