« AnteriorContinuar »
you'll hear the last of it yourself the very first, and that will be some satisfaction anyhow.'
• It won't be any satisfaction to me, Peggy,' said poor Kate, which again aroused Peggy Morrow's compassion.
“Ah, then, isn't it the unlucky that Rob is away with the cart since yester morn, carting hay for the squire, or sure it's not walking your lone you'd be.'
• I'm obliged to you, Peggy, but I don't mean to walk all the way; one of the neighbours from'Kate seemed unable to articulate the name of the farm-preparations for taking possession of which had been the cause of all her misery; and she reiterated,
One of the neighbours is going part of the road and will give me a lift.'
The rector had taken great pains to make out any circumstance which might appear in Tennisson's favour, but without success. One circumstance which in the confusion of his mind he seemed to have forgotten, he mentioned the day before bis trial, which was, that after he parted from Delany he was joined by a man on horseback, who he believed was a priest, and who accompanied him nearly all the way to the village where he went. He could, however, give no description of the person, nor did he know whence he came; but he had had a good deal of conversation with him, had told him the business he was going about; but he had turned off by another road before they reached the village, and no clue could be obtained to find who he was.
Irish juries were not exactly constituted as they now in many instances are ; but though political opinions might not have influenced the minds of the jury against Tennisson, the case was strongly made out against him, and the known rancour wbich subsisted between the two parties to which the victim and the accused belonged, made it appear a not improbable occurrence.
Witnesses innumerable were ready to swear against him, and though the evidently vindictive feeling of the principal of these, O'Toole, operated rather as a caution in the reception of his testimony, it was not so with that of the people of the house, who proved the quarrel that had taken place, and the scemingly revengeful threats of the prisoner; and of others who saw them leave the town together, and proved the return of O'Toole, leaving them alone. It was to this house that the latter had returned with the tidings of Delany's death, and they naturally inquired instantly for his companion, on which a general exclamation was uttered that he was the murderer.
From the manner in which the body was found, it appeared that the death of the unhappy man had been caused by a sudden and unexpected blow: there was no appearance of any scuffle about the ground, which was moist from recent rain ; a large discoloured mark on one temple had been left by the fatal blow, which was given by a heavy instrument. The body had been lifted from the spot where it fell, and dropped again nearly in the same place. · The prisoner had nothing to say in his defence, but persisted in a strenuous denial of the crime. After a long examination the jury returned a verdict of guilty, and the judge, with evident emotion, pronounced sentence of death. The prisoner was deadly pale, but, before leaving the bar, summoned fortitude to say, 'Gentlemen, you have done what you believe to be your duty, but I am innocent of the crime for which you condemn me.'
Painful though it must be to a feeling mind to hear such words, they are too common in Ireland, and indeed elsewhere, to produce any conviction of their truth ; but though the opinion of others was not affected by them, a feeble voice with an affecting tone of gladness responded to them from among the court below-My blessing on you, John Tennisson, for that saying.'
The prisoner grew still paler, and leaned nearly fainting against the rails, as his removal was protracted in consequence. The girl who had caused the emotion made her way towards him, while some water was procuring; she was herself in a state of excitement which gave her almost the appearance of insanity. Addressing the prisoner, she cried — It's over, John; and now we'll both die easier than them that brings us to the grave. Brian O'Toole has a black heart this day : but no matter-there's a God in heaven still.'
· Don't spake so, Kate, don't spake so, dear,' said the poor man much agitated. God bless you, Kate, and He will.'
"John,' said the girl, 'they'll let me see you maybe once more ; but no matter whether or no, we won't be long parted; I'll soon be after you- perhaps before you. It lightens my heart to think that: the weight isn't balf so great here then. She pressed her hand on her heart as she spoke, and then on her head. "Nor here either; that wild bad pain, that is like burning fire in my head by day and night, sleeping or waking, it isn't half so bad, when I think that
the grass won't be green over you till the sod is over me.'
• Go home, go home,' cried the prisoner, as he was moved onward. • God in heaven bless you; and some of you take her home. Kate, mavourneen, go home, and pray for me and for yourself.'
I never saw Nanny absolutely listless until this day; she wandered from one trifling occupation to another, and the extent of her walks was comprised within the space that existed between the French clock on the chimney-piece, and the window that afforded a view of the road looking to the town.
Late in the evening the rector with his guest returned, and entered the room with their hats on their heads and their whips in their hands: their appearance alone conveyed the nature of the tidings they had to give. The former was really unwell, and, after swallowing a glass of wine, was obliged to confess himself so, and to retire to his room, where, shortly after, his daughter was admitted to sit; and, in the absence of more pleasing companions, Mr. Hastings detailed the account of the trial which I have already given, with the addition that, after its termination, the rector, in compliance with the request of the condemned man, had sought for Kate, in order to see her conveyed home, but was informed that she had herself instantly done as he had wished, and proceeded on her way homewards by a shorter road.
A glimpse of our good rector became now a rarity, and, like other rare things, was more prized. We looked forward to his return from his daily visit to the county jail with greater interest than ladies doomed to the monotony of a retired country life
might feel, in anticipation of a circumstance which brought them the news of a borough town. Small, however, was the portion of news conveyed to us by these visits; one object caused them, and that one object monopolized the attention of him who made them. The condemned man was almost all he saw, all he thought of; the desire of leading him, now when the hopes of this life had given way, to entertain one sure and stedfast of the life to come, was the single one that seemed to engage his mind respecting him. This hope he cherished, in this he laboured, for the accomplishment of this he prayed-* May he know Thee, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent,' was the prayer which, even in the family, he almost constantly offered for poor Tennisson. When life was limited to a certain day, he thought all other engagements less imperative ; that day-an awful one, even in an indifferent case to hear ofwas rapidly approaching, when a fine setting sun induced me to ramble further than usual down a retired road, which, though it led to the town in question, was not much used by those who went there.
It was just the evening, and the hour of evening, which might fill the mind with soft, and pleasing, and saddening thoughts-just the evening and the hour, when the brightest and saddest periods of our existence flit around us, like prospects distance has mellowed.
Life is nearly made up of recollection and anticipation; but on such an evening and such an hour we live in the past more than in the future.
This would be a fair opportunity for introducing a fine description of setting suns and beautiful skiesof glowing scenery, and all of nature's richness or