Volume Two


5


THE FORTUNES of Peggy Nowlan now demand attention; and the reader will be pleased to recur to her at the moment, when, in consequence of her brother's violence, she became the wife of Mr. Frank, according to the canons of the Roman Catholic church, though not according to the law of the land.

     Confounded and silent, Peggy, Mr. Frank, and old Friar Shanaghan, stood together in the field, listening to John's retreating steps. In a few moments the post-chaise was heard to drive furiously off.

     "There he goes," said the friar, breaking the confused silence—"and now, can any one tell me the meaning of this?"

     "I cannot,"answered Frank; "except that he is grown stark mad of a sudden."

     "Nor I, Sir," added Peggy, "except on a like thought."

     "He seemed to speak of a necessity—a shameful necessity—for your immediate marriage, Peggy," continued Mr. Shanaghan.

     "He spoke in great error then," answered Peggy, holding herself erect, and looking firmly from the eyes of one gentleman to the other.

     "He did, Sir," echoed Frank; "in error that wronged us both: and his unaccountable precipitancy, although it confers upon me a happiness I long proposed to myself, under certain circumstances, and at a certain time, yet"—

     "Has made you this young girl's husband against your will, on this particular evening," interrupted the friar.

     "Not against my will, Sir; that is, not against my feelings for Miss Nowlan, but solely against present expediency. I had hopes that time would have enabled me to obtain the consent of my friends; to avow my marriage to them now would be ruinous."

     "Then what do you propose to do, Sir?" demanded the old ecclesiastic.

     "That is exactly the point necessary for us all to determine; for it concerns us all: our common safety is at stake."

     "You include me, Sir?"

     "Yes, good Sir. You know my immediate family are rather violent religionists; and should they at once become acquainted with your agency in this matter—that is, should they hear, while their feelings are warm, of your having solemnized an illegal marriage between a Protestant and a Roman Catholic—"

     "They might prosecute me, under the Act of Parliament that makes mv ministry penal?"

     "Exactly so, my good Sir."

     "I thought so. But you'll never mind that, if you please: leave me to take care of myself, and just consider the case without me."

     "Well, then, Sir; if my uncle be at once informed of my marriage, I am convinced he would turn me off."

     "That's more important; and you therefore wish secrecy for the present?"

     "For Peggy's sake, as well as mine, Sir,—yes:—the most inviolable secrecy. I wish we should promise each other not to speak of the matter to another human being."

     "Hum—let us see. Your wife's opinion will be useful here, Master Adams. Peggy, my child, what have you to say for yourself?"

     Peggy had, since her last observation, stood by her husband's side, as he held her hand, her head drooped perhaps more in thought than in embarrassment; now she spoke firmly and distinctly, though her voice was low:—" Since, by my brother's doing, I am this gentleman's wife, Sir, it is my first duty to care for his interests; and, therefore, I at once engage to keep our marriage a secret from every one but my father and mother—and, when she comes home, my sister."

     "But that may be the very way to publish it to the whole country, dear Peggy—let me entreat you to make no exceptions."

     "I cannot think," she resumed quietly, "that my father, mother, or sister, would break a trust upon the keeping of which my happiness depends; and, as they could not get their right and their due, by being consulted on my sudden and strange marriage, the least respect we can now show them will be to tell them it has happened; nothing can alter my mind on that head—not even the commands of a husband."

     "Well;" resumed Frank, after a reverie, during which the friar closely watched him—"I have your promise, Sir?"

     "You have, Sir; and besides," with a sneer so slight and peculiar, that even Frank could not perceive it—" my dread of a prosecution will be your further security, you know."

     "Then, dearest Peggy," continued Frank, in a manner seemingly changed into the sincerest vivacity—"ask this excellent old gentleman to see you home—communicate the event to your father and mother, just as you like, and expect me to join you at a little bridal supper, in less than an hour. Now I must look after Letty, who, since your brother's departure, waits me to squire her to Long Hall; after that necessary service I shall fly to your father's. Adieu, Peggy; you cannot refuse the bride's kiss at least, "—saluting her—"And cheer up, my life; for sudden and extraordinary as this has been, you know it is but an anticipation of my wishes, and every thing may be for the best—Farewell!—Of course"—in a whisper—"we meet at your father's nor to part again; that is, you cannot expect your husband to return home to-night."

     Burning in blushes, that immediately changed to paleness and trembling, Peggy heard him in silence, and, taking the friar's arm, proceeded to her father's house.

