Gerald Griffin, The Collegians (1829)


Chapter 19: How Hardress Met an Old Friend and Made a New One
Fancy restored the dreaming Hardress to the society of his beloved Eily. He sat by her side once more, quieting, with the caresses of a boyish fondness, her still recorring anxieties, and comforting her apprehensions by endeavouring to make her share his own steady anticipation of his mother’s favour and forgiveness. This hope, on his own part, it must be acknowledged, was much stronger in his sleeping than his waking moments; for it was extraordinary how different his feeling on that subject became after he had reached his home, and when the moment of disclosure drew near. His extreme youth, all ruined as he was by over indulgence, made him regard his mother with a degree of reverence that approached to fear; and as he seldom loved to submit when once aroused to contest, so he was usually careful to avoid as much as possible, any occasion for the exercise of his hereditary perseverance. The influence of his parent, however, consisted not so much in her parental authority, as in the mastery which she held over his filial affections, which partook of the intensity that distinguished his entire character. Mrs. Cregan governed both her husband and her son; but the means which she employed in moulding each to her own wishes, were widely different. In her arguments with the former, it was her usual practice to begin with an intreaty and end with a command. On the contrary when she sought to work upon the inclinations of Hardeess, she opened with a command, and concluded with an intreaty. It was indeed, as Hardress had frequently experienced, a difficult task to withstand her instances, when she had recourse to the latter expedient. Mrs. Cregan possessed all the national warmth of temperament and liveliness of feeling. Like all naturally generous people, whose virtue is rather the offspring of a kindly heart than a well-regulated understanding, Mrs. Cregan was not more boundless in her bounty than in her exaction of gratitude. She not only looked for gratitude to those whom she had obliged, but was so exorbitant as to imagine that all those likewise whom she really wished to serve should return her an equal degree of kindness; and actually evince as lively a sense of obligation as if her wishes in their favour had been deeds. Alas! in this selfish world, we are told that real benefits are frequently forgotten by the receiver, and sometimes repaid by cold unkindness or monstrous hostility. It is no wonder then that Mrs. Cregan should have sometimes found people slow to appreciate the value of her vain desires.
 While Hardress was still murmuring some sentiment of passionate admiration in the ear of his visionary bride, he was awakened by the pressure of a light finger on his shoulder. He looked up and beheld a lady in a broad-leafed beaver hat, and ball dress, standing by his bed-side, and smiling down upon him with an air of affection and reproof. Her countenance, though it had already acquired in a slight degree that hardness of outline which marks the approach of the first matronal years, was striking, and even beautiful in its character. The forehead was high and commanding, the eye of a dark hazel, well-opened, and tender and rapid in its expression. The entire face had that length of feature which painters employ in their representations of the tragic muse, and the character of the individual had given to this natural conformation a depth of feeling which was calculated to make a strong and even a gloomy impression on the imagination of the beholder. Her person likewise partook of this imposing character, and was displayed to some advantage by her dress, the richness of which was perfectly adapted to her lofty and regal air. It consisted of a beautiful poplin, a stomacher set off with small brilliants, and a rich figured silk petticoat, which was fully displayed in front. The skirt of the gown parted and fell back from either side, while a small hoop, occupying the position of the modern Vestris, imparted to this interesting portion of the figure a degree of fashionable slimness and elegance. An amber necklace, some enormous broaches, and rings containing locks of hair, the bequest of three succeeding generations completed the decorations of her person.
 “You are a pretty truant,” she said, “to absent yourself for a whole fortnight together, and at a time too when I had brought a charming friend to make your acquaintance. You are a pretty truant. And immediately on your return, instead of showing any affectionate anxiety to compensate for you inattention, you run off to your sleeping chamber, and oblige your foolish mother to come and seek you?”
 “My trim, mother, would have hardly become your drawing-room.”
 “Or looked to advantage in the eyes of my lovely visitor?”
 “Upon my word, mother, I had not a thought of her. I should feel as little inclined to appear wanting in respect to you, as to any visitor to whom you could introduce me.”
 “Respect?” echoed Mrs. Cregan, while she laid the light away upon the dressing-table (in such a position, that it could shine full and bright upon the features of her son,) and took a chair near his bed-side. “Respect is fond of going well-dressed, I grant you; but there is another feeling, Hardress, that is far more sensitive and exquisite on points of this nature, a feeling much more lively and anxious than any that a poor fond mother can expect. Do not interrupt me; I am not so unreasonable as to desire that the course of human nature should be inverted for my sake. But I have a question to ask you. Have you any engagement during the next month, that will prevent your spending it with us? If you have, and if it be not a very weighty one, break it off as politely as you can. You owe some little attention to your cousin, and I think you ought to pay it.”
 Hardress looked displeased at this, and muttered something about his inability to see in what way this obligation had been laid upon him.
 “If you feel no disposition to shew a kindness to your old play-fellow,” said his mother, endeavouring to suppress her vexation, “you are of course at liberty to act as you please. You, Hardress, in your own person, owe nothing to the Chutes, unless you accept their general claim, as near relatives of mine.”
 “They could not, my dear mother, possess a stronger. But this is a sudden change. While I was in Dublin, I thought that both you and my father had broken off the intercourse that subsisted between the families, and lived altogether within yourselves.”
 “It was a foolish coldness that had arisen between your aunt and myself on account of some free, some very free, expressions she had used with regard to your father. But when she fell ill, and my poor darling Anne was left to struggle, unassisted, beneath the weight of occupation that was thrown thus suddenly upon her hands, my self-respect gave way to my love for them both. I drove to Castle Chute, and divided with Anne the cares of nurse-tending and house-keeping, until my dear Hetty’s health was in some degree restored. About a fortnight since, by the force of incessant letter-writing, and the employment of her mother’s influence, I obtained Anne’s very reluctant consent to spend a month at Killarney. Now, my dear Hardress, you must do me a kindness. I have no female friend of your cousin’s age, whose society might afford her a constant source of enjoyment, and in spite of all my efforts to procure her amusement, I cannot but observe, that she has been more frequently dull, than merry, since her arrival. Now you can prevent this if you please. You must remain at home while she is with us, entertain her while I am occupied, walk with her, dance with her, be her beau. If she were a stranger, hospitality alone would call for those attentions, and I think under the circumstances, your own good feeling will teach you, that she ought not to be neglected.”
 “My dear mother, do not say another word upon the subject. It will be necessary for me to go from home sometimes; but I can engage to spend a great portion of the month as you desire. Send for a dancing master tomorrow morning. I am but an awkward fellow at best, but I will do all that is in my power.”
 “You will breakfast with us then to-morrow morning, and come on a laking-party? It was for the purpose of making you promise, I disturbed your rest at this hour; for I knew there was no calculating in what part of Munster one might find you after sunrise.”
