Page images


the appointed hour Meara had his orders rendy for bim. He had two lelier's wrillen, one to Nojah's father as from a friend of bis brother's at Rathkeale requesting doim not 10 lose one

in selling off for liis residuriee it be expected 10 see him alive ; the other was for Norah herself requesting an immediate interview

at all appointed place. He direcitd the boy to call at daybreak; 10 state ibat be was directed not to lose one moment in delivering it ; that he had travelled all vighi and never stopped on his way. . As pour Jem was known about the comiry as a laithlal messenger this accourt appeared the more probable, and the opening dawn of the morning saw the old inan on his miserable back speeding to'vards Rathheale. 'Haring delivered his letter to Norah, Jein was directed to watch for Shune Buie and mislead buim as much as possible als to the consents of the letter, as the pe could be no doubt that he would hasten aller his uncle if he heard that his father was ill. That he should not learn any wing of the matter from the old man before his return Nieara felt perfectly Silisted, for the miser would' noi run the risk of being requested, much less obliged to take him behind hins on the herse.

As soon as the bour lo meeting her lover approached, Norah left her larber's bouise, but she bad entered ibe Glen tre she could distinguish the awkward form of her cousin sloping along the brow of the common. Having tuned aside to avoid discovery and taken a more circulous font she let him to proceed on his way. When Sol. livan drew near to bis uncle's habiiation he was niet by poor Jem, who pretending not to see him was singing in a strain of cracked melody

“ Wanst more agin
“III walk the line

“ lu sarch op my own thrue love!" Then coming forward as il he had upexpectedly met Sullivan he pulled the foreluck of his bair in wukien oi respect and said "Morrow Misther! will yee's "give us a halfpenny 10 buy marvels ?"

To be sure I will, Jenny ny boy, when you get me the ibing you kuow! Did you fiud ibe' mure's nest for me yet, Jeriny?"

“Be gannies, I was hunting for it all day Sunday, Sir, an' shure I seen the goolden egys, Sir; an' whare dues yer honour think I seen 'ein ?"

“Where, Jemmr?"

Jist whure yer honour's standing; afore Miss Norah Sullie van's door!

“No! Jemmy; you're not in earnest;" said Sullivan, not perceiving the irony of the boy's remark.

“Iss, Sir; an' when I was running to tell yer honour, a fairy came an’ wuipt 'em all away from me so he did, for all ihe world like Capt. Meara; "Iss, 'Sir; 'an" ihal's as ihrue' as ihe shione uu' the hill bey uut."


"Hold yonr tongue you young natoral;" replied Sullivan, DOST advancing and knocking at ihe door.

"Arrah, Misther Sullivan, shure it's not going to buck his bt in an inply hinde yees are this mornin! The ould daddy went off 10 Rathkeale wid piss Norah this mornin airly an' 's not to be back alore the day aller to-morrow!"

“Is that the way with them!” he replied not a litle disappointed; "and did the old man leave yo message for me?"

• Sorra taste a word he said to me, Misther Sullivan; but will I run an' ax hio? I'll 101 be a minnit !"

"Is il running to Rathkeale you're talking of, you fool! Hold your prale, and the skewer to you!"

“Will yecs give us a halfpenny Sir!"

“I'll give you a kick in the backside, you nip; be off with yourself or I'll make a marvel of you 19 the world's end" so saying, the disappoimed suitor turned from the door and sought his home.

About a mile on the lower side of Glyn, by the river side is a small nook sheltered by Willows and reeds which grow on the marshy tanks that project the inner fils. It was to this nook that Voral: bastened io meet her lover, and here she fouud hầm wailing auxious'y for her a rival.

Well, Norah; so you're come at last !" "I am, Mr. Ned; and now that I'm here what do you want with me, that made you send for me so early this morning?"

In a few words Mearą told her of the occurrences of the past night and of bis plaus, to frustrate, is possible, the intentions of Sullivan; she heard him with much attention and then said quietly,

My father will be mad all out, when be comes home and finds ibat you have done it!"

I intend sending Jemmy away for a few weeks, and then the old man will be loiled !"

“ There is no use in it;" sbe replied : “"lis more than likely that be bas 10ld it all before now; I siw Shane Buie going up to the bouse as I came down the gleo, and I hid myself will be passed 10 binder his seeing me. Jemmy was then before him!"

“I know be was, Norah; for 1 desired hiin to wait for bim and mislead him about his uncle !"

[ocr errors]

" "l'is no use I tell you, Ned; Shane is too deep for the likes of bim!”

"Well, Norah, what do you say now? Will you come with ine, or wait until your father comes bone and forces you to marry him po

10 go

" Is it nou you mean !"-said the girl, looking him full in bis face while the crimson blush covered her checks and neck,

“Now, if you will, Norah! But ir noi now say when! Remem, ber that Shane Boie will use every artifice 10 evrage your father and that he will most probably consent to your marriage ai unce!"

“Listen to me, Ned! I will not marry Shaue Brie, if it was lo cost me my life! and I will not go with you unless you have a priest to the fore!"

" And will you come with me, if I bring a priest to marry is ? 10 I bring a priest 10 my own house, will you come then with ide and we shall be married ?"

"I will Ned, provided you promise me and swear to me by this cross" said she taking up ioo twigs from the ground and fix. ing them in the shape of a crucifix ; " that


will not ask me without

yon have a priest at the house before me!" Meara took the livile crucifix and kissing it swore solemnly 10 the girl that it should be as she desired. “Now, Norah dear! since I have sworn to this will you co:ng to-night, and I can easily bring a priest from Askealon lo be there before you!"

