"My lord," proceeded the counsel, "we are, we think, in a capacity to establish a much graver charge against M'Gowan—a charge of murder, my lord, discovered, under circumstances little short of providential."
In short, not to trouble the reader with, the dry details of the courts, after some discussion, it was arranged that two bills should be prepared and sent up—one for perjury, and the other for the murder of a carman, named Peter Magennis, almost at the very spot where it had, until then, been supposed that poor Dalton had murdered Bartholomew Sullivan. The consequence was, that Donnel, or Donald M'Gowan, the Black Prophet, found himself in the very dock where Dalton had stood the preceding day. His case, whether as regarded the perjury or the murder, was entitled to no clemency, beyond that which the letter of the law strictly allowed. The judge assigned him counsel, with whom he was permitted to communicate; and he himself, probably supposing that his chance of escape was then greater than if more time were allowed to procure and arrange evidence against him, said he was ready and willing, without further notice, to be brought to trial.
We beg to observe here, that we do not strictly confine ourselves to the statements made during the trial, inasmuch as we deem it necessary to mention circumstances to the reader, which the rules of legitimate evidence would render inadmissable in a court of justice. We are not reporting the case, and consequently hold ourselves warranted in adding whatever may be necessary to making it perfectly clear, or in withholding circumstances that did not bear upon our narrative. With this proviso, we now proceed to detail the denouement.
The first evidence against him, was that of our female friend, whom we have called the Widow Hanlon, but who, in fact, was no other than the Prophet's wife, and sister to the man Magennis, whom he had murdered. The Prophet's real name, she stated, was M'Ivor, but why he changed it, she knew not. He had been a man, in the early part of his life, of rather a kind and placid disposition, unless when highly provoked, and then his resentments were terrible. He was all his life, however, the slave of a dark and ever-wakeful jealousy, that destroyed his peace, and rendered his life painful both to himself and others. It happened that her brother, the murdered man, had prosecuted M'Ivor for taking forcible possession of a house, for which he, M'Ivor, received twelve months' imprisonment. It happened also about that time, that is, a little before the murder, that he had become jealous of her and a neighbor, who had paid his addresses to her before marriage. M'Ivor, at this period, acted in the capacity of a plain Land Surveyor among the farmers and cottiers of the barony, and had much reputation for his exactness and accuracy. While in prison, he vowed deadly vengeance against her brother, Magennis, and swore, that if ever she spoke to him, acknowledged him, or received him into her house during his life, she should never live another day under his roof.
In this state matters were, when her brother, having heard that her husband was in a distant part of the barony, surveying, or subdividing a farm, came to ask her to her sister's wedding, and while in the house, the Prophet, most unexpectedly, was discovered, within a few perches of the door, on his return. Terror, on her part, from a dread of his violence, and also an apprehension lest he and her brother should meet, and, perhaps, seriously injure each other, even to bloodshed, caused her to hurry the latter into another room, with instructions to get out of the window as quietly as possible, and to go home. Unfortunately he did so, but had scarcely escaped, when a poor mendicant woman, coming in to ask alms, exclaimed—"Take care, good people, that you have not been robbed—I saw a man comin' out of the windy, and runnin' over toward Jemmy Campel's house"—Campel being the name of the young man of whom her husband was jealous.
M'Ivor, now furious, ran towards Campel's, and meeting that person's servant-maid at the door, asked "if her master was at home."
She replied, "Yes, he just came in this minute."
"What direction did he come from?"
"From the direction of your own house," she answered.
It should be stated, however, that his wife, at once recollecting his jealousy, told him immediately that the person who had left the house was her brother; but he rushed on, and paid no attention whatsoever to her words.
From this period forward he never lived with her, but she has heard recently—no longer ago than last night—that he had associated himself with a woman named Eleanor M'Guirk, about thirty miles farther west from their original neighborhood, near a place called Glendhu, and it was at that place her brother was murdered.
Neither her anxieties nor her troubles, however, ended here. When her husband left her, he took a daughter, their only child, then almost an infant, away with him, and contrived to circulate a report that he and she had gone to America. After her return home, she followed her nephew to this neighborhood, and that accounted for her presence there. So well, indeed, did he manage this matter, that she received a very contrite and affectionate letter, that had been sent, she thought, from Boston, desiring her to follow himself and the child there. The deceit was successful. Gratified at the prospect of joining them, she made the due preparations, and set sail. It is unnecessary to say, that on arriving at Boston she could get no tidings whatsoever of either the one or the other; but as she had some relations in the place, she found them out, and resided there until within a few months ago, when she set sail for Ireland, where she arrived only a short time previous to the period of the trial. She has often heard M'Ivor say that he would settle accounts with her brother some fine night, but he usually added, "I will take my time and kill two birds with one stone when I go about it," by which she thought he meant robbing him, as well as murdering him, as her brother was known mostly to have a good deal of money about him.
We now add here, although the fact was not brought out until a later stage of the trial, that she proved the identity of the body found in Glendhu, as being that of her brother, very clearly. His right leg had been broken, and having been mismanaged, was a little crooked, which occasioned him to have a slight halt in his walk. The top joint also of the second toe, on the same foot had been snapped off by the tramp of a horse, while her brother was a schoolboy—two circumstances which were corroborated by the Coroner, and one or two of those who had examined the body at the previous inquest, and which they could then attribute only to injuries received during his rude interment, but which were now perfectly intelligible and significant.
The next witness called was Bartholemew Sullivan, who deposed—
That about a month before his disappearance from the country, he was one night coming home from a wake, and within half a mile of the Grey Stone he met a person, evidently a carman, accompanying a horse and cart, who bade him the time of night as he passed. He noticed that the man had a slight halt as he walked, but could not remember his face, although the night was by no means dark. On passing onwards, towards home, he met another person walking after the carman, who, on seeing him (Sullivan) hastily threw some weapon or other into the ditch. The hour was about three o'clock in the night (morning,) and on looking close at the man, for he seemed to follow the other in a stealthy way, he could only observe that he had a very pale face, and heavy black eyebrows; indeed he has little doubt but that the prisoner is the man, although he will not actually swear it after such a length of time.
This was the evidence given by Bartholomew Sullivan.
The third witness produced was Theodosius M'Mahon, or, as he was better known, Toddy Mack, the Pedlar, who deposed to the fact of having, previously to his departure for Boston, given to Peter Magennis a present of a steel tobacco-box as a keep-sake, and as the man did not use tobacco, he said, on putting it into his pocket—
"This will do nicely to hould my money in, on my way home from Dublin."
Upon which Toddy Mack observed, laughingly—
"That if he put either silver or brass in it, half the country would know it by the jingle."
"I'll take care of that, never fear," replied Magennis, "for I'll put nothing in this, but the soft, comfortable notes."
