Infomotions, Inc.Willy Reilly The Works of William Carleton, Volume One / Carleton, William, 1794-1869



Author: Carleton, William, 1794-1869
Title: Willy Reilly The Works of William Carleton, Volume One
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): reilly; folliard; whitecraft; cooleen bawn; rapparee; robert whitecraft; miss folliard; fergus; red rapparee; helen; squire; replied reilly; willy reilly; robert
Contributor(s): Flanery, M. L. [Illustrator]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 162,115 words (average) Grade range: 10-13 (high school) Readability score: 60 (average)
Identifier: etext16001
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Title: Willy Reilly
       The Works of William Carleton, Volume One

Author: William Carleton

Illustrator: M. L. Flanery

Release Date: June 7, 2005 [EBook #16001]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII

*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK WILLY REILLY ***




Produced by David Widger





WILLY REILLY

by William Carleton


Illustrated by M. L. Flanery


CONTENTS:

     CHAPTER
     I.--An Adventure and an Escape

     II.--The Cooleen Bawn

     III.--Daring Attempt of the Red Rapparee
     --Mysterious Disappearance of His
     Gang--The Avowal

     IV.--A Sapient Project for our Hero's
     Conversion--His Rival makes his
     Appearance, and its Consequences

     V.--The Plot and the Victims

     VI.--The Warning--an Escape

     VII.--An Accidental Incident favorable to
     Reilly, and a Curious Conversation

     VIII.--A Conflagration--An Escape--And
     an Adventure

     IX.--Reilly's Adventure Continued
     --A Prospect of By-gone Times--Reilly
     gets a Bed in a Curious Establishment

     X.--Scenes that took place in the Mountain
     Cave

     XI.--The Squire's Dinner and his Guests

     XII.--Sir Robert Meets a Brother Sportsman
     --Draws his Nets, but Catches Nothing

     XIII.--Reilly is Taken, but connived at by
     the Sheriff--the Mountain Mass

     XIV.--Reilly takes Service with Squire
     Folliard

     XV.--More of Whitecraft's Plots and Pranks

     XVI.--Sir Robert ingeniously extricates
     Himself out of a great Difficulty

     XVII.--Awful Conduct of Squire Folliard
     --Fergus Keilly begins to Contravene
     the Red Rapparee

     XVIII.--Something not very Pleasant for all
     Parties

     XIX.--Reilly's Disguise Penetrated
     --He Escapes--Fergus Reilly is on the Trail
     of the Rapparee--Sir Robert begins
     to feel Confident of Success

     XX.--The Rapparee Secured--Reilly and
     the Cooleen Bawn Escape, and are Captured

     XXI.--Sir Robert Accepts of an Invitation

     XXII.--The Squire Comforts Whitecraft in
     his Affliction

     XXIII.--The Squire becomes Theological and
     a Proselytizer, but signally fails

     XXIV.--Preparations--Jury of the Olden Time
     --The Scales of Justice

     XXV.--Rumor of Cooleen Bawn's Treachery
     --How it appears--Reilly stands his Trial
     --Conclusion




PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.

I am agreeably called upon by my bookseller to prepare for a Second
Edition of "Willy Reilly." This is at all times a pleasing call upon an
author; and it is so especially to me, inasmuch as the first Edition
was sold at the fashionable, but unreasonable, price of a guinea and a
half--a price which, in this age of cheap literature, is almost fatal to
the sale of any three-volume novel, no matter what may be its merits.
With respect to "Willy Reilly," it may be necessary to say that I never
wrote any work of the same extent in so short a time, or with so much
haste. Its popularity, however, has been equal to that of any other
of my productions; and the reception which it has experienced from the
ablest public and professional critics of the day has far surpassed my
expectations. I accordingly take this opportunity of thanking them most
sincerely for the favorable verdict which they have generously passed
upon it, as I do for their kindness to my humble efforts for the last
twenty-eight years. Nothing, indeed, can be a greater encouragement to
a literary man, to a novel writer, in fact, than the reflection that he
has an honest and generous tribunal to encounter. If he be a quack or an
impostor, they will at once detect him; but if he exhibit human nature
and truthful character in his pages, it matters not whether he goes to
his bookseller's in a coach, or plods there humbly, and on foot; they
will forget everything but the value and merit of what he places before
them. On this account it is that I reverence and respect them; and
indeed I ought to do so, for I owe them the gratitude of a pretty long
literary life.

Concerning this Edition, I must say something. I have already stated
that it was written rapidly and in a hurry. On reading it over for
correction, I was struck in my cooler moments by many defects in it,
which were, kindly overlooked, or, perhaps, not noticed at all. To
myself, however, who had been brooding over this work for a long time,
they at once became obvious. I have accordingly added an underplot of
affection between Fergus Reilly--mentioned as a distant relative of my
hero--and the _Cooleen Bawn's_ maid, Ellen Connor. In doing so, I have
not disturbed a single incident in the work; and the reader who may have
perused the first Edition, if he should ever--as is not unfrequently the
case--peruse this second one, will certainly wonder how the additions
were made. That, however, is the secret of the author, with which they
have nothing to do but to enjoy the book, if they can enjoy it.

With respect to the O'Reilly name and family, I have consulted my
distinguished' friend--and I am proud to call him so--John O'Donovan,
Esq., LL.D., M.R.I.A., who, with the greatest kindness, placed the
summary of the history of that celebrated family at my disposal. This
learned gentleman is an authority beyond all question. With respect to
Ireland--her language--her old laws--her history--her antiquities--her
archaeology--her topography, and the genealogy of her families, he is
a perfect miracle, as is his distinguished fellow-laborer in the same
field, Eugene Curry. Two such men--and, including Dr. Petrie, three such
men--Ireland never has produced, and never can again--for this simple
reason, that they will have left nothing after them for their successors
to accomplish. To Eugene Curry I am indebted for the principal fact upon
which my novel of the "Tithe Proctor" was written--the able introduction
to which was printed verbatim from a manuscript with which he kindly
furnished me. The following is Dr. O'Donovan's clear and succinct
history of the O'Reilly family from the year 435 until the present time:

"The ancestors of the family of O'Reilly had been celebrated in Irish
history long before the establishment of surnames in Ireland. In the
year 435 their ancestor, Duach Galach, King of Connaught, was baptized
by St. Patrick on the banks of Loch Scola, and they had remained
Christians of the old Irish Church, which appears to have been peculiar
in its mode of tonsure, and of keeping Easter (and, since the twelfth
century, firm adherents to the religion of the Pope, till Dowell
O'Reilly, Esq., the father of the present head of the name, quarrelling
with Father Dowling, of Stradbally, turned Protestant, about the year
1800).

"The ancestor, after whom they took the family name, was Reillagh, who
was chief of his sect, and flourished about the year 981.

"From this period they are traced in the Irish Annals through a
long line of powerful chieftains of East Breifny (County Cavan), who
succeeded each other, according to the law of Tanistry, till the year
1585, when two rival chieftians of the name, Sir John O'Reilly and
Edmund O'Reilly, appeared in Dublin, at the parliament summoned by
Perrot. Previously to this, John O'Reilly, finding his party weak, had
repaired to England, in 1583, to solicit Queen Elizabeth's interest,
and had been kindly received at Court, and invested with the order of
Knighthood, and promised to be made Earl, whereupon he returned home
with letters from the Queen to the Lord Deputy and Council of Ireland,
instructing them to support him in his claims. His uncle, Edmund, of
Kilnacrott, would have succeeded Hugh Connallagh O'Reilly, the father of
Sir John, according to the Irish law of Tanistry, but he was set aside
by Elizabeth's government, and Sir John set up as O'Reilly in his place.
Sir John being settled in the chieftainship of East Breifny, entered
into certain articles of agreement with Sir John Perrot, the Lord
Deputy, and the Council of Ireland, whereby he agreed to surrender the
principality of East Breifny to the Queen, on condition of obtaining it
again from the crown _in capite_ by English tenure, and the same to be
ratified to him and the heirs male of his body. In consequence of this
agreement, and with the intent of abolishing the tanistic succession,
he, on the last day of August, 1590, perfected a deed of feofment,
entailing thereby the seignory of Breifny (O'Reilly) on his eldest son,
Malmore (Myles), surnamed Alainn (the comely), afterwards known as the
Queen's O'Reilly.

"Notwithstanding these transactions, Sir John O'Reilly soon after joined
in the rebellion of Hugh, Earl of Tyrone, and died on the first of June,
1596. After his death the Earl of Tyrone set up his second brother,
Philip, as the O'Reilly, and the government of Elizabeth supported the
claim of Sir John's son, Malmore, the comely, in opposition to Philip,
and Edmund of Kilnacrott. But Malmore, the Queen's O'Reilly, was slain
by Tyrone in the great battle of the Yellow Ford, near Benburb, on the
14th of August, 1528, and the Irish of Ulster agreed to establish Edmund
of Kilnacrott, as the O'Reilly.

"The lineal descendants of Sir John passed into the French service, and
are now totally unknown, and probably extinct. The descendants of Edmund
of Kilnacrott have been far more prolific and more fortunate. His senior
representative is my worthy old friend Myles John O'Reilly, Esq., Heath
House, Emo, Queen's Co., and from him are also descended the O'Reillys
of Thomastown Castle, in the County of Louth, the Counts O'Reilly of
Spain, the O'Reillys of Beltrasna, in Westmeath, and the Reillys of
Scarva House, in the County of Down.

"Edmund of Kilnacrott had a son John who had a son Brian, by Mary,
daughter of the Baron of Dunsany, who had a famous son Malmore, commonly
called Myles the Slasher. This Myles was an able military leader during
the civil wars of 1641, and showed prodigies of valor during the years
1641, 1642, and 1643; but, in 1644, being encamped at Granard, in the
County of Longford, with Lord Castlehaven, who ordered him to proceed
with a chosen detachment of horse to defend the bridge of Finea against
the Scots, then bearing down on the main army with a very superior
force, Myles was slain at the head of his troops, fighting bravely on
the middle of the bridge. Tradition adds, that during this action he
encountered the colonel of the Scots in single combat, who laid open his
cheek with a blow of his sword; but Myles, whose jaws were stronger than
a smith's vice, held fast the Scotchman's sword between his teeth till
he cut him down, but the main body of the Scots pressing upon him, he
was left dead on the bridge.

"This Myles the Slasher was the father of Colonel John O'Reilly, of
Ballymacadd, in the County Meath, who was elected Knight of the Shire
for the County of Cavan, in the parliament held at Dublin on the 7th of
May, 1689. He raised a regiment of dragoons, at his own expense, for the
service of James II., and assisted at the siege of Londonderry in
1689. He had two engagements with Colonel Wolsley, the commander of
the garrison of Belturbet, whom he signally defeated. He fought at the
battles of the Boyne and Aughrim, and was included in the articles of
capitulation of Limerick, whereby he preserved his property, and was
allowed to carry arms.

"Of the eldest son of this Colonel John O'Reilly, who left issue, my
friend Myles J. O'Reilly, Esq., is now the senior representative.

"From Colonel John O'Reilly's youngest son, Thomas O'Reilly, of
Beltrasna, was descended Count Alexander O'Reilly, of Spain, who took
Algiers! immortalized by Byron. This Alexander was born near Oldcastle,
in the County Meath, in the year 1722. He was Generalissimo of his
Catholic Majesty's forces, and Inspector-General of the Infantry, etc.,
etc. In the year 1786 he employed the Chevalier Thomas O'Gorman to
compile for him a history of the House of O'Reilly, for which he paid
O'Gorman the sum of L1,137 10.s., the original receipt for which I have
in my possession.

"Prom this branch of the O'Reilly family was also descended the
illustrious Andrew Count O'Reilly, who died at Vienna in 1832, at the
age of 92. He was General of Cavalry in the Austrian service. This
distinguished man filled in succession all the military grades in the
Austrian service, with the exception of that of Field Marshal, and was
called by Napoleon '_le respectable General O'Reilly_.'

"The eldest son of Myles J. O'Reilly, Esq., is a young gentleman of
great promise and considerable fortune. His rencontre with Lord Clements
(now Earl of Leitrim) has been not long since prominently before the
public, and in a manner which does justice to our old party quarrels!
Both are, however, worthy of their high descent; and it is to be hoped
that they will soon become good friends, as they are boih young, and
remarkable for benevolence and love of fatherland."

As this has been considered by some persons as a historical novel,
although I really never intended it as such, it may be necessary to give
the reader a more distinct notion of the period in which the incidents
recorded in it took place. The period then was about that of 1745, when
Lord Chesterfield was Governor-General of Ireland. This nobleman, though
an infidel, was a bigot, and a decided anti-Catholic; nor do I think
that the temporary relaxation of the penal laws against Catholics was
anything else than an apprehension on the part of England that the
claims of the Pretender might be supported by the Irish Catholics, who
then, so depressed and persecuted, must have naturally felt a strong
interest in having a prince who professed their own religion placed upon
the English throne. Strange as it may appear, however, and be the cause
of it what it may, the Catholics of Ireland, as a people and as a body,
took no part whatever in supporting him. Under Lord Chesterfield's
administration, one of the most shocking and unnatural Acts of
Parliament ever conceived passed into a law. This was the making void
and null all intermarriages between Catholic and Protestant that should
take place after the 1st of May, 1746. Such an Act was a renewal of the
Statute of Kilkenny, and it was a fortunate circumstance to Willy Reilly
and his dear Cooleen Bawn that he had the consolation of having been
transported for seven years. Had her father even given his consent at an
earlier period, the laws of the land would have rendered their marriage
impossible. This cruel law, however, was overlooked; for it need hardly
be said that it was met and spurned not only by human reason, but by
human passion. In truth, the strong and influential of both religions
treated it with contempt, and trampled on it without any dread of the
consequences. By the time of his return from transportation, it was
merely a dead letter, disregarded and scorned by both parties, and was
no obstruction to either the marriage or the happiness of himself and
his dear _Cooleen Bawn_.

I know not that there is any thing else I can add to this preface,
unless the fact that I have heard several other ballads upon the subject
of these celebrated lovers--all of the same tendency, and all in the
highest praise of the beauty and virtues of the fair _Cooleen Bawn_.
Their utter vulgarity, however, precludes them from a place in these
pages. And, by the way, talking of the law which passed under the
administration of Lord Chesterfield against intermarriages, it is not
improbable that the elopement of Reilly and the _Cooleen Bawn_, in
addition to the execution of the man to whom I have given the name of
Sir Robert Whitecraft, may have introduced it in a spirit of reaction,
not only against the consequences of the elopement, but against the
baronet's ignominious death. Thus, in every point from which we can
view it, the fate of this celebrated couple involved not only popular
feeling, but national importance.

I have not been able to trace with any accuracy or satisfaction that
portion or branch of the O'Reilly family to which my hero belonged. The
dreary lapse of time, and his removal from the country, have been the
means of sweeping into oblivion every thing concerning him, with the
exception of his love for Miss Folliard, and its strange consequences.
Even tradition is silent upon that part of the subject, and I fear that
any attempt to throw light upon it must end only in disappointment.
I have reason to believe that the Counsellor Fox, who acted as his
advocate, was never himself raised to the bench; but that that honor was
reserved for his son, who was an active judge a little before the close
of the last century.

W. Carleton.

Dublin, December, 1856.




CHAPTER I.--An Adventure and an Escape.


Spirit of George Prince Regent James, Esq., forgive me this
commencement! *

     * I mean no offence whatsoever to this distinguished and
     multitudinous writer; but the commencement of this novel really
     resembled that of so many of his that I was anxious to avoid the
     charge of imitating him.

It was one evening at the close of a September month and a September day
that two equestrians might be observed passing along one of those old
and lonely Irish roads that seemed, from the nature of its construction,
to have been paved by a society of antiquarians, if a person could judge
from its obsolete character, and the difficulty, without risk of neck or
limb, of riding a horse or driving a carriage along it. Ireland, as our
English readers ought to know, has always been a country teeming with
abundance--a happy land, in which want, destitution, sickness, and
famine have never been felt or known, except through the mendacious
misrepresentations of her enemies. The road we speak of was a proof
of this; for it was evident to every observer that, in some season of
superabundant food, the people, not knowing exactly how to dispose of
their shilling loaves, took to paving the common roads with them, rather
than they should be utterly useless. These loaves, in the course
of time, underwent the process of petrifaction, but could not,
nevertheless, be looked upon as wholly lost to the country. A great
number of the Irish, within six of the last preceding years--that is,
from '46 to '52--took a peculiar fancy for them as food, which, we
presume, caused their enemies to say that we then had hard times in
Ireland. Be this as it may, it enabled the sagacious epicures who lived
upon them to retire, in due course, to the delightful retreats of Skull
and Skibbereen,* and similar asylums, there to pass the very short
remainder of their lives in health, ease, and luxury.

     * Two poor-houses in the most desolate parts of the County of
     Cork, where famine, fever, dysentery, and cholera, rendered more
     destructive by the crowded state of the houses and the consequent
     want of ventilation, swept away the wretched in-mates to the
     amount, if we recollect rightly, of sometimes from fifty to
     seventy per diem in the years '45 and '47.

The evening, as we have said, was about the close of September, when the
two equestrians we speak of were proceeding at a pace necessarily slow.
One of them was a bluff, fresh-complexioned man, of about sixty summers;
but although of a healthy look, and a frame that had evidently once
been vigorous, yet he was a good deal stooped, had about him all the
impotence of plethora, and his hair, which fell down his shoulders, was
white as snow. The other, who rode pretty close to him, was much about
his own age, or perhaps a few years older, if one could judge by a face
that gave more undeniable evidences of those furrows and wrinkles which
Time usually leaves behind him. This person did not ride exactly side by
side with the first-mentioned, but a little aback, though not so far
as to prevent the possibility of conversation. At this time it may be
mentioned here that every man that could afford it wore a wig, with the
exception of some of those eccentric individuals that are to be found
in every state and period of society, and who are remarkable for
that peculiar love of singularity which generally constitutes their
character--a small and harmless ambition, easily gratified, and
involving no injury to their fellow-creatures. The second horseman,
therefore, wore a wig, but the other, although he eschewed that
ornament, if it can be called so, was by no means a man of that mild
and harmless character which we have attributed to the eccentric and
unfashionable class of whom we have just spoken. So far from that, he
was a man of an obstinate and violent temper, of strong and unreflecting
prejudices both for good and evil, hot, persevering, and vindictive,
though personally brave, intrepid, and often generous. Like many of his
class, he never troubled his head about religion as a matter that must,
and ought to have been, personally, of the chiefest interest to himself,
but, at the same time, he was looked upon as one of the best and
staunchest Protestants of the day. His loyalty and devotedness to
the throne of England were not only unquestionable, but proverbial
throughout the country; but, at the same time, he regarded no clergyman,
either of his own or any other creed, as a man whose intimacy was worth
preserving, unless he was able to take off his three or four bottles
of claret after dinner. In fact, not to keep our readers longer in
suspense, the relation which he and his companion bore to each other was
that of master and servant.

The hour was now a little past twilight, and the western sky presented
an unusual, if not an ominous, appearance. A sharp and melancholy breeze
was abroad, and the sun, which had set among a mass of red clouds, half
placid, and half angry in appearance, had for some brief space gone
down. Over from the north, however, glided by imperceptible degrees a
long black bar, right across the place of his disappearance, and nothing
could be more striking than the wild and unnatural contrast between the
dying crimson of the west and this fearful mass of impenetrable darkness
that came over it. As yet there was no moon, and the portion of light
or rather "darkness visible" that feebly appeared on the sky and
the landscape, was singularly sombre and impressive, if not actually
appalling. The scene about them was wild and desolate in the extreme;
and as the faint outlines of the bleak and barren moors appeared in the
dim and melancholy distance, the feelings they inspired were those of
discomfort and depression. On each side of them were a variety of lonely
lakes, abrupt precipices, and extensive marshes; and as our travellers
went along, the hum of the snipe, the feeble but mournful cry of the
plover, and the wilder and more piercing whistle of the curlew, still
deepened the melancholy dreariness of their situation, and added to
their anxiety to press on towards the place of their destination.

"This is a very lonely spot, your honor," said his servant, whose name
was Andrew, or, as he was more familiarly called, Andy Cummiskey.

"Yes, but it's the safer, Andy," replied his master. "There is not a
human habitation within miles of us."

"It doesn't follow, sir, that this place, above all others in the
neighborhood, is not, especially at this hour, without some persons
about it. You know I'm no coward, sir."

"What, you scoundrel! and do you mean to hint that I'm one?"

"Not at all, sir; but you see the truth is, that, this being the very
hour for duck and wild-fowl shootin', it's hard to say where or when a
fellow might start up, and mistake me for a wild duck, and your honor
for a curlew or a bittern."

He had no sooner spoken than the breeze started, as it were, into more
vigorous life, and ere the space of many minutes a dark impenetrable
mist or fog was borne over from the solitary hills across the dreary
level of country through which they passed, and they felt themselves
suddenly chilled, whilst a darkness, almost palpable, nearly concealed
them from each other. Now the roads which we have described, being
almost without exception in remote and unfrequented parts of the
country, are for the most part covered over with a thick sole of close
grass, unless where a narrow strip in the centre shows that a pathway is
kept worn, and distinctly marked by the tread of foot-passengers. Under
all these circumstances, then, our readers need not feel surprised
that, owing at once to the impenetrable obscurity around them, and the
noiseless nature of the antique and grass-covered pavement over which
they went, scarcely a distance of two hundred yards had been gained when
they found, to their dismay,' that they had lost their path, and were
in one of the wild and heathy stretches of unbounded moor by which they
were surrounded.

"We have lost our way, Andy," observed his master. "We've got off that
damned old path; what's to be done? where are you?"

"I'm here, sir," replied his man; "but as for what's to be done, it
would take Mayo Mullen, that sees the fairies and tells fortunes, to
tell us that. For heaven's sake, stay where you are, sir, till I get up
to you, for if we part from one another, we're both lost. Where are you,
sir?"

"Curse you, sirra," replied his master angrily, "is this either a time
or place to jest in? A man that would make a jest in such a situation as
this would dance on his father's tombstone."

"By my soul, sir, and I'd give a five-pound note, if I had it, that you
and I were dancing 'Jig Polthogue' on it this minute. But, in the mane
time, the devil a one o' me sees the joke your honor speaks of."

"Why, then, do you ask me where I am, when you know I'm astray, that
we're both astray, you snivelling old whelp? By the great and good King
William, I'll be lost, Andy!"

"Well, and even if you are, sir," replied Andy, who, guided by his
voice, had now approached and joined him; "even if you are, sir, I trust
you'll bear it like a Christian and a Trojan."

"Get out, you old sniveller--what do you mean by a Trojan?"

"A Trojan, sir, I was tould, is a man that lives by sellin' wild-fowl.
They take an oath, sir, before they begin the trade, never to die until
they can't help it."

"You mean to say, or to hint at least, that in addition to our other
dangers we run the risk of coming in contact with poachers?"

"Well, then, sir, if I don't mistake they're out to-night. However,
don't let us alarm one another. God forbid that I'd say a single word to
frighten you; but still, you know yourself that there's many a man not
a hundred miles from us that 'ud be glad to mistake you for a target, a
mallard, or any other wild-fowl or that description."

"In the meantime we are both well armed," replied his master; "but what
I fear most is the risk we run of falling down precipices, or walking
into lakes or quagmires. What's to be done? This fog is so cursedly cold
that it has chilled my very blood into ice."

"Our best plan, sir, is to dismount, and keep ourselves warm by taking
a pleasant stroll across the country. The horses will take care of
themselves. In the meantime keep up your spirits--we'll both want
something to console us; but this I can tell you, that devil a bit of
tombstone ever will go over either of us, barrin' the sky in heaven; and
for our coffins, let us pray to the coffin-maker, bekaise, you see, it's
the _maddhu ruah_ * (the foxes), and ravens, and other civilized animals
that will coffin us both by instalments in their hungry guts, until
our bones will be beautiful to look at--afther about six months'
bleaching--and a sharp eye 'twould be that 'ud know the difference
between masther and man then, I think."

We omitted to say that a piercing and most severe hoar frost had set in
with the fog, and that Cummiskey's master felt the immediate necessity
of dismounting, and walking about, in order to preserve some degree of
animal heat in his body.

"I cannot bear this, Andy," said he, "and these two gallant animals
will never recover it after the severe day's hunting they've had. Poor
Fiddler and Piper," he exclaimed, "this has proved a melancholy day to
you both. What is to be done, Andy? I am scarcely able to stand, and
feel as if my strength had utterly left me."

"What, sir," replied his servant, who was certainly deeply attached to
his master, "is it so bad with you as all that comes to? Sure I only
thought to amuse you, sir. Come, take courage; I'll whistle, and maybe
somebody will come to our relief."

He accordingly put his two fingers into his mouth, and uttered a loud
and piercing whistle, after which both stood still for a time, but no
reply was given.

"Stop, sir," proceeded Andrew; "I'll give them another touch that'll make
them spake, if there's any one near enough to hear us."

He once more repeated the whistle, but with two or three peculiar shakes
or variations, when almost instantly one of a similar character was
given in reply.

"Thank God," he exclaimed, "be they friends or foes, we have human
creatures not far from us. Take courage, sir. How do you feel?"

"Frozen and chilled almost to death," replied his master; "I'll give
fifty pounds to any man or party of men that will conduct us safely
home."

"I hope in the Almighty," said Andrew to himself in an anxious and
apprehensive tone of voice, "that it's not Parrah Ruah (Red Patrick),
the red Rapparee, that's in it, and I'm afeered it is, for I think I
know his whistle. There's not a man in the three baronies could give
such a whistle as that, barring himself. If it is, the masther's a gone
man, and I'll not be left behind to tell the story, God protect us!

"What are you saying, Andy?" asked his master: "What were you muttering
just now?"

"Nothing, sir, nothing; but there can be no harm, at all events, to look
to our pistols. If there should be danger, let us sell our lives like
men."

"And so we will, Andy. The country I know is in a disturbed and lawless
state, and ever since that unfortunate affair of the priest, I know I am
not popular with a great many. I hope we won't come across his Rapparee
nephew."

"Whether we do or not, sir, let us look to our firearms. Show me yours
till I settle the powdher in them. Why, God bless me, how you are
tremblin'."

"It is not from fear, sir," replied the intrepid old man, "but from
cold. If any thing should happen me, Andy, let my daughter know that my
will is in the oaken cabinet; that is to say, the last I made. She is
my heiress--but that she is by the laws of the land. However, as I had
disposed of some personal property to other persons, which disposition
I have revoked in the will I speak of--my last, as I said--I wish you to
let her know where she may find it. Her mother's jewels are also in
the same place--but they, too, are hers by right of law--her mother
bequeathed them to her."

"All! sir, you are right to remember and think well of that daughter.
She has been a guardian angel to you these five years. But why, sir, do
you give me this message? Do you think I won't sell my life in defence
of yours? If you do you're mistaken."

"I believe it, Andrew; I believe it, Andy," said he again, familiarizing
the word; "but if this red Rapparee should murder me, I don't, wish you
to sacrifice your life on my account. Make your escape if he should be
the person who is approaching us, and convey to my daughter the message
I have given you."

At this moment another whistle proceeded from a quarter of the moor much
nearer them, and Andy, having handed back the pistols to his master,
asked him should he return it.

"Certainly," replied the other, who during all this time was pacing to
and fro, in order to keep himself from sinking; "certainly, let us see
whether these persons are friends or enemies."

His servant then replied to the whistle, and in a few minutes it was
answered again, whilst at the same time a strong but bitter wind
arose which cleared away the mist, and showed them with considerable
distinctness the position which they occupied.

Within about ten yards of them, to the left, the very direction in
which they had been proceeding, was a small deep lake' or tarn, utterly
shoreless, and into which they unquestionably would have walked and
perished, as neither of them knew how to swim. The clearing away of
the mist, and the light of the stars (for the moon had not yet risen),
enabled the parties to see each other, and in a few minutes Andrew and
his master were joined by four men, the principal person among them
being the identical individual whom they both had dreaded--the Red
Rapparee.

"Master," said Cummiskey, in a whisper, on seeing them approach, "we
must fight for it, I'm afeered, but let us not be rash; there may be a
friend or two among them, and it is better to come off peaceably if we
can."

"I agree with you," replied his master. "There is no use in shedding
unnecessary blood; but, in any event, let us not permit them to disarm
us, should they insist on doing so. They know I never go three yards
from my hall-door without arms, and it is not improbable they may make
a point of taking them from us. I, however, for one, will not trust to
their promises, for I know their treachery, as I do their cowardice,
when their numbers are but few, and an armed opponent or two before
them, determined to give battle. Stand, therefore, by me, Andy, and, by
King William, should they have re-course to violence, we shall let them
see, and feel too, that we are not unprepared."

"I have but one life, sir," replied his faithful follower; "it was
spent--at least its best days were--in your service, and sooner than any
danger should come to you, it will be lost in your defence. If it was
only for the sake of her, that is not here, the _Cooleen Bawn_, I would
do it."

"Who goes there?" asked a deep and powerful voice when the parties had
come within about twenty yards of each other.

"By the powers!" exclaimed Andrew in a whisper, "it's himself the Red
Rapparee!"

"We are friends," he replied, "and have lost our way."

The other party approached, and, on joining our travellers, the Rapparee
started, exclaiming, "What, noble Squire, is it possible that this is
you? Hut! it can't be--let me look at you closer, till I make sure of
you."

"Keep your distance, sir," replied the old man with courage and dignity;
"keep your distance; you see that I and my servant are both well armed,
and determined to defend ourselves against violence."

An ominous and ferocious glance passed from the Rapparee to his
comrades, who, however, said nothing, but seemed to be resolved to guide
themselves altogether by his conduct. The Red Rapparee was a huge man
of about forty, and the epithet of "Red" had been given to him in
consequence of the color of his hair. In expression his countenance was
by no means unhandsome, being florid and symmetrical, but hard, and
with scarcely any trace of feeling. His brows were far asunder, arguing
ingenuity and invention, but his eyes, which were small and treacherous,
glared--whenever he became excited--with the ferocity of an enraged
tiger. His shoulders were broad, his chest deep and square, his arms
long and powerful, but his lower limbs were somewhat light in proportion
to the great size of his upper figure. This, however, is generally
the case when a man combines in his own person the united qualities of
activity and strength. Even at the period we are describing, when this
once celebrated character was forty years of age, it was well known that
in fleetness of foot there was no man in the province able to compete
with him. In athletic exercises that required strength and skill he
never had a rival, but one--with whom the reader will soon be made
acquainted. He was wrapped loosely in a gray frieze big-coat, or
_cothamore_, as it is called in Irish--wore a hat of two colors, and so
pliant in texture that he could at any time turn it inside out. His coat
was--as indeed were all his clothes--made upon the time principle, so
that when hard pressed by the authorities he could in a minute or two
transmute himself into the appearance of a nun very different from the
individual described to them. Indeed he was such a perfect Proteus that
no vigilance of the Executive was ever a match for his versatility of
appearance, swiftness of foot, and caution. These frequent defeats of
the authorities of that day made him extremely popular with the people,
who were always ready to afford him shelter and means of concealment,
in return for which he assisted them with food, money, and the spoils
of his predatory life. This, indeed, was the sagacious principle of the
Irish Robbers and Rapparees from the beginning to _rob from the rich and
give to the poor_ being their motto.

The persons who accompanied him on this occasion were three of his own
gang, who usually constituted his body-guard, and acted as videttes,
either for his protection or for the purpose of bringing him information
of such travellers as from their known wealth or external appearance
might be supposed worth attacking. They were well-made, active, and
athletic men, in whom it would not be easy to recognise any particular
character at variance with that of the peasantry around them. It is
unnecessary to say that they were all armed. Having satisfied himself as
to the identity of master and man, with a glance at his companions, the
Rapparee said,

"What on earth brought you and Andy Cummiskey here, noble squire? Oh!
you lost your way Andy says. Well now," he proceeded, "you know I have
been many a day and night on the lookout for you; aye, could have
put daylight through you many and many a time; and what do you think
prevented me?"

"Fear of God, or of the gallows, I hope," replied the intrepid old man.

"Well," returned the Rapparee, with a smile of scorn, "I'm not a man--as
I suppose you may know--that ever feared either of them much--God
forgive me for the one, I don't ask his forgiveness for the other. No,
Squire Folliard, it was the goodness, the kindness, the generosity, and
the charity of the _Cooleen Bawn_, your lovely daughter, that held my
hand. You persecuted my old uncle, the priest, and you would a' hanged
him too, for merely marryin' a Protestant and a Catholic together. Well,
sir, your fair daughter, and her good mother--that's now in heaven,
I hope--went up to Dublin to the Lord Lieutenant, and before him the
_Cooleen Bawn_, went on her two knees and begged my uncle's life, and
got it; for the Lord Lieutenant said that no one could deny her any
thing. Now, sir, for her sake, go home in peace. Boys, get their
horses."

Andy Cummiskey would have looked upon all this as manly and generous,
but he could not help observing a particular and rather sinister meaning
in the look which the Rapparee turned on his companions as he spoke. He
had often heard, too, of his treacherous disposition and his unrelenting
cruelty whenever he entertained a feeling of vengeance. In his present
position, however, all he could do was to stand on his guard; and with
this impression strong upon him he resolved to put no confidence in the
words of the Rapparee. In a few minutes the horses were brought up, and
Randy (Randall) Ruah having wiped Mr. Folliard's saddle--for such was
his name--with the skirt of his _cothamore_, and removed the hoar frost
or rime which had gathered on it, he brought the animal over to him, and
said, with a kind of rude courtesy,

"Come, sir, trust me; I will help you to your saddle."

"You have not the reputation of being trustworthy," replied Mr.
Folliard; "keep back, sir, at your peril; I will not trust you. My own
servant will assist me."

This seemed precisely the arrangement which the Rapparee and his men had
contemplated. The squire, in mounting, was obliged, as every man is, to
use both his hands, as was his servant also, while assisting him.
They consequently put up their pistols until they should get into the
saddles, and, almost in an instant, found themselves disarmed, and
prisoners in the hands of these lawless and unscrupulous men.

"Now, Squire Folliard," exclaimed the Rapparee, "see what it is not to
trust an honest man; had you done so, not a hair of your head would
be injured. As it is, I'll give you five minutes to do three things;
remember my uncle, the priest, that you transported."

"He acted most illegally, sir," replied the old man indignantly; "and,
in my opinion, I say that, in consequence of his conduct, the country
had a good riddance of him. I only wish I could send you after him;
perhaps I shall do so yet. I believe in Providence, sirra, and that God
can protect me from your violence even here."

"In the next place," proceeded the Rapparee, "think of your daughter,
that you will never see again, either in this world or the next."

"I know I am unworthy of having such an angel," replied the old man,
"but unless you were a cruel and a heartless ruffian, you would not
at this moment mention her, or bring the thoughts of her to my
recollection."

"In the last place," continued the other, "if you have any thing to say
in the shape of a prayer, say it, for in five minutes' time there will
be a bullet through your heart, and in five more you will be snug and
warm at the bottom of the loch there below--that's your doom."

"O'Donnel," said Andy, "think that there's a God above you. Surely
you wouldn't murdher this ould man and make the sowl within your body
redder--if the thing's possible--than the head that's on the top of
it, though in throth I don't think it's by way of ornament it's there
either. Come, come, Randal, my man, this is all _feastalagh_ (nonsense).
You only want to frighten the gentleman. As for your uncle, man alive,
all I can say is that he was a friend to your family, and to religion
too, that sent him on his travels."

"Take off your gallowses" (braces)! said the Rapparee; "take them off,
a couple of you--for, by all the powers of darkness, they'll both go to
the bottom of the loch together, back to back. Down you'll go, Andy."

"By my soul, then," replied the unflinching servant, "if we go down
you'll go up; and we have those belongin' to us that will see you kiss
the hangman yet. Yerra, now, above all words in the alphabet what could
put a gallows into your mouth? Faith, Randal, it's about your neck
it'll go, and you'll put out your tongue at the daicent people that will
attend your own funeral yet--that is, if you don't let us off."

"Put them both to their knees," said the Rapparee in a voice of thunder,
"to their knees with them. I'll take the masther, and, Kineely, do you
take the man."

The companions of the Rapparee could not avoid laughing at the comic
courage displayed by Cummiskey, and were about to intercede for him,
when O'Donnel, which was his name, stamped with fury on the ground and
asked them if they dared to disobey him. This sobered them at once,
and in less than a minute Mr. Folliard and Andy were placed upon their
knees, to await the terrific sentence which was about to be executed
on them, in that wild and lonely moor, and under such appalling
circumstances. When placed in the desired posture, to ask that mercy
from God which they were not about to experience at the hands of man,
Squire Folliard spoke:

"Red Rapparee," said he, "it is not that I am afraid of death as such,
but I feel that I am not prepared to die. Suffer my servant and myself
to go home without harm, and I shall engage not only to get you a pardon
from the Government of the country, but I shall furnish you with money
either to take you to some useful calling, or to emigrate to some
foreign country, where nobody will know of your misdeeds, or the life
you have led here."

"Randal, my man," added Andy, "listen to what the gentleman says, and
you may escape what you know yet. As for my master, Randal, let him
pass, and take me in his place. I may as well die now, maybe, as another
time. I was an honest, faithful servant, at all times. I have neither
chick nor child to cry for me. No wife, thank God, to break my heart
afther. My conscience is light and airy, like a beggarmans blanket,
as they say; and, barrin' that I once got drunk wid your uncle in Moll
Flanagan's sheebeen house, I don't know that I have much to trouble me.
Spare _him_, then, and take _me_, if it must come to that. He has the
_Cooleen Bawn_ to think for. Do you think of her, too; and remember that
it was she who saved your uncle from the gallows."

This unlucky allusion only deepened the vengeance of the Red Rapparee,
who looked to the priming of his gun, and was in the act of preparing
to perpetrate this most in-human and awful murder, when all interruption
took place for which neither party was prepared.

Now, it so happened that within about eight or ten yards of where they
stood there existed the walls and a portion of the arched roof of one
of those old ecclesiastical ruins, which our antiquarians denominate
Cyclopean, like _lucus a non lucendo_, because scarcely a dozen men
could kneel in them. Over this sad ruin was what sportsmen term "a pass"
for duck and widgeon, and, aided by the shelter of the building, any
persons who stationed themselves there could certainly commit great
havoc among the wild-fowl in question. The Red Rapparee then had his gun
in his hand, and was in the very act of adjusting it to his shoulder,
when a powerful young man sprung forward, and dashing it aside,
exclaimed:

"What is this, Randal? Is it a double murder you are about to execute,
you inhuman ruffian?"

[Illustration: PAGE 11--Is it a double murder you are about to execute?]

The Rapparee glared at him, but with a quailing and subdued, yet sullen
and vindictive, expression.

"Stand up, sir," proceeded this daring and animated young man,
addressing Mr. Folliard; "and you, Cummiskey, get to your legs.
No person shall dare to injure either of you while I am here.
O'Donnel--stain and disgrace to a noble name--begone, you and your
ruffians. I know the cause of your enmity against this gentleman; and I
tell you now, that if you were as ready to sustain your religion as you
are to disgrace it by your conduct, you would not become a curse to it
and the country, nor give promise of feeding a hungry gallows some day,
as you and your accomplices will do."

Whilst the young stranger addressed these miscreants with such energy
and determination, Mr. Folliard, who, as well as his servant, had now
got to his legs, asked the latter in a whisper who he was.

"By all that's happy, sir," he replied, "it's himself, the only man
living that the Red Rapparee is afraid of; it's 'Willy Reilly.'"




CHAPTER II. _The Cooleen Baum_.

The old man became very little wiser by the information of his servant,
and said in reply, "I hope, Andy, he's not a Papist;" but checking the
unworthy prejudice--and in him such prejudices were singularly strong in
words, although often feeble in fact he added, "it matters not--we owe
our lives to him--the deepest and most important obligation that one
man can owe to another. I am, however, scarcely able to stand; I feel
be-numbed and exhausted, and wish to get home as soon as possible."

"Mr. Reilly," said Andy, "this gentleman is very weak and ill; and as
you have acted so much like a brave man and a gentleman, maybe you'd
have no objection to see us safe home."

"It is my intention to do so," replied Reilly. "I could not for a moment
think of leaving either him or you to the mercy of this treacherous
man, who dishonors a noble name. Randal," he proceeded, addressing the
Rapparee, "mark my words!--if but a single hair of this gentleman's
head, or of any one belonging to him, is ever injured by you or your
gang, I swear that you and they will swing, each of you, from as many
gibbets, as soon as the course of the law can reach you. You know me,
sir, and my influence over those who protect you. As for you, Fergus,"
he added, addressing one of the Rapparee's followers, "you are, thank
God! the only one of my blood who has ever disgraced it by leading
such a lawless and guilty life. Be advised by me--leave that man of
treachery,rapine, and murder--abandon him and re-form your life--and if
you are disposed to become a good and an industrious member of society,
go to some other country, where the disgrace you have incurred in this
may not follow you. Be advised by me, and you shall not want the means
of emigrating. Now begone; and think, each of you, of what I have said."

The Rapparee glanced at the noble-looking young fellow with the
vindictive ferocity of an enraged bull, who feels a disposition
to injure you, but is restrained by terror; or, which is quite as
appropriate, a cowardly but vindictive mastiff, who eyes you askance,
growls, shows his teeth, but has not the courage to attack you.

"Do not look at me so, sir," said Reilly; "you know I fear you not."

"But the meantime," replied the Rapparee, "what's to prevent me from
putting a bullet into you this moment, if I wish to do it?"

"There are ten thousand reasons against it," returned Reilly. "If you
did so, in less than twenty-four hours you would find yourself in Sligo
jail--or, to come nearer the truth, in less than five minutes you would
find yourself in hell."

"Well, now, suppose I should make the trial," said the Rapparee. "You
don't know, Mr. Reilly, how you have crossed me to-night. Suppose now I
should try--and suppose, too, that not one of you three should leave the
spot you stand on only as corpses--wouldn't I have the advantage of you
then?"

Reilly turned towards the ruined chapel, and simply raising his right
hand, about eight or ten persons made their appearance; but, restrained
by signal from him, they did not advance.

"That will do," said he. "Now, Randal, I hope you understand your
position. Do not provoke me again; for if you do I will surround you
with toils from which you could as soon change your fierce and brutal
nature as escape. Yes, and I will take you in the midst of your ruffian
guards, and in the deepest of your fastnesses, if ever you provoke me as
you have done on other occasions, or if you ever injure this gentleman
or any individual of his family. Come, sir," he proceeded, addressing
the old man, "you are now mounted--my horse is in this old ruin--and in
a moment I shall be ready to accompany you."

Reilly and his companions joined our travellers, one of the former
having offered the old squire a large frieze great-coat, which he gladly
accepted, and having thus formed a guard of safety for him and his
faithful attendant, they regained the old road we I have described, and
resumed their journey.

When they had gone, the Rapparee and his companions looked after them
with blank faces for some minutes.

"Well," said their leader, "Reilly has knocked up our game for this
night. Only for him I'd have had a full and sweet revenge. However,
never mind: it'll go hard with me, or I'll have it yet. In the mane time
it won't be often that such another opportunity will come in our way."

"Well, now that it is over, what was your intention, Randal?" asked the
person to whom Reilly had addressed himself.

"Why," replied the miscreant, "after the deed was done, what was to
prevent us from robbing the house to-night, and taking away his daughter
to the mountains. I have long had my eye on her, I can tell you, and
it'll cost me a fall, or I'll have her yet."

"You had better," replied Fergus Reilly, for such was his name, "neither
make nor meddle with that family afther this night. If you do, that
terrible relation of mine will hang you like a dog."

"How will he hang me like a dog?" asked the Rapparee, knitting his
shaggy eyebrows, and turning upon him a fierce and gloomy look.

"Why, now, Randal, you know as well as I do," replied the other, "that
if he only raised his finger against you in the country, the very people
that harbor both you and us would betray us, aye, seize us, and bind us
hand and foot, like common thieves, and give us over to the authorities.
But as for himself, I believe you have sense enough to let him alone.
When you took away Mary Traynor, and nearly kilt her brother, the young
priest--you know they were Reilly's tenants--I needn't tell you what
happened: in four hours' time he had the country up, followed you
and your party--I wasn't with you then, but you know it's truth I'm
spakin'--and when he had five to one against you, didn't he make them
stand aside until he and you should decide it between you? Aye, and you
know he could a' brought home every man of you tied neck and heels, and
would, too, only that there was a large reward offered for the takin'
of you livin' or dead, and he scorned to have any hand in it on that
account."

"It was by a chance blow he hit me," said the Rapparee--"by a chance
blow."

"By a couple dozen chance blows," replied the other; "you know he
knocked you down as fast as ever you got up--I lave it to the boys here
that wor present."

"There's no use in denyin' it, Randal," they replied; "you hadn't a
chance wid him."

"Well, at all events," observed the Rapparee, "if he did beat me, he's
the only man in the country able to do it; but it's not over, curse
him--Ill have another trial with him yet."

"If you take my advice," replied Reilly, "you'll neither make nor meddle
with him. He's the head o' the Catholics in this part of the country,
and you know that; aye, and he's their friend, and uses the friendship
that the Protestants have towards him for their advantage, wherever he
can. The man that would injure Willy Reilly is an enemy to our religion,
as well as to every thing that's good and generous; and mark me, Randal,
if ever you cross him in what he warned you against this very night,
I'll hang you myself, if there wasn't another livin' man to do it, and
to the back o' that again I say you must shed no blood so long as I am
with you."

"That won't be long, then," replied the Rapparee, pulling out a purse;
"there's twenty guineas for you, and go about your business; but take
care, no treachery."

"No," replied the other, "I'll have none of your money; there's blood in
it. God forgive me for ever joinin' you. When I want money I can get
it; as for treachery, there's none of it in my veins; good-night, and
remember my words."

Having thus spoken, he took his way along the same road by which the old
squire and his party went.

"That fellow will betray us," said the Rapparee.

"No," replied his companions firmly, "there never was treachery in his
part of the family; he is not come from any of the Queen's O'Reillys.*
We wish you were as sure of every man you have as you may be of him."

     * Catholic families who were faithful and loyal to Queen
     Elizabeth during her wars in Ireland were stigmatized by the
     nickname of the Queen's friends, to distinguish them from
     others of the same name who had opposed her, on behalf of
     their religion, in the wars which desolated Ireland during
     her reign; a portion of the family of which we write were on
     this account designated as the Queen's O'Reillys.

"Well, now," observed their leader, "a thought strikes me; this ould
squire will be half dead all night. At any rate he'll sleep like a top.
Wouldn't it be a good opportunity to attack the house--aise him of his
money, for he's as rich as a Jew--and take away the _Colleen Bawn_?
We'll call at Shane Bearna's** stables on our way and bring the other
boys along wid us. What do you say?"

     ** Shane Bearna was a celebrated Rapparee, who, among his
     other exploits, figured principally as a horse-stealer. He
     kept the stolen animals concealed in remote mountain caves,
     where he trimmed and dyed them in such a way as made it
     impossible to recognize them. These caves are curiosities at
     the present day, and are now known as Shane Bearna's
     Stables. He was a chief in the formidable gang of the
     celebrated Redmond O'Manion. It is said of him that he was
     called Bearna because he never had any teeth; but tradition
     tells us that he could, notwithstanding, bite a piece out of
     a thin plate of iron with as much ease as if it were
     gingerbread.

"Why, that you'll hang yourself, and every man of us."

"Nonsense, you cowardly dogs," replied their leader indignantly; "can't
we lave the country?"

"Well, if you're bent on it," replied his followers, "we won't be your
hindrance."

"We can break up, and be off to America," he added.

"But what will you do with the _Cooleen Bawn_, if you take her?" they
asked.

"Why, lave her behind us, afther showin' the party creature the inside
of Shane Bearea's stables. She'll be able to find her way back to her
father's, never fear. Come, boys, now or never. To say the truth, the
sooner we get out of the country, at all events, the better."

The Rapparee and his men had moved up to the door of the old chapel
already alluded to, whilst this conversation went on; and now that their
dreadful project had been determined on, they took a short cut
across the moors, in order to procure additional assistance for its
accomplishment.

No sooner had they gone, however, than an individual, who had been
concealed in the darkness within, came stealthily to the door, and
peeping cautiously out, at length advanced a few steps and looked
timidly about him. Perceiving that the coast was clear, he placed
himself under the shadow of the old walls--for there was now sufficient
light to cast a shadow from any prominent object; and from thence having
observed the direction which the Rapparee and his men took, without
any risk of being seen himself, he appeared satisfied. The name of
this individual--who, although shrewd and cunning in many things,
was nevertheless deficient in reason--or rather the name by which he
generally went, was Tom Steeple, a _sobriquet_ given to him on account
of a predominant idea which characterized and influenced his whole
conversation. The great delight of this poor creature was to be
considered the tallest individual in the kingdom, and indeed nothing
could be more amusing than to witness the manner in which he held up his
head while he walked, or sat, or stood. In fact his walk was a complete
strut, to which the pride, arising from the consciousness of, or rather
the belief in, his extraordinary height gave an extremely ludicrous
appearance. Poor Tom was about five feet nine in height, but imagined
himself to be at least a foot higher. His whole family were certainly
tall, and one of the greatest calamities of the poor fellow's life was
a bitter reflection that he himself was by several inches the lowest of
his race. This was the only exception he made with respect to height,
but so deeply did it affect him that he could scarcely ever allude to it
without shedding tears. The life he had was similar in most respects
to that of his unhappy class. He wandered about through the country,
stopping now at one farmer's house, and now at another's, where he
always experienced a kind reception, because he was not only amusing
and inoffensive, but capable of making himself useful as a messenger and
drudge. He was never guilty of a dishonest act, nor ever known to commit
a breach of trust; and as a quick messenger, his extraordinary speed of
foot rendered him unrivalled. His great delight, however, was to attend
sportsmen, to whom he was invaluable as a guide and director. Such
was his wind and speed of foot that, aided by his knowledge of what is
termed the lie of the country, he was able to keep up with any pack of
hounds that ever went out. As a _soho_ man he was unrivalled. The form
of every hare for miles about was known to him, and if a fox or a covey
of partridges were to be found at all, he was your man. In wild-fowl
shooting he was infallible. No pass of duck, widgeon, barnacle, or
curlew, was unknown to him. In fact, his principal delight was to attend
the gentry of the country to the field, either with harrier, foxhound,
or setter. No coursing match went right if Torn were not present; and
as for night shooting, his eye and ear were such as, for accuracy of
observation, few have ever witnessed. It is true he could subsist a
long time without food, but, like the renowned Captain Dalgetty, when an
abundance of it happened to be placed before him, he displayed the most
indefensible ignorance as to all knowledge of the period when he ought
to stop, considering it his bounden duty on all occasions to clear off
whatever was set before him--a feat which he always accomplished with
the most signal success.

"Aha" exclaimed Tom, "dat Red Rapparee is tall man, but not tall as Tom;
him no steeple like Tom; but him rogue and murderer, an' Tom honest;
him won't carry off _Cooleen Bawn_ dough, nor rob her fader avder.
Come, Tom, Steeple Tom, out with your two legs, one afore toder, and
put Rapparee's nose out o' joint. _Cooleen Bawn_ dats good to everybody,
Catlieks (Catholics) an' all, an' often ordered Tom many a bully dinner.
Hicko! hicko! be de bones of Peter White--off I go!"

Tom, like many other individuals of his description, was never able
to get over the language of childhood--a characteristic which is often
appended to the want of reason, and from which, we presume, the term
"innocent" has been applied in an especial manner to those who are
remarkable for the same defect.

Having uttered the words we have just recited, he started off at a gait,
peculiar to fools, which is known by the name of "a sling trot," and
after getting out upon the old road he turned himself in the direction
which Willy Reilly and his party had taken, and there we beg to leave
him for the present.

The old squire felt his animal heat much revived by the warmth of the
frieze coat, and his spirits, now that the dreadful scene into which he
had been so unexpectedly cast had passed away without danger, began to
rise so exuberantly that his conversation became quite loquacious and
mirthful, if not actually, to a certain extent, incoherent.

"Sir," said he, "you must come home with me--confound me, but you
must, and you needn't say nay, now, for I shall neither take excuse nor
apology. I am a hospitable man, Mr.--what's this your name is?"

"My name, sir," replied the other, "is Reilly--William Reilly, or, as
I am more generally called, Willy Reilly. The name, sir, though an
honorable one, is, in this instance, that of an humble man, but one who,
I trust, will never disgrace it."

"You must come home with me, Mr. Reilly. Not a word now."

"Such is my intention, sir," replied Reilly. "I shall not leave you
until I see that all risk of danger is past--until I place you safely
under your own roof."

"Well, now," continued the old squire, "I believe a Papist can be a
gentleman--a brave man--a man of honor, Mr. Reilly."

"I am not aware that there is any thing in his religion to make him
either dishonorable or cowardly, sir," replied Reilly with a smile.

"No matter," continued the other, who found a good deal of difficulty
in restraining his prejudices on that point, no matter, sir, no
matter, Mr.--a--a--oh, yes, Reilly, we will have nothing to do with
religion--away with it--confound religion, sir, if it prevents one man
from being thankful, and grateful too, to another, when that other
has saved his life. What's your state and condition in society, Mr.--?
confound the scoundrel! he'd have shot me. We must hang that fellow--the
Red Rapparee they call him--a dreadful scourge to the country; and,
another thing, Mr.--Mr. Mahon--you must come to my daughter's wedding.
Not a word now--by the great Boyne, you must. Have you ever seen my
daughter, sir?"

"I have never had that pleasure," replied Reilly, "but I have heard
enough of her wonderful goodness and beauty."

"Well, sir, I tell you to your teeth that I deny your words--you have
stated a falsehood, sir--a lie, sir."

"What do you mean, sir?" replied Reilly, somewhat indignantly. "I am not
in the habit of stating a falsehood, nor of submitting tamely to such an
imputation."

"Ha, ha, ha, I say it's a lie still, my friend. What did you say? Why,
that you had heard enough of her goodness and beauty. Now, sir, by the
banks of the Boyne, I say you didn't hear half enough of either one or
other. Sir, you should know her, for although you are a Papist you are
a brave man, and a gentleman. Still, sir, a Papist is not--curse it,
this isn't handsome of me, Willy. I beg your pardon. Confound all
religions if it goes to that. Still at the same time I'm bound to say
as a loyal man that Protestantism is my forte, Mr. Reilly--there's where
I'm strong, a touch of Hercules about me there, Mr. Reilly--Willy,
I mean. Well, you are a thorough good fellow, Papist and all, though
you--ahem!--never mind though, you shall see my daughter, and you shall
hear my daughter; for, by the great Boyne, she must salute the man that
saved her father's life, and prevented her from being an orphan. And yet
see, Willy, I love that girl to such a degree that if heaven was open
for me this moment, and that Saint Peter--hem!--I mean the Apostle
Peter, slid to me, 'Come, Folliard, walk in, sir,' by the great
Deliverer that saved us from Pope and Popery, brass money, and--ahem! I
beg your pardon--well, I say if he was to say so, I wouldn't leave her.
There's affection for you; but she deserves it. No, if ever a girl was
capable of keeping an old father from heaven she is."

"I understand your meaning, sir," replied Reilly with a smile, "and
I believe she is loved by every one who has the pleasure of knowing
her--by rich and poor."

"Troth, Mr. Reilly," observed Andy, "it's a sin for any one to let
their affections, even for one of their own childer, go between them and
heaven. As for the masther, he makes a god of her. To be sure if ever
there was an angel in this world she is one."

"Get out, you old whelp," exclaimed his master; "what do you know about
it?--you who never had wife or child? isn't she my only child?--the
apple of my eye? the love of my heart?"

"If you loved her so well you wouldn't make her unhappy then."

"What do you mean, you despicable old Papist?"

"I mean that you wouldn't marry her to a man she doesn't like, as you're
goin' to do. That's a bad way to make her happy, at any rate."

"Overlook the word Papist, Mr. Reilly, that I applied to that old
idolater--the fellow worships images; of course you know, as a Papist,
he does--ahem!--but to show you that I don't hate the Papist without
exception, I beg to let you know, sir, that I frequently have the Papist
priest of our parish to dine with me; and if that isn't liberality the
devil's in it. Isn't that true, you superstitious old Padareen? No, Mr.
Reilly, Mr. Mahon--Willy, I mean--I'm a liberal man, and I hope we'll
be all saved yet, with the exception of the Pope--ahem! yes, I hope we
shall all be saved."

"Throth, sir," said Andy, addressing himself to Reilly, "he's a quare
gentleman, this. He's always abusing the Papists, as he calls us, and
yet for every Protestant servant undher his roof he has three Papists,
as he calls us. His bark, sir, is worse than his bite, any day."

"I believe it," replied Reilly in a low voice, "and it's a pity that
a good and benevolent man should suffer these idle prejudices to sway
him."

"Divil a bit they sway him, sir," replied Andy; "he'll damn and abuse
them and their religion, and yet he'll go any length to serve one o'
them, if they want a friend, and has a good character. But here, now
we're at the gate of the avenue, and you'll soon see the _Cooleen Bawn_"

"Hallo!" the squire shouted out, "what the devil! are you dead or asleep
there? Brady, you Papist scoundrel, why not open the gate?"

The porter's wife came out as he uttered the words, saying, "I beg your
honor's pardon. Ned is up at the Castle;" and whilst speaking she opened
the gate.

"Ha, Molly!" exclaimed her master in a tone of such bland good nature as
could not for a moment be mistaken; "well, Molly, how is little Mick? Is
he better, poor fellow?"

"He is, thank God, and your honor."

"Hallo, Molly," said the squire, laughing, "that's Popery again. You are
thanking God and me as if we were intimate acquaintances. None of that
foolish Popish nonsense. When you thank God, thank him; and when you
thank me, why thank me; but don't unite us, as you do him and your
Popish saints, for I tell you, Molly, I'm no saint; God forbid! Tell the
doctorman to pay him every attention, and to send his bill to me when
the child is properly recovered; mark that--properly recovered."

A noble avenue, that swept along with two or three magnificent bends,
brought them up to a fine old mansion of the castellated style, where
the squire and his two equestrian attendants dismounted, and were
ushered into the parlor, which they found brilliantly lighted up with
a number of large wax tapers. The furniture of the room was exceedingly
rich, but somewhat curious and old-fashioned. It was such, however, as
to give ample proof of great wealth and comfort, and, by the heat of a
large peat fire which blazed in the capacious hearth, it communicated
that sense of warmth which was in complete accordance with the general
aspect of the apartment. An old gray-haired butler, well-powdered,
together with two or three other servants in rich livery, now entered,
and the squire's first inquiry was after his daughter.

"John," said he to the butler, "how is your mistress?" but, without
waiting for a reply, he added, "here are twenty pounds, which you will
hand to those fine fellows at the hall-door."

"Pardon me, sir," replied Reilly, "those men are my tenants, and the
sons of my tenants: they have only performed towards you a duty, which
common humanity would require at their hands towards the humblest person
that lives."

"They must accept it, Mr. Reilly--they must have it--they are humble
men--and as it is only the reward of a kind office, I think it is justly
due to them. Here, John, give them the money."

It was in vain that Reilly interposed; the old squire would not listen
to him. John was, accordingly, dispatched to the hall steps, but found
that they had all gone.

At this moment our friend Toni Steeple met the butler, whom he
approached with a kind of wild and uncouth anxiety.

"Aha! Mista John," said he, "you tall man too, but not tall as
Tom Steeple--ha, ha--you good man too, Mista John--give Tom bully
dinners--Willy Reilly, Mista John, want to see Willy Reilly."

"What do you want with him, Tom? he's engaged with the master."

"Must see him, Mista John; stitch in time saves nine. Hicko! hicko!
God's sake, Mista John: God's sake! Up dere;" and as he spoke he pointed
towards the sky.

"Well, but what is your business, then? What have you to say to him?
He's engaged, I tell you."

Tom, apprehensive that he might not get an opportunity of communicating
with Reilly, bolted in, and as the parlor door stood open, he saw him
standing near the large chimney-piece.

"Willy Reilly!" he exclaimed in a voice that trembled with earnestness,
"Willy Reilly, dere's news for you--for de squire too--bad news--God's
sake come wid Tom--you tall too, Willy Reilly, but not tall as Tom is."

"What is the matter, Tom?" asked Reilly; "you look alarmed."

"God's sake, here, Willy Reilly," replied the kind-hearted fool, "come
wid Tom. Bad news."

"Hallo!" exclaimed the squire, "what is the matter? Is this Tom Steeple?
Go to the kitchen, Tom, and get one of your 'bully dinners'--my poor
fellow--off with you--and a pot of beer, Tom."

An expression of distress, probably heightened by his vague and
unconscious sense of the squire's kindness, was depicted strongly on his
countenance, and ended in a burst of tears.

"Ha!" exclaimed Reilly, "poor Tom, sir, was with us to-night on our
duck-shooting excursion, and, now that I remember, remained behind us
in the old ruin--and then he is in tears. What can this mean? I will go
with you, Tom--excuse me, sir, for a few minutes--there can be no harm
in hearing what he has to say."

He accompanied the fool, with whom he remained for about six or eight
minutes, after which he re-entered the parlor with a face which strove
in vain to maintain its previous expression of ease and serenity.

"Well, Willy?" said the squire--"you see, by the way, I make an old
acquaintance of you--"

"You do me honor, sir," replied Reilly. "Well, what was this mighty
matter? Not a fool's message, I hope? eh!"

"No, sir," said the other, "but a matter of some importance."

"John," asked his master, as the butler entered, "did you give those
worthy fellows the money?"

"No, your honor," replied the other, they were gone before I went out."

"Well, well," replied his master, "it can't be helped. You will excuse
me, Mr.--a--a--yes--Mr. Reilly--Willy--Willy--ay, that's it--you will
excuse me, Willy, for not bringing you to the drawing room. The fact is,
neither of us is in a proper trim to go there--both travel-soiled, as
they say--you with duck-shooting and I with a long ride--besides, I
am quite too much fatigued to change my dress--John, some Madeira. I'm
better than I was--but still dreadfully exhausted and afterwards, John,
tell your mistress that her father wishes to see her here. First, the
Madeira, though, till I recruit myself a little. A glass or two will do
neither of us any harm, Willy, but a great deal of good. God bless me!
what an escape I've had! what a dreadful fate you rescued me from, my
young friend and preserver--for as such I will ever look upon, you."

"Sir," replied Reilly, "I will not deny that the appearance of myself
and my companions, in all probability, saved your life."

"There was no probability in it, Willy--none at all; it would have
been a dead certainty in every sense. My God! here, John--put it down
here--fill for that gentleman and me--thank you, John--Willy," he said
as he took the glass in his trembling hand--"Willy--John, withdraw and
send down, my daughter--Willy"--the old man looked at him, but was too
full to utter a word. At this moment his daughter entered the room,
and her father, laying down the glass, opened his arms, and said in a
choking voice, "Helen, my daughter--my child--come to me;" and as she
threw herself into them he embraced her tenderly and wept aloud.

"Dear papa!" she exclaimed, after the first burst of his grief was over,
"what has affected you so deeply? Why are you so agitated?"

"Look at that noble young man," he exclaimed, directing her attention to
Reilly, who was still standing. "Look at him, my life, and observe him
well; there he stands who has this night saved your loving father from
the deadly aim of an assassin--from being murdered by O'Donnel, the Red
Rapparee, in the lonely moors."

Reilly, from the moment the far-famed _Cooleen Dawn_ entered the room,
heard not a syllable the old man had said. He was absorbed, entranced,
struck with a sensation of wonder, surprise, agitation, joy, and
confusion, all nearly at the same moment. Such a blaze of beauty,
such elegance of person, such tenderness and feeling as chastened
the radiance of her countenance into something that might be termed
absolutely divine; such symmetry of form; such harmony of motion; such
a seraphic being in the shape of woman, he had, in fact, never seen or
dreamt of. She seemed as if surrounded by an atmosphere of light, of
dignity, of goodness, of grace; but that which, above all, smote
him, heart on, the moment was the spirit of tenderness and profound
sensibility which seemed to predominate in her whole being. Why did his
manly and intrepid heart palpitate? Why did such a strange confusion
seize upon him? Why did the few words which she uttered in her father's
arms fill his ears with a melody that charmed him out of his strength?
Alas! is it necessary to ask? To those who do not understand this
mystery, no explanation could be of any avail; and to those who do, none
is necessary.

[Illustration: PAGE 18--Looked with her dark eyes upon Reilly]

After her father had spoken, she raised herself from his arms, and
assuming her full height--and she was tall--looked for a moment with
her dark, deep, and terrible eyes upon Reilly, who in the meantime felt
rapt, spell-bound, and stood, whilst his looks were riveted upon these
irresistible orbs, as if he had been attracted by the influence of some
delightful but supernatural power, under which he felt himself helpless.

That mutual gaze and that delightful moment! alas! how many hours of
misery--of sorrow--of suffering--and of madness did they not occasion!

"Papa has imposed a task upon me, sir," she said, advancing gracefully
towards him, her complexion now pale, and again over-spread with deep
blushes. "What do I say? Alas--a task! to thank the preserver of my
father's life--I know not what I say: help me, sir, to papa--I am
weak--I am--"

Reilly flew to her, and caught her in his arms just in time to prevent
her from falling.

"My God!" exclaimed her father, getting to his feet, "what is the
matter? I was wrong to mention the circumstance so abruptly; I ought to
have prepared her for it. You are strong, Reilly, you are strong, and I
am too feeble--carry her to the settee. There, God bless you!--God bless
you!--she will soon recover. Helen! my child! my life! What, Helen!
Come, dearest love, be a woman. I am safe, as you may see, dearest. I
tell you I sustained no injury in life--not a hair of nay head was hurt;
thanks to Mr. Reilly for it thanks to this gentleman. Oh! that's right,
bravo, Helen--bravo, my girl! See that, Reilly, isn't she a glorious
creature? She recovers now, to set her old loving father's heart at
ease."

The weakness, for it did not amount altogether to insensibility, was
only of brief duration.

"Dear papa," said she, raising herself, and withdrawing gently and
modestly from Reilly's support, "I was unprepared for the account of
this dreadful affair. Excuse me, sir; surely you will admit that a
murderous attack on dear papa's life could not be listened to by his only
child with indifference. But do let me know how it happened, papa."

"You are not yet equal to it, darling; you are too much agitated."

"I am equal to it now, papa! Pray, let me hear it, and how this
gentleman--who will be kind enough to imagine my thanks, for, indeed,
no language could express them--and how this gentleman was the means of
saving you."

"Perhaps, Miss Folliard," said Reilly, "it would be better to defer the
explanation until you shall have gained more strength."

"Oh, no, sir," she replied; "my anxiety to hear it will occasion me
greater suffering, I am sure, than the knowledge of it, especially now
that papa is safe."

Reilly bowed in acquiescence, but not in consequence of her words; a
glance as quick as the lightning, but full of entreaty and gratitude,
and something like joy--for who does not know the many languages which
the single glance of a lovely woman can speak?--such a glance, we say,
accompanied her words, and at once won him to assent.

"Miss Folliard may be right, sir," he observed, "and as the shock has
passed, perhaps to make her briefly acquainted with the circumstances
will rather relieve her."

"Right," said her father, "so it will, Willy, so it will, especially,
thank God, as there has been no harm done. Look at this now! Get away,
you saucy baggage! Your poor loving father has only just escaped being
shot, and now he runs the risk of being strangled."

"Dear, dear papa," she said, "who could have thought of injuring
you--you with your angry tongue, but your generous and charitable and
noble heart?" and again she wound her exquisite and lovely arms about
his neck and kissed him, whilst a fresh gush of tears came to her eyes.

"Come, Helen--come, love, be quiet now, or I shall not tell you any
thing more about my rescue by that gallant young fellow standing before
you."

This was followed, on her part, by another glance at Reilly, and
the glance was as speedily followed by a blush, and again a host of
tumultuous emotions crowded around his heart.

The old man, placing her head upon his bosom, kissed and patted her,
after which he related briefly, and in such a way as not, if possible,
to excite her afresh, the circumstances with which the reader is already
acquainted. At the close, however, when he came to the part which Reilly
had borne in the matter, and dwelt at more length on his intrepidity and
spirit, and the energy of character and courage with which the quelled
the terrible Rapparee, he was obliged to stop for a moment, and say,

"Why, Helen, what is the matter, my darling? Are you getting ill again?
Your little heart is going at a gallop--bless me, how it pit-a-pats.
There, now, you've heard it all--here I am, safe--and there stands the
gentleman to whom, under God, we are both indebted for it. And now let
us have dinner, darling, for we have not dined?"

Apologies on the part of Reilly, who really had dined, were flung to the
winds by the old squire.

"What matter, Willy? what matter, man?--sit at the table, pick
something--curse it, we won't eat you. Your dress? never mind your
dress. I am sure Helen here will not find fault with it. Come, Helen,
use your influence, love. And you, sir, Willy Reilly, give her your
arm." This he added in consequence of dinner having been announced while
he spoke; and so they passed into the dining-room.




CHAPTER III.--Daring Attempt of the Red Rapparee

--Mysterious Disappearance of His Gang--The Avowal


We must go back a little. When Helen sank under the dreadful
intelligence of the attempt made to assassinate her father, we stated at
the time that she was not absolutely insensible; and this was the fact.
Reilly, already enraptured by such wonderful grace and beauty as the
highest flight of his imagination could never have conceived, when
called upon by her father to carry her to the sofa, could scarcely
credit his senses that such a lovely and precious burden should ever be
entrusted to him, much less borne in his very arms. In order to prevent
her from falling, he was literally obliged to throw them around her,
and, to a certain extent, to press her--for the purpose of supporting
her--against his heart, the pulsations of which were going at a
tremendous speed. There was, in fact, something so soft, so pitiable,
so beautiful, and at the same time so exquisitely pure and fragrant, in
this lovely creature, as her head lay drooping on his shoulder, her pale
cheek literally lying against his, that it is not at all to be wondered
at that the beatings of his heart were accelerated to an unusual degree.
Now she, from her position upon his bosom, necessarily felt this rapid
action of its tenant; when, therefore, her father, after her recovery,
on reciting for her the fearful events of the evening, and dwelling upon
Reilly's determination and courage, expressed alarm at the palpitations
of her heart, a glance passed between them which each, once and forever,
understood. She had felt the agitation of him who had risked his life in
defence of her father, for in this shape the old man had truly put it;
and now she knew from her father's observation, as his arm lay upon her
own, that the interest which his account of Reilly's chivalrous conduct
throughout the whole affair had excited in it were discovered. In this
case heart spoke to heart, and by the time they sat down to dinner,
each felt conscious that their passion, brief as was the period of their
acquaintance, had become, whether for good or evil, the uncontrollable
destiny of their lives.

William Reilly was the descendant of an old and noble Irish family. His
ancestors had gone through all the vicissitudes and trials, and been
engaged in most of the civil broils and wars, which, in Ireland, had
characterized the reign of Elizabeth. As we are not disposed to enter
into a disquisition upon the history of that stormy period, unless to
say that we believe in our souls both parties were equally savage and
inhuman, and that there was not, literally, a toss up between them, we
have only to add that Reilly's family, at least that branch of it to
which he belonged, had been reduced by the ruin that resulted from the
civil wars, and the confiscations peculiar to the times. His father
had made a good deal of money abroad in business, but feeling that
melancholy longing for his native soil, for the dark mountains and the
green fields of his beloved country, he returned to it, and having taken
a large farm of about a thousand acres, under a peculiar tenure, which
we shall mention ere we close, he devoted himself to pasturage and
agriculture. Old Reilly had been for some years dead, and his eldest
son, William, was now not only the head of his immediate family, but
of that great branch of it to which he belonged, although he neither
claimed nor exercised the honor. In Reilly, many of those irreconcilable
points of character, which scarcely ever meet in the disposition of any
but an Irishman, were united. He was at once mild and impetuous; under
peculiar circumstances, humble and unassuming, but in others, proud
almost to a fault; a bitter foe to oppression in every sense, and to
bigotry in every creed. He was highly educated, and as perfect a master
of French, Spanish, and German, as he was of either English or Irish,
both of which he spoke with equal fluency and purity. To his personal
courage we need not make any further allusion. On many occasions it
had been well tested on the Continent. He was an expert and unrivalled
swordsman, and a first-rate shot, whether with the pistol or
fowling-piece.

At every athletic exercise he was matchless; and one great cause of his
extraordinary popularity among the peasantry was the pleasure he took in
promoting the exercise of such manly sports among them. In his person
he combined great strength with remarkable grace and ease. The wonderful
symmetry of his form took away apparently from his size; but on looking
at and examining him closely, you felt surprised at the astonishing
fulness of his proportions and the prodigious muscular power which lay
under such deceptive elegance. As for his features, they were replete
with that manly expression which changes with, and becomes a candid
exponent of, every feeling that influences the heart. His mouth was
fine, and his full red lips exquisitely chiselled; his chin was full of
firmness; and his large dark eyes, though soft, mellow, and insinuating,
had yet a sparkle in them that gave evidence of a fiery spirit when
provoked, as well as of a high sense of self-respect and honor. His
complexion was slightly bronzed by residence in continental climates, a
circumstance that gave a warmth and mellowness to his features, which,
when taken into consideration with his black, clustering locks, and the
snowy whiteness of his forehead, placed him in the very highest order of
handsome men.

Such was our hero, the fame of whose personal beauty, as well as that of
the ever-memorable _Cooleen Bawn_, is yet a tradition in the country.

On this occasion the dinner-party consisted only of the squire, his
daughter, and Reilly. The old man, on reflecting that he was now
safe, felt his spirits revive apace. His habits of life were jolly and
convivial, but not actually intemperate, although it must be admitted
that on some occasions he got into the debatable ground. To those who
did not know him, and who were acquainted through common report
only with his unmitigated abuse of Popery, he was looked upon as an
oppressive and overbearing tyrant, who would enforce, to the furthest
possible stretch of severity, the penal enactments then in existence
against Roman Catholics. And this, indeed, was true, so far as any one
was concerned from whom he imagined himself to have received an
injury; against such he was a vindictive tyrant, and a most implacable
persecutor. By many, on the other hand, he was considered as an
eccentric man, with a weak head, but a heart that often set all his
anti-Catholic prejudices at complete defiance.

At dinner the squire had most of the conversation to himself, his
loquacity and good-humor having been very much improved by a few
glasses of his rich old Madeira. His daughter, on the other hand, seemed
frequently in a state of abstraction, and, on more than one occasion,
found herself incapable of answering several questions which he put to
her. Ever and anon the timid, blushing glance was directed at Reilly,
by whom it was returned with a significance that went directly to her
heart. Both, in fact, appeared to be influenced by some secret train
of thought that seemed quite at variance with the old gentleman's
garrulity.

"Well," said he, "here we are, thank God, all safe; and it is to you,
Willy, we owe it. Come, man, take off your wine. Isn't he a fine young
fellow, Helen?"

Helen's heart, at the moment, had followed her eyes, and she did not
hear him.

"Hello! what the deuce! By the banks of the Boyne, I believe the girl
has lost her hearing. I say, Helen, isn't Willy Reilly here, that
prevented you from being an orphan, a fine young fellow?"

A sudden rosy blush suffused her whole neck and face on hearing this
blunt and inconsiderate question.

"What, darling, have you not heard me?"

"If Mr. Reilly were not present, papa, I might give an opinion on that
subject; but I trust you will excuse me now."

"Well, I suppose so; there's no getting women to speak to the point.
At all events, I would give more than I'll mention that Sir Hobert
Whitecraft was as good-looking a specimen of a man; I'll engage, if he
was, you would have no objection to say yes, my girl."

"I look to the disposition, papa, to the moral feelings and principles,
more than to the person.

"Well, Helen, that's right too--all right, darling, and on that account
Sir Robert must and ought to be a favorite. He is not yet forty, and for
this he is himself my authority, and forty is the prime of life; yet,
with an immense fortune and strong temptations, he has never launched
out into a single act of imprudence or folly. No, Helen, he never sowed
a peck of wild oats in his life. He is, on the contrary, sober, grave,
silent--a little too much so, by the way--cautious, prudent, and saving.
No man knows the value of money better, nor can contrive to make it go
further. Then, as for managing a bargain--upon my soul, I don't think he
treated me well, though, in the swop of 'Hop-and-go-constant' against my
precious bit of blood, 'Pat the Spanker.' He made me pay him twenty-five
pounds boot for an old--But you shall see him, Reilly, you shall see
him, Willy, and if ever there was a greater take in--you needn't smile,
He en, nor look at Willy. By the good King William that saved us from
Pope, and--ahem--I beg pardon, Willy, but, upon my soul, he took me
completely in. I say, I shall show you 'Hop-and-go-constant', and when
you see him you'll admit the 'Hop,' but the devil a bit you will find of
the 'Go-constant.'"

"I suppose the gentleman's personal appearance, sir," observed Reilly,
glancing at Miss Folliard, "is equal to his other qualities."

"Why--a--ye-s. He's tall and thin and serious, with something about him,
say, of a philosopher. Isn't that true, Helen?"

"Perfectly, papa," she replied, with a smile of arch humor, which, to
Reilly, placed her character in a new light.

"Perfectly true, papa, so far as you have gone; but I trust you will
finish the portrait for Mr. Reilly."

"Well, then, I will. Where was I? Oh, yes--tall, thin, and serious; like
a philosopher. I'll go next to the shoulders, because Helen seems to
like them--they are a little round or so. I, myself, wish to goodness
they were somewhat straighter, but Helen says the curve is delightful,
being what painters and glaziers call the line of beauty."

A sweet light laugh, that rang with the melody of a musical bell, broke
from Helen at this part of the description, in which, to tell the truth,
she was joined by Reilly. The old man himself, from sheer happiness and
good-humor, joined them both, though utterly ignorant of the cause of
their mirth.

"Aye, aye," he exclaimed, "you may laugh--by the great Boyne, I knew I
would make you laugh. Well, I'll go on; his complexion is of a--a--no
matter--of a good standing color, at all events; his nose, I grant you,
is as thin, and much of the same color, as pasteboard, but as a set-off
to that it's a thorough Williamite. Isn't that true, Helen?"

"Yes, papa; but I think King William's nose was the worst feature in his
face, although that certainly cannot be said of Sir Robert."

"Do you hear that, Reilly? I wish Sir Robert heard it, but I'll tell
him--there's a compliment, Helen--you're a good girl--thank you, Helen."

Helen's face was now radiant with mirthful enjoyment, whilst at the same
time Reilly could perceive that from time to time a deep unconscious
sigh would escape from her, such a sigh as induced him to infer that
some hidden care was at work with her heart. This he at once imputed to
her father's determination to force her into a marriage with the worthy
baronet, whom in his simplicity he was so ludicrously describing.

"Proceed, papa, and finish as you have begun it."

"I will, to oblige and gratify you, Helen. He is a little close about
the knees, Mr. Reilly--a little close about the knees, Willy."

"And about the heart, papa," added his daughter, who, for the life of
her, could not restrain the observation.

"It's no fault to know the value of money, my dear child. However, let
me go on--close about the knees, but that's a proof of strength, because
they support one another: every one knows that."

"But his arms, papa?"

"You see, Reilly, you see, Willy," said the squire, nodding in the
direction of his daughter, "not a bad sign that, and yet she pretends
not to care about him. She is gratified, evidently. Ah, Helen, Helen!
it's hard to know women."

"But his arms, papa?"

"Well, then, I wish to goodness you would allow me to skip that part of
the subject--they are an awful length, Willy, I grant. I allow the fact,
it cannot be denied, they are of an awful length."

"It will give him the greater advantage in over-reaching, papa."

"Well, as to his arms, upon my soul Willy, I know no more what to do
with them--"

"Than he does himself, papa."

"Just so, Helen; they hang about him like those of a skeleton on wires;
but, on the other hand, he has a neck that always betokens true
blood, long and thin like that of a racer. Altogether he's a devilish
interesting man, steady, prudent, and sober. I never saw him drink a
third glass of--"

"In the meantime, papa," observed Helen, "in the enthusiasm of your
description you are neglecting Mr. Reilly."

Ah, love, love! in how many minute points can you make yourself
understood!

"By the great William, and so I am. Come, Willy, help yourself"--and he
pushed the bottle towards him as he spoke.

And why, gentle reader, did Reilly fill his glass on that particular
occasion until it became literally a brimmer? We know--but if you are
ignorant of it we simply beg you to remain so; and why, on putting the
glass to his lips, did his large dark eyes rest upon her with that
deep and melting glance? Why, too, was that glance returned with the
quickness of thought before her lids dropped, and the conscious blush
suffused her face? The solution of this we must also leave to your own
ingenuity.

"Well," proceeded the squire, "steady, prudent, sober--of a fine old
family, and with an estate of twelve thousand a year--what do you think
of that, Willy? Isn't she a fortunate girl?"

"Taking his virtues and very agreeable person into consideration, sir,
I think so," replied Reilly in a tone of slight sarcasm, which was only
calculated to reach one of his audience.

"You hear that, Helen--you hear what Mr. Reilly--what Willy-says. The
fact is, I'll call you nothing but Willy in future, Willy--you hear what
he says, darling?"

"Indeed I do, papa--and understand it perfectly."

"That's my girl. Twelve thousand a year--and has money lent out at every
rate of interest from six per cent. up."

"And yet I cannot consider him as interesting on that account, papa."

"You do, Helen--nonsense, my love--you do, I tell you--it's all
make-believe when you speak to the contrary--don't you call the curve
on his shoulders the line of beauty? Come--come--you know I only want to
make you happy."

"It is time, papa, that I should withdraw," she replied, rising.

Reilly rose to open the door.

"Good-night, papa-dear, dear papa," she added, putting her snowy arms
about his neck and kissing him tenderly. "I know," she added, "that the
great object of your life is to make your _Cooleen Bawn_ happy--and in
doing so, dear papa--there now is another kiss for you--a little bribe,
papa--in doing so, consult her heart as well as your own. Good-night."

"Good-night, my treasure."

During this little scene of affectionate tenderness Reilly stood holding
the door open, and as she was going out, as if recollecting herself, she
turned to him and said, "Pardon me, Mr. Reilly, I fear you must think
me ungrateful; I have not yet thanked you for the service--the service
indeed so important that no language could find expression for it--which
you have rendered to dear papa, and to me. But, Mr. Reilly, I pray you
do not think me ungrateful, or insensible, for, indeed, I am neither.
Suffer me to feel what I owe you, and do not blame me if I cannot
express it."

"If it were not for the value of the life which it is probable I have
saved, and if it were not that your happiness was so deeply involved
in it," replied Reilly, "I would say that you overrate what I have done
this evening. But I confess I am myself now forced to see the value of
my services, and I thank heaven for having made me the humble instrument
of saving your father's life, not only for his own sake, Miss Folliard,
but for yours. I now feel a double debt of gratitude to heaven for it."

The _Cooleen Bawn_ did not speak, but the tears ran down her cheeks.
"Good-night, sir," she said. "I am utterly incapable of thanking you as
you deserve, and as I ought to thank you. Good-night!"

She extended her small snowy hand to him as she spoke. Reilly took it
in his, and by some voluntary impulse he could not avoid giving
it a certain degree of pressure. The fact is, it was such a
hand--so white--so small--so soft--so warm--so provocative of a
squeeze--that he felt his own pressing it, he knew not how nor
wherefore, at least he thought so at the time; that is to say, if he
were capable of thinking distinctly of any thing. But heaven and earth!
Was it true! No delusion? No dream? The pressure returned! the
slightest, the most gentle, the most delicate pressure--the barely
perceptible pressure! Yes! it was beyond all doubt; for although the act
itself was light as delicacy and modesty could make it, yet the
spirit--the lightening spirit--which it shot into his bounding and
enraptured heart could not be for a moment mistaken.

As she was running up the stairs she returned, however, and again
approaching her father, said--whilst Reilly could observe that her cheek
was flushed with a feeling that seemed to resemble ecstasy--"Papa,"
said she, "what a stupid girl I am! I scarcely know what I am saying or
doing."

"By the great Boyne," replied her father, "I'll describe him to you
every night in the week. I knew the curve--the line of beauty--would get
into your head; but what is it, darling?"

"Will you and Mr. Reilly have tea in the drawing-room, or shall I send
it down to you?"

"I am too comfortable in my easy chair, dear Helen: no, send it down."

"After the shock you have received, papa, perhaps you might wish to have
it from the hand of your own Cooleen Bawn?"

As the old man turned his eyes upon her they literally danced with
delight. "Ah, Willy!" said he, "is it any wonder I should love her?"

"I have often heard," replied Reilly, "that it is impossible to know
her, and not to love her. I now believe it."

"Thank you, Reilly; thank you, Willy; shake hands. Come, Helen, shake
hands with him. That's a compliment. Shake hands with him, darling.
There, now, that's all right. Yes, my love, by all means, come down and
give us tea here."

Innocent old man--the die is now irrevocably cast! That mutual pressure,
and that mutual glance. Alas! alas! how strange and incomprehensible is
human destiny!

After she had gone upstairs the old man said, "You see, Willy, how my
heart and soul are in that angelic creature. The great object, the great
delight of her life, is to anticipate all my wants, to study whatever
is agreeable to me--in fact, to make me happy. And she succeeds. Every
thing she does pleases me. By the grave of Schomberg, she's beyond all
price. It is true we never had a baronet in the family, and it would
gratify me to hear her called Lady Whitecraft; still, I say, I don't
care for rank or ambition; nor would I sacrifice my child's happiness
to either. And, between you and me, if she declines to have him, she
shan't, thats all that's to be said about it. He's quite round in
the shoulders; and yet so inconsistent are women that she calls a
protuberance that resembles the letter C the line of beauty. Then again
he bit me in 'Hop-and-go-constant;' and you know yourself, Willy, that
no person likes to be bit, especially by the man he intends for his
son-in-law. If he gives me the bite before marriage, what would he not
do after it?"

"This, sir, is a subject," replied Reilly, "on which I must decline
to give an opinion; but I think that no father should sacrifice the
happiness of his daughter to his own inclinations. However, setting this
matter aside, I have something of deep importance to mention to you."

"To me! Good heavens! What is it?"

"The Red Rapparee, sir, has formed a plan to rob, possibly to murder,
you, and what is worse--"

"Worse! Why, what the deuce--worse! Why, what could be worse?"

"The dishonor of your daughter. It is his intention to carry her off to
the mountains; but pardon me, I cannot bear to dwell upon the diabolical
project."

The old man fell back, pale, and almost insensible, in his chair.

"Do not be alarmed, sir," proceeded Keilly, "he will be disappointed. I
have taken care of that."

"But, Mr. Reilly, what--how--for heaven's sake tell me what you know
about it. Are you sure of this? How did you come to hear of it? Tell
me--tell me every thing about it! We must prepare to receive the
villains--we must instantly get assistance. My child--my life--my Helen,
to fall into the hands of this monster!"

"Hear me, sir," said Reilly, "hear me, and you will perceive I have
taken measures to frustrate all his designs, and to have him a prisoner
before to-morrow's sun arises."

He then related to him the plan laid by the Red Rapparee, as overheard
by Tom Steeple, and as it was communicated to himself by the same
individual subsequently, after which he proceeded:

"The fact is, sir, I have sent the poor fool, who is both faithful and
trustworthy, to summon here forty or fifty of my laborers and tenants.
They must be placed in the out-houses, and whatever arms and ammunition
you can spare, in addition to the weapons which they shall bring along
with them, must be made available. I sent orders that they should be
here about nine o'clock. I, myself, will remain in this house, and you
may rest assured that your life, your property, and your child shall be
all safe. I know the strength of the ruffian's band; it only consists
of about twelve men, or rather twelve devils, but he and they will find
themselves mistaken."

Before Miss Folliard came down to make tea, Reilly had summoned the
servants, and given them instructions as to their conduct during the
expected attack. Having arranged this, he went to the yard, and found
a large body of his tenants armed with such rude weapons as they could
procure; for, at this period, it was a felony for a Roman Catholic to
have or carry arms at all. The old squire, however, was well provided in
that respect, and, accordingly, such as could be spared from the house
were distributed among them. Mr. Folliard himself felt his spirit
animated by a sense of the danger, and bustled about with uncommon
energy and activity, considering what he had suffered in the course of
the evening. At all events, they both resolved to conceal the matter
from Helen till the last moment, in order to spare her the terror and
alarm which she must necessarily feel on hearing of the contemplated
violence. At tea, however, she could not avoid observing that something
had disturbed her father, who, from his naturally impetuous character,
ejaculated, from time to time, "The bloodthirsty scoundrel!--murdering
ruffian! We shall hang him, though; we can hang him for the conspiracy.
Would the fool's, Tom Steeples', evidence be taken, do you think?"

"I fear not, sir," replied Reilly. "In the meantime, don't think of it,
don't further distress yourself about it."

"To think of attacking my house, though; and if it were only I myself
that--however, we are prepared, that's one comfort; we are prepared, and
let them--hem!--Helen, my darling, now that we've had our tea, will
you retire to your own room. I wish to talk to Mr. Reilly here, on
a particular and important subject, in which you yourself are deeply
concerned. Withdraw, my love, but don't go to bed until I see you
again."

Helen went upstairs with a light foot and a bounding heart. A certain
hope, like a dream of far-off and unexpected happiness, rushed into
and filled her bosom with a crowd of sensations so delicious that, on
reaching her own room, she felt completely overpowered by them, and was
only relieved by a burst of tears. There was now but one image before
her imagination, but one image impressed upon her pure and fervent
heart; that image was the first that love had ever stamped there, and
the last that suffering, sorrow, madness, and death were ever able to
tear from it.

When the night had advanced to the usual hour for retiring to rest,
it was deemed necessary to make Helen acquainted with the meditated
outrage, in order to prevent the consequences of a nocturnal alarm for
which she might be altogether unprepared. This was accordingly done, and
her natural terrors were soothed and combated by Reilly and her
father, who succeeded in reviving her courage, and in enabling her to
contemplate what was to happen with tolerable composure.

Until about the hour of two o'clock every thing regained silent. Nobody
went to bed--the male servants were all prepared--the females, some
in tears, and others sustaining and comforting those who were more
feeble-hearted. Miss Folliard was in her own room, dressed. At about
half past two she heard a stealthy foot, and having extinguished the
light in her apartment, with great presence of mind she rang the bell,
whilst at the same moment her door was broken in, and a man, as she knew
by his step, entered. In the meantime the house was alarmed; the man
having hastily projected his arms about in several directions, as if
searching for her, instantly retreated, a scuffle was heard outside on
the lobby, and when lights and assistance appeared, there were found
eight or ten men variously armed, all of whom proved to be a portion of
the guard selected by Reilly to protect the house and family. These men
maintained that they had seen the Red Rapparee on the roof of the house,
through which he had descended, and that having procured a ladder from
the farmyard, they entered a back window, at a distance of about forty
feet from the ground, in hope of securing his person--that they came in
contact with some powerful man in the dark, who disappeared from among
them--but by what means he had contrived to escape they could not guess.
This was the substance of all they knew or understood upon the subject.

The whole house was immediately and thoroughly searched, and no trace of
him could be found until they came to the skylight, which was discovered
to be opened--wrenched off the hinges--and lying on the roof at a
distance of two or three yards from its place.

It soon became evident that the Rapparee and his party had taken the
alarm. In an instant those who were outside awaiting to pounce upon them
in the moment of attack got orders to scour the neighborhood, and if
possible to secure the Rapparee at every risk; and as an inducement the
squire himself offered to pay the sum of five hundred pounds to any
one who should bring him to Corbo Castle, which was the name of his
residence. This was accordingly attempted, the country far and wide was
searched, pursuit given in every direction, but all to no purpose. Not
only was the failure complete, but, what was still more unaccountable
and mysterious, no single mark or trace of them could be found. This
escape, however, did not much surprise the inhabitants of the country
at large, as it was only in keeping with many of a far more difficult
character which the Rapparee had often effected. The only cause to which
it could be ascribed was the supposed fact of his having taken such
admirable precautions against surprise as enabled his gang to disappear
upon a preconcerted plan the moment the friendly guards were discovered,
whilst he himself daringly attempted to secure the squire's cash and his
daughter.

Whether the supposition was right or wrong will appear subsequently;
but, in the meantime, we may add here, that the event in question, and
the disappearance of the burglars, was fatal to the happiness of our
lovers, for such they were in the tenderest and most devoted sense of
that strange and ungovernable passion.

Early the next morning the squire was so completely exhausted by the
consequences of watching, anxiety, and want of rest, that he felt
himself overcome by sleep, and was obliged to go to bed. Before he
went, however, he made Reilly promise that he would not go until he had
breakfasted, then shook him cordially by the hand, thanked him again and
again for the deep and important obligations he had imposed upon him
and his child, and concluded by giving him a general invitation to his
house, the doors of which, he said, as well as the heart of its owner,
should be ever ready to receive him.

"As for Helen, here," said he, "I leave her to thank you herself,
which I am sure she will do in a manner becoming the services you have
rendered her, before you go."

She then kissed him tenderly and he retired to rest.

At breakfast, Reilly and Miss Folliard were, of course, alone, if we may
say so. Want of rest and apprehension had given a cast of paleness to
her features that, so far from diminishing, only added a new and tender
character to her beauty. Reilly observed the exquisite loveliness of her
hand as she poured out the tea; and when he remembered the gentle but
significant pressure which it had given to his, more than once or twice,
on the preceding night, he felt as if he experienced a personal interest
in her fate--as if their destinies were to be united--as if his growing
spirit could enfold hers, and mingle with it forever. The love he felt
for her pervaded and softened his whole being with such a feeling of
tenderness, timidity, and ecstasy, that his voice, always manly and
firm, now became tremulous in its tones; such, in truth, as is always
occasioned by a full and overflowing heart when it trembles at the very
opportunity of pouring forth the first avowal of its affection.

"Miss Folliard," said he, after a pause, and with some confusion, "do
you believe in Fate?"

The question appeared to take her somewhat by surprise, if one could
judge by the look she bestowed upon him with her dark, flashing eyes.

"In Fate, Mr. Reilly? that is a subject, I fear, too deep for a girl
like me. I believe in Providence."

"All this morning I have been thinking of the subject. Should it be Fate
that brought me to the rescue of your father last night, I cannot but
feel glad of it; but though it be a Fate that has preserved him--and I
thank Almighty God for it--yet it is one that I fear has destroyed my
happiness."

"Destroyed your happiness, Mr. Reilly! why, how could the service you
rendered papa last night have such an effect?"

