The Black Baronet; or, The Chronicles Of Ballytrain - The Works of William Carleton, Volume One
by William Carleton
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"Who is that broad-shouldered man," asked the stranger, "dressed in rusty black, with the red head?"

"He went mad," replied the conductor, "on a principle of religious charity. He is a priest from the county of Wexford, who had been called in to baptize the child of a Protestant mother, which, having done, he seized a tub, and placing it on the child's neck, killed it; exclaiming, 'I am now sure of having sent one soul to heaven.'"

"You are not without poets here, of course?" said the stranger.

"We have, unfortunately," replied the other, "more individuals of that class than we can well manage. They ought to have an asylum for themselves. There's a fellow, now, he in the tattered jacket and nightcap, who has written a heroic poem, of eighty-six thousand verses, which he entitles 'Balaam's Ass, or the Great Unsaddled.' Shall I call him over?"

"Oh, for heaven's sake, no," replied the stranger; "keep me from the poets."

"There is one of the other species," replied the gentleman, "the thin, red-eyed fellow, who grinds his teeth. He fancies himself a wit and a satirist, and is the author of an unpublished poem, called 'The Smoking Dunghill, or Parnassus in a Fume.' He published several things, which were justly attacked on account of their dulness, and he is now in an awful fury against all the poets of the day, to every one of whom he has given an appropriate position on the sublime pedestal, which he has, as it were, with his own hands, erected for them. He certainly ought to be the best constructor of a dunghill in the world, for he deals in nothing but dirt. He refuses to wash his hands, because, he says, it would disqualify him from giving the last touch to his poem and his characters."

"Have you philosophers as well as poets here?" asked the stranger.

"Oh dear, yes, sir. We have poetical philosophers, and philosophical poets; but, I protest to heaven, the wisdom of Solomon, or of an archangel, could not decide the difference between their folly. There's a man now, with the old stocking in his hand—it is one of his own, for you may observe that he has one leg bare—who is pacing up and down in a deep thinking mood. That man, sir, was set mad by a definition of his own making."

"Well, let us hear it," said the stranger.

"Why, sir, he imagines that he has discovered a definition for 'nothing.' The definition, however, will make you smile."

"And what, pray, is it?"

"Nothing," he says, "is—a footless stocking without a leg; and maintains that he ought to hold the first rank as a philosopher for having invented the definition, and deserves a pension from the crown."

"Who are these two men dressed in black, walking arm in arm?" asked the stranger. "They appear to be clergymen."

"Yes, sir," replied his conductor, "so they are; two celebrated polemical controversialists, who, when they were at large, created by their attacks, each upon the religion of the other, more ill-will, rancor and religious animosity, than either of their religions, with all their virtues, could remove. It is impossible to describe the evil they did. Ever since they came here, however, they are like brothers. They were placed in the same room, each in a strong strait-waistcoat, for the space of three months; but on being allowed to walk about, they became sworn friends, and now amuse themselves more than any other two in the establishment. They indulge in immoderate fits of laughter, look each other knowingly in the face, wink, and run the forefinger up the nose, after which their mirth bursts out afresh, and they laugh until the tears come down their cheeks."

The stranger, who during all this time was on the lookout for poor Fenton, as was old Corbet, could observe nobody who resembled him in the least.

"Have you females in your establishment?" he asked.

"No, sir," replied the gentleman; "but we are about to open an asylum for them in a detached building, which is in the course of being erected. Would you wish to hear any further details of these unhappy beings," he asked.

"No, sir," replied the stranger. "You are very kind and obliging, but I have heard enough for the present. Have you a person named Fenton in your establishment?"

"Not, sir, that I know of; he may be here, though; but you had better inquire from the proprietor himself, who—mark me, sir—I say—harkee—you have humanity in your face—will probably refuse to tell you whether he is here or not, or deny him altogether. Harkee, again, sir—the fellow is a villain—that is, entre nous, but mum's the word between us."

"I am sorry," replied the stranger, "to hear such a character of him from you, who should know him."

"Well, sir," replied the other, "let that pass—verbum sap. And now tell me, when have you been at the theater?"

"Not for some months," returned the other.

"Have you ever heard Catalani shake?"

"Yes," replied the stranger. "I have had that pleasure."

"Well, sir, I'm delighted that you have heard her, for there is but one man living who can rival her in the shake; and, sir, you have the honor of addressing that man."

This was said so mildly, calmly, rationally, and with that gentlemanlike air of undoubted respectability, which gives to an assertion such an impress of truth, that the stranger, confused as he was by what he had seen, felt it rather difficult to draw the line at the moment, especially in such society, between a sane man and an insane one.

"Would you wish, sir," said the guide, "to hear a specimen of my powers?"

"If you please," replied the stranger, "provided you will confine yourself to the shake."

The other then commenced a squall, so tuneless, wild, jarring, and unmusical, that the stranger could not avoid smiling at the monomaniac, for such he at once perceived him to be.

"You seem to like that," observed the other, apparently much gratified; "but I thought as much, sir—you are a man of taste."

"I am decidedly of opinion," said the stranger, "that Catalani, in her best days, could not give such a specimen of the shake as that."

"Thank you sir," replied the singer, taking off his hat and bowing. "We shall have another shake in honor of your excellent judgment, but it will be a shake of the hand. Sir, you are a polished and most accomplished gentleman."

As they sauntered up and down the room, other symptoms reached them besides those that were then subjected to their sight. As a door opened, a peal of wild laughter might be heard—sometimes groaning—and occasionally the most awful blasphemies. Ambition contributed a large number to its dreary cells. In fact, one would imagine that the house had been converted into a temple of justice, and contained within its walls most of the crowned heads and generals of Europe, both living and dead, together with a fair sample of the saints. The Emperor of Russia was strapped down to a chair that had been screwed into the floor, with the additional security of a strait-waistcoat to keep his majesty quiet. The Pope challenged Henry the Eighth to box, and St. Peter, as the cell door opened, asked Anthony Corbet for a glass of whiskey. Napoleon Bonaparte, in the person of a heroic tailor, was singing "Bob and Joan;" and the Archbishop of Dublin said he would pledge his mitre for a good cigar and a pot of porter. Sometimes a frightful yell would-reach their ears; then a furious set of howlings, followed again by peals of maniac laughter, as before. Altogether, the stranger was glad to withdraw, which he did, in order to prosecute his searches for Fenton.

"Well, sir," said the doctor, whom he found again in the parlor, "you have seen that melancholy sight?"

"I have, sir, and a melancholy one indeed it is; but as I came on a matter of business, doctor, I think we had better come to the point at once. You have a young man named Fenton in your establishment?"

"No, sir, we have no person of that name here."

"A wrong name may have been purposely given you, sir; but the person I speak of is here. And you had better understand me at once," he continued. "I am furnished with such authority as will force you to produce him."

"If he is not here, sir, no authority on earth can force me to produce him."

"We shall see that presently. Corbet, bring in the officers. Here, sir, is a warrant, by which I am empowered to search for his body; and, when found, to secure him, in order that he may be restored to his just rights, from which he has been debarred by a course of villany worthy of being concocted in hell itself."

"Family reasons, sir, frequently render it necessary that patients should enter this establishment under fictitious names. But these are matters with which I have nothing to do. My object is to comply with the wishes of their relatives."

"Your object, sir, should be to cure, rather than to keep them; to conduct your establishment as a house of recovery, not as a prison—of course, I mean where the patient is curable. I demand, sir, that you will find this young man, and produce him to me."

"But provided I cannot do so," replied the doctor, doggedly, "what then?"

"Why, in that case, we are in possession of a warrant for your own arrest, under the proclamation which was originally published in the 'Hue and Cry,' for his detention. Sir, you are now aware of the alternative. You produce the person we require, or you accompany us yourself. It has been sworn that he is in your keeping."

"I cannot do what is impossible. I will, however, conduct you through all the private rooms of the establishment, and if you can find or identify the person you want, I am satisfied. It is quite possible he may be with me; but I don't know, nor have I ever known him by the name of Fenton. It's a name I've never heard in my establishment. Come, sir, I am ready to show you every room in my house."

By this time the officers, accompanied by Corbet, entered, and all followed the doctor in a body to aid in the search. The search, however, was fruitless. Every room, cell, and cranny that was visible in the establishment underwent a strict examination, as did their unhappy occupants. All, however, in vain; and the doctor now was about to assume a tone of insolence and triumph, when Corbet said:

"Doctor, all seems plain here. You have done your duty."

"Yes," he replied, "I always do so. No man in the kingdom has given greater satisfaction, nor stands higher in that painful department of our profession to which I have devoted myself."

"Yes, doctor," repeated Corbet, with one of his bitterest grins; "you have done your duty; and for that reason I ask you to folly me."

"Where to, my good fellow?" asked the other, somewhat crestfallen. "What do you mean?"

"I think I spake plainly enough. I say, folly me. I think, too, I know something about the outs and ins, the ups and downs of this house still. Come, sir, we'll show you how you've done your duty; but listen to me, before we go one foot further—if he's dead before my time has come, I'll have your life, if I was to swing on a thousand gallowses."

One of the officers here tapped the doctor authoritatively on the shoulder, and said, "Proceed, sir, we are losing time."

The doctor saw at once that further resistance was useless.

"By the by," said he, "there is one patient in the house that I completely forgot. He is so desperate and outrageous, however, that we were compelled, within the last week or so, to try the severest discipline with him. He, however, cannot be the person you want, for his name is Moore; at least, that is the name under which he was sent here."