 “How far do you go?”
 “Only to Innisfallen.”
 “Ah! dear, dear, Innisfallen! I will be with you certainly, mother. Ah, dear Innisfallen! Mother, do you think that Anne remembers the time when Lady K- invited us to take a cold dinner in Saint Finian’s oratory? It is one of the sweetest days that ever brightened my recollection. I think I can still see that excellent lady laying her hand upon Anne Chute’s shoulder, and telling her that she should be the little princess of this little fairy isle. Dear Innisfallen! If I were but to tell you, mother, how many a mournful hour that single happy one has cost me!”
 “Tell me of no such thing, my boy. Look forward, and not back. Reserve the enjoyment of your recollections until you are no longer capable of present and actual happiness. And do not think, Hardress, that you make so extraordinary a sacrifice in undertaking this pretty office. There is many a fine gentleman in Killarney who would gladly forego a whole season’s sport for the privilege of acting such a part for a single day. I cannot describe to you the sensation that your cousin has produced since her arrival. Her beauty, her talents, her elegance and her accomplishments are the subject of conversation in every circle. You will acquire a greater brilliance as the satellite of such a planet than if you were to move for ages in your own solitary orbit. But if I were to say all that I desire, you should not sleep to-night; so I shall reserve it to a moment of greater leisure. Good night, Hardress, and sleep soundly, for the cockswain is to be at the door before nine.”
 Mrs. Cregan was well acquainted with the character of her son. The distinction of attending on so celebrated a beauty as his cousin was one to which his vanity could never be indifferent, and nothing could be more agreeable to his pride than to find it thus forced upon him without any effort of his own to seek it. To be thus, out of pure kindness, and much against his own declared wishes, placed in a situation which was so generally envied! To obtain likewise (and these were the only motives that Hardress would acknowledge to his own mind) to obtain an opportunity of softening his mother’s prejudices against the time of avowal, and of forwarding the interest of his friend Kyrle Daly in another quarter. All these advantages were sufficient to compensate to his pride for the chance of some mortifying awkwardness, which might occur through his long neglect of, and contempt for, the habitual forms of society.
 And of all the places in the world, thought Hardress, Killarney is the scene for such a debut as this. There is such an everlasting fund of conversation. The very store of common-place remarks is inexhaustible. If it rains, one can talk of the Killarney showers, and tell the story of Mr. Fox; and if the sun shine, it must shine upon more wonders than a hundred tongues as nimble as those of Fame herself could tell. The teasing of the guides, the lies of the boatmen, the legends of the lakes, the English arrivals, the echoes, the optical illusions, the mists, the mountains. If I were as dull as Otter, I could be as talkative as the barber in the Arabian Nights on such a subject, and yet without the necessity of burthening my tongue with more than a sentence at a time.
 Notwithstanding these encouraging reflections, Hardress, next morning, experienced many a struggle with his evil shame before he left his chamber to encounter his mother’s charming visitor. What was peculiar in the social timidity of this young gentleman lay in the circumstance that it could scarcely ever be perceived in society. His excessive pride prevented his often incurring the danger of a mortifying repression, and it could hardly be inferred from his reserved and, at the same time, dignified demeanour, whether his silence were the effect of ill temper, stupidity, or bashfulness. Few indeed ever thought of attributing it to that lofty philosophical principle to which he himself pretended; and there was but one, in addition to Kyrle Daly, of all his acquaintances on whom it did not produce an unfavourable impression.
 After having been summoned half a dozen times to the breakfast parlour, and delaying each time to indulge in a fresh glance at the mirror, to adjust his hair, which had now too much, and now too little powder; to alter the disposition of his shirt frill, and consummate the tying of his cravat, Hardress descended to the parlour, where to his surprise, he found his cousin seated alone. She was simply dressed, and her hair, according to the fashion of unmarried ladies at the period, fell down in black and shining ringlets on her neck. A plain necklace of the famous black oak of the lakes, and a Maltese cross formed from the hoof of the red deer, constituted the principal decorations of her person. There was a consciousness, and even a distress in the manner of their meeting. A womanly reserve and delicacy made Anne unwilling to affect an intimacy that might not be met as she could desire; and his never-failing pride prevented Hardress from seeming to desire a favour that he had reason to suppose might not be granted him.
 Accordingly, the great store of conversation which he had been preparing the night before, now, to his astonishment, utterly deserted him, and he discovered that subject is an acquisition of little use while it is unassisted by mutual confidence, and good will, among the interlocutors. Nothing was effective, nothing told; and when Mrs. Cregan entered the parlour, she lifted her hands in wonder, to see her fair visitor seated by the fire, and reading some silly novel of the day (which happened to lie near her) while Hardress affected to amuse himself with Creagh’s dog Pincher at the window, and said repeatedly within his own heart, “Ah, Eily, my own, own Eily! you are worth this fine lady a hundred times over!”
 “Anne! Hardress! My lady, and my gentleman! Upon my word, Hardress, you ought to be proud of your gallantry. On the very first morning of your return, I find you seated at the distance of half a room from your old play-fellow, and allowing her to look for entertainment in a stupid book! But, perhaps you have not spoken yet? Perhaps you do not know each other? Oh, then it is my duty to apologize for being out of the way. Miss Chute, this is Mr. Hardress Cregan; Mr. Hardress Cregan, this is Miss Chute.” And she went through a mock introduction in the formal manner of the day.
 The lady and gentleman each muttered something in reply.
 “We have spoken, ma’am,” said Hardress.
 “We have spoken, ma’am!” echoed Mrs. Cregan. “Sir, your most obedient servant! You have made a wonderful effort, and shown a great deal of condescension! You have spoken! You have done every thing that a gentleman of so much dignity and consequence was called upon to do, and you will not move a single footstep farther. But perhaps,” she added glancing at Anne, “perhaps I am dealing unjustly here. Perhaps the will to hear, and not the will to say, was wanted. If the fault lay with the listener, Hardress, speak! It is the only defence that I will think of admitting.”
 “Except that the listener might not be worth the trial,” said Anne, in the same tone of liveliness, not unmingled with pique, “I don’t know how he can enter such a plea as that.”
 “Oh! Hardress! Oh fie, Hardress! There’s a charge from a lady.”
 “I can assure you”, said Hardress, a little confused, yet not displeased with the manner in which his cousin took up the subject, “I am not conscious of having deserved any such accusation. If you call on me for a defence, I can only find it in a simple recrimination. Anne has been so distant to me ever since my return from Dublin, that I was afraid I had offended her.”
