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BY THE LATE
JOSEPH SHERIDAN LE FANU,
AUTHOR OF 'UNCLE SILAS.'
With a Memoir by
ALFRED PERCEVAL GRAVES
IN THREE VOLUMES.
RICHARD BENTLEY AND SON,
Publishers in Ordinary to Her Majesty the Queen.
Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
LeFanu, Joseph Sheridan, 1814-1873.
The Purcell papers.
Reprint of the 1880 ed. published by R. Bentley,
PZ3.L518Pu5 [PR4879.L7] 823'.8 71-148813
Reprinted from an original copy in the collection of
the University of Chicago Library.
From the edition of 1880, London
First AMS edition published in 1975
Manufactured in the United States of America
International Standard Book Number:
Complete Set: 0-404-08880-5
Volume III: 0-404-08883-X
AMS PRESS INC.
NEW YORK, N. Y. 10003
CONTENTS OF VOL. III.
JIM SULIVAN'S ADVENTURES IN THE GREAT SNOW
A CHAPTER IN THE HISTORY OF A TYRONE FAMILY
AN ADVENTURE OF HARDRESS FITZGERALD, A ROYALIST CAPTAIN
'THE QUARE GANDER'
BILLY MALOWNEY'S TASTE OF LOVE AND GLORY
THE PURCELL PAPERS.
JIM SULIVAN'S ADVENTURES IN THE GREAT SNOW.
Being a Ninth Extract from the Legacy of the late Francis
Purcell, P.P. of Drumcoolagh.
Jim Sulivan was a dacent,
honest boy as you'd find in the
seven parishes, an' he was a
beautiful singer, an' an illegant dancer
intirely, an' a mighty plisant boy in
himself; but he had the divil's bad luck, for
he married for love, an 'av coorse he niver
had an asy minute afther.
Nell Gorman was the girl he fancied, an'
a beautiful slip of a girl she was, jist twinty
to the minute when he married her. She
was as round an' as complate in all her
shapes as a firkin, you'd think, an' her two
cheeks was as fat an' as red, it id open your
heart to look at them.
But beauty is not the thing all through,
an' as beautiful as she was she had the
divil's tongue, an' the divil's timper, an'
the divil's behaviour all out; an' it was
impossible for him to be in the house with
her for while you'd count tin without havin'
an argymint, an' as sure as she riz an
argymint with him she'd hit him a wipe
iv a skillet or whatever lay next to her
Well, this wasn't at all plasin' to Jim
Sulivan you may be sure, an' there was
scarce a week that his head wasn't
plasthered up, or his back bint double, or his
nose swelled as big as a pittaty, with the
vilence iv her timper, an' his heart was
scalded everlastin'ly with her tongue; so
he had no pace or quietness in body or soul
at all at all, with the way she was goin'
Well, your honour, one cowld snowin'
evenin' he kim in afther his day's work
regulatin' the men in the farm, an' he sat
down very quite by the fire, for he had
a scrimmidge with her in the mornin', an'
all he wanted was an air iv the fire in pace;
so divil a word he said but dhrew a stool
an' sat down close to the fire. Well, as
soon as the woman saw him,
'Move aff,' says she, 'an' don't be
inthrudin' an the fire,' says she.
Well, he kept never mindin', an' didn't
let an' to hear a word she was sayin', so
she kim over an' she had a spoon in her
hand, an' she took jist the smallest taste
in life iv the boilin' wather out iv the pot,
an' she dhropped it down an his shins, an'
with that he let a roar you'd think the
roof id fly aff iv the house.
'Hould your tongue, you barbarrian,'
says she; 'you'll waken the child,' says
'An' if I done right,' says he, for the
spoonful of boilin' wather riz him entirely,
'I'd take yourself,' says he, 'an' I'd stuff
you into the pot an the fire, an' boil you.'
says he, 'into castor oil,' says he.
'That's purty behavour,' says she; 'it's
fine usage you're givin' me, isn't it?' says
she, gettin' wickeder every minute; 'but
before I'm boiled,' says she, 'thry how you
like THAT,' says she; an', sure enough, before
he had time to put up his guard, she hot
him a rale terrible clink iv the iron spoon
acrass the jaw.
'Hould me, some iv ye, or I'll murdher
her,' says he.
'Will you?' says she, an' with that she
hot him another tin times as good as the
'By jabers,' says he, slappin' himself
behind, 'that's the last salute you'll ever
give me,' says he; 'so take my last blessin','
says he, 'you ungovernable baste!' says
he--an' with that he pulled an his hat an'
walked out iv the door.
Well, she never minded a word he said,
for he used to say the same thing all as one
every time she dhrew blood; an' she
had no expectation at all but he'd come
back by the time supper id be ready; but
faix the story didn't go quite so simple this
time, for while he was walkin', lonesome
enough, down the borheen, with his heart
almost broke with the pain, for his shins
an' his jaw was mighty troublesome, av
course, with the thratement he got, who
did he see but Mick Hanlon, his uncle's
sarvint by, ridin' down, quite an asy, an the
ould black horse, with a halter as long as
'Is that Mr. Soolivan?' says the by.
says he, as soon as he saw him a good
'To be sure it is, ye spalpeen, you,' says
Jim, roarin' out; 'what do you want wid
me this time a-day?' says he.
'Don't you know me?' says the gossoon,
'it's Mick Hanlon that's in it,' says
'Oh, blur an agers, thin, it's welcome
you are, Micky asthore,' says Jim; 'how
is all wid the man an' the woman beyant?'
'Oh!' says Micky, 'bad enough,' says
he; 'the ould man's jist aff, an' if you don't
hurry like shot,' says he, 'he'll be in glory
before you get there,' says he.
'It's jokin' ye are,' says Jim, sorrowful
enough, for he was mighty partial to his
'Oh, not in the smallest taste,' says
Micky; 'the breath was jist out iv him,'
says he, 'when I left the farm. "An'," says
he, "take the ould black horse," says he,
"for he's shure-footed for the road," says
he, "an' bring, Jim Soolivan here," says he,
"for I think I'd die asy af I could see him
onst,' says he.'
'Well,' says Jim, 'will I have time,' says
he, 'to go back to the house, for it would
be a consolation,' says he, 'to tell the bad
news to the woman?' says he.
'It's too late you are already,' says
Micky, 'so come up behind me, for God's
sake,' says he, 'an' don't waste time;' an'
with that he brought the horse up beside
the ditch, an' Jim Soolivan mounted up
behind Micky, an' they rode off; an' tin
good miles it was iv a road, an' at the other
side iv Keeper intirely; an' it was snowin'
so fast that the ould baste could hardly go
an at all at all, an' the two bys an his back
was jist like a snowball all as one, an'
almost fruz an' smothered at the same time,
your honour; an' they wor both mighty
sorrowful intirely, an' their toes almost
dhroppin' aff wid the could.
And when Jim got to the farm his uncle
was gettin' an illegantly, an' he was sittin'
up sthrong an' warm in the bed, an' im-
provin' every minute, an' no signs av dyin'
an him at all at all; so he had all his
throuble for nothin'.
But this wasn't all, for the snow kem
so thick that it was impassible to get along
the roads at all at all; an' faix, instead iv
gettin' betther, next mornin' it was only tin
times worse; so Jim had jist to take it asy,
an' stay wid his uncle antil such times as the
snow id melt.
Well, your honour, the evenin' Jim
Soolivan wint away, whin the dark was closin'
in, Nell Gorman, his wife, beginned to get
mighty anasy in herself whin she didn't see
him comin' back at all; an' she was gettin'
more an' more frightful in herself every
minute till the dark kem an, an' divil a
taste iv her husband was coming at all at
'Oh!' says she, 'there's no use in pur-
tendin', I know he's kilt himself; he has
committed infantycide an himself,' says she,
'like a dissipated bliggard as he always
was,' says she, 'God rest his soul. Oh,
thin, isn't it me an' not you, Jim Soolivan,
that's the unforthunate woman,' says she,
'for ain't I cryin' here, an' isn't he in
heaven, the bliggard,' says she. 'Oh, voh,
voh, it's not at home comfortable with your
wife an' family that you are, Jim Soolivan,'
says she, 'but in the other world, you
aumathaun, in glory wid the saints I hope,' says
she. 'It's I that's the unforthunate famale,'
says she, 'an' not yourself, Jim Soolivan,'
An' this way she kep' an till mornin',
cryin' and lamintin; an' wid the first light
she called up all the sarvint bys, an' she
tould them to go out an' to sarch every inch
iv ground to find the corpse, 'for I'm sure,'
says she, 'it's not to go hide himself he
would,' says she.
Well, they went as well as they could,
rummagin' through the snow, antil, at last,
what should they come to, sure enough, but
the corpse of a poor thravelling man, that
fell over the quarry the night before by
rason of the snow and some liquor he had,
maybe; but, at any rate, he was as dead as a
herrin', an' his face was knocked all to pieces
jist like an over-boiled pitaty, glory be to
God; an' divil a taste iv a nose or a chin, or
a hill or a hollow from one end av his face
to the other but was all as flat as a pancake.
An' he was about Jim Soolivan's size,
an' dhressed out exactly the same, wid a
ridin' coat an' new corderhoys; so they
carried him home, an' they were all as sure as
daylight it was Jim Soolivan himself, an'
they were wondhering he'd do sich a
dirty turn as to go kill himself for
Well, your honour, they waked him as
well as they could, with what neighbours
they could git togither, but by rason iv the
snow, there wasn't enough gothered to make
much divarsion; however it was a plisint
wake enough, an' the churchyard an' the
priest bein' convanient, as soon as the
youngsthers had their bit iv fun and divarsion
out iv the corpse, they burried it without
a great dale iv throuble; an' about three
days afther the berrin, ould Jim Mallowney,
from th'other side iv the little hill, her own
cousin by the mother's side--he had a snug
bit iv a farm an' a house close by, by the
same token--kem walkin' in to see how she
was in her health, an' he dhrew a chair, an'
he sot down an' beginned to convarse her
about one thing an' another, antil he got
her quite an' asy into middlin' good
humour, an' as soon as he seen it was
'I'm wondherin', says he, 'Nell Gorman,
sich a handsome, likely girl, id be thinkin'
iv nothin' but lamintin' an' the likes,' says
he, 'an' lingerin' away her days without
any consolation, or gettin' a husband,' says
'Oh,' says she, 'isn't it only three days
since I burried the poor man,' says she, 'an'
isn't it rather soon to be talkin iv marryin'
'Divil a taste,' says he, 'three days is jist
the time to a minute for cryin' afther a husband,
an' there's no occasion in life to be
keepin' it up,' says he; 'an' besides all that,'
says he, 'Shrovetide is almost over, an' if
you don't be sturrin' yourself an' lookin'
about you, you'll be late,' says he, 'for this
year at any rate, an' that's twelve months
lost; an' who's to look afther the farm all
that time,' says he, 'an' to keep the men to
their work?' says he.
'It's thrue for you, Jim Mallowney,' says
she, 'but I'm afeard the neighbours will be
all talkin' about it,' says she.
'Divil's cure to the word,' says he.
'An' who would you advise?' says she.
'Young Andy Curtis is the boy,' says
'He's a likely boy in himself,' says she.
'An' as handy a gossoon as is out,'
'Well, thin, Jim Mallowney,' says she,
'here's my hand, an' you may be talkin'
to Andy Curtis, an' if he's willin' I'm
agreeble--is that enough?' says she.
So with that he made off with himself
straight to Andy Curtis; an' before three days
more was past, the weddin' kem an, an'
Nell Gorman an' Andy Curtis was married
as complate as possible; an' if the wake
was plisint the weddin' was tin times as
agreeble, an' all the neighbours that could
make their way to it was there, an' there
was three fiddlers an' lots iv pipers, an'
ould Connor Shamus the piper himself
was in it--by the same token it was the
last weddin' he ever played music at, for
the next mornin', whin he was goin' home,
bein' mighty hearty an' plisint in himself,
he was smothered in the snow, undher the
ould castle; an' by my sowl he was a sore
loss to the bys an' girls twenty miles round,
for he was the illigantest piper, barrin' the
liquor alone, that ever worked a bellas.
 Literally, Cornelius James--the last name
employed as a patronymic. Connor is commonly used.
Corney, pronounced Kurny, is just as much used in
the South, as the short name for Cornelius.
Well, a week passed over smart enough,
an' Nell an' her new husband was mighty
well continted with one another, for it was
too soon for her to begin to regulate him
the way she used with poor Jim Soolivan,
so they wor comfortable enough; but this
was too good to last, for the thaw kem an,
an' you may be sure Jim Soolivan didn't
lose a minute's time as soon as the heavy
dhrift iv snow was melted enough between
him and home to let him pass, for he didn't
hear a word iv news from home sinst he
lift it, by rason that no one, good nor bad,
could thravel at all, with the way the snow
So one night, when Nell Gorman an' her
new husband, Andy Curtis, was snug an'
warm in bed, an' fast asleep, an' everything
quite, who should come to the door,
sure enough, but Jim Soolivan himself,
an' he beginned flakin' the door wid a big
blackthorn stick he had, an' roarin' out like
the divil to open the door, for he had a
'What the divil's the matther?' says
Andy Curtis, wakenin' out iv his sleep.
'Who's batin' the door?' says Nell;
'what's all the noise for?' says she.
'Who's in it?' says Andy.
'It's me,' says Jim.
'Who are you?' says Andy; 'what's
'Jim Soolivan,' says he.
'By jabers, you lie,' says Andy.
'Wait till I get at you,' says Jim, hittin'
the door a lick iv the wattle you'd hear half
a mile off.
'It's him, sure enough,' says Nell; 'I
know his speech; it's his wandherin' sowl
that can't get rest, the crass o' Christ betune
us an' harm.'
'Let me in,' says Jim, 'or I'll dhrive the
door in a top iv yis.'
'Jim Soolivan--Jim Soolivan,' says Nell,
sittin' up in the bed, an' gropin' for a quart
bottle iv holy wather she used to hang by
the back iv the bed, 'don't come in, darlin'
--there's holy wather here,' says she; 'but
tell me from where you are is there
anything that's throublin' your poor sinful
sowl?' says she. 'An' tell me how many
masses 'ill make you asy, an' by this crass,
I'll buy you as many as you want,' says she.
'I don't know what the divil you mane,'
'Go back,' says she, 'go back to glory,
for God's sake,' says she.
'Divil's cure to the bit iv me 'ill go back
to glory, or anywhere else,' says he, 'this
blessed night; so open the door at onst'
an' let me in,' says he.
'The Lord forbid,' says she.