     "Ay," muttered Frank, as he turned from them to seek Letty—"let the madman have his way; he only gives me the triumph that nothing else could. She was not to be surprised—force would have been dangerous—but this mock marriage compels her, according to her mummery creed, to receive me in her arms; and thus his own very act, his own insolent violence, gives me my satisfaction for his own accursed blow, and for her share in it; forgetting altogether the real liking towards the silly girl, that not even my grudge can smother. But how's this?" as he entered the little retreat in which he had left Letty: "My excellent sister not here? Ho! Letty! No one answers; can it be possible? can such double happiness have been in store for me? No; yonder she sits, in tender sorrow at his loss."

     The female figure he now more closely approached, proved, however, to be Maggy Nowlan. She rose to meet him.

     "Ha! Mag! what brings you here after all my commands? You have frightened Miss Letty away, I suppose."

     "I didn't frighten her away; an' yet she's gone away, sure enough, Masther Frank."

     "What do you mean? gone home? with a servant, come to fetch her?"

     "Gone to Dublin, wid the priest," laughed Maggy.

     "How you sputter out your lies, old Mag! It cannot be."

     "I only saw him lifting her into the shay."

     He stood overwhelmed with contending emotions. The accomplishment, even of his own plans and wishes, shook him to the soul; he had been taken off his guard; he could not have contemplated the event at this moment, although we have heard him speaking loosely about it; and the fate of a sister so suddenly determined, compelled a natural struggle even in the breast of such a brother as Mr. Frank, about whom, by the way, the reader has yet much to learn. After a silence of some minutes, he left the spot, saying, in a low voice, to Maggy—

     "Now, you and your mother, and your brother Phil, are to get to Dublin as fast as you can, Mag; and as all has been settled, good night; I will see you here to-morrow evening; not a word in the mean time."

     He separated from her without further adieu, and walked slowly to his uncle's. Mr. Long had retired to bed. He enquired for Miss Letty, telling the servants she had left him, an hour since, to return home. They had not seen her; he supposed she also was in her chamber; and asking a light, he said he would go and see. Ascending alone to Letty's apartment, he found the door open, glanced round to ascertain if he was unobserved, locked it gently, put the key in his pocket, regained the drawing-room, informed Letty"s attendant she must have retired early, as her door was shut, and he could not get her to answer, supposed she had entered the house without their notice, and, finding herself fatigued, gone straight to repose: and dismissing the girl, with an injunction not to disturb her young mistress, Frank then laid his head on his hand in a deep reverie.

     "No use," he thought, "to agitate the house and my uncle to-night; I can break the news myself, in the morning; and pursuit will then be less dangerous than it now might prove to be. Maggy may be seen early, to serve as my informant, and to bring a message. Besides, I must hide it as long as possible from the Nowlans, too. Their blubbering about that clown would sadly interrupt the joy of Peggy's nuptials. Let me see. The priest will travel with her all night, so that they will reach Dublin to-morrow morning. Ay; having once taken the step, he is not likely to dally on the road. Well; if I can now keep my uncle in my hands, all goes fair for independence. Meeting every cursed demand upon me, a good portion of the old acres will be left free; and I begin at last to breathe like a man."

     As he moved suddenly in his chair, something fell off the table; he stooped and picked up one of Letty's portfolios; at a glance he flung it far from him, and continued in a new train of thought. "Poor little wretch! I pity her, while her ruin is my rise. I wish, after all, she could have been saved. But she could not when the question was between her partial suffering and my ruin, my utter ruin; loss of character, perhaps loss of life, exposure, at all events, detection,—blowing up. If possible, she shall not want money. I will try to take care of than—that is, if I can. And, after all, what has happened to her? She has just run away with the idol of her heart, as the saying is, and nothing more: and why should he not be able to support her? Stuff. I'm boring myself for no reason. The thing is to evade pursuit. Yes; I must see Mag, on my way home, in the morning. On my way home! Come; I was forgetting that this is my bridal night:—bridal fiddlestick! If that old curmudgeon is saucy, the magistrate shall get him pilloried, or whipt through Nenagh town, or transported to Van's Land, or hanged, or whatever it is to be. Peggy, my love, I cruelly keep you waiting. Powers or chance! to think of this: on the very night, in the beginning of which I had nearly run my neck in a noose, to have my fancy and revenge another way!"