Down in a narrow, dark dungeon, where the damp and stench were intolerable, and nothing could be seen until a light was procured, they found something lying on filthy straw that had human shape. The hair and beard were long and overgrown; the features, begrimed with filth, were such as the sharpest eye could not recognize; and the whole body was so worn and emaciated, so ragged and tattered in appearance, that it was evident at a glance that foul practices must have been resorted to in order to tamper with life."

"Now, sir," said the doctor, addressing the stranger, "I will leave you and your friends to examine the patient, as perhaps you might feel my presence a restraint upon you."

The stranger, after a glance or two at Fenton, turned around, and said, sternly, "Peace-officer, arrest that man, and remove him to the parlor as your prisoner. But hold," he added, "let us first ascertain whether this is Mr. Fenton or not."

"I will soon tell you, sir," said Corbet, approaching the object before them, and feeling the left side of his neck.

"It is him, sir," he said; "here he is, sure enough, at last."

"Well, then," repeated the stranger, "arrest that man, as I said, and let two of you accompany him to the parlor, and detain him there until we join you."

On raising the wretched young man, they found that life was barely in him; he had been asleep, and being roused up, he screamed aloud.

"Oh," said he, "I am not able to bear it—don't scourge me, I am dying; I am doing all I can to die. Why did you disturb me? I dreamt that I was on my mother's knee, and that she was kissing me. What is this? What brings so many of you now? I wish I had told the strange gentleman in the inn everything; but I feared he was my enemy, and perhaps he was. I am very hungry."

"Merciful God!" exclaimed the stranger; "are such things done in a free and Christian country? Bring him up to the parlor," he added, "and let him be shaved and cleansed; but be careful of him, for his lamp of life is nearly exhausted. I thank you, Corbet, for the suggestion of the linen and clothes. What could we have done without them? It would have been impossible to fetch him in this trim."

We must pass over these disagreeable details. It is enough to say that poor Fenton was put into clean linen and decent clothes, and that in a couple of hours they were once more on their way with him, to the metropolis, the doctor accompanying them, as their prisoner.

The conduct of Corbet was on this occasion very singular. He complained that the stench of the dungeon in which they found Fenton had sickened him; but, notwithstanding this, something like ease of mind might be read in his countenance whenever he looked upon Fenton; something that, to the stranger at least, who observed him closely, seemed to say, "I am at last satisfied: the widow's heart will be set at rest, and the plans of this black villain broken to pieces." His eye occasionally gleamed wildly, and again his countenance grew pale and haggard, and he complained of headache and pains about his loins, and in the small of his back.

On arriving in Dublin, the stranger brought Fenton to his hotel, where he was desirous to keep him for a day or two, until he should regain a little strength, that he might, without risk, be able to sustain the interview that was before him. Aware of the capricious nature of the young man's feelings, and his feeble state of health, he himself kept aloof from him, lest his presence might occasion such a shock as would induce anything like a fit of insanity—a circumstance which must mar the pleasure and gratification of his unexpected reappearance. That medical advice ought instantly to be procured was evident from his extreme weakness, and the state of apathy into which he had sunk immediately after, his removal from the cell. This was at once provided; but unfortunately it seemed that all human skill was likely to prove unavailable, as the physician, on seeing and examining him, expressed himself with strong doubts as to the possibility of his recovery. In fact, he feared that his unhappy patient had not many days to live. He ordered him wine, tonics, and light but nutritious food to be taken sparingly, and desired that he should be brought into the open air as often as the debility of his constitution could bear it. His complaint, he said, was altogether a nervous one, and resulted from the effects of cruelty, terror, want of sufficient nourishment, bad air, and close confinement.

In the meantime, the doctor was committed to prison, and had the pleasure of being sent, under a safe escort, to the jail of the county that had been so largely benefited by his humane establishment.

As we are upon this painful subject, we may as well state here that he was prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced to two years' imprisonment, with hard labor.

CHAPTER XL. Lady Gourlay sees her Son.

Having done all that was possible for poor Fenton, the stranger lost no time in waiting upon Lady Gourlay, that he might, with as much prudence as the uncertain state of the young man's health would permit, make known the long wished for communication, that they had at length got him in their possession. His task was one of great difficulty, for he apprehended that an excess of joy on the part of that affectionate woman might be dangerous, when suddenly checked by the melancholy probability that he had been restored to her only to be almost immediately removed by death. He resolved, then, to temper his intelligence in such a way as to cause her own admirable sense and high Christian feeling to exercise their usual influence over her heart. As he had promised Corbet, however, to take no future step in connection with these matters without consulting him, he resolved, before seeing Lady Gourlay, to pay him a visit. He was induced the more to do this in consequence of the old man's singular conduct on the discovery of Fenton. From the very first interview that he ever had with Corbet until that event, he could not avoid observing that there was a mystery in everything he did and said—something enigmatical—unfathomable, and that his looks, and the disagreeable expression which they occasionally assumed, were frequently so much at variance with his words, that it was an utter impossibility to draw anything like a certain inference from them. On the discovery of Fenton, the old man's face went through a variety of contradictory expressions. Sometimes he seemed elated—triumphant, sometimes depressed and anxious, and occasionally angry, or excited by a feeling that was altogether unintelligible. He often turned his eye upon Fenton, as if he had discovered some precious treasure, then his countenance became overcast, and he writhed in an agony which no mortal penetration could determine as anything but the result of remorse. Taking all this into consideration, the stranger made up his mind to see him before he should wait upon Lady Gourlay.

Although a day had elapsed, he found the old man still complaining of illness, which, he said, would have been more serious had he not taken medicine.

"My mind, however," said he, "is what's troublin' me. There's a battle goin' on within me. At one time I'm delighted, but the delight doesn't give me pleasure long, for then, again, I feel a weight over me that's worse than death. However, I can't nor won't give it up. I hope I'll have time to repent yet; who knows but it is God that has put it into my heart and kept it there for so many years?"

"Kept what there?" asked the stranger.

The old man's face literally blackened as he replied, almost with a scream, "Vengeance!"

"This language," replied the other, "is absolutely shocking. Consider your advanced state of life—consider your present illness, which may probably be your last, and reflect that if you yourself expect pardon from God, you must forgive your enemies."

"So I will," he replied; "but not till I've punished them; then I'll tell them how I made my puppets of them, and when I give their heart one last crush—one grind—and the old wretch ground his teeth in the contemplation of this diabolical vision—ay," he repeated—"one last grind, then I'll tell them I've done with them, and forgive them; then—then—ay, but not till then!"

"God forgive you, Corbet, and change your heart!" replied the stranger. "I called to say that I am about to inform Lady Gourlay that we have her son safe at last, and I wish to know if you are in possession of any facts that she ought to be acquainted with in connection with his removal—in fact, to hear anything you may wish to disclose to me on the subject."

"I could, then, disclose to you something on the subject that would make you wondher; but although the time's at hand, it's not come yet. Here I am, an ould man—helpless—or, at all events, helpless-lookin'—and you would hardly believe that I'm makin' this black villain do everything accordin' as I wish it."

"That dark spirit of vengeance," replied the stranger, "is turning your brain, I think, or you would not say so. Whatever Sir Thomas Gourlay may be, he is not the man to act as the puppet of any person."

"So you think; but I tell you he's acting as mine, for all that."

"Well, well, Corbet, that is your own affair. Have you anything of importance to communicate to me, before I see Lady Gourlay? I ask you for the last time."

"I have. The black villain and she have spoken at last. He yielded to his daughter so far as to call upon her, and asked her to be present at the weddin'."

"The wedding!" exclaimed the stranger, looking aghast. "God of heaven, old man, do you mean to say that they are about to be married so soon?—about to be married at all? But I will leave you," he added; "there is no possibility of wringing anything out of you."

"Wait a little," continued Corbet. "What I'm goin' to tell you won't do you any harm, at any rate."

"Be quick, then. Gracious heaven!—married!—Curses seize you, old man, be quick."

"On the mornin' afther to-morrow the marriage is to take place in Sir Thomas's own house. Lord Dunroe's sisther is to be bridesmaid, and a young fellow named Roberts—"

"I know—I have met him."

"Well, and did you ever see any one that he resembled, or that resembled him? I hope in the Almighty," he added, uttering the ejaculation evidently in connection with some private thought or purpose of his own, "I hope in the Almighty that this sickness will keep off o' me for a couple o' days at any rate. Did you ever see any one that resembled him?"

"Yes," replied the stranger, starting, for the thought had flashed upon him; "he is the living image of Miss Gourlay! Why do you ask?"

"Bekaise, merely for a raison I have; but if you have patience, you'll find that the longer you live, the more you'll know; only at this time you'll know no more from me, barrin' that this same young officer is to be his lordship's groom's-man. Dr. Sombre, the clergyman of the parish, is to marry them in the baronet's house. A Mrs. Mainwaring, too, is to be there; Miss Gourlay begged that she would be allowed to come, and he says she may. You see now how well I know everything that happens there, don't you?" he asked, with a grin of triumph. "But I tell you there will be more at the same weddin' than he thinks. So now—ah, this pain!—there's another string of it—I feel it go through me like an arrow—so now you may go and see Lady Gourlay, and break the glad tidin's to her."

With feelings akin to awe and of repugnance, but not at all of contempt—for old Corbet was a man whom no one could despise—the stranger took his departure, and proceeded to Lady Gourlay's, with a vague impression that the remarkable likeness between Lucy and young Roberts was not merely accidental.

He found her at home, placid as usual, but with evidences of a resignation that was at once melancholy and distressing to witness. The struggle of this admirable woman's heart, though sustained by high Christian feeling, was, nevertheless, wearing her away by slow and painful degrees. The stranger saw this, and scarcely knew in what terms to shape the communication he had to make, full as it was of ecstasy to the mother's loving spirit, yet dashed with such doubt and sorrow.

