Gerald Griffin, The Collegians (1829)

[ cont. ]

Chapter 41: How the Ill-Temper of Hardress Again Brought Back His Perils
A circumstance, which occurred during the intervening period, once more put Hardress to a severe probation. It was not the less severe, moreover, that it came like the accesses of a nervous disorder, suddenly, and from a cause extremely disproportioned to its violence.
He had been conversing with his intended bride, on that day which was fixed upon as the penultimate of their courtship, with a more than usual appearance of enjoyment. Anne, who looked out for those breaks of sunshine in his temper, as anxiously as an agriculturist might for fair weather in a broken autumn, encouraged the symptom of returning peace, and succeeded so happily as to draw him out into quick and lively repartees, and frequent bursts of laughter. Unfortunately, however, in her ecstasy at this display of spirits, she suffered her joy to hurry her unwisely into the forbidden circle which enclosed his secret, and their music turned to discord. She thought this holiday hour afforded a fair opportunity to penetrate into the Blue Chamber of his heart, from which he had so often warned her, and which a better impulse than curiosity urged her to explore. She did not know that the interior was defiled with blood.
 “Well Hardress,” she said, with a smile that had as much of feeling as of mirth - “is not this a happier score for courting time, than sitting down to shut our eyes and ears to the pleasant world about us, and opening them on a lonesome past, or a foreboding future?”
 If the clouds of the past, and the future, both, had met and mingled in the mid-heaven of consciousness, they could not have cast a darker or more sudden shade, than that which now overspread the brow of Hardress. The laughter darkened on his cheek, his eye grew stern and dull, and his whole being, from the inmost feeling of his nature, to the exterior on which those feelings were indicated, seemed to have undergone an instantaneous change.
 Anne perceived her error, but did not cease to follow up her claim upon his confidence.
 “Do not let me feel,” she said, “that I have brought back your gloom. Dear Hardress, hear me still without uneasiness. My sole intention is that of procuring your health and peace of mind; and surely, it should not be considered an intrusion that I desire your confidence. Do you fear to find in me anything more foreign than a near and interested friend? Believe me you shall not, Hardress. I am driven upon this enquiry in spite of me. There is something hidden from me which it would be kinder to reveal. I see it prey upon your own health and spirits, day after day. I see it even fixing its cruel hold at length upon my aunt. You meet, with a consciousness in your eyes, and you both glance from time to time at me, as if I were a stranger or ...I should not say it, perhaps - a spy. If I come upon you when you speak together, there is a hush at my appearance, and sometimes an embarrassed look, and I have often seen trouble in your eyes, and tears in her’s. Tell me, my dear Hardress, what is the cause of this? You either apprehend, or you have endured, some terrible misfortune. It is not now the time to treat me as a stranger.”
 She ceased to speak, and seemed to expect an answer, but Hardress said not a word. He remained with his hands crossed on the back of the chair, his cheek resting upon these, and his eyes fixed in gloomy silence on the floor.
 “Or if you do not think me worthy of a confidence,” Anne resumed, with some warmth, “at least ... Nay, but I am ill- tempered now,” she added, suddenly checking herself. “I should not say that. I would say, Hardress, if you really find yourself prevented from admitting me into your confidence, at least assure yourself of this. If it is any thing in your present situation - in - in - I fear to say too much, in your engagements with myself that interferes with your peace of mind, I - I had rather suffer any thing - than - than - be the cause of suffering to you.”
 She turned away as she said these words, to hide from him the burst of tears with which they were accompanied. She pressed her handkerchief against her lips, and used a violent, though silent, effort to avoid the convulsive utterance of the grief that struggled at her heart.
 It often happens that the most sensitive persons are those who are most blind to, and make least allowance for, the susceptibility of others. The long habit of brooding over his own wants and sufferings made Hardress incapable, for the moment, of appreciating the generous affection which this speech evinced. He answered gloomily that, “there were many things in the minds of all men which they would hide if possible even from themselves, and which therefore they could not reasonably be expected to communicate over readily to another, however undeniable the claim to confidence might be.”
 With this cold answer the conversation ceased. A little, yet but a little, warmed, to find her generous proposal - (a proposal which cost her so much agony,) thus unhandsomely received, Anne dried her tears, and remained for some minutes in that sorrowing and somewhat indignant composure to which in virtuous breasts the sense of unmerited injury gives birth. Subduing, however, as she had long since learned to do, her personal feelings, to a sense of duty, she forced herself to assume an air of cheerfulness, and once more resumed the tone of conversation which had preceded this unfortunate failure. Again her accustomed spirits arose at her desire, and again she was successful in withdrawing Hardress from his mood of dismal meditation.
 One remarkable feature in the mental disease of Hardress (for such it might now be justly termed,) was, as we have before remarked, the extreme uncertainty, and arbitrariness of its accesses. His existence seemed to be without a basis, his mind without a centre, or a rest. He had no consciousness of duty to support him, no help from heaven, and no trust in man. Even the very passion that ate up his soul was incapable of affording to his mind that firmness of purpose and false strength which passion often gives; for his was merely retrospective, and had no object in the future. He became a passive slave to his imagination. Frequently, while enjoying a degree of comparative tranquillity, the thought would suggest itself to his fancy, that, “perhaps this very day, secure as he believed himself, might see him manacled, and in a dungeon.” Instead of quietly turning his attention away to an indifferent subject, or baffling the suggestion (as a guiltless person might,) by resigning himself to a directing Providence, he combatted it with argument, it encreased and fastened on his imagination, until at length his nerves began to thrill, his limbs grew faint, his brow moist, and his whole being disturbed as at the presence of an actual danger. At other times, when sitting alone, it would occur to him that his servant might, notwithstanding his caution, have abused his confidence and remained in the country. The idea of the danger, the ruin, which would most probably attend such disobedience, frequently produced so violent an effect upon his mind, that he would spring from his seat in a transport of phrenzy, sink on one knee, and press both hands with his utmost force against the ground as if in the act of strangling the delinquent. Then, hearing the footstep of Anne or of his mother approaching the door, he would arise suddenly, covered with shame, and reach his chair exactly in time to avoid detection.
 Soon after the conversation we have above detailed, Mr. Cregan entered, and some question arose on the escape of Mr. Warner’s prisoner, and the possibility of his recapture. This led naturally to a disquisition on the nature of the crime alleged against him, and of capital punishments in general.
 “People have hinted,” said Mr. Cregan, “that this after all might have been a case of suicide, and for my part I don’t see the impossibility.”
 “I should think it very unlikely,” said Anne, “suicide is a very un-Irish crime. The people are too religious for it, and some people say too miserable.”
 “Too miserable!” exclaimed Mr. Cregan, “now I should think that the only cause in the world for suicide; the only possible palliative.”
 “I am not metaphysical enough to account for it,” returned Anne with a smile, “and I only repeat a sentiment which I heard once from Hardress. But their misery, at all events, is a cause for their piety, and in that way may be a cause of their resignation also.”
 “Of all crimes,” said Mr. Cregan, “that is the most absurd and unaccountable, and I wonder how jurymen can reconcile it to themselves to bring in their shameless verdicts of insanity so constantly as they do. When you hear of a fellow’s cutting his throat, look at the inquest, and if you can’t laugh at the evidence, you have nothing in you. The deceased was observed to be rather silent and melancholy the day before, he wore his hat on one side, a fashion which his nearest acquaintances had never observed him to use till then, he called his wife out of her name, and went into the rain without an umbrella. I should like to see how far such evidence would go to prove a case of lunacy in Chancery.”
 “Then you would, I suppose, uncle, have the law put in force in all its rigour, confiscation of property, and impaling the body on a cross road?”
 “Impaling the bodies!” exclaimed Cregan in a transport of zeal, “I would almost have ’em impaled alive! Why do you laugh? A bull, is it? adad, and so it is. Then it is time for me to cut and run.” So saying, he made his exit with the utmost speed, while his niece leaned aside, and laughed.
 Hardress heard all this with what might be supposed the sensation of one who finds himself struck by death, while witnessing a farce. But he succeeded in concealing his emotions from the observation of his young friend. The time was now arrived for their customary morning walk, and Anne arranged her bonnet and cloak before the large pier-glass, while she continued from time to time to address herself to Hardress. He had already taken his hat and gloves, and not liking the subjects on which she was speaking, paced up and down the room in gloomy and fretful impatience.
 “What a dreadful death hanging must be!” said Anne, as she curled up a wandering tress upon her fingers, “I wonder how any temptation can induce people to run the risk of it.”
 “Come - come,” said Hardress, “the morning will change, if you delay.”
 “An instant only. If you would but deliver yourself up for a moment to such a day-dream, you may imagine something of the horror of it. Suppose yourself now, Hardress, marching along between two priests, with a hangman after you, and the rope about your neck, and a great crowd of people shouldering each other to obtain one glance at you - and ...”
 “There’s a rain-cloud in the west,” said Hardress, “we shall lose the best part of the day.”
 “I am just ready,” returned Anne, “but let me finish my picture. Imagine yourself, now, at the place of execution; that you feel your elbows tied behind, and that shocking cap put-down upon your eyes.”
 “Yes, yes, it is very pretty,” said Hardress peevishly, “but I wish you would think of what you are about.”
