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The Purcell Papers, Volume 3 by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Part 3 out of 4

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announced, unequivocally, that the horsemen
were of the military profession.

'The red-coats will stop here
undoubtedly,' said the old woman, observing,
I suppose, the anxiety of my countenance;
'they never pass us without
coming in for half an hour to drink or
smoke. If you desire to avoid them, I
can hide you safely; but don't lose a
moment. They will be here before you can
count a hundred.'

I thanked the good woman for her
hospitable zeal; but I felt a repugnance
to concealing myself as she suggested,
which was enhanced by the consciousness
that if by any accident I were de-
tected while lurking in the room, my
situation would of itself inevitably lead
to suspicions, and probably to discovery.

I therefore declined her offer, and
awaited in suspense the entrance of the

I had time before they made their
appearance to move my seat hurriedly
from the table to the hearth, where,
under the shade of the large chimney,
I might observe the coming visitors with
less chance of being myself remarked upon.

As my hostess had anticipated, the
horsemen drew up at the door of the hut, and
five dragoons entered the dark chamber
where I awaited them.

Leaving their horses at the entrance,
with much noise and clatter they proceeded
to seat themselves and call for

Three of these fellows were Dutchmen,
and, indeed, all belonged, as I afterwards
found, to a Dutch regiment, which had
been recruited with Irish and English,
as also partly officered from the same

Being supplied with pipes and drink
they soon became merry; and not suffering
their smoking to interfere with their
conversation, they talked loud and quickly,
for the most part in a sort of barbarous
language, neither Dutch nor English, but
compounded of both.

They were so occupied with their own
jocularity that I had very great hopes
of escaping observation altogether, and
remained quietly seated in a corner of the
chimney, leaning back upon my seat as if

My taciturnity and quiescence, however,
did not avail me, for one of these fellows
coming over to the hearth to light his pipe,
perceived me, and looking me very hard in
the face, he said:

'What countryman are you, brother, that
you sit with a covered head in the room
with the prince's soldiers?'

At the same time he tossed my hat off
my head into the fire. I was not fool
enough, though somewhat hot-blooded,
to suffer the insolence of this fellow to
involve me in a broil so dangerous to
my person and ruinous to my schemes
as a riot with these soldiers must prove.
I therefore, quietly taking up my hat and
shaking the ashes out of it, observed:

'Sir, I crave your pardon if I have
offended you. I am a stranger in these
quarters, and a poor, ignorant, humble
man, desiring only to drive my little trade
in peace, so far as that may be done in these
troublous times.'

'And what may your trade be?' said
the same fellow.

'I am a travelling merchant,' I replied;
'and sell my wares as cheap as any trader
in the country.'

'Let us see them forthwith,' said he;
'mayhap I or my comrades may want
something which you can supply. Where
is thy chest, friend? Thou shalt have
ready money' (winking at his companions),
'ready money, and good weight, and sound
metal; none of your rascally pinchbeck.
Eh, my lads? Bring forth the goods, and
let us see.'

Thus urged, I should have betrayed
myself had I hesitated to do as required;
and anxious, upon any terms, to quiet these
turbulent men of war, I unbuckled my
pack and exhibited its contents upon the
table before them.

'A pair of lace ruffles, by the Lord!'
said one, unceremoniously seizing upon the
articles he named.

'A phial of perfume,' continued another,
tumbling over the farrago which I had
submitted to them, 'wash-balls, combs,
stationery, slippers, small knives, tobacco;
by ----, this merchant is a prize! Mark
me, honest fellow, the man who wrongs
thee shall suffer--'fore Gad he shall; thou
shalt be fairly dealt with' (this he said
while in the act of pocketing a small silver
tobacco-box, the most valuable article in
the lot). 'You shall come with me to
head-quarters; the captain will deal with
you, and never haggle about the price.
I promise thee his good will, and thou
wilt consider me accordingly. You'll find
him a profitable customer--he has money
without end, and throws it about like a
gentleman. If so be as I tell thee, I shall
expect, and my comrades here, a piece or
two in the way of a compliment--but of
this anon. Come, then, with us; buckle
on thy pack quickly, friend.'

There was no use in my declaring my
willingness to deal with themselves in
preference to their master; it was clear that
they had resolved that I should, in the
most expeditious and advantageous way,
turn my goods into money, that they might
excise upon me to the amount of their

The worthy who had taken a lead in
these arrangements, and who by his stripes
I perceived to be a corporal, having
insisted on my taking a dram with him to
cement our newly-formed friendship, for
which, however, he requested me to pay,
made me mount behind one of his comrades;
and the party, of which I thus
formed an unwilling member, moved at a
slow trot towards the quarters of the

They reined up their horses at the head
of the long bridge, which at this village
spans the broad waters of the Shannon
connecting the opposite counties of
Tipperary and Clare.

A small tower, built originally, no doubt,
to protect and to defend this pass, occupied
the near extremity of the bridge, and in
its rear, but connected with it, stood several
straggling buildings rather dilapidated.

A dismounted trooper kept guard at the
door, and my conductor having, dismounted,
as also the corporal, the latter inquired:

'Is the captain in his quarters?'

'He is,' replied the sentinel.

And without more ado my companion
shoved me into the entrance of the small
dark tower, and opening a door at the
extremity of the narrow chamber into which
we had passed from the street, we entered
a second room in which were seated some
half-dozen officers of various ranks and
ages, engaged in drinking, and smoking,
and play.

I glanced rapidly from man to man, and
was nearly satisfied by my inspection, when
one of the gentlemen whose back had been
turned towards the place where I stood,
suddenly changed his position and looked
towards me.

As soon as I saw his face my heart
sank within me, and I knew that my life
or death was balanced, as it were, upon a
razor's edge.

The name of this man whose unexpected
appearance thus affected me was Hugh
Oliver, and good and strong reason had I
to dread him, for so bitterly did he hate
me, that to this moment I do verily believe
he would have compassed my death if it
lay in his power to do so, even at the
hazard of his own life and soul, for I had
been--though God knows with many sore
strugglings and at the stern call of public
duty--the judge and condemner of his
brother; and though the military law,
which I was called upon to administer,
would permit no other course or sentence
than the bloody one which I was compelled
to pursue, yet even to this hour the
recollection of that deed is heavy at my

As soon as I saw this man I felt that
my safety depended upon the accident of
his not recognising me through the disguise
which I had assumed, an accident against
which were many chances, for he well knew
my person and appearance.

It was too late now to destroy General
Sarsfield's instructions; any attempt to
do so would ensure detection. All then
depended upon a cast of the die.

When the first moment of dismay and
heart-sickening agitation had passed, it
seemed to me as if my mind acquired a
collectedness and clearness more complete
and intense than I had ever experienced

I instantly perceived that he did not
know me, for turning from me to the
soldier with all air of indifference, he said,

'Is this a prisoner or a deserter? What
have you brought him here for, sirra?'

'Your wisdom will regard him as you
see fit, may it please you,' said the corporal.
'The man is a travelling merchant, and,
overtaking him upon the road, close by old
Dame MacDonagh's cot, I thought I might
as well make a sort of prisoner of him
that your honour might use him as it might
appear most convenient; he has many
commododies which are not unworthy of
price in this wilderness, and some which
you may condescend to make use of yourself.
May he exhibit the goods he has
for sale, an't please you?'

'Ay, let us see them,' said he.

'Unbuckle your pack,' exclaimed the
corporal, with the same tone of command
with which, at the head of his guard,
he would have said 'Recover your arms.'
'Unbuckle your pack, fellow, and show
your goods to the captain--here, where
you are.'

The conclusion of his directions was
suggested by my endeavouring to move
round in order to get my back towards
the windows, hoping, by keeping my face
in the shade, to escape detection.

In this manoeuvre, however, I was
foiled by the imperiousness of the soldier;
and inwardly cursing his ill-timed
interference, I proceeded to present my
merchandise to the loving contemplation of
the officers who thronged around me,
with a strong light from an opposite
window full upon my face.

As I continued to traffic with these
gentlemen, I observed with no small
anxiety the eyes of Captain Oliver frequently
fixed upon me with a kind of
dubious inquiring gaze.

'I think, my honest fellow,' he said
at last, 'that I have seen you somewhere
before this. Have you often dealt with
the military?'

'I have traded, sir,' said I, 'with the
soldiery many a time, and always been
honourably treated. Will your worship
please to buy a pair of lace ruffles?--very
cheap, your worship.'

'Why do you wear your hair so much
over your face, sir?' said Oliver, without
noticing my suggestion. 'I promise you,
I think no good of thee; throw back your
hair, and let me see thee plainly. Hold
up your face, and look straight at me;
throw back your hair, sir.'

I felt that all chance of escape was at
an end; and stepping forward as near as
the table would allow me to him, I raised
my head, threw back my hair, and fixed
my eyes sternly and boldly upon his

I saw that he knew me instantly, for
his countenance turned as pale as ashes
with surprise and hatred. He started up,
placing his hand instinctively upon his
sword-hilt, and glaring at me with a look
so deadly, that I thought every moment he
would strike his sword into my heart.
He said in a kind of whisper: 'Hardress

'Yes;' said I, boldly, for the excitement
of the scene had effectually stirred my
blood, 'Hardress Fitzgerald is before you.
I know you well, Captain Oliver. I know
how you hate me. I know how you thirst
for my blood; but in a good cause, and
in the hands of God, I defy you.'

'You are a desperate villain, sir,' said
Captain Oliver; 'a rebel and a murderer!
Holloa, there! guard, seize him!'

As the soldiers entered, I threw my
eyes hastily round the room, and observing
a glowing fire upon the hearth, I suddenly
drew General Sarsfield's packet from my
bosom, and casting it upon the embers,
planted my foot upon it.

'Secure the papers!' shouted the captain;
and almost instantly I was laid prostrate
and senseless upon the floor, by a blow
from the butt of a carbine.

I cannot say how long I continued in
a state of torpor; but at length, having
slowly recovered my senses, I found myself
lying firmly handcuffed upon the floor of
a small chamber, through a narrow loop-
hole in one of whose walls the evening
sun was shining. I was chilled with
cold and damp, and drenched in blood,
which had flowed in large quantities from
the wound on my head. By a strong
effort I shook off the sick drowsiness which
still hung upon me, and, weak and giddy,
I rose with pain and difficulty to my

The chamber, or rather cell, in which
I stood was about eight feet square, and
of a height very disproportioned to its
other dimensions; its altitude from the
floor to the ceiling being not less than
twelve or fourteen feet. A narrow slit
placed high in the wall admitted a scanty
light, but sufficient to assure me that my
prison contained nothing to render the
sojourn of its tenant a whit less comfortless
than my worst enemy could have

My first impulse was naturally to
examine the security of the door, the
loop-hole which I have mentioned being
too high and too narrow to afford a chance
of escape. I listened attentively to ascer-
tain if possible whether or not a guard had
been placed upon the outside.

Not a sound was to be heard. I now
placed my shoulder to the door, and sought
with all my combined strength and weight
to force it open. It, however, resisted all
my efforts, and thus baffled in my appeal to
mere animal power, exhausted and
disheartened, I threw myself on the

It was not in my nature, however, long
to submit to the apathy of despair, and in
a few minutes I was on my feet again.

With patient scrutiny I endeavoured to
ascertain the nature of the fastenings which
secured the door.

The planks, fortunately, having been
nailed together fresh, had shrunk considerably,
so as to leave wide chinks between
each and its neighbour.

By means of these apertures I saw that
my dungeon was secured, not by a lock, as
I had feared, but by a strong wooden bar,
running horizontally across the door, about
midway upon the outside.

'Now,' thought I, 'if I can but slip
my fingers through the opening of the
planks, I can easily remove the bar, and

My attempts, however, were all
frustrated by the manner in which my hands
were fastened together, each embarrassing
the other, and rendering my efforts so
hopelessly clumsy, that I was obliged to give
them over in despair.

I turned with a sigh from my last hope,
and began to pace my narrow prison floor,
when my eye suddenly encountered an
old rusty nail or holdfast sticking in the

All the gold of Plutus would not have
been so welcome as that rusty piece of

I instantly wrung it from the wall, and
inserting the point between the planks of
the door into the bolt, and working it
backwards and forwards, I had at length the
unspeakable satisfaction to perceive that
the beam was actually yielding to my
efforts, and gradually sliding into its berth
in the wall.

I have often been engaged in struggles
where great bodily strength was required,
and every thew and sinew in the system
taxed to the uttermost; but, strange as it
may appear, I never was so completely
exhausted and overcome by any labour as
by this comparatively trifling task.

Again and again was I obliged to desist,
until my cramped finger-joints recovered
their power; but at length my perseverance
was rewarded, for, little by little, I
succeeded in removing the bolt so far as to
allow the door to open sufficiently to permit
me to pass.

With some squeezing I succeeded in forcing
my way into a small passage, upon
which my prison-door opened.

This led into a chamber somewhat more
spacious than my cell, but still containing
no furniture, and affording no means of
escape to one so crippled with bonds as I

At the far extremity of this room was a
door which stood ajar, and, stealthily
passing through it, I found myself in a room
containing nothing but a few raw hides,
which rendered the atmosphere nearly intolerable.

Here I checked myself, for I heard
voices in busy conversation in the next

I stole softly to the door which
separated the chamber in which I stood
from that from which the voices proceeded.

A moment served to convince me that
any attempt upon it would be worse than
fruitless, for it was secured upon the
outside by a strong lock, besides two bars, all
which I was enabled to ascertain by means
of the same defect in the joining of the
planks which I have mentioned as belonging
to the inner door.

I had approached this door very softly,
so that, my proximity being wholly
unsuspected by the speakers within, the
conversation continued without interruption.

Planting myself close to the door, I
applied my eye to one of the chinks which
separated the boards, and thus obtained
a full view of the chamber and its occupants.

It was the very apartment into which I
had been first conducted. The outer door,
which faced the one at which I stood, was
closed, and at a small table were seated the
only tenants of the room--two officers, one
of whom was Captain Oliver. The latter
was reading a paper, which I made no doubt
was the document with which I had been

'The fellow deserves it, no doubt'
said the junior officer. 'But, me-
thinks, considering our orders from
head-quarters, you deal somewhat too

'Nephew, nephew,' said Captain Oliver,
'you mistake the tenor of our orders. We
were directed to conciliate the peasantry by
fair and gentle treatment, but not to suffer
spies and traitors to escape. This packet is
of some value, though not, in all its parts,
intelligible to me. The bearer has made
his way hither under a disguise, which,
along with the other circumstances of his
appearance here, is sufficient to convict him
as a spy.'

