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Full text of "The return of the O'Mahony : a novel"

The Rettifh of the OMahony 



'i^;;-f''^K^;-i: 



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M a rdWI Frederic 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2010 with funding from 

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 



http://www.archive.org/details/returnofomahonynOOfred 



THE 

RETURN OF THE O'MAHONY. 




By Permission of the Critu 

HAROLD FREDERIC 



KOSEBUD, SO. DAK. 
THE 



RETURN OF THE O'MAHONY 



31 Noocl. 



BV 

HAROLD FREDERIC, 

Author of ''The Lawton Girl^' "■ iieth's Brother's Wife," etc. 
WitM illvstsations by warren B. SAVie. 



NEW YORK: 
G. W. Dillingham Co., Publishtrs. 

MDCCCXCIX. 



COPTHIOHT, 1892, 
BT HUBERT BONNKB'S SONS. 



(A.II ri0ht8 reserved.) 



The Return of The O'Mahony. 



CHAPTER I. 



THE FATHER OF COMPANY F. 

EKE TISDALE was the father 
of Company F. Not that this 
title had ever been formally con- 
ferred upon him, or even recog- 
nized in terms, but everybody 
understood about it. Some- 
times Company F was for whole 
days together exceedingly proud 
of the relation — but alas ! more 
often it viewed its parent with 
impatient levity, not to say contempt. In either 
case, it seemed all the same to Zeke. 

He was by no means the oldest man in the com- 
pany, at least as appearances went. Some there 
were gathered about the camp-fire, this last night 
in March of '65, who looked almost old enough to 

[7] 




8 The Return of The G Mahony. 

be his father — gray, gaunt, stiff-jointed old fighters, 
whose hard service stretched back across four years 
of warfare to Lincohi's first call for troops, and who 
laughed now grimly over the joke that they had 
come out to suppress the Rebellion within ninety 
days, and had the job still unfinished on their hands 
at the end of fourteen hundred. 

But Zeke, though his mud-colored hair and beard 
bore scarcely a trace of gray, and neither his placid, 
unwrinkled face nor his lithe, elastic form sug- 
gested age, somehow produced an impression of 
seniority upon all his comrades, young and old 
alike. He had been in the company from the 
beginning, for one thing ; but that was not all. It 
was certain that he had been out in Utah at the 
time of Albert Sidney Johnston's expedition — per- 
haps had fought under him. It seemed pretty well 
established that before this Mormon episode he had 
been with Walker in Nicaragua. Over the mellow- 
ing canteen he had given stray hints of even other 
campaigns which his skill had illumined and his 
valor adorned. Nobody ever felt quite sure how 
much of this was true — for Zeke had a child's disre- 
gard for any mere veracity which might mar the 
immediate effects of his narratives — but enough 
passed undoubted to make him the veteran of the 
company. And that was not all. 

For cold-blooded intrepidity in battle, for calm, 
clear-headed rashness on the skirmish-line, Zeke had 
a fame extending beyond even his regiment and the 
division to which it belonged. Men in regiments 
from, distant States, who met with no closer bond 
than that they all wore the badge of the same army- 



The Father of Company F, 



corps, talked on occasion of the fellow in the — ;h 
New York, who had done this, that or the other 
dare-devil feat, and yet never got his shoulder-straps. 
It was when Company F men heard this talk that 
they were most proud of Zeke — proud sometimes 
even to the point of keeping silence about his failure 
to win promotion. 

But among themselves there was no secret about 
this failure. Once the experiment had been made 
of lifting Zeke to the grade of corporal — and the 
less said about its outcome the better. Still, the 
truth may as well be told. Brave as any lion, or 
whatever beast should best typify absolute fearless- 
ness in the teeth of deadly peril, Zeke in times of 
even temporary peace left a deal to be desired. 
His personal habits, or better, perhaps, the absence 
of them, made even the roughest of his fellows 
unwilling to be his tent-mate. As they saw him 
lounging about the idle camp, he was shiftless, 
insubordinate, taciturn and unsociable when sobei", 
wearisomely garrulous when drunk — the last man 
out of four-score whom the com.pany liked to think 
of as its father. 

And Company F had had nothing to do, now, for 
a good while. Through the winter it had lain in 
its place on the great, steel-clad intrenched line 
which waited, jaws open, for the fall of Petersburg. 
The ready-made railroad from City Point was at its 
back, and food was plenty. But now, as spring came 
on — the wet, warm Virginian spring, with every 
meadow a swamp, every road a morass, every piece 
of bright-green woodland an impassable tangle — the 
Strategy of the closing act in the dread drama sent 



lo TJie Return of The O'Mahony. 

Company F away to the South and West, into the 
desolate backwoods country where no roads existed, 
and no foraging, be it never so vigilant, promised 
food. The movement really reflected Grant's fear 
lest, before the final blow was struck, Lee should 
retreat into the interior. But Company F did not 
know what it meant, and disliked it accordingly, 
and, by the end of the third day in its quarters, was 
both hungry and quarrelsome. 

Evening fell upon a gloomy, rain-soaked day, 
which the men had miserably spent in efforts to 
avoid getting drenched to the skin, and in devices 
to preserve dry spots upon which to sleep at night. 
Permission to build a fire, which had been withheld 
ever since their arrival, had only come from division 
headquarters an hour ago; and as they warmed 
themselves now over the blaze, biting the savorless 
hard-tack, and sipping the greasy fluid of beans and 
chicory from their tin cups, they still looked sulkily 
upon the line of lights which began to dot the ridge 
on which they lay, and noted the fact that their 
division had grown into an army corps, almost as if 
it had been a grievance. Distant firing had been 
heard all day, but it seemed a part of their evil luck 
that it should be distant. 

They stared, too, with a sullen indifference at the 
spectacle of a sergeant who entered their camp 
escorting a half-dozen recruits, and, with stiff saluta- 
tion, turned them over to the captain at the door of 
his tent. The men of Company F might have 
studied these bounty-men, as they stood in file wait- 
ing for the company's clerk to fill out his receipt, 
with more interest, had it been realized that they 



The Father of Company F. ii 

were probably the very last men to be enrolled by 
the Republic for the Civil War. But nobody knew 
that, and the arrival of recruits was an old story in 
the — th New York, which had been thrust into 
every available hellpit, it seemed to the men, since 
that first cruel corner at Bull Run. So they 
scowled at the newcomers in their fresh, clean 
uniforms, as these straggled doubtfully toward the 
fire, and gave them no welcome whatever. 

Hours passed under the black sky, into which the 
hissing, spluttering fire of green wood was too des- 
pondent to hurl a single spark. The men stood or 
squatted about the smoke-ringed pile on rails and 
fence-boards which they had laid to save them from 
the soft mud — in silence broken only by fitful 
words. From time to time the monotonous call of 
the sentries out in the darkness came to them like 
the hooting of an owl. Sharp shadows on the can- 
vas walls of the captain's tent and the sound of voices 
from within told them that the officers were play- 
ing poker. Once or twice some moody suggestion 
of a "game " fell upon the smoky air outside, but 
died away unanswered. It was too wet and muddy 
and generally depressing. The low west wind 
which had risen since nightfall carried the threat of 
more rain. 

" Grant ain't no good, nor any other dry-land 
general, in this dripping old swamp of a countr)-," 
growled a grizzled corporal, whose mud-laden heels 
had slipped off his rail. "The man we want here is 
Noah. This is his job, and nc'bod}' else's." 

" There'd be one comfort in that, anyway,'' said 



12 The Rehivn of The O'Ma/wny. 

another, well read in the Bible. " When the rain 
was all over, he set up drinks." 

" Don't you make any mistake," put in a third. 
" He shut himself up in his tent, and played his 
booze solitaire. He didn't even ask in the officers 
of the ark and propose a game." 

" 1 — 1 've got a small flask with me," one of the 
recruits diffidently began. "I was able to get it 
to-day at Dinwiddie Court House. Paid more for 
it 1 suppose, than — " 

In the friendly excitement created by the recruit's 
announcement, and his production of a flat, brown 
bottle, further explanation was lost. Nobody cared 
how much he had paid. Two dozen of his neigh- 
bors took a lively interest in what he had bought. 
The flask made its tour of only a segment of the 
circle, amid a chorus of admonitions to drink fair, 
and came back flatter than ever and wholly empty. 
But its ameliorating effect became visible at once. 
One of the recruits was emboldened to tell a story 
he had heard at City Point, and the veterans con- 
sented to laugh at it. Conversation sprang up as 
the fire began to crackle under a shift of wind, and 
the newcomers disclosed that they all had clean 
blankets, and that several had an excess of chewing 
tobacco. At this last, all reserve was cleared away. 
Veterans and recruits spat into the fire now from a 
common ground of liking, and there was even some 
rivalry to secure such thoughtful strangers as tent- 
mates. 

Only one of the newcomers stood alone in the 
muddiest spot of the circle, before a part of the fire 
which would not burn. He seemed to have no 



The Fathei'- of Company F. 13 

share in the confidences of his fellow-recruits. None 
of their stories or reminiscences referred to him, 
and neither they nor any veteran had offered him a 
word during the evening. 

He was obviously an Irishman, and it was equally 
apparent that he had just landed. There was an inde- 
finable something in the way he stood, in his manner 
of looking at people, in the very awkwardness Avith 
which his ill-fitting uniform hung upon him, which 
spoke loudly of recent importation. This in itself 
would have gone some way toward prejudicing 
Company F against him, for Castle Garden recruits 
were rarely popular, even in the newest regiments. 
But there was a much stronger reason for the cold 
shoulder turned upon him. 

This young man who stood alone in the mud — he 
could hardly have got half through the twenties — 
had a repellent, low-browed face, covered with 
freckles and an irregular stubble of reddish beard, 
and a furtive squint in his pale, greenish-blue eyes. 
The whites of these eyes showed bloodshot, even in 
the false light of the fire, and the swollen lines 
about them spoke plainly of a prolonged carouse. 
They were not Puritans, these men of Company F, 
but with one accord they left Andrew Linsky — the 
name the roster gave him — to himself. 

Time came, after the change of guard, when those 
who were entitled to sleep must think of bed. The 
orderly-sergeant strolled up to the fire, and dropped 
a saturnine hint to the effect that it would be best 
to sleep with one eye open ; signs pointed to a bat- 
tie next day, and the long roll might come before 
pibrtiihg: broke. Their brigade was on the right q[ 



14 The Return of TJie O' Makony. 

a line into which two corps had been dumped dur- 
ing the day, and apparently this portended the hot- 
test kind of a fight ; moreover, it was said Sheridan 
was on the other side of the ridge. Everybody 
knew what that meant. 

" We ought to be used to hot corners by this 
time," said the grizzled corporal, in comment, " but 
it's the deuce to go into 'em on empty stomachs. 
We've been on half-rations two days." 

" There'll be the more to go round among them 
that's left," said the sergeant, grimly, and turned on 
his heel. 

The Irishman, pulling his feet with difficulty out 
of the ooze into which they had settled, suddenly 
left his place and walked over to the corporal, lift- 
ing his hand in a sidelong, clumsy salute. 

" Wud ye moind tellin me, sur, where I'm to 
sleep?" he asked, saluting again. 

The corporal looked at his questioner, spat medi- 
tatively into the embers, then looked again, and 
answered, briefly : 

"On the ground." 

Linsky cast a glance of pained bewilderment, first 
down at the mud into which he was again sinking, 
then across the fire into the black, wind-swept 
night. 

" God forgive me for a fool," he groaned aloud, 
" to lave a counthry where even the pigs have straw 
to drame on." ' 

" Where did you expect to sleep — in a balloon?" 
asked the corporal, with curt sarcasm. Then the 
look of utter hopelessness on the other's ugly face 
prompted him to add, in a softer tone : " You 



The FatJie7'- of Co7npany F. 15 

must hunt up a tent-mate for yourself — make friends 
with some fellow who'll take you in." 

" Sorra a wan'll be friends wid me," said the 
despondent recruit. " I'm waitin' yet, the furst 
dacent wurrud from anny of 'em." 

The corporal's face showed that he did not 
specially blame them for their exclusivness, but his 
words were kindly enough. 

" Perhaps I can fix you out," he said, and sent a 
comprehensive glance round the group which still 
huddled over the waning fire, on the other side. 

" Hughie, here's a countryman of yours," he 
called out to a lean, tall, gray-bearded private who, 
seated on a rail, had taken off his wet boots and was 
scraping the mud from them with a bayonet; "can 
you take him in ?" 

" 1 have some one already," the other growled, 
not even troubling to lift his eyes from his task. 

It happened that this was a lie, and that the 
corporal knew it to be one. He hesitated for a 
moment, dallying with the impulse to speak sharply. 
Then, reflecting that Hugh O'Mahony was a quarrel- 
some and unsociable creature with whom a dispute 
was always a vexation to the spirit, he decided to 
say nothing. 

How curiously inscrutable a thing is chance ! 
Upon that one decision turned every human inter- 
est in this tale, and most of all, the destiny of the 
sulky man who sat scraping his boots. The Wheel of 
Fortune, in this little moment of silence, held him 
poised within the hair's breadth of a discovery which 
would have altered his career in an amazing way, 
and changed the story of a dozen lives. But the 



1 6 The Rettim of The 0"Maho7iy. 



corporal bit his lip and said nothing. O'Mahony 
bent doggedly over his work — and the wheel rolled 
on. 

The corporal's eye, roaming about the circle, fell 
upon the figure of a man who had just approached 
the fire and stood in the full glare of the red light, 
thrusting one foot close to the blaze, while he bal- 
anced himself on the other. His ragged hair and 
unkempt beard were of the color of the miry clay 
at his feet. His shoulders, rounded at best, were 
unnaturally drawn forward by the exertion of keep- 
ing his hands in his pockets, the while he maintained 
his balance. His face, of which snub nose and grey 
eyes alone were visible in the frame of straggling 
hair and under the shadow of the battered forage- 
cap visor, wore a pleased, almost merry, look in the 
flickering, ruddy light. He was humming a dro- 
ning sort of tune to himself as he watched the 
steam rise from the wet leather. 

" Zeke's happy to-night ; that means fight to- 
morrow, sure as God made little fishes," said the 
corporal to nobody in particular. Then he lifted 
his voice : 

" Have 3^ou got a place in your diggin's for a 
recruit, Zeke — say just for to-night ?" he asked. 

Zeke looked up, and sauntered forward to where 
they stood, hands still in pockets. 

"Well — I don't know," he drawled. "Guess 
so — if he don't snore too bad." 

He glanced Linsky over with indolent gravity. 
It was plain that he didn't think much of him. 

•'Got a blanket?" he asked, abruptly, 

" 1 have that," the Irishman replied. 



The Father of Company F. i 7 

" Anything to drink ?" 

Linsky produced from his jacket pocket a flat, 
brown bottle, twin brother to that which had been 
passed about the camp-fire circle earlier in the even- 
ing, and held it up to the light. 

" They called it whiskey," he said, in apology ; 
" an* be the price I paid fur it, it moight a' been 
doimonds dissolved in angel's tears ; but the furst 
«up I tuk of it, faith, I thought it 'ud tear th' t'roat 
from me I" 

Zeke had already linked Linsky 's arm within his 
own, and he reached forth now and took the bottle. 

" It's p'zen to a man that ain't used to it," he 
said, with a grave wink to the corporal. " Come 
along with me, Irish ; mebbe if you watch me close 
you can pick up points about gittin' the stuff down 
without injurin' your throat." 

And, with another wink, Zeke led his new-found 
friend awav from the fire, picking his steps through 
the soft mud, past dozens of little tents propped up 
with rails and boughs, walking unconsciously to- 
ward a strange, new, dazzling future. 



CHAPTER II. 

THE VIDETTE POST. 

Zeke's tent — a low and lop-sided patchwork of 
old blankets, strips of wagon-covering and stray 
pieces of cast-off clothing — was pitched on the high 
ground nearest to the regimental sentry line. At 
its back one could discern, by the dim light of the 
camp-fires, the lowering shadows of a forest. To 
the west a broad open slope descended gradually, 
its perspective marked to the vision this night by 
red points of light, diminishing in size as they 
receded toward the opposite hill's dead wall of 
blackness. Upon the crown of this wall, nearly 
two miles distant, Zeke's sharp eyes now discovered 
still other lights which had not been visible before. 

'* Caught sight of any Rebs yet since you been 
here, Irish ?" he asked, as the two stood halted 
before his tent. 

" I saw some prisoners at what they call City 
Point, th' day before yesterday — the most starved 
and miserable divils ever I laid eyes on. That's 
what I thought thin, but. 1 knowbetther now. Sure 
they were princes compared wid me this noight." 

*' Well, it's dollars to doughnuts them are their 
lights over yonder on the ridge," said Zeke. 
[i8] 



The ]ldctlc Post. 19 

" You'll see enough of 'em to-morrow to last a life- 
time." 

Linksy looked with interest upon the row of dim 
sparks which now crowned the whole long crest. 
He had brought his blanket, knapsack and rifle 
from the stacks outside company headquarters, and 
stood holding them as he gazed. 

" Faith," he said at last, " if they're no more 
desirous of seeing me than I am thim, there's been 
a dale of throuble wasted in coming so far for both 
of us." 

Zeke, for answer, chuckled audibly, and the sound 
of this was succeeded by a low, soft gurgling noise, 
as he lifted the flask to his mouth and threw back 
his head. Then, after a satisfied '' A-h !" he said : 

" Well, we'd better be turning in now," and kicked 
aside the door-flap of his tent. 

" And is it here we're to sleep ?" asked Linsky, 
making out with difficulty the outlines of the little 
hut-like tent, 

" I guess there won't be much sleep about it, but 
this is our shebang. Wait a minute." He disap- 
peared momentarily within the tent, entering it on 
all-fours, and emerged with an armful of sticks and 
paper. *' Now you can dump your things inside 
there. I'll have a iire out here in the jerk of a 
lamb's tail." 

The Irishman crawled in in turn, and presently, 
by the light of the blaze his companion had started 
outside, was able to spread out his blanket in some 
sort, and even to roll himself up in it, without tumbling 
the whole edifice down. There was a scant scatter- 
ing of straw upon which to lie, but underneath this 



20 TJie Return of The O'AIahony. 

he could feel the chill of the damp earth. He man- 
aged to drag his knapsack under his head to serve 
as a pillow, and then, shivering, resigned himself to 
fate. 

The fire at his feet burned so briskly that soon he 
began to be pleasantly conscious of its warmth 
stealing through the soles of his thick, wet soles. 

" I'm thinkin' I'll take off me boots," he called out. 
" Me feet are just perished wid the cold." 

" No. You couldn't get 'em on again, p'r'aps, 
when we're called, and I don't want any such foolish- 
'ness as that. When we get out, it'll have to be at the 
drop of the hat — double quick. How many rounds of 
cartridges you got ?" 

" This bag of mine they gave me is that filled wid 
'em the weight of it would tip an outside car." 

" Can you shoot?" 

" I don't know if 1 can. I haven't tried that same 
yet." 

A long silence ensued, Zeke squatting on a cracker- 
box beside the fire, f^ask in hand, Linsky concentra- 
ting his attention upon the warmth at the soles of 
his feet, and drowsily mixing up the Galtee Moun- 
tains with the fire-crowned hills of a strange, new 
world, upon one of which he lay. Then all at once 
he was conscious that Zeke had crept into the tent, 
and was lying curled close beside him, and that the 
fire outside had sunk to a mass of sparkless embers. 
He half rose from his recumbent posture before 
these things displaced his dreams ; then, as he sank 
back again, and closed his eyes to settle once more 
into sleep, Zeke spoke : 

" Don't do that again ! You got to lie still here, 



The Vidette Post. 21 

or you'll bust the hull combination. If you want to 
turn over, tell me, and we'll flop together — other- 
wise you'll have the thing down on our heads." 

There came another pause, and Linsky almost 
believed himselt to be asleep again. But Zeke was 
wakeful. 

"Say, Irish," he began, "that country of yourn 
must be a pretty tough place, if this kind ot thing 
strikes you fellows as an improvement on it." 

" Sur," said Linsky, with sleepy dignity, " ther's 
no other counthry on earth fit to buckle Ireland's 
shoe's — no offence to 30U.'" 

" Yes, you always give us that ; but if it's so fine a 

place, why in don't you stay there? What do 

you all pile over here for ?" 

" I came to America on business," replied Linsky, 
stiffly. 

" Business of luggin' bricks up a ladder !" 

" Sur, I'm a solicitor's dark." 

" How do you mean — ' Clark ?' Thought your 
name was Linsky ?" 

•' It's what you call ' clurk ' — a lawyer's clurk — 
and I'll be a lawyer mesilf, in toime." 

" That's worse still. There's seven hundred times 
as many lawyers here already as anybody wants." 

" I had no intintion of stoppin'. My business was 
to foind a certain man, the heir to a great estate in 
Ireland, and thin to returrun ; but I didn't foind my 
man — and — sure, it's plain enough I didn't returrun, 
ayether ; and I'll go to sleep now, I'm thinkin'." 

Zeke paid no attention to the hint. 

" Go on," he said. " Why didn't you go back, 
Irish?" 



22 The Return of The G Mahony, 

" It's aisy enough," Linsky replied, with a sigh. 
" Tin long weeks was I scurryin' from wan ind of 
the land to the other, lukkin' for this invisible divil 
of a Hugh O'Mahony " — Zeke stretched out his feet 
here with a sudden movement, unnoted by the otiier 
— " makin' inquiries here, foindin' traces there, 
gettin' laughed at somewhere else, till me heart 
was broke entoirely. * He's in the army,' says they. 
' Whereabouts ?' says I. Here, there, everwhere 
they sint me on a fool's errand. Plinty of places 1 
came upon where he had been, but divil a wan 
where he was; and thin I gave it up and wint to 
New York to sail, and there I made some fri'nds, 
and wint out wid 'em and the}' spoke fair, and I 
drank wid 'em, and, faith, whin I woke I was a 
soldier, wid brass buttons on me and a gun; and 
that's the truth of it — worse luck! And nozv I'll 
sleep !" 

"And this Hugh What-d'ye-call-him — the fellow 
you was huntin' after — where did he live before the 
war ?" 

" 'Twas up in New York State — a place they call 
Tccumsy — he'd been a shoemaker there for years. 
I have here among me papers all they know about 
him and his family there. It wan't much, but it 
makes his identity plain, and that's the great thing." 

" And what d'ye reckon has become of him ?" 

" If yc ask me in me capacity as solicitor's dark, 
I'd say that, for purposes of law, he'd be aloive till 
midsummer day next, and thin doy be process of 
statutory neglict, and niver know it as long as he 
lives; but if you ask me proivate opinion, he's as 
dead as a mackerel ; and, if he isn't, he will be in 



The Vidette Post. 



good toime, and divil a ha'porth of shoe-leather will 
I waste more on him. And now good-noight to ye, 
sur !" 

Linsky fell to snoring before any reply came. 
Zeke had meant to tell him that they were to rise at 
three and set out upon a venturesome vidette-post 
expedition together. He wondered now what it 
was that had prompted him to select this raw and 
undrilled Irishman as his comrade in the enterprise 
which lay before him. Without finding an answer, 
his mind wandered drowsily to another question — 
Ought O'Mahony to be told of the search for him 
or not? That vindictive and sullen Hughie should 
be heir to anything seemed an injustice to all good 
fellows ; but heir to what Linsky called a great 
estate! — that was ridiculous! What would an 
ignorant cobbler like him do with an estate? 

Zeke was not quite clear in his mind as to what 
an " estate " was, but obviously it must be something 
much too good for O'Mahony. And why, sure 
enough! Only a fortnight before, while they were 
still at Fort Davis, this O'Mahony had refused to 
mend his boot for him, even though his frost-bitten 
toes had pushed their way to the daylight between 
the sole and upper. Zeke could feel the toes ache 
perceptibly as he thought on this affront. Sleepy 
as he was, it grew apparent to him that O'Mahony 
would probably never hear of that inheritance ; and 
then he went oS bodil}' into dream-land, and was the 
heir himself, and violently resisted O'Mahony's 
attempts to dispossess him, and — and then it was 
three o'clock, and the sentry was rolling him to and 
fro on the ground with his foot to wake him. 



24 The Return of The O'Afahony. 

"Sh-h! Keep as still as you can," Zeke admon- 
ished the bewildered Linsky, when he, too, had been 
roused to consciousness. " We mustn't stir up the 
camp." 

" Is it desertin' 3'e are ?" asked the Irishman, rub- 
bing his eyes and sitting upright. 

"Sh-h ! you fool — no ! Feel around for your gun 
and knapsack and cap, and bring 'em out," whis- 
pered Zeke from the door of the tent. 

Linsky obeyed mechanically, groping in the utter 
darkness for what seemed to him an age, and then 
crawling awkwardly forth. As he rose to his feet, 
he could iiardly distinguish his companion standing 
beside him. Only faint, dusky pillars of smoke, 
reddish at the base, gray above, rising like slender- 
est palms to fade in the obscurity overhead, showed 
where the fires in camp had been. The clouded 
sky was black as ink. 

"Fill your pockets with cartridges," he heard 
Zeke whisper. " We'll prob'ly have to scoot for 
our lives. We don't want no extra load of knap- 
sacks." 

It strained Linsky's other perceptions even more 
than it did his sight to follow his comrade in the 
tramp which now began. He stumbled over roots 
and bushes, sank knee-deep in swampy holes, ran 
full tilt into trees and fences, until it seemed to him 
they must have traveled miles, and he could hardly 
drag one foot after the other. The first shadowy 
glimmer of dawn fell upon them after they had ac- 
complished a short but difficult descent from the 
ridge and stood at its foot, on the edge of a tiny, alder- 
fringed brook. The Irishman sat down on a fallen 



The Vidctte Post. 



log for a minute to rest ; the while Zeke, as fresh 
and cool as the morning itself, glanced critically 
about hinj. 

" Yes, here we are," he said as last. " We can 
strike through here, get up the side hill, and sneak 
across by the hedge into the house afore it's square 
daylight. Come on, and no noise now!" 

Linsky took up his gun and followed once more 
in the other's footsteps as well as might be. The 
growing light from the dull-gray east made it a 
simpler matter now to get along, but he still stum- 
bled so often, that Zeke cast warning looks backward 
upon him more than once. At last they I'eached the 
top of the low hill which had confronted them. 

It was near enough to daylight for Linsky to see, 
at the distance of an eighth of a mile, a small, red 
farm-house, flanked by a larger barn. A tolerably 
straight line of thick hedge ran from close by where 
they stood, to within a stone's throw of the house. 
All else was open pasture and meadow land. 

" Now bend your back," said Zeke. " We've got 
to crawl along up this side of the fence till we git 
opposite that house, and then, somehow or other, 
work across to it without bein' seen." 

" Who is it that would see us?" 

" Why, you blamed fool, them woods there" — 
pointing to a long strip of undergrowth woodland 
beyond the house — " are as thick with Johnnies as 
a dog is with fleas." 

" Thin that house is no place for an}'^ dacent man 
to be in," said Linsky ; but despite this conviction 
he crouched down close behind Zeke and followed 
him in the stealthy advance along the hedge. It 



26 The Rchirit of The O Mahony. 

was back-breakin^^ work, but Linsky had stalked 
partridges behind the ditch- walls of his native land, 
and was able to keep up with his guide without los- 
ing breath. 

" Faith, it's loike walking down burrds," he whis- 
pered ahead ; " only that it's two-legged partridges 
we're after this toime." 

" How many legs have they got in Ireland ?" Zeke 
muttered back over his shoulder. 

" Arrah, it's milking-stools I had in moind," 
returned Linsky, readily, with a smile. 

" S'l-h ! Don't talk. We're close now." 

Sure enough, the low roof and the top of the big 
square chimney of stone built outside the red clap- 
board end of the farmhouse were visible near at 
hand, across the hedge. Zeke bade Linsky sit 
down, and opening the big blade of a huge jack- 
knife, began to cut a hole through the thorns. 
Before this aperture had grown large enough to 
permit the passage of a man's body, full daylight 
came. It was not a very brilliant affair, this full 
daylight, for the morning was overcast and gloomy, 
and the woods beyond the house, distant some two 
hundred yards, were half lost in mist. But there 
was light enough for Linsky, idly peering through 
the bushes, to discern a grey-coated sentry pacing 
slowly along the edge of the woodland. He 
nudged Zeke, and indicated the discovery by a 
gesture. 

Zeke nodded, after barely lifting his eyes, and 
then pursued his whittling. 

*' I saw him when we first come," he said, calml3^ 



The Vidette Post. 27 

" And is it through this hole we're goin' out to be 
kilt?" 

" You ask too many questions, Irish," responded 
Zeke. He had iinished his work and put away the 
knife. He rolled over now to a half-recumbent pos- 
ture, folded his hands under his head, and asked : 

" How much bounty did you git?" 

" Is it me ? Faith, I was merely a disbursing 
agent in the thransaction. They gave me a roll of 
paper notes, they said, but divil a wan could I foind 
when I come to mesilf and found mesilf a soldier. 
It's thim new fri'nds o' moine that got the bounty." 

" So you didn't enlist to git the money ?" 

" Sorra a word did I know about enlistin', or 
bounty, or anything else, for four-and-twenty hours 
afther the mischief was done. Is it money that 'ud 
recompinse a man for sittin' here in the mud, waitin* 
to be blown to bits by a whole plantation full of 
soldiers, as I am here, God help me ? Is it money 
you say ? Faith, I've enough to take me back to 
Cork twice over. What more do 1 want? And I 
offered the half of it to the captain, or gineral, or 
whatever he was, to lave me go, when I found what 
I'd done ; but he wouldn't hearken to me." 

Zeke rolled over to take a glance through the 
hedge. 

" Tell me some more about that fellow you were 
tryin' to find," he said, with his gaze fixed on the 
distant sentry. " What'll happen now that you 
haven't found him ?" 

** If he remains unknown until midsummer-day 
next, the estate goes to some distant cousins who 
live convanient to it." 



28 The Return of The G Mahony. 



"And he can't touch it after that, s'posin' he 
should turn up ?" 

"The law of adverse possession is twinty years, 
and only five of 'em have passed. No ; he'd have a 
claim these fifteen years yet. But rest aisy. He'll 
never be heard of." 

" And you wrote and told 'em in Ireland that he 
couldn't be found ?" 

" That I did— or — Wait now ! What I wrote was 
that he was in the army, and 1 was afther searching 
for him there. Sure, whin 1 got to New York, 
what with the fri'nds and the drink and — and this 
foine soldiering of moine, I niver wrote at all. It's 
God's mercy I didn't lose me papers on top of it 
all, or it would be if I was likely ever to git out of 
this aloive." 

Zeke lay silent and motionless for a time, watch- 
ing the prospect through this hole in the hedge. 

" Hungry, Irish?" he asked at last, with laconic 
abruptness. 

" I've a twist on me like the County Kerry in a 
famine year." 

" Well, then, double yourself up and follow me 
when I give the word. I'll bet there's something to 
eat in that house. Give me your gun. We'll put 
them through first. That's it. Now, then, when 
that fellow's on t'other side of the house. Now r 

With lizard-like swiftness, Zeke made his way 
through the aperture, and, bending almost double, 
darted across the wet sward toward the house. 

Linsky followed him, doubting not that the adven- 
ture led to certain death, but hoping that there 
would be breakfast first. 



CHAPTER III. 

linsky's brief military career. 

Zeke. though gliding over the slippery ground 
with all the speed at his command, had kept a watch 
on the further corner of the house. He straight- 
ened himself now against the angle of the projecting, 
weather-beaten chimney, and drew a long breath, 

" He didn't see us," he whispered, reassuringly 
to Linsky, who had also drawn up as flatly as possi- 
ble against the side of the house. 

" Glory be to God !" the recruit ejaculated. 

After a brief breathing spell, Zeke ventured out 
a few feet, and looked the house over. There was 
a single window on his side, opening upon the 
ground floor. Beckoning to Linsky to follow, he 
stole over to the window, and standing his gun 
against the clapboards, cautiously tested the sash. 
It moved, and Zeke with infinite pains lifted it to the 
top, and stuck his knife in to hold it up. Then, with 
a bound, he raised himself on his arms, and crawled 
in over the sill. 

It was at this moment, as Linsky for the first time 
stood alone, that a clamorous outburst of artiller}'- 
firc made the earth quiver under his feet. The 

[29] 



30 The Return of The O'HIa/iony. 

crash of noises reverberated with so many echoes 
from hill to hill that he had no notion whence they 
had proceeded, or from what distance. The whole 
broad valley before him, with its sodden meadows 
and wet, mist-wrapped forests showed no sign of 
life or motion. But from the crest of the ridge 
which they had quitted before daybreak there rose 
now, and whitened the gray of the overhanging 
clouds, a faint film of smoke — while suddenly the air 
above him was filled with a strange confusion of unfa- 
miliar sounds, like nothing so much as the hoarse 
screams of a flock of giant wild-fowl ; and then 
this affrighting babel ceased as swiftly as it had 
arisen, and he heard the thud and swish of splintered 
tree-tops and trunks falling in the woodland at the 
back of the house. The Irishman reasoned it out 
that they were firing from the hill he had left, over 
at the hill \\\>o\\ which he now stood, and was not 
comforted by the discovery. 

While he stared at the ascending smoke and 
listened to the din of the cannonade, he felt himself 
sharply poked on the shoulder, and started nervous- 
ly, turning swiftly, gun in hand. It was Zeke, who 
stood at the window, and had playfully attracted 
his attention with one of the long sides of bacon 
which the army knew as "sow-bellies." He had 
secured two of these, which he now handed out to 
Linsky ; then came a ham and a bag of meal; and 
lastly, a twelve-quart pan of sorghum molasses. 
When the Irishman had lifted down tiic Inst of these 
spoils, Zeke vaulted lightly out. 

"Guess we'll have a whack at the ham," ho said 
cheerfully. " It's good raw." 



Liuskys Brief Military Career. 31 

The two gnawed greedily at the smoked slices 
cut from the thick of the ham, as became men wiio 
had been on short rations. Zeke listened to the 
firing, and was visibly interested in noting all that 
was to be seen and guessed of its effects and purpose, 
meanwhile, but the ham was an effectual bar to 
conversation. 

Suddenly the men paused, their mouths full, their 
senses alert. The sound of voices rose distinct- 
ly, and close by, from the other side of the house. 
Zeke took up his gun, cocked it, and crept noise- 
lessly forward to the corner. After a moment's 
attentive listening here, and one swift, cautious 
peep, he tiptoed back again. 

" Take half the things," he w^hispered, pointing to 
the provisions, " and we'll get back again to the 
fence. There's too many of 'em for us to tr)^ and 
hold the house. They'd burn us alive in there !" 

The pan of sorghum fell to Linsky's care, and 
Zeke, with both guns and all the rest in some myste- 
rious manner bestowed about him, made his way, 
crouching and with long strides, toward the hedge. 
He got through the hole undiscovered, dragging 
his burden after him. Then he took the pan over 
the hedge, while Linsky should in turn crawl 
through. But the burlier Irishman caught in the 
thorns, slipped, and clutched Zeke's arm, with the 
result that the whole contents of the pan were 
emptied upon Linsky's head. 

Then Zeke did an unwise thing. He cast a single 
glance at the spectacle his comrade presented — 
with the thick, dark molasses covering his cap like 
an oilskin, soaking into his hair, and streaming 



32 The Rctiuni of The O'Mahony. 

down his bewildei-cd face in streaks like an Indian's 
war-paint — and then burst forth in a resounding 
peal of laughter. 

On the instant two men in gray, with battered 
slouch hats and guns, appeared at the corner of the 
house, looking eagerly up and down the hedge for 
some sign of a hostile presence. Zeke had dropped 
to his knees in time to prevent discovery. It seemed 
to be with a part of the same swift movement that 
he lifted his gun, sighted it as it ran through the 
thorns, and fired. While the smoke still curled among 
the branches and spiked twigs, he had snatched 
up Linsky's gun and fire a second shot. The two 
men in gray lay sprawling and clutching at the wet 
grass, one on top of the other. 

" Quick, Irish ! We must make a break !" Zeke 
hissed at Linsky. " Grab what you can and run!" 

Linsky, his eyes and mouth full of molasses, and 
understanding nothing at all of what had happened, 
found himself a moment later careering blindly and 
in hot haste down the open slope, the ham and the 
uag of meal under one arm, his gun in the other 
hand. A dozen minie-bullets sang through the 
damp air about him as he tore along after Zeke, 
and he heard vague volleys of cheering arise from 
the meadow to his right; but neither stopped his 
course. 

It was barely three minutes — though to Linsky, 
at least, it seemed an interminable while — before the 
two came to a halt by a clump of trees on the edge 
of the ravine. In the shelter of these broad hem- 
lock trunks they stood still, panting for breath. 
Then Zeke looked at Linsky again, and roared with 



Linsky's Brief Military Career. 33 

laughter till he choked and went into a fit of cough- 
ing. 

The Irishman had thrown down his provisions 
and gun, and seated himself on the roots of his tree. 
He ruefully combed the sticky fiuid from his hair 
and stubble beard with his fingers now, and strove 
to clean his face on his sleeve. Between the native 
temptation to join in the other's merriment and the 
strain of the last few minutes' deadly peril, he could 
only blink at Zeke, and gasp for breath. 

" Tight squeak — eh, Irish .?" said Zeke at last, 
between dying-away chuckles. 

" And tell me, now," Linsky began, still panting 
heavily, his besmeared face red with the heat of the 
chase, " fwat the divil were we doin' up there, anny- 
way ? No Linsky or Lynch — 'tis the same name — 
was ever called coward yet — but goin' out and 
defo3nn' whole armies single-handed is no fit worrk 
for solicitors' clarks. Spacheless and sinseless 
though I was with the dhrink, sure, if they told me 
I was to putt down the Rebellion be meself, I'd a' 
had the wit to decloine." 

" That was a vidette post we were on," explained 
Zeke. 

" There's a shorter name for it — God save us both 
from goin' there. But fwat was the intintion? 
'Tis that that bothers me entoirely," 
' " Look there !" was Zeke's response. He waved 
his hand comprehensively over the field they had 
just quitted, and the Irishman rose to his feet and 
stepped aside from his tree to see. 

The little red farm-house was half hidden in a vail 
of smoke. Dim shadows of men could be seen flit- 



34 The Return of The O'Mahony. 

ting about its sides, and from these shadows shot 
forth tongues of momentary flame. The upper end 
of the meadow was covered thick with smoke, and 
through this were visible dark masses of men and 
the same spark-like flashing of fiery streaks. Along 
the line of the hedge, closer to the house, still 
another wall of smoke arose, and Linsky could dis- 
cern a fringe of blue-coated men lying flat under the 
cover of the thorn-bushes, whom he guessed to be 
sharp-shooters. 

" That's what we went up there for — to start that 
thing a-goin','' said Zeke, not without pride. " See 
the guide — that little flag there by the bushes ? 
That's our regiment. They was comin' up as we 
skedaddled out. Didn't yeh hear 'em cheer? They 
was cheerin' for us, Irish — that is, some for us and a 
good deal for the sow-bellies and ham," 

No answer came, and Zeke stood for a moment 
longer, taking in with his practiced gaze the details 
of the fight that was raging before him. Half-spent 
bullets were singing all about him, but he seemed to 
give them no more thought than in his old Adiron- 
dack home he had wasted on mosquitoes. The 
din and deafening rattle of this musketry war had 
kindled a sparkle in his gray eyes. 

" There they go, Irish ! Gad ! we've got 'em on 
the run ! We kin scoot across now and jine our 
men." 

Still no answer. Zeke turned, and, to his amaze- 
ment, saw no Linsky at his side. Puzzled, he looked 
vaguely about among the trees for an instant. Then 
his wandering glance fell, and the gleam of battle 
died out of his eyes as he saw the Irishman lying 



Linsky's Brief Military Career. 35 

prone at his very feet, his face flat in the wet moss 
and rotting leaves, an arm and leg bent under the 
prostrate body. So wrapt had Zeke's senses been 
in the noisy struggle outside, he had not heard his 
comrade's fall. 

The veteran knelt, and gently turned Linsky over 
on his back. A wandering ball had struck him in 
the throat. The lips were alread}^ colorless, and 
from their corners a thin line of bright blood had 
oozed to mingle grotesquely with the molasses on 
the unshaven jaw. To Zeke's skilled glance it was 
apparent that the man was mortally wounded — per- 
haps already dead, for no trace of pulse or heart- 
beat could be found. He softly closed the Irish- 
man's eyes, and put the sorghum-stained cap over 
his face. 

Zeke rose and looked forth again upon the scene 
of battle. His regiment had crossed the fence and 
gained possession of the farm-house, from which 
they were firing into the woods beyond. Further 
to the left, through the mist of smoke which hung 
upon the meadow, he could see that large masses of 
troops in blue were being pushed forward. He 
thought he would go and join his company. He 
would tell the fellows how well Linsky had behaved. 
Perhaps, after the fight was all over, he would lick 
Hugh O'Mahony for having spoken so churlishly to 
him. 

He turned at this and looked dou^n again upon 
the insensible Linsky. 

" Well, Irish, you had sand in 3'our gizzard, any- 
way," he said, aloud. "I'll whale the head off 'm 
O'Mahony, jest on your account." 



36 The Return of The O' Mahony. 

Then, musing upon some new ideas which these 
words seem to have suggested, he knelt once more, 
and, unbuttoning Linsky's jacket, felt through his 
pockets. 

He drew forth a leather wallet and a long 
linen-lined envelope containing many papers. The 
wallet had in it a comfortable looking roll of green, 
backs, but Zeke's attention was bestowed rather 
upon the papers. 

" So these would give O'Mahony an estate, ch ?" 
he pondered, half aloud, turning them over. " It 
'ud be a tolerable good bet that he never lays eyes 
on 'em. We'll fix that right now, for fear of acci- 
dents." 

He began to kick about in the leaves, as he rose a 
second time, thinking hard upon the problem of what 
to do with the papers. He had no matches. He 
might cut down a cartridge, and get a fire b}^ per- 
cussion — but that would take time. So, for that 
matter, would digging a hole to bury the papers. 

All at once his abstracted face lost its lines of 
labor, and briglrdened radiantly. He thrust wallet 
and envelope into his own pocket, and smilingly 
stepped forward once more to see what the field of 
battle was like. The farm-house had become the 
headquarters of a general and his staff, and the noise 
of fighting had passed away to the furthest confines 
of the woods. 

" This darned old compaign won't last up'ard of 
another week," he said, in satisfied reverie. " I 
reckon I've done my share in it, and somethin' to 
lap over on the next. Nobody 'II be a cent the 
Wuss off if I turn up missin' now," 



LijLskys Brief* Military Career. 2>7 

Gathering up the provisions and his gun, Zeke 
turned abruptly, and made his way down the steep 
side-hill into the forest, each long stride bearing him 
(urther from Company F's headquarters. 



CHAPTER IV. 

THE O'MAHONY on ERIN'S SOIL. 

It became known among the passengers on the 
Moldavian, an hour or so before bedtime on Sunday 
evening, April 23, 1865, that the lights to be seen 
in the larboard distance were really on the Irish 
coast. The intelligence ran swiftly through all 
quarters of the vessel. Its truth could not be doubted ; 
the man on the bridge said that it truly was Ireland ; 
and if he had not said so, the ship's barber had. 

Excitement over the news reached its higi;!est 
point in the steerage, two-thirds of the inmates of 
which hung now lovingly upon the port rail of the 
forward deck, tc gaze with eager e3^es at the far-off 
points of radiance glowing through the soft northern 
spring night. 

Farther down the rail, from the obscurity of the 
jostling throng, a stout male voice sent up the open- 
ing bars of the dear familiar song, '' The Cove of 
Cork." The ballad trembled upon the air as it pro- 
gressed, then broke into something like sobs, and 
ceased. 

[38J 



The O Mahony on Eriiis Soil. 39 

"Ah, Barney," a sympathetic voice cried out, 
"'tis no longer the Cove; 'tis Queenstown they're 
after calling it now. Small wandher the song won't 
listen to itself be sung !" 

" But they haven't taken the Cove away — God 
bless it !" the other rejoined, bitterly. " 'Tis there, 
beyant the lights, waitin' for its honest name to 
come back to it when — when things are set right 
once more." 

"Is it the Cove you think you see yonder?" 
queried another, captiously. " Thim's the Fastnet 
and Cape Clear lights. We're f.fty miles and more 
from Cork." 

" Thin if 'twas daylight," croaked an old man be- 
tween coughs, " we'd be in sight of The O'Ma- 
hony's castles, or what bloody Cromwell left of 
them." 

" It's mad ye are, Martin," remonstrated a female 
voice. " The're laygues beyant on Dunmanus Bay. 
Wasn't I born mesilf at Durrus?" 

" The O'Mahony of Murrisk is on board," whis- 
pered some one else, "returnin' to his estates. I had 
it this day from the cook's helper. The quantity of 
mate that same 0'Mahon3^'s been 'atin' ! An' dhrink, 
is it? Faith, there's no English nobleman could 
touch him !" 



On the saloon deck, aft, the interest excited by these 
distant lights was less volubly eager, but it had suf- 
ficed to break up the card-games in the smoking- 
room, and even to tempt some malingering passen- 
gers from the cabins below. Such talk as passed 
among the group lounging along the rail, here in the 



40 The Return of The O MaJiony. 

politer quarter, bore, for the most part, upon the 
record of the Moldavian on this and past voyages, as 
contrasted with the achievements of other steam- 
ships. No one confessed to reverential sensations 
in looking at the lights, and no one lamented the 
change of name which sixteen years before, had be- 
fallen the Cove of Cork; but there was the liveliest 
speculation upon the probabilities of the Bahama, 
which had sailed from New York the same day, hav- 
ing beaten them into the south harbor of Cape Clear, 
where, in those exciting war times, before the cable 
was laid, every ocean steamer halted long enough 
to hurl overboard its rubber-encased budget of 
American news, to be scuffled for in the swell by 
the rival oarsmen of the cape, and borne by the suc- 
cessful boat to the island, where relays of telegraph 
clerks then waited day and night to serve Europe 
with tidings of the republic's fight for life. 

This concentration of thought upon steamer runs 
and records, to the exclusion of interest in mere 
Europe, has descended like a mantle upon the first- 
cabin passengers of our own later generation. But 
the voyagers in the Moldavian had a peculiar war- 
rant for their concern. They had left America on 
Saturday, April 15, bearing with them the terrible 
news of Lincoln's assassination in Ford's Theatre, 
the previous evening, and it meant life-long dis- 
tinction — in one's own eyes at least — to be the first 
to deliver these tidings to an astounded Old World. 
Eight days' musing on this chance of greatness had 
brought them to a point where they were prepared 
to learn with equanimity that the rival Bahama had 
struck a rock outside, somewhere. One of their 



The O Mahony on Erins Soil. 41 

number, a little Jew diamond merchant, now made 
himself quite popular by relating his personal recol- 
lections of the calamity which befel her sister ship, 
the Aiiglia, eighteen months ago, when she ran upon 
Blackrock in Galway harbor. 

One of these first-cabin passengers, standing for a 
time irresolutely upon the outskirts of this gossip- 
ing group, turned abiuptly when the under-sized 
Hebrew addressed a part of his narrative to him, 
and walked off alone into the shadows of the stern. 
He went to the very end, and leaned over the taff- 
rail, looking down upon the boiling, phosphorescent 
foam of the vessel's wake. He did not care a but- 
ton about being able to tell Europe of the murder 
of Lincoln and Seward — for when they left the sec- 
retary was supposed, also, to have been mortally 
wounded. His anxieties were of a wholly different 
sort. 

He, The O'Mahony of Muirisc, was plainly but 
warmly clad, with a new, shaggy black overcoat 
buttoned to the chin, and a black slouch hat 
drawn over his eyes. His face was clean sliaven, 
and remarkably free from lines of care and age 
about the mouth and nostrils, though the eyes were 
set in wrinkles. The upper part of the face was 
darker and more weather-beaten, too, than the lower, 
from which a shrewd observer might have guessed 
that until very recently he had always worn a beard. 

There were half a dozen shrewd observers on 
board the Moldavian among its cabin passengers — 
men of obvious Irish nationality, whose manner 
with one another had a certain effect of furtiveness, 
^nd who were described on the ship's list by dis- 



42 The Retmni of The O' Mahony. 

tinctively English names, like Potter, Cooper and 
Smith; and they had watched the O'Mahony of 
Muirisc very closely during the whole voyage, but 
none of them had had doubts about the beard, 
much less about the man's identity. In truth, they 
looked from day to day for him to give some sign, 
be it never so slight, that his errand to Ireland was 
a political one. They were all Fenians — among the 
advance guard of that host of Irishmen who return- 
ed from exile at the close of the Amercian War — 
and they took it for granted that the solitary and 
silent O'Mahony was a member of the Brotherhood. 
The more taciturn he grew, the more he held aloof, 
the firmer became their conviction that his rank in 
the society was exalted and his mission important. 
The very fact that he would not be drawn into con- 
versation and avoided their company was proof 
conclusive. They left him alone, but watched him 
with lynx-like scrutiny. 

The O'Mahony had been conscious of this cease- 
less observation, and he mused upon it now as he 
watched the white whirl of churned waters below. 
The time was close at hand when he should know 
whether it had meant anything or not ; there was com- 
fort in that, at all events. He was less a coward 
than any other man he knew% but, all the same, this 
unending espionage had worn upon his nerve. 
Doubtless, that was in part because sea-voyaging 
was a novelty to him. He had not been ill for a 
moment. In fact, he could not remember to have 
ever eaten and drunk more in any eight days of his 
life. If it had not been for the confounded watch- 
fulness of the Irishmen, he would have enjoyed the 



The O Mahouy on Erins Soil. 43 

whole experience immensely. But it was evident 
that they were all in collusion — "' in cahoots," he 
phrased it in his mind — and had a common interest 
in noting all his movements. What could it mean } 
Strange as it may seem, The O'Mahony had never 
so much as heard of the Fenian Brotherhood. 

He rose from his lounging meditation presentlv, 
and sauntered forward again along the port deck. 
The lights from the coast were growing more 
distinct in the distance, and, as he paused to look, 
he fancied he could discern a dark line of shore 
below them. 

" 1 suppose your ancistral estates are lyin' further 
west, sir," spoke a voice at his side. The O'Mahony 
cast a swift half-glance around, and recognized one 
of the suspected spies. 

" Yes, a good deal west," he growled, curtly. 

The other took no offense. 

" Sure," he went on, pleasantly, " the O'Mahonys 
and the O'DriscoUs, not to mintion the INIcCarthys, 
chased each other around that counthry yonder at 
such a divil of a pace it's hard tellin' now which 
belonged to who." 

" Yes, we did hustle round considerable," assented 
The O'Mahony, with frigidity. 

" You're manny years away from Ireland, sir ?" 
pursued the man. 

" Why ?" 

" I notice you say ' yes ' and ' no.' It takes a long 
absence to tache an Irishman that." 

" I've been away nearly all my life," said The O'Ma- 
hony, sharpl;^ — " ever since 1 was a little boj' ;" and 



44 The Rehcrn of The O Mahony. 

turning on his heel, he walked to the companion- 
way and disappeared down the stairs. 

" Faith, I'm bettin' it's the gineral himself !" said 
the other, looking after him. 



To have one's waking vision greeted, on a soft, 
warm April morning, by the sight of the Head of 
Kinsale in the sunlight — with the dark rocks capped 
in tenderest verdure and washed below by milk- 
white breakers ; with the smooth water mirroring 
the blue of the sky upon its bosom, yet revealing as 
well the marbled greens of its own crystalline 
depths; with the balmy scents of fresh blossoms 
meeting and mingling in the languorous air of the 
Gulf Stream's bringing — can there be a fairer finish 
to any voyage over the waters of the whole terres- 
trial ball !" 

The O'Mahony had been up on deck before any 
of his fellow-passengers, scanning the novel details 
of the scene before him. The vessel barely kept 
itself in motion through the calm waters. The soft 
land breeze just availed to turn the black column of 
smoke rising from the funnel into a sort of carbon- 
iferous leaning tower. The pilot had been taken on 
the previous evening. They waited now for the tug, 
which could be seen passing Roche's Point with a 
prodigious spluttering and splashing of side-paddles. 
Before its arrival, the Moldavian lay at rest within 
full view of the wonderful harbor — her deck 
thronged with passengers dressed now in fine shore 
apparel and bearing bags and rugs, who bade each 
other good-bye with an enthusiasm which nobody 



The G Mahony on Ei'ins Soil. 45 

believed in, and edged along- as near as possible 
where the gang-plank would be. 

The O'Mahony walked alone down the plank, 
rebuffing the porters who sought to relieve him of 
his heavy bags. He stood alone at the prow of the 
tug, as it waddled and puffed on its rolling way 
back again, watching the superb amphitheatre of 
terraced stone houses, walls, groves and gardens 
toward which he had vo3'aged these nine long days, 
with an anxious, almost gloomy face. The Fenians, 
still closely observing him, grew nervous with fear 
that this depression forboded a discover}^ of contra- 
brand arms in his baggage. 

But no scandal arose. The custom officers 
searched fruitlessly through the long platforms 
covered with luggage, with a half perfunctory and 
wholly wdiimsical air, as if they knew perfectly well 
that the revolvers they pretended to be looking for 
were really in the pockets of the passengers. Then 
other good-byes, distinctly less enthusiastic, were 
exchanged, and the last bonds of comradeship which 
life on the Moldavian had enforced snapped lightly 
as the gates were opened. 

Everybody else seemed to know where to go. 
The O'Mahony stood for so long a time just outside 
the gates, with his two big valises at his feet and 
helpless hesitation written all over his face, that 
even some of the swarm of beggars surrounding him 
could not wait any longer, and went away giving 
him up. To the importunities of the others, who 
buzzed about him like blue-bottles on a sunny win- 
dow-pane, he paid no heed ; but he finally beckoned 
to the driver of the solitary remaining outside car, 



46 The Return of The O Mahony. 

who had been flicking his broker, whip invitingly at 
him, and who now turned his vehicle abruptly round 
and drove it, with wild shouts of factitious warning, 
straight through the group of mendicants, overbear- 
ing their loud cries of remonstrance with his superior 
voice, and cracking his whip like mad. He drew 
up in front of the bags with the air of a lord mayor's 
coachman, and took off his shapeless hat in saluta- 
tion. 

" 1 want to go to the law office of White & Car- 
mod}^" The O'Mahony said, brusquely. 

" Right, your honor," the carman answered, dis- 
mounting and lifting the luggage to the well of the 
car, and then officiously helping his patron to mount 
to his sidelong seat. He sprang up on the other 
side, screamed " Now thin, Maggie !" to his poor 
old horse, flipped his whip derisively at the beggars, 
and started off at a little dog-trot, clucking loudi}- as 
he went. 

He drove through all the long ascending streets of 
Queenstown at this shambling pace, traversing each 
time the whole length of the town, until finally they 
gained the terraced pleasure-road at the top. Here 
the driver drew rein, and waved his whip to indicate 
the splendid scope of the view below — the gray 
roof of the houses embowered in trees, the river's 
crowded shipping, the castellated shore opposite, 
the broad, island-dotted harbor be3^ond. 

" L'uk there, now !" he said, proudly. " Have 
yez annything like that in Ameriky ?" 

The O'Mahon)'^ cast only an indifferent glance 
upon the prospect. 



The GMahony on Eriiis Soil. 47 

"Yes — but where's White & Carmody's office?" 
he asked. " That's what / want," 

" Right, your honor,'' was the reply ; and with 
renewed chicl-cing and cracking of the dismantled 
whip, the journey was resumed. That is to say, 
they wound their way back again down the hill, 
through all the streets, until at last the car stopped 
in front of the Queen's Hotel. 

" Is it thrue what they tell me, sir, that the 
Prisidint is murdhered ?" the jarvey asked, as they 
came to a halt. 

" Yes — but where the devil is that law-office ?" 

" Sure, 3'Our honor, there's no such names here 
at all," the carman replied, pleasantly. " Here's the 
hotel where gintleman stop, an' I've shown 3-e the 
view from the top, an' it's plased 1 am ye had such 
a clear day for it — and wud 3'e like to see Smith- 
Barry's place, after lunch ?" 

The stranger turned round on his seat to the 
better comment upon this amazing impudence, 
beginning a question harsh of purpose and profane 
in form. 

Then the spectacle of the ragged driver's placidly 
amiable face and roguish eye ; of the funny old 
horse, like nothing so much in all the world as an 
ancient hair-trunk with legs at the corners, 3'et 
which was driven with the noise and ostentation of 
a six-horse team ; of the harness tied up with ropes ; 
the tumble-down car ; the broken whip ; the beg- 
gars — all this, by a happ3^ chance, suddenl3^ struck 
The 0'Mahon3^ in a humorous light. Even as his 
angered words were on the air he smiled in spite of 
himself. It was a gaunt, reluctant smile, the merest 



48 The Retiirn of The O'Mahony. 

curling of the lips at their corners; but it sufficed 
in a twinkling to surround him with beaming faces. 
He laughed aloud at this, and on the instant driver 
and beggars were convulsed with merriment. 

The O'Mahony jumped off the car. 

" I'll run into the hotel and find out where I want 
to go," he said. " Wait here." 

Two minutes passed. 

" These lawyers live in Cork," he explained on 
his return. " It seems this is only Queenstown. I 
I want you to go to Cork with me." 

" Right, your honor," said the driver, snapping 
his whip in preparation. 

" But I don't want to drive ; it's too much like a 
funeral. We ain't a-bur3'in' anybody." 

" Is it Maggie your honor manes ? Sure, there's 
no finer quality of a mare in County Cork, if she 
only gets dacent encouragement." 

"Yes; but we ain't got time to encourage her. 
Go and put her out, and hustle back here as quick 
as you can. I'll pay you a good day's wages. 
Hurr3^ now ; we'll go by train." 

The O'Mahony distributed small silver among the 
beggars the Avhile he waited in front of the hotel. 

" That laugh was worth a hundred dollars to me," 
he said, more to himself than to the beggars. " I 
hain't laughed before since Linsky spilt the molasses 
over his head." 



CHAPTER V. 

THE INSTALLATION OF JERRY. 

The visit to White & Carmody's law-office had 
weighed heavily upon the mind of The O'Mahony 
during the whole voyage across the Atlantic, and it 
still was the burden of his thoughts as he sat beside 
Jerry Higgins — this he learned to be the car-dri- 
ver's name — in the train which rushed up the side of 
the Lea toward Cork. The first-class compartment 
to which Jerry had led the way was crowded with 
people who had arrived by the Moldavian, and who 
scowled at their late fellow-passenger for having 
imposed upon them the unsavory presence of the 
carman. The O'Mahony was too deeply occupied 
with his own business to observe this. Jeny 
smiled blandly into the hostile faces, and hummed a 
" come-all-ye " to himpelf. 

When, an hour or so after their arrival. The 
O'Mahony emerged from the lavv^3^ers' office the 
waiting Jerry scarcely knew him for the same man. 
The black felt hat, which had been pulled down 
over his brows, rested with easy confidence now 
well back on his head ; his gray eyes twinkled with 
a pleasant light ; the long face had lost its drawn 

[49] 



50 The Return of The G Mahony. 

lines and saturnine expression, and reflected con- 
tent instead. 

" Come along somewhere where we can get a 
drink," he said to Jerry ; but stopped before they 
had taken a dozen steps, attracted by the sign and 
street-show of a second-hand clothing shop. " Or 
no," he said, "come in here first, and I'll kind o' 
spruce you up a bit so't you can pass muster in 
society." 

When they came upon the street again, it was 
Jerry who was even more strikingly metamor- 
phosed. The captious eye of one whose soul is in 
clothes might have discerned that the garments he 
now wore had not been originally designed for 
Jerry. The sleeves of the coat were a trifle long ; 
the legs of the trousers just a suspicion short. But 
the smile with which he surveyed the passing reflec- 
tions of his improved image in the shop-windows 
was all his own. He strode along jauntily, carry- 
ing the heavy bags as if they had been mere feather- 
weight parcels. 

The two made their wa}^ to a small tavern near 
the quays, which Jerr}'^ knew of, and where The 
O'Mahony ordered a room, with a fire in it, and a 
comfortable meal to be laid therein at once. 

" Sure, it's not becomin' that I should ate along 
wid your honor," Jerry remonstrated, when they had 
been left alone in the dingy little chamber, over- 
looking the street and the docks beyond. 

At this protest The O'Mahony lifted his brows in 
unaffected surprise. 

"What's the matter \v'\\\\ you f' he asked, half- 
derisively ; and no more was said on the subject. 



The InstaUaiion of Jerry. 51 

No more was said on any subject, for that matter, 
until fish had succeeded soup, and the waiter was 
aiaking- ready for a third course. Tiien the founder 
of the feast said to this menial : 

*' Sec here, you, don't play this on me ! Jest tote 
in whatever more j^ou've got, an' put er down, an' 
g"it out. We don't want 3'^ou bobbin' in here every 
second minute, all the afternoon." 

The waiter, with an aggrieved air, brought in 
presentl}'^ a tray loaded with dishes, wdiich he 
plumped down all over The O'Mahony's half, of the 
table. 

" That's somethin' like it," said that gentleman, 
approvingly ; "you'll get the hang of your business 
in time, young man," as the servant left the room. 
Then he heaped up Jerry's plate and his own, 
ruminated over a mouthful or two, with his eyes 
searching the other's face — and began to speak. 

" Do you know what made me take a shine to 
3^ou ?" he asked, and then made answer: " 'Twas on 
account of your dodrotted infernal cheek. It made 
me laugh— an' I'd got so it seemed as if I wasn't 
never goin' to laugh any more. That's why I cot- 
toned to you — an' got a notion 3'ou was jest the 
kind o' fellow I wanted. D'3'e know who I am ?" 

Jerry^'s quizzical e3'es studied his companion's 
face in turn, first doubtingly', then with an air of 
reassurance. 

" I do not, 3'our honor," he said at last, visibl3'- 
restraining the impulse to sa3' a great deal more. 

" I'm the 0"Mahon3- of Murrisk, 'an I'm returnin' 
to m3' estates." 

Jerr3^ did prolonged but successful battle once 



52 TJie Return of The OMahony, 

more with his sense of humor and h^quacious in- 
stincts. 

" All right, your honor," he said, with humilit}'. 

" Maybe I don't look like an Irishman or talk like 
one," the other went on, " but that's because I was 
taken to America when I was a little shaver, knee- 
high to a grasshopper, an* my folks didn't keep up 
no connection with Irishmen, That's how I lost my 
grip on the hull Ireland business, don't you see?" 

" Sure, )^our honor, it's as clear as Spike Island in 
the sunshine." 

" Well, that's how it was. And now my relations 
over here have died off — that is, all that stood in 
front of me — and so the estates come to me, and I'm 
The O'xMahony." 

"An' it's proud ivery mother's son of your tin- 
ints '11 be at that same, your honor." 

" At first, of course, I didn't know but the lawyers 
'ud make a kick when I turned up and claimed the 
thing. Generally you have to go to law, an' take 
your oath, an' fight everybody. But, pshaw ! wh)' 
the}^ jest swallered me slick 'n clean, as if I'd had m \- 
ears pinned back an' be'n greased all over. Never 
asked * ah,' ' yes,' or ' no.' Didn't raise a single ques- 
tion. I guess there ain't no White in the business 
now. I didn't see him or hear anything about him. 
But Carmody's a reg'lar old brick. They w^asn't 
nothin' too good for me after he learnt who I was. 
But what fetched him most was that I'd seen Abe 
Lincoln, close to, dozens o' times. He was crazy to 
know all about him, an' the assassination, an' what 
I thought 'ud be the next move ; so 't we hardly 
talked about The O'Mahony business at all. An' it 



The Installation of Jei'ry. 53 

seems ther's been a lot o' shenanigan about it, too. 
The fellow that came out to America to — ;to find 
me — Linsky his name was — why, darn my buttons, 
if he hadn't run away from Cork, an' stole my papers 
along with a lot of others, countin' on r^eddlin' 'em 
over there an' collarin' the money." 

" Ah, the thief of the earth !" said Jerry. 

" Well, he got killed there, in about the last battle 
there was in the war ; an' 'twas by the finding of the 
papers on him that — that I came by my rights." 

" Glory be to God !'' commented Jerry, as he 
buried his jowl afresh in the tankard of stout. 

A term of silence ensued, during which what 
remained of the food was disposed of. Then The 
O'Mahony spoke again : 

"Are you a man of family ?'" 

" Well, your honor, I've never rightly come by 
the truth of it, but there are thim that says I'm 
descinded from the O'Higginses of Westmeath. 
I'd not venture to take me Bible oath on it, but — " 

" No, I don't mean that. Have you got a wife an' 
children?" 

" Is it me, your honor? Arrah, what girl that 
wasn't blind an' crippled an' deminted wid fits wud 
take up wid the likes of me ?" 

"Well, what is your job down at Queenstown 
like? Can you leave it right off, not to go back any 
more ?" 

*' It's no job at all. Siirc. 1 jist take out Mikey 
Doolan's car, wid that thund'rin' old Maggie, givin' 
warnin' to fall to pieces on the road in front of me, 
for friendship — to exercise 'em like. It's not till 
every other horse and ass in Queenstown's ingaged 



54 The RctiLrji of The G Mahony. 

that anny mortial sowl '11 ride on my car. An' whin 
I gets a fare, why, I do be after that long waitin' 
that—" 

" That you drive 'em up on top of the hill whether 
they want to go or not, eh?" asked Th3 O'Mahony, 
with a grin. 

Jerry took the liberty' of winking at his patrc^n in 
response. 

*' Egor ! that's the way of it, your honor," he said, 
pleasantl3\ 

" So you don't have to go back there at all ?" pur- 
sued the other. 

"Divila rayson have I for ever settin' fut in the 
Cove ag'in, if your honor has work for me else- 
where." 

" I guess I can fix that," said The O'Mahony, speak- 
ing more slowly, and studying his man as he spoke. 
" You see, I ain't got a man in this hull Ireland that 
1 can call a friend. I don't know nothin' about your 
ways, no more'n a babe unborn. It took me jest 
about two minutes, after I got out through the Cus- 
tom House, to figger out that 1 was goin' to need 
some one to sort o' steer me — and need him power- 
ful bad, too. Why, I can't even reckon in your 
blamed money, over here. You call a shillin' what 
we'd call two shillin's, an' there ain't no such thing 
as a dollar. Now, I'm goin' out to my estates, where 
I don't know a livin' soul, an' prob'l}^ they'd jest rob 
me out o' my eye-teeth, if I hadn't got some one to 
look after me — some one that knew his way around. 
D'ye see?" 

The car-driver's eyes sparkled, but he shook his 
curly red head with doubt, upon reflection. 



The Iiistalla-tioji of Jerry. 55 

" You've been fair wid me, sir," he said, after a 
pause, " an' I'll not be behind you in honesty. You 
don't know me at all. What the divil, man ! — why, 
1 might be the most rebellious rogue in all County 
Cork." He scratched his head with added dubiety, 
as he went on ; " An', for the matter of that, faith, 
if you did know me, it's some one else 3'ou'd take. 
There's no one in the Cove that 'ud give me a charac- 
ter." 

" You're right," observed The O'Mahony. " I 
don't know you from a side o' soleleather. But 
that's my style. I like a fellow, or I don't like him, 
and I do it on my own hook, follerin' my own 
notions, and just to suit myself. I've been siz'in' 
you up, all around, an' 1 like the cut o' your gib. 
You might be washed up a trifle more, p'r'aps, and 
have your hair cropped ; but them's details. The 
main point is, that 1 believe you'll act fair and 
square with me, an see to it that I git a straight 
deal!" 

" Sir, I'll go to the end of the earth for you," said 
Jerry, He rose, and by an instinctive movement, 
the two men shook hands across the table. 

" That's right," said The O'Mahony, referring 
more to the clasping of hands than to the vow of 
fealty. " That's the way I want 'er to stand. Don't 
call me 'yer honor,' or any o' that sort o' palaver. 
I've been a poor man all my life. I ain't used to 
bossin' niggers around, or pla3in' off that I'm 
better'n other folks. Now that I'm returnin' to my 
estates, prob'ly I'll have to stomach more or less of 
that sort o' nonsense. That's one of the things I'll 
want you to steer me in." 



"56 The Return of The G Mahony. 

" An might I be askin', where are these estates, 
sir?" 

" So far 's I can make out, the3''re near where we 
come in sight of Ireland first; it can't be very far 
from here. They're on the seashore — I know that 
much. We go to Dunmanway, wherever that is, by 
the railroad to-morrow, and there the lawyers have 
telegraphed to have the agent meet us. From there 
on, we've got to stage it. The place itself is 
Murrisk, beyond Skull — nice, comfortable, soothin' 
sort o' names you Irish have for your towns, eh ?" 

"And what time'll we be startin' to-morrow?" 

" The train leaves at noon — that is, for Dunman- 
way." 

" Thank God for that," said Jerry, with a sigh of 
relief. 

The O'Mahony turned upon him with such an 
obviously questioning glance that he made haste to 
explain : 

" I'll be bound your honor hasn't been to mass 
since — since ye were like that grasshopper ye spoke 
about." 

" Mass — no — how d'ye mean? What is it ?" 

" Luk at that, now !" exclaimed Jerry, trium- 
phantly. " See what 'd 'a' come to 3-e if 3'e'd gone to 
3^ our estates without knowing the first word of 3^our 
Christian obligations ! We'll rise earl3' to-morrow, 
and I'll get ye through all the masses there are in 
Cork, betune thin an' midday." 

" Gad ! I'd clean forgotten that," said The 
O'Mahony. " An' now let's git out an' see the 
town." 



CHAPTER VI. 

THE HEREDITARY BARD. 

Two hours and more of the afternoon were spent 
before The O'Mahony and his new companion next 
day reached Dunmanway. 

The morning had been devoted, for the most part, 
to church-going, and The O'Mahony 's mind was 
still confused with a bewildering jumble of candles, 
bells and embroidered gowns; of boj^s in frocks 
swinging little kettles of smoke by long chains; of 
books printed on one side in English and on the 
other in an unknown tongue ; of strange necessities 
for standing, kneeling, sitting all together, at differ- 
ent times, for no apparent reason which he could 
discover, and at no word of command whatever. 
He meditated upon it all now, as the slow train 
bumped its wandering way into the west, as upon 
some novel kind of drill, which it was obviously 
going to take him a long time to master. He had 
his moments of despondency at the prospect, until 
he reflected that if the poorest, least intelligent, 
hod-carrying Irishman alive knew it all, he ought 
surely to be able to learn it. This hopeful view 

[57] 



58 The Return of The O Mahony. 

gaining pi-edominance at last in his thoughts, he 
had leisure to look out of the window. 

The country through which they passed was for 
a long distance fairly level, with broad stretches of 
fair grass-fields and strips of ploughed land, the soil 
of which seemed richness itself. The O'Mahony 
noted this, but was still more interested in the fact 
that stone was the only building material anywhere 
in sight. The few large houses, the multitude of 
cabins, the high fences surrounding residences, the 
low fences limiting farm lands, even the very gate- 
posts — all were of gray stone, and all as identical in 
color and aspect as if Ireland contained but a single 
quarry. 

The stone had come to be a very prominent fea- 
ture in the natural landscape as well, before their 
journey by rail ended — a cold, wild, hard-featured 
landscape, with scant brown grass barely masking 
the black of the bog lands, and dying off at the 
fringes of gaunt layers of rock which thrust their 
heads everywhere upon the vision. The O'lNIahony 
observed with curiosity that as the land grew 
poorer, the population, housed all in wretched 
hovels, seemed to increase, and the burning fire- 
yellow of the furze blossoms all about made lurid 
mockery of the absence of crops. 

Dunmanway was then the terminus of the line, 
which has since been pushed onward to Bantr}'. The 
two travellers got out here and stood almost alone 
on the stone platform with their luggage. They 
were, indeed, the only first-class passengers in the 
train. 

As they glanced about them, they were ap' 



Hereditary Bard 59 



proached b}' a diminutive man, past middle age, 
dressed in a costume which The O'Mahony had 
seen once or twice on the stage, but never before in 
every-day life. He was a clean-shaven, swarth}-- 
faced little man, lean as a withered bean-pod, and 
clad in a long-tailed coat with brass buttons, a long 
waist-coat, drab corduroy knee-breeches and gray 
worsted stockings. On his head he wore a high 
silk hat of antique pattern, dulled and rusty with 
extreme age. He took this off as he advanced, and 
looked from one to the other of the twain doubt- 
ingly. 

" Is it The O'Mahony of Muirisc that I have the 
honor to see before me?" he asked, his little ferret 
eyes dividing their glances in hesitation between 
the two. 

" I'm 3'our huckleberry," said The O'Mahony, 
and held out his hand. 

The small man bent his shriveled form double in 
salutation, and took the proffered hand with cere- 
monious formality. 

" Sir, you're kindly welcome back to your ances- 
thral domain," he said, with an emotional quaver in 
his thin, high voice. "All your people are Avaitin' 
with anxiety and pleasure for the sight of your face." 

" 1 hope they've got us somethin' to eat," said The 
O'Mahony. " We had breakfast at daybreak this 
morning, so's to work the churches, and I'm — " 

"His honor," hastily interposed Jerry, "is that 
pious he can't sleep of a mornin' for pinin' to hear 
mass." 

The little man's dark face softened at the infor- 
mation. He guessed Jerry's status by it, as well, 



6o The Return of The G MaJiony. 

and nodded at him while he bowed once more before 
The O'Mahony. 

" I took the liberty to order some slight refresh- 
mints at the hotel, sir, against your coming," he 
said. " If you'll do me the condescinsion to follow 
me, 1 will conduct you thither without delay." 

They followed their guide, as he, bearing himself 
very proudly and swinging his shoulders in rythm 
with his gait, picked his way across the square, 
through the mud of the pig-market, and down a 
narrow street of ancient, evil-smelling rookeries, to 
the chief tavern of the town — a cramped and dismal 
little hostelry, with unwashed children playing with 
a dog in the doorway, and a shock-headed stable- 
boy standing over them to do with low bows the 
honors of the house. 

The room into which they were shown, though 
no whit cleaner than the rest, had a comfortable fire 
upon the grate, and a plentiful meal, of cold meat 
and steaming potatoes boiled in their jackets, laid on 
the table. Jerry put down the bags here, and 
disappeared before The O'Mahony could speak. 
The O'Mahony promptly sent the waiter after him, 
and upon his return spoke with some sharpness : 

" Jerry, don't give me any more of this," he said. 
" You can chore it around, and make yourself useful 
to me, as you've always done ; but you git your 
meals with me, d' ye hear? Right alongside of me, 
every time." 

Thus the table was laid for three, and the 
O'Mahony made his companions acquainted with 
each other. 

" This is Jerry Higgins," he explained to the 



The Hereditary Bard. 6i 

wondering', swart-vnsaged little man. " He's sort o' 
chief cook and bottle-washer to the establishment, 
but he's so bashful afore strangers, I have to talk 
sharp to him now an' then. And let's see — I don't 
think the lawyer told me your name." 

" I am Cormac O'Daly," said the other, bowing 
wath proud humility. " An O'Mahony has had an 
O'Daly to chronicle his deeds of valor and daring, 
to sing his praises of person and prowess, since ages 
before Kian fought at Clontarf and married the 
daughter of the great Brian Boru. Oppression and 
poverty, sir, have diminished the position of the 
bard in most parts of Ireland, I'm informed. All 
the O'Dalys that in former times were bards to The 
O'Neill in Ulster, The O'Reilly of Brefny, The 
MacCarthy in Desmond and The O'Farrell oi 
Annaly — faith, they've disappeared from the face of 
the earth. But in Muirisc — glory be to the Lord ! — ■ 
there's still an O'Daly to welcome the O'Mahony 
back and sing the celebration of his achievements." 

" Sort o' song-and-dance man, then, eh ?" said 
The O'Mahony, " Well, after dinner we'll push 
the table back an' give you a show. But let's eat 
first." 

The little man for the moment turned upon the 
speaker a glance of surprise, which seemed to have 
in it the elements of pain. Then he spoke, as if re- 
assured : 

" Ah, sir, in America, where I'm told the Irish 
are once more a rich and powerful people, our 
ancient nobility would have their bards, with rale 
harps and voices for singing. But in this poor 
country it's only a mettj^^horical existence a bard 



62 The Return of Tuc O MaJiony. 

can have. Whin I spoke the word ' song,' my in- 
tintion was allegorical. Sure, 'tis drivin' you from 
the house I'd be after doing, were 1 to sing in the 
ginuine maning of the word. But I have here some 
small verses which I composed this day, while 1 
was waitin' in the pig-market, that you might not 
be indisposed to listen to, and to accept" 

O'Daly drew from his waistcoat pocket a sheet of 
soiled and crumpled paper forthwith, on which some 
lines had been scrawled in pencil. Smoothing this 
out upon the table, he donned a pair of big, horn- 
rimmed spectacles, and proceeded to decipher and 
slowly read out the following, the while the others 
ate and, marvelinsr much, listened: ' 



I. 

What do the guiis scream as they wheel 

Along Dunmanus' broken shore ? 
AVhat do the wjst winds, keening shrill. 
Call to each ot^sr for evermore ? 

From Muirisc's reeds, from Goleen's weeds. 
From Gabriel's summit, Skull's low lawn. 
The echoes answer, through their tears, 
' O'Mahony's gone ! O'Mahony's gone !' 

II, 

' But now the sunburst brightens all, 
The clouds are lifted, waters gleam. 
Long pain forgotten, glad tears fall. 
At waking from this evil dream. 

The cawing rooks, the singing brooks. 

The zephjrr's sighs, the bee's soft hum. 
All tell the tale of our delight — 
* O'Mahony's come ! O'Mahony's come !' 



The Hereditary Bard. 6 



J 



" O'Mahony of the white-foamed coast, 
Of Kinalmeaky's nut-brown plains, 
Lord of Rosbrin, proud Raithlean's boast, 
Who over the waves and the sea-mist reigns. 
Let Clancy quake ! O'DriscoU shake ! 
The O'Casey hide his head in fear! 
While Saxons flee across the sea — 
O'Mahony's here ! O'Mahony 's here!" 

The bard linished iiis reading with a trembling' 
voice, and looked at his auditors earnestly through 
moistened eyes. The excitement had brought a dim 
flush of color upon his leathery cheeks where the 
blue-black line of close shaving ended. 

" It's to be sung to the chune of ' The West's 
Awake!' " he said at last, with diffidence. 

" You did that all with your own jack-knife, eh ?'' 
remarked the The O'Mahon}", nodding in approba- 
tion. " Well, sir, it's darned good !" 

" Then you're plased with it, sir?" asked the poet. 

" ' Pleased !' Why, man, if I'd known they felt 
that way about it, I'd have come 3-ears ago, 
'Pleased?' Why it's downright po'try," 

" Ah, that it is, sir," put in Jerry, sympathetically. 
" And to think of it that he did it all in the pig- 
market whiles he waited for us! Egor ! 'twould 
take me the best pai-t of a week to conthrive as 
much !" 

O'Daly glanced at him with severity. 

" Maybe more yet," he said, tersely, and resumed 
his long-interrupted meal. 

" And you're goin' to be around all the while, eh, 



64 The Rct2i7'n of The G MahoiLy. 

ready to turn these poems out on short notice?" the 
O'Mahony asked, 

" Sir, an 0'Dal3^'s poor talents are day and night 
at the command of the O'Mahony of IMuirisc," the 
bard replied. Then, scanning Jerry, he put a ques- 
tion : 

" Is Mr. Higgins long with you, sir?" 

" Oh, yes ; a long while," answered The O'Mahony, 
without a moment's hesitation. " Yes — I wouldn't 
know how to get along without him — he's been one 
of the family so long, now." 

The near-sighted poet failed to observe the wink 
which was exchanged across the table. 

" The name Higgins," he remarked, " is properly 
MacEgan. It is a very honorable name. They were 
hereditary Brehons or judges, in both Desmond and 
Ormond, and, later, in Connaught, too. The name 
is also called O'Higgins and O'Hagan. If 3'ou 
would permit me to suggest, sir," he went on, "it 
would be betther at Muirisc if Mr. Higgins were to 
resume his ancestral appellation, and consint to be 
known as MacEgan, The children there are that 
well grounded in Irish history, the name would 
secure for him additional respect in their eyes. And 
moreover, sir, saving Mr. Higgins's feelings, I ob- 
served that you called him 'Jerry.' Now 'Jerry* 
is appropriate when among intimate friends or re- 
lations, or bechune master and man — and its more 
ceremonious form, Jeremiah, is greatly used in the 
less educated parts of this country. But, sir, 
Jeremiah is, strictly speaking, no name for an Irish- 
man at all, but only the cognomen of a Hebrew 
bard who followed the Israelites into captivit}^ like 



The Hereditary Bard. 65 

Owen Ward did the O'Neils into exile. It's a base 
and vulgar invintion of the Saxons — this new Irish 
Jeremiah — for why? because their thick tongues 
could not pronounce the beautiful old Irish name 
Diarmid or Dermot. Manny poor people for 
want of understanding, forgets this now. But in 
Muirisc the laste intelligent child knows betther. 
Therefore, I would suggest that when we arrive at 
your ancesthral abode, sir, Mr. Higgins's name be 
given as Diarmid MacEgan." 

" An' a foine bould name it is, too !" said Jerry. 
" Egor ! if I'm called that, and called rigular to me 
males as well, I'll put whole inches to my stature." 

" Well, O'Daly," said The O'Mahony, " you just 
run that part of the show to suit yourself. If you 
hear of anything that wants changin' any time, or 
whittlin' down or bein' spelt different, you can inter- 
fere right then an' there without sayin' anything to 
me. What I want is to have things done correct, 
even if we're out o' pocket by it. You're the agent 
of the estate, ain't you ?" 

"I am that, sir; and likewise the postmaster, the 
physician, the precepthor, the tax-collector, the 
clerk of the parish, the poor law guardian and the at- 
torney ; notto mintion the proud hereditary post to 
which I've already adverted, that of bard and his- 
torian to The O'Mahony. But, sir, I see that your 
family carriage is at the dure. We'll be startin* 
now, if it's your pleazure. It's a long journey we've 
before us." 

When the bill had been called for and paid by 
O'Daly, and they had reached the street, The 



66 The Return of The O' Mahony. 

O'Mahony surveyed with a lively interest the 
sti-ange vehicle drawn up at the curb before him. 
In principle it was like the outside cars he had yes- 
terday seen for the first time, but much lower, nar- 
rower and lonf^er. The seats upon which occupants 
were expected to place themselves back to back, 
were close tog-ether, and cushioned only with worn 
old pieces of cow-skin. Between the shafts was a 
shagg-y and unkempt little beast, which was engaged 
in showing its teeth viciously at the children and 
the dog. The whole equipage looked a century old 
at the least. 

At the end of four hours the rough-coated pony 
was still scurrying along the stony road at a rattling 
pace. It had galloped up the hills and i-aced down 
into the valleys with no break of speed from the 
beginning. The O'Mahony, grown accustomed 
now to maintaining his seat, thought he had never 
seen such a horse before, and said so to O'Dal}', 
who sat beside him, Jerry and the bag being dis- 
posed on the opposite side, and the driver, a silent, 
round-shouldered, undersized young man sitting in 
front with his feet on the shafts. 

" Ah, sir, our bastes are like our people here- 
abouts," replied the bard — " not much to look at, 
but with hearts of goold. They'll run till they fall. 
But, sir — halt, now, Malachy ! — yonder you can see 
Muirisc." 

The jaunting-car stopped. The April twilight 
was gathering in the clear sky above them, and 
shadows were rising from the brown bases of the 
mountains to their right. The whole journey had 
been through a bleak and desolate moor and bog^ 



The Hereditary Bard. 67 

land, broken here and there by a lonely glen, in the 
shelter of which a score of stone hovels were clus- 
tered, and to which all attempts at tillage were con- 
fined. 

Now, as The O'Mahony looked, he saw stretched 
before liim, some hundred feet below, a great, level 
plain, from which, in the distance, a solitary moun- 
tain ridge rose abruptly. This plain was wedge- 
shaped, and its outlines were sharply defined by the 
glow of evening light upon the waters surrounding 
it — waters which dashed in white-breakers against 
the rocky coast nearest by, but seemed to lie in 
placid quiescence on the remote farther shore. 

It was toward this latter dark line of coast, half- 
obscured now as they gazed by rising sea-mists, 
that O'Daly pointed ; and The O'Mahon}^ scanning 
the broad, dusky landscape, made out at last some 
flickering sparks of reddish light close to where the 
waters met the land. 

"See, O'Mahoney, see!" the little man cried, his 
claw-like hand trembling as he pointed. " Those 
lights burned there for Kian when he never return- 
ed from Clontarf, eight hundred years ago ; they 
are burning there now for you !" 



CHAPTER VII. 

THE O'MAHONY'S HOME-WELCOME. 

The road from the brow of the hill down to the 
plain wound in such devious courses through rock- 
lined defiles and bog-paths shrouded with stunted 
tangles of scrub-trees, that an hour elapsed before 
The O'Mahony again saw the fires which had been 
lighted to greet his return. This hour's drive went 
in silence, for the way was too rough for talk. 
Darkness fell, and then the full moon rose and 
wrapped the wild landscape in strange, misty lights 
and weird shadows. 

All at once the car emerged from the obscurity 
of overhanging trees and bowlders, and the 
travellers found themselves in the very heart of the 
hamlet of Muirisc. The road they had been travers- 
ing seemed to have come suddenly to an end in a 
great barn-yard, in the center of which a bonfire 
was blazing, and around which, in the reddish 
flickering half-lights, a lot of curiously shaped stone 
buildings, little and big, old and new, were jumbled 
in sprawling picturesqueness. 

About the fire a considerable crowd of persons 
were gathered — thin, little men in long coats and 
knee-breeches ; old, white-capped women with 
large, black hooded cloaks ; younger women with 

m 



The O Alahouys Home-Welcome. 69 

crimson petticoats and bare feet and ankles, children 
of all sizes and ages clustering about their skirts 
— perhaps a hundred souls in all. Though The 
O'Mahony had very little poetic imagination or 
pictorial sensibility, he was conscious that the 
spectacle was a curious one. 

As the car came to a stop, O'Daly leaped lightly 
to the ground, and ran over to the throng by the 
bonfire. 

" Now thin !" he called out, with vehemence, 
" have ye swallowed ye're tongues ? Follow me 
now! Cheers for The O'Mahony! Now thin! 
One — two — " 

The little man waved his arms, and at the signal, 
led by his piping voice, the assembled villagers sent 
up a concerted shout, which filled the shadowed 
rookeries round about with rival echoes of 
" hurrahs" and " hurroos," and then broke, like an 
exploding rocket, into a shower of high pitched, 
unintelligible ejaculations. 

Amidst this welcoming chorus of remarks, which 
be could not understand, The O'Mahony alighted, 
and walked toward the fii^, closely followed by 
Jerry, and by Malachy, the driver, bearing the bags. 

For a moment he almost feared to be overthrown 
by the spontaneous rush which the black-cloaked old 
women made upon him, clutching at his arms and 
shoulders and deafening his ears with a babel of 
outlandish sounds. But O'Daly came instantly to 
his rescue, pushing back the eager crones with vig- 
orous roughness, and scolding them in two languages 
in sharp peremptory tones. 

" Back there wid ye, Biddy Quinn ! Now thin, 



JO The Return of The O'Mahony. 

ould deludherer, will ye hould yer pace! Come 
along out o' that, Petlier's Mag ! Lave his honor a 
free path, will ye !" Thus, with stern remonstrance, 
backed by cuffs and pushes, O'Daly cleared the 
way, and The O'Mahony found himself half-forced, 
half-guided away from the fire and toward a tall and 
sculptured archway, which stood alone, quite inde- 
pendent of any adjoining wall, upon the nearest 
edge of what he took to be the barnyard. 

Passing under this impressive mediaeval gateway, 
he confronted a strange pile of buildings, gray and 
hoar in the moonlight where their surface was not 
covered thick with ivy. There were high pinnacles 
thrusting their jagged points into the sky line, which 
might be either chimneys or watch-towers ; there 
were lofty gabled walls, from which the roofs had 
fallen ; there were arched window-holes, through 
which vines twisted their umbrageous growth 
unmolested ; and side b}' side with these signs of 
bygone ruin, there were puzzling tokens of present 
occupation, 

A stout, elderly woman, in the white, frilled cap 
of her district, with a shawl about her shoulders and 
a bright-red skirt, stood upon the steps of what 
seemed the doorway of a church, bowing to the 
new-comer. Behind her, in the hall, glowed the 
light of a hospitable, homelike fire. 

" It is his honor come back to his own, Mrs, Sulli- 
van," the stranger heard O'Daly 's voice call out. 

" And it's kindly welcome ye are, sir," said the 
woman, bowing again. " Yer honor doen't remim- 
ber me, perhaps, I was Nora O'Mara, thin, in the 
day whin ye were a wee bit of a lad, before your 



The OMaho)iys Home-Welcome. yi 

father and mother — God rest their sowls! — crossed 
the say," 

" I'm afraid I doen't jest place you," said The 
O'Mahony. " I'm the worst hand in the world at 
rememberin' faces." 

The woman smiled. 

" Molare ! It's not be me face that anny bo}^ of 
thirty years back 'ud recognize me now," she said, 
as she led the way for the party into the house. 
" There were thim that had a dale of soft-sawderin' 
words to spake about it thin ; but they've left off 
this manny years ago." 

" It's your cooking and your fine housekeeping 
that we do be praising now with every breath, Mrs. 
Sullivan ; and sure that's far more complimintary to 
you than mere eulojums on skin-deep beauty, that's 
here to-day and gone to-morrow, and that was none 
o' your choosing at best," said O'Daly, as they 
entered the room at the end of the passage. 

" Thrue for you, Cormac O'Daly," the house- 
keeper responded, with twinkling eyes; "and I'm 
thinkin', if we'd all of us the choosin' of new faces, 
what an altered appearance you'd presint, without 
delay." 

A bright, glowing bank of peat on the hearth filled 
the room with cozy comfort. 

It was a small, square chamber, roofed with 
blackened oak beams, and having arched doors and 
windows. Its walls, partly of stone, partly of 
plaster roughly scratched, were whitewashed. The 
sanded floor was bare, save for a cowskin mat 
spread before the fire. A high, black-wood side- 
board at one end of the room, a half-dozea stiff- 



72 The Return of The O Mahony. 

backed, uncompromising looking chairs, and a table 
in the center, heaped with food, but without a cloth, 
completed the inventory of visible furniture. 

Mrs. O'Sullivan bustled out of the room, leaving 
the men together. The O'Mahony sent a final 
inquisitive glance from ceiling to uncarpeted 
floor. 

" So this is my ranch, eh ?" he said, taking off his 
hat. 

" Sir, you're welcome to the ancesthral abode of 
the O'Mahony's of Muirisc," answered O'Daly, 
gravely. " The room we stand in often enough 
sheltered stout Conagher O'Mahony, before confis- 
cation dhrove him forth, and the ruffian Boyle came 
in. 'Tis far oldher, sir, than Ballydesmond or even 
Dunmanus." 

" So old, the paper seems to have all come off'n 
the walls," said The O'Mahony. " Well, we'll git 
in a rocking-chair or so and a rag-carpet and new 
paper, an' spruce her up generally. I s'pose there's 
lots o' more room in the house." 

" Well, sir, rightly spakin', there is a dale more, 
but it's mostly not used, by rayson of there being 
no roof overhead. There's this part of the castle 
that's inhabitable, and there's a part of the convent 
forninst the porch where the nuns live, but there's 
more of both, not to mintion the church, that's 
ruined entirely. Whatever your taste in ruins may 
plase to be, there'll be something here to delight 
you. We have thim that's a thousand 3'ears old, 
and thim that's fallen into disuse since only last 
winter. Anny kind 3'ou like : Early Irish, pray- 
Norman, posht-Norman, Elizabethan, Georgian, or 



The O Mahony s Home- Welcome. j^t 

very late Victorian — here the ruins are for 3011, the 
natest and most complate and convanient altogether 
to be found in Munster." 

The eyes of the antiquarian bard sparkled with 
enthusiasm as he recounted the architectural glories 
of JMuirisc. There was no answering glow in the 
glance of The O'Mahony. 

" I'll have a look round first thing in the morn- 
ing," he said, after the men had seated themselves 
at the table, 

A bright-faced, neatly clad girl divided with Mrs. 
O'SuUivan the task of bringing the supper from 
the kitchen beyond into the room ; but it was 
Malachy, wearing now a curiously shapeless long 
black coat, instead of his driver's jacket, who placed 
the dishes on the table, and for the rest stood in 
silence behind his new master's chair. 

The O'Mahony grew speedily restless under the 
consciousness of Malachy's presence close at his 
back. 

" We can git along without him, can't we ?" he 
asked O'Daly, with a curt backward nod. 

" Ah, no, sir," pleaded the other. " The boj^ 'iid 
be heart-broken if ye sint him awa3^ 'Twas his 
grandfather waited on your great-uncle's cousin. 
The O'Mahony of the Double Teeth ; and his father 
always served your cousins four times removed, 
who aich in his turn held the title ; and the old man 
sorrowed himsilf to death whin the last of 'em 
desaysed, and 3-our honor couldn't be found, and 
there was no more an O'Mahony to wait upon. 
The grief of that good man wud 'a' brought tears to 
your eyes. There was no keeping him from the 



74 The Rehtm of The O'Mahony. 

dhrink day or night, sir, till he made an ind to him- 
silf. And young Malachy, sir, he's composed of the 
same determined matarial." 

" Well, of course, if he's so much sot on it as all 
that," said The O'Mahony, relenting. " But I 
wanted to feel free to talk over affairs with you — 
money matters and so on ; and — " 

" Ah, sir, no fear about Malachy. Not a word of 
what we do be saying does he comprehind." 

" Deef and dumb, eh ?" 

" Not at all ; but he has only the Irish." In answer 
to O'Mahony's puzzled look, O'Daly added in explan- 
ation : " It's the glory of Muirisc, sir, that we 
hould fast be our ancient thraditions and tongue. 
In all the place there's not rising a dozen that could 
spake to you in English. And — I suppose your 
honor forgets the Irish entoirely f* Or perhaps your 
parents neglected to tache it to you ?" 

" Yes," said The O'Mahony; " they never taught 
me any Irish at all ; leastways, not that I remember." 

" Luk at that now !" exclaimed O'Daly, sadly, as he 
took more fish upon his plate. 

" It's goin' to be pritty rough sleddin' for me to 
git around if nobody understands what I say, ain't 
it?" asked The O'Mahony, doubtfully. 

" Oh, not at all," O'Daly made brisk reply. " It's 
part of my hereditary duty to accompany you on all 
your travels and explorations and incursions, to keep 
a record of the same, and properly celebrate thim 
in song and history. The last two O'Mahonys be- 
twixt ourselves, did nothing but dhrink at the pig- 
market at D unman way once a week, and dhrink at 
Mike Leary's shebeen over at Ballydivlin the re- 



TJie O MaJionys Home-Welcome. 75 

mainding days of the week, and dhrink here at home 
on Sundays. To say the laste, this provided only 
indifferent opportunities for a bard. But plase the 
Lord bether times have come, now." 

Malachy had cleared the dishes from the board, 
and now brought forward a big square decanter, a 
sugar-bowl, a lemon fresh cut in slices, three large 
glasses and one small one. O'Daly at this lifted a 
steaming copper kettle from the crane over the fire, 
and began in a formally ceremonious and deliberate 
manner the brewing of the punch. The O'Mahony 
watched the operation with vigilance. Then clay 
pipes and tobacco were produced, and Malachy left 
ihe room. 

" What I wanted to ask about," said The 
O'Mahony, after a pause, and between sips from his 
fragrant glass, " was this : That lawyer, Carmod)', 
didn't seem to know much about what the estate 
was worth, or how the money came in, or anything 
else. All he had to do, he said, was to snoop around 
and find out where I was. All the rest was in your 
hands. What I want to know is jest where I stand." 

" Well, sir, that's not hard to demonsthrate. 
You're The O'Mahony of Muirisc. You own in 
freehold the best part of this barony — some nine 
thousand acres. You have eight-and-thirty tinants 
by lasehold, at a total rintal of close upon four hun- 
dred pounds ; turbary rights bring in rising twinty 
pounds ; the royalty on the carrigeens bring ten 
pounds; )'Our own farms, with the pigs, the barley, 
the grazing and the butter, produce annually two 
hundred pounds — a total of six hundred and thirty 
pounds, if I'm not mistaken." 



76 The Return of The O Mahony. 

" How much is that in dolKirs?" 

"About three thousand one hundred and fifty 
dollars, sir." 

" And that comes in each year ?" said The 
O'Mahony, straightening himself in his chair. 

" It does that," said O'Daly ; then, after a pause, he 
added dryly : " and goes out again." 

" How d'ye mean ?" 

*' Sir, the O'Mahonys are a proud and high-minded 
race, and must liv^e accordingly. And aich of your 
ancestors, to keep up his dignity, borrowed as 
much money on the blessed land as ever he could 
raise, till the inthrest now ates up the greater half 
of the income. If you net two hundred pounds a 
year — that is to say, one thousand dollars — ■3'ou're 
doing very well indeed. In the mornin' I'll be 
happy to show you all me books and Mrs. Fergus 
O'Mahony." 

" Who 's she ?" 

" The sister of the last of The O'Mahonys before 
you, sir, who married another of the name only dis- 
tantly related, and has been a widow these five 
years, and would be owner of the estate if her 
brother had broken the entail as he always intinded, 
and never did by ray son that there was so much 
dhrinking and sleeping and playing ' forty-five ' at 
Mike Leary's to be done, he'd no time for lawyers. 
Mrs. Fergus has been having the use of the property 
since his death, sir, being the nearest visible heir." 

"And so my comin' threw her out, eh ? Did she 
take it pritty hard ?" 

" Sir, loyalty to The O'Mahony is so imbedded in 
the brest of every sowl in Muirisc, that if she made 



The OMahonys Home- Welcome. ']'} 

a sign to resist your pretinsions, her own frinds 
would have hooted her. She may have some 
riservations deep down in her heart, but she's too 
thrue an O'Mahon}^ to re vale thim," 

More punch was mixed, and The O'Mahony was 
about to ask further questions concerning the 
widow he had dispossessed, when the door opened 
and a novel procession entered the room. 

Three venerable women, all of about the same 
height, and all clad in a strange costume of black 
gowns and sweeping black vails, their foreheads and 
chins covered with stiff bands of white linen, and 
long chains of beads ending in a big silver-gilt cross 
swinging from their girdles, advanced in single file 
toward the table — then halted, and bowed slightly. 

O'Dal}^ and Jerry had risen to their feet upon the 
instant of this curious apparition, but the The 
O'Mahony kept his seat, and nodded with amiabil- 
ity. 

"How d' do?" he said, lightly. "It's mighty 
neighborly of you to run in like this, without 
knockin', or standin' on ceremony. Won't you 
sit down, ladies ? I guess you can find chairs." 

" These are the Ladies of the Hostage's Tears, 
your honor," O'Daly hastened to explain, at the 
same time energetically winking and motioning to 
him to stand. 

But The O'Mahony did not budge. 

" I'm glad to see you," he assured the nuns once 
more. " Take a seat, won't 3^ou ? O'Daly here'll 
mix you up one o' these drinks o' his'n, I'm sure, if 
you'll give the word." 

" We thank ^ou, O'Mahony," said the foremost of 



78 The Return of TJic O Mahoiiy. 

the aged women, in a deep, solemn voice, but pay- 
ing no heed to the chairs which O'Daly and Jerry 
had dragged forward. " We come solely to do 
obeisance to you as the heir and successor of our 
pious founder, Diarmid of the Fine Steeds, and 
to presint to you your kinswoman — our present 
pupil, and the solitary hope of our once renowned 
order." 

The O'Mahony gathered nothing of her meaning 
from this lugubrious wail of words, and glanced 
over the speaker's equally aged companions in vain 
for any sign of hopefulness, solitary or otherwise. 
Then he saw that the hindmost of the nuns had pro- 
duced, as if from the huge folds of her black gown, 
a little girl of six or seven, clad in the same gloomy 
tint, whom she was pushing forward. 

The child advanced timidly under pressure, gaz- 
ing wonderingly at The O'Mahony, out of big, 
heavily fringed hazel eyes. Her pale face was 
made almost chalk-like by contrast with a thick 
tangle of black hair, and wore an expression of 
apprehensive shyness almost painful to behold. 

The O'Mahony stretched out his hands and smiled, 
but the child hung back, and looked not in the least 
reassured. He asked her name with an effort at 
jovialty. 

" Kate O'Mahony, sir," she said, in a low voice, 
bending her little knees in a formal bob of courtesy. 

" And are you goin' to rig yourself out in those 
long gowns and vails, too, when you grow up, eh, 
siss?" he asked. 

" The daughters of The Q'Mahonys of Muirisc, 
\yith only here and there a thrifling exception, havci 



The O Mahonys Home- Welcome. 79 

been Ladies of the Hostage's Tears since the order 
was founded here in the year of Our Lord 1191," 
said the foremost nun, stiffly. " After long years, in 
which it seemed as if the order must perish, our 
prayers were answered, and this child of The 
O'Mahonys was sent to us, to continue the vows 
and obligations of the convent, and restore it, if it 
be the saints' will, to its former glory." 

" Middlin' big job they've cut out for you, eh, 
siss?" commented The O'Mahony, smilingly. 

The pleasant twinkle in his eye seemed to attract 
the child. Her face lost something of its scared 
look, and she of her own volition moved a step 
nearer to his outstretched hands. Then he caught 
her up and seated her on his knee. 

" So you're goin' to sail in, eh, an' jest make the 
old convent hum again ? Strikes me that's a pritty 
chilly kind o' look-out for a little gal like you. 
Wouldn't 3'Ou now, honest Injun, rather be 
whoopin' round barefoot, with a nann3^-goat, say, 
an' some rag dolls, an' — an' — dim bin' trees an' 
huntin' after eggs in the hay-mow — than go into 
partnership with grandma, here, in the nun busi- 
ness ?" 

The O'Mahony had trotted the child gentl}- up 
and down, the while he propounded his query. 
Perhaps it was its obscure phraseology which 
prompted her to hang her head, and obstinately 
refuse to lift it even when he playfully put his finger 
under her chin. She continued to gaze in silence at 
the floor ; but if the nuns could have seen her face 
they would have noted that presently its expression 
lightened and its bi^ eyes flashed, as The O'Mahony 



8o The Rettirn of The OMahony. 

whispered something into her ear. The good 
women would have been shocked indeed could they 
also have heard that something. 

" Now don't you fret your gizzard, siss," he had 
whispered — " you needn't be a nun for one solitary 
darned minute, if you don't want to be." 



CHAPTER VIII. 

TWO MEN IN A BOAT. 

A fishing-boat laj^ at anchor in a cove of Dun- 
manus Bay, a hundred rods from shore, softly rising 
and sinking with the swell of the tide which stirred 
the blue waters with all gentleness on this peaceful 
June morning. Two men sat in lounging attitudes 
at opposite ends of the little craft, yawning lazily in 
the sunshine. They held lines in their hands, but 
their listless and wanderintr olances made it evident 
that nothing: was further from their thousrhts than 
the catching of fish. 

The warm summer air was so clear that the ham- 
let of Muirisc, whose gray walls, embroidered with 
glossy vines, and tiny cottages white with lime-wash 
were crowded together on the very edge of the 
shore, seemed close beside them, and every grunt 
and squawk from sty or barn-yard came over the 
lapping waters to them as from a sounding-board. 
The village, engirdled by steep, sheltering cliffs, 
and glistening in the sunlight, made a picture which 
artists would have blessed their stars for. The two 
men in the boat looked at it wearily. 

" Egor, it's rny belafe," said the fisher at the bow, 
after what seemed an age of idle silence, " that the 

[8i] 



82 The Return of The OMahony. 

fishes have all foUied the byes an' gerrels, an' be- 
taken thimselves to Araeriky." He pulled in his 
line, and gazed with disgust at the intact bait. 
" Luk at that, now !" he continued. " There's a 
male fit for the holy Salmon of Knowledge himsilf, 
that taught Fin MacCool the spache of animals, and 
divil a bite has the manest shiner condiscinded to 
make at it." 

" Oh, darn the fish !" replied the other, with a long 
sigh. " I don't care whether we catch any or not. 
It's worth while to come out here even if we never 
get a nibble and baked ourselves into bricks, jest to 
get rid of that infernal O'Dal}-." 

It was The OTvIahony who spoke, and he invested 
the concluding portion of his remark with an almost 
tearful earnestness. During the pause which en- 
sued he chewed vigorously upon the tobacco in his 
mouth, and spat into the sea with a stern expression 
of countenance. 

" I tell you what, Jerry," he broke out with at 
last — " 1 can't stand much more of that fellow. 
He's jest breakin' me up piecemeal. 1 begin to feel 
like Jeff Davis — that it 'ud have bin ten dollars in 
my pocket if I'd never bin born." 

" Ah, sure, your honor," said Jerry, " ye'll git 
used to it in time. He manes for the best." 

" That's jest what makes me tired," rejoined The 
O'Mahony ; " that's what they always said about a 
fellow when he makes a confounded nuisance of 
himself. I hate fellows that mean for the best. I'd 
much rather he meant as bad as he knew how. 
P'raps then he'd shut up and mind his own business, 
and leave me alone part of the time. It's bad 



Tiuo Me7i in a Boat. ^2^ 

enough to have your estate mortgaged up to the 
eyebrows, but to have a bard piled oa top o' the 
mortgages — egad, it's more'u flesh and blood can 
stand ! I don't wonder them other O'Mahonys took 
to drink." 

" There's a dale to be said for the dhrink, your 
honor," commented the other, tentatively. 

" There can be as much said as you like," said 
The O'Mahony, with firmness, " but doin is a hoss 
of another color. I'm goin' to stick to the four 
drinks a day an' two at night ; an' what's good 
enough for me 's good enough for you. That bat of 
ours the first week we come settled the thing. I 
said to myself : ' There's goin' to be one O'lNIahony 
that dies sober, or I'll know the reason why ! ' " 

" Egor, Saint Pether won't recognize j-e, thin," 
chuckled Jerry ; and the other grinned grimly in 
spite of himself. 

" Do )'Ou know I've bin fig'rin' to myself on that 
convent business," The O'Mahony mused aloud, 
after a time, " an' I guess I've pritty well sized it up. 
The 0'iMahon3-s started that thing, accordin' to my 
notion, jest to coop up their sisters in, where board 
and lodgin' 'ud come cheap, an' one suit o' clothes 
'ud last a lifetime, in order to leave more money for 
themselves for whisky. I ain't sayin' the scheme 
ain't got some points about it. You bar out all 
that nonsense about bonnets an' silk dresses an' 
beads an' fixin's right from the word go, and you've 
got 'em safe under lock an' key, so 't they can't go 
gallivantin' round an' gittin' into scrapes. But I'll 
be dodrotted if I'm goin' to set still an' see 'em 
capture that little gal Katie agin her will. You 



84 The Retiuni of The O' Mahony. 

hear me / An' another thing, I'm goin' to put my 
foot down about goin' to church every mornin'. 
Once a week's goin' to be my ticket right from 
now. An' you needn't show up any oftener )^our- 
self if you don't want to. It's high time we had it 
out whether it's me or O'Daly that's runnin' this 
show." 

" Sure, rightly spakin', your honor's own sowl 
wouldn't want no more than a mass aich Sunday," 
expounded Jerry, concentrating liis thoughts upon 
the whole vast problem of dogmatic theology. 
" But this is the throuble of it, you see, sir: there's 
the sowls of all thim other O'Mahonys that's gone 
before, that the nuns do be prayin' for to git out of 
purgatory, an' — " 

** That's all right," broke in The O'Mahon}^ " but 
my motto is : let every fellow hustle for himself. 
They're on the spot, wherever it is, an' they're the 
best judges of what the}' want ; an' if they ain't got 
sand enough to sail in an' git it, I don't see why I 
should be routed up out of bed every mornin' at 
seven o'clock to help 'em. To tell the truth, Jerry, 
I'm gittin' all-iired sick of these O'Mahonys. Tliis 
havin' dead men slung at you from mornin' to night, 
day in an' day out, rain or shine, would have busted 
up Job himself." 

" I'm thinking, sir," said Jerr}-, with a merr}- 
twinkle in his eyes, " there's no havin' annything in 
this worruld without payin' for that same. 'Tis the 
pinalty of belongin' to a great family. Egor, since 
O'Daly thranslated me into a IMacEgan I've had no 
pace of me life, by raj'son of the necessity to 
demane mesilf accordin'." 



Two Men in a Boat 85 

" Why, darn it all, man," pursued the other, " I 
can't do a solitary thing, any time of day, without 
O'Daly luggin' up what some old rooster did a 
thousand years ago. He follows me round like my 
shadow, blatherin' about what Dermid of the Buck- 
ing Horses did, an' what Conn of the Army Mules 
thought of doin' and didn't, and what Finn of the 
Wall-eyed Pikes would have done if he could, till 
1 git sick at my stomach. He Avon't let me lift my 
finger to do an3'thing, because The O'Mahony 
mustn't sile his hands with work, and 1 have to 
stand round and watch a lot of bungling cusses pre- 
tend to do it, when they don't know any more about 
the work than a yellow dog." 

" Faith, ye'U not get much sjmipathy from the 
gintry of Ireland on that score," said Jerry. 

" An' then that Malachy — he gives me a cramp ! he 
ain't got a grin in his whole carcass, an' he can't 
understand a word that I say, so that O'Daly has 
that for another excuse to hang around all the while. 
Take my steer, Jerry ; if anybody leaves you an 
estate, you jest inquire if there's a bard and a hered- 
itary dumb waiter that go with it; an' if there is, you 
jest sashay off somewhere else." 

'' Ab, sir, but an estate's a great thing." 

" Yes — to tell about. But now jest look at the thing 
as she stands. I'm the O'Mahony an' all that, an' I 
own more land than )'Ou can shake a stick at; but 
what does it all come to? Why, when the int'restis 
paid, I am left so poor that if churches was sellin' at 
tvvo cents apiece, I couldn't bu}- the hinge on a contri- 
bution box. An' then it's downright mortifyin' to 



86 The Return of The G Mahony. 

me to have to git a livin'by takin' things away from 
these poverty-stricken devils here. I'm ashamed to 
look 'em in the face, knowin' as I do how O'Daly 
makes 'em whack up pigs, an' geese, an' chickens, an' 
vegetables, an' lish, not to mention all the mone}' they 
can scrape together, just to keep me in idleness. It 
ain't fair. Every time one of 'em comes in, to bring 
me a peck o' peas, or a pail o' butter, or a shillin' 
that he's managed to earn somewhere, I say to my- 
self : ' Ole boss, if you was that fellow, and he was 
loafin' round as The O'Mahony, you'd jest lay for 
him and kick the whole top of his head off, and serve 
him darned well right, too.' " 

Jerry looked at his master now with a prolonged 
and serious scrutiny, greatly differing from his cus- 
tomary quizzical glance. 

" Throo for your honor," he said at last, in a hes- 
itating way, as if his remark disclosed only half his 
thought. 

" Yes, sirree, I'm sourin' fast on the hull thing," 
The O'Mahony exclaimed. " To do nothin' all day 
long but to listen to O'Daly's yarns, an' make signs 
at Malachy, an' think how long it is between drinks 
— that ain't no sort o' life for a white man. Egad! 
if there was any fightin' goin' on an3Mvhere in the 
world, darn me if I would not pull up stakes an' 
light out for it. Another six months o' this, an* my 
blood '11 all be turned to butter-milk. 

The distant apparition of a sailing-vessel hung 
upon the outer horizon, the noon sun causing the 
white squares of canvas to glow like jewels upon 
the satin sheen of the sea. Jerry stole a swift glance 
at his companion, and then bent a long meditative 



Two Men in a Boat. 87 

gaze upon the passing vessel, humming softly to 
himself as he looked. At last he turned to his com- 
panion with an air of decision. 

" O'Mahon)'," he said, using the name thus for the 
first time, " I'm resolved in me mind to disclose 
something to ye. It's a sacret I'm goin' to tell 
you." 

He spoke with impressive solemnity, and the 
other looked up with interest awakened. 

" Go ahead," he said, 

" Well, sir, 3^our remarks this day, and what I've 
seen wid me own eyes of your demaynor, makes it 
plane that you're a frind of Ireland. Now there's 
just wan M'ay in the worruld for a frind of Ireland 
to demonsthrate his affection — and that's be enrollin' 
himsilf among thim that'll fight for her rights. Sir, 
I'll thrust ye wid me sacret. I'm a Fenian." 