He was asked if the box had any particular mark by which it might be known?
"Yes, he had himself punched upon the lid of it the initials of the person to whom he gave it—P. M., for Peter Magennis."
"Would you know the box if you saw it?"
"Is that it?" asked the prosecuting attorney, placing the box in his hands.
"That is the same box I gave him, upon my oath. It's a good deal rusted now, but there's the holes as I punched them; and by the same token, there is the letter P., the very place yet where the two holes broke into one, as I was punchin' it."
"Pray, how did the box come to turn up?" asked the judge:—"In whose possession has it been ever since?"
"My lord, we have just come to that. Crier, call Eleanor M'Guirk."
The woman hitherto known as Nelly M'Gowan, and supposed to be the Prophet's wife now made her appearance.
"Will you state to the gentlemen of the jury what you know about this box?"
Our readers are partially aware of her evidence with respect to it. We shall, however, briefly recapitulate her account of the circumstance.
"The first time she ever saw it," she said, "was the night the carman was murdered, or that he disappeared, at any rate. She resided by herself, in a little house at the mouth of the Glendhu—the same she and the Prophet had lived in ever since. They had not long been acquainted at that time—but still longer than was right or proper. She had been very little in the country then, and any time he did come was principally at night, when he stopped with her, and went away again, generally before day in the morning. He passed himself on her as an unmarried man, and said his name was M'Gowan. On that evening he came about dusk, but went out again, and she did not see him till far in the night, when he returned, and appeared to be fatigued and agitated—his clothes, too, were soiled and crumpled, especially the collar of his shirt, which was nearly torn off, as in a struggle of some kind. She asked him what was the matter with him, and said he looked as if he had been fighting." He replied—
"No, Nelly; but I've killed two birds with one stone this night."
She asked him what he meant by those words, but he would give her no further information.
"I'll give no explanation," said he, "but this;" and turning his back to her, he opened a tobacco-box, which, by stretching her neck, she saw distinctly, and, taking out a roll of bank notes, he separated one from the rest, and handing it to her, exclaimed—"there's all the explanation you can want; a close mouth, Nelly, is the sign of a wise-head, an' by keepin' a close mouth, you'll get more explanations of this kind. Do you understand that?" said he. "I do," she replied.
"Very well, then," he observed "let that be the law and gospel between us."
When he fell asleep, she got up, and looking at the box, saw that it was stuffed with bank notes, had a broken hinge—the hinge was freshly broken—and something like two letters on the lid of it.
"She then did not see it," she continued, "until some weeks ago, when his daughter and herself having had a quarrel, in which the girl cut her—she (his daughter) on stretching up for some cobwebs on the wall to stanch the bleeding, accidentally pulled the box out of a crevice, in which it had been hid. About this time," she added, "the prisoner became very restless at night, indeed, she might say by day and night, and after a good deal of gloomy ill temper, he made inquiries for it, and on hearing that it had again appeared, even threatened her life if it were not produced." She closed her evidence by stating that she had secreted it, but could tell nothing of its ultimate and mysterious disappearance.
Hanlon's part in tracing the murder is already known, we presume, to the reader. He dreamt, but his dream was not permitted to go to the jury, that his father came to him, and said, that if he repaired to the Grey Stone, at Glendhu, on a night which he named, at the hour of twelve o'clock, he would get such a clue to his murder as would enable him to bring his murderer to justice.
"Are you the son, then, of the man who is said to have been murdered?" asked the judge.
"He was his son," he replied, "and came first to that part of the country in consequence of having been engaged in a Party fight in his native place. It seems a warrant had been issued against him and others, and he thought it more prudent to take his mother's name, which was Hanlon, in order to avoid discovery, the case being a very common one under circumstances of that kind."
Rody Duncan's explanation, with respect to the Tobacco-Box, was not called for on the trial, but we shall give it here in order to satisfy the reader. He saw Nelly M'Gowan, as we may still call her, thrusting something under the thatch of the cabin, and feeling a kind of curiosity to ascertain what it could be, he seized the first opportunity of examining, and finding a tobacco-box, he put it in his pocket, and thought himself extremely fortunate in securing it, for reasons which the reader will immediately understand. The truth is, that Rody, together with about half a dozen virtuous youths in the neighborhood, were in the habit of being out pretty frequently at night—for what purposes we will not now wait to inquire. Their usual place of rendezvous was the Grey Stone, in consequence of the shelter and concealment which its immense projections afforded them. On the night of the first meeting between Sarah and Hanlon, Rody had heard the whole conversation by accident, whilst waiting for his companions, and very judiciously furnished the groans, as he did also upon the second night, on both occasions for his own amusement. His motives for ingratiating himself through means of the box, with Sarah and Hanlon, are already known to the reader, and require no further explanation from us.
In fact, such a train of circumstantial evidence was produced, as completely established the Prophet's guilt, in the opinion of all who had heard the trial, and the result was a verdict of guilty by the jury, and a sentence of death by the judge.
"Your case," said the judge, as he was about to pronounce sentence, "is another proof of the certainty with which Providence never, so to speak, loses sight of the man who deliberately sheds his fellow creature's blood. It is an additional and striking instance too, of the retributive spirit with which it converts all the most cautious disguises of guilt, no matter how ingeniously assumed, into the very manifestations by which its enormity is discovered and punished."
After recommending him to a higher tribunal, and impressing upon him the necessity of repentance, and seeking peace with God, he sentenced him to be hanged by the neck on the fourth day after the close of the assizes, recommending his soul, as usual, to the mercy of his Creator.
The Prophet was evidently a man of great moral intrepidity and firmness. He kept his black, unquailing eye fixed upon the judge while he spoke, but betrayed not a single symptom of a timid or vacillating spirit. When the sentence was pronounced, he looked with an expression of something like contempt upon those who had broken out, as usual, into those murmurs of compassion and satisfaction, which are sometimes uttered under circumstances similar to his.
"Now," said he to the gaoler, "that every thing is over, and the worst come to the worst, the sooner I get to my cell the better. I have despised the world too long to care a single curse what it says or thinks of me, or about me. All I'm sorry for is, that I didn't take more out of it, and that I let it slip through my hands so asily as I did. My curse upon it and its villany! Bring me in."
The gratification of the country for a wide circle round, was now absolutely exuberant. There was not only the acquittal of the good-hearted and generous old man, to fill the public with a feeling of delight, but also the unexpected resurrection, as it were, of honest Bartholomew Sullivan, which came to animate all parties with a double enjoyment. Indeed, the congratulations which both parties received, were sincere and fervent. Old Condy Dalton had no sooner left the dock than he was surrounded by friends and relatives, each and all anxious to manifest their sense of his good fortune, in the usual way of "treating" him and his family. Their gratitude, however, towards the Almighty for the unexpected interposition in their favor, was too exalted and pious to allow them to profane it by convivial indulgences. With as little delay, therefore, as might be, they sought their humble cabin, where a scene awaited them that was calculated to dash with sorrow the sentiments of justifiable exultation which they felt.