There was a pause here, and after a few
minutes the younger officer said:

'Spy is a hard term, no doubt, uncle;
but it is possible--nay, likely, that this poor
devil sought merely to carry the parcel
with which he was charged in safety to
its destination. Pshaw! he is sufficiently
punished if you duck him, for ten minutes
or so, between the bridge and the mill-dam.'

'Young man,' said Oliver, somewhat
sternly, 'do not obtrude your advice where
it is not called for; this man, for whom
you plead, murdered your own father!'

I could not see how this announcement
affected the person to whom it was
addressed, for his back was towards me; but
I conjectured, easily, that my last poor
chance was gone, for a long silence ensued.
Captain Oliver at length resumed:

'I know the villain well. I know him
capable of any crime; but, by ----, his last
card is played, and the game is up. He
shall not see the moon rise to-night.'

There was here another pause.

Oliver rose, and going to the outer door,

'Hewson! Hewson!'

A grim-looking corporal entered.

'Hewson, have your guard ready at
eight o'clock, with their carbines clean, and
a round of ball-cartridge each. Keep them
sober; and, further, plant two upright
posts at the near end of the bridge, with a
cross one at top, in the manner of a gibbet.
See to these matters, Hewson: I shall be
with you speedily.'

The corporal made his salutations, and

Oliver deliberately folded up the papers
with which I had been commissioned, and
placing them in the pocket of his vest, he

'Cunning, cunning Master Hardress
Fitzgerald hath made a false step; the old
fox is in the toils. Hardress Fitzgerald,
Hardress Fitzgerald, I will blot you out.'

He repeated these words several times,
at the same time rubbing his finger strongly
upon the table, as if he sought to erase a


There was a kind of glee in his manner
and expression which chilled my very heart.

'You shall be first shot like a dog, and
then hanged like a dog: shot to-night,
and hung to-morrow; hung at the bridge-
head--hung, until your bones drop

It is impossible to describe the exultation
with which he seemed to dwell upon, and
to particularise the fate which he intended
for me.

I observed, however, that his face was
deadly pale, and felt assured that his
conscience and inward convictions were
struggling against his cruel resolve. Without
further comment the two officers left
the room, I suppose to oversee the preparations
which were being made for the deed
of which I was to be the victim.

A chill, sick horror crept over me as
they retired, and I felt, for the moment,
upon the brink of swooning. This feeling,
however, speedily gave place to a sensation
still more terrible. A state of excitement so
intense and tremendous as to border upon
literal madness, supervened; my brain
reeled and throbbed as if it would burst;
thoughts the wildest and the most hideous
flashed through my mind with a spontaneous
rapidity that scared my very soul;
while, all the time, I felt a strange and
frightful impulse to burst into uncontrolled

Gradually this fearful paroxysm passed
away. I kneeled and prayed fervently, and
felt comforted and assured; but still I
could not view the slow approaches of
certain death without an agitation little
short of agony.

I have stood in battle many a time when
the chances of escape were fearfully small.
I have confronted foemen in the deadly
breach. I have marched, with a constant
heart, against the cannon's mouth. Again
and again has the beast which I bestrode
been shot under me; again and again have
I seen the comrades who walked beside me
in an instant laid for ever in the dust;
again and again have I been in the thick
of battle, and of its mortal dangers, and
never felt my heart shake, or a single nerve
tremble: but now, helpless, manacled,
imprisoned, doomed, forced to watch the
approaches of an inevitable fate--to wait,
silent and moveless, while death as it were
crept towards me, human nature was
taxed to the uttermost to bear the horrible

I returned again to the closet in which
I had found myself upon recovering from
the swoon.

The evening sunshine and twilight was
fast melting into darkness, when I heard
the outer door, that which communicated
with the guard-room in which the officers
had been amusing themselves, opened and
locked again upon the inside.

A measured step then approached, and
the door of the wretched cell in which I
lay being rudely pushed open, a soldier
entered, who carried something in his hand;
but, owing to the obscurity of the place,
I could not see what.

'Art thou awake, fellow?' said he,
in a gruff voice. 'Stir thyself; get upon
thy legs.'

His orders were enforced by no very
gentle application of his military boot.

'Friend,' said I, rising with difficulty,
'you need not insult a dying man. You
have been sent hither to conduct me to
death. Lead on! My trust is in God,
that He will forgive me my sins, and
receive my soul, redeemed by the blood
of His Son.'

There here intervened a pause of some
length, at the end of which the soldier
said, in the same gruff voice, but in a
lower key:

'Look ye, comrade, it will be your own
fault if you die this night. On one
condition I promise to get you out of this
hobble with a whole skin; but if you go
to any of your d----d gammon, by G--,
before two hours are passed, you will have
as many holes in your carcase as a target.'

'Name your conditions,' said I, 'and
if they consist with honour, I will never
balk at the offer.'

'Here they are: you are to be shot
to-night, by Captain Oliver's orders. The
carbines are cleaned for the job, and the
cartridges served out to the men. By
G--, I tell you the truth!'

Of this I needed not much persuasion,
and intimated to the man my conviction
that he spoke the truth.

'Well, then,' he continued, 'now for the
means of avoiding this ugly business.
Captain Oliver rides this night to head-quarters,
with the papers which you carried. Before
he starts he will pay you a visit, to fish
what he can out of you with all the fine
promises he can make. Humour him a
little, and when you find an opportunity,
stab him in the throat above the

'A feasible plan, surely,' said I, raising
my shackled hands, 'for a man thus
completely crippled and without a

'I will manage all that presently for
you,' said the soldier. 'When you have
thus dealt with him, take his cloak and
hat, and so forth, and put them on; the
papers you will find in the pocket of
his vest, in a red leather case. Walk
boldly out. I am appointed to ride with
Captain Oliver, and you will find me
holding his horse and my own by the door.
Mount quickly, and I will do the same,
and then we will ride for our lives across
the bridge. You will find the holster-
pistols loaded in case of pursuit; and, with
the devil's help, we shall reach Limerick
without a hair hurt. My only condition
is, that when you strike Oliver, you
strike home, and again and again, until
he is FINISHED; and I trust to your honour
to remember me when we reach the

I cannot say whether I resolved right
or wrong, but I thought my situation,
and the conduct of Captain Oliver,
warranted me in acceding to the conditions
propounded by my visitant, and with
alacrity I told him so, and desired him to
give me the power, as he had promised
to do, of executing them.

With speed and promptitude he drew
a small key from his pocket, and in an
instant the manacles were removed from
my hands.

How my heart bounded within me
as my wrists were released from the
iron gripe of the shackles! The first step
toward freedom was made--my self-
reliance returned, and I felt assured of

'Now for the weapon,' said I.

'I fear me, you will find it rather
clumsy,' said he; 'but if well handled,
it will do as well as the best Toledo.
It is the only thing I could get, but I
sharpened it myself; it has an edge like
a skean.'

