Billeder på siden

deceived yourself, and you want to deceive


“Superstition-deceit, call you it,” screamed Alice More; “ I tell you, Harry, in your heart you feel a shudder. When the English broke into Shaun Rua's (Red John's) hall, and spilled his blood on his own hearth, did not the Far a Knuick' cry? When your grandfather expired in his bed, and none knew it, did I not hear the spirit on the hill, and was he not found cold and clammy, even when I was telling it to his serying-man? When your mother (God be good to her) died, who could sleep for the Hill-man's cries ?. I heard him mourning when these ill-boded English women came to the house of O'Hara; but never did his cries equal those with which he made the mountains echo for

your return.'

She had raised herself from the stone on which she rested, and through an opening in the trees, the moonbeams shone on her hard and heated features, and her tall form, wrapped in the loose mantle which was carelessly flung around her, recalled much of the expression given by painters to the witch of Scripture

confronting Samuel.

The uncommon energy with which she had spoken, struck unaccountable awe into the heart of young O'Hara. These tales were familiar to him from his child hood; and, if he disbelieved the existence of the “ Far a Knuick,” he was probably the only sceptic within the circle of many miles round the dwelling of his family.

“ Alice More,” said he,“ do not gloom the hour of happiness, by anticipating what may never be fulfilled. I fear not what


be in futurity-my hour may be short and transient, but even you, Alice, shall never make me tremble."

“ Hush, hush,” said Alice, placing her arm on his, “ there is a step-beware, none but one would venture in the gloaming to the lonely spot on which you and I are standing."

Henry's heart beat, as he strained his ear to catch the sounds which Alice More had heard; some one advanced, for the leaves rustled beneath a cautious footstep, and the boughs, al. though gently displaced, indicated that an intruder was contiguous.

Alice,” said a deep, disguised voice, “ what do you here? Am I betrayed ; and is it mortal

man who stands beside you? Speak, or by the merciful God, I will fire at it, be it man, be it devil.”

To this extraordinary address which issued from the thicket, within a few paces of the spot where they stood, Alice coolly replied, “ Ungrateful boy-am I a betrayer? Need I have brought you to Glan Dullogh' to sell or slay you? When you lay exhausted on my own bed -when famine, fatigue, and fever made you unable to lift the cup of water to cool your burning lips, did Alice More betray you ? When none could succour ye, none dare shelter ye, who, in the storm of midnight, when nothing earthly was a-foot, sought ye in the haunted

* where the bloody Arnold murdered his grey-headed father? Pat Mahony! come forward, and see him whom you would have slain.” The

person addressed sprung lightly through the bushes which had concealed him, and, with a pistol in his hand, approached confidently to O'Hara; but suddenly, with a cry of horror,


* A remarkable cavern on the Mourne coast, and the scene of a dreadful murder.

he dropped the weapon at his feet, and hid his face in his hands.

Unhappy young man, how is it I find you? Why did I select you from all my father's people, and in the fond hope of making you comfortable to your parents and honourable to society, gave you that education which many a well-born Irishman has been denied-and what do I find you, Patma wandering outlaw, dragging out a detestable and precarious existence, and branded by the community as an outcast. Leave me, Pat, leave me-perhaps, in strict justice I should now give you back to the offended laws whose retribution


have for a time evaded; but the recollection of what you once were robs me of the resolution. Leave me, Pat Mahony, and leave me for ever ; cross not my path again-retire from this country, or by the soul of my fathers, should we meet again, not even the feelings of past affection shall shelter a murderer from justice.”. Mahony calmly raised his head, and unbuttoned the loose grey coat which he had on; a blunderbuss, a case of pistols, and a knife or dirk were concealed beneath it-these he laid at his master's feet, and then, while sobs almost stifled his utterance, he spoke to young O'Hara“ There, Master Henry, there ; no longer will Pat Mahony keep the hill-side—to be called a murderer by the world—to be the disgrace of my father's old age was hard to bear; but to be scorned by you, Mister Harry—to be thought a cold-blooded assassin—who could bear it! There lie, what would stretch the best yeoman M‘Cullogh could command, had he on the heath dared to question me. Come on, I am ready; good bye, Alice-heaven reward you for what you did to me and mine ; and when I am at the gallow's-tree, I will declare, as I did to judge and jury, that I never, in life or death, did injure Bryan M‘Bride (God take his soul), and as he hopes for God's mercy in the next, (for man’s in this world he neither asks nor cares for) never did man or woman's blood lie at the hands of Patrick Mahony!”

There was a solemnity in the appeal of the youthful outlaw, that brought conviction to his master's heart; he raised him from the ground, on which in despair he had thrown himself,

Vol. I.


« ForrigeFortsæt »