Gerald Griffin, The Collegians (1829)

[ cont. ]

36: How Hardress Made a Confidant
Hardress Cregan, in the meantime, had proceeded to the antique chamber, mentioned in our first volume, which led to the drawing-room in the more modern part of the mansion. He flung himself into a chair which stood near the centre of the apartment, and remained motionless for some moments, with hands clasped, and eyes fixed upon the floor. There were voices and laughter in the drawing-room, and he could hear the accents of Anne Chute, resisting the entreaties of Mrs. Cregan and her mother, while they endeavoured to prevail on her to sing some favourite melody:-
 “Anne,” said Mrs. Chute, “don’t let your Aunt suppose that you can be disobliging. What objection is there to your singing that song?”
 “One, I am sure, which Aunt Cregan won’t blame me for, mamma. Hardress cannot endure to hear it.”
 “But Hardress is not here now, my dear.”
 “Ah, ha! aunt! Is that your principle? Would you teach me to take advantage of his absence, then, to foster a little will of my own?”
 “Go - go - you giddy girl,” said Mrs. Chute. “Have you the impudence to make your aunt blush?”
 “My dear Anne,” said Mrs. Cregan, “if you never make a more disobedient use of your husband’s absence, than that of singing a little song which you love, and which you can’t sing in his presence, you will be the best wife in Ireland.”
 “Very well, aunt, very well. You ought to know the standard of a good wife. You have had some experience, or my uncle (I should say) has had some experience of what a good wife ought to be. Whether his knowledge in that way has been negatively or positively acquired, is more than I’ll venture to say.”
 Hardress heard her run a tender prelude along the keys of her instrument, before she sung the following words:

My Mary of the curling hair,
The laughing teeth, and bashful air,
Our bridal morn is dawning fair,
With blushes in the skies.
Shule! Shule! Shule agra!
Shule, asucur, agus shule, aroon!*
My love! my pearl!
My own dear girl!
My mountain maid arise!

Wake, linnet of the osier grove!
Wake, trembling, stainless, virgin dove!
Wake, nestling of a parent’s love!
Let Moran see thine eyes.
Shule! Shule! &c.

I am no stranger, proud and gay,
To win thee from thy home away,
And find thee, for a distant day,
A theme for wasting sighs.
Shule! Shule! &c.

But we were known from infancy,
Thy father’s hearth was home to me,
No selfish love was mine for thee,
Unholy and unwise.
Shule! Shule! &c.

And yet (to see what Love can do!)
Though calm my hope has burned, and true,
My cheek is pale and worn for you,
And sunken are mine eyes!
Shule! Shule! &c.

But soon my love shall be my bride,
And happy by our own fire-side,
My veins shall feel the rosy tide,
That lingering Hope denies.
Shule! Shule! &c.

My Mary of the curling hair,
The laughing teeth and bashful air,
Our bridal morn is dawning fair,
With blushes in the skies.
Shule! Shule! Shule, agra!
Shule asucur, agus shule, aroon!
My love! my pearl!
My own dear girl!
My mountain maid, arise!

