Gerald Griffin, The Collegians (1829)

[ cont. ]

Chapter 29: How Hardress Lost an Old Acquaintance
Eily had not been many minutes absent from the cottage, when the thunder-storm, predicted by Fighting Poll, commenced, amid all the circumstances of adventitious grandeur, by which those elemental convulsions are accompanied among the Kerry mountains. The rain came down in torrents, and the thunder clattered among the crags and precipices, with a thousand short reverbations. Phil Naughten, who had entered soon after the storm began, was seated with his wife, at their small supper table, the latter complaining heavily of the assault made by Danny on her spirit-flask, which she now, for the first time, discovered to be empty.
 Suddenly, the latch of the door was raised, and Hardress Cregan entered, with confusion and terror in his appearance. The dark frieze great coat in which his figure was enveloped seemed to be drenched in rain, and his face was flushed and glistening with the beating of the weather. He closed the door, with difficulty, against the strong wind, and still keeping his left hand on the latch, he said:-
 “I am afraid I have come too late. Is Danny here?”
 “No sir,” said Phil, “he’s gone these two hours.”
 “And Eily?” ...
 “An’ Eily along with him. He gave her papers that made her go.”
 Hardress heard this, with an appearance of satisfaction. He leaned his back against the door, crossed his feet and fixed his eyes upon the ground; while a silent soliloquy passed within his mind, of which the following is a transcript:
 “It is done, then. I would have saved her, but it is too late. Now, my good angel, be at peace with me. I would have saved her. I obeyed your call. Amid the storm, the darkness, and the rain, I flew to execute your gentle will. But the devil had taken me at my word already, and found me a rapid minister. Would I have saved her! Ha! What whisper’s that? There can come nothing worse of it, than I have ordered. Forsaken! Banished! That is the very worst that can befal her. And for the consequences, why, if she be so weak and silly a thing to pine and die of the slight, let nature take the blame, not me. I never meant it. But if that madman should exceed my orders. And if he should,” Hardress suddenly exclaimed aloud, while he started from the door and trembled with fury; “and if he should,” he repeated, extending his arms, and spreading his fingers as if in act to gripe, “wherever I meet him, in the city, or in the desert, in the lowest depth of this accursed valley, or on the summit of the mountain, where he tempted me, I will tear his flesh from off his bones, and gibbet him between these fingers for a miscreant, and a ruffian!”
 He sunk, exhausted by this frantic burst of passion, into a chair, the chair which Eily had occupied on that evening. Phil Naughten and his wife left their seats in astonishment, and gazed on him, and on one another in silence. In a few minutes, Hardress rose more calmly ftom the chair, and drew his sleeves out of the great coat, which he handed to Poll; signifying, by a motion of his hand that she should hang it near the fire. While she obeyed his wishes, he resumed his seat in silence. For a considerable time, he remained leaning over the back of the chair, and gazing fixedly upon the burning embers. The fatigue of his long journey, on foot, and the exhaustion of his feelings, at length brought on a heavy slumber, and his head sunk upon his breast, in deep, though not untroubled, rest.
 Poll and her husband resumed their meal, and afterwards proceeded to their customary evening occupations. Phil began to repair the pony’s straddle, while Poll twisted the flaxen cords, according as her husband required them.
 “I’ll tell you what, Phil,” said his wife, in a low whisper, “there’s something going on, to-night, that is not right. I’m sorry I let Eily go.”
 “Whisht, you foolish woman!” returned her husband, “what would be going on? Mind your work, an’ don’t wake the master. D’ye hear how he moans in his sleep?”
 “I do; an’ I think that moan isn’t for nothing. Who is it he was talking of tearing a while ago?”
 “I don’t know: there’s no use in thinking about it at all. This is a cold night with poor Mc Donough in his grave, the first he ever spent there.”
 “And so it is. Were there many at the funeral?”
 “A power. The whole counthry was afther the hearse. You never heard such a cry in your life, as was set up in the church-yard by poor Garret O’Neil, his own natural, afther the grave was covered in. The whole place was in tears!”
 “Sure Garret wasn’t with him this many year?”
 “He was not, until the very day before he died, when he seen him in his own room. You remember a long wattle that Garret used always be carrying in his hand?”
 “I do well.”
 “That was given him be the master, McDonough, himself. Garret axed him once of a Hansel - Monday, for his hansel,* and ’tis what he gave him was that wattle, as it was standing behind the parlour doore. ‘Here, Garret,’ says he, ‘take this wattle, and when you meet with a greater fool than yourself, you may give it to him.’ Garret took it, without a word, and the masther never seen him after ’till the other day, when he walked into his bed room where he was lying in his last sickness, with the wattle still in his hand. The masther knew him again, the minute he looked at him. ‘And didn’t you part the wattle yet, Garret?’ says he. ‘No, sir,’ says Garret, ‘I can find no where a greater fool than I am myself.’ ‘You show some sense in that, any way,’ says the masther. - ‘Ah, Garret,’ says he, ‘I b’lieve I’m going.’ ‘Going where, sir?’ says Garret. ‘Oh, a long journey,’ says he, ‘an’ one that I’m but little provided for.’ ‘An’ did you know you’d be going that journey?’ says Garret. ‘I did, heaven forgive me,’ Mc Donough. ‘An’ you made no preparation for it?’ says Garret. ‘No preparation in life,’ says the master to him again. Well, Garret moved over near the bedside, and took the masther’s hand, and put the wattle into it, just that way. ‘Well,’ says he, ‘take your wattle again. You desired me keep it, until I’d meet a greater fool than myself, an’ now I found him; for if you knew you’d be taking that journey, an’ made no preparation for it, you are a greater fool than ever Garret was.”
 “That was frightful!” said Poll, “Husht! Did you hear that? Well, if ever the dead woke, they ought to wake to-night! Did you ever hear such tundher?”
 “’Tis great, surely. How sound Misther Hardress sleeps, an’ not to be woke by that! Put the candle on the stool at this side, Poll, an’ don’t disturb him.”
 They now proceeded with their employment in silence, which was seldom broken. Any conversation, that passed, was carried on in low and interrupted whispers, and all possible pains were used to avoid disturbing, by the slightest noise, the repose of their weary guest and patron.
 But the gnawing passion hunted him, even into the depth of sleep. A murmur occasionally broke from his lips, and a hurried whisper, sometimes indicative of anger and command, and sometimes of sudden fear, would escape him. He often changed his position, and it was observed by those who watched beside him, that his breathing was oppressed and thick, and his brow was damp with large drops of moisture.
