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to address them in their native tongue. My uncle at once uncovered, and sat down on a form, and we all followed his example. The orator was, by turns, loud, soft, impressive, pathetic and exciting; now lifting his impulsive audience into exultation; now depressing them to tears, as they rose and fell on the waves of his eloquence, like sea birds on the surge. He spoke the Irish fluently and beautifully, with a singularly sweet and flexible voice, which rolled forth the rich gutturals-soft yet strong-of a language which seems to have been made originally to the pattern of the Irish mind, and has within itself a poetry, a copiousness, a power of adaptation, and a pathos, unparalleled by any other language, ancient or modern. As the speaker proceeded, and deepened to his subject, his auditory became greatly excited the men rooted in attention; the females weeping; one old man next me was beating time softly on the ground with his staff in a sort of involuntary symphony with the stirring descant of the preacher; and even my uncle, who understood nothing of the language, was thoroughly excited and most respect fully attentive, while I sat by his side with every pulse quickened— and then I heard a very low laugh, and turning suddenly round to where Miss Cardonald was sitting with my cousin, I saw that they had been ridiculing the whole scene; the lady's eyes were full of laughter-I had rather have seen tears there-and Mr. Kildoon's face wore a most disagreeable expression of contempt, mixed uglily up with a satirical smirk, though he immediately pulled up when he met my uncle's stern frown of disapprobation at his levity. I recollect so well the General going up to the missionary after his discourse was over, shaking him heartily by the hand, and inviting him cordially to dine and sleep at the Darragh on the present occasion, and whenever he should be itinerating through the country; and I remember also his saying to me, as we went together to look after the carriage, "Walter, that young lady has a vulgar mind; old Peggy Shanahan who sat in the corner, with the bare feet and a pipe in her mouth, conducted herself
All round and coiled into itself like hate, and called by the peasantry the Black Pond, or the Pedlar's Pond. A road ran by it, which was a kind of Irish Simplon, and was carried right across the top of the mountain by a gradual but steep ascent. A most perfect specimen of engineering was this road, and made by a royal commission, and government officers, to give the peasantry employment in the dreadful famine year of 181-. A valley lay smiling under the road, through which ran a torrent; on the further bank of the river a mountain rose one of the highest in Irelandin mural walls of dark slate mingling with scanty herbage, and the morning
more like a lady, for the large tears and evening shadows that fell over
were running over her face, like rain-
nothing, I fear, could move him that was not monetary-a pecuniary matter alone would have pathos or the reverse for him-his bosom would swell or sink only at the details of the budget, and nothing, I am sure, could extract a tear from that horny eye, except it were a sudden fall in the funds, when he was necessitated to sell out at a dead loss." My uncle spoke this playfully, not illnaturedly. Indeed his hand over us was ever gentle never rough-and because, in this affair of mine, he never opposed me, or sought to lord it over me, but treated me like a brother and a friend, and neither ridiculed or trampled on my feelings, but handled them with respect; because of all this, he so much prevailed with me, that I had thoughts of going up to Dublin to my rooms in the College, and spending a month or two there, in hopes of finding the water of Lethe within the walls of Academus ; when, unfortunately, two events occurred, which combined to blow this small spark of fancy into a flame of affection. One was "Circumstance, that unspiritual god;" the other was Jealousy. I shall narrate both briefly, hoping not to weary my readers by so doing.
In the very bosom of the mountains which bounded and sheltered the Darragh woods, lay a deep black tarn
that wild way were dark as death and gloomy as despair. The place was five miles from the Darragh, and an agreeable ride; and one fine morning the General, Miss Cardonald and I set out on horseback to visit the pass and see the Black Pond. On reaching it, it was necessary to climb up and clamber over a great many huge blocks, which lay in a chaotic heap like the spoils of an earthquake, and formed the edges of the rude stone cup in which the tarn lay. These rocks had been wet with the unfortunate pedlar's blood, who had been robbed of all the glittering contents of his store, and then cruelly murdered, it is said, by two tinker wives who met him on that lone mountain, and having accomplished their purpose, had cast his body into the lake.