 “You ascend, and there is a dreadful buzz amongst the people, your heart beats, your brain grows dizzy, you feel the hangman’s iron fingers on your neck, the drop begins to grow unfirm beneath your feet.”
 “You will drive me mad!” roared Hardress, stamping on the floor in a paroxysm of fury. “This is intolerable! I bid you make yourself ready to walk, and instead of doing so, you talk of death and hangmen, halters and ignominy, as if there were not real woe enough on earth, without filling the air around us with imaginary horrors. Forgive me, Anne,” he added, observing the air of astonishment and sudden reserve with which she regarded him, as alarming as it was ominous, “forgive me for this ill-tempered language. You know my very being hangs upon you, but I am sick and sad, and full of splenetic thoughts.”
 “Hardress,” said Anne, after a long pause, “I have borne a great deal from you, but ...”
 “Nay, Anne,” said Hardress, taking her hand with much anxiety and submissiveness of look, “do not say more at present. If I could tell you what is passing in my mind, you would pity, and not blame, me. You are almost the only thing in this world, in my present state of ill health, in which my heart is interested, and if you look cold upon me, my life will indeed grow wintry. This will not, I hope, continue under a sunnier sky, and more indulgent air. You must not be angry with me for having a set of clamorous nerves.”
 After an interval of silent reflection, Anne took his arm without reply, and they proceeded on their walk. She did not, however, cease to meditate seriously and deeply on the scene which had just taken place.
 The morning was fair, and freshened by a gentle wind. The boats sped rapidly along the shores, the sea-gull sailed with wings outspread, and motionless, upon the breeze. The sealark twittered at the water’s edge, the murmur of the waves, as they broke upon the strand, sounded sweet and distant, the green leaves quivered and sparkled against the sunshine, the peasants laughed and jested at their labour in the fields, and all was cheering, tender, and pastoral around them.
 On a sudden, as they approached an angle in the road, the attention of our loiterers was caught by sounds of boisterous mirth, and rustic harmony. In a few seconds, on reaching the turn, they beheld the persons from whom the noise (for we dare not call it music), proceeded. A number of young peasants, dressed out in mumming masquerade, with their coats off, their waistcoats turned the wrong side outward, their hats, shoulders, and knees, decorated with gay ribbands (borrowed for the occasion, from their fair friends), their faces streaked with paint of various colours, and their waists encircled with shawls and sashes, procured most probably from the same tender quarter. Many of them held in their hands long poles with handkerchiefs fluttering at the top, and forming a double file on either side of half a dozen persons, who composed the band, and whose attire was no less gaudy than that of their companions. One held a pipolo, another a fiddle, another a bagpipe. a fourth made a dildorn* serve for tambourine, and a fifth was beating with a pair of spindles on the bottom of an inverted tin-can, while he imitated with much drollery, the important strut and swagger of the military Kettle-drum. Behind, and on each side, were a number of boys and girls, who, by their shrill clamour, made the discord, that prevailed among the musicians, somewhat less intolerable. Every face was bright with health and gaiety, and not a few were handsome.
 They came to a halt, and formed a semi-circle across the road, as Anne and Hardress came in sight. The musicians struck up a jig, and one of the young men, dragging out of the crowd, with both hands, a bashful and unwilling country girl, began to time the music with a rapid movement of heel and toe, which had a rough grace of its own, and harmonized well with the vigorous and rough-hewn exterior of the peasant.
 It is the custom at dances of this kind, for the gentleman to find a partner for his fair antagonist after he has finished his own jig, and that partner, if he be a person of superior rank, is expected to show his sense of the honour done him, by dropping something handsome, as he is going, into the piper’s hat. Neither is it in the power of a stranger to decline the happiness that is offered to him, for the people have a superstition, that such a churlishness (to say nothing of its utter want of politeness) is ominous of evil to the lady, betokening the loss of her lover at some future day. Hardress was com- pelled, though much against his will, to comply with the established usage, the bashful fair one, insisting with a great deal of good humour on her claim, and appealing to Miss Chute for her influence, with a supplicating tone and eye.
 While he was dancing, Anne passed the May-day mummers (for so were the merry makers termed) and strolled on alone. On a sudden the music ceased, and she heard a clamour commence which had the sound of strife. Turning hastily round, she beheld a strange hurry amongst the crowd, and Hardress in the midst, griping one of the mummers by the throat, and then flinging him back with extreme violence against the dry-stone wall on the road-side. The man rose again, and looking after Hardress, tossed his hand above his head, and shook it in a menacing way.
 Hardress hurried away from the group, many of whom remained gazing after him in astonishment, while others gathered around the injured man, and seemed to enquire the cause of this singular and unprovoked assault. The same inquiry was made by Anne, who was astonished at the appearance of terror, rage, and agitation, that were mingled in the demeanour of Hardress. He made some confused and unsatisfactory answer, talked of the fellow’s insolence and his own warm temper, and hurried toward the castle by a shorter way than that which they had taken in leaving it.
 The wedding feast was appointed for the evening of the following day, and it was determined that the ceremony should take place early on the morning after the entertainment. The articles had been already signed by Anne, with a pale cheek, and a trembling, though not reluctant, hand. These circumstances made it impossible for her to think of altering her intentions, nor did she, with consciousness, even admit the idea to fasten on her mind. Still, however, her anxiety became every hour more trying and oppressive, and when she retired to rest upon this evening, she could not avoid murmuring in the words of the plebeian elector of Coriolanus: “If ’t were to give again - but ’tis no matter.”

*A vessel used in winnowing wheat, made of sheepskin stretched over a hoop.  


Chapter 42: How Mr. Warner Was Fortunate Enough to Find a Man That Could and Would Speak English
About sunset on the evening of the following day, while Castle Chute and its vicinity were merry as wedding times could make them, Mr. Warner, the magistrate, was quietly enjoying a bowl of punch with a friend at his own table. That table was spread at the distance of about eight miles from the castle, and that friend was Captain Gibson. Another individual, Houlahan was seated at a distant corner of the table, imbibing his portion of fluid in humble silence, but as he was very seldom spoken to, and never ventured to mingle in the conversation himself, he could scarcely be considered as one of the company.
 “Come, Captain,” said Mr. Warner, filling his glass, and passing the bowl to the gallant officer, “I will give you the bride.”
 “I shall drink it with all my heart,” returned the Captain. - “The bride!” he added raising the glass to his lips, and honouring the toast with a draught of proportionable profundity.
 “And, talking of the bride,” continued Mr. Warner, “though I rejoice at it on my own account, as it gives me the pleasure of your society; yet it puzzles me to know, Captain, why you are not at the wedding to-night?”
 “For the best of all reasons,” returned Mr. Gibson, “because I wasn’t asked.”
 “You may be certain, then, that there was some mistake in that, for the Chutes have always kept an open house.”
 “I am sure of it. Well, what do you say if I give you the bridegroom, in return for your bride?”
 “1 don’t know. I had rather drink the lady.”
 “Oh, so should I, for that matter, but we have drunk her.”
 “There’s something mystical in that haughty young man, that I cannot like. His conduct on many occasions, lately, has given me any thing but a favourable indication of his character. I have even sometimes been tempted to think ...but no - no - “ he added, suddenly interrupting himself. “I have no right to indulge in those surmises, which, after all, may be the suggestion of prejudice and rash judgment. Come, sir, I will drink the bridegroom; and allow me to add a sentiment. The bridegroom, and may he show himself worthy of his fortune!”
 “As he said these words, the parlour door was opened, and a servant appeared, to say that a stranger wished to speak with Mr. Warner on judicial business.
 “Pooh,” said the magistrate, “some broken head, or sixpenny summons. Let him come to me to-morrow morning.”
 “He says his business is very pressing, sir, an’ ’t will be more your own loss than his if you let him go.”
 “What? is that the ground he goes on? Then I suppose we must hear him. Captain, I know all these examinations are amusing to you - Shall I have him in here?”
 “You could not do me a greater pleasure,” said the officer, “these people are the only actors on earth.”
 The stranger was accordingly shown up. His story seemed to be almost told by his appearance, for one of his eyes was blackened and puffed out so as nearly to disguise the entire countenance. There was in his tread, and action, an appearance of gloomy determination, which had something in it impressive and even chilling. The magistrate perceived at a glance, that the affair was of a more serious nature than he had at first suspected.
 “Well, my good man,” he said, in a gentle tone, “what is your business with me?”
 “I’m not a good man,” said the stranger, “as my business with you will show. Arn’t you the crowner dat sot upon Eily O’Connor?”
 “I am.”
 “Did you find the murtherers yet?”
 “They are not in custody, but we have strong information.”
 “Well, if you have, may be you don’t want any more?” said the man contemptuously, and seeming about to depart.
 “No, no, the more we obtain, the stronger our case will be, of course.”
 “Then listen to me,” said the stranger, “and I’ll make it strong enough for you.”
 “This instant,” returned Mr. Warner. “Mr. Houlahan, will you prepare your writing materials, and take down this examination in the regular form?”
 “Do!” said the stranger,” Give me the book, and swear me, put every sentence in your book, for every word I have to say is goold to you, and to de counsellors. An’ write down first dat Eily was surely murdered, an’ dat I, Danny Mann, was de one dat done de deed.”
 “Mann!” exclaimed the magistrate, “what, our fugitive prisoner?”
 “I was your prisoner, ’till I was set at liberty by one dat had a raison for doing it. I’m now come to deliver myself up, an to tell de whole truth, for I’m tired o’ my life.”
