« السابقةمتابعة »
you never hear that human passions, boiled into rage in the hell-heat of shame, disgrace, desperation, defiance, may mount at the still hotter stimulant of good old hatred
“ Sir, Masther James !” interrupted the mystified Cassin.
“ Over the edge of the poor natural vessel that contains them !" continued James, still giving way, even in his gesticulation, to the fiendish excitement that was upon him bursting all natural limits, and sweeping on before them, like the volcano-stream, rooted affections-time-based bulwarks-everything! He hates his father ! Before this night's good luck he hated him—now shall he abhor, detest."
“ An' how can that be, sir ? Only hate his father more an' more, in return for his father lovin' him more an' more ?-in return for his father savin' his life, as you say is to happen, an' forgivin' him, an' makin' him grander an' happier than ever?"
Suppose, Mike, that Mr. William never guesses at these good intentions in his favour, until we can do without his knowledge of them ?”
“ How can he help knowin', sir ?"
" Trust that to me. And according to my plans, suppose, I say, that the madman, looking out through the cloud of his bloated passions, only sees a tyrannical father coming on to strike at his very life—to cut him off in the morning of his manhood—with scorn and infamy heaped upon his head with all the pledges of his honour out, and all unredeemed-from rank, and from fortune, and from power, which, by nature's course, should in a few years be his—and-mark me—which at present could, as he thinks, apply a salve to his scarred and festering vanities?”
“ Well, Masther James ?-go on, sir.”
“ In calmer hours of his life I have heard William Hutchinson calculate the chances in his favour, should his father happen to-die. And what may he not now think of? Now, amid all the maniac ravings of his mind, and the swellings of his heart—now, along with everything else to help us with the unallayed fumes of good wine in his brain-come, Mike, tell me what famous attempt ?”
“Myself is afeard as much as to guess what you durive at, sir."
“ But you can guess it, Mike !--you can see, near at hand to me, at last, my double, grinding revenge upon both father and son- - their cankered branch lopped away, which sucked all nourishment from the parent stem-and that out in blow, at last-all its leaves and flowers clustering on it!"
“ Is this what you mane, masther ? Is the ould father to- - ?” He stopped.
“See here, Cassin. I cannot, I will not depend upon Sir Miles's old friend Blake to secure the paricide that is to be, for the justice of his country; I must have people from Dublin ready to pounce upon him. And, again, I cannot myself appear to know anything of the matter beforehand, therefore must not go personally to Dublin on such an errand. But you are the man to act for me in this emergency. You know where to call in town for the help we want. You
Nov, 1838.--VOL. XXIII.-NO. xci,
know, too, better than I can tell you, how to tell an honest-looking story of the way that the knowledge of the son's intention has come
you, , Mike, and let your foot never cry stop till you are back again here with the officers. I need not repeat to • you, Mike Cassin, that, as soon as I am master of this house, you shall have a thousand pounds in bank”
Cassin raised his head, erected his figure, and smoothed down the hair over his forehead, with a smile of heart-comfort. “Come; as usual, you leave the house by this door, through the garden ;-here is the key of the garden door into the bosheen, and be sure to keep to the laurel-grove path, upon which no eye from the house can see you -off!”
James Hutchinson led Cassin through his dressing closet, and opened a small door in it, from the threshold of which long flight of narrow stone steps descended to the entrance of the laurel-grove path of which he had spoken, and master and patron lost sight of each other.
Mike Cassin lumbered along the path towards the little door at its end, which gave egress into the solitary bosheen. Suddenly he stood still, staring on the ground, as if arrested by an abrupt thought. In this position, almost unknown to himself, he raised his old cap from his head, made a holy sign upon his forehead, gave his broad breast a thump which echoed through the little solitude around him, and muttered hoarsely—“Cross o’ Christ be about us !"
In a minute more he was again in progress along the path. Quick footsteps sounded behind him. Greatly fearing detection in Sir Miles Hutchinson's garden, be darted amongst the laurels to one side.
Stop, Cassin-'tis I !" hissed James Hutchinson's voice, close to him. « Another word before you leave me.” James was sharply agitated when he came up. He paused a moment for breath, confronting Cassin, and then went on.
“ You remember that when I went to my bedroom door a while ago, to answer my uncle's knock, I left you quite alone in the study ?” Mike admitted the circumstance.
Very well. Between two books, on one of the book-shelves, I had, a few hours before, slipped in a certain little article, which I thought might lie quiet there till I could have destroyed it, in a more convenient place, so as not to leave a fragment of it visible on the face of the earth!”