"Now, Walter," said my uncle, "dismount, and take Miss Cardonald from her saddle-the groom will walk your horses-you must ascend these boulders in order to see the tarn which lies in the hollow; but remember that the day is declining, and that five minutes will shew you all you need to see, and above all, forget not that we old soldiers do not always possess 'patience, the beggar's virtue,' as Massinger calls it, but like to be up to time; so, au revoir."
We went up the rocks with considerable difficulty, the young lady being impeded by her riding dress. At length we saw the inky water in its round and rugged bowl of stone; it looked like black oil. A solitary crane, resting on one leg, stood motionless on a shelf of rock which protruded into it; and a precipice behind threw a shadow on its dead calm surface, as black as if it came from a thunder cloud.* We turned to regain the road, but in so doing my companion slipped and slightly sprained her foot; she did not complain, but turned so very pale that, fearing she might faint, I scrambled down to the Tarn and brought her some water, which revived her; but she was totally unable to walk, so that I had to lift her, and carry her over the boulders and down the rocks, which I effected with perfect ease, and with as much tenderness and
respect as if I were carrying my dear Madeline. The General looked very grave when we appeared, but on being told the cause, nothing could exceed his gentleness and kindness to the hurt damsel, and by shortening her stirrup, and making some saddle arrangements, we reached home in two hours. I am afraid that during my enactment of the pious Eneas and my agreeable porterage of the young lady, I said some things more warm than wise; and pity, which is proverbially and poetically akin to a deeper feeling, helped on my folly in no small degree.
Well-for a week Miss Cardonald kept to her sofa, and even the General was a daily visitor at the cottage, while I spent all my evenings there, in very flagrant idleness it must be allowed, and becoming each day more hopelessly involved in the meshes of the feeling which was fast enthralling my fancy.
A month afterwards, the other circumstance took place, which, though of a perfectly different character, had greatly the effect of quickening my feelings, and bringing matters to a consummation-not-to be devoutly wished. I was in the County of Westmeath for a few days, and had returned sooner than I intended. I arrived at the Darragh at four o'clock, and found all out. The evening was golden and lovely, and I followed my heart over to the cottage, racing across the fields and leaping all the drains that came in my way. On reaching my destination, I found that Mrs. Cardonald had gone to Ballynatrasnagh, but the servant added "that her young lady was walking in the wood."
I thought the girl looked very sly and full of meaning. "Which path
did Miss Cardonald take ?"
“Oh, sir,” she answered, "it is to the great oak she usually goes."
When I reached the grass path at the end of which the giant forester had towered for centuries, I saw no sign of her I sought; however, on turning softly round the huge stem of the oak, I found her sitting on the soft green sward, and my cousin stretched at her feet, chatting pleasantly, looking abundantly happy, and evidently
Scenery resembling this is to be found in the magnificent Pass into Dingle, across the Connor Mountain, by Mount Brandon, in the county of Kerry,
quite at his ease. The young lady coloured high at my sudden advent, and Gilbert grew deadly pale. I knew that he admired her; I knew also that she liked his conversation; but I was not prepared for the appearance of great intimacy which seemed to exist between the parties. We had an awkward greeting enough. I thought she looked annoyed at my having caught her alone with Gilbert, for she was a proud woman, so we had rather an uncomfortable walk home; the two gentlemen ill at ease; the lady grave, silent, but composed, for she was always very calm, and in more modern days would not have been pronounced a "susceptible subject" in the Ars Mesmerica. Where the wood opened out into a green paddock, we encountered Gabriel Parsons, our rough-rider, an old groom of Montfort's; this man was an Englishman, and was as blunt in speech as he was bold in the saddle. On the present occasion he was riding a large and very high-spirited horse; and if one were to judge by the heated appearance of both animals the rational and irrational-they had been evidently striving together for the mastery. Gabriel's seat, however, was perfect; easy perhaps to a fault, and almost loose, but whenever the animal commenced any violent motion, whether it were the gallop, the plunge, or the leap, the muscles of his thigh and the knee bones would turn in on the saddle with a tenacity of adherence that gave the rider the semblance of being glued to his horse, or fastened by clamps of steel to the saddle. As we approached, the man touched his hat, when immediately the wild animal he bestrode, as if possessed by some equine demon of contrariety, commenced anew his antics-rearing, plunging, snorting, and endeavouring to break away-while his rider sat, like James Fitz-James, "erect and fair," as cool and as immovable as the statue of his majesty George II. on his black steed in St. Stephen'sgreen. At length, when the fight was over, the following conversation was initiated by Mr. Kildoon—
"Well, Parsons, that horse tries your horsemanship."
Parsons.-"He is a foolidge beast for sartain, sir."
Gilbert.-rather pompously- "I wonder now if I were to mount him,
and gallop him up the paddock, would it tame his spirit at all?"
Parsons. grinning" Why, bless your soul, sir, he would cast you over his ears at the first plunge-he would not bear you on his back for two minutes."
Gilbert.-"Oh nonsense, I have twice your weight"-Parsons was a little dried up creature, with long legs and a body like the back of a chair"and I fancy a steadier hand."
Parsons." Well, sir, here goes"— dismounting-" you can try; the hannimal is rather beat, which is all the better for you."
Gilbert.-rather discomposed-"Oh no, I should prefer not just now. I have no straps or spurs."
Miss Cardonald."Oh pray do, Mr. Kildoon. I am sure you will ride him famously. What an eye the creature has, and such a glossy skin; do pray let us see how he gallops."
But my cousin still appearing recusant and very awkward-and the anatomy Parsons grinning most undisguisedly-and the horse once more becoming restive, I could not contain myself any longer, but seized the bridle, and in a moment threw myself into the saddle. the groom eagerly thrusting his whip into my hand; and after sustaining five or six desperate attempts made by the brute to dislodge me by rearing and plunging, I got his head round to the field, and giving him the lash with all my might on his flanks, and a loud whirroo from my lips, he started off in a run-awaywild gallop up the long paddock, clearing the high paling at the end of it, and knocking most of it down with his hind legs, and so gaining the lawn, where I kept him up to the stride till I had nearly blown him, and made him to feel that I was his complete master; when I brought him back at a gentle canter, by the way he had gone, over the broken rails and down the paddock again, to the party, where I found Parsons narrating, to Gilbert's intense disgust, and to Miss Cardonald's great enjoyment, "how Mr. Kildoon had let his brown 'oss founder in a ditch, and how Master Walter had gone clean hover him on 'ighflyer," which was one of the most "ridiculousest things as ever 'appened between two gents at a 'unt."
As I leaped off the horse, who was now quite quiet, my cousin looked
daggers at me; but little I recked, for Miss Cardonald was warmed to a pitch of complimentary kindness she never had evinced before, and seemed not to mind Gilbert, who suddenly left us on the plea of having to meet a tenant. The approbation of my fair friend coming so fast on the heels of my jealous fit, like sunshine after storm, completely threw me off my guard, and before we reached the trelliced door of her mother's cottage, I had declared my love to Miss Cardonald, and had been heard if not with rapture, at least with complacency and a smiling calmness. I went home in a whirl of happiness; and I suppose, from a pink rosescented billet which the General received in the evening from Mrs. Cardonald, that the lady had opened the treaty, for my uncle engaged me to ride with him in the morning to M'Clintock's, and wished me good night with a face of most unusual anxiety.
On the morrow, as we rode together out of the old-fashioned gates, he said, "Walter, I received last night a note from Mrs. Cardonald, which I shall want your glass to help me to interpret." I then told him everything, giving him a brief but animated history of my feelings, and of my hopes. When I had done he flushed deeply, and an expression of great pain for a moment darkened the light of his noble features, but it was a countenance more in sorrow than in anger.
"Walter," he said, "you have done great wrong and grieved me much, but it is unavailing to reproach you now; you have crossed the Rubicon, and you cannot go back; but you are little more than twenty, and consequently not of age and what my poor friend, Montfort, often said of you is true; you do not know the world sufficiently to guide you along the path of a necessary caution, and to guard you from the effects of your own very impulsive, unsuspecting, and imaginative temperament; joined with-you will pardon me for saying -too much independence of action for so very young a man. If you are determined to marry Miss Cardonald, I will not withhold my consent; you are still my dear nephew, and ever will be; but, Walter, I have watche l this business, which you know I a
at one time endeavoured to stop, but failed, because of your irresolution and want of power over your own will. I have made my observations, which were clear because they were unimpassioned, and the result is, I do not think that Miss Cardonald loves you-nay, do not look so angry-or that you love her. Come now, do sit quietly on your horse: nay more, I am under a strong persuasion that she never could love you, as the woman who was to be your life-long companion and friend ought to love you. She evidently does not comprehend you. Your habits and modes of thinking and expression are all new to her, living, as she has lived in wateringplace society all her life: you and she are made up of very opposite elements; and your training and education have been at schools as diverse as the poles are asunder. Beyond all question, she is an attractive girl from her great prettiness. She is also, I do think, not deficient in sense; but, my dear nephew, she could not value you, because she does not understand you. Remember, too, she is six years your senior. Now do not fidget so on your saddle, but bear the cautery a little longer, remembering how friendly is the hand that holds it. You are not twenty-one; now suppose you were to go on the continent, and travel a little, until such time as you attain your majority. You have now taken your College degree, and The Darragh is but a temptation to idleness, which, to old or young, is the root of all evil. Travel through Germany, or go, if you please, into Italy, or where you like. You shall have ample means from me to make the tour comfortably. If at the end of that period your mind and the mind of the lady be the same, I hereby promise to give my full consent to your union. But, if I do so, it is on the condition of there being no engagement, written or spoken; and, this being agreed on, you may correspond together by letter if you so please. I will say or write all this to Mrs. Cardonald, if you are willing I should do so, and also tell her that I have to make certain legal settlements of my property on your coming of age; this will reconcile her to the delay, and is, besides, what I always intended doing. You will possess all my property at my death,
except some thousands which I have bequeathed to Gilbert, together with the fee-simple of all his present large farm; he will be a rich man, not through me, but by himself; I am at times frightened at his taste for amassing wealth; the passion is too old a feeling for so young a man. My will is in my oak cabinet, in a drawer on which is painted Raphael's Madonna. It is all quite regular, drawn up by my lawyers, and M'Clintock has in his iron safe an attested copy. The Darragh and my other property is a clear £5,000 a year; it will be all yours. I owe no man anything save great nature's debt, which is or ought to be—a kind thought for every man and a kind word to all. If I am spared till you return, we shall live more together like brothers, and our intercourse may be healthier and more profitable to us both. You, perhaps, will be less dreamy, and your mind will come out into more consistence and reality; while your freshness and buoyancy will cheer me, and do the old man good; and I will endeavour to be more communicative of the experience which age has forced upon me, and thus we shall mutually advantage each other. I have left you too much to yourself, but there is a good time coming. Now, dear nephew, speak and tell me how you like my proposal?" The large tears stood in my uncle's eyes as he coneluded, and turned on me his beloved countenance, all radiating with the kindness and generosity which broke from his noble, loving heart. I could not speak for some minutes, for those waters in his eyes and a tremulousness in the tones of his voice had infected me too, almost to weeping, and my breast swelled till I thought it would burst. But when I found my voice, I thanked my uncle most gratefully for all he had purposed and promised, and feeling that I had acted ill towards him, I asked and
obtained his pardon again and again ; for the generosity of his conduct struck me as something particularly lovely and admirable, while my reason told me that the course he had suggested was the one most accordant with common sense as well with what was right.
So we had a tranquil and happy ride together, and much affectionate communion of spirit. And in the evening I went over to the cottagemy uncle having previously had a long satisfactory interview with the old lady, who came into all his plan. Here I found Miss Cardonald looking the image of calm repose; and in a few nights afterwards, when I took my leave of her, though she suffered me to press her to my heart, and kiss her cheek, yet there was no pallor on her face, nor tear in her eye, and her voice was clear and unbroken as she pronounced her adieux. This I remembered well during my absence, and with feelings I could scarce describe.
On that night, after I had preprepared all things for an early start on the following morning, I went to my uncle's dressing-room to say a sad farewell. The old man folded me to his heart in a strict embrace, kissing both my cheeks, and blessing me fervently; he then gave me a large draft on his London bankers, a purse heavy with guineas, and thrust a little book into my bosom, and with his eyes charged with tears, and a murmur, "My dear, dear Walter"-he left me at his chamber door-and I never saw that loved and stately form in life again.
There was one heart that night beating against a wakeful pillow with inexpressible exultation, and one eye glittering with the fire of commingled hate and love, and that was my cousin Gilbert's.
But this I never knew or dreamed of till it was revealed in the lightning flash which came to scathe my youth some time afterwards.