 “Very fair, sir, a very reasonable plea, indeed. Well, Miss Chute,” continued Mrs. Cregan, turning round with an air of mock gravity to her young visitor, “why have you been so distant to my son since his return, as to make him suppose he had offended you?” And she stood with her hands expanded before her, in the attitude of one who looks for an explanation.
 “Offended me?” said Anne, “I must have been exceedingly unreasonable indeed, if I had quarrelled with any thing that was said or done by Hardress, for I am sure he never once allowed me the opportunity.”
 “Oh! oh!” exclaimed Mrs. Cregan, clasping her hands, and bursting into a fit of laughter. “You grow more severe. If I were a young gentleman, I should sink down with shame after such an imputation as that.”
 Hardress found himself suddenly entrapped in a scene of coquetry. “Might one not do better, mother,” he said, running lightly across the room, and taking a seat close by the side of his cousin - “Might not one do better by endeavouring to amend?”
 “But it is too late, sir,” said Anne, affecting to move away, “My aunt Cregan is right, and I am offended with you. Don’t sit so near, if you please. The truth is, I have made up my mind not to like you at all, and I never will change it, you may be certain.”
  “That is too hard, Anne. We are old friends, you should remember. What can I have done to make you so inveterate?”
 “That’s right, Hardress,” said Mrs. Cregan, who had now taken her place at the breakfast table, “do not be discouraged by her. Give her no peace, until she is your friend. But in the meantime, come to breakfast. The cockswain has been waiting this half hour.”
 The same scene of coquetry was continued during the morning. Hardress, who was no less delighted than surprized at this change of manner in his lovely cousin, assumed the part of a duteous knight, endeavouring, by the most assiduous attentions to conciliate the favour of his offended “ladye”; and Anne maintained with a playful dignity, the inexorable coldness and reserve which was the prerogative of the sex in the days of chivalry and sound sense. We hate those, says Bruyère, who treat us with pride; but a smile is sufficient to reconcile us. In proportion to the chagrin which the fancied coldness of his fair cousin had occasioned to the quick-hearted Hardress, was the pleasure which he received from this unexpected and intimate turn of manner. And now it was, moreover, that he became capable of doing justice to the real character of the young lady. No longer embarrassed by the feeling of strangeness and apprehension which had kept her spirits back on their first meeting, Anne now assumed to him that ease and liveliness of manner with which she was accustomed to fascinate her more familiar acquaintances. He was astonished even to a degree of consternation at the extent both of her talents and her knowledge. On general subjects, he found, with extreme and almost humiliating surprize, that her information very nearly approached his own; and in a graceful and unostentatious application of that knowledge to familiar subjects she possessed the customary female superiority.
 We will not intrude so far upon the peculiar province of the guide-books as to furnish any detail of the enchanting scenery through which our party travelled in the course of the forenoon. Every new sight that he beheld, every new hour that he spent in the society of his cousin, assisted in disabusing his mind of the prejudice which he had conceived against her, and supplying its place by a feeling of strong kindness. It happened, likewise, that in the course of the day, many circumstances occurred to render him well satisfied with the company of his new associates. The disposition to please and be pleased was general amongst them; and Hardress was flattered by the degree of attention which he received, not only from his own party, but from his mother’s fashionable acquaintances, to whom he was introduced in passing. Life, spirit, courtliness of manner, and kindness of feeling, governed the tone of conversation throughout the day; and Hardress bore his part, in quality of host, with a degree of success and effect that was a matter of astonishment to himself. One or two of the younger ladies only were heard to say that Mr. Cregan was a little inattentive, and that he seemed to imagine there was not another lady of the party beside Miss Chute; but it is suspected that even those pretty murmurers were by no means the least sensible of the merit of the person whom they censured. When the evening drew near, and the party left the island for home, Hardress was once more surprised to find, that although he had been speaking for nearly half the day, he had not once found it necessary to make allusion to the Killarney showers, the optical deceptions, or the story of Charles James Fox.
 When he parted from the merry circle in order to fulfil his promise to Eily, a feeling of blank regret fell suddenly upon his heart, like that which is experienced by a boy, when the curtain falls at the close of the first theatrical spectacle which he has ever witnessed. His mother, who knew him too well to press any enquiry into the nature of his present engagement, had found no great difficulty in making him promise to return on the next day, in order to be present at a ball, which she was about to give at the cottage. The regret which Anne manifested at his departure (to her an unexpected movement) and the cordial pleasure with which she heard of his intention to return on the next morning, inspired him with a feeling of happiness, which he had not hitherto experienced since his childhood.
 The next time he thought of Anne and Eily at the same moment, the conjunction was not so unfavourable to the former as it had been in the morning. “There is no estimating the advantage,” he said within his own mind, “which the society of so accomplished a girl as that must produce on the mind and habits of my dear little Eily. I wish they were already friends. My poor little love! how much she has to learn before she can assume with comfort to herself the place for which I have designed her. But women are imitative creatures. They can more readily adapt themselves to the tone of any new society, than we, who boast a firmer and less ductile nature; and Eily will find an additional facility in the good nature and active kindness of Anne Chute. I wish from my heart they were already friends.”
 As he finished this reflection, he turned his pony off the Gap-road, upon the crags which led to the cottage of Phil Naughten.

Chapter 20: How Hardress Had a Strange Dream of Eily
The burst of rapture and affection with which he was received by Eily, banished for the moment every other feeling from the mind of the young husband. Her eyes sparkled, and her countenance brightened at his entrance, with the innocent delight of a child. Her colour changed, and her whole frame was agitated by a passion of joy, which Hardress could scarcely have anticipated if his absence had been prolonged to a much more considerable time. He could not avoid feeling, that Eily was as far beyond his cousin in gentleness of feeling, in ready confidence and winning simplicity of manner, as she was excelled by the latter in dignity of mind and of demeanour, in elegant knowledge, and in correctness of taste.
 They stood at the open door, Eily being yet encircled by the arm of her husband, and gazing on his face, while the expression of rapture that had illumined the countenances of both, faded gradually away into a look of calm and settled joy. On a sudden, their ears were startled by a hoarse, husky, and yet piercing voice, which seemed to proceed from a crag, that sheltered the cottage on the left side. Looking upward, Hardress beheld a woman standing on the turf, whose gesture and appearance showed her to be one of a race of viragos who are now less numerous in the country parts of Ireland, than they were some twenty years since. Her face and hair announced a Spanish origin; her dress consisted of a brown stuff garment, fastened up at the back with a row of brass buttons, and a muslin cap and ribbon, considerably injured by the effect of long possession. An old drab jock, soiled and stained by many a roll in the puddle of the mountain fairs, was superadded; and in her right hand she grasped a short, heavy oak stick; which, if one might judge by the constant use she made of it in enforcing her gestures, was as necessary to her discourse as the famous thread of Lord Chesterfield’s orator. Her eyes were bloodshot from watching and intemperance; and the same causes, joined to a habitual violence of temper, had given to her thin, red and streaky countenance, a sudden and formidable turn of expression.