Our readers may remember that owing to Sarah's illness, the Prophet, as an after thought, had determined to give to the abduction of Mave Sullivan the color of a famine outrage; and for this purpose he had resolved also to engage Thomas Dalton to act as a kind of leader—a circumstance which he hoped would change the character of the proceedings altogether to one of wild and licentious revenge on the part of Dalton. Poor Dalton lent himself to this, as far as its aspect of a mere outbreak had attractions for the melancholy love of turbulence, by which he had been of late unhappily animated. He accordingly left home with the intention of taking a part in their proceedings; but he never joined them. Where he had gone to, or how he had passed the night, nobody knew. Be this as it may, he made his appearance at home about noon on the day of his father's trial, in evidently a dying state, and in this condition his family found him on their return. 'Tis true they had the consolation of perceiving that he was calmer and more collected than he had been since the death of Peggy Murtagh. His reason, indeed, might be said to have been altogether restored.
They found him sitting in his father's arm chair, his head supported—oh, how tenderly supported!—by his affectionate sister, Mary.
Mrs. Dalton herself had come before, to break the joyful tidings to this excellent girl, who, on seeing her, burst into tears, exclaiming in Irish—
"Mother, dear, I'm afraid you're bringing a heavy heart to a house of sorrow!"
"A light heart, dear Mary—a light and a grateful heart. Your father, acushla machree—your father, my dear, unhappy Tom, is not a murderer."
The girl had one arm around her brother's neck, but she instinctively raised the other, as if in ecstatic delight, but in a moment she dropped it again, and said sorrowfully—
"Ay; but, mother dear, didn't he say himself he was guilty?"
"He thought so, dear; but it was only a rash blow; and oh, how many a deadly accident has come from harsh blows! The man was not killed at all, dear Mary, but is alive and well, and was in the court-house this day. Oh! what do we not owe to a good God for His mercy towards us all? Tom, dear, I am glad to see you at home; you must not go out again."
"Oh, mother dear," said his sister, kissing him, and bursting into tears, "Tom's dying!"
"What's this?" exclaimed his mother—"death's in my boy's face!"
He raised his head gently, and, looking at her, replied, with a faint smile—
"No, mother, I will not go out any more; I will be good at last—it's time for me."
At this moment old Dalton and the rest of the family entered the house, but were not surprised at finding Mary and her mother in tears; for they supposed, naturally enough, that the tears were tears of joy for the old man's acquittal. Mrs. Dalton raised her hand to enjoin silence; and then, pointing to her son, said—
"We must keep quiet for a little."
They all looked upon the young man, and saw, that death, immediate death, was stamped upon his features, gleamed wildly out of his eyes, and spoke in his feeble and hollow voice.
"Father," said he, "let me kiss you, or come and kiss me. Thank God for what has happened this day. Father," he added, looking up into the old man's face, with an expression of unutterable sorrow and affection—"father, I know I was wild; but I will be wild no more. I was wicked, too; but I will be wicked no more. There, is an end now to all my follies and all my crimes; an' I hope—I hope that God will have mercy upon me, an' forgive me."
The tears rained fast upon his pale face from the old man's eyes, as he exclaimed—
"He will have mercy upon you, my darlin' son; look to Him. I know, darlin', that whatever crimes or follies you committed, you are sorry for them, an' God will forgive you."
"I am," he replied; "kiss me all of you; my sight is gettin' wake, an' my tongue isn't isn't so strong as it was."
One after one they all kissed him, and as each knew that this tender and sorrowful, embrace must be the last that should ever pass between them, it is impossible adequately to describe the scene which then took place.
"I have a request to make," he added, feebly; "an' it is, that I may sleep with Peggy and our baby. Maybe I'm not worthy of that; but still I'd like it, an' my heart's upon it; an' I think she would like it, too."
"It can be done, an' we'll do it," replied his mother; "we'll do it my darlin' boy—my son, my son, we'll do it."
"Don't you all forgive me—forgive me—everything?"
They could only, for some time, reply by their tears; but at length they did reply, and he seemed satisfied.
"Now," said he, "there was an ould Irish air that Peggy used to sing for me—I thought I heard her often singin' it of late—did I?"
"I suppose so, darlin'," replied his mother; "I suppose you did."
"Mary, here," he proceeded, "sings it; I would like to hear it before I go; it's the air of Gra Gal Machree."
"Before you go, alanna!" exclaimed his father, pressing him tenderly to his breast. "Oh! but they're bitther words to us, my darlin' an' my lovin' boy. But the air, Mary, darlin', strive an' sing it for him as well as you can."
It was a trying task for the affectionate girl, who, however, so far overcame her grief, as to be able to sing it with the very pathos of nature itself.
"Ay," said he, as she proceeded, "that's it—that's what Peggy used to sing for me, bekaise she knew I liked it."
Tender and full of sorrow were the notes as they came from the innocent lips of that affectionate sister. Her task, however, was soon over; for scarcely had she concluded the air, when her poor brother's ears and heart were closed to the melody and affection it breathed, forever.
"I know," said she, with tears, "that there's one thing will give comfort to you all respecting poor Tom. Peter Rafferty, who helped him home, seein' the dyin' state he was in, went over to the Car, and brought one of Father Hanratty's curates to him, so that he didn't depart without resaving the rites of the Church, thank God!"
This took the sting of bitterness out of their grief, and infused into it a spirit that soothed their hearts, and sustained them by that consolation which the influence of religion and its ordinances, in the hour of death and sorrow, never fail to give to an Irish family.
Old Dalton's sleep was sound that night; and when he awoke the next morning the first voice he heard was that of our friend Toddy Mack, which, despite of the loss they had sustained, and its consequent sorrow, diffused among them a spirit of cheerfulness and contentment.
"You have no raison," said he, "to fly in the face of God—I don't mane you, Mrs. Dalton—but these youngsters. If what I heard is thrue that that poor boy never was himself since the girl died, it was a mercy for God to take him; and afther all He is a betther judge of what's fit for us than we ourselves. Bounce, now, Mr. Dalton; you have little time to lose. I want you to come wid me to the agent, Mr. Travers. He wishes, I think, to see yourself, for he says he has heard a good account o' you, an' I promised to bring you. If we're there about two o'clock we'll hit the time purty close."
"What can he want with him, do you think?" asked Mrs. Dalton.
"Dear knows—fifty things—maybe to stand for one of his childhre—or—but, ah! forgive me—I could be merry anywhere else; but here—here—forgive me, Mrs. Dalton."
