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Title: By the Barrow River - and Other Stories
Author: Leamy, Edmund, 1848-1904
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.

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  BY THE BARROW RIVER

  AND OTHER STORIES



  [Illustration: Yours faithfully Edmund Leamy]



  BY THE BARROW RIVER
  AND OTHER STORIES

  BY
  EDMUND LEAMY
  AUTHOR OF "IRISH FAIRY TALES," ETC.
  WITH A FOREWORD BY KATHARINE TYNAN

  _WITH PORTRAIT_

  DUBLIN:
  SEALY, BRYERS AND WALKER
  MIDDLE ABBEY STREET
  1907



  PRINTED BY
  SEALY, BRYERS AND WALKER,
  MIDDLE ABBEY STREET,
  DUBLIN.



FOREWORD


Edmund Leamy was the beau-ideal of a chivalrous Irish gentleman,
patriot, and Christian. During a friendship extending over many years,
I never knew him fall short in the slightest particular of the faith I
had in him. His nature was poetic and romantic in the highest degree.
Through sunny and cloudy day alike he was Ireland's man, and his faith
in her ultimate destiny was never shaken. I have never known a nature
more lofty or more lovable. Long years of weak health and suffering,
under which most people would have sunk, could not alter his noble
nature. He kept his great, loving, true heart to the last. Even if
things were sad enough for him, it was happiness if they were well with
friends and neighbours. He did not know what it was to have a grudging
thought. The experiences which usually make middle-age a period
of disillusionment came to him as to other men, yet he was never
disillusioned; he had the heart of an innocent and trusting boy till the
day he died. To be sure there was one by his hearth who helped to keep
his illusions fresh; and his burden of ill-health was lightened for him
by God's mercy through the same bright and devoted companionship. He was
Ireland's man; all he did was for Ireland. He could not have written a
line of verse or prose for the English public, however sure he might
be of its suffrage and reward. He wrote a great deal for Ireland, and
although, I believe, he reached his highest development as an orator, an
orator, alas, sorely hampered by physical weakness, yet his stories and
his poems have so much of the personality of the man, the fresh, honest,
and sweet personality, that it has been thought well to rescue just a
handful from his many writings in Irish journals extending over a number
of years. He had not the leisure to make himself exclusively a literary
man. He was always in the thick of the fight; it would have broken his
heart to be otherwise. But the work he has left, especially his fairy
tales and dramatic stories, with their wealth of colour and their
imaginativeness, give some earnest of the work he might have done. His
book of _Irish Fairy Tales_, which has long been out of print, has been
republished in a worthy form; and I am sure the present volume, which
shows his fancy in a different vein, which contains a set of stories
that have not been brought together before, will also be welcome to his
countrymen. Were I to write his epitaph it would be--"Here lies a white
soul!"; and if I had to name the virtue paramount in him it would be
Charity, which in him included Faith and Hope.

  KATHARINE TYNAN.
  ST. PATRICK'S DAY, 1907.



CONTENTS


                                            PAGE
  BY THE BARROW RIVER                          1
  "BENDEMEER COTTAGE"                         17
  A NIGHT WITH THE RAPPAREES                  26
  "WORSE THAN CREMONA"                        39
  MAURYA NA GLEANNA, OR REVENGED AT LAST      50
  STORY OF THE RAVEN                          64
  THE SPECTRES OF BARCELONA                   78
  THE BLACK DOG                              103
  THE GHOST OF GARROID JARLA                 112
  TRUE TO DEATH                              125
  "THE LIGHT THAT LIES IN WOMAN'S EYES"      136
  DEATH BY MISADVENTURE                      146
  A MESSAGE FROM THE DEAD                    154
  A VISION OF THE NIGHT                      164
  THE PRETTY QUAKERESS                       175
  MY FIRST CASE                              200
  A VISION OR A DREAM?                       221
  FROM THE JAIL TO THE BATTLEFIELD           234
  ALL FOR A WOMAN'S EYES                     241
  THE RUSE OF MADAME MARTIN                  268



NOTE.


Amongst the stories here given is the last story the author ever wrote,
"The Ruse of Madame Martin." It was written in France during his last
illness and is now for the first time published. It is one of the
freshest and raciest in the volume. It has a vivacious sense of
actuality as well as delightful humour, and it shows that the author's
talent was at its brightest when death came to extinguish it.



BY THE BARROW RIVER.


"There are some who see and cannot hear, and some who hear and do not
see, and some who neither see nor hear, and you are one of these last,
Dermod, son of Carroll."

The speaker was a man of about forty years, a little above the medium
height, of well-knit frame, of a sanguine complexion. His bushy brows,
shaded pensive eyes, that one would look for in a poet or a dreamer
rather than in a soldier, yet a soldier, Cathal, son of Rory, was, and
one of the guards of Cobhthach Cael, the usurper, who reigned over
Leinster; it was in the guard-room in the outer wall of the Fortress
of Dun Righ that he addressed these words to one of his companions, a
stripling of twenty, but of gallant bearing.

"But what did you see or hear, O Cathal?" said another of the guards,
who numbered altogether some six or seven. "They say of you, Cathal,
that the wise woman of the Sidhe came to you the night you were born and
touched your eyes and ears, and that you can see and hear what and when
others cannot see or hear."

"What matters it what I see or hear? What matters it what is seen or
heard, Domhnall, son of Eochy, when the king is blind and deaf, and
those about him also?" answered Cathal.

"Why say you blind and deaf, O Cathal?"

"Was it not but the last night," replied Cathal, "when the men of
Leinster were gathered at the banquet, and when the King of Offaly rose
up and the cry of _Slainthe_ sounded through the hall like the boom of
the waves on the shore of Carmen, that the king's shield groaned on the
wall and fell with a mighty clangour, and yet they heard and saw not,
and pursued their revelry. But seeing this, and that they had not
perceived, I rose and restored the shield to its place on the wall."

"And what else did you see, O son of Rory?"

"What else did I see? Was I not keeping watch on the ramparts of a
night, when the young moon was coming over the woods, and looking at
herself in the waters of the Barrow, and did I not see the Lady Edain
in her grinan looking out and waving her white arm--whiter than the
moon--and did I not hear her moaning, as the wind moans softly on a
summer night through the reeds of the river, and, as I listened and
watched, did I not see coming to the banks of the river, a woman with a
green silken cloak on her shoulders, who sat down opposite the dun, and
she was weaving a border, and the lath, or rod, she was weaving with was
a sword of bronze?"

"And what do you read from that, O Cathal, son of Rory?"

"What do I read from that? War and destruction I read from that,
Domhnall, son of Eochy--war and destruction; for when a king's shield
falls from the wall it means that his house will fall, and the woman
weaving with the sword was the long, golden-haired woman of the
Sidhe--dangerous to look on is she, Domhnall, son of Eochy, for whiter
than the snow of one night, is her form gleaming through her dress, and
her grey eyes sparkle like the stars, and red are her lips and thin, and
her teeth are like a shower of pearls, and dangerous is she to listen
to, Domhnall, for less sweet are the strings of the harp than the sound
of her voice; and she comes on the eve of battles, and she weaves the
fate of those who will fall; and she sat on the banks of the Barrow,
flowing brightly beneath the young moon, and when she will be seen there
again it will be red with blood."

"But the Lady Edain, was she talking to the woman of the Sidhe, Cathal,
son of Rory?"

"Evil betide you for your evil tongue, son of Eochy, mention not again
the name of the Lady Edain with that of the woman of the Sidhe, or it is
against the stone there, at the back of your heart, that the point of my
javelin will strike," and Cathal's soft eyes blazed with anger.

"Far be it from me to say or think evil of the Lady Edain, Cathal," said
Domhnall, "but you said the Lady Edain was looking from her bower when
the green-cloaked woman of the Sidhe came to the Barrow bank?"

"But she did not see her, Domhnall. No! no! she did not see the
green-cloaked woman, for who so sees her weaving spells, his hour is
come. No no! my little cluster of nuts did not see her, Domhnall, and if
she were moaning 'twas moaning she was for the youth that is gone away
from her--for the young hero, Ebor, who is away with Prince Labbraidh,
that is king by right, although you and I, are the guards of King
Cobhthach Cael here to-night. Oh, no, Domhnall, son of Eochy, my little
cluster of nuts did not see the woman of the Sidhe, for her life is
young and it is before her. I remember well, Domhnall, son of Eochy, the
night the dun was attacked, when I was as young as Dermod, the son of
Carroll, sitting there beside you, and when I caught the little girsha
from the flames, and she lay on the hollow of my shield--this very
shield against the wall here, Domhnall, and did it not gleam like gold,
ay, like the golden boss on the king's own shield, because of the golden
ringlets, softer than silk, that were dancing like sunbeams round her
little face, and did she not look up at me and smile, Domhnall, son of
Eochy, and the dun all one blaze. And, since then, wasn't she to me
dearer than my own, and have I not watched over her, and do you tell me
now that she saw the woman of the Sidhe?"

"Not so, Cathal, not so, son of my heart," said Domhnall, "but you saw
the woman of the Sidhe," said he, "and what does it mean for you?"

"Death," said Cathal, "death, Domhnall, did I not tell you it means
death for whosoever see her! But I am a soldier as you are, Domhnall,
and my father before me, and his father, and his father again died in
the battle; and why should not I, and no man can avoid his fate,
Domhnall? But the colleen of the tresses!--why should she die now,
Domhnall, why should she die now?" and Cathal spoke fiercely, "but woe
that she should be here to-night, where she has been for many a year
like a bird in a cage--and sure never bird had a voice so sweet--and
ruin and destruction coming as swift as the blue March wind comes across
the hills."

"The king will keep her here, Domhnall," he went on, answering himself;
"for did not the Druid Dubthach, dead and gone now--and evil follow him
and sorrow feed on his heart wherever he is--tell him that so long as
the Lady Edain was kept a prisoner--ay, a prisoner, that's what she is
in the grinan--and so long as she remained unwedded, the dun would be
secure against all assault; but love found its way into the grinan,
Domhnall, and the Lady Edain gave her heart to Ebor, son of Cailté,
though never a word she spoke to him; but he is gone, gone away with the
exiled prince--gone, he who should be here to-night when the black ruin
is marching towards the dun! But she did not see the woman of the Sidhe,
Domhnall. No! no! don't say she saw the woman of the Sidhe!" and Cathal
bent his head down on his hands, and for a moment there was silence.

Then he started:

"Do you not hear, Domhnall--do you not hear?" and all the guards
strained their ears.

In through the bare stone wall of the guardroom, a sound stole almost as
soft as a sigh; then it increased, and a melody as lulling as falling
waters in the heart of the deep woods fell on their ears, and, one by
one, the listeners closed their eyes, and, leaning back on the rude
stone benches, were falling into a pleasant slumber. Suddenly a brazen
clangour roused them. Cathal's shield had fallen from the wall on to the
stone floor. The bewitching music had ceased, and they were startled to
find that the "candle upon the candlestick," which gave light to the
room, had burned down half an inch. They must have been asleep for at
least half-an-hour. Cathal started up, and, bidding his comrades stuff
their ears if they heard the music again, he went out and mounted to the
rampart. Within it all was silent, and silent all without. The midsummer
moon, with her train of stars, poured down a flood of light almost as
bright as that of day. The Barrow River shone like a silver mirror, and
flowed so slowly that one might almost doubt its motion, and there was
not air enough stirring to make the smallest dimple upon its surface.
Cathal followed its course until it was lost in the forest that some
distance below stretched away for miles on either side of the river.
Between the forest and the dun, close to the latter, was the little
town, or burgh, with its thatched houses, in which dwelt the artificers
of the king. There too, all was silent, and as far as Cathal's eye could
see there was nothing stirring in any direction. He made the circuit of
the rampart, pausing only when he came to the grinan of the Lady Edain.
It was on such another night, only then the moon was not so full, he had
seen her at her open casement--on just such another night he had seen
sitting on the Barrow banks, the woman of the Sidhe. The casement was
closed, and there was no sign of the Lady Edain. But coming from the
woods along the bank, what was that gleaming figure? Cathal did not need
to ask himself. It was that of the woman of the Sidhe, and now she sits
upon the bank, and begins her task of weaving, and he notes the sparkle
of the points of the sword as she plies it in her work. And as he looks,
he sees, or thinks he saw, the Barrow river change to a crimson hue; but
the moon still shone from a cloudless sky, and he knows that he is the
victim of his imagination, and that its waters are silver bright.

But he knew also that this second coming of the woman of the Sidhe
betokens that before the moon rise again--perhaps before this moon
set--the river would be crimson with the blood of heroes, and yet King
Cobhthach sleeps, fancying himself secure, in his dun, and there is no
one to pay heed to Cathal's warnings or visions, except, perhaps, some
of his comrades in the guard-room. And when the moon arose again what
would have been the fate of the Lady Edain--his little cluster of nuts.
A groan escaped the lips of Cathal as the question framed itself in his
thought. He could touch with his spear the casement within which she lay
sleeping, dreaming, perhaps, of the young lover far away. For a moment
the thought leaped to his mind that he should scale the grinan, force
open the casement, and carry out the Lady Edain anywhere from the doomed
dun; but her maids, sleeping next her, would be terrified, and cry out
and spoil his plot, and the Lady Edain might see the woman of the Sidhe,
and nothing then could save her. With a heavy heart he retraced his
steps, and, coming over the guard-house, he descended and entered the
guard-room. His companions were fast asleep. He strove to rouse them,
but failed. Some spell had fallen on them, and even while making the
effort he himself was smitten with the desire of sleep. The lids closed
on his eyes as if weighted with lead. He sank down on the stone bench
beside Domhnall, the son of Eochy, and faintly conscious of weird music
in his ears, he, too, fell into a deep slumber.

The Lady Edain, even at the very moment when Cathal was looking towards
her casement, was tossing uneasily on her embroidered couch. Her maids
lay sleeping around her. She had been dreaming--dreaming that she was
wandering with her lover through a mossy pathway, lit with moonlight,
in the heart of the woods. And when her heart was full of happiness
listening, as she thought, to the music of his voice, suddenly through
the wood burst out on the pathway an armed band, and Ebor had barely
time to poise his spear when he fell pierced to the heart. She awoke
with a scream. There was light enough coming through the slits in the
casement to permit her to see that her maids were sleeping peacefully.
Yet, she was only half satisfied that she had been dreaming. She rose
from her couch, and, flinging a green mantle over her, fastening it with
a silver brooch, stepped softly to the casement, and, opening it, leaned
out. Her golden tresses fell to her feet, some adown her breast, others
over her shoulders, and as she sat there, in the full splendour of the
moon, one might well believe that it was the beautiful golden-haired,
green-robed woman of the Sidhe that had seated herself in the maiden's
bower. The soft influence of the moon descended upon the heart of Lady
Edain, and subdued its tumult. She glanced at the lucent waters of the
silent river, and along its verduous banks, but she saw no vision of the
woman of the Sidhe, for love had blinded her eyes to all such sights;
else she was doomed. Then she looked up at the moon, now slowly sailing
across the edge of the forest, and the thought came to her heart, which
has come to the lover of all ages and all countries, that the same moon
was looking down on him who was far away, and, perhaps, even at that
moment he, too, was gazing at it, and thinking how it shone on the
Barrow river; then her eyes rested on the line which divided the forest
from the fields that lay between it and the dun, and she saw the track
over which her lover had passed out into the forest on that fatal day
when he set out with Prince Labraidh into banishment.

And even as she watched she thought she saw something emerge from the
forest and come in the direction of the dun. After a while she caught
the glint of weapons, and saw it was a horseman approaching--some
warrior, doubtless, seeking the hospitality of Dun Righ. She watched as
they came along, horse and man, casting their shadows on the grass. They
came right up under the rampart of the dun farthest from where she was,
and near to the door that led past the guardroom.

While she was idly speculating whom he might be, she heard a strain of
music that seemed to creep along the rampart like a slow wind across the
surface of a river. She looked in the direction from which it seemed to
come, and then she saw a muffled figure somewhat bent, and saw gleaming
in his hands a small harp, while over his shoulder were two spears.

Immediately the thought of the harper, Craiftine, who had gone away with
the banished prince, came to her mind. Perhaps he had come back, sent by
her lover to bring a message!

"Only Craiftine," she said to herself, "could win from strings such
music as she now was listening to," and while she listened a soft
languor crept through her frame, and, leaning her head upon her hand,
felt as if she were falling asleep, but the music at once changed, and
it breathed now like the wind blowing over the fountain of tears on the
island of the Queen of Sorrow in the far western seas, and sorrow filled
her heart, and the tears, welling up into her eyes, banished sleep
from them, and, raising herself up, she looked straight at the harper
approaching.

Yes, it was Craiftine! His bent head and stooping shoulders betrayed him
and his bardic cloak. He came on, still playing, until he stood on the
rampart facing the casement.

Then the cloak was flung off. The stooping figure became erect, and in
the shining moonlight Edain beheld her warrior-lover, Ebor!

Making a gesture to her to draw back, he placed his two spear shafts
against the casement, and in a second he was in the room, and the Lady
Edain was in his arms.

He looked around him and saw the sleeping maidens.

"We need not fear their awakening," he said softly. "All in the dun,
even the guards, are under the spell of the strain of slumber. Craiftine
came hither a while ago, and reduced all to sleep, save Cathal, son of
Rory, the captain of the guard, but he, too, now is under its spell. He
lent me his harp, which, even in my hands, retains some of its power.
But we have no time to spare. Array yourself quickly. My horse is below
the rampart; we have not a moment to lose."

Edain needed no word to urge her. In a second she was ready. In another
Ebor was carrying her in his arms across the spear shafts to the
rampart.

Letting himself down and then standing on the horse's back, he caught
her descending, placed her on the steed before him, and swifter than
light galloped off to the shelter of the forest.

But, alas, for Ebor, as they rode away he glanced towards the banks of
the shining river, and he saw the woman of the Sidhe weaving her fateful
spells.

The pathways of the silent forest were well known to Ebor, and he rode
on with his charge over pleasant mossy ways, reminding Edain of those
which she had seen in her dream. They had gone not more than a quarter
of a mile when she, who had been prattling merrily to Ebor, uttered a
frightened cry:

"Oh, Ebor, look; there are armed men!"

"They are friends, Edain," he replied, "friends, and now my bonnie bride
is safe at last."

They had come to a wide glade. It was crowded with warriors, and through
the trees wherever the moonlight fell, Edain caught a glimpse of figures
and the glint of arms. Ebor jumped from his horse, and taking the Lady
Edain in his arms lifted her gently down. A warrior, of stately mien
and wearing the golden helmet of a king, advanced towards them.

"A hundred thousand welcomes, Edain," he cried, as he clasped her in his
arms.

It was her kinsman, Labraidh, the rightful King of Leinster, who had
come back to claim his own. Labraidh had been across the seas seeking
allies. On his return, he landed at the mouth of the Slaney, and, by
forced marches through the woods, had come hither. Unwilling to risk his
cousin's life by making an assault on the dun while she was still in it,
he easily yielded to the entreaties of his harper, Craiftine, and of
Ebor to allow them to undertake the task of effecting the escape of
Edain. He had known of old the skill of Craiftine and the courage and
address of Ebor, and did not doubt their success. And now that Edain was
free he determined to push on at once, and try the hazard of an assault
on the dun. But first he led the Lady Edain to his tent, where his wife,
the Lady Moriadh and her women were, and entrusting her to Moriadh's
care, he returned and put himself at the head of his troops, and gave
them their orders to push on as quickly as possible until they came to
the edge of the forest, within view of the dun. Ebor was at the prince's
side, happy in the knowledge that the Lady Edain was safe, and too full
of the desire of battle to give even a moment's thought to the vision of
the woman of the Sidhe. When they arrived at the edge of the forest they
halted for a while. They could see the ramparts plainly, and that no
one was moving on them. The moon had by this time gone down over the
forest, and in the east there was the first faint grey streak of dawn.
Then the prince drew out his forces into three battalions. The centre he
commanded in person, that to the right was under Ebor, and it was to
move along the river bank and make the assault in that direction. The
third battalion was to push round the fortress to the left. Orders were
given that no trumpets were to be sounded and no shout raised until the
troops were face to face with the foe.

The garrison not dreaming of the near approach of Labraidh, who was not
known to be in Erin, was buried in sleep almost as deep as that which
sealed the lids of Cathal and his comrades in the guard-room. The
ramparts were scaled without much difficulty, and it was not until they
had passed within the inner wall and had surrounded the house of the
usurper that their presence was discovered, and then only when they
began to batter in the door. The noise was followed by the cry, "to
arms!" which rang through the whole fortress. It was heard by the
warriors in the other houses, who, hastily arming themselves, burst out.
A desperate hand-to-hand struggle took place, but surprise had given
complete advantage to the assailants. They hemmed round the now
desperate garrison with a ring of steel, growing ever narrower as their
ranks were thinning. Soon the cry of fire was raised. The king's house
was ablaze. He in front of it was fighting desperately, but one by one
his men were falling round him. The roar of the flames, which had now
spread to the other houses, mingled with the cries of the warriors
and the clangour of stricken shields. Prince Labriadh again and again
pressed forward to engage Cobhthach, but the tide of battle swept them
apart. To save the dun had become impossible, and Cobhthach determined
if he could to cut his way out. By desperate efforts he drove those who
were in front of him back against the inner rampart, and before they
could recover succeeded in leaping on it. He was perceived by Ebor, who,
guessing his design, leaped, by the aid of the handles of his spears, on
the rampart, and called on Cobhthach to turn and fight like a warrior
and not run like a coward, and he launched a javelin against him which
glanced off the helmet of Cobhthach. But Cobhthach stayed not, and Ebor
launched the second with a surer aim, which, striking Cobhthach through
the back, pierced his heart as he was endeavouring to spring to the
outer wall, and the usurper fell dead in the intervening ditch. Ebor was
on the point of again descending into the dun when his eye caught the
sight of a figure on the river bank. It was the woman of the Sidhe, no
longer weaving, but dabbling her hands in the waters of the river that
were now running red with blood. A cold chill seized his heart, for he
thought of the Lady Edain, and he knew that his hour had come. But he
would die fighting. He turned round, and coming against him along the
rampart was Cathal, son of Rory. The latter hurled his spear, to which
Ebor presented his shield, but it had been hurled with such force that
it pierced the shield, and entered into the vitals of Ebor. His only
weapon now was his sword, and as Cathal, son of Rory, pressed on him,
he, with all his remaining strength, drove it into Cathal's side; but
the effort exhausted his last strength, and he fell back dead, and
Cathal, son of Rory, fell dead beside him, and the woman of the Sidhe
still continued dabbling her hands in the crimson waters of the Barrow
river.



"BENDEMEER COTTAGE."


Some years ago I was on a visit with a friend in the county of Wicklow,
whose house was situated in one of the most delightful valleys of "the
garden of Ireland." It was when the lilac and the laburnum were in full
bloom and the air was sweet with scent. The weather was delightful, and
I spent most of my time out of doors, taking long walks over the hills
and through the hedgerows, musical with the songs of birds and soon to
be laden with the perfume of the hawthorn.

In the course of my rambles I chanced one day to pass a rusty iron gate
fastened by an equally rusty chain, the base of which was partially
concealed by tall, rank grass, showing that it had not been opened for a
long time. The gate was hung upon two stone piers covered with lichen.
On the top of one was a stone globe. That which had surmounted the
other had been removed, or had fallen off through the action of time
and weather. From the gate a pathway once gravelled, but now almost
overgrown with grass, led up through a fair-sized lawn to a long,
one-storied cottage, stoutly built, the windows and door of which were
faced with stone, which, like that of the piers, was also stained with
lichen. The grass, pushed itself high over the threshold of the door and
almost reached the windowsills. The slates on the roof appeared to be
nearly all perfect, but were covered with brown or grey patches of moss
or lichen. A few of the slates had fallen away and exposed part of a
rafter. On the lawn, as doubtless was the case when the cottage was
inhabited, a number of sheep were browsing. In the centre of it was a
nearly circular piece of water, fenced by a wire railing. Towards this
pond the ground dipped gently, both from the roadside and from the
side immediately fronting the cottage. The gate pierced a long, high
hedgerow, and this it was, perhaps, that caused me stop to look over
it to see what lay beyond. The silent, almost grim desolation of the
cottage was a curious and striking contrast to the cheerful aspect of
all the others which I had seen in the neighbourhood, and this it was
that tempted me to cross a stile that was close to the gate and stroll
up to the cottage. The windows had been barred up with timber that was
giving way in some places. The door, which was of oak, was firm and well
secured, and over it I noticed a stone on which were carved some words,
of which at first, owing to the incrustation of lichen, I was able only
to distinguish the letters "ottage." By the aid of the ferule of my
walking stick I succeeded in clearing off the lichen so as to enable
me to decipher the inscription. It was "Bendemeer Cottage." The name
brought to my mind the familiar and delightfully melodious lines of
Moore:--

    "There's a bower of roses by Bendemeer's stream,
      And the nightingale sings round it all the day long."

And even while the echo of the melody was floating in my memory, my ear
caught the faint whisper of gliding water. I passed round the cottage
and saw a gentle stream close to a hedgerow, and between the cottage,
and near the stream, were a mass of tangled rose-bushes, which had long
ceased to flower, and were pushing forth only a few weak leaves.

"And this was their bower of roses," said I, "in the days long gone; and
where are they who enjoyed its fragrance? Whither have they departed,
and why has the blight fallen on the bloom?"

It was an idle question for there was none to answer it. I passed round
the cottage again and again. A few moments before I was unaware of its
existence, and already it had begun to exercise a fascination on me.

"Is there," said I, "anyone in a far away land asking his heart 'Are the
roses still bright by the Bendemeer?'" for I doubted not that the name
was given to the stream as well as to the cottage.

I turned home slowly and thoughtfully, and scarcely heard the blackbirds
trolling out their rich notes in the silence of the evening. The sight
of a ruined homestead--a sight, alas! so frequent in many parts of
Ireland, has always had a deep effect on me, for I cannot help conjuring
up the crackling fire upon the hearthstone lighting the faces of happy
children, and of speculating on the fate which awaited them when its
light was quenched and they were scattered far and wide across the seas.
But this desolate cottage whose name was so suggestive of youth and
bloom, and love and happiness, was like a ruined tombstone raised over
dead hopes--a mockery of their vanity.

That evening I questioned my friend as to its history. He knew nothing
of it, though he had lived twenty years not far from it, and he rallied
me on my sentimental mood, and suggested that its former inhabitants had
got tired of it, that probably they had found some thorns amongst its
roses.

"They were sentimental people like yourself," he said. "Probably town
bred, and that's what made them give it such an absurd name, and they
soon tired of love in a cottage."

My friend was an extremely good-hearted, generous fellow, ever ready to
help another in distress; but he was prone to regard any one who would
sorrow over what he called imaginary woes as little better than a
simpleton. I saw there was no information to be gained from him, and I
could hardly look for any sympathy from him with my desire to procure
it. But the desire, instead of abating, increased, and I found myself
again and again taking the direction of the lonely cottage. But day
after day I saw only the sheep browsing on the lawn, and heard only the
murmur of the stream; and I was about giving up all hope of learning
its history, when it chanced that one evening I fell in with an old
shepherd, who, as I was crossing the stile on to the road, was coming
towards it. He saluted me in the friendly way so common until recently
with people of his class. I acknowledged his salute with equal
friendliness. He remarked on the fineness of the weather, and seeing
that he was inclined to be communicative, I resolved to continue the
conversation. I thought he was about to cross the stile, but instead he
pursued the road leading to my friends' house.

"That's a lonely cottage over there," said I tentatively.

"Oh, then, you may well call it lonely," said he, "but I mind the time
when it was one of the brightest cottages ye'd see in a day's walk in
the whole of the county Wicklow."

"That must have been a long time ago," I rejoined.

"Ay, thin, it is. It's fifty years ago or more. 'Twas about the time
that poor Boney was bet at Waterloo. Sure I mind it well. I was only a
gorsoon then, yer honour, but 'twas often and often I did a hand's turn
for the lady, and sure 'twas the rale illegant lady she was, yer honour,
with her eyes that wor as blue as the sky above us this blessed and holy
evenin', and her smile was as light and as bright as the sunbeams, and
her voice was sweeter nor the blackbird that's singin' this minit in the
elm beyant there, only twice as low."

"And how long was she living there, and was she married?"

"Troth thin, she was married, or at laste the poor crater thought she
was, and her husband was an illegant man, too. He was taller nor yer
honour, but twice as dark. He was a foreigner of some kind, but his name
was English, or sounded like it. It was Duran. And sure 'twas happy
enough they seemed to be, although there were no childre, and they wor
livin' there more nor three years, your honour, and you couldn't tell
which of thim was fonder of the other. And the cottage, yer honour,
t'was all covered with roses, and sure, 'tis myself that many a time
trimmed the rosebushes that ye might see up by the strame at the back of
the cottage, where the summer-house was. And did ye mind the pond in
front of it, yer honour?"

"I did," I replied.

"Well then 'twasn't a pond at all, yer honour but a quarry hole, and
nothing would do the young mistress but that a lake should be made out
of it, and didn't myself help to dam up the strame to let the water run
into the hollow ye see in the field, and a purty little lake it made,
to be sure. Ay, sure, 'tis I mind it well, for a few days after 'twas
finished, the news kem in that Boney was bet."

"And did they live there long after that?" I asked.

"Little more nor two years, yer honour, for the lake was made the first
year they wor there. But sure, 'tis the quare story it was, but no one
minds it about here now but myself. The neighbours' childre, that wor
childre wud me are all dead and gone, and sure they were foreigners,
and they didn't mix nor make with anyone outside their own two selves,
and till the cross kem they were as happy as the day's long."

"And what was the cross?"

"Oh, then, meself doesn't rightly know the ins and outs of it, yer
honour; but ye see the way it was--one day when the master was away in
Dublin, there drove up to the door a dark woman, that was more like a
gipsy than anything else, and with big goold rings in her ears, and
myself chanced to be in the garden behind the house trimmin' them same
rose bushes, an' I only heard an odd word or two. But as far as I could
hear, the dark woman, she was saying that the poor darlin' lady had no
right to call herself Mrs. Duran at all, for that he was ayther promised
to marry her, or was married to her, meself didn't rightly know till
after, for I was only a gorsoon then, yer honour, and didn't know much
about it; but when the strange woman went away, and I went into the
cottage to ask the mistress if she had any more for me to do, she was as
white as a ghost, she, that used always to be bloomin' like one of the
roses ye'd see in them hedges there in the month of June. Well, yer
honour, she told me she wouldn't want anythin' till mornin', and sure
meself never set eyes on her alive again."

"Why, what happened?"

"What happened is it, yer honour? Sure there never was a mournfuller
story. The master kem home that night, but there was no sign of the
poor mistress. I heard long after that she had left a letter, but I
never heard tell of what was in it. Well, sure, he was nearly out of his
mind, and then when there was no sign of her comin' back he went away to
foreign parts, and myself thought he'd never come back ayther, but he
came home one mornin' and he went on livin' in the cottage as he did
before when they wor together. The only one, barrin' an old woman of a
servant, that he ever let about the house, was myself, for ye see, yer
honour, he knew the poor young mistress had a likin' for me, and he used
to employ me in lookin' after the roses and keepin' the summer house in
order, where I often saw himself and herself sitting together, and often
it was he sat there lookin' as lonesome as a churchyard in the night,
yer honour, and sure 'twas hardly a word he ever spoke. And then I
knew that he was as fond as ever of the poor mistress, and that 'twas
thinkin' of her all the time he was. And didn't myself see her picture
in his bedroom, and ye'd think 'twas smilin' at ye she was out o' the
frame, and then I knew the strange woman had wronged her and him."

"And how long did he live there alone?"

"Sure, that's the quarest part of the story, yer honour. Ye see, when
the poor mistress was gone he didn't mind the lake, and the water began
to sink into the ground, and then there kem one dry summer when all
the strames in the country ran dry. It was the driest summer I ever
remember, and the grass was as thin and as brown as my old coat, and as
little nourishin', and sure one mornin' we noticed somethin' under the
shallow water of the lake, and what was it but the body of the poor
mistress? And after that when we buried her in the churchyard beyond the
hill there, the poor master left the place and the cottage was shut up,
for no one would live in it, and the fields around it were tuk by Mr.
Toole that had a farm next to it, and 'tis in the hollow where you might
see the sheep browsin' this minnit the poor lady was found."



A NIGHT WITH THE RAPPAREES.

(_From the Memoirs of an Officer of the Irish Brigade._)


It was towards the end of October in the year before the Battle of
Fontenoy, and a few months before I joined one of the flocks of
"the Wild Geese" in their flight to France, that I fell in with the
experience which I am now about to relate. I had been staying for a few
days with a friend in the west of the County of Cork, and I had started
for home in full time, as I had hoped, to reach it before nightfall.
My shortest way, about five miles, lay across the mountains. It was
familiar to me since I was a child, and I felt sure I could make it out
in dark as well as in daylight. When I started a light wind was blowing.
Some dark clouds were in the sky, but the wind was not from a rainy
point, and I was confident that the weather would keep up. When,
however, I had traversed half the way, the wind changed suddenly and
a light rain began to fall. I pushed on more quickly, yet without
misgiving, but before I had gone a half-mile further the mountain was
suddenly enveloped in mist that became denser at every step. I could
scarcely see my hand when I stretched it out before me. The mossy
sheep-track beneath my feet was scarcely distinguishable, and now and
again I was almost tripped up by the heather and bracken that grew high
at either side.

I found it necessary to move cautiously and very slowly; yet,
notwithstanding my caution, I frequently got tangled in the heather, but
succeeded in regaining the path. I continued on until I judged that I
had made another half-mile from the spot in which I was first surrounded
by the mist. How long I had been making this progress it was difficult
for me to estimate, but I became aware that the night had fallen, and I
was no longer able to distinguish anything even at my feet. I began to
doubt whether I was on the proper path, for sheep tracks traversed the
mountain in all directions. It occurred to me to turn into the bracken
and try to make the best shelter I could. The bracken here grew to a
height of nearly three feet, and some of the stalks were thick and
strong. I had often amused myself when a child twining the stalks
together, and making them into a cosy house, and often escaped thereby
from a heavy summer shower. The mere recollection of my childish efforts
lightened my heart, though I was conscious enough that the experiment I
was about to make was not likely to be very successful. But I set to,
and tore up some of the bracken, and began to twist it around the
standing clumps so as to form a roof, but when I had gone on a few feet
from the track I felt the ground slipping from my feet. I caught hold
of a clump of bracken only to pull it from the roots, and to find myself
sliding down I knew not whither. Stones were rumbling by my side, but
fortunately none of them touched me, and quicker than I can tell it I
was lying prone on the earth. I stretched out my hands, and found level
ground as far as I could reach on either side. I struggled till I
regained my feet. I was dazed for a while, but when I fully recovered
myself I was utterly perplexed as to what I was to do. After the
experience which I had had I was afraid to move either to the right or
left. I stood still, and I am not ashamed to say that I could distinctly
hear the beating of my heart. The mist still enveloped me, so I was
unable to see anything. Suddenly I thought I heard the sound of voices,
but set that down to my imagination, for I knew there was no house
within miles of me. I listened, however, with the utmost eagerness, and
again I heard the voices.

I was about to shout when the mist a little in advance of me was
brightened, as if a light were thrown on it. Instinctively I advanced
in the direction of the luminous haze, when I felt myself caught by the
neck by a firm grasp, and I was flung forward. My feet slipped on some
projection, and I fell headlong.

When I managed to raise myself I saw I was in a dwelling of some
kind, partially lighted by the blaze of a turf fire. Several men were
present, and I distinctly saw the flash of firearms. There was at once a
confusion of voices, and I was pulled to my feet by one of the men, who
presented a horse-pistol at my head.

"Shoot him! He is a Sassenach spy!" came in a hoarse chorus from the men
around the fire.

"No Sassenach am I," I answered back, endeavouring to shake myself free
from the grip of the man who held me.

"And who are you? And whence come you?" he asked, fiercely.

"Frank O'Mahony," I said, "the son of Shaun O'Mahony, of the Glen."

"Let me look at him," cried an old woman, whom I had not previously
noticed, and she shook off the grip of my captor and brought me towards
the fire.

With a corner of her shawl she rubbed my face, and then she caught me in
her arms.

"Ah, then, 'tis Frank--Frank O'Mahony," said she. "Shure I nursed your
mother, avourneen, on my knee. But 'tis no wondher the boys didn't know
you, for your own mother wouldn't know you with the wet clay of the
mountain plastered over your face, and 'tis you are welcome, Frank
avourneen, in daylight or in dark, and shure no true Rapparee need close
the doore again your father's son."

When the old woman had done speaking, the man who had seized me clasped
my hand.

"Frank, my boy," said he, "you're welcome--welcome as the flowers of
May. Make room for him there, comrades; don't you see the boy is cowld
and wet."

And they made a place for me, and the old woman brewed a steaming jug of
poteen, and she said to the others that I wasn't to be asked a question
until I had taken some of her mountain medicine.

Hardly had I taken the medicine when I felt pretty comfortable, and then
when I got time to look about me I saw I was in something like a cave of
large dimensions, half of which was in shadow owing to the imperfect
light.

About half-a-dozen men came in shortly after my arrival, and then the
whole force numbered thirty.

When all who had been expected had come, the captain, who was the man
who had seized me said--addressing me:--

"Help and comfort we always got from your father, Frank O'Mahony. Ah,
and if the truth were known, my boy, he spent many a night on the hills
with the Rapparees. May Heaven be his bed to-night. You are over young
yet, but still not too young to strike a blow for Ireland. There isn't a
man here who wouldn't die for you if necessary."

"I hope to strike a blow for Ireland," I said, "but word has come from
my uncle, Colonel O'Mahony, that he wishes me to go to France and join
him." "God bless the Colonel, wherever he is," said the captain, "he'll
never miss the chance, but would to God he was with us at home. The
best--the best and the bravest have gone away from us."

"What are you saying, man," said the old woman, suddenly confronting
him. "There's not a colonel nor a general in the whole French army a bit
boulder or braver than our own Rapparees."

"We do our best, Moira asthoreen," said the captain, laying his hand on
her shoulder, "but the men who are gone away are winning fame for the
old land, God bless them all. For sure their thoughts are always with
poor Ireland, and every blow they strike they strike for her, and their
pride in the hour of victory is because their own old land hears of it."

"Ay, and every blow the Rapparees strike, they strike for her, too,"
said Moira, "and 'tis no living there would be no living at all at all
for poor people here at home if it weren't for the boys, and--come there
now, Jem Mullooney, and give us a stave about my bowld Rapparees. Yes,
you can do it when you like, and I bet Master Frank here never heard
it."

I admitted I never had, and I cordially joined in the chorus which
followed, and endorsed Moira's demand.

Moira, apparently delighted to hear me backing up her demand, said:

"Musha, good luck to the mist that brought you here, Master Frank," said
she, "and sure that same mist has often proved a great friend to the
Rapparees."

