Billeder på siden

The singer stopped, and after a short pause from the opposite side of the dell, a male voice took


the ditty : My curse light on you, Johnson, you have bolted me so fast, But in spite of all your endeavours, I must be free at last. My bolts they jingle and glitter for the length of the long

summer's day, But they shall here lie rusting when I am far away.

O'Hara listened in breathless impatiencehe could not be mistaken. The second voice was that of Mahony. Should he speak, and at once discover himself ? He listened, for there might be others near him. He endeavoured to recollect the words of the ballad, which he continued in an under voice, from the casement:

And yonder stands my father, with many a tearful eye, Lamenting for his darling, who hangs on the gibbet so high : I'll write it upon my tombstone, you may read it as you

pass byMy name it is Patrick Mulroony, who killed Rosy Conoley.

As O'Hara sang, the distant figure approached, while the concealed singer issued from the copse, and both stood beneath the window.

Hist—hist,” said the sharp voice of Alice“ O'Hara, all is ready—be quick-be silent."

The rebel chief hesitated-was he to leave

Emily for ever? Grateful feelings for her past protection obliterated every recollection of her former apostasy. Alice made an impatient movement with her arm.

“O'Hara, rouse ye-you dally, and the time is urgent."

He cut a lock of his long dark hair, and having scrawled a few hasty lines, placed them on the table, and ejaculating a fervent blessing on his fond but erring Emily, leaped lightly from the casement. Again he was in the open air—the green turf was beneath his feet, and once more he felt himself a freeman.

For an instant Alice held him to her heart, and Mahony pressed his hand : neither spoke ; and when he attempted to address them, both motioned him to be silent. Alice led the party, and leaving the opener avenue, turned into a devious and difficult path, which wound through thick brushwood to the water. Once through an opening in the copse, Mahony pointed out a distant fire, and the frequent passage


many figures about the light, showed the necessity of strict silence, lest a military bivouac, which was near them, should be alarmed.

They gained the lake unobserved, and embarking in a little skiff, which was fastened to a tree, Mahony, with muffled paddles, rowed quietly from the shore.

The boat had gained some distance from the land before Alice broke the silence.

“We are safe,” she said. " The waters tell no tales. It required care and caution to approach you, but to Mary be the glory!” and she crossed herself. “ We have succeeded. All is now over, and the chains of Ireland are rivetted with adamant. Henry, you have played your part well-deeply your father's murder was avenged ; and all that man could do, with timid slaves or dreaming fools, you did. Now, look your last on Castle Carra! for to-morrow night you will be upon the green sea---an outcast and a wanderer. Where the bark bears you, you may find friends and country; but for me, one dark home is left:" and she pointed to the cemetery on the little island, close to which the skiff was gliding. " When the forest oak falls, the shrub may evade the storm, but such was not the fate of Alice. The fall of towers, which time had not shaken,

would not satiate the rapacity of revenge. By the blaze of Castle Carra the savage yeomen sought my lowly dwelling : they trod my flowers down beneath their horses' feet: they bayoneted my cattle in the fold, and burned my cottage to the earth, and they returned in triumph with me a prisoner. I was the wretched trophy of their victory! Oh! curses wither the base cowards."

Alice remained silent for a few moments, during which she appeared to be attentively inspecting the appearance of the heavens. O'Hara, as he watched the frequent alteration of countenance, and phrensied flashing of the eye, remarked that she laboured under no common excitation.

With characteristic rapidity of thought, she seemed absorbed in starry speculations, and murmured to herself. Suddenly she seized O'Hara's arm, and pointing to the bright star, whose beauty he had before observed, she continued in broken tones;

“ Sweet star! often have these aged eyes watched thy many changes. Star of Alice ! Star of the house of O'Hara! What may thy frequent obscurations portend to a fallen name?”'

Henry looked steadily. The star coruscated for a little, and then burst forth in glorious splendour. Mahony, whose superstition took alarm, rested on his oars. Again the planet's brilliant beams glanced lightly in the heavensit wavered—it grew dim--and vanished !

“What may its meaning be?” asked Mahony, as he trembled.

“ Death !” returned Alice, in tones which startled the daring outlaw.

At that moment the boat grounded on the. beach, and O'Hara once more stood on his paternal property.

« ForrigeFortsæt »