"Can you bear good tidings, Lady Gourlay," said he, "though mingled with some cause of apprehension?"

"I am in the hands of God," she replied, "and feel that I ought to receive every communication with obedience. Speak on."

"Your son is found!"

"What, my child restored to me?"

She had been sitting in an arm-chair, but on hearing these words she started up, and said again, as she placed her hands upon the table at which he sat, that she might sustain herself, "What, Charles, my darling restored to me! Is he safe? Can I see him? Restored! restored at last!"

"Moderate your joy, my dear madam; he is safe—he is in my hotel."

"But why not here? Safe! oh, at last—at last! But God is a God of mercy, especially to the patient and long-suffering. But come—oh, come! Think of me,—pity me, and do not defraud me one moment of his sight. Bring me to him!"

"Hear me a moment, Lady Gourlay."

"No, no," she replied, in a passion of joyful tears, "I can hear you again. I must see my son—my son—my darling child—where is my son? Here—but no, I will ring myself. Why not have brought him here at once, sir? Am not I his mother?"

"My dear madam," said the stranger, calmly, but with a seriousness of manner that checked the exuberance of her delight, and placing his hand upon her shoulder, "hear me a moment. Your son is found; but he is ill, and I fear in some danger."

"But to see him, then," she replied, looking with entreaty in his face, "only to see him. After this long and dreary absence, to let my eyes rest on my son. He is ill, you say; and what hand should be near him and about him but his mother's? Who can with such love and tenderness cherish, and soothe, and comfort him, as the mother who would die for him? Oh, I have a thousand thoughts rushing to my heart—a thousand affectionate anxieties to gratify; but first to look upon him—to press him to that heart—to pour a mother's raptures over her long-lost child! Come with me—oh, come. If he is ill, ought I not, as I said, to see him the sooner on that account? Come, dear Charles, let the carriage be ordered; but that will take some time. A hackney-coach will do—a car—anything that will bring us there with least delay."

"But, an interview, my lady, may be at this moment as much as his life is worth; he is not out of danger."

"Well, then, I will not ask an interview. Only let me see him—let his mother's eyes rest upon him. Let me steal a look—a look; let me steal but one look, and I am sure, dear Charles, you will not gainsay this little theft of the mother's heart. But, ah," she suddenly exclaimed, "what am I doing? Ungrateful and selfish that I am, to forget my first duty! Pardon me a few moments; I will return soon."

She passed into the back drawing-room, where, although the doors were folded, he could hear this truly pious woman pouring forth with tears her gratitude to God. In a few minutes she reappeared; and such were the arguments she used, that he felt it impossible to prevent her from gratifying this natural and absorbing impulse of the heart.

On reaching the hotel, they found, after inquiring, that he was asleep, a circumstance which greatly pleased the stranger, as he doubted very much whether Fenton would have been strong enough, either in mind or body, to bear such an interview as must have taken place between them.

The unhappy young man was, as we have said, sound asleep. His face was pale and wan, but a febrile hue had tinged his countenance with a color which, although it concealed his danger, was not sufficient to remove from it the mournful expression of all he had suffered. Yet the stranger thought that he never had seen him look so well. His face was indeed a fair but melancholy page of human life. The brows were slightly knit, as if indicative of suffering; and there passed over his features, as he lay, such varying expressions as we may presume corresponded with some painful dream, by which, as far as one could judge, he seemed to be influenced. Sometimes he looked like one that endured pain, sometimes as if he felt terror; and occasionally a gleam of pleasure or joy would faintly light up his handsome but wasted countenance.

Lady Gourlay, whilst she looked upon him, was obliged to be supported by the stranger, who had much difficulty in restraining her grief within due bounds. As for the tears, they fell from her eyes in showers.

"I must really remove you, my lady," he said, in a whisper; "his recovery, his very life, may depend upon the soundness of this sleep. You see yourself, now, the state he is in; and who living has such an interest in his restoration to health as you have?"

"I know it," she whispered in reply. "I will be quiet."

As they spoke, a faint smile seemed to light up his face, which, however, was soon changed to an expression of terror.

"Don't scourge me," said he, "don't and I will tell you. It was my mother. I thought she kissed me, as she used to do long ago, when I was a boy, and never thought I'd be here." He then uttered a few faint sobs, but relapsed into a calm expression almost immediately.

The violent beatings of Lady Gourlay's heart were distinctly felt by the stranger, as he supported her; and in order to prevent the sobs which he knew, by the heavings of her breast, were about to burst forth, from awakening the sleeper, he felt it best to lead her out of the room; which he had no sooner done, than she gave way to a long fit of uncontrollable weeping.

"Oh, my child!—my child!" she exclaimed, "I fear they have murdered him! Alas! is he only to be restored to me for a moment, and am I then to be childless indeed? But I will strive to become calm. Why should I not? For even this is a blessing—to have seen him, and to have the melancholy consolation of knowing that if he is to die, he will die in my own arms."

"Well, but I trust, madam, he won't die. The workings of Providence are never ineffectual, or without a purpose. Have courage, have patience, and all will, I trust, end happily."

"Well, but I have a request to make. Allow me to kiss him; I shall not disturb him; and if he should recover, as I trust in the Almighty's mercy he will—oh, how I should like to tell him that the dream about his mother was not altogether a dream—that I did kiss him. Trust me, I will not awaken him—the fall of the thistledown will will not be lighter than the kiss I shall give my child."

"Well, be it so, my lady; and get yourself calm, for you know not his danger, if he should awaken and become agitated."

They then reentered the apartment, and Lady Gourlay, after contemplating him for a moment or two, stooped down and gently kissed his lips—once—twice—and a third time—and a single tear fell upon his cheek. At this moment, and the coincidence was beautiful and affecting, his face became once more irradiated by a smile that was singularly serene and sweet, as if his very spirit within him had recognized and felt the affection and tenderness of this timid but loving embrace.

The stranger then led her out again, and a burden seemed to have been taken off her heart. She dried her tears, and in grateful and fervid terms expressed the deep obligations she owed him for his generous and! persevering exertions in seeking out and restoring her son.

This sleep was a long one; and proved very beneficial, by somewhat recruiting the little strength that had been left him. The stranger had every measure taken that could contribute to his comfort and recovery. Two nurse tenders were procured, to whose care he was committed, under the general superintendence of Dandy Dulcimer, whom he at once recognized, and by whose performance upon that instrument the poor young man seemed not only much-pleased, but improved in confidence and the general powers of his intellect. The physician saw him twice a day, so that at the period of Lady Gourlay's visit, she found that every care and attention, which consideration and kindness, and anxiety for his recovery could bestow upon him, had been paid; a fact that eased and satisfied her mind very much.

One rather gratifying symptom appeared in him after he awoke on that occasion. He looked about the room, and inquired for Dulcimer, who soon made his appearance.

"Dandy," said he, for he had known him very well in Ballytrain, "will you be angry with me if I ask you a question? Dandy, I am a gentleman, and you will not treat me ill."

"I would be glad to see the villain that 'ud dare to do it, Mr. Fenton," replied Dandy, a good deal moved, "much less to do it myself."

"Ah," he replied in a tone of voice that was enough to draw tears from any eye, "but, then, I can depend on no one; and if they should bring me back there—" His eyes became wild and full of horror, as he spoke, and he was about to betray symptoms of strong agitation, when Dandy judiciously brought him back to the point.

"They won't, Mr. Fenton; don't be afeared of that; you are among friends now; but what was the question you were goin' to ask me?"

"A question!—was I?" said he, pausing, as if striving to recover the train of thought he had lost. "Oh, yes," he proceeded, "yes; there was a pound note taken from me. I got it from the strange gentleman in the inn, and I wish I had it."

"Well, sir," replied Dandy, "if it can be got at all, you must have it. I'll inquire for it."

"Do," he said; "I wish to have it." Dandy, in reply to the stranger's frequent and anxious inquiries about him, mentioned this little dialogue, and the latter at once recollected that he had the note in his possession.

"It may be good to gratify him," he replied; "and as the note can be of little use now, we had better let him have it."

He accordingly sent it to him by Dandy, who could observe that the possession of it seemed to give him peculiar satisfaction.

Had not the stranger been a man capable of maintaining great restraint over the exercise of very strong feelings, he could never have conducted himself with so much calmness and self-control in his interview with Lady Gourlay and poor Fenton. His own heart during all the time was in a tumult of perfect distraction, but this was occasioned by causes that bore no analogy to those that passed before him. From the moment he heard that Lucy's marriage had been fixed for the next day but one, he felt as if his hold upon hope and life, and all that they promised him, was lost, and his happiness annihilated forever; he felt as if reason were about to abandon him, as if all existence had become dark, and the sun himself had been struck out of the system of the universe. He could not rest, and only with difficulty think at all as a sane man ought. At length he resolved to see the baronet, at the risk of life or death—in spite of every obstacle—in despite of all opposition;—perish social forms and usages—perish the insolence of wealth, and the jealous restrictions of parental tyranny. Yes, perish one and all, sooner than he, a man, with an unshrinking heart, and a strong arm, should tamely suitor that noble girl to be sacrificed, ay, murdered, at the shrine of a black and guilty ambition. Agitated, urged, maddened, by these considerations, he went to the baronet's house with a hope of seeing him, but that hope was frustrated. Sir Thomas was out.

"Was Miss Gourlay at home?"

"No; she too had gone out with her father," replied Gibson, who happened to open the door.

"Would you be kind enough, sir, to deliver a note to Miss Gourlay?"