The men had seated themselves around the cave as best they could, some
on bunches of heather, some on sods of turf, some on roots of trees
roughly shaped into a seat. The captain, a few others and myself, were
sitting close to the fire.

Jem Mullooney was nearly opposite me. The firelight flashing in his
direction, enabled me to catch a full view of his face, and a fine face
it was, though a little too long. You knew at a glance you could trust
your life with him, but he looked like a pleased boy when he was
importuned to give us the song.

Clearing his throat with the least taste of Moira's medicine, he
struck out in a rich voice, to a rattling air, accompanying himself
occasionally with dramatic gestures, the following song:--

          "THE RAPPAREES.

    "Thirty troopers in the glen,
    Thirty, stalwart fearless men;
    All alert and cool and steady;
    Sabres loose and carbines ready,
    But who are moving through the trees?
    Bang! Bang! they are the Rapparees!

              CHORUS:

      Bang! Bang! they are the Rapparees!

    "Twenty troopers in the glen----,
    That volley emptied saddles ten?
    Twenty troopers gain the hill----,
    'Halt,' their captain cries 'until
    We breathe our horses.' 'If you please,
    You'll first ask leave of the Rapparees.'

              CHORUS:

      'You'll first ask leave of the Rapparees.'

    "The heather seems alive to-night;
    Muskets flash a-left, a-right.
    Troopers ten are scurrying fast
    As clouds before the winter blast,
    And empty ten more saddle trees.
    'Tis you can shoot, my Rapparees.

              CHORUS:

      ''Tis you can shoot, my Rapparees.'"

The applause which followed the song had barely ceased, when a low
whistle was heard from outside.

"Open!" cried the captain of the Rapparees.

The barrier closing the entrance to the cave was removed, and a man
covered with perspiration, and almost fainting for want of breath,
rushed in.

"Two troops of infantry left Adamstown Barracks three hours ago.
Shaun-na-cappal was with them."

"Shaun-na-cappal!"

"Yes! They made for the red lanes, and ought to be in the glen by this."

Another low whistle was heard, when the door was again opened, and a lad
burst in.

"The sojers are in the glen, captain, and the clouds are going and the
moon is coming."

"Well, my lads," said the captain, "our retreat is discovered. They
think they will catch us here like rats in a trap. Perhaps we can set
one for them. Bar the entrance. Pile up everything; make it as firm as
you can."

The men set to work with a will, and their task was soon completed. The
captain, having surveyed it, said:

"That will do, men. They won't burst in that in a hurry. We have a means
of escape, which I have hitherto kept to myself. Get a few picks and
loosen the hearth stone. That will do. Lift it up now, boys, and leave
it in the centre of the floor."

The men did as they were bidden, and when the stone had been set down,
the captain, catching up one of the flaming brands, held it over the
opening discovered by the removal of the hearth stone. It was large
enough to allow a man to go down through it.

"Nine or ten steps," said the captain, "lead to a narrow passage,
through which by stooping a man can make his way. It is not more than
fifty yards long. The outlet is blocked by a bank of earth; but just
there the passage is wide and high enough to allow two men to stand
abreast and erect. A hole can easily be cut or dug through this bank.

"You, O'Donovan," he said, turning sharply to one of the Rapparees,
"will know, once you are outside, where you are--close to the stream
that runs down to the glen. Take a dozen men with you, turn to the left,
and five minutes will bring you to the heathery height above the left of
the track leading to this cave. And you, Mullooney," said the captain
to the singer of "The Rapparees," "take a score of men with you, and
make for the right. You'll have a bit of climbing at first, but in ten
minutes you should be able to get down to the right bank of the track.
Be all of you as wary as foxes, and let not a sound escape from any of
you, even if you see the enemy coming right up to the door of the cave,
and none of you are to fire a shot until you see a flaming brand flung
out by us who will remain here to defend the cave against assault, but
when you see the lighted brand, blaze away! If they waver, down on them
like thunderbolts. When you beat them off, you will find us here, if
not, we shall be at the sally gap two hours from this. Now go!"

"Would you like to go or stay, Frank?" said the captain, turning to me.

"I should like to go," I replied.

"All right, my lad. Look to him, O'Donnell, and take this Frank," said
he, handing me a musket, "it has never missed fire."

The two bodies of men descended in single file. The air of the passage
was remarkably pure, and we made our way without difficulty. Then there
was a halt of a few minutes while the foremost men were forcing a
passage. One by one we passed out, and found ourselves knee-deep in the
heather. A brawling stream ran down a few feet below us. O'Donovan and
his men crept along by the stream. We, with O'Donnell at our head,
clambered up through the heather, and in about ten minutes we were
lying snugly concealed within fifteen yards of the rock in which was
the cave entrance.

We were lying at right angles to it, and about twelve feet above the
open space in front of the rock. It was from this very height I had
fallen an hour before. Opposite us the ground was about the same
elevation as ours, and in the cover of the heather which crowned it,
O'Donovan and his men were to ensconce themselves.

The moon was shining, and for about twenty yards we had a full view of
the pathway leading to the cave. At that distance it took a sharp turn.
I had barely time to make these observations, when we saw the moonlight
glint on the level arms of the advancing troops. In a few seconds
they were against the face of the rock. With the soldiers was a tall,
wiry-looking man, dressed in a long frieze coat that went to his heels.

"Where is the entrance?" cried the captain of the troops. "I can find
none."

"There," came the answer in a hoarse whisper.

"There, behind those furze bushes."

"Come, my lads," said the captain, "clear away those bushes."

The soldiers began to work. Our fingers were impatient. The desire to
fire grew upon me, when suddenly from the cave came a flash, a report,
and the tall man in the frieze coat fell without a moan. Another shot
and another and two soldiers were struck down.

"Quick, my lads, quick! Bring a canister, and we'll blow the door in or
out."

The soldiers advanced with the canister, and were about to set it down
at the cave's mouth. Only then was hurled out the red brand, the signal
for firing.

We poured a volley into their midst, O'Donovan's men firing at the same
time, while single firing was kept up from the cave.

The troops were staggered; their captain was shot dead. They paused for
a moment; then, as they turned to run, a second volley laid low more
than half their number.

"Down on them!" cried O'Donnell.

We hurled ourselves down into the path. O'Donovan's men as eager, but
with a view to cutting off all hope of retreat, had rushed down on the
other side so as to meet them retreating. Caught between the two forces,
the soldiers clubbed their muskets and fought desperately. Not more than
four or five escaped. Desisting from the pursuit, we returned to the
cave.

Our captain and the men with him had, in the meantime, removed the
barrier and were standing outside. We were all curious to see the
opening through which the captain fired, and through which he threw the
lighted brand. No one except himself had known of it. It was a fissure
in the rock which had been closed up with clay and moss, and which the
captain, when we left the cave, dug out with a bayonet.

In the meantime some of our men were examining the fallen enemy, and
found five that were wounded only. These were borne into the cave and
placed under the charge of the old woman, the captain saying that a
large body of troops were sure to come out next day who would take them
away.

There was one object that attracted universal attention--the corpse of
Shaun-na-cappal. He had fallen on his back; a bullet had pierced his
throat; from the round hole the blood was still flowing. His mouth
grinned horribly, and we felt it a relief when a dark cloud covered the
moon, which had been shining down on the upturned face and open eyes.
The captain having given his orders, and having arranged for the next
meeting with his followers they dispersed, and he, having given some
instructions to Moira with regard to the wounded, set out, taking me
along with him. We found shelter that night in a little shebeen about
two miles away from the cave.

And that is the story of my first night with the Rapparees.



"WORSE THAN CREMONA."

(_A Story of the days of the Irish Brigade._)


Towards the end of October, in the year 1704, a man of middling height,
with a face rather thin and long, was seated at a table on which were
spread some military maps. Over these he had been poring for some time.
When he looked up from them, his dark, eager eyes revealed a nature
alert, resourceful and vigorous. One glance at him, as he looked
straight before him, was sufficient to convince every observer that here
was a man accustomed to command by the right of genius. The military
costume in which he was dressed betrayed no evidence of high rank. It
was, it must be confessed, plain almost to the verge of sloveliness, and
the breast of his doublet was stained with snuff. Beside him on the
table was a golden snuff-box, on the lid of which, set in brilliants,
was a portrait of the Emperor Leopold I. of Austria, and to this he
frequently had recourse, even while studying the maps most carefully.

He was alone. The room in which he was sitting looked in the direction
of the camp of the allies, then besieging Landau, and from it a good
view could be had of the fortress. The siege had lasted longer than
had been anticipated, and no one chafed more at the delay than the
subject of our sketch. His one desire was to be for ever rushing from
battlefield to battlefield. Rapid in action as in decision, he found the
time hang heavily on his hands. While the siege was in progress he had
been considering the possibility of engaging in some other enterprise
which might redound to the honour of his Emperor, and at the same time
add to his own glory.

He pushed the maps away from him, rose from his chair, and taking
a large pinch of snuff, moved towards the window and stood a while
watching the operations of the siege. A knock at the door attracted his
attention.

"Enter!"

"The Governor of Freiburg awaits the pleasure of your Highness," said
the person who entered, evidently an officer of rank, who was, in fact,
an aide-de-camp to his Highness.

"I am ready to see him," was the reply.

His Highness took another heavy pinch of snuff.

A tall, military looking man, somewhat over middle age, and of resolute
countenance, entered. He made a low bow and then drew himself erect.

"Be seated," said his Highness, as he himself resumed his chair. The
Governor of Freiburg obeyed.

"You bring news of Brissach, Governor?"

"Yes, your Highness."

"Your informant?"

"My valet, your Highness. He has been a soldier, and possesses a
keen power of observation. He succeeded in getting into the Old Town
several times on the pretence of purchasing wines. The French are busy
strengthening the fortifications, but discipline is lax, and as there
are over twelve hundred labourers employed in the works there is
considerable disorder in the town."

"Good. What is the strength of the garrison?"

"Only four battalions, your Highness, and six independent companies."

"Any Irish among them?" and his Highness again had recourse to his
snuff-box.

"None, sir."

"Sure?"

"Certain, your Highness."

"So much the better. Those fighting devils upset the best laid plans, as
I learned to my cost at Cremona. And pardieu, they can fight!" And
Prince Eugene of Savoy, for it was he, shook his head, causing some of
the snuff he was taking to fall down, and increase the stain on his
doublet.

"But, let me see. Four battalions and six independent companies. What
time are the gates open in the morning?"

"At daybreak, your Highness. Many of the labourers live outside the
town."

Prince Eugene remained silent for a few moments.

"Then," he said, as he rapped the lid of his snuff-box, "you should be
able to surprise Brissach Old Town. We may also make an attempt on the
New Town. You will command the expedition--" a slight flush of pleasure
exhibited itself on the Governors face--"I shall place at your disposal
4,000 picked men from the German and Swiss infantry, and 100 cavalry;
with that force you should be able to possess yourself of Old Brissach
and hold it."

The Governor of Freiburg bowed as if in assent, but could not help
remembering that only the year before, King Louis of France had employed
40,000 men and 160 guns in the reduction of the two Brissachs.

"You shall have under you," continued the Prince, dabbing at
the same time his nostrils with snuff, "some capable officers,
including the Lieutenant-Colonel of the Regiment of Bayreuth and the
Lieutenant-Colonel of the Regiment of Osnabruck, who shall be Governor
of the town."

"He regards it as good as taken," thought the Governor, and he did not
feel too happy at the thought. There is so much chance in war.

"These mornings lend themselves to such an enterprise," continued the
Prince, again resorting to the snuff-box, for it had become a habit with
him to punctuate, as it were, his sentences with a pinch of snuff. "The
fog lies low upon the river until some hours after sunrise."

"He thinks of everything," said the Governor to himself.

"And," added the Prince, "you will hear from me by to-morrow as to the
time for your attempt."

The Governor of Freiburg accepted this as a dismissal, and saluting
Prince Eugene, passed from the room.

The morning of the 10th of November was fixed for the attempt on the
town. That day had been selected because it had come to the ears of the
Governor of Freiburg, whom we know was to command the expedition, that
a large quantity of hay requiring many carts to convey it, was to be
brought into the magazine at Brissach. The hay was to be coming from a
considerable distance, and the carters in charge would travel all night,
and endeavour to arrive at the town as soon as, if not earlier than, the
gates would be opened.

That this was their intention the Governor, who was well served by his
spies, had also learned. The opportunity was too good to be lost. Over
50 waggons had been requisitioned, and each would be attended by at
least two peasants. The entering of so many waggons into the town would
necessarily cause some distraction, and if it were possible, under the
cover of darkness, to follow close on them, the Germans and Swiss, might
hope to pour in after them without let or hindrance of any kind, as
discipline had become very much relaxed.

When the day came, fortune proved even kinder than the Governor of
Freiburg had hoped. A thick, dark fog was over the river, and hung like
a pall over the two Brissachs, so that those in the new town, on the
French bank of the Rhine, could not see their neighbours on the German
bank, nor could their neighbours see them. And it was through this fog,
that what might be called the advance guard of the waggons made their
way into the town.

It was then eight o'clock in the morning. The reveille had sounded long
before. The garrison were preparing for breakfast, and the labourers had
gone to work in the fortifications. There were, however, owing to the
thick fog, but few people about the streets, and the sentries at the
gate were watching, with no very keen interest, the lumbering hay
waggons passing in.

Several of the peasants who had followed them, other than the drivers,
stood inside the gates in an aimless fashion as if their task had been
completed.

Attracted by the rumble of the carts, the Overseer of the workmen on the
fortifications, a tall, brawny looking fellow, came towards the gate,
and seeing the group of idle peasants mistook them for some of his
labourers, and asked them why they were not at work. He received no
answer. He then addressed himself particularly to one who was a little
in advance of the others, and who had a keen eye and appeared to be a
man of intelligence.

"Why are you not at work?"

The man accosted, did not at once answer, and the Overseer had to step
back and make way for an incoming waggon.

"Why are you not at work, I say?" he repeated angrily.

Still no answer, and the Overseer thought he detected in the faces of
the other peasants something like a grin. His temper at the best was not
angelic, and this suspicion proved too much for him.

"By G----, I'll teach you how to talk," and before the astonished
peasant could lift a hand to defend himself, down came the blackthorn
on his shoulders with a rapidity that showed that the Overseer was well
versed in the _argumentum baculinum_. Instead of answering, the peasant
rushed to the nearest hay waggon, and crying out some word in German,
thrust his hand into the hay, drew out a loaded musket, aimed at the
Overseer, fired point blank and missed. A blow of the blackthorn sent
the peasant down. In the meantime others of the peasants had crowded
round the Overseer, who, while with every blow he felled an assailant,
kept crying, "To arms, to arms!"

But suddenly the hay was swept from the waggons, and from each a number
of armed men sprang out. The Overseer, unable to withstand so many foes,
having succeeded in getting round one of the carts, made a rush for the
sedge on the river.

The enemy, in an excess of folly, fired at the sedge, and the bullets
whizzed through it, cutting it just above his head, but the report of
the muskets was heard through the town, and the whole garrison turned
out. A rush was made for the gate, inside of which there were now some
hundreds of the enemy. The Overseer, seeing the troops coming out,
quitted his retreat and joined them, and threw himself into the midst of
the desperate hand-to-hand conflict, in which both sides were at once
engaged. Many a stout German went down with a cracked skull before the
wielder of the blackthorn. At length, after a stubborn resistance, the
enemy were driven out and pursued some distance, the Governor of
Freiburg covering their retreat with the cavalry. They left behind
them nearly two hundred dead, including the Lieutenant-Colonel of the
regiment of Osanbruch and the Lieutenant-Colonel of the regiment of
Bayreuth, and several majors and captains.

       *       *       *       *       *

Bad news travels fast, but the Governor of Freiburg determined that he
himself would be the bearer of it to the Prince. It was an unpleasant
task, but he thought it better that he should be the first to carry it,
so that rumour might have no time to make out a worse case against him
than his conduct of the affair warranted.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the following day he found the Prince alone, as on the former
occasion, and in the same apartment.

"You have taken Brissach?" said the Prince, with an eager glance.

The Governor flushed.

"After a stubborn fight we were driven out, your Highness."

"You were inside the gate?"

"Yes."

"Details. Briefly!" And the Prince rapped the lid of his snuff-box
sharply.

The Governor told what the reader has already learned.

Several times during the brief narrative the Prince's thumb, dipped into
the box, and small showers of snuff fell on his doublet.

"How many were inside the gate when the rascal with the stick came up?"

"About forty, your Highness."

"And they were unable to disarm him, or take him without firing and
raising the garrison?"

The Governor did not reply.

"Who was the idiot who fired the first shot?"

"The Lieutenant-Colonel of the regiment of Bayreuth."

The Prince looked hard at the Governor, who almost shrank before the
fierce gaze.

"Where is he?"

"Dead, your Highness. He fell fighting."

"The fate was too good for him."

The Prince made a gesture of dismissal. The Governor bowed, and was on
the point of withdrawing.

"Stay," said the Prince. "Did you chance to hear the name of the prodigy
whose single blackthorn foiled the attempt made by four thousand of the
best troops in the Imperial service?"

"He is called, your Highness, the Sieur O'Byrne."

"O'Byrne! O'Byrne! an Irishman!" exclaimed the Prince.

The Governor bowed.

"But you told me there were no Irishmen in Brissach."

"There was only one."

"Only one!" The Prince arrested his thumb as he was lifting up a pinch
of snuff. He made a gesture of dismissal and the Governor retired.

"Only one," the Prince repeated when he was alone. "If there had been a
hundred it is more than probable the Governor of Freiburg would never
have found his way back from Brissach."

The Prince made up for his interrupted pinch, and dabbed at both
nostrils as he moved to the window. The cannonade, which had been going
on for some hours, had ceased, but a puff of smoke from the trenches,
followed by a report, showed that the firing was kept up in a desultory
fashion. The Prince's eyes rested for a second on the portrait of the
Emperor on his snuff-box. "The loss of Brissach," he said half aloud,
"was a severe blow to the Emperor. I had recovered it for him if it were
not for that infernal Irishman with his blackthorn. Pardieu, but it is
worse than Cremona!" And the Prince, of whom it has been written that
his "passion was for glory and his appetite for snuff," flicking up the
lid of the precious box, scooped up between finger and thumb what was
left, and as he sniffed the fragrant but strong powder, "I must get more
snuff," he said.



MAURYA NA GLEANNA.

OR REVENGED AT LAST.


During the year of the '98 Centennial celebrations, it chanced that I
was staying on a short visit with a friend in the county of ----, whose
residence was not far from one of the battlefields of the rebellion. Our
talk turned one day upon '98, and I asked him if he knew if any stories
of the period were still current in the neighbourhood. He said he was
not himself familiar with any. He was not belonging to the county, and
had been residing in it only a few years. But he promised to find out if
any of the servants or workpeople could give me any information. That
evening he informed me there was an old man helping in the garden,
now almost past his work, who was at one time a schoolmaster, and had
originally come from the county of Antrim, and who had some stories of
the rising in the North. The next day I made the old man's acquaintance,
and from him took down the story of Maurya na Gleanna:--

"I wasn't more nor nine or ten years old when I first saw Maurya na
Gleanna, and although I'm over seventy years now I can see her face just
as if she was standing there foreninst me. She would have been very tall
if it were not for a stoop in her shoulders. Her face was rather long,
her cheeks shrunken and almost yellow. Her hair (and there was plenty
of it) was tied up in a wisp at the back of her head, and was gray
almost to whiteness, while her eyebrows were as dark as the night. Her
lips were full and might have once been red, but the colour had left
them and they looked dry and blanched. Her eyes were as black as a coal
with a red heart that would blaze up for a moment and then become dull.

"She had come into the glen many years before. She had wandered into it
of a wild March morning--a Patrick's morning, too, it was--when the snow
lay deep in the glen, and you could hardly see a bit of green for miles
around.

"The snow was in a drift against Jack M'Guinness's door when she knocked
at it just after the break of day. There was hardly one astir in the
house at the time, but when the knock was repeated the servant-man got
up and went to the door and opened it; before he could question the
woman he saw standing outside, she had stepped across the threshold.

"Her hair was then, so they afterwards told me, as white as when I first
saw her, but there was some colour in her cheeks, nor had it left her
lips. A kerchief covered her head, and a shawl thrown over her shoulders
was fastened above her breast by a skewer that had been beaten into the
semblance of a pike, and which served to keep in its place a bunch of
shamrocks. Her head-dress and shoulders were thickly coated with snow,
which clung to her dress that stopped short at her ankles. Her feet were
bare.

"The man said afterwards that the blaze of her eyes nearly blinded him,
and took the word out of his mouth.

"She laid her left hand upon his shoulder, and touching the shamrock
with one of the fingers of her right hand, she whispered in a tone
suggestive of mystery:

"'Is there green upon your cape?'

"'Twas then a few years after the troubles, but the servant boy had been
one of the United men, and had fought at Ballinahinch. He knew the words
of the rebel song, but as he didn't reply at once, she whispered again:

"'Is there green upon your cape?'

"For answer he took her hand, while a strange feeling came over him that
she was something 'uncanny,' and he gave her the 'grip' that showed he
was a United man. She returned it.

"'Who is there?' cried Jack M'Guinness, who came out of his room into
the kitchen, having heard the door open.

"He started back a step when he saw the blazing eyes and tall figure
(for the stoop had not fallen on her then).

"'Is there green upon your cape?' she asked him eagerly, almost
feverishly.

"'Ah, my poor woman, the day is over I'm afeard,' he said softly, for,
with a keener perception than that of the servant boy, he saw the poor
creature was demented.

"'Over! over!' she cried, almost hysterically, 'it will never be over
until he--he that you know--sure everybody knows him--until he, Red
Michil of the Lodge, comes to his own, his own, you know, the three
sticks, two standin' straight and one across. Red Michil, with the brand
of Cain and the curse of God on him. An' isn't this a purty posy?' and
she took the bunch of shamrocks from her breast and held it up to Jack
M'Guinness.

"'A purty posy it is, my girl,' said he, falling in with her humour;
'but shake the snow from yourself and come near the fire. Blow up the
turf, Shane,' and he turned to the servant boy, 'and let the girl warm
herself.'

"'Ay, sure enough, it's the purty posy,' the girl continued, 'but hadn't
I trouble enough finding it, with the snow here, there and everywhere,
every step I took goin' deeper than the rest; but I didn't mind the
snow, why should I? Sure his face was colder when I saw it last, and his
windin' sheet was as white.'

"'Sit down, achorra, and the good woman will be up in a few minutes and
will give ye something to warm ye.'

"'Ay, then! 'tis cowld ye think I am, and maybe I am cowld, too; an' I
gets tired sometimes; but there's a fire in my heart always--a fire
that'll niver go out--niver go out, I tell ye, until Michil of the
Lodge comes to his own.' And then the poor thing sat down by the hob,
and the boy blew up the turf till the blaze lighted the whole kitchen,
and the pewter on the dresser flashed back the ruddy rays. And when
the heat began to spread about the room, the head of the poor, tired
creature dropped on her breast and she fell into a deep sleep.

"This was the first coming of Maurya to the Glen, and that's the way the
story was told to me. For, as I told you, it was before my time. She was
treated kindly by Jack M'Guinness and his wife, who took to the poor
girl, and would have kept her with her if she could, but Maurya couldn't
be induced to spend more than a few days in any place.

"Who she was, or why she came to the glen, or where she came from nobody
in the glen knew.

"The women said it was love trouble that drove the poor thing wandering,
and that her question about the green upon the cape showed that the
lover had fallen a victim on the scaffold, or in the field, in the
struggle in '98.

"There wasn't a family in the glen that hadn't sent a man to
Ballinahinch, and not a few sent more than one, and there wasn't a
hearth in the glen where poor Maurya didn't find a welcome.

"But she was always roaming. After a night's rest she went 'scouting,'
as she used to say, hoping to catch Red Michil to bring him to his
own--'the three sticks.'

"And so in the first light of the morning she used to go out and ramble
over the hills, living any way she might, and coming back and seeking
hospitality--now in one house, now in another, in the glen.

"'I didn't see any signs of him to-day,' she used to say, on entering
the house which she had come to for her night's lodging. 'I didn't see
any signs of him to-day, but, please God, I soon will. Red Michil won't
escape me, never fear.'

"And this mode of life Maurya continued for years. The colour faded from
the cheeks and from the lips, and the tall form began to stoop, and they
noticed that she didn't ramble so far as she had been wont to do. She
had always been very gentle in her manner, but at times, and when she
seemed oblivious to everything passing round her, the flame would flash
from her eyes, and she would leave her seat by the fire, and despite
remonstrance, no matter what the weather or the hour, would start out on
her quest for Red Michil. Over and over again, some of her women friends
tried to get her story from her, not so much through curiosity as
through a belief that it might lighten the burden on her heart if she
would confide her sorrow to some one.

"But they could get nothing from her but a denunciation of Red Michil of
the Lodge; but who he was, or what he had done, they could not find out
from her.

"There was one house in the glen to which she came oftener than to any
other, and that was Shane O'Donnell's, an uncle of mine. I don't mind
saying it now (said the schoolmaster), but Shane had a little shanty
upon the hills, beyond the glen, where he carried on, in a small way,
the manufacture of the mountain dew. You'd hardly know the hut from the
heather. It was in a little dip on the side of a hill, just deep enough
for the walls, and until you were almost atop of it you could hardly
distinguish the roof from the heather, and no wonder, for it was
thatched with scraws, with the heather roots in them. The only thing
that betrayed its existence was the occasional smoke from the hole in
the roof that was the excuse for the absence of a chimney. Thither
Maurya na Gleanna often went, and there she was always welcome. Although
her wits were generally wandering, she was always able to lend a hand in
household matters, and in the cabin I've mentioned she used to boil the
potatoes and cabbage, and do other cooking what was necessary.

"The hut itself was little more than an excuse. It covered the descent
into a cave, in which was carried on the manufacture of poteen, and this
was reached through an opening which was disclosed when the hearthstone
was lifted up.

"The smoke from the operations below came up through an aperture close
to the hearthstone, and was carried off with that of the fire in the
hut, so that anyone who might drop into the hut would not suspect
anything. It was a shepherd's hut and nothing more.

I was occasionally called on to assist in making the poteen, and at this
time Maurya na Gleanna had been regularly employed as cook, that is to
say, whenever the men were at work Maurya was sure to come there, and
boil the potatoes and make the stirabout, and sometimes, too, a bit of
mountain mutton found its way into the pot.

Well, it happened one day Maurya was boiling a bit of mutton, and myself
was sitting near the fire, when Maurya said:

"It was a quare dhrame I had last night, Shamey."

"What was it, Maurya?" I asked, for all of us, young and old, used to
humour her.

"Well, then," said she, "do you see them three legs to the pot that's
boilin' there before you?"

"I do," said myself, "why wouldn't I?"

"Well, then, Shamey, and mind you, I didn't tell this to anyone but
yourself, I dreamt last night them three legs to the pot were the three
sticks; and rayson that out for me if you can, for I can't. I think
sometimes my poor head is goin', Shamey."

I knew what she meant by "the sticks," but, of course, I couldn't guess
the meaning of her dream.

"I don't know, Maurya," said I. "I don't know what it means."

"Ah, then, how could you, Shamey?" said she. "Sure you never supped
sorrow, and I hope you never will, avick, and 'tis only them that has
supped it year after year that could tell poor Maurya what she wants to
know."

And she swung the crane from which the pot was hanging out from the
burning turf.

"Do you see the three legs of it, Shamey?" she asked.

"I do, Maurya," said I.

"They are red now from the fire," said she. "And he was red--Red Michil,
you know--and I dreamt last night that they were the three sticks. But
dhrames are foolish, and there's no use minding them, Shamey. And how
could they be the three sticks? Sure, you couldn't hang a mouse on them,
could you, Shamey, let alone Red Michil?"

Though I was used to Maurya, I was beginning to feel frightened, sitting
there alone with her, while as she spoke she became excited in a way
that I know would frighten me now as it did then. She hardly raised her
voice as she spoke, but you heard something--something that was like
ringing through it, and the veins on her arms, that were bare, began to
swell, and her eyes flared in a way that would almost burn the very soul
out of you.

She swung the pot back over the blazing peat again, and examined its
contents, and I took my chance of stealing out of the hut.

I had hardly got outside the door when I saw a number of soldiers making
straight for it. I darted back.

"The soldiers are coming!" I cried down through the hole through which I
have mentioned the smoke from the still below used to escape.

I shouted twice. Then I heard the words 'All right,' and I knew that the
men below would be able to manage their escape, and perhaps destroy all
evidence of their trade should the soldiers discover their retreat,
which to me at this time seemed a most unlikely thing.

"The soldiers are comin', did ye say?" cried Maurya, when I had finished
speaking to the others. "Are ye sure, Shamey, 'tisn't the yeos?" And her
whole frame was quivering with excitement.

"It's the soldiers, Maurya," said I, "and I think the gauger is with
them, and there is another man along with them, with a cast in his eye.
He is sandy complexioned, and has red hair that's getting grey."

"Shamey," she cried, "Shamey!" and she caught me in her arms. "Look
at me. Am I tremblin' like a lafe? I think my dhrame is comin' true
somehow--but how, Shamey? how, tell me?"

I was so frightened I couldn't reply, and before Maurya could say
another word, three or four soldiers entered the hut, and with them two
men in civilian dress.

I drew into a corner. Maurya took no notice of them, and seemed to be
taken up with her cooking, her back turned to the intruders.

"What have you brought us here for?" asked the officer who was in
command of the military, and who was one of the soldiers who had entered
the hut.

"This man was my informant," replied the Excise officer, to whom the
question had been addressed.

"That's not enough for me," rejoined the officer. "I hope we have not
come here on a wild goose chase. We have had too much of that sort of
sport lately," said he, somewhat bitterly.

"Tell that woman to swing the pot from the fire, captain, yer honour,"
said the man whom the gauger had described as his informant, and who was
the man with the cast in his eye and the sandy complexion.

The captain requested Maurya to do so, but she took no notice.

"Do it yourself," said the captain, addressing the informer.

The latter approached the fire. As he did so, Maurya slunk back towards
the side wall of the big chimney, and in the same direction the informer
swung the crane, so that the pot came almost against her.

The informer, without saying a word, kicked the peats from the
hearthstone, and I knew then that he was acquainted with our secret. The
hearthstone fitted very tight into its casing, and unless one had been
previously informed he could never suspect that it was removable. The
informer begged the help of the soldiers to lift it, and two of them at
different corners having with some difficulty inserted the points of
their bayonets succeeded in raising it, and the others coming to their
aid, it was quickly removed, and an open space, showing a ladder was
disclosed.

"Go before us," said the officer, addressing the informer.

"I didn't undertake to do that," said the wretch, trembling in every
limb.

"We'll go, captain," said one of the soldiers, and, bayonet in hand,
he descended, followed by three of his comrades. Then the informer,
plucking up some courage, began to descend. Suddenly the noise of
shouting and the report of a musket shot was heard, and the informer,
white with fear, was climbing up again.

"Go down and be d----d to you," cried the officer, "and make way for my
men!"

"Oh, captain, darling, save me."

They were the last words he ever spoke. The crane was flung back from
the wall right over the hole. As quick as thought the heavy pot was
loosened from it, and it fell with a sickening thud on the informer's
head. A squirt of blood struck the wall just beside my head.

"Seize that woman," cried the astonished officer.

"Shamey! Shamey!" shouted Maurya to me, her whole face as bright as if
all her sorrow had left her. "Shamey, my dhrame came true."

I never saw Maurya na Gleanna again. I heard that they said (and sure
they were right, and they were wrong at the same time), that she didn't
know what she was doing, and they put her in an asylum somewhere.

"But did you," said I, "ever find out who Red Michil was, and was he the
informer?"

"I didn't then, till years after," said the old gardener, "and then I
learned it by accident like. Maurya na Gleanna, as we called her, was
one Mary M'Kenna, and at the time of the troubles, she was, everybody
said, one of the most beautiful girls in all Ulster. And it seems she
was in love with a boy called Pat Gallagher, who was one of the "United
Men," and he was in love with her, as many another man was also. And
sure amongst them was the one she called Red Michil, whose mother, who
was a widow woman, kept the lodge at the front gate of Pennington Hall
in the County of Antrim. And Red Michil pursued her, but 'twas the
back of her hand she gave him, and to take revenge on her and on Pat
Gallagher, who took her fancy, he informed on him, and made up a charge
against him, and Gallagher was tried by court-martial and hanged,
and the poor creature wouldn't leave until he was at the foot of the
gallows, and when she was taken away they saw that her mind was gone.

Her relatives did their best to look after her, but they were poor, and
so she rambled off from them till she found her way to our glen. Red
Michil, when he had wreaked his vengeance, sank lower and lower. He
became a common informer, and then, when the hangings were all over, he
secured employment under the Revenue as a scenter-out of illicit stills,
and, as he had some experience of the trade himself, he was well up in
the expedients which the potheen makers were wont to adopt in order to
evade the agents of the law. He was thus an instrument in working out
his own fate, and after long, weary years, poor Maurya na Gleanna had
her revenge at last.



STORY OF THE RAVEN.


When I was a lad of about nineteen summers, proceeded Brother Mailcoba,
I happened to be on a visit to my uncle, who was a _Brughfer_, and whose
house was on the road leading from _Baile atha Cliath_ (Dublin) to Tara.
My uncle, who was a widower, had met with a serious accident, and he
was laid up in the house of the leech (physician) who lived about a
quarter of a mile away, and in his absence the duty of attending to the
travellers who might seek the hospitality of the _Brugh_ fell on me.

The duty had been light enough for many days, for, though the great Fair
of Tara was close at hand, the weather was most unseasonable. The heavy
rains had beaten the ripening corn to the ground, and the road was
sodden, and it seemed at times as if all the winds had been let loose
and met in conflict, snapping in their struggle the leafy trees that
fell with a crash on hill and in valley, and their outstretched limbs,
cumbering the roads, made them almost impassable for man or beast.
During those days of rain and storm the sun never showed himself, and
the night came almost as quickly as in the wintertide, and men said that
the seasons had changed, and that ruin threatened the land. Yet no one
knew why it should be so, for the king was good and generous, and while
he maintained his own dignity, and insisted on his dues, his hand was
open as the doors of his hospitality, and to no man, simple or gentle,
was justice denied.

Night after night, when the day was drawn into the mouth of darkness, I
kindled the light on the lawn to guide the wayfarers who might seek food
and shelter, but night after night passed over, and no one came.

At length there was a day when the rain no longer fell, and the
winds, which had gone back to the hollows of the mountains, no longer
blustered. But sullen clouds covered the sky, and the night, as chill
as if the breath of winter was on it, crept early under them. I had lit
the light upon the lawn, and had come in and closed the door, and was
sitting facing the fire of pine logs that smouldered upon the hearth.
The servants of the _Brugh_ were in the outhouses attending to cattle,
or discharging other duties, and I was quite alone, for even the raven,
who was my usual companion, was out in the barn watching the milking
of the cows. I was thinking of going up to the house of the leech to
inquire for my uncle, when, suddenly, I heard the sound of chariot
wheels coming up the beaten road to the door of the _Brugh_. I had
hardly opened the door when I saw in the light cast from the "candle in
the candlestick" two horses covered with foam, and I distinguished in
the seat of the chariot two figures muffled up against the weather; but
I had no difficulty in recognising one as that of a lady.

"The blessing of God be on you," said the man.

"God and Mary be with you," I replied, "and _cead mile failte_."

The servants had heard the chariot approaching, and were ready to take
the horses to the stable as the guests stepped from the car. The first
offices of hospitality having been discharged, and father and daughter,
for such they were, having refreshed themselves from the fatigues of
their journey, and partaken of the fare that had soon been set before
them, took their places by the fire. The man was rather old, and wore
the dress of a chief; he and his daughter were going to the great fair
at Tara to witness the games and contests. The maiden was the fairest I
had ever seen, her face as beautiful as a flower, and when she lifted,
as she did occasionally, her long, dark lashes from her eyes, they were
as stars shining in a dark pool in the woodland.

"I fear, Brother Mailcoba," said the Abbot, "that thou wert over-given
to the vanities of this world at that time. The beauties you speak of
are transient, and perish."

"So shall the stars perish, Father, that to the brief life of man seem
eternal; but, nevertheless, we may admire their lustre in the dusk of
the summer night, and then I was young, and all that was beautiful
seemed to me to be good."

"Would it were so," said the Abbot, "but proceed with your story."

We had not been long seated together, continued Brother Mailcoba, when I
heard a halting step coming towards the door, and as I turned my ear I
caught the twang of chords.

"It is a harper who comes," said the lady in a sweet, low voice that was
almost timid. You will forgive me, Father, for saying that I thought her
voice was as musical as any harp ever sounded.

"You were very young then, brother," replied the Abbot with a smile.
"And remembering your youth, we forgive you."

We gave the harper his meed of greeting, continued Brother Mailcoba. He
was lame, and old, and seemingly weak of sight, but the lady laid on his
arm her hand, that was as soft and as white as a white cloud against a
blue sky----

"Brother, brother," put in the Abbot with a mild deprecatory gesture.

And she brought him towards her, continued Brother Mailcoba, not heeding
the interruption, and made him take the seat beside hers.

When I opened the door to admit the harper, the raven, who had finished
his self-imposed task in the cowhouse, hopped in and took up his perch
on the rafter, and eyed the company in the most critical manner. He
had only one eye, having lost the other in a scrimmage with one of
the cats, but this, instead of detracting from, rather added to,
the solemnity of his gaze. At the harper's heels, sniffing in the
friendliest way, came the house dog, Bran, who stretched himself before
the fire.

The harper made only a very slight repast, and when it was finished
the lady begged him to soothe the night with song. He, nothing loth,
proceeded to comply, and, after coaxing the strings to follow him, began
to sing of the wooing of Lady Eimer by Cuchullin. But suddenly the old
man, the maiden's father, started like one aroused from sleep.

"Have you no other song," he cried, "no song of battle, of burning, or
of voyages across the seas, that tell how heroes fight and fall? Sing of
Cuchullin when he stood alone against the hosts of Connaught in the
battle armour drest, or when he met Ferdiah at the ford, but waste not
your time and ours with the story of his love-sick fits."

The harper paused, the maiden's lashes hid her eyes, and a blush like
that which follows the grey light of the dawn stole to her cheeks. The
harper was about to make reply when the raven, from the rafter, and
behind where we were sitting, croaked, "_Grob! grob!_"

"A soldier is coming," said the old harper.

I noticed that the maiden cast a furtive glance at the door, which I
hastened to open, expecting, of course, to see a soldier, for the raven
never lied.

"But was not that a Druidic superstition, and unworthy of the credence
of a Christian?" queried the Abbot.

