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THE DARRAGH AND ITS GRIEF.
Good night! Good night!
Still stands thy eagle on his perch;
Thy dog roams whining round the church;
The bright eye dimmed-the kind heart cold;
Yet the deeds thou hast done
And the love thou hast won
Good night! Good night!
Good night! Good night!--The Keen of Moycarna,
I AM now coming to narrate one of the darkest sorrows of my life, which was the illness and the death of my sister Madeline, and which took place about a year after the stirring events recorded in the last chapter. To me this cloud, which burst at last on my uncle and Montfort in a thunder storm of grief, had been perceptibly gathering for a long time; and I well recollect one day in summer, when my sister and I had returned from a ride together, her saving to me at our hall door, "Walter, lift me down, for I feel someway unaccountably tired
She flushed up as she spoke, and after I had taken her from the saddle I said, "How light you have become, Madeline; I trust you are well!"
"Oh quite well," was the answer, "save for this pain in my left side, which robs me of my sleep, and that causes the fatigue I speak of; but, Walter, breathe not a word to my uncle or to John." For Madeline was always thinking of others, and like many of her sex who have 'the still heart,' and the mind of gentle dignity, she concealed her illness till it had mounted to a degree which reached beyond medical skill. She VOL. XLVIII.-NO. CCLXXXIII.
had been much confined all this year by her attendance on Montfort, and though he would beseech her to leave him, and go out, and have her ride, yet she would not do it, but kept constantly to the house, or only took exercise in walking beside his bath chair up and down the avenue. When he was so far recovered as to be enabled to drive his own ponies in the phaeton, she would accompany him in his favorite excursion through the great oak wood road up to the waterfall; or get down to the beach, where Montfort would sit and drink in health and vigour from the fresh cool breezes, that came in around him revivingly along the bright and heaving plain of the green Atlantic. But his limbs were too weak as yet to admit of his mounting a horse; and Madeline would seldom ride except she had him for a companion. In the beginning of the year my uncle took her to Dublin for advice, where C. pronounced her disease to be organic affection of the heart, but said that with care she might live for many years. Meanwhile Montfort's brother, Sir Philip, had died; and he was now a baronet, with a large fortune, and a beautiful place in Shrop
I had gone
shire. From these combining cir- woman's share of the constitutional cumstances their marriage was defer- fearlessness of our race. red; and we all hoped that the com- to bed late, leaving a good fire in the ing spring with its balm and its grate, and a nightlight burning on scented airs would greatly restore my toilet; I certainly felt unwellboth our dear invalids. But while this poor heart of mine nervously Montfort rapidly improved, my sister beating, and giving me pain ;
howas visibly declined; and alas, alas, ever, I fell asleep, but awoke again
even now in the lengthening in an hour or so, as I should think, shadow of the grave. I was deeply for I heard the great clock from the attached to Madeline, and her death farmyard striking two. It was begindried up the sweetest and brightest ning to blow, although the night had fountain that ever leaped up through been as still as the grave when I had my being
fallen asleep. The windows During her sickness, which came rattling along the corridor, and preon fast and fatally as the summer sently I heard a far door clap, and I advanced, and when she was con- thought of the stories of the Admifined to her apartment, it was my ral's ghost, and I smiled ; and then, pride and sad pleasure to bring to her I know not why, all that dreadful dressing room, when she would come business of Ahern's death, and John's there each afternoon to lie on the sofa, share in it, floated up in my mind, thechoicest and most beautiful bouquet
and I became agitated and wept. I I could procure from our gardens and was roused from this train of sad conservatories. Montfort spent all thought, by distinctly hearing the his evenings by her side ; even the steps of some one advancing along the cherished cigar was forsaken for her, gallery, and approaching my door ; and his presence seemed to almost the wind had fallen, and the house check her disease for the time ; for, was quite still ; the steps sounded though so beneath her in refinement nearer and nearer, and presently I and in culture, he loved her weil in heard the handle of my door gently his own manly and truthful way, and turned, and I was aware that some his delicacy of health gave him an one was in the room along with me. additional lustre and interest in her I saw it plainly by the double light true womanly heart. She saw of the nightlamp and the fire, dim, visitors beyond home circle, indeed, but sufficient for vision and except our little curate, who, indeed, recognition. It seemed a tall form in was one of the best of men, living to grey garments, something like work, and working to live. His woman's faded night dress. It came visits, which were judiciously timed, straight on to the foot of the bed, and she greatly enjoyed; and her thoughts then I saw it was our dear mother. and conversation would now often I could not speak ; I felt choking, wander forward amongst the scenes and if palsy stricken. Presently I and landscapes of the other world, saw the figure stooping down, and towards which her spirit was setting, removing the bed clothes; it seized with a calmness which astonished and my two feet in its hands, and their affected us all. One evening, when I touch was colder than the coldest ice, was sitting alone with her, she told pervading my whole frame like a dead me of a curious dream which had, as clasp : then it spoke, and my moit were, heralded in her illness.
ther's sweet tones brought back the “That it was a dream,” she said, life warmth to my heart again, “My “I now believe ; but, indeed, Walter, child,” it said, "you are very ill: you at the time, and for many weeks will soon come to me; and to afterwards, I thought it must have oh such happiness.” Then the icy really happened, and it greatly de- hands slowly passed up to my ancles, pressed my spirits. It occurred last and then the figure turned again to January. You know my bedroom, the door, and I saw it and heard it and how it lies at the very end of the no more, for the wind suddenly rose long corridor, and how it is entered again with a violent plash of rain by three steps from the gallery. against my windows, and the old Well, Walter, you know too that I accustomed noises began to sound never was troubled with superstitious through the house, and I fell off into fears, and that I have at least a deep sleep, and did not wake up till
eight in the morning : when I found and we buried her by torch light, an the door of the room locked, which I old custom in our family; and early had done on first entering it the night as it was-about three in the morning before. But what seemed unaccount- --a vast multitude, chiefly of peasanable, Walter, was, that I saw that the try, filled the whole area of the lawn, clothes at the bottom of the bed had and were dimly seen by the red light indeed been lifted during the night, of the moving torches waxing duller and not replaced. But though I and duskier, as the crimson of the could not but believe that I had seen East flushed up more vividly each • my mother for some weeks after- moment from the horizon --remindwards, yet on mentioning the matter ing me of the bright draperies with to Margaret Joyce, whom I at once which hope had decked her own took to be my companion at night, gentle spirit of late ; paling all earthand my kind nurse, her matter of ly lights. As the long cavalcade fact and sensible mind refused to streamed up the avenue, there arose admit such an idea, and she persuaded the wild melodious Keen, swelling me that it had been night-mare, or across the fields, and seeming at times that I had removed the bed-clothes in to sink, and die among the hills, only my sleep, and in this I now concur. to be taken up again---louder and What think you of the matter, more wailingly still, in all its shrill Walter ?
and passionate notes of thrilling I confess that I had listened with sorrow. Nor did it cease, till the the deepest interest and most lively procession had reached the churchcredence to Madeline's recital, but I yard gate; to me it was inexpressibly was saved from giving an answer by soothing, seeming to echo the sweetthe entrance of my uncle; and per- ness of the memories which mingled haps it was all the better; for the with my sad feelings, while it exinterpretation of the vision according pressed the bursting and vehement to what my imaginative temperament grief I could not speak. We laid her would have decided, might have dis- in the family vault in the village. turbed and unsettled my sister's My uncle and Montfort both attendmind. The poor thing now sunk ed. The former wept abundantly, rapidly, and her feet and ancles were and many a sob from the surrounding much swoln, which I connected with poor gave back the expression of the coldness she had felt in her his sorrow; but Montfort stood an dream ; if, indeed, it were a dream. image of stone-a man without a tear God only knoweth'; the physical ail- till we had returned home, when ment of the part might have pro- he called me into the old drawing duced the idea or notion of spiritual room, where were her piano, and causality, as we all know it often does music stand, and harp; and flinging in dreams, and thus confused together himself into my arms, the strong man cause and effect. I do not believe, broke down, and gave way to the however, that this question troubled most heart-bursting and terrible gush her or occupied her mind ; that was of sobs, cries, and sorrow I have ever set on loftier things, and her peace witnessed. “Oh! dearest Walter" and joy knew no measure. The week he would exclaim, “I have lost an before she died the General had a angel," and then his tears would choke long interview with her; he left the his voice-and he would weep and room with his face all bathed in tears, lament in my arms for hours. I while her's wore a look of triumph I know not how it was, but I felt strong had never seen there before, and her to comfort him, as well as my uncle, smile was of superhuman beauty, as if whose grief was more measured, and she had caught and retained some of the of a gentler description ; but poor strange high light of the upper world Montfort's
for which was soon to shine around her; as breaking out, and I think he was the loftiest peaks are seen to sparkle ashamed that men should see it ; with the beams of the coming morn, and so before two months had elapsed, while the valleys below are all dark. Í to our great regret and surprise, he must pass on now, and rapidly ; for had left us, utterly unable to stay, lingering over each well remembered having sold his property to McClinevent of the last week is like coming tock, resigned his commission of the back to weep at her grave. She died, peace, and disposed of all his stud
and dogs in Dublin by sale. And I was now an undergraduate of that was the last I saw of Sir John Trinity College, and had obtained Montfort, till after some weary and classical honors more than once, yet I eventful time had passed away; for was but imperfectly educated for one he was bent on going on a long sea who was to inherit a good property voyage to complete the restoration and transmit an ancient name, The of his health, and to try and forget imaginative faculty was an impedihis sorrow ; and accordingly, before ment to my acquisition of solid knowtwo months had elapsed, he had ledge of men or things. I was too sailed from Liverpool in a Baltimore busy with my own thoughts to conpacket for the United States. After cern myself with what others might his departure my uncle had a long be thinking of ; I was utterly unsusillness, in which I nursed him day picious; I would have scorned to and night : his grief for Madeline had have thought evil of any one unless shaken him greatly, and Montfort's his evil were forced upon me; I loved somewhat abrupt depariure had tried books, solitary walks, and wild scehim more than he was willing to nery : I loved, too, observation of allow. Even the loss of Becky's character, drawing, and musick. I rough familiar face was felt by him ; disliked shooting, except for the long for the faithful creature, overwhelmed walks; and I eschewed fishing unless with sorrow at my sister's death, had for the boating sake; but I dearly gone to her grandfather's house, and loved hunting, and when mounted on her own people, in the North of Ire- “the Highflier," I believe that no land. My uncle's plans, too, for ditch, no wall, or double drain could bettering the condition of his people check the bappy ardour which anihe considered to have signally failed, mated me in a hard run after a caitilf except in a few instances ; and so fox. My horse and myself seemed these things threw his generous actuated by the one feeling; and nature back upon itself, and into rider and quadruped to have but the inaction, and hurt his health. His one heart, and almost the one body physician, however, said that the next between them on such occasions. The winter's hunting would restore his General was a splendid rider to the constitution, and this gave us a happy hounds, magnificently mounted on hope. He had not now the same his Yorkshire bay, which took everycharm he once had round his hearth ; thing coolly but successfully, and after the gentle, graceful Madeline was a day's heavy run appeared as fresh gone, “the cheer and comfort of his and as little blown as if he had been eye,” the ornament of his table, and cantering in Hyde Park. My cousin the light of his household ; and her Kildoon was a forward but not a good place was imperfectly supplied by a horseman.
On one occasion he and Mrs. Sandford, who had been Made- his hunter had rolled into a ditch, line's governess, and who being well after an unsuccessful jump, and while strieken in years, and of regular and he was there, I had gone clear over quiet habits, the General had made his him on the Highflier, much to the housekeeper, and set over the menage. amusement of “the Field ;" but not
My cousin Gilbert had now coine to his satisfaction I fear, for I never to live with us, and his attention to can forget the look he gave me, as I the General knew no bounds ; but it leaped across him and his struggling seemed to me to be overstrained ; and horse. It might have been fright, or the old man, so high bred and digni- contortion of face from his awkward fied, did not appear to relish all the position, but it struck me for the fuss his affectionate nephew was ever moment that it was like the angry making about his every movement. glare of hate. Gilbert was sole agent Yet Gilbert no doubt was sincerely now of the Darragh estates, and he attached to us all ; and if it be true certainly looked to me to be more at that love begets love, I should have his ease when mounted on a stool, warmly affected Kildoon ; for his and his ledger before him in his quiet expressions of regard, oral and prac- little office behind the house, than tical, by speech as well as by show, when he had attained a similar elevaweré to me as constant andlas regular, tion on an unstuffed saddle, a hot though rather less refreshing than horse under him, the hounds in full my daily meals.
cry before him, and at least twenty
loose stone walls to surmount before soon discoverell she was not on the “ the kill” took place.
happiest terms. She appeared to us A great change came over the spirit to be in excellent health, and in of our life now, by the arrival at the what poor Montfort could have called Darragh of a Mrs. Carndonald, who “prime condition;" yet was she a was a near relation of the General's. professed valetudinarian, always laShe came to stay a week, but sojourn- bouring under some invisible broned a year. She resided generally at chitis, or oppressed with an apocrypal Cheltenham, but being summoned to influenza : yet sailing down each day Dublin by some law business, she had to dinner in a sort of semi-nude come on now to visit her “honoured Musidora condition, and as lightly kinsman," my uncle. She was a sil- clad as the youngest nymph in the ken perfumed mass of good nature, country. vanity, egoism, and thorough world- She was accompanied by her daughliness, with the affectation of super- ter Isabella, who was still young and superlative refinedness ; so soft and very fair : and unlike her mother in sleek was she in skin, and voice, and mind-having more sense; and equally hand, and habiliment, that she ap- unlike her in manner-having more peared more like an incarnation of reserve. She had been fashionably chinchilli fur, or an animation of educated; or, in other words, she was Genoa velvet, than one of Eve's an accomplished woman, and played, bone-sinew-and-muscle daughters. sung, and rode well.
She had been a beauty some thirty I do not pretend to say what amyears ago, and if dress, care, and bitious dreams might have crossed cosmetics could have preserved her the meridian of Mrs. Cardonald's flowers from fading, no one could brain respecting the General, whom had found fault with her as a skilful she always called her “honoured gardiner. Not content with bodily kinsman ;" but whatever they might comeliness, she aimed also at the have been, they were soon and effecbeauty of the mind, and affected tually dissipated by my uncle's sus. literature, of which she absolutely tained coldness of manner, which knew nothing; her whole stock in although always courteous and even trade consisting of a few trite expres. kind, did not however hold forth the sions, such as, “The sweet Bard of fragment of a saliest angle for vanity Avon,” “The Spenserian Stanza,” to hang a hope on. Still, the lady “ The Magician of the North," with was charmed with “The Darragh ;" half a dozen hacknied quotations, and after passing a whole month such as the feast of reason and the under our roof, she declared that the flow of soul ;” and the “ Cups that Atlantic breezes, “tempered by sweet cheer but not inebriate," &c., and mountain air," had so braced and others equally, profound and rare. renewed her system, and banished Her mind, indeed, had nothing in- her “extreme delicacy," that if the tellectual in it, her only talent being General would permit her, she would the art of talking incessantly without become his tenant for the summer expressing any idea. Her dress was and autumn months, at Woodmancote, the perfection of richness and taste, which was the name of the handsome for she had an ample jointure, which cottage he had built in the wood she generously spent on herself, on the behind our house. To this unexpected principle of charity beginning at proffer the General could only give a home; nay, she enlarged the proverb, gratified assent, expressing himself in by making it end at home also, for conventional parlance as “most hapno one ever knew her to bestow on py," &c.; and the next day Mrs. others that which she could possibly Cardonald and he were busy in or profitably expend upon herself"; ordering down furniture from Dublin; and when “herself” was to be no the lady gladly assenting to remain more, her fortune reverted to her as our guest, till such time as we gon, who was a smug Somerset parson, could say, in the Corporal's language, who kept his flock, not on the “ All's right” at Woodmancote. “Grampian hills,” but amidst the It was now spring, and as yet we grassy slopes and blushing orchards had not had any continuance of fine of the sleepy diocese of W
or genial weather; a whole week's with which ecclesiastick we very rain had kept our ladies within doors,
- ; and