 After the song was ended, Hardress heard the drawing-room door open and shut, and the stately and measured pace of his mother along the little lobby, and on the short flight of stairs which led to the apartment in which he sat. She appeared at the narrow stone doorway, and used a gesture of surprise when she beheld him.
 “What, Hardress!” she exclaimed, “already returned! Have ye had good sport today?”
 “Sport?” echoed Hardress, with a burst of low, involuntary laughter, and without unclasping his wreathed hands, or raising his eyes from the earth, “yes, mother, yes - very good sport. Sport, I think, that may bring my neck in danger, one day.”
 “Have you been hurt, then, child?” said Mrs. Cregan, compassionately bending over her son.
 Hardress raised himself in his seat, and fixed his eye upon her’s, for a few moments, in gloomy silence.
 “I have,” he said, “the hurt that I feared so long, I have got at length. I am glad you have come. I wished to speak with you.”
 “Stay a moment, Hardress. Let me close those doors. Servants are so inquisitive, and apt to pry.”
 “Aye, now,” said Hardress, “now and from this time forth, we must avoid those watchful eyes and ears. What shall I do, mother? Advise me, comfort me! Oh, I am utterly abandoned now, I have no friend, no comforter but you! That terrible hope, that looked more like a fear, that kept my senses on the rack from morn to morn, is fled, at last, for ever! I am all forsaken now.”
 “My dear Hardress,” said his mother, much distressed, “when will you cease to afflict yourself and me with those fancies? Forsaken, do you say? Do your friends deserve this from you? You ask me to advise you, and my advice is this. Lay aside those thoughts, and value as you ought to do, the happiness of your condition. Who, with a love like Anne; with a friend like your amiable college companion, Daly; and with a mother at least devoted in intention, would deliver himself up as you do, to fantastic dreams of desolation and despair? If, as you seem to hint, you have a cause for suffering in your memory, remember Hardress, that you are not left on earth for nothing. All men have something to be pardoned, and all time here is capable of being improved in the pursuit of mercy.”
 “Go on,” said Hardress, setting his teeth, and fixing a wild stare upon his parent, “you but remind me of my curses. With a love like Anne? One whisper in your ear. I love her not. While I was mad, I did; and in my senses, now, I am dearly suffering for that frantic treason. She was the cause of all my sin and sorrow, my first and heaviest curse. With such a friend? - Why, how you laugh at me! You know how black and weak a part I have played to him, and yet you will remind me that he was my friend! That’s kindly done, mother. Listen!” he continued, laying a firm grasp upon his mother’s arm ... “Before my eyes, wherever I turn me, and whether it be dark or light, I see One, painting the hideous portrait of a fiend. Day after day he comes, and adds a deeper and a blacker tint to the resemblance. Mean fear, and selfish pride, the coarser half of love, worthless inconstancy, black falsehood, and red-handed murder, those are the colours that he blends and stamps upon my soul. I am stained in every part. The proud coward that loved and was silent, when already committed by his conduct, and master of the conquest that he feared to claim. The hypocrite that volunteered a friendship, to which he proved false, almost without a trial. The night-brawler, the drunkard, the faithless lover, and the perjured husband! Where, who has ever run a course so swift and full of sin as mine? You speak of heaven and mercy! Do you think I could so long have endured my agonies without remembering that? No, but a cry was at its gates before me, and I never felt that my prayer was heard. What that cry was, I have this morning learned. Mother,” he added, turning quickly round with great rapidity of voice and action, “I am a murderer.”
 Mrs. Cregan never heard the words. The look and gesture, coupled with the foregoing speech had pre-informed her, and she fell back, in a death-like faint, into the chair. “When she recovered, she found Hardress kneeling near her side, pale, anxious and terrified, no longer supported by that hurried energy which he had shown before the revealment of his secret, but helpless, motionless, and desolate, as an exploded mine. For the first time the mother looked upon her child with a shudder, but it was a shudder in which remorse was mingled deeply with abhorrence. She waved her hand two or three times, as if to signify that he should retire from her sight. It was so that Hardress understood, and obeyed the gesture. He took his place behind the chair of his parent, awaiting with gaping lip and absent eye, the renewal of her speech. The unhappy mother, meanwhile, leaned forward in her seat, covering her face with her hands, and maintained for several minutes that silent communion with herself, which was usual with her, when she had received any sudden shock. A long pause succeeded.
 “Are you still in the room?” she said, at length, as a slight movement of the guilty youth struck upon her hearing.
 Hardress started, as a school-boy might at the voice of his preceptor, and was about to come forward; but the extended arm of his parent arrested his steps.
 “Remain where you are,” she said, “it will be a long time now before I shall desire to look upon my son.”
 Hardress fell back, stepping noiselessly on tiptoe, and letting his head hang dejectedly upon his breast.
 “If those things are not dreams,” Mrs. Cregan again said, in that calm, restrained tone, which she always used when her mind was undergoing the severest struggles; “if you have not been feeding a delirious fancy, and can restrain yourself to plain terms for one quarter of an hour, let me hear you repeat this unhappy accident. Nay, come not forward, stay where you are, and say your story there. Unfortunate boy! We are a miserable pair!”
 She again leaned forward with her face buried in her expanded hands, while Hardress, with a low, chidden, and timid voice, and attitude, gave her, in a few words, the mournful history which she desired. So utterly abandoned was he, by that hectoring energy, which he displayed during his former conversations with his parent, that more than half the tale was drawn from him by questions, as from a culprit, fearful of adding to the measure of his punishment.
 When he had concluded, Mrs. Cregan raised her head with a look of great and evident relief.
 “Why, Hardress,” she said, “I have been misled in this. I overleaped the mark in my surmise. You are not then the actual actor of this horrid work!”
 “I was not the executioner,” said Hardress. “I had a deputy,” he added with a ghastly smile.
 “Nor did you, by word or act, give warrant for the atrocity of which you speak?”
 “Oh, mother, if you esteem it worth your while to waste any kindness on me, forbear to torture my conscience with that wretched subterfuge. I am the murderer of Eily! It matters not that my finger has not griped her throat, nor my hand been reddened with her blood. My heart, my will, has murdered her. My soul was even before-hand with the butcher who has sealed our common ruin by his bloody disobedience. I am the murderer of Eily. No, not in act, as you have said, nor even in word! I breathed my bloody thoughts into no living ear. The dark and hell-born flame was smouldered where it rose, within my own lonely breast. Not through a single chink or cleft in all my conduct, could that unnatural rage be evident. When he tempted me aloud, aloud I answered, scorned, and defied him; and, when at our last fatal interview, I gave him that charge which he has stretched to bloodshed, my speech was urgent for her safety.”
 “Aye, mother, it is truth! I answer you as I shall answer at that dreadful bar, before that Throne the old man told me of, when he and she shall stand to blast me there!”
 He stood erect, and held up his hand, as if already pleading to the charge. Mrs. Cregan at the same moment rose, and was about to address him with equal energy and decision of manner.
 “But still,” he added, preventing her, “still 1am Eily’s murderer. If I had an enemy, who wished to find me a theme for lasting misery, he could not choose a way more certain than that of starting a doubt upon that subtle and worthless distinction. I am Eily’s murderer. That thought will ring upon my brain, awake or asleep, for evermore. Are these things dreams, said you? Oh, I would give all the whole world of realities to find that I had dreamed a horrid dream, and wake, and die!”
 “You overrate the measure of your guilt,” said Mrs. Cregan, and was about to proceed, when Hardress interrupted her.
 “Fool that I was!” he exclaimed, with a burst of grief and self-reproach, “fool, mad fool, and idiot that I was! How blind to my own happiness! For ever longing for that which was beyond my reach, and never able to appreciate that which I possessed. In years gone by, the present seemed always stale, and flat, and dreary; the future and the past alone looked beautiful. Now, I must see them all with altered eyes. The present is my refuge, for the past is red with blood, and the future burning hot with shame and fire!”
 “Sit down, and hear me, Hardress, for one moment.”
 “Oh, Eily!” the wretched youth continued, stretching out his arms to their full extent, and seeming to apostrophize some listening spirit. “Oh, Eily, my lost, deceived, and murdered love! Oh, let it not be thus without recal! Tell me not that the things done in those hideous months are wholly without remedy! Come back! Come back! my own abused and gentle love! If tears, and groans, and years of self-inflicted penitence, can wash away that one accursed thought, you shall be satisfied. Look there!” he suddenly exclaimed, grasping his mother’s arm with one hand, and pointing with the other to a distant corner of the room. “That vision comes to answer me!” He followed a certain line with his finger through the air, as if tracing the course of some hallucination. “As vivid, and as ghastly real, as when I saw it lying, an hour hence, on the wet, cold bank, the yellow hair uncurled, the feet exposed (the feet that I first taught to stray from duty!) the dank, blue mantle, covering and clinging round the horrid form of death that lay beneath. Four times I have seen it since I left the spot, and every time it grows more deadly vivid. From this time forth, my fancies shall be changed; for gloomy visions, gloomier realities; for ghastly fears, a ghastlier certainty.”
 Here he sunk down into the chair which his mother had drawn near her own, and remained for some moments buried in deep silence. Mrs. Cregan took this opportunity of gently bringing him into a more temperate vein of feeling; but her feelings carried her beyond the limit which she contemplated.
 “Mistake me not,” she said, “unhappy boy! I would not have you slight your guilt. It is black and deadly, and such as Heaven will certainly avenge. But neither must you fly to the other and worse extreme, where you can only cure presumption by despair. You are not so guilty as you deem. That you willed her death was a dark and deadly sin; but nothing so hideous as the atrocious act itself. One thing, indeed, is certain, that however this affair may terminate, we are an accursed and miserable pair for this world. I in you, and you in me! Most weak and wicked boy! It was the study of my life to win your love and confidence, and my reward has been distrust, concealment, and ...”
 “Do you reproach me then?” cried Hardress, springing madly to his feet, clenching his hand, and darting an audacious scowl upon his parent, “Beware, I warn you! I am a fiend, I grant you, but it was by your temptation that I changed my nature. You, my mother! You have been my fellest foe! I drank in pride with your milk, and passion under your indulgence. You sport with one possessed and desperate. This whole love-scheme, that has begun in trick and cunning and ended in blood, was all your work! And do you now ...”
 “Hold!” cried his mother, observing the fury of his eye, and his hand raised and trembling, though not with the impious purpose she affected to think, “Monster, would you dare to strike your parent?”
 As if he had received a sudden blow, Hardress sunk down at her feet, which he pressed between his hands, while he lowered his forehead to the very dust. “Mother!” he said in a changed and humbled voice, “my first, my constant, and forbearing friend, you are right. I am not quite a demon yet. My brain may fashion wild and impious words, but it is your son’s heart that still beats within my bosom. I did not dream of such a horrid purpose.
 After a silence of some minutes, the wretched young man arose, with tears in his eyes, and took his seat in the chair. Here he remained fixed in the same absent posture, and listening, but with a barren attention, to the many soothing speeches which were addressed to him by his mother. At length, rising hastily from his seat, with a look of greater calmness than he had hitherto shown, he said: “Mother, there is one way left for reparation. I will give myself up.” “Hold, madman!” “Nay, hold, mother. I will do it. I will not bear this fire upon my brain. I will not still add crime to crime for ever. If I have outraged justice, it is enough. I will not cheat her. Why do you hang upon me? I am weak and exhausted; a child could stay me now, - a flaxen thread could fetter me. Release me, mother! There is peace and hope and comfort in this thought. Elsewhere I can find nought but fire and scourges. Oh, let me make this offering of a wretched life to buy some chance of quiet. You are tying me down to misery. I never shall close an eye in sleep again, until I lie upon a dungeon floor. I never more shall smile, until I stand upon the scaffold. Well, well, you will prevail, you will prevail,” he added, as his mother forced him back into the chair which he had left, “but I may find a time. My life, I know, is forfeited.”
 “It is not forfeited!”
 “Not forfeited! Hear you, just Heaven, and judge! - The ragged wretch, that pilfers for his food, must die; - the starving father, who counterfeits a wealthy name to save his children from a horrid death, must die; - the goaded slave, who, driven from the holding of his fathers, avenges his wrong upon the usurper’s property, must die; and I, who have pilfered for my passion, I, the hypocrite, the false friend, the fickle husband, - the coward, traitor, and murderer (I am disgusted while I speak!) my life has not been forfeited! I, alone, stand harmless beneath these bloody laws! I said I should not smile again, but this will force a laugh in spite of me.”
 Mrs. Cregan prudently refrained from urging the subject farther for the present, and contented herself with appealing to his affectionate consideration of her own feelings, rather than reminding him of his interest in the transaction. This seemed more effectually to work upon his mind. He listened calmly and with less reluctance, and was about to express his acquiescence, when a loud and sudden knocking at the outer door of the chamber made him start from his chair, turn pale, and shake in every limb like one convulsed. Mrs. Cregan, who had herself been startled, was advancing towards the door, when the knocking was heard again, though not so loud, against that which led to the drawing-room. Imagining that her ear, in the first instance, had deceived her, she turned on her steps, and was proceeding toward the latter entrance, when the sound was heard at both doors together, and with encreased loudness. Slight as this accident appeared, it produced so violent an effect upon the nerves of Hardress, that it was with difficulty he was able to reach the chair which he had left, without falling to the ground. The doors were opened - the one to Anne Chute, and the other to Mr. Cregan.
 “I am come to tell you, aunt, that dinner is on the table,” said the former.
 “And I am come on the very point of time, to claim a neighbour’s share of it,” said Mr. Cregan.
 “We are more fortunate than we expected,” said Anne, “We thought you would have dined with Mr. Connolly.”
 “Thank you for that hint, my good niece.”
 “Oh, sir, don’t be alarmed; you will not find us unprovided, notwithstanding. Mr. Hardress Cregan,” she continued, moving towards his chair, with a lofty and yet playful carriage, “will you allow me to lead you to the dining room?”
 “He is ill, Anne, a little ill,” said Mrs. Cregan, in a low voice.
 “Dear Hardress! you have been thrown!” exclaimed Anne, suddenly stooping over him with a look of tender interest and alarm.
 “No, Anne,” said Hardress, shaking her hand in grateful kindness.
 “I am not so indifferent a horseman. I shall be better presently.”
 “Go in - go in, ladies,” said Mr. Cregan. “I have a word on business to say to Hardress. We will follow you in three minutes.”
 The ladies left the room, and Mr. Cregan, drawing his son into the light, looked on his face for some moments with silent scrutiny.
 “I don’t know what to make of it,” he said, at length, tossing his head, “you’re not flagging, Hardress, are you?”
 “Flagging, sir?”
 “Yes. You do not feel a little queer about the heart, now, in consequence of this affair?”
 Hardress started, and shrunk back.
 “Whew!” - the old sportsman gave utterance to a prolonged sound that bore some resemblance to a whistle. - “’Tis all up! That start spoke volumes. You’ve dished yourself, for ever; let nobody see you. - Go! go along into some corner, and hide yourself; go to the ladies, that’s the place for you. What a fool I was to leave a pleasant dinner party, and come here to look after a - Well, I have seen you stand fire stoutly once. But so it is with all cowards. The worm will turn when trod upon; and you were primed with strong drink, moreover. But how dared you - this is my chief point, this - how dared you stand up, and give any gentleman the lie, when you have not the heart to hold to your words? - What do you stare at? Answer me!”
 “Give any gentleman the lie!” echoed Hardress.
 “Yes, to be sure. Didn’t you give Warner the lie, while ago, upon the corcass?”
 “Not I, I am sure.”
 “No! What was your quarrel then?”
 “We had no quarrel. You are under some mistake.”
 “That’s very strange. That’s another affair. It passes all that I have ever heard. The report all over the ground was that you had exchanged the lie, and some even went so far as to say that you had horsewhipped him. It leaves me at my wit’s end.”
 At this moment, Falvey put in his head at the door, and said:-
 “Dinner, if ye plase, gentlemen, the ladies is waitin’ for ye.”
 This summons ended the conversation for the present, and Hardress followed his father into the dining room.

*Come! come! Come my darling -
Come softly, - and come, my love!