"I could not, sir; I dare not."

"I will give you five pounds, if you do."

"It is impossible, sir; I should lose my situation instantly if I attempted to deliver it. Miss Gourlay, sir, will receive no letters unless through her father's hands, and besides, sir, we have repeatedly had the most positive orders not to receive any from you, above all men living."

"I will give you ten pounds."

Gibson shook his head, but at the same time the expression of his countenance began manifestly to relax, and he licked his lips as he replied, "I—really—could—not—sir."


The fellow paused and looked stealthily in every direction, when, just at the moment he was about to entertain the subject, Thomas Corbet, the house-steward, came forward from the front parlor where he evidently had been listening, and asked Gibson what was the matter.

"This gentleman," said Gibson, "ahem—is anxious to have a—ahem—he was inquiring for Sir Thomas."

"Gibson, go down stairs," said Corbet. "You had better do so. I have ears, Gibson. Go down at once, and leave the gentleman to me."

Gibson again licked his lips, shrugged his shoulders, and with a visage rather blank and disappointed, slunk away as he had been desired. When he had gone,

"You wish, sir," said Corbet, "to have a note delivered to Miss Gourlay?"

"I do, and will give you twenty pounds if you deliver it."

"Hand me the money quietly," replied Corbet, "and the note also. I shall then give you a friend's advice."

The stranger immediately placed both the money and the note in his hands; when Corbet, having put them in his pocket, said, "I will deliver the note, sir; but go to my father, and ask him to prevent this marriage; and, above all things, to direct you how to act. If any man can serve you in the business, he can."

"Could you not let me see Miss Gourlay herself?" said the stranger.

"No, sir; she has promised her father neither to see you, nor to write to you, nor to receive any letters from you."

"But I must see Sir Thomas himself," said the stranger determinedly.

"You seem a good deal excited, sir," replied Corbet; "pray, be calm, and listen to me. I shall be obliged to put this letter under a blank cover, which I will address in a feigned hand, in order that she may even receive it. As for her father, he would not see you, nor enter into any explanation whatsoever with you. In fact, he is almost out of his mind with delight and terror; with delight, that the marriage is at length about to take place, and with terror, lest something might occur to prevent it. One word, sir. I see Gibson peeping up. Go and see my father; you have seen him more than once before."

On the part of Corbet, the stranger remarked that there was something sneaking, slightly derisive, and intimating, moreover, a want of sincerity in this short dialogue, an impression that was strengthened on hearing the relation which he bore to the obstinate old sphinx on Constitution Hill.

"But pardon me, my friend," said he, as Corbet was about to go away; "if Miss Gourlay will not receive or open my letter, why did you accept such a sum of money for it?" He paused, not knowing exactly how to proceed, yet with a tolerably strong suspicion that Corbet was cheating him.

"Observe, sir," replied the other, "that I said I would deliver the letter only—I didn't undertake to make her read it. But I dare say you are right—I don't think she will even open it at all, much less read it. Here, sir, I return both money and letter; and I wish you to know, besides, that I am not a man in the habit of being suspected of improper motives. My advice that you should see my father is a proof that I am your friend."

The other, who was completely outmanoeuvred by Corbet, at once declined to receive back either the letter or notes, and after again pressing the worthy steward to befriend him in the matter of the note as far as he could, he once more paid a visit to old Anthony. This occurred on the day before that appointed for the marriage.

"Corbet," said he, addressing him as he lay upon an old crazy sofa, the tarnished cover of which shone with dirt, "I am distracted, and have come to ask your advice and assistance."

"Is it a helpless ould creature like me you'd come to?" replied Corbet, hitching himself upon the sofa, as if to get ease. "But what is wrong now?"

"If this marriage between Miss Gourlay and Lord Dunroe takes place, I shall lose my senses."

"Well, in troth," replied Anthony, in his own peculiar manner, "if you don't get more than you appear to be gifted with at present, you won't have much to lose, and that will be one comfort. But how can you expect me to assist you?"

"Did you not tell me that the baronet is your puppet?"

"I did; but that was for my ends, not for yours."

"Well, but could you not prevent this accursed, sacrilegious, blasphemous union?"

"For God's sake, spake aisy, and keep yourself quiet," said Anthony; "I am ill, and not able to bear noise and capering like this. I'm a weak, feeble ould man."

"Listen to me, Corbet," continued the other, with vehemence, "command my purse, my means to any extent, if you do what I wish."

"I did like money," implied Corbet, "but of late my whole heart is filled with but one thought; and rather than not carry that out, I would sacrifice every child I have. I love Miss Gourlay, for I know she is a livin' angel, but—"

"What? You do not mean to say that you would sacrifice her?"

"If I would sacrifice my own, do you think I'd be apt to spare her?" he asked with a groan, for in fact his illness had rather increased.

"Are you not better?" inquired the stranger, moved by a feeling of humanity which nothing could eradicate out of his noble and generous nature. "Allow me to send a doctor to you? I shall do so at my own expense."

Anthony looked upon him with more complacency, but replied,

"The blackguard knaves, no; they only rob you first and kill you afterwards. A highway-robber's before them; for he kills you first, and afther that you can't feel the pain of being robbed. Well, I can't talk much to you now. My head's beginnin' to get troublesome; but I'll tell you what you'll do. I'll call for that young man, Fenton, and you must let him come with me to the wedding to-morrow mornin'. Indeed, I intended to take a car, and drive over to ask it as a favor from you."

"To what purpose should he go, even if he were able? but he is too ill."

"Hasn't he been out in a chaise?"

"He has; but as he is incapable of bearing any agitation or excitement, his presence there might cause his death."

"No, sir, it will not; I knew him to be worse, and he recovered; he will be better, I tell you: besides, if you wish me to sarve you in one way, you must sarve me in this."

"But can you prevent the marriage?"

"What I can do, or what I cannot do, a team of horses won't drag out o' me, until the time—the hour—comes—then! Will you allow the young man to come, sir?"

"But his mother, you say, will be there, and a scene between them would be not only distressing to all parties, and out of place, but might be dangerous to him."

"It's because his mother's to be there, maybe, that I want him to be there. Don't I tell you that I want to—but no, I'll keep my own mind to myself—only sink or swim without me, unless you allow him to come."

"Well, then, if he be sufficiently strong to go, I shall not prevent him, upon the condition that you will exercise the mysterious influence which you seem in possession of for the purpose of breaking up the marriage."

"I won't promise to do any such thing," replied Anthony. "You must only make the best of a bad bargain, by lavin' everything to myself. Go away now, sir, if you plaise; my head's not right, and I want to keep it clear for to-morrow."

The stranger saw that he was as inscrutable as ever, and consequently left him, half in indignation, and half impressed by a lurking hope that, notwithstanding the curtness of his manner, he was determined to befriend him.

This, however, was far from the heart of old Corbet, whose pertinacity of purpose nothing short of death itself could either moderate or change.

"Prevent the marriage, indeed! Oh, ay! Catch me at it. No, no; that must take place, or I'm balked of half my revenge. It's when he finds that he has, by his own bad and blind passions, married her to the profligate without the title that he'll shiver. And that scamp, too, the bastard—but, no matther—I must try and keep my head clear, as I said, for to-morrow will be a great day, either for good or evil, to some of them. Yes, and when all is over, then my mind will be at aise; this black thing that's inside o' me for years—drivin' me on, on, on—will go about his business; and then, plaise goodness, I can repent comfortably and like a Christian. Oh, dear me!—my head!"

CHAPTER XLI. Denouement.

At length the important morning, fraught with a series of such varied and many-colored events, arrived. Sir Thomas Gourlay, always an early riser, was up betimes, and paced his room to and fro in a train of profound reflection. It was evident, however, from his elated yet turbid eye, that although delight and exultation were prevalent in his breast, he was by no means free from visitations of a dark and painful character. These he endeavored to fling off, and in order to do so more effectually, he gave a loose rein to the contemplation of his own successful ambition. Yet he occasionally appeared anxious and uneasy, and felt disturbed and gloomy fits that irritated him even for entertaining them. He was more than usually nervous; his hand shook, and his stern, strong voice had in its tones, when he spoke, the audible evidences of agitation. These, we say, threw their deep shadows over his mind occasionally, whereas a sense of triumph and gratified pride constituted its general tone and temper.

"Well," said he, "so far so well: Lucy will soon become reconciled to this step, and all my projects for her advancement will be—nay, already are, realized. After all, my theory of life is the correct one, no matter what canting priests and ignorant philosophers may say to the contrary. Every man is his own providence, and ought to be his own priest, as I have been. As for a moral plan in the incidents and vicissitudes of life, I could never see nor recognize such a thing. Or if there be a Providence that foresees and directs, then we only fulfil his purposes by whatever we do, whether the act be a crime or a virtue. So that on either side I am safe. There, to be sure, is my brother's son, against whom I have committed a crime; ay, but what, after all, is a crime?—An injury to a fellow-creature. What is a virtue?—A benefit to the same. Well, he has sustained an injury at my hands—be it so—that is a crime; but I and my son have derived a benefit from the act, and this turns it into a virtue; for as to who gains or who loses, that is not a matter for the world, who have no distinct rule whereby to determine its complexion or its character, unless by the usages and necessities of life, which are varied by climate and education to such an extent, that what is looked upon as a crime in one country or one creed is frequently considered a virtue in another. As for futurity, that is a sealed book which no man hitherto has been able to open. We all know—and a dark and gloomy fact it is—that we must die. Beyond that, the searches of human intellect cannot go, although the imagination may project itself into a futurity of its own creation. Such airy visions are not subjects sufficiently solid for belief. As for me, if I believe nothing, the fault is not mine, for I can find nothing to believe—nothing that can satisfy my reason. The contingencies of life, as they cross and jostle each other, constitute by their accidental results the only providential wisdom which I can discern, the proper name of which is Chance. Who have I, for instance, to thank but myself—my own energy of character, my own perseverance of purpose, my own determined will—for accomplishing my own projects? I can perceive no other agent, either visible or invisible. It is, however, a hard creed—a painful creed, and one which requires great strength of mind to entertain. Yet, on the other hand, when I reflect that it may be only the result of a reaction in principle, proceeding from a latent conviction that all is not right within, and that we reject the tribunal because we are conscious that it must condemn us—abjure the authority of the court because we have violated its jurisdiction; yes, when I reflect upon this, it is then that these visitations of gloom and wretchedness sometimes agonize my mind until it becomes dark and heated, like hell, and I curse both myself and my creed. Now, however, when this marriage shall have taken place, the great object of my life will be gained—the great struggle will be over, and I can relax and fall back into a life of comfort, enjoyment, and freedom from anxiety and care. But, then, is there no risk of sacrificing my daughter's happiness forever? I certainly would not do that. I know, however, what influence the possession of rank, position, title, will have on her, when she comes to know their value by seeing—ay, and by feeling, how they are appreciated. There is not a husband-hunting dowager in the world of fashion, nor a female projector or manoeuvrer in aristocratic life, who will not enable her to understand and enjoy her good fortune. Every sagacious cast for a title will be to her a homily on content. But, above all, she will be able to see and despise their jealousy, to laugh at their envy, and to exercise at their expense that superiority of intellect and elevation of rank which she will possess; for this I will teach her to do. Yes, I am satisfied. All will then go on smoothly, and I shall trouble myself no more about creeds or covenants, whether secular or spiritual."

He then went to dress and shave after this complacent resolution, but was still a good deal surprised to find that his hand shook so disagreeably, and that his powerful system was in a state of such general and unaccountable agitation.

After he had dressed, and was about to go down stairs, Thomas Corbet came to ask a favor, as he said.

"Well, Corbet," replied his master, "what is it?"

"My father, sir," proceeded the other, "wishes to know if you would have any objection to his being present at Miss Gourlay's marriage, and if you would also allow him to bring a few friends, who, he says, are anxious to see the bride."

"No objection, Corbet—none in the world; and least of all to your father. I have found your family faithful and attached to my interests for many a long year, and it would be too bad to refuse him such a paltry request as that. Tell him to bring his friends too, and they may be present at the ceremony, if they wish. It was never my intention that my daughter's marriage should be a private one, nor would it now, were it not for her state of health. Let your father's friends and yours come, then, Corbet, and see that you entertain them properly."

Corbet then thanked him, and was about to go, when the other said, "Corbet!" after which he paused for some time.

"Sir!" said Corbet.

"I wish to ask your opinion," he proceeded, "as to allowing my son to be present. He himself wishes it, and asked my consent; but as his sister entertains such an unaccountable prejudice against him, I had doubts as to whether he ought to appear at all. There are, also, as you know, other reasons."

"I don't see any reason, sir, that ought to exclude him the moment the marriage words are pronounced. I think, sir, with humility, that it is not only his right, but his duty, to be present, and that it is a very proper occasion for you to acknowledge him openly."

"It would be a devilish good hit at Dunroe, for, between you and me, Corbet, I fear that his heart is fixed more upon the Gourlay estates and her large fortune than upon the girl herself."

If I might advise, sir, I think he ought to be present."

"And the moment the ceremony is over, be introduced to his brother-in-law. A good hit. I shall do it. Send word to him, then, Corbet. As it must be done some time, it may as well be done now. Dunroe will of course be too much elated, as he ought to be, to feel the blow—or to appear to feel it, at all events—for decency's sake, you know, he must keep up appearances; and if it were only on that account, we will avail ourselves of the occasion which presents itself. This is another point gained. I think I may so 'Bravo!' Corbet: I have managed everything admirably, and accomplished all my purposes single-handed."

Thomas Corbet himself, deep and cunning as he was, yet knew not how much he had been kept in the dark as to the events of this fateful day. He had seen his father the day before, as had his sister, and they both felt surprised at the equivocal singularity of his manner, well and. thoroughly as they imagined they had known him. It was, in fact, at his suggestion that the baronet's son had been induced to ask permission to be present at the wedding, and also to be then and there acknowledged; a fact which the baronet either forgot or omitted to mention to Corbet. Anthony also insisted that his daughter should make one of the spectators, under pain of disclosing to Sir Thomas the imposition that had been practised on him in the person of her son. Singular as it may appear, this extraordinary old man, in the instance before us, moved, by his peculiar knowledge and sagacity, as if he had them on wires, almost every person with whom he came in contact, or whose presence he considered necessary on the occasion.

"What can he mean?" said Thomas to his sister. "Surely he would not be mad enough to make Sir Thomas's house the place in which to produce Lady Gourlay's son, the very individual who is to strip him of his title, and your son of all his prospects?"

"Oh no," replied Ginty, "certainly not; otherwise, why have lent himself to the carrying out of our speculation with respect to that boy. Such a step would ruin him—ruin us all—but then it would ruin the man he hates, and that would gratify him, I know. He is full of mystery, certainly; but as he will disclose nothing as to his movements, we must just let him have his own way, as that is the only chance of managing him."

Poor Lucy could not be said to have awoke to a morning of despair and anguish, because she had not slept at all the night before. Having got up and dressed herself, by the aid of Alice, she leaned on her as far as the boudoir to which allusion has already been made. On arriving there she sat down, and when her maid looked upon her countenance she became so much alarmed and distressed that she burst into tears.

"What, my darling mistress, is come over you?" she exclaimed. "You have always spoken to me until this unhappy mornin' Oh, you are fairly in despair now; and indeed is it any wonder? I always thought, and hoped, and prayed that something might turn up to prevent this cursed marriage. I see, I read, despair in your face."

Lucy raised her large, languid eyes, and looked upon her, but did not speak. She gave a ghastly smile, but that was all.

"Speak to me, dear Miss Gourlay," exclaimed the poor girl, with a flood of tears. "Oh, only speak to me, and let me hear your voice!"

Lucy beckoned her to sit beside her, and said, with difficulty, that she wished to wet her lips. The girl knew by the few words she uttered that her voice was gone; and on looking more closely she saw that her lips were dry and parched. In a few moments she got her a glass of water, a portion of which Lucy drank.

"Now," said Alice, "that will relieve and refresh you; but oh, for God's sake, spake to me, and tell me how you feel! Miss Gourlay, darlin', you are in despair!"

Lucy took her maid's hand in hers, and after looking upon her with a smile resembling the first, replied, "No, Alice, I will not despair, but I feel that I will die. No, I will not despair, Alice. Short as the time is, God may interpose between me and misery—between me and despair. But if I am married to this man, Alice, my faith in virtue, in a good conscience, in truth, purity, and honor, my faith in Providence itself will be shaken; and then I will despair and die."

"Oh, what do you mean, my darlin' Miss Gourlay?" exclaimed her weeping maid. "Surely you couldn't think of having a hand in your own death? Oh, merciful Father, see what they have brought you to!"

"Alice," said she, "I have spoken wrongly: the moment in which I uttered the last expression was a weak one. No, I will never doubt or distrust Providence; and I may die, Alice, but I will never despair."

"But why talk about death, miss, so much?"

"Because I feel it lurking in my heart. My physical strength will break down under this woful calamity. I am as weak as an infant, and all before me is dark—in this world I mean—but not, thank God, in the next. Now I cannot speak much more, Alice. Leave me to my silence and to my sorrow."

The affectionate girl, utterly overcome, laid her head upon her bosom and wept, until Lucy was forced to soothe and comfort her as well as she could. They then sat silent for a time, the maid, however, sobbing and sighing bitterly, whilst Lucy only uttered one word in an undertone, and as if altogether to herself, "Misery! misery!"

At this moment her father tapped at the door, and on being admitted, ordered Alice to leave the room; he wished to have some private conversation, he said, with her mistress.

"Don't make it long, if you please, sir," said she, "for my mistress won't be aquil to it. It's more at the point of death than the point of marriage she is."

One stern look from the baronet, however, silenced her in a moment, and after a glance of most affectionate interest at her mistress she left the room.

"Lucy," said her father, after contemplating that aspect of misery which could not be concealed, "I am not at all pleased with this girlish and whining appearance. I have done all that man could do to meet your wishes and to make you happy. I have become reconciled to your aunt for your sake. I have allowed her and Mrs. Norton—Mainwaring I mean—to be present at your wedding, that they might support and give you confidence. You are about to be married to a handsome young fellow, only a little wild, but who will soon make you a countess. Now, in God's name, what more do you want?"

"I think," she replied, "that I ought not to marry this man. I believe that I stand justified in the sight of God and man in refusing to seal my own misery. The promise I made you, sir, was given under peculiar circumstances—under terror of your death. These circumstances are now removed, and it is cruel to call on me to make a sacrifice that is a thousand times worse than death. No, papa, I will not marry this depraved man—this common seducer. I shall never unite myself to him, let the consequences be what they may. There is a line beyond which parental authority ought not to go—you have crossed it."

"Be it so, madam; I shall see you again in a few minutes," he replied, and immediately left the room, his face almost black with rage and disappointment. Lucy grew alarmed at the terrible abruptness and significance of his manner, and began to tremble, although she knew not why.