"I will be candid, and tell you, Miss Folliard. I know that what I am
about to say will offend you--it was by making me acquainted with his
daughter, and by bringing me under the influence of beauty which has
unmanned--distracted me--beauty which I could not resist--which has
overcome me--subdued me--and which, because it is beyond my reach and my
deserts, will occasion me an unhappy life--how long soever that life my
last."

"Mr. Reilly," exclaimed the _Cooleen Bawn_, "this--this--is--I am quite
unprepared for--I mean--to hear that such noble and generous conduct to
my father should end in this. But it cannot be. Nay, I will not pretend
to misunderstand you. After the service you have rendered to him and to
myself, it would be uncandid in me and unworthy of you to conceal the
distress which your words have caused me."

"I am scarcely in a condition to speak reasonably and calmly," replied
Reilly, "but I cannot regret that I have unconsciously sacrificed my
happiness, when that sacrifice has saved you from distress and grief and
sorrow. Now that I know you, I would offer--lay down--my life, if the
sacrifice could save yours from one moment's care. I have often heard of
what love--love in its highest and noblest sense--is able to do and to
suffer for the good and happiness of its object, but now I know it."

She spoke not, or rather she was unable to speak; but as she pulled
out her snow-white handkerchief, Reilly could observe the extraordinary
tremor of her hands; the face, too, was deadly pale.

"I am not making love to you, Miss Folliard," he added. "No, my
religion, my position in life, a sense of my own unworthiness, would
prevent that; but I could not rest unless you knew that there is one
heart which, in the midst of unhappiness and despair, can understand,
appreciate, and love you. I urge no claim. I am without hope."

The fair girl (_Cooleen Bawn_) could not restrain her tears; but
wept--yes, she wept. "I was not prepared for this," she replied. "I did
not think that so short an acquaintance could have--Oh, I know not what
to say--nor how to act. My father's prejudices. You are a Catholic."

"And will die one, Miss Folliard."

"But why should you be unhappy? You do not deserve to be so."

"That is precisely what made me ask you just now if you believed in
fate."

"Oh, I know not. I cannot answer such a question; but why should you be
unhappy, with your brave, generous, and noble heart? Surely, surely, you
do not deserve it."

"I said before that I have no hope, Miss Folliard. I shall carry with
me my love of you through life; it is my first, and I feel it will be my
last--it will be the melancholy light that will burn in the sepulchre
of my heart to show your image there. And now, Miss Folliard, I will bid
you farewell. Your father has proffered me hospitality, but I have not
strength nor resolution to accept it. You now know my secret--a hopeless
passion."

"Reilly," she replied, weeping bitterly, "our acquaintance has been
short--we have not seen much of each other, yet I will not deny that
I believe you to be all that any female heart could--pardon me, I am
without experience--I know not much of the world. You have travelled,
papa told me last night; I do not wish that you should be unhappy, and,
least of all, that I, who owe you so much, should be the occasion of it.
No, you talk of a hopeless passion. I know not what I ought to say--but
to the preserver of my father's life, and, probably my own honor, I
will say, be not--but why should love be separated from truth?" she
said--"No, Reilly, be not hopeless."

"Oh," replied Reilly, who had gone over near her, "but my soul will not
be satisfied without a stronger affirmation. This moment is the great
crisis of my life and happiness. I love you beyond all the power of
language or expression. You tremble, dear Miss Folliard, and you weep;
let me wipe those precious tears away. Oh, would to God that you loved
me!"

He caught her hand--it was not withdrawn--he pressed it as he had done
the evening before. The pressure was returned--his voice melted into
tenderness that was contagious and irresistible: "Say, dearest Helen,
star of my life and of my fate, oh, only say that I am not indifferent
to you."

They were both standing near the chimney-piece as he spoke--"only say,"
he repeated, "that I am not indifferent to you."

"Well, then," she replied, "you are not indifferent to me."

"One admission more, my dearest life, and I am happy forever. You love
me? say it, dearest, say it--or, stay, whisper it, whisper it--you love
me!"

"I do," she whispered in a burst of tears.




CHAPTER IV.--His Rival makes his Appearance, and its Consequences

--A Sapient Project for our Hero's Conversion

We will not attempt to describe the tumult of delight which agitated
Reilly's heart on his way home, after this tender interview with the
most celebrated Irish beauty of that period. The term _Cooleen Bawn_,
in native Irish, has two meanings, both of which were justly applied to
her, and met in her person. It signifies _fair locks_, or, as it may be
pronounced _fair girl_; and in either sense is peculiarly applicable to
a blonde beauty, which she was. The name of _Cooleen Bawn_ was applied
to her by the populace, whose talent for finding out and bestowing
epithets indicative either of personal beauty or deformity, or of
the qualities of the mind or character, be they good or evil, is, in
Ireland, singularly felicitous. In the higher ranks, however, she was
known as "The Lily of the Plains of Boyne," and as such she was toasted
by all parties, not only in her own native county, but throughout
Ireland, and at the viceregal entertainments in the Castle of Dublin. At
the time of which we write, the penal laws were in operation against the
Roman Catholic population of the country, and her father, a good-hearted
man by nature, was wordy and violent by prejudice, and yet secretly kind
and friendly to many of that unhappy creed, though by no means to all.
It was well known, however, that in every thing that was generous and
good in his character, or in the discharge of his public duties as a
magistrate, he was chiefly influenced by the benevolent and liberal
principles of his daughter, who was a general advocate for the
oppressed, and to whom, moreover, he could deny nothing. This accounted
for her popularity, as it does for the extraordinary veneration and
affection with which her name and misfortunes are mentioned down to the
present day. The worst point in her father's character was that he never
could be prevailed on to forgive an injury, or, at least, any act that
he conceived to be such, a weakness or a vice which was the means of all
his angelic and lovely daughter's calamities.

Reilly, though full of fervor and enthusiasm, was yet by no means
deficient in strong sense. On his way home he began to ask himself
in what this overwhelming passion for _Cooleen Bawn_ must end. His
religion, he was well aware, placed an impassable gulf between them.
Was it then generous or honorable in him to abuse the confidence and
hospitality of her father by engaging the affections of a daughter, on
whose welfare his whole happiness was placed, and to whom, moreover, he
could not, without committing an act of apostasy that he abhorred, ever
be united as a husband? Reason and prudence, moreover, suggested to
him the danger of his position, as well as the ungenerous nature of his
conduct to the grateful and trusting father. But, away with reason
and prudence--away with everything but love. The rapture of his heart
triumphed over every argument; and, come weal or woe, he resolved to
win the far-famed "Star of Connaught," another epithet which she derived
from her wonderful and extraordinary beauty.

On approaching his own house he met a woman named Mary Mahon, whose
character of a fortune-teller was extraordinary in the country, and
whose predictions, come from what source they might, had gained her a
reputation which filled the common mind with awe and fear.

"Well, Mary," said he, "what news from futurity? And, by the way, where
is futurity? Because if you don't know," he proceeded, laughing, "I
think I could tell you."

"Well," replied Mary, "let me hear it. Where is it, Mr. Reilly?"

"Why," he replied, "just at the point of your own nose, Mary, and you
must admit it is not a very long one; pure Milesian, Mary; a good deal
of the saddle in its shape."

The woman stood and looked at him for a few moments.

"My nose may be short," she replied, "but shorter will be the course of
your happiness."

"Well, Mary," he said, "I think as regards my happiness that you know as
little of it as I do myself. If you tell me any thing that has passed, I
may give you some credit for the future, but not otherwise."

"Do you wish to have your fortune tould, then," she asked, "upon them
terms?"

"Come, then, I don't care if I do. What has happened me, for instance,
within the last forty-eight hours?"

"That has happened you within the last forty-eight hours that will make
her you love the pity of the world before her time. I see how it will
happen, for the complaint I speak of is in the family. A living death
she will have, and you yourself during the same time will have little
less."

"But what has happened me, Mary?"

"I needn't tell you--you know--it. A proud heart, and a joyful heart,
and a lovin' heart, you carry now, but it will be a broken heart before
long."

"Why, Mary, this is an evil prophecy; have you nothing good to
foretell?"

"If it's a satisfaction to you to know, I will tell you: her love
for you is as strong, and stronger, than death itself; and it is the
suffering of what is worse than death, Willy Reilly, that will unite you
both at last."

Reilly started, and after a pause, in which he took it for granted that
Mary spoke merely from one of those shrewd conjectures which practised
impostors are so frequently in the habit of hazarding, replied, "That
won't do, Mary; you have told me nothing yet that has happened within
the last forty-eight hours. I deny the truth of what you say."

"It won't be long so, then, Mr. Reilly; you saved the life of the old
half-mad squire of Corbo. Yes, you saved his life, and you have taken
his daughter's! for indeed it would be better for her to die at wanst
than to suffer what will happen to you and her."

"Why, what is to happen?"

"You'll know it too soon," she replied, "and there's no use in making
you unhappy. Good-by, Mr. Reilly; if you take a friend's advice you'll
give her up; think no more of her. It may cost you an aching heart to
do so, but by doin' it you may save her from a great deal of sorrow, and
both of you from a long and heavy term of suffering."

Reilly, though a young man of strong reason in the ordinary affairs of
life, and of a highly cultivated intellect besides, yet felt himself
influenced by the gloomy forebodings of this notorious woman. It is true
he saw, by the force of his own sagacity, that she had uttered nothing
which any person acquainted with the relative position of himself and
_Cooleen Bawn_, and the political circumstances of the country, might
not have inferred as a natural and probable consequence. In fact he had,
on his way home, arrived at nearly the same conclusion. Marriage, as the
laws of the country then stood, was out of the question, and could
not be legitimately effected. What, then, must the consequence of this
irresistible but ill-fated passion be? An elopement to the Continent
would not only be difficult but dangerous, if not altogether impossible.
It was obviously evident that Mary Mahon had drawn her predictions from
the same circumstances which led himself to similar conclusions;
yet, notwithstanding all this, he felt that her words had thrown a
foreshadowing of calamity and sorrow over his spirit, and he passed up
to his own house in deep gloom and heaviness of heart. It is true he
remembered that this same Mary Mahon belonged to a family that had been
inimical to his house. She was a woman who had, in her early life,
been degraded by crime, the remembrance of which had been by no means
forgotten. She was, besides, a paramour to the Red Rapparee, and he
attributed much of her dark and ill-boding prophecy to a hostile and
malignant spirit.

On the evening of the same day, probably about the same hour, the
old squire having recruited himself by sleep, and felt refreshed and
invigorated, sent for his daughter to sit with him as was her wont; for
indeed, as the reader may now fully understand, his happiness altogether
depended upon her society, and those tender attentions to him which
constituted the chief solace of his life.

"Well, my girl," said he, when she entered the dining-room, for he
seldom left it unless when they had company, "Well, darling, what do you
think of this Mr. Mahon--pooh!--no--oh, Reilly--he who saved my life,
and, probably, was the means of rescuing you from worse than death?
Isn't he a fine--a noble young fellow?"

"Indeed, I think so, papa; he appear's to be a perfect gentleman."

"Hang perfect gentlemen, Helen! they are, some of them, the most
contemptible whelps upon earth. Hang me, but any fellow with a
long-bodied coat, tight-kneed breeches, or stockings and pantaloons,
with a watch in each fob, and a frizzled wig, is considered a perfect
gentleman--a perfect puppy, Helen, an accomplished trifle. Reilly,
however, is none of these, for he is not only a perfect gentleman, but a
brave man, who would not hesitate to risk his life in order to save
that of a fellow-creature, even although he is a Papist, and that
fellow-creature a Protestant."

"Well, then, papa, I grant you," she replied with a smile, which our
readers will understand, "I grant you that he is a--ahem!--all you
say."

"What a pity, Helen that he is a Papist."

"Why so, papa?"

"Because, if he was a staunch Protestant, by the great Deliverer that
saved us from brass money, wooden shoes, and so forth, I'd marry you and
him together. I'll tell you what, Helen, by the memory of Schomberg, I
have a project, and it is you that must work it out."

"Well, papa," asked his daughter, putting the question with a smile and
a blush, "pray what is this speculation?"

"Why, the fact is, I'll put him into your hands to convert him--make him
a staunch Protestant, and take him for your pains. Accomplish this, and
let long-legged, knock-kneed Whitecraft, and his twelve thousand a year,
go and bite some other fool as he bit me in 'Hop-and-go-constant.'"

"What are twelve thousand a year, papa, when you know that they could
not secure me happiness with such a wretch? Such a union, sir, could
not be--cannot be--must not be, and I will add, whilst I am in the
possession of will and reason, shall not be."

[Illustration: PAGE 28 (and Frontispiece)--You must endeavor to convert
him from Popery]

"Well, Helen," said her father, "if you are obstinate, so am I; but I
trust we shall never have to fight for it. We must have Reilly here, and
you must endeavor to convert him from Popery. If you succeed, I'll give
long-shanks his _nunc dimittis_, and send him home on a trot."

"Papa," she replied, "this will be useless--it will be ruin--I know
Reilly."

"The devil you do! When, may I ask, did you become acquainted?"

"I mean," she replied, blushing, "that I have seen enough of him during
his short stay here to feel satisfied that no earthly persuasion, no
argument, could induce him, at this moment especially, to change his
religion. And, sir, I will add myself--yes, I will say for myself, dear
papa, and for Reilly too, that if from any unbecoming motive--if for the
sake of love itself, I felt satisfied that he could give up and abandon
his religion, I would despise him. I should feel at once that his heart
was hollow, and that he was unworthy either of my love or my respect."

"Well, by the great Boyne, Helen, you have knocked my intellects up. I
hope in God you have no Papist predilections, girl. However, it's only
fair to give Reilly a trial; long-legs is to dine with us the day after
tomorrow--now, I will ask Reilly to meet him here--perhaps, if I get
an opportunity, I will sound him on the point myself--or, perhaps, you
will. Will you promise to make the attempt? I'll take care that you and
he shall have an opportunity."

"Indeed, papa, I shall certainly mention the subject to him."

"By the soul of Schomberg, Helen, if you do you'll convert him."

Helen was about to make some good-natured reply, when the noise of
carriage wheels was heard at the hall-door, and her father, going to
the window, asked, "What noise is that? A carriage!--who can it be?
Whitecraft, by the Boyne! Well, it can't be helped."

"I will leave you, papa," she said; "I do not wish to see this unfeeling
and repulsive man, unless when it is unavoidable, and in your presence."

She then withdrew.

Before we introduce Sir Robert Whitecraft, we must beg our readers to
accompany us to the residence of that worthy gentleman, which was not
more than three miles from that of Reilly. Sir Robert had large estates
and a sumptuous residence in Ireland, as well as in England, and had
made the former principally his place of abode since he became enamored
of the celebrated _Cooleen Bawn_. On the occasion in question he was
walking about through his grounds when a female approached him; whom
we beg the reader to recognize as Mary Mahon. This mischievous woman,
implacable and without principle, had, with the utmost secrecy, served
Sir Robert, and many others, in a capacity discreditable alike to virtue
and her sex, by luring the weak or the innocent within their toils.

"Well, Mary," said he, "what news in the country? You, who are always on
the move, should know."

"No very good news for you, Sir Robert," she replied.

"How is that, Mary?"

"Why, sir, Willy Reilly--the famous Willy Reilly--has got a footing in
the house of old Squire Folliard."

"And how can that be bad news to me, Mary?"

"Well, I don't know," said she, with a cunning leer; "but this I know,
that they had a love scene together this very morning, and that he
kissed her very sweetly near the chimney-piece."

Sir Robert Whitecraft did not get into a rage; he neither cursed nor
swore, nor even looked angrily, but he gave a peculiar smile, which
should be seen in order to be understood. "Where is your--ahem--your
friend now?" he asked; and as he did so he began to whistle.

"Have you another job for him?" she inquired, in her turn, with a
peculiar meaning. "Whenever I fail by fair play, he tries it by foul."

"Well, and have not I often saved his neck, as well by my influence
as by allowing him to take shelter under my roof whenever he was hard
pressed?"

"I know that, your honor; and hasn't he and I often sarved you, on the
other hand?"

"I grant it, Molly; but that is a matter known only to ourselves. You
know I have the reputation of being very correct and virtuous."

"I know you have," said Molly, "with most people, but not with all."

"Well, Molly, you know, as far as we are concerned, one good turn
deserves another. Where is your friend now, I ask again?"

"Why, then, to tell you the truth, it's more than I know at the present
speaking."

"Follow me, then," replied the wily baronet; "I wish you to see him; he
is now concealed in my house; but first, mark me, I don't believe a word
of what you have just repeated."

"It's as true as Gospel for all that," she replied; "and if you wish to
hear how I found it out I'll tell you."

"Well," said the baronet calmly, "let us hear it."

"You must know," she proceeded, "that I have a cousin, one Betty Beatty,
who is a housemaid in the squire's. Now, this same Betty Beatty was in
the front parlor--for the squire always dines in the back--and, from a
kind of natural curiosity she's afflicted with, she puts her ear to the
keyhole, and afterwards her eye. I happened to be at the squire's at
the time, and, as blood is thicker that wather, and as she knew I was
a friend of yourrs, she tould me what she had both heard and seen, what
they said, and how he kissed her."

Sir Robert seemed very calm, and merely said, "Follow me into the
house," which she accordingly did, and remained in consultation with him
and the Red Rapparee for nearly an hour, after which Sir Robert ordered
his carriage, and went to pay a visit, as we have seen, at Corbo Castle.

Sir Robert Whitecraft, on entering the parlor, shook hands as a matter
of course with the squire. At this particular crisis the vehement but
whimsical old man, whose mind was now full of another project with
reference to his daughter, experienced no great gratification from this
visit, and, as the baronet shook hands with him, he exclaimed somewhat
testily.

"Hang it, Sir Robert, why don't you shake hands like a man? You put that
long yellow paw of yours, all skin and bones, into a man's hand, and
there you let it lie. But, no matter, every one to his nature. Be
seated, and tell me what news. Are the Papists quiet?"

"There is little news stirring, sir; at least if there be, it does not
come my way, with the exception of this report about yourself, which I
hope is not true; that there was an attempt made on your life yesterday
evening?"

Whilst Sir Robert spoke he approached a looking-glass, before which he
presented himself, and commenced adjusting his dress, especially his
wig, a piece of vanity which nettled the quick and irritable feelings
of the squire exceedingly. The inference he drew was, that this wealthy
suitor of his daughter felt more about his own personal appearance
before her than about the dreadful fate which he himself had so narrowly
escaped.

"What signifies that, my dear fellow, when your wig is out of balance?
it's a little to the one side, like the ear of an empty jug, as they
say."

"Why, sir," replied the baronet, "the fact is, that I
felt--hum!--hum--so much--so much--a--anxiety--hum!--to see you
and--a--a--to know all about it--that--a--I didn't take time to--a--look
to my dress. And besides, as I--hum!--expect to have--a--the pleasure
of an interview with Miss Folliard--a--hum!--now that I'm here--I feel
anxious to appear to the best advantage--a--hum!"

[Illustration: PAGE 29--Readjustment of his toilet, at the large mirror]

While speaking he proceeded with the readjustment of his toilet at the
large mirror, an operation which appeared to constitute the great object
on which his mind was engaged, the affair of the squire's life or
death coming in only parenthetically, or as a consideration of minor
importance.

In height Sir Robert Whitecraft was fully six feet two; but being
extremely thin and lank, and to all appearance utterly devoid of
substance, and of every thing like proportion, he appeared much taller
than even nature had made him. His forehead was low, and his whole
character felonious; his eyes were small, deep set, and cunning; his
nose was hooked, his mouth was wide, but his lips thin to a miracle,
and such as always--are to be found under the nose of a miser; as for a
chin, we could not conscientiously allow him any; his under-lip sloped
off until it met the throat with a curve not larger than that of
an oyster-shell, which when open to the tide, his mouth very much
resembled. As for his neck, it was so long that no portion of dress at
that time discovered was capable of covering more than one third of it;
so that there were always two parts out of three left stark naked, and
helplessly exposed to the elements. Whenever he smiled he looked as
if he was about to weep. As the squire said, he was dreadfully
round-shouldered--had dangling arms, that kept napping about him as
if they were moved by some machinery that had gone out of order--was
close-kneed--had the true telescopic leg--and feet that brought a very
large portion of him into the closest possible contact with the earth.

"Are you succeeding, Sir Robert?" inquired the old man sarcastically,
"because, if you are, I swear you're achieving wonders, considering the
slight materials you have to work upon."

"Ah! sir," replied the baronet, "I perceive you are in one of your
biting humors to-day."

"Biting!" exclaimed the other. "Egad, it's very well for most of your
sporting acquaintances that you're free from hydrophobia; if you were
not, I'd have died pleasantly between two feather beds, leaving my child
an orphan long before this. Egad, you bit me to some purpose."

"Oh, ay, you allude to the affair of 'Hop-and-go-constant' and 'Pat the
Spanker;' but you know, my dear sir, I gave you heavy boot;" and as he
spoke, he pulled up the lapels of his coat, and glanced complacently at
the profile of his face and person in the glass.

"Pray, is Miss Folliard at home, sir?"

"Again I'm forgotten," thought the squire. "Ah, what an affectionate
son-in-law he'd make! What a tender husband for Helen! Why, hang the
fellow, he has a heart for nobody, but himself. She is at home, Sir
Robert, but the truth is, I don't think it would become me, as a father
anxious for the happiness of his child, and that child, an only one, to
sacrifice her happiness--the happiness of her whole life--to wealth or
ambition. You know she herself entertains a strong prejudice--no, that's
not the word--"

"I beg your pardon, sir; that is the word; her distaste to me is a
prejudice, and nothing else."

"No, Sir Robert; it is not the word. Antipathy is the word. Now I tell
you, once for all, that I will not force my child."

"This change, Mr. Folliard," observed the baronet, "is somewhat of the
suddenest. Has any thing occurred on my part to occasion it?"

"Perhaps I may have other views for her, Sir Robert."

"That may be; but is such conduct either fair or honorable towards me,
Mr. Folliard? Have I got a rival, and if so, who is he?"

"Oh, I wouldn't tell you that for the world."

"And why not, pray?"

"Because," replied the squire, "if you found out who he was, you'd be
hanged for cannibalism."

"I really don't understand you, Mr. Folliard. Excuse me, but it would
seem to me that something has put you into no very agreeable humor
to-day."

"You don't understand me! Why, Sir Robert," replied the other, "I know
you so well that if you heard the name of your rival you would first
kill him, then powder him, and, lastly, eat him. You are such a terrible
fellow that you care about no man's life, not even about mine."

Now it was to this very point that the calculating baronet wished to
bring him. The old man, he knew, was whimsical, capricious, and in the
habit of taking all his strongest and most enduring resolutions from
sudden contrasts produced by some mistake of his own, or from some
discovery made to him on the part of others.

"As to your life, Mr. Folliard, let me assure you," replied Sir Robert,
"that there is no man living prizes it, and, let me add, you character
too, more highly than I do; but, my dear sir, your life was never in
danger."

"Never in danger! what do you mean, Sir Robert? I tell you, sir, that
the murdering miscreant, the Red Rapparee, had a loaded gun levelled at
me last evening, after dark."

"I know it," replied the other; "I am well aware of it, and you were
rescued just in the nick of time."

"True enough," said the squire, "just in the nick of time; by that
glorious young fellow--a--a--yes--Reilly--Willy Reilly."

"This Willy Reilly, sir, is a very accomplished person, I think."

"A gentleman, Sir Robert, every inch of him, and as handsome and
fine-looking a young fellow as ever I laid my eyes upon."

"He was educated on the Continent by the Jesuits."

"No!" replied the squire, dreadfully alarmed at this piece of
information, "he was not; by the great Boyne, he wasn't."

This mighty asseveration, however, was exceedingly feeble in moral
strength and energy, for, in point of fact, it came out of the squire's
lips more in the shape of a question than an oath.

"It is unquestionably true, sir," said the baronet; "ask himself, and he
will admit it."

"Well, and granting that he was," replied the squire, "what else could
he do, when the laws would not permit of his being educated here? I
speak not against the laws, God forbid, but of his individual case."

"We are travelling from the point, sir," returned the baronet. "I was
observing that Reilly is an accomplished person, as indeed every Jesuit
is. Be that as it may, I again beg to assure you that your life stood in
no risk."

"I don't understand you, Sir Robert. You're a perfect oracle; by the
great Deliverer from Pope and Popery, wooden shoes, and so forth, only
that Reilly made his appearance at that moment I was a dead man."

"Not the slightest danger, Mr. Folliard. I am aware of that, and of
the whole Jesuitical plot from the beginning, base, ingenious, but
diabolical as it was."

The squire rose up and looked at him for a minute, without speaking,
then sat down again, and, a second time, was partially up, but resumed
his seat.

"A plot!" he exclaimed; "a plot, Sir Robert! What plot?"

"A plot, Mr. Folliard, for the purpose of creating an opportunity to
make your acquaintance, and of ingratiating himself into the good
graces and affections of your lovely daughter; a plot for the purpose of
marrying her."

The Squire seemed for a moment thunderstruck, but in a little time he
recovered. "Marrying her!" he exclaimed; "that, you know, could not be
done, unless he turned Protestant."

It was now time for the baronet to feel thunderstricken.

"He turn Protestant! I don't understand you, Mr. Folliard. Could any
change on Reilly's part involve such a probability as a marriage between
him and your daughter?"

"I can't believe it was a plot, Sir Robert," said the squire, shifting
the question, "nor I won't believe it. There was too much truth and
sincerity in his conduct. And, what is more, my house would have been
attacked last night; I myself robbed and murdered, and my daughter-my
child, carried off, only for him. Nay, indeed, it was partially
attacked, but when the villainy found us prepared they decamped; but, as
for marriage, he could not marry my daughter, I say again, so long as he
remains a Papist."

"Unless he might prevail on her to turn Papist."

"By the life of my body, Sir Robert, I won't stand this. Did you come
here, sir, to insult me and to drive me into madness? What devil could
have put it into your head that my daughter, sir, or any one with a drop
of my blood in their veins, to the tenth generation, could ever, for a
single moment, think of turning Papist? Sir, I hoped that you would have
respected the name both of my daughter and myself, and have foreborne to
add this double insult both to her and me. The insolence even to dream
of imputing such an act to her I cannot overlook. You yourself, if you
could gain a point or feather your nest by it, are a thousand times much
more likely to turn Papist than either of us. Apologize instantly, sir,
or leave my house."

"I can certainly apologize, Mr. Folliard," replied the baronet, "and
with a good conscience, inasmuch as I had not the most remote intention
of offending you, much less Miss Folliard--I accordingly do so promptly
and at once; but as for my allegations against Reilly, I am in a
position to establish their truth in the clearest manner, and to prove
to you that there wasn't a. single robber, nor Rapparee either, at or
about your house last night, with the exception of Reilly and his gang.
If there were, why were they neither heard nor seen?"

"One of them was--the Red Rapparee himself."

"Do not be deceived, Mr. Folliard; did you yourself, or any of your
family or household, see him?"

"Why, no, certainly, we did not; I admit that."

"Yes, and you will admit more soon. I shall prove the whole conspiracy."

"Well, why don't you then?"

"Simply because the matter must be brought about with great caution.
You--must allow me a few days, say three or four, and the proofs shall
be given."

"Very well, Sir Robert, but in the meantime I shall not throw Reilly
overboard."

"Could I not be permitted to pay my respects to Miss Folliard before I
go, sir?" asked Sir Robert.

"Don't insist upon it," replied her father; "you know perfectly well
that she--that you are no favorite with her."

"Nothing on earth, sir, grieves me so much," said the baronet, affecting
a melancholy expression of countenance, which was ludicrous to look at.

"Well, well," said the old man, "as you can't see her now, come and meet
Reilly here at dinner the day after to-morrow, and you shall have that
pleasure."

"It will be with pain, sir, that I shall force myself into that person's
society; however, to oblige you, I shall do it."

"Consider, pray consider, Sir Robert," replied the old squire, all his
pride of family glowing strong within him, "just consider that my table,
sir, and my countenance, sir, and my sense of gratitude, sir, are a
sufficient guarantee to the worth and respectability of any one whom I
may ask to my house. And, Sir Robert, in addition to that, just reflect
that I ask him to meet my daughter, and, if I don't mistake, I think I
love, honor, and respect her nearly as much as I do you. Will you come
then, or will you not?"

"Unquestionably, sir, I shall do myself the honor."

"Very well," replied the old squire, clearing up at once--undergoing, in
fact, one of those rapid and unaccountable changes which constituted
so prominent a portion of his character. "Very well, Bobby; good-by, my
boy; I am not angry with you; shake hands, and curse Popery."

Until the morning of the day on which the two rivals were to meet, Miss
Folliard began to entertain a dreadful apprehension that the fright into
which the Red Rapparee had thrown her father was likely to terminate,
ere long, in insanity. The man at best was eccentric, and full of the
most unaccountable changes of temper and purpose, hot, passionate,
vindictive, generous, implacable, and benevolent. What he had seldom
been accustomed to do, he commenced soliloquizing aloud, and talking to
himself in such broken hints and dark mysterious allusions, drawing from
unknown premises such odd and ludicrous inferences; at one time brushing
himself up in Scripture; at another moment questioning his daughter
about her opinion on Popery--sometimes dealing about political and
religious allusions with great sarcasm, in which he was a master when he
wished, and sometimes with considerable humor of illustration, so far,
at least, as he could be understood.

"Confound these Jesuits," said he; "I wish they were scourged out of
Europe. Every man of them is sure to put his finger in the pie and then
into his mouth to taste what it's like; not so the parsons--Hallo! where
am I? Take care, old Folliard; take care, you old dog; what have you to
say in favor of these same parsons--lazy, negligent fellows, who snore
and slumber, feed well, clothe well, and think first of number one?
Egad, I'm in a mess between them. One makes a slave of you, and the
other allows you to play the tyrant. A plague, as I heard a fellow say
in a play once, a plague o' both your houses: if you paid more attention
to your duties, and scrambled less for wealth and power, and this
world's honors, you would not turn it upside down as you do. Helen!"

"Well, papa."

"I have doubts whether I shall allow you to sound Reilly on. Popery."

"I would rather decline it, sir."

"I'll tell you what; I'll see Andy Cummiskey--Andy's opinion is good
on any thing." And accordingly he proceeded to see his confidential
old servant. With this purpose, and in his own original manner, he went
about consulting every servant under his roof upon their respective
notions of Popery, as he called it, and striving to allure them, at one
time by kindness, and at another by threatening them, into an avowal
of its idolatrous tendency. Those to whom he spoke, however, knew very
little about it, and, like those of all creeds in a similar predicament,
he found that, in proportion to their ignorance of its doctrines, arose
the vehemence and sincerity of their defence of it. This, however, is
human nature, and we do not see how the learned can condemn it. Upon the
day appointed for dinner only four sat down to it--that is to say, the
squire, his daughter, Sir Robert Whitecraft, and Reilly. They had met in
the drawing-room some time before its announcement, and as the old man
introduced the two latter, Reilly's bow was courteous and gentlemanly,
whilst that of the baronet, who not only detested Reilly with the hatred
of a demon, but resolved to make him feel the superiority of rank and
wealth, was frigid, supercilious, and offensive. Reilly at once saw
this, and, as he knew not that the baronet was in possession of his
secret, he felt his ill-bred insolence the more deeply. He was too much
of a gentleman, however, and too well acquainted with the principles and
forms of good breeding, to seem to notice it in the slightest degree.
The old squire at this time had not at all given Reilly up, but still
his confidence in him was considerably shaken. He saw, moreover, that,
notwithstanding what had occurred at their last interview, the baronet
had forgotten the respect due both to himself and his daughter; and, as
he had, amidst all his eccentricities, many strong touches of the
old Irish gentleman about him, he resolved to punish him for his
ungentlemanly deportment. Accordingly, when dinner was announced, he
said:

"Mr. Reilly, you will give Miss Folliard your arm."

We do not say that the worthy baronet squinted, but there was a bad,
vindictive look in his small, cunning eyes, which, as they turned upon
Reilly, was ten times more repulsive than the worst squint that ever
disfigured a human countenance. To add to his chagrin, too, the squire
came out with a bit of his usual sarcasm.

"Come, baronet," said he, "here's my arm. I am the old man, and you are
the old lady; and now for dinner."

In the meantime Reilly and the Cooleen Bawn had gone far enough in
advance to be in a condition to speak without being heard.

"That," said she, "is the husband my father intends for me, or, rather,
did intend; for, do you know, that you have found such favor in his
sight that--that--" she hesitated, and Reilly, looking into her face,
saw that she blushed deeply, and he felt by her arm that her whole frame
trembled with emotion.

"Proceed, dearest love," said he; "what is it?"

"I have not time to tell you now," she replied, "but he mentioned a
project to me which, if it could be accomplished, would seal both your
happiness and mine forever. Your religion is the only obstacle."

"And that, my love," he replied, "is an insurmountable one."

"Alas! I feared as much," she replied, sighing bitterly as she spoke.

The old squire took the head of the table, and requested Sir Robert to
take the foot; his daughter was at his right hand, and Reilly opposite
her, by which means, although denied any confidential use of the tongue,
their eyes enjoyed very gratifying advantages, and there passed between
them occasionally some of those rapid glances which, especially when
lovers are under surveillance, concentrate in their lightning flash more
significance, more hope, more joy, and more love, than ever was
conveyed by the longest and tenderest gaze of affection under other
circumstances.

"Mr. Reilly," said the squire, "I'm told that you are a very well
educated man; indeed, the thing is evident. What, let me ask, is your
opinion of education in general?"

"Why, sir," replied Reilly, "I think there can be but one opinion about
it. Without education a people can never be moral, prosperous, or happy.
Without it, how are they to learn the duties of this life, or those
still more important ones that prepare them for a better?"

"You would entrust the conduct and control of it, I presume, sir, to the
clergy?" asked Sir Robert insidiously.

"I would give the priest such control in education as becomes his
position, which is not only to educate the youth, but to instruct the
man, in all the duties enjoined by religion."

The squire now gave a triumphant look at the baronet, and a very kind
and gracious one at Reilly.

"Pray, sir," continued the baronet, in his cold, supercilious manner,
"from the peculiarity of your views, I feel anxious, if you will pardon
me, to ask where you yourself have received your very accomplished
education."

"Whether my education, sir, has been an accomplished one or otherwise,"
replied Reilly, "is a point, I apprehend, beyond the reach of any
opportunity you ever had to know. I received my education, sir, such as
it is, and if it be not better the fault is my own, in a Jesuit seminary
on the Continent."

It was now the baronet's time to triumph; and indeed the bitter glancing
look he gave at the squire, although it was intended for Reilly,
resembled that which one of the more cunning and ferocious beasts of
prey makes previous to its death-spring upon its victim. The old man's
countenance instantly fell. He looked with surprise, not unmingled with
sorrow and distrust, at Reilly, a circumstance which did not escape his
daughter, who could not, for the life of her, avoid fixing her eyes,
lovelier even in the disdain they expressed, with an indignant look at
the baronet.

The latter, however, felt resolved to bring his rival still further
within the toils he was preparing for him, an object which Reilly's
candor very much facilitated.

"Mr. Reilly," said the squire, "I was not prepared to
hear--a--a--hem--God bless me, it is very odd, very deplorable, very
much to be regretted indeed!"

"What is, sir?" asked Reilly.

"Why, that you should be a Jesuit. I must confess I was not--ahem!--God
bless me. I can't doubt your own word, certainly."

"Not on this subject," observed the baronet coolly.

"On no subject, sir," replied Reilly, looking him sternly, and with
an indignation that was kept within bounds only by his respect for the
other parties, and the roof that covered him; "On no subject, Sir Robert
Whitecraft, is my word to be doubted."

"I beg your pardon, sir," replied the other, "I did not say so."

"I will neither have it said, sir, nor insinuated," rejoined Reilly. "I
received my education on the Continent because the laws of this country
prevented me from receiving it here. I was placed in a Jesuit seminary,
not by my own choice, but by that of my father, to whom I owed
obedience. Your oppressive laws, sir, first keep us ignorant, and then
punish us for the crimes which that ignorance produces."

"Do you call the laws of the country oppressive?" asked the baronet,
with as much of a sneer as cowardice would permit him to indulge in.

"I do, sir, and ever will consider them so, at least so long as they
deprive myself and my Catholic fellow-countrymen of their civil and
religious rights."

"That is strong language, though," observed the other, "at this time of
day."

"Mr. Reilly," said the squire, "you seem to be very much attached to
your religion."

"Just as much as I am to my life, sir, and would as soon give up the one
as the other."

The squire's countenance literally became pale, his last hope was gone,
and so great was his agitation that, in bringing a glass of wine to his
lips, his hand trembled to such a degree that he spilled a part of it.
This, however, was not all. A settled gloom--a morose, dissatisfied
expression--soon overshadowed his features, from which disappeared all
trace of that benignant, open, and friendly hospitality towards Reilly
that had hitherto obtained from them. He and the baronet exchanged
glances of whose import, if Reilly was ignorant, not so his beloved
_Cooleen Bawn_. For the remainder of the evening the squire treated
Reilly with great coolness; always addressing him as Mister, and
evidently contemplating him in a spirit which partook of the feeling
that animated Sir Robert Whitecraft.

Helen rose to withdraw, and contrived, by a sudden glance at the door,
and another as quick in the direction of the drawing-room, to let her
lover know that she wished him to follow her soon. The hint was not
lost, for in less than half an hour Reilly, who was of very temperate
habits, joined her as she had hinted.

"Reilly," said she, as she ran to him, "dearest Reilly! there is little
time to be lost. I perceive that a secret understanding respecting
you exists between papa and that detestable baronet. Be on your guard,
especially against the latter, who has evidently, ever since we sat down
to dinner, contrived to bring papa round to his own way of thinking, as
he will ultimately, perhaps, to worse designs and darker purposes. Above
all things, speak nothing that can be construed against the existing
laws. I find that danger, if not positive injury, awaits you. I shall,
at any risk, give you warning."

"At no risk, beloved!"

"At every risk--at all risks, dearest Reilly! Nay, more--whatever danger
may encompass you shall be shared by me, even at the risk of my life, or
I shall extricate you out of it. But perhaps you will not be faithful to
me. If so, I shudder to think what might happen."

"Listen," said Reilly, taking her by the hand, "In the presence of
heaven, I am yours, and yours only, until death!"

She repeated his words, after which they had scarcely taken their seats
when the squire and Sir Eobert entered the drawing-room.



CHAPTER V.--The Plot and the Victims.


Sir Robert, on entering the room along with the squire, found the
_Cooleen Bawn_ at the spinnet. Taking his place at the end of it, so as
that he could, gain a full view of her countenance, he thought he could
observe her complexion considerably heightened in color, and from her
his glance was directed to Reilly. The squire, on the other hand, sat
dull, silent, and unsociable, unless when addressing himself to the
baronet, and immediately his genial manner returned to him.

With his usual impetuosity, however, when laboring under what he
supposed to be a sense of injury, he soon brought matters to a crisis.

"Sir Robert," said he, "are the Papists quiet now?"

"They are quiet, sir," replied the other, "because they dare not be
otherwise."

"By the great Deliverer, that saved us from Pope and Popery, brass money
and wooden shoes, I think the country will never be quiet till they are
banished out of it."

"Indeed, Mr. Folliard, I agree with you."

"And so do I, Sir Robert," said Reilly. "I wish from my soul there was
not a Papist, as you call them, in this unfortunate country! In any
other country beyond the bounds of the British dominions they could
enjoy freedom. But I wish it for another reason, gentlemen; if they were
gone, you would then be taught to your cost the value of your estates
and the source of your incomes. And now, Mr. Folliard, I am not
conscious of having given you any earthly offence, but I cannot
possibly pretend to misunderstand the object of your altered conduct and
language. I am your guest, at your own express invitation. You know I am
a Roman Catholic--Papist, if you will--yet, with the knowledge of this,
you have not only insulted me personally, but also in the creed to which
I belong. As for that gentleman, I can only say that this roof and the
presence of those who are under it constitute his protection. But I envy
not the man who could avail himself of such a position, for the
purpose of insinuating an insult which he dare not offer under other
circumstances. I will not apologize for taking my departure, for I feel
that I have been too long here."

_Cooleen Bawn_ arose in deep agitation. "Dear papa, what is this?"
she exclaimed. "What can be the cause of it? Why forget the laws of
hospitality? Why, above all things, deliberately insult the man to whom
you and I both owe so much? Oh, I cannot understand it. Some demon,
equally cowardly and malignant, must have poisoned your own naturally
generous mind. Some villain, equally profligate and hypocritical, has,
for some dark purpose, given this unworthy bias to your mind."

"You know nothing of it, Helen. You're altogether in the dark, girl; but
in a day or two it will all be made clear to you."

"Do not be discomposed, my dear Miss Folliard," said Sir Robert,
striding over to her. "Allow me to prevail upon you to suspend your
judgment for a little, and to return to the beautiful air you were
enchanting us with."

As he spoke he attempted to take her hand. Reilly, in the meantime, was
waiting for an opportunity to bid his love goodnight.

[Illustration: PAGE 35--Touch me not, sir]

"Touch me not, sir," she replied, her glorious eyes flashing with
indignation. "I charge you as the base cause of drawing down the
disgrace of shame, the sin of ingratitude, on my father's head. But here
that father stands, and there you, sir, stand; and sooner than become
the wife of Sir Robert Whitecraft I would dash myself from the
battlements of this castle. William Reilly, brave and generous young
man, goodnight! It matters not who may forget the debt of gratitude
which this family owe you--I will not. No cowardly slanderer shall
instil his poisonous calumnies against you into my ear. My opinion of
you is unchanged and unchangeable. Farewell! William Relly!"

We shall not attempt to describe the commotions of love, of happiness,
of rapture, which filled Reilly's bosom as he took his departure. As
for _Cooleen Bawn_, she had now passed the Rubicon, and there remained
nothing for her but constancy to the truth of her affection, be the
result what it might. She had, indeed, much of the vehemence of her
father's character in her; much of his unchangeable purpose, when she
felt or thought she was right; but not one of his unfounded whims or
prejudices; for she was too noble-minded and sensible to be influenced
by unbecoming or inadequate motives. With an indignant but beautiful
scorn, that gave grace to resentment, she bowed to the baronet, then
kissed her father affectionately and retired.

The old man, after she had gone, sat for a considerable time silent.
In fact, the superior force of his daughter's character had not only
surprised, but overpowered him for the moment. The baronet attempted to
resume the conversation, but he found not his intended father-in-law in
the mood for it. The light of truth, as it flashed from the spirit of
his daughter, seemed to dispel the darkness of his recent suspicions; he
dwelt upon the possibility of ingratitude with a temporary remorse.

"I cannot speak to you, Sir Robert," he said; "I am confused, disturbed,
distressed. If I have treated that young man ungratefully, God may
forgive me, but I will never forgive myself."

"Take care, sir," said the baronet, "that you are not under the spell of
the Jesuit and your daughter too. Perhaps you will find, when it is too
late, that she is the more spellbound of the two. If I don't mistake,
the spell begins to work already. In the meantime, as Miss Folliard will
have it, I withdraw all claims upon her hand and affections. Good-night,
sir;" and as he spoke he took his departure.

For a long time the old man sat looking into the fire, where he began
gradually to picture to himself strange forms and objects in the glowing
embers, one of whom he thought resembled the Red Rapparee about to shoot
him; another, Willy Reilly making love to his daughter; and behind
all, a high gallows, on which he beheld the said Reilly hanging for his
crime.

In about an hour afterwards Miss Folliard returned to the drawing-room,
where she found her father asleep in his arm-chair. Having awakened him
gently from what appeared a disturbed dream, he looked about him, and,
forgetting for a moment all that had happened, inquired in his usual
eager manner where Reilly and Whitecraft were, and if they had gone. In
a few moments, however, he recollected the circumstances that had
taken place, and after heaving a deep sigh, he opened his arms for his
daughter, and as he embraced her burst into tears.

"Helen," said he, "I am unhappy; I am distressed; I know not what
to do!--may God forgive me if I have treated this young man with
ingratitude. But, at all events, a few days will clear it all up."

His daughter was melted by the depth of his sorrow, and the more so as
it was seldom she had seen him shed tears before.

"I would do every thing--anything to make you happy, my dear treasure,"
said he, "if I only knew how."

"Dear papa," she replied, "of that I am conscious; and as a proof that
the heart of your daughter is incapable of veiling a single thought that
passes in it from a parent who loves her so well, I will place its most
cherished secret in your own keeping. I shall not be outdone even by
you, dear papa, in generosity, in confidence, in affection. Papa," she
added, placing her head upon his bosom, whilst the tears flowed fast
down her cheeks, "papa, I love William Reilly--love him with a pure
and disinterested passion!--with a passion which I feel constitutes my
destiny in this life--either for happiness or misery. That passion is
irrevocable. It is useless to ask me to control or suppress it, for I
feel that the task is beyond my power. My love, however, is not base nor
selfish, papa, but founded on virtue and honor. It may seem strange that
I should make such a confession to you, for I know it is un--usual in
young persons like me to do so; but remember, dear papa, that except
yourself I have no friend. If I had a mother, or a sister, or a cousin
of my own sex, to whom I might confide and unburden my feelings, then
indeed it is not probable I would make to you the confession which I
have made; but we are alone, and you are the only being left me on whom
can rest my sorrow--for indeed my heart is full of sorrow."

"Well, well, I know not what to say. You are a true girl, Helen, and
the very error, if it be one, is diminished by the magnanimity and truth
which prompted you to disclose it to me. I will go to bed, dearest, and
sleep if I can. I trust in God there is no calamity about to overshadow
our house or destroy our happiness."

He then sought his own chamber; and _Cooleen Bawn_, after attending him
thither, left him to the care of his attendant and retired herself to
her apartment.

On reaching home Reilly found Fergus, one of his own relatives, as we
have said, the same who, warned by his remonstrances, had abandoned the
gang of the Red Rapparee, waiting to see him.

"Well, Fergus," said he, "I am glad that you have followed my advice.
You have left the lawless employment of that blood-stained man?"

"I have," replied the other, "and I'm here to tell you that you can now
secure him if you like. I don't look upon sayin' this as treachery to
him, nor would I mention it only that Pavideen, the smith, who shoes and
doctors his horses, tould me something that you ought to know."

"Well, Fergus, what is it?"

"There's a plot laid, sir, to send you out o' the country, and the Red
Rapparee has a hand in it. He is promised a pardon from government, and
some kind of a place as thief-taker, if he'll engage in it against you.
Now, you know, there's a price upon his head, and, if you like, you can
have it, and get an enemy put out of your way at the same time."

"No, Fergus," replied Keilly; "in a moment of indignation I threatened
him in order to save the life of a fellow-creature. But let the laws
deal with him. As for me, you know what he deserves at my hands, but
I shall never become the hound of a government which oppresses me
unjustly. No, no, it is precisely because a price is laid upon the
unfortunate miscreant's head that I would not betray him."

"He will betray you, then."

"And let him. I have never violated any law, and even though he should
betray me, Fergus, he cannot make me guilty. To the laws, to God, and
his own conscience, I leave him. No, Fergus, all sympathy between me and
the laws that oppress us is gone. Let them vindicate themselves against
thieves and robbers and murderers, with as much vigilance and energy
as they do against the harmless forms of religion and the rights of
conscience, and the country will soon be free from such licentious pests
as the Red Rapparee and his gang."

"You speak warmly, Mr. Reilly."

"Yes," replied Keilly, "I am warm, I am indignant at my degradation.
Fergus, Fergus, I never felt that degradation and its consequences so
deeply as I do this unhappy night."'

"Well, will you listen to me?"

"I will strive to do so; but you know not the--you know not--alas! I
have no language to express what I feel. Proceed, however," he added,
attempting to calm the tumult that agitated his heart; "what about this
plot or plan for putting me out of the country?"

"Well, sir, it's determined on to send you, by the means of the same
laws you speak of, out of the country. The red villain is to come in
with a charge against you and surrender himself to government as
a penitent man, and the person who is to protect him is Sir Robert
Whitecraft."

"It's all time, Fergus," said Reilly; "I see it at a glance, and
understand it a great deal better than you do. They may, however, be
disappointed. Fergus, I have a friend--friend--oh, such a friend! and it
will go hard with that friend, or I shall hear of their proceedings. In
the meantime, what do you intend to do?"

"I scarcely know," replied the other. "I must lie quiet for a while, at
any rate."

"Do so," said Reilly; "and listen, Fergus. See Paudeen, the smith, from
time to time, and get whatever he knows out of him. His father was a
tenant of ours, and he ought to remember our kindness to him and his."

"Ay," said Fergus, "and he does too."

"Well, it is clear he does. Get from him all the information you can,
and let me hear it. I would give you shelter in my house, but that now
would be dangerous both to you and me. Do you want money to support
you?"

"Well, indeed, Mr. Reilly, I do and I do not. I can--"

"That's enough," said Reilly; "you want it. Here, take this. I would
recommend you, as I did before, to leave this unhappy country; but as
circumstances have turned out, you may for some time yet be useful to
me. Good-night, then, Fergus. Serve me in this matter as far as you can,
for I stand in need of it."

As nothing like an organized police existed in Ireland at the period of
which we speak, an outlaw or Rapparee might have a price laid upon his
head for months--nay, for years--and yet continue his outrages and defy
the executive. Sometimes it happened that the authorities, feeling the
weakness of their resources and the inadequacy of their power, did not
hesitate to propose terms to the leaders of these banditti, and, by
affording them personal protection, succeeded in inducing them to betray
their former associates. Now Reilly was well aware of this, and our
readers need not be surprised that the communication made to him by his
kinsman filled him not only with anxiety but alarm. A very slight charge
indeed brought forward by a man of rank and property--such a charge, for
instance, as the possession of firearms--was quite sufficient to get a
Roman Catholic banished the country.

On the third evening after this our friend Tom Steeple was met by its
proprietor in the avenue leading to Corbo Castle.

"Well, Tom," said the squire, "are you for the Big House?" for such is
the general term applied to all the ancestral mansions of the country.

Tom stopped and looked at him--for we need scarcely observe here that
with poor Tom there was no respect of persons; he then shook his head
and replied, "Me don't know whether you tall or not. Tom tall--will Tom
go to Big House--get bully dinnel--and Tom sleep under the stairs--eh?
Say aye, an' you be tall too."

"To be sure, Tom; go into the house, and your cousin Larry Lanigan, the
cook, will give you a bully dinner; and sleep where you like."

The squire walked up and down the avenue in a thoughtful mood for some
moments until another of our characters met him on his way towards the
entrance gate. This person was no other than Molly Mahon.

"Ha!" said he, "here is another of them--well, poor devils, they must
live. This, though, is the great fortune-teller. I will try her."

"God save your honor," said Molly, as she approached him and dropped a
courtesy.

"Ah, Molly," said he, "you can see into the future, they say. Well,
come now, tell me my fortune; but they say one must cross your palm with
silver before you can manage the fates; here's a shilling for you, and
let us hear what you have to say."

"No, sir," replied Molly, putting back his hand, "imposthors may do
that, because they secure themselves first and tell you nothing worth
knowin' afterwards. I take no money till I first tell the fortune."

"Well, Molly, that's honest at all events; let me hear what you have to
tell me."

"Show me your hand, sir," said she, and taking it, she looked into it
with a solemn aspect. "There, sir," she said, "that will do. I am sorry
I met you this evening."

"Why so, Molly?"

"Because I read in your hand a great deal of sorrow."

"Pooh, you foolish woman--nonsense!"

"There's a misfortune likely to happen to one of your family; but I
think it may be prevented."

"How will it be prevented?"

"By a gentleman that has a title and great wealth, and that loves the
member of your family that the misfortune is likely to happen to."

The squire paused and looked at the woman, who seemed to speak
seriously, and even with pain.

"I don't believe a word of it, Molly; but granting that it be true, how
do you know it?"

"That's more than I can tell myself, sir," she replied. "A feelin' comes
over me, and I can't help speakin' the words as they rise to my lips."

"Well, Molly, here's a shilling for you now; but I want you to see my
daughter's hand till I hear what you have to say for her. Are you a
Papist, Molly?"

"No, your honor, I was one wanst; but the moment we take to this way of
life we mustn't belong to any religion, otherwise we couldn't tell the
future."

"Sell yourself to the devil, eh?"

"Oh, no, sir; but--"

"But what? Out with it."

"I can't, sir; if I did, I never could tell a fortune agin."

"Well--well; come up; I have taken a fancy that you shall tell my
daughter's for all that."

"Surely there can be nothing but happiness before her, sir; she that is
so good to the poor and distressed; she that has all the world admirin'
her wonderful beauty. Sure, they say, her health was drunk in the Lord
Lieutenant's house in the great Castle of Dublin, as the Lily of the
Plains of Boyle and the Star of Ireland."

"And so it was, Molly, and so it was; there's another shilling for
you. Come now, come up to the house, and tell her fortune; and mark me,
Molly, no flattery now--nothing but the truth, if you know it."

"Did I flatter you, sir?"

"Upon my honor, any thing but that, Molly; and all I ask is that you
won't flatter her. Speak the truth, as I said before, if you know it."

Miss Folliard, on being called down by her father to have her fortune
told, on seeing Molly, drew back and said, "Do not ask me to come in
direct contact with this woman, papa. How can you, for one moment,
imagine that a person of her life and habits could be gifted with that
which has never yet been communicated to mortal (the holy prophets
excepted)--a knowledge of futurity?"

"No matter, my darling, no matter; give her your hand; you will oblige
and gratify me."

"Here, then, dear papa, to please you--certainly."

Molly took her lovely hand, and having looked into it, said, turning to
the squire, "It's very odd, sir, but here's nearly the same thing that I
tould to you awhile ago."

"Well, Molly," said he, "let us hear it."

Miss Folliard stood with her snowy hand in that of the fortune-teller,
perfectly indifferent to her art, but not without strong feelings of
disgust at the ordeal to which she submitted.

"Now, Molly," said the squire, "what have you to say?"

"Here's love," she replied, "love in the wrong direction--a false step
is made that will end in misery--and--and--and--"

"And what, woman?" asked Miss Folliard, with an indignant glance at the
fortune-teller. "What have you to add?"

"No!" said she, "I needn't speak it, for it won't come to pass. I see a
man of wealth and title who will just come in in time to save you from
shame and destruction, and with him you will be happy."

"I could prove to you," replied the _Cooleen Dawn_, her face mantling
with blushes of indignation, "that I am a better prophetess than you
are. Ask her, papa, where she last came from."

"Where did you come from last, Molly?" he asked.

"Why, then," she replied, "from Jemmy Hamilton's at the foot of
Cullaniore."

"False prophetess," replied the _Cooleen Bawn_, "you have told an
untruth. I know where you came from last."

"Then where did I come from, Miss Folliard?" said the woman, with
unexpected effrontery.

"From Sir Robert Whitecraft," replied Miss Folliard, "and the wages of
your dishonesty and his corruption are the sources of your inspiration.
Take the woman away, papa."

"That will do, Molly--that will do," exclaimed the squire, "there is
something' additional for you. What you have told us is very odd--very
odd, indeed. Go and get your dinner in the kitchen."

Miss Folliard then withdrew to her own room.

Between eleven and twelve o'clock that night a carriage drew up at
the grand entrance of Corbo Castle, out of which stepped Sir Robert
Whitecraft and no less a personage than the Red Rapparee. They
approached the hall door, and after giving a single knock, it was opened
to them by the squire himself, who it would seem had been waiting to
receive them privately. They followed him in silence to his study.

Mr. Folliard, though a healthy-looking man, was, in point of fact, by
no means so. Of a nervous and plethoric habit, though brave, and even
intrepid, yet he was easily affected by anything or any person that
was disagreeable to him. On seeing the man whose hand had been raised
against his life, and what was still more atrocious, whose criminal
designs upon the honor of his daughter had been proved by his violent
irruption into her chamber, he felt a suffocating sensation of rage and
horror that nearly overcame him.

"Sir Robert," he said, "excuse me; the sight of this man has sickened
me. I got your note, and in your society and at your request I have
suffered him to come here; under your protection, too. May God forgive
me for it! The room is too close--I feel unwell--pray open the door."

"Will there be no risk, sir, in leaving the door open?" said the
baronet.

"None in the world! I have sent the servants all to bed nearly an hour
ago. Indeed, the fact is, they are seldom up so late, unless when I have
company."

Sir Robert then opened the door--that is to say, he left it a little
more than ajar, and returning again took his seat.

"Don't let the sight of me frighten you, sir," said the Rapparee. "I
never was your enemy nor intended you harm."

"Frighten me!" replied the courageous old squire; "no, sir, I am not a
man very easily frightened; but I will confess that the sight of you has
sickened me and filled me with horror."

"Well, now, Mr. Folliard," said the baronet, "let this matter, this
misunderstanding, this mistake, or rather this deep and diabolical plot
on the part of the Jesuit, Reilly, be at once cleared up. We wish, that
is to say I wish, to prevent your good nature from being played upon by
a designing villain. Now, O'Donnel, relate, or rather disclose, candidly
and truly, all that took place with respect to this damnable plot
between you and Reilly."

"Why, the thing, sir," said the Rapparee, addressing himself to the
squire, "is very plain and simple; but, Sir Robert, it was not a plot
between me and Reilly--the plot was his own. It appears that he saw your
daughter and fell desperately in love with her, and knowin' your strong
feeling against Catholics, he gave up all hopes of being made acquainted
with Miss Folliard, or of getting into her company. Well, sir, aware
that you were often in the habit of goin' to the town of Boyle, he comes
to me and says in the early part of the day, 'Randal, I will give you
fifty goolden guineas if you help me in a plan I have in my head.' Now,
fifty goolden guineas isn't easily earned; so I, not knowing what the
plan was at the time, tould him I could not say nothing till I heard
it. He then tould me that he was over head and ears in love with your
daughter, and that have her he should if it cost him his life. 'Well,'
says I, 'and how can I help you?' 'Why,' said he, 'I'll show you that:
her ould persecuting scoundrel of a father'--excuse me, sir--I'm givin'
his own words--"

"I believe it, Mr. Folliard," said the baronet, "for these are
the identical terms in which he told me the story before; proceed,
O'Donnel."

"'The ould scoundrel of a father,' says he, 'on his return from Boyle,
generally comes by the ould road, because it is the shortest cut. Do you
and your men lie in wait in the ruins of the ould chapel, near Loch na
Garran'--it is called so, sir, because they say there's a wild horse in
it that comes out of moonlight nights to feed on the patches of green
that are here and there among the moors--'near Loch na Gaitan,' says
he; 'and when he gets that far turn out upon him, charge him with
transportin' your uncle, and when you are levellin' your gun at him, I
will come, by the way, and save him. You and I must speak angry to one
another, you know; then, of course, I must see him home, and he can't do
less than ask me to dine with him. At all events, thinkin' that I saved
his life, we will become acquainted.'"

The squire paused and mused for some time, and then asked, "Was there no
more than this between you and him?"

"Nothing more, sir."

"And tell me, did he pay you the money?"

"Here it is," replied the Rapparee, pulling out a rag in which were the
precise number of guineas mentioned.

"But," said the squire, "we lost our way in the fog."

"Yes, sir," said the Rapparee. "Everything turned out in his favor. That
made very little difference. You would have been attacked in or about
that place, whether or not."

"Yes, but did you not attack my house that night? Did not you yourself
come down by the skylight, and enter, by violence, into my daughter's
apartment?"

"Well, when I heard of that, sir, I said, 'I give Reilly up for
ingenuity.' No, sir, that was his own trick; but afther all it was a bad
one, and tells aginst itself. Why, sir, neither I nor any of my men have
the power of makin' ourselves invisible. Do you think, sir--I put it to
your own common-sense--that if we had been there no one would have seen
us? Wasn't the whole country for miles round searched and scoured, and I
ask you, sir, was there hilt or hair of me or any one of my men seen
or even heard of? Sir Robert, I must be going now," he added. "I hope
Squire Folliard understands what kind of a man Reilly is. As for myself,
I have nothing more to say."

"Don't go yet, O'Donnel," said Whitecraft; "let us determine what is to
be done with him. You see clearly it is necessary, Mr. Folliard, that
this deep-designing Jesuit should be sent out of the country."

"I would give half my estate he was fairly out of it," said the squire.
"He has brought calamity and misery into my family. Created world! how I
and mine have been deceived and imposed upon! Away with him--a thousand
leagues away with him! And that quickly too! Oh, the plausible,
deceitful villain! My child! my child!" and here the old man burst into
tears of the bitterest indignation. "Sir Robert, that cursed villain was
born, I fear, to be the shame and destruction of my house and name."

"Don't dream of such a thing," said the baronet. "On the day he dined
here--and you cannot forget my strong disinclination to meet him--but
even on that day you will recollect the treasonable language he used
against the laws of the realm. After my return home I took a note of
them, and I trust that you, sir, will corroborate, with respect to this
fact, the testimony which it is my purpose to give against him. I say
this the rather, Mr. Folliard, because it might seriously compromise
your own character with the Government, and as a magistrate, too, to
hear treasonable and seditious language at your own table, from a Papist
Jesuit, and yet decline to report it to the authorities."

"The laws, the authorities, and you be hanged, sir!" replied the squire;
"my table is, and has been, and ever shall be, the altar of confidence
to my guests; I shall never violate the laws of hospitality. Treat
the man fairly, I say, concoct no plot against him, bribe no false
witnesses, and if he is justly amenable to the law I will spend ten
thousand pounds to have him sent anywhere out of the country."

"He keeps arms," observed Sir Robert, "contrary to the penal
enactments."

"I think not," said the squire; "he told me he was on a duck-shooting
expedition that night, and when I asked him where he got his arms, he
said that his neighbor, Bob Gosford, always lent him his gun whenever
he felt disposed to shoot, and, to my own knowledge, so did many other
Protestant magistrates in the neighborhood, for this wily Jesuit is a
favorite with most of them."

"But I know where he has arms concealed," said the Rapparee, looking
significantly at the baronet, "and I will be able to find them, too,
when the proper time comes."

"Ha! indeed, O'Donnel," said Sir Robert, with well-feigned surprise;
"then there will be no lack of proof against him, you may rest assured,
Mr. Folliard; I charge myself with the management of the whole affair.
I trust, sir, you will leave it to me, and I have only one favor to ask,
and that is the hand of your fair daughter when he is disposed of."

"She shall be yours, Sir Robert, the moment that this treacherous
villain can be removed by the fair operation of the laws; but I will
never sanction any dishonorable treatment towards him. By the laws of
the land let him stand or fall."

At this moment a sneeze of tremendous strength and loudness was heard
immediately outside the door; a sneeze which made the hair of the
baronet almost stand on end.

"What the devil is that?" asked the squire. "By the great Boyne, I fear
some one has been listening after all."

The Rapparee, always apprehensive of the "authorities," started behind
a screen, and the baronet, although unconscious of any cause for terror,
stood rather undecided. The sneeze, however, was repeated, and this time
it was a double one.

"Curse it, Sir Robert," said the squire, "have you not the use of your
legs? Go and see whether there has been an eavesdropper"

"Yes, Mr. Folliard," replied the doughty baronet, "but your house has
the character of being haunted; and I have a terror of ghosts."

The squire himself got up, and, seizing a candle, went outside the door,
but nothing in human shape was visible.

"Come here, Sir Robert," said he, "that sneeze came from no ghost, I'll
swear. Who ever heard of a ghost sneezing? Never mind, though; for the
curiosity of the thing I will examine for myself, and return to you in a
few minutes."

He accordingly left them, and in a short time came back, assuring them
that every one in the house was in a state of the most profound repose,
and that it was his opinion it must have been a cat.

"I might think so myself," observed the baronet, "were it not for
the double sneeze. I am afraid, Mr. Folliard, that the report is too
true--and that the house is haunted. O'Donnel, you must come home with
me to-night."

O'Donnel, who entertained no apprehension of ghosts, finding that the
"authorities" were not in question, agreed to go with him, although he
had a small matter on hand which required his presence in another part
of the country.

The baronet, however, had gained his point. The heart of the hasty
and unreflecting squire had been poisoned, and not one shadow of doubt
remained on his mind of Reilly's treachery. And that which convinced him
beyond all arguments or assertions was the fact that on the night of the
premeditated attack on his house not one of the Red Rapparee's gang was
seen, or any trace of them discovered.




CHAPTER VI.--The Warning--an Escape


Reilly, in the meantime, was not insensible to his danger. About eleven
o'clock the next day, as he was walking in his garden, Tom Steeple
made his appearance, and approached him with a look of caution and
significance.

"Well, Tom," said he, "what's the news?"

Tom made no reply, but catching him gently by the sleeve of his coat,
said, "Come wid Tom; Tom has news for you. Here it is, in de paper;" and
as he spoke, he handed him a letter, the contents of which we give:

"Dearest Reilly: The dreadful discovery I have made, the danger and
treachery and vengeance by which you are surrounded, but, above all,
my inexpressible love for you, will surely justify me in not losing a
moment to write to you; and I select this poor creature as my messenger
because he is least likely to be suspected. It is through him that the
discovery of the accursed plot against you has been made. It appears
that he slept in the castle last night, as he often does, and having
observed Sir Thomas Whitecraft and that terrible man, the Red Rapparee,
coming into the house, and going along with papa into his study,
evidently upon some private business, he resolved to listen. He did so,
and overheard the Rapparee stating to papa that every thing which took
place on the evening you saved his life and frustrated his other designs
upon the castle, was a plan preconceived by you for the purpose of
making papa's acquaintance and getting introduced to the family in order
to gain my affections. Alas! if you have resorted to such a plan, you
have but too well succeeded. Do not, however, for one moment imagine
that I yield any credit to this atrocious falsehood. It has been
concocted by your base and unmanly rival, Whitecraft, by whom all the
proceedings against you are to be conducted. Some violation of the penal
laws, in connection with carrying or keeping arms, is to be brought
against you, and unless you are on your guard you will be arrested
and thrown into prison, and if not convicted of a capital offence and
executed like a felon, you will at least be sent forever out of the
country. What is to be done? If you have arms in or about your house let
them be forthwith removed to some place of concealment. The Rapparee
is to get a pardon from government, at least he is promised it by
Sir Robert, if he turns against you. In one word, dearest Reilly, you
cannot, with safety to your life, remain in this country. You must fly
from it, and immediately too. I wish to see you. Come this night, at
half-past ten, to the back gate of our garden, which you will find shut,
but unlocked. Something--is it my heart?--tells me that our fates are
henceforth inseparable, whether for joy or sorrow. I ought to tell you
that I confessed my affection for you to papa on the evening you dined
here, and he was not angry; but this morning he insisted that I should
never think of you more, nor mention your name; and he says that if the
laws can do it he will lose ten thousand pounds or he will have you
sent out of the country. Lanigan, our cook, from what motive I know
not, mentioned to me the substance of what I have now written. He is, it
seems, a cousin to the bearer of this, and got the information from him
after having had much difficulty, he says, in putting it together.
I know not how it is, but I can assure you that every servant in the
castle seems to know that I am attached to you.

"Ever, my dearest Reilly, yours, and yours only, until death,

"Helen Folliard."


We need not attempt to describe the sensations of love and indignation
produced by this letter. But we shall state the facts.

"Here, Tom," said Reilly, "is the reward for your fidelity," as he
handed him some silver; "and mark me, Tom, don't breathe to a human
being that you have brought me a letter from the _Cooleen Bawn_. Go into
the house and get something to eat; there now--go and get one of your
bully dinners."

"It is true," said he, "too true I am doomed-devoted. If I remain in
this country I am lost. Yes, my life, my love, my more than life--I feel
as you do, that our fates, whether for good or evil, are inseparable.
Yes, I shall see you this night if I have life."

He had scarcely concluded this soliloquy when his namesake, Fergus
Reiliy, disguised in such a way as prevented him from being recognized,
approached him, in the lowly garb of a baccah or mendicant.

"Well, my good fellow," said he, "what do you want? Go up to the house
and you will get food."

"Keep quiet," replied the other, disclosing himself, "keep quiet; get
all your money into one purse, settle your affairs as quickly as you
can, and fly the country this night, or otherwise sit down and make
your will and your peace with God Almighty, for if you are found here
by to-morrow night you sleep in Sligo jail. Throw me a few halfpence,
making as it were charity. Whitecraft has spies among your own
laborers, and you know the danger I run in comin' to you by daylight.
Indeed, I could not do it without this disguise. To-morrow night you are
to be taken upon a warrant from Sir Robert Whitecraft; but never mind;
as to Whitecraft, leave him to me--I have a crow to pluck with him."

"How is that, Fergus?"

"My sister, man; did you not hear of it?"

"No, Fergus, nor I don't wish to hear of it, for your sake; spare your
feelings, my poor fellow; I know perfectly well what a hypocritical
scoundrel he is."

"Well," replied Fergus, "it was only yesterday I heard of it myself; and
are we to bear this?--we that have hands and eyes and limbs and hearts
and courage to stand nobly upon the gallows-tree for striking down the
villain who does whatever he likes, and then threatens us with the laws
of the land if we murmur? Do you think this is to be borne?"

"Take not vengeance into your own hand, Fergus," replied Reilly, "for
that is contrary to the laws of God and man. As for me, I agree with you
that I cannot remain in this country. I know the vast influence which
Whitecraft possesses with the government. Against such a man I have no
chance; this, taken in connection with my education abroad, is quite
sufficient to make me a marked and suspected man. I will therefore leave
the country, and ere to-morrow night, I trust, I shall be beyond his
reach. But, Fergus, listen: leave Whitecraft to God; do not stain your
soul with human blood; keep a pure heart, and whatever may happen be
able to look up to the Almighty with a clear conscience."

Fergus then left him, but with a resolution, nevertheless, to have
vengeance upon the baronet very unequivocally expressed on his
countenance.

Having seriously considered his position and all the circumstances' of
danger connected with it, Reilly resolved that his interview that night
with his beloved _Cooleen Bawn_ should be his last. He accordingly
communicated his apprehensions to an aged uncle of his who resided with
him, and entrusted the management of his property to him until some
change for the better might take place. Having heard from Fergus Reilly
that there were spies among his own laborers, he kept moving about and.
making such observations as he could for the remainder of the day.
When the night came he prepared himself for his appointment, and at, or
rather before, the hour of half-past ten, he had reached the back
gate, or rather door of the garden attached to Corbo Castle. Having
ascertained that it was unlocked, he entered with no difficulty, and
traversed the garden without being able to perceive her whose love
was now, it might be said, all that life had left him. After having
satisfied himself that she was not in the garden, he withdrew to an
arbor or summer-house of evergreens, where he resolved to await until
she should come. He did not wait long. The latch of the entrance gate
from the front made a noise; ah, how his heart beat! what a commotion
agitated his whole frame! In a few moments she was with him.

"Reilly," said _Cooleen Bawn_, "I have dreadful news to communicate."

"I know all," said he; "I am to be arrested to-morrow night."

"To-night, dearest Reilly, to-night. Papa told me this evening, in one
of his moods of anger, that before to-morrow morning you would be in
Sligo jail."

"Well, dearest Helen," he replied, "that is certainly making quick work
of it. But, even so, I am prepared this moment to escape. I have settled
my affairs, left the management of them to my uncle, and this interview
with you, my beloved girl, must be our last."

As he uttered these melancholy words the tears came to his eyes.

"The last!" she exclaimed. "Oh, no; it must not be the last. You shall
not go alone, dearest William. My mind is made up. Be it for life or for
death, I shall accompany you."

"Dearest life," he replied, "think of the consequences."

"I think of nothing," said Cooleen Bawn, "but my love for you. If you
were not surrounded by danger as you are, if the whoop of vengeance were
not on your trail, if death and a gibbet were not in the background,
I could part with you; but now that danger, vengeance, and death, are
hovering about you, I shall and must partake of them with you. And
listen, Reilly; after all it is the best plan. Papa, if I accompany
you--supposing that we are taken--will relent for my sake. I know his
love for me. His affection for me will overcome all his prejudices
against you. Then let us fly. To-night you will be taken. Your rival
will triumph over both of us; and I--I, oh! I shall not survive it. Save
me, then, Reilly, and let me fly with you."

"God knows," replied Reilly, with deep emotion, "if I suffered myself to
be guided by the impulse of my heart, I would yield to wishes at once
so noble and disinterested. I cannot, however, suffer my affection,
absorbing and inexpressible as it is, to precipitate your ruin. I speak
not of myself, nor of what I may suffer. When we reflect, however,
my beloved girl, upon the state of the country, and of the law, as it
operates against the liberty and property of Catholics, we must both
admit the present impossibility of an elopement without involving you
in disgrace. You know that until some relaxation of the laws affecting
marriage between Catholics and Protestants takes place, an union between
us is impossible; and this fact it is which would attach disgrace to
you, and a want of honor, principle, and gratitude to me. We should
necessarily lead the lives of the guilty, and seek the wildest
fastnesses of the mountain solitudes and the oozy caverns of the bleak
and solitary hills."

"But I care not. I am willing to endure it all for your sake."

"What!--the shame, the misinterpretation, the imputed guilt?"

"Neither care I for shame or imputed guilt, so long as I am innocent,
and you safe."

"Concealment, my dearest girl, would be impossible. Such a hue and
cry would be raised after us as would render nothing short of positive
invisibility capable of protecting us from our enemies. Then your
father!--such a step might possibly break his heart; a calamity which
would fill your mind with remorse to the last day of your life!"

She burst again into tears, and replied, "But as for you, what can
be done to save you from the toils of your unscrupulous and powerful
enemies?"

"To that, my beloved Helen, I must forthwith look. In the meantime, let
me gather patience and await some more favorable relaxation in the penal
code. At present, the step you propose would be utter destruction to us
both, and an irretrievable stain upon our reputation. You will return to
your father's house, and I shall seek some secure place of concealment
until I can safely reach the continent, from whence I shall contrive to
let you hear from me, and in due time may possibly be able to propose
some mode of meeting in a country where the oppressive laws that
separate us here shall not stand in the way of our happiness. In the
meanwhile let our hearts be guided by hope and constancy." After a
mournful and tender embrace they separated.

It would be impossible to describe the agony of the lovers after a
separation which might probably be their last. Our readers, however, may
very well conceive it, and it is not our intention to describe it
here. At this stage of our story, Reilly, who was, as we have said,
in consequence of his gentlemanly manners and liberal principles,
a favorite with all classes and all parties, and entertained no
apprehensions from the dominant party, took his way homewards deeply
impressed with the generous affections which his _Cooleen Bawn_ had
expressed for him. He consequently looked upon himself as perfectly safe
in his own house. The state of society in Ireland, however, was at that
melancholy period so uncertain that no Roman Catholic, however popular,
or however innocent, could for one week calculate upon safety either to
his property or person, if he happened to have an enemy who possessed
any influence in the opposing Church. Religion thus was made the
stalking-horse, not only of power, but of persecution, rapacity, and
selfishness, and the unfortunate Roman Catholic who considered himself
safe to-day might find himself ruined tomorrow, owing to the cupidity
of some man who turned a lustful eye upon his property, or who may have
entertained a feeling of personal ill-will against him. Be this as it
may, Reilly wended his melancholy way homewards, and had got within less
than a quarter of a mile of his own house when he was met by Fergus in
his mendicant habit, who startled him by the information he disclosed.

"Where are you bound for, Mr. Reilly?" said the latter.

"For home," replied Reilly, "in order to secure my money and the papers
connected with the family property."

"Well, then," said the other, "if you go home now you are a lost man."

"How is that?" asked Reilly.

"Your house at this moment is filled with sogers, and surrounded by them
too. You know that no human being could make me out in this disguise;
I had heard that they were on their way to your place, and afeered that
they might catch you at home, I was goin' to let you know, in ordher
that you might escape them, but I was too late; the villains were there
before me. I took heart o' grace, however, and went up to beg a little
charity for the love and honor of God. Seem' the kind of creature I was,
they took no notice of me; for to tell you the truth, they were too much
bent on searchin' for, and findin' you. God protect us from such men,
Mr. Reilly," and the name he uttered in alow and cautious voice; "but
at all events this is no country for you to live in now. But who do you
think was the busiest and the bittherest man among them?"

"Why Whitecraft, I suppose."

"No; he wasn't there himself--no; but that double distilled traitor and
villain, the Red Rapparee, and bad luck to him. You see, then, that if
you attempt to go near your own house you're a lost man, as I said."

"I feel the truth of what you say," replied Reilly, "but are you aware
that they committed any acts of violence? Are you aware that they
disturbed my property or ransacked my house?"

"Well, that's more than I can say," replied Fergus, "for to tell you the
truth, I was afraid to trust myself inside, in regard of that scoundrel
the Rapparee, who, bein' himself accustomed to all sorts of disguises, I
dreaded might find me out."

"Well, at all events," said Reilly, "with respect to that I disregard
them. The family papers and other available property are too well
secreted for them to secure them. On discovering Whitecraft's jealousy,
and knowing, as I did before, his vindictive spirit and power in the
country, I lost no time in putting them in a safe place. Unless they
burn the house they could never come at them. But as this fact is not
at all an improbable one--so long as Whitecraft is my unscrupulous and
relentless enemy--I shall seize upon the first opportunity of placing
them elsewhere."

"You ought to do so," said Fergus, "for it is not merely Whitecraft you
have to deal wid, but ould Folliard himself, who now swears that if he
should lose half his fortune he will either hang or transport you."

"Ah! Fergus," replied the other, "there is an essential difference
between the characters of these two men. The father of _Cooleen Bawn_
is, when he thinks himself injured, impetuous and unsparing in his
resentment; but then he is an open foe, and the man whom he looks upon
as his enemy always knows what he has to expect from him. Not so
the other; he is secret, cautious, cowardly, and consequently doubly
vindictive. He is a combination of the fox and the tiger, with all the
treacherous cunning of the one, and the indomitable ferocity of the
other, when he finds that he can make his spring with safety."

This conversation took place as Reilly and his companion bent their
steps towards one of those antiquated and obsolete roads which we have
described in the opening portion of this narrative.

"But now," asked Fergus, "where do you intend to go, or what do you
intend to do with yourself?"

"I scarcely know," replied Reilly, "but on one thing my mind is
determined--that I will not leave this country until I know the ultimate
fate of the _Cooleen Bawn_. Rather than see her become the wife of that
diabolical scoundrel, whom she detests as she does hell, I would lose
my life. Let the consequences then be what they may, I will not for the
present leave Ireland. This resolution I have come to since I saw her
to-night. I am her only friend, and, so help me God, I shall not suffer
her to be sacrificed--murdered. In the course of the night we shall
return to my house and look about us. If the coast be clear I will
secure my cash and papers as I said. It is possible that a few
stragglers may lurk behind, under the expectation of securing me while
making a stolen visit. However, we shall try. We are under the scourge
of irresponsible power, Fergus; and if Whitecraft should burn my house
to-night or to-morrow, who is to bring him to an account for it? or if
they should, who is to convict him?"

The night had now become very dark, but they knew the country well, and
soon found themselves upon the old road they were seeking.

"I will go up," said Reilly, "to the cabin of poor widow Buckley, where
we will stop until we think those blood-hounds have gone home. She has
a free cottage and garden from me, and has besides been a pensioner of
mine for some time back, and I know I can depend upon her discretion
and fidelity. Her little place is remote and solitary, and not more than
three quarters of a mile from us."

They accordingly kept the old road for some time, until they reached a
point of it where there was an abrupt angle, when, to their utter alarm
and consternation, they found themselves within about twenty or thirty
yards of a military party.

"Fly," whispered Fergus, "and leave me to deal with them--if you don't
it's all up with you. They won't know me from Adam, but they'll know you
at a glance."

"I cannot leave you in danger," said Reilly.

"You're mad," replied the other. "Is it an ould beggar man they'd
meddle with? Off with you, unless you wish to sleep in Sligo jail before
mornin."

Reilly, who felt too deeply the truth of what he said, bounded across
the bank which enclosed the road on the right-hand side, and which, by
the way, was a tolerably high one, but fortunately without bushes. In
the meantime a voice cried out, "Who goes there? Stand at your peril, or
you will have a dozen bullets in your carcass."

Fergus advanced towards them, whilst they themselves approached him at a
rapid pace, until they met. In a moment they were all about him.

"Come, my customer," said their leader, "who and what are you?
Quick--give an account of yourself."

"A poor creature that's lookin' for my bit, sir, God help me."

"What's your name?"

"One Paddy Brennan, sir, please your honor."

"Ay--one Paddy Brennan (hiccough), and--and--one Paddy Brennan, where do
you go of a Sunday?"

"I don't go out at all, sir, of a Sunda'; whenever I stop of a Saturday
night I always stop until Monday mornin'."

"I mean, are you a Papish?"

"Troth, I oughtn't to say I am, your honor--or at least a very bad one."

"But you are, a Papish."

"A kind of one, sir."

"Curse me, the fellow's humbug-gin' you, sergeant," said one of the men;
"to be sure he's a Papish."

"To be sure," replied several of the others--"doesn't he admit he's a
Papish?"

"Blow me, if--if--I'll bear this," replied the sergeant. "I'm a
senior off--off--officer conductin' the examination, and I'll suffer
no--no--man to intherfare. I must have subor--or--ordination, or I'll
know what for. Leave him to me, then, and I'll work him up, never fear.
George Johnston isn't the blessed babe to be imposed upon--that's what I
say. Come, my good fellow, mark--mark me now. If you let but a quarter
of--of--an inch of a lie out of your lips, I you're a dead man. Are you
all charged, gentlemen?"

"All charged, sergeant, with loyalty and poteen at any rate; hang the
Pope."

"Shoulder arms--well done. Present arms. Where is--is--this rascal? Oh,
yes, here he is. Well, you are there--are you?"

"I'm here, captain."

"Well blow me, that's not--not--bad, my good fellow; if I'm not a
captain, worse men have been so (hiccough); that's what I say."

"Hadn't we better make a prisoner of him at once, and bring him to Sir
Robert's?" observed another.

"Simpson, hold--old--your tongue, I say. Curse me if I'll suffer any man
to in--intherfere with me in the discharge of my duty."

"How do we know," said another, "but I he's a Rapparee in disguise?--for
that matter, he may be Reilly himself."

"Captain and gentlemen," said Fergus, "if you have any suspicion of me,
I'm willin' to go anywhere you like; and, above all things, I'd like to
go to Sir Robert's, bekaise they know me there--many a good bit and sup
I got in his kitchen."

"Ho, ho!" exclaimed the sergeant; "now I have you--now I know whether
you can tell truth or not. Answer me this. Did ever Sir Robert himself
give you charity? Come, now."

Fergus perceived the drift of the question at once. The penurious
character of the baronet was so well known throughout the whole barony
that if he had replied in the affirmative every man of them would have
felt that the assertion was a lie, and he would consequently have been
detected. He was prepared, however.

"Throth then, gintlemen," he replied, "since you must have the truth,
and although maybe what I'm goin' to say won't be plaisin' to you, as
Sir Robert's friends, I must come out wid it; devil resave the color
of his money ever I seen yet, and it isn't but I often axed him for it.
No--but the sarvints often sind me up a bit from the kitchen below."

"Well, come," said the sergeant, "if you have been lyin' all your life,
you've spoke the truth now. I think we may let him go."

"I don't think we ought," said one of them, named Steen, a man of about
fifty years of age, and of Dutch descent; "as Bamet said, 'we don't know
what he is,' and I agree with him. He may be a Rapparee in disguise, or,
what is worse, Reilly himself."

"What Reilly do yez mane, gintlemen, wid submission?" asked Fergus.

"Why, Willy Reilly, the famous Papish," replied the sergeant. (We don't
wish to fatigue the reader with his drunken stutterings.) "It has been
sworn that he's training the Papishes every night to prepare them for
rebellion, and there's a warrant out for his apprehension. Do you know
him?"

"Throth I do, well; and to tell yez the truth, he doesn't stand very
high wid his own sort."

"Why so, my good fellow?"

"Bekaise they think that he keeps too much company wid Prodestans, an'
that he's half a Prodestan himself, and that it's only the shame that
prevents him from goin' over to them altogether. Indeed, it's the
general opinion among the Catholics--"

"Papishes! you old dog."

"Well, then, Papishes--that he will--an' throth, I don't think the
Papishes would put much trust in the same man."

"Where are you bound for now? and what brings you out at an illegal hour
on this lonely road?" asked Steen.

"Troth, then, I'm on my way to Mr. Graham's above; for sure, whenever
I'm near him, poor Paddy Brennan never wants for the good bit and sup,
and the comfortable straw bed in the barn. May God reward him and his
for it!"

Now, the truth was, that Graham, a wealthy and respectable Protestant
farmer, was uncle to the sergeant; a fact which Fergus well knew, in
consequence of having been a house servant with him for two or three
years.

"Sergeant," said the Williamite settler, "I think this matter may be
easily settled. Let two of the men go back to your uncle's with him, and
see whether they know him there or not."

"Very well," replied the sergeant, "let you and Simpson go back with
him--I have no objection. If my uncle's people don't know him, why then
bring him down to Sir Roberts'."

"It's not fair to put such a task upon a man of my age," replied Steen,
"when you know that you have younger men here."

"It was you proposed it, then," said the sergeant, "and I say, Steen, if
you be a true man you have a right to go, and no right at all to shirk
your duty. But stop--I'll settle it in a word's speaking: here you--you
old Papish, where are you?--oh, I see--you're there, are you? Come now,
gentlemen, shoulder arms--all right--present anns. Now, you confounded
Papish, you say that you have often slept in my uncle's barn?"

"Is Mr. Graham your uncle, sir?--bekaise, if he is, I know that I'm in
the hands of a respectable man."

"Come now--was there anything particular in the inside of that
barn?--Gentlemen, are you ready to slap into him if we find him to be an
imposther?"

"All ready, sergeant."

"Come now, you blasted Papish, answer me--"

"Troth, and I can do that, sargin'. You say Mr. Graham's your uncle,
an' of coorse you have often been in that barn yourself. Very well, sir,
don't you know that there's a prop on one side to keep up one of the
cupples that gave way one stormy night, and there's a round hole in the
lower part of the door to let the cats in to settle accounts wid the
mice and rats."

"Come, come, boys, it's all right. He has described the barn to a hair.
That will do, my Papish old cock. Come, I say, as every man must have
a religion, and since the Papishes won't have ours, why the devil
shouldn't they have one of their own?"

"That's dangerous talk," said Steen, "to proceed from your lips,
sergeant. It smells of treason, I tell you; and if you had spoken these
words in the days of the great and good King William, you might have
felt the consequences."

"Treason and King William be hanged!" replied the sergeant, who was
naturally a good-natured, but out-spoken fellow--"sooner than I'd take
up a poor devil of a beggar that has enough to do to make out his bit
and sup. Go on about your business, poor devil; you shan't be molested.
Go to my uncle's, where you'll get a bellyfull, and a comfortable bed
of straw, and a winnow-cloth in the barn. Zounds!--it would be a nice
night's work to go out for Willy Reilly and to bring home a beggar man
in his place."

This was a narrow escape upon the part of Fergus, who knew that if
they had made' a prisoner of him, and produced him before Sir Robert
Whitecraft, who was a notorious persecutor, and with whom the Red
Rapparee was now located, he would unquestionably have been hanged
like a dog. The officer of the party, however--to wit, the worthy
sergeant--was one of those men who love a drop of the native, and
whose heart besides it expands into a sort of surly kindness that has
something comical and not disagreeable in it. In addition to this, he
never felt a confidence in his own authority with half the swagger which
he did when three quarters gone. Steen and he were never friends, nor
indeed was Steen ever a popular man among his acquaintances. In matters
of trade and business he was notoriously dishonest, and in the moral
and social relations of life, selfish, uncandid, and treacherous.
The sergeant, on the other hand, though an out-spoken and flaming
anti-Papist in theory, was, in point of fact, a good friend to his Roman
Catholic neighbors, who used to say of him that his bark was worse than
his bite.

When his party had passed on, Fergus stood for a moment uncertain as
to where he should direct his steps. He had not long to wait, however.
Reilly, who had no thoughts of abandoning him to the mercy of the
military, without at least knowing his fate, nor, we may add, without
a firm determination to raising his tenantry, and rescuing the generous
fellow at every risk, immediately sprung across the ditch and joined
him.

"Well, Fergus," said he, clasping his hand, "I heard everything, and I
can tell you that every nerve in my body trembled whilst you were among
them."

"Why," said Fergus, "I knew them at once by their voices, and only that
I changed my own as I did I won't say but they'd have nabbed me."

"The test of the barn was frightful; I thought you were gone; but you
must explain that."

"Ay, but before I do," replied Fergus, "where are we to go? Do you still
stand for widow Buckley's?"

"Certainly, that woman may be useful to me."

"Well, then, we may as well jog on in that direction, and as we go I
will tell you."

"How then did you come to describe the barn--or rather, was your
description correct?"

"Ay, as Gospel. You don't know that by the best of luck and providence
of God, I was two years and a half an inside laborer with Mr. Graham. As
is usual, all the inside men-servants slept, wintrier and summer, in the
barn; and that accounts for our good fortune this night. Only for that
scoundrel, Steen, however, the whole thing would not have signified
much; but he's a black and deep villain that. Nobody likes him but his
brother scoundrel, Whitecraft, and he's a favorite with him, bekaise
he's an active and unscrupulous tool in his hands. Many a time, when
these men--military-militia-yeomen, or whatever they call them, are sent
out by this same Sir Robert, the poor fellows don't wish to catch what
they call the unfortunate Papish-es, and before they come to the house
they'll fire off their guns, pretinding to be in a big passion, but only
to give their poor neighbors notice to escape as soon as they can."

In a short time they reached widow Buckley's cabin, who, on
understanding that it was Reilly who sought admittance, lost not a
moment in opening the door and letting them in. There was no candle lit
when they entered, but there was a bright turf fire "blinkin' bonnilie"
in the fireplace, from which a mellow light emanated that danced upon
the few plain plates that were neatly ranged upon her humble dresser,
but which fell still more strongly upon a clean and well-swept hearth,
on one side of which was an humble armchair of straw, and on the other a
grave, but placid-looking cat, purring, with half-closed eyes, her usual
song for the evening.

"Lord bless us! Mr. Reilly, is this you? Sure it's little I expected
you, any way; but come when you will, you're welcome. And who ought to
be welcome to the poor ould widow if you wouldn't?"

"Take a stool and sit down, honest man," she said, addressing Fergus;
"and you, Mr. Reilly, take my chair; it's the one you sent me yourself,
and if anybody is entitled to a sate in it, surely you are. I must light
a rush."

"No, Molly," replied Reilly, "I would be too heavy for your frail chair.
I will take one of those stout stools, which will answer me better."

She then lit a rush-light, which she pressed against a small cleft of
iron that was driven into a wooden shaft, about three feet long, which
stood upon a bottom that resembled the head of a churn-staff. Such
are the lights, and such the candlesticks, that are to be found in the
cabins and cottages of Ireland. "I suppose, Molly," said Reilly, "you
are surprised at a visit from me just now?"

"You know, Mr. Reilly," she replied, "that if you came in the deadest
hours of the night you'd be welcome, as I said--and this poor man is
welcome too--sit over to the fire, poor man, and warm yourself. Maybe
you're hungry; if you are I'll get you something to eat."

"Many thanks to you, ma'am," replied Fergus, "I'm not a taste hungry,
and could ait nothing now; I'm much obliged to you at the same time."

"Mr. Reilly, maybe you'd like to ait a bit. I can give you a farrel of
bread, and a sup o' nice goat's milk. God preserve him from evil that
gave me the same goats, and that's your four quarthers, Mr. Reilly. But
sure every thing I have either came or comes from your hand; and if I
can't thank you, God will do it for me, and that's betther still."

"No more about that, Molly--not a word more. Your long residence with my
poor mother, and your affection for her in all her trials and troubles,
entitle you to more than that at the hands of her son."

"Mrs. Buckley," observed Fergus, "this is a quiet-looking little place
you have here."

"And it is for that I like it," she replied. "I have pace here, and the
noise of the wicked world seldom reaches me in it. My only friend and
companion here is the Almighty--praise and glory be to his name!"--and
here she devoutly crossed herself--"bar-rin', indeed, when the
light-hearted _girshas_ (young girls) comes _a kailyee_* wid their
wheels, to keep the poor ould woman company, and rise her ould heart by
their light and merry songs, the cratures."

     *This means to spend a portion of the day, or a few hours of
     the night, in a neighbor's house, in agreeable and amusing
     conversation.

"That must be a relief to you, Molly," observed Reilly, who, however,
could with difficulty take any part in this little dialogue.

"And so indeed it is," she replied; "and, poor things, sure if their
sweethearts do come at the dusk to help them to carry home their
spinning-wheels, who can be angry with them? It's the way of life, sure,
and of the world."

She then went into another little room--for the cabin was divided into
two--in order to find a ball of woollen thread, her principal occupation
being the knitting of mittens and stockings, and while bustling about
Fergus observed with a smile,

"Poor Molly! little she thinks that it's the bachelors, rather than any
particular love for her company, that brings the thieves here."

"Yes, but," said Reilly, "you know it's the custom of the country."

"Mrs. Buckley," asked Fergus, "did the sogers ever pay you a visit?"

"They did once," she replied, "about six months ago or more."

"What in the name of wondher," he repeated, "could bring them to you?"

"They were out huntin' a priest," she replied, "that had done something
contrary to the law."

"What did they say, Mrs. Buckley, and how did they behave themselves?"

"Why," she answered, "they axed me if I had seen about the country a
tight-looking fat little man, wid black twinklin' eyes and a rosy face,
wid a pair o' priest's boots upon him, greased wid hog's lard? I said
no, but to the revarse. They then searched the cabin, tossed the two
beds about--poor Jemmy's--God rest my boy's sowl!--an'--afterwards my
own. There was one that seemed to hould authority over the rest, and he
axed who was my landlord? I said I had no landlord. They then said
that surely I must pay rent to some one, but I said that I paid rent
to nobody; that Mr. Reilly here, God bless him, gave me this house and
garden free."

"And what did they say when you named Mr. Reilly?"

"Why, they said he was a dacent Papish, I think they called it; and that
there wasn't sich another among them. They then lighted their pipes, had
a smoke, went about their business, and I saw no more of them from that
day to this."