Chapter 37: How Hardress Found That Conscience is the Sworn Foe of Valour
He who, when smitten by a heavy fever, endeavours, with bursting head and aching bones, to maintain a cheerful seeming among a circle of friends, may imagine something of Hardress Cregan’s situation on this evening. His mother contrived to sit near him during the whole time, influencing his conduct by word and gesture, as one would regulate the movements of an automaton.
The company consisted only of that lady, her son and husband, and the two ladies of the mansion. The fire burned cheerfully in the grate, the candles were lighted, Anne’s harpsichord was thrown open; and had the apartment at that moment been unroofed by the Boiteux, in the sight of his companion, Don Arrias would have pronounced it a scene of domestic happiness, and comfort.
 It appeared, from the conversation which took place in the course of the evening, that the coroner had not even found any one to recognize the body, and the Jury, after giving the case a long consideration, had come to the only conclusion, for which there appeared to be satisfactory evidence. They had returned a Verdict of “Found drowned.”
 “He would be a sharp lawyer,” continued Mr. Cregan, “that could take them up on that verdict. I thought there were some symptoms of murder in the case, and wished them to adjourn the inquest, but I was overruled. After all, I’ll venture to say, it was some love business. She had a wedding ring on.”
 “Be calm,” whispered Mrs. Cregan, laying her hand on her son’s arm.
 “Some young husband, perhaps, who found he had made a bad bargain. Take care of yourself, Anne; - Hardress may learn the knack of it.”
 Hardress acknowledged the goodness of this jest by a hideous laugh.
 “It was a shocking business!” said Mrs. Chute.
 “I wonder, Hardress, how you can laugh at it. Depend upon it, it will not terminate in that way. Murder is like fire, it will out at some cleft or another.”
 “That is most likely to be the case, in the present instance,” said Mr. Cregan, “for the clothes in all likelihood will be identified, and Warner has sent an advertisement to all the newspapers, and to the parish chapels, giving an account of the whole transaction. It is, indeed, quite certain that the case will be cleared up, and the foul play, if there be any, discovered. Whether the penetrators will be detected or not is a different question.”
 Mrs. Cregan, who was in an agony during this conversation, felt a sudden relief when it was ended by Anne Chute’s calling on her uncle for a song.
 Mr. Cregan, who was always very funny among young people, replied that he would with all his heart. And accordingly, with a prefactory hem, he threw back his head, raised his eyes to the cornice, dropt his right leg over the left knee, and treated the company to the following effusion, humouring the tune with his head, by slightly jerking it from side to side:

   “Gilli ma chree,
   Sit down by me,
We are now joined and ne’er shall sever,
    This hearth’s our own
     Our hearts are one
And peace is ours for ever!

   When I was poor,
   Your father’s door
Was closed against your constant lover,
   With care and pain,
   I tried in vain
My fortunes to recover.
I said, ‘To other lands I’ll roam,
Where Fate may smile on me, love;’
I said, ‘Farewell, my own old home!’
And I said ‘Farewell to thee, love!’
   Sing Gilli ma chree, &c.

   I might have said,
   My mountain maid,
‘Come live with me, your own true lover;
   I know a spot,
   A silent cot
Your friends can ne’er discover.
Where gently flows the waveless tide
   By one small garden only,
Where the heron waves his wings so wide,
And the linnet sings so lonely.’
   Sing Gilli ma chree, &c.

   I might have said,
   ‘My mountain maid,
A father’s right was never given
   True hearts to curse
   With tyrant force
That have been blessed in heaven.’
   But then, I said,
   ‘In after years,
When thoughts of home shall find her;
My love may mourn with secret tears
Her friends, thus left behind her.’
   Sing Gilli ma chree, &c.

   ‘Oh, no’, I said,
   ‘My own dear maid,
For me, though all forlorn, for ever,
   That heart of thine
   Shall ne’er repine
O’er slighted duty - never!
From home and thee though wandering far
A dreary fate be mine, love;
I’d rather live in endless war,
Than buy my peace with thine, love.’
   Sing Gilli ma chree, &c.

   Far, far away,
   By night and day,
I toiled to win a golden treasure;
   And golden gains
   Repaid my pains
In fair and shining measure.
I sought again my native land
Thy father welcomed me, love;
I poured my gold into his hand,
And my guerdon found in thee, love!
   Sing Gilli ma chree,
   Sit down by me,
We now are joined, and ne’er shall sever;
   The hearth’s our own,
   Our hearts are one,
   And peace is ours for ever!

 It was not until he courted rest and forgetfulness in the solitude of his chamber, that the hell of guilt and memory began to burn within the breast of Hardress. Fears, which until this moment he had despised as weak and childish, now oppressed his imagination with all the force of a real and imminent danger. The darkness of his chamber was crossed by horrid shapes, and the pillow seemed to burn beneath his cheek, as if he lay on fire. If he dozed, he seemed to be rocked on his bed, as if borne upward on the back of a flying steed, and the cry of hounds came yelling on his ear, with a discord even more terrible than that which rung upon the ear of the hunted Acteon, in the exquisite fiction of the ancients. That power of imagination, in which he had been often accustomed to take pride, as in a high intellectual endowment, became now his most fearful curse; and, as it had been a chief instrument in his seduction, was also made a principal engine of retribution.
 Several circumstances, trifling in themselves, but powerful in their operation upon the mind of the guilty youth, occurred in the course of the ensuing week, to give new fuel to the passion which preyed upon his nerves. A few of these we will relate (though immaterial in their influence upon his subsequent fortunes,) if only for the purpose of showing how slight a breath may shake the peace of him who has suffered it to be sapped in the foundation.
 When the first agony of his remorse went by, the love of his life, triumphant even over that appalling passion, made him join his mother in her fears of a discovery, and her precautions for its prevention. He sought therefore many opportunities of misleading the observation of his acquaintances, and affected to mingle in their amusements with a greater carelessness than he had ever assumed during the period of his uncertainty respecting Eily’s fate.
 A small party had been formed one morning, for the purpose of snipe shooting, and Hardress was one of the number. In a rushy swamp (adjoining the little bay which had been selected as the scene of the sadle-race so many months before,) the game were said to exist in great quantities, and thither accordingly the sportsmen first repaired. A beautiful, but only half educated pointer, which Hardress procured in Kerry, in his eagerness for sport, had repeatedly broke out of bound, in disregard of all the menaces and entreaties of his owner; and by these means, on many occasions narrowly escaped destruction. At length, while he was indulging in one of those wild gambols, a bird rose with a sudden shriek from the very feet of Hardress, and flew forward, darting and wheeling in a thousand eccentric circles. Hardress levelled and fired. The snipe escaped, but a mournful howl of pain, from the animal before alluded to, seemed to announce that the missile had not sped upon a fruitless errand. In a few seconds the poor pointer was seen crawling out of the rushes, and turning at every step to whine and lick its side, which was covered with blood. The slayer ran, with an aching heart, towards the unfortunate creature, and stooped to assist and to caress it. But the wound was past all remedy. The poor quadruped whimpered, and fawned upon his feet, as if to disarm the suspicion of resentment, and died in the action.
 “Oh, murther, murther!” said Pat Falvey, who accompanied the party, “the poor thing was all holed with the shot! Oh, look at the limbs stiffening and the light that’s gatherin’ in the eyes! - There’s death, now, masther Hardress, the Lord save us! - there’s death!”
 “Where?” said Hardress, looking round with some wildness of eye, and a voice which was indicative at the same time of anger and of bodily weakness.
 “There, before your eye, sir,” said Falvey. “There’s what we’ll all have to go through one time or another, the Christian as well as the baste! - ’T would be well for some of us, if we had as little to answer for as that poor pointher, afther our doin’s in this world.”
 The other gentlemen had now collected around, with many expressions of condolence on the fate of the poor servant of the chase. Hardress appeared to be affected, in a peculiar manner, by the transaction which he had witnessed. His glances were vague and unsettled, his cheek was deadly pale, and his limbs trembled exceedingly. This was the first shot he had fired in the course of the day, and the nature of the sport in which he was engaged had not once occurred to him, until he saw the blood flowing at his feet. To a mind like his, always sensitive and reflective, and rendered doubly so by the terrific associations of the last few months, the picture of death in this poor quadruped was scarcely less apalling than, it might have been in the person of a fellow mortal. He felt his head grow dizzy, as he turned away from the spot; and, after a few feeble paces, he fell senseless among the rushes.
 The gentlemen hastened to his relief, with looks of astonishment rather than of pity. Some there were, imperfectly acquainted with his character, or perplexed by the extraordinary change which it had lately undergone, who winked and sneered, apart, when he was lifted from the earth; and though no one ventured openly to impute any effeminacy of character to the young gentleman, yet, whenever they spoke of the occurrence in the course of the day, it was not without exchanging a conscious smile.
 On another occasion, a boating parry was formed, when Hardress, as usual, took the rudder in his hand. His father, on entering the little vessel, was somewhat surprized at seeing a new boatman seated on the forecastle.
 “Hello!” he said, “what’s your name, my honest fellow?”
 “Larry Kett, sir, plase your honour,” returned the man (a sturdy old person, with a face as black as a storm).
 “Why, Hardress, had you a quarrel with your little hunch-back?”
 Hardress stooped suddenly down, as if for the purpose of arranging a block, and after a little silence replied:-
 “No quarrel, sir, but he chose to seek another service, and I do not think I have made a bad exchange.”
 The conversation changed, and the party (among whom was Anne Chute) proceeded on their excursion. The wind freshened considerably in the course of the forenoon, and before they had reached that part of the river which flowed by the Dairy cottage of Mr. Daly, it blew a desperate gale. The boatmen, more anxious for the comfort of the ladies, than really apprehensive for the boat, suggested the expediency of putting about on the homeward course before the tide should turn.
 “If you hold on,” said the man, with a significant look,” until the tide an’ wind come conthrary, there ’ll be a swell there in the channel, that it is as much as you can do to come through it with the two reefs.”
 Hardress assented, but it was already too late. They were now a considerable distance below the Cottage, with a strong westerly wind, and a tide within twenty minutes of the flood.
 “What are you doing, Masther Hardhress?” said the boatman. “Won’t you haul home the mainsheet and gibe?”
 Hardress, whose eyes had been fixed on the rocky point before the cottage, started suddenly, and proceeded to execute the nautical manoeuvre in question. The little vessel, as docile to her helm, as a well mounted hunter to his rider, threw her bow away from the wind, and rushed roaring through the surges with a fuller sail and a fiercer energy. After suffering her to run for a few minutes before the wind, Hardress commenced, with due caution, the somewhat dangerous process of gibing or shifting the mainsail from one side of the vessel to the other.
 “Down with ye’r heads ladies, if ye plase, take care o’ the boom.”
 All the heads were lowered, and the boom swung rapidly across, and the vessel heeled with the sudden impulse, until her leeward gunwale sipped the brine.
 “Give her a free sheet, now, masther Hardress,” said Kett, “and we’ll be up in two hours.”
 All boatmen know that it requires a much steadier hand and more watchful eye, to govern a vessel when the wind is fair, than when it is adverse. A still greater nicety of attention was requisite in the present instance, as the wind was high, and the now returning tide occasioned, as the boatman predicted, a heavy sea in the channel. It was therefore with considerable chagrin, that Larry Kett perceived his master’s mind wandering, and his attention frequently altogether withdrawn from the occupation which he had in hand. That nervous disease, to which he had become a slave for many weeks, approached a species of paroxysm when Hardress found himself once more upon the very scene where he had first encountered danger with the unfortunate Eily, and before that dwelling, beneath whose roof he had plighted, to his forgotten friend, the faith which he had since betrayed. It was impossible his reason could preserve its calmness, amid those terrible remembrancers. As the shades of evening fell, assisted by the gloomy clouds that scowled upon the brow of heaven, he became subject to the imaginative weakness of a child. The faces of his companions darkened and grew strange in his eye. The roar of the waters was redoubled, and the howling of the wind, along the barren shores, brought to his mind the horrid cry of the hounds, by which his guilt and his misery had been so fearfully revealed. The shapes of those whom he had wronged seemed to menace him from the gloomy chasms that gaped around between the enormous billows, and the blast came after with a voice of reproach, as if to hurry him onward to a place of dreadful retribution. Sometimes, the corpse of Eily, wrapt in the blue mantle which she generally wore, seemed to be rolled downward from the ridge of a foaming breaker, sometimes the arms seemed stretched to him for aid; and sometimes the pale and shrouded figure of Mrs. Daly seemed, from the gloom, to bend on him a look of quiet sadness and upbraiding. While wholly absorbed in the contemplation of these phantoms, a rough grasp was suddenly laid upon his arm, and a rough voice shouted in his ear: -
 “Are you deaf or dreaming? Mind your hand, or you will put us down!”
 Hardress looked around, like one who suddenly awakes from slumber, and saw his father looking on him with an inflamed and angry countenance. In his reverie, a change had taken place, of which he was wholly unconscious. A heavy shower drove full upon the party, the sky had grown still darker, and the wind had risen still higher. The time had long gone by when the spirits of Hardress caught fire from the sight of danger, and when his energies were concentrated by difficulty, as the firmness of an arch is augmented by the weight which it is made to sustain. The suddenness of his father’s action startled him to the very heart, - the strange, and as it appeared to him, sudden change in the weather, confirmed the disorder of his senses, and shrinking downward, as a culprit might do from the sudden arrest of an officer of justice, he abandoned the rudder, and fled with murmurs of affright into the centre of the boat, where he sank exhausted upon the ballast.
 The scene of confusion which ensued it is not needful that we should describe. Larry Kett, utterly unable to comprehend what he beheld, took charge of the helm, while the remainder of the party busied themselves in restoring Hardress to some degree of composure. There was no remark made at the time, but, when the party were separating, some touched their foreheads, and compressed their lips in a serious manner; while others, in secret whispers, ventured for the first time to couple the name of Hardress Cregan with that epithet, which is so deeply dreaded and hated by young men, that they will burst the ties of moral justice, of religion, of humanity, and even incur the guilt of murder, to avoid its imputation, - the epithet of coward.
 Never was there a being more constitutionally formed for deeds of courage, and of enterprize, than Hardress; and yet (such is the power of conscience), never was a stigma affixed with greater justice. He hurried early to his room, where he passed a night of feverish restlessness, secured indeed from the observation of others, but still subjected to the unwinking gaze of memory, whose glance, like the diamond eyes of the famous idol, seemed to follow him whithersoever he turned, with the same deadly and avenging expression.  