"Can I violate my promise," said she to herself, "after having made it so solemnly? And ought I to marry this man in obedience to my father? Alas! I know not; but may heaven direct me for the best! If I thought it would make papa happy—but his is a restless and ambitious spirit, and how can I be certain of that? May heaven direct me and guide me!"

In a few minutes afterwards her father returned, and taking out of his pockets a pair of pistols, laid them on the table.

"Now, Lucy," said he solemnly, and with a vehemence of manner almost frantic, "we will see if you cannot yet save your father's life, or whether you will prefer to have his blood on your soul."

"For heaven's sake, papa," said his daughter, running to him, and throwing or attempting to throw her arms about him, partly, in the moment of excitement, to embrace, and partly to restrain him.

"Hold off, madam," he replied; "hold off; you have made me desperate—you have driven me mad. Now, mark me. I will not ask you to marry this man; but I swear by all that is sacred, that if you disgrace me—if you insult Lord Dunroe by refusing to be united to him this day—I shall put the contents of one or both of these pistols through my brains; and you may comfort yourself over the corpse of a suicide father, and turn to your brother for protection."

Either alternative was sufficiently dreadful for the poor worn and wearied out girl.

"Oh, papa," she exclaimed, again attempting to throw her arms around him; "put these fearful weapons aside. I will obey you—I will marry him."

"This day?"

"This day, papa, as soon as my aunt and Mrs. Mainwaring come, and I can get myself dressed."

"Do so, then; or, if not I shall not survive your refusal five minutes."

"I will, papa," she replied, laying her head upon his breast and sobbing; "I will marry him; but put those vile and dangerous weapons away, and never talk so again."

At this moment the door opened, and Alice, who had been listening, entered the room in a high and towering passion. Her eyes sparkled: her complexion was scarlet with rage; her little hands were most heroically clenched; and, altogether, the very excitement in which she presented herself, joined to a good face and fine figure, made her look exceedingly interesting and handsome.

"How, madam," exclaimed the baronet, "what brings you here? Withdraw instantly!"

"How, yourself, sir," she replied, walking up and looking him fearlessly in the face; "none of your 'how, madams,' to me any more; as there's neither man nor woman to interfere here, I must only do it myself."

"Leave the room, you brazen jade!" shouted the baronet; "leave the room, or it'll be worse for you."

"Deuce a one toe I'll lave it. It wasn't for that I came here, but to tell you that you are a tyrant and a murdherer, a mane old schemer, that would marry your daughter to a common swindler and reprobate, because he's a lord. But here I stand, the woman that will prevent this marriage, if there wasn't another faymale from here to Bally-shanny."

"Alice!" exclaimed Lucy, "for heaven's sake, what do you mean?—what awful language is this? You forget yourself."

"That may be, miss, but, by the life in my body, I won't forget you. A ring won't go on you to that titled scamp so long as I have a drop of manly blood in my veins—deuce a ring!"

Amazement almost superseded indignation on the part of the baronet, who unconsciously exclaimed, "A ring!"

"No—pursuin' to the ring!" she replied, accompanying the words with what was intended to be a fearful blow of her little clenched hand upon the table.

"Let me go, Lucy," said her father, "till I put the termagant out of the room."

"Yes, let him go, miss," replied Alley; "let us see what he'll do. Here I stand now," she proceeded, approaching him; "and if you offer to lift a hand to me, I'll lave ten of as good marks in your face as ever a woman left since the creation. Come, now—am I afeard of you?" and as she spoke she approached him still more nearly, with both her hands close to his face, her fingers spread out and half-clenched, reminding one of a hawk's talons.

"Alice," said Lucy, "this is shocking; if you love me, leave the room."

"Love you! miss," replied the indignant but faithful girl, bursting into bitter tears; "love you!—merciful heaven, wouldn't I give my life for you?—who that knows you doesn't love you? and it's for that reason that I don't wish to see you murdhered—nor won't. Come, sir, you must let her out of this marriage. It'll be no go, I tell you. I won't suffer it, so long as I've strength and life. I'll dash myself between them. I'll make the ole clergyman skip if he attempts it; ay, and what's more, I'll see Dandy Dulcimer, and we'll collect a faction."

"Do not hold me, Lucy," said her father; "I must certainly put her out of the room."

"Don't, papa," replied Lucy, restraining him from laying hands upon her, "don't, for the sake of honor and manhood. Alice, for heaven's sake! if you love me, as I said, and I now add, if you respect me, leave the room. You will provoke papa past endurance."

"Not a single toe, miss, till he promises to let you cut o' this match. Oh, my good man," she said, addressing the struggling baronet, "if you're for fighting, here I am I for you; or wait," she added, whipping up one of the pistols, "Come, now, if you're a man; take your ground there. Now I can meet you on equal terms; get to the corner there, the distance is short enough; but no matther, you're a good mark. Come, now, don't think I'm the bit of goods to be afeard o' you—it's not the first jewel I've seen in my time, and remember that my name is Mahon"—and she posted herself in the corner, as if to take her ground. "Come, now," she repeated, "you called me a 'brazen jade' awhile ago, and I demand satisfaction."

"Alice," said Lucy, "you will injure yourself or others, if you do not lay that dangerous weapon down. For God's sake, Alice, lay it aside—it is loaded."

"Deuce a bit o' danger, miss," replied the indignant heroine. "I know more about fire-arms than you think; my brothers used to have them to protect the house. I'll soon see, at any rate, whether it's loaded or not."

While speaking she whipped out the ramrod, and, making the experiment found, that it was empty.

"Ah," she exclaimed, "you desateful old tyrant: and so you came down blusterin' and bullyin', and frightenin' your child into compliance, with a pair of empty pistols! By the life in my body, if I had you in Ballytrain, I'd post you."

"Papa," said Lucy, "you must excuse this—it is the excess of her affection for me. Dear Alice," she said, addressing her, and for a moment forgetting her weakness, "come with me; I cannot, and will not bear this; come with me out of the room."

"Very well; I'll go to plaise you, miss, but I've made up my mind that this marriage mustn't take place. Just think of it," she added, turning to her master; "if you force her to marry this scamp of a lord, the girl has sense, and spirit, and common decency, and of course she'll run away from him; after that, it won't be hard to guess who she'll run to—then there'll be a con. crim. about it, and it'll go to the lawyers, and from the lawyers it'll go to the deuce, and that will be the end of it; and all because you're a coarse-minded tyrant, unworthy of having such a daughter. Oh, you needn't shake your hand at me. You refused to give me satisfaction, and I'd now scorn to notice you. Remember I cowed you, and for that reason never pretend to be a gentleman afther this."

Lucy then led her out of the room, which she left, after turning upon her master a look of the proudest and fiercest defiance, and at the same time the most sovereign contempt.

"Lucy," said her father, "is not this a fine specimen of a maid to have in personal attendance upon you?"

"I do not defend her conduct now, sir," she replied; "but I cannot overlook her affection, her truth, her attachment to me, nor the many other virtues which I know she possesses. She is somewhat singular, I grant, and a bit of a character, and I could wish that her manners were somewhat less plain; but, on the other hand, she does not pretend to be a fine lady with her mistress, although she is not without some harmless vanity; neither is she frivolous, giddy, nor deceitful; and whatever faults there may be, papa, in her head, there are none in her heart. It is affectionate, faithful, and disinterested. Indeed, whilst I live I shall look upon her as my friend."

"I am determined, however, she shall not be long under my roof, nor in your service; her conduct just now has settled that point; but, putting her out of the question, I trust we understand each other, and that you are prepared to make your father's heart happy. No more objections."

"No, sir; I have said so."

"You will go through the ceremony with a good grace?'

"I cannot promise that, sir; but I shall go through the ceremony."

"Yes, but you must do it without offence to Dunroe, and with as little appearance of reluctance as possible."

"I have no desire to draw a painful attention to myself, papa; but you will please to recollect that I have all my horror, all my detestation of this match to contend with; and, I may add, my physical weakness, and the natural timidity of woman. I shall, however, go through the ceremony, provided nature and reason do not fail me."

"Well, Lucy, of course you will do the best you can. I must go now, for I've many things to think of. Your dresses are admirable, and your trousseau, considering the short time Dunroe had, is really superb. Shake hands, my dear Lucy; you know I will soon lose you."

Lucy, whose heart was affection itself, threw herself into his arms, and exclaimed, in a burst of grief:

"Yes, papa, I feel that you will; and, perhaps, when I am gone, you will say, with sorrow, that it would have been better to have allowed Lucy to be happy her own way."

"Come, now, you foolish, naughty girl," he exclaimed affectionately, "be good—be good." And as he spoke, he kissed her, pressed her hand tenderly, and then left the room.

"Alas!" exclaimed Lucy, still in tears, "how happy might we have been, had this ambition for my exaltation not existed in my father's heart!"

If Lucy rose with a depressed spirit on that morning of sorrow, so did not Lord Dunroe. This young nobleman, false and insincere in everything, had succeeded in inducing his sister to act as brides-maid, Sir Thomas having asked her consent as a personal compliment to himself and his daughter. She was told by her brother that young Roberts would act in an analogous capacity to him; and this he held out as an inducement to her, having observed something like an attachment between her and the young ensign. Not that he at all approved of this growing predilection, for though strongly imbued with all the senseless and absurd prejudices against humble birth which disgrace aristocratic life and feeling, he was base enough to overrule his own opinions on the subject, and endeavor, by this unworthy play upon his sister's feelings, to prevail upon her to do an act that would throw her into his society, and which, under any other circumstances, he would have opposed. He desired her, at the same time, not to mention the fact to their father, who, he said, entertained a strong prejudice against upstarts, and was besides, indisposed to the marriage, in consequence of Sir Thomas Goulray's doubtful reputation, as regarding the disappearance of his brother's heir. In consequence of these representations, Lady Emily not only consented to act as bride's-maid; but also to keep her knowledge of the forthcoming marriage a secret from her father.