'By jabers, you'd betther,' says he, 'or
it 'ill be the worse for you,' says he; an'
wid that he fell to wallopin' the door till
he was fairly tired, an' Andy an' his wife
crassin' themselves an' sayin' their prayers
for the bare life all the time.
'Jim Soolivan,' says she, as soon as he
was done, 'go back, for God's sake, an'
don't be freakenin' me an' your poor fatherless
childhren,' says she.
'Why, you bosthoon, you,' says Jim,
'won't you let your husband in,' says he,
'to his own house?' says he.
'You WOR my husband, sure enough,'
says she, 'but it's well you know, Jim
Soolivan, you're not my husband NOW,' says
'You're as dhrunk as can be consaved,
'Go back, in God's name, pacibly to
your grave,' says Nell.
'By my sowl, it's to my grave you'll
sind me, sure enough,' says he, 'you hard-
hearted bain', for I'm jist aff wid the cowld,'
'Jim Sulivan,' says she, 'it's in your
dacent coffin you should be, you unforthunate
sperit,' says she; 'what is it's
annoyin' your sowl, in the wide world, at
all?' says she; 'hadn't you everything
complate?' says she, 'the oil, an' the wake,
an' the berrin'?' says she.
'Och, by the hoky,' says Jim, 'it's too
long I'm makin' a fool iv mysilf, gostherin'
wid you outside iv my own door,' says
he, 'for it's plain to be seen,' says he,
'you don't know what your're sayin', an'
no one ELSE knows what you mane, you
unforthunate fool,' says he; 'so, onst for
all, open the door quietly,' says he, 'or,
by my sowkins, I'll not lave a splinther
together,' says he.
Well, whin Nell an' Andy seen he was
getting vexed, they beginned to bawl out
their prayers, with the fright, as if the life
was lavin' them; an' the more he bate the
door, the louder they prayed, until at last
Jim was fairly tired out.
'Bad luck to you,' says he; 'for
a rale divil av a woman,' says he. I
'can't get any advantage av you, any
way; but wait till I get hould iv you,
that's all,' says he. An' he turned aff from
the door, an' wint round to the cow-house,
an' settled himself as well as he could, in
the sthraw; an' he was tired enough wid
the thravellin' he had in the day-time, an'
a good dale bothered with what liquor he
had taken; so he was purty sure of sleepin'
wherever he thrun himself.
But, by my sowl, it wasn't the same way
with the man an' the woman in the house--
for divil a wink iv sleep, good or bad, could
they get at all, wid the fright iv the sperit,
as they supposed; an' with the first light
they sint a little gossoon, as fast as he
could wag, straight off, like a shot, to the
priest, an' to desire him, for the love o'
God, to come to them an the minute, an'
to bring, if it was plasin' to his raverence,
all the little things he had for sayin' mass,
an' savin' sowls, an' banishin' sperits, an'
freakenin' the divil, an' the likes iv that.
An' it wasn't long till his raverence kem
down, sure enough, on the ould grey mare,
wid the little mass-boy behind him, an' the
prayer-books an' Bibles, an' all the other
mystarious articles that was wantin', along
wid him; an' as soon as he kem in, 'God
save all here,' says he.
'God save ye, kindly, your raverence,'
'An' what's gone wrong wid ye?' says
he; 'ye must be very bad,' says he,'
entirely, to disturb my devotions,' says he,
'this way, jist at breakfast-time,' says
'By my sowkins,' says Nell, 'it's bad
enough we are, your raverence,' says she,
'for it's poor Jim's sperit,' says she; 'God
rest his sowl, wherever it is,' says she, 'that
was wandherin' up an' down, opossite the
door all night,' says she, 'in the way it
was no use at all, thryin' to get a wink iv
sleep,' says she.
'It's to lay it, you want me, I suppose,'
says the priest.
'If your raverence 'id do that same, it
'id be plasin' to us,' says Andy.
'It'll be rather expinsive,' says the
'We'll not differ about the price, your
raverence,' says Andy.
'Did the sperit stop long?' says the
'Most part iv the night,' says Nell,
'the Lord be merciful to us all!' says
'That'll make it more costly than I
thought,' says he. 'An' did it make much
noise?' says he.
'By my sowl, it's it that did,' says
Andy; 'leatherin' the door wid sticks and
stones,' says he, 'antil I fairly thought
every minute,' says he, 'the ould boords
id smash, an' the sperit id be in an top
iv us--God bless us,' says he.
'Phiew!' says the priest; 'it'll cost a
power iv money.'
'Well, your raverence,' says Andy, 'take
whatever you like,' says he; 'only make
sure it won't annoy us any more,' says
'Oh! by my sowkins,' says the priest,
'it'll be the quarest ghost in the siven
parishes,' says he, 'if it has the courage to
come back,' says he, 'afther what I'll do
this mornin', plase God,' says he; 'so we'll
say twelve pounds; an' God knows it's
chape enough,' says he, 'considherin' all
the sarcumstances,' says he.
Well, there wasn't a second word to
the bargain; so they paid him the money
down, an' he sot the table doun like an
althar, before the door, an' he settled it out
vid all the things he had wid him; an'
he lit a bit iv a holy candle, an' he scathered
his holy wather right an' left; an' he took
up a big book, an' he wint an readin'
for half an hour, good; an' whin he kem
to the end, he tuck hould iv his little bell,
and he beginned to ring it for the bare
life; an', by my sowl, he rung it so well,
that he wakened Jim Sulivan in the cow-
house, where he was sleepin', an' up he
jumped, widout a minute's delay, an' med
right for the house, where all the family,
an' the priest, an' the little mass-boy was
assimbled, layin' the ghost; an' as soon
as his raverence seen him comin' in at the
door, wid the fair fright, he flung the bell
at his head, an' hot him sich a lick iv it
in the forehead, that he sthretched him on
the floor; but fain; he didn't wait to ax
any questions, but he cut round the table
as if the divil was afther him, an' out at the
door, an' didn't stop even as much as to
mount an his mare, but leathered away
down the borheen as fast as his legs could
carry him, though the mud was up to his
knees, savin' your presence.
Well, by the time Jim kem to himself,
the family persaved the mistake, an' Andy
wint home, lavin' Nell to make the explanation.
An' as soon as Jim heerd it all, he
said he was quite contint to lave her to
Andy, entirely; but the priest would not
hear iv it; an' he jist med him marry his
wife over again, an' a merry weddin' it
was, an' a fine collection for his raverence.
An' Andy was there along wid the rest,
an' the priest put a small pinnance upon
him, for bein' in too great a hurry to marry
An' bad luck to the word he'd allow
anyone to say an the business, ever after,
at all, at all; so, av coorse, no one offinded
his raverence, by spakin' iv the twelve
pounds he got for layin' the sperit.
An' the neighbours wor all mighty
well plased, to be sure, for gettin' all the
divarsion of a wake, an' two weddin's for
A CHAPTER IN THE HISTORY OF A TYRONE FAMILY
Being a Tenth Extract from the Legacy of the late Francis
Purcell, P.P. of Drumcoolagh.
In the following narrative, I have
endeavoured to give as nearly
as possible the ipsissima verba
of the valued friend from whom I received
it, conscious that any aberration from HER
mode of telling the tale of her own life
would at once impair its accuracy and its
Would that, with her words, I could
also bring before you her animated gesture,
her expressive countenance, the solemn and
thrilling air and accent with which she
related the dark passages in her strange
story; and, above all, that I could
communicate the impressive consciousness that
the narrator had seen with her own eyes,
and personally acted in the scenes which
she described; these accompaniments, taken
with the additional circumstance that she
who told the tale was one far too deeply
and sadly impressed with religious principle
to misrepresent or fabricate what she
repeated as fact, gave to the tale a depth
of interest which the events recorded could
hardly, themselves, have produced.