 “The Lord defend and forgive us all!” said Phil, in a whisper to his wife, “I’m afeerd, I’ll judge nobody, but I’m afeerd there’s some bad work, as you say, going on this night.”
 “The Lord protect the poor girl that left us!” whispered Poll.
 “Amen!” replied her husband aloud.
 “Amen!” echoed the sleeper; - and following the association awakened by the response, he ran over, in a rapid voice, a number of prayers, such as are used in the morning and evening service of his church.
 “He’s saying his litanies,” said Poll, “Phil, come into the next room, or wake him up, either one or the other, I don’t like to be listenin’ to him. ’Tisn’t right of us to be taking advantage of any body in their dhrames. Many is the poor boy that hung himself that way in his sleep.”
 “’Tis a bad business,” said Phil, “I don’t like the look of it, at all, I tell you.”
 “My glove! My glove!” said the dreamingHardress, “you used it against my meaning. I meant but banishment. We shall both be hanged, we shall be hanged for this ...”
 “Come, Phil! Come, come!” cried Poll Naughten, with impatience.
 “Stop, eroo! Stop!” cried her husband. “He’s choking, I b’lieve! Poll, Poll! the light, the light! Get a cup o’ wather.”
 “Here it is! Shake him, Phil! Masther Hardhress! Wake, a’ ra gal!”
 “Wake, Masther Hardress, wake! sir, if you plase!”
 The instant he was touched, Hardress started from his chair, as if the spring that bound him to it had been suddenly struck, and remained standing before the fire in an attitude of strong terror. He did not speak - at least, the sounds to which he gave utterance could not be traced into any intelligible form, but his look and gesture were those of a man oppressed with a horrid apprehension. According, however, as his nerves recovered their waking vigour, and the real objects by which he was surrounded became known to his senses, a gradual relief appeared to steal upon his spirits, his eyelids dropped, his muscles were relaxed and a smile of intense joy was visible upon his features. He let his arms fall slowly by his side, and sunk down, once more, with a murmur of painful satisfaction, into the chair which he had left.
 But the vision, with which he had been terrified, had made too deep a sign on his imagination, to be at once removed. His dream had merely represented in act, a horrid deed, the apprehension of which had shaken his soul with agony when awake, and had brought him amid those obstacles of storm and darkness, to the cottage of his neglected wife. His fears were still unquieted; the frightful image, that bestrode his slumbers, yet haunted him, awake; and opposed itself with a ghastly vigour to his eyes, in whatever direction they were turned. Unable to endure the constant recurrence of this indestructible suggestion, he at length hurried out of the cottage. He paid no attention to the voice of Poll Naughten, who followed him to the door, with his great coat in her hand; but ran down the crags, and in the direction of his home, with the speed of one distract.
 The light which burned in the drawing room window showed that all the family had not yet retired. His mother, as he learned from old Nancy, was still expecting his return. She was almost alone in the house, for Mr. Cregan had left the cottage a fortnight before, in order to escort Miss Chute to her own home.
 She was seated at a table, and reading some work appropriate to the coming festival, when Hardress made his appearance at the door, still drenched in rain, and pale with agitation and fatigue. He remained on the threshold, leaning with one arm against the jamb, and gazing on the lady.
 “What, up yet, mother?” he said, at length, “where’s Anne?”
 “Ha! Hardress. O my dear child, I have been anxiously expecting you. Anne? Do you forget that you took leave of her a fortnight since?”
 “I had forgotten it. I now remember. But not for ever?”
 “Why should you say it? What do you mean?” said Mrs. Cregan. “Is not your bridal fixed for the second of February? But I have mournful news to tell you, Hardress.”
 “Let me hear none of it!” exclaimed the unhappy youth, with great vehemence. “It will drive me mad at last. Nothing but mournful news! I’m sick of it. Wherever I turn my eyes they encounter nothing now but mourning. Coffins, and corpses, graves, and darkness, all around me! Mother, your son will end his days in Bedlam. Start as you will. I say but what I feel, and fear. I find my reason going fast to wreck. Omother, I will die an idiot yet!”
 “My child!”
 “Your child!” Hardress reiterated with petulant emphasis. “And if I was your child, could you not care more kindly for my happiness? It was you that urged me on to this. Mind, I comply, but it was you that urged me. You brought me into the danger and when I would have withdrawn, you held me there. I told you that I was engaged, that heaven had heard, and earth recorded my pledge, and that I could not break it. O mother, if you were a mother, and if you saw your son caught by a treacherous passion, if you saw that he was weak, and yielding, and likely to be overcome, you should have strengthened him. It would have been a mother’s part to warn him off, to take the side of honesty against his weakness, and make him virtuous in his own despite. But this you did not. I was struggling for my failing honesty, and you strove against me. I rose again and again, almost discomfited, yet still unwilling to yield up all claim to truth, and again and again you struck me down. Behold me now! You have succeeded fully. I am free now to execute your will. To marry, or hang, whichever you please.”
 “Hardress!” exclaimed his mother, in an agony - “I ...”
 “Oh, no more remonstrance, mother, your remonstrances have been my curse and bane, they have destroyed me for this world, and for the next.”
 “You shock me to the soul.”
 “Well, I am sorry for it. - Go on. Tell me this mournful news. It can be but another drop in the ocean. I told you that my reason was affected, arid so it is. I know it by the false colouring that has grown upon my senses. My imagination is filled continually with the dreariest images, and there is some spirit within me that tinges, with the same hue of death, the real objects I behold. At morning, if I look upon the east I think it has the colour of blood, and at night, when I gaze on the advancing shadows, I think of paIls, and hearse-plumes, and habits of mourning. Mother, I fear I have not long to live.”
 “Fie, Hardress, fie! Are you growing superstitious? For shame! I will not talk with you to-night upon that subject, nor will I tax you with the manifest unkindness of your charges on myself, so often refuted, yet now again repeated. I have a matter of weightier interest to communicate. You know Mrs. Daly, the mother of your young friend Kyrle?”