He placed in my hand the steel head
of a halberd. Grasping it firmly, I found
that it made by no means a bad weapon
in point of convenience; for it felt in
the hand like a heavy dagger, the portion
which formed the blade or point being
crossed nearly at the lower extremity by
a small bar of metal, at one side shaped
into the form of an axe, and at the other
into that of a hook. These two transverse
appendages being muffled by the folds of
my cravat, which I removed for the purpose,
formed a perfect guard or hilt, and
the lower extremity formed like a tube, in
which the pike-handle had been inserted,
afforded ample space for the grasp of my
hand; the point had been made as sharp
as a needle, and the metal he assured me
was good.

Thus equipped he left me, having
observed, 'The captain sent me to bring you
to your senses, and give you some water
that he might find you proper for his
visit. Here is the pitcher; I think I have
revived you sufficiently for the captain's

With a low savage laugh he left me to
my reflections.

Having examined and adjusted the
weapon, I carefully bound the ends of the
cravat, with which I had secured the cross
part of the spear-head, firmly round my
wrist, so that in case of a struggle it might
not easily be forced from my hand; and
having made these precautionary dispositions,
I sat down upon the ground with
my back against the wall, and my hands
together under my coat, awaiting my

The time wore slowly on; the dusk
became dimmer and dimmer, until it nearly
bordered on total darkness.

'How's this?' said I, inwardly;
'Captain Oliver, you said I should not see the
moon rise to-night. Methinks you are
somewhat tardy in fulfilling your prophecy.'

As I made this reflection, a noise at the
outer door announced the entrance of a
visitant. I knew that the decisive moment
was come, and letting my head sink upon
my breast, and assuring myself that my
hands were concealed, I waited, in the at-
titude of deep dejection, the approach of
my foe and betrayer.

As I had expected, Captain Oliver
entered the room where I lay. He was
equipped for instant duty, as far as the
imperfect twilight would allow me to see;
the long sword clanked upon the floor as
he made his way through the lobbies which
led to my place of confinement; his ample
military cloak hung upon his arm; his
cocked hat was upon his head, and in all
points he was prepared for the road.

This tallied exactly with what my
strange informant had told me.

I felt my heart swell and my breath come
thick as the awful moment which was to
witness the death-struggle of one or other
of us approached.

Captain Oliver stood within a yard or
two of the place where I sat, or rather lay;
and folding his arms, he remained silent
for a minute or two, as if arranging in
his mind how he should address me.

'Hardress Fitzgerald,' he began at length,
'are you awake? Stand up, if you desire
to hear of matters nearly touching your
life or death. Get up, I say.'

I arose doggedly, and affecting the
awkward movements of one whose hands were

'Well,' said I, 'what would you of me?
Is it not enough that I am thus imprisoned
without a cause, and about, as I suspect,
to suffer a most unjust and violent sentence,
but must I also be disturbed during
the few moments left me for reflection and
repentance by the presence of my persecutor?
What do you want of me?'

'As to your punishment, sir,' said he,
'your own deserts have no doubt sug-
gested the likelihood of it to your mind;
but I now am with you to let you know
that whatever mitigation of your sentence
you may look for, must be earned by your
compliance with my orders. You must
frankly and fully explain the contents of
the packet which you endeavoured this
day to destroy; and further, you must
tell all that you know of the designs of
the popish rebels.'

'And if I do this I am to expect a
mitigation of my punishment--is it not

Oliver bowed.

'And what IS this mitigation to be?
On the honour of a soldier, what is it to
be?' inquired I.

'When you have made the disclosure
required,' he replied, 'you shall hear. 'Tis
then time to talk of indulgences.'

'Methinks it would then be too late,'
answered I. 'But a chance is a chance,
and a drowning man will catch at a straw.
You are an honourable man, Captain Oliver.
I must depend, I suppose, on your good
faith. Well, sir, before I make the desired
communication I have one question more
to put. What is to befall me in case that
I, remembering the honour of a soldier
and a gentleman, reject your infamous
terms, scorn your mitigations, and defy
your utmost power?'

'In that case,' replied he, coolly, 'before
half an hour you shall be a corpse.'

'Then God have mercy on your soul!'
said I; and springing forward, I dashed the
weapon which I held at his throat.

I missed my aim, but struck him full
in the mouth with such force that most
of his front teeth were dislodged, and the
point of the spear-head passed out under
his jaw, at the ear.

My onset was so sudden and unexpected
that he reeled back to the wall, and did
not recover his equilibrium in time to
prevent my dealing a second blow, which I
did with my whole force. The point
unfortunately struck the cuirass, near the
neck, and glancing aside it inflicted but a
flesh wound, tearing the skin and tendons
along the throat.

He now grappled with me, strange to
say, without uttering any cry of alarm;
being a very powerful man, and if anything
rather heavier and more strongly
built than I, he succeeded in drawing me
with him to the ground. We fell together
with a heavy crash, tugging and straining
in what we were both conscious was a
mortal struggle. At length I succeeded
in getting over him, and struck him twice
more in the face; still he struggled with
an energy which nothing but the tremendous
stake at issue could have sustained.

I succeeded again in inflicting several
more wounds upon him, any one of which
might have been mortal. While thus
contending he clutched his hands about
my throat, so firmly that I felt the blood
swelling the veins of my temples and face
almost to bursting. Again and again I
struck the weapon deep into his face and
throat, but life seemed to adhere in him
with an almost INSECT tenacity.

My sight now nearly failed, my senses
almost forsook me; I felt upon the point
of suffocation when, with one desperate
effort, I struck him another and a last blow
in the face. The weapon which I wielded
had lighted upon the eye, and the point
penetrated the brain; the body quivered
under me, the deadly grasp relaxed, and
Oliver lay upon the ground a corpse!

As I arose and shook the weapon and
the bloody cloth from my hand, the moon
which he had foretold I should never see
rise, shone bright and broad into the room,
and disclosed, with ghastly distinctness,
the mangled features of the dead soldier;
the mouth, full of clotting blood and broken
teeth, lay open; the eye, close by whose
lid the fatal wound had been inflicted, was
not, as might have been expected, bathed
in blood, but had started forth nearly from
the socket, and gave to the face, by its
fearful unlikeness to the other glazing
orb, a leer more hideous and unearthly
than fancy ever saw. The wig, with all
its rich curls, had fallen with the hat to
the floor, leaving the shorn head exposed,
and in many places marked by the recent
struggle; the rich lace cravat was drenched
in blood, and the gay uniform in many
places soiled with the same.

It is hard to say, with what feelings I
looked upon the unsightly and revolting
mass which had so lately been a living
and a comely man. I had not any time,
however, to spare for reflection; the deed
was done--the responsibility was upon me,
and all was registered in the book of that
God who judges rightly.

With eager haste I removed from the
body such of the military accoutrements
as were necessary for the purpose of my
disguise. I buckled on the sword, drew
off the military boots, and donned them
myself, placed the brigadier wig and
cocked hat upon my head, threw on the
cloak, drew it up about my face, and
proceeded, with the papers which I found
as the soldier had foretold me, and the
key of the outer lobby, to the door of the
guard-room; this I opened, and with a
firm and rapid tread walked through the
officers, who rose as I entered, and passed
without question or interruption to the
street-door. Here I was met by the grim-
looking corporal, Hewson, who, saluting
me, said:

'How soon, captain, shall the file be
drawn out and the prisoner despatched?'

'In half an hour,' I replied, without
raising my voice.

