« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
excited my curiosity, was concealed under the | when the door should be opened, and before shadow of the dark side of the quadrangle. I they should have discovered the identity of placed my hand over my eyes to shade them the occupant of the bed, to creep noiselessly from the moonlight, which was so bright as to from the room, and then to trust to Providence be almost dazzling, and, peering into the dark- for escape. In order to facilitate this scheme, ness, I first dimly, but afterwards gradually, I removed all the lumber which I had heaped almost with full distinctness, beheld the form against the door; and I had nearly completed of a man engaged in digging what appeared to my arrangements, when I perceived the room be a rude hole close under the wall. Some im- suddenly darkened by the close approach of plements, probably a shovel and pickaxe, lay some shadowy object to the window. On beside him, and to these he every now and turning my eyes in that direction, I observed then applied himself as the nature of the at the top of the casement, as if suspended ground required. He pursued his task rapid- from above, first the feet, then the legs, then ly, and with as little noise as possible. "So," the body, and at length the whole figure of a thought I, as shovelful after shovelful the disman present itself. It was Edward T--n. lodged rubbish mounted into a heap, "they He appeared to be guiding his descent so as are digging the grave in which, before two to bring his feet upon the centre of the stone hours pass, I must lie, a cold, mangled corpse. block which occupied the lower part of the I am theirs-I cannot escape." I felt as if my window; and having secured his footing upon reason was leaving me. I started to my feet, this, he kneeled down and began to gaze into and in mere despair I applied myself again to the room. As the moon was gleaming into each of the two doors alternately. I strained the chamber, and the bed curtains were drawn, every nerve and sinew, but I might as well he was able to distinguish the bed itself and have attempted, with my single strength, to its contents. He appeared satisfied with his force the building itself from its foundation. scrutiny, for he looked up and made a sign I threw myself madly upon the ground, and with his hand, upon which the rope by which clasped my hands over my eyes as if to shut his descent had been effected was slackened out the horrible images which crowded upon from above, and he proceeded to disengage it me. The paroxysm passed away. I prayed from his waist: this accomplished, he applied once more with the bitter, agonized fervour of his hands to the window-frame, which must one who feels that the hour of death is present have been ingeniously contrived for the purand inevitable. When I arose I went once pose, for with apparently no resistance the more to the window and looked out, just in whole frame, containing casement and all, time to see a shadowy figure glide stealthily slipped from its position in the wall, and was along the wall. The task was finished. The by him lowered into the room. The cold catastrophe of the tragedy must soon be accom- night waved the bed-curtains, and he paused plished. I determined now to defend my life for a moment-all was still again—and he to the last; and that I might be able to do so stepped in upon the floor of the room. He with some effect, I searched the room for held in his hand what appeared to be a steel something which might serve as a weapon; instrument, shaped something like a hammer, but either through accident, or from an anti- but larger and sharper at the extremities. cipation of such a possibility, everything which This he held rather behind him, while, with might have been made available for such a three long tip-toe strides, he brought himself purpose had been carefully removed. I must to the bedside. I felt that the discovery must thus die tamely and without an effort to de- now be made, and held my breath in momentfend myself. A thought suddenly struck me ary expectation of the execration in which he -might it not be possible to escape through would vent his surprise and disappointment. the door, which the assassin must open in order I closed my eyes-there was a pause--but it to enter the room? I resolved to make the was a short one. I heard two dull blows, attempt. I felt assured that the door through given in rapid succession: a quivering sigh, which ingress to the room would be effected and the long-drawn, heavy breathing of the was that which opened upon the lobby. It sleeper was for ever suspended. I unclosed was the more direct way, besides being, for my eyes, and saw the murderer fling the quilt obvious reasons, less liable to interruption across the head of his victim: he then, with than the other. I resolved then to place my- the instrument of death still in his hand, proself behind a projection of the wall, whose ceeded to the lobby door, upon which he tapped shadow would serve fully to conceal me, and sharply twice or thrice-a quick step was then
heard approaching, and a voice whispered something from without-Edward answered, with a kind of chuckle," Her ladyship is past complaining; unlock the door, in the devil's name, unless you're afraid to come in, and help me to lift the body out of the window." The key was turned in the lock-the door opened -and my uncle entered the room. I have told you already that I had placed myself under the shade of a projection of the wall, close to the door. I had instinctively shrunk down cowering towards the ground on the entrance of Edward through the window. When my uncle entered the room, he and his son both stood so very close to me that his hand was every moment upon the point of touching my face. I held my breath, and remained motionless as death.