 “There again!” exclaimed Hardress, starting from his seat, and speaking with passionate loudness. “There again, mother! Another horrid treason! Why, the whole world are joining in one cry of reprobation on my head. Another black and horrid perfidy! Oh, Kyrle, my friend, my calm, high- minded, virtuous, and serene companion! He trusted me with every thing, told me his secrets, showed me his fears, and commended his hopes to my patronage. And what have I done? I pledged myself to be his friend. I lied! I have supplanted him! How shall I meet him now for evermore? I feel as if the world were met to spit upon my face. This should be my desert. O fool! blind fool! - Anne Chute! What was Anne Chute to me, or I to her, that I should thus destroy my own repute, betray my friend, resist my maker, and forsake my ... “Suddenly arresting his speech at this conjuncture, he sunk back into his chair, and added in a low murmur - “Well, mother, tell this mournful news at once.
 “It is soon told,” said Mrs. Cregan, who had now become too well accustomed to those bursts of transient passion in her son, to afford them any angry consideration. “Poor Mrs. Daly is dead.”
 “But this evening I heard it. The circumstance is one of peculiar melancholy. She died quite unexpectedly in her accouchement.”
 “And if the virtuous are thus visited,” said Hardress, after a pause, lifting his hands and eyes, “what should not I expect? I wish I were fit to pray, that I might pray for that kind woman.”
 “There is one act of mercy in your power, said his mother, “you will be expected at the wake and funeral.”
 “And there I shall meet with Kyrle!”
 “What then?”
 “Oh, nothing, nothing.” He paused for several minutes, during which, he leaned on the table in a meditative posture. His countenance, at length, assumed an appearance of more peaceful grief, and it became evident, from the expression of his eye, that a more quiet train of feeling was passing through his mind.
 “Poor Mrs. Daly!” he said at last. “If one would be wise at all times, how little he would sacrifice to the gratification of simple passion, in such a world as this. Imprimis,” he continued, counting on his finger ends. “Imprimis, a cradle, item, clothing, item, a house, item, fire, item, food, item, a coffin; the best require no more than these, and for the worst, you need only add item, a gallows, and you have said enough.”
 Mrs. Cregan heard this speech without the keen anxiety which she would have felt, if Hardress had been less passionate in his general manner, and less extravagant in his mode of speech. But knowing this, she heeded little in him what would have filled her with terror in another.
 “Well, will you go to the wake, Hardress?” she said. “You must set out to-morrow morning early.”
 “I will,” said Hardress. “It is a long distance, but I can be there, at all events, by night-fall. When does the funeral take place?”
 “I suppose after to-morrow. I will have the curricle at the door by day-break, for you must set me down at Castle Chute. Go now, and change your dress at once, or you will suffer for it. Nancy shall take you a warm foot-bath, and a hot drink, when you are in your room.
 Hardress returned without farther question. The idea of meeting with Kyrle Daly, after the unmanly neglect, and even betrayal of his interests, was now the one which occupied his sole attention. Half love is vanity; at least, a fair moiety of Hardress Cregan’s later passion might be placed to the account of that effeminate failing. It could not, therefore, continue to maintain its hold upon his heart against a passion so new and terrible as that of remorse. His love for Anne Chute was now entirely dormant in his mind, and his reason was at full liberty to estimate the greatness of his guilt, without even the suggestion of a palliative. When we add to this, the cruel uncertainty in which he remained with respect to the fate of Eily O’Connor, it is probable that few, who hear the story, will envy the repose of Hardress Cregan.
 For one instant only, during his conversation with Danny Mann, the idea of Eily’s death had flashed upon his mind, and for that instant it had been accompanied with a sensation of willful pleasure. The remembrance of this guilty thought now haunted him with as deep a feeling of remorse, as if that momentary assent had been a positive act. Whenever his eyelids drooped, a horrid chain of faces passed before his imagination, each presenting some characteristic of death or pain, some appearing to threaten, and others to deride him. In this manner the long and lonely night crept by, and the dreary winter dawn found him still unrefreshed and feverish.

*On the first Monday of the new year (called Hansel Monday) it is customary to bestow trifling gifts among one’s acquaintances, &c. which are denominated hansels.

Chapter 30: How Hardress Got His Hair Dressed in Listowel, and Heard a Little News
HE ROSE, and found that his mother was already equipped for the journey. They took a hurried breakfast hy candle-light, while Mike was employed in putting the horses to the curricle. The lakes were covered by a low mist, that concealed the islands and the distant shores, and magnified the height of the gigantic mountains, by which the waters are walled in. Far ahove this slumbering cloud of vapour, the close and wide-spread forests were seen along the sides of the stupendous ridge, the trees so much diminished by the distance, and by the illusion produced by the novelty of the point of vision, as to resemble a garden of mangel-worzel.
Hardress had just taken his seat in the vehicle beside his mother, when a servant in livery rode up to the door, and touching his hat, put a letter into his hand. It contained an invitation from Hepton Connolly, to a hunting dinner, which he was about to give in the course of the month. Hardress remained for a moment in meditation.
 “Well, how long am I to stop here waiting for my answer?” asked the messenger (the insolent groom alluded to in an early portion of the narrative). Hardress stared on him, in silence, for some moments. “You had better go in and breakfast, I think,” he said, “you don’t intend to return without alighting?”
 “Is it for Hepton Connolly? Why then you may take your vido, I don’t, nor for any other masther under the sun. I was going to take my breakfast over at the Inn, but as you make the offer, I’ll not pass your doore.”
 “You do me a great deal of honour. When does the hunt take place?”
 “In three weeks time, I believe, or something thereabouts.”
 “Not sooner?”
 “No. I wanted him to have it at once, for he couldn’t have finer weather, an’ the mare is in fine condition for it. But when Connolly takes a thing into his head, you might as well be talking to an ass.”
 “Well,” said Hardress, “tell your master, that you found me just driving from home, and that I will come.”
 Saying this he drove away, while his mother remained still wrapt in silent astonishment at the fellow’s impudence.
 “Such,” said Hardress, “is the privilege of a clever groom. That rogue was once a simple, humble cottager, but fortune favoured him. He assisted Connolly to win a sweepstakes, which gained him a reputation on the turf; and fame has since destroyed him. You would not know whether to choose between indignation and laughter, if you were present at the conversations that sometimes take place between him and his master.”
 “If, instead of winning me the King’s plate, he could win me the King’s crown, I could not endure him,” said the proud mother.
 “Nor I,” returned her prouder son. “Nor I, indeed.”