“ Yes, sir. Well, sir?"
“ It is not between the books at present-it is not in the study at all at present; nobody but you could have taken it-you have taken it'tis on your person this moment; give it back to me.” “ By the 'mortiel Sayser, Masther James, I know no
more of what you're spakin' about than an auld blind cow does of a holiday.”
“ Tut, sir, give it me,” continued his benefactor, drawing in his thin though handsome lips till they quite disappeared, and at the same time frowning badly at the gamekeeper.
: “ Musha, gi' you what, sir? Is it raving or dhraming you'd be this mornin'? Gi’ you something that you
don't as much as tell me the name of?
• A sartin little article, you say ; an' I'm first to find out what that manes. And next, I'm to find out itself for you; an' two · books on a shelf;' an'--arrah bother, Masther James- let me go on my errand; salvation to my sowl if I took any article, little or big, sartin or unsartin, out of that steddy of yours—barin' its my own four bones, and the duds that's hangin' on 'em, and the taste of an ould cap that's on my
head.” “ See here, Mike. Give me back what I ask you for, or-” James drew out a pistol—“by the Eternal ! I will blow your brains out where you stand—search your dead body till I find what I want—and then tell Sir Miles, and every one else it may concern, that I killed you because I found you plundering the house."
Cassin stepped back, sufficiently frightened indeed, though not quite deprived of his self-possession, which circumstance told strongly against the charge preferred by James Hutchinson.
“ Blow my brains out, sir, and sarch the dead body o' me aftherwards ? Why then, Masther James, couldn't the world o' sense that God gave you put it into your head to think that it would be amost as well to sarch my livin' body aforehand, widout blowin' my brains out at all ?"
“ Well, sir-come then !” and the search was forthwith proceeded in. Mike assisted in it with the most unaffected alacrity ; and after having turned out his confidant's pockets, one and all, and examined between his different articles of attire, and even peered into the old velvet hunting-cap, and into the straw-stuffed brogues, James Hutchinson convinced himself, or at least very nearly so, that his suspicions of Mike's honesty were unfounded. Still he hesitated, however, and acting upon a new thought, bent close to the ground, and searched all round where Cassin was standing, but with no success,
" It must be in the study,” he then muttered. “Get along, Cassin, and do your message—I'm sorry I mistook in this matter—but 'tis one of life and death !—There, away with you to Dublin. Yes,” he continued, half speaking to himself, “I must only have mistaken the exact spot I put it in”—he ran stealthily back towards the house “it must be in the study after all !”—It was not, though.
“ The divvle resave its sowl, wheresoever it is !” soliloquised Mike, as he locked and unlocked after him the bosheen door; “ay, an’ whatever it is, this blessed mornin', that's the cause of having a pistol put close to my head, widout rhyme or rason ;-well, no matther what he manes—he's a dangerous man to every livin' christhan sowl, at any rate."
With a sense of relief, Mike turned briskly down the bosheen, to gain the high-road that led to Dublin. But he was not yet quit of interruptions on his path. After walking but a few steps, he saw, sitting in a crippled position, upon a large flat gray stone, under the shade of the bushes of the green lane opposite to him, something like a human figure. The morning light was still very imperfect, and there, in that leafy and darksome recess, the objèct, clad in a loose gray top-coat, the colour of the rock it rested on, could at a first
glance be but very indistinctly made out. Mike Cassin drew back and gazed in alarm of a vague, nervous kind. Indeed, the previous state of his thoughts and feelings had not left him able to resist at once the supernatural terrors that now crept over him. Was it a living thing at all? he asked himself. Two large gray glassy eyes fixed on his; nd the figure, arising slowly, as if with difficulty, finally pronounced itself to be that of an aged man, tall, gaunt, and feeble. The person took a stride towards Mike.
“Stay where you are, you unlucky ould thing !" stammered the gamekeeper, or huntsman, or whatever he was—"eh? what? musha? arrah, then ?" he continued, growing calmer, though still with great surprise as he looked closer—“ Yes ! divvle a one else it is ! My ould father, every inch of him.”
“ Yes, Mike-your ould father it is,” said the old man, in a weak shrill voice.
“ An' what brings you out of your bed at this hour of the raw mornin', father ? An' how war you able to get out o' your bed at all, where I left you a cripple for life, as I thought, when I was goin' down to look afther the hounds in the counthry ?”