Chapter 38: How the Situation of Hardress Became More Critical
ANOTHER occurrence, mingled with somewhat more of the ridiculous, but not less powerful in its effect upon the mind of Hardress, took place in a few days afterwards.
In the lack of some equally exciting exercise, and in order to form a pretext for his frequent absence from the Castle, Hardress was once more tempted to take up his gun, and look for shore-fowl in the neighbourhood. One morning, when he was occupied in drawing a charge, in the hall, Falvey came running in to let him know that a flock of May-birds had pitched in one of the gullies in the creek, which was now almost deserted by the fallen tide.
 “Are there many?” said Hardress, a little interested.
 “Oceans! oceans of ’em, sir,” was the reply of the figurative valet.
 “Very well, do you take this bag, and follow me down to the shore. I think we shall get at them most conveniently from behind the lime-kiln.”
 This was a commission which Falvey executed with the worst grace in the world. This talkative person was, in fact, a perfect, and even absurd coward, nor did he consider the absence of any hostile intention as a security, when the power of injury was in his neighbourhood. His dread of fire-arms, like that of Friday, approached to a degree of superstition, and it would appear from his conduct, that he had any thing but a steady faith in the common opinion that a gun must throw its contents in the direction of the bore. Accordingly, it was always with considerable reluctance and apprehension that he accompanied his young master on his shooting excursions. He followed him now with a dejected face, and a sharp and prudent eye, directed ever and anon at the loaded weapon which Hardress balanced in his hand.
 They approached the game under cover of a low ruined building, which had been once used as a lime-kiln, and now served as a blind to those who made it an amusement to scatter destruction among the feathered visitants of the little creek. Arrived at this spot, Hardress perceived that he could take the quarry at a better advantage from a sand bank at some distance on the right. He moved accordingly in that direction, and Falvey, after conjecturing how he might best get out of harm’s way, crept into the ruined kiln, and took his seat on the loose stones at the bottom. The walls, though broken down on every side, were yet of a sufficient height to conceal his person, when in a sitting posture, from all observation of man or fowl. Rubbing his hands in glee, and smiling to find himself thus snugly ensconced from danger, he awaited, with an anxiety, not quelled indeed, but yet somewhat diminished, the explosion of the distant engine of death.
 But his evil genius, envious of his satisfaction, found means of putting this tranquility to nought. Hardress altered his judgment of the two stations, and accordingly crept back to the lime kiln with as little noise as he had used in leaving it. He marvelled what had become of Falvey, but reserving the search for him until he had done his part upon the curlew, he went on his knee, and rested the barrel of his piece on the grass-covered wall of the ruin, in such a manner that the muzzle was two inches above the head of the unseen and smiling, and unconscious Falvey. Having levelled on the centre of the flock, he fired, and an uproar ensued which it is almost hopeless to describe. Half a dozen of the birds fell, without hearing the shot, several fluttered a few paces, and then sunk gasping on the slob. The great mass of the flock rose screaming into the calm air, and were chorused by the whistling of myriads of sea larks, red-shanks, and other diminutive water-fowl. But the most alarming strain in the concert was played by poor Falvey, who gave himself up for dead on hearing the shot fired close at his ear in so unexpected a manner. He sprung, at one bound, clear out of the lime-kiln, and fell flat on his face and hands upon the short grass, roaring and kicking his heels into the air, like one in the agonies of the colica pictonum. Terrified to the soul by this startling incident, Hardress threw down his gun, and fled as if from the face of a fiend.
 In the meantime, the cries of the prostrate Falvey attracted to his relief a stranger, who had hitherto lain concealed under a projection of the bank. He jumped up on the wall of the kiln, and remained gazing for some moments on the fallen man, with an expression which partook more of curiosity than of compassion. Seeing the gun, he imagined that Falvey had fired the shot himself, and experienced some injury from the recoil. It was with a kind of sneer, therefore, that he took up the weapon, and proceeded to question the sufferer.
 “What’s de matter wit you, man alive? What makes you be roarin’ dat way?” “I’m hot!” * returned Falvey with a groan. “I’m hot. The master holed me with the shot. Will I get the priest? Will I get the priest itself?”
 “Where did he hole you?” “There, in the lime-kiln this minute. Will I get the priest?” “
 I mane, where are you hot? In what part o’ your body?”
 “Oyeh, it is all one,” said Falvey, a little perplexed by the question. “I felt it in the very middle o’ my heart. Sure I know I’m a gone man!”
 “How do you know it, ayeh? Straighten yourself, an’ sit up a bit. I don’t see any signs of a hole.”
 Falvey sat up, and began to feel his person in various places, moaning the whole time in the most piteous tone, and looking occasionally on his hands, as if expecting to find them covered with blood. After a minute examination, however, no such symptoms could be discovered.
 “A’, dere’s nottin de matter wit you, man,” said the stranger. “Stand up, man, you’re as well as ever you wor.”
 “Faiks, may be so,” returned Falvey, rising and looking about him with some briskness of eye. “But sure I know,” he added, suddenly drooping, “’tis the way always with people when they’re holed by a gun, they never feel it until the moment they dhrop.”
 “Well, an’ isn’t it time for you to tink of it when you begin to feel it?” returned the stranger.
 “Faiks, may be so,” returned Falvey, with increasing confidence. “That I may be blest,” he added, swinging his arms, and moving a few paces with greater freedom, “that I may be blest if I feel any pain! - Faiks, I thought I was hot. But there’s one thing any way. As long as ever I live, I never again will go shooting with any man, gentle or simple, during duration.”
 “Stay a minute,” said the stranger, “won’t you go out for the curlews.”
 “Go out for ’em yourself, an’ have ’em if you like,” returned Falvey, “it’s bother enough I got with ’em, for birds.”
 He took up the gun and pouch, and walked slowly away, while the stranger, after slipping off his shoes and stockings, and turning up the knees of his under-garment, walked out for the game. He had picked up one or two of the birds, and was proceeding farther aiong the brink of the gully, when a sudden shout was heard upon the rocky shore on the other side of the creek. The stranger started and looked, like a frighted deer, in that direction, where Falvey beheld a party of soldiers running down the rocks, as if with the purpose of intercepting his passage round a distant point by which the high road turned. The stranger, possibly aware of their intention, left his shoes, the game, and all, behind him, and fled rapidly across the slob, in the direction of the point. It was clear the soldiers could not overtake him. They halted, therefore, on the shore, and levelling their pieces with deliberation, fired several shots at the fugitive, as after a runaway prisoner. With lips a-gape with horror, Falvey beheld the shining face of the mud torn up by the bullets within a few feet of the latter. He still, however, continued his course unhurt, and was not many yards distant from the opposing shore, when (either caught by a trip, or brought down by some bullet, better aimed) he staggered, and fell in the marl. He rose again, and again sunk down upon his elbow, panting for breath, and overpowered by fatigue and fear. Falvey delayed to see no more; being uncertain at whom their muskets would be next directed. Lowering his person, as far as might be consistent with a suitable speed, he ran along the hedge-ways in the direction of the Castle.
 In the meantime, Hardress, full of horror at the supposed catastrophe, had hurried to his sleeping room, where he flung himself, at full length, upon the bed, and sought, but found not, relief, in exclamations of terror and of agony. “What!” he muttered through his clenched teeth, “shall my hands be always bloody? Can I not move, but death must dog my steps? Must I only breathe to suffer and destroy?”
 A low and broken moan, uttered near his bedside, made him start with a superstitious apprehension. He looked round, and beheld his mother, kneeling at a chair, her face pale, excepting the eyes, which were inflamed with tears. Her hands were wreathed together, as if with a straining exertion, and sobs came thick and fast upon her breath, in spite of all her efforts to restrain them. In a few minutes, while he remained gazing on her, in some perplexity, she arose from her knees, and, standing by his bedside, laid her hand quietly upon his head.
 “I have been trying to pray,” she said, “but I fear in vain. It was a selfish prayer, for it was offered up for you. If you fear death and shame, you will soon have cause to tremble. For a mother who loves her son, all guilty as he is, and for a son who would not see his parents brought to infamy, there have been fearful tidings here since morning.”
 Hardress could only look the intense anxiety which he felt, to learn what those tidings were.
 “In few words,” said Mrs. Cregan, “the dress of that unhappy girl has been recognized, and by a train of circumstances (command yourself a while! ) - circumstances which this sick head of mine will hardly allow me to detail, suspicion has fallen upon your former boatman and his family. Do you know where he is?”