 About noon, they stopped to bait and hear mass, at the town of Listowel. Mrs. Cregan and her son were shown into a little parlour at the Inn, the window of which looked out upon the square. The bell of the Chapel was ringing for last mass on the other side, and numbers of people, in their holiday attire, were seen in the wide area, some hurrying toward the Chapel gate, some loitering in groups about the square, and some sitting on the low window-sill stones.
 The travellers joined the first mentioned portion of the crowd, and performed their devotions; - at least, they gave the sanction of their presence to the ceremonial of the day. When they had returned to the Inn, and takentheir places in the little parlour, Mrs. Cregan, after fixing her eyes for a moment on her son, exclaimed:
 “Why, Hardress, you are a perfect fright. Did you dress to-day?”
 “Not particularly.”
 “Do you intend to call in at Castle Chute?”
 “Just to visit in passing.”
 “Then I would advise you, by all means, to do something at your toilet before you leave this.”
 Hardress took up a mirror, which lay on the wooden chimney-piece, and satisfied himself, by a single glance, of the wisdom of his mother’s suggestion. His eyes were blood-shot, his beard grown and grisly, and his hair hanging about his temples in most ungraceful profusion. He rang the little bell which lay on the table, and summoned the landlady to his presence.
 It would be difficult, she told him, to procure a hair-cutter to-day, being holiday, but there was one from Garryowen, below, that would do the business as well as any one in the world, if he had only got his scissors with him.
 Hardress started at the name of Garryowen; but, as he did not remember the hair cutter, and felt an anxiety to hear news from that quarter, he desired the stranger to be shown into another room, where he proposed effecting the necessary changes in his attire.
 He had scarcely taken his seat before the toilet, when a soft tap at the door, and the the sound of a small, squeaking voice, announced the arrival of the hair cutter. On looking round him, Hardress beheld a small, thin faced, red haired little man, with a tailor’s shears dangling from his finger, bowing and smiling with a timid and conciliating air. In an evil hour for his patience, Hardress consented that he should commence operations.
 “The piatez were very airly this year, sir,” he modestly began, after he had wrapped a check apron about the neck of Hardress, and made the other necessary arrangements.
 “Very early indeed. You needn’t cut so fast.”
 “Very airly, sir. The white eyes especially. Them white eyes are fine piatez. For the first four months I wouldn’t ax a better piatie than a white eye, with a bit o’ butter, or a piggin of milk, or a bit o’ bacon, if one had it; but after that the meal goes out of ’em, and they gets wet and bad. The cups ar’nt so good in the beginnen o’ the saison, but they hould better. Turn your head more to the light, sir, if you please. The cups indeed are a fine substantial lasting piatie. There’s great nutriment in ’em for poor people, that would have nothen else with them but themselves, or a grain o’ salt. There’s no piatie that eats better, when you have nothen but a bit o’ the little one (as they say) to eat with a bit o’ the big. No piatie that eats so sweet with point.”
 “With point?” Hardress repeated, a little amused by this fluent discussion of the poor hair-cutter, upon the varieties of a dish, which, from his childhood, had formed almost his only article of nutriment; and on which he expatiated with as much cognoscence and satisfaction, as a fashionable gourmand might do on the culinary productions of Eustache Ude. “What is point?”
 “Don’t you know what that is, sir? I’ll tell you in a minute. A joke that them that has nothen to do, an plenty to eat, make upon the poor people that has nothen to eat, and plenty to do. That is, when there’s dry piatez on the table, and enough of hungry people about it, and the family would have, may be, only one bit of bacon hanging up above their heads, they’d peel a piatie first, and then they’d point it up at the bacon, and they’d fancy within their own minds, that it would have the taste o’ the mait when they’d be aten it, after. That’s what they call point, sir. A cheap sort o’ diet it is, lord help us, that’s plenty enough among the poor people in this country. A great plan for making a small bit of pork go a long way in a large family.”
 “Indeed it is but a slender sort of food. Those scissars you have are dreadful ones.”
 “Terrible, sir. I sent my own over to the forge before I left home, to have an eye put in it; only for that I’d be smarter, a deal. Slender food it is, indeed! There’s a deal o’ poor people here in Ireland, sir, that are run so hard at times, that the wind of a bit o’ mait is as good to ’em, as the mait itself to them that would be used to it. The piatez are every thing, the kitchen* little or nothing. But there’s a sort o’ piatez (I don’t know did your honour ever taste ’em?) that’s getten greatly in vogue now among ’em, an’ is killing half the country; the white piaties, a piatie that has great produce, an’ requires but little manure, an’ will grow in very poor land; but has no more strength, or nourishment in it, than if you had boiled a handful o’ saw-dust and made gruel of it, or put a bit of a deal boord between your teeth, and thought to make a breakfast of it. The black bulls themselves are better. Indeed the black bulls are a deal a better piaitie than they’re thought. When you’d peel ’em, they look as black as Indigo, an’ you’d have no mind to ’em at all; but I declare they’re very sweet in the mouth, an’ very strengthening. The English reds are anate piaitie, too, and the apple piatie (I don’t know what made ’em be given up) an’ the kidney (though delicate of rearing) but give me the cups for all, that will hould the meal in ’em to the last, and won’t require any inthricket tillage. Let a man have a middling sized pit o’ cups again’ the winter, a small caish (pig) to pay his rent, an’ a handful o’ turf behind the doore, an’ he can defy the world.”
 “You know as much, I think,” said Hardress, “of farming, as of hair-cutting.”
 “Oyeh, if I had nothen to depend upon but what heads come across me this way, sir, I’d be in a poor way, enough. But I have a little spot o’ ground besides.”
 “And a good taste for the produce.”
 “Twas kind father for me to have that same. Did you ever hear tell, sir, of what they call lime-stone broth?”
 “’Twas my father first made it. I’ll tell you the story, sir, if you’ll turn your head this way a minute.”
 Hardress had no choice but to listen.