The man again saluted, and in two
steps I reached the soldier who held
the two horses, as he had intimated.

'Is all right?' said he, eagerly.

'Ay,' said I, 'which horse am I to

He satisfied me upon this point, and I
threw myself into the saddle; the soldier
mounted his horse, and dashing the spurs
into the flanks of the animal which I
bestrode, we thundered along the narrow
bridge. At the far extremity a sentinel, as
we approached, called out, 'Who goes there?
stand, and give the word!' Heedless of the
interruption, with my heart bounding with
excitement, I dashed on, as did also the
soldier who accompanied me.

'Stand, or I fire! give the word!' cried
the sentry.

'God save the king, and to hell with
the prince!' shouted I, flinging the cocked
hat in his face as I galloped by.

The response was the sharp report of
a carbine, accompanied by the whiz of a
bullet, which passed directly between me
and my comrade, now riding beside me.

'Hurrah!' I shouted; 'try it again, my

And away we went at a gallop, which
bid fair to distance anything like pursuit.

Never was spur more needed, however,
for soon the clatter of horses' hoofs, in full
speed, crossing the bridge, came sharp
and clear through the stillness of the

Away we went, with our pursuers close
behind; one mile was passed, another
nearly completed. The moon now shone
forth, and, turning in the saddle, I
looked back upon the road we had

One trooper had headed the rest, and was
within a hundred yards of us.

I saw the fellow throw himself from his
horse upon the ground.

I knew his object, and said to my comrade:

'Lower your body--lie flat over the
saddle; the fellow is going to fire.'

I had hardly spoken when the report of
a carbine startled the echoes, and the ball,
striking the hind leg of my companion's
horse, the poor animal fell headlong upon
the road, throwing his rider head-foremost
over the saddle.

My first impulse was to stop and share
whatever fate might await my comrade;
but my second and wiser one was
to spur on, and save myself and my

I rode on at a gallop, turning to observe
my comrade's fate. I saw his pursuer,
having remounted, ride rapidly up to him,
and, on reaching the spot where the man
and horse lay, rein in and dismount.

He was hardly upon the ground, when
my companion shot him dead with one of
the holster-pistols which he had drawn
from the pipe; and, leaping nimbly over a
ditch at the side of the road, he was
soon lost among the ditches and thorn-
bushes which covered that part of the

Another mile being passed, I had the
satisfaction to perceive that the pursuit was
given over, and in an hour more I crossed
Thomond Bridge, and slept that night in
the fortress of Limerick, having delivered
the packet, the result of whose safe arrival
was the destruction of William's great train
of artillery, then upon its way to the besiegers.

Years after this adventure, I met in
France a young officer, who I found had
served in Captain Oliver's regiment; and he
explained what I had never before understood--
the motives of the man who had
wrought my deliverance. Strange to say,
he was the foster-brother of Oliver, whom
he thus devoted to death, but in revenge
for the most grievous wrong which one
man can inflict upon another!


Being a Twelfth Extract from the Legacy of the late
Francis Purcell, P.P. of Drumcoolagh.

As I rode at a slow walk, one soft
autumn evening, from the once
noted and noticeable town of
Emly, now a squalid village, towards the
no less remarkable town of Tipperary, I
fell into a meditative mood.

My eye wandered over a glorious
landscape; a broad sea of corn-fields, that
might have gladdened even a golden age,
was waving before me; groups of little
cabins, with their poplars, osiers, and light
mountain ashes, clustered shelteringly
around them, were scattered over the plain;
the thin blue smoke arose floating through
their boughs in the still evening air. And
far away with all their broad lights and
shades, softened with the haze of approaching
twilight, stood the bold wild Galties.

As I gazed on this scene, whose richness
was deepened by the melancholy glow of
the setting sun, the tears rose to my eyes,
and I said:

'Alas, my country! what a mournful
beauty is thine. Dressed in loveliness and
laughter, there is mortal decay at thy
heart: sorrow, sin, and shame have mingled
thy cup of misery. Strange rulers have
bruised thee, and laughed thee to scorn,
and they have made all thy sweetness
bitter. Thy shames and sins are the austere
fruits of thy miseries, and thy miseries
have been poured out upon thee by foreign
hands. Alas, my stricken country! clothed
with this most pity-moving smile, with
this most unutterably mournful loveliness,
thou sore-grieved, thou desperately-beloved!
Is there for thee, my country, a resurrection?'

I know not how long I might have
continued to rhapsodize in this strain, had
not my wandering thoughts been suddenly
recalled to my own immediate neighbourhood
by the monotonous clatter of a horse's
hoofs upon the road, evidently moving, at
that peculiar pace which is neither a walk
nor a trot, and yet partakes of both, so
much in vogue among the southern

In a moment my pursuer was up with me,
and checking his steed into a walk he
saluted me with much respect. The cavalier
was a light-built fellow, with good-humoured
sun-burnt features, a shrewd and lively
black eye, and a head covered with a crop
of close curly black hair, and surmounted
with a turf-coloured caubeen, in the pack-
thread band of which was stuck a short
pipe, which had evidently seen much

My companion was a dealer in all kinds
of local lore, and soon took occasion to
let me see that he was so.

After two or three short stories, in which
the scandalous and supernatural were
happily blended, we happened to arrive
at a narrow road or bohreen leading to a
snug-looking farm-house.

'That's a comfortable bit iv a farm,'
observed my comrade, pointing towards the
dwelling with his thumb; 'a shnug spot,
and belongs to the Mooneys this long time.
'Tis a noted place for what happened
wid the famous gandher there in former

'And what was that?' inquired I.

'What was it happened wid the gandher!'
ejaculated my companion in a tone of
indignant surprise; 'the gandher iv
Ballymacrucker, the gandher! Your raverance
must be a stranger in these parts. Sure
every fool knows all about the gandher,
and Terence Mooney, that was, rest his
sowl. Begorra, 'tis surprisin' to me how
in the world you didn't hear iv the
gandher; and may be it's funnin me ye
are, your raverance.'

I assured him to the contrary, and
conjured him to narrate to me the facts, an
unacquaintance with which was sufficient
it appeared to stamp me as an ignoramus
of the first magnitude.

It did not require much entreaty to
induce my communicative friend to relate the
circumstance, in nearly the following words:

'Terence Mooney was an honest boy and
well to do; an' he rinted the biggest farm
on this side iv the Galties; an' bein'
mighty cute an' a sevare worker, it was
small wonder he turned a good penny every
harvest. But unluckily he was blessed
with an ilegant large family iv daughters,
an' iv coorse his heart was allamost bruck,
striving to make up fortunes for the whole
of them. An' there wasn't a conthrivance
iv any soart or description for makin' money
out iv the farm, but he was up to.

'Well, among the other ways he had iv
gettin' up in the world, he always kep a
power iv turkeys, and all soarts iv poul-
trey; an' he was out iv all rason partial
to geese--an' small blame to him for that
same--for twice't a year you can pluck them
as bare as my hand--an' get a fine price
for the feathers, an' plenty of rale sizable
eggs--an' when they are too ould to lay
any more, you can kill them, an' sell them
to the gintlemen for goslings, d'ye see,
let alone that a goose is the most manly
bird that is out.

'Well, it happened in the coorse iv time
that one ould gandher tuck a wondherful
likin' to Terence, an' divil a place he could
go serenadin' about the farm, or lookin'
afther the men, but the gandher id be at
his heels, an' rubbin' himself agin his legs,
an' lookin' up in his face jist like any other
Christian id do; an' begorra, the likes iv
it was never seen--Terence Mooney an' the
gandher wor so great.

'An' at last the bird was so engagin'
that Terence would not allow it to be
plucked any more, an' kep it from that
time out for love an' affection--just all as
one like one iv his childer.

'But happiness in perfection never lasts
long, an' the neighbours begin'd to suspect
the nathur an' intentions iv the gandher,
an' some iv them said it was the divil, an'
more iv them that it was a fairy.

'Well, Terence could not but hear something
of what was sayin', an' you may be
sure he was not altogether asy in his mind
about it, an' from one day to another he
was gettin' more ancomfortable in himself,
until he detarmined to sind for Jer Garvan,
the fairy docthor in Garryowen, an' it's he
was the ilegant hand at the business, an'
divil a sperit id say a crass word to him,
no more nor a priest. An' moreover he
was very great wid ould Terence Mooney--
this man's father that' was.

'So without more about it he was sint
for, an' sure enough the divil a long he
was about it, for he kem back that very
evenin' along wid the boy that was sint
for him, an' as soon as he was there, an'
tuck his supper, an' was done talkin' for
a while, he begined of coorse to look into
the gandher.

'Well, he turned it this away an' that
away, to the right an' to the left, an'
straight-ways an' upside-down, an' when
he was tired handlin' it, says he to Terence

' "Terence," says he, "you must remove
the bird into the next room," says he, "an'
put a petticoat," says he, "or anny other
convaynience round his head," says he.

' "An' why so?" says Terence.

' "Becase," says Jer, says he.

' "Becase what?" says Terence.

' "Becase," says Jer, "if it isn't done
you'll never be asy again," says he, "or
pusilanimous in your mind," says he; "so
ax no more questions, but do my biddin',"
says he.

' "Well," says Terence, "have your own
way," says he.

'An' wid that he tuck the ould gandher,
an' giv' it to one iv the gossoons.

' "An' take care," says he, "don't
smother the crathur," says he.

'Well, as soon as the bird was gone,
says Jer Garvan says he:

' "Do you know what that ould gandher
IS, Terence Mooney?"

' "Divil a taste," says Terence.

' "Well then," says Jer, "the gandher
is your own father," says he.

' "It's jokin' you are," says Terence,
turnin' mighty pale; "how can an ould
gandher be my father?" says he.

' "I'm not funnin' you at all," says Jer;
"it's thrue what I tell you, it's your father's
wandhrin' sowl," says he, "that's naturally
tuck pissession iv the ould gandher's
body," says he. "I know him many
ways, and I wondher," says he, "you
do not know the cock iv his eye yourself,"
says he.

' "Oh blur an' ages!" says Terence,
"what the divil will I ever do at all at
all," says he; "it's all over wid me, for
I plucked him twelve times at the laste,"
says he.

' "That can't be helped now," says Jer;
"it was a sevare act surely," says he, "but
it's too late to lamint for it now," says
he; "the only way to prevint what's past,"
says he, "is to put a stop to it before it
happens," says he.

' "Thrue for you," says Terence, "but
how the divil did you come to the knowledge
iv my father's sowl," says he, "bein'
in the owld gandher," says he.

' "If I tould you," says Jer, "you would
not undherstand me," says he, "without
book-larnin' an' gasthronomy," says
he; "so ax me no questions," says he, "an'
I'll tell you no lies. But blieve me in this
much," says he, "it's your father that's in
it," says he; "an' if I don't make him
spake to-morrow mornin'," says he, "I'll
give you lave to call me a fool," says he.

' "Say no more," says Terence, "that
settles the business," says he; "an' oh!
blur and ages is it not a quare thing,"
says he, "for a dacent respictable man,"
says he, "to be walkin' about the coun-
thry in the shape iv an ould gandher,"
says he; "and oh, murdher, murdher!
is not it often I plucked him," says he,
"an' tundher and ouns might not I have
ate him," says he; and wid that he fell
into a could parspiration, savin' your
prisince, an was on the pint iv faintin'
wid the bare notions iv it.

'Well, whin he was come to himself
agin, says Jerry to him quite an'

' "Terence," says he, "don't be
aggravatin' yourself," says he; "for I have a
plan composed that 'ill make him spake
out," says he, "an' tell what it is in the
world he's wantin'," says he; "an' mind
an' don't be comin' in wid your gosther,
an' to say agin anything I tell you," says
he, "but jist purtind, as soon as the bird
is brought back," says he, "how that
we're goin' to sind him to-morrow mornin'
to market," says he. "An' if he don't
spake to-night," says he, "or gother
himself out iv the place," says he, "put him
into the hamper airly, and sind him in the
cart," says he, "straight to Tipperary, to
be sould for ating," says he, "along wid
the two gossoons," says he, "an' my name
isn't Jer Garvan," says he, "if he doesn't
spake out before he's half-way," says he.
"An' mind," says he, "as soon as iver
he says the first word," says he, "that
very minute bring him aff to Father
Crotty," says he; "an' if his raverince
doesn't make him ratire," says he, "like
the rest iv his parishioners, glory be to
God," says he, "into the siclusion iv the
flames iv purgathory," says he, "there's
no vartue in my charums," says he.

'Well, wid that the ould gandher was
let into the room agin, an' they all bigined
to talk iv sindin' him the nixt mornin'
to be sould for roastin' in Tipperary, jist
as if it was a thing andoubtingly settled.
But divil a notice the gandher tuck, no
more nor if they wor spaking iv the
Lord-Liftinant; an' Terence desired the
boys to get ready the kish for the
poulthry, an' to "settle it out wid hay
soft an' shnug," says he, "for it's the last
jauntin' the poor ould gandher 'ill get in
this world," says he.

'Well, as the night was gettin' late,
Terence was growin' mighty sorrowful
an' down-hearted in himself entirely wid
the notions iv what was goin' to happen.
An' as soon as the wife an' the crathurs
war fairly in bed, he brought out some
illigint potteen, an' himself an' Jer Garvan
sot down to it; an' begorra, the more
anasy Terence got, the more he dhrank,
and himself and Jer Garvan finished a
quart betune them. It wasn't an
imparial though, an' more's the pity, for
them wasn't anvinted antil short since;
but divil a much matther it signifies any
longer if a pint could hould two quarts,
let alone what it does, sinst Father
Mathew--the Lord purloin his raverence
--begin'd to give the pledge, an' wid
the blessin' iv timperance to deginerate

'An' begorra, I have the medle myself;
an' it's proud I am iv that same, for
abstamiousness is a fine thing, although
it's mighty dhry.

'Well, whin Terence finished his pint,
he thought he might as well stop; "for
enough is as good as a faste," says he;
"an' I pity the vagabond," says he, "that
is not able to conthroul his licquor," says
he, "an' to keep constantly inside iv a
pint measure," said he; an' wid that he
wished Jer Garvan a good-night, an'
walked out iv the room.

