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They'd turn upon their own father, if he wint agin them," replied the driver solemnly. "See now, here I am, drivin' the masther's own gig to town just be way of a blin', ye see, while he's got to slip down the strame in Jimmy Sheridan's bit of a boat. Ah, thim politics, thim politics!"
As he said this the man prodded the driver
"Oh, then, there's an election about to take with the end of his gun, while I-I actually place, I presume?" laughed outright at the strangeness of the affair.
"Thrue for ye, your honour, thrue for ye," replied the man dolefully. "There nivir was such a ruction in Sligo before, in the mimiry of man. Two lawyers a-fightin' like divils to see who's to be mimbir."
"Down in the sate! down, for your life!" cried the driver, as in his terror he brought the horse to a halt. "I——”
"I'm raale downright sorry, your honour," replied the man, in just such a tone as he might have used had he trod upon my toe by accident; "but ye see you're in Wolff O'Neil's gig, an' I took ye for him.-Where's that fellow Michael?"
His speech was cut short by a couple of loud reports. A lance-like line of fire gushed from the hedge, and one, if not two, bullets whizzed close past my ear.
As I sprang to my feet in the gig, the driver slid down to the mat, and lay there in a heap, moaning. 'Are you hurt?" I asked, as I strove to get the reins out of his palsied hands. "I'm kilt, kilt intirely!" he moaned.
Aisy now, aisy there, your honour!" cried a voice from behind the hedge just as I had gained the reins. "It's all a mistake, your honour, all a mistake!"
“Give the mare the whip! give the mare the whip!" cried the driver, as he strove to crawl under the seat; "we'll all be murthered!"
"Then I'm just in time to see the fun.” "Fun, your honour?" echoed the man. "It's not meself that 'id object to a bit of a scrimmage now an' agin. But it's murther your | I'll——” honour 'll see before it's all over, or my name isn't Michael O'Connor. Whist now! Did ye hear nothin' behin' that hedge there?"
At this moment we were about the middle of a rather lonesome stretch of the road, one side of which was bounded by a high thin hedge. The dusk of the evening was fast giving way to the gloom of night.
"I-ah-yes, surely there is something moving there," I replied. "It's some animal, most likely."
Instead of taking his advice, however, I held the mare steady, while a man pressed through the thin hedge and stood before us, a yet smoking gun on his shoulder.
"What's the meaning of this?" I asked coolly, for the new-comer's coolness affected me. "Did you want to murder a person you never saw before?"
"Go away with ye, go away!" moaned the driver. "Murther! thaves! murther!"
"Get up with ye, an' take the reins, you gomeril you," said the man, as he gave Michael another prod that brought him half out. "You're as big a coward as my old granny's pet calf. Get up, an' take the reins, or
"Oh, don't; there, don't say nothin', for the love of heaven," cried the driver, as he scrambled into his seat again and took the reins in his shaking hands. "I'll do anythin' ye till me, on'y put that gun away."
"There," replied the man, as he lowered the gun till its mouth pointed to the ground; “will that plase ye? Now, tell me where's Squire O'Neil?"
"He's in the town be this," replied the driver. "O thim politics, thim politics!" "Hum; so he's managed to get past us, after all. Well, tell him from me, Captain Rock, that if he votes for the sarjint to-morrow, it's an ounce of lead out of this he'll be after trying to digest. Now mind."
“I'll tell him, captain, dear! I'll tell him,” replied the driver, as he fingered the reins and whip nervously. "But mayn't we go on now? mayn't we go on?"
"Yis, whiniver the gentleman plases," replied the man. "An' I'm raale sorry, as I told your honour, I'm raale sorry at the mistake."
"Well, I'm pleased, not sorry," I replied, laughing, "for if you'd hit me it wouldn't have been at all pleasant. But let me advise you to make sure of your man next time before firing. Good-night."
"Good-night, your honour, good-night," cried the man, as Michael gave the mare the whip, and sent her along at the top of her speed to the now fast-nearing lights of the town. In less than a quarter of an hour we had dashed through the streets and halted opposite a large hotel. Here Michael found his master, as he expected; and here I put up for the night, very much to the astonishment of every one. Soon after my arrival I
asked to be shown to my room; but it was one o'clock in the morning before the other guests ceased their noise and allowed me to go to sleep. Next day I slept rather late, and might have slept even later, but that I was rudely shaken out of a pleasant dream by a wild howl, as of a thousand demons just let loose. Starting up quickly, and looking out on the street, I saw that it was filled with a fierce-looking crowd, out of whose many mouths had proceeded the yell that wakened me. Dragging on my clothes I rushed down to the coffee-room. There I learned that the people outside had just accompanied Squire O'Neil back from the polling-place, where he had been the first to vote for "the sarjint." Now that this fact had become generally known, they were clamorous that he should be sent out to them, "to tear him limb from limb." Presently, while their cries rose loud and long, the squire entered the room-a tall, military-looking man, with a little of a horsey tone, nose like a hawk, eyes dark, yet glowing like fire.