 “My father went once upon a time about the country, in the idle season, seeing would he make a penny at all by cutting hair, or setting razhurs and penknives, or any other job that would fall in his way. Well, an good - he was one day walking alone in the mountains of Kerry without a hai’p’ny in his pocket (for though he travelled a foot it cost him more than he earned) an knowing there was but little love for a County Limerick man in the place where he was, an being half perished with the hunger, an’ evening drawing nigh, he didn’t know well what to do with himself till morning. Very good, he went along the wild road, an if he did he soon see a farm house, at a little distance, o’ one side; a snug looking place with the smoke curling up out of the chimney an all tokens of good living inside. Well, some people would live where a fox would starve. What do you think did my father do? He wouldn’t beg (a thing one of our people never done yet, thank heaven!) an he hadn’t the money to buy a thing, so what does he do? He takes up a couple o’ the big lime-stones, that were lying on the road, in his two hands, an away with him to the house. ‘Lord save all here!’ says he, walken in the doore. ‘And you kindly,’ says they. ‘I’m come to you’ says he, this way, looking at the two lime-stones, ‘to know would you let me make a little lime-stone broth over your fire, until I’ll make my dinner?’ ‘Lime-stone broth!’ says they to him again, ‘what’s that eroo?’ ‘Broth made o’ lime-stones,’ says he, ‘what else?’ - ‘We never heard of such a thing,’ says they, ‘Why then you may hear it now,’ says he, ‘and see it also, if you’ll gi’ me a pot an a couple o’ quarts o’ soft water.’ ‘You can have it an welcome,’ says they. So they put down the pot an the water, an my father went over, an tuk a chair hard by the pleasant fire for himself, an put down his two lime-stones to boil, an kep stirring them round like stirabout. Very good, well, by an by when the wather began to boil, ‘Tis thickening finely,’ says my father; ‘now if it had a grain o’ salt at all, ’t would be a great improvement to it.’ ‘Raich down the salt box, Nell,’ says the man o’ the house to his wife. So she did. ‘O, that’s the very thing just,’ says my father, shaking some of it into the pot. So he stirred it again a while, looking as sober as a minister. By an by, he takes the spoon he had stirring it, an’ tastes it. ‘It is very good now,’ says he, ‘although it wants something yet.’ ‘What it is?’ says they. ‘Oyeh, wisha nothing,’ says he, ‘may be ’tis only fancy o’ me.’ ‘If it’s any thing we can give you,’ says they, ‘you’re welcome to it.’ ‘’Tis very good as it is,’ says he, ’but when I’m at home, I find it gives it a fine flavour just to boil a little knuckle o’ bacon, or mutton trotters, or any thing that way along with it.’ ‘Raich hether that bone o’ sheep’s head we had at dinner yesterday, Nell,’ says the man o’ the house. ‘Oyeh don’t mind it,’ says my father, ‘let it be as it is.’ ‘Sure if it improves it, you may as well,’ says they. ‘Baithershin!’* says my father, putting it down. So after boiling it a good piece longer, ‘’Tis as fine lime-stone broth,’ says he ’as ever was tasted, an’ if a man had a few piatez,’ says he, looking at a pot of ’[m] that was smoking in the chimney corner, ‘he couldn’t desire a better dinner.’ They gave him the piatez, and he made a good dinner of themselves, an’the broth, not forgetting the bone, which he polished equal to chaney, before he let it go. The people themselves tasted it, an thought it as good as any mutton broth in the world.”
 “Your father, I believe, knew how to amuse his friends after a short journey as well as any other traveller.”
 The fellow leered at Hardress, thrust out his lips, and winked with both eyes, in a manner which cannot be expressed. “He was indeed a mighty droll, funny man. Not interrupting you, sir, I’ll tell you a thing that happened him in the hair-cutting line that flogs all Munster, I think, for ’cuteness.”
 “I am afraid I cannot wait to hear it. I have a great way to go to-day, and a great deal to do before I set off.”
 “That’s just bidden me go on with my story, sir, for the more I talk the faster I work, for ever. Just turn your head this way, sir, if you please. My father - a little more to the light, sir - my father was sitting one fine morning in his little shop, curling a front curl belonging to a lady (we wont mention who) in the neighbourhood, with the sun shining in the doore, an he singing a little song for himself; an meself, a craithur, sitting by the fire, looking about me and sayen nothing. Very well, all of a sudden, a gentleman tall and well mounted rode up to the doore, an ... ‘Hello!’ says he, calling out, ‘can I get myself shaved here?’ says he. ‘Why not, plase your honour?’ says my father, starting up, an’ laying by the front out of his hand. So he ’lit off his horse an’ come in. He was a mighty bould fierce looking gentleman, with a tundhering long sword be his side, down, an a pair o’ whiskers as big an’ as red as a fox’s brush, and eyes as round as them two bull’s eyes in the window panes, - an they having a sthrange twisht in ’em, so that when he’d be looking you sthraight in the face, you’d think it’s out at the doore he’d be looking. Besides that, when he’d spake, he used to give himself a loud roistering way, as if you were a mile off, an not willing to come nearer or to be said by him. ‘Do you mind, now,’ says he, an he taking a chair oppozzite the windee, while my father smartened himself an’ bate up a lather. ‘Ever and always, since I was the heighth of a bee’s knee,’ says he, ‘I had a mortal enmity to seeing a drop o’ my own blood, an’ I’ll tell you what it is,’ says he. ‘What is it, sir?’ says my father. ‘I’ll make a clear bargain with you now,’ says the gentleman. So he took out a half crown an’ laid it upon the table, an’ after that he drew his sword, and laid it hard by the half crown. ‘Do you see them two now?’ says he, ‘I do, surely,’ says my father. ‘The half crown will be yours,’ says the gentleman, if you’ll shave me without drawen my blood, but if I see as much as would make a breakfast for ... (he named an animal that I won’t mention after him now) if I see so much after you,’ says he, ‘I’ll run this swoord through your body, as sure as there’s mait in mutton. So look, before you lep, if you won’t take the bargain, say it, and let me ride away,’ says he. This was in times when a gentleman, that way, would think as little a’most of doing a thing o’ the kind to a poor Catholic, as he would now of saying it, - so well became my father to look to himself. ‘You’ll never have it to say o’ me,’ says my father, ‘that I wouldn’t trust my hand so far at any rate in the business I was bred to.’ So to it they fell, an’ as Providence ordered it, my father shaved him without one gash, an’ put the half-crown in his pocket. ‘Well, now ’tis done,’ says the gentleman, ‘but you’re a foolish man.’ ‘How so sir?’ says my father. ‘Because so sure as I saw the blood,’ says the other, ‘I’d make my word good.’ ‘But you never would see the blood, sir,’ says my father quite easy, ‘because I’d see it before you, an’ I’d cut your throath with the razhur.’ Well, ‘twas as good as a play to see the look the gentleman gave him when he said that. He didn’t answer him a word but mounted his horse and rode away.”
 “He found his match in the hair-cutter,” said Hardress, rejoiced as the story ended.