I became acquainted with the lady from
whose lips I heard this narrative nearly
twenty years since, and the story struck
my fancy so much that I committed it to
paper while it was still fresh in my mind;
and should its perusal afford you entertainment
for a listless half hour, my labour
shall not have been bestowed in vain.
I find that I have taken the story down
as she told it, in the first person, and
perhaps this is as it should be.
She began as follows:
My maiden name was Richardson, the
designation of a family of some distinction
in the county of Tyrone. I was the
younger of two daughters, and we were
the only children. There was a difference
in our ages of nearly six years, so that I
did not, in my childhood, enjoy that close
companionship which sisterhood, in other
circumstances, necessarily involves; and
while I was still a child, my sister was
 I have carefully altered the names as they appear
in the original MSS., for the reader will see that some
of the circumstances recorded are not of a kind to
reflect honour upon those involved in them; and as
many are still living, in every way honoured and
honourable, who stand in close relation to the principal actors
in this drama, the reader will see the necessity of the
course which we have adopted.
The person upon whom she bestowed
her hand was a Mr. Carew, a gentleman
of property and consideration in the north
I remember well the eventful day of the
wedding; the thronging carriages, the noisy
menials, the loud laughter, the merry faces,
and the gay dresses. Such sights were
then new to me, and harmonised ill with
the sorrowful feelings with which I
regarded the event which was to separate
me, as it turned out, for ever from a sister
whose tenderness alone had hitherto more
than supplied all that I wanted in my
The day soon arrived which was to
remove the happy couple from Ashtown
House. The carriage stood at the hall-
door, and my poor sister kissed me again
and again, telling me that I should see
The carriage drove away, and I gazed
after it until my eyes filled with tears, and,
returning slowly to my chamber, I wept
more bitterly and, so to speak, more
desolately, than ever I had done before.
My father had never seemed to love or
to take an interest in me. He had desired
a son, and I think he never thoroughly
forgave me my unfortunate sex.
My having come into the world at all
as his child he regarded as a kind of
fraudulent intrusion, and as his antipathy
to me had its origin in an imperfection
of mine, too radical for removal, I never
even hoped to stand high in his good
My mother was, I dare say, as fond of
me as she was of anyone; but she was a
woman of a masculine and a worldly cast of
mind. She had no tenderness or sympathy
for the weaknesses, or even for the affections,
of woman's nature and her demeanour
towards me was peremptory, and often even
It is not to be supposed, then, that I
found in the society of my parents much to
supply the loss of my sister. About a year
after her marriage, we received letters from
Mr. Carew, containing accounts of my
sister's health, which, though not actually
alarming, were calculated to make us seriously
uneasy. The symptoms most dwelt
upon were loss of appetite and cough.
The letters concluded by intimating that
he would avail himself of my father and
mother's repeated invitation to spend some
time at Ashtown, particularly as the physician
who had been consulted as to my
sister's health had strongly advised a
removal to her native air.
There were added repeated assurances
that nothing serious was apprehended, as it
was supposed that a deranged state of the
liver was the only source of the symptoms
which at first had seemed to intimate
In accordance with this announcement,
my sister and Mr. Carew arrived in Dublin,
where one of my father's carriages awaited
them, in readiness to start upon whatever
day or hour they might choose for their
It was arranged that Mr. Carew was, as
soon as the day upon which they were to
leave Dublin was definitely fixed, to write
to my father, who intended that the two
last stages should be performed by his own
horses, upon whose speed and safety far
more reliance might be placed than upon
those of the ordinary post-horses, which were
at that time, almost without exception, of
the very worst order. The journey, one of
about ninety miles, was to be divided; the
larger portion being reserved for the second
On Sunday a letter reached us, stating
that the party would leave Dublin on
Monday, and, in due course, reach Ashtown
upon Tuesday evening.
Tuesday came the evening closed in, and
yet no carriage; darkness came on, and still
no sign of our expected visitors.
Hour after hour passed away, and it was
now past twelve; the night was remarkably
calm, scarce a breath stirring, so that any
sound, such as that produced by the rapid
movement of a vehicle, would have been
audible at a considerable distance. For some
such sound I was feverishly listening.
It was, however, my father's rule to close
the house at nightfall, and the window-
shutters being fastened, I was unable to
reconnoitre the avenue as I would have
wished. It was nearly one o'clock, and we
began almost to despair of seeing them upon
that night, when I thought I distinguished
the sound of wheels, but so remote and faint
as to make me at first very uncertain. The
noise approached; it became louder and
clearer; it stopped for a moment.
I now heard the shrill screaming of the
rusty iron, as the avenue-gate revolved on
its hinges; again came the sound of wheels
in rapid motion.
'It is they,' said I, starting up; 'the
carriage is in the avenue.'
We all stood for a few moments breathlessly
listening. On thundered the vehicle
with the speed of a whirlwind; crack went
the whip, and clatter went the wheels, as it
rattled over the uneven pavement of the
court. A general and furious barking from
all the dogs about the house, hailed its
We hurried to the hall in time to hear
the steps let down with the sharp clanging
noise peculiar to the operation, and the hum
of voices exerted in the bustle of arrival.
The hall-door was now thrown open, and
we all stepped forth to greet our visitors.
The court was perfectly empty; the
moon was shining broadly and brightly
upon all around; nothing was to be seen
but the tall trees with their long spectral
shadows, now wet with the dews of midnight.
We stood gazing from right to left, as if
suddenly awakened from a dream; the dogs
walked suspiciously, growling and snuffing
about the court, and by totally and
suddenly ceasing their former loud barking,
expressing the predominance of fear.
We stared one upon another in
perplexity and dismay, and I think I never
beheld more pale faces assembled. By my
father's direction, we looked about to find
anything which might indicate or account
for the noise which we had heard; but no
such thing was to be seen--even the mire
which lay upon the avenue was undisturbed.
We returned to the house, more panic-struck
than I can describe.
On the next day, we learned by a
messenger, who had ridden hard the greater
part of the night, that my sister was dead.
On Sunday evening, she had retired to bed
rather unwell, and, on Monday, her indisposition
declared itself unequivocally to be
malignant fever. She became hourly worse
and, on Tuesday night, a little after
midnight, she expired.
 The residuary legatee of the late Frances Purcell,
who has the honour of selecting such of his lamented
old friend's manuscripts as may appear fit for publication,
in order that the lore which they contain may
reach the world before scepticism and utility have
robbed our species of the precious gift of credulity, and
scornfully kicked before them, or trampled into
annihilation those harmless fragments of picturesque
superstition which it is our object to preserve, has been
subjected to the charge of dealing too largely in the
marvellous; and it has been half insinuated that such
is his love for diablerie, that he is content to wander a
mile out of his way, in order to meet a fiend or a goblin,
and thus to sacrifice all regard for truth and accuracy
to the idle hope of affrighting the imagination, and thus
pandering to the bad taste of his reader. He begs
leave, then, to take this opportunity of asserting his
perfect innocence of all the crimes laid to his charge,
and to assure his reader that he never PANDERED TO HIS
BAD TASTE, nor went one inch out of his way to introduce
witch, fairy, devil, ghost, or any other of the grim fraternity
of the redoubted Raw-head-and-bloody-bones. His
province, touching these tales, has been attended with
no difficulty and little responsibility; indeed, he is
accountable for nothing more than an alteration in the
names of persons mentioned therein, when such a step
seemed necessary, and for an occasional note, whenever
he conceived it possible, innocently, to edge in a word.