was to be lost. I passed through the door, which was only closed, and moved as rapidly as I could, consistently with stillness, along the lobby. Before I had gone many yards I heard the door through which I had just passed double locked on the inside. I glided down the stairs in terror, lest, at every corner, I should meet the murderer or one of his accomplices. I reached the hall, and listened for a moment to ascertain whether all was silent around; no sound was audible; the parlour windows opened on the park, and through one of them I might, I thought, easily effect my escape. Accordingly, I hastily entered; but, to my consternation, a candle was burning in the room, and by its light I saw a figure seated at the dinner-table, upon which lay glasses, bottles, and the other
"You had no interruption from the next accompaniments of a drinking party. There room?" said my uncle.
"No," was the brief reply.
"Secure the jewels, Ned; the French harpy must not lay her claws upon them. You're a steady hand, by G-; not much blood-eh?" "Not twenty drops," replied his son, "and those on the quilt."
“I'm glad it's over," whispered my uncle again; we must lift the the thing through the window, and lay the rubbish over it."
was no other means of escape, so I advanced with a firm step and collected mind to the window. I noiselessly withdrew the bars and unclosed the shutters-I pushed open the casement, and, without waiting to look behind me, I ran with my utmost speed, scarcely feeling the ground under me, down the avenue, taking care to keep upon the grass which bordered it. I did not for a moment slack my speed, and I had now gained the centre point between the park gate and the mansionhouse-here the avenue made a wider circuit, and in order to avoid delay, I directed my way across the smooth sward round which the pathway wound, intending, at the opposite side of the flat, at a point which I distinguished by a group of old birch trees, to enter again upon the beaten track, which was from thence tolerably direct to the gate. I had, with my utmost speed, got about half-way across this broad flat when the rapid treading of a horse's hoofs struck upon my ear. My heart swelled in my bosom, as though I would smother. The clattering of galloping hoofs approached -I was pursued-they were now upon the sward on which I was running-there was
He proceeded, with an accuracy which, had I been more at ease, would have furnished me with matter of astonishment, to lay his hand upon the very spot where my jewels lay; and having possessed himself of them, he called to
"Is the rope made fast above?"
"I'm not a fool-to be sure it is," replied not a bush or a bramble to shelter me—and,
They then turned to the bedside, and, winding the bed-clothes round the body, carried it between them slowly to the window, and, exchanging a few brief words with some one below, they shoved it over the window sill, and I heard it fall heavily on the ground underneath.
"I'll take the jewels," said my uncle; "there are two caskets in the lower drawer."
They then lowered themselves from the window. I now rose lightly and cautiously, scarcely daring to breathe, from my place of concealment, and was creeping towards the door, when I heard my cousin's voice, in a sharp whisper, exclaim, "Scramble up again; G-d d-n you, you've forgot to lock the door;" and I perceived, by the straining of the rope which hung from above, that the mandate was instantly obeyed. Not a second
as if to render escape altogether desperate, the moon, which had hitherto been obscured, at this moment shone forth with a broad clear light, which made every object distinctly visible. The sounds were now close behind me. I felt my knees bending under me, with the sensation which torments one in dreams. I reeled -I stumbled—I fell—and at the same instant the cause of my alarm wheeled past me at full gallop. It was one of the young fillies which pastured loose about the park, whose frolics
had thus all but maddened me with terror. | There was trial by jury goin' on by daylight,
| An' the martial-law hangin' the lavings by night.
With the heath for their barrack, revenge for
I scrambled to my feet, and rushed on with
Deep and fervent as must always be my gratitude to Heaven for my deliverance, effected by a chain of providential occurrences, the failing of a single link of which must have insured my destruction, I was long before I could look back upon it with other feelings than those of bitterness, almost of agony. The only being that had ever really loved me, my nearest and dearest friend, ever ready to sympathize, to counsel, and to assist-the gayest, the gentlest, the warmest heart-the only creature on earth that cared for me- her life had been the price of my deliverance; and I then uttered the wish-which no event of my long and sorrowful life has taught me to recall that she had been spared, and that in her stead I were mouldering in the grave forgotten and at rest.