"May be so, father," replied Brother Mailcoba, "but they say the ravens
are very knowledgeable birds, and in my boyhood I was taught to believe
in them, and so was the harper."

"But you were deceived on this occasion," said the Abbot.

"I thought so," said Brother Mailcoba, "when, as I opened the door a
monk entered with his robe and cowl, but still the raven croaked '_grob!
grob!_'"

After the usual salutations the newcomer sat down to the table and he
ate like as one who had long fasted. I mention this only because it
seemed to justify the character in which he presented himself, but the
raven kept fidgeting on the rafter, and fixing his single eye on the new
guest, croaked "_grob! grob!_" in a fretful, almost angry voice.

When his repast was finished, the monk took a seat on a bench near the
harper, but, so that he had a full view of the lady, although he was
partly concealed from her father. His cowl almost concealed his face,
but what was visible of it suggested youth and comeliness. It was
natural, perhaps, that he should excite the curiosity of the maiden, but
I must confess I was surprised to find her lashes lifting so frequently
and her eyes turning towards him, and once or twice I thought those of
the monk responded to the questioning glances of the maiden.

"I fear thou wert uncharitable, Brother Mailcoba," said the Abbot.

"Not so, father, as the event proved." By this time the maiden's father,
overcome by the weary journey and the hospitality, had fallen into
a slumber. The harper, too, who was hurt by the rebuff which he had
received, seemed rather somnolent, and he sat back against the couch
with eyes almost closed, but his fingers strayed across his harp as
if he were playing in his sleep, and the numbers stole out clearly if
faintly, and if the spirit of music ever come and move the hand of the
harper it must have led his across the strings that night. I know not
how the others felt, indeed, I forgot their existence for the time. I
was under a spell. It seemed to me as if my body was inert, and as if my
listening soul was borne on sounds that would not stay, but would steal
out like a bird from an opened cage seeking on happy wings the lustrous
woodland. Suddenly I was brought to myself by the snarl of the hound and
the hoarse voice of the raven croaking.

"_Carna, carna! Grob, grob! Coin, coin!_"

"There are wolves about," cried the harper, starting up. "Listen to the
raven."[1]

      [1] Our Celtic ancestors believed that the raven was gifted with
      the power, among others, of describing the quality and character
      of any person or animal approaching the house. If a soldier is
      coming it cries "_grob, grob_"; if a layman, "_bacach, bacach_";
      if one in holy orders, "_gradh, gradh_!" etc; if wolves, as
      above.

The hound kept on snarling as the raven croaked, but he made no move
from the fire. I thought I heard a light, quick step on the path, but
the hounds around the sheepfold were baying so furiously that I was not
sure. However, I went to the door, and as I was about to open it, it was
struck rapidly as if by one in haste. When I had drawn it half back, a
tall, athletic looking man with a huge cloak wrapped about him almost
rushed in. He was scant of breath, as if he had been running, and I
noticed that his cloak was torn in several places. This he quickly cast
off, and darting a glance around him from restless and glittering eyes
took his seat.

I noticed the harper eyeing him curiously, and I thought I saw the
maiden shrink. The monk, too, seemed more curious than was hospitable or
polite. I gave the stranger the usual welcome, but his response was
brief, and so was his salutation to the other guests, and their replies,
and indeed, during the time that I was busying myself in getting him
some refreshment, the silence of the _Brugh_ was broken only by the
croaking of the raven, "_Carna! carna! Coin! coin!_" and the
snarls and smothered yelp of Bran. I was quite puzzled by the raven.
First he announced a soldier instead of a cleric, and secondly, at
his call of "_wolves! wolves!_" which had no longer any meaning, for
if there were wolves abroad they must have been scared away by the
watchdogs, who ceased barking as I closed the door after admitting the
new guest.

I had seen many a man eating in my time, but never saw I one who ate so
ravenously. I replenished his platter several times before his hunger
was satisfied, and indeed I was kept so busy that I had not time to pay
attention to the other guests. When at length I was able to do so I
noticed the old chief was still slumbering, and that the harper had
changed places with the monk, and the latter was sitting beside, or
rather close to the maiden, and indeed I thought I saw him drawing his
arm hastily away.

"I fear, brother, your story is far from edifying," said the Abbot.

"Well, maybe I was wrong," continued Brother Mailcoba, "and perhaps
it was the glow from the pine logs that caused the maiden's face to
look like a red rose. I think it was for the purpose of distracting
my attention that the harper began to play a low, sweet melody. I
recognised its first notes as those of the 'Song of Clumber.'"

"Not that, not that!" suddenly exclaimed the last come guest fixing his
glittering eyes on the harper. The vehemence of the exclamation and
the harsh tones in which it was uttered caused general surprise. The
stranger noticing this appeared somewhat confused, and he endeavoured to
explain himself by saying--"It was too early yet for slumber, and that
for his part he preferred that sleep should come to him naturally than
that it should be brought by song."

"It seems to me," quoth the harper, sadly, "that I can please no one to
night."

"Say not so," said the maiden softly, "and perhaps now,"--and she
glanced at her sleeping parent--"you might sing us of Lady Eimer."

The harper's face lighted up with pleasure, and soon under the skilful
fingers the harp gave out a witching strain, the accompaniment of his
song. When it ended the maiden slipped a gold brooch of exquisite
workmanship into his hand. Nor did he go without reward from the monk
and the stranger, as I must still call the last-comer.

By this time the night was pretty far advanced, and as the travellers
had stated that it was their intention to start early in the morning,
I reminded them that their couches were ready. The last-comer took the
hint at once, and sought the couch that was nearest to the door. The
maiden and the monk seemed loth to go. The former pretended--for I fear
it was but a pretence--that she was unwilling to disturb her father,
but, after a while, the old man roused himself, and looked about him.

"_Carna, carna! Coin, coin!_" croaked the raven from the rafters.

"There must be wolves at hand," said the old chief.

A long-drawn, low growl came from Bran, as if in response.

"That can hardly be," I said, "for the watchdogs without are silent."

"I never knew a raven to be wrong yet," replied the chief, "but let the
shepherds look to it. I had better lie down. We must start a little
after daybreak. I want to be at Tara early."

The old man and his daughter retired, and if my eyes did not deceive
me, those of the maiden rested longer on the monk as she bade him
"good-night" than was altogether seemly. The harper, who was very old,
also betook himself to rest, and only the monk and myself remained
sitting by the fire.

"It is not likely that any more travellers will come to-night," I said
to the monk, "so I think I had better look to the lawn light, and go to
bed, as I wish to be up to see the old chief and the maiden off." And I
added, "I suppose you will not start early?"

"I have not quite made up my mind on that point," he replied, "but I
think I shall also retire, as it is not fair to keep you up any longer.
But let me go with you to the lawn; I should like to see what the night
is doing, and what is the promise of the morrow."

Of course, I accepted his offer. We went on to the lawn together, and
when the light was supplied with fresh fuel, returned. As we were coming
towards the door, the monk remarked the chariot which had brought the
chief and his daughter, and that, although well constructed, it would
require a powerful horse to draw it.

"There are two horses," I answered; "splendid animals, that could fly
away with it. Perhaps, I had better look at them, to see if they are
all right," and I went towards the stable.

"They are, indeed, splendid animals," said the monk, who looked at them
with a critical eye, as he took the candle from my hand that he might
view them better, and he evinced an interest in, and a knowledge of,
horseflesh that surprised me not a little, seeing that he was a poor
monk, that was forced to make his journeys on foot. After bolting the
stable door we returned to the house, and shortly after the monk, who
refused to join me in a beaker of mead, although I urged he would sleep
all the better for it, went to his couch, and when I had finished my
beaker, I followed his example, and was soon fast asleep.

I slept soundly, as was my wont, but at daybreak I was awakened by the
frantic yelping of the hounds, while the raven, flapping his wings in
wild shouts of excitement, croaked "_Grob grob! Carna, carna! Coin!
coin!_" I felt the cold air of the morning on my face, and the grey
light came through the open door. I leaped from my couch, and looked
about me. The harper was sound asleep, so also was the old chief, but
the couch which the maiden had occupied was vacant, as was that of the
monk, and the stranger was nowhere to be seen.

I rushed out, the stable door was open, and the chariot had disappeared.
In the stable was a monk's robe and cowl. The hounds were still yelping
in the distance, but not frantically as at first, and I pushed on
towards them. I met them returning with bloody mouths, and in a few
seconds one of the shepherds followed with a huge coat, torn almost to
tatters, and stained with blood. It was the remains of the great coat
which the stranger had worn the night before!

"And the stranger?" asked the Abbot.

"The bloody mouths of the hounds supplied the answer, at least so said
the harper, when I related to him what had happened. The stranger was a
man wolf, who was allowed to assume human form by night, but had to take
that of the wolf by day.[2] He must have slept till daybreak, and not
being able to escape from the neighbourhood of the _Brugh_ in human
shape, fell a prey to the hounds."

      [2] This belief was common in the old days in Ireland, and wolf
      stories still survive in the Celtic romances which have come
      down to us.

"And what of the monk?" queried the Abbot.

"He was no more a monk than I was. When I related what had happened to
the old chief, he tore his hair, and declared that his daughter had been
carried off by a soldier with no more land or possession than would fit
on the edge of his sword. He had persistently wooed the maiden, but
had been rejected by the father, so that the story of Lady Eimer had a
special significance for her. The father threatened to have vengeance;
he would go to Tara and see the High King, and carry his complaints to
him. He begged for the loan of a chariot, which, of course, I supplied
him with, and he set off for Tara. A few days after the great fair
began, and I went to it. I hardly think that the chief carried out his
threat, or if he complained to the king the king must have induced him
to make the best of it, for as I was going round the course, on the day
of the chariot race, I saw seated in the Queen's pavilion, amongst the
ladies of the court, the maiden who had sought the hospitality of the
_Brugh_, but who was now the wife of a gallant soldier, and, I must
confess, that I shared her exultation when, in the last rush home, the
chariot that was guided by her soldier husband swept past the winning
post, amidst the thunderous plaudits of the multitude of the men of
Erinn. So you see, Father, the raven was right after all."



THE SPECTRES OF BARCELONA.

(_From the Memoirs of an Officer of the Irish Brigade_).


I was little over twenty when, as one of "The Wild Geese," I entered, in
the year 1695, the infantry regiment of the Honourable Charles Dillon,
who was serving under the Marquis de Sylvestre, then conducting a
campaign against the Spaniards in Catalonia. I was travel-stained and
weary when towards the close of a May evening I arrived in camp, and,
having shown my credentials, I was directed to the quarters of the Irish
regiment, and very glad I was to receive the hospitality of the mess,
I need not say that they gave me _Cead mile failte_. Every recruit to
their ranks seemed to bring with him some of the atmosphere of the home
which so many of them were destined to see nevermore--the home which
often rose before them in a vision on battle eves, and to which they so
often returned in their dreams. After the first fervent welcome was
over, and after the many enquiries as to how affairs were in Ireland,
they began to recount the services of the regiment, and to sing the
praises of their gallant colonel. They spoke of battles and sieges of
which I had never heard, but in which they had participated, and in all
of which Colonel Dillon had taken a distinguished part. Many of them
bore on their persons evidences of fierce encounters, but they said
nothing in praise of themselves; 'twas all of the colonel, who was, they
said, as beloved by every man serving under him as he was esteemed by
the great generals of the army of King Louis. These enconiums naturally
heightened my desire to meet Colonel Dillon.

I informed my new comrades that I was the younger son of a County Mayo
family, who were friends of the colonel's, and that I brought with me
letters of recommendation from his kinsmen, the Lallys of Tullenaghdaly.

"You come well credited, young gentleman," said the senior sergeant,
whose name, I learned later, was O'Kelly, a man of forty or thereabouts,
whose right cheek was marked by a sabre slash, and whose left sleeve was
empty (I heard afterwards that he had lost his arm the previous year
at the capture of Palamos from the Spaniards), "and you are sure of a
hearty welcome from our colonel; but let me tell you, without offence,
that if you came with nothing but your sword you would be equally sure
of a cordial welcome, for our colonel esteems his men for their valour,
and not for birth or connections, and if I may say it, without boasting,
wherever he leads we follow, and will, boys, to the end. Here's to the
colonel!"

Every man rose to his feet. There was a clinking of glasses, and a
cheer that nearly lifted the roof off the tent.

I joined heartily in the toast, and made an indifferent attempt to take
part in the chorus of a song which followed, but my eyelids began to
feel very heavy, and, notwithstanding my efforts, were closing on my
eyes.

This was noticed by my comrades, and one of them got up, and, putting
his arm around me as tenderly as if I were a child, said:--

"You're tired out, my lad. Come with me, you can't see the colonel
to-night; he is dining with the Marquis; but, to-morrow when you are
refreshed, I'll take you to his quarters."

I bade my new friends a sleepy good-night, and remembered nothing till I
heard the _reveille_ sound the next morning. I started up to find myself
lying in a tent with a half-dozen others. For a moment I was a little
bewildered. I rubbed my eyes. The bugle had ceased, and I heard the
voices of the birds saluting the bright May morning. The curtain of the
tent had been withdrawn, and the bright light and the sweet air came in.

"You can lie there as long as you like," said one of my comrades.
"There's no need for you to get up yet."

But I was eager to be up and about. It was a glorious morning. The sun
shone from a cloudless sky, and the tents, stretching far, were flashing
in its light. Everywhere was stir and motion, and many salutations of
comrade to comrade resounded on all sides.

I was delighted with the scene, the well-ordered tents with wide streets
between, the flags and bannerets fluttering in the brisk morning air,
the bustling soldiers, the neighing horses, the fanfare of the trumpets.
It was just the scene to captivate the heart of a youth. Here was all
the glorious pageantry of war untarnished, and that buoyant sense of
life that forbade all thoughts of disaster or defeat, and their woeful
consequences.

"That tent yonder," said one of my comrades, who was drying his hair
after dipping his head in a bucket of water, "with the French standard
over it is the tent of the Lieutenant-General, the Marquis de Sylvestre,
and that to the right of it at the end of our lines is the colonel's.
The Marshal, the Duke de Noailles ought to be in command, but he is ill,
and the marquis takes his place."

Just then Sergeant O'Kelly came up to me.

"I am glad to see you looking so fresh, young gentleman," said he, "this
morning. We shall have breakfast soon, and after it you shall call on
the colonel. The marquis intends to inspect all the troops to-day, and
we must be early on parade. Hard work is expected in a day or two, and
as the colonel is likely to be very busy you had better see him as soon
as possible."

About nine o'clock I presented myself at the colonel's tent, and
learned that he had just finished breakfast.

I handed my letters to the guard, and requested him to send them to
the colonel. He called one of the colonel's servants and gave him the
letters. In a few seconds the servant returned, and ushered me into the
presence of his master.

Young as I was I was surprised at his youth. He hardly looked his
twenty-five years, and he was one of the handsomest men I had ever seen.
He looked every inch a soldier--tall, well-knit and with an indefinable
suggestion of strength and activity in his shapely figure. I bowed as I
entered, and before I had well lifted up my head his hands were on my
shoulders.

"You're welcome, my lad," said he in the cheeriest voice, "and you are
not a day older than I was when I joined, and you are from the old
country, too. Well, I wish 'twas in my power to do something for you
for your people's sake and for your own; but, you see, since the new
formation of the Irish army of King James in the French service many
Irish gentlemen who had served as officers at home in the Williamite
wars, have been reduced; some even to the rank of privates, and not a
few are in my regiment in that category, and it would be invidious of me
were I to put a youth like you above them; but, _courage mon camarade_,
there are stirring times before us, and Dillon's regiment is sure to be
found where the bullets fall thickest and where ranks are thinned, and
a gentleman is sure of promotion if he be put beyond caring for it."

Here the colonel paused for a second, and looking full in my eyes,
added, "if he win his spurs."

I confess I was a little disappointed. I had hoped that, backed up as I
was by my family connections and my letters of recommendation, I would
have obtained the post of ensign. The colonel doubtless noticed my
disappointment.

"You were in camp last night?" he said.

"Yes, colonel."

"With whom did you stay?"

"In Sergeant O'Kelly's tent," I replied.

"Sergeant O'Kelly!" he exclaimed. "By right of service and of valour,
since he came to France, he should be captain. He was one in Ireland;
he has not grumbled at his reduction."

I felt the rebuke.

"I shall be glad to serve under him, colonel," I said.

"Good, my lad. You will serve under a gallant Irish gentleman, and it
will not be his fault if he does not give yon a thousand chances of 'a
bed on the field of honour.' "Death or Victory" is the motto of the
regiment."

An officer riding up to the tent announced that the lieutenant-general
was waiting for the colonel.

"_Au revoir, mon camarade_," as he held out his hand to me, adding, with
a laugh, "perhaps you have not yet caught up this foreign lingo, which
would hardly pass current in the County Mayo. So _slan leat_."

The colonel vaulted lightly into his saddle, and many an admiring eye
followed him as he rode with tossing plumes towards the tent of the
Lieutenant-General, the Marquis de Sylvestre.

I returned to that of Sergeant O'Kelly.

"Well, young gentleman, you saw the colonel, and what did he say to you
and what do you think of him."

"I think he is worth fighting with," I replied, "and worth dying with,
and he said--well he said that in serving under you I should serve under
a gallant Irish gentleman who would give me every chance of death or
glory."

The sergeant drew himself up.

"My faith, lad, the colonel himself will give it you, but I am proud to
have you with me."

For the next week we were kept very busy. The colonel was a strict
disciplinarian, and his men were exercised for several hours every day.
I quickly picked up a fair knowledge of my duties, and it was with
a certain self-confidence I heard the news that we were ordered to
revictual Ostalric which had been captured from the Spaniards a year or
two previously. The task was easily accomplished, as the enemy retired
on our approach, but when returning towards the evening, our regiment,
which formed the rearguard, was suddenly attacked by over three thousand
_miquelets_ or _guerillas_. They seemed to have sprung out of the
ground, and charged us with the utmost fury; but our men, facing round,
were as steady as a rock against which the wave dashes impotently. Some
of the guerillas impaled themselves on our bayonets, and a well-directed
volley threw their front ranks into confusion.

Our colonel, who had been riding in front, dashed round and put himself
at our head.

"Charge, boys!" and quick as the flash of his sword in the sun, he was
in the midst of the enemy.

We followed him with a ringing cheer. I was half beside myself with
excitement. The rattle of the musketry and the smell of powder were
intoxicating. Suddenly I was blinded. A warm spurt that I knew
instinctively was the blood of a wounded comrade hit me in the eyes. I
put up my hand; then I felt a sharp pang, and remember nothing more of
the combat.

I learned afterwards that it lasted only a few minutes. The _miquelets_
were driven off, leaving many dead and wounded on the field, and they
vanished almost as quickly as they had appeared.

We had only two killed and three or four wounded, of which I was one. I
was hit in the breast.

When I came to myself I was in hospital, and learned that the colonel
had been frequent in his inquiries, as had also O'Kelly, who had
distinguished himself in the repulse of the enemy.

My wound was rather serious; however, I expected to be up and about in
a few months. But in this I was disappointed, for when it was nearly
healed, owing to my headstrong ways, as I insisted on leaving my bed too
soon, it broke out afresh, so it came to pass that I missed several
engagements, notably the raising of the siege of Palamos by the Duke of
Vendome, in which our regiment took part, defeating the combined Spanish
and English forces, and the subsequent defeat of the Spanish cavalry
under the Prince of Hesse Darmstadt, who had fought at the Boyne. Like
every other Irishman I would have given one of my eyes for a blow at the
English enemy; but the day was to come.

Well, well; all this was a good many years ago. I was a stripling then.
I am an old man now; but I am not writing a history of my life, and,
indeed, I began this story not intending to speak much of myself, but
only to relate a curious incident which made a very deep impression
on me that time has not yet wholly effaced, but old men are apt to be
garrulous, and old soldiers like to talk of the

    "Battles, fortunes and sieges through which they have passed."

While I was lying ill of my wound outside Ostalric, I was attended by
one of the men of Dillon's regiment who also had been wounded, though
slightly, in the affair, and who I learned afterwards had begged
permission to attend me as a special favour. He was as tender to me as
a woman could have been, but he was curiously reserved, seldom speaking
except when spoken to, and there was a sad look in his eyes which
scarcely left them even when he smiled, which he rarely did, provoked by
some sally of mine. He was a brave man they told me afterwards--they who
themselves were brave--fought like a devil, they said, and was never
wounded except in that affair of Ostalric, and that was when trying to
save me, who was nearly trampled to death when I fell.

Well, in time I recovered my full health and strength, and rejoined my
regiment along with my kind attendant, whose name, by the way, was Ryan,
from the borders of Limerick and Tipperary, and I was in time to take
part in the reduction of Barcelona in the year 1697.

It was one of the most difficult tasks of the French commander, the Duke
of Vendome. The fortifications were so strong as to be deemed almost
impregnable, and were defended by at least two hundred and forty pieces
of artillery. The garrison consisted of eleven thousand regular troops
and four thousand militia, and there was also one thousand five hundred
cavalry, and it was well supplied with munitions of war. A complete
investment was impracticable owing to the compass of the walls and the
outlying very strong fortress of Monjuich, situated on a lofty hill,
commanding the town and port and a large extent of the plain. Moreover,
the Count de Velasco lay encamped about six miles outside the town with
a force mustering, all told, about twenty thousand men, mostly composed,
it is true, of irregulars and guerillas. The French troops did not
amount to quite thirty thousand men, including the marines landed from
the fleet.

We approached the town on the 13th of July, Vendome having the day
before surprised and routed the Count de Velasco, and on our approach
the Spaniards abandoned the Convent of the Capuchins, which was some
distance from the walls, and the Duke of Vendome ordered our regiment to
occupy it, and that night I found myself for the first time in my life
in a convent cell, having Ryan as my comrade.

The cell was small, and bore evidence not very agreeable of its recent
occupation by the Spanish soldiery, but Ryan, who persisted in treating
me as if he were my servant, soon set to work, cleaned it out, and
brought in some hay and made comfortable beds for himself and me in
opposite corners of the cell. It was quite bare of furniture of any
kind, but this we did not miss, as we were to use it only for sleeping
quarters.

We turned in about half-past ten, and I was soon sound asleep. I was
awakened by a shout from Ryan:

"Did you see it? Did you see it?"

"See what?" I answered bewildered.

The moon was shining in through the window and the cell was half in
light and half in shadow. The moonlight fell on Ryan's share of it.
I saw that he was sitting up and that his usually dark face was very
pale, and there was a wild gleam in his eyes.

"What was it?" I repeated.

"Oh nothing! What a fool I am. I had a horrible nightmare. I am sorry
for disturbing you."

"Well, you did startle me, I confess," said I. He lay down again, and I
did likewise, and slept without interruption until morning. I thought no
more of the incident of the previous night, although I could not help
noticing that my companion's face looked rather haggard.

Our second night in the cell passed, for me, very quietly, and Ryan said
nothing to suggest that it was otherwise with him. The third night the
incident of the first night was repeated. Ryan started up, shouting:

"Did you see it? Did you see it?"

I jumped from my bed and struck a light. The cell was, of course, empty,
the door fast closed.

"I am afraid you are ill, comrade," said I, and as I went towards him I
could see the perspiration in large beads on his forehead, and he was
trembling like a scared child.

"Yes, yes, I must be getting ill, I suppose--but you saw nothing?" he
added eagerly.

"Of course I saw nothing," I replied. "What was there to see?"

"And--and you saw nothing on the wall there?" He pointed his hand
towards one of the walls of the cell.

"Nothing. Wake up, man. You are still dreaming."

He shuddered like one feeling a sudden chill, and then he said:

"It's very foolish of me, and I'm sorry to be such a trouble to you."

"Oh, that is nothing," I said. "You had better see the doctor in the
morning."

The next day there was no time to see the doctor. We were early under
arms, and marched several miles in the direction of Llobregat on a
reconnoitring expedition. The day was very warm, and a good part of the
way was rough, and when we returned to our quarters in the evening, I,
for one, was pretty well tired out, and Ryan confessed to me that he
was also; but I suspected that a hardened soldier such as he, was not
fatigued by the march, and that want of rest and the disturbance of the
previous nights were what had done him up.

"I expect to sleep well to-night," he said, as we extinguished our
lights.

"And I also," said I.

But we were to be disappointed. Towards midnight a terrific thunderstorm
burst over the town and our camp, and the rain came down in torrents.
Nevertheless our battalions in the trenches, which had been opened
the night before, were pushing on their work. The enemy suspecting
this turned on them the fire of forty pieces of cannon, which,
notwithstanding the tempest, were very well served, and gave the quietus
to not a few of our men. The booming of the guns and the peals of
thunder made sleep impossible. Suddenly a vivid flash of lightning
illumined the cell.

"My God! my God! Do you see him now?" cried Ryan in a tone of agony.

I was spellbound. I couldn't answer.

There, standing between Ryan and me, was the figure of a Capuchin
monk in his brown habit and cowl, and holding up in his hand a plain
unfigured cross that in the lightning gleamed like fire. I saw the
figure only for a second or two. It retreated towards the door and
vanished.

"Look at the wall, look at the wall!" cried Ryan, hoarsely.

I looked, and on the wall appeared a cross, also without a figure, but
this too disappeared in a second.

The roar of the tempest still continued, and the booming of the guns.
Sleep now was out of the question. I got up and dressed myself. Ryan,
who appeared unable to speak or move, lay back in his bed, his eyes
closed. I roused him up.

"Tell me, did you see him, did you see him?" he whispered, clutching
convulsively my arm.

"Let us get up and go down to the guard room," I said. "The day is
breaking, and we are not likely to sleep any more, and you are ill."

Ryan dressed himself, and we went down, he more dead than alive, to the
guard room. His illness was manifest to all, and he was quickly restored
by portion of the contents of a brandy flask which seemed to work
wonders with him.

We did not sleep in the cell again, and the weather being very warm we
were not sorry when sometime after we were ordered to the outlying posts
of the left wing of our army.

Before we quitted the convent I paid a visit, in the daytime, to the
cell. There was nothing about it to suggest a ghostly visitant; but, on
looking at one of the end walls, I noticed the faint sign of a cross. I
was considerably startled by it, but on closer examination, I discovered
it was such a mark as anything placed against a wall for a long time
generally leaves, less through its own action as to that of the
atmosphere, on the uncovered portion of the walls. But it did seem a
little strange that it should be on the very part of the wall on which
I had seen the vision of a cross. Perhaps, I said to myself, Ryan
had noticed this mark, and it worked in some way on his disordered
imagination. But this could not explain the vision as seen by myself,
either of the cross or of the Capuchin, and it was with a feeling
akin to awe that I left the cell for the last time, wondering whether
anything would ever occur which might throw a light on the mystery.

Ryan, who shared the bivouac with me, had begged me not to mention to
anyone what he fancied (as he put it) he had seen, for I had not told
him that I had seen anything, and, after my promise to this effect, he
never alluded to the matter; but I noticed that, henceforth, he became,
even for him, unusually reserved, and that there was a deep seated
trouble in his eyes; but he continued to be attentive, more attentive,
if possible, to me than before.

For some weeks we lay close to the outposts, chafing under the
inactivity to which we were condemned. Meanwhile, the trenches were
being pushed forward, and, at intervals, we saw the flash and heard the
roar of the cannon from the ramparts; but this after a time ceased to
have much interest for us. Occasionally there were rumours of an attempt
about to be made by the enemy to revictual Barcelona, where provisions
had run low; but they came to nothing, and they no longer served to
rouse any hope of a brush with the Spaniards.

At last, however, the scouts brought us the news that nearly the whole
of the enemy's cavalry were moving from the side of Llobregat, covering
a large convoy, which they hoped to be able under the protection of
the guns of Fort Monjuich, to take safely into the town. The Duke at
once despatched a large body of troops to intercept the convoy, but,
unfortunately, as we thought, we were not of the number, and expected
another idle day at our posts. But our troops had hardly moved out
against the enemy when from a mountain in the rear of the posts a large
body of Spanish infantry swept down like a torrent, while from around
its base appeared several hundred cavalry. Their object, of course, was
to effect a diversion. They could not have hoped for a surprise; still,
I confess, they came on so suddenly and so swiftly, that we had but just
time to be ready to receive them.

We repelled their first fierce onset. They came on again and again, but
under the steady fire of our men, aided by the fire from the French
regiment under Colonel Solre, they at last gave way and broke, the
cavalry galloping off down the valley and the infantry climbing the hill
like goats, but with our colonel at our head we climbed up after them,
pausing only to fire and bring them down in dozens. Foremost in the
ascent was Ryan. With difficulty I kept within view of him, and when at
length I reached the top of the mountain with several others, I found
him lying thoroughly exhausted, and in his eyes was the wild look which
I had noticed on the occasion of the apparitions. His musket was some
paces from him.

Fortunately close to where he was lying was a mountain spring of
perfectly cool, clear water. I filled my shako with it, and put it
to his lips. The draught revived him and I sat down beside him, glad
enough of the rest. Ryan continued silent and so did I, gazing down
on the magnificent panorama that lay stretched before me--the wide,
far-reaching plains, the camp and the beleaguered town all framed in the
blue gleaming waters of the Mediterranean. Away in the distance to the
far right a cloud of dust and smoke and an incessant rattle of musketry
betrayed the whereabouts of the conflict between our troops and the
Spanish cavalry. On the mountain the firing had ceased, except for
a stray shot. The escaped Spaniards had fled precipitately down its
opposite side. Our colonel ordered the recall to be sounded, and with
the light hearts of victors we stepped down the mountain to our posts,
counting on our way some hundreds of killed of the enemy.

The attack on the convoy was successful. The Spanish cavalry were put to
flight, though not until after a sturdy resistance, and the convoy fell
into our hands. This decided the fate of the siege, for the next day
negotiations for the surrender of Barcelona were opened up, and on that
very day the Marshal the Duke de Vendome rode down to our posts and
publicly thanked Colonel Dillon and the Irish regiment for their
services and complimented them on their matchless valour, and, indeed,
to the last day of his life the gallant Duke never missed saying a good
word for the soldiers of the Irish Brigade, and he insisted that no one
had better opportunities of knowing what they could do in the face of an
enemy.

For several days Ryan continued very silent and was almost morose,
but on the day before that on which the enemy were to march out from
Barcelona he found me as I was lying by a small stream at the base of
the mountain up which we had chased the Spaniards, and enjoying what to
me then was a novel luxury--a pipe.

"Would you mind coming up a bit of the mountain," said he to me gravely,
"I want to speak to you."

The request seemed strange as the nearest soldiers were several yards
away from where we were, but I rose and followed him. When we had
ascended about thirty or forty yards he sat down under a bush and I
beside him. I waited for him to speak.

"I saw him again," he said, "when I came up here the other day. I had
just reached the spot where you found me. I aimed, as I thought, at the
back of a flying Spanish trooper. He whom I took for the trooper turned
round. It was he."

"Who?" I asked, although I anticipated the answer.

"The Capuchin!" and Ryan trembled as he said the word.

"I cannot bear it any longer. I must confess at last. God grant I have
not done you irreparable wrong."

"Me!"

"You! You are one of the Browns of the County Mayo; the youngest son of
that Captain Brown, who, when he was not much older than you, fought
against Cromwell and lost his patrimony, but who afterwards, having been
an exile with Charles II. regained it, though not till several years
after the Restoration."

"And what do you know of him or his family?" I asked curiously.

"Not much more than I have told you," he replied, to my surprise,
"except that your father went abroad again, and died not long after you
were born."

"That is so," I said.

"Your mother had not received a communication from him for some time
prior to his death."

"But how do you know that?"

"Let me go on," he replied, "I shall be the sooner finished. He died in
Madrid, and he sent home papers and valuables through a Spanish Capuchin
monk, who was visiting Ireland on a mission, which, I understood, was
part political and part religious."

"From whom did you learn this?"

"From himself."

"The monk?"

"Yes. He was riding by where I lived on a lonely, bare spot, that you
may chance to have heard of, Knockcreggan. The night was bad, dark, and
wild; the road couldn't be worse. It was like the bed of a torrent, huge
stones and boulders everywhere. Just opposite the door of my cabin the
horse stumbled and fell. I heard a cry, and went out and found the
prostrate monk bleeding badly from a wound over his temple. I brought
him in, put him down on a truss of straw, and bandaged him as well as I
could.

"After a while, for he was at first unconscious, he spoke faintly, and
asked for 'more light.' I made a blazing fire of turf, and lit a couple
of candles--all I had.

"'I know I am dying,' he said, 'are you a Catholic?' I told him I was.

"'I am a monk,' he said 'a Spanish Capuchin monk. I want you to swear
on this cross that you will do what I ask you; it being only an act of
charity,' and he held up the cross which had been hidden in the breast
of his riding coat.

"It blazed, my God! as I saw it blaze in the cell the night of the
storm," and Ryan shuddered, although we were then in the full light of
the evening, and the bustling camp below us. "I took the oath on the
cross," Ryan went on to say, "to carry to the captain's widow--your
mother--two parcels, one of papers, which the monk told me, while of
the greatest importance to your family were of no use to strangers; and
another containing some gold and valuable jewels.

"'You will be well paid for your trouble, I know,' the monk said to me;
'but promise me again on the cross that you will deliver both these
parcels safe and sound, and will not touch coin or jewel. If you do, I
warn you, you will be struck dead when you least expect it, and by an
invisible and supernatural hand. But tell no one of your mission.'

"The monk died that night. I sent for the neighbours, and we waked him
and buried him, and I thought of setting out for your mother's house,
but the weather grew worse and worse, and the roads were impassable.
'Twas unlucky for me. I meant well, and intended to do what I promised,
but the temptation came to me to look at the purse, and when I saw the
gold and the jewels shining, the temptation came to me to keep 'em--who
would be the wiser, and I was poor? I was living alone there on the side
of the Knock, and here was a fortune in my hands. Well, the temptation
grew stronger, and I yielded. I kept the money, and went to Dublin and
spent it, and I sold the jewels, and when the money got for them was
nearly all gone, the troubles broke out and the Viscount raised the
regiment for the young colonel, and I joined it. And 'tis many and
many's the time I've looked death in the face since, and he passed me
by. And when I saw you I thought I'd try and make up for my crime some
little bit, and that I'd guard and give my life for you."

I was so amazed at the story that I did not speak for a moment or two
after he had concluded.

"Will you forgive me, for God's sake?"

"The papers," I said. "What about the papers?"

"I have them here," he said, "here!" And with his bayonet point he
ripped open the lining of his coat and produced a bundle of papers in a
leathern wrapper. "I never opened them. I could not read. I don't know
what is in them. I thought they might be of use some day, and that I
could give them up to the rightful owner, as I am doing now."

I took the papers like one in a dream. I rose without another word, and
went down the mountain. I sought out a sequestered spot where I was sure
to be uninterrupted, opened the package and read. Well, it boots nothing
to anyone now to know what was in them. There were family secrets which,
if revealed at the time, would have changed the current of many lives,
including my own; but it could serve nothing but a selfish purpose of my
own were I to reveal them now; so having read the papers, and dropped a
tear over the handwriting of him who was my father, I tore the papers
into bits, set them alight, and waited until every vestige was consumed.

Ryan avoided me for the next few days, but if I had any resentment
against him it died out. I might still have taken advantage of the
information given by the papers, but deliberately decided not to do so.
As for the money and the trinkets--well, they were gone, and Ryan had
suffered terribly, was still suffering, had risked his life and shed his
blood at Ostalric to save mine.

We did not meet again until we entered Barcelona, the enemy having
marched out. That night it chanced that both he and I were ordered for
duty on the ramparts as sentries. Before our time came I went to him,
and holding out my hand, said, "Ryan, I forgive you with all my heart,
and forget."

"But _he_ won't," he replied with a slight tremor.

"Nonsense," I said, "you have confessed your wrong-doing, and all is
over. You shall never see him again."

The clock of the cathedral had sounded midnight. The officers went their
rounds, and I from my station was looking down on the port and out
over the Mediterranean, scarcely stirring beneath the stars. The clock
sounded one. All was quiet. Two o'clock struck. Suddenly I heard fierce
voices of challenge given in Spanish. I was on the alert, but could see
nothing. The voices appeared to be in the air, and to come close to the
ramparts. I shook myself to see if I were wide awake, but the voices
continued. Then I heard the sentries challenging "Qui vive?" one after
another. I too challenged. A musket shot rang through the night. The cry
to arms was raised, and the ramparts were quickly crowded with officers
and men. In the east the day was breaking. Its full light was soon
on the ramparts. Men looked curiously at each other. The sentries
questioned, all repeated the same story. They heard the voices, as they
thought, of Spanish soldiers, and had replied by challenging.

Who fired the shot?

There was not much need to ask. Ryan was lying dead close to one of the
batteries. His musket, which had been exploded, lay beside him. Even in
death his face wore the scared look of a man who had seen a dreadful
vision. I shuddered as I looked at him, and thought of the threat of
the Capuchin of the "invisible and supernatural hand." I kept my own
counsel. I myself never heard anything after that night, but others did,
or thought so, and this fact is attested by Captain Drake, of Drakerath,
in the county of Meath, who was of our regiment, and one of the coolest
and bravest officers of the brigade, and who has set forth in his
memoirs that he, while on night duty on the ramparts, thought he saw
and heard the Spectre of Barcelona.



THE BLACK DOG.


"Did you ever see a ghost, Tim?"

"No, then; I don't mane to say I ever see a ghost, nor I don't mane to
say that I didn't nayther; but maybe I see more than any of ye ever
saw in your born days," said old Tim Kerrigan, as he stooped over the
hearth, and, picking up a sod of turf, put the fire to his dhudeen.

His listeners were a group of light-hearted youngsters (of whom I was
one), who turned in to old Tim's one Christmas Eve a good many years
ago, and who, seated round the fire, were trying to coax him to tell
them some of his supernatural experiences, which, if Tim were to be
relied on, were as numerous as they were varied. Tim, at the time, was
an old man of about five-and-seventy, still hardy and supple; but his
brown face--"brown as the ribbed sea-sand"--was full of wrinkles. Over
these wrinkles he appeared to us, youngsters, to have wonderful power.
He had a trick of pursing, and withdrawing, and inflating his lips
before answering any question put to him, with the result that the
wrinkles appeared to close in and to open out after the manner of the
bellows of a concertina, and when, at the same time, he contracted his
forehead, and brought his shaggy, grey eyebrows down over his bright,
little, brown eyes, they peered out from under them in such a way as to
bear a curious resemblance to those of a rabbit peeping out under the
edge of his burrow.

"Troth and maybe I did," repeated Tim, "see more nor any of ye ever saw,
and maybe more than wud be good for any of ye to see, ayther."

"Oh, we don't doubt you, Tim," said I, putting in a word to mollify him;
"But that was a long time ago, for none of _them_ things are going about
now."

"Ar'n't they!" said Tim. "How mighty clever some people thinks they
are." And he took three or four strong whiffs of his dhudeen and sent
a blue cloud of pungent smoke through the room.