These tales have been WRITTEN DOWN, as the heading of
each announces, by the Rev. Francis Purcell, P.P., of
Drumcoolagh; and in all the instances, which are many,
in which the present writer has had an opportunity of
comparing the manuscript of his departed friend with
the actual traditions which are current amongst the
families whose fortunes they pretend to illustrate, he
has uniformly found that whatever of supernatural
occurred in the story, so far from having been
exaggerated by him, had been rather softened down, and,
wherever it could be attempted, accounted for.
I mention this circumstance, because it
was one upon which a thousand wild and
fantastical reports were founded, though
one would have thought that the truth
scarcely required to be improved upon;
and again, because it produced a strong
and lasting effect upon my spirits, and
indeed, I am inclined to think, upon my
I was, for several years after this
occurrence, long after the violence of my grief
subsided, so wretchedly low-spirited and
nervous, that I could scarcely be said to
live; and during this time, habits of
indecision, arising out of a listless acquiescence
in the will of others, a fear of encountering
even the slightest opposition, and a
disposition to shrink from what are commonly
called amusements, grew upon me so
strongly, that I have scarcely even yet
altogether overcome them.
We saw nothing more of Mr. Carew.
He returned to England as soon as the
melancholy rites attendant upon the event
which I have just mentioned were performed;
and not being altogether inconsolable,
he married again within two years;
after which, owing to the remoteness of our
relative situations, and other circumstances,
we gradually lost sight of him.
I was now an only child; and, as my
elder sister had died without issue, it was
evident that, in the ordinary course of
things, my father's property, which was
altogether in his power, would go to me;
and the consequence was, that before I was
fourteen, Ashtown House was besieged by
a host of suitors. However, whether it was
that I was too young, or that none of the
aspirants to my hand stood sufficiently high
in rank or wealth, I was suffered by both
parents to do exactly as I pleased; and
well was it for me, as I afterwards found,
that fortune, or rather Providence, had so
ordained it, that I had not suffered my
affections to become in any degree engaged,
for my mother would never have suffered
any SILLY FANCY of mine, as she was in the
habit of styling an attachment, to stand
in the way of her ambitious views--
views which she was determined to carry
into effect, in defiance of every obstacle,
and in order to accomplish which she
would not have hesitated to sacrifice
anything so unreasonable and contemptible as
a girlish passion.
When I reached the age of sixteen, my
mother's plans began to develop them-
selves; and, at her suggestion, we moved
to Dublin to sojourn for the winter, in
order that no time might be lost in
disposing of me to the best advantage.
I had been too long accustomed to
consider myself as of no importance whatever,
to believe for a moment that I was in
reality the cause of all the bustle and
preparation which surrounded me, and
being thus relieved from the pain which
a consciousness of my real situation would
have inflicted, I journeyed towards the
capital with a feeling of total indifference.
My father's wealth and connection had
established him in the best society, and,
consequently, upon our arrival in the
metropolis we commanded whatever enjoyment
or advantages its gaieties afforded.
The tumult and novelty of the scenes
in which I was involved did not fail con-
siderably to amuse me, and my mind
gradually recovered its tone, which was
It was almost immediately known and
reported that I was an heiress, and of
course my attractions were pretty generally
Among the many gentlemen whom it
was my fortune to please, one, ere long,
established himself in my mother's good
graces, to the exclusion of all less important
aspirants. However, I had not understood
or even remarked his attentions, nor
in the slightest degree suspected his or
my mother's plans respecting me, when I
was made aware of them rather abruptly
by my mother herself.
We had attended a splendid ball, given
by Lord M----, at his residence in Stephen's
Green, and I was, with the assist-
ance of my waiting-maid, employed in
rapidly divesting myself of the rich
ornaments which, in profuseness and value,
could scarcely have found their equals in
any private family in Ireland.
I had thrown myself into a lounging-
chair beside the fire, listless and exhausted,
after the fatigues of the evening, when I
was aroused from the reverie into which I
had fallen by the sound of footsteps
approaching my chamber, and my mother
'Fanny, my dear,' said she, in her softest
tone, 'I wish to say a word or two with
you before I go to rest. You are not
fatigued, love, I hope?'
'No, no, madam, I thank you,' said I,
rising at the same time from my seat, with
the formal respect so little practised now.
'Sit down, my dear,' said she, placing
herself upon a chair beside me; 'I must
chat with you for a quarter of an hour or so.
Saunders' (to the maid) 'you may leave
the room; do not close the room-door, but
shut that of the lobby.'
This precaution against curious ears
having been taken as directed, my mother
'You have observed, I should suppose,
my dearest Fanny--indeed, you MUST have
observed Lord Glenfallen's marked attentions
'I assure you, madam----' I began.
'Well, well, that is all right,' interrupted
my mother; 'of course you must be
modest upon the matter; but listen to me
for a few moments, my love, and I will
prove to your satisfaction that your modesty
is quite unnecessary in this case. You
have done better than we could have hoped,
at least so very soon. Lord Glenfallen is
in love with you. I give you joy of your
conquest;' and saying this, my mother
kissed my forehead.
'In love with me!' I exclaimed, in
'Yes, in love with you,' repeated my
mother; 'devotedly, distractedly in love
with you. Why, my dear, what is there
wonderful in it? Look in the glass, and look
at these,' she continued, pointing with a
smile to the jewels which I had just
removed from my person, and which now
lay a glittering heap upon the table.
'May there not,' said I, hesitating
between confusion and real alarm--'is it not
possible that some mistake may be at the
bottom of all this?'
'Mistake, dearest! none,' said my
mother. 'None; none in the world. Judge
for yourself; read this, my love.' And she
placed in my hand a letter, addressed to
herself, the seal of which was broken. I
read it through with no small surprise.
After some very fine complimentary flourishes
upon my beauty and perfections, as
also upon the antiquity and high reputation
of our family, it went on to make a
formal proposal of marriage, to be
communicated or not to me at present, as my
mother should deem expedient; and the
letter wound up by a request that the writer
might be permitted, upon our return to
Ashtown House, which was soon to take
place, as the spring was now tolerably
advanced, to visit us for a few days, in case
his suit was approved.
'Well, well, my dear,' said my mother,
impatiently; 'do you know who Lord
'I do, madam,' said I rather timidly, for
I dreaded an altercation with my mother.
'Well, dear, and what frightens you?'
continued she. 'Are you afraid of a title?
What has he done to alarm you? he is
neither old nor ugly.'
I was silent, though I might have said,
'He is neither young nor handsome.'
'My dear Fanny,' continued my mother,
'in sober seriousness you have been most
fortunate in engaging the affections of a
nobleman such as Lord Glenfallen, young
and wealthy, with first-rate--yes, acknowledged
FIRST-RATE abilities, and of a family
whose influence is not exceeded by that of
any in Ireland. Of course you see the offer
in the same light that I do--indeed I think
This was uttered in no very dubious
tone. I was so much astonished by the
suddenness of the whole communication that
I literally did not know what to say.
'You are not in love?' said my mother,
turning sharply, and fixing her dark eyes
upon me with severe scrutiny.