“ And what are you doin' out o' your bed, too, Mike, in this lonesome bosheen, an' stalin, unknownst, out o' Sir Miles Hutchinson's garden in the first gray of the mornin'? An' why did you lave your place in the counthry, Mike, to come back to Howth again at all ? Don't answer me yet—I have more to say to you. I am able to answer my own questions for you. I know why you are in Howth again-an' I know who sent for you to come to Howth again—an' I know how long you are in Howth—an' I know who you're afther seein' in Sir Miles's grand castle widthin-an' I watched you yestherday evening, when you walked down towards the sey, in company wid that bad young man —
-an' I watched you to get a word wid you aftherwards, bud I was disappointed—and I knew you stole up this bosheen, an’ went into that garden a few hours ago—an' I came to watch you here again, to say something to you, Mike Cassin, an' that something is this this, Mike :-go back to your place in the counthry-or go to any place out of llowth-only don't stay here a minute longer, to curry favour wid your ould gentleman-crony, Misther James Hutchinson."
Why, father,” said Cassin, awed and checked more than he would allow even to himself, “ what sin or shame can there be in my keepin' friends wid the gentleman that was, an' is, the best friend to me that ever I had in the world ?"
“ The best friend to you, Mike?-och, ma-bouchal, the worst enemy, you mane—the enemy of your good name here on earth, an' of your pace hereafther ;—the man that larned you, Mike, to disobey an' desave your father, an' to give up all your young, good ways, that he might make you the manial sarvant, the common fetch-dog of his own wicked pleasures an' business, an' worse than that, I'm sore afeard- I know his sins. Mike, your mother left you to me when you were young, an' hard to rear; an' the father's hands alone brought you up, an' the father's lips alone taught you your first
prayers, an' your duties to God an' man. An' the same father an' the same lips
now bid you to hould no more coshuring wid tell me, Mike Cassin," continued the old man, striding quite close to him, and catching his arm-“sthrange whispers are flyin' about-stories that a body is afeard to hear tell of-one thing more frightful than another—bud answer me one question I'll put to you-Had you any hand in takin' away the life o' the poor little babby ?”
“ No, father, no !” answered Cassin, in sudden and hearty vehemence; may my sowl never see the glory of its Maker, if I know anything about that !”
His father looked at him with his weak eyes until they filled with tears; then, sliding his hand down the arm he held, until it met Mike's hand, and locked it close, he went on—" Thank God, avichoh, thank God a thousand times! an' you ought to fall down on your knees an' give the thanks, ma-bouchal ; an' you will, Mike--you will, afther you come home wid me to the ould cabin, an' sit down wid me at the ould hearth, an' look about you, you will— I know you will; an' you don't forget your God an' your father yet, Mike, for all that's come an' gone; an' you don't want me to die widout lavin' you my blessin' in hearty good-will;--an’so you'll do, ay, more than that, again, afther ;-you'll look into your own breast
, Mike, an' you'll think, an' you'll pondher; an’ if there's any way that you can take to make amends to the poor family in the big house beyant for what's done to them, or what's goin' to be done, you'll take that way, my son, in the name of the good God that looks down on us all, an' sees all our minds. An'as for the bad man's goold, Mike-your sawl's enemyyou'll throw it into the runnin' wather, if he has given it to you yet, sooner nor go through life wid its curse upon you; but, at any rate, avich, you'll come home at onst with the auld father, an' let him lane on your sthrong arum for help to the auld cabin door, where we can have our mornin's male together, for the first mornin' this long while, in pace and honesty, if not in plenty an' sin.”
"I will go home wid you, father,” answered Mike Cassin, drawing his hand over his eyes. And he kept his word; nor did he afterwards face towards Dublin as he had intended.
CHAPTER V. Sooner than he had named, Sir Miles Hutchinson summoned his nephew to the library.
James found his uncle sitting back in an arm-chair, as if exhausted with his endeavour to reduce into plan and action his fevered feelings and harassed thoughts.
“Sit down, James," he said; and, with a deep condoling sigh, James obeyed. “During part of the time since I saw you last, James, I have been trying to arrange a mode of conduct towards your unhappy cousin, and I think I have succeeded. The great, great fear for him --the mountain fear--no longer presses me down, thanks to our generous and merciful friend Blake. We shall not be exposed, and punished, and blighted to the very utmost—that is one mighty comfort. But my soul is still shaking with many fears and agonies; and, indeed, James, if I could—if it were fitting and manly—I would sit down and weep, and so have ease. My dear boy, look happier-it will console and help me."