The O'Mahony's attentive face showed no light 
of comprehension. The word which Jerry had 
uttered with such mystery conveyed no meaning to 
him at all at first ; then he vaguely recalled it as a sort 
of slang description of Irishmen in general, akin' to 
" JSIick " and " bogtrotter." 

" Well, what of it ?" he asked, wonderingl3\ 

Jerry's quick perception sounded at once the 
depth of his ignorance. 

" The Fenians, sir," he explained, " are a great and 
sacret society, wid tins of thousands of min enlisted 
here, an' in Ameriky, an' among the Irish in Eng- 
land, wid intint to rise up as wan man whin the time 
comes, an' free Ireland. It's a regular army, sir, 
that we're raisin*, to conquer back our liberties, and 



88 The Return of The GMahony. 

dhrive the bloody Saxon foriver away from Erin's 
green shores." 

The O'Mahony let his puzzled gaze wander along 
the beetling coast-line of naked rocks. 

" So far's I can see, they ain't green," he said ; 
" they're black and drab. An' who's this fellow 
you call Saxon ? I notice O'Daly lugs him into 
about every other piece o' po'try he nails me with, 
evenin's." 

" Sir, it's our term for the Englishman, who 
oppreases us, an' dhrives us to despair, an' prevints 
our holdin' our hieads up amongst the nations of the 
earth. Sure, sir, wasn't all this counthry round- 
about for a three days' journey belongin' to your 
ancesthors, till the English stole it and sold it to 
Boyle, that thief of the earth — and his tomb, be the 
same token, I've seen many a time at Youghal, 
where I was born. But — awli, sir, what's the use 
o' talkin'? Sure, the blood o' the O'Mahonys ought 
to stir in your veins at the mere suspicion of an 
opporchunity to sthrike a blow for your counthry." 

The O'Mahony yawned and stretched his long 
arms lazily in the sunshine. 

" Nary a stir," he said, with an idle half-grin. 
" But what the deuce is it you're drivin' at anyway ?" 

" Sir, I've towld ye we're raisin' an army — a 
great, thund'rin' secret army — and whin it's raised 
an' our min all dhrilled an' our guns an' pikes all 
handy — sure, thin we'll rise and fight. An' it's 
much mistaken 1 am in you, O'Mahony, if you'd be 
contint to lave this fun go on undher your nose, an' 
you to have no hand in it." 

•' Of course I want to be in it," said The O'Ma- 



Ttvo Men in a Boat. 89 

hony, evincing more interest. " Onl.y I couldn't 
make head or tail of what you was talkin' about. 
An' I don't know as I see yet jest what the scheme 
is. But you can count me in on anything that's got 
gunpowder in it, an' that'll give me somethin' to do 
besides list'nin' to O'Daly's yawp." 

" We'll go to Cork to-morrow, thin, if it's conva- 
nient to you," said Jerry, eagerly. " I'll spake to my 
' B,* or captain, that is, an' inthroduce ye, through 
him, to the chief organizer of Munster, and sure, 
they'll mnk' 3'e an' ' A,' the same as a colonel, an' 
I'll get promotion undher ye — an', Egor ! we'll raise 
a rigiment to oursilves entirely — an' Muirisc's the 
\ery darlin' of a place to land guns an' pikes an' 
powdher for all Ireland — an' 'tis we'll get the credit 
of it, an' get more promotion still, till, faith, there'll 
be nothin' too fine for our askin', an' we'll carr}' the 
whole blessed Irish republic around in our waist- 
coat pocket. What the divil, man ! We'll make 3'e 
presidint, an' I'll have a place in the poliss." 

" All right," said The O'Mahony, " we'll git all 
the fun there is out of it ; but there's one thing, 
mind, that I'm jest dead set about." 

" Ye've only to name it, sir, an' they'll be de- 
loighted to plase ye." 

" Well, it's this: O'Daly's got to be ruled out o' 
the thing. I'm goin' to have one deal without any 
hereditary bard in it, or 1 don't play." 



CHAPTER IX. 

THE VOICE OF THE HOSTAGE. 

We turn over now a score of those fateful pages 
on which Father Time keeps his monthly accounts 
with mankind, passing from sunlit June, with its 
hazy radiance lying softly upon smooth waters, to 
bleak and shrill February — the memorable February 
of 1867. 

A gale had been blowing outside beyond the 
headlands all day, and b}'' nightfall the minor waters 
of Dunmanus Bay had suffered such prolonged pull- 
ing and hauling and buffeting from their big Atlantic 
neighbors that they were up in full revolt, hurling 
themselves with thunderous roars of rage against 
the cliffs of their coast line, and drenching the dark- 
ness with scattered spray. The little hamlet of 
Muirisc, which hung to its low, nestling nook under 
the rocks in the very teeth of this blast, shivered, 
soaked to the skin, and crossed itself prayerfully as 
the wind shrieked like a banshee about its roofless 
gables and tower-walls and tore at the thatches of its 
clustered cabins. 

The three nuns of the Hostage's Tears, listening 

[90] 



The 1^0 ice of the Hostage. 91 

to the storm without, felt that it afforded an addi- 
tional justification for the infraction of their rules 
which they were for this evening, by no means for 
the first time, permitting themselves. Religion 
itself rebelled against solitude on such a night. 

Time had been when this convent, enlarged 
though it was by the piety of successive generations 
of early lords of Muirisc, still needed more room 
than it had to accommodate in comfort its host of 
inmates. But that time, alas ! was now a musty 
tradition of bygone ages. Even before the great 
sectarian upheaval of the mid-Tudor period, the 
ancient family order of the Hostage's Tears had 
begun to decline. I can't pretend to give the 
reason. Perhaps the supply of The O'Mahony's 
daughters fell off ; possibly some obscure shift of 
fashion rendered marriage more attractive in their 
eyes. Only this I know, that when the Commission- 
ers of Elizabeth, gleaning in the monastic stubble 
which the scythe of Henry had laid bare, came 
upon the nuns at Muirisc, whom the first sweep of 
the blade had missed, they found them no longer so 
numerous as they once had been. Ever since then 
the order had dwindled visibly. The three remain- 
ing ladies had, in their own extended cloistral 
career, seen the last habitable section of the convent 
fall into disuse and decay, until now only their own 
gaunt, stone-walled trio of cells, the school-room, 
the tiny chapel, and a chamber still known by the 
dignified title of the " reception hall," were avail- 
able for use. 

Here it was that a great mound of peat sparkled 
and glowed on the hearth, under a capricious 



92 The Return of The G Mahony. 

draught which now sucked upward with a whistling 
swoop whole clods of blazing turf — now, by a con- 
tradictory freak, half-filled the room with choking 
bog-smoke. Still, even when eyes were tingling 
and nostrils aflame, it was better to be here than 
outside, and better to have company than be alone. 

Both propositions were shiningly clear to the 
mind of Cormac O'Daly, as he mixed a second 
round of punch, and, peering through the steam 
from his glass at the audience gathered by the 
hearth, began talking again. The three aged nuns, 
who had heard him talk ever since he was born, sat 
decorously together on a bench and watched him, 
and listened as attentively as if his presence were a 
complete novelty. Their chaplain, a snuffy, half- 
palsied little old man, Father Harrington to wit, 
dozed and blinked and coughed at the smoke in his 
chair by the fire as harmlessly as a house-cat on the 
rug. Mrs. Fergus O'Mahony, a plump and buxom 
widow in the late twenties, with a comely, stupid 
face, framed in little waves of black, crimped hair 
pasted flat to the skin, sat opposite the priest, glass 
in hand. Whenever the temptation to yawn became 
too strong, she repressed it by sipping at the punch. 

" Anny student of the ancient Irish, or I might 
say Milesian charachter," said O'Daly, with high, 
disputatious voice, " might discern in our present 
chief a remarkable proof of what the learned call a 
reversion of toypes. It's thrue what you say. 
Mother Agnes, that he's unlike and teetotally differ- 
ent from anny other O'Mahony of our knowledge in 
modhern times. But thin I ask mesilf, what's the 
maning of this ? Clearly, that he harks back on the 



The J^oice of the Hostage. 93 

ancesthral tree, and resimbles some O'Mahony we 
dont know about ! And this I've been to the labor 
of thracing- out. Now attind to me ! 'Tis in your 
riccords, that four ginerations afther your foundher, 
Diarmid of the Fine Steeds, there came an O'Mahony 
of Muirisc called Teige, a turbulent and timpistuous 
man, as his name in the chronicles, Teige Goarbh, 
would indicate. 'Tis well known that he viawed 
holy things with contimpt. 'Twas he that wint on 
to the very althar at Rossca-rbery, in the chapel of 
St. Fachnau Mougah, or the hairy, and cudgeled 
wan of the daycons out of the place for the rayson 
that he stammered in his spache. 'Twas he that 
hung his bard, my ancestor of that period, up by the 
heels on a willow-tree, merel}" because he fell asleep 
over his punch, afther dinner, and let the rival 
O'Dugan bard stale his new harp from him, and 
lave a broken and disthressful old insthrumint in its 
place. Now there's the rale ancestor of our O'lNIa- 
hon3\ 'Tis as plain as the nose on your face. And 
— now I remimber — sure 'twas this same divil of a 
Teige Goarbh who was possessed to marr}^ his own 
cousin wance removed, who'd taken vows here in 
this blessed house. * Marry me now,' says he. ' I'm 
wedded to the Lord,' says she. ' Come along out o' 
that now,' says he. ' Not a step,' says she. And 
thin, faith, what did the rebellious ruffian do but 
gather all the straw and weeds and wet turf round 
about, and pile *em undernayth, and smoke the nuns 
out like a swarm o' bees. Sure, that's as like our 
O'Mahony now as two pays in a pod." 

As the little man finished, a shifty gust blew down 
the flue, and sent a darkling wave of smoke over the 



94 The Retzirn of The O Mahony, 

good people seated before the fire. They were too 
used to the sensation to do more than cough and 
rub their eyes. The mother-superior even smiled 
sternly through the smoke. 

" Is your maning that O'Mahony is at present on 
the roof, striving to smoke us out?" she asked, with 
iron clad sarcasm. 

" 'Awh, get along wid ye. Mother Agnes," wheezed 
the little priest, from his carboniferous corner. 
" Who would he be arfther demanding in marriage 
here ?" 

O'Daly and the nuns looked at their aged and 
shaky spiritual director with dulled apprehension. 
He spoke so rarely, and had a mind so far removed 
from the mere vanities and trickeries of decorative 
conversation, that his remark puzzled them. Then, 
as if through a single pair of e3^es, they saw that 
Mrs. Fergus had straightened herself in her chair, 
and was simpering and preening her head weakly, 
like a conceited parrot. 

The mother-superior spoke sharply, 

" And do you flatther yoursilf, Mrs, Fergus 
O'Mahon}^ that the head of our house is blowing 
smoke down through the chimney for you?"" she 
asked, " Sure, if he was, thin, 'twould be a lamint- 
able waste of breath. Wan puff from a short poipe 
would serve to captivate you f" 

Cormac O'Daly made haste to bury his nose in his 
glass. Long acquaintance with the attitude of the 
convent toward the marital tendencies of Mrs, Fer- 
gus had taught him wisdom. It was safe to sympa- 
thize with either side of the long-standing dispute 
when the other side was unrepresented. But when 



The Voice of tJie Hostage. 95 

the nuns and Mrs. Fergus discussed it together, he 
sagaciously held his peace. 

" Is it sour grapes you're tasting, Agnes 
(3'Mahon3' ?" put in Mrs. Fergus, briskly. In new 
matters, hers could not be described as an alert 
mind. But in this venerable quarrel she knew by 
heart ever_v retort, innuendo and affront which 
could be used as weapons, and every weak point in 
the other's armor. 

"Sour grapes! inc.'''' exclaimed the mother-supe- 
rior, with as livel}^ an effect of indignation as if this 
rejoinder had not been fiung in her face ever}- month 
or so for the past dozen years. " D'ye harken to 
that, Sister Blanaid and Sister Ann ! It's me, after 
me wan-and-fifty years of life in religion, that has 
this ojus imputation put on me ! Whisht now ! 
don't demane yourselves by replyin' ! We'll lave 
her to the condimnation of her own conscience." 

The two nuns had made no sig^n of breakins: their 
silence before this admonition came, and they gazed 
now at the peat fire placidly. But the angered 
mother-superior ostentatiously took up her beads, 
and began whispering to herself, as if her thoughts 
were already millions of miles away from her antag- 
onist with the crimped hair and the vacuous smile. 

'* It's persecuting me she's been these long years 
back," Mrs. Fergus said to the company at large, 
but never taking her eyes from the mother-superior's 
flushed face; "and all because I married me poor 
desaysed husband, instead of taking me vows under 
her." 

" Ah, that poor desaysed husband !" Mother Agnes 
put in, with an ironical drawl in the words. "Sure, 



96 The Return of The O'HJahon). 

whin he wasaloive, me ears were just worn out with 
listening to compLaints about him ! Ah, thin I 'Tis 
whin we're dead that we're appreciated !" 

" All because I married," pursued Mrs. Fergus, 
doggedly, "and wouldn't come and lock mesilf up 
here, like a toad in the turf, and lave me brothers 
free to spind the money in riot and luxurious livin'. 
May be, if God's will had putt a squint on me, or 
given me shoulders a twist like Danny at the fair, 
or otherwise disfigured me faytures, I'd have been 
glad to take vows. Mortial plainness is a great in- 
jucement to religion." 

The two nuns scuffled their feet on the stone floor 
and scowled at the fire. Mother Agnes put down 
her beads, and threw a martyr-like glance upward 
at the blackened oak roof. 

" Praise be to the saints," she said, solemnly, 
" that denied us the snare of mere beauty without 
sinse, or piety, or respect for old age, or humility, 
or politeness, or gratitude, or — " 

"Very well, thin, Agnes O'Mahony," broke in 
Mrs. Fergus, promptly. " If ye've that opinion of 
me, it's not becomin' that I should lave me daughter 
wid ye anny longer. I'll take her meself to Ken- 
mare next week — the ride over the mountains will 
do me nervous system a power o' good — and there 
she'll learn to be a lady." 

Cormac O'Daly lifted his head and set down his 
glass. He knew perfectly well that with this fam- 
iliar threat the dispute always came to an end. 
Indeed, all the parties to the recent contention now 
of their own accord looked at him, and resettled 



The Voice of the Hostage. 97 

themselves in their seats, as if to notify him that his 
turn had come round again. 

" I'm far from denying," he said, as if there had 
been no interruption at all, " that our O'jNIahony is 
possessed of qualities which commind him to the 
vulgar multichude. It's thrue that he rejewced 
rints all over the estate, and made turbary rights 
and the carrigeens as free as wather, and yet more 
than recouped himself by opening the copper mines 
beyant Ardmahon, and laysing thim to a company 
for a foine ro3"alty. It's thrue he's the first 
O'Mahony for manny a gineration who's paid 
expinses, let alone putting money by in the bank." 

" And what more would ye ask ?" said Mrs. 
Fergus. " Sure, whin he's done all this, and made 
fast frinds with every man, women and child round- 
about into the bargain, what more would ye want?" 

" Ah, what's money, JNIrs. Fergus O'Mahony," 
remonstrated O'Daly, *' and what's popularity wid 
the mere thoughtless peasanthrj^ if ye've no 
ancesthral proide, no love and reverence for ancient 
family thraditions, no devout desoire to walk in the 
paths your forefathers trod ?" 

" Faith, thim same forefathers trod thim with a 
highly unsteady step, thin, bechune oursilves," 
commented Mrs. Fergus. 

" But their souls were filled with blessid piet}'," 
said Mother Agnes, gravel}'. " If they gave small 
thought to the matter of money, and loike carnal 
disthractions, they had open hands always for the 
needs of the church, and of the convint here, and 
they made holy indings, every soul of 'em." 



98 The Return of The O Mahony 

" And they respected the hereditary functions of 
their bards," put in O'Daly, with a conclusive air. 

At the m(3ment, as there came a sudden hill in the 
t'.imult of the storm outside, those within the recep- 
tion-room heard a distinct noise of knocking, which 
proceeded from beneath the stone-flags at their feet. 
Three blows were struck, with a deadened thud as 
upon wet wood, and then the astounded listeners 
heard a low, muffled sound, strangely like a human 
voice, from the same depths. 

The tempest's furious screaming rose again with- 
out, even as they listened. All six crossed them- 
selves mechanically, and gazed at one another with 
blanched faces. 

"It is the Hostage," whispered the mother- 
superior, glancing impressively around, and striv- 
ing to dissemble the tremor which forced itself 
upon her lips. " For wan-and-fifty 3'ears I've been 
waiting to hear the sound of him. My praydecessor, 
Mother Ellen, rest her sowl, heard him wance, and 
nixt day the roof of the church fell in. Be the 
same token, some new disasther is on fut for us, 
now." 

Cormac O'Daly was as frightened as the rest, but, 
as an antiquarian, he could not combat the tempta- 
tion to talk. 

*' 'Tis now just six hundred and seventy years," 
he began, in a husky voice, " since Diarmid of the 
Fine Steeds founded this convint, in expiation of 
his wrong to young Donal, Prince of Connaught. 
*Twas the custom thin for the kings and great 
princes in Ireland to sind their sons as hostages to 
the palaces of their rivals, to live there as security, 



TJic I'^oice of the Hostage. 99 

so to S[)akc, for iheir fathers' good beljavior and 
peaceable intiiitions. 'Twas in this capacity that 
young" Donal O'Connor came here, but Diarniid 
tiirated liini badl\'— not like i:is father's son at all — 
and immured him in a dungeon convanient in the 
rocks. Mis mother's milk was in the lad, anrl he 
wept for being pai-ted from her till his tears filled 
the earth, and a living well sprung from thim the 
day he died. So thin Diarmid repinted, and built 
a convint ; and the well bubbled forth healing 
wathers so that all the people roundabout made 
pilgrimages to it, and with their offerings the 
O'Mahonys built new edifices till 'twas wan of the 
grandest convints in Desmond ; and none but fa}'- 
males of the O'iSIahony blood saj-ing pra)^ers for 
the sowl of the Hostage." 

The nuns were busy with their beads, and even 
Mrs. Fergus bent her head. At last it was Mother 
Agnes who spoke, letting her rosar}' drop. 

" 'Twas whin they allowed the holy well to be 
choked up and lost sight of among fallen stones that 
throuble first come to the O'Mahonys," she said 
solemnly. " 'Tis mesilf will beg The O'Mahony, 
on binded knees, to dig it open again. Worse luck, 
he's away to Cork or Waterford with his boat, and 
this storm '11 keep him from returning, till, perhaps, 
the final disasther falls on us and our liouse, and he 
still absinting himsilf. \Virra ! What's that ?" 

The mother-superior had been forced to lift her 
voice, in concluding, to make it distinct above the 
hoarse roar of the elements outside. Even as she 
spoke, a loud crackling noise was heard, followed by 



loo Tlie Retur7i of The O Alahoiiy. 

a crash of masonry which deafened the listeners' 
ears and shook the n-alls of the room they sat in. 

With a despairing- groan, the three nuns fell to 
their knees and bowed their vailed heads over their 
beads. 



CHAPTER X. 

HOW THE " HEN HAWK " WAS BROUGHT IN. 

The good people of Muirisc had shut themselves 
up in their cabins, on this inclement evening of 
\Yhich I have spoken, almost before the twilight 
faded from the storm-wrapt outlines of the opposite 
coast. If any adventurous spirit of them all had 
braved the blast, and stood out on the cliff to see 
night fall in earnest upon the scene, perhaps be- 
tween wild sweeps of drenching and blinding spray, 
he might have caught sight of a little vessel, with 
only its jib set, plunging and laboring in the trough 
of the Atlantic outside. And if the spectacle had 
met his eyes, unquestionably his first instinct would 
have been to mutter a prayer for the souls of the 
doomed men upon this fated craft. 

On board the Hen Haivk a good many prayers had 
already been said. The small coaster seemed, to its 
terrified crew, to have shrunk to the size of a wal- 
nut shell, so wholly was it the plaything of the giant 
waters which heaved and tumbled about it, and 
shook the air with the riotous tumult of their sport. 
There were moments when the vessel hung poised 
and quivering upon the very ridge of a huge moun- 

— - [lOl] 



I02 The Return of The GAlahony. 

tain of sea, like an Alpine climber who shudders to 
find himself balanced upon a crumbling foot of rock 
between two awful depths of precipice ; then would 
come the breathless downward swoop into howlini;" 
space and the fierce buffeting of ton-weight blows 
as the boat staggered blindly at the bottom of the 
abj'ss; then again the helpless upward sweep, borne 
upon the shoulders of titan waves which reared their 
vast bulk into the sky, the dizzy trembling upon the 
summit, and the hideous plunge — a veritable night- 
mare of torture and despair. 

Five men lay or knelt on deck huddled about the 
mainmast, clinging to its hoops and ropes for safety. 
Now and again, when the vessel was lifted to the 
top of the green walls of water, they caught vague 
glimpses of the distant rocks, darkling through the 
night mists, which sheltered Muirisc, their home — 
and knew in their souls that they were never to reach 
that home alive. The time for praying was past. 
Drenched to the skin, choked with the salt spray, 
nearly frozen in the bitter winter cold, they clung 
numbly to their hold, and awaited the end. 

One of them strove to gild the calamity with 
cheerfulness, b}'^ humming and groaning the air of a 
" come-all-)'e " ditty, the croon of which rose with 
quaint persistency after the crash of each engulfing 
wave had passed. The others were, perhaps, 
silently grateful to him — but they felt that if Jerry 
had been a born ^luirisc man, he could not have 
done it. 

At the helm, soaked and gaunt as a water-rat, 
with his feet braced against the waist-rails, and the 
rudder-bar jammed under his arm and shoulder, 



The ''Hen Hawk'" brought in. 103 

was a sixtli man — the master and owner of the Hcii 
Hazvk. The strain upon his physical strength, in 
thus by main force holding the tiller right, had ioK 
hours been unceasing — and one could see by his 
dripping face that he was deeply wearied. But 
sign of fear there was none. 

Only a man brought up in the interior of a coun- 
try, and who had come to the sea late in life, would 
have dared bring this tiny cockle-shell of a coaster 
into such waters upon such a coast. The O'Ma- 
hony might himself have been frightened had he 
known enough about navigation to understand his 
present danger. As it was, all his weariness could 
nor destroy the keen sense of pleasurable excite- 
ment he had in the tremendous experience. He 
forgot crew and cargo and vessel itself in the splen- 
did zest of this mad fight with the sea and the 
storm. He clung to the tiller determinedh', bow- 
ing his head to the rush of the broken waves wdien 
they fell, and bending knees and body this way and 
that to answer the wild tossings and sidelong plung- 
ings of the craft — always Avith a light as of battle in 
his gray eyes. It was ever so much better than 
fighting with mere men. 

The gloom of twilight ripened into pitchy dark- 
ness, broken only by momentary gleams of that 
strange, weird half-light which the rushing waves 
generate in their own crests of foam. The wind 
rose in violence when the night closed in, and the 
vessel's timbers creaked in added travail as huge 
seas lifted and hurled her onward through the black 
chaos toward the rocks. The men by the mast 
could every few minutes discern the red lights from 



I04 The RehLvn of The G Alahony. 

the cottage windows of Muirisc, and shuddered 
anew as the glimmering sparks grew nearer. 

Four of these five unhappy men were Muirisc 
born, and knew the sea as they knew their own 
mothers. The marvel was that they had not revolted 
against this wanton sacrifice of their lives to the 
whim Or perverse obstinacy of an ignorant lands- 
man, who a year ago had scarcely known a rudder 
from a jib-boom. They themselves dimly wondered 
at it now, as they strained their eyes for a glimpse 
of the fatal crags ahead. The}'^ had indeed ventured 
upon some mild remonstrance, earlier in the day, 
while it had still been possible to set the mainsail, 
and by long tacks turn the vessel's course. But 
The O'Mahony had received their suggestion with 
such short temper and so stern a refusal, that there 
had been nothing more to be said — bound to him as 
Muirisc men to their chief, and as Fenians to their 
leader, as they were. And soon thereafter it became 
too late to do aught but scud bare-poled before the 
gale ; and now there was nothing left but to die. 

They could hear at last, above the shrill clamor 
of wind and rolling waves, the sullen roar of break- 
ers smashing against the cliffs. The}^ braced them- 
selves for the great final crash, and muttered frag- 
ments of the Litany of the Saints between clenched 
teeth. 

A prodigious sea grasped the vessel and lifted it 
to a towering height, where for an instant it hung 
trembling. Then with a leap it made a sickening 
dive down, down, till it was fairly engulfed in the 
whirling floods which caught it and swept wildly 
over its decks. A sinister thrill ran through the 



The ''Hen Haiuk'' brought in, 105 

stout craft's timbers, and upon the instant came the 
harsh grinding sound of its keel against the rocks. 
The men shut their eyes. 

A dreadful second— and lo ! the Hen Ilmvk, shak- 
ing herself buoyantly like a fisher-fowl emerging 
after a plunge, floated upon gently rocking waters 
— with the hoarse tumult of storm and breakers 
comfortably 'behind her, and at her sides only the 
sighing-harp music of the wind in the sea-reeds. 

"Hustle now, an' git out your anchor!" called 
out the cheerful voice of The O'Mahony, from the 
tiller. 

The men scrambled from their knees as in a 
dream. Thej^ ran out the chain, reefed the jib, and 
then made their way over the fiush deck aft, slap- 
ping their arms for warmth, still only vaguely real- 
izing that they were actually moored in safety, 
inside the sheltered salt-water marsh, or muirisc, 
which gave their home its name. 

This so-called swamp was at high tide, in truth, a 
ver}^ respectable inlet, which lay between the 
tongue of arable land on which the hamlet was 
built and the high jutting cliffs of the coast to the 
south. Its entrance, a stretch of water some forty 
yards in width, was over a bar of rock which at low 
tide could only be passed by row-boats. At its 
greatest daily depth, there was not much water to 
spare under the fort3--five tons of the Heii Hazvk. 
She had been steered now in utter darkness, with 
only the scattered and confusing lights of the 
houses to the left for guidance, unerringly upon the 
bar, and then literally lifted and tossed over it by 
the great rolling wall of breakers. She lay nov/ 



io6 The Rehirn of The O Mahony. 

tossing languidly on the choppy .vaters of the 
marsh, as if breathing hard after undue exertion — 
secure at last behind the cliffs. 

The O'Mahony slapped his arms in turn, and 
looked about him. He was not in the least conscious 
of having performed a feat which any yachtsman in 
British waters would regard as incredible. 

" Now, Jerry," he said, calmly, " you git ashore 
and bring out the boat. You other fellows open 
the hatchway, an' be gittin* the things out. Be 
careful about your candle down-stairs. You know 
why. It won't do to have a light up here on deck. 
Some of the women might happen to come out-doors 
an' see us." 

Without a word, the crew, even yet dazed at their 
miraculous escape, proceeded to carry out his 
orders. The O'Mahony bit from his plug a fresh 
mouthful of tobacco, and munched it meditatively, 
walking up and down the deck in the darkness, and 
listening to the high wind howling overhead. 

The Hen Haivk had really been built at Barn- 
stable, a dozen years before, for the Devon fisheries, 
but she did not look unlike those unwieldy Dutch 
boats which curious summer visitors watch with 
unfailing interest from the soft sands of Schevenin- 
gen. Her full-flushed deck had been an after- 
thought, dating back to the time when her activities 
were diverted from the fishing to the carrying 
industry. The O' Mahony had bought her at Cork, 
ostensibly for use in the lobster-canning enterprise 
which he had founded at Muirisc. Duck-breasted, 
squat and thick-lined, she looked the part to per- 
fection, 



Tke " Hen Hawk " brought in. 107 

Tl'ie men were busy now getting (ujt from the 
hokl below a score of small kegs, each wrappefl in 
oil skin swathings, and, after these, nioie than a 
score of long, narrow wooden cases, which, as they 
were passed up the little gangway from the glow oi 
candlelight into the darkness, bore a gloomy resem- 
blance to coffins. An hour passed before the empt}^ 
boat returned from shore, having landed its finishing 
load, and the six men, stiff and chilled, clumsily 
swung themselves over the side of the vessel into it. 

" Sure, it's a new layse of life, I'm beginnin','* 
murmured one of them, Dominic by name, as he 
clambered out upon the stone landing-place. " It's 
dead I was intoirely — an' resiiricted agin, glory be 
to the Lord !" 

" Sh-h ! You shall have some whisky to make a 
fresh start on when we're through," said The 
O'Mahony. "Jerry, you run ahead an' open the 
side door. Don't make any noise. Mrs. Sullivan's 
got ears that can hear grass growin'. We'll follow 
on with the things." 

The carrying of the kegs and boxes across the 
village common to the castle, in which the master 
bore his full share of work, consumed nearly another 
hour. Some of the cottage lights ceased to burn. 
Not a soul stirred out of doors. 

The entrance opened by Jerry was a little postern 
door, access to which was gained through the de- 
serted and weed-grown church-yard, and the possi- 
ble use of which was entirely unsuspected by even 
tlie housekeeper, let alone the villagers at large. 
The men bore their burdens through this, travers- 
ing a long, low-arched passage-way, built entirely 



io8 Tiic Rciicni of The O' Jlakoiiy. 

of stone and smelling like an ancient tomb. Thence 
their course was down a precipitous, narrow stair- 
way, winding like the corkscrew stairs of a tower, 
until, at a depth of thirty feet or more, they reached 
a small square chamber, the air of which was musti- 
ness itself. Here a candle was fastened in a bracket, 
and the men put down their loads. Here, too, it 
was that Jerry, when the last journey had been 
made, produced a bottle and glasses and dispensed 
his master's hospitality in raw spirits, which the 
men gulped down without a whisper about water. 

" Mind ! — day after to-morrow ; five o'clock in the 
m.orning, sharp !" said The O'Mahony, in admonitory 
tones. Then he added, more softly: "Jest take it 
easy to-morrow ; loaf around to suit yourselves, so 
long's you keep sober. You've had a pritty tough 
day of ito Good-night. Jerry 'n me '11 do the rest. 
Jest pull the duor to when you go out." 

With answering " Good nights," and a formal 
hand-shake all around, the four villagers left the 
room. Their tired footsteps were heard with 
diminishing distinctness as they went up the stairs. 

Jerry turned and surveyed his master from head 
to foot by the light of the candle on the wall. 

"O'Mahony," he said, impressivel}-, "you're a 
divil, an' no mistake !" 

The other put the bottle to his mouth first. Then 
he licked his lips and chuckled grimly. 

" Them fellows was scared out of their boots, 
wasn't the}'' ? An' you, too, eh ?" he asked. 

"Well, sir, you know it as well as I, the lives of 
the lot of us would have been high-priced at a 
thruppenny-bit." 



The ''Hen Ilaz^k^' brongJit in. 109 

" Pshaw, man ! You fellows don't know what fun 
is. Wh}^ she was safe as a house ever}^ minute. 
An' lierc I was, goin' to compliment you on gittin' 
through the hull voyage without bein' sick once — 
thought, at last, I was reall}- goin' to make a sailor 
of you." 

" Egor, afther to-day I'll believe I've the makin' 
of aimything under the sun in me — or on top of it, 
ayther. But, sure, sir, you'll not deny 'twas timp- 
tin' providence saints' good-will to come in head 
over heels under wather, the way we did ?" 

"We had to be here — that's all," said The 
O'Mahony, briefl}'. " I've got to meet a man to- 
morrow, at a place some distance from here, sure 
pop ; and then there's the big job on next daj-." 

Jerry said no more, and The O'iNIahony took the 
candle down from the iron ring in the wall. 

" D'ye know, I noticed somethin' cur'ous in the 
wall out on the staircase here as we come down?" 
he said, bearing the light before him as he m.oved to 
the door. " It's about a dozen sreps up. llcreitis! 
What d'ye guess that might a-been ?" 

The O'Mahony held the candle close to the 
curved wall, and indicated with his irce hand a 
couple of regular and vertical seams in the masonrv, 
about two Icet apart, and nearly a man's height in 
length. 

" There's a door there, or I'm a Dutchman," he 
saiLl, lilting and lowering the ligh.t in his scrutiny. 

The mediaeval builders cou'd have imagined no 
sight more weird than that of the high, fantastic 
shadows thrown upon the winding, well-like walls 
by this drenched and saturnine figure, clad in oil- 



iio TJic Rehirii of The O Mahony. 

skins instead of armor, and peering into their handi- 
work with the curiosity of a man nurtured in a 
log-cabin. 

" Egor, would it be a dure ?" exclaimed the won- 
dering Jerry. 

His companion handed the candle to him, and 
took from his pocket a big jack-knife — larger, if an}-- 
thing, than the weapon which had been left under 
the window of the little farm-house at Five Forks. 
He ran the large blade up and down the two long, 
straight cracks, tapping the stonework hei^e and 
there with the butt of the handle afterward. 
Finally, after numerous experiments, he found the 
trick — a bolt to be pushed down by a blade inserted 
not straight but obliquely — and a thick, iron-bound 
door, faced with masonr}^ but with an oaken lining, 
swung open, heavily and unevenlv, upon some con- 
cealed pivots. 

The O'jNIahony took the ligiit once more, thrust 
it forward to make sure of his footing, and then 
stepped over the newly-discovered threshold, Jerry 
close at his heels. They pushed their way along a 
narrow and evil-smelling passage, so low that thc}^ 
were forced to bend almost double. Suddenh', after 
traversing this for a long distance, their path was 
blocked by another door, somewhat smaller than the 
other. This gave forth a hollow sound when tested 
by blows. 

" It ain't very thick," said The O'Mahony. *' I'll 
put my shoulder against it. I guess I can bust her 
open." 

The resistance was even less than he had antici- 
pated. One energetic shove sufficed ; the door Hew 



TJie " Hen Hawk " bro7tght in. 1 1 1 



back with a swift splintering of rotten wood. The 
O'Mahony went stumbling sidelong into the dark- 
ness as the door gave way. At the nunnent a 
strange, rumbling sound was iieard at some remote 
height above them, and then a crash nearer at hand, 
the thundering reverberation of which rang witli 
loud echoes through the vault-like passage. The 
concussion almost put out the candle, and Jerry 
noted that the hand which he instinctively put out 
to shield the flame was trembling. 

" Show a light in here, can't ye ?" called out The 
O'Mahony from the black obscurity beyond the 
broken door. " Sounds as if the hull darned castle 
'd been blown down over our heads." 

Jerry timorously advanced, candle well out in 
front of him. Its small radiance served dimly to 
disclose what seemed to be a large chamber, or 
even hall, high-roofed and spacious. Its floor of 
stone flags was covered with dry mold. The walls 
were smoothed over with a gray coat of plastering, 
whole patches of which had here and there fallen, 
and more of which tumbled even now as they 
looked. They saw that this plastering had been 
decorated by zigzag, saw-toothed lines in three or 
four colors, now dulled and in places scarcely dis- 
cernible. The room was irregularly shaped. At 
its narrower end was a big, roughly built fireplace, 
on the hearth of which lay ashes and some charred 
bits of wood, covered, like the stone itself, by a dry 
film of mold. The O'Mahony held the candle under 
the flue. The wa}' in which the flame swayed and 
pointed itself showed that the chimney was open. 

Cooking utensils, some of metal, some of pottery, 



1 1 2 The Retit7'ii of The O'MaJwny. 

but all alike of strange form, were bestowed on the 
floor on either side of the hearlli. There was a 
single wooden chair, with a high, pointed back, 
standing against the wall, and in front of this lay a 
rug of cowskin, the reddish hair of which came oft 
at the touch. Beside this chair was a low, oblong 
wooden chest, with a lifting-lid curiously carved, 
and apparently containing nothing but rolls of 
parchment and leather-bound volumes. 

At the other and wider end of the room was an 
archway built in the stone, and curtained by hang- 
ings of thick, mildewed cloth. The O'Mahony 
drew these aside, and Jerry advanced with the 
light. 

In a little recess, and reaching from side to side of 
the arched walls, was built a bed of oaken beams, 
its top the height o( a man's middle. Withered and 
faded straw lay piled on the wood, and above this 
both thick cloth similar to the curtains and finer 
fabrics wliich looked like silk. The candle shook 
in Jerry's hand, and came near to falling, at the dis- 
covery which followed. 

On the bed lay stretched the body of a bearded 
and tonsured man, clad in a long, heav}^ dark wool- 
en gown, girt at the waist with a leathern thong — 
as strangel}'' dried and mummified as are the dead 
preserved in St. JNIichan's vaults at Dublin or in the 
Bleikeller of the Dom at Bremen. The shriveled, 
tan-colored face bore a weird resemblance to that 
of the hereditary bard. 

The O'lMahony looked wonderingl}- down upon 
this grim spectacle, the vrhile Jerry crossed him- 
self. 



The ''Hen Hawk'' bro2igJit in. 113 

" Guess there won't be much use of callin' a doc- 
tor for hii;i," said the master, at last. 

Then he backed away, to let the curtains fall, and 
yawned. 

" I'm about tuckered out," he said, stretching his 
arms. "Let's go up now an' take somethin' warm, 
and git to bed. We'll keep mum about this place. 
P'rhaps — 1 shouldn't wonder — it might come in 
handy for O'Daly." 



CHAPTER XI. 

A FACE FROM OUT THE WINDING-SHEET. 

The sun was shining brightly in a clear sky next 
morning, when the people of Muirisc finally got up 
out of bed, and, still rubbing their eyes, strolled 
forth to note the ravages of last night's storm, and 
talk with one another about it. 

There was much to marvel at and discuss at 
length in garruh^us groups before the cottage 
doors. One whole wing of the ancient convent 
structure — that which tradition ascribed to the 
pious building fervor of Cathal an Dioniuis, or "the 
Haughty " — had been thrown down during the 
night, and lay now a tumbled mass of stones and 
timber piled in wild disorder upon the debris of 
previous ruins. But inasmuch as the fallen build- 
ing had long been roofless and disused, and its 
collapse meant only another added la3-er of chaos 
in the deserted convent-yard, Muirisc did not woi'ry 
its head much about it, and even yawned in Cormac 
O'Daly's face as he wandered from one knot of 
gossips to another, relating legends about Cathal 
the Proud. 

What interested them considerably more was the 
report, confirmed now by O'Daly himself, that just 

[I14l 



A Face fj'ovi the Windiiig-Sheet. 1 1 5 

before the crash came, six people iii the reception 
hall of the convent had distinctly heard the voice 
of the Hostage from the depths below the cloistral 
building. Ever3'body in Muirisc knew all about the 
Hostage. The}' had been, so to speak, brought up 
with him. Prolonged familiarity with the pathetic 
stoi-y of his death in exile, here at Muirisc, and con- 
stant contact with his name as perpetuated in the 
title of their unique convent, made him a sort of 
oldest inhabitant of the place. Their lively imagin- 
ations now quickly built up and established the 
belief that he was heard to complain, somewhere 
under the convent, once ever}' fifty years. Old 
Ellen Dumphy was able to fix the period with 
exactness because when the mysterious sound was 
last heard she was a young woman, and had her 
face bound up, and was almost " disthracted wid 
the sore teeth." 

But most interesting of all was the fact that there, 
before their eyes, riding easily upon the waters of 
the Muirisc, lay the Hen Hazvk, as peacefully and 
safely at anchor as if no gale had ever thundered 
upon the clifTs outside. The four men of her crew, 
when they made their belated appearance in the 
morning sunlight out-of-doors, were eagerly ques- 
tioned, and they told with great readiness and a 
flowering wealth of adjectives the marvelous story 
of how The O'Mahony aimed her in pitch darkness 
at the bar, and hurled her over it at precisely the 
psychological moment, with just the merest scra- 
ping of her keel. To the seafaring senses of those 
vvho stood now gazing at the vessel there was more 



li6 The Return of The O'Mahony. 

witchcraft in this than in the subterranean voice oi 
the Hostage even. 

" Ah, thin, 'tis our O'Mahon}' 's the grand divil of 
a man !" they murmured, admiringl}'. 

No work was to be expected, clearl}-, on the day 
after such an achievement as this. The villagers 
stood about, and looked at the squat coaster, snugly 
raising and sinking with the laz}^ movement of the 
tide, and watched for the master of Muirisc to show 
himself. They had never before been conscious of 
such perfect pride in and affection for this strange 
Americanized chieftain of theirs. By an unerring 
factional instinct, they felt that this apotheosis of 
The O'Mahony in their hearts involved the discom- 
fiture of O'Daly and the nuns, and they let the 
hereditary bard feel it, too. 

" Ah, now, Cormac O'Daly," one of the women 
called out to the poet, as he hung, black-visaged and 
dejected, upon the skirts of the group, " tell me 
man, was it anny of yer owld Diarmids and Cathals 
ye do be perplexin' us wid that wud a-steered that 
boat beyond over the bar at black midnight, wid a 
gale outside fit to blow mountains into the say? 
Sure, it's not botherin' his head wid books, or 
delutherin' his moind wid ancestral mummeries, or 
wear3'in' the bones an' marrow out of the saints wid 
attendin' their business instead of his own, that o?ir 
O'jNIahony do be after practicin'." 

The bard opened his lips to reply. Then the 
gleam of enjo3-ment in the woman's words which 
shone from all the faces roundabout, dismayed him. 
He shook his head, and walked awa}' in silence. 

Meanwhile The O'Mahony, after a comfortable 



A Face front the ]Vindiug-Shect. 1 1 7 

breakfast, and a brief consultation \vi':h Jcir}-, had 
put on iiis hat and strolled out tlirou[^!i the preten- 
tious arched doorway of liis tumble-dcjwn abode. 
From the outer gate he saw the clustered villagers 
upon the wharf, and guessed what they \vere saying 
and thinking about him and his boat. He smiled 
contentedly to himself, and lighted a cigar. Then, 
sucking this with gravity, hands in pockets and hat 
well back on head, he turned and sauntered across 
the turreted corner of his castle into the ancient 
church-3-ard, which lay between it and the convent. 
The place was one crowded area of mortuary wreck- 
age — flat tombstones sunken deep into the earth ; 
monumental tablets, once erect, now tipping at every 
crazy angle ; pre-historic, weather-beaten runic 
crosses lying broken and prone ; more modern and 
ambitious sarcophagi of brick and stone, from which 
sides or ends had fallen away, revealing to every eye 
their ghostly contents; the ground covered thickly 
with nettles and umbrageous weeds, under which 
the iinguided foot continually encountered old skulls 
and human bones — a grave-yard such as can be seen 
nowhere in the world save in western Ireland. 

The O'Mahony picked his wa}' across this village 
Golgotha, past the ruins of the ancient church, and 
into the grounds to the rear of the convent build- 
ings, clambering as he went over u'hole series of 
tumbled masonry heaped in weed-grown i idgcs, 
until he stood upon the edge of the havoc wrought 
by this latest storm. 

No rapt antiquary ever gazed with more eager- 
ness upon the remains of a pre-Aryan habitation 
than The O'Mahony now displayed in his scrutiny 



Ii8 The Return of The O JMaJiony. 

of the destruction worked by last night's storni, and 
of the g-roup of buildings its fury had left unscathed. 
He took a paper from his pocket, and compared a 
rude drawing upon it with various points in the 
architecture about him which he indicated with nods 
of the head. People watching him might have dif- 
fered as to whether he was a student of antiquities, 
a builder or an insurance agent. Probably none 
would have guessed that he was striving to identify 
some one of the numerous chimneys before him 
with a certain fireplace which he knew of, five-and- 
twenty feet underground. 

As he stood thus, absorbed in calculation, he felt 
a little hand steal into his big palm, and nestle there 
confidingly. His face put on a pleased smile, even 
before he bent it toward the intruder. 

" Hello, Skeezucks, is that you ?" he said, gently. 
" Well, they've gone an' busted yourole convent up 
the back, here, in great shape, ain't they ?" 

Every one of the score of months that had passed 
since these two first met, seemed to have added 
something to the stature of little Kate O'Mahony. 
She had grown, in truth, to be a tall girl for her age 
— and an erect girl, holding her head well in air, 
into the bargain. Her face had lost its old shy, 
scared look — at least in this particular company. It 
was filling out into the likeness of a pretty face, with 
a pleasant glow of health upon the cheeks, and a 
happy twinkle in the big, dark eyes. 

For ans\s'er, the child lifted and swung his hand, 
and playfully butted her head sidewise against his 
waist. 

*' 'Tis I that wouldn't mind if it all came down," she 



li 



A Face froin the Wijidiug-Sheet. 119 

said, in the softest West Carbery brogue the c;ir 
could wish. 

" What!" exclaimed the other, in inock consterna- 
tion. "Well, I never! Why, here's a gal thrM 
don't want to go to school, or learn now to read a:.' 
cipher or nothin'! P'r'aps you'd ruther work in tlie 
lobster fact'ry ?" 

" No, I'd sail in the boat with 3 ou," said Kate, 
promptly and with contidence. 

The O'x^Iahony laughed aloud. 

" I guess )-ou"d a got your till of it yisterday, sis," 
he remarked. 

" It's that I'd have liked best of all," she pursued. 
"Ah! take me with you, O'Mahony, whin next the 
waves are up and the wind's tearin' tit to bust itsilf. 
I'll not die till I've been out in the thick of it, wance 
for all." 

" Why, gal alive, you'd a-be'a smashed into sau- 
sage-meat!" chuckled the man. " Still, you're right, 
tiior.gh. They ain't nothin' else in tlie \vorld fit to 
hold a candle to it. Egad! Some time 1 Ccv'// take 
3()u, sis!" 

The child spoke more seriously : 

"Sure, we're the O'lNIahonys of the Coast of 
White Foam, according to O'Hcerin's old verse, and 
it's in my blood as well as yours." 

" Right you are, sis !" he resiXMided, smiling, as 
he added under his breath : " an' nicbbe a ti-ifle 
more." Then, after a moment's pause, he changed 
the subject. 

" See here ; you're up on these things — in fact, 
they don't seem to learn you anything else — hain't I 
heerd O'Daly tell about the old O'Mahonys luggin' 



1 20 The Rctursi of The O'Mahony. 

round a box full o' saints' bones when they went on 
a rampage, to sort o' give 'em luck ! I got to thinkin' 
about it last night after I went to bed, but I couldn't 
jest git it straight in my head." 

" It's the cathacJi " (she pronounced it ca/ia) " )^ou 
mane," Kate answered. " Sometimes it contained 
bones, but more often 'twas a crozieror a holy book 
from the saint's own pen, or a part of his vest- 
mints." 

"No; I like the bones notion best," said The 
O'Mahony. " There's something substantial an' 
solid about bones. If 3^ou've got a genuine saint's 
bones, it's a thing he's bound to take an interest in, 
an' see through ; whereas, them other things^ — his 
books an' his clo'se an' so on — why, he may a-been 
sick an' tired of 'em years 'fore he died." 

It was the girl's turn to laugh. 

" It's a strange new fit of piety ye've on yeh, 
O'Mahon}','' she said, with the familiarity of a spoiled 
pet. "Sure, when I tell the nuns, they'll be lookin' 
to see you build up a whole foine new convint for 
'em without delay." 

" No ; I'm savin' that till you git to be the boss 
nun," said The O'Mahony, dryl}^ and with a grin. 

" 'Tis older than Methusalem 3^e'll be thin !" asked 
the child, laughingly. And with that she seized his 
hand once more and dragged him forward to a 
closer inspection of the ruins. 



Some hours later, having been diiven across 
country to Dunmanway b}- Malachy, and thence 
taken the local train onv.-ard, The 0'-^Iahonv found 



A Face from ilic Winding- Sheet. 1 2 1 

himself in the station at Ballinecn, with barel}' time 
enough to hurry across the tracks and leap into the 
! rain which was aireacU'' starting- westward. In this he 
\.as borne back over the road he had just traversed, 
until a stop was made at Manch station. The 
'■ )'Mahon)^ alighted here, much pleased with the 
strategy which made him appear to have come from 
the east. He took an outside car, and was driven 
some two miles into the bleak, mountainous country 
beyond Tootue, to a wayside inn knowm as Kearney's 
Retreat. Here he dismoiuited, bidding the carman 
solace himself with drink, and wait. 

Entering the tavern, he paused at the bar and 
asked for two small bottles of porter to be poured 
in one glass. Two or three men were loitering 
about the room, and he spoke just loud enough to 
make sure that all might hear him. Tiien, having 
drained the glass, and stood idly conversing for a 
minute or two with the woman at the bar, he made 
his way through a side do(jr into the adjoining ball 
alley, where some young fellows of the neighbor- 
hood chanced to be engaged in a game. 

He stood apart, watching their play, for cnlv a 
few moments. Then one of the men whom he had 
seen but not looked closely at in tlie bar, came up 
to him, and said from behind, in an interrogative 
whisper : 

" Captain Harrier, I believe ?" 

*' Yes," said The O'Mahon}', " Captain Harrier — " 
with a vague notion of having heard that voice 
before. 

Then he turned, and in the straggling roof-light 
of the alley beheld the other's fa-ce. It taxed to the 



122 The Return of The O MaJcony. 

utmost every element of self-possession in liim to 
choke down the exclamation which sprang to his 
lips. 

The man before him was Linsky ! — Linsky risen 
from the dead, with the scarred gash visible on his 
throat, and the shifty blue-green eyes still blood- 
shot, and set with reddened eyelids in a freckled 
face. 

" Yes — Captain — Harrier," he repeated, lingering 
upon each word, as his brain fiercely strove to 
assert mastery over amazement, apprehension and 
perplexity. 

The new-comer looked full into the Tlie O'Ma- 
hony's face without any sign whatever of recognition, 

"Thin I'm to place mesilf at your disposal," he 
said, briefly. " You know more of what's in the air 
than I do, no doubt. Everything is arranged, I 
hear, for rising in both Cork an' Tralee to-morrow, 
an' in manny places in both counties besides. 
Officiall}', however, I know nothing of this — an' 
have no right to know. I'm just to put mysilf at 
your command, and deliver anny messages you 
desire to sind to other cinters in your district. 
Here's me papers." 

The O'iNlahony barely glanced at the inclosures 
of the envelope handed him. They took the taniiiicU- 
form of a business letter of introductioii, and a com- 
mercial contract, signed by a (inn name which to 
the uninitiated bore no significance. He noted that 
the name given was " Major Lynch." He observed 
also, with satisfaction, that Ids hand, as it held the 
papers, was entirely steady. 

" Everybody's been notified," he said, after a 



A Face from the Windiug-Shcct. 123 

time, instinctively assuming- a slight hoarseness of 
speech. " I've been all over the ground, myself. 
You can meet me — let's see — sa}^ at the bottom of 
the black rock jest overlookin' tlie marlellcr lower 

at at eleven o'clock, sharp, to-morrow foienoon. 

The rocks behind the tower, mind — t'other side 01 
the coast-guard houses. You'll see mc land from 
my boat." 

"I'll not fail," said the other. "I can bring a 
gun — mor3-ah, I'm shooting at sa3--gulls." 

" The}' ain't much need of that," responded The 
O'Mahony. " You might git stopped an' ques- 
tioned. There'll be guns enough. Of course, the 
takin' of the tower '11 be as easy as rollin' off a log. 
The thing '11 be to hold it afterward." 

" We'll howld whatever we take, sir. all Ireland 
over," said Major Lynch, with enthusiasm. 

"I hope so! Good-bye. Mind, eleven sharp," 
was the response, and the two men separated. 

The O'Mahony did not wait for the finish of the 
game of ball, but sauntered out of the alley through 
the end door, walked to his car, and set off direct 
for Toome. At this place he decided to drive on to 
Dunmanway station. Dismissing the carman at the 
door, and watching his departure, he walked over to 
the hotel, joined the waiting Malachy, and soon uas 
well on his jolting way back to Muirisc. 

Curiously enough, the bearing of Linsky's return 
upon his own personal fortunes and safety bore a 
very small part in The O'Mahony's meditations, as 
he clung to his seat over the rough homeward road. 
All that might take care of itself, and he pushed it 
almost contemptuously aside ia his mind. What hs 



124 The Return of The O MaJioiiy. 

ilicl ponder upon imceasingly, and with growing 
distrust, was the suspicion with which the manner 
of the man's offer to deliver messages had inspired 
him. 



CHAPTER XII. 

A TALISMAN AND A TRAITOR. 

At five o'clock on this February morning it was 
still dark. For more than half an hour a light had 
been from time to time visible, flitting about in the 
inhabited parts of the castle. There was no answer- 
ing gleams from any of the cottage windows, along 
the other side of the village green ; but all the same, 
solitary figures began to emerge from the cabins, 
until eighteen men had crossed the open space and 
were gathered upon the little stone pier at the edge 
of the muirisc. They stood silently together, with 
only now and again a whispered word, waiting for 
they knew not what. 

Presently, by the faint semblance of light which 
was creeping up behind the eastern hills, they saw 
Jerry, Malachy and Dominic approaching, each 
bearinof a burden on his back. These were two of 
the long coffin-like boxes and two kegs, one pro- 
digiously heavy, the other by comparison light. 
The)' were deposited on the wharf without a word, 
and the two first went back again, while Dominic 
silently led the others in the task of bestowing what 
all present knew lo be guns, lead and powder, on 



126 The Return of The O' Mahoiiy, 

board the Hen Haivk. This had been done, and the 
men had again waited for some minutes before The 
O'Mahony made liis appearanee. 

He advanced through the obscure morning twi- 
liglit with a brisk step, whistling softly as he came. 
The men noted that he wore shooting-clothes, with 
gaiters to the knee, and a wide-brimmed, soft, black 
hat, even then known in Ireland as the American 
hat, just as the Americans had previously called it 
the Kossuth. 

Half-wa}', but within full view of the waiting 
group, he stopped, and looked criticall}^ at the sky. 
Then he stepped aside from the path, and took off 
this hat of his. The men wondered what it meant. 

Jeri'y was coming along again from the castle, his 
arms half filled with parcels. He stopped beside 
the chief, and stood facing the path, removing his 
cap as well. 

Then the puzzled observers saw Malachy looming 
out of the misty shadows, also bare-headed, and 
carrying at arms length before him a square case, 
about in bulk like a hat-box. As he passed The 
O'Mahony and Jerry they bowed, and then fell in 
behind him, and marched, still uncovered, toward 
the landing-place. 

The tide was at its fiood, and the Hen Haivk 
had been hauled by ropes up close to the wharf, 
JMalach}', with stolid face and solemn mien, strode 
in hue military style over the gunwale and along 
the flush deck to the bow. Here he deposited his 
mysterious burden, bowed to it, and then put on 
the hat he had been carrying under his arm. 

The men crowded on board at this — all save two, 



A Talisman and a Traitor. 12' 



who now rowed forward in a small boat, and began 
pulling the Hen Hazvk out over the bar with a haw- 
ser. As the unwield}' craft slowl)- moved, The 
O'Mahon}' turned a long, ruminative gaze upon the 
sleeping hamlet they were leaving behind. The 
whole eastern sky was awake now with light— light 
v.-hich la}' in brilliant bars of lemon hue upon the 
hill-tops, and mellowed upward through opal and 
pearl into fleec}' ashen tints. The two in the boat 
dropped behind, fastened their tiny craft to the 
stern, and clambered on board. 

A fresh, chill breeze caught and filled the jib once 
they had passed the bar, and the crew laid their 
hands upon the ropes, expecting orders to hoist the 
mainsail and mizzen-sheets. But The O'jNIahony 
gave no sign, and lounged in silence against the til- 
ler, spitting over the taffrail into the water, until the 
vessel had rounded the point and stood well off 
the cliffs, out of sight of Muirisc, plunging softly 
along through the swell. Then he beckoned Dom- 
inic to the helm, and walked over toward the mast, 
with a gesture which summoned the whole score of 
men about him. To them he began the first speech 
he had ever made in his life : 

" Now, bo3's," he said, " prob'ly you've noticed 
tliP.t the name's been painted off the starn of this ere 
vessel, over ni^-ht. You must 'a' fig^ured it out from 
tb.at, that we're out on the loose, so to speak. 
Thay's only a few of ye that have ever known me 
as a Fenian. It was agin the rules that 3'ou should 
know me, but I've known you all, an' I've be'n 
watchin* you drill, night after night, unbeknown to 
you. Ill fact, it come to the same thing as my 



128 The Rettirn of The O Mahony. 

drillin' \<^^w myself — because, unlil I taught your 
center, Jerry, he knew about as much about it as a 
pig knows about ironin' a shirt. Well, now you all 
see me. I'm your boss Fenian in these parts." 

" Huroo !" cried the men, waving their hats. 

I don't really suppose this intelligence surprised 
them in the least, but they fell gracefully in with 
The O'Mahony's wish that it should seem to do so, 
as is the polite wont of their race. 

" Well," he continued, colloquially, " here we are! 
We've been waitin' and workin' for a deuce of a 
long time. Now, at last, they's somethin' for us to 
d(3. It ain't my fault that it didn't come months and 
months ago. But that don't matter now. What I 
want to know is: are you game to follow me?" 

"We are, O'Mahony!" they called out, as one 
man. 

" That's right. I guess you know me well enough 
b3^this time to know I don't ask no man to go where 
I'm afeared to go m3'self. There's goin' to be some 
fightin', though, an' 3a:)u fellows are new to that 
sort of thing. Now, I've b'en a soldier, on an' off, 
a good share of my life. I ain't a bit braver than 
you are, only 1 know more about what it's like than 
you do. An' besides, I should be all-fired sorry to 
have any of 3'e git hurt. You've all b'en as good to 
me as 3'our skins could hold, an' I'll do m3^ best to 
see 3'ou through this thing, safe an' sound." 

" Cheers for The 0'Mahon3^ !" some one cried 
out, excitedl3- ; but he held up a warning hand. 

" Better not holler till 3'ou git out o' the woods," 
he said, and then went on: " Scein' that }^ou've 
never, any of you, be'n under fire, I've thought of 



A Talis77ian and a Traitor. 129 

somethin' that'll help ^you to keep a stiff upper-lip, 
when the time comes to need it. A good many of 
you are O'Mahonys born; all of you come from 
men who have followed The O'Mahony of their time 
in battle. Well, in them old days, you know, they 
used to carry their catJiacJi with them, to bring 'em 
luck, same as American boys spit on their bait when 
they're fishin'. So I've had Malachy, here, bring 
along a box, specially made for the purpose, an' it's 
chuck full of the bones of a family saint of mine. 
We found him — me an' Jerry — after the wind had 
blown part of the convent down, layin' just where 
he was put when he died, with the crucifix in his 
hands, and a monk's gown on. I ain't a very good 
man, an' p'r'aps you fellows have noticed that I 
ain't much of a hand for church, or that sort of 
thing; but I says to myself, when I found this dead 
an' dried body of an O'Mahony who was pious an' 
good an* all that : * You shall come along with us, 
friend, an' see our tussle through.' He was an 
Irishman in the days when Irishmen run their ov^^n 
country in their own way, an* I thought he'd be 
glad to come along with us now, an' see whether 
we was fit to call ourselves Irishmen, too. An* I 
reckon you'll be glad, too, to have him with us." 

Stirred by a solitary impulse, the men looked 
toward the box at the bow — a rudely built little 
chest, with strips of worn leather nailed to its sides 
and top — and took off their hats. 

" We are, O'Mahony !" they cried. 

" Up with your sails, then !" The O'Mahony 
shouted, with a sudden change to eager animation. 

And in a twinkling the Hen Hawk had ceased dal- 



130 The Return of The O Mahony, 

lying, and, with stiffly bowed canvas and a buoyant, 
forward careen, was kicking the spray behind her 
into the receding picture of the Dunmanus ch'ffs. 



Nearly five hours later, a little council, or, one 
might better say, dialogue of war, was held at the 
stern of the speeding vessel. The rifles had long 
since been taken out and put together, and the cart- 
ridges which Jerry had alread}' made up distributed. 
The men were gathered forward, ready for what- 
ever adventure their chief had in mind. 

" I'm goin' to lay to in a minute or two," confided 
The O' Mahony to Jerry, in an undertone. 

Jerry looked inquiring!}'- up and down the deserted 
stretch of brown headlands before them. Not a sign 
of habitation was in view. 

" Is it this we've come to besayge and capture ?" 
he asked, with incredulity. 

"No. Right round that corner, though, la3^s the 
marteller tower we're after. Up to yesterday my 
plan was jest to sail bang up to her an' walk in. But 
somethin' 's happened to change my notions. 
They've sent a fellow — an American Irishman — to 
be what they call ray ' cojutor.' I don't jest know 
what it means ; but, whatever it is, I don't think 
much of it. He's waitin' over there for me to land. 
Well, now, I'm goin' to land here instid, an' take 
five of the men with me, an' kind o' santer down 
toward the tower from the land side, keepin' behind 
the hedges. You'll stay on board here, with Dom- 
inic at the helm under your orders, and only the jib 
and mizzen-top up, and jest mosey along into the 
cove toward the tower, keepin' your men out o' 



A Talisman and a Traitor. 131 

sight and watchin' for me. If there's a nigger in 
the fence, I'll smoke him out that way." 

Some further directions in detail followed, and 
then the bulk of the canvas was struck, and the 
vessel hove to. The small boat was drawn to the 
side, and the landing party descended to it. One 
of their own number took the oars, for it was 
intended to keep the boat in waiting on the beach. 
Their guns lay in the bottom, and they were con- 
scious of a novel weight of ammunition in their 
pockets. They waved their hands in salution to the 
friends and neighbors they were leaving, and then, 
with a vigorous sweep of the oars, the boat went 
tossing on her course to the barren, rocky shore. 

The O'Mahony, curled up on the seat at the bow, 
scanned the wide prospect with a roving scrutiny. 
No sail was visible on the whole horizon. A drab, 
hazy stain over the distant sky-line told only tliat 
the track of the great Atlantic steamers lay out- 
ward many miles. On the land side — where rough, 
blackened boulders rose in ugly points from the lap- 
ping water, as outposts to serried ranks of lichened 
rocks which, in their turn, straggled backward in 
slanting ascent to the summit, masked by shaggy 
growths of furze — no token of human life was visible. 

A landing-place was found, and the boat securely 
drawn up on shore beyond highwater mark. 
Then The O'Mahony led the way, gun in hand, 
across the slippery reach of wet sea-weed, and 
thence, by winding courses, obliquely up the hill- 
side. He climbed from crag to crag with the agility 
of a goat, but the practiced Muirisc men kept close 
at his heels. 



132 The Retu7'7i of The O Mahony. 

Arrived at the top, he paused in the shelter of the 
furze bushes to study the situation. 

It was a great and beautiful panorama upon which 
he looked meditatively down. The broad bay lay 
proudly in the arms of an encircling wall of cliffs, 
whose terraced heights rose and spread with the 
dignity of some amphitheatre of the giants. At their 
base, the blue waters broke in a caressing ripple of 
cream-like foam ; afar off, the sunshine crowned 
their purple heads with a golden haze. Through 
the center of this noble sweep of sheltering hills 
cleft the wooded gorge of a river, whose mouth 
kissed the strand in the screening shadow of a huge 
mound, reared precipitously above the sea-front, 
but linked by level stretches of sward to the main- 
land behind. On the summit of this mound, over- 
looking the bay, was one of those curious old mar- 
tello towers with which England marked the low 
comedy stage of her panic about Bonaparte's inva- 
sion. 

The tower — a squat, circular stone fort, with a 
basement for magazine purposes, and an upper 
story for defensive operations — kept its look-out for 
Corsican ghosts in solitude. Considerably to this 
side, on the edge of the cliff, was a white cluster of 
coast-guard houses, in the yard of which two or three 
elderly men in sailor attire could be seen sunning 
themselves. Away in the distance, on the farther 
bend of the bay, the roofs and walls of a cluster of 
cottages were visible, and above these, among the 
trees, scattered glimpses of wealthier residences. 

Of all this vast spectacle The O'IMahony saw 
nothing but the martello tower, and the several 



A Talisman and a Traitor. 133 

approaches to it past the coast-guard houses. He 
chose the best of these, and led the way, crouching 
low behind the line of hedges, until the whole party 
halted in the cover of a clump of young sycamores, 
upon the edge of the open space leading to the 
mound, A hundred feet away from them, at the 
base of a jagged bowlder of black slatish substance, 
stood a man, his face turned toward the tower and 
the sea. It was Linsky. 

After a time he lifted his hand, as if in signal to 
some one beyond. 

The O'Mahony, from his shelter behind, could 
see that the Hen Hazvk had rounded the point, and 
was lazily rocking her way along across the bay, 
shoreward toward tlie tower. For a moment he 
assumed that Linsky 's sign was intended for the 
vessel. 

Then some transitory movement on the surface 
of the tower itself caught his wandering glance^ and 
in the instant he had mastered every detail of a 
most striking incident. A man in a red coat had 
suddenly appeared at the landward window of the 
martello tower, made a signal to Linskey, and 
vanished like a fiash. 

The O'Mahony thoughtfully raised his rifle, and 
fastened his attention upon that portion of Linsky 's 
breast and torso which showed above the black, 
unshaken sight at the end of its barrel. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

THE RETREAT WITH THE PRISONERS. 

The Hen Hawk was idly drifting into the cove 
toward the little fishing-smack pier of stone and 
piles which ran out like a tongue from the 
lower end of the mound. Only two of her r.icn 
were visible on deck. A group of gulls wheeled 
and floated about the thick little craft as she 
crawled landward. 

These things The O'Mahony vaguely noted as a 
background to the figure of the traitor by the rock, 
which he studied now with a hard-lined face and 
stony glance over the shining rifle-barrel. 

He hesitated, let the weapon sink, raised it 
again — then once for all put it down. He would 
not shoot Linsky. 

But the problem what to do instead pressed all 
the more urgently for solution. 

The O'Mahony pondered it gravely, with an alert 
gaze scanning the whole field of the rock, the 
towered mound and the waters beyond for helping 
hints. All at once his face brightened in token of a 
plan resolved upon. He whispered some hurried 
directions to his companions, and then, gun in hand, 
quitted his ambush. Bending low, with long, 

[134] 



The Retreat with the Prisoners. 135 

slcalthy strides, he stole along' the line of yew 
hedge to the rear of the rock whicli sheltered 
Linsky. He reached it without discovery, and, 
still noiselessly, half slipped, half leaped down the 
earthern bank beside it. At this instant his 
shadow betrayed him. Linsky turned, his lips 
opened to speak. Then, without a word, he reeled 
and fell like a log under a terrific sidelong blow on 
jaw and skull from the stock of The O'Mahony's 
clubbed gun. 

The excited watchers from the sycamore shield 
behind saw him fall, and saw their leader spring 
upon his sinking form and drag it backward out of 
sight of the martello tower. Linsky was wearing a 
noticeable russet-brown short coat. They saw The 
O'Mahony strip this off the other's prostrate body 
and exchange it for his own. Then he put on 
Linsky's hat — a drab, low-crowned felt, pulled well 
over his ej-es — and stood out boldly in the noon 
sunlight, courting observation from the tower. 
He took a handkerchief from his pocket and spread 
it out upon the black surface of the rock, and 
began pacing up and down before it with his eyes 
on the tower. 

Presently the same red-coated apparition was 
momentarily visible at the land-side window. The 
O'Mahony held up his hand and went through a 
complicated gesture which should signify that he 
was coming over to the tower, and desired the other 
to come down and talk with him. This other gave 
a sign of comprehension and assent, and disap- 
peared. 

The O'Mahony walked, unarmed, and with a 



136 The Rehtrn of The GMahony. 

light, springing step, across tlie sloping sward to 
the tower. He paused at the side of its gray wall 
for an instant, to note that the Hen Hawk lay only a 
few feet distant from the pier-end. Then he entered 
the open ground-door of the tower, and found him- 
self in a circular, low, stone room, which, though 
whitewashed, seemed dark, after the bright sunlight 
outside. Some barrels stood in a row against the 
wall, and one of these was filled with soiled cotton- 
waste which had been used for cleaning guns. The 
newcomer helped himself to a large handful of this, 
and took from his pocket a compact coil of stout 
packing-cord. Then he moved toward the little iron 
staircase at the other end of the chamber, and, lean- 
ing with his back against it, waited. 

The next minute the door above opened, and the 
clatter of spurred boots rang out on the metal steps. 
The O'Mahony's sidelong glance saw two legs, clad 
in blue regimental trowsers with a red stripe, 
descend past his head, and then the flaring vision of 
a scarlet jacket. 

" Well, they're landing, it seems," said the officer, 
as his foot was on the bottom step. 

The O'Mahony turned like a leopard, and sprang 
forward, flinging his arm around the other's neck, 
and jamming him backward against the steps and 
wall, while, with his free hand, he thrust the greasy, 
noxious rags into his mouth and face. The struggle 
between the two strong men was fierce for a 
moment. Then the officer, blinded and choking 
under the gag, felt himself being helplessly bound, 
as if with wires, so tightly were the merciless liga- 
tures drawn round arms and legs and head — and 



The Retreat ivith the Prisoners. 137 

then hoisted into mid-air, and ignominiously jolted 
forward through space, with the effect of riding 
pickaback on a giant kangaroo. 

The O'Mahony emerged from the tower, bent 
ahnost double under the burden of the stalwart 
captive, who still kept up a vain, writhing attempt at 
resistance. The whole episode had lasted scarcely 
two minutes, and no one above seemed to have heard 
the few muffled sounds of the conflict. 

With a single glance toward the companions he 
had left in hiding among the sycamores, he began 
a hasty, staggering course diagonally down the side 
of the mound toward the water-front. He did not 
even stop to learn whether pursuit was on foot, or if 
his orders had been obeyed concerning Linsky, 

At the foot of the hill he had to force his way 
through a thick thorn hedge to gain the roadway 
leading to the pier. Weighted as he was, the task 
was a difficult one, and when it was at last triumph- 
antly accomplished, his clothes hung in tatters about 
him, and he was covered with scratches. He dog- 
gedly made his way onward, however, with bowed, 
bare head and set teeth, stumbling along the quay to 
the vessel's edge. The Heri Hazvk had been brought 
up to the pier-corner, and The O'Mahony, stagger- 
ing over the gunwale, let his burden fall, none too 
gently, upon the deck. 

A score of yards to the rear, came, at a loping 
dog-trot, the five men he had left behind him among 
the trees. One of them bore an armful of guns and 
his master's discarded coat and hat. Each of the 
others grasped either a leg or an arm of the still 
insensible Linsky, and, as they in turn leapt upon 



1 38 The Return of The OMahony. 

the vessel, they slung him, lace downward and 
supinely limp, sprawling beside the officer. 

With all swiftness, sails were rattled up, and the 
weight of half-a-dozen brawny shoulders laid against 
pike-poles to push the vessel off. 

The tower had suddenl)^ taken the alarm ! The 
reverberating " boom-m-m " of a cannon sent its 
echoes from cliff to cliff, and the casement windows 
under the machicolated eaves were bristling with 
gun-barrels flashing in the noon-day sun. 

For one anxious minute — even as the red-coats 
began to issue, like a file of wasps, from the door- 
way at the bottom of the tower — the sails hung 
slack. Then a shifting land-breeze caught and filled 
the sheets, the Hen Hazvk shook herself, dipped her 
beak in the sunny waters — and glided serenelj' for- 
ward. 

She was standing out to sea, a fair hundred yards 
from land, when the score of soldiers came to the 
finish of their chase on the pier-end, and gazed, 
with hot faces and short breath, upon her receding 
hull. She was still within range, and they instinct- 
ively half-poised their guns to shoot. But here 
was the difficulty : The O'Mahony had lifted the 
grotesquely bound and gagged figure of their com- 
manding officer, and held it upright beside him at 
the helm. 

For this reason they forbore to shoot, and con- 
tented themselves with a verbal volley of curses and 
shouts of rage, which may have startled the circling 
gulls, but raised only a staid momentary smile on 
the gaunt face of The O'Mahony. He shrilled back 
a prompt rejoinder in the teeth of the breeze, which 



The Retreat with the Prisoners. 139 



belongs to polite literature no more than did the 
cries to which it was a response. 

Thus the Hen Hawk ploughed her steady way out 
to open sea — until the red-coats which had been 
dodging about on the heights above were lost to 
sight through even the strongest glass, and the 
brown headlands of the coast had become only dim 
shadows of blue haze on the sky line. 



Linsky had been borne below, to have his head 
washed and bandaged, and then to sleep his swoon 
off, if so be that he was to recover sensibility at all 
during what remained to him of terrestrial existence. 
The British officer had even before that been 
relieved of the odious gun-rag gag, and some of the 
more uncomfortable of his bonds. He had. been 
given a seat, too, on a coil of rope beside the 
capstan — against which he leaned in obdurate 
silence, with his brows bent in a prolonged scowl of 
disgust and wrath. More than one of the crew, 
and of the non-maritime Muirisc men as well, had 
asked him if he wanted anything, and got not so 
much as a shake of the head in reply. 

The O'Mahony paced up and down the forward 
deck, for a long time, watching this captive of his, 
and vaguely revolving in his thoughts the problem 
of what to do with him. The taking of prisoners 
had been no part of his original scheme. Indeed, 
for that matter, nothing of this original scheme 
seemed to be left. He had had, he realized now, a 
distinct foreboding of Linsky's treachery. Yet its 
discovery had as completely altered everything as 



140 The Return of The O'Mahony. 

if it had come upon him entirely unawares. He 
had done none of the things which he had planned 
to do. The cathacJi had been brought for nothing. 
Not a shot had been fired. The martello tower 
remained untaken. 

When he ruminated upon these things he grpund 
his teeth and pressed his thin lips together. It was 
all Linsky's doing. He had Linsky safe below, how- 
ever. It would be strange indeed if this fact did 
not turn out to have interesting consequences; but 
there would be time enough later on to deal with 
that. 

The presence of the British officer was of more 
immediate importance. The O'Mahony walked 
again past the capstan, and looked his prisoner over 
askance. He was a tall man, well on in the thirties, 
slender, yet with athletic shoulders ; his close- 
cropped hair and short moustache were of the color 
of flax ; his face and neck were weather-beaten and 
browned. The face was a good one, with shapely 
features and a straightforward expression, albeit, 
seen now at its worst, under a scowl and the smear 
of the rags. After much hesitation The O'Mahony 
finally made up his mind to speak, and walked 
around to confront the officer with an amiable nod. 

" S'pose you're jest mad through an' through at 
bein' grabbed that wa}' an' tied up like a calf goin' 
to market, an' run out in that sort o' style," he said, 
in a cheerfully confidential tone. " I know Fd be 
jest bilin' ! But I hope you don't bear no malice. 
It Jiad to be done, an' done that way, too ! You kin 
see that yourself." 

The Englishman looked up with surly brevity of 



The Retreat with the Prisoners. 141 

glance at the speaker, and then contemptuously 
turned his face away. He said never a word. 

The O'Mahony continued, affably: 

** One thing I'm sorry for: It was pritty rough 
to have your mouth stuffed with gun-wipers ; but^ 
really, there wasn't anything else handy, and time 
was pressin'. Now what d'ye say to havin' a drink 
— jest to reuse the taste out o' yonv mouth?" 

The officer kept his eyes fixed on the distant hori- 
zon. His lips twitched under the mustache with a 
movement that might signify temptation, but more 
probably reflected an impulse to tell his questioner 
to go to the devil. Whichever it was he said 
nothing. 

The O'Mahony spoke again, with the least sus- 
picion of acerbity in his tone. 

" See here," he said ; " don't flatter 3'ourself that 
I'm worryin' much whether you take a drink or not; 
an' I'm not a man that's much given to takin' slack 
from anybody, whether they Avear shoulder-straps 
or not. You're my pris'ner. I took you — took you 
myself, an' let you have a good lively rassle for 
your money. It wasn't jest open an' aboveboard, 
p'r'aps, but then you was layin' there with 3^our 
men hid, dependin' on a sneak an' a traitor to 
deliver me an' my fellows into 3'our hands. So it 's 
as broad as 'tis long. Only I don't want to make it 
especially rough for you, an' I thought I'd offer 3'ou 
a drink, an' have a talk with 3'ou about what's to be 
done next. But if 3^ou're too mad to talk or drink, 
either, why, I kin wait till 3'Ou cool down." 

Once more the officer looked up, and this time, 
after some hesitation, he spoke, stiffl}^ : 



142 The Return of The O MaJioiiy. 

" I sJioiild like some whisky and water, if you have 
it — and will be good enough," he said. 

The O'Mahony brought the beverage from below 
with his own hand. Then, as on a sudden thought, 
he took out his knife, knelt down and cut all the 
cords which still bound the other's limbs. 

The officer got gingerly up on his feet, kicked 
his legs out straight and stretched his arms. 

" I wish you had done that before," he said, tak- 
ing the glass and eagerly drinking off the contents. 

" I dunno wh}'^ I didn't think of it," said The 
O'Mahon}', with genuine regret. ** Fact is, 1 had so 
many other things on my mind. This findin' your- 
self sold out by a fellow that you trusted with your 
life is enough to kerflummux any man," 

" That ought not to surprise any Irishman, 1 
should think," said the other, curtly. *' However 
much Irish conspiracies may differ in other respects, 
they're invariably alike in one thing. There's 
always an Irishman who sells the secret to the gov- 
ernment." 

The O'Mahony made no immediate answer. 
The bitter remark had suddenly suggested to him 
the possibility that all the other movements in Cork 
and Kerry, planned for that day, had also been be- 
trayed ! He had been too gravely occupied with 
his own concerns to give this a thought before. As 
he turned the notion over now in his mind, it 
assumed the form of a settled conviction of univer- 
sal treachery. 

"There's a darned sight o' truth in what you say," 
he assented, seriousl}^ after a pause. 

The tone of the reply took the English officer by 



TJic Rcti'eat ivitJi tJie Prisoners. 143 

surprise. He looked up with more interest, and the 
expression of cold sulkiness faded from his face. 
" You got off with great luck," he said. " If they 
had many more like you. perhaps the}' might do 
something worth while. You're an Irish-American, 
I fancy? And you have seen military s'^rvice ?'* 

The O'Mahony answered both questions with an 
affirmative nod. 

" Then I'm astonished," the officer went on, " that 
you and men like you, who know what war is really 
like, shoidd come over here, and spend your money 
and risk your lives and libert}', without the hope of 
doing anything more than cause us a certain amount 
of bother. As a soldier, you must know that you 
have no earthly chance of success. The odds are 
ten thousand to one against you." 

The O'Mahony's e)'es permitted themselves a 
momentary twinkle. "Well, now, mister," he said, 
carelessl}' ; " I dunno so much about that. Take 
you an' me, now, f'r instance, jest as we stand : I 
don't reckon that bettin' men 'u'd precisely tumble 
over one another in the rush to put their money on 
yoii. Maybe I'm no judge, but that's the way it 
looks to me. What do you think 3'ourself, now — 
honest Injun ?" 

The Englishman was not responsive to this light 
view of the situation. He frowned again, and pet- 
tishly shrugged his shoulders. 

"Of course, I did not refer to that!'' he said. 
" My misadventure is ridiculous and — ah — person- 
ally inconvenient — but it — ah — isn't war. You take 
nothing by it." 

" Oh, yes — I've taken a good deal — too much, in 



144 ^'^^^ Rehtrn of TJie O' Makoiiy. 

fact," said The O'Mahony, going off into a brown 
study over the burden of his acquisitions which his 
words conjured up. He paced up and down beside 
his prisoner for a minute or two. Then he halted, 
and turned to him for counsel. 

*' What do 3'ou think, yourself, would be the best 
thing for me to do with you, now 't I've got you ?" 
he asked, 

" Oh — really ! — really, I must decline to advise 
with you upon the subject," the other replied, 
frostily. 

" On the one hand," mused The O'Mahony, aloud, 
" you got scooped in afore you had time to fire a 
shot, or do any mischief at all — so 't we don't owe 
you no grudge, so to speak. Well, that's in your 
favor. And then there's your mouth rammed full 
of gun- waste — that ought to count some on your 
side, too." 

The Englishman looked at him, curiosity strug- 
gling with dislike in his glance, but said nothing. 

" On t' other hand," pursued The O'Mahony, 
" you ain't quite a prisoner of war, because you was 
openly dealin' with a traitor and spy, and playin' to 
come the gouge game over me an' my men. That's 
a good deal ag'in' you. For sake of argument, let's 
say the thing is a saw-off, so far as what's happened 
already is concerned. The big question is : What's 
goin' to happen ?" 

" Really — " the officer began again, and then 
closed his lips abruptly. 

" Yes," the other went on, " that's where the shoe 
pinches. I s'pose now, if I was to land you on the 
coast yonder, anywhere, you wouldn't give your 



TJie Ret J' eat with the Prisoners. 145 

word to not start an alarm for forty-eight hours, 
would you?" 

"Certainly not!" said the Englishman, with 
prompt decision. 

" No, I thought not. Of course, the alarm 's been 
given hours ago, but your men didn't see me, or git 
enough of a notion of my outfit to make their 
description dangerous. It's different with you." 

The officer nodded his head to indicate that he 
was becoming interested in the situation, and saw 
the point. 

" So that really the most sensible thing I could 
do, for myself and my men, *u'd be to lash you to a 
keg of lead and drop you overboard — wouldn't it, 
now ?" 

The Englishman kept his eyes fixed on the middle 
distance of gently, heaving waters, and did not 
answer the question. The O'Mahony, watching his 
unmoved countenance with respect, made pretense 
of waiting for a reply, and leaned idly against the 
capstan to fill his pipe. After a long pause he was 
forced to break the silence. 

" It sounds rough," he said ; " but it's the safest 
wa}' out of the thing. Got a wife an' family ?" 

The officer turned for the fraction of an instant to 
scrowl indignantly, the while he snapped out: 

" That's none of your d — d business !" 

Whistling softly to himself, with brows a trifle 
lifted to express surprise. The O'Mahony walked 
the whole length of the deck and back, pondering 
this reply : 

" I've made up my mind," he announced at last, 
upon his return. " We'll land you in an hour or so 



146 The Return of The G Mahony. 

— or at least give you the dingey and some food and 
drink, and let you row yourself in, sa}-, six or seven 
miles. You can manage it all right before nightfall 
— an' I'll take my chances on your startin' the hue- 
an'-cry." 

" Understand, I promise nothing !" interposed the 
other. 

"No, that's all right," said The O'Mahony. 
" Mind, if I thought there was any wa}^ by which 
you was likely to get these men o' mine into trouble, 
I'd have no more scruple about jumpin' 30U inro the 
water there than I would about pullin'a fish out of it. 
But, as I figure it out, they don't stand in any dan- 
ger. As for me — well, as I said, I'll take my 
chances. It '11 make me a heap o' trouble, I dare say, 
but I deserve that. This trip o' mine's been a fool- 
performance from the word ' go,' and it's only fair I 
should pay for it." 

The Englisliman looked up at the yawl rigging, 
taut under the strain of filled sails; at the men hud- 
dled together forward ; last of all at his captor. 
His eyes softened. 

" You're not half a bad sort," he said, " in — ah — 
spite of the gun-waste. I should think it likely that 
your men would never be troubled, if they go 
home, and — ah — behave sensibly." 

The O'Mahony nodded as if a pledge had been 
given. 

" That's what I want," he said. " They are 
simply good fellows who jest went into this thing 
on my account." 

*' But in all human probability," the officer went 



The Retreat zvith the Prisoners. 14./ 

jn, "j'ou will be caught and punished. It will be 
X miracle if you escape." 

The O'Mahony blew smoke from his pipe with an 
incredulous grin, and the other went on : 

" It does not rest alone with me, I assure you. A 
minute detailed description of your person. Captain 
Harrier, has been in our possession for two days." 

" I-gad ! that reminds me," broke in The 
O'Mahony, his face darkening as he spoke — " the 
man who gave you that name and that description 
is lyin' down-stairs with a cracked skull." 

" I don't know that it is any part of my duty," 
said the officer ; " to interest myself in that person, 
or — ah — what befalls him." 

" No," said The O'Mahony, " I guess not! I guess 
not /" 



CHAPTER XIV. 

THE REINTERMENT OF LINSKY. 

The red winter sun sank to hide itself below the 
waste of Atlantic waters as the Hen Hawk, still held 
snugly in the grasp of the breeze, beat round the 
grim cliffs of Three-Castle Head, and entered Dun- 
manus Ba}'. The Englishman had been set adrift 
hours before, and by this time, no doubt, the tele- 
graph had spread to every remotest point on the 
Southern and Western coast warning descriptions 
of the vessel and its master. Perhaps even now" 
their winged flight into the west was being followed 
from Cape Clear, which la}' behind them in the mistv 
and darkening distance. Still the Hen Hawk's 
course was confidently shaped homeward, for many 
miles of bog and moorland separated Muirisc from 
any electric current. 

The O'Mahony had hung in meditative solitude 
over the tiller for hours, watching the squatting 
groups of retainers playing silently at " spoil-five " 
on the forward deck, and revolving in his mind the 
thousand and one confused and clashing thoughts 
which this queer new situation suggested. As the 
[148] 



The Reintennent of Liiisky. 14.9 

sun went down he called to Jerry, and the two, 
standing- togethei" at the stern, looked upon the 
great ball of fire descending behind the gray expanse 
of trackless waters, without a word. Rude and 
untutored as they were, both were conscious, in 
some vague way, that when this sun should rise 
again their world would be a different thing. 

"Well, pard," said the master, when only a bar 
of flaming orange marked where the day had gone, 
*' it '11 be a considerable spell, 1 reckon, afore 1 see 
that sort o' thing in these waters again." 

" Is it I'avin' the country we are, thin ?" asked 
Jerry, in a sympathetic voice. 

"No, not exactly. You'll stay here. But /cut 
sticks to-morrow." 

" Sure, then, it's not alone 3^e'll be goin'. Egor ! 
man, didn't I take me Bible-oath niver to I'ave yeh, 
the longest day ye lived ? Ah — now, don't be 
talkin' !" 

" That's all right, Jerry — but it's got to be that 
way," replied The O'Mahony, in low regretful 
tones. " I've figured it all out. It '11 be mighty 
tough to go off by myself without you, pard, but I 
can't leave the thing without somebody to run it 
for me, and you are the only one that fills the bill. 
Now don't kick about it, or make a fuss, or think 
I'm using you bad. Jest say to yourself — ' Now 
he's my friend, an' I'm his'n, and if he says I can be 
of most use to him here, why that settles it.' Take 
the helm for a minute, Jerry. I want to go for'ard 
an' say a word to the men." 

The O'Mahony looked down upon the unintelli- 
gible game being pla^^ed with cards so dirty that he 



150 The Return of The G Mahoiiy. 

could not tell them apart, and worn by years of use 
to the shape of an Q^%, and waited with a musing 
smile on his face till the deal was exhausted. The 
players and onlookers formed a compact group at 
his knees, and they still sat or knelt or lounged on 
the deck as they listened to his words. 

" Boys," he said, in the gravely gentle tone which 
somehow he had learned in speaking to these men 
of Muirisc, " I've been tellin' Jerry somethin' that 
)'Ou've got a right to know, too. I'm goin' to light 
out to-morrow — that is, quit Ireland for a spell. It 
may be for a good while — maybe not. That depends. 
I hate like the very devil to go — but it's better for 
me to skip than to be lugged off to jail, and tlicn to 
state's prison — better for me an' better for you. If 
I get out, the rest of you won't be bothered. Now 
— hold on a minute till I git through ! — now between 
us we've fixed up Muirisc so that it's a good deal 
easier to live there than it used to be. There'll be 
more mines opened up soon, an' the lobster fact'ry 
an' the fishin' are on a good footin* now. I'm goin' 
to leave Jerry to keep track o' things, along with 
O'Daly, an' they'll let me know regular how matters 
are workin', so you won't suffer by my not bein' 
here." 

" Ah — thin — it's our hearts '11 be broken entirely 
wid the grief," wailed Dominic, and the others, seiz- 
ing this note of woe as their key, broke forth in a 
chorus of lamentation. 

They scrambled to their feet with uncovered 
heads, and clustered about him, jostling one another 
for possession of his hands, and affectionately pat- 
ting his shoulders and stroking his sleeves, the 



The Reinterment of Linsky. 151 

while they strove to express in their own tongue, 
or in the poetic phrases they had fashioned for them- 
selves out of a practical foreign language, the 
sincerity of their sorrow. But the Irish peasant has 
been schooled through many generations to face the 
necessity o( exile, and to view the breaking of house- 
holds, the separation of kinsmen, the recurring 
miseries attendant upon an endless exodus across 
the seas, with the philosophy of the inevitable. 
None of these men dreamed of attempting to dis- 
suade The O'Mahony from his purpose, and they 
listened with melancholy nods of comprehension 
when he had secured silence, and spoke again : 

"You can all see that it's^<7/ to be," he said, in 
conclusion. " And now I want you to promise me 
this: 1 don't expect you'll have trouble with the 
police. They won't get over from Balleydehob for 
another day or two — and by that time I shall be 
gone, and the Hen Hazvk, too — an' if they bring over 
the dingey I gave the Englishman to land in, why, of 
course there won't be a man, woman or child in 
Muirisc that ever laid eyes on it before." 

" Sure, Heaven 'u'd blast the eyes that 'u'd recog- 
nize that same boat," said one, and the others mur- 
mured their confidence in the hypothetical miracle. 

" Well, then, what 1 want you to promise is this : 
That you'll go on as you have been doin', workin' 
hard, keepin' sober, an' behavin' yourselves, an' that 
you'll mind what Jerry says, same as if I said it my- 
self. An' more than that— an' now this is a thing 
I'm specially sot on — that you'll look upon that little 
gal, Kate O'Mahony, as if she was a daughter of 
mine, an' watch over her, an' make things pleasant 



152 The Rettirn of The O Mahony. 

for her, an' — an' treat iier like the apple of your 
eye." 

If there was an apple in The O'Mahony's eye, it 
was for the moment hidden in a vail of moisture. 
The faces of the men and their words alike 
responded to his emotion. 

Then one of them, a lean and unkempt old mar- 
iner, who even in this keen February air kept his 
hairy breast and corded, sunburnt throat exposed, 
and whose hawk-like eyes had flashed through fifty 
years of taciturnity over heaven knows what wild 
and fantastic dreams born of the sea, spoke up : 

" Sir, by your I'ave, I'll mesilf be her bod3'gyard 
and her servant, and tache her the wather as befits 
her blood, and keep the very sole of her fut from 
harrum." 

" Right you are, Murphy," said The O'Mahony. 
" Make that your job." 

No one remembered ever having heard Murphy 
speak so much at one time before. To the surprise 
of the group, he had still more to say. 

" And, sir — I'm not askin' it be way of ricom- 
pinse," the fierce-faced old boatman went on — " but 
w'u'd your honor grant us wan requist ?" 

'• You've only got to spit 'er out," was the hearty 
response. 

"Thin, sir, give us over the man ye've got down 
stairs." 

The O'Mahony's face changed its expression. He 
thought for a moment ; then asked : 

" What to do ?" 

" To dale wid this night !" said Murphy, sol- 
emnly. 



The Reinter incut of Liiisky. 153 

There was a pause of silence, and then the clamor 
of a dozen eager voices chishing one against the 
other in the cold wintry twilight: 

" Give him over, O'Mahony !" " L'ave him to 
us !" " Don't be soilin' yer own hands wid the 
likes of him !" *' Oh, l'ave him to us !" these voices 
pleaded. 

The O'Mahony hesitated for a minute, then slow- 
ly shook his head. 

" No, boys, don't ask it," he said. " I'd like to 
oblige you, but 1 can't. He's my meat — I can't give 
him up !" 

" W'u'd yer honor be for sparin' him, thin?" 
asked one, with incredulity and surprise. 

The O'Mahony of Muirisc looked over the excited 
group which surrounded him, dimly recognizing 
the strangeness of the weirdly interwoven qualities 
which run in the blood of Heber — the soft tender- 
ness of nature which through tears would swear 
loyalty unto death to a little child, shifting on the 
instant to the ferocity of the wolf-hound burying 
its jowl in the throat of its quarry. Beyond them 
were gathering the sea mists, as by enchantment 
the}^ had gathered ages before with vain intent 
to baffle the sons of Milesius, and faintly in the half- 
light lowered the beetling cliffs whereon The 
O'Mahonys, true sons of those sea-rovers, had 
crouched watching for their prey this thousand of 
years. He could almost feel the ancestral taste of 
blood in his mouth as he looked, and thought upon 
his answer. 

" No, don't worry about his gitting off," he said, 
at last. " I'll take care of that. You'll never see 



154 ^''^''? Return of The O' Mahony. 

him again — no one on top of this earth '11 ever lay 
eyes on him again." 

With visible reluctance the men forced themselves 
to accept this compromise. The He^i Hazuk plunged 
doggedly along up the bay. 



Three hours later, The O'Mahony and Jerry, not 
without much stumbling and difificult}^ reached the 
strange subterranean chamber where they had 
found the mummy of the monk. They bore 
between them the inert body of a man, whose head 
was enveloped in bandages, and whose hands, hang- 
ing limp at arm's length, were discolored with the 
grime and mold from the stony path over which 
they had dragged. They threw this burden on the 
mediaeval bed, and, drawing long breaths of relief, 
turned to light some candles in addition to the 
lantern Jerry had borne, and to kindle a fire on the 
hearth. 

They talked in low murmurs meanwhile. The 
O'Mahony had told Jerry something of what part 
Linsky had played in his life. Jerry, without being 
informed with more than the general outlines of the 
story, was able swiftly to comprehend his master's 
attitude toward the man — an attitude compounded 
of hatred for his treachery of to-day and gratitude 
of the services which he had unconsciously per- 
formed in the past. He understood to a nicety, too, 
what possibilities there were in the plan which The 
O'Mahony now unfolded to him, as the fire began 
crackling up the chimney. 

" I can answer for his gittin' over that crack in 



The Reinterment of Lmsky. 155 

the head," said The O'Mahon}^ heating and stirring 
a tin cup full of balsam over the flame. " Once I've 
fixed this bandage on, we can bring him to with 
ammonia and whisky, an' give him some brotli. 
He'll live all right — an' he'll live right here, d'ye 
mind. Whatever else happens, he's never to git 
outside, an' he's never to know where he is. 
Nobody but you is to so much as dream of his bein' 
down here — be as mum as an oyster about it, won't 
you ? You 're to have sole charge of him, d'ye see 
— the only human being he ever lays eyes on." 

"Egor! I'll improve his moind wid grand dis- 
courses on trayson and informin' an' betrayin' his 
oath, and the like o* that, till he'll be fit to die wid 
shame." 

" No — I dunno — p'r'aps it 'd be better not to let 
him know we know — jest make him think we 're his 
friends, hidin' him away from the police. However, 
that can take care of itself. Say whatever you like 
to him, only — " 

" Only don't lay a hand on him — is it that ye were 
thinkin'?" broke in Jerry. 

" Yes, don't lick him," said The O'Mahony. " He's 
had about the worst bat on the head I ever saw a 
a man git an' live, to start with. No — be decent 
with him, an' give him enough to eat. Might let 
him have a moderate amount o' drink, too." 

" I suppose there '11 be a great talk about his van- 
ishin' out o' sight all at wance among the Brother- 
hood," suggested Jerry. 

" That don't matter a darn," said the other. " Jest 
you go ahead, an' tend to 3'our own knittin', an' let 
the Brotherhood whistle. We've paid a good stiff 



156 The Return of TJic G Mahoiiy. 

price to learn what Fenianisra is worth, and we've 
learned enough. Not any more on my plate, thankee ! 
Jest give the bo3'Sthe word that the jig is up — that 
there won't be any more drillin' or meanderin' 
round generally. And speakin' o' drink — " 

A noise from the curtained bed in the alcove 
interrupted The O'Mahony's remarks upon this 
important subject. Turning, the two men saw that 
Linsky had risen on the couch to a half-sitting pos- 
ture, and, with a tremulous hand, drawing aside the 
fcU-iike draperies, was staring wildly at them out of 
blood-shot eyes. 

" For the love of God, what is it ?" he asked, in a 
faint and moaning voice. 

" Lay down there ! — quick !" called out The 
O'Mahony, sternly ; and Linsky fell back prone 
without a protest. 

The O'Mahony had finished melting his gum, and 
he spread it now salve-like upon a cloth. Then he 
walked over to where the wounded man lay, with 
marvel-stricken eyes wandering over the archaic 
vaulted ceiling. 

" Is it dead I am ?" he groaned, with a vacuous 
glance at the new-comer. 

" No, you've been badly hurt in battle," said the 
other, in curt tones. " We can pull you through, 
perhaps ; but you've got to shut up an' lay still. 
Hold your head this way a little more — that's it." 

The injured man submitted to the operation, for 
the most part, with apparently closed eyes, but his 
next remark showed that he had been gathering his 
wits together. 

" And how's the battle gone, Captain Harrier?" 



The Reinterment of Linsky. 157 

he suddenly asked. " Is Oireland free from the 
oppressor at last?" 

"No!" said The O'Mahony, with dry brevity — 
" but she'll be free from you for a spell, or I miss my 
guess most consumedly." 



CHAPTER XV. 

"TAKE ME WITH YOU, O'MAHONY." 

The fair-weather promise of the crimson sunset 
was not kept. The morning broke bloodshot and 
threatening, witli dark, jagg-ed storm-clouds scud- 
ding angrily across the sky, and a truculent unrest 
moving the waters of the bay to lash out at the 
rocks, and snarl in rising murmurs among them- 
selves. 

Every soul in Muirisc came soon enough to share 
this disquietude with the elements. Such evil tid- 
ings as these, that The O'Mahony was quitting the 
country, seemed veritably to take to themselves 
wings. The village, despite the fact that the fishing 
season had not yet arrived, and that there was 
nothing else to do, could not lie abed on such a 
morning, much less sleep. Even the tiniest children, 
routed out from their nests of strau^ close beside the 
chimney by the unwonted bustle, saw that some- 
thing was the matter. 

Mrs. Fergus O'J^Iahony heard the intelligence at 
a somewhat later hour, even as she dallied with that 
second cup of coffee, which, in her own phrase, put 
[158J 



" Take me ivith yoit, OMahojiy." 159 

a tail to the breakfast. It was brought to her by a 
messeng-er from the convent, who came to say that 
the Ladies of the Hostage's Tears desired her 
immediate presence upon an urgent matter. Mrs. 
Fergus easily enough put two and two together, as 
she donned her bonnet and ^r<?<f/// shawl. It was The 
O'JNIahony's departure that was to be discussed, and 
the nuns were right in calling that important. She 
looked critically over the irregular walls of the 
castle, as she passed it on her wa)' to the convent. 
Here she had been born ; here she had lived in peace 
and plent}', after her brother's death, until the heir 
from America came to turn her out. Who knew? 
Perhaps she was to go back again, after all. Mrs. 
Fergus agreed that the news was highly important. 

The first glance which she threw about her, after 
she had been ushered in the reception-hall, revealed 
to her that not even she had guessed the full im- 
portance of what was toward. 

The three nuns sat on their accustomed bench at 
one side of the fire, and behind them, in his familiar 
chimney-corner, palsied old Father Harrington 
lolled and half-dozed over the biscuit he was nib- 
bling to stay his stomach after mass. At the table, 
before a formidable array of papers, was seated 
Cormac O'Daly, and at his side sat the person 
whose polite name seemed to be Diarmid MacEgan, 
but whom Muirisc knew and delighted in as Jerry. 
Mrs. Fergus made a mental note of surprise at see- 
ing him seated in such company, and then carried 
her gaze on to cover the principal personage in 
the room. It was The O'Mahony, looking very 
grave and preoccupied, and who stood leaning 



i6o The Rehirn of The GMahony. 

against the chimney-mantel like a proprietor, who 
welcomed her with a nod and motioned her to a 
seat. 

It was he, too, who broke the silence which sol- 
emnly enveloped the conference. 

" Cousin Maggie," he said, in explanation, to her, 
" we've got together this little family part3^so early 
in the mornin' for the reason that time is precious. 
I'm goin' awa}^ — for my health — in an hour or two, 
an' there are things to be arranged before I go. I 
may be away for years; maybe 1 sha'n't ever come 
back." 

" Sure the suddenness of it's fit to take one's 
breath away!" Mrs. Fergus exclaimed, and put her 
plump white hand to her bosom. " I've nerves that 
bad, O'Mahony," she added. 

" Yes, it is a sudden sort of spurt," he assented. 

" And it's your health, you say ! Sure, I used to 
look on you as the mortial picture of a grand, strong 
man." 

"You can't always tell by looks," said The 
O'Mahony, gravely. " But — the point 's this. I'm 
leaving O'Daly and Jerry here, as sort o' joint 
bosses of the circus, during my absence. Daly is to 
be ringmaster, so to speak, while Jerry '11 be in the 
box-office, and kind o* keep an eye to the whole 
show, generally." 

" I lamint, sir, that I'm not able to congratulate 
you on the felicity of your mettyphor,'' said Cor- 
mac 0"Daly, whose swart, thin-visaged little face 
wore an expression more glum than ever. 

" At any rate, you git at my meaning. I have 
signed two powers of attorney, drawn up by O'Daly 



" Take vie with you, O MaJionyy i6i 

here as a lawyer, which gives them power to run 
things for me, while I'm away. Everything is set 
out in the papers, straight and square. I'm leaving 
my will, too, with O'Daly, an' that I wanted speci- 
ally to speak to you about. I've got just one heir 
in this whole world, an' that's your little gal, Katie. 
P'r'aps it 'II be as well not to say anything to her 
about it, but I want you all to know. An' 1 want 
you an' her to move back into my house, an 'live 
there jest as you did afore I come. I've spoken to 
Mrs. Sullivan about it — she's as good as a farrow 
cow in a family — an' she'll stay right along with you, 
an' look after things. An' Jerry here, he'll see that 
your wheels are kept greased — financially, I mean — 
an' — I guess that's about all. Only look out for that 
little gal o' yours as well as you know how — that's 
all. An' I wish — I wish you'd send her over to me, 
to my house, in half an hour or so — jest to say 
good-bye." 

The O'Mahony's voice had trembled under the 
suspicion of a quaver at the end. He turned now, 
abruptly, took up his hat from the table, and left 
the room, closely followed by Jerry. O'Daly rose 
as if to accompany them, hesitated for a moment, 
and then seated himself again. 

The mother superior had heretofore preserved an 
absolute silence. She bent her glance now upon 
Mrs. Fergus, and spoke slowly : 

" Ah, thin, Margaret O'Mahony," she said, " d'ye 
mind in your day of good fortune that, since the 
hour you were born, ye've been the child of our 
prayers and the object of our ceaseless interces- 
sions ?" 



1 62 The Return of The O Mahony. 

Mrs. Fergus put out her rounded lower lip a 
little and, rising from her chair, walked slowly over 
to the little cracked mirror on the wall, to run a 
correcting finger over the escalloped line of her 
crimps. 

" Ay, " she said at last, " I mind many things 
bechune me and you — not all of thim prayers 
either." 



While Mrs. Sullivan and Jerry were hard at 
work packing the scant wardrobe and meager per- 
sonal belongings of the master for his journey, and 
the greater part of the population of Muirisc stood 
clustered on the little qua}'^, watching the Hen Hawk, 
bemoaning their own impending bereavement, and 
canvassing the incredible good luck of Malach}-, 
who was to be the companion in this voyage to 
unknown parts — while the wind rose outside, and 
the waters tumbled, and the sky grew overcast with 
the sullen menace of a winter storm — The O'Mahon}- 
walked slowly, hand in hand with little Kate, 
through the deserted churchyard. 

The girl had been weeping, and the tears still 
blurred her eyes and stained her red cheeks with 
woe-begone smudges. She clung to her com- 
panion's hand, and pressed her head ever and again 
against his arm, but words she had none. The man 
walked with his eyes bent on the ground and his lips 
tightly closed together. So the two strolled in 
silence till they had passed out from the place of 
tombs, and, following a path which wound its way 



" Take me with yo7i, O' Mahojiy." i6 



vD 



miniature defiles among the rocks, had gained the 
summit of the cliff-wall, under whose shelter the 
hamlet of Muirisc had for ages nestled. Here they 
halted, looking down upon the gray ruins of castle, 
church and convent, upon thatched cottage roofs, 
the throng on the quay, the breakers' line of foam 
against the rocks, and the darkened expanse of 
white-capped waters beyond. 

" Don't take on so, sis, any more ; that's a good 
gal," said The O'Mahony, at last, drawing the child's 
head to his side, and gently stroking her black hair. 
" It ain't no good, an' it breaks me all up. One 
thing I'm glad of : It's going to be rough outside. 
It seems to me I couldn't 'a' stood it to up an' sail 
off in smooth, sunshiny weather. The higher she 
rolls the better I'll like it. It's the same as havin' 
somethin' to bite on, when you've got the tooth- 
ache." 

Kate, for answer, rubbed her head against his 
sleeve, but said nothing. 

. After a long pause, he went on : " 'Tain't as if I 
jlivas goin' to be gone forever an' a day. Why, I 
may be poppin' in any minit, jest when you least 
expect it. That's why I want you to study your 
lessons right along, every day, so 't when I turn up 
you'll be able to show off A number one. Maybe 
you 're bankin' on my not bein' able to tell whether 
your book learnin' is * all wool an' a yard wide' or 
not. I didn't get much of a show at school, I know. 
'Twas ' root hog or die ' with me when I was a boy. 
But I'm jest a terror at askin' questions. Why, I've 
busted up whole schools afore now, puttin' conun- 



164 The Return of The O' Mahony. 

drums to 'm that even the school-ma'ams couldn't 
answer. So you look out for me when I come." 

The gentle effort at cheerfulness bore fruit not 
after its kind. Kate's little breast began to heave, 
and she buried her face against his coat. 

The O'Mahony looked wistfully down upon the 
village and the bay, patting the child's shoulder in 
silent token of sj'mpathy. Then an idea occurred 
to him. With his finger under her chin, he lifted 
Kate's face till her glance met hi:. 

"Oh, by the way," he said, with animation," have 
you got so you can write pritty good ?" 

The girl nodded her head, and looked away. 

" Why, then, look here," he exclaimed, heartily, 
" what's the matter with your writin' me real letters, 
sa}'^ every few weeks, tellin' me all that's goin' on. 
an' keepin' me posted rigiit up to date? Why, 
that's jest splendid ! It'll be almost the same as if 
I wasn't away at all. Eh, won't it, skeezucks, eh?" 

He playfully put his arm around her shoulder, 
and they began the descent of the path. The sug- 
gestion had visibly helped to lighten her little heart, 
though she had said not a word. 

"Oh, yes," he went on, "an' another thing I 
wanted to say: It ain't a thing that you must ever 
ask about — or ought to know anything about it — 
but we went out yisterday an' made fools of our- 
selves, an' if I hadn't had the luck of a brindled 
heifer, we 'd all been in jail to da3\ Of course, I 
don't know for certain, but I shouldn't wonder if 
my luck had something to do with a — what d'ye 
call it ? — yes, cathach — that we toted along with us. 
\yell, I'm goin' to turn that box over for you to 



" Take uie with you, O Mdluniyy 165 

keep, when we git down to the house. 1 wouldn't 
open if it I was you — it ain't a pritt}' sight for a little 
gal — just a few dead men's bones — but the box itself 
is all right, an' it can't do 3'ou no harm, to say the 
least. K\\\ moreover — why, here it is in my pocket 
— here's a ring we found on his thumb — cur'ous 
enough — that you must keep for me, too. That 
makes it like what we read about in the story-books, 
eh ? A ring that the beauteous damsel, with the 
hay-colored hair, sends to Alonzo when she gets in 
trouble, eh, sis ?" 

The child took the ring — a quaintly shaped thin 
band of gold, with a carved precious stone of golden- 
brownish hue — and put it in her pocket. Still she 
said nothing. 



At ten in the forenoon, in the presence of all 
Muirisc, The O'Mahon}^ at last gently pushed his 
way through the throng of keening old women and 
excited younger friends, and stepped over the gun- 
wale upon the deck, and Jerry and O'Daly restrained 
those who would have foHovved him. He had forced 
his face into a half-smile, to which he clung reso- 
lutely almost to the end. He had offered many 
parting injunctions: to work hard and drink little ; 
to send the cliildren to school; to keep an absolute 
silence to all outsiders, whether from Skull, Goleen, 
Crookhaven, or elsewhere, concerning him and his 
departure — and many other things. He had shaken 
hands a hundred times across the narrow bar of 
water between the boat and pier ; and now the men 
in the dingey out in front had the hawser taut, and 
the Hen Hawk was moving under its strain, when a 



1 66 The Return of The O Mahony. 

shrill cry raised itself above the general clamor of 
lamentation and farewells. 

At that moment of the vessel's stirring, little Kate 
O'Mahony broke from the group in which her 
mother and the nuns stood digniliedl}' apart, and 
ran wildly to the pier's edge, where Jerry caught 
and for the moment held her, struggling, over the 
widening chasm between the boat and the quay. 
Her power to speak had come at last. 

" Take me with you, O'Mahony !" she cried, fight- 
ing like a wild thing to free herself. " Oh, take me 
with 3'ou ! You promised! You promised! Take 
me with you !" 

It was then that The O' Mahony 's face lost, in a 
flash, its perfunctory smile. He half stretched out 
his hand — then swung himself on his heel and 
marched to the prow of the vessel. He did not 
look back again upon Muirisc. 



An hour later a police-car, bearing five armed 
men, halted at the point on the mountain-road from 
Durrus where Muirisc comes first in view. The 
constables, gazing out upon the broad expanse of 
Dunmanus Bay, saw on the distant water-line a 
yawl-rigged coasting vessel, white against the 
stormy sk}^ Some chance whim suggested to their 
minds an interest in this craft. 

But when they descended into Muirisc they could 
not find a soul who had the remotest notion of what 
a yawl-rig meant, much less of the identity of the 
lugger which, even as they spoke, had passed out 
of sight. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

THE LADY OF MUIRISC. 

In the parish of Kihiioe — which they pronounce 
with a soft prolonged " moo-h," like the murmuring 
call of one of their little bright-eyed, black-coated 
cows — the inhabitants are wont to say that the next 
parish is America. 

It is an ancient and sterile and storm-beaten par- 
ish, this Kilmoe, thrust out in expiation of some 
forgotten sin or other to exist beyond the pale of 
human companionship. Its sons and daughters, 
scattered in tiny, isolated hamlets over its barren 
area, hear never a stranger's voice — and their own 
speech is slow and low of tone because the real 
right to make a noise there belongs to the shriekino- 
gulls and the wild, west wind and the towering, 
foam-fanged waves, which dashed themselves, in 
tireless rivalry with the thunder, against its cliffs. 

Slow, too, in growth and ripening are the wits of 
the men of Kilmoe. They must have gray hairs 
before they are accounted more than boys; and 
when, from sheer old age they totter into the grave, 
the feeling of the parish is that they have been 
untimely cut off just as they were beginning to get 
their brains in fair working: order. Very often 

[167] 



i63 The Return of The G Mahony. ^ 

these aged men, if they dally and loiter on the way 
to the tomb in the hope of becoming still wiser, are 
given a sharp and peremptory push forward by 
starvation. It would not do for the men of Kilmoe 
to know too much. If they did, they would all go 
somewhere else to live — and then what would be- 
come of their landlord? 

Kilmoe once had a thriving and profitable industr}-, 
whereby a larger population than it now contains 
kept body and soul together in more intimate aiid 
comfortable relations than at present exist. The 
outlay involved in this industry was very small, and 
the returns, though not governed by any squalid, 
modern law of percentages, were, on the whole, 
large. 

It was all very simple. Whenever a stormy, 
wind-swept night set in, the men of Kilmoe tied a 
lighted lantern on the neck of a cow, and drove the 
animal to walk along the strand underneath the sea- 
cliffs. This light, rising and sinking with the move- 
ments of the cow, bore a quaint and interesting 
resemblance to the undulations of an illuminated 
buoy or boat, rocked on gentle waves ; and strange 
seafaring crafts bent their course in confidence 
toward it, until they were undeceived. Then the 
men of Kilmoe would sally forth, riding the tumbling 
breakers with great bravery and address, in their 
boats of withes and stretched skin, and enter into 
possession of all the stranded strangers' goods and 
chattels. As for such strangers as survived the 
wreck, they were sometimes sold into slavery ; more 
often they were merely knocked on the head. Thus 
Kilmoe lived much more prosperously than in these 



The Lady of Muirisc. 169 

melancholy latter days of dependence upon a pre- 
carious potato crop. 

In every family devoted to industrial pursuits 
there is one member who is more distinguished for 
attention to the business than the others, and upon 
whom its chief burdens fall. This was true of the 
O'Mahonys, who for many centuries controlled and 
carried on the lucrative occupation above described, 
on their peninsula of Ivehagh. There were 
branches of the sept stationed in the more inland 
sea-castles of Rosbrin, Ardintenant, Leamcon and 
Ballydesmond on the one side, and of Dunbeacon, 
Dunmanus and Muirisc on the other, who did not 
expend all their energies upon this, their genuine 
business, but took many vacations and indefinitely 
extended holiday trips, for the improvement of their 
minds and the gratification of their desire to whip 
the neighboring O'Driscolls, O'Sullivans, O'Heas 
and O'Learys out of their boots. The record of 
these pleasure excursions, in which sometimes the 
O'Mahonys returned with great booty and the heads 
of their enemies on pikes, and some other times did 
not come home at all, fills all the pages of the 
Psalter of Rosbrin, beside occupying a good deal of 
space in the Annals of Innisfallen and of the Four 
Masters, and needs not be enlarged upon here. 

But it is evident that that gentleman of the family 
who, from choice or sense of duty, lived in Kilmoe, 
must have pursued the legitimate O'Mahony voca- 
tion very steadily, without an}- frivolous interrup- 
tions or the waste of time in visiting his neighbors. 
The truth is that he had no neighbors, and nothing 
else under the sun with which to occupy his mind 



I yo T/ie Return of The O'Mahony. 

but the affairs of the sea. This the observer will 
readily conclude when he stands upon the promon- 
tory marked on the maps as Three-Castle Head, 
with the whole world-dividing Atlantic at his feet, 
and looks over at the group of ruined and moss- 
grown keeps which give the place its name. 



" Oh-h ! Look there now, Murphy !" cried a tall 
and beautiful young woman, who stood for the first 
time on this lofty sea-wall, viewing the somber line 
of connected castles. " Sure, here lived the true 
O'Mahony of the Coast of White Foam ! Why, 
man, what were we at Muirisc but poor crab-catch- 
ers compared wid him f 

She spoke in a tone of awed admiration, between 
long breaths of wonderment, and her big eyes of 
Irish gray glowed from their cover of sweeping 
lashes with surprised delight. She had taken off 
her hat — a black straw hat, with a dignifiedly broad 
brim bound in velvet, and enriched by a plume of 
the same somber hue — to save it from the wind, 
which blew stiffly here ; and this bold sea-wind, 
nothing loth, frolicked boisterously with her dark 
curls instead. She put her hand on her compan- 
ion's shoulder for steadiness, and continued the rapt 
gaze upon this crumbling haunt of the dead and 
forgotten sea-lords. 

Twelve years had passed since, as a child of 
eight, Kate O'Mahony had screamed out in despair 
after the departing Hen Hatvk. That vessel had 
never cleft the waters of Dunmanus since, and the 
fleeting years had converted the memory of its 



The Lady of Muirisc. i 7 1 

master, into a kind of heroic legendary myth, over 
which the elders brooded fondly, but which the 
youngsters thought of as something scarcely less 
remote than the Firbolgs, or the builders of the 
" Danes' forts " on tiie furze-crowned hills about. 

But these same years, though they turned the 
absent into shadows, had made of Kate a very lovely 
and complete realit}-. It would be small praise to 
speak of her as the most beautiful girl on the penin- 
sula, since there is no other section of Ireland so 
little favored in that respect, to begin with, and for 
the additional reason that whatever maidenly come- 
liness there is existent there is habitually shrouded 
from view by close-drawn shawls and enveloping 
hoods, even on the hottest of summer noon-daj's. 
For all the stray traveller sees of young and pretty 
faces in Ivehagh, he might as well be in the heart of 
the vailed Orient. 

And even with Kate, potential Lady of Muirisc 
though she was, this fashion of a hat was novel. It 
seemed only 3'esterday since she had emerged from 
the chr3'salis of girlhood — girlhood with a shawl 
over its head, and Heaven only knows what abvsses 
of ignorant sliyness and stupid distrust inside that 
head. And, alas ! it seemed but a swiftly on-coming 
to-morrow before this new freedom was to be lost 
again, and the hat exchanged forever for a nun's 
vail. 

If Kate had known natural history better, she 
might have likened her lot to that of the May-fl}-, 
which spends two years underground in its larva state 
hard at work preparing to be a fly, and tlien, when it 
at last emerges, lives only for an hour, even if it that 



172 The Return of The G Mahoiiy, 

long escapes the bill of the swallow or the rude jaws 
of the trout. No such simile drawn from stony- 
hearted Nature's tragedies helped her to philosophy. 
She had, perhaps, a better refuge in the health and 
enthusiasm of her own youth. 

"! In the company of her ancient servitor, Murphy, 
she was spending the pleasant April days in visiting 
the various ruins of The O'Mahony's on Ivehagh. 
Many of these she viewed now for the first time, 
and the delight of this overpowered and kept down 
in her mind the reflection that perhaps she was see- 
ing them all for the last time as well. 

" But how, in the name of glory, did they get up 
and down to their boats. Murphy ?" she asked, at 
last, strolling further out toward the edge to catch 
the full sweep of the cliff front, which rises abruptly 
from the beach below, sheer and straight, clear 
three hundred feet. 

" There's never a nearer landing-place, thin, than 
where we left our boat, a half-mile bey ant here," 
said Murphy. " Faith, miss, 'tis the belafe they 
went up and down be the aid of the little people. 
'T is well known that, on windy nights, there do be 
grand carrin's-on hereabouts. Sure, in the lake 
forninst us it was that Kian O'Mahony saw the 
enchanted woman with the shape on her of a horse, 
and died of the sight. Manny's the time me own 
father related to me that same." 

" Oh, true ; that wo?eld be the lake of the legend," 
said Kate. " Let us go down to it, Murphy. I'll 
dip me hand for wance in water that's been really 
bewitched." 

The girl ran lightly down the rolling side of the 



Tiic Lady of Mitirisc. I 73 

hill, and across the rock-strewn hollows and mounds 
which stretched toward the castellated cliff. The 
base of the third and most inland tower was washed 
by a placid fresh-water pond, covering an area of 
several acres, and heavily fringed at one end with 
rushes. As she drew near a heron suddenly rose 
from the reeds, hung awkwardly for a moment with 
its long legs dangling in the air, and then began a 
slow, heavy flight seaward. On the moment Kate 
saw another even more unexpected sight — the figure 
of a man on the edge of the lake, with a gun raised 
to his shoulder, its barrel following the heron's 
clumsy course. Involuntarily she uttered a little 
warning shout to the bird, then stood still, confused 
and blushing. Stif!-jointed old Murphy was far 
behind. 

The stranger had heard her, if the heron had not. 
He lowered his weapon, and for a moment gazed 
wonderingly across the water at this unlooked-for 
apparition. Then, with his gun under his arm, he 
turned and walked briskly toward her. Kate cast a 
searching glance backward for Murphy in vain, and 
her intuitive movement to draw a shawl over her 
head was equally fruitless. The old man was still 
somewhere behind the rocks, and she had only this 
citified hat and even that not on her head. She 
could see that the advancing sportsman was young 
and a stranger. 

He came up close to where she stood, and lifted 
his cap for an instant in an off-hand way. Viewed 
thus nearl}^, he was very young, with a bright, fresh- 
colored face and the bearing and clothes of a gen- 
tleman. 



174 The Ret 70^11 of The O MaJwny. 

" I'm glad you stopped me, now that I think of it," 
he said, with an easy readiness of speech. " One 
has no business to shoot that kind of bird; but I'd 
been 13'ing about here for hours, waiting for some- 
thing better to turn up, till I was in a mood to bang 
at anything that came along." 

He offered this explanation with a nonchalant 
half-smile, as if confident of its prompt acceptance. 
Then his face took on a more serious look, as he 
glanced a second time at her own flushed counten- 
ance. 

" I hope I haven't been trespassing," he added, 
under the influence of this revised impression. 

Kate was, in truth, frowning at him, and there 
were no means by which he could guess that it was 
the effect of nervous timidity rather than vexation. 

" 'Tis not my land," she managed to say at last, 
and looked back again for Murphy. 

"No — I didn't think it was anybody's land," he 
remarked, essaying another propitiatory smile. 
" They told me at Goleen that I could shoot as much 
as I liked. They didn't tell me, though, that there 
was nothing to shoot." 

The young man clearly expected conversation ; 
and Kate, stealing further flash-studies of his face, 
began to be conscious that his manner and talk were 
not specially different from those of any nice girl of 
her own age. She tried to think of something ami- 
able to say. 

" 'Tis not the sayson for annything worth shoot- 
ing,'' she said, and then wondered if it was an imper- 
tinent remark. 

"I know that," he replied. "But I've nothing' 



The Lady of Muirisc. i 75 

else to do, just at the moment, and you can keep 
)'ourself walking better if 3'ou've got a gun, and 
then, of course, in a strange country there's always 
the chance that somethi ig curious may turn up to 
shoot. Fact is, I didn't care so much after all 
whether I shot anything or not. You see, castles 
are new things to me — we don't grow 'em where I 
came from — and it's fun to me to mouse around 
among the stones and walls and so on. But this is 
the wildest and lonesomest thing I've run up against 
yet. I give you my word, I'd been lying here so 
long, watching those mildewed old towers there and 
wondering what kind of folks built 'em and lived in 
'em, that when I saw you galloping down the rocks 
here — upon my word, I half thought it was all a fairy 
story. You know the poor people really believe in 
that sort of thing, here. Several of them have told 
me so." 

Kate actually felt herself smiling upon the young 
man. 

" I'm afraid you can't always believe them," she 
said. "Some of them have deludthering waj'S with 
strangers — not that they mane anny harm by it, 
poor souls !" 

".But a young man down below here, to-da}^" 
continued the other — "mind you, 2^. young n\'\\\ — told 
me solemnly that almost every night he heard with 
his own ears the shindy kicked up by the ghosts on 
the hill back of his house, you know, inside one of 
those ringed Danes' forts, as they call 'em. He 
swore to it, honest Injun." 

The girl started in spite of herself, stirred vaguely 
by the sound of this curious phrase with which the 



1 -6 The Return of The O Mahony. 

young man had finished his remarks. But nothing 
definite took shape in her thoughts concerning it^ 
and she answered him freely enough : 

" Ah, well, I'll not say he intinded desate. They're 
a poetic people, sir, living here alone among the ruins 
of what was wance a grand country, and now is 
what you see it, and they imagine visions to thim- 
selves, 'Tis in the air, here. Sure, you yourself " 
— she smiled again as she spoke — " credited me with 
being a fairy. Of course,"' she added, hastily, "you 
had in mind the legend of the lake, here." 

" How do you mean — legend?" asked the young 
man, in frank ignorance. 

" Sure, here in these very waters is a woman, with 
the shape of a horse, who appears to people, and 
when they see her, they — they die, that's all." 

" Well, that's a good deal, I should think," he 
responded, lightly. " No, I hadn't heard of that 
before ; and, besides, you — why, you came down the 
hill, there, skipping like a lamb on the mountains, 
not a bit like a horse." 

The while Kate turned his comparsion over in 
her mind to judge whether she liked it or not, the 
young man shifted his gun to his shoulder, as if to 
indicate that the talk had lasted long enough. 
Then she swiftly blamed herself for having left this 
signal to him. 

" I'll not be keeping you," she said, hurriedly. 

" Oh, bless you — not at all !'' he protested. " Only 
I was afraid I was keeping j/^/^ You see, time hangs 
pretty heavy on my hands just now, and I'm tickled 
to death to have anybody to talk to. Of course, I 
like to go around looking at the castles here, because 



The Lady of Muirisc. 177 

the chances are that some of my people some time 
or other helped build 'em. 1 know my father was 
born somewhere in this part of County Cork." 

Kate sniffed at him. 

" Manny thousands of people have been born 
here," she said, with dignity, " but it doesn't follow 
that they had annything to do with these castles." 

The young man attached less importance to the 
point. 

" Oh, of course not," he said, carelessly. " All I 
go by is the probability that, way back somewhere, 
all of us O'Mahonys were related to one another. 
But for that matter, so were all the Irish who — " 

"And are j^?/ an O'Mahony, thin ?" 

Kate was looking at him with shining eyes — and 
he saw now that she was much taller and more beau- 
tiful than he had thought before. 

" That's my name," he said, simply. 

" An O'Mahony of County Cork ?" 

"Well — personally I'm an O'Mahony of Hough- 
ton County, Michigan, but my father was from 
around here, somewhere." 

"Do you hear that. Murphy?" she said, instinc- 
tively turning to the faithful companion of all her 
out-of-door life. But there was no Murphy in 
sight. 

Kate stared blankly about her for an instant, 
before she remembered that Murphy had never 
rejoined her at the lakeside. And now she thought 
she could hear some vague sound of calling in the 
distance, rising above the continuous crash of the 
breakers down below. 

" Oh, something has happened to him !" she cried, 



178 The Return of The G MaJiony. 

and started running wildly back again. The young 
man followed close enough to keep her in sight, and 
at a distance of some three hundred yards came up 
to her, as she knelt beside the figure of an old peas- 
ant seated with his back against a rock. 

Something had happened to Murphy. His ankle 
had turned on a stone, and he could not walk a step. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

HOW THE OLD BOATMAN KEPT HIS VOW. 

" Oh, what's to be done nozvf asked Kate, rising 
to her feet and casting- a puzzled look about her. 
" Sure, me wits are abroad entirely." 

No answer seemed forthcoming-. As far inland 
as the eye could stretch, even to the gray crown of 
Dunkelly, no sign of human habitation was to be 
seen. The jutting headland of the Three Castles 
on which she stood — with the naked primeval cliffs ; 
the roughly scattered boulders framed in scrub- 
furze too stunted and frightened in the presence of 
the sea to venture upon blossoms ; the thin ashen- 
green grass blown flat to earth in the little sheltered 
nooks where alone its roots might live — presented 
the grimmest picture of desolation she had ever 
seen. An undersized sheep had climbed the rocks 
to gaze upon the intruders — an animal with fleece 
of such a snowy whiteness that it looked like an 
imitation baa-baa from a toy-shop — and Kate found 
herself staring into its vacuous face with sympathy, 
so helplessly empty was her own mind of sugges- 
tions. 

" 'Tis two Oirish miles to the nearest house," said 
Murphy, in a despondent tone. 



i8o The Retur7i of The O Mahony. 

Kate turned to the young man, and spoke wist- 
fully : 

" If you'll stop here, I'll go for help," she 
said. 

The young man from Houghton County laughed 
aloud. 

" If there's any going to be done, I guess you're 
not the one that'll do it," he answered. " But, fiist 
of all, let's see where we stand exactly. How did 
you come here, anyhow ?" 

"We rowed around from — from our home — a 
long way distant in that direction," pointing 
vaguely toward Dunmanus Ba}-, " and our boat was 
left there at the nearest landing point, half a mile 
from here." 

" Ah, well, thafs all right," said the young man. 
" It would take an hour to get anybody over here 
to help, and that would be clean waste of time, 
because we don't need any help. I'll just tote him 
over on my back, all by m}^ little self." 

"Ah — you'd never try to do the likes of Z/^^/ /" 
deprecated the girl. 

"Why not?" he commented, cheerfully — an.! 
then, with a surprise which checked further protest, 
she saw him tie his game-bag round his waist so that 
it hung to the knee, get Murphy seated up on the 
rock against which he had learned, and then take 
him bodily on his back, with the wounded foot com- 
fortably upheld and steadied inside the capacious 
leathern pouch. 

" ' Why not,' eh ?" he repeated, as he straightened 
himself easily under the burden ; " why he's as 
light as a bag of feathers. That's one of the few 



Holu the Boatman kept his Vozu. i8r 

advantages of living on potatoes. Now you bring 
along the gun — that's a good girl — and we'll fetch 
up at the boat in no time. You do the steering, 
Murphy. Now, then, here we go !" 

The somber walls of the Three Castles looked 
down in silence upon this strange procession as it 
filed past under their shadows — and if the gulls 
which wheeled above and about the moss-grown 
turrets described the spectacle later to the wraiths of 
the dead-and-gone 0'jMahon3^s and to the enchanted 
horse-shaped woman in the lake, there must have 
been a general agreement that the parish of Kilmoe 
had seen never such another sight before, even in 
the da3's of the mystic Tuatha de Danaan. 

The route to the boat abounded to a dishearten- 
ing degree in rough and difficult descents, and even 
more trying was the frequent necessity for long 
detours to avoid impossible barriers of rock. More- 
over, Murphy turned out to be vastly heavier than 
he had seemed at the outset. Hence the young 
man, who had freely enlivened the beginning of the 
journey with affable chatter, gradually lapsed into 
silence ; and at last, when only a final ridge of low 
hills separated them from the strand, confessed that 
he would like to take ofT his coat. He rested for a 
minute or two after this had been done, and wiped 
his wet brow. 

" Who'd think the. sun could be so hot in April ?" 
he said. " Wh)', where I come from, we've just 
begun to get through sleighing." 

" What is it you'd be sla3'ing now ?" asked Kate, 
innocently. " We kill our pigs in the late autumn." 



1 82 The Reticrn of The G Mahoiiy, 

The 3-oung man laughed aloud as he took Murphy 
once more on his back. 

" Potato-bugs, chiefly," was his enigmatic response. 

She pondered fruitlessly upon this for a brief 
time, as she followed on with the gun and coat. 
Then her thoughts centered themselves once more 
upon the young stranger himself, who seemed only 
a boy to look at, yet was so stout and confident of 
himself, and had such a man's way of assuming 
control of things, and doing just what he wanted 
to do and what needed to be done. 

Muirisc did not breed that sort of young man. 
He could not, from his face, be more than three or 
four and twenty — and at that age all the men she 
had known were mere slow-witted, shy and awk- 
ward louts of boys, whom their fathers were quite 
free to beat with a stick, and who never dreamed 
of doing anything on their own mental initiative, 
except possibly to " boo " at the police or throw 
stones through the windows of a boycotted shop. 
Evidently there were young men in the big un- 
known outside world who differed immeasurably 
from this local standard. 

Oh, that wonderful outside world, which she was 
never going to see! She knew that it was sinful 
and godless and pressed down and running over 
with abominations, because the venerable nuns of 
the Hostage's Tears had from the beginning told 
her so, but she was conscious of a new and less 
hostile interest in it, all the same, since it produced 
young men of this novel type. Then she began to 
reflect that he was like R(jbert Emmett, who was 
the most modern instance of a young man which 



How the Boat' man kept his Voiv. 183 

the limits of convent literature permitted her to 
know about, only his hair was cut short, and he was 
fair, and he smiled a good deal, and — 

And lo, here they were at the boat! She woke 
abruptly from her musing day-dream. 

The tide had gone out somewhat, and left the 
dingey stranded on the dripping sea-weed. The 
young man seated Murphy on a rock, untied the 
game-bag and put on his coat, and then in the most 
matter-of-fact way tramped over the slippery ooze 
to the boat, pushed it off into the water and towed 
it around by the chain to the edge of a little cove, 
whence one might step over its side from a shore of 
clean, dry sand. He then, still as if it were all a 
matter of course, lifted Murphy and put him in the 
bow of the boat, and asked Kate to sit in the stern 
and steer. 

" I can talk to you, you know, now that your sit- 
ting there," he said, with his foot on the end of the 
oar-seat, after she had taken the place indicated. 
" Oh — wait a minute! We were forgetting the gun 
and bag." 

He ran lightly back to where these things lay 
upon the strand, and secured them ; then, turning, 
he discovered that Murphy had scrambled over to 
the middle seat, taken the oars, and pushed the 
boat off. Suspecting nothing, he walked briskly 
back to the water's edge. 

" Shove her in a little," he said, " and I'll hold her 
while you get back again into the bow. You 
mustn't think of rowing, my good man," 

But Murphy showed no sign of obedience. He kept 
his burnt, claw-shaped hands clasped on the motion- 



184 TJie Return of The O Mahony. 

less, dipped oars, and his eager, bird-like eyes fas- 
tened upon the face of his young mistress. As for 
Kate, she studied the bottom of the boat with 
intentness, and absently stirred the water over the 
boat-side with her finger-tips. 

"Get her in, man! Don't you hear?" called the 
stranger, with a shadow of impatience, over the six 
or seven feet of water which lay between him and the 
boat. " Oy yoiL explain it to him," he said to Kate ; 
" perhaps he doesn't understand me — tell him I'm 
going to row !" 

In response to this appeal, Kate lifted her head, 
and hesitatingly opened her li[)s to speak — but the 
gaunt old boatman broke in upon her confused 
silence : 

" Ah, thin— I understand well enough," hejshouted, 
excitedly, " an' I'm thankful to 3-0, an' the longest 
day I live I'll say a praj^er for ye — an' sure ye're a 
foine grand man, every inch of ye, glory be to the 
Lord — an' it's not manny w'u'd 'a' done what ye did 
this day — and the blessin' of the Lord rest an ye ; 
but — " here he suddenly dropped his high 
shrill, swift-chasing tones, and added in quite 
another voice — " if it's the same to you, sir, we'll go 
along home as we are." 

" What nonsense !" retorted the young man. 
" My time doesn't matter in the least — and 3'ou're 
not fit to row a mile — let alone a long distance." 

" It's not with me fut I'll be rowin'," replied Mur- 
phy, rounding his back for a sweep of the oars. 

" Can't j^?^ stop him. Miss — eh — young lady !" the 
young man implored from the sands. 

Hope flamed up in his breast at sight of the look 



Hoto the Boatman kept his Vow. 185 

she bent upon Murphv, as she leaned forward to 
speak — and then sank into plumbless depths. Per- 
haps she had said something — he could not hear, 
and it was doubtful if the old boatman could have 
heard either — for on the instant he had laid his 
strength on the oars, and the boat had shot out into 
the bay like a skater over the glassy ice. 

It was a score of yards away before the 3M)ung 
man from Houghton County caught his breath. 
He stood watching it — be it confessed — with his 
mouth somewhat open and blank astonishment writ- 
ten all over his ruddy, boyish face. Then the flush 
upon his pink cheeks deepened, and a sparkle came 
into his eyes, for the young lady in the boat had 
risen and turned toward him, and was waving her 
hand to him in friendly salutation. He swung the 
empty game-bag wildly about his head in answer, 
and then the boat darted out of view behind a jut- 
ting ridge of umber rocks, and he was looking at an 
unbroken expanse of gently heaving water — all 
crystals set on violet satin, under the April sun. 

He sent a long-drawn sighing whistle of bewil- 
derment after the vanished vision. 

Not a word had been exchanged between the two 
in the boat until after Kate, yielding at the last 
moment to the temptation which had beset her 
from the first, waved that unspoken farewell to her 
new acquaintance and saw him a moment later 
abruptly cut out of the picture by the intervening 
rocks. Then she sat down again and fastened a 
glare of metallic disapproval, so to speak, upon 
Murphy. This, however, served no purpose, since 



1 86 The Return of The O Mahony. 

the boatman kept his head sagaciously bent over 
his task, and rowed awa}^ like mad. 

" I take shame for you, Murpii}' !" she said at last, 
with a voice as full of mingled anguish and humili- 
ation as she could manage to make it. 

" Is it too free I am with complete strangers?" 
asked the guileful Murphy, with the face of a trust- 
ing babe. 

" 'Tis the rudest and most thankless old man in all 
West Carbery that ye are !" she answered, sharply. 

" Luk at that now!" said Murphy, apparently 
addressing the handles of his oars. " An' me havin' 
the intintion to burrin two candles for him this very 
night!" 

"Candles is it ! Murphy, once for all, 't is a bad 
trick ye have of falling to talking about candles and 
* Hail Marys ' and such holy matters, whinever ye 
feel yourself in a corner — and be sure the saints like 
it no better than I do." 

The aged servitor rested for a moment upon his 
oars, and, being conscious that evasion was of no 
further use, allowed an expression of frankness to 
dominate his withered and weather-tanned face. 

" Well, miss," he said, " an' this is the truth I'm 
tellin' ye — 't was not fit that he should be sailin' in 
the boat wid you." 

Kate tossed her head impatiently. 

"And how long are you my director in — in such 
matters as these. Murphy?" she asked, with irony. 

The old man's eyes glistened with the emotions 
which a sudden swift thought conjured up. 

"How long?" he asked, with dramatic effect. 



Hoiv the Boatiiian kept his Voza. 187 

" Sure, the likes of me c'u'd be no directlior at all — 
but 'tis a dozen ^-ears since 1 swore to his htjiior, 
Tiie O'Mahony himself, that I'd watch over ye, an' 
protect ye, an' keep ye from the lightest breath of 
harrum — an' whin I meet him, whether it be the 
Lord's will in this world or the nixt, I'll go to him 
an' I'll take off me hat, an' I'll say: ' Yer honor, 
what old Murphy putt his word to, that same he 
kep !' An' is it you, Miss Katie, that remimbers him 
that well, that 'u'd be blamin' me for that same ?" 

" I don't know if I'm so much blaming you. Mur- 
phy," said Kate, much softened by both the matter 
and the manner of this appeal, " but 'tis different, 
wit' this young man, himself an O'Mahony by 
name." 

" Faith, be the same token, 'tis manny thousands 
of O'Mahonys there are in foreign parts, I'm tould, 
an' more thousands of 'em here at home, an' if it's 
for rowin' 'em all on Dunn::anus Bay ye'd be, on the 
score of their name, 'tis grand new boats we'd 
want." 

Kate smiled musingly. 

"Did you mind, Murphy," she asked, after a 
pause, " how like the sound of his speech was to The 
O'Mahony 's?" 

" That I did not !" said Murphy, conclusively. 

" Ah, ye've no ears, man! I was that flurried at 
the time, I couldn't think what it was — but now, 
whin it comes back to me, it was like talking to The 
O'Mahony himself. There was that one word, 
' onistinjun,' that The O'Mahony had forever on his 
tongue. Surely you noticed that !" 

" All Americans say that same," Murphy explained 



1 88 The Retitrn of The O' Mahoiiy. 

carelessly. " 'T is well known most of 'em are 
discindcd from the Injuns. 'Tis that they m'ane." 

It did not occur to Kate to question this bold 
ethno-philological proposition. She leant back in 
her seat at the stern, absent-mindedly toying with 
the ribbons of her hat, and watching the sky over 
Murphy's head. 

" Poor, dear old O'Mahony !" she sighed at last. 

" Amin to that miss !" murmured the boatman, 
between strokes. 

" 'T is a year an' more now. Murphy, since we 
had the laste sign in the world from him. Ah, 
wirra ! I'm beginnin' to be afraid dead 'tis he is !" 

" Keep your heart, miss ; keep your heart !" 
crooned the old boatman, in what had been for 
months a familiar phrase on his lips. " Sure no 
mortial man ever stepped fut on green sod t'nat 'ud 
take more killin' than our O'Mahony. Wh}^ coleen 
asthore, wasn't he foightin' wid the French, against 
the Prooshians, an' thin wid the Turkeys against 
the Rooshians, an' bechune males, as ye'd say, didn't 
he bear arms in Spain for the Catholic king, like the 
thunderin' rare old O'Mahony that he is, an' did 
ever so much as a scratch come to him — an' him 
killin' an' destroyin' thim by hundreds? Ah, rest 
aisy about him, Miss Katie !" 

The two had long since exhausted, in their almost 
daily talks, every possible phase of this melancholy 
subject. It was now April of 1879, ^"<^^ the last 
word received from the absent chief had been a 
hastily scrawled note dispatched from Adrianople, 
on New Year's Day of 1878 — when the Turkish 
army, beaten finally at Plevna and decimated in the 



How the Boatmaji kept his Vow. 189 

Schipka, were doggedly moving backward toward 
the Bosphorus. Since that, there had been absolute 
silence — and Kate and Murphy had alike, hoping 
against hope, come long since to fear the worst. 
Though each strove to sustain confidence in the 
other, there was no secret between their hearts as 
to what both felt. 

" Murphy," said Kate, rousing herself all at once 
from her reverie, " there's something I've been 
keeping from you — and I can't hold it anny longer. 
Do ye mind when Malachy wint away last winter?" 

''Faith I do," replied the boatman. (Malachy, be 
it explained, had followed The O'Mahony in all his 
wanderings up to the autumn of 1870, when, in a, 
skirmish shortly after Sedan, he had lost an arm 
and, upon his release from the hospital, had been 
sent back to Muirisc.) " I mind that he wint to 
Amcrriky." 

" Well, thin," whispered Kate, bending forward 
as if the very waves had ears, " it's just that he 
didn't do. I gave him money, and I gave him the 
O'Mahony's ring, and sint him to search the world 
over till he came upon his master, or his master's 
grave — and I charged him to say only this: ' Come 
back to Muirisc ! 'Tis Kate O'Mahony wants you !' 
And now no one knows this but me confessor and 
you." 

The boatman gazed earnestly into her face, 

" An' why for did ye say : ' Come back ?' " he 
asked. 

" Ah thin — well — 'tis O' Daly's hard d'alin's wid 
the tinants, and the failure of the potatoes these 



I go The Return of The O MaJiony. 

two years and worse ahead and the birth of me 
little step-brother — and — ^" 

" Answer me now, Katie darlint ?" the old man 
adjured her, with glowing eyes and solemn voice. 
" Is it the convint ye're afraid of for yoursilf ? Is it 
ot your own free will you're goin' to lake your 
vows?" 

The girl had answered this question more than 
once before, and readily enough. Now, for some 
reason which she could not have defined to herself, 
she looked down upon the gliding water at her side, 
and meditatively dipped her fingers into it, and let 
a succession of little waves fling their crests up into 
her sleeve — and said nothing; at all. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

THE GREAT O'DALY USURPATION. 

The Stern natural law of mutability — of cease- 
less growth, change and deca}^ — which the big, bust- 
ling, preoccupied outside world takes so indiffer- 
ently, as a matter of course, finds itself reduced to a 
bare minimum of influence in such small, remote 
and out-of-the-way places as Muirisc. The lapse of 
twelve years here had made the scantest and most 
casual of marks upon the village and its inhabitants. 
Positively no one worth mentioning had died — for 
even snuffy and palsied old Father Harrington, 
though long since replaced at the convent b}^ a 
younger priest, was understood to be still living on 
in the shelter of some retreat for aged clerg3'men in 
Kerry or Clare. The three old nuns were still the 
sole ladies of the Hostage's Tears, and, like the rest of 
Muirisc, seemed only a trifle the more wrinkled and 
worn under this flight of time. 

Such changes as had been wrought had come in 
a leisurely way, without attracting much attention. 
The mines, both of copper and of pyrites, had pros- 
pered beyond the experience of any other section 
of Munster, and this had brought into the imme- 
diate district a considerable alien population. But 



192 The Rettirn of The OMaJiony. 

these intrusive strangers haci fortunately preferred 
to settle in another hamlet in the neighborhood, and 
came rarely to Muirisc. The village was still with- 
out a hotel, and had by this time grown accustomed 
to the existence within its borders of a constabulary 
barracks. Its fishing went forward sedately and 
without much profit; the men of Muirisc onl}' half 
believed the stories they heard of the modern appli- 
ances and wonderful hauls at Baltimore and Crook- 
haven — and cared even less than they credited. 
The lobster-canning factory had died a natural 
death years before, and the little children of Muirisc, 
playing about within sight of its roofless and rotting 
timbers, avoided closer contact wnth the building 
under some vague and formless notion that it was 
unlucky. The very idea that there had once been 
a man who thought that Muirisc desired to put up 
lobsters in tins seemed to them comic — and almost 
impious as well. 

But there was one alteration upon which the 
people of Muirisc bestowed a good deal of thought 
— and on occasion and under their breath, not a few 
bitter words. 

Cormac O'Daly, whom all the elders remembered 
as a mere "pote" and man of business for the 
O'Mahonys, had suddenly in his old age blossomed 
forth as The O'Daly, and as master of Muirisc. 
Like many other changes wdiich afflict human recol- 
lection, this had all come about by reason of a 
woman's vain folly. Mrs. Fergus O'Mahony, having 
vainly cast alluring glances upon successive relays 
of mining contractors and superintendents, and of 
fish-buyers from Bristol and the Isle of Man, and 



TJie Great GDaly Ustirpation. 193 

even, in the later stages, upon a sergeant of police — 
bad at last actually thrown herself in marriage at 
the grizzled head of the hereditary bard. It cannot 
be said that the announcement of this ill-assorted 
match had specially surprised the good people of 
Muirisc, They had always felt that Mrs. Fergus 
would ultimately triumph in her matrimonial reso- 
lutions, and the choice of O'Daly, though obviously 
enough a last resort, did not shock their placid 
minds. It was rather satisfactory than otherwise, 
when they came to think of it, that ihe arrangement 
should not involve the introduction of a stranger, 
perhaps even of an Englishman. 

But now, after nearly three years of this marriage, 
with a young O'Daly already big enough to walk 
by himself among the pigs and geese in the square 
— they said to themselves that even an Englishman 
would have been better, and they bracketed the 
connubial tendencies of Mrs. Fergus and the upstart 
ambition of Cormac under a common ban of curses. 

O'Daly had no sooner been installed in the castle 
than he had raised the rents. Back had come the 
odious charge for turf-cutting, the tax on the carri- 
geens and the tithe-leyy upon the gathered kelp. In 
the best of times these impositions would have been 
sorely felt; the cruel failure of the potatoes in 1877 
and '78 had elevated them into the domain of the 
tragic. 

For the first time in its history Muirisc had wit- 
nessed evictions. Half way up the cliff stood the 
vi^alls of four cottages, from which the thatched 
roofs had been torn b}- a sheriff's posse of police- 
man during the bleakest month of winter. The 



194 ^^^^ Return of The O MaJiony. 

gloomy spectacle, familiar enough elsewhere 
throughout Ireland, had still the fascination of nov- 
elt}^ in the eyes of Muirisc. The villagers could 
not keep their gaze from those gaunt, deserted 
walls. Some of the evicted people — those who were 
too old or too young to get off to America and yet 
too hardy to die — still remained in the neighbor- 
hood, sleeping in the ditches and subsisting upon 
the poor charity of the cottagers roundabout. The 
sight of their skulking, half-clad forms and hunger- 
pinched faces filled Muirisc with wrathful humilia- 
tion. 

Almost worst still were the airs which latterly 
O'Daly had come to assume. Even if the evictions 
and the rack-renting could have been forgiven, 
Muirisc felt that his calling himself The O'Daly 
was unpardonable. Everybody in Ivehagh knew 
that the O'Dalys had been mere bards and singers 
for the McCarthys, the O'Mahonys, and other 
Eugenian houses, and had not been above taking 
service, later on, under the hatred Carews. That 
any scion of the sept should exalt himself now, in 
the shoes of an O'Mahony, was simply intolerable. 

In proportion as Cormac waxed in importance, 
his coadjutor Jerry had diminished. There was no 
longer any talk heard about Diarmid MacEgan ; 
the very pigs in the street knew him now to be 
plain Jerry Higgins. Only the most shadowy 
pretense of authority to intermeddle in the affairs 
of the estate remained to him. Unlettered good- 
nature and loyalty had stood no chance whatever 
against the will and powers of the educated Cormac. 
Muirisc did indeed cherish a nebulous idea that 



The Great O' Daly Usurpation. 195 

some time or other the popular discontent would 
find him an effective champion, but Jerry did noth- 
ing whatever to encourage this hope. He had 
grown stout and red-faced through these unoccu- 
pied years, and lived by himself in a barely habit- 
able nook among the ruins of the castle, overlooking 
the churchyard. Here he spent a great deal of his 
time, behind barred doors and den3nng himself to 
all visitors — and Muirisc had long since concluded 
that the companion of his solitude was a bottle. 

" I've a word more to whisper into your ear, 
Higgins," said O'Daly, this very evening, at the 
conclusion of some unimportant conversation about 
the mines. 

The supper had been cleared away, and a tray of 
glasses flanking a decanter stood on the table at 
which the speaker sat with his pipe. The buxom 
and rubicund Mrs. Fergus — for so Muirisc still 
thought and spoke of her — dozed comfortably in 
her arm-chair at one side of the bank of blazing 
peat on the hearth, an open novel turned down on 
her lap. Opposite her mother, Kate sat and sewed 
in silence, the while the men talked. It was the 
room in which The O'Mahony had eaten his first 
meal in Muirisc, twelve years before. 

"'A word to whishper,' " repeated O'Daly, glanc- 
ing at Jerry with severity from under his beetling 
black brows, and speaking so loudly that even Mrs. 
Sullivan in the kitchen might have heard — " times 
is that hard, and work so scarce, that bechune now 
and midsummer I'd have ye look about for a new 
place." 

Jerry stared across the table at his co-trustee iu 



196 The Rehirn of The O" MaJiony. 

blank amazement. It was no surprise to him to be 
addressed in tones of harsh disliice by O'Daly, or to 
see his rightful claims to attention contemptuously 
ignored. But this sweeping suggestion took his 
breath away. 

" What place do ye mane ?" he asked confusedly. 
" Where else in Muirisc c'u'd 1 live so aisily ?" 

" 'T is not needful ye should live in Muirisc at 
all," said O'Daly, with cold-blooded calmness. 
" Sure, 't is manny years since ye were of anny 
service here. A lad at two shillings the week 
would more than replace ye. In these bad times, 
and worse comin', 't is impossible ye should stay on 
here as ye've been doin' these twelve years. I 
thought I'd tell ye in sayson, Higgins — not to take 
ye unawares." 

" Glor3^-be-to-the-world ?" gasped Jerry, sitting 
upright in his chair, and staring open-eyed. 

" 'T is a dale of other alterations I have in me 
mind," O'Daly went on, hurriedly. " Sure, things 
have stuck in the mire far too long, waiting for the 
comin' to life of a dead man. 'T is to stir 'em up 1 
will now, an' no delay. Me step-daughter, there, 
takes the vail in a few days, an' 't is me intintion 
thin to rebuild large parts of the convint, an' mek 
new rules for it whereby gerrels of me own family 
can be free to enter it as well as the O'Mahonys. 
For, sure, 't is now well known an' universally 
consaded that the O'Daly's were the most intellect- 
ual an' intelligent family in all the two Munsters, be 
rayson of which all the ignorant an' uncultivated 
ruffians like the MacCarthys an' The O'Mahony's 
used to be beseechin' 'em to make verses and write 



The Great O Daly Usurpation. 197 

books an' divert 'cm wici playiii' on the harp — an' 't 
is hig-h time theO'Daly's came into their own ag'in, 
the same that they'd never lost but for their wake 
^ood-nature in consintin' to be bards on account of 
their supayrior education. Why, man," the swart- 
visaged little lawyer went on, his black eyes snapping 
with excitement — '' what d' ye say to me great 
ancestor, Cuchonnacht O'Daly, called na Sgoile, or 
'of the school,' who died at Clonard, rest his soul, 
Anno Domini 1139, the most celebrated pote of all 
Oireland ? An' do ye mind thim eight an' twenty 
other O'Dalj-s in rigular descint who achaved 
distincthion — " 

" Egor ! If they were all such thieves of the 

earth as you are, the world's d d well rid of 

'em!" burst in Jerry Higgins. 

He had sprung to his feet, and stood now hot- 
faced and with clenched fists, glaring down upon 
O'Daly. 

The latter pushed back his chair and instinctively 
raised an elbow to guard his head. 

" Have a care, Higgins!" he shouted out — "you're 
in the [)resence of witnesses — I'm a p'aceable man 
— in me own domicile, too!" 

" I'll ' dommycille ' ye, ye blagyard !" Jerry 
snorted, throwing his burly form half over the 
table. 

" Ah, thin, Jerry ! Jerry !" A clear, bell-toned 
voice rang in his confused ears, and he felt the grasp 
of a vigorous hand upon his arm. " Is it mad ye 
are, Jerry, to think of striking the likes of him ?" 

Kate stood at his side. The mere touch of her 
hand on his sleeve would have sufficed for restraint, 



198 The Return of The O'Mahony. 

but she gripped his arm sharpl}^, and turned upon 
him a gaze of stern reproval. 

"'Tis elsewhere ye left your manners, Jerry!" 
she said, in a calm enough voice, though her bosom 
was heaving. " When our bards became insolent 
or turned rogues, they were sent outside to be 
beaten. 'T was niver done in the presence of 
ladies." 

Jerry's puzzled look showed how utterly he failed 
to grasp her meaning. There was no such perplex- 
ity in O'Daly's mind. He, too, had risen, and stood 
on the hearth beside his wife, who blinked vacuous 
inquiries sleepily at the various members of the 
group in turn. 

"And %ve,'' he said, with nervous asperity, " when 
our children become impertinent, we trounce them 
off to their bed." 

" Ah-h ! No child of yours, O'Daly !" the girl 
made scornful answer, in measured tones. 

" Well, thin," the little man snarled, vehemently, 
" while ye're under my roof. Miss O'Mahony, 3^e'll 
heed what I say, an' be ruled by 't. An' now ye 
force me to 't, mark this: I'll have no more of your 
gaddin' about with that old bag-o'-bones of a Mur- 
phy. 'T is not dacint or fittin' for a young lady — 
more especially when she's to be a — wanderin' the 
Lord knows where, or — " 

Kate broke in upon his harangue with shrill 
laughter, half hysterical. 

" Is it an O'Daly that I hear discoorsin* on dacency 
to an O'Mahony !" she called out, ironically incredu- 
lous. "Well, thin — while that I'm under your 
roof — •" 



The Great O Daly Usurpation. 199 

" Eo^or ! Who made it his roof ?" demanded Jerr}-. 
" Shure, be the papers The O'Mahony wrote out 
wid his own hand lor us — " 

" Don't be interruptin', Jerry !" said Kate, again 
with a restraining hand on his arm. " 1 say this, 
O'Daly : The time I stop under this roof will be just 
that while that it takes me to put on me hat. Not 
an instant longer will I stay." 

She walked proudly erect to the chest in the 
corner, took up her hat and put it on her head. 

"Come now, Jerry," she said, " I'll walk wid you 
to me cousins, the Ladies of the Hostage's Tears. 
'T will be grand news to thim that the O'Dalys have 
come into their ozvn ag'in !" 

Cormac O'Daly instinctively moved toward the 
door to bar her egress. Then a glance at Jerr3''s 
heavy fists and angered face bred intuition of a 
different kind, and he stepped back again. 

" Mind, once for all ! I'll not have ye here ag'in 
— neither one or other of ye !" he shouted. 

Kate disdained response by even so much as a 
look. She moved over to the arm-chair, and, stoop- 
ing for an instant, lighth^ brushed with her lips the 
flattened crimps which adorned the maternal fore- 
head. Then, with head high in air and a tread of 
exaggerated stateliness, she led the way lor Jerry 
out of the room and the house. 

Mrs. Fergus heard the front door close with a 
resounding clang, and the noise definitely awakened 
her. She put up a correcting hand, and passed it 
over her front hair. Then she yawned meditatively 
at the fire, and, lifting the steaming kettle from the 
crane, filled one of the glasses on the tray with hot 



200 The Retui'-n of The G Mahony. 

water. Then she permitted herself a drowsy half- 
smile at the disordered appearance presented by her 
infuriated spouse. 

" Well, thin, 'tis not in Mother Agnes O'Mahony's 
shoes I'm wishin' ;/rj/self !" she said, upon reflection. 
'■ It's right ye are to build thick new walls to the 
convint. They'll be needed, wid that girl inside !" 



CHAPTER XIX. 

A BARGAIN WITH THE BURIED MAN. 

Though by daylight there seemed to lie but a 
step of space between the ruined Castle of Muirisc 
and the portal of the Convent of the Hostage's 
Tears, it was different under the soft, starlit sky of 
this April evening. The way was long enough, at 
all events, for the exchange of many views between 
Kate and Jerry. 

" 'Tis flat robbery he manes, Jerry," the girl said, 
as the revolted twain passed out together under the 
gateway. " With me safe in the convint, sure he's 
free to take everything for his son — me little step- 
brother — an' thin there's an ind to the O'Mahony's, 
here where they've been lords of the coast an' the 
mountains an' the castles since before St. Patrick's 
time — an', luk ye! an O'Daly comes on ! Pm fit to 
tear out me eyes to keep them from the sight !" 

"But, Miss Katie," put in Jerrj^, eagerly, " Pve a 
thought in me head — egor ! The O'Mahony him- 
self put writin' to paper, statin' how every blessed 
thing was to be yours, the day he sailed away. 
Surfe 'twas meself was witness to that same, along 

[20I] 



202 The Rct7irii of The G Mahony. 

wid O'Daly an' your mother an' the nuns. To-mor- 
row I'll have the law on him !" 

" Ah, Jerry," the girl sighed and shook her head ; 
" 3'e've a good heart, but it's only grief ye'll get 
tryin' to match your wits against O'Daly's. What 
do you know about papers an' documents, an' the 
like of that, compared wid him ? Why, man, he's 
an attorney himself! 'T is thim that putts the law 
on other people — worse luck!" 

"An' him that usen't to have a word for anny- 
thing but the praises of The O'Mahonys !" exclaimed 
Jerry, lost once more in surprise at the scope of 
O'Daly's ambitions. 

"I, for one, never thrusted him !" said Kate, with 
emphasis. " 'T was not in nature that anny man 
could be that humble an' devoted to a famil)'^ that 
wasn't his own, as he pretinded." 

" Well, I dunno," began Jerry, hesitatingly ; " 't is 
my belafe he mint honest enough, till that boy o' his 
was born. A childless man is wan thing, an' a 
father's another. 'T is that boy that's turnin* 
O'Daly's head.'' 

Kate's present mood was intolerant of philosophy. 
" Faith, Jerry," she said, with sharpness, " 't is my 
belafe that if wan was to abuse the divil in your 
hearin', you'd say : ' At anny rate, he has a fine, 
grand tail.' " ^ 

Jerry's round face beamed in the vague starlight 
with a momentary smile. " Ah, thin. Miss Katie!" 
he said, in gentle deprecation. Then, as upon a 
hasty afterthought: "Egor! I'll talk with Father 
Jago"' 

" Ye'll do nothing of the kind !" Kate commanded. 



A Bargain with the Buried Man, 203 

" He's a young man, an' he's not Muirisc born, an' 
he's O'Daly's fri'nd, naturally enough, an' he's the 
chaplain of the convint. Sure, with half an eye, ye 
can see that O'Daly's got the convint on his side. 
My taking the vail will profit thim, as well as him. 
Sure, that's the point of it all." 

*' Thin why not putt yer fut down," asked Jerry, 
" an' say ye '11 tek no vail at all ?" 

" I gave me word," she answered, simply. 

" But ais}' enough — ye can say as Mickey Dugan 
did on the gallus, to the hangman : ' Egor!' said he, 
' I've changed my mind.' " 

"We don't be changin' ^z^r minds!" said Kate, 
with proud brevity ; and thereupon she ran up the 
convent steps, and, after a little space, filled with 
the sound of jangling bells and the rattle of bars and 
chains, disappeared. 

Jerry pursued the small remnant of his home- 
ward course in a deep, brown stud}'. He entered 
his abode by the churchyard postern, bolted the 
door behind him and lighted a lamp, still in an 
absent-minded way. Such flickering rays as pierced 
the smoky chimney cast feeble illumination upon a 
sort of castellated hovel — a high, stone-walled room 
with arched doorways and stately, vaulted ceiling 
above, but with the rude furniture and squalid dis- 
order of a laborer's cottage below. 

But another idea did occur to him while he sat on 
the side of his bed, vacantly staring at the floor — an 
idea which set his shrewd, brown eyes aglow. He 
rose hastil}', took a lantern down from a nail on the 
whitewashed wall and lighted it. Then with a key 
from his pocket, he unlocked a door at the farther 



204 The Return of The OMahony. 

end of the room, behind the bed, and passed through 
the open passage, with a springing step, into the 
darkness of a low, stone-walled corridor. 

The staircase down which we saw the guns and 
powder carried in secrecy, on that February night 
in 1867, led Jerry to the concealed doorway in the 
rounded wall which had been discovered. He 
applied the needful trick to open this door; then 
carefully closed it behind him, and made his way, 
crouching and stealthil}^ through the passage to the 
door at its end. This he opened with another key 
and entered abruptly. 

" God save all here !" he called out upon the 
threshold, in the half-jesting, half-sincere tone of one 
who, using an ancient formula at the outset by way 
of irony, grows to feel that he means what it says. 

" God save you kindly ! ' was the prompt response, 
in a thin, strangely vibrant voice : and on the instant 
the speaker came forward into firelight. 

He w^as a slender man of middle age, with a pale, 
spectacled face, framed by a veritable mane of dingy 
reddish hair thrown back from temples and brow. 
This brow, thus bared, was broad and thoughtful 
besides being wonderfully white, and, with the calm 
gray eyes, which shone steadily through the glasses, 
seemed to constitute practically the whole face. 
There were, one noted at a second glance, other 
portions of this face — a weak, pointed nose, for 
example, and a mouth and chin hidden under irreg- 
ular outlines of straggling beard ; but the brow and 
the eyes were what the gaze returned to. The man 
wore a loose, nondescript sort of gown, gathered at 



A Bargain with the Bia-ied Man. 205 

the waist with a cord. Save for a table against the 
wall, littered with papers and writing materials and 
lighted by a lamp in a bracket above, the chamber 
differed in little from its appearance on that memor- 
able night when the dead monk's sleep of centuries 
had been so rudely broken in upon. 

" I'm glad 3-e've come down ag'in to-day," said 
the man of the brow and eyes. " Since this mornin', 
I've traced out the idintity of Finghin — the one wid 
the .brain-ball I told ye of — as clear as daylight. 
Not a man-jack of 'em but '11 see it now like the nose 
on their face." 

"Ah, thin, that's a mercy," said Jerry, seating 
himself tentatively on a corner of the table. " Egor! 
It looked at one toime there as if his identity was 
gone to the divil intoirely. But I'ave you to smoke 
him out !" 

" It can be proved that this Finghin is wan an' 
the same wid the so-called Fiachan Roe, who 
married the widow of the O'Dubhagain, in the 
elevinth cintury." 

" Ah, there ye have it !" said Jerry, shaking his 
head dejectedly. " He iviid marry a widdeh, w'u'd 
he ? Thin, be me sowl, 'tis a marvel to grace he had 
anny idint — whatever ye call it — left at all. Well, 
sir, to tell ye the truth, 'tis disappointed I am in 
Finghin. I credited him with more sinse than to be 
marryin' widdehs. An' I suppose ye'll I'ave him out 
of your book altogether now. Egor, an' serve him 
right, too !" 

The other smiled ; a wan and fleeting smile of the 
eyes and brow. 

" Ah, don't be talkin !" he said, pleasantly, and 



2o6 The Return of The O Mahony. 

then added, with a sigh : " More like he'll I'ave 
me, wid me work undone. You'll bear me witness, 
sir, that I've been patient, an' thried me best to live 
continted here in this cave of the earth, an' busy me 
mind wid work; but no man can master his drames. 
'Tis that that's killin' me. Every night, the moment 
I'm asleep, faith, I'm out in the meadehs, wid flowers 
on the ditches an' birds singin', an' me fishin' in the 
brook, like 1 was a boy ag'in ; an' whin I wake up, me 
heart's broke intirely ! I tell ye, man, if 't wasn't for 
me book here, I'd go outside in spite of 'em all', an' 
let 'em hang me, if they like — jist for wan luk at the 
sky an' wan breath of fresh air." 

Jerry swung his legs nonchalantly, but there was 
a new speculation twinkling in his e3'es as he 
regarded his companion. 

'* Ah, it won't be long now, Major Lynch," he 
said, consolingly. " An' have ye much more to state 
in your book?" 

" All the translatin* was finished long since, but 
't is comparin' the various books together I am, an' 
that takes a dale o' time. There's the psalter o' 
Timoleague Abbey, an' the psalter o' Sherkin, an' 
the book o' St. Kian o' Cape Clear, besides all the 
riccords of Muirisc that lay loose in the chest. Yet 
I'm far from complainin*. God knows what I'd a' 
done without 'em." 

There are many marvels in Irish archaeology. 
Perhaps the most wonderful of all is the controlling 
and consuming spell it had cast over Linksy, mak- 
ing it not only possible for him to live twelve ^^ears 
in an underground dungeon, fairly contented, and 
undoubtedly occupied, but lifting him bodily out 



A Bill' gain witJi the Bu7^ied Man. 207 

of his former mental state and up into an atmos- 
phere of scholarly absorption and exclusively 
intellectual exertion. He had entered upon this 
long imprisonment with only an ordinary high- 
school education, and no special interest in or bent 
toward books. By the merest chance he happened 
to have learned to speak Irish, as a boy, and, later, 
to have been taught the written alphabet of the 
language. Hi? first days of solitude in the sub- 
terranean chamber, after his recovery from the 
terrible blow on the head, had been whiled away 
by glancing over the curious parchment writings 
and volumes in the chest. Then, to kill time, he 
had essayed to translate one of the manuscripts, and 
Jerry had obligingly furnished him with paper, 
pens and ink. To have laboriously traced out the 
doubtful thread of continuity running through the 
confused and legendary pedigrees of the fierce 
Eugenian septs, to have lived for twelve long years 
buried in ancient Munster genealogies, wearing the 
eyesight out in waking hours upon archaic manu- 
scripts, and dreaming by night of still more unde- 
cipherable parchment chronicles, may well seem to 
us, who are out in the busy noonday of the world, 
a colossal waste of time. No publisher alive would 
have thought for a moment of printing Linsky's 
compilations at his own risk, and probably not 
more than twenty people would have regretted his 
refusal the whole world over. But this considera- 
tion has never operated yet to prevent archaeo- 
logists from devoting their time and energies and 
fortunes to works which nobody on earth is going 
to read, much less publish. 



2o8 Tlie RetiLrn of The O' Makony. 

Jerry was still contemplating Linsky with a grave 
new interest. 

" Ye've changed that much since — since ye came 
down here for your health. 'Tis my belafe not a 
mother's son of 'em 'u'd recognize ye up above," he 
said, reflectively. 

Linsky spoke with eagerness : 

" Man alive ! I'm jist dyin' to make the attimpt !" 

" What — an' turn yer back on all these foine ric- 
cords an' statements that ye've kept yer hand to so 
long?" 

The other's face fell. 

" Sure, 1 c'u'd come down ag'in," Linsky said, 
hesitatingl}". 

" We'll see ; we'll see," remarked Jerry. Then, in 
a careless manner, as if he had not had this chiefly 
in mind from the beginning, he asked : " Usen't ye 
to be tellin' me ye were a kind of an attorney, 
Major Lynch ?" 

" I was articled to an attorney, wance upon a 
time, but I'd no time to sthick to it." 

" But ye'd know how to hev the law on a man, if 
he was yer inemy ?" 

" Some of it is in me mind still, maybe," replied 
Linsky, not with much confidence. 

Jerry sprang lightly down from the table, walked 
over to the fire, and stood with his back to it, his 
legs wide apart and his thumbs in his waistcoat arm- 
holes, as he had seen The O'Mahony bear himself. 

" Well, Linsky, I've a bargain to offer ye," he said, 
bluntly. 

Linsky stared in wild-eyed amazement. He had 
not heard the sound of this name of his for years. 



A Baj'gaiii iviih the Buried Man. 209 

" What — what was that name ye called '*" he 
asked, with a faltering voice. 

"Ah, it's all right," remarked Jerry, with assur- 
ance. " Faith, 1 knew ye wor Linsky from the 
beginning. An' bechune ourselves, that's but a 
drop in the bucket to the rest I know." 

Linsky's surprise paralyzed his tongue. He 
could only pluck nervously at the cord about his 
Avaist and gaze in confusion at his jailer-friend. 

" You believed all this time that ye were hid 
away down here by your fri'nds, to save ye from 
the poliss, who were scourin' the counthry to arrest 
Fenians. Am I right ?" Jerr}' asked, with a dawn- 
ing smile on his red face. 

The other nodded mechanically, still in complete 
mystification. 

" An' 3'-ou all the time besachin' to go out an' take 
yer chances, an' me forever tell in' ye 'twould be the 
ruin of the whole thund'rin' Brotherhood if ye were 
caught?" Jerry continued, the smile ripening as he 
went on. 

Again Linsky's answer was a puzzled nod of 
acquiescence. 

" Well, thin, there's no Brotherhood left at all, an' 
't is manny years since the poliss in these parts had 
so much as a drarae of you or of anny Fenian under 
the sun." 

" But why," stammered Linsky, at last finding 
voice — " why — thin — " 

"Why are ye here?" Jerry amiably asked the 
question for him. " Only a small matther of disci- 
pline, as his reverence w'u'd say, when he ordered 
peas in our boots. To be open an' above-board wid 



2IO The Return of The O Mahony. 

ye, man, ye were caught attimptin' to hand over 
the lot of us to the sojers, that day we tried to take 
the fort. 'T is the gallus we might 'a' got by 
rayson of your informin'. Do ye deny that same?" 

Linsky made no answer, but he looked now at the 
floor instead of at Jerry. In truth, he had been so 
long immured, confronted daily with the pretense 
that he was being hidden beyond the reach of the 
castle's myrmidons, that this sudden resurrection of 
the truth about his connection with Fenianisni 
seemed almost to refer to somebod}- else. 

" Well, thin," pursued Jerry, taking instant ad- 
vantage of the other's confusion, " egor, 't was as a 
traitor ye were tried an' condimned an' sintenced, 
while ye lay, sinseless wid that whack on the head. 
There wor thim that w'u'd — uv — uv — well, not seen 
ye wake this side of purgatory, or wherever else ye 
had yer ticket for. But there was wan man that 
saved yer life from the rest — and he said : * No, 
don't kill him, an* don't bate him or lay a finger to 
him, an' I'll be at tiie expinse of keepin' him in a 
fine, grand place by himsilf, wid food of the best, 
an' whishky aich day, an' books an' writin's to im- 
prove his learnin', an' no work to do, an' maybe, 
be the grace o' God, he'll come to think rightly 
about it all, an' be ashamed of himsilf an' his dirty 
doin's, an be fit ag'in to come out an' hold up his 
head amongst honest min.' That's the m'anin' of 
what he said, an' I'm the man he said it to — an' 
that's why I'm here now, callin' ye by 3'er right 
name, an' tellin' ye the thruth." 

Linsky hesitated for a minute or two, with down- 
cast gaze and fingers fidgeting at the ends of his 



A Bargain ivilh the Ihiricci Man. 2 1 1 

waist-cord. Then he lifted his face, which more 
than ever seemed all brow and eyes, and looked 
frankly at Jerry. 

" What ye say is a surprise to me," he began, 
choosing his words as he went. "Ye never let on 
what your thoughts were concernin' me, an' I grew 
to forget how it was 1 came. But now you spake 
of it, sure 'tis the same to me as if I'd niver been 
thinkin' of anything else. Oh, thin, tell that man 
who spoke up for me, whoever he may be, that I've 
no word but praise for him. 'T was a poor divil of 
a wake fool he saved the life of." 

" Wid a mixin' of rogue as well," put in Jerry, by 
way of conscientious parenthesis. 

" 'Tisthe same thing — the worst fool is the rogue ; 
but I tuk to 't to keep soul an' body together. 
Sure, I got into throuble in Cork, as manny another 
boy did before me, an' fied to Ameriky, an' there I 
listed, an' came in at the tail of the war, an' was shot 
down an' robbed where I lay, an' was in the hospital 
for months; an' whin 1 came out divil a thing was 
there for me to putt me hand to ; an' the Fenians 
was started, an' 1 j'ined 'em. An' there was a man 
I knew who made a livin' be sellin' information of 
what winton, an' the same offer came to me through 
him — an' me starvin'; an' that's the way of it." 

" An' a notorious bad way, at that !" said Jerr}^ 
sternly, 

'' I'm of that same opinion," Linsky went on, in all 
meakness. " Don't think I'm defindin' meself. But 
1 declare to ye, whin 1 look back on it, 't is not like 
it was meself at all." 

" Ay, there ye have it !" exclaimed Jerry. " Luk 



212 TJie Reticrn of The G MaJioiiy. 

now ! Mill do be changin' and alterin* all the while. 
I know a man — an old man — who used to be honest 
an' fair-spoken, an' that devoted to a certain family, 
egor, he'd laid down his life for 'em ; an' now, be 
rayson that he 's married a widdeh, an' got a boy of 
his own, what did he but turn rogue an' lie awake 
nights schamin' to rob that same family ! 'Tis that 
way we are! An' so wid3^ou, Linsky, 'tis my belafe 
that ye began badly, an' that ye 're minded to ind 
well. Ye 're not the man ye were at all. 'T is part 
by rayson, I think, of your studyin' in thim holy 
books, an' part, too," his e3'es twinkled as he added, 
" be rayson of enjoyin' my society every day," 

Linsky passed the humorous suggestion by un- 
heeded, his every perception concentrated upon 
the tremendous possibility which had with such 
strange suddenness opened before him. 

" An' what is it ye have in mind ?" he asked 
breathlessly. " There was word of a bargain." 

" 'Tis this," explained Jerry : " An old thief of 
the earth — him I spoke of that married the widdeh 
— is ,for robbin' an' plunderin' the man that saved 
your life. There's more to the tale than I'm tellin' yc, 
but that's the way of it; an' I'll die for it but I'll 
prevint him ; an' 't is be3^ant my poor wits to do that 
same ; an' so 't is your help I'm needin'. An' there 
ye have it !" 

The situation thus outlined did not meet the full 
measure of Linsky 's expectations. His face fell. 

" Sure ye might have had me advice in anny 
case," he said " if that's all it comes to ; but I thought 
I was goin' out." 



A Bargain with the Buried Man. 2 1 3 

" An' why not?" answered Jerr)\ " Who's stop- 
pin' ye but me, an' me needin' ye outside?" 

Linsky's eyes glowed radiantly through their 
glasses. 

"Oh, but I'll come!" he exclaimed. "An' what- 
ever ye bid me that I'll do!" 

" Ah, but," Jerry shook his head dubiously, " 't is 
you that must be biddin' me what to do." 

" To the best of me power that I'll do, too," the 
other affirmed ; and the two men shook hands. 

" On to-morrow I'll get clothes for 3^e at Bantry," 
Jerry said, an hour later, at the end of the confer- 
ence they had been holding, " an' nixt day we'll 
inthroduce ye to daylight an' to — O'Daly." 



CHAPTER XX. 

NEAR THE SUMMIT OF MT. GABRIEL. 

A vast sunlit landscape under a smiling- April 
sky — a landscape beyond the uses of mere painters 
with their tubes and brushes and camp-stools, where 
leagues of mountain ranges melted away into the 
shimmering haze of distance, and where the myriad 
armlets of the blue Atlantic in view, winding them- 
selves about their lovers, the headlands, and placidly 
nursing their children, the islands, marked as on a 
map the coastwise journeys of a month — stretched 
itself out before the gaze of young Bernard 
O'Mahony, of Houghton County, Michigan — and 
was scarcely thanked for its pains. 

The 3'oung man had completed four-fifths of the 
ascent of Mount Gabriel, from the Dunmanus side, 
and sat now on a moss-capped boulder, nominally 
meditating upon the splendors of the panorama 
spread out before him, but in truth thinking deeply 
of other things. He had not brought a gun, this 
time, but had in his hand a small, brand-new ham- 
mer, with which, from time to time, to point the 
shifting phases of his reverie, he idly tapped the up- 
turned sole of the foot resting on his knee. 
[214] 



Near the Summit of Mt. Gabriel. 215 

From this coign of vantage he could make out 
the white walls and thatches of at least a dozen 
hamlets, scattered over the space of thrice as man}' 
miles. Such of these as stood inland he did not 
observe a second time. There were others, more dis- 
tant, which lay close to the bay, and these he stud- 
ied intently as he mused, his eyes roaming along the 
coast-line from one to another in baffled perplexity. 
There was nothing obscure about them, so far as 
his vision went. Everything — the innumerable 
croft-walls dividing the wretched land below him 
into holdings ; the dark umber patches where the 
bog had been cut ; the serried layers of gray reck 
sloping transversely down the mountain-side, each 
Avith its crown of canary-blossomed furze ; the wide 
stretches of desolate plain beyond, where no human 
habitation could be seen, yet where he knew thous- 
ands of poor creatures lived, all the same, in moss- 
hidden hovels in the nooks of the rocks; the pale 
sheen on the sea still further away, as it slept in the 
sunlight at the feet of the cliffs — everything was as 
sharp and distinct as the picture in a telescope. 

But all this did not help him to guess where the 
young woman in the broad, black hat lived. 

Bernard had thought a great deal about this 
young woman during the forty-eight hours which 
had elapsed since she stood up in the boat and 
waved her hand to him in farewell. In a guarded 
way he had made some inquiries at Goleen, where 
he was for the moment domiciled, but only to learn 
that people on the east side of the peninsula are con- 
scious of no interest whatever in the people reputed 
to live on the west side. They are six or eight Irish 



2i6 The Return of The O'Mahony. 

miles apart, and there is high hind between them. 
No one in Goleen could tell him anything about a 
beautiful dark young woman with a broad, black 
hat. He felt that they did not even properly 
imagine to themselves what he meant. In Goleen 
the young women are not beautiful, and they wear 
shawls on their heads, not hats. 

Then he had conceived the idea of investigating 
the west shore for himself. On the map in his 
guide-book this seemed a simple enough undertak- 
ing, but now, as he let his gaze wander again along 
the vast expanse of ragged and twisted coast-line, he 
saw that it would mean the work of many days. 

And then — then he saw something else — a vision 
which fairly took his breath away. 

Along the furze-hedge road which wound its way 
up the mountain-side from Dunmanus and the 
south, two human figures were moving toward him, 
slowly, and still at a considerable distance. One of 
these figures was that of a woman, and — yes, it was 
a woman ! — and she wore a hat — as like as could be 
to that broad-brimmed, black hat he had been 
dreaming of. Bernard permitted himself no doubts. 
He was of the age of miracles. Of course it was 
she ! 

Without a moment's hesitation he slid down off 
his rocky perch and seated himself behind a clump 
of furze. It would be time enough to disclose his 
presence — if, indeed he did at all — when she had 
come up to him. 

No such temptation to secrecy besets us. We 
may freel}'' hasten down the mountain-side to where 
Kate, walking slowly and pausing from time to time 



Ncai'- the Summit of Mt. Gabriel. 217 

to look back upon the broadening sweep oi land 
and sea below her, was making the ascent of Mount 
Gabriel. 

Poor old Murphy had been left behind, much 
against his will, to nurse and bemoan his swollen 
ankle. The companion this time was a 3-ounger 
brother of the missing Malach}', a lumpish, silent 
" boy " of twenty-five or six, who slouched along a 
few paces behind his mistress and bore the luncheon 
basket. This young man was known to all Muirisc 
as John Pat, which was by way of distinguishing him 
from the other Johns who were not also Patricks. 
As it was now well on toward nine centuries since 
the good Brian Boru ordained that every Irishman 
should have a surname, the presumption is that John 
Pat did possess such a thing, but feudal Muirisc 
never dreamed of suggesting its common use. This 
surname had been heard at his baptism ; it might be 
mentioned again upon the occasion of his marriage, 
though his wife would certainly be spoken of as 
Mrs. John Pat, and in the end, if he died at Muirisc, 
the surname would be painted in white letters on 
the black wooden cross set over his grave. For all 
the rest he was just John Pat. 

And mediaeval Muirisc, too, could never have 
dreamed that his age and sex might be thought by 
outsiders to render him an unsuitable companion 
for Miss Kate in her wanderings over the countr}-- 
side. In their eyes, and in his own, he was a mere 
boy, whose mission was to run errands, carry bun- 
dles or do whatever else the people of the castle 
bade him do ; in return for which they, in one way 
or another, looked to it that he continued to live, 



2i8 The Re hum of The O Mahony, 

and even on occasion, gave him an odd shilling or 
two. 

" Look, now, John Pat," said Kate, halting once 
more to look back; " there's Dunbeacon and Dun- 
manus and Muirisc beyant, and, may be if it wasn't 
so far, we could see the Three Castles, too ; and 
whin we're at the top, we should be able to see 
Rosbrin and the White Castle and the Black Castle 
and the strand over which Ballydesmond stood, 
on the other side, as well. 'Tis my belafe no other 
family in the world can stand and look down on 
sevin of their castles at one view." 

John Pat looked dutifully along the coast-line as 
her gesture commanded, and changed his basket 
into the other hand, but offered no comment. 

" And there, across the bay," the girl went on, 
" is the land that's marked on the Four Masters' 
map for the O'Dalys. Ye were there many times, 
John Pat, after crabs and the like. Tell me, now, 
did ever you or anny one else hear of a castle built 
there be the O'Dalys ?" 

" Sorra a wan. Miss Katie." 

"There you have it! My word, the impidinoe 
of thim O'Dalys — strolling beggars, and hedge 
teachers, and singers of ballads be the wayside ! 
'Tis in the books, John Pat, that wance there 
was a king of Ireland named Hugh Dubh — Hugh 
the Black— and these bards so perplexed and 
brothered the soul out of him wid claims for money 
and fine clothes and the best places at the table, 
and kept the land in such a turmoil by rayson of the 
scurrilous verses they wrote about thim that gnve 
thim less than their demands — that Hugh, glory be 



Near Ihe Sitinmit of Ml. Gabriel. 219 

to him, swore not a man of 'em should remain in all 
Ireland. ' Out ye go,' says he. But thin they 
raised such a cr}-, that a wake, kindly man — St. 
Columbkill that was to be — tuk pity on 'em, and 
interceded wid the king, and so, worse luck, they 
kept their place. Ah, thin, if Hugh Dugh had had 
his way wid 'em 't would be a diflferent kind of 
Ireland we'd see this day !" 

" Well, this Hugh Dove, as 3'ou call him " — spoke 
up a clear, fresh-toned male voice, which was not 
John Pat's — " even he couldn't have wanted a pret- 
tier Ireland than this is, right here in front of 
us!" 

Kate, in vast surprise, turned at the very first 
sound of this strange voice. A young man had 
risen to his feet from behind the furze hedge, close 
beside her, his rosy-cheeked face wreathed in ami- 
able smiles. She recognized the wandering O'Ma- 
hony from Houghton County, Michigan, and 
softened the rigid lines into which her face had been 
startled, as a token of friendly recognition. 

" Good morning," the 3'oung man added, as a cere- 
monious afterthought. " Isn't it a lovely day ?" 

" You seem to be viewing our country hereabouts 
wid great complateness," commented Kate, with a 
half-smile, not wholly free from irony. There reall}' 
was no reason for suspecting the accidental char- 
acter of the encounter, save the self-conscious and 
confident manner in which the young man had, on 
the instant, attached himself to her expedition. 
Even as she spoke, he was walking along at her 
side. 

" Oh, yes," he answered, cheerfully, " I'm mixing 



220 The Return of The O Mahony. 

up business ond pleasure, dou't you see, all the 
while I'm here — and really they get so tangled up 
together every once in a while, that I can't tell 
which is which. But just at this moment — there's 
no doubt about it whatev^er — pleasure is right bang- 
up on top." 

" It is a fine, grand da}^" said Kate, with a shade 
of reserve. The frankly florid compliment of the 
Occident was novel to her. 

" Yes, simply wonderful weather," he pursued. 
" Only April, and here's the skin all peeling off from 
my nose." 

Kate could not but in courtesy look at this afiiicted 
feature. It was a short good-humored nose, with 
just the faintest and kindliest suggestion of an up- 
ward tilt at the end. One should not be too serious 
with the owner of such a nose. 

" You have business here, thin?" she asked. " I 
thought you were looking at castles — and shooting 
herons." 

He gave a little laugh, and held up his hammer 
as a voucher. 

" I'm a mining engineer," he explained : " I've 
been prospecting for a company all around Cappagh 
and the Mizzen Head, and now I'm waiting: to hear 
from London what the assa3'S are like. Oh,}es — 
that reminds me — I ought to have asked before — 
how is the old man — the chap we had to carry to 
the boat ? I hope his ankle's better." 

" It is, thank you," she replied. 

He chuckled aloud at the recollections which the 
subject suggested. 

"He soured on me, right from the start, didn't 



Near the Snmmit of Mt. Gabriel. 221 

he?" the young man went on. " I've laughed a hun- 
dred times since, at the way he chiseled me out of 
my place in the boat — that is to say, some of the time 
I've laughed — but — but then lots of other times I 
couldn't see any fun in it at all. Do 3-ou know," he 
continued, almost dolefull}', " I've 'oeen hunting all 
over the place for you." 

" I've nothing to do wid the minerals on our 
lands," Kate answered. " 'T is a thrushtee attinds 
to all that." 

"Pshaw! I didn't want to talk minerals to _j'^?^" 

" And what thin ?" 

" Well — since you put it so straight — why — why, 
of course — I wanted to ask you more about our peo- 
ple, about the O'Mahonys. You seemed to be 
pretty well up on the thing. You see, my father 
died seven or eight years ago, so that I was too 
young to talk to him much about where he came 
from, and all that. And my mother, her people 
were from a different part of Ireland, and so, you 
see — " 

" Ah, there's not much to tell now," said Kate, in 
a saddened tone. " They were a great family once, 
and now are nothing at all, wid poor me as the last 
of the lot." 

" I don't call that ' nothing at all,' by a jugful," 
protested Bernard, with conviction. 

Kate permitted herself a brief cousinly smile. 

" All the same, they end with me, and afther me 
comes in the O'Dalys." 

Lines of thought raised themselves on the young 
man's forehead and ran down to the sunburnt nose. 

" How do you mean .^" he asked, dubiously. 



22 2 The Return of TJte O Mahony. 

" Are you — don't mind my asking — are you going to 
marry one of that name?" 

She shrugged her shoulders, to express repug- 
nance at the very thought. 

" I'll marry no one ; laste of all an O'Daly," she 
said, firmly. Then, after a moment's hesitation, she 
decided upon a further explanation. " I'm goin' to 
take me vows at the convint within the month," she 
added. 

Bernard stared open-eyed at her. 

'* I-gad !" was all he said. 

The girl's face lightened at the sound of this 
exclamation, bringing back as it did a flood of 
welcome memories. 

" I know 3'ou by that word for a true O'Mahony, 
— 'an American O'Mahoney," she said, with eager 
pleasure beaming in her deep-gray eyes. She turn- 
ed to her retainer: " You remimberthat same word, 
John Pat. Wlio was it used always to be saying 
• 1-gad ? ' " 

John Pat searched the landscape with a vacuous 
glance. 

" Wu'd it be Father Harrington?" he asked. 

'" Huh !" sniffed Kate, in light contempt, and turn- 
ed again to the young engineer, with a backward 
nod toward John Pat. " He's an honest lad." she 
said, apologetically, " but the Lord only knows 
what's inside of his head. Ah, sir, there 2i>as an 
O'Mahony here — 'tis twelve years now since he 
sailed away ; ah, the longest day Muirisc stands she 
'11 not see such another man — bold and fine, wid a 
heart in him like a lion, and yit soft and tinder to 
thim he liked, and a janius for war and commence 



Near ihc S2immit of Mt. Gabriel. 223 

and government that made Muirisc blossom like a 
rose. Ah, a grand man was our O'Mahony !" 

"So you live at Muirisc, eh?" asked the practical 
Bernard. 

" 'T was him used always to say ' I-gad !' whin 
things took him by surprise," remarked Kate, turn- 
ing to study the vast downward view attentively. 

*' Well I said it because / was taken by surprise," 
said the young man. "What else could a fellow 
say, with such a piece of news as that dumped 
down on him ? But say, you don't mean it, do you 
— ^jw^ &oi"g to be a nun ?" 

She looked at him through luminous eyes, and 
nodded a grave affirmative. 

Bernard walked for a little way in silence, mood- 
ily eying the hammer in his hand. Once or twice 
he looked up at his companion as if to speak, then 
cast down his eyes again. At last, after he had 
helped her to cross a low, marshy stretch at the 
base of a ridge of gray rock, and to climb to the 
top of the boulder — for they had left the road now 
and were making their way obliquelj' up the barren 
crest — he found words to utter. 

" You don't mind my coming along with you," 
he asked, " under the circumstances?" 

" I don't see how I'm to prevint you, especially 
wid you armed wid a hammer," she said, in gentle 
banter. 

"And 1 can ask you a plain question without 
offending you ?" he went on ; and then, without 
waiting for an answer, put his question: " It's just 
this — I've only seen you twice, it's true, but I feel 
as if I'd known you for years, and, besides, we're 



2 24 '^^^^ Retur7i of The G MaJiony. 

kind of relations — are you going to do this of your 
own free will ?" 

Kate, for answer, lifted her hand and pointed 
westward toward the pale-blue band along the 
distant coast-line. 

" That castle you see yonder at the bridge — " she 
said, " 't was there that Finghin, son of Diarmid 
Mor O'Mahony, bate the MacCarthys wid great 
slaughter, in Anno Domini 13 19." 



CHAPTER XXI. 

ON THE MOUNTAIN-TOP— AND AFTER. 

The two 3^oung people, with John Pat and the 
basket close behind, stood at last upon the very 
summit of Gabriel — a wild and desolate jumble of 
naked rocks piled helter-skelter about them, and at 
their feet a strange, little, circular lake, which in all 
the ag^es had mirrored no tree or flowering- rush or 
green thing whatsoever, but knew onl)' of the clouds 
and of the lightning's play and of the gathering of 
the storm-demons for descent upon the homes of 
men. 

A solemn place is a mountain-top. The thin, 
spiritualized air is all alive with mysteries, which, 
down below in the sordid atmosphere, visit onlv the 
brains of men whom we lock up as mad. Th.e dsy- 
ing-up of the great globe-floods ; the slow birtli of 
vegetation ; the rank growth of uncouth monsters ; 
the coming of the fleet-footed, bare-skinned savage 
beast called man ; the primeval aeons of warfare 
wherein knowledge of fire, of metals, of tanned 
hides and habitations was laboriously developed 
and the huger reptiles were destroyed ; the dau-n of 
history through the clouds of sun and serpent wor- 



226 The Ret2irn of The O" Mahony. 

ship ; the weary ages of brutish raids and massacres, 
of barbaric creeds and cruel lusts — all this the 
mountain-tops have stood still and watched, and, so 
far as in them lay, understood. 

Some have comprehended more of what tiiey saw 
than others. The tallest man is not necessaril}' the 
wisest. So there are very loft}' mountains which 
remain stupid, despite their advantages, and there 
are relatively small mountains which have come to 
be almost human in their understanding of and sym- 
pathy with the world-long drama they have watched 
unfolding itself. The Brocken, for example, is 
scarcel}' nipple-high to many another of its German 
brethren, yet which of the rest has such rich n^em- 
ories, stretching back through countless ccnlnries 
of Teuton, Slav, Alemanni, Suevi, Frank and Celt 
to the days when nomad strove with troglodyte, and 
the great cave-bear grappled with the mammoth in 
the silent fastnesses of the Harz. 

In Desmond, the broad-based, conical Gabriel has 
as unique a character of another kind. There is 
nothing of the frank and homely German familiarity 
in the reputation it enjoys at home. To be sure, 
the mountain is scarred to the throat by bogcutters ; 
cabins and the ruins of cabins lurk hidden in clefts 
of i-ocks more than half-way up its gra}-, furze-clad 
sides ; yet it produces the effect of standing sternl}^ 
aloof from human things. The peasants think of it 
as a sacied eminence. It has its very name from 
the legend of tiie archangel, who flying across 
Europe in disgust at man's iniquities, could not 
resist the temptation to descend for a moment to 



On the Mouiitain-top — a7id after. 227 

touch with his foot this beautiful mountain gem in 
the crown of Carber3% 

Kate explained this legend to her young com- 
panion from Houghton County, and showed him 
the marks of the celestial visitor's foot plainlj' 
visible in the rock. He bestowed such critical, not 
to say professional, scrutiny upon these marks that 
she made haste to take up another branch of the 
ancient fable. 

" And this little round lake here," she went on, 
" they'll all tell you 't was made by bodily lifting 
out a great cylinder of rock and carting it miles 
through the air and putting it down in the sea out 
there, where it's ever since been known as Fasnet 
Rock. Thev say the measurements are precisely 
the same. I forget now if 't was the Archangel 
Gabriel did that, too, or the divil." 

" The result comes to about the same thing," com- 
mented the engineer. " Whoever did it," he went 
on, scanning the regularly rounded sides of the 
pool, " made a good workmanlike job of it." 

" No one's ever been able to touch the bottom of 
it," said Kate, with pride. 

" Oh, come, now — I've heard that of ever)^ second 
lake in Ireland." 

" Well — certainly Fve not tested it," she replied, 
frostil}^ " but 't is well known that if you sink a 
bottle in this lake 't will be found out there in Dun- 
manus Bay fourteen hundred feet below us." 

" Why, the very first principle of hydrostatics," 
began Bernard, with controversial eagerness. Then 
he stopped short, stroked his smooth chin, and 
changed the subject abruptly. " Speaking of bot- 



2 28 TJie Return of The G MaJiony. 

ties," he said, " I see your nian there is eying that 
lunch basket with the expression of a meat-axe. 
Wouldn't it be a clever idea to let him unpack it?" 

The while John Pat stripped the basket of its con- 
tents, and spread tliem upon a cloth in the mossy 
shadow of an overhanging boulder, the two b}' a 
common impulse strolled over to the eastern edge 
of the summit. 

" Be3'ond Roaring Water Bay the O'Driscoll 
Castles begin," said Kate. " They tell me they're 
poor trifles compared wid ours." 

*' I like to hear you say * ours,' " the 3'oung man 
broke in. " I want you to keep right on rememi^er- 
ing all the wdiile that I belong to the family'. And — 
and I wish to heaven there w^as something I could 
do to show how tickled to death I am that I do be- 
long to it !" 

" I have never been here before," Kate said, in a 
musing tone, which carried in it a gentle apology 
for abstraction. " I did not know there was any- 
thing so big and splendid in the world." 

The spell of this mighty spectacle at once en- 
chanted and oppressed her. She stood gazing down 
upon it for some minutes, holding up her hand as a 
plea for silence wdien her companion would have 
spoken. Then, with a lingering sigli, she turncti 
away and led the slow walk back toward the lake. 

"'Twas like dreaming," she said with gravity; 
"and a strange thought came to me: 'Twas that 
this lovely Ireland 1 looked down upon was beau- 
tiful with the beaut}' of death ; that 'twas the corp?e 
of me country 1 was taking a last view of. Don't 



On the Moitntain-top — and after. 229 

laugh at me ! I had just that feeling. Ah, poor, 
poor Irckind !" 

Bernard saw tears glistening upon her long, 
black lashes, and scarcely knew his own voice when 
he heard it, in such depths of melancholy was it 
pitched. 

•' Better times are coming now," he said. " If we 
open up the mines we are counting on it ought to 
give work to at least two hundred men." 

She turned sharpl}' upon him. 

" Don't talk like that!" she said, in half command, 
half entreaty. " 'T is not trade or work or mines that 
keeps a nation alive when 'tis fit to die. One can 
have them all, and riches untold, and still sink wid a 
broken heart. 'T is nearly three hundred years 
since the first of the exiled O'Mahonys sailed away 
yonder — from Skull and Crookhaven they wint — to 
iight and die in Spain. Thin others wint — Conagher 
and Domnal and the rest — to fight and die in 
France ; and so for centuries the stream of life has 
fiowed away from Ireland wid every other family 
the same as wid ours. What nation under the sun 
could stand the drain? 'T is twelve years now 
since the best and finest of them all sailed away to 
fight in France, and to — to die — oh, win-a ! — who 
knows where? So" — her great eyes flashed 
proudly through their tears — " don't talk of mines 
to me ! 'T is too much like the English !" 

Bernard somehow felt himself grown much taller 
and older as he listened to this outburst of passion- 
ate lamentation, with its whiplash end of defiance, 
and realized that this beautiful girl was confiding it 



230 The Return of The G MaJiony. 

all to him. He threw back his shoulders, and laid 
a hand gently on her arm. 

"Come, come," he pleaded, with a soothing 
drawl, "don't give away like that! We'll take a 
bite of something to eat, and get down again where 
the grass grows. Why, you've no idea — the bottom 
of a coal-mine is sociable and lively compared with 
this. I'd get the blues myself up here, in another 
half-hour !" 

A few steps were taken in silence, and then the 
young man spoke again, with settled determination 
in his voice. 

" You can say what you like," he ground out 
between his teeth, " or, rather, you needn't say any 
more than you like ; but I've got my own idea 
about this convent business, and I don't like it, and 
I don't for a minute believe that you like it. IMind, 
I'm not asking you to tell me whether you do or 
not — only I want you to say just this : Count on me 
as your friend — call it cousin, too, if you like ; keep 
me in mind as a fellow who'll go to the whole 
length of the rope to help you, and break the rope 
like a piece of paper twine if it's necessary to go 
further. That's all." 

It is the propert}- of these weird mountain-tops to 
make realities out of the most unlikely things. On 
a lower terrestrial level Kate's mind might have 
seen nothing but fantastic absurdity in this proffer 
of confidential friendship and succor, from a youth 
whom she met twice. Here in the finer Jind more 
eager air, lifted up to be the companion of clouds, 
the girl looked with grave frankness into his eyes 
and gave him her hand in token of the bond. 



On the Mountain-top — and after. 231 

Without further words, they rejoined John Pat, 
and sat down to lunch. 

Indeed, there were few further words during the 
afternoon which John Pat was not privileged to 
hear. He sat with them during the meal, in the 
true democratic spirit of the sept relation, and he 
kept close behind them on their rambling, leisure)}' 
descent of the mountain-side. From the tenor of 
their talk he gathered vaguely that the strange 
young man was some sort of relation from America, 
and as relations from America present, perhaps, the 
one idea most universally familiar to the Irish peas- 
ant's mind, his curiosity was not aroused. Their 
conversation, for the most part, was about that 
remarkable 0"Mahony who had gone away years 
ago and whom John Pat only dimly remembered. 

A couple of miles from Muirisc, the homeward- 
bound trio — for Bernard had tacitly made himself a 
party to the entire expedition and felt as if he, too, 
were going home — encountered, in the late after- 
noon, two men sitting by the roadside ditch. 

" Oh, there 's Jerry," said Kate to her companion 
— " Mr. Higgins, I mane — wan of my trustees. 1 '11 
inthroduce you to him." 

Jerry's demeanor, as the group approached him, 
bore momentary traces of embarrassment. lie 
looked at the man beside him, and then cast a back- 
ward glance at the ditch, as if wishing that they 
were both safely hidden behind its mask of stone 
wall and furze. But this was clearly impossible ; 
and the two stood up at an obvious suggestion from 



232 The Retia'u of The O MaJiony, 



Jerry and put as good a face upon their presence as 
possible. 

" This is a relation of nioine from Amerilcy, too," 
said Jerry, after some words had passed, indicatin<; 
the tall, thin, shambling, spectacled figure beside 
him, " Mr. Joseph Higgins, of — of — of — " 

" Of Boston," said the other, after an awkward 
pause. 

He seemed ill at ease in his badly fitting clothes 
and looked furtively from one to another of the 
faces before him. 

" An' what d' ye think, Miss Katie?" hurriedly 
continued Jerry. " Egor I Be all the miracles of 
Moses, he's possessed of more learnin' about the 
O'Mahonys than anny other man alive. Cormac 
O'Daly 'd be a fool to him. An', egor, he used to 
know our O'Mahony whin he was in Ameriky, 
before ever he came over to us!" 

" Ye 're wrong, Jerry," said Mr. Joseph Higgins, 
with cautious hesitation, " I didn't say I knew him. 
I said 1 knew of him. I was employed to search for 
him, whin he was heir to the estate, unbeknownst to 
himself, an' I wint to the town where he'd kept a 
cobbler's shop — Tecumsy was the name of it — an' 
1 made inquiries for Hugh O'Mahony, but — " 

" What's that you say ! Hugh O'Mahony — a 
shoemaker in Tecumseh, New York ?" broke in 
young Bernard, with sharp, almost excited em- 
phasis. 

" 'T is what I said," responded the other, his pale 
face flushing nervously, " only — only he'd gone to 
the war." 

" An' that was our O'Mahony," explained Jerry. 



Oil the j\Founfaiii-top — and after. 233 

" Glory be to God, he learned of the search made 
for him, an' he came to us afther the war." 

Bernard was not sure that he had got the twitch- 
ing muscles of his face under control, but at least he 
could manage his tongue. 

" Oh, he came over here, did he?" he said, with a 
fair alTectation of polite interest. 

" You spoke as if you knew him," put in Kate, 
eagerly. 

** My father knew him as well — as well as he knew 
himself," answered Bernard, wnth evasion, and then 
bit his lip in fear that he had said too much. 



CHAPTER XXII. 

THE INTELLIGENT YOUNG MAN. 

Within the next few days the people of Muirisc 
found themselves becominu^ familiar with the spec- 
tacle of two strange figures walking about among 
their narrow, twisted streets or across the open 
space of common between the castle and the qua}'. 
The sight of new-comers was still unusual enough 
in Muirisc to disturb the minds of the inhabitants — 
but since the mines had been opened in the district 
the old-time seclusion had never quite come back, 
and it was uneasily felt that in the lapse of years 
even a hotel might come to be necessary. 

One of these strangers, a ricket3% spindling, weird- 
eyed man in spectacles, was known to be a cousin 
of Jerry Higgins, from America. The story went 
\hat he was a great scholar, peculiarly learned in 
ancient Irish matters. Muirisc took this for granted 
all the more readily because he seemed not to know 
anything else — and watched his shambling progress 
through the village streets by Jerr3?'s side with 
something of the affectionate pity which the Irish 
peasant finds always in his heart for the being he 
describes as a " nathural." 
I234] 



The T^itelligent Young Man. 235 

The other tiew-comer answered vastly better to 
Muirisc's conceptions of what a man from America 
should be like. He was young, fresh-faced and 
elastic of step — with square shoulders, a lithe, vig- 
orous frame and eyes wh.ich looked with frank and 
cheerful shrewdness at all men and things. He 
outdid even the most communicative of Muirisc's 
old white-capped women in polite salutations to 
passers-by on the highway, and he was amiably 
untiring in his efforts to lure with pennies into 
friendly converse the wild little girls of Muirisc, 
who watched him with twinkling, squirrels' eyes 
from under their shawls, and whisked off like so 
many coveys of partridges, at his near approach ; 
the little boj'S, with the stronger sense of their sex, 
invariably took his pennies, but no more than their 
sisters could the)'- be induced to talk. 

There was a delightful absence of reserve in this 
young man from America. Muirisc seemed to know 
ever3^thing about him all at once. His name was 
O'Mahony, and his father had been a County-Cork 
man ; he was a mining engineer, and had been 
brought over to Europe by a mining compan}- as an 
expert in copper-ores and the refining of barytes ; 
he was living at Goleen, but liked ISIuirisc much 
better, both from a miner, a logical point of view 
and socially; he was reckless in the expenditure of 
money on the cars from Goleen and back and on 
the hire of boatmen at Muirisc; he was filled to the 
top and running over with funny stories, he was a 
good Catholic, he took the acutest interest in all the 
personal narratives of the older inhabitants, and was 



236 The Return of The O Mahony. 

free with his tobacco ; trul}- a most admirable 
young man ! 

He had been about JNIuirisc and the immediate 
vicinity for a week or so— breaking up an occa- 
sional rock with his hammer when he was sure peo- 
ple were watching him, but more often lounging 
about in gossip on the main street, or fishing in the 
harbor with a boatman who would talk— when he 
made in a casual way the acquaintance of O'Daly. 

The little old man, white-haired now, but with 
the blue-black shadows of clean shaving still stain- 
ing high up his jaws and sunken cheeks, had come 
down the street, nodding briefly to such villagers 
as saluted him, and carrying his hands clasped at the 
buttons on the back of his long-tailed coat. He 
had heard rumors of this young miner from 
America, and paused now on the outskirts of a 
group in front of the cobbler's shop^ whom Bernard 
was entertaining with tales of giant salmon in the 
waters of Lake Superior. 

"Oh, this is Mr. O'Daly, I believe," the young 
man had on the instant interrupted his narrative to 
remark. " I'm glad to meet you, sir. I'd been 
thinking of calling on you every da}-, but I know 
you're a busy man, and it's only since yesterday 
that I've felt that I had real business with you. My 
name's O'Mahony, and I'm here for the South Des- 
mond Bary'tcs Syndicate. Probably you know the 
name." 

The O'Daly found his wrinkled old paw being 
shaken warmly in the grasp of this affable young 
man before he had had time to be astonished. 



The Intelligent Yotmg Man. 



" O'Daly's my name," he said, hesitatiiigl}-, 
"And you have business with me, 3^ou said?" 

" I guess you'll think S(j !" responded the other. 
" I've just got word from my superiors in London 
to go ahead, and naturally you're the first man I 
want to talk with." And then they linked arms. 

" Well," said the cobbler, as they watched the 
receding figures of the pair, " my word, there's more 
ways of killin* a dog than chokin' him wid butter !" 

An hour later, Bernard sat comfortably ensconced 
in the easiest chair afforded by the living-room of 
the castle, with the infant O'Daly on his knee and a 
trio of grown-up people listening in iinalfecttd 
pleasure to his sprighth" talk. He had at the outset 
mistaken Mrs. O'Daly for a married sister of Kate's 
— an error which he managed on th.e instant to 
emphasize b}' a gravely deliberate wink at Kate — 
and now held the mother's heart completely b}' his 
genial attentions to the babe. He 'ind set n'd 
O'Daly all aglow with eager interest b}' his eulog)- 
of Muirisc's mineral wealth as against all other dis- 
tricts in West Carber}'. And all the time, thr(^ugh 
anecdote, business converse, exchange of theoiies 
on the rearing and precocity of infants and bright- 
llovv'ing chatter on every subject uridcr the sun. lie 
had contrived to make Kate steadil}' conscious that 
she was the true object of his visit. Now and again 
ihe consciousness grew so vivid that she felt herself 
blushing over ihe embroidered altar cloth at which 
she worked, in the shadow betvreen the windows. 

" Well, sir," said Bernard, dandling the infant 
tenderlv ns he spoke "I don't kn-M- -vhat I 



^3t> TJic Ret2ir7i of The O Mahony 



■0' 



wouldn't give to be able, when I go back, to tell my 
father how I'd seen the O'Mahony castles liere, and 
all that, right on the family's old stamping-ground." 

"Yer father died, ye say, maun}- 3-ears ago?" 
remarked O'Dal}'. 

"Sure, ' mannj' ' 's not the word for it," put in 
Mrs. O'Dal}', with a flattering smile. " He 's but a 
lad yet, for all he's seen and done." 

" Nobody could grow old in such an air as this," 
said the young man, briskly. " You, yourself, bear 
witness to that, Mrs. O'Dal}'. Yes, my father died 
when 1 was a youngster. We moved out West 
after the War — I was a little shaver then — and he 
didn't live long after that." 

" And would he be in the moines, too ?" asked 
Cormac. 

" No ; in the leatlier business," answered Bernard, 
without hesitation. " I'o the end of his days, he 
was always counting on coming back here to Ireland 
and seeing the home of the 0'Mahon)'s again. To 
hear him talk, you'd have thought there wasn't 
another famil)' in Ireland worth mentioning." 

" 'T was always that wa}' wid thim 0'Mahon3's," 
said O'Daly, throwing a significant glance over his 
wife and step-daughter. " 1 can spake fi^ceiy to 
you, sir ; for I'll be bound 3'e favor ycr mother's 
side and 3'e were not brought up among them ; but 
bechune ourselves, there's a dale o' nonsinse talked 
about thim same 0'Mahon3's. Did 3'ou ever hear 
3'er father mintion an O'Daly^" 

" Well — no — I can't sa3' I did," answered the 
3'oung man, bending his mind to comprehension of 
v.'hat the old man mi^fht be drivins: at. 



The tntelligoit Young Man. ^39 

" There ye have it I" said Cormac, bringing his 
hand down witii emphasis on the table. "Sir, 'tis a 
iiard thing to say, but the ingralhitude of tliini 
O'Mahonys just passes behite. Sure, 't was we that 
made thim. What were they but p)oyrutts and 
robbers of tiie earth, wid no since but for raids an' 
incursions, an' burnin' down abbe3's an' lioly houses, 
and makin' war on their neighbors. An' sure, 't was 
we civilized 'cm, we O'Dalj-s, that they trate now 
as not fit to lace up their shoes. 'T was we taught 
thim O'Mahonys to rade an' write, an* everything 
else the}' knew in learnin' and politeness. An' so 
far as that last-mintioned commodity goes" — this 
with a still more meaning, sidelong glance toward 
the women — " faith, a dale of our labor was wasted 
intoirely." 

Even if Kate would have taken up the challenge, 
the young man gave her no time. 

•' Oh, of course," he broke in, " I've heard of the 
O'Dalys all mj- life. Everybody knows about 
tJicm /" 

" Liik at that now !" exclaimed Cormac, in high 
triumph. " Sure, 't is Ameriky '11 set all of us 
right, an' keep the old learning up. Ye'll have 
heard, sir, of Cuchonnacht O'Daly, called ' na 
Sgotle' or ' of the school ' — " 

'* What, old Cocoanut !" cried Bernard, with 
vivacit}', " I should think so !" 

" 'T was he was our founder," pursued Cormac, 
excitedl3^ " An' after him came eight-an'-twinty 
descindants, all the chief bards of Ireland. An' in 
comparatively late toimes the}^ had a school at 
Drumnea, in Kilcrohane, where the sons of the 



240 TJie Return of The O AlaJioiiy. 

kings of Spain came for their complate eddication, 
an' the princes doid there, an' are buried there in 
our family vault — sure the ruins of the college 
remain to this day — " 

" You don't mean to say you're one of that family, 
Mr. O'Daly ?" asked Bernard, with eagerness. 

" 'T is my bclafe I'm the head of it," responded 
Cormac, with lofty simplicit}'. " I'm an old man, 
sir, an* of an humble nature, an' I'd not be takin' 
honors on meself. But whin that bye there — that 
bye ye how Id on yer knee — grows up, an' he the 
owner of Muirisc an' its moines an' the fishin*, wid 
all his eddication an' foine advantages — sure, if it 
pl'ases him to asshume the dignity of TJie O'Daly, 
an' putt the grand old family wance more where it 
belongs, I'm thinkin' me bones '11 rest the aiser in 
their grave." 

Bernard looked down with an abstracted air at 
the unpleasantly narrow skull of the child on his 
knee, with its big ears and thin, plastered ringlets 
that suggested a whimsical baby-caricature of the 
mother's crimps. He heard Kale rise behind him, 
walk across the floor and leave the room with an 
emphatic closing of the door. To be frank, the 
impulse burned hotly within hii\i to cuff the infantile 
head of this future chief ot the O'Dalys. 

" I've a pome on the subject, which I composed 
last Aister Monday," O'Daly went on, " which I'd 
be deloightcd to rade to ye." 

" Unfortunately I must be hurrying along now," 
said Bernard, rising on the instant, and depositing 
the child on the floor. " I'm sorrv, sir, but — " 

*' Sure, 'tis you do be droivin' everybody from the 



The Inielh'gefit Yoii7ig Man. 241 

house wid yer pomes," commented Mrs. O'Daly, 
ungenerously. 

'* Oh, no, I assure you !" protested the young 
man. " I've often heard of Mr. O'Daly 's verses, and 
verj' soon now I'm coming to get him to read them 
all to me. Have you got some about Cocoanut, 
Mr. O'Daly ?" 

" This particular one," said Cormac, doggedly, 
" trates of a much later period. Indeed, 't is so late 
that it hasn't happened at all yit. 'T is laid in 
futurity, sir, an' dales wid the grand career me son 
is to have whin he takes his proud position as TJie 
O'Daly, the proide of West Carbery." 

" Well, now, you've got to read me that the very 
first thing when I come next time," said Bernard. 
Then he added, with a smile: " For, you know, I 
want you to let me come again." 

*' Sir, ye can't come too soon or stop too long," 
Mrs. O'Daly assured him. " Sure, what wid there 
bein' no railway to Muirisc an' no gintry near by, 
an' what wid the dale we hear about the O'Dalys 
an' their supayriority over the O'Mahonys, an' thim 
pomes, my word, we do be starvin* for the soight 
of a new face !" 

" Then I can't be too glad that my face is new," 
promptly put in Bernard, wreathing the counten- 
ance in question with beaming amiability. " And in 
a few days I shall want to talk business with Mr. 
O'Daly, too, about the mining rights we shall need 
to take up." 

" Ye'll be welcome always," said O'Daly. 

And with that comforting pledge in his ears, the 



242 The Return of The O'Mahony. 

3'oung man shook hands with the couple and made 
his way out of the room. 

" Don't trouble yourselves to come out," he 
begged. " I feel already at home all over the house." 

" Now that's a young man of sinse," said the 
O'Daly, after the door had closed behind their visitor. 
" *T is not manny ye'll foind nowadays wid such 
intelligince insoide his head." 

" Nor so comely a face on the outside of it," com- 
mented his wife. 

At the end of the hallway this intelligent young 
man was not surprised to encounter Kate, and she 
made no pretense of not having waited for him. 
Yet, as he approached, she moved to pass by. 

" 'T is althered opinions 3^ou hold about the 
O'Mahonys and the O'Dalys," she said, with studied 
coldness and a haughty carriage of her dark head. 

He caught her sleeve as she would have passed 
him. 

" See here," he whispered, eagerly, " don't you 
make a goose of yourself. I 've told more lies and 
acted more lies generally this afternoon iov yon than 
I would for all the other women on earth boiled 
together. Sh-h ! Just you keep mum, and we'll 
see you through this thing slick and clean." 

*' I want no lies told for me, or acted either," 
retorted Kate. 

Her tone was proud enough still, but the lines of 
her face were relenting. 

" No, 1 don't suppose for a minute )'Ou do," he 
murmured back, still holding her sleeve, and with 
his other hand on the latch. •' You're too near an 



The Intelligent Vo7(n£~ Man. 243 

angel for that. I tell you what : Suppose y(ni just 
start in and do as much praying as you can, to kind 
o' balance the thing. It'll all be needed ;.for as far 
as 1 can see now, I've got some regular old whop- 
pers to come 3-et." 

Then the young man released the sleeve, snatched 
up the hand at the end of that sleeve, kissed it, and 
was gone before Kate could sa}" another word. 

When she had thought it all over, through hours 
of seclusion in iier room, she was still very much at 
sea as to what that word would have been had time 
been afforded her in which to utter it. 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

THE COUNCIL OF WAR. 

Having left the castle, Bernard walked briskly 
away across the open square, past the qua}- and 
alonjj the curlinc; stretch of sands which led to the 
path under the cliffs. He had taken the hammer 
from his pocket and swung it as he strode onward, 
whistling as he went. 

A mile or so along the strand, he turned off at a foot- 
wa}^ leading up the rocks, and climbed this nimbly 
to the top, gaining which, he began to scan closel}^ 
the broad expanse of dun-colored bog-plain which 
dipped gradually toward Mount Gabriel. His 
search was not protracted. He had made out the 
figures he sought, and straightway set out over the 
bog, with a light, springing step, still timed to a 
whistled marching tune, toward them. 

" Well, I've treed the coon 1" was his remark 
when he had joined Jerry and Linsky. "It was 
worth waiting for a week just to catch him like 
that, with his guard down. Wait a minute, then 1 
can be sure of wdiat I'm talking about." 

The others had not invited this adjuration by any 
overt display of impatience, and they watched the 



2441 



The Council of JFar. 245 

voung man now take an envelope froni his pcjcket 
and work out a sum on its back with a pencil in 
phicid if open-eyed contentment. They both studied 
him, in fact, much as their grandfathers might have 
gazed at the learned pig at a fair — as a being with 
resources and accomplishments quite beyond the 
laborious necessity of comprehension. 

He finished his ciphering, and gave them, in terse 
summary, the benefit of it. 

" The way I figure the thing," he said, with his 
eye on the envelope, " is this : The mines were 
g-oing all right when your man went awa}-, twelve 
}-ears ago. The output then was worth, sa}-, eight 
thousand pounds sterling a year. Since then it has 
once or twice gone as high at twenty thousand 
pounds, and once it's been down to eleven thousand 
pounds. From all I can gather the average ought 
to have been, sa)-, fourteen thousand pounds. The 
mining tenants hold on the usual thirty-one-year 
lease, paying fifty pounds a year to begin with, and 
tiien one-sixteenth on the gross sales. There is a 
pi-ovision of a maximum surface-drainage charge of 
two pounds an acre, but there's nothing in that. 
On my average, the whole royalties would be nine 
hundred and twenty-five pounds a year. Tliai, in 
twelve years, vrouM be eleven thousand pounds. I 
think, m3'self, that it's a good deal more ; bnt th.at'U 
do as a starter. And you say O'Dalv's beer, send- 
ing the boss tv.^o hundred pounds a year?" 

" At laste for tin years — not for the last two," said 
Jerry. 

"Very well, then; you've got nine thoiisand 



246 The Return of TJie GJMahony. 

pounds. The interest on that for two years alone 
would make up all he sent away." 

" An' 't is your idea that O'Daly has putt by all 
that money ?" 

" And half as much more ; and not a cent of it 
all belongs to him." 

" Thrue fcjr you ; 't is Miss Katie's money," 
mourned Jerry, shaking his curly red head and dis- 
turbing his fat breast with a prolonged sigh. " But 
she'll never lay finger to anny of it. Oh, Cormac, 
you're the divil !" 

The young man sniffed impatiently. 

" That's the worst of you fellows," he said, sharply. 
" You take fright like a flock of sheep. What the 
deuce are you afraid of? No wonder Ireland isn't 
free, with men who have got to sit down and cry 
every few minutes !" Then the spectacle of pained 
suiprise on Jerry's fat face drove away his mood of 
criticism. " Or no ; I don't mean that," he hastened 
to add ; " but really, there's no earthly reason why 
O'Daly shouldn't be brought to book. There's law 
here for that sort of thing as much as there is any- 
where else." 

" 'T was Miss Katie's own words that I 'd be a fool 
to thry to putt the law on Cormac O'Daly, an' him 
an attorne}^" explained Jerry, in defiant self-defense. 

" Perhaps that's true about your putting the law 
on him," Bernard permitted himself to say. " But 
3^ou 're a trustee, 3-ou tell me, as much as he is, 
and others can act for 3'ou and force him to give 
his accounts. That can be done upon your trust- 
deed." 

" Me paper, is it?" 



The Coitncil of War. 247 



" Yes, the one the boss ^ave you." 

" Egor ! O'Daly has it. He begged me for it, to 
keep 'em together. If I'd ask him for it, belike 
lie 'd refuse me. You've no knowledge of tlie char- 
aether of that same O'Daly." 

For just a moment the young man turned away, 
his face clouded with the shadows of a baffled mind. 
Then he looked Jerry stiaight in the eye. 

" See here," he said, " you trust me, don't you ? 
You believe that I want to act square by you and 
help you in this thing?" 

" I do, sir," said Jerry, simply. 

" Well, then, I tell you that O'Daly ca7i be made 
to show up, and the whole affaii" can be set straight, 
and the young lady — ni}' cousin — can be put into 
her own again. Only I can't work in the dark. I 
can't play with a partner that ' finesses ' against me, 
as a whist-player would say. Now, who is this man 
here ? 1 know he isn't your cousin any more than 
he is mine. What's his game ?" 

Linsky took the words out of his puzzled com- 
panion's mouth. 

" 'T is a long story, sir," he said, " an' 3^ou 'd be no 
wiser if you were told it. Some time, plase God, 
you '11 know it all. Just now 't is enough that 
I'm bound to this man and lo The O'Mahony, who's 
away, an' perhaps dead an' buried, an' I'm heart 
an' sowl for doin' whatever I can to help the 3 oung 
lad3^ Onl3-, if 3-ou '11 not moind me sa3-in' so, she's 
her own worst inemy. If she takes the bit in her 
mouth this wav, an' will go into the convint, how, 
in the name of glor3', are we to stop her or do any- 
thing else ?" 



248 The Re i urn of The O Mahojiy. 

"There are more than fifteen hundred ways of 
working that!''' replied the young man from 
Houghton Count}', simulating a confidence he did 
not Avholly feel. " But let's get along down toward 
the village." 

They entered jNIuirisc through the ancient con- 
vent churchyard, and at his door-way Jerry, as the 
visible result of much cogitation, asked the twain 
in. After offering them glasses of whiskey and 
water and lighting a pipe, Jerr}^ suddenly resolved 
upon a further extension of confidence. To Lins- 
ky's astonishment, he took the lantern down from 
the wall, lighted it, and opened the door at the back 
ot the bed. 

" If you'll come along wid us, sir," he said to 
Bernard, " we'll show you something." 

" There, here we can talk at our aise," he remark- 
ed again, when finally the three men were in the 
subterranean chamber, with the door closed behind 
them. " Have you anything like tJiis in Amerik}- ?" 

Bernard was not so greatly impressed as they 
expected him to be. He stolled about the vault-like 
room, sounding the walls with his boot, pulling 
aside the bed-curtains and investigating the drain. 

" Curious old place," he said, at last. " What's 
the idea ?" 

" Sure, 't is a sacret place intoirely," explained 
Jerry. " Besides us three, there's not a man aloive 
who knows of it, exceptin'. The O'Mahon}', if be 
God's grace he 's aloive. 'T was he discovered it. 
He'd the eyes of a him-harrier for anny mark or 
sign in a wall. Well do I remimber our coming 
here first. He lukked it all over, as you're doing. 



The Council of ]Vai\ _ 249 

' Egor!' says he, ' It ma}^ co;uc in haridy for O'Daly 
some da}'.' There was a dead man there on the 
bed, that dry ye c'n'd 'a' lois^^hted him wid a match." 

" 'T is a part of the convint," Linsky took, up the 
explanation, "an' the cb.est, there, was fidl of deeds 
an' riccords of the convint for manin- cinturics. 
'T was me work for years to decipher an' thranslate 
thim, unbeknownst to every soul in Muirisc. They 
were all in Irish." 

" Yes, it's a queer sort of hole," said Bernard, 
musingly, walking over to the table and holding up 
one of the ancient manusci-ipts to the lamplight for 
investigation. " Wh}^, this isn't Irish, is it?" h,e 
asked, after a moment's scrutiny. "This is Latin." 

" 'T is wan of half a dozen 3'e see there on the 
table that I couldn't make out," said Linsky. " I'm 
no Latin scholar meself. 'T was me intintion to 
foind some one outside who c'u'd thranslate thim." 

Bernard had kept his eves on the faded parch- 
ment. 

" Odd !" he said. " It's from a bishop — JMatthew 
O'Finn seems to be the name — " 

" He was bishop of Ross in the early [)art ()f the 
fourteenth cintury," put in Linsky. 

" And this thing is a warning to the nuns hci-e to 
close up their convent and take in no moie n.oxiccs, 
because the church can't recognize them or their 
order. It's queer old Lalin, but that's what I make 
it out to be." 

" 'T is an iilegant scholar ye are, sir !" exclaimed 
Jerry, in honest admiration. 

" No," said Bernard ; " only they started me in 
lor a priest, and I got to know Latin as well as I 



250 The Return of The O' JMahony. 

did English, or almost. But ni}- godliness wasn't 
anywhere near high-water mark, and so I got 
switched (iff into engineering. I dare sa}^ the 
change was a good thing all around. If it's all the 
same to you," he added, turning to Linsky, " I'll 
put this parchment in my pocket for the time being, 
I want to look it over again more carefully. You 
shall have it back." 

The two Irishmen assented as a matter of course. 
This active-minded and capable young man, who 
had mining figures at his finger's ends, and could 
read Latin, and talked lightly of fifteen hundred 
ways to outwit O'Daly, was obviously one to be 
obeyed without questions. They sat now and 
watched him with rapt eyes and acquiescent nods 
as he, seated on the table with fo(^t on knee, 
recounted to them the more salient points of his 
interview with O'Daly. 

" He was a dacent ould man when 1 knew him 
first," mused Jerr3% in comment, "an' as full of 
praises for the O'Mahonys as an ^g^ is of mate. 
'Tis the money that althered him ; an' thin that brat 
of a bye of his ! 'T is since thin that he beliavcd 
like a nagur. An' 't is my belafe, sir, that only for 
him jMiss Katie 'd never have dr'amed of interin' 
that thunderin' old convint. The very last toime 1 
was wid him, error, he druv us both from the house. 
'T was the nuns made Miss Katie return to him 
next day. 'T is just that, sir, that she 's no one else 
bechune thim nuns an' O'Daly, an' they do be tossin' 
her from wan to the other of 'em like a blessid ball." 