Reilly felt that this conversation was significant, and that the widow's
cabin was any thing but a safe place of refuge, even for a few hours. We
have already said that he had been popular with all parties, which was
the fact, until his acquaintance with the old squire and his lovely
daughter. In the meantime the loves of Willy Reilly and the far-famed
_Cooleen Bawn_ had gone abroad over the whole country; and the natural
result was that a large majority among those who were anxious to
exterminate the Catholic Church by the rigor of bigoted and inhuman
laws, looked upon the fact of a tolerated Papist daring to love a
Protestant heiress, and the daughter of a man who was considered such a
stout prop of the Establishment, as an act that deserved death itself.
Reilly's affection for the _Cooleen Bawn_ was considered, therefore,
not only daring but treasonable. Those men, then, he reflected, who had
called upon her while in pursuit of the unfortunate priest, had become
acquainted with the fact of her dependence upon his bounty; and he took
it for granted, very naturally and very properly, as the event
will show, that now, while "on his keeping," it would not be at all
extraordinary if they occasionally searched her remote and solitary
cabin, as a place where he might be likely to conceal himself. For this
night, however, he experienced no apprehension of a visit from them, but
with what correctness of calculation we shall soon see.

"Molly," said he, this poor man and I must sit with you for a couple of
hours, after which we will leave you to your rest."

"Indeed, Mr. Reilly," she replied, "from what I heard this day I can
make a party good guess at the raison why you are here now, instead
of bein' in your own comfortable house. You have bitther enemies; but
God--blessed be his name--is stronger than any of them. However, I wish
you'd let me get you and that poor man something to eat."

This kind offer they declined, and as the short rush-light was nearly
burned out, and as she had not another ready, she got what is called a
_cam_ or grisset, put it on the hearth-stone, with a portion of hog's
lard in it; she then placed the lower end of the tongs in the fire,
until the broad portion of them, with which the turf is gripped, became
red hot; she then placed the lard in the grisset between them, and
squeezed it until nothing remained but pure oil; through this she slowly
drew the peeled rushes, which were instantly saturated with the grease,
after which she left them on a little table to cool. Among the poorer
classes--small farmers and others--this process is performed every
evening a little before dusk. Having thus supplied them with these
lights, the pious widow left them to their own conversation and retired
to the little room in order to repeat her rosary. We also will leave
them to entertain themselves as best they can, and request our readers
to follow us to a different scene.




CHAPTER VII.--An Accidental Incident favorable to Reilly

--And a Curious Conversation


We return to the party from whom Fergus Reilly had so narrow an escape.
As our readers may expect, they bent their steps to the magnificent
residence of Sir Robert Whitecraft. That gentleman was alone in his
library, surrounded by an immense collection of books which he never
read. He had also a fine collection of paintings, of which he knew no
more than his butler, nor perhaps so much. At once sensual, penurious,
and bigoted, he spent his whole time in private profligacy--for he was
a hypocrite, too--in racking his tenantry, and exhibiting himself as
a champion for Protestant principles. Whenever an unfortunate Roman
Catholic, whether priest or layman, happened to infringe a harsh
and cruel law of which probably he had never heard, who so active in
collecting his myrmidons, in order to uncover, hunt, and run down his
luckless victim? And yet he was not popular. No one, whether of his own
class or any other, liked a bone in his skin. Nothing could infect him
with the genial and hospitable spirit of the country, whilst at the
same time no man living was so anxious to partake of the hospitality
of others, merely because it saved him a meal. All that sustained his
character at the melancholy period of which we write was what people
called the uncompromising energy of his principles as a sound and
vigorous Protestant.

"Sink them all together," he exclaimed upon this occasion, in a kind of
soliloquy--"Church and bishop and parson, what are they worth unless to
make the best use we can of them? Here I am prevented from going to that
girl to-night--and that barbarous old blockhead of a squire, who was so
near throwing me off for a beggarly Papist rebel: and doubly, trebly,
quadruply cursed be that same rebel for crossing my path as he has
done. The cursed light-headed jade loves him too--there's no doubt of
that--but wait until I get him in my clutches, as I certainly shall,
and, by ---, his rebel carcass shall feed the crows. But what noise is
that? They have returned; I must go down and learn their success."

He was right. Our friend the tipsy sergeant and his party were at the
hall-door, which was opened as he went down, and he ordered lights into
the back parlor. In a few minutes they were ushered in, where they found
him seated as magisterially as possible in a large arm-chair.

"Well, Johnston," said he, assuming as much dignity as he could, "what
has been your success?"

"A bad evening's sport, sir; we bagged nothing--didn't see a feather."

"Talk sense, Johnston," said he sternly, "and none of this cant. Did you
see or hear any thing of the rebel?"

"Why, sir, we did; it would be a devilish nice business if a party
led and commanded by George Johnston should go out without hearin' and
seein' something."

"Well, but what did you see and hear, sir?"

"Why, we saw Reilly's house, and a very comfortable one it is; and we
heard from the servants that he wasn't at home."

"You're drunk, Johnston."

"No, sir, begging your pardon, I'm only hearty; besides, I never
discharge my duty half so well as when I'm drunk; If feel no colors
then."

"Johnston, if I ever know you to get drunk on duty again I shall have
you reduced."

"Reduced!" replied Johnston, "curse the fig I care whether you do or
not; I'm actin' as a volunteer, and I'll resign."

"Come, sir," replied Sir Robert, "be quiet; I will overlook this, for
you are a very good man if you could keep yourself sober."

"I told you before, Sir Robert, that I'm a better man when I'm drunk."

"Silence, sir, or I shall order you out of the room."

"Please your honor," observed Steen, "I have a charge to make against
George Johnston."

"A charge, Steen--what is it? You are a staunch, steady fellow, I know;
what is this charge?"

"Why, sir, we met a suspicious character on the old bridle road beyond
Reilly's, and he refused to take him prisoner."

"A poor half-Papist beggarman, sir," replied Johnston, "who was on his
way to my uncle's to stop there for the night. Divil a scarecrow in
Europe would exchange clothes with him without boot."

Steen then related the circumstances with which our readers are
acquainted, adding that he suggested to Johnston the necessity of
sending a couple of men up with him to ascertain whether what, he said
was true or not; but that he flatly refused to do so--and after some
nonsense about a barn he let him off.

"I'll tell you what, sir," said Johnston, "I'll hunt a priest or a
Papish that breaks the law with any man livin', but hang me if ever I'll
hunt a harmless beggarman lookin' for his bit."

At this period of the conversation the Red Rapparee, now in military
uniform, entered the parlor, accompanied by some others of those violent
men.

"Steen," said the baronet, "what or who do you suppose this ragged
ruffian was?"

"Either a Rapparee, sir, or Reilly himself."

"O'Donnel," said he, addressing the Red Robber, "what description of
disguises do these villains usually assume? Do they often go about as
beggarmen?"

"They may have changed their hand, sir, since I became a legal subject,
but, before that, three-fourths of us--of them--the villains, I
mane--went about in the shape of beggars."

"That's important," exclaimed the baronet. "Steen, take half a dozen
mounted men--a cavalry party have arrived here a little while ago, and
are waiting further orders--I thought if Reilly had been secured it
might have been necessary for them to escort him to Sligo. Well, take
half a dozen mounted I men, and, as you very properly suggested, proceed
with all haste to farmer Graham's, and see whether this mendicant is
there or not; if he is there, take him into custody at all events, and
if he is not, then it is clear he is a man for whom we ought to be on
the lookout."

"I should like to go with them, your honor," said the Red Rapparee.

"O'Donnel," said Sir Robert, "I have other business for you to-night."

"Well, plaise your honor," said O'Donnel, "as they're goin' in that
direction, let them turn to the left after passin' the little stranie
that crosses the road, I mane on their way home; if they look sharp
they'll find a little _boreen_ that--but indeed they'll scarcely make
it out in the dark, for it's a good way back in the fields--I mane the
cabin of widow Buckley. If there's one house more than another in the
whole countryside where! Reilly is likely to take shelter in, that's it.
He gave her that cabin and a large garden free, and besides allows her
a small yearly pension. But remember, you can't bring your horses
wid you--you must lave some of the men to take charge of them in the
_boreen_ till you come back. I wish you'd let me go with them, sir."

"I cannot, O'Donnel; I have other occupation for you to-night."

Three or four of them declared that they knew the cottage right well,
and could find it out without much difficulty. "They had been there,"
they said, "some six or eight months before upon a priest chase." The
matter was so arranged, and the party set out upon their expedition.

It is unnecessary to say that these men had their journey for nothing;
but at the same time one fact resulted from it, which I was, that the
ragged mendicant they had met must have been some one well worth looking
after. The deuce of it was, however, that, owing to the darkness of the
night, there was not one among them who could have known Fergus the
next day if they had met him. They knew, however, that O'Donnel, the
Rapparee, was a good authority on the subject, and the discovery of the
pretended mendicant's imposture was a proof of it. On this account, when
they had reached the _boreen_ alluded to, on their return from Graham's,
they came to the resolution of leaving their horses in charge, as had
been suggested to them, and in silence, and with stealthy steps, pounce
at once into the widow's cabin. Before they arrived there, however, we
shall take the liberty of preceding them for a few minutes, and once
more transport our readers to its bright but humble hearth.

About three hours or better had elapsed, and our two friends were still
seated, maintaining the usual chat with Mrs. Buckley, who had finished
her prayers and once, more rejoined them.

"Fergus, like a good fellow," whispered Reilly, "slip out for a minute
or two; there's--a circumstance I wish to mention to Molly--I assure you
it's of a very private and particular nature and only for her own ear."

"To be sure," replied Fergus; "I want, at all events, to stretch my
legs, and to see what the night's about."

He accordingly left the cabin.

"Mrs. Buckley," said Reilly, "it was not for nothing I came here
to-night. I have a favor to ask of you."

"Your favor's granted, sir," she replied--"granted, Mr. Reilly, even
before I hear it--that is, supposin' always that it's in my power--to do
it for you."

"It is simply to carry a letter--and be certain that it shall be
delivered to the proper person."

"Well," she replied, "sure that's aisily done. And where am I to deliver
it?" she asked.

"That I shall let you know on some future occasion--perhaps within the
course of a week or so."

"Well, sir," she replied, "I'd go twenty miles to deliver it--and will
do so wid a heart and a half."

"Well, Molly, I can tell you your journey won't be so far; but there
is one thing you are to observe--you must never breathe it to a human
creature."

"I thought you knew me better, Mr. Reilly."

"It would be impossible, however, to be too strict here, because you
don't know how much depends upon it."

At this moment Fergus put in his head, and said, "For Christ's sake,
snuff out the candle, and Reilly--fly!--There are people in the next
field!--quick!--quick!"

Reilly snatched up his hat, and whispered to the widow, "Deny that you
saw me, or that there was any one here!--Put out the candle!--they might
see our figures darkening the light as we go out!"

Fergus and Reilly immediately planted themselves behind a whitethorn
hedge, in a field adjoining the cabin, in order to reconnoitre the
party, whoever they might be, which they could do in safety. This act of
reconnoitering, however, was performed by the ear, and not at all by the
eye; the darkness of the night rendered that impossible. Of course the
search in the widow's cabin was equally fruitless.

"Now," whispered Reilly, "we'll go in a line parallel with the road,
but at a safe distance from them, until they reach the cross-roads. If
they turn towards my house, we are forewarned, but if they turn towards
Sir Robert's, it is likely that I may have an opportunity of securing
my cash and papers." On reaching the cross-roads alluded to, the party,
much to the satisfaction of Reilly and his companion, did turn towards
the residence of Sir Robert Whitecraft, thus giving the fugitives full
assurance that nothing further was to be apprehended from them that
night. The men in fact felt fatigued and were anxious to get to bed.

After approaching Reilly's house very cautiously, and with much
circumspection--not an outhouse, or other place of concealment, having
been left unexamined--they were about to enter, when Reilly, thinking
that no precaution on such an occasion ought to be neglected, said:

"Fergus, we are so far safe; but, under all circumstances, I think it
right and prudent that you should keep watch outside. Mark me, I will
place Tom Corrigan--you know him--at this window, and if you happen to
see anything in the shape of a human being, or to hear, for instance,
any noise, give the slightest possible tap upon the glass, and that will
be sufficient."

It was so arranged, and Reilly entered the house; but, as it happened,
Fergus's office proved a sinecure; although, indeed, when we consider
his care and anxiety, we can scarcely say so. At all events, Reilly
returned in about half an hour, bearing under his arm a large dark
portfolio, which, by the way, was securely locked.

"Is all right?" asked Fergus.

"All is right," replied the other. "The servants have entered into an
arrangement to sit up, two in turn each night, so as to be ready to give
me instant admittance whenever I may chance to come."

"But now where are you to place these papers?" asked his companion.
"That's a difficulty."

"It is, I grant," replied Reilly, "but after what has happened, I think
widow Buckley's cabin the safest place for a day or two. Only that the
hour is so unseasonable, I could feel little difficulty in finding a
proper place of security for them, but as it is, we must only deposit
them for the present with the widow."

The roads of Ireland at this period--if roads they could be called--were
not only in a most shameful, but dangerous, state. In summer they were
a foot deep with dust, and in winter at least eighteen inches with mud.
This, however, was by no means the worst of it. They were studded, at
due intervals, with ruts so deep that if a horse! happened to get into
one of them he went down to the saddle-skirts. They were treacherous,
too, and such as no caution could guard against; because, where the
whole surface of the road was one mass of mud, it was impossible to
distinguish these horse-traps at all. Then, in addition to these, were
deep gullies across the roads, worn away by small rills, proceeding from
rivulets in the adjoining uplands, which were; principally dry, or at
least mere threads of | water in summer, but in winter became pigmy
torrents that tore up the roads across which they passed, leaving them
in the dangerous state we have described.

As Reilly and his companion had got out upon the road, they were a good
deal surprised, and not a little alarmed, to see a horse, without
a rider, struggling to extricate himself out of one of the ruts in
question. "What is this?" said Fergus. "Be on your guard."

"The horse," observed Reilly, "is without! a rider; see what it means."

Fergus approached with all due caution, and on examining the place
discovered a man lying apparently in a state of insensibility.

"I fear," said he, on returning to Reilly, "that his rider has been
hurt; he is lying senseless about two or three yards before the horse."

"My God!" exclaimed the other, "perhaps he has been killed; let us
instantly assist him. Hold this portfolio whilst I render him whatever
assistance I can."

As he spoke they heard a heavy groan, and on approaching found the man
sitting; but still unable to rise.

"You have unfortunately been thrown, sir," said Reilly; "I trust in God
you are not seriously hurt."

"I hope not, sir," replied the man, "but I was stunned, and have been
insensible for some time; how long I cannot say."

"Good gracious, sir!" exclaimed Reilly, "is this Mr. Brown?"

"It is, Mr. Reilly; for heaven's sake aid me to my limbs--that is, if
I shall be able to stand upon them." Reilly did so, but found that he
could not stand or walk without' assistance. The horse, in the meantime,
had extricated himself.

"Come, Mr. Brown," said Reilly, "you! must, allow me to assist you home.
It is very fortunate that you have not many perches to go. This poor man
will lead your horse up to the stable."

"Thank you, Mr. Reilly," replied the gentleman, "and in requital for
your kindness you must take a bed at my house tonight. I am aware of
your position," he added in a confidential voice, "and that you cannot
safely sleep in your own; with me you will be secure."

Reilly thanked him, and said that this kind offer was most welcome and
acceptable, as, in point of fact, he scarcely knew that night where to
seek rest with safety. They accordingly proceeded to the parsonage--for
Mr. Brown was no other than the Protestant rector of the parish, a man
with whom Reilly was on the most friendly and intimate terms, and a man,
we may add, who omitted no opportunity of extending shelter, protection,
and countenance to such Roman Catholics as fell under the suspicion or
operation of the law. On this occasion he had been called very suddenly
to the deathbed of a parishioner, and was then on his return home, after
having administered to the dying man the last consolations of religion.

On reaching the parsonage, Fergus handed the portfolio to its owner, and
withdrew to seek shelter in some of his usual haunts for the night; but
Mr. Brown, aided by his wife, who sat up for him, contrived that Reilly
should be conducted to a private room, without the knowledge of the
servants, who were sent as soon as possible to bed. Before Reilly
withdrew, however, that night, he requested Mr. Brown to take charge of
his money and family papers, which the latter did, assuring him that
they should be forthcoming whenever he thought proper to call for them.
Mr. Brown had, not been seriously hurt, and was able in a day or two to
pay the usual attention to the discharge of his duties.

Reilly, having been told where to find his bedroom, retired with
confidence to rest. Yet we can scarcely term it rest, after considering
the tumultuous and disagreeable events of the evening. He began
to ponder upon the life of persecution to which Miss Folliard must
necessarily be exposed, in consequence of her father's impetuous and
fiery temper; and, indeed, the fact was, that he felt this reflection
infinitely more bitter than any that touched himself. In these
affectionate calculations of her domestic persecution he was a good
deal mistaken, however, Sir Robert Whitecraft had now gained a complete
ascendancy over the disposition and passions of her father. The latter,
like many another country squire--especially of that day--when his word
and will were law to his tenants and dependants, was a very great man
indeed, when dealing with them. He could bluster and threaten, and even
carry his threats into execution with a confident swagger that had more
of magisterial pride and the pomp of property in it, than a sense of
either light or justice. But, on the other hand, let him meet a man of
his own rank, who cared nothing about his authority as a magistrate, or
his assumption as a man of large landed property, and he was nothing but
a poor weak-minded tool in his hands. So far our description is correct;
but when such a knave as Sir Robert Whitecraft came in his way--a knave
at once calculating, deceitful, plausible, and cunning--why, our worthy
old squire, who thought himself a second Solomon, might be taken by the
nose and led round the whole barony.

There is no doubt that he had sapiently laid down his plans--to harass
and persecute his daughter into a marriage with Sir Robert, and would
have probably driven her from under his roof, had he not received the
programme of his conduct from Whitecraft. That cowardly caitiff had a
double motive in this. He found that if her father should "pepper
her with persecution," as the old fellow said, before marriage, its
consequences might fall upon his own unlucky head afterwards--in other
words, that Helen would most assuredly make him then suffer, to some
purpose, for all that his pretensions to her hand had occasioned her
to undergo previous to their union; for, in truth, if there was one
doctrine which Whitecraft detested more than another--and with good
reason too--it was that of Retribution.

"Mr. Folliard," said Whitecraft in the very last conversation they had
on this subject, "you must not persecute your daughter on my account."

"Mustn't I? Why hang it, Sir Robert, isn't persecution the order of the
day? If she doesn't marry you quietly and willingly, we'll turn her out,
and hunt her like a priest."

"No, Mr. Folliard, violence will never do. On the contrary, you must
change your hand, and try an opposite course. If you wish to rivet her
affections upon that Jesuitical traitor still more strongly, persecute
her; for there is nothing in this life that strengthens love so much as
opposition and violence. The fair ones begin to look upon themselves
as martyrs, and in proportion as you are severe and inexorable, so in
proportion are they resolved to win the crown that is before them. I
would not press your daughter but that I believe love to be a thing
that exists before marriage--never after. There's the honeymoon, for
instance. Did ever mortal man or mortal woman hear or dream of a second
honeymoon? No, sir, for Cupid, like a large blue-bottle, falls into, and
is drowned, in the honey-pot."

"Confound me," replied the squire, "if I understand a word you say.
However, I dare say it may be very good sense for all that, for you
always had a long noddle. Go on."

"My advice to you then, sir, is this-make as few allusions to her
marriage with me as possible; but, in the meantime, you may praise me
a little, if you wish; but, above all things, don't run down Reilly
immediately after paying either my mind or person any compliment. Allow
the young lady to remain quiet for a time. Treat her with your usual
kindness and affection; for it is possible, after all, that she may do
more from her tenderness and affection for you than we could expect from
any other motive; at all events, until we shall succeed in hanging or
transporting this rebellious scoundrel."

"Very good--so he is. Good William! what a son-in-law I should have! I
who transported one priest already!"

"Well, sir, as I was saying, until we shall have succeeded in hanging or
transporting him. The first would be the safest, no doubt: but until we
shall be able to accomplish either one or the other, we have not much to
expect in the shape of compliance from your daughter. When the villain
is removed, however, hope, on her part, will soon die out--love will
lose its _pabulum_."

"Its what?" asked the squire, staring at him with a pair of round eyes
that were full of perplexity and wonder.

"Why, it means food, or rather fodder."

"Curse you, sir," replied the squire indignantly; "do you want to make a
beast of my daughter?"

"But it's a word, sir, applied by the poets, as the food of Cupid."

"Cupid! I thought he was drowned in the honey-pot, yet he's up again,
and as brisk as ever, it appears. However, go on--let us understand
fairly what you're at. I think I see a glimpse of it; and knowing your
character upon the subject of persecution as I do, it's more, I must
say, than I expected from you. Go on--I bid you."

"I say, then, sir, that if Reilly were either hanged or out of the
country, the consciousness of this would soon alter matters with Miss
Folliard. If you, then, sir, will enter into an agreement with me, I
shall undertake so to make the laws bear upon Reilly as to rid either
the world or the country of him; and you shall promise not to press upon
your daughter the subject of her marriage with me until then. Still,
there is one thing you must do; and that is, to keep her under the
strictest surveillance."

"What the devil's that?" said the squire.

"It means," returned his expected son-in-law, "that she must be well
watched, but without feeling that she is so."

"Would it not be better to lock her up at once?" said her father. "That
would be making the matter sure."

"Not at all," replied Whitecraft. "So sure as you lock her up, so sure
she will break prison."

"Well, upon my soul," replied her father. "I can't see that. A strong
lock and key are certainly the best surety for the due appearance of any
young woman disposed to run away. I think the best way would be to make
her feel at once that her father is a magistrate, and commit her to her
own room until called upon to appear."

Whitecraft, whose object was occasionally to puzzle his friend, gave a
cold grin, and added:

"I suppose your next step would be to make her put in security. No--no,
Mr. Folliard; if you will be advised by me, try the soothing system;
antiphlogistic remedies are always the best in a case like hers."

"Anti--what? Curse me, if I can understand every tenth word you say.
However, I give you credit, Whitecraft; for upon my soul I didn't think
you knew half so much as you do. That last, however, is a tickler--a nut
that I can't crack. I wish I could only get my tongue about it, till I
send it among the Grand Jury, and maybe there wouldn't be wigs on the
green in making it out."

"Yes, I fancy it would teach them a little supererogation."

"A little what? Is it love that has made you so learned, Whitecraft,
or so unintelligible, which? Why, man, if your passion increases, in
another week there won't be three men out of Trinity College able to
understand you. You will become a perfect oracle. But, in the meantime,
let us see how the arrangement stands. _Imprimus_, you are to hang or
transport Keilly; and, until then, I am not to annoy my daughter with
any allusions to this marriage: but, above all things, not to compare
you and Reilly with one another in her presence, lest it might
strengthen her prejudices against you."

"I beg your pardon, Mr. Folliard. I did not say so; I fear no comparison
with the fellow."

"No matter, Sir Robert, if you did not knock it down you staggered it.
Omitting the comparison, however, I suppose that so far I am right."

"I think so, sir," replied the other, conscious, "after all, that he had
got a touch of 'Roland for his Oliver'."

Then he proceeded: "I'm to watch her closely, only she's not to know
it. Now, I'll tell you what, Sir Robert, I know you carry a long noddle,
with more hard words in it than I ever gave you credit for--but with
regard to what you expect from me now--"

"I don't mean that you should watch her personally yourself, Mr.
Folliard."

"I suppose you don't; I didn't think you did; but I'll tell you
what--place the twelve labors of Hercules before me, and I'll undertake
to perform them, if you wish, but to watch a woman, Sir Robert--and
that woman keen and sharp upon the cause of such vigilance--without her
knowing it in one half hour's time--that is a task that never was, can,
or will be accomplished. In the meantime, we must only come as near its
accomplishment as we can."

"Just so, sir; we can do no more. Remember, then, that you perform your
part of this arrangement, and, with the blessing of God, I shall leave
nothing undone to perform mine."

Thus closed this rather extraordinary conversation, after which Sir
Robert betook himself home, to reflect upon the best means of performing
his part of it, with what quickness and dispatch, and with what success,
our readers already know.

The old squire was one of those characters who never are so easily
persuaded as when they do not fully comprehend the argument used to
convince them. Whenever the squire found himself a little at fault, or
confounded by either a difficult word or a hard sentence, he always took
it for granted that there was something unusually profound and clever
in the matter laid before him. Sir Robert knew this, and on that account
played him off to a certain extent. He was too cunning, however, to
darken any part of the main argument so far as to prevent its drift from
being fully understood, and thereby defeating his own purpose.




CHAPTER VIII.--A Conflagration--An Escape--And an Adventure


We have said that Sir Robert Whitecraft was anything but a popular
man--and we might have added that, unless among his own clique of
bigots and persecutors, he was decidedly unpopular among Protestants in
general. In a few days after the events of the night we have described,
Reilly, by the advice of Mr. Brown's brother, an able and distinguished
lawyer, gave up the possession of his immense farm, dwelling-house, and
offices to the landlord. In point of fact, this man had taken the farm
for Reilly's father, in his own name, a step which many of the liberal
and generous Protestants of that period were in the habit of taking,
to protect the property for the Roman Catholics, from such rapacious
scoundrels as Whitecraft, and others like him, who had accumulated the
greater portion of their wealth and estates by the blackest and most
iniquitous political profligacy and oppression. For about a month after
the first night of the unsuccessful pursuit after Reilly, the
whole country was overrun with military parties, and such miserable
inefficient police as then existed. In the meantime, Reilly escaped
every toil and snare that had been laid for him. Sir Robert Whitecraft,
seeing that hitherto he had set them at defiance, resolved to glut
his vengeance on his property, since he could not arrest himself. A
description of his person had been, almost from the commencement of the
proceedings, published in the Hue-and-Cry, and he had been now outlawed.
As even this failed, Sir Robert, as we said, came with a numerous party
of his myrmidons, bringing along with them a large number of horses,
carts, and cars. The house at this time was in the possession only of a
keeper, a poor, feeble man, with a wife and a numerous family of small
children, the other servants having fled from the danger in which
their connection with Reilly involved them. Sir Robert, however, very
deliberately brought up his cars and other vehicles, and having dragged
out all the most valuable part of the furniture, piled it up, and had it
conveyed to his own outhouses, where it was carefully-stowed. This act,
however, excited comparatively little attention, for such outrages were
not unfrequently committed by those who had, or at least who thought
they had; the law in their own hands. It was now dusk, and the house
had been gutted of all that had been most valuable in it--but the
most brilliant part of the performance was yet to come. We mean no
contemptible pun. The young man's dwelling-house, and office-houses
were ignited at this moment by this man's military and other official
minions, and in about twenty minutes they were all wrapped in one red,
merciless mass of flame. The country people, on observing this fearful
conflagration, flocked from all quarters; but a cordon of outposts was
stationed at some distance around the premises, to prevent the peasantry
from marking the chief actors in this nefarious outrage. Two gentlemen,
however, approached, who, having given their names, were at once
admitted to the burning premises. These were Mr. Brown, the clergyman,
and Mr. Hastings, the actual and legal proprietor of all that had been
considered Reilly's property. Both of them observed that Sir Robert was
the busiest man among them, and upon making inquiries from the party,
they were informed that they acted by his orders, and that, moreover, he
was himself the very first individual who had set fire to the
premises. The clergyman made his way to Sir Robert, on whose villainous
countenance he could read a dark and diabolical triumph.

"Sir Robert Whitecraft," said Mr. Brown, "how conies such a wanton and
unnecessary waste of property?"

"Because, sir," replied that gentleman, "it is the property of a popish
rebel and outlaw, and is confiscated to the State."

"But do you possess authority for this conduct?--Are you the State?"

"In the spirit of our Protestant Constitution, certainly. I am a
loyal Protestant magistrate, and a man of rank, and will hold myself
accountable for what I do and have done. Come you, there," he added,
"who have knocked down the pump, take some straw, light it up, and put
it with pitchforks upon the lower end of the stable; it has not yet
caught the flames."

This order was accordingly complied with, and in a few minutes the
scene, if one could dissociate the mind from the hellish spirit which
created it, had something terribly sublime in it.

Mr. Hastings, the gentleman who accompanied the clergyman, the real
owner of the property, looked on with apparent indifference, but uttered
not a word. Indeed, he seemed rather to enjoy the novelty of the thing
than otherwise, and passed with Mr. Brown from place to place, as if to
obtain the best points for viewing the fire.

Reilly's residence was a long, large, two-story house, deeply thatched;
the kitchen, containing pantry, laundry, scullery, and all the usual
appurtenances connected with it, was a continuation of the larger house,
but it was a story lower, and also deeply thatched. The out-offices ran
in a long line behind the dwelling house, so that both ran parallel with
each other, and stood pretty close besides, for the yard was a narrow
one. In the meantime, the night, though dry, was dark and stormy. The
wind howled through the adjoining trees like thunder, roared along the
neighboring hills, and swept down in savage whirlwinds to the bottom of
the lowest valleys. The greater portion of the crowd who were standing
outside the cordon we have spoken of fled home, as the awful gusts grew
stronger and stronger, in order to prevent their own houses from being
stripped or unroofed, so that very few remained to witness the rage of
the conflagration at its full height. The Irish peasantry entertain a
superstition that whenever a strong storm of wind, without rain, arises,
it has been occasioned by the necromantic spell of some guilty sorcerer,
who, first having sold himself to the devil, afterwards raises him for
some wicked purpose; and nothing but the sacrifice of a black dog or a
black cock--the one without a white hair, and the other without a
white feather--can prevent him from carrying away, body and soul, the
individual who called him up, accompanied by such terrors. In fact
the night, independently of the terrible accessory of the fire, was
indescribably awful. Thatch portions of the ribs and roofs of houses
were whirled along through the air; and the sweeping blast, in addition
to its own howlings, was burdened with the loud screamings of women and
children, and the stronger shoutings of men, as they attempted to make
each other audible, amidst the roaring of the tempest.

This was terrible indeed; but on such a night, what must not the
conflagration have been, fed by such pabulum--as Sir Robert himself
would have said--as that on which it glutted its fiery and consuming
appetite. We have said that the offices and dwelling-house ran parallel
with each other, and such was the fact. What appeared singular, and not
without the possibility of some dark supernatural causes, according
to the impressions of the people, was, that the wind, on the night in
question, started, as it were, along with the fire; but the truth is,
it had been gamboling in its gigantic play before the fire commenced at
all. In the meantime, as we said, the whole premises presented one fiery
mass of red and waving flames, that shot and drifted up, from time to
time, towards the sky, with the rapidity, and more than the terror,
of the aurora borealis. As the conflagration proceeded, the high flames
that arose from the mansion, and those that leaped up from the offices,
several times met across the yard, and mingled, as if to exult in their
fearful task of destruction, forming a long and distinct arch of flame,
so exact and regular, that it seemed to proceed from the skill and
effort of some powerful demon, who had made it, as it were, a fiery
arbor for his kind. The whole country was visible to an astonishing
distance, and overhead, the evening sky, into which the up-rushing
pyramids seemed to pass, looked as if it had caught the conflagration,
and was one red mass of glowing and burning copper. Around the house and
premises the eye could distinguish a pin; but the strong light was so
fearfully red that the deep tinge it communicated to the earth seemed
like blood, and made it appear as if it had been sprinkled with it.

It is impossible to look upon a large and extensive conflagration
without feeling the mind filled with imagery and comparisons, drawn
from moral and actual life. Here, for instance, is a tyrant, in the
unrestrained exercise of his power--he now has his enemy in his grip,
and hear how he exults; listen to the mirthful and crackling laughter
with which the fiendish despot rejoices, as he gains the victory; mark
the diabolical gambols with which he sports, and the demon glee with
which he performs his capricious but frightful exultations. But the
tyrant, after all, will become exhausted--his strength and power will
fail him; he will destroy his own subjects; he will become feeble, and
when he has nothing further on which to exercise his power, he will,
like many another tyrant before him, sink, and be lost in the ruin he
has made.

Again: Would you behold Industry? Here have its terrible spirits been
appointed their tasks. Observe the energy, the activity, the persevering
fury with which they discharge their separate duties. See how that
eldest son of Apollyon, with the appetite of hell, licks into his
burning maw every thing that comes in contact with his tongue of fire.
What quickness of execution, and how rapidly they pass from place to
place! how they run about in quest of employment! how diligently and
effectually they search every nook and corner, lest anything might
escape them! Mark the activity with which that strong fellow leaps
across, from beam to beam, seizing upon each as he goes. A different
task has been assigned to another: he attacks the rafters of the
roof--he fails at first, but, like the constrictor, he first licks over
his victim before he destroys it--bravo!--he is at it again--it gives
way--he is upon it, and about it; and now his difficulties are over--the
red wood glows, splits and crackles, and flies off in angry flakes,
in order to become a minister to its active and devouring master. See!
observe! What business--what a coil and turmoil of industry! Every
flame at work--no idle hand here--no lazy lounger reposing. No, no--the
industry of a hive of bees is nothing to this. Running up--running
down--running in all directions: now they unite together to accomplish
some general task, and again disperse themselves to perform their
individual appointments.

But hark! what comes here? Room for another element. 'Tis the windstorm,
that comes to partake in the triumph of the victory which his ministers
have assisted to gain. But lo! here he comes in person; and now they
unite--or how?--Do they oppose each other? Here does the windstorm drive
back the god of fire from his victim; again the fiery god attempts to
reach it; and again he feels that he has met more than his match. Once,
twice, thrice he has failed in getting at it. But is this conflict
real--this fierce battle between the elements? Alas, no; they are both
tyrants, and what is to be expected?

The wind god, always unsteady, wheels round, comes to the assistance of
his opponent, and gives him new courage, new vigor, and new strength.
But his inferior ministers must have a share of this dreadful repast.
Off go a thousand masses of burning material, whirling along. Off go
the; glowing timbers and rafters, on the wind, by which they are borne
in thousands of red meteors across the sky. But hark, again! Room for
the whirlwind! Here it comes, and addresses itself to yon tall and
waving pyramid; they embrace; the pyramid is twisted into the figure of
a gigantic corkscrew--round they go, rapid as thought; the thunder of
the wind supplies them with the appropriate music, and continues until;
this terrible and gigantic waltz of the elements is concluded. But now
these fearful ravagers are satisfied, because they have nothing more on
which they can glut themselves. They appear, however, to be seated. The
wind has become low, and is only able to work up a feeble effort at its
former strength. The flames, too, are subsiding--their power is gone;
occasional jets of fire I come forth, but they instantly disappear. By
degrees, and one after another, they vanish. Nothing now is visible
but smoke, and every thing is considered as over--when lo! like a great
general, who has achieved a triumphant victory, it is deemed right to;
take a last look at the position of the enemy. Up, therefore, starts
an unexpected burst of flame--blazes for a while; looks about it, as
it were; sees that the victory is complete, and drops down into the
darkness from which it came. The conflagration is over; the wind-storm
is also appeased. Small hollow gusts, amongst the trees and elsewhere,
are now all that are heard. By degrees, even these cease; and the wind
is now such as it was in the course of the evening, when the elements
were comparatively quiet and still.

Mr. Brown and his friend, Mr. Hastings, having waited until they saw the
last rafter of unfortunate Reilly's house and premises sink into a black
mass of smoking ruins, turned their steps to the parsonage, which they
had no sooner entered than they went immediately to Reilly's room, who
was still there under concealment. Mr. Brown, however, went out again
and returned with some wine, which he placed upon the table.

"Gentlemen," said Reilly, "this has become an awful night; the wind has
been tremendous, and has done a good deal of damage, I fear, to your
house and premises, Mr. Brown. I heard the slates falling about in great
numbers; and the inmates of the house were, as far as I could judge,
exceedingly alarmed."

"It was a dreadful night in more senses than one," replied Mr. Brown.

"By the by," said Reilly, "was there not a fire somewhere in the
neighborhood, I observed through the windows a strong light flickering
and vibrating, as it were, over the whole country. What must it have
been?"

"My dear Reilly," replied Mr. Brown, "be calm; your house and premises
are, at this moment, one dark heap of smouldering ruins."

"Oh, yes--I understand," replied Reilly--"Sir Robert Whitecraft."

"Sir Robert Whitecraft," replied Mr. Brown; "it is too true, Reilly--you
are now houseless and homeless; and may God forgive him!"

Reilly got up and paced the room several times, then sat down, and
filling himself a glass of wine, drank it off; then looking at each of
them, said, in a voice rendered hoarse by the indignation and resentment
which he felt himself compelled, out of respect for his kind friends, to
restrain, "Gentlemen," he repeated, "what do _you_ call this"

"Malice--persecution--vengeance," replied Mr. Brown, whose resentment
was scarcely less than that of Reilly himself. "In the presence of
God, and before all the world. I would pronounce it one of the most
diabolical acts ever committed in the history of civil society. But you
have one consolation, Reilly; your money and papers are safe."

"It is not that," replied Reilly; "I think not of them. It is the
vindictive and persecuting spirit of that man--that monster--and the
personal motives from which he acts, that torture me, and that plant in
my heart a principle of vengeance more fearful than his. But you do not
understand me, gentlemen; I could smile at all he has done to myself
yet. It is of the serpent-tooth which will destroy the peace of others,
that I think. All these motives being considered, what do you think that
man deserves at my hand?"

"My dear Reilly," said the clergyman, "recollect that there is a
Providence; and that we cannot assume to ourselves the disposition
of His judgments, or the knowledge of His wisdom. Have patience. Your
situation is one of great distress and almost unexampled difficulty. At
all events, you are, for the present, safe under this roof; and although
I grant you have much to suffer, still you have a free conscience,
and, I dare say, would not exchange your position for that of your
persecutor."

"No," said Reilly; "most assuredly not--most assuredly not; no, not for
worlds. Yet is it not strange, gentlemen, that that man will sleep sound
and happily to-night, whilst I will lie upon a bed of thorns?"

At this moment Mrs. Brown tapped gently at the door, which was
cautiously opened by her husband.

"John," said she, "here is a note which I was desired to give to you
without a moment's delay."

"Thank you, my love; I will read it instantly.".

He then bolted the door, and coming to the table took up one of the
candles and read the letter, which he handed to Mr. Hastings. Now
we have already stated that this gentleman, whilst looking on at the
destruction of Reilly's property, never once opened his lips. Neither
did he, from the moment they entered Reilly's room. He sat like a dumb
man, occasionally helping himself to a glass of wine. After having
perused the note he merely nodded, but said not a word; he seemed to
have lost the faculty of speech. At length Mr. Brown spoke:

"This is really too bad, my dear Reilly; here is a note signed H.F.,
which informs me that your residence, concealment, or whatever it is,
has been discovered by Sir Robert Whitecraft, and that the military are
on their way here to arrest you; you must instantly fly."

Hastings then got up, and taking Reilly's hand, said:

"Yes, Reilly, you must escape--disguise yourself--take all shapes--since
you will not leave the country; but there is one fact I wish to impress
upon you: meddle not with--injure not--Sir Robert Whitecraft. Leave him
to me."

"Go out by the back way," said Mr. Brown, "and fly into the fields, lest
they should surround the house and render escape impossible. God bless
you and preserve you from the violence of your enemies!"

It is unnecessary to relate what subsequently occurred. Mr. Brown's
premises, as he had anticipated, were completely surrounded ere the
party in search of Reilly had demanded admittance. The whole house was
searched from top to bottom, but, as usual, without success. Sir
Robert Whitecraft himself was not with them, but the party were all but
intoxicated, and, were it not for the calm and unshrinking firmness
of Mr. Brown, would have been guilty of a very offensive degree of
insolence.

Reilly, in the meantime, did not pass far from the house. On the
contrary, he resolved to watch from a safe place the motions of those
who were in pursuit of him. In order to do this more securely, he
mounted into the branches of a magnificent oak tree that stood in the
centre of a field adjoining a kind of back lawn that stretched from the
walled garden of the parsonage. The fact is, that the clergyman's house
had two hall-doors--one in front, and the other in the rear--and as the
rooms commanded a view of the scenery behind the house, which was
much finer than that in front, on this account the back hall-door was
necessary, as it gave them a free and easy egress to the lawn we have
mentioned, from which a magnificent prospect was visible.

It was obvious that the party, though unsuccessful, had been very
accurately informed. Finding, however, that the bird had flown, several
of them galloped across the lawn--it was a cavalry party, having been
sent out for speed and passed into the field where the tree grew in
which Reilly was concealed. After a useless search, however, they
returned, and pulled up their horses under the oak.

"Well," said one of them, "it's a dear case that the scoundrel can make
himself invisible. We have orders from Sir Eobert to shoot him, and to
put the matter upon the principle of resistance against the law, on
his side. Sir Robert has been most credibly informed that that disloyal
parson has concealed him in his house for nearly the last month. Now
who could ever think of looking for a Popish rebel in the house of a
Protestant parson? What the deuce is keeping those fellows? I hope they
won't go too far into the country."

"Any man that says Mr. Brown is a disloyal parson is a liar," said one
of them in a stem voice.

"And I say," said another, with a hiccough, "that, hang me, but I think
this same Reilly is as loyal a man as e'er a one amongst us. My name is
George Johnston, and I'm not ashamed of it; and the truth is, that only
Miss Folliard fell in love with Reilly, and refused to marry Sir Robert,
Reilly would have been a loyal man still, and no ill-will against him.
But, by --- it was too bad to burn his house and place--and see
whether Sir Robert will come off the better of it. I myself am a good
Protestant--show me the man that will deny that, and I'll become his
schoolmaster only for five minutes. I do say, and I'll tell it to Sir
Robert's face, that there's something wrong somewhere. Give me a Papish
that breaks the law, let him be priest or layman, and I'm the boy that
will take a grip of him if I can get him. But, confound me, if I like to
be sent out to hunt innocent, inoffensive Papishes, who commit no crime
except that of having property that chaps like Sir Robert have their eye
on. Now suppose the Papishes had the upper hand, and that they treated
us so, what would you say?"

"All I can say is," replied another of them, "that I'd wish to get the
reward."

"Curse the reward," said Johnston, "I like fair play."

"But how did Sir Robert come to know?" asked another, "that Reilly was
with the parson'?"

"Who the deuce here can tell that?" replied several.

"The thing was a hoax," said Johnston, "and a cursed uncomfortable one
for us. But here comes these fellows, just as they went, it seems. Well,
boys, no trail of this cunning fox?"

"Trail!" exclaimed the others. "Gad, you might as well hunt for your
grandmother's needle in a bottle of straw. The truth is, the man's
not in the country, and whoever gave the information as to the parson
keeping him was some enemy of the parson's more than of Reilly's, I'll
go bail. Come, now, let us go back, and give an account of our luck, and
then to our barracks."

Now at this period it was usual for men who were prominent for rank and
loyalty, and whose attachment to the Constitution and Government was
indicated by such acts and principles as those which we have hitherto
read in the life of Sir Robert. Whitecraft--we say, it was usual for
such as him to be allowed a small detachment of military, whose numbers
were mostly rated, according to the services he required of them, by the
zeal and activity of their employer, as well as for his protection;
and, in order to their accommodation, some uninhabited house in the
neighborhood was converted into a barrack for the purpose. Such was the
case in the instance of Sir Robert Whitecraft, who, independently of
his zeal for the public good, was supposed to have an eye in this
disposition of things, to his own personal Safety. He consequently, had
his little barrack so closely adjoining his house that a notice of five
minutes could at any time have its inmates at his premises, or in his
presence.

After these men went away, Reilly, having waited a few minutes, until he
was satisfied that they had actually, one and all of them, disappeared,
came down from the tree, and once more betook himself to the road.
Whither to go he knew not. In consequence of having received his
education abroad, his personal knowledge of the inhabitants belonging
to the neighborhood was very limited. Go somewhere, however, he must.
Accordingly, he resolved to advance, at all events, as far as he might
be able to travel before bed-time, and then resign himself to chance
for a night's shelter. One might imagine, indeed, that his position as
a wealthy Roman Catholic gentleman, suffering persecution from the tool
and scourge of a hostile government, might have calculated upon shelter
and secrecy from those belonging to his own creed. And so, indeed, in
nineteen cases out of twenty he might; but in what predicament should
he find himself if the twentieth proved treacherous? And against this he
had no guarantee. That age was peculiarly marked by the foulest personal
perfidy, precipitated into action by rapacity, ingratitude, and the
blackest ambition. The son of a Roman Catholic gentleman, for instance,
had nothing more to do than change his creed, attach himself to the
government, become a spy and informer on his family, and he ousted his
own father at once out of his hereditary property--an ungrateful and
heinous proceeding, that was too common in the time of which we write.
Then, as to the people themselves, they were, in general, steeped in
poverty and ignorance, and this is certainly not surprising when
we consider that no man durst educate them. The government rewards,
therefore, assailed them with a double temptation. In the first, the
amount of it--taking their poverty into consideration--was calculated
to grapple with and overcome their scruples; and in the next, they were
certain by their treachery to secure the protection of government for
themselves.

Such, exactly, was the state of the country on the night when Reilly
found himself a solitary traveller on the road, ignorant of his destiny,
and uncertain where or in what quarter he might seek shelter until
morning.

He had not gone far when he overtook another traveller, with whom he
entered into conversation.

"God save you, my friend."

"God save you kindly, sir," replied the other; "was not this an awful
night?"

"If you may say so," returned Reilly unconsciously, and for the moment
forgetting himself, "well may I, my friend."

Indeed it is probable that Reilly was thrown somewhat off his guard by
the accent of his companion, from which he at once inferred that he was
a Catholic.

"Why, sir," replied the man, "how could it be more awful to you than to
any other man?"

"Suppose my house was blown down," said Reilly, "and that yours was not,
would not that be cause sufficient?"

"_My_ house!" exclaimed the man with a deep sigh; "but sure you ought to
know, sir, that it's not every _man_ has a house."

"And perhaps I do know it."

"Wasn't that a terrible act, sir--the burning of Mr. Reilly's house and
place?"

"Who is Mr. Reilly?" asked the other.

"A Catholic gintleman, sir, that the soldiers are afther," replied the
man.

"And perhaps it is right that they should be after him. What did he do?
The Catholics are too much in the habit of violating the law, especially
their priests, who persist in marrying Protestants and Papists together,
although they know it is a hanging matter. If they deliberately put
their necks into the noose, who can pity them?"

"It seems they do, then," replied the man in a subdued voice; "and what
is still more strange, it very often happens that persons of their own
creed are somewhat too ready to come down wid a harsh word upon 'em."

"Well, my friend," responded Reilly, "let them not deserve it; let them
obey the law."

"And are _you_, of opinion, sir," asked the man with a significant
emphasis upon the personal pronoun which we have put in italics; "are
_you_ of opinion, sir, that obedience to the law is _always_ a security
to either _person or property?_"

The direct force of the question could not be easily parried, at least
by Reilly, to whose circumstances it applied so powerfully, and he
consequently paused for a little to shape his thoughts into the language
he wished to adopt; the man, however, proceeded:

"I wonder what Mr. Reilly would say if such a question was put to him?"

"I suppose," replied Reilly, "he would say much as I say--that neither
innocence nor obedience is always a security under any law or any
constitution either."

His companion made no reply, and they walked on for some time in
silence. Such indeed was the precarious state of the country then that,
although the stranger, from the opening words of their conversation,
suspected his companion to be no other than Willy Reilly himself, yet
he hesitated to avow the suspicions he entertained of his identity,
although he felt anxious to repose the fullest confidence in him; and
Reilly, on the other hand, though perfectly aware of the true character
of his companion, was influenced in their conversation by a similar
feeling. Distrust it could not be termed on either side, but simply the
operation of that general caution which was generated by the state of
the times, when it was extremely difficult to know the individual on
whom you could place dependence. Reilly's generous nature, however,
could bear this miserable manoeuvring no longer.

"Come, my friend," said he, "we have been beating about the bush with
each other to no purpose; although I know not your name, yet I think I
do your profession."

"And I would hold a wager," replied other, "that Mr. Reilly, whose house
was burned down by a villain this night, is not a thousand miles from
me."

"And suppose you are right?"

"Then, upon my veracity, you're safe, if I am. It would ill become my
cloth and character to act dishonorably or contrary to the spirit of my
religion.

     '_Non ignara mali miseris succurrere disco_.'

You see, Mr. Reilly, I couldn't make use of any other gender but the
feminine without violating prosody; for although I'm not so sharp at
my Latin as I was, still I couldn't use _ignarus_, as you see, without
fairly committing myself as a scholar; and indeed, if I went to that, it
would surely be the first time I have been mistaken for a dunce."

The honest priest, now that the ice was broken, and conscious that he
was in safe hands, fell at once into his easy and natural manner, and
rattled away very much to the amusement of his companion. "Ah!" he
proceeded, "many a character I have been forced to assume."

"How is that?" inquired Reilly. "How did it happen that you were forced
into such a variety of characters?"

"Why, you see, Mr. Reilly--troth and maybe I had better not be naming
you aloud; walls have ears, and so may hedges. How, you ask? Why,
you see, I'm not registered, and consequently have no permission from
government to exercise my functions."

"Why," said Reilly, "you labor under a mistake, my friend; the bill for
registering Catholic priests did not pass; it was lost by a majority of
two. So far make your mind easy. The consequence is, that if you labor
under no ecclesiastical censure you may exercise all the functions of
your office--that is, as well as you can, and as far as you dare."

"Well, that same's a comfort," said the priest; "but the report was,
and is, that we are to be registered. However, be that as it may, I have
been a perfect Proteus. The metamorphoses of Ovid were nothing to mine.
I have represented every character in society at large; to-day I've been
a farmer, and to-morrow a poor man (a mendicant), sometimes a fool--a
rare character, you know, in this world--and sometimes a tiddler, for I
play a little."

"And which character did you prefer among them all?" asked Reilly, with
a smile which he could not repress.

"Oh, in troth, you needn't ask that, Mr. R.--hem--you needn't ask that.
The first morning I took to the fiddle I was about to give myself up to
government at once. As for my part, I'd be ashamed to tell you how sent
those that were unlucky enough to ear my music scampering across the
country."

"And, pray, how long is that since?"

"Why, something better than three weeks, the Lord pity me!"

"And what description of dress did you wear on that occasion?" asked
Reilly.

"Dress-why, then, an old yellow caubeen, a blue frieze coat,
and--movrone, oh! a striped breeches. And the worst of it was, that big
Paddy Mullin, from Mullaghmore, having met me in old Darby Doyle's, poor
man, where I went to take a little refreshment, ordered in something to
eat, and began to make me play for him. There was a Protestant in the
house, too, so that I couldn't tell him who I was, and I accordingly
began, and soon cleared the house of them. God bless you, sir, you could
little dream of all I went through. I was one day set in the house I was
concealed in, in the town of Ballyrogan, and only for the town fool, Art
M'Kenna, I suppose I'd have swung before this."

"How was that?" asked Reilly.

"Why, sir, one day I got the hard word that they would be into the house
where I was in a few minutes. To escape them in my own dress I knew was
impossible; and what was to be done? The poor fool, who was as true as
steel, came to my relief. 'Here,' said he, 'exchange wid me. I'll put on
your black clothes, and you'll put on my red ones'--he was dressed like
an old soldier--'then I'll take to my scrapers, an' while they are in
pursuit of me you can escape to some friend's house, where you may get
another dress. 'God knows,' said he, with a grin on him I didn't like,
'it's a poor exchange on my part. You can play the fool, and cock your
cap, without any one to ask you for authority,' says he, 'and if I only
marry a wrong couple I may be hanged. Go off now.' Well, sir, out I
walked, dressed in a red coat, military hat, white knee-breeches, and
black leggings. As I was going out I met the soldiers. 'Is the priest
inside, Art?' they asked. I pointed in a wrong direction. 'Up by
Kilclay?' I nodded. They first searched the house, however, but found
neither priest nor fool; only one of them, something sharper than the
rest, went out of the back door, and saw unfortunate Art, dressed in
black, running for the bare life. Of course they thought it was me they
had. Off they started; and a tolerable chase Art put them to. At last
he was caught, after a run across the country of about four miles;
but ne'er a word came out of his lips, till a keen fellow, on looking
closely at him, discovered the mistake. Some of them were then going to
kill the poor fool, but others interfered, and wouldn't allow him to be
touched; and many of them laughed heartily when they saw Art turned into
a clergyman, as they said. Art, however, was no coward, and threatened
to read every man of them out from the altar. 'I'll exkimnicate every
mother's son of you,' said he. 'I'm a reverend clargy; and, by the
contents of my soger's cap, I'll close the mouths on your faces, so that
a blessed pratie or a boult of fat bacon will never go down one of
your villainous throats again; and then,' he added, 'I'll sell you for
scarecrows to the Pope o' Room, who wants a dozen or two of you to sweep
out his palace.' It was then, sir, that, while I was getting out of my
red clothes, I was transformed again; but, indeed, the most of us are so
now, God help us!"

They had now arrived at a narrow part of the road, when the priest
stood.

"Mr. Reilly," said he, "I am very tired; but, as it is, we must go on
a couple of miles further, until we reach Glen Dhu, where I think I can
promise you a night's lodging, such as it will be."

"I am easily satisfied," replied his companion; "it would be a soft bed
that would win me to repose on this night, at least."

"It will certainly be a rude and a rough one," said the priest, "and
there will be few hearts there free from care, no more than yours,
Mr. Reilly. Alas! that I should be obliged to say so in a Christian
country."

"You say you are fatigued," said Reilly. "Take my arm; I am strong
enough to yield you some support."

The priest did so, and they proceeded at a slower pace, until they got
over the next two miles, when the priest stopped again.

"I must rest a little," said he, "although we are now within a hundred
yards of our berth for the night. Do you know where you are?"

"Perfectly," replied Reilly; "but, good mercy! sure there is neither
house nor home within two miles of us. We are in the moors, at the very
mouth of Glen Dhu.'

"Yes," replied his companion, "and I am glad we are here."

The poor hunted priest felt himself, indeed, very much exhausted, so
much so that, if the termination of his journey had been at a much
longer distance from thence, he would scarcely have been able to reach
it.

"God help our unhappy Church," said he, "for she is suffering much; but
still she is suffering nobly, and with such Christian fortitude as will
make her days of trial and endurance the brightest in her annals. All
that power and persecution can direct against us is put in force a
thousand ways; but we act under the consciousness that we have God and
truth on our side, and this gives us strength and courage to suffer.
And if we fly, Mr. Reilly, and hide ourselves, it is not from any moral
cowardice we do so. It certainly is not true courage to expose our lives
wantonly and unnecessarily to the vengeance of our enemies. Read the
Old Testament and history, and you will find how many good and pious
men have sought shelter in wildernesses and caves, as we have done. The
truth is, we feel ourselves called upon, for the sake of our suffering
and neglected flocks, to remain in the country, and to afford them all
the consolation and religious support in our power, God help them."

"I admire the justice of your sentiments," replied Reilly, "and the
spirit in which they are--expressed. Indeed I am of opinion that if
those who foster and stimulate this detestable spirit of persecution
against you only knew how certainly and surely it defeats their purpose,
by cementing your hearts and the hearts of your flocks together, they
would not, from principles even of worldly policy, persist in it. The
man who attempted to break down the arch by heaping additional weight
upon it ultimately found that the greater the weight the stronger the
arch, and so I trust it will be with us."

"It would seem," said the priest, "to be an attempt to exterminate
the religion of the people by depriving them of their pastors, and
consequently of their Church, in order to bring them to the impression
that, upon the principle of any Church being better than no Church, they
may gradually be absorbed into Protestantism. This seems to be their
policy; but how can any policy, based upon such persecution, and so
grossly at variance with human liberty, ever succeed? As it is, we go
out in the dead hours of the night, when even persecution is asleep, and
administer the consolations of religion to the sick, the dying, and
the destitute. Now these stolen visits are sweeter, perhaps, and more
efficacious, than if they took place in freedom and the open day. Again,
we educate their children in the principles of their creed, during the
same lonely hours, in waste houses, where we are obliged to keep the
windows stuffed with straw, or covered with blinds of some sort, lest
a chance of discovery might ensue. Such is the life we lead--a life of
want and misery and suffering, but we complain not; on the contrary, we
submit ourselves to the will of God, and receive this severe visitation
as a chastisement intended for our good."

The necessities of our narrative, however, compel us to leave them here
for the present; but not without a hope that they found shelter for the
night, as we trust we shall be able to show.




CHAPTER IX.--A Prospect of Bygone Times

--Reilly's Adventure Continued--Reilly Gets a Bed in a Curious
Establishment.


We now beg our readers to accompany us to the library of Sir Robert
Whitecraft, where that worthy gentleman sits, with a bottle of
Madeira before him; for Sir Robert, in addition to his many other good
qualities, possessed that of being a private drinker. The bottle, we
say, was before him, and with a smile of triumph and satisfaction on his
face, he arose and rang the bell. In a few minutes a liveried servant
attended it.

"Carson, send O'Donnel here."

Carson bowed and retired, and in a few minutes the Red Rapparee entered.

"How is this, O'Donnel? Have you thrown aside your uniform?"

"I didn't think I'd be called out on duty again to-night, sir."

"It doesn't matter, O'Donnel--it doesn't matter. What do you think of
the bonfire?"

"Begad, it was a beauty, sir, and well managed."

"Ay, but I am afraid, O'Donnel, I went a little too far--that I
stretched my authority somewhat."

"But isn't he a rebel and an outlaw, Sir Robert? and in that case--"

"Yes, O'Donnel; and a rebel and an outlaw of my own making, which is the
best of it. The fellow might have lain there, concocting his treason,
long enough, only for my vigilance. However, it's all right. The
government, to which I have rendered such important services, will stand
by me, and fetch me out of the burning--that is, if there has been any
transgression of the law in it. The Papists are privately recruiting for
the French service, and that is felony; Reilly also was recruiting for
the French service--was he not?"

"He offered me a commission, sir."

"Very good; that's all right, but can you prove that?"

"Why, I can swear it, Sir Robert."

"Better still. But do you think he is in the country, O'Donnel?"

"I would rather swear he is, sir, than that he is not. He won't lave her
aisily."

"Who do you mean by her, sir?"

"I would rather not name her, your honor, in connection with the
vagabond."

"That's delicate of you, O'Donnel; I highly approve of your sentiment.
Here, have a glass of wine."

"Thank you, Sir Robert; but have you any brandy, sir? My tongue is as
dry as a stick, wid that glorious bonfire we had; but, besides, sir, I
wish to drink success to you in all your undertakings. A happy marriage,
sir!" and he accompanied the words with a ferocious grin.

"You shall have one glass of brandy, O'Donnel, but no more. I wish you
to deliver a letter for me to-night. It is to the sheriff, who dines
with Lord ------, a friend of mine; and I wish you to deliver it at his
lordship's house, where you will be sure to find him. The letter is of
the greatest importance, and you will take care to deliver it safely. No
answer by you is required. He was out to-day, levying fines from Popish
priests, and a heavy one from the Popish bishop, and I do not think,
with a large sum of money about him, that he will go home to-night.
Here is the letter. I expect he will call on me in the morning, to
breakfast--at least I have asked him, for we have very serious business
to discuss."

The Rapparee took the letter, finished his glass of brandy, and
disappeared to fulfil his commission.

Now it so happened that on that very evening, before the premises had
been set on fire, Mary Mahon, by O'Donnel's order, had entered the
house, and under, as it were, the protection of the military, gathered
up as much of Reilly's clothes and linen as she could conveniently carry
to her cottage, which was in the immediate vicinity of Whitecraft's
residence--it being the interest of this hypocritical voluptuary to have
the corrupt wretch near him. The Rapparee, having left Whitecraft to his
reflections, immediately directed his steps to her house, and, with her
connivance, changed the dress he had on for one which she had taken from
Reilly's wardrobe. He then went to the house of the nobleman where the
sheriff was dining, but arrived only in time to hear that he was about
to take horse on his return home. On seeing him preparing to mount,
bearing a lantern in his hand, as the night was dark and the roads
bad, he instantly changed his purpose as to the letter, and came to the
resolution of not delivering it at all.

"I can easily say," thought he, "that the sheriff had gone home before
I came, and that will be a very sufficient excuse. In the meantime," he
added, "I will cross the country and be out on the road before him."

The sheriff was not unarmed, however, and felt himself tolerably well
prepared for any attack that might be made on him; and, besides, he was
no coward. After a ride of about two miles he found himself stopped, and
almost at the same instant the lantern that he carried was knocked out
of his hand and extinguished, but not until he caught a faint glimpse
of the robber's person, who, from his dress, appeared to be a man much
above the common class. Quick as lightning he pulled out one of his
pistols, and, cocking it, held himself in readiness. The night was dark,
and this preparation for self-defence was unknown to his assailant. On
feeling the reins of his horse's bridle in the hands of the robber, he
snapped the pistol at his head, but alas! it only flashed in the pan.
The robber, on the other hand, did not seem anxious to take his life,
for it was a principle among the Rapparees to shed, while exercising
their rapacious functions, as little blood as possible. They have
frequently taken life from a feeling of private vengeance, but not often
while robbing on the king's highway. The sheriff, now finding that one
pistol had missed, was about to draw out the second, when he was knocked
insensible off his horse, and on recovering found himself minus the
fines which he had that day levied--all the private cash about him--and
his case of pistols. This indeed was a bitter incident to him; because,
in addition to the loss of his private purse and firearms--which he
valued as nothing--he knew that he was responsible to government for the
amount of the fines.

With considerable difficulty he was able to remount his horse, and with
a sense of stupor, which was very painful, he recommenced his journey
home. After a ride of about two miles he met three horsemen, who
immediately challenged him and demanded his name and residence.

"I am the sheriff of the county," he replied, "and have been robbed of
a large sum of money and my pistols; and now," he added, "may I beg
to know who you are, and by what authority you demand my name and
residence?"

"Excuse us, Mr. Sheriff," they replied; "we belong to the military
detachment which government has placed under the control of Sir Robert
Whitecraft."

"Oh, indeed," exclaimed the sheriff; "I wish to heaven you had been a
little more advanced on your journey; you might have saved me from being
plundered, as I have been, and probably secured the robber."

"Could you observe, sir, what was the villain's appearance?"

"I had a small lantern," replied the functionary, "by which I caught a
brief but uncertain glance of him. I am not quite certain that I could
recognize his features, though, if I saw him again--but--perhaps I
might, certainly I could his dress."

"How was he dressed, sir?" they inquired.

"Quite beyond the common," said the sheriff; "I think he had on a brown
coat, of superior cloth and make, and I think, too, the buckles of his
slices were silver."

"And his features, Mr. Sheriff?"

"I cannot exactly say," he returned; "I was too much agitated to be able
to recollect them; but indeed the dim glimpse I got was too brief
to afford me an opportunity of seeing them with any thing like
distinctness."

"From the description you have given, sir," said one of them, "the man
who robbed you must have been Reilly the Outlaw. That is the very dress
he has been in the habit of wearing. Was he tall, sir, and stout in
person?"

"He was a very large man, certainly," replied the sheriff; "and I regret
I did not see his face more distinctly."

"It can be no other, Mr. Sheriff," observed the man; "the fellow has no
means of living now, unless by levying contributions on the road. For my
part, I think the scoundrel can make himself invisible; but it must go
hard with us or we will secure him yet. Would you wish an escort home,
Mr. Sheriff? because, if you do, we shall accompany you."

"No," replied the other, "I thank you. I would not have ventured home
unattended if the Red Rapparee had still been at his vocation, and his
gang undispersed; but as he is now on the safe side, I apprehend no
danger."

"It's not at all impossible but Reilly may step into his shoes," said
the cavalryman.

"I have now neither money nor arms," continued the sheriff; "nothing the
villain robbers could covet, and what, then, have I to fear?"

"You have a life, sir," observed the man respectfully, "and if you'll
allow me to say it--the life of a man who is not very well liked in the
country, in consequence of certain duties you are obliged to perform.
Come, then, sir, we shall see you home."

It was so arranged, and the sheriff reached his own residence, under
their escort, with perfect safety.

This indeed was a night of adventure to Reilly--hunted, as he was, like
a beast of prey. After what had taken place already in the early portion
of it, he apprehended no further pursuit, and in this respect he felt
his mind comparatively at ease--for, in addition to any other conviction
of his safety, he knew that the night was far advanced, and as the
country was unsettled, he was not ignorant that the small military
parties that were in the habit of scouring the country generally--unless
when in the execution of some express duty--retired to their quarters
at an early hour, in order to avoid the severe retaliations which were
frequently made upon them by the infuriated peasantry whom they--or
rather the government which employed them--had almost driven to madness,
and--would have driven to insurrection had the people possessed the
means of rising. As it was, however, he dreaded no further pursuit this
night, for the reasons which we have stated.

In the meantime the sheriff, feeling obliged by the civility of the
three dragoons, gave them refreshments on a very liberal scale, of
which--rather exhausted as they were--they made a very liberal use.
Feeling themselves now considerably stimulated by liquor, they mounted
their horses and proceeded towards their barracks--at a quick pace. In
consequence of the locality in which the sheriff lived, it was necessary
that they should travel in a direction opposite to that by which Reilly
and the priest were going. At all events, after riding a couple of
miles, they overtook three infantry soldiers who were also on their way
to quarters. The blood, however, of the troopers was up--thanks to the
sheriff; they mentioned the robbery, and requested the three infantry to
precede them as an advanced guard, as quietly as possible, stating
that there might still be a chance of coming across the villain who had
plundered the sheriff, intimating their impression, at the same time,
that Reilly was the man, and adding that if they could secure him their
fortune was made. As has always been usual in executing cases, of the
law attended with peculiar difficulty, these men--the infantry--like
our present detectives, had gone out that night in colored clothes. On
perceiving two individuals approaching them in the dim distance, they
immediately threw their guns into the ditch, lest they should put our
friends upon their guard and cause them to escape if they could. Reilly
could have readily done so; but having, only a few minutes before heard
from the poor old priest that he had, for some months past, been branded
and pursued us a felon, he could not think of abandoning him now that
he was feeble and jaded with fatigue as well as with age. Now it so
happened that one of these fellows had been a Roman Catholic, and having
committed some breach of the law, found it as safe as it was convenient
to change his creed, and as he spoke the Irish language fluently--indeed
there were scarcely any other then spoken by the peasantry--he commenced
clipping his hands on seeing the two men, and expressing the deepest
sorrow for the loss of his wife, from whose funeral, it appeared from
his lamentations, he was then returning.

"We have nothing to apprehend, here," said Reilly; "this poor fellow is
in sorrow, it seems--God help him! Let us proceed."

"Oh!" exclaimed the treacherous villain, clapping his hands--[we
translate his words]--"Oh, Yeeah. Yeeah! (God, God!) what a bitther loss
you'll be, my darlin' Madge, to me and your orphan childher, now and for
evermore! Oh, where was there sich a wife, neighbors? who ever heard
her harsh word, or her loud voice? And from mornin' till night ever, ever
busy in keepin' every thing tight and clane and regular! Let me alone,
will yez? I'll go back and sleep upon her grave this night--so I
will; and if all the blasted sogers in Ireland--may sweet bad luck
to them!--were to come to prevent me, I'd not allow them. Oh, Madge,
darlin', but I'm the lonely and heartbroken man widout you this night!"

"Come, come," said the priest, "have firmness, poor man; other people
have these calamities to bear as well as yourself. Be a man."

"Oh, are you a priest, sir? bekase if you are I want consolation if ever
a sorrowful man did."

"I am a priest," replied the unsuspecting I man, "and any thing I can do
to calm your mind, I'll do it."

He had scarcely uttered these words when! Reilly felt his two arms
strongly pinioned, and as the men who had seized him were | powerful,
the struggle between him and them was dreadful. The poor priest at the
same moment found himself also a prisoner in the hands of the bereaved
widower, to whom he proved an easy victim, as he was incapable of making
resistance, which, indeed, he declined to attempt. If he did not possess
bodily strength, however, he was not without presence of mind. For
whilst Reilly and his captors were engaged in a fierce and powerful
conflict, he placed his fore-finger and thumb in his mouth, from which
proceeded a whistle so piercingly loud and shrill that it awoke the
midnight echoes around them.

[Illustration: PAGE 65--Dashed up to the scene of struggle]

This was considered by the dragoons as a signal from their friends in
advance, and, without the loss of a moment, they set spurs to their
horses, and dashed up to the scene of struggle, just as Reilly had got
his right arm extricated, and knocked one of his captors down. In an
instant, however, the three dragoons, aided by the other men, were upon
him, and not less than three cavalry pistols were levelled at his head.
Unfortunately, at this moment the moon began to rise, and the dragoons,
on looking at him more closely, observed that he was dressed precisely
as the sheriff had described the person who robbed him--the brown coat,
light-colored breeches, and silver buckles--for indeed this was his
usual dress.

"You are Willy Reilly," said the man who had been spokesman in their
interview with the sheriff: "you needn't deny it, sir--I know you!"

"If you know me, then," replied Reilly, "where is the necessity for
asking my name?"

"I ask again, sir, what is your name? If you be the man I suspect you to
be, you will deny it."

"My name," replied the other, "is William Reilly, and as I am conscious
of no crime against society--of no offence against the State--I shall
not deny it."

"I knew I was right," said the dragoon. "Mr. Reilly, you are our
prisoner on many charges, not the least of which is your robbery of the
sheriff this night. You must come with us to Sir Robert Whitecraft; so
must this other person who seems your companion."

"Not a foot I'll go to Sir Eobert Whitecraft's to-night," replied the
priest. "I have made my mind up against such a stretch at such an hour
as this; and, with the help of God, I'll stick to my resolution."

"Why do you refuse to go?" asked the man, a good deal surprised at such
language.

"Just for a reason I have: as for that fellow being Willy Reilly, he's
no more Willy Reilly than I am; whatever he is, however, he's a good man
and true, but must be guided by wiser heads than his own; and I now
tell him--ay, and you too--that he won't see Sir Robert Whitecraft's
treacherous face to-night, no more than myself."

"Come," said one of them, "drag the idolatrous old rebel along. Come, my
old couple-beggar, there's a noose before you."

He had scarcely uttered the words when twenty men, armed with strong
pikes, jumped out on the road before them, and about the same number,
with similar weapons, behind them. In fact, they were completely hemmed
in; and, as the road was narrow and the ditches high, they were not at
all in a capacity to make resistance.

"Surrender your prisoners," said a huge man in a voice of
thunder--"surrender your prisoners--here are we ten to one against you;
or if you don't, I swear there won't be a living man amongst you in two
minutes' time. Mark us well--we are every man of us armed--and I will
not ask you a second time."

As to numbers and weapons the man spoke truth, and the military party
saw at once that their prisoners must be given up.

"Let us have full revenge on them now, boys," exclaimed several voices;
"down with the tyrannical villains that are parse-cuting and murdherin'
the country out of a face. This night closes their black work;" and
as the words were uttered, the military felt themselves environed and
pressed in upon by upwards of five-and-twenty sharp and bristling pikes.

"It is true, you may murder us," replied the dragoon; "but we are
soldiers, and to die is a soldier's duty. Stand back," said he, "for, by
all that's sacred, if you approach another step, William Reilly and that
rebel priest will fall dead at your feet. We may die then; but we will
sell our lives dearly. Cover the priest, Robinson."

[Illustration: PAGE 65a--I entreat you, to show these men mercy now]

"Boys," said the priest, addressing the insurgent party, "hold back, for
God's sake, and for mine. Remember that these men are only doing their
duty, and that whoever is to be blamed, it is not they--no, but the
wicked men and cruel laws that set them upon us. Why, now, if these;
men, out of compassion and a feeling of kindness to poor persecuted
creatures, as we are, took it into their heads or their hearts to let
that man and me off, they would have been, probably, treated like dogs
for neglecting their duty. I am, as you know, a minister of God, and a
man of peace, whose duty it is to prevent bloodshed whenever I can,
and save human life, whether it is that of a Catholic or a Protestant.
Recollect, my friends, that you will, every one of you, have to stand
before the judgment throne of God to seek for mercy and salvation. As
you hope for that mercy, then, at the moment of your utmost need, I
implore, I entreat you, to show these men mercy now, and allow them to
go their way in safety."

"I agree with every word the priest has said," added Reilly; "not from
any apprehension of the threat held out against myself, but from, I
trust, a higher principle. Here are only six men, who, as his Reverence
justly said, are, after all, only in the discharge of their public duty.
On the other hand, there are at least forty or fifty of you against
them. Now I appeal to yourselves, whether it would be a manly, or
generous, or Christian act, to slaughter so poor a handful of men by the
force of numbers. No: there would be neither credit nor honor in such an
act. I assure you, my friends, it would disgrace your common name,
your common credit, and your common country. Nay, it would seem like
cowardice, and only give a handle to your enemies to tax you with it.
But I know you are not cowards, but brave and generous men, whose hearts
and spirits are above a mean action. If you were cowardly butchers, I
know we might speak to you in vain; but we know you are incapable
of imbruing your hands, and steeping your souls, in the guilt of
unresisting blood--for so I may term it--where there are so few against
so many. My friends, go home, then, in the name of God, and, as this
reverend gentleman said, allow these men to pass their way 'without
injury.'"

"But who are you?" said their huge leader, in his terrible voice, "who
presumes to lecture us?"

"I am one," replied Reilly, "who has suffered more deeply, probably,
than any man here. I am without house or home, proscribed by the
vengeance of a villain--a villain who has left me without a shelter
for my head--who, this night, has reduced my habitation, and all that
appertained to it, to a heap of ashes--who is on my trail, night and
day, and who will be on my trail, in order to glut his vengeance with my
blood. Now, my friends, listen--I take God to witness, that if that
man were here at this moment, I would plead for his life with as much
earnestness as I do for those of the men who are here at your mercy.
I feel that it would be cowardly and inhuman to take it under such
circumstances; yes, and unworthy of the name of William Reilly. Now," he
added, "these men will pass safely to their quarters."

As they were about to resume their journey, the person who seemed to
have the command of the military said:

"Mr. Reilly, one word with you: I feel that you have saved our lives;
I may requite you for that, generous act yet;" and he pressed his hand
warmly as he spoke, after which they proceeded on their way.

That the person of Reilly was not recognized by any of these men is
accounted for by a well-known custom, peculiar to such meetings, both
then and now. The individuals before and around him were all strangers,
from distant parts of the country; for whenever an outrage is to be
committed, or a nocturnal drilling to take place, the peasantry start
across the country, in twos and threes, until they quietly reach some
lonely and remote spot, where their persons are not known.

No sooner had he mentioned his name, however, than there arose a
peculiar murmur among the insurgents--such a murmur indeed as it was
difficult to understand; there was also a rapid consultation in Irish,
which was closed by a general determination to restrain their vengeance
for that night, at least, and for the sake of the celebrated young
martyr--for as such they looked upon him--to allow the military to pass
on without injury. Reilly then addressed them in Irish, and thanked
them, both in his own name and that of the priest, for the respect
evinced by, their observation of the advice they had given them. The
priest also addressed them in Irish, aware, as he was, that one sentence
in that language, especially from a person in a superior rank of
life, carries more weight than a whole oration in the language of the
Sassenagh. The poor old man's mind was once more at ease, and after
these rough, but not intractable, men had given three cheers for "bould
Willy Reilly," three more for the _Cooleen Bawn_, not forgetting the
priest, the latter, while returning thanks, had them in convulsions of
laughter. "May I never do harm," proceeded his reverence humorously,
"but the first Christian duty that every true Catholic ought to learn is
to whistle on his fingers. The moment ever your children, boys, are able
to give a squall, clap their forefinger and thumb in their mouth, and
leave the rest to nature. Let them talk of their spinnet and sinnet,
their fiddle and their diddle, their dancing and their prancing, but
there is no genteel accomplishment able to be compared to a rousing
whistle on the fingers. See what it did for us to-night. My soul to
glory, but only for it, Mr. Reilly and I would have soon taken a journey
with our heels foremost; and, what is worse, the villains would have
forced us to take a bird's-eye view of our own funeral from the three
sticks, meaning the two that stand up, and the third that goes across
them (The gallows). However, God's good, and, after all, boys, you see
there is nothing like an accomplished education. As to the soldiers, I
don't think myself that they'll recover the bit of fright they got until
the new potatoes come in. Troth, while you were gathering in about them,
I felt that the unfortunate vagabonds were to be pitied; but, Lord help
us, when men are in trouble--especially in fear of their lives--and
with twelve inches of sharp iron near their breasts, it's wonderful what
effect fear will have on them. Troth, I wasn't far from feeling the same
thing myself, only I knew there was relief at hand; at all events, it's
well you kept your hands off them, for now, thank goodness, you can step
home without the guilt of murder on your souls."

Father Maguire, for such was his name, possessed the art of adapting his
language and dialect to those whom he addressed, it mattered not whether
they were South, West, or North; he was, in fact, a priest who had
never been in any college, but received ordination in consequence of
the severity of the laws, whose operation, by banishing so many of that
class from the country, rendered the services of such men indispensable
to the spiritual wants of the people. Father Maguire, previous to
his receiving holy orders, had been a schoolmaster, and exercised
his functions on that capacity in holes and corners; sometimes on the
sheltery or sunny side of a hedge, as the case might be, and on other
occasions when and where he could. In his magisterial capacity, "the
accomplishment" of whistling was absolutely necessary to him, because it
often happened that in stealing in the morning from his retreat during
the preceding night, he knew no more where to meet his little flock of
scholars than they did where to meet him, the truth being that he seldom
found it safe to teach two days successively in the same place. Having
selected the locality for instruction during the day, he put his
forefinger and thumb into his mouth, and emitted a whistle that went
over half the country. Having thus given the signal three times, his
scholars began gradually and cautiously to make their appearance,
radiating towards him from all-directions, reminding one of a hen in
a farm-yard, who, having fallen upon some wholesome crumbs, she utters
that peculiar sound which immediately collects her eager little flock
about her, in order to dispense among them the good things she has to
give. Poor Father Maguire was simplicity itself, for, although cheerful,
and a good deal of a humorist, yet he was pious, inoffensive, and
charitable. True, it is not to be imagined that he could avoid bearing a
very strong feeling of enmity against the Establishment, as, indeed,
we do not see, so long as human nature is what it is, how he could have
done otherwise; he hated it, however, in the aggregate, not in detail,
for the truth is, that he received shelter and protection nearly as
often from the Protestants themselves, both lay and clerical, as he
did from those of his own creed. The poor man's crime against the
State proceeded naturally from the simplicity of his character and the
goodness of his heart. A Protestant peasant had seduced a Catholic young
woman of considerable attractions, and was prevailed upon to marry her,
in order to legitimize the infant which she was about to bear. Our poor
priest, anxious to do as much good, and to prevent as much evil as he
could, was prevailed upon to perform the ceremony, contrary to the law
in that case made and provided. Ever since that, the poor man had been
upon his keeping like a felon, as the law had made him; but so well
known were his harmless life, his goodness of heart, and his general
benevolence of disposition--for, alas! he was incapable of being
benevolent in any practical sense--that, unless among the bigoted
officials of the day, there existed no very strong disposition to hand
him over to the clutches of the terrible statute which he had, good easy
man, been prevailed on to violate.

In the meantime, the formidable body who had saved Reilly's life and his
own dispersed, or disappeared at least; but not until they had
shaken hands most cordially with Reilly and the priest, who now found
themselves much in the same position in which they stood previous to
their surprise and arrest.

"Now," said Reilly, "the question is, what are we to do? where are we to
go? and next, how did you come to know of the existence in this precise
locality of such a body of men?"

"Because I have set my face against such meetings," replied the priest.
"One of those who was engaged to be present happened to mention the fact
to me as a clergyman, but you know that, as a clergyman, I can proceed
no further."

"I understand," said Reilly, "I perfectly understand you. It is not
necessary. And now let me say--"

"Always trust in God, my friend," replied the priest, in an accent quite
different from that which he had used to the peasantry. "I told you,
not long ago, that you would have, a bed to-night: follow me, and I
will lead you to a crypt of nature's own making, which, was not known to
mortal man three months ago, and which is now known only to those whose
interest it is to keep the knowledge of it silent as the grave."

They then proceeded, and soon came to a gap or opening on the left-hand
side of the road through which they passed, the priest leading. Next
they found themselves in a wild gully or ravine that was both deep and
narrow. This they crossed, and arrived at a ledge of precipitous rocks,
most of which were overhung to the very ground with long luxuriant
heather. The priest went along this until he came to one particular
spot, when he stooped, and observed a particular round stone bedded
naturally in the earth.

"God-blessed be his name--has made nothing in vain," he whispered; "I
must go foremost, but do as I do." He then raised up the long heath,
and entered a low, narrow fissure in the rocks, Reilly following him
closely. The entrance was indeed so narrow that it was capable of
admitting but one man at a time, and even that by his working himself
in upon his knees and elbows. In this manner they advanced in utter
darkness for about thirty yards, when they reached a second opening,
about three feet high, which bore some resemblance to a Gothic arch.
This also it was necessary to enter consecutively. Having passed this
they were able to proceed upon their legs, still stooping, however,
until, as they got onwards, they found themselves able to walk erect.
A third and larger opening, however, was still before them, over which
hung a large thick winnow-cloth.

"Now," said the priest, "leave every thing to me. If we were to put our
heads in rashly here we might get a pair of bullets through them that
would have as little mercy on us as those of the troopers, had we got
them. No clergyman here, or anywhere else, ever carries firearms, but
there are laymen inside who are not bound by our regulations. The only
arms we are allowed to carry are the truths of our religion and the
integrity of our lives."

He then advanced a step or two, and shook the winnow-cloth three times,
when a deep voice from behind it asked, "_Quis venit?_"

"_Introibo ad altare Dei,_" replied the priest, who had no sooner
uttered the words than the cloth was partially removed, and a voice
exclaimed, "_Benedicite, dilecte frater; beatus qui venit in nomine
Domini el sacrosanctae Ecclesiae_."

Reilly and his companion then entered the cave, which they had no sooner
done than the former was seized with a degree of wonder, astonishment,
and awe, such as he had never experienced in his life before. The whole
cavern was one flashing scene of light and beauty, and reminded him of
the gorgeous descriptions that were to be found in Arabian literature,
or the brilliancy of the fairy palaces as he had heard of them in the
mellow legends of his own country. From the roof depended gorgeous and
immense stalactites, some of them reaching half way to the earth, and
others of them resting upon the earth itself. Several torches, composed
of dried bog fir, threw their strong light among them with such effect
that the eye became not only dazzled but fatigued and overcome by the
radiance of a scene so unusual. In fact, the whole scene appeared to be
out of, or beyond, nature. There were about fifteen individuals present,
most of them in odd and peculiar disguises, which gave them a grotesque
and supernatural appearance, as they passed about with their strong
torches--some bright and some flashing red; and as the light of either
one or other fell upon the stalactites, giving them a hue of singular
brilliancy or deep purple, Reilly could not utter a word. The costumes
of the individuals about him were so strange and varied that he knew not
what to think. Some were in the dress of clergymen, others in that
of ill-clad peasants, and nearly one-third-of them in the garb of
mendicants, who, from their careworn faces, appeared to have suffered
severely from the persecution of the times. In a few minutes, however,
about half a dozen diminutive beings made their appearance, busied, as
far as he could guess, in employments, which his amazement at the
whole spectacle, unprepared as he was for it, prevented him from
understanding. If he had been a man of weak or superstitious mind,
unacquainted with life and the world, it is impossible to say what he
might have imagined. Independently of this--strong-minded as he was--the
impression made upon him by the elf-like sprites that ran about so
busily, almost induced him, for a few moments, to surrender to the
illusion that he stood among individuals who had little or no
natural connection with man or the external world which he inhabited.
Reflection, however, and the state of the country, came to his aid, and
he reasonably inferred that the cavern in which he stood was a place of
concealment for those unfortunate individuals who, like himself, felt it
necessary to evade the vengeance of the laws.

Whilst Reilly was absorbed in the novelty and excitement of this
strange and all but supernatural spectacle, the priest held a short
conversation, at some distance from him, with the strange figures which
had surprised him so much. Whenever he felt himself enabled to take his
eyes from the splendor and magnificence of all he saw around him,
to follow the motions of Father Maguire, he could observe that that
gentleman, from the peculiar vehemence of his attitudes and the evident
rapidity of his language, had made either himself or his presence there
the topic of very earnest discussion. In fact it appeared to him that
the priest, from whatever cause, appeared to be rather hard set to
defend him and to justify his presence among them. A tall, stern-looking
man, with a lofty forehead and pale ascetic features--from which all the
genial impulses of humanity, that had once characterized them,
seemed almost to have been banished by the spirit of relentless
persecution--appeared to bear hard upon him, whatever the charge might
be, and by the severity of his manner and the solemn but unyielding
emphasis of his attitudes, he seemed to have wrought himself into a
state of deep indignation. But as it is better that our readers should
be made acquainted with the topic of their discussion, rather than their
attitudes, we think it necessary to commence it in a new chapter.




CHAPTER X.--Scenes that took place in the Mountain Cave

"I will not hear your apology, brother," said the tall man with the
stern voice; "your conduct, knowing our position, and the state of this
unhappy and persecuted country, is not only indiscreet, but foolish,
indefensible, mad. Here is a young man attached--may God pardon him--to
the daughter of one of the most persecuting heretics in the kingdom.
She is beautiful, by every report that we have heard of her, even as an
angel; but reflect that she is an heiress--the inheritress of immense
property--and that, as a matter of course, the temptations are a
thousand to one against him. He will yield, I tell you, to the heretic
syren; and as a passport to her father's favor and her affection, he
will, like too many of his class, abandon the faith of his ancestors,
and become an apostate, for the sake of wealth and sensual affection."

"I question, my lord," replied the priest, "whether it is consistent
with Christian charity to impute motives of such heinous guilt, when we
are not in a condition to bear out our suspicions. The character of this
young gentleman as a Catholic is firm and faithful, and I will stake my
life upon his truth and attachment to our Church."

"You know him not, father," replied the bishop, for such he was; "I tell
you, and I speak from better information than you possess, that he is
already suspected. What has been his conduct? He has associated himself
more with Protestants than with those of his own Church; he has dined
with them, partaken of their hospitality, joined in there amusements,
slept in their houses, and been with them as a familiar friend and boon
companion. I see, father, what the result will necessarily be; first, an
apostate--next, an informer--and, lastly, a persecutor; and all for the
sake of wealth and the seductive charms of a rich heiress. I say, then,
that deep in this cold cavern shall be his grave, rather than have an
opportunity of betraying the shepherds of Christ's persecuted flock, and
of hunting them into the caverns of the earth like beasts of prey. Our
retreat here is known only to those who, for the sake of truth and their
own lives, will never disclose the knowledge of it, bound as they
are, in addition to this, by an oath of the deepest and most dreadful
solemnity--an oath the violation of which would constitute a fearful
sacrilege in the eye of God. As for these orphans, whose parents were
victims to the cruel laws that are grinding us, I have so trained and
indoctrinated them into a knowledge of their creed, and a sense of
their duty, that they are thoroughly trustworthy. On this very day I
administered to them the sacrament of confirmation. No, brother, we
cannot sacrifice the interests and welfare of our holy Church to the
safety of a single life--to the safety of a person who I foresee will be
certain to betray us."

"My lord," replied the priest, "I humbly admit your authority and
superior sanctity, for in what does your precious life fall short of
martyrdom but by one step to the elevation which leads to glory? I mean
the surrendering of that life for the true faith. I feel, my lord, that
in your presence I am nothing; still, in our holy Church there is the
humble as well as the exalted, and your lordship will admit that the
gradations of piety, and the dispensations of the higher and the lower
gifts, proceed not only from the wisdom of God but from the necessities
of man."

"I do not properly understand you, father," said the bishop in a voice
whose stern tones were mingled with something like contempt.

"I beg your lordship to hear me," proceeded Father Maguire. "You say
that Reilly has associated more frequently with Protestants than he has
with persons of our own religion. That may be true, and I grant that it
is so; but, my lord, are you aware that he has exercised the influence
which he has possessed over them for the protection and advantage and
safety of his Catholic friends and neighbors, to the very utmost of his
ability, and frequently with success?"

"Yes; they obliged him because they calculated upon his accession to
their creed and principles."

"My lord," replied the priest with firmness, "I am an humble but
independent man; if humanity and generosity, exercised as I have seen
them this night, guided and directed by the spirit of peace, and of the
word of God itself, can afford your lordship a guarantee of the high and
Christian principles by which this young man's heart is actuated, then I
may with confidence recommend him to your clemency."

"What would you say?" asked the bishop.

"My lord, he was the principal means of saving the lives of six
Protestants-heretics, I mean--from being cut off in their iniquities and
sins this night."

"How do you mean?" replied the stern bishop; "explain yourself!"

The good priest then gave a succinct account of the circumstances with
which the reader is already acquainted; and, after having finished his
brief narrative, the unfortunate man perceived that, instead of having
rendered Reilly a service, he had strengthened the suspicions of the
prelate against him.

"So!" said the bishop, "you advance the history of this dastardly
conduct as an argument in his favor!"

As he uttered these words, his eyes, which had actually become
bloodshot, blazed again; his breath went and came strongly, and he
ground his teeth with rage.

Father Maguire, and those who were present, looked at each other with
eyes in which might be read an expression of deep sorrow and compassion.
At length a mild-looking, pale-faced man, with a clear, benignant eye,
approached him, and laying his hand in a gentle manner upon his arm,
said, "Pray, my dear lord, let me entreat your lordship to remember the
precepts of our great Master: 'Love your enemies; bless them that curse
you; do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully
use you, and persecute you.' And surely, my lord, no one knows better
than you do that this is the spirit of our religion, and that whenever
it is violated the fault is not that of the creed, but the man."

"Under any circumstances," said the bishop, declining to reply to this,
and placing his open hand across his forehead, as if he felt confusion
or pain--"under any circumstances, this person must take the oath of
secrecy with respect to the existence of this cave. Call him up."

Reilly, as we have said, saw at once that an angry discussion had taken
place, and felt all but certain that he was himself involved in it. The
priest, in obedience to the wish expressed by the bishop, went down to
where he stood, and whispering to him, said:

"Salvation to me, but I had a hard battle for you. I fought, however,
like a trump. The strange, and--ahem--kind of man you are called upon to
meet now is one of our bishops--but don't you pretend to know that--he
has heard of your love for the _Cooleen Bawn_, and of her love for
you--be easy now--not a thing it will be but the meeting of two
thunderbolts between you--and he's afraid you'll be deluded by her
charms--turn apostate on our hands--and that the first thing you're
likely to do, when you get out of this subterranean palace of ours, will
be to betray its existence to the heretics. I have now put you on your
guard, so keep a sharp lookout; be mild as mother's milk. But if you 'my
lord' him, I'm dished as a traitor beyond redemption."

Now, if the simple-hearted priest had been tempted by the enemy himself
to place these two men in a position where a battle-royal between them
was most likely to ensue, he could not have taken a more successful
course for that object. Reilly, the firm, the high-minded, the
honorable, and, though last not least, the most indignant at any
imputation against his integrity, now accompanied the priest in a state
of indignation that was nearly a match for that of the bishop.

"This is Mr. Reilly, gentlemen; a firm and an honest Catholic, who, like
ourselves, is suffering for his religion."

"Mr. Reilly," said the bishop, "it is good to suffer for our religion."

"It is our duty," replied Reilly, "when we are called upon to do so; but
for my part, I must confess, I have no relish whatsoever for the honors
of martyrdom. I would rather aid it and assist it than suffer for it."

The bishop gave a stem look at his friends, as much as to say: "You
hear! incipient heresy and treachery at the first step."

"He's more mad than the bishop," thought Father Maguire; "in God's name
what will come next, I wonder? Reilly's blood, somehow, is up; and there
they are looking at each other, like a pair o' game cocks, with their
necks stretched out in a cockpit--when I was a boy I used to go to see
them--ready to dash upon one another."

"Are you not now suffering for your religion?" asked the prelate.

"No," replied Reilly, "it is not for the sake of my religion that I have
suffered any thing. Religion is made only a pretext for it; but it is
not, in truth, on that account that I have been persecuted."

"Pray, then, sir, may I inquire the cause of your persecution?"

"You may," replied Reilly, "but I shall decline to answer you. It comes
not within your jurisdiction, but is a matter altogether personal to
myself, and with which you can have no concern."

Here a groan from the priest, which he could not suppress, was shivered
off, by a tremendous effort, into a series of broken coughs, got up
in order to conceal his alarm at the fatal progress which Reilly, he
thought, was unconsciously making to his own ruin.

"Troth," thought he, "the soldiers were nothing at all to what this will
be. There his friends would have found the body and given him a decent
burial; but here neither friend nor fellow will know where to look for
him. I was almost the first man that took the oath to keep the existence
of this place secret from all unless those that were suffering for their
religion; and now, by denying that, he has me in the trap along with
himself."

A second groan, shaken out of its continuity into another comical shower
of fragmental coughs, closed this dreary but silent soliloquy.

The bishop proceeded: "You have been inveigled, young man, by the charms
of a deceitful and heretical syren, for the purpose of alienating you
from the creed of your forefathers."

"It is false," replied Reilly; "false, if it proceeded from the lips of
the Pope himself; and if his lips uttered to me what you now have done,
I would fling the falsehood in his teeth, as I do now in yours--yes,
if my life should pay the forfeit of it. What have you to do with my
private concerns?"

Reilly's indignant and impetuous reply to the prelate struck all
who heard it with dismay, and also with horror, when they bethought
themselves of the consequences.

"You are a heretic at heart," said the other, knitting his brows; "from
your own language you stand confessed--a heretic."

"I know not," replied Reilly, "by what right or authority you adopt
this ungentlemanly and illiberal conduct towards me; but so long as your
language applies only to myself and my religion, I shall answer you in a
different spirit. In the first place, then, you are grievously mistaken
in supposing me to be a heretic. I am true and faithful to nay creed,
and will live and die in it."

Father Maguire felt relieved, and breathed more freely; a groan was
coming, but it ended in a "hem."

"Before we proceed any farther, sir," said this strange man, "you must
take an oath."

"For what purpose, sir?" inquired Reilly.

"An oath of secrecy as to the existence of this place of our retreat.
There are at present here some of the--" he checked himself, as if
afraid to proceed farther. "In fact, every man who is admitted amongst
us must take the oath."

Reilly looked at him with indignation. "Surely," thought he to himself,
"this man must be mad; his looks are wild, and the fire of insanity
is in his eyes; if not, he is nothing less than an incarnation of
ecclesiastical bigotry and folly. The man must be mad, or worse." At
length he addressed him.

"You doubt my integrity and my honor, then," he replied haughtily.

"We doubt every man until he is bound by his oath."

"You must continue to doubt me, then," replied Reilly; "for, most
assuredly, I will not take it."