 The magistrate paused for a moment, in strong amazement.
 “I think it my duty,” said he, “to warn you on one point. If you have been a principal in the murder, your confession will not entitle you to mercy as an approver, while it will be used as evidence against yourself, - voluntarily tendered as it is, and without hope of favour held out to you.”
 “I don’t want mercy,” returned the stranger, “if I did, it isn’t in courts I’d look for it. If I valued my life, it was in my own hands already, an’ ’tisn’t here you’d find me now. It was not the fear of death, nor the hope of pardon, that brought me hether, but because I was decaved and disappointed in one that I thought worse of than my own life, a hundherd times. Do you see that mark?” he added, stepping out into the light, and raising one shoulder so as to bring the defect in his spine more strikingly into view. “All my days that was my curse. Didn’t they give me a nickname for it, an’ usen’t some laugh, and more start and shiver, when I’d come in sight of ’em? In place of being, as I ought to be, fighting at the fair, drinking at the wake, an’ dancing at the jig-house, there’s the figure I cut all my days! If any body vexed me, an’ I’d even sthrike him, he would’t return the blow, for who’d take notice o’ the little Lord? If I sat down by a girl, you’d think by her looks dat she wasn’t sure of her life until she got away. An’ who have I to thank for dat? Mr. Hardress Cregan. ’Twas he done that to me, an’ I a little boy. But if he did, he showed such feeling after, he cried so bitter, an’ he cared so much for me, that my heart warmed to him for my very loss itself. I never gave him as much as a cross word or look for what he done, nor never spoke of it until dis minute. I loved him from dat very time, twice more than ever, but what’s de use o’ talking? He’s not the same man now. He met me yesterday upon de road, an’ what did he do? He struck me first, but dat I’d bear aisy, he called me out o’ my name, an’ dat I didn’t mind, but I’ll tell you what druv me wild. He caught me by the throat, an’ he flung me back again’ de wall, just de same way as when he ga’ me my hurt, and made me a cripple for life. From that moment a change come in me towards him. He doesn’t feel for me, an’ I wont feel for him. He had his revenge, an I’ll have mine. Write down,” he added, wiping the damp from his brow, and trembling with passion, “Write down, Danny Mann, for de murderer of Eily, an’ write down, Hardress Cregan, for his adviser.”
 Both the gentlemen started, and gazed on one another.
 “Ye start!” cried the deformed, with a sneer, “an’ ye look at one another as if ye tought it a wonder a gentleman should do the like, - but there’s the difference. A gentleman will have a bloody longing, an’ he’ll hide it for fear of shame. Shame is de portion of de poor man, and he’ll ease his longing when he can, for he has notten’ to lose. A gentleman will buy the blood of his innemy for goold, but he’ll keep his own clane gloves and slender fingers out of it. A poor man does his own work, with his own hands, an’ is satisfied to damn his own soul only. All the difference I see is this - that a gentleman besides his being a murderer - is a dacaver, an’ a coward.”
 “ If you really mean,” said the magistrate,” to impeach Mr. Hardress Cregan with this crime, you do not strengthen your testimony by evincing so much vindictive feeling. His character stands high, and we know that the highest have often had their steps beset by serpents, who have no other motive for the sting they give, than private malice or revenge, such as you avow.”
 The wily taunt succeeded. The stranger turned on the magistrate a scowl of indescribable contempt.
 “If I could not afford to avow it,” he said, “I had wit enough to hide it. I knew your laws, of old. It isn’t for nothing that we see the fathers of families, the pride and the strength of our villages, the young an’ the old, the guilty, and the innocent, snatched away from their own cabins, and shared off for transportation, an’ the gallows. It isn’t for nothing, our brothers, our cousins, an’ our friends are hanged before our doores from year to year. They teach us something of the law, we thank ’em. If I was trusting to my own confession I knew enough to say little of what brought me here. A counsellor would tell you, mister magistrate, that I’ll be believed the sooner in a coort, for daling as I done. But I have other witnesses. Eily O’Connor was Hardress Cregan’s wife. You start at that too. There’s the certificate of her marriage. I took it out of her bosom, after I ...”
 He suddenly paused, placed both hands upon his eyes, and shuddered with so much violence, that the floor trembled beneath him. The listeners maintained their attitude of deep and motionless attention.
 “Yes,” he at length continued, letting his hands descend, and showing a horrid smile upon his lip, “the poor crature kep her hand in her bosom, and upon dat paper, to the last gasp, as if she thought it was to rob her of that I wanted. Little she mattered her life in the comparison. De priest dat married ’em died the moment after, a black sign for Eily, an’ a blacker sign, perhaps, for de wedding dey’re going to have to-morrow morning. Dat’s a good witness. Write down dat in your book; an’ den write down, Phil Naughten, an’ his wife for having Eily in their house, an’ - but let ’em tell their own story. When you have dem wrote, put down Lowry Looby after, an’ den Myles Murphy, an’ after, Mihil O’Connor, de father; and last of all, if you want a real witness, I’ll tell you how you’ll make it certain. Be de first yourself to lay a hand on Hardress, tell him you heerd of his doings, an look into his face while you are speaking, an’ if dat doesn’t tell de whole story, come back an’ call me liar.”
 “It is clear!” said Mr. Warner starting from his seat. “Captain, I need make no excuse to you for stirring. Mr. Houlahan, remain and see this man confined. What, Horan! Bring the horses to the door this instant. Captain, you will, perhaps, accompany me, as the service may possibly be dangerous or difficult on such an occasion. We will first ride for a guard to your quarters (though that will cost some time) and then proceed to arrest this gentle bridegroom. Horan, quick with the horses. I thought there was something in him not so orthodox. I am sorry for it, ’tis a shocking business, a mournful transaction.”
 “And will require, I think,” said the Captain, “that we should proceed with great delicacy. So amiable a family, and such a shock ...”
 “With great delicacy, certainly,” returned the Magistrate, “but likewise with a firmness becoming our trust. Mr. Houlahan, look closely to the prisoner. He left our vigilance at fault on another occasion. Come, Captain, here are the horses.”
 They rode rapidly away, and Mr. Houlahan slipping out of the room, locked the door on the outside and went to prepare some suitable dungeon for the prisoner upon the premises. The unfortunate man remained for several minutes standing on the floor, his hands clasped and elevated before him, his ear inclined, as if in the act of listening, his jaw dropt, and his eye set in stolid, dreamy wonder. The window opened on a craggy field, and was fortified by several bars of iron. He did not however even cast a glance at this formidable impediment. Every faculty of his spirit seemed for the moment to be either absorbed by one engrossing image, or to be suspended altogether by a kind of mental syncope. While he remained thus motionless, and while the house was quiet and still around him, he suddenly heard a rough but not unmelodious voice singing the following verses outside the window:-

“But for that false and wicked knave,
Who swore my life away,
I leave him to the judge of Heaven,
And to the judgment day.

“For gold he made away my life,
(’What more could Herod do?)
Nor to his country, nor his God,
Nor to his friend, proved true.”

The verses seemed to be sung by one in the act of passing the window, and, with the last line, the singer had proceeded beyond hearing. The verses, though containing a common ballad sentiment, characteristic of the peculiar notions of honour and faith held among the secret societies of the peasantry, seemed as if directed immediately against the informer himself. At least his conscience so received it.
 He might become one day the subject of such a ballad. He, too, had his sense of shame and of honour (as all men have), regulated by the feelings of the class in which he moved. It would tell nothing against him there that he had died by the hangman’s hands. Every petty village had its Tell and its Riego, and they had made that death no more disgraceful in the peasant’s eye. Their names were cherished amongst the noblest recollections of his heart, they were sung to his ancient melodies, and made familiar sounds in the ears of his children. But to be branded as an informer! - that character, which, combining as it does, the vices of bad faith, venality, and meanness, is despised and detested by the Irish peasantry, beyond all social sins; that was a prospect which he could not bear so well. And then he turned to Hardress, and thought of his feelings, of his old kindness and affection. He made excuses for his sudden passion, and he thought how those kindnesses would be dwelt upon in the ballad which was to immortalize the guilt and penitence of Hardress and his own treachery.
 He started from his reverie, and gazed around him like a forest lion in a trap. He rushed to the door and gnashed his teeth to find it locked. He drew back to the other side of the room, and dashed himself against it with all his force. But it was a magistrate’s door, and it resisted his efforts. He turned to the window, dashed out the frame, and shivered the glass with his foot, and seizing the iron railing with both hands, swung himself from it, and exerted his utmost strength, in endeavouring to wrench it from its fastening, in the solid masonry. But he might as well have set his shoulder to displace the centre of gravity itself. Baffled, exhausted, and weeping with vexation and remorse, he hung back out of the railing, his face covered with a thick damp, and his limbs torn, and bleeding from the fragments of the broken glass.
 We shall leave him to suffer under all the agonies of suspense, augmented by the double remorse under which he now began to labour, and turn our eyes in the direction of the Castle.  

Chapter 43: How the Bride was Startled by an Unexpected Guest
Invitations numberless as the sybil’s leaves, had been dispersed throughout the country, on the occasion of the wedding at Castle Chute. Among the rest, the Dalys were not forgotten, although certain circumstances in the history of both families, with which the reader is already acquainted, made it appear probable that they would be merely received as things of form. It was therefore with feelings of strong surprize, and of secret confusion (though arising from very different causes,) the bridal pair understood that Kyrle Daly intended to be amongst the guests.