" The wonder is to me she 's stood it for a minute," 
said Bernard ; " a proud girl like her," 



TJic Council of War. 251 

"Ah, sir," said Jerry, "it isn't like in Ainerilcy, 
where every wan's free to do what pl'ases liini. 
What was tiie girl to do? Where was slie to i?;() if 
she defied thim that was in authorit)- over hei"? 
'T is aisy to talk, asmanny'sthe toime she's said that 
same to me; but 't is another matther to do !'' 

"There's the whole trouble iii a nutshell," said 
Bernard. " Everybody talks and nobody does any- 
thing-." 

"There's truth in that sir," put in Linsky; "but 
what are you proposin' to do? There were fifteen 
hundred ways, you said. What's wan of 'em ?" 

" Oh, there are fifteen hundred and two now," re- 
sponded Bernard, with a smile. "You've helped 
me to two more since I've been down here — or, 
rather, this missing O'Mahony of 3-ours has helped 
me to one, and I helped mvself to the other." 

The two stared in helpless bewilderment at the 
young man. 

" That O'lNlahony seems to have been a right 
smart chap," Bei'uard continued. " No wonder he 
made things hum here in Muirisc. And a prophet 
too. Why, the very first time he ever laid eyes on 
this cave here, by your own telling, he saw just 
what it was going to be good for." 

" I don't folly yc," said the puzzled Jerry. 

" Why, to put O'Daly in, of course," answered the 
young man, lightlj^ "That's as plain as the nose on 
your face." 

"Egor! 'Tisagrand idea, that same!" exclaimed 
Jerry, slapping his thigh. " Only," he added, with 
^ sinking enthusiasm, "suppose he wouldn't come?" 



252 The Return of The O Mahony. 

Bernard laughed outright. 

" That'!! be easy enough. All you have to do is 
to send word 3'()u want to see him in your place up 
stairs; wlien he comes, tell him there's a strange 
discovery you've made. Bring him down here, let 
liim in, and udiile he 's looking around him just slip 
out and shut the door on him. I notice it's got a 
spring-lock from the outside. A thoughtful man, 
that O'Mahony! Of course, you'll want to bring 
down enough food and water to last a week or so, 
first; perhaps a little whiskey, too. x^nd I'd carry 
up all these papers, moreover, and put 'em in your 
roiMn above. Until the old man got quieted down, 
he might feel disposed to tear things." 

" Egor ! I '11 do it !" cried Jerry, with sparkling 
eyes and a grin on his broad face. ** Oh, the art of 
man !" 

The pallid and near-sighted Linsky was less alive 
to the value of this bold plan. 

" An' what '11 ye do nixt ?" he asked, doubtfully. 

" 1 've got a scheme which 1 'II carrv out to-mor- 
row, by myself," said Bernard. " It '11 take me all 
day ; and by the time I turn up the day after, you 
must have O'Daly safely bottled up down here. 
Tlien I '11 be in a position to read the riot act to 
every bod V. First we '11 stand the convent on its 
liead, and then I '11 come down here and have a little 
confidential talk with O'Daly about going to prison 
as a fraudulent trustee." 

" Sir, you 're u-ell-named ' O'Mahony,' "said Jerry, 
with beaming earnestness. " 1 do be almost believin' 
ye 're his son J" 



The Council of War. 



25; 



Bernard chuckled as he sprang off the table to his 
feet. 

" There might be even stranger things than that," 
he said, and laughed again. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

THE VICTORY OF THE " CATHACH." 

One day passed, and then another, and the even- 
ing of the third day drew near — 3'et brought no 
returning Bernard. It is true that on the second 
day a telegram — the first Jerry had ever received in 
his life — came bearing the date of Cashel, and con- 
taining only the unsigned injunction : 

" Don't be afraid/' 

It is all very well to say this, but Jerry and Linsky 
read over the brief message many scores of times 
that day, and still felt themselves very much afraid. 

Muirisc was stirred by unwonted excitement. In 
all its histor}', the village had never resented any- 
thing else quite so much as the establishment of a 
police barrack in its principal street, a dozen years 
before. The inhabitants had long since grown 
accustomed to the sight of the sergeant and his four 
men lounging about the place, and had even admitted 
them to a kind of conditional friendship, but, none 
the less, their presence had continued to present 
itself as an affront to Muirisc. From one year's end 
to another, no suspicion of crime had darkened the 
peaceful fame of the hrimlct. They had he^ird Yi^S'M? 



The Victory of the " Cathach.'' 255 

stories of grim and violent deeds in other parts of 
the south and west, as the failure of the potatoes 
and the greed of the landlords conspired together 
to drive the peasantry into revolt, but in Muirisc, 
though she had had her evictions and knew what it 
was to be hungry, it had occurred to no one to so 
much as break a window. 

Yet now, all at once, here were fresh constables 
brought in from Bantry, with an inspector at their 
head, and the amazed villagers saw these new- 
comers, with rifles slung over their short capes, and 
little round caps cocked to one side on their close- 
cropped heads, ransacking every nook and cranny 
of the ancient town in quest of some mysterious 
thing, the while others spread their search over the 
ragged rocks and moorland roundabout. And then 
the astounding report flew from mouth to mouth 
that Father Jago had read in a Dublin paper that 
O'Daly was believed to have been murdered. 

Sure enough, now that they had thought of it, 
O'Daly had not been seen for two or three days, 
but until this strange story came from without, no 
one had given this a thought. He was often awa}-, 
for days together, on mining and other business, 
but it was said now that his wife, whom Muirisc 
still thought of as Mrs. Fergus, had given the alarm, 
on the ground that if her husband had been going 
away over night, he would have told her. There 
was less liking for this lady than ever, when this 
report started on its rounds. 

Three or four of the wretched, unwashed and 
half-fed creatures, who had fled from O'Daly 's 
evictions to the shelter of the furze-clad ditches 



^56 TJie Return of The G Mahony. 

outside, had been brought in. and shar[ily questioned 
at the barracks, on this third da}-, but of what they 
had said the villagers knew nothing. And, now, 
toward evening, the excited groups of gossiping 
neiglibors at the corners saw Jerr}^ lliggins himself, 
with flushed face and apprehensive e\e, being led 
past with his shambling cousin toward constabulary 
headquarters bv a squad of armed policemen. 
Close upon the heels of this amazing spectacle came 
the rumor — whence started, who could tell ? — that 
Jerry had during the day received a telegram 
clearly implicating him in the crime. At this, 
Muirisc groaned aloud. 

" 'Tis wid you alone I want to spake," said Kate, 
bluntly, to the mother superior. 

The April twilight was deepening the shadows in 
the corners of the convent's reception hall, and mel- 
lowing into a uniformit)'^ of ugliness the faces of the 
four Misses O'Daly who sat on the long bench be- 
fore the fireless hearth. These 3'oung women were 
strangers to Muirisc, and had but yesterday arrived 
from their country homes in Kerry or the Macroom 
district to enter the convent of which their remote 
relation was patron. They were plain, small-farm- 
ers' daughters, with flat faces, high cheek-bones and 
red hands. The)' had risen in clumsy humilit}' when 
Kate entered the room, staring in admiration at her 
beautv.and even more at her hat; they had silently 
seated themselves again at a sign from the mother 
superior, still staring in round-eyed wonder at this 
novel kind of young woman; and they clung now 
stolidly to their bench, in the face of Kate's remark. 
Perhaps they did not comprehend it. But they 



The Vicfory of tJic " Cathachy 257 

understood and obeyed the almost contemptuous 
gesture by which the aged nun bade them leave the 
room. 

"What is it thin, Dubhdeasa?" asked Mother 
Agnes, with affectionate gravity, seating herself as 
she spoke. The burden of eighty years rested 
lightly upon the lean figure and thin, wax-like face 
of the nun. Only a close glance would have re- 
vealed the fine net-work of wrinkles covering this 
pallid skin, and her shrewd observant eyes flashed 
still with the keenness of youth. " Tell me, what 
is it?" 

" I've a broken heart in me, that's all !" said the 
girl. 

She had walked to one of the two narrow little 
windows, and stood looking out, yet seeing nothing 
for the mist of tears that might not be kept down. 
Only the affectation of defiance preserved her voice 
from breaking. 

" Here there will be rest and p'ace of mind," 
intoned the other. " 'T is only a day more, Katie, 
and thin ye '11 be wan of us, wid all the worrimcPits 
and throubles of the world la3'gues behind ye." 

The girl shook her head with vehemence and 
paced the stone floor restlessly. 

" 'T is I who '11 be opening the dure to 'em and 
bringing 'em all in here, instead. No fear. Mother 
Agnes, they '11 folly me wherever I go." 

The other smiled gently, and shook her vailed 
head in turn. 

" 'T is little a child like you drames of the rale 
throubles of me," she murmured. " Whin ye 're 
older, ye '11 bless the good day that gave ye this 



258 The Return of TJie O IMahony. 

holy refuge, and saved ye from thim all. Oh, Katie, 
darlin', when 1 see you standing be me side in your 
habit — 't is mesilf had it made be the Miss Maguires 
in Skibbereen, the same that sews the vestmints for 
the bishop himself — I can lay me down, and say me 
mine diinittis wid a thankful heart !" 

Kate sighed deeply and turned away. It was 
the trusting sweetness of affection with which oh:l 
Mother Agnes had enveloped her ever since the 
promise to take vows had been wrung from her 
reluctant tongue that rose most effectually always 
to restrain her from reconsidering that promise. It 
was clear enough that the venerable O'Mahony 
nuns found in the speedy prospect of her joining 
them the one great controlling joy of their lives. 
Thinking upon this now, it was natural enough for 
her to say : 

" Can thim O'Daly girls rade and write, I 
wonder ?" 

" Oh, they 've had schooling, all of them. 'T is 
not what you had here, be anny manes, but 't wnll 
do." 

" Just think, Mother Agnes," Kate burst forth, 
" what it '11 be like to be shut with such craytures 
as thim afther — afther you I'ave us !" 

" They 're very humble," said the nun, hesitating- 
ly. " 'T is more of that same spirit I 'd fain be 
seeing in yourself, Katie ! And in that they 've 
small enough resimblance to Cormac O'Dal}^ who 's 
raked 'em up from the highways and byways to 
make their profession here. And oh — tell me now 
— old Ellen that brings the milk mintioned to Sister 



The Victory of the " Cathach." 259 

Blanaid that O'Daly was gone somewhere, and that 
there was talk about it." 

"Talk, is it!" exclaimed Kate, whose introspective 
mood had driven this subject from her mind, but 
who now spoke with eagerness. " That's the word 
for it, 'talk.* 'T is me mother, for pure want of 
something to say, that putt the notion into Sergeant 
O'Flaherty's thick skull, and, w'u'd ye belave it, 
they've brought more poliss to the town, and they 're 
worriting the loivcs out of the people wid questions 
and suspicions. 1 'm told they 've even gone out to 
the bog and arrested some of thim poor wretches of 
O'DriscoUs that Cormac putt out of their cottages 
last winter. The idea of it !" 

" Where there 's so much smoke there 's some bit 
of fire," said the older woman. " Where is O'Daly ?" 

The girl shrugged her shoulders. 

" 'T is not m}^ affair!" she said, curtly. " I know 
where he 'd be, if I 'd my will." 

" Katie," chanted the nun, in tender reproof, 
" what spirit d 'ye call that for a woman who 's with- 
in four-an'-tvv^inty hours of making her profession ! 
Pray for yourself, child, that these worldly feel- 
ings may be taken from ye !" 

" Mother Agnes," said the girl, " if I 'm to pretind 
to love Cormac O'Daly, thin, wance for all, 't is no 
use !" 

"We 're bidden to love all thim that despite—" 

The nun broke off her quotation abruptl}'. A low 
wailiug sound from the bowels of the earth beneath 
them rose through the flags of the floor, and filled 
the chamber with a wierd and ghostly dying away 
echo. Mother Agnes sprang to her feet. 



26o The Return of The G JMahony. 

" 'T is the Hostage again !" she cried. " Sister 
Ellen vowed to me she heard him through the night. 
Ti\A yoii hear him just now ?" 

" I heard z'/," said Kate, simply. 

The mother superior, upon reflection, seated her- 
self again. 

" 'T is a strange business," she said, at last. Her 
shrewd eyes, wandering in a meditative gaze about 
the chamber, avoided Katie's face. " 'T is twelve 
years since last we heard him," she mused aloud, 
" and that was the night of tlie storm. 'T is a sign 
of misfortune to hear him, they say — and the blow- 
ing down of the walls that toime was taken be us to 
fulfill that same. But sure, within the week. The 
O'jNIahone}' had gone on his thravels, and pious 
Cormac O'Daly had taken his place, and the con- 
vint prospered more than ever. At laste tJiat was 
no misfortune." 

" Hark to me. Mother Agnes," said Kate, with 
emphasis. " You never used to favor the O'Ma- 
honys as well I remimber, but you 're a fair-minded 
woman and a holy woman, and I challenge ye now 
to tell me honest: Wasn't anny wan hair on The 
O'Mahony's head worth the whole carcase of Cormac 
O'Daly? 'T was an evil day for Muirisc whin he 
sailed away. If the convint has prospered, me word, 
't is what nothing else in Muirisc has done. And Tav- 
ing aside your office as a nun, is it sp'akin well for a 
place to say that three old women in it are better 
off, and all the rist have suffered?" 

" Katie !" admonished the other. " You '11 repint 
thim words a week hence ! To hearken to ye, wan 



The Victory of the " Cathach" 261 

would think yer heart was not in the profession 
ye 're to make." 

The girl gave a scornful, little Inugh. 

" Did I ever pretind it was?" she demanded. 

" 'T is you are the contrary cra3'ture!" sighed the 
mother superior. " Here now for all these cin- 
turies, through all the storms and wars and confis- 
cations, this holy house has stud firm be the old 
faith. There 's not another family in Ireland has 
kept the mass in its own chapel, wid its own nuns 
kneeling before it, and never a break or interruption 
at all. I '11 1'ave it to yer own sinse : Can ye compare 
the prosperity of a little village, or a hundred of 'em, 
wid such a glorious and unayqualed riccord as that? 
Why, girl, 't is you should be proud beyond measure 
and thankful that ye 're born and bred and selected 
to carry on such a grand tradition. To be head of 
the convint of the O'Mahonys't is more historically 
splindid than to be queen of England." 

" But if I come to be the head at all," retorted 
Kate, " sure it will be a convint of O'Dalys." 

The venerable woman heaved another sigh and 
looked at the floor in silence. 

Kate pursued her advantage eagerly. 

" Sure, I 've me full share of pride in proper 
things," she said, " and no O'Mahony of them all 
held his family higher in his mind than I do. And 
me blood lapes to every word you say about that 
same. But would you — Agnes O'Mahony as ye 
were born — would 3'ou be asking me to have pride 
in the O'Dalys? And that 's what 't is intinded to 
make of the convint now. For my part, I'd be for 
saying: ' L'ave the convint doy now wid the last 



:?62 The Rettirn of The O Mahony. 

of the ladies of our own family rather than keep it 
alive at the expinse of giving it to the O'Dalys.' " 

Mother Agnes shook her head. 

" I 've me carnal feelings no less than you," she 
said, "and me family pride to subdue. But even if 
the victory of humility were denied me, what c'u'd 
we do ? For the moment, I '11 put this holy house 
to wan side. What can yon do? How can you 
stand up forninst Cormac O'Daly's determination ? 
Remimber, widout him ye 're but a homeless gerrel, 
Katie." 

" And whose fault is that, Mother Agnes ?" asked 
Kate, with swift glance and tone. "Will ye be tell- 
ing me 't was The O'Mahony's? Did he I'ave me 
widout a four-penny bit, depindent on others, or was 
it that others stole me money and desaved me, and 
to-day are keeping me out of me own? Tell me 
that, Mother Agnes." 

The nun's ivory-tinted face flushed for an instant, 
then took on a deeper pallor. Her gaze, lifted mo- 
mentarily toward Kate, strayed beyond her to 
vacancy. She rose to her full height and made a 
forward step, then stood, fumbdng confusedly at 
her beads, and with trembling, half-opened lips. 

" 'T is not in me power," she stammered, slowl}^ 
and with difficulty. " There — there was something 
— I 've not thought of it for so long — I 'm forgetting 
strangely — " 

She broke off abruptly, threw up her withered 
hands in a gesture of despair, and then, never look- 
ing at the girl, turned and with bowed head left the 
room. 

Kate still stood staring in mingled amazement and 



The Victory of the " Cathach^ 26 



o 



apprehension at tlie arched casement through which 
Mother Agnes had vanished, when the oak door 
was pushed open again, and Sister Blanaid, a 
smaller and younger woman, yet bent and half- 
palsied under the weight of years, showed herself in 
the aperture. She bore in her arms, shoving the 
door aside with it as she feebly advanced, a square 
wooden box, dust-begrimed and covered in part 
with reddish cow-skin. 

"Take it away!" she mumbled. " 'T is the 
mother-supayrior's desire you should take it from 
here. 'T is an evil day that 's on us ! Go fling this 
haythen box into the bay and thin pray for your- 
self and for her, who 's taken that grief for ye she 's 
at death's door !" 

The door closed again, and Kale found herself 
mechanicall}' bearing this box in her arms and mak- 
ing her way out through the darkened hallways to 
the outer air. Only when she stood on the steps of 
the porch, and set down her burden to adjust her 
hat, did she recognize it. Then, with a murmuring 
cry of delight, she stooped and snatched it up 
again. It was the cathach which The O'Mahony 
had given her to keep. 

On the instant, as she looked out across the open 
green upon the harbor, the bay, the distant penin- 
sula of Kilcrohane peacefully gathering to itself the 
shadows of the falling twilight — how it a!l came 
back to her! On the day of his departure — that 
memorable black-letter day in her life — he had turned 
over this rude little chest to her ; he had told her it 
was his luck, his talisman, and now should be hers. 
She had carried it, not to her mother's home, but to 



264 The Return of The O' Mahony. 

the tiny school-room in the old crinvent, for safe- 
keeping. She recalled now that slio had told the 
nuns, or Mother Agnes, at least, what it was. But 
then — then there came a blank in her memory. She 
could not force her mind to remember when she 
ceased to think about it — when it made its way into 
the lumber-room where it had apparently lain so 
long. 

But, at all events, she had it now again. She bent 
her head to touch with her lips one of the rough 
strips of skin nailed irregularly upon it ; then, with 
a shining face, bearing the box, like some sanctified 
shrine, against her breast, she moved across the 
village-common toward the wharf and the water. 

The injunction of quavering old Blanaid to cast it 
into the bay drifted uppermost in her thoughts, and 
she smiled to herself. She had been bidden, also, to 
pray ; and reflection upon this chased the smile 
away. Truly, there was need for prayer. Her 
perplexed mind called up, one by one, in dishearten- 
ing array, the miseries of her position, and drew new 
unhappiness from the confusion of right and wrong 
which they presented. How could she pray to be 
delivered from what Mother Agnes held up as the 
duties of piety ? And, on the other hand, what 
sincerity could there be in any other kind of spirit- 
ual petition ? 

She wandered along the shore-sands under the 
cliffs, tiie box tightly clasped in her arms, her eves 
musingly bent upon the brown reaches of drenched 
seaweed which lay nt play with the receding tide. 

Her mind conjured up the image of a smiling and 
ruddy young face, sun-burned and thatched with 



The Victory of the " Cathach!' 265 



crisp, curly brown hair — the face of th^t curious 
young- O'Mahony from Houghton County. His 
blue eye looked at her half quizzically, half beseech- 
ing, but Kate resolutely drove the image a\va\'. 
He was onl}' the merest trifle less mortal than the 
others. 

So musing, she strolled onward. Suddenly she 
stopped, and lifted her head triumphantly ; the 
smile had flashed forth again upon her face, and the 
dark eyes were all aglow. A thought had come to 
her — so convincing, so unanswerable, so jo3'ously 
uplifting, that she paused to marvel at having been 
blind to it so long. Clear as noon sunlight on 
Mount Gabriel was it what she should pray for. 

What could it ever have been, this one crowning 
object of prayer, but the return of The O'Mahony ? 

As her mental vision adapted itself to the radiance 
of this revelation, the abstracted glance which she 
had allowed to wander over the bay was arrested by 
a concrete object. Two hundred yards from the 
water's edge a strange vessel had heaved to, and 
was casting anchor. Kate could hear the chain 
rattling out from the capstan, even as she looked. 

The sight sent all prayerful thoughts scurrying 
out of her head. The presence of vessels of the 
size of the new-comer was in itself most unusual 
at Muirisc. But Kate's practiced eye noticed a 
strange novelty. The craft, though thick of beam 
and ungainly in line, carried the staight running 
bowsprit of a cutter, and in addition to its cutter 
sheets had a jigger lug-sail. The girl watched these 
eccentric sails as they were dropped and reefed, 
with a curious sense of having seen them some- 



266 The Return of The G Mahony. 

where before — as if in a vision or some old picture- 
book of childhood. Confused memories stirred 
within her as she gazed, and held her mind in day- 
dream captivity. A figure she seemed vaguely to 
know, stood now at the gunwale. 

The spell was rudely broken by a wild shout 
from the cliff close above her. On the instant, 
amid a clatter of falling stones and a veritable 
landslide of sand, rocks and turf, a human figure 
came rolling, clambering and tumbling down the 
declivity, and ran toward her, its arms stretched 
and waving with frantic gestures, and emitting 
inarticulate cries and groans as it came. 

The astonished girl instinctively raised the box 
in her hands, to use it as a missile. But, lo, it was 
old Murphy who, half stumbling to his knees at her 
feet, fiercely clutched her skirts, and pointed in a 
frenzy of excitement seaward ! 

•' Wid yer own eyes look at it — it, Miss Katie !" 
he screamed. " Ye can see it yerself ! It 's not 
dr'aming I am I" 

" It 's drunk ye are instead, thin, Murphy," said 
the girl, sharply, though in great wonderment. 

" Wid joy! Wid joy I 'm drunk!" the old man 
shouted, dancing on the sands and slippery sea-litter 
like one possessed, and whirling his arms about his 
head. 

" Murphy, man! What ails ye? In the name of 
the Lord — what — " 

The browned, wild-eyed, ragged old madman had 
started at a headlong pace across the wet waste of 
weeds, and plunged now through the breakers, wad- 



The Vulory of the '' CathacIC 267 

ing wilh long strides — knee-deep, then immersed to 
the waist. He turned for an instant to shout back : 

" I '11 swim to him if I drown for it! ' Tis the mas- 
ter come back /'' 

The girl fell to her knees on the sand, then rev- 
erently bowed her head till it rested upon the box 
before her. 



/ I 



-»-, .iSi 



CHAPTER XXV. 

BERNARD'S GOOD CHEER. 

" Sorra a wink o* sleep could I get the night," 
groaned the wife of O'Daly — Mrs. Fergus — " what 
with me man muthered, an' me daughter drowned, 
an' me nerves that disthracted 't was past the power 
of hot dhrink to abate em." 

It was early morning in the reception hall of 
the convent. The old nuns sat on their bench in a 
row, blinking in the bright light which poured 
through the casement as they gazed at their visitor, 
and tortured their unworldly wits over the news 
she brought. The young chaplain. Father Jago, 
had come in from the mass, still wearing soutane 
and beretta. He leaned his burly weight against 
the mantel, smiling inwardly at thoughts of break- 
fast, but keeping his heavy face drawn in solemn 
lines to fit these grievous tidings. 

The mother superior sighed despairingly, and 
spoke in low, quavering tones. " Here, too, no one 
sleeps a wink," she said. " Ah, thin, 't is too much 
sorrow for us ! By rayson of our years we 've no 
stringth to bear it." 
[268] 



Bernard's Good Cheer. 269 

"Ah — sure — 't is different wid you," remarked 
Mrs. Fergus. "You 've no proper notion of the 
m'aning of sleep. Faith, all your life you 've been 
wakened bechune naps by your prayer-bell. 'T is 
no throuble to you. You 're accustomed to 't. But 
wid me — if I 've me rest broken, 1 'm killed entirely. 
'T is me nerves !" 

" Ay, them nerves of yours — did I ever hear of 
'em before?" put in Mother Agnes, with a moment- 
ary gleam of carnal delight in combat on her 
waxen face. Then sadness resumed its sway. 
"Aye, aye, Katie! Katie!" she moaned, slowly 
shaking her vailed head. " Child of our prayers, 
daughter of the White Foam, pride of the O'Ma- 
honys, darlin' of our hearts — what ailed ye to I'ave 
us?" 

The mother superior's words quavered upward 
into a wail as they ended. The sound awakened 
the ancestral " keening " instinct in the other aged 
nuns, and stirred the thin blood in their veins. They 
broke forth in weird lamentations. 

" Her hair was the glory of Desmond, that 
weighty and that fine!" chanted Sister Ellen. "Ah, 
wirra, wirra !" 

" She had it from me," said Mrs. Fergus, her 
hand straying instinctively to her crimps. Her 
voice had caught the mourning infection : " Ah-hoo ! 
Kalie Avourneen," she wailed in vocal sympathy. 
" Come back to us, darlint !" 

" She 'd the neck of the Swan of the Lake of 
Three Castles!" mumbled Sister Blanaid. " 'T was 
that same was said of Grace O'Sullivan — the bride 
of The O'Mahony of Ballydivlin — an' he was kilt on 



270 The Return of The G Mahony. 

the strand benayth the walls — an' she lookin* on 
wid her grand black eyes — " 

" Is it floatin' in the waves ye are, ma creevin cno — 
wid the fishes surroundin' ye?" sobbed Mrs. 
Fergus. 

Sister Blanaid's thick tongue took up the keening 
again. " 'T was I druv her out ! * Go 'long wid yc,' 
says I, * an' t'row that haythen box o' yours into tlir- 
bay' — an' she went and t'rew her purty self iji 
instead; woe an' prosthration to this house ! — rii." 
may the Lord — " 

Father Jago at this took his elbow from the man- 
tel and straightened himself. " Whisht, now, aisy ! " 
he said, in a tone of parental authority. " There 's 
modheration in all things. Sure ye haven't a scin- 
tilla of evidence that there 's annyone dead at all. 
Where 's the sinse of laminting a loss ye 're not sure 
of — and that, too, on an impty stomach ?" 

" Nevir bite or sup more will I take till 1 've tid- 
ings of her! ' said the mother superior. 

" The more rayson why 1 '11 not be waiting longer 
for 3e now," commented the priest ; and with this 
he left the room. As he closed the door behind 
him, a grateful odor of frying bacon momentarily 
spread upon the air. Mrs. Fergus sniffed it, and 
half rose from her seat ; but the nuns clung reso- 
lutely to their theme, and she sank back again. 

" 'T is my belafe," Sister Ellen began, " that voice 
we heard, 't is from no Hostage at all — 't is the ban- 
shee of the O'Mahonys." 

The mother superior shook her head. 

" Is it likely, thin, Ellen O'Mahon}-," she queried, 
" that ^//r banshee would be distressed for an O'Dal}' ? 



Bernard's Good Cheer. i~\ 

Sure the grand noise was made whin Cormac him- 
self disappeared." 

" His marryin' me — 't is clear enough that putt him 
in the family," said Mrs. Fergus. " 'T would be fiat 
injustice to me to I've my man go an' never a keen 
raised for him. 1 '11 stand on me rights for that 
much Agnes O'Mahony." 

" A fine confusion ye 'd have of it, thin," retorted 
the mother superior. " The 0'Dal3'S have their own 
banshee — she sat up her keen in Kilcrohane these 
hundreds of years — and for ours to be meddlin' 
because she 's merely related by marriage — sure, 
't would not be endured." 

The dubious problem of a family banshee's duties 
has never been elucidated beyond this point, for on 
the instant there came a violent ringing of the big 
bell outside, the hoarse clangor of which startled the 
women into excited silence. A minute later, the 
white-capped lame old woman-servant threw open 
the door. 

A young man, with a ruddy, smiling face and a 
carriage of boyish confidence, entered the room. 
He cast an inquiring glance over the group. Then 
recognizing Mrs. Fergus, he gave a little exclam- 
ation of pleasure, and advanced toward her with out- 
stretched hand. 

" VVh}', how do you do, Mrs. O'Daly ?" he 
exclaimed, cordially shaking her hand. " Pray keep 
your seat. I'm just playing in luck to find yoti here. 
Won't you — eh — be kind enough to — eh — introduce 
me ?" 

" 'T is a young gintleman from Ameriky, Mr. 
O'Mahony by name," Mrs. Fergus stammered, 



272 The Rct7Lrn of TJic O Maho7iy. 

flushed with satisfaction in his remembrance, but 
doubtful as to the attitude of the nuns. 

The ladies of the Hostage's Tears had drawn 
themselves into as much dignified erectness as their 
age and infirmities permitted. They eyed this 
amazing new-comer in mute surprise. Mother 
Agnes, after the first shock at the invasion, nodded 
frostily in acknowledgment of his respectful bow. 

" Get around an' spake to her in her north ear," 
whispered Mrs. Fergus ; " she can't hear ye in the 
other." 

Bernard had been long enough in West Carbery 
to comprehend her meaning. In that strange old 
district there is no right or left, no front or back — 
only points of the compass. A gesture from Mrs. 
Fergus helped him now to guess where the north 
might lie in matters auricular. 

" I didn't stand on ceremony," he said, laying his 
hat on the table and drawing off his gloves. " I've 
driven over post-haste from Skibbereen this morn- 
ing: — the car's outside — and I rushed in here the first 
thing. 1 — I hope sincerely that I'm in time." 

" ' In toime ?'" the superior repeated, in a tone of 
annoyed mystification. " That depinds entoirely, 
sir, on your own intintions. I 've no information, 
sir, as to either who you ai^e or what you're afther 
doing." 

" No, of course not," said Bernard, in affable 
apology. " I ought to have thought of that. I'll 
explain things, ma'am, if you '11 permit me. As I 
said, I've just raced over this morning from Skib- 
bereen." 



Bernard's Good Cheer. 273 

Mother Agnes made a stately inclination of her 
vailed head. 

"You had a grand morning for your drive," she 
said. 

" I didn't notice," the young man replied, with a 
frank smile. " I was too busy thinking of some- 
thing else. The truth is, I spent last evening with 
the bishop." 

Again the mother superior bowed slightly. 

" An estimable man," she remarked, coldly. 

"Oh, yes; nothing could have been friendlier," 
pursued Bernard, " than the way he treated me. 
And the day before that 1 was at Cashel, and had a 
long talk with the archbishop. He's a splendid old 
gentleman, too. Not the least sign of airs or 
nonsense about him." 

Mother Agnes rose. 

" I 'm deloighted to learn that our higher clergy 
prodhuce so favorable an impression upon you," 
she said, gravely; " but, if you'll excuse us, sir, this 
is a house of mourning, and our hearts are heavy 
wid grief, and we 're not in precisely the mood — " 

Bernard spoke in an altered tone : 

"Oh! I beg a thousand pardons! Mourning, 
did you say ? May 1 ask — " 

Mrs. Fergus answered his unspoken question. 

" Don't you know it, thin ? 'T is me husband, 
Cormac O'Daly. Sure he 's murdhered an' his 
body's nowhere to be found, an' the poliss are 
scourin' all the counthry roundabout, an' there 's a 
long account of 't in the Freeman sint from 
Bantry, an' more poliss have been dhrafted into 
Muirisc, an' they 've arrested Jerry Higgins and 



2 74 ^^^^ Retzirn of The GMahony. 

that long-shanked, shiverin' omadhaim of a cousin of 
his. 'T is known they had a tellgram warnin' thim 
not to be afraid — " 

" Oh, by George ! Well, this is rich !" 

The young man's spontaneous exclamations 
brought the breathless narrative of Mrs. Fergus to 
an abrupt stop. The women gazed at him in stupe- 
faction. His rosy and juvenile face had, at her first 
words, worn a wondering and puzzled expression. 
Gradually, as she went on, a light of comprehension 
had dawned in his eyes. Then he had broken in 
upon her catalogue of woes with a broad grin on 
his face. 

" Igad, this is rich !" he repeated. He put his 
hands in his pockets, withdrew them, and then took 
a few steps up and down the room, chuckling deeply 
to himself. 

The power of speech came first to Mother Agnes. 

" If 't is to insult our griefs you 've come, young 
sir," she began ; " if that 's your m'aning — " 

" Bless your heart, madam !"' Bernard protested. 
** I 'd be the last man in the world to dream of such 
a thing. I 've too much respect. I 've an aunt who 
is a religious, myself. No, what I mean is it 's all a 
joke — that is, a mistake. O'Daly isn't dead at all." 

" What 's that you 're sayin* .?" put in Mrs. Fergus, 
sharply. " Me man is aloive, ye say ?" 

" Why, of course " — the youngster went ofif into a 
fresh fit of chuckling - " of course, he is — alive and 
kicking. Yes, especially kicking !" 

" The Lord's mercy on us !" said the mother 
superior. " And where would Cormac be, thin !" 

** Well, that 's another matter. I don't know that I 



Bei'iianVs Good Cheer. 275 

can tell 3^011 just now ; but, take my word for it, he 's 
as alive as 1 am, and he 's perfectly safe, too.'' 

The astonished pause which followed was broken 
by the mumbling monologue of poor half-palsied 
Sister Blanaid : 

" 1 putt the box in her hands, an' I says, says 1 : 
' Away wid ye, now, an' t'row it into the say !' An' 
thin she wint." 

The other women exchanged startled glances. 
In their excitement they had forgotten about Kate. 

Before they could speak, Bernard, with a m3'sti- 
lied glance at the spluttering old lady, had taken 
up the subject of their frightened thoughts. 

"But what I came for," he said, looking from one 
to the other, " what I was specially in a stew about, 
was to get here before — before Miss Kate had taken 
her vows. The ceremony was set down for to-day, 
as I understand. Perhaps I 'm wrong ; but that 's 
why I asked if 1 was in time." 

" You are in time," answered Mother Agnes, 
solemnly. 

Her sepulchral tone jarred upon the young man's 
ear. Looking into the speaker's pallid, vail-framed 
face, he was troubled vaguely by a strange, almost 
sinister significance in her glance. 

" You 're in fine time," the mother superior 
repeated, and bowed her head. 

" Man alive !" Mrs. Fergus exclaimed, rising and 
leaning toward him. " You 've no sinse of what 
you 're saying. Me daughter's gone, too !" 

** ' Gone !' How g:one ? What do vou mean ?" 

Bernard gazed in blank astonishment into the 



276 The Return of The O Mahony, 

vacuous face of Mrs. Fergus. Mechanically he 
strode toward her and took her hand firmly in his. 

" Where has she gone to?" he demanded, as his 
scattered wits came under control again. " Do 
you mean that she 's runaway ? Can't you speak?" 

Mrs. Fergus, thus stoutly adjured, began to 
whimper : 

" They sint her from here — 't was always harsh 
they were wid her — ye heard Sister Blanaid yerself 
say they sint her — an' out she wint to walk under 
the cliffs — some b'yes of Peggy Clancy saw her 
go — an' she never came back through the long 
night — an' me wid no wink o' sleep — an' me nerves 
that bad !" 

Overcome by her emotions, Mrs. Fergus, her 
hand still in Bernard's grasp, bent forward till her 
crimps rested on the young man's shoulder. She 
moved her forehead gingerly about till it seemed 
certain that the ornaments were sustaining no injury. 
Then she gave her maternal feelings full sway and 
sobbed with fervor against the coat of the young 
man from Houghton County. 

" Don't cry, Mrs. O'Daly," was all Bernard could 
think of to say. 

The demonstration might perhaps have impressed 
him had he not perforce looked over the weeping 
lady's head straight into the face of the mother 
superior. There he saw written such contemptuous 
incredulity that he himself became conscious of 
skepticism, 

" Dont take on so !" he urged, this time less 
gently, and strove to disengage himself. 

But Mrs. Fergus clung to his hand and resolutely 



Bernard's Good Cheer. 277 

buried her face ag'ainst his collar. Sister Ellen had 
risen to her feet beside Mother Agnes, and he heard 
the two nuns sniff indig-nantly. Then he realized 
that the situation was ridiculous. 

" What is it you suspect ?" he asked of the mother 
superior, eager to make a diversion of some kind. 

" You can't be imagining that harm 's come to 
Miss Kate — that she 's drowned ?" 

" That same zvas our belafe," said Mother Agnes, 
glaring icily upon him and his sobbing burden. 

The inference clearly was that the spectacle 
before her atTronted eyes had been enough to over- 
turn all previous convictions, of whatever character. 

Bernard hesitated no longer. He almost wrenched 
his hand free and then firmly pushed Mrs. Fergus 
away. 

" It 's all nonsense," he saic^, assuming a confidence 
he did not wholly feel, " She's no more drowned 
than 1 am." 

" Faith, I had me fears ior you, wid such a dale of 
tears let loose upon ye," remarked Mother Agnes, 
dryly. 

The young man looked straight into the reverend 
countenance of the superior and confided to it an 
audacious wink. 

" I '11 be back in no time," he said, taking up his 
hat. " Now don't you fret another bit. She 's all 
right. 1 know it. And I '11 go and find her." And 
with that he was gone. 

An ominous silence pervaded the reception hall. 
The two nuns, still standing, stared with wrathful 
severity at Mrs. Fergus. She bore their gaze with 
but an indifferent show of composure, patting her 



278 The Return of The G Mahoiiy. 

disordered crimps with an awkward hand, and then 
moving aimlessly across the room. 

" 1 '11 be going now, I 'm thinking," she said, at 
last, yet lingered in spite of her words. 

The nuns looked slowly at one another, and ut- 
tered not a word. 

" Well, thin, 't is small comfort I have, annyway, 
or consolation either, from the lot of ye," Mrs. Fer- 
gus felt impelled to remark, drawing her shawl up 
on her head and walking toward the door. "An' 
me wid me throubles, an' me nerves." 

" Is it consolation you 're afther.? "retorted Mother 
Agnes, bitterly. " I haven't the proper kind of 
shoulder on me iox: your variety of consolation." 

" Thrue ye have it, Agnes O'Mahony," Mrs. Fer- 
gus came back, with her hand on the latch. " An' 
by the same token, thim shoulders were small con- 
solation to you yourself, till you got your nun's vail 
to hide 'em !" 

When she had flounced her way out, the mother 
superior remained standing, her gaze bent upon the 
floor. 

" Sister Ellen," she said at last, " me powers are 
failing me. 'T is time 1 laid down me burden. For 
the first time in me life I was unayqual to her im- 
piddence." 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

THE RESIDENT MAGISTRATE. 

When Bernard O'Mahony found himself outside 
the convent gateway, he paused to consider matters. 

The warm spring sunlight so broadly enveloped 
the square in w^hich he stood, the shining white 
cottages and gray old walls behind him and the 
harbor and pale-blue placid bay beyond, in its grate- 
ful radiance, that it was not in nature to think gloomy 
thoughts. And nothing in the young man's own 
nature tended that way, either. 

Yet as he stopped short, looked about him, and 
even took off his hat to the better ponder the situa- 
tion, he saw that it was even more complicated than 
he had thought. His plan of campaign had rested 
upon two bold strategic actions. He had deemed 
them extremely smart, at the time of their invention. 
Both had been put into execution, and, lo, the state 
of affairs was worse than ever ! 

The problem had been to thwart and overturn 
O'Daly and to prevent Kate from entering the con- 
vent. These two objects were so intimately con- 
nected and dependent one upon the other, that it 
had been impossible to separate them in procedure. 
He had caused O'Daly to be immured in secrecy in 
the underground cell, the while he went off to secure 

[279J 



2 8o The Rettirn of The G Mahony. 

episcopal interference in the convent's plans. His 
journey had been crowned with entire •success. It 
had involved a trip to Cashel, it is true, but he had 
obtained an order forbidding the ladies of the Host- 
age's Tears to add to their numbers. Returning in 
triumph with this invincible weapon, he discovered 
now that O'Daly's disappearance had been placarded 
all over Ireland as a murder, that his two allies were 
in custody as suspected assassins, and that — most 
puzzling and disturbing feature of it all — Kate her- 
self had vanished. 

He did not attach a moment's credence to the 
drowning theory. Daughters of the Coast of White 
Foam did not get drowned. Nor was it likely that 
other harm had befallen a girl so capable, so self- 
reliant, so thoroughly at home in all the districts 
roundabout. Obviously she was in hiding some- 
w^here in the neighborhood. The question was 
where to look for her. Or, would it be better to 
take up the other branch of the problem first? 

His perplexed gaze, roaming vaguely over the 
broad space, was all at once arrested by a gleam of 
flashing light in motion. Concentrating his atten- 
tion, he saw that it came from the polished barrel 
of a rifle borne on the arm of a constable at the cor- 
ner of the square. He put on his hat and walked 
briskly over to this corner. The constable had 
gone, and Bernard followed him up the narrow, 
winding little street to the barracks. 

As he walked, he noted knots of villagers clus- 
tered about the cottage doors, evidently discuss- 
ing some topic of popular concern. In the road- 
way before the barracks were drawn up two out- 



TlLc Resident Magistrate. 281 

side cars. A policeman in uniform occupied the 
driver's seat on each, and a half-dozen others 
lounged about in the sunshine by the gate-posls, 
their rifles slung over their backs and their round, 
visorless caps cocked aggressively over their ears. 
These gentr}^ bent upon him a general scowl as he 
walked past them and into llie barracks. 

A dapper, dark-faced, exquisitely dressed young 
gentleman, wearing slate-tinted gloves and with a 
flower in his button-hole, stood in the hall-way — 
two burly constables assisting him meanwhile to get 
into a light, silk-lined top-coat. 

" Come, 3'ou fool! Hold the sleeve lower down, 
can't you !" this young gentleman cried, testily, as 
Bernard entered. The two constables divided the 
epithet between them humbly, and perfected their 
task. 

" I want to see the officer in charge here," said 
Bernard, prepared by this for discourtesy. 

The young gentleman glanced him over, and on 
the instant altered his demeanor. 

" I am Major Snaffle, the resident magistrate," he 
said, with great politeness. " 1 've only a minute to 
spare — I 'm driving over to Bantry with some pris- 
oners — but if you '11 come this way — " and without 
further words, he led the other into a room off the 
hall, the door of which the two constables rushed 
to obsequiously open. 

" I dare say those are the prisoners I have come 
to talk about," remarked Bernard, when the door 
had closed behind them. He noted that this was 
the first comfortably furnjshecl room he had seen in 



282 The Return of The (7 Mahouy. 

Ireland, as he took the seat indicated by the major's 
gesture. 

Major Snaffle lifted his brows slightly at this, and 
fastened his bright brown eyes in a keen, searching 
glance upon Bernard's face. 

" Hm-m !" he said. " You are an American, I 
perceive." 

" Yes — my name 's O'Mahony. I come from 
Michigan." 

At sound of this Milesian cognomen, the glance 
of the stipendiary grew keener still, if possible, and 
the corners of his carefully trimmed little mustache 
were drawn sharply down. There was less polite- 
ness in the manner and tone of his next inquiry. 

"Well — what is 3-our business? What do you 
want to say about them ?" 

" First of all," said Bernard, " let 's be sure we 're 
talking about the same people. You 've got two 
men under arrest here — Jerry Higgins of this place, 
and a cousin of his from — from Boston, I think 
it is." 

The major nodded, and kept his sharp gaze on the 
other's countenance unabated. 

" What of that?" he asked, now almost brusquely. 

" Well, I only drove in this morning — I 'm in the 
mining business, myself — but I understand they 've 
been arrested for the m — that is, on account of the 
disappearance of old Mr. O'Daly." 

The resident magistrate did not assent by so much 
as a word. "Well? What 's that to you?" he 
queried, coldly. 

" It 's this much to me," Bernard retorted, not 



The Resident Magistrate. 283 

with entire good-temper, " that O'Daly isn't dead 
at all." 

Major Snaffle's eyebrows went up still further, 
with a little jerk. He hesitated for a moment, then 
said: "I hopj you kn<^w t'l'^ importance of what 
you are saying. We don' . li^'.c to be fooled with." 

" The fooling has been done by these who started 
the story that he was murdered," remarked Ber- 
nard. 

" One must always be prepared for that — at some 
stage of a case — among these Irish," said tlie resi- 
dent magistrate. " I 've only been in Ireland two 
years, but I know their lying tricks as well as if I 'd 
been born among them. Service in India helps one 
to understand all the inferior races." 

" I haven't been here even two months," said the 
young man from Houghton County, " but so far as 
I can figure it out, the Irishmen who do the b;ilk 
of the lying wear uniforms and monkej^-caps like 
paper-collar boxes perched over one ear. The 
police, I mean." 

"We won't discuss that,'' put in the major, 
peremptorily. " Do you know where O'Daly is?'' 

" Yes, sir, I do," answered Bernard. 

"Where?" 

" You wouldn't know if I told you, but I '11 take 
you to the place — that is, if you *ll let me talk to 
your prisoners first." 

Major Snaffle turned the proposition over in his 
mind. " Take me to the place," he commented at 
last; "that means that you 've got him hidden 
somewhere, I assume." 

Bernard looked into the shrewd, twinkling eyes 



284 The Return of The O Mahony. 

with a new i-espect. " TlKit 's about the size of," he 
assented. 

" Hm-m ! Yes. That makes a new offense of it, 
with you as an accessory, 1 take it — or ought I to 
say principal ?" 

Bernard was not at all dismayed by this shift in 
the situation. 

" Call it what you like," he answered. " See 
here, major," he went on, in a burst of confidence, 
" this whole thing's got nothing to do with politics 
or the potato crop or an3'thing else that need con- 
cern you. It 's purely a private family matter. In 
a day or two, it '11 be in such shape that I can tell 
you all about it. For that matter, I could now, 
only it 's such a deuce of a long story." 

The major thought again. 

" All right," he said. '* You can see the prisoners 
in my presence, and then I '11 give you a chance to 
produce O'Daly. I ought to warn 3'ou, though, 
that it may be all used against you, later on." 

" I 'm not afraid of that," replied Bernard. 

A minute later, he was following the resident 
magistrate up a winding flight of narrow stone 
stairs, none too clean. A constable, with a bunch 
of keys jingling in his hand, preceded them, and, at 
the top, threw open a heavy, iron-cased door. The 
solitary window of the room they entered had been 
so blocked with thick bars of metal that very little 
light came through. Bernard, with some difficulty, 
made out two figures lying in one corner on a heap 
of straw and old cast-off clothing. 

" Get up ! Here 's some one to see you !" called 
out the major, in the 3ame tone he had used to the 



The Resident Magistrate. 285 



constables while they were helping on the over- 
coat. 

Bernard, as he heard it, felt himself newly in- 
formed as to the spirit in which India was governed. 
Perhaps it was necessary there ; but it made him 
grind his teeth to think of its use in Ireland. 

The two figures scrambled to their feet, and Ber- 
nard shook hands with both. 

" Egor, sir, you 're a sight for sore eyes !" ex- 
claimed Jerry, effusively, wringing the visitor's 
fingers in his fat clasp. " Are ye come to take us 
out?" 

" Yes, that 'II be easy enough," said Bernard. 
" You got my telegram all right ?" 

Major Snaffle took his tablets from a pocket, and 
made a minute on them unobserved. 

" I did— I did," said Jerry, buoyantly. Then with 
a changed expression he added, whispering : " An' 
that same played the divil intirely. 'T was for that 
they arrested us." 

" Don't whisper !" interposed the resident magis- 
trate, curtly. 

"Egor ! I'll say nothing at all," said Jerry, who 
seemed now for the first time to consider the pres- 
ence of the official. 

" Yes — don't be afraid," Bernard urged, reassur- 
ingly, " It 's all right now. Tell me, is O'Daly in 
the place we know of ?" 

" He is, thin ! Egor, unless he 'd wings on him, 
and dug his way up through the sayling, like a 
blessed bat." 

" Did he make much fuss?" 

*• He did not — lastewise we didn't stop to hear. 



286 The Return of The O Mahony. 



He came down wid us ais}' as you plaze, an' I 
unlocked the dure. ' 'T is a foine room,' says I. 
' 'T is that,' says he. ' Here 's whishky,' says I. 
' I 'd be lookin' for that wherever you were,' says 
he, ' even to the bowels of the earth.' ' An' why 
not?' says I. 'What is it the priest read to us, 
that it makes a man's face to shine wid oil ?' * A 
grand scholar ye are, Jerry,' says he—" 

" Cut it short, Jerry !" interposed Bernard. "The 
main thing is you left him there all right?" 

" Well, thin, we did, sir, an' no mistake." 

" My plan is, major," — Bernard turned to the resi- 
dent magistrate — " to take my friend here, Jerry 
Higgins, with us, to the place I've been speaking 
of. We'll leave the other man here, as the editors 
say in my countr}'-, as a ' guarantee of good faith.' 
The only point is that we three must go alone. It 
wouldn't do to take an}' constables with us. In fact, 
there's a secret about it, and I wouldn't feel justified 
in giving it away even to you, if it didn't seem nec- 
essary. We simply confide it to you." 

" You can't confide anything to me," said the resi- 
dent magistrate. ** Understand clearly that I shall 
hold myself free to use everything I see and learn, 
if the interests of justice seem to demand it." 

" Yes, but that isn't going to happen," responded 
Bernard. " The interests of justice are all the other 
wa}^ as you '11 see, later on. What I mean is, if the 
case isn't taken into court at all — as it won't be — we 
can trust you not to speak about this place." 

" Oh — in my private capacity — that is a different 
matter." 

" And you won't be afraid to go alone with us ?— <• 



The Resident Magistrate. 



it isn't far from here, but, mind, it is downright 
lonesome." 

Major Snaffle covered the two men — the burly, 
stout Irishman and the lithe, erect, close-knit young 
American — with a comprehensive glance. The 
points of his mustache trembled momentarily 
upward in the beginning of a smile. " No — not the 
least bit afraid," the dapper little gentleman replied. 

The constables at the outer door stood with their 
big red hands to their caps, and saw with amaze- 
ment the major, Bernard and Jerry pass them and 
the cars, and go down the street abreast. The 
villagers, gathered about the shop and cottage doors, 
watched the progress of the trio with even greater 
surprise. It seemed now, though, that nothing was 
too marvelous to happen in jNluirisc. Some of 
them knew that the man with the fiower in his coat 
was the stipendary magistrate from Bantr}-, and, 
by some obscure connection, this came to be inter- 
preted throughout the village as meaning that the 
bodies of both O'Daly and Miss Kate had been 
found. The stories which were born of this under- 
standing flatly contradicted one another at every 
point as they flew about, but they made a good 
enough basis for the old women of the hamlet to 
start keening upon afresh. 

The three men, pausing now and again to make 
sure they were not followed, went at a sharp pace 
around through the churchyard to the door of 
Jerry's abode, and entered it. The key and the 
lantern were found hanging upon their accustomed 
pegs. Jerry lighted the candle, pushed back the 



288 The Return of The O Mahony. 

bed, and led the descent of the narrow, musty stairs 
through the darkness. The major came last of all. 

*' I've only been down here once myself," Bernard 
explained to him, over his shoulder, as they made 
their stumbling way downward. •' It seems the 
place was discovered by accident, in the old Fenian 
days. I suppose tlie convent used it in old times — 
they say there was a skeleton of a monk found in 
it." 

" Whisht, now !" whispered Jerry, as, having 
passed through the long, low corridor leading from 
the staircase, he came to a halt at the doorwa}'. 
" Maybe we'll surproise him." 

He unlocked the door and flung it open. No 
sound of life came from within. 

" Come along out 'o that, Cormac !" called Jerry, 
into the mildewed blackness. 

There was no answer. 

Bernard almost pushed Jerry forward into the 
chamber, and, taking the lantern from him, held it 
aloft as he moved about. He peered under the 
table ; he opened the great muniment chest ; he 
pulled back the ciytains to scrutinize the bed. 
There was no sign of O'Dal}^ anywhere. 

" Saints be wid us !" gasped Jerry, crossing him- 
self, " the divil 's flown away wid his own !" 

Bernard, from staring in astonishment into his 
confederate's fat face, let his glance wander to the 
major. That olihcial had stepped over the threshold 
of the chamber, and stood at one side of the open 
door. He held a revolver in his gloved, right hand. 

" Gentlemen." he said, in a perfectly calm voice, 
" my father served in Ireland in Fenian times, and 



The Resident Magistrate. 289 

an American-Irishman caught him in a trap, gagged 
him with gnn-rags, and generally made a fool of him. 
Such things do not happen twice in any intelligent 
famil}'. You w^ill therefore walk through this door, 
arm in arm, handing me the lantern as you pass, and 
you will then go up the stairs six paces ahead of me. 
If either of you attempts to do anything else, I will 
shoot him down like a dog." 



CHAPTER XXVIl. 

THE RETURN OF THE O'MAHONY. 

Bernard had never before had occasion to look 
into the small and ominously black muzzle of a 
loaded revolver. An involuntary twitching- seized 
upon his muscles as he did so now, but his presence 
of mind did not desert him. 

" No! Don't shoot !" he called out. The words 
shook as he uttered them, and seemed to his ner- 
vously acute hearing to be crowded parts of a single 
sound. "That's rank foolishness!" he added, hur- 
riedly. " There 's no trick ! Nobody dreams of 
touching 3'^ou. I give you my word I 'm more 
astonished than you are!" 

The major seemed to be somewhat impressed by 
the candor of the young man's tone. He did not 
lower the weapon, but he shifted his finger awa}' 
from the trigger. 

" That may or may not be the case," he said with 
a studious affectation of calm in his voice. " At all 
events, you will at once do as I said." 

" But see here," urged Bernard, " there's an 
explanation to everything. I '11, swear that old 
[290] 



The Rcttirn of The OMahony. 29 1 

O'Daly was put in here by our friend here — Jerry 
Ilig-gins. That 's straight, isn't it, Jerry?" 

" It is, sir!" said Jerry, fervently, with eye askance 
on the revolver. 

" And it 's evident enough that he couldn't have 
got out by himself." 

" That he never did, sir." 

"Well, then — let's figure. How many people 
know of this place ?" 

" There's yoursilf," responded Jerry, meditatively, 
" an' mesilf an' Linsky — me cousin, Joseph Higgins, 
I mane. That's all, if ye I'ave O'Daly out. An' 
that 's what bothers me wits, who the divil didVave 
him out?".. 

" This cousin of yours, as you call him," put in 
the resident magistrate — "what did he mean by 
speaking of him as Linsky ? No lying, now." 

"Lying-, is it, your honor? 'T is aisy to see 
you 're a stranger in these parts, to spake that word 
to me. Egor, 't is me truth-tellin' 's kept me the 
poor man I am. I remember, now, sir, wance on a 
time whin I was only a shlip of a lad — " 

"What did you call him Linsky for?" Major 
Snaffle demanded, peremptorily. 

" Well, sir," answered Jerry, unabashed, " 't is 
because he 's freckles on him. ' Linsky ' is the Irish 
for a 'freckled man!' Sure, O'Daly would tell you 
the same — if yer honor could find him." 

The major did not look entirely convinced. 

" I don't doubt it," he said, with grim sarcasm ; 
" every man, woman and child of 3'ou all would tell 
the same. Come now — we 'II get up out of this. 



292 TJie Return of The G i\Iaho7iy. 

Link your arms together, and give me the lan- 
tern." 

" By 3'our I'avc, sir," interposed Jerry, " that 
trick ye tokl us of your father — w'u'd that have 
been in a marteller tov/er, on the coast beyant Kin- 
sale? Egor, sir, I was there! 'T was me tuk the 
gun-rags from your father's mouth. Sure, 't is in 
me ricolliction as if 't was yesterday. There stud 
The O'Mahon}^ — " 

At the sound of the name on his tongue, Jerry 
stopped short. The secret of that expedition had 
been preserved so long. Was there danger in 
revealing it now. 

To Bernard the name suggested another thought. 
He turned swiftly to Jerry. 

" Look here !" he said. " You forgot something. 
The O'Mahony knew of this place." 

" Well, thin, he did, sir," assented Jerry. " 'T 
v/as him discovered it altogether." 

" Major," the young man exclaimed, wheeling 
now to again confront the magistrate with his 
revolver, " there 's something queer about this 
whole thing. I don't understand it any more than 
30U do. Perhaps if we put our heads together we 
could figure it out between us. It 's foolishness to 
stand like this. Let me light the candles here, and 
all of us sit down like white men. That 's it," he 
added as he busied himself in carrying out his sug- 
gestion, to which the magistrate tacitly assented. 
" Now we can talk. We '11 sit here in front of you, 
and you can keep out your pistol, if you like." 

"Well?" said Major Snaffle, inquiringh% when he 
had seated himself between the others and the door, 



The Rclnm of The O Mahony. 293 

vet sidewise, so tliat he might not be taken 
unawares b}' any new-comer. 