"You must take it, sir," said the other, "or you never leave the cavern
which covers you," and his eyes once more blazed as he uttered the
words.

"Gentlemen," said Reiliy, "there appear to be fifteen or sixteen of you
present: may I be permitted to ask why you suffer this unhappy man to be
at large?"

"Will you take the oath, sir?" persisted the insane bishop in a voice of
thunder--"heretic and devil, will you take the oath?"

"Unquestionably not. I will never take any oath that would imply want
of honor in myself. Cease, then, to trouble me with it. I shall not take
it."

This last reply affected the bishop's reason so deeply that he looked
about him strangely, and exclaimed, "We are lost and betrayed. But here
are angels--I see them, and will join in their blessed society," and as
he spoke, he rushed towards the stalactites in a manner somewhat wild
and violent, so much so, indeed, that from an apprehension of his
receiving injury in some of the dark interstices among them, they found
it necessary, for his sake, to grapple with him for a few moments.

But, alas! they had very little indeed to grapple with. The man was but
a shadow, and they found him in their hands as feeble as a child. He
made no resistance, but suffered himself to be managed precisely as they
wished. Two of the persons present took charge of him, one sitting on
each side of him. Reilly, who looked on with amazement, now strongly
blended with pity--for the malady of the unhappy ecclesiastic could
no longer be mistaken--Reilly, we say, was addressed by an
intelligent-looking individual, with some portion of the clerical
costume about him.

"Alas! sir," said he, "it was not too much learning, but too much
persecution, that has made him mad. That and the ascetic habits of his
life have clouded or destroyed a great intellect and a good heart. He
has eaten only one sparing meal a day during the last month; and though
severe and self-denying to himself, he was, until the last week or so,
like a father, and an indulgent one, to us all."

At this moment the pale, mild-looking clergyman, to whom we have
alluded, went over to where the bishop sat, and throwing himself upon
his bosom, burst into tears. The sorrow indeed became infectious, and in
a few minutes there were not many dry eyes around him. Father Maguire,
who was ignorant of the progressive change that had taken place in him
since his last visit to the cave, now wept like a child, and Reilly
himself experienced something that amounted to remorse, when he
reflected on the irreverent tone of voice in which he had replied to
him.

The paroxysm, however, appeared to have passed away; he was quite
feeble, but not properly collected, though calm and quiet. After a
little time he requested to be put to bed. And this leads us to the
description of another portion of the cave to which we have not yet
referred. At the upper end of the stalactite apartment, which we have
already described, there was a large projection of rock, which nearly
divided it from the other, and which discharged the office of a wall, or
partition, between the two apartments. Here there was a good fire kept,
but only during the hours of night, inasmuch as the smoke which issued
from a rent or cleft in the top of this apartment would have discovered
them by day. Through this slight chasm, which was strictly concealed,
they received provisions, water, and fuel. In fact, it would seem as if
the whole cave had been expressly designed for the purpose to which it
was then applied, or, at least for some one of a similar nature.

On entering this, Reilly found a good fire, on which was placed a large
pot with a mess in it, which emitted a very savory odor. Around
the sides, or walls of this rock, were at least a score of heather
shake-down beds, the fragrance of which was delicious. Pots, pans, and
other simple culinary articles were there, with a tolerable stock of
provisions, not omitting a good-sized keg of mountain dew, which their
secluded position, the dampness of the place, and their absence from
free air, rendered very necessary and gratifying.

"Here!" exclaimed Father Maguire, after the feeble prelate had been
assisted to this recess, "here, now, put his lordship to bed; I have
tossed it up for him in great style! I assure you, my dear friends,
it's a shakedown fit for a prince!--and better than most of the thieves
deserve. What bed of down ever had the sweet fragrance this flowery
heather sends forth? Here, my lord--easy, now--lay him down gently, just
as a mother would her sleeping child--for, indeed, he is a child," he
whispered, "and as weak as a child; but a sound sleep will do him good,
and he'll be a new man in the morning, please God."

Upon this rough, but wholesome and aromatic couch, the exhausted prelate
was placed, where he had not been many minutes until he fell into a
profound sleep, a fact which gratified them very much, for they assured
Reilly and the priest that he had slept but a few hours each night
during the last week, and that such slumber as he did get was feverish
and unquiet.

Our good-humored friend, however, was now cordially welcomed by these
unfortunate ecclesiastics, for such, in fact, the majority of them were.
His presence seemed to them like a ray of light from the sun. His good
humor, his excellent spirits, which nothing could repress, and his
drollery kept them alive, and nothing was so much regretted by them as
his temporary absences from time to time; for, in truth, he was their
messenger, their steward, and their newsman--in fact, the only link that
connected them with external life, and the ongoings of the world abroad.
The bed in which the bishop now slept was in a distant corner of this
inner apartment, or dormitory, as it might be termed, because the
situation was higher and drier, and consequently more healthy, as a
sleeping-place, than any other which the rude apartment afforded.
The fire on which the large pot simmered was at least a distance
of twenty-five yards from his bed, so that they could indulge in
conversation without much risk of disturbing him.

It is unnecessary to say that Reilly and his friend Father Maguire felt,
by this time, a tolerably strong relish for something in the shape of
sustenance--a relish which was exceedingly sharpened by the savory smell
sent forth throughout the apartment by the contents of whatsoever was
contained in the immense pot.

"My dear brethren," said the priest, "let us consider this cavern as a
rich monastery; such, alas! as existed in the good days of old, when
the larder and refectory were a credit to religion and a relief to the
destitute, but which, alas!--and alas! again--we can only think of as
a--in the meantime, I can stand this no longer. If I possess judgment or
penetration in _re culinaria_, I am of opinion," he added (stirring up
the contents of it), "that it is fit to be operated on; so, in God's
name, let us have at it."

In a few minutes two or three immense pewter dishes were heaped with a
stew made up of mutton, bacon, hung beef, onions, and potatoes, forming
indeed a most delicious mess for any man, much less the miserable men
who were making it disappear so rapidly.

Reilly, the very picture of health, after maintaining a pace inferior
to that of none, although there were decidedly some handy workmen there,
now was forced to pull up and halt. In the meantime some slow but steady
operations went on with a perseverance that was highly creditable; and
it was now that, having a little agreeable leisure to observe and
look about him, he began to examine the extraordinary costumes of the
incongruous society in which, to his astonishment, he found himself a
party. We must, however, first account for the oddness and incongruity
of the apparent characters which they were forced to assume.

At this period the Catholics of Ireland were indeed frightfully
oppressed. A proclamation had recently been issued by the Government,
who dreaded, or pretended to dread, an insurrection--by which document
convents and monasteries were suppressed--rewards offered for the
detection and apprehension of ecclesiastics, and for the punishment of
such humane magistrates as were reluctant to enforce laws so unsparing
and oppressive. Increased rewards were also offered to spies and
informers, with whom the country unfortunately abounded. A general
disarming of all Catholics took place; domiciliary visits were made
in quest of bishops, priests, and friars, and all the chapels in the
country were shut up. Many of the clergy flew to the metropolis, where
they imagined they might be more safe, and a vast number to caverns and
mountains, in order to avoid the common danger, and especially from
a wholesome, terror of that class of men called priest-hunters.
The Catholic peasantry having discovered their clergy in these wild
retreats, flocked to them on Sundays and festivals, in order to join in
private--not public-worship, and to partake of the rites and sacraments
of their Church.

Such was the state of the country at the period when the unfortunate
men whom we are about to describe were pent up in this newly discovered
cavern.

Now, Reilly himself was perfectly acquainted with all this, and knew
very well that these unhappy men, having been frequently compelled to
put on the first disguise that came to hand, had not means, nor indeed
disposition, to change these disguises, unless at the risk of being
recognized, taken into custody, and surrendered to the mercy of the law.

When their savory meal was concluded, Father Maguire, who never forgot
any duty connected with his position--be that where it might--now went
over to the large pot, exclaiming:

"It would be too bad, my friends, to forget the creatures here that have
been so faithful and so steady to us. Poor things, I could see, by
the way they fixed their longing eyes upon us while we were doing the
handy-work at the stew, that if the matter had been left to themselves,
not a spoonful ever went into our mouths but they'd have practised the
doctrine of tithe upon. Come, darlings--here, now, is a little race
for you--every one of you seize a spoon, keep a hospitable mouth and
a supple wrist. These creatures, Mr. Reilly, are so many little brands
plucked out of the burning. They are the children of parents who
suffered for their faith, and were brought here to avoid being put into
these new traps for young Catholics, called Charter Schools, into which
the Government wishes to hook in our rising generation, under pretence
of supporting and educating them; but, in point of fact, to alienate
them from the affection of their parents and relations, and to train
them up in the State religion, poor things. At all events, they are very
handy to us here, for they slip out by turns and bring us almost every
thing we want--and not one of them ever opened his lips as to the
existence of this _spelunca_."

The meal of the poor things was abundant, but they soon gave over, and
in a few minutes they tumbled themselves into their heather beds, and
were soon sunk in their innocent slumbers.

"Now, gentlemen, that we have eaten a better meal than we could expect
in this miserable place, thanks to the kindness of our faithful flocks,
what do you think of a sup of what's in the keg? Good eating deserves
a drop of mixture after it, to aid in carrying on the process of
digestion! Father Hennessy, what are you at?" he exclaimed, addressing
an exceedingly ill-looking man, with heavy brows and a sinister aspect.
"You forget, sir, that the management of the keg is my duty, whenever
I am here. You are the only person here who violates our regulations in
that respect. Walk back and wait till you are helped like another. Do
you call that being spiritually inclined? If so, there is not a doubt of
it but you ought to be a bishop; and if you come to that, I'll stake my
credit on it that you'll never let much wind into your stomach so long
as you can get plenty of the solids and fluids to keep it out."

"I'm weak in the stomach," replied Hennessy, with a sensual grin, "and
require it."

"But I say," replied Father Maguire, "that it would require stronger
proof than any your outward man presents to confirm the truth of that.
As for bearing a load either of the liquids or solids aforesaid, I'll
back your bit of abdomen there against those of any three of us."

Cups and noggins, and an indescribable variety of small vessels that
were never designed for drinking, were now called into requisition, and
a moderate portion of the keg was distributed among them. Reilly, while
enjoying his cup, which as well as the others he did with a good deal of
satisfaction, could not help being amused by the comical peculiarity of
their disguises.

The sinister-looking clergyman, whom we have named Hennessy,
subsequently became a spy and informer, and, we may add, an enemy
equally formidable and treacherous to the Catholics of the time, in
consequence of having been deprived of his clerical functions by his
bishop, who could not overlook his immoral and irregular conduct. He is
mentioned by Matthew O'Connor, in his "History of the Irish Catholics,"
and consigned to infamy as one of the greatest scourges, against both
the priesthood and the people, that ever disgraced the country. But it
must be admitted that he stands out in dark relief against the great
body of the Catholic priests at that period, whose firmness, patience,
and fidelity to their trust, places them above all praise and all
suspicion. It is, however, very reasonable, that men so hunted and
persecuted should be forced, not only in defence of their own lives
and liberties, but also for the sake of their flocks, to assume such
costumes as might most effectually disguise them, so that they would be
able still, even in secret and by stealth, to administer the rites of
their religion to the poor and neglected of their own creed. Some were
dressed in common frieze, some in servants' cast-off liveries--however
they came by them--and not a few in military uniform, that served, as
it were, to mark them staunch supporters of the very Government that
persecuted them. A reverend archdeacon, somewhat comely and corpulent,
had, by some means or other, procured the garb of a recruiting sergeant,
which fitted him so admirably that the illusion was complete; and, what
bore it out still more forcibly, was the presence of a smart-looking
little friar, who kept the sergeant in countenance in the uniform of
a drummer. Mass was celebrated every day, hymns were sung, and prayers
offered up to the Almighty, that it might please him to check the flood
of persecution which had overwhelmed or scattered them. Still, in the
intervals of devotion, they indulged in that reasonable cheerfulness and
harmless mirth which were necessary to support their spirits, depressed
as they must have been by this dreadful and melancholy confinement--a
confinement where neither the light of the blessed sun, nor the fresh
breezes of heaven, nor the air we breathe, in its usual purity, could
reach them. Sir Thomas More and Sir Walter Raleigh, however, were
cheerful on the scaffold; and even here, as we have already said, many a
rustic tale and legend, peculiar to those times, went pleasantly around;
many a theological debate took place, and many a thesis was discussed,
in order to enable the unhappy men to pass away the tedious monotony of
their imprisonment in this strange lurking-place. The only man who kept
aloof and took no part in these amusing recreations was Hennessy, who
seemed moody and sullen, but who, nevertheless, was frequently detected
in making stolen visits to the barrel.

Notwithstanding all this, however, the sight was a melancholy one; and
whatever disposition Reilly felt to smile at what he saw and heard
was instantly changed on perceiving their unaffected piety, which was
evident by their manner, and a rude altar in a remote end of the cave,
which was laid out night and day for the purpose of celebrating the
ceremonies and mysteries of their Church. Before he went to his couch
of heather, however, he called Father Maguire aside, and thus addressed
him:

"I have been a good deal struck to-night, my friend, by all that I
have witnessed in this singular retreat. The poor prelate I pity; and I
regret I did not understand him sooner. His mind, I fear, is gone."

"Why, I didn't understand him myself," replied the priest; "because this
was the first symptom he has shown of any derangement in his intellect,
otherwise I would no more have contradicted him than I would have cut my
left hand off."

"There is, however, a man--a clergyman here, called Hennessy; who is he,
and what has been his life?"

"Why," replied the other, "I have heard nothing to his disadvantage. He
is a quiet, and, it is said, a pious man--and I think he is too. He
is naturally silent, and seldom takes any part in our conversation. He
says, however, that his concealment here bears hard upon him, and is
depressing his spirits every day more and more. The only thing I ever
could observe in him is what you saw yourself to-night-a slight relish
for an acquaintance with the barrel. He sometimes drains a drop--indeed,
sometimes too much--out of it, when he gets our backs turned; but then
he pleads low spirits three or four times a day--indeed, so often that,
upon my word, he'll soon have the barrel pleading the same complaint."

"Well," replied Reilly, after listening attentively to him, "I desire
you and your friends to watch that man closely. I know something about
him; and I tell you that if ever the laws become more lenient, the
moment this man makes his appearance his bishop will deprive him of
all spiritual jurisdiction for life. Mark me now, Father Maguire; if
he pleads any necessity for leaving this retreat and going abroad again
into the world, don't let a single individual of you remain, here one
hour after him. Provide for your safety and your shelter elsewhere as
well as you can; if not, the worst consequences may--nay, will follow."

The priest promised to communicate this intelligence to his companions,
one by one, after which, both he and Reilly, feeling fatigued and
exhausted by what they had undergone in the course of the night, threw
themselves each upon his couch of heather, and in a few minutes not only
they, but all their companions, were sunk in deep sleep.




CHAPTEE XI.--The Squire's Dinner and his Guests.


We now return to _Cooleen Bawn_, who, after her separation from Reilly,
retired to her own room, where she indulged in a paroxysm of deep grief,
in consequence of her apprehension that she might never see him again.
She also calculated upon the certainty of being obliged to sustain a
domestic warfare with her father, as the result of having made him the
confidant of her love. In this, however, she was agreeably disappointed;
for, on meeting him the next morning, at breakfast, she was a good
deal surprised to observe that he made no allusion whatsoever to the
circumstance--if, indeed, an occasional muttering of some unintelligible
words, _sotto voce_, might not be supposed to allude to it. The truth
was, the old man found the promise he had made to Sir Robert one of such
difficulty to his testy and violent disposition, that his language, and
the restraint which he felt himself under the necessity of putting on
it, rendered his conversation rather ludicrous.

"Well, Helen," he said, on entering the breakfast-parlor, "how did you
rest last night, my love? Rested sound--eh? But you look rather pale,
darling. (Hang the rascal!)"

"I cannot say that I slept as well as usual, sir. I felt headache."

"Ay, headache--was it? (heartache, rather. The villain.) Well come, let
me have a cup of tea and a mouthful of that toast."

"Will you not have some chicken, sir?"

"No, my dear--no; just what I said--a mouthful of toast, and a cup of
tea, with plenty of cream in it. Thank you, love. (A good swing for him
will be delightful. I'll go to see it.) Helen, my dear, I'm going to
give a dinner-party next week. Of course we'll have your future--hem--I
mean we'll have Sir Robert, and--let me see--who else? Why, Oxley, the
sheriff", Mr. Brown, the parson--I wish he didn't lean so much to the
cursed Papists, though--Mr. Hastings, who is tarred with the same
stick, it is whispered. Well, who next? Lord Deilmacare, a good-natured
jackass--a fellow who would eat a jacketful of carrion, if placed before
him, with as much _gout_ as if it were venison. He went home one night,
out of this, with the parson's outside coat and shovel hat upon him, and
did not return them for two days."

"Does this habit proceed from stupidity, papa?"

"Not at all; but from mere carelessness. The next two days he was out
with his laborers, and if a cow or pig chanced--(the villain! we'll hang
him to a certainty)--chanced, I say, to stray into the field, he would
shy the shovel hat at them, without remorse. Oh! we must have him, by
all means. But who next? Sir Jenkins Joram. Give him plenty to drink,
and he is satisfied."

"But what are his political principles, papa?"

"They are to be found in the bottle, Helen, which is the only creed,
political or religious, to which I ever knew him to be attached; and
I tell you, girl, that if every Protestant in Ireland were as deeply
devoted to his Church as he is to the bottle, we would soon be a happy
people, uncorrupted by treacherous scoundrels, who privately harbor
Papists and foster Popery itself. (The infernal scoundrel.)"

"But, papa," replied his daughter, with a melancholy smile, "I think I
know some persons, who, although very loud and vehement in their outcry
against Popery, have, nevertheless, on more than one or two occasions,
harbored Papists in their house, and concealed even priests, when the
minions of the law were in search of them."

"Yes, and it is of this cursed crew of hollow Protestants that I now
speak--ahem--ay--ha--well, what the devil--hem. To be sure I--I--I--but
it doesn't signify; we can't be wise at all times. But after all, Helen
(she has me there), after all, I say, there are some good Papists, and
some good--ahem--priests, too. There now, I've got it out. However,
Helen, those foolish days are gone, and we have nothing for it now but
to hunt Popery out of the country. But to proceed as to the dinner."

"I think Popery is suffering enough, sir, and more than enough."

"Ho, ho," he exclaimed with triumph, "here comes the next on my list--a
fine fellow, who will touch it up still more vigorously--I mean Captain
Smellpriest."

"I have heard of that inhuman man," replied Helen; "I wish you would
not ask him, papa. I am told he equals Sir Robert Whitecraft in both
cowardice and cruelty. Is not that a nickname he has got in consequence
of his activity in pursuit of the unfortunate priests?"

"It's a nickname he has given himself," replied her father; "and he
has become so proud of it that he will allow himself to be called by no
other. He swears that if a priest gets on the windy side of him, he will
scent him as a hound would a fox. Oh! by my honor, Smellpriest must be
here. The scoundrel like Whitecraft!--eh-what am I saying? Smellpriest,
I say, first began his career as a friend to the Papists; he took large
tracts of land in their name, and even purchased a couple of estates
with their money; and in due time, according as the tide continued
to get strong against them, he thought the best plan to cover his
villany--ahem--his policy, I mean--was to come out as a fierce loyalist;
and as a mark of his repentance, he claimed the property, as the real
purchaser, and arrested those who were fools enough to trust him."

"I think I know another gentleman of my acquaintance who holds property
in some similar trust for Papists," observed Helen, "but who certainly
is incapable of imitating the villany of that most unprincipled man."

"Come, come, Helen; come, my girl; tut--ahem; come, you are getting
into politics now, and that will never do. A girl like you ought to have
nothing to do with politics or religion."

"Religion! papa."

"Oh--hem-I don't mean exactly that. Oh, no; I except religion; a girl
may be as religious as she pleases, only she must say as little upon the
subject as possible. Come, another cup of tea, with a little more
sugar, for, I give you my honor, you did not make the last one of the
sweetest;" and so saying, he put over his cup with a grimace, which
resembled that of a man detected in a bad action, instead of a good one.

At this moment John, the butler, came in with a plate of hot toast; and,
as he was a privileged old man, he addressed his master without much
hesitation.

"That was a quare business," he observed, using the word quare as an
equivocal one, until he should see what views of the circumstance his
master might take; "a quare business, sir, that happened to Mr. Reilly."

"What business do you allude to, you old sinner?"

"The burning of his house and place, sir. All he has, or had, is in a
heap of ashes."

Helen felt not for the burning, but her eyes were fixed upon the
features of the old man, as if the doom of her life depended on his
words; whilst the paper on which ee write is not whiter than were her
cheeks.

"What--what--how was it?" asked his master; "who did it?--and by whose
authority was it done?"

"Sir Robert Whitecraft and his men did it, sir."

"Ay, but I can't conceive he had any authority for such an act."

"Wasn't Mr. Reilly an outlaw, sir? Didn't the Red Rapparee, who is now a
good Protestant, swear insurrection against him?"

"The red devil, sirra," replied the old squire, forgetting his animosity
to Reilly in the atrocity and oppression of the deed--"the red
devil, sirra! would that justify such a cowardly scoundrel as Sir
Robert--ugh--ugh--ugh--that went against my breath, Helen. Well, come
here, I say, you old sinner; they burned the place, you say?"

"Sir Robert and his men did, sir."

"I'm not doubting that, you old house-leek. I know Sir Robert too
well--I know the infernal--ahem; a most excellent loyal gentleman, with
two or three fine estates, both here and in England; but he prefers
living here, for reasons best known to himself and me, and--and to
somebody else. Well, they burned Reilly out--but tell me this; did they
catch the rascal himself? eh? here's five pounds for you, if you can say
they have him safe."

"That's rather a loose bargain, your honor," replied the man with a
smile; "for saying it?--why, what's to prevent me from saying it, if I
wished?"

"None of your mumping, you old snapdragon; but tell me the truth, have
they secured him hard and fast?"

"No, sir, he escaped them, and as report goes they know nothing about
him, except that they haven't got him."

Deep and speechless was the agony in which Helen sat during this short
dialogue, her eyes having never once been withdrawn from the butler's
countenance; but now that she had heard of her lover's personal safety,
a thick, smothered sob, which, if it were to kill her, she could not
repress, burst from her bosom. Unwilling that either her father or the
servant should witness the ecstasy which she could not conceal, and
feeling that another minute would disclose the delight which convulsed
her heart and frame, she arose, and, with as much composure as she could
assume, went slowly out of the room. On entering her apartment, she
signed to her maid to withdraw, after which she closed and bolted the
door, and wept bitterly. The poor girl's emotion, in fact, was of a
twofold character; she wept with joy at Reilly's escape from the
hands of his cruel and relentless enemy, and with bitter grief at the
impossibility which she thought there existed that he should ultimately
be able to keep out of the meshes which she knew Whitecraft would spread
for him. The tears, however, which she shed abundantly, in due time
relieved her, and in the course of an hour or two she was able to appear
as usual in the family.

The reader may perceive that her father, though of an abrupt and cynical
temper, was not a man naturally of a bad or unfeeling heart. Whatever
mood of temper chanced to be uppermost influenced him for the time; and
indeed it might be said that one half of his feelings were usually in a
state of conflict with the other. In matters of business he was the very
soul of integrity and honor, but in his views of public affairs he
was uncertain and inconsistent; and of course his whole life, as a
magistrate and public man, was a perpetual series of contradictions. The
consequence of all this was, that he possessed but small influence,
as arising from his personal character; but not so from his immense
property, as well as from the fact that he was father to the wealthiest
and most beautiful heiress in the province, or perhaps, so far as beauty
was concerned, in the kingdom itself.

At length the day mentioned for the dinner arrived, and, at the
appointed hour, so also did the guests. There were some ladies asked to
keep Helen in countenance, but we need scarcely say, that as the list of
them was made out by her thoughtless father, he paid, in the selection
of some of them, very little attention to her feelings. There was the
sheriff, Mr. Oxley, and his lady--the latter a compound in whom it was
difficult to determine whether pride, vulgarity, or obesity prevailed.
Where the sheriff had made his capture of her was never properly known,
as neither of them belonged originally to that neighborhood in which he
had, several years ago, purchased large property. It was said he had got
her in London; and nothing was more certain than that she issued forth
the English language clothed in an inveterate cockney accent. She was a
high moralist, and a merciless castigator of all females who manifested,
or who were supposed to manifest, even a tendency to walk out of the
line of her own peculiar theory on female conduct. Her weight might be
about eighteen stone, exclusive of an additional stone of gold chains
and bracelets, in which she moved like a walking gibbet, only with the
felon in it; and to crown all, she wore on her mountainous bosom a cameo
nearly the size of a frying-pan. Sir Jenkins Joram, who took her down to
dinner, declared, on feeling the size of the bracelets which encircled
her wrists, that he labored for a short time under the impression that
he and she were literally handcuffed together; an impression, he added,
from which he was soon relieved by the consoling reflection that it was
the sheriff himself whom the clergyman had sentenced to stand in that
pleasant predicament. Of Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Hastings we have only to
say that they were modest, sensible, unassuming women, without either
parade or pretence, such, in fact, as you will generally meet among
our well-bred and educated countrywomen. Lord Deilmacare was a widower,
without family, and not a marrying man. Indeed, when pressed upon this
subject, he was never known to deviate from the one reply.

"Why don't you marry again, my lord?--will you ever marry?"

"No, madam, I got enough of it," a reply which, somehow, generally
checked any further inquiry on the subject. Between Lady Joram and Mrs.
Smellpriest there subsisted a singular analogy with respect to their
conjugal attachments. It was hinted that her ladyship, in those
secret but delicious moments of matrimonial felicity which make up the
sugar-candy morsels of domestic life, used to sit with Sir Jenkins for
the purpose, by judicious exercise, of easing, by convivial exercise, a
rheumatic affection which she complained of in her right arm. There is
nothing, however, so delightful as a general and loving sympathy between
husband and wife; and here it was said to exist in perfection. Mrs.
Smellpriest, on the other hand, was said to have been equally attached
to the political principles of the noble captain, and to wonder why any
clergyman should be suffered to live in the country but those of her
own Church; such delightful men, for instance, as their curate, the Rev.
Samson Strong, who was nothing more nor less than a divine bonfire in
the eyes of the Christian! world. Such was his zeal against Papists, she
said, as well as against Popery at large, that she never looked on him
without thinking that there was a priest to be burned. Indeed Captain
Smellpriest, she added, was under great obligations to him, for
no sooner had his reverence heard of a priest taking earth in the
neighborhood, than he lost no time in communicating the fact to her
husband; after which he would kindly sit with and comfort her whilst
fretting lest any mischief might befall her dear captain.

The dinner passed as all dinners usually do. They hobnobbed, of course,
and indulged in that kind of promiscuous conversation which cannot well
be reported. From a feeling of respect to Helen, no allusion was made
either to the burning of Reilly's property or to Reilly personally. The
only person who had any difficulty in avoiding the subject was the old
squire himself, who more than once found the topic upon his lips, but
with a kind of short cough he gulped it down, and got rid of it for the
time. In what manner he might treat the act itself was a matter which
excited a good deal of speculation in the minds of those who were
present. He was known to be a man who, if the whim seized him to look
upon it as a cowardly and vindictive proceeding, would by no means
scruple to express his opinions strongly against it; whilst, on
the other hand, if he measured it in connection with his daughter's
forbidden attachment to Reilly, he would, of course, as vehemently
express his approbation of the outrage. Indeed, they were induced to
conclude that this latter view of it was that which he was most likely
to take, in consequence of the following proposal, which, from any other
man, would have been an extraordinary one:

"Come, ladies, before you leave us we must have one toast; and I shall
give it in order to ascertain whether we have any fair traitresses among
us, or any who are secretly attached to Popery or Papists."

The proposal was a cruel one, but the squire was so utterly destitute of
consideration or delicacy of feeling that we do not think he ever once
reflected upon the painful position in which it placed his daughter.

"Come," he proceeded, "here is prosperity to Captain Smellpriest and
priest-hunting!"*

     * We have been charged by an able and accomplished writer
     with an incapacity of describing, with truth, any state of
     Irish society above that of our peasantry; and the toast
     proposed by the eccentric old squire is, we presume, the
     chief ground upon which this charge is rested. We are,
     however, just as well aware as our critic, that to propose
     toasts before the female portion of the company leave the
     dinner-table, is altogether at variance with the usages of
     polite society. But we really thought we had guarded our
     readers against any such, inference of our own ignorance by
     the character which we had drawn of the squire, as well as
     by the words with which the toast is introduced--where we
     said, "from any other man would have been an extraordinary
     one." I may also refer to Mrs. Brown's reply.

"As a Christian minister," replied Mr. Brown, "and an enemy to
persecution in every sense, but especially to that which would punish
any man for the great principle which we ourselves claim--the rights of
conscience--I decline to drink the toast;" and he turned down his glass.

"And I," said Mr. Hastings, "as a Protestant and a Christian, refuse it
on the same principles;" and he also turned down his glass.

"But you forget, gentlemen," proceeded the squire, "that I addressed
myself principally to the ladies."

"But you know, sir," replied Mrs. Brown, with a smile, "that it is
quite unusual and out of character for ladies to drink toasts at all,
especially those which involve religious or political opinions. These, I
am sure, you know too well, Mr. Folliard, are matters with which ladies
have, and ought to have, nothing to do. I also, therefore, on behalf
of our sex, decline to drink the toast; and I trust that every lady who
respects herself will turn down her glass as I do."

Mrs. Hastings and Helen immediately followed her example, whilst at the
same time poor Helen's cheeks and neck were scarlet.

"You see, sir," said Mr. Brown, good-humoredly, "that the sex--at least
one-half of them--are against you."

"That's because they're Papists at heart," replied the squire, laughing.

Helen felt eased at seeing her father's good humor, for she now knew
that the proposal of the toast was but a jest, and did not aim at any
thing calculated to distress her feelings.

"But, in the meantime," proceeded the squire, "I am not without support.
Here is Lady Joram and Mrs. Smellpriest and Mrs. Oxley--and they are a
host in themselves--each of them willing and ready to support me."

"I don't see," said Lady Joram, "why a lady, any more than a gentleman,
should refuse to drink a proper toast as this is; Sir Jenkins has not
turned down his glass, and neither shall I. Come, then, Mr. Folliard,
please to fill mine; I shall drink it in a bumper."

"And I," said Mrs. Oxley, "always drinks my 'usband's principles. In
Lunnon, where true 'igh life is, ladies don't refuse to drink toasts. I
know that feyther, both before and after his removal to Lunnon, used
to make us all drink the ''Ard ware of Old Hingland'--by witch,"
she proceeded, correcting herself by a reproving glance from the
sheriff--"by witch he meant what he called the glorious sinews of the
country at large, lestwise in the manufacturing districts. But upon a
subject like this"--and she looked with something like disdain at those
who had turned down their glasses--"every lady as is a lady ought to
'ave no objection to hexplain her principles by drinking the toast; but
p'raps it ain't fair to press it upon some of 'em."

"Well, then," proceeded the squire, with a laugh that seemed to have
more than mirth in it, "are all the loyal subjects of the crown ready?
Lord Deilmacare, your glass is not filled; won't you drink it?"

"To be sure," replied his lordship; "I have no hatred against Papists;
I get my rent by their labor; but I never wish to spoil sport--get
along--I'll do anything."

With the exceptions already mentioned, the toast was drank immediately,
after which the ladies retired to the drawing-room.

"Now, gentlemen," said the squire, "fill your glasses, and let us enjoy
ourselves. You have a right to be proud of your wife, Mr. Sheriff, and
you too, Sir Jenkins--for,--upon my soul, if it had been his Majesty's
health, her ladyship couldn't have honored it with a fuller bumper. And,
Smellpriest, your wife did the thing handsomely as well as the rest.
Upon my soul, you ought to be happy men, with three women so deeply
imbued with the true spirit of our glorious Constitution."

"Ah, Mr. Folliard," said Smellpriest, "you don't know the value of that
woman. When I return, for instance, after a hunt, the first question she
puts to me is--Well, my love, how many priests did you catch to-day? And
out comes Mr. Strong with the same question. Strong, however, between
ourselves, is a goose; he will believe any thing, and often sends me
upon a cold trail. Now, I pledge you my honor, gentlemen, that this man,
who is all zeal, has sent me out dozens of times, with the strictest
instructions as to where I'd catch my priest; but, hang me, if ever
I caught a single priest upon his instructions yet! still, although
unfortunate in this kind of sport, his heart is in the right place.
Whitecraft, my worthy brother sportsman, how does it happen that Reilly
continues to escape you?"

"Why does he continue to escape yourself, captain?" replied the baronet.

"Why," said the other, "because I am more in the ecclesiastical line,
and, besides, he is considered to be, in an especial manner, your game."

"I will have him yet, though," said Whitecraft, "if he should assume as
many shapes as Proteus."

"By the way, Whitecraft," observed Folliard, "they tell me you burned
the unfor--you burned the scoundrel's house and offices."

"I wish you had been present at the bonfire, sir," replied his intended
son-in-law; "it would have done your heart good."

"I daresay," said the squire; "but still, what harm did his house and
place do you? I know the fellow is a Jesuit, a rebel, and an outlaw--at
least you tell me so; and you must know. But upon what authority did you
burn the rascal out?"

"As to that," returned the baronet, "the present laws against Popery and
the general condition of the times are a sufficient justification; and
I do not think that I am likely to be brought over the coals for it; on
the contrary, I look upon myself as a man who, in burning the villain
out, have rendered a very important service to Government."

"I regret, Sir Robert," observed Mr. Brown, "that you should have
disgraced yourself by such an oppressive act. I know that throughout the
country your conduct to this young man is attributed to personal malice
rather than to loyalty."

"The country may put what construction on my conduct it pleases," he
replied, "but I know I shall never cease till I hang him."

Mr. Hastings was a man of very few words; but he had an eye the
expression of which could not be mistaken--keen, manly, and firm. He sat
sipping his wine in silence, but turned from time to time a glance upon
the baronet, which was not only a searching one, but seemed to have
something of triumph in it.

"What do you say, Hastings?" asked Whitecraft; "can you not praise a
loyal subject, man?"

"I say nothing, Sir Robert," he replied; "but I think occasionally."

"Well, and what do you think occasionally?"

"Why, that the times may change."

"Whitecraft," said Smellpriest, "I work upon higher principles than they
say you do. I hunt priests, no doubt of it; but then I have no personal
malice against them; I proceed upon the broad and general principle of
hatred to Popery: but, at the same time, observe it is not the man but
the priest I pursue."

"And when you hang or transport the priest, what becomes of the man?"
asked the baronet, with a diabolical sneer. "As for me, Smellpriest, I
make no such distinctions; they are unworthy of you, and I'm sorry to
hear you express them. I say, the man."

"And I say, the priest," replied the other.

"What do you say, my lord?" asked Mr. Folliard of the peer.

"I don't much care which," replied his lordship; "man or priest, be it
as you can determine; only I say that when you hang the priest, I agree
with Whitecraft there, that it is all up with the man, and when you
hang the man, it is all up with the priest. By the way, Whitecraft," he
proceeded, "how would you like to swing yourself?"

"I am sure, my lord," replied the baronet, "you wouldn't wish to see me
hanged."

"Well, I don't know--perhaps I might, and perhaps I might not; but
I know you would make a long corpse, and I think you would dangle
handsomely enough; you have long limbs, a long body, and half a mile of
neck; upon my soul, one would think you were made for it. Yes, I dare
say I should like to see you hanged--I am rather inclined to think I
would--it's a subject, however, on which I am perfectly indifferent; but
if ever you should be hanged, Sir Robert, I shall certainly make it a
point to see you thrown off if it were only as a mark of respect for
your humane and excellent character."

"He would be a severe loss to the country," observed Sir Jenkins;
"the want of his hospitality would be deeply felt by the gentry of the
neighborhood; for which reason," he observed sarcastically, "I hope he
will be spared to us as long as his hospitality lasts."

"In the meantime, gentlemen," observed the sheriff, "I wish that, with
such keen noses for priests and rebels and criminals, you could come
upon the trail of the scoundrel who robbed me of three hundred and fifty
pounds."

"Would you know him again, Mr. Sheriff?" asked Sir Robert, "and could
you describe his appearance?"

"I have been turning the matter over," replied the sheriff, "and I
feel satisfied that I would know him if I saw him. He was dressed in a
broadcloth brown coat, light-colored breeches, and had silver buckles
in his shoes. The fellow was no common robber. Stuart--one of
your dragoons, Sir Robert, who came to my relief when it was too
late--insists, from my description of the dress, that it was Reilly."

"Are you sure he was not dressed in black?" asked Smellpriest. "Did you
observe a beads or crucifix about him?"

"I have described the dress accurately," replied the sheriff; "but I
am certain that it was not Reilly. On bringing the matter to my
recollection, after I had got rid of the pain and agitation, I was able
to remember that the ruffian had a coarse face and red whiskers. Now
Reilly's hair and whiskers are black."

"It was a reverend Papist," said Smellpriest; "one of those from
whom you had levied the fines that day, and who thought it no harm to
transfer them back again to holy Church. You know not how those rascals
can disguise themselves."

"And you blame them, Smellpriest," said the squire, "for disguising
themselves? Now, suppose the tables were turned upon us, that Popery got
the ascendant, and that Papists started upon the same principles against
us that we put in practice against them; suppose that Popish soldiers
were halloed on against our parsons, and all other Protestants
conspicuous for an attachment to their religion, and anxious to put down
the persecution under which we suffered; why, hang it, could you blame
the parsons, when hunted to the death, for disguising themselves? And
if you could not, how can you blame the priests? Would you have the poor
devils walk into your hands and say, 'Come, gentlemen, be good enough
to hang or transport us?' I am anxious, to secure Reilly, and either to
hang or transport him. I would say the latter, though."

"And I the former," observed Sir Robert.

"Well, Bob, that is as may happen; but in the meantime, I say he never
robbed the sheriff here; and if he were going to the gallows to-morrow,
I would maintain it."

Neither the clergyman nor Mr. Hastings took much part in the
conversation; but the eye of the latter was, during the greater portion
of the evening, fixed upon the baronet, like that of a basilisk,
accompanied by a hidden meaning, which it was impossible to penetrate,
but which, nevertheless, had such an effect upon Whitecraft that he
could not help observing it.

"It would seem, Mr. Hastings," said he, "as if you had never seen me
before. Your eye has scarcely been off me during the whole evening. It
is not pleasant, sir, nor scarcely gentlemanly."

"You should feel proud of it, Sir Robert," replied Hastings; "I only
admire you."

"Well, then, I wish you would express your admiration in some other
manner than by staring at me."

"Gadzooks, Sir Robert," said the squire, "don't you know that a cat may
look at a king? Hastings must be a man of devilish good taste, Bob, and
you ought to thank him."

Mr. Brown and Mr. Hastings soon afterwards went upstairs, and left the
other gentlemen to their liquor, which they now began to enjoy with
a more convivial spirit. The old squire's loyalty rose to a very high
pitch, as indeed did that of his companions, all of whom entertained the
same principles, with the exception of Lord Deilmacare, whose opinions
never could be got at, for thee very sufficient reason that he did not
know them himself.

"Come, Whitecraft," said the squire, "help yourself, and push the
bottle; now that those two half-Papists are gone, we can breathe and
speak a little more freely. Here's our glorious Constitution, in Church
and State, and curse all priests and Papists--barring a few, that I know
to be honest."

"I drink it, but I omit the exception," said Sir Robert, "and I wonder,
sir, you would make any exception to such a toast."

"I drink it," said Smellpriest, "including the rascal priest."

"And I drink it," said the sheriff, "as it has been proposed."

"What was it?" said Lord Deilmacare; "come, I drink it--it doesn't
matter. I suppose, coming from our excellent host, it must be right and
proper."

They caroused deeply, and in proportion as the liquor affected their
brains, so did their determination to rid the squire of the rebel Reilly
form itself into an express resolution to that effect.

"Hang Reilly--hang the villain--the gallows for him--hurra!" and in this
charitable sentiment their voices all joined in a fierce and drunken
exclamation, uttered with their hands all clasped in each other with a
strong and firm grip. From one mouth alone, however, proceeded, amidst
a succession of hiccups, the word "transportation," which, when Lord
Deilmacare heard, he changed his principle, and joined the old squire in
the same mitigation of feeling.

"I say, Deilmacare," shouted Sir Robert, "we must hang him high and
dry."

"Very well," replied his lordship, "with all my heart, Sir Robert; we
must hang you high and dry."

"But, Deilmacare," said the squire, "we should only transport him."

"Very good," exclaimed his lordship, emptying a bumper; "we shall only
transport you, Sir Robert."

"Hang him, Deilmacare!"

"Very well, hang him!"

"Transport him, I say, Deilmacare," from the squire.

"Good again," said his lordship; "transport him, say I."

And on went the drunken revel, until they scarcely knew what they said.

The clergyman and Mr. Hastings, on reaching the drawing-room, found
Helen in a state of inexpressible distress. A dispute upon the
prevailing morals of all modern young Lidies had been got up by Lady
Joram and Mrs. Oxley, for the express purpose of venting their petty
malice against the girl, because they had taken it into their heads that
she paid more attention to Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Hastings than she did to
them. This dispute was tantamount to what, in the prize ring, is called
_cross_, when the fight is only a mock one, and terminates by the
voluntary defeat of one of the parties, upon a preconcerted arrangement.

"I don't agree with you, my lady; nor can I think that the morals of
young ladies in 'igh life, by witch I mean the daughters and heiresses of
wealthy squires--"

"But, my dear Mrs. Oxley," said her ladyship, interrupting her, and
placing her hand gently upon her arm, as if to solicit her consent to
the observation she was about to make, "you know, my dear Mrs. Oxley,
that the daughter of a mere country squire can have no pretensions to
come under the definition of high life."

"Wy not?" replied Mrs. Oxley; "the squires are often wealthier than the
haris-tocracy; and I don't at all see," she added, "wy the daughter of
such a man should not be considered as moving in 'igh life--always, of
course, provided that she forms no disgraceful attachments to Papists
and rebels and low persons of that 'ere class. No, my lady, I don't at
all agree with you in your view of 'igh life."

"You don't appear, madam, to entertain a sufficiently accurate estimate
of high life.

"I beg pardon, ma'am, but I think I can understand 'igh life as well as
those that don't know it better nor myself. I've seen a great deal of
'igh life. Feyther 'ad a willar at I'gate, and I'gate is known to be
the 'igh-est place about the metropolis of Lunnon--it and St. Paul's are
upon a bevel."

"Level, perhaps, you mean, ma'am?"

"Level or bevel,'it doesn't much diversify--but I prefer the bevel to
the level on all occasions. All I knows is," she proceeded, "that it is
a shame for any young lady, as is a young lady, to take a liking to a
Papist, because we know the Papists are all rebel; and would cut our
throats, only for the protection of our generous and merciful laws."

"I don't know what you mean by merciful laws," observed Mrs. Brown.
"They surely cannot be such laws as oppress and persecute a portion
of the people, and give an unjust license to one class to persecute
another, and to prevent them from exercising the duties which their
religion imposes upon them."

"Well," said Lady Joram, "all I wish is, that the Papists were
exterminated; we should then have no apprehensions that our daughters
would disgrace themselves, by falling in love with them."

This conversation was absolutely cruel, and the amiable Mrs. Brown, from
compassion to Helen, withdrew her into a corner of the room, and
entered into conversation with her upon a different topic, assuring her
previously that she would detail their offensive and ungenerous remarks
to her father, who, she trusted, would never see them under his roof
again, nor give them an opportunity of indulging in their vulgar
malignity a second time. Helen thanked her, and said their hints and
observations, though rude and ungenerous, gave her but little pain.
The form of language in which they were expressed, she added, and the
indefensible violation of all the laws of hospitality, blunted the
severity of what they said.

"I am not ashamed," she said, "of my attachment to the brave and
generous young man who saved my father's life. He is of no vulgar birth,
but a highly educated and a highly accomplished gentleman--a man, in
fact, my dear Mrs. Brown, whom no woman, be her rank in life ever so
high or exalted, might blush to love. I do not blush to make the avowal
that I love him; but, unfortunately, in consequence of the existing laws
of the country, my love for him, which I will never conceal, must be a
hopeless one."

"I regret the state of those laws, my dear Miss Folliard, as much as you
do; but still their existence puts a breach between you and Reilly, and
under those circumstances my advice to you is to overcome your affection
for him if you can. Marriage is out of the question."

"It is not marriage I think of--for that is out of the question--but
Reilly's life and safety. If he were safe, I should feel comparatively
happy; happiness, in its full extent, I never can hope to enjoy; but
if he were only safe--if he were only safe, my dear Mrs. Brown! I know
that he is hunted like a beast of prey, and under such circumstances as
disturb and distract the country, how can he escape?"

The kind-hearted lady consoled her as well as she could; but, in fact,
her grounds for consolation were so slender that her arguments only
amounted to those general observations which, commonplace as they
are, we are in the habit of hearing from day to day. Helen was too
high-minded to shed tears, but Mrs. Brown could plainly perceive the
depth of her emotion, and feel the extent of wrhat she suffered.

We shall not detail at further length the conversation of the other
ladies--if ladies they can be called; nor that of the gentlemen, after
they entered the drawing-room. Sir Robert Whitecraft attempted to enter
into conversation with Helen, but found himself firmly and decidedly
repulsed. In point of fact, some of the gentlemen were not in a state
to grace a drawing-room, and in a short time they took their leave and
retired.




CHAPTEE XII.--Sir Robert Meets a Brother Sportsman

--Draws his Nets, but Catches Nothing.


"'Tis conscience that makes cowards of us all," said Shakespeare, with
that wonderful wisdom which enlightens his glorious pages; and, in fact,
Sir Robert Whitecraft, in his own person, fully corroborated the truth
of the poet's apophthegm. The man, besides, was naturally a coward; and
when to this we add the consciousness of his persecutions and cruelties,
and his apprehensions from the revenge of Reilly--the destruction of
whose property, without any authority from Government for the act, he
felt himself guilty of--the reader may understand the nature and extent
of his terrors on his way home. The distance between his own house and
that of his intended father-in-law was about three miles, and there lay
a long space of level road, hedged in, as was then the custom, on both
sides, from behind which hedges an excellent aim could be taken. As Sir
Robert proceeded along this lonely path, his horse stumbled against some
stones that were in his way, or perhaps that had been purposely placed
there. Be that as it may, the baronet fell, and a small man, of compact
size and vigorous frame, was found aiding him to rise. Having helped
him into the saddle, the baronet asked him, with an infirm and alarmed
voice, who he was.

"Why, Sir Robert," he replied, "you must know I am not a Papist, or I
wouldn't be apt to render you any assistance; I am somewhat of your own
kidney--a bit of a priest-hunter, on a small scale. I used to get them
for Captain Smellpriest, but he paid me badly, and as there was great
risk among the bloody Papists, I made up my mind to withdraw out of his
service; but you are a gentleman, Sir Robert, what Captain Smellpriest
is not, and if you want an active and useful enemy to Popery, I am your
man."

"I want such a person, certainly," replied the baronet, who, in
consequence of the badness of the road and the darkness of the night,
was obliged to walk his horse with caution. "By the way," said he, "did
you not hear a noise behind the hedge?"

"I did," replied the other, "but it was the noise of cattle."

"I am not aware," replied Sir Robert, "what the devil cattle can have to
do immediately behind the hedge. I rather think they are some of our own
species;" and as he ceased speaking the tremendous braying of a jackass
came upon their ears.

"You were right, Sir Robert," replied his companion; "I beg pardon, I
mean that was right; you know now it was cattle."

"What is your name?" asked Sir Robert.

"Rowland Drum, Sir Robert; and, if you will permit me, I should like to
see you safe home. I need not say that you are hated by the Papists; and
as the road is lonesome and dangerous, as a priest-hunter myself I think
it an act of duty not to leave you."

"Thank you," said Sir Robert, "you are a civil person, and I will accept
your escort."

"Whatever danger you may run, Sir Robert, I will stand by your side and
partake of it."

"Thank you, friend," replied Sir Robert; "there is a lonely place before
us, where a ghost is said to be seen--the ghost of a priest whom I
hunted for a long time; Smellpriest, it is said, shot him at the place
I allude to. He was disguised as a drummer, and is said to haunt the
locality where he was shot."

"Well, I shall see you safe over the place, Sir Robert, and go home
with you afterwards, provided you will promise to give me a bed and my
supper; to-morrow we can talk on matters of business."

"I shall certainly do so," replied Sir Robert, "not only in consequence
of your attention to me, but of our common purpose."

They then proceeded onwards--passed the haunted spot--without either
hearing or seeing the spectral drummer. On arriving at home, Sir Robert,
who drank privately, ordered wine for himself, and sent Rowland Drum
to the kitchen, where he was rather meagerly entertained, and was
afterwards lodged for the night in the garret.

The next morning, after breakfast, Sir Robert sent for Mr. Drum, who, on
entering the breakfast parlor, was thus addressed by his new patron:

"What's this you say your name is?"

"Rowland Drum, sir."

"Rowland Drum! Well, now, Rowland Drum, are you well acquainted with the
priests of this diocese?"

"No man better," replied the redoubtable Rowland. "I know most of them
by person, and have got private descriptions of them all from Captain
Smellpriest, which will be invaluable to you, Sir Robert. The fact
is--and this I mention in the strictest confidence--that Smellpriest is
suspicious of your attachment to our glorious Constitution."

"The confounded rascal," replied the baronet. "Did he ever burn as many
Popish houses as I have done? He has no appetite for any thing but
the pursuit and capture of priests; but I have a far more general and
unsparing practice, for I not only capture the priests, where I can, but
every lay Papist that we suspect in the country. Here, for instance. Do
you see those papers? They are blank warrants for the apprehension of
the guilty and suspected, and also protections, transmitted to me from
the Secretary of State, that I may be enabled, by his authority, to
protect such Papists as will give useful information to the Government.
Here they are, signed by the Secretary, but the blanks are left for
myself to fill up."

"I wish we could get Reilly to come over," said Mr. Drum.

"Oh! the infernal villain," said the baronet, "all the protections that
ever were or could be issued from the Secretary's office would not nor
could not save him. Old Folliard and I will hang him, if there was not
another man to be hanged in the three kingdoms."

At this moment a servant came in and said, "Sir Robert, there is a woman
her who wishes to have some private conversation with you."

"What kind of a woman is she?" asked the baronet.

"Faith, your honor, a sturdy and strapping wench, somewhat rough, in the
face, but of great proportions."

Now it so happened that Mr. Drum had been sitting at the window during
this brief conversation, and at once recognized, under the disguise of
a woman, the celebrated informer, the Rev. Mr. Hennessy, a wretch whose
criminal course of life, as we said before, was so gross and reprobate
that his pious bishop deemed it his duty to suspend him from all
clerical functions.

"Sir Robert," said Drum, "I must go up to my room and shave. My
presence, I apprehend, won't be necessary where there is a lady in
question."

"Very well," replied the baronet; "I know not what her business may be;
but I shall be glad to speak with you after she shall have gone."

It was very well that Hennessy did not see Drum, whom he would at once
have recognized; but, at all events, the interview between the reprobate
priest and the baronet lasted for at least an hour.

After the Rev. Miss Hennessy had taken her departure, Mr. Drum was sent
for by the baronet, whom he still found in the breakfast parlor.

"Drum," said he, "you have now an opportunity of essentially serving not
only me, but the Government of the country. This lady turns out to be a
Popish priest in disguise, and I have taken him into my confidence as
a guide and auxiliary. Now you have given me proofs of personal
attachment, which is certainly more than he has done as yet. I have
heard of his character as an immoral priest; and the man who could be
false to his own creed is not a man to be relied upon. He has described
to me the position of a cavern, in which are now hiding a set of
proscribed priests; but I cannot have confidence in his information, and
I wish you to go to the ravine or cavern, or whatever the devil it is,
and return to me with correct intelligence. It may be a lure to draw
me into danger, or perhaps to deprive me of my life; but, on second
thought, I think I shall get a military force, and go myself."

"And perhaps never return, unless with your heels foremost, Sir Robert.
I tell you that this Hennessy is the most treacherous scoundrel on the
face of the earth. You do not know what he's at, but I will tell
you, for I have it from his own cousin. His object is to have you
assassinated, in order to restore himself to the good graces of the
bishop and the Catholic party, who, I must say, however, would not
countenance such a murderous act; still, Sir Robert, if you were taken
off, the man who took you off would have his name honored and exalted
throughout the country."

"Yes, I believe you are right, Drum; they are thirsting for my blood,
but not more than I am thirsting for theirs."

"Well, then," said Drum, "don't trust yourself to the counsels of this
Hennessy, who, in my opinion, only wants to make a scapegoat of you.
Allow me to go to the place he mentions, for I know the ravine well, but
I never knew nor do I believe that there is a cavern at all in it,
and that is what makes me suspect the scoundrel's motives. He can have
hundreds of outlaws secretly armed, who would never suffer you to escape
with your life. The thing is an ambuscade; take my word for it, it is
nothing less. Of course you can go, yourself and your party, if you
wish. You will prevent me from running a great risk; but I am only
anxious for your safety."

"Well, then," said Sir Robert, "you shall go upon this mission. It may
not be safe for me to do so. Try if you can make out this cavern, if
there be a cavern."

"I will try, Sir Robert; and I will venture to say, that if it can be
made out, I will make 't out." Rowland Drum accordingly set out upon
his mission, and having arrived at the cavern, with which he was so well
acquainted, he entered it with the usual risk. His voice, however, was
recognized, and he got instant admittance.

"My dear friends," said he, after he had entered the inner part of it,
"you must disperse immediately. Hennessy has betrayed you, and if you
remain here twenty-four hours longer, Sir Kobert Whitecraft and a party
of military, guided, probably, by the treacherous scoundrel himself,
will be upon you. The villain had a long interview with him, and gave a
full detail of the cavern and its inmates."

"But how did you become acquainted with Sir Kobert Whitecraft?" asked
the bishop.

"In order, my lord, to ascertain his intentions and future proceedings,"
replied Mr. Drum, "that we might guard against his treachery and
persecution. On his way home from a dinner at Squire Folliard's I met
him in a lonely part of the road, where he was thrown from his horse; I
helped him into his saddle, told him I was myself a priest-hunter,
and thus got into his confidence so far as to be able to frustrate
Hennessy's treachery, and to counteract his own designs."

"Sir," said the bishop sternly, "you have acted a part unworthy of a
Christian clergyman. We should not do evil that good may follow; and
you have done evil in associating yourself, in any sense and for any
purpose, with this bloodthirsty tiger and persecutor of the faithful."

"My lord," replied the priest, "this is not a time to enter into a
discussion on such a subject. Hennessy has betrayed us; and if you do
not disperse to other places of safety, he will himself, as I said, lead
Sir Robert Whitecraft and a military party to this very cavern, and then
may God have mercy on you all."

"Brethren," said the bishop, "this is, after all, possible that our
brother has, by the mercy and providence of God, through his casual
meeting with this remorseless man, been made the instrument of our
safety. As for myself, I am willing to embrace the crown of martyrdom,
and to lay down my life, if necessary, for the faith that is in me. You
all know what I have already suffered, and you know that persecution
drives a wise man mad. My children," he added, "it is possible, and I
fear too probable, that some of us may never see each other in this life
again; but at the same time, let it be our hope and consolation that
we shall meet in a better. And for this purpose, and in order to secure
futurity of happiness, let us lead spotless and irreproachable lives,
such as will enable ur to meet the hour of death, whether it comes by
the hand of God or the persecution of man. Be faithful to the principles
of our holy religion--be faithful to truth--to moral virtue--be faithful
to God, before whose awful tribunal we must all appear, and render an
account of our lives. It would be mere wantonness to throw yourselves
into the hands of our persecutors. Reserve yourselves; for the
continuance and the sustainment of our blessed religion; but if you
should happen to fall, by the snares and devices of the enemy, into the
power of those who are striving to work our extermination, and if
they should press you to renounce your faith, upon the alternative of
banishment or death, then, I say, banishment, or death itself, sooner
than become apostates to your religion. I shall retire to a neighborhood
only a few miles distant from this, where the poor Catholic population
are without spiritual aid or consolation. I have been there before, and
I know their wants, and were it not that I was hunted and pursued with
a view to my death--to my murder, I should rather say--I would have
remained with them still. But that I considered it a duty to that
portion of the Church over which God called upon me to preside and
watch, I would not have avoided those inhuman traffickers in the blood
of God's people. Yet I am bound to say that, from the clergymen of
the Established Church, and from many Protestant magistrates, we have
received kindness, sympathy, and shelter. Their doors, their hearths,
and their hearts have been open to us, and that, too, in a truly
Christian spirit. Let us, then, render them good for good; let us pray
for their conversion, and that they may return to the right path."

"They have acted generously and nobly," added Reilly, "and in a truly
Christian spirit. Were it not for the shelter and protection which I
myself received from one of them, my mangled body would probably be
huddled down into some obscure grave, as a felon, and my property--which
is mine only by a necessary fiction and evasion of the law--have passed
into the hands of Sir Robert Whitecraft. I am wrong, however, in saying
that it could. Mr. Hastings, a generous and liberal Protestant, took it
in his own name for my father, but gave me a deed of assignment, placing
it as securely in my hands, and in my power, as if I were Sir Robert
Whitecraft himself; and I must add--which I do with pleasure--that the
deed in question is now in the possession of the Rev. Mr. Brown, the
amiable rector of the parish."

"But he is a heretic," said a red-faced little man, dressed in leather
breeches, top boots, and a huntsman's cap; _vade retro sathanas_, It is
a damnable crime to have any intercourse with them, or to receive any
protection from them: _vade retro, sathanas_."

"If I don't mistake," said the cook--an archdeacon, by the way--"you
yourself received protection from them, and were glad to receive it."

"If I did receive protection from one of their heretic parsons, it was
for Christian purposes. My object was not so much to seek protection
from him as to work out his salvation by withdrawing him from his
heresy. But then the fellow was as obstinate as _sathanas_ himself,
and had Greek and Hebrew at his fingers' ends. I made several passes at
him--tried Irish, and told him it was Italian. 'Well,' said he, smiling,
'I understand Italian too;' and to my astonishment he addressed me in
the best Irish I ever heard spoken. 'Now,' said he, still smiling, 'you
perceive that I understand Italian nearly--I will not say so well--as
you do.' Now, as I am a sinner, that, I say, was ungenerous treatment.
He was perfectly irreclaimable."

This man was, like Mr. Maguire, what has been termed a hedge-priest--a
character which, as we have already said, the poverty of the Catholic
people, during the existence of the penal laws, and the consequent want
of spiritual instruction, rendered necessary. There were no Catholic
colleges in the country, and the result was that the number of foreign
priests--by which I mean Irish priests educated in foreign colleges--was
utterly inadequate to meet the spiritual necessities of the Irish
population. Under those circumstances, men of good and virtuous
character, who understood something of the Latin tongue, were ordained
by their respective bishops, for the purpose which we have already
mentioned. But what a difference was there between those half-educated
men and the class of educated clergymen who now adorn, not only their
Church, but the literature of the country!

"Well, my dear friend," said the bishop, "let us be thankful for the
protection which, we have received at the hands of the Protestant clergy
and of many of the Protestant laity also. We now separate, and I for one
am sensible how much this cruel persecution has strengthened the bonds
of Christian love among us, and excited our sympathy for our poor
persecuted flocks, so many of whom are now without a shepherd. I leave
you with tears--but they are tears of affection, and not of despair. I
shall endeavor to be useful wherever I may abide. Let each of you do all
the spiritual good you can--all the earthly good--all good in its most
enlarged and purest sense. But we must separate--probably, some of us,
forever; and now may the blessing of the Almighty God--of the Father,
Son, and Holy Ghost, rest upon you all, and be with you and abide in
your hearts, now and forever! Amen!"

Having pronounced these words, he covered his face with his two hands
and wept bitterly. There were indeed few dry eyes around him; they knelt
before him, kissed his ring, and prepared to take their departure out of
the cavern.

"My lord," said Reilly, who still entertained apprehensions of the
return of his malady, "if you will permit me I shall share your fate,
whatever it may be. The poor people you allude to are not in a condition
to attend to your wants. Allow me, then, to attend and accompany you in
your retreat."

"My dear friend," said the bishop, clasping his hand, "you are heaping
coals of fire upon my head. I trust you will forgive me, for I knew not
what I did. I shall be glad of your companionship. I fear I still stand
in need of such a friend. Be it so, then," he proceeded--"be it so,
my dear friend; only that I should not wish you to involve yourself in
unnecessary danger on my account."

"Danger, my lord!" replied Reilly; "there is not an individual here
against whom personal malignity has directed the vengeance of the law
with such a bloodthirsty and vindictive spirit as against myself. Why
else am I here? No, I will accompany your lordship, and share your
fate."

It was so determined, and they left the cavern, each to procure some
place of safety for himself.

In the meantime, Sir Robert Whitecraft, having had another interview
with Hennessy, was prevailed upon to get a military party together, and
the cunning reprobate, in order to excite the baronet's vengeance to
a still higher pitch, mentioned a circumstance which he had before
forgotten, to wit, that Reilly, his arch-enemy, was also in the cave.

"But," said Sir Robert, who, as we have already said, was a poltroon and
a coward, "what guarantee can you give me that you are not leading me
into an ambuscade? You know that I am unpopular, and the Papists would
be delighted to have my blood; what guarantee, then, can you give me
that you, are acting by me in good faith?"

"The guarantee of my own life," replied the other. "Let me be placed
between two of your men, and if you see any thing like an ambuscade, let
them shoot me dead on the spot."

"Why," replied the baronet, "that is fair; but the truth is, I have been
put on my guard against you by a person who escorted me home last night.
He rendered me some assistance when I fell from my horse, and he slept
here."

"What is his name?" asked Hennessy.

"He told me," replied the baronet, "that his name was Drum."

"Could you give me a description, Sir Robert, of his person?"

Sir Robert did so.

"I declare to God, Sir Robert, you have had a narrow escape from that
man. He is one of the most bigoted priests in the kingdom. He used to
disguise himself as a drummer--for his father was in the army, and he
himself was a drummer in his boyhood; and his object in preventing you
from bringing a military party to the cavern was merely that he might
have an opportunity of giving them notice of your intentions. I now say
that if you lose an hour's time they will be gone."

Sir Robert did not lose an hour's time. The local barracks were within
a few hundred yards of his house. A party of military were immediately
called out, and in a short time they arrived, under the guidance of
Hennessy, to the very mouth of the cavern, which he disclosed to them.
It is unnecessary to detail the particulars of the search. The soldiers
entered it one by one, but found that the birds had flown. The very
fires were burning, but not a living soul in the cave; it was completely
deserted, and nothing remained but some miserable relics of cold
provisions, with which, by the aid of fir splices, that served as
torches, they regaled themselves as far as they went.

Sir Robert Whitecraft now felt full confidence in Hennessy; but would
have given a trifle to renew his acquaintance with Mr. Rowland Drum, by
whose ingenuity he was so completely outwitted. As it was, they scoured
the country in search of the inmates of the cave, but above all things
in search of Reilly, for whose capture Whitecraft would have forgiven
every man in the cavern. The search, however, was unsuccessful; not
a man of them was caught that day, and gallant Sir Robert and his
myrmidons were obliged to return wearied and disappointed men.




CHAPTER XIII.--Reilly is Taken, but Connived at by the Sheriff

--The Mountain Mass


Reilly and the bishop traversed a wild and remote part of the country,
in which there was nothing to be seen but long barren wastes, over which
were studded, here and there, a few solitary huts; upon its extremity,
however, there were some houses of a more comfortable description, the
habitations of middling farmers, who possessed small farms at a
moderate rent. As they went along, the prelate addressed Reilly in the
following-terms:

"Mr. Reilly," said he, "I would advise you to get out of this unhappy
country as soon as you can."

"My lord," replied Reilly, who was all candor and truth, and never could
conceal his sentiments, at whatever risk, "I cannot think of leaving the
country, let the consequences be what they may. I will not trouble
your lordship with my motives, because they are at variance with your
character and religious feelings; but they are not at variance with
religion or morality. It is enough to say that I wish to prevent a
beautiful and innocent girl from being sacrificed. My lord, you know too
well that persecution is abroad; and when I tell you that, through the
influence which this admirable creature has over her father--who, by the
way, has himself the character of a persecutor--many Catholics have been
protected by him, I am sure you will not blame me for the interest
which I feel in her fate. In addition to this, my lord, she has been a
ministering angel to the Catholic poor in general, and has contributed
vast sums, privately, to the relief of such of our priesthood as have
been brought to distress by the persecution of the times. Nay, she has
so far influenced her father that proscribed priests have found refuge
and protection in his house."

The bishop, on hearing this, stood, and taking off his hat, raised his
right hand, and said: "May the blessing of the Almighty God rest upon
her, and guard her from the snares of those who would make her unhappy!
But, Reilly, as you say you are determined, if possible, to rescue her
from ruin, you know that if you go at large in your usual dress you will
unquestionably be taken. I advise you, then, to disguise yourself in
such a way as that you will not, if possible, be known."

"Such, my lord, is my intention--but who is this? what--eh--yes, 'tis
Fergus O'Reilly, a distant and humble relation of mine who is also in
disguise. Well, Fergus, where have you been for some time past?"

"It would be difficult to tell that, God knows; I have been
everywhere--but," he added in a whisper, "may I speak freely?"

"As free as the wind that blows, Fergus."

"Well, then, I tell you that Sir Robert Whitecraft has engaged me to be
on the lookout for you, and said that I would be handsomely rewarded if
I could succeed in enabling the scoundrel to apprehend you."

"But how did that come about, Fergus?"

"Faith, he met me one day--you see I have got a bag at my back--and
taking me for a beggarman, stopped me on the road. 'I say, you, poor
man,'says he, 'what's your name?' 'Paddy M'Fud,' says I--'I belong to
the M'Fuds of Ballymackknockem.' 'You're a beggar,' says he, 'and travel
from place to place about the country.' 'It's true enough, your honor,'
I replied, 'I travel about a good deal, of coorse, and it's only that
way that I get my bit and sup.' 'Do you know the notorious villain
called Willy Reilly'?' 'Not by sight, your honor, but I have often heard
of him. Wasn't he in love with the beautiful _Cooleen Bawn_, Squire
Folliard's daughter?' 'That's not the question between us,' he said,
'but if you enable me to catch Reilly, I will give you twenty pounds.'
'Well, your honor,' says I, 'lave the thing to myself; if he is to be
had it'll go hard but I'll find him.' 'Well, then,' says he, 'if you can
tell me where he is I will give you twenty pounds, as I said.' 'Well,
sir,' says I, 'I expect to hear from you; I am not sure he's in the
country--indeed they say he is not--but if he is, I think I'll find him
for you;' and so we parted."

"Fergus," said Reilly, "I feel that a disguise is necessary. Here is
money to enable you to purchase one. I do not know where you may be able
to find me; but go and buy me a suit of frieze, rather worn, a dingy
caubeen hat, coarse Connemara stockings, and a pair of clouted brogues;
some course linen, too; because the fineness of my shirts, should
I happen to be apprehended, might betray me. Leave them with widow
Buckley, and I can find them there."

It was so arranged. Fergus went on his way, as did Reilly and the
bishop. The latter conducted him to the house of a middling farmer,
whose son the bishop had sent, at his own expense, to a continental
college. They were both received with the warmest affection, and, so
far as the bishop was concerned, with every expression of the deepest
gratitude. The situation was remote, and the tumult of pursuit did not,
reach them. Reilly privately forced upon the farmer compensation for
their support, under a solemn injunction that he should not communicate
that circumstance to the bishop, and neither did he. They were here,
then, comparatively safe, but still Reilly dreaded the active vigilance
of his deadly enemy, Sir Robert Whitecraft. He felt that a disguise was
absolutely necessary, and that, without it, he might fall a sacrifice to
the diabolical vengeance of his powerful enemy. In the course of about
ten days after he had commissioned Fergus to procure him the disguise,
he resolved to visit widow Buckley, in order to make the necessary
exchange in his apparel. He accordingly set out--very foolishly we must
admit--in open day, to go to the widow's house. The distance was some
miles. No appearance of danger, or pursuit, was evident, until he
came to the sharp angle of the road, where he was met by four powerful
constables, who, on looking at him, immediately surrounded him and made
him prisoner. Resistance was impossible; they were well armed, and he
was without any weapon with which he could defend himself.

"We have a warrant for your apprehension, sir," said one of them.

"Upon what grounds?" replied Reilly. "I am conscious of no offence
against the laws of the land. Do you know who I am? and is my name in
your warrant?"

"No, but your appearance answers completely to the description given in
the _Hue and Cry_. Your dress is the same as that of the robber, and you
must come with us to the sheriff whom you have robbed. His house is only
a quarter of a mile from this."

They accordingly proceeded to the sheriff's house, whom they found at
home. On being informed that they had captured the man "who had robbed
him, he came downstairs with great alacrity, and in a spirit replete
with vengeance against the robber. The sheriff, however, was really
a good-natured and conscientious man, and would not lend himself to a
dishonorable act, nor had he ever been known to do so. When he appeared,
Reilly addressed him:

"I am here, sir," said he, "under a charge of having robbed you. The
charge against me is ridiculous. I am a gentleman, and never was under
the necessity of having recourse to such unlawful means of raising
money."

"Well," replied the sheriff, "your dress is precisely the same as the
fellow wore when he robbed me. But I feel confident that you are not the
man. Your hair is black, his was red, and he had large red whiskers.
In the excitement and agitation of the moment I forgot to mark the
villain's features distinctly; but I have since thought over the matter,
and I say that I would now know him if I saw him again. This, however,"
he added, turning--to the constables, "is not the person who robbed
and beat me down from my horse."

"But he may be Willy Reilly, sir, for all that; and you know the reward
that is offered for his apprehension."

"I know Willy Reilly," replied the sheriff, "and I can assure you that
this gentleman is not Willy Reilly. Go, now, continue your pursuit. The
robber lurks somewhere in the neighborhood. You know the reward; catch
him, and you shall have it." The constables departed; and after they had
gone the sheriff said, "Mr. Reilly, I know you well; but I would scorn
to avail myself of the circumstance which has thus occurred. I am aware
of the motive which urges Sir Robert Whitecraft against you--so is the
whole country. That penurious and unprincipled villain is thirsting for
your blood. Mr. Hastings, however, has a rod in pickle for him, and
he will be made to feel it in the course of time. The present
administration is certainly an anti-Catholic one; but I understand it is
tottering, and that a more liberal one will come in. This Whitecraft
has succeeded in getting some young profligate Catholics to become
Protestants, who have, consequently, ousted their fathers out of their
estates and property; younger sons, who, by this act of treachery, will
get the estates into their own possession. The thing is monstrous
and unnatural. But let that pass; Whitecraft is on our trail in all
directions; beware of him, I say; and I think, with great respect to
you, Mr. Reilly, it is extremely foolish to go abroad in your usual
apparel, and without disguise."

"Sir," replied Reilly, "I cannot express, as I would wish, my deep
gratitude to you for your kindness and forbearance. That Sir Robert
Whitecraft is thirsting for my blood I know. The cause of that vengeance
is now notorious."

"You know Mr. Hastings, Mr. Reilly?"

"Intimately, sir."

"He took your property in his own name?"

"He did, sir; he purchased it in his own name. The property was
hereditary property, and when my title to it, in point of law, as a
Catholic, was questioned, and when one of my family, as a Protestant,
put in his claim for it, Mr. Hastings came in as the purchaser, and
ousted him. The money was supplied by me. The moment, however, that I
found Whitecraft was after me, I immediately surrendered the whole of
it back to him; so that Sir Robert, in burning what he considered my
property, in fact burned Mr. Hastings."

"And I have reason to know, Mr. Reilly, that it will be the blackest
act of his guilty life. This, however, I mention to you in the strictest
confidence. Keep the secret, for if it transpired the scoundrel might
escape from the consequences of his own cruelty and oppression. In the
meantime, do you take care of yourself--keep out of his way, and, as I
said, above all things, procure a disguise. Let the consequences be what
they may, I don't think the beautiful _Cooleen Baum_ will ever marry
him."

"But," replied Reilly, "is there no risk of compulsion by her father?"

"Why, I must confess there is," replied the sheriff; "he is obstinate
and headstrong, especially if opposed, and she will find it necessary
to oppose him--and she will oppose him. I myself have had a conversation
with her on the subject, and she is firm as fate against such a union;
and I will tell you more, Reilly--it was she who principally engaged me
to protect you as far as I could, and so I shall, you may rest assured
of it. I had only to name you a few minutes ago, and your fate was
sealed. But, even if she had never spoken to me on the subject, I
could not fend myself to the cruel plots of that villain. God knows, in
consequence of my official situation, I am put upon tasks that are very
painful to me; levying fines from men who are harmless and inoffensive,
who are peaceable members of society, who teach the people to be moral,
well-conducted, and obedient to the laws, and who do not themselves
violate them. Now," he added, "be advised by me, and disguise yourself."

"Sir," said Reilly, "your sentiments do you honor; I am this moment on
my way to put on a disguise, which has been procured for me. I agree
with you and other friends that it would be impossible for me to remain
in the country in my own natural aspect and dress. Allow me, before I
go, to express my sense of your kindness, and believe me I shall never
forget it."

"The disguise, above all things," said the sheriff, smiling and holding
out his hand. Reilly seized it with a warm pressure; they bid each other
farewell, and so they parted.

Reilly then wound his way to the cottage of Mrs. Buckle, but not by
the public road. He took across the fields, and, in due time, reached
her humble habitation. Here he found the disguise, which his friend
Fergus had provided-a half-worn frieze coat, a half-worn caubeen, and
a half-worn pair of corduroy breeches, clouted brogues, and Connemara
stockings, also the worse for the wear, with two or three coarse shirts,
in perfect keeping with, the other portion of the disguise.

"Well, Mrs. Buckley," said he, "how have you been since I saw you last?"

"Oh, then, Mr. Reilly," said she, "it's a miracle from God that you did
not think of stopping here! I had several visits from the sogers who
came out to look for you."

"Well, I suppose so, Mrs. Buckley; but it was one comfort that they did
not find me."

"God be praised for that!" replied the poor woman, with tears in her
eyes; "it would a' broken my heart if you had been catched in my little
place."

"But, Mrs. Buckley," said Reilly, "were there any plain clothes left for
me here?"

"Oh, indeed there was, sir," she replied, "and I have them safe for
you; but, in the meantime, I'll go outside, and have an eye about the
country, for somehow they have taken it into their heads that this would
be a very likely place to find you."

While she was out, Reilly changed his dress, and in a few minutes
underwent such a metamorphosis that poor Mrs. Buckley, on reentering the
house, felt quite alarmed.

"Heavenly Father! my good man, where did you come from? I thought I left
Mr. --" here she stopped, afraid to mention Reilly's name.

"Don't be alarmed, Mrs. Buckley," said Reilly; "I am only changed in
outward appearance; I am your true friend still; and now accept this for
your kindness," placing money in her hand.

"I can't, Mr. Reilly; you are under the persecutions, and will want all
the money you have to support yourself. Didn't the thieves of the devil
burn you out and rob you, and how can you get through this wicked world
without money--keep it yourself, for I don't want it."

"Come, come, Mrs. Buckley, I have money enough; you must take this;
I only ask you to conceal these clothes in some place where the
hell-hounds of the law can't find them. And now, good-by, Mrs. Buckley;
I shall take care that, whatever may happen me, you shall not be
disturbed out of your little cabin and your garden."

The tears ran down the poor old woman's cheeks, and Reilly left her
sobbing and crying behind him. This indeed was an eventful day to him,
Strong in the confidence of his disguise, he took the public road, and
had not gone far when he met a party of Sir Robert Whitecraft's. To fly
would have been instant ruin; he accordingly commenced an old Irish song
at the very top of his lungs. Sir Robert Whitecraft was not himself of
the party, but scarcely any individual was met by them whom they did not
cross-examine.

"Hallo, my good fellow," said the leader of the party, "what is that
you're singin'?"

Reilly stared at him like a man who was sorely puzzled; "_Ha neil bearla
agum;_" that is, "I have no English."

"Here, Connor, you can speak Irish; sift this able-bodied tyke."

A conversation in that language then took place between them which
reflected everlasting honor upon Connor, who, by the way, was one of
Reilly's tenants, but himself and his progenitors were Protestants for
three generations. He was a sharp, keen man, but generous and honorable,
and after two or three glances at our hero, at once recognized him.
This he could only intimate by a wink, for he knew that there were other
persons there who spoke Irish as well as either of them. The dialogue,
however, was not long, neither was it kind-hearted Connor's wish that
it should be so. He was asked, however, if he knew any thing about Willy
Reilly, to which he replied that he did not, only by all accounts he had
left the country. This, indeed, was the general opinion.

"This blockhead," said Connor, "knows nothing about him, only what
he has heard; he's a pig dealer, and is now on his way to the fair of
Sligo; come on."

They passed onwards, and Reilly resumed his journey and his song.

On reaching the farmer's house where he and the bishop lodged, the
unhappy prelate felt rather annoyed, at the appearance of a stranger,
and was about to reprove their host for his carelessness in admitting
such persons.

"What do you want here, my good man?" inquired the farmer.

"Do you wish to say anything to me?" asked the bishop.

"A few words," replied Reilly; but, on consideration, he changed his
purpose of playing off a good-humored joke on his lordship and the
farmer. For the melancholy prelate he felt the deepest compassion and
respect, and apprehended that any tampering with his feelings might be
attended with dangerous consequences to his intellect. He consequently
changed his purpose, and added, "My lord, don't you know me?"

The bishop looked at him, and it was not without considerable scrutiny
that he recognized him.

In the meantime the farmer, who had left the room previous to this
explanation, and who looked upon Reilly as an impostor or a spy,
returned with a stout oaken cudgel, exclaiming, "Now, you damned
desaver, I will give you a jacketful of sore bones for comin' to pry
about here. This gintleman is a doctor; three of my family are lying ill
of faver, and that you may catch it I pray gorra this day! but if you
won't catch that, you'll catch this," and he whirled the cudgel about
his head, and most unquestionably it would have descended on Reilly s
cranium were it not for the bishop, who interposed and prevented the
meditated violence.

"Be quiet, Kelly," said he, "be quiet, sir; this is Mr. Reilly
disguised."

"Troth, I must look closely at him first," replied Kelly; "who knows but
he's imposin' upon you, Dr. Wilson?"

Kelly then looked closely into his face, still holding a firm grip of
the cudgel.

"Why, Kelly," said Reilly, "what the deuce are you at? Don't you know my
voice at least?"

"Well," replied Kelly, "bad luck to the like o' that ever I see. Holy
Moses, Mr. Reilly, but you had a narrow escape, Devil a man in the
barony can handle a cudgel as I can, and it was a miracle, and you
may thank his lordship here for it that you hadn't a shirtful of sore
bones."

"Well, my dear friend," said Reilly, "put up your cudgel; I really don't
covet a shirtful of sore bones; but, after all, perhaps you would have
found my fist a match for your cudgel."

"Nonsense!" replied Kelly; "but God be praised that you escaped the
welting anyhow; I would never forgive myself, and you the friend of his
lordship."

He then left the room, his terrific cudgel under his arm, and Reilly,
after his absence, related to the bishop the events of the day,
involving, as they did, the two narrow escapes which he had had. The
bishop thanked God, and told Reilly to be of good courage, for that he
thought the hand of Providence was protecting him.

The life they led here was, at all events, quiet and peaceable. The
bishop was a man of singular, indeed of apostolic, piety. He spent most
of the day in meditation and prayer; fasting beyond the powers of his
enfeebled constitution: and indeed it was fortunate that Reilly had
accompanied him, for so ascetic were his habits that were it not for his
entreaties, and the influence which he had gained over him, it is not
at all unlikely that his unfortunate malady might have returned. The
neighborhood in which they resided was, as wo have said, remote, and
exclusively Catholic; and upon Sundays the bishop celebrated mass upon
a little grassy platform--or rather in a little cave, into which it
led. This cave was small, barely large enough to contain a table, which
served as a temporary altar, the poor shivering congregation kneeling
on the platform outside. At this period of our story all the Catholic
chapels and places of worship were, as we have said, closed by
proclamation, and the poor people were deprived of the means of meeting
to worship God. It had soon, however, become known to them that an
opportunity of public worship was to be had every Sunday, at the place
we have described.

Messengers had been sent among them with information to that effect; and
the consequence was that they not only kept the secret, but flocked
in considerable numbers to attend mass. On the Sunday following the
adoption of Reilly's disguise, the bishop and he proceeded to the little
cave, or rather cleft, where a table had been placed, together with
the vestments necessary for the ceremony. They found about two or three
hundred persons assembled--most of them of the humblest class. The day
was stormy in the extreme. It was a hard frost, and the snow, besides,
falling heavily, the wind strong, and raging in hollow gusts about the
place. The position of the table-altar, however, saved the bishop and
the chalice, and the other matters necessary for the performance of
worship, from the direct fury of the blast, but not altogether; for
occasionally a whirlwind would come up, and toss over the leaves of the
missal in such a way, and with such violence, that the bishop, who was
now trembling from the cold, was obliged to lose some time in finding
out the proper passages. It was a solemn sight to see two or three
hundred persons kneeling, and bent in prostrate and heartfelt adoration,
in the pious worship of that God who sends and withholds the storm;
bareheaded, too, under the piercing drift of the thick-falling granular
snow, and thinking of nothing but their own sins, and that gladsome
opportunity of approaching the forbidden altar of God, now doubly dear
to them that it ivas forbidden. As the ceremony was proceeding the
bishop was getting on to that portion of the sacred rites where the
consecration and elevation of the Host are necessary, and it was
observed by all that an extraordinary and sudden lull took place, and
that the rage of the storm had altogether ceased. He proceeded, and had
consecrated the Host--hoc est corpus meum--when cry of terror arose from
the affrighted congregation.

"Mylord, fly, and save yourself! Captain Smellpriest and his gang are
upon us."

The bishop never once turned round, nor seemed to hear them; but Reilly
did, and saw that the whole congregation had fled, and that there only
remained the bishop and himself.

"Our day of doom," said he to himself, "is come. Nothing now can save
us."

Still the bishop proceeded undisturbed in the worship of the Almighty;
when, lo! the military party, headed and led on by the notorious Captain
Smellpriest, came thundering up, the captain exclaiming:

"You idolatrous Papist, stop that mummery--or you shall have twelve
bullets in your heart before half a minute's time."

The bishop had consecrated the Host, as we have said, but had not yet
had time to receive it.

"Men," said Smellpriest, "you are all primed and loaded. Present."

They accordingly did so; every musket was levelled at him. The bishop
now turned round, and, with the calmness of a martyr--a calmness and
conduct that were sublime--he said:

"Sir, I am engaged in the worship of the Eternal God, and if you wish
to shed my blood I should rather it were here and now than in any other
place. Give me but a few minutes--I do not ask more."

"Oh," said Smellpriest, "we will give you ten, if you wish it, and the
more so because we are sure of you."

When the bishop turned round again, after having received the Host,
his pale face had altogether changed its complexion--it burned with
an expression which it is difficult to describe. A lofty sense of
the sacrifice he was about to make was visible in his kindling and
enthusiastic eye; his feeble frame, that had been, dining the ceremony
of mass, shivering under the effects of the terrible storm that howled
around them, now became firm, and not the slightest mark of fear or
terror was visible in his bearing; calmly and undauntedly he turned
round, and with a voice full and steady he said:

"I am willing to die for my religion, but I say to you that the
slaughter of an inoffensive man at the foot of God's altar will not
smooth the pillow of your deathbed, nor of those who shoot down
a minister of God while in the act of worshipping his Creator, My
congregation, poor timid creatures, have fled, but as for me, I will
not! I dare not! Here, now, I spread out my arms--fire!"

[Illustration: PAGE 91--Here, now, I spread out my arms--fire!]

"I also," said Reilly, "will partake of whatever fate may befall the
venerable clergyman who is before you," and he stood up side by side
with the bishop.

The guns were still levelled, the fingers of the men on the triggers,
when Smellpriest shouted out, "Ground arms! By ---," says he, "here is
a new case; this fellow has spunk and courage, and curse me, although I
give the priests a chase wherever I can, still I am a soldier, and a man
of courage, and to shoot down a priest in the worship of God would be
cowardly. No, I can't do it--nor I won't; I like pluck, and this priest
has shown it. Had he taken to his heels, by ---, he would have had half
a dozen bullets in his rear; but, as I said, I like pluck, and on that
account we shall pass him by this time. To the right about. As to the
clerk, by ---, he has shown pluck too, but be hanged to him, what do we
care about him?"

We must say a word or two here about Smellpriest. He was, in the true
sense of the word, a priest-hunter; but yet, with all his bigotry, he
was a brave man, and could appreciate courage wherever he found it.
The reader already knows that his range of persecution was by no means
either so wide or so comprehensive as that of the coward Whitecraft.
He was a dashing, outspoken fellow, with an equal portion of boisterous
folly and mischief; whereas Whitecraft was a perfect snake--treacherous,
cruel, persevering in his enmity, and unrelenting in his vengeance. Such
was the difference in the character of these two worthies.

After Smellpriest had drawn off his men, the bishop concluded the
ceremony of the mass; but when he turned round to announce its
conclusion in the words, _ite, missa est_, there was not a soul before
him, the terrified congregation, as we have said, having all betaken
themselves to flight. Reilly then assisted him to unrobe, and placed
the vestments, the chalice, pix, and every thing connected with the
ceremony, in a pair of saddle-bags, which belonged to the parish priest,
whose altar was then closed, as we said, by proclamation.

Reilly and the bishop then proceeded to the farmer's house, Reilly
carrying the saddlebags, and as they went along the following
conversation took place between them:

"My lord," said his companion, "if I might presume to advise you, I
think it would be more prudent for you to retire to the Continent for a
time. This ferocious captain, who, subdued by the sublime tenor of
your conduct, spared you on this occasion, may not under other and less
impressive circumstances, exercise a similar forbearance."

"But, my dear Reilly," replied the bishop, in a tone of deep melancholy,
"I am not in circumstances to go to the Continent; I am poor; most of my
available money I have distributed among the unhappy people, until I am
now nearly as poor as themselves; but, independently of that, I do not
think it would be right to abandon the charge which God has entrusted to
my keeping. The shepherd should not desert his flock, especially in the
moment of danger, when the wolves ire abroad."

"But, my lord," replied Reilly, "under the present circumstances of the
country your residence here can be of no service to them. The chapels
are all closed, and public worship forbidden by law. This cannot, and, I
hope, will not, last long; but in the meantime, think if it be not wiser
in you to go for a time into what I may call a voluntary exile, than be
forced into banishment by a cruel edict of the law, as you will be if
you should be discovered."

"There is great truth in what you say, my dear Reilly, and on thinking
over the circumstances of the country, I am indeed of opinion that your
advice is good; but, unfortunately, my present poverty prevents me from
acting on it."

"But that shall not be, my lord; I have the means--amply, too--of
enabling your lordship to withdraw to the Continent, where you can
remain quite safe until better times return, as I hope in God they will
soon."

"And yourself, Reilly? why not accompany me? You, it is said, are
outlawed; why then remain in a country where your danger is still
greater than mine?"

"My lord," replied Reilly, "do not press me on that subject."

"I do not wish to do so, Reilly; but here are the circumstances: you and
the beautiful daughter of that old squire are attached--in other words,
you love each other passionately. Now, you know, marriage is impossible,
unless you should abandon the creed of your fathers."

"I think, my lord," replied Reilly, in a very serious and somewhat
offended tone, "that my conduct this day, and within the last half hour,
was not that of a man likely to abandon the creed of his fathers."

"Certainly not--most certainly not," replied the bishop. "I would have
died this day for my religion, and so would you."

"And so would I certainly, my lord, any day, sooner than renounce it for
the love of woman. So far let your lordship's mind be at rest. But in
the meantime, let me impress upon your lordship's consideration the
absolute necessity of retiring to the Continent for a time. Your
lordship's charity has made you poor; but, thank God, I am not poor--but
in a position to place L200 in your hands to enable you to bear the
expenses of your voyage, and to maintain your ecclesiastical rank and
position for a time, when you get there."

"Oh," replied the bishop, "if I were once there, very little money
would be necessary; I could almost immediately get a professorship
of divinity, especially in the College of Louvain, where I held a
professorship for several years."

It was arranged that the bishop should go, at least until the times
should change, and in the course of a week, Reilly having furnished
him with the necessary funds, he departed and reached the Continent in
safety.

Their separation was extremely affecting. The bishop wept bitterly, not
only in consequence of his parting with Reilly, but still more because
he was forced to separate himself from his flock. Reilly was deeply
affected, nor could he restrain his tears. The bishop put his hand on
his head and blessed him. "I feel," said he, "as if it were a prophetic
impulse, that God will bring you out of the tribulations that encompass
you. Forget not his word nor his law; love and adhere to your religion;
be guided by its precepts, let them sink deeply into your heart. Take
care, also, that the love of woman shall not seduce you from your
allegiance to our Church. And now, may the Almighty God bless and
protect you, and rescue you from the hands and the snares of your
enemies!" And so they parted.

No stronger proof could exist, so far as the _Cooleen Bawn_ was
concerned, than her extraordinary power of conciliating love and
attachment from all who approached her, or were engaged in attending
upon her person. The singular softness of her sweet and mellow voice
was in itself an exponent of the remarkable suavity and benignity of her
disposition. In fact, she carried a charm about her--an atmosphere
of kindness and benevolence that no human being who came within its
influence could resist. Her smile was a perfect fascination, which, in
addition to her elegance of form--her grace and harmony of motion--her
extensive charity--her noble liberality of sentiment--and, above all,
her dazzling beauty, constituted a character which encircled her with
admiration and something almost bordering on worship.

At this time a scheme came into the fertile brain of Whitecraft, worthy
of being concocted only in the infernal pit itself. This was to prevail
on the squire to remove her faithful, attached, and confidential
maid, Ellen Connor, from about her person, under the plea that as,
unfortunately, Miss Folliard had been seduced into an affection for
Reilly, it was not only probable that her attendant had originated and
encouraged her passion, but that it was also likely that, as Reilly was
a Catholic, Connor, the confidant, being herself of that persuasion,
might so work upon the feelings and principles of his daughter as
to induce her, for the sake of the more easily bringing about their
marriage, to abandon her own religion, and embrace that of her lover.
The old man became instantly alarmed, and, with his usual fiery
impetuosity, lost not a moment in dismissing her altogether from his
family.

When this faithful girl found that she was about to be separated from
her fair and affectionate young mistress, no language could depict
the violence of her grief, nor could that mistress herself refuse the
tribute of her tears to her sense of the loss which she knew she must
sustain by her absence at a crisis when she stood so much in need of her
friendship and attachment.

"Oh! it is not for myself, my dear mistress, that I feel this grief,"
exclaimed Connor, weeping bitterly as she spoke, "but for you. Here
you will be alone," she proceeded, "without one being on whom you can
depend, or to whom you can open your heart--for many a time you eased
that poor heart by telling me of your love for him, and by dwellin' upon
his accomplishments and beauty--and, indeed, it's no wonder you should,
for where, oh! where is his aiquil to be found? Like yourself, every
one that comes near him must love him; and, like you, again, isn't he
charity itself to the poor, no matter what their creed may be--oh, no!
it's he that is neither the bigot nor the oppressor, although God
he knows what he himself is sufferin' from both. God's curse on that
blasted Sir Robert Whitecraft! I declare to mercy, I think, if I was a
man, that I'd shoot him, like a mad dog, and free the country of him at
wanst."

The Cooleen was herself in tears, occasioned by such a glowing picture
of her lover, as well as by the loss of this faithful and devoted girl.
Yet she could not repress a smile at the indignation expressed by
Ellen against the man whom she looked upon with such detestation and
abhorrence,

"My dear Ellen," said she, drying her tears, "we must only have
patience. Every thing is in the hands of God, and in him let us trust.
Do not weep so. It is true that, without your society, I shall feel
as if I were in a desert, or rather, I should say, in a dungeon; for,
indeed, I fear that I am about to become a prisoner in my father's
house, and entangled more and more every day in the meshes of that
detestable villain. In the meantime, we must, as I said, have courage
and patience, and trust to a change of circumstances for better times."

"May the Lord in heaven grant them soon and sudden, for both your
sakes," ejaculated Ellen. "I pray the Saviour that he may!"

"But, Ellen," said the Cooleen, "didn't you hint to me, once or twice,
that you yourself have, or had, a lover named Reilly!"

"I did," she replied, "not that I have, but that I had--and, what is
more, an humble and distant relation of him."

"You say you had. What do you mean by that, Ellen? Have you, too,
experienced your crosses and calamities?"

"Indeed, ma'am, I have had my share; and I know too well what it is to
have the heart within as full of sorrow, and all but broken."

"Why, my poor girl, and have you too experienced disappointment and
affliction?"

"God, ma'am, has given me my share; but, in my case, the affliction was
greater than the disappointment, although that too came soon enough upon
me."

"Why, did not the affliction, in your case, proceed from the
disappointment?"

"Not exactly, miss, but indeed partly it did. It's but a short story,
my dear mistress, and I'll tell it to you. Fergus is his name--Fergus
O'Reilly. His father, for doin' something or other contrary to the
laws--harborin' some outlaw, I believe, that was a relation of his own,
and who was found by the army in his house--well, his father, a very
ould man, was taken prisoner, and put into jail, where he died before
they could try him; and well it was he did so, for, by all accounts,
they'd have transported or hanged the poor ould man, who was then past
seventy. Now, over and above that, they'd have done the same thing with
his son Fergus, but that he disappeared and but few knows what became of
him."

"Why, did he go without having had an interview with you?" asked the
Cooleen.

"Indeed he did, miss, and small blame to him; for the truth is, he had
little time for leave-takin'--it was as much as he could do to make his
escape, which, thank God, he did. But, indeed, I oughtn't to thank God
for it, I doubt, because it would have been better, and ten times
more creditable to himself, if he had been transported, or hanged
himself--for that, ma'am, is many a good man's case, as every one
knows."

"I agree with you, Ellen. There is, indeed, a most essential difference
between flagitious crimes, such as theft, robbery, murder, and other
dreadful outrages of that character, and those which may be termed
offences arising from political opinions, which are often honestly
entertained by individuals who, in all the relations of life,
are sometimes the most exemplary members of society. But proceed,
Ellen--what was the result?"