 “I have not seen him since the - the - I know not, - but my orders were, that he should leave the country, and I gave him money for the purpose.”
 “Thank heaven for that!” Mrs. Cregan exclaimed, with her usual steady energy, while she clasped her hands together, and looked upward with a rapt fervour of expression. The action, however, was quickly altered to a chilly shudder. She looked suddenly to the earth, veiling her eyes with her hand, as if a rapid light had dazzled her. “Thank heaven!” she repeated, in a tone of terrified surprize. “O mighty Being, Origin of Justice, and Judge of the guilty, forgive me for that impious gratitude! Oh, Dora Cregan, if any one had told you in your youth that you should one day thank heaven to find a murderer safe from justice! I do not mean you, my child,” she said, turning to Hardress, “you are no murderer.”
 Hardress made no reply, and Mrs. Cregan remained silent for a few minutes, as if deliberating on the course which it would be necessary for her to adopt. The deception practised on Anne Chute was not among the least of those circumstances which made her situation one of agonizing perplexity. But her fate had been already decided, and it would be only to make the ruin of her son assured, if she attempted now to separate the destiny of Anne from theirs.
 “We must hasten this marriage,” Mrs. Cregan continued, after a silence of some minutes, “and, in the meantime, endeavour to get those people, the Naughtens, out of the way. They will be sought for without delay. Mr. Warner has been enquiring for you, that he might obtain some information of your boatman. I told him that you had parted with the man long since, and that you did not know whither he had gone. Do you think you could sustain an interview with him?”
 Hardress, who was now sitting up pale, and with features dragged by terror, on the bedside, replied to this question by a chilly shudder, and a vacant stare.
 “We must keep him out, then,” said his mother, “or if he must see you, it shall be in your chamber. There is still one way by which you might be saved, the way which you proposed yourself, though I was not then sufficiently at ease to perceive its advantages. Go boldly forward and denounce this wretch, lay all the information in your power before the magistrate, and aid the officers of justice in bringing him to punishment.”
 Hardress turned his dull and bloodshot eyes upon his mother, as if to examine whether she was serious in this proposition. If a corpse, rigid in death, could be stimulated to a galvanic laugh, one might expect to find it such a hideous convulsion, as Hardress used on discovering that she did not mock.
 “No, mother,” he said, curbing the Sardonic impulse. “I am not innocent enough for that.”
 “Why will you so perversely do yourself a wrong?” said Mrs. Cregan. “Neither in your innocence, nor in your culpability, do you seem to form a proper estimate of your conduct. You are not so guilty as ...”
 “Very true, mother,” said Hardress, impatient of the subject, and cutting it short with a burst of fierceness, scarcely less shocking than his laughter. “If the plea of conscious guilt will not suffice, you may take my refusal upon your own ground. I am too innocent for that. I am not fiend enough for such a treachery. Pray let me hear no more of it, or I shall sicken. There’s some one has knocked three times at the room door. I am quite weary of playing the traitor, and if I had nothing but pure heart-sickness to restrain me, I should yet long for a reform. My brain will bear no more; a single crime would crush it now. Again? - There’s some one at the door.”
 “Well, Hardress, I will speak with you of this at night.”
 “With all my heart. You say things sometimes that go near to drive me mad, but yet you always talk to me as a friend, for my own sake, and kindly. Mother!” he added, suddenly laying his hand on her arm, as she passed him, and as the light fell brighter on her thin and gloomy features. “Mother, how changed you are since this unhappy act! You are worn out with fears and sorrows. It has been my fate, or fault - (I will not contend for the distinction,) to scatter poison in the way of all who knew me. A lost love for one, for another, falsehood, desertion, death. For a third duplicity and ingratitude, and even for you, my mother, ill health, a sinking heart and a pining frame. I can promise nothing now. My mind is so distracted with a thousand images and recollections, (each one of which, a year since, I would have thought sufficient to unsettle my reason,) that I know not how to offer you a word of comfort. But if these gloomy days should be destined to pass away, and (whether by penitence, or some sudden mercy,) my heart should once again be visited with a quieter grief, I will then remember your affection.”
 There was a time when this speech would have been moonlight music to the ear of Mrs. Cregan. Now, her esteem for Hardress being fled, and a good deal of self-reproach brought in to sour the feeling with which she regarded his conduct, it was only in his moments of danger, of anger, or distress, that her natural affections were forcibly aroused in his behalf. Still, however, it did not fail to strike upon her heart. She sunk weeping upon his neck, and loaded him with blessing and caresses.
 “I do not look for thanks, Hardress,” she said, at length disengaging herself, as if in reproof of her weakness, “because I do the part of a mother. All that you have said, my child, in my regard, is very vain and idle. A quiet, at least a happy, fire-side is a blessing that I can never more enjoy, nor do I even hope for it. It is not because I think your guilt not worthy of the extreme punishment of the laws, that therefore, I should deem it possible we can either of us forget our share in the horrid deed that has been done. Let us not disguise the truth from our own hearts. We are a wretched, and a guilty, pair, with enough of sin upon our hands to make our future life a load of fear and penitence.”
 “I did but speak it,” said the son, with some peevishness of tone, “in consideration of your suffering.”
 “I wish, Hardress, my child, that you had considered me a little more early.”
 “You did not encourage me to a confidence,” said Hardress. “You repressed it.”
 “You should not,” retorted the mother, “have needed an encouragement, under circumstances so decisive. Married! If you had breathed a word of it to me, I would have sooner died than urged you as I did.”
 “I told you I was pledged.”
 “You did: aye, there indeed, my son, your reproach strikes home. I thought that you would only break a verbal troth, and most unjustly did I wish that you should break it. How fearfully has heaven repaid me for that selfish and unfeeling act! But you were all too close and secret for me. Go - go, unhappy boy; you taunt me with the seduction which was only the work of your own shameful passion.”
 This painful dialogue, which, perhaps, would have risen to a still more bitter tone of recrimination, was broken off by a renewal of the summons at the door. It appeared as if the applicant for admission had gone away in despair, and again returned after a fruitless search elsewhere. On opening the door, Mrs. Cregan encountered the surly visage of Dan Dawley, who informed her in his usual gruff and laconic phrase that her presence was required in the ball-room; - such was the name given to that apartment in which Hardress had made to her a confession of his guilt. When she had left the chamber, Hardress, who grew momently more weak and ill, prepared himself for bed, and bade the old steward send him one of the servants. This commission the surly functionary discharged, on returning to the servant’s hall, by intimating his master’s desire to Pat Falvey, who had entered some time before.
 Mrs. Cregan, in the mean time, proceeded to the chamber above mentioned, which she could only reach by passing through the narrow hall and winding staircase near the entrance. The former presented a scene calculated to alarm and perplex her. A number of soldiers, with their soaped and powdered queues, and musket barrels shining like silver, were stuck up close to the wall on either side, like the wax figures in the shop of a London tailor. On the gravel, before the door, she could see a number of country people, who had collected about the door, wondering what could have brought ’the army’ to Castle Chute. From the door of the kitchen and servant’s hall, a number of heads were thrust out, with faces indicative of a similar degree of astonishment and curiosity.
 Passing through this formidable array, Mrs. Cregan ascended the stairs, and was admitted at he door of the ball-room by a figure, as solemn and formidable as those below. The interior of the room presented a scene of still more startling interest. A table was spread in the centre, around which were standing Mr. Warner the magistrate, Mr. Barnaby Cregan, Captain Gibson, and a clerk. At the farther end of the table, his arm suspended in a cotton handkerchief, stood a low, squalid, and ill-shaped figure, his dress covered with mud, and his face, which was soiled with blood and marl, rather expressive of surprise and empty wonder, than of apprehension or of suffering.
 Mrs. Cregan, who recognised the figure, paused for a moment in a revulsion of the most intense anxiety, and then walked calmly forward with that air of easy dignity which she could assume even when her whole nature was at war within her. This power of veiling her inward struggles even to the extremity of endurance, made her resemble a fair tower sapped in the foundation, which shows no symptom of a weakness, up to the very instant of destruction; and is a ruin, even before the sentiment of admiration has faded on the beholder’s mind.  