In a short time Dalton and he mounted a car which Toddy had brought with him, and started for the office of Mr. Travers.
While they are on their way, we shall return to our friend, young Dick, who was left to trudge home from the Grey Stone on the night set apart for the abduction of Mave Sullivan. Hanlon, or Magennis, as we ought now to call him, having by his shrewdness, and Rody Duncan's loose manner of talking, succeeded in preventing the burglarious attack upon his master's house, was a good deal surprised at young Dick's quick return, for he had not expected him at all that night. The appearance of the young gentleman was calculated to excite impressions of rather a serio-comic character.
"Hanlon," said he, "is all right?—every man at his post?"
"All right, sir; but I did not expect you back so soon. Whatever you've been engaged on to-night is a saicret you've kep' me out of."
"D—e, I was afraid of you, Hanlon—you were too honest for what I was about to-night. You wouldn't have stood it—I probed you on it once before, and you winced."
"Well, sir, I assure you I don't wish to know what it is."
"Why, as the whole thing has failed there, can be no great secret in it now. The old Prophet hoaxed me cursedly to-night. It was arranged between us that he should carry off Sullivan's handsome daughter for me—and what does the mercenary old scoundrel do but put his own in her place, with a view of imposing her on me."
"Faith, an' of the two she is thought to be the finest an' handsomest girl; but, my God! how could he do what you say, an' his daughter sick o' the typhus?"
"There's some d—d puzzle about it, I grant—he seemed puzzled—his daughter-seemed sick, sure enough—and I am sick. Hanlon, I fear I've caught the typhus from her—I can think of nothing else."
"Go to bed, sir; I tould you as you went out that you had taken rather too much. You've been disappointed, an' you're vexed;—that's what ails you; but go to bed, an' you'll sleep it off."
"Yes, I must. In a day or two it's arranged that I and Travers are to settle about the leases, and I must meet that worthy gentleman with a clear head."
"Is Darby Skinadre, sir, to have Dalton's farm?"
"Why, I've pocketed a hundred of his money for it, an' I think he ought. However, all this part of the property is out of lease, and you know we can neither do nor say anything till we get the new leases."
"Oh, yes, you can, sir," replied Hanlon, laughing; "it's clear you can do at any rate."
"How is that? What do you grin at, confound you?"
"You can take the money, sir; that's what I mane by doin' him. Ha, ha, ha!"
"Very good, Charley; but I'm sick; and I very much fear that I've caught this confounded typhus."
The next day being that on which the trial took place, he rose not from his bed; and when the time appointed for meeting Travers came he was not at all in anything of an improved condition. His gig was got ready, however, and, accompanied by Hanlon, he drove to the agent's office.
Travers was a quick, expert man of business, who lost but little time and few words in his dealings with the world. He was clear, rapid, and decisive, and having once formed an opinion, there was scarcely any possibility in changing it. This, indeed, was the worst and most impracticable point about him; for as it often happened that his opinions were based upon imperfect or erroneous data, it consequently followed that his inflexibility was but another name for obstinacy, and not unfrequently for injustice.
As Henderson entered the office, he met our friend the pedlar and old Dalton going out.
"Dalton," said Travers, "do you and your friend stay in the next room; I wish to see you again before you go. How do you do, Henderson?"
"I am not well," replied Henderson, "not at all well; but it won't signify."
"How is your father?"
"Much as usual: I wonder he didn't call on you."
"No, he did not, I suppose he's otherwise engaged—the assizes always occupy him. However, now to business, Mr. Henderson;" and he looked inquiringly at Dick, as much as to say, I am ready to hear you.
"We had better see, I think," proceeded Dick, "and make arrangements about these new leases."
"I shall expect to be bribed for each of them, Mr. Richard."
"Bribed!" exclaimed the other, "ha, ha, ha! that's good."
"Why, do you think there's anything morally wrong or dishonorable in a bribe?" asked the other, with a very serious face.
"Come, come, Mr. Travers," said Dick, "a joke's a joke; only don't put so grave a face on you when you ask such a question. However, as you say yourself, now to business—about these leases."
"I trust," continued Travers, "that I am both an honest man and a gentleman, yet I expect a bribe for every lease."
"Well, then," replied Henderson, "it is not generally supposed that either an honest man or a gentleman—"
"Would take a bribe?—eh?"
"Well, d—n it, no; not exactly that either; but come, let us understand each other. If you will be wilful on it, why a wilful man, they say, must have his way. Bribery, however—rank bribery—is a—"
"Crime to which neither an honest man nor a gentleman would stoop. You see I anticipate what you are about to say; you despise bribery, Mr. Henderson?"
"Sir," replied the other, rather warmly, "I trust that I am a gentleman and an honest man, too."
"But still, a wilful man, Mr. Henderson must have his way, you know. Well, of course, you are a gentleman and an honest man."
He then rose, and touching the bell, said to the servant who answered it:
"Send in the man named Darby Skinadre."
If that miserable wretch was thin and shrivelled-looking when first introduced to our readers, he appeared at the present period little else than the shadow of what he had been. He not only lost heavily the usurious credit he had given, in consequence of the wide-spread poverty and crying distress of the wretched people, who were mostly insolvent, but he suffered severely by the outrages which had taken place, and doubly so in consequence of the anxiety which so many felt to wreak their vengeance on him, under that guise, for his heartlessness and blood-sucking extortions upon them.
"Your name," proceeded the agent, "is Darby Skinadre?"
"And you have given this gentleman the sum of a hundred pounds, as a bribe, for promising you a lease of Cornelius Dalton's farm?"
"I gave him a hundred pounds, but not at all as a bribe, sir; I'm an honest man, I trust—an' the Lord forbid I'd have anything to do wid a bribe; an' if you an' he knew—if you only knew, both o' you—the hard strivin,' an' scrapin,' an' sweepin' I had to get it together—"
"That will do, sir; be silent. You received this money, Mr. Henderson?"
"Tut, Travers, my good friend; this is playing too high a card about such a matter. Don't you know, devilish well, that these things are common, aye, and among gentlemen and honest men too, as you say?"
"Well, that is a discussion upon which I shall not enter. Now, as you say, to business."
"Well, then," continued Henderson, smiling, "if you have no objection, I am willing that you should take Skinadre's affair and mine as a precedent between you and me. Let us not be fools, Mr. Travers; it is every one for himself in this world."
"What is it you expect, in the first place?" asked the agent.
"Why, new leases," replied the other, "upon reasonable terms, of course."
"Well, then," said Travers, "I beg to inform you that you shall not have them, with only one exception. You shall have a lease of sixty-nine acres attached to the Grange, being the quantity of land you actually farm."
"Pray, why not of all the property?" asked Dick.