'No, madam,' said I, promptly; horrified,
as what young lady would not have been,
at such a query.
'I'm glad to hear it,' said my mother,
drily. 'Once, nearly twenty years ago, a
friend of mine consulted me as to how he
should deal with a daughter who had made
what they call a love-match--beggared herself,
and disgraced her family; and I said,
without hesitation, take no care for her,
but cast her off. Such punishment I
awarded for an offence committed against
the reputation of a family not my own;
and what I advised respecting the child of
another, with full as small compunction
I would DO with mine. I cannot conceive
anything more unreasonable or intolerable
than that the fortune and the character
of a family should be marred by the idle
caprices of a girl.'
She spoke this with great severity, and
paused as if she expected some observation
I, however, said nothing.
'But I need not explain to you, my
dear Fanny,' she continued, 'my views
upon this subject; you have always
known them well, and I have never yet
had reason to believe you likely, voluntarily,
to offend me, or to abuse or neglect
any of those advantages which reason and
duty tell you should be improved. Come
hither, my dear; kiss me, and do not
look so frightened. Well, now, about
this letter, you need not answer it yet;
of course you must be allowed time to
make up your mind. In the meantime I
will write to his lordship to give him my
permission to visit us at Ashtown. Good-
night, my love.'
And thus ended one of the most
disagreeable, not to say astounding,
conversations I had ever had. It would not
be easy to describe exactly what were
my feelings towards Lord Glenfallen;--
whatever might have been my mother's
suspicions, my heart was perfectly
disengaged--and hitherto, although I had
not been made in the slightest degree
acquainted with his real views, I had liked
him very much, as an agreeable, well-
informed man, whom I was always glad
to meet in society. He had served in the
navy in early life, and the polish which his
manners received in his after intercourse
with courts and cities had not served to
obliterate that frankness of manner which
belongs proverbially to the sailor.
Whether this apparent candour went
deeper than the outward bearing, I was
yet to learn. However, there was no doubt
that, as far as I had seen of Lord Glenfallen,
he was, though perhaps not so young as
might have been desired in a lover, a
singularly pleasing man; and whatever
feeling unfavourable to him had found its
way into my mind, arose altogether from
the dread, not an unreasonable one, that
constraint might be practised upon my
inclinations. I reflected, however, that
Lord Glenfallen was a wealthy man, and
one highly thought of; and although I
could never expect to love him in the
romantic sense of the term, yet I had no
doubt but that, all things considered, I
might be more happy with him than I
could hope to be at home.
When next I met him it was with no
small embarrassment, his tact and good
breeding, however, soon reassured me, and
effectually prevented my awkwardness being
remarked upon. And I had the satisfaction
of leaving Dublin for the country with the
full conviction that nobody, not even those
most intimate with me, even suspected the
fact of Lord Glenfallen's having made me
a formal proposal.
This was to me a very serious subject of
self-gratulation, for, besides my instinctive
dread of becoming the topic of the speculations
of gossip, I felt that if the situation
which I occupied in relation to him were
made publicly known, I should stand
committed in a manner which would scarcely
leave me the power of retraction.
The period at which Lord Glenfallen
had arranged to visit Ashtown House was
now fast approaching, and it became my
mother's wish to form me thoroughly to
her will, and to obtain my consent to the
proposed marriage before his arrival, so
that all things might proceed smoothly,
without apparent opposition or objection
upon my part. Whatever objections, therefore,
I had entertained were to be subdued;
whatever disposition to resistance I
had exhibited or had been supposed to
feel, were to be completely eradicated before
he made his appearance; and my mother
addressed herself to the task with a
decision and energy against which even the
barriers, which her imagination had created,
could hardly have stood.
If she had, however, expected any
determined opposition from me, she was agree-
ably disappointed. My heart was perfectly
free, and all my feelings of liking and
preference were in favour of Lord
Glenfallen; and I well knew that in case I
refused to dispose of myself as I was
desired, my mother had alike the power
and the will to render my existence as
utterly miserable as even the most ill-
assorted marriage could possibly have done.
You will remember, my good friend, that
I was very young and very completely
under the control of my parents, both
of whom, my mother particularly, were
unscrupulously determined in matters of
this kind, and willing, when voluntary
obedience on the part of those within their
power was withheld, to compel a forced
acquiescence by an unsparing use of all the
engines of the most stern and rigorous
All these combined, not unnaturally,
induced me to resolve upon yielding at once,
and without useless opposition, to what
appeared almost to be my fate.
The appointed time was come, and my
now accepted suitor arrived; he was in
high spirits, and, if possible, more
entertaining than ever.
I was not, however, quite in the mood
to enjoy his sprightliness; but whatever
I wanted in gaiety was amply made up in
the triumphant and gracious good-humour
of my mother, whose smiles of benevolence
and exultation were showered around as
bountifully as the summer sunshine.
I will not weary you with unnecessary
prolixity. Let it suffice to say, that I was
married to Lord Glenfallen with all the
attendant pomp and circumstance of wealth,
rank, and grandeur. According to the
usage of the times, now humanely
reformed, the ceremony was made, until long
past midnight, the season of wild,
uproarious, and promiscuous feasting and
Of all this I have a painfully vivid
recollection, and particularly of the little
annoyances inflicted upon me by the dull
and coarse jokes of the wits and wags who
abound in all such places, and upon all
I was not sorry when, after a few days,
Lord Glenfallen's carriage appeared at the
door to convey us both from Ashtown; for
any change would have been a relief from
the irksomeness of ceremonial and formality
which the visits received in honour of my
newly-acquired titles hourly entailed upon
It was arranged that we were to proceed
to Cahergillagh, one of the Glenfallen
estates, lying, however, in a southern
county, so that, owing to the difficulty of
the roads at the time, a tedious journey of
three days intervened.
I set forth with my noble companion,
followed by the regrets of some, and by
the envy of many; though God knows I
little deserved the latter. The three days
of travel were now almost spent, when,
passing the brow of a wild heathy hill,
the domain of Cahergillagh opened suddenly
upon our view.
It formed a striking and a beautiful scene.
A lake of considerable extent stretching
away towards the west, and reflecting from
its broad, smooth waters, the rich glow of
the setting sun, was overhung by steep
hills, covered by a rich mantle of velvet
sward, broken here and there by the grey
front of some old rock, and exhibiting on
their shelving sides, their slopes and
hollows, every variety of light and shade; a
thick wood of dwarf oak, birch, and hazel
skirted these hills, and clothed the shores
of the lake, running out in rich luxuriance
upon every promontory, and spreading
upward considerably upon the side of the
'There lies the enchanted castle,' said
Lord Glenfallen, pointing towards a
considerable level space intervening between
two of the picturesque hills, which rose
dimly around the lake.
This little plain was chiefly occupied by
the same low, wild wood which covered the
other parts of the domain; but towards
the centre a mass of taller and statelier
forest trees stood darkly grouped together,
and among them stood an ancient square
tower, with many buildings of a humbler
character, forming together the manor-
house, or, as it was more usually called,
the Court of Cahergillagh.
As we approached the level upon which
the mansion stood, the winding road gave
us many glimpses of the time-worn castle
and its surrounding buildings; and seen
as it was through the long vistas of the
fine old trees, and with the rich glow of
evening upon it, I have seldom beheld an
object more picturesquely striking.