"Did ye ever hear of the black dog?" said he.

"No," said we in chorus.

"No; and I suppose none of ye would believe in it?"

"Oh, indeed, Tim, we'd believe anything you'd tell us."

"Well, I know ye are all dacent boys," said Tim, "an', seein' the night
that it is, I don't mind tellin' ye, but I hope that none of ye will
meet the likes of it. And, be the same token, 'twas a Christmas Eve,
too, it happened, before any of ye was born. I was only a gorsoon myself
then, but I remember it as if 'twas only last night. Ould Hegarty lived
up in the big house on the hill with the grove around it. 'Tis little
better nor a ruin now, with the jackdaws nesting in the chimneys and
the swallows buildin' in the drawin'-room, where the quality used to be.
Ould Hegarty, when I first saw him, was a fine, splendid-lookin' man, as
straight as a pikestaff. He had a free hand and an open house to them
that he thought was good enough for him, but he was as hard as flint to
the poor. There was a poor widow that lived in a cabin where the railway
is now, bad luck to it, and she had an only son, a poor angashore of a
fellow that didn't rightly know what he was doin', and one fine day me
bould Hegarty caught him stealin' a few turnips for his ould mother, an'
nothin' wud do Hegarty but to put the law agin' him, and the poor boy
was transported, and sure the luck was that he wasn't hanged, bekase
they'd hang you then for stealin' a tinpenny bit. And sure the night the
assizes was over myself seen the poor lone widow up at ould Hegarty's
doorstep, an' she cursin' him, and, says she, 'May the black dog follow
ye night and day till the hour of yer death,' and she was down on her
two knees, and her poor grey hairs was streamin' in the wind. And out
kem Hegarty with his ridin' whip in his hand, and he lashed her wud it
until the welts on her shoulders wor as thick as yer fingers. 'Do yer
worst, Hegarty,' sez she, 'but the curse of the widow and the orphan is
on ye, and the black dog will follow ye to your dyin' day,' and the poor
crather got up and she staggered away, an' sure before a fortnight was
over they buried her in the churchyard beyant. He murdhered her, as
sure as ye're sittin' there, but there was no one to take the law agin
him; an', sure, if there was 'twud be no use, for the likes of him could
do what they liked in them times wud the poor people. But, for all that,
they say he hadn't an easy day nor night from that out, and in daylight
or dark he always thought he saw a black dog following him. He wouldn't
sleep by himself if he got the world full of goold, and he always had
his servant-man--one, Jim Cassidy--to sleep wud him. An', sure, Jim
himself tould me that Hegarty wud often start up out of his sleep and
cry out, 'Cassidy, Cassidy, Cassidy, turn out the dog!' But Cassidy let
on to me that he never seed the dog, though he used to make believe as
if he wor huntin' him out of the room, but he said whenever he did that
he used to hear a dog howlin' outside for all the world like a banshee."

"Well, this went on for a year or two, and me bould Hegarty that used to
have a face, from eatin' and dhrinkin', as red as a turkey-cock's gills,
grew as white an' as thin as a first coat of whitewash, and he'd never
go home in the night, after playin' cards up at the club-house, without
havin' one or two friends along with him, and he used to keep them
playin' and dhrinkin' in his own house till cock-crow, and then he used
to get a bit easy in his mind, and Cassidy tould me he could get a few
hours' sleep."

"But one night as myself was comin' home late from buryin' of ould
Michil Gallagher, that was drowned on a rough night down near the bar,
when the hooker struck again' the Pollock Rock, who should I come up
with but Hegarty, and a couple of other spree-boys along with him. A
wild night it was, too, wud the moon, that was only half full, tearin'
every now and thin through the clouds that was as black as my hat, and
sure 'twas they wor laughin' and shoutin', as if the dhrink wor in 'em,
and, faix, maybe myself had a dhrop in, too, but sure that's neither
here nor there. Well, myself followed on, keepin' at a civil distance,
as was the best of me play, an' it wasn't long till they wor passin' the
churchyard, where the poor ould widow was buried, an' just then the moon
tore out through a cloud, an' may I sup sorrow to my dyin' day, if I
didn't see a black dog comin' boundin' over the gate of the churchyard,
an' every leg on him as big as my arm, an' his two eyes blazin' in his
head like two live coals. Well, faix, meself felt all at once as if a
lump of ice was slidderin' down the small of me back, till I was almost
as cowld as a corpse, God save the mark; but for all that I kept
follyin' on, an' didn't I see the black naygur of a dog sniff in' and
sniffin' at Hegarty's heels. I don't rightly know whether Hegarty
noticed him or no, but he began shoutin' louder than ever, and the divel
take me, Lord forgive me for cursin', if I ever heard such swearin' in
my life as he was going' on wud, and the play-boys that were wud him
wor nearly as bad as himself. Well, as soon as he got to his house, an'
they all went inside, may I never draw another breath if I didn't see
the black dog vanishin' in a flame of blue fire that nearly blinded me
eyes like a flash of lightnin'; and when I kem to myself again, what
should I see on the doorstep but the ould widow herself--and sure as she
was dead and buried over a year before, it must have been her ghost I
saw--an' she down on her two knees, an' she cursin' away as meself seed
her the night ould Hegarty horsewhipped the poor crather. Well, of
coorse, meself didn't meddle or make wud her, and I hurried home as fast
as I could, an' I never tould what I seen to man or mortal.

"Well, the next day the talk was all over the place that Hegarty was in
a ragin' fever, an' the best of doctors wor brought down from Dublin to
try an' cure him, but 'twas worse an' worse he was gettin', an' at last
he got so bad that they had to tie him down, an' Cassidy had to watch
him night an' day, an' the poor boy was nearly worn out like an ould
shoe, an' he asked me to come an' help him.

"I didn't like the job, at all; but Cassidy was an ould friend of mine,
an' we wor naybour's childre, so by dint of persuasion he got meself to
consint, an' sure 'twas the hard time we had between us. Every minute
Hegarty used to start up and cry out:

"'Hunt him away! Hunt him away; his nails are in my throat! His eyes are
scorchin' me! I'm burnin'! I'm burnin'!'

"The Lord save us, but 'twas awful to listen to him.

"'Hunt him out! Cassidy, hunt him out, or I'll horsewhip you as I
horsewhipped the widow, an' 'tis her curse is on me, the ould hag. Hunt
him out!'

"And we had to pretend we wor huntin' him out, an' daylight or dark we
used to hear a long howl outside that wud make your flesh creep.

"Well, begob, we wor almost wasted to a thread watchin' him, an' we
could hardly get a wink of sleep; but one night the two of us were
dozin' by the side of the bed when all of a sudden we heard glass
crashin', an' before we had time to rub our eyes wud our fists what
should we see but the black dog who had burst in through the window, an'
he in gores of blood an' his eyes blazin' like wildfire, and before we
could stir a foot he was up on the bed an' he tarin' the throat out of
ould Hegarty.

"'The Lord between us an' all harm!' says Cassidy, an' he caught up the
poker an' he hot the dog a belt that ought to have broken every rib in
his body. 'Ye divil get out of that,' says he, an' I gave him another
thwack, an', wud a screech that would waken the dead an' that made every
hair of our heads stand up like bristles, the black dog jumped out
through the windy, an' he tuk the whole sash along wud him, an' ye'd
take yer oath for a minnit that the whole house was on fire, an' there
was a smell of brimstone that would knock ye down. An' when we kem to
ourselves an' looked at ould Hegarty, there he was stiff and stark, an'
the blue mark of the dog's teeth across his windpipe. We called up the
house an' sent for the docthors, an' they kem, an' they said 'twas
somethin' or the other was the matter wud him that killed him; but
Cassidy an' meself knew betther nor they, but we kept our tongues quiet,
for what was the good of talkin' agin them docthors? Well, we waked him,
though sorrow the wan kem to the wake barrin' the playboys who kem to
have a look at him, an' he was buried up in the churchyard, and not far
from the poor widow ayther, an' when ye are goin' home to-night take my
advice and go round by the hill-road, and don't pass by the churchyard,
though 'tis your shortest way home, for as sure as ye do ye might meet
wud the black dog who is always about on Christmas Eve, for that was
when ould Hegarty bet the poor widow wud his horsewhip, and maybe if the
dog met any one of yees he'd do to ye what he did to ould Hegarty."

Perhaps we didn't believe Tim's story, but whether or no we all went by
the hill road, and though many a year is past and gone since Tim told
the story there is not one who heard it, who for love or money would
pass by that churchyard on a Christmas Eve, and it might after all be no
harm if those who read the story as I tell it now, and who dwell in the
place that knows old Tim no more, should take his advice as we did, and
follow the hill road. It is longer than the road by the churchyard, but
there is an old saying that the longest way round is the shortest way
home.



THE GHOST OF GARROID JARLA.


In fulfilment of a promise of many years standing, I went to pay a visit
to an old schoolfellow in the Christmas of the year 185--, and who then
resided within a few miles of the hill called Knock Cord Na Gur, in the
Queen's County. He was a retired naval surgeon, named Lynam, to whom a
substantial residence and farm had been left by an uncle whom he had
never seen, and who had been a bachelor, as was my friend, the doctor.
It was a lonely place for him to settle down in, but he had been for
over twenty years roving in his ship all over the world, and he was
tired of voyages, and he found, or professed to find, this comparatively
lonely spot an agreeable retreat. Besides his housekeeper, his only
servant was one Terry Brennan, who was at once coachman, gardener,
valet, and butler. The farm was pasture, and this the doctor let on
easy terms to the neighbouring tenants, and as he was ever ready on an
emergency to give his medical services, he was very popular for miles
round. He loved a book, a pipe, and could brew a glass of punch which
would "satisfy an admiral," as he was wont to boast, for this appeared
to him to be the highest proof of its efficacy and quality; but,
although he had read much, and travelled far and wide, he was as
superstitious as the most unlettered sailor, and firmly believed in
spiritual visitants, and had many a strange story of what he himself
had seen of the dead returning.

He met me at the station with an ordinary outside car, which he was
driving, having left Terry at home to have everything ready on our
arrival.

We had some miles to go. Night had already fallen a few hours before,
and the sky above was as black as ink. We made our way, driving
cautiously, all right, until, after going for about an hour, a bend in
the road brought us in view of a light, not more than half-a-mile ahead.

"That is the house," said the doctor. "We'll be there in five minutes."

The announcement was very welcome to me, as I was cold and very hungry,
and I was about to make some reply, when my companion suddenly
exclaimed:--

"By ----, there is the light on the Knock."

And I saw a second light higher up than the first, and at some distance
to the right of it, but it vanished in a second.

The doctor's tone was startling.

"What is it?" I queried.

"Quiet, pet; quiet, Molly; easy, girl." The doctor was speaking to the
mare and did not answer my question. "Hold on to the car. By heaven,
we're over!"

I felt the car was being overturned. I was flung out on to the side of
the road, and as I was recovering myself I heard the mare, who had in
some way broken from the harness, clattering down the hill.

I had fallen on the grassy margin near the ditch and escaped unhurt. The
car tumbled into it without touching me.

"Are you hurt?" said the doctor, who was by my side as I was lifting
myself up.

"No," I replied, "and you?"

"All right," he said, but I detected a tremor in his voice.

"Are you sure?" I asked.

"Oh, yes! Come, let us get on--away from here."

I was on my feet. "What is it, Lynam?"

"Do not ask. Come!" and the doctor caught my arm and hurried me along.
I saw he was labouring under some great emotion and forebore to speak.
We reached the gate leading up to the house. It was open, and in two
minutes we were at the hall door. That, too, was open, and on the steps
stood a man holding a lamp out from above his shoulder, and who seemed
framed by the doorway. It was Terry.

"Doctor, darlint, did you see him?"

"Where's the mare?"

"She's in the yard, doctor. She has not a scratch on her, but there's a
lather on her all over."

"Go and rub her down, put her up, and come back as soon as you can."

The doctor's tone had become calm again.

The excitement caused by this incident had made me forget the hunger
and the cold, but when I entered the doctor's cosy room with its bright
log fire glowing in the hearth and inhaled my first breath of the warm
temperature I shuddered, and the doctor, noticing my discomfiture,
uncorked a bottle of champagne and poured out a tumblerful. I observed
that his hand shook as he presented it to me, and also that he appeared
strangely put about.

I tossed off the wine and then accompanied the doctor to my room, and
made myself ready for dinner.

When I came down again to the dining-room the doctor was standing with
his back to the fire, looking still, as I thought, a little distrait.

But he brightened up at once, and saying: "I'm sure you must be hungry
after your long journey," he rang the bell for dinner.

It was brought in by the housekeeper in response to the summons, and
shortly after Terry appeared dressed in the orthodox waiter fashion.

Our talk during dinner was chiefly about old times and old
acquaintances. The wine, which was excellent, was done full justice
to by both of us, and by the time dinner was over we were in the best
possible humour with ourselves and all the world.

Then when the cloth had been removed, and Terry brought in the
"materials," the doctor set himself to brew two stiff tumblers of punch.
This task accomplished, we lit our pipes, and as often happens with
smokers, we relapsed for a while into silence.

We were rudely interrupted by Terry, who pushed in the door without
knocking, and who cried out excitedly:

"Doctor! doctor! you're wanted. Michael Cassidy's cart is overturned at
the trough below, God save us from all harm, although the horse was only
walking, and he's lying under it, and his boy, who was along with him,
has come up for you."

"Get the lamp at once, Terry, and Jack," said the doctor, addressing me,
"on with your coat, I may need your help."

In a few seconds, preceded by Terry with the lamp, and accompanied by
Cassidy's boy, we were hurrying down to the scene of the accident.

We found the cart upset in the middle of the road, and lying across the
body of poor Cassidy.

Terry set down the lamp, and the four of us lifted up the cart and
turned it over into the ditch, close to where our car was lying. The
doctor examined the prostrate man, Terry holding the light for him.

"Dead!" cried the doctor. "Dead! My God, it's awful."

The blood in my veins became icy cold. I felt I was not only in the
presence of death, but in the presence of a mystery still more weird if
that were possible.

"What is it, Lynam?" I whispered hoarsely.

"That is the rattle of a cart coming along, Terry?" said the doctor, not
heeding my question.

"It is, doctor."

"Show them the light."

Terry held out the light in the direction of the approaching cart. It
belonged to one of the neighbours. When the cart came up to where we
were standing around the corpse it halted. A few words were sufficient
to explain what had happened, and the owner of the cart agreeing we
lifted the corpse on to the cart and it was taken home.

The doctor, Terry and I returned towards the house. Not a word was
spoken by any of us until we were within a few yards of the hall door.

"Look, doctor, look!" cried Terry, "the light is on the Knock again!"

I turned round and looked towards the Knock, which rose to the left
about a quarter of a mile from the house. I saw a blue flame that
quivered for a moment like a flame in the wind, and then went out.

"Let us go in," said the doctor, "he has got his victim to-night."

We entered the hall and I turned into the doctor's room followed by him.
I felt like one in a dream. But the room was bright and cheerful, and
the logs were blazing merrily on the hearth. I flung myself into a
chair. The doctor had closed the door, and was standing near me.

"I am sorry, Jack," he said, in a serious tone, "that your visit has
begun so unpropitiously, but let us forget what has occurred and make a
pleasant night of it," and he pulled a chair close to mine and sat down.

He lit a pipe. I followed his example, and we puffed away for a while in
silence, but my curiosity got the better of me.

"Look here, Lynam, old man," I said. "There is some mystery about this
business of to-night. Our car was upset, as far as I know without any
cause, and it was the same in the case of Cassidy's cart. What is it all
about, and what did you mean by talking of 'a victim?'"

"It is a mystery," he began, "but you saw the light on the Knock
to-night?"

"Yes."

"And that is very strange. The only two about here who have seen it--at
least in our time--are Terry and myself. I saw it first on Christmas Eve
ten years ago--the first Christmas Eve after my coming. I have seen it
on three Christmas Eves since, and each time I saw it a man has been
found dead where we found Cassidy to-night."

The doctor spoke in low, measured tones, and a creepy feeling came over
me as I listened.

"But what connection can there be between the light and the dead man on
the road?" I asked.

"It is a curious story," he replied. "It was told to me by Terry. I
doubted it at first, but my own eyes bore witness before to-night to the
truth of part, at least of it. But I had better begin by telling you
what Terry told me. It seems that in the old times--three hundred years
ago or thereabouts--there was on the Knock-Cord-Na-Gur a strong castle,
in which dwelt one of the offshoots of the Fitzgeralds, who was known
as Garroid Jarla, or Garrett the Earl. He was a man of unrestrained
passions, who knew no law save his own will. He was practised in every
kind of devilry, and was dominated by a lust for blood and gold. Murder
was his chief delight. He was surrounded by a band of villains as
unscrupulous and as bloodthirsty as himself. His name was a name of
terror for miles around, and many a blackened rafter and blood stained
hearth bore witness to his infamous cruelties. Yet, for all that, he
could be seemingly courteous, and could easily deceive an unsuspecting
stranger into the belief that he was of a friendly and hospitable
disposition.

"And it was his wont, especially at Christmas time, to intercept
travellers who happened to be passing along the road which we have just
left, and, after a courteous inquiry as to their destination, to bid
them stay the night with him at his castle. Invariably he stationed
himself on the spot where the drinking trough is, of which you heard
Terry speak, and which, perhaps, you may have noticed when he held the
lamp as I was seeing to poor Cassidy."

"I saw something like a stone trough," I said, "but did not take
particular notice of it."

"That was the trough," continued the doctor. "It was not there at the
time I am speaking of. It was placed there long after the so-called earl
had gone to his account. The times were troublous times, and many a
belated traveller was glad of the invitation to spend the night at the
castle on the hill. Poor and rich were welcome there. The poor traveller
set out the next day with the pleasant recollection of a hospitable
night, carrying everywhere he went a good word for his host, Garroid
Jarla, but for the traveller who had money about him, his night in the
castle was his last. He was never seen or heard of again. But when the
earl was killed, and the castle sacked, the only record of his treachery
was a heap of bones and decaying corpses in a cellar under the
diningroom, the only entrance to which was a trap door, over which the
unsuspecting victim sat while he was enjoying the earl's hospitality.

"Garroid Jarla had many enemies, but not one whom he hated more than
Rory O'Moore, who then dwelt in the Castle of Cluin Kyle, and who, at
the head of the Rapparees, was carrying fire and sword into the English
territories. There was a price then on the head of Rory, fifteen
thousand pounds of our money now, and many a plot and plan was framed
and laid to entrap the dauntless Irish captain. Garroid Jarla determined
at any cost to secure the blood money, and tried, again and again, to
entice one of Rory's followers, by the offer of a large bribe, to betray
his master, but without success. Still he persisted, and, at last, he
gained, or thought he had, one over to his interests. The renegade
persuaded Garroid that he was desirous of avenging a grievous personal
wrong he had suffered at the hands of Rory, and that he was willing to
give his life to accomplish his destruction.

"Garroid's hunger for gold induced him to believe that with it he could
purchase a man's soul, and, therefore, he gave ready credence to Rory's
retainer, whose name was Teague O'Moore, and Teague humoured Garroid to
the top of his bent, and denounced Rory in all the moods and tenses. One
night he came to Garroid, and told him that his chance of overcoming his
enemy, Rory, had arrived. Rory, he said, had come to Cluin-Kyle, after
some desperate and successful fighting, and was holding high revel in
the castle. There was no watch kept, as Rory felt perfectly secure for
that night at least, and, therefore, he might easily be surprised about
midnight, and Teague undertook that he would see that the castle gates
were unlocked, and as for signal he would place a lighted candle in the
postern window.

"Garroid eagerly embraced the proposal, and decided to attempt the
surprise of Rory's castle, and, calling his retainers around him, he
made a feast, believing that men fought better if their stomachs were
not too empty, and that as there was stern and bloody work before them,
they would be all the better prepared for it if they imbibed some
draughts of _usquebaugh_. Teague remained until the party seated at
supper had begun to enjoy themselves, and then having taken care to see
that the window of the room opposite which Garroid was seated was not
curtained, he took his leave to go, as Garroid thought, to Cluin-Kyle;
but Teague, having passed out of the castle, entered the wood that
skirted the ford of Dysartgalen. He had not gone far through the fallen
leaves that strewed his path when he was challenged.

"'God and Our Lady and Rory O'Moore,' was his reply.

"'All right, pass on.'

"'Is the captain here?' said Teague.

"'Here,' answered a stalwart Rapparee.

"'I want your best marksman, captain.'

"'Come hither, Shan Dhu,' said the captain.

"A man stepped forward with musket on shoulder.

"'Follow me,' said Teague, 'and you captain and your men keep close to
our heels. When you hear the shot rush straight for the castle. If the
bullet does its work the castle is yours.'

"Teague and the marksman went ahead. They passed unnoticed within the
outer walls, and advanced close to the uncurtained window.

"'That candle that you see,' said Teague to the marksman, 'is in a line
with Garroid Jarla. Snuff it and you kill him.'

"The marksman took a cautious aim.

"'Bang!' A crash of glass, a fierce yell.

"'Oh, Captain!' cried Teague, with a wild shout, that made the night
tremble. The Rapparees burst in on the startled revellers. But, as the
latter had their weapons ready to hand, a desperate conflict ensued, and
it is said that, until the last of his followers was slain, Garroid
Jarla remained sitting where he had been shot, and that his face was
black as coal, while his eyes gleamed like fire. The Rapparees sacked
the castle before they left for Cluin-Kyle with the news of the tyrant's
death.

"The next day the peasantry entered the ruined castle, and, finding the
body of their arch-enemy, Garroid Jarla, they dragged it to the Ford of
Dysartgallen, and, having cut it in quarters, they flung them into the
river, and believed they had got rid, once and for all, of the ruthless
tyrant of their homes.

"But in this, according to Terry's story," said the doctor, "they were
mistaken. For, time after time, Garroid Jarla appeared at the very
spot where he used to meet travellers during his life, and whomever he
accosted never saw the morning break again.

"At last a friar coming this way heard of the apparitions and their
fatal results, and he bade the people bring a stone trough, and place
it on the spot, and this trough was fed with water from a running
stream, and the friar blessed the water, so that no evil spirit could
come near it. And after this, for generations, no one ever saw the ghost
of Garroid Jarla. But in the dark days of Ninety-eight, a band of Yeos,
coming along the road, broke the trough, and turned away the stream from
it, and ever since then it is dry, and of no service to man or beast,
and ever since then at irregular intervals, but always on Christmas Eve,
the ghost reappears and claims a victim, and when he appears a light
burns on the Knock. And that is Terry's story," said the doctor, and he
shook the ashes from his pipe.

"Have you ever seen the ghost?" I asked.

"I have seen the light on the Knock," he replied, "and I have seen the
dead men. You saw the light on the Knock to-night; you also have seen a
dead man. Do you doubt," said he, looking me straight in the face, "that
he is one of Garroid Jarla's victims?"

"Perhaps, after all, doctor," said I, "there are more things in heaven
and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy."

"It is getting late," said the doctor, "and I am sure you must be
tired."

I was tired, and yet when I turned in I could not sleep. On that night
and many a night since I was haunted by the ghost of Garroid Jarla.



TRUE TO DEATH.


"Death!" The speaker was a tall, sinewy, athletic man, from twenty-eight
to thirty years of age. The single word came from his lips short and
sharp as a pistol shot. He looked around upon his auditors, who watched
his hard-set features in silence. A group of a dozen peasants stood
before him, the youngest not more than twenty, the oldest a man of sixty
years, above the average height, thin, cadaverous looking, with hollow,
sunken eyes, black as night, that contrasted strangely with the
prominent, grey, bushy eyebrows. Deep lines, traced by suffering and
bitter thought, furrowed his ample brow, and long, lank, white hair came
down almost to his shoulders. His eyes rested upon the speaker, whose
face became blanched under the terrible and earnest gaze that was
fastened upon him. Though dressed in peasant garb, it was easy to
see that the young man's life was not always spent in the peaceful
occupation of the peasantry; a scar on his right cheek told a story of
conflict, while the deep bronze that stained his face was suggestive of
travel in other lands. Born on the southern coast, his earlier years
were spent in the precarious pursuit of fishing, and just as he crossed
the threshold of manhood, an adventurous spirit prompted him to join
some of his comrades who sailed with a French captain bound from the
Shannon for Brest. He pursued the sea-faring life for a year or two,
when, falling in at one of the French ports with a detachment of the
Irish Brigade, then battling under the _Fleur-de-lis_, he took service
in it, and fought in several engagements, until a bullet in the breast
incapacitated him for the duties of a soldier's life. Returning to
Ireland, he found the peasantry engaged in the great agrarian struggle
which produced the "Whiteboys." His military and adventurous spirit, as
well as his sympathy with his class, invested the conspiracy with a
peculiar attraction for him. He became a member of it, and before many
months had passed was the leader of the organisation in his district.
His superior ability, and his power of swift and keen judgment,
commanded the respect and confidence of his followers. On many a night
before this on which our story opens, the terrible sentence of death had
fallen from his lips, but never before had his comrades observed the
deathlike pallor that was in his face to-night. The scene was a weird
one. A long, low-roofed cave, of irregular shape, not more than twelve
feet at the widest, and narrowing towards the aperture, which was scarce
large enough to allow of one man at a time crouching on his hands and
knees; a small opening in the roof, through which a hand might be
thrust, allowed the escape of the smoke from the pine logs, blazing in
the further end of the cave. As the flame leaped up and down, a thousand
shadows and flickering lights danced on roof, and floor, and walls,
flitting fantastically, bringing into occasional prominence, the
features of the group. As the speaker uttered the single word, a log,
displaced by the action of the fire, blazed fiercely, and threw its
light upon his face. In the searching light every lineament was clearly
portrayed, and the twitching of his mouth, and the white look that
chased the bronze from his cheek, became plainly visible to the eyes of
his followers.

"It is well," said the old man. "When shall we meet again?"

The question was addressed to the leader. All eyes were fastened on him
as he said with unusual slowness:

"This night fortnight."

"Too long," cried the old man, with a fierce cry that had a hard
metallic ring in it as it struck against the walls of the cave.

"Too long," murmured the others.

The leader looked around, scanning the faces of each one closely.

"Too long," repeated the old man, in deeper tones.

"Well, this night week, be it," said the leader.

"Agreed," came the response.

And one by one the party left the cave, save the old man and the leader.
The old man moved to the aperture, peered out, and waited until the
last of his comrades had disappeared. He then turned back, and, standing
with folded arms before his companion, said to him:

"We chose you to be our leader because we knew you were brave, and we
believed you to be true; you have never failed us up to this."

"Then why do you doubt me now?"

"Because," said the old man gravely, "there was a white look in your
face to-night, which was the sign of either fear or treachery; you
are too brave for fear; then what did it mean? You have decreed swift
doom to the petty tyrants; why did you seek to-night to postpone the
execution of the arch tyrant? You know the wrong he has done our
people--ay, the nameless outrages which he has inflicted upon their
honour, yet you sought to gain for him the long day, for him who would
string us up at short shrift. What does it mean?" And the old man's
tones became fiercer. "Is it true what they whisper of you, that the
nut-brown hair and the bright eyes and the red mouth of his daughter
have caught you in the net, and that your arm is no longer free, and
that your heart is unmanned? Look at me! I am old, and worn, and
withered. I was once young like you. I knew what it was to love, and
the sweetest maid that ever stepped down the mountain side, bright and
sparkling as a streamlet in the sun, was the girl of my heart. Forty
years ago the green carpet was laid over her in the old churchyard, and
a week after there was a bullet in the heart of him who was the father
of the man you want to save. Ah! You cannot know, God grant you may
never know what forty years of sorrow and bitterness are to the heart
of man. Yet you would save him, who follows in the footsteps of his
father--him who, as I have told you, has done us nameless wrong. Beware!
I am old and you are young; you are strong and I am weak, but I can
strike a traitor yet."

As the old man spoke these last words, he had drawn himself up to his
full height, his right arm was lifted, and the clenched fist drove
the nails into the palm of his hand. Suddenly it fell to his side,
and turning from his companion he sought the opening of the cave and
disappeared in the night. The leader stood alone. The light from the
pine logs began slowly to die out, shadows clothed the walls of the cave
and advanced along the floor, and save a small pool of red light below
and a faint flickering glow on the roof above, everything was in
darkness. Still the leader remained with his arms crossed, motionless;
various thoughts disturbed his heart, thoughts of the old days when he
was a fisher lad; thoughts of the bivouac and the battle, of the stories
of the camp fire, of the long yearning in foreign fields for his own old
island home, of the oppression of the people, of the loyalty of his
followers, of their faith in him, of the brave work he had hoped to do
for them, and then of the sweet face of the girl that he knew never
could be his, but for whose sake he would have plucked his eyes out and
gone through a thousand deaths. He knew the old man had spoken truly; he
knew that her father was one of the bitterest and most hated of the
oppressors of his people, and yet he had to confess to himself that for
her sake he had sought to gain for him the long day. The last flickering
embers were almost dead. Suddenly he became aware of the darkness
around, and with an effort, bracing himself up, he sought to chase the
harassing thoughts away from him and left the cave.

The cave was by the sea-shore; it was far up on the cliffs, its entrance
was concealed by a projecting rock, and was known to very few. A rugged
ascent scarcely safe to even the most practised feet, and dangerous to
any but a man of the firmest nerves, led up to it from the beach. When
the leader stepped through the outlet the strong sea breeze restored him
to himself. He descended cautiously until he reached the strand. To the
right lay his home. For a moment he turned in that direction, but only
for a moment, and then he went the opposite way. After walking for a
quarter of an hour he again ascended the cliff, and reaching the table
land advanced with quick steps until he found the road. Having gone
three or four hundred yards, a light piercing far through the darkness
from the window of a square building, that looked half fortress and half
mansion, caught his eyes. There was a wild stir in his heart, and the
blood rushed fiercely through his veins. He walked like one fascinated.
He knew not what he thought; he only felt that if with every forward
step death should grip him by the throat he should still go on. At last
he stood almost close enough to the lighted windows to touch them with
his hand. He looked into the room which was on the ground floor.
Pictures and books and embroidery were there; a bright fire sparkled on
the hearth, candles fixed against the walls made the room almost as
light as day. There was no one visible. Just as he was about to turn
away in despair the door opened and a radiant girl entered. She advanced
towards the fireplace, shuddered a little as if cold, and stretched her
soft white hands over the blaze, and the ruddy glow stained the white
lilies on her cheeks. Something like a sob stuck in his throat, and
when a moment after her father entered the room, and the Whiteboy chief
remembered the sentence in the cave, with a moan, like that of a dumb
animal in pain, he staggered helplessly away and sought his home.

The morning broke cold and grey, but soon the level lights of the winter
sun came into the room where he had spent a sleepless night. He rose
from his bed, and dressing himself opened the little window and looked
out upon the sea. The chill breeze of the morning, odorous with the
brine of the ocean, filled the room. Hours passed and he still watched
the glancing billows keen and cold, and thought of the Shannon river and
his voyage to Brest and the escape that was open to him, and he sank
into himself and thought and thought. Then looking out again he saw on
the strand below, moving along with pain, the old man of the cave, and
his heart was divided, and once more he remembered the oppressions of
his people.

"They trust me," he said, "and what am I to her? What am I to her?" he
cried out passionately, "she does not know of my existence. I am one of
the crowd that her father treats even worse than dogs, and whom she,
with all her graciousness, scarcely deigns to recognise. Ay! there you
go, old man, with your load of sorrow, greater than mine; and yet 'tis
hard, 'tis hard to think of it, that I should be the one to pronounce
his doom."

Wearily he closed the window and left the room and went down by the sea,
and watched its ebbing and its flowing with sinking heart. The following
night found him equally restless. How the week passed he did not know,
but the night came when he was to meet his followers again in the cave.
A week before he was a man of thirty years, looking resolute and brave
save for the white look that momentarily came into his face as he
pronounced the terrible sentence; to-night he looked old and haggard,
and the ruddy light from the blazing logs served only to make his face
look ghastly. The doom had been decreed. To-night was to decide who was
to carry it into execution. Hitherto the executioner had been selected
by lot. To-night it was proposed the same course should be followed. All
appeared to agree, when the old man lifted his voice and said:

"We have chosen this man as our leader; we have been faithful to him in
carrying out his orders; we have placed our necks within the gallows
noose; some of us have stepped up the gallows stair and died without
betraying him, when by betraying him they could have saved their lives.
The time has come when he should prove his fidelity to us by taking this
deed upon himself."

When the old man had ceased speaking there was perfect silence. In the
uncertain light it was impossible to discern clearly the features of the
leader. But he spoke no word. An indistinct muttering from the followers
scarcely broke the silence. Then a stout strapping fellow stepped to the
front and said:

"No! I believe in our leader. Up to this it has always been decided by
lot. It fell to me twice. I wished it fell to someone else; but when it
fell on me I did it. I don't see why the captain should not have the
same chance as the rest of us."

A chorus of approval answered this little speech.

"Well, then, comrades," said the leader, "are you all satisfied that it
should go by lot?"

"Yes, yes," was the answer, while the old man stood with folded arms and
remained silent.

"Then let it be by lot," said the leader.

This course having been determined upon, a pebble was produced for every
man present. One was a white pebble; the others were of various colours.
The man who drew the white pebble was to be the executioner. The pebbles
were placed in a small hole in the side of the cave, not touched by the
light of the fire, and too high, even if there was most perfect light to
allow anyone to see its contents. The old man was the first to try his
fate, and kept the pebble which he drew close in his clenched fist; the
others followed, and each also kept the pebble in his closed fist. The
last to draw was the leader. The old man, stirring the logs with his
feet, said as the blaze lit up the cave--

"Now, let us show our hands," and every man displayed the pebble upon
his level palm.

The white was in the leader's hand. He had no sooner shown it than his
fingers closed over it with a convulsive grasp that might have crushed
it into powder.

"Yes," he said, with a strident voice, "the lot has decided I'm to be
the executioner. I shall answer for the discharge of my duty with my
life."

"To-night," hissed the old man between his teeth.

"Yes, to-night," was the reply, cold, and brief and fierce.

The conspirators filed out of the cave; the last to leave was the
leader.

The new moon had just broken through the clouds, which flung their dark
shadows on the sea. He gained the strand, conscious that his comrades
were watching him. He took the direction of the doomed house; he moved
along like a man whose heart was dead within him. He crossed the lawn,
he advanced to the window; the lights were burning in the room as they
had burned on that other night. The father and the daughter sat, side by
side, in front of the cheerful fire, her arm round his neck, and from
the movements of her lips, the light upon her face, and the pleasant
laughter in her eyes, the chief knew she was talking fondly. In a moment
of madness he lifted his pistol, and aimed it at her father's head. Just
then the girl drew back, rose from her chair, and standing up to her
full height, displayed all her freshening beauty.

"God bless you, darling!" he sobbed; and when he was found dead outside
the window, with a bullet from his own pistol in his heart, the boys
knew that he was "True to them to the Death."



"THE LIGHT THAT LIES IN WOMAN'S EYES."

(_A Story of '98_).


Nora O'Kelly was just nineteen years of age--tall, lissome, with cheeks
like an apple blossom, hair as brown as a ripe beechnut glowing in the
sunset, lips like rowan-berries in the warm August days, and eyes like
twin stars looking at themselves in a woodland pool--a girl to dream
about in one's sleep, to rave about when awake.

This is high praise of a sweet Irish colleen, the critical reader may
say, but it was not half high enough for half the boys whose heads she
turned when she and they were young. Alas! they--the admired and the
admirers--have long since passed away, and are all now in noteless
graves, for the little story, if story it can be called, which is set
down here, is a story of a hundred years ago, when the war clouds
hovered over the land, and from out their dark bosoms flashed the
lightnings that rived many a home and made many places desolate.

She was a farmer's daughter in the county Kildare, who lived not far
from Naas. Her life had been uneventful until her mother died when she
was little over sixteen. Since then, she, the only child, had been the
solace of her father. He, as is the way with fathers, would have kept
her always by him; and in the happiness which her loving companionship
brought him, he persuaded himself that she was perfectly happy under his
roof, and that her thoughts never wandered away from it and him.

But as the wind bloweth where it lists, so love wanders at its own sweet
will. Sometimes it will steal in through the guarded gates of palaces;
sometimes it will creep in through the crannies of the mud-wall cabins;
no place is secure from it; the walled town is as defenceless against
its assault as the open plain. It marches down through centuries, the
overthrow of kingdoms and of nations cannot hinder its buoyant step, and
once in a way it came knocking at the heart of sweet Nora O'Kelly.
She did not at once understand the summons--what young girl sweet and
innocent as she ever does? But she heard the knocking at her heart all
the same, and when she looked through the windows of her eyes she saw,
or thought she saw, young Larry O'Connor looking straight at her with
such a look as she had never seen in a boy's eyes before, and she felt
as if she were walking on air, and that her heart was one sweet song
that could not find a word to interpret its music.

Oh! for the delicious dream that comes to a happy privileged youth or
maiden once in a lifetime, and that is, no matter what the sceptics and
the scoffers say, sometimes realised, and this was the dream that had
invaded Nora's heart and taken complete possession of it.

But Larry O'Connor was poor; one of half a dozen children who had to
live out of a farm not half as large as that of Nora's father, and she
was his only child. Her father also, like many men of property, thought
chiefly of it, and was utterly averse to change, and he had nothing but
hard words for the emissaries of the French Government as he said and
thought, who were going about the country, inculcating subversive ideas
in the minds of the young generation.

Conscious of the growing unrest amongst the people, Mr. O'Kelly
recognised, but not until after a long struggle with himself that it was
desirable he should settle Nora in life. She was young, beautiful and
attractive, and he had means greater than his station. He had discovered
for himself that young Captain Anthony of the Yeos, the son of his
landlord, had been smitten by his daughter's charms. And though very
loath to think of her leaving himself once or twice, perhaps oftener, it
crossed his mind that if she were to leave him she could do no better
than become Captain Anthony's wife. He was a gentleman to the manner
born, though a little self-willed and occasionally passionate--failings
common enough in these days when his class, a minority of the people
was in the ascendant, with scarcely anyone to question them, save some
fierce peasant seeking 'the wild justice of revenge.'

Young Anthony was a good-looking youth, with an air of distinction which
goes far to capture woman's hearts. He had first met Nora O'Kelly at a
ball given by his father to his tenants, and had danced with her on that
occasion twice or thrice. Nora met him with the freedom of a maiden who
looked upon him as above her in station, and she regarded his courtesy
towards her as a delicate compliment due from his superior position
rather than to herself. Her frankness did not deceive him for a moment.
There was that in her eyes--that which is in the eyes of every maiden of
guiless heart--which told more plainly than words can tell that he was
no more to her than a gracious stranger, here to-day and gone to-morrow.