"My good friend," replied the agent, nearly in his own words to the Pedlar; "the fact is, that we are about to introduce a new system altogether upon our property. We are determined to manage it upon a perfectly new principle. It has been too much sublet under us, and we have resolved, Mr. Henderson, to rectify this evil. That is my answer. With the exception of the Grange farm, you get no leases. We shall turn over a new leaf, and see that a better order of things be established upon the property. As for you, Skinadre, settle this matter of your hundred pounds with Mr. Henderson as best you may. That was a private transaction between yourselves; between yourselves, then, does the settlement of it lie."
He once more touched the bell, and desired Cornelius Dalton and the Pedlar to be sent in.
"Mr. Henderson," he proceeded, "I will bid you good morning; you certainly look ill. Skinadre, you may go. I have sent for Mr. Dalton, Mr. Henderson, to let him know that he shall be reinstated in his farm, and every reasonable allowance made him for the oppression and injustice which he and his respectable family have suffered at—I will not say whose hands."
"Travers," replied Henderson, "your conduct is harsh—and—however, I cannot now think of leases—I am every moment getting worse—I am very ill—good-morning."
He then went.
"An' am I to lose my hundre pounds, your honor, of my hard earned money, that I squeezed—"
"Out of the blood and marrow and life of the struggling people, you heartless extortioner! Begone, sirra; a foot of land upon the property for which I am agent you shall never occupy. You and your tribe, whether you batten upon the distress of struggling industry in the deceitful Maelstrooms of the metropolis, or in the dirty, dingy shops of a private country village, are each a scorpion curse to the people. Your very existence is a libel upon the laws by which the rights of civil society are protected."
"Troth, your honor does me injustice; I never see a case of distress that my heart doesn't bleed—"
"With a leech-like propensity to pounce upon it. Begone!"
The man slunk out.
"Dalton," he proceeded, when the old man, accompanied by the Pedlar, came in, "I sent for you to say that I am willing you should have your farm again."
"Sir," replied the other, "I am thankful and grateful to you for that kindness, but it's now too late; I am not able to go back upon it; I have neither money nor stock of any kind. I am deeply and gratefully obliged to you; but I have not a sixpence worth in the world to put on it. An honest heart, sir, an' a clear fame, is all that God has left me, blessed be His name."
"Don't b'lieve a word of it," replied the Pedlar. "Only let your honor give him a good lease, at a raisonable rint, makin' allowance for his improvements—"
"Never mind conditions, my good friend," said the agent, "but proceed; for, if I don't mistake, you will yourself give him a lift."
"May be, we'll find him stock and capital a thrifle, any way," replied the Pedlar with a knowing wink. "I haven't carried the pack all my life for nothing, I hope."
"I understand," said the agent to Dalton, "that one of your sons is dead. I leave town to-day, but I shall be here this day fortnight;—call then, and we shall have every thing arranged. Your case was a very hard one, and a very common one; but it was one with which we had nothing to do, and in which, until now, we could not interfere. I have looked clearly into it, and regret to find that such cases do exist upon Irish property to a painful extent, although I am, glad to find that public opinion, and a more enlightened experience, are every day considerably diminishing the evil."
He then rang for some one-else, and our friends withdrew, impressed with a grateful sense of his integrity and justice.
CHAPTER XXXII. — Conclusion.
The interest excited by the trial, involving as it did so much that concerned the Sullivans, especially the hopes and affections of their daughter Mave, naturally induced them—though not on this latter account—young and old, to attend the assizes, not excepting Mave herself; for her father, much against her inclination, had made a point to bring her with them. On finding, however, how matters turned out, a perfect and hearty reconciliation took place between the two families, in the course of which Mave and the Prophet's wife once more renewed their acquaintance. Some necessary and brief explanation took place, in the course of which allusion was made to Sarah and her state of health.
"I hope," said Mave, "you will lose no time in goin' to see her. I know her affectionate heart; an' that when she hears an' feels that she has a mother alive an' well, an' that loves her as she ought to be loved, it will put new life into her."
"She is a fine lookin' girl," replied her mother, "an' while I was spakin' to her, I felt my heart warm to her sure enough; but she's a wild crature, they say."
"Hasty a little," said Mave; "but then such a heart as she has. You ought to go see her at wanst."
"I would, dear, an' my heart is longin' to see her; but I think it's betther that I should not till afther his thrial to-morrow. I'm to be a witness against the unfortunate man."
"Against her father!—against your own husband!" exclaimed Mave, looking aghast at this information.
"Yes, dear; for it was my brother he murdhered an' he must take the consequences, if he was my husband and her father ten times over. My brother's blood mustn't pass for nothin'. Besides, the hand o' God is in it, an' I must do my duty."
The heart of the gentle and heroic Mave, which could encounter contagion and death, from a principle of unconscious magnanimity and affection, that deserved a garland, now shrunk back with pain at the sentiments so coolly expressed by Sarah's mother. She thought for a moment of young Dalton, and that if she were called upon to prosecute him,—but she hastily put the fearful hypothesis aside, and was about to bid her acquaintance good-bye, when the latter said:
"To-morrow, or rather the day afther, I'd wish to see her for then I'll know what will happen to him, an' how to act with her; an' if you'd come with me, I'd be glad of it, an' you'd oblige me."
Mave's gentle and affectionate spirit was disquieted within her by what she had already heard; but a moment's reflection convinced her that her presence on the occasion might be serviceable to Sarah, whose excitable temperament and delicate state of health required gentle and judicious treatment.
"I'm afeard," said Mrs. M'Ivor, "that by the time the trial's over to-morrow, it'll be too late; but let us say the day afther, if it's the same to you."
"Well, then," replied Mave, "you can call to our place, as it's on your way, an' we'll both go together."
"If she knew her," said Mave to her friends, on her way home, "as I do; if she only knew the heart she has—the lovin', the fearless, the great heart;—oh, if she did, no earthly thing would prevent her from goin' to her without the loss of a minute's time. Poor Sarah!—brave and generous girl—what wouldn't I do to bring her back to health! But ah, mother, I'm afeard;" and as the noble girl spoke, the tears gushed to her eyes—"'It's my last act for you,' she whispered to me, on that night when the house was surrounded by villains—'I know what you risked for me in the shed; I know it, dear Mave, an' I'm now sthrivin' to pay back my debt to you.' Oh, mother!" she exclaimed, "where—where could one look for the like of her! an' yet how little does the world know about her goodness, or her greatness, I may say. Well," proceeded Mave, "she paid that debt; but I'm afeard, mother, it'll turn out that it was with her own life she paid it."
At the hour appointed, Mrs. M'Ivor and Mave set out on their visit to Sarah, each now aware of the dreadful and inevitable doom that awaited her father, and of the part which one of them, at least, had taken in bringing it about.