I was glad to perceive, too, that here
and there the blue curling smoke ascended
from stacks of chimneys now hidden by
the rich, dark ivy which, in a great
measure, covered the building. Other
indications of comfort made themselves
manifest as we approached; and indeed, though
the place was evidently one of considerable
antiquity, it had nothing whatever of the
gloom of decay about it.
'You must not, my love,' said Lord
Glenfallen, 'imagine this place worse than
it is. I have no taste for antiquity--at least
I should not choose a house to reside in
because it is old. Indeed I do not recollect
that I was even so romantic as to overcome
my aversion to rats and rheumatism, those
faithful attendants upon your noble relics of
feudalism; and I much prefer a snug,
modern, unmysterious bedroom, with well-
aired sheets, to the waving tapestry,
mildewed cushions, and all the other interesting
appliances of romance. However, though I
cannot promise you all the discomfort
generally belonging to an old castle, you will
find legends and ghostly lore enough to
claim your respect; and if old Martha be
still to the fore, as I trust she is, you will
soon have a supernatural and appropriate
anecdote for every closet and corner of the
mansion; but here we are--so, without
more ado, welcome to Cahergillagh!'
We now entered the hall of the castle, and
while the domestics were employed in conveying
our trunks and other luggage which
we had brought with us for immediate use
to the apartments which Lord Glenfallen
had selected for himself and me, I went with
him into a spacious sitting-room, wainscoted
with finely polished black oak, and
hung round with the portraits of various
worthies of the Glenfallen family.
This room looked out upon an extensive
level covered with the softest green sward,
and irregularly bounded by the wild wood I
have before mentioned, through the leafy
arcade formed by whose boughs and trunks
the level beams of the setting sun were
pouring. In the distance a group of dairy-
maids were plying their task, which they
accompanied throughout with snatches of
Irish songs which, mellowed by the distance,
floated not unpleasingly to the ear; and
beside them sat or lay, with all the grave
importance of conscious protection, six or
seven large dogs of various kinds. Farther
in the distance, and through the cloisters of
the arching wood, two or three ragged
urchins were employed in driving such stray
kine as had wandered farther than the rest
to join their fellows.
As I looked upon this scene which I have
described, a feeling of tranquillity and
happiness came upon me, which I have never
experienced in so strong a degree; and so
strange to me was the sensation that my
eyes filled with tears.
Lord Glenfallen mistook the cause of my
emotion, and taking me kindly and tenderly
by the hand, he said:
'Do not suppose, my love, that it is my
intention to SETTLE here. Whenever you desire
to leave this, you have only to let me know
your wish, and it shall be complied with; so
I must entreat of you not to suffer any
circumstances which I can control to give you
one moment's uneasiness. But here is old
Martha; you must be introduced to her, one
of the heirlooms of our family.'
A hale, good-humoured, erect old woman
was Martha, and an agreeable contrast to
the grim, decrepid hag which my fancy had
conjured up, as the depository of all the
horrible tales in which I doubted not this
old place was most fruitful.
She welcomed me and her master with a
profusion of gratulations, alternately kissing
our hands and apologising for the liberty,
until at length Lord Glenfallen put an end
to this somewhat fatiguing ceremonial by
requesting her to conduct me to my
chamber if it were prepared for my reception.
I followed Martha up an old-fashioned
oak staircase into a long, dim passage, at
the end of which lay the door which
communicated with the apartments which had
been selected for our use; here the old
woman stopped, and respectfully requested
me to proceed.
I accordingly opened the door, and was
about to enter, when something like a mass
of black tapestry, as it appeared, disturbed
by my sudden approach, fell from above the
door, so as completely to screen the
aperture; the startling unexpectedness of the
occurrence, and the rustling noise which
the drapery made in its descent, caused me
involuntarily to step two or three paces
backwards. I turned, smiling and half-
ashamed, to the old servant, and said:
'You see what a coward I am.'
The woman looked puzzled, and, without
saying any more, I was about to draw aside
the curtain and enter the room, when, upon
turning to do so, I was surprised to find
that nothing whatever interposed to obstruct
I went into the room, followed by the
servant-woman, and was amazed to find that
it, like the one below, was wainscoted, and
that nothing like drapery was to be found
near the door.
'Where is it?' said I; 'what has become
'What does your ladyship wish to know?'
said the old woman.
'Where is the black curtain that fell
across the door, when I attempted first to
come to my chamber?' answered I.
'The cross of Christ about us!' said the
old woman, turning suddenly pale.
'What is the matter, my good friend?'
said I; 'you seem frightened.'
'Oh no, no, your ladyship,' said the old
woman, endeavouring to conceal her agitation;
but in vain, for tottering towards a
chair, she sank into it, looking so deadly
pale and horror-struck that I thought every
moment she would faint.
'Merciful God, keep us from harm and
danger!' muttered she at length.
'What can have terrified you so?' said I,
beginning to fear that she had seen
something more than had met my eye. 'You
appear ill, my poor woman!'
'Nothing, nothing, my lady,' said she,
rising. 'I beg your ladyship's pardon for
making so bold. May the great God defend
us from misfortune!'
'Martha,' said I, 'something HAS frightened
you very much, and I insist on knowing
what it is; your keeping me in the dark
upon the subject will make me much more
uneasy than anything you could tell me. I
desire you, therefore, to let me know what
agitates you; I command you to tell
'Your ladyship said you saw a black
curtain falling across the door when you
were coming into the room,' said the old
'I did,' said I; 'but though the whole
thing appears somewhat strange, I cannot
see anything in the matter to agitate you
'It's for no good you saw that, my
lady,' said the crone; 'something terrible is
coming. It's a sign, my lady--a sign that
'Explain, explain what you mean, my
good woman,' said I, in spite of myself,
catching more than I could account for, of
her superstitious terror.
'Whenever something--something BAD is
going to happen to the Glenfallen family,
some one that belongs to them sees a black
handkerchief or curtain just waved or falling
before their faces. I saw it myself,'
continued she, lowering her voice, 'when I
was only a little girl, and I'll never forget
it. I often heard of it before, though I
never saw it till then, nor since, praised be
God. But I was going into Lady Jane's
room to waken her in the morning; and
sure enough when I got first to the bed and
began to draw the curtain, something dark
was waved across the division, but only for
a moment; and when I saw rightly into
the bed, there was she lying cold and dead,
God be merciful to me! So, my lady, there
is small blame to me to be daunted when
any one of the family sees it; for it's many's
the story I heard of it, though I saw it but
I was not of a superstitious turn of mind,
yet I could not resist a feeling of awe very
nearly allied to the fear which my
companion had so unreservedly expressed; and
when you consider my situation, the loneliness,
antiquity, and gloom of the place,
you will allow that the weakness was not
In spite of old Martha's boding predictions,
however, time flowed on in an unruffled
course. One little incident however,
though trifling in itself, I must relate, as it
serves to make what follows more intelligible.
Upon the day after my arrival, Lord
Glenfallen of course desired to make me
acquainted with the house and domain; and
accordingly we set forth upon our ramble.
When returning, he became for some time
silent and moody, a state so unusual with
him as considerably to excite my surprise.
I endeavoured by observations and
questions to arouse him--but in vain. At
length, as we approached the house, he
said, as if speaking to himself:
' 'Twere madness--madness--madness,'
repeating the words bitterly--'sure and
There was here a long pause; and at
length, turning sharply towards me, in a
tone very unlike that in which he had
hitherto addressed me, he said:
'Do you think it possible that a woman
can keep a secret?'