But this only added fuel to the fire kindled in his heart, her beauty,
as marvellous, though happily not so fleeting, as that of the white rose
which wins the heart of the wayfarer through the hedgerows in the days
of June. A good-looking young fellow as he was, enjoying a high social
position, many longing eyes had bent upon him, and he had no doubt that
he could easily find a lady of his own station who would be willing to
share his fortunes as his wife. But he had hitherto kept himself aloof
from the snares of love, and now unwittingly he had fallen over head and
ears into it. He did not know this for a considerable time. He had, it
is true, directed his steps often towards Nora's house, on one pretence
or another to see her father, but really to catch a glimpse of her. But
he was seldom successful, as Nora had no desire whatever to come in his
way, and hardly ever gave him a moment's thought. Indeed, her whole mind
was constantly filled with the vision of Larry O'Connor, who was just as
constantly thinking of her, though neither of them had yet spoken of
love.

But Captain Anthony, although conscious of a growing interest in
Nora, did not suspect that he was really in love with her, and, as a
consequence, had not formed any 'intentions' concerning her. If he had
it would doubtless never have occurred to him that, in case he ventured
to offer his hand to her, he would meet with a refusal. But all at once,
in the most unexpected manner, he made the discovery that his heart was
in her keeping. Riding by the boreen leading up to her father's house in
the twilight of an April evening he caught a glimpse of two figures
moving up the boreen close together. One he knew at a glance, it was
Nora; the other he found to be Larry O'Connor. There was nothing very
remarkable in this, for the farms of the two families were joined, and
as neighbour's children they might naturally be on friendly terms, but
the sight smote the heart of Anthony like a sword thrust, and something
like hatred for O'Connor was stirred up in him. He rode on home slowly,
gnawed at by jealous pangs. The face of Nora was before his vision in
all its radiant beauty. The soft, sweet caressing voice which won all
hearts was in his ear, but now it was whispering, he had no doubt, words
of love into another's, and that other one wholly unworthy of her, a
mere peasant, for Captain Anthony prided himself on his gentility,
although he was only a descendant of a Cromwellian trooper. In
another mood he might perhaps have classed Nora's father in the same
category, but now his eyes were suddenly opened to her worth, and the
possibility--nay, the likelihood of losing her made her appear still
more precious. He made no attempt to shake himself free from his
torment. He surrendered himself all that night to it, the next day he
came to the rash determination as it proved to go straight to Mr.
O'Kelly and ask for Nora's hand. He had no doubt at all of his consent,
and he tried to persuade himself that Nora's heart was still free, and
that she would scarcely refuse him who might choose amongst so many.
When he arrived at the house he was disappointed to find that Mr.
O'Kelly had gone to Dublin, and would not be back till late, but Nora
was at home. He took a sudden resolve, he would see her and propose to
her there and then.

Nora at the time was in the garden, and when the message was brought
to her that Captain Anthony desired to see her in the absence of her
father, she came wondering what the captain could want, and without the
faintest suspicion of his purpose. She received him in the parlour,
offered him a chair, she herself remaining standing. For a second
Captain Anthony stood as if irresolute--then he plunged straight into
the heart of the business.

"I came to find your father, Nora. I have found you. I want to know,"
here he looked imploringly at her, "can I keep you for ever?"

Nora flushed crimson, and a startled look stole into her eyes. She
hardly knew what interpretation to put on such language, but before she
could say a word the captain rushed on impetuously--"I mean it, Nora, I
love you--yes, love you with all my heart. Will you be my wife?"

A look of great distress came over Nora's face. Startling as the
proposal was, all the more so because of its brevity and plainness, the
evident sincerity of it appealed to her more strongly even than the
honour of it. She held out her hand while the tears came to her eyes.

"It is impossible, captain; I love another."

The captain's face became white. He ignored the proffered hand, and
bowing stiffly left the room and the house. When he had ridden about a
quarter of a mile he crossed into the fields and put his horse to the
gallop until both horse and rider were well nigh exhausted. It was the
means almost instinctively adopted by him to try and subdue the tumult
of his soul.

From that day forward Anthony was a changed man. To the passion of
jealousy was added a feeling of deepest humiliation. To have been
refused by the daughter of one of his tenants in favour of a pauper
peasant youth was maddening, for though Nora had not mentioned
O'Connor's name, Anthony had no doubt that it was him she meant. But any
doubt he might have had was dispelled, for again it chanced he saw the
two lovers together, and he was witness, without their knowledge, of a
tender parting that still further added to his torments. The feeling,
akin to hatred which was stirred up on the first occasion developed into
actual hatred. But about this time there were some anxieties that came
as a distraction to the mind of the disappointed suitor. Rumours of an
intended rising had become persistent, and a few weeks was to prove
their truth. On the 23rd day of May Michael Reynolds stopped the mail
coaches, and on the following morning he made the attack on Naas.
Amongst his followers was Larry O'Connor, wearing for a favour a green
rosette, which had been made for him by Nora, who, deeply as she loved
him, was proud to see him go forth to battle for his native land. But we
are not writing history, and will not detain the reader by a description
of the battle of Naas. Information of the intended attack had been given
to the authorities, and a strong garrison was posted in the town, and
after a gallant effort to dislodge it, Reynolds was forced to order his
men to retreat. O'Connor, armed with a pike, had fought desperately by
his leader's side until the last moment. Then he, too, quitted the field
and got separated from the rest of his companions. As soon as the
insurgents were seen to be in retreat, the Fourth Dragoon Guards, the
Ancient Britons, and the Mounted Yeos, were let loose after them. The
latter were commanded by Captain Anthony. It was no quarter for anyone
they overtook, whether armed or unarmed. O'Connor finding himself alone,
crossed the fields as fast as he could, but still keeping his pike.
The pounding of a horse close behind him and a bullet whizzing by his
ear caused him to turn round. It was a dragoon, who also had become
separated from his troop. He had drawn his long sabre and made a cut at
O'Connor as he came up. The latter caught the sword on the guard of his
pike. After a combat of a few seconds the dragoon was unhorsed with a
fatal gash in his throat, and O'Connor, having possessed himself of his
sword, and the horse galloped away in the direction of his home. He was
within a few yards of the boreen leading up to O'Kelly's farm house,
when he caught sight of Nora. She was down at the road waiting for
tidings of the battle. O'Connor reined in his horse. At that moment
round a bend of the road appeared Captain Anthony, his horse covered
with foam.

"Surrender, you rebel, or I will shoot you."

He held the pistol out before him. O'Connor crying, "Go back, Nora
darling!" urged his horse forward, raising his sword the while. But
Anthony fired and the bullet struck O'Connor in the sword arm, which
fell helpless. In a second Anthony had gripped O'Connor, and in the
struggle the two men rolled off their horses. Anthony was on top, and
he drew a second pistol from his belt. Before he could use it his hand
was seized.

It was Nora. Her assistance enabled O'Connor to regain his feet.

"By G----, I'll make him swing on this very spot!" cried Anthony,
foaming with passion.

"Thank God! Captain Anthony, I've saved you from committing murder!"

For a moment his eyes met Nora's. Their deep, soft, tender influence,
and the soft, low, sweet voice fell like a happy calm on his soul. For a
second a fierce, wild longing to clasp her in his arms took possession
of him, and all his heart's love went out to her. Then there was the
noise of galloping horses below the bend of the road.

Turning to O'Connor, Captain Anthony said gently, "The Yeos are coming,
save yourselves."

And Larry and Nora went down the boreen together.



DEATH BY MISADVENTURE.


"Superstitious?" Well, I confess I am a little. I would rather not sit
down at table with twelve others, and I think that no really good host
should expose his guest to such a predicament. I have, indeed, made one
of thirteen at dinner on more than one occasion, and was not a penny the
worse, nor, as far as I can recall, was anyone else. But all the same, I
don't like the number. And I would rather see two magpies than one any
day, and I don't like to hear the 'tick' of the death watch at night.

I would rather not pass a churchyard alone after dark, but then I don't
like churchyards even in the daytime, and would avoid them if I could. I
was once induced to make one at a seance of Spiritualists, and sat for
at least half an hour, with five or six others, round a table in the
dark, vainly hoping for a glimpse of a spirit from the other world, or
for a sound of the rapping, the system of telegraphy said to be employed
by its denizens, but I neither saw nor heard anything.

The reader will gather from this that I am like nine out of ten of his
acquaintances in matters of this kind. I am not a convinced sceptic as
to supernatural visitations, and, on the other hand, I am not a believer
in them. All I know is that I had never seen anything to bring me in
touch, real or imaginary, with the other world until a certain night in
the first days of the month of September, over twenty years ago, when I
was staying at one of the most charming seaside resorts on the eastern
coast of Ireland.

The weather was simply delightful. The breath of summer seemed still to
linger in the leaves, almost as many as they are in June, and which had
hardly begun to put on their autumn tints. The sea for days had been
like a mill-pond. The tide glided in and out almost imperceptibly, and
only in the still night could one hear its soft sighing voice.

I was lodged in a 'furnished house' close to the sea. My rooms were very
bright, and offered splendid views of sea and mountain, and of the rich
foliage that crowned the hills that rose up, gently sloping, almost from
the strand.

The house was furnished after the fashion of many seaside houses let
for the season, and idle during the winter months. The furniture was
indifferent, but sufficient. But of this I had not taken much notice. I
was easily satisfied, and moreover I spent most of my time out of doors.
But there came a day when the sky was covered with black clouds, from
which the rain poured down unceasingly, and the sea was hidden in a
mist.

I had smoked and read for two or three hours, and then got up, stretched
my legs and walked about my sitting room. And for the first time, I
think, I paid serious attention to the pictures on the walls. With one
exception, they were all photographs. This exception was the allegorical
representation of Hope--a beautiful female figure. The others were
photos of family groups, churches, etc., and they suggested in an
unmistakeable way a "job lot" at an auction.

This suggestion set me speculating on the fortunes of their former
owner. And what encouraged me in this was the character of the largest
photograph. It was a wedding group, evidently taken just after the
arrival from church. The persons forming it stood on the steps of a
rather fine house, over the porch of which the word 'Welcome' was formed
in rosebuds. There were in the group about twenty persons in all. The
bride, with a bouquet in her hand, was standing beside the bridegroom,
on the top step, and both came out very well in the photo, and as the
central figures, of course they naturally excited more interest than the
others. The bride was tall, shapely and decidedly good-looking, while
the bridegroom, on the other hand, was stumpy, thick-necked, and of an
ill-favoured countenance, and apparently much older than the bride. Was
it a match of love or convenience? How did it fare with the two standing
here side by side, whose future life till death would them part were
linked together for good or ill, for happiness or misery?

An idle question, the reader may say, but then it was in an idle hour I
put it to myself. As I turned from this photo to the others, it occurred
to me that all of them were somehow connected. There were photos of two
country churches, one with a tower and steeple recently erected at the
time the picture was taken if one might judge from the clearly defined
lines of masonry, and the low size of the firs and yews planted round
it. The other had a square tower and was almost concealed by ivy, and
a glimpse was given of the churchyard and of some of the tombstones,
including a fine Celtic cross. In one or other of these I decided the
marriage had taken place. In the new church doubtless, for the photo
was mounted on a grey toned card, as was that of the wedding group.
Moreover, both were from the same photographic studio of Grafton-street,
Dublin. The photo of the old church was by a different artist, and was
mounted differently. The remaining photos were of the Madeleine, the
Place de la Concorde, the tomb of Napoleon, and the Louvre--souvenirs,
no doubt, of the honeymoon spent in Paris, and there was one of a pretty
cottage, which was, I surmised, the first home of the newly married
couple. In this way I explained satisfactorily to myself all the
pictures, save that of the old church, with the glimpse of the
graveyard. Then it seemed to me that I had arrived at the end of the
story, and so I gave it up and returned to my lounge, my book and my
pipe.

That evening a friend from town dropped in after dinner and spent a few
hours with me. I went down to the station to see him off by the last
train, which went about eleven o'clock. Returning alone in a starless
night, and with the damp breath of the sea fog clinging to my face, and
the long, low moan of the ocean falling upon my ears, a 'creepy' feeling
came over me. I was like one rescued from a harassing but unseen enemy
when I got back into the shelter of my lodgings, and had closed and
bolted the door.

I went almost straight to my bedroom, and I found myself leaving the gas
lighting, an unusual circumstance with me. After a while I fell asleep,
and began, as I thought, to dream. It seemed to me as though I was
sitting alone in the sittingroom downstairs, and that I was looking
curiously at the pictures, tracing from them again the little history
already given. Then my eyes rested steadily on the picture of the old
church, and then I thought that the picture itself had vanished, and
that I was actually standing at the gate of the churchyard. Over the
church and the little cemetery the morning was breaking, and the grass
and leaves appeared to be quite wet as if the heavy rain had only just
ceased. Then, when about to move away from the gate, I saw a white, and
at first, shadowy figure standing by the Celtic cross in the graveyard.
In a few seconds it seemed to become a defined and substantial form. It
was that of a lady of about thirty years of age. She wore about her
head drapery similar to that on the head of the allegorical picture of
Hope, which, as I have said, was among the pictures in the sitting-room,
but the face was different--it was that of the bride! Then I saw the
figure leave the cross and pass out by another gate than that at which I
was standing and go along the road. I felt myself drawn after it, and it
seemed to me that both it and I flew rather than walked, so swiftly did
we pass over the road.

We must have gone some miles when the figure stopped in front of a
rose-clad cottage, identical with the cottage in the photo.

The figure entered the cottage, and I thought I should see it no more.
But in a second the exterior of the cottage disappeared, and I saw
instead a bedroom, in which a woman was lying. It was the face and
figure which I had followed. The face was pale, and she appeared ill and
suffering. By the bed was a man, whose back was at first towards me, but
soon he moved and I saw that he was the image of the bridegroom. The
woman raised herself uneasily on the pillow. Her eyes were wide and
glistening, and she made a gesture towards a table at the head of the
bed, on which were two or three medicine bottles. The man, in reply to
her gesture, poured out something from one of the bottles into a cup and
put it to her lips. She appeared to drink it all, and then, lying back
quietly on the pillow, seemed to fall into a deep sleep.

I awoke, and knew I had been dreaming--to my great surprise, found
myself in my dressing-gown in the sitting-room, to which I must have
made my way during my sleep.

I started up, shivering with cold, and forgetting all about the dream,
went up to my bedroom and was soon asleep.

However, when I awoke the dream came back to me, and so persistently
that I determined to find out something about the photos, which had now
a keener interest for me than before.

I questioned my landlady. She was unable to give me any information save
what I had already guessed, that they had been bought at an auction at
one of the Dublin salerooms, but she had no idea who the owner was, or
who were the people in the group. She remembered that a former lodger
had remarked that the old church was some church near Dublin, but she
could not say which.

Here was something of a clue, and I determined to pursue it. I took the
photo from the frame, and the next time I went to Dublin showed it to a
monument maker in Brunswick Street. He at once told me the church was
St. M----s, a few miles outside the city. I asked if it were he who had
put up the Celtic cross. He said he had not, but adding it was the work
of another sculptor who lived near Glasnevin.

I went to the sculptor whom he named, and showed him the photo. At once
he recognised the cross at a glance. It had been erected to the memory
of Mrs. A---- D----, who had died a few years after her marriage. Her
death was, he said, the result of a misadventure, she having accidently
taken the wrong medicine.

"Did she take it herself?" I asked.

"Yes, that was the evidence at the inquest. The husband was dreadfully
cut up about it. It was he who put up the cross, one of the finest that
ever left a Dublin yard," said my informant, with an air of professional
triumph.

"But for all that," he continued, "he got married within a few months
after his wife's death, and then," he added reflectively, "it is often
the way, the greater the grief in the beginning the sooner it is got
over."

A question not to be decided this side of the grave if the whole of my
dream might not have been true so much having proved itself so.



A MESSAGE FROM THE DEAD.


Some years ago when I was making a tour through the Basque provinces I
fell in with another tourist who had been wandering through them for
some months in the endeavour to become acquainted with the manners,
customs and language of the peasantry. He was an Irishman, and had been
seeking evidence in support of the theory that there was not only a
close affinity between the Basque and the early Irish or Celtic tongue,
but also that there were close resemblances between the life, habits,
and customs of the Basques and the Irish who had not fallen under
foreign influence; and he stoutly maintained that the founder of the
Fueros, and of all rights and privileges which the Basques had so long
enjoyed, was an exiled Irish Prince, and, in support of his assertion,
he told me a romantic story which he had taken down from the lips of a
Basque peasant, and which I believe is still current in some of the
provinces.

Although I did not assent to his views, yet being half Spanish myself,
I could not help feeling an interest in his researches, and I was
attracted by the earnestness with which he pursued them. But apart from
this he was an exceedingly genial and pleasant companion; we soon became
fast friends, and when at length we parted he carried away a promise
from me to visit him in his home, which was situated on the south coast
of Ireland. "They say it was built by a Spaniard," he told me, "and it
has something of a foreign air about it. It is not quite a palace, you
know," he added, "but it will serve a pair of old bachelors like you and
me." And so it came to pass that I found myself one midsummer night
about twenty years ago at Rochestown House, some distance inland from
the head of a beautiful little bay not many miles from the town of
Kinsale.

Although I had lived in England for many years I had never been to
Ireland before, and, I confess I had allowed myself to be misled into
the belief that it was in a disturbed state, and so was agreeably
surprised to learn from my friend O'Driscoll, that the country was 'as
peaceful as a duck in a pond,' as he put it, and that there was nothing
more dangerous to a bachelor like myself than the eyes of the girls,
which he insisted were even brighter than those of Spain--a heresy which
I felt bound to challenge.

I shall not waste time by a lengthened description of Rochestown House,
for, in sooth, it did not call for one. It was a long, irregular
building. The rooms were fairly large and well lit. The only occupants
of the house were my friend and three or four servants, and it was but
plainly furnished. The room which had been allocated to me had just what
was requisite in it, save for a few charming pictures which O'Driscoll
had brought back with him from Spain, and which were pleasant reminders
of that romantic land; and a very beautiful inlaid card table, which
seemed out of place in the company of the plainer furniture. A few rugs
disposed here and there, emphasised rather than hid the bareness of
the floor; but the room was, nevertheless, very cheerful, and from the
window there were delightful views of land and sea. Yet it was in this
room that looked so cheerful on a lovely summer's evening, I was to
undergo the most thrilling experience of my life.

After dinner O'Driscoll and I strolled towards the sea. The night was
fine though sultry, and as we returned to the house about eleven o'clock
the appearance of the heavens heralded the approach of a thunderstorm.
We had so many things to talk about that it was long after midnight
before I retired to my room.

I felt no inclination to sleep, owing, perhaps, to the sultriness of the
air, and I dropped into an armchair close to the fireplace, and from
this position I commanded a full view of the room. I lit a cigar, and
then, lifting up a small handbag which was within reach, opened it to
get a book which I had been reading--it was one of Exaguoriaz's plays. A
little ivory-handled revolver lay on top of it, which I had been induced
to bring over with me owing to the rumours of the disturbed condition of
the country. I smiled as I looked at it, for it seemed likely to be of
little use if I were attacked by any of the stalwart fellows whom I had
seen when strolling with O'Driscoll down through the village on our way
to the sea. I laid it on the table beside me, and, lying back in the
armchair, was soon immersed in the play; after a little while a strange
feeling crept over me. I shook myself, as if by so doing I could free
myself from it, and, dropping the book, looked round the room. It was
fully lighted by a lamp. I could see into every corner. Lying back in
the chair once more I puffed away at my cigar, and watched, after the
fashion of smokers, the blue-white wreaths slowly circling upwards to
the ceiling.

Not more than half a dozen had floated up when I heard a noise of
scratching inside the wainscot. "It is a rat," I thought, and my eyes,
resting on the lower part of the wainscot directly in front of me, saw
peering from a small hole which I had not hitherto observed, the blazing
eyes, of what seemed to me a small rat. A little startled, and I fear a
little frightened, I caught up the volume which I had been reading, and
flung it in the direction of the intruder. The eyes disappeared, and I
heard a scurrying away inside the wainscot; and then only did I feel
inclined to laugh at myself for allowing such a trifling incident to
make any impression on me.

I was about to leave the chair to pick up the book when a flash of
lightning, which came in through the slits in the shutter, almost took
my sight away, and a peal of thunder followed sounding at first remote,
but coming with every discharge nearer and nearer, until it seemed to
pour forth its full power directly over the house. Then, as if its force
were spent, it passed with a faint rumbling and muttering, and finally
died away. I expected to hear the rain falling, but none fell, and the
room had become so sultry that I decided to open the window, in the hope
of an inrush of cooler air.

Just as I had placed my hand on the bar that fastened the shutter, I
thought I heard a long, deep-drawn sigh. I turned and looked about, but
saw nothing, and I felt vexed with myself for allowing my imagination
to play tricks with me. Again I heard the sigh, and I must confess
something like a creepy feeling came over me. I retired from the window
without opening it, went back to my chair, and taking up my revolver
sat in such a position as to be able to keep the whole room under
observation; but I saw nothing, and except the ticking of the clock and
the chiming of the quarters, heard nothing.

At length it struck two. Again I saw the eyes peering at me from the
corner opposite to that from which I had dislodged them, at the far end
of the wall. Instinctively I pointed the revolver at them, and would, I
believe, have fired but that a low thrill of laughter fell upon my ear.

I started as if I had been hit. Seated at the little card table of which
I have spoken was a woman, beautifully dressed, whose face was concealed
by a large fan. Her elbow rested on the table, and her arm, bare to
shoulder from wrist, was circled by a bracelet of emeralds and diamonds.
A ring was on one of her fingers. It was an opal set in brilliants. I
could see a coil of hair above the fan which the lady flirted lightly,
and evidently her head was bent the better to conceal her face.

I took all this in at a glance, and for a second was spell-bound. I
dropped my hand and the revolver fell from it to the floor. Then her
head was swiftly raised, there was the gleam of a white forehead--a
flash of wondrous eyes, such eyes as I have never seen, such as I
know I shall never see in this life again. Their lustre was simply
indescribable, and they possessed a mysterious attraction that seemed to
draw my soul through breathless lips. I was divided between desire and
undefinable fear. Perhaps it was owing to this conflict of emotions that
my senses became confused. I had no doubt but that I was still sitting
in the chair gazing at the bewitching apparition, and yet it seemed as
if I were looking at myself or my double advancing over the floor, and
finally kneeling at the feet of the lady. But the advancing figure,
like me in every other respect, was attired as a Spanish gallant of the
sixteenth century, and then the recollection flashed on me that I had
appeared in a somewhat similar costume at a fancy dress ball a year or
two before, and I found myself engaged in that curious yet familiar
mental struggle of one who, escaping from a dream, questions himself as
to whether he be dreaming.

Suddenly a lightning flash, more vivid than any that had preceded it,
was followed by a roll of thunder almost deafening. I could no longer
doubt but that I was awake. The lightning had so dazzled me that for
a second I no longer saw anything, but as the last faint echo of the
thunder died away I saw myself or my other self kneeling at the feet of
the lady.

I made an effort to cry out, but I was like one in a nightmare; my voice
refused to utter any cry, and then in accents that seemed to melt into
my soul I heard the words:

"Then you have come at last, life of my soul?"

"Did you doubt it, dearest of the dear?"

Both sentences were spoken in Spanish. Suddenly, like an inspiration, I
remembered the portrait of the young cavalier which bore, it was said, a
striking resemblance to me, and whose costume I had copied for the fancy
dress ball. It had belonged to my mother's family, and there was a vague
tradition that the young fellow had accompanied Don Juan D'Aguila on a
Spanish expedition to Ireland in the time of Queen Elizabeth, and had
fallen in that country. It was he, then, whom I had mistaken for myself.

And now he was bending over the white hand, and he kissed it again and
again. I had recovered from my first shock, and so lifelike was it all
that I became embarrassed when the wondrous eyes of the beautiful woman
for a second rested on mine. I rose from the chair, feeling like an
intruder, but before I could move a step, swift as light a sword-blade
descended on the youth's neck. The severed head fell with a thud upon
the floor. An ear-piercing scream, which has never since left my memory
followed. Once more the lightning's radiance blinded me, and, after a
deep-mouthed roar, the rage of the thunderstorm again seemed to spend
itself above the house, that trembled as if it had been stricken.

In a half-defiant mood I rushed to the shutters and flung them open. The
grey light of the morning had already come, and faint streaks of gold
were shining in the east. I turned from the window and looked for the
murdered man and the lady of the wondrous eyes--I was the sole occupant
of the room!

A loud, swift, 'Rap! rap! rap!' at the door, and a cry of "Open, for
God's sake!" brought me to it. I undid the bolt, and O'Driscoll tumbled
in pale as a ghost.

"What was it?" he gasped--"that awful scream? It came from here."

I knew not what to answer, and said aimlessly:--"There is no one here
save myself."

O'Driscoll opened the window, and the cool fragrant air calmed both him
and me. "I was dreaming, I suppose," he said, "but you have not been to
bed!" He had not until then perceived that I was fully dressed.

"Oh, I remained up reading," I replied.

"And did you hear nothing?" he asked.

"The thunder, of course," I answered lightly, but I suppose there must
have been something in my manner that betrayed me, for my eye had just
fallen on a faded brown stain close to the card table and flowing away
from it--first a blotch and then three or four trickles--which I knew to
be blood stains.

O'Driscoll advanced towards me, put his hand on my shoulder, and looking
into my eyes asked earnestly, "Did you hear the scream?"

"Yes."

"And did you see anything?--I know you did."

There was no longer any reason for hesitating to avow that I had seen
something. "Sit down," I said. He dropped into an armchair. I sat on the
side of the bed and told him of my vision as I have set it down here. He
listened without comment until the end, and then he said: "So it's true,
after all."

"What?" I asked.

His story was brief. Some years previous he was in the garden giving
directions to an old gardener who had known the place all his life, and
when he came to a certain corner, "That," said the gardener, to
O'Driscoll, "is where they found the skeletons years agone."

"What skeletons?" asked O'Driscoll.

"There was a man whose head had been cut off, for 'twas lying beside his
ribs, and there were three fingers that they said were lady's fingers,
for on one of them was a gold ring with a jewel in it, and people used
to say," the gardener added, "that sometimes on a wild stormy night,
when there was thunder, that the ghosts of a gentleman and a lady used
to be seen about the house, but he himself had never seen them, nor had
he known anyone who had seen them."

My friend not unreasonably concluded that the story of that apparition
was an invention subsequent to the discovery of the skeletons, and had
given no credence to it. Since he had become tenant of the house there
had been many nights of thunderstorm as fierce as, if not fiercer than,
that which had just passed, but he had never seen anything and never
heard anything until he heard the piercing scream that had brought him
to my door.

We talked long over the matter then and many times afterwards, and could
find no solution of the mystery; but I could not help asking myself, as
I do now, if the apparition were not in the nature of a message from the
dead to tell the true story of the fate of my kinsman whom in appearance
I so much resembled, and who, we had believed, had fallen in the Spanish
expedition to Ireland, three hundred years before.



A VISION OF THE NIGHT.


One wild, stormy night over twenty years ago I entered a second-class
smoking carriage in the last train from Dublin to Bray. So wild was the
night that it was with great difficulty my cab horse had been able to
drag along his rumbling vehicle through the streets swept clear of
pedestrians by the blinding sheets of rain. The station was, except for
one or two porters, completely deserted. I arrived just as the train,
which was almost empty, was about to start, and I entered a carriage
with two compartments, in neither of which was there any other
passenger. All the windows were closed, and for the few seconds before
the train started I enjoyed the luxury of the quiet that contrasted so
pleasantly with the storm that was howling outside. But as soon as the
train had moved out from the station the rain began to rattle like hail
against the windows, and I could hear the wind strike the carriages, and
the oil lamps in the roof flash and flicker, so that I expected them
every moment to go out. I was muffled up to the throat, and was solacing
myself with a cigar and the thought of the bright fire that I knew would
greet me on arriving at my destination, and helped to raise my feelings.
I was staying at Bray in the house of my sister, who, however, was with
her husband in Scotland, and would not return for some days, and the
only other occupant of the house besides myself was an old woman who
acted as housekeeper for me. She would have gone to bed long before my
arrival, but I knew from experience that she would take care to leave
for me in the parlour a cheery fire and a comfortable supper.

I took no note of the stations at which we stopped, and it is only a
conjecture on my part that it was at a station about half way between
Dublin and Bray that an old gentleman entered the compartment in which I
was. As he came in, a cold blast of air swept into the carriage, and
made little whirlpools of the sawdust that had been spread on the floor.
I shivered as the icy blast caught me, but I was almost ashamed of my
weakness, well-clad as I was, when I looked at the old gentleman who sat
opposite me. He was thinly clad in an ill-fitting coat; his face was wan
and haggard; his slouched hat was shining with wet; and the rain was
streaming from his white beard that descended to his breast. He took off
his hat and shook and squeezed it. I then noticed that his white hair
was scant. His brow was furrowed by many wrinkles. His eyebrows were
white and bushy. His eyes were light blue, the lightest, I think, I had
ever seen, and they were very mild--mild almost to sadness. I made some
remark upon the weather. My fellow traveller answered in a weak, thin
voice that it 'was cold, very cold, and cut to the bone like a knife.'
I felt somehow that the old gentleman was poor and miserable. Indeed,
he shivered visibly several times. He did not appear in a mood for
conversation, and I continued to smoke in silence till we reached Bray.
Here the porters opened the door, and I stepped out. I gave my hand to
the old gentleman and helped him to alight, for which he thanked me in a
mild voice. The station, as that of Dublin had been, was deserted but
for the porters. The old gentleman and myself were the only passengers.
I went down to the van to get some heavy luggage and give it in charge
of the porters as there was no chance of getting it brought to my house
that night. When I had seen to this I left the station. I saw no sign of
my fellow-traveller and supposed he had gone his way. I could not help
thinking of him as I pursued mine, and I was irritating myself with the
question whether he might not have been in need of some help which I
could have given him. But I ceased to think of him and his needs when I
reached the esplanade.

The storm was sweeping the spray from the roaring waves right up against
the faces of the houses, and the night was so intensely dark and most of
the lamps having been blown out, it was with difficulty I kept the path.
My house was half way between the railway station and Bray Head. A few
steps led up to the door. The fierce wind almost carried me up the
steps, and when by means of my latch-key I opened the door it swept
inwards with a bang against the wall, and the pictures hanging in the
hall were lifted up and fell back with a succession of slaps loud as
pistol shots. With the utmost difficulty I pressed back the door. I was
so cold and drenched with the rain and spray that I did not wait to lock
it, but closed it securely. Flinging off my overcoat I hurried into
the parlour where a light was burning and a bright fire blazing. I was
shivering from head to foot. Having taken off my boots that were damp, I
flung myself into the armchair in front of the fire.

The influence of the fire quickly asserted itself, and a feeling of
pleasant languor crept over me, although the wind that buffeted the
windows and made them rattle moaned like a soul in pain. Soon the sound
seemed to grow fainter and fainter, and I felt the lids closing on my
eyes, and was half conscious that sleep was gently dulling my senses,
when suddenly a cold blast of air chilled the room, and the loud booming
of the sea sounded almost at my ear. I jumped up and turned towards
the parlour door. It was open, and on the threshold stood my fellow
traveller. Although I was wide awake I looked upon him as if he were a
spectre, and I found it impossible to utter a word. His hat was in his
hand, and his white hair fell over his face, and from his long beard the
rain was dripping. He advanced towards me timidly, and, bowing low,
said--

"I hope you will forgive me, sir. I am a stranger here, and I know not
where to seek a bed to-night. I followed you aimlessly, but when you
came up the steps and entered your house, and I found myself alone with
the sea and the wind and the night, I knew not what to do. I felt the
need of being near some human being, and I crept up to your door,
intending to pass the night against it, the other houses were all
so cold and dark. I was standing for a few minutes when a flash of
lightning showed me the latch-key which you had forgotten to remove. An
impulse, impossible to resist, overcame me. I opened the door as softly
as I could, taking advantage of a lull in the storm, and entered the
hall. I would have remained there, but the light that shone from your
room tempted me, and I pushed open the door. It was wrong, I know; but I
am old and lonely and somewhat fearsome, and you'll forgive me."

I recovered my composure as the old man was speaking, and there was so
deep a pathos in his voice, and he swayed so as he spoke, that a feeling
of compassion took possession of me, to the exclusion of all other
feelings. I forgot completely the strangeness of the situation, and
taking the old man by the hand I led him to the chair which I had just
occupied, and placed before him the decanter. It seemed to me that a
strange glitter troubled the soft blue eyes. He poured out a tumblerful
and drained it in a breath. Taking another chair I sat at the side of
the fire, lit a cigar, and handed one to my companion. Smoking, as every
lover of the weed knows, is conducive to silence, and my mind soon
became lazily occupied in watching the smoke-wreath from my cigar mingle
with that of my companion. He spoke not, and after a while I noticed
that he had ceased to smoke, and that the cigar was going out, as
his right hand, in the fingers of which he was holding it, remained
motionless on his knee. His head had dropped on his breast, and his
heavy breathing satisfied me that he was asleep.

I began to feel as if I were in a dream that was not all a dream. I was
conscious of the blue smoke rising from my cigar. It floated away from
me like a mist. After a while the mist cleared, and I thought I saw a
stream slowly gliding through woodland ways, and I followed it till it
passed by the foot of a noble ash tree, that bent down and spread its
lower branches half across it. And beneath the ash and against its trunk
I saw a youth and a maiden sitting side by side. She held his hand in
hers. His lips were moving, and he was whispering something that filled
her eyes with a light as of summer stars. Her little mouth opened like a
rosebud yielding to the sun, as if to answer him, when suddenly a deeper
shadow than that cast by the bending branches of the ash fell upon the
lovers. The youth was dragged to the ground, and as the maiden shrieked,
a knife was driven into his throat by a man whose face I could not see.
I strove to cry out, but my voice failed me. I struggled as if a great
weight were pressing me down. At last I shook myself free with the wild
scream ringing in my ears. I looked around. My companion was sitting in
his chair, apparently in deep sleep. The half consumed cigar had dropped
from his hands. I felt so shaken by what I had seen, or dreamed, that I
was about to awaken him when a new horror took away my powers of action.
Sitting on the ground close to my companion and with his head resting
upon the old man's knees, was the figure of the murdered youth whom I
had seen slain beneath the ash tree. His eyes were open and staring, his
face was wan and white. In his throat was a jagged gash, and around the
edges were seams of clotted blood. His fingers were slashed and bloody,
as if he had struggled hard with his murderer. I looked from the dead
man to the sleeper. He was breathing lightly, and a smile like that of a
child parted his lips. But as I continued to look at him I noticed that
they began to twitch convulsively, then his whole frame shook as if a
fierce tempest of passion were raging in his heart. He started from his
chair--the dead man fell upon the floor. I rushed instinctively, and yet
with a horrible dread, to lift him up, but as I was stretching out my
hands for that purpose I felt myself gripped by the throat by the skinny
hands of the old man. His eyes that I had thought so mild had a hard
glitter in them, and his haggard face was convulsed with passion. It
cost me a great effort, although I was young and strong, to loose his
grip, but at length I flung him back on his chair. He sat for a second
like one dazed. Then he raised his hands in supplication, and the tears
stole from his eyes, that were again as mild looking as when I first saw
them.

"I was dreaming. I--I thought--I thought--but that was long ago, and
you'll forgive me."

I didn't quite know how to answer him, I was not sure that I had not
been, was not dreaming myself. The dead youth was, of course, only a
ghastly vision, and, perhaps, the old man's hands had been already on my
throat when I fancied I saw the deed of murder under the ash tree. It
seemed to me useless to seek any explanation from my unbidden guest, who
began to appear to me uncanny.

"I'll go, I'll go," he said as I kept looking towards him, "the morning
will soon be here now. I am not afraid of the morning, only of the
night--the black night, for then it all comes back to me, and I see them
as I saw them on that evening so long ago. Hundreds of years ago, I
think, since they and I were young. And now I am old, so old."

"Who are they? When was it?" I asked, scarcely indeed, expecting any
serious answer, but it seemed to me as if I kept the unhappy man at
arm's length by talking to him. I felt I could crush him with a blow,
but I suppose it was owing to the shock which I had undergone in the
hideous dream from which his attack had roused me that made me afraid
of him, for afraid I was.

I had thought that at farthest only a few hours had passed since I
entered the parlour, but the stranger was nearer the truth. The morning
was almost at hand. Through the chinks of the shutters a grey light
began to show itself. I flung them back, pulled up the blind, and could
see the sea still raging, but the wind had died away, and in the east
there was a faint rose-coloured streak.

When I turned back the old gentleman was pouring himself out a glass of
whisky. His hand trembled as he lifted it to his lips. When he had set
down the tumbler, having drained it, he said:

"The morning has come. You are very good, I go. I was wrong; but I knew
not what I was doing, and I have suffered."

I no longer feared him. As the light of the morning increased I saw
only the haggard, worn old man, whose face was itself a witness of long
suffering, and I felt a great pity for him. There was some bread and
butter and cold meat on the sideboard, which had been left there by the
housekeeper the night before. I pointed to it. He said he would take a
little bread. I pressed him to eat some meat, but he refused. Then, as
he turned to leave the room, I put my hand in my pocket and produced
some silver. A faint flush stole into his wasted face, and I saw I had
offended him. I apologised. He thanked me for my kindness in offering
it to him, and also for my hospitality, and begged me to forgive him for
his intrusion and the trouble he had caused. With a low bow he left the
room. I followed, but he had opened the hall door himself and passed out
on to the esplanade without looking back.

I returned to the parlour, and flinging myself into the chair began
to recall the events of the night, and had been for some time vainly
speculating on them when I was disturbed by the housekeeper entering the
room to make arrangements for breakfast.

She saw at a glance that I had not been to bed. I did not like to
communicate my experience to her, but the day following I saw in the
daily papers the account of the escape of a lunatic from the Dundrum
Criminal Lunatic Asylum. The description, save as to the clothes,
tallied with that of the old man. There was a further announcement
stating that he had been found wandering in the direction of Enniskerry,
and had been brought back to the asylum.

It so happened that I knew one of the physicians that attended the
Dundrum Institution, and when I met him a few days after, without giving
him any hint of my acquaintance with the object of my inquiry, asked him
what he knew concerning the old man, and suggested that my curiosity had
been aroused solely by the account of the escape which appeared in the
newspapers.

"It is a very sad story," he said. "The old man has been confined for
over forty years for a terrible crime committed when he was a young man
of about five-and-twenty. He was enamoured of a lady, whose love he
believed he had secured. She had accepted him, and they were to have
been married in a few months. Rumours were brought to him that the lady
was listening to the whispers of another suitor. He soon discovered that
the rumours were well founded. The fiercest jealousy completely took
possession of him, and undoubtedly deprived him of his senses, he one
day surprised the pair, sitting together beneath a tree on the banks of
a stream not far from the lady's house, beside which he and she had
often wandered before their vows were plighted. Stung to ungovernable
rage by this sight, he killed the young man, gashing his throat with
a knife in the most shocking manner. The lady was unharmed; but the
tragedy took away her reason, and she died within a few months of the
dreadful occurrence. The murderer made no attempt to deny his crime; on
the contrary, he talked about it freely to anyone who would listen. He
was tried, and, of course, convicted; but the Lord Lieutenant, being
satisfied that the wretched man was insane, commuted his sentence, and
it was ordered that he should be kept in confinement during Her
Majesty's pleasure. As a rule he is very gentle, but sometimes--and
always at night--he becomes very violent, and the attendants have to be
on their guard against him."

"It is, indeed," said I, "a sad story."



THE PRETTY QUAKERESS.


I was just about twenty years of age. I had entered Trinity three years
before, and had fallen in with a Roystering set. In those days the
fights between the college lads and the townsfolk were more frequent and
furious than they have been of recent years, and I took my share of the
cuts and bruises that were almost always the portion of the combatants
on either side. On one occasion when we had a pretty stiff battle with
the butcher boys from around St. Patrick's, I was felled by a blow. In
the crush I was unable to rise, and would have been in a fair way of
being trampled out of existence but for the gallant exertions of one of
my companions, Jack Langrishe. He fought like a devil, and, knocking
over his nearest foes, cleared a space which enabled me to get up.

Jack, in trying to save me, got an ugly cut on his left arm, which cost
him some trouble. The butchers were put to flight, and Jack carried off
as a trophy a villainous looking knife which he had captured from one of
his assailants. Intimate as we had been before, the service which he had
rendered to me made us just sworn friends for life, and I felt bound to
do him any service it was in my power to render him.

It was not long, however, until Jack's outrageous conduct brought him
into collision with the college authorities. Having gone near blowing up
one of the college porters, by slipping in the most playful manner, a
small bag of powder into his coat pocket, Jack was sent down to the
country, and I missed his companionship for several months; but, indeed,
I had pretty well forgotten him when just about the 1st of December,
1759, I received a letter from him, saying that he was running up to
town for a few days, and that he would put up at the "Robin Hood" in
Dame-street, and would be glad if I could call on him there on the
evening of the 1st of December, and dine and make a night of it. He told
me to be sure to ask for Mr. Sugrue. Jack gave me no hint as to why he
had adopted another's name; but this did not surprise me very much. I
suspected he was up to one of his old tricks.

When the evening of the 1st of December arrived I left my rooms in
college and walked leisurely across Dame Street, stopping for a few
minutes at King William's Statue to watch a match of fisticuffs between
a chairman and a driver of a hackney coach, in which the chairy got the
best of it.

I reached the "Robin Hood" just in time to witness the arrival of
the coach from Kilkenny, which should have brought Jack. I saw the
passengers descend from the coach; but although I scanned their faces as
closely as the light of the lanterns and that coming from the windows
and open door of the tavern allowed, I could see no trace of Jack. "He
must have missed the coach," said I to myself, and I went on up towards
the top of the street. Then it occurred to me that as he was coming
under an assumed name he might have taken some other mode of conveyance,
as he would be well known to the guard and the driver of the coach, so I
retraced my steps, and entering the tavern inquired for Mr. Sugrue.

"He's just come, sir," said the waiter.

"How did he come?" I asked carelessly.

"By the Kilkenny coach."

"Curious I did not notice him," thought I.

"Yes, sir; he's in No. 4 Room, sir, first floor to your right, and will
be happy to see you, if you're the gentleman that was to call for him,
sir."

I knocked at the door of No. 4.

"Come in," said a gruff voice, very unlike Jack's.

I pushed open the door and entered, and found myself in the presence of
an old man wearing spectacles, and having a curious resemblance to one
of the Deans of Trinity.

"What the devil is up with you, Langrishe?"

"Sugrue, Tom, if you love me," said Jack in his natural voice.

"And what is it all about, Jack?"

"My dear fellow, I'm as ravenous as a hawk, and mind, there's not to be
a word about business till we're in the middle of the third bottle. The
port here is first rate. But my mind is never equal to business until I
have fairly moistened my palate."

Jack had secured a private room, and it was evident that he had ordered
the dinner beforehand, for it left nothing to be desired.

I felt there was no use in pressing him for any explanation until the
time arrived when he would be willing to give it, but I could not help
looking curiously now and then at his remarkable get up.

"I knew 'twould surprise you, Tom," said Jack, evidently delighted.

"It has, I must confess," said I.

Jack gave me little opportunity of questioning him, as he insisted on my
giving him full information of all that had happened in college during
his enforced absence. Of course, I was nothing loth to tell him, having
a lad's delight in narrating the various pranks and scrapes in which I
had taken part, and I rather think we had got well into the fifth bottle
when he said unexpectedly;

"Tom, my boy, I'm ready now."

"Who is she, Jack?"

"You are out, Tom," said Jack, severely.

"So is that medallion portrait, Jack, which has just escaped from your
clerical coat."

Jack caught up the medallion, and looking at it fondly, rose to his not
over steady feet.

"Tom," he said, "fill!"

I filled.

"Here's to the flower of all maidens for beauty; the incomparable! the
divine! Dorothy Jacob. Dorothy of my soul and heart."

"She's a Quaker, then," said I.

"She's a goddess, sir."

And when we had drunk her health as often as there were letters in her
name, which proceeding was the result of what Jack called "a sweet
suggestion of his own," I gathered from him, not without some effort,
the following particulars regarding the lady and how he became
acquainted with her. I do not, of course, attempt to give them in Jack's
own words, for he was frequently breaking out into exclamations about
her beauty, and as frequently insisting on my once more drinking her
health.

Dorothy's father was a merchant of Kilkenny. She was his only child. Her
mother had died young, and she was left in the care of a maiden aunt,
who had died a few years previous to Jack's first meeting with the young
lady.

The father was a very wealthy merchant, whose riches were partly
inherited and partly acquired. He was desperately fond of his money, but
still fonder of his daughter. He knew that he was growing old and always
dreaded the day when she might leave him for another. He had kept her
very much to himself and allowed her to see very little company.

She was very beautiful, so beautiful, as I afterwards discovered, as to
fully justify Jack's panegyric. And many an amorous eye was cast upon
her as she passed with her father through the streets on her way to
church or market, for he seldom allowed her to go out alone. But the
maiden never returned a glance, and did not seem to know how many hearts
she was setting on fire.

Jack Langrishe lived with his uncle a few miles outside the town of
Kilkenny, and was a frequent visitor to the town, and to the club which
was the resort of all the young bloods and bucks of the day.

He had heard from them of the pretty Quakeress, had seen her several
times, and since he had been sent down from college had fallen over head
and ears in love with her.

Over and over he had heard the bucks suggesting that she should be
carried off. But Jack always indignantly denounced any suggestion of the
kind, and with such heat that he had in consequence to cross swords with
one or two of his club associates, and with such effect that he came to
be regarded as too formidable an antagonist to be trifled with.

Abductions were common enough then, to be sure, although the Government
made strong efforts to put them down, and for that reason, there was, in
the opinion of most of the young bloods, an added argument in favour of
them. But Jack Langrishe had an argument of his own. It was, "That a
woman that was worth winning could be won, and that the man who could
not win her was unworthy of her," and he used to add, "that any yokel
with sufficient force at his back might effect an abduction, but that a
gentleman unaided should be able to capture a woman's heart."

Whereupon his companions concluded that Jack Langrishe was very much in
love with the pretty Quakeress, and was a fool for his pains.

Jack knew he was in love, and was not quite sure that he was not a fool,
for he had watched the comings and goings of the lady, and although he
threw himself in the way as much as possible he had never obtained the
slightest glance of recognition.

But fortune, which always favours the brave, sometimes favours the
faithful.

On a certain fair day in Kilkenny old Jacob and his daughter were coming
down the street towards their house, and Jack Langrishe by a fortunate
accident, was coming in the opposite direction, when suddenly, up
through a by-street almost in line with the place at which father and
daughter had arrived, a spirited young horse, which had broken away from
its groom, came galloping madly and was almost down on the old man when
Jack threw himself between. The old man staggered back into the arms of
his daughter and Jack fell under the horse's hoofs.

Some onlookers rushed to his assistance and picked up Jack, apparently
helpless, and he uttered a groan which would stir a heart of iron. The
rascal all the time was no more hurt than you or I, but he caught a
glimpse of the pale, questioning face of the maiden, and he thought he
had discovered a way to her heart.

The old man, having recovered from his fright, could not refuse to thank
his deliverer, although he was eager to get away from the crowd that was
pressing around him and his fair charge.

"Oh, he's murdered, sir--he's murdered, Mr. Jacob," said one of the
crowd.

"Don't you think we ought to bring him home, father?" whispered Dorothy
in the old man's ear.

The whispered suggestion brought the old man to himself as if a cold
shower bath had unexpectedly fallen upon him.

"No, child; prithee, heed me. The young man must have friends. See, they
know who he is."

The last remark was justified by an observation from one of the persons
who were lifting up Jack, and who said:

"He's young Mr. Langrishe, of the Grange."

"Let's take him to the club."

"We better take him to the doctor's," said another; and to the
doctor's--which, fortunately, was close at hand, otherwise Jack, as the
rogue afterwards confessed to me, would not have been able to stand it
any longer--he was brought.

His kind, but somewhat rough, aiders and sympathisers came very much
nearer by their excited efforts to carry him through the crowd, which
was pressing on them with all kinds of inquiries, doing him a greater
harm than they imagined the runaway colt had done him. The doctor,
who was the apothecary of the town, felt all Jack's limbs, while that
gentleman groaned as if every bone in his body was broken. But the
astute disciple of Æsculapius having shaken his head, solemnly declared
that he was very badly bruised, and that there might be possibly some
internal complications.

He gave Jack a restorative which worked wonders. It caused him not only
to regain his full consciousness, but had almost the effect of making
him use some very vigorous language, but as he felt this would have been
out of character, he discreetly checked himself.

He was taken to the hotel, the Ormond Arms, where he spent that night
and the next day and night, and then allowed himself to be taken home to
his uncle's at the Grange.

Old William Jacob called several times at the hotel, and was profuse in
his thanks to the preserver of his life, and also conveyed the thanks of
his daughter. Mistress Dorothy. Jack had lingered, hoping that the old
gentleman would bring the damsel to see him, but finding his hopes were
vain, he became well enough to be removed.

After lying up at home for a week or more, Jack returned into the town,
and by well contrived "accident" he met the pretty Quakeress as she was
walking alone. As he approached he affected not to see her, and wore the
woe-begone expression of an invalid. He kept looking up towards the sky
in an apparently aimless sort of a way, until he came within a few feet
of her. Then he suddenly dropped his eyes, and found, as he expected,
that she was looking at his face.

She flushed all over as she saw that she was detected. Jack endeavoured
to pretend that he was quite surprised at seeing her, and walking as if
he would pass on, when he was just in front of her he lifted his hat,
and was about to address her when her father appeared unexpectedly
beside her, but fortunately Jack was able to convert the salute which he
intended for the lady into a courteous recognition of the old gentleman,
while with a covert glance he was able to convey to her that she was
included in it.

"How dost thou do, friend?" said the old gentleman, "I am very pleased
to see thee able to be about again."

"Thank you, sir, you are very kind," said Jack, "I was about to call on
you to inquire if you had completely recovered from the shock."

They had moved along as they were talking, and the merchant's warehouse
was close at hand. He felt that he couldn't well refuse to ask Jack to
come in with him, but if he could he would have avoided doing so.

He had a hearty dread of the young bloods and bucks of the time, and he
would not, if possible, have allowed his precious Dorothy to make the
acquaintance of any of them.

But then, this was an exceptional case, he said to himself. The young
man had saved his life, and, in doing so, had met with a serious injury.
And it would not have been gracious if, meeting him accidentally so
close to his own house, he had not asked him in.

Jack, quite innocent of the old gentleman's thoughts, and learning them
only after from the little Quakeress, gladly accepted the invitation.

He spent an hour with them that evening, and had the satisfaction of
persuading himself that he was not quite unacceptable to the maiden.
He did not fail to perceive that the old gentleman found his company
somewhat irksome, but his motto always was, "Make hay while the sun
shines," and he saw it shining out of the maiden's eyes.

When he had at last to leave, he did so, assuring the old gentleman that
it would give him the greatest pleasure to call again, and spoke quite
like one who was yielding to an invitation.

But the old gentleman had given no invitation, and when Jack was gone
he warned his daughter of the danger of having any connection with
gentlemen of Jack's stamp.

It is not necessary to go over the conversation between father and
daughter, which she subsequently retailed to Jack, and which he repeated
to me. Enough to say, that Jack resolved on calling, and that the old
gentleman finally received him with such coldness, and always alone,
that Jack, except for the glance of the young girl's eye through the
partially drawn curtain of the glass door that separated the living-room
from the shop and counting house, might as well have met him in the
street. He saw there was little use of continuing visits of this kind.

Whenever Jack entered the shop, he found the fair Dorothy, acting under
her father's orders, escaping from it. He continued, nevertheless, to
correspond with her through the aid of an old domestic, who quickly
discovered the character of the relation between Jack and her young
mistress, and whose almost withered heart had a green spot in it, in
which bloomed the flower of sympathy with the passion of youthful
lovers.

But this did not satisfy Jack. He longed for a sight of his lady love,
who was kept a close prisoner in the house by her father, who suspected
Jack's intentions, and saw in him a possible robber of his daughter's
affections.

At length, after a good deal of cogitation, he hit upon the expedient
of adopting the disguise in which I saw him. It was so perfect that his
most intimate friends could not penetrate it, and as he was a first rate
mimic, he never allowed his voice to betray him, and in order to prevent
any possibility of suspicion, he had in his own proper character set
out for Dublin, and when a few days after, he returned disguised to
Kilkenny, it was as an antiquarian who had come down to spend some
weeks there, in studying its ruins. He secured lodgings in the house of
an old lady not far from the Quaker's place of business, which he found
it necessary to visit every day to make some trivial purchase, such as
gloves, hat bands, kerchiefs, etc.

The old Quaker, suspecting nothing, saw him come in day after day, and
never thought it necessary to ask Dorothy to retire. On the contrary, he
often quitted the shop, leaving Dorothy talking to the clerical looking
old gentleman, and she and Jack continued to have some very agreeable
talk together.

Jack had urged his suit with considerable success, but he could not
induce the lady to take the only step by which his hopes could be
realised--namely, to run away with him; for it was quite certain the
old man would never consent to his marriage with his daughter.

Jack had almost begun to despair when he learned that the old gentleman
was about to visit Dublin, accompanied by Dorothy, for the purpose of
attending a private, but very important, meeting of the Society of
Friends in reference to the harsh treatment to which some members of
that body had been subjected by the authorities.

Jack also learned that they intended to put up at the "Robin Hood," at
which the coach from Kilkenny used to set down, and he took care to
inform the old man that his business in Kilkenny was at an end, and that
he intended to set out for Dublin on the day which the Quaker had fixed
for his journey. The old man, still wholly unsuspicious, expressed
himself delighted that he and his daughter should have him as a
companion on the journey to Dublin, and so it came to pass that they
were fellow-passengers.

But Jack, although of course, well satisfied with the opportunity of
spending a few hours in the society of Dorothy, had not been able to
hope for anything definite coming from it, and it was chiefly for the
purpose of talking over the matter and getting my advice that he had
asked me to dinner with him.

I suggested carrying the girl off, and as she liked Jack I did not
hesitate to offer my services. But Jack was adverse to this, as he was
unwilling to do violence to the young lady's feelings. At length, after
talking over all kinds of expedients, Jack, tired after his journey and
somewhat somnolent from his potations, retired to his room, and I made
the best of my way back to college, and awoke next morning to find
myself lying in my clothes on the hearthrug, while my cap and boots and
cane were placed in the nicest order on the quilt of my undisturbed bed.

It was four of the clock in the afternoon of the next day when I called
again on Jack. He was in pretty good spirits. The old man had gone out
to attend the meeting, and Jack contrived to have an interview with
the maiden, who was nothing loth. But, all the same, he was unable to
get her consent to elope with him, although the opportunity was most
favourable. Still she showed some signs of relenting. Anyway, she no
longer resented the suggestion as something wholly unnatural.

"The old man has just returned," said Jack to me. "His business here is
concluded, and he intends to start for home to-morrow, and if she does
not give way before then I am afraid I'll either have to give her up or
carry her off."

Jack could get no other opportunity of speaking to the lady that
evening, and so after dinner he altered his appearance so as to make
himself look less clerical, and we went off to Smock Alley Theatre
together.

The coach was to set out for Kilkenny at two o'clock the next afternoon,
and I had promised to call on Jack about noon. I had slept almost up to
that hour, when, having hurriedly dressed myself, I rushed off to keep
my appointment, I found the college gate closed and a number of the
students clamouring to get out; but the Dean was standing with his back
to it, flanked at either side by the college porters.

"What's up?" said I to one of the nearest students.

"There's an insurrection in the streets. The Ormond and the Liberty Boys
and the butchers are up, and the Viceroy is frightened out of his wits;
and the Lord Mayor won't act and there's general ructions all over the
city."

I didn't wait to hear any more. I rushed back to my room. The window
was two stories high, but it looked on the street.

To tie the bedclothes together was the work of a minute. I fastened one
end of the "rope" to the leg of the bed, which was close to the window,
and dropped the other over the window sill. It did not come within
several feet of the ground, and under other circumstances I would have
hesitated to descend it; but a yelling excited crowd was rushing along
the street, and I could hear the hoarse murmur of multitudinous voices
from the direction of the Green and the quays, and, spurred by the
excitement, I slid down the rope, and was caught in the arms of a
stalwart Ormond Boy.

There was, of course, no love lost between the Ormond Boys and the
students; but my rescuer having deposited me on the ground, pushed
ahead, and I heard him joining in the cry that was rising from a
thousand throats: "To the Parliament House! To the Parliament! To hell
with Rigby! Down with the English!"

I was almost carried off my feet by the rush of the crowd into College
Green. Here all further progress was arrested. The Green was packed,
and the crowd surged up the steps against the doors of the Houses
of Parliament. Hackney coaches and chairs were overturned in all
directions; but right in front of the entrance to the House of Commons
was the Kilkenny Coach, by which Jack Langrishe's friends were to
travel.

I pushed my way by the most strenuous efforts up towards this, and just
got beside it to find Jack minus his wig and clerical coat which had
been torn into ribbons, handing out Mistress Dorothy Jacob and her
trembling father.

"A chair! a chair for the lady!" cried out half a dozen of the
crowd; but the cry was in vain. The chairs were, as I have said, all
overturned, and even if this had not been so, a new excitement had
arisen which had diverted the attention of the crowd from the lady and
turned it on her father. The old gentleman had the misfortune to bear a
striking resemblance to the then member for Maryborough, who was a thick
and thin supporter of the Government, and was believed to be in favour
of merging the Irish in the English Parliament.

Rigby, who was the Viceroy's secretary, had given notice of a motion in
favour of empowering the Lord Lieutenant to call Parliament together
in certain emergencies without the usual notice, and the people got it
into their heads that this was a clever attempt to pass an Act of Union
without giving them an opportunity of expressing an opinion on the
question.

It was this fear that had brought them into the streets. They swarmed
from every lane and alley of the Liberties, and they held possession
not only of the Green, but also of all the approaches to it, and some
one amongst them suggested that while they should make way for the
members of Parliament who desired to enter the House that they should
administer an oath to every one of them that he would vote against every
attempt to take away the Parliament.

The proposition was received with acclamation. The first M.P. who put in
an appearance after it was adopted was Rowley. When called on to take
the oath he at first refused.

"Pull the wig off of him!"

"Bring him to the Liffey. Let's wash the English taste off of him!"

"To hell with Rigby! Down with Bedford!" (Bedford was the Lord
Lieutenant). "Swear him! Swear him!"

Finding expostulation useless, Rowley took the oath amid deafening
cheers, and was allowed to pass on.

It was shortly after this incident that the Quaker and his daughter were
taken out of the coach. The coach should have gone down Parliament
Street, but the crowd which had been up at the Castle all the morning,
turned back to the Green on the news that the M.P.s were assembling, and
literally bore it on with them.

When the likeness between the Quaker and the member for Maryborough was
discovered by one of the crowd, and when his supposed name was called
out----

"Swear him! Swear the old thief. Swear him!" was heard on all sides.

The poor old Quaker, frightened out of his life and trembling in every
limb, could not make head or tail of what was going on. But when at last
one of the crowd produced a Testament, and, thrusting it into the old
man's face, said: "Swear, an' be damned to ye," he answered in a
quavering voice: "Friend, I do not swear!"

"But you'll have to swear," answered a dozen gruff voices.

"But he won't have to swear," cried out Jack Langrishe, who was
supporting the lovely Dorothy, and at the same time endeavouring to
afford some protection to her father.

"And who the devil are you?" shouted out a score of voices.

"I'm an Irishman, boys, that's going to stand by a young lady and an old
man if all Dublin stood against me."

"The divel doubt but ye have an Irish heart in ye."

"He has then."

"And now," said Jack, encouraged by these remarks, "now listen to me. Ye
are all mistaken. This honest gentleman isn't the man ye take him for at
all."

"Will you swear that?"

"Ay, will I."

"And will you say. 'To hell with Rigby and the Union?'"

"With all my heart," said Jack. For Jack, like most of us young fellows
in those days, thought an Irish Parliament was worth fighting and worth
dying for.

"You are a True-blue and no mistake. Let the old gentleman go," came in
chorus from the crowd.

I had got up close to Jack and his fair charge. With a knowing look to
me and a word of explanation to her, he asked me to take care of her,
and then he put his arm inside that of the old man, who still seemed
half dazed with fright. We endeavoured to make our way towards the
railing, and hoped to be able to slip back to the "Robin Hood."

But the crowd kept surging round us, and it grew more excited every
minute.

"Who's in the carriage? Out with him--out with him!"

The cry was occasioned by a carriage that was endeavouring to force its
way towards the entrance of the House.

In the press, Jack, myself, and our charges were borne towards it.

An old gentleman, with a periwig tied with red ribbon, put his head out
through the window.

"Damn you, who are you? Why do you hesitate?" yelled the angry crowd.

The gentleman made an effort to speak.

"Oh, he stutters; give him time, boys."

"Come now, old stutterin' Bob, who are you?"

"I--I'm Lord In--Inchiquin, b-b-boys! O'B--Brien's my n-name!"

"A cheer for him, boys, he's all right. Pass in, your lordship, an' good
luck to ye."

And as Lord Inchiquin passed in we endeavoured to follow in his wake.

But another shout arose and the crowd was swaying like a tumultuous sea.

"He's the Lord Chancellor!--the bloody English Chancellor, ould Bowes!
Swear him, boys, swear him! Out with ye, and take the oath."

The disgusted Chancellor had no option but to comply, and having done
so, was passing on towards the House.

"Don't let him go," cried out one who appeared to possess some authority
with the crowd; "hold on to him. Here's the Chief Justice, and we'll
make ould Bowes take oath before him."

This proposition delighted the crowd, and they hauled "ould" Bowes back
and confronted him with the Chief Justice.

"Swear before the Chief Justice, ye ould English naygur, that you won't
take our Parliament over to England," and again the luckless Chancellor
was compelled to swear.

"Here's ould Anthiny Malone, boys. Oh! ould Tony, are you there? Tony
the great "Patriot" that was agin the Government till they stopped your
mouth with a pension. Oh, ye're there, Tony! Swear him, boys; swear
him!"

"Hould on till I shake hands with ye, Tony," cried out another of the
ringleaders, as he dipped his hand in the kennel and then thrust it
into that of the "Patriot."

"Ye might call it dirty, Tony, I suppose, but it's not half as dirty as
yer own since ye handled the Government goold."

This sally was received with shouts of delight.

"Be the holy! who's that? It's ould Prendergast!"

The exclamation was caused by the appearance of a face out of the House
of Lords. It was that of Sir Thomas Prendergast, who was very obnoxious
to the people. He only peeped out to see what was going on, but before
he could pull back he was caught by the nose and led out to the kennel,
and was rolled and rolled again until he was all mud from head to foot.

"Let's go inside, boys. What do we want stoppin' here?" was then blurted
out by one of the ringleaders, but the crowd which had rushed up to the
House of Lords when Prendergast showed himself had already begun to make
its way in, and soon the whole of it began to set in that direction.
The only thing for Jack and myself was to allow ourselves to be carried
along with it. Dorothy clung to my arm with feverish anxiety. As for the
old man he seemed as if he were scared out of his wits.

Rough as the crowd was it endeavoured to avoid the lady. Still she
must have suffered considerably as we squeezed through the doorway. We
arrived to find the seats of the House of Lords in possession of the
mob, and the Peers crowding up behind the chair.

Lord Farnham was in the act of taking the oath, in succession to his
father, who had recently died, when the crowd broke in and interrupted
the ceremony.

"You must take the oath from us!--you must take the oath from us!"

The rush of the crowd and the angry cries completely nonplussed the new
lord. He looked helplessly at the Chancellor and at his brother Peers,
and hardly knowing what he did, he followed the words of the oath as
administered to him by one of the ringleaders of the mob.

This performance provoked loud plaudits. Then for want of something
else to do, the crowd began to stand on the seats and tables, and force
themselves up towards the chair. The Chancellor and the other peers and
some ladies had retreated behind the throne.

"Oh! there's Biddy Simpson--there's Biddy, boys!"

"Arrah, where else wud I be, thin?" replied Biddy, who was an old lady
well known for the sharpness of her tongue in the Ormond Market.

"Put Biddy in the chair, boys! Put Biddy in the chair!" and amidst
ringing cheers Miss Biddy Simpson was placed in the chair.

"Pipes and tobacco, pipes and tobacco, for Biddy Simpson!"

The pipes were got, and Biddy stuck one in her mouth and lit it amid
frantic yells, and the crowd began to indulge in all kinds of antics.
Snatches of songs and speeches, interlarded with oaths, were only half
heard in the din. It was a motley crowd. Peers, members of the House of
Commons, University students, and half the men and women from the
Liberties, and some ladies who had come down to see Lord Farnham take
the oath, were all mixed up in the wildest disorder.

How long this was likely to go on no one could surmise, when suddenly
one of the ringleaders cried out:

"Let's burn the records! Let's burn the records! To the House of
Commons!--To the House of Commons!"

The cry was taken up and the crowd began to force its way out and make
for the House of Commons.

"Are ye goin' to desert me, ye thieves, afther ye made a lord o' me?"
shouted Biddy, but the crowd had found a new purpose, and emptied out of
the House of Lords as quickly as it had poured into it.

But for nearly an hour after, Jack and I and old Jacob and Dorothy
remained where we were, and then, when the military, acting on the
orders of the Lord Lieutenant, had partially cleared the streets--for
the Lord Mayor had refused to interfere with the people--we made our
way, not without some difficulty, to the "Robin Hood."

Dorothy, for all her mild manners, was a brave little woman, and
appeared little the worse of the ordeal through which she had passed.

Not so with her father. He was almost prostrated from fright and
excitement. Jack persuaded him to take some brandy, and this restored
him a little.

When he was able to collect himself sufficiently to speak, he caught
Jack's hand, and he said in the simplest tone:

"Friend, this is the second time I owe thee my life, and now I also owe
thee my daughter's."

I thought it would be just as well if I came away, and so it proved,
for on that very night when I was sitting down at the fire in my room
thinking over the events of the day, the door was suddenly flung open,
and in rushed Jack Langrishe.

"Old fellow, I'm the luckiest dog in the world!"

And I think he was, for the old man had at last given his consent, and
Jack Langrishe found in Dorothy Jacob one of the sweetest and best
little wives in the whole of Ireland.



MY FIRST CASE.


I had just been admitted a solicitor, and had been induced to start
practice, or, rather, to look for it, in a town in one of the midland
counties, where I had been persuaded there was a good opening for an
attorney, the name by which members of my profession were then generally
known. It was in the good old days before examinations became the stiff
ordeals that they have been for many years, and I must confess that my
attendance in the office where I was supposed to be serving my time was
not as regular as it might have been. However, with a fair share of
assurance, which the old clerk in my master's office impressed on me was
the chief secret of success, I opened my office, put a brass plate on
the door, and installed as my clerk a young fellow of twenty-one or
thereabouts, who had had some slight experience in the business of a
country office. Day followed day, and the hoped for client never came.
My clerk spent the time writing text--"this indenture," and "whereas,"
and other important words, which would figure in the deeds he expected
one day to be called on to engross--but he at least had the satisfaction
of drawing a salary, not a very large one, it is true, but it was
something. As for me, I confess I was beginning to get heartily weary of
waiting, and to feel almost ashamed of the brass plate on the door.

Sometimes a step sounding in the hall would set my heart fluttering;
but this only announced a lady who wanted to know did we want eggs, or
cabbage, or other articles of commerce. This, of course, was dreadfully
disappointing; still, it was consoling to know that someone had found
the house.

It was more assuring when one or two came in to know if "Torney Brown
was in," although that was the name of a rival practitioner long
established in the town. It gave my clerk the opportunity of stating, in
impressive tones, "No, this is 'Torney Malone's office," which he and I
flattered ourselves was an excellent advertisement, and would some day
have good results. Then came one day, a long, gawky-looking countryman
to know when the Quarter Sessions were coming on, and what time had he
for issuing a process. This was downright cheering. I asked him into my
own office and made him sit down. I wrote out the date of the sessions
and the last day for service on a sheet of notepaper with my address
printed on it at the top. This induced him to tell me his case, in
which, I need not say, I became deeply interested. It was a simple
case of trover of a saddle, but I think I made as much out of it as
if it were a question involving a thousand pounds. I examined and
cross-examined him, like, I persuaded myself, an old hand, and felt
certain that I had deeply impressed my client, for so I loved to think
him. At last apparently satisfied, he rose to go.

"Well, good evenin' to ye now, yer honour, and good luck, and myself
'ill come again before Thursday," as he moved towards the door.

Then he hesitated for a second, and looking back he asked:

"Aren't you 'Torney Brown, yer honour?"

I felt nettled, but controlling myself said quietly:

"No, I'm Mr. Malone, as you'll see by the notepaper you have in your
hand."

He looked a little sheepishly at the notepaper, and then said as he
moved off:

"Well, yer a very civil gentleman, anyhow."

Thursday came, but my client did not turn up. The sessions day came, and
although I had no business I thought I ought to put in an appearance in
court. Amongst the first cases called was that in which my client, as
I have called him, was plaintiff--his attorney was Mr. Brown. I fear I
went back to my office in rather better humour that I otherwise would
have done, when the barrister, as the County Court Judge was called
then, dismissed the case, and with costs, against "my client."

After this, weeks passed and no one came near the office, and I began
to long even for the step of the vegetable woman, but towards dusk one
October evening, just as I was about thinking of leaving the office,
where I had been sitting before the fire whiling away the time with
a novel, my clerk came in with a gleeful face to inform me that a
gentleman desired to see me on legal business. My heart jumped into my
mouth. I quickly hid the novel, put on my most professional appearance,
seated myself at my desk, began to write, and was so engaged when the
gentleman was shown in.

He was a man, I should say of five and forty, and had all the appearance
of a country gentleman. I handed him a chair, which he took, and asked
him what I could do for him.

His business was quickly explained. His aunt, an old lady, who resided
with him, was dying, and desired to make her will. She wished to leave
everything to her nephew--the gentleman who was consulting me, and who
gave his name as Mr. George Ralph Jephson, "but my aunt calls me Ralph,"
he added. "So I suppose," he said, "it will not take you much time to
prepare a will leaving everything to me? I should wish you, also, to
come out with me and witness the execution of it. I suppose your clerk
could come also?"

I replied that I would prepare the will according to his instructions in
a few moments. I took down the name of the intending testatrix and his
own information as to the nature of her property. Half a dozen lines
were quite sufficient to dispose of it, as it was all to go, without any
reservation or condition, to the one person. I got my clerk to make out
a clean copy, and when this was done, he and I, and Mr. Jephson got into
the latter's dog cart, which a small boy was holding outside the office
door.

Of Mr. Jephson I knew nothing, save that he had recently taken the house
and demesne of Longfield, which had been untenanted for many years,
owing to a tragedy that had taken place there, and it was said that he
had come from Dorsetshire. His house was about nine miles outside the
town, but the road was good and the horse a fast goer, and we did it in
a little over the hour. A short, winding avenue led up to the house,
which looked gloomy, as the only light visible escaped through the
fanlight over the door.

This, when he pulled up, was opened in answer to Mr. Jephson's knock
by an old, rather slatternly woman. He showed my clerk and me into the
dining-room, where a bright fire was burning, and, requesting us to be
seated, said he would go up to see if the lady were ready to receive us.
He returned in a few moments, ushered us up the stairs, and, turning
down the right corridor pushed in a door that was not fastened.

The room, which was not over-well furnished for so pretentious a house,
was lighted by two candles. On a bed raised not more than a foot from
the ground, and placed in a corner behind the door, lay a woman of
at least seventy years old. She was very small, and her face had a
very gentle expression, and, notwithstanding her advanced age, was
wonderfully fair, and had but very few wrinkles. Her eyes were still
bright, and it was evident she must have been a very pretty girl.

There was no one else in the room save Mr. Jephson, the clerk, and
myself, and the door was closed. I produced the draft will and said,
addressing myself to the lady:

"You wish to make your will?"

"Yes; oh, yes."

"And you wish to leave everything to your nephew?"

"Yes, to Ralph--to Rafy--everything."

"Then please listen, madam, while I read this, it is very short."

"Bring the candle nearer your face and let me look at you," she said.

The request surprised me, but I could not well refuse it.

"No, no, you are not like him, my----Rafy; but he had blue eyes like
yours----blue eyes, and you could see the gold glint in his hair."

This speech perplexed me. Mr. George Ralph Jephson, who was standing
in the shadow behind me, although inclined very much to grey now, had
evidently had very dark hair, while his eyes were of a deep, almost dark
grey.

"May I read the will?"

"Is everything given to Rafy?"

"Yes; listen----

"I, Eleanor Glasson, devise and bequeath all the property, real and
personal, I die seized and possessed of, or to which I may become
entitled to in expectancy, reversion, or remainder, to my dear nephew,
George Ralph Jephson."----

"Say to Rafy; write Rafy. Will not that do?" interrupted the old lady
in a tone of mingled tenderness and eagerness.

"But I had better put in his full name," I said.

"Well, then, read it again."

I read.

"Not George! Ralph--Rafy. It is to Rafy."

"You see, she never called me George," said Mr. Jephson, in a low voice,
"tell her it is all right."

Before I could reply, the old woman said:

"Let me look at you again," and she laid her hand in mine. "Bend down
and let me look into your eyes. Ay, they are like Rafy's blue eyes. Will
you let me kiss you for his sake?" and she put up her little wasted
hands against my cheeks and kissed me. "I knew you wouldn't wrong Rafy,
would you?"

"No, no," said I, much touched and somewhat confused, and then turning
to Mr. Jephson, I said, "There must be something wrong."

"Perhaps you had better come downstairs with me and I'll explain," said
Mr. Jephson in, I thought, a slightly agitated tone.

We went to the dining-room, and Mr. Jephson having carefully closed the
door, stood with one elbow resting on the fireplace, and addressed me.

"Over thirty years ago a cousin of mine, another nephew of Miss
Glasson's, whose name was Ralph, and of whom she was passionately
fond, eloped with a girl beneath his position, and his father proving
unforgiving the young couple went to the United States. A short time
after arriving there the news of his death by drowning came home. It
nearly broke my aunt's heart, for she had favoured the marriage out
of her love for Ralph, and now seemed to think she was in some way
responsible for his death. For a time she was bereft of her senses and
was under surveillance; when she recovered she seemed to give her whole
affection to me, and insisted on my dropping the name of George and
calling myself Ralph, which I am entitled to do, as it is my second
name. At times she used to speak of him to me and only to me, and she
used to talk of the difference between his eyes and mine; of late she
very often speaks of him, and, as is often the way of old people,
forgets he is dead, but I am the only Ralph in the family now, and it
is to me that she intends to leave what she has."

"I should like to talk to the lady by myself if you see no objection,"
I said.

"I fear it would only excite her," he replied, with a faint suggestion
of annoyance. "I have told you everything she can tell. She is ready to
sign the will if you will witness it."

"But if, as you say, she believes the other Ralph is still alive it
appears to me it is to him she desires to leave the property."

"If that is your opinion and you will not accept my statement, I suppose
there is no more to be said," he answered rather gruffly.

I rose to go and signalled to my clerk.

"You will let me offer you a glass of wine," he said; "and I should be
glad if you will stay and dine with me. Your drive home is a pretty long
one."

I accepted the wine and some biscuits, as did also my clerk, and then,
when I declared we were ready for the road, Mr. Jephson said he would
drive us himself.

I thought it was rather strange he did not offer to send the coachman,
as he had himself already covered the road twice that day. But as he and
I sat in the dog-cart in front he volunteered an explanation. He did not
wish, he said, his servants to know too much about his business. But
this appeared to me rather a curious explanation. There was nothing
about the business that required concealment, I said to myself.

"And that is the reason why I wished you to bring your clerk with you.
I like to have discreet people, and not babblers about me, and I always
make it a point whenever I can to employ professional men."

This was intended, no doubt, as flattering, and I fear I was not above
being pleased with it. I knew after that it was also intended as a hint
that he expected I would not speak about the business which had taken me
to Longfield.

When we arrived at my office he offered me a fee of five guineas; but I
refused this on the ground that the business in which he had employed me
had come to nothing. Saying good-night in a cordial way Mr. Jephson
drove away.

It would seem as if this case brought me luck. The very next day a
defendant in a rather bad assault case came in to engage my services.
I appeared for him at the Petty Sessions and made what, I flattered
myself, was a very good defence. Anyhow, he was acquitted, and I had the
satisfaction of reading in the local paper, the "Midland Gazette," "that
the ingenious defence and the brilliant speech made by Mr. Malone on
behalf of the accused proves that he is a valuable acquisition to our
local Bar."

After this, business began to come in pretty rapidly, but, to my regret,
my clerk, who was very anxious to settle in Dublin, got the chance of a
situation in the then well-known firm of solicitors in Dame Street,
Messrs. Wrexham & Co. I gave him, as he deserved, an excellent
character, which procured the place for him.

He had left me about a month, and something like two months had elapsed
since Mr. Jephson's visit, when I read in the obituary column of
the "Irish Times" the announcement of the death of Miss Glasson, of
Longfield House, Co. ----. I had, of course, often thought of the little
old woman of the sweet face and the undying love for Ralph of the blue
eyes, and I began to wonder if she had made any will and, if so, who
was the legatee. But, after all, the matter was one in which I had no
concern, yet I felt gratified somehow, that she did not execute the will
which, acting on Mr. Jephson's instructions, I had prepared for her. I
addressed myself to my increasing business and the matter soon passed
from my mind.