At breakfast that morning Dunroe was uncommonly cheerful. Norton, on the other hand, was rather depressed, and could not be prevailed upon to partake of the gay and exuberant spirit of mirth and buoyancy which animated Dunroe.

"What the deuce is the matter with you, Norton?" said his lordship. "You seem rather annoyed that I am going to marry a very lovely girl with an immense fortune? With both, you know very well that I can manage without either the Cullamore title or property. The Gourlay property is as good if not better. Come, then, cheer up; if the agency of the Cullamore property is gone, we shall have that on the Gourlay side to look to."

"Dunroe, my dear fellow," replied Norton, "I am thinking of nothing so selfish. That which distresses me is, that I will lose my friend. This Miss Gourlay is, they say, so confoundedly virtuous that I dare say she will allow no honest fellow, who doesn't carry a Bible and a Prayer-book in his pocket, and quote Scripture in conversation, to associate with you."

"Nonsense, man," replied Dunroe, "I have satisfied you on that point before. But I say, Norton, is not this a great bite on the baronet, especially as he considers himself a knowing one?"

"Yes, I grant you, a great bite, no doubt; but, at the same time, I rather guess you may thank me for the possession of Miss Gourlay, and the property which will go along with her."

"As how, Norton?"

"Why, don't you remember the anonymous note which I wrote to the baronet, when I was over in Dublin to get the horse changed? He was then at Red Hall. I am certain that were it not for that hint, there would have been an elopement. You know it was the fellow who shot you, that was then in her neighborhood, and he is at present in town. I opened the baronet's eyes at all events."

"Faith, to tell you the truth, Norton, although I know you do me in money matters now and then, still I believe you to be a faithful fellow. In fact, you owe me more than you are aware of. You know not how I have resisted the respectable old nobleman's wishes to send you adrift as an impostor and cheat. I held firm, however, and told him I could never with honor abandon my friend."

"Many thanks, Dunroe; but I really must say that I am neither an impostor nor a cheat; and that if ever a man was true friend and faithful to man, I am that friend to your lordship; not, God knows, because you are a lord, but because you are a far better thing—a regular trump. A cheat! curse it," clapping his hands over his eyes, to conceal his emotion, "isn't my name Norton? and am I not your friend?"

At this moment a servant came in, and handed Lord Dunroe a note, which he was about to throw to Norton, who generally acted as a kind of secretary to him; but observing the depth and sincerity and also the modesty of his feelings, he thought it indelicate to trouble him with it just then. Breakfast was now over, and Dunroe, throwing himself back in an arm-chair, opened the letter—read it—then another that was contained in it; after which he rose up, and travelled the room with a good deal of excitement. He then approached Norton, and said, in a voice that might be said to have been made up of heat and cold, "What disturbs you?"

Norton winked both eyes, did the pathetic a bit, then pulled out his pocket handkerchief, and blew his nose up to a point little short of distress itself. In the meantime, Dunroe suddenly left the room without Norton's knowledge, who replied, however, to the last question, under the impression that his lordship was present,

"Ah, my dear Dunroe, the loss of a true friend is a serious thing in a world like this, where so many cheats and impostors are going."

To this, however, he received no reply; and on looking round and finding that his dupe had gone out, he said:

"Curse the fellow—he has cut me short. I was acting friendship to the life, and now he has disappeared. However, I will resume it when I hear his foot on the return. His hat is there, and I know he will come back for it."

Nearly ten minutes had elapsed, during which he was making the ham and chicken disappear, when, on hearing a foot which he took for granted must be that of his lordship, he once more threw himself into his former attitude, and putting the handkerchief again to his eyes, exclaimed:

"No, my lord. A cheat! Curse it, isn't my name Norton? and am I not your friend?"

"Why, upon my soul, Barney, you used of ould to bring out only one lie at a time but now you give them in pairs. 'Isn't my name Norton?' says you. I kept the saicret bekaise you never meddled with Lord Cullamore or Lady Emily, or attempted your tricks on them, and for that raison you ought to thank me. Here's a note from Lord Dunroe, who looks as black as midnight."

"What! a note from Dunroe!" exclaimed Norton. "Why he only left me this minute! What the deuce can this mean?"

He opened the note, and read, to his dismay and astonishment as follows:

"Infamous and treacherous scoundrel,—I have this moment received your letter to Mr. Birney, enclosed by that gentleman to me, in which you offer, for a certain sum, to betray me, by placing in the hands of my enemies the very documents you pretended to have destroyed. I now know the viper I have cherished—begone. You are a cheat, an impostor, and a villain, whose name is not Norton, but Bryan, once a horse-jockey on the Curragh, and obliged to fly the country for swindling and dishonesty. Remove your things instantly; but that shall not prevent me from tracing you and handing you over to justice for your knavery and fraud.


"All right! Morty—-all right!" exclaimed Norton; "upon my soul, Dunroe is too generous. You know he is going to be married to-day. Was that Roberts who went up stairs?"

"It was the young officer, if that's his name," replied Morty.

"All right! Morty; he's to be groom's-man—that will do; this requires no answer. The generous fellow has made me a present on his wedding-day. That will do, Morty; you may go."

"All's discovered," he exclaimed, when Morty was gone; "however, it's not too late: I shall give him a Roland for his Oliver before we part. It will be no harm to give the the respectable old nobleman a hint of what's going on, at any rate. This discovery, however, won't signify, for I know Dunroe. The poor fool has no self-reliance; but if left to himself would die. He possesses no manly spirit of independent will, no firmness, no fixed principle—he is, in fact, a noun adjective, and cannot stand alone. Depraved in his appetites and habits of life, he cannot live without some hanger-on to enjoy his freaks of silly and senseless profligacy, who can praise and laugh at him, and who will act at once as his butt, his bully, his pander, and his friend; four capacities in which I have served him—at his own expense, be it said. No; my ascendancy over him has been too long established, and I know that, like a prime minister who has been hastily dismissed, I shall be ultimately recalled. And yet he is not without gleams of sense, is occasionally sprightly, and has perceptions of principle that might have made him a man—an individual being: but now, having neither firmness, resolution to carry out a good purpose, nor self-respect, he is a miserable and wretched cipher, whose whole value depends on the figure that is next him. Yes, I know—I feel—he will recall me to his councils."

At length the hour of half-past eleven arrived, and in Sir Thomas Gourlay's drawing-room were assembled all those who had been asked to be present, or to take the usual part in the marriage ceremony. Dr. Sombre, the clergyman of the parish, had just arrived, and, having entered the drawing-room, made a bow that would not have disgraced a bishop. He was pretty well advanced in years, excessively stupid, and possessed so vile a memory for faces, that he was seldom able to recognize his own guests, if he happened to meet them in the streets on the following day. He was an expectant for preferment in the church, and if the gift of a good appetite were a successful recommendation for a mitre, as that of a strong head has been before now, no man was better entitled to wear it. Be this as it may, the good man, who expected to partake of an excellent dejuner, felt that it was a portion of his duty to give a word or two of advice to the young couple upon the solemn and important duties into the discharge of which they were about to enter. Accordingly, looking round the room, he saw Mr. Roberts and Lady Emily engaged, at a window, in what appeared to him to be such a conversation as might naturally take place between parties about to be united. Lucy had not yet made her appearance, but Dunroe was present, and on seeing the Rev. Doctor join them, was not at all sorry at the interruption. This word of advice, by the way, was a stereotyped commodity with the Doctor, who had not married a couple for the last thirty years, without palming it on them as an extempore piece of admonition arising from that particular occasion. The worthy man was, indeed, the better qualified to give it, having never been married himself, and might, therefore, be considered as perfectly free from prejudices affecting either party upon the subject.

"You, my dear children, are the parties about to be united?" said he, addressing Roberts and Lady Emily, with a bow that had in it a strong professional innuendo, but of what nature was yet to be learned.

"Yes, sir," replied Roberts, who at once perceived the good man's mistake, and was determined to carry out whatever jest might arise from it.

"Oh no, sir," replied Lady Emily, blushing deeply; "we are not the parties."

"Because," proceeded the Doctor, "I think I could not do better than give you, while together, a few words—just a little homily, as it were—upon the nature of the duties into which you are about to enter."

"Oh, but I have told you," replied Lady Emily, again, "that we are not the parties, Dr. Sombre."

"Never mind her, Doctor," said Roberts—assuming, with becoming gravity, the character of the intended husband: "the Doctor, my dear, knows human nature too well not to make allowances for the timidity peculiar to your situation. Come, my, love be firm, and let us hear what he has to say."

"Yes," replied the Doctor, "I can understand that; I knew I was right: and all you want now is the ceremony to make you man and wife."

"Indisputable, Doctor; nothing can be more true. These words might almost appear as an appendix to the Gospel."

"Well, my children," proceeded the Doctor, "listen—marriage may be divided—"

"I thought it was rather a union, Doctor."

"So it is, child," replied the Doctor, in the most matter-of-fact spirit; "but you know that even Unions can be divided. When I was induced to the Union of Ballycomeasy and Ballycomsharp I—"

"But, Doctor," said Roberts, "I beg your pardon, I have interrupted you. Will you have the kindness to proceed? my fair partner, here, is very anxious to hear your little homily—are you not, my love?"

Lady Emily was certainly pressed rather severely to maintain her gravity—in fact, so much so, that she was unable to reply, Robert's composure being admirable.