About half an hour before their arrival, Sarah, whose anxiety touching the fate of old Dalton could endure no more, lay awaiting the return of her nurse—a simple, good-hearted, matter-of-fact creature, who had no notion of ever concealing the truth under any circumstances. The poor girl had sent her to get an account of the trial the best way she could, and, as we said, she now lay awaiting her return. At length she came in.
"Well, Biddy, what's the news—or have you got any?"
The old woman gently and affectionately put her hand over on Sarah's forehead, as if the act was a religious ceremony, and accompanied an invocation, as, indeed, she intended it to do.
"May God in His mercy soon relieve you from your thrials, my poor girl, an' bring you to Himself! but it's the black news I have for you this day."
"What news," she asked, hastily—"what black news?"
"Husth, now, an' I'll tell you;—in the first place, your mother is alive, an' has come to the counthry."
Sarah immediately sat up in the bed, without assistance, and fastening her black, brilliant eyes upon the woman, exclaimed—"My mother—my mother—my own mother!—an' do you dare to tell me that this is black news? Lave the house, I bid you. I'll get up—I'm not sick—I'm well. Great God! yes, I'm well—very well; but how dare you name black news an' my mother—my blessed mother—in the same breath, or on the same day?"
"Will you hear me out, then?" continued the nurse.
"No," replied Sarah, attempting to get up—"I want to hear no more; now I wish to live—now I am sure of one, an' that one my mother—my own mother—to love me—to guide me—to taich me all that I ought to know; but, above all, to love me. An' my father—my poor unhappy father—an' he is unhappy—he loves me, too. Oh, Biddy, I can forgive you now for what you said—I will be happy still—an' my mother will be happy—an' my father,—my poor father—will be happy yet; he'll reform—repent maybe; an' he'll wanst more get back his early heart—his heart when it was good, an' not hardened, as he says it was, by the world. Biddy, did you ever see any one cry with joy before—ha—ha—did you now?"
"God strengthen you, my poor child," exclaimed the nurse, bursting into tears; "for what will become of you? Your father, Sarah dear, is to be hanged for murdher, an' it was your mother's evidence that hanged him. She swore against him on the thrial an' his sentence is passed. Bartle Sullivan wasn't murdhered at all, but another man was, an' it was your father that done it. On next Friday he's to be hanged, an' your mother, they say, swore his life away! If that's not black news, I don't know what is."
Sarah's face had been flushed to such a degree by the first portion of the woman's intelligence, that its expression was brilliant and animated beyond belief. On hearing its conclusion, however, the change from joy to horror was instantaneous, shocking, and pitiable, beyond all power of language to express. She was struck perfectly motionless and ghastly; and as she kept her large lucid eyes fixed upon the woman's face, the powers of life, that had been hitherto in such a tumult of delight within her, seemed slowly, and with a deadly and scarcely perceptible motion, to ebb out of her system. The revulsion was too dreadful; and with the appearance of one who was anxious to shrink or hide from something that was painful, she laid her head down on the humble pillow of her bed.
"Now, asthore," said the woman, struck by the woeful change—"don't take it too much to. heart; you're young, an' please God, you'll get over it all yet."
"No," she replied, in a voice so utterly changed and deprived of its strength, that the woman could with difficulty hear or understand her. "There's but one good bein' in the world," she said to herself, "an' that is Mave Sullivan: I have no mother, no father—all I can love now is Mave Sullivan—that's all."
"Every one that knows her does," said the nurse.
"Who?" said Sarah, inquiringly.
"Why, Mave Sullivan," replied the other; "worn't you spakin' about her?"
"Was I?" said she, "maybe so—what was I sayin'?"
She then put her hand to her forehead, as if she felt pain and confusion; after which she waved the nurse towards her, but on the woman stooping down, she seemed to forget that she had beckoned to her at all.
At this moment Mave and her mother entered, and after looking towards the bed on which she lay, they inquired in a whisper, from her attendant how she was.
The woman pointed hopelessly to her own head, and then looked significantly at Sarah, as if to intimate that her brain was then unsettled.
"There's something wrong here," she added, in an under tone, and touching her head, "especially since I tould her what had happened."
"Is she acquainted with everything?" asked her mother.
"She is," replied the other; "she knows that her father is to die on Friday an' that you swore agin' him."
"But what on earth," said Mave, "could make you be so mad as to let her know anything of that kind?"
"Why, she sent me to get word," replied the simple creature, "and you wouldn't have me tell her a lie, an' the poor girl on her death-bed, I'm afeard."
Her mother went over and stood opposite where she lay, that is, near the foot of her bed, and putting one hand under her chin, looked at her long and steadily. Mave went to her side and taking her hand gently up, kissed it, and wept quietly, but bitterly.
It was, indeed, impossible to look upon her without a feeling of deep and extraordinary interest. Her singularly youthful aspect—her surprising beauty, to which disease and suffering had given a character of purity and tenderness almost etherial—the natural symmetry and elegance of her very arms and hands—the wonderful whiteness of her skin, which contrasted so strikingly with the raven black of her glossy hair, and the soul of thought and feeling which lay obviously expressed by the long silken eye-lashes of her closed eyes—all, when taken in at a glance, were calculated to impress a beholder with love, and sympathy, and tenderness, such as no human heart could resist.
Mave, on glancing at her mother, saw a few tears stealing, as it were, down her cheeks.
"I wish to God, my dear daughter," exclaimed the latter, in a low voice, "that I had never seen your face, lovely as it is, an' it surely would be betther for yourself that you had never been born."
She then passed to the bed-side, and taking Mave's place, who withdrew, she stooped down, and placing her lips upon Sarah's white broad forehead, exclaimed—"May God bless you, my dear daughter, is the heart-felt prayer of your unhappy mother!"
Sarah suddenly opened her eyes, and started.—"What is wrong? There is something wrong. Didn't I hear some one callin' me daughter? Here's a strange woman—Charley Hanlon's aunt—Biddy, come here!"
"Well, acushla, here I am—keep yourself quiet, achora—what is it?"
"Didn't you tell me that my mother swore my father's life away?"
"It's what they say," replied the matter-of-fact nurse.
"Then it's a lie that's come from hell itself," she replied—"Oh, if I was only up and strong as I was, let me see the man or woman that durst say so. My mother! to become unnatural and treacherous, an' I have a mother—ha, ha—oh, how often have I thought of this—thought of what a girl I would be if I was to have a mother—how good I would be too—how kind to her—how I would love her, an' how she would love me, an' then my heart would sink when I'd think of home—ay, an' when Nelly would spake cruelly an' harshly to me I'd feel as if I could kill her, or any one."
Her eye here caught Mave Sullivan's, and she again started.
"What is this?" she exclaimed; "am I still in the shed? Mave Sullivan!—help me up, Biddy."
"I am here, dear Sarah," replied the gentle girl—"I am here; keep yourself quiet and don't attempt to sit up; you're not able to do it."
The composed and serene aspect of Mave, and the kind, touching tones of her voice, seemed to operate favorably upon her, and to aid her in collecting her confused and scattered thoughts into something like order.
"Oh, dear Mave," said she, "what is this? What has happened? Isn't there something wrong? I'm confused. Have I a mother? Have I a livin' mother, that will love me?"
Her large eyes suddenly sparkled with singular animation as she asked the last question, and Mave thought it was the most appropriate moment to make the mother known to her.
"You have, dear Sarah, an' here she is waitin' to clasp you to her heart, an' give you her blessin'."
"Where?" she exclaimed, starting up in her bed, as if in full health; "my mother! where?—where?"
She held her arms out towards her, for Mave had again assumed the mother's station at her bedside, and the latter stood at a little distance. On seeing her daughter's arms widely extended towards her, she approached her, but whether checked by Sarah's allusion to her conduct, or from a wish to spare her excitement, or from some natural coldness of disposition, it is difficult to say, she did it with so little appearance of the eager enthusiasm that the heart of the latter expected, and with a manner so singularly cool and unexcited, that Sarah, whose feelings were always decisive and rapid as lightning, had time to recognize her features as Hanlon's aunt whom she had seen and talked to before.
But that was not all; she perceived not in her these external manifestations of strong affection and natural tenderness for which her own heart yearned almost convulsively; there was no sparkling glance—no precipitate emotion—no gushing of tears—no mother's love—in short, nothing of what her noble and loving spirit could, recognize as kindred to itself, and to her warm and impulsive heart. The moment—the glance—that sought and found not what it looked for—were decisive: the arms that had been extended remained extended still, but the spirit of that attitude was changed, as was that eager and tumultuous delight which had just flashed from her countenance. Her thoughts, as we said, were quick, and in almost a moment's time she appeared to be altogether a different individual.
"Stop!" she exclaimed, now repelling instead of soliciting the embrace—"there isn't the love of a mother in that woman's heart—an' what did I hear?—that she swore my father's life away—her husband's life away. No, no; I'm changed—I see my father's blood, shed by her, too, his own wife! Look at her features, they're hard and harsh—there's no love in her eyes—they're cowld and sevare. No, no; there's something wrong there—I feel that—I feel it—it's here—the feelin's in my heart—oh, what a dark hour this is! You were right, Biddy, you brought me black news this day—but it won't—it won't throuble me long—it won't trouble this poor brain long—it won't pierce this poor heart long—I hope not. Oh!" she exclaimed, turning to Mave, and extending her arms towards her, "Mave Sullivan, let me die!"
The affectionate but disappointed girl had all Mave's sympathies, whose warm and affectionate feelings recoiled from the coldness and apparent want of natural tenderness which characterized the mother's manner, under circumstances in themselves so affecting. Still, after having soothed Sarah for a few minutes, and placed her head once more upon the pillow, she whispered to the mother, who seemed to think more than to feel:
"Don't be surprised; when you consider the state she's in—and indeed it isn't to be wondered at after what she has heard—you must make every allowance for the poor girl."
Sarah's emotions were now evidently in incessant play.
"Biddy," said she, "come here again; help me up."
"Dear Sarah," said Mave, "you are not able to bear all this; if you could compose yourself an' forget everything unpleasant for a while, till you grow strong—"
"If I could forget that my mother has no heart to love me with—that she's cowld and strange to me: if I could forget that she's brought my father to a shameful death—my father's heart wasn't altogether bad; no, an' he was wanst—I mane in his early life—a good man. I know that—I feel that—'dear Sarah, sleep—deep, dear Sarah'—no, bad as he is, there was a thousand times more love and nature in the voice that spoke them words than in a hundred women like my mother, that hasn't yet kissed my lips. Biddy, come here, I say—here—lift me up again."
There was such energy, and fire, and command, in her voice and words now, that Mave could not remonstrate any longer, nor the nurse refuse to obey her. When she was once more placed sitting, she looked about her—
"Mother," she said, "come here!"
And as she pronounced the word mother, a trait so beautiful, so exquisite, so natural, and so pathetic, accompanied it, that Mave once more wept. Her voice, in uttering the word, quivered, and softened into tenderness, with the affection which nature itself seems to have associated with it. Sarah herself remarked this, even in the anguish of the moment.
"My very heart knows and loves the word," she said. "Oh! why is it that I am to suffer this? Is it possible that the empty name is all that's left me afther all? Mother, come here—I am pleadin' for my father now—you pleaded against him, but I always took the weakest side—here is God now among us—you must stand before him—look your daughter in the face—an' answer her as you expect to meet God, when you leave this throubled life—truth—truth now, mother, an' nothin' else. Mother, I am dyin'. Now, as God is to judge you, did you ever love my father as a wife ought?"
There was some irresistible spirit, some unaccountable power, in her manner and language,—such command and such wonderful love of candor in her full dark eye—that it was impossible to gainsay or withstand her.
"I will spake the thruth," replied her mother, evidently borne away and subdued, "although it's against myself—to my shame an' to my sorrow I say it—that when I married your father, another man had my affections—but, as I'm to appear before God, I never wronged him. I don't know how it is that you've made me confess it; but at any rate you're the first that ever wrung it out o' me."
"That will do," replied her daughter, calmly; "that sounds like murdher from a mother's lips! Lay me down now, Biddy."
Mave, who had scarcely ever taken her eyes from off her varying and busy features, was now struck by a singular change which she observed come over them—a change that was nothing but the shadow of death, and cannot be described.
"Sarah!" she exclaimed; "dear, darling Sarah, what is the matter with you? Have you got ill again?"
"Oh! my child!" exclaimed her mother—"am I to lose you this way at last? Oh! dear Sarah, forgive me—I'm you mother, and you'll forgive me."
"Mave," said Sarah, "take this—I remember seein' yours and mine together not very long ago—take this lock of my hair—I think you'll get a pair of scissors on the corner of the shelf—cut it off with your own hands—let it be sent to my father—an' when he's dyin' a disgraceful death, let him wear it next his heart—an' wherever he's to be buried, let him have this buried with him. Let whoever will give it to him, say that it comes from Sarah—an' that, if she was able, she would be with him through shame, an' disgrace, an' death; that she'd support him as well as she could in his trouble—that she'd scorn the world for him—an' that because he said wanst in his life that he loved her; she'd forgive him all a thousand times, an' would lay down her life for him."
"You would do that, my noble girl!" exclaimed Mave, with a choking voice.