Jist after the war, in the year 'Ninety-Eight,
An' the bravest an' honestest boy of thim all
But his face was as pale as the face of the dead,
An' for all that, he wasn't an ugly young boy,
In fencin' he gave Patrick Mooney a cut,
For, by heavens, he'd almost outrun the red deer;
An' the women turn crazy, he did it so quare;
An' it's he was the boy that was hard to be caught,
But the fox must sleep sometimes, the wild deer must rest,
An' treachery prey on the blood of the best:
Now, Shemus! look back on the beautiful moon,
Farewell to the forest, farewell to the hill,
An' they read a big writin', a yard long at laste,
An' farewell to the friends that will think of you An' Shemus didn't see it, nor mind it a taste.
An' the judge took a big pinch of snuff, an' he says:
"Are you guilty or not, Jim O'Brien, if you plaise?"
An' all held their breath in the silence of dread,
An' twelve sojers brought him to Maryborough An' Shemus O'Brien made answer an' said:
Farewell to the patthern, the hurlin', an' wake, An' farewell to the girl that would die for your sake!
An' with irons secured him, refusin' all bail.
An' he lay down his length on the cold prison Though I stood by the grave to receive my death
As gentle and soft as the sweet summer air;
An' the dhrames of his childhood kem over him Before God an' the world I would answer you No!
An' he sprang to his feet in the dark prison cave,
For undaunted he lived, and undaunted he'd die.
Well, as soon as a few weeks were over an' gone,
An' sojers on guard, an' dragoons sword in hand;
An' attorneys and criers on the point of being
An' counsellors almost gave over for dead,
"My lord, if you ask me if in my lifetime
An' then looked on the bars, so firm and so strong;
But if you would ask me, as I think it like,
An' fought for ould Ireland, from the first to the
An' shed the heart's blood of her bitterest foes-
In her cause I was willin' my veins should run dry,
Then the silence was great, and the jury smiled
An' the judge wasn't sorry the job was made light;
Then Shemus's mother, in the crowd standin' by,
He was foolish-he didn't know what he was doin'!
He's the kindliest crathur, the tinderest-hearted;
Don't part us for ever, we that's so long parted! Judge mavourneen, forgive him-forgive him, my lord!
An' God will forgive you-oh! don't say the word!"
That was the first minit O'Brien was shaken,
For one minute he turned his eyes round on the But at last, by the strength of his high-mounting throng, pride,
He conquered an' mastered his grief's swelling tide; An' says he "Mother, don't-don't break your poor heart!
Sure, sooner or later, the dearest must part.
An' God knows it's better than wand'ring in fear 67
On the bleak trackless mountain among the wild Bang! bang! go the carbines, an' clash go the deer,
To be in the grave, where the heart, head, an' He's not down! he's alive! now attend to him, breast
From labour an' sorrow for ever shall rest.
An' that minit the solemn death-sentence was said.
The mornin' was bright, an' the mists rose on high,
An' why does the long rope hang from the cross
O Shemus O'Brien, pray fervent an' fast!
Pray fast an' pray strong, for the moment is nigh, When strong, proud, an' great as you are, you must die!
At last they drew open the big prison gate,
On, on to the gallows the sheriffs are gone,
An' at every side swellin' around iv the cart,
Now under the gallows the car takes its stand,
By one shout from the people the heavens are shaken
An' Shemus O'Brien throws one look around.
Young faces turn sickly, an' warm hearts turn chill;
One shout that the dead of the world might awaken. Your swords they may glitter, your carbines go bang,
But if you want hangin' 'tis yourselves you must
To-night he'll be sleepin' in Aherloe glin,
An' fined like the divil, because Jim done them
A week after this time, without firin' a cannon,
The very next spring-a bright mornin' in May,
An' as for the dragoons-them paid men of
Say I love them as well as the devil loves holy
An' now, my good mother, one word of advice-
And the good priest has left him, havin' said his An' come straight across to the town of New York; An' there ask the mayor the best way to go
But the good priest did more-for his hands he To the town of Cincinnati-the state Ohio: