Volume Two


10


SHE RECOVERED to a sense of rapid motion, and found herself in a post-chaise sitting beside a soldier, whose features, in the yet unbroken darkness of the winter's morning, were hidden from her. To her incoherent and timid questions her new companion spoke mildly, and in a voice that was very pleasing to her ear. She had nothing to apprehend, he said. A gentleman who followed the military party in the post-chaise, recognised her after she had swooned away; and as soon as the man disguised in female attire, to whom she directed their notice, had been secured, he prevailed on the sergeant of the little detachment to allow her an escort to Dublin, and get her forwarded to a hotel in Sackville-street, where he would soon join her.

     Peggy was as much astonished as pleased at this information. Who could her self-elected guardian be? What right had he, whoever he was, to give orders about her? and ought she to submit to those orders? would it seem proper for a young woman like her to go passively to the hotel of a gentleman of whom she knew nothing, and there await his return?

     She asked the civil soldier to tell her the name of this person. The man had never heard it. All he knew of him was that he had called at Richmond Barracks, which place lay on her present way to Dublin, very early that morning, accompanied by a police-officer and a country-looking man, for the purpose of summoning a sergeant's guard, to aid him in the apprehension of certain people who lived a little way on from the spot where they had found Peggy.

     "That's the ould house in the bosheen," she thought, "and nothing else it is."

     "But what like gentleman was it that came in the post-chaise?"

     The soldier could not even on this point give her any information. The sergeant only, of all the party, had spoken with the gentleman, and had an opportunity of closely observing him. For his own part, he did not know any thing about him. He would not venture to describe even his height or age.

     Still Peggy wondered, and, amid all her troubles and exhaustion, taxed herself to think. In a few moments she resolved, if possible, not to go to the hotel whither the gentleman had requested her to be conveyed, and, encouraged by the very soothing manner of her companion, said she had the most pressing business at another inn, the Old Brazen Head, and would thank him to bring her there. The soldier replied that he was not at liberty to conduct her, himself, to one place or the other; he could not see her even quite into town; in fact, his orders were to drop her at Richmond Barracks, and there engage some other person to walk forward with her, while he immediately returned in the post-chaise to the spot on which his services might be required. But he engaged to enforce on the person that might take her on into town, the necessity of attending to all her wishes.

     With this promise, they arrived before the entrance gate of Richmond Barracks. The attentive soldier got out; and "Here, sentinel," he said, addressing the man on guard, as he helped Peggy down, "Sergeant Goodge sends orders that you give this young woman in charge to the first man at hand; she is much terrified, a stranger in town, and quite alone; let her have a safe guide wherever it is her pleasure to go; to the Brazen Head, she says: and harkye," in a low tone, "she's a respectable person, and must be treated as such."

     "The orders shall be cared for," said the sentinel, a staid man of middle age, who seemed to regard the thing only as a part of his military duty.

     "Then, good-b'ye, young woman," continued her conductor: "I must be back again in the chaise as fast as the wheels can turn; and I say, my dear," in a mild, earnest tone, 'if your face is pretty, as I suppose it is, just keep it as well hidden, until you get to your quarters, from every other person you may meet, as you have from me; good-b'ye."

     As he was about to re-enter the chaise, a country-dressed man got down from the driver's seat: and the soldier asked, "Hallo, who are you?"

     "A boy from the bogs," he was answered, in a voice of mixed shrewdness and carelessness; "a boy from the bogs, just come on the masther's business to town; sure you seen me maybe wid him, on the road, when the colleen stopt us, Sir."

     "Oh, I half remember you; do you stay behind, now?"

     "If it's the same to you, I'd rather o' the two."

     "I have no concern in the matter; on, driver, as quick as you can;" and the chaise whirled off at a rapid rate, in the direction it had come.

     "What curosity ye all have in ye," muttered "the boy from the bogs," as it whisked away.

     "Ah, Tims," said the sentinel, addressing a man in a soldier's watch-coat, who that moment came, with a quick step, up to the gate—"is that you, lad? returned from furlough so soon?"

     "Yes; returned this moment."

     "As you go in, tell Corporal White that here's a young woman to go under escort to the Brazen Head Inn, by order of Sergeant Goodge."

     "As I shan't be wanted in Barracks till parade hour, why I'll take her in charge myself."

     "Well, do so; and be careful of her; none of your old tricks, mind; the orders are that she is a respectable young woman, d'ye hear, and to be treated accordingly:—this good fellow will see you to your quarters, young woman," he added, addressing Peggy, who had held back during the arrangement, carefully covering her head with a large shawl, to avoid the chill blast, as well as to escape observation; for we cannot say but that the hypothesis upon which her first conductor had given his parting advice might be partially admitted by Peggy, prim and humble as she was.

     "To the Brazen Head, my girl?" asked her new guide, offering his arm.

     "Yes, sir," she answered, timidly, and, at his request, still more timidly giving her arm: they moved on together.

     "It's a thing I often hard," soliloquized "the boy from the bogs," as he walked in their train, but sufficiently distant to be unseen in the darkness, which, notwithstanding that it fast approached to six o'clock, still fully prevailed—" It's a thing I often hard said, that them sodgers is all born divils; an' when there's purty cratures in the way, no such thing as puttin' thrust in 'em; so, we'll keep lookin' on, by the way we didn't see, though our eyes won't be shet a bit."

     Unwillingly, yet cautious of showing distrust, Peggy, without once lifting up her face, had taken her companion's arm. Although feeling a repugnance to so close an intimacy with a strange soldier, her conduct on this occasion was measured, too, by her country standard of behaviour, according to which she might innocently give her arm, at a late hour, on a lonesome road, to one of her father's workmen; no consciousness existing, on either side, of any thing beyond the real service required and afforded. She further judged, with her usual prudence, that the man was accountable for her safe conduct; for she had heard delivered the orders respecting her; and she knew enough of a soldier's duty to conclude that they must be strictly observed.

     But they had proceeded only a short distance on their way, when, in passing by a brilliant lamp, that shone vividly upon them, the soldier stopped short, and in a jocular tone said—" Let's see your face, my woman. At the same time he touched the shawl that Peggy kept folded over her little bonnet, close down to her chin; and she, not speaking a word, still held it tight, bent her head, and tried to avoid his scrutiny.

     "God save ye kindly," said their hitherto unseen observer, coming indistinctly into view, while he changed his voice, with much skill, and put on a foolish look.

     "Eh! what does he say?" asked the soldier.

     "Nothin' of any harm; only God save ye."

     "Well, and what do you want, Master Pat?"

     "Jack, i' you plase; Jack Lanigan, Sir, is the name o me.

     "But have you any business with us?"

     "It isn't a grate dale, Sir," dropping his jaw much lower, as with (to use his own word) "a moryah* humility" he took the front part of the leaf of his hat between his finger and thumb, in manner of salute, and so held it while he spoke; "may be, fur a good-will you'd have towards me, you'd tell us where one Molly Houlihan stops; she's wid a misthress Taffy; a snug woman 1 hear; an' Molly is all-in-all 'wid her."

     There really was such a woman as Molly Houlihan, a "gossip" to the speaker; but he chose to bring in her name here, only, in a certain strain, to support a character. Molly had once been his neighbour, the wife of a small farmer; his god-mother, too; had become "broke, horse an' foot,"— literally understood to mean "ruined, in every shape and way;" had gone to England with her son, to reap and bind; on their return, when the son got married, had settled in Dublin, and was now "a basket," a basketwoman, or a porter to a respectable stall-vender of fish, in Pill- lane, the Dublin Billingsgate.

     The soldier laughed at the man's request.

     "Avoch, you're welcome to your laugh; only if you war could an' hungry, an' a poor sthray man, goin' the road among the hills this mornin', an' axin me, Jack Lanigan, where's the place my gossip lives, Jack Lanigan 'ud make you laugh, to rise your heart, sooner nor put the laugh on you, any how."

     "As you seem to say you're hungry, there's a trifle for you;" throwing a penny in the direction where, without being more than half visible, his new acquaintance stood: "further, I do not well understand you."

     He went to pick up the largess, and the soldier again addressed Peggy, pleading to see her face. While searching about, the man continued to keep his eye upon them. Peggy still resisted her guide's importunity; the contest arose to something like a struggle; and her shawl and bonnet at last fell off, leaving her features fully exposed in the light of the lamp. Peggy could now only cast down her eyes; the soldier peered close; but, instead of seeming pleased with the view of the very comely face thus presented, he started back, as if he had seen a spectre.

     The countryman had picked up the shawl and bonnet; and now, as the soldier stept back, he stept closer with them to Peggy: affecting, all the while, with his head bent, and his hat pulled over his eyes, to rub the dirt from them. We may, without any breach of the confidence existing between this person and ourselves, tell the reader that all his manoeuvring of a closer advance, and a little delay, arose from a wish to look into the soldier's face without showing his own; and this curiosity again arose out of a suspicion, just come into his mind, that, notwithstanding the disguise of the high standing collar of his watch-coat, the individual might be a certain person with whom he was formerly acquainted. Acting in furtherance of his view, he accordingly kept rubbing and blowing at the shawl and bonnet, as Peggy stood uncovered, and stretched out her hand for them; and glancing stealthily, now and then, towards her guide as he said—" Have a little patience, a-lanna; I'll put the worth iv his penny upon them, in a cleanin'; we war never a boy, though we cum from the bogs themselves, that 'ud beg or take a thing widout givin' something for it;" and, as the soldier still drew back into the shade of the wall, he moved sideways after him.

     It was in consequence of this wilful delay, that Peggy yet stood uncovered and undisguised, under the strong glare of the lamp, as a night-coach rattled up, from the country, on its way to the post-office. A young woman was leaning from the window, either in vague hopes of recognising some friend at every moment, or impelled by curiosity to observe as much of the metropolis as could be seen by lamp-light. She screamed to the coachman to stop; and while the soldier, attracted by her scream, started at her appearance, in another moment Anty Nowlan was in her sister's arms.

     "Is our eye-sighth good?" queried "the boy from the bogs; wait—it s the other, sure enough. What the duoul—God forgive me!—brings 'em both here? For the matther o' that, what's the raison the one or the t'other 'ud be runnin' from their quiet home, where there's pace an' plenty of all sorts? Well, I'll have a purty job on my hands; lookin' afther one wasn't enough, but there must be a couple to keep out o' harm's way."

     They were yet clinging to each other when the guard cried out that the time was passing, and he must start. They did not hear him; he sounded his despotic horn. Anty, shaken by her journey, and now by her emotion, became ill. He questioned Peggy as to her sister's ability to get in: Peggy did not know what to do or say; but even if Anty was lifted into the coach, it struck her as a better resource than remaining under the protection of the soldier: she had, however, to put on her own bonnet and shawl, which her unknown squire yet held; and as, in her confusion and distress, she did not reply to the guard's last question, the door was clapped to; the man of capes and handkerchiefs began to climb up to his seat: she heard him cry "All right;" the impetuous vehicle rattled away; she screamed after it; was not heard or heeded; and she and her young sister were left together, in the dark winter's morning, upon the immediate thoroughfare into a great city, not knowing where to turn, but luckily ignorant, at the same time, of the full extent of the danger and impropriety of such a situation. And could she have witnessed the conversation that immediately ensued in the coach, Peggy would not have been cheered by hearing a good lady tell a fellow- traveller that, "all along, she had no good opinion of the young jade that just left them; that it was a mighty improper sort of thing to take up such runners-by-night, when a dacent person couldn't guess who was coming: and you see, honey," she added, in a tone of great good-nature and compassion, "the sort she must be of, when she darts out, in the dark, to make hail-fellow-well-met with a common sthreet-walker, fornent Richmond Barracks "—all the while that, as she spoke, the young lady to whom she addressed herself might, if it was lightsome enough, have discerned the arm of this charitable person closely circumscribing the waist of her next neighbour, a burly and gallant country merchant, going up to purchase goods. "Excuse my awkwardness, young woman," resumed the soldier, after the coach had driven off, advancing from the shade, more closely muffled than before, while Peggy drew back from him in resentment and apprehension: 'excuse my awkwardness; it was a soldier's little freedom, nothing more. I'm sorry for it, now; and promise, on the word of a soldier, I'll not repeat it, but conduct you and your sister to the place you seek, and which I know very well."

     "Thank you, Sir; but we'll try to find it without assistance: come, Anty," taking her hand. "You'll never be able to get on; be sure of that; and, at such an hour, the streets are particularly dangerous, and full of bad people."

     "Indeed, and I fear so," hesitated Peggy.

     "Besides, young woman, I must give an account of you to my superiors; I have you in charge, and can't part you till you are safe."

     "God, of his mercy, direct us for the best!" said Peggy; "for," she continued, turning to him, while tears ran down her cheeks, "we are quite strangers in Dublin; come up after our father, who is ill—dying, I believe— at the Brazen Head; so, Heaven be your reward, and bring us to him."

     "Never fear me," he answered, "you shall soon see your father;" and again he softly drew Peggy's arm within his, and would have done the same by Anty, but, although she entirely committed herself to Peggy's arrangement, the sensitive girl shrank, trembling, from him, and took her way and kept her place by her sister's side.

     "I'm a duoul's fool, to be sure," again soliloquized "the boy from the bogs," as he again cautiously followed in their wake: "they say so, in the counthry, any how; an' God help me, when the dance cums on me, I believe I'm as like a fool as any one I ever seen; but that makes no maxim. I'd lay a bet, fool as I am, the sodger doesn't mane what's right; and if I have a raison for spakin', at the present time, wid a voice that's not the same God ga' me, it's not so by him, barrin' he wasn't upon a bad schame; so here goes to keep him within the lenth o' th' poor stick, wid a little run to help it."

     A good distance from the Barracks, the soldier led the girls up a street to the right, and stopped with them before a mean-looking house, into which, as was evident to the persevering spy, the sisters were unwilling to enter. Yielding to the soldier's arguments, they at last did so, however.

     "Murther," continued their guardian without, "bud that's a place I don't much like, one way or other; I'll step in, an' see wid my own eyes:—stop"—and at his own word of command, he did stop in his advance. "That's like the noise iv a scrimmage within—mostha, nothin' else it is;" and he gave a yell and a jump sideways to the half-open door. The girls met him on the threshold, as they rushed out, screaming, and wild with terror. He returned their cry, in a compassionate key, but nothing subdued for its good feeling; they shrank from him too, and——

     "Have mercy on us, honest man!" appealed Peggy, while Anty clung to her—" take pity on the young crature—do not force her to go in—it's a wicked house, I'm sure of it—an' they wanted to take her from me!"

     "Then, may the duoul his own self, or else the duoul's mad bull, toss me on his horns, widin an inch o' the shky, if I do any sich thing, a-lanna!" answered the champion, flourishing his cudgel, as he grasped it at the proper point for battle.—We felt some disinclination to record his oath; it seemed to us (adopting a phrase that has not at all grown into cant) verging on "bad taste;" and we pondered, and sought for neater words to express the speaker's energy; but, with a due recollection of our trust as faithful delineators of character, our caution and our search were vain; so that we even wrote down the very terms he used, and we beg of the reader not to mistake us, or be shocked with us for our veracity.

     "If you are in arnest, save us then from this strange, deceitful man," continued Peggy, as the soldier re-appeared in the street—" save my little sister, at least: I fear most on her account, from what I heard and saw."

     "Come here, my darlins—jest stand for yoursefs at the back o' me: and now let us see him fornent us:—sarvent, misther sodger;" with great coolness erecting his person in somewhat of the same way any heroic champion of the fair sex might be supposed to do it, if conscious that he stood as a bulwark between one or more of them, and their deadly foe, man or dragon.

     "Why do you interrupt the young women, fellow?" demanded the soldier angrily; "get out of the way, they are nothing to you."

     "Arn't they? why then divil take the liars in his big paw; may be you'd say they're not sisther's childer o' my own, that I have as good a right to, to fight for, as if they war Lanigans all over?"

     "Come, Jack; none of your Irish gibberish; fall back, and let me speak to my cousins."

     "Not a one step, then, to plase you; an' we calls that plain English in Munster, my chap iv a sodger."

     "You won't, won't you?"

     "By the stick in my hand I won't; an' that's as good as if I tuck an oath on the head of id."

     "Then you must—that's all."

     He quickly approached, with intent to dislodge his opponent, who, as if in sport, made one or two agile movements round him, and the soldier came to the ground, heels uppermost, merely by the dexterity of the toe, without aid of bludgeon: and "Take care, now, or you'll be fallin'," said his antagonist, dancing back to his charge.

     "Scoundrel!" cried the soldier, losing all temper, as he sprang up and drew his bayonet; "I know you, now! and must I, a second time, meet such treatment at your hands?"

     "If it's a thing you don't like," answered the other, his face settling in determination, "say 'God be wid you, boy!' an' jest run while you have the use o' the two legs. Whoo, bother," as his armed foe still advanced, "here we are agin, then, like a May-boy."

     He resolutely darted forward, flourishing his cudgel about his head and before his person, with such dexterous rapidity as to make its circular motion resemble that of a chariot-wheel, in full speed. The bayonet flew some yards from the soldier's hand.

     "Down on your cursed marrow bones, now," pursued the victor, collaring him, "what you didn't do these thousand years—down on your hunkers, I say! or, by the soul o' man, I'll whip the head o' your showldhers as clane as ever I cut a hanful o' barly: kneel down, I bid you!" forcing him to his knees, "put up your two hands, and ax their pardon: spake!" drawing the hooked blade of a large country couteau, within a hair's breadth of his throat.

     "Well, I do ask their pardon."

     "An' God's pardon?" making another movement of the blade.

     "Yes;" grumbled the half-choked man.

     "An' mine?"

     "And yours."

     "Very well: get up, now;" giving him a shove that set him sprawling— "get up, now, an' go practice at your tar-gate."

     "Just let me have my bayonet;" walking towards it.

     "Call to-morrow, a-vich," snatching it up:—"make off wid yoursef—go to the duoul, where you're thravellin' day an' night—run out of the one road wid me—cut your stick—manin' to say, take yoursef out o' my sighth!" During these separate exhortations, the conqueror, holding the bayonet in his left hand, and incessantly flourishing the good cudgel with his right, gradually worked himself into a mad caper round and round the soldier; and—"whoo;" he continued, intently watching the wonders of his own feet—"whoo! you say you have a knowledge o' me—an' so you have—(duoul thank you)—to your cost—whoo! here's the boy that's not ashamed o' what they christened him—" and thereupon he yielded his usual stave, only varying one word, by way of present compliment—

    "My name it's Conolly the rake,
    . . I don't care a sthraw for any man;
    I dhrinks good whishkey an' ale,
    . . An' I'd bate out the brains of a sodger-man—
                                            Whoo!"

     The battle between Peery and his antagonist had continued but a very short period, during which the sisters looked on in trembling anxiety, fearful to risk further peril, by a flight they knew not whither; now, their recognition of Peery, as he threw off his feigned voice and character, and most convincingly proclaimed his own name, gave them, in the first instance, great relief; and with a "Thank God!" they pressed each other's hands, and awaited his leisure to return to them.

     "Scoundrel, I'll reckon with you for all this," muttered the soldier, about to withdraw.

     "Aha!" cried Peery, suddenly stopping his buffoonery, and changing into a wild yet stern vigour, as he again darted at the man's throat—" an' I a'most forgot to make my eye-sighth sure o' you—show us your face, a-bouchal—' in a voice sufficiently low to be lost to the sisters—" yes—it's your ownsef—but I won't be the man to hould you here:—we know where you're to be had for the axin'. I'll jest lave you to them that gets their bread by ketchin' rogues o' your sort—only be off, I say, out o' sighth an' hearin' of her that one look from you 'ud kill an' murther!—there—go your ways—" And the soldier ran down a lane, and disappeared.

     "An' come now, my poor sowls o' girls; come wid me; an' let us go the wide world, wherever we like, our ownsefs."

     "Are you hurt, Peery, my poor boy?" asked Peggy, kindly.

     "Sorrow as much as a scratch, Miss Peggy, an', for a rason I know, that you won't tell any body that 'ud be axin you—maybe it's not the first time we made a foot o' the bagnet. Wait a bit, an' let us put it up; there, now;" slinging it with a piece of cord at his back, in the way his compatriots sling their sickles, or, as they call them, "rapiin'-hooks," when they issue forth, over land and sea, in quest of harvest, work—"that's snug; an' when a handy smith bates it out a little, an' makes it crooked, an' puts teeth into its head, it 'ill save the price iv a hook for the next sason, I'm thinkin';—so, come: sure I know where you want to go, my pets."

     "Then you know the way to the Brazen Head?" asked Peggy.

     "Know the way? to be sure I——stop; now that I think of it, bad manners to me if I do. But sure I know what you want there; poor Daniel, the father, is sick, an' ye can't make him off; so here's to set out on the road, any how: though, what way," in a low tone to himself, "Peery Conolly no more knows, nor if he war a gorçoon o' two months ould."

     While he thus half soliloquized, (a habit to which he was much addicted, and which gave one of the reasons why he was regarded, "in his own part o' the counthry," as "not right in his mind," it being a prevalent opinion that all deranged persons talked as much to themselves as to others)—while thus employed, he was, in turn, closely observed by an individual, who, if dress and personal conformation did not deceive, might have been half masculine, half feminine. She, however, laid claim to the honour of being one of the softer sex. She was broad built as a Dublin coal-heaver: she wore a man's coat, buttoned close to the chin, a man's hat, pressed flat in the crown, and forced over a mob-cap, for she would assert female attire; and from the knees downward, a clumsily gathered linsey-woolsey petticoat more decidedly intimated her pretensions. Under the hat and cap appeared a red, weather-beaten, rough-featured face. A flat, shallow basket was tucked under her arm; and about an inch of a black pipe was held between her teeth.

     "Whisht," said this questionable person to herself, as she came to a dead stop; "isn't that Peery Conolly from Tipperary? My sowl to glory but it's very like him in the back."

     "Then you do not know the way, Peery?" resumed Peggy, in evident distress, and perhaps giving some scope to a dread even of her defender, as old recollections came to her mind, and she found herself completely in his power.

     "I jist know as much about it, as if we dhropped from the clouds, out, this moment: but if we could come on the road to Molly Houlihan, that stops wid a Misthress Taffy, a snug woman, in Pill Lane, she'd bring us to it, no doubt."

     "It's his ownsef," resumed the person alluded to, now much nearer to him than he thought of; "an' he's talkin' o' me, the poor boy."

     "But never mind id, Miss Peggy an' Miss Anty, a-lanna; the mornin' 'ill soon be shinin' out, as well as it can, in this place, an' for the time o' the year that's in id; an' sure we have tongues in our heads: don't be a bit afeard; there's neither hurt nor harum, shame nor shkandle, 'ill come next or near ye, while Peery's four bones hould together."

     "Wait now," continued Molly, "until I take a shtart out iv him."

     She hastily put up her black pipe-stump; wiped her mouth with the sleeve of her man's coat; caught her flat basket with both hands; raised it aloft; and having stept softly after Peery, as he turned his back and talked on, complimented his shoulders with such a crash of the wickerwork as made him shout aloud—thus greeting him, during her salute—"Musha, bad end to you, for one Peery Conolly; an' is id there you are, this mornin'?"