" Tell him, Jerr\', who this O'IMahony of yours 
was," directed Bernard. 

" Ah, thin — a grand divil of a man !" said Jerr}^ 
with enthusiasm. " 'T was he was the master of all 
Muirisc. Sure 't was mesilf was the first man he 
gave a w-ord to in Ireland wliin he landed at the 
Cove of Cork. ' Will ye come along wid me?' sa3's 
he. ' To the inds of the earth!' says I. And wid 
that—" 

" He came from America, too, did he?" queried 
the major. " Was that the same man who — who 
played the trick on my father? You seem to know 
about that." 

" Egor, 't was the same !" cried Jerry, slapping 
his fat knee and chuckling with delight at the 
memor}'. " 'T was all in the winkin' of an eye — an' 
there he had him bound like a calf goin' to the fair, 
an' he cartin' him on his own back to the boat. Up 
wint the sails, an' off we pushed, an' the breeze 
caught us, an' whin the soldiers came, faith, 't was 
safe out o' raych we were. An' thin The O'Mahony 
— God save him ! — came to your honor's father — " 

" Yes, I know the story," interrupted the major. 
" It doesn't amuse me as it does you. But what 
has this man — this O'Mahony — got to do with this 
present case ?" 

*' It 's like this," explained Bernard, "as I under- 
stand it: He left Ireland after this thing Jerry's 
been telling you about and went fighting in other 
countries. He turned his property over to two 
trustees to manage for the benefit of a little girl 



294 The Rctitni of The O' IMahony. 

here — now Miss Kate O'Mahony. O'Daly was one 
of the trustees. What does he do but marry the 
girl's mother — a widow — and lay pipes to put the 
girl in a convent and steal all the money. I told 
you at the beginning that it was a family squabble. 
1 happened to come along this way, got interested 
in the thing, and took a notion to put a spoke in 
O'Daly 's wheel. To manage the convent end of 
the business I had to go away for two or three days. 
While I was gone, I thought it would be safer to 
have O'Daly down here out of mischief. Now 
you *ve got the whole story. Or, no, that isn't all, 
for when I got back I find that the young lady her- 
self has disappeared ; and, lo and behold, here 's 
O'Daly turned up missing, too !" 

** What 's that you say ?" asked Major Snaffle. 
" The young lady gone, also ?" 

" Is it Miss Kate ?" broke in Jerry. " Oh, thin, 't 
is the divil's worst work ! Miss Kate not to be 
found — is that your m'aning ? 'T is notconsa3-vable." 

" Oh, I don't think there 's anything serious in 
that^' said Bernard. " She '11 turn out to be safe 
and snug somewhere when everything 's cleared up. 
But, in the meantime, where 's O'Daly ? How did 
he get out of here ?" 

The major rose and walked over to the door. 
He examined its fastenings and lock with attention. 

" It can only be opened from the outside," he 
remarked as he returned to his seat. 

" I know that," said Bernard. " And I 've got a 
notion that there 's only one man alive who could 
have come and opened it." 

" Is it Lin — me cousin, you mane?" asked Jerry. 



Tkc Retitrii of The G Mahony. 295 

" Egor ! He was never out of me sight, daylight or 
dark, till they arrested us together." 

"No," replied Bernard. "I didn't mean him. 
The man I 'm thinking of is The O'Mahony 
himself." 

Jerry leaped to his feet so swiftly that the major 
instinctively clutched his revolver anew. But 
there was no menace in Jerry's manner. He stood 
for a moment, his fat face reddened in the candle's 
pale glow, his gray eyes ashine, his mouth expand- 
ing in a grin of amazed delight. Then he burst 
forth in a torrent of eager questioning. 

" Don't you mane it ?" he cried. " The O'Mahony 
come back to his own ag'in? Wu'd he — is it — oh, 
thin, 't is too good to be thrue, sir ! An' we sittin* 
here! An' him near by! Kxi me not — ah, come 
along out 'o this ! An' ye're not desay vin' us, sir ? 
He's thruly come back to us ?" 

" Don't go too fast," remonstrated Bernard ." It 's 
only guess-work There's nothing sure about it at 
all. Onl}' there's no one else who could have come 
here." 

" Thrue for ye, sir !" exclaimed Jerry, all afire now 
with joyous confidence. " 'T is a fine, grand intelli- 
gince ye have, sir. An' will we be goin', now, major, 
to find him ?" 

Under the influence of Jerry's great excitement, 
the other two had risen to their feet as well. 

The resident magistrate toyed dubiously with his 
revolver, casting sharp glances of scrutiny from 
one to the other of the faces before him, the while 
he pondered the probabilities of truth in the curious 
tale to which he had listened. 



296 The Return of The O Mahony. 

The official side of him clamored for its entire 
rejection as a lie. Like most of his class, with their 
superficial and hostile observation of an alien race, 
his instincts were all against crediting anything 
which any Irish peasant told him, to begin with, 
Furthermore, the half of this strange story had been 
related by an Irish-American — a type regarded by 
the ofBcial mind in Ireland with a peculiar intensity 
of suspicion. Yes, he decided, it was all a falsehood. 

Then he looked into the 3'oung man's face once 
more, and wavered. It seemed an honest face. If 
its owner had borne even the homeliest and most 
plebeian of Saxon labels, the major was conscious 
that he should have liked him. The Milesian name 
carried prejudice, it was true, but — 

" Yes, we will go up," he said, " in the manner I 
described. I don't see what j'our object would be 
in inventing this long rigmarole. Of course, you 
can see that if it isn't true, it will be so much the 
worse for you." 

" We ought to see it by this time," said Bernard, 
with a suggestion of weariness. "You've men- 
tioned it often enough. Here, take the lantern. 
We 'U go up ahead. The door locks itself. I have 
the key." 

The three men made their way up the dark, tor- 
tuous flight of stairs, replaced the lantern and key 
on their peg in Jerry's room, and emerged once 
more into the open. They filled their lungs with 
long breaths of the fresh air, and then looked rather 
vacuously at one another. The major had pocketed 
his weapon. 

" Well, what 's the programme ?" asked Bernard. 



The Ret urn of The G Mahony. 297 

Before any answer came, their attention was at- 
tracted by the figure of a stranger, sauntering 
about among the ancient stones and black wooden 
crosses scattered over the weed-grown expanse of 
the churchyard. He was engaged in deciphering 
the names on the least weather-beaten of these 
crosses, but only in a cursory way and with long 
intermittent glances over the prospect of ivy-grown 
ruins and gray walls, turrets and gables be3'ond. 
As they watched him, he seemed suddenly to be- 
come aware of their presence. Forthwith he 
turned and strolled toward them. 

i\.s he advanced, they saw that he was a tall and 
slender man, whose close-cut hair and short mus- 
tache and chin tuft produced an effect of extreme 
whiteness against a notably tanned and sun-burnt 
skin. Though evidently well along in 3^ears, he 
walked erect and with an elastic and springing step. 
He wore black clothes of foreign, albeit genteel 
aspect. The major noted on the lapel of his coat a 
tell-tale gleam of red ribbon — and even before that 
had guessed him to be a Frenchman and a soldier. 
He leaped swiftly to the further assumption that 
this was The O'Mahony, and then hesitated, as 
Jerry showed no sign of recognition. 

The stranger halted before them with a little nod 
and a courteous upward wave of his forefinger. 

" A fine day, gentlemen," he remarked, with 
politeness. 

Major Snaffle had stepped in front of his com- 
panions. 

" Permit me to introduce myself," he said, with a 
sudden resolution^ " i am the stipendiary magistrate 



298 The Return of The O MaJiony. 

of the district. Would you kindl}' tell me it you 
are informed as to the present whereabouts of Mr. 
Cormac O'Daly, of this place ?" 

The other showed no trace of surprise on his 
browned face. 

" Mr. O'Daly and his step-daughter," he replied, 
affably enough, "are just now doing me the honor 
of being my guests, aboard my vessel in the 
harbor." . 

Then a twinkle brightened his gray eyes as he 
turned their glance upon Jerry's red, moon-like 
face. He permitted himself the briefest of dry 
chuckles. 

" Well, young man," he said, " they seem to have 
fed you pretty well, anyway, since J saw you last." 

For another moment Jerry stared in round-eyed 
bewilderment at the speaker. Then with a wild 
" Huroo !'' he dashed forward, seized his hand and 
wrung it in both of his. 

" God bless ye ! God bless ye !" he gasped, 
between little formless ejaculations of dazed delight. 
"God forgive me for not knowin' ye — you 're that 
althered ! But for you 're back amongst us — aloive 
and well — glory be to the world !" 

He kept close to The O'Mahony's side as the 
group began now to move toward the gate of the 
churchyard, pointing to him with his fat thumb, as 
if to call all nature to witness this glorious event, 
and murmuring fondly to himself: "You 're come 
home to us!" over and over again. 

" 1 am much relieved to learn what you tell me, 
Mr. — Or rather, I believe 3^ou are O'Mahony with- 
out the mister," said Major Snaffle, as they walked 



The Return of The O Mahony. 299 

out upon the green. " I dare say you know — this 
has beeti a very bad winter all over the west and 
south, and crime seems to be increasing, instead of 
tlie reverse, as spring advances. We have had the 
gravest reports about the disaffection in this 
district — especially among your tenants. That 's 
why we gave such ready credence to the theor}^ of 
murder." 

"Murder?" queried The O'Mahony. " Oh, I see 
— you thought O'Daly had been murdered ?" 

" Yes, we arrested your man Higgins, here, 
yesterday. I w^as just on the point of starting with 
him to Bantry jail, an hour ago, when this young 
gentleman — " the major made a backward gesture 
to indicate Bernard — " came and said he knew 
where O'Daly was. He took me downi to that 
curious underground chamber — " 

" Who took you down, did you say ?" asked The 
O'Mahony, sharply. He turned on his heel as he 
spoke, as did the major. 

To their considerable surprise, Bernard was no 
longer one of the party. Their dumfounded gaze 
ranged the expanse of common round about. He 
was nowhere to be seen. 

The O'Mahoney looked almost sternly at Jerry. 

" Who is this 3-oung man you had with you — who 
seems to have taken to running things in my 
absence ?" he demanded. 

Poor Jerr}', who had been staring upward at the 
new-comer with the dumb admiration of an affec- 
tionate spaniel, cowered humbl}' under this glance 
and tone. 



300 The RetiLvii of The G Mahony. 

" Well, yer honor," he stammered, plucking at 
the buttons of his coat in embarrassment, " egor, 
lor the matter of that — I — I don't rightly know." 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

A MARINE MORNING CALL. 

The young man from Houghton County, strolling 
along behind these three men, all so busil}' occupied 
with one another, had, of a sudden, conceived the 
notion of dropping silently out of tiie party. 

He had put the idea into execution and was 
secure from observation on the farther side of the 
ditcii, before the question of what he should do next 
shaped itself in his mind. Indeed, it vras not until 
he had made his wav to the little old-fashioned pier 
and come to an enforced halt among the empty 
barrels, drying nets and general marine odds and 
ends which littered the landing-stage, that he knew 
what purpose had brought him hither. 

But he perceived it now with great clearness. 
Wlu;t otlier purpose, in truth, did existence itself 
contain for him ? 

" I want to be rowed over at once to that vessel 
there," he called out to Jolin Pat, who made one of 
a group of Muirisc men, in white jackets and soft 
black hats, standing beneath him on the steps. As 
he descended and took his seat in one of the wait- 
ing dingeys, he noted other clusters of villagers 

[301] 



302 TJie Return of The O Mahoiiy . 

along the shore, all concentrating an eager interest 
upon the yawl-rigged craft which lay at anchor in 
the harbor. They pointed to it incessantly as they 
talked, and others could be seen running forward 
across the green to join thein. He had never sup- 
posed Muirisc capable of such a display of anima- 
tion. 

" The people seem tickled to death to get The 
O'Mahony back again," he remarked to John P\at, 
as they shot out under the first long sweep of the 
oars. 

" They are, sir," was the stolid response, 
" Did your brother come back with him — that 
one-armed man who went after him — Malachy, I 
think they called him ?" 

" He did, sur," said Pat, simply. 
•'Well" — Bernard bent forward impatientl}' — 
" tell me about it! Where did he find him ? What 
do people sa}- ?" 

" They do be saying manny things," responded 
the oarsman, rounding his shoulders to the work. 

Bernard abandoned the inquir}^ with a grunt of 
discouragement, and contented himself perforce b}' 
watching the way in which the strange craft waxed 
steadily in size as they sped toward her. In a min- 
ute or two more, he was alongside and clambering 
up a rope-ladder, which dangled its ends in the 
gently heaving water. 

Save for a couple of obviously foreign sailors 
lolling in the sunshine upon a sail in the bows, there 
was no one on deck. As lie looked about, however, 
in speculation, the apparition of a broad, black liat, 
witij long, curled plumes, rose above the companion- 



A Marine Morni7ig Call. 3O3 

way. He welcomed it with an exclamalion of de- 
light, and ran forward with outstretched hands. 

The wearer of the hat, as she stepped upon the 
deck and confronted this demonstration, confessed 
to surprise by stopping short and lifting her black 
brows in inquir}'. Bernard sheepishly let his hands 
fall to his side before the cool glance with which she 
regarded him. 

"Is it viewing the vessel you are?" she asked. 
" Her jigger lug-sail is unusual, I 'm told. 

The young man's blue ej'es glistened in reproach- 
ful appeal. 

" What do I know about lugger jig-sails, or care, 
either," he asked. " I hurried here the moment I 
heard, to — to see you !" 

" 'T is flattered I am, I'm sure," said Kate, dryly, 
looking away from him to the brown cliffs beyond. 

"Come, be fair!" Bernard pleaded. "Tell me 
what the matter is. I thought I had every reason to 
suppose 3'ou 'd be glad to see me. it 's plain enough 
that you are not; but you — you might tell me why. 
Or no," he went on, with a sudden change of tone, 
"I won't ask you. It 's your own aflair, after all. 
Only you '11 excuse the way I rushed up to 3'ou. 1 'd 
had my head full of 3'our affairs for days past, and 
then your disappearance — they thought you were 
drowned, 3'Ou know — and I — I — " 

The 3'oung man broke off with weak inconclusive- 
ness. and turned as if to descend the ladder again. 
But John Pat had rowed away with the boat, and he 
looked blankly down upon the clear water instead. 

Kate's voice sounded with a mellower tone behind 
him. 



304 The Return of The O Mahony. 

"I wouldn't have ye go in anger," she said. 

Bernard wheeled around in a flash. 

"Anger!" he cried, with a radiant smile chasing 
all the shadows from his face. " Why, how on earth 
co7ild I be angry \N\t\\you? No ; but I was going 
away most mightil}' down in the mouth, though — 
that is," he added, with a rueful kind of grin, " if my 
boat hadn't gone off without me. But, honestly, 
now, when I drove in here this morning from Skib- 
bereen, I felt like a victorious general coming home 
from the wars. 1 'd done everything I wanted to do. 
I had the convent business blocked, and I had 
O'Dal}^ on the hip ; and I said to myself, as we drove 
along: 'She'll be glad to see me.' I kept saying 
that all the while, straight from Skibbereen to 
Muirisc. Well, then — you can guess for yourself — 
it was like tumbling backward into seven hundred 
feet of ice-water !" 

Kate's face had gradually lost its implacable 
rigidity, and softened now for an instant into almost 
a smile. 

" So much else has happened since that drive of 
3'ours," she said gently. " And what were )-e doing 
at Skibbereen?" 

" Well, 3'ou '11 open j^«r eyes!" predicted Ber- 
nard, all animation once again ; and then he related 
the details of his journey to Skibbereen and Cashel, 
of his interviews with the prelates and of the 
manner in which he had, so to speak, wound up the 
career of the convent of the Hostage's Tears. " It 
hadn't had any real, rightdown legitimate title to 
existence, you know," he concluded, " these last 
five hundred years. All it needed was somebody 



A Marine Morning Call. 305 

to call attention to this fact, you see, and, bang, the 
whole thing collapsed like a circus-tent in a 
cyclone I" 

The girl had moved over to the gunwale, and 
now leaning over the rail, looked meditatively into 
the water below. 

"And so," she said, with a pensive note in her 
voice, " there 's an end to the historic convent of 
the O'Mahonys ! No other family in Ireland had 
one — 't was the last glory of our poor, hunted and 
plundered and poverty-striken race; and now even 
that must depart from us." 

" Well — hang it all !" remonstrated Bernard — 
" it 's better that way than to have jjw/ locked up all 
)'Our life. I feel a little blue myself about closing 
up the old convent, but there 's something else I 
feel a thousand times more strongly about still." 

" Yes — isn't it wonderful ? — the return of The 
O'Mahony !" said Kate. *' Oh, I hardly know still 
if I 'm waking or not. 'T was all like a blessid 
vision, and V zuas supernatural in its wa}' ; I '11 
never believe otherwise. There was I on the strand 
yonder, with the talisman he 'd given me in me 
arms, praying for his return — and, behold you there 
was this boat of his forninst me ! Oh ! Never tell 
me the age of miracles is past ?" 

"I won't — I promise you!" said Bernard, with 
fervor. " I 've seen one myself since I 've been here. 
It was at the Three Castles. I had my gun raised 
to shoot a heron, when an enchanted fairy — " 

" Nothing to do but he 'd bring me on board," 
Kate put in, hastily. "Old Murphy swam out to 
him ahead of us, screaming wid delight like one 



J 



06 The Return of The GMahony. 



possessed. And we sat and talked for hours — he 
telling strange stories of the war's he *d been in wid 
the French, and thin wid Don Carlos, and thin the 
Turks, and thin wid some outlandish people in a 
Turkish province — until night fell, and he wint 
ashore. And whin he came back he brougiit O'Daly 
wid him — wherein the Lord's name hefouiKl him 
passes my understanding, and thin we up sail and 
beat down till we stood off Three Castle Head. 
There we la}'- all night — O'Mahony gav^e up his 
cabin to me — and this morning back we came again. 
And now — the Lord be praised ! — there 's an ind to 
all our throubles I" 

"Well," said Bernard, with deliberation,"! 'm 
glad. I really am glad. Although, of course, it 's 
plain enough to see, there 's an end to me, too." 

A brief time of silence passed, as the two, leaning 
side by side on the rail, watched the slow rise and 
sinking of the dull-green wavelets. 

" You 're off to i\meriky, thin ?" Kate finally 
asked, without looking up. 

The young man hesitated. 

" I don't know yet," he said, slowl}'. " I 've got a 
curious hand dealt out to me. I hardly know how 
to pla)^ it. One thing is sure, though : hearts are 
trumps." 

He tried to catch her glance, but she kept her 
eyes resolutel}' bent upon the water. 

" You know what I want to say," he went on, 
moving his arm upon the rail till there was the least 
small fluttering suggestion of contact with hers. It 
must have said itself to 3'ou that day upon the 
mountain-top, or, for that matter, why, that very 



A Mai'inc A'lorning Call. %0'] 

first time I saw you I went away head over heels in 
love. 1 tell you, candidly, I haven't thought or 
dreamed for a minute of anything- else from that 
blessed day. It 's all been fairyland to me ever 
since. I 've been so happy ! jNIay I stay in fair}'- 
land, Kate ?" 

She made no answer. Bernard felt her arm 
tremble against his for an instant before it was 
withdrawn. He noted, too. the bright carmine flush 
spring to her cheek, overmantle her dark face and 
then fade away before an advancing pallor. A tear 
glittered among her downcast lashes. 

" You mustn't deny me my age of miracles!" he 
murmuringly pleaded. *' It zvas a miracle that we 
should have met as we did ; that I should have 
found you afterward as I did; that I should have 
turned up just when you needed help the most ; that 
the stra}^ discover}^ of an old mediceval parchment 
should have given me the hint what to do. Oh, 
don't you feel it, Kate ? Don't you realize, too, dear, 
that there was fate in it all? That we belonged 
from the beginning to each other ?" 

Very white-faced and grave, Kate lifted herself 
erect and looked at him. It was with an obvious 
effort that she forced herself to speak, but her 
words were firm enough and her glance did not 
weaver. 

" Unfortunately," she said, ''your miracle has a 
trick in it. Even if 't would have pleased me to 
believe in it, how can I, whin 't is founded on 
desate." 

Bernnrd stared at her in round-eyed wonderment. 

*' How 'deceit'?" he stammered. " How do ^^ou 



o 



08 TJie Return of The OMahony, 



mean? Is it about kidnapping O'Daly ? We only 
did that—" 

" No, 't is ///w," said Kate — " we '11 be open with 
each other, and it 's a grief to me to say it to 3'Oii, 
whom I have liked so much, but you 're no O'Ma- 
hony at all." 

The young man with difficulty grasped her mean- 
ing. 

" Well, if you remember, I never said I knew m}' 
father was one of the O'Mahonys, you know. All I 
said was that he came from somewhere in County 
Cork. Surel}', there was no deceit in that." 

She shook her head. 

" No ; what ye said was that your name was 
O'Mahony." 

" Well, so it is. Good heavens ! TJiat isn't dis- 
puted, is it ?" 

"And you said, moreover," she continued, gravel v, 
"that your father knew onr O'Mahony as well 
almost as he knew himsilf." 

" Oh-h !" exclaimed Bernard, and fell thereupon 
into confused rumination upon many thoughts 
which till then had been curiously subordinated in 
his mind. 

" And, now," Kate went on, with a sigh, " whin f 
mintion th'is to The O'Mahony himself, he sajs he 
never in his life knew au}^ one of your father's name. 
O'Daly was witness to it as well." 

Bernard had his elbows once more on the rail. 
He pushed his chin hard against his upturned palms 
and stared at the skyline, thinking as he had never 
been forced to think before. 

" Surely there was no need for the— the misstate- 



A Marine Hlorniiio Call. 309 

ment," said Kate, in mournful recognition of what 
she took to be his dumb self-reproach. " See now 
how useless it was— and a thousand times worse 
than useless! See how it prevints me now from 
respecting you and being properly grateful to you 
for what you 've done on me behalf, and — and — " 

She broke off suddenly. To her consternation 
she had discovered that the young man, so far from 
being stricken speechless in contrition, was grinning 
gayly at the distant landscape. 

Turning with abruptness she walked indignantly 
aft. Cormac O'Daly had come up from below, and 
stood wistfully gazing landward over the taffrail. 
She joined him, and stood at his side flushed and 
wrathful. 

Bernard was not wholly able to chase the smile 
from his face as he rose and sauntered over toward 
her. She turned her back as he approached and 
tapped the deck nervously with her foot. Nothing 
dismayed, he addressed himself to O'Daly, who 
seemed unable to decide whether also to look the 
other way or not. 

"Good morning, sir," he said affably. " You 're 
quite a stranger, Mr. O'Daly." 

Kate, at his first word, had walked briskly away 
up the deck, Cormac's little black eyes snapped 
viciously at the intruder. 

" At laste I 'm not such a stranger," he retorted, 
" but that me thrue name is known, an' I 'm here be 
the invitation of the owner." 

" I 'm sorry you take things so hard, Mr. 
O'Daly," said Bernard. " An easy disposition would 



3IO The Retiirn of The O' JMahony. 

come very handy to j'oii, seein:^ the troubles )ou 
've got to go through with yet." 

The small man gazed apprehensively at his 
tormentor. 

" I don't foll}^ ye," he stammered. 

" I 'm going to propose that you sJiall follow me, 
sir," replied the 3'Oung man in an authoritative tone. 
" I understand that in conversation last night 
between your step-daughter and you and The — the 
owner of this vessel, the question of my name was 
brought up, and that it was decided that I was a 
fraud. Now, 1 'm not much given to making a fuss, 
but there are some things, especiall}^ at certain 
times, that I can't stand — not for one little minute. 
This is one of 'em. Now I 'm going to suggest 
that we hail one of those boats there and go ashore 
at once — you and Miss Kate and I — and clear this 
matter up without delay." 

" We '11 remain here till The O'Mahony returns !" 
said O'Daly, stiffly. " 'T was his request. 'T is 
no interest of mine to clear the matther up, as you 
call it." 

"Well, it was no interest of mine, Mr. O'Dal}^" 
remarked Bernard, placidly, " to go over the min- 
ing contracts 3'ou 've made as trustee during the 
past dozen 3^ears and figure out all the various items 
of the estate's income ; but I 've done it. It makes 
a very curious little balance-sheet. I had intended 
to fetch it down with me to-day and go over it with 
you in your underground retreat." 

" In the devil's name, who are you ?" snarled 
Cormac, with livid face and frightened eyes. 

*' That's just what I proposed we should go right 



A Marine Morning Call. 311 

and settle. If 3011 object, wh}^ I shall go alone. 
But in that case, it may happen that 1 shall have to 
discuss with the gentleman who has just arrived the 
peculiarities of that balance-sheet I spoke of. What 
do you think, eh ?" 

O'Dal}' did not hesitate. 

" Sur, I '11 go wid 3'ou," he said. " The O'Mahony 
has no head for figures. 'T would be flat injustice 
to bother him wid 'em, and he only newly landed." 

Bernard walked lightl}^ across the deck, humming 
a little tune to himself as he advanced, and halting 
a short foot from where Kate stood. 

" O'Daly^ 's going ashore with me," he remarked. 

" He dare not !" she answered, over her shoulder. 
" The O'Mahony- bade him stop here." 

" Well, this is more or less of a free country, and 
he 's changed his mind. He 's going with me. I — I 
want you to come, too." 

" 'T is loikely^ !" she said, with a derisive sniff. 

" Kate," he said, drawing nearer to her by- a step 
and speaking in low, earnest tones, " 1 hate to plead 
this sort of thing ; but you have nothing but candid 
and straightforward friendship from me. I 've done 
a trifle of 13-ing fcr 3-ou, perhaps, but none to you. 
I 've worked for you as I never worked for m\-self. 
I 've run risks for 3()u which nothing else under 
the sun would have tempted me into. All that 
doesn't matter. Leave that out of the question. I 
did it because 1 love you. And for that selfsame 
reason I come now and ask this favor of 30U. You 
can send me away afterward, if a'Ou like; but 3-ou 
can't bear to stop here now, thinking these things of 
me, and refusing to come out and learn for yourself 



312 The Return of The O'Mahony. 

whether the}^ are true or false, for that would be 
unfair, and it 's not in your blood— in our blood— to 
be that." 

The girl neither turned to him nor spoke, but he 
could see the outline of her face as she bowed her 
head and gazed in silence at the murmuring water; 
and something in this sight seemed to answer him. 

He strode swiftly to the other side of the vessel, 
and exultantly waved his handkerchief in signal to 
the boatmen on the shore. 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

DIAMOND CUT PASTE. 

The O'Mahony sat once more in the living-room 
of his castle — sat very much at his ease, Avith a cigar 
between his teeth, and his feet comfortabl}' stretched 
out toward the blazing bank of turf on the stone 
hearth. 

A great heap of papers lay upon the table at his 
elbow — the contents of 0'Dal3-'s strong-box, the key 
to which he had brought with him from the vessel — 
but not a single band of red tape had been untied. 
The O'Mahony's mood for investigation had 
exhausted itself in the work of getting the docu- 
ments out. His hands were plunged deep into his 
trousers', pockets now, and he gazed into tlie glow- 
ing peat. 

His home-coming had been a thing to warm the 
most frigid heart. His own beat delightedly still at 
the thought of it. From time to time there reached 
his ears from the square without a vague bra3ing 
noise, the sound of which curled his lips into t!ie 
semblance of a grin. It seemed so droll to him that 
Muirisc should have a band — a fervent half-dozen of 
amateurs, with ancient and battered instruments 
which successive generations of regimental musi. 

[31 3l 



314 T^^^^ Rctitrn of The O' Makony. 

cians liad pawned at Skibbereen or Bantry, and on 
which tliey played now, neither by note nor by ear, 
but solely by main strength. 

The tumult of discord which they produced was 
dreadful, but The O'Mahony liked it. He had been 
pleasurably touched, too, by the wild enthusiasm of 
greeting with which INIuirisc had met him when he 
disclosed himself on the main street, walking up to 
the police-station with Major Snaffle and Jerry. All 
the older inhabitants he knew, and shook hands 
with. The sight of younger people among them 
whom he did not know alone kept alive the recol- 
lection that he had been absent twelve long years. 
Old and young alike, and preceded b}^ the hurriedly 
summoned band, they had followed him in triumphal 
procession when he came down the street again, 
with the liberated Jerr}' and Linsky at his heels. 
They were still outside, cheering and madl}- bawl- 
ing their delight whenever the bandsmen sto])ped 
to take breath. Jerry, Linsky and the one-armed 
Malach}- were out among them, broaching a cask of 
porter from the castle cellar ; Mrs. Fergus and Mis. 
Sullivan were in the kitchen cutting up bread and 
meat to go with the drink. 

No wonder there were cheers! Small matter for 
marvel was it, either, that The O'Mahonv smiled as 
he settled down still more lazily in his arm-chair and 
pushed his feet further toward the fire. 

Presently he must go and fetch. O'Daly and Kate 
from the vessel — or no, when Jerry came in he 
W'ould send him on that errand. After his long 
journey The O'Mahony was tired and sleepy — all 
the more as he had sat up must of the night, out on 



Diamond Cut Paste. 



o'D 



deck, talking with O'Daljv'. What a journey it had 
been ! Post-haste from far away, barbarous Armenia, 
where the faithful Malach}'- had found him in com- 
mand of a Turkish battalion, resting- after the task 
of suppressing a provincial rebellion. Home t'r.cy 
had ^vended their tireless way by Constantinoj)Ie 
and INIalta and mistral-swept Marseilles, and thence 
by land across to Havre. Here, oddl}'^ enough, he 
had fallen in with the French merchant to whom he 
had sold the Hen Hawk twelve years before — the 
merchant's son had served with him in the Army of 
the Loire three 3'ears later, and was his friend — and 
he had been able to gratify the sudden fantastic 
whim of returning as he had departed in the quaint, 
flush-decked, 3'awl-rigged old craft. It all seemed 
like a dream ! 

" If your honor plazes, there 's a 3'oung gintleman 
at the dure — a Misther O'Mahony, from America — 
w'u'd be afther having a word wid 3'e." 

It was the soft voice of good old iMrs. Sullivan 
that spoke. 

The O'Mahony woke with a start from his com- 
placent da3--dream. He drew his feet in, sat upright, 
and bit hard on his cigar for a minute in scowling 
reflection. 

" Show him in," he said, at last, and then straight- 
ened himself truculentl}' to receive this meddling- 
new-comer. He fastened a stern and hostile gaze 
upon the door. 

Bernard seemed to miss entirel3' the frosty element 
in his reception. He advanced with a light step, 
hat in hand, to the side of the hearth, and held one 



J 



1 6 T/ie Return of The O MaJwny, 



hand with famihar nonchalance over the blaze, while 
he nodded amiably at his frowning host. 

" I skipped off rather suddenly this morning, " he 
said, with a pleasant half-smile, "because I didn't 
seem altogether needful to the party for the minute, 
and I had something else to do. 1 've dropped in 
now to say that I 'm as glad as anybody here to see 
you back again. I 've only been about Muirisc a 
few weeks, but 1 already feel as if I 'd been born 
and brought up here. And so I' ve come around to 
do my share of the welcoming." 

" You seem to have made yourself pretty much at 
home, sir,"' commented The O'Mahonx-, icily. 

" You mean putting O'Daly down in the family 
vault?" queried the 3-oung man. " Yes, perhaps it 
was making a little free, but, you see, time pressed. 
I couldn't be in two places at once, now, could I ? 
And while I went off to settle the convent business, 
there was no telling what O'Daly mightn't be up to 
if we left him loose; so I thought it was best to 
take the liberty of shutting him up. You found 
liiin tlierc, I judge, and took him out." 

The O'Mahon}'- nodded curtly, and eyed his 
visitor with cool disfavor. 

" As long as you 're here, sir, you might as well 
lake a seat." he said, after a minute's pause. " That 
's if. Now, sir, hrst of all, perliaps you wouldn't 
niiiul telling me who you are and what the devil 
you mean, sir, by coming here and meddling in this 
way with other people's private affairs." 

" Curious, isn't it," remarked the young man 
from Houghton County, blandly, " how we Ameri. 



Dtamo7id Ciit Paste. 



cans lug in the word 'sir' every other breath? 
They tell me no Eng-lishman ever uses it at all." 

The O'Mahony stirred in his chair. 

" I'm not as easy-going a man or as good-natured 
as I used to be, my young friend," he said, with an 
affectation of calm, through which ran a threatening 
note. 

" I shouldn't have thought it," protested Bernard. 
" You seemed the pink of politeness out there in the 
graveyard this morning. But I suppose years of 
campaigning — " 

" See here !" the other interposed abruptly. " Don't 
fool with me. It's a risk}^ game! Unless you 
want trouble, stop monkeying and answer my ques- 
tion straight : Who are you ?" 

The young man had ceased smiling. His face had 
all at once become very grave, and he was staring at 
The O'Mahony with wide-open, bewildered eyes. 

" True enough !" he gasped, after his gaze had 
been so protracted that the other half rose from his 
seat in impatient anger. " Wh}^ — yes, sir! I '11 
swear to it — well — this does beat all !" 

" Your cheek beats all !" broke in The O'Mahon}-, 
springing to his feet in a gust of choleric heat. 

Bernard stretched forth a restraining hand. 

" Wait a minute," he said, in evidently sincere 
anxiety not to be misunderstood, and picking his 
words slowly as he went along, " hold on — I'm not 
fooling! Please sit down again. I've got some- 
thing important, and mighty queer, too, to sa}^ to 
you." 

The O'Mahony, with a grunt of reluctant acqui- 
escing, sat down once more, The two men looked 



o 



1 8 The Return of The O MaJiony 



at each other with troubled glances, the one vaguely 
suspicious, the other still round-eyed with surprise. 

"Yon ask who I am," Bernard began. " I 'II tell 
3'ou. [ was a little shaver — oh, six or seven years 
old — just at the beginning of the War. My father 
enlisted when they began raising troops. The re. 
cruiting tent in our town was in the old hay-market 
by the canal bridge. It seems to me, now, that they 
must have kept ni}^ father there for weeks alter he 
'd put his uniform on. I used to go there every 
da}^ I know, with my mother to see him. But there 
was another soldier there — this is the queer thing 
about a boy's memory — I remember him ever so 
much better than 1 do my own father. It 's — let 's 
see — eighteen years now, but I 'd know him to this 
day, wherever 1 met him. He carried a gun, and he 
walked all day long up and down in front of the 
tent, like a polar bear in his cage. We boys 
thought he was the most important man in the 
whole army. Some of them knew him — he be- 
longed to our section originally, it seems — and they 
said he 'd been in lots of wars before. I can see him 
now, as plainly as — as I see you. His name was 
Tisdale — Zeb, I think it was — no, Zeke Tisdale." 

Perhaps The O'Mahony changed color. He 
sat with his back to the window, and the ruddy 
glow from the peat blaze made it impossible to tell. 
But he did not take his sharp gray eye off Ber- 
nard's face, and it never so much as winked. 

" Very interesting," he said, " but it doesn't go 
very far toward explaining who you are. If I'm 
not mistaken, that was the question." 

'*Me?" answered Bernard. " Oh, yes, I forgot 



D{amo7id Ciit Paste. 319 

that. Well, sir, 1 am the only surviving son of one 
Hugh O'Mahony, who was a shoemaker in Tecum- 
seh, who served in the same regiment, perhaps the 
same company, with this Zeke Tisdale I 've told you 
about, and who, after the War, moved out to xMichi- 
gan where he died." 

An oppressive silence settled upon the room. 
The O'Mahony still looked his companion straight 
in the face, but it was with a lack-luster eye and 
with the effect of having lost the physical power to 
look elsewhere. He drummed with his fingers in 
a mechanical way on the arms of the chair, as he 
kept up this abstracted and meaningless gaze. 

There fell suddenly upon this long-continued 
silence the reverberation of an exceptionally vio- 
lent outburst of uproar from the square. 

" Cheers for The O'Mahony !" came from one of 
the lustiest of the now well-lubricated throats ; and 
then followed a scattering volley of wild hurroosand 
echoing yells. 

As these died away, a shrill voice lifted itself, 
screaming : 

" Come out, O'Mahon}', an' spake to us ! We 're 
dyin' for a sight of you !" 

The elder man had lifted his head and listened. 
Then he squinted and blinked his eyelids convul- 
sively and turned his head away, but not before 
Bernard had caught the glint of moisture in his 
eyes. 

The young man had not been conscious of being 
specially moved by what was happening. All at 
once he could feel his pulses vibrating like the 
strings of a harp. His heart had come up into his 



320 The Return of The O Mahony. 

throat. Nothing was visible to him but the stormy 
affection which Muirisc bore for this war-born, 
weather-beaten old impostor. And, clearly enough, 
Jie himself was thinking of only that. 

Bernard rose and stepped to the hearth, instinc- 
tively holding one of his hands backward over the 
fire, though the room was uncomfortably hot, 

" They 're calling for you outside, sir," he said, 
almost deferentially. 

The remark seemed stupid after he had made it, 
but nothing else had come to his tongue. 

The lurking softness in his tone caught the other's 
ear, and he turned about fiercely. 

"See here!" he said, between his teeth. "How 
much more of this is there going to be ? 1 '11 fight 
you where you stand — here ! — now ! — old as I am — 
or I '11 — I 'II do something else — anything else — but 
d — n me if I '11 take any slack or soft-soap from 
yo7i !" 

This unexpected resentment of his sympathetic 
mood impressed Bernard curiousl}'. Without hesi- 
tation, he stretched forth his hand. No responsive 
gesture was offered, but he went on, not heeding 
this. 

" My dear sir," he said," they are calling for you, 
as I said. The}^ are hollering for 'The O'Mahony 
of iSluirisc.' You are The O'Mahony of Muirisc, 
and will be till you die. You hear me /" 

The O'Mahony gazed for a puzzled minute into 
his young companion's face. 

" Yes — I hear you," he said, hesitatingly. 

" You —are T/ie — O'Mahony — of — Muirisc !" 
repeated Bernard, with a deliberation and emphasis ; 



Diamond Ctct Paste. 3 2 1 

" and I '11 whip any man out of his boots who says 
you 're not, or so much as looks as if he doubted 
it!" 

The old soldier had put his hands in his pockets 
and began walking slowly up and down the cham- 
ber. After a time he looked up. 

" I s'pose you can prove all this that you 've been 
sa3'ing?" he asked, in a musing way. 

" No — prove nothing ! Don't want to prove any- 
thing !" rejoined Bernard, stoutly. 

Another pause. The elder man halted once more 
in his meditative pacing to and fro. 

" And you say I ant The — The O'Mahony of 
Muirisc?" he remarked. 

" Yes, I said it ; I mean it !" 

" Well, but—" 

" There 's no * but* about it, sir !" 

"Yes, there is," insisted The O'Mahony, drawing 
near and tentatively surrendering his iiand to the 
other's prompt and cordial clasp. " Supposing it 
all goes as you say — supposing I am The O'Mahony 
— what 2irQ you going to be?" 

The young man's eyes glistened and a happy 
change — half-smile, half-blush — blossomed all over 
his face. 

" Well," he said, still holding the other's hand in 
his, " 1 don't know just how to tell you — because I 
am not posted on the exact relationships ; but I '11 
put it this way : If it was your daughter that you 
'd left on the vessel there with O'Daly, I 'd say that 
what I propose to be was your son-in-law. See ?" 

It was only too clear that The O'Mahony did see. 
He had frowned at the first adumbration of the 



322 The Return of The O Mahony, 

idea. He pulled his hand away now, and pushed 
the young man from him. 

" No, you don't!" he cried, angrily. " No, sirree ! 
You can't make any such bargain as that with me ! 
Why — I'd 'a' thought you 'd 'a' known me better ! 
Me, going into a deal, with little Katie to be traded 
off? Why, man, you 're a fool !" 

The O'Mahony turned on his heel contemptu- 
ously and strode up and down the room, with 
indignant sniffs at every step. All at once he 
stopped short. 

" Yes," he said, as if in answer to an argument 
with himself, " I '11 tell you to get out of this! You 
can go and do what you like — just whatever you 
may please — but 1 'm boss here yet, at all events, 
and I don't want anybody around me who could 
propose that sort of thing. Me make Kate marry 
you in order to feather my own nest ! There's the 
door, young man !" 

Bernard looked obdurately past the outstretched 
forefinger into the other's face. 

" Who said anything about your making her 
marry me?" he demanded. "And who talked 
about a deal? Why, look here, colonel" — the 
random title caught the ear of neither speaker nor 
impatient listener — " look at it this way : They all 
love you here in Muirisc ; they 're just boiling over 
with joy because they 've got you here. That sort 
of thing doesn't happen so often between landlords 
and tenants that one can afford to bust it up when 
it does occur. And I — well — a man would be a 
brute to have tried to come between you and these 
people. Well, then, it 's just the same with me and 



Diamond Cut Paste. 323 

Katie. We love each other — we are glad when 
we 're together; we 're unhappy when we 're apart. 
And so 1 say in this case as I said in the other, a 
man would be a brute — " 

" Do you mean to tell me — " The O'Mahony 
broke in, and then was himself cut short. 

" Yes, 1 do mean to tell you," interrupted Ber- 
nard ; " and, what 's more, she means to tell you, 
too, if you put on your hat and walk over to the 
convent." Noting the other's puzzled glance, he 
hastened on to explain : " I rowed over to your 
sloop, or ship, or whatever you call it, after I left 
you this morning, and I brought her and O'Daly 
back with me on purpose to tell you." 

Before The O'Mahony had mastered this confus- 
ing piece of information, much less prepared 
verbal comment upon it, the door was thrust open; 
and, ushered in, as it were, by the sharply resound- 
ing clamor of the crowd outside, the burly figure of 
Jerry Higgins appeared. 

" For the love o' God, yer honor," he exclaimed, 
in a high fever of excitement, " come along out to 
'em ! Sure they 're that mad to lay eyes on ye, 
they 're 'ating each other like starved lobsters in a 
pot! Ould Barney DriscoU's the divil wid the 
dhrink in him, an' there he is ragin' up an' down, 
wid his big brass horn for a weapon, crackin' skulls 
right an' left; an' black Clancy 's asleep in his drum 
— 't was Sheehan putt him into it neck an' crop — an* 
't is three constables work to howld the boys from 
rollin' him round in it, an — an — " 

" All right, Jerry," said The O'Mahony ; " I '11 
come right along. 



324 The Return of The GMahony. 

He put on his hat and relighted his cigar, in slow 
and silent deliberation. He tarried thereafter for a 
moment or two with an irresolute air, looking at the 
smoke-rings abstractedly as he blew them into the 
air. 

Then, with a sudden decision, he walked over and 
linked Bernard's arm in his own. They went out 
together without a word. In fact, there was no 
need for words. 



t 



CHAPTER XXX. 

A FAREWELL FEAST. 

We enter the crumbling portals of the ancient 
convent of the 0'Mahon3's for a final visit. The 
reddened sun, with its promise of a kindly morrow, 
hangs low in the western heavens and pushes the 
long shadow of the gateway onward to the very 
steps of the building. We have no call to set the 
harsh-toned jangling old bell in motion. The door 
is open and the hall is swept for guests. 

This hour of waning day marked a unique occur- 
rence in the annals of the House of the Hostage's 
Tears. Its nuns were too aged and infirm to go to 
the castle to offer welcome to the newly returned 
head of the family. So The O'Mahony came to 
them instead. He came like the fine old chieftain 
of a sept, bringing his train of followers with him. 
For the first time within the recollection of man, a 
long table had been spread in the reception-hall, and 
about it were gathered the baker's dozen of people 
we have come to know in Muirisc. Even Mrs. Sul- 
livan, flushed scarlet from her labor in the ill-ap- 
pointed convent kitchen, and visibly disheartened 
at its meagre results, had her seat at the board 

[325! 



326 The Return of The O Mahony. 

beside Father Jago. But they were saved from the 
perils of a party of thirteen because the one-armed 
Malachy, dour-faced and silent, but secretly burst- 
ing with pride and joy, stood at his old post behind 
his master's chair. 

There had not been much to eat, and the festival 
stood thus early at the stage of the steaming kettle 
and the glasses so piping hot that fingers shrank 
from contact, though the spirit beckoned. And 
there was not one less than twelve of these scorch- 
ing- tumblers — for in remote Muirisc the fame of 
Father Mathevv remained a vague and colorless 
thing like that of Mahomet or Sir Isaac Newton — 
and, moreover, was not The O'Mahony come 
home? 

" Yes, sir," The O'Mahony said from his place at 
the right hand of Mother Agnes, venturing an 
experimental thumb against his glass and sharply 
withdrawing it, " wherever I went, in France or 
Spain or among the Turks, I found there had been 
a soldier O'Mahony there before me. Why, a 
French general told me that right at one time — 
quite a spell back, I should judge — there were four- 
teen O'Mahonys holding commissions in the French 
army. Yes, I remember, it was in the time of Louis 
XIX." 

"You 're wrong, O'Mahony," interrupted Kate, 
with the smile of a spoiled, favorite child, " 't was 
nineteen O'Mahonys in the reign of Louis XIV." 

" Same thing," he replied, pleasantly. " It 's as 
broad as it is long. There the O'Mahony's were, 
an3^wa3', and every man of 'em a fighter. It set me 
to figuring that before they went away — when they 



A Farewell Feast. ^^2^ 



were all cooped up here together on this little neck 
of land — things must have been kept pretty well up 
to boiling point all the 3'ear round." 

" An' who was it ever had the power to coop 'em 
up here ?" demanded Cormac O'Daly, with enthu- 
siasm. " Heaven be their bed ! 'T was not in thim 
O'Mahonys to endure it ! Forth they wint in all 
directions, wid bowld raids an' incursions, b'ating 
the O'Heas an' def'ating the Coffeys wid slaughter, 
an' as fortheO'Driscolls — huh I — just tearing 'em up 
bodily be the roots ! Sir, 't was a proud day whin 
an O'Daly first attached himself to the house of the 
O'Mahonys — such grand min as they were, so 
magnanimous, so pious, so intelligent, so fero- 
cious an' terrifying — sir, me old blood warms at 
thought of 'em !" 

The caloric in Cormac's veinsimpelled him at this 
juncture to rise to this feet. He took a sip from 
his glass, then adjusted his spectacles, and produced 
the back of an envelope from his pocket. 

" O'Mahony," he said, with a voice full of emotion, 
" I 've a slight pome here, just stated down hurriedly 
that I '11 take the liberty to rade to the company 
assimbled. 'T is this way it runs : 

" ' Hark to thim joyous sounds that rise. 
Making the face of Muirisc to be glad ! 
'T is the devil's job to believe one's eyes — ' " 

" Well, thin, don't be trying !" brusquely inter- 
rupted Mrs. Fergus. As the poet paused and strove 
to cow his spouse with a sufficiently indignant 
glance, she leaned over the table and addressed him 
in a stage whisper, almost audible to the deaf old 
nuns themselves. 



328 The Return of The GMahony. 

" Sit down, me man !" she adjured him. " 'T is 
laughing at ye they are ! Sure, d(jcsn't his honor 
know how different a chune ye raised while he was 
away ! 'T is your part to sing small, now, an' keep 
the ditch betwixt you an' observation." 

Cormac sat down at once, and submissively put 
the paper back in his pocket. It was a humble and 
wistful glance which he bent through his spectacles 
at the chieftain, as that worthy resumed his remarks. 

The O'Mahony did not pretend to have missed 
the adjuration of Mrs. Fergus. 

" That started off well enough, O'Daly," he said ; 
" but you're getting too old to have to hustle around 
and turn out poetry to order, as you used to. I 've 
decided to allow you to retire — to sort of knock off 
your shoes and let you run in the pasture. You 
can move into one of the smaller houses and just 
take things easy," 

" But, sir — me secretarial juties — " put in O'Daly, 
with quavering voice. 

" There '11 be no manner of trouble about that," 
said the O'Mahony, reassuringly. " My friend, here, 
Joseph Higgins, of Boston, he will look out for that. 
I don't know that you 're aware of it, but I took a 
good deal of interest in him many years ago — before 
1 went away — and I foresaw a future for him. It 
hasn't turned out jest as I expected, but I 'm satis- 
fied, all the same. Before I left, I arranged that he 
should pursue his studies during my absence." A 
grimly quizzical smile played around the white 
corners of his mustache as he added : " I under- 
stand that he jest stuck to them studies night and 



A Farewell Feast. 329 

day — never left 'em once for so much as to go out 
and take a walk for the whole twelve years." 

" Surely, sir," interposed Father Jago, " that 's 
most remarkable ! I never heard tell of such 
studiosity in Maynooth itself !" 

The O'Mahon}^ looked gravely across the table at 
Jerry, whose broad, shining face was lobster-red 
with the exertion of keeping itself straight, 

" I believe there 's hardly another case on record," 
he said. " Well, as I was remarking, it 's only 
natural, now, that 1 should make him my secretary 
and bookkeeper. I 've had a long talk with him 
about it — and about other things, too — and I guess 
there ain't much doubt about our getting along 
together all right," 

" And is it your honor's intintion — Will — will he 
take over my functions as bard as well ?" Cormac 
ventured to inquire. He added in deprecating 
tones: "Sure, they 've always been considered 
hereditary." 

"No ; I think we '11 let the bard business slide for 
the time being," answered The O'Mahony. " You 
see, I 've been going along now a good many years 
without any poet, so T 've got used to it. There 
was one fellow out at Plevna — an English news- 
paper man — who did compose some verses about 
me — he seemed to think they were quite funny — 
but I shot off one of his knee-pans, and that sort of 
put a damper on poetry, so far as I was concerned. 
However, we '11 see how your boy turns out. 
Maybe, if he takes a shine to that sort of thing — " 

"Then you 're to stay with us?" inquired Mother 
Agnes. " So grand ye are wid your decorations an' 



2,^0 The Return of The G Maho7iy. 

your foreign titles — sure, they tell me you 're 
Chevalier an' O'Mahony Bey both at wance — 't will 
be dull as ditch-water for you here." 

" No, I reckon not," replied The 0'Mahon3\ 
" I 've had enough of it. It 's nigh on to forty 
years since 1 first tagged along in the wake of a 
drum with a musket on ni}" shoulder. I don't know 
why I didn't come back years ago. I was too shift- 
less to make up my mind, I suppose. No, I 'm 
going to stay here — going to die here — right among 
these good Muirisc folks, who are thumping each 
other to pieces outside on the green. Talk about 
its being dull here — why, Mother Agnes, 't would 
have done your heart good to see old Barney Dris- 
coU laying about him with that overgrown, double- 
barreled trumpet of his. 1 haven't seen anything 
better since we butted our heads up against Schipka 
Pass." 

" 'T will be grand tidings for the people — that 
same," interposed Kate, with happiness in glance 
and tone. 

The O'Mahony looked tenderly at her. 

" That reminds me," he said, and then turned to 
the nuns, lifting his voice in token that he especially 
addressed them. " There was some talk, I under- 
stand, about little Katie here — " 

" Little, is it !" laughed the girl. " Sure, to pl'ase 
3'ou I 'd begin growing again, but that there 'd be 
no house in Muirisc to hold me." 

'' Some talk about big Kate here, then," pursued 
the O'Mahony, " going into the convent. Well, of 
course, that 's all over with now." He hesitated for 
a moment, and decided to withhold all that cruel 



A Fa J' ewe II Feast. 331 

'. , ^ 

information about episcopal interference. " And 
I've been thinking it over," lie resumed, "and have 
come to the conclusion that we 'd better not try to 
bolster up the convent with new girls from outside. 
It 's always been kept strictly inside the family. 
Now that that can't be done, it 's better to let it end 
with dignity. And that it can't help doing, because 
as long as it 's remembered, men will say that its 
last nuns were its best nuns." 

He closed with a little bow to the Ladies of the 
Hostage's Tears. Mother Agnes acknowledged the 
salutation and the compliment with a silent inclina- 
tion of her vailed head. If her heart took grief, she 
did not say so. 

" And your new secretary — " put in Cormac, dif- 
fidently yet with persistence, " has he that acquaint- 
ance an' familiarity wid mining technicalities and 
conthracts that would fit him to dale wid 'em satis- 
factorily ?" 

A trace of asperit}', under which O'Daly definitely 
wilted, came into' The O'Mahony's tone. 

" There is such a thing as being too smart about 
mining contracts," he said with meaning. Then, 
with a new light in his e3'es he went on: "The 
luckiest thing that ever happened on this footstool, 
I take it, has occurred right here. The young man 
who sits opposite me is a born O'Mahony, the only 
son of the man who, if I hadn't turned up, would have 
had rightful possession of all these estates. You 
have seen him about here for some weeks. I under- 
stand that you all like him. Indeed, it 's been 
described to me that Mrs. Fergus here has quite an 
affection for him — motherly, I presume." 



332 The Return of The G Mahony. 

Mrs. Fergus raised her hand to her hair, and 
preened her head. 

" An' not so old, nayther, O'Mahony," she said, 
defiantly. "Wasn't I married first whin I was a 
mere shh"p of a girl ?" 

Sister Ellen looked at Mother Agnes, and lifted 
up both her hands. The O'Mahony proceeded, 
undisturbed : 

" As I 've said, you all like him. I like him too, 
for his own sake, and — and his father's sake — and — 
But that can wait for a minute. It 's a part of the 
general good luck which has brought him here that 
he turns out to be a trained mining engineer — just 
the sort of a man, of all others, that Muirisc needs. 
He tells me that we 've only scratched the surface of 
things roundabout here yet. He promises to get 
more wealth for us and for Muirisc out of an acre 
than we 've been getting out of a townland. Mala- 
chy, go out and look for old Murphy, and if he can 
walk, bring him in here." 

The O'Mahony composedly busied himself in fill- 
ing his glass afresh, the while Malachy was absent 
on his quest. The others, turning their attention to 
the boyish-faced, blushing young man whom the 
speaker had eulogized so highly, noted that he sat 
next, and perhaps unnecessarily close, to Kate, and 
that she, also betrayed a suspicious warmth of coun- 
tenance. Vague comprehension of what was com- 
ing began to stir in their minds as Malachy reap- 
peared. Behind him came Murphy, who leaned 
against the wall by the door, hat in hand, and clung 
with a piercing, hawk-like gaze to the lightest move- 
ment on the master's face. 



■i 



A Farewell Feast. 333 

The O'Mahony rose to his feet, glass in hand. 

" Murphy," he said, " I gave her to you to look 
after — to take care of — the Lady of Muirisc." 

" You did, sir!" shouted the withered and grimy 
old water-rat, straightening himself against the 
wall. 

" You 've done it well, sir," declared The 
O'Mahony. " 1 'm obliged to you. And I wanted 
you in particular to hear what I' m going to say. 
Malachy, get a glass for yourself and give one to 
Murphy." 

The one-armed servitor leaned gravely forward 
and whispered in The O'Mahony's ear. 

" I don't care a button," the other protested. 
" You can see him home. This is as much his 
funeral as it is anybody else's on earth. That 's it. 
Are you all filled? Now, then, ladies and gentle- 
men, I am getting along in years. I am a childless 
man. You 've all been telling me how much I 've 
changed these last twelve years. There 's one 
thing I haven't changed a bit in. I used to think 
that the cutest, cunningest, all-fired loveliest little 
girl on earth was Katie here. Well, I think just the 
same now. If I was her father, mother, sister, hired 
girl and dog under the wagon, all in one, I couldn't 
be fonder of her than I am. She was the apple of 
my eye then; she is now. I 'd always calculated 
that she should be my heir. Well, now, there turns 
up this young man, who is as much an O'Mahony 
of the real stock as Kate is. There 's a providence 
in these things. They love each other. They will 
marry. They will live in the castle, where they 've 
promised to give me board and lodging, and when I 



334 ^/^^ Retui'7i of The O Maho7iy, 

am gone, they will come after me. 1 'm going to 
have you all get up and drink the health of my 
young — nephew — Bernard, and of his bride, our 
Kate, here, and — and of the line of O'Mahonys to 
come." 

When the clatter of exclamations and clinking 
glasses had died down, it was Kate who made 
response — Kate, with her blushing, smiling face held 
proudly up and a glow of joyous affection in her 
eyes. 

" If that same line of O'Mahonys to come stretched 
from here to the top of Mount Gabriel," she said, 
in a clear voice, " there 'd not be amongst thim al5 
the ayqual to our O'Mahony." 



THE END. 



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