     Muffling himself, he stole down stairs and out of the house, a servant, so far in his confidence as to wink at his occasional absence for a night, opening the door to him. Walking rapidly, he soon entered beneath the humble roof of the Nowlans. The old couple received him in tears, but they were tears of joy. Peggy and the friar, omitting John's violent interference, had made them assured that the important Mr. Frank Adams was now the husband of their eldest daughter; and they readily consented to be silent on a subject which so nearly concerned them, and more than readily acceded to his own arrangement, proposed to Peggy, for celebrating, in a little family feast, the happy night. The good dame herself led Peggy to her nuptial chamber.

     Early the next morning, he stealthily left the house, and bent his steps towards the wretched cabin, in which lived Maggy Nowlan and her mother. Half way, he stopped upon the banks of a deep stream, looked round, assured himself he was alone, took out the key of Letty's sleeping apartment, hurled it into the turbid water, and then sprang onward; met Maggy, gave her certain instructions, and, desiring her to follow him close, turned to Long Hall.

     The moment a servant appeared, he asked, in the greatest seeming agitation, for his uncle. Mr. Long was not yet up. He hurried to his room; tapped loudly; was desired to come in; and stood before the good gentleman's bedside, well looking "the prologue to a swelling act."

     It might be tiresome, as well as disgusting, to give a minute account of the way he communicated the elopement of his sister, which, he said, a strange woman, who had unfortunately witnessed it, just then imparted to him. The feelings of Mr. Long more forcibly interest us; and they were indeed poignant, even to despair. He would not believe the story—it was so very impossible; had Frank sent to her room? No—Frank had not thought of that; but they would repair to the door together. They did so; and of course found it locked. They called; and of course got no answer. At his uncle's instance, Frank wrenched the lock open, and they entered the apartment;—alas—

    "——It was lonely,
         As if the lov'd tenant were dead!"—
The delicately-framed invalid—the sensitive and outraged uncle— swooned under this dreadful calamity, and was borne, insensible, to the library, by Frank and the servants he had summoned.

     When restored, Frank was at his side, and held his hand. Mr. Long fell weeping on his neck, as he said—" Now, Frank, now, I have only you in the wide world! do not deceive me, too!"—

     "Alas, Sir!" with a trembling voice, as he pressed the trembling hand he held so close.

     "But cannot the wretched creature be reclaimed?" continued Mr. Long, rousing himself—" can we not pursue, and bring her back?"

     "Oh, Sir! I have thought of that—it was and is my only hope—"

     "Where is this woman who saw them go?—A post-chaise, you say? and she walked out to meet him? Heaven and earth!—it must have been long planned!—the heartless, worthless creature meditated it! And that ungrateful dissembler too! that smooth villain!—oh, Frank, I suspected this long ago, and told you I did!"

     "Yes, my dear uncle, yes!—and I shall blame—hate myself eternally, for rejecting your suspicions and counsel—indeed I shall—"

     "But this woman—where is she?—her information may give their route at least—"

     Frank rang the bell; Maggy soon appeared, and after describing, with needful additions, the manner of the elopement, delivered to Mr. Long the following false message from his niece. "Afther I spoke to her, Sir, an' bid her take heed what she was doin, an' she scoulded me for my pains, the young misthress tould me to bring you these words, Sir—'Go to my uncle, in the mornin', an', for your life, not afore the mornin',' says she, 'an' advise him, from me, to give himself no great throuble on my account, for, the thing I'm now doin' I long planned to do; an' my coorse is my own free choice, an' neither he nor any other can turn me from it; tell him I was tired of livin' the life I led, shut up from the world in that big house, an' it's time for me to follow a likin' o' my oun; as to the fortin he promised me, he may give it or keep it; I'm not afeard of seeking my own."'

     On account of some vulgar embellishments added by Maggy herself to this preconcerted message, Frank thrilled with fear during its delivery, lest it should prove too strong, too strangely unnatural, for his uncle's ear; but the good gentleman's feelings did not permit him to see nice distinctions; perhaps, too, he allowed something for the messenger's character and probable exaggeration; at all events, he did not suspect it to be a cheat; and it instantly caused him to alter his determination of pursuing his unhappy niece.

     When Maggy withdrew, he remained a long time silent, resting his face on his hands.

     "Human nature is the nature of a beast, Frank," he at last resumed; "there is no generosity in it; no heart or soul; and, what is worse, not even the gratitude of beasts for love and caresses conferred. As to delicacy or taste, sensitiveness or dignity of character, pshaw!—that is a dream. Here was such a creature as we do not see every day, and yet she only proves the more finished deception. Good Heaven! so young, too! so seemingly pure, simple, and innocent! and after all my cherishing. Frank, Frank! I am abused as much as I have been deceived."

     His nephew, while Mr. Long once more hid his face in his hands, spoke all the comfort that love, duty, and sympathy, could naturally be supposed to suggest. Mr. Long interrupted him

     . "I will deal very plainly with you, Frank. I hope you may continue every way worthy of my confidence and esteem; but, after this chance, and in recollection of your earlier life, I doubt, I fear, Frank—pray, let me speak on—If Letty can, all of a sudden, deceive and outrage me, you, who have been in the habit of deceit, may relapse at your leisure."

     "My dearest uncle! rash, headlong, and most guilty I have been, but pardon me if I remind you, not so much through plan as through impulse."

     "I do not know, Frank. It was after I received the first private notice of your culpable proceedings at Oxford, and after you promised me future amendment, that your fleecing of that young nobleman came to my ears, in a way too you could not have possibly suspected; upon the occurrence of that shameful act, which, but for my unwearied efforts, would have cost you expulsion; you had been, young as you were, an experienced gambler for three or four years, and you know people said there was some plan in setting upon the thoughtless boy in the way you did. About the same time, too, you contrived to get yourself cut on the turf, while your suspected acquaintance with the domestic inmates of certain places in and near St. James's-street exposed your friends to dreadful doubts of what might be your more hidden courses. Excuse me, Frank, for this retrospect; but the present event has startled me into candour; I believe you will see it make me an altered man; at all events, it pushes me upon a question: why have you lately showed no anxiety to resume your journey to Dublin, for the purpose of entering college?"

     "His arm had scarce been well," Frank said, "and he was just thinking to ask leave to run up —and, if his dear uncle pleased, he would start that very day."

     "No, Frank; there must now be an end of the scheme; as I have said, you are the only friend left to me in the world, and that brings me back to my point. I hope your reformation is complete, Frank: I will believe it is, but mark me: while we live, here or elsewhere, on terms of perfect good-will and confidence, your actions and the character of your whole life must give me the best proof; I expect to see no mystery, nothing equivocal, nothing to start the shadow of a doubt; and I fairly warn you, Frank, that I shall be more watchful, and, if necessary, more decisive than ever. I tell you again, I am changed—this morning has changed me, but let us never allude to her again; leave me, I wish to be alone some time. Stay, Frank; when you go out to the drawing- room, remove any thing you may find there that— you know what I mean; farewell.

     With a good affectation of repentant humility, Frank listened to his uncle, and now retired, bowing very lowly. When he had left his presence, "I am warned," he muttered, "and, being no fool, shall stand on my guard."

     It is unnecessary now to say that the letter his poor sister had addressed to his uncle, never reached Mr. Long.

     The news of John Nowlan's fall soon spread to his humble family. We shall not attempt to describe their agony. Peggy's letter to him may have indicated it. The public denunciation of the refractory sinner at the altar of his own chapel, remained hidden from the two old people: no one, not even the most babbling and unfeeling neighbour, would tell them of that. Peggy knew it, however, and it withered up her heart. Along with, perhaps, more immediate causes for solitary drooping and fretting, it made her life a waste and a burden. After her beloved and lost brother refused to answer her affectionate letter, and after his denouncement, she never raised her head. Her young and handsome features never wore a smile.

     Frank seemed to exert himself to the utmost to soothe the first storm of anguish felt by her and her father and mother: that was a passing consolation. But, in about a month from their marriage, he began to absent himself from the house; and his few meetings with Peggy showed neither the tender anxiety of a husband, nor even the fervor of a lover. The old couple noticed the change to her; she made no reply, and did not so much as weep in their presence. Time wore on; and Peggy presented to the eyes of her watchful mother promises of a natural event. Mrs. Nowlan, urged by the feelings of wounded pride and parental affection, spoke warmly to Frank upon the necessity of acknowledging his marriage. The young gentleman was very cool and deliberate, and requested, next day, a private interview with Peggy. They met in a lonesome place.

     "My dear Peggy," he began, "you do not wish to ruin your husband, and the father of your child."

     "God knows," she said, "how my heart answers the question;—I am careless, for my own part, how soon or how late you own me as your wife, Frank, if that is what you mean.

     "But your mother, Peggy,—she is obstinate and foolish; and if my uncle hears of our marriage, I tell you, once again, I am a ruined man. Will you go to Dublin, for a time, where one of my friends is anxious to attend to you?"

     "No, Frank; I cannot leave my mother's side during this trial; but I promise you to do my best with my mother to make her hold her peace; and let the good neighbours say just what they like of me; let them say, that the sister of the runaway priest—"

     "Come, come, Peggy; no whimpering; that, you know, is useless: and sit down here; you are weak; and taste this—" producing a phial. "As a husband, you know I must be alive to your situation, and its necessary comforts; so, here is a little draught I have got from the best physician in Limerick, to strengthen you, and do you good—taste it, dear Peggy."

     "What is it, Frank?" she asked, taking the bottle, and gravely looking on it.

     "I have told you; a nourishing draught for persons in your state:—and 'tis not so disagreeable neither—just try it."

     "My mother will know better than either of us, Frank, and I will first show it to her."

     "No, Peggy," snatching it, as she was about to put it up, "if you so unceremoniously reject my opinion, no other person shall decide betwixt us; and I must tell you, madam, this is more unceremonious, more insolent than I reckoned upon, from you to me." He rose up pale and trembling, his handsome eyes flashing, for the first rime, fiercely and ominously on Peggy.

     "What do you mean, Frank? what have I done?" not able to rise with him.

     "Since explanation is necessary, madam, I shall tell you. You call me a husband; you profess to hold towards me the duty of a wife; I put it to your affection and obedience to oblige and obey me in two distinct matters, and you refuse both; but by the light of Heaven!—by—"

     He stamped, and was becoming outrageous, when Peggy interrupted him,—" Give me the draught, again, Sir! give it, dear Frank! I am sorry for having vexed you—give it—I will drink it, at once; there can surely be no harm in so simple a matter." Wholly unsuspicious, although she had been prudent, Peggy reached out her hand. His eyes flashed with a different passion as he gave the bottle, and said—"That's my own good gentle Peggy, drink, and get strength."

     She raised the phial to her lips,—when, at a hop, step, and jump, tumble over a bank came Peery Conolly, and with one judicious tap of his cudgel shivered it in pieces, as he cried out —"The divil's-dam's cordial! not a taste of it do we want! hould your hand, a-chorra! it's the dance it 'ill gi' you! the dance, a-vourneen! the dance that 'l1 never let you alone, night or day, over-an-hether, in town or counthry!"—and continuing to speak after his deed was done, Peery capered about, with might and main, as if to hold up himself as an example of the visitation he conditionally prophesied.

     "Impudent rascal!" cried Frank, collaring him, "how durst you do that?"

     "It's not that, but this, a-roon," answered Peery, as, with great skill, he tripped up his heels. Frank started to his feet in a moment, and, while Peggy screamed aloud, again approached him as he exclaimed "Scoundrel! you shall be duly punished for your insolence! what is your name? who or what are you? Villain! you shall shake for it!"

    "My name it's Conolly the rake—"
And Perry got through his verse, still capering strangely, "an' that's my name, so it is; an' about the shakin', let us thry who's to shake first: whisper a bit—"

     He darted suddenly to Frank's ear, gave one inaudible whisper, and the result showed that Frank, indeed, was the person doomed first to shake, and shake fearfully too. He started back as if he had been shot; and while he trembled from head to foot, gazed horribly on poor Peery. His eyes glazed and set, his lips parted widely, and moved as if in slight convulsions. Presently a sudden change came over his face, his brow knitted, his glance lightened, his teeth clenched, and he slowly moved his arm to his breast, and thrust in his hand, as if searching for something. Peggy leaped up, frightened to death.

     "Frank!" she cried, "rouse yourself, what are you about to do? what do you search for?"

     "Off, woman!" flinging her aside, so rudely that she reeled and fell. "I search for that which I ought to be accurst for not finding, for that which, after his assault, would get me but a lawful revenge, in self-defence! Damnable traitor!" he continued, addressing Peery, "breathe that word again, and you are lost! Even as it is, tremble! you are an idiot, indeed, and none will believe you —but beware! Come to me, and come soon; fall upon your knees at my feet, and promise and swear, and humble yourself in the dust, or woe upon your miserable head! Beware! I say."

     He rushed out of sight, and Peery, remaining a moment ludicrously to mimic his frown and gesticulation, gave two or three transcendent capers, and with a "pilla-la-loo-oo-ah!" danced off in another direction.

