« ForrigeFortsæt »
the remembrance of what he considered as the persecution of the Irish executive would stimulate him to accept this dangerous honour, and thus display political feeling and gratify private revenge. Yet if his father was so deeply concerned as he had reason to suspect he was in the conspiracy, how should it happen that he was permitted to remain at large, while the other reformers were prisoners or exiles, and when Lord Edward, his associate and friend, was obliged to conceal himself in the country, or remain beyond seas? On the cool, calculating temper of his father he relied much; but the insult offered to the honour of a jealous soldier by the government, was too keen to be forgotten, and would spur a duller spirit to retaliation. These reflections robbed him of his rest, and the night of his return was the most unhappy he had ever passed beneath his paternal roof.
The same anxiety which had kept him from repose made him an early riser, and he strolled into the Park to enjoy the freshness of the morning air. None of the family were stirring —the domestics were engaged in their custo
mary occupations, and the wolf-dogs deserted the guardianship of the Castle-hall to ramble with their young master.
A Danish Fort was at the other side of the gardens, and, from the summit of its grassy mound, commanded a noble prospect of all the variety of scenery which Castle Carra boasted. How often had he laid himself upon its shelving sides, and read and mused away the hours, before manhood, and its inseparable anxieties, had chased the gay and happy visions of thoughtless childhood. Seated on the bank, over the tops of the surrounding evergreens, he contemplated two striking objects, and each brought its reflections. The little island where his ancestors for many a generation slept, lay before him—the lake was unruffled by a wave, excepting where the trout sprang at the passing insect, and broke its surface here and there with many a circling eddy. The stillness of the water, the dark foliage of the fir and cypress trees, which grew on the insulated Burying-place, recalled the memory of her who rested beneath their gloomy shade; he thought of “ years agone,” when she had rambled with him over the adjacent grounds,
and his eye was now
upon the very spotthe last to which his feet had followed her.” The tear of filial sorrow trembled on his cheek; but, when his glance rested on the livelier objects which lay beyond the water, the soft emotion vanished; and, as he dashed the tear away, the darkened brow and flashing countenance betrayed the presence of some unwelcome object;-it was the large and magnificent mansion of M'Cullogh; every thing connected with it bespoke the wealth and profusion of the owner -an immense park was newly walled in, spacious gardens were laid out, while plantations of prodigious extent encompassed this princely demesne. “ And was it not enough,” thought he, “ to heap on the house of O'Hara every insult which political rancour could inflict ! Was it not enough to place our name in the mouth of every brawling bigot, but this upstart must come to beard us at our door, and presume to bribe us for a spot sacred to our ancient family—a pleasure-house above my mother's tomb!--her ashes to be violated by a menial !”
It was, indeed, a bitter moment; the insulted
honour of a high-born Irishman was excited, and the softer sympathies a mother's memory had recalled, only gave deeper poignancy to feelings outraged by an arrogant intruder. Footsteps were heard, and he perceived two females approaching—their appearance could not be mistaken-and Lady Sarah De Clifford and her daughter stopped nearly beneath the mound he stood upon. The elder and taller of the two was still a fine woman; and confident that the charms she had once so lavishly possessed were but slightly impaired by the hand of time, appeared, by the studied elegance of her dress, determined still to assert her claim to admiration. Her face was of that order which never fails to command attention from even the most careless admirer of beauty the features were marked and regular, the eye full and brilliant; but a haughty assumption of superiority was discernible in every look, and an unconscious knitting of the dark and arching brow, betrayed a temper impatient of contradiction and intolerant of restraint. Henry turned his attention to the younger lady; never, he determined, had he seen so lovely a face,
never had he viewed a more perfect form. She seemed fuller in person than females usually are at that early period of life ; but a total absence of every thing coarse and inelegant gave to the roundness of her figure that rich and sumptuous character with which statuaries have gifted their Hebe and Sleeping Venus. The form of her bosom and arms was exquisite ; and when she stooped to tie her sandal, which had by accident been unfastened, a foot and limb of perfect symmetry were disclosed : the shape of the face was particularly fine-the fairness of the complexion strikingly contrasted with nut-brown hair, while the wreathed smile' which curled on the lip, and lightened in the eye, gave that life to loveliness without which even beauty cannot charm.
“ Well, I never supposed such cruelty existed in this wicked world—to think that people could exist four long hours in a room of West Indian temperature! Country routes and strong tea would destroy me in one winter; and that noisy mob at loo and the whist-table, was enough to destroy the nerves of Broughton himself. How I pitied you, Mamma, after I