"They don't seem over-fond of me, I see," he said with a smile, as he bowed to those in the room, and advanced to one of the windows and coolly opened it. Waving his hand, the crowd became instantly silent.
"Now, don't be in a hurry, gentlemen," he said, in a clear voice that must have been distinctly heard by every one. "You shall have the honour of my company so soon as my horse can be harnessed, I assure you."
the grating sound of the opening of some big door almost under us. I looked inquiringly at my companion.
"It's the entry doors being opened to let the wolf out," he said in reply. "Ah! there he is."
As my companion spoke he griped me by the arm, and dragged me close against a space between two windows. Next moment a shower of stones crashed through the windows, leaving not a single inch of glass unbroken. Then, at longer or shorter intervals, volley followed volley, till the floor of the room was completely covered with road metal and broken glass. Presently there was a lull in the storm, and the crowd became all at once as silent as the grave. In the hush I could distinctly hear
I glanced out of the window, and saw the squire alone in his gig, a smile on his face, his whole bearing as cool and unconcerned as if there was not a single enemy within a thousand miles. Then I heard the great doors clang to, and as they did so the crowd gave vent to a howl of delighted rage.
At the first appearance of the squire in his gig the people had swayed back, and left an open space in front of the hotel. Now they seemed about to close in on him, and one man in the front stooped to lift a stone. Quick as lightning the hand of the squire went to his breast, and just as the man stood upright to throw, I heard the sharp crack of a pistol. The man uttered a wild shriek of pain, clapped his hands to his cheeks, and plunged into the crowd. The bullet had entered at one cheek and gone out at the other, after tearing away a few teeth in its passage. The man was the very person who had made the mistake in shooting at me over-night.
"A near nick that for our friend," said the squire in his clear voice, while the crowd swayed back a pace or two. "But the next will be nearer still, and I've nearly half-adozen still left. Now, will any of you oblige me by stooping to lift a stone!"
"Eh, what! what does he mean?” I asked of a person next me. "Surely he will not venture out among these howling fiends?"
"That is just what he is going to do," re- "No? you won't oblige me?" he said preplied my companion. "There is no use talk-sently, with a sneer. Then fierce as if charging to him. He has given orders for the ing in some world-famous battle: "Out of my mare and gig to be got ready, and it's as much way, you scoundrels! Faugh-a-ballagh!” as any one's life is worth to try to stop him. Wolff by name, and wolf by nature; he's enraged at having to steal down here last night like a thief. Ah, there the fun begins! Look out!"
At the word he jerked the reins slightly, and the mare moved forward at a trot, with head erect and bearing as proud as if she knew a conquerer sat behind her. Then, in utter silence, the crowd swayed to right and left leaving a wide alley, down which the squire drove as gaily as if the whole thing were some pleasant show. When he had disappeared the crowd closed to again, utterly crestfallen. Then for a short time the whole air was filled with their chattering one to another, like the humming of innumerable bees; and presently without a shout, and without a single stone being thrown, the great mass melted away.
Next morning, at an early hour, I left Sligo
He paused and glanced 1ound, while every man in the crowd held his breath and stood still as a statue.
SELECTIONS FROM WHOSE WRITINGS ARE GIVEN IN THIS WORK.
LIST OF THE AUTHORS,
Alexander, Mrs., .
Armstrong, Edmund John, iv.
Armstrong, George Francis,
Callanan, James Joseph,
Casey, E. O. B.,
Casey, John Keegan,
Centlivre, Mrs. Susanna,
Cobbe, Frances Power,
Coyne, Joseph Stirling,
Croker, Thomas Crofton,
Crowe, Eyre Evans,
Curran, John Philpot,
Barrett, Eaton Stannard,
Blackburne, E. Owens,
Boyle, John, Earl of Cork, .
Boyle, Roger, Earl of Orrery,
Davis, Thomas Osborne,
Delany, Patrick, .
Dufferin, Earl of,
iii. 211 Higgins, Matthew James,
Hall, Mrs. S. C., .
Halpine, Charles Graham,.
Hamilton, Sir Wm. Rowan, iii.