 “I’ll be bound, sir, he was in no hurry to make bargains o’ that kind any more. ’T was a mighty good answer, sir, wasn’t it?”
 “A desperate one at all events.”
 “Ah, desperate, you may say that; but my father was sure of his hand. I’ll tell you another droll thing that happened my father, once when ...”
 But the patience of his listener was here completely stranded. The hair-cutter had got such a miserable pair of shears that he was obliged to use as much exertion in clipping the hair, as a tinker or a plumber might do in cutting sheet lead. Besides, being accustomed to that professional flippancy of movement which, with proper instruments, might have expedited the operation, he made no allowance for the badness of his scissors, but clipped and plucked away as fast as usual; thus contriving to tear up half as much by the roots as he removed in the usual course of business. This, and other circumstances, induced Hardress to place a decided negative in the way of his anecdotes, until he had concluded his task.
 This being accomplished, Hardress raised his hand to his head, and experienced a sensation on the palm, somewhat similar to that which would be produced by placing it on an inverted hair brush. On looking in the glass, he discovered that his hair had been cut into a fashion which enjoys a lasting popularity at fairs and cottage merry-makings; but, however consistent with the interests of persons who only employed a barber once in a quarter, and then supposed that the closer he cut the better value he gave for the money, it was by no means in accordance with the established notions of good taste. There were indeed no gaps, as he boasted, for he had cut it almost as bare as a wig-block, leaving only a narrow fringe in front, from ear to ear, like the ends of a piece of silk. There was no help, however, for mischief once effected, so that Hardress paid him without remark, and paid him liberally.
 The little hair-cutter took it for granted, by the handsome manner in which his customer had compensated for his services, that he was highly gratified with the manner in which they had been performed.
 “If your honour,” he said, bowing very low, “would be passing through Garryowen, an’ would be inclined to lave any o’ your hair behind you, may be you’d think of Dunat O’Leary’s shop, on the right hand side o’ the sthreet, three doores down from Mihil O’Connor’s, the rope-maker’s?”
 “I will, I will,” said Hardress, turning suddenly away.
 Mr. O’Leary walked slowly to the door, and again returned.
 “There’s a great set o’ lads about the place, sir,” he said, in his usual shrill voice, while a slight degree of embarrassment appeared in his manner, “an’ they’re for ever christenin’ people out o’ their names, till a man is better known by a nick name than by his own. ’Tis ten to one, plase your honour, that you’ll be the surer of finding me by asking for Foxy Dunat, than for my own lawful name, they’re such a set o’ lads.”
 “Very well, I will. Good morning. Foxy Dunat?”
 “Yes sir, Foxy, in regard of the red hair that’s on me. Ah, there’s no standing them lads.”
 “Very well, good morning Foxy Dunat. I’ll remember.”
 “Good morning to your honour. Stay!” he once more returned from the door. “See what I was doing; carrying your honour’s hair away with me.”
 “Well, and what business do you suppose I have of it now? - I am not a wig-maker.”
 “I don’t know, sir, but people mostly likes to put it up in some safe place again’ the day of judgment, as they say.”
 “The day of judgment!”
 “Yes, plase your honour. We must have every thing about us then, that ever belonged to us, and a man would look droll that time without his hair.”
 Hardress was not in a humour for jesting, but he could not avoid smiling in secret at this conceit.
 “Very well;” he said, tapping the hair-cutter on the shoulder, and looking gravely in his face. “As I am going a long journey at present, I will feel obliged by your keeping it for me until then, and I will call to you if I want it.”
 “As your honour feels agreeable,” said Dunat, again bowing low, and moving towards the door. Nevertheless, he did not leave the room, until he had made the young gentleman acquainted with all the circumstances that occasioned his absence from home at this moment. In doing so, he unwarily touched Hardress to the life. He had come, he said, in consequence of a letter he had received from a neighbour’s daughter that had run away from her father, and was hid somewhere among the Kerry mountains.
 “A letter which you received!” exclaimed Hardress, in strong surprize.
 “Yes, sir; telling me she was alive, and bidding me let the old man know of it; the old rope-maker I mentioned a while ago. Since I came, I heard it reported at Castle Island, this morning, that she was drownded somewhere in the Flesk.”
 “Drowned! Eily drowned!” Hardress suddenly exclaimed, starting from a reverie, as the single word struck upon his hearing.
 “Eily was her name, sure enough,” replied O’Leary staring on him, “howsomdever you come to know it.”
 “I - I - you mentioned that name, I think, did you not?”
 “May be it slipped from me, sir. Well, as I was saying, they thought she was drown’ded there, an’ they wor for having a sheef o’ reed, with her name tied upon it, put out upon the sthrame, for they say, when a person dies by water, the sheef o’ reed will float against the sthrame, or with the sthrame, until it stops over the place where the body lies, if it had to go up O’Sullivan’s Cascade itself. But Father Edward O’Connor desired ’em to go home about their business, that the sheaf would go with the current, an’ no way else, if they were at it from this till Doomsday. To be sure he knew best.”
 At this moment, the landlady knocked at the door, to inform our collegian that Mrs. Cregan was expecting him without. Having concluded his toilet, he hurried out of the room, not displeased at his release from the observation of this stranger, at a moment when he felt his agitation encreasing to an extent that was almost ungovernable.

*Anything eaten with potatoes.
*Be it so.

Chapter 31: How Kyrle Daly Hears of the Handsome Conduct of his Friend Hardress
PREVIOUS to Anne Chute’s departure from the cottage of her aunt, all the arrangements necessary for her marriage with Hardress had been verbally agreed upon. A feeling of decorum only prevented the legal preliminaries from being put in form before her return to her mother’s Castle. The singularly unequal and unaccountable behavior of her intended husband, during the whole course of wooing, had left her mind in a condition of distressing annoyance and perplexity. Though she still loved Hardress well, it was with an anxious, and uneasy affection, such as she should entertain for a mysterious being whose talents had fascinated her will, but of whose real nature she yet remained in troubled ignorance. Fame, who never moves her wings so swiftly as when she has got a tale to tell of death or marriage, soon spread the information far and wide. The manner in which it reached the ears of Kyrle Daly was sudden as it was unwelcome.