*An Irish preterite for the word hit.

Chapter 39: How the Danger to the Secret of Hardress was Averted by the Ingenuity of Irish Witnesses
Mr. Warner informed her that it was no longer necessary that her son’s assistance should be afforded them, as they had had the good fortune to apprehend the object of their suspicions. They should however, he said, be compelled to await the arrival of their witnesses, for nothing had been gained by putting the fellow on his examination. His answers were all given in the true style of an Irish witness, seeming to convince the utmost frankness, and yet invariably leaving the querist in still greater perplexity than before he put the question. Every hour, he said they expected the arrival of this man’s brother and sister from Killarney, and they should then have the opportunity of confronting them with him, and with their previous witnesses.
 “I have already sent off a messenger,” continued Mr. Warner, “to my own little place, to see if they have yet arrived, in order that they may be brought hither and examined on the spot. The inconvenience to Mrs. Chute, I hope she will excuse, and my principal reason for wishing to see you, Mrs. Cregan, was, that you might bear our explanations to that lady. On an occasion of this kind, all good subjects are liable to be trespassed on, perhaps more than courtesy might warrant.”
 “I will answer for my sister,” said Mrs. Cregan coldly, “she will not, of course, withhold any accommodation in her power. But this man, - has he been questioned, sir?”
 “He has.”
 “Might I be allowed to see the examination?”
 “By all means, Mrs. Cregan. Mr. Houlahan, will you hand that book to the lady.”
 Mr. Houlahan, after sticking his pen behind his ear, rose and delivered the volume accordingly, with a smirk and bow, which he meant for a wonder of politeness. The lady, whose thoughts were busy with other matters than with Mr. Houlahan’s gallantry, received it nevertheless with a calm dignity, and opening her reading glass, stooped to the page which that gentleman had pointed out. She glanced with some assumed indifference over the details of the Examination of Daniel Mann, while she devoured its meaning with an agonizing closeness of scrutiny. The passage which concerned her most was the following:
 “ ...Questioned, If he were known to the deceased Eily O’Connor, answereth, He hath met such a one in Garryowen, but knoweth nothing farther. Questioned, If he heard of her death, answereth, Nay. Questioned, If he knoweth a certain Lowry Looby, living; answereth, Yes. Questioned, Whether Eily O’Connor did not lodge for a time in the house of Philip Naughten, Killarney; answereth, How should he be aware of his brother-in-law’s lodgers. Saith, He knoweth not. Questioned, If he were not present in said Naughten’s house, when said Eily, deceased, said Looby being then in Naughten’s kitchen, did give a letter to Poll Naughten, sister to prisoner, addressed to Dunat O’Leary, hair-cutter, Garryowen, and containing matter in the hand-writing of said Eily; answereth, How should he (prisoner) see through a stone-wall. Saith, He was in the kitchen. Saith, Looby was a fool, and that his eyes were not fellows. Saith, He knoweth not who was in the said inner-room. Questioned, Why he was discharged out of the employment of his master, Mr. Hardress Cregan; answereth, He knoweth not. Questioned, Where he hath been residing since he left his master’s service; answereth, It is a token that examinant doth not know, or he would not ask; and the like impertinent and futile answers, with sundry speeches little to the purpose, hath the prisoner responded to all subsequent enquiries.”
 With a feeling of relief, Mrs. Cregan returned the book to the clerk, and glancing towards the prisoner, observed that his eye was fixed on her’s with a look of shrewd and anxious enquiry. To this glance she returned one equally comprehensive in its meaning. It told him she was fully in the counsels of her son, and prepared him to be guided by her eye.
 At the same moment, the sentinel was heard presenting arms at the door, and a corporal entered to say that Mr. Warner’s messenger had returned, and that the witnesses might be expected in a few minutes.
 “All’s right then,” said Mr. Warner, who entered on a scrutiny of this kind with the same professional gout which might make Xenophon find excitement amid his difficulties, or Antony in the intricacies of the American retreat. “Remove the prisoner. We shall examine them apart, and see if their stories will bear the jangling. If they are all as much given to the negative as this fellow, I am afraid we shall find it hard to make them jar.”
 This was a moment of intense anxiety to Mrs. Cregan. She saw no probability of being able to communicate with the prisoners (for such were all the witnesses at present,) and she comprehended all the importance of preventing, at least, the chance of Hardress’s name being mingled up with the account of the unknown visitor at the cottage of the Naughtens.
 A little experience however in the proceedings of Irish law courts would have given her more courage and comfort on this subiect. The peasantry of Ireland have, for centuries, been at war with the laws by which they are governed, and watch their operation in every instance with a jealous eye. Even guilt itself, however naturally atrocious, obtains a commiseration in their regard from the mere spirit of opposition to a system of government which they consider as unfriendly. There is scarcely a cottage in the south of Ireland where the very circumstance of legal denunciation would not afford even, to a murderer, a certain passport to concealment and protection. To the same cause may be traced, in all likelihood, the shrewdness of disguise, the closeness, the affected dulness, the assumed simplicity, and all the inimitable subtleties of evasion and of wile which an Irish peasant can display when he is made to undergo a scene of judicial scrutiny, and in which he will frequently display a degree of gladiatorial dexterity that would throw the spirit of Machiaveli into ecstacies.
 While Mrs. Cregan remained endeavouring to control the workings of her apprehension, a bustle was heard outside the door, in which the sound of a female voice, raised high in anger and remonstrance, overtopped the rest in loudness like a soprano voice in a chorus.
 “Let me in!” she exclaimed in a fierce tone, “do you want to thrust your scarlet jacket between the tree and the rind? Let me in, you tall ramrod, or I’ll pull the soap an’ powder out of your wig. If I had you on the mountains, I’d cut the pig’s tail from your pole, an’ make a show o’ you. Do, do - draw your bagnet on me, you cowardly object! It’s like the white blood o’ the whole of ye! - I know fifty lads of your size that would think as little of tripping you up on a fair green, and making a high-road of your powdered carcass, as I do of snapping my fingers in your face! That, for your rusty bagnet, you woman’s match!”
 Here she burst into the room, and confronted the magistrate, while the centinel muttered as he recovered his guard. “Well, you’re a rum one, you are, as ever I see.”
 “Danny, a’ ra gal! Oh vo, ohone, achree, asthora! is that the way with you? What did you do to ’em? what’s the matther?”
 “Dat de hands may stick to me, Poll, if I know,” returned the prisoner, while she moaned and wept over him with a sudden passion of grief. “Dey say ’tis to kill some one, I done. Dey say one Eily O’Connor was a lodger of ours westwards, an’ dat I tuk her out of a night an’ murdered her. Isn’t dat purty talk? Sure you know yourself we had no lodgers?”
 “Remove that prisoner,” said Mr. Warner, “he must not be present at her examination.”
 “I’ll engage I have no longin’ for it,” returned Danny, “she knows right well that it is all talks, an’ tis well I have a friend at last dat ’ll see me out o’ trouble.”
 Danny was removed, and the examination of Poll Naughten was commenced by the magistrate. She had got but one hint from her brother to guide her in her answers, and on all other topics she came to the resolution, in secret, of admitting as little as possible.
 “Your name is Poll Naughten. Stay, she is not sworn. Hand her the book.”
 She took the volume with an air of surly assurance, and repeated the form of the oath.
 “She did not kiss it,” whispered Mr. Houlahan, with a sagacious anxiety, “she only kissed her thumb. I had my eye upon her.”
 “Had you? Well, gi’ me the book, ’till I plase that gentleman. Is that the way you’d like to lip the leather?” she said, after a smack, that went off like a detonating cap. “Is that done to your liking, sir?”
 Mr. Houlahan treated this query with silence, and the examination proceeded.
 “Poll Naughten is your name, is it not?”
 “Polly Mann, they christened me, for want of a betther, an’ for want of a worse, I took up with Naughten.”
 “You live in the gap of Dunlough?”
 “Iss, when at home.”
 “Did you know the deceased Eily O’Connor?”
 “Eily who?”
 “I never knew a girl o’ that name.”
 “Take care of your answers. We have strong evidence.”
 “If you have it as sthrong as a cable, you may make the most of it. You have my answer.”
 “Do you know a person of the name of Looby?”
 “I do, to be sure, for my sins, I believe.”
 “Do you remember his being in your house in the end of the last autumn?”
 “I do well, an’ I’d give him his tay the same night, if it wasn’t for raisons.”
 “Did you give him a letter on that evening?”
 “He made more free than welcome, a dale. I can tell him that.”
 “Answer my question. Did you give him a letter?”
 “Oyeh, many’s the thing I gave him, an’ I’m only sorry I didn’t give him a thing more along with ’em, an’ that was a good flaking.”
 “Well, I don’t deny you credit for your good wishes, in that respect, but still I wait to have my question answered. Did you give Looby a letter on that evening?”
 “Listen to me, now, plase your honour. That the head may go to the grave with me ...”
 “Those asseverations, my good woman, are quite superfluous. You should remember you are on your oath.”
 “Well, I am, sure I know I am upon my oath, an’ as I am upon it, an’ by the vartue o’ that oath, I swear I never swopped a word with Lowry Looby from that day to this.”
 “Whew!” said the magistrate, “there’s an answer. Hear me, my good woman. If you won’t speak out, we shall find a way to make you speak.”
 “No use in wasting blows upon a willing horse. I can do no more than speak to the best of my ability.”
 “Very well. I ask you again, therefore, whether Looby received a letter from you on that evening?”
 “Does Lowry say I gev him a letter?”
 “You will not answer then?”
 “To be sure I will, What am I here for?”
 “To drive me mad, I believe.”
 “Faiks, I cant help you,” said Poll, “when you won’t listen to me.”
 “Well, well, speak on.”
 “I will, then, without a word of a lie. I’ll tell you that whole business, an’ let Lowry himself conthradict me if he daar do it. ’Tis as good as six years ago, now, since I met that boy at one o’ the Hewsan’s wakes.”
 “Well, what has that to do with an answer to a plain question?”
 “Easy a minute, can’t you, an’ I’ll tell you. He behaved very polished that night, an’ I seen no more of him until the day you spake of, when he come into the cottage from Killarney.”
 “Woman,” said the magistrate, “remember that you have sworn to tell the whole truth, not only the truth, but the whole truth.”
 “Ah, then, gentlemen an’ lady, d’ye hear this? Did any body ever hear the peer o’ that? Sure its just the whole truth I’m tellin’ him, an’ he won’t listen to the half of it.”
 “Go on,” said Mr. Warner, in a tone of resignation.
 “Sure that’s what I want to do, if I’d be let. I say this, an’ I’ll stand to it, Lowry gave me impidence that I wouldn’t stand from his masther, an’ I did (let him make the most of it,) I admit it, I did give him a sthroke or two. I did. I admit it.”
 “And after the sthrokes, as you call ’em, you gave him a letter?”
 “What letther?”
 “I see; you are very copious of your admissions. Are you Philip Naughten’s wife?”
 “I am.”
 “Aye, now we’re upon smooth ground. You can give an answer when it suits you. I’m afraid you are too many for me. What shall we do with this communicative person?” he said, turning to the other gentlemen.
 “Remand her,” said Captain Gibson, whose face was purple from suppressed laughter, “and let us have the husband.”
 “With all my heart,” returned Mr. Warner, “Take that woman into another room, and bring up Philip Naughten. Take care, moreover, that they do not speak upon the way.”
 Poll was removed, a measure which she resented by shrill and passionate remonstrances, affecting to believe herself very ill-treated. Her husband was next admitted, and from his humble, timid, and deprecating manner, at once afforded the magistrate some cause of gratulation; and Mrs. Cregan of deep and increasing anxiety.
 He approached the table with a fawning smile upon his coarse features, and a helpless, conciliating glance at every individual around him.
 “Now, we shall have something,” said Mr. Warner, “this fellow has a more tractable eye. Your name is Philip Naughten, is it not?”
 The man returned an answer in Irish, which the magistrate cut short in the middle.
 “Answer me in English, friend. We speak no Irish here. Is your name Philip Naughten?”
 “Tha wisha, vourneen ...”
  “Come - come - English - Swear him to know whether he does not understand English. Can you speak English, fellow?”
 “Not a word, plase your honour.”
 A roar of laughter succeeded this escapade, to which the prisoner listened with a wondering and stupid look. Addressing himself in Irish to Mr. Cregan, he appeared to make an explanatory speech which was accompanied by a slight expression of indignation.
 “What does the fellow say?” asked Mr. Warner.
 “Why,” said Cregan, with a smile, “he says he will admit that he couldn’t be hung in English before his face* - but he does not know enough of the language to enable him to tell his story in English.”
 “Well, then, I suppose we must have it in Irish. Mr. Houlahan, will you act as interpreter?” The clerk who thought it genteel not to know Irish, bowed and declared himself unqualified.
 “Wisha, then,” said a gruff voice at a little distance, in a dark corner of the room, “it isn’t but what you had opportunities enough of learning it. If you went in foreign parts, what would they say to you, do you think, when you’d tell ’em you didn’t know the language o’ the counthry where you born? You ought to be ashamed o’ yourself, so you ought.”
 This speech, which proceeded from the unceremonious Dan Dawley, produced some smiling at the expense of the euphuistic secretary, after which the steward himself was sworn to discharge the duties of the office in question.
 The preliminary queries having been put, and answered, the interpreter proceeded to ask, at the magistrate’s suggestion, whether the witness was acquainted with the deceased, Eily O’Connor?
 But if it had been the policy of Mrs. Naughten to admit as little as possible, it seemed to be the policy of her husband to admit nothing at all. The subterfuge of the former in denying a knowledge of Eily, under her maiden name (which, she imagined, saved her from the guilt of perjury,) was an idea too brilliant for her husband. He gaped upon the interpreter in silence from some moments, and then looked on the magistrate as if to gather the meaning of the question.
 “Repeat it for him,” said the latter.
 Dawley did so.
 “’Tis the answer he makes me, plase your honour,” he said,
 “that he’s a poor man that lives by industhering.”
 “That’s no answer. Repeat the question once more, and tell him I shall commit him for trial if he will not answer it?”
 Again the question was put, and listened to with the same plodding, meditative look, and answered with a countenance of honest grief, and an apparent anxiety to be understood, which would have baffled the penetration of any but a practised observer. So earnest was his manner that Mr. Warner really believed he was returning a satisfactory answer. But he was disappointed.
 “He says,” continued the interpreter, “that when he was a young man, he rented a small farm from Mr. O’Connor, of Crag-beg, near Tralee. He has as much thricks in him, plase your honour, as a rabbit. I’d as lieve be brakin’ stones to a paviour as putting questions to a rogue of his kind.”
 Threats, promises of favour, lulling queries, and moral expedients of every kind, were used to draw him out into the communicative frankness which was desired. But he remained as unimpressible as adamant. He could or would admit nothing more than that he was a poor man, who lived by his industry, and that he had rented a small farm from Mr. O’Connor, of Crag-leg.
 The prisoners, therefore, after a short consultation, were all remanded, in order that time might be afforded for confronting them with the friends of the unhappy Eily. Mrs. Cregan, with the feeling of one who has stood all day before a burning furnace, hurried to the room of Hardress to indulge the tumult which was gathering in her bosom; and the gentlemen, by a special invitation (which could no more be declined without offence, in the Ireland of those days, than in a Persian cottage,) adjourned to the consolations of Mrs. Chute’s dining parlour. Separate places of confinement were allotted to the three prisoners; a sentinel was placed over each, and the remainder of the party, notwithstanding the remonstrances of Captain Gibson, were all entertained like princes in the servant’s hall.