 “Ha! ha! my children! my two fine, clever children, are ye there? Oh, the luck o’ me, that it wasn’t a lad like you I married; a clever boy, with the red blood running under his yellow skin, like that sun over behind the clouds, instead of the mane, withered disciple that calls my house his own this day. Look at the beauty of him! look at the beauty of him! I might have been a lady if I liked. Oh, the luck o’ me! the luck o’ me! Five tall young men, every one of ’em a patthern for a faction, and all, all dead in their graves, down, down, an’ no one left but that picthur o’ misery, that calls himself my husband. If it wasn’t for the whiskey,” she added, while she came down the crags, and stood before the pair, “my heart would break with the thoughts of it. Five tall young men, brothers every one, an’ they to die, an’ he to live! Wouldn’t [it] kill the Danes to think of it! Five tall young men! Gi’ me the price of the whiskey.”
 “Indeed I will not, Poll. You have had enough already.”
 “No, nor half!” shouted the Amazon. “A dhram is enough, but two dhrams isn’t half enough, an’ I had only two. Coax him, ma chree, ma lanuv, to gi’ me the price o’ the whiskey.”
 Eily, who stood in great terror of this virago, turned a supplicating glance on Hardress.
 “Your young mistress,” said the latter, “would not become a participator in the sin of your drunkenness.”
 “My Mistress! The rope-maker’s daughter! My Misthress! Eily-na-thiadarucha! Welcome from Gallow’s Green, my misthress! The poor silly crathur! Is it because I call you with the blood of all your fathers in your veins, a gentleman, my masther, that I’d call her a lady, and my mistress? Gi’ me the price o’ the whiskey!”
 “I shall not, Poll. Go back.”
 “Gi’ me the price o’ the whiskey, or I’ll tear the crooked eyes out o’ your yellow face! Gi’ me it, I tell you, or I’ll give my misthress more kicks than ha’-pence, the next time I catch her alone in the house, an’ you away coorting an’ divarting at Killarney.”
 “Cool yourself, Poll, or I’ll make you cool.”
 “You a gentleman! There isn’t a noggin o’ genteel blood in the veins o’ your whole seed, breed, an’ generation. You have a heart! you stingy bone-polishing, tawny faced, beggarly, mane-spirited mohawk, that hadn’t the spirit to choose between poverty an’ dignity! You a gentleman! The highest and the finest in the land was open to you, an’ you hadn’t the courage to stand up to your fortune. You a heart! Except a lady was to come an’ coort you of herself, sorrow chance she’d ever have o’ you or you of her. An’ signs on, see what a misthress you brought over us! I wondher you had the courage to spake to her itself. While others looked up, you looked down. I often seen a worm turn to a buttherfly, but I never heerd of a buttherfly turning to a worm in my life before. You a heart! I’ll lay a noggin, if the docthors open you when you die, they won’t find such a thing as a bean in your whole yellow carcass, only a could gizzard, like the turkies.”
 Hardress turned pale with anger at this coarse, but bitter satire. “Do stop her mouth, my dear Hardress,” murmured Eily, whose total want of pride rendered her almost incapable of resentment. “Do silence her. That woman makes me afraid for my very life.”
 “Never entertain the least apprehension on that subject, Eily. There is one key to the good will of Fighting Poll, by which you may be always certain of keeping your place in her affections. It is whiskey. Keep her in whiskey, and you keep her faithful. Nor need you ever fear to be out-purchased; for Poll has just good principle enough to prefer a little whiskey with honesty, to a great deal obtained as the wages of treason. Well, Poll,” he continued, turning to that Amazon, “you are too many for me. Here is half-a-crown to drink my health, and be a good girl.”
 “Half-a-crown!” shouted the woman, catching the glittering coin as Hardress sent it twirling through the air. “I knew you were your father’s son, for all! I knew ’tis o’ purpose you were. I knew you had the nature in you, after all! Ha! here comes Phil and Danny at last. Come, sthrip, now, Phil! Sthrip off the coat at once, an’ let us see if McDunough laid the horsewhip over your shoulders today.”
 The man only returned her a surly glance in answer to this speech.
 “What McDunough is this, Phil,” said Hardress, “what horsewhipping do you speak of, Poll?”
 “I’ll tell you, sir.” returned Phil, “He is our landlord, an’ the owner of all the land about you, as far as you can see, an’ farther. He lives about a mile away from us, an’ is noted for being a good landlord to all, far an’ near. Only there’s one fashion he has, and that’s a throublesome one to some of his people. As he gives all manner of lases at a raisonable rent himself, he wishes that his land should be sublet raisonable also, which makes him very contrairy whenever there’s does be any complaints of hard usage from the undher tenants. I’ll tell you his plan when he finds any thing o’ the sort afther his head tenants. He doesn’t drive ’em, nor be hard upon em, nor ax for the arrears, nor one ha’p’orth, only sends his sarvant boy down to their house with a little whip-handle, about so big, that’s as well known upon his estate, as the landlord’s own face. Well, the sarvant boy comes in, as it might be to my cabin there (if he heard any thing again’ me) and without ever saying one word, he walks in to the middle o’ the floore, an’ lays the whip handle upon the table, and walks out again without ever saying’ one word. Very well, the tenant knows when he sees the whip, that he must carry it up to his landlord next morning, as sure as he has a head upon his shoulders; an’ take it from me, there’s many lads among ’em have no great welcome for the sighth of it. Well, up they go to the great house, an’ there they ax for the masther, an’ they carry the whip handle into his parlour, where he locks the door upon ’em, an’ if they can’t well account for what they done, he makes ’em sthrip, and begins flaking ’em with a horsewhip until their back is all one griskin; an’ then he tells ’em to go about their business, an’ let him hear no more complaints in future. I thought it was a ghost I seen myself, last night when I found the whip handle on my own table. But I made all clear when I seen the master.”
 “That is pushing his authority to a feudal extent,” said Hardress.
 “A what, sir?” asked Phil, looking puzzled.
 “Nothing, Phil, nothing. Poll, go in now, and get supper ready in your mistress’s [ ] ”
 “Let Phil get it,” returned the amazon, “I want to step over to the sthreet* for a pound o’ candles.”
 “A pound o’ candles!” echoed her helpmate with a sneering emphasis.
 “’Iss, what else?” exclaimed Poll, grasping her baton, and looking back on him with a menacing gesture.
 “You know best what else, yourself,” said the husband. “We all know what sort o’ candles it is you’re going for. I lay my life you’re afther gettin’ money from the masther. But away with you, don’t think I wan’t to stop you. Your absence is betther company than your presence any day in the year. So saying he preceded our hero and heroine into the cottage, muttering, in a low voice, a popular distich:

‘Joy be with you, if you never come back,
Dead or alive, or o’ horseback.’”

 In the course of this evening, Eily remarked that her husband, though affectionate as she could desire, was more silent and abstracted than she had ever seen him, and that he more frequently spoke in correction of some little breach of etiquette, or inelegance of manner, than in those terms of eloquent praise and fondness which he was accustomed to lavish upon her. One advantage, however, of Eily’s want of penetration was, that the demon of suspicion never disturbed the quiet of her soul; and it required the utmost, and the most convincing, evidence of falsehood, to shake the generous and illimitable confidence which she reposed in any person who was once established in her affections. While she felt therefore some little pain on her husband’s account, she never experienced the slightest trouble on her own. She endeavoured with cheerfulness to adapt herself to his wishes, and though in this she could not become immediately successful, he would have owned a rigid temper, indeed, if it had not been softened by the submissive sweetness of her demeanour.
 And Hardress was softened, though not satisfied by her gentle efforts. He observed on this evening a much more considerable number of those unpleasing blemishes than he had on any other, and the memory of them pursued him even into his midnight slumbers, where Fancy, as usual, augmented their effect upon his mind. He dreamed that the hour had come on which he was to introduce his bride to his rich and fashionable acquaintances, and that a large company had assembled at his mother’s cottage to honour the occasion. Nothing however could exceed the bashfulness, the awkwardness, and the homeliness of speech and accent, with which the rope-maker’s daughter received their compliments; and to complete the climax of his chagrin, on happening to look round upon her during dinner, he saw her in the act of peeling a potatoe with her fingers! This phantom haunted him for half the night. He dreamed, moreover, that, when he reasoned with her on this subject, she answered him with a degree of pert vulgarity and impatience which was in “discordant harmony” with her shyness before strangers, and which made him angry at heart, and miserable in mind.
 The dreams of passion are always vivid, distinct, and deeply impressive. The feeling of anger and annoyance remained on the mind of Hardress even after he awoke, and although he never failed to correct and dispel the sensation, whenever it arose, yet throughout the whole of the following morning, a strong and disagreeable association was awakened whenever he looked upon Eily.
 Before he again left her, Hardress explained the nature of his present position with respect to his mother, and informed his wife of the necessity which existed for spending a considerable portion of the month which was to come at his father’s cottage. Eily heard this announcement with pain and grief, but without remonstrance. She cried, like a child, at parting with him; and after he had ridden away, remained leaning against the jamb of the door with her moistened handkerchief placed against her check, in an attitude of musing sorrow. He had promised to return on the second day after, but how was she to live over the long, long interval? A lonesomeness of heart, that was in mournful accordance with the mighty solitudes in which she dwelt, fell down and abode upon her spirit.
 On that night Hardress was one of the gayest revellers at his mother’s ball. Anne Chute, who was, beyond all competition, the star of the evening, favoured him with a marked and cordial distinction. The flattering deference with which he was received, by all with whom he entered into conversation during the night, surprized him into ease and fluency; and the success of his own eloquence made him in love with his auditory. When it is considered that this was the very first ball he had ever witnessed since his boyhood, and that his life, in the interim had been the life of a recluse, its effect upon his mind will cease to be a matter of surprize. The richness of the dresses - the liveliness of the music - the beauty of the fair dancers - the gaiety of their young partners - the air of elegant mirth that filled the whole apartment - produced a new and delicious sensation of happiness in the susceptible temper of Hardress. Our feelings are so much under the government of our habits, that a modern English family in the same rank might have denied the praise of comfort to that which in the unaccustomed eyes of Hardress wore the warmer hue of luxury; for he lived at a time when Irish gentlemen fostered a more substantial pride than at present; when appearances were comparatively but little consulted, and the master of a mansion cared not how rude was the interior, or how ruinous the exterior of his dwelling, provided he could always maintain a loaded larder, and a noisy board. The scene around him was not less enervating to the mind of our hero because the chairs which the company used were of plain oak, and the light from the large glass lustre fell upon coarse unpapered walls, whose only ornament consisted of the cross-barred lines drawn with the trowel in the rough grey mortar. Many of those who are accustomed to scenes of elegant dissipation, might not readily give credence to the effect which was wrought upon his feelings by circumstances of comparatively little import. The perfumed air of the room, the loftiness of the ceiling, the festooning of the drapery above the windows, the occasional pauses and changes in the music, all contributed to raise his mind into a condition of peculiar and exquisite enthusiasm, which made it susceptible of deep, dangerous, and indelible impressions. The wisdom of religion, in prescribing a strict and constant government of the senses, could not be more apparent than on an occasion like this, when their influence upon the reason became almost as potent and absorbing as that of an internal passion.
 In the midst of this gaiety of heart and topping fullness of mind, a circumstance occurred to throw it into a more disturbed and serious, but scarce less delightful, condition. The intervals in the dancing, were filled up by songs from the company, and Anne Chute in her turn was called on for her contribution of melody. Hardress was leaning over her chair, and looking at the music-book, which she was turning over leaf after leaf, as if in search of some suitable piece for the occasion.
 “Ah, this will do I think,” said Anne, pausing at a manuscript song, which was adapted to an old air, and running a rapid prelude along the keys of the instrument. The letters H. C. were written at the top of the page, and Hardress felt a glow like fire upon his brow the instant he beheld them. He drew back a little out of the light, and listened, with an almost painful emotion, to the song which the fair performer executed with an ease and feeling that gave to the words an effect beyond that to which they might themselves have pretended. They were the following:

A place in thy memory, dearest,
Is all that I claim,
To pause and look back when thou hearest
The sound of my name.
Another may woo thee, nearer,
Another may win and wear;
I care not though he be dearer,
If I am remembered there.

Remember me - not as a lover
Whose hope was cross’d,
Whose bosom can never recover
The light it hath lost.
As the young bride remembers the mother
She loves, though she never may see;
As a sister remembers a brother.
O, dearest! remember me.

Could I be thy true lover, dearest,
Could’st thou smile on me,
I would he the fondest and nearest
That ever loved thee!
But a cloud on my pathway is glooming
That never must burst upon rhine;
And Heaven, that made thee all blooming,
Ne’er made thee to wither on mine.

Remember me then! - O, remember,
My calm, light love;
Though bleak as the blasts of November
My life may prove,
That life will, though lonely, be sweet
If its brightest enjoyment should be
A smile and kind word when we meet.
And a place in thy memory.