Some weeks after this announcement in the "Times," my clerk one day
brought a card into my private office, saying:--

"The gentleman desires to see you, sir."

I looked at the card. "Mr. Wrexham." It was the name of the solicitor to
whom my first clerk had gone.

"Show him in," I said.

Mr. Wrexham, after a courteous salute, took the proffered chair and
plunged into business at once.

"You are doubtless aware," he said, "that Miss Glasson died at Longfield
House a short time ago?"

I nodded assent.

"She was very wealthy; left about £30,000. The whole goes by her will,
to her nephew, John Ralph Jephson. My firm has, however, been instructed
by Mrs. Ralph Jephson, the widow of another nephew who died two years
ago----"

"Two years ago?" I exclaimed.

"Yes--we have been instructed by her to contest the will on the ground
of undue influence. We have accordingly entered a _caveat_, but, to be
frank with you, I fear we have not much evidence to go on. We know that
the late Miss Glasson entertained a very strong affection for Ralph
Jephson, and always intended to make him her devisee and legatee--she
had no power to dispose of her property except by will--but she was
living with her nephew, George Ralph Jephson, and had been bedridden for
some time. He kept away every other relative from his house. He took
this place in Ireland, brought her hither, and it was not until
the announcement of her death that her other relatives knew of her
whereabouts. It chanced that your late clerk was given the draft
_caveat_ to make a clean copy of it for lodgment in the office of the
Court, and the name attracting his attention he mentioned to my head
clerk the scene he had witnessed in Miss Glasson's room. The clerk
related the story to me, and that accounts for my presence here to-day.
I fear," added Mr. Wrexham, after a pause, "that a fraud has been
perpetrated, and that the will for which probate is sought does not
express the wishes of the deceased lady."

"Who prepared and witnessed the will?" I asked.

"A solicitor and his clerk."

"And the solicitor?"

"A young fellow named Devaney; he lives in the next county--do you know
him?"

"He was admitted as a solicitor the same time as I."

"Mr. Jephson seems to have a preference for young practitioners," said
Mr. Wrexham, with a smile, and he added: "Do you happen to know anything
about Devaney?"

"Well, I have heard he does little business, and he is, I fear, addicted
to drink. Otherwise he is a good fellow."

"Just the kind of man to be made the innocent instrument of a fraud; and
now I feel certain that a fraud has been committed on the poor lady who
is dead and on the relatives whom she wished to benefit, and, of course,
your evidence is all-important. I could, of course, have written and
sent you a subpoena, but I thought it more courteous to wait on you
myself. The case is listed for the day after to-morrow, when I hope it
will be convenient for you to be in Dublin."

I confess I should have preferred that my evidence were dispensed
with, but I had no doubt that in some way or other a fraud had been
perpetrated, and the sweet face and the recollection of the poor dead
lady's trust in me appealed irresistibly to me.

When the case came on I saw for the first time the widow of Ralph
Jephson. Beside her sat her daughter. She was rather _petite_,
exceedingly pretty, and her face bore an unmistakeable likeness to her
dead grand-aunt. I was taken with her at once, and, I must confess, I
found it very difficult to keep my eyes away from the quarter where she
was seated.

The evidence against the validity of the will was, except mine and my
clerk's, very slight. It was deposed to by the servants who had been in
the employment of the deceased that she always spoke of making Ralph
Jephson her sole heir, but these servants had left the employment more
than two years ago. They had to admit, on cross-examination, that Mr.
George Ralph Jephson was sometimes called Ralph, but they denied that
they had ever heard the testatrix so describe him.

I deposed to what I have already stated, but I was unable to say that I
considered the testatrix had not testamentary capacity. I could only say
I believed she wished to leave her property to Ralph, and not to George
Ralph, Jephson.

This brought the judge down on me, and he asked me why, if that was so,
I didn't carry out her intentions? That it was my duty to do so. I had
not seen it in that light, and felt very uncomfortable as I left the
witness-box.

Then came the witnesses for the defence. Mr. George Ralph Jephson swore
his aunt had habitually called him Ralph; that occasionally she called
him George; and had frequently promised to leave him everything, and
that it was by her directions he went on both occasions for a solicitor.
What he told Mr. Malone about his cousin Ralph was, he believed, true,
and he was surprised to learn now for the first time that he had not
been drowned, as was reported, and had only recently died.

Then came a servant whom I recognised as the woman who had opened the
door for me. She wore mourning, and scarcely lifted her veil as she
kissed the book. She gave her evidence nervously, and she began by
explaining that she was never in a courthouse before. She swore she
attended deceased, and that the latter had frequently said that she
would leave everything to her nephew, Mr. George Ralph Jephson; that
sometimes deceased--but that was only lately, a few weeks before she
died--rambled about little Rafy, as she called him, that was drowned.
As far as she could judge, the lady was in her right mind.

Mr. Devaney, solicitor, proved that he attended with a will prepared on
the directions of Mr. Jephson, and which left everything to him. He had
never seen testatrix before. He had no reason to doubt that she knew
what she was doing. He read the will slowly for her. It was very short,
and she said she understood it thoroughly, and she added that she wished
to leave everything she had in the world to her nephew there, pointing,
as she did so, to Mr. Jephson, who was standing at the side of the bed
near witness.

Mr. Devaney's clerk gave similar evidence, and it appeared as if there
was no more to be said. But Mr. Daunt, Q.C., who had let the previous
witnesses off, I thought, rather easily, proceeded to cross-examine the
clerk very closely.

"You had never seen the testatrix before, I suppose?"

"Never."

"But you took a good look at her when you did see her?"

"Well, I looked, of course, but I did not notice her very much--there
was not very much light."

"Oh! there was not very much light," said Mr. Daunt, steadying his
spectacles and fixing his gaze on the clerk. "How much light?"

"One candle."

"Only one candle when the testatrix was making her mark! Was that the
reason she gave for not signing her name in full?"

"No. She said when Mr. Devaney asked her if she would sign her name,
that she did not know how to write, but that she thought her mark would
do."

"Did not know how to write!" interrupted the judge. "I thought testatrix
was a lady of position."

"So she was, my lord," said Mr. Daunt.

"And did you take particular notice of the testatrix?" said counsel,
addressing the witness.

"Well, not particular. I mean, I did not notice very much of her; but I
noticed her hand and her finger when she was making her mark."

"Oh, you did! Tell the Court and the jury what you noticed," said Mr.
Daunt, catching the edges of his gown and pulling them forward.

"I noticed that her hands were very coarse for a lady, I thought, my
lord," said the witness looking up towards the judge. "And I saw that
her forefinger had a deep mark along it, as if it had been badly cut or
crushed some time or other."

"Come," said Mr. Daunt, leaning forward and looking the clerk full in
the face. "Do you think you would know the testatrix if you saw her
again?"

A buzz of excitement ran through the crowd.

"If I saw her again? Sure she's dead."

"Sure she's dead," said Mr. Daunt, echoing him; "but if she wasn't, do
you think you could recognise her?"

"I think I might."

"And if you saw the hand and the finger would you recognise them?"

"I would."

"Are you sure of that?"

"I--I--well, I am sure. I believe I would."

"But Mr. Daunt," put in the judge, "this is an extraordinary course you
are taking. The plea you have put in on behalf of your client is undue
influence."

"Quite so, my lord; but the case is an extraordinary one, and I ask your
lordship to bear with me for a moment in the interests of justice."

The judge nodded.

"My lord," continued Mr. Daunt, "would your lordship be good enough to
request the witness, Agnes Marvel," that was the name of the servant who
had been examined--"to come forward?"

"But, my lord," said Mr. Star, Q.C., who was on the opposite side,
"this is quite irregular. My learned friend had an opportunity of
cross-examining Agnes Marvel when she was in the witness-box."

"I shall call her forward, and then, if Mr. Daunt puts any question to
which you take exception, I shall be happy to hear you, Mr. Star."

"Thank you, my lord," said Mr. Star, as he resumed his seat.

"I do not intend to ask any questions," said Mr. Daunt. "So my learned
friend need not have been in such a hurry to interpose."

"Come forward, Agnes Marvel!" said the crier.

The woman came and stood near the clerk who was giving evidence.

"Lift up your veil, madam," said Mr. Daunt.

She did so with trembling hands which were encased in black cotton
gloves.

"Now, will you be good enough to remove your gloves."

"What is the meaning of this?" said Mr. Star, Q.C., jumping up.

"My lord, I make this request on my responsibility as counsel."

"Where is the objection, Mr. Star?" said the judge.

The woman removed her gloves. Her face as she did so became deathly
white, and without a word of warning she fell back, and would have
fallen on the witness-table if the crier, who was standing near her,
had not caught her in his arms.

There were cries of "Water!" and "Take her out into the air!"

"Perhaps, my lord," said Mr. Star, "an adjournment of the court would be
agreeable, as it is near luncheon time."

"What do you say to that, Mr. Daunt?" asked the judge.

"May I ask the witness one more question, my lord."

"Yes."

"Did you, witness, see that woman's hand?"

"Yes."

"Was that the hand that signed the will?"

"I believe so."

The excitement in court was now intense.

"I think," said the judge, "we should go on. Bring in that woman if she
has recovered," he continued, addressing a policeman.

The woman was brought in.

"Now," said the judge, turning towards Mr. Daunt, "you may repeat your
question; but first let me warn this woman. Agnes Marvel?"

"Yes, my lord."

"The question which counsel is now about to put concerns you. Listen to
it."

Mr. Daunt repeated the question, and the clerk answered it as before.

"Do you think you could recognise the features?"

"Now that I look at them I believe I do; but I won't be positive."

"My lord," said Mr. Daunt, "may I recall Mr. Malone?"

"For what, Mr. Daunt?"

"That he may describe the appearance of the lady whom he saw----"

"My lord! my lord!" interrupted Agnes Marvel, "if ye promise not to hang
me I'll tell the truth. 'Twas I signed the will--'twas I signed it, and
there's the man that tempted me," and she pointed to where Mr. George
Ralph Jephson had been seated, but in the excitement he had succeeded in
escaping.

There is no need to pursue the narrative further. Suffice it to say that
the false will was set aside, and luckily, one made some years previous,
and which was in the custody of a solicitor in England, was forthcoming.
By this all the property of the late Miss Glasson was bequeathed in
trust to Ralph Jephson and his children in equal portions should he
predecease testatrix. The whole, therefore, fell to Miss Blanche
Jephson.

But it may be interesting to state that Mr. Daunt was as much surprised
at the _denouement_ as anyone else. He had intended to put only a few
questions to Mr. Devaney's clerk as a matter of form, but the statement
of the latter that the testatrix had said she had never written a line
in her life aroused his curiosity, and when the clerk described the
finger of testatrix a light suddenly flashed on his mind that made his
way clear. With the acuteness and habit which come from long practice,
he had taken note of the witness, Agnes Marvel, as she came to the stand
to take the oath. She had, of course, to remove the glove from her right
hand before taking the book in it, and he saw the disfigurement of the
forefinger. Seeing that he had no case otherwise, he determined to
hazard everything on the chance that Agnes Marvel had signed the will
and not Miss Glasson.



A VISION OR A DREAM


I never had a decided opinion one way or the other on the subject of
ghosts--that is to say, I was never able to affirm my belief in them,
nor was I willing, on the other hand, to deny that occasionally they
visited the glimpses of the moon. Nothing, however, would induce me
to spend a night in a churchyard, and indeed, it would cost me a
considerable effort to pass by one on a country road after nightfall if
I chanced to be alone. The fact is, I suffered for many years, and from
my earliest childhood from the effects of a morbid imagination. I had,
when little over six years old, received a terrible shock by the suicide
of a neighbour. I had often seen him pass by the door of the house in
which we lived. He was, as well as I remember, an engineer, and he had a
rather peculiar cast of countenance, which had made a deep impression on
me. I did not see him lying dead, but I followed a crowd mainly composed
of women which attended the coffin, as it was being borne on the
shoulders of four men, to the house of the deceased. When the coffin was
taken inside the door the crowd remained for a long time outside, and of
course the fatal deed formed the sole topic of conversation. I was close
to three or four women who were listening to another who was giving
a most graphic description of the manner in which the unhappy man
had taken his life. The details were probably the offspring of her
imagination, but they sank into my mind and the recollection of them
cost me hours and nights of the bitterest agony--an agony indeed,
impossible to describe. I have not forgotten them yet, though close on
half a century has passed away.

I was, as I have mentioned, only about six years old at the time, and I
was sent to bed every night about eight o'clock. I slept at the top of
the house, and in the same room one of the servants also slept. I have
no recollection of having, prior to the time I speak of, felt any fear
when left alone in the room in the dark, but the night on which I heard
the account of the suicide was to open a new experience for me, and to
leave a mark upon my mind and character which has never been wholly
effaced.

I remember well, as if it were only last night, hearing the footfalls of
the servant as she descended the stairs after having put me to bed. I
can remember, too, the noises in the street, the sound of feet and the
voices talking, when suddenly in the dark, and close to my face, I saw
the face of the dead man! I have purposely omitted the details of the
suicide, nor do I wish to describe here the face as I saw it. Let it
suffice to say that it was exactly in the condition as described by the
woman in the crowd. It was the peculiar face which I had been accustomed
to see, only hideously marred by wounds.

I screamed as it came close to me--screamed as if my life was in my
throat--screamed and screamed, but no help came. I was at the top of a
high house and the door was closed. I covered my head with the clothes
until I was almost smothered. I closed my eyes fast to shut out the
horrid sight as I hoped, but only to see it more clearly. Sometimes
the face, while preserving the likeness to the peculiar face of the
engineer, as I was wont to see it when he was alive, seemed to spread
itself out and then contract, and every lineament of it seemed to be in
convulsive motion. The pressure of the clothes and the suffocating heat
forced me at length to lift them up, and again I screamed--screamed like
a wild animal in agony. At last I was heard. Someone came quickly up the
stairs. The door was flung open, and the candle lighted. It was the
servant.

"My God! What's the matter?" she exclaimed, as she saw me trembling as
if I were in a fit and covered with perspiration.

I tried to explain as well as I could, and she endeavoured to soothe me.
She remained by my side until I fell into a disturbed sleep. And for
months after she, by the doctor's orders, who was called in next day,
sat in the room until I slept. And for many years, until I became almost
a man, I never ventured to sleep except in a lighted room.

But whenever I was alone, either at night time, or at day time, I was
liable to see the faces such as I have since read in De Quincey's volume
haunt the dreams of opium eaters. I have often started back shuddering
from these faces, which have appeared suddenly in front of me when going
by myself along a country road, even in the broad noon-day, when the sun
was shining. And when people often expressed surprise that I never could
be induced to visit a wake-house, they little knew that I could do so
only at the price of being haunted for months by what I saw there,
whenever I found myself alone.

I have narrated all this chiefly because it may serve in some degree to
account for the phenomena which I witnessed under the circumstances I am
about to describe.

About twenty years ago I paid a long promised visit to a friend, Gerald
F----, who then lived in one of the counties bordering on Dublin, but
who has since died.

He was engaged to be married to a very handsome girl, a Miss R----, whom
he had met in London, but who was residing with her aunt not many miles
from Creeve house, my friend's residence. The wedding was to take place
a few months subsequent to my visit. The marriage promised to be full of
happiness. The girl was as gracious as she was beautiful, and my friend
Gerald was in every way worthy of her. Both were very well off. The
girl, an orphan, had been well provided for by her parents, and had
large expectations from her aunt. The young couple were deeply in love
with each other, and Gerald was constantly driving over to her aunt's
residence, and often took his fiancée for a drive through the charming
country roads.

My visit was made in compliance with a promise which I had made long
before the engagement took place, and which Gerald had frequently
reminded me of. I came down to him not knowing of the engagement, and so
when I heard the news I could not help remarking to him that my visit
was rather ill-timed. But Gerald replied that he was delighted to see
his old friend and to be able to talk over his own good fortune with
him, and talk he did, I must say, to his heart's content. But one day he
said he feared he was boring me when we were together, and that I must,
on the other hand, find it rather dull to be left alone, as I often was,
when he was away in the company of his fiancée.

I interrupted him by saying that I rejoiced in his happiness and to hear
him speak of it, and that as I loved the country and was fond of books I
was able to pass my time very pleasantly in the glorious summer weather
we were having.

And the time undoubtedly slipped away very agreeably, until one evening,
about three weeks after my arrival, I was reclining on the lawn in front
of the house under the shadow of a fine ash that flung its branches over
the little rippling stream that wound through the lawn, and thinking
myself as happy as Horace used to be in a similar situation, when the
sound of a very fast galloping horse came suddenly down the avenue.

I had barely time to turn round when the horse pulled up before the
hall-door, and I saw it was Gerald's trap, and that he, white as a
sheet, had one arm twined round Miss R----'s waist, with her head
resting against his breast. I rushed up, and the look of unutterable
agony in Gerald's eyes satisfied me, without even the sight of the blood
upon Miss R----'s face, that a terrible tragedy had occurred.

Of course the first thing to be done was to remove the lady into the
house. This was done, and the doctor was at once sent for, although the
slightest observation satisfied us all that his services were of no
avail. The poor girl was dead!

Gerald was at first too distracted to be able to give a coherent account
of what had happened; but when he was calm enough to speak the story was
soon told.

He and Miss R---- were driving together past Creveen Wood when a shot
was fired. The lady was on the side from which it was fired, and she was
struck and killed instantly. The horse, frightened by the report, had
galloped on frantically making for home. Gerald made no attempt to stay
it, as his sole thought was the wounded girl who had fallen beside him.
Fortunately the gate leading into the avenue was open, and it was a
pretty wide one, and the horse galloped through it without coming in
contact with the piers.

The doctor arrived, and he was followed by the police, word having been
sent to the neighbouring barrack. The former was, of course, no use,
and the latter, after having heard what Gerald had to say went off to
the plantation, but were unable to find any trace that would help them
in the discovery of the assassin.

I need not dwell upon the details of the funeral, or upon Gerald's
condition of mind, or the terrible sad nights which followed that of
the tragedy. I remained up for several nights with Gerald, and indeed,
nearly exhausted myself. The doctor, however, at last insisted that I
should have some rest, and about a week after the dreadful occurrence I
withdrew to my own room for the night.

I tried to sleep the moment I got into bed, but sleep kept away from me.
I had put out the light and was tossing from side to side, when right in
the dark in front of me was outlined a face! The strain upon my nerves
had brought back the old haunting visions! The suddenness with which it
appeared and its closeness startled me and brought the old dread back to
me, although it was many years since I had suffered and I had become
very strong.

There was nothing objectionable in the face. It was that of a young
man about eight and twenty, and it bore something more than a faint
resemblance to that of my friend Gerald. I tried instinctively the trick
of closing my eyes, but only to see it, if possible more clearly, but as
I looked at it, it began to recede from me, and to fall back towards the
wall. Then I perceived that it was no longer only a face that presented
itself; there was the figure of a man. He was dressed in dark grey
tweed, rather the worse of wear, and looked like one who had received a
military training. I had never seen the face before, but this did not
surprise me, as my imagination had been wont to play me curious tricks
in this way.

I began to think of other men whom I had known, and to bring their faces
before me in the hope of blotting this one out, which, as I have said,
caused me to feel as in the old nights of terror I was wont to feel, but
just as I appeared to be on the point of succeeding the vision became
more vivid, and again advanced up to the bedside, and then I noticed
that in its right hand it carried a gun. Soon after it vanished, and I
fell into a tolerably sound sleep, and slept late into the next day.

In about a fortnight after, Gerald, whom I had scarcely ever left except
at bedtime, was coming to himself, and I found I could go out for an
occasional stroll. And one day my steps involuntarily turned in the
direction of Creveen Wood. Nothing had in the meantime turned up to
elucidate the mystery. A reward had been offered, but no information was
forthcoming, and all hope of discovery was abandoned.

I had come close to the plantation without being aware of it, but on
recognising it I made an effort to turn back, but I was prevented doing
so by an irresistible impulse which drove me forward. I entered the
plantation, and after straying through it for some time my foot knocked
against something hard, which emitted a peculiar sound. This caused me
to look down to see what it was that I had struck against. I found it
was a piece of metal. I picked it up and examined it carefully, and it
seemed to be the portion of the lock of a gun.

Swift as a lightning flash came the recollection of what at the time had
made no perceptible impression on my mind. The lock of the gun in the
hand of the figure which I had seen in the vision was imperfect!

A strange excitement took possession of me, and I felt that if I could
only find the original, if he existed, of that vision I should find the
assassin of Miss R----.

Gerald's heart was bent on his discovery, and in one of our talks
together he made me promise to help him in the search. I gave the
promise to soothe him, believing at the time I made it that there was
little or no likelihood that I could assist him.

I put the piece of metal in my pocket and returned to Creeve House.

Gerald, who had been able to leave his room, had come down to the study,
and as I entered it I found him turning over the pages of an album of
portraits.

I went over and sat down beside him, and congratulated him on his
improved appearance. He shook his head sadly, and then, hoping to turn
his thoughts from their object, which I had no doubt of, I put my
finger on the album.

"Who is this?" said I.

It was the figure of an old lady.

"She was an aunt of mine."

I turned over the leaf, and the next portrait was that of the man I had
seen in the vision! For a moment I held my breath; then bending down
over the album, that my face might not betray me, I asked:

"Who is this?"

"A half-brother, Frank L----," he answered. "He was my mother's son by
her first husband. Mother was a widow when she married father."

I burned to ask another question, but feared I might betray myself.

"She was very fond of him," he went on, "as fond as she was of
me--fonder, I sometimes think, because he did not turn out too well. He
was a soldier, and left his regiment under rather cloudy circumstances;
but I don't know the particulars."

"He looks somewhat like you," I ventured to observe.

"More like mother, I should say," he replied.

"And where is he now?"

"I don't know. He was, when I last heard of him, lodging in Kingstown
or Blackrock. I don't know much about him. We were never friends. He
always resented mother's second marriage, and, I fear, hated me in
consequence."

Then Gerald spoke of some other indifferent subject, and I did not
desire to bring him back to the one uppermost in my mind. But as he
talked the question shaped itself--"Was Frank L---- the assassin, and if
so what could have been his motive?"

A few days after I left Creeve House as Gerald was nearly himself again.
I found, however that the strain of attending him, and the anxiety, and
the vision, and the haunting question ever putting itself to me, had
taxed me more than I had thought, and I determined to spend a few days
at the sea-side, and I found a couple of rooms that suited me in one of
the houses on the Bray Esplanade not far from the "Head."

I took the rooms, put in my luggage, and went to Dublin for a few hours
to transact some private business. It was near ten at night when I
returned. I found my landlady very much perturbed. The gentleman who had
occupied the rooms I had taken had, as she thought, gone away finally,
but two or three days of his tenancy were unexpired, and he returned
unexpectedly that evening. If I did not mind, she said, I could have for
the night the room of another gentleman who was and would be absent for
three or four days.

Of course I assented, and in a few minutes I was told the room was
ready.

Being rather tired I went up to it on receiving this information. I
glanced around it, and was satisfied. I sat on a chair facing the
chimney-piece, in order to take off my boots; and this done, I gazed
about more leisurely, and observed that over the mantle-place, in a
rack, was suspended a gun. I went over towards it to examine it, as I am
curious in firearms, and discovered with a sharp surprise that the lock
of the gun was broken.

I hastily put my hand in my pocket, drew out the piece of metal which I
had picked up in Creeveen Wood. It fitted the fracture perfectly!

For a moment I felt like one dazed, and then I began to look around the
room as if in search of something, I knew not what. My eyes lighted on a
portmanteau, bearing the initials "F.L." "Frank L----, by all that's
wonderful," said I to myself.

I flung myself undressed upon the bed. I couldn't sleep. There was gas
in the room, and I kept it burning all night.

When I met the landlady next morning I asked her, as if casually, who
was the tenant of my room.

"Oh, Mr. L----," she answered; "he's been absent for some weeks, and may
not return for some time. He often stays away for over a month."

What was I to do? I had no doubt whatever I had found the assassin!

Was I to tell Gerald F----? Would he believe in my visions? Would he
regard the piece of metal as a proof, and if he did believe it would he
thank me for convicting his mother's son of the crime?

No. I wouldn't tell, at least until I had pursued the matter further.
So the next day I determined to cause some privately conducted
investigations to be made concerning the recent career of Frank L----,
but before I had well set them on foot, and within a few days of my
discovery in the seaside lodgings, came the news through the morning
papers that the body of a man was found on the line between Salthill and
Kingstown, and from papers on him it turned out that he was a Mr.
Francis L----!

Gerald F----, I know, attended the funeral. A week subsequent to it
came the information from the private inquiry office which I had set in
motion that L---- had been paying attentions to Miss R---- in London,
and her maid had stated that she believed he had made a proposal and had
been rejected.

L---- was dead and gone. There was no use in pushing the matter any
further. Nothing could be gained by any disclosure I could make, and the
only question that troubled me, and sometimes troubles me now, is, was
what I saw in Creeve House a vision or a dream?



FROM THE JAIL TO THE BATTLEFIELD.


Early in the year 1743 a post-chaise, making for Dublin, was stopped
on the road near Castleknock by two highwaymen, one of whom held the
horses' heads, while the other, with pistol in hand, opened the coach
door, and addressed its single occupant with the brief command: "Your
money or your life."

The occupant of the carriage, Mr. Vesey, deeming prudence the
better part of valour, handed out his money-bags containing several
hundred pounds and his watch, and was then allowed to proceed to his
destination. He at once acquainted the authorities; a vigorous search
was set on foot, and in a few days two brothers named Silvester and
William Keogh, who lived in the little village of Rathcoole, and who
had a very bad reputation were arrested. One of these, William, was
identified by Mr. Vesey as the man who had opened the door of the
carriage and had robbed him of his money and his watch. He was unable to
identify the other, who was, therefore, discharged from custody. William
Keogh was put on his trial, and on the evidence of Mr. Vesey, convicted,
and after sentence of death had been passed, was confined in old
Kilmainham Jail, where the sentence was to be carried out.

A few days after the trial Mr. Vesey, who held a commission in the army,
was ordered off for foreign service. He attained the rank of captain,
and his regiment formed part of the English column that had so nearly
made the field of Fontenoy "a Waterloo." And when, before the impetuous
onset of the Irish Brigade that almost invincible column broke,
scattered, and fled, Captain Vesey lay with "his back to the field and
his feet to the foe." Two balls had pierced him and a clubbed musket,
wielded by a fierce Irish exile's arm, had reduced him to insensibility.
But he was not dead. Louis, when he saw that the field was won, gave
orders that the English wounded should be cared for as tenderly as
his own soldiers, and Captain Vesey was carried from the field to the
hospital at Lille by an Irish soldier, of the regiment of Berwick, of
the name of Vaughan, who displayed towards him the greatest solicitude.
Captain Vesey received the utmost attention from the officers of the
Irish Brigade at Lille, who, now that he was wounded and a prisoner
in their hands, remembered only that he was their countryman. He soon
became convalescent, and able to join the officers at mess. One evening
when in the rooms of the Count de St. Woolstan, the conversation having
turned on the incidents of the battle, an officer remarked that Captain
Vesey in all probability owed his life to the private who had carried
him off from the field when to all appearance he was dead. Captain
Vesey eagerly asked for the soldier's name, and said it was strange
that he had never looked to him for any recompense. Count de Woolstan
undertook to find the soldier, and a few evenings later the latter
presented himself at the count's quarters and was shown into the
presence of Captain Vesey. The captain could hardly believe his eyes,
but if they did not deceive him, there before him stood William Keogh,
whom he had believed to be lying in a felon's grave in Kilmainham. He
was about to call him by his true name, when it occurred to him that
the recognition might be injurious to the man to whom he felt he was
indebted for his life. He rose and thanked William _Vaughan_ warmly
for his kindness, and offered him twenty gold pieces, but the soldier
refused to take it. He was greatly agitated as he answered:

"No, Captain Vesey, I will never touch a penny of your money again."

"It would appear you have met before," remarked the count.

"We have," said Keogh, "but Captain Vesey does not know all. I will tell
you."

But the count said he had no wish to become acquainted with the
confidence that was not intended for him. That he knew Vaughan only as a
good soldier and desired to know no more.

"And I pledge you my honour," said the captain, grasping Keogh by the
hand, "I shall never allude to you except as the man to whom I owe my
life."

Keogh pressed the captain's hand warmly in his, and then, with the tears
starting to his eyes, he saluted the officers and left the room.

A few months afterwards an exchange of prisoners was effected, and when
Captain Vesey was taking farewell of the gallant count, the latter
informed him that he had promoted Vaughan to the rank of sergeant.
Vaughan--or Keogh as we know him--asked for and was given the
opportunity of saying good-bye to the captain, and he took a grateful
farewell.

Years passed, and Captain Vesey had fought in India and America, when
returning to Europe the fortune of war again made him a prisoner in the
hands of the French when the Duc de Richelieu captured Minorca. And for
the second time, Captain, or as he now was, Colonel Vesey, met with
Count de Woolstan. Naturally enough they talked of former days, and the
colonel made inquiries concerning Vaughan, and he learned that shortly
after he (the colonel) had left Lille. Vaughan's brother had arrived
from Ireland, joined Berwick's regiment and was killed at the battle of
Raucoux. In that battle William was severely wounded and incapacitated
for further service, and he had become an inmate of the _Hotel des
Invalides_.

Colonel Vesey, on being allowed to go on parole to Paris, sought out the
old sergeant whose escape from the gallows had often been the cause of
curious but unsatisfactory conjecture. Keogh was delighted to see him,
and, seated in one of the arbours in the garden of the Invalides, he
told him the story of his escape.

"They are all dead and gone now," said he, "who assisted in it,
and there is no longer need for secrecy. No one can be hurt by the
disclosure."

His story was briefly this: When he and his brother had taken the money
they put it into a canvas bag and hid it in a deep pool in the river
Liffey below the Salmon Leap. There was a heavy weight attached to it to
keep it down, but it could be easily removed by a drag. When lying in
his condemned cell Keogh noticed that the jailer, who paid but little
attention to the other prisoners awaiting execution, was particularly
attentive to him, and one day the jailer entered the cell, and carefully
closing the door sat down on the stool, and asked him if he could do
anything for him. Keogh replied that the only thing he could do was to
get him off being hanged. After a pause the jailer asked:

"Have you the money?"

"Every penny of it is safe," was the reply. "And there is fifteen
hundred pounds for a true friend."

The bait was tempting, and the jailer confessed he was in need of money.
If he could get that amount, he undertook to allow Keogh's brother,
Sylvester, to pass through his rooms, bring with him a rope ladder,
the key being left in the cell, and so the prisoner could escape at
midnight. But William would not hear of his brother being brought into
the plot, and suggested as an alternative that he, William, should get
sick of jail fever, then a very common and often fatal disease; that he
should appear to die of it, and be sent out in a coffin.

The jailer caught at the suggestion, but said there must be a real
corpse, for there would have to be an inquest; and, he added, that in
that case there would only be a thousand pounds for himself as the
remaining five hundred should be divided amongst necessary accomplices
on whom he could rely.

Accordingly Keogh feigned illness, and made himself really sick by the
use of drugs with which the jailer supplied him. The prisoners in the
cells at either side of him were removed, to be away from the contagion
of the jail fever, from which Keogh was supposed to be suffering. At
length he was reported dead, and the night of his supposed death the
jailer introduced into his cell a corpse which had been dug up out of
the hospital fields. This was placed in Keogh's bed and the latter was
let out on the high road. The inquest was held and verdict found, the
jury not taking the trouble to view the corpse, deterred from so doing
by fear of infection, and the brother Sylvester, the better to keep up
the deception, attended the funeral. William Keogh married a laundress
in Paris and died about the year 1769, having by his gallant conduct
atoned for the crime of his youth, and he had the happiness of knowing
that he had not only obtained the forgiveness, but had also earned the
gratitude of the man he had wronged.



ALL FOR A WOMAN'S EYES.


CHAPTER I.

It was a little after midnight, in the last week of February, in the
year 1797.

Three or four tallow candles, lighted fairly well that part of a
large-sized room, in which stood a huge, old-fashioned four-poster bed,
on which old William Grierson lay dying.

He looked a man of seventy-five at least. The scant hair of his head was
like silver. His long, hatchet-like face was almost waxen in appearance,
and remarkably free from wrinkles, and in the grey eyes shone some of
the old fire. But it was evident as he lay there that not only his hours
but his minutes were numbered. Between the midnight and the dawn seems
to be the time chosen by the Messenger of Death to bring the last
imperative, unavoidable summons, especially to the old whose footsteps
have lingered in the ways of life. It is, perhaps, kindly meant, for it
is the time when the rational forces are weakest, and when the chief
desire--faint at best--is for repose.

By the bedside of the dying man were seated two persons. One was a youth
with one foot across the threshold of manhood. He was well-built,
active, good-looking, but his weak mouth suggested want of resolution,
and the edges of his eyelashes, which concealed his dreamy eyes, were
suspiciously bright, as if tears had just visited them. He was the only
son--the only child--of the dying man, and was here now, he knew, to
receive his father's last advice--his last blessing. The other was a man
of fifty or thereabouts. He had a rugged, serious face, and by his dress
and appearance would at once be taken for what he was--a Dissenting
minister. He was seated towards the end of the bed. The young man sat
beside the pillow.

"I feel my last moments are come, Robby," he said faintly, "and I would
like to give you my blessing before I go."

Suppressing a sob, for the lad dearly loved his father, and was even
more dearly loved by him, because 'he was the child of his old age,'
Robby knelt down beside the bed, and the dying father extended his thin,
wasted hand, that was almost transparent, and laid it fondly on the head
of the boy. The clergyman had also knelt down, and with his hands raised
in supplication to heaven, he prayed silently in sympathy with the old
man who was so soon to pass away from this fleeting world.

It was a scene and a moment to move less responsive hearts than that of
young Robbie Grierson. He felt himself like one under some sacred spell,
and at the touch of his father's hand his innermost and deepest feelings
were stirred.

"I am going home, Robbie," he said. "I am going home where I hope to
meet the mother that bore ye and that ye never saw, and who gave her
life for ye, and before I go I want ye to promise me something, laddie.
I want ye to promise me something--will ye do it, Robbie? Will ye
promise it?"

Robbie bent his forehead until it touched the coverlet of the bed.

"I will promise, father."

"Blessed are those who honour their father and their mother, for their
days will be long in the land," murmured the clergyman, as if to
himself.

"Well, Robbie, the times are strange, and men are talking of revolution,
and overthrowing governments, and of war that will be needed to bring
all that about. I am a dying man, Robbie, and what do all their present
charges and revolutions seem to me. Ah, nothing more, lad, than the
crimples on the lake when the wind blows, or than the billows when the
storm rages--a boat or ship may go down with its load of souls, but when
the wind is at rest again, all is as before."

The tone of the speaker was so solemn, and the surroundings so dramatic,
that Robbie felt in no mood to question anything that was said, but
listened with pious and filial resignation.

"And now, Robbie, lad, I want ye to promise me, afore I go, that you
will not any longer meddle or make with politics, and that you will have
nothing to do with any of these societies that, I hear, are being formed
in this country, bound by oaths, they tell me. Will ye promise, Robbie,
will ye promise, lad. I am getting weak, Robbie, I want ye to promise me
before I go, for your mother's sake and mine, laddie, and there's Mr.
M'Clane there who will be your witness, Robbie."

But Robbie was silent and did not reply. The request had taken him by a
surprise so great that he knew not what to answer.

Robert Grierson, with, as he believed, the tacit approval of his father,
had joined the Society of United Irishmen, and as he was well-educated,
enthusiastic, and in a good position, for his father was known to be
very well off, and, besides his extensive farm, had a good round sum in
the bank, he easily acquired a rather prominent position, and was at the
head of one of the committees of councils into which his county was
divided. The society had become oath-bound, and Robbie, in view of his
obligation as a member of it, knew not what to reply to his father's
unexpected request.

"Honour your father and mother if your days will be long in the land."

It was the voice of the minister raised scarcely higher than a whisper.

"Will ye promise me, laddie, I'm flittin'? Will ye promise me, Robbie,
before I go?"

Robert felt the hand on his relaxing. He lifted his own to catch it, and
found it cold. He looked on his father's face, and though he had not
seen many die he felt the end was at hand.

"Will ye promise, Robbie?" the voice was growing fainter.

"I promise."

"Kiss me, Robbie."

The son lifted himself up, bent over and kissed the wan lips of the
father.

"I die happy now, Robbie."

The tears blinded the youth's eyes. Brushing them away he looked his
last look on his dying father, who held one of his hands. The clergyman
had crept up and slipped his hand into the other.

A little gasp, a little flicker of the eyes, and all was over. Old
William Grierson was no more.

At the funeral, a few days after, the whole countryside was present, for
the deceased had been held in high esteem, and there was much talk as to
the future of Robbie Grierson, who found himself so early in life master
of a fine position, and even during the funeral procession of the father
those who were friends of the deceased were speculating as to the
marriage prospects of his son, for this is the way of the world.

But when the burial was over and done, Robbie Grierson set himself to
work earnestly at the farm, and kept himself aloof from his former
associates. He seemed to have become a wholly different being. He had
been a bright, light-hearted youth, ready for all innocent fun and
frolic. Now he courted solitude and became almost morose. He declined
all invitations to the meetings of the United Irish Society, giving
now one excuse and now another, until at last it became evident to
the members that he did not wish any longer to attend them. He was
looked upon as a very serious loss to their ranks, for he possessed
considerable influence over a wide extent of country, and had been the
means of attracting many recruits to the ranks of the brotherhood. What
made his loss still more serious in the eyes of the heads of the society
was that it appeared to be a defection, and, if such, it was likely to
prove a tempting example to others who had looked up to Robert Grierson
as one of the props of the society.

His conduct seemed inexplicable, for though not looked upon by his
superiors as very resolute or masterful, he was believed to be sincere.
At length the explanation got about, which young Grierson himself, for
some reason or another, was reluctant to offer, and when the story of
the death came to be told, the utmost sympathy was felt with Grierson,
and it was admitted by most that, under the circumstances, he could
hardly be blamed for making the solemn promise which detached him from
the United Irishmen. But among them there were not wanting some who
scoffed at Robert's respect for the promise which he had given to the
dead, but the majority, it must be said, respected him for it, although
they considered it was unreasonable to exact it, and not binding on
Robert.

Avoiding, as far as possible, doing any violence to his feelings, the
chief men of the district endeavoured to withdraw him from his solitary
course, but in vain. They represented to him that a promise exacted
under such circumstances was not binding, for if it were, then the
living generations might always be bound by the dead, and that all
progress in human affairs would be arrested.

But Robert Grierson heeded them not, and he became apparently more
disconsolate, and what time he could spare from his business he spent
wandering by the banks of the stream, broad and brown, and tossing up
its tawny locks as it passed fretfully over the stones that here and
there interrupted its passage, and which formed the "mearing" between
his property and Mr. George Jephson, who was one of the chiefs of the
United Irish Society in his district.