 He had gone down to the Dairy farm, for the purpose of shore-shooting, and was returning in order to spend the Little Christmas at home. It was about noon when he rode by the gate at Castle Chute. The door of the dwelling house stood open, and several figures appeared on the broad stone steps. They were too distant to be recognized, but Kyrle glanced with a beating pulse towards that part of the building which contained the sleeping chamber of his mistress. The window shutters were unclosed and it was evident that Anne Chute had once more become a resident in the Castle.
 In order to be assured of the reality of this belief, young Daly spurred on his horse as far as the caravansary of Mr. Normile, already celebrated in the first volume of our history. That individual, whom he found in the act of liberating an unruly pig, after payment of pound fees, informed him of the arrival at Castle Chute, a fortnight previous, of its young heiress, and her uncle.
 He rode on, unwilling to trust himself with any lengthened conversation on this subject, while under the shrewd eye of an Irish peasant. All his former passion returned in an instant, and with an intensity which surprised himself. It had been the labour of his life since his last interview with the young lady above-named, to remove her quietly from his recollection, and he flattered himself that he had, in a great degree, succeeded. He was no believer in the romantic and mischievous supposition, that true love never changes, nor decays, even when hope has left it. He knew that there were many effeminate and sensitive characters who, having once permitted their imaginations to become deeply impressed, are afterwards weak enough to foster that impression, even while it is making inroads upon their health and peace; but such beings were the object of his pity, not of his esteem. He was neither a fanatic, nor a voluptuary, in the passion. If, therefore, he had discovered that any one of those rational considerations, on which his love was founded had been erroneously taken up, if he had discovered that the lady was in reality unworthy of the place to which he had raised her, we do not say he would at once have ceased to love, but he should certainly have experienced much less difficulty in subduing the frequent agitations of the passion. But he had not the assistance of such a conviction, and it was only after a long and vigilant exercise of his habitual firmness, that he had reduced his mind to a state of dormant tranquility.
 Opportunity therefore was only needed to rouse it up once more in all its former strength. That opportunity had now arrived, and Kyrle Daly found that the trial was a more searching one than he had been led to think. He yielded for a moment to the recollections which pressed upon him, and slackened the pace of his steed. He looked upon the Castle and its quiet bay, the point, the wood, the waves, and the distant hills of Clare. He passed the little sandy slope on which he had witnessed the festivities of the saddle-race, and which now looked wintry, lone, and bleak, in the December blast. The face of the river was dark and troubled; the long waves of the half flood tide rolled in, and broke upon the sands, leaving a track of foam upon the water’s verge, while a long black line of sea-weed marked the height to which it had arisen on the shore. He glanced at the pathway from the road on which his hopes had experienced their last decisive and severe repression. His feelings, at this moment, approached the limits of pain, too nearly, and he spurred on his horse, to hurry away from them, and from the scene on which they had been first called into action.
 He had not ridden far when he heard loud bursts of laughter, and the tramp of many horses on the road behind him. The voices were raised high in the competition to obtain a hearing, and he thought the accents were not those of strangers. The proud politeness of an Irish gentleman which was rather conventional than natural with Kyrle Daly, prevented his looking round to satisfy his curiosity until the party had ridden up, and he heard his own name coupled with a familiar greeting by many voices. Turning on his saddle, he beheld Mr. Connolly, Mr. Hyland Creagh, Doctor Leake, and Captain Gibson, riding abreast and laughing immoderately.
 “Connolly, how are you? How are you Doctor? Mr. Creagh, Captain,” touching his hat slightly to the latter “what’s all the fun about?”
 “I’ll tell Daly,” said Connolly, “he’s a lawyer.”
 “Pish!” replied Doctor Leake, “’tis too foolish a thing, you will make him laugh at you.”
 “Foolish! It is the best story I ever heard in my life. Eh, Captain?”
 Captain Gibson replied by an excessive roar of laughter, and Hyland Creagh protested it was worthy of the days of the Hell-Fire Club. Connolly looked down in scornful triumph upon the Doctor, who tossed his head and sneered in silence.
 “I’ll tell you how it was,” said Connolly. “I believe ’tis no secret to you, Daly, or any other acquaintance of mine, that I owe more money to different friends, than I am always willing to pay -

‘Owing more couldn’t pay,
Owing more ran away’

- so, if I should come to borrow money of you, you had better keep it in your pocket, I advise you. But, it so happened, that we spent the other evening at a friend’s in the neighbourhood, who could not afford me a bed, so I went to hammock at Normile’s Inn. In the morning, I stepped out to the stable, to see how my horse had been made up in the night; when I felt a tap on the shoulder - just like that - do you feel it at all electrical? - (he touched Kyrle’s shoulder) - I do, always. I turned, and saw a fellow in a brown coat with a piece of paper in his hand. I was compelled to accept his invitation, so I requested that he would step into the Inn, while I was taking a little breakfast. While I was doing so, and while he was sitting at the other side of the fire, in walked Pat Falvey, Mrs. Chute’s footman, with his mistress’s compliments, to thank me for a present of baking apples I had sent her. I winked at Pat, and looked at the bailiff. ‘Pat,’ says I, ’tell your mistress not to mention it; and Pat,’ says I, dropping to a whisper, ‘I’m a prisoner.’ ‘Very well sir,’ says Pat aloud, and bowing as if I had given him some message. He left the room, and in ten minutes I had the whole parish about the windows. They came in, they called for the bailiff, they seized him, and beat him, until they didn’t leave him worth looking at. Dooley, the nailer, caught his arm, and O’Reilly, the blacksmith, took him by the leg, and another by the hair, and another by the throat, and such a show as they made of him before five minutes I never contemplated. But here was the beauty of it. I knew the law, so I opposed the whole proceeding. ‘No rescue,’ says I, ‘I am his prisoner, Gentlemen; and I will not be rescued, so don’t beat the man! - don’t toss him in a blanket! don’t drag him in the puddle! - don’t plunge him into the horse-pond, I intreat you!’ By some fatality, my intentions were wholly misconceived, and they performed exactly the things that I warned them to avoid. They did beat him, they did toss him in a blanket, they did drag him through the puddle, and they did plunge him into the horsepond! Only imagine what was my chagrin and disappointment! Doctor Leake maintains that it is a misprision of battery, a law term I never heard in my life. As if, by desiring them not to drag him through the horsepond, I imagined their doing it; then it was an overt act of dragging him through the horsepond. Compassing the dragging him through would have been an actual act of battery, but the imagining of it is only an overt act. As among the English regicides, by cutting off the head of Charles they were said to imagine his death, which was an overt act of treason, whereas compassing his death was the actual treason itself. But in this case I deny both the compassing and the imagination. What do you think of it, Mr. Daly?”