The popularity of the bride amongst the tenantry of the estate was manifested by the usual demonstrations of festive enjoyment. Bonfires were lighted on the road before the avenue gate, and before every public-house in the neighbourhood. The little village was illuminated, and bands of rural music followed by crowds of merry idlers strolled up and down, playing various lively airs, and often halting to partake of the refreshments which were free to all who chose to draw upon the hospitality of the family.
 Before sunset, the house was crowded with blue coats, and snow-white silks. Several of the guests strayed in groups, upon the demesne, and several young gentlemen fashionably dressed might be seen hovering around the ladies, and endeavouring to make havoc of all, by enchanting those who were near them by their conversation, and those at a distance by the elegance and grace of their gesticulation.
 Mrs. Cregan was in the drawing-room, among the elder guests, pale, worn, and hollow-eyed, but still preserving the same lofty, courteous, and cordial demeanour to her friends, by which her manner had been always marked.
 The bridegroom, habited in a splendid suit that seemed to sit upon his frame as the shirt of Deianira upon the shoulders of Hercules, glided like a spectre through the laughing crowd, the most envied, and the most miserable of all the throng.
 A few of the most intimate female connexions of the bride were admitted into the garden where Anne herself, leaning on the arm of a bridesmaid, was watching the last sun that was to shine upon her freedom. Her dress was a simple robe of white, and her hair, for the last time dressed in the maiden fashion of the day, hung loose upon her neck. As she glided to and fro, amongst the walks, her fair companion endeavoured by every species of raillery to draw her out of the low-spirited and anxious mood which had been hourly encreasing upon her since the morning. But as in a disease of the frame, an injurious determination to the part afflicted is said to be occasioned by merely directing the attention towards it, so in our moments of nervous depression, the jest that makes us feel it is observed, serves only to augment its heaviness.
 At a turn in the walk, hedged round by a pear-tree, neatly trained, the lovely friends were suddenly met, and one of them startled, by the appearance of a young man, attired in the wedding costume, and handsome; but with a pale serenity upon his features that might have qualified him to sit as a study for Camillus. The lady, who started at his appearance, was the bride; for in this interesting person she recognized her old admirer, Mr. Kyrle Daly.
 It was the first time they had seen each other since the day on which their conversation had been attended with so much pain to both. It would have little served to confirm the newly acquired tranquillity of Kyrle Daly, if he had known how often, and with feelings how unconsciously altered, his conduct had been compared by Anne with that of Hardress during the last few months. True, this was a subject of meditation, on which she never willfully suffered her mind to repose for an instant. It was a forbidden land, on which her wandering thoughts alone would steal at intervals, but these unlicensed musings had tended to qualify her old opinions in a degree more striking than she herself believed. Of all this Kyrle Daly, of course, knew or imagined nothing, and therefore was he here. He came, secure in the consciousness of a right intention and believing that his own appearance of quiet and cheerfulness of mind would afford a real satisfaction to his fair, and only poetically cruel, friend.
 He advanced towards the ladies with an easy cordiality, and that total absence of consciousness in his own demeanour which was most certain to restore quietness to Anne; for self-possession is often as contagious as embarrassment. He addressed her in the tone of an interested friend, inquired for her health, spoke of her mother, even of Hardress, whom he said he had not yet been fortunate enough to meet; then of the weather, of the scene around them, of the company, of every subject that was at the same time amusing and indifferent. The same attentions, and with a tone so studiously similar that the ear of Petrarch only might have found a difference, he addressed to Miss Prendergast, the bridesmaid, who also was an old acquaintance. Finally, he gently contrived to separate the ladies, and giving an arm to each, they continued to thrid the garden walks, while he divided between them the same cheerful conversation on indifferent subjects. His spirits flowing freely, and supported by those of the lively bridesmaid, became too much for Anne’s depression, and she became cheerful almost without perceiving it.
 After some time, Miss Prendergast, beckoned by a fair friend in a neighbouring walk, deserted her companions for some moments. Both stopt upon the walk to await her return, and Kyrle, perceiving the embarrassment of the bride beginning to return, took this opportunity of entering on something like an explanatory conversation.
 “You see, Miss Chute,” he said, with a smile, “you were a better prophetess than I believed you. If you were one that could be vain of your influence, I should not do wisely perhaps in making such an admission, but you are not. I have not, as you perceive, found itso difficult a task to master my old remembrances.”
 The eye of Anne fell unconsciously upon the worn cheek and fingers of the speaker. He saw the secret suspicion which the glance implied, and he reddened slightly, but he saw likewise that it was involuntary, and he did not seem to have observed it.
 “There are some feelings,” he continued, “though looked upon as harmless, and even amiable in themselves, which ought to be avoided, and repelled with as much vigilance as vice itself. I once thought it a harmless thing to turn my eyes on past times, and deliver myself up, on a calm evening, to the memory of my younger hours, of sunny days departed, of faces fled or changed, of hearts made cold by death or by the world, that once beat fervently beside our own; - to lean against some aged tree in the twilight, and close my eyes and ears to the lonely murmur of the woods around me, and fancy I heard the whoop of my boyish friends, or the laugh of my first love along the meadows. But I have learned to think more vigorously. I was young then, and fond, but age has taught me wisdom, at least in this respect. I shun these feelings now, as I would crime. They are the fancies that make our natures effeminate and weak; that unfit us for our duty to heaven, and to our fellow creatures, and render us in soul what the sensualist is in frame. I have meditated long enough to know that even my feelings towards yourself, at one time (exalted as they were by the excellence of the object) were still unworthy, and deserved to be disappointed. I think, and I fear not to let you know, that if I were again to become a suitor, my sentiments should be governed by a higher feeling of duty, and I could bear the trial of a sudden repression with greater firmness, and a more submissive spirit.”
 “You will give me credit, then,” said Anne, with much relief, and real pleasure, “for some knowledge of your character.”
 “No - no! - it was not in me, then,” said Kyrle, with a smile, “or the occasion would have brought it into action. Hardress could tell you what a mournful evening ...but wherefore should he trouble you?” he added, suddenly interrupting himself. “And, apropos, of Hardress - his health appears to suffer, does it not?”
 “Daily and hourly.”
 “And without a cause?”
 “The physicians,” said Anne, “can find none.”
 “Aye,” returned Kyrle, “it is a distemper that is not to be found in their nosology. It is the burning of an honourable mind beneath an undeserved and self-inflicted imputation. He knew of my - my - regard for his fair cousin. I forced a confidence upon him, and he feels this transaction a great deal more acutely than he ought.”
 Anne started at this disclosure, as if it shed a sudden light upon her mind. Her eyes sparkled, her face glowed, and her whole frame seemed agitated by a solution of her doubts, which appeared so natural, and which at once elevated the character of Hardress to that noble standard at which she always loved to contemplate and admire it.
 “It must be so!” she said, with great animation, “and I have done him wrong. It is like his fine and delicate nature. He is still, then, what I have always thought him, fine-minded, sensitive, and generous as ...” she suddenly turned, and extending her hand to Kyrle, said in an altered tone ...”as yourself, my excellent friend!”
 Kyrle took the hand which was tendered to him, with as little appearance of emotion as he could command, and resigned it again almost upon the instant. At this moment Hardress appeared upon the walk. His step was troubled and rapid, his eye suspicious and wandering, his hair neglected, and his whole appearance that of a person at fearful odds with his own thought. He stopped short, as he approached them, and glanced from one to another with a look of wildness and irresolution.
 “I have been looking for you, Anne,” he said in a weak voice, “Mrs. Chute has been wishing to speak with you about your preparations.”
 “Do you leave Ireland then so soon?” asked Kyrle, with some interest.
 “To-morrow morning we leave home,” replied Anne, trembling, and slightly confused.
 “Then,” said Kyrle, resuming the hand which he had so hastily resigned, “permit me to offer my good wishes. Be assured, Anne,” he added, accompanying her to a little distance along the walk, and using a tone which Hardress could not overhear, “be assured that I am perfectly, perfectly contented with your happiness. Let me entreat you to forget altogether, as I myself will learn to do henceforward, that I have ever proposed to myself any higher or happier destiny. That scheme has fallen asunder, and left no deeper an impression on my reason, than a love dream might upon my heart. I desire only to be remembered as one, who imagined himself the warmest of your admirers, but who found out, on a little examination, that he was only your friend.”
 Anne remained silent for a moment, deeply penetrated by the anxiety for her peace of mind which Kyrle evinced in all his conduct and his conversation.
 “Mr. Daly,” she replied at length, and with some agitation, “it is impossible for me now to say all that I feel with respect to your consideration of me on every occasion. I am proud of the friendship that you offer me, and if we meet again, I hope you will find me worthy of it.”
 She hurried away, and Kyrle, returning on his steps, resumed his place before the bridegroom. The picture which was formed by the two figures might have challenged the united efforts of a Raffaelle and an Angiolo to do it justice. Kyrle Daly, standing erect, with arms folded, his face pale, and bright with the serenity of triumphant virtue; his mouth touched by a smile of forgiveness and of sympathy, and his eye clear, open and seraphic in its character, presented a subject that might have pleased the eye of the pupil of Perugino. Hardress, on the other side, with one hand thrust into his bosom, his shoulders gathered and raised, his brow knitted, rather in shame and pain, than in sternness or anger, his eyes not daring to look higher than the breast of Kyrle, and his face of the colour of burnt Sienna, would have furnished a hint for the sterner genius of Buonarrotti.
 “Hardress,” said Kyrle, with an air of sudden frankness, “confess the truth, that you did not expect me here to-day.”
 Hardress looked up surprised, but made no answer.
 “I am come,” continued Kyrle, “to do justice to you and to myself. That I have something to complain of, you will not deny, - that I have not so much as I imagined, I am compelled to admit. My resentment, Hardress, has been excessive and unjustifiable, and with that admission, I toss it to the winds for ever.”
 The surprise of Hardress seemed now so great as to master even his remorse and his anxiety. He looked with increasing wonder into the eyes of Daly.
 “Knowing as I did,” continued the latter, “what passion was, I should have made more charitable allowances for its influence on another; but all charity forsook me at that moment, and I thought it reasonable that my friend should be a cold philosopher where I was a wild enthusiast. I have not even to reproach you with your want of confidence, for it now appears from my unreasonable expectations, that I could not have deserved it. We are both perhaps to blame. Let that be a point agreed, and let all our explanations resolve themselves into these two words - forgive, forget.”
 Saying this, he gave his hand to Hardress, who received it with a stare of absent wonder and confusion. Some indistinct and unintelligible murmurs arose to his lips, and died in the act of utterance.
 “I know not,” continued Kyrle, “and I shudder to think how far I might have suffered this odious sentiment to grow upon me, if it were not for an occasion of melancholy importance to us all, which arrested the feeling in its very bound. I have even sometimes thought, that my unaccomplished sin might possibly have been the cause of that ...”here he shuddered, and stopped speaking for some moments.
 Before he could resume, the sound of the dinner bell broke short the conference. Kyrle, glad of the relief, hastened to the house, while Hardress remained as if rooted to the spot, and gazing after him in silence. When he had disappeared, the bridegroom raised his eyes to the heavens, where, already, a few stars twinkled in the dying twilight; and said within his own mind: -
 “In that world which lies beyond those points of light, is it possible that this man and I should ever fill a place in the same region?”  

Chapter 44: How More Guests Appeared at the Wedding Than Had Been Invited
Light, laughter, mirth and music, - plenteous fare, and pleasant hearts to share it, were mingled in the dining-room on this occasion. Mrs. Chute presided; the “old familiar faces” of Mr. Cregan, Mr. Creagh, Mr. Connolly, Doctor Leake, and many others, were scattered among the guests, and every eye seemed lighted up, to contribute its portion of gaiety to the domestic jubilee. A cloud of vapour, thin and transparent as a Peri’s sighs, arose from the dishes which adorned the table, and was dissipated in the air above. The heavy moreen window curtains were let down, the servants flew from place to place like magic, the candles shed a warm and comfortable lustre upon the board, and the clatter of plates, the jingling of glasses and decanters, the discomfiture of provision, and the subdued vigour with which all this was accomplished, considering the respectability of the guests, was really astonishing. Without any appearance of the havoc and carnage, which is displayed on such occasions in humbler life, it is a question whether there were not actually more execution done, in a quiet determined way. It furnished a new instance of the superior advantages of discipline.
 Towards the close of the feast, the manliness of Kyrle Daly was put to a cruel test, by one of those unfeeling jests, which are the sport of fools in every country. The reader may smile at the circumstance as trifling, but it was not so in its effect upon the heart of the forlorn lover. A young lady, who was considered a wit among her country friends, and feared accordingly, put a willow leaf upon a slice of cream cheese, and handed it to Kyrle Daly with an unconscious face. Some months before, a jest of this kind would have put his temper to its severest trial, and even now, he felt as if he had been stung by a serpent. He did not, however, betray the least emotion, but took his revenge, by going near the lady as soon as circumstances permitted, and making mock-love to her during the night.
 The spirit of the scene produced its effect upon the mind of Hardress himself, who, yielding to its influence, adopted a degree of gaiety, that surprized and delighted all who were interested in his fortunes. It is true, that from time to time, a fear struck at his heart like the shock of an alarum, and the glassy eyes of a corpse seemed at intervals to stare at him from among the crowd. But he turned his eyes and his thoughts away to happier objects, and, as if in defiance of the ghastly interruption, became more gay and mirthful than before.
 Mrs. Cregan did not smile to see her son so far forget his misery. A feeling of nervous apprehension had lain upon her spirits throughout the day, and became more oppressive and insupportable according as the time approached of Hardress’s departure. The more certain his escape became, the more did her anxiety encrease, lest it should, by some unlucky circumstance, be yet prevented.
 While Hardress, in the full fling and zest of his false spirits, was in the act of taking wine with a fair friend, he felt a rustling, as of some person passing by his chair, and a low voice whispered close to his ear, “Arise, and fly for your life.”
 The wine-glass fell, untasted, from his hand, and he remained a pale and motionless image of terror. There was some laughing among the company, who perceived the accident; and many ingenious omens were deduced, not very favourable to the prospects of the lady. But the agitation of the bridegroom was attributed to mere embarrassment.
 The cloth, soon after, was removed; some songs were sung, and the ladies rose to depart. Hardress, with the mysterious warning still ringing in his ear, was about to follow in their train, when a rough grasp was laid upon his arm, the door was shut with violence, and he beheld Hepton Connolly standing with his finger raised in an attitude of menace and reproach. Hardress felt his heart sink at the thought that this interruption might cost him his life.
 “Let me go, my dear Connolly,” he said, in an anxious voice. “It is of the last importance to me.”
 “The last importance!” repeated Connolly, with a suspicious smile. “I’d consider it a disgrace to me, my dear Hardress, if you were to go to bed sober after being in my company to-night, the last that you are to spend in the country. Come, come, Hardress, don’t look fierce, you will have Miss Chute long enough, but here are a pleasant set of fellows whom, perhaps, you may never see round the same table on earth again.”
 “But, Connolly!”
 “But, Hardress!”
 “What’s the matter there?” cried a rough voice from the head of the table. “Any body sneaking? Bring him up here by the collar. If any man leaves this room sober to-night, I shall make it personal with him.”
 The speaker (who was no other than the culprit’s father) added an oath, and the room rang with acclamations. Hardress, faint with fear and anxiety, was compelled to return to the table, and the bowl was shortly circulated with that enthusiasm which was considered appropriate to the occasion. The wine which he drank, and the conversation in which he was compelled to mingle, gradually stole him back into his revel mood, and in a little time he became more loud and seeming mirthful than ever. The voice, which he had heard, might be ideal as the visions he had seen. He thought no more of it.
 He became engaged in a violent dispute with Creagh, as to whether the cascades of Killarney were the better or worse for being without basins. Hardress contended that the want was a defect, inasmuch as it left the beholder without that delightful sensation which he might gather from the contrast of those two most perfect images of tumult and repose, a roaring cataract, with its clouds of foam and mist, and a smooth expanse of water with its glancing and streaky light, and its lulling motion, like the heaving of a sleeping infant’s bosom. Creagh on the other hand, held (and he defended the idea the more stoutly as he happened to hit on it by accident,) that the very mystery attending the disappearance of the stream, when the spectator saw it hurry downward, by his feet, still foaming and roaring on, until it was hidden from his view by the closing thicket below, gave a greater idea to the mind than could be produced by the contrast which Hardress admired.
 The latter had his hand raised with a cascade of eloquence just bursting from his lip, when a warm breath came to his ear, and the same low voice murmured in a tone still lower than before: - “Arise, I tell you! the army is abroad, and your life in danger.”
 It could not now be an illusion, for the tresses of the speaker had touched his cheek, and the dress had brushed his feet. He dashed his chair aside, and standing suddenly erect, looked round him for the warner. A female dress just glanced on his eye as he stared on the open door which led to the hall. He followed it with so much rapidity no one could find time to interfere; but the hall was empty of living figures. He only saw the cloaks, and hats of the visitors, hanging against the wall, while the dusky flame of a globe lamp threw a gloomy and dispiriting light upon the walls and ceiling. On one side, the floor was shaken by the dancers, and the ear stunned with the music of bagpipe, violin, and dulcimer. On the other he heard the bacchanalian uproar of the party he had left. At a distance, in the kitchen, he could distinguish the sound of one solitary bagpipe, playing some air of a more rapid and vulgar character; while the voice of a villager, penetrating in triumph through a two foot wall of stone and mortar, was heard singing some wild and broken melody, which was meant for mirth, but in which a stranger ear might have detected a greater depth of pathos and of feeling than the composer probably intended. Snatching his hat and coat, and trembling in every joint, Hardress was about to hurry down a narrow staircase leading to the yard door, when his mother with a bridesmaid met him on the way.
 “Come this way, Hardress,” said she. “I have a partner engaged for you.”
 “Mother,” said Hardress, with the horrid sense of oppression which one feels in a dream of danger and vain resistance, “Take your hand from my arm, and let me pass.
 Mrs. Cregan imagined that as, in compliance with an established superstition, patronized by some of the old people, the bridegroom was not to sleep in the house on the night before the bridal, Hardress was thus early preparing to comply with the old custom.
 “You must not go so soon,” returned, Mrs. Cregan. ’Come, Miss Prendergast, make that arm prisoner and lead him to the ball room.”
 Hardress, with a beating pulse, resigned himself to his fate, and accompanied the ladies to the dancing-room. Here he remained for some time endeavouring, but with a faint spirit, to meet and answer the gaiety of his companions. After dancing a minuet with a good deal of silent approbation, he led his fair partner to her seat, and taking a chair at her side began to entertain her, as well as he could, while other dancers occupied the floor. His chair was placed a few yards distant from an open door at which a crowd of the servants and tenants appeared thrusting in their heads, and staring on the dancers for the purposes of admiration, and of satire, as the occasion might arise.
 One of these, a handsome country lad, had encroached so far as to get within a foot or two of Hardress’s chair, and to be recognized by him with some appearance of kindness.
 “Master Hardress,” he said stooping to his ear, “did Syl Carney tell you any thing?”
 “No!” said Hardress, turning suddenly round, and neglecting to finish some observation which he was in the act of making to his fair companion.
 “Why then, never welcome her!” said the lad. “I told her to slip in a word to you, some way, to let you know that Danny Mann has given information, and the army are out this night.”
 Hardress trembled, as if the grasp of the hangman had been laid upon him.
 “What a shocking dance that horn-pipe is!” exclaimed the lady. “I am always reminded when I see it of the dampers of a piano.”
 “Precisely, indeed,” said Hardress, with a smile like death, “very ridiculous indeed. Tell me how you know of this,” he said apart to the boy, “speak low, and quickly.”
 “From a little hunch-back in bridewell at magistrate Warner’s” - returned the lad, “He bid me - but the lady is talking to you.”
 “I beg your pardon,” said Hardress, turning quickly round.
 “It was not I,” said the fair dancer, “It was Mrs. Cregan called you.”
 He looked at his mother, and saw her holding towards him a small basket of confectionery and oranges, while she glanced towards the ladies. Hardress rose to perform this piece of gallantry, with a sensation of gloomy resignation, and with a feeling of bitterness towards his unhappy parent, as if she ought to have known that she was knotting the cord upon his life.
 When it was done, he hurried back to his seat, but the servants were all gone, and the door was closed. He stole from the apartment to the hall, once more resumed his hat, and ascending the small flight of steps leading to the chamber so often mentioned, he was once more upon the point of freedom.
 But the grasp of an avenging providence was laid upon his life. In the middle of this chamber he encountered the bride, alone.
 “Hardress,” said she, “are you leaving us for the night?”
 “I am,” he murmured, in a faint voice, and passed on.
 “Stay, Hardress!” said Anne, laying her hand upon his arm. “I have something to say, which I am anxious you should know immediately.”
 This last interruption completed the confusion of the bridegroom. A sudden faintness fell on his whole frame, his brain grew dizzy, his senses swam, and he reeled like one intoxicated into a vacant chair.
 “Well, Anne,” said he, “anything - everything - my life itself, if you think it worth your while to require it.”
 “I owe it to my own peace, and even to your’s Hardress,” said Anne, “to tell you that I have discovered all.”
 “Discovered all!” echoed Hardress, springing to his feet.
 “Yes - all. A generous friend, generous to you, and me, alike, has given the whole history of your cause of suffering, and left me nothing to regret, but that Hardress should not have thought it worth his while to make Anne a partner in his confidence. But that I have forgotten likewise, and have only now to say, that I regret my own conduct as much as I once was grieved for yours. I must have added to the pain which - Hark!”
 “What do you hear?” cried Hardress, crouching fearfully.
 “There is a tumult in the drawing room. Good heaven defend our hearts! What is that noise?”
 The door of the room was thrown open, and a female figure appeared, with hair disordered, and hands outspread with an action of warning and avoidance.
 “Hardress, my child!”
 “Well, mother?”
 “Hardress, my child!”
 “Mother, I am here! Look on me! - Speak to me! Don’t gasp, and stare on your son in that horrid way! Oh, mother, speak, or you will break my heart!”
 “Fly - fly - my child! Not that way! No! The doors are all defended. There is a soldier set on every entrance. You are trapt and caught. What shall we do? The window! Come this way - come - quick - quick!”
 She drew him passively after her into her own sleeping chamber, which lay immediately adjoining. Before Anne had made one movement, from the attitude of sudden fear and wonder to which this strange occurrence had given rise, Mrs. Cregan again appeared in the chamber, showing in her look and action the same hurried and disordered energy of mind.
 “Go to your room!” she said, addressing the bride. “Go quickly to your room, stop not to question me ...”
 “Dear Aunt! ...”
 “Away, I say! you will drive me frantic, girl! My reason is already stretched to its full tension, and a single touch may rend it. Go, my dear child, my love! my wretched ... Ha!”
 “Anne Chute! Where’s Anne?” exclaimed an anxious voice, at the door way. “Where is the bride?”
 “Here, here!” said Mrs. Cregan. Kyrle Daly rushed into the room, his face paler than ever, and his eye filled with an anxious enquiry.
 “Come this way, Anne!” he said, taking her hand, while his own were trembling with anxiety, “Unhappy bride! Oh, horrid - fearful night! Come - come!”
 “I will not sir!” exclaimed the bride with vehemence, “What mean those words and actions? There is some danger threatens Hardress Tell me, if there is - “
 “Take her away, good Kyrle.”
 “He shall not take me hence. Why should he? Why does he call me an unhappy bride? Wliy does he say this night is hoirid and fearful? I will not stir ...”
 “They are coming! - force her hence, good Kyrle,” muttered the expectant mother.
 Struggling in his arms, and opposing prayers, threats and entreaties to the gentle violence which he employed, Kyrle Daly bore the affrighted bride away from the apartment. He remained by her side during the whole evening, often soothing her anxiety by his ready eloquence, and watching every movement of her mind and feelings, with the tender vigilance of a near and devoted relative.
 Mrs. Cregan, meanwhile, remained alone in the room, her ear bent to catch the first sounds of approaching danger, and her frame made rigid with the intensity of feeling. Her hands were employed, while in this attitude, in arranging her hair, and removing as far as possible every appearance of disorder from her dress. At length, the clatter of muskets, and the tramp of many feet, was heard in the little hall. A momentary convulsion shook her frame. It passed away, and she rose to her usual height and her customary stateliness of eye and gesture.
 At the same moment, the door opened, and Mr. Warner accompanied by Captain Gibson and the military party, appeared upon the little stair-case. The first mentioned seemed surprized, and somewhat embarrassed, at the sight of Mrs. Cregan. He murmured something of his regret at being compelled to do what must be so painful to her and was proceeding to recommend that she should retire, when she cut short the speech.
 “Talk not to me, sir,” she said, “of your regret or your reluctance. You have already done your worst to fix a stigma on our name, and a torture in our memories. For months, for weeks, and days, my son spoke with you, laughed with you, and walked freely and openly among you, and then you laid no hand upon his shoulder. You waited for his wedding day, to raise your lying cry of murder; you waited to see how many hearts you might crush together at a blow. You have done the worst of evil in your power; you have dismayed our guests, scattered terror amid our festival, and made the remembrance of this night, which should have been a happy one, a thought of gloom and shame.”
 “My duty,” murmured the magistrate, “obliged me to sacrifice ...”
 “Complete your duty, then,” said the mother haughtily, “and do not speak of your personal regrets. If justice and my son are foes, what place do you fill between them? You mistake your calling, Mr. Magistrate, you have no personal feelings in this transaction. You are a servant of the law, and, as a servant, act.”
 Mr. Warner bowed, and directed the soldiers to follow him into the inner room. At this order, Mrs. Cregan turned her face over her shoulder, with a ghastly smile.
 “That,” she said, in a tone of calm reproach, “that is my sleeping- hamber.”
 “My duty, madam.”
 “Be it so,” said Mrs. Cregan, in a low voice, and turning away her face with the same painful smile, while her heart crept and trembled.
 The party entered the room.
 “I hope,” said Captain Gibson, who really began to think that Mrs. Cregan had a great deal of reason: “I hope Mrs. Cregan will not blame me for my part in this transaction.”
 “I do not blame you,” said the mother, with a scornful smile, “it is your trade.”
 At this portentous moment, Mr. Cregan, Mr. Connolly, and two or three other gentlemen, came reeling into the apartment, excessively intoxicated, and retaining consciousness enough to feel a sense of injury, not fully understood, and a vague purpose of resistance.
 “Dora,” said Mr. Cregan, staggering towards her, and endeavouring to look sober, “What are you doing here? What’s the matter?”
 Mrs. Cregan, her whole soul absorbed by the proceedings in the inner room, did not even appear to be conscious of his presence.
 “Very - very extraordinary conduct,” he said, turning an unsteady eye upon the Captain. “Soldiers, officers, eh, Connolly?”
 “Very, very extraordinary conduct,” echoed Connolly.
 “Do they take the house for a barrack?” continued Cregan, “Captain, withdraw your soldiers.”
 Captain Gibson, already annoyed by the taunt of Mrs. Cregan, returned this demand by a stern look.
 “Stand by me, Connolly. Your swords gentlemen!” cried Cregan, as he drew his own.
 The others imitated his example. Captain Gibson, without condescending to unsheath his own weapon, turned to his men, and beckoning with his finger, said:
 “Disarm those drunken gentlemen.” His orders were obeyed upon the instant, a few slight scratches being all that was sustained by the soldiers in the drunken scuffle that ensued. The gentlemen were placed with their hands tied on chairs at the other side of the room, and the bundle of rapiers was laid upon the window seat.
 “Very well, sir - very well,” said Mr. Cregan, “I shall remember this, and so shall my friends. I am a gentleman, sir, and shall look for the satisfaction of a gentleman.”
 “Expect the same from me,” said Connolly, swinging his person round upon the chair.
 “And me,” said a third.
 “And me,” echoed a fourth.
 “I little expected to meet with such a return as this for our hospitality,” continued Mr. Cregan.
 “For shame! for shame, Cregan,” said the unhappy mother, “do not degrade yourself and your friends by such remonstrances. The hand of an enemy is raised against us, and let not the unworthy being think that he can sink us as low in mind as in our fortunes.”
 Captain Gibson, who took no notice of the gentlemen, again seemed hurt to the quick, perhaps not wisely, by this allusion from the lady.
 “Mrs. Cregan,” he said, “it is one of the most painful duties of a gentleman in my situation, that he must sometimes be subjected to such insinuations as those; and it is only the peculiar circumstances in which you are placed that would prevent my forming a very harsh judgment of any lady who could use them.”
 “Sir!” said Mrs. Cregan, lowering her head with a smile of the most bitter irony, “your consideration and your forbearance are extraordinary. All the events of this night bear witness to it. - It must have surely been with much violence to that fine gentlemanly spirit that you chose a moment like this for your investigation. But I see you are impatient, sir, and I will desist, for you are a soldier, and I am but a female, and it is easy to see who would have the best of the argument.”
 “Madam! ...”
 “Our friends dispersed, our mirth so quickly changed to terror, this scene of confusion at our domestic festivity, every thing, sir, bears testimony to your forbearance. That sensitive and gentlemanly nature that is so tender of insinuations appears in all the actions of this night. My husband tied, there, like a malefactor, and my poor son Ah! shield and hide us, earth! ...I hear his voice!”
 A bustle was heard in the inner room and the wretched lady, throwing her arms high above her head, uttered a shriek so loud, so shrill and piercing, that the stoutest soldier started like a maiden, and the flush of anger upon the officer’s cheek was changed to a death-like paleness. Half sobered by the fearful sound, the intoxicated father rose from his chair, and turned a dull eye upon the room door, while every figure on the scene expressed in various degrees the same feeling of commiseration and anxiety.
 “The prisoner is here!” cried Warner, hurrying into the room.
 “Is he?” shrieked the distracted, and almost delirious mother. “Dark blood hound, have ye found him? May the tongue that tells me so be withered from the roots, and the eye that first detected him be darkened in its socket!”
 “Peace, shocking woman,” said the magistrate, “your curses only add to the offence that heaven has already suffered.”
 “What!” cried the unhappy parent, “shall it be for nothing then, that you have stung the mother’s heart, and set the mother’s brain on fire? I tell you, no! My tongue may hold its peace, but there is not a vein in all my frame but curses you! My child! My child!” she screamed aloud, on seeing Hardress at the door. She rushed, as if with the intent of flinging herself upon his neck, but, checking the impulse as she came near, she clasped her hands, and sinking at his feet, exclaimed, “My child, forgive me!”
 “Forgive you, mother?” replied her son, in a wretched voice, “I have destroyed you all!”
 “The crime was mine,” exclaimed the miserable parent; “I was the author of your first temptation, the stumbling-block between you and repentance. You will think bitterly of me, Hardress, when you are alone.”
 “Never!” said Hardress, raising her to his arms. “Still honoured, always well-meaning and affectionate, I will never think of you but as a mother. My eyes are opened now. For the first time in many weary months, the first thought of peace is in my heart; and but for you, and those whom I have made wretched with you, I would call that thought a thought of joy. Grieve no more, mother, for my sake. Grieve not, because it is in vain. The bolt is sped, the victim has been struck, and earth has not a remedy. Grieve not, because I would not have it otherwise. A victim was due to justice, and she shall no longer be defrauded. I had rather reckon with her here, than in a future world.”
 “I cannot part with you,” murmured his mother, while her head rested on his shoulder, “do not put away my hands awhile. - It is tearing my very heart up!”
 “Dear mother, let me go,” said Hardress, gently disengaging himself, “we shall meet again, I hope. In the mean time, hear my farewell request, as you have heard all that I have ever made. - Waste not your days in idle retrospection, but pray for me with fervour. - Be kind to those whom I have loved, and remember that my death, at least, was happier than my life.”
 “I threatened you with poverty!” muttered Mrs. Cregan, while her memory glanced wildly through the past.
 “Dear mother!”
 “I bade you leave my house, or do my pleasure ...”
 “Why will you vex my soul at such a moment?”
 “I have tied the cord upon your throat! I slighted your scruples. Your own dread words come back upon me now. Those words which I heard with so little emotion at Dinis, and in this hall, before, now ring like the peal of dead bells in my ear. I have been your fellest foe. You drank in pride with my milk, and passion under my indulgence. I have destroyed you for this world, and ...”
 “My dear, dear mother!” cried Hardress, clasping her to his breast, and bursting into tears of shame and penitence, “forget, I implore you, those impious and reproachful words. They were the ravings of my madness, and should not be regarded. Hear me, now, in the full and calm possession of my judgment, and let those words only be remembered. Do you hear me, my dear mother?”
 “I do - I am listening to you, speak, my child, I will remember well.”
 Hardress stooped to her ear, and murmured in a low voice. “In a secret drawer of my cabinet, you will find a paper unsealed. Give it to ...” he paused, and bowed down a moment in deep agitation - “to Anne Chute. I am glad she bears that name - glad of her fortune in escaping me. Let her read that paper. I have penned it with the view of rendering justice to a confiding friend, whose confidence I have betrayed. Oh, memory! memory! but I must look forward now, not back. Ah, mother, if I had really known how to value your affectionate counsels in my childhood - if I had only humbled my heart to a belief in its own weakness, and a ready obedience to your will in my younger days, I should not die in my youth a shameful death, and leave you childless in your age.”
 “Aye,” said Mrs. Cregan, “or if I had done the duty of a mother. If I had thought less of your worldly, and more of your eternal happiness. My brain is scorched!”
 “My dear, fond parent, will you add to my agony?”
 “You will hate me in your prison.”
 “Never! ...”
 “I know what you will say, when they are dragging you to the scaffold. It is my mother, you will say, that has bound these cords upon my limbs! The people will stare on you, and you will hang your head, and say that I was the author of your shame. And in the moment of your death ...”
 “I will pray for you!” said Hardress, pressing her to him, and kissing her forehead, “as you will do for me.” While he spoke he felt the arms that encircled his neck grow rigid, and the face that looked up to his was overspread with a damp and leaden paleness.
 “Farewell, dear mother, for the present,” he continued, “and remember - Oh, she is growing cold and weak, - remove her, remove her quickly, gentlemen!”
 She was borne out, in a half fainting condition, and Hardress, surrendering himself to the hands of the soldiers, prepared to depart. Turning round once more before he left the room, he said aloud:
 “Hear me, and testify against me, if it shall please you. Lest my returning feebleness, or the base love of life, should tempt me once again to shun my destiny, I am willing here to multiply my witnesses. I am guilty of the crime with which you charge me, - guilty, not in act, nor guilty even in word, nor positive, implied assent, but guilty yet, beyond even the wish for pardon. I am glad this hideous dream at length is ended, - glad that I have been forced to render up her right to Justice, even against my will, for I was sick of my anxieties.”
 He ceased: and the party proceeded down the narrow staircase leading to the hall door, Hardress being placed in the centre. In a few minutes, the lighted chambers of the castle, its affrighted revellers, its silenced musicians, the delirious mother, the drunken father and his band of brawlers, the bewildered bride, and all the scattered pomp of the espousal, were lost for ever to the eye of the unhappy Hardress.
 Some apprehension was entertained, lest any injudicious person amongst the peasantry should occasion the useless loss of lives, by attempting a rescue, before the party left the neighbourhood; but no symptoms of such an intention were manifested by the people. The whole transaction had been conducted with so much rapidity, that the circumstance of the bridegroom’s capture was not generally known, even in the castle, for some time after his departure.  

Chapter 45: How the Story Ended
It only remains for us to inform the reader, in general terms, of the subsequent fortunes of the various actors in this domestic drama. Such is the fate of the historian; regarded only as the chronicler of events or feelings in which he has no share, his claim to attention rests only upon these. While they continue to awaken interest, he may toy and dally as he pleases - he may deck his style with flowers, indulge his fancy in description, and even please his vanity with metaphysical speculation. But when the real matter of the tale is out - farewell his hobbies! Stern and brief must thenceforth be the order of his speech, and listlessness or apathy become the guerdon of his wanderings. He is mortified to find that what he mistook for interest was only patience, and that the attention which he imagined to be bestowed upon himself was only lavished on the automata which his fingers exercised.
 Stern and brief, then, be the order of our speech henceforward. Unhappily, a portion of our incident will fit that manner well. The remorse of Hardress led him even to exaggerate his own share in the transaction on which the foregoing measures were founded. Nevertheless, when all the circumstances of the case had been fully considered, the mercy of the executive power was extended to his life, and a perpetual exile from his native land was the only forfeit which he paid to the outraged law. But before this alteration in his destiny had been announced to him, Hardress had learned to receive it with great indifference. With the austerity of an ancient penitent, he persisted in refusing to hold personal communication with any of his friends, his mother only excepted, and even she was cheated (by a necessary device, for her health could not have sustained it,) of the last parting interview.
 The mitigation of punishment, which was intended to save his life, had only the effect of sparing him the ignominy of such a fate. An occurrence which took place on the day of his departure completed the ruin which ill-health had long been making in his constitution.
 The convict ship which was to bear him from his home, had cleared out of port, and lay at anchor in that part of the river which from its basin like appearance has received the appropriate denomination of the Pool. In the grey of a summer morning, the prisoners, Hardress amongst the number, left the gaol in the King’s Island where they had been confined, for the purpose of occupying their places on board. Arrived at the river side, the party halted with their guard, while a small boat was let down from the vessel’s stern, and manned for the shore. It touched the strand, and received its lading of exiles. It could not hold the entire party, and Hardress, who felt a sudden and (to him) unaccountable reluctance to leave his native soil, while it was possible for him yet to feel its turf beneath his feet, petitioned to be left until the return of the pinnace.
 He looked to the misty hills of Cratloe, to the yet silent and inactive city, and over the face of the gently agitated waters. The fresh, cool light of the morning only partially revealed the scene, but the veil that rested on the face of nature became more attenuated at every instant, and the aerial perspective acquired by rapid, yet imperceptible, degrees a greater scope and clearness. Groups of bathers appeared at various distances on both sides of the river, some plunging in headlong from the lofty quays, some playing various antics in the water, and some floating quietly on the surface of the tide in the centre of the stream, while others half dressed and shivering at the brink of the sloping strands, put in a hand or foot, to ascertain the temperature of the refreshing element, before they ventured to fling off their remaining habiliments and share in the salutary recreation.
 In other respects the scene was nearly the same in appearance as it has been described in the third chapter of our first volume. Nature, always the same calm and provident benefactress, had preserved her mighty heart unchanged throughout the interval, and the same joyous serenity was still visible upon her countenance. The passions of men may convulse the frame of society, the duration of human prosperity may be uncertain as that of human woe, and centuries of ignorance, of poverty and of civil strife, may suddenly succeed to years of science and thrift and peace. But still the mighty mother holds her course unchanged. Spring succeeds winter, and summer spring, and all the harmonies of her great system move on through countless ages with the same unvarying serenity of purpose. The scene of his happy childhood evinced no sympathy with the condition of the altered Hardress.
 He turned, with an aching heart, from the contemplation of the landscape, and his eye encountered a spectacle more accordant to his present feelings. The row of houses which lined the quay on which the party halted, consisted for the most part of coffin-makers’ shops, a gloomy trade, although, to judge by the reckless faces of the workmen, it would appear that “custom had made it with them, a property of easiness.”
 Only one of those dismal houses of traffic was open at this early hour, and the light which burned in the interior showed that the proprietor was called to the exercise of his craft at this unseasonable time by some sudden and pressing call. The profession of the man was not indicated, as in more wealthy and populous cities, by a sculptured lid or glided and gaudy hatchment suspended at a window pane. A pile of the unfinished shells, formed for all ages from childhood to maturity, were thrust out at the open window to attract the eye of the relatives or the newly dead. The artificer himself appeared in the interior of his workshop, in his working dress, and, plane in hand, was employed in giving the last touch to an oaken coffin placed lengthways on his bench. Its size denoted that the intended occupant had died in the full maturity of manhood.
 While Hardress watched him plying his melancholy trade in silence, a horseman rode up to the door, and dismounted with some awkwardness and difficulty. He was a small, red-haired man, and Hardress thought that the face and manner were not altogether new to his observation. Another horseman followed, and alighted with more ease and alertness. He was tall and well formed, and Hardress shrank aside from his gaze, for in this person he recognized one of the witnesses, who had appeared against him at his trial. Leaning against one of the short posts used for the purpose of holding the cables of the shipping, and once more turning his face toward the river, Hardress listened to the conversation which ensued.
 “Sarvent kindly, Mr. Moran,” said the smaller man - “Well, is the coffin ready?”
 “What time will it be wanted?” was the reply. “The car will be here in half an hour. Father Edward bid me to step on before, in dread you wouldn’t have it done. If it t’wasn’t out of regard for him and his, indeed, I’d rather be spared the jaunt for I was always a poor horseman, and I think it jolting enough I’ll get between this and the churchyard.”
 “And where’ll he be buried?”
 “At Mungret church, westwards. His people are all buried at St. John’s, but he took it as a delight to be buried at Mungret, because it is there his daughter was buried before him.”
 A deep groan escaped the second horseman, as he said these words.
 “No wonder for you to be heart-broken!” exclaimed the first - “Old and good friends were parted when they were taken from you. The poor old man! ’Twas enough to convert a Turk to hear him on his death-bed, giving his forgiveness to all the world, and praying for his enemies. A year since, as you know well, Myles Murphy, Mihil O’Connor and his daughter were a happy pair. But he never raised his head from the day she left his floor. Well, well; ’tis thrue for father Edward, what he says, that this world would be good for nothing if there was not another.”
 At this moment a soldier touched the arm of Hardress, and pointed to the pinnace whose keel just grated on the gravelled strand. With a rigid and terrified countenance, Hardress arose, and was about to hurry down the steps leading from the quay, when his strength suddenly failed him, and he would have fallen headlong to the bottom, but for the timely aid of his escort.
 When he recovered from the confusion which this attack occasioned in his brain, he found himself seated on the deck of the vessel, her canvass wings outspread, and the shores of his native soil fleeting rapidly away on either side. He looked, as the ship swept on, to the cottage of the Daly’s. Two or three of the children in deep mourning were playing on the lawn, Lowry Looby was turning the cows into the new-mown meadow, and Mr. Daly, himself, also in deep black, was standing, case in hand, upon the steps of the hall door. The vessel still swept on, but Hardress dared not turn his eyes in the direction of Castle Chute. The dawn of the following morning beheld him tossed upon the waves of the Atlantic, and looking back to the clifted heads of the Shannon that stood like a gigantic portal opening far behind. The land of his nativity faded rapidly on his sight: but before the vessel came within sight of that of his exile, Hardress had rendered up the life which the law forebore to take!
 His mother lived long after, in the practice of the austere and humiliating works of piety, which her church prescribes for the observance of the penitent. Her manner, in the course of time, became quiet, serene, and uncomplaining, and though not so generally admired, she became more loved among her friends and her dependants, than in her days of pride, and haughtier influence.
 One circumstance may be mentioned as affording a striking proof of the deep root which her predominant failing had taken in her character. After reading the paper which Hardress had left in his cabinet, and finding that it was written under what she conceived a too humiliating sense of his unworthiness, she refrained from bestowing it as he desired. It was not until the salutary change above mentioned had been wrought in her character, and after the purpose, which the document was intended to accomplish, had been brought to pass by other means, that she complied with the parting wishes of her son.
 It was a circumstance which placed the character of Anne Chute in a noble point of view, that from the moment of the fearful discovery, recorded in the last chapter, she never once upbraided her unhappy relative with the concealment which had so nearly linked her fate with that of one whose conduct she had so much cause to view with horror. Much as she had loved Hardress, and shocked as she was by the terrible occurrences of that night, she could not look back without the feeling of one who has escaped a great and hidden danger. It would have been denying her a virtue, which she ought not to have wanted, if we said that the generosity and disinterestedness of Kyrle Daly failed eventually to produce that effect upon her feelings which it had long since done upon her reason. It was long, indeed, before this favourable indication could be suffered to appear, but it did appear, at length, after the remembrance of this unhappy story had grown faint in the course of time, and the tumult, which it had left in many bosoms, had been stilled by years, by penitence, or death. They were then united, and they were happy as earth could render hearts that looked to higher destinies and a more lasting rest. They lived long after in the practice of the duties of their place in life, and of that religion to which the guilty, and the neglectful, owe their deepest terrors, and good men their dearest consolations.
 The wretched partner in the crime of Hardress died amid all the agonies of a remorse, which made even those whose eyes had often looked upon such scenes, shrink back with fear and wonder. He owed his fate to an erring sense of fidelity, and to the limited and mischievous course of education, too common in his class; while Hardress might be looked on as the victim of his cherished vanity, and pride of self-direction.
 These events furnished Lowry Looby with matter for a great fund of philosophical eloquence, which he was fond of indulging, at even, when his pipe lit freely, and the fire shone bright upon the hearth. This faithful servant lived long enough to enjoy the honours of a freehold in his native County of Clare, and to share it with the careful housewife who was accustomed to provide for his wants with so much affectionate care at the Dairy Cottage. His name, I understand, was found upon the poll-books at the late memorable election in that county; but on which side of the question he bestowed his voice is more than my utmost industry has enabled me to ascertain.
 Reader, if you have shuddered at the excesses into which he plunged, examine your own heart, and see if it hide nothing of the intellectual pride, and volatile susceptibility of new impressions, which were the ruin of Hardress Cregan. If, besides the amusement which these pages may have afforded, you should learn anything from such research for the avoidance of evil, or the pursuit of good, it will not be in vain that we have penned the story of our two COLLEGIANS.

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