     "The good God deliver me from that man!" cried Peggy, now left alone, as she sat weeping on the ground; "the good God that gave me into his power, deliver me from his hands! It was poison he wanted me to drink, I'm sure of it now! Oh, brother! brother! where are you this day to relieve me in the suffering your own madness brought on me! Oh, I haven't a friend in the world to stand up for me! what am I to do? what am I to do?"

     "You are to put your trust in the God you have invoked, ma-colleen, and you are to act a bold and an honest pan," said the voice of Friar Shanaghan, close by her.

     "Oh, Sir, Sir, pity and help me!" clinging to the old man's knees: "You do not know what has happened—what has just happened, in this very place, on this spot!"

     "But I do though, my child, I heard all the bad man said to you; and my own hand should have dashed the phial from your lips, had not that poor silly creature been before me.

     "He wanted to poison me and my child, Sir!" continued Peggy, sobbing wildly.

     "No, Peggy, you wrong him a little there; he only wanted to wither up, before its time, the infant you are bringing him; nothing else could he have intended—simply because he dared not; but that he certainly thought to do."

     "You tell me so, Sir?" she resumed, slowly rising with the friar's help, and apparently more shocked at this certainty, than at her first suspicion; "the inhuman man! could he mean that?"

     "I have my own reasons for thinking—perhaps for knowing what I say, child. You have heard I am an inquisitive ould fellow, though I don't always seem so, and that I ask questions and get answers when nobody minds me; and then you see I am mostly on the foot, here and there, or, to tell the blessed truth, it's the poor grey that's mostly on the foot, and I snug on her back; so, to make a long story short, I believe I heard say where and how he got the little bottle yesterday evening, and for what he wanted it."

     "Then, Sir," resumed Peggy, who had listened with profound attention, "my part is taken."

     "And what part is that, a-vourneen?"

     "To save myself and my infant from this man, Sir."

     "But how, child? how?"

     "By never seeing his face again, Mr. Shanaghan."

     "No," rejoined the old friar, frowning shrewdly, as he shook his head and looked down; "that won't do neither. Listen to me, ma-colleen. There's a little bird that comes to me with news, now and then, and is just after telling me another thing: your husband wants to say he's not your husband, and that your child is not to be an honest child."

     Peggy looked simple astonishment; she knew nothing of the statute book, and could not comprehend the meaning or practicability of this.

     "And moreover, my pet, he has been putting questions, I hear, as to whether he can get me sent to Botany Bay, or hanged, for marrying you and him."

     She looked still more confounded. The friar explained briefly and clearly. Peggy was quick at apprehending, and she at once understood the whole question.

     "So that you see, Peggy my child, it isn't by never seeing his face again, that you and your little burden are to be saved from shame and danger."

     "No, Sir, it is not, I believe that, now; nor can you, either, Sir, be saved in this way." Her agitation subsided, and she only looked very thoughtful.

     "Never mind me, Peggy; and I tould him just the same thing before; only look sharp on your own account, and you can yet do yourself a service, may be. Have you a strong heart, Peggy? have you courage?"

     "I am not a coward in the right, Sir; and I think God will give me great strength in this business."

     "Well; I don't fear you; and now wait till I tell you what I think you ought to do. You know, he depends entirely on his uncle. You know, too, his uncle is as good a man, as he is a bad one."

     "I do, Sir; and I see the way you want to point out; indeed, I was thinking of it."

     "That's my brave colleen; I expected no less, and you'll just put yourself at once under Mr. Long's protection, won't you? Just tell him the whole story, plump and straight, in your own little way'?"

     "I will tell him the whole truth, Sir, from beginning to ending, if you stand by me.

     "And may be I won't. Do you know what, Peggy? The poor grey is nibbling a bit, at the end of the bosheen: bundle yourself up, body and heart, together;—take my arm; I'll put you sitting on the crature's back, for I know you can ride sideways in a man s saddle: I saw you at it once, before you went to the nunnery; and you needn't have the laste fear. My' poor grey is as asy as a sedan-chair; but to make all sure, I'll lade you by the bridle, and in half an hour, or so, we'll be walking up Long-Hall avenue: what do you say? There's no time to be lost; a night must not go over you for nothing, and the dark is now coming on; so, here's an ould man's arm for you, if you can trust him."

     "In my God, Sir, in you, and in the right, I put my only trust," answered Peggy, as she accepted the proffered arm.