"An' above all things," proceeded Sarah, "let him be told, if it can be done, that Sarah said to him to die without fear—to bear it up like a man, an' not like a coward—to look manfully about him on the very scaffold—an'—an' to die as a man ought to die—bravely an' without fear—bravely an' without fear!"
Her voice and strength were, since the last change that Mave observed, both rapidly sinking, and her mother, anxious, if possible, to have her forgiveness, again approached her and said:
"Dear Sarah you are angry with me. Oh! forgive me—am I not your mother?"
The girl's resentments, however, had all passed, and the business of her life, and its functions, she now felt were all over—she said so—
"It's all over, at last now, mother," she replied—"I have no anger now—come and kiss me. Whatever you have done, you are still my mother. Bless me—bless your daughter Sarah, I have nothing now in my heart but love for everybody. Tell Nelly, dear Mave, that Sarah forgave her, an' hoped that she'd forgive Sarah. Mave, I trust that you an' he will be happy—that's my last wish, an' tell him so. Mave, there's sweet faces about me, sich as I seen in the shed; they're smilin' upon me—smilin' upon Sarah—upon poor, hasty Sarah McGowan—that would have loved every one. Mave, think of me sometimes—an' let him, when he thinks of the wild girl that loved him, look upon you, dearest Mave, an' love you, if possible, better for her sake. These sweet faces are about me again. Father, I'll be before you—die—die like a man."
While uttering these last few sentences, which were spoken with great difficulty, she began to pull the bedclothes about with her hands, and whilst uttering the last word, her beautiful hand was slightly clenched, as if helping out a sentiment so completely in accordance with her brave spirit. These motions, however, ceased suddenly—she heaved a deep sigh, and the troubled spirit of the kind, the generous, the erring, but affectionate Sarah M'Gowan—as we shall call her still—passed away to another, and, we trust, a better life. The storms of her heart and brain were at rest forever.
Thus perished in early life one of those creatures, that sometimes seem as if they were placed by mistake in a wrong sphere of existence. It is impossible to say to what a height of moral grandeur and true greatness, culture and education might have elevated, her, or to say with what brilliancy her virtues might have shone, had heart and affections been properly cultivated. Like some beautiful and luxuriant flower, however, she was permitted to run into wildness and disorder for want of a guiding hand; but no want, no absence of training, could ever destroy its natural delicacy, nor prevent its fragrance from smelling sweet, even in the neglected situation where it was left to pine and die.
There is little now to be added. "Time, the consoler," passes not in vain even over the abodes of wretchedness and misery. The sufferings of that year of famine we have endeavored to bring before those who may have the power in their hands of assuaging the similar horrors which are likely to visit this. The pictures we have given are not exaggerated, but drawn from memory and the terrible realities of 1817.
It is unnecessary to add, that when sickness and the severity of winter passed away, our lovers, Mave and young Condy Dalton, were happily married, as they deserved to be, and occupied the farm from which the good old man had been so unjustly expelled.
It was on the first social evening that the two families, now so happily reconciled, spent together subsequent to the trial, that Bartle Sullivan gratified them with the following account of his history:
"I remimber fightin'," he proceeded, "wid Condy on that night, an' the devil's own bulliah battha he was. We went into a corner of the field near the Grey Stone to decide it. All at wanst I forgot what happened, till I found myself lyin' upon a car wid the M'Mahons of Edinburg, that lived ten or twelve miles beyant the mountains, at the foot of Carnmore. They knew me, and good right they had, for I had been spakin' to their sister Shibby, but she wasn't for me at the time, although I was ready to kick my own shadow about her, God knows. Well, you see, I felt disgraced at bein' beaten by Con Dalton, an I was fond of her, so what 'ud you have of us but off we went together to America, for you see she promised to marry me if I'd go.
"They had taken me up on one of their carts, thinkin' I was dhrunk, to lave me for safety in the next neighbor's house we came to. Well, she an' I married when we got to Boston; but God never blessed us wid a family; and Toddy here, who tuk the life of a pedlar, came back afther many a long year, with a good purse, and lived with us. At last I began to long for home, and so we all came together. The Prophet's wife was wid us, an' another passenger tould me that Con here had been suspected of murdherin' me. I got unwell in Liverpool, but I sent Toddy on before me to make their minds aisy. As we wor talkin' over these matthers, I happened to mention to the woman what I had seen the night the carman was murdhered, and I wondhered at the way she looked on hearin' it. She went on, but afther a time came back to Liverpool for me, an' took the typhus on her way home, but thank God, we were all in time to clear the innocent and punish the guilty; ay, an' reward the good, too, eh, Toddy?'"
"I'll give Mave away," replied Toddy, "if there wasn't another man in Europe; an' when I'm puttin' your hand into Con's, Mave, it won't be an empty one. Ay, an' if your friend Sarah, the wild girl, had lived—but it can't be helped—death takes the young as well as the ould; and may God prepare us all to meet Him!"
Young Richard Henderson's anticipations were, unfortunately, too true. On leaving Mr. Travers' office, he returned home, took his bed, and; in the course of one short week, had paid, by a kind of judicial punishment, the fatal penalty of his contemplated profligacy. His father survived him only a few months, so that there is not at this moment, one of the name or blood of Henderson in the Grange. The old man died of a quarrel with Jemmy Branigan, to whom he left a pension of fifty pounds a year; and truly the grief of this aged servant after him was unique and original.
"What's to come o' me?" said Jemmy, with tears in his eye; "I have nothing to do, nobody to attend to, nobody to fight with, nothing to disturb me or put me out of timper; I knew, however, that he would stick to his wickedness to the last—an' so he did, for the devil tempted him, out of sheer malice, when he could get at me no way else, to lave me fifty pounds a year, to kape me aisy! Sich revenge and villany, by a dyin' man, was never heard of. God help me, what am I to do now, or what hand will I turn to? What is there before me but peace and quietness for the remainder of my life?—but I won't stand that long—an' to lave me fifty pounds a year, to kape me aisy! God forgive him!"
The Prophet suffered the sentence of the law, but refused all religious consolation. Whether his daughter's message ever reached him or not, we have had no means of ascertaining. He died, however, as she wished, firmly, but sullenly, and as if he despised and defied the world and its laws. He neither admitted his guilt, nor attempted to maintain his innocence, but passed out of existence like a man who was already wearied with its cares, and who now felt satisfied, when it was too late, that contempt for the laws of God and man, never leads to safety, much loss to happiness. His only observation was the following—
"When I dreamt that young Dalton drove a nail in my coffin, little I thought it would end this way."
We have simply to conclude by saying that Rody Duncan was transported for perjury; and that Nelly became a devotee, or voteen, and, as far as one could judge, exhibited something like repentance for the sinful life she had led with the Prophet.