During this conversation, Norah trembled violently; and now that she had fully coir.milled herself she was quite overwhelmed hy hier

feeling and burst into a Avud of lears. The prospect of leaving her father's house without his sanction and during his ab. sence terrified her; while the prospect of being married to her cousin contrary to her will deprived her of the resolution she had formed of refusing a hasty marriage. At the sanie time the certainty as she thought of being secured to Meara as his wise and the hope that her father would afterwards consent to receive them; together with the escape from Shane Buie's solicitations were too much for her already tried heart, destilnte as she was of friends to con. suult with or to protect her. She cried bitterly for some time silting on the bank and rocking herself mourutully from side 10 side with her face hid in her hands.

“Wurrab sthrue, but 'lis I that's to be pitied this day without mother or sister or brother to speak to or advise with! Oh father dear, if you were the father to

me that you ought to be, 'lis a happy girl i'd be this morning, and not going to leave you in this way ; dear, dear, wbat will I do at all at all! My heart is breaking within me when 'tis siuging I ought to be with the little birds in the glen is all was as it should be !"

So saying, Novah's tears Boxed doubly fast and she wrung her hands in an agony of distraction. Meara tried to soothe her feels ings, and after some time, parıly thru' his assistance and partly from the exhausted state of her own feelings she gradually became wore tranquil.

Tbere's no use in delaying what must be done before long,


80 for

Ned! So in the name of God let it be to-night. Bit I will not touch one farthing of tlie money !"

“Well! Norah, just as you please! To tell you the truth, I do not see any barro in a person's taking what is their own and what musl come in thein sometime or other; but if you don't like to take it 'lis no

The only thing is that we'll want to give the priest a treat of something besides his dues and I have not got much money about me."

“Wbisht Ned, whisbı; say no more about it; I will not take the money, I will not roh my father and leave him pernyless and childless logether; No, Ned say no more about it now."

“Very well; I will not; now about our meeting to-vight; at what hour shall s

" Wavst more agin
"I'll walk the glin

“Ir sarch of my own thrue love !" Said a roice. Turning round they satv poor Jemmy worning his way through the sedges towards the spot where they were sitting.

“ How now, Sirrah;" said Meara impatiently. What do you wanı here ?"

" Stop Ned!" said Norah laying her band upon his arm; may be he can tell us, what he said to Shane Buie! 'morrow Jemmy!" " 'Morrow misther--ma'in I mane !--Wanst more agin, I'll walk"

Silence, Sirrah !" said Meara 'Stop that squeaking windpipe of yours, or I'll give it a bath in the river that will moisten it 10 some purpose! did you see Mr. Sullivan P"_“I did Sir!"

“ Well, what did he say to you ?"

" Ne toull me, Sur, that he'd give me a ha!l-penny to buy marvels when he cum home !"

“ Come home from where?- Where did he go to ?”. " He locked the dôôr an' put the kay in his pocket an' rode aff fair an' aisy !" "You stupid doll--- 'tis of Shane Buie I'm speaking ! Did yon-!"

Stop Ned, leave the gorsoon 10 me! Did you see Shane, Jem• Did I see him is it? Iss ma'm!"

tell what he said 10 you like a good boy and I'll give you a ball-penny!"

Thank you Miss ! He axed me, Sur:-no I axed him he going io buckwhisht in

an empiy bonse; an' he then axed me whare you wor; an' I said, say's I, the onld daddy is gone so Rakkeale, wid Miss Norah, this mornin' airly. Now Miss, will you give us the hall-penny ?"

my ?"

« Well,

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

"Stop a while, Jeminy, 'till we're done ; what did he say to you then ?
“He said that he would kick my backside, an'make a marvel ov me !"
“What else did he say, Sirrali," said Meara angrily.
· He said nothing na'm-sur I mane!"
“Did you see him since, Jemmy! which way did he go when he left you ?"
• He wen:

down the glon Miss; an' I since seen him riding Mr. Moony's barse aliber the ould daddy !"

“The devil you did!”— vaid Meara so violently as to make prog Jemmy scamper off us fast as he would.

“Norah;" said be, after a moments deliberation, “Shane Bnie will overtake your father, and finding that you are not with him be will bring bim back, especially as his not having received a message of his father's illness will look suspicious. There is only one thing for it and that is for 10 come home with me at once, and when I have left you there, I will go for the priesi.”

Alas poor Norah; surrounded by difficulties; already under the seductive nitluence ol her lover's sophistry; and Icarful of the effects of her father's anger, she thought of no alternative; so reluctantly following in his paili they silently proceeded along the sbure until they came within a mile of his house; when entering the skiri of Beech mount Copse, they traced their way upobserved to the residence of Edmund Meara, and Norah passed the threshold that led to ruin and to death. No marriage riles were coufirmed by the blessing of the priest; nor could entrealy-resistance~or renewed supplication shake the purpose of her seducer. Edmund Meara had his pres within his grasp, and he possessed too little of either shame, compunction or fear to be induced by her remonsurances to relinquish it.

When old Sullivan returned and ascertained that his money was untouched, he at first gave way 10 the griess which he really selo for the loss of his daughter's society. By degrees however Le became reconciled to it and made up his iniud to bear with her absence suoner ihan receive either her or him. Meara gave out through the village that they were privately married, and she was unwilling to circulate her own shame by contradicting the report. Still as the name of the priest who performed the ceremony was never stated, doubls were afloat among the neighbours which once or iwice came bitterly to Norah's ears. In addition to this trouble she was just beginning to experience the sad consequences of her union will a man of his reprobate mind. Scarcely bad four months elapsed ere he exhibited unequivocal signs of indifference, nay at times, of dislike. Often he would absent himself from her during the night and on his reluin avoid any allusion to the cause of her tears and the state of her health. Latierly she had ceased to press for a marriage thro' sear of rousing his anger; and by every gentle und affectionale means in her power she strove to wake his homo

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »