« FöregåendeFortsätt »
decease the spirit of our house should which they might never more have the keen and wring its hands, released occasion to discuss. thereafter from the loyalty of its im “And must you positively set sail,” mortal sorrow."
-asked the old man abrupily, follow“ Fables ! my son-mere fables !” ing up the train of thought which the priest answered, “which it is idle, had engaged his mind during their and pot idle only, but ruinous to the silent walk—“now—this very night ?" soul, to believe or hearken to!"
“This very hour—this very moment, “ Be it so, father," answered Gerald if it be possible, my father,” replied Desmond, " but, Irish I was born !- the young man anxiously. “I have Irish in all my thoughts, and hopes, but ioo much reason to believe that and creed, and superstition, and Irish the direction of my flight was suspectI shall die, be sure of it! It cannot pd; and that I have been tracked but be karmless, my belief, if it be hitherward by some of the Dutch idle; for it detracts nothing from the dragoons. I had much difficulty in power or majesty, or mercy of Him escaping from them yesterday, and did who rules the universe, nor does it rob so only by my unerring knowledge of me of one particle of my trust in Him the couutry. Dermody's lugger has who alone can save. But to our duty, been lying on and off these two days father ; let me join with you in the in the bay to take me up, and her boat, celebration of the last mass I shall with Kavanagh and the two Joyces, hear in the land of my ancestors.” and Shan More, is waiting for me even
The priest made no reply, but enter. now, in the cove under the castle ing the chapel, instantly set himself to crag.” prepare for the performance of those “And yet it is a fearful night even sacred rites over the graves of his now, and promises as wild a tempest departed friends, which are so grateful as was ever brewed in the west. Hark to the surviving relatives in countries to the long dull roar of the flood-tideof the Romish faith. Sadly upon the hark to the melancholy wailing howl damp turf kneeled the youthful soldier, of the fast rising gale.". beside the low green mounds which “It rises from the northwest, father,” covered all the mortal part of a respect. Gerald answered, “and with that we ed father, of a beloved-oh! how can beat out of the bay in any weather. devotedly beloved and how long unfor- Besides what matters it?-Dermody's gotten--mother, and watered the rank lugger is as stiff a sea-boatas swims the grass with bitter tears, while the good Channel, yet were she the most leaky priest solemnly performed the sacred tub that ever took in water, still would service. Darkness had fallen on the I go on board this night-this hour ! lonely glen, and the pale moon had Better to sink a freeman in the pure risen; although her light was con- waters of the broad free ocean, than to stantly obstructed by the fast-driving fall a chained prisoner on the bloody clouds, through which she waded, as scaffold, or swing like a dog on the they swept blackly in from the horizon, base gallows. Therefore, I bless the over the stormy sea before the wild very tempest that lashes the blue west wind. Yet they cared nou for waves into whiteness—it promises a storm or darkness, those lone mourn- quick run to the gay shores of Norers; nor did they give one thought to mandy; or, if that may not be, a the unseasonable hour, or to the com- little moment's struggle, and a free ing tempest, until their holy duties grave in the dear seas that wash my were performed; then they rose, country! Nor, sinner as I am, know I melancholy, yet in some sort consoled; that any future time will find me fitier and in the deep hush of overmastering to go hence, than I stand now, without feeling took their way down the one tie to bind me down to earth! valley, to the seaward. Before, how- without one hope or aspiration, if it be ever, they had reached the space be- not of heaven! Bless me, then, ere I neath the castle crags, the urgency of go-bless me, good father-for here circumstance had forced them to sub- begins the path to the castle cove, due the grief that was so busy at their where we must part, never 10 meet in breasts, and to converse one with the this world more-and there goes Shan other on those important matters More's signal!”—and as he spoke, a
rocket shot up from behind the ruined low him a step, after he darted into castle, and ploughing its long, fiery that darksome path, there were those furrow athwart the stormy sky, burst with them who knew every rock and into a bright shower of sparks that dingle for miles around that spot, flickered for a moment as they fell themselves inhabitants of that wild earthward, and then vanished. moorland barony, and who, maddened
“Bless thee, my son,” exclaimed by party zeal, and the yet fiercer fury the old man, laying bis wrinkled band of fanaticism, forgot that they were on the young soldier's brow, as he Irishmen, and played the shameful knelt bare-headed before him—"and part of bloodhounds to the foreign may”—but his prayer was cut short soldiery,-bloodhounds indeed! to trafby a loud shout from the landward side fic in the gore of their own persecuted of the ravine, followed almost imme- countrymen. Three of these, then, diately by the booming of a heavy one clad in the equipments of an gun from the lugger in the bay, and the Orange trooper, the others in the rude appearance of another rocket launched garb of peasants, but all well armed into the air from the cove mouth. with sword and pistol, rushed headlong "Fly! fly! - Heaven be about down the steep hill-side, waving their you ! fly!"—the priest shrieked wildly, torches, and calling with wild yells and as he heard the hoarse shout from the imprecations, upon the heavier and hill—" the heretics are on us !"--and more phlegmatic Dutchmen, to follow Gerald Desmond sprang from his knee, with all speed. So close did these three and stood listening intently for a press upon his traces, that when he minute's space, with one hand on the cleared ihe rocky cleft through which hilt of his long rapier, and the other the path descended to the beach, they grasping the butt of a concealed pistol. were not thirty yards bebind him, and He stood but for a moment; for scarce so much was he encumbered by his had that brief interval elapsed, before heavy horseman's boots, that they the wavering red glare of twenty or gained on him every moment, and must more torches, made from the unctúous have overtaken him, had it been neceswood of the bog-pine, flashed out above sary for him to run far over the loose the brow of the landward hills, which, and clattering shingles. But Gerald while they were reflected back in many had not now to traverse above ten a dazzling line from the cuirasses of yards, ere he should reach the little the Dutch dragoons, cast a wide flood of cove, sheltered by a projecting reef from dusky lustre into the bottom of the glen, the tremendous surf which was dashand half revealed the figures of the ing in with a roar louder than the priest and Gerald to his inveterate pur- loudest thunder; and warned by the suers. He turned, he waved his hand, hubbub and the volley which had he leaped into the black and narrow reached their ears, the crew had chasm, through which the path wound launched the boat, which lay with her shoreward, as one familiar even in the head seaward, and sat to their oars, gloom of night with every turn and ready to dart at a moment's warning labyrinth of its course. But as he into the whirling billows, which turned, the quick sharp flashes of half- foamed and raved as white as the a-dozen carabines lit up the grove and driven snow, scarce one boat's length glen for a moment, and the full-ringing beyond the mouth of their little haven. sounds of their reports drowned the The lugger with her foresail backed, hard clatter of his steel-shod boots upon was lying to in the bay at a short half the rocky soil. Fired at random, as it mile's distance, seeming to disregard was, the volley availed nothing; and entirely the heavy gale and flood-tide seeing now that he could effect nothing which were setting her in momently for the fugitive, the priest retreated toward the lee-shore; but the continual silently into the covert of the shadowy glare of the blue lights which she trees, and made good his escape, unseen kept throwing up, rendering the whole and unsuspected, to the yew grove wild scene as light as day, though with beside the chapel, and thence to his a lurid and unnatural lustre, and the own solitary habitation.
occasional burst of flame and smoke Not so with Gerald Desmond; for which surged out from her bow-port though the soldiers would have been with a dull heavy roar, denoted her ntterly thrown out, and unable to fol- anxiety to get her crew on board, and
quit a berth so undesirable, if not ac- less volley from the Dutchmen, the tually dangerous. And now the boat's bullets of which pattered on the water crew, seeing Gerald close at hand, and like large rain-drops, the boat shot as it seemed, quite safe, sent up a long seaward, bearing the rescued fugitive. wild cheer, and backed the boai a little Within five minutes the blue lights shoreward to receive him-but as they ceased to burn,-the lugger spread her did so, when the fugitive was scarce canvass to the gale, and while it six paces from the boat, and his pur. howled among her straining cordage, suers not twice as far behind him, his and stretched each sail almost to rendfoot slipped on some wet sea-weed that ing, danced on her way toward the safe piled the treacherous beach, and he fell shores of France, glad as the waves headlong. Answering, with a yell that laughed around her prow, wherein malignity and joy were fierce Nearly a year had passed away, ly blended, the enemy leaped on to winter had come and gone, and the seize him. Had he attempted to resume young promise of fair spring had been his flight, he was undone, for, ere by made good by the full flush of gorany possibility he could have regained geous summer, yet had no tidings of his foothold the foremost of the trai. ihe fate of Gerald Desmond reached tors must have grappled him ; but he the old priest, who cherished still the was calm and perfectly collected, as memory of that departed race, feeling though no peril were at hand. Slowly at every hour the truth of the Roman's he rose upon one knee, drawing with exquisite complaint :-“ Heu! quanto each hand a long horseman's pistol minus cum reliquis versari, quam hofrom his girdle-he took a quick but rum meminisse.” Whether he perished steady aim at the leading man, nor did in the waves, however, on that wild he draw his trigger, until he could have night when he departed from the dealmost reached him with his rapier- solate home of his fathers, or reached then came the keen flash, and the in safety the gay shores for which he simultaneous shot--and the unerring steered, was never known with any bullet crashed through the traitor's certainty in Ireland; never, at least, scull, as though it had been paper; and until the worthy Jesuit had laid down he leaped up into the air, and fell, from his earthly toils in that low bed, with his arms extended and the blood from which there is no waking on this bubbling from his lips, close to the feet side of eternity-bad changed this of his slayer. Then Gerald leaped up scene of weariness and woe for that from his knee, and drew himself to his bright world wherein the wicked cease full height, and levelling his second from troubling and the weary are at pistol, fired deliberately as before, and rest. Rumors, of course, were rife, with the like effect; the second man and contradictory as ever; one fact fell dead, close to the carcase of his alone was certain, that Dermody's leader. Yet still the tbird came bound- fleet lugger was never seen again on ing forward, waving his torch in his that black coast, and that for many a left hand, and brandishing his ready day the gentry missed the rich Bourbroadsword; while from the entrance deaux wines and Mechlin. laces, the of the secret path, a dozen of the poorer folks the genuine cognac or Dutch dragoons might be seen hurry- choice old Nantz which he was wont ing to support or avenge the nimbler to dispense duty free, until the want guides who led them. Two bounds created a supply, and a fresh set of brought Gerald to the very verge; one welcome desperadoes filled up the plaother would have placed him in the ces vacated by the two Joyces and stern-sheets of the ready, barge; but Shan More. It was said, and most he took not that other--his quick eye likely truly,--for many fragments of saw that his pursuer was too close at such a vessel with spars and sails rehis heels. Rapier in hand, he turned. sembling those of the free trader had Three quick home passes flashed in the been picked up by the fishermen along torch light, and the weapon of the the coast after the gale subsided, -that Orangeman went whirling through the beyond doubt the Nora Creina, for in air, leaving his wrist half dislocated by so soft a name the smugglers' bark dethe force of the wrench which had lighted, perished upon the very night disarmed him. A loud shout from the in question; but there were men-seaoarsmen! and, in the midst of a harm- faring men--who were as well known
at St. Malo, Hopfleur, and Harfleur, escaped with the crew of the lugger in and Dieppe, as on their native coast- the boats, when she went ashore, Deswho swore with many a stout and mond had reached Dieppe in safety, truthful asseveratiou_that they had and not without much toil and some several times seen Dermody and all suffering, had made his way to the his crew along the French shores, and metropolis, and thence to the court of that they knew right well where they the weak and unhappy James, at St. could find them any day, were they so Germains. Once there, the gallantry minded. Still nothing was known ac- which he had shown in the disastrous curately, until, when more than half a battle of the Boyne, added to the favor century had elapsed, and the last hopes of the Duke of Berwick, and to the imof the Stuarts had been extinguished portance of his kindred and connexions at Culloden, Shan More himself re- in the British Isles, whom it was so turned to die at home, and narrated necessary for the fallen king to concithe wanderings and the woes, the ex- liate, speedily procured him a majority ploits and the sufferings and the sor- in the French-English Guards, and furrows of Gerald Desmond, whom he ther a small court appointment, the professed to have followed to the last; salary of which was provided by the
-and not of Gerald only, but of the munificence of Louis the Fourteenth, whole race, whom it would seem, by whose generous and disinterested kindhis wild story, fate had pursued with ness towards his brother king, when a more than its accustomed sternness, discrowned and penniless exile, cannot hunting them, like the awful destiny of be praised too highly. Still Gerald Edipus, to the accomplishment of the Desmond, although an honorable occudark prophecy which, if the truth were pation was thus given to him, with known, probably tended in no small such a competence as far more than degree to bring about its own comple- sufficed for the arrangement of his soltion. He was an old, old man, having dier ménage, continued ill at ease, indeed outrun his hundredth year, yet and restless and unhappy. On parade were his senses perfect, and his rude he was regular as clockwork; nor was peasant bearing had been completely there in the whole of that superb brioverlaid by a half-jaunty, half-dignified gade, which was so long maintained military air, which did not, indeed, sit in France as the body-guard of the amiss on his erect and still unbended exiled dynasty, with all the style and form, his limbs, which had been cast appointments, including uniform and in a mould of Herculean strength, and colors, of the English Guards, one offithe white venerable locks which curled cer more diligeni in the performance about his scarred and weather-beaten of his duties, more skilful in the tacforehead. His language, too, was no tics of the day, more reverenced by his less improved than his manner, and, men, or beloved by his comrades, ihan in short, there was something in the the young Irish major. It was, howwhole tone and character of the man ever, by his conduct in the field alone which assured all his hearers of the that he had gained this point of estitruth of his narration. To it, however, mation ; for, though he was a regular it is not now my purpose to adhere, attendant at the regimental mess, he couched as it was in quaint half-French, never mingled in the revels of the half-Irish phraseology, but rather to fol- corps, nor displayed any touch of that low him whom we have seen start on wild, sparkling wit and reckless humor his course, an outcast and an exile, which had distinguished him of old, through all the phases of a strange and which was still characteristic of chequered life to that far bourne from his comrades; who, although exiles which no traveller returns, whether for like himself, seemed to have lost no good or evil.
tiltle of their native tendency to glee Nearly a year, then, had elapsed be- and frolic, in changing the green fields tween the flight of Gerald Desmond of Erin for the trim avenues of royal and the period at which I propose to gardens and the grand etiquettes of the resume the narrative; nor had the in- Parisian court; but verified by their terval been unmarked by events of light-hearted frankness and Irish turmuch importance, and such as operated bulence of humor the ancient adage, with much weight on the proceedings
“ Cælum, non animum, mutant qui trans and the fortunes of my hero. Having
For many months this state of things For on the very day on which the Duke continued, till it had at length become signified to him that one year's leave a matter of as much notoriety, that of absence had been granted him, and Gerald Desmond was the victim of that he was authorized, by letters some incessant and deep-rooted sor- which he handed to him as he spoke, row, as that he was one of the best to draw his pay and the emoluments officers in the French brigade of Eng- of his office from the Royal Treasury, lish Guards. Many months, indeed, he received certain and unquestionable passed before any one presumed to in- advices that both his brothers were, trude upon his secret griefs, so far as with their sister, sojourning in Rome, to inquire their cause even ; but when under the Pope's protection, although in tinie the facts of the case were made in circumstances of extreme indigence, known to the Duke of Berwick, that and almost of distress. It will be noble and kind-hearted prince called readily believed that Gerald made no Desmond to his quarters after parade tarrying at St. Germains, now that his one morning, and dealt with him so utmost hopes appeared to be in the unaffectedly, and with so manly and direct course of accomplishment; the straightforward a courtesy, that he won father as the Duke of Berwick-not from him easily the cause of his un weary of assisting those who had inwonted gravity and gloom, and soon deed lost their all, and sunk from rank so ordered matters as in some sort to and wealth and power, among the relieve, if not remove them. Still ig. highest in their own native land, to norant of the fate of his two brothers outlawry and poverty and exile, by and his sister, (who had been forced to their uncompromising loyalty to his fly from Ireland when their name was own family--gave him a promise, unproscribed and their house ruined, be- solicited and equally unhoped for, that fore the fate of Gerald, who was sup- both his brothers should be enrolled inposed, in the first instance, to have stantly either as cadets in the guard or fallen by the bloody Boyne, had been as officers in the line of the Frenchascertained), the generous young man, Irish army. now head of his high race, had never The route from Paris across the for one instant ceased to torment him. Alps to Rome was in those days a self with vain imaginings, to ponder on matter of far greater difficulty than it the chances of their fortunes, to long is now, when a far mightier than Hanwith a vain and yearning eagerness nibal not only has outrivalled him who to find them out, in what part of the world soever they had found refuge, “Diduxit scopulos, montes rupit and to collect them once more into one aceto," family, with himself as their guardian and protector
but has left, clear to after generations, It is a singular thing, but by no the giant footprints of his immortal means of so rare occurrence as one march, in valleys bridged, and icy sumwould naturally suppose, that, after mits levelled, and a broad easy road we may have been striving for days athwart the howling regions of eternal and months, or even years, in the hope winter. Yet it was practicable even then, of accomplishing some favorite object, although by jourueys far less rapid and and striving all in vain, when the first more toilsome than those by which the obstacle is suddenly and as it were ac- modern traveller is whirled in his easy cidentally removed, the other circum- britschka along a level turnpike where stances which have opposed our pro- Alps on Alps aríse; and Gerald Desgress are similarly and as unexpectedly mond, by dint of riding almost day changed. No person who has seriously and night, and paying the most extra thought upon the changes and chances ordinary prices for relays of horses of human existence, can fail to have contrived to reach the Everlasting City observed this fact; and to be aware within three weeks from the day when that in the midst of the every-day rou- he issued from the gates of the French tine of ordinary matter-of-fact life capital. events are constantly occurring, wilder It was an hour past midnight when and stranger than the most fanciful by the light of a full moon-ihe broad, imaginings of neetical romance. And bright, glorious moon of southern climes
Desmond. Che nonlod his jaded hoise along the