     "Where's the sprong?" cried Peery, unslinging the bayonet, and wheeling round; but looking closer, he soon changed his manner; and contenting himself with an open-handed, long drawn "dowce," across the side of her head, affectionately piped out—"Arragh, Molly, how's every inch o' you?"

     "Brave an' hearty, gossip;—an' so, here I find you?"

     "My mother's son;" and the minor love-salutes took place.

     "Who's them by the side o' you, Peery?" glancing suspiciously, with the air of a woman of untainted virtue, at the two girls, who shrank back from her in some terror.

     "Whisht, it's a shame for you, Molly, so it is; I'll tell you who they are; an' you're jist in time to lend a helpin' hand."

     "Why, what concarn would I have wid sich as them, why?"

     "Bother, Molly, I'll show you the ups an' downs iv id."

     Every thing now created suspicion in the breasts of the two poor girls. It appeared to Anty that some further mischief was intended, she became again ill, and sank suddenly in Peggy's arms.

     "Is that id?" resumed Molly, interrupting and breaking away from Peery's story, and galloping to them; "musha, musha, my poor childher— och, murther, here's one o' them, all as one as stone- dead!"

     "Molly, a sthore," whined Peery, "jist put an arum round her, I'm shy to do id."

     "Oh, if you have Christian hearts, help us!" cried Peggy, "we are strangers here, without money or friends; our father is dying or dead, in Dublin, we don't know where, and we can't find him; give my little sister a help, and God will reward you."

     "I'll tell you what, a-vourneen," answered Molly, "I lives hard by in a dacent cellar; jist come home wid us, you an' your darlin' little sisther, stop till the broad day wid poor Molly Houlihan, an' if she war to pop the last o' the duds on her back" (no great promise, however) "ye must have the good bed an' somethin' to rise your hearts, an' all wid the cead mille phaltea, as we used to say among the poor hills—"

     "Yes, a-graw," urged Peery, "an' sorrow's the sowl but Molly 'ill come fornent you—"

     "Yes, an' whin the christhens are all up an' kiekin', an' when the little girl is as well as ever, sure we'll make off the ould daddy for you, dead or alive, if he's to be had in Dublin town; come, a-chorra-ma-chree;" seizing Anty.

     "Well," said Peggy, still hesitating, "I'll take your kind offer, but, for the love of God, do not deceive us! If you are not a proper woman, if you do not mean us well—listen to me: there's no wish in my heart to vex you, I'm sorry if I have; but 'tis all the terror! We have already suffered so much and by such people! Good, blessed woman, take pity on us! do not bring us to harm! on my two bare knees I pray to you—let us lie down here in the streets, any where, any thing, sooner than that—for we are honest people's children, and we abhor a sin."

     "The short an' the long is, a-vournren, I see somebody very like the sodger cumin' back, wid his faction to help him, so make the best o' your way at once wid Molly," said Peery, as, looking down the street, he fastened the bayonet on the stick.

     Peggy started up from her knees and called to Molly to come away: "I trust you, I do indeed," she added, "I put Anty into your hands; come, I'll help you to bear her off."

     "Come then, my darlins; decaive you?"

     "Whisht, Molly, that's all bother, you know," remonstrated Peery; "if there's a human crature can look on them, an' mane them wrong at the same time, my curse, an' the curse o' Saint Pathrick, an' their own mother's curse on their heads, that's all. Run, my darlins, they see us!"

     "Quick, quick!" cried Peggy; but she stopped an instant to say— "Woman! God so do to you and yours, as you do to us!"

     "Wid all my heart!" answered Molly, and between them they hurried away with Anty, leaving Peery to brave the rallied anger of the person he had treated so unceremoniously a few minutes before, and who now came back, indeed, as he suspected, attended by a group of ruffianly fellows in ordinary costume.

    





 









* Pretended humility.