Poor Ellen's eyes filled with tears, and she could scarcely summon
composure enough to reply:

"Worse than transportation or even death, my dear mistress; oh! far
worse--guilt and crime. Yes: he that had gained my affections, and gave
me his, joined the Red Rapparee and his gang, and became--a robber.
I was goin' to say an outlaw, but he was that before he joined them,
because he wouldn't submit to the laws--that is, wouldn't submit to be
transported, or maybe hanged--or you know, ma'am, how little a thing it
is that will either hang or transport any one of our unfortunate creed
now."

"Alas! my dear Ellen, you forget that I am a living witness of it, and
an afflicted one; but proceed. Have you ever seen your lover since?"

"I did, ma'am, but at that time he mentioned nothing about his havin'
joined the Rapparees. He came, he said, to bid me farewell, and to tell
me that he wasn't worthy of me. 'The stain that's upon me,' said he,
'draws a gulf between you and me that neither of us can ever pass.'
He could scarcely speak, but he dashed away the tears that came to his
eyes--and--and--so he took his departure. Now, my dear young mistress,
you see how well I can understand your case, and the good reason I have
to feel for you, as I do, and ever will, until God in his mercy may set
you both free from what you're sufferin'."

"But, are you certain, Ellen, that he actually has joined the
Rapparees?"

"Too sure, ma'am--too sure; my father had it in private from his own
lips, for, as the poor boy said, he hadn't the courage himsell to tell
me."

"But, Ellen," asked Miss Folliard, "where had you an opportunity of
seeing and becoming acquainted with this young man? You surely could
not have known him, or conceived an attachment for him, previous to your
coming to reside with us?"

"Oh, no, ma'am," replied Ellen; "it was at my father's I became
acquainted with him, principally whenever I got lave to spend a Sunday
at home. And now, my dear mistress," she proceeded, sobbing, "I must
go--your poor, faithful Ellen will never let you, nor the thought of
your sorrows, out of her heart. All she can do now is to give you her
prayers and her tears. Farewell! my darlin' mistress--may the blessing
of God guard and prosper you both, and bring you to the happiness you
deserve." She wept bitterly as she concluded.

"Ellen," replied her mistress, and she paused--"Ellen," said she
again--she would, indeed, have spoken, but, after a silent struggle, she
covered her eyes with her handkerchief, and was fairly carried away
by her emotions--"Ellen," said she, taking her hand, and recovering
herself, "be of courage; let neither of us despair--a brighter light
may shine on our path yet. Perhaps I may have it in my power to befriend
you, hereafter. Farewell, Ellen; and if I can prevail on my father to
bring you back, I will." And so they parted.

Connor's father was a tenant of the squire's, and held rather a
comfortable farm of about eighteen or twenty acres. Ellen herself had,
when very young, been, by some accident or other, brought within the
notice of Mrs. Folliard, who, having been struck by her vivacity,
neatness of figure, and good looks, begged permission from her parents
to take the little girl under her care, and train her up to wait upon
her daughter. She had now been eight years in the squire's family--that
is, since her fourteenth--and was only two years older than the _Cooleen
Baum_, who was now, and had been for the last three years, her only
mistress. She had consequently grown, is it were, into all her habits,
and we may justly say that there was not an individual in existence who
had a better opportunity of knowing and appreciating her good qualities
and virtues; and, what was much to her honor, she never for a moment
obtruded her own private sorrows upon the ear or heart of her mistress,
who, she saw, had a sufficient number of her own to bear.

It was late in the evening when she took farewell of her mistress, and
twilight had come on ere she had got within half mile of her father's
house. On crossing a stile which led, by a pathway, to the little
hamlet in which her father lived, she was both surprised and startled by
perceiving Fergus Reilly approach her. He was then out of his disguise,
and dressed in his own clothes, for he could not prevail upon himself to
approach her father's house, or appear before any of the family, in the
tattered garb of a mendicant. On this occasion he came to tell them
that he had abandoned the gang of the Red Rapparee, and come to the
resolution of seeking his pardon from the Government, having been
informed that it offered protection to all who would come in and submit
to the laws, provided they had not been guilty of shedding human blood.
This intelligence, however, was communicated to the family, as a means
of preparing them for still more important information upon the subject
of his own liberty--a matter with which the reader will soon become
acquainted, as he will with the fact of his having left off his disguise
only for a brief period. In the meantime, he felt perfectly conscious of
the risk he ran of a failure in the accomplishment of his own project,
by throwing off his disguise, and was then hastening on his way to the
cottage of widow Buckley, where he had left his mendicant apparel for
the time being.

When Ellen saw him she felt a tumult in her bosom which almost overcame
her. Her heart palpitated almost audibly, and her knees became feeble
under her. There was something so terrible associated with the idea of a
Rapparee that she took it for granted that some frightful transformation
of person and character must have taken place in him, and that she would
now meet a man thoroughly imbued with all the frightful and savage vices
which were so frequently, and too often so generally, attributed to that
fierce and formidable class. Still, the recollection of their former
affection, and her knowledge of the oppression which had come upon
himself and his family, induced her to hope that the principles of
humanity could not have been altogether effaced from his heart. Full of
doubt and anxiety, therefore, she paused at the stile, against which she
felt it necessary to lean for support, not without a touch of interest
and somewhat of curiosity, to control the vague apprehensions which
she could not help feeling. We need scarcely inform the reader that the
meeting on both sides was accidental and unexpected.

"Heavenly Father!" exclaimed Ellen, in a voice trembling with agitation,
"is this Fergus O'Reilly that I see before me? Fergus, ruined and
undone!" She then looked cautiously about her, and added, "Fergus, the
Rapparee!"

"God bless me!" he exclaimed in return, "and may I ask, is this Ellen
Connor on my path?"

"Well, I think I may say so, in one sense. Sure enough, I am Ellen
Connor; but, unfortunately, not the Ellen Connor that you wanst knew;
neither, unfortunately again, are you the Fergus O'Reilly that I wanst
knew. We are both changed, Fergus--I into sorrow, and you into crime."

"Ellen," said he, nearly as much agitated as herself, "I stand before
you simply as Fergus O'Seilly, but not Fergus the Rapparee."

"You will not deny your own words to my father," she replied.

"No, Ellen, I will not--they were true then, but, thank God, they are
not true now."

"How is that, Fergus?"

"Simply because I was a Rapparee when I spoke to your father; but I have
left them, once and for ever."

"How long have you left them?"

"Ever since that night. If it were not for Reilly and those that were
out with him duck-shooting, the red villain would have murdered the
squire and Andy Cummiskey, as sure as there is life in my body. After
all, it is owin' to Mr. Reilly that I left him and his cursed crew. And
now, Ellen, that I have met you, let me spake to you about ould times.
In the first place, I am heart sorry for the step I took; but you know
it was oppression and persecution that drove me to it."

"Fergus," she replied, "that's no excuse. Persecution may come upon us,
but that's no reason why we should allow it to drive us into evil
and crime. Don't you know that it's such conduct that justifies the
persecutors in their own eyes and in the eyes of the world. What will
become of you now? If you're caught, you must die a shameful death."

"Devil a fear of it, my darlin' Ellen. I could tell you something, if
I thought myself at liberty to do so--something _mavourneen_, that 'ud
give you a light heart."

"Indeed, Fergus, I don't wish to hear any of your secrets. It's my
opinion they would not be fit for me to hear. But in the mane time," she
added--prompted by the undying principle of female curiosity, and, let
us add, a better and more generous feeling--"in the mane time, Fergus,
if it's any thing about yourself, and that it would give me a light
heart, as you say it would, and that there is nothing wrong and
dishonorable in it, I would, for your sake, be glad to hear it."

"Well then, Ellen, I will tell it; but it must, for reasons that there's
no use in mentionin' to you, be a secret between us, for some time--not
a long time, I hope. I am, thank God, free as the air of heaven, and
may walk abroad, openly, in the face of day, if I like, without any one
darin' to ask me a question."

"But, Fergus," said Ellen, "I don't undherstand this. You were a
robber--a Rapparee--and now you are a free man. But what did you do to
deserve this at the hands of the Government?"

"Don't be alarmed, my darlin' Ellen--nothing imbecomin' an honest man."

"I hope," she proceeded--her cheeks mantling with indignation and
scorn--"I hope, Fergus, you wouldn't think of stoopin' to treachery
against the unfortunate, ay, or even against the guilty. I hope you
wouldn't sell yourself to the Government, and got your liberty, affcher
all, only as a bribe for villany, instead of a free gift."

"See, now," he returned, "what I have brought on myself by tellin' you
any thing at all about it--a regular ould house on my shouldhers. No,
darlin'," he proceeded, "you ought to know me better."

"Oh, Fergus," she replied quickly, "I thought I knew you wanst."

"Is that generous, Ellen?" he said, in a tone of deep and melancholy
feeling, "afther statin' my sorrow for that step?"

"Well," she replied, moved by what she saw he suffered in consequence of
her words, "if I have given you pain, Fergus, forgive me--you know it's
not in my nature to give pain to any one, but, above all persons in the
world, to you."

"Well, darlin'," said he, "you will know all in time; but there is a
good deal to be done yet. All I can say, and all I will say, is, that
if God spares me life, I will take away one of the blackest enemies that
Willy Reilly and the _Cooleen Bawn_ has in existence. He would do any
thing that the villain of perdition he's a slave to would bid him.
Now, I'll say no more; and I'm sure, as the friend of your beautiful
mistress, the fair _Cooleen Bawn_, you'll thank me for what I have
promised to do against the Red Bapparee."

"I will pry no further into your affairs or intentions, Fergus; but, if
you can take danger out of the way of the _Cooleen Bawn_ or Reilly, I
will forgive you a great deal--every thing, indeed, but treachery or
dishonor. But, Fergus, I have something to mention, that will take a,
start out of you. I have been discharged by the squire from his family,
and--_mavrone_, oh!--I can now be of no service to the _Cooleen Bawn_."

"Discharged!" replied Fergus with astonishment; "why, how did that come?
But I suppose I needn't ask--some of the mad old Squire's tantrums, I
suppose? And what did the _Cooleen Bawn_ herself say?"

"Why, she cried bitterly when I was lavin' her; indeed if I had been her
sister she couldn't feel more; and, as might be expected from her, she
promised to befriend me as long as she had it in her power; but, poor
thing, if matters go against her, as I'm afeared they will--if she's
forced to marry that villain, it is little for any thing that's either
good or generous ever she'll have in her power; but marry him she never
will I heard her say more than wanst that she'd take her own life first;
and indeed I'm sartain she will, too, if she is forced to it. Either
that, or she'll lose her senses; for, indeed, Fergus, the darlin' girl
was near losin' them wanst or twist as it is--may God pity and relieve
her."

"Amen," replied Fergus. "And you're now on your way home, I suppose?"

"I am," said Ellen, "and every thing belongin' to me is to be sent to my
father's; but indeed, Fergus, I don't much care now what becomes of me.
My happiness in this world is bound up in hers; and if she's to be sunk
in grief and sorrow, I can never be otherwise--we'll have the one
fate, Fergus, and God grant it may be a happy one, although I see no
likelihood of it."

"Come, come, Ellen," replied Fergus, "you think too much of it. The
one fate!--No, you won't, unless it is a happy one. I am now free, as I
said; and at present I see nothing to stand between your happiness and
mine. We loved one another every bit as well as Reilly and she does--ay,
and do still, I hope; and, if they can't be happy, that's no raison why
you and I shouldn't. Happy! There's nothing to prevent us from bein' so.
I am free, as I said; and all we have to do is to lave this unfortunate
country and go to some other, where there's neither oppression nor
persecution. If you consent to this, Ellen, I can get the means of
bringing us away, and of settlin' comfortably in America."

"And I to leave the _Cooleen Bawn_ in the uncertain state she's in? No,
never, Fergus--never."

"Why? of what use can you be to her now, and you separated from her--ay,
and without the power of doin' any thing to sarve her?"

"Fergus," said she, resolutely, "it's useless at the present time to
speak to me on this subject. I'm glad you've got yourself from among
these cruel and unconscionable Rapparees--I'm glad you're free; but
I tell you that if you had the wealth of Squire Folliard--ay, or of
Whitecraft himself, which they say is still greater, I wouldn't become
your wife so long as she's in the state she's in."

"That's strong language, Ellen, and I am sorry to hear it from you. My
God! can you think of nobody's happiness but the _Cooleen Bawn_'s? As
for me, it's my opinion I like Reilly as well every bit as you do her;
but, for all that, not even the state he's in, nor the danger that
surrounds him, would prevent me from marryin' a wife--from bindin' your
heart and mine together for life, my darlin' Ellen."

"Ah! Fergus, you're a man--not a woman--and can't undherstand what true
attachment is. You men never can. You're a selfish set--at least the
most of you are--with some exceptions, I grant."

"And, upon my soul, Ellen," replied Fergus, with a good-humored
smile, "I'm one of the choicest and natest of the exceptions. I prefer
everybody's happiness to my own--poor Sir Robert Whitecraft's, for
instance. Now, don't you call that generosity?"

She gave a mournful smile, and replied, "Fergus, I can't join in your
mirth now as I used to do. Many a pleasant conversation we've had; but
then our hearts were light, and free from care. No, Fergus, you must
lave all thoughts of me aside, for I will have nothing of either love or
courtship till I know her fate. Who can say but I may be brought back?
She said she'd try what she could do with her father to effect it. You
know how whimsical the old Squire is; and who knows whether she may not
stand in need of me again? But, Fergus, there's one thing strikes me
as odd, and, indeed, that doesn't rise you much in my good opinion. But
first, let me ask you, what friend it is who'd give you the means of
going to another country?"

"Why, who else but Reilly?" he replied.

"And could you," she returned, with something like contempt stamped upon
her pretty features--"could you be mane and ungrateful enough to leave
him now in the trouble and sorrow that he's in, and think only of
yourself?"

"No, indeed, my dear Ellen; but I was only layin' the plan whenever
we might be able to put it in practice. I'm not exactly a boy of that
kidney--to desart my friend in the day of his trouble--devil a bit of
it, my darlin'."

"Well, I am glad to hear you speak as you do," she said, with a smile;
"and now, to reward your constancy to him, I tell you that whenever
they're settled, or, at all events, out of their troubles, if you think
me worth your while, I won't have any objection to become your wife;
and--there--what are you about, Fergus? See this, now--you've almost
broken the tortoise-shell crooked-comb that she made me a present of."

"Why, blood alive, Ellen, sure it was only sealin' the bargain I was."

"But remember it is a bargain, and one I'll stick to. Now leave me; it's
gettin' quite dark; or, if you like, you may see me across the fields."

Such, in fact, was the indomitable attachment of this faithful girl
to her lovely and affectionate mistress that, with a generosity as
unselfish as it was rare, and almost heroic, she never for a moment
thought of putting her own happiness or prospects in life in competition
with those of the _Cooleen Bawn_. The latter, it is true, was conscious
of this unparalleled attachment, and appreciated it at its true value.
How nobly this admirable girl fulfilled her generous purpose of abiding
by the fate and fortunes of her unhappy mistress will be seen as the
narrative goes along.

Ellen's appearance in her father's house surprised the family not
a little. The expression of sorrow which shaded her very handsome
features, and a paleness which was unusual to her, alarmed them
considerably--not so much from any feeling connected with herself, as
from an apprehension that some new-distress or calamity had befallen the
_Cooleen Bawn_, to whom they all felt almost as deeply attached as she
did herself. After the first affectionate salutations were over, she
said, with a languid smile:

"I suppose you all wonder to see me here at this hour; or, indeed, to
see me here at all."

"I hope, Ellen," said-her father, "that nothing unpleasant has happened
to her."

"May the Lord forbid," said her mother, "and may the Lord take the
darlin' creature out of all her troubles. But has there, Ellen--has
anything happened to her?"

"Nothing more than usual," replied their daughter, "barring that I have
been sent away from her--I am no longer her own maid now."

"_Chierna_!" exclaimed her mother; "and what is that for, _alanna_?"

"Well, indeed, mother, I can't exactly say," replied Ellen, "but I
suppose it is because they knew I loved her too much to be a spy upon
her. I have raison, however, to suspect that the villain is at the
bottom of it, and that the girl who came in my place will act more like
a jailer than a maid to her. Of course they're all afraid that she'll
run away with Reilly."

"And do you think she will, Ellen?" asked her father.

"Don't ask me any such questions," she replied. "It's no matter what I
think--and, besides, it's not my business to mention my thoughts to any
one--but one thing I know, it'll go hard if she ever leaves her father,
who, I really think, would break his heart if she did."

"Oh!" observed the father, with a smile, "divil a one o' you girls,
Ellen, ever thinks much of father or mother when you have made up your
minds to run away wid your _buchaleens_--sorra a taste."

"_Arra_, Brian, will you have sinse," said his wife; "why wouldn't they
think o' them?"

"Did you do it?" he asked, winking at the rest, "when you took a brave
start wid myself across Crockaniska, one summer Sunday night, long ago.
Be me sowl, you proved youself as supple as a two-year-old--cleared,
drain and ditch like a bird--and had me, when we reached my uncle's,
that the ayes wor startin' out o' my head."

"Bad scran to him, the ould slingpoker! Do you hear him," she exclaimed,
laughing--"never mind him, children!--troth, he went at sich a snail's
pace that one 'ud think it was to confession he was goin', and that he
did nothing but think of his sins as he went along."

"That was bekaise I knew that I had the penance before me," he replied,
laughing also.

"Any how," replied his wife, "our case was not like their's. We were
both Catholics, and knew that we'd have the consent of our friends,
besides; we only made a runaway because it was the custom of the
counthry, glory be to God!"

"Ay, ay," rejoined her husband; "but, faith, it was you that proved
yourself the active girl that night, at any rate. However, I hope the
Lord will grant her grace to go, wid him, at all events, for, upon my
sowl, it would be a great boast for the Catholics--bekaise we know there
is one thing sure, and that is, that the divil a long she'd be wid
him till he'd have left her fit to face Europe as a Christian and a
Catholic, bekaise every wife ought to go wid her husband, barrin' he's a
Prodestant."

Poor Ellen paid little attention to this conversation. She felt deeply
depressed, and, after many severe struggles to restrain herself, at last
burst into tears.

"Come, darlin'," said her father, "don't let this affair cast you
down so much; all will yet turn out for the betther, I hope. Cheer up,
_avillish_; maybe that, down-hearted as you are, I have good news for
you. Your ould sweetheart was here this evenin', and hopes soon to have
his pardon--he's a dacent boy, and has good blood in his veins; and as
for his joinin' O'Donnel, it wasn't a a bad heart set him to do it, but
the oppression that druv him, as it did many others, to take the steps
he took--oppression on the one side, and bitterness of heart on the
other."

"I saw him awhile ago," she replied, "and he tould me a good deal about
himself. But, indeed, father, it's not of him I'm thinkin', but on the
darlin' girl that's on the brink of destruction, and what I know she's
sufferin'."

"I wondher where Reilly is," said her mother. "My goodness! sure he
ought to make a push, and take her off at wanst. I dunna is he in the
country at all? What do you think, Ellen?"

"Indeed, mother," she replied, "very few, I believe, knows any thing
about him. All I'm afraid of is, that, wherever he may be, he'll hardly
escape discovery."

"Well," said her father, "I'll tell you what we'll do. Let us kneel
down and offer up ten pathers, ten aves, and a creed, that the Lord may
protect them both from their enemies, and grant them a happy marriage,
in spite of laws, parliaments, magistrates, spies, persecutors and
priest-hunters, and, as our hands are in, let us offer up a few that
God may confound that villain, Whitecraft, and bring him snugly to the
gallows."

This was immediately complied with, in a spirit of earnestness
surpassing probably what they might have felt had they been praying
for their own salvation. The prayers having been concluded, and supper
prepared, in due time the family retired to rest for the night.

When Fergus Reilly took his leave of Ellen, he directed his steps to the
cottage of Mrs. Buckley, where, for certain purpose connected with his
designs on the Red Rapparee, he had been in the habit of meeting: the
sagacious fool, Tom Steeple. It was there, besides, that he had left his
disguise, which the unaccomplished progress of his projects rendered it
necessary that he should once more resume. This, in fact, was the place
of their rendezvous, where they generally met at night. These meetings,
however, were not always very regular; for poor Tom, notwithstanding his
singular and anomalous: cunning, was sometimes led away by his gastric
appetite to hunt for a bully dinner, or a bully supper, or a mug of
strong beer, as the case might be, and after a gorge he was frequently
so completely overtaken by laziness and a consequent tendency to sleep,
that he retired to the barn, or some other outhouse, where he stretched
his limbs on a shake-down of hay or straw, and lapped himself into a
state of luxury which many an epicure of rank and wealth might envy.

On reaching the widow's cottage, Fergus felt somewhat disappointed that
Tom was not there, nor had he been seen that day in any part of the
neighborhood. Fergus, however, whilst the widow was keeping watch
outside, contrived to get on his old disguise once more, after which
he proceeded in the direction of his place of refuge for the night. On
crossing the fields, however, towards the wild and lonely road, which
was at no great distance from the cottage, he met Tom approaching it, at
his usual sling-trot pace.

"Is that Tom?" said he--"tall Tom?"

"Hicco, hicco!" replied Tom, quite gratified with the compliment. "You
be tall, too--not as tall as Tom dough. Tom got bully dinner to-day, and
bully sleep in de barn, and bully supper, but wasn't sleepy den--hicco,
hicco."

"Well, Tom, what news about what you know?"

"In toder house," replied Tom; "him sleeps in Peg Finigan's sometimes,
and sometimes in toder again--dat is, Mary Mahon's. Him's afeared o'
something--hard him say so, sure, to ould Peg."

"Well, Tom, if you will keep your eye on him, so as that you can let us
know where to find him, we engage to give you a bully dinner every day,
and, a bully supper every night of your life, and a swig of stout ale to
wash it down, with plenty of straw to sleep on, and a winnow-cloth and
lots of sacks to keep you as warm and cosey as a winter hob. You know
where to find me every evenin' after dusk, Tom, and when you come with
good news, you'll be a made man; and, listen, Tom, it'll make you a foot
taller, and who knows, man alive, but we may show you for a giant, now."

"Hicco, hicco!" said Tom; "dat great--never mind; me catch him for you.
A giant!--oh, gorramarcy!--a giant!--hicco!--gorramarcy!" and with these
words he darted off in some different direction, whilst Fergus went to
his usual place of rest for the night.

It would seem by the Red Rapparee s movements at this time as if he
entertained some vague suspicions of awakened justice, notwithstanding
the assurances of safety previously communicated to him by Sir Robert
Whitecraft. Indeed, it is not impossible that even the other individuals
who had distinguished themselves under that zealous baronet might, in
their conversations with each other, have enabled the Rapparee to get
occasional glimpses of the new state of things which had just taken
place, and that, in consequence, he shifted about a good deal, taking
care never to sleep two nights in succession under the same roof. Be
this as it may, the eye of Tom Steeple was on him, without the least
possible suspicion on his part that he was under his surveillance.




CHAPTER XIV.--Reilly takes Service with Squire Folliard.


Reilly led a melancholy life after the departure of the pious bishop. A
week, however, had elapsed, and he felt as if it had been half a year.
His anxiety, however, either to see or hear from his _Cooleen Bawn_
completely overcame him, and he resolved, at all events, to write to
her; in the meantime, how was he to do this? There was no letter-paper
in the farmer's house, nor any to be procured within miles, and, under
these circumstances, he resolved to pay a visit to Mr. Brown. After some
trouble he was admitted to the presence of that gentleman, who could
scarcely satisfy himself of his identity; but, at length, he felt
assured, and asked him into the study.

"My dear Reilly," said he, "I think you are infatuated. I thought you
had been out of the country long before this. Why, in heaven's name, do
you remain in Ireland, when you know the difficulty of escape? I
have had, since I saw you last, two or three domiciliary visits from
Whitecraft and his men, who searched my whole house and premises in a
spirit of insolence that was, most indelicate and offensive. Hastings
and I have sent a memorial to the Lord Lieutenant, signed by some of the
most respectable Protestant gentry in the, country, in which we
stated his wanton tyranny as well as his oppression of his Majesty's
subjects--harmless and loyal men, and whom he pursues with unsatiable
vengeance, merely because they are Roman Catholics. I certainly do not
expect that our memorial will be attended to by this Administration.
There is a report, however, that the present Ministry will soon go out,
and be succeeded by one more liberal."

"Well," replied Reilly, "since I saw you last I have had some narrow
escapes; but I think it would be difficult to know me in my present
disguise."

"I grant that," said Mr. Brown, "but then is there nothing to be
apprehended from treachery?"

"I think not," replied the other. "There is only the farmer and his
family, with whom the bishop and I harbored, who are aware of my
disguise, and to that number I must now add yourself."

"Well," replied Mr. Brown, smiling, "I do not think you have much to
apprehend from me."

"No," said Reilly, "you have given me too many substantial proofs of
your confidence for that. But I wish to write a letter; and I have
neither pen, ink, nor paper; will you be good enough to lend me the use
of your study for a few minutes, and your writing materials?"

The excellent clergyman immediately conducted him to the study, and
placed the materials before him with his own hands, after which he left
the room. Reilly then sat down, and penned the following letter to his
dear _Cooleen Bawn_:

"I am now thoroughly disguised, indeed so effectually that my nearest
and dearest friends could not know me; nay, I question whether even you
yourself would, except by the keen intuition of affection, which is said
to penetrate all disguises, unless those of falsehood and hypocrisy.
These, however, are disguises I have never worn, nor ever shall
wear--either to you or any human being. I had intended to go to the
Continent until this storm of persecution might blow over; but on
reflection I changed my purpose, for I could not leave you to run the
risk of being ensnared in the subtle and treacherous policy of that
villain. It is my intention to visit your father's house and to see
you if I can. You need not, for the sake of my safety, object to this,
because no one can know me. The description of my dress, though somewhat
undignified, I must give you. In the first place, then, I am, to all
outward appearance, as rude-looking a country lout as ever you looked
upon. My disguise consists, first, of a pair of brogues embroidered with
clouts, or what is vulgarly denominated patches, out of the point of one
of which--that of the right foot--nearly half my toe visibly projects.
The stockings are coarse Connemaras, with sufficient air-holes, both in
feet and legs, to admit the pure atmosphere, and strengthen the muscular
system. My small-clothes are corduroys, bought from a hard-working
laborer, with a large patch upon each knee. A tailor, however, has
promised to get some buttons for them and sew them on. The waistcoat is
altogether indescribable; because, as its materials seem to have been
rescued, that is, stolen, from all the scarecrows in the country, I am'
unable to come at the first fabric. The coat itself is also beautifully
variegated, its patches consisting of all the colors of the rainbow,
with two or three dozen that never appeared in that beautiful
phenomenon. But what shall I say of the pendiment, or caubeen, which is
a perfect gem of its kind? The villain who wore it, I have been told by
the person who acted as factor for me in its purchase, was one of the
most quarrelsome rascals in Ireland, and seldom went without a black eye
or a broken pate. This, I suppose, accounts for the droop in the leaf,
which covers the left eye so completely, as well as for the ventilator,
which so admirably refreshes the head, and allows the rain to come in so
abundantly to cool it. I cannot help reflecting, however, on the fate of
those who have nothing better to wear, and of the hard condition which
dooms them to it. And now, my beloved _Cooleen Bawn_, whilst I have
thus endeavored to make you smile, I assure you I have exaggerated
very little. This dress, you know, is precisely that of a wretched
Connaught-man looking for employment. The woman, who will, through our
confidant, Lanigan, deliver this to you, is a poor faithful creature,
a pensioner of mine, who may be trusted. Appoint through her a day and
hour when, as a man seeking for labor, I will stand at the hall-door. I
am quite satisfied that neither your father, nor the villain, will know
me from Adam. The woman who is to bring this will call on the second day
after its delivery, and I shall be guided by whatever message you may
send me. On one thing, however, I am determined, which is that if it
should cost me my life, I will prevent the meditated marriage between
you and him. Sooner than such an event should take place, I would put
a pistol to his head and blow his guilty soul into that perdition which
awaits it. Don't write; let your message be verbal, and destroy this."

On going to widow Buckley's, he learned--after some trouble in
identifying himself--that she had several visits from Sir Robert and his
men, at all hours, both by night and day. He therefore hastily gave her
the necessary instructions how to act, and, above all things, to ask to
see Lanigan, and, if possible, to bring some eggs or chickens for sale,
which fact, he said, would give a color to her appearance there, and
prevent the possibility of any suspicion. Having placed the letter in
her keeping, together with some silver to enable her to purchase either
the eggs or the chickens, in case she had them not herself, he then
returned to the farmer's, where he remained quietly and without
disturbance of any kind until the third day, when widow Buckley made
her appearance. He brought her out to the garden, because in discussing
matters connected with his _Cooleen Bawn_ he did not wish that even the
farmer's family should be auditors--although we may say here that not
only were the loves of Willy Reilly and _Cooleen Bawn_ known to the
farmer and his family, but also to the whole country, and, indeed,
through the medium of ballads, to the greater portion of the kingdom.

"Well, Mrs. Buckley," said he, "did you see her?"

"Oh, bad scran to you, Mr. Reilly! you're the very sarra among the
girls when you could persuade that lovely creature to fall in love with
you--and you a Catholic, an' her a Protestant! May I never, if I think
there's her angil out o' heaven! Devil an angel I think in it could
hould a candle to her for beauty and figure. She only wants the wings,
sir--for they say that all the angels have wings; and upon my conscience
if she had them I know the man she'd fly to."

"But what happened, Mrs. Buckley?"

"Why, I sould some chickens and eggs to the cook, who at wanst knew me,
because I had often sould him chickens and eggs before. He came up to
the hall-door, and--'Well, Mrs. Buckley,' says he, 'what's the news?'
'_Be dhe husth_,' says I, 'before I sell you the chickens, let me ax
is the _Cooleen Bawn_ at home?' 'She is,' says he, lookin' me sharp and
straight in the face; 'do you want her?' 'I would like to see her,' says
I, 'for a minute or two.' 'Ay,' says he, back agin to me, 'you have a
message--and you know besides that she never buys chickens; that's my
business.' 'But,' says I, back agin, 'I was tould by him that you were
faithful, and could be depinded on.' 'Ay,' says he; 'but I thought he
had left the counthry.' 'Troth, then,' says I, 'he's to the fore still,
and won't lave the counthry till he sees her wanst more, at all events.'
'Have you a letther?' 'Betherahin,' says I, 'could you let me see her;
for he tould me to say to her that she is not, to indite letthers to
him, for fraid of discovery.' 'Well,' says he, 'as the master's at home,
I'll have some difficulty in spakin' to her. Devil a move she gives but
he watches; and we got a new servant the other day, and devil a thing
she is but a spy from Sir Robert Whitecraft, and some people say that
her master and she forgot the Gospel between them. Indeed I believe
that's pretty well known; and isn't he a horrid villain to send such a
vagabone to attend and be about the very woman that he expects to be his
own wife?'"

"Don't be so particular in your descriptions, Mrs. Buckley," said
Reilly. "Did you see the _Cooleen Bawn_?"

"Look at that," she replied, opening her hand, and showing him a golden
guinea--"don't you know by that that I seen her? but you must let me go
on my own way. 'Well,' says Lanigan, the cook, 'I must go and see what
I can do.' He then went upstairs, and contrived to give her a hint, and
that was enough. 'The Lord bless us, Mr. Reilly, what won't love do?
This girl--as Lanigan tould me--that the villain Whitecraft had sent as
a spy upon her actions, was desired to go to her wardrobe, to pick out
from among her beautiful dresses one that she had promised her as a
present some days before. The cook had this from the girl herself, who
was the sarra for dress; but, anyhow, while the the spy was tumbling
about _Cooleen Bawn_'s dresses, the darlin' herself whipped downstairs,
and coming to me says, 'The cook tells me you have a message for
me.' Jist at this moment, and after she had slipped the letter into
her bosom, her father turns a corner round the garden, and seeing his
daughter, which was a very unusual thing, in conversation with a person
like myself, he took the alarm at once. 'How, Helen? who is this you
are speaking to'? No go-between, I hope? Who are you, you blasted old
she-whelp?' 'I am no more a she-whelp than you are.' 'Then maybe you are
a he one in disguise. What brought you here?' 'Here! I came to sell
my eggs and my chickens, as I done for years.' 'Your eggs and your
chickens! curse you, you old Jezebel, did you ever lay the eggs or hatch
the chickens? And if you did, why not produce the old cock himself, in
proof of the truth of what you say? I'll have you searched, though, in
spite of your eggs and chickens. Here,' he said to one of the footmen,
who was passing through the hall--'here, Jones, send up Lanigan, till we
see whether he knows this old faggot, who has the assurance to tell me
that she lays eggs and hatches chickens.' When Lanigan came up again,
he looked at me as at an old acquaintance, which, in point of fact, we
were. 'Why, your honor,' said he, 'this is a poor, honest creature that
has been selling us eggs and chickens for many years.' 'She wouldn't be
a go-between, Lanigan--eh? What's your name, you old faggot--eh?'
'My name | is Scrahag, your honor,' says I, 'one of the Scrahags of
Ballycumpiatee--an honest and dacint family, sir; but if your honor
would buy the eggs, at any rate, and hatch them yourself,' says I to him
(for she had a large stock of Irish humor), 'you know, sir, you could
have the chickens at first cost.' 'Ha, ha, ha,' and the squire laughed
till he nearly split his sides; 'by --- I'm hit'--God pardon me for
repeatin' his oaths. 'Here, Lanigan, bring her down to the kitchen, and
give her a fog meal.' 'I understand you, sir,' said Lanigan, smiling at
him. 'Yes, Lanigan, give her a cargo of the best in the pantry. She's
a shrewd and comical old blade,' said he; 'give her a kegful of beef
or mutton, or both, and a good swill of ale or porter, or whatever she
prefers. Curse me, but I give the old whelp credit for the hit she gave
me. Pay her, besides, whatever she asks for her eggs and chickens. Here,
you bitter old randle-tree, there are three thirteens for you; and
if you will go down to the kitchen with the cook, he will give you a
regular skinful.' The cook, knowing that the _Cooleen Bawn_ wished to
send some message back to you, sir, brought me down, and gave me not
only plenty to ait and drink, but stuffed the praskeen that I had
carried the eggs and chickens in with as much cold meat and bread as it
could contain."

"Well, but did you not see her afterwards? and did she send no message?"

"Only two or three words; the day afther to-morrow, at two o'clock, come
to look for labor, and she will contrive to see you."

This was enough, and Reilly did not allow his ambassadress to leave him
without substantial marks of his bounty also.

When the old squire went to his study, he desired the gardener to be
sent for, and when that individual entered, he found his master in a
towering passion.

"What is the reason, Malcomson," said he, "that the garden is in such a
shameful state? I declare to God it is scandalous."

"Ou, your honor," replied Malcomson, who was a Scotchman, "e'en because
you will not allow me an under gerdener. No one man could manage
your gerden, and it canna be managed without some clever chiel, what
understands the sceence."

"The what?"

"The sceence, your honor."

"Why, confound you, sir, what science is necessary in gardening?"

"I tell your honor that the management of a gerden requires baith skeel
and knowledge, and feelosophy."

"Why, confound you, sir, again, what kind of doctrine is this?"

"It's vera true doctrine, sir. You have large and spacious green-hooses,
and I wad want some one to assist me wha understands buttany."

"Buttony--Buttony--why, confound you, sirra, send for a tailor, then,
for he understands buttony."

"I see your honor is detarmined to indulge in a jocular spirit the day.
The truth is, your honor, I hae no men to assist me but common laborers,
who are athegether ignorant of gerdening; now, if I had a man who could
direct the operations--"

"Operations! curse your Scotch impudence, do you think yourself a
general?"

"Na, na, sir; but a better man; and I tell ye that I winna remain in
your service unless I get an assistant; and I say that, if it
were-na for the aid of Miss Folliard, I wouldna been able to keep the
green-hoose e'en in its present state. She has trailed the passionflower
wi' her ain hands until it is nourishing. Then she has a beautiful
little plot of forget-me-nots; but, above a', it wad do your honor's
heart gude to see the beautiful bed she has of sweet-william and
love-lies-bleeding."

"Ay, ay! love-lies-bleeding; no doubt but she'll take care of that.
Well, go and get an under-gardener wherever you can, and let my garden
be, at all events, such as a stranger can walk through, and such as
becomes my name and property. Engage such a person, give him whatever
you consider fair wages, and the house-steward will pay him weekly.
These are matters I can't trouble myself with now-I have other things to
think of."

On the day mentioned in _Cooleen Bawn's_ message, Reilly hazarded a
visit to the squire's house, and after giving a single knock, begged to
see the cook. The porter having looked at him with the usual contempt
which menials of his class bestow upon poor persons, went down to the
kitchen with a good deal of reluctance, and told the cook, with a grin,
that one of his relations wanted to see him.

"Well," replied Lanigan, who had been made aware of the intended visit,
"it's wonderful, in these hard times, the number of respectable but
reduced families that's goin' about. What kind of a gentleman is he,
John? because I am very busy now. To be sure there is a great deal of
cold vittles left, that would be lost and destroyed if we didn't give
them to the poor; and you know the masther, who is a charitable man,
desired us to do so. I'll go up and see what the poor devil wants."

He accordingly went up to the hall-door, and found Reilly there. It was
to no purpose that he had been already apprised of his disguise--it was
so complete that he did not know him--his beard was half an inch long;
and, besides, Reilly, knowing the risk he ran in this daring adventure,
had discolored his complexion with some wash that gave it the tinge of a
mulatto. The cook was thunderstruck.

"Well, my good fellow," said he, not in the slightest degree recognizing
him, "what do you want with me?"

"Lanigan," replied Reilly, "don't you know me?"

"Know you! how the devil should I know you?--I never saw you before.
What do you want with me?"

"Lanigan," whispered the other, "did you never hear of Willy Reilly?"

"Yes, I did; have you any message from him?"

"I am the man myself," said Reilly, "but you don't know me, I am so
completely disguised. Don't you know my voice?"

"Merciful Father!" said the cook, "I'm in a doldrum; can I be sure that
you don't come from Sir Robert Whitecraft, the notorious blackguard?"

"Lanigan, I am Willy Reilly: my voice ought to tell you so; but I wish
to see and speak with my dear _Cooleen Bawn_."

"Oh, my God, sir!" replied Lanigan, "but this love makes strange
transmigrations. She won't know you, sir."

"Make your mind easy on that point," replied Reilly; "only let her know
that I am here."

"Come down to the kitchen then, sir, and I shall put you into the
servants' hall, which branches off it. It is entered, besides, by a
different door from that of the kitchen, and while you stay there--and
you can pass into it without going through the kitchen--I will try to
let her know where you are. She has at present a maid who was sent by
Sir Robert Whitecraft, and she is nothing else than a spy; but it'll go
hard, or I'll baffle her."

He accordingly placed Reilly in the servants' hall, and on his way to
the drawing-room met Miss Folliard going to her own apartment, which
commanded a view of the front of the house. He instantly communicated
to her the fact of Reilly's presence in the servants' hall; "but,"
added Lanigan, "you won't know him--his own mother, if she was livin',
wouldn't know a bone in his body."

"Oh!" she replied, whilst her eyes flashed fearfully, in fact, in a
manner that startled the cook--"oh! if he is there I shall soon know
him. He has a voice, I think--he has a voice! Has he not, Lanigan?"

"Yes, ma'am," replied Lanigan, "he has a voice, and a heart too."

"Oh! yes, yes," she said, "I must go to him; they want to marry me to
that monster--to that bigot and persecutor, on this very day month; but,
Lanigan, it shall never be--death a thousand times sooner than such
a union. If they attempt to bind us, death shall cut the link
asunder--that I promise you, Lanigan. But I must go to him--I must go to
him."

She ran down the stairs as she spoke, and Lanigan, having looked after
her, seemed deeply concerned.

"My God!" he exclaimed, "what will become of that sweet girl if she is
forced to marry that wealthy scoundrel? I declare to my God I hardly
think she is this moment in her proper senses. There's a fire in her
eyes; and something in her manner, that I never observed before. At
all events, I have locked the door that opens from the kitchen into the
servants' hall, so that they cannot be interrupted from that quarter."

When the _Cooleen Bawn_ entered, she shrank back instinctively.
The disguise was so complete that she could not impose even on her
imagination or her senses. The complexion was different, in fact, quite
sallow; the beard long, and the costume such as we have described it.
There was, in fact, something extremely ludicrous in the meeting. Here
was an elegant and beautiful young woman of fashion, almost ready, as it
were, to throw herself in the arms of a common pauper, with a beard upon
him better than half an inch long. As it was, she stopped suddenly and
retreated a step or two, saying, as she did so:

"This must be some mistake. Who are you?"

"Helen!"

"Reilly! oh, that voice has set all right. But, my God, who could know
you--in this disguise?"

They approached, and Reilly, seizing her hand, said, "I will shake hands
with you; but until this disguise is off I would consider it sacrilege
to approach nearer to your person."

"No disguise can ever shut you out from my heart, dear Reilly; but what
is to be done? I have discovered, by one of my maids, who overheard
my father say, in a short soliloquy--'Well, thank God, she'll be Sir
Robert's wife within a month, and then my mind will be easy at last.'
Oh! I'm glad you did not leave this country. But, as I said, what is to
be done? What will become of us?"

"Under our peculiar circumstances," replied Reilly, "the question
cannot, for the present at least, be answered. As for leaving the
country, I might easily have done it, but I could not think of leaving
you to the snares and windings of that villain. I declare solemnly, I
would rather die than witness a union between you and him."

"But what, think you, should I feel? You would be only a spectator of
the sacrifice, whereas I should be the victim."

"Do not be cast down, my love; whilst I have life, and a strong arm, it
snail never be. Before I go I shall make arrangements with Lanigan when
and where to see you again."

"It will be a matter of some difficulty," she replied, "for I am
now under the strictest surveillance. I am told, and I feel it, that
Whitecraft has placed a spy upon all my motions."

"How is that?" inquired Reilly. "Are you not under the protection
of your father, who, when occasion is necessary, has both pride and
spirit?"

"But my poor credulous father is, notwithstanding, easily imposed on. I
know not exactly the particulars," replied the lovely girl, "but I can
easily suspect them. My father it was, certainly, who discharged my last
maid, Ellen Connor, because, he said, he did not like her, and because,
he added, he would put a better and a more trustworthy one in her place.
I cannot move that she is not either with me or after me; nay, I cannot
write a note that she does not immediately acquaint papa, who is certain
to stroll into my apartment and ask to see the contents of it, adding,
'Helen, when a young lady of rank and property forms a clandestine
and disgraceful attachment it is time that her father should be on the
lookout; so I will just take the liberty of throwing my eye over this
little billet-doux.' I told him often that he was at liberty to inspect
every line I should write, but that I thought that very few parents
would express such want of confidence in their daughters, if, like me,
the latter had deserved such confidence at their hands as I did at his."

"What is the name of your present maid?" asked Reilly, musing.

"Oh," replied Miss Folliard, "I have three maids altogether, but she has
been installed as own maid. Her name is Eliza Herbert."

"A native of England, is she not? Eliza Herbert!" he exclaimed; "in the
lowermost depths of perdition there is not such a villain. This Eliza
Herbert is neither more nor less than one of his--but I will not pain
your pure and delicate mind by mentioning at further length what she is
and was to him. The clergyman of the parish, Mr. Brown, knows the whole
circumstances. See him at church, and get him to communicate them to
your father. The fact is, this villain, who is at once cunning and
parsimonious, had a double motive, each equally base and diabolical, in
sending her here. In the first place, he wished, by getting her a
good place, to make your father the unconscious means of rewarding her
profligacy; and in the second of keeping her as a spy upon you."

A blush, resulting from her natural sense of delicacy, as well as from
the deepest indignation at a man who did not scruple to place the woman
whom he looked upon as almost immediately to become his wife, in the
society of such a wretch--such a blush, we say, overspread her whole
neck and face, and for about two minutes she shed bitter tears. But she
felt the necessity of terminating their interview, from an apprehension
that Miss Herbert, as she was called, on not finding her in the room,
might institute a search, and in this she was not mistaken.

She had scarcely concluded when the shrill voice of Miss Herbert was
heard, as she rushed rapidly down the stairs, screaming, "Oh, la! oh,
dear me! oh, my goodness! Where, where--oh, bless me, did any one see
Miss Folliard?"

Lanigan, however, had prepared for any thing like a surprise. He planted
himself, as a sentinel, at the foot of the stairs, and the moment he
heard the alarm of Miss Herbert on her way down, he met her half way up,
after having given a loud significant cough.

"Oh, cook, have you seen Miss Folliard? I can't find her in the house!"

"Is her father in his study, Miss Herbert? because I want to see him;
I'm afeared there's a screw loose. I did see Miss Folliard; she went out
a few minutes ago--indeed she rather stole out towards the garden, and,
I tell you the truth, she had a--condemned look of her own. Try the
garden, and if you don't find her there, go to the back gate, which
you'll be apt to find open."

"Oh, I will, I will; thank you, cook. I'm certain it's an elopement."

"Indeed, I wouldn't be surprised to find," replied Lanigan, "that she is
with Reilly this moment; any way you haven't a minute to lose."

She started towards the garden, which she ran over and over; and there
we shall leave her, executing the fool's errand upon which Lanigan had
sent her. "Now," said he, going in, "the coast's clear; I have sent that
impertinent jade out to the garden, and as the back gate is open--the
gardener's men are wheeling out the rubbish--and they are now at
dinner--I say, as the back gate is open, it's ten to one but she'll
scour the country. Now, Miss Folliard, go immediately to your room; as
for this poor man, I will take care of him."

"Most sincerely do I thank you, Lanigan; he will arrange with you when
and where to see me again. Farewell, Reilly--farewell; rely upon my
constancy;" and so they parted, Reilly to the kitchen, and the _Cooleen
Bawn_ to her own room.

"Come into the pantry, poor man," said good-natured Lanigan, addressing
our hero, "till I give you' something to eat and drink."

"Many thanks to you, sir," replied he; "troth and whaix, I didn't taste
a morshel for the last fwhour--hugh--hugh-and twenty hours; and sure,
sir, it's this cough that's killin' me by inches."

A thought struck Lanigan, who had been also spoken to by the gardener,
about half an hour before, to know if he could tell him where he might
have any chance of finding an assistant. At all events they went into
the pantry, when Lanigan, after having pulled to the door, to prevent
their conversation from being overheard, disclosed a project, which had
just entered his head, of procuring Reilly employment in the garden.
Here it was arranged between them that the latter, who was both a
good botanist and florist, should be recommended to the gardener as
an assistant. To be sure, his dress and appearance were both decidedly
against him; but still they relied upon the knowledge which Reilly
confidently assured the cook that he possessed. After leaving the pantry
with Lanigan, whom our hero thanked in a thorough brogue, the former
called after him, as he was going away:

"Come here again, my good man."

"What is it, shir? may God bless you anyhow, for your charity to
the--hugh--hugh--hugh--to the poor man. Oh, then, but it's no wondher
for you all to be fat and rosy upon sich beautiful vittles as you gave
to me, shir. What is it, achora? and may the Lord mark you with grace!"

"Would you take employment from the master, his honor Mr. Folliard, if
you got it?"

"Arrah now, shir, you gave me my skinful of what was gud; but don't be
luakin' fwhun o' me after. Would I take employment, achora?--ay, but
where would I get it?"

"Could you work in a garden? Do you know any thing about plants or
flowers?"

"Oh thin, that I may never sup sarra (sorrow), but that's just what I'm
fwhit fwhor."

"I'm afeared this scoundrel is but an imposthor afther all," whispered
Lanigan to the other servants; "but in ordher to make sure, we'll try
him. I say--what's this your name is?"

"Solvesther M'Bethershin, shir."

"Well, now, would you have any objection to come with me to the garden
and see I the gardener? But hould, here he is. Mr. Malcomson," continued
Lanigan, "here is a poor man, who says he understands plants and
flowers, and weeds of that kind."

"Speak wi' reverence, Mr. Lanigan, o' the art o' gerdening. Dinna ye ken
that the founder o' the hail human race was a gerdener?-Hout awa, moil;
speak o' it wi' speck."

"Upon my conscience," replied Lanigan, "whether he was a good gardener
or not is more than I know; but one thing I do know, that he didn't
hould his situation long, and mismanaged his orchard disgracefully; and,
indeed, like many more of his tribe, he got his walkin' papers in double
quick--was dismissed without a characther--ay, and his wife, like many
another gardener's wife, got a habit of stalin' the apples. However, I
wish Mr. Malcomson, that you, who do undherstand gardenin', would thry
this fellow, because I want to know whether he's an imposthor or not."

"Weel," replied Malcomson, "I dinna care if I do. We'll soon find that
out. Come wi' me and Maisther Lanigan here, and we'll see what you ken
about the sceentific profession."

They accordingly went to the garden, and it is unnecessary to say that
Reilly not only bore the examination well, but proved himself by far the
better botanist of the two. He tempered his answers, however, in such a
way as not to allow the gardener's vanity to be hurt, in which case he
feared that he might have little chance of being engaged.




CHAPTER XV.--More of Whitecraft's Plots and Pranks


On the Sunday following, Miss Folliard, as was her usual custom,
attended divine service at her parish church, accompanied by the
virtuous Miss Herbert, who scarcely ever let her for a moment out of her
sight, and, in fact, added grievously to the misery of her life. After
service had been concluded, she waited until Mr. Brown had descended
from the pulpit, when she accosted him, and expressed a wish to have
some private conversation with him in the vestry-room. To this room
they were about to proceed, when Miss Herbert advanced with an evident
intention of accompanying them.

"Mr. Brown," said the _Cooleen Bawn_, looking at him significantly, "I
wish that our interview should be private."

"Certainly, my dear Miss Folliard, and so it shall be. Pray, who is this
lady?"

"I am forced, sir, to call her my maid."

Mr. Brown was startled a good deal, not only at the words, but the tone
in which they were uttered.

"Madam," said he, "you will please to remain here until your mistress
shall return to you, or, if you wish, you can amuse yourself by reading
the inscriptions on the tombstones."

"Oh, but I have been ordered," replied Miss Herbert, "by her father and
another gentleman, not to let her out of my sight."

Mr. Brown, understanding that something was wrong, now looked at her
more closely, after which, with a withering frown, he said,

"I think I know you, madam, and I am very sorry to hear that you are
an attendant upon this amiable lady. Remain where you are, and don't
attempt to intrude yourself as an ear-witness to any communication Miss
Folliard may have to make to me."

The profligate creature and unprincipled spy bridled, looked disdain and
bitterness at the amiable clergyman, who, accompanied by our heroine,
retired to the vestry. It is unnecessary to detail their conversation,
which was sustained by the _Cooleen Bawn_ with bitter tears. It is
enough to say that the good and pious minister, though not aware until
then that Miss Herbert had, by the scoundrel baronet, been intruded into
Squire Folliard's family, was yet acquainted, from peculiar sources,
with the nature of the immoral relation in which she stood to that
hypocrite. He felt shocked beyond belief, and assured the weeping girl
that he would call the next day and disclose the treacherous design
to her father, who, he said, could not possibly have been aware of
the wretch's character when he admitted her into his family. They then
parted, and our heroine was obliged to take this vile creature into the
carriage with her home. On their return, Miss Herbert began to display
at once the malignity of her disposition, and the volubility of her
tongue, in a fierce attack upon, what she termed, the ungentlemanly
conduct of Mr. Brown. To all she said, however, Helen uttered not one
syllable of reply. She neither looked at her nor noticed her, but sat in
profound silence, not, however, without a distracted mind and breaking
heart.

On the next day the squire took a fancy to look at the state of his
garden, and, having got his hat and cane, he sallied out to observe
how matters were going on, now that Mr. Malcomson had got an assistant,
whom, by the way, he had not yet seen.

"Now, Malcomson," said he, "as you have found an assistant, I hope you
will soon bring my garden into decent trim. What kind of a chap is he,
and how did you come by him?"

"Saul, your honor," replied Malcomson, "he's a divilish clever chiel,
and vara weel acquent wi' our noble profession."

"Confound yourself and your noble profession! I think every Scotch
gardener of you believes himself a gentleman, simply because he can nail
a few stripes of old blanket against a wall. How did you come by this
fellow, I say?"

"Ou, just through Lanigan, the cook, your honor."

"Did Lanigan know him?"

"Hout, no, your honor--it was an act o' charity like."

"Ay, ay, Lanigan's a kind-hearted old fool, and that's just like him;
but, in the meantime, let me see this chap."

"There he is, your honor, trimming, and taking care of that bed of
'love-lies-bleeding.'"

"Ay, ay; I dare say my daughter set him to that task."

"Na, na, sir. The young leddy hasna seen him yet, nor hasna been in the
gerden for the last week."

"Why, confound it, Malcomson, that fellow's more like a beggarman than a
gardener."

"Saul, but he's a capital hand for a' that. Your honor's no' to tak the
beuk by the cover. To be sure he's awfully vulgar, but, ma faith, he
has a richt gude knowledgeable apprehension o' buttany and gerdening in
generhal."

The squire then approached our under-gardener, and accosted him,

"Well, my good fellow, so you understand gardening?"

"A little, your haner," replied the other, respectfully touching his
hat, or caubeen rather.

"Are you a native of this neighborhood?"

"No, your haner. I'm fwaither up--from Westport, your haner."

"Who were you engaged with last?"

"I wasn't engaged, shir--it was only job-work I was able to do--the
health wasn't gud wid me."

"Have you no better clothes than these?"

"You see all that I have on me, shir."

"Well, come, I'll give you the price of a suit rather than see such a
scarecrow in my garden."

"I couldn't take it, shir."

"The devil you couldn't! Why not, man?"

"Bekaise, shir, I'm under pinance."

"Well, why don't you shave?"

"I can't, shir, for de same raison."

"Pooh, pooh! what the devil did you do that they put such a penance on
you."

"Why, I runned away wit' a young woman, shir."

"Upon my soul you're a devilish likely fellow to run away with a young
woman, and a capital taste she must have had to go with you; but perhaps
you took her away by violence, eh?"

"No, slur; she was willin' enough to come; but her fadher wouldn't
consint, and so we made off wit' ourselves."

This was a topic on which the squire, for obvious reasons, did not
like to press him. It was in fact a sore subject, and, accordingly, he
changed it.

"I suppose you have been about the country a good deal?"

"I have, indeed, your haner."

"Did you ever happen to hear of, or to meet with, a person called
Reilly?"

"Often, shir; met many o' dem."

"Oh, but I mean the scoundrel called Willy Reilly."

"Is dat him dat left the country, shir?"

"Why, how do you know that he has left the country?"

"I don't know myself, shir; but dat de people does be sayhi' it. Dey say
dat himself and wan of our bishops went to France togither"

The squire seemed to breathe more freely as he said, in a low soliloquy,
"I'm devilish glad of it; for, after all, it would go against my heart
to hang the fellow."

"Well," he said aloud, "so he's gone to France?"

"So de people does be sayin, shir."

"Well, tell me--do you know a gentleman called Sir Robert Whitecraft?"

"Is dat him, shir, dat keeps de misses privately?"

"How do you know that he keeps misses privately?"

"Fwhy, shir, dey say his last one was a Miss Herbert, and dat she had
a young one by him, and dat she was an Englishwoman. It isn't ginerally
known, I believe, shir, but dey do be sayin' dat she was brought to
bed in de cottage of some bad woman named Mary Mahon, dat does be on de
lookout to get sweethearts for him."

"There's five thirteens for you, and I wish to God, my good fellow, that
you would allow yourself to be put in better feathers."

"Oh, I expect my pinance will be out before a mont', shir; but, until
den, I couldn't take any money."

"Malcomson," said he to the gardener, "I think that fellow's a half
fool. I offered him a crown, and also said. I would get him a suit
of clothes, and he would not take either; but talked about some silly
penance he was undergoing."

"Saul, then, your honor, he may be a fule in ither things, but de'il a
ane of him's a fule in the sceence o' buttany. As to that penance, it's
just some Papistrical nonsense, he has gotten into his head--de'il hae't
mair: but sure they're a' full o't--a' o' the same graft, an' a bad one
I fear it is."

"Well, I believe so, Malcomson, I believe so. However, if the
unfortunate fool is clever, give him good wages."

"Saul, your honor, I'll do him justice; only I think that, anent that
penance he speaks o', the hail Papish population, bad as we think them,
are suffering penance eneuch, one way or tither. It disna' beseem a
Protestant--that is, a prelatic Government--to persecute ony portion o'
Christian people on, account o' their religion. We have felt and kenned
that in Scotland, sairly. I'm no freend to persecution, in ony shape.
But, as to this chiel, I ken naething aboot him, but that he is a gude
buttanist. Hout, your honor, to be sure I'll gi'e him a fair wage for
his skeel and labor."

Malcomson, who was what we have often met, a pedant gardener, saw,
however, that the squire's mind was disturbed. In the short conversation
which they had, he spoke abruptly, and with a flushed countenance; but
he was too shrewd to ask him why he seemed so. It was not, he knew, his
business to do so; and as the squire left the garden, to pass into
the house, he looked after him, and exclaimed to himself, "my certie,
there's a bee in that man's bonnet."

On going to the drawing-room, the squire found Mr. Brown there, and
Helen in tears.

"How!" he exclaimed, "what is this? Helen crying! Why, what's the
matter, my child? Brown, have you been scolding her, or reading her a
homily to teach her repentance. Confound me, but I know it would teach
her patience, at all events. What is the matter?"

"My dear Miss Folliard," said the clergyman, "if you will have the
goodness to withdraw, I will explain this shocking business to your
father."

"Shocking business! Why, in God's name, Brown, what has happened? And
why is my daughter in tears, I ask again?"

Helen now left the drawing-rooom, and Mr. Brown replied:

"Sir, a circumstance which, for baseness and diabolical iniquity, is
unparalleled in civilized society. I could not pollute your daughter's
ears by reciting it in her presence, and besides she is already aware of
it."

"Ay, but what is it? Confound you, don't keep me on tenter hooks."

"I shall not do so long, my dear friend. Who do you imagine your
daughter's maid--I mean that female attendant upon your pure-minded and
virtuous child--is?"

"Faith, go ask Sir Robert Whitecraft. It was he who recommended her;
for, on hearing that the maid she had, Ellen Connor, was a Papist,
he said he felt uneasy lest she might prevail on my daughter to turn
Catholic, and marry Reilly."

"But do you not know who the young woman that is about your daughter's
person is? You are, however, a father who loves your child, and I need
not ask such a question. Then, sir, I will tell you who she is. Sir,
she is one of Sir Robert Whitecraft's cast-off mistresses--a profligate
wanton, who has had a child by him."

The fiery old squire had been walking to and fro the room, in a state
of considerable agitation before--his mind already charged with the
same intelligence, as he had heard it from the gardener (Reilly). He
now threw himself into a chair, and' putting his hands before his face,
muttered out between his fingers--"D--n seize the villain! It is true,
then. Well, never mind, I'll demand satisfaction for this insult; I
am not too old to pull a trigger, or give a thrust yet; but then the
cowardly hypocrite won't fight. When he has a set of military at his
back, and a parcel of unarmed peasants before him, or an unfortunate
priest or two, why, he's a dare devil--Hector was nothing to him; no,
confound me, nor mad Tom Simpson, that wears a sword on each side, and
a double case of pistols, to frighten the bailiffs. The scuundrel of
hell!--to impose on me, and insult my child!"

"Mr. Folliard," observed the clergyman calmly, "I can indeed scarcely
blame your indignation; it is natural; but, at the same time, it is
useless and unavailable. Be cool, and restrain your temper. Of course,
you could not think of bestowing your daughter, in marriage, upon this
man."

"I tell you what, Brown--I tell you what, my dear friend---let the
devil, Satan, Beelzebub, or whatever you call him from the pulpit--I
say, let him come here any time he pleases, in his holiday hoofs and
horns, tail and all, and he shall have her sooner than Whitecraft."

Mr. Brown could not help smiling, whilst he said:

"Of course, you will instantly dismiss this abandoned creature."

He started up and exclaimed, "Cog's 'ounds, what am I about?" He
instantly rang the bell, and a footman attended. "John, desire that
wench Herbert to come here."

"Do you mean Miss Herbert, sir?"

"I do--_Miss_ Herbert--egad, you've hit it; be quick, sirra."

John bowed and withdrew, and in a few minutes Miss Herbert entered.

"Miss Herbert," said the squire, "leave this house as fast as the devil
can drive you; and he has driven you to some purpose before now; ay,
and, I dare say, will again. I say, then, as fast as he can drive you,
pack up your luggage, and begone about your business. Ill just give you
ten minutes to disappear."

"What's all this about, master?"

"Master!--why, curse your brazen impudence, how dare you call me master?
Begone, you jade of perdition."

"No more a jade of perdition, sir, than you are; nor I shan't begone
till I gets a quarter's wages--I tell you that."

"You shall get whatever's coming to you; not another penny. The
house-steward will pay you--begone, I say!"

"No, sir, I shan't begone till I gets a, quarter's salary in full. You
broke your agreement with me, wich is wat no man as is a gentleman would
do; and you are puttin' me away, too, without no cause."

"Cause, you vagabond! you'll find the cause squalling, I suppose, in
Mary Mahon's cottage, somewhere near Sir Robert Whitecraft's; and when
you see him, tell him I have a crow to pluck with him. Off, I say."

"Oh, I suppose you mean the love-child I had by him--ha, ha! is that
all? But I never had a hankerin' after a rebel and a Papist, which is
far worser; and I now tell you you're no gentleman, you nasty old Hirish
squire. You brought me here, and Sir Robert sent me here, to watch
your daughter. Now, what kind of a young lady must she be as requires
watching? I was never watched; because as how I was well conducted, and
nothing could ever be laid to my charge but a love-child."

"By the great Boyne," he exclaimed, running to the window and throwing
up the sash--"yes, by the great Boyne, there is Tom Steeple, and if he
doesn't bring you and the pump acquainted, I'm rather mistaken. Here,
Tom, I have a job for you. Do you wish to earn a bully dinner, my boy?"

Miss Herbert, on hearing Tom's name mentioned, disappeared like
lightning, and set about packing her things immediately. The steward,
by his master's desire, paid her exactly what was due to her, which she
received without making a single observation. In truth, she entertained
such a terror of Tom Steeple, who had been pointed out to her as a wild
Irishman, not long caught in the mountains, that she stole out by the
back way, and came, by making a circuit, out upon the road that led to
Sir Robert Whitecraft's house, which she passed without entering,
but went directly to Mary Malion's, who had provided a nurse for her
illegitimate child in the neighborhood. She had not been there long when
she sent her trusty friend, Mary, to acquaint Sir Robert with what had
happened. He was from home, engaged in an expedition of which we feel
called upon to give some account to the reader.

At this period, when the persecution ran high against the Catholics, but
with peculiar bitterness against their priesthood, it is but justice to
a great number of the Protestant magistracy and gentry--nay, and many of
the nobility besides--to state that their conduct was both liberal and
generous to the unfortunate victims of those cruel laws. It is a well
known fact that many Protestant justices of the peace were imprisoned
for refusing to execute such oppressive edicts as had gone abroad
through the country. Many of them resigned their commissions, and many
more were deprived of them. Amongst the latter were several liberal
noblemen--Protestants--who had sufficient courage to denounce the spirit
in which the country was governed and depopulated at the same time. One
of the latter--a nobleman of the highest rank and acquirements, and of
the most amiable disposition, a warm friend to civil freedom, and a firm
antagonist to persecution and oppression of every hue--this nobleman, we
say, married a French lady of rank and fortune, who was a Catholic,
and with whom he lived in the tenderest love, and the utmost domestic
felicity. The lady being a Catholic, as we said, brought over with
her, from France, a learned, pious, and venerable ecclesiastic, as her
domestic chaplain and confessor. This man had been professor of divinity
for several years in the college of Louvain; but having lost his health,
he accepted a small living near the chateau of ----, the residence
of Marquis De------, in whose establishment he was domesticated as
chaplain. In short, he accompanied Lord ------ and his lady to Ireland,
where he acted in the same capacity, but so far only as the lady was
concerned; for, as we have already said, her husband, though a liberal
man, was a firm but not a bigoted Protestant. This harmless old man, as
was very natural, kept up a correspondence with several Irish and French
clergymen, his friends, who, as he had done, held professorships in
the same college. Many of the Irish clergymen, knowing the dearth of
religious instruction which, in consequence of the severe state of
the laws, then existed in Ireland, were naturally anxious to know the
condition of the country, and whether or not any relaxation in their
severity had taken place, with a hope that they might be able with
safety to return to the mission here, and bestow spiritual aid and
consolation to the suffering and necessarily neglected folds of their
own persuasion. On this harmless and pious old man the eye of Hennessy
rested. In point of fact he set him for Sir Robert Whitecraft, to whom
he represented him as a spy from France, and an active agent of the
Catholic priesthood, both here and on the Continent; in fact, an
incendiary, who, feeling himself sheltered by the protection of the
nobleman in question and his countess, was looked upon as a safe man
with whom to hold correspondence. The Abbe, as they termed him, was in
the! habit, by his lordship's desire, and that of his lady, of attending
the Catholic sick of his large estates, administering to them religious
instruction, and the ordinance of their Church, at a time when they
could obtain them from no other source. He also acted as their almoner,
and distributed relief to the sick, the poor, and the distressed, and
thus passed his pious, harmless, and inoffensive, but useful life. Now
all these circumstances were noted by Hennessy, who had been on the
lookout, to make a present of this good old man to his new patron, Sir
Robert. At length having discovered--by; what means it is impossible to
conjecture--that the Abbe was to go on the day in question to relieve
a poor sick family, at about a distance of two miles from Castle
------, the intelligence was communicated by Hennessy to Sir Robert, who
immediately set out for the place, attended by a party of his myrmidons,
conducted to it by the Red Rapparee, who, as we have said, was now one
of Whitecraft's band. There is often a stupid infatuation in villany
which amounts to what they call in Scotland fey--that is, when a man
goes on doggedly to commit some act of wickedness, or rush upon some
impracticable enterprise, the danger and folly of which must be evident
to every person but himself, and that it will end in the loss of his
life. Sir Robert, however, had run a long and prosperous career of
persecution--a career by which he enriched himself by the spoils he had
torn, and the property he had wrested from his victims, generally under
the sanction of Government, but very frequently under no other sanction
than his own. At all events the party, consisting of about thirty
men, remained in a deep and narrow lane, surrounded by high whitethorn
hedges, which prevented the horsemen--for they were all dragoons--from
being noticed by the country people. Alas, for the poor Abbe! they had
not remained there more than twenty minutes when he was seen approaching
them, reading his breviary as he came along. They did not move, however,
nor seem to notice him, until he had got into the midst of them,
when they formed a circle round him, and the loud voice of Whitecraft
commanded him to stand. The poor old priest closed his breviary, and
looked around him; but he felt no alarm, because he was conscious of
no offence, and imagined himself safe under the protection of a
distinguished Protestant nobleman.

"Gentlemen," said he, calmly and meekly, but without fear, "what is the
cause of this conduct towards an inoffensive old man? It is true I am a
Catholic priest, but I am under the protection of the Marquis of------.
He is a Protestant nobleman, and I am sure the very mention of his name
will satisfy you, that I cannot be the object either of your suspicion
or your enmity."

"But, my dear sir," replied Sir Robert, "the nobleman you mention is
a suspected man himself, and I have reported him as such to the
Government. He is married to a Popish wife, and you are a seminary
priest and harbored by her and her husband."

"But what is your object in stopping and surrounding me," asked the
priest, "as if I were some public delinquent who had violated the laws?
Allow me, sir, to pass, and prevent me at your peril; and permit me,
before I proceed, to ask your name?" and the old man's eyes flashed with
an indignant sense of the treatment he was receiving.

"Did you ever hear of Sir Robert Whitecraft?"

"The priest-hunter, the persecutor, the robber, the murderer? I did,
with disgust, with horror, with execration. If you are he, I say to you
that I am, as you see, an old man, and a priest, and have but one life;
take it, you will anticipate my death only by a short period; but I look
by the light of an innocent conscience into the future, and I now tell
you that a woful and a terrible retribution is hanging over your head."

"In the meantime," said Sir Robert, very calmly, as he dismounted from
his horse, which he desired one of the men to hold. "I have a warrant
from Government to arrest you, and send you back again to your own
country without delay. You are here as a spy, an incendiary, and must
go on your travels forthwith. In this, I am acting as your friend and
protector, and so is Government, who do not wish to be severe upon you,
as you are not a natural subject. See sir, here is another warrant
for your arrest and imprisonment. The fact is, it was left to my own
discretion, either to imprison you, or send you out of the country. Now,
sir, from a principle of lenity, I am determined on the latter course."

"But," replied the priest, after casting his eye over both documents,
"as I am conscious of no offence, either against your laws or your
Government, I decline to fly like a criminal, and I will not; put me in
prison, if you wish, but I certainly shall not criminate myself, knowing
as I do that I am innocent. In the meantime, I request that you will
accompany me to the castle of my patron, that I may acquaint him with
the charges against me, and the cause of my being forced to leave his
family for a time."

"No, sir," replied Whitecraft, "I cannot do so, unless I betray the
trust which Government reposes in me. I cannot permit you to hold any
intercourse whatever with your patron, as you call him, who is justly
suspected of being a Papist at heart. Sir, you have been going abroad
through the country, under pretence of administering consolation to the
sick, and bestowing alms upon the poor; but the fact is, you have
been stirring them up to sedition, if not to open rebellion. You must,
therefore, come along with us, this instant. You proceed with us to
Sligo, from whence we shall ship you off in a vessel bound for France,
which vessel is commanded by a friend of mine, who will treat you
kindly, for my sake. What shall we do for a horse for him?" he asked,
looking at his men for information on that point.

"That, your honor,we'll provide in a crack," replied the Red Rapparee,
looking up the road; "here comes Sterling, the gauger, very well
mounted, and, by all the stills he ever seized, he must walk home
upon shank's mare, if it was only to give him exercise and improve his
appetite."

We need not detail this open robbery on the king's officer, and on the
king's highway besides. It is enough to say that the Rapparee, confident
of protection and impunity, with the connivance, although not by the
express orders of the baronet, deprived the man of his horse, and, in
a few minutes, the poor old priest was placed upon the saddle, and
the whole cavalcade proceeded on their way to Sligo, the priest in the
centre of them. Fortunately for Sir Robert's project, they reached the
quay just as the vessel alluded to was about to sail; and as there
was, at that period, no novelty in seeing a priest shipped out of the
country, the loungers about the place, whatever they might have thought
in their hearts, seemed to take no particular notice of the transaction.

"Your honor," said the Red Rapparee, approaching and giving a military
salute to his patron, "will you allow me to remain in town for an hour
or two? I have a scheme in my head that may come to something. I will
tell your honor what it is when I get home."

"Very well, O'Donnel," replied Sir Robert; "but I'd advise you not to
ride late, if you can avoid it. You know that every man in your uniform
is a mark for the vindictive resentment of these Popish rebels."

"Ah! maybe I don't know that, your honor; but you may take my word for
it that I will lose little time."

He then rode down a by-street, very coolly, taking the gauger's horse
along with him. The reader may remember the fable of the cat that had
been transformed into a lady, and the unfortunate mouse. The Rapparee,
whose original propensities were strong as ever, could not, for the soul
of him, resist the temptation of selling the horse and pocketing the
amount. He did so, and very deliberately proceeded home to his barracks,
but took care to avoid any private communication with his patron for
some days, lest he might question him as to what he had done with the
animal.

In the meantime, this monstrous outrage upon an unoffending priest, who
was a natural subject of France, perpetrated, as it was, in the open
face of day, and witnessed by so many, could not, as the reader may
expect, be long concealed. It soon reached the ears of the Marquis of
------and his lady, who were deeply distressed at the disappearance of
their aged and revered friend. The Marquis, on satisfying himself of the
truth of the report, did not, as might have been expected, wait upon Sir
Robert Whitecraft; but without loss of time set sail for London, to wait
upon the French Ambassador, to whom he detailed the whole circumstances
of the outrage. And here we shall not further proceed with an account
of those circumstances, as they will necessarily intermingle with that
portion of the narrative which is to follow.




CHAPTER XVI.--Sir Robert ingeniously extricates Himself out of a great
Difficulty.


On the day after the outrage we have described, the indignant old
squire's carriage stopped at the hall-door of Sir Robert Whitecraft,
whom he found at home. As yet, the latter gentleman had heard nothing of
the contumelious dismissal of Miss Herbert; but the old squire was not
ignorant of the felonious abduction of the priest. At any other time,
that is to say, in some of his peculiar stretches of loyalty, the act
might, have been a feather in the cap of the loyal baronet; but, at
present, he looked both at him and his exploits through the medium of
the insult he had offered to his daughter. Accordingly, when he entered
the baronet's library, where he found him literally sunk in papers,
anonymous letters, warrants, reports to Government, and a vast variety
of other documents, the worthy Sir Robert rose, and in the most cordial
manner, and with the most extraordinary suavity of aspect, held out his
hand, saying:

"How much obliged am I, Mr. Folliard, at the kindness of this visit,
especially from one who keeps at home so much as you do."

The squire instantly repulsed him, and replied:

"No, sir; I am an honest, and, I trust, and honorable man. My hand,
therefore, shall never touch that of a villain."

"A villain!--why, Mr. Folliard, these are hard and harsh words, and they
surprise me, indeed, as proceeding from your lips. May I beg, my friend,
that you will explain yourself?"

"I will, sir. How durst you take the liberty of sending one of your
cast-off strumpets to attend personally upon my pure and virtuous
daughter? For that insult I come this day to demand that satisfaction
which is due to the outraged feelings of my daughter--to my own also,
as her father and natural protector, and also as an Irish gentleman, who
will brook no insult either to his family or himself. I say, then, name
your time and place, and your weapon--sword or pistol, I don't care
which, I am ready."

"But, my good sir, there is some mystery here; I certainly engaged a
female of that name to attend on Miss Folliard, but most assuredly she
was a well-conducted person."

"What! Madam Herbert well conducted! Do you imagine, sir, that I am a
fool? Did she not admit that you debauched her?"

"It could not be, Mr. Folliard; I know nothing whatsoever about her,
except that she was daughter to one of my tenants, who is besides a
sergeant of dragoons."

"Ay, yes, sir," replied the squire sarcastically; "and I tell you it
was not for killing and eating the enemy that he was promoted to his
seirgeantship. But I see your manoeuvre, Sir Robert; you wish to shift
the conversation, and sleep in a whole skin. I say now, I have provided
myself with a friend, and I ask, will you fight?"

"And why not have sent your friend, Mr. Folliard, as is usual upon such
occasions?"

"Because he is knocked up, after a fit of drink, and I cannot be just so
cool, under such an insult, as to command patience to wait. My friend,
however, will attend us on the ground; but, I ask again, will you
fight?"

"Most assuredly not, sir; I am an enemy to duelling on principle; but
in your case I could not think of it, even if I were not. What! raise my
hand against the life of Helen's father!--no, sir, I'd sooner die than
do so. Besides, Mr. Folliard, I am, so to speak, not my own property,
but that of my King, my Government, and my country; and under these
circumstances not at liberty to dispose of my life, unless in their
quarrel."

"I see," replied the squire bitterly; "it is certainly an admirable
description of loyalty that enables a man, who is base enough to insult
the very woman who was about to become his wife, and to involve her own
father in the insult, to ensconce himself, like a coward, behind his
loyalty, and refuse to give the satisfaction of a man, or a gentleman."

"But, Mr. Folliard, will you hear me? there must, as I said, be some
mystery here; I certainly did recommend a young female named Herbert to
you, but I was utterly ignorant of what you mention."

Here the footman entered, and whispered something to Sir Robert, who
apologized to the squire for leaving him two or three minutes. "Here is
the last paper," said he, "and I trust that before you go I will be able
to remove clearly and fully the prejudices which you entertain against
me, and which originate, so far as I am concerned, in a mystery which I
am unable to penetrate."

He then followed the servant, who conducted him to Hennessy, whom he
found in the back parlor.

"Well, Mr. Hennessy," said he, impatiently, "what is the matter now?"

"Why," replied the other, "I have one as good as bagged, Sir Robert."

"One what?"

"Why, a priest, sir."

"Well, Mr. Hennessy, I am particularly engaged now; but as to Reilly,
can you not come upon his trail? I would rather have him than a dozen
priests; however, remain here for about twenty minutes, or say half an
hour, and I will talk with you at more length. For the present I am most
particularly engaged."

"Very well, Sir Robert, I shall await your leisure; but, as to Reilly, I
have every reason to think that he has left the country."

Sir Robert, on going into the hall, saw the porter open the door, and
Miss Herbert presented herself.

"Oh," said he, "is this you? I am glad you came; follow me into the
front parlor."

She accordingly did so; and after he had shut the door he addressed her
as follows:

"Now, tell me how the devil you were discovered; or were you accessory
yourself to the discovery, by your egregious folly and vanity?"

"Oh, la, Sir Robert, do you think I am a fool?"

"I fear you are little short of it," he replied; "at all events, you
have succeeded in knocking up my marriage with Miss Folliard. How did it
happen that they found you out?"

She then detailed to him the circumstances exactly as the reader is
acquainted with them.

He paused for some time, and then said, "There is some mystery at the
bottom of this which I must fathom. Have you any reason to know how the
family became acquainted with your history?"

"No, sir; not in the least."

"Do you think Miss Folliard meets any person privately?"

"Not, sir, while I was with her."

"Did she ever attempt to go out by herself?"

"Not, sir, while I was with her."

"Very well, then, I'll tell you what you must do; her father is above
with me now, in a perfect hurricane of indignation. Now you must say
that the girl Herbert, whom I recommended to the squire, was a friend of
yours; that she gave you the letter of recommendation which I gave her
to Mr. Folliard; that having married her sweetheart and left the country
with him, you were tempted to present yourself in her stead, and to
assume her name. I will call you up by and by; but what name will you
take?"

"My mother's name, sir, was Wilson."

"Very good; what was her Christian name?"

"Catherine, sir."

"And you must say that I know nothing whatsoever of the imposture you
were guilty of. I shall make it worth your while; and if you don't get
well through with it, and enable me to bamboozle the old fellow, I have
done with you. I shall send for you by and by."

He then rejoined the squire, who was walking impatiently about the room.

"Mr. Folliard," said he, "I have to apologize to you for this seeming
neglect; I had most important business to transact, and I merely went
downstairs to tell the gentleman that I could not possibly attend to it
now, and to request him to come in a couple of hours hence; pray excuse
me, for no business could be so important as that in which I am now
engaged with you.'"

"Yes, but in the name of an outraged father, I demand again to know
whether you will give me satisfaction or not?"

"I have already answered you, my dear sir, and if you will reflect upon
the reasons I have given you, I am certain you will admit that I have
the laws both of God and man on my side, and I feel it my duty to
regulate my conduct by both. As to the charge you bring against me,
about the girl Herbert, I am both ignorant and innocent of it."

"Why, sir, how can you say so? how have you the face to say so?--did you
not give her a letter of recommendation to me, pledging yourself for her
moral character and fidelity?"

"I grant it, but still I pledge you my honor that I looked upon her as
an extremely proper person to be about your daughter; you know, sir,
that you as well as I have had--and have still--apprehensions as to
Reilly's conduct and influence over her; and I did fear, and so did
you, that the maid who then attended her, and to whom I was told she was
attached with such unusual affection, might have availed herself of her
position, and either attempted to seduce her from her faith, or connive
at private meetings with Reilly."

"Sir Robert, I know your plausibility--and, upon my soul, I pay it a
high compliment when I say it is equal to your cowardice."

"Mr. Folliard, I can bear all this with patience, especially from
you--What's this?" he exclaimed, addressing the footman, who rushed into
the room in a state of considerable excitement.

"Why, Sir Robert, there is a young woman below, who is crying and
lamenting, and saying she must see Mr. Folliard."

"Damnation, sir," exclaimed Sir Robert, "what is this? why am I
interrupted in such a manner? I cannot have a gentleman ten minutes in
my study, engaged upon private and important business, but in bolts some
of you, to interrupt and disturb us. What does the girl want with me?"

"It is not you she wants, sir," replied the footman, "but his honor, Mr.
Folliard."

"Well, tell her to wait until he is disengaged."

"No," replied Mr. Folliard, "send her up at once; what the devil can
this be? but you shall witness it."

The baronet smiled knowingly. "Well," said he, "Mr. Folliard, upon my
honor, I thought you had sown your wild oats many a year ago; and, by
the way, according to all accounts--hem--but no matter; this, to be
sure, will be rather a late crop."

"No, sir, I sowed my wild oats in the right season, when I was hot,
young, and impetuous; but long before your age, sir, that field had been
allowed to lie barren."

He had scarcely concluded when Miss Herbert, acting upon a plan of
her own, which, were not the baronet a man of the most imperturbable
coolness, might have staggered, if not altogether confounded him,
entered the room.

"Oh, sir!" she exclaimed, with a flood of tears, kneeling before Mr.
Folliard, "can you forgive and pardon me?"

"It is not against you, foolish girl, that my resentment is or shall be
directed, but against the man who employed you--and there he sits."

"Oh, sir!" she exclaimed, again turning to that worthy gentleman, who
seemed filled with astonishment.

"In God's name!" said he, interrupting his accomplice, "what can this
mean? Who are you, my good girl?"

"My name's Catherine Wilson, sir."

"Catherine Wilson!" exclaimed the squire--"why, confound your brazen
face, are you not the person who styled yourself Miss Herbert, and who
lived, thank God, but for a short time only, in my family?"

"I lived in your family, sir, but I am not the Miss Herbert that Sir
Robert Whitecraft recommended to you."

"I certainly know nothing about you, my good girl," replied Sir Robert,
"nor do I recollect having ever seen you before; but proceed with what
you have to say, and let us hear it at once."

"Yes, sir; but perhaps you are not the gentleman as is known to be Sir
Robert Whitecraft--him as hunts the priests. Oh, la, I'll surely be sent
to jail. Gentlemen, if you promise not to send me to jail, I'll tell you
everything."

"Well, then, proceed," said the squire; "I will not send you to jail,
provided you tell the truth."

"Nor I, my good girl," added Sir Robert, "but upon the same conditions."

"Well, then, gentlemen, I was acquainted with Miss Herbert--she is
Hirish, but I'm English. This gentleman gave her a letter to you,
Mr. Folliard, to get her as maid to Miss Helen--she told me--oh, my
goodness, I shall surely be sent to jail."

"Go on, girl," said the baronet somewhat sternly, by which tone of voice
he intimated--to her that she was pursuing the right course, and she was
quick enough to understand as much.

"Well," she proceeded, "after Miss Herbert had got the letter, she told
her sweetheart, who wouldn't by no means allow her to take service,
because as why, he wanted to marry her; well, she consented, and they
did get married, and both of them left the country because her father
wasn't consenting. As the letter was of no use to her then, I asked her
for it, and offered myself in her name to you, sir, and that was the way
I came into your family for a short time."

The baronet rose up, in well-feigned agitation, and exclaimed,
"Unfortunate girl! whoever you may be, you know not the serious mischief
and unhappiness that your imposture was nearly entailing upon me."

"But did you not say that you bore an illegitimate child to this
gentleman?" asked the squire.

"Oh, la! no, sir; you know I denied that; I never bore an illegitimate
child; I bore a love-child, but not to him; and there is no harm in
that, sure."

"Well, she certainly has exculpated you, Sir Robert."

"Gentlemen, will you excuse and pardon me? and will you promise not to
send me to jail?"

"Go about your business," said Sir Robert, "you unfortunate girl, and be
guilty of no such impostures in future. Your conduct has nearly been
the means of putting enmity between two families of rank; or rather of
alienating one of them from the confidence and good-will of the other.
Go."

She then courtesied to each, shedding, at the same time, what seemed to
be bitter tears of remorse--and took her departure, each of them looking
after her, and then at the other, with surprise and wonder.

"Now, Mr. Folliard," said Sir Robert solemnly, "I have one question to
ask you, and it is this: could I possibly, or by any earthly natural
means, have been apprised of the honor of your visit to me this day? I
ask you in a serious--yes, and in a solemn spirit; because the happiness
of my future life depends on your reply."

"Why, no," replied the credulous squire, "hang it, no, man--no, Sir
Robert; I'll do you that justice; I never mentioned my intention of
coming to call you out, to any individual but one, and that on my way
hither; he was unwell, too, after a hard night's drinking; but he said
he would shake himself up, and be ready to attend me as soon as the
place of meeting should be settled on. In point of fact, I did not
intend to see you to-day, but to send him with the message; but, as I
said, he was knocked up for a time, and you know my natural impatience.
No, certainly not, it was in every sense impossible that you could have
expected me: yes, if the devil was in it, I will do you that justice."

"Well, I have another question to ask, my dear friend, equally important
with, if not more so than, the other. Do you hold me free from all blame
in what has happened through the imposture of that wretched girl?"

"Why, after what has occurred just now, I certainly must, Sir Robert. As
you laid no anticipation of my visit, you certainly could not, nor had
you time to get up a scene."

"Well, now, Mr. Folliard, you have taken a load off my heart; and I will
candidly confess to you that I have had my frailties like other men,
sown my wild oats like other men; but, unlike those who are not ashamed
to boast of such exploits, I did not think it necessary to trumpet my
own feelings. I do not say, my dear friend, that I have always been a
saint."

"Why, now, that's manly and candid, Sir Robert, and I like you the
better for it. Yes, I do exonerate you from blame in this. There
certainly was sincerity in that wench's tears, and be hanged to her;
for, as you properly said, she was devilish near putting between our
families, and knocking up our intimacy. It is a delightful thing to
think that I shall be able to disabuse poor Helen's mind upon the
subject; for, I give you my honor, it caused her the greatest distress,
and excited her mind to a high pitch of indignation against you; but I
shall set all to rights."

"And now that the matter is settled, Mr. Folliard, we must have lunch. I
will give you a glass of Burgundy, which, I am sure, you will like."

"With all my heart," replied the placable and hearty old squire;
"after the agitation of the day a good glass of Burgundy will serve me
certainly."

Lunch was accordingly ordered, and the squire, after taking half a
dozen bumpers of excellent wine, got into fine spirits, shook hands as
cordially as ever with the baronet, and drove home completely relieved
from the suspicions which he had entertained.

The squire, on his return home, immediately called for his daughter, but
for some time to no purpose. The old man began to get alarmed, and had
not only Helen's room searched, but every room in the house. At length a
servant informed him that she was tending and arranging the green-house
flowers in the garden.

"Oh, ay!" said he, after he had dismissed the servants, "Thank
God--thank God! I will go out to the dear girl; for she is a dear girl,
and it is a sin to suspect her. I wish to heaven that that scoundrel
Reilly would turn Protestant, and he should have her with all the veins
of my heart. Upon my soul, putting religion out of the question, one
would think that, in other respects, they were made for each other. But
it's all this cursed pride of his that prevents him; as if it signified
what any person's religion is, provided he's an honest man, and a loyal
subject."

He thus proceeded with his soliloquy until he reached the garden, where
he found Reilly and her arranging the plants and flowers in a superb
green-house.

"Well, Helen, my love, how is the greenhouse doing? Eh! why, what is
this?"

At this exclamation the lovers started, but the old fellow was admiring
the improvement, which even he couldn't but notice.

"Why, what is this?" he proceeded; "by the light of day, Helen, you have
made this a little paradise of flowers."

"It was not I, papa," she replied; "all that I have been able to
contribute to the order; and beauty of the place has been very slight
indeed. It is all the result of this poor man's taste and skill. He's an
admirable botanist."

"By the great Boyne, my girl, I think he could lick Malcomson himself,
as a botanist."

"Shir," observed Reilly, "the young lady is underwaluin' herself; sure,
miss, it was yourself directed me what to do, and how to do it."

"Look at that old chap, Helen," said her father, who felt in great good
humor; first, because he found that Helen was safe; and again, because
Sir Robert, as the unsuspecting old man thought, had cleared up the
circumstances of Miss Herbert's imposture; "I say, Helen, look at that
old chap: isn't he a nice bit of goods to run away with a pretty girl?
and what a taste she must have had to go with him! Upon my soul, it
beats cock-fighting--confound me, but it does."

[Illustration PAGE 115--Isn't he a nice bit of goods to run away with a
pretty girl?]

Helen's face became crimson as he spoke; and yet, such was the
ludicrous appearance which Reilly made, when put in connection with the
false scent on which her father was proceeding at such a rate, and the
act of gallantry imputed to him, that a strong feeling of humor overcame
her, and she burst into a loud ringing laugh, which she could not, for
some time, restrain; in this she was heartily joined by her father, who
laughed till the tears came down his cheeks.

"And yet, Helen--ha--ha--ha, he's a stalwart old rogue still, and must
have been a devil of a tyke when he was young."

After another fit of laughter from both father and daughter, the squire
said:

"Now, Helen, my love, go in. I have good news for you, which I will
acquaint you with by and by."

When she left the garden, her father addressed Reilly as follows:

"Now, my good fellow, will you tell me how you came to know about Miss
Herbert having been seduced by Sir Robert Whitecraft?"

"Fvhy, shir, from common report, shir."

"Is that all? But don't you think," he replied, "that common report is
a common liar, as it mostly has been, and is, in this case. That's all
I have to say upon the subject. I have traced the affair, and find it
to be a falsehood from beginning to ending. I have. And now, go on as
you're doing, and I will make Malcomson raise your wages."

"Thank you, shir," and he touched his nondescript with an air of great
thankfulness and humility.

"Helen, my darling," said her father, on entering her own sitting-room,
"I said I had good news for you."

Helen looked at him with a doubtful face, and simply said, "I hope it is
good, papa."

"Why, my child, I won't enter into particulars; it is enough to say that
I discovered from an accidental meeting with that wretched girl we had
here that she was not Miss Herbert, as she called herself, at all, but
another, named Catherine Wilson, who, having got from Herbert the
letter of recommendation which I read to you, had the effrontery to
pass herself for her; but the other report was false. The girl Wilson,
apprehensive that either I or Sir Robert might send her to jail, having
seen my carriage stop at Sir Robert's house, came, with tears in her
eyes, to beg that if we would not punish her she would tell us the
truth, and she did so."

Helen mused for some time, and seemed to decide instantly upon the
course of action she should pursue, or, rather, the course which she had
previously proposed to herself. She saw clearly, and had long known that
in the tactics and stratagems of life, her blunt but honest father was
no match at all for the deep hypocrisy and deceitful plausibility of Sir
Robert Whitecraft, the consequence was, that she allowed her father to
take his own way, without either remonstrance or contradiction. She knew
very well that on this occasion, as on every other where their wits and
wishes came in opposition, Sir Robert was always able to outgeneral and
overreach him; she therefore resolved to agitate herself as little
as possible, and to allow matters to flow on tranquilly, until the
crisis--the moment for action came.

"Papa," she replied, "this intelligence must make your mind very easy; I
hope, however, you will restore poor faithful Connor to me. I never had
such an affectionate and kind creature; and, besides, not one of them
could dress me with such skill and taste as she could. Will you allow me
to have her back, sir?"

"I will, Helen; but take care she doesn't make a Papist of you."

"Indeed, papa, that is a strange whim: why, the poor girl never opened
her lips to me on the subject of religion during her life; nor, if I saw
that she attempted it, would I permit her. I am no theologian, papa,
and detest polemics, because I have always heard that those who are most
addicted to polemical controversy have least religion."

"Well, my love, you shall have back poor Connor; and now I must go and
look over some papers in my study. Good-by, my love; and observe, Helen,
don't stay out too late in the garden, lest the chill of the air might
injure your health."

"But you know I never do, and never did, papa."

"Well, good-by again, my love."

He then left her, and withdrew to his study to sign some papers, and
transact some business, which he had allowed to run into arrear. When he
had been there better than an hour, he rang the bell, and desired that
Malcomson, the gardener, should be sent to him, and that self-sufficient
and pedantic person made his appearance accordingly.

"Well, Malcomson," said he, "how do you like the bearded fellow in the
garden?"

"Ou, yer honor, weel eneugh; he does ken something o' the sceence o'
buttany, an' 'am thinkin' he must hae been a gude spell in Scotland, for
I canna guess whare else he could hae become acquent wi' it."

"I see Malcomson, you'll still persist in your confounded pedantry
about your science. Now, what the devil has science to do with botany or
gardening?"

"Weel, your honor, it wadna just become me to dispute wi' ye upon that
or any ither subjeck; but for a' that, it required profoond sceence,
and vera extensive learnin' to classify an' arrange a' the plants o' the
yearth, an' to gie them names, by whilk they dan be known throughout a'
the nations o' the warld."

"Well, well--I suppose I must let you have your way."

"Why, your honor," replied Malcomson, "'am sure it mair becomes me to
let you hae yours; but regerding this ould carl, I winna say, but he has
been weel indoctrinated in the sceence."

"Ahem! well, well, go on."

"An' it's no easy to guess whare he could hae gotten it. Indeed, 'am
of opinion that he's no without a hantle o' book lair; for, to do him
justice, de'il a question I spier at him, anent the learned names o' the
rare plants, that he hasna at his finger ends, and gies to me off-hand.
Naebody but a man that has gotten book lair could do yon."

"Book lair, what is that?"

"Ou, just a correck knowledge o' the learned names of the plants. I
dinna say, and I winna say, but he's a velliable assistant to me, an'
I shouldna wish to pairt wi' him. If he'd only shave off yon beard, an'
let himsel' be decently happed in good claiths, why he might pass in ony
gentleman's gerden for a skeelful buttanist."

"Is he as good a kitchen gardener as he is in the green-house, and among
the flowers?"

"Weel, your honor, guid troth, 'am sairly puzzled there; hoot, no, sir;
de'il a thing almost he kens about the kitchen gerden--a' his strength
lies among the flowers and in the green-house."

"Well, well, that's where we principally want him. I sent for you,
Malcomson, to desire you'd raise his wages--the laborer is worthy of
his hire; and a good laborer of good hire. Let him have four shillings a
week additional."

"Troth, your honor, 'am no sayin' but he weel deserves it; but, Lord
haud a care o' us, he's a queer one, yon."

"Why, what do you mean?"

"Why, de'il heat he seems to care about siller any mair than if it was
sklate stains. On Saturday last, when he was paid his weekly wages by
the steward, he met a puir sickly-lookin' auld wife, wi' a string o'
sickly-looking weans at the body's heels; she didna ask him for charity,
for, in troth, he appeared, binna it wearna for the weans, as great an
objeck as hersel'; noo, what wad yer honor think? he gaes ower and gies
till her a hale crown o' siller out o' his ain wage. Was ever onything
heard like yon?"

"Well, I know the cause of it, Malcomson. He's under a penance, and can
neither shave nor change his dress till his silly penance is out; and
I suppose it was to wash off a part of it that he gave this foolish
charity to the poor woman and her children. Come, although I condemn the
folly of it, I don't like him the worse for it."

"Hout awa', your honor, what is it but rank Papistry, and a dependence
upon filthy works. The doited auld carl, to throw aff his siller that
gate; but that's Papistry a' ower--substituting works for grace and
faith--a' Papistry, a' Papistry! Well, your honor, I sal be conform to
your wushes--it's my duty, that."




CHAPTER XVII.--Awful Conduct of Squire Folliard

--Fergus Reilly begins to Contravene the Red Rapparee


After Malcomson quitted him, the squire, with his golden-headed cane,
went to saunter about his beautiful grounds and his noble demesne,
proud, certainly, of his property, nor insensible to the beautiful
scenery which it presented from so many points of observation. He
had not been long here when a poor-looking peasant, dressed in shabby
frieze, approached him at as fast a pace as he could accomplish; and the
squire, after looking at him, exclaimed, in an angry tone:

"Well, you rascal, what the devil brings you here?"

The man stood for a little, and seemed so much exhausted and out of
breath that he could not speak.

"I say, you unfortunate old vagrant," repeated the squire, "what brought
you here?"

"It is a case of either life or death, sir," replied the poor peasant.

"Why," said the squire, "what crime did you commit? Or, perhaps, you
broke prison, and are flying from the officers of justice; eh! is that
it? And you come to ask a magistrate to protect you!"

"I am flying from the agents of persecution, sir, and know not where to
hide my head in order to avoid them."

The hard-pressed but amiable priest--for such he was--adopted this
language of truth, because he knew the squire's character, and felt that
it would serve him more effectually than if he had attempted to conceal
his profession. "I am a Catholic priest, sir, and felt from bitter
experience that this disguise was necessary to the preservation of my
life. I throw myself upon your honor and generosity, for although hasty,
sir, you are reported to have a good and kind heart."

"You are disposed to place confidence in me, then?"

"I am, sir; my being before you now, and putting myself in your power,
is a proof of it."

"Who are pursuing you? Sir Robert Whitecraft--eh?"

"No, sir, Captain Smellpriest and his gang."

"Ay, out of the frying pan into the fire; although I don't know that,
either. They say Smellpriest can do a generous thing sometimes--but the
other, when priest-hunting, never. What's your name?"

"I'll tell you, without hesitation, sir--Macguire; I'm of the Macguires
of Fermanagh."

"Ay! ay! why, then, you have good blood in your veins. But what offence
were you guilty of that you--but I need not ask; it is enough, in
the present state of the laws, that you are a Catholic priest. In the
meantime, are you aware that I myself transported a Catholic priest, and
that he would have swung only for my daughter, who went to the viceroy,
and, with much difficulty, got his sentence commuted to transportation
for life? I myself had already tried it, and failed; but she succeeded,
God bless her!"

"Yes, God bless her!" replied the priest, "she succeeded, and her fame
has gone far and near, in consequence; yes, may God of his mercy bless
and guard her from all evil!" and as the poor hunted priest spoke, the
tears came to his eyes. This symptom of respect and affection, prompted
by the generous and heroic conduct of the far-famed Cooleen Bawn,
touched her father, and saved the priest.

"Well," said he, after musing for a while, "so you say Smellpriest is
after you?"

"He is, sir; they saw me at a distance, across the country, scrambling
over the park wall, and indeed I was near falling into their hands by
the difficulty I had in getting over it."

"Well, come," replied the squire, "since you have had the courage
to place confidence in me, I won't abuse it; come along, I will both
conceal and protect you. I presume there is little time to be lost,
for those priest hounds will be apt to ride round to the entrance gate,
which I will desire the porter to close and lock, and then leave the
lodge."

On their way home he did so, and ordered the porter up to the house. The
magnificent avenue was a serpentine one, and our friends had barely time
to get out of sight of the lodge, by a turn in it, when they heard the
voices of the pursuers, hallooing for the porter, and thundering at the
gate.

"Ay, thunder away, only don't injure my gate, Smellpriest, or I'll make
you replace it; bawl yourselves hoarse--you are on the wrong side for
once!"

When they were approaching the hall-door, which generally lay open--

"Confound me," said the squire, "if I know what to do with you; I
trust in God I won't get into odium by this. At all events, let us steal
upstairs as quietly as we can, and, if possible, without any one seeing
us."

To the necessity of this the priest assented, and they had reached the
first landing of the staircase when out popped right in their teeth two
housemaids each with brush in hand. Now it instantly occurred to the
squire that in this unlucky crisis bribery was the safest resource. He
accordingly addressed them:

"Come here, you jades, don't say a word about this man's presence
here--don't breathe it; here's five shillings apiece for you, and let
one of you go and bring me up, secretly, the key of the green-room in
the garret; it has not been opened for some time. Be quick now; or stay,
desire Lanigan to fetch it, and refreshment also; there's cold venison
and roast beef, and a bottle of wine; tell Lanigan I'm going to lunch,
and to lay the table in my study. Lanigan can be depended on," he added,
after the chambermaid had gone, "for when I concealed another priest
here once, he was entrusted with the secret, and was faithful."

Now it so happened that one of those maids, who was a bitter Protestant,
at once recognized Father Maguire, notwithstanding his disguise. She had
been a servant for four or five years in the house of a wealthy farmer
who lived adjoining him, and with whom he had been in the habit
of frequently dining when no danger was to be apprehended from the
operation of the laws. Indeed, she and Malcomson, the gardener, were
the only two individuals in the squire's establishment who were not
Catholics. Malcomson was a manoeuvrer, and, as is pretty usual with
individuals of his class and country, he looked upon "Papistry" as
an abomination that ought to be removed from the land. Still, he was
cautious and shrewd, and seldom or never permitted those opinions to
interfere with or obstruct his own interests. Be this is it may, the
secret was not long kept. Esther Wilson impeached her master's loyalty,
and she herself was indignantly assailed for her treachery by Molly
Finigan, who hoped in her soul that her master and young mistress would
both die in the true Church yet.

The whole kitchen was in a buzz; in fact, a regular scene ensued. Every
one spoke, except Lanigan, who, from former experience, understood
the case perfectly; but, as for Malcomson, whose zeal on this occasion
certainly got the better of his discretion, he seemed thunderstruck.

"Eh, sirs! did ony one ever hear the like o' this?--to hide a rebel
priest frae the offended laws! But it canna be that this puir man is
athegether right in his head. Lord ha'e a care o' us! the man surely
must be demented, or he wouldna venture to bring such a person into his
ain house--into the vara house. I think, Maisther Lanigan, it wad be
just a precious bit o' service to religion and our laws to gang and tell
the next magistrate. Gude guide us! what an example he is settin' to
his loyal neighbors, and his hail connections! That ever we should see the
like o' this waefu' backsliding at his years! Lord ha'e a care o' us, I
say aince mair."

"Oh, but there's more to come," said one of them, for, in the turmoil
produced by this shocking intelligence, they had forgotten to deliver
the message to Lanigan.

"Mr. Lanigan," said Esther, and her breath was checked by a hysteric
hiccup, "Mr. Lanigan, you are to bring up the key of the green-room, and
plenty of venison, roast beef, and a bottle of wine! There!"

"Baal, Maisther Lanigan, I winna stay langer under this roof; it's nae
cannie; I'll e'en gang out, and ha'e some nonsense clavers wi' yon queer
auld carl i' the gerden. The Lord ha'e a eare o' us!--what will the
warld come to next!"

He accordingly repaired to the garden, where the first thing he did
was to give a fearful account to Reilly of their master's political
profligacy. The latter felt surprised, but not at all at Malcomson's
narrative. The fact was, he knew the exact circumstances of the case,
because he knew the squire's character, which was sometimes good, and
sometimes the reverse--just according to the humor he might be in: and
in reply observed to Malcomson, that--

"As his honor done a great dale o' good! to the poor o' the counthry,
I think it wouldn't be daicent in us, Misther Malcomson, to go for to
publish this generous act to the poor priesht; if he is wrong, let us
lave him to Gad, shir."

"Ou ay, weel I dinna but you're richt; the mair that we won't hae to
answer for his transgressions; sae e'en let every herring hang by its
ain tail."

In the meantime, Lanigan, who understood the affair well enough,
addressed the audience in the kitchen to the following effect:

"Now," said he, "what a devil of a hubbub you all make about nothing!
Pray, young lady," addressing Esther Wilson, who alone had divulged the
circumstance, "did his honor desire you to keep what you seen saicret?"

"He did, cook, he did," replied Esther; "and gave us money not to speak
about it, which is a proof of his guilt."

"And the first thing you did was to blaze it to the whole kitchen! I'll
tell you what it is now--if he ever hears that you breathed a syllable
of it to mortal man, you won't be under his roof two hours."

"Oh, but, surely, cook--"

"Oh, but, surely, madam," replied Lanigan, "you talk of what you don't
understand; his honor knows very well what he's about, mid has authority
for it."

This sobered her to some purpose; and Lanigan proceeded to execute his
master's orders.

It is true Miss Esther and Malcomson were now silent, for their own
sakes; but it did not remove their indignation; so far from that,
Lanigan himself came in for a share of it, and was secretly looked upon
in the light of the squire's confidant in the transaction.

Whilst matters were in this position, the Red Rapparee began gradually
to lose the confidence of his unscrupulous employer. He had promised
that worthy gentleman to betray his former gang, and deliver them up to
justice, in requital for the protection which he received from him. This
he would certainly have done, were it not for Fergus, who, happening to
meet one of them a day or two after the Rapparee had taken service with
Whitecraft upon the aforesaid condition,--informed the robber of that
fact, and advised him, if he wished to provide for his own safety and
that of his companions, to desire them forthwith to leave the country,
and, if possible, the kingdom. They accordingly took the hint; some of
them retired to distant and remote places, and others went beyond seas
for their security. The promise, therefore, which the Rapparee had made
to the baronet as a proof of gratitude for his protection, he now found
himself incapable of fulfilling, in consequence of the dispersion and
disappearance of his band. When he stated this fact to Sir Robert, he
gained little credit from him; and the consequence was that his patron
felt disposed to think that he was not a man to be depended on. Still,
what he had advanced in his own defence might be true; and although his
confidence in him was shaken, he resolved to maintain him yet in his
service, and that for two reasons--one of which was, that by having him
under his eye, and within his grasp, he could pounce upon him at any
moment; the other was, that, as he knew, from the previous shifts and
necessities of his own lawless life, all those dens and recesses and
caverns to which the Catholic priesthood, and a good number of the
people, were obliged to fly and conceal themselves, he must necessarily
be a useful guide to him as a priest-hunter. It is true he assured him
that he had procured his pardon from Government, principally, he said,
in consequence of his own influence, and because, in all his robberies,
it had not been known that he ever took away human life. In general,
however, this was the policy of the Rapparees, unless when they
identified themselves with political contests and outrages, and on those
occasions they were savage and cruel as fiends. In simple robbery on the
king's highway, or in burglaries in houses, they seldom, almost never,
committed murder, unless when resisted, and in defence of their lives.
On the contrary, they were quite gallant to females, whom they treated
with a kind of rude courtesy, not unfrequently returning the lady of the
house her gold watch--but this only on occasions when they had secured
a large booty of plate and money. The Threshers of 1805-6 and '7, so far
as cruelty goes, were a thousand times worse; for they spared neither
man nor woman in their infamous and nocturnal visits; and it is enough
to say, besides, that their cowardice was equal to their cruelty. It has
been proved, at special commissions held about those periods, that four
or five men, with red coats on them, have made between two or three
hundred of the miscreants run for their lives, and they tolerably
well-armed. Whether Sir Robert's account of the Rapparee's pardon was
true or false will appear in due time; for the truth is, that Whitecraft
was one of those men who, in consequence of his staunch loyalty
and burning zeal in carrying out the inhuman measures of the then
Government, was permitted with impunity to run into a licentiousness
of action, as a useful public man, which no modern government would, or
dare, permit. At the period of which we write, there was no press, so to
speak, in Ireland, and consequently no opportunity of at once bringing
the acts of the Irish Government, or of public men, to the test
of public opinion. Such men, therefore, as Whitecraft, looked upon
themselves as invested with irresponsible power; and almost in every
instance their conduct was approved of, recognized, and, in general,
rewarded by the Government of the day. The Beresford family enjoyed
something like this unenviable privilege, during the rebellion of
'98, and for some time afterwards. We have alluded to Mrs. Oxley, the
sheriffs, fat wife; whether fortunately or unfortunately for the poor
sheriff, who had some generous touches of character about him, it so
happened, at this period of our narrative she popped off one day, in a
fit of apoplexy, and he found himself a widower. Now, our acquaintance,
Fergus Reilly, who was as deeply disguised as our hero, had made his
mind up, if possible, to bring the Rapparee into trouble. This man had
led his patron to several places where it was likely that the persecuted
priests might be found; and, for this reason, Fergus knew that he was
serious in his object to betray them. This unnatural treachery of the
robber envenomed his heart against him, and he resolved to run a risk in
watching his motions. He had no earthly doubt that it was he who robbed
the sheriff. He knew, from furtive observations, as well as from general
report, that a discreditable intimacy existed between him and Mary
Mahon. This woman's little house was very convenient to that of
Whitecraft, to whom she was very useful in a certain capacity. She
had now given up her trade of fortune-telling--a trade which, at that
period, in consequence of the ignorance of the people, was very general
in Ireland. She was now more beneficially employed. Fergus, therefore,
confident in his disguise, resolved upon a bold and hazardous stroke.
He began to apprehend that if ever Tom Steeple, fool though he was,
kept too much about the haunts and resorts of the Rapparee, that cunning
scoundrel, who was an adept in all the various schemes and forms of
detection, might take the alarm, and, aided probably by Whitecraft, make
his escape out of the country. At best, the fool could only assure him
of his whereabouts; but he felt it necessary, in addition to this, to
procure, if the matter were possible, such evidence of his guilt as
might render his conviction of the robbery of the sheriff complete and
certain. One evening a wretched-looking old man, repeating his prayers,
with beads in hand, entered her cottage, which consisted of two rooms
and a kitchen; and after having presented himself, and put on his
hat--for we need scarcely say that no Catholic ever prays covered--he
asked lodging in Irish, for the night, and at this time it was dusk.

"Well, good man," she replied, "you can have lodgings here for this
night. God forbid I'd put a poor wandherer out, an' it nearly dark."

Fergus stared at her as if he did not understand what she said; she,
however, could speak Irish right well, and asked him in that language if
he could speak no English--"_Wuil Bearlha agud?_" (Have you English?)

"_Ha neil foccal vaun Bearlha agum_." (I haven't one word of English.)

"Well," said she, proceeding with the following short conversation in
Irish, "you can sleep here, and I will bring you in a wap o' straw from
the garden, when I have it to feed my cow, which his honor, Sir Robert,
gives me grass for; he would be a very kind man if he was a little more
generous--ha! ha! ha!"

"Ay, but doesn't he hunt an' hang, an' transport our priests?"

"Why, indeed, I believe he doesn't like a bone in a priest's body;
but then he's of a different religion--and it isn't for you or me to
construe him after our own way."

"Well, well," said Fergus, "it isn't him I'm thinking of; but if I had a
mouthful or two of something to ait I'd go to sleep--for dear knows I'm
tired and hungry."

"Why, then, of coorse you'll have something to ait, poor man, and
while you're eatin' it I'll fetch in a good bunch of straw, and make a
comfortable shake-down for you."

"God mark you to grace, avourneen!"

She then furnished him with plenty of oaten bread and mixed milk, and
while he was helping himself she brought in a large launch of straw,
which she shook out and settled for him.

"I see," said she, "that you have your own blankets."

"I have, acushla. Cheerna, but this is darlin' bread! Arra was this
baked upon a griddle or against the _muddhia arran?_"*.

     * The muddhia arran was a forked branch, cut from a tree,
     and shaped exactly like a letter A--with a small stick
     behind to support it. A piece of hoop iron was nailed to
     it at the bottom, on which the cake rested--not
     horizontally, but opposite the fire. When one side was done
     the other was turned, and thus it was baked.

"A griddle! Why, then, is it the likes o' me would have a griddle? that
indeed! No; but, any how, sure a griddle only scalds the bread; but
you'll find that this is not too much done; bekaise you know the ould
proverb, 'a raw dad makes a fat lad.'"

"Troth," replied Fergus, "it's good bread, and fills the _boast_** of a
man's body; but now that I've made a good supper, I'll throw myself on
the straw, for I feel as if my eyelids had a millstone apiece upon them.
I never shtrip at night, but just throws my blanket over me, an' sleeps
like a top. Glory be to God! Oh, then, there's nothing like the health
ma'am: may God spare it to us! Amin, this night!"

     ** Boast--a figurative term, taken from a braggadocio or
     boaster; it applies to any thing that is hollow or
     deceitful: for instance, when some potatoes that grow
     unusually large are cut in two, an empty space is found in
     the centra, and that potato is termed boast, or empty.

He accordingly threw himself on the shakedown, and in a short time, as
was evident by his snoring, fell into a profound sleep.

This was an experiment, though a hazardous one, as we have said; but so
far it was successful. In the course of half an hour the Red Rapparee
came in, dressed in his uniform. On looking about him he exclaimed, with
an oath,

"Who the hell is here?"

"Why," replied Mary Mahon, "a poor ould man that axed for charity an'
lodgin' for the night."

"And why did you give it to him?"

"Bekaise my charity to him may take away some of my sins."

"Some of your devils!" replied the savage, "and I think you have enough
of them about you. Didn't you know I was to come here to-night, as I do
almost every night, for an hour or two?"

"You was drinkin'," she replied, "and you're drunk."

"I am drunk, and I will be drunk as often as I can. It's a good man's
case. Why did you give a lodgin' to this ould vagabone?"

"I tould you the raison," she replied; "but you needn't care about him,
for there's not a word of English in his cheek."

"Faith, but he may have something in his purse, for all that. Is he
ould?"

"A poor ould man."

"So much the betther; be the livin' I'll try whether he has any ould
coins about him. Many a time--no, I don't say many a time--but twic't
I did it, and found it well worth my while, too. Some of these ould
scamers lie wid a purse o' goolden guineas under their head, and won't
confess it till the last moment. Who knows what this ould lad may have
about him? I'll thry anyhow," said the drunken ruffian; "It's not aisy
to give up an ould custom, Molly--the sheriff, my darlin', for that. I
aised him of his fines, and was near strikin' a double blow--I secured
his pocket-book, and made a good attempt to hang Willy Reilly for the
robbery into the bargain. Now, hang it, Molly, didn't I look a gentleman
in his' clothes, shoes, silver buckles, and all; wasn't it well we
secured them before the house was burned? Here," he added, "take a
sneeshin of this," pulling at the same time a pint bottle of whiskey
out of his pocket; "it'll rise your spirits, an' I'll see what cash this
ould codger has about him; an', by the way, how the devil do we
know that he doesn't understand every word we say. Suppose,
now--(hiccup)--that he heard me say I robbed the sheriff, wouldn't I be
in a nice pickle? But, tell me, can you get no trace of Reilly?"

"Devil a trace; they say he has left the country."

"If I had what that scoundrel has promised me for findin' him out or
securin' him--here's--here's--here's to you--I say, if I had, you and I
would"--Here he pointed with his thumb over his shoulder, as much as to
say they would try another climate.

"And now," he proceeded, "for a search on the shake-down. Who knows but
the ould fellow has the yellow boys (guineas) about him? "--and he was
proceeding to search Fergus, when Mary flew at him like a tigress.

"Stop, you cowardly robber!" she exclaimed; "would you bring down the
curse and the vengeance of God upon both of us. We have enough and too
much to answer for, let alone to rob the ould an' the poor."

"Be aisy now," said he, "I'll make the search; sure I'm undher the
scoundrel Whitecraft's protection."

"Yes, you are, and you're undher my protection too; and I tell you, if
you lay a hand upon him it'll be worse for you."

"What--what do you mane?"

"It's no matther what I mane; find it out."

"How do I know but he has heard us?"

We must now observe that Fergus's style of sleeping was admirably
adapted for his purpose. It was not accompanied by a loud and unbroken
snore; on the contrary, after it had risen to the highest and
most disagreeable intonations, it stopped short, with a loud and
indescribable backsnort in his nose, and then, after a lull of some
length, during which he groaned and muttered to himself, he again
resumed his sternutations in a manner so natural as would have imposed
upon Satan himself, if he had been present, as there is little doubt he
was, though not exactly visible to the eyes of his two precious agents.

"Listen to that," replied the woman; "do you think, now, he's not
asleep? and even if he was sitting at the fire beside us, devil a
syllable we said he could understand. I spoke to him in English when he
came in, but he didn't know a word I said."

"Well, then, let the ould fellow sleep away; I won't touch him."

"Why, now, that's a good boy; go home to your barracks, and take a good
sleep yourself."

"Ay, yes, certainly; but have you Reilly's clothes safe--shoes, silver
buckles, and all?"

"Ay, as safe as the head on your shoulders; and, upon my soul, a great
dale safer, if you rob any more sheriffs."

"Where are they, then?"

"Why, they're in my flat box, behind the bed, where nobody could see
them."

"Very well, Molly, that will do; I may want them wanst more," he
replied, pointing again with his thumb over his shoulder towards
Whitecraft's residence; "so goodnight; be a good girl, and take care of
yourself."

"No," she replied, "but do you be a good boy, and take care of
yourself." And so they parted for the night.

The next day Fergus, possessed of very important evidence against the
Rapparee, was travelling along the public road, not more than half a
mile from the residence of Sir Robert Whitecraft, when whom should he
meet but the identical sheriff, on horseback, that the Rapparee had
robbed. He put his hand to his hat, and asked him for charity.

"Help a poor ould man, for the love and honor of God."

"Why don't you go to work--why don't you go to work?" replied the
sheriff.

"I am not able, sir," returned Fergus; "it wouldn't be good for my
health, your honor."

"Well, pass on and don't trouble me; I have nothing for you."

"Ah! thin, sir, if you'd give me a trifle, maybe I'd make it worth your
while."

"What do you mean?" asked the sheriff, who knew that persons like him
had opportunities of hearing and knowing more about local circumstances,
in consequence of their vagrant life, than any other class of persons in
society.

"What do you mean by what you have just said?"

"Aren't you the sheriff, sir, that was robbed some time ago?"

"I am."

"Ah, sir, I see you are dressed in black; and I heard of the death of
the misthress, sir."

"Well, but what has that to do with what you have just now said--that
you would make it worth my while if I gave you alms?"

"I said so, sir; and I can, if you will be guided by me."

"Speak out; I don't understand you."

"Would you like to see the man that robbed you, sir, and would you know
him if you did see him?"

"Unquestionably I would know him. They say it was Reilly, but I have
seen Reilly since; and although the dress was the same which Reilly
usually wears, yet the faces were different."

"Is your honor going far?" asked Fergus.

"No, I am going over to that farm-house, Tom Brady's; two or three of
his family are ill of fever, and I wish to do something for him; I am
about to make him my land bailiff."

"What stay will you make there, your honor?"

"A very short one--not more than ten or fifteen minutes."

"Would it be inconvenient for your honor to remain there, or somewhere
about the house, for an hour, or may be a little longer?"

"For what purpose? You are a mysterious old fellow."

"Bekaise, if you'd wish to see the man that robbed you, I'll undhertake
to show him to you, face to face, within that time. Will your honor
promise this?"

The sheriff paused upon this proposal, coming as it did from such an
equivocal authority. What, thought he, if it should be a plot for my
life, in consequence of the fines which I have been forced to levy upon
the Catholic priests and bishops in my official capacity. God knows I
feel it to be a painful duty.

"What is your religion?" he asked, "and why should a gentleman in my
condition of life place any confidence upon the word of a common vagrant
like you, who must necessarily be imbued with all the prejudices of your
creed--for I suppose you are a Catholic?"

"I am, sir; but, for all that, in half an hour's time I'll be a rank
Protestant."

The sheriff smiled and asked, "How the devil's that?"

"You are dressed in black, sir, in murnin' for your wife. I have seen
you go into Tom Brady's to give the sick creatures the rites of their
Church. I give notice to Sir Robert Whitecraft that a priest is there;
and my word to you, he and his hounds will soon be upon you. The man
that robbed you will be among them--no, but the foremost of them; and if
you don't know him, I can't help it--that's all, your honor."

"Well," replied the sheriff, "I shall give you nothing now; because
I know not whether what you say can be relied upon or not. In the
meantime, I shall remain an hour or better, in Brady's house; and if
your words are not made good, I shall send to Sir Robert Whitecraft for
a military party to escort me home."

"I know, your honor," replied Fergus, "that Sir Robert and his men are
at home to-day; and if I don't fulfil my words, I'll give your honor
lave to whip me through the county."

"Well," said the sheriff, "I shall remain an hour or so in Brady's; but
I tell you that if you are deceiving me you shall not escape me; so look
to it, and think if what you propose to me is honest or not--if it be
not, woe betide you."

Fergus immediately repaired to Sir Robert Whitecraft, to whom he
represented himself as a poor Protestant of the name of Bingham,
and informed him that a Popish priest was then in Tom Brady's house,
administering the rites of Popery to those who were sick in the family.

"I seen him, your honor, go into the house; and he's there this minute'.
If your honor makes haste you'll catch him."

In less than a quarter of an hour Sir Robert and his crew were in
stirrups, and on their way to Tom Brady's; and in the meantime, too, the
sheriff, dressed as he was, in black, came outside the door, from time
to time, more in apprehension of a plot against his life than of a visit
from Whitecraft, which he knew must end in nothing. Now, Whitecraft and
his followers, on approaching Brady's house, caught a glimpse of him--a
circumstance which not only confirmed the baronet in the correctness of
the information he had received, but also satisfied the sheriff that the
mendicant had not deceived him. Rapid was the rush they made to Brady's
house, and the very first that entered it was the Red Rapparee. He was
about to seize the sheriff, whom he pretended not to know; but in a
moment Sir Robert and the rest entered, when, on recognizing each other,
an explanation took place, with all due apologies to the functionary,
who said:

"The mistake, Sir Robert, is very natural. I certainly have a clerical
appearance, as I am in mourning for my wife. I trust you will neither
hang nor transport me."

"I am very sorry indeed, Mr. Oxley; but I only acted on information
received."

"And I don't doubt, Sir Robert," replied the sheriff, "that the person
who gave you the information may have been deceived himself by my
ecclesiastical looking dress. I am sorry you have had so much trouble
for nothing; but, upon my word, I feel extremely delighted that I am not
a priest."

In the meantime the sheriff had recognized the Rapparee, by a single
glance, as the man that had robbed him. He was now certain; but he took
care not to bestow the least sign of recognition upon him; so far from
that, he appeared to pay no attention whatsoever to the men; but chatted
with Sir Robert for some time, who returned home deeply disappointed,
though without imputing blame to his informant, who, he thought, was
very naturally misled by the dress of the sheriff. Fergus, however,
apprehensive of being involved in the prosecution of the Rapparee,
and thus discovered, made a point to avoid the sheriff, whose
cross-examination a consciousness of his previous life led him to dread.
Still, he had, to a certain extent, though not definitely, resolved to
become evidence against him; but only, as we have said, on the condition
of previously receiving a full pardon for his own misdeeds, which was
granted. For upwards of a month, however, the sheriff was confined to
his bed, having caught, whilst in Brady's, the malignant fever which
then raged throughout the country.




CHAPTEE XVIII.--Something not very Pleasant for all Parties.

The position of England at this period was any thing but an easy one.
The Rebellion of '45 had commenced, and the young Pretender had gained
some signal victories. Independently of this, she was alarmed by the
rumor of a French invasion on her southern coast. Apprehensive lest the
Irish Catholics, galled and goaded as they were by the influence of
the penal laws, and the dreadful persecution which they caused them
to suffer, should flock to the standard of Prince Charles, himself a
Catholic, she deemed it expedient, in due time, to relax a little,
and accordingly she "checked her hand, and changed her pride." Milder
measures were soon resorted to, during this crisis, in order that by a
more liberal administration of justice the resentment of the suffering
Catholics might be conciliated, and their loyalty secured. This,
however, was a proceeding less of justice than expediency, and resulted
more from the actual and impending difficulties of England than from
any sincere wish on her part to give civil and religious freedom to her
Catholic subjects, or prosperity to the country in which, even then,
their numbers largely predominated. Yet, singular to say, when the
Rebellion first broke out, all the chapels in Dublin were closed, and
the Administration, as if guided by some unintelligible infatuation,
issued a proclamation, commanding the Catholic priesthood to depart
from the city. Those who refused this senseless and impolitic edict were
threatened with the utmost severity of the law. Harsh as that law was,
the Catholics obeyed it; yet even this obedience did not satisfy the
Protestant party, or rather that portion of them who were active agents
in carrying out this imprudent and unjustifiable rigor at such a period.
They were seized by a kind of panic, and imagined forsooth that a broken
down and disarmed people might engage in a general massacre of the Irish
Protestants. Whether this incomprehensible terror was real, is a matter
of doubt and uncertainty; or whether it was assumed as a justification
for assailing the Catholics in a general massacre, similar to that
which they apprehended, or pretended to apprehend, is also a matter of
question; yet certain it is, that a proposal to massacre them in cold
blood was made in the Privy Council. "But," says O'Connor, "the humanity
of the members rejected this barbarous proposal, and crushed in its
infancy a conspiracy hatched in Lurgan to extirpate the Catholics of
that town and vicinity."

In the meantime, so active was the persecuting spirit of such men
as Whitecraft and Smellpriest that a great number of the unfortunate
priests fled to the metropolis, where, in a large and populous city,
they had a better chance of remaining _incogniti_ than when living
in the country, exposed and likely to be more marked by spies and
informers. A very dreadful catastrophe took place about this time. A
congregation of Catholic people had heard mass upon an old loft, which
had for many years been decayed--in fact, actually rotten. Mass was
over, and the priest was about to give them the parting benediction,
when the floor went down with a terrific crash. The result was dreadful.
The priest and a great many of the congregation were killed on the spot,
and a vast number of them wounded and maimed for life. The Protestant
inhabitants of Dublin sympathized deeply with the sufferers, whom
they relieved and succored as far as in them lay, and, by their
remonstrances, Government was shamed into a more human administration of
the laws.

In order to satisfy our readers that we have not overdrawn our picture
of what the Catholics suffered in those unhappy times, we shall give a
quotation from the. Messrs. Chambers, of Edinburgh, themselves fair and
liberal men, and as impartial as they are able and well informed:

"Since the pacification of Limerick, Ireland had been ruled exclusively
by the Protestant party, who, under the influence of feelings arising
from local and religious antipathies, had visited the Catholics with
many severities. The oath which had excluded the Catholics from
office had been followed, in 1698, by an Act of the Irish Parliament,
commanding all Romish priests to leave the kingdom, under the penalty
of transportation, a return from which was to be punishable by death.
Another law decreed forfeiture of property and civil rights to all
who should send their children abroad to be educated in the Catholic
faith."*

     * "History and Present State of the British Empire."
     Edinburgh, W. and R. Chambers.

Can any reasonable person be in doubt for a moment that those laws were
laws of extermination? In the meantime, let us hear the Messrs. Chambers
further:

"After the death of William, who was much opposed to severities on
account of religion, Acts of still greater rigor were passed for
preventing the growth of Popery. Any child of a Roman Catholic who
should declare himself a Protestant was entitled to become the heir of
his estate, the father merely holding it for his lifetime, and having
no command over it. Catholics were made incapable of succeeding to
Protestants, and lands, passing over them, were to go to the next
Protestant heir. Catholic parents were prevented from being guardians,to
their own children; no Protestant possessing property was to be
permitted to marry a Catholic; and Catholics were rendered incapable
of purchasing landed property or enjoying long leases. These measures
naturally rendered the Catholics discontented I subjects, and led to
much turbulence. The common people of that persuasion, being denied all
access to justice, took it into their own hands, and acquired all those
lawless habits for which they have since been remarkable. Treachery,
cruelty, and all the lower passions, were called into vigorous exercise.
Even the Protestants, for their own sakes, were often obliged to connive
at the evasion of laws so extremely severe, and which introduced much
difficulty in their dealings with Catholics; but, when any Protestant
wished to be revenged upon a Catholic, or to extort money from him, he
found in these laws a ready instrument for his purpose. By an additional
Act, in 1726, it was ordained that a Roman Catholic priest, marrying a
Protestant to a Catholic, should suffer death; and in order that legal
redress might be still less accessible to the Catholics, it was enacted,
in 1728, that no one should be entitled to practise as an attorney who
had not been two years a Protestant."

This is a clear and succinct epitome of the penal laws; true, much more
might be added; but it is enough to say that those who sow the wind will
reap the whirlwind. It is not by placing restrictions upon creeds or
ceremonies that religion can ever be checked, much less extinguished.
Like the camomile plant, the more it is trampled on the more it will
spread and grow; as the rude winds and the inclemency of the elements
only harden and make more vigorous the constitutions of those who
are exposed to them. In our state of the world, those who have the
administration of political laws in their hands, if they ever read
history, or can avail themselves of the experiences of ages, ought to
know that it is not by severity or persecution that the affections
of their fellow-subjects can be conciliated. We ourselves once knew
a brutal ruffian, who was a dealer in fruit in the little town of
Maynooth, and whose principle of correcting his children was to continue
whipping the poor things until they were forced to laugh! A person was
one day present when he commenced chastising one of them--a child of
about seven--upon this barbarous principle. This individual was then
young and strong, and something besides of a pugilist; but on witnessing
the affecting efforts of the little fellow to do that which was not
within the compass of any natural effort, he deliberately knocked the
ruffian down, after having first remonstrated with him to no purpose. He
arose, however, and attacked the other, but, thanks to a good arm and a
quick eye, he prostrated him again, and again, and again; he then
caught him by the throat, for he was already subdued, and squeezing his
windpipe to some purpose, the fellow said, in a choking voice, "Are you
going to kill me?"

"No," replied the other, "I only want to see the length of your tongue;
don't be alarmed, the whole thing will end merrily; come, now, give
three of the heartiest laughs you ever gave in your life, or down goes
your apple-cart--you know what that means?"

"I--I c--a--n'--t," said he.

"Yes, you can," replied his castigator; "nothing's more easy; come, be
merry."

The caitiff, for he was a coward, and wanted bottom, upon getting a
little wind, whilst the other held him by the throat, gave three of the
most ludicrous, but disastrous, howls that ever were witnessed. On his
opponent letting him go, he took to his heels, but got a kick on going
out that was rather calculated to accelerate his flight. Legislators,
therefore, ought to know that no political whipping will ever make a
people laugh at the pleasure of it.

But to resume our narrative. England, now apprehensive, as we have said,
of a descent of the French upon her southern coast, and startled by the
successes of the young Pretender, who had cut Cope's army to pieces,
deemed it expedient to send over the celebrated Earl of Chesterfield
as Viceroy, with instructions to relax the rigor of the laws, and
conciliate the Catholics, as well as he could, so, at least, as to
prevent them from joining the Pretender, whose object it was understood
to be to cross the frontier and march upon London. Lord Chesterfield's
policy afforded great gratification to the Catholics, who were now
restored to their usual privileges; and its political object was so far
successful that, as we have said, not a single man of them ever joined
the Pretender. Still, the liberal Protestants, or, as they were termed,
the patriotic party, were not satisfied with the mere removal of the
Catholic restrictions. Ireland, at that time, was studded with men, or
rather with monsters, like Smellpriest and Whitecraft, who were stained
with the blood of their fellow-subjects and fellow-Christians. Sir
Robert Whitecraft, especially, was now in a bad position, although he
himself was ignorant of it. The French Ambassador demanded satisfaction,
in the name of his Court and the French nation, for the outrage that had
been committed upon a French. subject, and by which international
law was so grossly violated. We must say here that Whitecraft, in the
abundance of his loyalty and zeal, was in the habit, in his searches
after priests, and suspected lay Catholics, to pay domiciliary visits to
the houses of many Protestant magistrates, clergymen, and even gentlemen
of wealth and distinction, who were suspected, from their known enmity
to persecution, of harboring Catholic priests and others of that
persuasion; so that, in point of fact, he had created more enemies in
the country than any man living. The Marquis of------, Mr. Hastings, Mr.
Brown, together with a great number of the patriotic party, had
already transmitted a petition to the Lord Lieutenant, under the former
Administration; but it was not attended to, the only answer they got
having been a simple acknowledgment of its receipt. This, on coming
to Sir Robert's ears, which it did from one of the underlings of the
Castle, only gave a spur to his insolence, and still more fiercely
stimulated his persecuting spirit. He felt conscious that Government
would protect him, or rather reward him, for any acts of violence which
he might commit against the Catholic party, and so far, under his own
pet Administration, he was right.

The petition we have alluded to having been treated with studied
contempt, the persons and party already mentioned came to the
determination of transmitting another, still more full and urgent, to
the new Viceroy, whose feeling it was, for the reasons we have stated,
to reverse the policy of his predecessor.

His liberal administration encouraged them, therefore, to send him
a clear statement of the barbarous outrages committed by such men as
Smellpriest and Sir Robert Whitecraft, not only against his Majesty's
Roman Catholic subjects, but against many loyal Protestant magistrates,
and other Protestants of distinction and property, merely because they
were supposed to entertain a natural sympathy for their persecuted
fellow-subjects and fellow-countrymen. They said that the conduct of
those men and of the Government that had countenanced and encouraged
them had destroyed the prosperity of the country by interrupting and
annulling all bonafide commercial transactions between, Protestants and
Catholics. That those men had not only transgressed the instructions
they received, from his predecessor, but all those laws that go to the
security of life and property. That they were guilty of several cruel
and atrocious murders, arsons, and false imprisonments, for which they
were never brought to account; and that, in fine, they were steeped
in crime and blood, because they knew that his predecessor, ignorant,
perhaps, of the extent of their guilt, threw his shield over them, and
held them irresponsible to the laws for those savage outrages.

They then stated that, in their humble judgment, a mere relaxation in
the operation of the severe and penal laws against Catholics would not
be an act of sufficient atonement to them for all they had greviously
suffered; that to overlook, or connive at, or protect those great
criminals would be at variance, not only with all principles of justice,
but with the spirit of the British Constitution itself, which never
recognizes, much less encourages, a wicked and deliberate violation of
its own laws. That the present was a critical moment, which demanded
great judgment and equal humanity in the administration of the laws in
Ireland. A rebellion was successfully progressing in Scotland, and it
appeared to them that not only common justice but sound policy ought to
prompt the Government to attract and conciliate the Catholic population
of Ireland by allowing them to participate in the benefits of the
Constitution, which hitherto existed not for them, thousands of whom,
finding their country but a bed of thorns, might, from a mere sense of
relief, or, what was more to be dreaded, a spirit of natural vengeance,
flock to the standard of the Pretender.

His excellency, already aware of the startling but just demand which
had been made by the French Ambassador, for the national insult by
Whitecraft to his country, was himself startled and shocked by the
atrocities of those blood-stained delinquents.

His reply, however, was brief, but to the purpose.

His secretary acknowledged the receipt of the memorial, and stated that
the object of his Excellency was not to administer the laws in cruelty,
but in mercy; that he considered all classes of his Majesty's subjects
equally entitled to their protection; and that with respect to the
persons against whom such serious charges and allegations had been made,
he had only to say, that if they were substantiated against them in a
court of justice, they must suffer like other criminals--if they can be
proved, Government will leave them, as it would any common felons, to
the laws of the country. His Excellency is determined to administer
those laws with the strictest impartiality, and without leaning to any
particular class or creed. So far as the laws will allow him, their
protection shall be extended, on just and equal principles to the poor
and to the rich, to the Catholic and to the Protestant.

This communication, which was kept strictly secret, reached the Marquis
of ---- at a critical period of our narrative. Whitecraft, who was
ignorant of it, but sufficiently aware of the milder measures which the
new Administration had adopted, finding that the trade of priest-hunting
and persecution was, for the present, at an end, resolved to accelerate
his marriage with Miss Folliard, and for this purpose he waited upon her
father, in order to secure his consent. His object was to retire to
his English estates, and there pass the remainder of his life with his
beautiful but reluctant bride. He paid his visit about two o'clock, and
was told that Miss Folliard and her father were in the garden. Hither he
accordingly repaired, and found the squire, his daughter, and Reilly, in
the green-house. When the squire saw him he cried out, with something
of a malicious triumph: "Hallo, Sir Robert! why art thou so pale,
young lover? why art thou so pale?--and why does thy lip hang,
Sir Robert?--new men, new measures, Sir Robert--and so, 'Othello's
occupation's gone,' and the Earl of Chesterfield goes to mass every
Sunday, and is now able to repeat his padareem in Irish."

"I am glad to find you so pleasant, Mr. Folliard; but I'm delighted to
see the beautiful state of your green-house--oh, Miss Folliard!--excuse
me. Your back was to me, and you were engaged in trailing that beautiful
shrub; allow me the honor of shaking hands with you."

"Sir Robert, I bid you good-day, but you see that I have my garden
gloves on; you will excuse me."

"Oh, Miss Folliard," he replied, "your will is the spirit of the British
Constitution to me."

"A spirit which, I fear, you have too frequently violated, Sir Robert;
but, as papa says, I believe your cruel occupation is gone--at least I
hope so."

"'Gad, you got it there, Sir Robert," replied her father, laughing.

"I must confess it," replied the baronet; "but I think, in order to
ingratiate myself with Miss Folliard, I shall take whatever side she
recommends me. How, Mr. Folliard," he proceeded, fixing his eyes upon
Reilly--"what the deuce is this? Have you got Robinson Crusoe here?"

"We have," replied the squire; "but his man Friday has got married to a
Tipperary woman, and he's now in quest of a desert, island for him and
her to settle in."

"I think, papa," said Helen, "that if the principles of Sir Robert and
his class were carried out, he would not have far to go to look for
one."

"Another hit, Bob, you dog--another hit. W'ell said, Helen--well said,
I say. Crusoe, you villain, hold up your head, and thank God you're
christened."

"Wid de help o' Gad, shir, I was christhened afwhore, sure, by de
priesht."

This visit occurred about six weeks after the appointment of the new
Viceroy to the Government of Ireland, and about five after the sheriff's
illness.

"Come, Whitecraft," said the squire, "come and let us have lunch: I'll
hold a crown I give you as good a glass of Burgundy as you gave me the
other day, and will say done first."

"Won't Miss Folliard join us at lunch?" asked Whitecraft, looking to her
for an assent.

"Why, I suppose so," replied her father; "won't you come, Helen?"

"You know, papa, I never lunch."

"'Gad, and neither you do, Helen. Come, Sir Robert, we will have a
mouthful to eat, and something good to wash it down; come along, man.
what the devil are you scrutinizing poor old Robinson Crusoe for? Come
along. I say, the old chap is making the green-house thrive; he beats
Malcomson. Here. Malcomson, you know Sir Robert Whitecraft, don't you?"

"Hout, your honor, wha' disna ken Sir Robert Whitecraft? Isn't his name
far and near, as a braw defender o' the faith, and a putter down o'
Papistry?"

"By the way, Malcomson," said Sir Robert, "where did you get Robinson
Crusoe, by which I mean that wild-looking man in the green-house?"

"Saul, sir, it's a question I never speered at him. He cam' here as a
gaberlunzie, and on stating that he was indoctrinated in the sceence o'
buttany, his honor garred me employ him. De'il hae't but the truth I'll
tell--he's a clever buttanist, and knows a' the sceentific names aff
hand."

"So that's all you know about him?" said Sir Robert. "He has a devil of
a beard, and is shockingly dressed. Why doesn't he shave?"

"Ou, just some Papistry nonsense," replied the gardener; "but we hae
naething to do wi' that, sae lang's we get the worth o' our siller out
o' him."

"Here's a shilling, Malcomson," said Sir Robert.

"Na, na, your honor; a shilling's no for a man that understands the
sceence o' buttany: a shilling's for a flunky in livery; but as for me,
I couldna conscientiously condescend upon less than ten o' them, or
may be a pund British, but I'm feart that's contrair to your honor's
habits."

"Well, then," said Sir Robert, "I have no more silver, and so I leave
you to the agreeable society of Robinson Crusoe."

Reilly had watched Sir Robert's motions, as well as his countenance, in
a manner as furtively as possible. Sometimes, indeed, he stared at him
broadly, and with a stupid, oafish look, and again placed himself in
such a position behind the range of flower-pots which were placed upon
the ledges, that he could observe him without being perceived himself.
The force of habit, however, is extraordinary. Our hero was a man
exceedingly remarkable for personal cleanliness, and consequently made a
point to wash his hands morning and evening with peculiar care. Be this
as it may, the lynx eye of Sir Robert observed their whiteness, and he
instantly said to himself, "This is no common laborer; I know that he
is not, from the whiteness of his hands. Besides, he is disguised; it is
evident from the length of his beard, and the unnecessary coarseness of
his apparel. Then his figure, the symmetry and size of which no disguise
can conceal; this, and everything else, assures me that he is disguised,
and that he is, besides, no other individual than the man I want,
William Reilly, who has been hitherto my evil genius; but it shall go
hard with me, or I shall be his now." Such were his meditations as he
passed along with the squire to join him at lunch.

When they had left the garden, Reilly addressed his _Cooleen Bawn_ as
follows:

"Helen, I am discovered."

"Discovered! O my God, no!"

"Unquestionably, there is no doubt of it; it is certain."

"But how do you know that it is certain?"

"Because I observed that Whitecraft's eyes were never off my hands; he
knew that a common laborer could not possibly have such hands. Helen, I
am discovered, and must fly."

"But you know that there is a change of Administration, and that the
severity of the laws has been relaxed against Catholics."

"Yes, you told me so, and I have no fear for myself; but what I
apprehend is that this discovery, of which I feel certain, will
precipitate your marriage with that miscreant; they will entrap you into
it, and then I am miserable for ever."

"Then, William, we must fly this very night; we will proceed to the
Continent, to some Protestant state, where we can get married without
any danger to the clergyman who may unite us."

"It is all that is left for us," replied Reilly; "I should sooner lose
life than you, my beloved Helen; and now, what is to be done? fly we
must; and in anticipation of the necessity of this step I left a suit of
clothes with Lanigan: or rather with a poor widow, who was a pensioner
of mine--a Mrs. Buckley, from whom Lanigan got them, and has them. I
could not think of accompanying you in this vile dress. On your way in,
try to see Lanigan, and desire him to come out to me. There is not a
moment to be lost; and, my dear Helen, show no marks of agitation; be
calm and firm, or we are undone."

"Rely on me, dear Reilly, rely on me; I shall, send Lanigan to you."

She left him, and went to her room, when she rang the bell, and her
maid, the faithful Connor, who had been restored to her service, came to
her.

"Connor," said she, "I shall not be able to dine with papa to-day,
especially as that wretch Whitecraft is likely to dine with him. Go to
Lanigan, and tell him to come to me, for I wish to know if he has any
thing light and delicate that he could send to my room; Connor, I am
very unhappy."

"But, miss, sure they say that the laws are changed, and that Mr. Reilly
may go at large if he wishes."

"I know that, Connor; but send Lanigan to me immediately."

"When Lanigan entered he found the _Cooleen Bawn_ in tears.

"My God, Miss Folliard," said he, "what is the matter with you? why are
you crying, or what have they done to you?"

"Lanigan," she replied, wiping her eyes, "you and Connor only are in our
secret; we must fly this night."

"This night, Miss Folliard!"

"This night, Lanigan; and you must assist us."

"To the last drop of my blood, I will."

"Lanigan, Reilly is discovered."

"Discovered, miss! good God, how was he discovered?"

"By his hands--by the whiteness of his beautiful hands. Now, Lanigan,
Sir Robert, aware that he cannot act the tyrant at present, as he used
to do, will instigate my father to some act of outrage against him;
for you know, Lanigan, how cowardly, how cruel, how vindictive, the
detestable villain is; and most assuredly he will make my credulous and
generous, but hot-tempered, father the instrument of his vengeance
upon Reilly; and, besides, he will certainly urge him to bring about
an immediate marriage between himself and me, to which, it is true, I
would, and will die, sooner than consent. I will dine here, Lanigan, for
I cannot bear to look upon my dear father, whom I am about to--" Here
her tears interrupted her, and she could proceed no farther; at
length she recovered herself, and resumed: "I know," she added, "that
Whitecraft is now detailing his discovery and his plans. Oh!! that, for
Reilly's sake, I could become acquainted with them!"

"What would you wish for dinner, Miss Folliard?" asked Lanigan calmly.

"For dinner? oh, any thing, any thing; I care not what; but see Reilly,
tell him I have a second key for the back gate in the garden, and also
for the front; and, Lanigan--"

"Well, Miss Folliard; but, for God's sake, don't cry so; your eyes will
get red, and your father may notice it."

"True, thank you, Lanigan; and Reilly, besides, told me to keep myself
calm; but how can I, Lanigan? Oh, my father! my beloved father! how can
I abandon--desert him? No, Lanigan, I will not go; say to Reilly--say
I have changed my mind; tell him that my affection for my father has
overcome my love for him; say I will never marry--that my heart is
his, and never will or can be another's. But then again--he, the
noble-minded, the brave, the generous, the disinterested--alas! I know
not what to do, Lanigan, nor how to act. If I remain here, they will
strive to force this odious marriage on me; and then some fearful
catastrophe will happen; for, sooner than marry Whitecraft, I would
stab either him or myself. Either that, Lanigan, or I should go mad;
for do you know, Lanigan, that there is insanity in our family, by my
father's side?"

"Unfortunately I know it, Miss Folliard; your uncle died in a mad-house,
and it was in that way the estate came to your father. But remember
what you say Mr. Reilly told you; be calm; I will send up some light
nourishing dinner to you, at the usual hour; and in the meantime I will
see him before then, and forge some excuse for bringing it up myself."

"Stay, Lanigan, I am sadly perplexed; I scarcely know what I say; I
am in a state of inconceivable distraction. Suppose I should change my
mind; it is not unlikely; I am whirled about by a crowd of contending
emotions; but--well--let me see--oh, yes--it will be as well, Lanigan,
to have two horses ready saddled; that is no crime, I hope, if we should
go. I must, of course, put on my riding habit."

"Begging your pardon, Miss Folliard, you'll do no such thing; would you
wish to have yourself discovered in the first inn you might put up at?
No, dress yourself in one of Connor's dresses so that you may appear as
humble as possible, and any thing but a lady of rank; otherwise, it will
be difficult for you to escape observation."

"Well, Lanigan, all I can say is, that he and I shall place ourselves
under your advice and guidance. But my father--oh, my dear father!" and
again she wrung her hands and wept bitterly.

"Miss Helen," said he, "as sure as the Lord's in heaven, you will
discover yourself; and, after all, how do you know that Sir Robert has
found out Mr. Reilly? Sure it's nothing but bare suspicion on both your
parts. At any rate, I'll saddle Paudeen O'Rafferty wid my own hands, and
I'll put on Molly Crudden's big pillion, for you know she's too fat to
walk to mass, and you will feel yourself quite easy and comfortable in
it"

"No, no, Lanigan; I know not why the impression is on me; but I feel as
if I were never to experience comfort more. Go to Mr. Reilly; make
what arrangements he and you may think proper, and afterwards you can
acquaint me with them. You see, Lanigan, in what a state of excitement
and uncertainty I am. But tell Reilly that, rather than be forced into a
marriage, with Whitecraft--rather than go distracted--rather than
die--I shall fly with him."




CHAPTER XIX.--Reilly's Disguise Penetrated

--Fergus Reilly is on the Trail of the Rapparee--He Escapes--Sir Robert
begins to feel Confident of Success.


Lanigan, on passing the dining parlor, heard what he conceived to be
loud and angry voices inside the room, and as the coast was clear
he deliberately put his ear to the key-hole, which ear drank in the
following conversation:

"I say, Sir Robert, I'll shoot the villain. Do not hold me. My pistols
are unloaded and loaded every day in the year; and ever since I
transported that rebel priest I never go without them. But are you sure,
Sir Robert? Is it not possible you may be mistaken? I know you are a
suspicious fellow; but still, as I said, you are, for that very reason,
the more liable to be wrong. But, if it is he, what's to be done, unless
I shoot him?"

"Under the last Administration, sir, I could have answered your
question; but you know that if you shoot him now you will be hanged.
All that's left for us is simply to effect this marriage the day after
tomorrow; the documents are all ready, and in the course of to-morrow
the license can be procured. In the meantime, you must dispatch him
to-night."

"What do you mean, Sir Robert?"

"I say you must send him about his business. In point of fact, I think
the fellow knows that he is discovered, and it is not unlikely that he
may make an effort to carry off your daughter this very night."

"But, Sir Robert, can we not seize him and surrender him to the
authorities? Is he not an outlaw?"

"Unfortunately, Mr. Folliard, he is not an outlaw; I stretched a little
too far there. It is true I got his name put into the _Hew and-Cry_, but
upon representations which I cannot prove."

"And why did you do so, Sir Robert?"

"Why, Mr. Folliard, to save your daughter."

The old man paused.

"Ah," he exclaimed, "that is a bad business--I mean for you; Sir Robert;
but we will talk it over. You shall stop and dine with me; I want some
one to talk with--some one who will support me and keep me in spirits;"
and as he spoke he sobbed bitterly. "I wish to God," he exclaimed, "that
neither I nor Helen--my dear Helen--had ever seen that fellow's face.
You will dine with me, Bob?"

"I will, upon the strict condition that you keep yourself quiet, and
won't seem to understand any thing."

"Would you recommend me to lock her up?"

"By no means; that would only make matters worse. I shall dine with
you, but you must be calm and quiet, and not seem to entertain any
suspicions."

"Very well, I shall; but what has become of our lunch? Touch the bell."

This hint sent Lanigan downstairs, who met the butler coming up with it.

"Why, Pat," said he, "what kept you so long with the lunch?"

"I was just thinking," replied Pat, "how it would be possible to poison
that ugly, ill-made, long-legged scoundrel, without poisoning my master.
What's to be done, Lanigan? He will marry this darlin' in spite of us.
And sure, now we have our privileges once more, since this great Earl
came to rule over us; and sure, they say, he's a greater gentleman than
the king himself. All I can say is, that if this same Sir Robert forces
the Cooleen Baum to such an unnatural marriage, I'll try a dose, hit or
miss, for a cowheel anyway."

Lanigan laughed, and the butler passed on with the lunch.

We may state here that the squire, notwithstanding his outspoken manner
against Popery, like a terrible reverend baronet not long deceased,
who, notwithstanding his discovery of the most awful Popish plots, and
notwithstanding the most extravagant denunciations against Popery, like
him, we say, the old squire seldom had more than one or two Protestant
servants under his roof. Pat hated Longshanks, as he termed him, as did
all the household, which, indeed, was very natural, as he was such a
notorious persecutor of their religion and their clergy.

Lanigan lost no time in acquainting Reilly with what he had heard, and
the heart of the latter palpitated with alarm on hearing that the
next day but one was likely to join his _Cooleen Bawn_, by violent and
unnatural proceedings, to the man whom she so much detested. He felt
that it was now time to act in order to save her. Arrangements were
consequently made between them as to the time and manner of their
escape, and those arrangements, together with the dialogue he had
overheard, Lanigan communicated to the _Cooleen Bawn_.

The squire on that day experienced strange alternations of feeling.
His spirits seemed to rise and sink, as the quicksilver in the glass is
affected by the state of the atmosphere. He looked into the future with
terror, and again became, to the astonishment of his guest--we now talk
of their conduct after dinner--actuated by some thought or impulse that
put him into high spirits. Whitecraft, cool and cautious, resolved
to let him have his way; for the squire was drinking deeply, and the
Burgundy was good and strong.

"Bob, my boy," said he, "you don't drink, and that is a bad sign. You
have either a bad head of late, or a bad heart, which is worse. Hang
you, sir, why don't you drink? I have seen you lay lots of my guests
under the table when you were quite cool; but now, what are you at? They
can't run away to-night. Helen doesn't know that the discovery has been
made. And now, Bob, you dog, listen to me, I say--would you have had the
manliness and courage to expose yourself for the sake of a pretty girl
as he did?--that is--here's a bumper to Helen! Curse you, will nothing
make you drink? No, faith, he hadn't seen Helen at the time; it was for
a worthless old fellow like me that he exposed himself; but no matter,
you may be right; perhaps it was a plot to get acquainted with her.
Still, I'm not sure of that; but if it was, I'll make him smart."

After dinner the squire drank deeply--so deeply, indeed, that Whitecraft
was obliged to call up some of the male servants to carry him to his
chamber and put him to bed. In this task Lanigan assisted, and thanked
his stars that he was incapacitated from watching the lovers, or taking
any means to prevent their escape. As for Whitecraft, thought he, I will
soon send him about his business. Now, this gentleman's suspicions were
the more deeply excited, in consequence of Helen's refusal to meet
him at either lunch or dinner, a refusal which she gave on the plea of
indisposition. He had therefore made up his mind to watch the motions
of _Cooleen Bawn_, and he would have included Reilly in his surveillance
were it not that Lanigan informed him of what he termed the mysterious
disappearance of the under-gardener.

"What!" exclaimed Whitecraft, "is he gone?"

"He has gone, Sir Robert, and he left his week's wages behind him, for
he never came to the steward to ask it. And now, Sir Robert, to tell you
the truth, I'm not sorry he's gone; he was a disagreeable old fellow,
that nobody could make either head or tail of; but, Sir Robert,
listen--wait, sir, till I shut the door--it will soon be getting dusk:
you know you're not liked in the country, and now that we--I mean the
Catholics--have the countenance of Government, I think that riding late
won't be for your health. The night air, you know, isn't wholesome to
some people. I am merely givin' you a hint, Sir Robert, bekaise you are
a friend of my masther's, and I hope for your own sake you'll take it.
The sooner you mount your horse the better; and if you be guided by me,
you'll try and reach your own house before the darkness sets in. Who
knows what Reilly may be plotting? You know he doesn't like a bone in
your honor's skin; and the Reillys are cruel and desperate."

"But, Lanigan, are you aware of any plot or conspiracy that has been got
up against my life?"

"Not at all, your honor; but I put it to yourself, sir, whether you
don't feel that I'm speaking the truth."

"I certainly know very well," replied the baronet, "that I am
exceedingly unpopular with the Popish party; but, in my conduct towards
them, I only carried out the laws that had been passed against them."

"I know that, Sir Robert, and, as a Catholic, I am sorry that you and
others were supported and egged on by such laws. Why, sir, a hangman
could--give the same excuse, because if he put a rope about your neck,
and tied his cursed knot nately under your left ear, what was he doin'
but fulfillin' the law as you did? And now, Sir Robert, who would
shake hands with a hangman, unless some unfortunate highway robber or
murderer, that gives him his hand because he knows that he will never
see his purty face agin. This discourse is all folly, however--you
haven't a minute to lose--shall I order your horse?"

"Yes, you had better, Lanigan," replied the other, with a dogged
appearance of cowardice and revenge. He could not forgive Lanigan the
illustration that involved the comparison of the hangman; still his
conscience and his cowardice both whispered to him that the cook was in
the right.

This night was an eventful one. The course of our narrative brings us
and our readers to the house of Captain Smellpriest, who had for his
next-door neighbor the stalwart curate of the parish, the Rev. Samson
Strong, to whom some allusion has been I already made in these
pages. Now the difference between Smellpriest and Whitecraft was
this--Smellpriest was not a magistrate, as Whitecraft was, and in his
priest-hunting expeditions only acted upon warrants issued by some
bigoted and persecuting magistrate or other who lived in the district.
But as his propensity to hunt those unfortunate persons was known, the
execution of the warrants was almost in every instance entrusted to his
hands. It was not so with Sir Robert, who, being himself a magistrate,
might be said to have been in the position at once of judge and
executioner. At all events, the race of blood was pretty equal between
them, so far as the clergy was concerned; but in general enmity to
the Catholic community at large, Whitecraft was far more cruel and
comprehensive in his vengeance. It is indeed an observation founded upon
truth and experience, that in all creeds, in proportion to his ignorance
and bigotry, so is the violence of the persecutor. Whitecraft, the
self-constituted champion of Protestantism, had about as much religion
as Satan himself--or indeed less, for we are told that he believes
and trembles, while Whitecraft, on the contrary, neither believed nor
trembled. But if he did not fear God, he certainly feared man, and
on the night in question went home with as craven a heart--thanks
to Lanigan--as ever beat in a coward's bosom. Smellpriest, however,
differed from Whitecraft in many points; he was brave, though cruel, and
addicted to deep potations. Whitecraft, it is true, drank more deeply
still than he did; but, by some idiosyncrasy of stomach or constitution,
it had no more effect upon him than it had upon the cask from which it
had been drawn, unless, indeed, to reduce him to greater sobriety and
sharpen his prejudices.

Be this as it may, the Rev. Samson Strong made his appearance in
Smellpriest's house with a warrant, or something in the shape of one,
which he placed in the gallant captain's hands, who was drunk.

"What's this, oh, Samson the Strong? said Smellpriest, laughing and
hiccuping both at the same time.

"It's a hunt, my dear friend. One of those priests of Baal has united
in unholy bands a Protestant subject with a subject of the harlot of
abominations."

"Samson, my buck," said Smellpriest, "I hope this Popish priest of yours
will not turn out to be a wild-goose. You know you have sent me upon
many a wild-goose chase before; in--in--in fact, you nev--never sent me
upon any other. You're a blockhead, oh, divine Samson; and that--that
thick head of yours would flatten a cannon-ball. But what is it?--an
intermarriage between the two P's--Popish and Protestant?"

"My dear," said his wife, "you must be aware that the Popishers have
only got liberty to clatter their beads in public; but not to marry a
Popisher to a Protestanter. This is a glorious opportunity for you to
come home with a feather in your cap, my dear. Has he far to go, Mr.
Strong? because he never goes out after the black game, as you call
them, sir, that I don't feel as if I--but I can't express what I feel at
his dear absence."

Now we have said that Smellpriest was drunk, which, in point of fact,
was true; but not so drunk but that he observed some intelligent glances
pass between his wife and the broad-shouldered curate.

"No, madam, only about two miles. Smellpriest, you know Jack Houlaghan's
stripe?"

"Yes--I know Jack Houlaghan's stripe, in Kilrudden."

"Well, when you g'et to the centre of the stripe, look a little to
your right, and--as the night is light enough--you will see a house--a
cottage rather; to this cottage bring your men, and there you will find
your game. I would not, captain, under other circumstances, advise you
to recruit your spirits with an additional glass or two of liquor; but,
as the night is cold, I really do recommend you to fortify yourself with
a little refreshment."

He was easily induced to do so, and he accordingly took a couple of
glasses of punch, and when about to mount his horse, it was found that
he could not do so without the assistance of his men who were on duty,
in all about six, every one of whom, as well as the captain himself, was
well armed. It is unnecessary to state to the reader that the pursuit
was a vain one. They searched the house to no purpose; neither priest
or friar was there, and he, consequently, had the satisfaction of
performing another wild-goose chase with his usual success, whenever the
Rev. Samson Strong sent him in pursuit. In the meantime the moon went
down, and the night became exceedingly dark; but the captain's spirits
were high and boisterous, so much so that they began to put themselves
forth in song, the song in question being the once celebrated satire
upon James the Second and Tyrconnell, called "Lillibullero," now "The
Protestant Boys." How this song gained so much popularity it is
difficult to guess, for we are bound to say that a more pointless and
stupid production never came from the brain of man. Be this as it may,
we must leave the gallant captain and his gang singing it in full
chorus, and request our readers to accompany us to another locality.

The sheriff had now recovered from a dreadful attack of the prevailing
epidemic, and was able to resume his duties. In the meantime he had
heard of the change which had taken place in the administration of
affairs at headquarters--a change at which he felt no regret, but rather
a good deal of satisfaction, as it relieved him from the performance of
very disagreeable and invidious duties, and the execution of many severe
and inhuman laws. He was now looking over and signing some papers, when
he rang the bell, and a servant entered. "Tom," said he, "there is an
old man, a poor mendicant, to call here, who was once a servant in our
family; when he comes show him into the office. I expect some important
family information from him respecting the property which we are
disputing about in the Court of Chancery."

"Very well, sir," replied the servant, "I shall do so."

This occurred on the day of Whitecraft's visit to Squire Folliard, and
it was on the evening of the same that Smellpriest was sent upon the
usual chase, on the information of the Rev. Samson Strong; so that the
events to which we have alluded occurred, as if by some secret relation
to each other, on the same day.

At length our friend Fergus entered the office, in his usual garb of an
aged and confirmed mendicant.

"Well, Reilly," said the sheriff, "I am glad you have come. I could have
taken up this ruffian, this Red Rapparee, as he is properly called, upon
suspicion; but that would have occasioned delay; and it is my object
to lodge him in jail this night, so as to give him no chance of escape
unless he breaks prison; but in order to prevent that, I shall give
strict injunctions, in consequence of the danger to be apprehended from
so powerful and desperate a character, that he be kept in strong irons."

"If it be within the strength of man, sir, to break prison, he will; he
done it twice before; and he's under the notion that he never was born
to be hanged; some of the ould prophecy men, and Mary Mahon, it seems,
tould him so."

"In the meantime, Reilly, we shall test the truth of such prophecies.
But listen. What is your wish that I should do for you, in addition to
what I have already done. You know what I have promised you, and that
for some time past, and that I have the Secretary's letter stating that
you are free, and have to dread neither arrest nor punishment; but that
is upon the condition that you shall give all the evidence against this
man that you are possessed of. In that case the Government will also
bountifully reward you besides."

"The Government need not think of any such thing, your honor," replied
Reilly; "a penny of Government money will never cross my pocket. It
isn't for any reward I come against this man, but because he joined the
blood-hounds of Sir Robert Whitecraft against his own priests and his
own religion; or at last against the religion he professed, for I don't
think he ever had any."

"Well, then, I can make you one of my officers."

"Is it to go among the poor and distressed, sir, and help, maybe, to
take the bed from undher the sick father or the sick mother, and to
leave them without a stick undher the ould roof or naked walls? No, sir;
sooner than do that I'd take to the highway once more, and rob like
a man in the face of danger. That I may never see to-morrow," he
proceeded, with vehemence, "but I'd rather rob ten rich men than
harish one poor family. It was that work that druv me to the coorse I
left--that an' the persecution that was upon us. Take my word, sir,
that in nineteen cases out of twenty it was the laws themselves, and the
poverty they brought upon the country, that made the robbers."

"But could you not give evidence against some others of the gang?"

"No, sir; there is not one of them in this part of the kingdom, and I
believe the most of them all are out of it altogether. But, even if they
were not, I, sir, am not the man to betray them; the Red Rapparee would,
if he could get at them; but, thank God, I've put every man of them
beyond his reach."

"You did! and pray, now, why, may I ask, did that happen?"

"Bekaise it came to my ears that it was his intention to inform against
them, and to surrender them all to the Government."

"Well, Reilly, after all, I believe you to be an honest fellow, even
although you were once a robber; but the question now is, what is to be
done? Are you sure of his whereabouts?"

"I think so, sir; or, if I am not, I know one that is. But I have an
observation to make. You know, sir, I would a' gone abroad, a freeman
before this time, only that it's necessary I should still keep on my
disguise, in ordher that I may move about as I wish until I secure this
Red Rapparee. After that, sir, please God, I'll taste a mouthful of
freedom. In the meantime I know one, as I said, that will enable us to
make sure of him."

"Pray, who is that?"

"Tom Steeple, sir."

"Do you mean the poor fool of that name--or rather, I believe, of that
nickname?"

"I do, sir; and in many things he's less of a fool than wiser men. He
has been dodg-in' him for the last two or three days; and he's a
person that no one would ever suspect, unless, indeed, the cautious and
practised Rapparees; but in ordher to meet any such suspicion, I have
got upon the right trail myself--we're sure of him now, I think."

"Well, Reilly," proceeded the sheriff, "I leave the management of the
capture of this man to yourself. You shall have a strong and determined
party to support you. Do you only show them the man, and, take my word
for it, they will secure the robber. After this affair is over you must
throw off those rags. I will furnish you with decent clothes, and you
can go out at large without fear or risk, and that under your own name
too. I took your hint, and declined swearing the informations against
him before the old squire, as I had intended, from an apprehension that
he might possibly blab the fact to Whitecraft, who, if your information
be correct, would have given him notice to fly, or otherwise concealed
him from justice."

"Well, sir," said Reilly, "it's my opinion that the Rapparee will lodge
in Sligo jail before to-morrow mornin'; and it's a thousand pities that
Whitecraft shouldn't be sent there to keep him company."

"He certainly is the most unpopular man living. In the exuberance of his
loyalty he has contrived to offend almost every liberal Protestant
in the county, and that with an unjustifiable degree of wanton, and
overbearing insolence, arising from his consciousness of impunity.
However, thank God, his day is gone by. But, mark me, Reilly--I had
almost forgotten--don't neglect to secure the clothes in which the
villain robbed me; they will be important."

"I had no intention of forgetting them, sir; and that scheme for
throwing the guilt of his own villany on Mr. Reilly is another reason
why I appear against him."

It was not, indeed, very easy for the Rapparee to escape. Whitecraft got
home safe, a little before dusk, after putting his unfortunate horse
to more than his natural speed. On his arrival he ordered wine to
be brought, and sat down to meditate upon the most feasible plan for
reinstating himself in the good graces of the new Government. After
pondering over many speculations to that effect, it occurred to him that
to secure the Rapparee, now that he could, as an agent and a guide, be
of no further use to him, was the most likely procedure to effect his
purpose. He accordingly rang for his usual attendant, and asked him if
he knew where O'Donnel was. The man replied that he waa generally in or
about Mary Mahon's.

"Then," proceeded his master, "let him be with me to-morrow morning at
eleven o'clock."

"If I see him, sir, I shall tell him."

"And say that I have something to his advantage to mention to him."

"Yes, sir; I shan't forget it."

"Now," said he, after the servant had withdrawn, and taking a bumper of
wine, "I know not how it is, but I feel very uncomfortable somehow.
I certaintly did not expect a change in the Administration, nor a
relaxation in the carrying out of the laws against Papists; and, under
this impression, I fear I have gone too far, and that I may be brought
over the coals for my conduct. I understand that the old French Abbe is
returned, and once more a resident in the family of that cursed marquis.
I think, by the way, I should go and apologize to both the marquis and
the Abbe, and throw the blame of my own violence upon the conduct and
instructions of the last Government; that, and the giving up of this
ruffianly Rapparee to the present, may do something for me. This
country, however, now that matters have taken such an unexpected turn,
shall not long be my place of residence. As for Reilly, my marriage on
the day after tomorrow with that stubborn beauty, Helen Folliard,
will place an impassable barrier between him and her. I am glad he
has escaped, for he will not be in our way, and we shall start for my
English estates immediately after the ceremony. To-morrow, however, I
shall secure the Rapparee, and hand him over to the authorities. I could
have wished to hang Reilly, but now it is impossible; still, we shall
start for England immediately after the nuptial knot is tied, for I
don't think I could consider myself safe, now that he is at large, and
at liberty to appear in his proper name and person especially after all
the mischief I have done him, in addition to the fact of my bearing away
his _Cooleen Bawn_, as she is called."

In fact, the man's mind was a turbid chaos of reflections upon the past
and the future, in which selfishness, disappointed vengeance, terror,
hypocritical policy, and every feeling that could fill the imagination
of a man possessed of a vacillating, cowardly, and cruel heart, with the
exception only of any thing that could border upon penitence or remorse.
That Miss Folliard was not indifferent to him is true; but the feeling
which he experienced towards her contained only two elements--sensuality
and avarice. Of love, in its purest, highest, and holiest sense, he was
utterly incapable; and he was not ignorant himself that, in the foul
attachment which he bore her, he was only carrying into effect the
principles of his previous life--those of a private debauchee, and a
miser. That amiable, but unhappy and distracted, lady spent that whole
evening in making preparations for her flight with Reilly. Her manner
was wild and excited; indeed, so much so that the presence of mind and
cool good sense, for which her maid Connor was remarkable, were scarcely
sufficient to guide and direct her in this distressing emergency. She
seemed to be absorbed by but one thought, and that was of her father.
His affection for her enlarged and expanded itself in her loving heart,
with a force and tenderness that nearly drove her into delirium. Connor,
in the meantime, got all things ready, she herself having entrusted the
management of every thing to her. The unhappy girl paced to and fro her
room, sobbing and weeping bitterly, wringing her hands, and exclaiming
from time to time:

"Oh, my father! my dear and loving father! is this the return I am
making you for your tenderness and affection? what am I about to do?
what steps am I going to take? to leave you desolate, with no heart for
yours to repose upon! Alas! there was but one heart that you cared for,
and in the duty and affection of that all your hopes for my happiness
lay; and now, when you awake, you will find that that heart, the very
heart | on which you rested, has deserted you! When you come down to
breakfast in the morning, and find that your own Helen, your only one,
has gone--oh! who will sustain, or soothe, or calm you in the frenzied
grief of your desolation? But alas! what can I do but escape from that
cowardly and vindictive villain--the very incarnation of oppression
and persecution; the hypocrite, the secret debauchee, the mean, the
dastardly, whose inhuman ambition was based upon and nurtured by blood?
Alas! I have but the one remedy--flight with my noble minded lover,
whom that dastardly villain would have hunted, even to his murder, or
an ignominious death, which would have been worse. This flight is not
spontaneously mine; I am forced to it, and of two evils I will choose
the least; surely I am not bound to seal my own misery forever."

Connor had by this time attempted, as far as she could, to disguise her
in one of her own dresses; but nothing could conceal the elegance and
exquisite proportion of her figure, nor the ladylike harmony and grace
of her motions. She then went to the oaken cabinet, mentioned by her
father in the opening of our narrative, and as she always had the key of
that portion of it which contained her own diamonds, and other property,
she took a casket of jewels of immense value from it, and returned to
her room, where she found Connor before her.

"Mr. Reilly is ready, miss," she said, "and is waiting for you behind
the garden; the only one I dread in the house is Andy Cummiskey; he is
so much attached to the master that I think if he knew you were about to
escape he would tell him."

"Well, Connor, we must only avoid him as well as we can; but where,
or how, shall I carry these jewels? in these slight pockets of yours,
Connor, they could not be safe."

"Well, then, can't you give them to him to keep, and they'll be safe?"

"True, Connor, so they will; but I give him a heart which he prizes
above them all. But, alas! my father! oh! Connor, shall I abandon him?"

"Do not distress yourself, my dear Miss Folliard; your father loves you
too much to hold out his anger against you long. Did you not tell me
that if Reilly was a Protestant your father said he would rather marry
you to him than to Sir Robert, the villain, with all his wealth?"

"I did, Connor, and my father certainly said so; but the serpent,
Connor, entwined himself about the poor credulous man, and succeeded
in embittering him against Reilly, who would rather go to the
scaffold--yes, and--which he would consider a greater sacrifice--rather
abandon even me than his religion. And do you think, Connor, that I do
not love my noble-minded Reilly the more deeply for this? I tell you,
Connor, that if he renounced his religion upon no other principle than
his love for me, I should despise him as a dishonorable, man, to whom it
would not be safe for me to entrust my happiness."

"Well, well; but now it is time to start, and Reilly, as I said, is
waiting for you behind the garden."

"Oh, Connor, and is it come to this? my dear papa! but I cannot go until
I see him; no, Connor, I could not; I shall go quietly into his room,
and take one look at him; probably it may be the last. Oh, my God! what
am I about to do! Connor, keep this casket until I return; I shall not
be long."

She then went to his chamber. The blinds and curtains of the windows
had not been drawn, and it occurred to her that as her dress was so
different from any which her father had ever seen on her, some
suspicion might be created should he observe it. She therefore left the
candlestick which she had brought with her on the inside sill of a
lobby window, having observed at the door that the moonlight streamed in
through the windows upon his bed. Judge of her consternation, however,
when, on entering the room, her father, turning himself in the bed,
asked:

"Is that Helen?"

"It is, papa; I thought you had been asleep, and I came up to steal my
good-night kiss without any intention of awakening you."

"I drank too much, Helen, with Whitecraft, whom wine--my
Burgundy--instead of warming, seems to turn into an icicle. However, he
is a devilish shrewd fellow. Helen, darling, there's a jug of water
on the table there; will you hand it to me; I'm all in a flame and a
fever."

She did so, and her hand trembled so much that she was near spilling it.
He took a long draught, after which he smacked his lips, and seemed to
breathe more freely.

"Helen," said he.

"Well, dear papa."

"Helen, I had something to mention to you, but--"

"Don't disturb yourself to-night, papa; you are somewhat feverish," she
added, feeling his pulse; if you will excuse me, papa, I think you drank
too much; your pulse is very quick; if you could fall into rest again it
would be better for you."

"Yes, it would; but my mind is uneasy and sorrowful. Helen, I thought
you loved me, my darling."

"Oh, could you doubt it, papa? You see I am come as usual--no, not as
usual, either--to kiss you; I will place my cheek against yours, as I
used to do, dear papa, and you will allow me to weep--to weep--and
to say that never father deserved the love of a daughter as you have
deserved mine; and never did daughter love an affectionate and indulgent
father more tenderly than your _Cooleen Bawn_ does you."

"I know it, Helen, I know it; your whole life has been a proof of it,
and will be a proof of it; I know you have no other object in this world
than to make papa happy; I know I feel that you are great-minded enough
to sacrifice everything to that."

"Well, but, papa," she continued, "for all my former offences against
you will you pity and forgive me?"

"I do both, you foolish darling; but what makes you speak so?"

"Because I feel melancholy to-night, papa; and now, papa, if ever I
should do any thing wrong, won't you pity and forgive your own _Cooleen
Bawn_?"

"Get along, you gipsy--don't be crying. What could you do that papa
wouldn't forgive you, unless to run away with Reilly? Don't you know
that you can wind me round your finger?"

"Farewell, papa," she said, weeping all the time, for, in truth, she
found it impossible to control herself; "farewell--good night! and
remember that you may have a great deal to forgive your own _Cooleen
Bawn_ some of these days."

On leaving the bedroom, where she was hurried by her feelings into
this indiscreet dialogue, she found herself nearly incapable of walking
without support. The contending affections for her father and her lover
had nearly overcome her. By the aid of the staircase she got to her
own room, where she was met by Connor, into whose arms she fell almost
helpless.

"Ah, Connor," she said, alluding to her father, whom she could not trust
herself to name, "to-morrow morning what will become of him when
he finds that I am gone? But I know his affectionate heart. He will
relent--he will relent for the sake of his own _Cooleen Bawn_. The laws
against Catholics are now relaxed, and I am glad of it. But I have one
consolation, my dear girl, that I am trusting myself to a man of honor.
We will proceed directly to the Continent;--that is, if no calamitous
occurrence should take place to prevent us; and there, after our
nuptials shall have been duly celebrated, I will live happy with
Reilly--that is, Connor, as happy as absence from my dear father will
permit me--and Reilly will live happy, and, at least, free from the
persecution of bad laws, and such villains as base and vindictive
Whitecraft. You, Connor, must accompany me to the back of the garden,
and see me off. Take this purse, Connor, as some compensation for your
truth and the loss of your situation."

It was now, when the moment of separation approached, that Connor's
tears began to flow, far less at the generosity of her mistress than
her affection, and that which she looked upon as probably their final
separation.

"Dear Connor," said her mistress, "I would expect that support to my
breaking heart which I have hitherto experienced from you. Be firm now,
for you see I am not firm, and your tears only render me less adequate
to encounter the unknown vicissitudes which lie before me."

"Well, then, I will be firm, my dear mistress; and I tell you that if
there is a God in heaven that rewards virtue and goodness like yours,
you will be happy yet. Come, now, he is waiting for you, and the less
time we lose the better. We shall go out by the back way--it is the
safest."

They accordingly did so, and had nearly reached the back wall of the
garden when they met Malcomson and Cummiskey, on their way into the
kitchen, in order to have a mug of strong ale together. The two men,
on seeing the females approach, withdrew to the shelter of a clump of
trees, but not until they were known by Connor.

"Come, my dear mistress," she whispered, "there is not one second of
time to be lost. Cummiskey, who is a Catholic, might overlook our being
here at this hour; because, although he is rather in the light of a
friend than a servant to your father, still he is a friend to Reilly as
well; but as for that ugly Scotchman, that is nothing but bone and skin,
I would place no dependence whatever upon him."

We will not describe the meeting between Reilly and the _Cooleen Bawn_.
They had no time to lose in the tender expressions of their feelings.
Each shook hands with, and bid farewell to, poor affectionate Connor,
who was now drowned in tears; and thus they set off, with a view of
leaving the kingdom, and getting themselves legally married in Holland,
where they intended to reside.




CHAPTER XX.--The Rapparee Secured

--Reilly and the _Cooleen Bawn_ Escape, and are Captured.

Cummiskey had a private and comfortable room of his own, to which he and
the cannie Scotchman proceeded, after having ordered from the butler a
tankard of strong ale. There was a cheerful fire in the grate, and
when the tankard and glasses were placed upon the table the Scotchman
observed:

"De'il be frae my saul, maisther Cummiskey, but ye're vera comfortable
here."

"Why, in troth, I can't complain, Mr. Malcomson; here's your health,
sir, and after that we must drink another."

"Mony thanks, Andrew."

"Hang it, I'm not Andrew: that sounds like Scotch; I'm Andy, man alive."

"Wfiel mony thanks, Andy; but for the maitter o' that, what the de'il
waur wad it be gin it were Scotch?"

"Bekaise I wouldn't like to be considered a Scotchman, somehow."

"Weel, Andrew--Andy--I do just suppose as muckle; gin ye war considered
Scotch, muckle more might be expeck' frae you than, being an Irisher as
you are, you could be prepared to answer to; whereas--"

"Why, hang it, man alive, we can give three answers for your one."

"Weel, but how is that now, Andy? Here's to ye in the meantime; and 'am
no savin' but this yill is just richt gude drink; it warms the pit o'
the stamach, man."

"You mane by that the pit o' the stomach, I suppose."

"Ay, just that."

"Troth, Mr. Malcomson, you Scotchers bring everything to the pit o' the
stomach--no, begad, I ax your pardon, for although you take care of the
pratie bag, you don't forget the pocket."

"And what for no, Andy? why the de'il war pockets made, gin they wanna to
be filled? but how hae ye Irishers three answers for our ane?"

"Why, first with our tongue; and even with that we bate ye--flog you
hollow. You Scotchmen take so much time in givin' an answer that an
Irishman could say his pattherin aves before you spake. You think first
and spake aftherwards, and come out in sich a way that one would suppose
you say grace for every word you do spake; but it isn't 'for what we are
to receive' you ought to say 'may the Lord make us thankful, but for
what we are to lose'--that is, your Scotch nonsense; and, in troth, we
ought to be thankful for losin' it."

"Weel, man, here's to ye, Andy--ou, man, but this yill is extraordinar'
gude."

"Why," replied Andy, who, by the way, seldom went sober to bed, and who
was even now nearly three sheets in the wind, "it is. Mr. Malcomson, the
right stuff. But, as I was sayin', you Scotchmen think first and spake
afther--one of the most unlucky practices that ever anybody had. Now,
don't you see the advantage that the Irishman has over you; he spakes
first and thinks aftherwards, and then, you know, it gives him plenty
of time to think--here's God bless us all, anyhow--but that's the way an
Irishman bates a Scotchman in givin' an answer; for if he fails by word
o' mouth, why, whatever he's deficient in he makes up by the fist or
cudgel; and there's our three Irish answers for one Scotch."

"Weel, man, a' richt--a' richt--we winna quarrel aboot it; but I thocht
ye promised to gie us another toast--de'il be frae my; saul, man, but
I'll drink as mony as you like wisiccan liquor as this."

"Ay, troth, I did say so, and devil a thing but your Scotch nonsense
put it out o' my head. And now, Mr. Malcomson, let me advise you, as a
friend, never to attempt to have the whole conversation to yourself; it
I isn't daicent.

"Weel, but the toast, man?"

"Oh, ay; troth, your nonsense would put any thing out of a man's head.
Well, you see this comfortable room?"

"Ou, ay; an vara comfortable it is; ma faith, I wuss I had ane like it.
The auld squire, however, talks o' buildin' a new gertlen-hoose."

"Well, then, fill your bumper. Here's to her that got me this room, and
had it furnished as you see, in order that I might be at my aise in it
for the remaindher o' my life--I mane the _Cooleen Bawn_--the Lily of
the Plains of Boyle. Come, now, off with it; and if you take it from
your lantern jaws! till it's finished, divil a wet lip ever I'll give
you."

The Scotchman was not indisposed to honor the toast; first, because the
ale was both strong and mellow, and secondly, because the _Cooleen Bawn_
was a great favorite of his, in consequence of the deference she paid to
him as a botanist.

"Eh, sirs," he exclaimed, after finishing | his bumper, "but she's a
bonnie lassie that, and as gude as she's bonnie--and de'il a higher
compliment she could get, I think. But, Andy, man, don't they talk some
clash and havers anent her predilection for that weel-farrant callan,
Reilly?"

"All, my poor girl," replied Cummiskey, shaking his head sorrowfully; "I
pity her there; but the thing's impossible--they can't be married--the
law is against them."

"Weel, Andy, they must e'en thole it; but 'am thinkin' they'll just
break bounds at last, an' tak' the law, as you Irish do, into their am
hands."

"What do you mane by that?" asked Andy, whose temper began to get warm by
the observation.

"Ah, man," replied the Scotchman, "dinna let your birses rise at that
gate. Noo, there's the filbert trees, ma friend, of whilk ane is male
and the tither female; and the upshot e'en is, Andy, that de'il a pickle
o' fruit ever the female produces until there's a braw halesome male
tree planted in the same gerden. But, ou, man, Andy, wasna yon she and
that bonnie jaud, Connor, that we met the noo? De'il be frae my laul,
but I jalouse she's aff wi' him this vara nicht."

"Oh, dear, no!" replied Cummiskey, starting; "that would kill her
father; and yet there must be something in it, or what would bring them
there at such an hour? He and she may love one another as much as they
like, but I must think of my mas-ther."

"In that case, then, our best plan is to gie the alarm."

"Hould," replied Andy; "let us be cautious. They wouldn't go on foot,
I think; and before we rise a ruction in the house, let us find out
whether she has made off or not. Sit you here, and I'll try to see
Connor, her maid."

"Ah, but, Andy, man, it's no just that pleasant to sit hei-e dry-lipped;
the tankard's, oot, ye ken."

"Divil tankard the Scotch sowl o'you--who do you suppose could think of
a tankard, or any thing else, if what we suspect has happened? It will
kill him."

He then proceeded to look for Connor, whom he met in tears, which she
was utterly unable to conceal.

"Well, Miss Connor," he asked, "what's the matther? You're cryin', I
persave."

"All, Cummiskey, my mistress is unwell."

"Unwell! why she wasn't unwell a while ago, when the gardener and I met
her and you on your way to the back o' the garden."

"Oh, yes," replied Connor; "I forced her to come out, to try what a
little cool air-might do for her."

"Ay, but, Connor, did you force her to come in again?"

"Force! there was no force necessary, Cummiskey. She's now in her own
room, quite ill."

"Oh, then, if she's quite ill, it's right that her father should know
it, in ordher that a docther may be sent for."

"Ah, but she's now asleep, Cummiskey--that sleep may set her to rights;
she may waken quite recovered; but you know it might be dangerous to
disturb her."

"Ah, I believe you," he replied, dissembling; for he saw at once, by
Connor's agitated manner, that every word she uttered was a lie; "the
sleep will be good for her, the darlin'; but take care of her, Connor,
for the masther's sake; for what would become of him if any thing
happened her? You know that if she died he wouldn't live a week."

"That's true, indeed," she replied; "and if she get's worse, Cummiskey,
I'll let the master know."

"That's a good girl; ma gragal that you! war--good-by, acushla," and he
immediately! returned to his own room, after having observed that Connor
went down to the kitchen.

"Now, Mr. Malcomson," said he, "there is a good fire before you. I ax
your pardon--just sit in the light of it for a minute or so; I want this
candle."

"'Am sayin', Andy, gin ye haud awa to the kitchen, it wadna be a crime
to send up anither tankard o' that yill."

To this the other made no reply, but walked out of the room, and very
deliberately proceeded to that of Helen. The door was open, the bed
unslept upon, the window-curtains undrawn; in fact, the room was
tenantless, Connor a liar and an accomplice, and the suspicions of
himself and Malcomson well founded. He then followed Connor to the
kitchen; but she too had disappeared, or at least hid herself from him.
He then desired the other female servants to ascertain whether Miss
Folliard was within or not, giving it as his opinion that she had eloped
with Willy Reilly. The uproar then commenced, the house was
searched, but no _Cooleen Bawn_ was found. Cummiskey himself remained
comparatively tranquil, but his tranquillity was neither more nor less
than an inexpressible sorrow for what he knew the affectionate old man
must suffer for the idol of his heart, upon whom he doted with such
unexampled tenderness and affection. On ascertaining that she was not
in the house, he went upstairs to his master's bedroom, having the
candlestick in his hand, and tapped at the door. There was no reply
from within, and on his entering he found the old man asleep. The
case, however, was one that admitted of no delay; but he felt that to
communicate the melancholy tidings was a fearful task, and he scarcely
knew in what words to shape the event which had occurred. At length he
stirred him gently, and the old man, half asleep, exclaimed:

"Good-night, Helen--good-night, darling! I am not well; I had something
to tell you about the discovery of--but I will let you know it to-morrow
at breakfast. For your sake I shall let him escape: there now, go to
bed, my love."

"Sir," said Cummiskey, "I hope you'll excuse me for disturbing you."

"What? who? who's there? I thought it was my daughter."

"No, sir, I wish it was; I'm come to tell you that Miss Folliard can't
be found: we have searched every nook and corner of the house to no
purpose: wherever she is, she's not undher this roof. I came to tell
you, and to bid you get up, that we may see what's to be done."

"What," he exclaimed, starting up, "my child!--my child--my child gone!
God of heaven! God of heaven, support me!--my darling! my treasure! my
delight!--Oh, Cummiskey!--but it can't be--to desert me!--to leave me in
misery and sorrow, brokenhearted, distracted!--she that was the prop of
my age, that loved me as never child loved a, father! Begone, Cummiskey,
it is not so, it can't be, I say: search again; she is somewhere in the
house; you don't know, sirra, how she loved me: why, it was only this
night that, on taking her good-night kiss, she--ha--what? what?--she
wept, she wept bitterly, and bade me farewell! and said--Here,
Cummiskey, assist me to dress. Oh, I see it, Cummiskey, I see it! she
is gone! she is gone! yes, she bade me farewell; but I was unsteady and
unsettled after too much drink, and did not comprehend her meaning."

It is impossible to describe the almost frantic distraction of that
loving father, who, as he said, had no prop to lean upon but his
_Cooleen Bawn_, for he himself often loved to call her by that
appellation.

"Cummiskey," he proceeded, "we will pursue them--we must have my
darling back: yes, and I will forgive her, for what is she but a
child, Cummiskey, not yet twenty. But in the meantime I will shoot him
dead--dead--dead--if he had a thousand lives; and from this night out
I shall pursue Popery, in all its shapes and disguises; I will imprison
it, transport it, hang it--hang it, Cummiskey, as round as a hoop. Ring
the bell, and let Lanigan unload, and then reload my pistols; he always
does it; his father was my grandfather's gamekeeper, and he understands
fire-arms. Here, though, help me on with my boots first, and then I will
be dressed immediately. After giving the pistols to Lanigan, desire the
grooms and hostlers to saddle all the horses in the stables. We must set
out and pursue them. It is possible we may overtake them yet. I will
not level a pistol against my child; but, by the great Boyne! if we meet
them, come up with them, overtake them, his guilty spirit will stand
before the throne of judgment this night. Go now, give the pistols to
Lanigan, and tell him to reload them steadily."

We leave them now, in order that we may follow the sheriff and his
party, who went to secure the body of the Red Rapparee. This worthy
person, not at all aware of the friendly office which his patron, Sir
Robert, intended to discharge towards him, felt himself quite safe, and
consequently took very little pains to secure his concealment. Indeed,
it could hardly be expected that he should, inasmuch as Whitecraft had
led him to understand, as we have said, that Government had pardoned
him his social trangressions, as a _per contra_ for those political ones
which they still expected from him. Such was his own view of the case,
although he was not altogether free from misgiving, and a certain vague
apprehension. Be this as it may, he had yet to learn a lesson which his
employer was not disposed to teach him by any other means than handing
him over to the authorities on the following day. How matters might have
terminated between him and the baronet it is out of our power to detail.
The man was at all times desperate and dreadful, where either revenge
or anger was excited, especially as he labored under the superstitious
impression that he was never to be hanged or perish by a violent death,
a sentiment then by no means uncommon among persons of his outrageous
and desperate life. It has been observed, and with truth, that the Irish
Rapparees seldom indulged in the habit of intoxication or intemperance,
and this is not at all to be wondered at. The meshes of authority
were always spread for them, and the very consciousness of this fact
sharpened their wits, and kept them perpetually on their guard against
the possibility of arrest. Nor was this all. The very nature of the
lawless and outrageous life they led, and their frequent exposure to
danger, rendered habits of caution necessary--and those were altogether
incompatible with habits of intemperance. Self-preservation rendered
this policy necessary, and we believe there are but few instances on
record of a Rapparee having been arrested in a state of intoxication.
Their laws, in fact, however barbarous they were in other matters,
rendered three cases of drunkenness a cause of expulsion from the gang.
O'Donnel, however, had now relaxed from the rigid observation of his own
rules, principally for the reasons we have already stated--by which we
mean, a conviction of his own impunity, as falsely communicated to him
by Sir Robert Whitecraft. The sheriff had not at first intended to be
personally present at his capture; but upon second consideration he came
to the determination of heading the party who were authorized to secure
him. This resolution of Oxley's had, as will presently be seen, a
serious effect upon the fate and fortunes of the _Cooleen Bawn_ and her
lover. The party, who were guided by Tom Steeple, did not go to Mary
Mahon's, but to a neighboring cottage, which was inhabited by a
distant relative of O'Donnel. A quarrel had taken place between the
fortune-teller and him, arising from his jealousy of Sir Robert, which
caused such an estrangement as prevented him for some time from visiting
her house. Tom Steeple, however, had haunted him as his shadow, without
ever coming in contact with him personally, and on this night he had
him set as a soho man has a hare in her form. Guided, therefore, by the
intelligent idiot and Fergus, the party readied the cottage in which
the Rapparee resided. The house was instantly surrounded and the door
knocked at, for the party knew that the man was inside.

"Who is there?" asked the old woman who kept the cottage.

"Open the door instantly," said the sheriff, "or we shall smash it in."

"No, I won't," she replied; "no, I won't, you bosthoon, whoever you are.
I never did nothin' agin the laws, bad luck to them, and I won't open my
door to any strolling vagabone like you."

"Produce the man we want," said the sheriff, "or we shall arrest you
for harboring an outlaw and a murderer. Your house is now surrounded by
military, acting under the king's orders."

"Give me time," said the crone; "I was at my prayers when you came to
disturb me, and I'll finish them before I open the door, if you were
to burn the house over my head, and myself in it. Up," said she to the
Rapparee, "through the roof--get that ould table undher your feet--the
thatch is thin--slip out and lie on the roof till they go, and then let
them whistle jigs to the larks if they like."

The habits of escape peculiar to the Rapparees were well known to
Fergus, who cautioned those who surrounded the house to watch the roof.
It was well they did so, for in less-time than we have taken to describe
it the body of the Rapparee was seen projecting itself upwards through
the thin thatch, and in an instant several muskets were levelled at him,
accompanied by instant orders to surrender on pain of being shot. Under
such circumstances there was no alternative, and in a few minutes he was
handcuffed and a prisoner. The party then proceeded along the road on
which some of the adventures already recorded in this narrative had
taken place, when they were met, at a sharp angle of it, by Reilly and
his _Cooleen Bawn_, both of whom were almost instantly recognized by the
sheriff and his party. Their arrest was immediate.

"Mr. Reilly," said the sheriff, "I am sorry for this. You must feel
aware that I neither am or ever was disposed to be your enemy; but I now
find you carrying away a Protestant heiress, the daughter of my friend,
contrary to the laws of the land, a fact which in itself gives me the
power and authority to take you into custody, which I accordingly do in
his Majesty's name. I owe you no ill will, but in the meantime you must
return with me to Squire Folliard's house. Miss Folliard, you must, as
you know me to be your father's friend, consider that I feel it my duty
to restore you to him."

"I am not without means of defence," replied Reilly, "but the exercise
of such means would be useless. Two of your lives I might take; but
yours, Mr. Sheriff, could not be one of them, and that you must feel."

"I feel, Mr. Reilly, that you are a man of honor; and, in point of fact,
there is ample apology for your conduct in the exquisite beauty of the
young lady who accompanies you; but I must also feel for her father,
whose bereavement, occasioned by her loss, would most assuredly break
his heart."

Here a deep panting of the bosom, accompanied by violent sobs, was heard
by the party, and _Cooleen Bawn_ whispered to Reilly, in a voice nearly
stifled by grief and excitement:

"Dear Reilly, I love you; but it was madness in us to take this step;
let me return to my father--only let me see him safe?"

"But Whitecraft?"

"Death sooner. Reilly, I am ill, I am ill; this struggle is too much for
me. What shall I do? My head is swimming."

[Illustration: PAGE 140--discharged a pistol at our hero]

She had scarcely uttered these words when her father, accompanied by his
servants, dashed rapidly up, and Cummiskey, the old huntsman, instantly
seized Reilly, exclaiming, "Mr. Reilly, we have you now;" and whilst
he spoke, his impetuous old master dashed his horse to one side,
and discharged a pistol at our hero, and this failing, he discharged
another. Thanks to Lanigan, however, they were both harmless, that
worthy man having forgotten to put in bullets, or even as much powder as
would singe an ordinary whisker.

"Forbear, sir," exclaimed the sheriff, addressing Cummiskey; "unhand Mr.
Reilly. He is already in custody, and you, Mr. Folliard, may thank God
that you are not a murderer this night. As a father, I grant that an
apology may be made for your resentment, but not to the shedding of
blood."

"Lanigan! villain! treacherous and deceitful villain!" shouted the
squire, "it was your perfidy that deprived me of my revenge. Begone, you
sneaking old profligate, and never let me see your face again. You did
not load my pistols as you ought."

"No, sir," replied Lanigan, "and I thank God that I did not. It wasn't
my intention to see your honor hanged for murder."

"Mr. Folliard," observed the sheriff, you ought to bless God that
gave you a prudent servant, who had too much conscience to become the
instrument of your vengeance. Restrain your resentment for the present,
and leave Mr. Reilly to the laws of his country. We shall now proceed to
your house, where, as a magistrate, you can commit him to prison, and I
will see the warrant executed this night. We have also another prisoner
of some celebrity, the Red Rapparee."

"By sun and moon, I'll go bail for him," replied the infuriated squire.
"I like that fellow because Reilly does not. Sir Robert spoke to me in
his favor. Yes, I shall go bail for him, to any amount."

"His offence is not a bailable one," said the cool sheriff; "nor, if the
thing were possible, would it be creditable in you, as a magistrate, to
offer yourself as bail for a common robber, one of the most notorious
highwaymen of the day."

"Well, but come along," replied the squire; "I have changed my mind;
we shall hang them both; Sir Robert will assist and support me. I could
overlook the offence of a man who only took my purse; yes, I could
overlook that, but the man who would rob me of my child--of the solace
and prop of my heart and life--of--of--of--"

Here the tears came down his cheeks so copiously that his sobs prevented
him from proceeding. He recovered himself, however, for indeed he was
yet scarcely sober after the evening's indulgence, and the two parties
returned to his house, where, after having two or three glasses of
Burgundy to make his hand steady, he prepared himself to take the
sheriff's informations and sign unfortunate Reilly's committal to Sligo
jail. The vindictive tenacity of resentment by which the heart of the
ruffian Rapparee was animated against that young man was evinced, on
this occasion, by a satanic ingenuity of malice that was completely
in keeping with the ruffian's character. It was quite clear, from
the circumstances we are about to relate, that the red miscreant had
intended to rob Folliard's house on the night of his attack upon it, in
addition to the violent abduction of his daughter. We must premise here
that Reilly and the Rapparee were each strongly guarded in different
rooms, and the first thing the latter did was to get some one to inform
Mr. Folliard that he had a matter of importance concerning Reilly to
mention to him. This was immediately on their return, and before the
informations against Reilly were drawn up. Folliard, who knew not what
to think, paused for some time, and at! last, taking the sheriff along
with him, went! to hear what O'Donnel had to say.

"Is that ruffian safe?" he asked, before entering the room; "have you so
secured him that he can't be mischievous?"

"Quite safe, your honor, and as harmless as a lamb."

He and the sheriff then entered, and found the huge savage champing his
teeth and churning with his jaws, until a line of white froth encircled
his mouth, rendering him a hideous and fearful object to look at.

"What is this you want with me, you misbegotten villain," said
the squire. "Stand between the ruffian and me, fellows, in the
meantime--what is it, sirra?"

"Who's the robber now, Mr. Folliard?" he asked, with something, however,
of a doubtful triumph in his red glaring eye. "Your daughter had jewels
in a black cabinet, and I'd have secured the same jewels and your
daughter along with them, on a certain night, only for Reilly; and it
was very natural he should out-general me, which he did; but it was only
to get both for himself. Let him be searched at wanst, and, although I
don't say he has them, yet I'd give a hundred to one he has; she would
never carry them while he was with her."

The old squire, who would now, with peculiar pleasure, have acted in
the capacity of hangman in Reilly's case, had that unfortunate young man
been doomed to undergo the penalty of the law, and that no person in the
shape of Jack Ketch was forthcoming--he, we say--the squire--started
at once to the room where Reilly was secured, accompanied also by the
sheriff, and, after rushing in with a countenance inflamed by passion,
shouted out:

"Seize and examine that villain; he has robbed me--examine him
instantly: he has stolen the family jewels."

Reilly's countenance fell, for he knew his Fearful position; but
that which weighed heaviest upon his heart was a consciousness of the
misinterpretations which the world might put upon the motives of his
conduct in this elopement, imputing it to selfishness and a mercenary
spirit. When about to be searched, he said:

"You need not; I will not submit to the indignity of such an
examination. I have and hold the jewels for Miss Folliard, whose
individual property I believe they are; nay, I am certain of it, because
she told me so, and requested me to keep them For her. Let her be sent
for, and I shall hand them back to her at once, but to no other person
without violence."

"But she is not in a condition to receive them," replied the sheriff
(which was a fact); "I pledge my honor she, is not."

"Well, then, Mr. Sheriff, I place them in your hands; you can do with
them as you wish--that is, either return them to Miss Folliard, the
legal owner of them, or to her father."

The sheriff received the caske't which contained them, and immediately
handed it to Mr. Folliard, who put it in his pocket, exclaiming:

"Now, Reilly, if we can hang you for nothing else, we can hang you for
this; and we will, sir."

"You, sir," said Reilly, with melancholy indignation, "are privileged
to insult me; so, alas! is every man now; but I can retire into the
integrity of my own heart and find a consolation there of which you
cannot deprive me. My life is now a consideration of no importance to
myself since I shall die with the consciousness that your daughter loved
me. You do not hear this for the first time, for that daughter avowed
it to yourself! and if I had been mean and unprincipled enough to have
abandoned my religion, and that of my persecuted forefathers, I might
ere this have been her husband."

"Come," said Folliard, who was not prepared with an answer to this,
"come," said he, addressing the sheriff, "come, till we make out his
_mittimus_, and give him the first shove to the gallows." They then left
him.




CHAPTER XXI.--Sir Robert Accepts of an Invitation.


The next morning rumor had, as they say, her hands and tongues very full
of business. Reilly and the Red Rapparee were lodged in Sligo jail that
night, and the next morning the fact was carried by the aforesaid rumor
far and wide over the whole country. One of the first whose ears it
reached was the gallant and virtuous Sir Robert Whitecraft, who no
sooner heard it than he ordered his horse and rode at a rapid rate
to see Mr. Folliard, in order, now that Reilly was out of the way, to
propose an instant marriage with the _Cooleen Bawn_. He found the old
man in a state very difficult to be described, for he had only just
returned to the drawing-room from the strongly sentinelled chamber of
his daughter. Indignation against Reilly seemed now nearly lost in the
melancholy situation of the wretched _Cooleen Bawn_. He had just seen
her, but, somehow, the interview had saddened and depressed his heart.
Her position and the state of her feelings would have been pitiable,
even to the eye of a stranger; what, then, must they not have been to a
father who loved her as he did? "Helen," said he, as he took a chair
in her room, after her guards had been desired to withdraw for a time,
"Helen, are you aware that you have eternally disgraced your own name,
and that of your father and your family?"

Helen, who was as pale as death, looked at him with vacant and
unrecognizing eyes, but made no reply, for it was evident that she
either had not heard, or did not understand, a word he said.

"Helen," said he, "did you hear me?"

She looked upon him with a long look of distress and misery, but there
was the vacancy still, and no recognition.

This, I suppose, thought the father, is just the case with every
love-sick girl in her condition, who will not be allowed to have her own
way; but of what use is a father unless he puts all this nonsense down,
and substitutes his own judgment for that of a silly girl. I will say
something now that will startle her, and I will say nothing but what I
will bring about.

"Helen, my darling," he said, "are you both deaf and blind, that you can
neither see nor hear your father, and to-morrow your wedding-day? Sir
Robert Whitecraft will be here early; the special license is procured,
and after marriage you and he start for his English estates to spend the
honeymoon there, after which you both must return and live with me, for
I need scarcely say, Helen, that I could not live without you. Now I
think you ought to be a happy girl to get a husband possessed of such
immense property."

She started and looked at him with something like returning
consciousness. "But where is Willy Reilly?" she asked.

"The villain that would have robbed me of my property and my daughter is
now safe in Sligo jail."

A flash of something like joy--at least the father took it as
such--sparkled in a strange kind of triumph from her eyes.

"Ha," said she, "is that villain safe at last? Dear papa, I am tired of
all this--this--yes, I am tired of it, and it is time I should; but you
talked about something else, did you not? Something about Sir Robert
Whitecraft and a marriage. And what is my reply to that? why, it is
this, papa: I have but one life, sir. Now begone, and leave me, or, upon
my honor, I will push you out of the room. Have I not consented to all
your terms. Let Sir Robert come tomorrow and he shall call me his wife
before the sun reaches his meridian. Now, leave me; leave me, I say."

In this uncertain state her father found himself compelled to retire to
the drawing-room, where Sir Robert and he met.

"Mr. Folliard," said the baronet, "is this true?"

"Is what true, Sir Robert?" said he sharply.

"Why, that Reilly and the Red Rapparee are both in Sligo jail?"

"It is true, Sir Robert; and it must be a cursed thing to be in jail for
a capital crime."

"Are you becoming penitent," asked the other, "for bringing the laws of
the land to bear upon the villain that would have disgraced, and might
have ruined, your only daughter?"

The father's heart was stung by the diabolical pungency of this
question.

"Sir Robert," said he, "we will hang him if it was only to get the
villain out of the way; and if you will be here to-morrow at ten
o'clock, the marriage must take place. I'll suffer no further nonsense
about it; but, mark me, after the honeymoon shall have passed, you and
she must come and reside here; to think that I could live without her is
impossible. Be here, then, at ten o'clock; the special license is ready,
and I have asked the Rev. Samson Strong to perform the ceremony. A
couple of my neighbor Ashford's daughters will act as bridesmaids, and
I myself will give her away: the marriage articles are drawn up, as you
know, and there will be little time lost in signing them; and yet, it's
a pity to--but no matter--be here at ten."

Whitecraft took his leave in high spirits. The arrest and imprisonment
of Reilly had removed the great impediment that had hitherto lain in the
way of his marriage; but not so the imprisonment of the Red Rapparee.
The baronet regretted that that public and notorious malefactor had been
taken out of his own hands, because he wished, as the reader knows, to
make the delivering of him up to the Government one of the elements of
his reconciliation to it. Still, as matters stood, he felt on the whole
gratified at what had happened.

Folliard, after the baronet had gone, knew not exactly how to dispose
of himself. The truth is, the man's heart was an anomaly--a series of
contradictions, in which one feeling opposed another for a brief space,
and then was obliged to make way for a new prejudice equally transitory
and evanescent. Whitecraft he never heartily liked; for though the man
was blunt, he could look through a knave, and appreciate a man of
honor, with a great deal of shrewd accuracy. To be sure, Whitecraft was
enormously rich, but then he was penurious and inhospitable, two vices
strongly and decidedly opposed to the national feeling.

"Curse the long-legged scoundrel," he exclaimed; "if he should beget
me a young breed of Whitecrafts like himself I would rather my daughter
were dead than marry him. Then, on the other hand, Reilly; hang the
fellow, had he only recanted his nonsensical creed, I could--but then,
again, he might, after marriage, bring her over to the Papists, and
then, by the Boyne, all my immense property would become Roman Catholic.
By Strongbow, he'd teach the very rivers that run through it to sing
Popish psalms in Latin: he would. However, the best way is to hang him
out of the way, and when Jack Ketch has done with him, so has Helen.
Curse Whitecraft, at all events!"

We may as well hint here that he had touched the Burgundy to some
purpose; he was now in that state of mental imbecility where reason,
baffled and prostrated by severe mental suffering and agitation, was
incapable of sustaining him without having recourse to the bottle. In
the due progress of the night he was helped to bed, and had scarcely
been placed and covered up there when he fell fast asleep.

Whitecraft, in the meantime, suspected, of course, or rather he was
perfectly aware of the fact, that unless by some ingenious manoeuvre,
of which he could form no conception, a marriage with the _Cooleen Bawn_
would be a matter of surpassing difficulty; but he cared not, provided
it could be effected by any means, whether foul or fair. The attachment
of this scoundrel to the fair and beautiful _Cooleen Bawn_ was composed
of two of the worst principles of the heart--sensuality and avarice;
but, in this instance, avarice came in to support sensuality. What the
licentious passions of the debauchee might have failed to tempt him to,
the consideration of her large fortune accomplished. And such was the
sordid and abominable union of the motives which spurred him on to the
marriage.

The next morning, being that which was fixed for his wedding-day, he was
roused at an early hour by a loud rapping at his hall-door. He started
on his elbow in the bed, and ringing the bell for his valet, asked, when
that gentleman entered his apartment half dressed, "What was the matter?
what cursed knocking was that? Don't they know I can hunt neither priest
nor Papist now, since this polite viceroy came here."

"I don't know what the matter is, Sir Robert; they are at it again;
shall I open the door, sir?"

"Certainly; open the door immediately."

"I think you had better dress, Sir Robert, and see what they want."

The baronet threw his long fleshless shanks out of the bed, and began to
get on his clothes as fast as he could.

"Ha!" said he, when he was nearly dressed, "what if this should be
a Government prosecution for what I have undertaken to do on my own
responsibility during the last Administration? But no, surely it cannot
be; they would have given me some intimation of their proceedings. This
was due to my rank and station in the country, and to my exertions, a
zealous Protestant, to sustain the existence of Church and State. Curse
Church and State if it be! I have got myself, perhaps, into a pretty
mess by them."

He had scarcely uttered the last words when Mr. Hastings, accompanied by
two or three officers of justice, entered his bedroom.

"Ah, Hastings, my dear friend, what is the matter? Is there any thing
wrong, or can I be of any assistance to you? if so, command me. But we
are out of power now, you know. Still, show me how I can assist you. How
do you do?" and as he spoke he put his hand out to shake hands with. Mr.
Hastings.

[Illustration: PAGE 143--No, Sir Robert, I cannot take your hand]

"No, Sir Robert, I cannot take your hand, nor the hand of any man that
is red with the blood of murder. This," said he, turning to the officers,
"is Sir Robert Whitecraft; arrest him for murder and arson."

"Why, bless me, Mr. Hastings, are you mad? Surely, I did nothing, unless
under the sanction and by the instructions of the last Government?"

"That remains to be seen, Sir Robert; but, at all events, I cannot enter
into any discussion with you at present. I am here as a magistrate.
Informations have been sworn against you by several parties, and you
must now consider yourself our prisoner and come along with us. There is
a party of cavalry below to escort you to Sligo jail."

"But how am I to be conveyed there? I hope I will be allowed my own
carriage?"

"Unquestionably," replied Mr. Hastings; "I was about to have proposed it
myself. You shall be treated with every respect, six."

"May I not breakfast before I go?"

"Certainly, sir; we wish to discharge our duty in the mildest possible
manner."

"Thank you, Hastings, thank you; you were always a good-hearted,
gentlemanly fellow. You will, of course, breakfast with me; and these
men must be attended to."

And he rang the bell.

"I have already breakfasted, Sir Robert; but even if I had not, it would
not become me, as your prosecutor, to do so; but perhaps the men--"

"What," exclaimed the baronet, interrupting him, you my prosecutor! For
what, pray?"

"That will come in time," replied the other; "and you may rest assured
that I would not be here now were I not made aware that you were about
to be married to that sweet girl whom you have persecuted with such a
mean and unmanly spirit, and designed to start with her for England this
day."

Whitecraft, now that he felt the dreadful consequences of the awful
position in which he was placed, became the very picture of despair and
pusillanimity; his complexion turned haggard, his eyes wild, and his
hands trembled so much that he was not able to bring the tea or bread
and butter to his lips; in fact, such an impersonation of rank and I
unmanly cowardice could not be witnessed. He rose up, exclaiming, in
a faint and hollow voice, that echoed no other sensation than that of
horror:

"I cannot breakfast; I can eat nothing. What a fate is this! on the very
day, too, which I thought would have consummated my happiness! Oh, it is
dreadful!"

His servant then, by Mr. Hastings' orders, packed up changes of linen
and apparel in his trunk, for he saw that he himself had not the
presence of mind to pay attention to any thing. In the course of a few
minutes the carriage was ready, and with tottering steps he went down
the stairs, and was obliged to be assisted into it by two constables,
who took their places beside, him. Mr. Hastings bowed to him coldly,
but said nothing; the coachman smacked his whip, and was about to start,
when he turned round and said:

"Where am I to drive, Sir Robert?"

"To Sligo jail," replied one of the constables, "as quick as you can
too."

The horses got a lash or two, and bounded on, whilst an escort of
cavalry, with swords drawn, attended the coach until it reached its
gloomy destination, where we will leave it for the present.

The next morning, as matters approached to a crisis, the unsteady old
squire began to feel less comfortable in his mind than he could have
expected. To say truth, he had often felt it rather an unnatural process
to marry so lovely a girl to "such an ugly stork of a man as Whitecraft
was, and a knave to boot. I cannot forget how he took me in by the
'Hop-and-go-constant' affair. But then he's a good Protestant--not that
I mean he has a single spark of religion in his nondescript carcass;
but in those times it's not canting and psalm-singing we want, but good
political Protestantism, that will enable us to maintain our ascendancy
by other means than praying. Curse the hound that keeps him? Is this a
day for him to be late on? and it now half past ten o'clock; however,
he must come soon; but, upon my honor, I dread what will happen when
he does. A scene there will be no doubt of it; however, we must only
struggle through it as well as we can. I'll go and see Helen, and try to
reconcile her to this chap, or, at all events, to let her know at once
that, be the consequences what they may, she must marry him, if I were
myself to hold her at the altar."

When he had concluded this soliloquy, Ellen Connor, without whose
society Helen could now scarcely live, and who, on this account, had not
been discharged after her elopement, she, we say, entered the room,
her eye resolute with determination, and sparkling with a feeling which
evinced an indignant sense of his cruelty in enforcing this odious
match. The old man looked at her with surprise, for, it was the first
time she had ever ventured to obtrude her conversation upon him,or to
speak, unless when spoken to.

"Well, madam," said he, "what do you want? Have you any message from
your mistress? if not, what brings you here?"

"I have no message from my mistress," she replied in a loud, if not in
a vehement, voice; "I don't think my mistress is capable of sending a
message; but I came to tell you that the God of heaven will soon send
you a message, and a black one too, if you allow this cursed marriage to
go on."

"Get out, you jade--leave the room; how is it your affair?"

"Because I have what you want--a heart of pity and affection in my
breast. Do you want to drive your daughter mad, or to take her life?"

"Begone, you impudent hussy; why do you dare to come here on such an
occasion, only to annoy me?"

"I will not begone," she replied, with a glowing cheek, "unless I am put
out by force--until I point out the consequences of your selfish tyranny
and weakness. I don't come to annoy you, but I come to warn you, and to
tell you, that I know your daughter better than you do yourself. This
marriage must not go on; or, if it does, send without delay to a lunatic
asylum for a keeper for that only daughter. I know her well, and I tell
you that that's what it'll come to."

The squire had never been in the habit of being thus addressed by any of
his servants; and the consequence was that the thing was new to him; so
much so that he felt not only annoyed, but so much astounded, that he
absolutely lost, for a brief period, the use of his speech. He looked at
her with astonishment--then about the room--then up at the ceiling, and
at length spoke:

"What the deuce does all this mean? What are you driving at? Prevent the
marriage, you say?"

"If the man," proceeded Connor, not even waiting to give him an
answer--"if the man--had but one good point--one good quality--one
virtue in his whole composition to redeem him from contempt and
hatred--if he had but one feature in his face only as handsome as
the worst you could find in the devil's--yes, if he had but one good
thought, or one good feature in either his soul or body, why--vile as
it would be--and barbarous as it would be--and shameful and cruel as it
would be--still, it would have the one good thought, and the one good
feature to justify it. But here, in this deep and wretched villain,
there is nothing but one mass of vice and crime and deformity; all
that the eye can ses, or the heart discover, in his soul or body, is as
black, odious, and repulsive as could be conceived of the worst imp
of perdition. And this is the man--the persecutor--the miser--the
debauchee--the hypocrite--the murderer, and the coward, that you are
going to join your good--virtuous--spotless--and beautiful daughter
to! Oh, shame upon you, you heartless old man; don't dare to say, or
pretend, that you love her as a father ought, when you would sacrifice
her to so base and damnable a villain as that. And again, and what is
more, I tell you not to prosecute Reilly; for, as sure as the Lord
above is in heaven, your daughter is lost, and you'll not only curse
Whitecraft, but the day and hour in which you were born--black and
hopeless will be your doom if you do. And now, sir, I have done; I felt
it to be my duty to tell you this, and to warn you against what I know
will happen unless you go back upon the steps you have taken."

She then courtesied to him respectfully, and left the room in a burst of
grief which seized her when she had concluded.

Ellen Connor was a girl by no means deficient in education--thanks to
the care and kindness of the _Cooleen Bawn_, who had herself instructed
her. 'Tis true, she had in ordinary and familiar conversation a touch
of the brogue; but, when excited, or holding converse with respectable
persons, her language was such as would have done no discredit to many
persons in a much higher rank of life.

After she had left the room, Folliard looked towards the door by
which she had taken her exit, as if he had her still in his vision.
He paused--he meditated--he walked about, and seemed taken thoroughly
aback.

"By earth and sky," he exclaimed, "but that's the most comical affair I
have seen yet. Comical! no, not a touch of comicality in it. Zounds, is
it possible that the, jade has coerced and beaten me?--dared to beard
the lion in his own den--to strip him, as it were, of his claws, and
to pull the very fangs out of his jaws, and, after all, to walk away in
triumph? Hang me, but I must have a strong touch of the coward in me
or I would not have knuckled as I did to the jade. Yet, hold--can I, or
ought I to be angry with her, when I know that this hellish racket all
proceeded from her love to Helen. Hang me, but she's a precious bit
of goods, and I'll contrive to make her a present, somehow, for her
courage. Beat me! by sun and sky she did."

He then proceeded to Helen's chamber, and ordered her attendants out of
the room; but, on looking at her, he felt surprised to perceive that
her complexion, instead of being pale, was quite flushed, and her
eyes flashing with a strange wild light that he had never seen in them
before.

"Helen," said he, "what's the matter, love? are you unwell?"

She placed her two snowy hands on her temples, and pressed them tightly,
as if striving to compress her brain and bring it within the influence
of reason.

"I fear you are unwell, darling," he continued; "you look flushed and
feverish. Don't, however, be alarmed; if you're not well, I'd see that
knave of a fellow hanged before I'd marry you to him, and you in that
state. The thing's out of the question, my darling Helen, and must not
be done. No: God forbid that I should be the means of murdering my own
child."

So much, we may fairly presume, proceeded from the pithy lecture of
Ellen Connor; but the truth was, that the undefinable old squire was the
greatest parental coward in the world. In the absence of his daughter
he would rant and swear and vapor, strike the ground with his staff, and
give other indications of the most extraordinary resolution, combined
with fiery passion, that seemed alarming. No sooner, however, did he go
into her presence, and contemplate not only her wonderful beauty, but
her goodness, her tenderness and affection for himself, than the bluster
departed from him, his resolution fell, his courage oozed away, and he
felt that he was fairly subdued, under which circumstances he generally
entered into a new treaty of friendship and affection with the enemy.

Helen's head was aching dreadfully, and she felt feverish and
distracted. Her father's words, however, and the affection which they
expressed, went to her heart; she threw her arms about him, kissed him,
and was relieved by a copious flood of tears.

"Papa," she said, "you are both kind and good; surely you wouldn't kill
your poor Helen?"

"Me kill you, Helen!--oh, no, faith. If Whitecraft were hanged to-morrow
it wouldn't give me half so much pain as if your little finger ached."

Just at this progress of the dialogue a smart and impatient knock came
to the door.

"Who is that?" said the squire; "come in--or, stay till I see who you
are." He than opened the door and exclaimed, "What! Lanigan!--why, you
infernal old scoundrel! how dare you have the assurance to look me in
the face, or to come under my roof at all, after what I said to you
about the pistols?"

"Ay, but you don't know the good news I have for you and Miss Helen."

"Oh, Lanigan, is Reilly safe?--is he set at large? Oh, I am sure he must
be. Never was so noble, so pure, and so innocent a heart."

"Curse him, look at the eye of him," said her father, pointing his cane
at Lanigan; "it's like the eye of a sharp-shooter. What are you grinning
at; you old scoundrel?"

"Didn't you expect Sir Robert Whitecraft here to-day to marry Miss
Folliard, sir?"

"I did, sirra, and I do; he'll be here immediately."

"Devil a foot he'll come to-day, I can tell you; and that's the way he
treats your daughter!"

"What does this old idiot mean, Helen? Have you been drinking, sirra?"

"Not yet, sir, but plaise the Lord I'll soon be at it."

"Lanigan," said Helen, "will you state at once what you have to say?"

"I will, miss; but first and foremost, I must show you how to dance the
'Little House under the Hill,'" and as he spoke he commenced whistling
that celebrated air and dancing to it with considerable alacrity and
vigor, making allowances for his age.

The father and daughter looked at each other, and Helen, notwithstanding
her broken spirits, could not avoid smiling. Lanigan continued the
dance, kept wheeling about to all parts of the room, like an old madcap,
cutting, capering, and knocking up his heels against his ham, with a
vivacity that was a perfect mystery to his two spectators, as was his
whole conduct.

"Now, you drunken old scoundrel," said his master, catching him by the
collar and flourishing the cane over his head, "if you don't give a
direct answer I will cane you within an inch of your life. What do you
mean when you say that Sir Robert Whitecraft won't come here to-day?"

"Becaise, sir, it isn't convanient to him."

"Why isn't it convenient, you scoundrel?"

"Bekaise, sir, he took it into his head to try a change of air for the
benefit of his health before he starts upon his journey; and as he got
a very friendly invitation to spend some time in Sligo jail he accepted
it, and if you go there you will find him before you. It seems he
started this morning in great state, with two nice men belonging to the
law in the carriage with him, to see that he should want for nothing,
and a party of cavalry surroundin' his honor's coach, as if he was one
of the judges, or the Lord Lieutenant."

The figurative style of his narrative would unquestionably have caused
him to catch the weight of the cane aforesaid had not Helen interfered
and saved him for the nonce.

"Let me at him, Helen, let me at him--the drunken old rip; why does he
dare to humbug us in this manner?"

"Well, then, sir, if you wish to hear the good news, and especially you,
Miss Folliard, it will probably relieve your heart when I tell you that
Sir Robert Whitecraft is, before this time, in the jail of Sligo, for
a charge of murdher, and for burnin' Mr. Reilly's house and premises,
which it now seems aren't Mr. Reilly's at all--nor ever were--but
belong to Mr. Hastings."

"Good heavens!" exclaimed the squire, "this is dreadful: but is it true,
sirra?"

"Why, sir, if you go to his house you'll find it so."

"Oh, papa," said Helen, "surely they wouldn't hang him?"

"Hang him, Helen; why, Helen, the tide's turned; they want to make him
an example for the outrages that he and others have committed against
the unfortunate Papists. Hang him!--as I live, he and the Red Rapparee
will both swing from the same gallows; but there is one thing I say--if
he hangs I shall take care that that obstinate scoundrel, Reilly, shall
also swing along with him."

Helen became as pale as ashes, the flush had disappeared from her
countenance, and she burst again into tears.

"Oh, papa," she exclaimed, "spare Reilly: he is innocent."

"I'll hang him," he replied, "if it should cost me ten thousand pounds.
Go you, sirra, and desire one of the grooms to saddle me Black Tom; he
is the fastest horse in my stables; I cannot rest till I ascertain the
truth of this."

On passing the drawing-room he looked in, and found Mr. Strong and
the two Misses Ashford waiting, the one to perform, and the others to
attend, at the ceremony.

"Sir. Strong and ladies," said he, with looks of great distraction, "I
fear there will be no marriage here to-day. An accident, I believe, has
happened to Sir Robert Whitecraft that will prevent his being a party in
the ceremony, for this day at least."

"An accident!" exclaimed the ladies and the clergyman. "Pray, Mr.
Folliard, what is it? how did it happen?"

"I am just going to ride over to Sir Robert's to learn everything about
it," he replied; "I will be but a short time absent. But now!" he added,
"here's his butler, and I will get everything from him. Oh, Thomas, is
this you? follow me to my study, Thomas."

As the reader already knows all that Thomas could tell him, it is only
necessary to say that he returned to the drawing-room with a sad and
melancholy aspect.

"There is no use," said he, addressing them, "in concealing what will
soon be known to the world. Sir Robert Whitecraft has been arrested on a
charge of murder and arson, and is now a prisoner in the county jail."

This was startling intelligence to them all, especially to the parson,
who found that the hangman was likely to cut him out of his fees.
The ladies screamed, and said, "it was a shocking thing to have that
delightful man hanged;" and then asked if the bride-elect had heard it.

"She has heard it," replied her father, "and I have just left her in
tears; but upon my soul, I don't think there is one of them shed for
him. Well, Mr. Strong, I believe, after all, there is likely to be no
marriage, but that is not your fault; you came here to do your duty, and
I think it only just--a word with you in the next apartment," he added,
and then led the way to the dining-room. "I was about to say, Mr.
Strong, that it would be neither just nor reasonable to deprive you of
your fees; here is a ten-pound note, and it would have been twenty had
the marriage taken place. I must go to Sligo to see the unfortunate
baronet, and say what can be done for him--that is, if anything can,
which I greatly doubt."

The parson protested, against the receipt of the ten-pound note very
much in the style of a bashful schoolboy, who pretends to refuse an
apple from a strange relation when he comes to pay a visit, whilst, at
the same time, the young monkey's chops are watering for it. With some
faint show of reluctance he at length received it, and need we say that
it soon disappeared in one of his sanctified pockets.

"Strong, my dear fellow," proceeded the squire, "you will take a seat
with these ladies in their carriage and see them home."

"I would, with pleasure, my dear friend, but that I am called upon to
console poor Mrs. Smellpriest for the loss of the captain."

"The captain! why, what has happened him?"

"Alas! sir, an unexpected and unhappy fate. He went out last night a
priest-hunting, like a godly sportsman of the Church, as he was, and on
his return from an unsuccessful chase fell off his horse while in
the act of singing that far-famed melody called 'Lillibullero,'
and sustained such severe injuries that he died on that very night,
expressing a very ungodly penitence for his loyalty in persecuting so
many treasonable Popish priests."

The squire seemed amazed, and, after a pause, said:

"He repented, you say; upon my soul, then, I am glad to hear it, for
it is more than I expected from him, and, between you and me, Strong, I
fear it must have taken a devilish large extent of repentance to clear
him from the crimes he committed against both priests and Popery."

"Ah," replied Strong, with a groan of deep despondency, "but,
unfortunately, my dear sir, he did not repent of his sins--that is the
worst of it--Satan must have tempted him to transfer his repentance to
those very acts of his life upon which, as Christian champion, he
should have depended for justification above--I mean, devoting his great
energies so zealously to the extermination of idolatry and error. What
was it but repenting for his chief virtues, instead of relying, like a
brave and dauntless soldier of our Establishment, upon his praiseworthy
exertions to rid it of its insidious and relentless enemies?"

The squire looked at him.

"I'll tell you what, Strong---by the great Boyne, I'd give a trifle to,
see you get a smart touch of persecution in your own person; it might
teach you a little more charity towards those who differ with you; but,
upon my honor, if any change in our national parties should soon take
place, and that the Papists should get the upper hand, I tell you to
your teeth that if ever your fat libs should be tickled by the whip of
persecution, they would render you great injustice who should do it for
the sake of religion--a commodity with which I see, from the spirit
of your present sentiments, you are not over-burdened. However, in the
meantime, I daresay that whatever portion you possess of it, you will
charitably expend in consoling his widow, as you say. Good-morning!"

We must return, however, to the close of Smellpriest's very sudden and
premature departure from the scene of his cruel and merciless labors.
Having reached the strip already described to him by Mr. Strong, and to
which he was guided by his men, he himself having been too far advanced
in liquor to make out his way with any kind of certainty, he proceeded,
still under their direction, to the cottage adjoining, which was
immediately surrounded by the troopers. After knocking at the door with
violence, and demanding instant admittance, under the threat of smashing
it in, and burning the house as a harbor for rebellious priests,
the door was immediately opened by a gray-headed old man, feeble and
decrepit in appearance, but yet without any manifestation of terror
either in his voice or features. He held a candle in his hand, and asked
them, in a calm, composed voice, what it was they wanted, and why they
thus came to disturb him and his family at such an unseasonable hour.

"Why, you treasonable old scoundrel," shouted Smellpriest, "haven't
you got a rebel and recusant Popish priest in the house? I say, you
gray-headed old villain, turn him out on the instant, or, if you
hesitate but half a minute, well make a bonfire of you, him, the house,
and all that's in it. Zounds, I don't see why I shouldn't burn a house
as well as Whitecraft. That cursed baronet is getting ahead of me, but
I think I am entitled to a bonfire as well as he is. Shall we burn the
house?" he added, addressing his men.

"I think you had better not, captain," replied the principal of them;
"recollect there are new regulations now. It wouldn't be safe, and might
only end in hanging every man of us--yourself among the rest."

"But why doesn't the old rebel produce the priest?" asked their leader.
"Come here, sirra--hear me--produce that lurking priest immediately."

"I don't exactly understand you, captain," replied the old man, who
appeared to know Smellpriest right well. "I don't think it's to my house
you should come to look for a priest."

"Why not, you villain? I have been directed here, and told that I would
find my game under your roof."

"In the first place," replied the old man, with a firm and intrepid
voice, "I am no villain; and in the next, I say, that if any man
directed you to this house in quest of a priest, he must have purposely
sent you upon a fool's errand. I am a Protestant, Captain Smellpriest;
but, Protestant as I am, I tell you to your face that if I could give
shelter to a poor persecuted priest, and save him from the clutches
of such men as you and Sir Robert Whitecraft, I would do it. In the
meantime, there is neither priest nor friar under this roof; you can
come in and search in the house, if you wish."

"Why, gog's 'ouns, father," exclaimed one of the men, "how does it come
that we find you here?"

"Very simply, John," replied his father--for such he was--"I took this
cottage, and the bit of land that goes with it, from honest Andy Morrow,
and we are not many hours in it. The house was empty for the last six
months, so that I say again, whoever sent Captain Smellpriest here sent
him upon a fool's errand--upon a wild-goose chase."

The gallant captain started upon hearing these latter words.

"What does he say," he asked--"a wild-goose chase! Right--right,"
he added, in a soliloquy; "Strong is at the bottom of it, the black
scoundrel! but still, let us search the house; the old fellow admits
that he would shelter a priest. Search the house I say.

     'There was an old prophecy found in a bog,
     Lillibullero, bullen ala, &c., &c.'"

The house was accordingly searched, but it is unnecessary to add that
neither priest nor friar was found under the roof, nor any nook or
corner in which either one or the other could have been concealed.

The party, who then directed their steps homewards, were proceeding
across the fields to the mountain road which ran close by, and parallel
with the stripe, when they perceived at once that Smellpriest was in a
rage, by the fact of his singing "Lillibullero;" for, whenever either
his rage or loyalty happened to run high, he uniformly made a point to
indulge himself in singing that celebrated ballad.

"By jabers," said one of them to his companions, "there will be a battle
royal between the captain and Mr. Strong if he finds the parson at home
before him."

"If there won't be a fight with the parson, there will with the wife,"
replied the other. "Hang the same parson," he added; "many a dreary
chase he has sent us upon, with nothing but the fatigue of a dark and
slavish journey for our pains. With what bitterness he's giving us
'Lillibullero,' and he scarcely able to sit on his horse! I think I'll
advance, and ride beside him, otherwise, he may get an ugly tumble on
this hard road."

He accordingly did so, observing, as he got near him, "I have taken the
liberty to ride close beside you, lest, as the night is dark, your horse
might stumble."

"What! do you think I'm drunk, you scoundrel?--fall back, sir,
immediately.

"'Lillibullero, bullen ala.'

"I say I'm not drunk; but I'm in a terrible passion at that treacherous
scoundrel; but no matter, I saw something to-night--never mind, I say.

     "'There was an old prophecy found in a bog,
     Lillibullero, bullen ala;

     That Ireland should be ruled by an Ass and a Dog,
     Lillibullero, bullen ala;

     And now that same prophecy has come to pass--
     Lillibullero, bullen ala;

     For Talbot's the Dog, and James is the Ass,
     Lillibullero, bullen ala.'

"Never mind, I say; hang me, but I'll crop the villain, or crop both,
which is better still--steady, Schomberg--curse you."

The same rut or chasm across the more open road on which they had
now got out, and that had nearly been so fatal to Mr. Brown, became
decidedly so to unfortunate Smellpriest. The horse, as his rider spoke,
stopped suddenly, and, shying quickly to the one side, the captain was
pitched off, and fell with his whole weight upon the hard pavement. The
man was an unwieldy, and consequently a heavy man, and the unexpected
fall stunned him into insensibility. After about ten minutes or so he
recovered his consciousness, however, and having been once more placed
upon his horse, was conducted home, two or three of his men, with much
difficulty, enabling him to maintain his seat in the saddle. In this
manner they reached his house, where they stripped and put him to bed,
having observed, to their consternation, that strong gushes of blood
welled, every three or four minutes, from his mouth.

The grief of his faithful wife was outrageous; and Mr. Strong, who was
still there kindly awaiting his safe return, endeavored to compose her
distraction as well as he could.

"My dear madam," said he, "why will you thus permit your grief to
overcome you? You will most assuredly injure your own precious health by
this dangerous outburst of sorrow. The zealous and truly loyal captain
is not, I trust, seriously injured; he will recover, under God, in a few
days. You may rest assured, my dear Mrs. Smellpriest, that his life is
too valuable to be taken at this unhappy period. No, he will, I trust
and hope, be spared until a strong anti-Popish Government shall come
in, when, if he is to lose it, he will lose it in some great and godly
exploit against the harlot of abominations."

"Alas! my dear Mr. Strong, that is all very kind of you, to support my
breaking heart with such comfort; but, when he is gone, what will become
of me?"

"You will not be left desolate, my dear madam--you will be
supported--cheered--consoled. Captain my friend, how do you feel now?
Are you easier?"

"I am," replied the captain feebly--for he had not lost his
speech--"come near me, Strong."

"With pleasure, dear captain, as becomes my duty, not only as a friend,
but as an humble and unworthy minister of religion. I trust you are not
in danger, but, under any circumstances, it is best, you know, to be
prepared for the worst. Do not then be cast down, nor allow your heart
to sink into despair. Remember that you have acted the part of a zealous
and faithful champion on behalf of our holy Church, and that you have
been a blessed scourge of Popery in this Pope-ridden country. Let that
reflection, then, be your consolation. Think of the many priests you
have hunted--and hunted successfully too; think of how many bitter
Papists of every class you have been the blessed means of committing
to the justice of our laws; think of the numbers of Popish priests
and bishops you have, in the faithful discharge of your pious
duty, committed to chains, imprisonment, transportation, and the
scaffold--think of all these things, I say, and take comfort to
your soul by the retrospect. Would you wish to receive the rites and
consolations of religion at my hands?"

"Come near me, Strong," repeated Smell-priest. "The rites of religion
from you--the rights of perdition as soon, you hypocritical scoundrel;"
and as he spoke he caught a gush of blood as it issued from his
mouth and flung it with all the strength he had left right into the
clergyman's face. "Take that, you villain," he added; "I die in every
sense with my blood upon you. And as for my hunting of priests and
Papists, it is the only thing that lies at this moment heavy over my
heart. And as for that wife of mine, I'm sorry she's not in my place.
I know, of course, I'll be damned; but it can't be helped now. If I go
down, as down I will go, won't I have plenty of friends to keep me in
countenance. I know--I feel I'm dying; but I must take the consequences.
In the meantime, my best word and wish is, that that vile jade shan't
be permitted to approach or touch my body after I am dead. My curse upon
you both! for you brought me to this untimely death between you."

"Why, my dear Smellpriest--" exclaimed the wife.

"Don't call me Smellpriest," he replied, interrupting her; "my name is
Norbury. But it doesn't matter--it's all up with me, and I know it
will soon be all down with me; for down, down I'll go. Strong, you
hypocritical scoundrel, don't be a persecutor: look at me on the very
brink of perdition for it. And now the only comfort I have is, that I
let the poor Popish bishop off. I could not shoot him, or at any rate
make a prisoner of him, and he engaged in the worship of God."

"Alas!" whispered Strong, "the poor man is verging on rank Popery--he is
hopeless."

"But, Tom, dear," said the wife, "why are you displeased with me, your
own faithful partner? I that was so loving and affectionate to you?
I that urged you on in the path of duty? I that scoured your arms and
regimentals with my own hands--that mixed you your punch before you went
after the black game, as you used to say, and, again, had it ready for
you when you returned to precious Mr. Strong and me after a long hunt.
Don't die in anger with your own Grizzey, as you used to call me, my
dear Tom, or, if you do, I feel that I won't long survive you."

"Ah! you jade," replied Tom, "didn't I see the wink between you
to-night, although you thought I was drunk? Ah, these wild-goose
chases!"

"Tom, dear, we are both innocent. Oh, forgive your own Grizaey!"

"So I do, you jade--my curse on you both."

Whether it was the effort necessary to speak, in addition to the
excitement occasioned by his suspicions, and whether these suspicions
were well founded or not, we do not presume to say; but the fact was,
that, after another outgulp of blood had come up, he drew a long,
deep sigh, his under-jaw fell, and the wretched, half-penitent Captain
Smellpriest breathed his last. After which his wife, whether from
sorrow or remorse, became insensible, and remained in that state for a
considerable time; but at length she recovered, and, after expressing
the most violent sorrow, literally drove the Rev. Mr. Strong out of the
house, with many deep and bitter curses. But to return:

In a few minutes the parties dispersed, and Folliard, too much absorbed
in the fates of Reilly and Whitecraft, prepared to ride to Sligo, to
ascertain if any thing could be done for the baronet. In the meantime,
while he and his old friend Cummiskey are on their way to see that
gentleman, we will ask the attention of our readers to the state of
Helen's mind, as it was affected by the distressing events which had so
rapidly and recently occurred. We need not assure them that deep anxiety
for the fate of her unfortunate lover lay upon her heart like gloom
of death itself. His image and his natural nobility of character, but,
above all, the purity and delicacy of his love for herself his manly and
faithful attachment to his religion, under temptations which few
hearts could resist--temptations of which she herself was, beyond all
comparison, the most trying and the most difficult to be withstood; his
refusal to leave the country on her account, even when the bloodhounds
of the law were pursuing him to his death in every direction; and the
reflection that this resolution of abiding by her, and watching over
her welfare and happiness, and guarding her, as far as he could, from
domestic persecution--all these reflections, in short, crowded upon her
mind with such fearful force that her reason began to totter, and she
felt apprehensive that she might not be able to bear the trial which
Reilly's position now placed before her in the most hideous colors. On
the other hand, there was Whitecraft, a man certainly who had committed
many crimes and murders and burnings, often, but not always, upon his
own responsibility; a man who, she knew, entertained no manly or tender
affection for her; he too about to meet a violent death! That she
detested him with an abhorrence as deep as ever woman entertained
against man was true; yet she was a woman, and this unhappy fate that
impended over him was not excluded out of the code of her heart's
humanity. She wished him also to be saved, if only that he might
withdraw from Ireland and repent of his crimes. Altogether she was in
a state bordering on frenzy and despair, and was often incapable of
continuing a sustained conversation.

When Whitecraft reached the jail in his carriage, attended by a guard
of troopers, the jailor knew not what to make of it; but seeing the
carriage, which, after a glance or two, he immediately recognized as
that of the well-known grand juror, he came out, with hat in hand,
bowing most obsequiously.

"I hope your honor's well; you are coming to inspect the prisoners, I
suppose? Always active on behalf of Church and State, Sir Robert."

"Come, Mr. O'Shaughnessy," said one of the constables, "get on with no
nonsense. You're a mighty Church and State man now; but I remember when
there was as rank a rebel under your coat as ever thumped a craw. Sir
Robert, sir, is here as our prisoner, and will soon be yours, for murder
and arson, and God knows what besides. Be pleased to walk into the
hatch, Sir Robert, and there we surrender you to Mr. O'Shaughnessy, who
will treat you well if you pay him well."

They then entered the hatch. The constable produced the _mittimus_ and
the baronet's person both together, after which they withdrew, having
failed to get the price of a glass from the baronet as a reward for
their civility.

Such scenes have been described a hundred times, and we consequently
shall not delay our readers upon this. The baronet, indeed, imagined
that from his rank and influence the jailer might be induced to give him
comfortable apartments. He was in, however, for two capital felonies,
and the jailer, who was acquainted with the turn that public affairs had
taken, told him that upon his soul and conscience if the matter lay
with him he would not put his honor among the felons; but then he had no
discretion, because it was as much as his place was worth to break
the rules--a thing he couldn't think of doing as an honest man and an
upright officer.

"But whatever I can do for you, Sir Robert, I'll do."

"You will let me have pen and ink, won't you?"

"Well, let me see. Yes, I will, Sir Robert; I'll stretch that far for
the sake of ould times."




CHAPTEE XXII.

The Squire Comforts Whitecraft in his Affliction.


The old squire and Cummiskey lost little time in getting over the ground
to the town of Sligo, and, in order to reach it the more quickly,
they took a short cut by the old road which we have described at the
beginning of this narrative. On arriving at that part of it from which
they could view the spot where Reilly rescued them from the murderous
violence of the Red Rapparee, Cummiskey pointed to it.

"Does your honor remember that place, where you see the ould buildin'?"

"Yes, I think so. Is not that the place where the cursed Rapparee
attacked us?"

"It is, sir; and where poor Reilly saved both our lives; and yet your
honor is goin' to hang him."

"You know nothing about it, you old blockhead. It was all a plan got up
by Reilly and the Rapparee for the purpose of getting introduced to
my daughter, for his own base and selfish purposes. Yes, I'll hang him
certainly--no doubt of that."

"Well, sir," replied Cummiskey, "it's one comfort that he won't hang by
himself."

"No," said the other, "he and the Rapparee will stretch the same rope."

"The Rapparee! faith, sir, hell have worse company."

"What do you mean, sirra?"

"Why, Sir Robert Whitecraft, sir; he always had gallows written in his
face; but, upon my soul, he'll soon have it about his neck, please God."

"Faith, I'm afraid you are not far from the truth, Cummiskey," replied
his master; "however, I am going to make arrangements with him, to see
what can be done for the unfortunate man."

"If you'll take my advice, sir, you'll have nothing to do with him. Keep
your hand out o' the pot; there's no man can skim boiling lead with his
hand and not burn his fingers--but a tinker."

"Don't be saucy, you old dog; but ride on, for I must put Black Tom to
his speed."

On arriving at the prison, the squire found Sir Robert pent up in a
miserable cell, with a table screwed to the floor, a pallet bed, and
a deal form. Perhaps his comfort might have been improved through
the medium of his purse, were it not that the Prison Board had held a
meeting that very day, subsequent to his committal, in which, with some
dissentients, they considered it their duty to warn the jailer against
granting him any indulgence beyond what he was entitled to as a felon,
and this under pain of their earnest displeasure.

When the squire entered he found the melancholy baronet and
priest-hunter sitting upon the hard form, his head hanging down upon his
breast, or, indeed, we might say much farther; for, in consequence of
the almost unnatural length of his neck, it appeared on that occasion to
be growing out of the middle of his body, or of that fleshless vertebral
column which passed for one.

"Well, baronet," exclaimed Folliard pretty loudly, "here's an exchange!
from the altar to the halter; from the matrimonial noose to honest Jack
Ketch's--and a devilish good escape it would be to many unfortunate
wretches in this same world."

"Oh, Mr. Folliard," said the baronet, "is not this miserable? What will
become of me?"

"Now, I tell you what, Whitecraft, I am come to speak to you upon your
position; but before I go farther, let me say a word or two to make you
repent, if possible, for what you have done to others."

"For what I have done, Mr. Folliard! why should I not repent, when I
find I am to be hanged for it?"

"Oh, hanged you will be, there is no doubt of that; but now consider a
little; here you are with a brown loaf, and--is that water in the jug?"

"It is."

"Very well; here you are, hard and fast, you who were accustomed to
luxuries, to the richest meats, and the richest wines--here you are with
a brown loaf, a jug of water, and the gallows before you! However, if
you wish to repent truly and sincerely, reflect upon the numbers that
you and your bloodhounds have consigned to places like this, and sent
from this to the gibbet, while you were rioting in luxury and triumph.
Good God, sir, hold up your head, and be a man. What if you are hanged?
Many a better man was. Hold up your head, I say."

"I can't, my dear Folliard; it won't stay up for me."

"Egad! and you'll soon get a receipt for holding it up. Why the mischief
can't you have spunk?"

"Spunk; how the deuce could you expect spunk from any man in my
condition? It is difficult to understand you, Mr. Folliard; you told me
a minute ago to repent, and now you tell me to have spunk; pray what do
you mean by that?"

"Why, confound it, I mean that you should repent with spunk. However,
let us come to more important matters; what can be done for you?"

"I know not; I am incapable of thinking on any thing but that damned
gallows without; yet I should wish to make my will."

"Your will! Why, I think you have lost your senses; don't you know that
when you're hanged every shilling and acre you are possessed of will be
forfeited to the crown?"

"True," replied the other, "I had forgotten that. Could Hastings be
induced to decline prosecuting?"

"What! to compromise a felony, and be transported himself. Thank you for
nothing baronet; that's rather a blue look up. No, our only plan is
to try and influence the grand jury to throw out the bills; but then,
again, there are indictments against you to no end. Hastings' case is
only a single one, and, even if he failed, it would not better your
condition a whit. Under the late Administration we could have saved you
by getting a packed jury; but that's out of the question now. All we can
do, I think, is to get up a memorial strongly signed, supplicating the
Lord Lieutenant to commute your sentence from hanging to transportation
for life. I must confess, however, there is little hope even there. They
will come down with their cursed reasoning and tell us that the rank and
education of the offender only aggravate the offence; and that, if they
allow a man so convicted to escape, in consequence of his high position
in life, every humble man found guilty and executed for the same
crime--is murdered. They will tell us it would be a prostitution of the
prerogative of the Crown to connive at crime in the rich and punish it
in the poor. And, again, there's the devil of it; your beggarly want of
hospitality in the first place, and the cursed swaggering severity with
which you carried out your loyalty, by making unexpected domiciliary
visits to the houses of loyal but humane Protestant families, with the
expectation of finding a priest or a Papist under their protection: both
these, I say, have made you the most unpopular man in the county; and,
upon my soul, Sir Robert, I don't think there will be a man upon
the grand jury whose family you have not insulted by your inveterate
loyalty. No one, I tell! you, likes a persecutor. Still, I say, I'll try
what I can do with the grand jury. I'll see my friends and yours--if you
have any now; make out a list of them in a day or two--and you may rest
assured that I will leave nothing undone to extricate you."

"Thank you, Mr. Folliard; but do you know why I am here?"

"To be sure I do."

"No, you don't, sir. William Reilly, the Jesuit and Papist, is the cause
of it, and will be the cause of my utter ruin and ignominious death."

"How is that? Make it plain to me; only make that plain to me."

"He is the bosom friend of Hastings, and can sway him and move him and
manage him as a father would a child, or, rather, as a child would a
doting father. Reilly, sir, is at the bottom of this, his great object
always having been to prevent a marriage between me and your beautiful
daughter; I, who, after all, have done so much for Protestantism, am the
victim of that Jesuit and Papist."

This vindictive suggestion took at once, and the impetuous old squire
started as if a new light had been let in upon his mind. We call him
impetuous, because, if he had reflected only for a moment upon the
diabolical persecution, both in person and property, which Reilly had
sustained at the baronet's hands, he ought not to have blamed him had!
he shot the scoundrel as if he had been one of the most rabid dogs that
ever ran frothing across a country. We say the suggestion, poisoned
as it was by the most specious falsehood, failed not to accomplish the
villain's object.

Folliard grasped him by the hand. "Never-mind," said he; "keep yourself
quiet, and leave Reilly to me; I have him,that's enough."

"No," replied the baronet, "it is not enough, because I know what will
happen: Miss Folliard's influence over you is a proverb; now she will
cajole and flatter and beguile you until she prevails upon you to let
the treacherous Jesuit slip through your fingers, and then he will get
off to the Continent, and laugh at you all, after having taken her with
him; for there is nothing more certain, if he escapes death through
your indulgence, than that you will, in the course of a few years,
find yourself grandfather to a brood of young Papists; and when I say
Papists, need I add rebels?"

"Come," replied the hot-headed old man, "don't insult me; I am master of
my own house, and, well as I love my daughter, I would not for a moment
suffer her to interfere in a public matter of this or any other kind.
Now good-by; keep your spirits up, and if you are to die, why die like a
man."

They then separated; and as Folliard was passing through the hatch, he
called the jailer into his own office, and strove to prevail upon him,
not ineffectually, to smuggle in some wine and other comforts to the
baronet. The man told him that he would with pleasure do so if he dared;
but that the caution against it which he had got that very day from the
Board rendered the thing impossible. Ere the squire left him, however,
his scruples were overcome, and the baronet, before he went to bed that
night, had a rost duck for supper, with two bottles of excellent claret
to wash it down and lull his conscience into slumber.

"Confound it," the squire soliloquized, on their way home, "I am as
stupid as Whitecraft himself, who was never stupid until now; there have
I been with him in that cursed dungeon, and neither of us ever thought
of taking measures for his defence. Why, he must have the best lawyers
at the Bar, and fee them like princes. Gad! I have a great notion to
ride back and speak to him on the subject; he's in such a confounded
trepidation about his life that he can think of nothing else. No matter,
I shall write to him by a special messenger early in the morning.
It would be a cursed slap in the face to have one of our leading men
hanged--only, after all, for carrying out the wishes of an anti-Papist
Government, who connived at his conduct, and encouraged him in it. I
know he expected a coronet, and I have no doubt but he'd have got one
had his party remained in; but now all the unfortunate devil is likely
to get is a rope--and be hanged to them! However, as to my own case
about Reilly--I must secure a strong bar against him; and if we can only
prevail upon Helen to state the facts as they occurred, there is little
doubt that he shall suffer; for hang he must, in consequence of the
disgrace he has brought upon my daughter's name and mine. Whatever I
might have forgiven, I will never forgive him that."

He then rode on at a rapid pace, and did not slacken his speed until he
reached home. Dinner was ready, and he sat down with none but Helen, who
could scarcely touch a morsel. Her father saw at once the state of her
mind, and felt that it would be injudicious to introduce any subject
that might be calculated to excite her. They accordingly talked upon
commonplace topics, and each assumed as much cheerfulness, and more than
they could command. It was a miserable sight, when properly understood,
to see the father and daughter forced, by the painful peculiarity of
their circumstances, thus to conceal their natural sentiments from each
other. Love, however, is often a disturber of families, as in the case
of Reilly and _Cooleen Bawn_; and so is an avaricious ambition,
when united to a selfish and a sensual attachment, as in the case of
Whitecraft.

It is unnecessary now, and it would be only tedious, to dwell upon the
energetic preparations that were made for the three approaching trials.
Public rumor had taken them up and sent them abroad throughout the
greater portion of the kingdom. The three culprits were notorious--Sir
Robert Whitecraft, the priest-hunter and prosecutor; the notorious Red
Rapparee, whose exploits had been commemorated in a thousand ballads;
and "Willy Reilly," whose love for the far-famed _Cooleen Bawn_,
together with her unconquerable passion for him, had been known
throughout the empire. In fact, the interest which the public felt in
the result of the approaching trials was intense, not only in Ireland,
but throughout England and Scotland, where the circumstances connected
with them were borne on the wings of the press. Love, however,
especially the romance of it--and here were not only romance but reality
enough--love, we say, overcomes all collateral interests--and the
history of the loves of Willy Reilly and his "dear _Cooleen Bawn_" even
then touched the hearts of thousands, and moistened many a young eye for
his calamities and early fate, and the sorrows of his _Cooleen Bawn_.

Helen's father, inspired by the devilish suggestions of Whitecraft, now
kept aloof from her as much as he could with decency do. He knew his own
weakness, and felt that if he suffered her to gain that portion of his
society to which she had been accustomed, his resolution might break
down, and the very result prognosticated by Whitecraft might be brought
about. Indeed his time was so little his own, between his activity in
defence of that villain and his energetic operations for the prosecution
of Reilly, that he had not much to spare her, except at meals. It
was not, however, through himself that he wished to win her over to
prosecute Reilly. No; he felt his difficulty, and knew that he could not
attempt to influence her with a good grace, or any force of argument. He
resolved, therefore, to set his attorney to work, who, as he understood
all the quirks and intricacy of the law, might be able to puzzle her
into compliance. This gentleman, however, who possessed at once a
rapacious heart and a stupid head, might have fleeced half the country
had the one been upon a par with the other. He was, besides, in his own
estimation, a lady-killer, and knew not how these interviews with
the fair _Cooleen Bawn_ might end. He, at all events, was a sound
Protestant, and if it were often said that you might as well ask a
Highlander for a knee-buckle as an attorney for religion, he could
conscientiously fall back upon the fact that political Protestantism and
religion were very different things--for an attorney.

Instructed by Folliard, he accordingly waited upon her professionally,
in her father's study, during his absence, and opened his case as
follows:

"I have called upon you, Miss Folliard, by the direction of your father,
professionally, and indeed I thank my stars that any professional
business should give me an opportunity of admiring so far-famed a
beauty."

"Are you not Mr. Doldrum," she asked, "the celebrated attorney?"

"Doldrum is certainly my name, my lovely client."

"Well, Mr. Doldrum, I think I have heard of you; but permit me to say
that before you make love, as you seem about to do, I think it better
you should mention your professional business."

"It is very simple, Miss Folliard; just to know whether you have any
objection to appearing as an evidence against--he--hem--against Mr.
Reilly."

"Oh, then your business and time with me will be very brief, Mr.
Doldrum. It is my intention to see justice done, and for that purpose
I shall attend the trial, and if I find that my evidence will be
necessary, I assure you I shall give it. But, Mr. Doldrum, one word with
you before you go."

"A hundred--a thousand, my dear lady."

"It is this: I beg as a personal favor that you will use your great
influence with my father to prevent him from talking to me on this
subject until the day of trial comes. By being kind enough to do this
you will save me from much anxiety and annoyance."

"I pledge you my honor, madam, that your wishes shall be complied with
to the letter, as far, at least, as any influence of mine can accomplish
them."

"Thank you, sir; I wish you a good-morning."

"Good-morning, madam; it shall not be my fault if you are harassed upon
this most painful subject; and I pledge you my reputation that I never
contributed to hang a man in my life with more regret than I experience
in this unfortunate case."

It is quite a common thing to find vanity and stupidity united in the
same individual, as they were in Mr. Doldrum. He was Mr. Folliard's
country attorney, and, in consequence of his strong Protestant
politics, was engaged as the law agent of his property; and for the same
reason--that is, because he was a violent, he was considered a very able
man.

There is a class of men in the world who, when they once engage in a
pursuit or an act of any importance, will persist in working it out,
rather than be supposed, by relinquishing it, when they discover
themselves wrong, to cast an imputation on their own judgments. To such
a class belonged Mr. Folliard, who never, in point of fact, acted upon
any fixed or distinct principle whatsoever; yet if he once took a matter
into his head, under the influence of caprice or impulse, no man could
evince more obstinacy or perseverance, apart from all its justice
or moral associations, so long, at least, as that caprice or impulse
lasted. The reader may have perceived from his dialogue with Helen, on
the morning appointed for her marriage with Whitecraft, that the worthy
baronet, had he made appearance, stood a strong chance of being sent
about his business as rank a bachelor as he had come. And yet, because
he was cunning enough to make the hot-brained and credulous old man
believe that Reilly was at the bottom of the plan for his destruction,
and Hastings only the passive agent in his hands; we say, because he
succeeded in making this impression, which he knew to be deliberately
false, upon his plastic nature, he, Folliard, worked himself up into
a vindictive bitterness peculiar to little minds, as well as a fixed
determination that Reilly should die; not by any means so much because
he took away his daughter as that his death might be marked in this
conflict of parties as a set-off against that of Whitecraft.

In the meantime he and Helen entertained each a different apprehension;
he dreaded that she might exercise her influence over him for the
purpose of softening him against Reilly, whom, if he had suffered
himself to analyze his own heart, he would have found there in the shape
of something very like a favorite. Helen, on the contrary, knew that she
was expected to attend the trial, in order to give evidence against
her lover; and she lived for a few days after his committal under
the constant dread that her father would persecute her with endless
arguments to induce her attendance at the assizes. Such, besides, was
her love of truth and candor, and her hatred of dissimulation in every
shape, that, if either her father or the attorney had asked her, in
explicit terms, what the tendency of her evidence was to be, she would
at once have satisfied them that it should be in favor of her lover. In
the meantime she felt that, as they did not press her on this point,
it would have been madness to volunteer a disclosure of a matter so
important to the vindication of Reilly's conduct. To this we may add her
intimate knowledge of her father's whimsical character and unsteadiness
of purpose. She was not ignorant that, even if he were absolutely aware
that the tenor of her evidence was to go against Reilly, his mind might
change so decidedly as to call upon her to give evidence in his defence.
Under these circumstances she acted with singular prudence, in never
alluding to a topic of such difficulty, and which involved a contingency
that might affect her lover in a double sense.

Her father's conduct, however, on this occasion, saved them both a vast
deal of trouble and annoyance, and the consequence was that they met
as seldom as possible. In addition to this, we may state that
Doldrum communicated the successful result of his interview with Miss
Folliard--her willingness to attend the trial and see justice done, upon
condition that she should not have the subject obtruded on her, either
by her father or any one else, until the appointed day should arrive,
when she would punctually attend. In this state were the relative
positions and feelings of father and daughter about a month before the
opening of the assizes.

In the meantime the squire set himself to work for the baronet. The
ablest lawyers were obtained, but Whitecraft most positively objected
to Folliard's proposal of engaging Doldrum as his attorney; he knew the
stupidity and ignorance of the man, and would have nothing to do with
him as the conductor of his case. His own attorney, Mr. Sharply, was
engaged; and indeed his selection of a keen and able man such as he was
did credit both to his sagacity and foresight.

Considering the state of the country at that particular period, the
matter began to assume a most important aspect, A portion of the
Protestant party, by which we mean those who had sanctioned all
Whitecraft's brutal and murderous excesses, called every energy and
exertion into work, in order to defeat the Government and protect
the leading man of their own clique. On the other hand, there was the
Government, firm and decided, by the just operation of the laws, to make
an example of the man who had not only availed himself of those laws
when they were with him, but who scrupled not to set them aside when
they were against him, and to force his bloodthirsty instincts upon his
own responsibility. The Government, however, were not without large and
active support from those liberal Protestants, who had been disgusted
and sickened by the irresponsible outrages of such persecutors as
Whitecraft and Smellpriest. Upon those men the new Government relied,
and relied with safety. The country was in a tumult, the bigoted party
threatened an insurrection; and they did so, not because they felt
themselves in a position to effect it, but in order to alarm and
intimidate the Government. On the other hand, the Catholics, who had
given decided proofs of their loyalty by refusing to join the Pretender,
now expressed their determination to support the Government if an
outbreak among that section of the Protestant party to which we have
just alluded should take place.

But perhaps the real cause of the conduct of the Government might be
traced to Whitecraft's outrage upon a French subject in the person of
the Abbe ------. The matter, as we have stated, was seriously taken
up by the French Ambassador, in the name, and by the most positive
instructions, of his Court. The villain Whitecraft, in consequence of
that wanton and unjustifiable act, went far to involve the two nations
in a bitter and bloody war. England was every day under the apprehension
of a French invasion, which, of course, she dreaded; something must be
done to satisfy the French Court. Perhaps, had it not been for this,
the general outrages committed upon the unfortunate Catholics of Ireland
would never have become the subject of a detailed investigation. An
investigation, however, took place, by which a system of the most
incredible persecution was discovered, and a milder administration of
the laws was found judicious, in order to conciliate the Catholic party,
and prevent them from embracing the cause of the Pretender. At all
events, what between the necessity of satisfying the claims of the
French Government, and in apprehension of a Catholic defection, the
great and principal criminal was selected for punishment. The Irish
Government, however, who were already prepared with their charges, found
themselves already anticipated by Mr. Hastings, a fact which enabled
them to lie on their oars and await the result.

Such was the state and condition of affairs as the assizes were within
ten days of opening.

One evening about this time the old squire, who never remained long
in the same mode of feeling, sent for his daughter to the dining-room,
where he was engaged at his Burgundy. The poor girl feared that he was
about to introduce the painful subject which she dreaded so much--that
is to say, the necessity of giving her evidence against Reilly, After
some conversation, however, she was relieved, for he did not allude to
it; but he did to the fate of Reilly himself, the very subject which was
wringing her heart with agony.

"Helen," said he, "I have been thinking of Reilly's affair, and it
strikes me that he may be saved, and become your husband still; because,
you know, that if Whitecraft was acquitted, now that he has been
publicly disgraced, I'd see the devil picking his bones--and very hard
picking he'd find them--before I'd give you to him as a wife."

"Thank you, my dear papa; but let me ask why it is that you are so
active in stirring up his party to defend such a man?"

"Foolish girl," he replied; "it is not the man, but the cause and
principle, we defend."

"What, papa, the cause! bloodshed and persecution! I believe you to be
possessed of a humane heart, papa; but, notwithstanding his character
and his crimes, I do not wish the unfortunate man to be struck into the
grave without repentance."

"Repentance, Helen! How the deuce could a man feel repentance who does
not believe the Christian religion?"

"But then, sir, has he not the reputation of being a sound and leading
Protestant?"

"Oh, hang his reputation; it is not of him I wish to speak to you, but
Reilly."

Helen's heart beat rapidly and thickly, but she spoke not.

"Yes," said he, "I have a project in my head that I think may save
Reilly."

"Pray, what is it, may I ask, papa?"

"No, you may not; but to-morrow I will give him an early call, and let
you know how I succeed, after my return to dinner; yes, I will tell
you after dinner. But listen, Helen, it is the opinion of the baronet's
friends that they will be able to save him."

"I hope they may, sir; I should not wish to see any fellow-creature
brought to an ignominious death in the midst of his offences, and in the
prime of life."

"But, on the contrary, if he swings, we are bound to sacrifice one of
the Papist party for him, and Reilly is the man. Now don't look so pale,
Helen--don't look as if death was settled in your face; his fate may
be avoided; but ask me nothing--the project's my own, and I will
communicate it to no one until after I shall have ascertained whether I
fail in it or not."

"I trust, sir, it will be nothing that will involve him in anything
dishonorable; but why do I ask? He is incapable of that."

"Well, well, leave the matter in my hand; and now, upon the strength
of my project, I'll take another bumper of Burgundy, and drink to its
success."

Helen pleaded some cause for withdrawing, as she entertained an
apprehension that he might introduce the topic which she most
dreaded--that of her duty to give evidence against Reilly. When she
was gone he began to ponder over several subjects connected with the
principal characters of this narrative until he became drowsy, during
which period halters, gibbets, gallowses, hangmen, and judges jumbled
each other alternately through his fancy, until he fell fast asleep in
his easy-chair.




CHAPTER XXIII.--The Squire becomes Theological and a Proselytizer, but
signally fails.


The next morning he and Cummiskey started for Sligo, and, as usual, when
they reached the jail the turnkey was about to conduct the squire to Sir
Robert's room, when the former turned and said:

"I wish to see Mr. Reilly; lead me to his cell."

"Reilly, sir!" exclaimed the man in astonishment. "Are you sure, sir,
it's not Sir Robert Whitecraft you want?"

"Are you sure, sir, that it's not a cut of my whip about the ears you
want? Conduct me to where Reilly is, you rascal; do you pretend to
know the individual I wish to see better than I do myself? Push along,
sirra."

The turnkey accordingly conducted him to Reilly's cell, which,
considerably to his surprise, was a much more comfortable one than had
been assigned to the baronet. When they had reached the corridor in
which it was situated, Folliard said, "Knock at the door, and when he
appears tell him that I wish to see him."

"I will, your honor."

"Say I won't detain him long."

"I will, your honor."

"Hang your honor, go and do what I desire you."

"I will, your honor."

Reilly's astonishment was beyond belief on learning that his vindictive
prosecutor had called upon him; but on more mature reflection, and
comparing what had happened before with the only motive which he could
assign for such a visit, he felt pretty certain that the squire came to
revive, in his own person, a subject which he had before proposed to
him through his daughter. There was no other earthly object to which he
could attribute his visit; but of course he made up his mind to receive
him with every courtesy. At length Folliard entered, and, before Reilly
had time to utter a syllable, commenced:

"Reilly," said he, "you are astonished to see me here?"

"I am, sir," replied Reilly, "very much."

"Yes, I thought you would; and very few persons, except myself, would
come upon such an errand to the man that has disgraced my daughter,
myself, and my family; you have stained our name, sir--a name that was
never associated with any thing but honor and purity until you came
among us."

"If you have paid me this visit, sir, only for the purpose of uttering
language which you know must be very painful to me, I would rather you
had declined to call upon me at all. I perceive no object you can have
in it, unless to gratify a feeling of enmity on your part, and excite
one of sorrow on mine. I say sorrow, because, on considering our
relative positions, and knowing the impetuosity of your temper, I am
sorry to see you here; it is scarcely generous in you to come, for the
purpose of indulging in a poor, and what, after all, may be an equivocal
and premature triumph over a man whose love for your daughter, you must
know, will seal his lips against the expression of one offensive word
towards you."

"But how, let me ask, sir, do you know what brought me here? I didn't
come to scold you, nor to triumph over you; and I have already said
the worst I shall say. I know very well that you and Whitecraft will be
hanged, probably from the same rope too, but, in the meantime, I would
save you both if I could. I fear indeed that to save him is out of the
question, because it appears that there's a cart-load of indictments
against him."

"How could you doubt it, sir, when you know the incredible extent of his
villany, both private and public? and yet this is the man to whom you
would have married your daughter!"

"No; when I found Helen reduced to such a state the morning on which
they were to be married, I told her at once that as she felt so bitterly
against him I would never suffer him to become her husband. Neither will
I; if he were acquitted tomorrow I would tell him so; but you, Reilly,
love my daughter for her own sake."

"For her own sake, sir, as you have said, I love her. If she had
millions, it could not increase my affection, and if she had not a
penny, it would not diminish it."

"Well, but you can have her if you wish, notwithstanding."

Reilly first looked at him with amazement; but he was so thoroughly
acquainted with his character, both from what he had seen and heard of
it, that his amazement passed away, and he simply replied:

"Pray how, sir?"

"Why, I'll tell you what, Reilly; except with respect to political
principles, I don't think, after all, that there's the difference of a a
rush between the Papist and the Protestant Churches, as mere religions.
My own opinion is, that there's neither of them any great shakes, as to
any effect they have on society, unless to disturb it. I have known as
good Papists as ever I did Protestants, and indeed I don't know why a
Papist should not be as good a man as a Protestant; nor why a Protestant
should not be as good a man as a Papist, on the other hand. Now, do you
see what I'm driving at?"

"Well, I can't exactly say that I do," replied Reilly.


[Illustration: PAGE 157--There is not a toss-up between them]


"Then the upshot of the argument is this, that there is not a toss-up
between them, and any man getting into a scrape, and who could get out
of it by changing from one to the other--of course I mean from Popery to
Protestantism--would prove himself a man of good sound sense, and above
the prejudices of the world."

The truth is, Reilly saw ere this what Folliard was approaching, and, as
he determined to allow him full scope, his reply was brief:

"You seem fond of indulging in speculation, sir," replied Reilly, with
a smile; "but I should be glad to know why you introduce this subject to
me?"

"To you?" replied Folliard; "why, who the devil else should or could I
introduce it to with such propriety? Here now are two religions; one's
not sixpence better nor worse than the other. Now, you belong to one of
them, and because you do you're here snug and fast. I say, then, I have
a proposal to make to you: you are yourself in a difficulty--you
have placed me in a difficulty--and you have placed poor Helen in a
difficulty--which, if any thing happens you, I think will break her
heart, poor child. Now you can take her, yourself, and me, out of all
our difficulties, if you have only sense enough to shove over from the
old P---- to the young P----. As a Protestant, you can marry Helen,
Reilly--but as a Papist, never! and you know the rest; for if you are
obstinate, and blind to your own interests, I must do my duty."

"Will you allow me to ask, sir, whether Miss Folliard is aware of this
mission of yours to me?"

"She aware! She never dreamt of it; but I have promised to tell her the
result after dinner to-day."

"Well, sir," replied Reilly, "will you allow me to state to you a few
facts?"

"Certainly; go on."

"In the first place, then, such is your daughter's high and exquisite
sense of integrity and honor that, if I consented to the terms you
propose, she would reject me with indignation and scorn, as she ought
to do. There, then, is your project for accomplishing my selfish and
dishonest apostacy given to the winds. Your daughter, sir, is too pure
in all her moral feelings, and too noble-minded, to take to her arms a
renegade husband--a renegade, too, not from conviction, but from selfish
and mercenary purposes."

"Confound the thing, this is but splitting hairs, Reilly, and talking
big for effect. Speak, however, for yourself; as for Helen, I know very
well that, in spite of your heroics and her's, she'd be devilish glad
you'd become a Protestant and marry her."

"I am sorry to say, sir, that you don't know your own daughter; but as
for me, Mr. Folliard, if one word of your's, or of her's, could place
me on the British throne, I would not abandon my religion. Under no
circumstances would I abandon it; but least of all, now that it is
so barbarously persecuted by its enemies. This, sir, is my final
determination."

"But do you know the alternative?"

"No, sir, nor do you."

"Don't I, faith? Why, the alternative is simply this--either marriage or
hanging!"

"Be it so; in that case I will die like a man of honor and a true
Christian and Catholic, as I hope I am."

"As a true fool, Reilly--as a true fool. I took this step privately,
out of respect for your character. See how many of your creed become
Protestants for the sake of mere property; think how many of them join
our Church for the purpose of ousting their own fathers and relatives
from their estates; and what is it all, on their parts, but the
consequence of an enlightened judgment that shows them the errors of
their old creed, and the truth of ours? I think, Reilly, you are loose
about the brains."

"That may be, sir, but you will never find me loose about my
principles."

"Are you aware, sir, that Helen is to appear against you as an
evidence?"

"No, sir, I am not, neither do I believe it. But now, sir, I beg you to
terminate this useless and unpleasant interview. I can look into my
own conscience with satisfaction, and am prepared for the worst. If
the scaffold is to be my fate, I cannot but remember that many a noble
spirit has closed the cares of an unhappy life upon it. I wish you
good-day, Mr. Folliard."

"By the Boyne! you are the most obstinate blockhead that ever lived; but
I've done; I did all in my power to save you--yet to no purpose. Upon my
soul, I'll come to your execution."

"And if you do, you will see me die like a man and a gentleman; may I
humbly add, like a Christian!"

The squire, on his way home, kept up a long, low whistle, broken only
by occasional soliloquies, in which Reilly's want of common-sense, and
neglect not only of his temporal interests, but of his life itself, were
the prevailing sentiments. He regretted his want of success, which he
imputed altogether to Reilly's obstinacy, instead of his integrity,
firmness, and honor.

This train of reflection threw him into one of those capricious fits of
resentment so peculiar to his unsteady temper, and as he went along he
kept lashing himself up into a red heat of indignation and vengeance
against that unfortunate gentleman. After dinner that day he felt
somewhat puzzled as to whether he ought to communicate to his daughter
the result of his interview with Reilly or not. Upon consideration,
however, he deemed it more prudent to avoid the subject altogether,
for he felt apprehensive that, however she might approve of her lover's
conduct, the knowledge of his fate, which depended on it, would only
plunge her into deeper distress. The evening consequently passed without
any allusion to the subject, unless a peculiar tendency to melody, on
his part, might be taken to mean something; to this we might add
short abrupt ejaculations unconsciously uttered--such as--"Whew, whew,
whew--o--whew--o--hang the fellow! Whew, whew--o--whew--he's a
cursed goose, but an obstinate--whew, whew--o--whew--o. Ay, but no
matter--well--whew, whew--o, whew, whew! Helen, a cup of tea. Now,
Helen, do you know a discovery I have made--but how could you? No, you
don't, of course; but listen and pay attention to me, because it deeply
affects myself."

The poor girl, apprehensive that he was about to divulge some painful
secret, became pale and a good deal agitated; she gave him a long,
inquiring look, but said nothing.

"Yes, Helen, and the discovery is this: I find from experience that tea
and Burgundy--or, indeed, tea and any kind of wine--don't agree with my
constitution: curse the fel--whew, whew, whew, whew--o--whew; no, the
confounded mixture turns my stomach into nothing more nor less than a
bag of aquafortis--if he had but common--whew--"

"Well, but, papa, why do you take tea, then?"

"Because I'm an old fool, Helen; and if I am, there are some young ones
besides; but it can't be helped now--whew, whew--it was done for the
best."

In this manner he went on for a considerable time, ejaculating mysteries
and enigmas, until he finished the second bottle, after which he went to
bed.

It may be necessary to state here that, notwithstanding the incredible
force and tenderness of his affection for his daughter, he had,
ever since her elopement with Reilly, kept her under the strictest
surveillance, and in the greatest seclusion--that is to say, as the
proverb has it, "he locked the stable door when the steed was stolen;"
or if he did not realize the aphorism, he came very near it.

Time, however, passes, and the assizes were at hand, a fearful Avatar of
judicial power to the guilty. The struggle between the parties who were
interested in the fate of Whitecraft, and those who felt the extent of
his unparalleled guilt, and the necessity not merely of making him an
example but of punishing him for his enormous crimes, was dreadful. The
infatuation of political rancor on one side, an infatuation which could
perceive nothing but the virtue of high and resolute Protestantism in
his conduct, blinded his supporters to the enormity of his conduct, and,
as a matter of course, they left no stone unturned to save his life. As
we said, however, they were outnumbered; but still they did not despair.
Reilly's friends had been early in the legal market, and succeeded in
retaining some of the ablest men at the bar, his leading counsel being
the celebrated advocate Fox, who was at that time one of the most
distinguished men at the Irish bar. Helen, as the assizes approached,
broke down so completely in her health that it was felt, if she remained
in that state, that she would be unable to attend; and although Reilly's
trial was first on the list, his opposing counsel succeeded in getting
it postponed for a day or two in order that an important witness, then
ill, he said, might be able to appear on their part.

It is not our intention to go through the details of the trial of the
Red Rapparee. The evidence of Mary Mahon, Fergus O'Reilly, and
the sheriff, was complete; the chain was unbroken; the change of
apparel--the dialogue in Mary Mahon's cabin, in which he; avowed the
fact of his having robbed the sheriff--the identification of his person
by the said sheriff in the farmer's house, as before stated, left
nothing for the jury to do I but to bring in a verdict of guilty.
Mercy was out of the question. The hardened ruffian--the treacherous
ruffian--who had lent himself to the bloodthirsty schemes of
Whitecraft--and all this came out upon his trial, not certainly to the
advantage of the baronet--this hardened and treacherous ruffian, we say,
who had been a scourge to that part of the country for years, now felt,
when the verdict of guilty was brought in against him, just as a smith's
anvil might feel when struck by a feather. On hearing it, he growled a
hideous laugh, and exclaimed:

"To the divil I pitch you all; I wish, though, that I had Tom Bradley,
the prophecy man, here, who tould me that I'd never be hanged, and that
the rope was never born for me."

"If the rope was not born for you," observed the judge, "I fear I shall
be obliged to inform you that you were born for the rope. Your life has
been an outrage,upon civilized society."

"Why, you ould dog!" said the Rapparee, "you can't hang me; haven't I a
pardon? didn't Sir Robert Whitecraft get me a pardon from the Government
for turnin' against the Catholics, and tellin' him where to find the
priests? Why, you joulter-headed ould dog, you can't hang me, or, if you
do, I'll leave them behind me that will put such a half ounce pill into
your guts as will make you turn up the whites of your eyes like a duck
in thundher. You'll hang me for robbery, you ould sinner! But what is
one half the world doin' but robbin' the other half? and what is the
other half doin' but robbin' them? As for Sir Robert Whitecraft, if he
desaved me by lies and falsehoods, as I'm afraid he did, all I say is,
that if I had him here for one minute I'd show him a trick he'd never
tell to mortal. Now go on, bigwig."

Notwithstanding the solemnity of the position in which this obdurate
ruffian was placed, the judge found it nearly impossible to silence the
laughter of the audience and preserve order in the court. At length he
succeeded, and continued his brief address to the Rapparee:

"Hardened and impenitent reprobate, in the course of my judicial duties,
onerous and often painful as they are and have been, I must say that,
although it has fallen to my lot to pronounce the awful sentence of
death upon many an unfeeling felon, I am bound to say that a public
malefactor so utterly devoid of all the feelings which belong to man,
and so strongly impregnated with those of the savage animal as you
are, has never stood in a dock before me, nor probably before any other
judge, living or dead. Would it be a waste of language to enforce upon
you the necessity of repentance? I fear it would; but it matters not;
the guilt of impenitence be on your own head, still I must do my duty;
try, then, and think of death, and a far more awful judgment than mine.
Think of the necessity you have for; supplicating mercy at the throne of
your Redeemer, who himself died for you, and for all of us, between two
thieves."

"That has nothing to do with my case; I never was a thief; I robbed like
an honest man on the king's highways; but as for thievin', why, you ould
sinner, I never stole a farthing's worth in my life. Don't, then, pitch
such beggarly comparisons into my teeth. I never did what you and your
class often did; I never robbed the poor in the name of the blessed laws
of the land; I never oppressed the widow or the orphan; and for all that
I took from those that did oppress them, the divil a grain of sorrow
or repentance I feel for it, nor ever will feel for it. Oh! mother of
Moses! if I had a glass of whiskey!"

The judge was obliged to enforce silence a second time; for, to-tell the
truth, there was something so ludicrously impenitent in the conduct of
this hardened convict that the audience could not resist it, especially
when it is remembered that the sympathies of the lower Irish are always
with such culprits.

"Well," continued the judge, when silence was again restored, "your
unparalleled obduracy has gained one point; it was my intention to have
ordered you for execution tomorrow at the hour of twelve o'clock; but,
as a Christian man, I could not think for a moment of hurrying you into
eternity in your present state. The sentence of the court then is that
you be taken from the dock in which you now stand to the prison from
whence you came, and that from thence you be brought to the place of
execution on next Saturday, and there be hanged by the neck until you be
dead, and may God have mercy on your soul!"

The Rapparee gazed at him with a look of the most hardened effrontery,
and exclaimed, "Is it in earnest you are?" after which he was once mor|e
committed to his cell, loaded with heavy chains, which he wore, by the I
way, during his trial.

Now, in order to account for his outrageous conduct, we must make a
disclosure to the reader. There is in and about all jails a certain
officer yclept a hangman--an officer who is permitted a freer ingress
and egress than almost any other person connected with those gloomy
establishments. This hangman, who resided in the prison, had a brother
whom Sir Robert Whitecraft had hanged, and, it was thought, innocently.
Be this as it may, the man in question was heard to utter strong threats
of vengeance against Sir Robert for having his brother, whose innocence
he asserted, brought to execution. In some time after this a pistol was
fired one night at Sir Robert from behind a hedge, which missed him; but
as his myrmidons were with him, and the night was light, a pursuit took
place, and the guilty wretch was taken prisoner, with the pistol on his
person, still warm after having been discharged. The consequence was
that he was condemned to death. But it so happened that at this period,
although there were five or six executions to take place, yet there was
no hangman to be had, that officer having died suddenly, after a fit of
liquor, and the sheriff would have been obliged to discharge the office
with his own hands unless a finisher of the law could be found. In
brief, he was found, and in the person of the individual alluded to,
who, in consequence of his consenting to accept the office, got a
pardon from the Crown. Now this man and the Rapparee had been old
acquaintances, and renewed their friendship in prison. Through the means
of the hangman O'Donnel got in as much whiskey as he pleased, and we
need scarcely say that they often got intoxicated together. The secret,
therefore, which we had to disclose to the reader, in explanation of
the Rapparee's conduct at his trial, was simply this, that the man was
three-quarters drunk.

After trial he was placed in a darker dungeon than before; but such was
the influence of the worthy executioner with every officer of the jail,
that he was permitted to go either in or out without search, and as he
often gave a "slug," as he called it, to the turnkeys, they consequently
allowed him, in this respect, whatever privileges he wished. Even the
Rapparee's dungeon was not impenetrable to him, especially as he put the
matter on a religious footing, to wit, that as the unfortunate robber
was not allowed the spiritual aid of his own clergy, he himself was
the only person left to prepare him for death, which he did with the
whiskey-bottle.

The assizes on that occasion were protracted to an unusual length. The
country was in a most excited state, and party feeling ran fearfully
high. Nothing was talked of but the two trials, par excellence, to wit,
that of Whitecraft and Reilly; and scarcely a fair or market, for a
considerable time previous, ever came round in which there waa not
a battle on the subject of either one or the other of them, and not
unfrequently of both. Nobody was surprised at the conviction of the Red
Rapparee; but, on the contrary, every one was glad that the country had
at last got rid of him.

Poor Helen, however, was not permitted to remain quiet, as she had
expected. When Mr. Doldrum had furnished the leading counsel with his
brief and a list of the witnesses, the other gentleman was surprised to
see the name of Helen Folliard among them.

"How is this?" he inquired; "is not this the celebrated beauty who
eloped with him?"

"It is, sir," replied Doldrum.

"But," proceeded the other, "you have not instructed me in the nature of
the evidence she is prepared to give."

"She is deeply penitent, sir, and in a very feeble state of health; so
much so that we were obliged to leave the tendency of her evidence to be
brought out on the trial."

"Have you subpoenaed her?"

"No, sir."

"And why not, Mr. Doldrum? Don't you know that there is no understanding
the caprices of women. You ought to have subpoenaed her, because, if she
be a leading evidence, she may still change her mind and leave us in the
lurch."

"I certainly did not subpoena her," replied Doldrum, "because, when I
mentioned it to her father, he told me that if I attempted it he would
break my head. It was enough, he said, that she had given her promise--a
thing, he added, which she was never known to break."

"Go to her again, Doldrum; for unless we know what she can prove we will
be only working in the dark. Try her, at all events, and glean what you
can out of her. Her father tells me she is somewhat better, so I don't
apprehend you will have much difficulty in seeing her."

Doldrum did see her, and was astonished at the striking change which
had, in so short a time, taken place in her appearance. She was pale,
and exhibited all the symptoms of an invalid, with the exception of her
eyes, which were not merely brilliant, but dazzling, and full of a
fire that flashed from them with something like triumph whenever her
attention was directed to the purport of her testimony. On this subject
they saw that it; would be quite useless, and probably worse than
useless, to press her, and they did not, consequently, put her to the
necessity of specifying the purport of her evidence.

"I have already stated," said she, "that I shall attend the trial; that
ought, and must be, sufficient for you. I beg, then, you will withdraw,
sir. My improved health will enable me to attend, and you may rest
assured that if I have life I shall be there, as I have already told
you; but, I say, that if you wish to press me for the nature of my
evidence, you shall have it, and, as she spoke, her eyes flashed
fearfully, as they were in the habit of doing whenever she felt deeply
excited. Folliard himself became apprehensive of the danger which might
result from the discussion of any subject calculated to disturb her,
and insisted that she should be allowed to take her own way. In the
meantime, after they had left her, at her own request, her father
informed the attorney that she was getting both strong and cheerful, in
spite of her looks.

"To be sure," said he, "she is pale! but that's only natural, after her
recent slight attack, and all the excitement and agitation she has for
some time past undergone. She sings and plays now, although I have heard
neither a song nor a tune from her for a long time past. In the
evening, too, she is exceedingly cheerful when we sit together in the
drawing-room; and she often laughs more heartily than I ever knew her to
do before in my life. Now, do you think, Doldrum, if she was breaking
her heart about Reilly that she would be in such spirits?"

"No, sir; she would be melancholy and silent, and would neither sing,
nor laugh, nor play; at least I felt, so when I was in love with Miss
Swithers, who kept me in a state of equilibrium for better than two
years;--but that wasn't the worst of it, for she knocked the loyalty
clean out of me besides--indeed, so decidedly so that I never once sang
'Lillibullero' during the whole period of my attachment, and be hanged
to her."

"And what became of her?"

"Why, she married my clerk, who used to serve my love-letters upon her;
and when I expected to come in by execution--that is, by marriage--that
cursed little sheriff, Cupid, made a return of _nulla bona_. She and Sam
Snivel--a kind of half Puritan--entered a _dis_appearance, and I never
saw them since; but I am told they are in America. From what you tell
me, sir, I have no doubt but Miss Folliard will make a capital witness.
In fact, Reilly ought to feel proud of the honor of being hanged by her
evidence; she will be a host in herself."

We have already stated that the leading counsel against Reilly had
succeeded in getting his trial postponed until Miss Folliard should
arrive at a sufficient state of health to appear against him. In the
meantime, the baronet's trial, which was in a political, indeed,
we might say, a national point of view, of far more importance than
Reilly's, was to come on next day. In the general extent of notoriety
or fame, Reilly had got in advance--though not much--of his implacable
rival. The two trials were, in fact, so closely united by the relative
position of the parties that public opinion was strangely and strongly
divided between them. Reilly and his _Cooleen Bawn_ had, by the unhappy
peculiarity of their fate, excited the interest of all the youthful and
loving part of society--an interest which was necessarily reflected
upon Whitecraft, as Reilly's rival, independently of the hold which
his forthcoming fate had upon grave and serious politicians. Reilly's
leading counsel, Fox, a man of great judgment and ability, gave it as
his opinion that in consequence of the exacerbated state of feeling
produced against the Catholics by the prosecution of Whitecraft--to
appease whom, the opinion went that it was instituted--it seemed
unlikely that Reilly had a single chance. Had his trial, he said, taken
place previous to that of Whitecraft's, he might have escaped many of
the consequences of Whitecraft's conviction; but now, should the latter
be convicted, the opposing party would die in the jury-box rather than
let Reilly escape.




CHAPTER XXIV.--Jury of the Olden Time

--Preparations--The Scales of Justice.


At last the trial came on, and Sir Robert Whitecraft, the great champion
of Protestantism--a creed which he did not believe--was conducted into
the court-house and placed in the dock. He was dressed in his best
apparel, in order to distinguish himself from common culprits, and to
give this poor external evidence of his rank, with a hope that it might
tell, to a certain extent at least, upon the feeling of the jury. When
placed in the dock, a general buzz and bustle agitated the whole
court His friends became alert, and whispered to each other with much
earnestness, and a vast number of them bowed to him, and shook hands
with him, and advised him to be cool, and keep up his spirits. His
appearance, however, was any thing but firm; his face was deadly pale,
his eyes dull and cowardly, his knees trembled so much that he was
obliged to support himself on the front of the dock.

At length the trial commenced, and the case having been opened by a
young lawyer, a tall, intellectual-looking man, about the middle age,
of pale but handsome features, and an eye of singular penetration and
brilliancy, rose; and after pulling up his gown at the shoulders,
and otherwise adjusting it, proceeded to lay a statement of this
extraordinary case before the jury.

He dwelt upon "the pain which he felt in contemplating a gentleman of
rank and vast wealth occupying the degraded position of a felon, but
not, he was sorry to say, of a common felon. The circumstances, my lord,
and gentlemen of the jury, which have brought the prisoner before you
this day, involve a long catalogue of crimes that as far transcend, in
the hideousness of their guilt, the offences of a common felon as his
rank and position in life do that of the humblest villain who ever stood
before a court of justice.

"The position, gentlemen, of this country has for a long series of years
been peculiar, anomalous, and unhappy. Divided as it is, and has been,
by the bitter conflict between two opposing creeds and parties, it is
not to be wondered at that it should be a melancholy scene of misery,
destitution, famine, and crime; and, unhappily, it presents to us the
frightful aspect of all these. The nature, however, of the conflicts
between those creeds and parties, inasmuch as it bears upon the case of
the prisoner, gentlemen, who now stands for trial and a verdict at your
hands, is such as forces me, on that account, to dwell briefly upon it.
In doing so, I will have much, for the sake of our common humanity, to
regret and to deplore. It is a fundamental principle, gentlemen, in our
great and glorious Constitution, that the paramount end and object of
our laws is to protect the person, the liberty, and the property of
the subject. But there is something, gentlemen, still dearer to us than
either liberty, person, or property; something which claims a protection
from those laws that stamps them with a nobler and a loftier character,
when it is afforded, and weaves them into the hearts and feelings of
men of all creeds, when this divine mission of the law is fulfilled. I
allude, gentlemen, to the inalienable right of every man to worship God
freely, and according to his own conscience--without restraint--without
terror--without oppression, and, gentlemen of the jury, without
persecution. A man, or a whole people, worship God, we will assume,
sincerely, according to their notions of what is right, and, I say,
gentlemen, that the individual who persecutes that man, or those people,
for piously worshipping their Creator, commits blasphemy against the
Almighty--and stains, as it were, the mercy-seat with blood.

"Gentlemen of the jury, let me ask you what has been the state and
condition of this unhappy and distracted country? I have mentioned two
opposing creeds, and consequently two opposing parties, and I have also
mentioned persecution; but let me also ask you again on which side has
the persecution existed? Look at your Roman Catholic fellow-subjects,
and ask yourselves to what terrible outburst of political and religious
vengeance have they not been subjected? But it is said they are not
faithful and loyal subjects, and that they detest the laws. Well, let
us consider this--let us take a cursory view of all that the spirit and
operation of the laws have left them to be thankful for--have brought
to bear upon them for the purpose, we must suppose, of securing their
attachment and their loyalty. Let us, gentlemen, calmly and solemnly,
and in a Christian temper, take a brief glance at the adventures which
the free and glorious spirit of the British Constitution has held out
to them, in order to secure their allegiance. In the first place, their
nobles and their gentry have been deprived of their property, and the
right of tenure has been denied even to the people. Ah, my lord, and
gentlemen of the jury, what ungrateful and disloyal miscreant could
avoid loving a Constitution, and hugging to his grateful heart laws
which showered down such blessings upon him, and upon all those who
belong to a creed so favored? But it would seem to have been felt that
these laws had still a stronger claim upon their affections. They would
protect their religion as they did their property; and in order
to attach them still more strongly, they shut up their places of
worship--they proscribed and banished and hung their clergy--they hung
or shot the unfortunate people who tied to worship God in the desert--in
mountain fastnesses and in caves, and threw their dead bodies to find
a tomb in the entrails of the birds of the air, or the dogs which even
persecution had made mad with hunger. But again--for this pleasing
panorama is not yet closed, the happy Catholics, who must have danced
with delight, under the privileges of such a Constitution, were deprived
of the right to occupy and possess all civil offices--their enterprise
was crushed--their industry made subservient to the rapacity of their
enemies, and not to their own prosperity. But this is far from being
all. The sources of knowledge--of knowledge which only can enlighten
and civilize the mind, prevent crime, and promote the progress of human
society--these sources of knowledge, I say, were sealed against
them; they were consequently left to ignorance, and its inseparable
associate--vice. All those noble principles which result from education,
and which lead youth into those moral footsteps in which they should
tread, were made criminal in the Catholic to pursue, and impossible to
attain; and having thus been reduced by ignorance to the perpetration of
those crimes which it uniformly produces--the people were punished for
that which oppressive laws had generated, and the ignorance which was
forced upon them was turned into a penalty and a persecution. They
were first made ignorant by one Act of Parliament, and then punished by
another for those crimes which ignorance produces.

"And now, my lord, and gentlemen of the jury, it remains for me to
take another view of the state and condition of this wretched country.
Perhaps there is not in the world so hideously a penal code of laws
as that which appertains to the civil and religious rights of our
unfortunate Roman Catholic countrymen. It is not that this code is
fierce, inhuman, unchristian, barbarous, and Draconic, and conceived in
a spirit of blood--because it might be all this, and yet, through the
liberality and benevolence of those into whose hands it ought to be
entrusted for administration, much of its dreadful spirit might be
mitigated. And I am bound to say that a large and important class of the
Protestant community look upon such a code nearly with as much horror
as the Catholics themselves. Unfortunately, however, in every state of
society and of law analogous to ours, a certain class of men, say rather
of monsters, is sure to spring up, as it were, from hell, their throats
still parched and heated with that insatiable thirst which the guilty
glutton felt before them, and which they now are determined to slake
with blood. For some of these men the apology of selfishness, an anxiety
to raise themselves out of the struggles of genteel poverty, and
a wolfish wish to earn the wages of oppression, might be pleaded;
although, heaven knows, it is at best but a desperate and cowardly
apology. On the other hand, there are men not merely independent, but
wealthy, who, imbued with a fierce and unreasoning bigotry, and stained
by a black and unscrupulous ambition, start up into the front ranks of
persecution, and carry fire and death and murder as they go along, and
all this for the sake of adding to their reprobate names a title--a
title earned by the shedding of innocent blood--a title earned by the
oppression and persecution of their unresisting fellow-subjects--a
title, perhaps that of baronet; if I am mistaken in this, the individual
who stands before you in that dock could, for he might, set me right.

"In fact, who are those who have lent themselves with such delight to
the execution of bad laws? of laws that, for the sake of religion and
Christianity, never ought to have been effected? Are they men of moral
and Christian lives? men whose walk has been edifying in the sight of
their fellows? are they men to whom society could look up as examples of
private virtue and the decorous influence of religion? are they men who,
on the Sabbath of God, repair with their wives and families to his holy
worship? Alas! no. These heroic persecutors, who hunt and punish a set
of disarmed men, are, in point of fact, not only a disgrace to that
religion in whose name they are persecutors, and on whose merciful
precepts they trample, but to all religion, in whatever light true
religion is contemplated. Vicious, ignorant, profligate, licentious, but
cunning, cruel, bigoted, and selfish, they make the spirit of oppressive
laws, and the miserable state of the country, the harvest of their gain.
Look more closely at the picture, gentlemen of the jury, and make, as I
am sure you will, the dismal and terrible circumstances which I will lay
before you your own. Imagine for a moment that those who are now, or at
least have been, the objects of hot and blood-scenting persecution, had,
by some political revolution, got the power of the State and of the laws
into their own hands; suppose, for it is easily supposed, that they
had stripped you of your property, deprived you of your civil rights,
disarmed you of the means of self-defence, persecuted yourselves and
proscribed your religion, or, vice versa, proscribed yourselves and
persecuted your religion, or, to come at once to the truth, proscribed
and persecuted both; suppose your churches shut up, your pious clergy
banished, and that, when on the bed of sickness or of death, some
of your family, hearing your cries for the consolations of religion,
ventured out, under the clouds of the night, pale with sorrow, and
trembling with apprehension, to steal for you, at the risk of life, that
comfort which none but a minister of God can effectually bestow upon the
parting spirit; suppose this, and suppose that your house is instantly
surrounded by some cruel but plausible Sir Robert Whitecraft, or some
drunken and ruffianly Captain Smellpriest, who, surrounded and supported
by armed miscreants, not only breaks open that house, but violates the
awful sanctify of the deathbed itself, drags out the minister of Christ
from his work of mercy, and leaves him a bloody corpse at our threshold.
I say, change places, gentlemen of the jury, and suppose in your own
imaginations that all those monstrous persecutions, all those murderous
and flagitious outrages, had been inflicted upon yourselves, with others
of an equally nefarious character; suppose all this, and you may easily
do so, for you have seen it all perpetrated in the name of God and the
law, or, to say the truth, in the hideous union of mammon and murder;
suppose all this, and you will feel what such men as he who stands
in that dock deserves from humanity and natural justice; for, alas! I
cannot say, from the laws of his country, under the protection of which,
and in the name of which, he and those who resemble him have deluged
that country with innocent blood, laid waste the cabin of the widow and
the orphan, and carried death and desolation wherever they went. But,
gentlemen, I shall stop here, as I do not wish to inflict unnecessary
pain upon you, even by this mitigated view of atrocities which have
taken place before your own eyes; yet I cannot close this portion of
my address without, referring to so large a number of our
fellow-Protestants with pride, as I am sure their Roman Catholic friends
do with gratitude. Who were those who, among the Protestant party, threw
the shield of their name and influence over their Catholic neighbors
and friends? Who, need I ask? The pious, the humane, the charitable,
the liberal, the benevolent, and the enlightened. Those were they who,
overlooking the mere theological distinctions of particular doctrines,
united in the great and universal creed of charity, held by them as a
common principle on which they might meet and understand and love each
other. And indeed, gentlemen of the jury, there cannot be a greater
proof of the oppressive spirit which animates this penal and inhuman
code than the fact that so many of those, for whose benefit it
was enacted, resisted its influence, on behalf of their Catholic
fellow-subjects, as far as they could, and left nothing undone to
support the laws of humanity against those of injustice and oppression.
When the persecuted Catholic could not invest his capital in the
purchase of property, the generous Protestant came forward, purchased
the property in his own name, became the _bona fide_ proprietor, and
then transferred its use and advantages to his Catholic friend. And
again, under what roof did the hunted Catholic priest first take refuge
from those bloodhounds of persecution? In most cases under that of his
charitable and Christian brother, the Protestant clergyman. Gentlemen,
could there be a bitterer libel upon the penal laws than the notorious
facts which I have the honor of stating to you?

"The facts which have placed the prisoner at the bar before you are
these, and in detailing them I feel myself placed in circumstances of
great difficulty, and also of peculiar delicacy. The discharge, however,
of a public duty, which devolves upon me as leading law officer of the
Crown, forces me into a course which I cannot avoid, unless I should
shrink from promoting and accomplishing the ends of public justice. In
my position, and in the discharge of my solemn duties here to-day, I can
recognize no man's rank, no man's wealth, nor the prestige of any man's
name. So long as he stands at that bar, charged with great and heinous
crimes, I feel it my duty to strip him of all the advantages of his
birth and rank, and consider him simply a mere subject of the realm.

"In order to show you, gentlemen of the jury, the animux under which
the prisoner at the bar acted, in the case before us, I must go back
a little--a period of some months. At that time a highly respectable
gentleman of an ancient and honored family in this country was one
evening on his way home from this town, attended, as usual, by his
servant. At a lonely place on a remote and antiquated road, which they
took as a shorter way, it so happened that, in consequence of a sudden
mist peculiar to those wild moors, they lost their path, and found
themselves in circumstances of danger and distress. The servant,
however, whistled, and his whistle was answered; a party of men, of
freebooters, of robbers, headed by a person called the Red Rapparee, who
has been convicted at these assizes, and who has been the scourge of the
country for years, came up to them, and as the Rapparee had borne this
respectable gentleman a deadly and implacable enmity for some time past,
he was about to murder both master and man, and actually had his musket
levelled at him, as others of his gang had at his aged servant, when
a person, a gentleman named Reilly--[there there was a loud cheer
throughout the court, which, however, was soon repressed, and the
Attorney-General proceeded]--this person started out from an old ruin,
met the robber face to face, and, in short, not only saved the lives of
the gentleman and his servant, but conducted them safely home. This act
of courage and humanity, by a Roman Catholic to a Protestant, had such
an effect upon the old gentleman's daughter, a lady whose name has
gone far and wide for her many virtues and wonderful beauty, that an
attachment was formed between the young gentleman and her. The prisoner
at the bar, gentlemen, was a suitor for her hand; but as the young and
amiable lady was acquainted with his character as a priest-hunter and
persecutor, she, though herself a Protestant, could look upon him only
with abhorrence. At all events, after the rescue of her father's life,
and her acquaintance with Mr. Reilly, the prisoner at the bar was
rejected with disdain, as he would have been, it seems, if Reilly never
had existed. Now, gentlemen I of the jury, observe that Reilly was a
Catholic, which was bad enough in the eyes of the prisoner at the bar;
but he was more; he was a rival, and were it not for the state of the
law, would, it appears, for there is no doubt of it now, have been
a successful one. From henceforth the prisoner at the bar marked Mr.
Reilly for vengeance, for destruction, for death. At this time he was
in the full exercise of irresponsible authority; he could burn, hang,
shoot, without being called to account; and as it will appear before
you, gentlemen, this consciousness of impunity stimulated him to the
perpetration of such outrages as, in civil life, and in a country free
from civil war, are unparalleled in the annals of crime and cruelty.

"But, gentlemen, what did this man do? this man, so anxious to preserve
the peace of the country; this man, the terror of the surrounding
districts; what did he do, I ask? Why, he took the most notorious
robber of: his day, the fierce and guilty Rapparee--he took him into his
councils, in order that he might enable him to trace the object of
his vengeance, Reilly, in the first place, and to lead him to the
hiding-places of such unfortunate Catholic priests as had taken refuge
in the caves and fastnesses of the mountains. Instead of punishing this
notorious malefactor, he took him into his own house, made him, as he
was proud to call them, one of his priest-hounds, and induced him to
believe that he had procured him a pardon from Government. Reilly's name
he had, by his foul misrepresentations, got into the _Hue-and-Cry_, and
subsequently had him gazetted as an outlaw; and all this upon his own
irresponsible authority. I mention nothing, gentlemen, in connection
with this trial which we are not in a capacity to prove.

"Having forced Reilly into a variety of disguises, and hunted him like
a mad dog through the country; having searched every: lurking-place in
which he thought he might I find him, he at length resolved on the only
course of vengeance he could pursue. He surrounded his habitation, and,
after searching for Reilly himself, he openly robbed him of all that was
valuable of that gentleman's furniture, then set fire to the house, and
in the clouds of the night reduced that and every out-office he had
to ashes--a capital felony. It so happens, however, that the house and
offices were, in point of fact, not the property of Reilly at all, but
of a most respectable Protestant gentleman and magistrate, Mr. Hastings,
with whose admirable! character I have no doubt you are all acquainted;
and all that remains for me to say is, that he is the prosecutor in this
case.

"And now, gentlemen, we expect a calm, deliberate, and unbiassed verdict
from you. Look upon the prisoner at the bar as an innocent man until you
can, with a clear conscience, find him guilty of the charges which we
are in a condition to prove against him; but if there be any doubt upon
your minds, I hope you will give him the benefit of it."

Sir Robert Whitecraft, in fact, had no defence, and could procure no
witnesses to counteract the irresistible body of evidence that was
produced against him. Notwithstanding all this, his friends calculated
upon the prejudices of a Protestant jury. His leading counsel made as
able a speech in his defence as could be made under the circumstances.
It consisted, however, of vague generalities, and dwelt upon the state
of the country and the necessity that existed for men of great spirit
and Protestant feeling to come out boldly, and, by courage and energy,
carry the laws that had passed for the suppression of Popery into active
and wholesome operation. "Those laws were passed by the wisest and
ablest assembly of legislators in the world, and to what purpose could
legislative enactments for the preservation of Protestant interests be
passed if men of true faith and loyalty could not be found to carry them
into effect. There were the laws; the prisoner at the bar did not make
those laws, and if he was invested with authority to carry them into
operation, what did he do but discharge a wholesome and important duty?
The country was admitted, on all sides, to be in a disturbed state;
Popery was attempting for years most insidiously to undermine the
Protestant Church, and to sap the foundation of all Protestant
interests; and if, by a pardonable excess of zeal, of zeal in the right
direction, and unconscious lapse in the discharge of what he would call,
those noble but fearful duties had occurred, was it for those who had
a sense of true liberty, and a manly detestation of Romish intrigue at
heart, to visit that upon the head of a true and loyal man as a
crime. Forbid it, the spirit of the British Constitution--forbid it,
heaven--forbid it, Protestantism. No, gentlemen of the jury," etc., etc.

We need not go further, because we have condensed in the few sentences
given the gist of all he said.

When the case was closed, the jury retired to their room, and as Sir
Robert Whitecraft's fate depends upon their verdict, we will be kind
enough to avail ourselves of the open sesame of our poor imagination to
introduce our readers invisibly into the jury-room.

"Now," said the foreman, "what's to be done? Are we to sacrifice a
Protestant champion to Popery?"

"To Popery! To the deuce," replied another. "It's not Popery that is
prosecuting him. Put down Popery by argument, by fair argument, but
don't murder those that profess it, in cold blood. As the Attorney*
General said, let us make it our own case, and if the Papishes treated
us as we have treated them, what would we say? By jingo, I'll hang
that fellow. He's a Protestant champion, they say; but I say he's a
Protestant bloodhound, and a cowardly rascal to boot."

"How is he a cowardly rascal, Bob? Hasn't' he proved himself a brave man
against the Papishes? eh?"

"A brave man! deuce thank him for being a brave man against poor devils
that are allowed nothing stouter than a horse-rod to defend themselves
with--when he has a party of well-armed bloodhounds at his back. He's
the worst landlord in Ireland, and, above all things, he's a tyrant to
his Protestant tenants, this champion of Protestantism. Ay, and fierce
as he is against Popery, there's not a Papish tenant on his estate that
he's not like a father to."

"And how the deuce do you know that?"

"Because I was head bailiff to him for ten years."

"But doesn't all the world know that he hates the Papists, and would
have them massacred if he could?"

"And so he does--and so he would; but it's all his cowardice, because
he's afraid that if he was harsh to his Popish tenants some of them
might shoot him from behind a hedge some fine night, and give him a
leaden bullet for his supper."

"I know he's a coward," observed another, "because he allowed himself to
be horsewhipped by Major Bingham, and didn't call him out for it."

"Oh, as to that," said another, "it was made up by their friends; but
what's to be done? All the evidence is against him, and we are on our
oaths to find a verdict according to the evidence."

"Evidence be hanged," said another; "I'll sit here till doom's-day
before I find him guilty. Are we, that are all loyal Protestants, to
bring out a varjuice to please the Papishes? Oh, no, faith; but here's
the thing, gentlemen; mark me; here now, I take off my shoes, and I'll
ait them before I find him guilty;" and as he spoke he deliberately
slipped of his shoes, and placed them on the table, ready for his tough
and loyal repast.

"By Gog," said another, "I'll hang him, in spite of your _teeth_; and,
afther aiten your brogues, you may go barefooted if you like. I have
brogues to ait as well as you, and one of mine is as big as two of
yours."

This was followed by a chorus of laughter, after which they began to
consider the case before them, like admirable and well-reasoning
jurors, as they were. Two hours passed in wrangling and talking and
recriminating, when, at last, one of them, striking the table, exclaimed
with an oath:

"All Europe won't save the villain. Didn't he seduce my sister's
daughter, and then throw her and her child back, with shame and
disgrace, on the family, without support?"

"Look at that," said the owner of the shoe, holding it up triumphantly;
"that's my supper to-night, and my argument in his defence. I say
our--Protestant champion mustn't hang, at least until I starve first."

The other, who sat opposite to him, put his hand across the table, and
snatching the shoe, struck its owner between the two eyes with it and
knocked him back on the floor. A scene of uproar took place, which
lasted for some minutes, but at length, by the influence of the foreman,
matters were brought to a somewhat amicable issue. In this way they
spent the time for a few hours more, when one of the usual messengers
came to know if they had agreed; but he was instantly dismissed to a
very warm settlement, with the assurance that they had not.

"Come," said one of them, pulling out a pack of cards, "let us amuse
ourselves at any rate. Who's for a hand at the Spoil Five?"

The cards were looked upon as a godsend, and in a few moments one half
the jury were busily engaged at that interesting game. The other portion
of them amused themselves, in the meantime, as well as they could.

"Tom," said one of them, "were you ever on a special jury in a revenue
case?"

"No," replied Tom, "never. Is there much fun?"

"The devil's own fun; because if we find for the defendant, he's sure to
give us a splendid feed. But do you know how we manage when we find that
we can't agree?"

"No. How is it?"

"Why, you see, when the case is too clear against him, and that to find
for him would be too barefaced, we get every man to mark down on a slip
of paper the least amount of damages he is disposed to give against him;
when they're all down, we tot them up, and divide by twelve--"*

     *By no means an uncommon proceeding in revenue cases,
     even at the present day.

"Silence," said another, "till we hear John Dickson's song."

The said John Dickson was at the time indulging them with a comic song,
which was encored with roars of laughter.

"Hallo!" shouted one of those at the cards, "here's Jack Brereton has
prigged the ace of hearts."

"Oh, gentlemen," said Jack, who was a greater knave at the cards than
any in the pack, "upon, my honor, gentlemen, you wrong me."

"There--he has dropped it," said another; "look under the table."

The search was made, and up was lugged the redoubtable ace of hearts
from under one of Jack's feet, who had hoped, by covering it, to escape
detection. Detected, however, he was, and, as they all knew him well,
the laughter was loud accordingly, and none of them laughed louder than
Jack himself.

"Jack," said another of them, "let us have a touch of the legerdemain."

"Gentlemen, attention," said Jack. "Will any of you lend me a
halfpenny?"

This was immediately supplied to him, and the first thing he did was
to stick it on his forehead--although there had been brass enough there
before--to which it appeared to have been glued; after a space he took
it off and placed it in the palm of his right hand, which he closed,
and then, extending both his hands, shut, asked those about him in which
hand it was. Of course they all said in the right; but, upon Jack's
opening the said hand, there was no halfpenny there.

In this way they discussed a case of life or death, until another knock
came, which "knock" received the same answer as before.

"Faith," said a powerful-looking farmer from near the town of Boyle--the
very picture of health, "if they don't soon let us out I'll get sick.
It's I that always does the sickness for the jury when we're kept in too
long."

"Why, then, Billy Bradley," asked one of them, "how could you, of all
men living, sham sickness on a doctor?"

"Because," said Billy, with a grin, "I'm beginning to feel a divarsion
of blood to the head, for want of a beefsteak and a pot o' porther. My
father and grandfather both died of a divarsion of blood to the head."

"I rather think," observed another, "that they died by taking their
divarsion at the beefsteak and the pot of porter."

"No matther," said Billy, "they died at all events, and so will we all,
plaise God."

"Gome," said one of them, "there is Jack Brereton and his cane--let us
come to business. What do you say, Jack, as to the prisoner?"

Jack at the time had the aforesaid cane between his legs, over which he
was bent like a bow, with the head of it in his mouth.

"Are you all agreed?" asked Jack.

"All for a verdict of guilty, with the exception of this fellow and his
shoes."

Jack Brereton was a handsome old fellow, with a red face and a pair
of watery eyes; he was a little lame, and crippled as he walked,
in consequence of a hip complaint, which he got by a fall from a
jaunting-car; but he was now steady enough, except the grog.

"Jack, what do you say?" asked the foreman; "it's time to do something."

"Why," replied Jack, "the scoundrel engaged me to put down a pump for
him, and I did it in such a manner as was a credit to his establishment.
To be sure, he wanted the water to come whenever it was asked; but I
told him that that wasn't my system; that I didn't want to make a good
thing too cheap; but that the water would come in genteel time--that is
to say, whenever they didn't want it; and faith the water bore me out."
And here Jack laughed heartily. "But no matter," proceeded Jack, "he's
only a _bujeen_; sure it was his mother nursed me. Where's that fellow
that's going to eat his shoes? Here, Ned Wilson, you flaming Protestant,
I have neither been a grand juror nor a petty juror of the county of
Sligo for nothing. Where are you? Take my cane, place it between your
knees as you saw me do, put your mouth down to the head of it, suck up
with all your strength, and you'll find that God will give you sense
afterwards."

Wilson, who had taken such a fancy for eating his shoes, in order to
show his loyalty, was what is called a hard-goer, and besides a great
friend of Jack's. At all events, he followed his advice--put the head
of the huge cane into his mouth, and drew up accordingly. The cane, in
fact, was hollow all through, and contained about three half-pints of
strong whiskey. There was some wrangling with the man for a little time
after this; but at length he approached Jack, and handing him the empty
cane, said:

"What's your opinion, Jack?"

"Why, we must hang him," replied Jack. "He defrauded me in the pump; and
I ask you did you ever put your nose to a better pump than that?"*

     * We have been taken to task about this description of the
     jury-room; but we believe, and have good reason to believe,
     that every circumstance mentioned in it is a fact Do our
     readers remember the history of Orr's trial, where three-
     fourths of the jurors who convicted him were drunk--a fact
     to which they themselves confirmed upon oath afterwards?

"Give me your hand, Jack, we're agreed--he swings!"

At this moment an officer came to ask the same question, when, in reply,
the twelve jurymen came out, and, amidst the most profound silence, the
foreman handed down the issue paper to the Clerk of the Crown.

"Gentlemen," said that officer, after having cast his eye over it, "have
you agreed in your verdict?"

"We have."

"Is the prisoner at the bar guilty, or not guilty?"

"Guilty!"

Let us pause here a moment, and reflect upon the precarious tenure of
life, as it is frequently affected by such scenes as the above, in
the administration of justice. Here was a criminal of the deepest dye,
shivering in the dock with the natural apprehension of his fate, but
supported, notwithstanding, by the delay of the jury in coming to a
verdict. He argued reasonably enough, that in consequence of that very
delay he must necessarily have friends among them who would hold out to
the last. The state of suspense, however, in which he was held must
have been, and was, dreadful. His lips and throat became parched by
excitement, and he was obliged to drink three or four glasses of water.
Being unable to stand, he was accommodated with a chair, on which, while
he sat, the perspiration flowed from his pallid face. Yet, with the
exception of his own clique, there was scarcely an individual present
who did not hope that this trial would put an end to his career of
blood. After all, there was something of the retributive justice of
Providence even in the conduct and feelings of the jury; for, in point
of fact, it was more on account of his private crimes and private infamy
that they, however wrongly, brought in their verdict. Here was he,
encircled by their knowledge of his own iniquities, apart from his
public acts; and there, standing in that dock, from which he might have
gone out free, so far as regarded his political exploits, he found,
although he did not know it, the black weight of his private vices fall
upon his head in the shape of the verdict just delivered. It would be
impossible to describe his appearance on hearing it; his head fell down
upon his breast listless, helpless, and with a character of despair that
was painful to contemplate.

When the verdict was handed down, the judge immediately put on the
black-cap; but Whitecraft's head was resting on his breast, and he did
not for some time see it. At length, stirred into something like life by
the accents of the judge, he raised his head with an effort. The latter
addressed him as thus: "Sir Robert Whitecraft, you have been convicted
this day by as enlightened a jury as ever sat in a jury-box. You must
be aware yourself, by the length of time, and consequently the deep and
serious investigation which they bestowed--and, it is evident, painfully
bestowed--upon your unhappy case, that your conviction is the deliberate
result of their conscientious opinion. It is obvious, as I said, from
the length of time occupied in the jury-room, that the evidence in your
case was sifted closely, and canvassed with the ability and experience
of able and honest men. In the verdict they have returned the Court
perfectly concurs; and it now only remains for me to pass upon you that
awful sentence of the law which is due to your cruel life and flagitious
crimes. Were you a man without education, nurtured in ignorance, and the
slave of its debasing consequences, some shade of compassion might be
felt for you on that account. But you cannot plead this; you cannot
plead poverty, or that necessity which urges many a political adventurer
to come out as a tyrant and oppressor upon his fellow-subjects, under
the shield of the law, and in the corrupt expectation of reward or
promotion. You were not only independent in your own circumstances, but
you possessed great wealth; and why you should shape yourself such an
awful course of crime can only be attributed to a heart naturally
fond of persecution and blood. I cannot, any more than the learned
Attorney-General, suffer the privileges of rank, wealth, or position
to sway me from the firm dictates of justice. You imagined that the
law would connive at you--and it did so too long, but, believe me, the
sooner or later it will abandon the individual that has been provoking
it, and, like a tiger when goaded beyond patience, will turn and tear
its victim to pieces. It remains for me now to pronounce the awful
sentence of the law upon you; but before I do so, let me entreat you to
turn your heart to that Being who will never refuse mercy to a repentant
sinner; and I press this upon you the more because you need not
entertain the slightest expectation of finding it in this world. In
order, therefore, that you may collect and compose your mind for the
great event that is before you, I will allow you four days, in order
that you may make a Christian use of your time, and prepare your spirit
for a greater tribunal than this. The sentence of the Court is that,
on the fifth day after this, you be, etc., etc., etc.; and may God have
mercy on your soul!"

At first there was a dead silence in the Court, and a portion of the
audience was taken completely by surprise on hearing both the verdict'
and the sentence. At length a deep, condensed murmur, which arose by
degrees into a yell of execration, burst forth from his friends, whilst,
on the other hand, a peal of cheers and acclamations rang so
loudly through the court that they completely drowned the indignant
vociferations of the others. In the meantime silence was restored, and
it was found that the convict had been removed during the confusion
to one of the condemned cells. What now were his friends to do? Was it
possible to take any steps by which he might yet be saved from such
a disgraceful death? Pressed as they were for time, they came to
the conclusion that the only chance existing in his favor was for a
deputation of as many of the leading Protestants of the county, as could
be prevailed upon to join in the measure, to proceed to Dublin without
delay. Immediately, therefore, after the trial, a meeting of the
baronet's friends was held in the head inn of Sligo, where the matter
was earnestly discussed. Whitecraft had been a man of private and
solitary enjoyments--in social and domestic life, as cold, selfish,
inhospitable, and repulsive as he was cruel and unscrupulous in his
public career.

The consequence was that he had few personal friends of either rank or
influence, and if the matter had rested upon his own personal character
and merits alone, he would have been left, without an effort, to the
fate which had that day been pronounced upon him. The consideration of
the matter, however, was not confined to himself as an individual, but
to the Protestant party at large, and his conviction was looked upon as
a Popish triumph. On this account many persons of rank and influence,
who would not otherwise have taken any interest in his fate, came
forward for the purpose, if possible, of defeating the Popish
party--who, by the way, had nothing whatsoever to do in promoting his
conviction--and of preventing the stigma and deep disgrace which his
execution would attach to their own. A very respectable deputation was
consequently formed, and in the course of the next day proceeded to
Dublin, to urge their claims in his favor with the Lord Lieutenant.
This nobleman, though apparently favorable to the Catholic people, was
nevertheless personally and secretly a bitter enemy to them. The state
policy which he was instructed and called upon to exercise in their
favor differed _toto coelo_ from his own impressions. He spoke to them,
however, sweetly and softly, praised them for their forbearance,
and made large promises in their favor, whilst, at the same time,
he entertained no intention of complying with their request.
The deputation, on arriving at the castle, ascertained, to their
mortification, that the viceroy would not be at home until the following
day, having spent the last week with a nobleman in the neighborhood;
they were consequently obliged to await his arrival. After his return
they were admitted to an audience, in which they stated their object
in waiting upon him, and urged with great earnestness the necessity
of arresting the fate of such a distinguished Protestant as Sir Robert
Whitecraft; after which they entered into a long statement of the
necessity that existed for such active and energetic men in the then
peculiar and dangerous state of the country.

To all this, however, he replied with great suavity, assuring them that
no man felt more anxious to promote Protestant interests than he did,
and added that the relaxation of the laws against the Catholics was
not so much the result of his own personal policy or feeling as the
consequence of the instructions he had received from the English
Cabinet. He would be very glad to comply with the wishes of the
deputation if he could, but at present it was impossible. This man's
conduct was indefensible; for, not content in carrying out the laws
against the Catholics with unnecessary rigor, he committed a monstrous
outrage against a French subject of distinction, in consequence of which
the French Court, through their Ambassador in London, insisted upon his
punishment.

"Very well, my lord," replied the spokesman of the deputation, "I beg to
assure you, that if a hair of this man's head is injured there will be
a massacre of the Popish population before two months; and I beg also to
let you know, for the satisfaction of the English Cabinet, that they
may embroil themselves with France, or get into whatever political
embarrassment they please, but an Irish Protestant will never hoist a
musket, or draw a sword, in their defence. Gentlemen, let us bid his
Excellency a good-morning."

This was startling language, as the effect proved, for it startled
the viceroy into a compliance with their wishes, and they went home
post-haste, in order that the pardon might arrive in time.




CHAPTER XXV.--Reilly stands his Trial

Rumor of _Cooleen Bawn_'s Treachery--How it appears--Conclusion.


Life, they say, is a life of trials, and so may it be said of this
tale--at least of the conclusion of it; for we feel that it devolves
upon us once more to solicit the presence of our readers to the same
prison in which the Red Rapparee and Sir Robert Whitecraft received
their sentence of doom.

As it is impossible to close the mouth or to silence the tongue of fame,
so we may assure our readers, as we have before, that the: history of
the loves of those two celebrated individuals, to wit, Willy Reilly and
the far-famed _Cooleen Bawn_, had given an interest to the coming trial
such as was never known within the memory of man, at that period, nor
perhaps equalled since. The Red Rapparee, Sir Robert Whitecraft, and all
the other celebrated "villains of that time, have nearly perished out of
tradition itself, whilst those of our hero and heroine are still fresh
in the feelings of the Connaught and Northern peasantry, at whose
hearths, during the winter evenings, the rude but fine old ballad that
commemorated that love is still sung with sympathy, and sometimes, as
we can I testify, with tears. This is fame. One circumstance, however,
which deepened the interest felt by the people, told powerfully against
the consistency of the _Cooleen Bawn_, which was, that she had resolved
to come forward that day to bear evidence against; her lover. Such
was the general impression received from her father, and the attorney
Doldrum, who conducted the trial against Reilly, although our readers
are well aware that on this point they spoke without authority. The
governor of the prison, on going that morning to conduct him to the bar,
said:

"I am sorry, Mr. Reilly, to be the bearer of bad news; but as the
knowledge of it may be serviceable to you or your lawyers, I think I
ought to mention it to you."

"Pray, what is it?" asked Reilly.

"Why, sir, it is said to be a fact that the _Cooleen Bawn_ has proved
false and treacherous, and is coming this day to bear her testimony
against you."

Reilly replied with a smile of confidence, which the darkness of the
room prevented the other from seeing, "Well, Mr. O'Shaugh-nessy, even
if she does, it cannot be helped; have you heard what the nature of her
evidence is likely to be?"

"No; it seems her father and Doldrum the attorney asked her, and she
would not tell them; but she said she had made her mind up to attend the
trial and see justice done. Don't be cast down, Mr. Reilly, though, upon
my soul, I think she ought to have stood it out in your favor to the
last."

"Come," said Reilly, "I am ready; time will tell, Mr. O'Shaughnessy, and
a short time too; a few hours now, and all will know the result."

"I hope in God it may be in your favor, Mr. Reilly."

"Thank you, O'Shaughnessy; lead on; I am ready to attend you."

The jail was crowded even to suffocation; but this was not all. The
street opposite the jail was nearly as much crowded as the jail itself,
a moving, a crushing mass of thousands having been collected to abide
and hear the issue. It was with great difficulty, and not without the
aid of a strong military force, that a way could be cleared for the
judge as he approached the prison. The crowd was silent and passive,
but in consequence of the report that the _Cooleen Bawn_ was to appear
against Reilly, a profound melancholy and an expression of deep sorrow
seemed to brood over it. Immediately after the judge's carriage came
that of the squire, who was accompanied by his daughter, Mrs. Brown and
Mrs. Hastings, for Helen had insisted that her father should procure
their attendance. A private room in the prison had, by previous
arrangement, been prepared for them, and to this they were conducted by
a back way, so as to avoid the crushing of the crowd. It was by this
way also that the judge and lawyers entered the body of the court-house,
without passing through the congregated mass.

At length the judge, having robed himself, took his seat on the bench,
and, on casting his eye over the court-house, was astonished at the
dense multitude that stood before him. On looking at the galleries, he
saw that they were crowded with ladies of rank and fashion. Every thing
having been now ready, the lawyers, each with his brief before him, and
each with a calm, but serious and meditative aspect, the Clerk of
the Crown cried out, in a voice which the hum of the crowd rendered
necessarily loud:

"Mr. Jailer, put William Reilly to the bar."

At that moment a stir, a murmur, especially among the ladies in the
gallery, and a turning of faces in the direction of the bar, took place
as Reilly came forward, and stood erect in front of the judge. The
very moment he made his appearance all eyes were fastened on him, and
whatever the prejudices may have been against the _Cooleen Bawn_ for
falling in love with a Papist, that moment of his appearance absolved
her from all--from every thing. A more noble or majestic figure never
stood at that or any other bar. In the very prime of manhood, scarcely
out of youth, with a figure like that of Antinous, tall, muscular, yet
elegant, brown hair of the richest shade, a lofty forehead, features of
the most manly cast, but exquisitely formed, and eyes which, but for
the mellow softness of their expression, an eagle might have envied
for their transparent brilliancy. The fame of his love for the _Cooleen
Bawn_ had come before him. The judge surveyed him with deep interest;
so did every eye that could catch a view of his countenance; but,
above all, were those in the gallery riveted upon him with a degree of
interest--and, now that they had seen him, of sympathy--which we shall
not attempt to describe. Some of them were so deeply affected that
they could not suppress their tears, which, by the aid of their
handkerchiefs, they endeavored to conceal as well as they could.
Government, in this case, as it was not one of political interest,
did not prosecute. A powerful bar was retained against Reilly, but an
equally powerful one was engaged for him, the leading lawyer being, as
we have stated, the celebrated advocate Fox, the Curran of his day.

The charge against him consisted of only two counts--that of robbing
Squire Folliard of family jewels of immense value, and that of running
away with his daughter, a ward of Chancery, contrary to her consent and
inclination, and to the laws in that case made and provided.

The first witness produced was the sheriff--and, indeed, to state the
truth, a very reluctant one was that humane gentleman on the occasion.
Having been sworn, the leading counsel proceeded:

"You are the sheriff of this county?"

"I am."

"Are you aware that jewellery to a large amount was stolen recently from
Mr. Folliard?"

"I am not."

"You are not? Now, is it not a fact, of which you were an eye-witness,
that the jewellery in question was found upon the person of the prisoner
at the bar, in Mr. Folliard's house?"

"I must confess that I saw him about to be searched, and that a very
valuable case of jewellery was found upon his person."

"Yes, found upon his person--a very valuable case of jewellery, the
property of Mr. Folliard, found upon his person; mark that, gentlemen of
the jury."

"Pardon me," said the sheriff, "I saw jewellery found upon him; but I
cannot say on my oath whether it belonged to Mr. Folliard or not; all I
can say is, that Mr. Folliard claimed the jewels as his."

"As his--just so. Nobody had a better right to claim them than the
person to whom they belonged. What took place on the occasion?"

"Why, Mr. Folliard, as I said, claimed them, and Mr. Reilly refused to
give them up to him."

"You hear that, gentlemen--refused to surrender him the property of
which he had robbed him, even in his own house."

"And when you searched the prisoner?"

"We didn't search him; he refused to submit to a search."

"Refused to submit to a search! No wonder, I think! But, at the time he
refused to submit to a search, had he the jewellery upon his person?"

"He had."

"He had? You hear that gentlemen--at the time he refused to be searched
he had the jewellery upon his person."

The sheriff was then cross-examined by Fox, to the following effect:

"Mr. Sheriff, have you been acquainted, or are you acquainted, with the
prisoner at the bar?"

"Yes; I have known him for about three years--almost ever since he
settled in this county."

"What is your opinion of him?"

"My opinion of him is very high."

"Yes--your opinion of him is very high," with a significant glance at
the jury--"I believe it is, and I believe it ought to be. Now, upon
your oath, do you believe that the prisoner at the bar is capable of the
theft or robbery imputed to him?"

"I do not!"

"You do not? What did he say when the jewels were found upon him?"

"He refused to surrender them to Mr. Folliard as having no legal claim
upon them, and refused, at first, to place them in any hands but Miss
Folliard's own; but, on understanding that she was not in--a state to
receive them from him, he placed them in mine."

"Then he considered that they were Miss Folliard's personal property,
and not her father's?"

"So it seemed to me from what he said at the time."

"That will do, sir; you may go down."

"Alexander Folliard" and the father then made his appearance on the
table; he looked about him, with a restless eye, and appeared in a
state of great agitation, but it was the agitation of an enraged and
revengeful man.

He turned his eyes upon Reilly, and exclaimed with bitterness: "There
you are, Willy Reilly, who have stained the reputation of my child, and
disgraced her family."

"Mr. Folliard," said his lawyer, "you have had in your possession very
valuable family jewels."

"I had."

"Whose property were they?"

"Why, mine, I should think."

"Could you identify them?"

"Certainly I could."

"Are these the jewels in question?"

The old man put on his spectacles, and examined them closely.

"They are; I know every one of them."

"They were stolen from you?"

"They were."

"On whose person, after having been stolen, were they found?"

"On the person of the prisoner at the bar."

"You swear that?"

"I do; because I saw him take them out of his pocket in my own house
after he had been made prisoner and detected."

"Then they are your property?"

"Certainly--I consider them my property; who else's property could they
be."

"Pray, is not your daughter a minor?"

"She is."

"And a ward in the Court of Chancery?"

"Yes."

"That will do, sir."

The squire was then about to leave the table, when Mr. Fox addressed
him:

"Not yet, Mr. Folliard, if you please; you swear the jewels are yours?"

"I do; to whom else should they belong?"

"Are you of opinion that the prisoner at the bar robbed you of them?"

"I found them in his possession."

"And you now identify them as the same jewels which you found in his
possession?"

"Hang it, haven't I said so before?"

"Pray, Mr. Folliard, keep your temper, if you please, and answer me
civilly and as a gentleman. Suffer me to ask you are there any other
family jewels in your possession?"

"Yes, the Folliard jewels?"

"The Folliard jewels! And how do they differ in denomination from those
found upon the prisoner?"

"Those found upon the prisoner are called the Bingham jewels, from
the fact of my wife, who was a Bingham, having brought them into our
family."

"And pray, did not your wife always consider those jewels as her own
private property?"

"Why, I believe she did."

"And did she not, at her death-bed, bequeath those very jewels to her
daughter, the present Miss Folliard, on the condition that she too
should consider them as her private property?"

"Why, I believe she did; indeed, I am sure of it, because I was present
at the time."

"In what part of the house were those jewels deposited?"

"In a large oak cabinet that stands in a recess in my library."

"Did you keep what you call the Folliard jewels there?"

"Yes, all our jewellery was kept there."

"But there was no portion of the Folliard jewellery touched?"

"No; but the Bingham sets were all taken, and all found upon the
prisoner."

"What was your opinion of the prisoner's circumstances?"

"I could form no opinion about them."

"Had he not the reputation of being an independent man?"

"I believe such was the impression."

"In what style of life did he live?"

"Certainly in the style of a gentleman."

"Do you think, then, that necessity was likely to tempt a man of
independence like him to steal your daughter's jewels?"

"I'd advise you, Sergeant Fox, not to put me out of temper; I haven't
much to spare just now. What the deuce are you at?"

"Will you answer my question?"

"No, I don't think it was."

"If the Bingham jewellery had been stolen by a thief, do you think that
thief would have left the Folliard jewellery behind him?"

"I'll take my oath you wouldn't, if you had been in the place of the
person that took them. You'd have put the Bingham jewellery in one
pocket, and balanced it with the Folliard in the other. But," he added,
after a slight pause, "the villain stole from me a jewel more valuable
and dearer to her father's heart than all the jewellery of the universal
world put together. He stole my child, my only child," and as he spoke
the tears ran slowly down his cheeks. The court and spectators were
touched by this, and Fox felt that it was a point against them. Even he
himself was touched, and saw that, with respect to Reilly's safety, the
sooner he got rid of the old man, for the present at least, the better.

"Mr. Folliard," said he, "you may withdraw now. Your daughter loved,
as what woman has not? There stands the object of her affections, and I
appeal to your own feelings whether any living woman could be blamed for
loving such a man. You may go down, sir, for the present."

The prosecuting counsel then said: "My lord, we produce Miss Folliard
herself to bear testimony against this man. Crier, let Helen Folliard be
called."

Now was the moment of intense and incredible interest. There was the
far-famed beauty herself, to appear against her manly lover. The stir
in the court, the expectation, the anxiety to see her, the stretching
of necks, the pressure of one over another, the fervor of curiosity,
was such as the reader may possibly conceive, but such certainly as
we cannot attempt to describe. She advanced from a side door, deeply
veiled; but the tall and majestic elegance of her figure not only struck
all hearts with admiration, but prepared them for the inexpressible
beauty with which the whole kingdom rang. She was assisted to the table,
and helped into the witness's chair by her father, who seemed to triumph
in her appearance there. On taking her seat, the buzz and murmur of the
spectators became hushed into a silence like that of death, and, until
she spoke, a feather might have been heard falling in the court.

"Miss Folliard," said the judge, in a most respectful voice, "you are
deeply veiled--but perhaps you are not aware that, in order to give
evidence in a court of justice, your veil should be up; will you have
the goodness to raise it?"

Deliberately and slowly she raised it, as the court had desired
her--but, oh! what an effulgence of beauty, what wonderful brilliancy,
what symmetry, what radiance, what tenderness, what expression!

But we feel that to attempt the description of that face, which almost
had divinity stamped upon it, is beyond all our powers. The whole court,
every spectator, man and woman, all for a time were mute, whilst their
hearts drank in the delicious draught of admiration which such beauty
created. After having raised her veil, she looked around the court with
a kind of wonder, after which her eyes rested on Reilly, and immediately
her lids dropped, for she feared that she had done wrong in looking
upon him. This made many of those hearts who were interested in his fate
sink, and wonder why such treachery should be associated with features
that breathed only of angelic goodness and humanity.

"Miss Folliard," said the leading counsel engaged against Reilly, "I am
happy to hear that you regret some past occurrences that took place with
respect to you and the prisoner at the bar."

"Yes," she replied, in a voice that was melody itself, "I do regret
them."

Fox kept his eye fixed upon her, after which he whispered something
to one or two of his brother lawyers; they shook their heads, and
immediately set themselves to hear and note her examination.

"Miss Folliard, you are aware of the charges which have placed the
prisoner at the bar of justice and his country?"

"Not exactly; I have heard little of it beyond the fact of his
incarceration."

"He stands there charged with two very heinous crimes--one of them,
the theft or robbery of a valuable packet of jewels, your father's
property."

"Oh, no," she replied, "they are my own exclusive property--not
my father's. They were the property of my dear mother, who, on her
death-bed, bequeathed them to me, in the presence of my father himself;
and I always considered them as mine."

"But they were found upon the person of the prisoner?"

"Oh, yes; but that is very easily explained. It is no secret now, that,
in order to avoid a marriage which my father was forcing on me with Sir
Robert Whitecraft, I chose the less evil, and committed myself to
the honor of Mr. Reilly. If I had not done so I should have committed
suicide, I think, rather than marry Whitecraft--a man so utterly devoid
of principle and delicacy that he sent an abandoned female into my
father's house in the capacity of my maid and also as a spy upon my
conduct."

This astounding fact created an immense sensation throughout the court,
and the lawyer who was examining her began to feel that her object in
coming there was to give evidence in favor of Reilly, and not against
him. He determined, however, to try her a little farther, and proceeded:

"But, Miss Folliard, how do you account for the fact of the Bingham
jewels being found upon the person of the prisoner?"

"It is the simplest thing in the world," she replied. "I brought my own
jewels with me, and finding", as we proceeded, that I was likely to lose
them, having no pocket sufficiently safe in which to carry them, I asked
Reilly to take charge of them, which he did. Our unexpected capture, and
the consequent agitation, prevented him from returning them to me, and
they were accordingly found upon his person; but, as for stealing them,
he is just as guilty as his lordship on the bench."

"Miss Folliard," proceeded the lawyer, "you have taken us by surprise
to-day. How does it happen that you volunteered your evidence against
the prisoner, and, now that you have come forward, every word you utter
is in his favor? Your mind must have recently changed--a fact which
takes very much away from the force of that evidence."

"I pray you, sir, to understand me, and not suffer yourself to be
misled. I never stated that I was about to come here to give evidence
against Mr. Reilly; but I said, when strongly pressed to come, that I
would come, and see justice done. Had they asked me my meaning, I would
have instantly told them; because, I trust, I am incapable of falsehood;
and I will say now, that if my life could obtain that of William Reilly,
I would lay it willingly down for him, as I am certain he would lay down
his for the preservation of mine."

There was a pause here, and a murmur of approbation ran through the
court. The opposing counsel, too, found that they had been led astray,
and that to examine her any further would be only a weakening of their
own cause. They attached, however, no blame of insincerity to her, but
visited with much bitterness the unexpected capsize which they had
got, on the stupid head of Doldrum, their attorney. They consequently
determined to ask her no more questions, and she was about to withdraw,
when Fox rose up, and said:

"Miss Folliard, I am counsel for the prisoner at the bar, and I trust
you will answer me a few questions. I perceive, madam, that you are
fatigued of this scene; but the questions I shall put to you will be few
and brief. An attachment has existed for some time between you and the
prisoner at the bar? You need not be ashamed, madam, to reply to it."

"I am not ashamed," she replied proudly, "and it is true."

"Was your father aware of that attachment at any time?"

"He was, from a very early period."

"Pray, how did he discover it?"

"I myself told him of my love for Reilly."

"Did your father give his consent to that attachment?"

"Conditionally he did."

"And pray, Miss Folliard, what were the conditions?"

"That Reilly should abjure his creed, and then no further obstacles
should stand in the way of our union, he said."

"Was ever that proposal mentioned to Reilly?"

"Yes, I mentioned it to him myself; but, well as he loved me, he would
suffer to go into an early grave, he said, sooner than abandon his
religion; and I loved him a thousand times better for his noble
adherence to it."

"Did he not save your father's life?"

"He did, and the life of a faithful and attached old servant at the same
time."

Now, although this fact was generally known, yet the statement of it
here occasioned a strong expression of indignation against the man who
could come forward and prosecute the individual, to whose courage and
gallantry he stood indebted for his escape from murder. The uncertainty
of Folliard's character, however, was so well known, and his whimsical
changes of opinion such a matter of proverb among the people, that many
persons said to each other:

"The cracked old squire is in one of his tantrums now; he'll be a proud
man if he can convict Reilly to-day; and perhaps to-morrow, or in a
month hence, he'll be cursing; himself for what he did--for that's his
way."

"Well, Miss Folliard," said Fox, "we will not detain you any longer;
this to you must be a painful scene; you may retire, madam."

[Illustration: PAGE 175--Give that ring to the prisoner]


She did not immediately withdraw, but taking a green silk purse out of
her bosom, she opened it, and, after inserting her long, white, taper
fingers into it, she brought out a valuable emerald ring, and placing it
in the hands of the crier, she said:

"Give that ring to the prisoner: I know not, William," she added,
"whether I shall ever see you again or not. It may so happen that this is
the last time my eyes can ever rest upon you with love and sorrow." Here
a few bright tears ran down her lovely cheeks. "If you should be sent
to a far-off land, wear this for the sake of her who appreciated your
virtues, your noble spirit, and your pure and disinterested love; look
upon it when, perhaps, the Atlantic may roll between us, and when you
do, think of your _Cooleen Bawn_, and the love she bore you; but if a
still unhappier fate should be yours, let it be placed with you in your
grave, and next that heart, that noble heart, that refused to sacrifice
your honor and your religion even to your love for me. I will now go."

There is nothing so brave and fearless as innocence. Her youth, the
majesty of her beauty, and the pathos of her expressions, absolutely
flooded the court with tears. The judge wept, and hardened old
barristers, with hearts like the nether millstone, were forced to put
their handkerchiefs to their eyes; but as they felt that it might be
detrimental to! their professional characters to be caught weeping, they
shaded off the pathos under the hypocritical pretence of blowing their
noses. The sobs from the ladies in the gallery were loud and vehement,
and Reilly himself was so deeply moved that he felt obliged to put his
face upon his hands, as he bent over the bar, in order to conceal his
emotion. He received the ring with moist eyes, kissed it, and placed it
in a small locket which he put in his bosom.

"Now," said the _Cooleen Bawn_, "I am ready to go."

She was then conducted to the room to which we have alluded, where she
met Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Hastings, both of whom she found in tears--for
they had been in the gallery, and witnessed all that had happened. They
both embraced her tenderly, and attempted to console her as well as they
could; but a weight like death, she said, pressed upon her heart, and
she begged them not to distract her by their sympathy, kind and generous
as she felt it to be, but to allow her to sit, and nurture her own
thoughts until she could hear the verdict of the jury. Mrs. Hastings
returned to the gallery, and arrived there in time to hear the touching
and brilliant speech of Fox, which we are not presumptuous enough to
imagine, much less to stultify ourselves by attempting to give. He
dashed the charge of Reilly's theft of the jewels to pieces--not a
difficult task, after the evidence that had been given; and then dwelt
upon the loves of this celebrated pair with such force and eloquence
and pathos that the court was once more melted into tears. The closing
speech by the leading counsel against Reilly was bitter; but the gist
of it turned upon the fact of his having eloped with a ward of Chancery,
contrary to law; and he informed the jury that no affection--no consent
upon the part of any young lady under age was either a justification of,
or a protection against, such an abduction as that of which Reilly had
been guilty. The state of the law at the present time, he assured them,
rendered it a felony to marry a Catholic and a Protestant together; and
he then left the case in the hands, he said, of an honest Protestant
jury.

The judge's charge was brief. He told the jury that they could not
convict the prisoner on the imputed felony of the jewels; but that the
proof of his having taken away Miss Folliard from her father's house,
with--as the law stood--her felonious abduction, for the purpose of
inveigling her into an unlawful marriage with himself, was the subject
for their consideration. Even had he been a Protestant, the law could
afford him no protection in the eye of the Court of Chancery.

The jury retired; but their absence from their box was very brief.
Unfortunately, their foreman was cursed with a dreadful hesitation in
his speech, and, as he entered, the Clerk of the Crown said:

"Well, gentlemen, have you agreed in your verdict?"

There was a solemn silence, during which nothing was heard but a
convulsive working about the chest and glottis of the foreman, who at
length said:

"We--we--we--we have."

"Is the prisoner at the bar guilty or not guilty?"

Here the internal but obstructed machinery of the chest and throat set
to work again, and at last the foreman was able to get out--"Guilty--"

Mrs. Hastings had heard enough, and too much; and, as the sentence was
pronounced, she instantly withdrew; but how to convey the melancholy
tidings to the _Cooleen Bawn_ she knew not. In the meantime the foreman,
who had not fully delivered himself of the verdict, added, after two or
three desperate hiccups--"on the second count."

This, if the foreman had not labored under such an extraordinary
hesitation, might have prevented much suffering, and many years of
unconscious calamity to one of the unhappy parties of whom we are
writing, inasmuch as the felony of the jewels would have been death,
whilst the elopement with a ward of Chancery was only transportation.

When Mrs. Hastings entered the room where the _Cooleen Bawn_ was
awaiting the verdict with a dreadful intensity of feeling, the latter
rose up, and, throwing her arms about her neck, looked into her face,
with an expression of eagerness and wildness, which Mrs. Hastings
thought might be best allayed by knowing the worst, as the heart, in
such circumstances, generally collects itself, and falls back upon its
own resources.

"Well, Mrs. Hastings, well--the verdict?"

"Collect yourself, my child--be firm--be a woman. Collect yourself--for
you will require it. The verdict--Guilty!"

The _Cooleen Bawn_ did not faint--nor become weak--but she put her fair
white hand to her forehead--then looked around the room, then upon Mrs.
Brown, and lastly upon Mrs. Hastings. They also looked upon her. God
help both her and them! Yes, they looked upon her countenance--that
lovely countenance--and then into her eyes--those eyes! But, alas! where
was their beauty now? Where their expression?

"Miss Folliard! my darling Helen!" exclaimed Mrs. Hastings, in
tears--"great God, what is this, Mrs. Brown? Come here and look at her."

Mrs. Brown, on looking at her, whispered, in choking accents, "Oh! my
God, the child's reason is overturned; what is there now in those once
glorious eyes but vacancy? Oh, that I had never lived to see this awful
day! Helen, the treasure, the delight of all who ever knew you, what
is wrong? Oh, speak to us--recognize us--your own two best
friends--Helen--Helen! speak to us."

She looked upon them certainly; but it was with a dead and vacant stare
which wrung their hearts.

"Come," said she, "tell me where is William Reilly? Oh, bring me to
William Reilly; they have taken me from him, and I. know not where to
find him."

The two kind-hearted ladies looked at one another, each stupefied by the
mystery of what they witnessed.

"Oh," said Mrs. Hastings, "her father must be instantly sent for Mrs.
Brown, go to the lobby--there is an officer there--desire him to go to
Mr. Folliard and say that--but we had better not alarm him too much,"
she added, "say that Miss Folliard wishes to see him immediately."

The judge, we may observe here, had not yet pronounced sentence upon
Reilly. The old man, who, under all possible circumstances, was so
affectionately devoted and attentive to his daughter, immediately
proceeded to the room, in a state of great triumph and exultation
exclaiming, "Guilty, guilty; we have noosed him at last." He even
snapped his fingers, and danced about for a time, until rebuked by Mrs.
Hastings.

"Unhappy and miserable old man," she exclaimed, with tears, "what
have you done? Look at the condition of your only child, whom you have
murdered. She is now a maniac."

[Illustration: PAGE 176--What, what is this? What do you mean?]

"What," he exclaimed, rushing to her, "what, what is this? What do you
mean? Helen, my darling, my child--my delight--what is wrong with you?
Recollect yourself, my dearest treasure. Do you not know me, your own
father? Oh, Helen, Helen! for the love of God speak to me. Say you know
me--call me father--rouse yourself--recollect me--don't you know who I
am?"

There, however, was the frightfully vacant glance, but no reply.

"Oh," said she, in a low, calm voice, "where is William Reilly? They
have taken me from him, and I cannot find him; bring me to William
Reilly."

"Don't you know me, Helen? don't you know your loving father? Oh, speak
to me, child of my heart! speak but one word as a proof that you know
me."

She looked on him, but that look filled his heart with unutterable
anguish; he clasped her to that heart, he kissed her lips, he strove to
soothe and console her--but in vain. There was the vacant but unsettled
eye, from which the bright expression of reason was gone; but no
recognition--no spark of reflection or conscious thought--nothing but
the melancholy inquiry from those beautiful lips of--"Where's William
Reilly? They have taken me from him--and will not allow me to see him.
Oh, bring me to William Reilly!"

"Oh, wretched fate!" exclaimed her distracted father, "I am--I am a
murderer, and faithful Connor was right--Mrs. Brown--Mrs. Hastings--hear
me, both--I was warned of this, but I would not listen either to reason
or remonstrance, and now I am punished, as Connor predicted. Great
heaven, what a fate both for her and me--for her the innocent, and for
me the guilty!"

It is unnecessary to dwell upon the father's misery and distraction;
but, from all our readers have learned of his extraordinary tenderness
and affection for that good and lovely daughter, they may judge of what
he suffered. He immediately ordered his carriage, and had barely time to
hear that Reilly had been sentenced to transportation for seven years.
His daughter was quite meek and tractable; she spoke not, nor could any
ingenuity on their part extract the slightest reply from her. Neither
did she shed a single tear, but the vacant light of her eyes had
stamped a fatuitous expression on her features that was melancholy and
heartbreaking beyond all power of language to describe.

No other person had seen her since the bereavement of her reason, except
the officer who kept guard on the lobby, and who, in the hurry and
distraction of the moment, had been dispatched by Mrs. Brown for a glass
of cold water. Her father's ravings, however, in the man's presence,
added to his own observation, and the distress of her female friends
were quite sufficient to satisfy him of the nature of her complaint, and
in less than half an hour it was through the whole court-house, and
the town besides, that the _Cooleen Bawn_ had gone mad on hearing the
sentence that was passed upon her lover. Her two friends accompanied her
home, and remained with her for the night.

Such was the melancholy conclusion of the trial of Willy Reilly; but
even taking it at its worst, it involved a very different fate from
that of his vindictive rival, Whitecraft. It appeared that that worthy
gentleman and the Red Rapparee had been sentenced to die on the same
day, and at the same hour. It is true, Whitecraft was aware that a
deputation had gone post-haste to Dublin Castle to solicit his pardon,
or at least some lenient commutation of punishment. Still, it was feared
that, owing to the dreadful state of the roads, and the slow mode of
travelling at that period, there was a probability that the pardon might
not arrive in time to be available; and indeed there was every reason
to apprehend as much. The day appointed for the execution of the Red
Rapparee and him arrived--nay, the very hour had come; but still
there was hope, among his friends. The sheriff, a firm, but fair and
reasonable man, waited beyond the time named by the judge for his
execution. At length he felt the necessity of discharging his duty; for,
although more than an hour beyond the appointed period had now elapsed,
yet this delay proceeded from no personal regard he entertained for the
felon, but from respect for many of those who had interested themselves
in his fate.

After an unusual delay the sheriff felt himself called upon to order
both the Rapparee and the baronet for execution. In waiting so long for
a pardon, he felt that he had transgressed his duty, and he accordingly
ordered them out for the last ceremony. The hardened Rapparee died
sullen and silent; the only regret he expressed being that he could not
live to see his old friend turned off before him.

"Troth," replied the hangman, "only that the sheriff has ordhered me
to hang you first as bein' the betther man, I would give you that same
satisfaction; but if you're not in a very great hurry to the warm corner
you're goin' to, and if you will just take your time for a few minutes,
I'll engage to say you will soon have company. God speed you, any way,"
he exclaimed as he turned him off; "only take your time, and wait for
your neighbors. Now, Sir Robert," said he, "turn about, they say, is
fair play--it's your turn now; but you look unbecomin' upon it. Hould up
your head, man, and don't be cast down. You'll have company where you're
goin'; for the Red Rapparee tould me to tell you that he'd wait for you.
Hallo!--what's that?" he exclaimed as he cast his eye to the distance
and discovered a horseman riding for life, with a white handkerchief,
or flag of some kind, floating in the breeze. The elevated position in
which the executioner was placed enabled him to see the signal before
it could be perceived by the crowd. "Come, Sir Robert," said he, "stand
where I'll place you--there's no use in asking you to hould up your
head, for you're not able; but listen. You hanged my brother that you
knew to be innocent; and now I hang you that I know to be guilty. Yes,
I hang you, with the white flag of the Lord Lieutenant's pardon for you
wavin' in the distance; and listen again, remember Willy Reilly;" and
with these words he launched him into eternity.

The uproar among his friends was immense, as was the cheering from the
general crowd, at the just fate of this bad man. The former rushed to
the gallows, in order to cut him down, with a hope that life might
still be in him, a process which the sheriff, after perusing his pardon,
permitted them to carry into effect. The body was accordingly taken
into the prison, and a surgeon procured to examine it; but altogether
in vain; his hour had gone by, life was extinct, and all the honor they
could now pay Sir Robert Whitecraft was to give him a pompous funeral,
and declare him a martyr to Popery both of which they did.

On the day previous to Reilly's departure his humble friend and
namesake, Fergus, at the earnest solicitation of Reilly himself, was
permitted to pay him a last melancholy visit. After his sentence,
as well as before it, every attention had been paid to him by
O'Shaughnessy, the jailer, who, although an avowed Protestant, and a
brand plucked from the burning, was, nevertheless, a lurking Catholic at
heart, and felt a corresponding sympathy with his prisoner. When
Fergus entered his cell he found him neither fettered nor manacled, but
perfectly in the enjoyment at least of bodily freedom. It is impossible,
indeed, to say how far the influence of money may have gone in securing
him the comforts which surrounded him, and the attentions which he
received. On entering his cell, Fergus was struck by the calm and
composed air with which he received him. His face, it is true, was paler
than usual, but a feeling of indignant pride, if not of fixed but stern
indignation, might be read under the composure into which he forced
himself, and which he endeavored to suppress. He approached Fergus,
and extending his hand with a peculiar smile, very difficult to be
described, said:

"Fergus, I am glad to see you; I hope you are safe--at least I have
heard so."

"I am safe, sir, and free," replied Fergus; "thanks to the Red Rapparee
and the sheriff for it."

"Well," proceeded Reilly, "you have one comfort--the Red Rapparee will
neither tempt you nor trouble you again; but is there no danger of his
gang taking up his quarrel and avenging him?"

"His gang, sir? Why, only for me he would a' betrayed every man of
them to Whitecraft and the Government, and had them hanged, drawn,
and quartered--ay, and their heads grinning at us in every town in the
county."

"Well, Fergus, let his name and his crimes perish with him; but, as for
you, what do you intend to do?"

"Troth, sir," replied Fergus, "it's more than I rightly know. I had my
hopes, like others; but, somehow, luck has left all sorts of lovers of
late--from Sir Robert Whitecraft to your humble servant."

"But you may thank God," said Reilly, with a smile, "that you had not
Sir Robert Whitecraft's luck."

"Faith, sir," replied Fergus archly, "there's a pair of us may do so.
You went nearer his luck--such as it was--than I did."

"True enough," replied the other, with a serious air; "I had certainly a
narrow escape; but I wish to know, as I said, what you intend to do? It
is your duty now, Fergus, to settle industriously and honestly."

"Ah, sir, honestly. I didn't expect that from you, Mr. Reilly."

"Excuse me, Fergus," said Reilly, taking him by the hand; "when I said
honestly I did not mean to intimate any thing whatsoever against your
integrity. I know, unfortunately, the harsh circumstances which drove
you to associate with that remorseless villain and his gang; but I wish
you to resume an industrious life, and, if Ellen Connor is disposed to
unite her fate with yours, I have provided the means--ample means for
you both to be comfortable and happy. She who was so faithful to her
mistress will not fail to make you a good wife."

"Ah," replied Fergus, "it's I that knows that well; but, unfortunately,
I have no hope there."

"No hope; how is that? I thought your affection was mutual."

"So it is, sir--or, rather, so it was; but she has affection for nobody
now, barring the _Cooleen Bawn_."

Reilly paused, and appeared deeply moved by this. "What," said he, "will
she not leave her? But I am not surprised at it."

"No, sir, she will not leave her, but has taken an oath to stay by her
night and day, until--better times come."

We may say here that Reillys friends took care that neither jailer
nor turnkey should make him acquainted with the unhappy state of the
_Cooleen Bawn_; he was consequently ignorant of it, and, fortunately,
remained so until after his return home.

"Fergus," said Reilly, "can you tell me how the _Cooleen Bawn_ bears the
sentence which sends me to a far country?"

"How would she bear it, sir? You needn't ask: Connor, at all events,
will not part from her--not, anyway, until you come back."

"Well, Fergus," proceeded Reilly, "I have, as I said, provided for you
both; what that provision is I will not mention now. Mr. Hastings will
inform you. But if you have a wish to leave this unhappy and distracted
country, even without Connor, why, by applying to him, you will be
enabled to do so; or, if you wish to stay at home and take a farm, you
may do so."

"Divil a foot I'll leave the country," replied the other. "Ellen may
stick to the _Cooleen Bawn_, but, be my sowl, I'll stick to Ellen, if I
was to wait these seven years. I'll be as stiff as she is stout; but, at
any rate, she's worth waitin' for."

"You may well say so," replied Reilly, "and I can quarrel neither with
your attachment nor your patience; but you will not forget to let
her know the provision which I have left for her in the hands of Mr.
Hastings, and tell her it is a slight reward for her noble attachment
to my dear _Cooleen Bawn_. Fergus," he proceeded, "have you ever had a
dream in the middle of which you awoke, then fell asleep and dreamt out
the dream?"

"Troth had I, often, sir; and, by the way, talkin' of dreams, I dreamt
last night that I was wantin' Ellen to marry me, and she said, 'not yet,
Fergus, but in due time.'"

"Well, Fergus," proceeded Reilly, "perhaps there is but half my dream
of life gone; who knows when I return--if I ever do--but my dream may
be completed? and happily, too; I know the truth and faith of my dear
_Cooleen Bawn_. And, Fergus, it is not merely my dear _Cooleen Bawn_
that I feel for, but for my unfortunate country. I am not, however,
without hope that the day will come--although it may be a distant
one--when she will enjoy freedom, peace, and prosperity. Now, Fergus,
good-by, and farewell! Come, come, be a man," he added, with a
melancholy smile, whilst a tear stood even in his own eye--"come,
Fergus, I will not have this; I won't say farewell for ever, because I
expect to return and be happy yet--if not in my own country, at least
in some other, where there is more freedom and less persecution for
conscience' sake."

Poor Fergus, however, when the parting moment arrived, was completely
overcome. He caught Reilly in his arms--wept over him bitterly--and,
after a last and sorrowful embrace, was prevailed upon to take his
leave.

The history of the _Cooleen Bawn's_ melancholy fate soon went far and
near, and many an eye that had never rested on her beauty gave its
tribute of tears to her undeserved sorrows. There existed, however, one
individual who was the object of almost as deep a compassion; this was
her father, who was consumed by the bitterest and most profound remorse.
His whole character became changed by his terrible and unexpected shock,
by which his beautiful and angelic daughter had been blasted before
his eyes. He was no longer the boisterous and convivial old squire,
changeful and unsettled in all his opinions, but silent, quiet, and
abstracted almost from life.

He wept incessantly, but his tears did not bring him comfort, for they
were tears of anguish and despair. Ten times a day he would proceed to
her chamber, or follow her to the garden where she loved to walk, always
in the delusive hope that he might catch some spark of returning reason
from those calm-looking but meaningless eyes, after which he would weep
like a child. With respect to his daughter, every thing was done for
her that wealth and human means could accomplish, but to no purpose; the
malady was too deeply seated to be affected by any known remedy, whether
moral or physical. From the moment she was struck into insanity she
was never known to smile, or to speak, unless when she chanced to see a
stranger, upon which she immediately approached, and asked, with clasped
hands:

"Oh! can you tell me where is William Reilly? They have taken me from
him, and, I cannot find him. Oh! can you tell me where is William
Reilly?"

There was, however, another individual upon whose heart the calamity of
the _Cooleen Bawn_ fell like a blight that seemed to have struck it into
such misery and sorrow as threatened to end only with life. This was
the faithful and attached Ellen Connor. On the day of Reilly's trial
she experienced the alternations of hope, uncertainty, and despair, with
such a depth of anxious feeling, and such feverish excitement, that the
period of time which elapsed appeared to her as if it would never come
to an end. She could neither sit, nor stand, nor work, nor read, nor
take her meals, nor scarcely think with any consistency or clearness
of thought. We have mentioned hope--but it was the faintest and the
feeblest element in that chaos of distress and confusion which filled
and distracted her mind. She knew the state and condition of the country
too well--she knew the powerful influence of Mr. Folliard in his native
county--she knew what the consequences to Reilly must be of taking
away a Protestant heiress; the fact was there--plain, distinct, and
incontrovertible, and she knew that no chance of impunity or acquittal
remained for any one of his creed guilty of such a violation of the
laws--we say, she knew all this--but it was not of the fate of Reilly
she thought. The girl was an acute observer, and both a close and clear
thinker. She had remarked in the _Cooleen Bawn_, on several occasions,
small gushes, as it were, of unsettled thought, and of temporary
wildness, almost approaching to insanity. She knew, besides, that
insanity was in the family on her father's side; * and, as she had so
boldly and firmly stated to that father himself, she dreaded the
result which Reilly's conviction might produce upon a mind with such
a tendency, worn down and depressed as it had been by all she had
suffered, and more especially what she must feel by the tumult and
agitation of that dreadful day.

     * The reader must take this as the necessary material for
     our fiction. There never was insanity in Helen's family; and
     we make this note to prevent them from taking unnecessary
     offence.

It was about two hours after dark when she was startled by the noise of
the carriage-wheels as they came up the avenue. Her heart beat as if it
would burst, the blood rushed to her head, and she became too giddy to
stand or walk; then it seemed to rush back to her heart, and she was
seized with thick breathing and feebleness; but at length, strengthened
by the very intensity of the interest she felt, she made her way to the
lower steps of the hall door in time to be present when the carriage
arrived at it. She determined, however, wrought up as she was to the
highest state of excitement, to await, to watch, to listen. She did
so. The carriage stopped at the usual place, the coachman came down and
opened the door, and Mr. Folliard came out. After him, assisted by Mrs.
Brown, came Helen, who was immediately conducted in between the latter
and her father. In the meantime poor Ellen could only look on. She was
incapable of asking a single question, but she followed them up to the
drawing-room where they conducted her mistress. When she was about to
enter, Mrs. Brown said:

"Ellen, you had better not come in; your mistress is unwell."

Mrs. Hastings then approached, and, with a good deal of judgment and
consideration, said:

"I think it is better, Mrs. Brown, that Ellen should see her, or,
rather, that she should see Ellen. Who can tell how beneficial the
effect may be on her? We all know how she was attached to Ellen."

In addition to those fearful intimations, Ellen heard inside the sobs
and groans of her distracted father, mingled with caresses and such
tender and affectionate language as, she knew by the words, could only
be addressed to a person incapable of understanding them. Mrs. Brown
held the door partially closed, but the faithful girl would not be
repulsed. She pushed in, exclaiming:

"Stand back, Mrs. Brown, I must see my mistress!--if she is my mistress,
or anybody's mistress now,"--and accordingly she approached the settee
on which the _Cooleen Bawn_ sat. The old squire was wringing his hands,
sobbing, and giving vent to the most uncontrollable sorrow.

"Oh, Ellen," said he, "pity and forgive me. Your mistress is gone,
gone!--she knows nobody!"

"Stand aside," she replied; "stand aside all of you; let me to her."

She knelt beside the settee, looked distractedly,--but keenly, at her
for about half a minute--but there she sat, calm, pale, and unconscious.
At length she turned her eyes upon Ellen--for ever since the girl's
entrance she had been gazing on vacancy--and immediately said:

"Oh! can you tell me where is William Reilly? They have taken me from
him, and I cannot find him. Oh! will you tell me where is William
Reilly?"

Ellen gave two or three rapid sobs; but, by a powerful effort, she
somewhat composed herself.

"Miss Folliard," she said, in a choking voice, however, "darling Miss
Folliard--my beloved mistress--_Cooleen Bawn_--oh, do you not know
me--me, your own faithful Ellen, that loved you--and that loves you
so well--ay, beyond father and mother, and all others living in this
unhappy world? Oh, speak to me, dear mistress--speak to your own
faithful Ellen, and only say that you know me, or only look upon me as
if you did."

Not a glance, however, of recognition followed those loving
solicitations; but there, before them all, she sat, with the pale face,
the sorrowful brow, and the vacant look. Ellen addressed her with equal
tenderness again and again, but with the same melancholy effect. The
effect was beyond question--reason had departed; the fair temple was
there, but the light of the divinity that had been enshrined in it was
no longer visible; it seemed to have been abandoned probably for
ever. Ellen now finding that every effort to restore her to rational
consciousness was ineffectual, rose up, and, looking about for a moment,
her eyes rested upon her father.

"Oh, Ellen!" he exclaimed, "spare me, spare me--you know I'm in your
power. I neglected your honest and friendly warning, and now it is too
late."

"Poor man!" she replied, "it is not she, but you, that is to be pitied.
No; after this miserable sight, never shall my lips breathe one syllable
of censure against you. Your punishment is too dreadful for that. But
when I look upon her--look upon her now--oh, my God! what is this?"--

"Help the girl," said Mrs. Brown quickly, and with alarm. "Oh, she has
fallen--raise her up, Mr. Folliard. Oh, my God, Mrs. Hastings, what a
scene is this!"

They immediately opened her stays, and conveyed her to another settee,
where she lay for nearly a quarter of an hour in a calm and tranquil
insensibility. With the aid of the usual remedies, however, she was, but
with some difficulty, restored, after which she burst into tears, and
wept for some time bitterly. At length she recovered a certain degree of
composure, and, after settling her dress and luxuriant brown hair, aided
by Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Hastings, she arose, and once more approaching
her lovely, but unconscious, mistress, knelt down, and, clasping her
hands, looked up to heaven, whilst she said:

"Here, I take the Almighty God to witness, that from this moment out I
renounce father and mother, brother and sister, friend and relative,
man and woman, and will abide by my dear unhappy _Cooleen Bawn_--that
blighted flower before us--both by day and by night--through all
seasons--through all places wherever she may go, or be brought, until
it may please God to restore her to reason, or until death may close her
sufferings, should I live so long, and have health and strength to
carry out this solemn oath; so may God hear me, and assist me in my
intention."

She then rose, and, putting her arms around the fair girl, kissed her
lips, and poured forth a copious flood of tears into her bosom.

"I am yours now," she said, caressing her mournfully: "I am yours now,
my ever darling mistress; and from this hour forth nothing but death
will ever separate your own Connor from you."

Well and faithfully did she keep that generous and heroic oath. Ever,
for many a long and hopeless year, was she to be found, both night and
day, by the side of that beautiful but melancholy sufferer. No other
hand ever dressed or undressed her; no other individual ever attended to
her wants, or complied with those little fitful changes and caprices to
which persons of her unhappy class are subject. The consequence of
this tender and devoted attachment was singular, but not by any
means incompatible, we think, even with her situation. If Connor, for
instance, was any short time absent, and another person supplied her
place, the _Cooleen Bawn_, in whose noble and loving heart the strong
instincts of affection could never die, uniformly appeared dissatisfied
and uneasy, and looked around her, as if for some object that would
afford her pleasure. On Ellen's reappearance a faint but placid smile
would shed its feeble light over her countenance, and she would appear
calm and contented; but, during all this time, word uttered she none,
with the exception of those to which we have already alluded.

These were the only words she was known to utter, and no stranger ever
came in her way to whom she did not repeat them. In this way her father,
her maid, and herself passed through a melancholy existence for better
than six years, when a young physician of great promise happened to
settle in the town of Sligo, and her father having heard of it had him
immediately called in. After looking at her, however, he found himself
accosted in the same terms we have already given:

"Oh! can you tell me where is William Reilly?"

"William Reilly will soon be with you," he replied; "he will soon be
here."

A start--barely, scarcely perceptible, was noticed by the keen eye of
the physician; but it passed away, and left nothing but that fixed and
beautiful vacancy behind it.

"Sir," said the physician, "I do not absolutely despair of Miss
Folliard's recovery: the influence of some deep excitement, if it could
be made accessible, might produce a good effect; it was by a shock it
came upon her, and I am of opinion that if she ever does recover it will
be by something similar to that which induced her pitiable malady."

"I will give a thousand pounds--five thousand--ten thousand, to any man
who will be fortunate enough to restore her to reason," said her father.

"One course," proceeded the physician, "I would recommend you to pursue;
bring her about as much as you can; give her variety of scenery and
variety of new faces; visit your friends, and bring her with you. This
course may have some effect; as for medicine, it is of no use here, for
her health is in every other respect good."

He then took his leave, having first received a fee which somewhat
astonished him.

His advice, however, was followed; her father and she, and Connor,
during the summer and autumn months, visited among their acquaintances
and friends, by whom they were treated with the greatest and most
considerate kindness; but, so far as poor Helen was concerned, no
symptom of any salutary change became visible; the long, dull blank of
departed reason was still unbroken.

     *    *    *    *    *    *    *

Better than seven years--and a half had now elapsed, when she and her
father came by invitation to pay a visit to a Mr. Hamilton, grandfather
to the late Dacre Hamilton of Monaghan, who--the grandfather we
mean--was one of the most notorious priest-hunters of the day, We need
not say that her faithful Connor was still in attendance. Old Folliard
went riding out with his friend, for he was now so much debilitated as
to be scarcely able to walk abroad for any distance, when, about the
hour of two o'clock, a man in the garb, and with all the bearing of a
perfect gentleman, knocked at the door, and inquired of the servant who
opened it whether Miss Folliard were not there. The servant replied in
the affirmative, upon which the stranger asked if he could see her.

"Why, I suppose you must be aware, sir, of Miss Folliard's unfortunate
state of mind, and that she can see nobody; sir, she knows nobody, and
I have strict orders to deny her to every one unless some particular
friend of the family."

The stranger put a guinea into his hand, and added, "I had the pleasure
of knowing her before she lost her reason, and as I have not seen her
since, I should be glad to see her now, or even to look on her for a
few minutes."

"Come up, sir," replied the man, "and enter the drawing-room immediately
after me, or I shall be ordered to deny her."

The gentleman followed him; but why did his cheek become pale, and why
did his heart palpitate as if it would burst and bound out of his bosom?
We shall see. On entering the drawing-room he bowed, and was about to
apologize for his intrusion, when the _Cooleen Bawn_, recognizing him as
a stranger, approached him and said:

"Oh! can you tell me where is William Reilly? They have taken me from
him, and I cannot find him. Oh, can you tell me any thing about William
Reilly?"

The stranger staggered at this miserable sight, but probably more at the
contemplation of that love which not even insanity could subdue. He felt
himself obliged to lean for support upon the back of a chair, during
which brief space he fixed his eyes upon her with a look of the most
inexpressible tenderness and sorrow.

"Oh!" she repeated, "can you tell me where is William Reilly?"

"Alas! Helen," said he, "I am William Reilly."

"You!" she exclaimed. "Oh, no, the wide, wide Atlantic is between him and
me."

"It was between us, Helen, but it is not now; I am here in life before
you--your own William Reilly, that William Reilly whom you loved so
well, but so fatally. I am he: do you not know me?"

"You are not William Reilly," she replied; "if you were, you would have
a token."

"Do you forget that?" he replied, placing in her hand the emerald ring
she had given him at the trial. She started on looking at it, and a
feeble flash was observed to proceed from her eyes.

"This might come to you," she said, "by Reilly's death; yes, this might
come to you in that way; but there is another token which is known to
none but himself and me."

"Whisper," said he, and as he spoke he applied his mouth to her ear, and
breathed the token into it.

[Illustration: PAGE 182--It is he! it is he!]

She stood back, her eyes flashed, her beautiful bosom heaved; she
advanced, looked once more, and exclaimed, with a scream, "It is he!
it is he!" and the next moment she was insensible in his arms. Long but
precious was that insensibility, and precious were the tears which his
eyes rained down upon that pale but lovel countenance. She was soon
placed upon a settee, but Reilly knelt beside her, and held one of her
hands in his. After a long trance she opened her eyes and again started.
Reilly pressed her hand and whispered in her ear, "Helen, I am with you
at last."

She smiled on him and said, "Help me to sit up, until I look about me,
that I may be certain this is not a dream."

She then looked about her, and as the ladies of the family spoke
tenderly to her, and caressed her, she fixed her eyes once more upon her
lover, and said, "It is not a dream then; this is a reality; but, alas!
Reilly, I tremble to think lest they should take you from me again."

"You need entertain no such apprehension, my dear Helen," said the lady
of the mansion. "I have often heard your father say that he would give
twenty thousand pounds to have you well, and Reilly's wife. In fact,
you have nothing to fear in that, or any other quarter. But there's his
knock; he and my husband have returned, and I must break this
blessed news to him by degrees, lest it might be too much for him if
communicated without due and proper caution."

She accordingly went down to the hall, where they were hanging up their
great coats and hats, and brought them into her husband's study.

"Mr. Folliard," said she with a cheerful face, "I think, from some
symptoms of improvement noticed to-day in Helen, that we needn't be
without hope."

"Alas, alas!" exclaimed the poor father, "I have no hope; after such
a length of time I am indeed without a shadow of expectation. If
unfortunate Reilly were here, indeed her seeing him, as that Sligo
doctor told me, might give her a chance. He saw her about a week before
we came down, and those were his words. But as for Reilly, even if he
were in the country, how could I look him in the face? What wouldn't I
give now that he were here, that Helen was well, and that one word of
mine could make them man and wife?"

"Well, well," she replied, "don't be cast down; perhaps I could tell you
good news if I wished."

"You're beating about the bush, Mary, at all events," said her husband,
laughing.

"Perhaps, now, Mr. Folliard," she continued, "I could introduce a young
lady who is so fond of you, old and ugly as you are, that she would not
hesitate to kiss you tenderly, and cry with delight on your bosom you
old thief."

They both started at her words with amazement, and her husband said:
"Egad, Alick, Helen's malady seems catching. What the deuce do you mean,
Molly? or must I, too, send for a doctor?"

"Shall I introduce you to the lady, though?" she proceeded, addressing
the father; "but remember that, if I do, you must be a man, Mr.
Folliard!"

"In God's name! do what you like," said Mr. Hamilton, "but do it at
once."

She went upstairs, and said, "As I do not wish to bring your father up,
Helen, until he is prepared for a meeting with Mr. Reilly, I will bring
you down to him. The sight of you now will give him new life."

"Oh, come, then," said Helen, "bring me to my father; do not lose a
moment, not a moment--oh, let me see him instantly!"

The poor old man suspected something. "For a thousand!" said he, "this
is some good news about Helen!"

"Make your mind up for that," replied his mend; "as sure as you live it
is; and if it be, bear it stoutly."

In the course of a few minutes Mrs. Hamilton entered the room with
Helen, now awakened to perfect reason, smiling, and leaning upon her
arm. "Oh, dear papa!" she exclaimed, meeting him, with a flood of tears,
and resting her head on his bosom.

"What, my darling!--my darling! And you know papa once more!--you know
him again, my darling Helen! Oh, thanks be to God for this happy day!"
And he kissed her lips, and pressed her to his heart, and wept over her
with ecstasy and delight. It was a tender and tearful embrace.

"Oh, papa!" said she, "I fear I have caused you much pain and sorrow:
something has been wrong, but I am well now that he is here. I felt the
tones of his voice in my heart."

"Who, darling, who?"

"Reilly, papa."

"Hamilton, bring him down instantly; but oh, Helen, darling, how will I
see him?--how can I see him? but he must come, and we must all be happy.
Bring him down."

"You know, papa, that Reilly is generosity itself."

"He is, he is, Helen, and how could I blame you for loving him?"

[Illustration: PAGE 183--My son! my son!]

Reilly soon entered; but the old man, already overpowered by what had
just occurred, was not able to speak to him for some time. He clasped
and pressed his hand, however, and at length said:

"My son! my son! Now," he added, after he had recovered himself, "now
that I have both together, I will not allow one minute to pass until I
give you both my blessing; and in due time, when Helen gets strong, and
when I get a little stouter, you shall be married; the parson and the
priest will make you both happy. Reilly, can you forgive me?"

"I have nothing to forgive you, sir," replied Reilly; "whatever you did
proceeded from your excessive affection for your daughter; I am more
than overpaid for any thing I may have suffered myself; had it been ages
of misery, this one moment would cancel the memory of it for ever."

"I cannot give you my estate, Reilly," said the old man, "for that is
entailed, and goes to the next male issue; but I can give you fifty
thousand pounds with my girl, and that will keep you both comfortable
for life."

"I thank you, sir," replied Reilly, "and for the sake of your daughter
I will not reject it; but I am myself in independent circumstances, and
could, even without your generosity, support Helen in a rank of life not
unsuitable to her condition."

It is well known that, during the period in which the incidents of our
story took place, no man claiming the character of a gentleman ever
travelled without his own servant to attend him. After Reilly's return
to his native place, his first inquiries, as might be expected, were
after his _Cooleen Bawn_; and his next, after those who had been in some
degree connected with those painful circumstances in which he had been
involved previous to his trial and conviction. He found Mr. Brown and
Mr. Hastings much in the same state in which he left them. The latter,
who had been entrusted with all his personal and other property, under
certain conditions, that depended upon his return after the term of his
sentence should have expired, now restored to him, and again reinstated
him on the original terms into all his landed and other property,
together with such sums as had accrued from it during his absence,
so that he now found himself a wealthy man. Next to _Cooleen Bawn_,
however, one of his first inquiries was after Fergus Reilly, whom he
found domiciled with a neighboring middleman as a head servant, or kind
of under steward. We need not describe the delight of Fergus on once
more meeting his beloved relative at perfect liberty, and free from all
danger in his native land.

"Fergus," said Reilly, "I understand you are still a bachelor--how does
that come?"

"Why, sir," replied Fergus, "now that you know every thing about the
unhappy state of the _Cooleen Bawn_, surely you can't blame poor Ellen
for not desartin' her. As for me I cared nothing about any other girl,
and I never could let either my own dhrame, or what you said was
yours, out o' my head. I still had hope, and I still have, that she may
recover."

Reilly made no reply to this, for he feared to entertain the vague
expectation to which Fergus alluded.

"Well, Fergus," said he, "although I have undergone the sentence of a
convict, yet now, after my return, I am a rich man. For the sake of old
times--of old dangers and old difficulties--I should wish you to live
with me, and to attend me as my own personal servant or man. I shall get
you a suit of livery, and the crest of O'Reilly shall be upon it. I wish
you to attend upon me, Fergus, because you understand me, and because I
never will enjoy a happy heart, or one day's freedom from sorrow again.
All hope of that is past, but you will be useful to me--and that you
know."

Fergus was deeply affected at these words, although he was gratified
in the highest degree at the proposal. In the course of a few days he
entered upon his duties, immediately after which Reilly set out on his
journey to Monaghan, to see once more his beloved, but unhappy, Cooleen
Baton. On arriving at that handsome and hospitable town, he put up at
an excellent inn, called the "Western Arms," kept by a man who was the
model of innkeepers, known by the sobriquet of "honest Peter Philips".
We need, not now recapitulate that with which the reader is already
acquainted; but we cannot omit describing a brief interview which took
place in the course of a few days after the restoration of the _Cooleen
Bawn_ to the perfect use of her reason, between two individuals, who,
we think, have some claim upon the good-will and good wishes of our
readers. We allude to Fergus Reilly and the faithful Ellen Connor.
Seated in a comfortable room in the aforesaid inn--now a respectable
and admirably kept hotel--with the same arms over the door, were the two
individuals alluded to. Before them stood a black bottle of a certain
fragrant liquor, as clear and colorless as water from the purest spring,
and, to judge of it by the eye, quite as harmless; but there was the
mistake. Never was hypocrisy better exemplified than by the contents of
that bottle. The liquor in question came, Fergus was informed, from
the green woods of Truagh, and more especially from a townland named
Derrygola, famous, besides, for stout men and pretty girls.

"Well, now, Ellen darlin'," said Fergus, "if ever any two bachelors *
were entitled to drink their own healths, surely you and I are. Here's
to us--a happy marriage, soon and sudden. As for myself, I've had the
patience of a Trojan."

     *"Bachelor," in Ireland, especially in the country parts of
     it, where English is not spoken correctly, is frequently
     applied to both the sexes.

Ellen pledged him beautifully with her eyes, but very moderately with
the liquor.

"Bedad!" he proceeded, "seven years--ay, and a half--wasn't a bad
apprenticeship, at any rate; but, as I tould Mr. Reilly before he left
the country--upon my sowl, says I, Mr. Reilly, she's worth waitin' for;
and he admitted it."

"But, Fergus, did ever any thing turn out so happy for all parties? To
me it's like a dream; I can scarcely believe it."

"Faith, and if it be a dhrame, I hope it's one we'll never waken from.
And so the four of us are to be married on the same day; and we're all
to live with the squire."

"We are, Fergus; the Cooleen Bawn will have it so; but, indeed, her
father is as anxious for it almost as she is. Ah, no, Fergus, she could
not part with her faithful Ellen, as she calls me; nor, after all,
Fergus, would her faithful Ellen wish to part with her?"

"And he's to make me steward; begad, and if I don't make a good one,
I'll make an honest one. Faith, at all events, Ellen, we'll be in a
condition to provide for the childre', plaise God."

Ellen gave him a blushing look of reproach, and desired him to keep a
proper tongue in his head.

"But what will we do with the five hundred, Ellen, that the squire and
Mr. Reilly made up between them?"

"We'll consult Mr. Reilly about it," she replied, "and no doubt but
he'll enable us to lay it out to the best advantage. Now, Fergus dear,
I must go," she added; "you know she can't bear me even now to be any
length of time away from her. Here's God bless them both, and continue
them in the happiness they now enjoy."

"Amen," replied Fergus, "and here's God bless ourselves, and make us
more lovin' to one another every day we rise; and here's to take a
foretaste of it now, you thief."

Some slight resistance, followed by certain smacking sounds, closed the
interview; for Ellen, having started to her feet, threw on her cloak and
bonnet, and hurried out of the room, giving back, however, a laughing
look at Fergus as she escaped.

In a few months afterwards they were married, and lived with the old man
until he became a grandfather to two children, the eldest a boy, and
the second a girl. Upon the same day of their marriage their humble but
faithful friends were also united; so that there was a double wedding.
The ceremony, in the case of Reilly and his _Cooleen Bawn_, was
performed by the Reverend Mr. Brown first, and the parish priest
afterwards; Mr. Strong, who had been for several years conjoined to Mrs.
Smellpriest, having been rejected by both parties as the officiating
clergyman upon the occasion, although the lovely bride was certainly his
parishioner. Age and time, however, told upon the old man; and at the
expiration of three years they laid him, with many tears, in the grave
of his fathers. Soon after this Reilly and his wife, accompanied by
Fergus and Ellen--for the _Cooleen Bawn_ would not be separated from
the latter--removed to the Continent, where they had a numerous family,
principally of sons; and we need not tell our learned readers, at least,
that those young men distinguished not only themselves, but their name,
by acts of the most brilliant courage in continental warfare. And so,
gentle reader, ends the troubled history of Willy Reilly and his own
_Cooleen Bawn_.





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This file was acquired from Project Gutenberg, and it is in the public domain. It is re-distributed here as a part of the Alex Catalogue of Electronic Texts (http://infomotions.com/alex/) by Eric Lease Morgan (Infomotions, Inc.) for the purpose of freely sharing, distributing, and making available works of great literature. Its Infomotions unique identifier is etext16001, and it should be available from the following URL:

http://infomotions.com/etexts/id/etext16001



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