 “I think,” said Kyrle, with a smile, “that you ought to come and take my opinion on it, some day or other.”
 “Ah, ha!” replied Connolly shaking his head. “I understand you, young lawyer! Well, when I have a fee to spare, you shall have it. But here is the turn up to my house. Est ubi locus - how I forget my Latin! Daly, will you come up and dine with me?”
 “I cannot, thank you.”
 “Well, I’m sorry for it. Creagh, you’re not going?”
 “I must.”
 “Stop, and dine.”
 “No. I’ll see you to-morrow. I have business in town.”
 The party separated, Kyrle Daly and Creagh continuing to ride in the same direction, while the rest wheeled off by a narrow and broken bye-road.
 “You will he at the wedding, I suppose, Mr. Daly?” said the latter gentleman, after a silence of some minutes.
 “What wedding?” asked Kyrle, in some surprise.
 “Why, have you not heard of it? Miss Chute’s wedding.”
 “Miss Chute!” Kyrle repeated, faintly.
 “Yes. Every thing, I understand, has been arranged for the ceremony, and Cregan tells me it is to take place next month. She would be a magnificent wife for any man!”
 It was some moments before Kyrle could recover breath, to ask another question.
 “And - a - of course you heard who was to be the bridegroom?” he said, with much hesitation.
 “Oh, yes. I thought he was a friend of yours. Mr. Hardress Cregan.”
 “Cregan!” exclaimed Kyrle aloud, and starting, as if he had received a galvanic shock. “It is impossible.”
 “Sir!” said Creagh, sternly.
 “I think,” said Kyrle, governing himself by a violent exertion, “you must have been misinformed. Hardress Cregan is, as you say, my friend, and be cannot be the man.”
 “I seldom, sir,” said Creagh, with a haughty curl on his lip, “converse with any person who is capable of making false assertions, and in the present instance, I should think the gentleman’s father no indifferent authority.”
 Again Kyrle Daly paused for some minutes, in an emotion of deep apprehension. “Has Mr. Cregan then told you,” he said, “that his son was to be the bridegroom?”
 “I have said, he has.”
 Daly closed his lips hard, and straightened his person, as if to relieve an internal pain. This circumstance accounted for the enigmatical silence of his friend. But what a horrible solution! “It is very strange,” he said, “notwithstanding. There are many impediments to such a marriage. He is her cousin.”
 “Pooh, pooh, that’s a name of courtesy. It is only a connection by affinity. Cousin? Hang them all, cousins, on a string, say I! They are the most dangerous rivals a man can have. Any other man you can call out, and shoot through the head, if he attempts to interfere with your prospects, but cousins must have a privilege. The lady may walk with her cousin (hang him!) and she may dance with her cousin, and write to her cousin, and it is only when she has run away with her cousin, that you find you have been cozened with a vengeance.”
 While Creagh made this speech, Kyrle Daly was running over in his mind, the entire circumstances of young Cregan’s conduct, and the conclusion to which his reflections brought him was, that a more black and shameless treason had never been practised between man and man. For the first time in his life, Kyrle Daly wholly lost his self-government. Principle, religion, duty, justice, all vanished for the instant from his mind, and nothing but the deadly injury remained to stare him in the face.
 “I will horsewhip him!” he said within his mind, “I will horsewhip him at the wedding feast. The cool, dark hypocrite! I suppose, sir,” he said aloud, turning to Creagh with a smile of calm and dignified courtesy, “I suppose I may name you as my authority for this?”
 “Certainly, certainly,” returned the old duellist with a short bow, while his eyes lit up with pleasure at the idea of an affair of honour. “Stay a moment, Mr. Daly,” he added, as the young gentleman was about to quicken his pace. “I perceive, sir, that you are going to adopt, in this business, the course that is usual among men of honour. Now, I have had a little experience in these affairs, and I am willing to be your friend ...”
 “Pardon me, Mr. Creagh, I ...”
 “Nay, pardon me, Mr. Daly, if you please. I do not mean your friend, in the usual acceptation of the term, I do not mean your second, you may have a desire to choose for yourself in that respect. I merely wished to say, that I could afford you some useful hints, as to your conduct on the ground. In the first place, look to your powder. Dry it, yourself, over-night, on a plate, which you may keep hot over a vessel of warm water. Insert your charge at the breech of the pistol, and let your ball be covered with kid leather softened with the finest salad oil. See that your barrel is polished and free from dust. I have known many a fine fellow lose his life, by purchasing his ammunition at a grocer’s, on the morning of the duel. They bring it him out of some cask in a damp cellar, and of course it hangs fire. Do you avoid that fault. Then, when you come to the ground - level ground of course - fix your eye on some object beyond your foe, and bring him in a line with that, then let your pistol hang by your side, and draw an imaginary line from the mouth of the barrel to the third button of your opponent s coat. When the word is given, raise your weapon rapidly along that line, and fire at the button. He will never hear the shot.”
 “Tell me, Mr. Creagh,” said Kyrle in a grave tone, after he had heard those murderous directions to the end, “Are not you a friend of Mr. Cregan?”
 “Yes. Very old friends.”
 “Do you not dine at his table, and sleep under his roof from day to day?”
 “Pray, what is the object of those curious questions?”
 “It is this,” said Kyrle, fixing his eyes fully upon the man, “I find it impossible to express the disgust I feel at hearing you, the professed and bounden friend of that family, thus practice upon the life of one of its chief members, the son of your benefactor. Away, sir, with your bloody science to those who will become your pupils! I hope the time will come in lreland when you and your mean and murderous class, shall be despised and trampled on as you deserve.”
 “How am I to take this, Mr. Daly?”
 “As you will!” exclaimed Kyrle, driven wholly beyond the bounds of self-possession, and tossing a desperate hand toward the duellist. “I have done with you.
 “Not yet, please the fates,” Creagh said, in his usual restrained tone, while Kyrle Daly galloped away in the direction of his father’s house. “Tomorrow morning, perhaps, you may be enabled to say so with greater certainty. He is a fine young fellow, that. I didn’t think it was in him. Now, whom shall I have? Connolly? Cregan? I owe it to Connolly, as I performed the same office for him, a short time since; and yet I’d like to pay old Cregan the compliment. Well, I can think about it, as I ride along.

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