'I am sure,' said I, 'that women are
very much belied upon the score of
talkativeness, and that I may answer your
question with the same directness with
which you put it--I reply that I DO think
a woman can keep a secret.'
'But I do not,' said he, drily.
We walked on in silence for a time. I
was much astonished at his unwonted
abruptness--I had almost said rudeness.
After a considerable pause he seemed
to recollect himself, and with an effort
resuming his sprightly manner, he said:
'Well, well, the next thing to keeping
a secret well is, not to desire to possess
one--talkativeness and curiosity generally
go together. Now I shall make test of you,
in the first place, respecting the latter of
these qualities. I shall be your BLUEBEARD
--tush, why do I trifle thus? Listen to me,
my dear Fanny; I speak now in solemn
earnest. What I desire is intimately,
inseparably, connected with your happiness
and honour as well as my own; and
your compliance with my request will not
be difficult. It will impose upon you a
very trifling restraint during your sojourn
here, which certain events which have
occurred since our arrival have determined
me shall not be a long one. You must
promise me, upon your sacred honour,
that you will visit ONLY that part of the
castle which can be reached from the front
entrance, leaving the back entrance and
the part of the building commanded
immediately by it to the menials, as also
the small garden whose high wall you
see yonder; and never at any time
seek to pry or peep into them, nor to open
the door which communicates from the
front part of the house through the
corridor with the back. I do not urge
this in jest or in caprice, but from a solemn
conviction that danger and misery will
be the certain consequences of your not
observing what I prescribe. I cannot
explain myself further at present. Promise
me, then, these things, as you hope for
peace here, and for mercy hereafter.'
I did make the promise as desired, and
he appeared relieved; his manner recovered
all its gaiety and elasticity: but the
recollection of the strange scene which I have
just described dwelt painfully upon my
More than a month passed away without
any occurrence worth recording; but I
was not destined to leave Cahergillagh
without further adventure. One day,
intending to enjoy the pleasant sunshine
in a ramble through the woods, I ran up to
my room to procure my bonnet and shawl.
Upon entering the chamber, I was surprised
and somewhat startled to find it occupied.
Beside the fireplace, and nearly opposite
the door, seated in a large, old-fashioned
elbow-chair, was placed the figure of a
lady. She appeared to be nearer fifty than
forty, and was dressed suitably to her age,
in a handsome suit of flowered silk; she
had a profusion of trinkets and jewellery
about her person, and many rings upon
her fingers. But although very rich, her
dress was not gaudy or in ill taste. But
what was remarkable in the lady was, that
although her features were handsome, and
upon the whole pleasing, the pupil of each
eye was dimmed with the whiteness of
cataract, and she was evidently stone-blind.
I was for some seconds so surprised at
this unaccountable apparition, that I could
not find words to address her.
'Madam,' said I, 'there must be some
mistake here--this is my bed-chamber.'
'Marry come up,' said the lady, sharply;
'YOUR chamber! Where is Lord Glenfallen?'
'He is below, madam,' replied I; 'and
I am convinced he will be not a little
surprised to find you here.'
'I do not think he will,' said she; 'with
your good leave, talk of what you know
something about. Tell him I want him.
Why does the minx dilly-dally so?'
In spite of the awe which this grim lady
inspired, there was something in her air
of confident superiority which, when I
considered our relative situations, was not
a little irritating.
'Do you know, madam, to whom you
speak?' said I.
'I neither know nor care,' said she;
'but I presume that you are some one
about the house, so again I desire you,
if you wish to continue here, to bring your
master hither forthwith.'
'I must tell you, madam,' said I, 'that
I am Lady Glenfallen.'
'What's that?' said the stranger, rapidly.
'I say, madam,' I repeated, approaching
her that I might be more distinctly heard,
'that I am Lady Glenfallen.'
'It's a lie, you trull!' cried she, in an
accent which made me start, and at the
same time, springing forward, she seized
me in her grasp, and shook me violently,
repeating, 'It's a lie--it's a lie!' with a
rapidity and vehemence which swelled
every vein of her face. The violence of
her action, and the fury which convulsed
her face, effectually terrified me, and dis-
engaging myself from her grasp, I screamed
as loud as I could for help. The blind
woman continued to pour out a torrent of
abuse upon me, foaming at the mouth with
rage, and impotently shaking her clenched
fists towards me.
I heard Lord Glenfallen's step upon the
stairs, and I instantly ran out; as I passed
him I perceived that he was deadly pale,
and just caught the words: 'I hope that
demon has not hurt you?'
I made some answer, I forget what, and
he entered the chamber, the door of which
he locked upon the inside. What passed
within I know not; but I heard the voices
of the two speakers raised in loud and
I thought I heard the shrill accents of
the woman repeat the words, 'Let her look to
herself;' but I could not be quite sure. This
short sentence, however, was, to my
alarmed imagination, pregnant with fearful meaning.
The storm at length subsided, though
not until after a conference of more than
two long hours. Lord Glenfallen then
returned, pale and agitated.
'That unfortunate woman,' said he, 'is
out of her mind. I daresay she treated you
to some of her ravings; but you need not
dread any further interruption from her: I
have brought her so far to reason. She did
not hurt you, I trust.'
'No, no,' said I; 'but she terrified me
'Well,' said he, 'she is likely to behave
better for the future; and I dare swear that
neither you nor she would desire, after what
has passed, to meet again.'
This occurrence, so startling and un-
pleasant, so involved in mystery, and
giving rise to so many painful surmises,
afforded me no very agreeable food for
All attempts on my part to arrive at the
truth were baffled; Lord Glenfallen evaded
all my inquiries, and at length peremptorily
forbid any further allusion to the matter.
I was thus obliged to rest satisfied with
what I had actually seen, and to trust to
time to resolve the perplexities in which the
whole transaction had involved me.
Lord Glenfallen's temper and spirits
gradually underwent a complete and most
painful change; he became silent and
abstracted, his manner to me was abrupt
and often harsh, some grievous anxiety
seemed ever present to his mind; and
under its influence his spirits sunk and his
temper became soured.
I soon perceived that his gaiety was
rather that which the stir and excitement
of society produce, than the result of a
healthy habit of mind; every day
confirmed me in the opinion, that the
considerate good-nature which I had so much
admired in him was little more than a mere
manner; and to my infinite grief and
surprise, the gay, kind, open-hearted nobleman
who had for months followed and flattered
me, was rapidly assuming the form of a
gloomy, morose, and singularly selfish man.
This was a bitter discovery, and I strove
to conceal it from myself as long as I could;
but the truth was not to be denied, and I
was forced to believe that Lord Glenfallen
no longer loved me, and that he was at
little pains to conceal the alteration in his
One morning after breakfast, Lord Glen-
fallen had been for some time walking
silently up and down the room, buried
in his moody reflections, when pausing
suddenly, and turning towards me, he
'I have it--I have it! We must go abroad,
and stay there too; and if that does not
answer, why--why, we must try some more
effectual expedient. Lady Glenfallen, I
have become involved in heavy embarrassments.
A wife, you know, must share the
fortunes of her husband, for better for
worse; but I will waive my right if you
prefer remaining here--here at Cahergillagh.
For I would not have you seen elsewhere
without the state to which your rank
entitles you; besides, it would break your
poor mother's heart,' he added, with sneering
gravity. 'So make up your mind--
Cahergillagh or France. I will start if
possible in a week, so determine between
this and then.'