A little story got abroad that there was another, or at least an
additional, reason for Robert Grierson keeping so much to himself. It
was said that he had been the suitor of a young lady in a position a
little higher than his own, and that in the eyes of her parents his
Republican principles had proved an insuperable barrier to their union,
and that with the object of bringing their romantic attachment to an
end, the young lady had been sent away to England and was lost on the
voyage there, the vessel in which she sailed having been wrecked just
outside Holyhead and all on board drowned.

The story was, in the main, true, and it was a cause of the most
poignant grief to Robert Grierson that, having allowed his first love
to go away from him rather than surrender his political principles, he
now felt himself coerced by his promise to his dead father to abandon
them, and, at least, to find it necessary for him to sever himself from
those who continued to be the exponents of those principles.

But love-stricken as Robert Grierson was, his heart had not been fatally
wounded, and although the homely life he was now leading seemed to hand
him over a prey to melancholy, and although he persuaded himself that
he was utterly love-lorn and that his heart was secure from any new
assaults of Cupid, he knew nothing of the power and the wiles of the
mischievous son of Aphrodite, and never dreamt that the little archer
had the shaft fitted to the bow that would leave the whirring string
only to find a sure passage into his, Robert Grierson's heart.


CHAPTER II.

On an evening in May, 1797, Robert Grierson was strolling down by the
banks of the stream that bound his lands. The weather for weeks had been
mild, and the country was dressed in the tender green that had not yet
drunk too deeply of the sunlight, unlike the leaves of mid-June, that
hang so heavily and so listless in the still air. The stream was not
yet as clear as it would be some weeks later, but it glared brightly
enough as it flashed and swirled when the stones or boulders strove to
stop its way, and even when it ran smooth and deep the rays of the sun,
descending in an almost cloudless sky, coloured its brown surface to a
golden hue.

Like most romantic youths, Robert Grierson loved to converse with
rivers. Their bickerings, their whispers, their mysterious murmurings
and sobbings, their chafing at obstructions, and the soft fretting on
the banks when the way was clear had all become familiar to him, and all
these seemed to glide into his darker musings, "and steal away their
sharpness ere he was aware."

Had anyone interrupted him as he strolled along and asked him what he
was thinking of, he would have found it difficult, if not impossible to
give a satisfactory reply. The thoughts of youth, as the poet tells us,
"are long, long thoughts," which is another way of saying it is given
them to indulge in indefinable longings. But whatever were the musings
of Robert Grierson on this evening he was suddenly brought back to his
surroundings by a scream and a splash.

At the opposite side of the stream and knee-deep up to his fore-legs
in it, was a pony, on which sat a lady, looking scared but gloriously
beautiful in the light of the setting sun.

"Oh, I'll be drowned! I'll be drowned!"

There was no danger whatever. The pony had come down a boreen leading to
the river--to a watering place and knew what he was about. Not so the
lady, whom Grierson saw was a stranger, and who was evidently afraid the
pony would carry her up mid-stream.

Grierson without hesitation plunged in, and waded up to his neck for a
short distance until he swam by the pony's head. Assuring the lady that
there was no danger, he waited until the pony had slaked his thirst, and
then turning his head round led him back to the boreen.

The lady was profuse in her thanks, which Grierson protested were not at
all deserved, but they were, nevertheless, very grateful to him, for
they were uttered in a voice the most musical he had ever heard. It was
soft, almost caressing, and there was, moreover, a flavour of a foreign
accent which seems to claim a special tender consideration for the
speaker when she is a lady, young and beautiful, and a stranger.

With a final graceful wave of her hand, and shooting a Parthian glance
from her dark eyes that went with unerring aim to Grierson's heart, she
urged her pony forward, and rounding a bend of the boreen was quickly
lost to view.

Grierson stood gazing after her, like one whose gaze was fixed on a
vision. It may be that the sun had sunk down behind the hills when she
vanished, as it were, from his sight, but the very air seemed dark, the
river ran in shadows, and his clinging wet clothes helped to free him
from the spell of enchantment under which he had been drawn.

He ought to have hastened home to change his clothing, but he went there
slowly, rehearsing in his mind the little scene in which he had taken
part. Never was face so fair, he whispered to himself; never was voice
so sweet, never were eyes so bewitching. As he thought of them his very
soul seemed striving to escape from him to follow them.

Alas, "for the love that lasts alway!"

Had anyone dared on that morning to whisper to Robert Grierson that
before the sun went down he would have completely forgotten his first
love, and become the bondslave of a woman's eyes, whose name he did not
know, and whom he had never seen, he would have regarded the prophecy
as little better than an insult, or, at least, as a foolish, idle
utterance. And now, as he was turning into his house, he felt that in
meeting so unexpectedly the fair unknown this evening he had met his
fate.

He spent many hours that night thinking of her, and wondering who she
was. He surmised that she was a guest of his neighbour, Mr. ----, who,
as we know, was a prominent member of the United Society, and Grierson
wondered he had heard nothing of her before, but then he remembered that
he had kept himself so much aloof that very little gossip of any kind
reached his ears.

When he thought of the way in which she and he had met he could not
help regretting that he had not the opportunity of rendering her a more
signal service, and he began spinning out romantic scenes in his mind--a
horse tearing madly along straight for a precipice, a shrieking maiden
clinging to his mane, and at the last moment he, Robert Grierson,
managing to seize the reins, stopping the horse, but falling as he did
so, and becoming unconscious, and then when he woke up, feeling sore all
over, not knowing where he was, for he found himself in a dimly lighted
room, and while he was still wondering a fair face bent softly over him,
etc., etc. Other scenes in which the incidents were varied, succeeded,
until he fell asleep.

When he woke the following morning, the fair vision of the previous
evening came before his eyes, and he decided that he would endeavour to
find out who the lady was.

The news came to him unexpectedly. Mr. ---- came over to thank him for
himself and also on behalf of his guest. Grierson very naturally made
light of the business as a thing, so far as he was concerned, not worth
talking about; but Mr. ---- assured him that the young lady was very
grateful, and it would, he said, give him great pleasure if Grierson
would come over to his house that evening to supper. Grierson, after a
little reluctance, which he felt bound to pretend owing to his having
refused so many former invitations from the same quarter, agreed to go,
and that evening found him in the society of Rosette Neilan, who had
lately come back from France, and who was an ardent admirer of that
gallant people, and was full of enthusiasm for the cause of liberty.


CHAPTER III.

LOVE'S TRIUMPH.

The only persons present at the supper were Mr. ----, his wife, Rosette,
and Grierson, and it must be confessed that the young lady did all the
talking. Most of it was about her school days, and there were bright
little sketches of French life and much, but not very much, of the army
that was sweeping over Europe, overthrowing old landmarks and breaking
up dynasties. It was hardly to be wondered at that the others were
listeners. The lovely face of the speaker seemed to beam as she spoke.
Her beautiful eyes were at times as still as a waveless sea, and as
deep, under the blue sky of a cloudless summer day. At times they
flashed and sparkled as she became more interested in the subject of her
conversation; her speech seemed to flow, as flows the song of the lark
singing and winging his way up until he is lost in the height, and
there was that _soupçon_ of a foreign accent to which we have already
referred, and to which we are half tempted to give the name of "brogue,"
knowing how sweet what we call the "brogue" can be in a winsome Irish
girl's lips. Then there were the wonderful gestures that seemed, as it
were, to add colour and motion to her descriptions. It was simply a
delight to watch the play of her features, and as for Robert Grierson,
he seemed to himself as if he were under a spell, and in truth he was.
If Love had wounded him the previous evening, this night it succeeded in
binding him hand and foot; and, as he returned home, walking in the
moonlight by the stream, he seemed to hear, as it murmured by, the music
of her voice.

It is hardly necessary to say that he made frequent opportunities of
meeting her. Mr. and Mrs. ---- gave him every facility. Mrs. ----,
because she was, like most women, a bit of a matchmaker, and could
sympathise still with a little love romance. That this was one she did
not doubt. Anyone with her opportunity would have found no difficulty
in making this discovery, and she regarded the match in every way a
suitable one. Rosette was, indeed, almost penniless, while Robert
Grierson had enough and to spare for both, with no relatives depending
on him, and she thought he ought to be proud to win for his wife so
beautiful and charming a girl as Rosette.

As for Mr. ----, he was glad of the intimacy which he saw springing
up between the young couple, for other, though hardly as romantic,
reasons. As for Rosette herself, she had been so much accustomed to
admiration that at first she accepted Robert Grierson's attentions as
a matter of course, but it was not very long until she felt that her
interest in him was becoming deeper, and her longing to meet him
stronger.

During their earlier meetings their talk was just such as might be
expected to take place between a handsome, brilliant, light-hearted,
young lady, who assumed the airs of a queen, and a somewhat bashful
young gentleman, who had felt his heart was under her feet, and who,
dazed by her beauty and her will, could do barely more than listen and
admire. But when they had become more intimate her talk was of another
character. She began to speak much of France--of the Revolution--of the
cause of Liberty.

She seemed to know by heart the wonderful story of the young Republic
that had started up half armed and caught hoary dynasties by the throat,
and humbled them to the dust.

As she spoke the battlefields seemed to rise before her vision, and she
described the conflicts as if she had taken part in them, and on one
occasion, after telling how a crowd of beardless boys, without shoes,
and almost in tatters, had rushed the heights and sabred the Austrian
gunners, she suddenly turned towards Grierson, and, with passionate
gesture, exclaimed:

"Ah, if I were a man, I should be a soldier. But if I ever marry, I'll
marry only a soldier of liberty."

She and Grierson were standing on a knoll that rose over the river that
flashed back the hues of the sunset.

They fell also on the face and figure of Rosette, and as Grierson
listened to her impassioned tones and watched her lovely face glowing
with transcendent beauty he felt she had only to lift her finger to
beckon him to destruction, and that he would have leaped in response
like a hound loosened from the leash.

"Ah, glorious France!" she exclaimed, "she had only to stamp her foot
and out her children came swarming round her, begging her to let them go
fight, conquer or die for her."

"But poor Ireland," and a wistful look came into her eyes, "I come back
to you only to find a race of slaves!"

And her voice, exultant a second before, sank as if burdened with great
sorrow.

Then, after a slight pause, she resumed.

"But I fear I should not have spoken this way, Mr. Grierson, and the
evening is waning, and I had better return home."

"Not have spoken this way!" Grierson exclaimed, "as if I have any desire
to find fault with your words or your thoughts; as if every word of
yours does not find a home in my heart!"

And he caught her little hand and lifted it to his lips.

She permitted the caress, then gently withdrawing her hand she repeated:
"I had better return home."

"But why should you not speak to me and tell me everything?" he cried
passionately.

"Because--because," she stammered, "you know you were once one--one of
us, but you are so no longer."

"One of us!" and he emphasised the last word.

"Oh, I mean," she replied with a slight toss of her head, rather
suggestive of disdain, "you were once a soldier of liberty--but you are
so no longer."

For a second he was puzzled, then his heart caught her meaning.

"You said you would marry only a soldier of liberty."

"It is true," she replied.

"And if I were one?"

"But you are not! Look, the sun is sinking behind the hills already--the
shadows are in the valley. I must return."

"But if I were a soldier of liberty once more. If I take the oath of the
United Men?"

"You took it, Robert Grierson."

"But you do not understand. You have not heard all."

"I understand. I have heard everything. You took the oath, and while men
are arming everywhere, and the revolution that will make Ireland a
Republic like France and like America is setting into motion you are
playing the part of a truant and a dreamer."

"But my promise was given to the dying--I might almost say, dead."

"Then go amongst the graves and keep it."

"But this is too cruel, Rosette--Rosey--little Rose. Tell me, if I were
to--to join the United ranks again, would you count me a soldier of
liberty?"

"Of course," she replied. "Every Irish soldier of liberty is one now."

"And if I did would there be hope for me? You know what I mean,
Rosette."

"Green is the colour of the United Men," she answered, "and you have
heard, I'm sure, how, when Camille Desmoulines, in the gardens of the
Palais Royal in the beginning of the Revolution, plucked a leaf from
one of the trees, he decked himself with it, crying out: 'Green is the
colour of hope.'"

Her eyelids drooped a little as he looked at her with an ardent gaze.

"And may I hope?" he asked.

"If you wear the green." And she held towards him a leaf which she had
plucked.

He took it and kissed it, and then? Well, it is enough to say that
Robert Grierson once more wore the green, as the affianced lover of
Rosette.


CHAPTER IV.

LA DONNA E MOBILE.

The announcement of her engagement to Robert Grierson was received with
great pleasure both by Mr. and Mrs. ----, the latter from reasons
already mentioned, and by the former because it was accompanied with the
assurance that the young man had been once more brought within the ranks
of the United Society. But although this was so, and that he attended
their meetings, he hardly displayed his former zeal, and there were
some who thought that his broken promise to his dead father weighed on
his mind. Perhaps it did. But it is not unlikely that love was also
responsible. And it happened that Rosette, who had been so fervent
in the cause of liberty, and so eager to talk of it, since she had
acknowledged her love for Robert and promised to be his bride, began to
find other and more tender subjects for conversation, and as these two
young lovers, all in all to each other, strolled down the green laneways
or by the banks of the winding stream under the blue skies of April, he
as well as she were fain to forget that already the conflict had begun
which was to decide whether the United Irish Society or the English
Government were to be masters in Ireland. But at last the time arrived
which brought them face to face with the fact that a rising was soon to
take place in Ulster, and that Robert Grierson would have to take his
part in it.

And now the lovers were in the sweet month of May, when, under other
circumstances, their hearts would rejoice with the joyous month of
flowers. When they had plighted their troth only such a short time
before they knew that the effort to throw off the British yoke was soon
to be made, and they had seriously desired that the marriage was not to
take place until it was over. The issue then did not seem doubtful, for
were not the French coming to render assistance? and in a few weeks
Ireland would be free from the centre to the sea.

But now not a day passed without rumours of arrests of popular leaders,
and the daily court-martials in Belfast and elsewhere. These, it must
be confessed, had little or no effect on Grierson, but they had a most
unexpected effect on Rosette. A gloom seemed to settle on her spirits,
for at night she had fearful visions of gallowses, and of strangled
men, and in nearly every case the face of the victim bore a grotesque
resemblance to that of her lover.

She endeavoured to conceal the apprehensions that preyed on her. But
Robert coaxed her to tell him the cause of her unhappiness. It chanced
that they were standing together on the spot where they had plighted
their mutual vows, and which naturally had become dear to both of them.
Again the sun was setting gloriously, and the stream shone and flashed,
and from the green hedgerows there were some sweet, small voices singing
a farewell to the setting sun. But there was no longer the radiant face
of Rosette. The sunset light only served to expose its unutterable
sadness.

Grierson had his arm round her waist.

"Tell me, darling, tell me, my own little Rosy, what is the trouble on
you?"

"Oh, Robbie, Robbie!" the tears came to her eyes, "what brought me here?
What brought me and you together?"

"Why, darling, what do you mean? What brought you here except to make me
the happiest man in Ulster, or out of it."

"No, no, Robbie, love, you were happy till I came. You might be happy
now and always, but I--I have changed the current of your life. It might
have run on calmly as the stream below, flowing in an accustomed course,
but now----"

"But no, darling, whatever be its course, it will run brighter than the
stream runs on there so long as I have you with me, my own dear, darling
little Rosette."

And he drew her towards him and kissed her.

"But Robbie, don't you understand, dear. I have had such dreams, and of
you--oh, they have frightened my very soul!"

"You silly darling. Do you not know that dreams go by contraries!"

"Oh, but they come again and again."

"Then what were they, dearest? They will lose all their terror if you
tell me," and thus he coaxed her story from her, and he kissed her and
laughed away her fears for the time, but it was only for the time. The
dreams recurred--not always the same, however, for sometimes instead
of the scaffold she appeared to see a battlefield heaped with dead,
the faces of most of the corpses gashed, and amongst them, always
recognisable by her, and she felt it was gashed almost out of
recognition--was that of Robert Grierson.

The result of these dismal dreams was that Rosette became thoroughly
convinced that her lover was destined to a fatal end unless, for she
could see no other alternative, he were to quit the country, and day
after day her spirits sank, and, do what he could, Robbie was unable to
cheer her.

And now the news arrived that the rising was determined on, and a few
days later it was followed by the news that Leinster was up.

Grierson had to confess to himself that Rosette's forebodings had deeply
affected him, and, moreover, as the moment for action approached, the
scene at the deathbed of his father intruded itself frequently. His
conscience seemed to goad him for having broken the promise so solemnly
given, and at the next moment he felt that it never should have been
exacted, and at all costs he knew he would have given it up a dozen
times for Rosette's sake.

But here was Rosette now sorry that she had made him break it. But
without doing so could he have won her? And then his memory summoned
her up as she stood next him on that fateful evening.

At last Grierson received orders to join the forces under Munroe, and he
and Rosette were once more going down by the stream. "Would it be the
last time?" his heart kept asking him, yet he strove to be cheerful, and
he talked of returning in a few months at the outside, and making his
Rosette his own bonny bride.

Rosette had, on her side, endeavoured to bear up bravely, but at last
she completely broke down.

"Oh, darling, darling, I've led you to your ruin--to your death.
Yes--yes, it is I who will have killed you. I would give my eyes out
for you, dearest!"

"Keep them for me, darling! that will be better," Robbie answered, with
affected gaiety, and he kissed the tears away.

"But Robbie, if you love me, if you love me, dearest, there is yet time
to save yourself. I was wrong, Robbie, it was sinful of me to get you to
violate your solemn pledge to your dying father. I saw him in my dreams
last night, and his face was full of anger. Oh, Robbie, I've done wrong,
and you--you are the victim."

He pressed her towards him, patted her cheek, remaining silent, thinking
it better to let her speak without interruption.

At last, withdrawing herself from his arms, she returned a step or two
and then fell on her knees. She stretched out her hands. "Oh, Robbie,
if you love me fly--fly to-night while there is yet time, when you are
safe beckon me to come to you, and I'll follow you if need be around the
world."

Robbie bent down and tenderly lifted her up.

"Dearest, you will crush my heart if you talk in that way. But what you
ask is impossible. Be my own brave girl and banish these silly fears.
You would not have them brand me a coward or a traitor. I should be one,
if not both, if I faltered or fled now when the summons has come. If I
could do so, dear, I know that when you and I would meet again I should
be ashamed to look into your eyes, counting myself, as I would be, a
renegade. No, dearest, I'll never bring that disgrace upon myself or on
the woman who has given me her love."

And so till the night came he strove to soothe her and to cheer her
heart--his own sad enough--but after the final adieu he set out for home
for the last time he was ever to visit it, with face set and conscious
that he was taking the only course that was open to him, but his heart
was dark with forebodings.

The next day he joined Munroe. Poor Rosette remained at home praying and
weeping, anticipating always the worst, and unable to shake off the
conviction that the day of her happiness had come to a close.

At last the terrible news arrived of the defeat of Munroe at
Ballinahinch and the dispersal of his forces. There was at first no
word of Robert Grierson, and, of course, Rosette concluded that he was
left amongst the slain.

The following day, towards nightfall, a labourer who had been in
Robert's employment, brought her the news that Robert was concealed in
his cabin a few miles away. Thither she sped that night to find Robert
lying on a heap of clean straw rather badly wounded, but in fairly
cheerful spirits.

There he remained for several days, and was rapidly gaining health, and
Rosette's hopes were reviving, and she again indulged the dream that she
and Robert would be happy, for she had secured a promise from him which
he was now free to give--that, as soon as he was well enough, he would
endeavour to escape to France, whither she would follow him.

But alas, it was only a dream. The bloodhounds were on his track. One
morning, just in the grey of dawn, Rosette was making her way close to
the cabin in which Robbie lay, when suddenly she was confronted by a
small party of yeos. She turned and fled, pursued by a volley of oaths
and villainous jests. Worse still, she was followed by one or two of the
party, and although she flew like a deer she was quickly overtaken, for
her foot having caught in a briar she stumbled and fell.

The yeo picked her up, and then swore out: "By ----, it's the
Frenchwoman, and her lover cannot be far off."

In the meantime the approach of the yeos to the house had been
discovered, and the owner had taken out Grierson to the haggard, and
concealed him effectually in a heap of turf which stood by the house.
Within a few minutes the yeos came, bringing Rosette along, her face
aflame with indignation.

"Search the house," cried the leader of the band. They did so. There was
no one in it. "Come, my man tell us at your peril where the traitor
Grierson is?"

"That's more than I know" replied the owner of the house, to whom the
question had been addressed.

"Well this wench can tell us, and shall tell us," cried one of the most
ruffianly of the gang, and he seized Rosette in such a manner as to
cause her to scream out.

Suddenly the clump of turf came tumbling about the yard, and with
flashing eyes and white face Robert Grierson staggered out and made for
the ruffian.

"Unhand her, you coward," and he struck at his face. Weak as he was the
blow was not without effect, and Rosette was free from the polluted
grasp.

There was something in the passion of Grierson that seemed to win the
sympathy of the yeoman captain, who had been acquainted with Grierson.

"Come," he said, "submit quietly to be bound and I pledge myself the
girl shall go away unmolested."

"Oh, Robbie, Robbie!" was all poor Rosette could say, her whole frame
shaking with sobs.

When the yeos were ready to march with Grierson they first had a look
round for the man of the house. But he fled when Robbie discovered
himself, and had run where he could not be found. The yeos, by way
of revenge, set fire to the thatch. Rosette begged to be allowed to
accompany the prisoner. Ordering the yeos to fall back from the latter,
the captain brought Rosette up to him.

"I would grant your request," he said kindly, "but if you take my advice
you will go to your home. I might be able to protect you from insult,
but we shall transfer our prisoner to other hands."

Robbie urged her to act on this suggestion--and she, promising that she
would visit him in prison, bringing Mr. ---- with her, on the following
day, took a heartbroken farewell, striving to appear strong so as not to
give sport to the yeos.

She went to a little hill that commanded the road for nearly a mile,
down which the yeos and their prisoner went. As she watched him further
and further away, the life-blood seemed to ebb from her heart, and when
at last they rounded a curve that shut them out from view, poor Rosette
utterly broke down and fell fainting to the ground.

A week later the scaffold found a fresh victim in Robert Grierson. Poor
Rosette's love story was over. Her darkest dream had proved true.



THE RUSE OF MADAME MARTIN.


Nature was a little unkind to Danton Martin when it encased a great soul
in a small body; and Love, which can also play fantastic tricks, had
mated him with a wife fully a head over him and otherwise of ample
proportions, of whom, not without reason, he was very proud. She was
uncommonly handsome, had a fine figure, and knew how to make the most of
it; and if at times he felt rebuked by Madame's superior size, there
was, by way of compensation, their only child, Lucille, who was just
home from the convent, and who was no taller than her father, and was a
perfect copy of her mother's beauty. Her little face was as bright as a
summer day without its sameness, and its sparkling vivacity had turned
the heads of all the young fellows of Merploer; and when Monsieur Martin
was seated with his little Lucille beside him on the Place, on the days
on which the band played, and saw the many admiring glances cast in her
direction, he felt as proud as a king on his throne.

Not, indeed, that he was a respector of kings, quite the contrary. He
was, as he asserted, a republican of the republicans. Did not, he would
ask, did not one of his ancestors take part in the storming of the
Bastille? Did not another dip his handkerchief in the blood of Monsieur
Veto, and coming to later times, did not Martin père fall wounded in the
fusilade of the _coup d'état_ of "Napoleon the Little," and did he not
quit France rather than live under a hated Empire, and return to it only
when the Republic was once more built on the ruins of a throne? Alas,
there were not wanting some to hint that the wound was a myth, and that
he went to England solely to better himself, and came back only when he
had secured a competence, if not a fortune. Be this as it may, Martin
père married the daughter of a rich shipowner in Merploer, and as a
proof of his republican faith he gave to his only son the name of
Danton.

Danton Martin did his best to live up to the great name, but it was no
easy task in quiet times of peace and slow reform, and the republican
sentiment of Merploer was sluggish if not almost stagnant.

Danton Martin had his hours of despondency, and at times he would, in
the solitude of his dressing-room, but not always unperceived by Madame,
stand before the mirror and, endeavouring to assume a leonine aspect,
strike his chest and recall the famous words which had been uttered at
the foot of the scaffold, "Danton, no weakness!"

Inspired by the great name and example, Danton Martin founded a
political club in Merploer at "Le Vieux Corsaire." Its object was to
disseminate true republican principles. Its motto "The Republic One and
Indivisible."

Every member of the club who saluted a fellow member was bound to follow
up the salute with the aspiration "Long live the Republic," to which the
invariable rejoinder was "One and Indivisible."

This phrase had a special virtue in Danton Martin's eyes. By a Republic
One and Indivisible he meant one that should be supreme over the minds
of all true Frenchmen, and that should brook no rival to its influence.
Therefore what he styled the pretensions of the Church were to be beaten
down. Again and again he proclaimed these views at "Le Vieux Corsaire,"
and as a public proof of his faith he caused the phrase to be inscribed
round a head of Liberty carved in relief on a plaque over the front
entrance to his villa, called after his little daughter "Villa Lucille."

But, alas, there were not wanting some envious tongues to assert
that Danton Martin's republican principles went no further than his
hall-door, and that inside the Villa Lucille the loud-voiced orator of
"Le Vieux Corsaire" was as quiet as the proverbial church mouse.

There was something more than a grain of truth in this. Madame had not
troubled herself with her husband's views in politics until the laws
suppressing the religious congregations were set in motion. When,
however, matters had proceeded so far that the good Sisters, by whom
she, and, subsequently, Lucille, had been educated, were turned out upon
the street, Madame's indignation knew no bounds.

"A nice kind of Republic your Republic is," she cried to Danton; "it
abandoned the provinces to Germany without striking a single blow to
recover them; and the only employment it can find for its army (which,
we are told, is the one hope of France) is to break into convents,
and fling defenceless women into the street. Your Republic, one and
indivisible, is splitting France in two. Never speak to me of it again!"

Danton winced, but was silent; he was weak enough to find extenuating
circumstances for Madame's indignation. Had she not been brought up, he
said, by the Sisters, and what else could be expected from her?

The Martin marriage had been one of affection on both sides, and this
was the first dark cloud which had lowered over Villa Lucille, and it
was destined to become darker.

Lucille had a very dear school friend--Yolande de Lauvens--whose
brother, Henri, was a lieutenant in the Engineers; and Yolande having
been on a long visit to Lucille, Henri had, thanks to Madame, who had a
very high opinion of the young lieutenant, many opportunities of seeing
Lucille, of course always in her mother's presence. The result was that
the young people fell in love. Monsieur Martin had perceived nothing of
this, and it was with genuine astonishment that he learned from Madame
that the lieutenant only waited his assent to become a suitor for his
daughter's hand. He had never even suspected such a thing. More than
once he had stated to his friends that he would take care that Lucille
should become the wife of a true Republican, and on several occasions at
the meetings at "Le Vieux Corsaire" he had declared that the Republic
could not thoroughly rely upon the army until the aristocrats among the
officers had been weeded out, and he would recall with glowing words the
achievements of the armies of the First Republic, when the aristocrats
had fled and turned their arms against their country. Lieutenant de
Lauvens was an aristocrat, and on this matter Danton felt that he could
not give way. His reply to Madame's pleadings was summed up in the final
sentence:

"Madame, the thing is impossible, and in this at least you shall find
that Danton Martin will show no weakness!"

Danton meant to be firm, but although Madame appeared to have accepted
his position as final, and Lucille said nothing, he was very unhappy,
and day after day his unhappiness increased. For the first time,
something had come between him and those whom he loved best in all the
world.

It was, perhaps, as well for him that he was able to find some
distraction in the preparations, which were being made on a grand scale,
for the reception of the Minister of Marine, who was coming to Merploer
on an approaching _fête_, and whose visit was to be the occasion of a
demonstration in force of true republicanism.

One of the features of the demonstration was a procession which should
pass twice along the boulevard, at the top of which stood a most
conspicuous object--Villa Lucille, and Danton tried to encourage the
hope that on the day of the procession the balcony would be graced by
the presence of Madame and Lucille. Once or twice he hinted as much to
Madame, but she received the hint in chilling silence. Danton, however,
still hopeful gave orders that the balcony should be gaily decorated
with evergreens and trophies of tricolour flags.

At length the night preceding the great day arrived. Danton came home
very late, as he had been detained helping to perfect the arrangements
for the morrow.

Assuming that all were asleep, he crept upstairs. At Lucille's room he
paused, and, leaving his candle on the landing, he gently pushed open
the door that he might go in, as usual, to whisper good-night to her, as
she lay asleep in her little nest, under the guardianship of a Madonna,
before whose shrine a small red lamp was always burning. To-night he was
surprised to find the room in utter darkness. The lamp must have gone
out, he thought. He brought in his candle, and when by its light he saw
the room he was hardly able to suppress an exclamation of amazement. It
had undergone a complete metamorphosis. The dainty curtains had gone
from the bed; the shrine had been removed, and also the pictures of the
saints from the walls. Instead of these were portraits of Danton and
other Titans of the great Revolution, and over Lucille's bed was a lurid
picture of the execution of Louis XVI.

Bending over the sleeping Lucille, he thought he noticed the trace of
tears on her cheek. Utterly perplexed, he stole out of the room hoping
to find some explanation from his wife, but she was snoring the snore of
the just; and on the bedroom wall facing the door was the legend
"Liberty, Fraternity, Equality--or Death."

Danton did not dare to rouse Madame; and desirous of blotting out the
words that seemed to mock him, he blew out the candle and went to bed in
the dark.

After about an hour he woke with a scream.

"What is the matter, Danton?"

"Oh, nothing, chérie, I've had a nightmare."

"No weakness, Danton."

"No, chérie."

Madame in a second or two was again snoring rhythmically, but to Danton
sleep did not return so speedily. He had been dreaming of processions;
then he thought he was in a tumbrel on the way to execution, and that
the angry crowd with threatening gestures were hurling fierce oaths at
him, and turning to escape the sight he found himself face to face with
a fellow victim--it was Lucille! Although he knew now that it was only a
nightmare, the horrible vision kept renewing itself, but merciful sleep
came to him at last, and, when he awoke again, it was the cheery voice
of the bonne offering her usual good morning to Monsieur and Madame, as
she entered the bedroom with the _petit déjeuner_.

"Good-morning, Julie," replied Madame; "long live the Republic!"

"One and indivisible," replied Julie, in a solemn voice.

Danton rubbed his eyes, and he could hardly trust his ears. Julie was in
the costume of a drummer boy of the First Republic!

"Good-morning, mamma!" sang a voice in the next room.

"Our birdie is awake," said Madame; and then, in a louder tone,
"Good-morning, dearest! Long live the Republic!"

"One and indivisible," replied Lucille, and then, "Good-morning, papa!"

"Good-morning, chérie!"

"Long live the Republic," said Lucille, gaily.

For the first time in his life the reply seemed to stick in Danton's
throat; but he got it out, "One and indivisible!" and he coughed as if
his coffee had gone against his breath. When he recovered he addressed
his wife, who had risen and pulled back the curtains of the balcony.
"Pray, Madame, will you be good enough to explain?"

"The explanation is as simple as I hope it will be gratifying," said
Madame, in the tone of a tragedy queen. "The 'Republic, one and
indivisible' has entered our house and taken possession of it. It has
entered my bosom and taken possession of it. It has entered the bosom of
Lucille and taken possession of it, and never again shall it be said
that the Villa Lucille is divided against itself. Never again shall the
scoffer say that the republicanism of Danton Martin stops outside his
hall-door. We shall silence him to-day, Danton; we shall silence the
scoffer to-day! You have asked that Lucille and I should appear on the
balcony when the procession passes. We shall be there--I, as the genius
of Liberty and Lucille as a daughter of the Republic. See," continued
Madame, as she moved towards a wardrobe, "here are my helmet, lance, and
shield, and I have also pink tights."

"Tights!" Danton was hardly able to gasp out the word. The idea of
Madame's ample figure in tights nearly took away his breath.

"Yes," Madame went on, as if she had not noticed his surprise; "but I
shall, of course, wear a little classic drapery out of respect for the
prejudices of Lucille. But see how the helmet becomes me."

She opened the wardrobe, and Danton saw the gleam of polished armour.
She donned a helmet, slipped her left arm through a shield, and, taking
a lance in her right hand, stood with her back against the wall, under
the legend of "Liberty, Fraternity, Equality--or Death."

Danton could only look; he was speechless.

"Listen, Danton, listen; do you hear the cry? 'Vive le Drapeau Rouge!'
It is the workmen who are passing. You see I have arranged the tricolour
on the balcony, so that only the red shows."

"But, my God, Madame, the Drapeau Rouge!"

"No weakness, Danton! No weakness!"

"Rub-a-dub-a-dub!"

"What is that?" demanded Danton, as he heard the sound of a drum
downstairs.

"It is Julie practising the Carmagnole."

"The what? Are you all mad?"

"There, the baker is ringing," said Madame, and passing by Danton, she
went towards the door and called out, "Two loaves, Julie; two loaves."

"And is Julie going to the baker in that costume?" shrieked Danton, and,
attired in his pyjamas, he rushed downstairs.

"Mille diables!" he yelled, as he pulled back Julie from the hall-door.
"To the kitchen, hussy."

But Julie, lightly tapping the drum, sped upstairs to her mistress.

"Good-morning, Monsieur," said the baker, "long live the Republic."

"Two loaves," replied Danton. "I am busy to-day, Monsieur," he added, to
explain his brusqueness and stop further conversation.

"Ah, yes, Monsieur Danton, you will soon have to go to the Mairie. I
shall go up there myself when I shall have delivered my bread. It will
be a great day for the procession. 'Vive le Drapeau Rouge!'" And the
baker waved his hand towards the balcony as Danton almost shut the door
in his face.

Danton flung the loaves on the table in the hall, and again hearing the
tap of a drum, this time from above, he bounded upstairs and rushed into
the bedroom. There was Julie beating the drum, Lucille standing beside
her in a white linen costume, sash a little below her knees, and wearing
a Phrygian cap. Next her, and towering over her, was majestic Madame.
Danton was beside himself. Forgetting that he had no slippers on, he
kicked viciously at the drum, as he yelled to Julie to leave the room.

"To your bedroom, mademoiselle," he cried to Lucille, who was only too
glad to slip away. He confronted Madame, "It is time to put an end to
this pantomime, Madame."

"Pantomime! They are quite in earnest in the street, Monsieur. Listen,
there is no mistaking the sincerity of that cry. Hear the workmen as
they pass, 'Vive le Drapeau Rouge.'"

"And you have really folded the tricolour!" exclaimed Danton, who,
extreme as he was, was not yet prepared to substitute the red flag for
the tricolour.

"And why not," replied Madame; "I think of your ancestors, Danton; of
him who dipped his handkerchief in the blood of Monsieur Veto; think of
him who----"

"My ancestors be hanged!" cried Danton.

"They richly deserved it, I have no doubt," replied Madame; "but what
would they say at 'Le Vieux Corsaire' if they heard you speak in that
fashion?"

"But, Madame, you cannot mean to be present in that guise on the
balcony?"

"Of course not, this is my robe de nuit. I have not yet put on the
tights."

"But it is impossible for me to believe it, Madame."

"If seeing is believing, you will believe it, Monsieur, this costume
will do for the present," and Madame, without more ado, proceeded to
unlock the glass door opening on the balcony, and was apparently in the
act of stepping out when Danton managed to get between her and it.

"Madame! Madame! you cannot mean this! Augustine! Augustine! Chérie!"

There was no mistaking the tenderness of his tone.

Madame took her hand from the lock.

"Ah, Danton, Danton, why did you ever allow 'Le Vieux Corsaire' to come
between you and me--married these twenty years. I, proud of my husband
always, and he, I think, had no reason to be ashamed of me."

"My love! My pride! My noble Augustine! Nothing shall come between us."

"But it has, Danton. Your 'Vieux Corsaire,' and your 'Drapeau Rouge,'
and your 'mangeurs de prêtres'--you have brought it all between you and
me and between our child and her happiness."

"Down with the 'Drapeau Rouge!' Augustine, let me disarrange that fatal
flag," and he ran to the balcony, and, with a few deft and rapid tugs,
drew out the blue folds and the white folds from the festoon of bunting
until the balcony was gay at every point with the hues of the orthodox
and veritable tricolour. Then he rushed back into the room, his arms
outspread, his eyes streaming, his breast panting, a little geyser and
volcano of emotion.

"Come to my bosom, my Augustine! Lucille, where art thou?"

Lucille ran to him.

"Thy father is an ogre. Oh, no, no; no more! Thou shalt have thy
lieutenant, the choice of thine own heart, my child, and thy father's
blessing a thousand thousand times. Nothing shall come between us again,
Augustine. Thy Danton is thine, and thine only--thine and Lucille's."

"Thou wilt not mind what they will say at the 'Vieux Corsaire,'"
murmured Madame between her sobs.

"Vieux diable! Vieux sac-à-papier. No more cares thy Danton what
they say. Que mon nom soit flétri--là bas--que mes chéries soient
heureuses!"

"That's my good Danton," said Madame, wiping her eyes with her
handkerchief and disengaging her ample form from the little man's fond
embrace.

"Then Madame will wear to-day the black passementerie instead of the
costume Ninth Thermidor," said Julie, the bonne, discreetly at the door.

"Yes, Julie, we will witness the procession this morning, clothed in our
right clothes--and in our right mind, eh, my Danton."

"Mon chou!"

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a wedding shortly afterwards at the Church of Notre Dame de
Merploer which gave great scandal at the Vieux Corsaire. The ceremony
even included a nuptial sermon from the curé. But Danton Martin never
turned up afterwards--then or ever again--to be scourged with the
merited scorn of his fellow philosophers. They agreed that he had fallen
under the tyranny of the "jupon."



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Transcriber's note


Text in italics has been surrounded with _underscores_, and in bold with
=signs=. Small capitals have been changed to all capitals.

Errors in punctuation and spacing have been corrected silently,
but in stories with a narrator where the quotation marks are partly or
entirely missing, they have not been added. Also the following changes
have been made, on page

   19 "heartstone" changed to "hearthstone" (the crackling fire upon
      the hearthstone lighting the faces)
   27 "occured" changed to "occurred" (It occurred to me to turn into)
   69 "tho" changed to "the" (he should excite the curiosity of the
      maiden)
   70 "tho" and "tbe" changed to "the" (overcome by the weary journey
      and the hospitality)
   72 "exclamed" changed to "exclaimed" (suddenly exclaimed the last
      come guest)
  122 "O'More" changed to "O'Moore" (and Rory O'Moore,' was his reply.)
  211 "Glasson" changed to "Jephson" (very strong affection for Ralph
      Jephson)
  239 "Willaim" changed to "William" (that he, William, should get
      sick of jail fever).

Otherwise the original has been preserved, including inconsistencies in
spelling and hyphenation.





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