*A common phrase, meaning that the individual understood enough of the language to refute any calumny spoken in his presence, which if uncontradicted, might leave him in danger of the halter. The acute reader may detect in this pithy idiom a meaning characteristic of the country in which it is used.  

Chapter 40: How Hardress Took a Decisive Step for His Own Security
The hospitalities of Castle Chute were on this evening called into active exercise. If the gravest occasion of human life, the vigil of the dead, was not in those days always capable of restraining the impetuous spirit of enjoyment so much indulged in Irish society, how could it be expected that a mere anxiety for the interests of justice could interrupt the flow of their social gaiety? Before midnight, the house rang with laughter, melody, and uproar, and in an hour after, every queue in the servant’s hall was brought into a horizontal position. Even the three that stalked on guard were said to oscillate on their posts with an ominous motion, as the bells in churches forbode their fall when shaken by an earthquake.
Hardress continued too unwell to make his appearance, and this circumstance deprived the company of the society of Anne Chute, and indeed of all the ladies, who took a quiet and rather mournful cup of tea by the drawing-room fire. The wretched subject of their solicitude lay burning on his bed, and listening to the boisterous sounds of mirth that proceeded from the distant parlour, with the ears of a dreaming maniac.
 The place in which his former boatman was confined had been a stable, but was now become too ruinous for use. It was small, and roughly paved. The rack and manger were yet attached to the wall, and a few slates, displaced upon the roof, admitted certain glimpses of moonshine, which fell cold and lonely on the rough, unplastered wall and eaves, making the house illustrious, like that of Sixtus the Fifth. Below, on a heap of loose straw, sat the squalid prisoner, warming his fingers over a small fire, heaped against the wall; and listening in silence to the unsteady tread of the sentinel, as he strode back and forward before the stable-door, and hummed, with an air of suppressed and timid joviality, the words:

“We won’t go home till morning,
We won’t go home till morning,
We won’t go home till morning,
Until the dawn appears!”