"Well," resumed the Doctor, "as I was saying—Marriage may be divided into three heads—"

"For heaven's sake, make it only two, if possible, my dear Doctor," said Roberts: "the appearance of a third head is rather uncomfortable, I think."

—"Into three heads—first, its duties; next, its rights; and lastly, its tribulations."

The Doctor, we may observe, was in general very unlucky, in the reception which fell to the share of his little homily—the fact being with it as with its subject in actual life, that his audience, however they might feel upon its rights and duties, were very anxious to avoid its tribulations in any sense, and the consequence was, that in nineteen cases out of twenty the reverend bachelor himself was left in the midst of them. Such was his fate here; for at this moment Sir Thomas Gourlay entered the drawing-room, and approaching Lady Emily, said, "I have to apologize to you, Lady Emily, inasmuch as it is I who am to blame for Miss Gourlay's not having seen you sooner. On a subject of such importance, it is natural that a father should have some private conversation with her, and indeed this was the case; allow me now to conduct you to her."

"There is no apology whatsoever necessary, Sir Thomas," replied her ladyship, taking his arm, and casting a rapid but precious glance at Roberts. As they went up stairs, the baronet said, in a voice of great anxiety,

"You will oblige me, Lady Emily, by keeping her from the looking-glass as much as possible. I have got her maid—who, although rather plain in her manners, has excellent taste in all matters connected with the toilette—I have got her to say, while dressing her, that it is not considered lucky for a bride to see herself in a looking-glass on the day of her marriage."

"But why should she not, Sir Thomas?" asked the innocent and lovely girl: "if ever a lady should consult her glass, it is surely upon such an occasion as this."

"I grant it," he replied; "but then her paleness—is—is—her looks altogether are so—in fact, you may understand me, Lady Emily—she is, in consequence of her very delicate health—in consequence of that, I say, she is more like a corpse than a living being—in complexion I mean. And now, my dear Lady Emily, will you hurry her? I am anxious—that is to say, we all are—to have the ceremony over as soon as it possibly can. She will then feel better, of course."

Dr. Sombre, seeing that one of the necessary audience to his little homily had disappeared, seemed rather disappointed, but addressed himself to Roberts upon a very different subject.

"I dare say," said he, "we shall have a very capital dejeuner to-day."

Roberts was startled at the rapid and carnal nature of the transition in such a reverend-looking old gentleman; but as the! poor Doctor had sustained a disappointment on the subject of the homily, he was determined to afford him some comfort on this.

"I understand," said he, "from the best authority, that nothing like it has been seen for years in the city. Several of the nobility and gentry have privately solicited Sir Thomas for copies of the bill of fare."

"That is all right," replied the Doctor, "that is all excellent, my good young friend. Who is that large gentleman who has just come in?"

"Why, sir," replied Roberts, astonished, "that is Sir Thomas Gourlay himself."

"Bless me, and so it is," replied the Doctor; "he is getting very fat—eh? Ay, all right, and will make excellent eating if the cooking be good."

Roberts saw at once what the worthy Doctor was thinking of, and resolved Lo suggest some other topic, if it were only to punish him for bestowing such attention upon a subject so much at variance with thoughts that ought to occupy the mind of a minister of God.

"I have heard, Doctor, that you are a bachelor," said he. "How did it happen, pray, that you kept aloof from marriage?"

The Doctor, who had been contemplating his own exploits at the dejuner, now that Roberts had mentioned marriage, took it for granted that he wanted him to proceed with his homily, and tried to remember where he had left off.

"Oh, yes," said he, "about marriage; I stopped at its tribulations. I think I had got over its rights and duties, but I stopped at its tribulations—yes, its tribulations. Very well my dear friend," he proceeded, taking him by the hand, and leading him over to a corner, "accompany me, and you shall enter them now. Where is the young lady?"

"She will be here by and by," replied Roberts; "I think you had better wait till she comes."

The Doctor paused for some time, and following up the idea of the dejuner, said, "I am fond of wild fowl now."

"Oh, fie, Doctor," replied the Ensign; "I did not imagine that so grave a personage as you are could be fond of anything wild."

"Oh, yes," replied the Doctor, "ever while you live prefer the wild to the tame; every one, sir," he added, taking the other by the button, "that knows what's what, in that respect, does it. Well, but about the tribulations."

As usual the Doctor was doomed to be left in them, for just as he spoke the doors were thrown more widely open, and Lucy, leaning upon, or rather supported by, her aunt and Lady Emily, accompanied by Mrs. Mainwaring, entered the room. Her father had been in close conversation with Dunroe; but not all his efforts at self-possession and calmness could prevent his agitation and anxiety from being visible. His eye was unsettled and blood-shot; his manner uneasy, and the whole bearing indicative of hope, ecstasy, apprehension, and doubt, all flitting across each other like clouds in a sky troubled by adverse currents, but each and all telling a tale of the tumult which was going on within him.

Yes, Lucy was there, but, alas the day! what a woful sight did she present to the spectators. The moment she had come down, the servants, and all those who had obtained permission to be present at the ceremony, now entered the large drawing-room to witness it. Tom Gourlay entered a little after his sister, followed in a few minutes by old Anthony, accompanied by Fenton, who leant upon him, and was provided with an arm-chair in a remote corner of the room. After them came Thomas Corbet and his sister, Ginty Cooper, together with old Sam Roberts, and the man named Skipton, with whom the reader has already been made acquainted.

But how shall we describe the bride—the wretched, heart-broken victim of an ambition that was as senseless as it was inhuman? It was impossible for one moment to glance at her without perceiving that the stamp of death, misery, and despair, was upon her; and yet, despite of all this, she carried with her and around her a strange charm, an atmosphere of grace, elegance, and beauty, of majestic virtue, of innate greatness of mind, of wonderful truth, and such transparent purity of heart and thought, that when she entered the room all the noise and chat and laughter were instantly hushed, and a sense of solemn awe, as if there were more than a marriage here, came over all present. Nay, more. We shall not pretend to trace the cause and origin of this extraordinary sensation. Originate as it may, it told a powerful and startling tale to her father's heart; but in truth she had not been half a minute in the room when, such was the dignified but silent majesty of her sorrow, that there were few eyes there that were not moist with tears. The melancholy impressiveness of her character, her gentleness, her mournful resignation, the patience with which she suffered, could not for one moment be misunderstood, and the contagion of sympathy, and of common humanity, in the fate of a creature apparently more divine than human, whose sorrow was read as if by intuition, spread through them with a feeling of strong compassion that melted almost every I heart, and sent the tears to every eye.

Her father approached her, and whispered to her, and caressed her, and seemed playful and even light-hearted, as if the day were a day of joy; but out strongly against his mirth stood the solemn spirit of her sorrow; and when he went to bring over Dunroe, and when he took her passive hand, in order to place it in his—the agony, the horror, with which she submitted to the act, were expressed in a manner that made her appear, as that which she actually was, the lovely but pitiable victim of ambition. Alley Mahon's grief was loud; Lady Gourlay, Mrs. Mainwaring, Lady Emily, all were in tears.

"I am proud to see this," said Sir Thomas, bowing, as if he were bound to thank them, and attempting, with his usual tact, to turn their very sympathy into a hollow and untruthful compliment; "I am proud to see this manifestation of strong attachment to my daughter; it is a proof of how she is loved."

Lucy had not once opened her lips. She had not strength to do so; her very voice had abandoned her.

Two or three persons besides the baronet and the bridegroom felt a deep interest in what was going forward, or about to go forward. Thomas Gourlay now absolutely hated her; so did his mother; so did his uncle, Thomas Corbet. Each and all of them felt anxious to have her married, in order that she might be out of Tom's way, and that he might enjoy a wider sphere of action. Old Anthony Corbet stood looking on, with his thin lips compressed closely together, his keen eyes riveted on the baronet, and an expression legible on every trace of his countenance, such as might well have constituted him some fearful incarnation of hatred and vengeance. Lady Gourlay was so completely engrossed by Lucy that she did not notice Fenton, and the latter, from his position, could see nothing of either the bride or the baronet, but their backs.

Lord Dunroe felt that his best course was to follow the advice of Sir Thomas, which was, not to avail himself of his position with Lucy, but to observe a respectful manner, and to avoid entering into any conversation whatsoever with her, at least until after the ceremony should be performed. He consequently kept his distance, with the exception of receiving her passive hand, as we have shown, and maintained a low and subdued conversation with Mr. Roberts. The only person likely to interrupt the solemn feeling which prevailed was old Sam, who had his handkerchief several times alternately to his nose and eyes, and who looked about him with an indignant expression, that seemed to say, "There's something wrong here—some one ought to speak; I wish my boy would step forward. This, surely, is not the heart of man."

At length the baronet approached Lucy, and seemed, by his action, as well as his words, to ask her consent to something. Lucy looked at him, but neither by her word nor gesture appeared to accede to or refuse his request; and her father, after complacently bowing, as if to thank her for her acquiescence, said,

"I think, Dr. Sombre, we require your services; the parties are assembled and willing, and the ceremony had better take place."

Thomas Corbet had been standing at a front window, and Alley Mahon, on hearing the baronet's words, instantly changed her position to the front of Lucy, as if she intended to make a spring between her and Dunroe, as soon as the matter should come to a crisis.

In the meantime Dr. Sombre advanced with his book, and Lord Dunroe was led over by Roberts to take his position opposite the bride, when a noise of carriage-wheels was heard coming rapidly along, and stopping as rapidly at the hall door. In an instant a knock that almost shook the house, and certainly startled some of the females, among whom was the unhappy bride herself, was heard at the hall door, and the next moment Thomas Corbet hurried out of the room, as if to see who had arrived, instantly followed by Gibson.

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