Chapter 21: How Hardress Met a Strange Trial
“Mother, can you tell me why Anne Chute appears so abstracted and so reserved in her manner these few days past? Is she ill? Is she out of spirits? Is she annoyed at any thing?”
Hardress Cregan, who spoke this speech, was resting with his arm on the sash of one of the cottage windows. Mrs. Cregan was standing at a table in the centre of the room, arranging several small packages of plate, glass, and china, which had been borrowed from various neighbours on occasion of the ball. At a little distance stood old Nancy in her blue cloak and hood, awaiting the commands of her mistress; who as she proceeded with her occupation, glanced, at intervals, a sharp and enquiring eye at her son.
 “Here, Nancy, take this china to Mrs. Geogheghan, with my compliments, and tell her that I’m very much obliged to her - and, for your life, you horrible old creature, take care not to break them.”
 “Oyeh, Murther! is it I? Fake ’em sure, that I wont, so.”
 “And tell Mike, as you are going down stairs, to come hither. I want to send him with those spoons to Miss Macarthy.”
 “Mike isn’t come back yet, ma’am, since he wint over with the three-branch candlestick to Mrs. Crasbie.”
 “He is a very long time away, then.”
 “Can you tell me, mother,” said Hardress, after in vain expecting an answer to his former queries, “can you tell me, mother, if Anne Chute has had any unpleasing news from home lately?”
 “Well, Nancy,” continued Mrs. Cregan appearing not to have heard her son, “run away with your parcel, and deliver your message as you have been told, and hurry back again, for I have three more places to send you to before dinner.”
 “Allilu! my ould bones will be fairly wore from undher me, with the dint o’ thrallivantin;” muttered Nancy as she left the room.
 “I beg your pardon, Hardress, my dear. Were you not speaking? My attention is so occupied by those affairs that I have not a head for any thing besides. This is one of the annoyances produced by your father’s improvidence. He will not purchase those things, and I am obliged to borrow them, and to invite their owners into the bargain. I should not mind the borrowing but for that, as they are, generally speaking, very inferior in quality to the articles they lend me. In my thoughts, the latter always occupy so much more important a place than their possessors, that in sending a note of invitation to Mrs. Crosbie (or Crasbie as Nancy calls her,) the other day, I was on the point of writing ’Mrs. Cregan presents her compliments to the three-branched candlestick.’ ...But were you not speaking to me?”
 “I merely asked you, mother, if you knew the cause of the change which has lately appeared in Anne Chute’s manner, and which I have observed more especially since the night of the ball?”
 “I do,” said Mrs. Cregan.
 Hardress turned his face round, and looked as if he expected to hear more.
 “But before I inform you,” continued Mrs. Cregan, “you must answer me one question. What do you think of Anne Chute?”
 “Think of her, mother?”
 “Think of her, mother! You echo me, like the ancient in the play. I hope it is not that you have got any such monster in your thoughts as may not meet the light.”
 Hardress shook his head with a smile of deep meaning. “Indeed, mother,” he said, “it is far otherwise. I am ashamed to trust my lips with my opinion of Anne Chute. She is, in truth, a fascinating girl. If I were to tell you, in the simplest language, all that I think, and all that I feel in her favour, you would say that you had found out a mad son in Hardress. She is indeed an incomparable young woman.”
 “A girl,” said his mother, who heard this speech with evident satisfaction - “a girl, who is far too amiable to become the victim of disappointed feelings.”
 “Of disappointed feelings?”
 “Another echo! Why you seem to have caught the mocking spirit from the lakes. I tell you she is within the danger of such an event.”
 “How is that, mother?”
 “Close that door and I will tell you. I see you have remarked the increasing alteration in her manner. If I should entrust you with a lady’s secret, do you think you know how to venerate it?”
 “Why so, mother?”
 “Ah, that’s a safe answer. Well, I think I may trust you without requiring a pledge. Anne Chute has met with the usual fate of young ladies at her age. She is deep in love.”
 Hardress felt the hot blood gather upon his breath, when he heard these words. “You are jesting, mother,” he said at length, and with a forced smile.
 “It is a sad jest for poor Anne, however,” said Mrs. Cregan with much seriousness. “She is completely caught indeed. I never saw a girl so much in love in my life.”
 “He is a happy fellow,” said Hardress, after a pause, and in a deep voice, “he is either a very stupid, or a very happy fellow, whom Anne Chute distinguishes with her regard. And happy he must be, for a stupid lover could never press so wearily upon the remembrance of such a girl. He is a very happy fellow.”
 “And yet, to look at him, you would suppose he was neither the one nor the other,” said his mother.
 “What is his name?”
 “Can you not guess?”
 The name of Kyrle Daly rose to the lips of Hardress, but from some undefinable cause, he was unable to pronounce it. “Guess?” he repeated, “not I. Captain Gibson?”
 “Pooh! what an opinion you have formed of Anne, if you suppose her to be one of those susceptible misses to whom the proximity of a red coat, in country quarters, is an affair of fatal consequence.”
 “Kyrle Daly, then?”
 “Poor Kyrle, no. But that I think she has already chosen better, I could wish it were he, poor fellow! But you do not seem inclined to pay your cousin a compliment this morning. Do you not think you guess a little below her worth?”
 “Not in Kyrle Daly. He is a lover for a queen. He is my true friend.
 “That,” said his mother with emphasis, “might be some recommendation.”
 Hardress gazed on her as if altogether at a loss.
 “Well, have you already come to a stand?” said Mrs. Cregan. “Then I believe I shall not insist on your exposing your own dullness any longer. Come hither, Hardress, and sit near me. The young gentleman took a chair at his mother’s side, and awaited her further speech with increasing interest.
 “Hardress,” she said, “I have a claim, independent of my natural right, to your obedience; and I must insist, in this one instance at least, on its not being contested. Listen to me. I have now an object in view, to the accomplishment of which I look forward with a passionate interest, for it has no other aim than the completion of your happiness; a concern, my beloved boy, which has always sat closest to my heart, even from your childhood. I have no child but you. My other little babes are with their Maker. I have none left but you, and I think I feel my heart yearn towards you with all the love, which, if those angels had not flown from me, would have been divided amongst them.”
 She paused, affected; and Hardress lowered his face in deep and grateful emotion.
 “It is, I think, but reasonable, therefore,” Mrs. Cregan continued, “to desire your concurrence in a project which has your own happiness only for its object. Are you really so dull of perception as not to be aware of the impression you have made on the affections of Anne Chute?” “That I - I have made?” exclaimed Hardress, with a confusion and even a wildness in his manner, which looked like a compound of joy and terror. “That I - did you say, mother?”
 “That you have made,” repeated his mother. “It is true indeed, Hardress. She loves you. This fascinating girl loves you long and deeply. This incomparable young woman with whose praises you dare not trust your tongue, is pining for your love in the silence of her chamber. This beautiful and gifted creature, who is the wonder of all who see, and the love of all who know her, is ready to pour forth her spirit at your feet in a murmur of expiring fondness. Use your fortunes. The world smiles brightly on you. I say again, Anne Chute is long, deeply, and devotedly your own.
 Hardress drank in every accent of this poisonous speech, with that fatal relish which is felt by the infatuated Eastern, for his draught of stilling tincture. While he lay back in his chair, however, to enjoy the full and swelling rapture of his triumph, a horrid remembrance suddenly darted through his brain, and made him start from his chair as if he had received a blow.
 “Mother,” said he, “you are deceived in this. It is not, it cannot be, the fact. I see the object of which you speak, and I am sure your own anxiety fur its accomplishment has led you to miscalculate. My own surmises are not in unison with yours.
 “My dear child,” replied his mother, I have a far better authority than surmise for what I say. Do you think, my love, that I would run the hazard of disturbing your peace without an absolute assurance of the truth of my statement? I have an authority that ought to satisfy the most distrustful lover, and I will be guilty of a breach of confidence, in order to set your mind at rest, for I am certain of your honour. It is the confession. the reluctant and hardly won confession, of my darling Anne herself.”
 Again, a revulsion of frightful rapture rushed through the frame of the listener, and made him resume his chair in silence. “When we came here first,” continued Mrs. Cregan, “I could perceive that there was a secret, although I was far from suspecting its nature. The first glimpse of light that broke upon the mystery was produced by accident. You remember poor Dalton, our old huntsman? I happened to speak to Anne of his attachment to you, and could at once observe that her interest for the man was ardently awakened.”
 “I remember, I remember like a dream,” said Hardress, raising his finger in the manner of one endeavouring to strengthen an indistinct recollection, “Poor Dalton told me Anne had been kind to him. Anne? No, no,” he added, with much confusion, “he named no one. He said, a person in this house had been kind to him. I was prevented from enquiring farther.”
 “That person,” said Mrs. Cregan, “was Anne Chute. From the moment of that conversation my eyes were opened; and I felt like one who has suddenly discovered the principle of an intricate and complicated system. I saw it in her silence, while your arrival was delayed; I saw it, on the morning of your meeting; I saw it, throughout that day; I saw it, in her dissembled grief, in her dissembled joy. Poor, dear girl! I saw it, in the almost childlike happiness that sparkled in her eyes when you came near us, and in the sudden gloom that followed your departure. For shame, my child! Why are you so dull of perception? Have you eyes? Have you ears? Have you a brain to comprehend, or a heart to estimate, your good fortune? It should have been your part, not mine, to draw that dear acknowledgment from the lips of Anne, last night.”
 To this observation, Hardress replied only by a low moan, which had in it an expression of deep pain. “How, mother,” he at length asked, in a hoarse tone, “by what management did you draw this secret from her?” “By a simple process. By making it worth her while to give me her confidence. By telling her what I have long since perceived, though it may possibly have escaped your own observation, that her passion was not unrequited; that you were as deeply in love with her, as she with you.” “
 Me! me in love! You could not, you would not, surely, mother, speak with so much rashness,” exclaimed Hardress, in evident alarm.
 “Why - do you not love her, then?”
 “Love her, mother?”
 “I see you have not yet done with the echoes.”
 “I love her as a cousin should love a cousin, nothing more.”
 “Aye, but she is no cousin of yours. Come! It must be either more or less. Which shall I say’?”
 “Neither. It is in that light I have always looked upon Anne. I could not love her less. I would not, dare not love her more.”
 “Dare not? You have got a strange vocabulary for a lover. What do you mean by ’dare not?’ What mighty daring is requisite to enable a young man to fall in love with a young lady of whose affection he is already certain? The daring that is necessary for wedlock, is an old bachelor’s sneer, which should never be heard on lips that are ruddy with the blood of less than forty summers. Why dare you not love Anne Chute?”
 “Because by doing so, I should break my faith to another.”
 Mrs. Cregan fixed her eye on him, as if somewhat stunned. “What do you say, Hardress?” she murmured, just above her breath.
 “I say, mother, that my heart and faith are both already pledged to another, and that I must not break my engagement.”
 “Do you speak seriously?”
 “I could not jest on this subject, if I were so inclined.”
 “And dare you tell me this?” Mrs. Cregan exclaimed, starting up from her seat with a sudden fierceness of manner. “You have no daring! You dare not love the love that I have chosen for you, and you dare tell me to my face of such a boldness as this! But dare me not too far, I warn you, Hardress. You will not find it safe.”
 “I dare tell the truth when I am called on,” replied Hardress, who never respected his mother so little, as in her moments of passion and authority; “in all places, and at all hazards, even including that of incurring my mother’s displeasure.”
 “Listen to me, Hardress,” said his mother, returning to her seat, and endeavouring to suppress her anger, “it is better we should fully understand each other.”
 “It is, mother; and I cannot choose a better time to be explicit than the present. I was wrong, very wrong, in not taking an earlier opportunity of explaining to you the circumstances in which I stand. But it is better even now than later. Mother,” he continued, moving near to her, and taking her hand between his, with a deprecating tenderness of manner, “forgive your own Hardress! I have already fixed my affections, and pledged myself to another.”
 Mrs. Cregan pressed her handkerchief against her face, and leaned forward on the table, which position she maintained during the dialogue which followed.
 “And who is that other?” she asked, with a calmness that astonished her son. “Is she superior to Anne Chute in rank or fortune?”
 “Far otherwise, mother.”
 “In talent then, or manner?”
 “Still far beneath my cousin.”
 “In what then consists the motive of preference, for I am at a loss?”
 “In every thing that relates to acquirement,” said Hardress, “she is not even to he compared to Anne Chute. It is in virtue, alone, and in gentleness of disposition, that she can pretend to an equality. I once believed her lovelier, but I was prejudiced.”
 Mrs. Cregan now raised her head, and showed by the change in her appearance what passionate struggles she had been endeavouring to over-come. The veins had started out upon her forehead, a dull fire shone in her eyes, and one dark tress of hair, uncurled by dampness and agitation, was swept cross her temples. “Poor, low-born, silly, and vulgar!” she repeated with an air of perplexity and suppressed anger. Then, assuming an attitude of easy dignity, and forcing a smile, she said, “Oh, my dear Hardress, you must be jesting, for I am sure you could not make such a choice as you describe.”
 “If it is a misfortune,” replied Hardress, “I must only summon up my philosophy, mother, for there is no escaping it.”
 Mrs. Cregan again pressed her hand upon her brow for some moments, and then said, “Well, Hardress, let us conduct this discussion calmly. I have got a violent shooting in my head, and cannot say so much as I desire. But listen to me, as I have done to you. My honour is pledged to your cousin for the truth of what I have told her. I have made her certain that her wishes shall be all accomplished, and I will not have my child’s heart broken. If you are serious, Hardress, you have acted a most dishonourable part. Your conduct to Anne Chute would have deceived - it has deceived, the most unbiased amongst your acquaintances. You have paid her attentions which no honourable man could offer while he entertained only a feeling of indifference towards their object.”
 “Mother! Mother! how can you make such a charge as that? Was it not entirely, and reluctantly, in compliance with your own injunctions that I did so?”
 “Aye,” replied Mrs. Cregan, a little struck, “but I was not then aware of your position. Why did you not then inform me of all this? Let the consequences, sir, of your duplicity fall on your own head, not on my poor girl’s, nor mine. I could not have believed you capable of such a meanness. Had you then discovered all, it would have been in time for the safety of your cousin’s happiness, and for my own honour, for that too is staked in the issue. What, sir? Is your vanity so egregious that, for its gratification merely, you would interfere with a young girl’s prospects in life, by filling up the place at her side to which others, equal in merit and more sincere in their intentions, might have aspired? Is not that consideration alone (putting aside the keener disappointment to which you have subjected her) enough to make your conduct appear hideous?”
 The truth and justice of this speech left Hardress without a word.
 “You are already contracted, at every fireside in Kerry and Limerick also,” continued his mother, “and I am determined that there shall be no whispering about my own sweet Anne. You must perform the promise that your conduct has given.”
 “And my engagement? ...”
 “Break it off!” exclaimed Mrs. Cregan, with a burst of anger, scarcely modified by her feeling of decorum. “If you have been base enough to make a double pledge, and if there must be a victim, I am resolved it shall not be Anne Chute. I must not have to reproach myself with having bound it for the sacrifice. Now take your choice. I tell you, I had rather die, nay, I had rather see you in your coffin than matched below your rank. You are yet unable to cater for your own happiness, and you would assuredly lay up a fund of misery for all your coming years. Now, take your choice. If you wed as I desire, you shall have all the happiness that rank, and wealth, and honour, and domestic affection, can secure you. - If against my wish - if you resist me, enjoy your vulgar taste, and add to it all the wretchedness that extreme poverty can furnish, for whether I live or die (as indeed I shall be careless on that subject henceforward,) you never shall possess a guinea of your inheritance. So now, take your choice.”
 “It is already made,” said Hardress, rising with a mournful dignity, and moving towards the door. “My fortunes are already decided, whatever way my inclinations move. Farewell, then, mother. I am grateful to you for all your former kindness, but it is impossible that I can please you in this. As to the poverty with which you intend to punish me, I can face that consequence without much anxiety, after I have ventured to incur the hazard of your anger.”
 He was already at the door when his mother recalled him with a softened voice. “Hardress,” she said, with tears in her eyes,” I mistake my heart entirely. It cannot afford to lose a son so easily. Come hither, and sit by me, my own beloved boy. You know not, Hardress, how I have loved, and love you. Why will you anger me, my child? I never angered you, even when you were an infant at my bosom. I never denied you any thing, in all my life. I never gave you a hard word, or look, since you were a child in my arms. What have I done to you’, Hardress? Even supposing that I have acted with any rashness in this, why will you insist on my suffering for it?”
 “My dear mother ...”
 “If you knew how I have loved you, Hardress; but you can never know it, for it was shown most frequently and fondly when you were incapable of acknowledging or appreciating it. If you knew how disinterestedly I have watched and laboured for your happiness, even from your boyhood, you would not so calmly resign your mind to the idea of such a separation. Come, Hardress, we must yet be friends. I do not press you for an immediate answer, but tell me you will think of it, and think more kindly. Bid me but smile on Anne when I meet her next. Nay, don’t look troubled, I shall not speak to her until I have your answer, I will only smile upon her - that’s my darling Hardress.”
 “But, mother ...”
 “Not one word more. At least, Hardress, my wishes are worth a little consideration. Look there!” she suddenly exclaimed, laying her hand on the arm of her son, and pointing through the open window, “Is that not worth a little consideration?”
 Hardress looked in that direction, and beheld a sight which might have proved dangerous to the resolution of a more self-regulated spirit. It was the figure of his cousin standing under the shade of a lofty arbutus (a tree which acknowledges Killarney alone of all our northern possessions, for its natal region.) A few streaks of the golden sunshine streamed in upon her figure, through the boughs, and quivered over the involutions of her drapery. She was without a bonnet, and her short black ringlets, blown loose about her rather pale and careful countenance, gave it somewhat of the character of an Ariadne, or a Penthesilea. She walked towards the house, and every motion of her frame seemed instinct with a natural intelligence. Hardress could not (without a nobler effort than he would use) remove his eyes from this beautiful vision, until a turn in the gravel walk concealed it from his view, and it disappeared among the foliage, as a lustrous star is lost in a mass of autumnal clouds.
 “Mother,” said Hardress, “I will think on what you have said. May heaven defend and guide me! I am a miserable wretch, but I will think of it. Oh, mother, my dear mother, if I had confided in you, or you in me! Why have we been thus secret to each other? But pardon me! It is I alone that am deserving of that reproach, for you were contriving for my happiness only. Happiness! What a vain word that is! I never shall be happy more! Never indeed! I have destroyed my fortunes.”
 “Hush, boy, I hear Anne’s foot upon the lobby. I told her you would walk with her to-day.”
 “Me walk with her?” said Hardress with a shudder. “No, no, I cannot, mother. It would be wrong. I dare not, indeed.”
 “Dare not again?” said Mrs. Cregan, smiling. “Come, come, forget this conversation for the present, and consider it again at your leisure.”
 “I will, I will think of it,” repeated the young man, with some wildness of manner. “May heaven defend and guide me! I am a wretch already.”
 “Hush! hush!” said his mother, who did not attach too much importance to those exclamations of mental distress; “you must not let your mistress hear, you praying in that way, or she will suppose she has frightened you.”
 “My mistress, mother!”
 “Pooh, pooh! your cousin, then. Don’t look so terrified. Well, Hardress, I am obliged to you.
 “Aye, mother, but don’t be misled by ...”
 “Oh, be in no pain for that. I understand you perfectly. Remain here and I will send your cousin to you in a few minutes.”
 It would have at once put an end to all discussion of this subject, if Hardress had informed his mother that he was in fact already married. He was aware of this, and yet he could not tell her that it was so. It was not that he feared her anger, for that he had already dared. He knew that he was called on in honour, in justice, and in conscience, to make his parent aware of the full extent of his position, and yet he shunned the avowal, as he would have done a sentence of despair.

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