  A small square window, closed with a wooden bar and shutters, was to be found above the rack, and opened on a hay-yard, which being raised considerably above the level of the stable floor, lay only a few feet beneath this aperture. Danny Mann was in the act of devouring a potatoe reeking hot, which he had cooked in the embers, when a noise at the window made him start, and set his ears like a watch-dog. It was repeated. He stood on his feet, and crept softly into a darker corner of the stable, partly in superstitious apprehension, and partly in obedience to an impulse of natural caution. In a few minutes one of the shutters was put gently back, and a flood of mild light was poured into the prison. The shadow of a hand and head were thrown with great distinctness of outline on the opposing wall; the other shutter was put back, with the same caution, and in a few moments nearly the whole aperture was again obscured, as if by the body of some person entering. Such, in fact, was the case; and the evident substantiality of the figure did not remove the superstitious terrors of the prisoner, when he beheld a form wrapt in white descending by the bars of the rack, after having made the window close again, and the apartment, in appearance at least, more gloomy than ever.
 The intruder stood at length upon the floor, and the face, which was revealed in the brown fire-light, was that of Hardress Cregan. The ghastliness of his mouth and teeth, the wildness of his eyes, and the strangeness of his attire (for he had only wrapped the counterpane around his person) might, in the eyes of a stranger, have confirmed the idea of a supernatural appearance. But these circumstances only tended to arouse the sympathy and old attachment of his servant. Danny Mann advanced towards him slowly, his hands wreathed together, and extended as far as the sling which held the wounded arm would allow, his jaw dropt-half in pity and half in fear, and his eyes filled with tears.
 “Master Hardress,” he said at length, “is it you I see dat way?”
 Hardress remained for some time motionless as a statue, as if endeavouring to summon up all his corporeal energies, to support him in the investigation which he was about to make.
 “Won’t you speak to me, master?” continued the boatman, “won’t you speak a word itself? ’Twas all my endeavour since I came hether to thry an’ get ’em to let me speak to you. Say a word, master, if it is only to tell me ’tis yourself that’s there!”
 “Where is Eily?” murmured Hardress, still without moving, and in a tone that seemed to come from the recesses of his breast, like a sound from a sepulchre.
 The boatman shrank aside, as if from the eye of justice itself. So suddenly had the question struck upon his conscience, that the inquirer was obliged to repeat it, before he could collect his breath for an answer.
 “Master Hardress, I tought, after I parted you dat time ...”
 “Where is Eily?” muttered Hardress, interrupting him.
 “Only listen to me, sir, one moment ...”
 “Where is Eily?”
 “Oh, vo! vo! ...”
 Hardress drew the counterpane around his head, and remained for several minutes silent in the same attitude. During that time the drapery was scarcely seen to move, and yet hell raged beneath it. A few moans of deep, but smothered agony were all that might be heard from time to time. So exquisite was the sense of suffering which these sounds conveyed, that Danny sank trembling on his knees, and responded to them with floods of tears and sobbing.
 “Master Hardress,” he said, “if there’s any thing that I can do to make your mind aisy, say the word. I know dis is my own business, an’ no one else’s. An’ if dey find me out, itself, dey’ll never be one straw de wiser of who advised me to it. If you tink I’d tell, you don’t know me. Dey may hang me as high as dey like; - dey may flake de life out o’ me, if dey please, but dey never’ll get a word outside my lips of what it was dat made me do it. Didn’t dey try me to-day, and’ didn’t I give ’em a sign o’ what I’d do?”
 “Peace, hypocrite!” said Hardress, disgusted at a show of feeling to which he gave no credit. “Be still, and hear me. For many years back, it has been my study to heap kindnesses upon you. For which of those was it, that you came to the determination of involving me in ruin, danger, and remorse for all my future life, - a little all, it may be, certainly?”
 It would seem from the manner in which Danny gaped and gazed on his master, while he said these words, that a reproach was one of the last things he had expected to receive from Hardress. Astonishment, blended with something like indignation, took place of the compassion which before was visible upon his countenance.
 “I don’t know how it is, master Hardress,” he said. “Dere are some people dat it is hard to plase. Do you remember saying anyting to me at all of a time in de room at de master’s at Killarney, Master Hardress? Do you remember givin’ me a glove at all? I had my token surely for what I done.”
 So saying, he drew the glove from the folds of his waistcoat, and handed it to his master. But the latter rejected it with a revulsion of strong dislike.
 “I tought I had ears to hear, dat time, an’ brains to understand,” said Danny as he replaced the fatal token in his bosom, “an’ I’m sure, it was no benefit to me dat dere should be a hue and cry over de mountains after a lost lady, an’ a chance of a hempen cravat for my trouble. But I had my warrant. Dat was your very word, master Hardress, warrant, wasn’t it? ’Well, when you go,’ says you, ’here is your warrant.’ An’ you ga’ me de glove. Worn’t dem your words?”
 “But not for death,” said Hardress. “I did not say for death.”
 “I own you didn’t,” returned Danny, who was aroused by what he considered a shuffling attempt to escape out of the transaction. “I own you didn’t. I felt for you, an’ I wouldn’t wait for you to say it. But you did mane it?”
 “No!” Hardress exclaimed, with a burst of sudden energy. “As I shall answer it in that bright heaven, I did not. If you crowd in among my accusers at the judgment seat, and charge me with that crime, to you, and to all, I shall utter the same disclaimer, that I do at present. I did not mean to practise on her life. As I shall meet with her before that judge, I did not. I even bade you to avoid it, Danny. Did I not warn you not to touch her life?”
 “You did,” said Danny, with a scorn which made him eloquent beyond himself, “an’ your eye looked murder while you said it. After dis, I never more will look in any man’s face to know what he mains. After dis, I won’t believe my senses. If you’ll persuade me to it, I’ll own dat dere is nothing as I see it. You may tell me, I don’t stand here, nor you dere, nor dat de moon is shining through dat roof above us, nor de fire burning at my back, an’ I’ll not gainsay you, after dis. But listen to me, master Hardress. As sure as dat moon is shining, an’ dat fire burning; an’ as sure as I’m here, an’ you dere, so sure de sign of death was on your face dat time, whatever way your words went.”
 “From what could you gather it?” said Hardress, with a deprecating accent.
 “From what? From every ting. Listen hether. Didn’t you remind me den of my own offer on de Purple Mountain a while before, an’ tell me dat if I was to make dat offer again, you’d tink defferent? An’ didn’t you giv’ me de token dat you refused me den? Ah, dis is what makes me sick, after I putting my neck into de halter for a man. Well, it’s all one. An’ now to call me out o’ my name, an’ tell me I done it all for harm! Dear knows, it wasn’t for any good I hoped for it, here or hereafter, or for any pleasure I took in it, dat it was done. And talkin’ of hereafter, Master Hardress, listen to me. Eily O’Connor is in heaven, an’ she has told her story. Dere are two books kept dere, dey tell us, of all our doings, good and bad. Her story is wrote in one o’ dem books, an’ my name (I’m sore afeerd) is wrote after it; an’ take my word for dis, in which ever o’ dem books my name is wrote, your own is not far from it.”
 As he spoke those words, with an energy beyond what he had ever shewn, the fire fell in, and caused a sudden light to fill the place. It shone, ruddy brown, upon the excited face, and uplifted arm of the deformed, and gave him the appearance of a fiend, denouncing on the head of the affrighted Hardress the sentence of eternal woe. It glared likewise upon the white drapery of the latter, and gave to his dragged and terrified features a look of ghastliness and fear, that might have suited such an occasion well. The dreadful picture continued but for a second, yet it remained engraved upon the sense of Hardress, and like the yelling of the hounds, haunted him awake, and dreaming, to his death. The fire again sunk low, the light grew dim. It came like a dismal vision of the ephialtes, and, like a vision, faded.
 They were aroused from the pause to which this slight incident gave occasion, by hearing the sentinel arrest his steps as he passed before the door, and remain silent in his song, as if in the act of listening.
 “All right within there?” said the sentinel, with his head to the door.
 “All’s right your way, but not my way,” returned Danny, sulkily.
 In a few minutes, they heard him shoulder his musket once again, and resume his walk, humming with an air of indifference, the same old burthen:-”We won’t go home till morning,
Until the dawn appears.”
Hardress remained gazing on his servant for some moments, and then said in a whisper:
 “He has not heard us, as I feared. It is little worth, at this time, to consider on whom the guilt of this unhappy act must fall. We must at least avoid the shame, if possible. Could I depend upon you once again, if I assisted in your liberation, on the understanding that you would at once leave the country?”
 The eyes of the prisoner sparkled with a sudden light. “Do you tink me a fool?” he said. “Do you tink a fox would refuse to run to earth, wit de dogs at his bush?”
 “Here then!” said Hardress, placing a purse in his hand, “I have no choice but to trust you. This window is unguarded. There is a pathway to lead you through the hay-yard, and thence across the field, in the direction of the road. Depart at once, and without farther question.”
 “But what’ll I do about that fellow?” said Danny. “Dat sentry comes by constant dat way you hear him now, axing me if all’s right?”
 “I will remain here and answer for you,” said Hardress, “until you have had time to escape. In the mean time, use your utmost speed, and take the road to Cork, where you will be sure to find vessels ready to sail. If ever we should meet again on Irish soil, it must be for the death of either, most probably of both.”
 “An’ is dis de way we part after all?” said Danny, “Well, den, be it so. Perhaps after you tink longer of it, master, you may tink better of me.”
 So saying, he sprang on the manger, and ascended (notwithstanding his hurt) with the agility of a monkey, to the window. A touch undid the fastening, and in a few moments Hardress became the sole occupant of the temporary dungeon.
 He remained for a considerable time, leaning with his shoulder against the wall, and gazing with a vacant eye on the decaying fire. In this situation, the sentinel challenged several times in succession, and seemed well content with the answers which he received. But the train of thought which passed through the mind of Hardress became at length so absorbing that the challenge of the soldier fell unheard upon his ear. After repeating it without avail three or four times, the man became alarmed, and applying the butt of his musket at the door, he forced it in without much effort. His astonishment may be conceived, when instead of his little prisoner, he beheld a tall figure wrapt in white, and a ghastly face on which the embers shed a dreary light. The fellow was a brave soldier, but (like all people of that class in his time) extremely superstitious. His brain, moreover, was heated with whiskey punch, and his imagination excited by numberless tales of horror which had been freely circulated in the servant’s hall. Enough only remained of his presence of mind, to enable him to give the alarm by firing his musket, after which he fell senseless on the pavement. Hardress, no less alarmed on his own part, started into sudden energy, and climbing to the window, with an agility even surpassing that of the fugitive, hurried off in the direction of his sleeping chamber.
 There were few in the house who were capable of adopting any vigorous measures on hearing the alarm. Hastening to the spot, they found the sentinel lying senseless across the stock of his musket, the stable door open, and the prisoner fled. The man himself was enabled, after some time, to furnish a confused and broken narrative of what he had seen, and his story was in some degree confirmed by one of his comrades, who stated that at the time when the shot was fired he beheld a tall white figure gliding rapidly amongst the haystacks towards the end of the little enclosure, where it vanished in the shape of a red heifer.
 The sentinel was placed under arrest in an apartment of the Castle, until the pleasure of his officer could be known respecting him. Captain Gibson, however, in common with the other gentlemen, and the greater number of his soldiers, was, at this moment, wholly incapable either of conceiving or expressing any opinion whatsoever.
 This story, as usual, was circulated throughout the country in the course of the following day, with many imaginative embellishments. Amongst other inventions it was said that the ghost of Eily O’Connor had appeared to the centinel to declare the prisoner’s innocence and demand his liberation. Many persons adduced the well known character of Eily as a ground for lending credence to this fiction. “It was like her,” they said; “she was always a tender-hearted creature.”
 The evidence remaining against the other prisoners was now so immaterial, that their dismissal became a necessary consequence. Several efforts were made to draw them into some confession of their participations in the offence alleged, but if they were cautious in their admissions while the murderer was in custody, they would make no admission whatever after hearing of his escape. Equally unavailable were all the exertions made for the re-capture of the suspected fugitive, and in a few weeks the affair had begun to grow unfamiliar to the tongues and recollections of the people.
 Notwithstanding the assurances of Danny, and the danger which he must incur by remaining in the country, a doubt would frequently cross the mind of Hardress, whether he had in reality availed himself of his recovered freedom to leave it altogether. He had money; he had many acquaintances; and he was an Irishman; an indifferent one it is true, but yet possessing the love of expense, of dissipation, and the recklessness of danger, which mingle so largely in the temperament of his countrymen. It was almost an even question, whether he would not risk the chances of detection, for the sake of playing the host among a circle of jolly companions in the purlieus of his native city. These considerations, often discussed between Hardress and his now miserable mother, made them agree to hasten the day of marriage, with the understanding that (by an anticipation of the modern fashion,) the “happy pair,” were to leave home immediately after the ceremony. The south of France was the scene fixed upon for the commencement of their married life, the month of honey.

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