« ForrigeFortsæt »
form of Alice More stood in the entrance. She waved her arm as she exclaimed, in a voice of anger and derision—" Up, dreamer ! or will you wait until your enemies are on you. The troopers are crossing the bridge, and in a few minutes escape will be impossible."
“ Are the horses ready ?" " Yes.” “ Constance, our departure must be instant."
“ I am ready,” she faintly replied, and leaning on his arm, they left the room together.
Or love me less, or love me more;
And play not with my liberty.
Bind me at least, or set me free.
'Tis true that I have nursed before
That hope, of which I now complain;
Fearing to meet with your disdain.
Never was woman's love more passionate or pure than that of Lady Constantia for O'Hara. He had been the object of her childish affections; with increasing years the “ sacred flame” was unconsciously fostered; and it was only
when the world believed he was about to be united to another, that the fond girl knew how ardently she loved him. Pride and honourable feeling told her that he should be forgotten ; she combated the fatal passion,
“And deep within her throbbing breast
She locked the struggling sigh to rest—" when, to the surprise of all, her supposed rival entered into other engagements, and again she suffered herself to indulge the hope that the course of her “true love might yet run smooth.” The political convulsions of the country became more violent, and the fortunes of O'Hara's house entangled with the troubles of the day; disasters followed each other in quick succession, and a lamentable catastrophe closed the scene. Amid accumulating distress, the rooted love of the gentle girl clung with unabated ardour to its cause, and she dared, in the despondency of her lover, to do what, if fortune smiled upon him, female delicacy would have forbidden.
O'Hara led her through the armed groups who waited for their leader, and placed her in the saddle. Leaving her for a moment, he
spoke apart to Thornton, who was loudly calling for his horse ; what passed, could not be heard distinctly, but she conjectured that she was herself the subject of their conversation. The words and manner of Thornton confirmed it as he walked towards her
“ By the true Lord, I believe the world has gone mad by general consent; trust me, that with my life I shall protect the lady home; but from this hour, you and I, Mr. O'Hara, must be no longer acquainted-I hold no fellowship with traitors.”
A melancholy smile was the only effect produced by this angry speech on the person to whom it was addressed. Some of the armed body, who had not been too far off to hear the remark, assumed a threatening attitude, and the words “ tyrant,” “ Orangeman,” were harshly returned. Thornton, unawed by numbers, made “ fierce reply," when O'Hara ordered them to move, and casting glances of defiance on the bold loyalist, they rode slowly towards the mountains. One of the republicans as he passed, taunted the irritated loyalist by singing a Jacobite song.
Thornton, with peculiar bitterness, called after them—" Adieu, for the present ; I trust to meet you soon with a dozen of rattling redcoats at my back, when, by the blessing of God, I'll score “ The Protestant boys' on the musical gentleman's skull, if his lady wife has left ever a corner ungarnished.”
This allusion to the unlucky horseman's spouse, was too direct not to effectually silence his melody; and, with a peal of laughter at their comrade's discomfiture, the rebel party disappeared.
Once more Henry O'Hara stood beside his rejected mistress—he held her hand in his, and whispered a fervent blessing. She answered not, but a faint and tremulous pressure was returned, and one last look of parting agony spoke her anguish and affection. Thornton was already mounted, and while his eye flashed with anger and disdain, he waved his arm impa. tiently, and in a broken voice requested Lady Constance to proceed. . “Will you not give me your hand, William ?"
" No, Sir," was the haughty reply; " I hold no friendship with a rebel.” He rode on