'But he wint out the wrong door, bein'
a thrifle hearty in himself, an' not rightly
knowin' whether he was standin' on his
head or his heels, or both iv them at the
same time, an' in place iv gettin' into
bed, where did he thrun himself but into
the poulthry hamper, that the boys had
settled out ready for the gandher in the
mornin'. An' sure enough he sunk down
soft an' complate through the hay to the
bottom; an' wid the turnin' and roulin'
about in the night, the divil a bit iv
him but was covered up as shnug as
a lumper in a pittaty furrow before

'So wid the first light, up gets the
two boys, that war to take the sperit, as
they consaved, to Tipperary; an' they
cotched the ould gandher, an' put him in
the hamper, and clapped a good wisp iv
hay an' the top iv him, and tied it down
sthrong wid a bit iv a coard, and med
the sign iv the crass over him, in dhread
iv any harum, an' put the hamper up an
the car, wontherin' all the while what in
the world was makin' the ould burd so
surprisin' heavy.

'Well, they wint along quite anasy
towards Tipperary, wishin' every minute
that some iv the neighbours bound the
same way id happen to fall in with them,
for they didn't half like the notions iv
havin' no company but the bewitched
gandher, an' small blame to them for that

'But although they wor shaking in their
skhins in dhread iv the ould bird beginnin'
to convarse them every minute, they did
not let an' to one another, bud kep singin'
an' whistlin' like mad, to keep the dread
out iv their hearts.

'Well, afther they war on the road betther
nor half an hour, they kem to the bad bit
close by Father Crotty's, an' there was one
divil of a rut three feet deep at the laste; an'
the car got sich a wondherful chuck goin'
through it, that it wakened Terence widin
in the basket.

' "Bad luck to ye," says he, "my bones
is bruck wid yer thricks; what the divil are
ye doin' wid me?"

' "Did ye hear anything quare, Thady?"
says the boy that was next to the car, turnin'
as white as the top iv a musharoon;
"did ye hear anything quare soundin' out
iv the hamper?" says he.

' "No, nor you,' says Thady, turnin' as
pale as himself, "it's the ould gandher
that's gruntin' wid the shakin' he's gettin',"
says he.

' "Where the divil have ye put me
into," says Terence inside, "bad luck to
your sowls," says he, "let me out, or
I'll be smothered this minute," says

' "There's no use in purtending," says
the boy, "the gandher's spakin', glory be to
God," says he.

' "Let me out, you murdherers," says

' "In the name iv the blessed Vargin,"
says Thady, "an' iv all the holy saints,
hould yer tongue, you unnatheral gandher,"
says he.

' "Who's that, that dar to call me nick-
names?" says Terence inside, roaring wid
the fair passion, "let me out, you blasphamious
infiddles," says he, "or by this crass
I'll stretch ye," says he.

' "In the name iv all the blessed saints
in heaven," says Thady, "who the divil are

' "Who the divil would I be, but Terence
Mooney," says he. "It's myself that's in
it, you unmerciful bliggards," says he, "let
me out, or by the holy, I'll get out in spite
iv yes," says he, "an' by jaburs, I'll wallop
yes in arnest," says he.

' "It's ould Terence, sure enough," says
Thady, "isn't it cute the fairy docthor found
him out," says he.

' "I'm an the pint iv snuffication," says
Terence, "let me out, I tell you, an' wait
till I get at ye," says he, "for begorra, the
divil a bone in your body but I'll powdher,'
says he.

'An' wid that, he biginned kickin' and
flingin' inside in the hamper, and dhrivin
his legs agin the sides iv it, that it was
a wonder he did not knock it to

'Well, as soon as the boys seen that, they
skelped the ould horse into a gallop as hard
as he could peg towards the priest's house,
through the ruts, an' over the stones; an'
you'd see the hamper fairly flyin' three feet
up in the air with the joultin'; glory be to

'So it was small wondher, by the time
they got to his Raverince's door, the breath
was fairly knocked out of poor Terence, so
that he was lyin' speechless in the bottom iv
the hamper.

'Well, whin his Raverince kem down,
they up an' they tould him all that
happened, an' how they put the gandher into
the hamper, an' how he beginned to spake,
an' how he confissed that he was ould
Terence Mooney; an' they axed his honour
to advise them how to get rid iv the spirit
for good an' all.

'So says his Raverince, says he:

' "I'll take my booke," says he, "an' I'll
read some rale sthrong holy bits out iv it,"
says he, "an' do you get a rope and put it
round the hamper," says he, "an' let it
swing over the runnin' wather at the
bridge," says he, "an' it's no matther if I
don't make the spirit come out iv it," says

'Well, wid that, the priest got his horse,
and tuck his booke in undher his arum, an'
the boys follied his Raverince, ladin' the
horse down to the bridge, an' divil a word
out iv Terence all the way, for he seen it
was no use spakin', an' he was afeard if he
med any noise they might thrait him to
another gallop an finish him intirely.

'Well, as soon as they war all come to
the bridge, the boys tuck the rope they had
with them, an' med it fast to the top iv the
hamper an' swung it fairly over the bridge,
lettin' it hang in the air about twelve feet
out iv the wather.

'An' his Raverince rode down to the
bank of the river, close by, an' beginned
to read mighty loud and bould intirely.

'An' when he was goin' on about five
minutes, all at onst the bottom iv the
hamper kem out, an' down wint Terence,
falling splash dash into the water, an' the
ould gandher a-top iv him. Down they
both went to the bottom, wid a souse you'd
hear half a mile off.

'An' before they had time to rise agin,
his Raverince, wid the fair astonishment,
giv his horse one dig iv the spurs, an'
before he knew where he was, in he went,
horse an' all, a-top iv them, an' down to the

'Up they all kem agin together, gaspin'
and puffin', an' off down wid the current
wid them, like shot in under the arch iv
the bridge till they kem to the shallow

'The ould gandher was the first out, and
the priest and Terence kem next, pantin'
an' blowin' an' more than half dhrounded,
an' his Raverince was so freckened wid the
droundin' he got, and wid the sight iv the
sperit, as he consaved, that he wasn't the
better of it for a month.

'An' as soon as Terence could spake, he
swore he'd have the life of the two gossoons;
but Father Crotty would not give him his
will. An' as soon as he was got quiter,
they all endivoured to explain it; but
Terence consaved he went raly to bed the
night before, and his wife said the same
to shilter him from the suspicion for
havin' th' dthrop taken. An' his Raverince
said it was a mysthery, an' swore if
he cotched anyone laughin' at the accident,
he'd lay the horsewhip across their

'An' Terence grew fonder an' fonder iv
the gandher every day, until at last he died
in a wondherful old age, lavin' the gandher
afther him an' a large family iv childher.

'An' to this day the farm is rinted by one
iv Terence Mooney's lenial and legitimate


Let the reader fancy a soft summer
evening, the fresh dews falling on
bush and flower. The sun has
just gone down, and the thrilling vespers
of thrushes and blackbirds ring with a wild
joy through the saddened air; the west is
piled with fantastic clouds, and clothed in
tints of crimson and amber, melting away
into a wan green, and so eastward into the
deepest blue, through which soon the stars
will begin to peep.

Let him fancy himself seated upon the
low mossy wall of an ancient churchyard,
where hundreds of grey stones rise above
the sward, under the fantastic branches of
two or three half-withered ash-trees, spreading
their arms in everlasting love and sorrow
over the dead.

