Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

people, that their children, struck by it, as it were, by intuition, became silent. Father Doballan was a priest of the Roman Catholic persuasion, and venerable from his age and piety. The excellent man came immediately to the cabin, and asking a blessing on his prayers, knelt with the family. Philip and Norah joined fervently in the good father's devotions, and found their hearts cheered, and their hopes revived-feeling within them a certainty that a merciful God had vouchsaled a listening ear to their prayers. Father Donallan drew from his purse a half-crown piece, and handed it to Philip; it was all the good man could spare, but it was enough to make them comfortable till Philip could get to work again at Summer Hill. It was received as a loan by the cottagers, whose pride forbade their taking it in any other way, for the Irish are notorious for possessing this fault of Lucifer.

The worthy priest pronounced a benediction upon the children of affliction and departed. The family having retired to bed, Norah, from exhaustion, soon fell into a profound sleep; not so Philip; anxiety and hope interiningled, kept him long awake, but when he did sleep, he was visited by delightful visions, and dreamed the following singular dream.

CHAPTER II.

( Mercutio. True, I talk of dreams,

Which are the children of an idle brain,
Begot of nothing but vain fantasy,
Which is as thin of substance as the air,
And more inconstant than the wind, who woos
Even now the frozen bosom of the north,
And, being angered, puffs away from thence,
Turning his face to the dew-dropping south

Shakspeare. Philip thought that he was sitting beneath the shade of the beloved sycamore-tree, against whose venerable trunk he leaped his head rather disconsolately. The moon shone with more than usual radiance, and threw her silvery mantle over the beautiful stream and landscape around him. He closed his eyes, when suddenly arose a soft and soothing strain of music, such as human ears never before heard. As it stole

over his charmed senses, he opened his eyes, and beheld a bright cloud floating in ether, from whence the heavenly music appeared to proceed. He gazed steadily at it, and presently saw it separate, and from it burst forth such a gorgeous array of light and glory, that for a moment it deprived him of sight-he covered his face with his hands, when

“Softer than Arabian lyres,
A still small voice,' like zephyr's dying sighs,
Steals on his ears—he may not lift his eyes,
But o'er his face his flowing mantle flings,

And hears a whisper from the King of kings.”

Philip," said the heavenly voice, which seemed quite near him, “look up, thou man of God; what hast thou to fear ?" He thought that on withdrawing his hands from his eyes, he beheld a winged seraph leaning over him : it continued-“ Thou and thine have been afficted thy prayers have ascended to the throne of grace. Obey my commands, and thou shalt obtain that which mortals covet; use it well, and thou shalt be happy; abuse it, and thou art lost for ever! Go thou to the Bridge of Lough Cortib, and wait there till thou art hailed. Ovey, and thou shalt meet thy reward."

Philip started from his slumber, and found that he had slept longer than usual, and that a full-risen midsummer sun was shining through the cabin window directly in his face---and this, thought he, quite naturally, is the cause of my dream. While partaking of his homely repast, he related the vision to Norah. The only impression it made on the mind of either, seemed to be, that it was the approbation of their virtuous conduct thus communicated from a superior and guardian spirit. Philip set off to his daily labour at Summer Hill, and in the evening returned with its delightful rewards for the comfort of his beloved family. Fatigued with the business of the day, he soon retired to that rest which the hind enjoys better on his bed of straw, beneath his humble thatch, than the prince in his bed of down within the sumptuous palace. Philip had scarcely fallen asleep ere he was again visited by the vision of the preceding night. He repeated this circumstance to Norah.

“ Well, my good man,” said she, “and what do you mane to do ?

To obey,” replied he, “and repair on the morrow to Lough Corrib Bridge.”

“ Och, och! now Philip,” said Norah, “and sure you would not be so wake, man, as to lave your work, and go twenty miles from home on the strength of a drame; surely you never used to believe in them."

“Isn't it strange, my dear woman, that I should have this warning voice ?"

“ Not very,” replied Norah ; “if you think of a drame you will drame it again-wait and see if you have a third warning: if you do, I will say no more against your going to Lough Corrib."

“So be it then, my Norah,” said her husband ; you never crossed me since we have been man and wife, which is now twelve years, and I will take your advice."

Another day passed away, another night followed it, when, strange to relate, Philip had the third warning from the vision, which he thought looked displeased, and vanished, uttering the word obey so loud, that he started from his sleep, with his heart palpitating violently. Norah awoke in alarm, and when informed that he really and truly had the third visit from the heavenly messenger, made no farther objection to his undertaking the journey. Accordingly, at dawn of day he arose, and after taking some refreshment and embracing his wife and children, from whom he had never been so long separated as he should now from necessity be, he mounted the old white nag, and proceeded on his journey ; not forgetting, however, to carry with himn a stock of provender for his steed, as the merciful man is merciful to his beast.”

Philip passed through the town of Galway, and soon reached the bridge of Lough Corrib, which, after dismounting, he crossed and recrossed for several hours, to the no little amusement of the multitude who were collected to gaze and laugh at the crazy man and his queer-looking old white nag. Philip's temper was not to be ruffled by trifles, and occasionally whistling or singing Planxty Kelly,” or the “ Fox's Sleep,” two favourite national melodies, be soon disarmed the mischievous urchins who had loaded themselves with şundry missiles to throw at him and his mild-looking nag

.

66

He rested himself on the bridge at noon-time, and took from his pocket an oatmeal bannock and a boiled egg, which served to refresh him, and during the pause rested his faithful steed besides.

The shadows of night began to descend-Philip had been hailed, it is true, but it was only with the droll and witty sayings so peculiar to the lower classes of the Irish nation. He had not yet been hailed in the right way, and he began to think he had been really playing the fool for the amusement of the Galway people.

Poor Norah, said he mentally, how she will be disappointed! He had just mounted his horse, and was about to turn towards the Tarnside, when he heard a voice proceeding from the house at the end of the bridge, or rather at a small distance from it, calling thus" Here, you crazy man, with the wall-eyed white nag, come in here and rest yourself.

I am hailed at last, said Philip to himself" do not look so cross, poor baste," said he, joyously patting the faithful creature, " ye shall have rest, so ye shall.” He obeyed the call, which, on reaching the cabin, he found was that of an old woman where travellers stopped to bait their cattle and get refreshment.

Why man,” said she, in the name of St. Patrick and all the saints in the calendar, what have ye been travelling you bridge for ;-have ye, and sure ye have, lost your wits, man?

Philip, after being seated, related his dream ; at which Mrs. Macalpin laughed the more, holding both her fat sides, wbich were convulsed with the excess of her merriment.

“Och, och, to let a silly drame make such a simpleton of ye is too bad-why, about five years agone, I dramed that if I would go to the Tarnside, about twenty miles from this, to one Philip Alanson's cabin, and dig under a sycamore-tree that grows forenenst it, that my fortune would be made.”

Philip did not betray his identity, but said, “ And why didn't you?”

“First, because I have no faith in drames ; secondly, because I never travelled so far in my life; and lastly, what right had I to trespass on the grounds of another ? Philip Alanson is a good man ; if there be any thing under his sycamore-tree, he is the person who has the best right to it

[ocr errors]

for his family on his mother's side were great people. She was a descendant of Semo, King of the Isle of the Mist, and I have heard tell that the family fled most of them from that part of the country at the time of the civil wars, My granda father, heaven rest his sowl, if he was alive, could tell you all about it. There was once a great castle stood on the Tarnside, that belonged to the family of the Morvens, Mr. Alanson's ancestors. Philip had heard enough, and after Mrs. Macalpin had shown him all the hospitality for which the Irish have been so long and so justly celebrated, he gladly retired to rest, resolving to rise early, and return to his Tarnside.

Philip did not sleep much, and as soon as Aurora had unbarred the gates of light, and showed the foliage of the trees, and the verdant meadows covered with

" Stars of morning dew-drops, which the sun

Impearls on every leaf and every flower," he arose, and leaving a few half-pence on the table as a reward to his hostess, he mounted his steed and departed. The old nag at first travelled slowly, but the moment he found himself on the road which led to his ancient home, he astonished Philip by a very uncommon performance, that of setting out on a brisk trot; by which means he carried his master home much sooner than could have been expected. Philip found his family assembled under the shade of the favourite sycamore-tree. It was a fine day in the month of August, and the genial warmth of a mid-day sun had extracted the wild honey from the pores of the leaves, and it was seen dropping from each of the five-fingered points of the beautiful dark green foliage. Philip's darlings were actually rioting in its sweets, but at his approach they left it to fly to the arms of their welcome parent, whose heart, filled with the touch of kindred love and tenderness, met with rapture

" The modest eye, whose beams on his alone
Ecstatic shine-the little strong embrace
Of prattling children twined around his neck,
And emulous to please him, calling forth

The fond parental soul.”
After the children were sent to bed, Philip related his ad.

« AnteriorContinuar »