The narrow road upon which I and my
companion await the tax-cart that is to
carry me and my basket, with its rich fruitage
of speckled trout, away, lies at his feet,
and far below spreads an undulating plain,
rising westward again into soft hills, and
traversed (every here and there visibly) by
a winding stream which, even through the
mists of evening, catches and returns the
funereal glories of the skies.

As the eye traces its wayward wanderings,
it loses them for a moment in the heaving
verdure of white-thorns and ash, from among
which floats from some dozen rude chimneys,
mostly unseen, the transparent blue film of
turf smoke. There we know, although we
cannot see it, the steep old bridge of
Carrickadrum spans the river; and stretching
away far to the right the valley of Lisnamoe:
its steeps and hollows, its straggling hedges,
its fair-green, its tall scattered trees, and
old grey tower, are disappearing fast among
the discoloured tints and haze of evening.

Those landmarks, as we sit listlessly
expecting the arrival of our modest conveyance,
suggest to our companion--a bare-
legged Celtic brother of the gentle craft,
somewhat at the wrong side of forty, with
a turf-coloured caubeen, patched frieze, a
clear brown complexion, dark-grey eyes,
and a right pleasant dash of roguery in
his features--the tale, which, if the reader
pleases, he is welcome to hear along with
me just as it falls from the lips of our
humble comrade.

His words I can give, but your own
fancy must supply the advantages of an
intelligent, expressive countenance, and,
what is perhaps harder still, the harmony
of his glorious brogue, that, like the
melodies of our own dear country, will
leave a burden of mirth or of sorrow with
nearly equal propriety, tickling the
diaphragm as easily as it plays with the heart-
strings, and is in itself a national music
that, I trust, may never, never--scouted
and despised though it be--never cease, like
the lost tones of our harp, to be heard in
the fields of my country, in welcome or
endearment, in fun or in sorrow, stirring
the hearts of Irish men and Irish women.

My friend of the caubeen and naked
shanks, then, commenced, and continued
his relation, as nearly as possible, in the
following words:

Av coorse ye often heerd talk of Billy
Malowney, that lived by the bridge of
Carrickadrum. 'Leum-a-rinka' was the name
they put on him, he was sich a beautiful
dancer. An' faix, it's he was the rale
sportin' boy, every way--killing the hares,
and gaffing the salmons, an' fightin' the
men, an' funnin' the women, and coortin'
the girls; an' be the same token, there was
not a colleen inside iv his jurisdiction but
was breakin' her heart wid the fair love iv

Well, this was all pleasant enough, to be
sure, while it lasted; but inhuman beings
is born to misfortune, an' Bill's divarshin
was not to last always. A young boy can't
be continially coortin' and kissin' the girls
(an' more's the pity) without exposin'
himself to the most eminent parril; an' so signs
all' what should happen Billy Malowney
himself, but to fall in love at last wid little
Molly Donovan, in Coolnamoe.

I never could ondherstand why in the
world it was Bill fell in love wid HER,
above all the girls in the country. She
was not within four stone weight iv being
as fat as Peg Brallaghan; and as for redness
in the face, she could not hould a
candle to Judy Flaherty. (Poor Judy!
she was my sweetheart, the darlin', an'
coorted me constant, ever antil she married
a boy of the Butlers; an' it's twenty years
now since she was buried under the ould
white-thorn in Garbally. But that's no

Well, at any rate, Molly Donovan tuck
his fancy, an' that's everything! She had
smooth brown hair--as smooth as silk-an'
a pair iv soft coaxin' eyes--an' the whitest
little teeth you ever seen; an', bedad, she
was every taste as much in love wid himself
as he was.

Well, now, he was raly stupid wid love:
there was not a bit of fun left in him. He
was good for nothin' an airth bud sittin'
under bushes, smokin' tobacky, and sighin'
till you'd wonder how in the world he got
wind for it all.

An', bedad, he was an illigant scholar,
moreover; an', so signs, it's many's the
song he made about her; an' if you'd be
walkin' in the evening, a mile away from
Carrickadrum, begorra you'd hear him singing
out like a bull, all across the country,
in her praises.

Well, ye may be sure, ould Tim Donovan
and the wife was not a bit too well plased
to see Bill Malowney coortin' their daughter
Molly; for, do ye mind, she was the only
child they had, and her fortune was thirty-
five pounds, two cows, and five illigant
pigs, three iron pots and a skillet, an' a
trifle iv poultry in hand; and no one knew
how much besides, whenever the Lord id
be plased to call the ould people out of the
way into glory!

So, it was not likely ould Tim Donovan
id be fallin' in love wid poor Bill Malowney
as aisy as the girls did; for, barrin' his
beauty, an' his gun, an' his dhudheen, an'
his janius, the divil a taste of property iv
any sort or description he had in the wide

Well, as bad as that was, Billy would
not give in that her father and mother had
the smallest taste iv a right to intherfare,
good or bad.

'An' you're welcome to rayfuse me,' says
he, 'whin I ax your lave,' says he; 'an'
I'll ax your lave,' says he, 'whenever I
want to coort yourselves,' says he; 'but
it's your daughter I'm coortin' at the present,'
says he, 'an that's all I'll say,' says
he; 'for I'd as soon take a doase of salts
as be discoursin' ye,' says he.

So it was a rale blazin' battle betune
himself and the ould people; an', begorra,
there was no soart iv blaguardin' that did
not pass betune them; an' they put a
solemn injection on Molly again seein' him
or meetin' him for the future.

But it was all iv no use. You might
as well be pursuadin' the birds agin flying,
or sthrivin' to coax the stars out iv the
sky into your hat, as be talking common
sinse to them that's fairly bothered and
burstin' wid love. There's nothin' like it.
The toothache an' cholic together id compose
you betther for an argyment than
itself. It leaves you fit for nothin' bud

It's stronger than whisky, for one good
drop iv it will make you drunk for one
year, and sick, begorra, for a dozen.

It's stronger than the say, for it'll carry
you round the world an' never let you
sink, in sunshine or storm; an,' begorra,
it's stronger than Death himself, for it is
not afeard iv him, bedad, but dares him in
every shape.

But lovers has quarrels sometimes, and,
begorra, when they do, you'd a'most imagine
they hated one another like man and
wife. An' so, signs an, Billy Malowney
and Molly Donovan fell out one evening
at ould Tom Dundon's wake; an' whatever
came betune them, she made no more about
it but just draws her cloak round her, and
away wid herself and the sarvant-girl home
again, as if there was not a corpse, or a
fiddle, or a taste of divarsion in it.

Well, Bill Malowney follied her down
the boreen, to try could he deludher her
back again; but, if she was bitther before,
she gave it to him in airnest when she
got him alone to herself, and to that
degree that he wished her safe home, short
and sulky enough, an' walked back again,
as mad as the devil himself, to the
wake, to pay a respect to poor Tom

Well, my dear, it was aisy seen there
was something wrong avid Billy Malowney,
for he paid no attintion the rest of the
evening to any soart of divarsion but the
whisky alone; an' every glass he'd drink
it's what he'd be wishing the divil had
the women, an' the worst iv bad luck to
all soarts iv courting, until, at last, wid
the goodness iv the sperits, an' the badness
iv his temper, an' the constant flusthration
iv cursin', he grew all as one as you might
say almost, saving your presince, bastely

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